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Education / Training Finding that silk purse

Finding that silk purse

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • A break
  • The real story
  • Fell into it
  • Oh, no!
  • The real story
  • Back to the future
  • The lesson
  • More
  • The point
  • Summary

A break

I need a break from punching holes in paper. Been doing a lot of that this week. Today I was all set to test the Slavia 618, but the next test is accuracy and like I said — I want to do something else.

As I was sitting at my computer trying come up with an idea for today, I got messaged that the parts for my .22 rimfire High Standard Sport King pistol had arrived in my mailbox. What’s the story there?

Fell into it

Many years ago I was at one of the last gun shows I ever attended. I had two tables full of guns to sell and one of them was something I had priced at $450. I forget what it was — it was that unimportant to me. But my price was reasonable and there was some interest. One guy came by and asked if I would come over to his table and see if there was anything I would take in trade for it. So I did.

He had a Taurus model 62LA that was new in the box. It was stainless steel, which I don’t like, but it was a slide action (pump) gun, which I do like — or so I thought! I never even picked it up out of the box. I could see it was like new. He saw that I was interested so he offered it to me. It was priced at $300 as I recall and I sort of stalled on that — my gun being priced reasonably at $450. I went back to my table and a few minutes later the guy brought by a High Standard Sport King pistol that he said he would throw in to sweeten the deal. Well, that sounded fine, so I agreed.

Taurus 62LA
How can anyone look at this Taurus 62LA and not realize that it’s a lever gun? I’m living proof that it can be done!

He brought the Taurus box over with the pistol and took his rifle away. My buddy Otho opened the box and looked at the Taurus and says to me, “I didn’t know Taurus made a lever-action .22!”

Oh, no!

A lever action? Oh, no! I had paid so little attention to the rifle when looking at it that I failed to see the lever. I assumed it was a pump. I already owned a Marlin 39A that’s the sweetest lever action .22 ever made and I sure didn’t need another one! Certainly not a shiny silver one! Shazbat!

Otho told me he thought the Taurus might be worth some money, so when we got home he bugged me to look it up on Gun Broker. When I dragged my feet he looked it up himself. It turned out that the Taurus 62LA was the most desirable .22 rifle Taurus ever made and they were bringing $850 on Gun Broker. And they were actually selling at that price! So — I guess I fell into it.

I still have the rifle. It’s still silver and I still don’t like it, but since my information on it was at least 10 years old I looked it up on Gun Broker for this report. Maybe the bottom had fallen out and they were now going for nothing?

No, in May of this year there were 39 bids on one in the same condition as mine, which is almost new in the box. That one sold for $1,681.00. Apparently Taurus only made the rifle one year (2006-2007) and they are quite rare.

The real story

But that’s not the story today. The real story is the other gun — the High Standard Sport King pistol that sweetened the deal. It’s a blued steel handgun and I had high hopes for it. But alas, it didn’t work. The magazine is sticky and doesn’t feed. So I put it aside and thought that I had been on the bad end of a deal once again.

Sport King
High Standard’s Sport King is a fine old semiautomatic .22 pistol.

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Back to the future

But my neighbor, Denny the woodworker, has fallen in love with my Ruger Mark II Target Pistol. He has taken it to the range a bunch of times and a pistol that wasn’t clean to begin with started to malfunction. It needed to be cleaned and lubricated. I HATE disassembling that pistol. It comes apart easily but it is a royal bear to assemble — or that was my impression. So, on to You Tube I go and when I “remembered” the assembling problem. It was easy enough to solve. Result, clean pistol that’s lubed up and ready to go, Denny. But on You Tube a guy remarked that he wished that Mark IIs were as easy to assemble as High Standard Sport Kings. Hey! I have one of those!

Long story short I got it out and remembered the sticky mag, so I ordered a good one off Ebay. Then I disassembled the pistol which is dirt-simple to do and found it had a broken firing pin and was missing a firing pin return spring. Another order for the two parts and a week later the pistol is back in business. I fired three long rifle cartridges wiuthout failure. For about $75 I put the “deal sweetener” pistol back in action. And Type 1 High Standard Sport Kings in excellent condition like mine are fetching about $400 and up these days.

Sport King apart
The Sport king comes apart in less than 10 seconds and goes together just as fast. It was designed for that.

The lesson

The lesson is — don’t panic. If you get into a bad deal, sit on it awhile. Not everything that starts out bad ends that way. Remember those two Slavia 618s I got? One has a bent rear sight and the other needs to be rebuilt. But the first one is shooting better than any other 618 I have seen and, if I wasn’t tired of putting holes in paper this week, you’d be reading about it right now.


I have more to say. When I go to an airgun show with a single purpose in mind I usually get skunked. Let’s say I am there to find an FWB 124. There are two at the show. One is a deluxe model that’s like new in the box with all the paperwork. The seller is asking $800. The other one is a rusty beater sport model without sights that the seller wants $275 for. In my book, both rifles are a bit too high. But that’s not my point. My point is on another table at the same show a guy has a very nice-looking Hakim that he only wants $150 for. Seventy-five percent of the buyers in the hall are looking for a .30-caliber FX Impact with a 700 mm barrel. They aren’t interested in old pellet rifles and they could care less about that beat-up old Egyptian air rifle with the Arabic writing painted on the stock.

Well, I got skunked on the 124 I came for, but I have the money, so I take the plunge and buy the Hakim. I ask the seller if I can leave it on his table because I still want to walk around the show for a few hours.

About a hour later a guy taps me on the shoulder and asks if I own that Hakim that’s sitting on that table over there. I do and we strike up a conversation. Turns out he brought his deluxe FWB 124 with a scope to the show to see if he could swap it for a nice Hakim. We both walk to his car, I look at the rifle, which is exactly what I want, and we swap — straight across!

But here is the deal. Instead of all of this happening at the one show — wouldn’t that be nice? — it takes three shows over four years. Good things come to those who wait!

The point

My point today is obvious — I hope! Relax on your desires and let the good things come to you. Keep your eyes open for the deal of a lifetime. A friend who was very good at doing this once told me that the deal of a lifetime comes around about every 18 months. I will add that a doorbuster deal happens a lot more frequently and good deals are everywhere. I have to brush them off frequently to keep them from clinging to me!


Okay, I get it. You are a young man with a young family. You don’t have two spare dollars to rub together. But you are a nice guy who mows the old widow’s lawn every week. She makes you cookies in payment. But one week she asks if you know anything about old guns. You do and she asks if you would like that old rifle that’s up in the attic. Her husband put it up there so the grandkids wouldn’t fool with it and that was ten years ago. She can’t climb the fold-down ladder anymore but you go up and find a dusty Winchester 427 that cleans up to near-mint. Next to it is a Mossberg pump shotgun that she forgot all about. Please take both of them she says — she’ll feel better knowing they are not in her house, but with someone who cares.

What goes around…

54 thoughts on “Finding that silk purse”

  1. B.B.,

    Shazbat! Had to run that through my rememberer a bit before Robin “Mork” Williams popped up. Much as I would like to see this sort of thing to happen. More often than not we really have to work on it to get the silk purse out of the sow’s ear.


  2. BB,

    It is always nice when things like that happen. It pays to put yourself out there too,… be it in person or on-line. Years ago,.. I would do the yard sale thing quite often and found many “good deals”. I rarely do that any more. I rarely shop on line and never for used air guns. What happened? At some point I had asked myself,.. “Just how much stuff do I need”?

    Still,… it is really nice when the deal of a lifetime comes along,… guns or otherwise. I have had it happen a few times in my life.


    • Chris,

      “Just how much stuff do I need?”

      This is so true. I have found myself with more airguns and no time to shoot them. I have even reinherited one this past week. Very likely some of the younger gals will be finding new homes.

      It is a real shame though. There are a couple of young gals I would not mind moving in, but I do not have a room for them to stay in. I guess somebody else will just have to take them in.

      • “Just how much stuff do I need”?
        “This is so true. I have found myself with more airguns and no time to shoot them.”
        Chris, RidgeRunner,
        What you guys said here is right in line with something I have been thinking the past few days: everything I have gets used, or it gets sold, or it gets given away…except for guns…but perhaps it’s time that applied to them as well. I have firearms I haven’t shot for a few years, and airguns I rarely ever use; it may be time to pass them on to kids and grandkids, and just keep the ones I use all the time; thank you for this reminder.
        Take care & I hope you’re enjoying your 4th of July weekend,

        • Dave

          If you have kids and grans who have ogled over your collection and are schooled in gun safety, yeah it is time to act. They make cherished Christmas presents and you get to shoot with them more. They also carry on our much maligned sport and right to defend ourselves and home.


          • Deck, right you are! A bunch have gone to my one son who shoots, to be given to the grandkids who want to follow in his footsteps…time for the next batch to go there, too; thanks. =>

  3. BB
    To quote an old friend, “Good deals have a way of coming to you, when you have cash to pay for them”.
    It’s not a good deal if you can’t take advantage of it.
    Bob M

    • Bob,

      🙂 That also plays in to my overall view. Have some cash back whether it be for a “great deal”,…. or the car, water heater, etc., etc. takes a crap. The less I look, the less I want, the less I spend and therefore have more $ when I do need it. I have been on the other end of that scenario in the past and pretty quickly figured out that it was something to strongly avoid in the future. Doing fine now and always welcome a good deal,.. but at the same time I am not actively seeking one out on purpose.


      • Chris
        Glad things are going well for you. Life is more much gooder with a few extra bucks in your wallet.

        I took it a bit further. Right now I have a new in the box water heater in my garage. I got it on a sale weeks ago when mine started making noise. They always seem to fail when stores are closed.

        • Bob,

          Sounds smart on your part. On water heaters,.. I replaced my electric unit a few years ago. The service people could not drain the old one (lime scale). I inquired on how to avoid that in the future and they said that I needed to drain out a couple of gallons every month or so. I have done it ever since and get about 1/4 cup of scale per month. I let it go 3 months one time and had a heck of a time trying to get some flow. I do not turn it off or the water off,… just open the valve (with hose) into a bucket. I believe that they must be drained to change an element. Can’t drain? No fix. Just some fyi in case you are interested.


          • Chris
            That’s good advise for all. Mine is LP gas. I can never unscrew the sacrificial rod that’s supposed to reduce corrosion and such. May need to do it sooner than recommended … or better yet! Cover ‘some’ of the threads with Teflon tape before I install it and corrosion starts.

  4. BB
    There is a company called “hammer strut support” that makes a piece that you put in the takedown mechanism of the Ruger MKII that greatly simplifies reassembly. I put one in mine and it works great.

  5. B.B.

    When I was in college the ROTC had a range in the subbasement of one of the buildings. After a very tough week, I would go there and buy a box of ammo and sign out a .22 pistol. Not sure if it was the Ruger or High Standard? Anyway, that was my introduction to pistols……

    You sound like a stock broker, don’t worry it will all work out. Phooey!

    Happy Birthday America!
    Beware the second wave,


  6. I have a couple of silk purses around here. My Lincoln Jeffries Model 1906 BSA did not work when I bought it. Now it does indeed shoot quite well and resides over my fireplace mantle. I could easily sell it for five or six times what I paid for it. I could probably hold out and get more.

    I wonder what I could get for my Crosman 101 when I finish it? Not that it will likely move out of RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns any more than the BSA. These old gals tend to stay around. The young ones though…

  7. GF1,

    In response to your statement that I was going wishy washy yesterday.

    Very true. The truth is, I am really in the cheering section for the Avenger, even if it is made in China. I would hate to see it do better than the S510 at 50+ yards, but I secretly do hope it does. It is so embarrassing.

    This is why I would like to have a Maximus. I know I can fiddle with it and turn it into a world class shooter. I do believe this can be also. The Liberty, which this is based on, is an excellent air rifle right out of the box. With a little work, it becomes awesome.

    I just have a hard time dealing with a Chinese air rifle beating out a top shelfer.

    • Hey RR,

      Check out this video on the Avenger, it’s a long one but worth watching!


      Steve spends a lot of time with lots of rifles so he knows what is about – he is really impressed with the Avenger. Seems that it likes all kinds of pellets AND slugs and is happy at a “low power” (25 fpe) tune for over 100 shots on a fill.


      • Hank,

        May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits!

        So far I have watched about half of that video (one cup of coffee) and know I want one. I am going to have to sell some stuff around here now. You are so mean.

        • …”May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits!”


          Haven’t heard that one in years (decades actually) – IIRC, the reply to that is…

          “May the dogs from a thousand kennels mistake you for a fire hydrant!”

          Yeah, definitely a two-cup video. Curious about the 50 yard tests, but really, even as a 25-35 yard plinker and pester it would easily be worth the money.

          I’m not trying to be “mean” I am just pointing out something you might like (snicker), really want to help (LOL!).

          Being shrouded, it probably won’t be available here so I am just teasing myself researching the Avenger. …still, it is a very interesting rifle eh?


          • Hank,

            I have another version of it that has to do with all those fleas and the length of your arms, however this is a family show.

            From all of the videos I have seen, this thing is about 1 MOA at 50 yards and is almost 1 MOA at 75 and 100 yards. That is why that despite it being made in China, I am interested in it. I can deaden that hollow plastic stock sound with some foam. As long as the plastic is durable, that’s fine.

            How did you get around the shrouding of the FX Impact? Go FAC?


            • RR,

              FX made a Canadian version of the Impact by isolating the shroud from the bore so there is no attenuation at all. The rifle is not overly loud at 32 fpe (70 bar) but I expect it to have a bit of a bark when I start shooting slugs at twice that power. The noise is not a concern for me – I can shoot center fire in the back yard if I want. LOL!

              I wanted a .22 SIG ASP20 but they can’t be bothered making a baffle free version for us (like how hard can that be to do), bit peeved a that. Don’t know if Air Venturi will step up to the plate with a Canadian Avenger, hope so.


              • Hank,

                I would not sweat it. The Impact will likely shoot rings around both of them.

                Where I am I do not sweat the noise either. It is a rare day that I do not hear firearms going off. It is not too unusual at night.

        • R.R.
          Don’t hate me,, but if you go over to HAM, you will find what Steve Archer calls a “hand pump tune”. Not only did he test it at 3000 psi,, he also teated it at 2000 psi and got 48 consistent shots at just a hair under 800fps and just over 20 ftlbs.
          This rifle seems to be a good fit for almost everything anybody tries and likes almost every pellet (if you tune for it). And for $300.

      • Steve does a really good job, but his videos are getting to be so long I have stopped watching. I dislike stopping a video in the middle and returning to it — I know, my problem (smile) — I would much rather he had broken this up into three, twenty-minute segments. I don’t fully know all the ins and outs of YouTube’s algorithm, but I would think he would get even more views that way. I liken it too B.B.’s segments. I enjoy and look forward to reading each installment.

        Jim M.

        • Jim,

          I enjoy the reading more than the watching, but I am old school. The kids today do not know how to read.

          Steve’s VLog can be quite detailed, but that is the idea of the second site. If you stick with the AEAC site it is not too bad.

  8. I always say that “A good deal is one that BOTH parties are happy with”!

    That is how I got my TX200 – a guy wanted a FT PCP he saw a picture of my AR20 with the custom stock I had made and offered a trade.

    The TX200 included a custom GinB FT stock, some upgrades, accessories and 4 Vortec kits – the standard beech stock (never used) was also included.

    The AR20 was shooting well for me but I must say that I am very happy with the TX200 …some times you just get lucky.

    Happy Friday all!!

  9. BB – You brought back some memories!

    My Dad gave me a Hi Standard Olympic Model (.22 Short (ohly), bull barrel, and very nice trigger) many years ago. I think he got it in a trade in the late 50’s.

    It is indeed easy to take apart and put together, and it is a great shooter – much better than me. When I miss, sadly, I never have to wonder if it was me or the gun ;o)

    I rarely shoot it anymore, but it means the world to me!


  10. I have a High Standard Supermatic Citation “Spacegun” with 8 inch barrels and all the weights. While I have what would be considered better quality .22 target pistols, I always use the space gun for the local club’s informal .22 pistol competitions. I chalk it up to nostalgia. As A kid in the 1960s, I lusted after one but had no money and lived in a handgun unfriendly part of the world.

    • Grantb,

      Wow! I, too, have lusted for a space gun. I own a Hammerli 100 free pistol that I also wanted as a kid, but the real experience leaves me wanting. My FWB air pistol is far more accurate. I was always afraid that would be the case with the Supermatic Citation.


  11. BB, great example of how a preconceived expectation can blind us to reality.
    Sometimes a sows ear will always be a sows ear. Sort of like a stainless steel lever gun nobody wants. Hardly the measure of anything more lasting. My Marlin model 60 which I modded with a kit from Brownells stovepipes with
    standard velocity ammo( the most accurate), but works fine with high velocity, is one of the least expensive .22’s you can buy. I enjoy trying to outshoot fancier guns at the range. I think the ‘micro-groove barrel’ is pretty good. Maybe I should just get a better one.
    If I get great deal, maybe.
    Hve a fun weekend Y’alll!

  12. BB

    My sow’s ear or so the salesman believed was a Mossberg 500 12 gauge. The Kmart salesman advised me to never shoot 3 inch shells because the gun would blow up. I paid $69 for it in the 1960’s and that gun has hunted all over the North American continent. And yeah, it shoots 3” shells with ease. Guys carried it in combat. It has never had a part replaced but I do have 3 barrels for it. Still going strong.


  13. When I was junior high school age, my dad won a Hi-Standard like yours in a card game and gave it to me. I was all excited until I fired it and found out it wouldn’t eject, so I gave it back to him.

  14. BB,

    AHHHHHH, you really know how to scratch my itch today! It might only be a Sport King but you have one of the good ones. That pistol is from the Supermatic series and they were only produced from 1950 to 1954. They were also called lever guns due to the takedown mechanism. All models produced after 54 were the pushbutton takedown style. They came with either a 04in or 06in tube. The 04in is nicer to carry but the 06in adds just enough xtra weight out front plus the added sight radius, to make it a joy to shoot. If you can find a pistol easier to field strip and clean please let me know, I’ll probably buy one.

    I hate to admit it but if I’m somewhere out in the bushes ,99.9 percent of the time one of these old girls is usually nestled comfortably under my left armpit waiting for a grouse, squirrel or the occasional slithery critter to come by. As a side note, no special gun leather is required. She rides nice and tight in any standard 1911 shoulder rig thats open around the muzzle . That 06 in tube will hang out a little but it’s never bothered me in the least.

    BB, go, shoot, enjoy!!!!!!


  15. BB,

    Happy 4th of July to you and everyone here!

    Now that your HS is back up and running, how does it shoot against your Ruger? I have a Mark II with bull barrel that will put 10 Eley Target rounds, at 40 feet ( weird distance, I know, but that’s the longest distance that I could shoot at inside my basement back in the day), shooting from sand bags, into a hole that is barely bigger than a .22 caliber bullet. It shoots PMC target rounds nearly as well, but they don’t make them anymore, as far as I can tell.

    I always heard how good the HS .22s were and also the good things about Mark II s so I went cheaper with the Ruger and with accuracy like I get with it, I’ve never looked back. If you are too trigger-fatigued to shoot them side by side, I’m guessing ol’ Denny the Woodworker (which I first read as Denny the Woodpecker, by the way) would be glad to shoot them for you. Good friends will do that, I’ve found! LOL

    Hail to our great Republic! Half

  16. Don,

    My gun is just the 5.5″ Target Model from the mid 80s. It has the bull barrel with no millings or flutes and is blued steel. It came with black plastic grips, but I replaced them with Pachmayr wraparound rubber grips. The finger grooves in them fit my hand to a “T”.

    Mine is a great gun and I have referred several friends and family to them as a first gun. The sights are good and the barrel gives it good balance and the weight to minimize the recoil. No one has regretted their purchase yet.


    • Half,

      I have shot the bull barrel and std. barrel models and like them both. Good to know on the grips. When I saw the standard version of the MK IV did not have an adjustable rear sight that would not be what I want. I like the looks and features of the Ruger MK IV Competition model. The Target version would also be fine.


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