Sharpshooter catapult pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Small things have a way of defining my life, and this is a story about one of them. When I was about 12, I bought a copy of the 1948 Shooter’s Bible in a used bookstore. It was full of guns, and I couldn’t get enough information about them back then. Unfortunately, the wonderful books I would discover on the subject like Sixguns by Keith and Yours Truly, Harvey Donaldson were still decades in the future — in the latter case, more than a half century. But, I had that old Shooter’s Bible — a book I still own, by the way. I read it and re-read it, unwittingly but also unerringly committing the pages to memory.

1948 Shooters Bible
This original 1948 Shooter’s Bible was my constant companion in my youth.

Then, in the 1960s, when I was in college at San Jose State College (years before it became a university), I walked into an old sporting goods store in downtown San Jose, California, one day and stumbled upon what I thought was a time capsule — two new-in-the-box Sharpshooter catapult pistols whose design and specifications I’d committed to memory a decade earlier. Imagine my shock to learn that these two relics from what I thought was the 1940s timeframe were still for sale at the original 1948 price of $4.25!

Sharpshooter page
Sharpshooter pistols had a whole page of their own in “The Shooter’s Bible.”

Sharpshooters
The two Sharpshooters on the left are newer, post-WWII guns with plastic parts. The two on the right are from the 1940s. Details look similar this far away; but when you look closer, you can see how the guns were cheapened.

metal Sharpshooter launcher
The metal launcher from before the war is tough. It seems to last indefinitely. As it’s pulled back, it lifts the sear (the metal piece on the right) that allows one lead ball to drop from the linear magazine into the launcher seat. Yes — this is a repeater!

plastic Sharpshooter launcher
The post-war launcher is made of plastic. It works the same as the metal launcher, but it wears out quickly.

Thirty-plus years would pass before I came to the realization that these were not the same pistols that were in that old book…that the company making them had been bought and sold numerous times, and that the guns I saw in the store were the 1965 versions of the gun, albeit made by someone else and to different manufacturing standards. They looked like the Sharpshooters of the 1940s, but they had plastic parts in key places. As a result, they didn’t hold up very long when used.

When I became a serious airgunner later in life, I rediscovered the original Sharpshooter pistols. These were the real deal with all metal parts that are still functioning today. What a difference they are from the cheapened guns! Although the two look very similar, the older ones are the Diana 27s of the catapult gun world, while the plastic-parts guns are the Chinese wannabes.

Operation
The Sharpshooter pistol is a repeater. The No. 6 shot lead balls lie in a channel on top of the gun. They’re held in place by the front sight, which simply slides out of the channel to load the gun. A metal trough is provided to funnel the balls into the channel, then the sight is pressed back into place. There’s room for approximately 50 shot in the channel.

When the launcher is pulled to the rear, stretching its rubber band, it pushes up the sear that moves out of the way to allow one shot to fall from the channel into the launcher seat. Only one piece of shot at a time can be loaded. What the user does is pull the launcher straight back until the sear catches the trigger, cocking the gun. That holds the launcher in place until the pistol is shot.

Sharpshooter front sight in place
The front sight holds the lead shot in the magazine channel on top of the gun. It’s held in by tension, alone. Look close, and you can see some of the shot in the channel.

Sharpshooter front sight removed
The front sight simply slides out of the channel for loading.

Sharpshooter ready for loading
The metal loading trough is attached to the magazine channel and shot is poured in.

The front sight can be adjusted up and down by a small amount. That’s the elevation adjustment. The rear sight can be slid from side to side a small amount because it’s held in place by 4 small metal tabs that form a crude dovetail.

Sharpshooter rear sight detail
The rear sight slides from side to side under the 4 metal tabs.

How much value can be put into an inexpensive gun?
I think the old Sharpshooter pistol is the perfect example of putting value into an inexpensive gun. I think it shows why people love designs like the Soviet AKM rifles. Nobody argues that the AKMs are cheap to build — but the thought that went into them before the first piece of metal was cut is where the investment is. That’s what the Sharpshooter pistol shows us — that thought given to a design before it’s executed can be a wonderful thing.

Sharpshooter targets
With the older Sharpshooter pistols, you also got a target like this. It attaches to the box that becomes the shot trap.

Sharpshooter target stamp
You also got a rubber stamp to make unlimited paper targets!

Sharpshooter sales receipt
It’s hard to read, but this sales receipt for one of the old guns is from March 23, 1942.

What is this about?
This report has started like a history lesson about a vintage airgun, but that’s not what it is. I don’t even think I’m going to go in that direction, though I will test it in similar ways to other vintage guns on which I’ve reported. But that isn’t what got me started thinking about this gun.

I was at the Roanoke airgun show, sitting by myself when my eyes fell on a vintage Sharpshooter pistol. I was bored, so I loaded a few shot into it and fitted a rubber band. Then, I cocked the gun and fired it at a styrofoam coffee cup sitting on a chair about 12 feet from me. I hit the cup once, then twice then a third time, and I realized that you don’t have to have 50 foot-pounds of energy to have fun with an airgun. I doubt this gun has more than one five-thousandth that much energy (a 1-grain shot going 60 f.p.s. has 0.01 foot-pounds of energy), yet it’s pleasing to see it hit a small target some distance away. In some of the vintage ads, there were claims of being able to hit houseflies at 16 feet with these guns.

More power!
That got me thinking about springs, and how new airgunners think more powerful springs will increase the energy of an airgun. We know from testing that they often don’t. The rubber band of a catapult gun is a type of spring. What kind of “spring” will have the greatest effect on the velocity of the gun — a big thick one or several smaller ones?

Think about this — which spring will toss you higher: A normal one found on a pogo stick, or a coil spring from a car suspension? The pogo stick spring works well already because it’s been selected to work within the parameters of weight for which the pogo stick is designed. The car spring is rated to many hundreds of pounds, which makes it more powerful, but not a better choice for a pogo stick.

pogo stick
The spring on a pogo stick was selected to work with the weight range for which the stick was design.

automobile suspension spring
There’s no argument the car suspension spring is more powerful than the pogo stick spring. But will it improve the operation?

Sure, you say, it’s obvious the bigger spring won’t work as well on the pogo stick, or even at all. But what if it wasn’t that big? What if it was only a little larger than the spring that’s on the pogo stick now? The answer is that it might work, but maybe not as well as you think. The pogo stick spring was chosen to do its job with weights inside a certain range, and a heavier spring may not improve things.

The same holds true for airguns. Whether we’re talking about coiled mainsprings driving pistons or just compressed air inside a reservoir, there’s an optimum that works well with the other parts of the gun; and anything outside that range is probably not going to work as well.

I’m going to examine that thought using the Sharpshooter catapult pistol.

101 Responses to “Sharpshooter catapult pistol: Part 1”

  • klentz Says:

    B.B.,

    How odd This is.

    When Volvo was talking about the Crossman pistols on the blog yesterday I couldn’t help but think about in these catapult guns. Don’t know if these guns can exceed 118fps or not!!??

    Can’t help but ask if the catapult gun you got from me years ago was a cheap imitation or the original.

    Kevin

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    Springs.

    I have road raced and drag raced cars at tracks. And if you ain’t got them right you ain’t bring’n no money home at the end of the day.

    Its all about balance. In more ways than one. On drag cars the front springs do a way different job than the rear springs.

    The front springs use their energy to expand to lift the front end. And the rear springs use compression. That way when the car moves from the starting line the weight will transfer to the back. Then the back springs have to be heavy enough to to push the weight of the car down to the tires. Then comes the rotational torque of the body. The front right needs a little less up force and the back right needs to be a Little stiffer.

    Now air guns. Which spring do you want to talk about in the air gun? The one behind the striker or the one that powers the air compression piston?

    And BB I’m like a kid in a toy store waiting for your Friday blog with all these cool guns that have been made through out time that you just keep showing. I love nostalgia.

    • Gunfun1 Says:

      Edit: Then comes the rotational torque of the body. Should be… (The front left needs a little less up force and the back right needs to be a little stiffer).

      • J-F Says:

        That’s what you get for writing comments in the middle of the night ;-)

        J-F

        • Gunfun1 Says:

          J-F
          I know. I should just go to sleep after I get home from work at night. But it feels like freedom. Everybody else is sleeping and its quiet. So I stay up too late.
          I would go out and shoot one of my quiet air guns but I think I would be pushing it. :)

          • J-F Says:

            Hey I’m not blaming you! I always do it too, I used to work from 4pm to midnight. Everything is so quiet and it seems everything on TV is more interesting at those time, all the lame stuff is done and all the interesting stuff is starting.
            I’m more in bed by 10pm and up around 6am now.

            J-F

    • Matt61 Says:

      I can believe it. I read a book about automotive engineering and was stunned at the level of detail and complexity. Those tobacco-chomping NASCAR drivers must be like brain surgeons in their are of expertise.

      Matt61

      • Gunfun1 Says:

        Matt61
        I like when the Nascar guys run the road race courses instead of there normal turn left courses. You can definitely tell when they have a good suspension tuner. Well and the rest of the package has to be right to. Again its all a balance.

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    Talk about opening a can of worms… I have some questions for you when I have the time to spew them forth this weekend!

  • shakes Says:

    But doesn’t the elastic band act directly on the launcher and the bb? with a direct mechanical connection, that is cocked by a very different device than the weight of the bb… I think if you big slignshot bands on it… it might not be as much fun anymore…

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Shakes,

      The band does act on the launcher and shot. And we will see what the differences are when I test several different setups.

      B.B.

  • twotalon Says:

    B.B.

    Do you know about what size shot that the rubber band guns used ?

    Have fun at the range.

    twotalon

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      TT,

      It’s a big one. Haven’t measured it though.

      B.B.

      • FrankBpc Says:

        Weren’t they .118 ?? For some reason I thought they were.Have fun and success at the range BB.

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Frank,

          Yes. That’s #6 lead shotgun birdshot.

          B.B.

        • twotalon Says:

          Frank…

          I wonder if we are going to hear from someone who will claim to get consistent one shot kills at over 200 yds on coyotes with one of these ?

          I ran into a guy at China-Mart who claimed to shoot crows with a Red Ryder.

          twotalon

          • Michael Says:

            Twotalon,

            I have no doubt he shoots crows with a Red Ryder. What he does not do, all of us know, is KILL them. Well, perhaps after a few days a crow might die a painful death from internal bleeding or in a week or so from infection.

            I have commented on this blog many times that while I have no issue at all with hunting and hunters (practically all of my cousins up in Wisconsin are out in the woods in stands during deer season), I personally choose to be a just plinker and paper-puncher.

            I made that decision when, at the age of eight, I shot a tiny sparrow with a Red Ryder. It dropped from the tree and began to writhe in pain. I stood over it and shot it at point blank range again and again and again and again, and it simply would not die. It just bled and writhed. Finally, tears streaming down my face, it occurred to me to shoot it in the head. It took two shots to its head, with the muzzle right up against it, to put the tiny bird out of it’s misery.

            I learned a painful lesson that day, although I did not feel one thousandth as much pain as the sparrow did — I am not cut out for hunting.

            Michael

            • Bradly Says:

              Twotalon, Thanks for that reminder. I myself have to be reminded of that sometimes. I’m near 50 yrs old and been shooting BB/air guns for as long as I can remember and powder guns since about 13 yrs. old. As time goes by, we seem to remember the good more than the bad. Just a while back I was silly enough to ask B.B. which Co2 BB pistol would be better to take hiking for snakes and such. He responded that He wouldn’t shoot small critters with them, not enough power. I told him I’ve killed snakes with with my Red Ryder with one shot. But then late that night, I read the post again and thought, Yes I did make some amazing one shot kills with that old Red Ryder (Which I still own!), but thinking back, there were many many times the “kill” went as you described it, where the “prey” wouldn’t “die” easily. Thanks again to you and B.B. for helping to remember this.

              • twotalon Says:

                Bradly…
                Let’s call that a reminder from both Michael and myself.

                To be realistic about it, I doubt that anyone could get close enough to a crow to have a remote chance of hitting it at all on purpose with a RR. About the only thing that could happen is that the crow would laugh itself to death.

                twotalon

                • Wulfraed Says:

                  I’d been about to comment that, given the intelligence of crows/ravens… They probably played dead just to avoid the annoyance of BBs in heavy feathers…

                  • twotalon Says:

                    I have seen enough BBs fall out of the feathers of starlings as they fly off. It can be hard to knock down and kill a starling with a 10 meter gun if you get into the worst of the feathers. So crows …….hardeeharrharr ! Fat chance !!!!!

                    twotalon

          • FrankBpc Says:

            If you got his number TT,I’ll sell him a Sheridan that pumps 60 times and makes the same power as a Barrett .50……LMAO.

      • twotalon Says:

        B.B.

        Sorry, I missed it….you said #6 shot.

        twotalon

  • lloyd-ss Says:

    B.B.,
    What a wonderful blog! The Sharpshooter is a cool little gun, but your philosophical thoughts at the end where what got my attention. In particular, your first comment about making sure that a design is well thought out before the item is manufactured. You have been advocating that for years and often it falls on deaf ears, or is ignored, sometimes for a “good reason.” Many airguns have design flaws that are reproduced for years, and that almost always need to fixed. But the guns still sell, and it gives the aftermarket vendors something to devise a new gizmo for. I am sure we all have an airgun or two with something along the lines of, “Oh yeah, that always comes loose and you have to use this different part to get it work right.”
    Honestly, for me, I often LIKE having something to fix on an airgun. If I couldn’t work on airguns, I wouldn’t have them. I bet there are others who enjoy working on them as much, or more, than shooting.
    Lloyd

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Lloyd,

      Thank you for noticing. This blog probably means more to you than to most folks — for reasons that must go unsaid.

      And yes, I do mean to make a real point with this pistol. That point is this — the bigger spring or greater pressure in the reservoir doesn’t always do what you think it should. I have been wanting to do a series of tests to prove this in such a way that I can always just refer back to it in the future, without having to explain everything all the time.

      When I see something really clever, like the pellet seater mechanism on a Hy Score 801 rifle, or the rear sight element with 4 possible notches like Diana puts on their rifles, it thrills me to no end. To me that is as good as a fine symphony. It is elegant, and I enjoy elegant design.

      Anyhow, that’s where this series of tests is going.

      B.B.

      • Matt61 Says:

        Hm. I begin to see it. I can’t understand the ingenuity that goes into most gun mechanisms like those of my surplus rifles or whatever Derrick did to my Daisy 747 that now feels like a completely different pistol. But I sure do enjoy the feel of it. I’m at the aesthetic appreciation stage for design.

        Matt61

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Mat,

          Being able to discern the feel of a quality gun is the first step. Soon you begin to notice why certain guns feel like they do and that opens the world to you.

          B.B.

  • dangerdongle Says:

    You must have a gun vault bigger than Imelda Marcos’s shoe closet. : )
    One very cool thing about these antiques you drag out on occasion is they are almost always entirely made of metal. When I was young the hot toys in my circle were cap guns fed by tiny charges on pieces of paper and yes, they were metal. Pot metal, but still.
    I know plastic has it’s advantages but I think kids today are really missing out on something special being stuck with ONLY plastic playthings.
    Ok, those full auto Nerf guns are kinda neat…..but they’d never have survived the abuse those old cap guns went thru.

    • slinger Says:

      dangerdongle reminds me of a toy ‘cap’ detonator pistol I had as a young boy. Cast alloy engraved all over with scroll work. Saw a picture yesterday of a Colt 45 – the spitting image of my toy. A leap across time.
      Many years ago – I worked near the BSA factory in Tyseley, Birmingham, UK. On waste ground behind BSA, we would find reject wooden stocks, take them home to make realistic toys for our kids.

      Thanks for your blog BB & friends – a daily visit, plus a search for gold in the archives is essential for me these last three months.

      • B.B. Pelletier Says:

        Slinger,

        Welcome to the blog.

        Living near the BSA factory is a dream for most of us. Did you own airguns in your youth?

        B.B.

        • Slinger Says:

          Thanks for the welcome BB.
          No, never had an airgun, very much wish I had. Until 3 months ago I’d never pulled a trigger since being a young soldier. In July I inherited a Webley Hurricane from a relative. Went to buy targets & pellets to honour the bequest so to speak. Came away with a Hatsan Striker springer too.

          Now I have 5 rifles, 3 pistols, an awful lot to learn & a bemused missus.

          Pyramyd Air must be a pillar of the indusry and the whole hobby. Wish they had a branch over here!
          thanks to them & you & friends too BB.

  • Michael Says:

    B.B,

    Am I wrong, or did the very first of these Sharpshooters come with about an extra inch of length and no trigger guard? I seem to have read that somewhere.

    Michael

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Michael,

      The first guns like these were called the Bulls Eye Pistol. They are what you are thinking of. Here is a report on them:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2010/11/a-rare-bb-gun-from-wyoming/

      B.B.

      • Michael Says:

        B.B.,

        The design looks quite similar to the Sharpshooter.. No trigger guard would make me nervous, “harmless” or not.

        Is the Bulls-Eye significantly more rare than the Sharpshooter? Sharpshooters seem to be everywhere, but these seem not to be.

        Michael

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Michael,

          The Bulls Eye Pistols were hand made and are scarce. Maybe not quite rare. They were only made for a few years.

          The Sharpshooters that were designed and made by the same doctor in Wyoming, originally, were made from the 1930 through the 1980s by 5 different companies. They are fairly common, although guns like the one I used in the examples above aren’t so common.

          B.B.

  • pete in the Caribbean Says:

    In the good old days we made our own out of wood. We would drill a shallow hole at the back where the hammer would be on a regular gun and place over it half of a wooden clothes pin-smooth side down-held down by small rubber bands as the trigger .Half of the clothes pin would extend over the edge of the hammer portion of the wood to act as a fulcrum. A bead would be placed in between the large rubber band (similar to a sling shot) and pulled back and inserted in the hole at the rear. That was held in place by the clothes pin with the small rubber bands providing the downward pressure.
    Firing was a simple matter of applying downward pressure with your thumb on the end of the clothes pin. They weren’t very accurate but would give you a nasty sting. We were playing cops and robbers with these home made guns long before paintball guns came on the scene.
    Pete

  • J-F Says:

    Why aren’t these made today? Wouldn’t it be fun at lunch break at work, everyone gets their little gun out and shoot. Some people tweaks theirs out with bigger rubber bands and others put many smaller ones, some people paint theirs in camo, others polish them. They would be fun. It would beat everyone (including myself) playing on their smart phones and swearing at a Candy Crush or an Angry Bird level…

    How much could these cost if they were made today?

    As for the one big rubber band or many smaller ones I think I’d go with the many small ones. How about a few medium ones?
    Man this is going to be a fun serie. Too bad we can’t all get one and experiment on our side.

    J-F

  • J Says:

    “…I realized that you don’t have to have 50 foot-pounds of energy to have fun with an airgun.”
    I came to a similar realization when I lost interest in hunting. Its one reason I’ve considered buying a Daisy 840. Only problem with that is the stock is sized for a young kid… And so I continue shooting a multi-pump that fits reasonably well.

    Anyway, now if only more people would have that realization.

  • G&G Says:

    B.B.

    Talk about nostalgia. I went to high school in Reading, Pa. and I’ve been in that store. I don’t know if they are still in business or not.

    I could not read the price on that receipt. How much did the gun cost?

    By the way, I really wanted to comment on yesterday’s post about the TX200 but I was very busy. I wanted to make some observations regarding my TX200 and Walther LGV and best pellets. If you do another blog on the TX200 I will post my comments then.

    G&G

  • Templar Says:

    Hello B.B.
    First time posting but have been reading the blog for a long time. Thank you for bringing more enjoyment and accuracy to air rifles.
    ?1. Do you plan a part 3 to the .25 M-rod?
    ?2. How soon will you test the synthetic stock M-rod?
    I would like to purchase my first PCP and I’m vacillating between the.177 and .25. I am waiting on your expert and very helpful reviews.

    • Feinwerk Says:

      Describe what type of shooting you’d like to do and you should get some recommendations. 177 should get at least twice the shot count as .25, higher velocity and flatter trajectory. .25 is more suited to hunting. I like .22 for best all around use.

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    I myself like the nitro pistons better than a spring in spring guns. But that just my opinion.

    And the power adjustability is why I still like the pump guns. I wish some body would make a bigger bore (.25 cal. and up) pump gun. With a shrouded barrel. A production gun not a one off design or limited production run. That doesn’t cost a fortune.

    And that reminds me. lloyd-ss and BB.
    The project you guys are doing with the dual reservoir for the Disco’s. I wanted to add a thought. Would it be a problem to design the air reservoirs about 2″ shorter than the barrel and have the foster male fitting on the bottom reservoir. That way people that may want to put a weight on the front of the barrel have room to do that with out hitting or removing the muzzle brake every time you fill the gun.

    And is there a thought of making a dual reservoir for the Marauder?

    • Gunfun1 Says:

      Oh yeah I had one of those pogo sticks when I was a kid.
      Like to broke my ankle with it. It had the wrong spring in it for how much I weighed. And the only mod available at that time was to loose weight. No different types of springs to try.

      Them dang toy designers. What do they know.
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      Just joking of course. :)

      • Pop’s SLR Says:

        Leupold RX-III TBR (true ballistic range) Rangefinder started me thinking, then when i found the angle cosine indicator manufactured by Sniper Tools Design Company i stopped thinking and decided to steel somebody else’s math and just reap the benefit. I found charts on line at long range forums for angle-cosign correlation. Airgunning seems very similar to long range shooting. I like that. I think I will get a good rangefinder and purchase the cosine indicator (it attaches to the scope or weaver rail i think, like a bubble level) and then calculate and fire. Hopefully this will become instinct. I shoot an SLR 98. It is low power and very smooth, bench rested 1 inch 7 shot groups all day at 50 yards. I have just started hunting with this gun, the prospect of finding a pigeon at 50 yards distance, checking the angle, applying the cosine, holding over correctly and bagging said pigeon makes me want to find my old math teacher and ask her why she never made us shoot. Ballistics makes math so much fun! Or, at least makes its’ awesome power more appreciable.

        Good luck to both of us. Also, i wish wulfraed had been a buddy while i was in high school. I might have leaned a bit more.

      • Pop’s SLR Says:

        Sorry GF1, i could not post on the toll booth gun blog for some reason, so i have sought you out.

        • Gunfun1 Says:

          Pop’s
          You did leave a post over on the Toll Booth Gun article. Same as above. And I left a reply on it. Go check it out. And thanks for the info.

    • John Says:

      I find pcp is far superior to nitro piston. I don’t have to work quite so hard to get off one or more shots. I also find I can bleed much more power out of a pcp than I could any springer. I finally got my disco firing again. I got it holding air finally. I took several solutions and modified them to make it work. First I went on a “replace the internals” rip and swapped everything out. Then I swelled the seals with a bit of Hoppes lubricating oil. I figured if the stuff is supposed to attack airgun seals it should swell them a bit. So far it is holding air perfectly, it’s shattering pellets in my pellet trap and not using excessive air. Now that it’s finished I’ll put it up for sale and begin a new build.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      GF1,

      By a “weight” do you mean a silencer? We are planning to build it that way, though I may use my legal silencer for it, since I don’t want to go to jail over a test.

      B.B.

      • Gunfun1 Says:

        BB
        See you even thought it to be somethimg different than what I said.
        I totally said weight in the sentence with muzzle brake. Me and twotalon have discussed this before.

        ( What do we call the different devices that can be put on the end of a barrel )

        Yes I mean a weight on the end of the gun. Remember you and lloyd both talked about the aluminum reservoirs. I like the gun to be a little muzzle heavy when I shoot. And yes I know i can move my hands to different positions to accomplish that. So I just wanted to make the recommendation to have that available if somebody wanted to do that. Maybe a few more would be sold if it had that feature.
        Hmm. Why should I worry anyway right.

        • twotalon Says:

          GF1

          If you have enough barrel, you could get something made up in a machine shop out of a slug of steel.
          Go to the main PA site and look up the Daisy (Avanti) 853 C. It has a slightly dressed up chunk of steel with a setscrew or two to hold it on.

          twotalon

        • Wulfraed Says:

          From my viewpoint (which may not be normal)

          A muzzle brake is a device with ports/holes designed to directionally redirect propulsive gases with the intent of reducing muzzle rise. In contrast, a compensator has non-directional ports/holes hence having no real affect on muzzle rise per se but reducing the direct recoil.

          A device with internal chambers to trap gases but then bleeding them through the muzzle is a sound suppressor/silencer

          A solid chunk of metal (or to lesser extent plastic) is just a muzzle weight meant to add inertial stability to the end of the barrel. On a break-barrel airgun, it may also (especially plastic) be mainly a “cocking handle”. If it is designed to be easily shifted in/out it may be some sort of tunable ballistics control system (Browning BOSS, and similar) rather than just a simple inertial mass.

          • Gunfun1 Says:

            Thanks TT and Wulfraed.

            • twotalon Says:

              GF1

              While I have never tried it, it is possible or even probable that the weight/sight mounting fixture on my 853 can function as a barrel vibration tuning device. Not particularly convenient for adjusting, though .
              It looks a bit absurd hanging out there on the end of that thin barrel, though. That gun is always going to be very light and unstable compared with rifles of more size .

              Some things can clearly serve multiple purposes.

              twotalon

              • Wulfraed Says:

                Having to rezero the sights after tweaking the muzzle weight would be a pain… Granted, you’d expect to have to tweak the sights if the move changed the vibrational characteristics, anyway, but that’s with sights that aren’t moving with the weight.

          • Pop’s SLR Says:

            Thanks for your explanation of angle and cosine on the toll booth gun blog. Very impressive clear teaching. Thanks.

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          GF1,

          My apologies.

          B.B.

  • John Says:

    This demonstrates perfectly why I have such a dim view if airguns made now. They have cheapen them by making them out of plastic then cheapened them even further by outsourcing them to China where quality control doesn’t exist. So when you get that new gun you’ve been waiting for and open it your jaw literally drops in bitter disapointment seeing a plastic toy instead of an airgun. That jaw drops even further after a couple of shots when you get a face full of springs and the gun is hopelessly broken. That is Chinese Quality.

  • Bob from Oz Says:

    G’day BB,
    Remember saying be careful with BBs as they tend to bounce back……try this link

    http://blazingcatfur.blogspot.ca/2013/09/ouch-major-slingshot-fail.html

    Cheers Bob

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    OK, I’m back.

    Firstly, this would be a real fun gun to play with a bit. This should be a real interesting series. It also illustrates how profit margins can rapidly affect quality.

    Now on to springs. If my feeble memory serves me correct, the TX spring is under almost no compression at rest, yet it is no slouch in the power department and is on the top shelf in accuracy. Do you have any idea why the industry standard requires a spring that is highly compressed in almost every other sproinger?

    A question concerning pistons. Would not a lighter piston reduce the obnoxious forward recoil of a sproinger? If I am not mistaken, one of the “tricks” Walther did with their new LGV was to lighten the piston.

    What I probably need to do is get a spring compressor and a sproinger of good enough quality that I do not mind owning it, but not so nice a condition that I do not mind taking it apart and fooling around with it and parts are readily available.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      RR,

      Jim Maccari tried the super light piston route but got so much vibration that the rifle was painful to shoot. And it was a TX 200!

      Balance is the order of the day. Finding the exact right weight of piston, strength of mainspring, size of transfer port, etc.

      B.B.

      • RidgeRunner Says:

        That is why I would want a decent sproinger to work with that I could get things like replacement pistons, seals, etc. As you stated, so many think if you throw in a more powerful spring you will get more power. My desire would be to try to find the “balance” where the piston, spring, port, etc. will perform at the optimum. I have read much over the years and now it is time to do some hands on learning.

        • Wulfraed Says:

          If one could fit a pressure transducer into the end of the chamber and record the pressure curve it could be interesting. Before the pellet starts moving, the pressure curve is strictly based on piston position (assume no leakages), but once the pellet starts moving you have the piston trying to compress the last of the air, while the volume in the barrel is decreasing the pressure.

          Trick would be to balance out pressure curve so it retains a flat or increasing pressure while the pellet is in the bore and moving, yet have the piston not move so fast that it either bounces of the compressed air (peak pressure reached before the pellet begins to move) — nor slams into the end of the chamber if the pressure is not high enough to cushion it.

          • Gunfun1 Says:

            Wulfraed
            You just explained how people are running the faster turbo cars. Balance the pressure of the boost the turbo makes so you get a flat progressive boost in pressure. The guys that figure that out gain 2 things well 1 big thing. Torque plus horsepower that happen together equals lots of movement.

            Man there’s that word again.
            .
            .
            Balance

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          RR,

          If you mean that, may I recommend getting either a Diana 25 or a 27 and starting with that? They will teach you about balance. I would get the ones with the ball bearing sear, as that will teach you about perfection in a trigger.

          B.B.

  • westernPA Says:

    Hi BB,

    Hope you had fun at the range. Thanks to airguns, the range is home. Sorry to change the subject. I was shooting hanging nickel-sized targets with my HW 98 at around 50′ distance (they’re made from billet so the pellets just flatten out when they hit) when I realized I hadn’t shot my IZH 61 in a while. I brought it out and promptly struck the target over and over – with a little wind, very surprising with it’s low velocity. But what got me was the trigger pull. I love the trigger on my older 61, but I’m hearing complaints about the new ones. Did you compare them when you tested the Target Pro (vs the older models)? I don’t know how they could mess with success. 10 years ago, I must have purchased around 8 of these for friends and family, and it was the most addictive shooting fun I could remember. But a trigger with so much adjustment for around $100 – it was near-impossible to pass on.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Western PA,

      Yes, I did comment that the new guns have triggers that aren’t as nice as they once were. It’s a case of cheapening the design in the hopes that most people won’t notice. You take the sales inertia of a good product, cheapen it to make more money, then hope to roll on with the momentum that’s already behind the gun.

      B.B.

  • Matt61 Says:

    Well, the caption had me hooked about not being a firearm or an airgun. Just what in the blue blazes was it? And what was the significance of the catapult propulsion plant compared to the others? The catapult is energy from elastic deformation which is similar in principle to a spring gun except that the energy is transmitted through air rather than acting directly. I also don’t think there is intrinsic difference to the level of power, not if you think about Roman torsion catapults that had near rifle accuracy out to 500 yards, although I suspect that the hand-held catapult guns have much less power than airguns. Yes, it really is a matter of the right amount of power and not how much.

    Yes, I’ve noticed the difference in the general feel of the WWII products compared to today. I love my Savage 10FP as much as any other gun, but it seems flimsy compared to the WWII rifles. It’s not just that the Savage has a synthetic stock instead of wood. Even though the metal parts are the same proportions, they just don’t feel as dense. I’ve heard the same in comparing M1As produced by the Springfield Armory and the original GI versions. Is this the difference between forged and cast metal?

    The Shooter’s Bible sounds like part gun catalog and part information source. I remember poring over those in high school without any hope of getting any of the hardware that I saw. Similarly, I used to wonder what I would look like in the far off future when I turned 40. Hard to imagine… Anyway, I know what you mean about that all-consuming book. I felt the same way when I discovered Jack Dempsey’s boxing manual, Championship Fighting: Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defense. I dropped what I was doing and immersed myself for two days, and years on from that time, there isn’t a page in that book that I wouldn’t recognize. I would recommend it–even though it’s out of print now–just as great Americana. It will make you look with new eyes at the antics that go by the name of professional fighting now.

    Titus, how fascinating. The clout contest reminds me of the Robin Hood stories where Robin would strike a peeled willow wand set in the ground at 100 yards. Would-be challengers would say things like: “Nay, I must needs yield than aim for a twinkling white streak that I can hardly see!” Maybe the clout idea is how that got started. By the way, after some years of fascination with this subject, I found out that most of the Robin Hood stories (which are rather implausibly detailed like the above) were actually created in the nineteenth century, as Britain was developing a new sense of nationality. For example, the stick-fighting that Robin Hood engages in with Little John is more like half-staffing, a recreational form of stick fighting where the hands are positioned to divide the stick into thirds rather than the more deadly quarterstaffing where one hand was in the middle and the other at the quarter mark and the stick was used more like a sword. As for the original Robin Hood. Research seems to indicate that there was no such historical person. :-( This character first appeared in country ballads and was either purely fictional or based loosely on an agglomeration of characters lost to history.

    But that’s no joke about the 180 pound bow. See the articles on the recovery of the shipwrecked Mary Rose and the original bows found on board. Something had to propel those arrows four hundred yards on the old target fields and cause the skeletons of the English archers from that period to have gigantically deformed left arms. And this something also explains why people were practicing secret and now forgotten techniques over the course of a lifetime. So stacking must be some kind of exponential increase in weight over the draw, and perhaps that is the same as meant by the stacking of triggers. I suppose it is also what I perceive as a demonic shrieking in the muscles as I reach full draw with the 60 pound bow.

    Okay, I was going to let you off the hook with midget wrestling, but I am intrigued. :-) The fact is that this has quite a long history. I understand that when the Romans were bored and looking for a diversion with their gladiator games, they would set women against dwarves, sometimes in team events!? Just don’t tell me that you’re a fan of Miley Cyrus slapping the rear-ends of “twerking” dwarves or my good opinion will suffer. :-)

    I’ve heard about Banff as quite a resort. I also have tried the sauna/snow routine up in Minnesota. It is kind of surprising what can be done by managing the conditions. After 20 minutes in the superheated sauna, I was ready for about anything. Then, it was jumping through a hole in the foot thick ice to step onto the bottom of the lake. The water was not blindingly painful as you might expect. But by the time I set foot on the bottom, the cold had penetrated my heat armor, and I felt something like the deep alien cold of outer space. There wasn’t so much discomfort as this kind of overwhelming imperative to get out, which I did almost before I knew it. Then the idea was that your system was so perfectly balanced–or maybe so confused–that you were supposed to stand out on the lake ice and admire the stars. But the wind was blowing, so everyone went inside, and that has been my only experience of that. I prefer the warm water in the snow treatment of the Japanese.

    Speaking of which, I had another experience of ancient Japanese pleasure. So there I was stumbling into a stranger’s house in northern Japan in winter in the middle of the night as part of a family trip. What do I find on entering but that the Japanese don’t believe in central heat and the inside, though brightly lit, was not a lot warmer than the outside. And I was supposed to sit on the floor and eat this meal that was laid out. But there was a method to the madness. It turns out that the tables which looked to be resting right on the floor, covered this empty space beneath. So, as you sat next to them, you weren’t required to kneel but could let your feet dangle in basically a Western sitting position. The space also had some sort of heater in it. So you could feel tolerably comfortable. The food was also extremely good–just the tallest kind of broth and knicknacks as the saying goes.

    But afterwards, my nasty self was not allowed to retire in comfort after a long train ride, but I must take a Japanese bath. The bathroom wasn’t heated. Yeow. And the extremely hot water had its own kind of bite but welcome. Once immersed, you dared not move a muscle or get scalded but otherwise, it felt pretty good. Then you were rousted out to the freezing cold bedroom upstairs with thick icy comforters that sucked all the heat right out of you. But after a time, the heat returned in the form of a sort of coccoon as you balled yourself under the covers. It was like an obstacle course of challenges with rewards if you persevered.

    I’ve been trying to design a similar routine myself. The other night it was out of the freezing pool into the airgun range with a bout of action pistol shooting using the marvelous Beeman lasers. To be followed by the pot pie in the microwave. It’s like Robinson Crusoe out here!

    Matt61

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    What would make somebody want to change their spring in their springer? And why would somebody want to put a different air reservoir on their PCP gun?

    Maybe I should say (what if) I put a different spring in my springer? And (what if) I put a different reservoir on my PCP gun?

    I would ask myself multiple times why I would want to put a different spring in a TX200. And I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t unless somebody gave me the facts that it would help. And probably knowing me I wouldn’t do it unless I seen the results myself on a gun. Same in relation to the PCP gun and the reservoir. And I know I have already mentioned in the past that I have different Ideas about what I want out of my M-Rods, 1720T and other guns than what some people want out of their guns. So what I like to accomplish may not be what another person wants to accomplish.

    I guess one of the things that sticks in my head through out time has been with what somebody says should work and what actually does work ain’t always the same.

    How do I know what spring to change too. Or why do I want to change something in a (500 dollar) brand new gun I just got. Some changes on guns is cheap. And some can get real exspensive.

    First things first. When you mess with something you are supposed to have a general idea of what you want to accomplish.
    Then you need to ask yourself if that change is really worth doing.(and are you going to change another characteristic when you make that change and hurt the performance more in another way).

    I have built engines and worked on chassis and suspension mostly on drag cars and have done things that people said ain’t right and would never work. Guess what they did work. Did I get lucky? Nope I look at whats in front of me. Picture how the parts work together. Look at whats going to happen if that part of the process gets changed. Heck its what I do every day when we are designing new loaders for or machines or automating something at work.

    You have to think before you do. And you have to know whats available and how it works. Of course unless you just have a bunch of free time or money. Which I don’t.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      GF1,

      What happens is people read various things on the internet and get it in their mind that certain changes “have” to be done to airguns, in order to enjoy them. At its worst, a person will get a brand new gun and never fire it, but immediately add parts and “tune” it to be something that they have read about. Sometimes it’s pretty sad, the damage they can do.

      B.B.

      • Gunfun1 Says:

        BB
        I agree with every thing you just said.

        I’m a very skeptical person.
        And that’s exactly what I mean. I ant going to start changing stuff around on a brand new gun or even a older gun for that fact.
        You know as well as I do that is a hard subject to address. (how to understand what kind of mod to do and when and why you should or shouldn’t do it)

        I know on forums that I have read that was about guns and cars there is usually a sticky or what ever you want to call it at the top of the home page. If there was a subject that was addressed and was something that was thought to stand out and be important to other readers it would always be right there. I don’t know if that would work on your blog. Like what I just I stated above. If you made a topic about that and there was a good discussion than it should be saved where everybody could see it for quick reference.

        But here’s the thing. Pretty well all the topics that I have seen covered here on this blog have been informative. I know one of the main reasons I come to your blog is because there is real information here and you and other people will help to get somebody on the right track. So I would say reputation will hopefully answer the question of were to get the info on the Internet. Otherwise I don’t know how to get things across other than how you are doing it now???

    • klentz Says:

      Gunfun1,

      You’ve asked some good questions, I.e., Why change a spring in a springer? Why put a different reservoir in a pcp?

      Seems from your background you already know the answers when it comes to “engines”.

      Here’s my two cents nonetheless.

      I think most folks make changes to guns because they think they can. Many shouldn’t. I’ve come to realize that many air gunners don’t like to shoot as much as they like to tinker. Many shouldn’t.

      A few tinkerers evolve into relevant airgun smiths. Unfortunately they’re covering ground that has already been tilled by prior airgun smiths and nothing is really new.

      There are usually (for more popular models) better springs for springers than OEM. Better in that they can provide easier cocking without losing power, better in that they last longer and/or better in that the spring can up or down your power giving you a gun that is more suited to your needs.

      A spring is too often viewed as the end all. It ain’t in my experience. Fit of all parts and proper lubes can trump the spring.

      As far as a different reservoir in a pcp I’ve increased reservoir size just to increase shot count and I’ve decreased reservoir size just to improve the balance of the rifle.

      I don’t do these things often but if I like a gun and feel it can be better with these minor improvements I’ll have them done. In my view factory offerings aren’t perfect in specs or fit or balance. They’re compromises.

      Kevin

      • Gunfun1 Says:

        klentz
        I don’t know if you read posts that I made in the past.
        But I’m one that will try to make something better. And I have messed up a few guns in the past as well as cars trying to do that. So yes I agree some people just jump into things when they think they are going to make something better. And then find out it didn’t quite work out as planned. I would bet trail and error has been the recipe for more than one person. But will they admit that.

        I bet Mr.Thomas Edison didn’t get things right on the first try.

        But the question is how do you know that new spring will do the trick for that gun your hoping to improve. Springs have so many variables it ain’t funny.

        But pressure reservoirs is another thing. They are pretty straight forward in a sense. Change the size and the volume changes. Next thing is when you changed that volume what happens.

        I would bet there is people that think the fps would increase because of that. Nope I haven’t seen that yet. Although you definitely benefit with a more consistent amount of shots for that given amount of volume you now have with the bigger reservoir.

        So to me that would be a pretty straight forward mod doing the bigger volume pressure reservoir. The spring mod would be another story with all the variables.

        Next thing. Maybe we should talk about the path of the flow the air takes from the reservoir to where the pellet is chambered. Yep I have ported quite a few heads on cars too.

        And another air gun subject.

        • klentz Says:

          I left you a lengthy detailed comment and it got wiped out.

          Here’s the summary. ARH can usually answer your questions about springs.

          Sure tired of my comments being deleted.

          • Gunfun1 Says:

            Klentz
            I had that happen to. I found if you page back and click on another blog topic after the page comes up and then go to the blog you just replied on it will post.

            But agree there is something wrong there and I have said something about that before also.

            And I’m familiar with ARH (Airgun Research Headquaters). And I know about springs. In the old days ( I’m referring to the early 70′s and I have a original catalog still from them when I was a kid) they use to offer air gun accuracy tune packages when you bought a air gun from them. They would state what the accuracy of the gun would be after each up grade. That was when I was a kid and dreaming about having enough money to buy one of those German springer’s.

            • klentz Says:

              Gunfun1,

              ARH is Air Rifle Headquarters. Back in the 1960′s-70′s it was Robert Law. Now it’s Jim Macarri. Jim Macarri took tuning and manufacturing of seals and springs to a new level.

              We’re lucky to still have someone like Jim Macarri on the scene to offer better springs and seals than OEM.

              Look into the new ARH. Think you’ll be impressed.

              Kevin

              • Gunfun1 Says:

                klentz/Kevin
                Yep I have looked at their site and yes impressed and definitely glad there is people still making the air gun world go around.

                I don’t mess with the spring guns anymore. I’m not putting them down. I still have my Diana 54 Air King.
                And I do want to get a TX200.

                I shoot mostly PCP and pump guns now.

                But as far as this blog goes about the topic we are on. How would somebody that bought a springer real know what was the right spring upgrade to buy. Even with all the knowledgeable people out there in the airgun business.

                Its like valve springs for cars there are hundreds of choices out there and if you make the wrong choice you just trashed the rest of your engine. Coil bind, valve float, compression lose and so on.

                It ain’t no fun when your engine is turning 7000 rpm and the coil binds and pulls the valve head off. Guarantee the engine is going to need some major repair to get it working again and if it don’t just destroy it internally all together.

                Hopefully BB has got something in mind to make springs more understood concerning air guns.

            • Gunfun1 Says:

              Confused again.

              I mean Air Rifle Headquarters.
              I was thinking cars again. Air Flow Research heads.

            • Edith Gaylord Says:

              Gunfun1,

              How long have you been experiencing these issues with posting blog comments? Has it been over the past couple months or a much longer period of time?

              Thanks,
              Edith

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    And you guys were talking above about the crow and the Red Ryder.

    I said it before and I will say it again I’m sure. I wont take a shot unless I’m sure I can make the shot count. And I would rather use a gun that would have more power than was needed than only enough power. Hmm how do you determine that?
    And I know I said this before that I tracked a squirrel one time for quite a while through the woods because of a bad shot.
    When I hit something I want it to drop fast. If I have to track it because it didn’t drop in its spot then I didn’t do my part right. So there’s more to just having the right power. You have to know where to place your shot. I’m sure people can remember me saying the 1″ kill zone.

    That’s why I shoot air guns more than I do the rimfires, and centerfires any more. They are precise for the given range that they were intended for (magic words….given range that they were intended for). Well and of course you can mod them with heavier springs and other things of course to make it more suited to the individuals need. They are cheaper to shoot also. And they are powerful enough to get the job done when hunting or pest control if you choose the right gun.

    I wonder if anybody has taken a elephant with a Benjamin Rogue. (I’m just joking and I used an elephant for an example because that’s a whole different story there with the taking of elephants and other big game that goes on). But who knows what somebody would try you know.

    • twotalon Says:

      GF1

      I have never been a big fan of using bare minimum power . All you have to do is have something go wrong by just a little bit, and you get very bad results. It is going to happen sooner or later too. With all of the variables involved with hunting, things can go wrong very easily.
      I have used extremely massive overkill on things that I was not going to eat, with some quite impressive results. On some that I was going to eat but the shot went wrong, I lost half of the meat.

      So I guess about the best way to do it is to use more than needed by quite a bit, but not so much that a bad shot will cost too much in meat . Of course, I am also considering powder burners in these statements.

      twotalon

      • Gunfun1 Says:

        TT
        I agree.
        I remember when I was a kid squirrel hunting with a .410 shot gun. Nothing like getting a taste of buckshot with just about every bite I took. If I took a bite of buckshot now days I would probably be at the Dentist office.
        Tryed hunting them with a .22 rimfire gun and didn’t like the fact that I was shooting up all the time and wondering if there was some body out somewhere else that could get hit. (out on the farm of course)
        So then came the airguns which worked out great for rabbit and squirrel hunting. You just needed to be a little closer and that was half of the fun also. Learning how to get closer to the game.

        There is something I seen written in a book some where that listed how much fpe was needed at impact point of the projectile for each type of game or pest you were shooting at. I will see if I can find it.

        • twotalon Says:

          GF1

          I think I have seen that. I think that it is bare minimum possible. I don’t like the chances on that.

          twotalon

          • Gunfun1 Says:

            TT
            I don’t know where that book is now and I guess I could search it.

            But I’m with you. The bare minimum is really not the best. You cant go out and try to take something with your gun on the edge of not getting the job done.

            What would happen if took a air gun (and again I will use the Rogue as a example and nothing more than a example because I like that gun) the Benjamin Rogue to hunt wild cats (tigers, bob cats, mountain lions and such)

            It kind of paints a different picture hunting the wild cats verses a crow. The crow can kind of be mean. And if I wound the crow I could probably defend myself. But what happens when I wound the wildcat. I could possibly loose my life.

            So yes definitely more than enough power is better than not enough power.

            • Slinging Lead Says:

              GF1

              I realize that you are most likely not hunting big cats, nor advocating the hunting of big cats. However while discussing animals that could kill you if you fail to make your shot effectively, I would say that wild boars, moose, or hippos would make a better topic of discussion, as they are far more plentiful, and far more likely to fall under anyone’s crosshairs. And all three are more likely to kill humans than a big cat.

              Tigers in the wild number fewer than 4000 by most estimations. As it is one of the most beautiful animals in God’s creation, I bristle to read even hypothetical speculation about shooting one. Like all the big cats, they are a top tier predator, and thus of utmost importance in their respective ecosystems.

              Mountain Lions are not an endangered species, but have been completely eliminated from many of their former habitats in the US.

              • Gunfun1 Says:

                SL
                I agree with you also about the wild bores and the other animals you listed. But I just get surprised every time I hear somebody using the wrong gun or equipment when they hunt.

        • Robert from Arcade Says:

          Minimums… I’ll say this based on over 40 years of small game hunting at woods ranges,and my own personal ,never ending quest for the perfect small game rifle. The air rifle and the .22 RF are OK and powerful enough for the task with- in their range, which has a lot to do with the skills of the shooter with HIS equipment. However, the small bore muzzle loaders in .32 and 36 cals as well as firearms calibers like the .25-20 and .32-20 (handloaded with flat nosed lead bullets) are WAY better than any .22RF or any air rifle when things are for real and conditions are iffy. There are no bench rests and the artillery hold is not really an option in the bush.

          • Gunfun1 Says:

            Robert from Arcade
            I like what you said about skill.
            And not only with air guns, centerfires, rimfires, muzzle loaders and bow and arrow.

            Artillery hold and bench rest. I have done so many different holds hunting I wouldn’t even know how to name them.
            You just adapt to what you have in your surroundings at that time.

  • Terry Says:

    Hello, B.B.
    My reply is delayed, as I’ve just returned from a week and a half of museum-hopping with my 4- and 8-year-old grandkids, and so have been out of contact with the real world, as it were. Write a guest commentary for you, profusely illustrated with photos? Sure, I’d be happy to; more than that that, I’d be honored. Just let me know how to go about getting the commentary and photos to you when I’ve finished them–probably in about two months, given the present grandkid summer-schedule that my wife has planned for us.

    Terry

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Terry,

      Please contact me at this address:

      blogger @blogger.com

      I will take it from there.

      B.B.

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