Marksman 1010 - Part 2
An air pistol that has endured
by B.B. Pelletier
Yesterday, we looked at the history of the Marksman 1010. Today, let's look at the gun.
A strange spring-piston gun
The 1010 is a spring-piston airgun unlike any other that I know of. When you cock it, you first release the slide, which pops back under slight spring pressure. Then, you pull the slide all the way back to position the piston. Returning the slide to battery (the locked forward position) puts tension on the mainspring and completes a cocking sequence that is unique in all of airgun-dom, as far as I know.
Push the slide release down, and the slide pops back like this.
Pull the slide all the way back like this. When it stops, push it forward until the slide release catches it again.
Before we discuss loading, we have to talk about the ammunition the pistol uses. It shoots BBs, darts, pellets and another longer dart-like projectile called a bolt. That's four different types of ammo that shoot in one airgun. Except for BBs, all the ammo must be fired single-shot. As many as 18 BBs fit into a magazine above the barrel. They're fed by gravity when you cock the pistol, as long as you hold it correctly during cocking!
BBs MUST be loaded through the magazine. They cannot be loaded singly into the barrel. Pellets are loaded directly into the barrel, as are darts, but each must be seated to the correct depth in the barrel. For that, Marksman provides a seating tool, but it was missing from my early MPR. I believe that is the chief reason I did not enjoy my first pistol. Also, I didn't have a manual. I was unaware of how important both are to the correct operation of this pistol! I must have acquired my gun used and just thought I could figure it out on my own. After reading the manual of my new Marksman 2000, I have to warn everyone that this pistol is different. The dart-like bolt does not require the use of the seating tool and is loaded directly into the barrel.
When the barrel flips up, you can see the square BB magazine and the round breech.
The gun must be cocked before loading. When it is cocked, pressing in on a button below the muzzle flips up the breech for loading. After loading a pellet, dart or bolt, just press the breech back into position and the gun is ready to fire. If you loaded BBs into the magazine, there is one more important step. The muzzle must be elevated to feed a BB into the breech. If you shoot BBs, you never need to open the barrel again as long as BBs remain in the magazine, but you must remember to raise the muzzle each time you cock the gun to feed the next BB.
Power has always been the weak suit of this pistol, though I suspect it wasn't quite as bad as I once believed. Because I tried to shoot pellets that were improperly loaded, I had little success with them. BBs were problematic, because I didn't know about elevating the muzzle when cocking. My ignorance limited me to just darts (bolts hadn't been invented for this gun back in the 1970s), and I was even loading them improperly!
I shot the 2000 for velocity, because it is the newest gun I have. The rated velocity is 220 f.p.s. Daisy BBs (5.1 grains) averaged 187 f.p.s., with an 8 f.p.s. spread. RWS Hobbys (6.9 grains) averaged 123 f.p.s. with a spread of 6 f.p.s. Gamo Raptors (5 grains) averaged 217 f.p.s. with a spread of 20 f.p.s. That made them the velocity champs. Too bad that 300 pellets cost more than the gun! Finally a 12.7-grain Marksman dart (I used the same dart for all shots) averaged a turtle-esque 64 f.p.s. with a spread of just 5 f.p.s.
Conclusion? I may have misjudged the 1010 for three decades! It's a worthy little air pistol with a lot of attractive features. Until airsoft guns came on the scene, it was the only game in town for those wanting a low-powered plinker. And, the discharge noise is about the same as a mouse cough, so those with snoopy neighbors now have a stealthy shooting option.