Mondial Oklahoma spring-piston pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Oklahoma
The Mondial Oklahoma pistol.

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Blue Book got it wrong
  • Several models
  • Two finishes
  • Many are boxed
  • Strange construction
  • Breakbarrel
  • Soda straw barrel
  • Breech seal
  • Markings
  • Sights
  • Summary

Today we begin looking at a strange air pistol that has a lot of interesting quirks. Do you readers like interesting quirks? Ha! Does an elephant like peanuts? This is the Oklahoma from Mondial. Mondial is the trade name of Italian manufacturer Modesto Molgora of Milan.

Blue Book got it wrong

First I note that the Blue Book of Airguns lists this pistol as having a rifled barrel. Well, the one I am testing certainly doesn’t. One of two thing are possible. Either the smoothbore I have is a variation that the Blue Book is not currently aware of or they got it completely wrong and all Oklahoma pistols are smoothbore. If you own an Oklahoma pistol would you please examine the bore to see whether it is rifled?

I went online to research this pistol and found very little information. Most listings mention the rifled barrel in such a way that they seem to have copied what’s in the Blue Book or some other reference. I see that a lot online. Why would anybody mention a rifled barrel, when a smoothbore would be the exception? Yes, there are many smoothbore airguns but why go to the trouble of mentioning a rifled barrel when most airguns have them?

John Walter’s books that are four editions titled, The Airgun Book, aren’t really certain whether the barrel is rifled or not. There is a question mark after the number of lands and the rifling direction in one of the editions. So they don’t know. But BB knows. This one isn’t rifled.

Several models

Mondial made several air pistols besides the Oklahoma we are examining today. One was called the Oklahoma N.T. That one has a hooded front sight, though the rear sight is fixed, so the hood really adds nothing. Another is called the ZIP and it has an adjustable rear sight located back on the rear of the spring tube. And one more pistol is the CO2-powered Roger that was the foundation for the Daisy model 100 pistol that later became the Wamo Powermaster .22 rimfire pistol.

Mondial also made a couple breakbarrel rifles, the Carabina and the York. They also made an underlever BB repeater they called the Condor.

Two finishes

I have found two different finishes for the Oklahoma — blued and nickel. Many would call it chrome, but chrome is very rare on an airgun or a firearm. Nickel is more durable than most chrome-plating, making it the general plating metal of choice for firearms and airguns. Unless you have the two materials side-by-side it’s difficult to differentiate, but when held next to chrome you will see that nickel plating has a slight golden cast, while chrome is just silver.

The pistol I bought to test is nickel-plated and has no box, because I got it from a generous friend of this blog who sold it to me for a very good price. The grip panels are reddish-brown plastic and are held to the gun with two screws that pass through the gun and have hex nuts inset into the right grip panel. I have more to say about that in a moment.

Oklahoma grip nut
The grip screws are held in by a nut on the right side. It doesn’t look like a hex nut in this photo…

Oklahoma nut
…so I pushed it out to see it better.

Many are boxed

When I looked for a pistol to test for you, most of the ones I saw were offered in the box. According to the printing on the box (and my best version of Google translate for Italian) they came with both pellets and BBs, which underscores the smooth bore. One I found on eBay had an original price sticker on the box marked $7.95. The Blue Book puts the start of this pistol sometime in the 1960s but gives a definite end date of 1988. The John Walters Airgun books agree with the start time and give no ending date.

Strange construction

The pistol is made from two non-ferrous metal frame pieces that are held together by screws and hex nuts all around the frame. Besides the two in the grips I count another four, for a total of six. If they were all removed it appears the pistol would come apart. And there would be pieces held on pins inside and BB Pelletier would scatter them around, so don’t ask! 

Oklahoma frame nut
The entire pistol is held together with screws and nuts like this.

Breakbarrel

The Oklahoma is a breakbarrel with a spring-loaded barrel lock. Push it back to release the barrel for cocking.

Oklahoma barrel lock
That lever hanging down is a spring-loaded barrel lock.

Oklahoma barrel lock released
Push the lock back and the barrel is released for cocking.

Soda straw barrel

The barrel is a thin tube that we call a “soda straw” barrel. These are usually rifled barrels, but as I said, this one is a smoothbore. It must have been cheaper to make it this way, because the barrel looks to be pressed into a solid outer jacket.

Oklahoma muzzle
The actual barrel is a thin tube inside an outer jacket. Neither the tube nor the jacket is ferrous.

Breech seal

The breech seal is located on the end of the frame rather than around the breech, where there is no room. It appears to be made of some rubbery synthetic that is still in good condition after no less than 33 years and possibly more than 50.

Oklahoma breech seal
The breech seal is in the frame.

Markings

The maker’s name and logo are on the right side of the frame, along with Made In Italy and Olio, around the oil hole.

Oklahoma logo
Yep — it was made in Italy all right!

Oklahoma name
The name of the pistol and the caliber are on the left side.

Sights

The sights are fixed and both the front and rear sight are attached to the barrel. Given the thickness of the breech seal, it seems the makers were concerned about barrel alignment issues. That plus the barrel lock tells me that the designers of this airgun really cared about making a quality product. It may have been inexpensive but in no way was it cheap. Somebody was doing their best within an envelope of cost constraints. Which makes the smoothbore barrel all the more strange.

Guys — I’m telling you all that I know and all that I have been able to find out about this quirky air pistol. Given the huge reach of this blog I am hoping someone can add a few more things to further our knowledge. I would especially like to know whether there really is an Oklahoma like this one that has a rifled barrel.

Summary

I’ve been a serious airgunner (as in paying attention to what is going on, over and above just shooting and enjoying the guns) since starting The Airgun Letter in 1994. Since then I have seen Oklahoma pistols at several airgun shows but never have I taken the plunge. I did it now just to expand my horizons, as well as yours. 

There isn’t very much written about this air pistol — at least not in the English language. Much of what is written seems to be guesswork, though Walter’s books do have some solid facts about the companies involved and the models of the guns. This one should be interesting.

49 thoughts on “Mondial Oklahoma spring-piston pistol: Part 1

  1. B.B.,

    A very interesting piece. I assume you have oiled it and fired it. Do you still need to put either white lithium grease or TIAT on the mainspring which might be accessible if you removed the grip panels or just behind the barrel lock?

    Siraniko


  2. BB,

    It is certainly unusual,.. even quirky. Looking forwards to more. Hopefully some more information will turn up.

    Oklahoma,… the model name,.. is odd in and of itself,… being Italian made. Why choose that name?

    Chris


    • Chris-

      I think we have to remember that the 60’s were the heyday of Spaghetti Westerns and Italian manufacturers had been producing reproductions of guns used in the American Civil War and on the western frontier since the 50’s. It made smart business sense to have American sounding product names.



  3. BB

    I’m on my way to bed so I haven’t had a chance to read the blog yet, but I wanted to see if it got posted. I am flabbergasted that Siraniko didn’t notice that the title of the blog says spring pistol pistol instead of spring piston pistol. It’s hard to beat you Siraniko l so I feel really special as I lay down my head. LOL

    Half


  4. BB-
    Interesting blog. I have a Daisy 100 around here. Any further details about the tie-in to the Oklahoma?

    Errata- section- ‘Many are boxed’, second sentence- ‘…my best versioin (version) of Google translate….’


  5. BB,

    So it seems that all of the body parts are cast, possibly brass, and then nickel plated. When I first opened this blog, the first picture looked like something pretty flimsy, but as I went through it, the other pictures showed it to be quite substantial in construction.

    You might try contacting Jimmie Dee. He really likes the quirky airguns.


    • Most of the Oklahoma is die-cast zinc alloy (aka ‘pot metal’). I’m sure the barrel liner is cast in place. As I recall from taking one apart long ago, the compression tube is also brass but removable, held between the frame halves clamshell fashion.
      Mondial also made the “Roger” CO2 pistol, another die-cast object kinda similar to the Healthways 175.


  6. BB, although the Oklahoma looks nothing like the Hy-score pistols, they remind me of each other. Both seem to be companies who were trying to use more modern production methods to make a less costly airgun that still performed well. I don’t know about the Oklahoma, but Hy-score may have succeeded.

    David Enoch


  7. It must be a play of lights but the pic showing the nose of the barrel, there sure seems to be some evenly placed faint groves there. Rifling that wore away perhaps? Anyone else see it?


  8. Great morning everyone,

    Trying to fix a Hw50s from the late 60 ‘ S . Recently acquired from one of my neighbors. Long story, will share some day. Needed some parts and contacted JG Airguns. Took them over a week to respond with some lame answer to my question. The website reads — what you see is what we got, so don’t ask and if you have a question read again — what you see is what we got!!!

    On the other hand, Chambers in the UK, responded in less than five minutes to my inquiries. Had what I needed and where cheaper to ship to my address in California. Guess who earned my hard working 60+ hour paycheck. Buy American went down the sewer.

    Needed to vent . Sorry , JG pissed me off.

    Have a great week everyone


    • Alex,

      That is really too bad about your experience, although I know both BB and myself have done business with Chambers and have been very satisfied by the results.

      I do not know what parts you needed, but there are some others in the US of A besides JG airguns. I myself have had good experiences with JG, but I knew which parts I was looking for and did not have to deal with any “customer service”. JG’s loss is Chambers’ gain.



  9. I make a mean Aglio e olio.

    Aglio (garlic) e (and) olio (oil-good olive oil) is a simple, conventional Italian pasta dish that has lots of variations but almost always includes cheese (freshly grated parmigiano Reggiano please). It’s a versatile and quick side dish.

    This is probably why I thought about adding olive oil to the hole in the Mondial Oklahoma marked olio.


    • Kevin,

      It would probably work just fine, though it might smell a little funny after a bit.

      You will also likely get a strange craving for some pasta after shooting for a while.


  10. B.B.,

    Thank you for the detailed photos from a variety of angles. Most pics I’ve seen previously gave me the impression the Oklahoma was made of sheet metal, not the robust cast metal I see here. Your photos make it look like a very cool cross between a Walther target pistol and an Eames-era sculpture.

    Oklahoma!

    Michael


  11. Google threw up a picture of a boxed one of these, showing it as for (looking at the box, surely ‘for’ and not ‘with’) ‘pallini’ and ‘piumini’. Now the first of those seems to translate as balls (although that may be too literal a translation), the second as down or feathers – darts?

    https://forum.vintageairgunsgallery.com/mondial-italy/mondial-oklahoma-air-pistol/#post-1005

    Looking at the breech, is there any reason to think this would be usable with actual BBs, as opposed to, say, lead shot?

    Iain




  12. BB,

    Is it possible that the guns start out with rifling and that the steel BBs ( and maybe darts ) have worn away the rifling in some guns? That could explain why you get both stories. American airgun manufacturers put rifled barrels on duel ammo guns, so that part isn’t unheard of. Anyway to tell the material of the barrel? A brass barrel, for instance, would wear pretty quick, although I know you would have pointed out a brass barrel, had that been the case. Do they ever make pot metal barrels?

    Half


  13. Maybe someone will have a owner’s manual.

    Not that it will tell if they were rifled or not.

    Anyone do a search to see if they came rifled or smooth bored. Usually you can find out if you keep digging deep enough.


  14. Just in case you are curious, the glowy thingy stuff can be easily removed from the Benjamin Maximus sights. I popped them out yesterday. Nice sights without them.


  15. B.B.,

    You constantly show me things I never knew existed.
    Watching one of the Thin Man movies, Nick is shooting a break barrel pistol Nora bought him for Christmas. It looks like one of the top three in the photo.

    ken


  16. B.B. and Readership,

    Isn’t it interesting that Bburago and Maisto both scale diecast model car manufacturers are/were from the same suburb of Milano as the maker of this gun!

    shootski


    • Have a split-window Beetle and a cabriolet from Maisto, both well made models. Did not realize Maisto was an Italian maker – thought it was Asian. FM learns something new every day.


      • FawltyManuel,

        Maisto International is owned by a P.Y. Nagan owned Chinese conglomerate! P.Y. Nagan claims to be the Founder of the M.I. outfit and that ay be true….
        The Original company that bought out Bburago was long gone before the Internet. It (Bburago) was next sold to a California holding company that outsourced production to who knows where. Then the Nagan family pulled the usual rewriting of company history, LOL! Little Peoples always behave like the LITTLE that they are. FOUNDER my …!

        shootski



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