Low cost vs. top shelf

Forums PCP Airguns Low cost vs. top shelf

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    Springrrrr
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    A lot has been discussed about the improvement in barrels on many air gun web sites.  The FX smooth twist started it but seemed to be upstaged by the FX smooth twist X, which seems to be the better of the two for overall pellet selection in that the smooth twist was designed for JSB pellets alone.

    Seems many have also stated that Daystate is riding in on the back of FX in that they designed an octagon barrel for their larger caliber platform.  My Wolverine in 177 uses a time proven Lothar Walther barrel which has often been considered the Caddy, Lexis, Rolls, or Bentley of barrels before the new designs hit the streets.

    Now, along comes the Umerex Gauntlet.  A cheep Chinese gun that took the air gun world by storm when it first was advertised and then, after the wait, showed itself to be, after a number of needed mods and adjustments, to be a super shooter.  If you don't accept that, just check YouTube and see for yourself.

    Now, any gun can have a boat load of adjustments and a state of the art barrel (FX'eS) or simply a strong design like the Wolverine R, that has a bunch of high quality components like a Huma reg, an LW barrel and the sling shot hammer.  Enter once again, the cheepie   — Gauntlet.  We can bet, not a whole lot of bucks or effort was put into the barrel on that thing as compared to the higher quality stuff, but in many cases, it shoots as well as the high priced spreads.

    Once the point of aim issues are solved with the Gauntlet (which it seems to be known for) my question simply is this.  How can this gun possibly compare to the top shelf guns that have super internals and select barrels?  Once the trigger was smoothed out  to make it an easy pulling single stage that breaks with no creep and after I came up with a POI shift fix as well as a Jefferson State valve, the Gauntlet can shot every bit as good as the Wolverine.  Depending on the day or conditions, at times, it may even shoot better.

    So it seems to me, maybe part of the main difference between high end stuff and the cheap Gauntlet centers on the luck of the draw.  My Wolverine was tested before being sent to me.  I got a target it shot that was one hole.  If there had been anything askew, the gun would have been stripped down and the problem corrected for, I'm sure.  The Gauntlet was boxed and shoved out the door.  In my case and it seems a number of others, we hit a barrel winner because when all is said and done, for the most part, accuracy manly comes down to the barrel and pellet selection to that barrel and cheap guns usually have cheap and untested barrels.

    Not to say any of the sub $300 guns are going to win national titles, but wouldn't it be somptin' else if one did.

    Here are 5 shots at 40 yards with my Wolverine and Gauntlet.  The Wolverine is on the left and Gauntlet on the right.  Those targets could easily have been switched around if I tried it again and there were times that they have been.

    So the cheap gun does require a little work to get it up to snuff, but the barrel that comes with it is what it is and other than a run through with JB Bore Paste, there isn't much more you can do.

     

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    RogerV53
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    Take that target out to 80 yards and compare, the FX barrels are designed it be accurate at long ranges. I agree with you inside 40 yards it's luck of the draw. 

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    blackdiesel
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    I have several Hatsan PCPs that have been modified, regulated and tuned and I can shoot as accurately with them as I can shoot with my high end guns.  I also have a 22 cal gauntlet that I sent to Haji for his tune and it's as accurate as a gun that costs three times as much. 

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    Buckeye
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    Great write up, and observations.

    Thanks

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    JoeSchmoe
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    If you price out a gauntlet to include the effective labor costs you put into it to make the gun accurate, it suddenly doesn't become so cheap after all. Granted, opportunity cost and free labor aren't the same thing as actual dollars, but the point being that if you were going to pay someone else to fix your gauntlet, it would be a whole lot more expensive. I still can't decide if I like to tinker with my guns or not, and whether the extra cost of a high-end gun is worth not having to fix it myself.

    Point being, if it came from the factory with all the modifications you do to it at home, it would be more expensive.

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    stoti
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    For me, there is more to a gun than accuracy. Reliability and accuracy are on the top of my list but there is more to it than that. I love a fine gun that has been finished beautifully, feels nice, balances well, points naturally and is smooth. They often times come with a lot of extra features too! This same question has been asked about shotguns… Tristar vs. Beretta, rifles…Savage vs. Accuracy International, and pistols… Taurus vs. Colt Python. There are guns and then there are GUNS!!! Not everyone can afford a $2000 air gun and the Gauntlet is a great option. But for those who can afford an expensive air gun or are willing to save a while, there are other factors besides accuracy that make a $2000 air gun worth their hard earned money.

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    Dts327
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    Well said stoti, i would rather pay the extra price for a well refined work of art even if accuracy is the same. Daystate and fx are in a whole different category. Im a sucker for a well finished comfortable gun

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    spysir
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    Yup.

    " If you price out a gauntlet to include the effective labor costs you put into it to make the gun accurate "

    It did NOT effect accuracy but my Gauntlet needed the following:

    trigger adjustment- IF done by the very best tuner , $60.00.

    Thta's it and it certainly could win a match with a good shooter.

    NO issues except LONG loose trigger pull as issued.

    If anyone would like to stop by the 99109 area your mostr welcome to shoot.

     

    John

     

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    Stefanjan
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    This is what makes the sport so fun.  You pay your money and you litterally take your shot.  Could my $250 hatsan at44 win a national title?  Probably in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, but am I going to win?  No way.  Im thrilled with a half inch group at 25 yards.  Will someone win a title with a gauntlet?  Im guessing probably not, but not because the rifle isnt capable of doing it, but because the shooter is not going to risk it, or not going to take the time to learn it.  When you plunk down 2k for a gun you expect the accuracy and the predictability that should be inherent in an expensive gun.  When you take a chance on a $250 gun you know (or at least you should know) that some time and pellets are going to be invested.  Does my wildfire shoot hole in hole?  No way but tell me its not a blast to squeeze off 12 pellets just as fast as you can.  I bring that cheap gun out everytime i shoot and blast thru 4 clips of pellets in under 2 minutes.  No im not looking for some amazing group, im just out there having as much fun as possible.  Now dont get me wrong hete cause I have a ton of respect for you guys that produce those amazing groupings and who can shot hole in hole day in and day out.  I would love to have the resources at hand to invest in a 2k rig and shoot lime that, but the reality is it just isnt going to happen in the near future, so I will just setup targets in the yard and sit on my porch and have fun

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    Keyman62421
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    Blackdiesel,  my arguement about making mods. By the time you make mods on a reasonably priced guns its up there @ pricier models .

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    addertooth
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    Keyman,

       I think the most persuasive argument for mods is not in making an air rifle perfect (in the general sense), but rather, making it perfect for the exact tastes of the owner.  I have a plastic stocked Marauder which is perfect for me.  But the stock alone would horrify some owners, as beauty/fit and finish are vital to others.  

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    dodge3500
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    The biggest thing I see is quality but as far as shooting unless you really get a dud not too much of a difference.Ive had a few high-end PCP that shot great but so has all my hatsans.

    Currently my refurbished Nova (500$) shoots just as good as the edgun or cricket I had .I believe it's just more about what you like or want than you gotta spend big money to be accurate.

    Lol now I'm not saying that I don't want another high-end PCP like a warp/impact/crown/leishy or a commander because I do want one ,I'm just saying you don't have to have one to shoot well as today's lower ends shoot well also.

    :)

     

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    blackdiesel
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    Keyman62421

    Blackdiesel,  my arguement about making mods. By the time you make mods on a reasonably priced guns its up there @ pricier models .

    That's true of most guns, but a valve mod is all work and no parts.  Regulators are pretty cheap and you can tune it yourself.  So, I don't really have a lot of money in the mods, but a lot of time. 

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    redcrow
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    I really can't make a case based on economics. Yes, many 'affordable' rifles can be coaxed into top shelf performance. It takes some time and effort that could be spent elsewhere, and the cost of parts doesn't tell the whole story since getting those parts to work as desired means investing in some tools to install and adjust them.. There is the intangible of pride in one's own work, but tinkering isn't everyone's cup of tea. The whole modify, test, evaluate and repeat cycle can be very rewarding to some and just plain tedious to others.

    When I was a younger man, I enjoyed time spent tinkering almost as much as time at the range shooting. As I've gotten older, I find I'm lazier and less concerned about finances than time. So spending the bux for out of the box precision is a better use of available resources than trying to build it myself.

    That said, I don't think there's a one size fits all answer to the question beyond do what makes you happiest.

     

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    toku58
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    Keyman62421

    Blackdiesel,  my arguement about making mods. By the time you make mods on a reasonably priced guns its up there @ pricier models .

    100% Agree!! 
    You'll end up with a lesser gun for around the same cost.

    You get what you pay for!

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    spysir
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    But it cost me nothing to adjust my trigger. No other mod and it shoots just fine.

     

    John

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    Springrrrr
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    Good replies gents.  The one thing that still goes pretty much unanswered is how can a cheapie gun's barrel often shoot as good as the top quality ones.  It has been suggested to compare the results beyond 50 yards and a number of videos do just that.  They actually do keep up with the big boys.  Barrel manufacturing is not a simple process.

    This video shows 125 yard results.  Yes, it shows two less than stellar shots, but that could be the pellet or the shooter as well as the gun.  The rest of the shots were quite good.

    Gauntlet at 125 yards

    This one shows a playing card being split at 100 yards on the first shot.

    Splitting a card

    I too love the quality and beauty of the Daystate.  There is no comparison between the Gauntlet and the higher priced guns in that category and the consistency of shooting results follows the expensive guns in that you stand a better chance of getting a winner when you invests the bucks.  It still surprises me that the barrels can even be close between the two.  When all other factors are discounted, the barrel is what ultimately makes the pellet go straight.

    All the mods I did to my Gauntlet don't even come close in price to what the Daystate set me back.  That is not a factor.  They were less than $100 by a good amount.

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    airgunmonkey
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    I agree with most of the replies, the original poster is right, I have 2 luck of the draw with a Kral Puncher Breaker bullpup, straight out of the box it was deadly acurate but trigger is creap, also the power/speed wasn't what I expected, so, polish the trigger, changed the spring and adjusted the hammer spring to shoot JSB's 15gr to 920fps, hole in a hole @ 30/40mts, I also have a China P15, small, light and compact, very nice little gun, at first, I was a bit concerned because some of the guys that I know had one, was complaining about acuracy, for my surprise, ity was spot on out of the box, just a bit too loud for my liking, easy fix. Some guys down here in SA, don't like them due to accuracy issues or this and that,

    My, perferct, to adjust trigger, cost nothing, its about how you like the trgger to be, hammer spring, is just a few turns.

    Then I bought a Zbroia Kozak, straight out of the box, light trigger, smooth cocking action, super accurate, myself and a friend went to the range, he with a brand new Impact and me with the unfder dog Zbroia, he couldn't group well at al @ 50mts, my Zbroia, almost hole in a hole at same distance. A $2000 Impact started leaking, as we all know, the wasn't a Impact owner that didn't have to tune, adjust or send it back for a repair, the a little China gun never gave me trouble or issues with accuarcy, leaks etc. the Kral accuyrate as any $2000 gun, the Zbroia, well, indoor shooting @ 100mts, my best 10 shot group was just over a 1". Yet yes, a high end gun it's nicer, better finishes, better parts but sometimes the luck of the draw is on your side and you just pay cheap and get ahell of your gun as just as a top $$$ ones.

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    davidsng
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    I started off with on lower end pcp such as Hatsans.  My first few shot great (what I thought was great), so I decided to stick with them.  Then all a sudden I got one that shot like crap. Then I had one with mechanical issues, then got frustrated, and bought a new high end Edgun.

      Let me tell there is a night and day difference between high and low.  You can't see it on the surface but once you spend time with both for a while, it is obvious.  

    My Edgun Lelya cost $1700 and my fist Hatsan $500.  For most people a $1200 dollar difference is not worth extra expense.  Both can hunt fine. ( most of the time.) But…if your the type of person who losses sleep over missed or wounded animals, and lay a wake wondering why you missed, it gives you a piece of mind knowing it was YOUR fault (either missed calculatations or unsteady hand) and NOT the gun.  For me, it is worth ever penny.

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    rich177
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    This subject can be discussed and debated forever.  Yes you can buy inexpensive things and get them to work.  I had a good friend that could make anything work.  I mean anything, cars, trucks, boats, lawn mowers, guns, and even airguns.  He was amazing and I miss him dearly but I AM NOT THAT GUY, and most of us aren't.  I always tell people to get the best they can afford.  We all have different budgets but trying to get a cheap gun to shoot like a Steyr, Anschutz, FWB, etc. is Maybe not impossible, but certainly difficult at best.  I have tried cheaper airguns and frankly I did not like them.  Some shot okay and some not so much.

    Everyone's objective is not the same either.  I shoot competitively, or try to at least.  With airguns it's 10 meter, silhouette, and field target so power and big bores are not for me.  My approach is to buy the best I feel that I can afford.  I do not have the best of the best or the latest and greatest.  My goal is to have equipment that is competitive.  In other words, I don't lose because of my equipment.

    Generally you tend to get what you pay for but certainly a cheap airgun could and can win matches and I know they can kill small game.  Priorities and tastes vary.

    Rick B.

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