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History Tin can chronograph

Tin can chronograph

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • How powerful is it?
  • Tin cans are not tin!
  • Aluminum cans
  • Hickory tree chronograph
  • Back-door-to-hickory-tree chronograph
  • Leaf chronograph
  • The house silencer
  • Out of BBs
  • We were soldiers once, and young
  • Out of matches

No, this isn’t a “how to” piece about making a chronograph from a can. It’s a story about the past. For some of you it’s a story about “the old days” when we were kids and life was still fun. For others it goes back before you were born. But for all of you it should be interesting. So grab your coffee and let’s reminisce!

How powerful is it?

When I was a kid in the 1950s we all coveted the BB gun. As with all things in life, there were the “haves” and the “have-nots.” I was a have not, but I lived next door to a kid who was a have. Duane had a Daisy BB gun. It was some sort of El Cheapo model that didn’t come with a forearm, and it also shot to the left, but he knew exactly how much to hold off and was pretty good with it. The ownership of that small gun made him the Alpha in the neighborhood.

From time to time we all wondered how powerful these guns were and Duane showed us how to tell. He took a tin can and shot it from about 5 feet away, then we all examined the dent left by the BB. If it was deep, that was good. If there was a small crack in the bottom of the dent, that was better. If the crack was almost as long as the dent that was excellent and if the BB went through the front of the can, that was the best.

Don’t take my word for it. Look at the top of the box that a Benjamin 30/30 BB repeater came in, back in 1966.

Benjamin 30-30
The box lid of the Benjamin 30-30 touted the power of the gun.

Benjamin 30-30 box detail
That’s “in your face” advertising for the boy who knows what real power is.

Forget the safety issues of shooting steel BBs at steel cans — we sure did! Forget the moms who were sure we were going to shoot our eyes out. Fathers understood. This is what kids wanted and Benjamin was giving it to them.

Tin cans are not tin!

Tin cans have next to no tin in them. Maybe up to WW II some of them were made from steel that was plated with tin, but synthetic coatings replaced tin. Cans are now made of thin steel plate that is soldered together at the both seam and the ends with lead solder. There is a little tin in the solder to make it flow better, but that’s all. I worked at National Can Corporation for three years while attending college in the 1960s and made millions (not an exaggeration) of steel cans on a bodymaker. I cut the thin steel plate to size for the bodymaker to fold it around a mandrel, while I kept the solder pots filled and fluxed. Making gallon paint cans was the hardest because the steel was large. An inch of it (maybe 100 cans) weighed 35-40 pounds and you had to load 8-10 inches into the hopper, to make time to go down and fill/flux the lead pots that were 40 feet away. The bodymaker also soldered two ears on for the can’s handle, so the lead was constantly needing to be topped off.

If the cans were destined to hold acid-based foods like tomatoes, we also sprayed their insides with a varnish that kept the food from touching the metal inside the can. The solder joint was covered in this operation, too. That’s why deeply dented cans and cans with lids that are puffed out from internal gasses are to be avoided.

Steel-bodied cans are tough and do give a point of reference for the power of a BB gun. The best way to use them is to compare one gun against another. You will never know the velocity of either gun but the dents will tell you which one is more powerful.

Let’s see. Which gun is more powerful? The Daisy model 99 target rifle that made the dent on the left or the Daisy Number 25 pump gun that made the dent on the right? Clearly the right dent is deeper and has deformed more of the can around it.


Never shoot a steel BB at a steel can without eye protection! BBs bounce back and steel cans are like a BB trampoline!

Aluminum cans

We didn’t have aluminum cans in the ’50s. When I started working with aluminum cans in the late ’60s, I learned that aluminum was very expensive and had to be made as thin as possible to be cost effective. We experimented making them explosively, using a drop of water and a powerful electric spark to explode the metal into a steel die, but I don’t think that process went anywhere. As far as I know the cans were drawn over a series of progressive dies until they were perfectly formed. The point is, aluminum cans are way too thin and delicate to be used in the same way that we used steel cans. They are fun to shoot and they are far safer (still wear safety glasses) because they don’t bounce many BBs back at the shooter, but the era of the tin can chronograph has ended.

Hickory tree chronograph

I say Hickory tree but a tree with a smooth thin bark like Birch is better. The question is, will the gun stick a BB in the tree’s bark? Again you can’t tell the velocity but tree bark is great for comparisons.

Back-door-to-hickory-tree chronograph

For this one you stand at the back door and shoot at a tree. It doesn’t have to be hickory, but most of mine were. This is another comparison chronograph. From the sound of the shot to the sound of the hit returning you can tell which of two guns is faster.

Leaf chronograph

You shoot up into the leaves in the branches overhead and if both guns shoot in the same direction, the sound of the BBs ripping though the leaves tells you which one shoots faster. Give some thought to where the BBs will come down, because if you don’t and a neighbor lady gets hit, you loose BB-gun privileges for a long time.

The house silencer

It’s summer and you are home alone. You want to shoot your .22 Remington. So you call Duane and tell him to put a tin can in front of the big tree at the corner of your property. It’s on your property but it’s a whole lot closer to his house than to yours. Tell him to position it so you can shoot it from your back door. You live in town and the police station is one block from your house, so you have to be very quiet. You open the back door but remain inside the house about 8 feet, using your house to soak up a lot of the sound of the rifle’s crack.

You tell Duane not to put a paint can out because it will splatter paint everywhere. You are shooting a long rifle round that will easily pass through the can. When you shoot the base of the tree is enveloped in a yellow cloud and the 3-foot wide trunk gets painted with several yellow stripes. Duane put a spray can of yellow paint (of course he did!) that was three-quarters full in front of the tree. Now you have to come up with a reason why that tree has a yellow trunk.

Out of BBs

If you own a BB gun you need BBs. They sell nickel packages of BBs down at Eddie’s, which is only two blocks from your house. They also sell large tubes of BBs for a dime, but that’s an entire dime. Need I say more?

BB packs
When I finally got a BB gun in the ’60s, Daisy BBs sold for a nickel a pack.

Eddie’s gives refunds on pop bottles. BUT, you have to actually spend the money you get from the bottles on the BBs, which is very difficult to do because Eddie’s also sells small fruit pies that are very good.

So, you are out of BBs. Can anything else work? YES! Kitchen matches will fit in a BB gun. Break off the head with about a quarter to a half-inch of the wooden stick remaining and stuff it into the muzzle of your gun. The head won’t go down the bore. When the gun shoots the match head goes out with some force for about 20 feet. If you shoot it against the concrete foundation of your house (where else would you shoot it?) the match heads ignite with a small pop when they hit the concrete. Get a couple guns going and it sounds like WWII.

We were soldiers once, and young

My late friend Mac once told me that he shot matches at his cousin Billy. They were playing war and cousin Billy was wearing a WWI doughboy helmet. Mac shot and hit the underside of the helmet brim. The match skated up into the top of the helmet where it set Billy’s hair on fire. He had the strap fastened tight so it wouldn’t move when he ran and now he couldn’t get it off.

doughboy helmet
The US M17 Brodie helmet was not good if a lit match got under the brim. Especially if the strap was fastened and you couldn’t get it off!

Out of matches

You are out of matches. Duane shows you how to load your gun with mud by stuffing the muzzle into the bottom of a puddle. You do. Then he tells you if you wait until the mud dries it will make a puff of smoke when the dry mud plug hits something hard. It does. For the next two weeks you are Steven Spielberg, making war movies with your smokin’ BB gun. Then your gun starts making funny sounds when it is cocked. It used to be quiet but now it sounds scratchy when you pull the lever down. It also doesn’t shoot BBs very hard anymore. Fifty years later, when some guy checks out the gun you used to own at an airgun show he hears the scratchy sound and tells his friend, “This guy shot mud plugs out of his gun. It’s trashed!”

And so it went when we were kids. We had a lot of fun and it’s amazing that some of us made it this far.

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.

55 thoughts on “Tin can chronograph”

  1. Yes to the bottles for bb’s.
    Yes to tree & leaf Chrono.
    Yes to the matches.
    Have used Qtips in a Benjamin 312 too. (Cut them in half, to get 2 darts, and puff out the heads.)
    Have wrapped straight pins with thread, like tying fishing flies to make darts.
    Have used split shot sinkers I found in my dads tacklebox.
    Have had B.B. gun wars.

    Never did the mud plugs.

    It’s amazing some of our guns have survived the abuses we subjected them to.

  2. B.B.,

    The process of forming metal using water and explosive pressure change is now called hydroforming. Don’t know if they every got it to work with thin aluminum but it does work on steel. Harley Davidson used it in making some of their motorbike frames I believe.


          • Geo
            Probably depending on the year but the old Ford’s had steel frames from what I remember. And I’m talking 80 and older. Maybe they did some aluminum frames in the 80’s I don’t know. But I thought the aluminum frames and body’s Didi’s start till recently. Like the last 5 or so years.

            I could be wrong. Just going off of memory and not actually searching.

    • Aluminum is often used in bicycle frames that are hydroformed. Also–VERY cool–is the home use of welded sheet aluminum and pressure washers to hydroform tuned exhaust pipes for two strokes!

        • GF1,

          I do not know, I’ve never owned a Harley. I did tour the Harley plant when it was in Milwaukee, WI. It was a fun tour. An old guy gave the tour and he looked like he had been there forever. There were two state troopers on the tour who had ridden Honda Goldwings to the tour. They gave that poor guy the raspberries through the whole tour. That was the original Harley Davidson factory and looked like the plant that Henry Ford build his cars in with the first assembly line. It was pretty archaic looking inside. This was in the early 70s and the Hondas, Yamahas, & Kawasakis were miles ahead of Harleys & the English Triumphs & BSAs in quality and smoothness.

  3. B.B.,

    A very fine article. Many memories conjured up. Mt. Vernon, Ohio had a National Can factory back in the day.

    That was some bold advertising on shooting through both sides of a 5 Gal. pail!

    I remember being “assigned” to shooting birds (only the black ones) that would pick over a freshly planted garden. Being in 3rd. grade at the time,.. shooting prone was not an issue. 😉 I can’t recall ever getting one. It is tuff to sneak up on the prey through an open yard,… but I tried. That was with the 1894 w/faux brass receiver and octagonal barrel.

    Old plastic car models (the kind you built) were ideal for target shooting. It also payed too keep an eye on the outgoing house trash for likely/suitable targets.

    Good Day to one and all,…… Chris

  4. BB
    I do remember the bb packs in the plastic wrappers. It was late 60’s early 70’s when I shot them. But we mostly shot pellets out of our 760’s and and 880’s

    And definitely did a bunch of chrony work back in the day. One thing we liked to do was shoot in the soft mud on the sides of the creek banks. We would see how big of a hole and how deep the hole went. Was great for checking how much power our pump guns made with different pumps. And yep once I got my .22 Benji pumper it was all over with. Those 760’s and 880’s never could blow the holes in the mud like the.22 Benji did.

    And another thing that worked nice as a target and a chrony was the knock outs that came from electrical junction boxes. We would drill a hole in them and hang them from a tree limb. My dad worked next door to a place that use to keep them in barrels and the guy that owned the place let him get a 5 gallon bucket full and bring home one time. Had a blast shooting those.

    And of course. Can’t forget the 2×4 chrony. I still use those today to test penetration on a gun when I tune it.

    Oh and you should see what a .25 caliber pcp will do to a Ravioli can out at 20 or so yards. They have the peel open type lids on them. It will blow the lid right off and shoot the lid up in the air a good 10 feet high when the can is setting upright.

    Another good one is tie a tin can from a limb and see how many times around it will go when you hit the can center mass.

    Oh and old Holloween pumkins work too. (perfect time of the year for that) Usually you get a bigger hole on the back side then the front side depending on caliber and power. And of course how far away you are.

    And I bet there’s others my mind isn’t recalling right now. Maybe some other replies will refresh my memory. Good report BB.

  5. BB,

    I am afraid I was a have not. My Dad used to own a bb gun when he was a kid, so I was forbidden to own one. He did buy me an Iver Johnson Mark X .22 when I was 3 and Dad and Grandad started teaching me to shoot when I was 6. At 12 I had free run with it and a succession of firearms, much to the regret of many a small furry woodland creature.

    Many here may remember when I bought my first bb gun, a Daisy 1959 Model 99. It has been a great joy to me. I am glad I did not have a bb gun as a youth. I managed to have a lot of fun without it.

  6. I’m shooting my (new to me) Daisy #25 lately. It’s a vintage model, shoots great. I think the shot tube is new, but it looks just like the one I had in the 60’s. My favorite target in the old days was plastic army men. They usually survived, but the right shot would disarm (or disleg) them. And I loved seeing the little cellophane BB package. Yep, I turned in bottles for BB’s a many a time!

  7. Growing up I guess I was a semi have
    Somewhere between the have nots, and the haves.

    I had the guns, but my friend Kyle was the doctors son, so he had all the cool expensive toys.

    At Christmas time he got GI JOES and other action figures, I got airguns.

    Needless to say, after he got tired of his toys, we would use my toys on his toys. So my toys lasted longer.

    Gumby and Pookie were favorite targets too.
    I remember when we were in our teens shooting them with blow guns.

    The looked a pincushion.

    My daily back yard target were hung inside a case that radio gear had been in from the military.

    My dad was a ham radio operator and a member of ARMY MARS so we had a lot of military surplus stuff around growing up.

    The rack mount for radio gear was the size of a refrigerator, and made of steel so we had the best backstop for pellets we would suspend different size cans from strings of different length.

    When you hit them, by the time you reloaded and re pumped the gun it would just about quit swinging. And ready to be hit again.

    I could go through a tin of pellets in a day sitting on the back porch shooting the cans.

    10 pumps per shot.
    When I inherited a worn Benjamin 312 when I was old enough to pump it (8 or 9 years old) no one told me that 8 was max pumps.

    Single cock B.B. repeaters were best.
    The can was still swinging fast when you were ready to shoot again.

  8. B.B.!!! What a trip down memory lane!! Was smiling and nodding through the whole blog – thank you! 🙂

    Our (most accurate) “power test” was to shoot (almost) straight up in the air and use a stop-watch to time how long it was before the pellet splashed-down in the river. The average of 10 shots was your “official time”.

    We also practiced “splatology” by standing on the railway track, feet touching with the barrel an inch off the rail (between the shoes) and firing a pellet. Power was determined by the diameter of the flattened pellet.

    Just a note: Our pellet guns were around 350-400 fps; I would recommend that people dot not try this with a higher power gun as it is dangerous. I did a splatology test with my FWB 124 by putting a steel block inside a corrugated cardboard box and shooting vertically down into the box – the pellet exploded into fragments that had enough energy to perforate the box!

    Happy Monday All!!


  9. B.B.,

    No BBs or wood matches? How about Bottle Rockets?

    A homebrew chrony that allows one to record precise measurements for future reference is the phone book. How many pages tore? Dented pages don’t get counted. In my home town as I grew up many a phone booth was missing its phone book because they make such useful chronographs. (At this point half the readers are wondering what a phone book and a phone booth are. ;^)


  10. Wow, lotsa good memories here. I clearly remember seeing the ad for the Benjamin Hot shot in an old Popular Science magazine. As far as targets went, my Mom had a ton of the old 78 RPM records where an album consisted off 5 or 6 records in a bound volume. Since each record on held a song on each side it was kind of limiting.

    I remember that our favorite targets in those days were the humble Necco Wafers. We would hang them from lengths of thread and use a bit of scotch Tape to mount them to the thread. I must admit that the candy wafer idea was gleaned from on of the C. B. Colby books that were in my elementary school library. I doubt if ANY of them are in today’s schools (much too scary 😉 )

    We also had our neighborhood BB gun wars. We were very fortunate to live in an area that had large lots and was a former apple orchard so there were plenty of places to improvise cover and of course the HQ’s and OP’s.

    One group really went all out and rigged a couple of comm systems using the old tin can and string system. As long as they were able to thread the string so it remained clear of the many branches etc. it really worked very well.

  11. B.B.
    When I was a kid my dad had a myna bird. My brother and I discovered that the food pellets for the bird fit perfectly into the barrels of our BB guns. My brother and I would shoot at bugs on the wall with this load. We hit very few bugs, and the food pellet would leave a splatter of dust on the wall. My mom would discover these little splatters of bird food dust on the walls and wipe them off, all the time asking (mostly to herself) what in the world could cause all this dust on the walls? We never told her but kept shooting at bugs for a long time.
    Thanks for the memories.


  12. BB,

    I was a have-a-little. I sold bottles and copper when I was 11 years old but it, unfortunately, became primarily to supply my, already acquired, smoking habit. What was leftover from that was frequently used to buy BB packets and plastic army men. My buddy Mike had a BB gun, but seldom cash for BBs.( Also supporting a smoking habit. Kids, DON’T SMOKE!!) If I bought ammo and helped out on targets, I got to shoot his gun and he got to shoot my ammo. Worked out great. BTW, in my neighborhood everyone referred to the prone army men as “Layerdowns”, all one word, as in ” a person laying ( I know now that it should be lying ) down. Kinda goofy but we were kids and “prone” wasn’t part of our vocabulary yet. They are also the toughest targets to hit.

    We used my little brother as our chronograph. We would shoot him in the back and whichever gun made him holler the loudest was the most powerful. JUST KIDDING! Children, don’t shoot your siblings, use your friends little brother, you’ll get less of a beating. JUST KIDDING!

    I’m here all week. *rimshot*


  13. Thanks BB for the trip down memory lane.

    Unlike most of you, when growing up we didn’t have access to BB guns but, when I was about 11 or 12, and after much begging and working hard for it, my dream came true: ‘Santa’ brought me a 0.177 break-barrel pellet gun. It was a Churrinche, a scaled down copy of a pre-WWII Diana Model 27. Not powerful by any measure but quite precise at shorter distances, even with the cylinder pellets commonly available at the time. With a tall and rough brick wall in the backyard as a back stop, our practice area was safe. And practice we did, with my best buddy neighbor, but only after we had collected enough money for pellets. Targets included plastic soldiers, play dough enemy snipers and tin cans hanging from a tree branch. The crowning achievements were bugs and cutting the stems of roses (wilted ones only, after some ‘explanation’ from my mom).

    No body parts were damaged in the exercise of those activities and I am also amazed that we all lived through the following years with no serious damage.


  14. Ohio blue tip matches leave a nice smoke trail if glances a wall, circa 1970. And bottlerockets explode under water.
    Partying on the Virginia side of Potomac river at night trying to reach the other partiers on the Md. side. They dont make it, but the orange under water flash was fun. Also trying to hit the primer caps on 40mm flares and .223 blanks wedged into the notchs of trees with our R1’s and R10’s. Stupid fun, yes. I survived the 80’s, barely.
    Have a nice day, R

  15. Yes to most of the above.
    The only injury (that I remember) got my Slavia 618 taken away for a month. Our rules for b.b. gun warfare were…wear a heavy jacket and chest shots only.
    I saw my best friend hiding beside a tree about 25 feet away. He didn’t see me because of all the brush. I took careful aim at his chest…then dropped the POA about two feet.
    Right in the nads!!
    Well, at 25 ‘ the pellet caused a fair bit of pain and a trip to the doctor to check the bruising.
    55 years later he still reminds me of it on a regular basis 😉

  16. B.B.
    We also shot matches (shot at and shot them through the gun) and Q tips. We shot plastic army men as well as plastic cowboy and Indians. One of our favorites was to shoot model cars we had assembled. That would be Bonnie & Clyde’s get away car. A
    As for a chronograph, we used to phone book method in the house. Outside it was if the bb gun was powerful enough to bust glass bottles, go through my Dad’s Metal barn and which could go through the most of the Steel coke cans (before aluminum). Good ol days.


  17. B.B.,

    Thank you for the walk down memory lane.
    So! None ya’all built plastic ship models????
    I sent the Bismark, the Arizona, PT-109 and a bunch of lesser boats to the bottom of the Pennypack Creek repeatedly (never owned a BB gun when I was a kid) with my pellet rifles.. Got to use my dive mask and flippers to haul them back up to patch the holes with sheet styrene and repeat!

    Those sinkings were magnificent!


    • Shootski
      Now that’s something I haven’t done.

      But now thinking about it. I have shot at old branches floating by in the creek as well as some 2×4’s cut into 2″ blocks.

      You get the right velocity and you can scoot them across the water. Or some more velocity and blow them apart.

      Yep that was fun. Haven’t done that in some time. Think the last time was out at my brother’s house.

  18. As a grownup in northern Oregon, I learned that the tiny red firecrackers would easily fit into a .177 airgun. You bent the fuse to keep the cracker from sliding all the way into the empty gun, lit the fuse (usually someone else) and pulled the trigger. The firecracker would explode in the air.

    As a kid on my dad’s farm in east Tennessee, my nearest neighbor kid down the road convinced me that pouring a little gasoline down the barrel of our Red Ryders would significantly increase their mv. My gun did not last long after that! But I did enjoy shooting plastic army men in our truck patch when it was fallow and had big dried chunks of dirt clods that would ‘explode’ when hit, which also told you where your BB hit.

      • Hi Gunfun. Another fun thing: When it snowed and then froze, my kids and I got out our BB and pellet guns and skittered pop cans across the snow.

        I was a hand loader and a Skeet shooter, so in the summer I would load 12 GA empties with primer only and stick them in a sheet of old plywood I’d drilled holes in as reactive targets.

        Now I like to shoot cardboard toilet paper cores; they make a satisfying *PLOK* when hit.

        • Joe
          See I knew my brain would start remembering more once I read other commitments.

          Definitely have fun skoot’n the cans across the top of the frozen snow. And what’s fun to is you can check your hold overs out at distances in the snow. Well depending on what kind of snow you get. Powdery snow and you get a nice explosion of snow flying. Wetter snow then you get a nice hole similar to shooting into mud or dirt.

          And I’m not going to say what we did with shotgun shells and pellet guns as a kid. I will say have you ever watch a rocket launch. 🙂

  19. I was of the group of non-haves but I did manage to obtain a BB gun when I was 9 or 10 as I recall. I don’t remember how I was able to get it though, maybe for Christmas. I had a buddy down the road and he I would go bird (sparrow) hunting across the street from my house. There was a huge onion storage building there with tons of sparrows in and around the building. I had a BB gun that cocked by pushing the stock down. It was great fun shooting those sparrows in the barns. As I remember we didn’t kill many though. More misses than hits and we had to be pretty close to make a hit, maybe 5-10 yards. Later I got a Hyscore breakbarrel pellet gun. Couldn’t hit anything with that though. When I was about 14-15 I bought a Crosman 140 muti-pump .177. That rifle was dead on accurate and I rarely missed with it. When I was a teenager my grand parents had a farm with a lake on it. I would take a boat and my Crosman and shoot the heads off from turtles at 10-15 yards. Looking back on it, that was not a good thing to do I guess. Luckily I outgrew those mean tactics. We never concerned ourselves with how accurate or powerful our BB guns were as long as we could drop those sparrows once in a while. BTW, I still have that Crosman 140 in my gun cabinet. My x-son-in-law broke the pin in the pump lever several years ago and I just never had it repaired.

  20. B.B.,

    As for some others, this brings back memories. I did have something like the DAISY NO 102 model 36 level action, which is something like that bb gun Duane had. I don’t remember if it was new when I got it, but I do well remember what it was like when the plastic at receiver end broke and could no longer be held in place.
    It’s difficult to not call it a BB rifle, although I know better these days.


  21. I retrieved plenty of pop bottles. If I wanted to be a “have”,… I had to work for it. Luckily,… I had a small town paper route and had daily tour’s of the town on a bicycle. The aluminum cans were the coolest thing when they came out. The 1 gas station had a lift lid, slide out, Coke cooler for the longest time after cans came in. Like beer,…. the Coke always tasted better from glass. 🙂

    Today was a good one B.B.!!!!


  22. Hey BB,
    I just read with great interest an older article of yours “The Modoc big bore from Air Ordnance”.

    I live in the US now, but back when I lived in the UK, I owned two Brocock air revolvers that worked on the same principle as the Mordoc, though they were much lower powered and fored conventional .177 and .22 pellets.

    They were eventually banned because they were considered too easy to convert I to firearms, and I had to turn them in for destruction.

    It was possible to keep them of you obtained a firearms certificate, but this was not possible for me because I lived in a rented apartment and thus could not install a safe, which was one of the requirements.

    I expect there are a handful of people in the UK who went to the trouble of obtaining a license, so there must still be a couple of these pistols out there.

    I lived in Birmingham, which is where Brocock were based, and I visited their factory/showroom once.

    I’d love to see you write an article about these interesting (and now presumably rare) air pistols.

    If you ever consider doing this and need assistance or information from someone who actually owned them, feel free to contact me.

    • Jamesbeat,

      Welcome to the blog.

      I have shot and tested a few Brocock airguns with their Tandem Air Cartridges — later called Brocock Air Cartridges. And I have shot the Parker Hale Ensign that predated them. They are interesting and for shooters in the UK I can see the attraction. Here in the US where firearms ownership is easier there isn’t as much incentive to get one of them, but they are still interesting airguns.

      I will look around and see what I can do.


  23. Yeah I remember those good old days when penetration in various materials was all the info we needed. Of course none of the BB gun makers published velocity data for their BB guns, usually. For me, the thin tin beverage can was the main power media. A regular Daisy BB lever action, when new, would penetrate one side of the can and just dimple the other. A model 25 would go through one side and crack the other, and if powerful enough, would go completely through at short distances. I still have a Benji model 3030 I bought back in ’69. The Benji brochure advertised a muzzle velocity of 650 fps, which made it the most powerful C02 BB gun made at the time. I never shot a 5 gal. paint can with it, but I did shoot a 1 gal. metal paint can, and it did shoot clear through. And on a hot 95 degree afternoon, I had it chronograph it exceeding 670 fps. I never shot it much since I couldnt hit anything with it unless it was only 20-25 ft. away-and pop sized cans at that. But it accepts only those little 8 gram cartidges and they run empty pretty fast in that gun.

    Still diggin’ this stuff after all these years

  24. Hi all,
    Im looking for advice on scope choice for a spring piston air gun. Right now I have a diana model 24 which needs a scope and I am looking at buying something more powerful in the future so something that can stand up to a magnum springer but will be at home on the mod 24 as well would be nice. I have been looking around online and I have noticed a couple options in my price range (under $250 CAD) that have the features I would like to have namely mildot reticle and side focus parallax adjustment for close range shooting. the to names that have been coming up are leapers/utg and discovery. The discovery scopes are appealing because they come in side focus with mildot reticles and first focal plane within my price range but on the other hand it seems that leapers have been making springer suitable scopes for a long time so the track record is there. are there other options I should be looking at? the selection available in Canada is not as large as in the states and ordering a scope from the states is problematic due to US export regulations under ITAR so my options are limited. If anyone has any advise or product recomendations I would love to hear them.

    • RBF,

      I can vouch for the UTG’s with (etched glass) reticles. Skip the non- etched glass. Can’t speak for the Discovery. Never heard of it. I went Athlon for my first FFP and love it.


    • RBF,

      Ask again on the Fri. blog as it will run 3 days. You should get more replies/recommendations/advice.

      Whatever you get, depending on the rails,… don’t go too short. That extra tube area can be nice for moving fore and aft for proper eye relief. If you got tons of rail,… then most anything will work.


  25. “Look at the top of the box that a Benjamin 30/30 BB repeater came in, back in 1966.”

    Memories…I read that ad hundreds of times…oh, how I wanted one! =>
    But Dad thought it would be “too dangerous.” #_#

    I love these kind of reports, B.B.!
    And thanks for including the part about how you made cans;
    that’s the kind of thing that needs to be documented for the future.
    This whole report, and the comments it generated…great stuff!
    Thank you! =D

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