A rare Quackenbush pistol comes to light

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • From Airgun Revue
  • Wes Powers find!
  • Toy pistol?
  • Powered by rubber bands

I had a glitch writing today’s historical blog, so I pulled in this one from the past. Oddly, Edith did the same thing when I was unconscious on a ventilator in the hospital several years ago. At any rate, it belongs in the historical section.

From Airgun Revue

The following appeared in Airgun Revue #6, which was published in 2000. While this blog is kind of short, I’ve always had a strange liking for this little pistol because it reminds me of the Haviland & Gunn pistol Edith found at a flea market for $5.

10-01-16-01
Over 125 years old, yet no one’s ever heard of this gun! read more


The rise of the BB gun: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Return to normalcy
  • Modern production methods
  • Daisy changes manufacturing processes
  • The age of repeaters
  • Quick Kill
  • Two major BB guns
  • BBs get better through competition
  • Are we finished?

Return to normalcy

In Part 1 we ended our look at the progress of the BB gun just after World War II. I had mentioned that the war stopped the production of BB guns so the manufacturers could make wartime items. When the war was over, there was still a period of time when raw materials were hard to come by. They had been stockpiled for the war and were not in the general channels of distribution for over a year. The government sold most of its stockpiles, but these sales took many years to complete and the materials were often not located where they were needed the most. So a lot of time passed while things returned to normal. read more


Changing from lead shot to steel

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The first lead BB
  • Size matters
  • Advantages of air rifle shot
  • The dawn of steel shot
  • How lead shot tubes work
  • How steel shot tubes work
  • This information is worth millions

The first lead BB

When BB guns were new in the 1880s, they shot lead shotgun shot in the size BB. That’s where the name BB gun comes from. BBs were nominally 0.180-inches in diameter. Nominally means that they were supposed to be about that size and they were sorted by screens to ensure they were all close to that size, but let’s be honest — does it really matter whether a single piece of birdshot in actually 0.180-inches or 0.182-inches? Not to a shotgunner, it doesn’t. Maybe uniform shot gives a more uniform pattern, but there are other factors to consider, as well, and shot uniformity is only one of many things. read more


The rise of the BB gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

Part 2

This report covers:

  • The first BB gun
  • Plymouth Iron Windmill Co.
  • The BB becomes air rifle shot
  • Quality control problems
  • You’ll shoot your eye out
  • World War II
  • After the war

The first BB gun

This is a comprehensive report of the early history of the BB gun. The first successful BB gun is thought to be the Markham. It was made in 1886 in Plymouth, Michigan by the Markham Air Rifle Company. The gun was mostly wood with just a few metal parts where they were absolutely needed — such as the mainspring, trigger, barrel, barrel hinge and other assorted small parts. It looked a little like a gun overall, but the shape was fatter all around because of the wooden parts.

Markham BB gun
Markham BB gun was made of wood with a few metal parts. This is a later 1888 model, but the early guns looked similar. read more