JUST LEARNED OF THE EXISTENCE OF THIS ODDBALL and I'd really like to find one for my collection. I'm mainly interested in .22rf single-shot pistols, but this thing fascinates me - if for no other reason than its close resemblence to the infamous Luger P08 9mm - even in name.
Below is a photo of an old 1954 True Magazine advertisement for the gun that I just obtained. If anyone has further info on this gun - possibly some experience shooting one - I'd certainly be interested in hearing about it, and I'm sure other THR posters would also find it interesting.
Thanks in advance for your help. Heck! I'll generously offer TWICE the advertised price, shown below, for one of these - even if it is in used condition.;) 45Broomhandle
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September 3, 2006, 03:33 PM
The ".14mg powder charge" was a regular paper cap, and the "bullet" was No.5 shot. They did work after a fashion. I have one I bought not long ago for $6 at an antique store.
One influence they had was that many folks ordered one thinking they were full size and real guns, and were disappointed and angry. Later, another gun was advertised with a similar name and appearance, again obviously a fake playing on the famous "Luger." Quite a few people refused to buy it, sure that it was just another plastic toy like the Kruger. In spite of that, quite a few were sold. The second fake Luger was called the "Ruger."
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Another .12 caliber airgun?
by B.B. Pelletier
What do I mean ANOTHER .12 caliber airgun? When did I show you the first one? Well, it was back on May 23 - The BB pistol that didn't shoot BBs. In an earlier article - Have you ever seen a rubber band gun? - we looked at the Sharpshooters, which were also .12 caliber. Today we have another one.
The Kruger '98 was Wham-O's idea of
cleverly suggesting a Luger without copyright infringement.
A pity they didn't know the Luger is really an '08 and the Mauser is the '98!
Wham-O made airguns?
The Wham-O company gave us lots of fun toys in the 1950s, but there were a few that I'm sure most people aren't aware of. Among them, the Kruger pistol was the only BB gun they made, as far as I know. It was a black styrene (plastic) handgun modeled after the famous Luger - hence the name. Most of the external parts were plastic, but there were some internal parts made of what was probably a low-carbon plate steel.
It shot birdshot with caps
The pistol was a single shot that used the explosive power of the common toy cap to launch No. 6 birdshot down a rolled steel "barrel" and out into the atmosphere. The instructions said you could use several caps for more power, so you know what all the little boys did! They loaded the firing mechanism with enough caps to send the shot into space, then they learned that the collective cushioning effect from dozens of paper caps was enough to slow down the hammer, causing the gun to misfire.
Inside the box lid, a sales pitch helped storekeepers move the guns.
Caps don't have much energy
By eliminating caps one at a time, little shooters eventually discovered that a brand-new Kruger had enough oomph to fire three caps at once - for a couple of shots. That was enough force to expel the tiny lead ball all the way out the muzzle, and in some cases several dozens of feet beyond! However, the act of firing set another force in motion that taught the junior shooter his second important lesson.
The guns turned to rust!
Caps, when they fire, leave a residue that is both corrosive and hygroscopic. So, after a few days of soaking up moisture from the air, the gun's mechanism was thoroughly rusted! Not only would the tiny shot no longer fit through the now-encrusted bore, the hammer mechanism refused to move through the built-up rusty scale along its sides. Most Krugers wound up in the trash in pretty short order.
Looking inside the firing mechanism,
where the caps went, we can see the rust.
This one is actually pretty nice.
But, Wham-O persisted!
Not content to rest on their laurels, Wham-O later brought out a real BB pistol they also called the Kruger. This pistol may have replaced the .12 caliber gun. It looked and functioned the same, but there was one important difference. If toy caps had a hard time pushing tiny .12 caliber lead shot out the barrel, they were completely unable to deal with a steel BB having three times the mass! This made the "big" Kruger the world's weakest BB gun.
Of course, those guns rusted just like the earlier ones, so there was soon no more evidence of what a bad idea this had been. Wisdom would have let sleeping dogs lie, but wisdom is sometimes in short supply. In Mexico, the Cabanas and Mendoza companies brought out their own cap-fired guns. Cabanas used round Greenie Stick-em caps in their revolver, while Mendoza had their own proprietary percussion caps and BBs!
Hey, these aren't really AIR guns at all!
Before someone takes me to task, I will admit that these are not really airguns. In fact, they are firearms in the strictest sense. But their weak and often ambiguous performance has placed them in the bottom tier of airguns, so I decided to report on them. And, they do share a projectile that some of our airguns also use.
The next time you're at a garage sale, estate sale or flea market, you might find one of these Wham-O guns. Pay about $5 or $10 for one - and not a penny more.
posted by B.B. Pelletier @ 5:30 AM 6 comments
September 3, 2006, 04:17 PM
Wham-o did indeed bring us many interesting products, including the Frisbee, the Hula-Hoop and the Super ball, but I can't find out that they had anything to do with the Kruger.
One air gun maker, Sheridan, did turn out a single shot .22 pistol called the Knockabout. It was pretty primitive, using a tip up barrel sort of like a single barrel shotgun. The sights were fixed and not too good, but they were fairly accurate and fun to shoot.
To expand a bit more on the Kruger, the picture is accurate, and the gun does indeed look like a Luger. But the Kruger toggle link, safety and magazine are molded into the plastic and are non-functional. Firing is by pulling back the knob at the rear to cock the gun, then pulling the trigger to release the striker. There is no real safety and no means of disassembly for cleaning, which is why, as "Pelletier" says, most were scrapped. I don't know how they got the 8 3/4" measurement; the gun is about 2/3 scale to a Luger.
September 3, 2006, 05:37 PM
You could load them with crushed match heads under a sharpened piece of coat hanger:evil: Used to stick in the wooden wall at school:eek: and leave a big stench!:cool:
JohnBT I remember seeing that bag of ammo when it was up for sale. The Kruger pistol on the bag didn't really register at the time. Glad you dug that up. We've met at the Pyramidair website. (I always post as anon.)
For the THR Forum readers, here's a picture of my only connection with Wamo Mfg. Co.: a nice little 22rf single-shot Powermaster. (Wamo spelling as shown on the gun, and the city shown there is San Gabriel, CA.)
The Wamo Powermaster is at top, and the bottom pistol is the Sheridan Knocabout mentioned in another posting on this thread.
Jim Keenan, my thanks for your postings. You mentioned buyers thought the Kruger was "full-size." Judging from the photo in my old ad, I automatically assumed this was an adult hand holding the pistol, as I'm sure many others thought. (Please note, the correct spelling of Knocabout is WITHOUT the second K. It's spelled this way on the box lid, the instructions printed inside the lid, and on a vintage ad I have for it.
You also called it "pretty primitive." I've looked mine over and find the only think primitive about it is the fact that it's a single-shot. But, I'm a lover of little, oddball single-shot .22rf pistols.
A widely known gun authority, Julian S. Hatcher, Technical Editor, wrote in the July 1953 American Rifleman Dope Bag the following paragraph regarding this little gem. "This gun has a nice trigger pull, and good sights. We have tried it out, both indoors and outdoors, without a malfunction. It shows excellent accuracy for a short barrel fixed sight handgun. It is much safer than any automatic. It would make a good kit or trap line gun. It is a fine little gun at a very moderate price."
And, speaking of fake Lugers, Jim, have you seen the Spanish .22rf Panzur pistol? Check it out in this photo below. It was offered for sale recently by Don Adams Guns, I borrowed this photo from his website.
Thanks again, guys. I still look forward to finding a Kruger .12cal I can purchase reasonably. 45Broomhandle
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Life is too short to dance with ugly women. ---Author Unknown
September 4, 2006, 06:52 PM
Hi, 45 broomhandle,
Thanks for the info that the Kruger was produced by Wham-o. They must have become PC as their web site never mentions any guns at all, which is why I thought there was no connection. Were Wham-o and Wamo the same outfit? I thought not, but am not sure.
Also thanks for the correction on the "Knocabout." The name is not on the gun and I didn't remember whether it had the second "k" or not, so I guessed - wrong. I agree that "primitive" is too harsh for the gun; they are pretty well made and IIRC sold for $17 when the Ruger standard was $37.50. But they sure aren't fancy - maybe "basic" would have been a better word.
That "Panzur" looks a lot like the old Erma Luger which was fairly popular for a while, but it doesn't look to be anywhere near as well made as the German gun. (Don't confuse the Erma with the Stoeger Luger, which was a whole different gun.)
Since you are interested in odd-wads and single shots, do you recall a pistol called the S-M (no, it didn't mean THAT!). The S stood for WHB Smith, but I forget who the M stood for. It was a single shot pistol with a bolt, sort of resembling a Ruger. It had the odd feature of not having a bolt return spring, thus proving that a blowback pistol doesn't need one. The bolt blew back and stopped. Then the shooter loaded another round and closed the bolt manually. IIRC there was a later version that had a spring; it too, fired and locked back, but didn't close until the shooter pushed down a stop on the side of the gun.
September 4, 2006, 07:39 PM
Hey, Jim Keenan. Interesting that you should mention the SM. I just recently learned of this gun and instantly fell in love with it. GOTTA' OWN ONE.
If you don't mind going to a different forum, I've got a thread started at the URL below about that little gem that you should find interesting: http://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=149447
As for the Erma and Stoeger Lugers I've got one of each in my collection. Please keep in mind that I'm a collector, not a shooter. I have another thread, on another forum, looking for one of the .22rf "Luger" pistols made by Navy Arms.
My first love is the Fiala Model 1920, a magazine-fed, single-shot .22rf. Are you familiar with them? Fascinating guns. John Stimpson has a forum on his High-Standard website because the Fiala is a close relative - designed by the same guy who designed the H-S Model B.
I'm inclined to believe the Wamo may have no connection with Wham-O. For one thing they are in different cities: Alhambra and San Gabriel. Another thing is that Wham-O has insisted that they never produced a .22rf handgun. Hey, maybe they DIDN'T. That would be a big disappointment for a lot of collectors who own these little Powermasters.
FYI - below is a picture of the SM Sporter that ran with a Dope Bag article in the Aug. 1963 American Rifleman. 45Broomhandle
The first is with a standard Luger, the second of the steel insert with the "chamber", and the third of the gun cocked.
I erred in saying it was about 2/3 the size of the Luger, 7/8 would be closer. The Kruger is almost as long as the Luger if you count the cocking piece at the rear, which I didn't.
September 4, 2006, 07:55 PM
I would love to have a Fiala, but have never been able to find one at a reasonable (what I can afford) price. I did acquire a while back a Stevens No. 10, single shot.22 pistol, very well made, and very heavy. A real target pistol with a good trigger.
That was it - Manson. But I don't think S-M stood for Sidney Manson, I believe it stood for Smith-Manson, which would be more likely as IIRC it was always written with a dash. I met WHB Smith at the 1963 NRA convention when he was promoting the pistol. The model he was showing had a plain wood stock, not the plastic one shown in the NRA picture.
He told me he had invested in the enterprise and thought the pistol had merit. I did not disagree, but just reserved judgement until I could see how it sold. AFAIK, it was made and marketed, but never really went anywhere.
I think I have seen only one since.
September 4, 2006, 08:22 PM
Jim, you're sure pushing the right buttons to grab my interest. The Texas collector who sold me the Wamo and Knocabout says he's got a No. 10 he might part with.
From what I've read here about the Kruger I've begun to lose interest UNLESS I could actually find one for $6 in an antique shop. Unfortunately I don't visit any. So, I'll just wait until one shows up in some other venue.
What are you hoping for in a Fiala? In my collection I've got four of the 3-barrel sets with detachable walnut buttstock. Only three sets are still in the original carrying case. There are only TWO case variations, and only TWO stock attachment methods known so far. Those would be the only two I'll probably keep - and sell the other two sets.
Below is a pic of some of the Fialas.
I'll probably have some others I'll let loose of. So keep in touch. 45Broomhandle
Very, very nice. Some extremely rare guns there. Did you get ALL the Fialas?
September 6, 2006, 01:48 AM
Hi Jim. Believe it or don't, I've even begun passing up the few Fialas which have come up for sale recently. Gettin' picky...
ALL my guns are marked Fiala. I DON'T HAVE FIALAS MARKED: Columbia Arms Co.; Schall Bros.; Botwinik Bros.: UNMARKED; or any with other brands which may not be known yet. I DO have one which must be considered a transitional between owners because the trade name and the polar bear logo have been obliterated by using a small punch to stipple out the stamping. The MODEL 1920, and the MADE IN USA stampings on the right side were left untouched. (See photo below.)
I'm still looking to obtainL original fitted cases WITH various ad banners, some case covering other than the black leatherette; ORIGINAL smoothbore barrels. ANY variations of ANY part from what are already known, that I DON'T already own: AND, any manuals, advertisement, etc. from original owners.
Sorry I've gotten off the track here of my original posting about the Kruger. I get carried away when it comes to Fialas. Thanks for listening. 45Broomhandle
Most of this will be of special interest to Jim Keenan. Since these previous postings I've managed to obtain a nice Stevens No. 10; a Stevens Mdl. 35; and an S-M SPORTER in excellent condition. The latter came from the last Kull & Supica auction.
The auction company didn't know what they had. The consignor told them he thought it was circa 1930. They scoffed at that since it had PLASTIC grips. I gave them a lot of info trying to convince them it was ONLY made in 1953 therefore C&R eligible. Since I could NOT prove a final production date it had to go to my local FFL dealer.
SOMEONE certainly knew what it was! They forced me to end up paying almost $500 for the little guy! Not bad for a gun that originally sold for less that $20 only half-a-century ago!!! Research tells me that less than 600 were produced. Interestingly, the serial number on mine doesn't fit in ANY of the known ranges! (?) By the by, SM stands for Sydney Manson, Pres and founder of the company, and co-designer of the gun.
Further update on the Fialas. Now have one marked Schall & Co. but VERY rough. Trying right now to win a very nice one at auction. And, have added a few more to the herd. Here's latest one obtained just recently that has NO attachment method for a buttstock, and the barrel is pinned rather than have a take-down bolt for interchangeable barrels. This was offered very briefly in this configuration to save a buck buying a top line gun. ARROWS in photo below show pin in barrel (top) and lack of machining on bottom of butt (bottom).
This gun also has the older style of ridged walnut grips rather than smooth.
Have added a lot of other guns since the last posts here and am really enjoying them.
Best regards ~ ~ ~ 45Broomhandle
(Use is hereby granted to members of THR forum to use any of the text or photos I post to this forum.)
January 18, 2010, 01:18 PM
I had a Kruger in the 50's.
The low carbon steel would wear rapidly thus allowing the corner of the cocking bolt to slip and not stay to the rear, while waiting to fire.
My mother sewed a corduroy pocket on the inside of my Boy Scout jacket, so I could carry it.
From what I recall, it would not break glass but it would sure scare the mud ducks.
January 18, 2010, 03:09 PM
Interesting Kruger story there Ligito. I would like to have at least handled one of them back then, but I was too busy chasing the REAL firearms.
Since I last posted to this forum a LOT of water has gone under the bridge. For example, Tom Gaylord has authored a lengthy, well-illustrated article in the 2009 Shotgun News Treasury regarding the guns of Wham-O. They actually made THREE .22rf firearms: WAMO Powermaster Pistol; WAMO Powermaster Rifle, and the WAMO "Hamilton" Dueling Pistol.
I bought Tom's rifle he showed in that article and had a PA 'smith build a new "magazine" storage box for the missing one. Here's current pic of it. That "magazine" holds two new 50-rd boxes of 22LR quite comfortably.
I am still looking for the WAMO "Hamilton." Though it's a .22rf single-shot, the gun looks VERY similar to the many old percussion pistols popular in Alexander Hamilton's era for use as dueling pistols. And Alexander was purported to be very active in the dueling area!!!
Some Wham-O products were packaged with an ad on them for WAMO SPORTING GOODS. Here's an example which illustrates the "Hamilton."
I would dearly love to obtain one of the "Hamilton" pistols. If anyone knows of one for sale, please let me know.
Best regards ~ ~ ~ 45Broomhandle
If Al Qaeda wants to demolish the America we know and love, they better hurry 'cause Obama is beating them to it.
June 26, 2010, 03:26 PM
We found one of the Whammo versions in my wife's mothers grandfather's effects. It appears to be in perfect condition and includes the original instructions, what looks like a ramrod perhaps for loading, some caps and some shot.
I'd share the instructions if you like (jpg), but I'd be reluctant to ship the pistol for fear of causing an international incident. In any case my son may be interested in collecting it.
I suspect that there are lots of them in the US. not likely so many here in Canada.
June 26, 2010, 06:51 PM
oil guy, here's an old ad for the Kruger. Only one I can remember ever seeing. Unfortunately I didn't record info on the publication I found it in.
Got a lot of fond memories from those days in BC...
Best regards ~ ~ ~ 45Broomhandle
July 6, 2010, 01:48 AM
I am originally from the Okanagan and moved to Vancouver in 1984, does Tom still live around here.I would love to see a gun room. What is the BCHAC?
July 6, 2010, 03:13 AM
Hi Skinny1950. Tom was the largest gun dealer in Western Canada, and was still alive and well in '84. That was about the time we had to return to the States to look after elderly parents. Our two oldest children still live on Northern Vancouver Island, in Black Creek and Zeballos. I understand Tom passed away sometime after we had left Canada and I've always wondered what happened to the HUNDREDS of guns he owned.
BCHAC: British Columbia Historical Arms Collectors. The presentation was made during a two-day gun show there in Vancouver. We lived over on the island and there we had VIACA: Vancouver Island Arms Collectors Association. Here's the shoulder patch we had. That's a penny in lower left corner.