Niche market advancement

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Benjamin Discovery
  • Crosman
  • The $100 PCP
  • The bottom line
  • The legal silencer from AirForce
  • Air Venturi
  • Lloyd Sikes
  • This blog!
  • We are waiting for:

Reader William Schooley mentioned today’s topic in a comment last week. We were talking about how many airguns needed to be sold for a company to take a customer’s recommendation seriously. Here is what he said.

“I may be way over my head on this, but isn’t this just the type of situation which creates niche markets and micromarketing? It seems to me that where a small but specific group wants a product that’s not being addressed by other larger firms, smaller more specialized companies will develop products to fill the niche. What is your historical take on niche or micromarketing in the air gun community?”

Man, did that ever get my neurons firing! I immediately thought about the development of the Benjamin Discovery, and Chris USA seconded my thinking, so let’s begin with that.

Benjamin Discovery

I owned a USFT field target rifle and knew that an air rifle can shoot fast on low air pressure. My rifle used a fill of about 1,650 psi to get 55 consistent shots of Beeman Kodiaks at 915 f.p.s. At 51 yards 25 shots went into 0.663-inches.

I thought this was a wonderful idea for a new sporting PCP. It could top out at 2,000 psi and get a shots that went 1,000 f.p.s., or thereabouts. That would make it easy to fill from a hand pump! It wouldn’t need to huge diameter reservoir of the USFT to get a reasonable number of shots. So I explained the idea to one airgun company who told me it would never work. That got me motivated to not only make it work, but to do so in a big way!

Crosman

I knew that Crosman wanted to get into precharged airguns, but they were struggling with just how to do it. They had sold Logan PCPs for a couple years, but it didn’t work out. I thought they needed to make their own PCPs, right there in New York. So, over the Christmas holiday of 2005 I put together a proposal of not only what I thought they could make but also how they should market it — with a hand pump and some pellets all in the same box! I pitched it to them in February of 2006.

My idea was to modify the Benjamin 392AS (an obsolete CO2 rifle that used 88-gram cartridges), but after I pitched the idea they brought me back to meet with them a couple months later and had two prototypes to show me. Ed Schultz had built them from the 2260 that’s now sold under the Sheridan name.

The rest is history. Thousands of Discoverys sold in the first year. The next year the Marauder came out and sold even better. Then came the Maximus and the Wildfire. Crosman went from not knowing how to market precharged airguns to being one of the top precharged manufacturers in the span of just one decade.

That is the best example of what a niche market builder can do. If it hadn’t been for Tim McMurray and his USFT, none of this would have happened.

The $100 PCP

We are not finished with this story yet. The Discovery was a landmark airgun design, but I knew there had to be something more. Dennis Quackenbush and I discussed whether it was possible to build a PCP that could retail for a hundred dollars. Dennis knew immediately what to do and he did it. Then he sent it to me to test and blog. That was a project that played in the series, Building the $100 precharged pneumatic air rifle. Turns out it’s not only possible — it works better than expected! I know for a fact that that series gave Crosman the motivation to develop the Benjamin Maximus — because they told me.

But it didn’t stop there. Oh, no! Today there is a flood of low-cost PCPs coming to market. Manufacturers are rushing to bring out affordable PCPs because they have discovered there is a market for them. It’s a market they have to grow and nourish (that’s called marketing), but it’s very real and getting bigger every day.

The bottom line

Here’s the deal. Companies don’t make a lot of money selling precharged airguns for such a low price. But PCPs are the most attractive airguns for many reasons — no special hold is needed, no CO2 cartridges to buy, no recoil, very accurate, etc. Once you get people shooting them they tend to move up to the more expensive guns with more and better features and a small but reasonable profit. The low-cost PCP is a wonderful entry into airgunning. It’s way better than the mega-magnum 1,400 f.p.s. springer that cocks too had and feels painful every time you shoot it.

The legal silencer from AirForce

Little did John McCaslin realized in 2001 when he launched the AirForce Talon SS that he would change the airgun market forever. At the time AirForce was a new company that was very small, but eager to grow. The Talon SS provided the nourishment they needed for that growth, and McCaslin was very nimble to take advantage of all the opportunities it brought his way. Where some airgun companies acted like large D10 Caterpillar bulldozers, AirForce was more of a Bobcat — lightweight and easy to transport to the job site and able to work all day.

The biggies wouldn’t move unless they saw sales in the thousands; AirForce was quick on their feet and listened to their customers. As a result, just 16 years later AirForce is a major player in the precharged market. They gave us the shroud that is now mandatory for all PCPs (if you want sales) but they gave us so much more.

They gave us Lothar Walther barrels when other companies dragged their feet or made them an expensive upgrade. They gave us interchangable barrels that swap easily in minutes, turning your one rifle into a multi-caliber shooting system! Both calibers and barrel lengths that translate to power are at the owner’s discretion. They also gave us easily variable power.

They gave us the Condor that shot a 14.3-grain Crosman Premier .22 caliber pellet at over 1,200 f.p.s., and then they gave us the Escape smallbore that went up to 100 foot-pounds. They gave us the Texan — a true production 500+ foot-pound big bore when most others were either lying about the energy they could generate, showing prototypes they couldn’t produce or developing far less power. And again AirForce gave us a new kind of adjustable power that allows for tuning for a specific bullet.

The good news is — they aren’t done giving! I know some things they are bringing to market that will have you guys jumping for joy. Once a small company, they are now a light heavyweight with a punch that dominates their sector of the market. Does niche marketing work? You bet it does!

Air Venturi

Air Venturi also plays in the niche market. Who would think in the days of the 1,000 f.p.s. there would be any demand for a lightweight, accurate, breakbarrel that’s also easy to cock? Air Venturi did! They gave us the Bronco that sold well for many years and is now a classic in its own right. I guess people really do want to shoot lightweight pellet rifles that are fun. But they didn’t stop there.

They took the air shotgun concept that has never fully succeeded and they made one that really works. The Wing Shot air shotgun not only throws the largest shot charge ever at over 1,000 f.p.s., it also shoots balls and arrows! Arrows?

Yes, the Air Venturi Air Bolt gives you an arrow-launcher with unsurpassed power and great accuracy for just the price of the bolts! They fit in most big bore barrels of the appropriate caliber (they come in .357 and .50 caliber at present). They make your Wing Shot a triple threat airgun! That’s better than spending a bunch of money for a dedicated arrow launcher, isn’t it?

Lloyd Sikes

Lloyd Sikes is the man. He invented the electronic solenoid valve that made the Rogue big bore possible. That technology has so much more to offer than what’s been done so far! I will never forget seeing his spreadsheets of the performance of that valve at the Roanoke airgun show and challenging him to show me videos of the performance. I simply didn’t believe it! When I saw the videos I contacted Crosman immediately, because this was something they needed to see. Unfortunately as the development was happening I was in the hospital, and when I came out, the Rogue project was pretty far down the road. My ability to influence it was curtailed.

The thing is — the Rogue valve is not everything it can be or do. It can turn a powerful sporting smallbore air rifle into a quiet indoor plinker at the push of a button. It puts the shooter in complete control of the air rifle’s power!

Lloyd also makes the spacer that allows a Benjamin Discovery to work with a Benjamin Marauder trigger. And he makes parts for the Disco Double — a lightweight rifle based on a Discovery that gets twice the number of shots at great power. Lloyd now sells through a different company called Stalwart Arms, but his products are still available.

This blog!

William, I know this blog was not something you asked about, but it does work in similar ways to a niche dealer. The manufacturers read it all the time and they pick up on an idea when it gets enough attention here. The hundred dollar PCP is one example. Crosman picked up of that and gave us the Maximus.

Just look at all the effort Gamo has put into their triggers. I think they saw all the discussions of bad triggers and decided they were going to do something about it. So, where does that leave us?

We are waiting for:

 

An M1 Carbine BB gun or pellet rifle

A Garand BB gun or pellet rifle

A Marauder-type PCP that’s a multi-pump

A foot-powered manual high-pressure pump

And I am waiting for a pistol version of the Avanti 499 Champion so kids can learn to shoot an accurate handgun.

I bet you readers have a long list of your own. Today would be the day to post it.

149 thoughts on “Niche market advancement



    • Sean,

      That sounds like a single stroke pneumatic, minus any spring. The spring in a springer does not make any air pressure until the spring is released. For your idea to work, the springer would be cocked, fired and at the same time storing the compressed air for later. At that point, a nice PCP style shot could be taken.

      If I got it wrong, please elaborate.


      • Firstly I should have said reservoir, rather than regulator. A regulator (if that is how they work) would be perfection, but a reservoir would still be huge.

        You understand my idea. Springers can be more powerful than single or multi stroke pneumatics, so there is something about using muscle to compress a spring that, when fired, compresses air, that is just more efficient than using those same muscles to compress the air directly.

        At least that is my theory.


    • How about a single pump PCP? Cocking charges a small (1 shot) reservoir. This is discharged through a regulator. This would be like a well regulated single pump pneumatic.
      But, if the regulator can be made easily adjustable, the possibility of multi pumps for more powerful shots is there as well.
      With a slightly larger reservoir, multiple shots might be possible as well.

      Silver Eagle



        • Note to self, while PCP can often stand in for trying to remember how to spell pneumatic, this time it can’t.

          Meant to type “Silver Eagle, I would be aiming for rabbit hunting power. Pump pneumatics just don’t get there.”

          I realized this 5 minutes late. My brain is strange.


    • Hey Sean,

      I like this thought. I can’t really add to the discussion about the technology that would be required. I really like the idea of a springer, single cocking action with plenty of power, but figuring out how to get consistent/repeatable shooting is a major challenge. If one could make a light-weight, single-pump, accurate, easy-to-shoot, and quiet airgun, I’d sure be interested.

      Dennis


  1. B.B.,

    I was sort of puzzled by what you mean by a foot-powered manual high-pressure pump. I can see (using a standard foot pump) that the geometry is all wrong to use the three stage pump as is due to the long stroke. It will take some doing to allow it to be manufactured at a good price point.

    With regards to niche markets my experience with our local makers is that competition breeds improvements. At the minimum it lowers the cost of production. There are no large manufacturers of airguns over here ever since Armscor abandoned the market. Lots of small cottage industry makers though with varying levels of quality. Majority are now going into PCP production. There are still a few holding on to CO2 production as that it is more popular due to it’s lower cost. Limiting factor for the market is that airguns are still in the gray area as far as legality is concerned having only been recently declassified as firearms but not yet allowed to be openly possessed without a license. Fortunately we have yet home the road requiring low power levels.

    Siraniko


    • Siraniko,

      You are correct in saying the long stroke of the pump is the problem with a foot-powered high pressure pump. That being said, one does exist. It’s been in development a long time and still isn’t ready for the market.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        What is spinning in my head right now is a small vertical windmill that you can plant on the ground that will move the pump handle for you. Considering that the pump should not move fast and we are shooting air, it seems appropriate that we should charge up the PCP using a windmill.

        Siraniko


  2. Dear B.B.

    Still waiting for a Colt SAA gunfighter model with the 4 3/4″ barrel, preferably in .22 caliber. And a SAA Ruger Bearcat would be nice also.

    —Joe



    • The short barrel Peacemakers should have already been out , a no brained. Bear River has prototype short barrel Schofields, when? More replica Western revolvers like theda/sa Lightning, a 73 Winchester, 92 inMates leg and Rifleman versions. Laser engraved affordable and readily available Peacemakers. Select fireThompson, SW43/44, M2 Carbine, M1Garand using 8 shot rorarypellet mags. More blowback historic pistols like Colt1903. S&W, Colt da revolvers morelike DanWesson 715.


  3. I want a gun that levels itself when you aim it at the target. And it fires when it’s locked on. Then I want it to recognize what velocity is best for a paticular pellet I choose. And can recognize wind velocity and correct. But it has to do that with the minimal amount of air used per shot. And hopefully it won’t be too heavy so when I carry it to a place and set it down so it can do its thing I don’t get wore out carrying there. And it would be nice if it filled itself back up with air. Oh and load it’s own pellets.

    Heck. Who needs to even shoot with a gun like that. Then I get some other things done while the gun is shooting for me. All I need to do is come back from time to time and check the targets and restock the pellets it’s shooting.

    Yep I could just see myself with a gun like that.





      • Kevin
        Yep know about that. Me and Matt61 had a conversation about that quite a few years back.

        That’s what made me think about including it the gun that shoots itself I was joking about.

        What I was basically saying is that before long they will make a gun that does everything we do when we pick ours up to shoot.

        In other words what will be the fun of shooting. It will all be taken away with a gun like that.


      • Kevin
        It’s good to see you weigh in with your comments now and then lately. I’ve always enjoyed your knowledgeable, and insightful take on BB’s blogs, as well as the various comments brought up by the readers. I’ll never forget the information you furnished me concerning my then new Weihrauch HW85/Beeman R10. That would be about 8 years ago now.
        Concerning this technological marvel gun that practically shoots itself, I’m just not a fan of a rifle that has these capabilities. How about spending quality time getting to know your weapon on a suitable range? It seems more, and more folks want to bag a buck, but would sooner watch Game of Thrones, then spending time at the range.
        What happened to ethical hunting? Giving the animal a sporting chance? Where is the pride in making a 200 meter one shot kill, or 1/2 in group on a target, if your rifle is doing half the work for you?
        I would hope the novelty of having this technology in your sporting rifle, would not last long to a true hunter, or target shooter.
        Just my rant on the direction technology has taken us in a very short time. It reminds me of the people you see in pictures every climbing season on Mount Everest. A hundred people in a line trying for the summit at one time. A closer look will reveal that some of the climbers are being “short roped”, as in hiring a Sherpa to pull an inexperienced climber up the mountain tied to a short rope. These people literally pay their way up the mountain ($80,000. plus), with little or, no high altitude mountaineering experience. They have been the cause of “traffic jams” at certain points along the route, that has lead indirectly to multiple deaths each year. John Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air”, or Anatoli Boukreev’s “Climb”, both deal with the 23 climbers caught in a blizzard, and spending the night at over 8000 meters, resulting in 8 deaths. Often called the death zone, due to sub zero exposure, and lack of sufficient oxygen, result in the body beginning to consume itself for energy, as well as failure to make the simplest of lifesaving decisions. The result of people spending too much time getting to the summit, and ignoring the 2:00pm rule of turning back.
        Anyway, I got way off topic, but I think it is possible to rely too heavily on science and technology, at the expense of common sense, and education.
        Ciao
        Titus



          • Gunfun1
            It was quite apparent you were speaking “tongue in cheek”. I’ve read too many of your comments not to feel your passion for, shall we say, traditional airgun shooting.
            Ciao
            Titus


            • Titus
              I was hoping people would understand where I was going.

              And yes I do enjoy my shooting time. Especially when I get to spend time shooting with the kids.

              I mean technology is cool. But maybe not in all things.


        • Titus,

          Thank you for your kind words. They’re greatly appreciated.

          Completely agree with you about the technology “advancement”. I was a big game guide for years and most clients appreciated honing their woodcraft skills especially survival and stalking. There isn’t a substitute for experience.

          Unfortunately it seems that “technology” has become a poor substitute now since it provides things like “guns that shoot themselves” giving the user/consumer a false “skill set”. What happens when your gps and phone quit working in the middle of nowhere? Perception of having skills that you really don’t because of your reliance on technology is dangerous.

          Facebook and other social media are also techno trends that make me shake my head. Having 300 “friends” on Facebook that give people a false sense of what a friend really is makes my head spin. In my view the exact opposite is true. This type of technology is actually stifling the development of social skills that are necessary to truly create friends/friendships.

          I’m not opposed to technology but I think we have to be very careful and not become too reliant on it.


  4. B.B.,

    Fine article. It reads like the who’s who in the air gun world. Fine examples too of ideas becoming products. When I got to the end of the article, I felt like that it should just be starting. Huh?,.. you ask.

    You gave us examples of people and companies with more resources than the typical air gunner/hobbyist. I feel like there ought to be part 2 that addresses things like Conduces spinners and how the average Joe can best bring an idea to market. I have seen you try a product, feature a product in the blog and I would only assume,.. maybe act as a go between to a possible manufacturer. I don’t know.

    Does one need a patent? Is it better to try to contact a air gun company directly on our own? Picking an idea from a blog is one thing, but cherry picking a product off a blog,. and copying it,.. is another. How does the little guy best proceed with an idea?

    Do you get what I am saying here? I think that there is more to tell,.. more to the story, if you will. Something more that speaks to the little guy. It is kind of like we want to learn to shave with a straight razor and we are still fumbling around with our Barlow pocket knives.

    Respectfully,….Chris




        • B.B.,

          I think that it would be good. I really thought that today’s article was going to more geared to the small guy and home inventor,.. hence my rather passionate comment. 😉 Coduece’s spinners and pump assist items would kind of exemplify the challenge. Plus, you have featured other new products and could share how those turned out and what went right and what went wrong. What should have been done.

          Perhaps we are naïve in thinking that if we bring an idea to Crosman, that they will give us a fair shake. I think that P.A. would, as they are not in the manufacturing end of things. They distribute. Of course, they would be looking at sales potential and profit margins. Do either buy the rights outright, or cut you a margin of profits? Etc., etc..

          I think that there is (much) to be learned on the topic.

          Chris


          • Chris,

            Where do you think John McCaslin stared from? His garage.

            Where did Lloyd Sikes start from? His garage.

            Where did Joshua Ungier (Pyramyd Air and Air Venturi) start from? His basement.

            I just wrote about the success stores that had the greatest impact on our hobby.

            B.B.


    • Chris USA

      The book The Inventors Bible was recommended to me by the patent attorney I consulted with. This book has been instrumental in understanding the process of bringing a product to market. I highly recommend it.


      • Coduece,

        Thank you. Notes made. If B.B. does a part 2, it sounds as if you would have some good stuff to share with all of us “wanna be/arm chair” inventors. I admire you pressing onward and again wish you all of the best.


  5. BB,

    I would like to see further research and development of the Webley Venom Paradigm type hybrid action. I think there is enormous potential there for a new type of air rifle. I for one would much rather have a single stroke pneumatic with the spring piston booster than a multi-pump, most especially if I am hunting.

    The Paradigm developed just under 12FPE, but it was also being marketed in the UK. Just how powerful can you make a single-stroke pneumatic while keeping the cocking effort in the 35-45 pound range? There is a market for a quality SSP that is not as hefty and bulky as a target rifle.

    Once you have taken it that far, then you can explore the spring piston booster to bring power levels up to hunting and field target levels without the major recoil issues of the spring piston rifles.


    • Ridge, I think it could be done maybe without the spring piston booster. Couldn’t the SSP be made like the Pump assist Benjamin so where it wouldn’t feel as hard to pump?
      Doc


      • Doc,

        Possibly. The issue is how much volume is being compressed how much. With a long enough pump stroke on a larger diameter tube you may be able to reach a high enough pressure. A mechanical advantage would certainly be of help. There is a guy who has built a SSP using that setup that is quite powerful, but he has so far failed to market his rifle.

        The spring piston booster in the Paradigm brings the pressure up high when you pull the trigger and then the valve opens.


    • RR,

      If you look at the Hard Air Magazine web page, you will find a short review on the Nova Vista PCP/Multi-pump. I called Hard Air and they said that it was at the IWA show in Europe? and they were given no idea when it was going to come out and if it would be available in America. I’m crossing my fingers on this one but I won’t buy it until I see several reviews on it.

      Brent


  6. BB—-Thank you for the reply to my question re a scope mount for the Diana 98. I have to use a high mounted scope on my Norinco kkw copies because of the bolt handle. I also have a Geco DSM 34 that was drilled and tapped for Weaver mounts by a previous owner, so I have to use a high mounted scope for this rifle. But there is no reason to need a high mounted scope on the Diana 98K. All of the mounts that I have seen and or tried put the scope too high ( for me). I do not want to alter the stock, or use a strap on comb. I am looking for a very low scope mount. Does one exist ? ——Ed


    • Ed,

      BKL makes medium height 2-piece rings. You have to factor the size of the objective bell of a Bug Buster against the height of those rings.

      If you really want something I advise you to call Pyramyd Air and ask them to check the mounts you want with the scope you have.

      B.B.


  7. I own a .22 cal Marauder and replaced the barrel with an aftermarket barrel. Cost me a little over $200. My Marauder is now outshooting high dollar guns (sub 1/2″ at 60 Yards to be exact) and it cost me half the price. I know Crosman offers Lothar Walthar barrels on some of their models. I do believe if they offered a Marauder LW, people would buy it. If the price was around the $700-$750 mark and was on par in accuracy with FX and Daystate guns, they would sell very well. Offer a direct drop in replacement LW barrel for those who already have a Marauder and get some of that money the aftermarket guys are raking in. Could you imagine a Maximus LW? 🙂



      • B.B.,

        I would be very interested in a L/W in .25 M-rod OR a .25 done with the Maximus barrel (method). Do both and have a shoot off!!! It would a REAL BIG feather in Crosman’s cap if they could pull of a better barrel and do it cheaper.

        Chris


    • Helimech
      The .22 Marauder seemed to have that problem. The Gen 1 and Gen 2’s. I know the ones I had in .22 was like that.

      But I have had several Gen 1 and Gen 2 Marauders in .177 and .25 caliber too. They were very accurate and would out shoot the .22 Marauders by far.

      And yep they definitely didn’t get something right with the .22 caliber Marauder barrels.


      • GF1,

        From discussions I have read, it seems that the Maximus barrels are better than the Marauder barrels because that they are polished before rifling.

        If this pre-polishing is such a good thing then you would think that Crosman would apply the process to all of their products.

        The FX ST-X barrel making process (the barrel is swaged from the outside on to a mandrel rather than cut/broached from the inside) sounds to have a lot of potential. Guessing that the barrels made this way would be faster/cheaper to make and would have side benefits (grain alignment and rigidity) over conventional rifling processes.

        Interesting times we live in. Something to watch.

        Hank


        • Hank the thing is I think Crosman outsources the .177, .22 and .25 caliber barrels for the Marauders.

          I seriously think they got the .22 Marauder barrel dimensioned wrong.


    • Oh and maybe that’s what Crosman has in store for the regulated Marauder. I believe I heard somewhere that the regulated Marauder might be added to the custom shop guns.

      I may be wrong but pretty sure I remember hearing that.


    • Helimech,

      You are so right.

      It’s shocking to me that Crosman is ignoring the amount of aftermarket modifications offered by others for the Discovery and Marauder. Why the Crosman Custom Shop isn’t offering a menu of options for upgrading these guns is a mystery. Offer a LW barrel, offer different stocks, offer a regulator, offer barrel bands, offer reservoir extensions, etc.

      Maybe I shouldn’t be shocked since it took a face to face conversation with Dennis Quackenbush years ago for Crosman to wake up to the aftermarket modifications that were being done to their pistols before they created the Crosman Custom Shop. Can’t see the trees for the forest syndrome?

      Maybe Crosman should read this article to better understand this analogy for capturing the aftermarket modifications to their rifles like they have already done for their pistols:

      https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2012/06/quackenbush-25-pistol-part-1/


      • Kevin,

        That Crosman is not the same as the Crosman of today. There have been numerous key personnel changes over that period of time, and it is people who direct a company — not the name on the outside of the building.

        I don’t think most people at Crosman even remember those days when Dennis shocked their President so much (and probably started their Custom Shop).

        B.B.


      • Would also like to see Crosman market the more popular mods done in the aftermarket. The Custom Shop would be the easy way to accomplish this.
        For example:
        1322 /77 with the Steel breech already installed
        Longer barrel options for the same and others.
        Discovery or Marauder (or any PCP) with the option of a regulator already installed.
        Shroud or baffle options on PCP’s
        2240 with different sights.

        There are a lot of people that just don’t know how or don’t want to void a warranty.

        Silver Eagle



  8. Thanks for this blog BB and thanks to William for being the catalyst!

    I’ve been thinking about the whole entry-level PCP thing for a while now. After shooting my PCPs, a powder-burner friend has asked me to recommend an air rifle.

    He loves my Weihrauch and FX PCPs but they are out of his budget. He likes my Maximus and was considering one so we had the “un-regulated PCP” discussion of fill pressure, bell curve and effective shot count. Put him right off PCPs. He pretty well summed it up with his comment… “I am new to all this and want an air rifle that I can just shoot without all this hoop-la”.

    Told him that there was an aftermarket regulator available and he asked why the companies didn’t offer a “deluxe” entry level PCP that included a regulator. Didn’t have an answer for that. Now he is looking at reviews for a Weihrauch or Diana springer.

    So, in discussion of entry level PCP rifles and a niche markets I would like request that in addition to the bare-bones entry level product that an upgraded version (e.g. regulated with a better trigger) be made available. If this is not practical then at least sell kits to allow the user to upgrade.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Hank


    • Hank,

      I think the (much-delayed) Umarex Gauntlet might fit the bill of an upgraded entry-level PCP. Comes regulated, etc, for not much more that a Discovery.

      Of course, it has to be actually available on the market to count, but…


  9. B.B.,

    My wish list:

    First and foremost a compressor of comparable quality to the Air Venturi compressor, but with a “street price” under $900.

    Then,

    Colt SAA 4 3/4 inch
    Remington 1858 New Army
    Colt 1851 Navy
    M1 Carbine
    Ingram Mac10 (with full auto)
    AK-47 (with full-auto)

    Michael



  10. For me, anything firing bbs immediately takes itself off the table. I’ve a number of the smoothbore bb launchers and admit not only they having their conceptual place but technical considerations may require a bb as opposed to a pellet. (Say for a practical MP40 bb hoser, as example.)
    While I’d admire a rifled pellet launching Garand and/or M1 Carbine, a Springfield trapdoor Cavalry Carbine ca. 1876, or even a Kentucky/Pennsylvania Rifle ca. 1750, a bb shooter in that smoothbore format in any of these would be an abomination.
    (Though muzzle-loading Air has some interesting potential and considering trapdoor loading is today widely if not universally used in competitive match pistols/rifles, that could be also interesting.)
    So my vote would be for the above mentioned plus the dearly desired “Buck Rogers Blaster” from the 1930s…in any of their variations. (The recently visited Daisy Museum in Arkansas has a number of variations undoubtedly available for replication.)
    That one would be okay in bb caliber…:)


  11. B.B.

    The number one item on my list for new airguns: an Umarex Legends model 1928 Thompson submachine gun replica shooting preferably 0.177 pellets, but a BB shooter would also be acceptable.


  12. I still want a single stroke pneumatic that has more power. I’m not talking magnum, but say a rifle that shoots around 650 to 750 fps and a pistol that will shot 500 to 525 fps.
    I want a Daisy 499 that puts out over 410 fps (I know it can be done as it has already been done by someone on this blog with a red ryder spring if I remember) and yet keeps the accuracy that it is famous for.
    I want a BB shooter that is accurate and more powerful at 30 yards. Can be smooth bore or rifled (lead bbs or smart shot only). Why a BB? Very easy to load. Can be offered in 22 cal too.
    I would like a Black Power Rifle replica too. Load the lead BB from the muzzle would be cool. Give it at least 600 fps (Like the Umarex Morph).
    I also want open sights as an option to guns that don’t have them. If they have to charge more, so be it. I want that choice.
    Last but not least, I want a shot shoot that isn’t expensive. If Hatsan can product a .30 cal springer, they could do a gas spring shotgun. Gamo’s shotgun, while a little too weak, would be at least ok if it weren’t for shot shell that cost more than my 12ga and 20 ga game shells cost.
    Guess I don’t want much 🙂
    Doc




      • Chris,
        I thought so, but without looking back, I didn’t want to get it wrong. I think you really have something there. A normal powered bb gun that is also accurate! Normal meaning over 350 fps. It really got me thinking, if you can do that, wonder then how an already accurate Umarex Morph could be if it had a barrel at good as the 499’s barrel? I can only dream that bb gun barrels be as tightly made as pellet gun barrel are these days.

        Doc


        • Doc,

          I have to give Cobalt full credit. He gave me the idea and helped me out with some details. He hangs out over at “The High Road” and his crew mods the heck out of the small lever actions. Very innovative stuff.


    • Doc,
      That SSP at 750-800fps would be a great gun for me. The closest I have to that is a BSA Comet. After adding a cdt trigger it shot well. Then the front sight fell off. I could not find a replacement. I don’t enjoy it as much with an scope or red dot.


      • TJKing
        I’m with you on scopes and stuff. I too love open sights. I have a scope, several dots and a laser in my stash. I don’t like any of them like I do open sights.
        Doc


  13. I have a Benjamin 392PA number 142 of 500. It came with a mounted scope as it had a scope rail dove tail. Isn’t the Sheridan Blue/Silver Streak enough like the 392 to use the same set-up ?
    Frank



    • Paw,

      There are a few that can be found, though our thirst for power at present keeps that market pretty sparse. Walther has offered the LGV, the LGU and the Terrus. As for Weihrauch and others, the kits are available to “detune” them.


  14. Hm. A long time ago, we were wondering why pcps outshot the other powerplants, and the answer was not that there was intrinsic superiority in the powerplant but that it was built to higher specs than the other types. Does that remain true with the falling prices? I imagine ingenuity can compensate somewhat, but it does come up against the fundamental principle that you get what you pay for.

    Hey manufacturers, if you are looking for a niche, look no further than a multi-shot, low powered, quality springer like the IZH 61. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the ban on Russian guns will be lifted any time soon. 🙁

    I want to mention that I am just returned from an ocean swimming event in Barbados which I can highly recommend. I didn’t know much about the place before, but having grown up in Hawaii, I can say that the weather and natural environment in Barbados is at least as good and probably better. It’s certainly more accessible to those in the southeast of the U.S. In particular, the water is utterly pristine and warm. It is also worth mentioning that the food and drink is utterly top notch. I don’t know if I got lucky but the bartender at my hotel was a world-class talent who could toss off the most exquisite drinks at top speed. It was sort of like watching world class shots fire instantly when they raise their guns with no preparation. I can’t say that I acted my age. I was partying like a college kid, but unfortunately, I do not have the college constitution to back me up. On the last day, I had to drop out of my 2 mile swim with nausea, retching and utter depletion.

    Given the largely British culture of the island, it is appropriate to mark the event by remembering Captain Matthew Webb, a British military officer who was the first person ever recorded to swim the English Channel in the 19th century. He did it using the breast stroke(!) and said that he was about “pegged out” at the end, but he did finish. The achievement made him an international celebrity and he went on a world tour. During one stop, he was challenged by an American to a match race which he could not refuse. However, his competitor, employing Yankee ingenuity, showed up in an inflatable suit, equipped with a paddle. Webb competed anyway–bad idea–and lost. To restore his status, he tried swimming a stretch of water below Niagara Falls and was killed. The lesson would seem to be that you have to know when to quit. I actually did not have much of a problem with that myself and recovered pretty quickly.

    This would seem to be unrelated to shooting except that when I returned, I shot one of my best targets every with my IZH 61, indicating that time off can be a good thing.

    Matt61


  15. BB
    I have a 392 LE .22, Purchased 01/06/2006 Number 142 of 500. Certificate of Authenticity signed by Dan Schultz.
    As stated above came with mounted Crosman Scope as it had the dove tail rail from factory.
    So I think they already have the set-up they could use…
    Frank


  16. Recently I bought a Crosman 101 at a yard sale. It is not operating at the moment, but I am going to overhaul it and probably refinish it. I did not buy it as a collector piece. I bought it because I wanted a nice quality multi-pump. This one has a steel barrel and tube, a very solid aluminum action and nice hardwood stocks.

    I see everyone wanting a multi-pump Marauder. What they really want is a version of the FX Independence that is not so expensive. I once wanted one until I had the opportunity to handle one at a show. It is large and it is heavy. If you do that to a Marauder you will add about two pounds to it.

    What I would rather see is Crosman take their experience with multi-pumps and market a version of the Maximus. It would be light and easy to handle and with the longer compression chamber and longer barrel would likely be more powerful than the 397 and 392. Also, because it is steel it would be more durable.

    There’s my two cent worth.


    • RR,

      I will second your 2 cents worth. The only thing would be to stock it with more of a pistol grip. I love my Maximus. I am surprised that you have not got one yet with that nice pump set up you have. It is stupid accurate and so nice and light. People do not appreciate the weight issue,.. until they do,.. by getting ahold of something heavy.

      Like B.B. has often said,… “be careful what you wish for”,…. and I will add,… you may not really want it after all. Material considerations and leverage considerations should be heavily considered. I think that the design and lines are classic. Sort of like the 880 that has been around for years.

      And PLEASE Crosman!!!,… do something about that tight/restrictive loading breech! If I had been around at the design time line, that would have been the FIRST thing that I would have addressed.

      My 2 cents.



        • GF1,

          I would consider the Maximus breech to be restrictive as well as many of the Crosman rifles and pistols. Yes, I did adapt and can do it blind now. But at first,.. it was like … Really?,… you folks could not have opened that opening just a weeee bit?


          • Chris
            Ok I got it now. You want more room to get your finger in to load the pellet.

            You should try some other brand pcp guns and see what they are like. Some are rediculous tight in that respect.


            • GF1,

              Open sights are one thing. Put on a scope and it is turns into something all together different. Mine are all scoped, so I can not really say, except for that. Some things are so obvious. It makes my blood boil to see something so obvious that has been overlooked,… for how long now?.

              Out’a here for now. Up early. This blog will be 100+ by the time I wake up. Later.


      • Chris,

        One of the main reasons I do not have it yet is I do not need it yet. I have several air rifles I have not been shooting much this year and I have a few air rifle projects I have not been able to get to. Perhaps in a year or two I may get one, most especially with my grandson getting big enough to handle and learn airguns now.


  17. Hey Chris, Entirely off topic update.

    A few weeks ago I bought a G6 pump that was missing the foot and did not have the female quick connect for the Maximus. A friend who is a general fabricator welded up a foot and Pyramyd supplied the needed connector. Today all the stars aligned and I had time assemble the parts and to test out the pump on the Maximus. Woohoo! It works. Didn’t count the pump strokes but it pumped the Maximus up to 2K pounds without a hitch. Unfortunately it was dark by the time I finished. Actually is was dark when I started pumping. I recall someone recommending cocking the gun before pumping. Of course I had to step out of my basement door and discharge the gun. Louder than I expected, but not a problem here.

    Now I need to test the pump that I got with the Maximus using the hose that is working with the G6 pump. The hose that came with that pump had a quick-disconnect on both ends. If one of those was defective, that might explain the problem that I had with not moving air into the gun.

    Busy for the next several days, then visiting Daughter and family. Not sure of laws in Indianapolis so I won’t bring the gun and pump. I am tempted to bring the Walther LG55 that I found on Craigslist but the Grandkids are a bit young yet. Oh well, I’ll leave my toys home.

    Dan


    • Grandpa Dan,

      Thank you,.. Thank you!,.. for the update. I am elated for you. I think that you will really like it. Please keep us posted. Be careful though,… that PCP bug will bite you hard! 😉 They are so darn easy to shoot well.

      Chris


    • Grandpa,
      Please let us know how your maximus shoots for you, once you get a chance. Good to hear about the hand pump. If I go to the dark side, it will be with a hand pump and a 2000 psi fill…..at least at first!

      Doc


  18. One more thing, I saw a photo of a rig that added some mechanical advantage to the hand pump. The pump was mounted in a frame that added a lever to operate the pump rather than acting directly on the pump handle. . Hope that was clear.

    I should have copied the photo or saved it, but alas, did not. I was reading all over the blog, doing searches and reading entire test series so I don’t recall whether the photo was recent or in 2015.

    Does anyone recall the photo? And could you send me a link or date of the blog?

    Many Thanks,
    Dan


    • Dan,

      Coduece is working on something like that and do believe posted a photo very recently. Really though, it should not be too hard to come up with a homemade set up. Coduece may have a differing opinion on that though. 😉

      Chris


      • Chris,

        It seems to me that both the base of the pump and the connection at the handle would have to allow some angular motion. The G6 pump has a slip through 1/2″ pin that is held in place by a ball detente in the middle of the pin. That would make a convenient flexible connection for the base.

        A frame to absorb downward pressure as well as pressure toward the person pumping should be simple angle iron in a “V”. A square tube for the vertical member with ears to attach the pump base.. A hinge at the top connected to an arm. The pump handle would be attached 1/3 to 1/2 along the arm to give mechanical advantage. I’ll have to think on a flexible connection for the handle. Any connection at the handle would have to be able to be “undone” without damage to the pump.
        The pump base and handle only have to move in one plane.

        HMMMmmmm…

        Dan




      • Mike in Atl and Geo 791,

        Thanks for the photo.

        I sailed right past being sure that it was much longer ago. Never enen looked at the spinner blog. Duh!

        So much for a sharp memory

        Dan


  19. I recently saw a video for a daisy 880 that was pushing around 850 fps with a variety of pellets. It was put up by someone who obviously had some machinist skills. A metal and wood version of the 880 with that kind of power and a better trigger for around $200-250 would be very nice and would probably sell with the right marketing.

    Brent

    An airgun smith friend of mine said the reason there wasn’t much interest in the prototype of the SSP700 was the fact that he didn’t give a ballpark figure for the price. Obviously, the guy has some pretty good mechanical skills but he needs some help with marketing.




  20. This is a little off the subject; however as you point out there has been a TREMENDOUS number of new products introduced into the Air Gun market in the last few years.

    Besides shooting a few old springers I am a newbee. I decided to buy myself a new Air Gun and came to the web to find one. I was OVERWHELMED with the selection. I had to spend several weeks reading in order to educate myself so I was even able to “wade in”! I finally made a choice and have the rifle ordered from PA.

    I believe PA should have a program called “The Air Gun MATCHMAKER”! Like online dating, you should let the customers answer a LOT of questions about what they are looking for and make suggestions based on what they say.

    A few of the questions might run like this:

    List of questions I would ask for the Air Gun Match maker:

    Experience: Do you own air guns? Have you shot air guns designed for adult shooters?

    USE: What do you plan on using the air gun for? A. Plinking/target shooting B. Hunting small game/pest control C. leaning it up in the corner of your “man Cave” and admiring it
    Do you plan on using the air gun where sound might be a problem?

    Do You have a preference for: (answer with a check mark Yes or “no preference”)
    Spring piston
    Gas piston
    CO2
    PCP (external air source)
    Wood stock
    Plastic (all weather) stock
    Caliber: A: 177 (target/ plinking/ very small game) B: .20 (a little heavier than the 177) C: .22 hunting small game and target shooting D: .25 for small game hunting a little larger than the .22
    Action: A: Break Barrel (spring and gas piston) B: Fixed barrel (spring, gas piston & PCP)

    After the questions were answered with check off boxes PA could make suggestions for YOUR PERFECT MATCH or Your NEAR PERFECT MATCH…

    in my case, The Rifle I bought, turned out to be one I had no idea existed. A program like this would have made me aware of ALL the rifles that would have filled the bill. There might be rifles yet that are available that I never knew about or considered.

    Old Geezer
    East Side of South Dakota (pronounced: South DE-COLD-DA)


    • Ol’ Geezy, 😉

      It can be daunting. I was there about 4 years ago. The worst is over, on buying anyways. Now can enjoy your new airgun. Just be sure to stay abreast of new things and learn/re/learn all the basics again. Just this blog alone offers more than a person can learn and practice in a lifetime. Best wishes.


      • Chris,
        I am sorry I missed you very nice comment. I am new to this “blog”. Thank You for the encouragement. You can see in my below comments to Gunfun, my original plan has already gone wrong. Oh well, I am old enough to know most plans don’t work out. In this case I believe I have bought a better rifle (the RWS48). I can see I have way more to learn than I have time to learn it, However, I know way more today than I did when I started.

        Old Geezer


        • Old Geezer,

          Good luck with your new 48. Sidelever huh? I have 2 under levers, TX200 and LGU but never had a side lever. I think you will be happy. Keep posted on current blogs.



      • Gunfun,

        I was looking for a fixed barrel rifle (although I ended up looking HARD at some of the break barrels). I also decided I wanted to go with “air strut,spring, ram…” Because I might be using it in sub 0 weather. As it turned out I had to compromise on that particular point and went with a spring.

        I also had to “get over” some of the things I thought I knew about certain air gun companies (I thought I had to buy a brand that was NOT sold in Wall-Mart).

        Finally, I didn’t Really want to break the bank! I thought I would be able to get a good Air Rifle for around $200 (although I was willing to spend more if necessary to get a quality rifle).

        Long Story Short, I am like a bunch of us Geezers; We want a RWS for a Gamo price–LOL On the strength of a VERY GOOD review I happened across on YouTube by Rick, I ended up buying the ACCU 22 by Gamo. P.A. has them on Back Order so I am going to have to wait till the 18th of this month to actually GET the rifle.

        It has been a LONG process and I hope I didn’t make a mistake. To a lot of people, $200 ain’t much but the older you get the more careful you are with money.

        Old Geezer
        Reporting from Sunny South Dakota (where it is 10 degrees outside with a nice little “breeze” blowing (ever hear of that “well digger’s behind” in Idaho? Well, after ten winters up here I think he is ACTULLY in South Dakota!)



          • Here is a update Gunfun,

            Today (Friday) P.A. moved the back order date on the Gamo ACCU 22 from 11-18 to 12-25 (CHRISTMAS!!!).

            I canceled my order and decided to bite the bullet and ordered the Diana RWS 48 Striker Combo with the T06 trigger. My wife was a little shell shocked but I did not here her on the phone with a Lawyer asking about a divorce–LOL

            I will get the RWS 48 early NEXT WEEK! I had to call P.A. to cancel the order and talked to a very nice guy named Greg. He was SUCH a nice guy that he up-sold me some JSB pellets to go with the rifle.

            I guess Gamo is not expecting to sell any ACCU 22’s this holiday season. I really wanted to try that rifle but I can’t wait to get my hands on that RWS 48. It is odd to be as old as I am am and still get excited about a AIR GUN! Guess there is some little boy left in me yet!

            This Rifle comes with what looks like a good scope (Mantis 4-12×40 AO) and a adjustable mount. I had a coupon for 10% off and the whole thing even with the pellets was $500.

            I will let you know what happens when I get the Rifle Gunfun!

            Old Geezer (currently with a smile on my face)
            In Beautiful South Dakota where got all the way up to the “feels like” temp of 4 degrees today!


            • OG
              Hate to say it but you should of spent some more money and got the 54 instead.

              They are so smooth to shoot. They have a anti recoil slide system. They are accurate and powerful at the same time.


              • Gunfun,
                I am going to have to get you to tell me just where you live. In this part of the country we suffer from TO MUCH SNOW and NOT ENOUGH MONEY!

                I looked at the 54 but after looking at the value of the package offered with that 48 I decided by the time I put a scope and rail on it, I might be sleeping on the couch–LOL

                I think the 48 will be a LONG step up from the Gamo. I have never shot a 54; so I will not know what I am missing! I think the 48 will far exceed anything I have shot before (air Gun); heck it might shoot better than my old deer rifle. In any case, I am excited to get it and shoot it. I have never owned a “quality” brand like RWS.

                Old Geezer
                from the “Riviera” of Eastern South Dakota! (we are having a heat wave! Temp is up to 10 degrees!)


                • OG
                  Oh I’m pretty sure you made the right choice getting the 48 over the Gamo.

                  But you where just 6 digits off from getting one of the more accurate spring guns.

                  I do regret that I sold my 54. And no regrets that I got rid of the Gamo. None at all.


          • Gunfun,
            Just a quick note to let you know I got my RWS 48 today.

            I have to say it was very nice to order something and not be disappointed when I got my hands on it.

            The gun looks and shoot like a very well made gun (better in fact than some of my firearms).

            It is cold here so the best I can do is a ten yard range I have set up in my basement. Tonight after getting the scope tuned in I was shooting dots the size of the .22 pellet!

            I use kind of a strange target because I am cheep. If you look at Wally World (crafts section) you will find little books of stickers that are for kids. There are almost 2000 stickers in a book! I use plain paper and stick these on it in about 20 places. There are several sizes so I start with the larger ones (about 1 inch long) and then as I get better I use the small (about 1/2″x1/2″) to the TINY (about the size of a 22 pellet maby 1/4″). When I finished tonight with a sore arm and a big smile on my face I was able to hit the TINY stickers at 10 yards!

            I will wait to leave a review with P.A. until I have shot this rifle at greater distances; however I have to say I am IMPRESSED! I have never owned a “quality” air rifle until today. I have always been able to hit small game but never with this kind of precision.

            Old Geezer
            East Side of South Dakota (where it is some kind of cold with a little “breeze” blowing at 19mph)


            • Old Geezer,

              Another idea for a cheap target, you can use the eraser of a pencil as a rubber stamp to put dots on the paper as your target. That way you don’t have to buy another pack of stickers.

              Siraniko


            • OG
              How’s it going. Sounds like your happy and that’s a good thing.

              And I have used those colored reinforcing binder stickers stuck on white copy paper.

              I’m a real penny pincher when it comes to that stuff. Now I just draw some circles on the paper with my permanent markers.

              Oh and you don’t have to keep posting here. You can post a reply on the current company days blog. I read the blog pretty well everyday. So I will see your comment.

              Catch you later. 🙂




  21. Mr. Gaylord:

    WOW!
    You miss one day of reading your blog and all sorts of things spring up from a simple question.
    I can’t think you enough for your response and for sharing your wisdom and insights with us on a daily basis.

    Respectfully,
    William Schooley
    Rifle Coach
    Venture Crew 357
    Chelsea, MI


  22. Only one thing I’m still waiting for:

    #1) Easily obtainable replacement parts without having to send multiple emails or make phone calls and plead & beg for parts that SHOULD already be listed on a manufacturers website and ready for purchase.


  23. I thought this would fit this discussion. It was on gta today. I’m giving him the link for this section.

    One of my rifles that I own is a Weihrauch hw77 Airmasters Mastersport chameleon FTS. For those not in the know these were customised 77s by 2 brothers in the mid 80s. Unlike the 77 you are able to take the barrels off and put on the other barrels by taking out 2 screws without losing/gaining power There were only 9 made for which I am lead to believe 4/5 were sent over the pond to the US. I own one, which is number 6 plus my best mate owns one which is number 9, so that’s 2 known of. My question is, do any of you guys over there know of any.
    Thanks.
    Fozzy


  24. Chris
    You and Doc are men after my own heart! Your 400 fps 499 sounds intriguing. How about a BB launcher similar to a Daisy model 25 at 400-450 fps? I understand Daisy made a variant of the model 25 decades ago that did approach those numbers. Its too bad that Daisy, like Crosman, doesnt have a custom shop that would refurbish their old guns to their original glory. Another example on my wishlist would be the model 200 CO2 BB pistol from Daisy-one of the slickest looking sweetest shooting BB pistols Ive ever owned. But Daisy quit making them-dont know why. Maybe BBs jammed too easily, or they would start to leak soon after purchase. They did tout the fact they were made with no bothersome Orings-maybe they should have used them. Anyway-thats my 2 cents.


    • Reallead,

      Hop over to “The High Road” and hook up with Cobalt. They do a ton of stuff on the small levers and other ones too. No limits. He would be glad to have you and tell him I said “HI”!



  25. Chris,
    Alright-thankyou. Wow-what a website! I talked to someone at Daisy about parts a few days ago and their guns “made in China”. She said the parts are made in China but the guns are assembled in this country. If the Chinese must be involved, we should make the better quality parts then let the Chinese put them together. I have two model 25s-a ’70s era specimen made by Daisy and a Chinese parts model bought about 3 years ago. The Chinese version does indeed put out 340-350 fps (with application of a little motor oil down the barrel after the magazine barrel is removed), but the Daisy version is much more accurate. Its old and been shot alot so its speed is only about 320 fps Part of the poor accuracy of the Chinese gun can be attributed to the .wacky rear sight and where they located it. Oh well….


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