The BB pistol that didn’t shoot BBs

By B.B. Pelletier

We’re surrounded by hundreds of BB pistols today. There seems to be no end of models from which to choose, but it wasn’t always that way. In the 1930s, the first American BB pistol was a very different kind of airgun.

The Daisy Targeteer was on every kid’s wishlist!
Daisy’s Targeteer was initially offered in 1937. It came in a cardboard box with the pistol, instructions, a metal tube of special shot (we’ll get to that in a moment) and spinner targets. The box converted into a backstop that held the spinners so they could be shot safely. All this cost just $2.00!


The first Targeteer was blued & had fixed sights.


The Targeteer box doubled as a shooting gallery.

Special shot for a special gun
The Targeteer’s action is a spring-piston design that has to be the world’s weakest BB gun! Instead of shooting conventional steel BBs, it shot special .118-caliber steel shot that Daisy made just for this gun. If you read about the Sharpshooter rubber-band catapult gun in my May 11 posting, you’ll remember that they are the same caliber as the Targeteer. The Sharpshooter shot traditional No. 6 lead birdshot that’s used in shotgun shells. The Targeteer’s ammo was steel! Only a company as large as Daisy had the resources to make a steel version of this shot!


Regular BBs dwarf the tiny Targeteer shot.

The Targeteer operates just like a conventional Daisy rifle in all ways but cocking. To cock it, pull the barrel back into the action. Most people simply pushed the muzzle back with the heel of their hand while holding the grip in their other hand, which means they’re cocking a gun with they’re hand over the muzzle!

Not a bang but a whimper
The Targeteer discharges with an anemic sound, much like a mouse coughing. When the piston jumps forward, the BB exits the muzzle at, perhaps, 100-150 f.p.s. Being very light as well as slow, the BB cannot break windows, lightbulbs or even one sheet of paper at a distance greater than 10 feet. That’s why the cardboard box was good enough as a backstop.

Even though this gun lacks power, it’s fun to shoot! The Targeteer lasted up to World War II, then resumed production after the war. Nickel-plated versions (often mistakenly called chrome-plated) were available after the war, as was a very pretty plastic shooting gallery model that housed the gun on top of the gallery when not in use. The gallery was only offered from 1949 through 1952 and is considered a prized Daisy collectible in its own right.


A fancy shooting gallery also held a
nickel-plated Targeteer when not in use.

Targeteers are easy to find!
I find Targeteers all the time at flea markets, gun shows and airgun shows. A reasonable price for the first-version blued gun by itself in good condition with lots of blue and no rust is $60. Nickel-plated guns with lots of finish sell for $40 to $60. A Targeteer complete in the cardboard box sells for $100 to $150; the red plastic shooting gallery with gun goes for $200 to $300, depending on condition. The metal shot tubes bring $5 to $10; if you’re lucky, they’ll still have some copper-plated steel shot inside.

Read about it in the Blue Book of Airguns
The Blue Book of Airguns, 5th Edition will be available soon. If you’re interested in strange old airguns like the Targeteer, be sure to order a copy.

35 Responses to “The BB pistol that didn’t shoot BBs”

  • Anonymous Says:

    Hello all.
    Please, give me link to any Advertisement PROGRAM – wanna to purchase!!!

    Thank you!

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Are you asking where you can buy an old BB gun like the ones shown here? If so, you can get them at gunbroker.com or auctionarms.com in one of their auctions.

    There is also a place whetre there are classified ads, and they currently have a Daist Targeteer with gallery. It’s at http://www.gunsamerica.com

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I’m looking for any info of [b]XRumer software[/b].
    Can you help me? Or give me a link to the official site of this program.

    Thanks

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    What is XRumer? Does it have anything to do with airguns?

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I’ve got one of these and I’m trying to figure out the value of it. On the top it says

    “DAISY NO. 118 TARGET SPECIAL

    CALIBRE .118 PATENTS PENDING

    DAISY MFG. CO. PLYMOUTH, MICH. U.S.A”

    Spelling and capitalization is all correct, minor rust throughtout all of the gun, from what I can tell it still shoots but I’m not sure because I don’t have any .118 bb’s. Rear sight is adjustable for elevation. Any info (value, year produced, ect.) would be extremely helpful.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    You have a late variation of the gun. Made around 1950. I was ay an airgun show this weekend and guns in the same condition as yours were selling for $40-50.

    For shot, just buy a box of shotgun shells filled with number six shot.

    B.B.

  • mike Says:

    I have a chrome plated Targeteer in very good shape, the target is long gone. I am looking to sell..

  • Anonymous Says:

    I have an orgiginal blue gun with fixed sights. It has the original box, targets, and original steel BB’s. My Grandfather shot it so it probably only has about 300+ BBs now. He gave it to me about 15 years ago to sell and I never got around to it. Now I feel like someone should have it that would want to display it. It just sits in a drawer and that does not do it any good. Should I ebay it?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Ebay doesn’t permit the listing of BB guns, but you can list a classified ad for free here:

    http://www.airguns.net/classifieds/classifieds.html

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    lol this is amazing i am a 16 year old boy who got one of thee past down from my dad but was broke to our knowlege bot i took it apart and it ended up having a over sized bb caught in it and this gun is also blue

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Congratulations on your success! If the gun now functions, it will shoot number 6 birdshot. Don't forget to oil it down the barrel and stand it with the muzzle up for a few hours to soak the leather piston seal.

    B.B.

  • Frederick Electrick Says:

    WOW! This is Cool! I have had one of these since I was a kid over 30 years ago! can't find ammo though?
    I am gonna try and make my own ammo
    in the .118 cal.

  • Mr B. Says:

    Frederick Electrick,

    Congradulations on having a gun that goes back to your childhood. There might be a size of lead shot that will work. I don't know for sure. Your post was to a blog that's about a year old. Not many of us read the older blogs, but if you go to the current one at http://www.pyramydair.com/blog your question will be seen by maybe 15,000 to 20,000 readers. Someone there will know the answer to your question.

    Please let us know how your gun works.

    Mr B.

  • Vince Says:

    F. E. – it's pricey, but go to mcmaster.com and look part # 9292K33. These are 3mm steel ball bearings (3mm=.1181")

  • Anonymous Says:

    I have several containers and 1 full box never opened of the tiny shot in the metal cans of the 118caliber. Could you give me an idea of the value?

  • Mr B. Says:

    Hi anonymous,

    I cann't answer your question. You posted it to a blog written 4 years ago. Not many of us are watching the old blogs for current posts. B.B. writes a daily blog Mon-Fri. If you want an answer to your question please repost it there and you should get an answer. http://airgun-academypyramydair.com/blog.

    You'll meet a great group of knowledgable friendly folks who will give you a hand.

    Mr B.

  • Picked For Says:

    I have A Daisy Targette Set for sale if some is interested has the target, Nickel plated Gun, Adjustable sight, 2 things of BB's in the original tubes and a cleaning kit. All in excellent condition.

    Also have a Daisy #9 "Liquid Pistol" Squirt Gun.

    Email me @ pickedforyou@gmail.com

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Picked For,

    This blog report is very old and doesn't get seen by many people. If you want to sell to airgunners, try a free add here:

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/79574/

    B.B.

  • ron Says:

    I have one with an unusual adjustable sight. It says Target Special and has an adjustable sight which screws onto the end of the gun. The sight flips from being a peep sight to the v-notch style. Is this unusual?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Ron,

    The rear sight you describe is for a Daisy long gun, like a Number 25 pump gun. I'm not familiar with the Target Special pistol, but a peep sight sounds wrong on a pistol unless there is also a shoulder stock.

    B.B.

  • bill p Says:

    I have a Targeteer I believe was made in 1945. It is made of nickle, has no rust, plus the box, red target, and 2 tins of shot. Plus there is a promo card. This gun has never been used. Any idea of the value for complete set ?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Bill,

    With the box and the shot it's probably worth $125-150. These things rook a hit when the economy crashed a couple years ago. My $300 set shown above is worth $200 today.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Dear Sir,

    I just purchased the model 118 at a local antique shop here in Virginia. I believe it's the arly version (possibly 1937). It's more brown than blus but works great. You're right about the sound of a mouse cough!! LOL. I got it $34.00. Any idea as to what it's worth?

    Thanks!

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Well, it's certainly worth what you paid for it and a little more. The ones that are mostly blue are bringing $100 these days, so one like yours would fetch $60-80 at an airgun show.

    B.B.

  • Gary c Says:

    My mother recently passed away and in her estate I found my old Daisy .118 targeteer pistol and plastic target. Gun shoots and is in great shape. Adjustable sights. Target has every target intact. What is the going price for this pistol?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Gary,

    If it looks like the one above it's worth about $200. The price is depressed because of the economy.

    B.B.

  • diane jordan Says:

    Anyone looking to purchase Daisy Targeteer along with the red plastic target with spinning targets inside – I do not have the tiny bb's but I do have the box that holds target and gun – target in excellent condition – guns cocks back and trigger pulls – sight is adjustable -gun has a few small specks of rust but overall in very good condition.
    I am still researching before setting a price – just checking to see if there is a market,
    Diane in Louisiana

  • Jakob Canter Says:

    i have my grandfathers targeter pistol and it still forks without bbs… anyway im trying to find some .118 cal bbs but cant find any. where can i get them?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Jakob,

    There are several options for shot for your Targeteer pistol.

    The first one is steel ball bearings:

    They are pricey, but go to mcmaster.com and look part # 9292K33. These are 3mm steel ball bearings (3mm=.1181")

    A cheaper and quicker solution is to buy some shotshells with number six shot. Open a shell and there are hundreds of perfectly sized lead balls inside. Be careful with this, as you are working with loaded ammunition.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I have one of these targeteer pistol from around 55 or 56. The spinning targets are long gone shot by a higher powered Daisy air rifle by 2 adolescents, the only difference is I have a leather holster for mine. I was wondering if this was originally part of the set or not, that was long ago and I can't remember anymore

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    It wasn't a part of this set. Look for the Daisy name on the holster.If it isn't there, it's probably not part of the set.

    B.B.

  • Nate Rayle Says:

    I have one of these pistols, purchased for my father by his father in 1942. It appears to be chrome plated, and has the adjustable rear sight. I realize your data says they weren't producing this model in 1942, however, it is still in the original box, which was mailed to my grandfathers house. The postage sticker is on it, and is fully legible, bearing a date of Sept 12 '42. No instructions, no tins of pellets. There are a couple of cardboard tubes of lead pellets, a dark blue with "Daisy Targeteer Special 118 Caliber Shot". Also is the location of Daisy Man. at that time, and made by Daisy Man. In addition, I also have the plastic target, which does have the steel tins in the bottom of it, and they are full. I have not opened them to see if they contain steel or lead shot, as until I read your blog today, I did not know they used anything but lead shot. I also have a box with a number of additional blue cardboard tubes of the lead shot. The gun has some small spots of rust, but 90% or more of the chrome is present. It is still fully functional.

  • B.B.Pelletier Says:

    Nate,

    I'm sure Daisy still had some guns to sell in 1942, but they had shifted to wartime production. That Daisy shot is steel with a copper plating.

    I believe this pistol is plated with nickel, which lasts longer than most chrome.

    Please join us on the current blog locate here:

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I have a nickel-plated Targeteer in it's original cardboard box with the red plastic holder/gallery and the little can of pellets. Also some paperwork in the box. If anyone is interested I am at sportspecial@hotmail.com.

    Thanks

  • kevin Says:

    Best places to sell your daisy targeteer are:

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/79574/

    http://www.airguns.net/classifieds/classifieds.php

    or here under the AIRGUN PISTOL catagory,

    http://www.gunbroker.com/

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