This report covers:
- BB pays attention
- And today?
- Flight history
- Affordable full-featured PCPs
- Accurate long-range pellets
- Accurate pellets
- Today’s point
Today we learn about the power we consumers have over the airgun manufacturers. Let’s go.
BB pays attention
I watch what you readers post and was interested in the fascination some of you have with the upcoming Crosman 3662 launch. It’s a precharged rifle they hope to retail for $130. Hmmmm –Where have we seen this before? Why, in 2014 we saw it in the report titled, Building the $100 precharged pneumatic air rifle.
I gave blog readers the technical specifications of the single airgun Dennis Quackenbush built in 2013. He used a Crosman 2100B multi-pump as a starting point and built from there. At the time the rifle he started with retailed for $59.95 and the bits and pieces that took it into the PCP world boosted the cost to around $75. The same 2100B retails today for $82.99, so the $100 PCP has increased to the $125-130 PCP. Hmmmm.
Read what I wrote on December 31, 2013:
“Airgun manufacturers: If you read this blog, today’s report is one you’ll want to pay attention to! When I announced last Friday that I would be writing this, I received more interest than any subject that’s ever been raised on this blog. That makes this a subject of primary importance to anyone who wants to know what the consumer wants.”
“Blog readers: Many of you have not read or perhaps not understood all that I’ve said about this project. I am therefore going to explain it now in clear terms, so that everybody will know what I’m talking about. This project is a proof of concept. It is not a new airgun that’s about to be built. I don’t know if it will ever be made, and if it is, it probably won’t look like what you’re about to see. This is a single airgun that incorporates the features I’ve envisioned in a PCP that could retail for less than $100. A lot less, if you follow carefully.”
Update that prediction to a decade later by increasing the price another $25-30 and look what you get. But things have not been quiet in the ten years between then and now. Listen to what Crosman told me at the SHOT Show in 2016, “Tom, we built the $100 PCP. After reading your blog and seeing the interest in such an airgun we decided to build it. Ours retails for just under $200, but the Benjamin Maximus will be a bright new chapter for this company.”
The Maximus looks similar to the Benjamin Discovery and will retail for under $200. A complete package with a pump and pellets will retail for about $350. (That is the caption to that photo from 2016)
Crosman was right when they said the Maximus would be a bright new chapter for them. It was all of that, and ushered in airguns like the Fortitude/Fortitude Gen 2. And now they are bringing out the 3662. Why?
The why is because these low-dollar airguns open the market to new buyers who will potentially want to upgrade to the more expensive airguns at some point in the future, once they find out how good they are. It’s called growing the market.
You don’t do it with cars because everyone needs a car. You do it with products that people don’t need. You create a demand by causing an itch that doesn’t cost too much to scratch.
Want to learn how to fly an airplane? Prepare to spend $80 or more per hour to fly a Cessna 150. The actual costs are slightly lower but the person who owns the plane wants something for their involvement. The costs might be higher than I stated, with the cost of avgas on the increase. Figure at least 50 hours to get your certificate. So getting a single engine airplane certificate to fly over land (the first and most basic of certificates) costs many thousands of dollars
Want to buy your own airplane? Figure $60,000 for a decent used plane and then open your wallet for things like hangar/tiedown fees, insurance, landing fees, maintenance etc.
But what if someone made an airplane that only cost $8,000 new and cost just a fraction of the what the expensive airplane costs to fly — including no hanger/tiedown costs? Such planes exist now. They are called ultralights.
What if brushless electric motors were capable of spinning propellers that could lift humans off the ground? They exist right now. But they exist in drones selling for $150K to half a million dollars. What if the cost could be cut to one tenth of that by combining ultralight technology and brushless electric motor technology?
Up to 1903 the problem with manned powered flight was the motors that were powerful enough to create enough lift were too heavy to lift themselves. Twenty-four years later Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic in an airplane.
It can be done. It’s a matter of applying technology correctly.
Affordable full-featured PCPs
In 2000 a repeating PCP cost well over $1,000 and didn’t have a user-adjustable regulator or a power adjuster. In 2023 the Air Venturi Avenge-X gives us features that were not even all available in the same airgun in the year 2000, regardless of the price — and they do it for less than $600.
Think a $130 PCP is remarkable? Think again. It will exist, as long as those who make it have the resolve to see the project through.
Accurate long-range pellets
If you’ve been in airguns for at least 20 years you remember the early solid pellets that were inaccurate and hard to load. Today we have slugs that shoot as well as or better than diabolo pellets at 100 yards. That didn’t happen by chance. Somebody engineered that.
When they were first introduced in the mid-1990s, Crosman Premiers of all calibers were some of the most accurate pellets in the world. They are mostly gone now but the new Benjamin domes that I call Bullseyes and Crosman calls Match Grade are even better than the Premiers. I’m calling your attention to the fact that Crosman is making pellets that are increasingly improved.
There is a point to what I’m saying today. You readers often ask me whether the manufacturers read this blog, or if I can influence them to do certain things. I have shown you several examples of the manufacturers doing what you have said you want.
On the other hand, you have to be reasonable. There are 4,717 Wal-Mart stores in the USA. If each of them carries a certain model of airgun and typically stocks four guns, the potential initial sale is four times 4,717 or 18,868 guns sold. If that airgun sells well, the potential skyrockets. Compare that to the perhaps 5,000 HW 30S rifles that informed shooters buy worldwide and you will see that it’s a numbers game. And, if it turns out that the velocity printed on the box is what sells airguns in discount stores, guess what is most important to the manufacturers?
But the manufacturers do listen to your comments — at least the smart ones do. Things in the development world take years to bear fruit, but they do happen. In just two years from that blog series Crosman brought out their first attempt at a $100 PCP. Now it seems they will bring out the next one.
Speak up; makers listen. Be aware they draw conclusions about what you say, just as you draw conclusions about what they do.