The timeline of airguns

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Table of contents
  • What is an airgun?
  • The first airgun
  • What we do know
  • The load-compression airgun
  • What came next?
  • Bellows gun
  • How rare were they?
  • Multi-pump pneumatics
  • Spring-piston airguns
  • Catapult guns
  • CO2 guns
  • Single stroke pneumatics

Table of contents

Before we begin today’s blog, I want to tell you there is a link to the History of airguns table of contents at the top and bottom of this pager. Go there and you will see all the historical report linked.

Today’s report will sound like a continuation of Friday’s report on the power of big bore airguns of the past, but that is just a coincidence. Today we look at the timeline of airguns.

What is an airgun?

Before we proceed we need to agree what an airgun is, or the rest of the discussion will be meaningless. Most books about airguns start with the primitive blowpipe, which is also called a blowgun. Does that make you think of natives on tropical islands, hunting birds and monkey in the trees? Would you be surprised to learn that the blowgun was also very popular in Europe during the middle ages? There are tapestries that show hunters using blowguns in exactly the same way as the islanders in the tropics, only they are doing so in European and English forests. The blowgun has been a very popular air-powered weapon all around the world.

For the purposes of today’s discussion, however, blowguns are not being considered as airguns. The airguns I will talk about have parts and mechanisms to assist in the storage and release of compressed air, or in the generation of compressed air when the gun is fired. Today we are looking for the first dates for each of the major types of airguns. I will include catapult guns and CO2 guns, though strictly speaking, neither is a true airgun.

The first airgun

Most people want to know the limits of things. What’s the fastest? What’s the largest? What’s the smallest, and so on. One thing they want to know about airguns is which one is the oldest.Which one came first? The problem is — nobody knows. Author Eldon G. Wolff documented a great number of early mentions of airguns in his book, Air Guns, completed in 1955. He gives a range of possible dates for the first airgun that were found in several old documents dating from 1474 to 1608. Many of these citations originate in or at least name the German city of Nuremberg in the middle 1500s as the birthplace. Names like Guter and Lobsinger are mentioned more than once, along with the date 1560.

What we do know

While we cannot say with certainty what the first airgun gun was or even when it was made, we do know some things about it. Most of the literature points to it being what we call a precharged pneumatic (PCP) today. That’s a gun that stores a charge of compressed air in a reservoir onboard the gun. The gun has a valve that releases some of the stored air when the gun fires, but the remainder of the air can be used for additional shots. But air storage, by itself, is not what defines a PCP. The principal difference between a PCP and a multi-pump pneumatic is the absence of a pump mechanism on the gun, because some multi-pumps do store air for more than one shot per fill.

We also know that this airgun was probably what we call a big bore today. That means it is in a caliber larger than .25. The reason for this is the smallbore airgun calibers that we know today — .177, .20, .22 and .25 — are too small for the guns of antiquity. People were not making guns for just pleasure in the 1600s. They were experimenting with what was technically possible and the firearms of the day served as their models. The airguns were just as much a science experiment as they were a working gun. All of the old firearms were in larger calibers, simply because larger caliber barrels were easier to make. It wasn’t until around the 1840s that we started seeing firearms in .22 caliber. So the first airgun was no doubt a big bore and also a PCP.

The load-compression airgun

There was one curious experiment with a compressed-air gun at this time by the mayor of Magdeburg. It was called the load-compressed airgun and worked by seating a ball inside a tight leather patch, then ramming it down the bore. This action compressed the air behind the load (supposedly) and forced it into a chamber that had a petcock valve to shut it in. When the petcock was opened the gun fired — theoretically. The compressed air that was stored in the chamber suddenly got behind the ball — hopefully pushing it out the muzzle.

Wolff, who writes about this development, says the muzzle velocity was undoubtedly low. No kidding! In fact, he doubts the gun would even work, as do I. But now you know that people thought of everything in the past — just as they do today.

What came next?

I said that the first airgun was a big bore because people were not making guns just for pleasure at that time. Now I’m going to modify that a little. Once it was known that a bullet could be propelled by the force of just compressed air, gunmakers were quick to capitalize and start innovating. And sport is where they went with it.

There were already huge shooting tournaments being held around Europe where crossbowmen competed. Firearms began to compete in these tournaments in their own classes sometime in the early 1400s. So, the use of firearms for sport — target shooting — was already established. Airguns followed suit, with a short-range target gun being first.

Bellows gun

And this is where Wolff and I disagree on the timeline — a little. He states that, given the essential design, the bellows gun is logically the earliest form of airgun. He goes on to state, however, that those specimens that have survived are newer than the big bore PCPs we have just been discussing.

A bellows gun is a form of spring gun in which a powerful spring closes an air bellows located in the gun’s hollow butt rapidly enough to generate a puff of wind — wind that gets behind a projectile. The projectile of choice was a dart, because the force of the wind was too small to propel a lead bullet. The bore was smooth and the guns that survive all seem to be made for shooting targets. Given their low level of power, that is probably all they were used for.

While there is no piston in a bellows gun, the bellows perform the same function that a piston does in a spring-piston gun. They compress ambient air rapidly and direct it behind a projectile sitting in the breech. Many bellows guns have set triggers so fine they will fire when the muzzle of the gun is elevated. The weight of the trigger blade by itself is enough to release the sear.

But the bellows gun shoots darts — not bullets. It is an airgun, but not a very powerful one. And to date none that I know of have been found dating to the 16th century, though there is a mention of one dating to 1570. So they were definitely a very early type. Perhaps Wolff is right and they do predate the butt reservoir big bores, I don’t really know. But from the physical evidence that remains, I still believe the big bore ball shooters came first.

How rare were they?

Airguns of any kind were very rare before the middle of the 19th century. Until then they were handmade and cost the same as fine rifles and shotguns. But their rarity goes beyond even the cost. There wasn’t as much advertising in the 17th and 18th centuries as there is today, and as a result, the general public was unaware of any airguns in existence. Of course an airgun was too expensive for the average man on the street, so perhaps it didn’t make any difference that they weren’t well-advertised. It is very difficult to make a timeline of the earliest types of guns, because there could easily be a mistake of decades that results from a lack of information. This timeline is my best guess, based on the best research that’s been done.

Multi-pump pneumatics

As early as 1645 the multi-pump pneumatic was born. A gun in the Stockholm museum is credited to builder Hans Koler from that date. This is a pneumatic airgun that has the pump built into the butt, with a sliding rod the shooter stood on while pumping the entire gun up and down. That air was stored in a brass tube or jacket that surrounded the barrel.

Where PCPs were made by the hundreds, early multi-pumps must have been much less common. I have seen just one in all the time I have been in airguns. It wasn’t until the Benjamin Air Rifle Company began producing them in volume in 1899 that multi pumps became popular. And the Benjamin guns were seen as mere toys. They did improve as time passed but even today they produce a paltry 14 foot pounds in .22 caliber.

Spring-piston airguns

Okay — the bellows gun qualifies as a spring gun, but what about the spring-piston guns we are more familiar with? When did they come into being?

Around the 1840s the first spring-piston gallery rifles were being built. They used volute springs that I showed you when we looked at my David Lurch gallery gun from the 1860s.

Volute spring
A Volute spring is a flat spring that’s been coiled then stretched out like this. It is very understressed in operation.

By the 1870s airgun makers like Quackenbush were using coiled steel mainsprings that allowed the spring tubes to become smaller. The guns started to take on the look we see today.

Catapult guns

The first decent catapult gun was probably the Hodges gun from the early 1840s. It shot a .43 caliber lead ball with enough force to take down larger small game. The gun was a piece of art as well as a gun and it is believed that the Hodges was used as a foraging gun because of its silence.

Hodges gun
The Hodges gun was a large caliber foraging gun that used elastic bands to propel the ball.

CO2 guns

While the first airgun is a mystery, we know exactly what the first CO2 gun was. It was a gun made by Paul Giffard that was converted from his pneumatic design to operate on carbonic gas — which is the old name for CO2. It had a removable gas cylinder that was supposed to be mailed back to the factory for a refill. There weren’t as many places to get CO2 in the 1870s are there are today.

Giffard pistol
This Giffard CO2 pistol is nice looking even today.

Giffard guns were not cheap. They were engraved and nickel-plated and still look gorgeous today. But they didn’t last long. The need to return the CO2 cartridge to the manufacturer for filling killed CO2 as a power source for 3 or 4 decades.

Crosman and Benjamin both promoted CO2 guns in the 1930 and ’40s, but it was the mid ’50s when Crosman came out with the 12-gram Powerlet that changed the face of CO2 guns forever. Since that time CO2 guns have risen to a high level of acceptance among airgunners.

Single Stroke pneumatics

The final airgun powerplant to come into being is the single stroke pneumatic. As far as I can tell, it was developed by Walther and launched with their LP2 pistol in the mid-1960s. There may have been something before this time, but I have been unable to find it. A single stroke accepts one pump only. The pump head is one end of the compression chamber and if it is backed out for a second pump, all the air from the first pump is lost.

Well, that was a short look at the timeline of airguns. I didn’t cover BB guns because they were address in the report on BB guns. Everything of significance has been covered here. Of course there is a lot more detail to cover, but we will get to that one topic at a time.

96 thoughts on “The timeline of airguns

  1. Great blog…

    I am always fascinated by the ingenuity and stubborn determination of the thinkers and inventors of the past.

    I find it strange though, that nobody seems to have made a spring-piston gun earlier. PCPs seem a lot more complex and difficult to make.

    Surely they were able to make metal tubes and leather seals also should have been possible. So what held them back? The only thing I can think of is a lack of good springs.


    • Cptklotz,

      Every seen or heard of something really new or GREATLY improved and say to yourself “Why didn’t I think of that?” Or think to yourself “man that is such a simple Idea that I’m amazed no one ever thought of that until now…”
      It quite possibly might have been simply THAT…no had ever thought of that same idea until that ONE GUY, at THAT TIME.
      Call it luck, call it ingenious. ..NOW it’s called HISTORY. πŸ™‚
      I have no idea what the actual reasons were to cause the earliest pcp’s to come so much sooner than the earliest spring-pistons did…but it “could” have simply been THAT…no one ever thought of it earlier. Who knows.


    • Stephan,

      That is a subject that deserves a lot of research and thought. Certainly a lack of linear mainsprings was one holdup. They used flat springs and V springs until well into the 19th century. The coiled spring was a late invention — maybe 1870 or so. And the volute spring that proceeded it isn’t much older.


  2. Very nice article,

    I find the history articles nice as I do not have the time to learn these things on my own. Since I visit here every day, you are providing a “balanced diet” of airgun info. The longer format works too. Maybe something to apply to the regular articles? I think that most of us have an attention span longer than a nat’s. Memory, might be something else.

    πŸ˜‰ Chris

  3. On a related note, my Diana 31 seems to be going through springs at an alarming rate.

    So far, I have worn out one “F”-spring and a “regular” one.

    Those first two springs may have suffered from my newbie mistakes. I had some detonations due to excessive oiling and I left the “F”-spring cocked for a day by mistake. Dry-fires have also happened.

    The regular spring I have inside the gun now was treated very carefully. I only applied very little oil and the gun doesn’t even smell while shooting. I also never dry-fired it.

    Still, the spring has already weakened and is visibly bent (it’s possible to see this even without removing the spring. It can’t have more than maybe 3000 shots on( it at the most).

    Shooting is still very smooth, but the gun has lost a lot of power and I guess this spring wil not last much longer.

    Are 6.9 grain pellets like Gecos or 8.18 grain pellets like H&N Sport simply too light for that level of power?

    I am not sure whether I should order a standard “F”-spring (quieter, but a little more “buzzy”) or maybe one of those fancy tuning kits with special springs and better spring guides.

    I have seen V-Mach and Vortek kits for my gun. They are a little pricey but might make the gun even smoother…


    • Stephan

      If you are referring to the Vortek springs made in the USA, I can’t recommend them enough. I have a HW97 and a HW50S (HW99S) that were both VERY buzzy, and they both received PG2 kits. They now shoot as smoothly as butter.

      Tom Gore, the owner of Vortek, is a heck of a nice guy and provides excellent customer service.

      I know you are in Germany, so I don’t know if the Vortek springs you are discussing are the same springs I am referring to.

        • Cpt
          I will second SLs recommendation on a vortek kit as I have the HO kits in my B40/TX clone and my RWS 48 and both kits made a world of difference in the smoothness and lack of spring noise ( twang ) in both guns and with no loss of velocity in the B40 and about 100 fps in the 48 but the loss in the 48 is far outweighed by the gain in accuracy due to much less recoil and increased smoothness.

          The 48 was shooting JSB 10.34s at 960 fps with a bunch of spring noise and very harsh shot cycle and now shoots the same pellet at 870 fps and is butter smooth and allows me to shoot half inch groups at 30 yards with ease where before I was doing good to get under 1 inch groups due to the harsh shot cycle and the gun jumping all over the place. The 48 in stock form broke a magnum rated Hawke scope and it was returned for a new one that is one the 48 now with the vortek kit in it and the scope is holding up perfectly.

          They are worth every penny if you truly want a super smooth noise free gun.


    • I believe dryfiring is what broke the spring in my QB-36, that’s why I got it though and since rebuilding it I’ve made it a point to never dryfire or use hyper velocity pellets in my springers. I stay with average weight or just a little heavier and my last new purchase was .22 caliber because a magnum .177 doesn’t make sense for the shooting I like to do.

    • Stephan,

      I can recommend the Vortek kits as well. I have had 2, one in 12fpe and the other higher powered HO kit. Both nice and easy to install. In the TX200, I could swap it 15 min. if I had to. And yes, they are friendly people and have good customer service. And yes, it does smooth things out nice, not that it was that bad to begin with.

  4. Yet another great read, and an amazing job keeping the topics fresh and interesting after so many hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs!

    Most airgun histories I’ve read do start with blowguns, and not only were blowguns used in South America and the Oriental East, but they were also used by the Cherokee and Iroquois native Americans right here in the United States.

  5. Chris USA,

    Any thoughts about the Diana 34P? I’ve been doing a lit if digging and reading the older blogs and evaluations that BB has done over the years here. By doing so, I just found out last night that the very same rifle, the Diana 34P use to be called the Diana 34 Panther several years ago. I’ve read everything that is archived here in the PA Blog. As long as the quality and specs of the current prodution riflrs are at least the same as reported in Jan 2015 and bqck in 2007, I really think that I’ve found my christmas present to myself this year.
    I know the test gun was tuned, and with a now-unavailable spring and spring-guide that the new rifles din’t have from the factory but there are newer currently available sets to smooth/quiet any “buzzing” should bb it be necessary or bothersome.
    Just curious to see what a few folks here think of the 34P as a choice for a newbies’ first “serious” rifle. It DOES seem fit my selectiin criteria about as completely as I can tell so far.
    I already know what “The Godfather” wrote about it in 2007, and re-stated in Jan. of this year. I also know the advice I was given by GF1 (?)…if I can do it go with a German-made rifle. It IS a Diana so…
    Any thoughts? Anyone?
    Thanks in advance, either way. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


    • Denny

      The Diana 34P is quite possibly the perfect choice for a newbie’s first serious air rifle if you plan to hunt with it. I would suggest the gun in .22 cal for this purpose.

      If you are only going to be shooting at cans and bullseye’s I tend to think it is a wee bit overpowered.

      So my question is, what exactly is your selection criteria, and what do you plan on doing with this rifle?

      I have one of the older models, before they changed the look of the stock.

      My one gripe is the fiber-optic sights, but mine is scoped, so it makes little difference.

      You can get tuning kits to smooth any buzzing (or even to reduce the power), but should you decide on this gun, I would just shoot the heck out of it for a while first.

      I hope I didn’t muddy the water for you.

      • SL,
        No muddy water here. That’s what I’m seriously leaning toward. The fiber optic is easily remedied..paint it black. CptKlotz already did that and that’s what I’ll do with it as well if I do buy the 34P.
        Than you for the advice πŸ™‚


    • The Panther is a regular 34 with a high-quality synthetic stock. I have a 31 Panther which is the German name for that gun.

      It is well-made, accurate and pleasant to shoot. I don’t like the plastic front sight and the scope rail isn’t great as it is hard to use a stopping pin. A one-piece mount plus a stopping block works though.
      The T06 trigger is great.

      It is great as an entry-level quality gun for a larger male, but the HW35, HW50S and Walther Terrus are also worth looking at.

      • BB,

        I haven’t missed a word you’ve written here since I found this blog this past spring and I’m not about to start now…much less after a reference to a”Revolutionary” improvement to a rifle I’m VERY seriously leaning toward buying in the next 6 to 8 weeks.
        Thanks fir the “heads-up” πŸ™‚


    • Denny,

      First, I am honored that you would ask me for advice. I can not offer (any) advice on Diana’s other than they are known for being droopers, but maybe not all. I am very happy with the TX 200. It is stupid easy to tear down. The LGU, as it turned out is a drooper. A drooper adapter and some med. rings and it’s set to go. Just did it yesterday plus a trigger mod., so I can’t say how it will do yet. Both are .22. Both are VERY highly touted as being top notch.

      If I were to recommend one, I would say the TX. The wood and engraving are simply the best and the trigger is very adjustable w/1st, 2nd and pull (3). Everything I have read on the LGU is great as well but the trigger is awful in my opinion,…too heavy,….hence the trigger mod. A 1$ screw and some time. No tear down required.

      Then you need to decide .177 or .22. That’s up to you. If your stuck on a Diana, there are lots of people to help you out right here.


        • CptKlotz,

          I agree 100%. However, it was my first. My thought at the time, and still is, life you can buy your way up in stuff a step at a time, and spend more in the end. Plus, being new, I wanted to put the odds in my favour in that I did not have a rifle that was working against me in any way. Heck, I can do that all by myself. πŸ˜‰ I may be the odd duck out in that line of thinking. I live simple and am not rolling in money by any stretch. That’s just the way I did it and offered advice on what I know.

          • I am with you on that Chris – buy the best you can afford!

            I have always maintained that the price of the rifle is cheap relative to the long-term cost of the ammunition to feed it!

            Besides, there is also that β€œsmile factor” – the payback that you get every time you handle a quality piece of equipment.

            • You’re both right… If somebody is willing to spend that kind of money on his first gun and he wants the best springer, the TX200 is probably the way to go.

              On the other hand, the lower-end Dianas and Weihrauchs are also quality products that are built to last and will offer a *long* time of shooting fun.

              I know both the Diana 34 and the Weihrauch HW35 and I can recommend them both, but I wouldn’t mind trying a TX200 πŸ™‚

              I guess as long as you avoid the really cheap and the ridiculously expensive stuff, you’re good to go πŸ™‚

              • as long as you avoid the really cheap and the ridiculously expensive stuff, you’re good to go


                Stephan, if you had to chose one, which would it be the Diana or the Weihrauch? Why?

                • I guess with my current knowledge, I would prefer the HW35.

                  It has a nicer firing behaviour at 7.5 joules (the max power is irrelevant to me since I don’t hunt and only shoot at 10 meters).
                  The Rekord trigger is maybe a *little* bit better than the T06 (or maybe the T06 still needs some more break-in… I don’t know. In any event, they are both very very good).
                  The HW35 has a rubber buttcap and a front sight with exchangeable inserts which is great because it gives you a choice and allows the use of a diopter sight.

                  The rear sight has a notch that is a little too shallow, at least on the 1980 model I have. I think the newer ones have several notches to choose from.

                  I guess the quirky barrel lock is a matter of taste. I like it πŸ™‚

                  The 31/34 “Panther” has two things I don’t like: The fragile plastic front sight with fiberoptics and the not-so great scope rail.

                  On the plus side:

                  Ergonomics-wise, the synthetic stock is great for me and it’s also a very tough, high-grade plastic. Maybe a wooden stock looks nicer, but that’s a matter of taste.
                  Nicer rear sight with a deeper notch that makes the target easier to see (I painted the fiberoptics black).
                  Ambidextrous safety with better placement
                  More power (if that’s important)
                  Pretty calm firing behaviour at full power (but the muzzle report is pretty loud). At 7.5 joules, the rifle is quieter but has a *little* bit of vibration.
                  Phenomenal accuracy (if the results BB got at 35 yards are the norm). On the other hand, I’ve seen very tight groups from the HW35 as well.
                  The typical Diana barrel lock is more convenient and also very high-quality.

                  So, they are both very good but I would slightly prefer the 35. I guess the best thing would be to try both πŸ™‚

                  I also have a 1973 FWB300S. The trigger is something else and makes the T06 and Rekord look crude. The calmness of the shot-cycle is amazing and I guess I don’t have to mention the quality and accuracy.

                  Still, the other two are just as much fun to shoot. They are lighter and have a bit more “life” in them (I realize that that’s just the non-compensated recoil) πŸ™‚

                  • Thank you very much for your thoughts on these two rifles. I keep on thinking a new springer would be nice to have – these are contenders! πŸ™‚

                    My FWB300SU is of 1982 vintage and I have to agree that the trigger is extremely good. The shot-cycle is indeed β€œdifferent” and took a bit of getting used to … sounds like a springer, feels like a PCP.

                    Missing mine right now – the bluing on the rifle is excellent but the stock was showing its age so I am refinishing it and adding a spacer to increase the length. Hope to be shooting with it by the weekend.

                    • Vana2,

                      I wanted lo add length of pull on mine. I opted for Limbsaver recoil slip on butt pads. Med. size for the TX and small for the LGU. They are great. They add 1″ which ended up being perfect for me. I’m sure though, it won’t compare to your woodwork.

            • I tend to stick with stuff near the higher end in my new purchases, although they may not have all the bells & whistles if you’re willing to spend some time researching and get your hands dirty there are many options that can be competitive if not best the higher end and sometimes for less money,that one’s a bonus for me!

            • Vana2,

              For me, it was not the cost of the ammunition,….rather,….it was the (assurance) that I had something that was of good quality. Further,…there is nothing worse than wishing I had spent the extra money and wondering if my choice has now limited my ability in some way. That wondering,…is perhaps the greatest reason to go your limit.

              As for “smile factor”, that can be an inspiration all unto to itself. Add function to that, and you have the ultimate.


            • On the subject of slings, I see that I was in error. The Balearic slingers that I mention do not limit themselves to one rotation. It’s easy to find YouTube videos of them winding up with repeated rotations and then releasing horizontally rather than vertically. They have a much longer historical record than the Apaches.

              I can imagine how multiple rotations will give you more speed. Each rotation has an initial speed of the last rotation and that’s more than you get with one rotation. I would have thought that this would detract from accuracy, but not much according to the videos. It’s not unlike shooting guns where experts can disagree even about fundamentals.


              • Matt61
                Probably the extra rotations are worth something.

                But I found one rotation with with a quick flip of the wrist while your throwing it under hand if you will. You just point your finger at what you want to hit then let go of the string. The string on your pointing finger has a slip knot lime what you use on a yo-yo.

                If you want farther distance you just release higher.

    • Denny
      I suggested the Weirauch HW30 or the HW50s if you wanted a little more power. Both of them guns are light weight easy to carry guns. And not bad at all to cock.

      Then I did mention the Air Arms Tx 200 Mrklll. And the Walther LGU. They are very nice guns but cost more. And they are a little heavier than the HW’s though. But I like Tx and LGU because of the fixed barrel instead of the HW’s break barrel design.

      You mentioned you wanted a Gamo or a NP. I still say spend the extra money and get what you want. And definitely don’t get caught up in the velocity wars. If they give velocity with lightweight pellets and its high that’s usually not a good sign.

      Try to stay in the 900 fps or lower with lead pellets and then you should have a pretty good spring gun. Welk even rwally 800 and down with lead pellets. 900 is a little fast still. And as everybody is saying. They can be tuned. And the Vortek kits are nice. I have a Tx I tuned with one of their kits plus my own little tricks inside.

      So the best thing to do is research a bunch of different guns before you buy. And definitely ask questions her first also before you buy.

  6. “…doing a LOT OF digging…”
    “…current production rifles…”
    “…back in 2007…”
    “…buzzing should it be necessary. ..”
    “…fit my selection criteria…”
    “…German-made rifle…”

    Yeah, I think I zapped all of my typos this time, lol

  7. B.B.

    A very interesting report.
    I used to repair some airguns with volute springs in my time and they were fascinatingly built. Most times it was made like 2 cones facing each other and wound in different directions, so this way, I believe they tried to increase the length of spring stroke.


        • I’m guessing they probably dieseled a lot due to needing all that lubrication required to keep the mating parts sliding?
          I really like learning about these old technologies!
          Some of these old bones look like they still got meat on ’em! πŸ™‚

          • Reb,

            Nope, they didn’t. Those systems were of rather modest power compared to today’s, so they didn’t generate enough pressure in a very short time and worked very smooth in terms of speed of parts moving, so by the Blue Book they are more like popguns if I’m not mistaken in terms. Their pressure increase/time ratio was very unfavorable for dieseling condition. And their swept volumes were rather short and wide, compared to today’s (for most part because of the diameter of the springs, of the type limited by those days’ technology).
            Springer seals were paraphined or oiled thick leather and they worked themselves to cylinder walls, quite airtight. Going back to the blog about old airgun power, one of the drawbacks that spelled doom for Girardoni rifle war the requirement to keep seals wet at all times, or else they lost their air.


  8. I got to try a Titan Mohawk single pump pneumatic 22 caliber air rifle over the weekend, as in try to pump it. I really struggled with the last 6 inches of travel of the pump arm. My dreams of a one pump field target gun ended right there. It’s a beautifully made and handling gun with a match grade trigger and best suited for hunting.

  9. BB
    As you said it takes you twice as long to write these types of blogs.

    But we’ll worth it. As I said before. Felt like I could keep reading and reading.

    Can’t wait for more history lessons.

    • Gunfun1,

      Slow day at work so I worked 2 and took 6 off. Did 90 shots at 50yds (9×10) with the LGU. A few notes:

      My steady was good, even at 10 mag. I also figured out that I was NOT holding the trigger at full pull after the shot, though doing so did not improve groups much. My limit at 50yds. was about 80~90 shots as the eyes were begining to not cooperate. I did not do 25~30yds. after.

      Overall, not bad. I could definitly feel I was concentrating more, which as you said,….should benifit my 25~30yd. All groups were in the 1 1/4″~2″ range with even spreads.

      Just an update,….Chris

      • Chris USA
        Yep the more you shoot at 50 yards the easier the other distances will be to get good groups. The closer you shoot the better the groups should be.

        And you know trigger follow through does not work on the FWB 300s or the Diana 54 air king. When you pull the trigger on those guns the trigger slides backwards with the action. The whole action is on slide rails basically. So if you keep pressure applied it won’t allow the slide action to asorb the shock right. I just tap the triggers on them guns when I shoot.

        And a update from me also. Got the JSB Exact 8.44’s this morning. Got about a half hour of shooting them out of the M8. It was around a 9 mph wind today so didn’t get good results. But not giving up yet. I want to get a nice calm day to see if they will do better than the JSB 10.34’s. So far not. But maybe need some more shots through it to kind of season the barrel.

        We’ll see.

  10. How are catapult guns powered by air? Any catapult that I can think of seems to require tension.

    Regarding the zeroing from 25 yards, I now believe I was wrong in supposing that zeroing an inch low at 25 yards (4MOA) and hitting dead center at 100 yards means that zeroing dead center at 25 yards means that you would shoot 4 inches high (4MOA) at 100 yards. When you change your aimpoint at 25 yards, you change your angle of inclination, so the dead center zero at 25 yards should go quite a bit higher than 4 inches. That probably explains most of what happened to me.

    Buldawg76, I can see how Chairgun would be useful for some people, but my shooting environment is very simple. My range has a maximum distance of 100 yards, and I only get there once in a blue moon. But as for these different variables of humidity, windspeed, and temperature, how are you supposed to know all that with any precision? I don’t know how you would measure humidity, and windspeed depends on magnitude and direction. Without precise information, it seems like the ballistic calculator will still only be approximate.


    • Matt,

      You are not reading the entire post. This sentence appears in the second paragraph under the heading What is an airgun.

      I will include catapult guns and CO2 guns, though strictly speaking, neither is a true airgun.


      • B.B.,

        On the side,….not long ago someone asked you about good quality scopes and you recommended a brand and also “higher end” UTG/Leapers. What, in (your opinion) is better about a 300-500 Leapers scope over a 150 one? A basic over view or generals are fine.

        Thank you, Chris

          • B.B.,

            Thanks for that, but now I’m confused a bit. I have a UTG 3-12×44 side A.O, lighted, 1/2 mildot that I got at P.A. for 150. It’s great. What I thought you might say was something along the lines of better clarity or better optics coatings. Chris

          • B.B.,

            First waking thought,…you meant 8x (the) magnification, as in the upper range of mag. level. A quick scan of P.A.’s offerings showed 40 being the highest, but perhaps there is higher out there.

              • B.B.,

                Thank you for clarifying that. I was not aware that UTG made scopes in that price range or mag. spread, or near that price, even half. I did learn recently that the typical spread is 3x or 4x, so yeah, 8x is something. Not sure I could handle that kind of mag. max. anyway, let alone the price. It would be fun to try one at least one time though. My “wiggle” might turn into a full bown “earthquake”…….. πŸ˜‰ Chris

                • Chris,
                  The scope he’s talking about is about$300, as opposed to the competition.
                  You can afford it!
                  He recently revealed it in a blog you’ll probably remember when you see it.
                  See if you can find it I’ll bet you like it.
                  I wish I could share a link on this phone but…

    • Matt61
      Your phones weather app will give you very close info for temperature and humidity and wind speed is a guess at best unless you spring for a air gauge or I believe most shooting ranges should have a wind speed and direction monitor at least at the manned pay type ranges. I shoot at our FT range which is an open field so it just a guess as to wind speed but we have a flag for direction.

      I myself try to go on day with very little to now wind and up to this point have not worried about temp and humidity as I am not that good that those variables are going to make or break my hitting the target. I mainly concentrate on the BC and scope heights and velocities and leave wind humidity and temp as it is set in chairgun and leave inclination at zero as well and while it may not be an exact inputting of all the required data just using those known parameters give me a much better starting point than just having to guess or waste a bunch of ammo to hit the targets with the least amount of wasted time and resourses as chairgun is just another tool and is not an exact setting that will guarantee dead on hits on target for a given range but it does get you in the ball park and once sighted in at the range you want it does give you very accurate click values to adjust for different ranges .

      One of our FT club members has a Rapid HM1000x that he has sighted at 50 yards but is deadly accurate to 100 yards and he use the chairgun to click the elevation in to shoot from the 50 yard zero to a dead on zero at 100 yards with deadly precision as I have shot the gun after he shot it at 50 yards zeroed and he used chairgun to tell me how many clicks up to adjust to for the 100 yard spinner and I hit it three out of three shots I took with it so it does work very well.


      • Wow, I’m more behind technologically than I thought. I just got my first smartphone and I didn’t know you could get apps with weather readings on your exact location. I guess it is an example of the overengineering principle. If you put enough resources into something, it will perform.


        • Matt61
          You wouldn’t believe that apps out there for smart phones.

          You can get one that checks your hear beat. One that turns your camera flash into very, very bright light. One that will measure 1/4 mile times and so on.

          Reb found one that turns your video mode on your camera into slow motion when you replay it. I haven’t had time to find it yet though.

          Then of course the balistic caculater apps. Like Chairgun.

          The smart phones can be a pain in the you know what. But on the other hand they are totally amazing.

          • Most smartphones are now coming with accelerometers these apps can access, this one came with a built-in driver mode that shuts off all incoming messages once 15mph has been achieved.

            • Reb

              So they run it off the accelerometer app I guess your saying. That’s a bummer.

              My buddy used his phone and compared it to I think it’s called a g-tech accelerometer that you buy. The phone was app was pretty well dead on to the store bought g-tech when he tryed it in his 90 Mustang GT. And it says only off a couple tenths to what he runs at the dragstrip. So fairly accurate.

              • The accelerometer was my plan for a speedometer on my bike. I don’t think slo-mo apps would access or need it but law enforcement will probably find many uses for it!

        • Matt61
          Yep you can know the exact temp and humidity and it will even give you wind speed and direction only that just an approximation as to what is to be expected for the day but it is better than nothing.

          I have a smart phone but am a dumb user as I only talk, text and take pictures and use very limited apps that are free only. No social medias of any kind on a phone or PC and never will because once you post something its there forever and there is no going back.

          So if you want to contact me its by a phone call or text on my phone and email on my PC only as I don’t do email on my phone as I cannot see the screen to read any of it so its turned off and I do not surf the web on my phone either for the same reasons.

          I am just still way old skool


    • Matt61,

      Unless it is not permited in FT, you can go to Wally World and pick up weather stations that do it all. You could set one at target and another by you. Remote reads, remote sensors. You can get a digital temp. or a humidity for around 10$. Options are endless if you are willing to take it that far.

    • Matt61

      Not sure why you seem to be the one that inspires me to respond but you do, and its not a problem. Down below I left a reply on a catapult/air piston combination I helped my daughter with a long time ago. If I had the money I would like to try the concept on the human powered category for pumpkin chunkin ; the engineering would be fun but the machine work would be beyond me.

  11. Duskwight– Another factor was the “shoot on sight” and “execute on capture ) order given to French soldiers. The French hated airguns and tried to kill every Austrian (or any other soldier ) that used an airgun. Combined with the high cost, and the reduction of rich European nobility ( French revolution, Napoleonic wars), = limited civilian market , lack of military contracts, the Giradoni was doomed. I would love to have one (or more than one) of the co2 powered cane guns mentioned recently, but $800@ is more than my budget will allow. Mr. Quackenbusch had a hard time selling his repro early air guns, and claims that he will not make any more. We are lucky that Giradoni made some air rifles and fortunate that a few have survived. It was a gun made before it,s time, and that time has not yet come, yet. For every shooter who owns a good PCP, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, who can only afford a 1077, or an M8. They also do not need a PCP, they can hunt with a Hatsan or similar, and target or field competition is almost non existant. I have an easier time finding long bow shooters ( where I live) than Air gun shooters. Ed

  12. BB

    Great reading I like to hear about how things have been done in the past, you never know when it will come in handy.

    This reminds me of a science class my daughter took in high school. I had a blast in that class. One of the assignments was to shoot a ping pong ball a given distance at a toy ship floating in a wash tub (I think it was 15 feet). We built a gun out of a round oatmeal cardboard container and used a cardboard barrel from something maybe a roll of paper towels. The piston was from a thin piece of plywood with a connecting rod to a lever. It was all mounted on a 2×6 board for rigidity. A fairly strong spring was attached near the bottom of the lever pivot to provide velocity. The lever was then connected to a simple latch (trigger) near the top. We built a sight and used a scissor jack for elevation adjustment. After some trial and error we could hit a bowl floating in the kitchen sink almost every time at 15 feet. The whole thing got so heavy she could barely carry it, But she was the only one to ever hit the ship and hit it both shots. Wish I had a picture; but they kept shooting it after class until it came apart.

  13. BB–If you have read my post, yesterday, what kind of air guns were available in England for the attempts on King Georges life in 1795? The Girandoni would probably be too large and bulky. Were there any concealable air guns in existence then? Of course there could have been a custom built one of a kind (reminds me of the movie the night of the jackal). Re the pop-gun plot, the deed was to be done in a theatre, with a poison dart. A power full gun was not needed. Ed

  14. I’m having a blast with my resettable target and Regal it’s loud and messy( I’m getting pellet fragments bouncing all the way back off my front door which is 3’behind me while rested on my armchair and I’m gonna have to get some .177 pellets quick.
    The skunk came back again to inform me of the hour, range down for the evening. (:

  15. BB– The fact that it was called the pop GUN plot suggests that something more mechanical than a blow gun existed. What about the “shot” fired at the Kings coach. Lord Onslow, sitting next to the King insisted that it was a shot, not a thrown rock, If someone wanted to shoot the King (1795-1800) , what air guns existed at that time that the would be assassin could have used? Yes, it,s a job for Sherlock Holmes, but still a challenge for us. Ed

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