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Education / Training The 2017 Texas airgun show: Part 2

The 2017 Texas airgun show: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Back to the show
  • C1
  • What did BB buy?
  • One more thing
  • Compressed air
  • Sun Optics
  • AirForce
  • iraqveteran8888
  • All American Targets
  • More to come

Back to the show

I stopped yesterday while talking about some of the dealers. Do you know that I forgot to show you the Gauntlet that was on the Umarex range. It wasn’t being shot when I was there, so I didn’t get a picture, but I was told they expect to start shipping in September. Now let’s go back inside the show hall and see some of the other things


I know you are interested in vintage airguns, so how about a Beeman C1? I have written about the C1 over the years. You can read my report here. If you read it you will see that I didn’t have good luck with the one I reported in the blog. But the first one I owned was a different story. That was the airgun that taught me the artillery hold.

Well, I didn’t see one on a table, but one of our readers walked up and showed me the C1 he had just bought. This one had no sights, but I felt the pivot pin and it felt tight, so the rifle will probably be very accurate. Just remember to break it in with 3,000 to 4,000 shots. The trigger gets smoother and the cocking gets easier. Also — remember to use the artillery hold!

Beeman C1
A reader walked up and showed me this Beeman C1.

What did BB buy?

I went to the show knowing that reader David Enoch was bringing a Beeman R10 that his brother, Bryan, had tuned. I shot that rifle at the airgun show in Malvern, Arkansas several years ago and was so impressed with the performance that when I came home I arranged for Bryan to tune my Beeman R1.

Before the show David contacted me and asked if I was interested in that gun. He called it an R10, but it’s actually a Weihrauch HW 85, which is the rifle the R10 was designed from. I bought it at the show, but I don’t want to say any more about it now because it will become a long historical series, I hope!

As I was packing up a guy came by and asked whether I was open to trading. Of course I am and I did, so I will also be testing a Beeman P1 pistol for you at some time. I have tested the P1 in the past, but the one I own has a modified trigger. This one is stock. And it is supposed to smoke when fired at present, which I hope to fix and show you how it’s done.

And then there is that Crosman 102 repeating multi-pump thyat I showed yesterday. I have arranged to buy it, so it will be in an upcoming test, as well.

One more thing

I didn’t buy this next item, though I offered to. Mac and Prowler (see www.macandprowler.com) were in the AirForce tent when I encountered them and I was shown a coyote call made by Randy “Mac” McMillan from a deer antler button. Things like that always catch my attention, because I love handmade stuff, but I have a particular application for a coyote call. When it was demonstrated I could tell that it will be much easier to modulate in the field than an electronic game call. I like game calls for things like crows, but for coyotes that need to be coaxed and enticed, I like to be in control of the call.

I gushed over the call so much that Randy gave me not one by two different coyote calls that he makes. One is the call in a deer antler and the other is the same call in a .223 cartridge case. They have different sounds and in my dreams I am already calling “dogs” with them!

coyote calls
Coyote calls from Mac McMillan.

Compressed air

High Tide Scuba from Mansfield, Texas was there all day, providing compressed air, and answering questions for those curious about the dark side. They had tables in the show and also brought large bulk tanks to support the PCP guns on the range. With the great number of big bores that were shooting all day, they were a blessing!

High Tide Scuba
High Tide Scuba.

Sun Optics

Speaking of compressed air, Sun Optics brought the latest version of their 4,500 psi compressor. It runs on 110V AC and 12V DC — just flip a switch. They had it set up and running all throughout the show. Nobody knew it, of course because the thing is so darned quiet, but they were filling AirForce guns all through the show.

Sun Optics compressor
The Sun Optics air compressor (red box) ran all show long, filling AirForce tanks. It was so quiet I had to put my hand on the case to feel it run! That tractor battery powered it all day.

It’s not a large compressor, but it is reliable and quiet. And it is stand-alone, needing no separate compressor to do its job. When they hit the market I will test one for you.


That brings us to the AirForce booth — or should I say tent? AirForce Airguns has been a staunch supporter of the Texas airgun show since it began in 2014. Each year they donate a huge door prize that can be won by anyone purchasing a ticket to the show. This year the prize was a scoped .308 Texan!

AirForce has always sold products at the show. Many manufacturers do not have products to sell, but AirForce sells like crazy. And they bring all their blemished airguns to offer as show specials for those who want the best bargain.

This year they asked to be outside the hall to allow more room for their products. A large tent was erected outside the hall for both AirForce and Sun Optics, but there is more room for others out on “Manufacturers Row.”

AirForce unloads
It took a bucket brigade to unload the AirForce trucks.

Once the gates opened to the public there was a steady stream of customers at the AirForce sales tables. Guns were piled high, but I watched as the stacks dwindled toward the end of the show. Of course they had all their other products there to sell as well, but the stacks of guns were the most impressive.

AirForce sales
AirForce guns were stacked up like cordwood at the start of the show.

They also had their Texan rifles on the big bore range all day, and anybody could shoot them. The line was pretty steady all day.

AirForce range
AirForce allowed the public to shoot their big bore rifles all day. The targets were steel Cowboy Action targets that didn’t have to be reset.


Besides supporting the show directly, AirForce also helped to promote it. This year they invited iraqveteran8888 to come film the show for his You Tube channel. He has 1.4 million subscribers, so we are getting the broadest possible exposure throughout the shooting world.

There is more to say about both AirForce and iraqveteran8888, but that can wait for Part 3 next week. I have one more exciting thing to tell you about this show today.

All American Targets

While I was at the Crosman booth, I met Tim of All American Target Concepts, who was helping Mark DeBoard run the Crosman range. Tim had his latest invention set up on the range and I was impressed. No, strike that — I was blown away! It is a moving target or action target that is adaptable to powerful smallbore airguns, or big bore airguns or handguns up to .380 ACP caliber.

AATC target
All American Target stands 6 feet high, yet assembled quickly without tools. It comes with parts to scale it from smallbore airgun to powerful big bore of .380 ACP. Knock off one paddle and the whole target starts spinning.

This target is so well constructed that I watched it spin for minutes following a gentle push. every angle is designed to deflect pellets and bullets away from the shooter.

Swap a thin paddle (right) for a thick one and the target goes from being a smallbore target to a big bore action target in seconds.

I was so impressed with this target system that I plan to test it for this blog and also for a feature article in Firearms News. This is the kind of stuff I live for!

More to come

There is a lot more to see at the show. We haven’t tasted the dessert yet — in the form of all the prizes they had! If you regret not attending from reading these first two reports, number three will have you crying your eyes out! Stay tuned.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

44 thoughts on “The 2017 Texas airgun show: Part 2”

  1. BB,

    I got to shoot the Guantlet several times over the course of the day. It was extremely accurate and very much fun to shoot. I’m looking forward to your review of it.


  2. Hi BB
    A few weeks ago regarding my blog entry on the Hatsan .177 cal. Torpedo 155 I said that I would be keeping you up to date on the gun and its performance as it gets broken in. I won’ t be able to do that as I no longer own the gun.
    Several reasons for this, the first being major failure of the underlever cocking fulcrum pin due to rust! You would think that pin that is a metric quarter inch would be able to stand up to a bit of rust. Not so as it was engineered to look beautiful but with not enough strength to stand up to a couple of 64ths of an inch of corrosion. Why anyone would engineer the fulcrum pin on a rifle that requires 65 lbs. cocking force like that is beyond me! Needless to say it failed on about the 350th shot. Literally that part of the gun just fell apart during a firing cycle and thankfully not during a cocking cycle.
    I spent a few days trying to find spare parts but nothing available anywhere. Warranty work is just not available here and the gun can’t be shipped out of fhe country for repair as it is considered to be a firearm. Finally fixed it myself, even machining a new sling stud onto the end of the new fulcrum pin and it works and looks as good as new.
    The next few days I put another 50 shots through the gun and decided the weight of the gun and the cocking effort was way too much for me. This gun needs a younger shooter to make proper use of it. It’s been several days now since I last shot it and both shoulders and upper back are are still sore.
    It didn’t take long to find a buyer and the gun was shipped out this morning. Live and learn I guess!!

      • Hi BB
        You’re right and I’ m right behind you in dislike of this type of gun as well. Last week I had mostly made up my mind to possibly sell the gun! The fulcrum pin failure was the straw that tipped the scales so last week I ordered another springer. This time in .22 cal. and rated ar 800fps with Hobby’s and 28 lbs. cocking force. The gun is a Browning Leverage and when I received it last Friday I just had to take it out for a couple of shots that evening and plinked a few tin cans at 60 yards with it. I think this one will work for me. Sure is a lot lighter to carry and to cock and hopefully the initial accuracy will carry right through the breakin. Will let you know.

        • Dave,
          I’ve had a B. L. for several months now and am finding it to be quite enjoyable and accurate. Be sure to try JSB Jumbo RS 13.43 gr pellets – these are the most accurate in mine.
          Larry in Algona

  3. Yea, I regret not going.
    But living in Houston, Harvey dashed those plans.

    I Thank God I just missed an airgun show.
    There are hundreds of people here that lost everything.

    It looks like it is setting its sights on port Arthur next..

  4. BB et al..
    Second blog today off topic!
    A little while ago old eyes and difficulty with iron sights was mentioned in this blog. I have the same problem as, I’m sure, most of the older blog readers do.
    A while ago, maybe 2 years I started to experiment with reading glasses, not prescription, just the cheap readers from the local drug store or big box stores. I could never find a pair that worked 100% – something was always out of focus. Last spring in one of the local Dollar Stores® I came across some Computer Readers. Very low diopter, about .5 diopter for the ones I’m useing now, with blue filtering and they are working just fine for my eyes. Rifle iron sights are both in focus and the target at most distances is reasonably sharp, with just a little blur. Where these glasses seem to work best is with pistols. Both pistol sights are sharp and targets out to about 20 yards are mostly blur free. I also don’t have to take them off to walk around.
    Useing these glasses has opened up a whole new world of pistol and rifle iron sight shooting for me.
    These glasses can be found online at reasonable prices. Dollar store prices of a couple dollars like mine were make them a cheap testing solution. I have sacrificed a few pairs and shot them up at 5 yards with BB pistols (the only guns I’ve ever had bounce back from) and the lenses stayed intact. All my closer targets are set to reflect BB’ s into the ground so I’ m not to overly concerned wearing these glasses. I will, however, when I am satisfied with my choice, take them to my optomytrist and have him make me a pair useing safety lenses.

    • Redrafter,

      Off topic, but related to your comment on older shooters and glasses. 6-10$ yellow safety glasses work great for night driving. The reduce oncoming light and sign glare and (enhance) the light put off by your own headlights. I drive 40 minutes with about 30 on 2 lane and 10 on split 4 lane every work day morning, in full dark. I have used them now for over 2 years and that includes Winter snow conditions. I do not need scrip glasses to drive, just for reading. Just some FYI for anyone interested.

      Good Day to one and all,…. Chris (B.B.,… fine report 2. Looking forwards to Part 3)

      • Redrafter and Chris USA,

        Thanks for the glasses tips. I’m always eager to listen to them / read of them.

        My eye issues are a bit complicated as not only do I have typical middle-age farsightedness, but I also have astigmatism. Whenever I get a new pair of glasses it takes at least a week to two weeks for the lenses to be made and arrive at the ophthalmologist’s optical office.

        I go to an ophthalmologist for a checkup once a year because of my family history of eye problems, which includes just about every single eye problem there is: macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, floaters, cataracts, strabismus, and yes, the “big bad,” glaucoma.


        • Michael,

          I have been on the look out for a yellow pair with some light mirroring. I have yet to see any, but I have not looked on-line either. I am not much of an on-line shopper. All I can say is that they work for me. Eye recovery after a bright light is quicker. Immediate I would say. Good luck with the eye issues.

          • Chris
            I thought we talked about the yellow glasses in the past for shooting.

            Remember you ended up getting your eye peice for your Mrod after that. I mentioned I try to shoot with polarized sun glasses clipped on my prescription glasses so my eyes would dilate bigger. Also why I wear a hat when I shoot. I try to keep the light blocked from my eyes.

            I shot with yellow glasses outside and it didn’t work out.

            • GF1,

              Dilatation is the key. The bellows works great. I had an eye appt. awhile back and I had a dentist billing question which was right around the corner of the same building. I went outside and it almost too much to bear. I would bet that condition would be great for daytime shooting with a bellows eye cup. Your breezeway set-up should be about ideal for minimal sun/light influence.

  5. Hi BB,
    I really enjoyed the show. The two guns I sold were the C1 in your picture and the HW85 that I sold to you. I hoped to sell a couple more but that was all I sold. I recently bought a Kalibr Colibri and I am selling guns to pay for it. You just can’t keep them all.

    I did a post on the Yellow forum talking about how I believe that this was the best example of monetizing an airgun show I have ever seen. Both Sig and Airforce seemed to do very well by letting people play with their guns on the range and then selling them guns. It is an example that could revolutionize airgun shows in the future as long as the shows can be held at gun ranges.

    David Enoch

    • David,

      So — the C1 was yours too? I should have known.

      Yes, we are very fortunate to have such a wonderful gun club at which to hold the show. It really does work well for the public. I think the Texas show is a model for what an airgun show can be.

      Now, if we can just schedule it when hurricanes are not bearing down on it! 😉

      BTW, Harvey never did come north. We have had good cool weather all along.


  6. B.B.,

    I really like that pic of a C1 in the hands of its new owner. To me the C1 is the most attractive springer of all time. I love the combination of its carbine dimensions and western buttstock.

    I have one and have learned how to hold it, which, by the way, is to barely hold it at all! My off-hand is completely open, the buttstock just barely touches my shoulder, and here is where the western stock shape helps quite a bit. I position my shooting hand almost as if the C1 had a pistol grip, with only my thumb and middle finger touching it in a very light grip, just enough to keep the rifle in place. I use the same hold with my Bronco because of its western lines, even though it is low-powered. With the Bronco I do lightly apply the thumb and fingers of my off-hand.


  7. This pic is of my brown Bronco as my blond one and my C1 are kinda buried at the moment. Oh, and do not be alarmed by my finger being on the trigger. The air rifle is not cocked. But that’s how I hold it.


  8. BB
    I’m definitely interested in the coyote calls. I’m going to check out their website. I totally like those kind of calls better than the electronic ones.

    And I was messing around the other day with my sqerrial call kind of doing some training with my sqerrial dog. And guess what showed up out of the corn field. A coyote. I think it probably thought it could of been a wounded sqerrial. And it’s always coyote season in Illinois. More or less. And of course I didn’t have a gun with me.

    Oh and want to hear more about the Sun Optics compressor. I like that it runs on 12 volt and self contained.

  9. Ok after much deliberation I’m about to pull the trigger “so to speak” on an HW50S. So my primary range is 50 yards, chair gun says that 600fps at the muzzle with a 25 yard zero my drop at 50 yards will be around 5 inchs with a 14.6 pellet. That doesn’t sound bad to me. But several people have recommended the gun in .177 because of the flatter trajectory. The difference in velocity between the two calibers with this gun is so significant that I can’t help but wonder if I shouldn’t reconsider my caliber selection. I might add that at present all my long airguns are in .22. Just looking for some input.

  10. Also I’m a southpaw so that seems ok with theHW50. I intended to use the gun for accurate back yard shooting, and it seems to be a very tunable gun, and since I have a spring compressor now I could install my own vortec kit.

    • Coduece
      I had one in .177 some years back. I had no problem with taking sqerrials and starlings out to 50 yards with it. So don’t know if that helps with your .22 question.

      I liked the one I had.

  11. Off topic but I just noticed Pyramyd AIR has the Beeman 9R listed with front and rear sights and no muzzle break (just like Weihrauch HW30S and HW50S). I am wondering what else changed on the R9. It’s on my short list.

  12. Off topic, I’m looking at a possible purchase of a PCP, .25 Hatsan BT65, old school, no shroud so not the QE, with 90 ci tank, pump, other extras. What do I need to look for to make sure the gun is safe? It is hard to find info on this older version, and the reviews are very nice other than the sound. Any suggestions? It would be my first PCP and it’s listed for a song, I can’t pass it by… if it is safe to shoot.

  13. I have no experience with PCPs and this one is hard to find into on. Is there any known weaknesses or “things to look out for” when buying a used BT65 that would be different than a normal rifle? It was quickly replaced with the QE and Elite versions as far as I can see, so I am hoping there was no mechanical reason why, just that people wanted the shroud.

      • Perfect. I was worried I was gonna have to pull out my “whippersnapper to geezer” translation app. Happy belated. 😉

        And thank you so much for all you do, including risking a hurricane to help us “kids” approaching 50.

        • Qjay,

          “Wippersnapper to Geezer app.”,…. that is one of the best ones I have heard in a long time!,… 🙂 Mid fifties myself. My experience is if the whippersnapper’s don’t get what the geezers are saying,… well,.. they just need to stick around a bit. 😉

  14. Has Sun Optics indicated when they will release their air compressor to market and at what price point? This compressor definitely has got my attention. It looks like a low maintenance compressor that doesn’t require having to deal with filling up with oil or coolant constantly.

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