2017 Findlay airgun show: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Here we go
  • Wire-stock Daisy
  • What is Findlay?
  • 10-meter airguns
  • Sold some stuff
  • What about a big bore?
  • Were modern airguns there?
  • Toys, too
  • The Larc
  • There is more

Here we go

Yesterday’s report was just a lead-in. Today I want to tell you about the show. First — it was large. It was held in two rooms, with hallways and out-of-the-way nooks also being used. And every table was filled! This was a show you could spend many happy hours seeing just one time. And the tables changed over time, so your second time through things were different. People bought stuff from the public that attended, plus they brought out some of the stuff they didn’t unpack in the beginning. It was an all-day affair!

Findlay crowd
This is a long shot of the main show room. The floor of this room is an indoor soccer field, and it was filled!

Wire-stock Daisy

I see wire-stock Daisy BB guns at most of the larger shows, but they are always later variations. There were probably 5 of those at this show. I think this second variation you are about to see is the first one I’ve ever seen that was offered for sale. It’s so old it doesn’t say Daisy. It says Plymouth Iron Windmill — the name of the company at that time. I show it to show the price tag.

wire stock
This is a real second variation wire stock Daisy BB gun for sale!

wire stock price
… and this is the price! Never saw one this old for sale before!

What is Findlay?

At this point, I stopped to reflect on the show. It has become the replacement for the old Winston-Salem show that Mike Ahuna started in 1993, and then transferred to Fred Liady in Roanoke. It attracts the top collectors and buyers. Many people who were well-known at those shows have now left the range, but their spirits live on in the guns and newer dealers that are filling in. Stop me now or I will start singing We’ll meet again!

10-meter airguns

A reader (Yogi, I believe) asked which show might have the best vintage 10-meter rifles. Well, Findlay, for starters. I had a Mauser 300SL on my table, and across the aisle, show promoter, Dan Lerma, had a nice FWB 300. I saw several nice FWB 300s on tables, Including a gem in the box. And across the aisle from that was an FWB either 600 or 601.

But there were also 10-meter pistols galore. Some were common ones like the Daisy (FEG) pistols that came in a neat lockable case. And I already showed you one of the many IZH 46Ms that were in the hall. But the gem of this show (and one I missed seeing until it was too late) was the FWB 103 SSP 10-meter pistol, one of our readers with sharper eyes snagged. He brought it by my table to boast and I took a picture for you.

FWB 103
An FWB 103 single stroke pneumatic target pistol was a fantastic find for one of our readers.

He tried to complain about what he had to pay for this find, but his complaint lacked sincerity. I wanted to tell him that in 23 years of attending airgun shows this is the first time a current model FWB target pistol has ever been offered, to my knowledge. And you buy them when you see them!

Sold some stuff

I had some luck selling at my table, too, so I was able to make a few unplanned purchases. One was a Diana model 50 underlever. I have owned these in the past, but this one is real old and not like the ones I’ve had. It’s somewhat slimmer, with better wood and deeper bluing. And it has the older Diana peep/sport rear sight that’s so unique! It will be a pleasure to test it for you!

And I mentioned to Don Raitzer that I was in the market for a pre-war Diana model 5V pistol, and of course he had one on his table. When I saw the price — $75 — I didn’t even bargain. Just stripped off the bills and bought it. Don said it was a .22, but it’s actually a .177 that is better because these oldies are none too powerful.

Diana 5V
I bought this pre-WW II Diana model 5V pistol from Don Raitzer.

We had a guest blog about the Diana 5V pistol back in 2010, and I put it on my bucket list then. When I got the post-war Diana 5 (Winchester 353) a month ago, it awakened my desire to find the older gun. And Findlay was where it happened!

What about a big bore?

You all know about the modern big bore airguns, and if you are faithful readers of this blog you have also been exposed to the big bores of the past. At my very first airgun show in 1993 I saw an original Paul .410 air shotgun on a table, and in the 24 years that have passed, I haven’t seen another. Until Findlay. There it was — laying on a table with no special signs or anything. Not a Paul, but its rival — the Vincent. It’s a multi-pump air shotgun that looks like a Benjamin pump on steroids.

Vincent
A .410 Vincent air shotgun from the 1920s was just laying on a table among the BB guns.

Were modern airguns there?

What about modern airguns? Many of you like looking at the older stuff (thank you, by the way) but your really wanting modern airguns. Well, they were there in force! I didn’t take a lot of pictures, because you can see them anytime on the websites of their dealers, but there were Daystates, BSAs and other well-known big bores.

What I thought was more interesting than the current models, though, were the guns that have recently become obsolete. Theobens, for example, are wonderful gas spring rifles that were sold until recent years. Kevin Hull had a table full of them! This is also where your Beeman Crow Magnums live.

Theobens
Whenever you are seeing beautiful wood stocks that look like highly figured walnut, but are African Heydua, and metal with deep gorgeous bluing, you know they are on Theobens. Kevin Hull’s table.

Toys, too

Findlay calls their show Toys That Shoot — a not-so-subtle reminder of what the rest of the world thinks of airguns. But there is more than just airguns, and at Findlay a great many dealers specialized in actual toys. There are roughly three themes to their toys — cowboys, space and war. Of these, cowboys rank highest.

lunchboxes
Lunchboxes for Gabby, Hoppy and all the gang!

figures
And there are the guys that go with them! They are action figures — never call them dolls!

The Larc

I’ll finish today with a Larc — a BB machine gun you readers were talking about a few days ago while I was looking at the real thing. The Larc was powered by a can of Freon refrigerant gas, which is about as politically correct today as the California state legislature sponsoring a youth marksmanship program! It works by blowing gas under pressure across the opening of a metal “straw” that siphons BBs from a bulk reservoir. When they pop up into the gas stream, they are blown out the barrel. It works like a machine gun with no moving parts!

Larc
The Larc BB machine gun was powered by Freon.

Larcs are frequently seen at the larger airgun shows, but as time passes the price for one rises. At one time these sold for under $20, but you can expect to pay many times that today.

There is more

I will have one more installment to the 2017 Findlay airgun show, but I think I will give you a break for a couple days.

38 thoughts on “2017 Findlay airgun show: Part 2

  1. Youth marksmanship programs in California are not politically correct.
    Deliberately expelling Freon into the atmosphere is more like shooting BBs at metal targets without eye protection, an action with serious, unintended consequences.


  2. BB, and Fellow Airgunners
    Thanks for the second instalment of your visit to the Findlay Airgun Show. The fact you drove 2400 milies, (round trip I presume) to attend a one day airgun show, says a lot for the quality of the exebition, and for your love, and dedication to our wonderful sport. I loved enjoyed looking, and lusting over the picture of the Theoben table. It’s too bad Theoben gasram airguns were of such high quality, they were only available to select conoseurs with deep pockets. I wonder what collectors will be paying for a “new in box” Theoben twenty years from now?
    About the closest I’ll get to owning one of those handcrafted beauties, is my Weihrauch HW90. After all, Theoben Gasram is etched into the right side of the breech.
    We’ve been enjoying some beautiful backyard plinking weather up here in the Okanagan, just north of the 49th parallel ( 18-24 celcius), and my shooting stamina, and technique are improving daily. My favourite airgun at the moment is my HW35 in .177cal. I love the positive locking breech for it’s ease of opening, and closing the barrel with only the faintest “click” for sound. It also shines in the accuracy department, with 1/2-3/4 inch groups at 30 meters. It loves the Weihrauch brand pellets that claim to be 8.2 grain, but I believe they are 8.64 grain H+N FTT pellets made for Weihrauch. I don’t own a scale that measures in grains at this time. The Crosman 7.9 grain pellets sold in a box do very nicely too. For some reason the usually always accurate JSB Exact 8.44 grain pellets open my groups to 1 1/2 in at 30 meters. Such anomalies are merely one reason I find the sport so attractive. Like reading a good book, two hours of shooting pass by with no thought given to time.
    Looking forward to Friday’s final instalment.
    Ciao
    Titus


  3. B.B.,

    Very nice. This looks like a show to hit next year,… finances, schedule and events permitting. The 5V looks very nice. Nice wood and style. The Larc is interesting. The concept sounds simple. I do believe that someone said that the operation could be duplicated with high pressure air (tethered, I presume). Nice looking wood on those rifles too.

    Looking forwards to the last installment. Thanks for the time and effort to make the trip. That is some real dedication.

    Good Day all,… Chris


  4. BB,

    Most definitely a nice show. Wish I could have made the trip, though I seriously doubt “the boss” would have let me pick up any “new toys” right now.

    Another rapidly growing show is the Hickory, NC show. They have it in a building that I would guess is almost twice as large as The Moose Lodge at the Roanoke Show was. It is perhaps 40-50 feet wide and at least 200 feet long. They have four long rows of tables, one on each wall and two in the middle. They could easily accommodate six rows if it grows enough. It takes well over an hour to give it all a cursory look and most of a day to really examine what is on display. They also have an impromptu shooting range out back where they have some tables and chairs where you can try out some of the airguns or bring your own and shoot.

    It is a two day show. This year it will be on October 20th and 21st.

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.instabuildsites.com/uploads/files/628ac11ee3d379ee1f2e2dceaa621b7b.pdf

    Lloyd and I have attended it the past two years and last year my son-in-law came along also. I am planning on attending again this year. I am also considering a table.



  5. I once owned a Larc. Briefly. I decided I could get higher velocities by filling my mouth with BBs and spitting them in a continuous stream. Seriously, the gun was pathetically anemic. :^>


  6. B.B.,

    If someone bought a Larc as an impulse purchase, would he have bought it on a . . . WHIM? ;^)

    Something like the Larc reminds me of just how far full-auto airguns have come in just the last handful of years.

    Excellent report,

    Michael


  7. B.B.,

    Before anyone might think to ask if a Larc can be converted to HPA, I would like to say only if you want to have hundreds of shards of plastic removed from your skin by an emergency room nurse with a pair of tweezers.

    Michael





          • Yep, Green Gas is supposed to be essentially Propane plus a smidgeon of lubricant.

            I think it might work, but I would want to know the psi of refrigerant vs. Green Gas / propane. Green gas is slightly lower psi than CO2, which is likely why CO2 airsoft guns are more powerful than their Green Gas counterparts. Isn’t liquid CO2 about 800-900 psi? How much more pressure would that neighborhood be than Freon? That’s why I thought of shop compressors and what, 125 pisi? I think that is what carnivals used for gallery machine guns.

            The Larc is 100 percent styrene, probably, not the stoutest stuff.

            Michael


            • CO2 goes from at room temperature that to about 1900 PSI at 120F, or so. Propane is about 350 psi at room temp. CO2 guns are faster in this case because of the greater pressure. CO2 also has a slightly lower molecular mass. Not as big a difference as between Nitrogen(78% of air) and CO2 though. This is important because much of the energy goes into propelling the gas itself.

              Freon is a brand name for a lot of refrigerants, I am just guessing BB meant R-12. He could have also meant R-22 though. Without knowing exactly which propellent was used we can’t figure out how to replace it.



  8. BB,

    what logo does your 5V have on the receiver? Is it the Goddess Diana or the circle “D”? Nice purchase at a very attractive price.

    Fred fGA (from GA)


  9. That was a great show. At our local gun show, I had a Crosman 180 for sale on my table. It didn’t get one look. It would be been different at your show where people know airguns.

    I was getting rid of some old papers and I found a copy of the old Air Rifle Headquarters catalog circa 1968. Did that bring back some memories. Many Weihrauch, Feinwerkbau, Diana and Walther guns from the day for sale. Also, there was a long write up on each. The only American airgun advertised was the Sheridan C.

    Mike


  10. B.B.,

    You can count me among those who learning about older airguns and seeing pictures of them. I don’t think I ever heard about the Paul or Vincent .410 models. I ask, only rhetorically, how those two may have fared and how many may have been put in the hands of shooters.

    Seeing the Theoben rifles reminds me of some head scratching I did when I first saw an ad for the Theoben Evolution. It is the 10.5″ barrel that I wondered about. I knew nothing of Walther but I couldn’t grasp such a short barrel on a rifle. It was from an early blog of yours that I learned the length of the TX200 barrel. That blog was about barrel length and accuracy, but you also wrote about how the spring piston power plant achieve maximum velocity within about 10 inches.
    /blog/2005/04/is-airgun-barrel-length-important/

    I know many of you readers are also own and shoot firearms. I want to share something that just came my way via The Firearm Blog.
    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2017/04/07/breaking-civilian-marksmanship-program-receive-86000-m1-garand-rifles-philippines/

    I hope everyone has a good Easter.

    ~ken


  11. I have to agree, this years Toys that Shoot airgun show was amazing!!!
    Lucky me happened to spy a DAQ .308 on your table BB, and am honored to now own it. In all the excitement I forgot to shake your hand, or get a picture of you handing it off. I’m certain our paths will cross again.



  12. Those lunch pails brought back memories. I recall one with a Batman theme and another based on the old show Gunsmoke. Action figures are great. I’ve learned a lot about camouflage from them.

    Mike, that is a great insight about the leopard and the tiger. All I know about the German dot design is that it was created by a painter. But whether he consciously studied leopards or not, I think the design still speaks to the effectiveness of nature. I looked at American designs to see how they performed. The woodland BDU that seems to have been the standard for the last few decades didn’t do badly, but it did not stand out. The P42 camouflage used by Marine Raiders in WWII was a surprise disappointment. What I’ve read says that it did not make the transition from heavy jungle to desert atolls which is not surprising, but apparently it didn’t do all that well in the jungle. Strange since it looks like a leaf pattern, but in the tests, it showed up against the vegetation with a sort of ghostly light. There is obviously something very deep going when you have two patterns that look like vegetation but one works and the other does not. Only the German design had the eerie quality of appearing out of nowhere or being invisible when you are looking right at it.

    Gunfun1, yes, the nature argument would seem to argue for using nature literally by covering yourself with foliage. The ghillie suit is great, but impractical for me and probably for anyone who isn’t a sniper. But I’ve heard that the Israelis have adopted the same philosophy by issuing solid color green uniforms and just relying on soldiers to make their own modifications. Even the plain green did surprisingly well in the tests. Maybe that is why the WWII Marines dispensed with the frogskin camouflage and went for a solid green later in the war.

    In other news, I discovered that my British .303 surplus bullets are usable after all! It turns out that when I crank the neck resizing process a little harder, I can get the case necks small enough to take the bullets. Seating the flat based bullets is another challenge similar to the game Janga which involves balancing small objects on each other. It is a great money saver, and it is nice to know that the bullets manufactured so long ago will have their instants of glory. They will also do severe damage to the berm. I understand that the British .303 were unbalanced to facilitate tumbling upon contact, the same principle as the original AR cartridge. The Japanese used the same design in WWII and inflicted a lot of damage with them.

    Matt61


    • A trick to get the neck tighter is to resize the case without the decapper/expander in place. When I need to do this I just deprime the case with my .45-70 die then size the case as noted. I have found that some 303 British and 7.62X39 need this with some bullets.

      Mike



        • No dumb question, the 7.62X39 is the Russian AK-47 and SKS cartridge. The .30 Carbine is smaller, really almost a pistol round (It has been chambered in pistols). Bullet diameter is about the same but the Russian has a heavier bullet and more velocity at about 124 grains & 2400 fps vs 110 grains and 1900 fps. So, not the same. Two different rounds.

          Mike


    • Matt61
      Yep remember those lunch boxes too. Got a new one every year when I was in grade school. Don’t know what happened to them though. Wish I still had them. For just because. Not for collecting purposes.

      And for general purpose I guess the colored camo is sufficient for general purpose issue for soldiers and hunting also. But I still believe the ghillie suites made from the surrounding your in would be the most effective. Especially when a trained sniper could tell where a enemy sniper was by just a twitch of twig or blade of grass in the wrong way could give away his location.

      When I’m sqerrial or rabbit hunting I can usually find the sqerrial by leaves in the tree moving in a odd way. Not that I actually can see the sqerrial at first. And rabbits a big give away in locating them in the brush is by their ears. If you rabbit hunt on a bright sunny day their ears will almost glow when they are hiding in the shadows of the brush.

      So maybe some people wouldn’t see a soldier or hunter or animal that is camafloged in it’s surrounding’s. But a exsperianced person probably would see them. And as it goes some people have a natural knack for it than other people.


  13. B.B.

    Back to hot peppers from yesterday’s comments. I am good till about 10,000 Scoville Units.
    I like hot food that burns once, if it burns twice it is too hot. I find Indonesian Sabol to be very hot once and only once.

    -Y


  14. It finally warmed up a bit here in Northern Michigan. I set out my small swinger target at 25 yds and started hitting it with the Walther LGM-2. I have a post front sight in the globe for this fun. That old 10 meter rifle will shoot. You almost have to work at missing! 🙂

    Mike


  15. Does anyone make a .22 small pest/plinking rifle with a peep site. I realize there are many target rifles with peeps but have not found anything else. Or do I just buy one without sights and add a Williams sight?

    THANKS


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