by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- The inspiration
- What does this mean to you?
- What’s next?
- A message to wives
Today’s report is inspired by the current climate. Be glad you’re an airgunner!
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!
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 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.
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.