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Air Guns What do we want?

What do we want?

100 pcp
The hundred dollar pcp was an idea from this blog that actually caught on!

This report covers:

  • What we want
  • How do “they” know?
  • New Coke
  • Not the point
  • What people want
  • BB’s idea
  • Summary

Today it’s your turn to write the blog. I’ll get you started, but the brunt of the work depends on you readers.

What we want

Over the months and years we have told the airgun manufacturers what we don’t want. I’ll give you an example, because we need to discuss it.

We don’t like fiberoptic open sights. I would say that at least 80 percent of the readers who comment on this blog will agree that they don’t want fiberoptic open sights. Some of us call them “glowie thingies.” And we sit back and wonder how the companies can overlook such a large contingent of their buyers.

Guess what — we aren’t large! Sure, this blog has well over a hundred thousand registered readers and probably somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter million readers worldwide, BUT — the number of registered readers who actually comment is quite small. It’s maybe a couple hundred people at most. And, of those, perhaps 30-40 do most of the talking. That’s small potatoes compared to the number of people who daily walk into any one of the discount chain stores in the United States, alone. And those people vote with their wallets! If glowie thingies help sell the airguns in those stores then glowie thingies will continue to be installed. Any company would be better served to sell five thousand of something than to sell fifty, just to get praise from this blog.

How do “they” know?

But what if fiberoptic sights are not what sell airguns? What if they are just put on because that’s what the manufacturers think their buyers want? Well, that’s a harder issue to deal with. And when you do, sometimes the answer can cripple your business or shut it down for good. Let me tell you about a classic instance that supports that statement.

New Coke

In 1985, Coca-Cola attempted to rebrand their product. Their arch rival, Pepsi-Cola, had been gaining market share, mostly due to an aggressive marketing campaign called the “Pepsi Challenge” where in blind taste tests people preferred sweeter Pepsi over Coke. Coke did internal tests of their own and discovered that Pepsi was right — the people they tested did prefer the sweeter taste. So Coca-Cola decided to reformulate their principal product to meet the challenge. The result was New Coke. The American public reacted negatively, and New Coke was considered a major failure.

What Coke failed to realize was they had an established base of loyal customers who preferred their product exactly the way it was. An airgun equivalent might be Weihrauch, except with their new stock profiles they are currently flirting with disaster.

It’s true that this is just one case, but it reflects what can happen when a manufacturer loses sight of their customer base. There have been many others and some are happening right now that may have even more disastrous results.

Not the point

Now we have to shift gears, because product bashing isn’t what today’s report is about. It’s about creating features in products that will help them sell. It’s not about saving money, but never forget that the product has to be affordable. It’s not about custom features that you have personally always wanted, but don’t overlook features that most people want.

Stock up on Air Gun Ammo

What people want

For example, a great many shooters want an air rifle that will work with a bipod. But very few people want a bipod on a breakbarrel springer. Personally I don’t care for bipods, but I know that more people like them than don’t. And finding a way to put a bipod on a breakbarrel spring-piston rifle and make it work is a noble pursuit.

BB’s idea

Okay, I have one for you. For years have I told my business associates that a chronograph that uses a smart phone as its computer would be a good idea. And there still isn’t one! There are many chronographs that work WITH a smart phone — I’m talking about one in which the computing power of the smart phone IS the chronograph!

Smart phones are loaded with computing power and most people own and carry them. What is needed is a sensor unit to sense the flight of the projectile and feed that data into an app on the phone. This sensor should be small, light and should retail for under $100 — hopefully closer to half of that.

Okay, that’s my idea. Now I want to hear yours. Remember to explain it thoroughly and — well, you know what to do.

Most of our ideas will pass without comment, but if even one of them is considered we will have won. Don’t forget that the Benjamin Maximus was born out of the $100 PCP project that we did right here on this blog. I didn’t say that — Crosman officials said it to me.

Maximus
The Benjamin Maximus was born out of consideration of the $100 PCP.

Summary

Today’s report is on you. What features do we want to see? Remember that they must be features that benefit the company offering them.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

37 thoughts on “What do we want?”

  1. B.B.

    Air gun companies need to sell an airgun that people can shoot out of the box. The “glowie things” are the cheapest way to do it.
    So I say, keep adding the red/green tubes, but give us better rails to attach our own sighting system! Bundle scopes are even worse that those fiber optic sights.

    -Y

  2. More factory picatinny rails for scope mounting.
    More factory guns, especially breakbarrels, with receiver sights. A Benjamin Variable set up with the Williams sight would also be nice.

  3. A shout out to Crosman…

    Classic, classic, classic…gun people love classic; classic sells.
    You kind of got that point here, when you came up with this special version of your model 362:
    https://www.crosman.com/product/crosman-362-one-hundred-year-edition

    The only problem is, you created a collectible…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDhGFY3BsUw

    That’s great for 1000 people…not so great for the rest of us.
    (I am not a collector; all my guns get used…a lot!)
    (There’s nothing wrong with being a collector; but there are MANY more airgun users than collectors.)

    Check out my old Sheridan…Benjamin bought them out; then you bought Benjamin out.
    So, in your model 362, you have the bones of a gun as classic as my old Sheridan, yet much easier to pump.

    Suggestion: bring out a “non-collectible” wood-stocked version of your model 362.
    Lose the medallion; and lose that front sight!

    My old Sheridan has an AWESOME front sight!!! It is metal, not plastic!
    It is THIN and SERRATED on the back; hence, it makes for an excellent sight picture.

    A wooden-stocked Crosman model 362, with the steel breech (3/8″ dovetails), with the Williams receiver sight, and a nice thin steel front sight would be a winner.

    Although I like my old Sheridan, and my Crosman 362 is a handy thing, I’d gladly add the gun described above
    …if only I could. Thank you. 🙂

    P.S. Why didn’t I add “priced accordingly”?
    Because your Marketing people are smart, and they already know that. 😉

  4. OK here is what I would work on. Start with a proven single stroke neumatic, just as easy as a break barrel for plinking; and easier to shoot accurately. Give it a good barrel. Add a valve with a plenum and allow up to three pumps. First pump 450 fps third pump 800 fps. 15 pumps 850 fps. 100 pumps 860 fps. The pumping effort should increase rapidly for three pumps and then be limited by the dead space after about three or four pumps. Long stroke small bore piston.

    Trigger needs to be decent out of the box. Sights similar to Daisy target guns included. Ability to add a scope or dot sight; dovetail or picatinney. .177 caliber. Think about after market upgrades and support for replacement parts.

    The dragonfly with all the superior leverage takes too many pumps to reach a good velocity. I would rather pump a crosman 362. Keep the pumping quiet dummy.
    Steel and wood will be too expensive.

    Hey, if I knew the solution I would be rich.

    • Benji-Don
      Now that’s something really interesting. For many years I wonder why no other company, to my knowledge, uses a similar power system to the Zoraki HP. If such a small unit can put out 12 fp with four strokes and that out of a 10 inches barrel in 22 cal., imagine the potential…

      • Bill,

        Looks like there is a proof of concept there. I will keep the Zoraki in mind for a future purchase. I was thinking long gun but I like the single stroke pistols too.

        • Benji-Don
          As a matter of fact I was thinking about the possibility of a long gun version of the Zoraki. More like a 14″ barrel carbine. And with an AR type stock. It could easily reach 12 fpe (in order to sell to UK also) with three pumps, or more for your country. I have the same set up like BobM, moderared though, and it never stops to amaze me with the versatility. One pump makes a decent target gun, two pumps for plinking, three to four make it a pest controller.

          • Bill.
            You probably already know the barrel is easily accessed and might be replaceable with a longer one, if it can be found and actually seals.
            I put a Crosman 2100B barrel inside a Hellboy AR and got a big increase in FPS. Plus, it was rifled for a single shot pellet, in a BB rifle.

            An airsoft barrel extension covered up the inner barrel sticking out. They both happened to have 14mm reverse threads. An Airsoft thing.

            I would like a carbine version too. A complete upper assembly, in combination with the add on stock would be outstanding.

  5. If you install glowy thingy sights, make them removable. I bought a Benjamin Maximus a while back and the first thing I did was remove the glowy thingy sights, rear and front. It was easy.

    Do not bundle a scope with your airgun package unless it is a decent scope designed to work with an airgun. Most bundled scopes are cheap junk with a parallax setting of one hundred yards. Really?

    Dovetail slots on a PCP are OK, but on a spring piston they can be very difficult to deal with. Scope stops of some sort become a necessity. I have bought spring piston air rifles that came with scope stops. If you do not supply a scope stop, several indentations/holes for scope stop pins along the top between the dovetails would be nice. Picatinny rails on both would be real nice.

    You need some shooters on your design team. Many of the new air rifles have open sights which are unusable because of the stock. I prefer a wood stock, but I am not prejudice against a well-designed synthetic stock. The truth is I like them, most especially since they are more weather-proof. I bought a Maximus and will likely end up with a Marauder. Both have well-designed synthetic stocks.

    I know Mattelomatics are popular with the powder burner crowd. Offer that style as an option as in the new Avenge-X. Being able to choose your stock preference increases your customer base dramatically. There is a new spring piston air rifle on the market that has some superb features, but because it only comes with a Mattelomatic style stock, I will not buy it.

    One last thing. If you build spring piston air rifles, do not try to make them as powerful as a PCP. I do understand that newbies are attracted to high velocities. I have learned that the better shooting spring piston air rifles are at less than twelve foot pounds of energy. That is why I like Weihrauch.

    P.S. to BB,

    I still want it. 😉

  6. The Benjamin Maximus came and went before I had ventured into the PCP world. Based on comments over time this is a well designed rifle. Benjamin should bring it back with some advertising. Unlike then compressors suitable for direct filling are now available for a bit over the cost of hand pumps. I own one and a 3 year warranty in case it dies.

    The P17 pellet pistol is surprisingly accurate. Could a toned down easy to cock version be the platform for 5 meter BB target pistol?

    Deck

    • Deck,

      I found the P17 to be to heavy to cock easily (unfairly compared to my FWB 100) and considered modifying it. After a dozen shots I had difficulty holding the pistol steady and had to rest a minute or two be able to shoot accurately.

      The P17 has a thick aluminum piston, I was thinking about drilling a cavity into the piston (opposite the transfer port) to reduce the compression. To make the compression/power level tunable I was going to thread the cavity (1/4-20) and install a setscrew that would adjust the volume of the compression chamber.

      I ended up trading the pistol before I got around to trying the mod. A couple of times I’ve thought about getting another P17 just to see how well it would work.

      Hank

      • Hank

        Every time the P17 gets to do some deck shooting I am amazed by its accuracy and trigger for under $50 (even now). I get around the cocking issues using a “duct tape & baling wire” type fix. First remove the rear sight. Then use a leather golf glove on the left hand placing it over the location where the rear sight used to be. Maximum leverage comes into play without digging a hole in the palm. A pistol scope is mounted far enough forward to allow ample clearance for cocking. Loading pellets with the gloved hand isn’t a problem for me. Just pick up a pellet the same way every time.

        But if the P17 makes sense to convert to a 5 meter BB target pistol, you or some other engineer needs to figure a way to reduce the power and cocking effort.

        Deck

  7. Cordless tools have become so prevalent that I believe the time has come to use a cordless tool battery to power an onboard compressor. I envision a single stroke not limited by our arm strength or requiring a lever. But maybe the compressor first fills a reservoir and then maintains it so that multiple shots can be taken without waiting on the compressor. I would like to see the Ryobi 18 volt platform adopted as Ryobi is probably the most common consumer grade tools available and Ryobi promises to stay with the battery platform.

    Another that has been on my wish list for a long time is a 4 pound springer rifle with sufficient power for small game hunting. This has kind of been fulfilled in the pistol carbine PCPs now available.

    Lastly, a straight wrist rifle. Maybe I just need to pay up and have one custom made.

    David Enoch

    • David,
      I think it would work, with an air pressure of somewhere between 500 and 800 psi it could achieve good velocity and reduce the heat problem of hpa pumps. Maybe in single shot gun not sure about the pump coming on while taking aim lol.

  8. B.B.,

    I believe the biggest thing i want from the airgun manufacturers and designers is STANDARDIZATION to the greatest extent possible of select systems and subassemblies within their product lines; and perhaps industry wide.
    First and foremost is the sighting system mounting fixture. To the specification 1913 PICATINNY rails, scope rings, non optical sights (iron sights) and accessories and not some COMPROMISE Weaver and dovetail combination that does not work well for anything!
    The same request for standardized hpa fill system parts that many respondees have already covered in replies above.
    Scope and red dot makers need to indicate in standardized format proven level of resistance to failure caused by recoil and specifically the double (bidirectional) recoil of Spring Piston airguns.
    Provide FULL documentation of any advertised velocity and power level claimed.

    shootski

  9. Air Gun Designs and Features, What Do I Want?

    Somehow work around the “Lawyer Trigger” and come up with one that is pleasant to use. A light pull weight, minimal creep, and a predictable break all improve accuracy. The simple, single stage trigger of the Crosman 160 was lovely.

    Better manufacturing processes to make barrels. I have two air guns with bad barrels that should shoot with at least some consistency at ten meters, but they don’t. They’re both in storage.

    Regular open sights to replace the fiber optics, OR, house the fiber optics in supports that have a square top profile and not a rounded one. Aligning the straight lines of both front and rear sights allow for more precise shooting.

    Please reduce the clackity-clack noise in multi stroke pneumatics by designing it out. Don’t underestimate how much shooters dislike making all that noise when shooting.

    Big companies who make springers might offer a nicely appointed model that shoots at 10 to 12 fpe, so it’s easier to shoot more accurately. Else, we’ll all buy those from Weirauch. A decent trigger would be a must.

    Picatinny scope rails on springers would be better than dovetail rails because they prevent scope slippage. Adding to another comment I read, Standard picatinny rails, and not the compromise ones that I have on one rifle would be excellent.

    If the company must bundle a scope, please make it have a 25-30 yard parallax, instead of a 100 yard one.

    Some or all of the above ideas are repeats, but hopefully, manufacturers can see that more than one person thinks this way.

    Thanks for the opportunity to do this, BB!
    Regards,
    Will

  10. Junior-sized stock options for quality, easy-cocking springers, such as the HW30S and Diana 240, for youngsters to use until they have grown enough to comfortably use the standard, full length-of-pull stocks.

  11. I’ve been dreaming of a small .25 caliber multipump.

    Imagine a US version of Crosman’s ratcatcher. 362 action. Single shot is fine. Skeleton stock. .25 caliber shrouded and baffled like a marauder. It seems 500 fps is possible these days with maybe a 14″ barrel.

    That is an American mouser right there. Advertise it based on FPE. You can inflate those numbers just like FPS. We know what it is.

    50 Foot Pounds of Facepunch!

  12. As a springer curmudgeon, put on Williams’ level Peep sights and interchangeable insert tunnel front sights as standard Springer ranges don’t need high powered optics, and a light (low mass) peep has less tendency to slide down the ramp. The other option is to build better, tighter tolerance rear notch sights.

    How about attention to the bore sizes? Hatsan’s .25 bore is oversize. Who is minding the store over there in Izmir?

    I agree with designing out the annoying “clack” of multi-pumps. My Benjamin .22 pumps could never poach pigeons in my uncles’ barns (well, that, and the fact that they have passed away).

    Chinese manufacture can be amazing, but who was minding the store for the Trevox and the Benji Trail Pistols? The triggers have rendered them to the back of the arms locker waiting for a gun buy back. It is one thing to subcontract, it is another thing to fail at QA.

    Springer fasteners. With all the engineering expertise in the world, why can’t fasteners be designed to STAY fastened? My Crosman Nitro Venom Dusk requires pellets and a Phillips screwdriver to shoot. I’m not against routine checks of fasteners, but more duration before loosening would be greatly appreciated.

    Engineering and machinging in production needs to have the vertical plane of a breakbarrel perpendicular to the plane of the breech block. This would allow using a small level to had the gun plumb and then align an attached scope’s reticle in the same vertical plane using a reference point that is plumb. It would be a simple thing with very helpful results in seeking to eliminate cant between scope and gun.

  13. I may be a black (rifle) sheep here, but what the heck.
    I would like something like an M249 SAW PCP or similar AR with a removable ‘Box Magazine’.
    In that box I would like a small (rechargeable) battery-operated HP air pump capable of building up enough air for a select fire three shot burst at most.
    Be it to top off a full-size on-board storage tank, say in the stock, or to fill a small air chamber someplace. In the mag perhaps for the three shots.
    The rifle could be used ‘without’ the box mag installed. An exotic add-on accessory, with a select switch for use as a topper compressor or alone. Put a thumb operated on/off button in the same place as a 45-pistol mag release or wherever it can be operated easily.

    A respectable amount of accuracy and FPS, under 1000, would be appreciated.
    I am sure Ridge Runner would be among the first to order one 😉

  14. How about a $100 integrated pump PCP? The truth is that most people who buy $100 guns don’t have the money or don’t want to spend it on charging equipment for a PCP. Also, an integrated pump PCP is inherently more efficient than a multipump pneumatic as it doesn’t dump all of its air with every shot.

    Make something like the Crosman 362, but put a much bigger air chamber in it and configure the valve so that you get 10 shots to a full charge. Pump it up 50 times and get ten 16 fpe shots out of it.

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