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!

54 Responses to “Air shotguns, part 2: the Fire 201”

  • Denny Says:

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

  • turtle Says:

    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…

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

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

    B.B.

  • airgundoc Says:

    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!
    CWI

  • Anonymous Says:

    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.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    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.

    B.B.

  • Shawn Says:

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

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Shawn,

    We only do airguns here.

    B.B.

  • S.S. Says:

    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.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    S.S.

    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!

    B.B.

  • S.S. Says:

    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?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    S.S.

    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.

    B.B.

  • S.S. Says:

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

  • 254269 Says:

    Hello,

    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!

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    254269,

    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.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

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

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    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.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    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 :-)

    Thanks,

    Hans

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Hans,

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

    B.B.

  • ducknutz Says:

    B.B.

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

    Thanks!

    ducknutz

  • Anonymous Says:

    anyone know an air shotgun that cost around $150.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    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.

    B.B.

  • Tony Says:

    I have the Shark 28ga CO2 shotgun from Argentina. The build quality is utilitarian at best. Sunshine airguns in FL is the exclusive importer (http://sunshineairguns.net/catalog/). 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.

    –Tony

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Tony,

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

    B.B.

  • Z Says:

    B.B.
    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.

    ZAP

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Zap,

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

    B.B.

  • Z Says:

    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.

    Zap

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Zap,

    Good timing! I will do it this week.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

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

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    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.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    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

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    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.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    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?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    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.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Thanks a lot.

  • Anonymous Says:

    B.B. I was looking at reviewcenter.com 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!!!

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Shark,

    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.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    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 :(

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

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

    B.B.

  • vin Says:

    bb

    glad to hear your better now

    wondering if they make an affordable compressor yet
    thanks vin

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Vin,

    I guess by "affordable" you mean under $500? Nobody has yet released a compressor at that price point yet. Several are in development.

    B.B.

  • Jo Says:

    BB,

    I have a Fire 201 Shotgun; not the 9mm. It needs to be degassed. How do I do it?

    Thanks!

    -Dan

  • Mr B. Says:

    Jo,

    I do not have the answer to your question, but I can point you in the right direction to get one. You posted to a blog that was written in 2005. There aren't many people reading the older posts. If you will repost your question on the current blog I'm sure you'll get your question answered. http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/

    Bruce

  • Jo Says:

    Thanks Bruce,

    I am also trying on the Yellow. Tom is really good about tracking all posts, regardless of how old the original thread is. :) Thanks for the help, though.

    All best,

    -Dan

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Jo,

    The only way to degass a 201 is to shoot it out. I've done it several times. It won't take long because that gun uses a lot of air.

    I mean dry-fire, of course.

    B.B.

  • Dan Says:

    BB,

    I can't shoot it out; it is over-filled and the hammerspring isn't powerful enough. Grrrrr lol.

    -Dan (not Jo lol; was writing on my wife's account)

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Dan,

    Okay, then someone needs to partially disassemble the shotgun and rap the valve stem with a hammer. That's how it's done. It will not leak down in years of waiting, so don't try.

    B.B.

  • Dan Says:

    BB,

    Any idea where to get dis-assembly instructions?

    Thanks; never fear, I am not waiting lol; just looking for answers. :)

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Dan,

    I would contact the A Team. They are usually pretty helpful. That's Ray and Hans Apelles.

    B.B.

  • Dan Says:

    I will do that, BB; thanks so much for your help. I have a Foster fitting on the gun if that helps; that is a mod I performed just this weekend lol….otherwise, the gun is bone stock.

    -Dan

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Dan,

    Just curious; how did the gun get overfilled? I'd like to know for my own experience.

    I will use it in my future writing, but I won't name names.

    B.B.

  • Dan Says:

    lol…no worries, Tom. I was thinking about my Samyang .45 which DOES use 3000; the Fire 201 shotgun takes 2500. I just made a filling error; apparently a costly (at least in effort) one! :)

    Do you have an email for those guys you mentioned? Found them all over the web, but no contact information as yet…

    Thanks BB!

    -Dan

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Dan,

    Try this,

    ateamray@optonline.net

    B.B.

  • Dan Says:

    Thanks, BB!

    Dropping them a line now…

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