Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Air shotguns, part 2: the Fire 201

by B.B. Pelletier

On October 18, we learned about the Farco shotgun from the Philippines. In this second look at air shotguns, we'll examine a gun that was so powerful that it spawned a whole line of air rifles for its maker. The Fire 201 air shotgun from Shin Sung.

The original Fire 201 air shotgun later served as the foundation for a generation of Korean big bore air rifles.

Today's Fire 201 is completely different!
Pyramyd Air still sells a gun called the Fire 201S, but now it's a single-shot big bore rifle. It is actually a direct descendant of the shotgun, though it shoots single bullets/pellets only and has a 9mm rifled barrel. The original Fire 201 was a .25-caliber smoothbore that used special shotshells to hold the shot. A .25 caliber Beeman felt cleaning pellet was inserted on either end of this shotshell to hold the shot in place, and the shell was placed into the breech of the gun, exposed by a sliding gold cover.

Shot filled the special aluminum shotshell and was held in by a felt cleaning pellet on either side of the shell.

The loading trough that is now so familiar to big bore shooters was initially created to hold Fire 201 shotshell.

Tremendous power!
Because its valve is based on the powerful Career 707, the Fire 201 shotgun was extremely powerful. Mine shot a 115-grain load of shot at an average of 1,010 f.p.s., which works out to 260.55 foot-pounds of muzzle energy (visit the energy calculator on this website to figure that out). That was astounding, and I believe it holds the record for any air shotgun. But, American shooters avoided it like the plague. They weren't interested in air shotguns, it seemed. A few experimenters added a 9mm barrel to see what was possible, and Shin Sung's whole line of big bores was born!

Inside of a year, the 9mm rifle was being imported directly from Shin Sung, and the .25 caliber shotgun was becoming hard to find. Airgunners had to learn the lessons of bullet weight/length versus rifling twist in order to get any accuracy, but the factory also provided huge 9mm diabolo pellets for those who didn't like to bother.

Was it a practical shotgun?
Unlike the Farco, the Fire 201 could easily break clay pigeons. There was a tradeoff, though. Because of the relatively small charge of shot it held, this gun had no practical range. Like the .410 shotgun that is equal in velocity to the 12 gauge but only holds a tiny fraction of the shot, the Fire 201 shot pattern spread too fast to be of much use. At 10 yards it would tear apart a small bird, and at 20 yards the bird would not be hit by one shot! That made it a poor shotgun, but a wonderful foundation for a big bore rifle.

There are plenty of other air shotguns. Let me know if you're interested in hearing about them!


At October 26, 2005 7:14 AM, Anonymous Denny said...

Yep. wanna read more about air shotguns or any oddball airguns.

At October 26, 2005 7:34 PM, Blogger turtle said...

A lesson from the history books there for sure. You've said it a bunch of times since Ive been round here BB, something like, ya gotta hit it or any amount of power is a waste.

That comparison to a .410 puts things right in perspective. It's just like the handgun shot loads...great snake bullets, but thats about it.

Glad they diddn't give up on the framework though they look like really nice guns.

I'm right with Denny, "yep, wanna read more..."

it's always a great visit...

At October 26, 2005 7:51 PM, Anonymous B.B. Pelletier said...

Denny, Turtle and everyone else. Next Monday I'll do part 3.


At October 27, 2005 11:10 AM, Blogger airgundoc said...

I'm a little late with this post but I would also like to hear more about air powered shot guns since my initial introduction to fire arms started with a Remington 870 which I have had modified and I dearly love. I really didn't know that airguns came in that iteration. I guess one is never too old to learn something new!

At October 30, 2005 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to find an air shotgun that is actually practical for bird hunting. Hopefully you will be able to promote more. I know that there is a 13mm Shark Air Shotgun, but very little information about it. I am determined to find an air shotgun that is practical as as a bird hunting weapon. I am determined to not add a firearm to my hunting collection. I want to get an air shotgun, or a modification kit for an air shotgun. But very little information on the subject.

At October 30, 2005 7:22 AM, Anonymous B.B. Pelletier said...

If you mean wingshooting, no airgun ever made is practical for that. If you want to take potshots at sitting birds, then there might be a few that will work at close range (under 20 yards).

I will try to learn more about the Shark for you. At 13 mm it has a large bore, but if it's powered by CO2, you are sunk.

Another possibility might be to modify one of the existing rifles to shotgun use by reaming out the rifling. The big bore 909S has plenty of power to throw a small shot charge at a respectable velocity. But you will be limited in range and no wingshooting.

Tell me more about what you want.


At November 17, 2005 9:01 PM, Anonymous Shawn said...

I was hoping you had information on Rossi or a 410 made in brazil at garcia fire arms thank you

At November 19, 2005 4:32 PM, Anonymous B.B. Pelletier said...


We only do airguns here.


At November 29, 2005 6:14 PM, Anonymous S.S. said...

Has anyone ever tried to design a 9mm spring or gas operated rifle? I have a W & S Xocet .25 and love it. Be great if there was a 9mm springer available.

At November 29, 2005 6:55 PM, Anonymous B.B. Pelletier said...


There was a .43 caliber catapult gun, which is like a spring gun. I may be able to work it into a posting one day.

As for a 9mm gas gun, this very website sells the only one ever made! Go tp Pyramyd Air home page, click on air rifles and look at the Drulov 9mm CO2 rifle!


At November 30, 2005 2:55 PM, Anonymous S.S. said...

Do you know why the major air rifle makers don't make a 9mm spring_piston rifle? Is it to difficult to move a 60 gr. pellet at reasonable f.p.s with a springer?

At November 30, 2005 3:21 PM, Anonymous B.B. Pelletier said...


Yes, it is difficult to move a 60-grain pellet with a spring piston. But not impossible.

The reason they don't do it is probably because there would be very little demand. The .25 caliber springers already have a hard time selling and a slower .356 would be that much tougher.

Like I said, though, in the 1840s, there was a .43-caliber ball-shooting gun that used elastic bands to propell a 120-grain ball fast enough to kill a wild pig! So at least that's something.


At November 30, 2005 6:05 PM, Anonymous S.S. said...

Thanks for the insight. I really enjoy the blog and the interaction with someone who knows something about air rifles.

At December 03, 2005 7:19 PM, Blogger 254269 said...


When using same pellet or bullet could you say that Career Single Shot 9mm has same ft/lbs muzzle energy as Ultra repeater? And do you think the .360 round balls do well in career single shot?

Thank you very much!

At December 04, 2005 9:30 AM, Anonymous B.B. Pelletier said...


In my testing the single shot was much more powerful that the Ultra.

Also, you will be shaving 0.004 from those balls when you shoot. I don't think they will load very easily.


At November 10, 2006 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the best and cheapest air shotgun to kill birds with? Are there any that are powered be a standard 12gram powerlett? Thanks-

At November 10, 2006 4:36 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

The Gamo Viper Express is one of the only air shotguns being made today. There is one made in Argentina, but it's powered by a gas spring and I know next to nothing about it.

No CO2-powered air shotgun has ever had the power to kills birds. In fact, the only air shotgun that really ever did have true power was the .25-caliber Fire 201 that was turned into a 9mm big bore rifle.

Why don't you ready my five-part report on air shotguns on this blog. Just search for the term on the home blog page.


At November 28, 2006 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear BB,

Would it be possible to mount a Fire 201 .25 shotgun barrel back on a standard 9mm Fire 201.
Can this been done easily or.....

Just got hold on a 6.4 mm original Fire 201 shotgun barrel and I'm planning to things the other way round.

You started this all, after reading your great article about the Fire 201 shotgun I had to get one :-)



At November 28, 2006 1:45 PM, Anonymous B.B. Pelletier said...


It shouldn't be too difficult. After all, the first 9mms were rebarreled .25 shotguns that were done here in the U.S.


At December 05, 2006 11:45 PM, Blogger ducknutz said...


I have some questions about air shotguns. I would like your opinion an idea that I have.



At December 26, 2007 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone know an air shotgun that cost around $150.

At December 27, 2007 6:31 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

You're probably going to have to buy a used shotgun. I've never seen them as low as $150, but I have see a few Yewahs selling for $250. They show up at airgun shows.


At January 09, 2008 11:23 AM, Blogger Tony said...

I have the Shark 28ga CO2 shotgun from Argentina. The build quality is utilitarian at best. Sunshine airguns in FL is the exclusive importer ( Don't get your hopes up. I would be willing to allow B.B. to test the gun for addition to the air shotgun group.


At January 09, 2008 3:09 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Thanks for the offer. I'm in contact with George at Sunshine and he'll send me one if I ask.


At August 06, 2008 7:44 PM, Blogger Z said...

Is there any chance that you might do a more in-depth review on the Fire 201S 9mm itself, in terms of accuracy, trigger, power and such?
It seems like a really neat pcp.


At August 07, 2008 9:51 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Yes, I can do it, but I'm loaded down right now with guns to test, so you'll have to remind me periodically.


At September 21, 2008 3:08 PM, Blogger Z said...

Hey B.B.,i'm just reminding you about the review on the Fire 201S. I know you said remind you periodically, I hope I didn't wait too late.


At September 21, 2008 3:59 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Good timing! I will do it this week.


At October 27, 2008 1:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think shooting 13mm round balls out of shark air shotgun will do any good?

At October 27, 2008 1:43 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

I don't know what you mean by "good." Do you mean accurate? Powerful?

The ball will not be accurate but it probably will generate around 100 foot-pounds.


At October 27, 2008 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's exactly what I needed to know. Do you know the exact caliber. It is called 13mm but it says the barrel is 14mm

At October 27, 2008 4:43 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Sorry, but I don't know the exact caliber. I have asked Sunshine Airguns for one to test but they keep putting me off. I would ask them, if I were you.


At October 29, 2008 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ordered a shark air shotgun, and I am thinking about having a .308 or 9mm barrel made. Do you know anybody who would take such order? Another thing is that since it works on CO2, I thought that I could use 3000psi hpa tank with 1250psi regulated output. Do you think it is a bad idea?

At October 29, 2008 4:56 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Well, that's a lot of work, but I think Big Bore Bob might be able to do it. Google him and see.

I do think the pressure you suggest is perfect for a CO2 valve.


At October 29, 2008 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot.

At November 06, 2008 8:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

B.B. I was looking at and a couple of people there say the shark is good enough for birds at 30-40 yards (smaller sized birds i predict).If you find out anything of the shark please tell me, I am considering buying it and would like an expert opinion... Now, if i could just find out where to get the .22 cal barrel it says u can buy for it... Thanks!!!

At November 07, 2008 8:57 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


A 12-gauge is considered minimal for a 40-yards shot, so I don't see how a shotgun that shoots at half the speed will work.

Sunshine Airguns is the only Shark dealer I know of. They can be bothersome to contact, but keep trying.


At January 05, 2009 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put in an order for one of the Shark 13mm co2 shotguns with Sunshineair over a year ago. I've called them twice regarding the order and each time gotten excuses. They seem content to keep the item in their catalog, even adding info on the interchangable barrels but for some reason don't stock the gun. Too bad. Saw posts at reviewcentre about owners firing 50 cal. balls using sabots in the plastic shells, looked interesting but had to try if you can't get your hands on the gun :(

At January 05, 2009 5:23 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

I'm sorry, but I have been having the same experience with them for the past three years.



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