Air Guns 2004

What's new in today's adult air-gun market.

Many of us grew up shooting air guns as kids before we graduated to "real" guns. The air gun is a product whose time has come. It ducks most of the barriers plaguing traditional shooting ranges in our increasingly urban society. Plus, the 30 to 40 percent margin available to retailers on most air guns means you can punch holes in another business barrier-profit.

Today's adult air guns are more accurate, faster and look more like a modern rifle than ever. Shooters are using them for small-game hunting, competition and just for fun on pennies per day. Here's a look at what's new:

AirForce Airguns
AirForce's new Condor air rifle in .22 caliber blows by the 1,000 fps performance level of most air guns to achieve a reported 1,250 fps. Designed not just for speed, but accuracy as well, it has a premium Lothar Walther barrel and an extended scope rail for easy mounting of the largest air-gun scopes or other sighting devices. SRP: $549. Booth #1509. (877-247-4867; www.airforceairguns.com)

**Beeman **
Beeman's focus this year will be on creating more consumer-friendly packaging to deliver a more effective and efficient sales tool for the retailer, says Tom Chandler, head of sales and marketing for Beeman. While the current four-color boxes allow space for safety information, instructions and product description, Beeman is banking that a transparent clam pack that lets consumers see the product will grab them in mid-stride and stimulate sales. The new packaging concepts will cover accessories as well with an eye toward easier merchandising and product recognition. Booth #3687._ (714-890-4800; www.beeman.com)_

**Crosman Corporation **
Consumers are demanding more speed, which break barrels are known for delivering. Crosman is responding to the speed demands with three new models of American-made break-barrel air rifles in the Benjamin Legacy 1000 series. The new Benjamin classic has a hardwood stock with a raised Monte Carlo cheekpiece, laser-engraved checkering, a ventilated rubber buttplate, a two-stage adjustable trigger and a two-piece fiber-optic system with a micro-adjustable rear sight. The Benjamin Legacy series achieves 1,000 fps with one light cocking effort. SRP: $219.99.

Other models in the series include the Legacy 1000X with a 4x32 scope and the Legacy 822 in the .22-caliber version. SRP: $249.99 and $219.99, respectively. Booth #4151. (800-724-7486; www.crosman.com)

**Daisy **
Daisy, the oldest name in air guns, is bringing out two new Winchester-model break-barrel-spring air-pellet rifles, models 1000B and 1000C. Both rifles sport Truglo fiber-optic front and rear sights, hooded front sights, micro-adjustable rear sights, a rear button safety and a rifled steel barrel. Maximum muzzle velocity is 1,000 fps with a maximum shooting distance of 305 yards. Model 1000B has a black composite stock, while 1000C brings hunting to mind with the Mossy Oak Break-Up Camo pattern. SRP: $169.95 and $179.95, respectively. Both rifles are available with a 3-9x32 hunting scope, boosting the retail price to $189.95 and $199.95 respectively. Daisy's vice president of marketing, Joe Murfin, says the break-barrel models with a scope are a hot new introductions for the company.

For pistol devotees, Daisy is introducing the PowerLine Model 617X Pistol. This pistol showcases Daisy's unique six-shot rotary clip that shoots both BBs and pellets in .177 caliber from the same clip. Other manufacturers offer dual-use pistols, but only with different clips to accommodate the change in ammo. Model 617X, powered by CO2, fires six shots as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger. It has a maximum shooting distance of 280 yards. SRP: $69.95.

Murfin says Daisy listened to retailers when it designed the 617X. Retailer input indicated the .177 caliber is the most popular. Murfin hopes retailerrs will stop by the SHOT Show booth to offer their thoughts on prototypes not yet in production. Booth #3275._ (800-643-3458; www.daisy.com)_

European American Armory
European American Armory jumped into the air-gun market a few years ago and has seen its sales grow in every aspect of the market. Brad Bernkrant, vice president of sales, dubs EAA's new Drodz BB Air Gun the ultimate in men's toys. "It's a submachine BB gun built to military specs. It fires electronically using solenoids with CO2 cartridges." SRP: $219. Booth #4651. (321-639-4842; www.eaacorp.com)

Gamo USA Corp.
John Schild, vice president of sales and marketing at Gamo USA, says the company is coming out with three new rifles and a pistol. Gamo's new Hunter Model 1250 comes in .22 caliber and shoots at 910 fps. SRP: $399.

Shadowmatic, a spring-piston air rifle, shoots .177-caliber pellets at 1,000 fps. In most spring-piston rifles, the shooter breaks the barrel, drops in a pellet and shoots. Shadowmatic has a tubular magazine on top, so that every time you break the barrel, it automatically loads. SRP: $219.95.

Schild says air-gun shooters seek as much accuracy as they can eke out of their rifles and that means a fixed barrel. Gamo's new CFX Royal has a deluxe wood stock, .177-caliber that shoots pellets at 1,000 fps. SRP: $299.

In pistols, Gamo is offering the V3 Air Pistol in chrome. It's a .177 caliber and shoots at 425 fps. It also comes with a built-in laser. SRP: $109.95. Booth #4773. _(954-581-5822; www.gamo.com) _