1. The Forum Rules have undergone some minor changes and updates.  Please take the time to read them; it will only take a couple of minutes of your time. By doing so, you lessen the chance of incurring the wrath of the moderation team or making yourself look foolish to other members.

    90% of users posting adverts in the Sales forums need to be reminded to read the rules as their posts are wrong.  This is unnecessarily time-consuming and will no longer happen - if your advert doesn't follow the Sales Rules it will be deleted and you'll have to start all over again.

    To close this box once you've read it (and the Rules), click on the X in the top right-hand corner.

    Thank you.

    AGF Staff



    Dismiss Notice
  2. A reminder of one of the Forum Rules:

    'Behaviour

    Do not make inappropriate or offensive posts - including threats, harassment, swearing, prejudice, defamation, deliberate insults or name-calling, other negative remarks about this forum, its moderators and administrators or your fellow members. Even if this is just your own personal opinion, RESPECT YOUR FELLOW MEMBERS.'

    There have been changes made to our censoring software in an attempt to help with this growing problem.

    Click the X in the top-right-hand corner to dismiss this notice.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Dear members,

    Our membership (like our country) consists of people from all walks of life; different in far more ways than can be listed here and each with a different view based on their experience of life - regardless of their colour, religion or cultural heritage. Every single person in the UK has been born of mixed race – we are a multi-coloured and multi-cultural country.

    As many of you are aware there are a handful of individuals amongst this membership that persist in making provocative, inflammatory, racist and otherwise offensive comments. This has been happening across the forum to a certain degree but is most especially prevalent in the Adult section.

    The moderation team has tried to stay on top of this, however unfortunately because of the ‘offensive’ nature of much of its content we don’t monitor the Adult section quite as much as perhaps we should. As a result much of this behaviour has gone unnoticed unless it has been reported to us. While the team always intended to take a "light touch" approach to the Adult section it would seem that some people aren’t quite adult enough to be left unmonitored after all.

    This behaviour is, and always has been against Forum Rules as well as the specific stipulations of the Adults forum and it will no longer be tolerated. We feel it's time to draw a line in the sand and as such from this point onward offenders will receive an immediate and permanent ban from the forum.

    In order for us to achieve our goal of restoring the forum to the friendly and tolerant place it once was, we ask that ALL members be mindful of the content they post and help us to stop unacceptable behaviour by using the 'Report' tool at the bottom of any offending post - the results of which can be seen only by Admin/Moderators.

    You should all receive a copy of this message by PM. 

    To close this message box, click on the 'X' in the top-right-hand corner.

    Dismiss Notice
  4. Hotmail block emails from us entering your inbox. Unless you can setup a safe sender you will not get activation emails from the forum. Please use an alternative provider or complain to Hotmail.
    Hotmail addresses include.

    @Hotmail.co.uk @Hotmail.com @outlook.com @Live.com
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Postings on Politics, Religion & Controversial Off-Topic Material

    The majority of users do not want to read about these subjects and people have left the forum as a result of it – this is after all an 'Airgun' Forum. It’s all very well to say they don’t have to read it if they don't want to, but as most of us use the ‘New Posts’ button there is no easy way to avoid it.

    All AGF staff members are in favour of people being able to discuss what they want, but we have to draw the line somewhere if it is upsetting other users. We don’t want to read about these topics either.

    IMPORTANT- The discussion of politics and religion is no longer allowed anywhere on the forum (including the Adult section).  The only exception is if it's airgun related - they must be put in the Airgun Related Politics section..

    We will not tolerate bullying or personal attacks, racism or any other offensive 'isms'. we will remove these topics from the forum, we will not give you an area where you can abuse each other. We will not hesitate to ban offenders.

    To clear this text box, click on the 'X' in the top right-hand corner.

    Dismiss Notice

What will become of the British airgun industry?

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by cloverleaf, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

    Messages:
    21,706
    Likes Received:
    29,928
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Brace yourselves for another gleefully optimistic post on the state of the airgun industry.. :p


    Having been involved with airguns now for a significant amount of time, I can't help but feel that generally the industry is on a decidedly downward trajectory.

    It can't be denied that to the general public, shooting is a far less acceptable and legitimate sport than it was maybe 50yrs ago. While this clearly impacts upon the activities of those who still shoot, I suspect it's also had the effect of reducing the total number of active airgun shooters (by reducing the amount of "new blood" choosing to enter the sport).

    I suspect that the number of people actively participating in airgun shooting has probably been on a long, steady decline for many years - but I'd be interested to see any information anyone might have; whether it apparently proves or disproves this theory.


    Today something is certainly making it harder for the major players on the industry to keep their heads above water. Back in the the mid '80s you had a good selection of British brands to choose from - BSA and Webley were still alive and masters of their own destiny, while Air Arms were just starting out and another 5yrs would see the appearance of more home-grown manufacturers riding the crest of the wave of PCP popularity - the market being dominated mainly by Titan (Falcon), Daystate and Air Arms, while smaller players included Theoben, Mick Dawes / Brocock, Sportsmatch, Ripley, Colchester, Galway and Skan.


    The British airgun market in the late '80s / early '90s seemed to be prosporous and growing. So, where now are these twelve manufacturers mentioned above?

    Skan: Still in existance and offering support for their existing rifles, but IIRC no longer making guns and concentrating on Chrono manufacture.

    Galway: AFAIK after the initial release of their only rifle - the Fieldmaster - this company disappeared into obscurity.

    Colchester: As with Galway, this company managed only one rifle - the Gamekeeper - before apparently ceasing to exist.

    Ripley: Have successfully sold a range of target rifles on their AR platform, as well as the XL-badged sporters and a few dubious products associated with the Logun brand. A small volume purveyor of high-quality, hand made rifles.

    Sportsmatch: Produced the epic, Gerald Cardew designed GC2 target rifle before withdrawing from rifle manufacture. Still producing 'scope mounts though.

    BSA: Bought out in 1987/88 by Gamo, after struggling for years (rightly so, given the abysmal quality of most of their products). Gamo have since been bought out by another investment group. While BSAs PCPs are arguably still worth having to some, their spring guns have gone from bad to worse under the direction of their new owners - to the point now where it's pretty universally agreed that none of them are worth wasting ones money on.

    Webley:
    Outlasted their classic rival BSA by a decade or two, before finally succumbing to the accountant's axe in the later 2000s. Name bought out by several interests who used it to promote ropey products before shifting it on. Trademark currently held by Highland Outdoors who market overpriced Hatsan rifles under the brand.

    Brocock:
    Marketed a successful range of air cartridge guns before they were banned. Now making PCPs, however were bought out recently by Dianne investment w*nkers after having apparently been struggling to keep afloat for a while. Not surprising given their poor rep for QC and customer service tbh..

    Theoben: Continued producing rifles in the UK up until around 2012, when they went bust. Theoben USA / RAW still going; UK factory now being run by Impact Airguns - one potential success story that bucks the trend but tbh it's a bit early to tell.

    Daystate: Managed reasonable success up until 2009 when they were bought out by Dianne; presumably because they were in financial difficulty. Have managed to stay afloat since, however are now getting a serious pasting for poor design, QC and customer service.

    Titan: Went pear-shaped in the early '90s amid claims of "financial irregularities" before the design was later reborn under the Falcon name. Falcon went under in around 2012 and were bought out by Air Arms, who released a new range under the name before subsequently ceasing production of Falcon guns due to poor demand.

    Air Arms: Pretty much the last historic British airgun manufacturer still trading in independence, although they're not without their troubles - most recently the panning of their latest target rifle -the FTP900 - on account of its poor reliability.


    Some of the above were clearly fairly small players (in terms of production output, if not their contributions to the industry in other ways), however BSA and Webley were each in existance for around a century before it all went wrong for them, while Theoben, Daystate, Falcon and Brocock were all well-established (trading for 15-20yrs) British companies that have since failed or been "saved" from the axe through being purchased by dubious foreign interests.


    The state of the British airgun industry is now pretty ropey - the only two significanty-sized, truely British manufacturers remaining / existing being Air Arms and Impact Airguns, while a few smaller companies such as ISP, Zenith and Ripley cater for the niche world of high-end, hand-made target rifles. Gunpower continue to market their range of PCPs rifles, however I doubt these sell in large numbers since most shooters with any taste or understanding of airguns steer clear.

    In the interim between the '90s and the present day Logun came and went; usually marketing rebadged FX and eastern-european rifles of questionable reputation, although they did also sell the MK1 and MK2 "professional" - a design whose valve gear and trigger mech "borrowed" heavily from FX; and one that featured a potentially troublesome linear mag which didn't win it many friends..


    So there are now very few truely British manufacturers left and while there are still quality offerings from abroad (Weihrauch and arguably Diana from German along with RAW from the USA and arguably FX from Sweden) times are tight and this is starting to show in the levels of product quality and after-sales service offered by manufacturers and importers.

    In fairly recent years (and in keeping with markets for other manufacturered-products) the lower end of the market has been flooded with cheap generic offerings and the approach taken by manufacturers and distributors alike is tending more towards cynical "badge engineering".

    Fewer brands are manufacturing their own guns; opting instead to buy in cheap foreign-made models, rebrand them and sell them on at an inflated margin. "Webley" rifles are rebadged Hatsans, while a range of nondescript Chinese copies of older German (Diana & Weihrauch) designs are sold under various brand names including Crosman, Hammerli, Swiss Arms, Armex and Sportsmarketing (arguably the originators of this approach).

    In addition, while the airgunning market used to be served by small enthusiast-driven concerns, increasingly large, soley-financially-motivated (greed-driven :rolleyes:) multinationals are muscling in on the market (Dianne who own Daystate and Brocock, whoever now owns BSA/Gamo, Umarex).

    Arguably all of the factors above are bad news for the end user - both product quality and choice are falling as increasingly mercenary and disinterested brands seek to maximise profit from a shrinking market. As those providing the rifles move away from being manufacturers towards simply being suppliers or wholesalers, the level of knowledge within the industry is falling and hence impacting the quality of after-sales service.


    The market is incredibly slow at the moment (I think due to a lack of disposable income thanks to wider financial issues) which isn't helping matters - I think most airgun shops are having a lean time of it, while private used sales have slowed noticeably and it really is a buyer's market.

    So, what does the future hold for the British airgun market? If the past 2 decades are anything to go by, I don't think it's going to be anything worth looking forward to :(
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
  2. Bigant

    Bigant Posting Addict

    Messages:
    1,138
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    stoke on trent
    sad to say think you hit this bang on the head i think part of the problem is alot of people wont pay 400 quid for a nice new springer they want to spend less than 200 you dont get them buying for life. or they dont know better buy something cheap and nasty then give up on the sport. someone i was working with had spent almost a grand on several cheap air rifles that he then *Tuned* but couldn't get them accurate so went and got another cheap one.. didn't seem to understand when i pointed out he could have got himself a really nice one. peoples are silly :(
     
  3. Skinwiz

    Skinwiz Busy Member

    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oldham
    That was an excellent read , thank-you ,

    I for one have managed to get my 9 yr old interested , admittedly her first rifle was a rather badly 'personalised 'qb78 but because she had seen me sanding the stock and varnishing/painting it in her favourite blue it's a keeper as far she is concerned . I then went on to purchase a very nice s200 with the target stock for her and she's made up , but she also see's and understands the difference between the two rifles as far as feel and function go , she knows what it cost and appreciates why it cost that much .
    With a lot of things in life these days it's got to be as cheap as possible and it doesn't matter who or what gets lost in the process of reducing the costs . I'm determined that my kids grow up understanding that cheapest is rarely best but if you use your brain you can get decent stuff for decent money .
     
  4. mark112

    mark112 Engaging Member

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Coventry
    Hi,

    Thanks for cheering me up :) but sadly very true. Sad to me that some of these problems may have been down to poor QC/care of manufacture. Once you have gotten a poor reputation it's difficult to turn it round especially in these austere times. Interesting to see how Impact do as the product I handled looks very good (T500) if a little (ok a lot!) expensive.

    Mark
     
  5. trumpetier

    trumpetier Pro Poster

    Messages:
    6,257
    Likes Received:
    4,679
    Location:
    middlesbrough
    Great read cloverleaf, very very sad how things have gone and are going
     
  6. Gunfun

    Gunfun Engaging Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Likes Received:
    2,267
    Location:
    MANCHESTER
    The British airgun shooting industry has led the world in PCP development for 30 years, and has raised the standard of airgun quality & accuracy in springers & PCP'S around the world.

    Just look at the accuracy of airguns in the early 80's & the accuracy we expect today, if you could shoot 1" groups at 20 yards in the 80's with an off the shelf springer you were well proud, today I expect sub 5/8" groups at 55 yards from my PCP's !

    Our airgun tuners took Germany's best springers & made them much better !

    I think not only the economy slowing down is to blame for slow sales but also the quality of high end airgun (i.e if you buy a Daystate, Air Arms or Weihrauch with regular servicing they will keep going for ever, there is no need to replace them). Just look at the price of secondhand airguns, the depreciation is very low over a number of years.

    UK enthusiasts have developed HFT & FT competitions that have spread around the world bringing in 1000's of airgun sales. It is one part of UK export manufacturing that has grown over the last 30 years, and has created 1000's of jobs & millions in income !

    UK Airgun magazines/publications are one of our best promoters & are also exported around the world, some of the reviewers Bruce Potts & Mark Camaccio are so fussy (triggers, finish & accuracy) they are dragging the airgun manufactures to new levels.

    Two suggestions -
    1) Keep producing the best airguns available (see Air Arms & Impact Airguns).
    2) Keep bringing in new shooters to clubs & competitions.

    The last 30 years have been so good due to all the great people in this industry in the UK, NO WONDER OTHER COUNTRIES WANT A PIECE OF THE ACTION.
     
  7. mikemjm

    mikemjm Donator

    Messages:
    2,021
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    bham
    VMach appears to be a success story thats bucking the trend. I don't Steve Pope well enough to ask him how well the business is doing but given the waiting time for a custom rifle form him and the reputation of this products and the number of places that are now selling them, all seems well.
     
  8. davymole

    davymole Donator

    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Northop Hall, Mold, Flintshire North Wales
    Does this not mirror both the British car industry,Motorcyle industry,any white goods you wish to mention ,you only have to look where items are put together china/asia where its cheaper.We had a good ship building industry once you can say we had eveything ONCE:eek:
     
  9. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Donator

    Messages:
    16,784
    Likes Received:
    113
    Location:
    Drenewydd, Powys, Cymru
    I don't agree, I'm afraid. As I see it the comics are just churning out the same reviews for each "new" product that comes along; each rifle they test is a good buy for the money (whether it's a bag of Censored for a hundred quid or £1200's worth of bling wrapped around a pipe full of air), all of them shoot very smoothly out of the box (funny that, eh?) - the list goes on. The reviewers don't review anything; they just talk you through the same old tat time and time again. Occasionally one of the braver types will say that a trigger is a bit heavy, or the bluing is a little cheap, but when was the last time they laid out a list of faults with a rifle in an honest fashion?

    My mate bought an SMK StealthBomber XP37 (or whatever it was called; some bad HW-clone action in a crappy synthetic - sorry, tactical - stock) on the basis of a glowing review in one of the comics. The review said it did everything short of oral relief and making tea... It was horrendous. Perhaps the one the reviewer got was wonderful, but Merv's was cack, to put it kindly. Either the QC was shocking or the reviewer was lying, neither of which lead you to make comfortable conclusions.

    When budget brands buy big names, that's exactly what they are buying - the name, in the hope that the buying public will put their trust in the name and their money in the pockets of their shareholders.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
  10. milek

    milek Honorary Member

    Messages:
    10,908
    Likes Received:
    5,332
    Location:
    Birmingham
    I see a steady influx of new members at various clubs (ours for sure) and I see things getting better and better on the competition front. We can all do our bit and support the local club and encourage new members; this is where the best advice sits.

    The magazines have no choice but to promote some of the guff that comes down the line but what choice do they have. I know when I was growing up the pictures of that guff did much to spur me on to getting my first rifles. We are better off with them there than not.
     
  11. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Donator

    Messages:
    16,784
    Likes Received:
    113
    Location:
    Drenewydd, Powys, Cymru
    Sorry, Mick, I disagree with you as well. I'm not deliberately being obstreperous, but I think the AMTA and the comics are well in bed together; the best places for honest reviews and opinions of airguns are forums, whether this one or others, where people who do not have an agenda or advertising or budgets or shareholders or any of the other stuff that gets between an honest review and a reader.

    I bought both Airgun World and Airgunner the other day for the first time in about eighteen months. I wish I hadn't bothered. They were both just the same crap about the same brands (in some cases the same rifles) as were being gushed over eighteen months ago. The ads were the same, everything. Even the hunting articles make a big deal about which rifle the hunter was using and how great it is.

    It's very sad, but I struggle to see how the comics can offer a thousandth of the help and advice that a new shooter could get online. In fact, the only part of the mags which I read with any enthusiasm were Jim Tyler's contributions which are about the minutiae of how spring guns actually work. Coincidentally, theye were the only items which were not singing the praises of one or other of the bigger manufacturers' products.
     
  12. milek

    milek Honorary Member

    Messages:
    10,908
    Likes Received:
    5,332
    Location:
    Birmingham
    All very well Owen but there's very few shooting forums where I would point a ten year old too.
     
  13. larryking28

    larryking28 Busy Member

    Messages:
    595
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Worcester
    Every time I look at anything V-Mach it is out of stock :)
    Okay its a good thing their stuff sells but to me it never feels like there is enough of it around in the first place!
     
  14. Bigant

    Bigant Posting Addict

    Messages:
    1,138
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    stoke on trent
    the mags promote what they are told to from what i get to see of it. I am into my landrovers and the mags are the same full of a specific brands stuff who basically sponsor the mag. said brand is known throughout the world as been totally **** but the reviews are always glowing and full of praise for the high standards. so my guess is as has been said the mag is telling fibs for money or the bits they get sent to test are not the same as the bits we get to buy off the shelf.
     
  15. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Donator

    Messages:
    16,784
    Likes Received:
    113
    Location:
    Drenewydd, Powys, Cymru
    I agree; but I'd point their parents to several (well, one, certainly!).
     
  16. trumpetier

    trumpetier Pro Poster

    Messages:
    6,257
    Likes Received:
    4,679
    Location:
    middlesbrough
    The mags are there for the manufacturers, not us.....if its the advertisers that pay for the journoes and the production costs then we the public should get the shxte they call a airgun mag for free ......like that will happen :D;)
     
  17. larryking28

    larryking28 Busy Member

    Messages:
    595
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Worcester
    Indeed why slag off the companies that pay to advertise with you in the first place.
     
  18. Gunfun

    Gunfun Engaging Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Likes Received:
    2,267
    Location:
    MANCHESTER
    Hi Jackroadkill, I agree with your coment about most most reviews being the same, I find it wrong that a "Gun test" includes "the shots grouped well at reasonable hunting distances".
    The journalists I mentioned both do indepth reviews including number of shots & fps variation over the full charge of the pcp & give ctc shot group measurements over 25 to 45 yards depending on gun quality/price.
     
  19. JD

    JD Donator

    Messages:
    7,308
    Likes Received:
    1,033
    Location:
    Dorset
    There was also Parker Hale and Park rifle co, both made good rifles, but they just didn't sell in big amounts,

    leading them to disappear off the shelfs and out of production, barring one model I think ?

    I remember the airgun mags rating rifles by score, and not even a Venom custom rifle scored 10 out of 10 in every section.
     
  20. themadspread

    themadspread Donator

    Messages:
    11,066
    Likes Received:
    4,659
    Location:
    oxford
    good write up as always i would guess that the club members would be the ones to know about newbies coming into the ranks









    good write up as always regarding the numbers of new people coming into the ranks the club shooters would be the best judges i would think(most hunters like myself tend to be loners out in the field).so be good to know what opinions they have
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice