Pioneer model BB76 BB gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pioneer BB gun
Pioneer BB76 BB gun.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • 1976
  • Getting ready to shoot
  • This is a big gun!
  • The firearm
  • And the key!
  • Look for them new in the box
  • Broken
  • Summary

I’ve got a strange one for you today. It’s a copy of a copy! This must be one of the strangest lookalike airguns ever made. And it copies a firearm that is itself just mimicking an era, without copying anything in particular.

1976

The American Bicentennial in 1976 was a gala year-long celebration. Grand parties were held and everyone was euphoric that the nation held together for 200 years. There were no end of special bicentennial commemorative items available. Even the airgun community had one — today’s topic gun, the Pioneer model BB76 BB gun. It is a 50-shot repeating spring-piston BB gun that cocks via a concealed underlever. It looks like a percussion rifle from a century earlier, and I think it was supposed to resemble a flintlock rifle of one additional century earlier. I guess most people don’t know the difference between a flintlock musket and a percussion rifle.

What makes this gun so unusual is that it is a copy of a firearm that itself was copying history. Many air gunners are aware of this BB gun, but have never heard all of the percussion rifle from Japanese company Miroku. I believe the same Japanese company that produced that firearm also made this BB gun, and I will offer proof in a bit.

Pioneer 76 with Miroku rifle
The Pioneer BB76 BB gun (top) was patterned after the Miroku percussion rifle that was a copy of no specific percussion rifle.

At the heart of the BB gun is a mechanism that resembles the Daisy Number 25 slide-action (or “pump”) BB gun. It uses a similar 50-shot forced-feed shot tube, but has a completely different cocking mechanism that is one of the oddities of the BB gun world. It’s an underlever cocking mechanism that cocks the mainspring, but does not ready the gun to fire.

Pioneer 76 cocked
The concealed underlever pulls down and back to cock the BB gun.

The last step in getting it ready is to manually cock the plastic hammer on the right side of the gun. If you don’t do that the trigger will not budge. Once that has been done the gun is ready to fire. You could call the hammer a type of safety. though the way it operates is entirely different from any safety I have ever seen.

Pioneer 76 hammer
The hammer must be pulled all the way back to finish cocking the gun.

Pioneer 76 magazine
The Pioneer uses a copy of Daisy’s 50-shot forced-feed magazine.

Getting ready to shoot

After putting a loaded magazine in the gun, lower the cocking lever until it cocks the action, then return it to its stored position. You might think the gun is ready to go, but it isn’t. You also have to cock the external hammer before the gun will fire. This is a safety feature that also makes this BB gun that much stranger. The hammer is plastic and it cocks so easily you’d swear nothing is happening, but it really does make the gun ready to fire.

The hammer is also the gun’s one weak design spot. I’ve seen guns that wouldn’t fire at all because someone had done something to the hammer. I’ve also seen some that fired independent of the hammer. I always thought the former owners had forced it in some way and broke whatever is inside. Being plastic, it won’t stand much abuse. If you follow the procedure I give here, the gun works fine.

This is a big gun!

At 44.5″, this is a HUGE BB gun; at 4 lbs., it’s not that heavy. It could stand a few more pounds to steady it in the offhand position, but smaller shooters can also appreciate the gun at this weight. The light cocking effort makes this gun available to everyone.

The firearm

I owned the BB gun for 10 years before discovering the duplicate firearm on Gun Broker. They aren’t particularly rare, because they are among the least expensive of the modern percussion replica firearms. That’s true even though they are not really a replica of anything. It looks like a high school art teacher was asked to design a percussion rifle! The cap box is just a decorative plate held on by screws. A decorative brass band around the stock just in front of the triggerguard hides the fact that the forearm is a separate piece of wood — just like on the BB gun. That saves money on wood, because a longer blank is more expensive.

Pioneer 76 patchbox rifle
The rifle’s “patchbox” is just a decorative brass plate attached with screws.

Pioneer 76 patchbox BB gun
The patchbox on the BB gun is even simpler.

And the key!

Here is how I am sure that both the firearm and the BB gun were made by the same company. Because both are marked with the Ultra-Hi name. And the firearm also says it was made by Miroku. Japan is not over-burdened with gun makers and Miroku is one of the biggies — making guns for Browning, Olin (Winchester) and Charles Daly.

Pioneer 76 BB gun inscription
The BB gun was made for the Ultra-Hi Corporation.

Pioneer 76 Rifle inscription
As was the rifle!

Look for them new in the box

Sales of the BB guns must have been disappointing because so many are still new-in-the-box today. But, the airgun community has now recognized this model as special, and you can expect to pay $200 for a good one (that’s like-new in the box). A shooter will cost between $100 and 150. Twenty years ago, they were selling slowly at $75 to $100 because nobody knew what they were.

Broken

Many of these quirky BB guns have broken because of the plastic hammer that is essential to their operation. People don’t understand how they work and either break the fragile hammers or the equally fragile metal triggers by pulling them when the hammer isn’t back. I’ve see them on tables at shows for nearly the same asking price and the words, Needs Repair, on the tag! Don’t fall for it. I know of nobody who puts them right and a good one costs so little more. All the broken ones I have seen, which is about 20, had broken hammers. The hammer wouldn’t stay cocked. I don’t know if I saw the same guns at different shows.

Summary

I will tell you more about this BB gun as the report advances. Next time we will look at the velocity, trigger pull and cocking effort. Any questions?

72 thoughts on “Pioneer model BB76 BB gun: Part 1


  1. B.B?

    Definitely an odd one. Any particular reason why the velocity and accuracy would be very different from the Daisy 25? You did mention it as a copy of its feeding tube magazine. The designer really went all out to create a more complicated mechanism than necessary.

    Siraniko






          • Gunfun1,

            Time will tell. Or not. :^)

            Hey, I just came inside after shooting my TR5. I shot four clips with pellets that were not seated deeply, just dropped into the clip. I was careful to point the whole thing downward. Three clips fed perfectly, but one got just slightly hung up on the fourth pellet going in, and I had to jiggle and coax the clip out with the cocking arm pulled back. I think my problem before might have been a pellet coming up and preventing the clip from being inserted fully, although blowing out the breec with forceful air might have been the ticket instead

            So I shot 20 pellets at 25 feet and they formed a 2 inch group. That was with the stock sights and my eyes are still dilated from an ophthalmologist appointment! That is much better than I expected, especially since I still haven’t cleaned the barrel yet. The trigger is so light and crisp, I don’t even mind it being just one stage, which mine is apparently adjusted to be.

            If with my eyes not dilated, a 1377 barrel, and a red dot or peep sight, I could put ten shots into 3/4 to one inch at 10 meters, that would be incredible for a $130 air rifle shot by me.

            Michael


            • Michael
              Thanks for the update on your TR5.

              I’ll start this way. Yep a $130 gun. If this gun costed $200 or more I think I would be somewhat upset. But not really. I have got air guns through time that have costed twice as much as the TR5 and they performed the same and worse.

              And really the TR5 is not that bad once you learn the gun and what to do to shoot it. It’s no different than finding out about other air guns. Some are a little more challenging than others. And that sounds bad. But not really. I have had some pretty hard to shoot break barrels.

              I’m going to say I have faith. You know in the end you and others will try to find out the best pellet and best way to shoot it. It just takes time.

              And glad your finally getting to spend more time with your TR5.
              🙂


  2. BB
    The learning never ends. First time I ever heard of it. Never would have guessed it was an air rifle even after glancing at it.
    My mind went into overdrive. Lets see, open the patch box and drop in one or even two CO2 cartridges that automatically get punctured when closed and simply install a spring loaded air passage tube that pops out forward to insert a bb into the barrel and close off the feed port when fired. Same as a the one on a spring piston tip like the Daisy 1894 only CO2 operated. Or exactly like the one used on the Hellboy mag. Make the hammer functional and plink away. Great for hanging over the mantel.
    Bob M



    • Gunfun1,

      i have one, and how light it is for its length is amazing. I don’t know if its balsa wood or what, but . . . I suppose it could be Paulonia (sp?) which is very light but has respectable strength. (It also is a decent tonewood, which is how I know of it.)

      Michael


      • Michael
        Really Balsa wood???

        I know there’s different grades of Balsa wood from building RC planes. Some can be very strong. That’s usually the darker wood. Plus there was different ways we finished the wood that helped make it stronger too.

        But it was definitely strong and light. Just would never imagine the at it would be used on a gun. But as it goes anything is possible.


  3. BB once again comes up with an unusual air rifle.
    I think Davy C would have approved.
    Speaking of BB guns I have not been able
    to access Daisy.com website for some time


  4. BB,

    I have seen several of these floating about over the years, mostly at very reasonable prices. I myself was never really interested in picking one up. They seemed too cheaply built and kind of cheesy to me. I can certainly understand why a true collector would want one of these though.

    I can also understand why so many are broken. Given the fervor of the times, several young Dan’ls and Daveys would want one and would run about playing with them until they were broken due to their enthusiasm or ignorance.

    I can also understand why so many “nearly” new in the box are available. It probably did not take long for young Davey to shoot something he shouldn’t have, whereupon it was promptly whisked away from his presence, never to be seen again.


  5. This is a little off subject but is still in the vein of replica bb guns.

    Umarex USA has teamed up with Up North Airgunner to create a replica of a well known syfy movie weapon. This replica is to be auctioned off on GunBroker this coming week. The proceeds are to benefit the Student Air Rifle Program. Here is what Hard Air has to say about it. There are links in their article to learn more.

    https://hardairmagazine.com/news/this-one-of-a-kind-movie-prop-replica-can-be-yours/

    In the airgun community I do believe this to be a worthy cause.


  6. A very interesting one to be sure. What a shame the hammer was plastic (easily broken). It looks like it would have been a fun one for kids back in the day

    Good Day to one and all,………… Chris


  7. BB—–Keystone Sporting Arms is making a “mini Moisin” .22lr rifle. They plan to make a variety of mini mil-surp rifles. The Moisin uses the Cricket action and a 20″ barrel. Perhaps Umerex or Gletcher should consider making the same kind of mini rifles, but as air guns, instead of firearms. ———Ed



  8. B.B.
    This looks like it would be a fun gun to have; I could shoot it in the back yard and then hang it on the wall next to its sister, the Hawken replica my wife bought me; that rifle took down my first deer and many Florida hogs; it also allowed me to shoot many blackpowder matches…thanks for the memories. =>
    Take care,
    dave
    P.S. Every time I walk out the back door, I wind up looking at the muzzle of this rifle and it reminds me of the first time I saw one in a store, and wondered out loud, “I wonder what caliber that thing is?”
    My wife: “It’s .50 caliber.”
    Me (being a jerk): “Yeah, right.” *yelling over to the clerk* “Hey, what caliber is this rifle?”
    Clerk: “Fifty, pal.”
    Me (to my wife): “Wow, Hon; you were right.”
    My wife: “I only saw one EVERY DAY of my life growing up; my Granpa had a real .50 caliber Hawken that was given to him by the old Indian trapper who taught him all his woodcraft and hunting skills.”
    If only I had inherited my wife’s granddad’s Hawken…that would have been too cool!


  9. Off topic,

    For anyone that asked for new fire extinguishers involved in a recall from Kidde,…. update:

    Got on line to ask for 2 new ones on April 20th.. Fed Ex just dropped off 2 new ones today. There was no conformation of anything on thier part other than an initial reply. No tracking #. No anything. There is supposed to be means to send the defective ones back free. Same boxes I presume? Not opened yet.

    Overall,… a happy camper,………. Chris


  10. Wishing a great weekend to all! =>
    Here are some links I came across while looking for a Diana model 27:
    https://www.leonardauction.com/auctions/auction-catalog-detail/?auctionID=124&lotID=6218
    https://www.leonardauction.com/auctions/auction-catalog/?auctionID=124&view=#6218
    https://www.leonardauction.com/buying-selling/buying-at-auction/
    The first link is to a gun like B.B.’s model 27; the second link is to the overall auction (May 15th), but you have to scroll down to the 6000 series, which is the airguns; and there are some pretty cool ones there; but the last link is the particulars on how to buy and sell there; it seems a bit tricky, like there could be some hidden costs. However, there are some cool older airguns there, so I thought I’d share. =>


  11. Chris— My replacement Kidde fire extinguisher arrived yesterday. The return label and information is in the box. Return your old extinguishers in the same box. ——-Ed


  12. RidgeRunner

    That movie prop Mauser broom handle is available in Airsoft. It’s an AW Custom Limited Edition Mauser Broom Handle with Scope, over $200. ( Not weathered) Separate parts may be available too. I know the scope with mount is.
    Bob M



    • Ken,

      Very interesting. If not mistaken, some of the air gun arrow launchers (exceed) cross bow power. Still, very interesting and always like to see innovation on whatever front.

      Thanks,……….. Chris


      • Chris,

        I thought some would find it interesting. I have no idea how well this will sell. It is a firearm by definition and for me it is a curiosity.

        ~ken



      • B.B.,

        I absolutely agree with you. I know you have a great crossbow and I look forward to your review of the Ravin in the future. This rifle is a firearm by definition; I don’t know if it will succeed.

        I think of it as being in the same box with the Weihrauch Barakuda and the attempted rifle that shot pellets using .22 blanks (I wish I could remember the name of it).

        I do think it is interesting in that it shows one more attempted solution someone came up with.

        ~ken



    • Kenholmz,

      Interesting. They are reinventing the wheel. Then again this is aimed for those who don’t know anything about the modern PCP capabilities nor the advances in crossbow technology.

      Thanks for the article.

      Siraniko


      • Siraniko,

        I just think this is interesting. And I agree, the customers for this one probably know little or nothing about modern PCP’s.
        Besides, this one is a firearm by definition.

        ~ken


  13. Ridge runner—-I know, I have been following the bb,co2 S.M.L.E. reports for more than a year. I plan on getting one as soon as P.A. has them. ———Ed



  14. Some might be interested in this.

    I mentioned the other day that the Daisy wadcutters I use was made in Spain. It said it on the original box that they shipped the pellet to Pyramyd Air.

    And I said I think the Winchester round nose pellets were made by Daisy and in Spain.

    Sure enough I got a shipment of the Winchester round nose pellets. They came in the box that was shipped to Pyramyd Air. Sure enough it said Daisy on the box and made in Spain.

    Here’s the shipping label on the box to PA. It’s the Winchester round nose pellets.


  15. Got something else.

    The other day I posted a picture of some JSB 15.89 round nose and new JSB 15.89 Hades pellets shot at a aluminum can that I froze some water in. Basically to see how they mushroom at 50 yards.

    Well I wanted to try a low velocity .22 long rifle round I have. They are a 40 grain 710 fps hollow point that is segmented into 3 places similar to the Hades pellets. But looking at the .22 round they look like a standard hollow point.

    I should of included one straight from the box but forgot with the bullet I recovered. So I have a few pictures here to post. Oh and I just shot one round into the can. I had the opening facing me were you drink from. The bullet was still in the can but blew the whole bottom of the can open from the ice. And that was at 50 yards like the JSB .22 caliber pellets.

    Here is the bullet from the box.


  16. Here is my indoor trap. The cans on top are 15 oz. for size reference. In the open pic., you can see the 2×2 inside bracing, the 1/8″ steel plate in rear and cut out in door. On the closed pic., you can see how I hold the target backer. The 4×4 “wall” is to buffer pellets at close range when doing chrony, which I do with muzzle 5′ from the box. As for any “curtain” between the front and the plate, run a coat hanger from side to side about midway back,… use binder clips over the wire and hang whatever you want.



    • Chris U,

      I like the idea of the clean trap inside and hinged door, that will make it easy to get the pellets for recycling. Mine has the rubber tire mulch inside and that is a mess when picking out the pellets.

      It looks like it may be noisy. Is that why you mentioned the curtain? I guess the 4x4s would also reduce the noise quite a bit.

      Don


      • Don,

        The 11 gauge plate in the rear is “isolated” with PA pellet packing foam. The entire back is covered. The plate is mounted with 4 screws and the edges do not touch anything. Don’t let the screws touch the plate. Isolate those with rubber washer, tubing, etc.. The plate is tight on the rear and is under slight compression.

        The sound is more of a dead whack. The box acts as a muffle too. If shooting pellets, no curtain is required. That is more to keep bb’s from rebounding back through the cardboard backer. I use some 1/4″ rubber sheeting I got at work. A pellet gun will just blow right through it.

        The hardwood 4×4’s is just insurance when doing chrony work. I do it indoors. The gun is in a rest. The chrony sits right in front of that and the box right after that. The plate has never dented, but I figured a powerful .25 at that close of range might risk peening/denting/thinning the plate. Also, all shots are put though the same hole over and over. Probably not needed, but just in case. The hardwood holds up really nice. Eventually, one mass of lead will form. Just dig it out with a screwdriver.

        If just shooting pellets at distance, just the plate would be fine. Even 1′ away, I have never had lead come back out with just the plate.

        The hinges and mini gate latch on the side makes it all very convenient. If the front-bottom 2×2 where removed and the box raised a bit,… you could just open the door and sweep everything straight out with no obstruction.

        The bottom target holder is just a piece of a plastic coat hanger and a binder clip at the top. You can vary what you use, but quick, easy and convenient was the goal. Minimal fussing.

        It does weigh a bit, so I added the handles at the sides. The box is 1/2″ OSB and is just a crate I picked up from work.

        Once the pellets and bb’s are out, I use a shop vac held just above and suck off any paper/wood/rubber bits. The bb’s can be separated out with a magnet. Again, easy with minimal fussing about.

        Chris


        • Thanks for the info. That makes it clear how it works. It might even weigh less than my “portable one”.

          I can see one working great in my workshop.

          Don


          • Don,

            In hindsight and if building a new one from scratch,…. I would down size it (less weight) to just a bit bigger than the backer. If I can’t put a pellet through the 9″x12″ cutout in the door at 40′ or 40 yards,… I ain’t got no business shootin’. Other than that, I would stay with the same principles.

            It would be good for keeping lead out of the yard in an urban setting. Pets, kids, etc.. Squirrels on the other hand,… I would happily serve them up a tin of Uber premium pellets, on a silver platter, with a touch of quality Dijon on the side! “Would Sir Fluffytail like to see our house (cyanide laced) wine list?” 😉

            Chris


  17. B.B.,

    Now that I was able to post some pics with a fuller description,…… don’t you think that this type of stop/trap is pretty well ideal?

    Chris


  18. Does any one here know which thread is used for the foster fitting on a QB Chief? Son in-laws fitting is leaking and he wants to replace it. Not much luck in internet searches.


    • MM
      Do you have a Benjamin or Crosman pcp that uses the Foster fitting. If so maybe you can compare.

      But I have a AirForce gun and some ninja and Air Venturi bottle and the Gauntlet and Benjamin and Crosman guns. All those foster fittings will interchange.

      I’m betting the Chief uses the same also. I would order one. They aren’t to expensive. And if you don’t use it just return it. If you have your old one out you can compare them.

      Here’s a link for the Benjamin fitting.
      https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Fill_Port_Check_Valve_for_Crosman_and_Benjamin/7840

      Here is another. But I believe this is for pumps and some other air guns. I haven’t had a gun that uses this fitting yet. But wanted to post the link so you can see.
      https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Quick_Disconnect_Male_Fitting_O_Ring/2841

      Do you have the fitting out of your gun yet. Sometimes all you have to do is take the plunger out and blow it out with a shop compressor. And some have a small o-ring in there you can replace. So you might not need a new one.


Leave a Reply