Sharpshooter rubber band catapult gun: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

Sharpshooter pistol
The Sharpshooter catapult pistol was made from the early 1930s until the 1980s by as many as 5 different companies. This one was made in the early 1940s.

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Test 1
  • Test 1 continued
  • Discussion
  • Firing behavior
  • What’s next?
  • Test 2 — A modern Sharpshooter
  • More discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Sharpshooter catapult pistol. Since there is only one type of ammo for it, I have added something additional to spice up the report. Let’s get to it.

The ad from 1948 said the pistol could hit a fly at 16 feet. Dean Fletcher tested his at a more reasonable 10 feet, which is what I will do. Readers asked me what kind of target I used and today I will tell you. Using a coat hanger, I made a wire target holder that stands up, and wrapped a single sheet of aluminum foil around the edges of the loop at the top. It’s the same target I used for the Daisy Targeteer test.

target
This target is made from a coat hanger wire, with aluminum foil wrapped around the edges.

The test

I shot from a UTG monopod rest 10 feet from the target. I decided to shoot 5 shots first and photograph them before moving on.

Test 1

The first 5 shots landed to the right of the bullseye I had drawn on the foil. I photographed them in place, then measured them with a caliper. As close as I can measure, the holes are 0.838-inches between centers.

first shots
The first 5 shots landed in this 0.838-inch group.

Test 1 continued

Then I went to breakfast at a local restaurant, where I had three cups of coffee. When I returned I fired 5 more shots to complete a 10-shot group. To my surprise, the group size stayed the same.

second 5 shots
Five more shots completed the group. This was after 3 cups of coffee. The group remained at 0.838-inches between centers.

ten shots
I even photographed the group with a dime in the picture, to give you some scale.

Discussion

I didn’t do as well as Dean Fletcher, who used a housefly drawing as his target. He nailed the fly at 10 feet. My group is larger, though I am very satisfied with it.

Firing behavior

The gun makes no noise when it fires. Only the strike of the shot can be heard.

What’s next?

As I mentioned, there isn’t a choice of ammo. If I had a selection of different number 6 shot I might try lead-free and dropped shot versus shot made by some other process, but all I have is the lead shot I’m shooting. I wondered what I could do to make this test more interesting. And then I got an idea.

Test 2 — A modern Sharpshooter

I could try a more modern Sharpshooter pistol that has a plastic launcher and compare it to the pistol I’ve been testing. The test pistol is one made by the original company in Rawlins, Wyoming before 1940. So I switched to one of the pistols I bought in 1965.

I couldn’t get the 1965 pistol to feed, but I found another modern deluxe model that I bought at an airgun show. This one fed fine. I only used one rubber band on this gun, because I have ruined a couple of these plastic launchers by stressing them too much.

two pistols
These two Sharpshooter pistols are separated by 30-35 years and as many as five different manufacturers. The deluxe nickel pistol on top is modern and has a plastic launcher.

I only shot 5 shots with the modern pistol and there are only 4 holes in the target, though I believe one of them has two shots. This group measures 1.642-inches between centers.

new sharpshooter target
This target made by the new Sharpshooter pistol shows 4 holes. I think the hole at the left has two shots through it. If so, this group measures 1.642-inches.

Is the newer pistol less accurate than the older one? Who can say? Maybe it was just the difference between one band and two that made the difference.

More discussion

To be honest, shooting at targets with these pistols isn’t that exciting. These are fun guns, made for plinking. I remember how much fun it was just to shoot at a styrofoam coffee cup at the airgun show. The shot will knock the cup over if it is empty, and that’s fun!

Summary

This 5-part series on the Sharpshooter rubber band catapult pistol is more conclusive than anything I have read or seen. And we haven’t even looked at the older and much larger Bulls Eye pistol, so there is room to grow.

If you ever have an opportunity to shoot one of these strange guns, don’t miss it. They might surprise you.

30 thoughts on “Sharpshooter rubber band catapult gun: Part 4


  1. B.B.,

    I wonder if you could have included a shot of the pistol in hand to provide a sense of scale on how small this pistol actually is. Maybe on the larger Bulls Eye pistol report?

    Siraniko


  2. B.B.

    These are more accurate than some of the other guns you have been testing lately. Good “fly swatting”!
    I thought that the world needed a best mousetrap? Who knew what it really needed was a better rubber band?
    Thanks for something different!

    -Y


  3. B.B.,

    I am looking forward to you doing a 5-part series on the much loved Mark I Spud Gun.

    Growing up in Ireland, that was the only airgun available to us without a firearms licence. Ireland’s draconian gun laws were relaxed in 2006 though, when airsoft guns producing less than 1 Joule muzzle energy were no longer classified as firearms.

    You will have a much greater selection of ammunition available to test with the Spud Gun than with the Sharpshooter rubber band catapult pistol: Kerr’s Pinks, Golden Wonders, Roosters, Maris Pipers and other varieties of potatoes. Will be very interesting to see the chronograph and 10m accuracy test result comparisons!


  4. Nice testing! We even got a 2 for 1 out of it. Always good.

    I remember having a scaled down 1911 that shot suction cup darts that was quite a bit of fun. Loading and pushing the dart in the barrel cocked the toy springer. Looking back,.. I should have torn it down and gave it a tune. 🙁 Oh well. As I recall,…. I got in trouble for taking the suction cups off. While I did not understand aerodynamics at the time,.. I am sure that was the thought.

    Good Day to one and all,….. Chris





    • I have a Marksman 1010 that my Dad bought new for me about 1964. It is all metal, no plastic. It still works after all these years. It has been shot a lot! One summer when I was in Middle School, I shot it almost every day that summer. I remember a little shooting contest with some friends. Shooting at about 6 yards I could hit almost every time. My friends, not at all. Shows what practice will do. Never did try it for group but it shot better with Daisy BB’s then Crosman BB’s.

      Mike


      • Mike,
        I always wanted a Marksman 1010 when I was a kid. The local sporting goods store had one in a glass case, and I used to drool over it (this was back in the 1960s, so it was an all metal one like yours) every time we went there for my Dad to buy his fishing and camping stuff. My Dad never did get it for me, and he never let me get any BB gun. He did get me a Winchester model 37A 20 gauge single-shot shotgun the Christmas I turned 16; and that was followed the next Christmas with a Sheridan model C .20 caliber air rifle…my first airgun ever. Hence, I credit my 10 years of pining for an airgun before finally getting one with my current…uh…over compensation, hahaha!
        Anyway, thanks for reminding me that I need to get a Marksman 1010, a used one from the 60s, to make up for the one I never got. =>
        take care,
        dave



  5. Mr. Gaylord:
    You always seem to come up with the darnest shooting equipment reviews. If the design for the sharpshooter rubber band catapult gun isn’t still under patent, maybe a manufacturer could put these back into production.
    You know for something like say 3 meter Olympic fly shooting competition events. 🙂 🙂
    Respectfully,
    William Schooley


  6. B.B.,

    A friend of mine gave me his grandfathers DAISY SINGLE SHOT MODEL H. It has the nickle finish and is in about 50 percent condition. The tab on the barrel that holds the spring on the front sight has broke off. Other than that it should still shoot.

    Did you find anyone to work on your Daisy Number 12? I don’t know if I want to get it restored it or just keep it as is. I can’t imagine those old mainsprings holding up for long.

    Don


  7. Pretty cool… I want one!

    …and I checked the price of a used example. Wow. I guess I’ll stick with my old rubber band fun for in-house fun.

    For how ingeniously simple they are, you figure someone with a 3D printer could churn them out by the droves. Perhaps airsoft has made these more or less irrelavent on the mainstream, but I’d spend spring-air-pistol money on one if they were available. God knows I must have shot 10 pounds worth of BBs through my old Marksman spring pistol, ‘hunting’ bumblebees on the azalea bushes in front of my house as a kid.



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