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Thread: New guy looking for some common sense advice

  1. #1
    Marksman

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    Default New guy looking for some common sense advice

    Hi all, I'm new around here and need some common sense: I'm trying to decide between head & heart.

    I'm looking for a springer rifle - I was one of those barefoot-in-the-veld-with pellet-gun kids and now I just have a yearning to shoot one again. Usage will be purely backyard tin-can type shooting for fun. No hunting or shooting of animals, no competition. So, something not expensive.
    (And when I say backyard, it's ok - I live in a tiny farming village with a lot of space, surrounded by farmland and where locals routinely shoot pofadders and cape cobras in their back yards with oupa's 12-bore shotgun or oom's old 38 service revolver).

    I'n trying spend under R2,000 because it's really just for weekend fun. I'm not a collector nor a restorer. I just want something that shoots clean and straight and isn't going to cost me money on repairs or rstoration.

    So here we go... my heart wants an old, retro springer.
    That's because I love the old things - I like the way they look, I like the battle scars on the wood, I like the weight, and that smooth, worn-in feeling, I like the fact that it's been working for 30 or 40 years and has a history. Low-tech (to me) is beautiful, high-tech is boring.

    So option 1 (heart) is to look for an older-generation BSF, BSA, Gecado, Relum etc. I don't mind shooting 500-600 fps, that's more than enough. There's a old Gecado 25 nearby that I might be able to get for around R1,500. Something like that. Or I'd even consider an old .22 /5.5mm , because I'm kind of interested in shooting "slow and heavy".

    BUT...Option 2 (head) says: stop being such a romantic - buying a 30 - 40 year old springer is just buying trouble.,,
    Spring will be weak, you'll be lucky to get 250 FPS, it will shoot all over the place at inconsistent speeds, will need new seals, trigger will be wobbly, blah blah blah. i.e. "Old" just means "worn out and weak". Get ready to spend money to make it half useful.
    So, my head tells me to add a few hundred to the budget and get a second hand / low-end / entry level newer rifle - plastic Gamo, a Webley Valuemax, a Hatsan, a Cometa 220 (one selling now for R2,000 with scope). Something that won't cost anything, shoots where you point it, predictably and with consistent speeds. Very little character or interest value, but at least I'll enjoy shooting something consistent and practical.

    So - any advice from those who have travelled this road?

    Will an elderly, well-worn Gecado (or similar) satisfy my weekend plinking urge? Or will its age mean that it has handicaps/problems that are just going to irritate me or cost me money? I'm just not sure how good these old ladies are and how well they shoot after 4 decades... do they still have decent performance if not abused?
    Or should I just be rational, ignore my retro urge and get a cheap, modern reliable shooter?
    I can work with my hands, but I honestly don't have time to start disassembling and reconditioning a springer. I want something that "just works". Can you get older springers that fit that category?

    After that long ramble, any advice would be welcome, especially from those who know about the performance of the old-skool springers. Useful as shooters, or better just for collectors?
    Last edited by WayDownSouth; 15-05-17 at 22:51.
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  2. #2
    Protea Benchrest (Air) Team '15/'17

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    See if you can get hold of a second hand HW30s or HW50s
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  3. #3
    Marksman

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    Thanks - would they fall into that price range? My impression of Weihrauch is that they're wildly expensive.
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  4. #4
    Protea Benchrest (Air) Team '15/'17

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    Just save a bit longer.
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  5. #5
    The Oom From T.J.O.P.S
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    Welcome here Jon
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  6. #6
    Sharp Shooter
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    Welcome Jon, just my 2c.
    A lot of us have gone down the costly route of being too much in a hurry and bought whatever we could for the money we had. After a short while the bug will bite. When that bug bites you will have wished that you had waited a little longer and had gotten something a little better.
    Save up, have the money in hand and when a bargain comes along grab it!
    If you are hell bent on getting one of the above, do so, but start the savings process now as you will upgrade.

    As for the new vs old question. Get something newish that shoots and then start getting something like a project gun.

    Nice area of the world you from.
    Last edited by SnowBeast; 16-05-17 at 08:10.
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  7. #7
    Sharp Shooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by WayDownSouth View Post
    After that long ramble, any advice would be welcome, especially from those who know about the performance of the old-skool springers. Useful as shooters, or better just for collectors?
    Hi and welcome.

    Having read your post, I understand your dilemma, however I feel your budget is probably unrealistically low whether you wish to go with an old timer or go with something new.

    As with anything you get what you pay for and airguns are no exception to this.

    A lot of the modern low priced guns are for want of a better term just plain crap.

    Old airguns can be great or rubbish, it depends on what you buy and how they have been treated.

    Take by way of example the early BSA's - the engineering quality is miles ahead of a lot of modern guns and the fact that many of these old guns are still going strong, provided that they have not been abused is testament to their quality, quite frankly a lot of modern stuff is going to struggle to last as long.

    Fundamentally old-school springers can be very useful as shooters now - just pick a decent quality one that has been looked after and it will likely outlive you if you continue to look after it.

    I have a Webley Mk3 dating to 1947 and it is still a really good shooter, no powerhouse but nice and accurate.

    I would personally say save a bit more and buy something of good quality - whether old or new and enjoy it.
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  8. #8
    Springer FT World Champion '09
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    Wlcome.

    With due respect (and in order to keep this short) You say all these things about plinking, retro, accuracy and a whole lot more. It's all going to change once you buy old or new rubbish.

    Dale has hit the nail on the head, but IMO, if you want REAL enjoyment, versatility, accuracy, reliability et al, save up and INVEST in a top tier modern spring gun.

    Any HW or LGV/LGU will give you the best BfYB (considering your assumed LSM) and a great ROI because your POI will in line with your expectations - ensuring a stable EQ, which (if you follow this advice) will also be a reflection of your IQ!
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  9. #9
    Sharp Shooter
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    Ag nee Blud talk like you are from this planet. BfYB,LSM & EQ? WTF?
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  10. #10
    Sharp Shooter

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    Hi and welcome!

    Having been in your position (still am really) I agree with what the majority have said here. Save up and buy a reputable make of rifle. Walther, Weihrauch, Diana and Air Arms are the ones to look for. They don't have to be insanely expensive. The synthetic stock models are good value for money. Have a look at the Diana Mod 31 Panther. Diana is the Gecado of old. I bought one for my dad they are really well built and accurate and only around R3000. Also look at the newly launched Weihrauch Black Models. The for sale section of the forum also has great bargains almost on a daily basis.

    A word of advice, buy a 12ft/lb rifle instead of a magnum (>12ft/lb). I say this because when you decide you would like to compete (and you will), you then have a rifle that is allowed in most of the available classes. Don't fall for the super duper 1200fps advertising BS. These rifles are never accurate and will kill scopes, and they are heavy, have huge recoil and the kids will hate them. I say all this based on experience.

    Good luck and let us know what you've decided on!
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  11. #11
    Sharp Shooter
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    Welcome.
    You are looking for a reliable, solid springer with a limited budget. Have a look at the Hatsan 70 and 95 models - they are solid and build like a tank. Make sure to get a tuned one - they are manufactured with too much spring which adds to recoil and reduces accuracy. There must be a few of these rifles around which were tuned by MZE and has been stored away as members upgraded to much more expensive rifles. Put out a Wanted Add and see what responses you get. On South Africa-Western Cape-Springer Airguns-Hatsan .177 pro tuned there's a Hatsan 70 for sale - tuned by Nic van Tonder (known on the Forum for his tuning abilities), barrel shortened, silencer added and a basic scope on top. You can save some more R's to buy a higher quality rifle in the future or buy now and start shooting. Choice is yours.
    AirMax
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  12. #12
    Marksman

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    Thanks all. I asked for advice and I sure got it.

    Quote Originally Posted by SnowBeast View Post

    As for the new vs old question. Get something newish that shoots and then start getting something like a project gun.
    Yup, makes sense. Wish it didn't but it does.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dale View Post
    Hi and welcome.

    Having read your post, I understand your dilemma, however I feel your budget is probably unrealistically low whether you wish to go with an old timer or go with something new.

    As with anything you get what you pay for and airguns are no exception to this.

    A lot of the modern low priced guns are for want of a better term just plain crap.

    Old airguns can be great or rubbish, it depends on what you buy and how they have been treated.
    Therein lies the problem - to someone like myself who doesn't know the sound of a good spring/seal vs a bad one, you only discover that you've bought rubbish after you've handed over your money and arrived home.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale View Post

    Take by way of example the early BSA's - the engineering quality is miles ahead of a lot of modern guns and the fact that many of these old guns are still going strong, provided that they have not been abused is testament to their quality, quite frankly a lot of modern stuff is going to struggle to last as long.
    I don't need convincing about old technology... I'm running an almost 40-year old motorcycle, and a new-ish one. The 40-year old is a joy to ride, the new one is just a practical tool. The oldie will probably still be running long after the new bike's computers and plastics have given up...


    Quote Originally Posted by Bludlust View Post
    Wlcome.

    You say all these things about plinking, retro, accuracy and a whole lot more. It's all going to change once you buy old or new rubbish. Dale has hit the nail on the head, but IMO, if you want REAL enjoyment, versatility, accuracy, reliability et al, save up and INVEST in a top tier modern spring gun.
    Well, I'm trying to avoid old or new rubbish
    'Invest' is a tough word for me to get around because I just can't really justify a big-ticket / "top-tier" rifle for my purely recreational & backyard needs.
    An old, 550 fps solidly built, open-sight Gecado or Diana or similar that shoots clean and straight would do it for me.
    From where I stand, I wouldn't call that rubbish. To me, rubbish would be a Shanghai special from Cash Converters.
    The reason for my post was just wasn't sure if these good quality, usable oldies exist any more - after some research, it seems they do and aren't too expensive. But I guess they're scarce and there's just the huge risk factor of buying an abused wreck out of ignorance.

    Quote Originally Posted by MariusT View Post
    Hi and welcome!

    Have a look at the Diana Mod 31 Panther. Diana is the Gecado of old. I bought one for my dad they are really well built and accurate and only around R3000. Also look at the newly launched Weihrauch Black Models. The for sale section of the forum also has great bargains almost on a daily basis.

    A word of advice, buy a 12ft/lb rifle instead of a magnum (>12ft/lb). I say this because when you decide you would like to compete (and you will), you then have a rifle that is allowed in most of the available classes. Don't fall for the super duper 1200fps advertising BS. These rifles are never accurate and will kill scopes, and they are heavy, have huge recoil and the kids will hate them. I say all this based on experience.

    Good luck and let us know what you've decided on!

    Quote Originally Posted by AirMaxc View Post
    Welcome.
    You are looking for a reliable, solid springer with a limited budget. Have a look at the Hatsan 70 and 95 models - they are solid and build like a tank. Make sure to get a tuned one - they are manufactured with too much spring which adds to recoil and reduces accuracy.
    Thanks for the tips guys, will look into those as well. Good to get brand recommendations, these are all new names to me.
    Marius, definitely not looking for one of those supersonic starTrek guns I'm quite content with more sensible stuff.

    Thanks to all who took time to give advice, very useful info and helped me to get some direction. Very kind, especially in view of the fact that what I plan to spend wouldn't even buy a trigger-guard for some of your rifles
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  13. #13
    Sharp Shooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by WayDownSouth View Post
    Therein lies the problem - to someone like myself who doesn't know the sound of a good spring/seal vs a bad one, you only discover that you've bought rubbish after you've handed over your money and arrived home.
    I think you have misunderstood what I meant.

    There are very well engineered guns and there is junk - quality engineering will show.

    A well engineered gun in overall good condition that requires a service and replacement of what are ultimately 'consumable parts' i.e. springs and seals is a good purchase (provided it hasn't been abused, which is often obvious if it has occurred), whereas a junk airgun is junk irrespective of whether it works or not
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  14. #14
    Marksman

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    Understood - I thought you were referring to good and junk within a brand, i.e. care for or abused.
    I agree with well engineered brands / models vs. junk ones. Junk is irredeemable.
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  15. #15
    Sharp Shooter
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    South Africa-Gauteng-Springer Airguns-Weihrauch HW50 Lug Geweer

    South Africa-Gauteng-Springer Airguns-Walther LGV .177

    South Africa-Gauteng-Springer Airguns-Weihrauch HW50

    Had a quick browse through Guntree today. These would do well if you could just stretch yourself a bit. If not, save a bit and keep looking out for deals
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