The “Dark Side” has never been brighter!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The “Dark Side”
  • Early problems
  • Modern precharged airguns
  • Benjamin Discovery
  • Slow conversion
  • The $100 PCP
  • Other changes in the PCP world
  • Fill coupling standardization
  • Price point PCP
  • It’s no longer the “Dark Side”

I know I said there are lots of backlogged tests, but sometimes I just have to write a report like this. Today is such a day.

The “Dark Side”

Back in the late 1990s, when precharged pneumatics were still relatively unknown to airgunners, someone took license from the movie series “Star Wars” and coined the phrase the“Dark Side” to represent involvement with PCPs. At the time most airgunners identified with spring-piston guns and regarded precharged pneumatics as odd, different and too difficult to understand. And at the time it looked as if that would be the case indefinitely.

Early problems

Precharged pneumatics are not a new technology. In fact, they are the oldest type of airguns, dating back to sometime in the 16th century! Those guns, however, were made by hand and were frighteningly expensive. They existed at a time when repeating firearms were also the stuff of dreams, so in 1780 it was the airgun and not the firearm that became the first successful repeater. There had been repeating firearms before then, but they tended to explode because of the dangers of loose gunpowder, which at that time meant black powder. Indeed Bartolemeo Girardoni’s son was killed when a repeating firearm he was experimenting with blew his arm off! Incidentally, the last name is spelled GiraRdoni — not GiraNdoni! Dr. Beeman has met with the Girardoni family and confirmed this. Unfortunately, the long article on the Beeman webpage still shows the old spelling.

Modern precharged airguns

In 1980 someone rebarreled a Daystate dart-shooting tranquilizer gun with a .22-caliber pellet barrel and the modern PCP was born. That gun was called the Daystate Huntsman when it went into production. At first people were just glad that such an airgun existed. How it got filled with compressed air was secondary. And that was how the PCP got restarted at the end of the 20th century.

For 26 years PCPs were expensive and arcane. The cheapest ones cost over $600 in the mid-’90s and they all used their own fill devices that did not work with other guns. Ownership was considered a privilege and you almost had to appeal to a higher power to get someone to tell you how these airguns worked. If you were on the inside and used PCPs you understood them as well as they could be understood. If you were on the outside it looked like a closed society. You had to wait for a tap on the shoulder to be asked to join the ranks. It was the reverse of communism. It was elitism.

Benjamin Discovery

In 2007 Crosman brought out the Benjamin Discovery — a single-shot PCP that sold for very little money, compared to the other PCPs of the day. In fact, some airgun manufacturers said a PCP couldn’t be made to sell at a price that low. The Discovery was also made to operate on 2000 psi air instead of the then-popular 3000 psi. That made filling it with a hand pump much easier, so Crosman wisely bundled a pump with the rifle and sold it as a complete package. And it came with a manual that explained everything about its use. No more secrets! In a very real sense was the Rosetta Stone of the PCP world. More than 4,000 sold in the first year, alone, making it every bit as popular as the AirForce TalonSS.

Crosman had previously sold British PCPs under their name — which was how airgun companies broke into the PCP market. But those guns had all the problems of the startup age — lack of documentation and proprietary fill technology.

The Disco is dirt-simple and Crosman had initially wanted to launch their reentry into the market with a PCP that was more capable. However, after pondering it awhile they decided to first make a name as a PCP manufacturer and then bring out the gun with all the bells and whistles. It was a good thing that they did, for building the Discovery was a series of lessons for them. When they brought out the Benjamin Marauder the following year, they knew very well how to build PCPs, plus the airgun public was starting to accept Crosman as a PCP maker.

Slow conversion

I thought the Benjamin Discovery would throw open the doors to the PCP world, and it did for Crosman. But most of the other airgun manufacturers didn’t seem to grasp the importance of what had happened yet. Well — happy days for Crosman and AirForce. They each sold thousands upon thousands of PCPs every year, while all their competition combined wasn’t selling as many as either one of them, alone. The door had be forced open a little farther.

The $100 PCP

The Benjamin Discovery was supposed to alert the airgun makers that customers wanted performance at a good price, but that didn’t happen right away. Oh, there were some cheap PCPs built. But that’s all they were — cheap! They lacked the thought, documentation and reliability that went into the guns that consumers really wanted. They also lacked an established support base, as in when something bad happens, who ya gonna call? At the same time the elite manufacturers continued doing what they had always done and selling what they had always sold. They prided themselves by saying they were making airguns of unparalleled quality, but features like the Marauder’s adjustable trigger and AirForce’s ability to swap barrels and calibers at the drop of a hat were very big flies in their ointment jars.

So I did the experiment with the PCP that I thought could be produced for $100. Dennis Quackenbush was kind enough to build a PCP for me to test from a Crosman 2100B. He made it safe, but put absolutely no embellishments on the gun and “produced” it for so little that the retail of $100 was more than possible.

I tested that gun and found that it worked good enough to warrant spending some development money on the project. Several years later Crosman informed me they had watched both the six-part blog report on that experiment, as well as the readers’ reactions, and it spurred them to come out with the Benjamin Maximus in 2017. And, in an odd twist of fate that I hope was a calculated decision on their part, they installed a barrel on the Maximus that they made after a company-wide product improvement project on barrel-making. So, the Maximus came to market with improved accuracy. Since that time Crosman has converted their entire barrel-making process. Today every PCP barrel is made the new way. They even make their own .25-caliber barrels, which they used to buy from Green Mountain.

Other changes in the PCP world

During this twelve years — 2007 to 2019 — other big changes have been made in the PCP world. Shooters have switched from scuba tanks to carbon fiber tanks that hold a lot more air, yet weigh less. Retailers like Pyramyd Air are now selling carbon fiber tanks at lower prices because they have an extended life, due to changes in the tank testing specifications.

Air compressors have been engineered expressly for airguns and the prices have dropped from over $3000 to under $1500 for a machine that will fill a large tank in minutes. Yesterday I filled an 88 cubic-foot carbon fiber tank from 2200 psi to 4500 psi in 38 minutes, using the Air Venturi compressor.

There are also smaller and less expensive compressors made to fill just airguns and not tanks. The Air Venturi Nomad II is one that I tested for you recently. And Benjamin has their Traveler and AirForce their Epump.

Fill coupling standardization

In 1990 no company’s PCP was compatible with the fill couplings from a different company. In 2019 the companies that still use proprietary couplings are viewed as troglodytes. The Foster quick-disconnect fitting has taken over the market to the extent that any company not yet on board is loosing sales. The proof of that comes in the form of fill probes that are machined as male Foster fittings on their other end.

Price point PCP

Then there is the phenomenon of the price point PCP — the value-packed precharged airguns that retail for just under $300. Not only have they burst the doors wide open in the PCP market, they have also encouraged manufacturers to sell their other products at more affordable rates. Just one example is FX who now offers their Dreamline rifles at a starting price of under $1,100. Just a few years ago that was only a fraction of their lowest retail price. So it can be done. It just takes thought.

It’s no longer the “Dark Side”

The result of all these changes has opened the doors wide to precharged airguns. Consumers are now flooding in. In a few more years those who still refer to PCPs as the “Dark Side” will be dinosaurs in their own right.

99 thoughts on “The “Dark Side” has never been brighter!

  1. “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.” – Yoda

    B.B., So far, I’m still holding out against the Dark Side!
    Although, I read all your reports on PCPs with great interest.
    You may flip me one day. =)~
    Keep on trying,
    dave



      • “One day you will be ours!”

        Hahaha! RR, I could see maybe a 2000 psi rifle and a hand pump.
        Too bad the Saxby-Palmer cartridge system got [foolishly] banned by ill-informed ignorant politicians.
        I guess they would count as PCPs; and it was an awesome system for creating firearm replica airguns
        that would feed cartridges and operate exactly like the real thing.
        I had my eye on a Colt Peacemaker clone when the silly ban went into effect.

        Umarex is doing a pretty good job of filling the gap with their CO2 replicas,
        but it’s not quite the same as having a PCP cartridge, fully self-contained.
        Perhaps some day a USA-based company, with a team of sharp lawyers,
        will come up with their own Saxby-Palmer-type system
        which never should have been banned in the first place. =D


  2. I got my first PCP in I think 2004. I quickly went back to spring pistons.

    In the last month I got a Gauntlet, and an Aspen. 25 and 22 respectively.

    In the last 15 years the game has changed, but not like night and day. Hand pumps are way better! That is a huge plus. I can pump to 3k psi without much effort compared to an old hill pump. But compressors are still priced out of easy affordability, and availability.



    • Yogi,

      You are quite correct in not going to PCP’s. It is opening the door to a very slippery slope of effortless fun and your prized springers will soon lose the lure and luster that they once held. 😉

      Chris


    • Yogi,

      “If man was meant to fly…”

      Now I do have to say that those self driving cars scare the bageebers out of me. They can keep them things in the cities for all I care. I don’t go there anyway.


      • RR,

        The thought of self-driving cars used to bother me but seeing how many people drive these days is even more scary! Seems that a major portion of drivers learned to drive on the “Mario Kart” video game and think that high speed weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic will actually get them to work sooner.

        I drive a 2018 which has lane change and back-up sensors that, while they are not a substitute for situational awareness do, an excellent job of advising me of potential hazards. The technology is available.

        Would be nice if manufacturers had sensors on the passenger side of the vehicle to help the drivers who don’t know how wide their truck is and insist on encroaching into the opposite direction lane.

        Cheers!
        Hank


        • “…drivers who don’t know how wide their truck is and insist on encroaching into the opposite direction lane.”

          Hahaha! They’re not just up there, Hank!
          We’ve got a million of those guys down here in Georgia! =)~


        • Hank,

          On the roads that I drive, if you are not paying attention you will not be on the road very long. Like I said, I don’t do them cities, or highways for that matter. The idiots can have them.



      • RR,

        I live in southwest MI and people drive like maniacs here. I’m sure that it is even worse in other areas of the country. Where in the world did people ever get the idea that it was okay to drive 80 mph at one car length behind? And, it does not matter that the roads may be icy and snow covered. I won’t even venture onto the expressways if the roads are not clear. I get angry with people tailgating me at 70 and then cutting in and out of traffic. People drive so close together that it makes it very difficult to even merge onto the highway. Maybe it is time for self driving cars? I think we would all be safer on the roads now that people have forgotten how to drive. It’s just crazy out there and I no longer enjoy driving, even locally. We have 30-100 car pileups on our expressways here. That was unheard of 30 years ago. Apparently we have created a generation of idiot drivers. Done with my rant now.


        • Geo791,

          LOL! That is why I stay off of those things and drive the back roads. I am in the “hills” of SW VA. Like I said, if you are not paying attention when you are driving, you will not be on the road very long. You will be into the trees or over the hill or a combination thereof.

          A tactic I have is if someone is following me too closely I will slow down to the safe speed at which they are following. Using the two second rule, it can be pretty slow. Also putting on the brakes suddenly makes some of them back off a bit. Of course you still have the bunch who have no limbs on the family tree.


          • RR,

            Then,… there is those that will close that 1 car gap to mere inches out of pure rage. That is the time that I wish that I had a big pick up with a homemade, low mounted, rear bumper made of MC12″ channel, well braced. A simple warning tap would be a full lock up! I am (not) that way,… but some people do not know when to quit or back off. “….. no limb’s on the family tree”,….. cute! 😉

            I avoid the “city”, Columbus in my case, at all cost.

            Chris


            • Chris,

              LOL! Yes, the do. When they get that close, the brake lights come on and they lock them down. Sooner or later they either totally lose it or back off. Either one is fine.



  3. B.B.,

    Good article. Things have changed a lot just in the short time I have been around. (late ’14) I have the .25 M-rod and .22 Maximus and love them both. I am thinking now that I might want a Crosman in house .25 barrel for the M-rod,… if it would be a direct swap.

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


  4. BB
    After reading the yellow forum for a while I got the impression that PCP’s were referred to as the dark side of air gunning because they were about as powerful as a firearm at close ranges and people wanted to sort of keep them under the radar of the anti-gun crowd so as to avoid a landslide of restrictive legislation. Dreading the day someone actually took someone’s life with one. These are serious adult airguns that require serious supervision and training for use by young people. Heck even adults need a little education on them.

    Well so far so good and hopefully they are still considered “Just Airguns” by most people who don’t own any of them.
    It looks like firearm manufacturers that do not convert to manufacturing them are the only casualties and they may have committed suicide by allowing ammunition prices to go through the roof. The times are changing too. But as long as we have war, and bad guys still exist, there will be a need for firearms. Although hunters may be turning to the dark side in ever larger numbers as open hunting space slowly disappears.

    One last thing. I’m not too sure well known firearm manufacturers should include their company name prominently on the airguns they make so as to keep airguns from becoming connected too much with firearms. Replicas, ok, but you know how confused anti-gunners are. I just hope a fully automatic revolver never shows up one day and supports their comments.




    • Bob M,

      The draw of the dark side is its power. 30 plus ft-lbs without an arm workout that would make Arnie sweat and without filling-loosening, scope-busting recoil. Even better; all that power without the sacrifice of accuracy. Not to mention follow-up shots available at the flick of a wrist. It’s tempting, very tempting. I don’t think I can resist much longer. Have already caved in and bought a stirrup pump. A PCP can’t be too far off in the future 🙂


      • Bob R
        You said it all. Awesome Instruments. I don’t shoot a 308 firearm for fun myself. From the hip ? not so bad ! You know it’s like buying a HD Sportster … Only a mater of time before you get a full blown hog.

        A hand pump will eventually get old. I got my FX Independence to eliminate the needed workout. I think any one will do with a compressor at hand. The Seneca Aspen in 22 would be great if you don’t want to go crazy shooting mass quantities of pellets at a time. A PCP is an eye opening experience for a firearm shooter. A guaranteed smile maker. 🙂
        Bob M


  5. BB,

    I began my journey through the world of airguns just before the Discovery came to be. At that time the world of PCPs was indeed the world of the elite. A modest price air rifle such as the BSA SuperTen was still a big chunk of change. The Korean air rifles were popular because their price tags were very reasonable, but you had better know something about PCPs if you were going to own one because the quality was not so great and you were going to have to tinker with it. Even the price of a good quality sproinger was not that much of a bargain.

    Today you can own a nice sproinger for about what it cost back then. As for the PCP, for what you would pay for an “entry level” air rifle then you can buy a real nice PCP today. I am not talking inflationary dollars either. A SuperTen then cost about $700. I bought a used Gamo CFX for $150. That was a good price.

    My head spins with what I see these days. Why am I willing to spend so much for something like my HM1000X? Because not so long ago something of that quality, accuracy and power would have cost over $5000 and it would have been custom made by someone like Gary Barnes. I know. I discussed such with him back when his air rifles were costing about that.

    Today, you can buy for a very modest price what we only dreamed about not so long ago. Thank you BB.


  6. B.B.

    Right now, all my airguns are CO2 powered. However with the arrival of the lower price compressors, I will eventually buy a PCP rifle. It’s just a question of which one.

    I had a chance a few years ago to shoot someone’s Air Arms T200 Sporter. Since then I’ve been thinking that the T200 might become my first PCP. One question I have for you about it, can the removable air cylinder be installed and removed while pressurized?

    The other possible PCP that I might consider purchasing is that new Mauser K98 PCP coming out later this year. I’m eager to read your review on that one.



    • Charles,

      Okay, Tyler tells me I am right. You can disconnect the tank without losing any air other than the small amount that has been released for the next shot. There is no way around that.

      Taking the tank off the gun is the normal way to refill it. If you think about it, if it lost air when off the gun you could never fill it off the gun and put it back on without major air loss.

      B.B.


  7. Happy Presidents’ Day to all my fellow Americans. I view the self-driving car as my car of the future when I am no longer able to drive myself due to physical deterioration that comes with old age. Reflexes, quick decision making, eyesight all deteriorate so either someone drives you to the store or doctor or where ever you want or need to go or you can still rely on yourself. Now we have Cortana, Alexa, Google and Siri to do things for us on the internet so why not, “Hey Google, drive me to the mega Pyramydair Store”? Regarding PCP’s, here’s a more powerful air rifle, less sensitive to hold and no need to cock that spring or gas piston 10 times or so when you’re thinning out the herd of feral soda cans. Of course, the exercise of doing so is excellent for maintaining your upper body strength. I think the PCP is the air rifle/gun of our future whether we want it or not.

    Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now Happily in GA


    • Fred, welcome!
      I had a friend visit from the DPRoNJ, and we shot some air pistols.
      He really liked my Crosman .177 CO2 revolver, so, after he left, I mailed it to him as a present.
      Then he called me, and asked why I had sent a “firearm” to the DPRoNJ.
      Apparently, CO2 revolvers are considered firearms there…how sad!
      You won’t see such things in Georgia; this is a very airgun, firearm, and knife-friendly state.
      For example, just a few years ago, our Governor passed sweeping knife legislation.
      There is a massive knife show each June up in Atlanta with hundreds of booths and thousands of people.
      However, some people would buy a sword cane, and then go over a few blocks into another county
      and get arrested for having an illegal weapon. This was very tourist-unfriendly.
      Hence, with the stroke of a pen, our Governor made all knife laws null and void,
      and instituted ONE law for ALL counties in Georgia.
      Basically, anyone can have any folding knife with up to a 5″ blade (even automatics),
      and if you have a Concealed Carry permit, then there is no limit on the size of a concealed blade.
      Sword canes and the like are also legal.

      Plus, we shoot our airguns in the backyard.

      And legally bring our CCW pistols to church to prevent evil.

      *shrugs*

      I wish more states would copy these laws. =>

      Enjoy your new freedoms,
      dave



      • Dave,

        the way the firearms’ law reads in NJ, anything that propels a bullet or pellet or other metal object via rubber, explosion or air pressure is considered a firearm. They also include sling shots as firearms. It’s a very draconian State as respects 2nd amendment rights.You can only get a concealed carry permit through a judge and then only if you show immediate need such as you have a job that requires one. I’ve been in GA since 2016 and never looked back.

        Thanks for your welcome!

        Fred formerly of the Democratik Peoples Republik of NJ now happily in GA


        • “They also include sling shots as firearms.”

          OK, Fred, my NJ friend didn’t tell me that; but perhaps he was not aware of it; that’s insane!
          Really, I feel sorry for those who must live under such a regime. #_#
          I moved from the Tri-State area (CT) to Florida, and then Georgia (transferred to Robins AFB).
          Both Florida and Georgia have very common-sense gun laws…thank God…literally. =>


          • Robbins AFB? You’re a hundred fifty miles South. I’m up here in Cumming, GA – aka the Georgia mountains. I try to go for a bicycle ride several times a week where even the downhills seem to go uphill! Regarding slingshots, the way the bill was written originally, the legislator wanted to outlaw “slung shots”. We know this as a sap or a piece of lead encased in leather that many police used to carry and use with effect to the head of recalcitrant citizens. The individual who was typing the bill never heard of a slung shot and thought the legislator had mis-spelled sling. As these things go, no one ever reads a bill thoroughly and the bill was voted, approved and signed off by the then Governor (whomever that was) and the rest is history. By the way, the law also reads that the weapon in question must be capable of harming a person. That’s why air soft guns and paint ball guns can be sold in NJ without requiring a FID or purchase permit.

            Fred formerl of the DPRoNJ now happily in GA


            • Fred, my apologies!!!!
              I never saw the email alert telling me of your reply till today when checking on emails!
              Yes, as you noted, most shooters are up on what a “slung shot” is. =>
              “As these things go, no one ever reads a bill thoroughly and the bill was voted, approved and signed off by the then Governor (whomever that was) and the rest is history.”
              Wow, that’s sad, but thank you for the update. =D
              Take care,
              dave




    • Tyler,

      Off topic, but the “can I help you” pop up on the PA site is really annoying. I used to be able to X it out, but now it just stays there with no way to make it go away,…. the (entire) time I am surfing any page. Is this something new? Should a pop up blocker fix it? B.B. checked into it and it went away soon after, but now it is back.

      Any suggestions are appreciated. I would settle for an X out option after the first pop up.

      Thank you,……. Chris



        • Tyler,

          Now it will not do it. The blue header stays at the bottom left. That is fine. My pop up blocker is on and has been on, by the way. The full pop up with picture of person is what would not go away (just a bit ago) and this weekend.

          At any rate, thank you for the quick response and anything that can be done. The full pop staying is definitely a no-go for me. On a displeasure scale of 1-10,… about a 99! 😉

          Thanks again,…. Chris


        • Tyler,

          An update,…. there IS an X there, but is (very) light blue on a white background. It works, so no issues. I am not sure if it went away, got lighter in color, or what,….. but no problem now. Sorry to have bothered you if this was all on my end and due to my lack of attention. I recalled it being more obvious before,…. but my “recall” ain’t what it used to be either. 😉

          Chris


  8. Mr Gaylord:
    As Yoda might say, “Excellent article you write today.”
    And so from your experience and contacts in the PCP industry, is it true that by the day after tomorrow we’ll see a price point PCP brought to market that’s been reduced in power to 5 foot pounds, costs $100 for juniors to buy for them selves out of allowance money and be submitted to the necessary committees to be certified as 3P rules compliant? 🙂 🙂
    Oh well, we can still hope!
    Respectfully,
    William Schooley


  9. BB,, I bought a Crosman Challenger 2009 that was supposed to be an upgrade from the standard Challenger because it had a better barrel. I was under the impression that the original dated from a couple years earlier. Is the Challenger a forgotten airgun? Mine was able to win me a few medals at the VA wheelchair games for the several years I competed. It was able to shoot with and beat quite a few Anshultz and FWBs at that level. I am not of Olympic quality,, by a long shot,, but the rifle was,, and is, still more accurate than I am. I thought that it predated the disco,, but would be interested on it’s place in the timeline.


    • Edlee,

      Did the Challenger 2009/PCP predate the Discovery? Not really. When we developed the Discovery, Crosman already had the CO2 Challenger. When they saw what the Disco could do they converted the Challenger to air. So it came out a year or two later. They were talking about making the conversion in the year when they were working on the Disco (they were also talking about the Marauder that year). I think if the Discovery hadn’t happened the Challenger PCP wouldn’t have happened, either.

      I certainly have not forgotten about the Challenger. In fact, until very recently I only owned one and wanted to also own an Edge that I now have. The Challenger is a favorite of mine.

      B.B.


  10. This is what keeps crossing my mind.

    I can only imagine what it would of been like if I had my Hatsan Bullmaster when I was a kid.

    Back then I would not of even thought that there was anything dark about a pcp. Matter of fact it would of been a bright side.

    Go pcp’s is what I say. Nothing dark about pcp’s to me.



      • Ken,

        While I never participated in bb gun fights,…. a powerful PCP in the hands of an unsupervised youth (then or now) would not be good (at all). Instruction and supervision early on. Respect for the fact that you are (in fact) firing a projectile,… even it is (only) at 250-300 fps. More than enough to,…..?

        Good point,…. for then,.. and now.

        Chris


        • Chris
          Back then I got my first .22 rimfire gun and I was 11 years old. And it was even a semi-auto.

          And think about this power wise. A average pcp today can make around 60 fpe. Some higher and of course some lower. Then look at a standard velocity long rifle rimfire round. They make a average of around 110 fpe. So almost double the power of what some pcp’s make.

          So can you imagine that. A 11 year old kid shooting a 110 fpe rifle that fires semi-auto at that. And mind you we got to run around the farm pretty much were ever we wanted.

          Times were a lot different back then than now. A lot different.


          • Gunfun1,

            Many things were different back then. On the whole, I think most (not all) kids had some respect for that firearm, especially kids growing up on the farm (or ranch). Nor do I think most kids would have shot anyone with a pellet shooting air rifle, although I expect some would and some have.

            I do believe there is a disconnect for many (or most) when contrasting firearms with airguns. I expect 99% or more who post here understand that less fpe does not mean safe. I shutter to think of shooting someone (or being shot) with a lead pellet from an airgun that produced even 12 fpe.

            I have never thought of the fpe of a Red Rider. I was shot with such, and while hardly safe, nothing penetrated and I was never hit in the head area (thankfully).

            BTW, I didn’t grow up on the farm but I have cousins who did and I got to shoot more than a bb gun when visiting them.

            ~ken


            • Ken
              In my opinion I don’t even care for the thought of how air soft guns are used and even paint ball gun.

              I was taught that we used our guns on the farm for getting food or eliminating pests. And of course plinking fun. We were not suppose to point a gun at something we were not going to shoot.

              And this may sound silly but when we did play war or cowboys and indians we used sticks as our guns. Or sticks as bows with no strings or arrows. In other word it was obvious it wasn’t a real gun or bow and arrow. But that’s how we had to play when we was kids.

              Oh and yes we got in some good trouble when my buddy got hit in the eye when we was playing bottle rocket wars. So as it goes I still believe upbringing had a lot to do with it.

              My daughter’s are 18 and 21 now and have been shooting since around 7 or so years old. They know gun handling for some time now and much better than some adults I have seen with guns. My oldest daughter would say dad did you see what they guy just did when we would go shoot at other places. Needless to say we have left certian places for just that reason.


              • Gunfun1,

                I can appreciate what you are saying. Air soft and paint ball competitions amount to training, which can be very good or very bad. I don’t know how a person’s brain handles these things, but I have no doubt some learning occurs, whether intended or not. They are shooting at other human beings. I wonder if any law enforcement or military units conduct such competitions. At any rate, I can see how competing with air soft and paint ball can potentially translate into shooting someone with a fire arm (which happens often enough, anyway). Regardless, it matters whether there is someone to set and enforce rules, as you obviously did when you were growing up.

                Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz, was published in 1960. His premise is that our brains accept mental exercises and training as actual training. Again, as you have alluded to, that training can be good or it can be bad as it generalizes across situations.

                I haven’t participated in air soft or paint ball competitions so I don’t know how doing so with any frequency would affect me.

                Lastly, I can appreciate leaving a situation that must be deemed unsafe.

                ~ken


        • Chris USA,

          I definitely agree about the supervision. I don’t know how many people (of any age) ended up needing medical attention due to bb or pellet wounds, but I know the number is much higher than it should be.

          ~ken


      • Ken, (as an add on)

        As I recall,…. (way) back,…. I do not think that I ever got into trouble for shooting my 1 year younger brother with a bb gun. As I recall,… he never had a bb gun. Birds,…. that I DO remember. The black ones. (Only) the black ones! They were never close enough to “lob” a bb at for the prized “kill shot”. What I (do) remember is something along the lines of me going after my little brother with a garden hoe. As I recall,…. such activity was (strongly) discouraged back “in the day”. At least,.. that is what my butt remembers,……… 😉

        FYI: Country upbringing,…. us kids were “forced labor” 😉 for garden “maintenance”,…. (endless weeding, back breaking picking,… RE-picking,… cause you ALWAYS missed some). So,….. garden tools,.. their use and their ability to “remove” things were learned early on. As I recall,… that was my “misguided” train of thought at the moment of my little brothers impending doom. 😉

        LOL,….. Chris (Of course,… we were reminded too of how many much less fortunate kids were starving in “Africa” and why we should be happy to work in the garden and,.. of course,.. why we should eat ALL of our green beans.)

        Looking back,…. all in all,… not a bad youth.


        • Chris USA,

          How funny. I just wrote of visiting my cousins “on the farm”. I had fun with them and got to shoot their pellet rifles and .22’s. I almost wrote that I envied them. I left that off because it would only be right to then mention the parts I didn’t envy so much. I didn’t so much grow up in the country or the city; it was somewhere in between, I suppose “small town” is correct. And “all in all” I agree, not a bad youth.

          ~ken


      • Ken
        You know what as a kid we never had bb gun wars. I will say we did have bottle rocket wars. And my one buddy did get his eye messed up with a bottle rocket. He can still see but it looks like he has a cat eye.

        And what we did as kids was shoot at dirt clods in the fields or bad tomatoes we would pick off the plants with the garden work we had do on the farm and other vegetables also. We would also put the little plastic soldiers out in places and shoot at them.

        So yep if I had the semi-auto Bullmaster back then it would of been a blast. And heck what am I saying. It’s a blast now. 🙂


        • Gunfun1,

          I did participate in a few bb gun wars; that was bad enough although we were fortunate that no one got more that a little bruising; it could have been, especially if there had been head shots.
          I have seen bottle rocket wars and roman candle wars; never wanted to participate.
          I think we mostly shot at tin cans.
          Although I did get to work in the garden, I lived in a small town so the scale is smaller than on the farm.
          I agree, the Bullmaster and numerous others are a blast.

          ~ken


  11. I agree with B.B.’s point about PCP’s being an elitist pastime, at one time. I got ‘hooked’ in the 80’s by Bob Beemans glossy airgun catalogs. This was before the www. It was a clique of sorts, a subset of more mainstream gun owners, I’d say. The elitism displayed by well heeled nerds is also a fetish?As far as the “dark side” The thing that can get lost is the benefit of having the significant design constraignt of a self contained powerplant like a springer. It leaves what is essential. Sort of like a simple single shot rifle. Why try to mod a traditional breakbarrel into something else? leave it alone, start with a clean sheet of paper. You wouldn’t turn your Remington falling block into a semiauto? I think there is a real benefit to use the advances of PCP technology at the entry level.
    With a few mods, the inexpensive Diana Bandit is easy to pump up, powerfull, accurate. I think the Crosman pistols are nicer, tho.
    Best, Rob


  12. See item 6 in this interesting document; remember – just because you’re paranoid does not mean there isn’t someone or something out there trying to get you, your rights, or both.


  13. B.B.,

    As you were, I was a customer of Robert Beeman in the 70’s. I already had my Sheridan Blue Streak. I became a victim of Dr. Beeman’s advertising acumen. He described in some detail why it was better to have air being compressed and heated at the time of the shot, rather than having air released and expanding from a reservoir.
    He discussed the quiet spring piston rifles versus the loud multi-pump, co2 or other guns holding gas in a reservoir. Of course, integrated sound suppressors has changed that somewhat and the really large caliber rifles are probably not louder than their firearm counterparts.

    Of course, his bread and butter came from imported adult air guns and most were piston driven.

    I purchase my first break barrel, an El Gamo, based on that information.

    Even so, I would have loved to have gotten a Yewha 3-B Dynamite.
    https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2005/12/air-shotguns-part-5-the-yewha/

    I knew many years ago about co2 powered tranquilizer rifles, but this is the first I learned there was PCP model.

    I suppose all I really want for Christmas is a Benjamin multi pump with a nice steel barrel.

    Thank you for another interesting report.

    ~ken


  14. B.B.,

    The Dark Side has always been brighter for me!
    When I was a young boy i owned Daisy, Benjamin, Sheridan and even a Crosman or three.
    Then when I was thirteen (1962) my family traveled back to my birthplace and through some luck I got a tour by the Senior Docent of the musical & armor sections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. I got to see amazing works of art in steel, wood, silver gold and brass; both musical and weapons. The item that has stayed with me to this day was getting to hold (with conservator’s gloves on) a repeating precharged air rifle of indescribable beauty and the craftsmanship of Girardoni himself or more likely one of his Lehrling (apprentices) stupendous work.
    I was shooting in competition at the time with various rifles but got a really fantastic break when I got my first Hämmerli AG, Single Shot Cadet followed by Cadet Mehrlader (Repeater) 80 shot magazine (lead balls) only. Then I joined the US Navy and only shot firearms, cannon, missiles and rockets for a while! My very next air rifle was a .177 Hämmerli 450 overlever Match Grade Rifle followed quickly by a hand pump and a Hämmerli AR50 my very first 200 Bar PCP in the very early 1990’s. Since that time I guess I have been a member of the elitist Dark side of Airgunning!
    I own a bottle gun that is a Repeater from the early-mid 1990’s that came with four different caliber barrels as well as some other interesting capabilities. Most airgunners of that time didn’t treat a PCP owner as something special; it was much more derisive than that. I think that the POOR treatment of early (late actually) adopters of the Dark Side is what caused the circling of the PNEUMATIC wagons and failure to share anything more with the POGO STICK SHOOTERS! I carry on to this day owning among the very first Discovery, Marauder and my beloved MEDIUM and BIG BORE Quackenbush DAQ MASTERPIECES.

    That’s my take on the early days.
    All you (way late) PCP adopters realize you stand on the shoulders of some very brave Modern PCP Era Airgunners!

    shootski


    • Shootski

      I really enjoy museums. A first hand look into the past of the most treasured items known to mankind.
      I was fortunate to be able to go to the NYC Museum of Natural History many times and got to see the California Railroad Museum in Sacramento when a Fast Frigate I was deployed on in the Navy went up the Sacramento River. Scared the heck out of a lone old fisherman in his row boat when we arrived.

      I had a friend who worked at the Smithsonian and one day I met one of his coworkers who happened to be stationed at a remote NAF Airbase in England right after I left it. Well one thing led to another and I was invited to a grand tour of Silver Hill. The name given to the many warehouses containing all the Smithsonian’s aircraft and a few extra items seeking preservation that are not on display. Like an automatic horse shoe fabricating machine Who knew? And the original Star Wars space ship.

      Having worked in Aviation my whole life I recognized and understood all the effort that went into all those creations and I was absolutely awestruck. Most interesting was the variety of aircraft guns. Many were huge. Many aircraft still had bullet holes in them from battle engagements. Some I never knew existed.

      I always planned to revisit many alone when the kids were all grown but after visiting the San Diego Aerospace Museum I was kind of disappointed. School kids all aver the place, a mad house. I would really like to see the NRA Museum one day.

      I think I have some airguns that may be museum items some day. They seem to come and go fast these days.


      • Bob M,

        Same here! Since a little kid I realized that museums contain mankind’s real history without the revisionist if hand of historians…if we just looked beyond the display. Places like Silver Hill are especially fantastic because they contain the stuff not yet in museum displays and the people working on them typically know more REAL history of the project and item than any Phd. I walked around a corner on my first visit and there was the Enola Gay fusalage and engines! One pannel had areas that they were testing finishes on to find out how well they dealt with being touched so of course I touched her!! I also ran into an old RF-8 cockpit not yet in work at Silver Hill (now on display at Udvar Hazy) that I had logged hours in! The same thing happened at the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola where I found a T-28C that I had flown both as a Student and later as Flight Instructor; never imagined I would have objects from my life showing up as display pieces in museums.
        Do go and see the NRA’s Firearm Museum you will not be disappointed! I have spent hours walking and looking at the many fantastic displays. One that is also a surprise is the museum in the BATF building near the Pentagon. One final place that you should visit is the boneyard at Davis Monthan.

        shootski


  15. “There is no dark side of the moon… actually it’s all pretty dark.” (As I remember the Pink Floyd line)
    As adult airgunners, I think that many of our friends in the firearm community treated us like people who were not in full command of our senses. “Whaddya want with that thing? For that kind of money, you could have bought a real gun!”
    I am lucky enough to still own the first airgun that I ever had – a Slavia 618 that I received for Christmas when I was 10! The second – a Blue Streak that I bought when I was 14. And the third – a HyScore 815 pistol (Diana 5), when I was 16. I still shoot them all and enjoy them (almost) as much as the first day that I got them.
    To me, it’s all about having fun shooting. Whether it’s working on my offhand position on paper, or dealing with those pesky soda cans that seem to encroach on my existence, there is something relaxing and ‘centering’ about being able to shoot in the basement, or the back yard, without having to drive 25 minutes to the range.
    If I do buy a PCP, I expect it to be as much fun to shoot as my other airguns, or firearms, only slightly different.
    To quote (or maybe misquote) a phrase a target shooter I used to hang around with: “May all your 9’s be 10’s, your 10’s be X’s, and you have no held rounds.”


  16. BB,

    I have yet to turn to the “Dark Side” myself, but am getting psyched up for it. Hopefully one welcome consequence of the increasing popularity and affordability of PCPs will be to see lousy magnum springers consigned to the dustbin of history. You know the type: junk from the Far East and Near East that won’t hit a dinner plate at 25 yards, but the unsuspecting buy on the weight of the impressive fps claims on the packaging.

    The sooner the disease of springer magnumitis is cured, the sooner quality, mild mannered, highly accurate sub 12 ft-lb springers will again get the attention they deserve. To paraphrase another line from Star Wars, “Your father’s HW35e, Luke. Not as random or as clumsy as a big box store, 1600fps, Turkish mega-magnum springer; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” 🙂


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