Oh, the insanity!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The inspiration
  • What does this mean to you?
  • What’s next?
  • Remember!
  • A message to wives
  • Summary

Today’s report is inspired by the current climate. Be glad you’re an airgunner!

The inspiration

Many of you are aware of this. Reader Kevin tracked an online auction on eBay in which an FWB 124 sold for $1,246 just a few days ago. Guys — that is insane! That’s at least twice what a pristine 124 should sell for. And this one was the Sport model — not the Deluxe!

At the same time the 124 was selling I was watching a Diana model 25 in nice condition that should have fetched  $150 to 175 at the most. It hammered down at $251.50. That’s Diana 27 territory!

Okay, prices do rise all the time, but I think there is a different dynamic happening here. I believe the firearm shooters have hit the wall, as far as the lack of ammo goes and they are coming into airguns in a big way. They still want to shoot and airguns are the only game in town. 

To guys who think nothing of spending $1,500 on an AR15, and then dressing it with another thousand in accessories a thousand-dollar air rifle is chump change. And they want the best. So when they make the transition to airguns and learn that everybody is talking about the FWB 124 and the vintage Dianas, that’s what they want. 

They didn’t get into reloading soon enough, so they really have to come to airguns if they want to continue to shoot. And they are here! Many will go away, if and when firearms ammo becomes available again, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. So our ranks have just tripled? Quintupled? Increased by a googol?

What does this mean to you?

It means that the customer base in the airgun marketplace has enlarged greatly. It may also mean that the day of the price-point PCP (PPP) might be over. Watch the market over the next 6-8 months and see if the sub $300 PCP goes away. It will be replaced by the $400 PCP and so on.

Many of you will blame greedy retailers, but that’s shortsighted. The manufacturers of these airguns have been holding the line down on costs so they make virtually nothing on the PPP. They will be glad to boost their wholesale prices to start earning a profit for perhaps the first time on these airguns that, until now, have simply been loss leaders to get people into the market. Retailers will have to pass this along and you know the rest.

So — if you own one of these about-to-become-desirable airguns — hold on to it! That is, if you still want to shoot. And THINK!

What’s next?

Once they get their airgun what’s the next thing these new airgunners are going to want? That’s right — pellets. They can read just as well as you or I, so what kind of pellets are they going to want? I won’t even mention the brands, but you all know what they are. Yes, they are produced by the pallet load, but these new airgunners are going to want to buy them by the sea-land container. You and I have been buying them by the pallet for many years and guess what — the pellet manufacturers can’t expand their capacity the way every couch commando thinks when he waves his hand! Making pellets is just as costly and involved as making airguns!

The pellet manufacturers are going to watch all of this market activity and wonder whether it’s just a temporary spike or a phenomenon that will last. They are already in profit. Do they really want to bet the ranch that if they expand to double the capacity and then the market dies off they will be left holding the mortgage on production capacity that has no return? If they wait, they believe the future will be easier to predict.

If pellets could be made as easily as videos now can, there would be hundreds of new pellet manufacturers, and three or four of them would really be good! But it doesn’t work that way. Making pellets requires an investment in terms of money, specialized equipment, plant space, workforce and distribution channels. You can’t sell pellets through You Tube. Pellets have to pass through physical retail channels to get to the customer. You learned that fact some time back, when you noticed that your local discount store was unwilling to carry anything beyond five different tins of sinker larvae and, because of their corporate policies, not even in the caliber you shoot!

Since you are reading this blog you are aware of Pyramyd Air — the largest airgun retailer in the United States and perhaps in the world. Well, guess what? This same internet we are now using is well-known to the tidal wave of firearms shooters that are coming into airguns, and all they need to do is research who’s good and who’s not. That will bring them right here with all of us. Some of them already read this blog and they have friends!

Remember!

Remember the nearly worldwide shortage of toilet paper almost a year ago? There really was no shortage, but countless people were frightened into buying way more than they needed and the shelves were bare for months. The shelves are already bare of firearms ammunition and here we sit, content in our little world of airguns, where we shoot whenever and almost wherever we want. Sooner or later…

A message to wives

Wives, I am called The Great Enabler because I “talk” your guys into getting things I think they want. You know this and you are wise to watch over the checkbook, because for most of us there is not enough money to have all we desire.

But here is the deal. I will tell the truth about the guns and products I test. I don’t have an axe to grind and I assure you — I get nothing more when sales go up! Lots of airguns I test are not recommended. I don’t condemn them, but I do show the test results to let everyone make up their own mind.

However, when I find a real winner, I tell it like it is. For example, Until recently the Sig Sauer Corporation made an air rifle they called the ASP20. It was the FWB 124 of this millennium. Sadly this rifle is no longer being made. If your man got one you may have wondered the wisdom of it at the time, but now he has something of high quality that he can shoot. He will need some pellets, but with that rifle and a good scope, that’s about it.

So, watch me carefully, but when I get out my pompoms please know there is a reason.

Summary

Guys, our little quiet hobby is growing up. The times have conspired to propel us onto the center stage of the shooting sports. Know this and act accordingly.

74 thoughts on “Oh, the insanity!

  1. ASP20 ? No longer made ? Damn it. It was on my next to buy list. What happened. I really want to know why they discontinued a great rifle. Please clue us in. That just ruined my evening BB.




    • Lioniii,

      Very likely, the cost and their timing. The ASP line was expensive, at least in relation to the big box store airguns. They were also too soon. If they were just bringing out the ASP20, it would sell like crazy. The powder burners would figure that if it is made by the same company that makes their PB’s, it must be good.

      Me? They did not have anything I wanted. I have my Izzy, which can make the Supertarget look like a big box store special. As far as the ASP20, I have several sproingers that I really enjoy shooting and do not have the time for I would like now. Why would I want another sproinger? Now, I might make room for one of the old gals here at RRHFWA, but not likely a “modern” one.

      Besides, how well is that ASP20 going to do at 50 yards? 75 yards? 100 yards?

      Why did they quit the ASP line? I do not know. Very likely they needed the space and labor force for more lucrative products.


      • RidgeRunner,

        I can only think the Supertarget would come up short against the Izzy in terms of pinpoint accuracy, but there is no way the fit and finish of the Izzy could compete with the Supertarget (and remember, like you I am not a huge Sig fan).

        I came into one for a VERY low price when I found it on clearance. It operates like an absolute dream, and my neighbor two doors down held it, dry-fired it and said the quality, heft and feel exceeded that of any of his handguns (and I don’t know the specifics, but he probably owns a hundred or more.)

        Michael



          • RidgeRunner,

            As I have both the (AV)46M and the SIG ASP Supertarget that occupancy increase would be a wise move! But then it would be expected since you obviously got in the brains line and not the trains line as so many did…accidentally.
            Yes the 46M has more accuracy potential simply based on the sight raidius being almost twice as long. The SIG is a different build objective regardless of what the marketing types put in the sales literature.

            I enjoy shooting both!

            shootski


            • Shootski,

              I do not dispute that at times the Supertarget would be my go to air pistol. But as you say, it will not shoot with my Izzy. I at this moment own a Webley Senior and a Lukzic Predom. There are times when these are my shooting choice, but there are times when only the Izzy would do.

              If I had a top of the line super dooper PCP 10 meter air pistol, I might be tempted to get rid of my Izzy, but then…


              • RidgeRunner,

                Yea, we can dream! Of course Mrs. Shootski only grumbled for a little about the SIG ASP20 purchase today but I think I’m close to the absolute total number of guns LIMIT now. That might be a good thing because a “…super dooper PCP 10 meter air pistol…” would only show my lack of skill since anything out of the X Ring would be on me! I know that the dot at the center of the 10 meter air rifle target mocks me more with every passing year…i may eventually only get them from on the bench!

                Maybe that is the saving grace of the ASP20 purchase…I can blame it on the difficulty of shooting a break barrel well. LOL!

                shootski



      • RR, I have an ASP Supertarget, my brother has an Baikal. We had a little informal shootout at 10M, and my Sig did pretty well. He shot mine, and complimented it. And that IZH is flat-out weird ugly. So there. As far as looks go, the ASP is MUCH better.


        • Jerry,

          Beauty is as beauty does. I like the looks of the Izzy. I like the looks of the Supertarget. I like the looks of the FAS 6004.

          I have the Izzy. I would like to have an ASP Supertarget / FAS 6004. Am I going to buy one? My wallet says no.


          • I was fortunate to find a discounted deal on my Super Target. I have had three of the Beeman P17, none lasted through a tin of pellets. The Super Target is a very nice gun, far easier to cock, good trigger, good sights, and I think it looks great. Three year warranty from Sig, too. Plus, I think it handles like a “normal” firearm, and that is a big plus for me.


            • Jerry,

              I do understand. When I bought my Izzy, there was nothing that compared, unless you spent over twice as much. If the Super Target and the FAS 6004 had been available at the time, I may have bought one of these. Having shot my Izzy, these really do not compare.

              I have bought and sold various air pistols over the years, some of which were “collector items” and I let them go because they did not compare to my Izzy. Now i have a couple of pistols that are nowhere comparable to my Izzy. They fill a unique space, therefore they may stay at RRHFWA. Now, if a Sig Saur Super Target / FAS 6004 was to come my way, it would likely find a home at RRHFWA. I have gotten a little older and maybe a little wiser.


  2. BB,

    Good article. Too bad on the SIG line. They seemed like they were doing it the right way and made a commitment.
    The sheer amount of offerings these days (air guns) is mind boggling. Considering the upfront investment required (that needs a return),..it is a wonder we get the offerings we do. Sure,… some is just reskinned in a pup stock with a shorter barrel,… but still.

    The Amish around here are nuts on firearm auction/estate in person sales. They will out bid anyone most times. Forget China invading,…. them Amish have a whole giant stockpile,.. somewhere. 😉

    Chris


  3. Well thank you B.B.!

    I feel so much better about my recent NIB Diana 10 M purchase on EGUN.de for 301 euros. I would suggest interested parties look there!

    So what does this mean for the big bore market? I have to assume that the people you wrote about believe that if 20 fpe is good, 40 fpe is better and 400 fpe is best!

    -Y

    PS do you know how to invest in lead futures?


  4. Shootski,

    Many thanks for the link to Nygord’s notes. Those are a treasure trove of “attitude” as well as “how-to” information. In my experience the “attitude” information has more lasting value since it spills over into so many other places in life.

    Dan


  5. If the Hindenburg disaster broadcaster could see this, he would shout “ohh…the insanity…” into his microphone. Guess it is time to add more .22 pellets to supplement the dwindling supply of vintage “ashcans” and at least be able to shoot the 38T when it comes back from Precision Pellet. Glad to have purchased that Umarex MP-40 last year; it is not an ASP-20 or a PCP but it is still fun. As long as there are only lemons available, FM will make lemonade and pursue his other interests. Do what you enjoy and take it a day at a time.



  6. Today’s blog is very interesting to me and certainly offers a perspective on the WHY that vintage airguns especially are selling for mind blowing prices. Tracking sales of vintage airguns has been a habit of mine for a long time and I’ve never seen such a spike in prices.

    I have lots of pellets and haven’t been paying attention to the supply and demand. Appears that B.B. is right again. In his article today on “What’s Next” he talks about the demand for pellets. Out of curiosity I went to PA’s website and looked at JSB pellets. On page one 20 different JSB pellets are shown. 14 of the 20 pellets are out of stock (shown as Pre-order)!!!. Craziness. Here’s a link to the page:

    https://www.pyramydair.com/a/Ammo/109/brands_9


    • Kevin,

      I did the same thing — AFTER writing that part. I was shocked! I have seen the pallets of pellets from JSB and from H&N. They can’t pile them high on the pallet because they weigh so much. And they can’t stack the pallets too high, either. And those two companies are going gangbusters to deliver what they do!

      BB


      • Tom,

        Your article makes a good point about the cost of manufacturer’s tooling up to meet a demand that may fizzle out. I’d hate to be the bean counter in charge of making that call.

        My instinct tells me that this is a different time than the Obama driven gun, reloading equipment and ammo sales.

        Not being able to keep airgun pellets in stock is alarming.

        The bell is ringing.

        Executive order #64 attacking the second amendment will undoubtedly be challenged in the Supreme Court


  7. I like the Idea of on demand production, Panasonic tried this in the 80’s, but the web wasn’t developed enough for it to succeed. The promise was a custom made bicycle frame from the factory in Japan in a short turn around time.
    I think it was a few weeks at most, at a time when a custom frame could take months easily. Anyway, unsold product in wherehouses is not optimum. The trade war is a failure, maybe investment in infrastructure will become a popular idea again. It’s worth it to make a reproduction air rifle now. I balked at an Iver-Johnson carbine at that time,I remember a number like $179. the SKS was cheaper, under a hundred, and brand new. I dont know which one is a better gun, the same carbine now is is as much as the Diana 124. I would never have imagined this.
    The peach is blossoming today, it doesn’t know about the cold weather.
    R


    • St blue
      They tried that before and even a couple times at the machine shop I work at and other shops. That just gwtsyou behind. I can explain more if you don’t know what I mean.

      Supply on demand has not worked from what I have seen.


  8. BB,

    Really annoyed to hear that the ASP20 is being discontinued – there goes the hope that SIG would have released a Canadian version without a moderator.

    With any luck somebody will start producing a (good) quality knockoff since SIG isn’t interested in our business.

    I don’t know if the PB guys interest in airguns is going to be just a flash in the pan. From what I have seen, the guys who have tried my airguns have been extremely impressed.

    The big issue is that many of the traditional plinking and practice areas have been posted so memberships in formal shooting ranges are becoming the only option. Where farmers and rural folk are comfortable with guns, many city-dwellers have retired to the rural areas and they will be on the phone to the police before you could fire a dozen shots. A couple of my friends can’t shoot .22 rimfires at their cottages any more so they have switched over to PCPs.

    Think the PB guys are realizing that being basement and backyard friendly airguns have a lot of advantages. As you say, dropping a grand or two on a gun is normal, I to can see big changes in our hobby.

    Hank


    • “many city-dwellers have retired to the rural areas and they will be on the phone to the police before you could fire a dozen shots…”
      Hank,
      Sadly, that is not only the case up your way, but down here as well; both my old neighborhood in Florida, and my previous neighborhood in Georgia, now have local city ordinances that make it illegal to shoot any kind of airgun (even a BB gun) in the city limits; you cannot even shoot them in your own back yard…well, you can, unless someone sees you and complains. Technically, I could not even shoot my slingshot there! Insane!
      Thankfully, now that I’ve “gone rural,” the melodious sound of gunfire is pretty common, as well as being legal, though I do prefer to shoot airguns most of the time, as it’s easier to get pellets…for now! =>
      Cheers,
      dave


  9. I noticed this the other day and commented in the blog. My Gamo Urban PPPCP is now out of stock everywhere I checked. I am sure happy I have one already. If the prices of PCPs are increasing to a minimum of $400+, my guess is that will slow the move to the “dark side”. It wasn’t until I started seeing prices of PCPs below $300 that I became interested in them. I paid $220 in 2018 for my Urban…what a bargain!
    Geo


  10. I have a neighbor here in the NC mountains who has been somewhat derisive about my (and my brother’s) airguns. He called the other night with a friend on a speakerphone – the guy said he wanted an airgun capable of hunting. It was already late when he called, and it took about an hour to get off the phone with him. He’s now set to buy an Air Force rifle and SCBA rig. Might even go to a Quackenbush. His motivation was the current ammo and reloading shortage, and threats of registration and other controls. He had apparently read about airgun hunting in nearby state, and as we spoke, every time I warned about the expense factor of the tank, compressor, etc. he waved that off, said my numbers were no problem.


    • Jerry
      I pretty well know what he felt.

      I have done alot of air guns and only recently I have found what I want in air guns.

      I never realised until recently that i wanted my air guns to perform like firearms. Now after experiencing both firearms and air guns I’m happy even more with the air guns I have.


    • JerryC,

      Don’t forget to share thIs PA resource:

      https://www.pyramydair.com/airgun-map/

      Also tell them to double-check with the States’ DNR, GC, or local Game Wardens. I always carry copies of the pages that apply to what I am specifically doing that day; both land owners and some of the LEO types are not necessarily well informed about airgun hunting.

      shootski


  11. Well BB now you went and done it.

    Now we are going to have a pellet shortage after the world gets ahold of today’s blog.

    SHHHH do not bring this subject up again.

    No winky or smiley face included.


  12. It was only back in November when I could not find buyers for three of the four airguns I had for sale. The folks interested wanted to kill rabbits at 40-60 yards. They lost interest when I would not promise that they would. Of the four, the only one sold was the Umarex Ruger 10/22.


  13. B.B.,

    YOU GREAT ENABLER!
    I had been on the fence for way too long about the .22 caliber Synthetic Stocked SIG ASP20. So just to let the Godfather of Airguns know I searched last night/morning after reading your blog and found a $50 off MSRP with free shipping deal at a Memphis retailer with an online presence and Pulled The trigger!

    Oh! The INSANITY A Break Barrel!

    I heard a LARGE collective sigh from the Big Bore and PCP in the Gun Room; the Firearms have been unconsolable for months over the ammo/reloading shortages.

    shootski


    • Shootski,

      Well,… you probably scored a whole point with Yogi with that move. Then again,… he will probably dock you a half point since it’s a gas ram. 😉

      Chris

      Good for you. Glad you could find one.


      • Chris USA,

        Yogi!!!! I forgot about his equal Obsession! Just maybe this act of mine will guide him into believing that change is possible that for him to buy a PCP is not a profane act.

        Personally, I just want this air rifle to shoot well.

        shootski



      • Okay Boomer!

        So now it is time for you to tell the Readership that SIG listened and has an ASP20 MK II with multifunctional adjustable stock and all new scope with built in range finding, sidewheel AO adjustment, and pellet specific Holographically projected retical!

        I just hope mine puts a good selection of quality pellets downrange precisely!

        shootski


  14. ‘Yousguys’ mean to tell us you haven’t been stockpiling pellets over the years? Especially when they were on sale?
    Next you will be telling us you don’t even have a years supply of emergency dried food, a Bug-Out Kit, or a Dual Fuel Emergency Generator, and… a backup. Bet you see a high demand for those in Texas now. Not to mention portable electric heaters.

    Shootski
    I added a reply to the end of the scope ring blog. ( Sometimes I get email notifications of a reply and sometimes not! ) It’s way off topic and mostly intended for you. May not make sense to some.
    Another Boomer


    • Bob M,

      Have city Natural Gas and a big propane tank backup to run the dual fuel generator as well as the switchable furnace. House is 50% Passive Solar we can go for a while if all we do is keep the pipes from freezing and stay dressed or under the down comforters. The fireplace would only be used if the local “repurposed” wood became suddenly available. If worse comes to way worse we have a 4′ 45′ deep brick drywell in the neighbor’s yard and we have a capped “government declared illegal if used” deep water well from when this area was a Colonial Plantation.
      Pellets are in good supply in all calibers especially .22 & .25; I figure there will be no such things as Pesting if I need to worry about .177 usage.

      I enjoyed the read! I was reading about the risk of Shouldering being way up again with the Red Fleet and also the Sino Fleet…seems our US Navy Bridge Crews have lost Seamanship skills from playing too much Canastas while in Port. The Chinese are building some much bigger ships for their Navy and Coast Guard too.

      shootski



  15. B.B. and Readership,

    Found this saved link while looking for something else: https://precisionrifleblog.com/2012/07/20/chronograph-accuracy-tips-15-practical-tips-to-increase-accuracy-reliability/

    Now i know you will look at the FPS in the example and say sure at 3,000fps! So, take it down by a factor of 10 to 300fps it still is a sizable percentage error at 12fps…24fps at 600, and 36fps at 900!

    More reasons to get the FX radar or save up a bit more for the LabRadar.

    shootski


  16. B.B.,
    Thank you for this timely report!
    Just yesterday, I showed my wife a common Winchester .30-30 (NOT a pre-64) that had sold on Gunbroker for over $1200…about 3 times what it would have sold for at the local gun store before the current firearms insanity.
    So here I was sitting back all fat, dumb, and happy…thinking we (airgunners) were immune from the firearms and firearms ammo insanity…thanks for waking me up!
    I just got off the PA site where I placed another “buy 3 get 1 free” pellet order…actually, a back order, but they should be here in a month. Thank God I read your report and stopped dragging my feet!
    Take care & God bless,
    dave


  17. Yep, heeded your wake-up calls and ordered a couple of .22 Crosman hollow point pellet tins from Bass Pro. They had Pyrodex, but were charging a $20 shipping premium, so since there is still a decent amount of black powder in the “bunker,” passed on it – for now. The pandemic and the changing politics are making the times depressing, but we have to make the best of it and think in terms of a half-full glass instead of a half-empty one. Also, take names on who to vote for/against come next election cycle.


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