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Digging up bones and old memories

Just a reminder that I will be taking tomorrow/Thursday off, so there won’t be a new blog that day.

Today Ian McKee whose blog name is 45Bravo tells us about the Marksman BB pistol. Before we get to that, I have a confession to make. Ian sent me this report back in June. Or he thought he did. I have no record of that, so in August while we were at the Pyramyd Air Cup he asked me about it and I asked him to send it again. He did and I promptly forgot about it.

What I’m telling you is today’s report has been a long time coming. 

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

Take it away, Ian

Digging up bones and old memories 
The Marksman air pistol, the airgun that will probably live forever
by Ian McKee

This report covers:

  • Memories
  • Oh-oh!
  • Updated
  • The Blanca and Rio
  • Now for BB

Ever since Tom wrote an article a few months ago about moving on or letting go, I have been wanting to thin the herd of many older lower-end airguns that I no longer shoot, nor hang on the wall to display. I was cleaning out a closet last night and found a box with a bunch of old memories. 

Memories

The first thing I pulled out was my very first NEW airgun, a Daisy 179 that I received Christmas 1973 when I was nine years old. (I also had it taken away that same day and I didn’t get it back until the following Christmas. For some reason it seemed to have lost a lot of its magic over that year. [Editor: Ian — this is a story we all want to hear. Why was your gun taken away? Were you a bad boy?]

So that one was off the list to move. 

Next up was a Marksman MPR (Marksman Pistol Repeater) I had picked up in a trade somewhere along the years, and a Marksman 1010 that I had bought at a garage sale as non-functional for $1. I bought it to repair, just to learn about the design. 

Also in the box were some old shooting medals, and some awards. 

In looking at the pistols, I thought it would be a good idea to write about the history of the Marksman company and test the velocities of some guns that had been in a box for over 20 years. 

Oh-oh!

I was about an hour and half (and several paragraphs) into a brain dump of what I knew about the Marksman history, and was writing about their acquisition by S/R Industries and changes that had been made to the pistols by about 1990-ish when I went to Google a piece of information for clarification, and found a blog Tom had done back in 2006 about the Marksman air pistols.

Hells bells! He had beat me to it a long time ago, (note to self, search the blog first BEFORE I start writing about a subject.) [Editor’s comment: I rewrite stuff all the time. This blog is constantly getting new readers worldwide. Older blogs are fair game, Ian.]

While reading his blog I started wondering if the Marksman is still in production in 2023, 68 years after its introduction. 

After a few minutes searching I found that sadly, the gun we grew up with and had a love/hate relationship with is no longer in production in the venerable 1911 platform in the USA as of November 2023.

Updated

The good news is the basic design is still being made in 2023, but with an updated outer shell.

Marksman has changed the cosmetics of the pistols over the decades to keep up with ever evolving taste in firearms, the current Marksman Model 1018 now resembles a more modern nondescript semi auto pistol. 

Marksman 1018
Today’s Marksman 1018 is an updated version of the old Marksman BB pistol.

The trigger guard and “thumb safety” looks a little like a Taurus PT99, the grip is slightly reminiscent of a Walther P99, and the entire slide reminds me of a Fabrique Nationale FN57.

But mechanically it is still the same old single cocking action, tilt up barrel design we know and either love or hate, depending on how you feel about the Marksman pistol. [Editor’s comment: I’m fixin’ to soon give everybody a reason to love it again. Sorry, Ian, but apparently you are I are sharing the same brain today!]

I was specific when I said in the USA, because the Marksman 1010 is still alive and well in its traditional form in other parts of the world in 2023. 

The Blanca and Rio

The Blanca air pistol is a version of the Marksman 1010, but made in India. The Blanca is marketed in 2 versions, the standard black model that comes in a bright red and yellow cardboard box with the pistol and a tube of steel BBs  and a small pack of pellets packaged in a styrofoam insert. 

And the Rio version that is packaged in a black box, is more of a presentation model that is dressed in a highly polished chrome finish with black grips, and is presented on a red cloth interior and includes a container of steel BBs and a small tin of pellets. 

Marksman Blanca
Blanca and Rio BB pistols.

From my research on the web, it maintains the same specs and level of performance of the Marksman 1010, it is just being marketed to a new and apparently eager audience.

Unfortunately we see many new budget priced spring powered airguns that are sprang (pun intended) on the market every year and most are no longer being made after 2 years. 

An airgun that has been in constant production for 68 years, with very few if any significant mechanical changes, says a lot about the design that has stood the test of time. 

Love it or hate it, the Marksman pistol design will probably still be in production somewhere in the world in 2055, 100 years after it first hit the market..

Shoot safe, have FUN…

Ian

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Now for BB

I have a very special report for you on Friday. It’s about a dart gun, which is why I said what I did in Ian’s report about the Marksman pistols. They also shoot darts

Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers and to everyone, the Lord willing, I will be back Friday.

53 thoughts on “Digging up bones and old memories”

  1. I do wonder why such beautiful, traditional airguns are no longer marketed here in the US? Does Umarex hold the reins to all the replicas except for Sigs and a very few others? There’s just so much that I don’t know. A very happy Thanksgiving to all, enjoy some good family and friends time. Orv.

    • Doc,

      I don’t know why, other than younger marketeers think that guns like the 1911 are outdated and shooters want to see newer styles. I watch eBay for a lot of my old goodies these days.

      BB

      • The marketeers are wrong about the 1911 basic design.

        They need to reach out to their peers that actually shoot pistols rather than look at them online or in video games.

        One of the more popular high end pistols currently being bought by many new shooters with a disposable income is the Staccato 2011.

        It’s still a basic 1911 design but with “improvements” to bring it into the 21st century.

        I know many younger shooters that buy them, some just as a status symbol unfortunately.

        I know a few that but them and then take photos of them but rarely if ever shoot them.

        They are nice but I don’t have that much of a disposable income.

        Ian

        https://staccato2011.com/

  2. Anyone remember before Airsoft was invented? There were magazine ads for a few “Pellet firing pistols.”
    One looked like a space gun and other traditional pistols and could be had for only a few bucks. I ordered one once and it turned out to be the biggest piece of plastic spring powered junk you could find. It could hardly launch a hollow plastic bb across a room.
    And where the heck is my Piso Electric M60 Machine Gun Table Cigarette Lighter and a half dozen others?
    I must have a box of gems tucked away someplace I have not opened in 20 years.

    When Compasseco Airguns was going out of business I purchased two new China made Pioneer break barrel spring pistols for some stupid low price like $10.00 or something each. What did I have to lose?

    Well, they worked alright but are kind of crude looking, hurt my hand to hold them but worth the price I paid, I guess. I tucked them away and never shot them again. Figured the occasion for using them would present itself someday but it never did.
    I reworked the trigger housing metal and made it feel much better to grip. A picture is someplace in this blogs history, but they went back into storage. Not sure if they are now part of airgun history?

    Wow, just noticed one on Ebay for $70.

    Don’t recall seeing a review of that pistol anywhere? Never did check it’s performance out.

  3. Thanks Ian!

    My rememberer seems to recall my fooling with one of these things many years ago. It also seems to recall that I was not impressed, most especially when compared to the powder burners I was shooting at the time. My rememberer also recalled it did not last long and ended up in a landfill somewhere. I am also glad to “hear” that yours did not suffer the same fate.

    • RR, I can not tell you how many powder burner shooters I have encountered over the years that when I start talking about airguns they drag out a Marksman and either a pack of bbs or darts from their tool box or shelf in the garage to show me.

      I get them to put a few drops of ATF (not the agency) on the gun and cycle the action a few times the load it and they are amazed it still works.

      But we have all had one at one point or another in our airgun life.

      Some people detest them for their performance or lack there of.

      Others embrace them because it was something they had when they were younger and shot many thousands of times.

      Ian

      • “But we have all had one at one point or another in our airgun life.”

        Ian, or in my case make that “wanted to have had one.” LOL!
        As a kid in Connecticut, there was a sporting goods store called “Morsan’s Sporting Goods.”
        My Dad was big on camping, so we went to that place about every week.
        In one of their glass cases, they had a Marksman 1010, an all-metal one (I believe it was in 1968).
        Man, I though that thing looked so cool!
        I begged my Dad to let me get it…but he never did.
        Hence, I thank you for this report; you are making me want to get one of the old all-metal models.
        It can join my Daisy Buck model 105 (which I also never got to have as a kid) and become part of:
        “living out the past I never actually had.” Thank you! 😉

    • I have to respectfully disagree. I’ve been using the DX 17 for the last 12 months and having a blast. I’m 62 and have just started using airguns since our move to NC just about a year ago. Relocated from NJ so airguns were something we could not purchase without a Firearms permit. I shoot both BB as well as darts. It’s a bit of work to keep it in a 3 inch target at 4 meters but lots of low cost garage fun. Look forward to Friday’s report. I think I like dart shooting the best. I also have a cross man 760 that I use out to 6 meters. I can manage to keep 10 darts in a 2 inch Shoot N C target.

  4. I had one of these backbirths too, but came to it much later in life. My girlfriend at the time bought me one at a Kmart in the early ’80s. It kept me semi-entertained for most of one afternoon, until I discovered it wouldn’t even penetrate a thin carbon box. That is, if you could actually HIT the box with it.

    I might still have the thing, I’m not sure. I also collect toy and replica 1911s. A few years ago I wanted to take a picture of my toy and replica 1911s. The Marksman isn’t in the pic. I don’t remember if I couldn’t find it, or just decided that it wasn’t fit to be in the same pic with some $2 plastic squirt guns.

    • Snake45,
      Here are 3 of my 45-pistol collection. I’m not sure why they never made it into mainstream airgun stores. Probably because they are airsoft to BB conversions made by an airsoft company and were sold at an airsoft store. Most people will ask ‘Why do you have so many of the same airgun?”

      Only a collector or knowledgeable airgunner would know each one is different in some way. It’s the variants of the same pistol you are actually collecting.
      If custom airguns like these were more available, the 45 would be going strong.
      Thats a long-barreled Baretta BB pistol with them. They did cost more than the average ones.

    • No I didn’t shoot my eye out, nor injure myself.

      The Daisy 179 is a powerhouse, it can penetrate three, count them THREE sheets of printer paper at 10 ft.

      On a good day.

      Ian.

  5. Nothing about airguns:
    Today’s blog and associated comments reminds me of the days when I would walk to town on a Saturday and collect coke bottles ( soda bottles) along the way to redeem them for some cash. When I first started that routine the returned bottles got me 2 cents each which was barely enough to get a sandwich and a bottle of coke and a comic book. Along the way, you could see the “old men” talking / gossiping at the feed mill. The feed mill was a long narrow building that had a covered elevated loading dock, the same height as the deck of a semi trailer. The old men always smiled and waved at me as I came and went. My mom’s dad was one of those old men, he would sometimes give me a little chore to get some extra money if I was a little short of cash based on the weight of the sack carrying the soda bottles. Most frequently the chore was to get a round of coffee from the pool hall / diner about 25 yards away.

    Some days you just get to remembering your early youth.

    Mike

    • Mike that is what todays blog was really about.

      Remembering our youth and the things we experienced that help shape us into who we are today.

      As I was digging through the box the Randy Travis song was going through my head.

      Digging up bones.

      Ian.

  6. OK the story you want to hear.

    My brother and I were in the front yard Christmas morning wiggling tin cans with the new Daisy 179.

    I said wiggling tin cans because it lacked the power to knock them over much less penetrate the cans. (We are talking 1973 here, the cans were still made from real metal, not aluminum.)

    The neighborhood bully was about 13 years old, and he came by with his Christmas present, which was a horse.

    In his usual fashion, he tried to bully me and me and my brother, and he tried to make the horse kick me.

    I took the pistol, put it against the horse’s flank, and pulled the trigger.

    That startled the horse, he bucked a couple of times, and then took off running, as he was galloping away I was steadily unloading BB’s at him.

    The bully went home told his dad, who was a federal judge, who called my dad and had a talk with him and neither of them wanted to hear my nor my brothers side of the story.

    The pistol got put up in the closet for a year and the next year I got it back for Christmas.

    Ian.

    • Valuable life lessons were learned that day, by you, your brother, and even the horse, just not by the judge or the bully. Too bad. They are the ones that really needed to learn the lessons.

      Well I’m thankful for you, Ian, and the rest of you regulars on this blog for the education and help received over the last couple of years, and of course for B.B. and blessed Edith for creating this space, and to P.A. for hosting it.

      Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

    • I don’t know.

      I do see some interesting designs online from that region.

      A friend of mine‘s wife is filipino, I see some very interesting things from there as well.

      I have been discussing with her about the possibility of having a member of her family ship me one if I pay for everything.

      Or the next time she goes there and bring the money with her and then mail it back.

      But importing it might be a hassle.

      Ian.

  7. My first air gun was a Dasiy 717. I was in my late 20’s. My parents would not let me have a BB gun as a child. But, were OK with a 22 rifle. I too picked up bottles, but bought 22 with the money. No age limit back in the day to buy ammo. I still have both guns. The 717 was shot a lot and still shoots great. so far never been rebuilt. Always used Crosman Pellgun oil in it.
    Happy Turkey Day to all.

        • Kevin,

          Les Baer is a great maker. I have owned two over the years.
          Also Wilson Combat. Colts are what i carried for Service but always had what was US Issued worked to make them more reliable.

          Cleaned my Kimber Tactical Custom II last week and replaced springs. This particular pistol is the only one that has never made me do any clearing procedure even though i carry it nearly every day and shoot it regularly.
          I do the drills monthly even though it has proven it is uncanny reliable…must have been built on a Wednesday.

          shootski

          John Moses Browning is my HERO.

  8. I remember having a Daisy CO2 BB pistol in the early to mid sixties (not sure exactly when). It was semi-automatic and I am pretty sure it was a model 200. Sadly, I never learned to shoot it very well. And it subsequently disappeared (like most of us kid’s things) after I stopped using it. My dad had a way of getting rid of stuff like that without us really noticing most of the time. He had to because we had no room to store much. Anyway, it would be fun to find another one that works well just for nostalgia reasons.

      • That’s cool Ian! In a few online posts I have seen recently (when I was searching for a model number based on my memory of what it was like) indicated these were prone to leaking and difficult to work on. I hope you find it. How do you remember its accuracy? I couldn’t hit much with mine. But I am sure most of that issue was me not having any skills or lessons on how to shoot well.

  9. Just wanted stop in and add my best wishes to all, here. I, too, am very thankful for Pyramyd’s sponsoring of this blog and for Tom who does an exceptional job of putting out the information and insights we all come here for.

    And so,, a very Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    Ed

  10. 45Bravo, B.B., and Readership,

    For those who celebrate tomorrow: I wish you a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

    The rest of you my wish for you is to keep more shots in the X Ring!

    For 45Bravo another good read. Thank you!
    This time of year always unearths memories of all of the Thanksgivings eating turkey sandwich box lunches or turkey paste from a feed tube and flying Overwatch to give the Carrier Battle Groups time to eat their baked turkeys and fixings in peace.

    shootski

  11. “Love it or hate it, the Marksman pistol design will probably still be in production somewhere in the world in 2055, 100 years after it first hit the market..”

    And fully 1/2 of them will be faulty lol
    Owned a few of them in 15 years ago…only bought one, the other two were the replacements (under warranty thankfully)…then I gave up and went Umarex.

  12. In 1621 after the Pilgrams way of life in a commune for survival failed … some were not contributing as much but were taking their full share anyway, sound familiar today? people were granted private property and told to provide for themselves. Low and behold everyone prospered to the point of having an overabundance of food and supplies.
    They decided to share with the local Indians and thank them for helping them survive here and celebrated with a days long get together. The first Thanksgiving dinner celebration

    On Oct 3, 1789. President George Washington came out with this, https://www.si.edu/spotlight/thanksgiving/proclamation
    (A must read)

    Then in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln declared it a National Holliday.

    Now you know the story. Enjoy the day and give thanks to our Heavenly Provider.

  13. And my Bully story …
    We had one named Brian growing up in Greenpoint. Thought he was really bad and was always mouthing off to people. He was a loner, and nobody liked him. He did not attend the same school as the rest of us and did not grow up with us.
    Years passed and we continued to grow taller but at some point, he stopped growing and a lot of us went on to be 6′ tall.
    One day he started mouthing off to some of us and it dawned on me, I don’t need to take this kind of crap. I could easily kick his butt now and let him know in so many words. To my surprise, he immediately backed off and apologized to us all. He was afraid of us all along but was trying to act like a tuff guy hoping he could fit in with our crowd.

    We were just a big bunch of rowdy school buddies that hung out in a small local park and decided to name ourselves as a gang to keep other gangs away. He got some bad advice from his father. Turned out he just wanted to hang out with us and eventually we learned all about him. He had some problems, but he became our friend and was glad he did not have to be a bully anymore.

  14. OK folks. I spent a good part of Thanksgiving on my private range with my Diana 34. I have a new favorite air rifle. Do not fret. I will be putting out a Part Six shortly.

    • RR

      That is good news. I have been urging you from the beginning as gently as possible to give a 34 a chance to show its stuff. Hoping it earns a permanent place. Looking forward to your report.

      Happy Thanksgiving.

      Deck

      • Deck,

        With the gentling that BB did to this air rifle, it is incredible. I do not need or want a powerful sproinger. The main reasons I did not have a 34 is the power, the commonness and the plainness. I bought this air rifle to help out a widow. This thing is fun to shoot now.

        Will it stay at RRHFWA? Very likely.

        • RR

          My love for my 34 is not for its power or aesthetics. I have firearms for that plus my Sig ASP20 and Feinwerkbau Sport. Maybe it’s the barrel on my 34 but its accuracy at 25 yards exceeds that of all my springers except possibly my vintage 10 meter rifles.

          Hope yours does as well.

          Deck

    • Sounds great R.R., I for one will be looking forward to your report. I do have a Diana 34 0.177 that is ‘almost’ right, but not quite. Perhaps you inspire me to give it a new opportunity.

      Henry

    • I have never owned a 34. I know they’re well made, and highly regarded and sought after.

      But they are just, well, plain.

      Now, if it was a Diana 60, 65 or 75 I’d love to have one or two or three, the GISS system is really neat.

      Having a recoilless Springer just makes it stand out from the crowd.

      Ian

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