by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- The questions
- Some answers
- The risk
- The good news
- Sheridan Blue Streak
- The point
I received this comment to an older blog yesterday.
“Am I alone in wanting a Single-Stroke Pneumatic with more authority than a 10 meter or Canada-friendly option [power/velocity]? The gun I want the most would be:
1. A side lever or forearm lever single stroke pneumatic, to eliminate the need for the artillery hold and the kick of a springer and the barrel alignment issues of a break barrel.
2. Powerful enough to hunt small game humanely. Since the current 10 meter offerings seem to top out at under 5 ft./lbs. I would probably buy anything over 2/3 the muzzle energy and of comparable quality and price to the Diana 350 Magnum or Gamo Whisper Fusion 1300 springers I currently own.
3. A multi pump pneumatic built for a stronger person might be viable. But, I hate pumping a gun 10 times for 6-7 fpe. How about something that gets 15 fpe with 3 or 4 pumps?
I wonder if the reason no one makes my gun is the potential of it dieseling and possibly even breaking the operator’s arm or jaw during charging. Would a gun with an axial slide forearm pump overcome this concern if it exists?
Do you have any insight to the availability of a manual stroke pneumatic that outperforms 10 meter and 12g CO2 guns in the field? But, Not one that takes 7-10 strokes to do it?”
Wow. That’s a lot of questions. I will try to address most of them in today’s report. Let’s start with the first one.
1. A sidelever or forearm lever single stroke pneumatic with decent power. Let’s say that is at least 12 to 15 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
This has been done — several times. But the physics involved have always dictated that the design of the gun had to compress a lot more air than most single strokes do — a lot more! The Parker-Hale Dragon was one such gun that I reported on in July of 2008. It was a 12 foot-pound single-stroke pneumatic air rifle that required a 135-degree stroke of the pump lever to charge the gun. Several steps were needed to prepared the action to receive the charge, with the result that the gun operated like a science experiment, rather than an air rifle you could use.
A You Tube video from December of 2016 shows a new release of a single stroke that develops up to almost 20 foot-pounds of energy in .22 caliber. It seems to use a variant of the butterfly pump system that was first shown on the Benjamin 392 pump-assist rifle. I tested that one for you in December, 2016. You may recall that I showed you a video of me pumping that rifle. It’s at the end of a different report, so scroll down to watch it.
So, apparently what you want is possible and it looks like someone is doing something about it. Will you be willing to pay for it when it gets here?
3. Multi-pumps can be more powerful with fewer pump strokes, too. I owned one back in the 1990s. It was a Daystate Sportsman Mark II that generated almost 25 foot-pounds with 5 pump strokes of a sidelever. It was very accurate. The pump strokes took 55 to 77 pounds of effort. That might be reduced by a clever linkage that uses a sliding fulcrum in the same fashion as the pump assist Benjamin, but still, the cost of the rifle was around $1,000 in today’s money — maybe more. Are you willing to pay? Apparently not many people were, fbecause that rifle never really succeeded in the market. The current FX Independence that retails for $1,700 is another high-tech multi-pump that sells to a few key buyers, but it’s hardly a mainstay.
But let’s look at this more closely. Just because all the guns like this to date have cost a lot of money does not mean they have to. Any company that can produce a Benjamin Marauder that retails for $500 can certainly make one of these for close to the same price. There must be some other reason airgun makers aren’t making them.
They aren’t making them because they don’t sell! That’s the reason. Whenever I hear someone say, “Everybody wants…” I think to myself, there is a person who doesn’t know the market very well. The airgun market is very fickle. If you build one certain gun, people will stand around with their hands in their pockets and say, “If only they would just ….., I would buy one today!” Well, the truth is, they won’t buy one today and so they don’t, and that is what limits the airgun market. Whatever you build, they will want something different.
Everybody may want something, but only a few are willing to buy it when it becomes available. Right now there is an ongoing discussion on this blog among several readers that Crosman should invest the time, money and effort to turn the Benjamin Marauder into a multi-pump pneumatic. Could they do it? Yes — without question. Would it sell? That’s the question nobody can answer. The people who want it say it will sell, but they are risking nothing to say that. Crosman, on the other hand, has to risk the time and cost to develop the gun, plus be willing to not develop other products that might sell well (because they are tying up their resources on this project).
Here is the dilemma. If company G is making a lot of money selling the same airguns under different names on the basis of advertising and high velocity claims, why would company C want to invent something that has never been seen before? Both companies make the majority of their sales and revenue in discount store sales. Making guns “everybody wants” is a dangerous and risky sideline for them. However, every once in awhile one of those risky projects is undertaken and is a home run. It allows them to enter a piece of the market they may not have been in before, or it expands their share of a segment they are already in.
The downside of home runs are the companies that no longer exist. Many of them were just generally mismanaged, but some of them made airguns that “everybody” wanted.
The good news
Everything I’ve said to this point sounds like a lecture about not wanting more than already exists. But that’s not the end of the discussion. These circumstances have set up the potential for someone to succeed in a major way. That You Tube video shows what it looks like when someone takes a chance. Let’s look at one more.
Sheridan Blue Streak
In 1947 the Sheridan Pneumatic was born. It was later called the Model A and today we call it the Supergrade, but in 1947 it was just the Sheridan Pneumatic. It retailed for $56.50, which doesn’t seem so bad today, but at the time the popular Winchester model 61 slide action .22 rifle was Selling for just $44.50. A single shot air rifle was priced $12 more than a very popular slide action .22! That’s more than 25 percent higher.
This ad is from the 1948 Shooter’s Bible. It’s the first ad for the Supergrade. Notice the price.
A Winchester model 61 is selling in the same catalog for $12 less than the Sheridan!
When Sheridan revised the Model A (within a very short timeframe), in an attempt to lower the cost, they did so through sharpening their manufacturing processes and shaving some of the materials. The model B Sporter retailed for $35, but it still wasn’t enough. Sales were even worse!
Then, in a stroke of what was later shown to be genius, Sheridan looked at the entire design and made huge changes. The costly bronze barrel and pump tube were changed to cheaper red brass, and the complex double ball valve was exchanged for a more conventional pneumatic valve design. Power remained the same, accuracy stayed the same and the wood parts were still made of walnut, but the retail price of the new rifle was cut to $19.95. The model C Sheridan Blue Streak was a better design that gave up nothing except style and preserved the Sheridan company for another 60+ years.
The point of today’s report is this — it is possible for better airguns to be made. There are plenty of areas for vast improvements. But each of them involves taking a risk. Sometimes a company will take that risk and, if they know their market well, it can pay off. But the downside of risk can be ruin, and no company wants that.
90 thoughts on “Am I alone…?”
Airguns of all kinds out there…like a big ol’ buffet you find in nearly every town! To some there is always a fly in the ointment.I guess it is human nature and what got us where we are in this “golden age”.I like to think of airgun choice like one of those 5$ fleece blankets that are everywhere in stores at the holidays.Darn thing is really comfortable,…..BUT you have to pick what part you want left out in the cold,’cause it ain’t ALL fitting under the blanket!!
Well, I know who is getting a Snuggie® for Christmas next year.
Can I get the one with the hideaway holster and the trigger finger cut-out??? Can I……..(BTW my fav color is ghillie) LOL
I read through the list several times. I am a fan of multi-pumps like my Sheridans but the more I read through it the more I kept thinking Maximus and a good hand pump would be cheaper. Especially when I remember you talking about pumping up a Discovery one handed while sitting.
I have an FX Indy and it has been called the “Holy Grail” of Airguns. A 3,000psi PCP with a self contained hand pump. You only have to fill it once and three fairly reasonable pumps will replace the air used for each shot so it’s always full. But you really pay for it. A top of the line multi shot PCP rile not easily affordable for most, as BB mentioned.
I really think the same principle of operation, just topping off a full, say 2,000psi air tank, after each shot with a side or underlever pump does not seem that hard to do and keeping it a single shot rifle might help keep the cost down.
You don’t need a big air tank just enough for 2 or 3 shots before you need to top it off with three pumps per shot. Even having to pump it after each shot would be OK as long as you get to shoot with the power of a PCP. Perhaps they have a patent on it ?
Kind of like a multi-pump only it’s used to top off a pre filled HPA rifle .
Perhaps something like the Maximus with an integrated pump?
But now you’re back to a $350 rifle … hard to sell that at the Big box stores.
Just to mix it up a little why not put a lipo battery in the stock with a micro compressor and eliminate pumping. I think energy wise a lipo would give quite a few shots between charges and the compressor could cool down between filling a small 5 shot reservoir. Cost unlimited!
Otherwise I would like to see a simple multi-pump based on the Maximus. Add some variety of calibers and I am all in. I like more easy pumps than one that pulls a mussel. Plus you can adjust the power and noise by the number of pumps.
From what I am hearing Crosman hit a home run with the Maximus barrels.
Benchrest only for that gun.
What you say is so true.
I see it on every one of the forums every day.
With the new guns shown at shot show this year, when they first are leaked to the web, everyone wants one, then they start picking it apart.
Oh it doesn’t have this barrel, or oh, it’s based on that Chinese design, or if it only had this type of trigger on it, or its not really a “semi auto.”
But look at it this way, it is going to get many people into a pcp, or a second pcp for only $150. (Plus fill equipment.
Or it will get people into a regulated pcp for less than $300.
These are pricepoints that people will be buying.
Yes there are people out there that don’t think a quality rifle can be had for less than $1000.
And there are more people out there that will never pay that much for something they can’t either ride on, or ride in…
Companies stay in business by making products that MILLIONS of people want to buy, not THOUSANDS of people.
They produce products that have been through a lean manufacturing production system, looking to manufacture, and distribute with the least cost and resources used per unit.
Would they want to sell 10,000 Rifles that produces 3 shots per 10 pumps , at 15 ft lb .22 rifle that sells for $900.
Or would they want to sell a million units of a rifle and pump as a combo that sells for $280?
The people say what THEY want, and that everyone would buy it, but in reality, no 4 shooters want all of the same features.
Some people like springers, some people like pumpers, some people like gas guns, some people like pcp’s.
Some people like 9mm, some like .45.
And some people like .40.
Some people like blondes, some redheads.
It’s a conflict that will never end…
Wow! I almost like your explanation better than mine! Well-written comment.
I like brunettes.
I like blondes brunettes and red-heads.
Basically if she has hair they’ve passed the test.
Don’t forget Green, Purple, and Pink. Of course,… that usually comes with the obligatory nose, ear, lip, eye brow and who knows what else piercings. That would be like making out with a hardware bin. No thanks. I have my high standards to maintain after all. 😉
I like guns. 😉
Before they went through their recent multiple bankruptcies km and buyouts Webley touted a single stroke pneumatic rifle called the Paradigm, made, amazingly, in the UK. It never got to series production, and last I heard it had been sold to a Chinese manufacturer.
I brought up this very point several month’s ago,.. a single stroke in .22 that would put out 800-900 fps. I was promptly reminded how this has been done, complete with some video’s,.. some which B.B. mentioned. The muscle required to pump was way up,.. or weight got added that turned a nice 7# rifle into something in the 12# plus range. The length and complexity increased as well.
I gave up on that and settled on a PCP,.. or a high quality multi-pump. Either way, a pneumatic is just way smoother shooting. I have 2 nice springers and they will do the job just fine as well. But, they don’t shoot as smooth as a pneumatic.
As has been said,.. there is limitations. Practicality. Trade offs. Then,… whatever it is,.. it has to sell in large quantities. SSP, MPP or PCP. Pick one.
Nice article B.B. and a nice reminder to “keep it real”. 😉
Good Day one and all,….. Chris
I’ve read that the type of seal used on the end of an SSP piston doesn’t take kindly to being left with a charge of compressed air for very long. I would think that being able to charge the gun and keep it that way for some time would be very desirable in a hunting gun. Perhaps there is a different seal arrangement that could be used on a hunting SSP that would be better suited to being left charged for a few hours?
On thing I’m apparently alone on is wanting a 10M match style stock and decent aperture sights on less expensive but still high quality spring piston or SSP rifles. I think if I had been able to buy a version of the HW-30S that was like that I might have been happy with just that one rifle for years and years. When I bought the HW-30S (my first dcent quality airgun) the HW-55 was long off the market otherwise one of those would have been great too.
PA sells some nice aperture sights that should do the trick for you. As for the stock, there are a few stock makers out there. Yes, it will cost, but then you have what you want. I myself have been giving very serious consideration to doing just this with an HW95.
I make gunstocks as a side-line hobby to my shooting addiction.
While fitting the wood to the action can be a little fiddly, making a stock is well within the capability of the average wood worker with some basic hand tools.
I made my first few “practice” stocks out of 2×8 spruce lumber to get a feel for the process before I switched to hardwood.
Why don’t you give it a try?
Guyana, the country of my birth, produces some of the most beautiful hardwoods in the World.
Scroll down and click on Silverballi. This species come in both soft-22 to 37 lbs/ cubic ft (similar to Poplar , 22 to 31lbs / cubic ft) and hard-37 to 62 lbs/ cubic ft (similar to Beech, 32 to 56 lbs / cubic ft and Walnut which runs from 40 to 43 lbs/ cubic ft ).
Pick your colour and wood density a nd knock yourself out.
Thanks for the link! Some nice stuff there.
There is a lumber mill near buy that specializes in hardwood from all over the world. Beautiful woods, very expensive prices!
I usually cut my own wood and prefer to work with maple. There is a large elm that I need to take down and it will provide me with a lot of nicely figured dark brown heart-wood for making stocks and bows.
Too many projects – not enough time. 🙁
I read your comment on the seal topic this AM, but time was short. I would think that the “parachute” seal is used on modern air rifles. I would not see an issue there. Springers = bad for the spring. SSP and MPP it is said to be good to leave in a pump or two. Any more details to your question?
Thinking more,.. the air is stored in the valve, I believe. Is the piston seal really under any pressure/stress when a stroke is left in? I may be off on that, but that is my understanding.
Thanks for the suggestions about available aperture sights and aftermarket stocks – they would have been good options back when I got the HW-30 but by the time I found out about them I had already gone down the rabbit hole and bought myself (along with other airguns) a used FWB602:-) I’ve been told that in an SSP like my FWB that the compressed air is stored in the cylinder itself so when the rifle is charged the parachute seal on the end of the piston is under considerable pressure – the manual says not to let the rifle sit charged for more than a few minutes. It was because of this that I was wondering if a different type of SSP mechanism would be needed for a hunting rifle. I’m just a paper puncher so low power not being able to be ready to go at a moment’s notice isn’t a problem for me personally.
LOL! Once again you have hit the nail on the head. It is indeed a tremendous risk to try and give the masses what they say they want. Sometimes though, the masses help you. AirForce is a prime example. Way back when they introduced the Talon. Immediately the masses lengthened the frame to enclose and shroud the barrel and shortly the Talon SS was born. On and on the tinkering went, producing the Condor, the Condor SS, the Escape series, the Texan, etc.
Would I buy a SSP such as the Webley Paradigm. If it was that well made and that nice looking there is a good chance, but I also know it would most likely top $1500. Not many are truly willing to go there. They are still thinking Winchester Model 61.
Every once in a while we get lucky and something like the Marauder comes along. Maybe one day they will put it in a nice looking walnut stock…
This is a very interesting subject! Something I’ve thought about many times–I’d love to see a solid, well-made single-stroke pneumatic (SSP) sporting rifle.
The thing that may be unrealistic is the power level. An SSP that does 12+ FPE is going to be a big, heavy, hard-to-charge gun, period. But, looking at SSP target rifles that used variable-fulcrum levers to produce around 6 FPE with pretty minimal effort…I’ve often wondered if such a mechanism could be fine-tuned to give maybe 8 or 9 FPE in a relatively light and compact package?
And yes, the lower power level would reduce market appeal even more! I admit I may indeed be quite alone in this fantasy, LOL.
BUT, if it were marketed as a truly recoilless equivalent of the hallowed R7, and made at a similar quality level with a good trigger, I’d sure buy one!
I am just sketching up a sporting stock for my FWB 300SU and have plans to do the same for my FWB 603 once I get a scope mounted on it (need to make a new loading gate first).
Have the maple put aside and waiting – all I need is some time 🙂
If you get a chance, try shooting a FWB 300. You might find that it meets all of your requirements. It may be a bit on the heavy side for a sporter but it is very stable to shoot. I do a lot of pest control with mine and it has more that enough power out to 25 yards. 1/4″ groups are typical at that range and the trigger is awesome.
Hank, I appreciate your comments!
I should point out that I discovered the virtues of lower-powered springers many moons ago. I own 4 FWB 300’s (including a “Mini” with short un-sleeved barrel–you should hunt up one of those if you haven’t already), and a passel of HW 55’s, Walther LGV’s, Diana 27’s, and other similar vintage smoothies!
But again, I think a truly recoilless and quality-built pneumatic single-stroke sporter at a lower size and weight would be a very appealing prospect…at least to me!
FOUR FWB 300s – WOW – guess I don’t have to tell you what a fantastic rifle the are 🙂
I fell in love with the FWB 300 when I first saw it on a Beeman catalogue cover (1980?) and finally got my hands on one a couple of years ago. Mine is 34 years old.
I have a decent stable of airguns and the 300 is my favorite.
I think that the key factor in the design is the selling price. Like the Sheridan example above, a manufacurer will not sell a profitable number of units if it is priced too high for mass apeal.
As B.B. pointed out, competitive pricing is what will determine whether you sell thousands of millions. Research and development is a cost that must be borne by all manufacturers . Failure to do so will cause that company to end up at the bottom of the heap- reskining existing platforms and calling them “Bone Crusher” & “Zombie killer ” will only get you that far.
Take the wild fire platform and put the reservoir in the but stock, this frees up the pressure tube under the barrel to be used as the pump tube (with the Benji pump assist) . Keep the plastic stock but make it in two halves which can snap together and glued- after inserting the bottle reservoir the buttstock . Run a pressure tube from the bottle to the valve .can it be curved to be part of the trigger guard??. Locate the fill probe in the fake magazine.
Like your design!
I would add a regulator to provide an “air chamber” at the valve (a long pressure tube might be a problem) and to provide a consistent pressure from the reservoir.
Doesn’t take much to get us “arm-chair engineers” designing new products does it LOL!!
Yeah! Isn’t designing fun?? Lol! The pressure tube I was thinking of would be like the flex line on the hand pumps except it would be a ridged steel tube leading to the valve body thingy you mentioned, bent with smooth curves (ooh la la ) to navigate it’s way from bottle to valve body. Air behaves like a fluid and any sharp bends in t he tube will reduce the velocity of t he fluid passing through it.
“If you have faith as much. As a grain of mustard seed you can say to this tree; uproot yourself and be planted in the sea and it will do your bidding”.
Faith can move mountains and it can also build quality airguns at a reasonable price. B.B. had faith in the Disco concept and as they say; the rest is history.
Hopefully some young engineer at Crosman will read our comments and be inspired to say; ” I can do that”
Chief armchair engineer/ backyard tinkerer
I saved up and put my money where my desire was and bought a 22 caliber FX Independence. I was not disappointed. As with any other finely-tuned mechanical device that is not in high demand or made in high numbers, the price is high.
Once the pump mechanism was upgraded to stainless steel components under warranty, this gun has been quite reliable and has become my go-to gun. My other springers, ssp’s, and break barrels are mostly gathering dust.
I adjusted the hammer spring tension to maximum, use a nominal fill pressure of 220 bar, and use the power wheel for three levels of power.
Level one with jsb 14.3 grains makes about 635 feet per second for almost 13 foot pounds and requires one pump per shot to recharge. It is amazingly quiet on level 1.
Level 2 with JSB 14.3 grains makes about 805 feet per second for over 20 foot pounds and requires three pumps per shot to recharge. It is still very quiet.
Level 3 with 21.3 grain H&N Barracuda match pellets makes about 940 feet per second for over 41 foot pounds of muzzle energy and requires 5 pumps per shot to recharge . Even at this power level it is still quite backyard friendly.
This is an adult air rifle and it’s not targeted at youngsters. It takes some strength to pump but the pump lever is very long and not really much of an obstacle for an adult in good health. I once measured the maximum pump force using my bathroom scale like BB does and I seem to remember it was between 30 and 40 pounds.
No tanks, no separate hand pumps, just grab the pellets and the gun and have fun. It is truly something wonderful that is out there and available right now if you are willing to pay for it.
There is a mental hurdle with price for such things just as the discussion of the early Benjamins compared to the 22 Rimfire rifles. It’s too expensive to buy now but boy don’t you wish you had one before they went out of production? As I grow older I realize the importance of making your dreams come true before it is too late.
Totally agree with you, Sad part is most people who jump over the line and sort of go for broke are very disappointed they did not do it earlier.
The first thought I had when I drove my 3000 GT VR4 Twin Turbo was, “So this is how the other side lives” and was very disappointed I had missed out on this wonderful driving experience all my life. 130 mph was like doing 30mph. It needed a new transmission and transfer case when I got it at a reasonable price but it opened my eyes to the best things in life.
All I can say is thank God there are companies that make quality there bottom line and not cost. After owning the FX Independence getting the shorter Indy was a no brainer.
Do what it takes to treat yourself to something really good once in a while and you won’t be disappointed. Ever see a sad or regretful Ferrari owner?
Just got to ask. How accurate and at what yardages?
MY .22 FX Independence will be 3 years old this coming May and as of this date it has just shy of 30,000 rounds shot through it. The rifle is everything FX says it is, including being unbelievably quiet. I attend many FT competitions and occasionally I compete with my Independence. By far it is the quietest rifle at any shoot I have ever attended.
As for accuracy, I own numerous air rifles including several different PCP’s; and far and away my Independence is the most accurate of any air rifle I own. It is the tool that I use to measure or compare other air rifle accuracy to. Mr. Gaylord and Mr. Chapman both shot my Independence at the first Pyramyd Cup in 2014 and both commented in their respective blogs about how smooth and quiet the entire rifle cocking and firing action was.
The reason I asked is because I had a couple FX Monsoons. They are very accurate guns with their smooth twist barrels. And they were quiet too.
And did have cycling problems with one of them though. Gun would bleed down out the barrel. Of course a different design than the Independence. But so far good luck with yours then I guess. But the high cost of them and the problem I had with the one Monsoon has kind of kept me from getting another FX gun. But I have always liked the Independence. Who knows maybe I might get one in the future.
The price has dropped on them recently.
Haven’t checked lately but that’s a good thing if they lowered the price. That don’t usually happen this day and age.
I will have to check them out. Thanks.
And sorry about the (YEAH) at the beginning. That was my phone auto correcting my spelling of your name.
A single-stroke, recoilless, under-lever or side-lever with enough power for small game hunting?
The RWS Diana 54 Air King. It isn’t inexpensive. It isn’t a pneumatic, but it provides everything the commentor asked for. In addition, it is quieter than a powerful pneumatic and is a bit more powerful than his stated requirements.
Recoil dampened spring guns only make total sense if they are above 12 foot pounds. Sure the FWB300 kicked butt for 30years on the 10m circuit. But I really think the recoil dampening only made a few (highly needed in world class competitions) extra points. For us more normal shooters a sub UK legal spring gun is easy to shoot even w/o any help from recoil dampening actions. There have been several such gun made, like the Park 91 and 93, Whiscombe, TX200SR, and now the Airking. If the sled action was a great benefit @12Ft/Lbs it would have been used by FT shooters, but it is not extremely popular. At higher power levels is another matter though!
I do not think we will see many cheap SSP or FPP (Few pumps pneumatic) rifles ever. It is one of those things we hear people say they need, but they really don´t. This blogger is correct. And a spring gun with recoil dampening via the sled action is so much more robust and easy to make. The sled action has proven to be the most sensible way to get increased ‘shootability’ in rifles.
My FWB 300 is my favorite gun!
Welcome to the blog.
Ray Apelles, a world-class FT shooter does shoot a highly-modified Diana 54 Air King. And there are several nationally-ranked FT shooters who use them, as well. They all lower the power to just under 12 foot-pounds to compete in the international class.
I have a FWB 300s, and it is my favorite airgun as well. :^)
As for the Whiscomb, doesn’t it have something akin to the Giss piston system to eliminate recoil? The Whiscomb uses the compressed air from both ends, I think, but in other ways it is similar to my Diana Model 72.
The Wiscombe uses a Giss like system. Two pistons are sprung and work towards each other. The swept volume is enormous. You have to cock it two or three times, to get both pistons on their sear. It´s very kind to pellet skirts I´ve read. I have never seen a live specimen. Wiscombe has a lot of info on his homepage, that might still be up (?)
The Park rifles, also use a Giss like system. But here one piston does no compression, only ( i think) the forward one compresses air. They are timed with a moped chain. It seems to be the better design of the two. However the sled system prevails as the best due to its simplicity and robustness.
Michael’s reply above is true and I did that by buying a Diana 48 in .22 cal some years ago. As far as comparing the cost in the past to ,22 RF rifles versus .22 pellet guns , the tables are turning. Here in the land of no retail ammo purchases via mail order without an FFL, and increasingly expensive and in fact ,very scarce selection of .22RF,or none at all, the air rifle is becoming popular. Even our school rifle teams have dropped .22RF from the program in NY state. That cost comparision is becoming invalid, and is a thing of the past. I have been wishing for one more thing in my air gun shooting and that is a gun I can make my own ammo for. That is why I wish for a 2-300 dollar, .30 cal RB shooter in pcp or msp , ,RIFLED for RB only . A .replacement for my .32 muzzle loader which is plenty for any eastern woodland small game hunting.
Robert From Arcade
Agree with you on the .22 rimfire and pellet guns.
Since today’s blog is about “why don’t they Make”, I’ll put my two cents in the pot.
If we assume, ooh, I hate that word assume. If we hope that you retained all the rights to your old “Airgun Letter”, why not pull them all together in one magazine style format, or maybe a CD and put them out for us die hard airgunners to have to enjoy? I and a lot of the readers of your blog would buy it. Now that’s something that would sell.
I still go back and re-read my old copies of the Air Rifle Monthly and catalogs from Air Rifle Headquarters. I still go back through my old Beeman catalogs. When I buy an older airgun that is no longer made, that is one of the best means to find out information on the old airgun.
I keep any copy of any airgun magazine I’ve ever bought, ie; The Airgun Journal, American Airgunner, Air Gun, etc.
Maybe some other readers of the blog will join in and with their thoughts.
Any chance of this ever happening?
I have been asked to do that by more than a hundred people over the past decade. I know it is a smart move — I just don’t have the time to do it. If I had someone I could put on the project for me with my guidance, then yes, there is a chance it will happen.
I still enjoy reading and looking at the pictures in my ARH catalogs.
I agree completely, The 54 Air King is simply amazing. One must shoot one to believe it. Most never will because of the price. You usually get what you pay for in today’s world and in this case, that is certainly true.
I had a couple 54 air kings. Great shooting springers.
They don’t call themair kings for nothing.
This blog creminds me of what pawn brokers refer to as looking for unicorns. Generally its customer looking at firearms who has no intention of buying who will ask the shop employee for a rare item such as a pink nnylon Remington 22.
But this time the shop has a pink nylon Remington 22 . The customer then has come up with a reason not to buy. Generally a response like, ” I wanted stainless steal.”
I really do not know that they made a pink nylon, but you get the point and sometimes humor is where you find it.
I love watching that happen! It makes me smile when someone’s bluff is called that way. 😉
I liked reading the old adds on the Sheridan and the Winchester.
No argument here! Few would argue that the FWB 300S is amongst the very finest spring-piston air rifles ever made. Not only their design and performance, but their remarkably consistent manufacturing quality and durability are amazing.
Again, if you use the 300 more as a sporter, do check out a Mini, or a regular 300 without a barrel sleeve. The difference it makes in handling to get rid of all that weight out front is remarkable.
Plinking, casual target shooting, some pesting and a bit of small game hunting (in about that order) are my pleasures.
I will check out a Mini if I can find one. I use my FWB 124 as my walk-about rifle but a light 300 would be very nice as well. 🙂
I had a few FWB 300’s too. Very nice guns.
I have another example of something “everyone wants”. 10 years ago the Slavia 630 and 631 were very popular as a poor man’s Beeman R-7. At that time an R-7 sold for more than it does today and the Slavia 630 and 631 sold for about $100. If you did a search on the Yellow you could fill pages with comments saying how well a 630 or 631 would sell if only it had another 100 fps. Well, first Paul Watts made a few custom “Long Stroke 630” rifles that gave that extra 100 fps. Slavia copied Paul’s work and came out with the Slavia 634, which was an upgraded and more powerful version, adding that 100 fps. The 634 never sold well even though it was exactly what many had been so sure would be a great seller. The Slavia 634 has lingered in obscurity for years. Slavia eventually dropped the wood stocks in favor of red or blue plastic stocks that they can sell cheaper. It is still a great rifle, even with the plastic stock. It is accurate, light weight, and gives that 700-750 fps velocity that is easy to cock and fun to shoot.
It’s hard to figure out us airgunners!
I think CZ might have done better with the Slavia line if they had better distribution channels. I have seen numerous posts on the forums from people looking for Slavias that can’t find them. As for me, I helped out best I could by buying one with a wood stock and one with the grey/dark grey synthetic. They are great guns (though the trigger could stand some improvement). I would love to shoot the Diana 240 BB is testing currently to compare the two.
I’d like to shoot that 240 also BB is testing too. Just don’t know if I want to own one yet. Waiting for his 25 yard test. Think that will tell a story about what to expect from it.
Warning: OLD COACH ON SOAP BOX RANT FOLLOWS 🙂 🙂
While we’re on the topic of “Am I alone” or what I’d like to see on the market, where’s s the 3P single stroke pneumatics that are easy to cock for juniors of all ages, strengths and body types. Kids struggle with that cocking lever on the 753’s. When was the last time you saw more single stroke pneumatics in a 10 meter competition? The 10 meter game has moved on to CO2 and PCP’s
And given the introduction of both the wildfire and the maximus at the $200 price point, why isn’t there a low cost PCP “Dasisy Avanti” 10 meter rifle with sights on the market. At a $250 price point, juniors could actually buy their own 10 meter PCP “Dasisy Avanti” rifle.
The cocking lever on the 753 hasn’t been changed in years. Cocking it requires coming out of position. It simply doesn’t lend itself to maintaining good marksmanship.
And cost of the available PCP’s is a big barrier to juniors buying their own rifles to participate in 3P. The Edge, the T200 and the Challenger are all over $500; some without sights which are extra. All these sporter rifles are costly for a junior to buy with their own money. When I tell a parent what a crew PCP rifle costs, sometimes I hear “Really! That’s what it costs to buy a real gun and not a toy gun”. A 10/22 or Savage Mark II through the CMP costs half as much as an Edge, a T200 or a Challenger. And A 10/22 or Savage Mark II gets a junior into rimfire sporter competitions.
The air rifle 3P game was premised on the idea of an affordable low power rifle a youngster could buy for themselves and use to develop their marksmanship skills. 3P wasn’t supposed to be an expensive “arms race”. It just seems to me that airgun manufactures have lost sight of this part of the youth market in the quest for rifles with more shots and more power. How hard or how costly would it be to tune down the Maximus or Discovery or convert the Avanti 887 to PCP? If these were on the market, I suspect manufactures would not have difficulty getting any of these on the approved 3P list.
It seems to me that air rifle manufactures are ignoring an important market segment; junior 3P shooters. Manufactures seem to be chasing the buyers of expensive, multishot high power big bore rifles. I guess I’m just too old school. I believe that the critical foundation for all rifle shooting is safe gun handling, safe gun use and marksmanship skills.
As Mr Miyagi mightr say “Master 10 meter shooting first grasshopper, then blast away with big bore”
Thanks for listening to my old coach rant. I’ll step off my soap box now. 🙂 🙂
Rifle & Pistol Coach
Ventrue Crew .357
Coming from Rōshi BB, I am highly honored.
Hope to see you in Findley next month.
I like air guns, there’s something captivating about sending a BB or pellet down range using air pressure with enough force to destroy 12oz cans, 20oz bottles, bottle caps etc. The thrill of doing more with less I guess? Its lots of fun, pellets are cheap, and they make little noise/ recoil.
But I’ll never own a PCP.
For several reasons- the first being the hot topic everyone else is discussing here- price. I just can bring myself to do it, even the cheaper ones like the Marauder or Discovery are in the .22 LR Price range. When you compare the two, there is no comparison. PCPs are just too limited. The biggest problem being that at the end of the day its still an air rifle. Not only do you have to take the time to reload, you also have to take the time to recharge the reservoir….
With a hand pump? Let’s be honest and realistic, between reloading and recharging you are spending more time preparing to shoot the gun, then actually shooting the gun.
With a compressor like the one just released by AV? Ok…..now (even if I buy a cheaper PCP like a Marauder) I have about $1500-$1600 in what still at the end of the day is a .177/ .22 air rifle…..think of all the firearms you could buy for $1500?
You can get an AR with about anything you want on it for that price…..cheaper if you shop around. Heck just a week ago at a local gun show DPMS carbines (civilian style M4) were $599!?!?
Nope, PCPs are just not for me. No matter how cheap the ammo, or how quite the report, it just isn’t worth the money of an actual firearm….. to me personally. You guys go ahead, I’ll just watch the videos ya’ll post online haha!
Welcome to the blog.
If somebody bought you a PCP and a hand pump would you at least give it a few shots or would it set in a coner collecting dust?
It wouldn’t be collecting dust, not sure I would make it my “go to” air rifle though???
Not trying to convince you to get a PCP or anything. 🙂
But it could just be your go to gun. It is mine. I have springers and pump guns and Co2 guns even. But my PCP is always pumped and ready sitting there. All I got to do is pick it up and pull the bolt back and load the pellet and I’m ready to shoot. And I can do that again just as fast if needed. And people think but you got to pump it up. Well that’s true. But most pcp’s will get 20-30 good shots before needing pumped again.
So in reality once you get the gun filled up you just sit back and shoot. Kind of reminds in a sence of shooting a rimfire rifle as a kid. I still had to fill up the tube magazine with 16 shots before it was ready to go again. So the pump up time on the PCP gun is kind of like stopping to reload a magazine on a firearm. Kind of like I’ll say again.
You never know. You just might get surprised if you get one. And I highly recommend a .22 caliber Benjamin Maximus and Benjamin hand pump. It would only take about 40 pumps to fill the gun each time you do about 25 shots or so.
If you ever try a Maximus let me know. I would like to hear what you think.
Santa (B.B.) since everyone is asking for a wish, I too have longed for a “high” power single stroke. But, I’m not wanting a magnum, but rather something that could shoot a .177 in the 650 to 700 fps range (with lead pellets). Every time I hear of a single stroke coming out, I get my hopes up, then am let down by 400-480 fps. I’m just want to plink, but I like to stretch it out a little further for those cans that make a break for it. Ok I’m done…well since you are going to bring that above said rifle, go ahead and make a single stroke pistol that gets more than the 400-410 that most have…oh wait, that has been done…IZH 46M. It was a little on the high side (price) for me, but now we don’t have that choice (New).
Thanks for a great article,
And Now for Something Completely Different
Sorry to go off topic but I just know someone here will have something on this: What is an “Atom” airgun? I don’t know Dianas like I should but it looks something like a 23.
The Blue Book doesn’t list the Atom, but the look and name make me think it’s either Russian or Chinese.
Personally, I think the Crosman decided that they weren’t going to put any more money into a multi pump platform when they saw all the complaints on the blog about the extra $125 for the pump assisted 392. That always irked me. I think the best current bet is the guy on YouTube who has the butterfly pump single stroke 22 video. I had a few email conversations with him and he told me that his gun would shoot Crosman hollow-point premieres at 685 FPS. In 177 with a good trigger, it would be an ideal field Target gun. I would hope that blog readers would step up to give him enough support to bring this idea to fruition.
Some people just ain’t seen the light yet.
Sorry. Just the way I see it.
To each his own, but I’m not part of the team asking for a high power single stroke pneumatic. In addition to the various reasons listed, has anyone found the feel of a pneumatic pump kind of obnoxious? Even with my Daisy 747, there is a slippery feel when working the pump lever caused by variable pressure. It feels the same as the old pneumatic weight machines that never caught on. I think an even and predictable load in cocking, like you get in a springer, is a small price to pay. And the artillery hold is not only not a liability for me. It’s a positive advantage in increasing my sensitivity to the shot. As B.B. said, if you can shoot springers, you can shoot anything, and I’ve found that to be true.
Had a few single stroke pump air guns throughout time. Also a fair share of multi pumpers.
If you get a nice solid wood a steel pumper in your hand you will know it.
To me a pumper is kind of air gun history. It has evolved nicely through time. But it’s time for more.
As the saying goes. If one person asks a question there’s a hundred more that would ask and want a answer too that don’t. Well I say if a a person asks for a type of air gun there’s a hundred more out there the would like it to that haven’t said so.
Obviously there’s a time and place for everything. But if the company’s or even individuals don’t reach out and take a chance then what do we have. Nothing the same old nothing. And to bad for the company’s that don’t know their biusness well enough. Maybe they shouldn’t of been doing it in the first place anyway.
” But the downside of risk can be ruin, and no company wants that.”
What?– so Crosman is avoiding ruin by burning money on dogs like the Rogue, the Bulldog, and that ridiculous arrow gun?
Better to put their R&D toward something actually USEFUL along the lines of what the reader suggested and sell it to afficianados here and in Europe, where engineering is still appreciated and value is a recognized concept.
“It can’t be done” put us on the moon! No….wait….that’s not right…..is it?
Yep and just maybe us air gunners are better engineers than the company’s want to admit.
And just one simple thing needs to happen. Have someone in the company with common sense listen.
Hello all,Wouldn’t it be cool if you had a pneumatic air rifle with in a single stroke could produce say,four hundred or four hundred fifty feet per second,this could be used for target shooting,and then have a second lever to compress the air cylinder with a aid dam or piston with a connecting rod to a small cam.That may get the added velocity per shot for pest control or hunting.humm,What do you think?-Dan
So one pump arm for the 400 fps. Another pump arm for more.
Same cylinder or air tube I guess it should be called, or another air tube for the second cocking arm?
Why did you get rid of your Air Kings? Problems? I believe I will never sell mine.
I like trying out different air guns. Basically I shoot them for a while and sell and buy something different. Pretty much it.
Cobalt, saw your “Atom” pic over on the yellow.
For whatever my opinion is worth, the overall look, and good quality of finish, suggest to me one of the many Diana copies made in Japan between the wars, or in the early post-WW2 years. The neat tapered back end of the receiver looks like other Japanese guns I’ve seen. Rather handsome and nicely-proportioned little rifle, I might add.
Are there any sort of markings beyond the name on it that might give a clue? Possibly hidden by the stock, stamped in the face of the butt, under the breech block, or in other odd spots.
A whole number of airguns were built with more efficient valves to get a strong single stroke pneumatic: Titan JB1, Airlogic Genesis, Parker Dragon, Milbro Metisse, Webley Paradigm. They all failed due to their complex valves being harder to maintain and more expensive.
But the Webley Alecto air pistol uses a highly efficient valve, and is successful. Put that design in an airgun? Sounds easy, but you will have a rather unusual breakbarrel design.
The discerning airgunner may not understand, but I you airgun looks like a strange contraption, Jon Doe will not buy it. Sad but true.
The OP in pink was me. I currently own a marauder in .22 as well as my Diana and the cheaper Gamo whisper. I would guess that is somewhere North of $1,100 in air rifles. The Freedom 700 is something I would buy if it becomes available in a $500 price point as the designer originally anticipated, AND if it reviews/performs well. But, I do see how as soon as my wish list is approached I want more. I did not even finish the YouTube video before I was thinking how nice the Freedom 700 would be if available in a PCP repeater with that pump built on it. Then when I switched to the YouTube of the 392 assist I wanted that pump instead just to make the rifle more mainstream in appearance, even if a bit less efficient. So, there it is. I will likely buy a freedom 700 if it hits it’s production targets and also reviews well. But now I really want it in a repeater with a 100cc 200 bar onboard pcp tank and the 392 assist styled top off pump. Any chance it could also be semi-automatic. (and make breakfast).
Sincerely thank you for the reality check as well as the information on a few more serious offerings. Even if the list of available contenders is short and many are only available used.
You may be interested in getting an FX Independent..pretty much the gun you asked for. It solves your problem with a sophisticated multi stage pump and a reservoir that keeps the pressure high (no need to pump up from zero every time). Those things don’t come for free though!
My perfect airgun is something that looks and feels like my AR15 which is close to the M16 which I carried all through my military life. Granted my AR15 is a bit more custom than your standard M-17 now. Lucky for me there exist a few items that meet my requirements. The sig rifles meet that need. Crosman has or had the pcp upper that you swap out for your AR’s upper. But that is a bit too expensive for me. Now I found an adapter that is about $14 and lets me fire a pellet out of mt AR15 with no swapping anything out, and it’s good and quiet too. So now my AR is also a kind of pellet gun too. The down side is the 209 shotgun primer makes one hell of a mess in the barrel after about 5 shots. But I can use it to take out a squirrel easy now and not trigger a swat team call out. And I can use the gun I am so familiar with.
Im going to get some really negative replies to this, but after 200 to 250 bucks all air rifles are WAY over priced, name one air rifle that can shoot over a mile, even your cheapest 22 fire arm can shoot over a mile and is more affordable than alot of break barrel air rifles.
They have a .17 cal out now a wonderful caliber fire arm, and it drives me nuts that i cant get a pcp air rifle that dont cost me atleast 400 bucks, my point is that a person shouldnt have to pay 700, 1000, 4000 bucks for a rifle powed by air that cant do anything over 100 yards, i can buy a 243 for less than most pcps and some break barrels. I want a multi shot rifle, bolt action pcp, 22 cal, Black Ops style rifle that cost less than your average 22 cal long rifle fire arm. 700 bucks for the gun 200 bucks for the pump._. Ridiculous.
They will sell yo a QB78S 22 for 99 bucks and another 300 in mods just so you can get a so so rifle.
The new Gauntlet great pcp and good price now add another 200 bucks for a pump and tax your back up over 500 bucks. You average person cant afford that, all their money goes to bills.
Well hey if ya cant afford decent air rifle heres a Daisy Red Rider for 24 bucks you can knock over a beer can 20 feet away.