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Education / Training Winchester model 11 16-shot semiautomatic BB pistol: Part 1

Winchester model 11 16-shot semiautomatic BB pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Winchester model 11 16-shot BB pistol
The Winchester model 11 semiautomatic BB pistol is an attractive M1911A1-style BB pistol.

Today we start testing another BB pistol in the form of a Colt M1911A1. I’ve already tested several of these Colt airgun clones over the years, but Edith has recently noticed a trend of shooters who are using these airguns to maintain proficiency with their firearms between trips to the range. Of course everybody has talked about doing just that for years, but now it seems it is actually happening. I guess there is a large crop of new airgunners coming over from the firearms side of the house, and they see the value in the training these inexpensive airguns can offer.

At $90, the Winchester 16-shot semiautomatic BB pistol is sitting toward the high end of BB pistols made in the style of the 1911A1 Colt. It has blowback, which means the slide comes to the rear at every shot and cocks the hammer for the next shot. So, the trigger is single-stage, which bodes well for a good trigger-pull. And blowback gives you a feeling of recoil that many shooters enjoy.

The gun also has a realistic spring-loaded grip safety that feels great but has no effect on the trigger. You can shoot the gun with or without the grip safety being depressed. That’s not such a bad thing because 1911 firearms often have problems with their grip safeties if the grip is not grasped correctly. Various things are done to fix this problem, such as speed bumps (protrusions) on the grip safety that assist the hand to depress the safety, pinned grip safeties that have been inactivated so the gun will shoot without them being depressed, weakened grip safety springs and even certain models of 1911 clones like the Ballister Molina that don’t even have a grip safety. All of this is done in the hopes of making the gun a more reliable shooter.

Winchester model 11 16-shot BB pistol speed bump
A “speed bump” on a Colt 1911 grip safety is a protrusion that ensures the safety is depressed by the web of the hand, even with a poor grasp of the grip.

Winchester handgun?
You may be surprised to see the Winchester name on a handgun, but this isn’t the first time it’s happened. At the end of the 19th century, the company built one prototype revolver that was very advanced for the time. It was taken to Colt and shown to senior management, ostensibly for their feelings about the design, but actually to give notice that if Colt persisted in the manufacture of lever-action rifles, Winchester could enter the market with a highly competitive revolver. Nothing formal was said, but Colt stopped the production of their Burgess lever-action rifles within the year and Winchester never put the handgun into production.

This gun isn’t actually made by Winchester, of course. It’s made in Japan and imported by Daisy under the Winchester label. The pistol is remarkably well-scaled to the firearm, and the finish is quite similar to a military finish. The one drawback I see is that both sides of the slide and frame have been used to print out the most important parts of the owner’s manual — sort of like a Ruger pistol carried to absurdity! And whoever checked the words was not a shooter, because the magazine release (and this gun does have a spring-loaded 16-shot stick magazine) is labeled “clip release.” This is what happens when the uneducated are given a task for which they are not qualified.

Winchester model 11 16-shot BB pistol right side
Lotsa words on the right side of the pistol. And now I see even the Germans are dumbing down, because the meaning of the Freimark (F in a pentagon) is spelled out, too!

Winchester model 11 16-shot BB pistol left side
More words on the left side of the gun. Maybe the next version of the gun will have the words “Trigger — press here” printed on the front of the trigger and “Don’t look into this end” printed around the muzzle!

In truth, however, the words on the gun seem to vanish as the viewer steps back, so it isn’t as obnoxious as it first appears. The gun’s finish is matte black, which hides the lettering well.

Do the controls work?
The magazine release works exactly the same as the firearm, and the stick mag drops away freely. The slide release also works the same and holds the slide open after the last BB has been fired. The hammer is real and does act upon the firing valve as you expect it to.

The safety has been modified to require two hands, which I find to be a serious design flaw because it defeats the training value of drawing a cocked-and-locked gun (condition one) and flipping off the safety when you’re on target. To remove the safety on this pistol, you must press in on a small button located in the middle of the safety lever while simultaneously pushing the lever down the conventional way. I’m sure it looks good to the lawyers, but it’s a serious disruption to an otherwise fine air pistol.

Winchester model 11 16-shot BB pistol safety
The safety requires two hands to operate.

This pistol cannot be disassembled. The barrel bushing and spring guide are simply very accurate casting details, and the slide release is captive. The grips look like they’re removable, but the left one is really a complex casting that forms part of the CO2 cartridge containment. The mainspring arch pulls out and down as part of a complex articulated lever, releasing the left grip and giving access to load the CO2 cartridge.

Winchester model 11 16-shot BB pistol grip open
The mainspring arch swings up and out, releasing the left grip and allowing the CO2 cartridge to be exchanged.

I installed a CO2 cartridge to weigh the pistol and discovered that the process is not like other CO2 pistols. It works well, but you probably should read the owner’s manual before you try to do it. The pistol weighs 33 oz. with a CO2 cartridge installed, against 39 oz. for a government M1911A1 empty with a magazine.

The sights are fixed, just as they are on a conventional M1911A1. The rear sight is about as high as the one on the firearm, but the notch is square and sharp as opposed to vague and narrow on the firearm. The front sight looks like a 1911A1 front sight from the side, but it’s wider and appears square when viewed from the rear. These will be easy sights to use. If this pistol is accurate, it should be easy to obtain a good score.

Overall impression
This is an interesting and apparently well-made air pistol. But they picked a part of the market that has a lot of competition, so it’s really going to have to perform on target.

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.

49 thoughts on “Winchester model 11 16-shot semiautomatic BB pistol: Part 1”

  1. I like the Tangfoglio Witness 1911 much better. It is the closest copy of the original I’ve ever seen, and with a little whittling,to work around the CO2 cart., you can use some 1911 wooden grips. And the magazine drops free of the grip like the original. It field strips the same as a 1911. I have three of these pistols, one is a Colt airsoft and two Tangfoglio Witness 1911’s, and the best part is the parts are all interchangeable. I thought about the Winchester and read some review’s and IIRC the Winchester has some plastic internal parts that might not hold up to my kind of shooting. I guess I should mention that there is one thing I don’t like about the Tangfoglio Witness 1911 and that is the name inscribed on the slide in big bold letters, but as I mentioned above the parts are all interchangeable!! And that’s my $.04 worth. Ron

  2. I’m like Ron, I have the Tanfoglio Witness 1911 (and the similar GSG 92 and SIG Sauer P226), they’re great fun little BB pistols that can be field stripped like the firearm and have nice single action triggers which we don’t see that often.
    If this one is accurate I might have to add it to my small collection…


    • J-F,

      I listed all the drawbacks of this pistol that I could find, because I know they really matter to the folks that buy and use this kind of air pistol. I, too, am hoping that this gun is accurate. Accuracy fixes a lot of things for me.


      • The safety is bugging me, don’t know if the button can be removed? But the hideous lettering on the slide… OUCH, it would have to be REALLY accurate to fix that one but you’re right accuracy DOES cure a lot of problem.
        Is the pistol painted? If so maybe the lettering could be filled and repainted. I’ve seen lots of polished and custom painted GSG, SIG and TW1911. I would be willing to try painting this one…


        • J-F,

          Is it painted? I am sure there is some kind of super-techno finish on the metal parts, but it doesn’t look like paint to me.

          I mentioned these things so that if they are bothersome, as they seem to be for you, people could steer clear of this one and look for something else that’s a little more realistic.


  3. I have two of these and love them. The safety is a little annoying at first, but after you shoot it a little bit you hardly notice it. Especially using a two hand grip which seems to be a must for accuracy due to the blowback. It’s pretty sharp on the first clip or two. I have not chrony’d them, but they feel powerful. The clips seem pretty tough and are easy to load with a Marksman speedloader. Even though it doesn’t come with an extra clip, you can order them at the Winchester air gun website. I ordered 4, with shipping it was right around $35. Took only 4 days to receive them also. CO2 use doesn’t seem to bad for a blowback pistol. I usually get around 4 clips on a cartridge on a mild day (60 degrees). To me, the build quality is just about the same as my Walther PPK. I really like the piercing mechanism, though it is a little tricky the first time you use it. Overall, they’re really fun plinkers.

  4. Carried a 1911A1 in the Air Force for a few years as an AP. Now , my home gun is the P-38 . What P-38 BB Pistol do you all find the best selection? Don’t think I should practice with a 1911..
    Thank you !
    Pete in California

    • Pete,

      The only P38 I have tested thus far is the Walther. It’s pretty and it does have blowback, but it doesn’t have double-action. So the hammer has to be manually cocked in some way before the first shot, and that is just not the P38 way.


      • To Victor’s thoughts, I would add depressed and in need of counseling or medicines. This is the time of year when borderline mentally stable individuals are pushed over the line into committing suicide. I won’t go into the reasons as this is neither the time or place or blog to do so.

        Fred DPRoNJ

      • I doubt that he’s apart of ANY movement,

        Hope you’ll pardon the grammar correction but…

        “apart of any” implies “disconnected from …”

        “a part of any” indicates “belonging to…”

  5. B.B.,

    I know that there are scope rings with droop compensation, but does anyone make something like a rail that mounts on top of another rail such that IT provides droop compensation? Take the weaver rail that installs on top of a dove-tail rail, for example. It would be great if that adapter had droop compensation!

    Probably all of us have plenty of good rings, so having to buy a extra set of rings can seem like a waste of money. I can see buying this rail adapter for most of my air-guns, even those with just moderate droop.

    If any case, if such a product doesn’t exist, it should.


  6. B.B.,

    That’s a great product! However, I also think it would be good if there was a dovetail to dovetail droop compensation rail adapter. That would allow one to use existing dovetail rings.


    • Victor,

      A dovetail to dovetail adapter with elevation adjustment to compensate for droop may sound like a good idea since it eliminates the need to buy weaver rings. There are several issues I foresee with a dovetail to dovetail adapter.

      First, would be the scope stop holes. In order to be the equivalant of a dovetail to weaver adapter that provides numerous options for mounting a scope for proper eye relief the dovetail to dovetail adapter would have to have holes drilled along it’s entire length. Not only would it look like swiss cheese I would be concerned about the structural integrity.

      Second, any adapter adds height. For proper eye alignment I’ve found that low rings must be used with most airguns when an adapter is added. Low height, INEXPENSIVE dovetail rings with a vertical stop pin are rare. Medium height INEXPENSIVE dovetail rings with a vertical stop pin are plentiful. Low height INEXPENSIVE weaver rings like the utg and hawke which have double screw ring caps are less than $10.00. The sun optics are even cheaper but are awful.

      Third, layer caking scope mounting solutions potentially adds additional problems. More screws that can work themselves loose. Potential misalignment of the adapter to the dovetail or potential misalignment of the rings mounted on the adapter can give you fits if you shoot at a variety of ranges.

      A better solution is a good pair of fully adjustable rings since they can address almost any windage and/or elevation problem that a scope and/or gun can throw at you. I like the burris signature rings with inserts since they come with extra feet to accomodate every dovetail width I’ve encountered and have optional inserts that can adjust for windage and elevation without messing with little screws that strip like other adjustable mounts have and they have an optional vertical scope stop.

      A cheap solution for droop, since you have lots of dovetail rings, is to shim. Aluminum foil folded and put underneath the rear of your scope tube will work. Just don’t shim too much or you could bend your scope tube. A better solution is to buy the two part epoxy sticks and creat your own shims. Google using two part epoxy for scope shims. The good news is that the epoxy sticks can be used to create inserts for 5 or 6 guns. The bad news is that the shims will likely be suitable only for the individual gun/mount/scope that you decide to combine.


      • Kevin,

        Shimming is simple, and it works. But I’m not too crazy about the potential for bending the scope tube. The minute you shim at one point, you’re causing the front rings to no longer be parallel with the tube. That’s why I’d rather have droop compensation at the rail-level.

        Two piece rings that have droop compensation would have to have the angle of each ring biased to avoid bending the tube, as would be the case with shimming.

        IF I knew that a rifle had severe barrel droop, then I’d like to know that in advance and get the right rings. Or get the dove-tail to Weaver adapter with a good pair of Weaver rings. If this adapter has a scope stop ring, then problem solved.

        Aluminum shims are as easy to cut as paper, so that is a simple solution. I’ll look into epoxy for shims, and the Burris rings with inserts. Thanks!

        The reason for my asking is that I (like many others, I’m sure) have lots of rifles with dove-tail rings. Rather than buy more rings, and concern about bending the scope tube, I’d rather just add an adapter. But I do understand about adding a 3rd layer. The product would simply have to be well designed. Aside from adding more screws to contend with, there’s also the issue of raising the scope. How high would this adapter raise everything? Would the difference be one level (i.e., high to medium, or medium to low, or would it be high to low)?


        • Victor,

          You’re correct that by shimming the scope you have the potential for bending the scope tube. I’ve never bent a scope tube by shimming but I don’t shim with a lot of thickness.

          Remember, another solution for droop is bending your barrel. B.B. did a multi-part series and even created a neat device for bending barrels that worked very well. No need for additional rings, adapters, etc. if you are willing to straighten your barrel by bending it yourself. Pretty easy.


        • Two piece rings that have droop compensation would have to have the angle of each ring biased to avoid bending the tube, as would be the case with shimming.

          Or designed with a spherical grind to the rings, and then use inserts that are cylindrical on the scope side and spherical on the ring side. That way, any off axis condition of the scope tube would “rotate” the inserts, before ring clamping tightens them. (If it helps , visualize a ball-joint — the “ball” is the inserts on the scope tube, the rings form the socket)

      • Victor,
        I have a pile of dovetail rings as well, but I will never ever use them as long as Leapers makes their one-piece mount. Amazing quality for $10 or something like that and I have had it mounted on more than one troublemaker with heavy scope. My worst offender is the Glenfield 60 which (due to weight of bolt and probably hardened buffer) will sling a scope off as well as a magnum springer. The Leapers mount sat on it without moving for as long as I wanted a scope on there. I know it is a .22LR, but it is beyond the ability of dovetail rings to hold a scope in one place.

        If you try one of those Leaper 1-piece mounts and Kevin’s epoxy shimming technique, I’m almost certain you’d be happy.

        I think a dovetail (with stop) to Weaver drooper mount would be nice — actually I think I might have asked BB about something like that before, also. As Kevin says (if I understand correctly), inexpensive Weaver rings usually equal much more expensive dovetail mounts in performance.

  7. BB,A couple of off subject questions if you could stand it.–I was testing different seldom mentioned pellet types in my .177 cal. m-rod.Beeman copper plated FTS @8.80 grain gave me the best group at 25 yd.I read elsewhere that jacketed bullets can cut a barrels life to a tenth of normal.Should I be concerned about running these as my primary pellet in the m-rod?–A sister question;I have thousands of copper jacketed hollow point rounds for my .22 cal. Marlin l.r. rim fire rifle.Should I be concerned about excessive barrell wear in the Marlin?–Tin Can Man–

    • Tin Can Man,

      The answer for both pellets and your .22 rimfire is the same.

      Those pellets and rimfire bullets are not really jacketed. They are plated, and that’s a huge difference. A jacketed slug has a thick metal shell that stands by itself. It is usually filled with a lead core, but the jacket is strong enough that it doesn’t have to be filled at all.

      Only higher velocity bullets have jackets, because at velocities under 2,000 f.p.s. jackets aren’t needed. That’s in rifles. Handgun bullets that travel less than 2,000 f.p.s are jacketed, too.

      The wear comes not only from the harder jacket material, but also from the higher pressures and hotter temperatures of the cartridges that use jacketed bullets. So it isn’t just the buillet, alone, that’s wearing out those barrels. If shooters would learn to shoot slower and not let their barrels heat up, they would also last a lot longer.

      A plated bullet or pellet is pure lead with just the thinnest coating of copper. To the barrel it performs the same as lead, though it looks like copper to us.

      I am not aware of any .22 long rifle bullets that are jacketed. Many .22 Winchester Magnum bullets have jackets, but not long rifle bullets.

      So, shoot away. Your guns are in no danger.


  8. B.B.
    Not only folks ” from the firearms side of the house see the value in training these inexpensive airguns” so it would be interesting to do a round up report of what is available. What M1911A1 clone comes closest to the real deal? Is a pellet version better then a BB version like Winchester model 11?
    Just an idea for a topic down the road.

    David B.

  9. Off topic, I am relatively new to air-gunning and received an air venturi Bronco for Christmas (after I supplied Santa with the info). I try to read manuals and follow the instructions. It suggests oiling the chamber every 100 shots. The diagram seems to suggest I would remove a screw on top of the compression chamber. I have spent the last few days looking at information on-line (mostly your stuff), and I am confused on the location and frequency of lubrication and maintenance for this gun. I am passed 100 shots and need to order silicone chamber oil.

    Eager to keep shooting,



    • SB,

      I just re-read the Bronco manual that I helped write. It says nothing about lubricating with oil every 100 rounds. It says you MAY lubricate the MAINSPRING with silicone chamber oil after 1,000 rounds (ten times as many shots).

      It says the chamber never requires lubrication. That is because these rifles are too easily over-oiled. Keep the oil out of the chamber until the piston honks like a goose when the rifle is cocked (which with the Bronco will probably be never).

      Just shoot and enjoy your Bronco and hold off on the oil.


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