Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Several entries
- Norica bullpup
- Nerf gun
- Two great entries!
- Maximus Blowhardus
- Learned something
- Spaghetti blowgun
- Catapult gun
- Without further ado, My plinker:
- Some of the features I incorporated:
- Penny shooter
- The simplest entrant
- A hard job
Today we learn who is the winner of the Design an Airgun contest. It began on September 10 and was supposed to end at the end of the month, but several readers asked me to extend the closing, so I did. The contest ended last Friday, October 16.
There were several entries. Some were blue sky dreams and nothing was built. I didn’t take them seriously. But some folks submitted more than one entry and they built all of theirs. I considered everything on the basis of the contest rules, which were:
1. I’m guessing it will be a BB gun, but it doesn’t have to be.
2. I’m guessing it will be a smoothbore, but again, it doesn’t have to be.
3. When I say build an airgun, it doesn’t have to work with compressed air.
4. It can be any kind of powerplant — so long as it doesn’t use an explosion to launch the missile.
5. The winner would be the niftiest design that the most people could build.
Now let’s see what people did. First is reader Jim.
This project was done back in the early 1980’s. It started as a semi-finished Norica model 61 air rifle sold by Beeman. The original kit consisted of an air rifle with an un-finished stock. I suppose the idea was to capitalize on the popularity of unfinished muzzle loader rifle kits at the time.
I had the opinion that the sight must be mounted to the barrel for accuracy, as opposed to the typical break barrel with the sight on the receiver. Since this moved the sight forward, a bullpup design would place the eye closer to the sight. It is interesting to see how popular bullpup designs have since become.
The stock is carved from several birch boards glued together. Finding a location for the rear action screw drove the length, with locating it above the pistol grip. The trigger transfer mechanism is steel, with lightening holes drilled to remove mass. I had limited access to shop equipment at the time, so the construction is a bit crude. The stock is Accraglass bedded to the action, again with the idea of improving accuracy.
The Norica trigger was moved forward for the bullpup design.
The sight is an all-plastic ambient light red dot sight of unknown origin, but was cheap at the time. An aluminum spacer raises it to eye level.
The sight uses ambient light, so no batteries are required.
Accuracy was very disappointing. At the time, all I had were Beeman Silver Jet pellets. The rifle has not been shot in years. But knowing what I now know from the various articles of tests & tuning from master Gaylord, I may give this gun another try.
This is one of reader Jim’s first two submissions. It was submitted almost as a guest blog, so I decided to make it look like one. He clearly did a lot of work to this gun! Could anybody do it? Probably not. But we can all appreciate it!
Submitted at the same time by Jim is this plan to build a Nerf gun.
Back in the early 1990s I built three Nerf® guns from PVC pipe. This was before the huge proliferation of styles now available. I tried to give the guns an ‘authentic’ look that would not be accepted in public.
Homemade Nerf gun.
Now, having some shop access, I was able to turn the PVC parts and make the rest of the parts. The barrel is several layers of hobby tubing soldered together to fit the dart and the PVC fitting.
Sights are strictly cosmetic. Rear sights were salvaged from other air guns that were converted to scope use. The front sight is a brass blade soldered into a screw slot.
Nerf gun rear sight.
Nerf gun front sight.
The piston head originally used a piece of urethane machined to provide a ‘parachute’ type seal. However, like my FWB 124, the urethane eventually hardened and broke apart. I added an O-ring seal instead, but never removed the remains of the original urethane.
The Nerf gun piston.
I have yet to modify my other two pistols. The spring is just a hardware store spring. Parts are lubricated to increase velocity as much as possible.
The triggers are surplus M98 Mauser triggers I purchased from an advertiser in Shotgun News. The trigger mount is silver soldered to a steel tube to position the trigger to the sear. Aluminum and brass collars center the tube to the external PVC body.
Here is a ’98 Mauser trigger attached to the steel tube of the Nerf gun.
The sear is a collar pinned to the piston/ cocking rod and is chamfered to allow the trigger to reset when the cocking rod is pulled back, it has been hardened to reduce wear. Shown here is the relationship of the trigger to the sear.
Here’s how the trigger interacts with the sear.
I added a spacer to the cocking rod to prevent the piston from slamming into the plastic PVC fitting when fired. Several fittings were broken & remade before I limited the piston travel. A couple of O-rings help to dampen the hard stop (shown on the handle that’s pulled out on the rear sight photo). The grip is bent square brass stock with walnut grips cut to fit — also shown on that photo.
The finned Nerf darts sail quite nicely, and will fly about 40 feet. My daughters were in high school at the time, and these were very popular when they had friends over.
Two great entries!
These were two great entries. Unfortunately they were submitted in Microsoft Word format that contains all sorts of embedded code, so they took me many hours to sort out and strip off the code that couldn’t be used. Plus the photos were embedded in the document, which means they had to be pulled out and reformatted. Most word processing programs are not friendly to online publishing software. If you want to submit a guest blog, please ask me because I have to give you some submission guidelines first.
Jim also sent a great submission of a pedestal-mounted potato gun cannon. It’s even more complex than the first two, and I am saving it as a guest blog of its own, if I can get Jim’s permission. But here is a picture of it.
Reader Jim also gave us a potato cannon submission that I hope you will read about in the future.
Reader pacoinohio whom I once jokingly called Pinocchio (and I heard about that from many readers!), sent us his submission that he calls Maximus Blowhardus.
Well I’ve been thinking about my entry. What to do? What to do? They say you should play to your strengths. I am after all a plumber. Not really, but I do know The Prime Rules of Plumbing — Water runs downhill; you get paid on Friday; don’t pick your nose on the job.
So, here is my gun plumber entry that I call—
It is simple pieces of black iron pipe, a couple of brass ball valves and some PVC bits.
Design criteria began with caliber selection which was dependent on projectile availability. Found a bag of wine corks that seemed suitable, so I settled on 1” pvc. Power supply? Oh yeah, air compressor in the shop. That helped with the rest of the parts selection.
Took about 20 minutes at the big box store to get everything and another 20 minutes of assembly. Hooked up the air hose. Compressor is regulated at a modest 100 psi. Inserted a cork in the barrel, filled the reservoir and then attempted to fire. Stress ‘attempted’. The cork did not fly. Too much air passing by. Paper patching to the rescue.
I wrapped the cork with paper towel (Brawny for those taking notes) for a moderately snug fit in the bore. Second shot went about 25’. Hmmmmm……. what if I dampened the paper patch? This allowed for a tighter wrap and resulted in a 30’ distance. It also revealed that the bore was filthy. Yeah, I reused a piece of PVC. Important lesson — Always clean the bore. Brief break to do that and then back to testing.
Up to this point, I had been using both valves. Fill reservoir, shut off fill valve, then open discharge valve. On the next shot, I did not close the fill valve and just opened the discharge valve. Almost 90’ distance. Enough.
I think I have achieved proof of concept. Low pressure requires a large volume of discharge air. On the last shot I had added the air compressor tank and air line volume. So next step is to reduce caliber of bore. I think I will go with 1/2” and continue firing tethered for maximum air. I will have to turn the corks to size. Toying with using o-rings to seal to the bore. Lots of options of size, material, durometer, etc. And then there is lube. Have to polish the bore of the new barrel. So many rabbit holes.
Well, we learned something from Paco’s submission. If you are going to shoot with low air pressure, you need plenty of it. One-hundred pounds per square inch may sound like a lot, but to airgunners it’s definitely low pressure!
Reader minuteofsomething made an unusual submission in the form of a You Tube video. Let’s watch.
73 thoughts on “Design an Airgun contest, Part 2”
Some great submissions for the contest. I am glad I did not need to call the winner. All of the entries are worth a winter project. I was into blow guns as a kid. I might have to see if I still have enough hot air for good power.
I saw this beauty and wanted to share it. Not sure if it has been refinished, it looks to pristine to me but if all original then maybe worth the price. Definitely the top of the tops.
Hope the link works.
Yes, I agree that it has been refinished. But it was a good job!
Note the zero bids. I don’t think it will sell at that price.
A fair decision. My favorite reader won… MOS’ entry reminds me; PA should also sell quality blowguns…
The AOB catapult gun is a good looker. I really wonder if it shoots as good as the catapult pistols you tested a few weeks ago. I think the readers will be interested in a report on it. Would you consider testing it?
This has been real fun. Many talented people here…
How about a guest blog from AOB on his penny shooter? 🙂
Yeah, if AOB agrees with sharing his own test on his penny shooter, I’ll sure read it.
But I also wish to read your report on his catapult gun; that way you could compare it to the catapult pistols you had tested. Something tells me his might perform better, and that would be a report to remember.
I’m glad we’ve got a blowgun lobbyist such as yourself here… as always, I totally concur with your sentiments on PA and blowguns!
Yep, that’s pretty much me; yes to blowguns, no to fibre optic sights! 🙂
What do you guys think about this?
With a coupon, the price goes down to $225.
Many are critical of the T05 trigger because the trigger blade is plastic. At this moment there is a Diana 46E sitting in my “closet” that has a T05 trigger. Do not be afraid of this trigger. It is awesome. The T06 trigger is the same, but they changed the blade to aluminum. Is it worth $100?! Are you kidding me?!
Now, as far as the uber magnumous of it, that does not do anything for me. As a general rule, the more power a sproinger has, the harder it is to hit anything with it, except maybe as a club.
When you consider the price, this is likely an excellent buy. Diana airguns are of good quality. You will most definitely need to learn the “artillery hold” and you will have to spend a good bit of time with this to learn her ways, most especially if you want to hit anything.
You may decide after a bit to have her tuned down some. It is easier to tune down than up. Also, it can always be returned to uber magnumous.
Bonus. It does not have the deplorable glowy thingy sights!
P.S. I really liked your “Smile”. It looks fun!
Well said, my friend. I’ve also thought about all those you said. I’ve been in the market for a good quality springer a while. I was waiting for a good deal, but it’s just too powerful for a plinker like me. I have not come across a tune down kit for it either. So we’ll see…
The 46e you got from me. I knew you gave to your son in law before he passed. Is your grandson big enough to shoot it yet? I don’t remember how old your grandson is now.
I imagine your grandson likes the hw30 I bet too.
He does like the HW30. He also has a Umarex P08 bb pistol. He wants to shoot the 46E, but it is still too big for him. Maybe when I finish my shooting bench I will let him give it a try.
There you go. That sounds like the way to go with the shooting bench. You will have to post some pictures of the bench and the 46e. I forgot what it looks like. It was in pretty good shape if I remember right. And get a picture with the tap loader open if you can.
Congratulations to minute of something! 🙂 Lot’s of good entries.
As I recall, I do not think that BB ever did figure out exactly how the prize worked,… so maybe mos can figure it out?
My thinking exactly. That gun needs to go to a clever person.
Congratulations MOS! Did not envy BB having to choose from among the varied entries. I second Fish’s idea that PA should sell blowguns. And slingshots, too.
Wow! Some interesting entries.
Those are some interesting ideas. Congratulations to MOS!
WOW! That catapult gun is beautiful! We must “hear” more!
As for the penny shooter? That looks like real fun to play with!
Hank has some serious competition!
Congrats! That spaghetti shooter looks simple enough that I think I could actually make it. The results are astounding. I would be most hesitant to turn a boy loose with that. I would have been in more trouble than you could shake a stick at.
After seeing the video, I ‘built’ two for my grandsons last weekend & they had a lot of fun. Especially when shooting at a ‘live’ pop can. The marshmallows fit rather loose, flattening them did help, but we didn’t get quite the power as demonstrated in the video. Being on the same level as the target helped. When I bought the 1/2″ PVC at Lowes, one of the two pieces had thinner walls (manufacturing cost reduction?), so when I went back I checked for wall thickness. Possibly the video version had even thicker walls (smaller ID) for a better fit. I would like to know where he found ‘furniture grade’ PVC.
The marshmallow fit depends on the brand. I had problems with one brand fitting mostly too tight, then switched to a brand from a local dollar store and they fit just about right, on average. Keep the marshmallows moist and flexible in a ziploc bag after opening the original pack, or the accuracy and performance will go down when the marshmallows dry out and harden up. I found the furniture grade PVC at Home Depot… you can order it through the website for delivery to the store if it’s not in stock.
I think what you saw is the difference between Schedule 40 and Schedule 80 pipe. That info will be imprinted on the exterior surface of the pipe.
The Stone X-Bow is awesome, really. Maybe you should try out some of that ammunition I linked to yesterday. Maybe next time you should use tiger stripe maple and walnut. 😉
I thought of doing something almost exactly like that. My Granddad and my Dad were both plumbers.
I really like Nerf guns! That is so cool!
My boss would likely get real excited about your potato cannon. He has one of his own he plays with on occasion.
Thanks, It has gotten a lot of attention over the years!
BB, Sorry about the trouble with Word. My intention was to have something you could copy & paste from. Of course you can print the whole story!
I didn’t see my entry listed there??
I don’t have an entry from you. I have a file with all the entries. Some were only drawings that were never built and those I didn’t show.
Check the comments at the bottom of Part one. I think that I was the first entry. I posted design comments, pictures, shooting data, and a link to a Youtube video showing the operation. You replied to the comments at the time. Complicated, no. Off the shelf parts. Tools required to built: drill press, hacksaw, files, and a minimum of woodworking tools for the stock. I would have turned down the prize anyway, but a baseball cap would have been nice.
I am so sorry. I guess I’m just human.
I think you can make it fair to Doug by turning this contest into an annual event, so that his entry can compete next year. 😉
I’ve already settled up with him.
It started with this one: https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2020/09/design-an-airgun/#comment-461462
PS: Section This report covers: 1st paragraph 3rd sentence: “The contest ended last Friday, September (October) 16.”
Siraniko and Doug,
I am sorry. I just didn’t see that one.
Fixed the gaff.
This is a blog to return to over and over, because there is so much packed into it! I felt like I was looking through an old Christmas catalog and drooling over all of the toys… and all of these toys are so cool that I was lulled into not expecting that zinger near the end! I am honored to be in such company, and am looking forward to those guest blogs…
Thanks for a real eye-opener, BB! This design contest was a great idea. I’ll send you an email.
Don’t forget to contact me, so we can take care of a little business. 🙂
blogger at pyramyd air dot com
Minute Of Something
Soon as I seen your spaghetti shooter I thought it was cool.
I have a modern blow gun here somewhere. We moved about 4 years ago and I believe I know where it’s at. Now after seeing your blow gun it makes me want to find mine.
And I do believe I will have to make one of your spaghetti shooters pretty soon. But I can just hear my wife already saying Gunfun1 where the heck is all my spaghetti going. I’ll just have to smile and say don’t know dear but maybe you should buy another box or two. I heard on the gun blog there is going to be a spaghetti shortage pretty soon. 🙂
I watch Fox Business and the other day they said that there is already strong indications that people are starting to hoard again. I noted restriction on limits the other day when shopping Aldi. Canned beans. The store has had no limitations for at least 1-2 months. One of the big disinfectant wipe companies said there will not be anymore until after the first of the year. I shop pretty simple and have not really noticed.
True, false or somewhere in between????,….. heads up ya’ all for anyone it may/may not impact.
Yep the restrictions are popping up here and there around here too.
I have always kept me a good supply of pellets and other ammo. Guess going to have to start doing it with groceries and such now.
You never know about things nowdays.
Gunfun1, that is too funny… now with the spaghetti shortage we are going to have to have a blog from BB on how to make pasta by hand…
It would be interesting to have spaghetti recipes for “recycled ammo”… hee
Minute Of Something.
Haha yep. And that reminds me of a April fool’s blog BB done on edible pellets.
These are pellets that depart from the general description of what a pellet is. They are touted as being able to punch through metal, or they are copper-plated to not oxidize or they have some other unique and unusual characteristic. I remember year ago when my wife Edith invented a trick pellet called “Flava Shots” that basted the animal in sauce to prepare them for cooking. They were edible, so you didn’t have to worry about leaving them in the game. It was an April Fool’s joke that got a lot of attention!”
Was not expecting to see that fragile missile do that kind of damage.
That’s what I thought was cool about the spaghetti shooter. Way cool.
There’s a video that “Smarter Every Day” did on the special way in which spaghetti breaks…. he used some really high speed footage to capture it when just bending it manually until it snapped. I think it would be interesting to see the spaghetti dart caught in slow mo on impact.
A hearty congratulations to you, Minute of Something!
Thanks, Airman of the Board!
Minute Of Something,
Congratulations, I never thought that spaghetti could be a soda can killer, that is great.
Mike in Atl,
I wasn’t really expecting it to work too well when I first got the idea, so I was totally surprised to see it sail through a can that way.
WOW. Today’s blog is incredible. This is going to take me much more time to absorb (and enjoy).
The ultimate airgun is the human body! It take the O that we breath and thus enables the red blood cells to provide”work” to our muscles that can enpower us to throw a baseball at 100 mph or 148 feet per second.
We are the ultimate airgun!
Tom, as soon as I saw the photo of the vintage Cyclops Red dot sight, it brought back a flood of memories.
I had one “back in the day”
I don’t remember where I got it from, I used it on many airguns, and if I remember right, it died on a firearm.
It was the cheapest one (but the coolest looking one) available in my price range at the time,
As I have said before, we have some very talented readers here.
Thank you everyone who submitted your hard work and imagination.
Your craftiness is to be admired.
Do you remember what went wrong with the sight? I thought it was a good idea.
I THINK I got it from Natchez Shooting Supplies back then, I ordered a lot of stuff from them before the internet.
It was all plastic, except for the mounts. I wasn’t into springers back then either, so it saw life on various multi pumps, and co2 guns.
If I remember it had a couple of different reticle you could choose from that you had to drop in place by removing the top cover in front of the clear fiber optic.
It saw use on several .22 rifles, but the nail in its coffin was either an HK94 9mm. Or a Calico M900 9mm, I don’t remember which.
It was not Springer rated obviously.
I didn’t know that springers would kill scopes back then anyway.
I recently picked up a copy of a 558 eotech that’s all metal with a quick disconnect mount for less than $50.
For the money, so far it’s been a winner.
But I haven’t stuck it on my Pro-Sport yet.
So the old one shook something apart I guess.
I will search the new one you have. I like dot sights.
Here is a link to the model I bought, but didn’t get it from this company.
It has survived over 500 rounds of 5.56 on my ar15, and over 500 rounds of .22lr.
Still holds zero.
It uses a cr123 battery, I said I had gotten it recently, I have had it since May.
I chose it over the other models as it has 2 aiming points (3 if you include the outer ring)
I have had real eotech’s, and replica ones. The real ones have a laser inside, and are very precise.
The replicas use a 2 color LED (red green).
For general plinking, the replica ones hold up just fine, but I am not as hard on my equipment as some people.
I have not tried one on a springer, just PCP& co2 guns.
When I choose red dot sights, I try to choose ones that use common batteries, like AA, or CR123.
I try to stay away from the ones hat use Button cells for power.
About 5 years ago, I got a used replica eotech in a. Box of parts, it didn’t work, I took it apart to see why, and see the internals.
A wire had come unsoldered from the battery terminal, the outsides were metal, but the internals that controlled the wind age and elevation were made from a heavy plastic.
Also, there are replica 4x ACOG sights, They run about $80 ish,
they have etched glass reticle, are solid aluminum construction, nitrogen filed..I have had 3 or 4 over the years, and have sold or traded them to friends that liked them.
I have never owned a real ACOG, but have compared the replicas to the real ones owned by friends.
They are well made, and well worth the price difference from a real ACOG.
The glass is very clear, they all held zero, and I have never had one fail.
To illuminate the aiming point, they use a fiber optic on top of the sight, instead of a tritium insert the real ones have.
Since the sights are on my “range toys” and not something I would defend my or my family’s life, they are more than adequate for my purposes.
Thanks a bunch for the link. I checked them out and bookmarked the link.
I will be ordering one of the models with the magnification. I have been looking for one for some time. I’ll let you know when I get it.
A lot of cool designs everybody.
I’m surprised we didn’t see a steam powered entry. 😉
Maybe we can have another contest in the future.
” I wish my late wife, Edith, had been here to see it, but I believe she may be following it anyway.”
I believe so, too; and since we are created in God’s image, and I got a big kick out of this, I believe He did also.
All these entries show some really good ingenuity(great job, guys!)…this is a really great report; thank you!
Take care & God bless,
Thank you. I knew you would know the right thing to say.
“I knew you would know the right thing to say.”
Only when I have the good sense to speak as God leads.
Well that’s true for all of us. 🙂
BB, thanks for creating the contest. Many great entries. I’m looking forward to making a
MOS spaghetti blow gum or two.
This was a great contest. I would love to build at least 3 of these (stone bow, slingshot gun, and the penny gun). I would love to see all 3 tested.
BB, you should make this contest an annual event and have Pyramydair sponsor the prizes.
Good idea about the contest with PA sponsoring it. I would like to see it happen.
That sounds like a good idea. They really liked it!
B.B. and Readership,
Great idea to have the contest hope the requests for an annual contest come to fruition!
Early announcement of rules and the entry date will result in lots of time for prototype construction.
Builders! You are all awesome and as was said all of you are WINNERS! What a great start to a Blog tradition.
The annual contest is offical, right?
Some NIFFTY stuff!!! 🙂
Great to see people sharing their ideas!
I plan on making a “Penny Shooter” (as designed) as well as something similar but spring-powered – will be a good winter project – especially since I have a big jar of pennies that are no longer legal tender here in Canada (we are “cents-less” LOL!)
The spaghetti-shooter would be fun but, unfortunately they are illegal in Canada (guess that the bureaucrat who pushed that regulation through must have watched too many “B” rated Ninja movies and believes that blowguns can kill a man instantly at 100 paces). Just a caution for the Canadian readers.
Hope some people make a Stone X-Bow and share pictures. The basic design can easily be modified to use slingshot bands for power or converted to a regular crossbow.
B.B. – sorry I didn’t think to provide you with images and text in the correct format as I do know what they should be. Could have saved you some time.
I have seen (but not used) utilities and websites that will convert a Microsoft WORD .doc or .docx file to a RTF format. You might want to look into that.
Here is a link to one I saw: http://www.convertfiles.com/convert/document/DOCX-to-RTF.html
Thanks for hosting this contest Tom! Was fun to submit an entry. Hope it becomes a regular event – maybe next time the prize (like a couple of cans of pellets?) that would allow international shipping. You might get entries from all over the world.
The prize could simply be a gift card from PA. Even a few categories could exist such as the niftiest, most creative, or simpliest – with rules that would encourage both novice and veteran builders.
Off and on I have been refining my 10 meter 100 psi pellet gun. My first shot with my latest version was a perfect 10, right on the x. I knew that is the kiss of death. It did not hold for the next shots. I think at least a small plenum is needed unless I run 1/2 inch air hose. I am using a simple hadware store valve that has increased my velocity to acceptable, well much better than the blow gun valve I was using. I think a stock will be my next effort. Your tutillage is going to be a big help on the stock.
I have a lazer sight on the muzzle end of the barrel. That takes care of a bunch of variables. It can even be shot from the hip or wherever.
Keeps me out of trouble a little.
Here are links to some earlier examples of the spaghetti blowgun that offer some lesson plans for teaching.
Congrats MOS! I liked the swab shooter. Simple.