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?