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Airguns 1994 review.

More Models, More Power And More Authenticity Translates To More Sales!

The popularity of airguns continues to increase for 1994. Sales are on the upswing, mimicking the overall firearms industry. To meet the demand, there are several new and interesting airguns making their debut this year. In fact, all of the major players in the domestic airgun scene have been quite active in launching new models. Let's take a look at the new introductions beginning with long guns.

In magnum-class air rifles, there are two distinct new entries this year, one from Beeman Precision Airguns and the other from Dynamit Nobel-RWS.

Beeman, as many of you probably know, was purchased by S/R Industries -- which also owns Marksman Products -- last year. BPA has introduced the Beeman R11, a field-target-oriented rifle of respectable power that also carries several nice features, including an elegant walnut-stained beech stock with an adjustable comb/cheekpiece. The R11 is supplied without sights, so the owner can mount the scope of his choice on this potent barrel-cocking, spring-piston rifle. The caliber is .177 only, with a muzzle velocity rating of 910 to 940 fps. The suggested retail price is moderate, given the high quality and performance of this rifle.

The two magnum air rifles from RWS that are coming onto the stage this year are not really "new" models per se, but existing models that are hugely successful. The addition of .25 caliber versions makes these rifles truly awesome powerhouses. I am referring to the superb RWS Models 48 and 52, which are now chambered for the hard-hitting 1/4-inch pellet. These .25 caliber versions of the sidelever-cocking RWS 48 and 52 are rated at a muzzle velocity of 630 fps. This translates into muzzle energy in the 18- to 20-foot/pounds range. For small-game hunting in particular, I rate either of these models as excellent choices.

Moving down the power scale, the much-announced Crosman Model 1077 semi-auto pellet rifle is now available. This C[O.sub.2]-powered .177 caliber rifle features a 12-shot removable rotary magazine, rifled steel barrel, synthetic stock of surprisingly classic lines and a muzzle velocity of up to 625 fps. This absolutely neat, quick-firing semi-auto has an adjustable rear sight and a grooved receiver for scope use.

Crosman also has launched their Silver Series of air rifles, which includes the Models 66, 2100 Classic and 760. All of them are available with a distinctive silver finish on their barrels and black synthetic stocks and forearms, as opposed to the brown furniture of the regular models.

Benjamin Sheridan, which is owned by the Crosman Corporation, has launched their new Model 397C this year. The Benjamin Sheridan 397C is a carbine version of their regular Model 397 multi-pump pneumatic rifle. Overall length of the 397C is a handy 33 1/8-inch, with a 16-inch rifled barrel and a weight of just over 4 pounds. Available only in .177 caliber, the 397C can produce up to 520 fps of muzzle velocity.

The Daisy Manufacturing Company is really the big number this year, given all of the new airguns -- both long guns as well as pistols -- that they've unveiled so far. In the long gun department, Daisy's radically new PowerLine 2001 is a 35-shot pellet repeating bolt-action rifle powered by C[O.sub.2], capable of muzzle velocities of over 625 fps. The .177 caliber 2001 features a novel helical magazine designed in collaboration with Calico, the firearms maker famous for their helical cartridge magazines. The Daisy 2001 is undoubtedly destined to become a big seller, given its revolutionary pellet-feeding system and sleek, full-sized molded stock.

In the BB-gun department, Daisy has introduced the Model 225 American Legend, which is basically a new run of their famous Model 25 trombone-action BB gun dating back to 1913. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the legendary Winchester '94 carbine, Daisy is launching a Limited Edition 1894 Commemorative of their Model 1894 lever-action "spittin' image" BB carbine. This Limited Edition 1894 features an octagon barrel shroud, silk-screened receiver and commemorative stock medallion. There's no doubt that this spiffy commemorative will become a valuable collectors' gun.

Marksman Products has launched an amazingly slick BB gun that is sure to become quite popular with the young and the young-at-heart. The new Marksman Model 1710 Plainsman is a 20-shot BB repeater featuring an easy trombone cocking action, real-wood stock and forearm, plus an elevation-adjustable rear sight. Muzzle velocity is a mild 275 fps, which is potent enough for short-range plinking. This attractive BB carbine is intended for young shooters, 12 years or older, under direct adult supervision, of course.

How about handguns? Well, here again there are several exciting new entries for 1994.

Turning again to Beeman Precision Airguns, we find the expensive but absolutely heavenly Beeman/Feinwerkbau C55. This is quite possibly the world's most advanced C[O.sub.2] pistol, and for good reasons. The C55 features a choice of either single-shot or rapid-fire operation with a new jolt-free mechanism. This superb match pistol can be used in regular 10-meter pistol events as well as in rapid-fire events using its five-shot pellet magazine. This world-class pistol also is loaded with other top-notch features that certainly add up when it comes to justifying the C55's hefty price. However, as they say, you usually get what you pay for and in the case of the Beeman/FWB C55 you do get first class all the way!

In the field of paintball guns, Benjamin Sheridan has just introduced their EXC-68 pistol. This new .68 caliber paintball blaster is based to a great extent on Benjamin Sheridan's superb semi-auto VM-68 Magnum. It, however, is more compact, giving the paintball competitor more freedom of action afield.

The Crosman 1008, that successful .177 pellet repeater look-alike of the 10mm Smith & Wesson semi-auto pistol, is now available in the Silver Series, as well. The sharp-looking, stainless-steel hue makes it even more real looking than before. This has been one of my favorite C[O.sub.2] pistols since its introduction a couple of years ago and the new Silver Series 1008 is a sure-fire winner.

As I said earlier, Daisy is the big number as far as new entries in '94. In the field of air pistols they certainly have a couple of outstanding new models, the PowerLine 400 and 1700. The Model 400 is a 20-shot BB repeater that's a "spittin' image" of the huge Desert Eagle self-loading pistol. The Daisy 400 is, in fact, so realistic that it even incorporates an honest-to-goodness patented blow-back slide powered by the same C[O.sub.2] that propels the BBs. This realistic looking and behaving semi-auto BB pistol has a muzzle velocity of approximately 420 fps.

Another new entry in Daisy's already truly extensive and impressive handgun lineup is the Model 1700. Styled after the famous Glock 17L -- long or target version of the ubiquitous Glock 17 Wonder-nine -- the Daisy 1700 is a 60-shot BB repeater powered by C[O.sub.2]. Its muzzle velocity is, like the Model 400, rated at up to 420 fps and it also comes with a smoothbore barrel. Surprisingly, the 1700 has an adjustable rear sight, something that the 400 does not. At any rate, both of these new handgun entries from Daisy are destined to become big sellers fox the Arkansas-based airgun manufacturer.

In the area of paintball, Daisy has teamed up with the Canadian-based Brass Eagle company to introduce two slick new high-tech paint splatters. They are the semi-auto Model 1410 Stingray and the pump-action Model 1420 Tiger Shark.

The Model 1410 is an impressive-looking long-barreled pistol that can take either a quick-change 12-gram C[O.sub.2] cartridge or a refillable "constant air" tank that can be purchased separately. The Stingray has a series of features that translate into state-of-the-art design when it comes to paintball guns.

The pump-action Tiger Shark sports the same basic co-polymer frame as its bigger brother, the Stingray, but with a shorter barrel. It also can work with either quick-change 12-gram C[O.sub.2] or a constant air tank. This superb entry-level paint shooter probably will be available by the time you read this. As is usually the case, some additional new models, mostly imports, may appear on the American airgun scene as the year wears on. This shouldn't surprise anyone. Manufacturers are expanding their airgun offerings to meet the demands of this rapidly growing part of the shooting industry. This is good news for retailers and the industry overall.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Publishers' Development Corporation
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Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Galan, Jess
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Jun 1, 1994
Previous Article:Handgun round-up.
Next Article:"But I'm not sure I could pull the trigger." (firearms customers not willing to shoot)

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