Determining the age of a vintage airgun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • How old?
  • It starts with straight razors
  • Shape of the blade
  • Shape of the scales
  • Blade profile
  • Airguns
  • Generations/ages
  • Very old steel and wood
  • Seals
  • Spring guns
  • Funky parts
  • Other finishes
  • Post WW II steel and wood guns
  • Breech and piston seals
  • Look for plastic
  • Painted guns?
  • Summary

How old?

If you are new to the field of airguns there seems to be an ocean of things you need to know. If you want to become a collector, some of these things are crucial. Today I will explore how you can determine the relative age of a vintage airgun.

It starts with straight razors

Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about straight razors very long. But they were the thing I used to rediscover what it feels like to be a new guy in an established hobby. Although I am not interested in collecting them, I couldn’t help but pick up some clues to their relative ages (when they were made) along the way.

Shape of the blade

Before around 1800, straight razors had no real tang. That’s the skinny part behind the blade where you hold the razor to shave. Razors from 1800 and earlier simply don’t have one. They just end the sharp blade and remain almost as wide but become dull as they go back to the pivot pin on the scales.

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Something else

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Always something else
  • Change it
  • Make ‘em pumpers
  • Farco air shotgun
  • A good rifle
  • The 1873 Springfield
  • A long shot
  • The point
  • Summary

Always something else

One thing has stood out about airgunners for me. No matter what you are talking about, they always seem to want something else — something different. I remember many years ago when powerful precharged guns didn’t exist, the Yewah 3B Dynamite multi pump from Korea was looked at as a big deal. It was powerful, large caliber (.25) and airgunners were in awe of it — mainly because few of them had ever seen one.

Change it

Then I read about a guy who had one and reported how very powerful it was, but, man, was it ever hard to pump! The 3B required 150 pump strokes to fill initially, and then you could top it off after every shot with another 20 pumps. This fellow liked the power but hated all the work. So he machined a fill coupling and turned his 3B into a precharged airgun! He said the gun became lighter when the pump mechanism was removed, and it was no longer a chore to fill.

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The 2017 Texas airgun show: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Smaller show
  • Fewer dealers?
  • On the other hand…
  • TX200 Mark III
  • Behind me — a Supergrade and …
  • What about dealers — Sig
  • Crosman
  • Umarex
  • More to come

Last Saturday the 4th annual Texas airgun show was held at the Arlington Sportsman Club in Mansfield, Texas. Let’s begin with the weather, since Hurricane Harvey had many people concerned.

Smaller show

We lost many dealers from south Texas. It’s hard to say how many for sure, but I estimate 5-10 at least. Then there was the loss of the public that I would put around 50. They had to stay home and contend with the weather, and I understand that.

But there were also lost a lot of folks from other states who read the word Texas and Hurricane and thought the entire state was getting hit. Folks, Texas is large. Very large. The airgun show is hundreds of miles inland from any coast (about the distance NYC is from Washington D.C.), so by the time it gets up here it’s just a lot of constant misting rain and perhaps a constant gusting wind of 40-50 mph. The Arlington Sportsman Club ranges are all covered very well, so shooters and guns didn’t get wet from the several brief showers we did have. The wind was very pleasant 10 mph and the day was a balmy 78 degrees at the hottest. That’s paradise in Texas in August! I’m saying the weather was perfect for the show and anyone who was there will tell you the same thing.

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Collecting airguns: Modifications and refinishing 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Scarcity Part 1
Condition Part 2
What is collecting? Part 3
Collecting airguns: Fakes and counterfeits Part 4

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Hypothetical
  • It’s a Tucker!
  • Dig in or knuckle under?
  • What about it?
  • However…
  • Specifically
  • When not to modify
  • What about an FWB 124?
  • Controversy
  • The end

Today’s topic will be controversial. Many of you will feel that this isn’t any of my business. If you own something you have the right to do anything to it that you like — including destroying it. I would agree with you on that. If it’s yours, it’s yours to do with as you like. But it isn’t that simple. If it was, there would be nothing to say.

Hypothetical

Let’s say you have inherited a vintage car from your favorite rich uncle. It was made in 1948, and it has some lines that you think are cool, but others that you don’t care for. You want to do extensive bodywork and also to lower the suspension several inches.

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Collecting airguns: Fakes and counterfeits 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Scarcity Part 1
Condition Part 2
What is collecting? Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Counterfeiting
  • The racketeer nickel
  • Made to deceive
  • The tale
  • People want them!
  • Fake airguns
  • Refinishing and modifying
  • Personality airguns
  • The Rosetta Stone

Here we go again. Today we will look at the shady side of collecting — the works of intentional deception. In some collecting fields fakes and counterfeits are so common that they have become a whole area of study within the field. Let’s look at the oldest of all — the counterfeiting of money.

Counterfeiting

Long ago it was more possible to counterfeit money because there were fewer ways of determining whether something was fake or real. It wasn’t until old Archimedes came up with a way of knowing how much gold was present in an object (Eureka!) that people had much of a chance of knowing what was real and what wasn’t. They learned to trust the money issued by certain governments (Rome) or kingdoms (Babylon) because those authorities made every effort to police their own money. The death penalty was usually the price for counterfeiting, because the authorities did not want the expense of policing the currency.

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Nothing new under the sun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • You made me do it
  • Air shotguns
  • You don’t understand!
  • BUT — it’s been done
  • All-metal 760
  • Summary

You made me do it

I should give credit for today’s short blog to you readers, because if it weren’t for your investigations into a more efficient insect killer this past weekend, I never would have written this report.

Air shotguns

You talked about an air-powered shotgun all weekend. Veteran readers are aware I have written about air shotguns many times in the past.

Air shotguns

and

Air Shotguns, Part 5 – the Yewha

and

Two more air shotguns – Paul and Vincent

and

Air shotguns, part 3: the Crosman Trapmaster 1100

and

Air shotguns, part 2: the Fire 201

and

Air shotguns, part 1: the Farco

and we can’t forget my 3-part test of the Gamo Viper Express

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Collecting airguns: Scarcity 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Success!
  • Reality
  • How rare is rare?
  • Second gun
  • The big one
  • A defective design
  • USMR
  • History is the point
  • Scarce gun number 2
  • The difference
  • Celebrity association
  • Moral?
  • Is it real?
  • Sow’s ear
  • Don’t fall for it
  • Market-driven scarcity
  • Summary

Success!

This history section of the daily blog is a big success. Many readers are interested in collecting and learning about vintage airguns, so I am starting a series on collecting. There will be some things that you have seen before, but I hope to put it in a new light. And I have some new things to share, as well. I have already identified several topics for reports, so this promises to be a long one! I won’t run it consecutively, though. I’ll weave in in amongst the reports on historical items of interest. In the end I may turn it into a feature for “Firearms News”.

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