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Big Game Hunting 2019 Pacific Airgun Expo

2019 Pacific Airgun Expo

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is a report of the 2019 Pacific Airgun Expo, written by reader Yogi.
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

And now, tell us about the show, Yogi

This report covers:

  • I go to the show
  • Placerville
  • What’s up?
  • Success!
  • Lots o’ PCPs!
  • 10-meter guns
  • Summary

As a avid reader of B.B.’s Pyramid Air blog for the past several years, I decided to try and write a guest blog to lighten his burden and show appreciation for his efforts. So here is my attempt.

I go to the show

B.B. has written at great length about how interesting Airgun Shows/Swap Meets are. I live too far away to attend the big ones in Texas and Ohio. I wish I had been in airgunning when I lived on the East Coast and could easily have attended the Roanoke Show. So, when I heard that there is a smaller airgun show just 180 miles away, I knew I had to go.


The Pacific Airgun Expo was held on April 13 & 14, in Placerville, California at the El Dorado Fairgrounds. Placerville is 30 miles west of Lake Tahoe in the beginning of the Sierra Foothills. During the gold rush days it was a major hub of commerce. Since the logging industry closed down about 15 years ago, it has become a vacation and retirement destination. [Editor’s note: Placerville is also the home town of the late Thomas Kinkade, the painter of light.]

What’s up?

Since this was going to be my first airgun show, I did not know what to expect. I was hoping to find a rear target sight for my HW50 which I have turned into a 10M target rifle.

The Airgun Expo had somewhere between 20-25 tables set up, all overflowing with all sorts of goodies. At the third table, I stopped and asked if he had any target peep sights.

the show
The Pacific Airgun Expo.


He said that he had a bunch, did I need a 13mm dovetail or a 11mm dovetail? I thought I stuck gold! One-hundred dollars later I have a Weihrauch rear peep sight that I was told came off an R8. Mission accomplished! What other interesting stuff might I find?

Weihrauch peep sight
Score! I picked up this beautiful Weihrauch peep sight at the third table! It’s perfect for my HW50S.

[Editor’s note: By installing a Weihrauch peep sight on his HW50S, Yogi has recreated the rare HW55 SF — the only 55 that didn’t have a barrel lock. I wrote about it here.]

Lots o’ PCPs!

Well over half the tables had mostly PCP stuff. That was anything from 100 percent custom built rifles capable of developing 100 foot-pounds to dealers specializing in custom slugs for the big bores. Another vendor there had just about anything FX. I had no idea that they made so much stuff!

But I was interested in the older stuff — the kind of stuff that B.B. writes about in his Friday blogs.

There were lots of homemade airguns there, including some powerful big bores!

what is it?
There were many modified PCPs there, as well.

butt flask
This butt flask airgun was strange, to say the least!

Most Giffards are powered by CO2. This pistol looks like a CO2 gun, but if it is, why does it have that hand pump in the converted violin case? Could it be the earlier pneumatic, or is it a gas gun that somebody converted to air?

PCP pistol
Another cased butt flask air pistol.

10-meter guns

There was a Diana 75 match rifle there. There was also a Walther LP 3. One table had what at first I thought was one of those evil ether-burning guns. When I looked closer it turned out to be an Hakim Egyptian trainer. It felt like it weighed 12 lbs. and was 5 feet long. With the wood stock going most of the way, it did shoulder nicely though.

Diana 75
There is a Diana 75 (arrow) standing next to another vintage 10 meter rifle.

Diana 50M
The rifle in the rack is a Diana model 50 Match.

The Hakim air rifle I saw was huge!

Walther LP 3 target pistol. This single stroke pneumatic is from the 1970s and ’80s.

There was lots of really cools stuff there! There was a small gun from the 30’s that was covered in nickel. The vendor said that the nickel version was very rare. I’m sure it is.


When I left the show, with my rear peep, 2 tins of hard-to-find H&N .177 Sniper Mediums, one RWS Lockdown one piece scope mount (for less than half the new price). I felt like I had spent a very worthwhile Saturday morning and hope to attend again next year.

54 thoughts on “2019 Pacific Airgun Expo”

  1. Some very interesting airguns at the show Yogi
    Great find the HW peep sight as used on the HW55T.

    I think it was in 1977 that HW changed from the 13mm dovetail
    scope rail to 11mm

  2. Mercury,

    Thanks for the information. I had never heard about a 13mm dovetail till then. Do you know if they changed them on all models then or just the HW 50?


    • Yogi,

      Feinwerkbau was not the only 10 meter manufacturer to have 13 mm rear sight dovetails, but they are one of the makers most associated with them. The Feinwerkbau front sights have 22mm dovetails, I think. Weihrauch, BSA and others also have had 13mm dovetails at times.


  3. Yogi,
    Yes, the hand pump in the violin case is very suspicious; it looks like someone did some home gunsmithing to that Giffard pistol. And that butt flask airgun is intriguing; I’ve seen pics of guns with butt stock air storage like that, but not with that type of lock work for firing the gun.
    I’m glad you scored your target sight, and I think you did a great job of capturing the flavor of the show with the pics you captured of those neat and interesting guns. =>
    Thanking you for the cool report,

  4. Yogi,

    LOL! Now you’ve gone and done it! You are going to start looking around for another show you can go to.

    Attending an airgun show is an awesome experience, even if you do not buy anything. There is so much to see and so much to learn. There is also many an awesome airgun story to be heard. Some of them might even be true. 😉

  5. Yogi
    Nice report.

    Alot of cool guns in your pictures I for sure would of liked to get. Problem is I wouldn’t have enough money to get all the ones I wanted. Then I would have to decide what (one) I wanted and I would go back to get it and it would be gone. Then to get the next in line of what I wanted. Gone again. Then I would be all stressed out. Of course I’m just joking. We’ll sort of. 🙂

  6. Yogi,

    So you’re following the Great Enabler with this “candy store” tour! Ha.

    Thanks for the post and quality pictures. I liked the HW sight and know you will put many happy hours into it.


  7. One learns a lot attending these shows, and they’re good in helping a potential buyer decide what goodies to acquire and get opinions from the experts. Wish we had some nice airgun shows in S Florida; lots of gun shows, not that there is anything wrong with that. Thanks for posting this!

  8. Lots of interesting stuff there, from the old to the new. On the new end, I was pleased to see that radical looking gun in the fourth picture – it is a brand new creation called the “Raptor” from Jefferson State Air Rifles, a maker of many excellent (some patented) custom parts, as well as a few complete builds with all their tech rolled into one.
    For example, that gun has an externally adjustable regulator on it, and an amazingly efficient valve. I had heard it was going to be in that show – nice to see it was.

    I’m not trying to be a commercial for them, but shops like these are making the future tech for our hobby. I have several of their parts in my Marauders and they are amazing. Worth a look just to see what could be coming to the mainstream stuff in the future.

  9. Yogi,

    Thank you for the show re-cap and all of the great pics. The vintage guns fit in well with B.B.’s usual historical reports on Fridays. The hand built/home made stuff was quite interesting.


    • Michael,

      I apologize, I should have posted this earlier. I would suggest contacting the organizers and asking them.
      The NorCal Airgun community seems pretty close knit. The few that I have met have been extremely welcoming!


      As Fred says so well below, “Happy Passover and/or Happy Easter to one and all.”

      • Yogi,

        Thanks for the information, and of course no apology needed. If anything, I should apologize for not pointing out what an excellent guest blog you did and congratulating you for it.

        Well done, Sir!


    • Michael,

      I do believe what you are looking at is some of the assembled parts for a reproduction of a Girandoni. There are a couple of guys out there on the Left Coast who have built Girandonis and other antique PCPs and have been known to hang out at that show.


      You can also find some videos on YouTube about these guys.

  10. Yogi,

    great photos and narrative. Airgun shows are addictive. I used to attend the one in Roanoke and miss it greatly. In fact, that’s where I met BB for the first time and bought and had him sign his R5 book for me. I’m sure this will not be your last show.

    Happy Passover and/or Happy Easter to one and all.

    Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now happily in GA

  11. Re-call notice:

    Non air gun related. I was watching a cooking show and they had a segment on kitchen fires and how to put them out. In the report they mentioned Kidde fire extinguishers had a major recall awhile back. I got on line and the 10# kitchen unit and the 2# car unit (that I have) are both affected. They will send free replacements and paid means to send the bad units back.

    In general, it has to do with plastic parts and handles used at the top.

    At any rate,……….. a friendly heads up to all of my fellow airgun homies. Pass it on to friends and family.

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

  12. To BB and readers, seems to be a quiet day here so I will provide a little news I have seen around the internet.

    First the Fortitude Gen2 should be ready by 5-13-19 according to Pyramyd AIR /product/benjamin-fortitude-gen-2-pcp-air-rifle-regulated?m=4569

    Second Hard Air has had a first sighting of the new Fortitude https://hardairmagazine.com/news/product-news/benjamin-fortitude-generation-2-first-sighting/ and gave a look at the hammer spring adjustment https://hardairmagazine.com/reviews/fortitude-gen-2-hammer-spring-adjustment/ Interesting stuff there as well.

    Third Rick Rehm AKA Shooter 1721 took a look at shooting the new Hades pellets into clay, some long videos but good info, https://hardairmagazine.com/reviews/rick-rehm-video-tests-jsb-hades-pellets/

    And Fourth Tofazfou also tested the Hades pellets in soap and got interesting results http://tofazfou.blogspot.com/2019/03/jsb-hades-22-caliber-pellets.html

    Some info and I hope you like what I have given.


    • Mike,

      I have seen all but the last one. Impressive on how the front “talons” open up. When they said “frangible”, I assumed they meant that it was supposed to break apart. Not sure I saw any of that. Plenty of deforming though. Shooting a std. JSB along side would be an interesting test just to see the clay and soap difference.


      • Chris,

        I just watched Giles do the soap bar test with the Hades yesterday. He seems to take great pains to emphasize that the Hades was not “frangible”. Very likely there are laws against such over there.

      • Chris
        I like them. And rather they didn’t break apart. Like if used for some or rabbit hunting. Then you don’t have to dig the pieces out of the meat. I use to hate biting into lead shot when I use to shot gun hunt.

        As I said. I like the pellets if they do work as they say. I’m imagine how much power and distance of the shot makes the difference.

      • GF1
        Totally agree with you. I just watched the links offered here and saw the link for Giles yesterday and my conclusions are that it depends on what type gun you are going to use. I have two rules for my hunting: shoot only what you want to eat (pests excluded), and just use a springer. Therefore my hunting us limited to pretty much just rabbits and squirrels. Using these pellets I would expect them to mushroom but not be frangible.
        Larry in Algona

        • Larry
          Yep with you there. And I didn’t catch it on my reply but it was suppose to say squirrel and rabbit. My phone changed it to (some) instead of saying squirrel.

          But yep if you use a regular domed pellet or even a wadcutter right now and the Hades are accurate all the better. Maybe.

          As it goes I would still like to try some.

          • GF1
            Same here. I think what would be interesting is to find out what fpe it would take to get any reliable expansion. Otherwise, use a dome. They seem to have been developed for the PCP crowd, especially for those in seeking a frangible pellet. Giles pretty much stressed that it was NOT frangible for the UK crowd but it would expand. I don’t like my springers to do more than about 17-18 fpe tops so I could probably find a very nice expanding pellet. Of course, who cares if it’s not accurate?

            • Larry
              Right good ole accuracy.

              And I have had pretty good luck with my Maximus and 16 grain JSB domes mushrooming.

              And if you get a accurate wadcutter at a respectable distance with a gun making some power you really got a nice combination. For the most part the wadcutters pop when they hit a bird or squirrel or rabbit. And it’s usually down for the count right there.

              And we’ll those domes just work at multiple distances for the most part when hunting. In other words they pretty well will drop what you hit and have a more forgiving area of shooting distance. And that is what is needed when pesting or hunting. A wide shooting envelope that works easily. As it goes again know your gun.

              • GF1
                “As it goes again know your gun.” True that. I’ve got a newer Diana, HW, and Walther, all of which I really enjoy. But if I really want to just fall back on that comfort and familiarity, I’ll almost always go to my 124 or 127 that are going on 42 years now. I guess you can say I’ve gotten to know those two pretty well. I know their limitations so I don’t stretch them and so the Williams peeps on both almost never get changed.

                • Larry
                  I bet those guns would be good pesting guns. Even with the peep sights.

                  When you do something long enough you learn what works and what don’t. Although some surprises do get thrown in the mix from time to time.

                  • GF1

                    Never used them for pesting except once against a ground squirrel that was stealing food from the picnic table.

                    I thing you just described “hunting”.


                    • Larry
                      Pesting, hunting. All the same. To make the humane shot whenever needed.

                      Knowing your gun and ammo is what it’s about.

      • GF1,

        Tofazfou did say in the report I linked to “I’m currently getting groups from just over .500″-.625″ at 60 yards.” I would say that is quite nice.


  13. First attempt at posting pics, so bear with me,…..

    My idea on having some pellets “at the ready” for a single shot. Maximus in .22 in this case. The foam is pretty hard/firm. The “push pins” are cut from the rods of those cheap little construction flags. The pellets sit flat and protected until you push the pin. The pin will not fully pop the pellet out, but only partially so as you can grab it. Reloading a pellet resets the pin. For my grab and go critter gun, I can load one and have 3 more at the ready.

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