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Hy-Score 800 spring pistol

by B.B. Pelletier

I’m taking a nostalgia trip today, looking at an American air pistol from the 1950s. The Hy-Score 800 is one of several airguns made by the Hy-Score firm, which also imported a great number of air pistols and rifles from Europe.

Hy-Score’s 800 is a classic air pistol with innovations seen nowhere else! The rear sight elevator is missing.

Designed & made in America!
The Hy-Score pistols of the 700- and 800-series are unique, in that they are the only adult spring pistols made in this country. And, they all have innovations galore, which we will explore today. Of all the pistols made, and hundreds of thousands were produced between 1947 and 1970, the model 800 is by far the most common – though you wouldn’t know it to look at the web auction sites. Dealers too young to remember when these guns were new have decided they MUST be rare and are starting their auctions with prices of $150 and more. At an airgun show, a good shooter brings $80, while one that’s NIB will fetch $175. Blue Book of Airguns says the range spans from $40 to $180, which is right on the money.

Model 700 was the first
Designed by Andrew Lawrence, the model 700 was the first iteration of the pistol. It was produced in 1947 only, and today commands about twice what an 800 brings. Also, the 700s don’t lose as much value as their condition deteriorates. If you’ve seen an 800, the 700 will look very familiar. The biggest differences were in the methods of manufacture, with the 700 being made more of solid steel and requiring more machining time. When held next to an 800, a 700 looks more substantial; but if there is no 800 around, you’d swear it was the same gun.

Model 800 (1948-1970)
The model 800 is made from materials that require less machine time – hence, the price could be held lower. Drawn tubing instead of machined steel was used for the powerplant housing. The piston was fitted around the rear of a very long 10.25″ barrel and used it as a spring guide. This design was borrowed from the British, who used it in several airguns, notably the Acvoke. The breech was accessed by a novel mechanism housed inside the swelling at the rear of the receiver. It acted something like a camera shutter and sealed the breech when closed. Twist in one direction to open for loading and back to close the breech. The gun was held with the muzzle pointed straight down to load, because the pellet had to drop through the loading port and into the back of the barrel.

Novel cocking, too
A latch unlocks the powerplant tube, allowing the shooter to lift it up and tilt it forward. A link in the frame drags the piston forward during this motion until the sear catches it. This is reminiscent of the Beeman P1 (HW45) cocking process. The trigger uses leverage to reduce the pull, but nothing reduces a rather long, creepy movement. It is certainly not a target trigger, despite the word “target” in the pistol’s name. There is no adjustment; by opening the gun a small amount, you do get a dry-fire capability.

Both calibers had adequate power
The first pistols used automotive-type piston rings. When these proved too unreliable, an O-ring was substituted. Hy-Score pistols develop velocity in the high 300 f.p.s. region in .22 caliber, which is all I ever tested. They do exist in .177 as well as a smoothbore for BBs. For the power potential of their mainspring, they were a little on the weak side. I’ve attribute that to the breech sealing mechanism.

A repeater!
A repeating mechanism was available on the model 802. It held the pellets inside the breech mechanism, and they rotated around to the loading port. When opened, the next pellet dropped into the breech if the pistol was held correctly.

Accuracy, schmaccuracy!
Like the trigger, the available accuracy is not indicative of the word “target” on the box. I used to get 2.5″ groups at 10 meters. It’s a pretty poor pistol that can be beat by a Webley Senior – but the Hy-Score can.

More innovation: changeable barrels!
The model 803 Sportster is a short-barrelled single-shot with all three calibers as interchangeable barrels. They’re much more scarce and having one in the box with all the barrels and paper is a real find! A model 804 is the same gun with the repeating mechanism.

The Sportster model came with .177 and .22 rifled barrels and a smoothbore barrel for BBs. Though it looks short, the barrel extends all the way to the back of the pistol.

The last guns that were made have impressed engraving on their frames. All metal parts are well blued, and the Tenite plastic grips come in a variety of colors. The rear sight riser is pretty loose, and many guns will be missing it. Blue Book says they were also chromed, but I wonder if that should be nickelplated, instead. Chrome plating on guns is very rare and doesn’t look nearly as good as nickel, which has a slight golden cast to it.

If you want to own America’s only adult spring-pistol air pistol, this is the one to get.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

135 thoughts on “Hy-Score 800 spring pistol”

  1. BTW still tune in all the time.

    This has really taken off. Like I said I really feel plugged in with the best.

    keep it up.

    call you after Shots. need help w/ the AF. hope u enjoyed this year.

    thanks for everything.

  2. BB,

    I was in Vegas at the Mandalay Bay 2/6 – 2/9 for my anniversary and did not go to the SHOT show. Was it there? Did I miss it? I saw something out of the corner of my eye advertising while walking through the Convention Center, but as I promised, “…no alterior motives, no races, no sports events, gun shows, just our anniversary Honey…”


  3. dsw,

    I wanted to suggest that you get the GTX trigger from https://charliedatuna.com/.Its for gamos and the cf-x is in the list!!!.Or better yet,send the gun to him for a supertune or a turbo tune.He will live it better than new.And the trigger pull is less that 1.5lbs.Please go into the website and at least check it out.Ill send him my CF-X in summer.I just wanted to let you know that at least the trigger for $37 is a steal and ………Well,go to the site and check it out.If you are interested ill send you his phone number.OHHHHHHH and please send me a couple of pictures from your cf-x in different angles.I just love it.

    CF-X guy

  4. CFX Guy,

    Thanks for the info, I will look up the link.

    I haven’t really had much trouble with the trigger,as creepy as it is. Only when I take too much time to get the shot off.


  5. BB,

    Thanks for the article. The Hyscore 800 is one of favorite air pistols. I have two- a .177 and .22 in single shot. They are very well made by today’s standards. Trigger action is excellent and I and I find mine to be fairly accurate. You mentioned power was compromised to some extent by the design of the breech seal. Can you be more specific? I would appreciate your comments.


  6. I had an 802 and I disagree with the earlier comment that it wasn’t accurate. I never took it to the firing range; it was strictly a field gun on my hiking trips. It shot anything from grouse to woodcock. It had to be accurate because it was a lot of work just sneaking up to those targets, which added significantly to our field menus. The most remarkable shot was of a 6″ crab (I swear) from a bluff overlooking a beach at well over 100 feet. It was delicious.

  7. Well that’s a darn good shot! The accuracy comment was relative to other more accurate air pistols that I have shot, plus back when the Hy Score guns were made, the barrels weren’t all up to the same standards. In those days it was not uncommon to get a barrel that wasn’t rifled all the way through the tube.

    Thanks for your recollection!


  8. I finally found a picture of my Hi-score Sportster Model 804..There seems to be a missing part that has the function of loading the spring…how can I have it repaired and where can I send it.??..Tony from Calgary, Alberta..

  9. i just received a model 815 and i can,t figure out how to get in the end of the gun to clean the springs ,it seems that a seal must be bad it,won’t fire a pellet out,but some sort of resadue comes out

  10. Hi There.
    I’m a guy from Denmark who has bought a Hy-Score sporter some years ago. I think it may be a repro, but can see in some pages that it can be very rare. Some interest?
    p.s. I have picture I can send
    Regards Toni

  11. I too own what I think is a 700 with white Ivory style grips.It looks exactly like the first picture on the top of this page. The ser# is 842323 if that’ll help with the date of mfg. the sight is like new and the blueing is also very good. Love the way it shoots and I’m wondering what it would be worth to someone.

  12. Don R,

    The first pistol on this posting is an 800, not a 700. The 700 is a heavier gun witout engraving. The barrel comes straight out from the frame, rather than being shaped like the one shown.

    A 700 in the shape you describe is worth $250-300. An 800 is worth $125-150.


  13. My father passed away recently, and I now have his Hy-Score Sportster. It appears like the last picture in your post, with the exception of the loading gate . Mine has multiple holes in it. Is there somewhere I can obtain a manual and parts for this? The rear sight riser is missing. Other than that, I know nothing about this pistol. Thank you.

  14. Hy Score 815 has a rollpin on back spring retainer,you will probably have to fab a seal from either leather or rubber. My seal had no compression and I changed it over to another leather (same as stock) seal. Does anyone know how many FPS that gun is ? Can’t Find any lit on it, although Im original owner.

  15. I read all of this history and comments and i have one for you. my father past away a short time ago and i found his HY SCORE BB, Pellet Rifle, Mod 808, Cal.177 and BBs made in germany for Hy score arms corp. brooklyn, Ny, USA. It is in excellent condition and still shoots acuratly. You did not mention any thing about any rifles, i was wondering when it was made and what it is worth, thankyou, trickyp43@yahoo.com.

  16. trickyp,

    Your Hy Score 808 is actually made by Diana of Germany. I think it is the model 25. It was made in the ’60s, but the date will be on the receiver at the left rear. Two tiny numbers for the year and two for the month of manufacture. A rifle in good condition should be worth $100-125.


  17. Hey I was just wondering where I could find a repair manuel or something for these guns. My dad recently gave me a model 815 I can remember shooting it as a kid but now it dont work. would like to get it back into working order. Thank you. You can email me at trutxn78@aol.com

  18. B.B.
    I just picked up a Hy score model 700 in .22 caliber with the rear sights intact for $71.40. It had marbled white and brown grips, is this the walnut the Blue Book of Air Guns sixth edition(thanks pyramid air) says is worth less. Also Blue Book says one of these guns (you can tell if its a 700 by the serial number which always starts with a 7) in poor condition is worth $90.

    It was in the cocking position when I bought it and I cannot figure out how to cock and lock it back in firing position, also does anyone know how to seal the pellet in after loading. it looks like a wall covers the loading port after twisting the back, but I cannot get it to close fully.

  19. recently,i was given a hy-score mod 800.it wasn’t in a box or have any of the paperwork(manual)but did come with a partial can of pellets(daisy brand).it seems to be in working order cause i tested it out and it shot perfectly.grips seems slightly loose but found which screw to turn to tighten them.
    i find the gun to be very interesting cause before this one,i only had a cheap marksman repeater (.177 cal)and a pair of beretta replica air softs pistols(which are very unaccurate).even though my 800 could be worth something,i don’t think i’ll sell it.(not to mention i’m kinda keeping it in the family(recieved it from my brother in-laws father)

  20. I was given a Hy-Score Sportster a few years ago and tried to find info on it then. I have now found your site and see that I have a 804 with just one barrel and that is a smooth bore. I can not find pellets that will fit in the breech quick load and allow me to rotate the repeater to firing position. Any ideas would be helpful. It says to use “Hy-Score Pellets Only”.

  21. gbenth,

    Two reasons why you can’t use Hy Score pellets. 1. Hy Score doesn’t exist anymore, and 2. Hy Score never made a pellet. They bought them from pellet makers and put their label on the tin. That’s a common ploy and meaningless, in this case.

    You need short pellets, and wadcutterts (flat-nosed pellets ) are the shortest. Go to Wal-Marrt and buy Crosman Supermatch wadcutters. They should fit.

    The feed mechanism gets sticky and sometimes won’t rotate with anything in it. That may be the problem instead of the pellets. Your gun may need to be repaired or overhauled. This man can do it:


  22. Beefy728,

    I don’t know what you mean by the “extended screw-in piece” unless you are talking about a silencer for the British remake of the Sportster. If that’s what you mean it may be hard to find because there aren’t a lot of the Brit guns in the U.S.


  23. The sportster I have is missing the interchangeable barrels. I believe that the piece that screws into the front of the barrel, must either be a piece that holds the barrels in place, or each barrel must have that screw threaded piece attached to it. Since I have never seen a complete sportster, I only knew that I had nothing to screw into those screwthreads. Does anyone know if the barrels are available. Any information would be appreciated. Beefy728

  24. hi i just recently got a hy-score 22 cal usa made and ive contacted the people you gentleman have listed to no result my problem is a have a rear cap that has a hole in the center and when i take it off there is a retaining spring clip that looks like a snap-ring and nothing else what is supposed to close off the hole is it the shutter i see people talking about and if so does anyone have one for sale please help my e-mail is corkym909 @ yahoo .com

  25. Acquired HY-SCORE AR1/.S .22 cal Made in USA, 891779 is marked underneath the barrel out near the front sight. Have not fired it yet, but was wondering where to find info on it. I can only find info on .177 models so far. It appears to be in excellent condition and was wondering on the value of this gun. Hope I got a nice buy!

    thanks for the help,

  26. Cool_Fire,

    There is a small amount of info in The Blue Book of Airguns, but not enough to identify your rifle from the info you have listed.

    I;m guessing it is an uncommon model made by Hammerli, rather than a Diana or something like that.


  27. Sorry forgot to mention that it is a pistol not a rifle. I found one very similiar to it on an auction site but it was a .177 and the loading port at the back was a different design.

    I don’t think this is an 700, 800 or the new sporter models that are listed in The Blue Book of Airguns. Could it possibly be one of those?

    thanks for the help

  28. Cool_Fire,

    To determine which Hy Score pistol you have, let’;s begin by looking at the design. Is your gun powered by a spring or by CO2? That will narrown the field.

    Next, if it is spring-powered, is it cocked by breaking the barrel down to push the mainspring, or is the barrel pushed straight back or is the top of the gun listed up and swung forward?

    Knowing those things, I can help narrow it down. It’s possible your gun is pictured in the Blue Book, under the name of the real manufacturer.


  29. BB,

    Pistol is powered by a spring, and the barrel pivots forward to cock it. Barrel is inscribed with
    HY-SCORE Target Air Pistol
    Patent Pending Made in USA
    It looks like the one in the picture at the top of this article but the “AR1/.S” made me think it is not the 800.

  30. Cool_Fire,

    You could have a model 700, I guess. The model numbers are not marked on these guns. They just say Hy Score Target Model. The 700 is beefier than the 800 and the barrel has a pronounced step from the receiver instead of the smooth transition on the 800.


  31. Beefy728 ( Jack ) did reach Larry Hannusch, and he did answer many of my questions, and was able to supply me with a .177 barrel. The price was reasonable, and am now able to do some plinking. In all, it WAS a very happy transaction. Thanks again to Larry, Jack


  33. I have a Hy Score Target Model 800 with serial # 820428 It has a Brown grip. I inherited it with original box and all papers Gun is in great shape and fires. What is the value of this Gun? I also got an older starter revolver the box said it wasa nichel type 309-c any idea of the years of these guns and value?

  34. This a repetitive question i'm sure:

    Where to I get replacement parts for a Hy-score model 815? I think the seals are dried up and the so the pellet doesn't make it through the barrel. I tried oil to no avail. I tried to get the cap off the rear of the barrel but it doesn't come off (i did remove the set screw). Any folks out there know who repairs these pistols?

  35. Airgunners,for sale or trade, exc
    hi-score .177target model repeater
    NY made in blue box with all papers
    Trigger shows it has been used but
    exc.Also "air gun Digest" by beeman
    256 pg soft cover & "Air, gas & spring guns of the world" hardcover
    by Smith. All items exc.Will trade for firearms or make cash offer. I
    reside Florida.Make your collection happy! tradenut@att.net

  36. The finish is in almost perfect condition, some small scratches in the rear sight elevator, and it is not missing any parts, to the best of my knowledge. And I am positive that it is a .25 cal (I needed to go to a gun show to find the pellets)

  37. )Okay,

    A 700 in that condition with that caliber is quite a gun. I would think it's worth somewhere north of $250. Like everything, the airgun market has flattened out over the past 12 months, so prices have taken a 30 percent dive. But you have a very nice gun.


  38. I just inherited what appears to be a hyscore model 804 sportster. It look like the 803 sportster on your blog except it has no trigger gaurd. It is the 6 shot .22 cal repeater and seems to work just great. The serial number is 931482, would you have any idea of it's age?

    Thanks Much,

  39. Nate,

    You posted your question on a blog that was written in 2006. There arn't many of us who read the older blogs. I don't know the answer to your question, but if you repost it on the current blog, which is written daily Mon-Fri by B.B., someone will be able to help you out./blog//

    Please join us there, ask your question again, and let us know how your pistol is shooting. Thanks

    Mr B.

  40. I just got one of these at a yard sale for 5 bucks…looks like a model 800, .22 cal. pistol. Someone had triggered the firing mechanism while the barrel was open and the cocking arm jumped off the tracks and jammed. Then it looks like they turned it into a morbid pot-smoking device(!).

    After some careful disassembly and a (VERY) good cleaning, the gun went right back together.

    It's missing the rear sight elevator and the shutter mechanism, but after some improv it seems to fire well…I just got a mouse (headshot) from about 15 feet, and can hit beer cans reliably at about 40-50ft.

    Probably the best $5 I've ever spent!

  41. I have a Hy-Score pistol. It was my grandfather's so it could be a model 700. Okay, here is my guilt. I broke it when I was about 8 yrs old. I was using on the ranch and as I cocked it, I noticed the trigger mechanism. Well, being an 8 yr old I wanted to see what happened if I pushed it! Not a good move. The mechanism fired and I could not get it to work again. Yes, I got into big trouble!

    40 years later I am now in possession of the pistol, and if nothing but to lessen the guilt all these years, is there anywhere to get it fixed? Or is it worth it?


  42. Anonymous,

    I cann't answer your question, but I sure can help you get the answer. You posted to a blog that was written 4 years ago. There arn't many people watching the old blogs for current comments.

    You can get an answer to your question if you repost it on the current blog which is written M-F by B.B. at /blog//

    Hope to see you there,

    Mr B.

    I am not the author of the blog!

  43. If anybody is interested, the hyscore may be going back into production in a more up-to-date model.
    The hyscore is a fine pistol, with ideas not seen on any other, such as the hammer trigger. A pistol made by engineers and not gunsmiths. I have worked on the new design for 6 months, details are too lengthly to explain here, but anybody is free to mail me for pics, etc.
    Power wise is 520 fps in 177 and 400 plus in 22.

  44. A friend gave me a Hy Score of unknown vintage. It most likely is a model 800. The gun is missing major parts: The main spring, pisto, and seals. I contacted John Groenewold as suggested to others. He could not supply the parts, but he was kind enough to send me a parts breakdown. Does anyone know where I can either get the parts I need, or the dimentions so I can make the missing parts. Any help would be very welcome.


  45. berge,

    Larry Hannusch has HS 800 parts. I don't know what he has, but I do know he has lots of them.

    However, if your gun is missing major parts it might be best to turn it into a parts gun and just get a complete 800 to shoot. You'll spend $80-100 to get a good shooter, while the parts to repair one could cost a lot more.

    If you want to talk to Larry I don't have his email address, but he might be reached over on the Vintage Airgun forum:



  46. I have a model 700 air pistol. It was disassembled when I got. Is there some where I can get an assemble chart.I have a parts list. All parts seem to be there. It is in the open position and will not close. Thanks for any help.

  47. Just retired and getting back into classic air pistols. I know this is a old post but I just bought a as new Hy-Score 800 and it seems pretty well made. With the long barrel and a trigger that is not all that bad, I was surprised why I was getting the same 2 to 2.5 inch groups you were. As I thought about it I wondered if the gravity feed wasn’t consistently seating the pellet. Made my own pellet seater out of a Bic pen. Got it so I could feel it just setting the pellet in the barrel. Cut my groups in half and started to get some in the same hole. Eliminated the flyers I was getting before. That’s the advantage of the break barrel pistols, you can seat those with your finger, gravity leaves a weak link with the Hy-Score.

  48. Tom awesome to be able to communicate with the “Godfather” Been listening to Utubes of the old round tables on American Air Gunner. Good stuff! Curious I know you recommend the artillery hold for a rifle like my Beeman R1. With a spring pistol do you still recommend a loose hold? I have found my last challenge with the Hy-score is handling that spring action. I read a paper by the inventor that with the Hy-Score the piston goes to the rear. The first action is to cause a barrel flip downward and than as the piston hit the action is upward. I notice my errors seen usually low.. If I hold loose it shoots pretty well. But I can also do the opposite and use a very firm two hand hold which seems to control the flip. This seems more natural to me as a pistol shooter and I have had my best results, this way. Curious if you have the same loose hold thoughts with a spring pistol? Seems a little easier to use this with a rifle where you have more natural weight as you pull the trigger? Thanks much.

    • 45flint,

      Actually, I recommend a different hold for a pistol. You can read about it here:


      I will also be covering a good pistol hold in my series “Teach me to shoot” and it will be in the next part that gets published this coming Thursday.


    • May have answered my own question, just did a 1/2 inch group at 25 feet with a very firm two hand hold, with RWD Meisterkugeln 8.2 grain pellets. Seated the pellets with a mechanical pencil tip (perfect to fit in the hole and seat abou

  49. Tom, read the post this morning on “Teach me to Shoot”. Also read your recommended grip. Your recommended grip was very interesting and I can see it being somewhat of a artillery hold for pistols. I practiced using your hold and it is actually pretty natural feeling. I found it changed my point of aim as your grip let the spring movement have more of an influence. I had been using a two handed grip with my second hand having the end on the grip in my palm and my thumb locked over the thumb of my main hand. This grip did the opposite, reducing flip and movement. Bottom line, with your grip I was resproducing the 2.5 inch groups you were getting with the high score. With my grip I could get it down to one inch groups. I found the spring action of the Hy-score to actually be more disrupting than some of my other guns. Could a different grip be needed for the vulgarities of certain pistols?

  50. Just found this site.
    I am looking for a hand grip for a Hy-Score Target Model
    Got if from my father some time ago and he had backed over the handle and a chuck is missing.
    just replaced the rear site and after some adjustments it is shooting fine.
    email is olsod55@gmail.com if you have a handle for sale.
    Thank you

  51. Tom , I just won an auction for a Hy-Score Model 800. It is in very good shape , perhaps around 95%. Funny thing is , instead of the leaf spring rear sight , it has a fixed rear sight that fits in a sliding dovetail groove . I saw on the famous auction site , a similar Hy-Score Md. 800 , one with camo green grips , and it has the same dovetail groove , but sight missing. Was this a rare feature not a common fixture ? The seller wrote back that it sights in well , but curious. The dovetail seems factory done . Thanks , and a Happy New year in 2018.

      • It is a Hy-Score 800 , with serial number 842968 as far as I can see in the picture on Ebay. No scroll work on the sides like they did later on ? That is a question , as later models had the scroll work pressed in as far as I know. Like I said before , there is a current Ebay sale for a Hy Score with camo grips that has the dovetail , but no other rear sights. Curious I think.

  52. After looking at the fine print in the Blue Book , it mentioned about dovetailed rear sight. I am thinking that refers to the front of the sight , which when looking at some of those Hy -Score 800 pistols closely as seen on Ebay , it seems like the front part of the rear sight slides into the factory dovetail. Answering my own question ? I guess when it shows up next week we shall see. First , I like vintage gear , and second , the Hy-Score was advertised as a Target Pistol , which I doubt. I just really appreciate holding in my hand a piece of gear almost as old as me. If I really need the correct rear sight , it is out there. And if i want to tear precise holes in paper , I have better guns. But ain’t it fun to have vintage air guns ?

    • Manfred,

      Welcome to the blog.

      According to the Blue Book of Airguns your pistol is a Diana model 5. See a report on it here:


      Why do you need to disassemble it? That’s only for an overhaul.

      Clean the barrel with a brass bore brush and no solvent. It won’t need to be cleaned very often. Maybe ever 50,000 rounds or so. At the low velocity it shoots and shooting pure lead pellets it won’t lead up.


  53. Dear B,B.,
    Thank you for your prompt and informative reply.
    My pistol is in pristine shape but has not been shot for many years and therefore the lubes have almost solidified.
    That was my reason for disassembly.
    Thank you again for your reply and info.

  54. I inherited a .22 Hy-Score Model 802 repeater that was my uncle’s, about 30 years ago, and just recently figured out where to oil it.

    I saw in some instructions that I found online to apply heavy oil after cocking the pistol, but I wasn’t sure exactly where the oil was to be applied, or even the type of oil.

    I had some non-detergent 30W motor oil handy that I use on my BB guns, and figured out where the oil goes… there’s a round hole by the open slot where you can see the metal piston on the underside near the loading breech end.

    Here’s a photo that I made, in case anybody else is curious.

    Now it shoots good and strong… not convinced it is really accurate yet, but it sure is fun to shoot !

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