Steve Buchanan is the guy behind the scenes at www.airgunsofarizona.com, making sure that things go smoothly in the repair department. Steve is also one of the owners of the business.
Steve and his brother Robert started as automotive mechanics at Buchanan Tire and Auto. “We had our own recapping plant,” Steve says. “We grew up around tires and hard work, and I became pretty much the go-to guy if there was a complicated problem.”
“We added airguns to the business,” he says. “We did it of course because we hoped to gain a few dollars, but also because we grew up with airguns and guns in our hands. I had my share of HW products as a kid. I grew up, got married, forgot about airguns for a while. Then we decided to get back into airguns, brought in the Weihrauch line, and eventually the airgun business outgrew the automotive side.”
He adds, “Last year, about this time, I was answering phones, answering emails, and getting buried. We realized that we needed another man to help deal with airgun repair, and I thought ‘Why hire someone else when I know all the guns?’”
Steve enjoys getting his hands dirty and solving problems. He notes that Airguns of Arizona still gets calls from customers who have taken apart brand-new guns and can’t get them back together. He says, “I get it; I understand the appeal of trying to figure out what makes your gun tick. But with a lot of the newer guns, if you don’t have the right tools, the right gauges, you really can’t work on them and you’re going to come to a place where you are stuck . . . so don’t do it, don’t take your gun apart. When you can’t get it back together again, we are going to charge a fee to fix it.”
In addition, virtually all of the new precharged pneumatic guns have regulators, and those can be particularly tricky to reassemble.
“All of airguns we handle are designed to give years of reliable service,” he says, “but the plain fact is that o-rings and seals don’t last forever and will dry out. It’s a good idea to send PCPs into the shop roughly every three years for some preventative maintenance, to have o-rings and seals replaced and the gun checked for peak efficiency. Springers ought to be checked for seals and lubricants every five years or so, particularly if they are not used much.”
“Sometimes people ask me how I can work with my brother. The short answer is that it is easy because we are not in competition with each other. What we concentrate on is how we can serve the customer better and how we can improve what’s going on around us on a daily basis.”
He adds, “We’re blessed from God above to be in this business. It has been a really fun ride. As a boy you only dream about doing something you really enjoy, getting to play with airguns. Here at Airguns of Arizona we have some of the most intelligent men working in the airgun industry today, and we’re like a family.”
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
- Jock Elliott