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Do you like fruitcake?

Fruitcake
Fruitcake.

This report covers:

  • The regift
  • Not all airguns are made alike
  • Nice?
  • Scopes
  • BB likes fruitcake

Today we explore the world of quality and its bearing on our hobby of airgunning. You know we are now in “tis the season.” There are many traditions in this holiday season and one of them is fruitcake. But these traditions are not always good.

The regift

Someone learns that a friend likes fruitcake. So he goes to the supermarket and finds a nice 2-pound cake in an attractive tin for only $12.95. He gives it to his friend. And it starts the Great Journey.  Johnny Carson once said, “There is only one fruitcake in the world and people keep sending it to each other.”

Yep — not all fruitcakes are made alike. Some are worth more as doorstops than as edible food. The best thing about them is the tin they come in. And this is where we transition over to airguns.

Not all airguns are made alike

We have been watching a fictitious airgun owner as he gets used to his new airgun — a Crosman Fire breakbarrel rifle. The first thing he learned was that a good scope makes a big difference downrange. Saving money at any cost often doesn’t. It just wastes money in the long run. But spend wisely and you’ll benefit. I refer to the UTG Bug Buster scope our fictitious owner mounted on his rifle in Part 5 of that series. Once he could see his target clearly he started to learn a lot about his air rifle.

This guy bought the airgun equivalent of a thirteen-dollar grocery store fruitcake because that was all the money he had. And this is where the fruitcake analogy breaks down. Because with a fruitcake you either eat it or you don’t. There is very little else to do. But with an inexpensive breakbarrel airgun there are many things you can do. That is what that series it about — illustrating all the possibilities.

  • pellets
  • hold
  • scope or sights
  • tune, etc.

But still the analogy does work because you can buy a nice airgun or you can buy one that you won’t want to shoot. If the gun shoots harshly, or is inaccurate or has a bad trigger or several other things, it won’t be fun to shoot. And fun is what our hobby is all about. Yes, there are guys who shoot rats and pigeons and call it pesting, but the truth be told they like what they are doing.

Nice?

But what makes an airgun “nice?” It certainly isn’t advertising. You never saw an ad that said, “Buy this mediocre air rifle. It can probably hit the wall of a barn if you shoot from inside, but at least the shot cycle is harsh and the trigger is poor.”

No, what makes an airgun nice is what a LOT of people say about it. Yes, BB Pelletier tries to be honest, but BB likes fruitcake, so know that when you listen to him.

I’ll tell you what BB wants to be when he grows up. BB wants to be the kind of guy people can trust. For example, when BB learned that the Sig ASP20 had a gas spring, he thought it was going to be just one more harsh breakbarrel that he would have to learn to live with. Then he shot one and — WOW! That’s when he got up on his soapbox and started proclaiming the ASP20 as the greatest new airgun to come along in many decades. Then Sig came and took BB’s soapbox away and left him with egg on his face.

And now we have the Dragonfly Mark 2. It’s not a breakbarrel, but it is a stellar airgun. And BB wants everyone to know about it. Okay, you don’t like fruitcake; BB understands that. Not everyone likes multi-pump pneumatics, either. Back in the 1990s someone told BB that the sport of field target is addictive. Well, BB competed but he didn’t find field target addictive — not at all. He enjoyed it, but he didn’t spend every waking hour behind a rifle shooting at targets that fall down when hit.

Scopes

Okay, BB has been very complimentary about UTG scopes and Meopta scopes. Why? Well, Leapers sends BB a check each month and Meopta has promised to buy BB a new sports car.

Doesn’t he wish! BB likes UTG scopes because for the price he doesn’t think you can do better with any other scope. And Meoptas? Well, BB doesn’t think you can do better for any amount of money!

BB knows that when he tells you about these products the chances are you will be thrilled to get one. That’s what BB wants. He wants you to be thrilled. That’s why BB is the song-and-dance man for Air Arms TX200 Mark III rifles. Because he doesn’t think you can get a bad one. Are they expensive? You betcha! That’s why BB pushes you to attend airgun shows with money in your pocket. You can save a bundle off the new price by going the used route. And BB has shown you how easy it is to open these guns up so there is really not much that can go wrong with one that you can’t fix.

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BB likes fruitcake

BB has always liked good fruitcake, but he has eaten enough bad ones to know that there are good reasons for not liking this holiday treat. But BB buys his fruitcakes from Collin Street Bakery, a place that is world famous for their fruitcakes. If you’re going to do something, do the best that you can. 

Or — learn to make fruitcake. If fruitcake is what you like but “they” (they are everyone who is not us) don’t make them right, put on an apron and go to town. If you have a Beeman P3 that shoots slowly, read Ian McKee’s report about fixing a Beeman P17 (pretty much the same gun) and get on with it.

When my wife, Edith, was with me she made me fruitcakes that I really liked. I got to have my cakes and Edith, too. Well, that changed and BB had to adapt. You can, too.

55 thoughts on “Do you like fruitcake?”

  1. B.B.,
    With regard to fruitcakes, my wife tells me they CAN be great, if you go to the right place, and get a good one.
    My experience growing up was more along the line of what Johnny Carson said; fruitcakes were given out in our family, and they were all of the type that would make great doorstops.
    With regard to airguns, the older I get, the more I appreciate quality – in airguns, and in everything else. I spent a lot of time this week shooting the little Haenel model 1 (.177) that I got from Frank. While not very powerful (4.4 fpe), it is accurate and has a nice smooth firing cycle; it’s a joy to handle, and a load of fun as a plinker. Also, it makes me see what RidgeRunner sees in the “old sproinger gals.” After all, how many airguns being made today will still be shooting (like the Haenel) just as well at 84-years-old as they did the day they left the factory?
    Like you, I enjoyed Field Target (mostly just the fun of being out and shooting with friends), but didn’t get addicted to it. To me, airguns are fun guns, something to be shot a lot and just generally enjoyed. πŸ™‚
    Blessings to you,
    dave

  2. Wow Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier), what a profound statement, lurking behind your humour: “… I got to have my cakes and Edith, too.” !

    Currently I am in a similarly beautiful situation, ie to unlock my happiness I found Vi ckie. πŸ™‚

  3. I do not like traditional fruitcake. Why? I do not like candied fruit.

    Do I attend airgun shows with money in my pocket. Every chance I can. That is where I picked up my 1906 BSA for almost nothing. And my NIB HM1000X for well under $2K. And my Predom-Lucznik. And my NIB Izzy. Etcetera.

  4. Tom,

    I love good fruitcakes, and I even like those others think are poor. The only thing to debate is whether to go with rum or brandy (or, gasp, BOTH). I also would add bitters.

    There is no such thing as a bad fruitcake. They are simply misunderstood.

    And for those who like the Turducken, here’s the Piecaken!

    Michael

    • Michael,
      That’s pretty cool; the piecaken, and your previous reference to Turducken, brings back memories of the Christmas movie, “Window Wonderland” (Hallmark 2013). At one point in the film, the female lead invites her co-worker to her family’s Pre-Christmas Eve party, yet warns that he might be put off by the food, as her uncle is making “Turdunkin.” He replies, that he loves that; he knows exactly what it is: turkey fried in Dunkin Donut batter; she’s freaked out that he even knows what it is, as she had to ask…great movie!…thanks for the reminder and the memories. πŸ™‚
      Blessings to you,
      dave

      • Dave,

        Turkey fried in Dunkin Donut batter — that sounds like it could be called “Turkey Wellington”!

        As I find duck to be just a bit too rich for my taste, the turdunkin might be a good alternative to the turduckin.

        Michael

          • Dave,

            That discussion about modal auxiliaries is a good example of making an awful lot out of not very much. ;^) I have learned to just sit back and smile at regional variations in usage.

            That specific niche of linguistic study was the special area of scholarship of my father’s mentor at the University of Wisconsin — Madison: Fred Cassidy. Dr. Cassidy wrote the book — literally — on the subject, “The Dictionary of American Regional English.” It’s FIVE volumes.

            Michael

  5. Good one BB.At the start of this blog, I thought of Corsicana fruitcakes. Growing up in Houma,LA and going to an Assembly Of God church pastored by a man from Tomball,TX We sold the Collin’s Bakery Fruit cakes from Corsicana every Christmas as a fund raiser(small world). About that SIG fruitcake, the SIG from Corsicana,New Hampshire πŸ˜‰ I still cannot believe some entity has not purchased the rights to it and manufactured them. SIG licenses the trademark for MANY of their handguns in a air/C02 analog . I think someone could make the ASP(maybe in China) under license and make a good one, maybe not quite as good as the original but good enough, time will tell.

  6. I’ve given many fruitcakes and B-3 springers for Christmas. The fruit cakes were homemade and the B-3’s were home tuned. The B-3’s came with a home video I made on how to safely cock,load and shoot an under lever piston pellet rifle.

  7. Still remember having to sell fruitcake as a high-school fundraiser: no one seemed to want to buy this particular brand which shall remain unnamed. Was it because the cakes seemed to have been commisary-issued back in the Civil War? FM does not know. It was foisted on family members, mostly.

    And sometimes no matter how much you want the fruitcake you can’t have it, as FM found out when he received a cruel email from the Big Fish advising “your order has been canceled. The item is out of stock.” This was for the .22 Maximus he THOUGHT he had found. But, like stubborn Don Quixote, he shall keep tilting at windmills until the quest is fulfilled, likely when a large, heavy and time-hardened fruitcake falls on his head and brings him back to his senses. Accomplishing that – bringing him back to his senses – might be the Impossible Dream.

  8. I like to cook, I like to make also my own cake. Fruitcake – why not. It is not easy to stay in the shadow if everyone knows, you can cook better than your wife (and she is not bad at it).
    I found this blog today very funny, I just started to bake the plumcake!!! πŸ™‚ and read about the fruitcake. c

    … and I like to eat sophisticated food and drink the liquid of life – wine.

    • Tomek
      ” It is not easy to stay in the shadow if everyone knows, you can cook better than your wife (and she is not bad at it).”
      Sounds like the story of my life… Combined with your” denial to the trash” attitude you must be a most wanted Host. I certainly would like to visit your home sometime. Bringing the wine off course

      • Bill,
        You are so welcome man!!! You don’t have to bring the wood to the forest (=wine) πŸ™‚ I will support you and anybody that will appear with you with the best of – T H E RIESLING – . I mean it – just tell me when you are going to visit Europe. You are always welcome, and you will be going back with some overweight, I can assure you. I will get you my full contact if you would like to.

        • Tomek
          Riesling, hmmm. You make the trip from Athens (Greece not Georgia USA) very tempting. I will try to arrange it some time in the near future. For the moment we try to β€œrecover” economically from a 12 days road trip to Tuskany last month. Speak for wines and food…
          In any case I really thank you for your kind invitation and I wish we can meet some day.
          Vassilis

  9. There are a couple of fruitcakes that live up the block from me. Hey BB, someone responded to me on one of the classified websites that he had that illusive FWB 124 safety sear and was sending it to me. However, no joy. yet. Fingers crossed.

    Fred formerly of the Demokratik Peeples Republik of NJ now happily in GA

    • shootski a β€žStollen”? Now you’re talkin’.
      That’s my favourite christmas treat. It’s gotta have a generous marzipan centre though!

      There’s so much ‘goodness’ in this cake that all leading dentists recommend it. πŸ™‚

      • hihihi,

        Can it be called a Stollen without a generous Marzipan core?
        A fresh skiff of real butter and/or Quince Jelly (Summer Sunshine in a glass jar) a soft boiled egg kissed with seasalt and a mug of pour over Jakobs coffee!

        shootski

  10. B.B.,

    “I’ll tell you what BB wants to be when he grows up. BB wants to be the kind of guy people can trust. For example, when BB learned that the Sig ASP20 had a gas spring, he thought it was going to be just one more harsh breakbarrel that he would have to learn to live with. Then he shot one and β€” WOW! That’s when he got up on his soapbox and started proclaiming the ASP20 as the greatest new airgun to come along in many decades. Then Sig came and took BB’s soapbox away and left him with egg on his face.”

    There is no egg in the SIG ASP20/WHISKEY 3 ASP recipe!

    As far as I can tell you are still correct in your choice to step up on your soapbox.
    You gave folks a chance to own what really IS likely the break barrel Sporter of this Millennium. Perhaps another will come along to knock the ASP20 off the high pedestal but I doubt it.
    Since there is NO EGG in the ASP20 recipe you must have walked under a CucKoo invading another bird’s nest to have egg on your face.
    No loss of trust in your honest airgun reporting efforts from this Early Dark Sider who you finally convinced to buy an adult break barrel; actually two and at the very last minute of availability.

    shootski

  11. I don’t think I ever had fruitcake. Not sure of that’s good or bad?

    When I left for the Navy in Dec. ’66, at 19, I never had the opportunity to return home for Christmas for the rest of my life. Too far away and too costly for the most part. Europe, Florida, Texas and California were not exactly around the corner from Brooklyn NY.
    Come to think about it, I had no ‘Home’ to go to. Parents divorced and remarried; sister married, and they all moved away when I was in England. Never knew a grandfather so there was never a big get together with the grandparents when I was very young. Perhaps it was at my great grandparents once? The term “Yuki” seems to be associated with it in my mind. πŸ™
    I don’t mind poor performance in an airgun if the price was appropriate. I don’t use those for target shooting or hunting. Diversity in the collection matters more. Especially when I demonstrate the performance between the Good, the Bad and the Ugly to someone new to airgunning.

    • Bob M, I wanted to respond to your comment earlier after I first saw it because it describes a situation that made me think about my own relatives and family, but didn’t know what to say.

      So now I’ve decided to tell you that I still don’t quite know what to say. πŸ™‚

      I am sorry, but would you explain “Yuki” please?
      ———-
      Finally, may I trouble you to give an example each for what you consider the good, bad and ugly airgun?

    • Bob
      Like hi3 for a minute I just stared at your life story speechless since I am in country where relatives are usually more than you want… But I have to say this; a man whose voice is listened by so many people here in this blog has many many relatives, even long distanced ones he will never meet with. It would be an honor to count me as one of those and I hope you are not insulted by me saying so.

  12. BB: “…have your cake and Edith too…” now, that was a good one at the expense of the late, great Mrs. Gaylord. She’s probably chuckling at this somewhere. I’m surprised no one else seems to have caught it or was bold enough to have mentioned it. Have a good holiday season!

    • LFranke I imagine the other readers smiled too but must’ve had their reason not to go there (except one who thought it profound and then said his partner Vickie was the key to his happiness).

      I wish you a good holiday season too, and a Merry Christmas ! πŸ™‚

  13. hihihi & Bill
    Thanks for the kind words. WWII messed up my parents’ generation and the military draft during Vietnam dispersed mine. Lost track of just about all of my cousins, 10 or so of them. Easy to do when they move, and you have no phone number or address and the ones who do know have passed on, Before the internet.
    I have no regrets about making a career out of the Navy. I did not exactly lose touch with my parents and sister. Just missed a ‘lot’ of family related events. Kinda goes with the job. One of the things civilians never really realize we give up to serv our country.
    I was an E4, a rather low pay grade, and married with a child. Had no car and no house. Money was tight … for a long time! The military family benefits for us were, and are, extremely helpful.
    My mom was everybody’s mom, and they would visit her with their own new families, and she kept in touch with a few of the closest friends I grew up with and still have today.
    I celebrated many holidays with my shipmates, their wives and kids and will never be without friends for life there. Kind of a tradeoff but I often refer to my time in the service as a 20-year party.
    A side note. My squadron was bumped off the aircraft carrier that went off to war in Vietnam (Aircraft type was replaced) and so after 20+ years of service I can’t join the VFW.
    I did however learn a trade as an aircraft mechanic, and it played out well for me for the next 20+ yrs. in commercial aviation. I am entirely satisfied with the way my life turned out at 75. Ok … except for the part about my daughters not getting married and having grandchildren for me.

    3hi,
    Evidently spell checker failed me “Yucky”.
    Foul, nasty, unpleasant, bad, disagreeable, horrid, horrible, dreadful, abominable, atrocious, offensive, obnoxious, odious, unsavory, repulsive, off-putting, repellent, revolting, repugnant and all-round disgusting! Usually used to describe food.
    Probably should have used the word ‘Icky” πŸ™‚

    • OK forgot,
      The Good — Just about any PCP and well-made Springer.
      The Bad — Co2 Hellraiser Hellboy (AR) — Barrel, Accuracy, Magazine, Power and Trigger. Looks were great.
      The Ugly —Chinese Pioneer spring pellet pistol- Accuracy, Grip, Trigger Guard, Finish. and Everything! Cost was extremely low. Almost a two for one give-away.

      • Thanks Bob M for your interesting comment.
        They say you can’t choose your family… but it appears you chose whom to stay in touch with. And for decades, you managed to miss out on a lot of family related events, while partying with friends – sounds pretty cool to me!

        So, you worked as an aircraft mechanic for most-, if not all of your life.
        I imagine handling exorbitantly priced materials that require precision treatment, eg drilling a hole wrongly in a sheet of exotic alloy might prove an embarrassingly costly mistake.
        I bet you have a story or two… πŸ™‚
        ———-
        Thanks for your airgun classifications.
        For your good airguns, would you name one of your precharged pneumatics and a well made springer too please?

        • 3hi,
          You have been around long enough to know which are good.
          I have an Airforce Bounty Hunter, a few Marauders including a SAM, Hatsans. AT44, Gladius, long and short and Semi-auto Invader & Barrage. Evanix Speed, AR6 & Snipers in both long and carbines. To name some that I have. You need to look hard for a ‘Bad ‘ PCP.

          My RWS Diana 350 Magnum is ‘my’ best springer but not for everybody. I like my replica springers like the M14 and Mauser K98, so shooting accuracy is not a priority for me there.

          I would let BB advise which airguns are best for you once you decide what you want it for. Accuracy, Power, Comfort or looks and what design, Tactical, Traditional or Replica? You may have a different take on ‘Good’. You need to decide what your priority is first to find your Good.
          I have lots of options to present to a new shooter but it’s not exactly a daily event. More like decade now.
          And yes, I have lots of aviation stories. They say aviation safety rules are written in blood. (Of those who learned the hard way) Like walking through the arc of a rotating propeller or behind an operating jet engine.
          The majority of my work was spent in troubleshooting, repair and maintenance, especially preventive maintenance.
          A lot is done on a time schedule. They don’t wait for aircraft to break down before they check and replace things. Including entire engines.

          • Thanks again Bob M for another interesting reply.

            I knew you’ve seen some things in your time (as does everyone who gets to peek at reality behind the scenes of whatever!).
            I find the stories much more interesting when I hear/read them directly from someone involved, even if they feel lacking in the gift of the gab. πŸ™‚
            ———-
            The variety of precharged pneumatic airguns really show your liking for that system.
            I merely have one precharged pneumatic pistol (good) and one long arm (bad).

            I agree with the need to know one’s priorities for qualities in an airgun in order to arrive at an appropriately suitable shortlist. Trouble is, I have yet to arrive at that knowledge. Although every purchase does help me understand myself better. πŸ™‚

            PS You mention the springer K98 by Mauser which has me wondering what you think of the precharged pneumatic version?

  14. There are far worse things than mediocre fruitcake. Moldy, rancid sowbelly, tooth-breaking hardtack, poor-quality, gristly canned beef referred to as “embalmed beef” by the unfortunates who were issued it – as described by Charles J. Post in his tale of service in the Spanish-American War. No mention of fruitcake. FM is amazed these guys survived that diet. Wish all ye a very palatable Holiday Season. πŸ™‚

  15. hihihi
    I too enjoy a good conversation with knowledgeable people; however, this is not really the appropriate place. It’s an Airgun Blog and we should try to keep off topic subjects to a minimum. Unless Tom initiates it. It is his Blog.
    I’m sure there are many readers who do not appreciate off topic entries when they are specifically looking for airgun information.
    It is easy to get carried away with all the personable blog contributors here who share in this one common interest.
    Tom is very tolerant of it, and I thank him for that. I believe it contributes to the comradery that exist here but, I’m sure he has technical and business reasons to keep it to a minimum.
    I believe I have the PCP version of the K98 Mauser but have not shot it yet. Sometimes I get an airgun and set it aside for when I have time but never get a round-toit.
    I hope you are aware of BB’s Blog History index at the top of every blog and suggest you jump into his world of knowledge there. I’m sure you will enjoy learning all that exist within it. He has a 3-part blog on that K98

  16. Spirit-embued dried fruit in the bowl: cherries, apricots raisins and I think prunes, too. Shhh! Some info is more than needed. Then there is the finished item! I was a member of the team who decided on how “spirited” the fruit should be and all voted “doubly so.”
    This is our first venture into fruitcake territory. We’ll see how it compares to the ole doorstopper deluxe!

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