This report covers:
- No challenge
- Big boars
- Woody Woodward
- Tim the tinkerer
- On the road
Today’s title is the opening line in the movie, Pretty Woman. It came to me as I was about to start reporting on a very old airgun. I was wondering what people thought about that gun and it occurred to me that we are all airgunners for different reasons. I guess that report will start tomorrow.
Why do many airgunners like spring-piston guns so much? They will tell you it’s because they are so simple — the guns, not the people, but I think there is a lot more to it than that. How about because they are more difficult to shoot accurately than precharged pneumatics (PCP)?
True story — when I competed in field target there was a father/son team that drove down from New York to Maryland to shoot in a 60-shot match every month. They drove one way for 12 hours or more just to shoot 60 shots! Why? Well, to learn that you need to know more about them.
Ray and Hans Apelles started in airgunning about the time I started The Airgun Letter. They wrote to me (actual paper letters delivered by the U.S. Postal Service that we called the Post Office in those days) about the joys of shooting various Chinese spring-piston rifles. They even went so far as to tune them — yes, they did. In fact, I have written about a Chinese rifle for this blog that was not only inspired by them but actually tuned and even X-rayed by them! Read about that in the 2-part series, Tuning a cheap Chinese airgun.
In those days either Ray or his father usually won the matches. Both men shot PCPs. Then a couple years later Ray stopped shooting PCPs and switched to springers because, in his own words, “PCPs are too accurate. They don’t offer a challenge. Springers do.” I last saw Ray at the Pyramyd AIR Cup shooting a highly modified Diana 54? that he had turned into a bullpup.
No challenge? Right! When I switched from shooting a TX200 Mark II to a PCP my score never changed. I guess it wasn’t much of a challenge for me, either. I could be mediocre with either powerplant.
Then there is the collector. Larry Hannusch is one of the top collectors in the world, but Larry also shoots airguns. I know and have known collectors who weren’t interested in shooting.
I would see them at airgun shows. One would bring out a gun case in which there was a heavy rusty wire, a piece of a wooden stock and a trigger blade. The other gent would sidle up to him secretively and say in a hushed tone, “A Frauhoken! Where did you find it?” The first gent then told him this ancient treasure had been found in London’s Denham Giant Car Boot sale. “It only cost me 19 pounds.”, to which the other gent whispered, “They must not have known what it was.”
Yeah, I bet they didn’t know what it was. To me it looks like a tire iron for a Model T and part of one of the wooden wheels. But it’s a treasure to these two, for whom the world of airguns ended approximately 150 years ago, and, can they please root around in the attic of your century-old farmhouse? I would tell them no, because they look like the kind of guys who will gnaw on the insulation of your electrical wires.
Okay, there is a type of shooter who shoots a .458 Winchester Magnum only because Winchester never made a .459. Yes, he has heard of and even shot (once) a .460 Weatherby and his collarbone healed nicely, as you can see. But he’s not crazy. Stupid, yes, but not crazy.
He doesn’t shoot for accuracy. He hunts but he’s not strictly a hunter. This guy is in it for the bragging rights. When asked what rifle he plans to hunt Texas whitetail deer with this year he tells you he is considering a .338 Lapua Magnum. You ask him if he thinks that 4,800 foot-pounds of energy might be a bit of overkill for a 90-pound mammal and he responds that there isn’t such a thing as overkill.
When he learned about big bore airguns he looked around and decided on the .72-caliber AEA Zeus. He figured 1,600 foot-pounds was sufficient for wild hogs, as long as they were not shot too far away. Besides, at just $1,200 it’s a real bargain! There is even a video on their website with a guy shooting it. Turn your speakers down before you watch it!
.72-caliber Zeus is capable of 1,600 foot-pounds of energy.
And now you know why the title of this chapter is spelled the way it is.
This guy comes to all the airgun shows and displays his airguns, but he never sells anything. He could care less about the airguns he owns — except that they look beautiful. It’s wood he likes. He once sold off a one-of-a-kind air rifle that had been owned by a celebrity because the grips were checkered. You see, nothing should get in the way of, or interfere with, the wood.
Tim the tinkerer
Tim looks for bargain basement airguns that he can modify. He’s the guy who once put three reservoir tubes on a Crosman 150 and converted it to work with high-pressure air. He wanted to get 50 good shots on one fill. But, wait a minute, if those reservoir tubes were longer and if he sawed off the bottom of the grip frame he could put a shoulder stock on. And, if he drilled and tapped the barrel, he could attach a Picatinny rail for mounting a scope. Then he could get the same number of shots at even higher velocity.
But, hold on! There is a guy down in Georgia who will sell him a 24-inch Lothar Walther barrel in .25 caliber for just $375. He’ll have to modify the valve extensively for that one! With a barrel that long the velocity will be about the same as a .22 caliber in his current barrel, if the valve modifications turn out as he expects.
But that big .25 is LOUD. A DonnyFL moderator that can be screwed onto his recently threaded LW barrel solves that. And on one of the forums there is a guy who is selling an adaptor plate that will allow him to attach a Benjamin Marauder trigger to his creation.
At the end of everything what does he have? He has a custom-made single-shot Benjamin Marauder that only cost him $2,800. Compare that to Crosman’s usurious retail price of $580 for the repeating Marauder and you will see the wisdom of what he has done.
All these people and many more like them are airgunners in one sense or another. They are having fun their way, which may not be your way but there you go.
Believe it or not, and if you are observant I know you will believe it, there are people in this world who do things and have to ask their friends, or worse, people on social media they don’t even know, whether they are having fun. At least you guys know. Remember, WE are everyone who is not THEM.
On the road
Just a reminder that I’m driving up to my sister’s in Tulsa today and I ask the veteran readers to look after the blog comments for me. I will look in from time to time, but my attention will be elsewhere.