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Ammo Stuff that flat out doesn’t work — a tale of the Draco!

Stuff that flat out doesn’t work — a tale of the Draco!

This report covers:

The title
And the Draco?
So what?

BB is venting today and he might even come to a point. Please make your coffee extra strong and maybe eat a doughnut or two. Remember — doughnuts are what made BB Pelletier the man he is today!

The title

Okay, the title. Who says Dracos don’t work? And what the heck are they?


Dracos are shortened (so-called pistol) versions of the venerable AKM that is itself an updated and modernized AK 47. And the AK platform is one of the most reliable and venerable personal military weapons ever designed. Unlike the M16 that was rushed into production (as in, “You want it real bad? It’s real bad right now!”), the AK 47 was brought along slowly and eased into production as a replacement for the Simonov carbine — the SKS. Old BB owns a Russian-made Simonov and there ain’t nothin’ more reliable on the planet. Oh, they do have some problems, like a firing pin that can break, causing the gun to go full-auto at the most embarrassing times. But for battlefield reliability, not even a well-maintained Garand can keep up with an SKS! Shame on you, BB — you must repent!

The bottom line is the fact that the Simonov and AK platforms are based on the venerable 7.62 X 39mm cartridge that was a Soviet offshoot of the earlier German 7.92 X 33mm Kurtz — the 8mm short. The Germans had a great idea to arm their troops with the Sturmgewehr 44. The genius of a shortened .30-caliber (or 8mm) cartridge made the resulting platforms a stroke of genius. Smaller cartridges for less recoil, faster recovery in battle and less training time. But up to about 300 meters they still performed well. 


But the American Army went about developing such a cartridge and rifle exactly bass-ackwards. The platform that Eugene Stoner designed for the 7.62X51mm (.308 Winchester) cartridge was fine FOR IT’S INTENDED PURPOSE. So the Army tried to stuff a .222 Remington Magnum gopher round (that they paid plenty to turn into the 5.56X45 mm that Remington spun off as their .223 round) into a platform built for a .308 cartridge. The result was decades of embarrassment as American troops around the world became the extended testbed. Black eyes and embarrassment after embarrassment made the design get better and better until, by the 21st century, it was about where it should have been in the 1970s. HOWEVER — what’s this? American shooters are now stuffing .300 Blackout (a .30 caliber bullet into the 35mm long case of the 5.56mm cartridge) and shortened 6.5mm cartridges into AR-15 (the civilian version of the M16) platforms. What’s this — private parties developing what should have been developed by the government? BB — say it ain’t so!

And the Draco?

The Draco is a subminiature version of the AKM. It has very few practical uses, since it fires a rifle (or carbine) cartridge from a 10.5-inch barrel. Can you say muzzle flash? Can you say losing half the potential energy or more? But kids playing video games don’t know that, nor do they care. Dracos are popular with the video game set.

Dracos are also popular with rappers. They just like the name and the way-cool look.

So, BB — Draco BB Guns?

Here’s the deal. Because Dracos are way cool, they have been made into airsoft guns, because the boys who play video games like to keep playing when mommy sends them outside. And, since the Asians call airsoft balls BBs, half the planet thinks Draco BB guns already exist. So why not turn a Draco airsoft gun into a real BB gun that shoots steel BBs? Everybody has got to love that, no?

Draco BB airsoft guns show up on You Tube where they are sometimes touted as “toys”


Yeah, toys. Toys for rappers and video gamers. For shooters? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong. The Draco has a place in life, and if you are a protection agent, perhaps its place is with you. If you are a couch commando it might be a nice gun to “pet” while you watch episodes of Reacher and the movie Olympus Has Fallen. But to shoot seriously? Not so much.

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So what?

So lots of people shoot full auto guns and they love them. BB doesn’t.  BB shot thousands (millions?) of rounds of full auto ammo when he was in the Army. BB was a tanker and he shot his commander’s .50 caliber M85 machine gun on tank ranges many times. And he also shot the M73 .30 caliber coaxial gun that moves with the main gun. It’s the one we use to clean enemy troops off our other tanks when we are in combat.

With the M2 Ma Deuce BB shot aerial towed targets pulled by drones (75 horsepower radio-controlled aerial towed target 4-cylinder drones that tow a streamer behind them for anti-aircraft training) and BB got to shoot at the actual RCATTs that the Army was retiring. BB and his troops retired a handful of them early! Full auto? Yawn — ho hum.

However — BB isn’t everybody. If you watch these guys on You Tube shooting firearm Dracos and even airsoft Dracos you’ll see that they apparently get quite excited.

So, given the excitement that we have seen over the four-hundred-dollar Barra 400E automatic electric gun (AEG), BB Pelletier thinks that a Draco that’s a real BB gun shooting real steel BBs would be a hot seller. BB thinks some of you guys are itching for this one and you don’t even know it yet.


How did we get here today? We got here because a reader asked if I planned to review the Barra 400E BB gun. Then RidgeRunner piped in with a disparaging word about the Mattelomatic (M16) and BB’s mind was off to the races.

It points out that everybody on this blog does not think like BB. Some of you are just wrong!

43 thoughts on “Stuff that flat out doesn’t work — a tale of the Draco!”

      • Ian,

        You’re almost correct. The ball was a number 4 birdshot. I know because I packaged the last 50 Feltmans ever sold. AirForce bought the rights to the guns and still owns them.


        • Cool, thanks for the correction, I thought it had used a #2 shot size.

          Airforce has their hands in a lot of areas.

          The last time I had actually put my hands on one of them was about 1979-80ish…

          Man that’s been a while…

    • Funny story: Growing up we had an eccentric neighbor who bought a “shoot out the star” set from a carnival that had a going out of business auction. He got it working, but thought the limited magazine capacity was a huge buzzkill, so he rigged up a gravity feed system that could hold 3 gallons of shot. Some time later, he hooked it up to straight shop air at 120 psi, which caused the gun he had hooked up to runaway. As a result, he broke every single glass item in his shop, and peppered himself pretty good.

  1. With the interest in replica airguns at an all time high, I think a Draco would sell many units.

    The quest is what power plant?
    Co2, or the patent pending electric power plant like the Barra?
    (I am interested to see what the patent covers that is different from an airsoft AEG)

    As a long time Airgunner, and airsoft player, I have many times been looked down on by some diehard airgunners for working on and enjoying the plastic projectile propelling machines.

    For years the only place to get a detailed shooting replica of a firearm to shoot or display was in the airsoft market.

    But I learned something there, that airgunners are suddenly finding out.
    The AEG (automatic electric gun) is actually a self loading, spring powered airgun, and airgunners know that a springer can be amazingly consistent in velocity from shot to shot, and if we have learned anything from this blog, we know that consistency aids in accuracy, even when shooting a plastic projectile.

    The fact that the spring is cocked for every shot by a small dc electric motor is even better because the only effort involved in cocking the gun is holding a switch closed with your trigger finger.

    To up the fun factor, it will also cock, load and fire over 10 times every second.

    Technology wise, the AEG is quite advanced, as the spring is cocked, the air piston diameter retracts slightly to allow for easier cocking, and to allow air into the chamber, as the piston is driven forward by the spring the piston seal enlarges and seals the chamber increasing the effectiveness of the air seal.

    And because it is spring powered, there is no velocity drop because of cooldown like a co2 gun.

    Sure the co2 guns are more “realistic” in their operation, but the consistency and accuracy of the AEG platform wins out over realism…

    So don’t disparage the guy shooting a Barra, he is shooting, he is having fun, and in his eyes he is helping to save the planet by not using that evil greenhouse gas we old fogies love called co2.


      • Man, I have been into them since the 1990’s.
        I was into airguns first, (as you would say “real airguns”) but somewhere along the line a friend brought over an airsoft gun and asked me to see what was wrong with it.

        It was a gas operated so it ran on co2 and I was familiar with that, after replacing a seal, he brought out an AEG and I just had to see what made it tick.

        Here is a short animated GIF on wikipedia that shows the shot cycle,
        They say a picture is worth a thousand words.



        • Hi 45Bravo, are you aware of any airsoft airguns that can hit the smallest targets at 25 metres (& beyond) and with authority?

          All I’ve found so far is, buy the most expensive airsoft sniper rifle you can afford now, and then modify / replace every part.

    • Interesting read Ian,

      Other than knowing that AEGs exist I know nothing about them (and to be honest, little about airsoft guns either).

      Since you are into plastic ammo stuff is there any chance you could write an “introduction to” guest blog on these guns that are related to our BB and pellet guns?

      Think there might be a general interest/curiosity.


  2. B.B. and Everyone
    I admit that I have never heard of the Draco name but I’m familiar with the name AKSU 74. Certain Navy SEAL TEAM 7 operators must have printed in their minds the photo of Bin Laden carrying one of these…
    In any case it’s also available as a co2 version, just like the Mac, from the same Izhvesk factory using most of the original platform. If anyone is interested please search for “CO2 rifle original Kalashnikov AK74-SU – AKSU-74 Yunker”. Sorry for not posting the link but we must show courtesy to our host.

      • B.B.
        It’s a co2 real steel bb shooter indeed. But is also a real steal, because the price is $1.000 in Europe. It must be the latest addition to the Yunker series you wrote about many years ago on your first Baikal mak654 blog.
        Anyway for the time being I cannot afford such an investment so I will stay with my two maks and I would be happy for any assistance/info you might want.

  3. Well if old Gunfun1 could shoot semi auto and full auto guns everyday he would.

    Hey wait a minute. I can pellet and bb guns. And I do. Well not every day. But I could if I wanted. I have a few that fit that category. 😉 🙂

  4. Hi, my name is RidgeRunner. I am not into semi or full auto. Why waste one hundred when one will do?

    Hey, I know. I have “played” with machine pistols up to the venerable “Ma Deuce”. I would much rather have a 7mm Mauser than a “Mattelomatic”. I am much more concerned with making that one shot count than “spray and pray”.

    To each his own, I guess. I personally like AirForce airguns.

    • When Tom reviews the Barra, you may be surprised at the accuracy.

      From what I have seen from other content creators and reviewers, it is very accurate.

      So the one shot will do it, but there are 50 more right behind it waiting their turn to do your bidding.


      • Ian

        I too saw the HardAir review of the Barra. PA advertises on their site so guess it’s okay to name them here. What caught my eye was accuracy at 25 yards. Makes me wonder more about the barrel’s bore than anything else.


    • hihihi,

      It means the recoil of the 5.56mm round is less than the 7.62mm allowing the shooter to re acquire his sight picture. At least that is what I believe.


      • Hi3-
        Don’t ever feel stupid for asking a question. Nobody ever got smarter by not asking questions.
        Now for feeling real stupid, I have a college level degree in that. Usually came about when I thought I already knew enough about how something should (emphasize should) work and then plowed ahead.

      • hihihi,

        Do keep in mind the question of projectile size. Do you need two or more of the smaller projectiles to accomplish what one of the larger projectiles accomplish.? A prime example is when the US military and law enforcement went to the 9mm. It is then that they started teaching double tap. With the smaller projectile you NEED to get back on target quicker.

      • hihihi,

        Do keep in mind the question of projectile size. Do you need two or more of the smaller projectiles to accomplish what one of the larger projectiles accomplish? A prime example is when the US military and law enforcement went to the 9mm. It is then that they started teaching double tap. With the smaller projectile you NEED to get back on target quicker.

  5. Okay, I’ll weigh in. I recently celebrated a half century of experience with the M16/AR15 platform. I have always been able to do good work them. With very few exceptions, most any problems I experienced were due to operator error. Same for problems of others up and down the supply chain. I’ve heard the ‘Mattomatic’ label bandied about for decades. Usually, upon investigation, the matter boiled down to ‘I knew a guy who knew a guy….’ type bull.
    Over the years, I also gained a fair amount of experience with the various Com-Bloc AK series. Again, useful tools, but they had their share of issues.
    If I were ever to return to a 2 way range, I wouldn’t feel bad about being armed with either an AK or AR. What’s the saying? A poor workman blames his tools..

    • I logged in primarily to make the comment you’ve just made. My first issue piece was an early M16 complete with three prong adapter, and it did nothing but run, even with crappy blanks and pretty sketchy magazines. Bad magazines are probably the single most common fault, followed closely by idiots running their AR “dry” because they listened to other idiots about how oil would attract dirt and cause malfunctions.

      BTW, the only part Mattel ever produced were some pistol grips as a subcontractor. If you actually have a Mattel marked grip, you could pry make a buck selling it to a collector, btw.

      I have been on the “two way range” with both AR and AK platforms, and if given a choice, I’d pick the AR platform Every. Single. Time. The AR has superior ergonomics, is more reliable under most conditions and is more easily repaired/maintained. The majority of my AK time were with 3d world troops, and I’ve experienced multiple AK malfunctions that resulted in the rifle being unrepairable. When an AR starts to crap the bed, you throw some cheap, readily available parts at it and it runs like new again.

  6. Full auto is fun for FM, in small doses; would not mind seeing shooting replicas that would fire .177 or .22 pellets/slugs, including a replica of the StG44, since will never be able to afford an original one and don’t want to deal with the ATF permitting process. Do still regret not picking up that MG42 offered to a young and financially-strapped FM for a “mere” $1000 US back in the early ’70s, though. B.B., the story about the AR15 reminded FM once again that if you want something done poorly, give it to the government. Disclaimer: FM worked for the US government. That’s how he knows. In fairness, that notion is not always true, but it is true too often.

    One thing worrisome is we have an epidemic of immaturity, fantasizing, social media “look-at-me-itis” and other spiritual/social/cultural dysfunctions going on with too many of our young ‘uns – sorry to sound like an Old Crank, FM is 72, he qualifies – but see a lot of that happening with the individuals carrying out mass shootings these days, and – this coming from a committed 2A guy – unless somehow we figure out a way to keep weapons out of the hands of these aberrant dysfunctionals, the majority of decent, law-abiding, God-fearing and normal citizens are going to have their freedoms chipped away bit by bit.

    Now, a donut story to close out this rant on a cheerier note. Had a supervisor at work years ago, real nice easy-going guy but quite round; he loved his donuts. There was at the time another guy in upper management who was kind of a preachy, health-nut type. One day, health-nut walked into the break room where my supervisor was happily enjoying his moring donut. Healthman started preachng to him about how “when you eat a sugary donut your blood sugar spikes and you have energy, but in 15 minutes your blood sugar level drops and so does your energy level.” To which my supervisor replied, “fine, so-and-so – then I’ll just have another donut in 15 minutes.” Have a sweet day, everyone!

    • FawltyManual,

      Even IF we (who are this WE?) figured out how to keep the miscreant element from perpetrating these horrors on the innocent it would NOT keep the current Elite from continuing their drive to turn us into SUBJECTS. NOW for my donut storytime:. The Flight Surgeon caught me eating two donuts during my post flight debrief of a Student Aviator and gave me the hypoglycemia lecture…I told him I had it under control in that my donut sandwich had lean bacon as the filling to slow/level the blood sugar spike; he shook his head and left muttering. On my next flight I got to demonstrate shooting the M61 Vulcan at a towed banner for my next student. That hop I never did notice the sugar spike.
      My student and I quickly burned thru about $12,000 in .20mm at about $10.00 or so a round back then…i understand the price per round for 20mm is over US $30.00 per round now!


        • Roamin Greco,

          Typo! Plus my Plane Captain and the Armourers loaded the drum…i only got to see it through the HUD and out in front of the nose…hopefully putting a few holes in the target at those prices. We only got around 675 to a drum and that could be gone in one 10 second burst; normally a burst was limited to 200 or less per trigger pull. NOT like Hollywood !


      • Before the thread gets stale, FM would like to clarify “we” would apply to those who believe the words in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights mean something, as opposed to elitists who believe their words and points of views are the only ones that count.

        “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few.”
        -Wendell Phillips, American Abolitionist

  7. “…the Simonov carbine — the SKS. Old BB owns a Russian-made Simonov and there ain’t nothin’ more reliable on the planet.”
    That’s great for you, but it also makes me want to cry; back when I was in Florida, the same store where I bought my Mak got in a large shipment of SKS rifles; they had them stacked in the aisles for $99.99 each. Knowing nothing about them, I did not think of buying one till they were all gone…dumb decision on my part! I could kick myself! LOL 🙂
    Blessings to you,

  8. B.B.,

    I remember all the Soviet Russians are all 10′ tall STUFF too!
    They weren’t and they aren’t now!
    And, their kit weren’t either!


  9. Does anybody else also struggle with the look of shortened long arms, like a sawn-off shotgun or today’s example, the Draco?

    Full automatic capability in any airgun is ok by me, though I much prefer semi-automatic shooting, for better control. Oddly, it just occurred to me that most of my airguns are actually non-automatic, hmm…

    Finally, I have to declare that I read today’s article (yesterday’s too) more than once, because I enjoyed Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)’s sense of humour.
    My favourite: “You want it real bad? It’s real bad right now!” and “Some of you are just wrong!” 🙂

    • hihihi
      They are good for expensive plinking. Or perhaps intimidation in some given situations..

      Aside … AEG’s are very distracting for target shooting in my opinion, the motor cycling sound. In Airsoft you are dealing with man size targets in gamming without doing serious harm.

      The main selling point for the new Barra 400E is the reduction in operating cost compared to CO2. At least if you do a lot of shooting. Being accurate and a good replica certainly helps. It would normally be right up my line as a collectable, the first reasonably
      powerful spring AEG BB rifle but the cost ?
      My Evanix Speed ‘EG’ only has to recock the trigger / hammer assembly for full auto, being a PCP.

      They probably wanted to sell a new Item without the cost of retooling for 9mm and it is a bit big for that round. considering the competition.

  10. BB and all-

    I don’t intend to defend the ‘Draco’ of Tom’s blog, but I thought I should interject some experience about the short barreled AKs. The 7.62×39 round does not lose half its energy by going from a 16” barrel to a 10”. My notes indicated a loss of 150 to a little over 250 fps. Still got the job done at 300 plus yards. Muzzle flash was manageable. I recall the four piece Bulgarian as exceptionable in that regard. In shooting full auto bursts, muzzle rise wasn’t much harder to control than a full length gun. Mag dumps are usually stupid. Much preferred side folder stocks to the under folders. Which brings us to the stockless model. I carried an M92 with the under folder removed and utilized a single point sling attached to the rear of the gun. It hung comfortably by my side allowing my hands to be free. To shoot, the gun rolled up into position easily. Right hand (on the pistol grip) pushed forward against the sling and left hand (gripping the front of the magazine) pulled rearward. Very stable. Just my 2 cents.

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