The airgun market in 2018

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Serious airgunner
  • The market has exploded
  • No more cheap
  • The gun crisis
  • Where were airguns?
  • Firearm crossover
  • Airguns — cheap???
  • Is that all there is?
  • The future
  • The point?
  • Summary

When I started writing about airguns in 1994 there weren’t but about 5,000 to 15,000 serious airgunners in the U.S. No one knew for sure how many there were because there was very little data about this market. There may be disagreement on just how many there were but everyone agrees that the American airgun market was small.

Serious airgunner

Let me define what I mean by “serious airgunner,” because that has a bearing on what I’m saying. Airguns are very prevalent in the United States. I would estimate that millions of homes have at least one airgun, but that ranges from the family who just inherited their parents’ home and are unaware of the old Benjamin that’s stuck up in the rafters of the garage to homes like mine, where the number of airguns is greater than 50. There are a huge number of families with airguns, but most of those people cannot be considered serious shooters. My definition of a serious airgunner is someone who owns and shoots an airgun at least once each month. My experience is that if they do shoot an airgun that often, they shoot it a lot more than that! read more


My day at Sig Sauer: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

ASP20
Sig Sauer’s new ASP20 gas spring breakbarrel air rifle breaks ground in many areas! The safety is on both sides of the stock. Photo provided by Sig Sauer.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Update
  • Sig Super Target pistol
  • Sig X-Five
  • M17
  • It’s over!
  • Dinner
  • Summary

Update

When we closed Part 3 I said I was done with the ASP20 until the test, but I overlooked a couple very important things. Several of you asked me where the safety is and it is shown in the pictures several times. It’s on the right side of the stock. And also on the left side! Yes, the ASP 20 is 100 percent ambidextrous. The safety is manual and slides forward and back.

I also forgot to mention that the rifle comes with a Picatinney rail welded on top, so scope mounting will be a breeze. This type of scope base is replacing the 11mm dovetail rail and most new spring guns have one. read more


My day at Sig Sauer: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

ASP20
Sig Sauer’s new ASP20 gas spring breakbarrel air rifle breaks ground in many areas!

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Sig thinks inside the box!
  • They balanced the trigger
  • Anti-beartrap
  • Assembly continues
  • The Keystone breech
  • Piston and gas spring assembly
  • One more brilliant feature
  • Summary

We left off at the start of the ASP20 assembly station, looking at the Glidelite cocking mechanism. The next item I saw was shocking — an American-made air rifle trigger — the Matchlite! Is it as nice as a Rekord? That is something each shooter has to decide for themselves, but I will describe how it works when we go to the range. Right now I will just tell you what it does.

Sig thinks inside the box!

When I first saw this rifle at the SHOT Show I told Sig Air vice president Joe Huston that shooters were going to fiddle with the screws in the Matchlite trigger. Historically they do this with every new airgun trigger. When Beeman warned them not to fool with the Rekord’s screw 51b, it was like a neon sign, telling them where to start! For some odd reason, Joe just smiled back and said nothing. read more


My day at Sig Sauer: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Sig Sauer at work
  • The tour
  • Security
  • Ground rules
  • Rapid change
  • The big deal
  • Finishing
  • Test firing
  • ASP20
  • The engineers
  • Ed Schutz takes over
  • Laser-welded parts
  • Precision fixtures for every process
  • The cocking shoe
  • Summary

Last week a number of airgun writers and editors were invited to Sig Sauer in New Hampshire, to witness the start of the ASP20 production line and to tour the Exeter facilities. Those who attended were Tom McHale who writes for American Handgunner, Shooting Illustrated, Concealed Carry Magazine and too many other publications and website to list. Kristen Voss from the digital side of the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine was also there. Terry Doe and Dan Chart were there from Archant Limited, the publisher of Airgun World and Air Gunner magazines in the United Kingdom. John Bright of Highland Outdoors, a worldwide firearms and related products distributor in the UK was also there. I was there representing this blog and Firearms News in the US. read more


Punting with the FWB 124

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

FWB 124
Feinwerkbau 124.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The ship hit the sand!
  • Plan B
  • Plan C
  • Open sights
  • Getting ahead of myself
  • The test
  • RWS Superpoints
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS R10
  • What’s up with the lone “flyer”?
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head
  • Discussion
  • The FWB 124
  • So what?
  • The big deal
  • Summary

Well, well. Sometimes the bear eats you! Today is one such day. I returned from my Sig trip last Thursday and wrote this report on Friday and Saturday. Everything that could go wrong did, giving me a lot to tell you about. And I have some exciting news to share today, as well.

The ship hit the sand!

I was going to test the Crosman 105 Target pistol for you today, but I couldn’t get it to hit the paper. Whoever guessed that it would shoot way low was spot-on. It shoots so low that I can’t get it up on paper, even using aim-off tricks (aiming at one thing to hit another). I have to work on the pistol before I can test it again. read more


Umarex Forge combo: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Forge
Umarex Forge.

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Trigger
  • The test
  • Accuracy — JSB Exact RS
  • Accuracy— JSB Exact Heavy
  • Accuracy— Crosman Premier Light
  • What next?
  • Final group
  • Evaluation
  • Summary

Today I complete the report on the Forge from Umarex. This is a breakbarrel rifle with a gas spring and … Well, you can read the past posts to catch up.

I’m running this test because the last time we looked at the Forge I felt the poor 4X32 scope that was provided with it might not have extracted all the accuracy the rifle can produce. I vowed to return and test it with a better scope and today the Force is mounted with the Aeon 8-32 AO scope with trajectory reticle, which is one of the best scopes I own. You can read about it here.

The test

This will be 10 shots with each pellet from a rested rifle at 25 yards. I started with the conventional artillery hold but soon discovered the Forge can be rested directly on the sandbag. I used the artillery hold in the last test, so that may make a difference today. read more


Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Benjamin Trail NP MkII
Benjamin Trail NP Mark II air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Adjustable trigger
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Aiming
  • RWS Hobby
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellets
  • Additional testing
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II with the factory-mounted open sights. But before we get to that, there is some old business to clear up.

Adjustable trigger

There was quite a bit of interest in the adjustable trigger last time — mostly because I showed that I could not get a screwdriver on it to adjust. There was so much interest that I vowed to try to adjust it for this report.

I removed the barreled action from the stock. All it took was removing the 4 stock screws and lifting the action out of the grip/stock. The safety button fell out at the same time. read more