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How do we find airguns to fill that itchy need for something nicer, more unusual or rare?

 

It can take a long time to find an elusive airgun. It doesn't have to be an old rarity or something expensive even. Some recent airguns may not have been popular when on general sale or imported here in only one batch. For example, Gamo Co2 pellet pistols from the late ‘90s and their Gamo Auto 45. A nice little single shot pellet firing Co2 plinker that looks a bit like a Glock, but made long before current replica BB airguns were even thought off. Never a lot to buy new, a used one could set you back £30 or less. Try finding one today though. Valuable? Hardly. Difficult to find? You bet!

 

BSA Model D's

BSA Improved Model D's, very rare .25 above, .177 below

 

Auctions are one source for yesterday's airguns and finding something is simply a waiting game. More and more auctioneers however can’t or won’t get involved with packing and posting. Whilst not all auctioneers have the staff or facilities to help, a little help does go a long way and this can be sadly lacking. Some that do post but only handle small items can refuse to help with larger items such as 'small' vintage air pistols. Recently too many defer to recommended third party shippers. Some of these services are reasonable, many aren’t, charging instead for the convenience of picking up, packing, then arranging the delivery. The bill will reflect this and don't forget it’ll usually be plus VAT. The biggest upset - or laugh if you have a glass half full outlook - is how many of these 'recommended' specialist shippers refuse categorically to handle anything weapons-related.

 

Air Logic

AirLogic Genesis .22 sidelever single stroke pneumatic - less than 200 made

 

eBay was once huge for all things airgun but political knee-jerking changed what you can buy and sell with no complete airguns allowed there for some time now. Well, here in Europe. The US eBay still allows airgun sales. Although still very popular for accessories and ephemera here, there has recently been an upsurge in other web platforms that have less restriction. There have been some ups and downs recently. Freeads used to be the place to seek out airguns. Facebook fans started airgun specific groups. After years of riding high Facebook decided to stop allowing airgun sales and last year Freeads followed. There are thankfully a few other platforms for buying and selling gun-related items. Here on Gunstar private sales of pre-owned airguns are slowly on the rise after some recent changes in the format and a simplified fee structure. Simply filter the results. Click on the Air Guns section, then click on Sale Type, to reveal only those Private listings. Let’s hope this continues as more and more private collectors and airgun users trust Gunstar as an affordable place to list. In the future, Gunstar could also become the place to buy and sell collectors airgun spares, pellets, vintage pellet tins etc as well as the usual modern accessories.

 

Anics A9000

Anics A9000s – multi-shot pellet. Not rare but weird, wonderful and desirable

 

Today as a modern default, everyone logs on to the internet as a first option. In general, the Internet is useful but can draw up some really annoying obfuscations. General internet searches can turn up treasure. On many occasions however open searches can be fruitless. One anomaly is when finding an auction or shop advert online for a desired item, the sudden realisation is the web page is 9 years old. Sometimes stumbling onto something reveals that rare thing. All there, all boxed tasty and right,  but it’s located in - another country.

Another route has been the airgun forums. It has to be said, less turns up on them now of real interest but they’re worth visiting. A recent trend as with auctioneers is how many 'members' refuse to help with post and packing, but they may live 250 miles away.

 

Airgun Fairs

Tables at Fairs equal Treasure - here a rare .25 calibre BSA Stutzen RB2


Sometimes, it's actually just better not knowing. This computer and brain only work if the keys are wound up first so perhaps less digital choice is better, it's certainly less stressful in the real world. Way back in the Dark Ages collectors fairs were the best place to source airgun things and they have become increasingly popular again. The best known these past decades has been the Birmingham International Arms Fair held in the Motorcycle Museum with always something airgun on offer. There are also regional outlying fairs that focus more on militaria but they’re still worth visiting. A new popular venue is the Kempton Park Classic fair. There are also some smaller airgun-only fairs run at club level – the Melbourne Marksmen event in Derbyshire and Rivington Riflemen fair at Bolton. Let’s hope that these privately run club fairs continue and also increase in number both for our benefit and theirs as many donate their proceeds to charity. For those looking to downsize a collection, all fairs both big and small offer tables for hire and are a great place for private collectors to sell or display items for swap. COVID-19 has affected fairs badly but they will continue if we support them. A fair certainly beats an afternoon shopping in the supermarket. You may even find that elusive item you have been after. Happy searching!

Jonathan Young
Writer
Published on 2021-09-13