This is sort of a Barnes 501
page ... you'll need some patience to enjoy it ...
I got a great e-mail today. You have
to read it as written. It's from a customer who's taken alot of
time to read, and who's asked me dozens of questions. After my
last response, he wrote ...
Thanks for answering my questions. About the concern
of we, the people, with
the number of shots... It comes from the market, the branding
and the way
that most air rifles are promoted. I know that you put a lot of
explaining how accurate your rifles are, but we, as regular people,
believe that all air rifles are as accurate as the others. Other
that there are not so many disciplined shooters with the ability
determine that an air gun is accurate or not. Probably if we can't
minute of angle or close groups like the ones you show on your
blamed it on ourselves and our lack of experience, technique or
to this sport.
Then assuming that all rifles are of the same accuracy,
what we have left is
fps, fpe and shots per fill. You usually don't emphasize much
on the fps,
even though you have a coffee break discussion on that topic,
but you do
emphasize on the fpe. On that category you are way ahead of the
in a separate league. So we are left with the shots per fill.
Because we see
how you set your own standards in the air rifle industry, by building
no other manufacturer can and breaking much of the rules, then
what we want
is an air rifle that display the performance of your rifles with
usage of the other less powerful ones. That would be nearly impossible,
keep in mind that you are getting us used to the nearly impossible
Wow ... what a mouthful. And, all correct.
At times, I do feel I've spent my whole
life answering the questions: "How many shots does it get?"
and "What is the velocity of the slug?"
Add onto that ... "What does it
weigh?" and you have quite a plateful to answer. But why?
Can't I just say "50 shots / 1000fps / and 5 lbs?" like
I am supposed to say? And, if not ... I must be hiding something
As the wise customer points out ...
you all learn the correct answers to the above questions from
every article, advertisement, and web post you read. The answers,
and the questions they fit, came from commercial .177 airgun companies.
However; once everyone learns the list, they want to apply it
I've asked you before, dozens of places
on the site, to burn up a few extra brain cells and consider the
fascinating psychology which goes with everything we do. Take
a brief test ... just let your brain coast and look with amusement
at the answers it comes up with first. Think just enough to identify
the number or answer that your brain is offering you ...
1). How many miles per gallon does
2). How fast can it go?
3). How fast can it fly?
4). How many are there anyway?
5). What does she weigh?
6). How many bedrooms?
7). How hot is it?
8). How long will that last?
OK ... that's enough for now. Did your
brain try to answer? I'll bet it did. Can you say why? There's
not enough information provided to answer any of these questions.
However; facts are never a problem where advertising has had access.
Your brain has been stuffed with so many standard knee jerk reactions
from decades of advertising input, that it answers no matter if
the question is complete or not. ;?)
Want me to take the test? Hope no psychologists
are reading ...
1). 35 mpg
2). 200 mph
3). 500 mph
5). 125 lbs
6). 5 bedrooms
7). 105 degrees F.
8). 100 years
Now, instantly, some of you can see
that some of my answers are wrong ... correct? Be honest. The
questions were incomplete - no topic was identified - yet you
know some on these answers are wrong anyway. Fact is, those answers
were just tossed out by my oh so helpful brain ... even without
enough information provided in the question to even tell what
we were talking about. It's clear from my answers now, which topic
my brain volunteered for each question ...
1). Modern automobile
2). Exotic car
3). WWII fighter plane
5). Mature Human Female
6). Nice house
7). Summer day
8). House / good furniture
What if I were from a different background
- different day, etc. I could have imagined the questions referred
to totally different things and given totally different answers.
May have envisioned:
1). Tractor Trailer truck
4). Nobel Prize Winners
7). The surface of the Sun
8). A rash
And ... don't you suspect the answers
would be pretty different than I first gave? ha ha.
Now, when it comes to my airguns. I'll
even be fairly specific ... but let me ask you:
1). How much does a 500 fpe capable
airgun weigh? (Have you ever weighed another one?)
2). How fast does a 500 fpe capable
airgun shoot? (Have you stated with which weight slug?)
3). How many shots should a 500 fpe
capable airgun get per fill? (Have you counted the shots from
other 500 fpe airguns per fill?)
You get the idea. I don't dwell on
the velocity figures because advertising has played this stunt
forever: shooting some little custom fly speck of a pellet to
some high fps - no matter if it will shoot accurately, transfer
energy, or skew off into the ozone after it crosses the chronograph.
My big rifles will all shoot 1,000 + fps with some slug. That
won't be the most accurate slug, carry the most energy, or be
most effective on target.
No, nobody's seen, weighed, shot, etc.
other 500 fpe capable airguns, but their mind is trying so hard
to be helpful ... it's still making estimations. "Well, my
FT gun gets 70 shots ... Good Grief ... this one should at least
get .... I don't know ... 10-15?"
"Ah, but there are other big bore
airguns ... And they weigh this and they get this many shots"
.... Wait.... REALLY? Are they 500 fpe capable? "Well, no
... but ... maybe half that much ... " Ahhh. And, how many
shots at what psi fill? Oh, 10 shots @ 3,000 psi fill ... standard
answer. Big Smiles. Then, however; you read that the quoted bigger
energy shots were from a modified rifle - shooting 3,800-4,000
psi, and they only one shot at that. Oh. But ... the answer is
10 shots @ 3,000 psi.!!! I went and ruined the fun with facts
I understand that most people WANT
a Red Ryder BB gun in scale and weight. Where the compass had
been inlaid in the stock, ideally; they'd like a new rotary dial
marked 200fpe, 300fpe, 400fpe, 500fpe. Sure - it's fantasy. It
simply doesn't work that way. If you manufacturer a medium or
lower power PCP, you can fiddle with the power alittle with a
simple hammer spring adjust screw. This works if you are dialing
in settings (as I told someone recently) between 1. Really weak,
2. Weak, 3. Mildly weak, and 4. Not quite so Weak. You can turn
that small bore adjust screw between 10-20 fpe. Maybe between
30-50 fpe. You can turn that big bore adjustment screw between
100-200 fpe, etc. But, you can't just dial in the 100-300-500
fpe range with one simple adjustment. Sure, you can always keep
turning anything down, but it's no small task to produce 300 fpe
with an airgun. It's one heck of a job to produce 500 fpe + with
an airgun. You need more structure, more machinery, more air,
more everything. As with most things in life and mechanics, it
takes four times the effort to accomplish just twice the performance.
The balance of a PCP airgun is determined
by a combination of caliber, slug weight, firing chamber pressure,
hammer weight, hammer spring strength, hammer free travel before
striking the firing valve, internal porting sizes, porting lengths,
and a few others. You can't just hook all this up to a dial to
go between 1). Home use ... thru, 2). Beast ... thru, 5). Out
of Control Beast settings. ;?)
So, it's not even a matter of comparing
Apples to Oranges. You have to compare Apples to Apples. Even
closer than that; One Granny Smith Apple to another Granny Smith
Apple. If you don't, then you are comparing Apples to Lemon Cake
and it's just all irrelevant. I make every hunting beast of a
rifle to have at least it's primary and secondary shot - very
nearly alike. As I often tell folks ... we're working magic here,
to produce these numbers with air. No point in being disappointed
in the quality and duration of the magic.
I do all this work and I make available
to customers the machinery to exactly duplicate what I've demonstrated.
Some will. Many will listen to their helpful mind while it recites
everything it thinks it knows on the subject. It will immediately
suggest a lighter slug ... "let's go faster". It will
immediately suggest a higher fill pressure ... "let's get
more power". It will want to adjust the trigger and wonder
aloud about a dozen other things it's pretty sure it knows ...
from somewhere. "Why doesn't it just look like a Winchester
... isn't it alittle heavy ... are you sure Girandoni started
this way" ;?)
The most difficult thing to do when
buying something exotic is to yield one's frontier pathfinder
image over to the guy that's already done the research and is
producing the product. If you have to be the guy that discovered
the "real way" to make the rifle shoot, then you'll
likely try everything "except" what I've already documented,
and you'll be disappointed.
Summary thoughts again: They don't
look like firearms because they are totally different machines
- performing their tasks in completely different manners. They
have many times the machinery of a firearm in order to harness
the simple elasticity of breathable air into a power plant able
to propel a projectile. They weigh what the accumulated machinery
required to perform the task weighs. That's neither more nor less
than identical products. There are no identical products. They
get the number of shots allowed by the physics of the volume of
air stored on board and the consumption required by the machine
to perform it's state of the art task. They use no more or no
less air than identical products performing the identical tasks
... Please compare the identical products performing the identical
Settle for less power, I can give you
more shots per fill. Settle for less features, I can give you
less weight. Recognize that we are dealing with the physical expansion
rate of air as a propellant (roughly the speed of sound) - we
can't just keep going faster and faster unless we choose a different
motive force ... like dynamite ... i.e. - firearm. The accuracy
potential of my work is seldom realized by those who don't shoot
the rifles. You can buy a Porsche and impress a heck of alot of
folks just having it in your garage and never drive it hard. You
will, however; have chosen to draw all of your satisfaction potential
from just a single aspect of the product ... ignoring the engineering
and technical mastery while expecting the paint to somehow entirely
justify the price.
Some spend $5k on one of my rifles
and are hoping to get a $4,950 stock ... and the rest. 'Cause
it's that stock, hanging on the wall, that's gonna be 95% of their
satisfaction in owning the rifle. Some spend $5k and are hoping
to get $4,950 worth of engraving ... and the rest. Etc.
In reality, I build the complete experience,
from the initial idea, thru the holes in the target. The folks
who get the most out of my work will be the ones who appreciate
the entire spectrum of my work. The gentleman nailed it in this
e-mail by stating a fact I'd long suspected: Most folks assume
all guns are mosty alike ... especially in accuracy. BIG mistake
... but you must shoot alot to find out. The inaccurate guns are
getting a pass and mine won't show 80% of their value unless they
are proofed. That was part of the reason for shooting festivals
such as Standing Stone. What we found was that folks didn't want
to find out how their rifles shot, 'cause they hung on the wall
just fine and everybody assumed they were accurate anyway. No
point in lining up and bursting the bubble.
Gosh, I loved that e-mail. I thought
I was loosing my mind there for awhile ... he he ;?) It's a very
difficult task to refocus the beam of light cast by each individual
customer. One fella will have a laser beam focused on the stock.
He's hoping for that $5k stock to arrive. Another will have his
beam of light focused on the shots per fill number - hoping it
will be a record number. Another the weight - maybe five pounds
"including" the three pound scope! Another will be a
trigger collector, etc. I clearly can't alter each rifle to devote
95% of the effort to each person's pet focus - And - probably
- they don't really even know they are doing this. My purpose
here is to have you consider if some of this might fit - not to
poke a finger in your eye.
I have to make the entire balanced
project to a very high standard. Try to see the entire body of
work. Allow it to shine on the range. And, after witnessing the
performance; perhaps be alittle amazed that there was any time
left to build the whole project to this quality level.