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.