IWA Outdoor Classics is the major international outdoor industry trade show. It’s held annually in Nuremberg, Germany. As always, Daystate was a major exhibitor, together with its associated brands.

So, let’s take a look at the exciting new products from Daystate, Brocock and MTC Optics that were to be seen on the booth.

New Daystate Products Star At European Exhibition

Above we see Robert Buchanan from Airguns of Arizona with the new Daystate Red Wolf Safari that was being launched at IWA 2019. This version of the Red Wolf is distinguished externally by a new brown wood stock with unusually strong surface texture – you have to handle this yourself to understand what I mean!

But the real interest of the lies inside. For this is the first Daystate model to feature the new technologies that the company is developing as building-blocks for future designs. There’s a new Daystate ART barrel and Version 2 of the internal GCU – Gun Control Unit – circuit board.

New Daystate Products Star At European Exhibition

The GCU 2.0 system is an electronic control board, battery and other components. It provides infinitely variable control over the opening and closing of the air rifle’s firing valve. This makes multiple power level adjustments available, for example.

Of course, Daystate has been making electronically-controlled air rifles since 2003. The GCU 2.0 system shown at IWA 2019 is the latest iteration of their expertise in digital air rifle control.

Alongside this new control system is the Daystate ART barrel. ART is an abbreviation for Accuracy Research Team. It’s a new barrel system with outstanding claimed accuracy that’s been developed through a collaboration between Lothar Walther, together with shooters from Italy, the UK and Airguns of Arizona in the USA.

The ART barrel features a polygonal bore and slow-twist rifling. Daystate says that this reduces friction and optimizes pellet spin for improved downrange in-flight stability.

The designer of Daystate air rifles is the Italian Adriano Nodari. Here he is showing us the beautiful, limited edition Daystate Genus at the 2019 IWA show. Great work Adriano!!!

New Daystate Products Star At European Exhibition

More new products from the Daystate group to be seen at IWA 2019 include the Brocock Concept Lite, with collapsible stock below…

New Daystate Products Star At European Exhibition

… and the Brocock Bantam Sniper HP in a new laminated stock colorway. Robert Buchanan is delighted with both of them, as you can see!

New Daystate Products Star At European Exhibition

MTC Optics is, of course, another part of the Daystate group. Sales Director Terence Logan showed me two new – and interesting scopes – that were being launched at IWA 2019.

New Daystate Products Star At European Exhibition

First was the MTC SWAT Prismatic. This is a fixed 12X riflescope with an extraordinarily wide field of view. In fact, Terence told me that it has the same field of view as a typical 4 x power scope.

With a large 50mm diameter objective (front) lens, the MTC SWAT Prismatic also promises to offer outstanding light-gathering capabilities. With that huge diameter tube, it also requires a very special mount, as you can see from the photograph above.

New Daystate Products Star At European Exhibition

The second new scope MTC Optics was showing at IWA 2019 was the 6-24×50 King Cobra F1. This has a first focal plane reticle and side focus parallax adjustment. It’s part of a clear trend towards first focal plane (FFP) scopes that is currently being seen in the airgun optics industry.

The Daystate/Brocock/MTC booth was also completely redesigned for IWA 2019. It had a stylish, minimalist look that focused attention on the new airguns.

New Daystate Products Star At European Exhibition


The booth itself was located in the bright, airy and modern Hall 3A at IWA OutdoorClassics, along with a number of other top-tier players in the outdoor industry, as you can see from the overview below.

New Daystate Products Star At European Exhibition

Of course, you can expect to find these new products become available from Airguns of Arizona in the near future!

There’s a steadily-increasing number of First Focal Plane (FFP) riflescopes becoming available. But which is better, First or Second Focal Plane (SFP)?

First Or Second Focal Plane Riflescope. Which Do You Prefer?

Most riflescopes used on air rifles have the reticle in what’s called the Second Focal Plane. But new technological developments are seeing the introduction of First Focal Plane scopes.

So should you choose a First or Second Focal Plane scope?

In the end, it’s down to a matter of personal choice. But – as many airgun shooters are not yet over-familiar with FFP scopes – it’s interesting to compare the effect of reticle placement inside the scope.

To make the comparison, we’re looking at two scopes from Aztec Optics. Apart from the reticle placement, they’re extremely similar. They have the same zoom range – 5.5 to 25 x – the same objective size – 50mm – and the same size tube, 30mm.

First Or Second Focal Plane Riflescope. Which Do You Prefer?

Moreover, they both have the same reticle pattern – called the DYND-1. The only really significant difference between the two models is the positioning of the reticle. This makes them ideal to compare that positioning – first or second focal plane.

To make the comparison clear, we took photographs through both FFP and SFP versions of the Aztec Optics 5.5-25 x 50 scopes. Deliberately, we conducted this comparison under poor lighting conditions.

The light was dull and overcast. We also aimed at some almost monochromatic tree trunks to make the challenge greater.

Here’s what we found…

First The Second Focal Plane Scope

Here’s the view through the SFP scope at 8x magnification.

First Or Second Focal Plane Riflescope. Which Do You Prefer?

And here it is at 25 x magnification.

First Or Second Focal Plane Riflescope. Which Do You Prefer?

As you can see, increasing the magnification magnifies the target. But the reticle stays the same size.

Next The First Focal Plane Scope

Now, let’s see the difference between First or Second Focal Plane reticle positioning…

First Or Second Focal Plane Riflescope. Which Do You Prefer?

This is the view through the SFP scope at 8x. The reticle is somewhat smaller than the SFP version at this magnification.

Now we have the FFP scope at 25x.

First Or Second Focal Plane Riflescope. Which Do You Prefer?

Wow, what a difference! The reticle has increased in size in proportion to the target. It’s clear that this makes aiming MUCH easier in these dull conditions.

First Or Second Focal Plane Riflescope. Which Do You Prefer?

Now if we switch on the illuminated reticle capability of the Aztec FFP scope, it’s even easier! (Red illumination is also available, should you prefer).

First Or Second Focal Plane Riflescope. Which Do You Prefer?

Most of us know how many reticle graduations (Mil Dot or MOA) to hold over – or under – to achieve a hit at a specific range when sighting through a scope.

But not so many of us have really thought seriously about how the value of those graduations can change when ta Second Focal Plane scope is zoomed. Because they do…

With a conventional SFP scope, this means that a mil dot graduation at 9x, for example, will have a much different value from that same mil dot in the same scope when at – say – 16 x zoom. That difference likely will cause a miss unless you are aware of that change.

The Aztec SFP scope has red marks on the zoom ring at 9x and 18x because these are the magnifications at which the reticle graduations can be used for holdover using Minutes of Angle (MOA).

First Or Second Focal Plane Riflescope. Which Do You Prefer?

In a first focal plane scope, the effect of a mil dot holdover is the same, whatever magnification is chosen in the zoom range. As we can see below, there’s no red marks on the zoom ring because the MOA graduations work for holdover at any magnification.

First Or Second Focal Plane Riflescope. Which Do You Prefer?

This makes the probability of a hit much higher if you use variable magnifications on your zoom scope.

The main benefit of FFP scopes will be found by hunters. In hunting, it’s often valuable to glass the area at low magnification and then zoom-in for the shot.

That advantage is a huge one where you use varying magnifications in your zoom scope and need to take quick shots.

If you always use use your scope at a fixed magnification, there’s no benefit however. That’s why first focal plane scopes are of little value to Field Target shooters, for example, who always use the same magnification, even though the distance to their target is unknown.

And, if you’re used to Second Focal Plane scopes – as most of us are – it’s a little disconcerting to see how large – and thick – the reticle grows on a first focal plane scope when it’s zoomed-in.

There’s a concern that the thicker apparent reticle till obscure the target or somehow “hide” it.

But these concerns are likely to fade with time and when they’re considered alongside the massive benefit of consistent effective mil dot holdover at any point in the zoom range.

So do you prefer the First or Second Focal Plane reticle? Either way, you can find your choice available at Airguns of Arizona!

The Crosman brand of Velocity Outdoors Corporation released this licensed copy of the iconic Remington 1875 a couple of years back. Officially titled: “Remington 1875/Sheridan Cowboy CO2 Powered, Single Action Revolver”, and listed under the SKU of: “RR 1875”.

The 1875 uses replica cartridges to hold BBs or pellets

I wanted one as soon as I laid eyes on it at the SHOT Show and although it took a little while, it is now in my possession. An all-metal replica in a bright nickel finish with faux ivory grip stocks it has all the classic lines and heft of the original. In deference to modern requirements and lawyers, there is a slide safety switch on the underside in front of the trigger guard and the hammer doesn’t sit flush when at rest. My understanding is that’s related to drop safety.
The hammer must be placed at half-cock to load and unload as on the original. At half-cock the cylinder can manually be rotated to align the replica cartridges with the loading gate on the right side of the gun. An ejector rod is also on the right side and although it functions like the original, the cartridges easily slide out of the chambers when the revolver is tipped up for unloading. A dual ammo gun, it comes with 12 brass colored cartridges; six hold regular BBs and six hold .177 pellets. Ammo is loaded into the back of the cartridge where soft rubber holds it. Make certain the ammo is flush with the back of the cartridge so cylinder movement isn’t hampered. Faster reloads are accomplished by simply placing the ammo into the cartridge without even removing it.
Made in Taiwan for Crosman, the fit and finish are top notch. The plastic grip stocks have a slight yellow caste to resemble aged ivory. They nicely fit the frame with tight joints that don’t belie the fact that the left grip panel pops off for inserting the 12-gram CO2 capsule. Conveniently clipped inside the grip panel is a small hex wrench used to turn the piercing screw.

The 1875 is a dual ammo CO2 revolver

Holding the gun upside down reveals the nail nick and allen screw. The metal was also nicely done all over in a bright nickel finish that makes this a great display piece when not being used to defend the homestead from tin can desperados.
Another touch of realism is the cylinder pin (called “base” pin in the instructions provided) can be released by pressing the black “base” pin screw on the right side, then withdrawing the pin as far as it will go. Caution: it locks when fully withdrawn and the screw is released, but is under spring pressure and will snap back if the screw is pressed. Doing so could possibly damage the pin. While it won’t need much in the way of maintenance requiring cylinder removal, the instructions do cover this in case of a jam. Cocking the action is also authoritative and makes the satisfying three distinct “clicks” like the old Remington revolver.
As it has been extremely cold for some time where I am located and I don’t have an indoor range, the 1875 has not been shot yet. Since I acquired it more for a wall hanger and collectable, I’m in no real hurry. It is not expected this gun will be highly accurate, just a fun plinker for lazy afternoons. Besides, it displays beautifully next to my nickel finish Peacemaker CO2 replica.
Specs: This hogleg weighs 2.3 pounds and is 13.25-inches long. The smooth bore steel inner barrel is 6½ inches long and the advertised velocity is up to 450fps. The gun comes with a one-year limited warranty and has an MSRP of $149.99. My friends at AofA don’t list this particular model on their website, but they do handle Crosman products and I’m sure could order ya one pardner, in case you have the same hankerin I did when I saw this shootin iron. www.airgunsofarizona.com

And Now For Some BB Gun Fun! The Glock 19.

Airguns of Arizona really specializes in high end air rifles from the likes of Brocock and Daystate. But they also sell a wide variety of other airguns – even BB pistols!

And let’s face it, we all like a little fun shooting occasionally! So today we’re looking at a new addition to the range of firearms-replica BB pistols: the Glock 19.

This BB gun has an unique benefit in the eyes of many shooters. It’s a Glock! It’s the first of the long-awaited range of Glock BB-firing replicas. That means a lot of Glock fans will want it. And so long as they accept it as a non-blowback action, they won’t be disappointed.

Non-blowback replica pistols are often regarded as inferior to blowback models. However they usually give an increased shot count and higher muzzle velocity than their blowback cousins. There’s also some evidence that they can be more accurate than replica BB pistols with extreme blowback.

And Now For Some BB Gun Fun! The Glock 19.

The Glock 19 BB gun offers great realism, high FPS, strong shot count, very good accuracy and a low price. It’s an an outstanding replica of the iconic firearm. And it’s just $70. How can you go wrong?

The look and feel of the Glock 19 are extremely good. This is an extremely close representation of the Glock 19 Generation 3 centerfire pistol – the compact version of the Glock 17.

Size and shape are all but identical to that of the Glock 19 firearm. Weight is very close, too.

The appearance and finish of the Glock 19 CO2 BB gun are outstanding! At any range beyond about three feet, it’s impossible to tell the difference between centerfire and BB gun versions.

Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm!

And Now For Some BB Gun Fun! The Glock 19.

As a non-blowback version, the magazine release operates correctly, as does the trigger safety. But don’t expect the slide, slide release, slide lock, extractor etc to work. They’re fixed moldings.

The back strap of the Glock 19 BB gun is removable for loading 12 Gram CO2 cartridges. However, this deviation in design from the centerfire version is so well executed that it’s not objectionable in any way.

And Now For Some BB Gun Fun! The Glock 19.

This removable back strap also holds a folding hex key which is used to tighten the CO2 cartridge retaining screw. That screw is completely invisible in normal use as it’s covered by the base of the magazine.

Here we have another example of very careful and clever design being incorporated into the Glock 19 BB gun.

And Now For Some BB Gun Fun! The Glock 19.

Accuracy is very good by BB pistol standards. As remarked earlier, strong accuracy is more common in non-blowback replica BB pistols and the Glock 19 CO2 BB gun conforms to that pattern. You’ll have no problem hitting those soda cans every time at 6 yards. And most of the time at 10 yards, too!

The Muzzle Velocity claim is 410 FPS. We saw a peak 10-shot string average of 412 FPS at 70 degrees F with Crosman Copperhead BBs. The fastest individual shots recorded 420 FPS. This is very impressive performance for a BB pistol.

We know that all CO2-powered airguns shoot faster in warmer temperatures by about 2 FPS per degree F. This means that – taking that 412 FPS average – the expected FPS for the Glock 19 BB gun would be as high as 442 FPS at 85 degrees.

And Now For Some BB Gun Fun! The Glock 19.

The Glock 19 gave us an excellent 96 shots before the Muzzle Velocity dropped down to 200 FPS. Again, very strong performance!

Accuracy and Point Of Impact were also both pretty consistent across the range of test BBs, although the Crosman Copperheads just nudged ahead in our testing.

The trigger of the Glock 19 CO2 BB gun is very close in pull weight to that of the firearm original. Glock gives a specification of 6 Lbs 5 Oz for the firearm. The Glock we tested recorded an average of 6 Lbs 4 Oz. It’s tough to get any better than that with any firearms replica!

And Now For Some BB Gun Fun! The Glock 19.

The trigger features Glock’s iconic trigger blade safety. That works well in the Glock 19 BB gun.

BB and CO2 loading has been very well thought-out in this product. The CO2-tightening hex key is cleverly located in the removable backstrap and swivels for use.

There’s an easy-to-use BB follower catch and a well-proportioned BB loading port. Why can’t all BB guns be as easy to load as this?

And Now For Some BB Gun Fun! The Glock 19.

Go on! Treat yourself to a little BB gun fun with the Glock 19. You’ll be pleased you did!

For this report from the 2019 SHOT Show, we’ll take-in new products from Daystate and Brocock. There’s a lot of them and there’s more too…

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

A star attraction was the the new Brocock Patagonia PCP air rifle. This is a full production version of the Brocock Bantam Sniper HP model that was used to win the 2018 Extreme Benchrest by Claudio Flores. And that’s Claudio in our photograph with “his” air rifle. He certainly looks pleased with it!

Brocock had chosen the 2019 SHOT Show as the platform to launch this interesting new model

Why Patagonia? Well, Claudio’s company is called Patagonia Airguns. And this new airgun carries Claudio’s signature on the shroud, as we can see below

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

The Brocock Patagonia is available in both .22 and .25 calibers. There’s adjustable power levels up to 46 Ft/Lbs in .22 and 55 Ft/Lbs in .25 cal. With a Huma regulator, 460 cc carbon fiber HPA bottle and new 0dB silencer, this is the premier model in the semi-bullpup Brocock Bantam line

Meanwhile, Lauren Parsons shows us both Brocock Commander and Patagonia models

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

… and Tony Belas previews the Bantam Sniper Mini version of Brocock’s versatile Bantam range.

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

Another new model seen on the Daystate/Brocock booth at the 2019 SHOT Show was a new version of the Daystate Pulsar. This electronically-controlled bullpup PCP has been equipped with the laminated hardwood colorway first seen on the Daystate Saxon limited edition model form a couple of years ago.

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

Greg Glover shows us this to us. Again, the new Daystate 0dB silencer is fitted to further mute this shrouded air rifle’s report.

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)
The water cooled Omega TrailCharger also takes an innovative approach to managing the connecting cables, as is visible in this rear view.

Another interesting new product to be seen at the Daystate/Brocock booth at the 2019 SHOT Show was this new Omega Trailcharger HPA compressor. It’s imported into the US by Airguns of Arizona.

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

This compressor is can be powered by mains electricity (using the supplied transformer) or from a vehicle 12 Volt DC battery. Unlike most similar portable HPA compressors, however, it’s designed to be able to fill HPA tanks and not just PCP airguns directly. The Street Price will be $799, which is attractive for an HPA compressor of this capability

The water cooled Omega TrailCharger also takes an innovative approach to managing the connecting cables, as is visible in the rear view, above.

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

As we can see from the photograph above, the TrailCharger is considerably smaller and lighter than the well-known Omega TurboCharger which sits next to it on the right.

Phew! That’s lots of new stuff. Look for it to become available from Airguns of Arizona in the near future…

Tis the season to discuss all things SHOT – the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Sports trade show held in Las Vegas. A gigantic celebration of all things related to guns of all manner as well as anything else related to hunting and the outdoors lifestyle. This year’s show was another amazing spectacle of what’s in store for the consumer in the coming months.
Highlights include: modestly priced “entry level” PCPs are continuing to enter the market with Beeman bringing out a rotary magazine fed repeater version of their “Chief” model that was introduced last year. Umarex is releasing the Gauntlet in .25 caliber and Diana will offer a PCP version of their vintage military styled Mauser K98 air rifle, which was introduced last year as an underlever cocking design. The SIG Advanced Sport Pellet line, recently re-branded as SIG Air, will have a semi-auto PCP copy of their Virtus firearm. Higher end models include the Crosman semi-auto version of their popular Marauder line and Hatsan USA is introducing a lever action PCP repeater called the Vectis. Brocock America is expanding their Bantam Sniper line and introduced a copy of the rifle that was modified by competitor Claudio Flores, who used it to take top honors at the 2018 Extreme Benchrest competition in Arizona. Airforce Airguns now has Rapid Air Weapons coming off the assembly lines in Texas to begin meeting the demand. The RAW H1000 now sports a carbon fiber shroud and moderator to go with the very sleek laminated wood stocks. While not an “entry level” PCP airgun, after overcoming the issues that have delayed the .50 caliber Umarex Hammer, it will be entering production in their Arkansas plant this quarter.
Multi-shot break-barrel air rifles continue to roll out as well with Benjamin now entering that arena. Gamo showed off their new Swarm Fusion Gen.2 which has literally turned the multi-shot break-barrel world on its side! By laying the rotary magazine horizontally, the platform is more scope and iron sight friendly. Upon breaking the barrel, the Gen.2 pivots the magazine so pellets are in the proper alignment for feeding. It appears to be quite a slick system.
To go along with the K98 Mauser firearm replica mentioned above, Air Venturi has the first replica models coming out from their license deal with Springfield Armory. An M1 carbine .177 caliber BB CO2 repeater will be followed later in the year by the XD(M) CO2 BB pistol. SIG Air launched the pellet firing replica of the U.S. Army’s new sidearm, the M17 in the last half of 2018. For 2019 they followed up with a replica of their very successful P365. Both pistols have blowback action, the “Rapid Pellet Magazine” belt feeding system and are field strippable. Not to be outdone, Umarex is releasing the Ruger 10/22 air rifle. This .177 CO2 powered pellet repeater uses a rotary 10-shot magazine that then fits into a carrier the size and shape of a real 10/22 magazine. This unit then installs into the polymer stock just like on the firearm. I predict this one will be a big seller for Umarex.
A new kid on the block was exhibiting in the temporary area called the “Next” section. Exhibitors here will have a booth on the regular show floor next year. APS Limited is not a new company, having made airsoft and paint marking guns for almost two decades, however, they are new to producing BB and pellet guns. They showed off a nice looking CO2 BB firing replica along the lines of a 9mm striker-fired polymer pistol. Called the “S. Shark”, the twist with this pistol is the “happy switch” on the side that lets the shooter go full auto. Additionally, they showed their RAR, or “Real Action Rifle”, which resembled a high power, bolt action, magazine fed rifle. It uses 5 pre-charged HPA cartridges with .22 caliber pellets loaded into the nose of the cartridge. The metal box magazine holds the 5 cartridges and cycling the bolt feeds and ejects the cartridges.
This was just a taste of the many interesting and exciting things seen at SHOT that are scheduled to arrive in 2019. To keep abreast of the latest news, keep checking back here on the AofA blog.

One of the Daystate displays at 2019 SHOT Show

The 2019 SHOT Show will be with us very soon now. So, before it happens, I’ll take a risk and make some predictions for what I think we may see there…

THE FUTURE FOR PCP AIR RIFLES.

At the 2017 SHOT Show, everyone was talking about the Umarex Gauntlet, a revolutionary $300, magazine-fed, regulated PCP air rifle with a great shot count. The announcement of this gun created a huge buzz among airgunners and airgun companies across the US and beyond.

An Airgun Industry Crystal Ball

What the Umarex Gauntlet established was the $300 price floor for a “good enough” quality, regulated PCP air rifle. During 2017, we saw Gamo, Benjamin and others reducing the prices of their PCPs to get close to that magic $300 number. And at the 2018 SHOT Show, there were more $300 magazine-fed PCPs launched – the Benjamin Fortitude and Hatsan Flash among them. I expect to see more this year.

Furthermore, just about every new $300+ PCP launched since the Gauntlet has been regulated.

Currently, these guns have bolt actions. But semi-autos will become more common in future, I believe. In a few years time, the typical $300 regulated, magazine-fed PCP air rifle will also be semi-automatic. Will that start to happen at the 2019 SHOT Show? We’ll see…

WHAT ABOUT BREAK BARRELS?

As HPA compressors become smaller, lighter and cheaper, the barriers to PCP ownership will clearly be reduced. In fact, I believe that they will cause the traditional, single shot break barrel air rifle – to become an endangered species.

Now I do not think that break barrel, single shot springers (or gas rams) will ever disappear. But I do predict that there will be fewer of them sold in future. Mostly, they will retreat slowly back down to the lowest reaches of the US airgun market at prices of $150 or less. Even there, they will be challenged by multi-shot CO2-powered guns.

I also predict that a few, specialist, break barrel (or underlever) single shot springers will survive at the top end of the market, say $500 and above. But these will be the choice of real enthusiasts and a few diehard traditionalists, those “real men” who want to experience “airguns as they used to be”. Think Weihrauch and SIG SAUER ASP20 (below).

An Airgun Industry Crystal Ball

So I predict the current huge range of springers in the $150 – $300 range will fade away and die out over the next few years. They will be steadily squeezed out by increasingly easy-to-use (and cheap) rapid-firing PCP and CO2 guns.

CO2 STRIKES BACK.

CO2-powered airguns are making a big comeback! Many, many airgunners are falling for the charms of rapid-firing firearms replica airguns. Yes, many of these are BB guns and most of them are pistols.

CO2-powered airguns offer “realism” and they offer rapid fire capability. The SIG SAUER MPX and MCX models are a prime example of this trend. They’re hugely successful because they really look the part, fire semi-auto and do not require expensive HPA charging kit. That’s the MPX below.

An Airgun Industry Crystal Ball

This interest in CO2 power is driven, I believe, by a new type of airgunner. They don’t want single shot, hard-recoiling, hard-cocking, Zillion FPS, tough-to-shoot break barrel springers. They want a different type of shooting experience that’s closer to that of firearms (or airsoft, for that matter), but at a lower cost, with shorter range potential and less noise.

I expect to see more CO2-powered firearms replica airguns appear in 2019.

BIG BORE. BIG OPPORTUNITY?

My real question is: “How big is that big bore airgun market”?

Big bore airguns – .30 caliber and above – have been big news in the past few years.

Of course, big bore air rifles use air at a huge rate. This means that you’ll certainly need your own HPA compressor and a very large intermediate tank. In money terms, a big bore requires a $800+ tank and $1,000+ home compressor. Oh, and add-in a $400+ scope. That total rapidly climbs North of $4,000 for a functioning big bore hunting air rifle.

Walking around the SHOT Show, it’s very clear that $4,000 will buy any one of a large number of superb firearm hunting rifles. They’re more powerful, less complicated and require just a box of cartridges to shoot.

So, my prediction is that very high power – say over 200 Ft/Lbs Muzzle Energy – big bore air rifles will remain a niche market.

I believe the cost/complexity/performance envelope of big bore airguns will remain a rarified “enthusiast only” world with a very limited number of users. Unless you already have a tank and compressor for your smallbore PCPs.

Such very high power big bore airguns will continue to attract attention. But the economics probably favor smaller, specialist manufacturers than the biggest players. Look no further than the Western Big Bore Bushbuck, for example.

An Airgun Industry Crystal Ball

So, there’s my predictions for the future of the airgun market…

Overall I believe that, in the next few years, more people will make more shots, firing faster with airguns. Single-shot airguns will become either very cheap, a specialist’s choice or history. Large volume airgun sales in the future belong to magazine-fed, HPA and CO2 airguns with calibers of about .30 and below. Especially those which look like military firearms.

But there again, I could be wrong. According to my wife, I usually am! What do you think?

The SIG ASP20 - A Great New Breakbarrel Air Rifle

The SIG ASP20 was one of the most-anticipated air rifles to be introduced in 2018.

I first shot it at the 2018 SHOT Show in January, then again at the formal SIG Press Launch in July 2018. Now the ASP20 is shipping in both .177 and .22 calibers and you can buy yours from Airguns of Arizona, of course!

So, what’s been happening since the July Press Launch?

Well, SIG has been making a few small tweaks and final testing to ensure that their first in-house developed airgun performs as well as the legions of SIG SAUER firearms owners would expect. SIG Air’s Development Manager Ed Schultz confirmed to me that the company has made over 200,000 shots through multiple ASP20 test guns prior to production commencing.

Yes, over two hundred thousand!

Some individual guns have exceeded 10,000 shots each, he said. And all of this durability testing has been done by hand – no testing machines. Wow! It’s a good job that the cocking effort of the ASP20 is lighter than that of most break barrel air rifles at this power level!

The SIG ASP20 - A Great New Breakbarrel Air Rifle

SIG is currently shipping the wood stock ASP20. Synthetic stock guns will follow, as will scope bundles with the SIG Whiskey3 ASP 4-12 x44 AO scope.

The gun I’ve been shooting is .177 caliber with wood stock and Whiskey3 scope. SIG mounted and sighted-in the Whiskey3 scope before shipment, so it was ready to shoot, straight out of the box.

Immediately you shoulder the ASP20, it’s clear that this is a nicely-balanced air rifle. The center of gravity lies exactly where your forward hand naturally rests to support the stock. The forend is not too wide, just comfortable, too.

The test gun weighed-in at 9 Lbs 10 Oz, including the mounted scope. I’d rate that as pleasantly substantial but not too heavy.

The SIG ASP20 - A Great New Breakbarrel Air Rifle

The wrist of the stock is nicely-dimensioned. It allowed my trigger finger to engage the blade naturally, with no strain.

Although there’s no adjustable comb to the stock, nor an adjustable buttpad, the cheek weld was immediately pleasant for me. This means that the ASP20 is a new addition to that select group of air rifles – like the Weihrauch HW100 – that feel “just right” as they come from the factory, with no need for the stock adjustments they don’t have.

However, SIG expects to have an adjustable cheekpiece available with the ASP20 synthetic stock model in the forseeable future. Just in case…

Easy, foolproof, trigger adjustment was a design goal for the ASP20. Unusually, the trigger pull weight is adjusted from the rear of the compression tube, using a click-adjustable system. You push in then rotate clockwise to increase the trigger pull weight. Anti-clockwise reduces it.

This adjustment can be made using a Phillips head screwdriver. However, if a scope is mounted, you’ll need to use the special adjustment tool provided by SIG with the gun, as the scope blocks screwdriver access.

As received from the factory, the test gun had a trigger pull weight of 2.5 Lbs. So the trigger is light. It’s also very pleasant to pull. However, there’s not that “glass break” sensation as the sear releases, it’s a softer, slightly more gentle feeling – at least as received from the factory.

SIG gives you some control over the trigger release characteristics, too. Turning the small Allen key supplied with the gun in the setscrew located behind the trigger, allows single stage operation, two stage, or somewhere in between.

The SIG ASP20 - A Great New Breakbarrel Air Rifle

Another key focus for the SIG design team was easy cocking. The test ASP20 has a cocking effort of right around 32 Lbs – that’s the SIG Glidelite cocking mechanism at work. This is definitely low for a break barrel gun of this power level.

Cocking action is smooth and even. There’s no feeling of jerkiness and no grinding or grating of the lever against the stock in operation. Again. it’s good.

Lockup is very positive and this reassuring solidity is a testament to SIG’s Keystone breech design and the match-drilling of the pivot pin holes.

H&N Field Target Trophy pellets showed-up well for accuracy. A consistent 1035 FPS – plus or minus – showed on the Chrony for these pellets at 63 degrees F. That’s 20.59 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy, slightly exceeding SIG’s claim.

Our test gun also shot well with Baracuda Match and Field Target Trophy Green pellets. As SIG is an OEM customer for H&N pellets, it’s not surprising that these pellets work well in the ASP20.

It’s clear that the SIG Air ASP20 is a capable, powerful and accurate new air rifle!

With the SIG name on it, the ASP20 appeals not only to airgunners, but also firearms shooters. That’s a HUGE potential market and SIG Air is well-placed to benefit from their growing interest in non powder-burning pellet launchers!

The SIG ASP20 - A Great New Breakbarrel Air Rifle

POSTSCRIPT
Serial numbers for the SIG ASP20 all begin with the initials JDH. This unusual prefix is a memorial to Justin Daniel Heckert, one of the gun’s key design engineers. Sadly, Justin died unexpectedly before the ASP20 entered production. Serial number one of the SIG Air ASP20 was presented to Justin’s family as a mark of respect by the company.

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

It’s PCP airgun corrosion – this is what moisture does to your air rifle…

It’s widely known – or at least fairly widely – that PCP airgun corrosion is caused by moisture in the air that’s used to fill an air rifle. But what does this PCP airgun corrosion look like and how bad really is the damage?

These photographs show how bad the corrosion actually can be. Look and be warned!

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Above. There’s plenty of corrosion on this Marauder fill adapter. You can also see oxidization build-up on the sintered filter.

Note that our photographs happen to show corrosion in Benjamin and Crosman airguns. That’s because these are examples seen at a Crosman Repair Center. But every PCP airgun – not just Crosman/Benjamin models – suffers from this problem.

You can find PCP airgun corrosion in any make of airgun!

Every time you fill your PCP airgun without a dessicant system of some sort, you are causing this problem. You’re actually pumping water vapor – moisture – into the gun every time you fill it with High Pressure Air.

The result is long-term damage to your gun and an expensive repair bill just waiting for you in the future!

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Above. Here’s corrosion on a Discovery gauge port. It’s even inside the gauge adapter (arrow)…

Over the long-term – say 3 years or more – PCP airgun corrosion will be the number one cause of failure for PCP air rifles.

First, you find that your favorite PCP is starting to loose pressure between uses. Then the pressure loss becomes more rapid. Then, finally, the gun will no longer hold pressure.

If you have been filling with “wet” air – that is air that has not been passed through some sort of moisture-removal system – it’s guaranteed that this problem will be caused by PCP airgun corrosion.

Over the course of time, that water vapor inside your air rifle will cause corrosion.

The problem will be worse if you live in a naturally-humid area. It will be worse still if you live by the ocean – think salt water corrosion now. So if you live in – say – Florida and you’re filling your PCP with a hand pump and no dessicant system, your PCP air rifle WILL suffer from this PCP airgun corrosion!

There’s some evidence that PCPs with higher fill pressures – say 3,000 PSI and above – tend to suffer from this PCP airgun corrosion more than those with lower pressures – say 2,000 PSI. That makes sense, as the onset and progress of PCP airgun corrosion will most likely be worse the higher the pressure.

But what actually happens?

Yes, rusting of the HPA pressure tube is one obvious result. If a pressure tube shows any signs of internal rusting, it should be replaced immediately!

Below we have a view looking down a Marauder pressure tube.

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

You see, the O rings inside the gun seem to attract moisture like a magnet. The result is that rust occurs between the O ring and steel tube – usually in a circular pattern, exactly matching the location of the O ring.

I may be a coward, but the prospect of holding a rusty steel tube containing 3,000 PSI of air right next to my face every time I shoot doesn’t sound too clever. DON’T DO IT!

More surprisingly, perhaps, the majority of PCP airgun corrosion happens on Aluminum parts inside the gun, rather than the steel tube itself.

The high pressure moisture-bearing air causes the Aluminum to oxidize into a white substance. This white oxide then builds-up underneath the O ring seals inside the gun. But it doesn’t build up evenly!

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Because the Aluminum oxide builds-up in peaks and troughs, eventually the rubber O rings inside the gun can no longer fill the gaps and leaking starts. It’s downhill all the way from there…

Prevention is better than cure.

The way to prevent – or at least massively reduce – PCP airgun corrosion is to ALWAYS fill your gun with “dry air”.

If you use a hand pump, make sure it is filled with a dessicant system such as this Hill pump has.

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Alternatively, if you fill HPA tanks from a compressor, use a dessicant system – such as this Omega inline filter – between the compressor and the tank.

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Or if you have your air tanks filled by a paintball store or dive shop, make absolutely sure that they are giving you dry air.

PCP airgun corrosion WILL happen to your air rifle unless you always fill it with dry air. Make sure that you only use dry air in your PCP.

Don’t let this happen to you!

New to the Benjamin line up of break-barrel rifles this year is the Vaporizer from Crosman, now part of Velocity Outdoor.  Fitted in an ambidextrous black polymer pistol grip stock, it offers clean lines with grey soft touch stock inserts at various grip points for good purchase and control.  Molded into the stock is a raised cheekpiece and a thick, dense rubber buttpad plus two sling attachment points.  Topping it off is a set of barrel mounted sights with the rear being adjustable, and a picatinny rail for attaching the included Center Point 3-9x40mm AO scope.  Crosman also included their market leading sound suppression SBD/Gold unit to the 15-inch barrel which, as a bonus, gives additional leverage when cocking.  The report was relatively mild, so the SBD was doing a good job.  The Vaporizer weighs 8 pounds 9.5 ounces with the included scope and is 46.5 inches long; balancing well in the hands so the weight is not an issue.

Benjamin’s new Vaporizer

Definitely an adult air rifle, the cocking force on this rifle is stout.  Although it has become easier to cock after an initial break-in period, it can still be a workout for the average adult.  Of course, that strong, proprietary Nitro Piston Elite gas ram you are cocking translates to adult power as well.  My location is above 6000 feet and the average velocity of 14.66 grain pellets was a respectable 700 fps, yielding almost 16-foot pounds of energy.  Plenty of power for pest control or small game hunting at air rifle range.  Crosman rates the Vaporizer as capable of 950fps and 29fpe.

The 2-stage “Clean Break Trigger” was heavy at approximately 6.5 pounds out of the box with a long first stage take-up.  The trigger is adjustable via a small hole in the trigger guard, but even with that, I found I could not adjust it lower than 5 pounds without approaching what I felt was a danger threshold.  It wasn’t a bad trigger, but there is room for improvement on a gun in this price range.  The manual safety is a lever located directly in front of the trigger and it does not automatically engage upon cocking.  Unusual to my thinking in this age of rampant lawsuits, yet the lack of an auto safety engagement will no doubt be lauded by some.

The Center Point scope appears to be of good quality with a clean image from edge-to-edge and the parallax adjustability from 5 yards to infinity via the Adjustable Objective bell.  Elevation and windage adjustment turrets are calibrated in ¼ MOA.  Most shooters should find this included scope adequate for the capabilities of this air rifle.  Accuracy-wise the Vaporizer did well after it settled down from running the first 100 or so pellets.  Taking time out to tighten all screws occasionally is always good practice as well as using Tom Gaylord’s recommended “Artillery Hold” when shooting break-barrels.  At 20 yards the shot groups with H&N and SIG pellets could be covered by a U.S. quarter.

I experienced dieseling for the first 40 or 50 shots before the manufacturing oils/solvents worked their way out.  That is a concern, but Crosman’s new 5-year limited warranty on materials and workmanship should have you covered.  MSRP on the Vaporizer is $259.99 and if you have questions or desire to obtain the Vaporizer or any of Crosman’s other fine products, reach out to our friends at Airguns of Arizona.

On a side note and in the spirit of the season, to help prevent someone from “shooting their eye out” check with AofA regarding new shooting glasses from Howard Leight Shooting Sports.  Named Genesis, these are lightweight, extremely comfortable, and have adjustable temples for ease of fitting the adult face.  You forget you are wearing them – always a plus when out shooting for any length of time – and when coming from the cold outside to a warm room, you still won’t think about them because they won’t fog up!  Their Extreme Anti-Fog treated lenses eliminate that annoying problem.  They also provide 99.9% UV protection and for an MSRP of $18.99, they are a bargain.

Happy Holidays to all and remember:  Don’t Shoot Your Eye Out!!!