Nothing new under the sun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • You made me do it
  • Air shotguns
  • You don’t understand!
  • BUT — it’s been done
  • All-metal 760
  • Summary

You made me do it

I should give credit for today’s short blog to you readers, because if it weren’t for your investigations into a more efficient insect killer this past weekend, I never would have written this report.

Air shotguns

You talked about an air-powered shotgun all weekend. Veteran readers are aware I have written about air shotguns many times in the past.












and we can’t forget my 3-part test of the Gamo Viper Express


or the 2-parter on the Air Venturi Wing Shot


You don’t understand!

No, BB — we mean an air-powered shotgun that WE invented!
And that gun was the Crosman 760, using either coarse salt or birdshot. You were trying to do the Bug-A-Salt one better.


BUT — it’s been done

This is where a good library comes in handy. All the while you were writing your various experiments and results, I was thinking of Airgun Digest, first edition, in which the Crosman 760 is shown to also be an effective air shotgun. In 1976 Robert Beeman wrote about Jim Dougherty shooting his 760 loaded with multiple BBs.

He started with plastic cups at 10 feet, then stretched the distance out to 20 yards. He shot at cups until he knew what he was doing, then graduated to mice on the run. After that a rock pigeon was taken in flight and finally several jackrabbits!

He discovered that 6 steel BBs was the best pattern and 20 pumps (!!!) were best for taking birds and other game out to 20 yards. While I can’t recommend that many pumps, I also don’t know how worn out his gun was.

All-metal 760

Because it was written in 1976 and because the work he did happened even earlier, the 760 airgun Dougherty used was all metal with a wood stock. But hey — the car he drive probably needed a tuneup every 10,000 miles, too! Times change, but the things people find as fun last longer.


This is why I read. And why I stress the importance of a library.

It’s true Dougherty never shot salt or birdshot, but our readers have yet to take a bird in flight. So wake up guys — there is still plenty of old road to travel!

53 thoughts on “Nothing new under the sun”

  1. Reminds me of a cartoon, a long time ago in an outdoor magazine.
    Two hunters, in a tree, with an angry looking bear at the base of the tree.
    Says one hunter to the other “You and your stupid ‘Let’s be the first to try it with BB guns!’ “

  2. I used to shoot multiple BBs or of my 760 back in the 80’s but I never had those kind of results.
    I wonder if he had his tuned up a bit.

    I still have that old thing, now that I think about it. Of course, I found it in the back of Moms shed a year ago and it’s a bit rusty. Guess I shouldn’t have got caught…

  3. A Blue Book would be a (very) good start to an air gun library. It will keep you fascinated for hours on end. From the very old to the very new and everything in between. Some really bizarre stuff too. One of the best is an air gun with a fishing reel attached used for gigging frogs or spearing something. Tons of reference notes too. I could go on and on, but won’t. Just get one.

    Good Day all,… Chris

    • Hey Chris thanks, I’m ordering a blue book today, and that frog gig gun is really coursing through my juvenile brain. Sort of a lower powered Air Bow, hmmm what’s everyone doing Saturday?

      • Coduece,

        That is great. You will not regret it. Be sure to give us all some feedback after you have had a chance to look it over. After you are done drooling over all of the pictures, be sure to check out the special sections in the rear, and the front.

  4. BB,

    You do have to keep in mind that despite our ages, we are still kids. If we had heard about Jim Dougherty previously, we would have discussed it and then tried it ourselves. Like Rambler said, “The fun is not in being the first, it’s in doing it!”

  5. And the 760 mention brings back a lot of memories. My first airgun was a Daisy BB gun, but my second was a 760. I pumped and shot that thing until my arms practically fell off! It was an early 80’s model with steel barrel and breech but plastic stock.

  6. B.B.,

    I’ve sometimes wondered if my buddies and me were the only users of the 760 shotgun. It seemed to work fairly well at short range, but since it involved a use contemplated by the maker, we regarded it as potentially unsafe and didn’t do it much. Glad to read that we were not alone.



  7. Morning All, I had a Daisy #25 way back in the mid-seventies,that was a multi shot,single pump BB gun.I used to try and shoot barn swallows flying in and out and around inside the hay mow of our old barn.We had horses when I was a kid.jus so you know,sis and Dad were horse people,me,motor cycle guy!anyways,,,I used to try to shoot them on the wing pumping that BBgun as fast as I could!Thats my first and only,BB shot gun!-Dan

  8. I, like Hive Seeker, also have memories brought back of my late 70’s 760. It too was metal barrel & breech but plastic stock. I experimented with shooting several bbs at once out of it. I shot anywhere from 3 to 6 bbs out of it at a time. I started out with 10 pumps. But before I was playing around with her, I had 15 to 18 pumps in her. I could stick 5 out of 6 bbs in a tree but I really can’t recall the yards (yes I was younger and no that wasn’t a safe practice). Before I was done, I cut the barrel down even with the pump handle, relocated the front sight and sawed off the stock to a pistol grip shape. Towards the end, she leaked pretty good, so I started using STP Oil Treatment. With that, it would hold air again, but was very hard to pump with it. I finally traded it to a friend.

  9. I think I’ve wrote about this before. Years ago we had a old large, three story dairy barn with pidgeons that were real pests , soiling the hay and equipment with droppings. we would shoot them with airguns, a .22 cal Benji 342,and a Crosman medalist .22 air pistol. My uncle came to vist and he had either a .22 Rochester rifle or a crosman 101 ,I cannot remenber which now. He showed me how to shoot multiple BB’s in the rifle. He would put a little square of tissue in the breech followed by three BB’s. You could keep all the BB’s on a drink cup at 25 feet, and it knocked down the birds as well. I have a 101 ,and a 120 now that I got working and both will do the same thing, but I use the smart shot lead BB’s.

  10. Should (could?) a wad be used for rock salt? Perhaps a small patch-like piece of paper coffee filter? I would imagine that salt would be corrosive if it were to get into the breech and past the air port.

  11. BB
    That 1976 metal and wood 760 probably had a rifled barrel instead the smooth bore they have now. And the testing I did over the weekend didn’t make any difference in the type of barrel. I got pretty much same results with my smooth bore 760 and rifled 16″ .177 barrel on my 1322.

    And yes I knew that it was done before in the past. But wanted to show some actual shots now. And another reason was to get the thought going about ballistics.

    And as it’s been said today already. It was fun to do. And something different than just a normal review of a gun.

    So glad we did make you do it today. 😉

  12. It is a Mosin Nagant model 1938 BREAK BARREL AIR RIFLE. The safety is in front of the trigger. the trigger is notI a normal MN trigger. I dont think that the bolt is functional . A bent sniper handle is used to make it easier to put in a gun case. It has a chisel detent. Most important of all, how can I get one?—–Ed

  13. BB—-What also interests me is that someone has found a way to convert almost any rifle into an air rifle. A close look at the picture has convinced me that it once was a firearm. ——Ed

  14. BB–this picture had a caption that did not show up when I put it on this blog. It said—–Pin by Johan Van Wonterghem on Airguns| pinterest — I hope that one ( or more ) of our bloggers can find out more about this air rifle.——Ed

  15. Hi BB
    Need your advice Sir. I have the opportunity to get down a .22 barrel for my hatsan 125 which is .177. Would just replacing the barrel complete the conversion to .22 caliber ( which would be ideal for this gun since our caliber restrictions no longer apply) or is there more to it like different air transfer port size & piston weight? In which case I’d rather not mess with it. BTW, I got down a new Quattro trigger unit from same Bulgarian company & a top quality stainless steel trigger blade from a Russian seller on eBay, as insurance, as the original blade is made of pewter! So my 125 is in action again.

    • Errol,

      Changing barrels is all you need to do. Everything else remains the same. Of course to change the barrel you will probably have to disassemble the powerplant, since the cocking link can’t be installed or removed with the barrel in place.


      • BB
        Thank you Sir! So I can go ahead then. Yeah I’ll have to disassemble it some. But I’ve already completely stripped it for a new spring & seals and a tune so, can do. I’m thinking of just tapping out the pin on the cocking lever, then once it’s out I just have to change only the barrel after lubing the joints & pivot pin. Then put it back together? The new barrel doesn’t come with a cocking lever or rear sight so I’ll have to change them over too. But it will be worth the effort I guess.

  16. BB
    Hmm I just realized. I tryed the steel bb’s in my 760 I had as a kid in around 1970 to 71. When did Dougherty actually try it. You never did say.

    And I don’t think any readers mentioned they was trying for a bird in flight. If I remember right it was about feild mice and and bugs. And I do remember it being said that the air shot gun experiment was (Not) to try to compete with firearm shot gun. Basically a modern day experiment.

    I myself think more experimenting needs done with some .25 caliber and smaller pcp’s. What would of been nice also is if Crosman would of built a new multi-pump based on a bigger diameter main tube like a Marauder. I think if that was available we might actually to get the bird shot effective out to 10-15 yards.

    So yes things were tryed and written about in the past. But the future is now. I think more things need to be tryed with this air shot gun talk. Then maybe something can be written about today for people in the future too have in their library of things done to reference. Oh what a minute. They do now. That’s what happened this last weekend. 🙂

    • GF1,

      No date is given, but it sounds like around the same time as you.

      Did you read the articles I linked to? The Fire 201, which is the father of every 9mm big bore today, was a .25 caliber shotgun. It was the first to top 1,000 f.p.s.


      • BB
        Ok was just wondering. Thought maybe it was maybe in the 60’s or possibly even earlier.

        And no I haven’t read it yet. I was at work. But I will read it. Got to ask this though. You gave to much homework to do. I never did like home work. Is there one of the paticular articles you listed today that stands out in your mind. I will read it too.

        And I know too many questions. But one more. Do you think that people would show more interest in air shot gunning if there was more guns out there available today? I would love to see something that’s inbetween the Gamo shotgun and the Air Venturi wing shot.

        The 760 and 1322 with the 16″ rifled .177 barrel and 1399 stock is the best I have now. But really think I’m going to try the Benjamin 397.

        And you know what this air shot gunning has reminded me of how hard it is to get a effective .25 caliber spring gun that can shoot accurately at distance without having to knock yourself silly trying. And I mean in multiple ways like the gun slapping you and trying to get the ultimate hold.

        I myself was really surprised that I finally got the birdshot to pattern good and 50% of them to penetrate both sides of the can at just 10 feet. The heavier steel surprises me too that as big of diameter they are and how much they weigh was able to hold the pattern and penetrate. To me it was mostly for a change of pace shooting and to see if I could surprise myself. Basically hav’n fun was it.

        • And forgot to mention the steel bb’s was 4 of them out to 10 yards. And I did try 4 bb’s out to 20 yards yesterday in my 1322 and all 4 bb’s hit the can and 2 actually penetrate one side.

          I think if I had the 397 and 4-5 bb’s it would be effective at 20 yards. Can’t help its something new to excite myself. Even if it is old. 🙂

          • BB
            Just read about the Fire 201. Yes I remember the article. And I got my name all over the comment section.

            Maybe one day soon we will see more air shot guns. If someone would get some out to the market and they are effective I think it could get the competition flowing to make some from different air gun manufacturers. But if their not effective they shouldn’t even release them to market. That will end things quick. Heck look at the air gun arrow shooting now. It’s starting to boom.

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