by B.B. Pelletier
Time for another installment in our continuing saga – “Air Shotguns.” We last looked at the Vincent and the Paul, two American-made shotguns from early in the 20th century. Let’s turn our attention to Korea and a much later time.
The Yewha 3-B Dynamite was an air shotgun that was imported in the 1980s – BY CHANCE!
Yewha 3-B Dynamite
If you were a Beeman customer during the 1970s, as I was, you were surprised one day to see a strange-looking airgun among the traditional German and English models. It looked large and crude, and the name – Yewha BBB Dynamite – was hardly what Beeman customers were used to. It was an air shotgun from Korea.
From the Blue Book of Airguns
What I’m about to tell you is documented in the Blue Book of Airguns Fifth Edition. The Beemans were working out of their house in San Anselmo, California, when they were approached by people claiming to be representatives of the Unification Church – known as “Moonies,” after their leader, the Rev. Moon of Korea. They came to the Beeman’s home and showed them their guns, including the .25-caliber air shotgun that Robert Beeman renamed the 3-B Dynamite.
South Koreans are forbidden to own firearms and must use airguns for hunting. They were using this shotgun to take ringnecked pheasants, and the salesman told Beeman that with a round lead ball, the gun could also take deer! Though it wasn’t up to their usual standards of finish, Beeman bought 50 guns at $35 each. As the salesman was leaving, Dr. Beeman joked, “If you ever want to sell the rest of your guns at $10 apiece, I’ll buy them.” Eight months later, a truck arrived at their home in the evening with 300 more guns! They had taken the joke seriously and wanted their money RIGHT NOW!
150 pumps for the first shot!
The Yewha is similar to the Vincent and Paul, in that you pump it many (150) times before taking a shot. The Blue Book says 10 to 20 pumps, but that is only after the gun has first been filled. After it’s full, each shot drains off about 10-20 pumps. If you replenish between shots, it will retain full power for every shot. Otherwise, you get a number of shots with decreasing power. There’s a flange on the end of the pump rod for your foot, and the gun itself becomes the pump handle.
Some American owners have converted their guns to precharged operations, but they have retained all the original parts, because the gun isn’t worth much when it’s all hacked up. This way they can charge it from a scuba tank and enjoy the gun without working so hard for every shot. I have also seen at least one converted to bulk CO2. That would have necessitated some changes to the valve, as well, if they wanted to retain the full functionality of the gun.
The shotshells came with the gun. Like all air shotgun shells, they are open on both ends for the air to pass through. They hold just a pinch of shot, but it must be enough to get the job done because hunters do well with the gun in Korea. I would guess they shoot birds on the roost – not in flight.
Plenty of power
A fully charged gun gives velocities of 1,000 f.p.s. That’s similar to the Fire 201 shotgun I covered October 26. I don’t know if the Yewha can drive as much shot as the Fire, but they are both .25 caliber, so it might.
What are they worth?
The scarcity of the gun in this country, plus the association with the Beeman name, conspire to drive the value much higher than the gun deserves on its own merits, I believe. I see Yewhas selling at airgun shows for $450 to $500, when they should fetch $250. The Farco shotgun has to struggle to break $350 in the box with all the accessories, but the Yewha seems to have a mystique that fascinates airgunners.
We are not finished with air shotguns, but I’m stretching this out so those who don’t care about them will not become bored. Hang in there if you’re interested – there’s more to come!