by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Trick number 1
  • Walter
  • Daisey
  • Trick 2
  • A gem!
  • Trick 3
  • Trick 4
  • Trick 5
  • Trick 6

I’m writing this report today because I need to. Something inside is telling me to get this out and I can’t think of anything else.
Today I’m going to talk about finding great deals.

Trick number 1

Several years ago I wrote a report about how to use common misspellings to locate hard-to-find items on public auction websites
like Gun Broker. We all hear people mispronouncing the names of famous airguns and firearms, but did you know they sometimes spell them that way, too. Take Anschütz. Many Americans pronounce it Anschultz, as in Ann Schultz. So, I went on Gun Broker and typed in Anschultz and, sure enough, there were 6 listings. Nobody who types in the correct spelling of the name will see these 6 listings, unless the seller also put the correct spelling in the title. It also means there will be very little competition on these listings. That’s the way the internet works.  But, if he listed it under Anschultz I doubt that he knows the correct spelling.

Walter

Let’s try another one. You may not believe it but there are many folks who call Walther Walter. So, search that spelling and see what comes up. I found several. Our German readers must be rolling in the aisles, today!

Daisey

This misspelling is also very common. I found 6 listings when I looked, but in the past I have found many more. Often it will be a gun dealer who ranks all airguns as toys, so don’t be shocked to find that his Daisey 107 also leads you to his listing for a somewhat rusty Feinwerkbau 124 (he spells that one right because he’s never heard of it, so he copies it right off the gun) for $35. And, with that little story I just told you trick number 2.

Trick 2

Most sellers on Gun Broker have multiple listings (more than one thing for auction). When you find them by this method (misspellings) look at their other listings and you will sometimes find diamonds in the rough. The description I just gave actually happened to me and I did buy an FWB 124 for $35! It happened in a different way — a way that is just as unbelievable and one I will reveal as Trick number 3 in a bit, but I’m not done with Trick 2 yet.

I followed my own advice while writing this report, though, and did uncover a diamond in the rough! It’s a 37-pound muzzleloading chunk rifle made around 1850 by W.L. Hudson in Ohio. It was given modern peep sights and sold to the current owner at Friendship Indiana in 1967. That was before many of you were born. Friendship is where the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (NMLRA) is headquartered. The seller is asking $1,695 for this rifle, which I think is a great value. If I were 20 year younger, I would jump on it (the opportunity — not the rifle).

A gem!

The next misspelling is Crossman. It’s so common that I found 147 istings — most with no bids because airgunners know how to spell the name correctly. I found a .22 caliber multi-pump
Crosman Medalist II pistol with a Buy It Now price of $25 with a $16 shipping fee by Priority Mail. This is the modern (1970-1976) version of the Crosman 130. I am awash with airguns or I would buy it and get it going again. It looks like new. Oh, did I mention that it comes with the BOX? It’s not worth a lot of money, but the condition looks great and the investment is small.

Trick 3

What I am about to tell you sounds unbelievable, but it does happen all the time. An airgun dealer is steeped in Crosman, Benjamin and Sheridan repairs and gets guns sent to him for repair from around the country. He is well known for what he does. Then he gets something that doesn’t fit in. It’s an FWB 124. It’s a little rusty and the finish is worn, but it mostly just doesn’t fit into his business model. So he sells it for $35. Yep, that’s what happened to me. I saw it leaning against the wall in his shop and asked about it. He told me the story I just told you — it just wasn’t his kind of airgun.

I tuned that rifle and got it shooting great and I think I made a lot on it. But even if I didn’t, it was still a good deal. I could tell you many tales like that. It’s not a matter of being in the right place at the right time. You have to learn to recognize what the right time and place are, and take it from there! What I’m telling you, my young Padawans, is that things will come to you. You just need to have open eyes.

What made me think about that story was what happened at Weatherford Pawn last week. I told you I found the Chinese B3 underlever and the Benjamin 392 (Friday’s report) that I’m having fixed for them to pay for it. That discovery gave me a host of historical articles to write, and for me that’s a treasure.

But it also happens to me a lot. I look in the corners in pawn shops, gun stores and thrift stores and I find a lot of things that are worth more than they are asking. I found my R1 Book for $10 in a local used book store and sold it at an airgun show for a whole lot more. There is stuff out there if you just look for it. I typically find the deal of a lifetime about every month or so.

Trick 4

Don’t be too specific when you search. When you are looking, don’t focus on just one thing. That’s the way to make a bad deal. Instead, be open to all kinds of possibilities. I know that isn’t how they show it on TV. The bargain hunter tells you he’s looking for an 18-inch left-handed Crescent wrench, and then he leads you through all the steps he had to go through to “find” it. You need to think about this fourth-dimensionally.

First he found an 18-inch left-handed Crescent wrench and said, “Let’s build a show around this.” Then all the “searching” he did was scripted. Or, do you really think those auction hunters find storage lockers with tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff in them every week? Come on, guys! I loaned a Quackenbush big bore rifle to one auction show so they could “find” it. And, incidentally, is my use of quotation marks today starting to make more sense?

Trick 5

Mistaken descriptions pay off! Some of you know that I like zimmerstutzens. I wrote a long article about them. Well, in Germany they are still having zimmerstutzen matches, or they did until very recently. So, there are modern zimmerstutzens, too — like the one I found while researching today’s report. It was made by Anschütz (not Anschultz) in the 1950s or ’60s on their 1954 rimfire target action. It looks like a modern bolt action rifle.

But the seller lists it as a Zimmer Schutzen, so nobody looking for zimmerstutzens will see it. A lot of gun guys make the same mistake. It’s like calling a double set trigger a hair trigger. Do a Gun Broker search on hair trigger and see what comes up.

Or look for “one-pump.” That’s how some people refer to a breakbarrel spring-piston rifle.

Trick 6

Follow an old elephant! When I was a kid, stories abounded about the search for the elephants’ graveyard. The story went that you never see the carcass of a dead elephant, so when old elephants know they are going to die they go to the elephants’ graveyard — a secret place where there are centuries of elephant bones, including a fortune in ivory, waiting to be discovered.

Well, here is the deal. In New York and London where those rumors arose, you do not see many free-roaming elephants. They are all pretty much behind fences in zoos. Of course “they” never saw an elephant carcass — there were none to see! Had the rumormongers lived in elephant country, things might have looked different. So, a rumor was born. It’s pretty much the same as what we sometimes read on the internet about airgun accuracy that’s written from La-Z-Boy recliners around the country.

But old elephants are worth following. Not for their ivory, but for the things they loose interest in as they draw closer to the great divide. These guys have the things you younger guys lust after, and they are often happy to see them go to good homes, rather than to get every last cent they are worth.

The gold is out there. All you have to do is learn to look for it.