2019 SHOT Show: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

This report covers:

  • Leapers crossbow sight reticle
  • Beeman Chief PCP repeaters
  • FX Dreamlite
  • 100-cubic-inch-carbon fiber tank
  • Another new compressor
  • This show was different
  • SHOT Summary

Today I will give you my final report on the 2019 SHOT Show. I always see more things than I can possibly report.

Leapers crossbow sight reticle

First up is the reticle for the crossbow scope that I said would make a fine new Bug Buster with very little alteration. Tom Zhu of Leapers took a picture of the prototype rifle through the scope for us. Remember that this is still a prototype for a crossbow and the design of the reticle could change, but you can see the bubble level in the bottom of the image.

King Bug Buster reticle
Leapers UTG crossbow scope prototype reticle is etched glass. The bubble of the level can be seen at the bottom of the image.

Beeman Chief PCP repeaters

In the Beeman booth I saw three new PCP repeaters. Two have wood stocks and are based on the current single-shot Chief. The third is a synthetic version of the QB78 — so all three are closely related. They are all 10-shot repeaters and will be available in both .177 and .22.

Beeman Chief PCPs
Beeman will bring out three new models of repeating PCP (top 3) based on the QB78 action.

FX Dreamlite

FX airguns were not displayed at this SHOT Show, but that may change. Pyramyd Air signed with FX just after the show was over and they are starting to show the Dreamline models on the website. The rifle all you readers have talked about is the new Dreamlite, which is a new addition to the FX Dreamline line.

Dreamlite
The FX Dreamlite should be available soon.

The Dreamlite will be offered in .177, .22 and .25 calibers, and the caliber can be changed by the user. At 5.8 lbs. it is very lightweight, yet is powerful — up to 20 foot-pounds in .177, 32 foot-pounds in .22 and 48 foot-pounds in .25. The trigger is two stage and adjustable. The rifle is filled to 230 bar 3,335 psi with an externally adjustable regulator and an externally adjustable striker spring, which means there are potentially a lot of shots on a fill — up to 100 in .177, 60 in .22 and 30 in .25.

It’s a bolt action repeater with a sidelever on the right side of the receiver. The circular magazine capacities hold 21 pellets in .177, 18 in .22 and 16 in .25. The magazine does stand tall above the receiver, so a high scope ring set is required.

 

The price!

I guess the biggest news for the Dreamlite is the price. All of the Dreamline guns represent a big step down from previous FX pricing. And the Dreamlite is particularly good. I can see that this will be a rifle I have to test for you. I will wait until the first orders have been filled, but I do want to test one.

100-cubic-inch-carbon fiber tank

Want something a little smaller to carry to the field, to air your PCPs? How about the new Air Venturi100-cubic-inch-carbon fiber tank? The EZ-Valve on this tank has two gauges — one to tell you how much air is going into your gun and the other to tell you how much air remains in the tank. That’s valuable information, because it allow you to plan the use of air.

100-cubic-inch tank
I put the 100-cubic-inch tank next to a 98-cubic-foot tank for some perspective. This little tank is easier to carry to the field with your PCPs, yet holds enough air for a lot of shooting. The dual gauges tell you how much air remains in the tank, as well as how much you are putting into the gun — something that is uncommon today.

Another new compressor

I stopped by the Sun Optics booth to see what was new and Duane Sorenson showed me a compressor he has been working on. It may seem familiar to some of you because it’s one of the compressors that are selling for cheap on Ebay.

Duane told me he put this one into rugged service right after he received it and the seals failed after just over one hour, so he dismantled it to see how it was built. He was impressed by the design, but found all the seals and o-rings too soft for their tasks. He replaced them all with high-durometer rings and seals. He also modified the valve for greater efficiency and then put the unit back into service. To date it has 80 hours of continuous use filling air tanks on the new setup. That is rugged duty for a small compressor. If his testing bears out, he plans on selling it at some point.

compressor
This Chinese air compressor has been overhauled and modified for long life. It may come to market this year.

This show was different

The 2019 SHOT Show was different than any of the 20+ shows I have attended in the past. Always in the past the majority of vendors have shown many new products. Some of those products were on a hard development timeline, and due to come out in the same year as the show. Other products were very shown early in their development and would not come to market that year. Still others were not real products at all. They were trial “balloons,” shown to get the reaction of the potential customers, to see if the potential investment of time to develop them was worth it.

This year no one vendor showed very many new products, but, with a few exceptions, the products they did show were on an actual development timeline. And there is more. Several companies had reworked existing products to make them better (many of the gen II products come from efforts like that).

The trial balloon approach gets humorous after you have experienced it a couple times, because, when you are told the product will be out by June you respond, “Yes, but June of what year?” This is also called prototyping in public and it isn’t very pretty. When the marketing team advertises the product years before its release they embarrass the company and give consumers a bitter taste in their mouths.

Products in development are a reality of business, and can be accepted when they are labeled as such. But taking orders for something that won’t exist for years and may never exist is not good. In the world of software development that sort of product is called vaporware.

SHOT Summary

This year was different, as I have said. I see a lot of airgun companies buckling down and working on products they know will satisfy their customer base. It has taken a long timer for this to happen, but it now seems to be universal.

Are there other products I haven’t shown? Of course. But in some cases (not all) these products are from foreign manufacturers who obviously haven’t got a clue how business is done in the United States. I purposely did not report them because I have no way of knowing whether they will ever gain traction in this market.

The products I did show, for the most part, are solid and real. If otherwise, I told you as the reports unfolded.

New Blue Book coming

There will be a new Blue Book released later this year. I’m thinking it will be out by June. I have been asked to summarize the major events that have happened in the past three years since the 12th edition was published. When I looked at all of that I realized I will have to summarize, because this has been the most period ever, since airguns were first invented more than 500 years ago! We are truly in airgunning’s golden age!

48 thoughts on “2019 SHOT Show: Part 6

  1. BB
    It’s not only bad seals on the China made compressor. The first low pressure garage compressor I got destroyed an air seal because the edge of the metal in the auto shut off sealing area was too sharp. The second one I got was for a much lower price but has pot metal elbow pipe fittings with a bright shinny gold color meant to look like brass. It fell over one day and almost disintegrated the one coming out of the head. I could not even E-Z out the part stuck in the head. It just crumbled.

    Hopefully they have removed any very shinny imitation brass fittings when they converted them to HPA.

    Chris,
    Talk about read valves in silencers. I think it is what is being used in one of the newest, quietest ones out there. I noticed it on a recent weekly TV gun show. If I remember the removable insert was octagonal with what looked like stainless insets between the lengthwise ribs and had what looked like dozens of fine black lines in them.

    After all the excitement and smoke cleared the outlet, during the sound testing, a donut of smoke slowly followed it up … delayed hot air.
    Bob M


    • Bob,

      That is interesting. How did it do on sound testing? Much reduction? How did it do in flash suppression? My Direct TV package used to have, but not anymore, various shows on hunting and guns. Even American Airgunner. I do miss watching them. I liked the technical ones the best.

      I can see reed valves trapping and holding the mass pressures created by a firearm. Not so sure of the application/benefits on air guns though. Too expensive I suppose?

      Chris


      • Chris
        I did not pay too much attention to it all and the company demonstrator really did not seem to want to get too deep into its design. In hind sight it may not have been actual reed valves. May have been very thin strips of spring steel that expand to let high pressure gas pass through and delay or hold it between it and the silencer wall until the pressure inside the silencer reduces and allows it to bleed back to the center and out.
        Most of the discussion was about heat dissipation to decrease the sound. All I can say is that the hot fireball gas was directed straight ahead more, not as big. Can’t even remember the name because I could never own one. May have been Sig. It was claimed to be very good at reducing sound but I had the volume low on the TV. Can’t remember any sound measurements quoted

        Definitely not intended for airguns.



        • RR,

          Yes, I know most of what I want to see is on the net. I spend too much? time as it is here and not enough time shooting and doing other things. I do need to set up a favorites folder of sites I like so I can look in from time to time. Yes, Hector’s site is good. I corresponded with him on the Yankee Tune (trigger) on the LGU when I had it.

          I like the technical stuff in general when people are testing a new product, theory, improvements and tune stuff.

          Chris


          • Chris,

            That is his specialty. He is really into sproingers, most especially the Diana 54. He competes with one in WFT.

            Lots of good stuff can be learned from him.


            • RR,

              So I have gathered. I must be cautious. It is all too easy to get over absorbed into something (research, latest, greatest, tweaks, tunes, testing, new ideas, etc.) and (almost) never come up for air. With the internet,…. info. overload is all too easy, regardless of whatever it is you are interested in.

              Chris


  2. B.B.,

    Good article and some nice insight on the industry. Cool on the compressor. Yup, you don’t want cheap fittings (or anything else) subjected to 4500 psi. It all good, till one day it ain’t. Hat’s off to him for going the extra mile on that venture. I like the tank. Just like my Guppy I got from Joe B. The 2 gauges are super sweet. Nice on the FX and the P.A. relationship!

    Good Day to you and to all,……… Chris


  3. BB
    Re: Leapers crossbow reticle.
    This reticle just has that easy to use look to it. I think it would make a great airgun reticle. With a bit of documentation it could be fine for long distance varminting.
    As well a reticle like this on one of the picture window pistol dot scopes would work for longer shots.
    Dave


  4. BB
    The QB Chief 10 shot repeater looks interesting. I,m looking forward to you doing a review on this one.
    After last years shooting season my single shot .22 cal. QB Chief w/24X scope is now up to about 2500 shots in total. I would say it is completely broken in now with CP Domes shooting 1” or better groups at 50 yds.


  5. I guess I better knock on wood now. I don’t know how many hours my China compressor has on it now. No problems yet.

    What I did see is my compressor came with 3 rebuild kits. All the o-rings and seals in it are black and seem to be normal. And what I have seen is pictures of rebuild kits with some green o-rings. I’m betting them are the lower grade o-rings from what I have seen at work. They are very soft. You can cut them with a fingernail.

    So maybe my compressor got good o-rings??? And either way. Just like other hpa compressors and hand pumps they can be rebuilt with the right parts.

    But glad they are trying to do something with the China compressors. And come to think about it if I remember right they were contracted out by Crosman for the Benjamin hand pumps. At least they have exsperiance in hpa pumps. That’s who Crosman referred me to when I needed a rebuild kit for a Benjamin hand pump I had years ago.



    • Hey Gunfun1
      My compressor is about the same as the one shown and like yours came with 3 rebuild kits with the black o-rings and seals.
      All of my HPA guns really sip the air so the compressor sees very little use. Only top ups on a couple of 13ci bottles and the 80ci carbon tank. All seems to be working fine and temp is always 45° to 50° Max.
      I recently purchased an MCX rifle and out of the box converted it to HPA. It has never seen co2 – never will.
      I found the rear sight to be lacking and replaced it with an AR fully adjustable 2 size peeps. The smaller peep is about .030” and with 1X readers lets me use the upper corners of the front sight post for aiming. One hole groups at 15 yards!
      The MCX is prooving itself to be a fine shooter. Next mod will see a 4 – 12 X 56 scope with 6X parallax at 15 yards. Should be interesting.
      Cheers
      Dave


      • Dave
        Thanks for the info about your compressor. I’m happy with mine. Just hope’n it keeps chug’n along. Definitely has been worth the money I payed for it so far.

        And cool with the MCX. I have many times almost bought one and done the same. It would definitely have to run on hpa if I got one. And I think I would have to put some kind of dot sight on if I got one. Mine would be a feral can hunter. And definitely nice shoot’n with yours. I can for sure live with one hole groups at 15 yards. There would be no problem getting those pesky feral cans with that accuracy. I like. 🙂


        • Hey Gunfun 1
          Yes, the MCX does seem to be a great rifle on HPA. I have to clarify what I mean by one hole groups though!
          These groups are not simply just a .177 cal. size hole. Would they were I would be wearing a big smile forever! The groups I call one hole are 8 to 10 shots leaving a rough shot out single hole of about fingernail size. I have a big hand so on a bad day that would be ½” to ¾”. On a good day about ⅜” to ½” in size. But still I think pretty good for 15 yards.
          The MCX should get over 200 shots per 13ci air tank. I haven’t shot it outside yet. It’s just to cold here right now. It was -41°C last night and -35°C right now about noon. I’m afraid some of the cast bits and pieces inside the gun would get brittle and break so I try to keep my outdoor shooting of these guns to well above freezing although some of my side lever springers can handle it, not having any cast parts. One old AK style B3 i have is a dedicated cold weather gun. I stripped it of all grease and oil and used low viscisity lubes. It has worked well at 30 and 40 below for the last 25 years. I just make sure to clean and lube after every use.
          Almost forgot – the black rubber butt plate that comes with the 13ci HPA conversion makes the pull way too long. If you turn it upside down it becomes almost useable but still to long! I’ll be replacing it with one made out of some ⅛” X ¾” bar stock taped to the 13ci bottle and custom fit to my shoulder.
          Cheers
          Dave


          • Dave
            Still good shooting with the gun.

            200 shots is great.

            And -35c is way to cold for me. We had -6f last week and I was afraid to shoot. It was right at 30f in the breezeway that day I shot. And that was with the propane heater going. It was frigid out. No way would I want to be out in the weather you said. That’s just to cold stuff for me.

            And yep don’t like the butt that comes with the Air Venturi bottle if that’s what you mean. It can’t be adjusted right. For me anyway.


  6. BB et al.
    Like I’ve said before I’ m going to milk this one for all its worth.
    The Daisy Winchester M14 has been back on the bench for a while now. It’s a fun gun to shoot on HPA and it does have its accurate moments until the sccuracy just falls off, not to return until the gun is re-zeroed.
    Under close examination with a strong magnifier I found the upper fore stock was moving quite a bit (at least 3/32”) when the gun was handled. It seemed to have a pivot point right at the front of the forestock and the rear of the fore stock never returned to the same place. I needed to stabilise the rear of the fore stock and found a 2” piece of mountain bike inner tube when worked up to the juncture of the barrel and breech seemed to hold everything in place nicely. No more creaking! Over the next little while I plan to put it to the test and see if that fix resolves the problem.
    Cheers
    Dave


  7. Good to see that someone is looking at upgrading the inexpensive China HPA compressors.

    It seems to be stupid that the manufacturer chose to save a couple of pennies by using inferior O-rings – news of early failures will travel across the internet fast and sales will dry up in a hurry. Duh! Go figure!

    In addition selling overhauled, reliable compressors, Sun Optics could sell O-ring kits to support the people who have HPA compressors. Could be a bit of profit for minimum effort on their part – a win/win solution for everybody.

    The 100 ci carbon fibre tank is nice but like all the carbon fiber tanks, much too expensive for my tastes – they cost way more than many of the rifles they fill!

    Would be nice to see someone market a HPA “filling station” – a small (low power, light duty) compressor with a small (big enough to fill a rifle 2 or 3 times) integral air reservoir. The idea being that the rifle is (quickly) filled from the small reservoir and the compressor tops it off while the rifle is being used. Freed from the need to recharge a rifle directly or fill a large tank the compressor could be lighter duty, using less power and run cooler. Figure that the unit could be smaller, lighter and cheaper than most current solutions, kinda a replacement for a HPA hand pump. Sorry, arm-chair engineering again.

    Cheers!
    Hank




        • Tyler
          Now that’s a good question.

          Since we are setting the bar here. Let’s say $3.00 per cubic inch of the bottle. And that will be new bottles and not carbon fiber bottles.

          Why what do you think could be a reasonable price if the right connections could be established?


          • What do you mean by “And that will be new bottles and not carbon fiber bottles.”

            If we use the existing price point of $399.99 for both 88 ci and 100 ci tanks, anything less than that is automatically more attractive.

            But let’s see what folks say, I am more interested in what blog readers think is a good price…my opinion is a little skewed here, so I don’t want to inject my own thoughts into this.


            • Tyler
              Carbon fiber tanks are usually higher priced. So let’s leave them out for now.

              A Benjamin 90 cubic inch bottle is $399. So for it to be a price point bottle it has to be less than that. So with the $3.00 per cubic inch that would make that a price point bottle of $270.

              The idea of a price point pcp as BB has coined the phrase has to sell for a cheaper price than a higher dollar gun is. For example a Marauder rifle verses a Gauntlet. The Marauder is in the $500 range while the Gauntlet is right at $300 with similar features as the Marauder.

              So for a price point hpa bottle to be appealing it has to be cheaper. And that’s my opinion. And yes I would like to see what other readers think about that.

              Let’s see.


              • The Benjamin bottle is Carbon Fiber…just has a black rubbery wrap on the outside.

                No one presently has a 4500 psi capable small bottle in the airgun market. I’ve seen a few small bottles, but they are all 3300 psi max.



                • Tyler
                  3300psi???

                  The small Air Venturi bottles are 4500 if I remember right. But they were regulated to like 2900 psi fills.

                  The new valve and bottle BB is talking about is not regulated.

                  And I thought the Benjamin 90 cubic inch bottle was aluminum wrapped with carbon fiber. Then the new bottles are all carbon fiber wrap.

                  I don’t know. I haven’t kept up on what I thought they was calling true carbon fiber bottles.

                  But still I think a price point bottle would be welcomed. But in the back of my mind I don’t think that the market will allow it. That being the people that are controlling the bottle making and price setting.

                  It’s going to be a while before we see a lower dollar air bottle I’m afraid.


                  • BB, the carbon fiber small AV bottles have always been 4500 psi capable, yes.

                    GF1, what I was referring to are the small steel and aluminum tanks you may see out there.

                    The small AV bottles have always been 4500 psi max fill, that’s correct. Previously they had a regulated output, now the output is unregged, allowing them to fill any and everything.

                    All carbon fiber tanks that are sold on PA have an aluminum bladder and are CF wrapped. Straight CF bottles capable of holding and retaining high pressure are just hitting the market and are still extremely expensive, I honestly don’t know that much about them at this point as it was just brought to my attention a few weeks ago.

                    Hopefully that provides better clarification.


                    • Tyler
                      I thought you designated the 100 cubic inch bottle specifically at the beginning of our conversation.

                      Now we are going into other prospects.

                      And yes now you just said what I’m talking about. The bottles that are aluminum based. And yes I know the all carbon fiber bottles are very expensive. That’s why I didn’t include them at the beginning of our conversation.

                      And back to the beginning. A price point hpa bottle would be nice. Will it be possible? That’s the next question.

                      I hope. But I have a feeling there are higher controlling powers that me or you have to influence this subject.


                    • Tyler,
                      I guess the price point For bottles would be less than the cost of the gun I am filling with it. In my case it is the gauntlet. So far I fill it with only a hand pump because I feel that the fill source should be less expensive than the gun being filled.
                      Gerald


                    • Tyler@PA,

                      Here is the information you, and the rest of us, need to know about how containment and the current evolution in carbon fiber cylinders:
                      The evolution of vessels and tanks designed to hold liquids and gases under pressure has proceeded through four distinct stages: all-metal tanks (Type I), metal hoop-wrapped composite tanks (Type II), metal-lined composite tanks (Type III) and plastic-lined composite tanks (Type IV). The fifth stage, an all-composite, linerless Type V tank has been the pressure vessel industry’s Holy Grail for years. Recently, 2008 or so, one company, Composites Technology Development Inc. (CTD, Lafayette, Colo.), successfully designed, tested and built such a tank for a real-world application.
                      The beauties of linerless tank technology:

                      CTD’s linerless tanks are expected to range from 15 to 20 percent lighter than their nearest Type IV cousins. Studies indicate that after they are in full-scale production, linerless tanks will cost less to manufacture, most obviously because the costs of the liner material and liner fabrication will be eliminated. Less obvious is the fact that engineers also will have more flexibility during development to make design changes.

                      “Lined tanks are difficult and costly to make changes to once they are built,” says Tupper. He also says CTD was able to increase the volume of the tank by about 15 percent through a simple modification to the tooling. In a lined tank, the liner is the tool and, therefore, would need to be redesigned.

                      Additionally, liner-free, all-composite tanks can be made in conformal shapes, allowing tank designers to use nonuniform (Think Airguns without the butt ugly cylinders ticking out like a sore thumb!) geometries. This attribute, Tupper believes, will speed market penetration. Tupper explains. “It is much easier to make a conformable tank with all-composite laminate than a metal tank or a composite tank with a metal liner.”

                      Think of the possibilities with Type V hpa vessels not needing to be cylinders!

                      shootski



            • Tyler,

              Cheap as possible, but not at the cost of safety. That includes fittings, gauges and whips.

              Like small home compressors,…. Shoebox was it for the most part, as far as I know. Now look. Which brings up the point GF1 brought up about monopolies. As long as the price is not being held high by a few distributers and they are being fair,… then it comes down to sales competition.

              Chris


  8. B.B.,

    118 cubic inch 4500PSI Carbon fiber cylinders have been on the market for years!
    I don’t know about 100″ but let’s get real.
    It is just like calibers; 118 is 100 in my book.

    shootski

    PS: evidence of what I related to you earlier B.B..


    • Shootski
      Yep that’s nothing.

      We are now talking about construction and fill pressure.

      And as the conversation got started. Cost.

      What I said at the beginning. Maybe we need some price point hpa bottles.

      I guess the real question is do the bottle manufacturers or sellers have a monopoly on that product right now.

      Will they allow some cost cutting to sell more product. Or better yet. Can they make it selling them cheaper. How much margin profit do they have right now.


  9. That is good news that PA has picked up the FX line. I like PA’s customer service a lot more than other stores, and I love my FX Wildcat. Looking forward to your thoughts on the Dreamlite, BB.


    • Ben
      The Dreamlite is cool. Really I like the format.

      But it’s still going to be expensive.

      I remember saying that the FX guns would be cool with the smooth twist barrels and have a screw on tip that had the rifling twist rate and caliber. Low and behold look what FX is doing now.

      And hopefully the Dreamline guns are interchangable with the Dreamlite gun. Now we are getting into Crosman territory. Interchangeability.

      And I guess I have to say. Even if the FX Dreamline is expensive. I think they made the right move.

      I need to read up more about the new FX guns.


  10. Gunfun1,

    Expensive? Not too bad, they list it on the PA site (follow the link in BB’s main article) at $1,180. That’s less than I paid for my Wildcat, and the Dreamlite has a lot more adjustability plus the interchangeable barrels. It’s a fairly high end, accurate, reliable gun going for about what other high end hunting/FT PCP’s are running (Daystate, AirArms for instance).

    Agree, this customization is going to be a boon – want a FT gun, hunter, plinker, want to fire slugs? Just get the appropriate barrel and then find the sweet spot for velocity. Tuner’s delight.

    But accurate too — I think Crosman fubared in using Chinese made barrels for the Marauder. The smooth twist is a pretty darn good system, and apparently is less costly than LW rifling…or at least equal. Hearing that Crosman is bringing barrel manufacture back in-house is good news, hopefully they don’t lose too much in playing catchup. But then, that’s a good thing, they have competition coming in from the top end, bringing reliability and accuracy to the game, so it’ll be fun (and a good thing for us) to see how it plays out. Like BB said, it’s the golden age right now, my top end gun from 2-3 years ago is now obsolete!


    • Been
      Here is my .22 Maximus. It’s very accurate. Gets bunches of shots per fill. And is alot less expensive than the FX Dreamlite. And other guns can be made from it.


      • Very cool GF. And I believe you about the accuracy. But I’ll bet you a dollar that if you bought another, it wouldn’t be as accurate. My Marauder is accurate, but only after I did a lot of messing around with it. And when I converted it to .22, it wouldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, so I converted it back (still have the .22 barrel, if you want it…it’s got a real pretty curve in it). And I thought, gee, maybe I just can’t shoot – but my buddy’s .22 Marauder shot pretty good, he could hit starlings at 40 yds. and so on (and so could I when he let me shoot it). Then I bought the wildcat, and hit stuff at 50, 60, 70 yds. out of the box.

        I hope Crosman’s barrels have improved in the last 10 years, or will soon. But I’d rather spend 2x the money for a Mrod that shoots right out the box, if they offered that option, than spend as much time and frustration as I did to get mine to shoot right.


        • Been
          I have had a bunch of Marauder’s and Discoverys and now the Maximus. Also a few 1720T’s and a Marauder pistol. Plus made a few rifles using Discovery barrels and 1300 series guns and same with 2240’s. All have been very accurate.

          Now as far as the Crosman/Benjamin break barrels. I had some of them and wasn’t happy with accuracy with them.


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