Airgun bloopers!

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: A.J. Stewart (aka JrSquirreler) is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their airgun facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card. Congratulations!

A.J. Stewart gets a chance to shoot Ray Apelles’ custom Benjamin Marauder at Crosman’s Northeast Regional Field Target Championship (NRFTC) hosted by Crosman at their facilities in East Bloomfield, New York.

The concept of a product gone wrong isn’t unfamiliar in our society. One only needs to consider the Edsel automobile, Apple’s Lisa computer and reformulated New Coke to realize that failures in the marketplace are part of our rich tapestry of life. And collectors will point out that Edsels are now highly collectible, or that Apple learned a lot by taking the PARC technology and putting it into a $10,000 personal computer. It was the perfect springboard for their hugely successful Macintosh line. As for New Coke, well, the comedians are the only ones who derived a little benefit from that!

So, is there an equivalent faux pas in the world of airguns? You betcha! Plenty of them. Let’s start with one of my favorites.

The Wamo BB gun line
I have to call this a line of guns, because it was comprised of many different models. The most popular was the Kruger pistol that looked like a Luger, and the Western Haig that resembled a Buntline Special. Both “air” guns used the explosive force of toy caps to propel a No. 6 birdshot, which is very close to .12 caliber. And at least one variation of the Kruger shot genuine .173-caliber steel BBs instead of the smaller lead shot. And I’ve seen the box for a Kruger variation that was a potato gun.


A .12-caliber Wamo Kruger pistol at top, Western Haig in the center and the .177 steel BB version of the Wamo Kruger at the bottom. Wamo made a lot of cap-firing guns! They didn’t sell the Western Haig directly, but the co-owner of Wamo owned the patent on it.

Wamo (or Wham-o — they used both names in their literature, in their ads and on their boxes) also sold other cap-firing shot-launching guns that were covered by the same patents but were not directly associated with the Wamo name. The Western Haig is one such gun.

The caps were a poor way of providing power. They had unreliable ignition, wildly variable power and they left an acidic hydroscopic residue in the steel barrels and firing mechanisms that rusted them to inoperability within days of the first shooting. Nowhere in the scanty instructions was the shooter advised how often or even how to clean his gun after firing, so they failed after the first use in most cases.

Crosman .21-caliber compressed gas guns
The Crosman CG is a CO2 rifle that uses a 4-oz. CO2 tank left over from World War II, where it was originally meant to rapidly inflate large life rafts. A Crosman employee located several thousand of these tanks after the war and the company modified their model 101 pneumatic to use them. Crosman had been making and selling shooting galleries with CO2 guns since 1932, so this idea wasn’t new to them; but on many of these CG guns, as they came to be known, they installed .21-caliber barrels that used a proprietary shot.


This is a straight-tank CG rifle. Another version has the tank slanted toward the butt of the rifle. They came in both Crosman’s proprietary .21 caliber and the more conventional .22 caliber.

The gun wasn’t really the product Crosman was selling. They were selling a complete indoor shooting gallery, suitable for league competition, which they hoped to popularize in companies across America. They had some success, if you believe all the press photos of the leagues shooting, but the idea died out pretty fast. Can you imagine the sales call that would have to be made to the New York Times — to get them to purchase a shooting gallery for their employees today?

The CGs were also produced with .22-caliber barrels, and those are the ones that are still being shot by collectors. But the .21-caliber rifles don’t see a lot of use.

Freon-powered Larc
Here’s a blooper that can still be found at some airgun shows! The Larc BB “machine gun” was powered by a can of Freon. It used the pressurized Freon gas to blow the BBs out the barrel at a rapid rate. Back in those days, we not only bought Freon by the can for our leaky air conditioners, kids played with liquid mercury and had real firecrackers on the Fourth of July. Sure, their names were Sleepy, Stumpy and Lefty, but those were the good old days!

For those who are too young to know, Freon is a refrigerant gas that was replaced by other gasses when it was realized that it depleted the Earth’s ozone layer. Using it in a gun to launch BBs is politically incorrect on a number of levels today.

Today, a few enthusiasts still shoot their Larc guns using air pressure instead of Freon. But as originally designed, the Larc was doomed to extinction.

Daisy 400-series pellet rifles
What if Daisy took a Daisy Avanti 499 Champion BB gun and modified it to become a repeating pellet rifle? Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Daisy must have thought so, because from 1971 to 1976 they made no less than seven different models (400, 403, 404, 450, 452, 453, 454) — all of which did pretty much the same thing. They looked like BB guns on the outside but were actually clip-fed pellet rifles in disguise. And the customers stayed away in droves! Like Ford with their Edsel, Daisy kept right on trying to make the idea work, and also like the Edsel, this was a design that never worked right from inception.

I owned a 450 in like-new condition. It was weak, misfed pellets and was the most inaccurate pellet rifle I’ve ever tested. A regular BB gun is more accurate. But at least the magazines were difficult to load and quirky to install! I couldn’t get rid of mine fast enough, and I suspect that’s what happened to most of them. A great idea that, unfortunately, didn’t work.

Sorry that there’s no picture; but if you can imagine a Daisy 499 painted gray, that’s what they looked like.

By Himmel — it’s a Schimel!
The time was 1950, and airguns were literally coming out of the woodwork. When a .22-caliber single-shot pistol that ran on CO2 and looked like a German Luger hit the market, it should have been well-received. Perhaps the marketing wasn’t there, or perhaps the company was under-capitalized. For whatever reason, the Schimel didn’t make it. But that wasn’t what made it a blooper.

What makes the Schimel stand out was the use of inappropriate materials. A steel barrel liner was pressed into a diecast shell, with the result that over the years electrolysis has welded most Schimel barrels in place. The diecast parts were also used in places where they were overstressed, and they broke in use. The seals for the CO2 system were gas-permeable, with the result that they absorbed the gas and swelled when the empty cartridge was removed. The owner then had to wait for hours for the o-rings to shrink back to normal size so another CO2 cartridge could be installed in the gun.

Schimel grip panels were made from plastic that shrank over time. Today almost all grip panels have shrunk in place. And the paint that was used over the outer surface of the gun dried and flaked off so that today no Shimel can be found with 100 percent finish.

These shortcomings are not what ended the gun’s career. They each took many years to appear, but they do indicate that the people at Schimel were not interested in the product as much as they were interested in immediate sales. That mindset is probably what caused the end of Schimel.


Schimel gas pistol was a good idea, poorly executed.

105 thoughts on “Airgun bloopers!

  1. I have been looking all over for some .21 caliber roundballs! I wish they were available somewhere here in the US…..I have a partial tin of them from Sweden left.They fit my Swedish Excellent C1,a great MSP that STILL shoots @ 550fps w/ 14.3gr .21 roundballs.
    Hey,I remember playing with mercury from a thermostat on my desk in grade school! (so THAT’S what happened to me!)


    • Frank,

      I thought Edith wouldn’t believe me about the mercury, but when she read that part last night during editing, she burst out laughing and had to leave the room. Apparently she also played with mercury as a kid!

      Who knew? 😀

      B.B.



        • We all knew. Think the Mad Hatter from “Alice.” Hat makers used to treat had bands with mercury for some reason, and the vapors got to them eventually.

          If you have a spare silver coin, coat it with mercury and watch what happens. Nifty!

          pete




              • Thanks much for the wishes. I had a very bad but unrelated setback yesterday that required a 911/EMT response. I’ll take it easy over the weekend. Scary; not serious. Cancer is healing very well!

                The Higgd boson is a major discovery, but it’s really a confirmation. The shock would have been if it hadn’t been there. But as I indicated, everybody expected it; governments invested hundreds of millions in the search; close to 3,000 PhD physicists worked enormous hours building the apparatus and analyzing the data. And no more than half a dozen will even get their names on the papers. They’ll just be listed as the ATLAS Collaboration, etc. I changed fields to make sure I never got trapped in something like that.

                Higgs will probably get next year’s Nobel. Nominations close in February, and the committee is strict about the rule that there’s no prize w/o a nomination. So unless somebody tossed in his name last winter “on spec”, it will take another year. I checked some sources, and nobody was aware of such a nomination.

                –pete


                • Thank you Pete for elaborating on that.Several recent PBS programs have left me tempted to sign up for a few college courses (not for credit/solely for my own edification).I find the math baffling but the theory most fascinating.It’s too late for me to get anywhere with it but I would love to regardless.
                  Great news about the cancer…..we need you here 😀


              • Sorry if I already told this one.

                A Higgs boson walks into a church.
                The priest says “sorry, we don’t acknowledge your existence.”
                The boson says “well, you can’t have mass without me.”

                Sorry,
                Jan


                • Jan….I like that one alot & have used it!
                  My other favorite was the Journalist that sat with the Dali Llama and told this one……The Dali Llama walks into a pizza place and asks the man at the counter …”Can you make me one with everything??”


      • Mercury . . . great stuff! I remember as a kid, my brother and I playing with a large bead of it that I stole from a bottle that my father kept in the basement. That bottle of mercury weighed a ton! My dad worked his whole life in commercial refrigeration in NYC. He would collect the mercury from discarded instruments and thermostats and sell it for scrap since it is a metal. Amazing stuff! Smash it into a hundred tiny beads and then go collect it by chasing it around on my mom’s waxed linoleum kitchen floor. Even the dog would play! Finally lost that big bead, never knew where it went. Maybe the dog? Dad never found out and the dog lived forever.


      • B.B.,

        I didn’t just play with mercury — we were encouraged to play with it in my sixth-grade class (late 1950s). That was Mr. Horniak’s class, and he gave groups of kids mercury he dropped from a bottle, and we were supposed to let it roll around in our hands and then pass it along to another kid in our group. I do not recall that we washed our hands after handling the mercury. We also handled rats and mice, but not at the same time as the mercury 🙂

        Ah, the good old days, when we used lead paint in our houses, played with mercury in our schools and small children handled guns with more aplomb than many adults do today. I’m an anachronism.

        If I can still remember handling mercury, the grade I was in when I did it and the name of my elementary school teachers…well, I’m guessing handling the mercury didn’t have a detrimental effect on my memory!

        Edith


        • Edith,

          I didn’t just play with mercury. When I was young, my mother took me to a shoe store where they had a fluoroscope that X-ray’ed my little feet in a new pair of shoes, to see how well they fit! But at least I didn’t use the medical radium treatment machines they had at Kellogg’s San a half-century earlier!

          B.B.


          • What about the smell of the mimeograph ink? The smell permeated the air of the classroom & hung over our heads like a cloud. Tests handed out, and everyone held the test real close to his nose to get a good whiff.

            To this day, I don’t know if the vapors were harmful or not. If they were harmful, then that would explain my lack of good academic performance. Actually, I’m sticking with that story no matter what anyone says about the vapors.

            Edith


            • Mimeograph, or “spirit copier”?

              Formal mimeograph machines used a stencil that ink would be squeezed through (sort of a silk screen process). Spirit copiers used a waxy “carbon” in reverse (that is, the wax was transferred to the back side of the master), and a solvent that coated the target paper so that a thin layer of the wax would be transferred to each sheet.

              Spirit copiers were limited on number of copies; Mimeograph stencils were not.


      • I used to have a 35mm film canister (back when the were metal and screwed together with a gasket seal) a quarter full of mercury salvaged from broken thermometers.

        Liquid mercury, itself, isn’t all that dangerous — at room temperature it’s too cohesive to readily penetrate skin. Eating it is another matter… As is inhaling vapors from it (which is the Mad Hatter’s problem, along with gold prospectors).

        Dimethyl Mercury, however…



      • Kevin,

        Now, THAT is a good link! Not only do they have .21-caliber balls, they also have BB shot, which the owners of all vintage BB guns need. Best of all, this shot is swaged, so it is reasonably round!

        I know the cost ($35 for 8 pounds) much drive shotgunners wild, but for an airgunner, eight pounds is a lifetime supply!

        B.B.


      • Kevin….thanks a million my friend! On their website when I tried to click on the TT shot……it kept going to #OO instead.I did reach them by phone though…..and it is in stock! Placing my order in a minuite……goose shot here I come. (I will be shooting targets ONLY but TT is commonly used for larger birds)


        • FrankB,

          In these parts we used TT shot for ducks over decoys. Our goose hunting was mostly flybys so we used larger shot. Unfortunately, we can only use steel for waterfowl. The super buck shot is expensive but very uniform. Hope it works for your application.

          kevin


          • I have NO experience hunting ducks or geese.I understand the TT offered longer range? I’m very jazzed about the .21 swaged source…..tempted to pop on the .25 & .310 while I’m at it.The 8lb prices are great compaired to tiny boxes sold locally too.Very affordable for plinking!


            • Frank,

              If you are really going to get this stuff, how about a word or two on what you think when you try them? We would like to see photos, compared weights of several balls, etc.

              B.B.


              • I’ll be sure to report on the quality of the TT (.21) quality,weight etc….if they’re good I will pick up some .25 & .310 for my DAQs and Condor….just to see how accurate they are at those twist rates.I know when I used .458 in my big DAQ the balls stabilized nicely….the flattened balls retrieved from 50yds had beautiful rifling marks where they were supposed to be.


            • FrankB,

              This is a sore subject with me.

              I was forced to get to know TT shot back in the early 1980’s when Colorado mandated steel shot for waterfowl hunting and outlawed lead.

              Since steel shot is roughly half the weight of lead and since back then manufacturers and home reloaders were struggling to produce effective waterfowl loads using steel. Lot of wounded game was the result for many years by many hunters.

              We tested many sizes of shot in steel, stirred and tapped the shot for uniformity in seating in the wads, we tried buffering, we tested different chokes with each load, etc. etc. In general, back then, bigger shot (like TT) patterned better with still acceptable penetration. Distances of acceptable patterns with good penetration were half or maybe two thirds that of similar loads of lead. You had to re-learn what acceptable distances of shooting were since steel is lighter and waterfowl have body armour (strong wings).

              I’m sure manufacturers and home reloaders have made great strides since I quit hunting but back then we were in uncharted territory.

              kevin


  2. I remember as a child… sometime before I turned 10, my DENTIST gave me a small ampule with a marble sized amount of mercury in it. I loved playing with that stuff. It made (real) silver coins so shiny!

    Wait!!! Dentist?? Yeah… tooth fillings used to be made with mercury.


  3. That indeed was the good days! Forget marbles, shooting mercury was a blast! Can you imagine what would happen today if we let our kids play with the stuff? My house would be condemned as a toxic health hazard, kids taken away by DCF and relocated into foster care, and I would be convicted of multiple counts of negligence and endangerment of minors. Perhaps the only detriment to people who never played with mercury is the loss of common sense that permeates our society today.


    • In the event of a fire, the location of my residence would probably need to be declared a SuperFund site…

      Besides all the lead from pellets and powder ammo (not to mention the hazards of approaching said ammo during the fire — while the bullets aren’t the danger, even light-weight (mass) cartridge cases at high speed can hurt; there is also the four canisters of Pyrodex) there are the various cadmium, chromium, and formaldehyde compounds in the basement

      {All legal — they are the pigments in artist paints, and preservative in W&N drawing inks}


  4. Airgun Manufacturing Bloopers?

    I think the Weihrauch Barakuda belongs on this list. What a desperate and dangerous attempt to satisfy the power crazed apetite of American airgunners. Sell an airgun that requires a proprietary ether ampule for firing, is too explosive to use pellets and round balls only gave ho hum accuracy and you have a blooper.

    kevin


  5. Hi BB …
    Oh, man, what a great topic. This is the kind of stuff that I LOVE! I hope you stay with it and get really deep into the Bloopers. I love ’em. Of course, I also once bought a brand new BMW R-50 for touring so you know how much judgement I have.

    B.B., the television is already starting to fill up with promotions for the Olympics in London. I am getting excited over the possibility of seeing at least some of the shooting events. So, I have been getting ready by watching videos from the NSSF on YouTube. (A great source of entertainment, by the way.) I keep hearing the word “dry-firing” over and over. Evidently, it is something that the pro’s all include in their training. Not too long ago, you threatened to do a piece on the subject of “dry-firing” and I was thinking now might be an appropriate time … assuming that you have nothing else to do. I did notice that many of then have stated that their guns were made with that ability built in … not like most all of mine.

    Anyway, here’s to all the airgun orphans. Can I ask for more photos too, where possible?

    NRS



    • Yeah, looks like there will be decent coverage of shooting events. The listings (looking at tivo.com) seem to have finals for 10m air rifle and skeet so far. You know, I’ve never watched 10m competition before; will have to check it out this time around; a very impressive show of marksmanship, but quite possibly not the most dramatic TV viewing…

      B.B., IIRC, that x-ray shoe-fitting contraption was featured on “Modern Marvels”, as part of of their “Engineering Disasters” sub-series.

      -Jan


  6. Hey, I LIKE New Coke…

    Just kidding! Ah, the good old days…Time moved so much slower, you actually had a chance to just stop, set down at your easement (do people still say that?) and take a breather. Nowadays time goes by so fast you blink, you miss a good chunk of it. I blame all the technology. Kids today have ipods, iphones, laptops, computers in their room, blackberries, big-screen TVs…When I was a kid I had one thing to play with, it was called “OUTSIDE.”


  7. I have a tech force 66. I figure this is another failed design. When I shoot it, I get a face full of oil, the spring is right next to your ear so when you fire it, you need hearing protection, and the magazine is fragile, there are no replacements on the entire planet. I checked. And the gun shears pellets in half as it loads from the magazines. This gun however seems to have given birth to the tech force 67, which I also have. Plastic gave way to wood and the magazines were replaced by single shot only. They also added an anti-bear trap mechanisim. It’s a beautiful gun, but it’s still about as accurate as simply throwing pellets at a target.


  8. It’s not the best gun I have by far. It is a rare thing as far as I can tell. I’ve only found them at a canadian army surplus store a few years ago. I got mine from compasseco, which I believe Pyramyd air now owns. They were a bullpup assauly style gun. If you would like to check it out, I’d be glad to send mine to you to review. I do want it back though. Mine still has the original crossbow scope on it.


    • John,

      Thanks for the offer, but I’m buried in things I have to test as it is. But YOU could do a little report on it, which I’m sure everyone would enjoy. 😀

      B.B.


  9. Mercury- check. Lead paint- check. Firecrackers- check. No bicycle helmet or pads-check. No seat belts-check. Etc, etc…… I’m still breathing and have all of my appendages.




    • Amen.

      Can’t help but be reminded of Columbine and New Life Church. It’s impossible for me to understand.

      I’m gritting my teeth for the political aftermath. Historically the victims of these heinous acts are exploited for political gain by elected officials.

      IMHO, one of the worst is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg has a long history of using the blood of these innocents to advance his radical political agenda. It’s disgusting. Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign succeeded in disarming his citizens and in doing so has created millions of gun-free criminal-safezones across the County.

      Edith,

      If this is too political please delete. Either way I feel better.

      kevin


      • Kevin,

        In light of what’s happened, your post is not too political.

        When we lived in Maryland, I found it interesting at the spate of carjackings and holdups. Concealed carry was forbidden. You won’t find a lot of carjackings in Texas cause you never know when you’re gonna be looking down the muzzle of a gun if you try it.

        First thing that popped into my head when I watched the news reports this morning was, “That’s why I carry a gun.” Imagine how little carnage there would have been had there been at least one person in the theater with a handgun. Yeah, the shooter had a bullet-proof vest, but that leaves the rest of his body as fair game. I’m going back to carrying a second loaded clip.

        Imagine what kind of slaughterhouse it would have been in that Florida internet cafe if that man didn’t have a concealed carry license? The whole place full of seniors could have been dessimated. Notice has been served! You got a gun? Maybe I got one, too. Try me. Feelin’ lucky, punk?

        I bet the number of concealed carry applications skyrockets in Colorado…and probably elsewhere.

        Edith


        • Edith,

          The Aurora shooting will provide lots of ammunition for the gun-grabbers. One armed movie patron could have stopped the whole thing immediately, but it will be the innocent gun-owners who will take the brunt of the fallout.

          Best solution for body armor is a head shot. Put a laser on your concealed carry gun, and you can blind the shooter before putting a hole in his head.

          I’m a little surprised there were no armed patrons in the movie who could have stopped this.

          Les


          • Les,

            I’m betting the movie goers were relatively young & probably had no interest in guns.

            I have a laser on my Glock to home in on a target. I always figure that if a person’s wearing a bulletproof vest, the head isn’t the largest unprotected target…the abdominal area is. A couple well-placed shots there, and he’s down & writhing in enough pain that you can either get out or take a bit more time aiming for the head if leaving is too risky.

            Edith


            • No amount of conceal carry could have helped. They were in a “gun free zone” so no guns allowed. He could have wore a bathing suit and it wouldn’t have changed a thing.

              If guns kill then spoons make people fat, they should tax spoons and buying one should require a special permit!

              J-F


        • If I understood the news, the punk had more than just body armor… Helmet, some sort of neck guard (so much for the serrated blade of my “Leatherman” tool — I really need to find the time/money to qualify for the MI CCW, but I’m struggling just to find 3 job applications per week to qualify for the unemployment), and even some sort of protection over the rest of his body…

          Yes, a head shot would likely do it — but getting off a head shot in a dark theater against an armored opponent where the only opening is a face-to-face is going to be rather stressful… The armor means laying in wait under the seating until he passed wasn’t going to be as effective as desired.

          And the typically CCW person probably doesn’t have a laser/light on a handgun. Your purse is likely much roomier than an inside-the-waistband holster. (I don’t even know if anyone still makes units that will fit my first generation P99; guess I better allocate another $800 for a gun with Picatinny compatible rail and holster)


          • wulfraed,
            Today they make lasers that are part of the grip. They do not interfere with a holster. You can buy them for many existing pistols. Expensive, but, if you choose not to buy them, as you’re lying there on the tarmac bleading to death you can look up and say, “Well, at least I saved $200.”

            -Chuck


            • I may have to look again; last time I saw a listing, none of my handguns were on the available list (the P99 does not /have/ “grip panels” — you’d have to replace the entire frame). Might be available for the S&W 4006 (though as a discontinued model from12 years ago, probably rare).


  10. Thanks for the offer but I’m not quite the scientific when I review a gun. I use a basic field target range when I test a gun so they’d not get the targets with pellet groups, muzzle velocities, pellet varieties ect. that they are used to. I’d be a poor reporter. If you ever feel the need for a strange chinese air rifle, feel free to ask. I’m always around even if I don’t say anything.


  11. You all forgot carbon tetrachloride (maybe not since I just found out that it is used to make freon. It’s also a drycleaning solvent). Any stamp colector of old will tell you how it exposes watermarks in postage stamps without damaging the gum. My brother and I used it a lot. Turns out it is toxic to your liver. Loved the smell of carbon tet.
    -Chuck


    • Toxic to the liver… So is acetaminophen (Tylenol, Anacin 3)

      Especially in conjunction with ethanol. I suspect that was one reason things like NyQuil reduced the alcohol content so severely (NyQuil used to be 50 proof; but when that outbreak of Reye’s Syndrome was linked to aspirin, many cold remedies switched to tylenol and removal of alcohol)


      • Carbon tet nearly killed a lot of us physics lab grad scientists. It’s a wonderful vapor-phase degreaser for cleaning metals and glass, for example. Better than acetone. But (and you will notice that i will not once invoke the fact that it’s an ozone layer gas) it is toxic and sneaky. You may well not know your lungs are in trouble until you pass out or nearly so. I had to be helped out of a lab where I was happily cleaning metal as part of a prep for welding; my hands swelled up almost to football sized (that’s a European football), and I mostly lost a lot of skin. I was also drunk as a loon for hours from the fumes.

        Yes, in a glove box with an air scavenger and trapper on the exhaust you might get away with using it routinely. You might not. And anybody who doesn’t protect exposed skin is asking for skin cancer down the line.

        I told my adviser in Sweden that I no longer felt comfortable working with it. He checked the 1966 Swedish equivalent of a material safety data sheet, and decided that the lab would no longer be using it,
        period.

        Not all of this safety stuff is nonsense! Tho’ every one of us who has worked in physics, chem, or biology has at least 1 or 2 really good and funny stories where everybody walked away safely.

        This is not gun nuts warning folks. In my case all I need is the memory. Once; never again. I don’t play with military gases either…

        pete


  12. Today’s blog should go down as a classic.

    With all this discussion of mercury, I’m surprised no one tried using a carefully measured drop of it as airgun ammunition. Just imagine: plenty of mass, would always fit the bore perfectly.

    I remember being given the stuff to play with in a junior high school class. You have to remember the context of the times: this was back when we also had nuclear bomb attack drills, so long-term health effects of playing with mercury were considered a moot point (if they were considered at all).
    I remember touching my tongue to the palm of my hand after the mercury had rolled around in it. Very bitter.

    Carbon tet., ether: mere household chemicals. How else are you going to remove stains or start the old flathead on a cold winter morning? Need to clean a paintbrush? There is a little gasoline in that bottle.

    M-80 grenade simulators (equal to a quarter stick of dynamite) were common kids’ firecrackers, even in Iowa where all firecrackers were illegal.

    Wear a helmet while riding a bicycle? Heck, we didn’t wear them when riding motorbikes! They would be hot and make you look like a nerd.

    Seat belts? Didn’t have any until my third car (1957 Chevy). Someone before me must have added them. They weren’t like modern seat belts. No metal to metal buckle. Just a cloth strap that was cinched in a metal buckle, like you would find in an airplane (which itself was kind of a cool idea for the day. Airplane seatbelts in a car? Must mean it’s pretty fast.)

    Les


  13. I remember benzene and turpentine for cleaning paint brushes. Strong carcinogen, benzene, but it cleaned up brushes soaked in shellac very well. How the heck did we manage to grow up without the government “protecting” us.

    My brother who works at Picatinny Arsenal, says M-80’s were discontinued some time ago as more injuries to soldiers were caused by fooling around with M-80’s than any other cause.

    As for Comrade Mayor Bloomberg, keep in mind that back early 1900’s, NYC had a law named the Sullivan Law which prohibited ownership of handguns or using same without a permit. It also applied to knives, brass knuckles, bombs and other weapons. It’s worked very well (sarcasm here) though time.

    Fred DPRoNJ


    • Frank, that’s part of the point. A lot of people didn’t grow up, or grew up severely damaged. I won’t use CCl4 and I’m probably somebody who could quickly pass a test to show I understood the dangers. You too, I suspect. And another part of the point is that most of the kids and adults who were badly injured didn’t have a clue about the risks. Shoot, it was sold as commerial OTC cleaner/paintremover at drug stores for goodness sake.

      Then there was the “safer” replacement: tri-chlor-ethylene. In the end marginally safer to the lungs, I think but vastly worth to the skin and eyes. I’m 71; I remember this stuff cause it all happened when I was just learning my way around a major lab.

      With Aurora just past us, also worth remembering that some of the stuff is very useful in making explosives. Of course, so is a lot of other stuff that’s safer all-round and hard to substitute for.



  14. I never got to play with mercury 🙁 I do remember not requiring a set belt when I was a kid, I could turn around on the back seat and wave to people behind us. I also remember the last day I didn’t wear my seat belt sitting in the front seat, I was sleeping on the bench seat (those are mostly long gone too except in pick-up trucks) we got in an accident because the guy in the lane to turn right decided to cut everyone off and turn left hitting our car on my door, I was covered in glass, that was a hell of a wake up. I had to wear my seatbelt from then on. If I had been sitting my head would have went trough the glass possibly injuring my neck.

    J-F


    • Some of us owe our existance to good ol’ bench seats! This will bring back memories for some…..hot as it is,go hop in my 1966 Chrysler NY’er and fasten that screaming hot 2lb chunk of metal (seatbelt)
      on your abdomen! “yes officer,my belt WAS on…..see the blister??” Good times.


      • Frank,

        Not only were the chrome belt buckles virtual branding irons, but what about those 1960’s vynal seat covers and plastic steering wheel rims? A major improvement with the three-point seat belts was the relocation of the buckle to the side.

        I think burned buns with vynal seats was the driving factor in the popularity of cloth and leather seats.
        Vynal would fry you in the summer and split in the winter. Cloth doesn’t wear as well, but is a more comfortable trade-off. Leather doesn’t seem to get as hot as vynal, and wears better than cloth.

        Only sporty cars and Jeep-type vehicles had bucket seats in the 60’s. The standard passenger car had bench seats and a six-person capacity. Even compact cars! 2-doors or 4-doors.

        Those cars had lots of chrome interior trim, too. Chrome spears that turned into real spears in a wreck.

        Les


        • Thankfully mine has cloth trimmed w/ vynil…..but the steering wheel has the transparent plastic rim .
          First year 440 makes 485 ft lbs at 2,800 rpm…..so even with the 3.23 rear 6 passengers are barely noticable! Thankfully it is factory white so it doesn’t get too hot (compairitively) and has R12 factory air…..you could make ice in the ashtray! That is assuming you have any fuel left.LOL First gear ends at 63mph,barks second.8


  15. Anybody know who to contact for AA rifle repair parts ? My brand new 200T has a bad barrel.

    Don’t tell me to send it back. The only problem is the barrel. I am pleased as punch about everything else.

    twotalon



      • Thanks B.B.

        I Know what I need, and will fix if practical. I don’t want to get into the crap shoot by exchanging for another one that may have something else wrong, and have to do it again.

        twotalon


      • I have been meaning to ask that very question! I have a .22 S410 bolt action that leaks from the firing valve…..according to my search results that hardly ever occurs.With it’s age,will Pyramyd still service it?(for a fee,of course)


        • Frank,

          Pyramyd Air is the service center for all Air Arms airguns U.S. Contact them and they will instruct you what to do.

          But before you do anything else, try this fix. Try introducing some silicone chamber oil into your gun through the fill port. I know the Air Arms fill port is finicky and difficult to deal with, but try your best to do this.

          Like a CO2 gun, a PCP also needs oil on its valve seats and o-rings. And that is what this does. I have fixed a couple PCPs this way, so it might work for you, as well.

          B.B.


          • You’re awesome BB…..this one will be easy because the fill is modified to a male QC w/ check valve.
            The original fill assembly was removed and endcapped dramatically increasing volume.It will be great to not have to fill from empty every day I decide to shoot it.


            • workk, above you asked, “I have no doubt it will work….what velocity and range limit do you find Mike? Steel T shot is .20 nominal,correct?”

              I am shooting a Browning Gold 10 Semi-Auto. I’m using a Modified Choke with Remington Shells. The load is 1 3/4 oz which works out to 88 pellets. Velocity is nominally 1250. I normally restrict shots to 50 yards and less. With the use of decoys, the range is more like 20 to 30 yards. However, on occasion, I have shot wounded birds as far as 70 yards.

              Mike


  16. Gun-free zone,

    In Texas, where we live, there is a state law that no business, other than a very small list, all public schools and all federal buildings, may limit concealed carry. In three years of carrying, I have seen about two signs that said “No guns on these premises.” Such signs are in violation of state law and illegal, so do not have to be obeyed.

    The only legal sign that prohibits concealed carry has to have specific wording, be posted in a specific place (on or next to every entrance) and the letters on the sign must be one-inch high. To post such a sign, the business must petition the state government, and they do not hand these signs out unless there is a compelling reason. Hospitals all have them, but banks, stores, restaurants and theaters do not, and we have carried our guns into those places freely.

    My concern is when I leave Texas carrying my gun. There are many states that have reciprocal laws allowing me to carry my gun, but they might not have laws that are as clear as those in Texas, and a homemade “Do not carry” sign might be legal. I wouldn’t know.

    B.B.


  17. I have what may be a unique question that needs addressing from someone experienced in the effects of two opposing air pressures.

    I fill my PCPs from a scuba tank that gets charged at a reputable, certified dive shop where air fills are frequent for divers. I mention this because I don’t believe my question has anything to do with their equipment.

    I have used my scuba tank to test out my scuba regulator prior to a dive trip. I do not take the tank on the trip. During the testing of the regulator I get what seems to be a significant taste of oil that is very offensive and possibly dangerous to breathe.

    I know that when I fill my PCPs the air pressure in the scuba tank is greater than the pressure in the PCP yet it appears as if oil contaminates from the PCP are being transferred to the scuba tank. There may have been an instance where the pressure was the same when the scuba tank and PCP tank reached equilibrium during a fill when the scuba tank was used a lot. I do not believe the PCP was ever higher than the scuba. This make it appear as if the higher scuba tank pressure does not prevent the movement of the oil molecules from the PCP to the scuba tank. It’s as if the oil molecules are trying to equalize between containers without regard to pressure inequities.

    Another thought I just had is if the oil is maybe getting into the fill hose when I bleed the hose prior to removing it from the PCP. At that time the air pressure in the hose could be less than that in the PCP.

    This also concerns me because only silicone oil is approved for lubricating scuba o-rings due to flash fire hazards.

    Any thoughts on this?

    -Chuck


    • Chuck,

      One thought is this: scuba tank grease and oil is also food-grade grease and oil. You can eat it and not taste a thing. What you are describing is petroleum oil, and that can only come from your dive shop’s equipment.

      Are you certain that it is an oil taste? Because dry rubber seals have a similar odor and they would be normal in your airgun. I smell that smell all the time — especially with a new Korean big bore.

      B.B.


      • BB,
        That being the case, I should not be inhaling it through my scuba regulator when I connect it to the tank. That is the problem. Why is my scuba tank permeated with what ever contaminate that is? My feeling is that it is coming from my PCPs but I don’t know how that can happen since the tank pressure is greater than the PCP’s pressure. I will not rule out the dive shop equipment, however, I think that would be highly unlikely. I have not confronted them with this problem yet.
        -Chuck


        • Your PCPs shouldn’t contain any petroleum based lubricant in the air system either, including the outside surface of the coupling nipple. After all, any pressure-induced combustion threat that your SCUBA system has also exists for the PCP.


          • Wulfraed,
            Yes, you are correct, and I felt I should have said so in my first comment on this after I submitted it. It was one of those cases of wishing for an edit function for previously submitted blog comments (even though I once expressed the opinion that an edit function wasn’t necessary).

            And that has me even more concerned about where that taste is coming from.

            -Chuck


  18. I know this is off topic (And Airgun Bloopers may not be the best possible place to put it) but, in case you missed it, the Olympic are only 5 days away.

    I just spent over half an hour searching through the hundreds of web sites for the 2012 Olympics in London. In particular, I wanted to see when the shooting events were held. There are a ton of them. Here is the link that will take you to the Official Olympic web page specifically for the schedules and for the posting of results of all of the shooting events:

    http://www.london2012.com/shooting/schedule-and-results/index.html

    Then, here is one of many more that is set up specifically for info on one particular event … this one being Men’s 10m air rifle:

    http://www.london2012.com/shooting/event/men-10m-air-rifle/index.html

    From either of those pages you can go directly to a full schedule or individual pages for each individual event.

    If you are a dedicated TV watcher and you want to watch the coverage, you may have a bit of a problem. The web site says, “With a cable, satellite or telco TV subscription that includes MSNBC and CNBC, you will have access to live streams of EVERY Olympic event.” So, it sounds like broadcast TV won’t be the best source for coverage.

    The good news (ugh!) is that there will be 3,500 hours of NBC coverage streamed live over the Internet. Every single event will be streamed. Here is the address … nbcolympics.com … just what you’d expect, I guess. Being one who chooses to live without a TV in the house, I am now free to spend 20+ quality hours a week in front of my computer. I may be forced to increase that. I have three cases of Miller Lite in the fridge and a case of Lean Cuisine dinners in the freezer. I’m ready!

    Best wishes to all of our US shooters.

    Oh … I couldn’t take any more pressure waiting for Part 2, so I caved in and ordered a Browning Buck Mark URX pistol. It should be here Tuesday or Wednesday … just in time for the Men’s 10m Air Pistol event over the weekend. After the Olympics I plan to install a range for my own 2.675m prone position event in the bedroom.

    NRS


  19. I actually owned a Larc BB “machine gun” for a VERY short period. I ordered it, it arrived, and I was amazed to find out that a) it was incredibly underpowered and b) it spat out BBs so quickly that, combined with its lack of power, it used up BBs at an alarming and disappointing rate. I remember I told my wife I could get the same result by filling my mouth with BBs and spitting them out in a solid stream as quickly as possible.. I don’t remember what I did with it. I probably threw it away rather than saddle some other poor soul with it.


  20. O.K. guys….

    When is a choke too tight? When you can look at the muzzle and see that the bore looks too small ?? How about when you drop a BB into the breech and it does not fall out of the muzzle ???

    twotalon


    • TT,

      No airgun should be choked that tight! The average choke is between 0.0005″ and 0.001″ An extreme choke would measure 0.002″, and would probably be an accident.

      B.B.



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