I just came across this Browning Airstar 200 at gunbroker.com and thought it would be a good gun to feature, as I’m willing to wager few of my readers have ever seen one. I had a review model in my hands several years ago, and haven’t seen a single example since.
The distinguishing feature of this gun is an electrically driven cocking mechanism. There’s a battery and motor in the stock, and a power switch under the handgrip. Push a button, and the motor drives a threaded rod that cocks the piston. Wait until the red LED lights up, open a tap, insert your pellet, and you’re ready to shoot. You c an see the US patent here.
The cocking was rather slow, if I recall correctly, and to me, and to most reviewer, the gun was more gimmick that useful advance. But to someone with limited arm strength, this would be a very useful feature.
While it was marketed as a Browning here in the USA, in Europe, it was known as a Rutten. I imagine that Rutten, a Belgian company like Browning, was taking advantage of Browning’s US marketing.
They didn’t sell very well, probably as this was a rather expensive gun; I seem to recall it cost in the neighborhood of $800-900 in England, and up to $1200 here, whcih would buy you a very nice pneumatic. Repair was a question, too, with spare parts and service only being available in Belgium! Still, great toy for the collector with a taste for different and unusual guns.