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My new/old BSF S55N

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

History of airguns

Today we have a guest blog by reader Paul Fitzgibbon who goes by the handle fitz. He tells us about his incredible new//old BSF S55N air rifle. This is a great story, guys! When Paul told me about his find I asked him to please document everything, from the opening of the box. He did just that!

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me at blogger@pyramydair.com.

Take it away,fitz.

My new/old BSF S55N

by fitz

This report covers:

ARH catalog
Bought it
Family grows
Beeman rises
Bought the R10 back
Ah HA!
A sniper
Package arrives
Cocking link
Sticky trigger
It’s still nice!
Not tellin’

My air rifle experience began with a gun at Christmas in 1960, this eight-year-old received a Daisy BB gun from an uncle. A future Christmas yielded a Crosman 760 that fit in the $15.00 budget for 1965 from Santa Claus. My eyes eventually turned to a Sheridan Blue Streak, a little too pricey for me then, around $32.00, I did hold one at a hardware store, however, more than once.

ARH catalog

Then, in 1968, while reading small ads in back pages of Popular Mechanics I saw an ad for a place in West Virginia, called Air Rifle Headquarters. I mailed my quarter for their catalog.

ARH catalog
Air Rifle Headquarters catalog.

Every word in that catalog was read more than a few times. I found what I thought was the ultimate air rifle, quiet discharge and no more slap bang pumping scaring every living thing away.

In 1968 the BSF Wischo/Bavaria 55N was $56.50, equivalent to $430.00 today. It was made in Erlangen, Germany.

Bought it

I eventually had enough money and one was ordered. My eyes were well-suited to the open sights back then. I was shooting birds in flight many times.

In 1971 the draft lottery called, and I decided on the Army. In basic training we qualified at the rifle range with the M16 that had open sights. The furthest human silhouettes were 300 yards and would lower when hit and then raise again. It came down to me from Wisconsin and another young man from a southern state. The two of us shot until one of us missed. It took a while, but I either inhaled or exhaled at the wrong time and he beat me.

Family grows

In 1979 I still owned the 55N, but college was ending, first child was on the way, money was in need, I sold it for what I paid for it, the equivalent air rifle to it in 1979 was around $150.00.

Beeman rises

In 1990 Mr. Beeman was in full force, I bought a Beeman R10 in .20 cal. for my 11-year-old son’s Christmas present. It had deluxe stock, select group and select barrel angle, and set me back about $400.00. I did have an ulterior motive though, I wanted to shoot it also.

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Bought the R10 back

Several years later his first car needed repairs, I bought the rifle from him for $400.00. In 2015 I purchased a Beeman R1 in .20 cal. from Pyramyd AIR. The R10 and R1 are mint and now nicely scoped, I will soon be 69 years old.


The Wischo 55N always was a nice memory. Over the years I would plink on the internet, seeing what came up, not much, usually the same old links, or a few photos of hard-used specimens in someone’s collection. I really missed that rifle, a simple air rifle from simpler times. But I basically had given up. Over a half a century had passed for that rifle and for me.

Ah HA!

As with many things in life, one does not truly give up. I was recently on eBay looking at some things, I typed in BSF Wischo 55N and there was a 7-day auction that had just started, starting price was $199.00. I watched and waited as the bidding slowly moved upwards.

A sniper

It looked really good in the photos. The N in 55N is Nussbaum, German for walnut. The seller was a new and used sporting goods store in Rose City, Michigan. I decided to be what is called a “Sniper” on Ebay. It is someone who does not bid until only seconds are left. I watched as the eBay clock counted down and at 19 seconds I placed a very high bid, this was not going to get away from me at this point in my life. Another “Sniper” then appeared and my automatic bids beat him.

Maybe it is possible that the young man from that southern state on that Army rifle range was the other “Sniper” going for the 55N, but this time I won. Probably not, but that’s my story and I am sticking with it.

It cost me $445.00 to win, about the equivalent of $56.50 back in 1968 when I sent my money to the late honorable Robert Law from Air Rifle Headquarters.

Package arrives

The package arrived quickly, I waited a while before opening, photos looked good, but sometimes, well, you never know. I opened the eBay box to reveal the original Air Rifle Headquarters aged box. As I unwrapped the bubble wrap on rifle it became clear to me, it was as they call it, a “Dead Mint” specimen. Fired several times, at most. Factory grease on pivot point. Leather breech seal factory mint. Metal and wood perfect. Not as robust as a Weirauch, or as polished, but I do not care one bit.

BSF S55N ARH box
New in the box!

BSF S55N ARH box inside
This is just like Christmas!

And there it is.

Like I said, over a half a century had passed for that rifle and for me. Seeing this 55N in factory mint condition, I felt it was 1968 again.

Cocking link

The 55N cocking is a little different than the Beeman Weihrauchs I own. It is an articulated design. Robert Law had a sticker in the box concerning cocking, dry-firing and other things.

BSF S55N cocking link
The rifle has a 2-piece articulated cocking link that allows the cocking slot in the forearm to be shorter. That helps reduce vibration.

BSF S55N forearm
This view of the underside of the forearm shows how short the cocking slot is in the stock.

BSF S55N sticker
The ARH sticker.

Sticky trigger

I thank Tom Gaylord for the advice he gave me. I knew the leather piston seal would need some silicone chamber oil through air transfer port, although the rifle seemed to have good power from the start. But the BSF trigger was very sluggish from not being used. The factory lube had hardened. With Tom’s help I easily restored the trigger to good working condition.

As Robert Law stated, that BSF trigger needs a lot of breaking in, and Tom now today agrees, as he is an owner of a very broken-in 55N.

BSF S55N left
The BSF S55N is a compact breakbarrel that handles well.

It’s still nice!

I forgot how nice the 55N feels as far as overall weight and the size of the stock. This rifle will never have a scope installed, at least not by me.

BSF S55N scope rail
There is the scope rail that I’ll never use.

This is the European air rifle that started it for me, and shooting it again made me realize something. The 55N is my favorite of all time, past, present, and future. All these years I never pretended to be looking for the Holy Grail that would be a 55N in factory mint condition, I am a reasonable man. But I did find that Holy Grail, or perhaps, it found me.

BSF S55N right
It looks just as nice on the right.

Not tellin’

Some readers might ask what my maximum high bid was on eBay, only three people know that number, me, myself, and I. I will take that number to my grave. On that happy note, thanks to all who read my story.

Paul Fitzgibbon

Neenah, Wis

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.

61 thoughts on “My new/old BSF S55N”

    • RobertA,

      Those “grooves” are where the compression tube has been pressed down the hold and seal the transfer port / breech block finger holder thingy piece on. It is cheaper to do this way than worry with threading and thread timing.

      • RR,
        Hmm…. would be interesting to see how they do that. But it’s still going to be a press fit tube to transfer block… so this annular compression ring is stopping it from being pushed out ? I suppose you could do all the machining after you put the two parts together. Or at least the final turning to make it look nice. and I suppose it’s stronger as you are not cutting a thread into the the compression tube. Thanks! Robert.

  1. Have a couple of Daisy 99 BBs. Browsing the familiar sites looking for a set of swiss files, hidden in an obscure description totally unrelated to Daisy, rifle, BB, gun etc. Found what I think is a 1959 model 99. Seems to be in good condition and intact. For less than the price of two No. 1 meals at McDonald’s (including shipping) the rifle is on its way to me. Did not ask for better pictures or description. Just did a hit and run. No one else bid for it. No one else could find it.

    Once, found a box of Eberhard Faber Blackwing Pencils. Were hidding in the corner of a blurry picture described as “Architect’s junk drawer.” Came with metal and wooden rulers, a stappler a 3-hole puncher (was looking for a 3hole punch at the time) and some junk. Can not remember exactly what I paid but was less than $35. I am still using the rulers, the stappler and the 3hole puncher. Sold the Blackwings to someone in Germany for $675.00

    Yeap, the pencil is mightier than the air rifle.
    True indeed, Ebay is like a box of chocolates…….

    Congrats Fitz on your find

    Once in a while I browse the sites looking for a FWB 300S. Maybe, one day, will find it for less than the price of a Jumble Jack with curlie fries and an Oreo shake. Shipped!!!

  2. Friz,

    Thanks for sharing your success. I think many or us on this blog are on similar journeys. Mine has not been as fruitful.

    I can feel your joy in the story, congratulations.


  3. Gamo CF-S XLR3000GT Update!

    It’s heavier, longer and probably much better an prone position with a rest than any other position. Or maybe a deck chair with a rest. Which actually I can do, now that I have made a camera tripod with a shooting rest built on it… DIY !!! : – 0 Robert. PS the stock slide right off with the removal of two 6mm Allen screws hidden in the bottom. Smaller pack down. !!

    • Robert,

      That really is quite interesting. One of the ways they calm sproingers down is to make them heavy. Now you will have to show us how well it shoots.

      I used to have a Gamo CFX. If you had your hold right, you could knock a dust speck off of a gnat’s wing at 25 yards.

      • RidgRunner,
        Well it was not making one ragged hole at 50m…. will take it out tomorrow and see how it does at the indoor 20m range. May use a rest to be sure it’s the rifle not me. A dust spec at 25 yards you say… well that’s a tall order considering I am a newbie. Will give my best shot! May need to find the right pellet though…. : – ) Robert.

  4. fitz,

    What an awesome find! Who cares what you bid?! If you are happy with it, that is all that matters.

    Just so you know, I am officially jealous. That old gal belongs here at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns. 😉

    As far as your decision not to mount an optical sight on that gal, I must agree. None of the old gals around here were designed to accept a scope. It would have to get a whole lot colder around here before I would even think about mounting a scope on these gals.

    • RR, let me pitch in a whole-heartedly agree with you about the scopes. All of my “rated for the rifle cabinet” guns have Williams peep sights put on them. Funny thing, I just realized they are all German made. I used to have a BSF 55(x) many, many years ago but it disappeared somewhere into the sands of time.
      P.S. Thank you for your reply the other day. I plan on doing the shooting – I was hoping to speed things up with a reply from a “fluid-dynamics” engineer here should there be one. L

      • The problem with the old gals is I cannot even mount one of those Williams peeps on them. Now a couple of them do come with peeps and they are awesome.

        My favorite though is on my 1906 BSA. It has a beautiful down curving rear notch and a very slim front post with a pointed “perlcorn” on top. That notch pulls the post to the center and the tip does the rest.

        They knew how to make open sights back then.

        • I’ve tried to get a good selection of good, new, “old guns”. The FWBs and HW still come with good iron sights. Even my BAM B3-2 has pretty good iron sights. Unfortunately, the Dianas and Walthers have succumbed to the glowy thingy market.

  5. Wow, I am talkative this morning!

    Off subject a good bit. Coming out this summer is the NEW Gauntlet 2. I never was a fan of the Guantlet because it was made in China and just plain b’ugly. Well, it ain’t so b’ugly no more. It is still made in China, so I likely will not end up with one, but this IS tempting.


    Now, I would not get too excited about it right now. Remember how long it took them to bring out the Hammer?

  6. Paul Fitzgibbon,

    Thanks for posting this lovely article. It really did bring a tear to my eye. I now believe in Santa Claus all over again. She sure is a beauty! Good to get revenge on that Southern Cracker after all these years on E-Bay….
    Articulated cocking linkages are the best. They should be mandatory on all break barrels airguns.
    Thank you ever so much for posting!


  7. Fitz….Strange thing happened, last week a customer stopped at the shop and gave me what appears to be an owners manual for that model….it’s yours if you want it…phone 515-924-3699…Mike

  8. Fitz

    Thanks for sharing with us such a happy story!

    How easy is it to cock with the articulated linkage? You have Weihrauchs. How would cocking compare to HW30S if the two have similar energy?


    • I have R10 (HW 85) and R1 (HW 80)..not sure about HW30S. The 55N has shorter barrel than my Weihrauchs…..6 inches shorter, so cocking is still around 26 pounds.

  9. Oh my goshing heck …
    I really went over over board this evening in the garage. I made a new trigger….. you what ?!? Yep. it took six hours or more of non stop activity. I didn’t stop at all. Was quite a marathon. But I had fabricating fever.
    Inletting the safety device into the trigger was easier than I though it would be. I used an end mill in a drill press and then a die grinder ( dremel knock off ) with a tiny cut off saw. That thing was amazing.
    Polished the trigger to sear bar contact. Looks fine. Feels great. ( as far as that interesting trigger design can….) . Wow I am bushed. that was two long sessions in the garage today. : – ) Robert.

      • Chris USA,
        Thanks! Yes I am pretty happy. It works and it’s less sloppy than the plastic trigger, has the same single stage but I have a longer trigger blade, so I can find the sweet spot.
        I really did like my “sliding” trigger to be honest. Rotating triggers have this sort of curl as you pull back, your finger is dragging slightly as the trigger rotates. However I can make another! and out of steel even.
        As the trigger is not the sear ( if you catch my drift ) the contact point does not really need to be that hard, so even with the soft alloy I think it would last for quite some times as long as it is cleaned and lubed regularly. If it was a sear… no chance! May as well use cheese.
        Biggest issue is the trigger has no break at all. It’s like very slight creep all the way through. It’s light, sure, but has no character. I can’t time a shot. Which I think is a really big deal. When I am micro managing the sight picture I want to go aaaaannnnnnd… NOW. I am chuffed though. : – )

  10. Thanks for the guest blog Paul! Good read!

    What a lucky find – great for you!

    Nice rifle, I had the opportunity to shoot my friend’s 55 quite a bit when he and I went for walkabouts with the airguns.


  11. Great story Paul, you are an early adopter of that marvelous thing called the break barrel. I got my R10 in the late 80’s at Atlantic guns. Back then, me and a pal would go to the local gunstores and check the racks. Atlantic was different, if you looked over your left shoulder as you walked in, you would see in the corner between the floor and the adjoining walls, all the paint had been shot away
    in a small area. My guess is they practiced with felt cleaning wads, but it was clearly airgun positive
    there! This is all before the WWW. Congratulations.

      • shootski,

        I used to shop at Atlantic Guns when I lived in Maryland. And a couple times I held a one-day sales event with them, where I met the public. That was back when my “Airgun Letter” was well-known. Steve Schneider, the owner, and I were friends.


        • B.B.,

          I was attending Bullis just on the West side of Silver Spring and got my pellets and 12 gram CO2 Capsules for my Hämmerli 472 Match at A.G. and got my ear bent by (IIRC) George Schneider back in the mid sixties. The shop is still there (at least it was two or so years ago) it isn’t at all like it was back then and probably not as you remember it either.


          • Shootski, The fellow I dealt with was dark haired and thinner. Maybe the owner? Dad tried to get me into Bullis, I wouldn’t have it. later in life, thought attack helli’s would ‘ve been cool, when I was younger. Might have been a good carreer move for that. Or A-10’s

  12. Chris, GF1 and Elmer,

    Thank you for the offers and suggestions. I kinda want to go the allen wrench route. I have a True Value over the mountain from here that will likely have what I am looking for. I just hate going to “the big city”. The hardware shop in town has some screws that would work, but I will see if I can get what I want first.

  13. Great story for FM, the Nostalgia & Vintage Stuff Buff! Seems you found a unicorn in airgun world; good for you. What you paid for the BSF back then in today’s $ is about what FM just paid for his HW95; well worth it, it is a blast…pun intended. It also will never be scoped.

    Finally managed to log in on the 3rd try, after getting messages about “unrecognized password and/or multiple attempts to log in, try again in 22 hours.” Was trying to log in from my iPhone, same device being used for this comment. At least The Login Nutzi did not threaten to have FM “shot while trying to login.” Whew!

  14. Fitz,

    Sorry for the late response. This new blog format has blocked me from posting from my PC but now that I’m back home on my iPad I can finally respond.

    Really enjoyed your writing, story and well deserved treasure find since you persevered for so long. I’m a softy for those vintage springers and am envious of your acquisition.

    I think this is truly analogous to the rare occurrence of “barn finds” that vintage car collectors dream about.

    I’m thrilled that ended up in your hands since you will appreciate it and use it more than the overwhelming majority of airgunners.


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