I've read with interest the many comments on Bumper Boys, both from owners and those considering the product.
I bought a Derby Double about 2 years ago. It's a well made product and works as advertised. The dogs love it. It does not take a long time for the dogs to learn to pick it out in the field. I take that as interest and desire on the dogs part.
It wasn't long before I had to have another Derby Double. The dogs were able to pick up on that one too after one day in the field! I have seen my dogs look for the BB's in the field, without ever pressing the sound button!
I might add here, that I had an AKC Junior Hunter title on a "just turned 7 months old" pup last year. Four for four! He absolutely "smoked" his marks. I have to give credit to the Derby Doubles he was trained with.
If two are good, then three must be better, so I got another Derby Double. Same result from the dogs point of view. They just love these things. My dogs now walk to the line, sit and start looking for the BB's!!
I have recommended these products to friends and pro trainers, and they and their dogs all love them! I feel that if the dogs respond to these things as positively as they do, how can you go wrong?
Now that my dogs are used to them, it's amazing to me that you can bring them to the line and watch them look out into the field to located the BB's.
I interpret that as increased interest on the dogs part. Anything that increases their interest and desire is a positive thing.
But there have been some problems with them. I like to think it is growing pains with the company. Let me explain.
They are a small company with a small staff. They have a very large demand for the product and a ton of phone calls and emails. Sometimes it takes them awhile to respond back or get the product to you, because of the small staff. Sometimes they send the wrong stuff, but the order is correct. That means the shipping dept. has screwed up. I personally know that several folks in the shipping dept have been fired for repeated occurances of shipping the wrong product or to the wrong address. The BB folks are recognizing the problem and making attempts to fix it. How can you argue about that!
So sometimes a bad one may be shipped. Since I have gotten most of the bad launchers and transmitters, everyone else gets the good ones!! Ask Aaron about that.
You call customer service and they are sometimes hard to get. But they will get back to you, and if the problem cannot be resolved on the phone, they will ship you a new part or a new Bumper Boy! How can you beat that? They are trying to satisfy the customer.
I have worked with them to help solve the "battery problem" and the "transmitter draining the transmitter battery" problem, the no launch problem, and a few others I have experienced. I've helped to rewrite that terrible programming manual as originally issued. Their web site is being redesigned, and we hope to have a spot on there so that you can download the programming manual at anytime, as it continually becomes updated. They are also considering adding a "Training tips" section so that we can all send in our ideas and share them with each other. Isn't that nice!
One of the things Aaron and I have discussed time after time is maintenance of the launchers. We cannot stress that enough, and you do need to keep them clean.
Don't store wet bumpers on the launching tubes, and remove fired blanks, when your training day is over. Clean the inside of the launching tube on the bumpers, the outside of the tube, and use a .22 cal. wire brush to clean the burnt powder from the firing area once a week or every two weeks.
The advanced sound option is what you HAVE to have! Period!!
I use the duck "sound". Have you ever heard such a common duck call? But the dogs pick that up in an instant!! Do you need this 80.00 option? ABSOLUTELY!! Don't buy one without it.
The Max 5000 does not have a sound feature, prior to launch. It is difficult
for the dogs to "lock in" without an attention getting sound prior to launch.
Since trials and hunt tests ALWAYS have some sort of attention getting sound, it seems logical to me that you must train the same way. Sometimes the Max 5000 light bumpers do not travel very far in the wind. BB bumpers almost always travel the same distance in the wind. I have also witnessed that the Max 5000 bumpers are not as visable as the BB bumpers. They seem to get dirty faster. If your bumpers do get dirty, run about 1/2 a sink of water and add a cup or two of bleach. Add bumpers and alow them to soak for an hour. Use a scrub brush on the bumpers and they clean up real nice. Make sure to wash the bumpers in fresh clean water to remove any bleach before allowing the dogs to pick them up.
I never did like the idea of carrying around compressed gas. I don't know if there has been an accident or not, but I don't think it would be pretty.
If you smoke, the idea of compressed gas and a cig is not a good idea!
I don't find the Derby Doubles heavy as some have suggested... about 6 lbs apiece I think. I know women that use them and most don't have a problem with the weight. They store easily in your car or truck. The 4 shooter can be handled by most women that will use two hands on it. Yes, they are a little bulky, UNTIL you learn how to handle them. I find it easier to reload by grasping the launcher in the middle with your left hand, and flipping it over to expose the firing mechanism. Then flip the locking lever hard to extract the spent shells. Insert two more live shells, lock them down, and turn it back over and cock them then. Nothing worse that forgetting to cock them, and be 200 yards away when you remember you forgot to cock them. That's a handler memory problem!
Distances launched can be controlled in several ways. I use the green power charges to approximate the distance of what I believe to be the distance of what the average bird boy can throw. A secondary thought here, is that it makes the dog feel comfortable running close to the gun. I also use pieces of 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch pvc pipe placed over the launching tubes to further reduce the distance thrown. When you need more distance, remove the pvc pipe tubes. For even more distance use the yellow or the red charges. You can re-adjust the distance with these yellow or red charges with the pvc pipe too! Incidently, you can find the rubber o-rings (size 11, I think) in the plumbing section of Lowes or Home Depot; 10 or 12 of them for $1.36.
Some have complained that the black and white bumpers always land black side up. There are designed that way. You can request to have all white bumpers sent to you....... especially good for young pups.
If your bumpers have a hole on the tip end, where the string comes out, you can insert a correctly sized bolt into the hole on the black side and that should make the bumper turn white side up. Or put two bolts on each end of the bumper and cable tie them to the bumper.
This is not a perfect world and dog training is far from being a perfect thing. But these products, while expensive, do provide you with a distinct advantage over those that do not use them. Wingers only fire once, and the smallest BB fires twice! If the dog gets lost on the first bumper, hit the sound key and fire the second one. You cannot do that with a winger!
Wingers for some, are hard to transport and set up. The BB's are not.
Granted wingers can throw birds and BB's cannot. So wingers DO have a place and a need in your training bag of tricks.
For those of us that train alone, and we all do from time to time, BB's are the solution to throwing those marks. Almost anyone, especially the smaller ladies can set up two BB's faster that they can set up two wingers!
When your training buddies have to cancel out at the last minute, YOU can still go training and have your marks thrown. Now you are ahead of your buddies!
I hope these comments will help some folks seriously consider these great products. If anyone has any questions, post here and I will try and help.
Note: Bumper Boy now has brass weights that can be used to insert into the holes on the black side. My recent experience indicates that they will turn the white side up when using these weights, 90% of the time, cover not withstanding.