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Education / Training Do you really get what you pay for?

Do you really get what you pay for?

This report covers:

  • For some
  • The deal
  • Today’s report
  • Dealer
  • Manufacturer
  • Service
  • Parts availability
  • Special tools?
  • New technology
  • Where does that leave us?
  • Summary

On the way to the grocery store this morning I saw a sign that dicated today’s report. Here it is.

Lawn service
The sign that triggered today’s report.

Okay, BB is going to kick over a few anthills today. And I’ll start loosing folks right now. Do you see anything wrong with what that sign says? What if I substituted surgery for lawn service? Would that make it clearer?

For some

It would clear things for some but for others it wouldn’t. They would tell you that surgery is an important decision and cost shouldn’t enter into it. But who cares about grass? Granted, I can walk around my neighborhood and pretty much pick out the homes where the people who feel like that live. However, there is a deal.

The deal

My house looks good from the street. I used to have a despicable front yard and it cost me a bundle to have two large trees removed and the lawn re-sodded. But now my house looks presentable from the street. And it has increased in value considerably in the 19 years I have lived in it. Most of that increase is due to the current housing market boom and not with the presentability of my house, but there is a deal.

The deal is, if my neighbors keep their houses up too then the rising tide lifts all our boats. But if my neighborhood gets filled with enough people who don’t care about how their houses look my neighborhood gets pegged as a bad one and one to be avoided. And the property value no longer rises as it once did.

I used to mow my own lawn, but after my accident with the electric bicycle a few years ago I had to take it easy for several weeks. So I hired the lawn service that my neighbor, Denny, uses. I noticed they did a better job than I used to. And the cost was low. Why would I spend time mowing my lawn when I can make more money writing and let someone else who is better take care of the grass? Low cost lawn maintenance? I don’t think so. No more than low cost surgery.

Today’s report

We are not trying to buy lawn care services. We are trying to buy airguns. This blog exists to help you do just that. My focus is on you and what you will see with each airgun I test. I’m not trying to pump sunshine up your skirt like some people. If the airgun gives me 1.5-inch groups at 25 yards I show them. If it gives 0.05-inch groups I show them.

Given that airgun X is a good one in my tests, is price the only other consideration? What goes into buying a good airgun? Cost is an important factor, but it’s not the only factor. Those who think that it is are very likely to be disappointed by one thing or another. 


Usually the cut-price dealers will also be the most difficult to deal with. You can’t get them on the phone and they never return your emails. When you do finally connect with them they are only too happy to take your credit card information and then — nothing. You are on hold for a month or longer.

What you don’t know is that these dealers have very few airguns in stock. There are lots of pretty pictures on their websites, but they only order things when you order from them. And they don’t order them the same day that you place your order. They wait until they have more to order from the same distributor, then they place one combined order. As much as a month or more can pass while this takes place. Meanwhile you think your airgun is on order and will arrive any day. So, after several weeks pass you call and email and hear nothing. You look at their website and they are still accepting orders for the airgun you ordered. It’s not backordered. What gives?

Apparently you do. Your credit card was charged, not on the day you ordered the airgun but 25 days later. It was so much later that you didn’t remember what it was. And when you look at who charged your card there is nothing to link that charge to that dealer.

And don’t expect to find the airguns I test in discount stores, either. The airguns there sell on price alone, and I will have nothing to do with them.

I could go on and I bet some of you will. The point I am making is when you buy an airgun it’s not just the gun you buy; it’s also the dealer. Cheap dealers often cost the most.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear


Is the manufacturer one who brings out new models every year and then takes them off the market in a few years? Or are they dedicated to their products and do they work to make them as good as possible?


Will your new airgun ever need service? Perhaps. So you send it back to the dealer — oh no. Not this one. They want you to send this one straight back to the manufacturer. Okay, their name is on the box, so everything should work out — right?

Maybe; maybe not. You see this manufacturer is a large one that is well recognized. But they don’t repair the gun you bought because they didn’t make it. They had somebody else make it for them. They keep the gun you sent in and they exchange it for another gun just like it. Except it isn’t. The gun you sent in was deadly accurate. The one they replaced it with is only mediocre.

Okay, you have gotten stung this way before. So you don’t send the gun back. You buy the parts online and fix it yourself. Now you have opened the gun and violated your warranty, so no more exchanges for you! But do you care? Maybe; maybe not. There are many circumstances to consider.

Parts availability

Will there be parts, if and when you need them? I bet those who bought the ASP20 from Sig thought parts would always be available. I sure did. But to everyone’s surprise Sig left the building and left their customers holding the bag.

Okay, don’t believe me. Here is what Golden State Airgunner said on the Airgun Nation forum on March 15 2021:

Decided to call Sig and get the scoop on the ASP20. A couple reasons why they are discontinuing ONLY the ASP20. First one is centered on profit margin. They aren’t getting the returns for this model based on the amount of investment they have in it. The second reason is on par with what I mentioned to AGN member Glenroiland in a PM. The machinery they use to make firearms is the same equipment they used to make the ASP20. They want to retool the machinery used to make the ASP20 so it can go back to firearm manufacturing. The 5 year warranty will still be honored as long as they maintain parts. Which tells me they aren’t going to continue producing parts. Kind of sucks ! Ten, fifteen, twenty years from now if your ASP20 breaks down it might be nothing more than a conversation piece. And no, they still aren’t going to offer parts to the public.”

They weren’t getting the returns based on their investment??? Excuse me, but Sig Sauer was never known as an airgun manufacturer. Yes, everybody knows they make firearms, but so what? Colt makes firearms, too, but they don’t make airguns. They LICENSE others to make airguns with their name on them. Big difference, and the world knows it. And Sig doesn’t make the other airguns they sell under their name. They have those made overseas. My point is, I don’t care who you are, you don’t earn a reputation right out of the box.

Chevrolet doesn’t make the Spark automobile, either! What — an American car that’s not made in America?

Chevy Spark
Chevy Spark.

The following was copied directly from motorandwheels.com

Where Are Sparks Being Made?

“The Spark is one of the few Chevrolet models made solely overseas. Presently, the Spark is manufactured in Changwon, South Korea, by GM’s subsidiary GM Korea.”

BB Pelletier was a huge cheerleader for the ASP20 when Sig was making it. Just read the glowing reports I wrote about that air rifle. And BB Pelletier thought that if anyone would support what they made, it would be Sig. Turns out even BB Pelletier can be fooled when big  business decides to go a different direction.

Special tools?

Does your airgun require special tools for repairs? How about a mainspring compressor? What about a pressure fixture to pressurize a gas spring after repairs? These are things to consider when buying a new airgun. You can’t just say it’s a Sig anymore, because even Sig may change their mind.

Is it wise, therefore, to buy only airguns that are made by recognized airgun manufacturers? Yes, I think it is. And watch them, as well. When their management changes, watch for other major changes and stay wary of new policies.

New technology

At this point I could get in real trouble by reporting those airguns whose technology was new and unproven. By “reporting” I mean telling you the whole story, rather than just the foot-pounds, velocity, and accuracy. Sometimes all that is new is not the latest and greatest. Watch out for the hype!

Where does that leave us?

BB Pelletier thinks you need to shop for three things when buying a new airgun:

1. A reliable airgun — based on reports you can trust.
2. A reliable dealer whose reputation is stronger than that of the manufacturers.
3. New technology only after it is proven.


Buying airguns is like everything else in life. You have to be very careful to get what you pay for.

28 thoughts on “Do you really get what you pay for?”

  1. BB,

    As in all things in life the test comes before the lesson. The newbie will buy first by price then only if he decides to pursue this hobby will he start to look for proper education and then decide what direction he will proceed. When I restarted my interest in airguns I only recognized multi stroke pumps and CO2. Only later did I learn about spring pistons and PCPs.


  2. Very good points; I don’t know if they do it with airguns-but can add that your average cut-rate dealer also seems to get his stuff from the manufacturers as sub-par bargain bin scrapings-read where a fellow compared in the same gun/tune/etc. Gamo Redfires from a big-box store vs. ones bought direct from Gamo (or one of the quality dealers like PA; can’t remember)…
    Interestingly-the big box store pellets did not shoot as well; he said they even looked slightly different-like they were from a worn die or something-it was as if the big-box cut-rate dealer got a deal or had contracted for a cheaper version of the same product.
    Edit-also have bought jeans from the same big-box store; and direct from the manufacturer…
    Big box store=uneven leg lengths; bad seams; and other issues…
    Direct from manufacturer=nothing wrong at all-I have no doubt that a reputable dealer would have had the good ones too.

  3. Yea, you kicked over a few anthills…

    Since I bought my 3D printer, I have been making parts for guns for which you can’t get spares, or aftermarket parts.

    I started with a crosman MKI red dot mount, then someone asked could I replicate this part, then what about this, then he told a friend and they asked for this and it has snowballed.

    It has gotten so busy I have added a second printer to double my output.

    I also reached out to some of the “authorized service centers” I know of and started making parts they can no longer get because of overseas supply chain problems.

    I hate to see companies do this, it is a disservice to their customers, but it seems to be a revolving door of new wiz bang products every year, and they remove the dead wood so to speak of guns that were favored by many.


  4. I remembered that few years back B.B. changed a paragraph of a blog about Sig.
    This was because I mentioned that his words, unintentionally off course but clearly, described a customer service which left a lot to be desired… Ah well.
    That’s why companies like Air Arms and Weihrauch for example on one hand and Pyramydair on the other, still remain on top after all these years
    Do I have to repeat Tomek’s words?
    Denial to the trash; that being products, companies or even people we deal with.

  5. Bill – denial to the trash is getting stronger and stronger.
    I realized that wasting time is the most terrible thing a man can do. Wasting time shooting cheap airgun which is not accurate, not fun to shoot, where there is no quality. At the end of the day you did not get no fun, you are only annoyed. Wasting time trying to convince people that there is always a different way to see the same thing and it should be respected, as we all are only searching for the light and the truth is out there anyway… At the end of the day you get nowhere and probably you might get to the point to understand you are not able to satisfy all around you.
    Guys, if a man is able to forgive himself, is able to feel good looking in the mirror – it is the only way to spread something good to the rest of the world. You will not be able to help anybody if you need help yourself.
    So let’s not waist any more time shooting cheap low quality, not accurate stuff. Life is too short to shoot crap.
    The FWB300s made in 1976 has destroyed the rest of my illusion about the quality of stuff made today.

  6. Generally speaking, we are experiencing interesting times and they are continuing to change, and challenge us.
    Our future may well require new ways of thinking.

    There seems no end in sight to the currently fast rising prices. I would expect established consumer behaviour to change, possibly in as yet unforeseen ways. Will we end up valuing airguns not in currency terms but maybe in a barter system or yet another way? 🙂

    All I know is that tomorrow’s question mark is ever growing.

  7. LOL! What an awesome report. So many never think of these things. I now own two Crosmans, a 101 and a Maximus. Both are hard to find these days. The technology of these airguns are well proven. Velocity Outdoors seems to be continuing what TCFKAC was doing, trying to have “the latest and greatest” every year. Most of the time it is just another pig with a different shade of lipstick.

    It is a trap that is easy for a manufacturer to fall into, most especially for American companies. They think that the comsumer wants a new shiny every year. At one time, they may actually have been right. That has changed in recent times.

    In the airgun world, many companies were much slower about introducing new models. Now there are only a couple that are that way. Hopefully, they will be around for a long time.

  8. This comment will probably never reach the ears of those future airgunners that need to hear it most but here goes.

    I’ve owned lots of airguns over the years and I would add several items to B.B.’s 3 point list of “what to shop for before buying an airgun”:

    4-Shop for parts availability before buying the airgun. If parts are available from multiple sources it usually tells you that aftermarket parts suppliers have recognized an airgun that will be or is popular enough to justify making/stocking parts for future support

    5-Spend some time shopping for your gun on Used Airgun Classified sites. Not suggesting you buy used but rather determine if this gun has built up enough of a reputation that a market demand exists for this model in the used market.

    I’ve paid a heavy price in time and money to be able to share this advice. It’s free to you.

  9. BB,
    I agree with your sentiment but results vary. I don’t mind trying the cheaper lawn mowing and see how they do. It may just be an honest guy with a truck and a couple lawn mowers trying to make an honest living. I use a father and son that charge less than most others but they always exceed what I expect of them. Almost every time they mow, they do something extra, from trimming shrubs, to weeding a flower bed, just something extra that they felt needed doing.

    When it comes time to get an MRI I have found that prices for the same MRI can vary from $250 to $2,500. I think the time has come when you need to shop for your medical services. You shop for it like anything else, price being one of the things along with referrals, and medical ratings.

    Back when most guys were buying R1s, R9s, and RX1s, etc, some people were buying BSA Supersports. I am glad the Supersport was available then because I prefer them now.
    To be honest, it is more fun to get good results with a cheap gun than with a very expensive one. When I get good results with a cheap gun I am amazed and excited. Good results are the only acceptable result and are expected from an expensive gun.
    David Enoch

    • David,

      Well said. Those are things I didn’t think about. And I did say that my lawn service, who always exceeds my expectations, is inexpensive!


      • Well said? Personally I found the phrase “I use a father and son…” not well said. In my mind we use people’s services, not themselves literally. Maybe it’s just me being very sensitive.

  10. What David and Kevin said.. I bought another Crosman 116 the other day for a whooping $8o bucks ,that proves what was said . Fun to play with something that is different . It is still a well made item, made of the right materials.. Parts are even still available after 70 years ,it is easy to reseal yourself, and it holds its value. The learning experience is priceless.

  11. Very good one, B.B. – you covered a lot of the issues that push FM’s “buttons,” not just with regards to air guns but involving many other products and processes as well. My philosophy over time has become “quality over quantity,” which seems not to be the most prevalent one out there. Also can’t deal with companies who pull the rug out from under their customers at the first opportunity. SIG with the ASP20 is a case in point; FM kept going back-and-forth about making it his first gas springer, but as soon as there was a hint it would be discontinued AND no parts would be available for us plain folks to fix ’em or pay someone competent to do so, that became a deal breaker. It was as if VW had decided to sell Beetles but without providing support and parts to keep them on the road.

    Information is power, and after a decades-long hiatus away from air guns, have come to rely on B.B’s expertise and experience, as well as that of everyone else who comments here. FM has probably avoided a couple of wrong forks on the Air Gun road thanks to that. And yes, DTTT – Denial To The Trash!

  12. B.B.,

    An interesting read today.

    How much do you want for you SIG SSG ASP20?
    I would be happy to take this now unsupported air rifle and WHISKEY 3 Scope combo that you have gone sour on off your hands at the right price. You have my email address Let’s Make a Deal!

    If not, please share why you don’t want to sell.


    • Shucks. I’m late to the party again. Looks like Shootski called first dibs. I must be looking in all the wrong places because no one seems to be selling them. How does that enter into the considerations listed above? The model is so loved that no one will part with it, despite all the other negatives.

      Funny but related story: the way I got reacquainted with airguns a couple of years ago was that I was researching articles about the Sig 365 and reading an article in Firearms News, and there was an article in there about the Sig ASP20 written by our favorite blogger. Then I found this blog and Pyramyd AIR. Now our family went from 0 to 9 airguns in a matter of a couple of years. But. to say I shared B.B.’s enthusiasm about how the ASP was designed and built is an understatement.

      Regarding the above, if you keep your expectations low, they will likely be exceeded. That goes for airguns and lawncare.

      P.S. I’m not stingy, nor do I mind paying for quality, but I LOVE it when something cheap exceeds my expectations. My example: a $50 Crosman Mark I that I cleaned and resealed myself (thanks Ian) and that shoots 9’s and 10’s at 10 meters. It’s like finding a four-leaf clover, though. Conversely, I HATE it when a product doesn’t even work as it is suppossed to or breaks after a few hours of normal use. Unfortunately, all too common.

      • Well, FM stopped anguishing about the ASP20 a while back. On the other hand, thanks to enabling friend GF1, became fond of the Benjamin Maximus line; GF1 got me started with a .177. Then FM got an itch to find one in .22 – and after stubbornly searching, found an NOS one being sold by a sporting goods store in NY, and it is on the way, FM’s EBP – Early Birthday Present, to himself. It comes with a 6X40 scope of unspecified make, but if not good, that will be an easy fix.

        Settle for what you want, don’t give up hope and go for it! More so if the price is right; if it’s right for you it’s the right price. Beware the RAT price, though. 😉

        • They do get sold occasionally:
          August last year I saw an ASP 20, in as new condition (with ‘F’ in a pentagon) on egun. It sold for not much over 400 Euros (which I think was a good price).

          Sometimes it’s challenging to be in the right place at the right time, but I believe that if one keeps looking then the item will always find the seeker – eventually! 🙂

  13. Roamin Greco,

    I have been searching for more of them and you are correct!
    We ASP20 Owners must be the kind of folks that Don’t Really Care Much About What We Pay Our Money For!
    Do I wish SIG AIR had continued to build them of course! But if people didn’t choose to buy them for WHATEVER reason would it be a good business that soldiered on wasting resources on a No or Low profit item? Come to think of it the Chevy Corvair comes to mind as a similar World beater Made in the USA product that suffered a similar fate. What with “Notable folks saying UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED about the Corvair and a “NOTABLE” airgun writer saying “A firearm shooter’s Airgun!”. Lol! Look at this review by a REAL airgun shooter: https://www.airgundepot.com/sig-sauer-asp20.html
    So ONLY firearm shooters like VERY INTERESTING airguns enough to buy them? Airguners didn’t buy them in numbers that precision deserved to keep them profitable for SIG.

    Is SIG to blame for that? Did they build a piece of Drek?

    Keep looking RG.


  14. Hmm… I agree with everything you all have said but if I’m dead honest, it wasn’t a tx200 that got me into airguns. It wasn’t an FX, or an Hw97 either. You dip your toe into a new thing and start cheap. If you like it you go deep. I started with a Benji NP and sometimes hit what I was aiming at. Mostly I struggled because the gun was hard to shoot and not accurate to boot. But that led to tinkering and research and a deeper interest. It made me learn a whole new kind of shooting process that was so very different and challenging from the firearm shooting I was used to.

    And slowly I realized I needed a better gun. And I bought what I could afford, etc. And I learned some tricks from all of you- adjusting and tuning triggers (who knew you needed to adjust a trigger), cleaning barrels (If there is no powder residue why do you need to clean it?), tightening screws and replacing flat breech seals. And then, whoo boy, I was still spraying pellets all over the place.

    I had improved but I still couldn’t get the results I wanted. And so deeper I went. Into pcps. Into better scopes. Into serious testing of pellets and velocity, and pressure curves. Hand pumps to compressors. Pellets to slugs.

    And now my wife says things like, “you bought more pellets? What in God’s name do you need MORE pellets for? Another pellet gun? If you buy another gun I am seriously going to punch you in the face.”

    I guess what I’m saying is, the challenge pulled me in. If someone had given me a tuned tx200 for my 1st gun I don’t think I would have gone so far down the rabbit hole. I may actually not have gotten hooked at all. Too easy. What’s the fun in that?

    • “If you buy another gun I am seriously going to punch you in the face.”
      ProfSteelToe, I am late to the party; I’m just getting to yesterday’s reports today; but I really needed a good laugh, and this comment you made totally cracked me up! Thank you! 🙂

  15. As a collector I have an entirely different outlook and I don’t necessarily collect “Collectable” airguns. Rare perhaps, but not necessarily in high demand and those short lived models can sometimes shine, Good or bad.
    I get airguns to collect and airguns to shoot. Then there is serious shooting and plinking airguns not to mention the ones that can’t hit a barn wall from the inside. Airsoft.
    I have a Chinese made wood stocked spring pistol, two actually they were almost giving them away, a Pioneer perhaps, that was/is absolutely horrible to even hold. But, I also have a beautiful wood stocked Evanix AR6 Hunting Master pistol and am glad to have both. They were priced accordingly.
    I also have a few custom Race Gun looking 45 pistols that some Airsoft company converted to fire BB’s that I don’t expect to last a lifetime but I wont be using them much. They fall into the collectable side, along with the revolver rifle and you can’t get them now.
    Now you could say “Why the heck did you buy a Ford model ‘T’ ? A waste of money and not too practical? Perhaps, but not to the guy who has money to waste and wants a part of automobile history. There it makes perfect sense. Besides he probably has a new Ford GT 40 already.
    Value for you money is not always the driving factor for everybody and every airgun and as long as you don’t get ripped off and know what you are paying for you should have no regrets. If money is no problem just spending it can be fun.
    Some pistols I have only shoot out sparks, glow red and make a whizzing sound … but, they really make critters run away ! 🙂

  16. Does the wheel need to be reinvented when it comes to airguns? I don’t see myself running to the nearest store or go on line to browse for the newest thing outhere. What company could manufacture a more fun, accurate and easy to shoot backyard rifle than an R7? What company could better the slim elegant profile of an FWB 124? Not to mention, the accuracy and ease of cocking. Most of my guns were passed down to me by my grandfather. The males were not interested so the tomboy of the family got them. I like these two riles soo much that when opportunity presented herself I purchased a second set. One to have with open sights, one scoped. My small Dianas show their age but are well taken care of. If ever I need anything to recondition them, parts are available here in the US or Europe. What a testament to the quality of these guns and the companies that built them. For sure, these guns can last another fifty to seventy years.

    Not holding my breath for Daisy to bring back the gravity fed 99 or 299. Cannot envision a day when an elephant might be brought down by a PCP.

    B.B ,
    What spare parts should one have on hand for these older guns? I do have some breach seals but that is all. Most are shooting to spec and do not see myself hoarding springs. pistons and the like.

    Not mechanically talented to tune an Diana with an adjustable trigger, an FWB 124……on and on

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