Fueled on Ed’s reputation and brand trust that EDgun has created with the Matador, Leshiy, Lelya, and Veles offerings, the excitement around the Leshiy 2 is palpable. It’s a powder keg really, in the form of compressed air (sorry, had to!), ready to explode once the first pellets leave the barrels of those lucky initial few whom secured theirs for a July/August delivery.
While we wait, I asked Ed to [virtually] sit down and talk about the project, which is a dangerous act on my part, as getting between him and production of this little airgun is a dangerous act in itself… but I’ll take one for the team for you guys!
The EDgun Leshiy 2 felt like it came out of nowhere, as the ultimate pack airgun goes semi-auto, moving from the tank single shot Leshiy Classic to the semi-auto Leshiy 2! It’s taken the industry by storm, selling out in mere minutes not once, but twice over at EDgun West.
While the details are slowly emerging, that didn’t seem to matter, as the initial buyers knew the inevitable… yet another gem delivered by Ed and his team.
If you’ve ever met Ed, you know… he’s an intimidating guy. It’s not something he puts off on purpose, the dude is just an incredibly smart guy, and you don’t want to ask a dumb question… like the time I sent him a video of me putting the barrel in backwards (oops!). I’ll save that for another day! Anyways, my first question was a softball, or so I thought… I quickly regretted it in the moment, but in retrospect, I learned a lot about how Ed’s brain works… and most importantly how that translates into something I get to blast critters with!
EGL: The Leshiy Classic is an iconic airgun, but almost immediately people began to ask for things… almost a wishlist. What made you finally say ok, and begin the project?
Ed: To be completely frank I can say that the “wishlist” from the people was the last thing that moved us to a new project. [insert initial shame ;)] Yes, that is the business, yes, we earn money on what we are doing, but the most interesting thing for us is the creation itself. I would describe it as the engineering challenge like “I wonder if I can?”. Remember like Raskolnikov said by Dostoyevsky [oh thank god for google] “I am a trembling creature or whether I have the right...” So, only this question always moved us forward, that is the key. And only after that we consider the “wishlists”, the “market needs”. It takes time. We need time to see what we could make better. We need time to find and get used to new technologies. We need time to start thinking in a different way. That is the evolution of development.
While some have tried their hand on being a product that excites both air gunner and firearms shooter (mostly targeting power), the Leshiy 2 seems to fit right into that middle ground of say a close range to 200 yard mid to small game gun…
EGL: was that the category you were trying to fit the Leshiy 2 into as part of your design process?
Ed: While power is certainly a factor, it’s not the only thing. I will tell you [see video below] I have personally taken the 350mm in .30 up to about 305m/s [~1000fps or ~98fpe] with a 44gr JSB. Getting power is easy, but my goal is always efficiency. What’s important to me isn’t just the power output, but how efficiently I can deliver it. CC per joule is my main concentration. I want that to be 9-10 joules per CC on anything I make. This way I’m delivering the customer a very efficient gun. What you use it for is your business.
I found that super interesting, and a great way to measure an airgun that I’ve never thought of. Every time I speak with Ed, I walk away with some little nugget like that. While the end product is obviously what I’m excited about… the process is super interesting to me.
EGL: How long have you’ve been working on the design?
Ed: Design, in fact that is almost the last thing we are working on. The design is defined by the construct, by the scheme we decided to use. And only having the idea what it should be we create the design. Remember what Roden answered when he was asked if it is difficult to make the sculptures? [back to google I go] “No, that is easy you just take the piece of marble and just cut off the excess volume of it…” So, we are almost in the same process, but vise versa, we take the idea and ramp up the necessary:-)
I’m 99% positive that was Ed telling me that was poorly crafted question, so rather than follow-up, I just read between the lines… “design was pretty simple, and a short process. What took time was creating solutions to engineering obstacles along the way.
The initial videos and photos I’ve seen… the design of Leshiy 2 is perfect for me. It checked every box.
EGL: While it’s clear you hit on few wishlist items from your customers (multi-shot, larger air cylinder)… what were your personal design goals with the Leshiy 2?
Ed: As I told earlier, the wishlist is the last part of the process, and what moves us to create something new. As engineers we enjoy the creation as the process itself. And only when we reach the goal, when we see that the gun turns to be interesting, for us, first of all, we start thinking about the customers, what would they want to have in this gun, what would they be interested and so on. To tell you truth some things which we offer are made ONLY for customers. Me, personally don’t need or don’t like it, but I follow the principle in this case “When you go fishing use the bait the fish likes, not the bait you like…” That is why at the final part of the creation we start to consider the “wishlist” and can take something from it, and not destroy the main idea of the project.
Ok, so what I’ve learned so far… the outer look and feel came last, and to an extent is the “easy” part of the process of building the Leshiy 2. It’s clear the hard part was perhaps addressing the “I wonder if I can” elements of what’s inside what we’re seeing externally.
EGL:What were some of the biggest challenges you faced with the L2 design?
Ed: To put everything in such a compact size, and force it to work without the issues. In fact almost all we made in Leshiy 2 was not a trivial task, starting with the new valve and finishing with the compactness. We calculated with preciseness not even each millimeters, we calculated all the layout by 0.01 mm. That is the preciseness of our thinking in this project. And to our joy when we make the prototypes we found out that it worked 95 % of how we planned. It says that we, as a team reached the level when we can create something only in our computer, without real models in metal, and can be sure on 95 % that it will work without issues as it was conceived. And as I said above, it takes time to reach that level of the readiness to create, time and experience.
While if history holds true, just like every other new gun release, Ed will do a full video on the internals, but I, and I know many others are really excited to know what’s under the hood so to speak. There’s been a few videos out there, but it’s clear (to me at least) the person doesn’t have a clue how it works. No one does that better than Ed.
EGL:As you can tell, I’m a visual person… where design to me is the outside ascetics. What makes the Leshiy 2 so special on the inside?
Ed:It’s unlike any system that’s ever been done before in airguns. It’s been compared to other hammerless guns, but the truth is there are zero similarities. I don’t blame these comparisons by some on the internet as I’ve yet to release the details. I will do a video soon, but for now my time is focused on meeting the demand. So you ask me what is so special on the inside, I guess everything :)
It’s at this point it really started to sink in that based on all my interactions with Ed… he’s a brilliant Engineer and with the balls to push the envelope and make something 100% new. What that is… I guess we will find out soon. Honestly though… I just want to double tap a leshiy.
With a little of the history on the project behind us, I wanted to chat with Ed on something well within my swim lane… the epic trolling that was Anubis.
EGL:The story of Anubis was quite fun and clever… actually pretty funny in retrospect. Are there any behind the scenes stories that didn’t make a video or the website?
Ed:Sure, we had a lot of funny situations while making that project and that what you see in video is just a small part of that. Some situations are understandable only for us, some could be interested for everybody, but while creating we are focused only on the process not on the describing it. We prefer to spend time for work but not for showing how we work. I know it would be interesting for customer to get into the process, to see how it was made, but I think that is impossible, though we try to show you the atmosphere of it, I don’t know if we are in a success or not…
I started this article just before the presale went live over at www.edgunwest.com
for the first 100 (well 200 actually) Leshiy 2’s. The first 100 sold-out in 45min, and another 100 went in less than a couple days. I guess I’m not the only one eagerly waiting! I followed back up with Ed for his thoughts on the demand.
EGL:The demand or this airgun is remarkable… what changes have you made to help meet that demand?
Ed:We made 104 changes to the gun which everybody see in video before we started its serial production and no doubt we would improve it continuously just collecting the feedback from the customers. It doesn’t matter how long we could test it ourselves or with the beta testers, the mass production will show something new anyhow and we have to react on it. I would say that we, as a team are always unsatisfied with what we make, we completely know that there is no perfectness in this world and we are doomed to walk on that road forever, and that makes the life interesting, in fact. We consider it to be too boring to reach something and stop on that level, enjoying the results.
Writing about the Leshiy is fun and all, but man I can’t wait to get my hands on this thing!!
Cheers, and thanks for reading!