by Tex Force
If you attend guns shows, flea markets, garage sales, or you go to thrift stores and pawn shops, you have undoubtedly seen airguns for sale from time to time. If they were CO2 guns, they were often not working, which makes your bargaining position quite strong. You can buy these guns for a song, but do you know what to do with them once they’re yours? I do, so let me tell you what a great store of inexpensive airguns awaits the careful shopper.
CO2 guns are the best bargains
Spring air guns are so simple that even the most casual person can figure them out. The old ones can often be gotten working again for almost no investment, so I find that they will usually be the hardest guns to really bargain for. Pneumatics will also be hard because they can often be made to work again with just proper lubrication, so once again, the bargains will be fewer. But CO2 guns are held in distrust by the general public. If there are any great bargains to be had, this is where they are most likely to be.
The miracle of Crosman Pellgunoil
Using Crosman Pellgunoil is a tip I’ve used to buy a great many airguns at bargain prices. The seller has a CO2 gun, but he knows very little about it. You can’t ask him if it works, because he says he doesn’t know. That’s why I like to carry a powerlet with me when I go to these places. If you install it and there is a fast leak, the gun needs to be resealed. Having demonstrated that to the seller, you can then tell him it will cost you approximately $50 to get the gun resealed. That’s transportation both ways and the cost of fixing. Try to get him to come that far off the price, if there is room. For guns like a Benjamin 262 or a Sheridan model F, this is a good strategy. For a plastic cheapie like a Crosman 454 that shouldn’t have more than $25 on it to begin with, it isn’t worth the trouble.
If, on the other hand, the gun has just a slow leak, you may be in luck! It still leaks, so you can still ask for the discount, but putting a drop of Pellgunoil on the tip of the next powerlet will fix about 75 percent of these guns! I once bought three Crosman rifles for $45 this way – two 180s and a 187. They were all fixed by the Pellgunoil. I sold the 187 for $100, the other 180 for $60 and I still own the third rifle.
Crosman 180 is a nice old gun that can still be found.
There are a few CO2 guns that command a lot of money. The Crosman 600 is well-known to collectors and to the general public. One in shooting condition is always worth $175 these days. A nice one in a box will bring upwards of $250. But, the 600 is just the beginning! The rarer 677 BB pistol is worth another $50. Most of the time you’ll find the 677 in the box in nice shape, because back when it was new all the Powerlets leaked. After a kid shot a couple hundred rounds and found he was paying more to shoot BBs than if he had been shooting .22 long rifle shells, the gun was put away to be found a generation later.
A 10-shot semiauto Crosman 600 in its box is a nice find.
Above the 600-series guns is the Crosman 451, a copy of the Army Colt .45 that has a strange revolving cylinder that operates horizontally instead of vertically. A nice working 451 in a box will fetch $300-350. Above that is the Challenger Plainsman gas pistol. While the Blue Book top price of $750 seems a little high, I’ve seen non-working beaters bring $200, and a nicer working gun with some black paint remaining will go for $500, or so.
The treasures keep mounting from here. While the common Schimel CO2 pistol only brings $150 in the box, the much rarer American Luger (the same gun by another name) will fetch $1,000. The bulk-fill Winsel goes for even more than that.
Schimel .22 caliber single-shot is common; but, if it says American Luger, it’s worth a lot more.
Yes, there are a lot of older CO2 guns still around and a sharp-eyed buyer can often find a diamond in the rough. All it takes in knowing what to look for.