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A new book about air machine guns

by B.B. Pelletier

This subject is quite fascinating, and when you research it, you learn about airguns that most people have never seen. Now, there’s a book about these guns, and it’s pretty thorough!

New book by Larry Behling covers a subject never before reported.

Most people who read this blog know about the Russian Drozd. It looks like a submachine gun; but, because it operates on CO2, it can fire only full-auto in the burst mode (either three or six shots per burst). Shooting unlimited full-auto would freeze the action.

There are a lot of other full-auto airguns that can shoot for as long as the trigger is held down. They are the principal subjects of this new book.

Shoot out the star! – the Feltman
Anyone who’s been to an American carnival in the past 40 years knows about this game! A gun that resembles a Thompson submachine gun is loaded with 101 lead shot, and the shooter is invited to shoot out the red start, from a paper target. It’s next to impossible to do, but just shooting the gun is so much fun that practically nobody cares. The gun was invented around 1940 and became really popular after the war. It’s tethered to an air source that’s simply shop air (finally, an airgun that runs on a shop compressor!). The No. 2 lead shot goes out the spout at less than 300 f.p.s., but at close range they can do really dramatic things.

The Feltman runs on shop air.

The Feltman, as it is known, will shoot millions of shots with the most minimal maintenance and repairs. And, it operates on 90-125 psi! Consequently, it’s the air machine gun every advanced collector wants. A good used one can probably be bought for $400 to $600 today, and there is a place called Shooting Star, Inc., in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, where you can get your gun serviced. They also make entire new guns. (908-789-2500)

A crew-served BB machine gun seems even more exciting. During World War II, the Army and Navy used thousands of MacGlashan BB machine guns to teach the fundamentals of aerial gunnery. This much larger gun is cycled by an electric solenoid and powered by compressed air. The air pressure is higher, at 180-200 psi, but the velocity runs between 500 and 600 f.p.s. Working MacGlashans are more expensive than Feltmans, but not unaffordable. They shoot run-of-the-mill steel BBs, so the operating cost is quite low.

MacGlashan BB machine gun was used as a trainer in World War II.

NewMatics PM-16
This is a realistic-looking .22-caliber M16 that fires 26 lead balls at 900 rounds per minute. Velocity is in the mid-500s, and the rifle can be fired either semiautomatic or full-auto. It operates on air pressurized to 1,800 psi. Inventor M.D. (Doc) Schavone has been marketing his gun to military and law enforcement agencies around the world for at least a decade.

NewMatics MP-16.

He brought it to Maryland’s Damascus Airgun show one year and let the public shoot it, and I had the privilege of squeezing off a few magazines. The rifle recoils like the real deal and is fairly accurate. If it ever gets into production, Doc has plans to sell a version to the public.

These are but a few of the many air machine guns that exist. The new 324-page book tells the story of each, including a lot of material that most advanced collectors have never seen. It sells for $65, plus $8.40 shipping in the U.S. Contact the author at rte6larry@alltel.net.

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.

22 thoughts on “A new book about air machine guns”

  1. Why haven’t more machine air-guns been marketed to the public B.B? A lot of people including myself would give just about anything for a c02 or compressed air driven M-16 or AK-74M Replica that throws .117 bbs out at 900 rpm.

    Personally if this MP gun comes out I’m selling every last marui airsoft rifle I have to get this one gun. However I’d like to see a version made where the airtank is the stock and the bbs are fed from removable m16 STANAG magazines.

  2. Cost has been the limitation.

    The MP-16 will cost well over $1,000, and most buyers would find that too high.

    Can’t use CO2 for full-auto – it freezes the gun.

    If you have a spare $2,500 to 3,000, there are still quite a few Piper Vulcan guns (6,000 rpm) around. They change hands a lot.


  3. Jim,

    It sounds good and I thank you for the link, but Doc has been in the “justa gonna” mode for a decade. He took deposits for guns back in 2001 and none have been delivered.

    I noticed no pricing given. The reason you have to call is Doc hopes to attract dealers who will place large orders. I’d wait and see.

    When and if this airgun really becomes available, I will be among the first to beat the drum.


  4. $2,500 to $3000???!!! Heck, I’m still trying to save up for the Diana 52 at $400.00!

    Off Topic:

    I did just order the Bugbuster 6x and mounts to put it on my Mendoza. That’s one step closer to my ultimate goal: the Bugbuster on the 52. I figure I’ll keep practicing with the Mendoza for technique until I get the 52. Actually, it isn’t so much about “saving up” for the 52. It’s more about gradually working these things by the wife!

    But, while I’m making my plans, is there any other gun in the $350.00 to $400.00 range you would reccommend more than the 52 for .22 cal hunting and plinking?

    Thanks, BB.

  5. oh, that kills me. low pressure air has to be fed at high volume. and high pressure air is near impossible to achieve! i think we could all afford a $30 electric tire pump, along with a few air tanks. perhaps i’m getting ambitious, but i think i could feed an air cable into my single pump and have it solely bolt action.

    its hard to believe an air rifle recoils like a 5.56 cartridge! is there some sort of mechanism like those in GBBs, that recoils separetely?

  6. dm20

    There is the Diana 54, a springer which is supposed to be nearly re-coiless. I’ve seen both good and bad reviews. The reviews I’ve read say the lack of recoil is nice, but the noise and some of the parts leave a little bit to be desired……no first hand knowledge, mind you. Just what I’ve gleaned off the web. And (this blog being the exception!) we KNOW how reliable the web is! : )

  7. Then there was the LARC M19A Freon-
    powered BB machinegun. In addition to shooting holes in the target you
    got to put a hole in the ozone layer, too.

    When I bought one of those back in the 70s I should have stocked up more on
    the cans of automotive-AC freon when
    they went on sale for about 70-some
    cents per can. Those now sell for over
    $5 a can or so, I think! A better investment than the gun itself…

    Regards, Will

  8. ok everybody beter love me…LOOK AT THIS


    you can buy a rap4 .43 caliber paintball gun FULL AUTO or semi for about $200 to $600 …and they sell conversion kits to make it a bb gun its just a barrel an mount it is clip fed you can use the same clip as for .43 cal paintballs …these are the actual training paintguns the U.S. military uses the one and only RAP4 these guns are like a real AR-15 A.K.A M16… they have a caseing that the bb or paintball goes in and when fired it spites it out like a real shell …you can actualy convert an AR-15 to one of these an visa-versa …ill stop talking …these are the coolest thing ever i can talk about them forever ……sorry about the spelling …so take some time and check out rap4.com/real action paintball oh yea check out the grenade launchers on ther to …yeh GRENADE LAUNCHERS




  9. BBA,

    The only person who knows that is Jeff Castleman. You need to meet him (at the LASSO shoot), talk to him and MAYBE he will take a liking to you and sell one.

    They are extremely limited and think in terms of multiple thousands.


  10. B.B.,

    OK, so then $$$ to go to the show.
    $$$ to wine & dine him. LOL
    And a LOT of $$$ to buy one, IF he decides to sell me one.

    WOW… And I thought my Gatling BB gun was pricey.

    Maybe this will have to wait a little while. LOL

    Thanks for answering that for me,


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