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Why am I not impressed

Started by Alan, February 24, 2022, 06:00:08 AM

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In the last few months, there have been at least fifteen new PCP airguns introduced. But calling them new, is a bit of a misnomer. Oh yes, there have been a few changes, like adding sling swivels, offering bullpup versions, larger calibers, adjustable cheek pieces, and even more picatinny rails stuck on here and there. Worse, quite a number of the new offerings are copycat versions of other manufacturers' designs. Of course this isn't new either. What's lacking, is simply innovation!

Fx has been a trail blazer with their Impact and Maverick models, by introducing large plenums and dual regulators. Not far behind is Daystate with their electronically-controlled valving system, replete with a built-in chronograph. Nonetheless, there is still room to improve the beast, as it were. For example, a few years back, the PCP marketplace was abuzz with the push to develop a true balanced valve. Unfortunately, we're still waiting for that feature.

Airguns are not the only laggards in the industry. The optics industry is also lacking in truly innovative designs. We've had all manner of new reticles introduced, and FFP scopes have led the way. But where are built-in laser rangefinders? Burris has offered their Eliminator LaserScope series for some time, but a $2,000 and up, they're essentially out of reach for most of us. Even then, their electronics can't be adjusted to airgun velocities. Speaking of laser rangefinders. The robotics industry has offered their hobbyists, units about the size of a box of Tic Tacs. We have add-on video cameras, why not use the same technology to attach a really small laser rangefinder?

Here's a few off-the-top innovations we might see in the future.

Lithium-aluminum alloys offer greater strength and lighter weight over other exotic materials. We might also call polymer plastics exotic, as some of the newer ones are just that. Their use in future airguns is a distinct possibility, as the price of these exotics are dropping.

PCP high-pressure air compressors are still using piston technology, with their inherent problems. Vane-type compressors heretofore have been limited to about 1,000 PSI, but that is changing too. On the forefront, of units capable of 6,000 PSI and beyond, coupled with high volume too. We may not see them in our own garages, but commercial SCBA services certainly will.

Can you think of a few yourself?

I have a Hill EC-3000 compressor. If you're a fellow Guild member, and you pass through Roswell, NM, I'll fill your tank as a courtesy (4,250 PSI limit).


Quote from: Alan on February 24, 2022, 06:00:08 AM
What's lacking, is simply innovation!

Can you think of a few yourself?


great thread you started there! I hope the mfctrs. are listening! 😊

OK, here comes something that's been messing with my mind the last few weeks... — bear with me, plz: 

🔸 Shooting a powder burner rifle requires the shooter to absorb the recoil with the shoulder. That's why PB rifles are designed the way they are. For centuries.

Enter the PCP rifle. It does not require the shooter to absorb a recoil.
Therefore, I ask: Is the rifle man doctrine of how to correctly shoot a rifle offhanded obsolete for PCP's?

• Would a different technique of holding a rifle offhanded be more stable than the "PB offhanded rifle hold."? That would be the "PCP offhanded rifle hold," I guess.   

• Could a different rifle design assist the shooter in holding the PCP differently — more stable — as we could do away with the traditional PB-buttstock?

• Now, I ask the same about shooting PCP's field rested, e.g., rested against a tree, window frame, fence post, etc.:
Could a different rifle design — or at least certain attachments to the rifle — assist the shooter in holding the gun more stable when he has a fixed object to rest the gun against?

The PRS shooters have developed all kinds of fancy bags to rest their guns on different kinds of barricades. Some even attach to the gun with a QR picatinny mount!

Example: I field rest my PP700 at about 21" (54cm) OAL as follows: The gun is held/ supported only by my left hand: Between the fixed object (door frame/ fence post) and the gun I place a large (very flexible) rice* sock, and press the gun into the sock. The trigger hand helps to aim to gun correctly. But for the shot the trigger hand has no support role, only squeezing the trigger. 
Now, I would like to use this method with a bullpup, but typical designs do not favor this. Long rifles are that — long.... However, FSR's (foldable stock rifles) might work well with this technique....
*[I actually use small plastic chips.]

• This last topic is very interesting to me — if it is to you as well, I'd love to chat over the phone or a video conference.

Well, what else....? 😊

🔸 I'd like to see bubble levels become standard inside the scope view, so you can see if you're canting the gun. Konus has a model out, and I think one of the nightvision scopes has this feature (an electronic bubble level).

🔸 Innovation? How about just putting into practice what we have already invented and learned...?
Fairly inexpensive improvements for many scopes might include:
• Put bigger numbers in brighter white on scope turrets.

• If we can't all agree on cw or ccw for the direction of dialing the elevation up....  ::) Then at least put arrows and letters on the turrets to indicate the direction:
Elevation:    UP→   |   ←DN
Windage:     LT↑      |    ↓RT

• For those scope turrets that rise, put a few numbered white lines on the scope to count the revolutions the elevation turret has been turned up.

🔸PCP guns: How about not short changing the user by cutting the airtube way before reaching the barrel/shroud end — and giving the shooter a lot less air by only saving a lousy 4-6" piece of steel tubing?  >:( 
For example: About a third of the bullpups are guilty of this....

🔸 Projectile innovation is moving ahead. A couple of years ago Nielsen Specialty Ammo (NSA) introduced the airgunning word to economically priced slugs that spectacularly surpassed the best pellets in the departments of wind drift resistance and power delivered at far ranges.

• Swish and The_Long_Shot improved hollow point slugs to open up at low impact velocities (600/650fps). They even helped Talon Slugs start production, though the operator quit this promising venture soon.
Griffin Slugs and FX produce deeper cavity HP slugs that open up better, but both brands are expensive.  :( 

This week H&N just joined in by offering 5 new, extra-heavy slugs (.22), specifically developed for HP expansion. This is a welcome development, as H&N offers German engineering at very competitive prices.

➔ But... — I'm still looking for those light weight slugs that expand at 600/650fps — at prices of less than 10c a shot!!

🔸 Shorter — but still powerful and quiet guns:
I don't even know what has to be invented to make this happen, so pardon my ignorance if you think all that can be done has already been done, and I'm simply requesting the impossible. 👍🏼

• But couldn't our PCP's be made more efficient in their use of air, better adjustable to the projectile, the desired max. muzzle velocity variation, and the desired shot loudness? (Alan above mentioned the valve.)

• Couldn't we come up with better shrouds and silencers?
For example, I noticed that the FX DreamTac Compact originally came out with a thicker shroud. Now FX wanted to add a bottle (great idea), but instead of moving the bottle far enough down from the shroud to not hit the shroud — they now sell the gun with a noodle-thin shroud.... 🤦🏻‍♂️ Now it needs a silencer added on, and the awesome shortness of the gun is now just mediocre. 

Couldn't we equip high-powered bullpups with large diameter shrouds to absorb the high volume of air their power produces?
EDgun is certainly very noise conscious in his designs and uses large diameter shrouds, and some of the new AGT offerings are following suit. But it seems we could do more....


PS: Let's pray for the people in the Ukraine, and for the political leaders worldwide. This is pretty bad....


Weight of airguns needs to come down as well as any and all accessories.

I am getting used to my FX Impact M3 Sniper, and sometimes I think I should have gotten the normal or compact version to lose half a pound or more. I put on an SWFA 3-15 FFP scope and at 24 ounces it's not a heavy weight but not light weight either. I look at everything on this rifle and contemplate if it can't be lighter, while maintaining strength.  Instead of going with the much larger and heavier and maybe quieter Donny Fl Ronin I went with a Donny FL Tanto. It quiets the M3 down fairly substantially, but as I approach 60 fpe with the M3 I find myself wanting more suppression for the backyard. But there's the weight. Might have to talk to Neal Clague about getting one of his carbon fiber moderators. They are quiet and light.

Of course there's the lack of standards for Foster type quick release fill adapters on rifles, tanks, hoses, compressors. This is a no brainer. Nice that FX provides a female fitting to go with their male fitting on the rifle, but it's kinda silly that I'd end up with only using their supplied female fitting when I have another 6 or so air rifles and pistols that would also need matched fittings. The onus is on the manufacturers to get off their asses, and work together for a universal standardized set of quick release fittings, and perhaps a universal set of probes. Until then I'll continue to complain, and point out there is no standardization.  Think I'll start harassing the all the YouTube Airgun Gurus and Stars.

Alan and Matthias both make excellent points.

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Matthias, you left a lot to contemplate on, and to answer as well.

First, Newton's Law applies to every airgun, just like it does to firearms. There is indeed recoil, but the "felt" recoil is considerably less than even a .22LR. Until, that is, you shoot a big bore! Not only are they loud, they definitely have recoil you can feel!

Your hold comments are interesting too. One of my past PCPs, a bottled and regulated Benjamin Marauder, didn't like shooting over a bipod. Over a beanbag, it was fine. Some are just the opposite. And too, the shooter has as much influence, as any other factor. This is a not winnable argument.

Bubble levels inside scopes have a myriad of issues. The biggest is they're very difficult to see in most daylight conditions, and at night illumination is always too bright, or not bright enough depending on what you're aiming at. I've had two scopes with then, and I didn't get used to either one. Exterior bubbles are great, if you mount them correctly. I should add, proper scope mounting is important too. Do it correctly, and can't isn't typically an issue.

Scope adjustment directions do indeed very, depending on the manufacturer. However, I'm of the opinion, that all decent scopes (typically mid to higher end) are all the same. It is the cheap ones with backward knobs.

You can make even a short barreled weapon shoot as fast as a longer barreled one. However, just like the comparison between firearm pistols and rifles, you must use more pressure in short ones, to equal long ones. As a result, more air used, means less number of shots. With that in mind, I have my Impact Mk III tuned to 963 FPS, and 55 FPE. Yet, I get almost 95 shots out of my 480 CC bottle. On my Mk II, I can only do 92 shots, using a 560 CC bottle. This is due to the dual regulator set up.

There is only so much you can do to lead projectiles, with respect to allowing them to expand on impact, yet be hard enough to properly be chambered and obturate into the lands, thus sealing the bore. Fact is, lead alloy configuration (chemical makeup) for projectiles, is often a guarded formula. Albeit, you can assay them, but who cares? Further, all good airgun slugs are swaged (pellets may be swaged, pressed, and poured). Since they are, the alloy used has to be "swagable" to coin a phrase. And, hollow pointing does help them expand as well. But there is more.

Projectile type (in our case, pellets and slugs, with a variety of shapes and designs) are often chosen with respect to the game (or target) shot at. Most of my shooting is at pest birds and animals, and I like to "down" what ever I shoot at!  I may sound cruel, but I don't head shoot anything, unless I know I'll hit it! Rather, I want body hits to be devastating. I can assure you, a 15 pound jackrabbit, or 40 pound coyote is in a world of hurt, if I get a body cavity hit. Enough said.

Oh and the dirty subject on every other airgun site.... Silencers! Call them by any name you want. Lead Dust Collectors? Suppressers? Shrouds? Dampers? It really doesn't matter what euphemism you use (at least on this site!!). All they do is reduce the amount of muzzle report. We're lucky in the airgun world, as very few airgun projectiles exceed the speed of sound. So all we really have to contend with (as a result), is reducing the noise of the escaping air. If we design our airguns correctly (adjustable components included like hammer force, hammer stops, and regulator pressure), the need for excess silencing is greatly reduced. All of this sounds simple, but in recent years, silencer (suppresser) designs have improved, thanks to high-speed computers. The question remains, how quite do you want them to be? At this point, sound levels are as low as 3 to 6 dB over ambient are obtainable. What more do you want?

And lastly. Steve brought up the Foster fittings issue, and rightly so. Steve Archer over at H.A.M., and the folks at, have joined us in the fray to a standardization of (so-called) Foster fittings. With the grace of all things Holy, let us pray that FX, UMARX, Daystate, Velocity Outdoors and others, will get together and make the future of airing up, safe and compatible!

I have a Hill EC-3000 compressor. If you're a fellow Guild member, and you pass through Roswell, NM, I'll fill your tank as a courtesy (4,250 PSI limit).


It's a tough world right now.  Having spent my career in manufacturing and product development, it is a tough row to hoe.

Give the top tier are all really small shops I am impressed with the rate at which they do come out with truly new designs, and I understand going to the parts box and trying to leverage what you have already done, to create something "new" for the sales and marketing depts. 

In the last couple of years it has probably been on hands on deck to help increase manufacturing capacity with the high demand for the products.

Then you have the lower tier nipping at your heels with old tech, but LOW prices compared to the top tier.

Engineering resource get spent not always on "new" but also on trying to lower cost too.

So give them time, it takes time to develop, test, and create manufacture process and tooling for "new".  It goes in cycles and can very much depend on what hounds of hell you have barking at your gate.

I guess you could say I feel their  Just the flip side of the coin.