PHILIPPINE AIRGUNS
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PHILIPPINE AIRGUNS
Previous and current manufacturers located in the Philippines. There has been a thriving production of airguns in the Philippines since the 1970s. The reason for this and why the spring piston airgun revolution largely bypassed the Philippines basically was due to one man: President/Dictator Ferdinand Edralin Marcos. In 1972 [1], Marcos declared martial law and all gun importations were stopped, including importation of airguns. All firearms were confiscated except for those belonging to people who were able to get a special license only for pistols under 9mm, .22 rimfire rifles, and shotguns. Even those guns became hard to get because of the ban on importation. Local supplies of American airguns, like the popular Crosman 114 and 160, and precision European airguns, quickly dried up. The Squires Bingham Company tried to resurrect the Crosman 160, but this failed and, in any case, that gun was not up to the hunting standards of Philippine shooters. Airgun clubs dedicated to the precision shooting sports closed because of the halt in the importation of precision airguns; there were no precision airguns produced locally. Philippine shooters suddenly needed airguns, but mainly they wanted power for hunting. Spring piston airguns and guns using soda pop cartridges were not up to their needs, and PCP guns were not a viable choice due to the difficult filling requirements. Bulk fill CO2 was the answer for this new hunter-driven market. Bulk fill CO2 guns were light and easy to fill from a 10 oz. cylinder on the shooter's belt and the cylinders could be filled easily and cheaply at many places. So the Philippines became a hunter’s airgun market, not a precision airgun market!
The most interesting things about Philippine airguns are their power, freewheeling designs, and their variety. Separate sections of this guide now give an introduction to some of the main Philippine brands found in the USA: Some of the best known makers are LD, Farco, MC Topgun, Valesquez, Valiente, Rogunz, Koffmanz, JBC, Harlie, Isaac, Garco, Centerpoint, Trident, Dreibund, Armscor (SB), and Spitfire. Some especially interesting guns are the beautifully made side lever Pampanga-type CO2 guns.
It is reported that the majority of the Philippine airguns that have come into the USA were brought via service men who purchased them in the Philippines. This was especially true of the LD airguns; apparently about 20% to 25% of their production came in via that route. Several models of Philippine airguns also have been imported into the USA by Air Rifle Specialties in New York and Bryan and Associates in South Carolina. (Dave Schwesinger, owner of Air Rifle Specialties in New York, used to live in the Philippines and spent a lot of time in the LD airgun shop.)
All Philippine hunting airguns are relatively scarce. Production ran from an average of less than one hundred guns per month for LD, evidently the largest maker, down to a few guns a month from a custom maker such as JBC. Perhaps 70% to 99% of most production runs stayed in the Philippines. Most American and European airgun factories, and large importers, figure on several thousand or tens of thousands of guns per month. Thus Philippine hunting airguns are very desirable from an airgun hunter's or collector's standpoint.
[1] By interesting coincidence, this was just about the time that the adult airgun market in the USA got its first significant commercial start, based primarily on spring-piston airguns. (See www.beemans.net/adult_airguns_in_america.htm.)
A sampling of Philippine airguns is given below. See the "L" section for LD airguns and the "F" section for Farco airguns.

From Blue Book Publications:


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