Finding the pot of gold

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.

65 thoughts on “Finding the pot of gold

  1. B.B.,

    I have learned to follow the old elephants. They are the ones who were able to get their hands on imported air rifles before the economy of my country went south. Only from them can one dream of getting a Feinwerkbau 300s or R1 or any other discontinued model of air rifle. One has to be patient though with old elephants. Some will let their rifles be sold only when they cannot use them anymore, while some would rather let them go with a healthy bit of dickering so as not to sell them at the price they told their better halves they bought it for.

    Siraniko


    • Siraniko,

      You have reminded me of something I occasionally think about. Spouses and parents really should inventory a valuable collection with detailed descriptions, notes, and real world asking prices. Then update the prices every couple years. Such an inventory should be right in the fire safe beside the living will, advance directives, insurance policies, banking and investment documentation, titles, etc.

      Michael


      • Michael,

        My wife’s method runs more like this, ” Honey, you have to promise me that you’ll let me die first. I don’t have the energy to liquidate all your junk” 🙂



    • Yogi,

      I heartily agree — therefore, look intelligently! (I still use Boolean limiters, for example.)

      At the same time I respectfully disagree. My life has been one case of serendipity after another.

      Michael


  2. It looks like I won’t be seeing Tom at the roundtable anymore after youtube has had a great banning of airgun channels over the last few days 🙁

    “my young Padawans” I am fairly sure that is prequel talk. I have just lost all respect for B.B. 😉


  3. Nice tips for those that are in the buying market. It just so happens that I have a “super rare”, “triple set” of Left Hand Crescent wrenches. Yup,.. the 6″, the 10″ and the “highly coveted” 14″ model !!!!. They are in “excellent” condition and I am willing to negotiate a fair price with the “right” buyer. These will not last long folks,… so hurry! Anyone that is interested can give me a call at BR549. 😉

    Good Day to one and all,…… Chris




      • Halfstep,

        Unfortunately,.. the “Nut Rounder” collection. The “Knuckle Buster” brand is the top of the line and much harder to find, not to mention demands a higher price.

        Looking again at the packaging,… there is mention that the 14″ model can double as a makeshift hammer. At the (very) bottom, in very small print, is something to the effect that these fine wrenches can expand your colorful adult language repertoire,.. exponentially. Who would have thunk it?,… fix stuff and learn new words all at the same time! 😉


      • Halfstep,

        I did try out my nail gun reactive target after getting home from work,.. very quickly. Real quick,… everything worked flawlessly. The 3 charge (low =1 ~ high = 4), sounded a bit subdued, but it was pointed away from me, aimed into deep woods with typical heavy leaf coverage on the ground. The only thing that I noted was that the 1 1/2″ fender washers (stacked 3) had a bit of a “lean” indicating the soft “pin” may be a bit too soft. It did do the job though and suffered no mushrooming at all. Any bend appeared to be right at the target head. I can fix that. Going to a “4” should be no issue at all.

        All in all,.. a complete success!!! 🙂 Happy me x 10!

        Target was at 33 yards and shot with a .22 Maximus using a 15.89 grain pellet. I would have to look at Chairgun to see what the FPE would be at that range.

        Anyway,.. since you indicated interest,.. I thought that I would give you the first (exclusive) 😉 update.



        • Chris USA,

          Good job on the target. Was that with the full diameter of the bolt resting on the cartridge ? We’ll need some pics when you can swing it. ( That wrench sounds like a Thumb-seeking Nut Rounder. They are the ones that include the hammer function and the over-sized vocabulary expander )


          • Halfstep,

            Good one! 🙂 The “dent” was in fact somewhat wedge ,through no intention of mine. I would have to say that the pin was 2/3 on the rim. I will be looking into some “refinements”, but all in all, it is 98% perfected.

            On the pics,.. I would be happy to oblige,… however,… I do not possess such talents. GF1 has been kind enough to allow me to send him text pics and he then posted them. However,… again,.. he went through YouTube,… which seems to be a bit of a “quandary” at the moment. At least I think he did it through YouTube.

            At any rate,.. I just wanted you to be the first to be “in the know”. If I can do pics, via GF1, I will do this weekend. I think that you will be impressed when you see the set up.


            • Chris
              Pictures can be posted with the option on the blog.

              To post a video on the blog I had to go through YouTube..

              If we cross our fingers it sounds like we might have the option to post video right from the blog. That will be a good thing with the video’s if it happens.


  4. Hush up Tom, you are giving away our best tricks!

    Actually, I am glad you are writing this one, some people are so focused on finding their unicorn that they hav studied, read about, and dreamed of, they can’t believe someone would misspell it.

    I used the misspellings for years on eBay, I would search for a listing for a Kyosho Cart (a 1/10 scale radio control model of a racing go kart)

    The actual sellers would spell it cart, I would buy it for $25-$30 shipped, get it in, clean it up, and resell it for $150 on eBay with the correct spelling.

    Looking for a new to you computer?
    Try searching for a labtop instead of a laptop.

    Does it run a pentium proccessor?
    Search for pennium.

    Yes, the possible variations are endless.


  5. I have picked up quite a few nice deals at yard sales. I have bought a UK Tempest, a Daisy 717 and a Ruger Air Hawk just to name a few. This past fall I picked up my Crosman 101 from an “old elephant” who has a bunch more old air rifles I am going to try to wheel and deal with him about this spring.

    I have even picked up a couple of real gems from the “ol’ elefant” that writes this blog. 😉


  6. Sometimes even a blind squirrel will find an acorn. I’ve basically quit going to the very small gun shows near me because they rarely have a decent attendance and have very few dealers. Would not have gone yesterday, but it was heavy overcast with mist and I really didn’t have anything in the shop to do.

    Well, the third aisle I turned down, what was staring me in the face but a S&W 78G with original box and manual, spare o-rings and four CO2 cartridges. Only $125. Dealer was original owner and said he bought it new in 1974, resealed it once in 2002 and he thought it would hold CO2 since he had not shot it in years. I offered him $100 and he took it.

    Very long story short. Gun looks brand new, not a scratch on it anywhere, screw slots look like when gun left the factory, gun has not been refinished. Put a CO2 cartridge in it with some Crosman silicone oil, no leak. Fired it and could hear leak through valve. Fired it about ten more times and leak stopped. Didn’t know if it would hold CO2 overnight, it did, but I bought it knowing I might have to reseal it. Gun goes great with my two 79Gs , Crosman MK1, Sheridan E Series 5mm and other vintage air pistols.

    Luck of the Irish, and I’m not even Irish.


  7. Having spent my childhood pretty poor, I’ve bought a lot of used stuff both growing up and as an adult. My added tip would be to know the value of what you’re looking at. A sad trend I’ve seen, probably the result of high end boutique and antique shops, are used items that are way overpriced. “It’s a rare and valuable antique!” someone thinks (when it’s not). At least modern technology now lets you whip out your smartphone and look something up.


    • HiveSeeker,

      You’ve described what think of as the rule, not the exception. Every now and then I will find a “steal,” but much more often I will see, say, something that should be marked $120 marked $1200.00. Two years later, it is still there for the same ridiculous price. I can’t tell you how many cheapie model Fender guitars I’ve seen at pawn shops with quite high, collectable Fender prices because while the shopkeeper might know jewelry and firearms, he doesn’t know musical instruments.

      Michael




  8. B.B.,

    The other side of the misspellings thing is what it forces one to do to be a shrewd seller. List a Crosman, and you will have to add Crossman to the title so poor spelling potential bidders will find it. Lot of 4 AIr Rifles: Crosman Crossman Walther Walter Anschutz Anchultz Daisy Daisey.

    Michael



  9. Enjoyable blog as always. I read it every morning as I drink my first cup of coffee with my little poodle Einstein along side me as I watch the morning news for weather and traffic.

    Mispronunciations are common in the car arena also, especially for German or French vehicles. Ever heard of the German brand Porsche? It is the name of the originator of the brand, like Ford and Ferrari. In the German language, there are no silent letters. It is not a “portia” or a porsh”. Pronounce every letter like “porsha”. I don’t know of anyone who wants to shop for a “shevrolet”. I won’t even try to correctly pronounce French or Chinese brand vehicles.

    I’m sure there are other areas besides airguns and cars where mispronunciation and spelling are common.

    Bob in Texas
    Don’t even start me on “rodeo” or “pecan”.


  10. Great information, B.B.! Thanks for sharing some of your secrets. I often wonder how people have “dumb luck” and just “happen upon” great deals… Seems these cliches have a little more to do with due diligence and knowing where (and how) to look for the bargains.



      • B.B,

        Mac sounds like a great guy to have as a friend (frend) does he also advise you on truck or auto purchases? My favorite is the Benjamin Franklin closing trick; apparently Been actually used the negotiating trick during one of his Diplomatic missions for the USA. It goes like this:
        Fold a piece of paper lengthwise down the middle, write Pros on one side and Cons on the other. He listed all the Pros and offered the other party(s) to the negotiation the opportunity to fill in any Cons they could think of! Have you ever seen that used; perhaps the last time you negotiated the purchase of a truck?

        Great Blog today Tom; I really need something lite to get today/ this week off the ground!

        shootski


  11. Mr. Gaylord:
    Just before I read today’s posting, I finished a brief on court appointment of an expert witness and payment of expert witness fees. And I open today’s blog and read this! Eight expert tricks freely given away to the world! Really!! 🙂

    Mr Gaylord, we all should be paying you big bucks for the expert advise advise you provide daily. 🙂 🙂

    Thanks for today’s eight tricks. Not that I’m ever likely to use them. But they’re nice to have from some one who’s so clearly an expert and NOT just a one trick pony.

    Respectfuly.
    William Schooley


  12. At the risk of being banned from the blog I ask.
    Is it possible that we are standing in the middle of the elephant graveyard? To quote Axel Rose “ welcome to the jungle”.


  13. Codeuce,

    I resemble that remark…elefants die at an average age of 48 for Asian, 60-70 for African and Forrest (Forest) ‘fants.
    Bowhead whales (wails) however live to 200 years! I have been a swimmer all my and have seen lots of much older folks in good shape well into their nineties! It is never to late to learn how to swim; so get to your nearest Y or community pool and become a Bowhead! Keep shooting longer you Nimrods

    I hope I go to the Bowhead whale graveyard.

    shootski


  14. I guess I might as well throw away my left handed metric monkey wrenches. They are like new and in the original box.

    I do still use them once in a while though. Everyone wants a spanner now.

    Don


  15. Thanks, B.B.! I used these tricks to find a few gems that are on my watch list. =)

    On an unrelated note, I used pseudo-airgun to fix a stopped up drain in our bathtub.
    The product is called Kleer Drain, and sells for $24.95 at the local home improvement store.
    It uses a small CO2 bulb (I’m guessing 8 ounce? They’re just over 2.5″ long) that discharges when you push down on both handles (note: you do need to remove the overflow valve and plug that opening).
    The blast cleared my stopped up drain, and blew the wet sock out of the overflow opening.
    That’s all well and good, but these guys do not understand airguns or marketing! =>

    I guess they figured no one would pay more than $25 for a CO2-powered drain clearing device.
    However, if they changed the name to Drain Blaster, and added a pistol grip and a trigger,
    I might have been willing to pay up to $50, depending on how gun-like it looked.

    But if a really clever marketing guy had shaped the Drain Blaster to look like a blunderbuss from the 1600s,
    complete with wooden stock and an imitation flint to touch off the CO2 charge,
    then I’d have gladly paid $100 for it just so I could hang it on the wall for bragging rights, hahaha! =)~


  16. You might get lucky by looking for alternate spellings. This is a legitimate library search tactic, but there are dangers as well. A misspelling could also indicate someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. Part of the U.S. Postal service’s advice on identifying suspicious packages was that they contained misspellings. And isn’t this also a feature of the writing of serial killers? Since the internet is so uncertain, it makes sense to me to have layers of defense that look for red flags across multiple criteria. I’ll lose some good deals this way. I might even get burned with things that meet my qualifications, but at least I improve my chances. But I am of a cautious mind. I guess it also depends on how badly you want something. I just sprang for a pair of reproduction USMC dungarees online which are in my size which is hard to find.

    I had another range trip from which I never cease to learn things. Once again, I tested my Saiga rifle for accuracy. I installed my rubber eye cup to the scope, checked all the screws on the scope mount, loaded up my expensive Hornady SST ammo, and fired. And what do you think I found when looking through the spotting scope? Five rounds stringing vertically along the whole length of the Redfield sighting target for a spread of 12 inches at 100 yards!? The bluebird of happiness truly slapped me in the face. Screws were all tight. Finally, I got to thinking of blog reader Kevin’s comment on how the “seasoning” of a bore by different powders can affect accuracy. I had shot some surplus ammo just beforehand. I had thought that seasoning might affect accuracy slightly and only for a round or two, but nothing so severe as this. On the other hand, I had no alternative explanation. So, I kept firing away and the groups tightened up. I’ll have more respect for powder seasoning in future. This is another problem with firearms that airguns avoid.

    Switching to offhand and the surplus ammo, the gun did much better. With the Leaper’s Bugbuster scope, the Saiga is more accurate offhand than all of my WWII combat rifles, including the Mosin Nagant sniper, and second only to my Savage police sniper rifle and my Anschutz target rifle. That makes sense given the Saiga/AK’s original purpose.

    Also, after years, the concept of handgun versus “handsgun” got to me, and I decided to try shooting one-handed. As another goal, I was also thinking of learning to shoot with the weak side hand which seems like a useful skill. To my surprise, all of my guns of various calibers from .22 LR up to .45 ACP kicked strongly to the left rather than upwards as I expected. Is this normal? I’ve heard that rifles will kick upwards because of the curved pistol grip of conventional stocks. And they will also kick sideways (I think to the right) because of the direction of the rifling twist. I wonder if something similar is happening to the handguns. Accuracy seemed to be okay although it was hard to tell because my target was pretty used up.

    ChrisUSA, more news on my shooting protege. After deciding to enlist, the stray sheep was taken back home prior to his departure today on his new career in the army. Having made his commitment, he is really going all out. The plan is to enlist for eight years to include officer candidate school. On top of that, he wants to become a cavalry scout. This seems to involve riding around in light armored vehicles and is generally a dangerous and difficult specialty, so this is a complete conversion. It is reminiscent of a paradox I’ve heard about prison inmates: the people who aspired to complete freedom end up with no freedom at all. Here this person who couldn’t follow the most basic routines in civil society has taken on a rigorous path in the military. Hope it turns out better for him. I knew this one kid in high school who was skinny and nerdy. But after joining the National Guard and replacing his glasses with contac lenses, he became quite the stud.

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      The “kick” to the left is caused by the trigger finger of a right-handed shooter. A lefty will kick them to the right.

      The technical term for it is flinch.

      I used to have a scout platoon in my Combat Support company in Germany. It’s heavy, hot, dangerous work. Those “light” armored vehicles are light only in comparison to main battle tanks. They will crush an automobile to less than 12 inches high, which one of mine did on a field exercise.

      B.B.


    • Matt61,

      Thank you for the update. It just goes to show that real life can often be stranger than fiction. (I wish him the very best). From what I have gathered from a previous conversation,… even though you sign up and are “all in”,… there is a bit of an acceptance phase that is on the military’s behalf. Kind of like a “Welcome” or,.. “Thanks,.. but no thanks”.

      Chris



  17. I haunt pawn shops too, and have had some success. A 342 Benjamin, holds air, shoots nice, looks like closet gun, $35. Then an Air Arms S510 xtra lite .22 turned up in that same shop, $249. I was thunderstruck by this and bought it on the spot. Resealed at Air Venturi and shoots nice. It was rough looking stock, so I replaced that too, a fine rifle for $570. The last find was a real nice R-9 in .177 for their apparently default price of $249. I want to try the gunbroker tricks now, find the elusive, nice, .25 cal springer. Scratch that itch.


  18. I bought my Diana 52 in .22 Cal. from a gun shop that didn’t know what it really was. Just and old air gun, $75.00 just get it out of here to make room for real guns. I was happy to help. Two weeks ago at a gun show I bought an original new HK five shot hunting magazine for an HK 91 semi auto rifle. It was marked $10 dollars. At first glance I thought it said $100 dollars which would not have been a surprise. After I gave the man the $10 he asked me what the magazine fit. Knowledge is king!

    Mike


  19. BB,
    Sorry about off topic post. Have you noticed recently the quantity of airgun channels on YouTube that have been deleted? Well known and loved airgunners that you quote and interview?! Looks like an attack on our community. If you are famous in our community you are toast. What a shame!! Is there anything we can do?


    • Ton,

      That has been the topic this week. There are things in motion to do something about it, but nothing is solid yet.

      There are other places for these people to post and some readers have posted about that. Pyramyd Air is looking for ways to get their videos back online, and perhaps they will also host other airgun channels.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        (Please) keep us posted. I think that this is weighing heavy on some. Give us some perspective, some background, what is happening, what is being done (when that happens) and most of all, anything that we as air gunners can do to assist.

        I think that,.. at least the people here on the blog, would appreciate getting any info./updates from you (directly). I know that I for one do not have the time to cruise multiple sites for the status of current happenings.

        I have seen some sites cross-advertise various vendors. That is good in my opinion. Perhaps further uniting is in order and then, take it to the next level. Like you said,… there is some opportunity in all of this,.. somewhere.

        Chris


  20. B.B.

    Thank you for medaling in my affairs. I have been looking for one.

    I am still grateful for the Winchester 353 I found a couple years ago. Still looking for the 427.

    I did find a marksman 70 with rekord trigger(push lever safety), bsf tube and sights. Stamped Hunt beach. The price wasn’t the best part. It was funny I had just passed on a much more expensive R10 not too long before. When I got the 70 home and handled it I realized that all that’s ever really been done with it. Handling marks for sure but the gun wasn’t even hardly broken in.


  21. Ton,

    We covered that in depth in the comments on Fridays blog. I think we got close to 340 comments last time I looked.
    So check out Friday’s blog and see. I think most of us are burned out on that topic for the moment after yesterday’s run of thoughts. Some good stuff in there!

    shootski


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