This report covers:

  • Universal appeal
  • The big question
  • Remember the Fire
  • Wrong question
  • Not done yet
  • So?
  • En el otro mano
  • Something more
  • Summary

Will it make me a better shot?
Will I be prouder to own it?
Will it make me stick to airguns longer?

Today is truth time. Either tell the truth or hide behind a bush while the big folks talk.

Universal appeal

In most areas of interest there is a cachet or appeal that good equipment has. The fisherman is proud of his lightweight fly rod that makes a 3 pound smallmouth bass feel like a monster lunker. He tells you he can put his practice fly inside a gallon pail at 45 feet on a windless day.

On the other hand you have never fly fished and your only experience is with a medium weight spinning rod and open-faced reel. On a good day you can put your lure within three feet of your target at 30 feet. But you are eager to learn how to fly fish.

So, is that $95 combo set (fly rod and reel) going to serve you as well as that $950 G. Loomis NRX T2S freshwater rod and $165 Sage Spectrum C reel?  Will you be able to cast flys under that overhanging willow that’s next to the deep bass hole without snagging the tree branches?

You have saved up for a major tool for your woodworking shop. Your best buddy does well with a ShopSmith, but he tells you their table saw attachment isn’t very good. And a table saw is what you really need. You have been making crafts for your wife’s church group for a couple years, plus you made a nice pair of end tables for your living room. You want to get into making some nice furniture for your kids’ homes.

So it is decided — you need a table saw. And then comes the question. Do you buy that Delta portable contractor’s table saw for $649.00 (it comes with a stand on wheels at that price) or do you buy that Delta 5000 table saw with the cast iron table and cast iron wings that costs $1,652.85? The larger saw would handle longer wood and would make the big cuts easier, but it’s heavier and not as easy to wheel out of the way when you need to put things into your car. Did I mention that your garage is also your workshop?

You have graduated college and are looking for your first real job. You look into a private security position where you cannot carry a sidearm openly, but you can carry concealed. Do you skimp and buy that Bersa Thunder .380 for $237.49 because any sidearm is better than none and they are now making defense rounds for the .380 ACP, or do you splurge and get a Glock 27 in .40 S&W for $539.00 because the .40 S&W is the better defense round and Glock makes a handgun that many law enforcement agencies favor?

The big question

This is today’s topic — is it better to skimp and save or is it better to go all out and get the best you can afford? I could probably stop right here and you guys would have a load of things to say, but I’m not done stirring the pot.

Remember the Fire

We have been following a fictional shooter who is new to airguns as he broke in and started testing his new Crosman Fire breakbarrel air rifle. He has stuck with it and persevered. Was it worth it? Well, if he had bought a TX 200 Mark III from Pyramyd Air his experience would have been different. That much is certain. However, since a TX 200 has no sights and needs a scope, he would have spent another $150 for a decent scope. So $780 for the rifle and $150 for the scope that hopefully came with rings he can use (they need to have 11 mm bases to fit the rifle), he’s out at least $930 to get into the game. Instead of $140 he spent about seven times as much. Did he get seven times as much joy/fun from his purchase?

But wait, the Fire didn’t cost him $140 because he also had to add the 3-12X32 Bug Buster scope to the deal for another $180. He didn’t know that going in but it quickly became apparent that the Fire’s scope wasn’t cutting the mustard. So his purchase wasn’t $140, it was $320. At this point the TX is only three times as much. Is the TX bundle three times better than the Fire with the better scope?

Wrong question

As we skip along the primrose path of life with our picnic basket full of daffodils, happily thinking that life can be reduced to a balance sheet, we miss the point. The point is not which rifle/scope combo is better, or even which table saw/fly rod setup. What we are actually buying is experience. Our newbie airgunner is not so new anymore. He can now tell you what it’s like to break in a new breakbarrel air rifle. He can tell you the difference between a cheap bundled scope and one that costs some money but has a good reputation. He knows how hard it is to shoot a rifle that has a vague trigger.

Our newbie is now wise enough to pass by the flashy boxes of air rifles at the discount store, laughing at the promises of 1,300 f.p.s. because he knows what kind of triggers they probably have. If THIS man were to now get a TX200 Mark III with a good scope, he would appreciate it for what it is! And it was his experience with the Fire that made him who he is.

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Not done yet

And our newbie is not finished with his Fire just yet. He has more to accomplish. He wants to find that best pellet. He wants to verify the best hold for the rifle. He wants to learn that trigger so it doesn’t release with so much surprise. He wants to get that Fire air rifle cooking like she looks. At that point a mature airgunner is born. He may not know everything, in fact there is a whole world of new experiences awaiting him. But when it comes to spring piston airguns, he knows a lot. And the Fire is just the first spring-piston airgun he has ever shot. Put a TX in his hands and listen to him wax rhapsodic!


So, what’s the answer, BB? Should I go for cheap or should I get the best every time?

And BB says — it depends…

Of course it does. How much do you know about the “thing” you are buying? If you are a total newbie, first do some online research. And know that when you do that you aren’t looking for advice about the thing you are considering, at least not at first. Your first concern should be who you should listen to. Is he/she trustworthy? This is why I went ballistic when Optics Planet pulled their sneaky bait-and-switch routine with the Labradar. EVERYBODY else on the internet, including Labradar themselves, said the thing was out of stock. Only Optics Planet put it into my cart when I ordered it. Then — A FULL DAY LATER — they came clean and told me there would be a one to four month wait for my “order” to be filled. I already told you that they can’t legally charge my credit card until they have the item I have ordered, and as it happens the business card I used for the order expires next month. So, if the “order” was filled in three months, Optics Planet would have to inform me at that time that my card had been declined. That, my friends, is subterfuge. It’s a lie. And that makes Optics Planet liars and BB doesn’t deal with liars — at least not knowingly.

En el otro mano

When someone tells me seven good thing about a product and two that they don’t like, I start to think I can trust them. The good ones even tell me the reasons they are saying what they say. Them I believe.

Then I make my choice. Is it the right one? Probably not. But it will be a lot closer than if I just went to Wally World and looked at the pretty boxes. And there is something more.

Something more

When I learn about my new thing — I change. I’m no longer the me that started out. And that has a bearing on where I go next, as much or more than the thing itself has.

Our intrepid airgun newbie is moving fast into the ranks of an experienced shooter,  and we get to watch how he does it. That, in turn, should help us with our airgunning experience.


There have been several of these different reports in the past few weeks. The one on Materials was a good one as was The cobbler’s children have no shoes. And it probably began with Teaching versus showing, back in September.

This one is perhaps my favorite report of the 4,680 that exist. I hope you like it too.