Reply To: Air Arms Galahad
When I asked Kalibrgun why they don’t offer carbon fiber stocks, it was clear that the barrier was knowledge. Their wood guy had told them that making a cf stock would require a lengthy development cycle. When I explained why that wouldn’t be necessary, they seemed interested in learning more about it. They already have the aluminum tooling which they use to cast their composite stocks. It could easily be used for carbon fiber too.
There are people like that who block progress in every company. They always have a reason why any new idea can’t be achieved but never a solution. When you dig in, it is usually about protecting their job. The wood guy doesn’t vote for carbon fiber like the turkey doesn’t vote for thanksgiving…. I bet the Kolibri disaster has knocked their confidence to Try something new too.
Being objective, carbon fiber parts are not easy to make on a large scale. Even prepreg materials require 45 minutes of curing in the oven per stock so it is not the right material (yet) for the next Marauder. For the brands that sell $1500 air guns, their production is on a far smaller scale. Compared to hand-finishing walnut stocks, carbon fiber is a walk in the park.
I think FX is so successful right now because they are one of the few who seems to listen to their customers. It’s not rocket science. It’s far easier to tailor a product to the taste of their customers than it is to try to convince people that what they really want is whatever you want to sell them. The Wildcat is nothing radical. It’s just a lightweight bullpup with a mid-position side lever. It’s great for hunters. The Bobcat is a fine air gun but too bulky to carry in the woods. They listened and were rewarded. I think they have too many models but with each one, I can identify who it might appeal to. I can’t do that with some other brands. Success can easily cause arrogance but FX’s willingness to accept feedback is impressive and creates loyalty.
Interesting on the Russia air guns. kalibrgun is listed as the contact on their site so you would think they would have up to date knowledge but it is possible that something changed after the show in Vegas a few weeks ago. I’ll ask them. I hope it is coming to America. I love tactical bullpups! I think I would prefer that they made that stock available for my Cricket instead though.
I would like to see a greater focus on aftermarket upgrades. People in America love to customize, mod and upgrade. The AR platform is successful for this reason. I don’t want to have to buy a whole new air rifle every year, just to get a few incremental improvements. I love my Cricket and I want to keep it. Anything I don’t like on it can be fixed with aftermarket upgrades such as lightweight stocks and a side-lever extension arm.
The company who makes the truly modular air gun platform will take a majority of the market. The Impact is on the way but not there yet. It needs to be the air gun equivalent of the AR platform so the customer can choose their preferred breach, barrel, caliber, stock design, materials, cocking action, cylinder size and materials, pistol grip, butt stock etc. Parts should be made under license by any manufacturer. This way you always have access to the latest innovations without amassing a large collection of air guns you don’t use anymore. Plus, even the fussiest of customers can’t complain about an air rifle that is made to their chosen specs.
There are too many proprietary designs with air guns. They spend too much time reinventing the wheel instead of innovating. The basic mechanics and design of PCP rifles hasn’t changed in the last 100 years. Why constantly redesign the same thing instead of focusing on stuff you can actually improve… Ironically, I think the limited number of CF bottle manufacturers which force some degree of standardization so, when new players enter the market, there will be a common interchangeable design.