Back to Daily Briefing Pages


Recent Frequently Asked Questions



We need to have a discussion. I'm, all of the sudden, getting buried in questions. And, alot of them are similar in subject matter. Now - I'm going to be truthful (as I always am) ... so, somewhere out there, more than one person is going to feel like I'm beating up on them. That's not purposeful, I don't have anybody in mind. But ... I cannot candy coat and PC every answer to the point where it's generic and meaningless.

Let's start:

A huge percentage of folks have completely lost sight of what it means to "hand build" something as complex as a PCP rifle. Seems it's about 85%+ taken for granted by now. As if anyone could do it, with a few tools, on the kitchen table. This is painfully clear every time I look at the webstats. They keep going up. The general comments keep going down. But the questions and requests for more optional features keep rising.

During the week, I may have spent several hours preparing special pictures, with text ... and posted a complete new section of work. By Monday, I look at the Web Stats and see that those materials have been read several thousand times during the last week. However; if I received three to five thoughtful comments on those materials, it's average - even good. Anytime I've ever mentioned this phenomena before, I've gotten a string of e-mails saying ... "hey ... we expect nothing less from you ... haha".

And, I always say to myself ... "Why?"

Yeah ... I know my work has been displayed here for many years now. However; that comment/explanation just means that people feel I would need to be involved in a "constant escalation of never ending wonderment" if I am ever to warrant a slap on the back from them again.

I'm convinced that very few have any concept of what's required to make one of these objects. I probably have several hundred thousand dollars invested in my shop and tooling. That's due to the variety of tooling and different operations that are required. That's not because I have some super special quality tooling. My stuff is complete junk compared to the TV boys at Orange County Choppers or American Hotrod ... believe me. I don't have a new state of the art computer driven wonder machine for each new episode. ;?) My shop is not push button laser guided. It's simply complete (barely) to perform the tasks required (with my personal experience).

What's overlooked in most people's mind, is the VAST amount of tooling that's needed to build a complete project. Ask folks what they think you may need and they say: "a milling machine and a lathe". I could laugh ... or cry. That's maybe one percent of what you need. And, please go price just those two units sometimes. Hah!!!. See how far ten grand goes on cheap Chinese units. And, of course ... everyone thinks I have nothing but handmade Swiss milling machines in my shop. Wink. ;?)

Once you acquire the base machines, you need AT LEAST as much investment in small tooling, to run on each machine, as each machine cost you to acquire. You don't need "a few" milling bits ... you need hundreds of milling bits. You don't need a few reamers ... you need hundreds of reamers. Not a measuring device ... but dozens of measuring devices. Even the small stuff: It's not a box of machine screws ... it's hundreds of boxes of machine screws - all different. Not a bag of O rings ... but hundreds of bags of O rings. Not some materials .... it's literal tons upon tons upon tons of materials ... in a hundred different sizes and variety.

Once you begin to get a mind picture of the tooling needed ... consider that you need "ALL" of this equipment to function .... AT ALL TIMES. If something breaks, you don't just push it into the corner. Doesn't matter if 99% of things are functional ... everything stops when one thing breaks. I can't make one part without using several major stationary machine tools and a dozen minor machine tools. Along with about two dozen small pcs. of tooling like drill bits, reamers, clamps, set up jigs, etc. Any broken link in that chain of the tooling process, and it stops the shop dead in it's tracks, until that link is repaired. Not because I'm obsessed with it all working. Because I need it all to do the job.

Once you get beyond that mental picture, consider that nobody gives you a shop to run a commercial business from. You buy it, heat it in 10 degree weather, pay taxes on it, maintain it, cool it in 100 degree weather. My shop is several thousand square feet - on two levels. But it's so stuffed with equipment that I can barely walk thru it on paths. It's like working inside a WWII submarine. Maybe I should expand? Maybe buy some industrial real estate and put up a new building? ...... I'll start another coffee can savings account. ;?)

The response to the information presented in the above paragraphs is usually ... "Well, if we don't understand what's involved, then show us. "We'd love to see the extent of your shop ... all of your equipment, see what each one is used for ... maybe have a demonstration ... and lecture describing why you are doing what you are doing at each step along the way ... with pictures ... and maybe video." Think about it ... when would I produce this endless entertainment channel material? Obviously, there isn't time of money for that.

However; the burden does fall on me to explain, and then to clarify, and then to become specific, and then to relate how any single given question relates to the engineering decisions I've made on about ten different models of PCP. Once that's done, I'm requested to compare the units one to another ........ on an easy to understand chart.

Beside the vast amount of equipment, materials, and infrastructure, I have to know how to use each one of those pcs. of equipment to a high degree of professional quality, and be my own WebMaster. I have to know how to maintain each machine. Know how to sharpen each cutter. Know how to design each part ... make all the drawings ... and then follow them. Locate and order, in any and all materials needed ... and keep them in inventory. Keep track of the overall progress of each project. And manage all customer relations issues with each client.

Meeting all expectations is impossible. I'd need a staff of twenty professionals. And they could not do it without my personal knowledge of each step anyway. Honestly, quite a few of my good customers tell me I should just pull the plug on the website. That I need not entertain the world for free and try to meet all expectations. Many of them tell me that they "Get it" ... and don't see why I need to get more people to understand. However; if I'd can the website ... even those good customers would find themselves in the dark regarding the day to day here. They'd have to call individually .. and ask "What's new?" "Can you send me a picture?" There's not a perfect answer. Best is study what's here - try to enjoy it - absorb it over time.

Interested parties need to be able to ask questions. And, I've spent ten years trying to assemble the pages to answer those questions. However; it's the "endless escalation"questions that I have no pages prepared for. And, more and more ... those are the first questions asked from new contacts. Makes for a full week and late nights. ;?)

Why do I think people don't realize all of this? Because, rather than simply be stunned that such a vast array of products are produced and available on this website; I'm questioned, in such a way that can only lead me to believe that they want there to be something added to "perk up" the offerings shown here, and make them interesting. I don't really think it's just my "artist thing" taking the meaning wrong in the format of e-mail. People mostly always start with the "disclaimer" ... I love your work .... but immediately follow with their list of items which seem, to them, to be "lacking" in a complete and interesting package. Let's deal with some of those often repeated repeat questions:

This will all take awhile. Can't make it shorter and cover the needed ground. Take a break if you want. Hey ... here's an idea I've had for a long time: I've often said I wanted to ask everyone interested in one of my guns to first .... personally build me a bird house. Any bird house. Not a solid block of wood fake painted to look like one. But ... a real scratch built wooden bird house. One a bird would use. One that can be taken apart and cleaned after each season. With the right sized smooth hole, a solid perch, a decent roof, a solid hanger, and weather proofed inside and out. Colorful - something I can hang in my tree. You know ... a bird house. Figured I could give you a credit of .... oh ... say fifty bucks for it. You send it to me, then we could talk handmade PCP airguns. ;?)


OK ... what are some of these questions? I first made a long list. But I've pared it down to the most asked of the most asked lately.

Number 1). Why don't you make semi-automatic airguns? Everybody wants one ya know.

2). Which one of your guns is most accurate, most powerful, shoots the flattest, shoots the farthest, and is the most quiet? I want to shoot 200 yards.

3). What's coming up? What new models are you going to make during the next three years? What are the velocity, slug weight, overall weight, overall length, muzzle energy, and shots per charge specs. of each those new projected ones you haven't made yet? I can only buy one gun.

4). Why don't you shroud the big caliber powerhouse guns? I don't have a private range and I hate noise.

5). Why don't you inventory all of the ammo for all of your guns ... in every caliber, in five or ten different designs for each caliber? I'd rather just buy it. I'm busy.

6). What about titanium and aluminum air tubes to save weight?

7). What is THE velocity for each of your guns? ... I can't find the chart.


Let's Answer each:

First, I hope you might see that the questions do not simply require an answer. Rather; in order to answer, they require me to teach a vast number of subjects related to modern PCP guns. I must lay enough background knowledge with the customer to allow my answers to make any sense at all. In addition; I'm being asked to justify the engineering decisions which I've previously made (in light of what's currently fashionable). Now - you might say, "forget it then ... let people educate themselves". However; when such a number of people ask the same things, it's clear that they don't have an easy place to gain the knowledge. And, in their mind, these items are relevant to them deciding as to if they wish to own a handmade Barnes PCP rifle. So, we try to answer ... or show why the question is missing the important issues.

Start with #1). "FINALLY!!!!!" ... I heard you say it ;?) Another example of needing to lay the groundwork for anything to make sense.

Now ... by Popular demand ... Semi-Automatic discussion. Number 1). Why don't you make semi-automatic airguns? Everybody wants one ya know. Answer: In firearms, they work pretty well. You note firearm projectiles are jacketed and installed within a brass or steel cartridge. The projectile unit is relatively robust. A soft lead airgun projectile is not robust. We do not have the power to shoot (engrave) jacketed rounds, and our projectiles are not contained in individual cartridge casings. The gilt edged accuracy of a soft lead airgun slug can be ruined in a heartbeat with a small mashed defect - easily inflicted. They can't be slammed around at high rates of speed inside magazines.

CAN TO!!! I've seen semi-automatic airguns.

Are you sure you haven't seen designs which carry the rounds in individual compartments (revolver wheels) or slide (harmonica) magazines? So what? Well, some of those fire from "within" that magazine itself. They are "fire thru" magazines. Makes a breech seal problem and a problem transferring the projectile from the magazine into the barrel breech proper. Some designs just might have a following bolt nose to push thru that magazine and inject the round into the breech. If so, they have to work on relative low power ratings to seal the breech (just because ... it's a long story) ...and .... the long range accuracy of the rounds are suspect.

I'm sure you'll tell me if I'm wrong. However; please show me the 700 foot pound, 200 yard, silenced semi-automatic Sniper PCP rifle ya'all want. I'd like to see that. Don't cheat now. Top of the line accuracy required.

In addition. Let's just consider for a moment. "IF" I'd decide to make one. Within ten minutes 2/3's of the ledger would insist I add the semi-auto feature to their order. Adding another few years of work onto the required build time of the same existing orders.

Beyond that; the first time one of those soft lead rounds jammed inside the mechanism ... which they would ... I'd get back a charged, cocked, loaded, and jammed PCP gun in the mailbox. A lovely thought. Besides the whole thing being my fault ... there'd be postage cost issues out the ears, and miles of customer relations to smooth.

I make what is reliable. Unfortunately, most people feel they "need" alot more to shoot than they "actually" shoot. Features pile on and pile on until the projects become so involved they can't get built, and won't be used when they arrive ... for fear of a scratch.

Semi-auto is an unrealistic feature to build into handmade airguns at this time. I do not care to handle the headaches of poor accuracy and jammed rounds which would result from the soft lead projectiles which airguns fire.

Question 2 discussion: 2). Which one of your guns is most accurate, most powerful, shoots the flattest, shoots the farthest, and is the most quiet? I want to shoot 200 yards.

The basic premise here is that I have some secret access code to the real "good stuff" here on the website. Everything is relative. All of my guns are accurate. The most powerful is hardly the most quiet. 200 yards is an absurd distance to expect to shoot an airgun. I am the victim of my own development here (heard that a hundred times). When I started making airguns professionally 11 years ago, 50 yards was the end of the earth. One hundred foot pounds of muzzle energy was an absolute MONSTER. And a "pie plate group" of big bore slugs at 50 yards was ... state of the art BABY!!!

Well, not so anymore. However; as with any given feature or disclosure here on the site, show it once ... and it's expected and nearly boring tomorrow. I shot MOA at 50 yards nearly ten years ago. Therefore; ordering one of those spectacular creations which could actually perform such an amazing task ... is just so "yesterday" now. Anybody could build one ... if they wanted to. ;?)

I have to tell you that I personally hate to hear that term "FLAT SHOOTING" tied to airguns. The premise is that you don't have to learn to judge yardage if you can buy a gun that shoots just like a laser beam points. I know what it means ... and I've had it explained to me several thousand times, however; that isn't the pure heart of this sport. You're mixing in firearms waaaay too much if "flat shooting" is at the top of the list. This is a sport closer associated to ... God forbid ... Golf. Or, older yet ... Archery. It's the skill of the shooter, who has learned his craft (while using his finest equipment) which provides the opportunity to be celebrated. Give anybody a laser pointer and they can shine it on any target.

The "most quiet" thing, I'll deal with in another question.

The "shoots farthest" is always misunderstood. Everybody ... and I mean ALOT of everybodys .... thinks that the lightest slug will go the fastest and therefore; go the farthest. Wrong. You need MASS to CARRY the energy way out there. A light projectile floats off into lala land after traveling some distance. It fizzles out. Don't give me firearms jargon now ... I'm not talking some jacketed round blasted out at five thousand feet per second. I make airguns.

So; 32, 45, 58 caliber. They ALL go waaaaay out there. But ... folks want me to tell them that they'll only "drop" some miniscule amount ... couple inches or something. That's not realistic. Doesn't happen. You'll have to buy a firearm if you can't learn to judge distance or use a range finder.

Power is relative to the task required. Punching a hole in a distant pc. of paper isn't the same as punching a hole clear thru a Buffalo at 50 yards. There's no simple answer to any of these questions. They require years of research and an understanding of the physics of shooting airguns.


Question 3 discussion: 3). What's coming up? What new models are you going to make during the next three years? I'm afraid to order til I know. What are the velocity, slug weight, overall weight, overall length, muzzle energy, and shots per charge specs. of each those new ones? I can only buy one gun in a lifetime.


OK, the first and obvious answer is: "I don't know". The development of my work goes on hour by hour. Keeping current tells you whatever I'm prepared to tell you at any time. If I don't have the data for the guns that I have not yet produced, I can't tell you that information.

The concept of "one gun fits every purpose" is somewhat flawed. Currently, the Woodsman series comes closest to that goal. But it hardly covers anything you could EVER find yourself wanting to enjoy regarding shooting airguns. This is one of the reasons I occasionally encourage people to allow me to actually finish a simple gun ... rather than turning them all into the "loaded baked potato" version upon which I work, and work, and work, and work ... while the world wonders .... "what - in - the - HECK is he doing ...?" You may want more than one in a lifetime. One that cost half as much gives you the chance to own two. Hummmm. Opens possibilities.

This question also relates to the issue of: "Gotta know all, before I can choose any". This is a very high self-imposed standard to go thru life with. It limits current enjoyment for the fear that you "might be able to" have "more" fun "if" at a later time. It's always hard for me to believe that someone who really understood the rare nature and incredible difficulty factor involved in my work, could not find SOMETHING of interest among the vast number of models offered ... from small pistols to Buffalo guns.


Question 4 discussion: 4). Why don't you shroud the big caliber powerhouse guns? I don't have a private range and I hate noise.

This one worries me. Because, it tells me that, if I'd make them, people would be happily shooting 700 foot pound shrouded guns in their back yard.

If you don't have access to the safe area required to shoot a powerful gun, then making it quiet isn't going to do anything but create an extremely dangerous situation. I'm not going to have any part in "enabling" such a foolish practice.


Question 5 discussion: 5). Why don't you inventory all of the ammo for all of your guns ... in every caliber, in five or ten different designs for each caliber? I'd rather just buy it. I'm busy.

Mostly, because I'm busy too. And, I don't have anyone who wants to work for half of minimum wage to cast slugs by the wheelbarrow load.

The art of producing your quality projectiles is as old as the shooting sports themselves. It's part of the game. Part of the mystique. Part of the badge of honor when you succeed. Ya know ... most of the Doctors, Engineers, and other professional people who enjoy my work ... cast their own slugs from my molds. I don't know of one of them that isn't busy. I mean ... seriously busy. Their airguns are their relaxation. Turning them into a commodity is counter-productive.

And the follow-up question: Then why in the world don't you make your guns to take commercial ammo? Answer: Commercial ammo ... for what? ... for all the OTHER 700 fpe airguns available at Walmart?

It's a fallacy to assume that ammo produced for firearms is going to have a perfect crossover to airguns. And, as I've said dozens of times on the site ... I'm not going to invest hundreds of hours into the finest airgun I can make .... and then take the rap for lousy accuracy when someone buys five dollars worth of "deer slugs" from Walmart and shoves them in my gun. I design projectiles according to the realistic needs of my guns. The actual physical requirements. It's not my purpose to make crossover ammo work in my custom guns. Fine matched ammo (or projectiles) has always been part of any shooting sport. Nobody buys a state of the art set of golf clubs, and then goes and buys a bucket of used driving range balls to play with. ;?)


Question 6 discussion: 6). What about titanium and aluminum air tubes to save weight?

Mainly, I don't feel the pressing need to save the weight. Feather weight guns are not accurate. You can't hold them steady. Oh ... I know ... "but, but ... you could make the air reservoir twelve times bigger and have it weigh the same thing". But, I don't need the air reservoir to be bigger. When it needs air, I just fill it. "OHHHH!!! You can be SOOOOOO aggravating!!!!".

I simply do not have the need to incorporate all the trendy buzz tricks - redesign everything to do so ... and find out tomorrow, that now it's all "yesterday" again anyway. There's a timeless nature to my work which I place there intentionally. There are disciplines which go along with the sport and with my contribution to the craft. Filling the airgun when it needs air is not one of my burdens. (I have a truckload of real burdens if you'd like to hear them ... haha. ;?)

Discussion on question 7: 7). What is THE velocity for each of your guns? ... I can't find the chart.

There is no chart. This question is unintentionally simplistic. It's sort of like asking, "What color dress does your wife wear?"

When? Where? For what occasion? What season? It's all relative.

Knowing that customers are highly, highly velocity oriented (assuming that must mean power and range) ... manufacturers hype VELOCITY. It's like motorcycle manufacturers who argue over whether a given bike "goes" 150 mph or 155 mph. I don't know anybody I'd trust with sanity who rides a motorcycle 155 miles an hour. (Please don't write and admit that you want to ... ;?)

This question can only be answered after hours of detailed discussion regarding bullet weight, bullet design, bullet purpose, expected gun usage, accuracy expectations, shots per group, shots per fill, power range, and others.

A given PCP can be set up many ways. Mostly my customers want them adjustable - to cover various hoped for opportunities. Some don't. Even so ... I can "build" the various models a host of ways. The website shows many different 32 caliber guns. Each set up for different purposes. Any given model can be built to favor a couple of powerhouse shots or a more balanced "group" of relative equal velocity shots. When someone asks for a velocity number ... you know that 100% of the time they are wanting to be impressed by some number currently considered to be "hot". Say anything else, and I'm a "feeble" excuse for a custom airgunsmith.

This was part of the nature of the survey questions we asked last week. The underlaying premise is that anyone asking many of these questions is actually "verifying" that I know what "I'm" doing. They have a number in mind ... they are checking the validity of mine. Nobody asks ... what's the velocity ...? and when I say 523 fps says ... "OK". That situation would be followed by a long explanation of "shooting flat" and "rainbow trajectories" and countless reasons why such an artifact would be impossible to shoot.

Much to the disgust of everyone, I don't endlessly hype the velocity figures of my guns. As Rolls Royce always said when grilled regarding the horsepower ratings for their automobiles ... they were said to be "adequate". They also knew that they'd never raise the eyebrows of anyone who asked, unless they had "today's" highest in the industry number to quote.


General conclusion of this long discussion:

I don't intentionally compete against myself in an endless escalation war of features, velocities, distance, and "one-up" efforts. From time to time, I do become aware that the larger segment of the readership has become somewhat "jaded" to what they are really looking at. This often co-incides with a sharp increase in the number of similar questions asking for an explanation as to why I don't "up the ante". Go for another 50 fpe ... another 50 yards ... another 50 fps. That's an endless game of hype.

What you'll find here, if you dig for it; is of a vastly more timeless value. If I can point you toward information which I've archived here, which might help you sort out your enjoyment of the sport, I'm very pleased. Some of what is asked requires the long time study of a vast amount of specific knowledge. I cannot give short answers to those questions. They can only be understood as your experience with airguns grows.

Thanks for reading.


 direct e-mail link