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Education / Training The toll booth gun

The toll booth gun

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

“Shirley, you jest!”

No, I don’t — and don’t call me Shirley.

Back in the 1960s, when gadgets ruled the day and turnpike tolls were paid with coins instead of folding money (or by simply attaching your bank account to the state treasury via an electronic snitch), there was a way cool thing called a Turnpike Toll Gun that shot coins into the hopper at the toll booth. Yes, I said shot.

If such things existed today and teachers used them, they’d be tackled by the security guards at their school when they passed through the metal detector — at least in states along the Eastern Seaboard. In Texas, several communities are requiring some of their teachers to be armed and to take special defense classes as an added measure of school safety. So, their toll booth guns would not be confiscated. In fact, they would probably be belt-fed!

Toll Booth gun
Yes, it exists and yes, it’s cool! The Turnpike Toll Gun.

When Edith and I published The Airgun Letter, John Steed, one of our subscribers, first told us about the existence of this gun and then he sent us one. Until then, I had no idea it even existed. I’m guessing that the gun is from the 1960s on the basis of the appearance of the literature that came inside the box and the fact that the two patents for the gun date to 1965 and 1968.

The gun was made by Lyman Metal Products of Norwalk, Connecticut. You can find these guns on Ebay, but the starting prices are completely unrealistic. The cheapest one listed now starts at $169.99. They should be worth about $25 to possibly as much as $50 in pristine condition. I’m sure when they were new they sold for well under $10.

The gun comes in a cardboard box that also contains a set of operating instructions that I don’t have and a one sheet promotional sheet that I do have.

Toll Booth gun box
The box is plain but has the name of the gun in gold letters at the lower left.

Toll Booth gun literature
Promotional sheet looks ’60s to me.

Is it an airgun?
Strictly speaking, the Turnpike Toll Gun does not use air to propel the coins. It uses a spring. So it is a catapult gun. But we’ve included catapult guns with airguns for so long that they have become identified with them by this time. The Daisy 179 pistol is a catapult gun, as are the Johnson Indoor Target Gun, the Sharpshooter pistol and the Hodges gun. Unlike any of those guns, however, this gun shoots a very heavy projectile. An American quarter coin weighs 87.5 grains, which would be a lightweight big bore bullet weight for a .308 rifle.

You don’t want to launch a quarter so fast that it bounces off the toll booth basket and bounces into the street. No points for that! So, this gun will launch a quarter about 6-8 feet, maximum. And not every quarter leaves the gun at the same speed. I tried to chronograph the quarters, but the instrument could not read the quarters. Indeed, 4 out of 8 of them didn’t make it past the second skyscreen! I estimate the velocity of the quarter at between 20 and 30 f.p.s.

Toll Booth gun apart
The magazine has a coiled spring pushing a black plastic follower against the quarters.

Toll Booth gun loading
Fill the magazine with quarters, then insert the spring-loaded cap and lock it in position.

The gun is a repeater, but it must be cocked for every shot. It’s really no different than a bolt-action repeater in that respect. To cock the gun, you simply push back the spring-loaded rod in front of the gun. A black plastic ball cushions your hand while doing this. It takes 11 lbs. of force to cock the spring.

Toll Booth gun uncocked
The gun is uncocked.

Toll Booth gun cocked
Push the black ball, and it cocks the gun and readies the next quarter to be fired.

The gun
The gun is very small, but also very wide. Overall length is just 5-3/4 inches, while the width is 1-5/8 inches. The width is largely dictated by the ammo, which is 0.955 inches wide. The gun weighs 8 oz. when empty.

The lower half of the gun appears to be electrostatically painted a medium green, while the upper cover is bright aluminum and held on by 4 screws. Most of the gun’s frame is made of aluminum, and the small parts are steel.

Toll Booth gun cover printing 1
All the lettering is on the top cover of the gun. This is the right side.

Toll Booth gun co0ver printing 2
And this is the left side.

The trigger is single-stage and very light. Mine releases at a crisp 1 lb., 9 oz. The gun uses the quarter as the sear. The quarter is under spring pressure from the mainspring, but the trigger blocks it until it is pulled down, out of the way. Then, the mainspring sends the quarter on its way and covers the magazine until the gun is cocked again, allowing the next quarter to rise and be blocked by the trigger again. When there are no more quarters in the magazine, the gun cannot be cocked; so, dry-firing is impossible.

The barrel is not rifled, as you might have guessed, but there actually is a short barrel. It’s really just a quarter-sized slotted tunnel that starts the missile on its path to the toll basket.

There are no sights, so this is an instinct shooter. But it takes only a couple shots before you can hit a one-foot circle every time from 6 feet. That’s all the accuracy you need to do the job.

As odd as it is, this isn’t the only gun that shot money. Apparently there have been others, though they may not be easy to find.

I remember when I reported on this gun the last time. There was a small rush to locate them. They aren’t very sporting, of course, but if you don’t shoot at the intended targets (toll booth baskets), you can reuse the ammunition countless times. Perhaps that’s what caught the attention of airgunners.

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.

146 thoughts on “The toll booth gun”

  1. That is just to cool.
    I don’t know about the rest of you but I put my trash can in my office across the room. I’m in out of the office all the time. By the end of the day I have to pick up about 20 paper wad balls that missed the trash can while throwing from my desk.

    Darn BB now I want one of those Turnpike Toll guns. I can see myself target practicing at the trash can now.

  2. This is very likely where the Nerf people and others came up with the disk shooters! Once upon a time when you could get away with a quarter toll, I would have loved to have one in the car. Nowadays you would empty your magazine and have to reload. Also, some poliwog would want to limit the capacity to ten quarters.

  3. That thing is cool!
    I could see how it could also be used on bad motorist hehehe 😉

    When I was a kid my uncles (and later me) had some futuristic looking guns that shot plastic disk, they were dime sized and hurt like hell when shot at closed distances and it hurt even more when you replaced the small plastic disks with actual dimes.
    This was in the early 80’s, fun careless times, we didn’t have to wear a seat belt and much less had to be strapped in a kids seat. The countless naps I took on the backseat and sometimes even on the front bench seat.


  4. B.B.,

    Great report!

    Add this to conduit-line airguns, tranquilizer airguns, veterinary airguns for implanting medicine in livestock, vaccine airguns, ophthalmic air guns for measuring one’s inner eye pressure, avalanche prevention air cannons, airguns specifically designed for firearms safety training and practice, and reactive firearms training airguns. I don’t know if airguns ever have been used for shooting a line from one vessel to another at sea, but perhaps that could be added to the list. Have air guns ever been designed to be used as signal cannon?

    Air guns of remarkable variety have had practical purposes quite apart from the common plinking, target shooting, and hunting. I suppose if someone wanted to find a rare niche for airgun collecting, this would be it.

    Thanks again,


      • TT
        The place that we take the kids to get pumpkins from has a air cannon that shoots pumpkins.
        They had 55 gallon steel drums set on top of pick-nick tables out about70 yards. When they hit the drums they would go flying about 20 ft. I could sit and watch it all day long.

        That was Halloween now another holiday 4th of July. We get out the old potatoe gun. It uses hair spray or any kind of aerosol spray that will ignite.
        Hmm I will have to make one that uses air to shoot instead of the aerosol.

        • GF1…

          You need to find out where you can get a fast dump valve like Mythbusters use. They do some outrageous damage with the air cannons they make.

          Been fighting with the camera this morning for the noise test . Having problems getting the right distance for some reasonable audio levels . Everything so far comes back as the thing on the muzzle producing what sounds like a louder and sharper sound, but can’t tell if the louder part is an illusion caused by the sharper part. Will work on it some more.


          • TT
            The potatoe gun amazes me every time we shoot it. And I will have to look into the fast dump valve to make a air version.

            And the sound test will be a hard one to accomplish. Might have to figure out a way to edit out different frequency’s of sound without affecting the report of the gun.

            Have you ever watched the videos of somebody taking a shot at a target then they will show the replay in slow motion. The sound of the report from the gun is way distorted. I wonder what the sound of the report would be if you sped the video up? I never gave that a thought until now.

            • The recording level might kick my but, but I am not done trying. I should be able to get something out of it anyway. Maybe even something on reflected noise. I know that the sharper the sound is, the more pronounced the reflection will be. I will see what I can come up with.

              What I really need is the RIGHT kind of equipment.


              • TT
                Equipment, cost and time consuming. But if you get it worked out it will be great info.

                The sound from my Marauder .25 cal., 1720T and the Talon SS is all a different sound from each gun.

                To me when I shoot the Talon SS It seems louder than the other 2 guns above. But if I go out about 30 yards all 3 guns seem equally quiet when I have my buddy shoot them.

                TT I think we talked about this once when I first got my Talon SS. By the way the TSS has worked out to be a real nice gun and a different learning experience.

                And the muzzle brakes. And like you said they really don’t function as a muzzle brake. They function more as sound deadeners. Maybe they are called muzzle brakes for legal reasons. And that’s a whole different topic. All I know is every gun That I put a TKO muzzle brake on made a significant difference in the report.

                Here is something else that’s a factor. Everybodys hearing is different just like eye sight. So lets say I did the recording experiment and thought the gun was quiet or loud whatever way. Maybe you would hear it as loud and two other people would hear it as quiet. I think it would be hard to determine without something that was thought to be accurate as far as measuring the sound frequency’s.

                I think you mentioned this with barrels and spring gun vibration patterns also.

                • GF1

                  This thing is straight through….a hollow tube . It makes the end of the barrel look pretty and provides a place for the front sight to mount. It is pretty much like the thing on my 853 , except the one on the 853 is a heavy weight.


                • GF1

                  One time I removed the sight from the T200 and left the rest of the “thing” on there, then stuck a few inches of foam pipe insulation over it. Made a funny “foop” sound.


                  • TT
                    Ok makes sense now. The TKO brakes have I think (derlin or some kind of plastic washer) that is about 3/8″ thick with a hole a little bigger than the diameter of the pellet. They are 6″ or so long and it looks like there is about 5 of those washers in the brake.

                    Maybe the hollow tube is amplifying the sound ?

                    • GF1

                      I had said that the “thing” was not a brake. Should have also said that it was not a silencer, stripper, or flash suppressor , or a B.O.S.S. either . Just a hollow tube stuck on the end of the barrel.


        • GF1

          Moved to a thicker place…

          Let’s compare this to using an exhaust pipe expander . Changes the sound.

          Want to hear something wild ? Uncork your TSS and shoot it. I don’t know of anything that sounds like that with the muzzle right out in the open.


          • TT
            I would bet your right about the device that is on the end of your gun. It would seem to me that it would make it louder.
            And I don’t think I would want to hear how loud the TSS would be with out the end cap or baffles in.

            • GF!

              Not today. It’s a bit soggy.
              Had problems a day or two ago outdoors with the wind. Came home, did a transfer to the computer and did some playbacks. The volume was very weak. Could definitely hear a difference. Have to work out a distance that will give me a decent volume. Can’t tell enough by listening to playback on the camcorder. No idea how loud it will be when transferred to the computer. Could hear some faint echo also. Was not far enough out into the middle of nowhere.

              I tried a small tape recorder one time with a different rifle or two or something like that. Sounded about equally as loud, the other characteristics of the sound were different. Was pretty close, so it was limiting volume. Would like to have something with straight manual recording level like a couple players/decks I used to have.

              Need calm air and quiet. And NO rain.

              Might do a recording when shooting along a tree/brush line. That can make them sound a bit nasty with the echo.
              So far it sounds a bit like there is a power difference between shots. Sharper and louder by a bit.
              Once I get a good distance figured out for volume, I can get it done. Even with the auto recording level. It will show a difference.


            • GF1

              I also played with how far I put the thing on the barrel a while back. I can tell the difference until I get the front of it almost even with the muzzle.
              The new barrel is a bit larger than the original, and a tight fit. On the original, I could loosen the set screw and the thing would slide all the way down to the air tank. Straight through internal dimension.


              • TT
                So is the main test to see if that thing changes the loudness of the report (quieter/louder) ?

                Or do you want to see if the sound of the report from the gun is heard or thought to be heard differently by people ?

                I shot some of the Gamo PBA pellets that came with a Whisper I got quite a while back and they cracked when they shot. Well now thinking about that maybe that does impress some people. My disco is loud with out the TKO muzzle brake.

                If I have the choice I want my gun quiet. And I have heard people say after they put a muzzle brake (sound deadener) on a gun that it didn’t seem as powerful. so there is the illusion that loud is powerful and quiet is not.

                • GF1

                  It’s an attempt to see what it sounds like from different directions with and without the front sight fixture (I just gave it a name) .

                  I am shooting Exact RS in it . How much lighter do you want me to get ? PBA shoots slower than the RS . No way it can go supersonic , and they suck ….. so I would not shoot them anyway.

                  I know that I can hear a difference and the cam can too, even though I have not found a suitable recording distance for decent audio.

                  I have already determined that if I pull the scope and put the front sight back on, I will install it flush with the muzzle. Lose a bit of sight radius, but not install a more objectionable sound (loudness or sharpness).

                  Those who want a “brake” just to dress up their barrels might take note that when you stick something on there, it may make it noisier. I am not talking about a silencer here . Keep that in mind. B.B. does not have a “Rule # 11” that I would have to talk around. I just don’t know what I should call some things that have no clearly defined purpose. Some don’t seem to have a name that can be instantly related to correctly. We keep ending up with a misunderstanding as to what we are trying to talk about.

                  Might make a good blog . “What the heck is it ?” .


                  • TT
                    That’s what I thought you were talking about testing.

                    But thought maybe you had something else in mind that I didn’t catch. And I must of missed what ammo you said you are using.
                    And yes there is different devices that somebody calls one thing and somebody else will call it something else. (I think we talked about that also before)

                    Maybe that would be a good guest blog for you to do. I know I will be interested in the sound test also when you get it done.

                    • GF1

                      I started a new thread, with a test video . Should be at the bottom of everything. Test in basement and there are reflections , but you should be able to hear a difference.
                      Distance was around 6-7 ft. I had been testing a lot farther outdoors by way too much.


      • B.B.,

        Now THAT must be the all-time foot-pound king of airguns!

        Neverheless, I must ask if it can travel as fast as trick pellets shot out of a Gamo Super-Duper-Fast Pellet-Shooter! (LOL, of course.)

        I’ve never seen a signal cannon that was not a powder-burner, but as loud as an airgun can get . . .

        My neighbor has a custom made 6 bore signal cannon that he uses black powder in every 4th of July. He claims that his brother can hear it from his backyard five miles away. He purposely uses a much smaller amount of black powder than the thing can handle out of fear of having to replace hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of windows in the neighborhood!

        I believe the outer barrel diameter (and it’s made of hardened steel) is about six inches. The wall thickness is definitely at least twice the bore diameter.


      • GH
        I didn’t read down far enough yet to your comment. But I just left a reply to twotalon about potatoe guns above.
        Ain’t they cool. And they will do some damage to. They are very powerful.

      • What type?

        I used to have a spring powered spud-gun — where you poked the barrel tip into a potato to extract a .22-25 sized plug, which was then propelled a few feet.

        • Did (you) make it. That sounds interesting.
          My brother whent as far as making different legnth barrels that screwed on or off real easy.They are about 2 and a quater inch diameter barrels.

          I never thought about how much the potatoe projectile weighs or what fps the potatoe shoots at. But I guess it makes a pretty good amount of fpe. They hit hard and we have hit stuff out to 50 yrds with them.

          And another reason to own a Chrony. 🙂

      • What type?

        I used to have a spring powered spud-gun — where you poked the barrel tip into a potato to extract a .22-25 sized plug, which was then propelled a few feet.

        {hope this isn’t a duplicate}

        • I used to wonder about those in ads and wonder how they worked. These ads often appeared next to what looked like an Uzi which was claimed to be able to fire 2000 bbs a minute, propelled by a can of Freon gas attached under the foregrip. But I looked at their velocity numbers and they were very low. It was a feeble spout though at high speed. Ever encounter one of these?

          Thanks for you advice about the Daisy 747. But to verify it, I would have to take the gun apart, and there ain’t no way I’m going to attempt that. My man Derrick is on the case. The gun has been working fine ever since, so my one disposition is to let sleeping dogs lie.


  5. B.B.

    What a sweet little gun. I noticed the nice, large screws on each side of the barrel. This smells quality.
    Let me think…I have a screwdriver that will fit. Let’s dismantle the thing and have a look at how it is made inside 😀

    Careful with the oil – you might get some serious dieseling here 😀


  6. I would be interested in seeing a comparison of cost of ammunition with modern powder-burning pistols. How would this thing stack up against, say, a S&W .40?


  7. This is a whole new level of airgun quirky. Silly me, I just toss the coins.

    It’s ironic that most toll booths are back east and that’s where the toll booth gun would get most of its’ use but you would probably get shot if a cop pulled you over today and saw that gun beside you. The 1960’s seem so long ago.


  8. I’ll bet that gun was outlawed in NJ Because anything that looks is,or resembles,a gun since 1934 every
    air,spring,elastic,cap guns etc.sling shots,A pistol permit for all air guns reguardless how powerful
    or weak they are.I wonder if they fall under the one gun a month law?
    The best move of my life was to get out of that repressive state and live in freedom again.
    Sorry to pontificate,but When I saw the blog I knew that The Peoples Undemocratic Republic
    Of New Jersey would find a way to ban it.

  9. I’ve never heard of these things before but it reminds me of a toy gun I had when I was little. You loaded it with these little plastic disks then you aimed and fired and these little disks would fly like miniature frisbees at a pretty good clip across the room. I’m guessing that this oddball money gun is where they got the idea. I remember that disk gun because I liked the whooshing sound the little disks made as they spun out of the barrel. Of course those plastic disks would hit a wall and come back at you and you ended up learning to dodge the disks due to the fact they kind of stung when they hit you.

    Nowadays I have a gun that more or less shoots money too but nobody wants to catch what it shoots. I call it an AK-47. I figured out my ammo costs about 25 cents a shot. So in a way it is shooting money.

    But yeah, in this liberal ruled country of ours if a kid or teacher had one of these money guns on them I’m pretty sure a swat team, hostage negotiators and entire city police force would descend on them quickly followed by every news crew in 6 counties as well as Fox News and CNN. All the neighborhoods around the school would be on lockdown. State and federal governments would shut down. The Dow would take a 2000 point nose dive. Investors would be jumping off skyscrapers, cats and dogs would be living together…it’d be total pandemonium.

      • Those were a long time ago. No doubt some liberal toy safety commission decided giving kids a gun that fired those plastic disks was probably dangerous or something. Just for the nostalgia I wish I could find one of those things. I suppose kids don’t get as thrilled with those nowadays when they have airsoft guns to shoot each other with. I’ve taken a few hits from one of those. They hurt worse than the plastic disks in those guns ever did.

    • That toy gun was a licensed replica of the phaser pistols used on the original Star Trek. I still have mine, a gold colored one. The other color was blue.

      They were airguns only if you consider a catapult gun to be an airgun, as the discs were propelled directly by a spring.


      • I suppose by one rubber ruler they could be considered an early version of an airsoft gun. By some definitions those could be considered a type of airgun since they are sold by pyramyd air is an airgun store. Granted they are a bit unconventional. I have exactly one airsoft gun. I figure since I use 6mm aluminum airsoft bb’s that it counts.

        • John,

          The airsofts that use CO2 are quite hard-hitting and definitely airguns by anyone’s definition. They are also fun as heck to shoot. I bought a Mac11 CO2 replica from P.A. (TSD brand) and it is fully auto rock ‘n’ roll! :^)


          • Mine is an electric GSG92. I liked the design and I could justify it as a full auto bb gun with aluminum bb’s. It’s a bit cheesy but I like that full auto. I figure that is a great great “grandgun” of those disk shooters and maybe a relative of these quarter shooting guns.

            • John,

              The GSG looks cool, and with my huge paws that frame is quite pointable.

              The CO2 airsofts that have blowback have a LOT of kick in general. Do the electronic ones?


              • Some of the higher end ones might have a recoil feature. My airsoft is a cheap chinese made thing. So no recoil. But the good thing with that is I can keep my aim point pretty much on a target and fire while moving while still hitting my target since the gun doesn’t jump.

  10. I used to have one of these in the “70s, but I modded mine so it was shooting at 1600 fps (1700 fps with Canadian quarters.) Mine had a Williams peep sight on it, and I was stacking quarters at 75 yards in the offhand standing position. I could pay some serious tolls with that thing.

  11. Think of the money you could have saved if it had a safety on it. I’m sure the toll police would have understood when you told them you weren’t trying to cheat the toll but had simply forgotten to take the safety off!


  12. Wonder if anyone ever tried to fit coins (of some size) into the disk shooters I had in the late 60s. No separate cocking needed — long trigger pull drew back the striker, when the striker was far enough to the rear, the magazine would lift a plastic disk into the guide slots, then a bit more trigger pull would release the striker and the disk would fly out the front.

    With plastic disks, range was maybe 15-25 feet.

    Though the one I had was more “ray-gun” or Walther PP styled, in either silver or bronze paint…

    Somewhat larger than the old clay-BB [more like an AirSoft precursor size] guns.

    • Had no idea what they were called. That’s exactly what I, John and GunFun1 were talking about.
      I shot dimes with mine. Pennies didn’t work because there’s a small ridge around then and dimes are thinner so they worked better (well Canadian money anyways).


      • Me and my brothers disappeared after we were shooting dimes in the living room after we broke the glass in one of my mom’s picture frames.

        I was already learning that if you got the weight, and fps right you could do some damage to stuff.

  13. bb, that looks like something that is fun. like the cobra slingshot that showed up at our local gun store. it arrived a Friday at closing time, but by 10 am Saturday several of us who hang out there were becoming great shots at the ugly spot on the store room door. it was so good I brought 1 home. it came with some 3/4″ diameter rubber balls . as for the turnpike coin gun , got a kid wanting a quarter, say catch it and its yours .but that is interesting gun from the past. it sorta reminds me of those tin survival pistols gm made in ww II that were sent to the resistance in france . I think Pontiac from gm made them. I seen 1 sell at a little gun sale and best I remember it brought like $500

  14. B.B.,

    The solid build quality, along with the areodynamic cpapbilities of discs, make this intriguing. 11 pounds of cocking effort for a measly 6 foot range is disappointing, however.

    How much larger is a poker chip than a quarter? “Don’t take any wooden nickels,” sure, but how about shooting wooden (or plastic) quarters?


  15. Tom, Glad to see you at the Roanoke Show last week. I was very sorry to hear you lost your friend Mac, I talked with him at length last year, I know he will be missed. I mentioned I was a blog reader and you asked me to leave a comment so finally I get time to sit a minute so here goes. To me a great part of the show is to meet folks like yourself and Mike Reames, who is always happy to explain the fine details of his creations. Meeting Dennis Quackenbush and buying a couple (or 3) of his airguns, trying to beg a hot dog from some nice person ’cause all my money changed hands within an hour after going through the door. Just plain good times. This year the oldies were a treat. Hickory is a few miles from the house, I’ll be set up there, hope to see you there as well. Take care, God bless through Jesus, His only Son. Evan from NC

      • Hello BB, great to hear from you. Just today I shot a couple of them. Great guns, lots of fun. The 308 did well with Daystate 303 pellets, should be potent squirrel medicine, also did good with rb’s. The 25 hits 900 fps with Beeman Silver Bears, but didn’t group well w/#4 buck, however this was the first time trying. Either caliber should be potent medicine for squirrels. I could give you a more in depth report if you would like. But I like my DAQ’s a lot. I do have a few, (more than three…) and a few I’ve been talked out of. Too many guns, too much fun! Well, take care God Bless, Evan from NC <.

    • Both my brother and I had wrist rocket in the late 1960’s to early 1970s. I have to admit they were probably much more dangerous than the little daisy BB gun we had. Got into a good bit of trouble with those.
      When we played war with them we did switch to little green apples instead of rocks but they were still a pretty painful experience if you were on the receiving end. It definitely gave us a distance advantage over the kids without them.

    • Gf1,

      I had one of the original wrist rockets when I was a kid. Saunders made them. I now have a folding wrist rocket that goes with me everywhere in my Jeep as a part of my survival kit along with spare surgical tubing and ammo. 3/8″ steel balls seem to be about the best ammo for it, but I’ve used 1/4″ and 1/2″ steel too. Big split shot works nicely too.


  16. My dad worked at a printing company (printed the tops of the old oil cans that had like a card board container and military ammo box’s’ on sheet metal among other things).

    The company that he worked at was next to some railroad tracks that carried slag from a steel foundry. They would fall off the train car and my dad would bring us a 5 gallon bucket-full of those home. They were black and about the size of marbles and probably weighed about the same.

    They worked great in the wrist rockets. We use to hunt rabbit and squirrels with them. Also plinked with them to. They really put a whopping to a soda can.

    • Oh and I don’t have my original wrist rocket any more but I have a modern version that folds (don’t know what brand it is) that I carry all the time to in the truck too.

  17. What a great idea. The gun had me fooled with the cocking handle on the front. Now why would they do that? But it is certainly a great application. Once on a road trip, I threw my coin at the basket but nothing happened. Either I missed, or I didn’t throw the right coin. The driver just pulled away, and even though an alarm sounded, nothing happened. I’m surprised more people don’t do that. But nowadays (this happened awhile ago), they probably have cameras that can track you down.

    In what ways was the 1960s the age of gadgets more than today? Perhaps the gadgets then were more mechanical than electronic. This reminds me to watch McGyver about whom I’ve often heard but never seen. I think he dates from that era, and he was kind of a master improviser with gadgets.

    Titus, that clouting is awesome. Real Robin Hood stuff. I’m amazed that the farthest butts at an old archery range in England called Finnesbury field (or something like that) were recently discovered to be a quarter mile from the shooting line. That’s what a 180 lb bow will get you I suppose. 180 yards is plenty far enough for me. I don’t know how you would aim for that either. At 20 yards with my 30 pound bow, I can sort of see how you can estimate the drop with the bow elevated a bit, but not raised up to 45 degrees.

    We’ve had some cold weather here in northern California, not necessarily to my liking. The other night I went to swim with a wind chill that must have been in the 30s. This state does not believe in indoor pools. The only way I could manage at all was with my special swim parka that kept me covered except for the short time going to and from the pool. The water was bath like by comparison, but it had a few surprises of its own. In the dark, I plowed right through this mass of leaves and it felt like pins and needles. It was a bit of Navy Seal life, and as close as I would ever want to get to that.

    You write evocatively about gardening. Good luck with that. I’m finding in my older years that I’m developing a taste for vegetables that I didn’t have before. Do you have a problem with animals invading your garden? I knew an old retired librarian who gardened who had a running war with rabbits. She hated them. Once you got her talking about the rabbits, her demeanor changed and the sweet old lady mask disappeared. But since her only defense was to throw rocks at them, she was on the losing end. She experimented with chemical warfare in the form of chili powder dusted onto the plants, but I don’t believe that worked. Do you avail yourself of your airgun to protect the garden?

    Tinkerers rejoice and read up on the release of the Wildcat robot by the department of defense. This is a running four-legged robot drone that can reach speeds up to 16 miles an hour, slightly faster than a normal human can do, as long as the power lasts. The thing is hideous, but the motion is smooth and graceful, unlike the monstrosity that they rolled out last year that was supposed to be a pack animal and looked like an oversized roach. Well, someone in the Defense Department is definitely having too much fun.


    • Matt61
      I didn’t know if you were talking to me.
      But the garden I have now days ain’t that big (compared to what we had by the house on the farm when we were kids). Probably 100×100 feet is what my garden is. Mine is completely enclosed with chicken wire. Its about 7 feet tall. The tops enclosed also. Oh and just recently put chicken wire over the top of the dog pens to keep the pests out.

      I don’t really worry about pests with my garden. But when we were kids on the farm the garden by the house was to big to enclose. And my dad had grape vines also. Not counting the other ground he farmed with crops. We also had hogs, rabbits, and chickens.

      We had 3 dogs that ran free on the farm and they were great for pest control and probably the best hunting dogs I ever had. But back then if we wanted to get rid of a problem it was usually with a 22 rim fire gun. Not necessarily to kill it but to scare it with the report of the gun.

      We had fox, rabbits, squirrels, coyotes, raccoons and possum that would always try to get something.

    • We apparently have a lot of pools per capita here even tought they can only be used from June (early June if you have a heater for the pool) to September (again depending if you have a heater or not). A lot of people have above ground pool in their yard, you can see them on google maps aerial view, you can see all the round blue spots in suburban yards.
      Many municipalities have at least one indoor pool but THE most fun to me and I only went there a handfull of times are year round outdoor pools. I know of only one personnaly but there’s probably a few of them around. You have to get in the pool while inside the building thru a small jacuzzi sized opening, then under a small opening and tada you’re outside in freezing temperatures with the snow falling around you, while you’re cozy under the warm water. You can raise your arm out of the water as the heat from the water is heating the air to around a foot out of the water and you can feel the freezing temperature on your fingers, it’s a great feeling. But it’s at the top of a big building in downtown Montreal, the only way to go there is if you’re working in the building and are a member of the fitness club or if you’re a client of the pricey roof top hotel… my mom worked there when I was younger.


  18. Has Tom reviewed the new synthetic Marauder yet?
    It is advertised as being a light weight model, but the PA sites lists it at 7.1 lbs. vs 8 lbs. for the wood stock.

    I guess I thought it would come in at even less than that. Maybe not 5 lbs. even like my BL-22, but somewhere in the 6’s ?

  19. I don’t know if this could be considered an air gun, but it certainly shoots a large projectile. What about an aircraft carrier catapult? I have read that in the days before these things were steam-powered, they were operated by compressed air.

    One could consider one of these to be a pre-charged pneumatic. A shoe runs down a slot in the top of the barrel, pulling the projectile (the aircraft).

    The air-powered cats were replaced by steam-powered ones because the steam models developed more power, allowing the launch of heavier planes.

    I think the Brits had some that were actually powered by a powder charge.


    • TT
      Definitely louder with the (front sight fixture) as we are calling it.
      And this may sound crazy but if I had a brother that is a little older than me he would resemble you.
      I have a mustache, wear glasses, And have black longer hair that I comb straight back and I usually wear a black t shirts.
      When I started the video my daughter was asking me something and I looked back at the video when you were getting ready to shoot. I thought it was me .

      • Gf1

        Okay…you can hear a clear difference. Have any trouble cranking enough volume ?
        To me it sounds sharper and louder both, and at a higher pitch. To be avoided for starling hunting.

        I used to look younger than I was. Times change. There was a guy who was a hospital troop who followed me around to three different bases that I knew of. I was mistaken for him, and he was mistaken for me. Never met him, but should have made it a point to do so. Saw a picture of him once. That was a shock. It was a picture of me standing in a place I had never been, but was just a bit heavier. That kind of stuff can get you in trouble .


        • TT
          I could hear the video just fine.

          Now if you can get that to work out outside and do what you was talking about above. Having the camera at different places to check the sound of the report.
          You will have the back ground noise but I bet you will still be able to tell the difference in the sound of the report from the gun.
          Try it and see what happens.

          And they say everybody has a double that looks similar to themselves.

          • GF1

            Well, since it seems to be working good enough now….I will only need a calm day WITHOUT rain and noise, and a tape measure. Might have to do it early or late when the wind dies down.
            Don’t think I will bother with a tree line shot or around buildings to listen to reflected noise. I already know that the sharper the sound is, the worse it bounces.


            • TT
              Yep the reflective noise changes alot from the original sound of the report the gun made. But it would still be nice to do in a natural setting where you would normally shoot at.

              I put my stereo right out side the door of the breezeway so I can hear it when we are out there plinking. It seems pretty loud when I’m right by it. But when I go out in the yard in different areas. I can hear it better in one place. And then go to another place in the yard and not hear it as good. So it will be interesting what the gun will do.

              • GF1

                I want to trim and stitch clips together so that the shots will be as close together as possible for comparison. One of my video editing programs warns me that cutting clips too short (less than 2 or 3 seconds ) can cause trouble. May not be able to get the shots as close together as I would like, but will do what I have to. I don’t want to go to any more work than I have to.


                • TT
                  That sounds like it could get difficult.(the editing part).
                  But that’s whats nice if you can get it on a video. Can keep replaying to listen over. I listened to the video you just posted back to back quite a bit of times. The more I listened the better I could tell the difference.

                  • GF1

                    That’s why I want to edit the shots as close together as I can. You will need less memory for the comparison.
                    I will have to rely on visual cues as to where to trim to make the whole thing as fast as possible. I will have to be very deliberate about this. Plan ahead !!!! If I edit wrong, I can do the editing over without shooting again.

                    Going to use Sony PMB.
                    This evening would have been great except for one thing….raining. The wind dropped dead for quite a while and it was soggy enough that nobody was harvesting corn or beans. Really might have made for some good tree rat hunting. Sound travels good , everything on the ground damp and not too noisy to step on. Motion in the trees easier to spot.


                    • TT
                      I think my brain would hurt after a edit session.

                      One of my buddy’s edited a video of me flying my R/C plane and put it on U Tube. It was about 15 minutes of flying. When he was done editing it. It was about 3 minutes long.
                      If somebody wants to see it go to U Tube and search Flatana with air brakes.
                      Its posted by my buddy 84 rad

  20. Do you gentleman have two different zero’s for bench and off hand. My poi is 2” higher at 30 yards while shooting off hand. My hand location on the stock is the same. What are the best solutions for this? Also, I am about to purchase a new spring sporter. The LGV challenger can now be had for 400 dollars and the R9 is around 480. These are my two choices for pigeon and squirrel. Any opinions?

    • Pop,

      I don’t know why your point of impact would change in the offhand position, unless you are resting your rifle directly against the sandbag. That will throw the shots way off.

      As for choosing between the 2 rifles, they are really equivalent. Either one will do the job in .22 caliber. I’d pick the one you like the most and don’t look back.


    • Could it have something to do with what yard the gun is zeroed at but I doubt it.

      And I know if I shoot up into a tree I have to aim low. Also if I shoot down a hill I have to aim low. If I shoot straight and level at a target that I have my scope zeroed at it will hit on target.

      That is what use to give me fits when I squirrel hunted before I realized the above. Maybe that’s what is happening to you?

      • Take into account that, for shooting up/down slope, the distance that gravity takes affect is shorter than the direct distance to the target. Hence projectile drop will be less than expected.

        • Never really thought about why it happened. But it would aggravate the heck out of me when I knew I had the cross hair on the squirrel and I would miss.

          Did some shooting at paper that I put up in a tree and basically did kind of what BB did when setting a scope. Put a dot on the paper and each gun that I shot at the target would hit high.

          That’s how I learned about hold under when shooting up. If you look through the scope and see how many mil dots high the pellet hit above the dot you made you just reverse it and aim that many mil dots under. You will then be on target. Same applies for shooting down.

          When you shoot down. The closer you get to yourself the more hold under it will take. The farther away you shoot when shooting down the less hold under you will need. Same rule if you shoot up.

  21. Well, bench rested with the gun rested on my splayed and relaxed hand, the poi is 2″ low at 40 yards. Standing and shooting freehand, poi is .25” high at 40 yards. My rifle likes to be held out on the stock a bit. I put my thumb and for finger in the stock screw wholes for a point of reference and then open my hand. Should i move my hand closer to the trigger guard for both bench and free hand? I’ll try it. Either way, thanks for the blog and comments. I really enjoy reading here.

    • The question is.

      Is it consistently low holding a good shot pattern or is it erratic ? Erratic would probably be the hold of the gun. But if the shots hold a consistent group 2″ low or however low it is. Its not the hold.

    • Pop’s SLR,

      I’ve been shooting airguns and rimfires quit a bit over the last few years.

      I’ve encountered the same problem you have experienced. My poi with offhand shots is CONSISTENTLY different than my benchrested poi.

      Don’t have a definitive reason but know it’s not cant since I have anti-cant devices on guns (airguns and rimfires) that display this trait regularly.

      I suspect, but have no way to confirm, that it has to do with head and neck positions that differ in different shooting positions. International 3-P shooting constantly struggle with this for these reasons.

      When it comes to springers and rimfires, replicating hold on a bench vs. offhand are very different and this alone may explain the differences.

      I’ve gotten to the point that I adjust my scope for the off hand shooting sessions vs. how the scope is adjusted for benchrest shooting at 50 yards.

      In my case its not much, 4 or 5 clicks left and 2 or 3 up (depending on the scope. I have a card to remember adjustments for each gun I shoot both offhand and benched for this reason!!!!).

      I have tried everything I could think of that would allow me to keep my scope settings the same from bench to off hand including cancelling cant, repeating hold, keeping head and neck positions the same, etc. and I’ve chalked this up to one of the mysteries of shooting and just adjust my scopes.

      Sorry I don’t have an answer for you but at least I can share your misery.


      • Thank you so much for sharing Kevin. I appreciate your time. I was thinking that when i purchase a new scope i would look for one with resettable zero so i could easily account for this shift. I like the idea of knowing a rifle, and it’s moa at effective range. I suppose i will get used to the idea that when i am out hunting, i will need to either keep my bench rested setting and make sure i take all my shots while sitting with the rifle rested on the crook of my arm (no shift). Or, that i change to an off hand setting and take all my shots in an unsupported fashion. It will be dandy…and ill just try to make sure this does not start wrinkling my brain in the direction of a pcp.

        If it was simple i suppose i would be off of this carousel by now anyway.

        Thank you so much for your time. By the way, what is your favorite scope?

        • Pops SLR,

          Allow me to avoid your brain getting wrinkled.

          PCP’S have this same poi shift when shooting offhand vs benchrested in my experience. Again, different holds equal different poi in my experience. The difference is just less with pcp’s.

          The airgun that made me notice this most since its the airgun that gets shot most by me and others is my fx ranchero carbine. My most used pesting airgun. I have a fixed 6x gerholdt & ruess mounted on that airgun that I reparrallaxed to 30 yards. Simple scope so you can’t blame the optics for the difference in poi!

          The poi at 30 yards with that pcp is almost an inch different benchrested vs my elbows rested on the window of my truck offhand! Yes, shooting out of the window of my truck is legal where I shoot pests. The point is that maybe it’s head and neck position, maybe it’s hold, maybe it’s ????

          Don’t know.

          Do know I have to compensate and with that g & r duplex scope at the distances I shoot I don’t have time to adjust when shooting pests but can compensate even with a duplex reticle.

          As to your question about favorite scopes…….I’m particular about glass. I like peep sights in some instances and at the other end of the spectrum I have glass mounted on guns that are worth more than the guns themselves.

          I took the long way around the barn to answer your question but you need to tell me what gun you want to scope and for what purpose in order for me to give you my prejudiced and biased answer to your “perfect scope” question.


  22. Try laying on your stomach and shoot a paper target setting out 40 yards that is on a level plane from where you are shooting from.

    Then stand up on a pick nick table or something at the same spot you were laying down and shoot at the same 40 yard distance. I will bet that you will shoot high.

    • Ill give it a shot. I totally agree that the angle of shot up or down certainly does raise my poi. Especially at 45 Degree and greater up or down shots. I will have a new respect for variables required in hitting a target if my poi shifts greatly from a ten foot elevation change in my shooting position to a target 40 yards away. I may have to switch to decaf for a while, and give this some serious thought.

        • Pop’s no proplem.
          I stopped thinking about it. But now your question has me thinking again. I have 3 main guns that I shoot every time I go out to shoot.

          Here is something I experienced with each. I have all 3 guns zeroed straight and level at 50 yards. The target bulls eye is exactly the same distance from the ground as my barrel is from the ground on a concrete poured lot that is level the best they can say were we go shoot at the club sometimes.
          (it is where I try to zero the scope when I get a new scope or gun)

          All 3 guns have the Hawke scopes set at 10 power with a 1/2 mil dot reticle.

          1st gun is the 1720T with the 1399 stock. If I shoot up at a target or down at a target 50 yards out or in closer I have to hold under about (1 and 1/4 mil dots).

          Next gun the .25 caliber M-Rod. If I shoot like I described above I have to hold under (I mil dot).

          Last gun the .177 Talon SS. If I shoot the same as above I only have to hold under a (1/2 mil dot).

          So something tells me this has to do somewhat with weight and fps. of the projectile for it to make that kind of difference with each gun.

          I don’t think that is the explanation of why a gun shoots high when you shoot up or down. But I know the guns I shoot do.

          And I believe there are pocket range finders that will compensate your range estimate if you shoot up or down at a angle. So I may just look into that. Maybe thats where the answer will surface.

          • As I thought I’d implied…

            If you are ranging using a parallax adjustment reading, you are reading the hypotenuse of a triangle.

            Projectile drop from gravity is strictly the horizontal component of a right triangle. If you know the hypotenuse (direct line distant) AND the angle above/below horizontal, you can work out the horizontal distance with some trigonometry (or obtain a hunting/archery rangefinder that includes logic to compute horizontal distance from direct line and angle sensor).

            Given your (for example) 50yard zero — a 50yard (parallax measurement) shooting up at a 45deg angle means the horizontal distance is (sqrt(x^2+y^2) = 50, and x = y, sqrt(50^2/2) = 35 yards). How much hold change would you need to hit a target 35 yards away with a 50 yard zero?

            That takes care of the gravitational effects — I do believe drag effects should have some effect. 35 yards of gravity, but 50 yards of aerodynamic drag.

            • Wulfraed
              The equation you worked out explains exactly what we all have been talking about.

              That target that is at 50 yrds. when you shoot up at the 45 deg. angle really would require the reticle of the scope to be placed on the target as if you were shooting at a target 35 yards away.
              Obviously the pellet arc would probably be high at 35 yards when it hits the target. So if different guns have different trajectories that would explain why one gun to another would require a different hold of the reticle.

              And the triangle equation should work out the same if you do the math for a down hill 45 deg. angle. Again the pellet trajectory should be high at 35 yards with a down hill shot also.

              What I try to use as my main concern of my target is the 1 inch kill zone.
              And most of my shots are 50 yards and in. I have found that if I find that spot on my scope reticle be it a mil dot scope or not you can start hitting pretty consistent and accurately the more you do it.

              And like the 1720T that I said I have to shoot 1 and 1/4 mil dots low. If I shoot up or down will usually keep my pellet hitting with in that 1 inch kill zone when I shoot with in the 50 yard distance. So all I really need to remember for that gun is the 1 and 1/4 mil dot low.

              Same with the other guns I talked about above. When I determined that amount of hold under I need for each gun. All you have to do is remember that hold for each gun and it will get you pretty much in that 1 inch zone.

              Like I said above the easiest way I found is zero your scope straight and level the best you can at paper. Elevate yourself a good 10 feet. Shoot at your paper. See how high you shoot then hold that much low for that gun your shooting. Just remember that spot on the reticle if you shoot up or down.

              Try it and see. Each gun will be different and it is kind of fun figuring it out as you shoot more and more.

              • Thank you so much for the wonderful discussion GF1 and everyone else. Along with anti-cant bubble levels i recently saw a device that acts as an automatic compass and provides the degree of your hold on target and the corresponding cosign of that degree. I.E. you range the target and its 500 yards. You determine that the angle of the target is 10 degrees (dosn’t matter if its 10 degree up or down).

                The cosine of 10 degrees is .9848, 500 X .9848 = 492.4 yards.

                The cosine of 45 degrees is .7071, so 50 yards X .7071 = 35.355 yards.

                And now math is somewhat pleasant. Miraculous. Thanks to all for the lessons!

                  • Pop’s
                    I have got just a basic Bushnell yardage Pro Sport 450.
                    I think I would like to get a knew one though.
                    Probably one that will tell the angle or yardage when shooting at angles. I need to find more out about them to see if they work like I’m thinking.

                    And how are you coming up with the cosine number. Like in your example 10 degrees =.9848
                    What is the formula to get the .9848
                    I would like to use that when I shoot the next time to see if it helps me with my shots. I think it would be fun to compare. Let me know if you don’t mind. And thanks for the info above.

                    • Leupold RX-III TBR (true ballistic range) Rangefinder started me thinking, then when i found the angle cosine indicator manufactured by Sniper Tools Design Company i stopped thinking and decided to steel somebody else’s math and just reap the benefit. I found charts on line at long range forums for angle-cosign correlation. Airgunning seems very similar to long range shooting. I like that. I think I will get a good rangefinder and purchase the cosine indicator (it attaches to the scope or weaver rail i think, like a bubble level) and then calculate and fire. Hopefully this will become instinct. I shoot an SLR 98. It is low power and very smooth, bench rested 1 inch 7 shot groups all day at 50 yards. I have just started hunting with this gun, the prospect of finding a pigeon at 50 yards distance, checking the angle, applying the cosine, holding over correctly and bagging said pigeon makes me want to find my old math teacher and ask her why she never made us shoot. Ballistics makes math so much fun! Or, at least makes its’ awesome power more appreciable.

                      Good luck to both of us. Also, i wish wulfraed had been a buddy while i was in high school. I might of leaned a bit more.

  23. I have got just a basic Bushnell yardage Pro Sport 450. I think I would like to get a knew one though. Probably one that will tell the angle or yardage when shooting at angles. I

    Wonder which variant I have — All it is labeled is Yardage Pro Sport.

    I also have (as of last summer) a Nikon RifleHunter 550 which /does/ have the incline detection logic. Biggest drawback — closest sensor range appears to be 10 yards (I suspect they focused more on adjusting for the bighorn sheep half way up the other side of the cliff, than the squirrel laughing at you from a tree). The Bushnell goes down to 5 yards — but is probably more focused on golf distances.

    And how are you coming up with the cosine number. Like in your example 10 degrees =.9848

    On a scientific calculator set for operation in Degrees: [1][0] [cos]

    On a deci-trig slide rule, you set up (90 – 10) on the S (sin) scale, and read the result on the C (or D, depending on if your S is on the slide or the body). My Pickett does have cos angles marked so one doesn’t have to do the (90-10) conversion, one just matches the red “<angle" reading. Good thing the example was cos(10deg); the scale has no markings between sin(80) and sin(90) — and the result can only be read (by my poor eyes) to 0.985

    Lacking a scientific calculator and deci-trig slide rule, one digs up a copy of the CRC "Standard Math Tables", section "Natural Trigonometric Functions to Five Places", find the page column that is marked "10o (190o)" {the o is supposed to be the degree mark}, read down the left to the number of minutes (in this case, first row is 0'), read across to the column header "Cos", and copy down the value: 0.98481

    Lacking the above three means, one has to perform repetitive number crunching:


    (yes — it is ugly enough that most computers don't even calculate it in real time; the math processor has pre-computed tables and interpolates between entries… granted the tables may be much finer grained than the CRC handbook, which only gives values at 1' intervals, and only to 5 decimal places)

    • Wulfraed
      My dad tryed teaching me the slide rule when I was a kid. Kind of went over my head. And I think I still have his somewhere now that I think about it. But funny as it may be math became one of my favorite subjects in school. Maybe I should revisit the slide rule?

      And I would be interested in A Nikon range finder that you just talked about. It would work for me because most of my shooting takes place from around 30 to 65 yards with air guns. So that would work great for me. I’m going to look into getting one of them. And thanks.

  24. Leupold RX-III TBR (true ballistic range) Rangefinder started me thinking, then when i found the angle cosine indicator manufactured by Sniper Tools Design Company i stopped thinking and decided to steel somebody else’s math and just reap the benefit. I found charts on line at long range forums for angle-cosign correlation. Airgunning seems very similar to long range shooting. I like that. I think I will get a good rangefinder and purchase the cosine indicator (it attaches to the scope or weaver rail i think, like a bubble level) and then calculate and fire. Hopefully this will become instinct. I shoot an SLR 98. It is low power and very smooth, bench rested 1 inch 7 shot groups all day at 50 yards. I have just started hunting with this gun, the prospect of finding a pigeon at 50 yards distance, checking the angle, applying the cosine, holding over correctly and bagging said pigeon makes me want to find my old math teacher and ask her why she never made us shoot. Ballistics makes math so much fun! Or, at least makes its’ awesome power more appreciable.

    Good luck to both of us. Also, i wish wulfraed had been a buddy while i was in high school. I might have leaned a bit more.

  25. Pop’s
    Thanks for listing the place that makes the cosine indicator. Sounds like another great little tool for air gunning.
    And speaking of long range shooting. I like to take my air guns out to 100 yards or more every once in a while. Really makes for good practice to help with holding POA. When you get the hang of shooting longer distances it helps make the shorter distance shots a little easier.
    And I just love shooting my .17hmr out at my brothers. I have shot it successfully out to about 300 yards at soda cans. But mostly shoot it at around 100 to 200 yards. Talk about a flat trajectory. But again at some distance the gun will have to fall off on accuracy. Guns are like that. You have to find out what distance that is and keep it inside of that and be happy. Well of course you can always experiment with different ammo to try for the better.
    That’s what I have found anyway. And I think that’s part of the fun of shooting.

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