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Education / Training Fanner 50 – Part 1

Fanner 50 – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

This is the story of a boy who loved guns. He really loved airguns, but he wouldn’t find that out for many more years to come. This is a long story, so I’ll make it two parts. Even then, it will seem long. But I know this kind of stuff is right down the alley for many of you more mature airgunners, so no apologies.

When I was a boy, I owned a Benjamin 107 pistol that barely worked and I struggled to buy a B.B. gun against my mother’s fears that I would break all the windows in the house. She also used the phrase, “You’ll shoot your eye out,” but her real concern was based in events that happened a few years before I was born. According to her, our house was terrorized by neighbor boys shooting BB guns. Apparently windows were shot out, or at least windows were threatened. All I know is my mother’s retelling of the experience countless times put me off Windows for the rest of my life.

When I was 12, I got a paper route, and real money started flowing my way. I delivered the Akron Beacon Journal and pocketed close to $10 each month, so life was good. My mother finally relented, and I bought my first real BB gun–a Daisy No. 25 pump that I didn’t know how to oil. In less than a week, the gun wasn’t shooting, so I took it apart, couldn’t fix it and sold the parts for a quarter to a kid whose father got it running again in a few hours.

After that I hated BB guns and decided that, as a man of the world, I needed a “real” airgun. I’d been drooling over the Sheridan Blue Streak for several years. My Boy’s Life ran enticing ads that made me yearn for the powerful pellet rifle the way I yearn to own a Rolex Submariner wristwatch today. But the Blue Streak cost $19.95, as I recall. And I pocketed just under $10 a month. Even at 12 I could do the math and calculate that, at the rate money was coming in, it would take just over two months to accumulate enough to buy that Blue Streak. But there were two problems. The first was that even though money came IN, it never seemed to STAY. By the time the next month rolled around, all of the money was gone, and I was waiting for collection day. Perhaps you know what I mean.

The other problem was that in the 1950s, time moved much slower than it does today. A month in the ’50 is equivalent to half a year in today’s time. I guess it’s due to inflation or something. Anyway, there was no way I was going to wait that long to get what I so desperately wanted! So, I devised a scheme.

After the next collection day, I put aside five dollars that I resolved not to spend. The impact on my life from this bold move was sudden and furious. One week into the new month I could no longer afford to buy Pepsis, comic books or candy bars. I was flat broke. Busted! This is the place in all those sappy boys’ stories we used to read where a wonderful thing is supposed to happen. The hero develops resolve and matures into a young man through a heart-wrenching life struggle that seems bleak for a time but has a happy ending. It takes about 40 pages to read, but the Boxcar Children live happily ever after.

I would love to tell you that at this juncture I set my jaw firmly and made it to the end of that month with five dollars in my pocket, but it isn’t true. I made it with about two dollars and the worst case of Pepsi withdrawal ever seen outside the Betty Ford clinic! And I also inaugurated our nation’s first roadside cleanup campaign by picking up all the deposit bottles along Route 91 in Stow, Ohio. They never gave me credit for that, of course. I guess I should have picked up all the beer cans, too, but cans were made of steel in those days and no one wanted them.

At any rate, I made it to collection day and with the new cash influx was able to put almost $12 together. That was my stake for a real pellet gun. My mom then drove me to a discount store in Cuyahoga Falls. We didn’t have Wal-Mart in those days, and I’m sure the store I visited would be an embarrassment today, but at the time it was like being in a big PX. That’s short for Post Exchange, a store on Army installations where you can buy almost anything, and also slang for a shoppers’ heaven.

There were three pellet guns at that store. Don’t think in today’s terms, where if you don’t find what you want you go somewhere else. In 1958, there was nowhere else to go! At least it seemed that way to me. My choices were a Crosman Single-Action Six for $12.95, a Crosman 600 Rocket Pistol for $19.95 and a Webley Senior for $29.95.

Crosman Single-Action Six was a realistic .22 pellet revolver.
The whole cylinder revolved when the hammer was cocked.

A nice early Crosman 600 in a “rocket box.”

The Webley Senior was all-steel and beautifully made. No one could miss the quality.

If I have properly established the mood for you, you can now appreciate that there was no choice at all. I had only enough money to almost cover the Single-Action Six. My mom graciously agreed to float me the difference and pay the tax, but that was as far as she would go. And then she asked me the stupidest question. “Is this what you really want?”

No, it wasn’t what I really wanted. Even as a 12-year-old punk I could see the quality difference between the SA-6 and the Webley! One gun was painted potmetal with hollow plastic grips and the other was a beautifully blued steel handgun that was made in the same fashion as a fine firearm.

But you don’t tell your mother that you are settling when you have worked for years to get her to say, “Yes.” You don’t open the floor for renegotiation! I may have been 12 and a punk, but I wasn’t completely naive. So I bought the Single-Action Six.

I don’t mean to slight the SA-6. Just because it was forced on me by my impecunious lifestyle doesn’t detract from the gun itself. The SA-6 is a .22-caliber, CO2-powered, single-action revolver that holds 6 pellets in a full-sized rotating cylinder. It’s a life-sized replica of the Colt 1873 Single-Action Army revolver that’s known to the world as the cowboy gun.

The CO2 cartridge is held under the barrel, hidden by a black plastic sleeve that disguises it as a slightly larger cartridge ejector. The pellets are loaded at the front of the cylinder that revolves just like the firearm. Many other single-action pellet and BB guns came after this one, but they mostly avoided this realistic feature that made me love the gun all the more.

Next time, I’ll complete the story and tell you about the “Fanner 50” title.

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.

59 thoughts on “Fanner 50 – Part 1”

  1. LOL!!! Boxcar children!!!!!! We used to read those books.

    We used to save soda bottles and mow lawns. We had to walk through the woods to get to the store to buy candy and would spend all day out in the woods if we could.

    Anyhow, all I can say is:


    Three! four!
    Three! four!
    Three! four!
    (bunch of ah-ah-ahs here)

    All these airguns calling me
    Downstairs it comes from
    It’s such a cruel awakening
    I’m up bloggin this song
    All the little kids reading up on this bit are goin
    Airguns rock, airguns rock
    Pumpin my rifle til I got to get goin

    Airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock
    Airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock

    Mama knows but she don’t care
    Shes got her worries too
    Seven kids and a tank of air
    And the rent is due
    All the little bunnies thinking it’s so funny go
    Airguns rock, airguns rock
    livinin sin without a firing pin and goin
    Airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock
    Airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock
    I got P08 from world war II
    I’ll shoot it like my dad told me to do
    He was a shooter and I am too,
    now airguns rock, yeah airguns rock

    Airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock
    Airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock
    Airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock
    Airguns rock, airguns rock, airguns rock,



  2. B.B.

    Great story… If I were King of the world, I'd make it illegal to let adults do paper routes in cars!!! That's like stealing the best possible learning and business class a kid can get!!! burns my butt to see papers delivered by car!!

    Whew.. that feels better.

    I picked up one of those SA-6 pistols last month for the collection, because it looked so cool.. so glad your telling a story about it and your youth!!

    Wacky Wayne

  3. OH BTW,

    On the coconut oil on pellet saga…

    Over the weekend I tested the oil on 10.2 JSB in the P70.. It increased the FPS by 28fps average and lowered the spread by 3fps (not much spread in the regulated P70 to start with)..
    …very impressive I would say!!

    off to the lake with the dogs for an hour or so.. ta ta..

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

    "blesser" was the word verification.. too cool!

  4. Hia BB
    Love the story. Your writings are as talented as Jean Shepherd.

    Reminds me of my days as a paper boy. In the 80's I had a very large route, I brougt in around $50 to $100 a week when I collected from everyone. My dad set up a matcing funds program. If I was able to save a few bucks, He would help me buy my goods.

    I remember buying my first pellet gun, a Daisy 881 with a Daisy 4x scope. I still have this rifle today and she still shoots around 550 FPS.

    My paper route grew so large, it became a problem to have free time. I would always need a least 3 friends to cover for me if I went away. Then I made the choice to give up the route and take a job at a grocery store with a few of my frinds as a bagger and floor cleaner. It was at that point I relized how good I had it as a Paper Boy.

    Joe G
    From Jersey

  5. Nice story B.B. even over 40 I can still relate, and am still saving for that next great thing, right now the Marauder. The anticipation is part of the fun! But my resolve usualy fails as it is now.

  6. Hey Joe, one of my fondest memories, about 15 years ago or so……

    Went fishing with some friends who used to have a shore house and boat in NJ. The fishing was fun, but the best part was hitting Mystic Island Pizza & Restaurant in Tuckerton. Philly has good cheesesteak sandwiches, but I believe the best ones were at Mystic Island.

    Heading out to CA for wedding this week, not sure what to expect. I've been north south and east, but never that far west. We flying into a smaller airport in Ontario, CA instead of LA and staying in San Dimas. I'm not fond of big cities anymore. Give me the open skies, on land or at sea.

    btw…the pizza in Columbus Ohio was pretty good.

  7. Or was it Cleveland,

    I remember singing the Cleveland Rocks song while I ate the huge slice of pizza it and thinking of the Drew Carry show.

    Everytime I go east I get stuck at an airport in Ohio. I've seen toledo, cleveland and columbus. If add Akron, I'd have half of the state covered.

  8. I had so much money when I was a kid!!
    I lived close to a mobile home park (that's what we call trailor parks in my part of Canada).
    I managed to score the paper route for the park…140 homes, most of which took the paper, in a very small area…way less work than normal housing.
    One of the first things I bought with my money was an old push style reel lawn mower…that's where the real cash was.
    I could to 10 lawn in an afternoon at $2.50 each…probably as much as a real job.
    My second purchased was a .177 pellet gun…I know it was made in Europe somewhere…I think an early Slavia or very similar.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  9. Well, I don't like Windows either, BB. My next operating system, I'm going to try either Linux or Googles' new Chrome.

    Anyway, loved the story and like Joe from Jersey, I'm a big Jean Shepherd fan. Got to meet him when he came to my college back in the late 60's.

    I have a report for the blog on accuracy between the Gamo Compact and the S&W 78G. What I did is set up a target roughly 33' away and rested the pistols on a pillow, butt down, of course. I tried a number of different pellets in each pistol trying to achieve the best grouping shooting 5 pellets per target. I used Gamos, RWS', Beemans and H & N wadcutters pellet and couldn't better a 1" group. With the 78G, I settled on Hobbie wadcutters and managed a 7/8" group. Maybe. I couldn't believe I couldn't achieve a better group with the Gamo Compact so I, gasp, broke out the JB non-embedding bore paste and tried to clean the barrel. No difference in groupings – still roughly 1" ctc.

    Is it me or is it this Gamo or is the S & W that good? Maybe I better stick to scoped rifles.

  10. Fred, which RWS are you using in the Gamo? I found this pistol to be very picky with pellets.
    The Gamo wadcutters supplied with it, and the RWS Meisterkulgen which I first tried were totally eclipsed by the RWS R-10 Match pellets.
    At 10m, on a good day (a really good day) I have no trouble keeping 5 shots all in, or bisecting the 10 ring (ISSF 10m pistol target), which is about .5" across, offhand.
    I would surmise that from a rest it would do slightly better.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  11. Edith,

    I'm sorry I didn't read this blog earlier cause I was going to ask you about Mac's–great sense of humor :).

    Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane!

    Mr B.

  12. I often wondered why modern pellet revolvers insist on making do with the very short cylinder ('circular magazine' sitting in front of a fake, but full-sized cylinder.

    I suspect there are problems relating to the pellet travelling through the bore in the cylinder. Gas leakage if the cylinder is smoothbore and the pellet a loose fit? Problems with the pellet entering the forcing cone at high speed?

    Whatever the problem is it's a shame that S&W and Crosman haven't seem to have been able to overcome them. The unrealistic cylinder has always been the big downer to pellet revelovers, in my book…

  13. This is what the manual reads on the red ryder. I generally stick to them.

    To operate properly, your Daisy BB gun requires maintenance.
    Simple oiling and cleaning are sufficient. Lack of
    maintenance can cause poor performance and could make
    the gun unsafe.

    OILING: To maintain top shooting performance, you
    should add two drops of oil in the "oil" hole (See Drawing
    No. 1) every 500 to 1000 shots. Also oil trigger, cocking
    mechanism and other moving parts regularly. Use a "20"
    weight motor oil. Do not use light weight household-type oils.
    CLEANING: The exterior can be cleaned by wiping with a
    soft clean cloth. The screws and sights are a gun blue finish
    and should be wiped with an oiled cloth to prevent rust.

    Unload BBs and store them in a separate place to keep
    them from untrained shooters. Before putting gun away in a
    cabinet or gun rack, make sure

    Full Manual:


  14. ajvenom,

    I'm embarassed to say that I've never owned a red ryder bb gun. I have a neighbor boy that does and his barely shoots a bb out the end of the barrel. I'm not about to make the device B.B. wrote about a month ago in order to take the gun apart but thought if a good oiling would make it shoot again (like it did for my diana 27) I'd attempt that.

    Thanks for the link. Unfortunately this is the operating manual not the maintenance manual. Went to PA's site and that's all they have. I assume that the "oiling port" you're referring to is clearly marked on the gun?


  15. B.B.

    Maybe, in view of the limited airgun choices, the old days were not all that great.

    No reason to be dissatisfied with owning a reproduction Colt SAA. I'm definitely going to get the Ruger Single Six for that reason. Did you say that you do not like the exchangeable cylinders in .22LR and .22 magnum?


  16. Kevin, don't feel so bad. I never had one either – Dad bought me a Daisy 1894 instead.

    My cousin had the RR. Never understood the reasoning behind making the 1894 heavier, much harder to load, noisier, lower mag capacity, and more cumbersome to shoot. As well as being more expensive.

    Man, I was jealous of his RR – 'All you have to do is POUR THE BB'S INTO THAT HOLE?!?!?!' and 'It holds HOW MANY BB's???'. The 1894 only had a 50 round capacity, and you had to coax the BB's into a loading port on the side. Fairly realistic, but waaaayyyy too time consuming fer a kid.

    BTW, email sent…

  17. CBS Dad,

    I had been using Meister R-10's with the Gamo but after being unable to get a group better than 1", I tried a bunch of others. The Gamo match pellets or whatever the wadcutters are called, did not work well at all with this pistol. I'm at work so I can't give you a complete list of the pellets I tried but they all grouped within 1 1/2" or better but not better than 1". I suspected that the S & W 78G would not be as accurate as the Gamo so wasn't upset that my groups were also around 1" with it. Very disheartening to think it might be me and not the guns.

    Edith, I have an Apple Clamshell that I still use when writing articles for regional motorcycle magazines. It's real long in the tooth and barely operates with the Jaguar Operating system which I have to use in order to use the latest browsers required by the WWW these days. I just have a problem spending $1,000 for a new I-book when there are so many air rifles that I must have. So long as the Clamshell functions, it's hanging around, dead battery and all.


  18. I am ashamed to say that I can't remember what my first BB gun was. I can picture it and remember how it loaded the BB's but no clue what it was! I remember that you took out a long tube from under the barrel that was spring loaded and held probably 50 BB's which you had to load individually by pulling back the spring, definitely no pouring involved. Does that sound familiar to anyone by chance? I'd love to know what it was. I also remember that it used to jamb all the time and I once made the mistake of pointing it at my dad's VW Beetle when it was jambed and of course it suddenly became unjambed and shot the window out, Oops!

  19. BB,
    Great story. I could share one or two similar, but you did it much better:).

    The hole, says "oil here" or something equally obvious:).

    Apple seems to like the x86 architecture OK now:). How much innovation can we expect from a company located in "1 Infinite Loop":).

    It is said that you don't need to know how to use a command line interface (much less have a shell preference) or recompile the kernel anymore to use Linux, but I wonder what is the point if that's true:).

  20. Great story, thanks.

    The reason why time went slower then is because every day was a MUCH higher percentage of your entire life time.
    So at ten you have only lived 3650 days.
    But at 50 you have lived 18250. So each day goes five times as fast!
    So a day at ten is the same perceived amount of time as a week at seventy.
    You know it makes sense 🙂

  21. Great story. My parents knew me well enough to only let me have a 'Fanner 50' cap pistol, nothing where any projectile actually exited the barrel. Wore out the '50" tho.

    Al Pellet

  22. B.B.

    Only working 12 hours a day, then doing the blog..

    Quit goofing off man.. and get on it!!

    just kidding of course..

    Bless you sir, for all you do for this hobby!


  23. Wayne,

    Thanks for sending Sterling my way. He bought my last pump. I owe you.

    What don't you have?



    Get to work. You're slacking off and setting a very poor example for the rest of America. It's inexcusable that you're only working 16 hour days. Our forefathers put in 30 hour days.

  24. Wow Fanner 50!!! I had one of those, also had a two guy cowboy rig with pistols that used the famous Shootin' Shells and Greenie Stickem Caps!! One of the neighborhood kids had thim amaothe gun, looked like an overgrown Thompson in silver and black, it ran on a bunch of D cell batteries and fired caps..I think it was a Fury F500 or something similar. My buddy down the street had a shootin' shell gun as well but his was in the .38 snub variety and came with an "action target" that you had to hit with the shell before he raised his gun and fired. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!!!

  25. Kevin,

    I'm still trying to pay you back for the collectible shotgun shells!!

    What don't I have… well one of the items on my want list is a Remington 700 in .223 or 30-06.. I've really stocked up in those rounds for the Howa 1500s.. and the Kimber .223

    The guys at the Firearm rifle range, have got me sold.. and I remember you mentioning that one when I first got started into big boy firearms for my Elk hunting trip.

    Since my Dad's Remington 550-1 semi-auto is my first firearm in the collection, why not just keep adding to it..

    The more I shoot the old Remington .22 lr rifles, the more I want to collect Remington.. and maybe exclusively for collecting.. it's too big a gun world to try and collect in too many brands.

    Remington seems to be very accurate in every rifle I've tried, and I have 6 now in .22cal, two more on the way, and one at the pawnshop I've put a deposit on!

    so… there is lots and lots of wants on the want list.. just in the Remington brand!

    Oh, since I love the Dan Wesson .357mag 8" barrel, I also added a S&W 27 frame .357mag with a 6" barrel.. wow! is all I can say! They are both incredibly accurate with super nice double action & single action triggers…

    And today I got a Ruger New Model Blackhawk Convertible .357/9mm, since I've got so much 9mm ammo.. because I couldn't find 38 special or .357mag anywhere.. except at really high prices online.. I got a real cheap 9mm Hi-Point semi-auto.. "guaranteed for life"..

    Well… 3 out of 4 of the first clips jammed on the last round.. so it's at the factory.. the clerk promised it will come back working well…. we'll see..

    Me of little faith.. I bought the .357/9mm convertible revolver… funny thing….my revolvers haven't jammed once 🙂


  26. hey Tom.

    i wanted to pre-order a HW50s from PA, but i had a few questions….

    I was wondering how quiet the HW50s is compared to a Sheridan Blue Streak? will it be like shoting a blue streak at 5 pumps or 2 pumps?…. also which one is quieter after break in, the Crosman NPSS or a HW50s, and by how much?. is the HW50s very hold sensitive? do you recommend the artillery hold for it?

    thanks again.

  27. Wayne,

    Pay me back. What a laugh.

    You just struck a chord in my being.

    Collecting firearms.

    You seem to be at a crossroads in your "collection".

    On one hand your assembling firearms that are fun/accurate to shoot and meanwhile discarding those that have problems. Well done. On the other hand you're leaning towards collecting Remingtons "Since my Dad's Remington 550-1 semi-auto is my first firearm in the collection, why not just keep adding to it.."

    I went through a similar dilemma years ago and unwittingly chose a path of acquiring those firearms that best served their purpose and traded/discarded the rest without any sentiment. There were/are rare sentimental exceptions like Henry pump action octagon barrel .22's (one of my youth guns that although can conjure up very fond memories is still arguably able to perform the task better than any current model. Justification at work again.). B.B. reminded me of this recently with his confessed passion for the Winchester Model 61. If I could wish anything for you it would be that you were 10 years old again, lived in the country and had a Winchester Model 61 or a Henry pump action with an octagon barrel in .22 caliber to spend your days with.

    I had a great uncle that collected Marlin lever action rifles. In later years he didn't shoot much but had almost every lever action Marlin in almost every caliber. He never owned a gun safe and had these guns stashed everywhere in his house (under the beds, in closets, in an unused shower, etc.) and garage and would buy a model with minor distinctions not knowing if he already owned this variation or not. A true collector in a vein that was probably unsurpassed.

    Although I have amassed an embarassing number of firearms I have never considered myself a "collector". I merely had a need for a firearm to do a certain task, under various circumstances and that meant that several firearms were necessary to complete these same tasks because of the variety of circumstances (Again, justification).

    I'm not the one to say you need to either collect Remingtons or collect firearms that you determine through trial and error perform the task best. But I wanted to echo what you've already said, "it's too big a gun world to try and collect in too many brands."

    Now that I've tried to be a friend and focus your collection, I've earned the right to be a devil…

    Consider a .357 Colt Python with a 6" barrel. Fits my hand perfect, well balanced and the weight handles .38's very well. Oh, and it never jams. :^)

    It's hard to go wrong with a 30.06Remington 700. Tried and true. This is speaking to your need for a big game rifle not a fun plinking gun. If your shots on big game are regularly 200+ yards consider a .300 Weatherby.


  28. Kevin,

    Thanks for that story… I am at a crossroads in my collecting…

    What a great uncle to go visit, you must have had many great times together!!

    How does the .300 Weatherby compare with the 7mm mag Weatherby Vanguard? … I fell in love with one at the pawnshop and had to bring it home.. stopping by the range first, of course… very accurate at 200 yards.. even with the "tiny" Nikon Prostaff 2-7×32 and the added recoil over my Howa 1500 in 30-06 in the Hogue stock.

    The Vanguard has a wood stock.. make that "a beautiful" wood stock :-)..
    ..and I'm not sure how much extra recoil is from the wood stock or from the slightly larger looking ammo..


  29. Elis,

    The HW50S and the NPSS are both quiet and I can't say which is quieter. It's too close to tell without instrumentation. But the NPSS would be more consistently quieter out of the box.

    Both are quieter than a Blue Streak with LESS than one pump.


  30. "B.B. reminded me of this recently with his confessed passion for the Winchester Model 61. If I could wish anything for you it would be that you were 10 years old again, lived in the country and had a Winchester Model 61 … to spend your days with."

    Kevin, I WAS 10 yrs old, lived in the country on a 150 acre farm, and owned a Winchester Model 61 (my first real firearm, graduated to from a Daisy model 25). I really enjoyed carrying its little waspish frame all over those rolling east Tennessee hills and Loblolly pine forests.

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