Lucky McDaniel Instinct Shooting Trainer Outfit

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Carl Diliberto is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card.

Here’s what Carl says about his submission: My nephew shooting my old Crosman 700. Still a nice hard-shooting rifle.

While selling some of my guns at a recent show in Dallas, I happened to notice a boxed airgun on the table behind me. I walked over, and there I saw what I thought was a Daisy Quick Skill Instinct Shooting set. It was in the box and fairly complete, but the price was right at the top of where it should be, so I passed. However, I’d caught the attention of the dealer who could see that my tables were just behind him.


Daisy made and sold this outfit for parts of four decades — from Vietnam until sometime in the 1990s. The BB gun looks is very similar to the one in the Lucky McDaniel Shooting Trainer, but it’s a model 95 instead of a 99.

On the morning of the second day when I arrived to open my tables, the other dealer was also there getting ready. It was quiet, so he asked if I was interested in the set. I was, but I needed to make a little money from the deal, so I offered something less than his asking price. He agreed and I placed the set under my table.

About one hour later it suddenly dawned on me. This was not a Daisy Quick Skill set at all. This was the much rarer Lucky McDaniel set that contained the Daisy model 99 BB gun with the 50-shot forced-feed magazine that by itself is worth $500 in excellent condition. The presence of the box with the instructions printed on the inside of the lid, one set of shooting glasses, the graduated targets, the original BBs still in their sealed box, the template for attaching the Eye-Dapter chin rest (now attached to the gun), the separate cork tube and cork ball ammunition made the package that much better. I thought I’d bought a pound of hamburger, but this was aged filet mignon.


This rare set was made for only one year.


The contents are fairly complete, with just a pair of safety glasses and the book missing. The plain cardboard boxes in the center contain the graduated targets and an unopened box of BBs.

According to the Blue Book of Airguns, this set was made for only one year, in 1960. I know that Daisy pursued Instinct Shooting training with the U.S. Army, which was engaged in Vietnam at the time and receptive to anything that might help soldiers become better shots. Daisy sold many thousands of guns to the Army under the training name Quick Kill. Crosman even modified their V350 BB gun and tried to get a slice of the pie. I’ve seen a couple of their sample guns, but I don’t think they ever went anywhere. So, McDaniel may have been forced out of the training set business, though he did continue to instruct instinct shooting for the rest of his life.

The one thing that wasn’t with the kit I bought was the book Instinct Shooting by Mike Jennings, which sells for $60 and up when you can find one. I already own one, so nothing’s lost; but if I sell the set, I doubt that I’ll put the book with it. It’s been too valuable to me over the years.


Though there are many books about instinct shooting, this one by Mike jennings ranks at the top. It was originally part of the Lucky McDaniel Trainer Outfit.

In the book, you learn that Floyd Patterson, the world heavyweight professional boxing champion was a student of Lucky’s and prized the training for the focus he thought it gave him. In 1957, when Patterson agreed to a match with Pete Rademacher, the Olympic heavyweight gold medalist, he defeated him by a knockout in round six. However Rademacher then became interested in instinct shooting and developed his own gun and target set for instinct shooting with plastic clay pigeons. It was manufactured in Akron, Ohio. His set never sold well, but Crosman obtained the rights to the trap and included it with their model 1100 Trapmaster air shotgun a few years later. Small world!

What’s in the box?
In the set, you get a special Daisy model 99 air rifle that’s made without sights. There’s also a wooden shelf for your chin that gets attached to the stock. It’s called an Eye-Dapter and it’s patented! The purpose is to keep your head up, rather than down on the stock.


The wooden chin rest screwed to the stock is patented! Lucky called it the Eye-Dapter, and he wanted each shooter to use it so he wouldn’t put his or her head down on the comb of the stock. Looking above the muzzle of the gun when you shot was one of the secrets of Lucky’s program.

Daisy made hundreds of thousands of model 99 air rifles, including the model 2999 that they sold by the tens of thousands to the U.S. Army for Quick Kill training during the Vietnam era. But they only made the gun with the special 50-shot forced-feed magazine for the Lucky set that was made in small quantities for just a year. That’s why a $50 airgun is worth 10 times as much. Because the special gray paint on the magazine matches the paint scheme of the Lucky gun, you can’t fake it easily.

A cork ball-shooting shot tube also comes with this set. The balls are much larger than BBs, so they can be seen in flight that much better. They have to be single-loaded at the muzzle of the shot tube. Daisy made this same cork ball shot tube for the No. 25 pump gun when it’s in the No. 325 Target Set, and they are very rare today.


Lucky called these cork balls “Big Shots,” and he provided a muzzle-loading, single-shot shot tube to use them. They would have been easier to follow in flight.

Lucky also included two pairs of safety glasses in the set — one for the shooter and the other for the coach. Of course, there are the targets, themselves. They range from metal disks the size of a nickel to a huge metal washer. Then there is a large red wooden ball that I suppose was used with the cork balls.

The box itself is highly collectible. This is only the second one I have seen, though I’m sure there are more around in collections. Inside the lid are the rough instructions that save you from having to read the book while you’re practicing. I’ve seen about 10 Lucky BB guns like this, but only one other box, which should give you a rough idea of how rare it is.

Condition is everything
I would love to be able to tell you that my set is virtually unused, but that’s not the case. In fact, it’s just the opposite. From the shot-up appearance of all the aerial targets, it’s clear that this set was used a lot. The paint on the gun appears close to excellent, but I need to do more research. I’ve seen other guns with special paint over the base coat that identified the gun as a Lucky McDaniel, but my gun doesn’t have it, nor are there any traces of paint that might have been there. There’s no question about this gun’s authenticity, however. It matches the other contents of the box, it has the Eye-Dapter permanently attached to the butt and both shot tubes (BB and cork ball) are painted the identical color.

The targets were shot up numerous times, and the one set of shooting glasses that remains with the set has both temples broken. Some items, such as the original BBs that came with the set, remain unopened; but the general condition of this set is well-used.

How does it work?
I wrote a special two-part report about Instinct Shooting for this blog back in 2006. At that time, I toyed with the idea of getting the training so I could report more in depth on the subject, plus become a better shotgunner at the same time. Well, time and circumstances intervened, and I guess I won’t get to cross that one off my bucket list. So, nothing I can say today really expands on what I wrote back then.

This discipline does work exactly as described, though I’ve noticed that many people don’t read what was written carefully enough. Just because Lucky was able to get people to hit aspirins and even BBs thrown in the air with a BB gun doesn’t mean they could do it every time. They still did miss, and some misses were expected. That’s stated clearly in the book; but somehow people have gotten the idea that once trained, a shooter just can’t miss any thrown target.

The distance to the targets, when they were thrown properly, was seven to ten feet. That was all Lucky advised in his books. Others have pushed the envelope out farther; but for those longer distances, Lucky had his students shooting .22 rimfires and shotguns.

A lucky find
This was one of those great finds that happens occasionally if you turn over enough rocks. I plan to sell the set at the Virginia show to someone who will appreciate it in their collection, because that’s where such things belong. I was fortunate to find it, because now I can make sure it gets to the right person who will preserve this fragile memory of airgunning from a half-century ago.

75 thoughts on “Lucky McDaniel Instinct Shooting Trainer Outfit

  1. I am actually glad that I lack the funds or inclination to “collect”. I wouldn’t know where to put all the stuff I would like to pick up.


    • If you know. Of anyone looking for quick skill model 99 i am parting with mine. It is in pretty much Mint condition.


  2. Hi BB,
    If I had bought that set I probably by now would have shot up all the corks and devalued the set. I am glad you found it and will be selling it to someone who will really appreciate it. I am not enough of a collector to enjoy things I can’t or shouldn’t shoot. It’s interesting to me that you are to keep the gun low enough so that your chin sits on the chin rest. I never have been a good shotgun shot and always thought part of the problem was that I didn’t get my head down in line with the bore better. Maybe I had that part closer than I thought.

    David Enoch


    • David,don’t feel bad.I have Tom’s old No.325 Two way Target set and just acquired 2 cellophane pkgs. of Daisy Bigshot ammo.It’s killing me to not open one to try them with the Bigshot barrel! I want to see how they work,and if they pop like the old cork guns of my childhood!!


  3. Do you mean people were shooting .22 rimfires at targets thrown into the air? Due to the range of a rimfire doesn’t that sound dangerous? They must have had a lot of land for practice.



      • BB,

        I once read some where that McGivern once was setting up to shoot and some one noticed a crow flying about 500 yards a way and said to McGivern “let’s see you hit that” and supposedly he grabbed a 30-06 laying there, chambered an round and fired, and seconds later the crow erupted into a pile of feathers.

        Dunno if that is true, but there is a lot of mystique surrounding Ed.



          • Is that a intended pun? Couldn’t help it – I’m soggy from too much water here and my back is killing me. I know, I’m now a member of the bad back club with Pete Z and Frank BC.

            Fred PRoNJ



              • Almost everyone I know including my brother who lives on top of the Kittatiny Mountain range, got water in the basement. It varied from 4″ to a buddy who lost power and had two back-up generators fail to people who had their basements full to some who had water up to the 2nd floor but those folks live in flood plains. I just heard that in the town next to me, Cranford, 10 houses have been condemned. For me, my power failed a little after mid-night Sunday morning and by 8am, I had 16″. A buddy came over with a Honda 1kw generator at 2PM and by 4PM Sunday, we had pulled the basement down to 14″ when the power came back on. Monday morning the basement had emptied and I started wet vaccuuming the carpet (no pad). Currently, all furniture has been broken down and removed, wet electrics removed, internet/phone/TV finally restored the other day and now I’m cutting out sheetrock. I’ve used Simple Green as an anti-bacterial/mold/fungus spray to keep that crap from getting a hold.

                Worse is that I neglected/forgot to remove 4 air pistols and my pocket knife collection which got submerged. I’ve coated them with Ballistol and rubbed them down but I lost the original boxes – guns and knives. Also had three firearms suffer the same fate and two of them were in the original boxes, which were tossed.

                I have a new hot water heater (tried to get FrankBC to come up and install but he said his back was hurting him), a new washer and dryer. The furnace escaped. Yes, I have insurance but to all who have a sump pump, do yourself a favor and either get a battery back-up unit or a small generator (2kw is more than enough to power pump and refrigerator) for use in these types of situations.

                Things are pretty dry in the basement and I’m putting a list of projects together such as planing down swollen doors, replacing vinyl floor tiles, new sheetrock and so on. I still have standing pools of water in the backyard. What a delight but it could have been much worse.

                Fred PRoNJ


                • I get fatigued just thinking about flooding Fred.Nothing would have made me happier than to help.
                  Even if it meant a trip to NJ.I never knew about you collecting pocket knives.My grandfather(adopted) worked for Case for 54 yrs.Welcome to the bad back club,excuse us for not getting up to greet you….LOL. Be well,Fred.


                • Fred,

                  You probably know this but…………don’t throw anything away until the insurance adjuster has a chance to see it and itemize it on his estimate. Although guns, jewelry, art, etc. typically have a policy limit (unless you have a rider for additional coverage), the original boxes the guns came in don’t have a limit (other than your personal property coverage limit) but do have significant value in many instances.

                  kevin


                  • Kevin,

                    time to make my motel reservations for Roanoke. I’ve worked in insurance my whole career and will explain real property and personal property coverages to you (hoping you are there this year) and the HO 3 ISO form – if you need help falling asleep.

                    Fred PFoNJ
                    CPCU


                    • Fred,

                      Should have known better. I’m not in insurance but my real estate background has taught me a little bit about insurance coverages. ISO=Insurance Service Office. HO 3 is slightly upgraded coverage. I know enough to be dangerous. I’m confident that we could find better things to talk about at Roanoke.

                      I’d really like to go to Roanoke again this year but the odds are very low. Business and my mothers health are priorities.

                      kevin



            • We got half an inch to 3/4 of an inch of water in the basement, thanks to a drainage problem that we haven’t corrected. Not much damage except to a few cardboard boxes. My rifle and pistol cases sit on the floor, but they’re (a) “water tight” and (b) cheap and (c) empty, so who cares. Some old lens cases may have gotten damp. But we’ll just toss cardboard boxes and then wash the floor. One pseudo-wood laminate floor might have some real damage.

              Couple of our small bridges were damaged, and one wholly washed out. Actually got off pretty easy for rainfall at 4-6 inches/hour for a couple of hours.

              All praise to Dominion Resources/Dominion Virginia Power. We did not lose power for so much as one minute!

              My CPA reminded me yesterday to save my receipts because it’s all tax deductible. And if the president declares Fairfax County a disaster area, there’s a little federal assistance. Rep Eric Cantor from Richmond, Virginia was complaining about disaster aid for Irene going to the NE and the Carolinas, so just maybe his district will have a little trouble getting any help for Lee. ;-) Always be careful; it could be your district next.


          • Elmer Keith wrote about shooting a Golden Eagle on the wing at 150 yards with his revolver. He admitted that it was a lucky shot. But he said if you keep practicing, you tend to get those lucky shots.

            Matt61


            • That kinda sounds like the thousand monkeys with the thousand typewriters that in a thousand years would have written the complete Shakespear plays.
              If you fire a ton of projectiles your due to get lucky once in a while…

              J-F


  4. How do you shoot up targets with cork balls and keep the cork balls intact? I found that Lucky McDaniel’s techniques as told by Mike Jennings work great with a Crosman 1077 at 20 feet. The target doesn’t move but my gun does when I whip it up into position so I hope I’m simulating the snap shooting to some degree. The hard part is remembering to look above the target. I find my gaze creeping down to look dead center. And shouldering the rifle the same way, especially without the Eye-dapter, is another challenge, very critical to the result. But I have never been able to reproduce his aspirin trick. In the book that involved rolling an aspirin along the ground. Here, instead of looking above the target like aerial targets, one is supposed to look below the target. But this never made sense to me in light of his earlier theory and I haven’t made it work for me. That could be because the fixed targets I work with are the ones that get hit when I’m looking above, so I guess I couldn’t expect that they would also get hit while looking below….

    That’s interesting to hear the 7 to 10 foot range. That is about the distance that Annie Oakley is shooting thrown targets in a YouTube video. Anyone know what caliber she was shooting? All the clips and photos I’ve seen have her holding a lever-action rifle.

    B.B. on the subject of the time when the bullet leaves the muzzle of a 1911, I’m now curious how far the barrel and slide move together before they separate. That would be interesting to compare to Gun Doc’s .6 inch of movement before a bullet leaves a rifle barrel. Of course the situation is not the same since the rifle calculation had to do with a fixed barrel and the barrel is moving for the 1911. But I’m still curious, and the distance that the barrel moves must be a precise number. Does it have to do with the distance traveled by that link on top of the barrel?

    Victor, on the subject of watching elite Olympic shooters, the only thing that really surprised me for technique is the amount of time the shooters took for each shot. I thought the elite were quick. Otherwise, I have the reason why it is so boring for most people to watch. The interest of the human mind in an unfolding series of events is tied to a sense of conflict as we know from narrative theory. There’s no conflict since we can’t even tell when the shooter releases the shot. :-) (The exception is when a picture of the shot is superimposed on the screen, and incidentally, I was a little surprised to see that these shots were not dead center by any means and that there was a good deal of dispersion.) In any case, what do you find so interesting when you watch?

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      Annie Oakley only used Marlin Lever actions, as far as I know.

      As for how far does the 1911 slide go back, empty your gun and hold it, then push on the muzzle with the heel of your other hand. It stops when the link has flipped over and the barrel starts to unlock from the slide.

      B.B.


    • I’m willing to get Annie used a Marlin 39A shooting .22 shorts. She may have started off with other things, but the .22 caught on fast and she became sponsored by Marlin (at least to the extent of free guns) and became known for only shooting a 39A.

      It’s not that hard to slice targets placed edge-on (or playing cards I guess) with a .22 *pistol* at 20-30 feet. I think it has to do with angles somehow, where it looks harder than it really is.

      Of course people see ya slicing targets or getting bitty groups and think it’s FM.


  5. Hello fellow air gunners,

    I’m here to ask a question about a new
    Springer I want to buy. It’s the crosman
    Optimus .22, I wanted to know the actual fps
    Of this rifle using 14.3 grain pellets. The gun is
    Advertised at 950 fps


  6. Bobby H.,

    When Mac, my buddy who helps me test airguns, tested the Optimus in .177 he got 1,138 f.p.s. using non-lead lightweight pellets. So the 950 number certainly sounds possible. Just don’t expect to get that with the pellets you would choose to shoot. They will probably get 775-850, depending on the pellet for the middleweights.

    B.B.



  7. B.B., Very interesting blog today!

    What was really new to me was the idea of keeping your head OFF the comb, though I suppose in a consistent location. Everything I have heard, read, or been taught about shooting a shotgun is to focus on the target, but keep your head down. Maybe a big part of “down” was “consistent?”

    Interesting that I was trying to turn my old Crosman V350 into an instinct shooting gun, even though it was out of frustration at its accuracy WITH sights.

    No question Annie Oakley was a crack shot, but some exhibition shooters, possibly her included, used smooth bore rifles that were really mini shotguns. Part of that was safety, as I believe they used not much more than rat shot, which ran out of steam pretty quick.

    If Ed McGivern, another phenomenal shot, hit that crow on the wing at 500 yds., there had to be a lot of luck involved, as that is better than I suspect the rifle could shoot. Who wouldn’t pay dearly for a ’06 that was consistently “minute of crow” at 500 yds.!

    I understand the collecting thing, but only up to a point. I recently acquired a 1954 Winchester Model 70 .270 that looks like it may have fired its last shots at the factory. It is way better a rifle than I thought I was buying (internet.) I was looking for a really nice “shooter.” I have put more wear on it running the bolt than it had when I got it. Some are telling me to lock it away. Nope. It is going hunting. Now, only on the nice days and the “easy” hunts. There are stainless guns in ‘glass stocks for the rough and tumble. I know inanimate objects don’t have souls, but if some did, rifles surely would. How would you like to be built for something and never have the opportunity to do it? One member of another forum made reference to how wrong it would be had Marilyn Monroe died an old maid . . . So, I say “Liberate a Safe Queen!” and if you have the opportunity to do so, consider it a privilege and appreciate it. At least it isn’t an expensive bottle of wine you can either never taste or must consume completely. Now, having said all that, I understand some things are better put away, and I have no quarrel with those who feel that way.

    As far as instinctive shooting, I ordered a Crosman 1077 today. Alas, my BKL rings for my FWB 124 are backordered, so the shipping is waiting on those.

    Gun Doc


    • Don,

      Although I didn’t credit you, you were the inspiration for today’s blog. First you were interested in Lucky McDaniel and then you mentioned the Crosman V350, which was an amazing coincidence. I already had the gun and wanted to talk about it, and you gave me the entre.

      You are right about the consistency thing. It is the heart of the artillery hold.

      B.B.


    • Don,

      First, I’d like to thank you for joining this forum.

      Second, I think you are making a profound philosophical point about the concept of “safe queens”.
      BB made a post a long time ago on this subject. As I recall, he felt there was something wrong with denying a gun the purpose for which it was built. Yet, virginity is a gift that can only be given once.

      My son George and I had a conversation about this once concerning the collecting of Hotwheels cars. I commented that it is too bad to have something so nice, yet not take it out of the package for fear of diminishing its value. His answer stunned me by its clarity. He said “Buy two. One to use, one to save in its package.”

      Les


      • I too have a die-cast car collection and did just like your son said and bought 2 of many models but it quickly became clear that I would never have enough place to put all of it, I’m only buying a few nice ones once in a while. I would like to sell most of my collection but the time it would take to classify and picture everything would be enormous (I had over 3000 last time I counted 4 or 5 years ago) so it collects dust and it will hopefully have gained a little bit of value when I have the time to do it.

        I remember once I scored a unopened box of Johnny Lightning in a store and bought the whole thing without opening it… It lasted almost one full day before I couldn’t take it anymore and opened it to see what was inside ;-)

        J-F


        • You have 3000 model cars?! How big are they?

          This reminds me of something that I will be ashamed of to my dying day. When young, I got so angry at my brother that I retaliated by messing with his sacred collection of football cards. They were in a large box that would have fit two or three shoeboxes and were absolutely solid with cards all stacked in some exact order known only to himself. Anyway, when he wasn’t around, I went in with profane hands and messed them up! That was really a cheap shot. But I was relieved to learn years later that the damage was not so bad. Such was the maniac system behind the cards that I only managed to disturb them on the surface and he had them sorted out in a very short time.

          Matt61


          • I’m probably over 4000 now altough I’ve slowed my buying a lot.
            I have many scales some as small as 1:87 up to 1:10 but most of them are 1:64, like hot wheels, matchbox and johnny lightning. I think my favorites are 1:18 I would sell a lot of my cars but I would keep a lot of 1:18, I was buying everything valuable for a while, searching stores for cars in the wrong packaging, special editions, exclusive etc…

            Anyone wants to trade a few die-cast cars for an airgun?

            J-F


      • Les,

        Your son has the heart of a real collector. Of course if you live at a time when the item is no longer available, it’s difficult to buy two.

        In the case of real virgin guns, I have had a couple and I got rid of them for just that reason — I couldn’t bring myself to shoot them. One was an original spring-tube Winchester M1 Carbine made in the third month of the contract. Since spring-tube Winchesters break their frames during operation, I felt it was too much of a risk to shoot this one. However, though a long string of trades, I turned that rifle into the Ballard I now lovingly care for. So sometimes you have to let something go to get something better.

        B.B.



    • Matt,

      Okay, here is where learning takes place. That article was written back in 2003, when I only shot 5-shot groups. Now we know that a 10-shot group will be about 40 percent larger than a five-shot group from the same gun under the same conditions, so what does that give us? Maybe a group that is three-quarters of an inch?

      The best I did with the customized 10/22 was just over half an inch for ten shots, so it is the more accurate gun.

      As for the sound, the 300 in that article is loud, but not as loud as a 10/22. Shin Sung used to make some of the finest air rifle barrels, but sadly that was not their main interest and they went in another direction.

      B.B.


      • Hm, well this is pretty smooth. :-) I would say that I’d like to see your best 10 shot group with the Career III to let you completely off the hook, but this makes sense and certainly speaks in favor of the 10 shot group.

        Matt61


  8. G’day BB

    You might have bought a lot more than you think! Alibris has “Instinct Shooting” by Mike Jennings from $60 to $556.81.

    BTW have you seen Lee Brauns Remington Pros DVD. I think it fantastic!

    Cheers Bob


    • Bob,

      I saw that ridiculous price when I researched this report. I have seen my own book listed there for $400, so I know such numbers are bogus. The $60, on the other hand, is a good price. Back around 2005 the book was selling for as low as $30.

      I haven’t seen the DVD.

      B.B.


      • G’day BB
        I got my DVD copy last fortnight from the “Trapshooting Hall of Fame” in Ohio for a $25 donation. The actual book he wrote is also now a collectors piece for +$35 but the book is based on the actual footage in the DVD. Lee Braun makes everything so simple. Imagine these days a camera gun combination weighing 35lbs!
        Cheers Bob




  9. Btw: do the .25 Marauder really has a better barrel, and .22 has the worst?
    Should I return my .22 Marauder for a .25?
    Sorry for the noobiest question of the day. XC


    • 177or22,

      How accurate is your .22 caliber Marauder? What size groups are you getting, at what distance and using which pellets?

      How do these group sizes compare to other pcp’s that you have shot at this distance?

      No offense, but most pcp’s are more accurate than their shooters once the best ammo is identified and shooting technique is perfected for that gun, i.e., trigger adjusted to your standards, repeatible cheek weld is perfected with right scope height, etc. There are exceptions and I must admit to working very hard on a .22 caliber marauder to get it to shoot small groups consistently.

      A few parting observations…..a .25 caliber marauder uses lots of air compared to a .22 caliber marauder. Depending on your settings it’s tough to get two full magazines (16 shots) on one fill. It falls off the curve very fast. Have you priced .25 caliber pellets? This may all be irrelevant to you since you may just want a powerful hunting gun and don’t care about shot count or cost of pellets.

      kevin


  10. Gun Doc, let us know about your shooting regimen for the 1077 and how it works out for you. My only reservation about that rifle is the trigger which is heavy because of the double-action revolver mechanism of the rifle and its overall cheap price. But this doesn’t stand in the way of accuracy from a rest, and I understand that shotgunners slap the trigger anyway and there isn’t trigger control in the same sense as with other firearms. By the way on the subject of the 1077 trigger, it might interest you to know that B.B. has spent hours dry firing the 1077 to lighten that trigger. :-)

    Congratulations on your great acquisition of the pre-1964 Winchester 70 in .270. That is one of the iconic guns and the ultimate hunting rifle (at least for America) that I can think of. I was wondering what would be the best caliber for it. 30-06 is the iconic American hunting caliber and would do nicely. But I believe that the rifle’s most famous proponent was the gun writer Jack O’Connor who was a big fan of the .270 and who started the controversy between small and fast versus big and slow bullets that keeps cropping up. Anyway, I guess you can’t go wrong with either. By the way, I’ve heard after taking enormous flack for discontinuing the pre-64 Winchesters, the company has been working to bring them back. There were some missteps, but it is the online writer, Chuck Hawks, I believe who claims that the most recent Winchester 70s, at the least the super-grade version are actually better than the pre-64 version with the advances in accuracy and manufacturing techniques since then. Still, even if true that wouldn’t take away from the historical value of the pre-64 version.

    One of the best-known features of the Winchester 70 is its Mauser-inspired controlled round feeding mechanism which is supposed to be best for dangerous game because of its reliability. I have wondered about this. If you are getting charged by dangerous game, can anyone be expected to work a bolt for a second shot in the available time? Ernest Hemingway has a story about a guy standing up to a charging Cape Buffalo and shooting it multiple times with a Springfield 1903, but I find that highly implausible. So, as far as I can see, if you need a second shot from a bolt action with a feral Hogzilla or elk bearing down on you, you are toast anyway. And if the animal is not charging, your push feed should work just as well. But maybe Kevin (our professional hunter) knows more about this.

    Your comments on the soul of a gun are very interesting to me, especially since B.B. assured me that there was nothing abnormal with me falling in love with my Garand. I think the whole business of the soul of gun/weapon can be understood from a spectrum of examples. The Japanese samurai had a big mystique about a unique soul for their swords. You see something of the same in American pioneers who had names for their guns–like Old Sure Shot from the novel The Big Sky–a practice that seems to have fallen out of vogue. Something of a tipping point appears when M1 Garands were issued to replace Springfield 1903s in the army. One observer said that he noticed that soldiers would often give a pat to their Springfields when they put them away which they would never do with their Garands, despite their admiration of them as weapons. (Not sure where these guys were coming from but that is the observation.) And I think it is fair to say that no one has seen a soul in the M-16 rifle. So, the pattern seems clear: a weapon has a soul in proportion to what you put into it. In fact, it is probably fair to say that this “soul” may be just a reflection of the user. Along those lines, I will admit that while the M1 remains the queen of my arsenal, there is just a great deal of fun in working the bolt fast on the Lee-Enfield, and I think it is no accident that the Lee-Enfield has a cult status among its veterans that is almost unmatched. You can really put a lot of yourself into working that rifle. So, from all this, I think it’s pretty clear: springers have more soul than pcps. :-)

    Slinging Lead, I had a look at Haley Walcutt of American Airgunner, and I think you’re being a bit harsh. I’d say she has all the makings of being a worthy successor to the (mostly) incomparable Crystal Ackley.

    Matt61


    • By the way, I’ve heard after taking enormous flack for discontinuing the pre-64 Winchesters, the company has been working to bring them back.

      The question is: which company?

      Winchester, Winchester-Western (Western Cartridge Company [Olin]), US Repeating Arms, Fabrique Nationale?

      The discontinuation was likely in the Winchester-Western time frame, and any attempt to bring them back is likely under the auspices of FN (USRA having been an employee led buy-out from Olin which went bankrupt and sold to FN)


  11. Gun Doc, I’d say that I owe John Browning an apology for questioning the accuracy of his guns. My question was inspired by my recent experience with a Winchester 94 in 30-30. Actually, I didn’t do that badly. At 50 yards rested, I had two on top of each other on the X ring and three more in a group of about two inches. Standing I put about 20 into a group size of about a foot. Still it was worlds away from my Savage 10FP or the M1, and I would say that the Winchester 94 is appreciated now more for its reliability and ergonomics than anything else. However, delving back into history a bit, I understand that this rifle/cartridge combination appearing at the dawn of the smokeless powder era were supposed to be in their own league with a new level of far-ranging and flat-shooting performance. Not like the Ballard obviously but certainly for hunting. So that would be one example.

    The next, that is crushing and definitive and almost too embarrassing to name, is the 1911 pistol which, based on its popularity among competition shooters must surely be one of the most accurate pistol designs ever. And then there’s the M2 Browning Heavy Machine gun. Mounted with a scope it was able to hit man-sized targets out to 2000 yards in the Vietnam war without any other preparation as a sniper weapon. And with its success at hitting airplanes under all circumstances in WWII, the accuracy must have been more than adequate. I also understand that the famous BAR had a semiauto option. That obviously was not what it was designed for, but it does suggest that even with its trade-offs for automatic fire that the gun must have had decent accuracy. So even with his emphasis on field reliability, I’d say that Browning has a strong legacy of accurate guns.

    Matt61


    • Matt61

      O’Connor was a proponent of the .270, but he used a lot of cartridges. He was also fond of the .30-06, 7×57, .375 H&H, and some others.

      I think a lot more people than O’Connor were proponents of the Model 70. As far as bolt guns as Dangerous Game Rifles (DGRs) it seems most Professional Hunters (PHs) use either controlled feed bolt guns or double rifles. The advantage of controlled feed is said to be that you cannot “double feed” should you have a “nervous moment.” I imagine there is something to that, but no machine is foolproof. Personally, I simply find it elegant. To me, rifles just “should” control feed. I certainly don’t need for my rifles to control feed, but I really like that they do.

      If you have ever seen someone who was truly good (I am not) at running a bolt, you wouldn’t question their speed much at all. Interesting you should have the opinion you do about the speed of bolt guns when you mention how fun it is to quickly run the bolt on the Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) which is said to be one of the fastest bolt guns around. In fact the British are famous for having trained in the “Mad Minute” and the record is reported to be 38 hits into a twelve inch bull at three hundred yards in one minute, using a SMLE. Average trained troops reportedly could manage half that. That is some exceptional shooting. I have heard it said the double is faster for two shots, but the bolt is faster for four (or more if your magazine can hold more.) I will say it amazes me how many people drop the butt from their shoulder to run the bolt, when you really don’t need to. At any rate, rapid, well aimed, multiple shots in extreme circumstances are not “divine intervention”, though I sure wouldn’t turn down any help from the Lord should the going get scary!

      Controlled feed M70s became available again in the late 1980s or early 1990s, I believe, and I think they are great guns. The newest ones, made by Fabrique National (FN) in South (?) Carolina use a different trigger mechanism. It is said to be a good trigger but many lament the passing of the original M70 trigger, which was also considered one of the strong points of the design. The M70 is also famous for its three position safety, which it has always had, even to this day. Many love it for its intermediate position, which retains control of the firing pin, but allows the bolt to be operated. In truth, this is really only a slight advantage for a controlled feed gun, as once the bolt is opened (at which time the safety is “out of the picture”) the magazine may be quickly and safely unloaded simply by sliding the bolt forward and backward WITHOUT CLOSING IT. What makes the M70 safety truly great is a thing many don’t understand, which is how well and completely it locks not the trigger, not the sear, but the actual firing pin.

      Pre ’64s are famous for their accuracy, and many are genuine one MOA rifles when this was not as common as it is today. Most credit this to the quality of Winchester barrels at the time. Up to an including 1954, barrels were lap finished (no need for B.B.’s bore brush and JB trick.) People who I believe know say O’Connor preferred Winchester barrels and you will note that while he almost always had M70s restocked, their barrels shortened, and often turned down, he often didn’t re-barrel them.

      There is more handwork in a Pre ’64 that in a modern M70, usually the earlier the better, and pre WWII rifles are the most sought after. You can see it when you examine one, but the tradeoff is who was doing the handwork? Was it the “new guy”, someone past his prime, someone who was having a bad day for whatever reason, or was it done by a good man on a good day? Fortunately, apparently Winchester had a pretty good Quality Control program. Now, it may be that the new ones, while being less hand fit, are more consistent. The thing that killed the M70 was all the machining and handwork. The thing that brought it back, i.e. made it economically practical again, was Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machining. Those machines don’t really have to learn, and they don’t tend to have bad days. So, having rifles from both periods, I am learning the differences, which was one of the reasons I wanted a good example of a Pre ’64. And to some degree I wanted not a “special” one such as a Super Grade (which are darn expensive!), but instead spent my money on a great example of the one my father might have bought.

      As far as “liberating safe queens”, I wouldn’t risk a delicate gun, probably not a rare chambering or model variation, and probably not any definitely unfired “new in box” gun. But if someone did, it is their gun to do with as they please, and it isn’t criminal. As for my rifle, it is a Standard Rifle in .270. The most common rifle they produced was the Standard Rifle in .30-06, and second most common rifle was a Standard Rifle in .270. And good grief, there are some guns you cannot even touch without literally first donning white cotton gloves and should you run the action on one of them, you would cause someone to faint. I am told there are takedown guns that are advertised as “never assembled.” Marilyn Monroe certainly didn’t die an old maid, but even if she had, few would argue that she wasn’t at least darn well “assembled”!!!

      Another way to look at it is this. If you buy something new and use it, you almost certainly devalue it. Over the years, if it is a “classic”, it may gain all of the value back and more. Or maybe not. Either way, in some way, we are really simply getting all wound up in WHEN someone acquired something in new condition, and decided to use it or not. Of course it matters that it is harder to acquire some things “new”, but it is what it is. I’m sure I could go out and buy a new Corvette, “mothball it”, and eventually make some money. It may or may not be the best investment I could make, but good investment or not, I know I would love every minute of driving that ‘Vette, and I will enjoy every round I fire from that rifle.

      Gun Doc


    • The next, that is crushing and definitive and almost too embarrassing to name, is the 1911 pistol which, based on its popularity among competition shooters must surely be one of the most accurate pistol designs ever.

      On of the most accurizable designs, perhaps <G>

      But I’d bet 75% or more of those competition guns would fail the original military acceptance test that the original 1911 passed. Once you’ve take all the “slop” out of the action to gain repeatable accuracy, you’ve lost the “slop” that let the thing operate after being dipped in mud.

      The Series 70 Colt edition used a barrel with a flared muzzle, and bushing that had spring tension collet fingers to center the barrel as the action locked up — rather than a donut-hole bushing that had to permit the barrel to tilt some as the action unlocked. One the simplest “tuning” operations to accurize a 1911 is to take the slide off, use a hammer to peen the rails on the frame, then use something like valve-seat grinding compound and a rubber mallet to run the slide back and forth until just enough slack was obtained to permit the action to cycle, but before the slide got to the point of being wobbly (ie, no up/down or left/right wiggle room). Next up is a custom fitted barrel and bushing (fitting the lock-up grooves of the barrel to the slide, making sure the barrel link has no side-play, etc.) Original sights were practically non-existent.


  12. Oh,

    And thank you Kevin for recommending pellets and thank you B.B. for the links to the Crosman V350.

    Also, I currently have three .270s . . . I read a lot of O’Connor when I was younger.

    Gun Doc


  13. All,

    I have some M1 Carbine questions that B.B. suggested I ask here on the blog. First, some background. Many years ago, when I was a kid though I don’t remember my age at the time, my father, uncle, and I each bought one of the $20 NRA (DCM?) M1 Carbines. Through burglaries, trades, selling, etc. the only one that remained in the family was my father’s, which I inherited when he passed (2001 was a tough year personally and for our country.) Now, mine arrived MUCH used, I don’t remember about my uncle’s, but my father’s appeared unused or at least arsenal reconditioned. The receiver is marked “INLAND DIV.” The barrel is marked “I.B.M. CORP. 10 -43″ with a “bomb” symbol. The stock looked virtually new. Now for the sad part. My dad just had to put the thing in a walnut “sporter” stock and fit a Weaver K4 in an SK scope mount, requiring removal of the rear sight. The stock was nice enough looking, but a scope on that rifle was ill fitted and completely ruined the ergonomics. Luckily, he didn’t alter any of the metal, but (here it comes) he gave the stock away. The rifle probably “should” be returned to as original condition as possible. I have since removed the scope and reinstalled the original rear sight (luckily retained all those years.) So, my questions.

    -Were some of these rifles arsenal reworked?
    -Does the different manufacturers of the receiver and barrel indicate some sort of arsenal rework, or were new rifles assembled from parts from the different contractors? Simply put, was it arsenal reworked or is there no way to tell?
    -Does a correct stock need to have certain markings, indicating year of manufacture, Inland Division, or something like that?
    -Does anyone know where I might find a correct stock for a reasonable price? I have found some on the ‘net, but they are pretty pricey, several hundred dollars if I remember correctly. Now, this may be a fair price, but I was looking for a better deal if I could find one.

    Thanks all,
    Gun Doc


    • Don,

      If you are really interested in the story of the Carbine, and it sounds like you could be, then you really need to get Larry Ruth’s two books War Baby and War Baby II. There will soon be a third War Baby that covers all the commercial carbine copies that have been made (the number is over 30).

      To answer your question, yes, there are arsenal reworks, but even before that there was the government free-issue barrel program and the goal to get the greatest number of mixed parts per gun made. I don’t believe that any M1 carbine was ever made by a single manufacturer and most should have parts from at least a dozen identifiable manufacturers in them.

      For some reason carbine collectors have been redistributing parts so that guns now exist with the parts from all one manufacturer, but no wartime carbine was ever made that way. I have such a gun– a 100 percent Saginaw Steering Gear gun, but it is certainly a Franken-gun, because that wasn’t the way they were made. The government wanted to get as many different parts as possible into the guns so they would be entirely interchangeable. And not all companies could make barrels and receivers, so the government arranged for other companies to supply them. Then as contracts started and stopped, parts got switched around even more.

      Your IBM barrel could very well be original to the gun.

      As far as a correct stock goes, prepare to spend a lot of money to get one. Wartime stocks are in short supply and if they have cartouches on them expect to pay $300 and up on a good day. A nice walnut replacement is available from Fulton Armory for $110. That’s a deal.

      http://www.fulton-armory.com/stock-and-handguard-set-walnut-new-1.aspx

      The arsenal rework cartouches are all on the stock, so you have lost the birth certificate for your rifle. Mixed parts mean nothing, as I have mentioned.

      After WW II many of the Carbines were reconditioned and “canned” in large metal drums for the future. But many more were sold to the armies and police forces of other countries. Germany received hundreds of thousands for their police. Those guns may be marked on the metal parts (probably are), so it would be possible to tell where they have been. But if the gun came through the DCM, it probably never left this country.

      Inland was the largest producer of Carbines. Of the over 6 million total carbines made, they made over 2 million. Winchester was the next largest maker and they made fewer than one million.

      Without a genuine stock your Carbine is a shooter at best. I have an Underwood that someone converted to a 5.7 mm Johnson, so I know how it feels. A nice Inland can still be had for about $800 if you shop, though they are pushing upward toward $1,200 right now.

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        Thanks for the reply. I am interested in the M1 Carbine, but I don’t think my level of interest approaches yours. So, while I may someday try to read the books you mention, right now I have many more things higher on the list.

        It seems to me the rifle very well meets the original design goal of being a more effective weapon for non-front-line personnel than the 1911. To some degree I consider it to be the first assault rifle though that is debated by others. I DO use it as a great example when trying to tell an anti-gun person or a “neutral” person how our culture has changed, moreso than the availability of certain items has changed our culture. Specifically, what do the “misguided” think makes a “black” rifle “bad?” Semi-automatic, high capacity detachable magazine, adaptable to full-auto, ability to fix a bayonet, and a “projecting hand grip.” They should add to that a medium powered chambering that allows you to carry a lot of ammunition, but most don’t understand that much. Well, the Carbine meets all of the “bad” criteria except the hand grip and, surprise, our government used to be happy to sell them to us! So, these “bad” kind of guns have been widely available long before an SKS or an AK-47 could be easily procured. To me, the Carbine is a great example to use that the problem is not the guns.

        Not only is the Carbine the “grandfather” of the M16, if you want to make that connection, but I think I could argue they are the “father” of the Ruger Mini 14. Now, I have heard some say Ruger was really trying to build a commercial semi-auto .308, but failed and had to “settle” for the .223. I doubt it. I figure if Ruger had wanted to build essentially the Springfield Armory M1A, he could have done it. (They did try to scale up the Mini at a later date, apparently without success, so I really don’t know what to say about that.) Anyway, the Carbine and the Mini 14 are both short, light, handy, durable, and sadly, not especially accurate. They are very similar though the chamberings are a good bit different. The Carbine is chambered for essentially a pistol cartridge, which when you think about it, well meets the original intent.

        It is the relative inaccuracy of both rifles that takes the shine off it for me. Otherwise, they are both just plain “fun” to handle!

        So, if I read your response correctly, if I were to spend the money to put it in a “genuine” stock, then I could honestly call it a “correct” but not “untouched” rifle? I must say whatever the heck represents “untouched” when speaking of these rifles seems a bit hazy to me. And in a “genuine” stock, it would have more collector interest than the same metal in a Fulton Armory reproduction? The point is, were I ever to sell it, I would not knowingly misrepresent it.

        If I opt for a Fulton stock, do you feel the $40 upcharge for “select wood, color, and grain matching” is worth it?

        Thanks again,
        Gun Doc


        • Don,
          Your thoughts on assault rifles are in line with most of us on this blog, from what I read. I believe the negative bias on them is a knee-jerk reaction to a percieved image because people must blame something other than themselves or others, and polititions like to capitalize on that because it’s something they can “take action on” that makes it look like they’re doing something. Apparently it doesn’t matter to them if it solves the real issue or not.


        • Don,

          I used to think the Ruger Mini-14 was a copy of the Carbine, too, until I owned one. The Mini-14 is more than two pounds heavier than the M1 Carbine, and most of the weight is in the metal. Though they look similar, the Mini-14 is really a different gun than the Carbine.

          Even today, firearms manufacturers are hard-pressed to build a rifle as powerful as the Carbine that is as lightweight.

          As far as the upgraded wood goes, I would say no. A Carbine is supposed to have a straight-grain plain stock.

          B.B.


          • B.B.

            I had a Mini 14 for fairly long time, but it was a Ranch Rifle and I scoped it, so it was hard to weight compare to the Carbine, not to mentioned it handled much differently. I’m surprised the Mini is that much heavier than the Carbine, but I’m sure you are correct.

            The Carbine I have that was my late father’s was in amazing shape when he got it. It had either:
            never been issued (highly unlikely),
            spent all its issued life in an armory or somebody’s locker (more likely), or
            it was a rework (most likely.)

            The metal has little wear, or was re-Parkerized, and the stock appeared virtually new.

            So you comment about having lost the “birth certificate” of the rifle is intriguing. If a rifle is extensively rebuilt, refinished, and receives a new stock in the process of an arsenal rework (and maybe some of these always happen, such as the refinish?) then is historical information lost if a new stock is added? Put another way, is the rifle “reborn” with a new “birth certificate?” Maybe the answers are in those books you suggested I read.

            I know very little about Samurai swords, but I have read they commonly receive new handles or grips during their lifetime. The interesting thing is that the “build” information, as well as any work done by later sword smiths is recorded on the part of the blade hidden by the handle. It would be nice if this kind of information was on the metal beneath the stock on the Carbine, instead of on the stock (or handle.)


            • Unfortunately, there just isn’t that much metal under a .30 M-1 carbine stock. What there IS is all swappable parts. The trigger/hammer group is (it has been about 20 years since I last fired mine, so I don’t recall if it slides sideways, fore/aft, or is just screwed in place) a pin block that can be dropped in… And the other main component is the short stroke piston block of the barrel. I don’t recall if the magazine well is part of the receiver frame or part of the trigger guard frame (probably the latter as the safety and magazine release are part of the trigger guard system)

              Much different from an M-16 wherein the lower receiver is this big slab of metal with room on which to engrave/etch pages from the Bible…


  14. Hello B.B,
    I’m here to ask a question about pellets and airgun barrels
    Im trying to test a method to make hollowpoints more lethal
    by cutting a cross on the head of the pellet but when I do this
    it leaves sharp rough edges on the head of the pellet
    Will this damage my airgun barrel in anyway?

    Thanks,
    Bobby B


  15. I have an Inland carbine that is 100% Inland as far as I can tell. The previous owner said it was that way when he got it. It sat in a closet, unfired, for many years. It has all the “Early” features, such as the push button safety, flat bolt and flip sight. BTW, he took the money I gave him for it and bought a Chinese SKS (Late Production) and a beat up 93 Mauser. Go figure.

    Mike


  16. For what it’s worth, most Inland carbine stocks will be stamped “IO” or “HI” in the sling well. If you find early Type I stock (Not Likely though) it would be marked “IA”, “IO” or “O” but would also have a “Flaming Bomb” stamp as well. BTW, I looked this up in my collector’s book. I don’t have that good of a memory!

    Mike


  17. I took lessons from Lucky when I was 8 years old and I was a pretty good shot as a result of his training and was dove hunting at 9 and got my limit every year with less than one box of shells. Would love to have the set please email me if you still have it or know where to get one.


    • James,

      I am selling the Lucky set this year. I was going to take it to the Malvern airgun show in April and put it on my table.

      If you really are interested in it, email be at blogger@pyramydair.com and we’ll talk.

      B.B.


  18. Hi James Moore,

    Nice to hear from you sir. The blog that this post is on is two years old. B.B. writes a new one 5 days a week. I an going to re-post your question to his current blog where thousands of people will see it. I am sure that someone will have some suggestions for you. Please check
    http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog. Hope to see you there.

    Bruce



  19. Hello, I found your link while trying to research my gun. I have a Lucky McDaniel, just as pictured, good box, all contents (I believe)and the gun its self is pristine. Can you tell me how to sell it or what it might be worth? L. Bauer


  20. To continue about my recent find of the Model 99 Lucky McDaniel. I have the gun only. No other components or box. The condition is good. The Lucky McDaniel lettering is almost like new. All parts look original. It shoots with apparent normal power. I would like it to have a home with someone who appreciates it’s rarity. I would appreciate contact with a collector.



    • I am not a collector, but would like to buy a Daisy 99. I’m an active shooter of 5-stand, skeet, beginning trap, etc., and plan on using the BB gun to hone my “smoking targets” skills. Lucky McDaniel and the SWYL approaches are something another fella at the club and I are currently working on. He plans to oversee/implement a training program to interested club members. He shoots a 99, and I would like to as well. My husband is a non shooter, but seems to enjoy and supports the fact that I LIKE TO SHOOT. He bought me a 12 ga. for Christmas, 2012. I’ve been shooting for 3 yrs., or so. If the 99 is still for sale, I’d appreciate your consideration of selling it to me.



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