The Daisy Powerline 1200 CO2 BB Pistol

Last month I packed up my Beeman P17 and mailed it off to my old pal Sgt. Dave. A week later, this box showed up in my mail:

and inside:

A genuine Daisy Powerline 1200, complete with all the paperwork. The 1200 was made from 1977 to 1966, replacing the CO2 200, which was functionally similar but had (I think) a more stylish appearance. Less plastic and more cast metal. Anyway, I thought I’d load it up and see how it performed.

Like most Daisy CO2 pistols, to insert a CO2 cartridge you remove one of the handgrips via the indent provided for the purpose:


Popping off the grip reveals the CO2 compartment and the trigger springs:

I don’t know of another Daisy, offhand, that shares the 1200’s clever trigger adjustment system: Three springs, of which one, two, or all three may be connected to the trigger. I left the setting alone for now, installed a CO2 cylinder and tightened the thumbscrew until I heard the brief “psst” indicated that the cylinder cap had been punctured. The appearance of frost around the neck of the cylinder indicated that gas had indeed flowed, chilling the neck enough to condense and freeze some moisture from the atmosphere.

Replacing the grip panel, I cocked and fired the gun and heard a reassuring “POP!” Time to actually load and test it.

It turned out I had a box of appropriate BBs on hand:

I inserted a dozen into the loading port:

stood five yards away from my pellet trap, and fired for the record in one-handed bullseye style. The resulting group:

I was aiming at the cross at the top of the photo, so you can see I was shooting a bit low and pulling to the left. My group is about 2″ by 3/4″. I suppose I could do better by shooting two handed, removing one of the trigger springs, and wearing my shooting glasses, which allow me to actually focus on the front sight. Still, not too shabby. It’s a fun plinker and I think I’ll keep it for a while. These are still pretty cheap, though I’ve seen people try to get as much as $80 for them on eBay. You should probably be able to find one for half that on collector’s forums, or for even less, if you shop yard sales.

My new old Feinwerkbau 300S, part II

My recently acquired FWB 300s was a fine shooter as it arrived, but the stock was a mess of scratches and deep dents, and there was rust and bare metal everywhere. I spent several days steaming dents, removing rust, and applying cold blue and aluminum black, and here’s the result.

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While I did some removal of metal scratches, I didn’t draw file out one large dent in the barrel sleeve. Maybe later.

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Postscript: Despite how much I liked this rifle, it too eventually found a new home. The problem was one of fit: I either had to raise the sights, or lower the cheekpiece to get a good head position, but the stock is non-adjustable, and you can’t fit a riser block under the front sight of the 300S (you can under other 300 models). The only other options were seriously modifying the stock or fitting a scope. I didn’t want to butcher a stock that can’t easily be replaced, and I bought this gun specifically to shoot with iron sights, so off it went.

Diana K98

I’m generally not a big fan of replica air guns, but this one caught my eye for a number of  reasons:

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First, it’s a replica of a classic metal-and-wood bolt action rifle, the WWII-era Mauser K98, and not some modern futuristic-looking polymer machine gun. Second, it’s a real practical pellet rifle, delivering an advertised  1100fps with light .177 pellets and 870 in .22. It’s a gun you can actually hunt with, not a BB or air soft gun, as well as being a future collectable. And it’s built to last, of wood and steel. No molded plastic or cheap stampings here.

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What Diana has done is taken their magnum under-lever action from the model 460, added period sights, and mounted it in a very authentic looking wooden stock, all for about $420 at Pyramyd. No, I have no intention of buying one, but if they made a matching K98  scope mount that I could slip my compact Burris 4x scope into-  I’d be awfully tempted.

The HW Barakuda

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I first came across this unusual gun in the pages of W.H.B. Smith’s Gas and Spring Air Guns of the World. (I traded my somewhat rare copy away, but I see you can now order a nice reissue from Stackpole books for much less than originals are selling for.)  Getting back to the Barakuda: It’s perhaps the only air gun that was designed with dieseling in mind.

Normally dieseling is the result of an excess of a hydrocarbon in the chamber, and it’s something you want to avoid. In the Barakuda, a measure amount of a very light hydrocarbon is injected into the chamber behind the pellet. The heat from the compression of air ignites the ether-air miix, and you get an extra boost of several hundred feet per second. If you look at the above photo, you’ll see what looks more or less like a common HW 35 but with a tube running alongside the barrel. Here’s a view from above:

 

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A glass ampule containing ether was placed in the tube and crushed, releasing the liquid. Pulling back on the “bolt” would inject some of the vaporized ether  into the compression chamber. The combination of spring plus ether-air combustion was supposed to result in velocities of over 1,000 fps, but in practice this was rarely (if ever) achieved.  More often than not the result was pellets blown apart (you were supposed to use round balls for this reason), blown seals, and sometimes broken springs. The heavyweight HW Barakuda pellet was reportedly developed in order to create a pellet that could stand up to the explosive force of this gun.

I’ve read that the gun was in production from 1954 to 1981, but I’ve also read that it’s fairly rare, with only a few hundred having been made.  Some “Barakudas” were reportedly made by dealers and gunsmiths by modifying a standard HW 35, but I’ve never actually seen an example or even a picture of one, which is not to say they don’t exist. If you find you have a hankering to own one, be advised that you’ll probably have to pay well in excess of $1,000 to get a working one- probably a lot more. The last one I saw being offered for sale had a price tag of $1,800. I suppose for the collector who has to have one of everything it might be worth it.