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SHOT Show 2014 – Hi Tech Meets Low Tech/Oehler Chronographs

My airgun bud Bob Sloan mentioned to me that he stopped by the Oehler (pronounced Ailer) Chronograph booth, and had struck up a conversation with one of the women there.  When she found out that he was an airgunner, she mentioned that they use the Daisy Red Ryder to check the chronographs before they leave the shop.  Worn quite a fewof these bb guns out over the years, apparently.   I’d never heard chronograph and Daisy Red Ryder in the same sentence before, and would not expect high tech, sophisticated equipment such as the Oehler Model 35P to have anything to do with a Daisy bb gun.  So I had to follow up, and this is what I found out;

Oh, and that’s not the Oehler booth behind, that’s the Clymer reamer booth, it was just the most convenient place to do the video.

You can find more information online at;

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SHOT Show 2014 – H&N Pellets

H & N Sport GMBH (pellets)

I took a few minutes to visit with Jorg Siemens, Head of Sales and Marketing for H & N Sport, from Germany.  Jorg was stationed in Texas while in the German military, so if he speaks English with a bit of a Texas accent, that’s where it comes from.  H&N is probably the largest maker of airgun ammo in the world, with over a billion pellets produced annually.  In addition to the H&N line, they make pellets for rebranding to other airgun related companies like Beeman and others.   And, I learned what the H and N stand for, and may even be able to pronounce them.

Here’s an interview with Jorg on whats happening at H & N;

You can find more information online at;

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SHOT Show 2014 – Air Arms, Norica, and Kalibrgun

Just a few notes and video of  some of the other airgun manufacturers at the SHOT Show.


Air Arms

Of all the booths at the SHOT Show, one of my favorites is the Air Arms booth.  Very elegant, compact, and full of products.  Of course, the most interest was in the two new air rifles introduced at this show, the FTP900 and the Ultimate Sporter.

The ‘FTP’ is rumored to stand for ‘Field Target Professional’.  It is the next generation of dedicated field target rifles, following the successful EV2 rifle.  This rifle comes with a regulator, a Lothar Walther match barrel, and so many ways to adjust it that it would warm the heart of a professional contortionist.  As one might expect of an upper end modern pcp rifle, it comes with a shrouded barrel, including a built-in air stripper.  Customers have the option of ordering a free floated barrel version if they so prefer.

According to AA Sales & Business Development Manager, Simon Gibbon, it is available in the UK right now, but has not yet landed in the US.  And all current production rifles are 12 ft. lb., although a higher energy model may become available at some time in the future.

The second product introduced is the Ultimate Sporter.  It is basically an upgraded version of the S510, with a new adjustable laminated stock that offers customization to the owners preferences.  It is designed as a hunting rifle, and comes in both .177 and .22 cal.

Here are the brochures;AA FTP 900 1 AA FTP 900  p 2 AA Ultimate Sporter

Simon did a very thorough interview, covering all aspects of both rifles in just a few minutes.  Unfortunately, this is where the technology caught up with me and my audio is unintelligible due to high levels of background noise.  It’s so bad I can’t post it.  So, I hope others had better luck and will post audible reports.  I know Paul Capello took some video at the AA booth, and hopefully his turned out better.

I did include a short video of the booth, which I would have voted a prize as it was one of the more classy exhibits at the show.

You can find more information about Air Arms online here;




I stopped by the Norica booth with my airgun bud Bob Sloan.  While I was busy working, doing my job, setting up equipment for video, gathering information, etc., Bob was busy schmoozing the Norica sales people.

The schmoozing must have been successful, because while I was busy working my tail off,  Bob walked away with a new Norica gas ram unit, courtesy of the Norica booth staff.

As with most airgun makers, Norica has jumped onto the gas ram bandwagon.  This is their new product introduction for 2014, a series of 4 gas ram rifles.  We were unable to speak with the technical people, but the advertisement shows a gas ram with a ‘recoil absorption system’, which looks remarkably like the new Crosman Nitro Piston II recoil arrester.  The four new models include the Hawk GRS, the Thor GRS, and two different stocks on the Thor Elite Supreme GRS (GRS stands for gas ram system).

Norica p 1 Norica p 4 Norica p 3 Norica p 2

Norica has historically made some pretty nice air rifles, easy to work on, decent triggers, and quite accurate.  The rumor is that Beeman sent one to China to be cloned, resulting in a series of cheaper, lower quality rifles sold under the Beeman name.  The rebranded Norica were then dropped from the Beeman line.

So, normally Bob and I would be pretty excited about seeing genuine Norica air rifles and the new GRS rifles.  Even more so since the new gas ram units are supposed to be a drop in fit to many previous Norica models.  Yes, we should be very excited, except that the Norica line is not available in the US.  You can’t buy one, nor can you  buy the new gas ram for your older air rifle.   Norica was at the SHOT Show in part to try and find an importer for their products.

I don’t know how it turned out for them, but it is a shame that a long-respected line of airguns isn’t represented in the US Market.  Especially now that they are joining the gas ram club.  I know its crowded in that mid-price springer market, but I do hope they find a home here in the US.

More Norica information is available at their website;


The KaibrGun brand is characterized by bullpup designs such as the Cricket, although they do offer a full length hunting rifle as well.  This year, they introduced the Colibri, or Hummingbird, which is a semi-auto bullpup rifle.  It isn’t available yet, but should be by summer.  Projected pricing will be a bit less than the current Kalibrgun bullpups.  It will be offered in .177, .22, and .25 calibers, and the maker reports a maximum fill pressure of 300 bar, or about 4,350 psi.  Have fun filling that one with your hand pump.

Kalibre brochure p2

real Kalibre brochure p 2

You can find more information online, although it won’t do much good unless you read Czech,  at;

I’d check here for more information as it becomes available;


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SHOT Show 2014 – Diana’s new gas ram rifles

Thursday afternoon I met up with airgunning bud Bob Sloan at the Diana booth.  I had stopped by earlier, and got some basics about the new gas ram (N-Tec) that Diana is introducing at the show,  but Bob wanted to go back and take another look.


With just about every other breakbarrel airgun maker now offering a gas ram rifle, Diana has also decided to jump in.  In fact, Diana decided to start making these units after customers kept asking if they had one.  But these are not just putting a ram into an existing gun.  The To6 trigger had to be modified somewhat to accommodate the new system.  It is still a To6 trigger unit, just with a few things changed to allow the ram instead of the center piston rod found in conventional Diana spring rifles.  And, I was told that the gas ram unit is designed for longevity, at a minimum of 300,000 firing cycles.  That seems like overkill, but better to overbuild than underbuild.


As I was setting up for video, I was introduced to Michael Mayer as our presenter.  I asked if he was an engineer, and he said no.  Then, I asked, you must be one of the marketing guys.  No, again.  Finally he said ‘I am a lawyer’.  So Bob says ‘Oh, then you’re the guy who designs the triggers’?  Michael didn’t get the joke, I guess German lawyers don’t have the final say on how heavy the triggers are going to be.


After the interview, we found out that the “Mayer” is the same Mayer from  “Mayer & Grammelspacher”.  And in fact, Michael is quite involved in the business his forebears started.


He speaks for himself here;



Diana N-Tec brochure 1

Diana N-Tec brochure p2


You can find more Diana information online here;

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SHOT Show 2014 – Predator Pellets

Predator pellets started with just the Polymag line of pointed polymer tipped pellets, designed for hunters.  But today, Predator is the main US importer of JSB pellets.  And they continue to develop new pellets to meet the demands of the airgun market.


Predator has been a great supporter of airgun shooting by youth groups, and developed the GTO (get the lead out) pellet line specifically for 10 meter competition.  Predator has also been very supportive of the Pacific Airgun Expo, donating pellets for our 2011 and 2013 shows.


We caught up with Dick Dixon, one of the nicer people in the airgun industry, at the SHOT Show.  Here is our video report;


You can find Predator International online here;

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SHOT Show 2014 – Benjamin Nitro Piston II Air Rifle


First, a big shout out and thanks to Paul Capello, Airgun Reporter, who saved my audio bacon at the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.  More on that later.


This is my first report from the 2014 SHOT Show.  Given the level of interest, I’m going to start with the new Crosman/Benjamin Nitro Piston II air rifles.  Other blogs will trickle in over the next couple of days.


Although I was sorely limited in the distance I could roam from a restroom, due to something I ate that didn’t agree with me, determination got me to make Media Day at the Range in Boulder City, about 45 minutes by shuttle bus from the Show itself.  I was a bit disappointed to see that there was only one airgun maker at the range, Crosman.  But there were enough other things to shoot and check out that I managed to make it interesting for my other shooting interests.  And the Crosman lane at the range had enough stuff to satisfy most any airgunner.


They had the synthetic stocked marauder, a challanger, a woodswalker pistol, a new semi-auto bb pistol, and the star of the exhibit, the new Benjamin Nitro Piston II Trail air rifle.


The new Trail comes in three versions, with the synthetic black or realtree camo stocks, or a wood stock.  All are thumbhole style.  The particular gun on display at the Range was the camo version.


My previous experience with the Nitro Piston line was an Elite version in .177 cal.  It was exceptionally heavy and long, had a trigger only a lawyer could love, and was really not that pleasant to shoot.   So in that light, and with some skepticism for marketing hype,  I was about as excited over the ‘new II’ as I would be about getting a haircut.


But I have to say, I was actually quite impressed with the new version.  The first time cocking it,  I remember preparing myself for the ordeal, and being very surprised with how easy it was.   It must have shown on my face, because the Crosman reps started giggling when I looked up in surprise at how easy it was.  It does have a long barrel and shroud, but according to the design engineer who worked on the Nitro Piston II project, it was the re-design of the cocking linkage, along with some internal changes, that made the difference.


I could tell you all about it, but why not hear from the designer himself, Jeff Hanson of Crosman;



The audio that accompanies the range video was unintelligible, due in part to the wind and noise.   So this was shot at the Crosman booth at the SHOT Show itself.  You might be able to pick out Randy Bimrose, former Beeman Senior Gunsmith and now owner of Bimrose Precision Airgun Repair, Bob Sloan, noted airgun enthusiast from San Luis Obispo, CA, and I believe Joe Brancato in the background.


Back to Range Day.  I was able to take some shots with the new rifle, and I can say that it has recoil, but didn’t feel anything like the old nitro piston.  The weight seems to be under the middle of the compression tube, with little at the barrel or buttstock, so although heavy, it balanced pretty nicely.  It was easy to cock, surprisingly so, and was easy to bring up for sighting with the Centerpoint 3×9 scope.  The mounting rail is a Picatinny style, which allows for an easy stop for scope creep if it were to happen.  The trigger was not noticeable to me, which is a good thing.   Jeff Hanson mentioned that the trigger was re-designed to get a  cleaner break and better 2 stage adjustability.  The other thing I noted was it was very quiet, due to the internal changes and the new sound suppression system.


I managed to take down a field target with the rifle, and put shots into the bull at about 10 yards.  All were offhand shots, which for me is quite challenging.  We’ll have to wait to see about accuracy in less controlled conditions, but it was a promising start.


We met up again with Jeff Hanson at the Crosman SHOT Show booth on Tuesday afternoon.  Part of the new piston design is the ‘piston arrestor;; a synthetic washer situated just behind the piston seal.  In a typical springer, when the piston approaches its maximum stroke near the front of the compression tube, the piston actually stops and bounces back off the compressed air, hence the 2 way recoil common to spring piston guns. In the case of the Nitro Piston II, the new synthetic washer swells as it is ‘squished’ slightly from the momentum of the piston as it starts to slow.  The swelling basically grabs the compression tube, holding the piston in place so there is minimal or no bouncing.  Hence more power and less vibration.


Put this in the ‘there’s really nothing new under the sun’ file;  Randy Bimrose, who’s been working on airguns since the War of the Roses, mentioned to Jeff that the ‘new’ recoil arrest system had actually been tried by Webley back in the 1980’s.  Jeff said he had just been apprised of that fact, I’m guessing by another old timer with a long memory.


So, my question is, ‘why did Webley drop it’, if it is such a great mechanism to reduce vibration and gain power?   All I can surmise is that the materials of the 1980’s just couldn’t hold up to the constant pounding that the synthetic ‘recoil arrest’ bumper was taking.  After all, its job is to get squished by the piston and expand against the cylinder wall on each shot.  Perhaps our more recent synthetic materials will hold up better.  We’ll just have to wait and see.


Altogether, I was quite impressed with this new Nitro Piston II break barrel.  My initial thoughts were that it might make a pretty decent .25 cal rifle, and might even be a nice target rifle if tuned a bit lower and put into an underlever platform.  But that’s just typical airgunner thinking, show me something new, and I’ll immediately start thinking of ways to make it better or different.


One day at the range, and another being able to look and hold but not shoot, well, isn’t enough to make a definitive statement.  But it sure looks promising.  We will just have to wait and see as the new technology gets out into the hands of a few airgunners to put it through its paces.


I’ll leave you with the Crosman official video of this rifle;



Oh, I almost forgot to mention.  The audio equipment I brought to the SHOT Show was all wrong.  It turns out that the lavalier style mic I brought picks up every sound in the building, so my audio recordings were unusable.  I mentioned to Airgun Reporter Paul Capello that I was going to have to convert to being a photo blogger for this show.  So, he offered me the use of his EXTRA directional microphone.  Not only does he bring the right equipment to the show, he brings spares in case he needs them!!!  There’s some lessons there, folks.  Thanks again, Paul,




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SHOT Show 2014

This is a non-video blog post.


Northwest Airguns is set to attend the  SHOT show, scheduled for Jan 14-16, 2014, in Las Vegas.   According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the organization which promotes the show, it;

“is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries.

It is the world’s premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics, and related products and services. The SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries”

So, everyone in the firearms, airgun, law enforcement, or related industries will be there to show off their new stuff.  It’s kind of a big deal in the ‘anything to do with any kind of shooting” sector, including airguns.

I’ve been to the SHOT show once before, in 2012.  Frankly, I was intimidated by the sheer scale of the show, acres and acres of exhibits on three floors of convention space.  I didn’t make it all the way through, and missed some things that I later wished I had checked out.  To make matters worse, I got sidetracked after running into some old buds of mine;

mario and luigi


I’m the one on the left, BTW.







So, fast forward to the 2014 SHOT Show. This time I have a media pass to Range Day and to the show itself.  And this time I plan to be organized.  To hit all the airgun booths AND all the optics booths AND all the other peripheral airgun and shooting stuff.

And this time, I’m  taking my wife to the show,  so no partying with Mario and Luigi.  She has an interest in photography, and could probably fill a day or two just looking at optics.  Plus, she suggested a guest blog entry here, which she called;  ‘Shot Show Report from the Wife of an Airgun Nut’.  I told her it was a great idea, but where would we find someone to write it?

My plan is to make it to Range Day on Monday, where yours truly will shoot EVERY new airgun that they’ll let me shoot.  No worries about air, pellets, etc., just shoot and gather data to report here on the blog.  I’ll try to get some video to post here too.  Last time I  missed out on Range Day, so missed shooting all the full-auto Korean airguns.  I can hardly wait to see what debuts at this show.

Starting on Tuesday, at the Show itself, I’ll hit all of the direct airgun booths.  Air Venturi (Pyramid), Air Force, Crosman, Airguns of Arizona (should be Airguns of Airizona!!),  Gamo, Umarex, Diana, etc, etc. Lets see what’s new coming out for 2014.

I may run into Rossi and the crew from American Airgunner, or Paul Capello from Airgun Reviewer.  If so, I’ll try to find out what they have been up to and have planned for the upcoming year.

And as for  pellets, from H & N, Predator, JSB, and whoever else is there,  I’m gonna bug them about non-lead pellets that actually shoot good.  Lead bans are coming, folks, eventually.  I know that Predator has some lead-free .177 wadcutters that were developed for match competition.  We need to get some decent non-toxic pellets that will work for us at longer ranges.

Next, time permitting, I’ll go to all the various airgun related or airgun compatible exhibitors.  Scopes and mounts, cleaning supplies, red-dots, lasers, targets, etc. etc.  I’ll try to hit them all.

Finally, SWAG!!!!!  I’m a sucker for free stuff, even if it isn’t all that cool.  So, how many hats, bags, magnets, pens, etc. etc. I’ll collect,  I can’t say.  Add the catalogs and merchandising handouts, I love it all.

There are about a zillion exhibitors at the show.  I won’t be able to make it to all of them.  So I am going to focus on the airgun stuff, or related accessories.  If there is something in particular you want to see, let me know here or via PM, and I’ll try to check it out.

I’m blessed to have this opportunity, and definitely want to bring a feel for the show back to all of you airgunners who haven’t had the chance to attend.  So, check in here for updates and reports, I’ll post as often and as fully as I can.