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Another Supergrade?

Supergrade sale

This report covers:

  • 2023 Texas Airgun Show
  • Rephrase that
  • History
  • However
  • Not done
  • What’s in it for you?
  • What else?
  • So what?
  • Not just inflation
  • What this means

2023 Texas Airgun Show

Before we start I have to tell you that the 2023 Texas Airgun Show is in jeopardy of being cancelled. The only manufacturer who will attend thus far is AirForce Airguns, and that will severely limit public attendance. What happens is the public attends hoping to buy a new airgun or accessory from one of the major manufacturers like Hatsan, Burris, Crosman, Gamo and so on. They reason that there will be big discounts since there is no real overhead at the show. Yeah, that’s right — no overhead. After the company shells out $3,000 in wages, travel money, food and hotel rooms for the employees they send, it’s dirt cheap for them! On top of that they have to ship some products — often both ways!

Then people arrive and start seeing the sort of airguns we all talk about and they realize that most new airguns aren’t what they really want. But, if there is no show there won’t be any airguns to see, shoot and buy. The only thing you can do about this is to contact the manufacturers you would like to see at the show and hope they listen.

The irony of all of this is at every Texas show the show administration gives away over ten thousand dollars of airguns and accessories. Would you pay a dollar for a raffle ticket that gives you a chance to win one of those prizes? Heck, at this show your entry fee automatically enters you for a chance at the door prize that’s worth a considerable amount by itself. Don’t gotta buy nothin’.

Okay, I’m off the soapbox. Today I return to the incredible price increases that I’m seeing in the world of vintage airguns. Pay attention because there could be something here for you.

Yes, another Sheridan Supergrade sold for an incredible amount of money just days ago. When I saw the eBay listing while it was still live last week I laughed and told myself that nobody was going to be dumb enough to do it again. Do what, you ask? Why, pay more than twice what the rifle should be worth.

Rephrase that

Yeah, in light of that sold listing from eBay you see above I’d better rephrase that. Why pay more than twice what BB Pelletier thinks it should be worth?

History

Usually when you read the title History you think what follows will go way back in time. But in the case of today’s topic, history started just a few months ago. That was when I wrote the report titled, Getting into airguns. And that report was based on another eBay sold listing that I shared with you.

5000 Supergrade

After seeing that eBay listing that sold on February 20 of this year I shared it with you and said the following, Yes, in time I would expect a Supergrade to command that much, but it ought to take at least another decade to get there. And, if anyone has $5,000 to spend, my Supergrade is available right now!”

However

That report also had a However. I showed you this listing.

2700 Supergrade

The However was the fact that particular rifle had been butchered! Someone had removed the Sheridan peep sight — an item I’ll bet you can’t find for $500 today. Then they drilled and tapped the aluminum receiver to receive a Weaver tip-off scope mount for a cheap .22 rimfire scope. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? If you are going to deface an iconic airgun why not do it with the cheapest rimfire scope you can find? I imagine the fellow who did that wasn’t able to find a scope for a Daisy BB gun. Let’s see now — I know, we’ll paint uncle Mike’s Ferrari Testarossa with barn paint. How about a nice red? That’s a Ferarri color.

2700 Supergrade scope

Shop Benjamin Rifles

Not done

I’m not finished with my observations, because as I was looking at the eBay ad for the lead photo, this popped up. The auction is still live as this is published, so you can check, too.

ASP20

That one increased in price while I was writing this report. You can check it by clicking on the link above to see where it’s gone. It will probably hit a thousand dollars by the end of the auction, if not more. There is another one that popped up for a Buy It Now price of $850 as I was writing this.

And the other day I hit you with a Webley Senior pistol that was already at $500. So what we have is not an isolated incident. This is a trend that shows no sign of slowing anytime soon.

What’s in it for you?

Siraniko, I remember a time ten years ago when you couldn’t give a new-in-the-box Farco air shotgun away for $400. Now they are bringing $700 to $1,000. I tell you this because you live in the Philippines, which is where the Farco was made. There have to be some NIB Farcos laying around that you can turn into a tidy profit.

Farco
Farco.

What else?

You readers have been talking about this over the past several months. A few of the airguns that are the blue chip stocks right now are:

Beeman R7
HW 30S
HW 50S
Webley Senior, Tempest, Hurricane
FWB 300S
FWB 65
Diana 75
Diana 10 target pistol
Diana 27

I could go on, but if you have read this blog for a month or longer you know I’m right. But — are only obsolete airguns worthwhile investments? Strangely no.

So what?

So are there airguns that represent good investments today because they have the two great attributes of good performance and desirability? Yes! In fact, the first three airguns on the list above are still being made and sold as this is published. Yes, they are not cheap, but I remember a time in the 1950s when a new Maserati sold for about $15,000. That was a time when $150 bought a Ford Model A in running condition.

Not just inflation

Yes, everything was cheaper in the good old days. But that doesn’t mean everything has retained its value over time. Price out a prime 1954 Hudson Hornet ($85,000) and a prime 1954 Henry J from Kaiser Fraiser ($25,000). Now, check the prices for a Haenel 311 target rifle and a Weihrauch HW 55 target rifle.

What I’m saying is there are airguns worth buying and having and there are airguns that just waste your money. The Avenger and the Dragonfly Mark 2 are airguns that should hold their value and increase when discontinued. Both guns are made in China, so let’s not discount airguns made there.

I won’t name the guns that won’t increase in value, but you should know them when you see them. They are also Chinese-made and they mostly sell on their velocity. Look for youth-oriented graphics on the guns and boxes (skulls and dragons). These airguns are cheaper to buy new but these are the airguns that loose half their value the minute you drive them off the lot. And don’t look for a rise in the future.

What this means

What this means is you should buy an airgun that has the features you are looking for — UNLESS that single “feature” is velocity. If it is, consider another hobby, because this one will soon dissatisfy you.

If you can’t afford the gun you want new, consider buying used. If you really don’t have the money to get the airgun you want, even used, consider getting something you’ve heard is nearly as good. Let’s say you want a Beeman P1, but can’t swing a new one. Even used the P1 still commands a lot of money. Have you thought about a Beeman P17? That is the kind of decision you need to make to enjoy this hobby without spending the mortgage.

58 thoughts on “Another Supergrade?”

  1. B.B.,
    Thanks for that list of “blue chip” airguns.
    My HW30S is a gift from my wife; hence, is never to be sold, a family heirloom.
    My Tempest is an inheritance from my Dad; hence, is never to be sold, a family heirloom.
    Still, it’s nice to know they’re a good investment.
    Someday, someone in the family may sell them…but it won’t be me. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Blessings to you

    • I have a vintage R9. I was going to try to find a replacement for its missing rear sight before I sell it. I have a more modern one that is really nice that I am keeping.

      The linkage for the cocking arm also rattles a bit. Anyone have any suggestions for quieting that down? I’m not sure the pins can be removed or if it is riveted there.

  2. Tom,

    Thanks for the mention. I rather doubt I can find a NIB Farco considering that the company to my knowledge folded over 2 decades ago. I am, however, bewildered by the collector’s mindset that will focus on a particular type of airgun which is quite primitive and inaccurate using today’s standards.

    Siraniko

    • Am I wrong to assume that there would be very few folks in your country buying Farcos as a collector’s item. They were probably well used for more utilitarian purposes. As for me, I will be making more of an effort to look for Supergrades at local yard sales and flea markets. I still have to put 3 kids through college!

      • Roamin Greco,

        Yes I doubt if anybody would be collecting Farcos over here. It’s a utilitarian unit. It served its purpose until better units came along. With our current economy not many can afford the better units though.

        Siraniko

  3. I always thought that the Supergrade was of special value even when it was made. On the other hand the HWs 30/50 are very well balanced airguns but made and sold in numbers. Same goes for the two Chinese products. Regarding the FWBs and Dianas (besides the 27) I also think they were quite specials.
    So I believe that, besides obvious exceptions, mostly special models tend to be collectibles.

  4. https://8151552.fs1.hubspotusercontent-na1.net/hubfs/8151552/Catalogs/Crosman-Airguns-Catalog-23.pdf

    Did you folks see what I saw?
    Crosman 367!
    If they really sell that, I’ll buy. Regardless having a practical place to shoot or not, I’ll buy. Crosman listens, and I buy. Variable pump – can be shot outside, can be shot inside, can shoot heavy / light lead, even utralight tin pellets without issues if I’d like. Good company to my Adult RR when I am not ’round.

  5. Lately, a quality .22 pellet round is only a tad cheaper than an average 22LR one. Am I missing something here?

    That’s why I like the 27, it can shoot the cheapest lead .177 pellet accurately. Daisy Precision Max .177 Cal, 7.8 Grains Wadcutter, for example, should be in all the .177 air gun tests. $0.010 / Rd, anything above that kinda defeats the purpose. Otherwise, there is always CZ 457 Lux. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Fish,
      I think you’ll be really happy with your Crosman 367.
      I love my 362; yes, “quality” .22 pellets can be pricey; but fortunately, my rifle loves the .22 Crosman Premiers…only $6.47 for a tin of 500…just over a penny a shot, not bad at all.
      Whenever I’m in the local Walmart getting gardening stuff for my wife, I stop in the sporting goods section to see if they have any of these pellets; most often, they don’t, as they go quickly.
      (as with many things, timing is everything)
      But when they have them, I stock up; I grabbed the last 4 they had a couple of weeks ago. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      If you get a 367, please do let us all know how you like it.
      Blessings to you,
      dave

      • I wrote in the comments to a former post that I never was able to find a gun that would shoot Crosman pellets better than cheaper alternatives. Even my 362 doesn’t like them. Until last night. I was messing around with a Diana 350 Magnum, and darn it if it was not pellet picky at all, and it seemed to shoot everything equally well at 10 yards at least, including .22 Crosman Premier Domes and Hollowpoints. I was hoping to find a handful of pellets to test at 25 yards, but now I may have to shoot them all again. Oh well. More shooting!

    • Fish,

      How about the Discovery / Maximus. On the assumption that you can find one for sale, either will bring in good money. The Maximus has glowy thingy sights. I bought one of the last ones available. I would be surprised if I could not double my money right now.

      • Wouldnโ€™t hesitate to pick up a .22 Max with fixed sights if one showed up at a sane price, though FM is happy with his scoped Hunter version. Just this week it sent two iguanas to Iggy Heaven.

        • Fish,

          I have a .22 Max. I do not think it is going anywhere, even if there are more accurate air rifles available. The trigger is not too nice either. The low fill pressure is a super, big thing though. That is one of the reasons I have given serious consideration to a Marauder. The fill pressure on those can be adjusted down.

  6. BB,

    I have been considering some more Webley pistols, but as you say, the prices have been going up on all of them, not just the ones you have listed. I am really not surprised. They may not be the most accurate air pistols, but they are just about indestructible and can be easily rebuilt, assuming you can find the parts.

    Pretty much any of the old Dianas and Beemans are bringing good prices. The Dianas with the Giss system are real winners, most especially if they have been “professionally” resealed.

    It is a shame the Texas Airgun Show is in danger. I think the main issue may have been the fact that there were so many manufacturers there. Now that they are apparently not going to show, the sponsor needs to pay more attention to the “little guys”. They are the real bread and butter of the airgun shows.

    I have never seen one of the manufacturers at the North Carolina Airgun Show. Come to think of it, I have never seen any of the major manufacturers at the now defunct Roanoke show, except for John McCaslin.

    By the way, there was a dude at the last NC show that was selling NIB parts for the old Webley pistols.

    • “They [Webleys] might not be the most accurate air pistol…”

      RidgeRunner,
      I hear you, man; they were never designed to be target pistols, but with the right pellets, some of them can be pretty accurate; my first Tempest was good for a 1″ group at 25 feet (about what Dr. Beeman claimed for accuracy in his catalogue); but the one from my Dad is better; from a bench, at 15 yards, I can the 7/8″ bottoms of my eye drop bottles most of the time.
      That’s pretty good, especially if you compare that to our local indoor range.
      (note: an hour away now; since I have the farm, I just shoot on the farm)
      The last time I was there, most people were shooting at 21 feet.
      (There are lights for the targets at 21-foot “combat distance, 50 feet, 25 yards and 50 yards.)
      At 21 feet, most of these people couldn’t shoot a 12” group (mostly shooting 9mms and .45s).
      They’d be better off if they bought a Webley and learned to shoot before going to large calibers. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Blessings and happy shooting to you,
      dave

      • Dave,

        Once upon a time, I picked up a Tempest at a local yard sale. It would not compare with my Izzy, so I sold it for way more than I paid for it. I wish I had it back now.

        • My friend has an Izzy; yes, the Tempest is not in the same ball park.
          The Izzy is a precision target shooter.
          The Tempest is the kind of pistol where, if you have some friends over, you set up 5 cans at 50 feet, then take turns seeing who can knock down all 5 in the least amount of time.
          In short, she’s a relatively accurate fun gun. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • RR,
      Your summation of the Texas Airgun Show is incorrect. There are not enough manufacturers present to bring in the public and club member attendance that is necessary to cover costs and make it a value added event to our gun club members. I pay lots of attention to the “little guys”, but it is the “big guys” who make the event happen.
      Jeff

      • Jeff,

        The opposite is true at the other airgun shows I have attended. I have never seen the “big guys” there. It is the sponsors who have made the airgun shows work. Without them, there is no airgun show. That is what happened with the Roanoke show. The original sponsor died. Another dude carried it on for a few years, but it was more work than he cared for.

  7. Glad to have done all the militaria collecting starting back in the days of Three Dog Night; couldn’t afford any of it today. Also there are a lot of fake artifacts floating out there.

  8. I wonder about collectors. Sounds like the whole collecting scheme is a scam based on some artificial value centered around “I have one and you can’t get one unless you’re stupid enough to pay my ridiculously inflated price”.

    “Rare” makes it valuable? Why? I just saw a Washington 1 cent stamp that was worth $30,000. Looked pretty plain to me. I accept that things have a cost to design, manufacture, distribute and warranty… $30,000 for a motorcycle makes sense, not for a paper stamp.

    The Sheridan is a nice airgun, well made and everything. It’s not worth $5,000 – lots of readily available rifles that are just as nice and are good value for a lot less money. I’m not knocking the Sheridan, but I wouldn’t consider one for $50 because I don’t like the 5mm caliber. Would rather have a .22 Dragonfly.

    I value functionality and performance. I have an old elm bow that I made that’s very valuable to me – it’s smooth, powerful and accurate in my hands (lost count of how many deer I’ve taken with it), cost me under $1 to make, wouldn’t sell it for $100.

    Guess that I’m saying that I see collecting airguns as a totally different thing than using them. Each to their own!

    Feel free to ignore me, its been rainy, windy and miserable for a week and I’m having withdrawals from insufficient trigger time on the range. Makes me grumpy.

    Cheers!

    • Vana2
      If someone is willing to pay the price, then that is what it is worth. Granted the list of buyers may be short, and not easy to find, or they have deep pockets and want it now. Either way they continued to bid on it. Collecting really hasn’t got much to do with the original cost. Desirability does.
      At least that is the way it works with collectable cars. And, of course, condition maters.

      I would like to thank ‘FISH’ for posting that Crosman Catalog link above.
      I ordered two Crosman Limited 362 One Hundred Year Edition’s, yesterday and it seems to be gone from their web site already. Wood stock and Gold Medalion.

      I would have missed it entirely and I’m sure many others did as well and that is a prime candidate for being a rare collectable.

      • Agreed, there’s always someone willing to buy at the asking price.

        If I came home with a $30,000 1 cent stamp I’d be sent to have my head examined ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Each to their own ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Bob M I just clicked on the link for the wood stocked 363 and I got 404 instead (page not found). I’m camping out on it.

        Thank you Crosman for listening, when we said we would like a wood stocked 362.

        • RG
          Not really sure what I am getting. HAM site has it with a Discovery type barrel sleave that holds the rear sight, but the Crosman site had a Diopter rear sight? He said there was more new stuff to come from Crosman but that was it for the C362-100YR. Edition.
          I was kind of expecting an ‘Oh, by the way, we ran out email’ but so far, no. The HAM article was from Feb. It also has the long steel breach.

          Apparently, it was only available directly from Crosman. Hope you get lucky.

          • Thanks, Bob. I have more airguns than I know what to do with at the moment, but I can’t pass up an opportunity to own what is sure to be a real classic. I’ll just have to eat Ramen noodles for a while. ;o)

        • My reply may have gone to Romin Greco above. Mixed comments.

          My ex fell down and broke her arm yesterday. I could not lift her. Called fire dept and was at the hospital most of the night into morning. Worn out today.

    • โ€œI have one and you canโ€™t get one unless youโ€™re stupid enough to pay my ridiculously inflated priceโ€.
      Hank!…oh my, oh my, oh my…I can’t stop laughing at that…it just struck my funny bone…
      …thank you…I was having a day where I needed a good laugh. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. BB,
    I donโ€™t think manufacturers attendance makes much difference to the attendance of airgun shows. They fill up a few tables and make things look more legitimate but thatโ€™s about it in my opinion. One exception over the years has been AirForce which has always seemed to be busy and sell quite a bit of stock. None of the other manufacturers tables seemed to get that much attention or sell much product. In my opinion, what has always made a good show is table after table of airgun enthusiasts buying, selling, and trading airguns.

    The change I am seeing in the airgun industry is that I see a ton of first time airgun owners buying $2,000 plus guns such as the FX Impact. And, these new airgunners wouldnโ€™t even consider a CO2 airgun and seem terrified of springers.
    The prices of springers on the Yellowโ€™s classifieds have continued to drop. Guns like the R7, R9, and R1 sit for days at what I consider to be bargain prices.

    David Enoch

    • David,

      I have a good selection of airguns (springers, multi-pump, single stroke pneumatic, and PCP) for a variety of applications.

      If I was to start over or was looking for a first airgun, something versatile like an Impact could be a good choice. The chassis is good for anywhere from .177 pellets at sub-12 level up to well over 100 fpe with .30 slugs.

      If I initially chose the wrong caliber changing to a different one is possible – not exactly cheap to do but the really that expensive either.

      Think that affordable HPA compressors are helping PCP sales as well.

      Just saying.

    • David
      The new generation has been raised on play station war game with high-tech equipment. Old springers are probably compared to Model ‘T’ cars … Old school stuff !

  10. I sure hope the TX airgun show isn’t cancelled. I have it on my calendar, and haven’t missed one since the first year they held it at Arlington. Please put out the “rally cry” to Pyramyd and see if you can’t drum up some major attendees! ๐Ÿ™‚

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