This report covers:
- What is good?
- Great trigger
- Smooth shooting
- Everything in one gun
- The marketplace
Today’s report is based on a great many recent blogs. The HW 30S, HW 50S, FWB 127, HW Barakuda 54EL and others that talk specifically about what makes an airgun good all feed into this. Today we look at what makes an airgun good. And, by good, I mean desirable.
I know there is no single thing that makes an airgun good because we all look for different things. But is there a common collection of attributes we should look for, or is that unrealistic?
What is good?
To open our minds I submit the following YouTube video. It is a comparison between a $69 violin and a ten million dollar Stradivarius. The video is 11:34 long and you may not want to watch the whole thing but if you just listen to the first three minutes you will see where the presenter is going.
The thing is — just like with airguns there will be some who say they can hear the difference between the cheap violin and the Strad, but it’s not a difference worth ten million dollars. Others will say they want the sweetness of the Strad’s sound and don’t care what it costs.
And still others will like the Strad just because it is a Strad and for no other reason.
But we don’t care about violins. We like airguns. Why?
Is it accuracy that makes an airgun good? If so, how much accuracy is needed to get into the good category? Before you attempt to answer that question let me tell you it is impossible to do. One fellow wants to hit tin cans at 25 feet. Another wants to put 10 shots into a group that measures less than an inch at 100 meters and a third one grabs his lapel, stares into the distance while saying in a dreamy voice, “Accuracy means hitting the target. Small groups are a measure of precision, not accuracy.”
In other words — nobody agrees. You can argue this point all day and a few will back you up while most will argue that accuracy is something different. So accuracy isn’t a good way to determine whether an airgun is good.
Some shooters feel that a trigger that’s crisp and repeatable is what makes an airgun good. Of course all Rekord triggers make it into this group, as do all Benjamin Marauder triggers. And some other triggers can be adjusted to become crisp and repeatable, so some Dianas, some Hatsans and some other models like the Avenge-X make the cut. But this is also where many airguns miss the mark.
In this category spring-piston airguns are mostly the ones considered because pneumatics and gas guns are inherently smooth shooting. This one hits me where I live because of several spring-piston guns I have tuned to shoot super-smooth. Michael’s Winchester 427 is one and RidgeRunner’s Diana 34 is another. My own HW 50S is still another. Most TX 200s are very smooth from the factory and they can be tuned even smoother. Mine that I installed Tony Leach’s kit in is almost as smooth as a PCP.
In this category the precharged pneumatics (PCP) lead the pack. These days if a PCP isn’t quiet it’s the kiss of death. Spring guns are noisier, though if they are smooth shooting they will be quieter than if they are not smooth.
Everything in one gun
What if everything were in the same airgun? Would a gun that’s accurate, has a great trigger, and is quiet and smooth to shoot be desirable? It would be for some folks but not for everyone. There are those who want raw power and cool tactical looks over everything else.
Who buys airguns? Probably 80 percent of buyers are impulse buyers in stores responding to the graphics on the box. Another 15 percent buy through the internet based on what they read on the forums. The remaining 5 percent is us. And we may not even be that large a segment of the airgun buying public.
What I’m saying is things are the way they are and the guns that are made are made the way they are because of a much larger group that doesn’t think the way we do. That is why I start cheering whenever I see a good product come to market:
I believe reader Kevin recently said we are living in airgunning’s golden age, and I think it’s true. Manufacturers are listening to us even though we are such a small segment of the marketplace.