Rifle ID


David Peterson
July 8, 2011, 12:39 PM
One more (I promise!) family hand-me-down. Is this a pellet gun of some sort? No markings or manufacture indicated anywhere. The handle pulls completely back to engage a very stiff spring. Does the trigger then release a pin or rod to discharge the ball or pellet? I tried to describe this to someone once and he thought it might be a 'match gun'; but my description was probably bad and, anyway, I don't know what a match gun is. The condition of the gun and the nickel plating is fair, the mechanism and triggering seem to work well.
Any thoughts?

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David Peterson
July 8, 2011, 12:42 PM
Bore is a pretty solid 1/4". I had expected a metric size for some reason (though I didn't get out the micrometer).

Jim Watson
July 8, 2011, 12:51 PM
The trigger guard lever cocks a piston against a strong spring. Firing drives the piston to compress air and launch a pellet. .25 caliber was quite common in older air guns, which this appears to be.

I have never seen one like this, though.

the mechanism and triggering seem to work well.

Caution, dryfiring a spring piston air gun is very hard on the action. It depends on the cushioning effect of air compressed behind the pellet to brake the piston down smoothly.

David Peterson
July 8, 2011, 01:44 PM
Jim, I'll take your advice to heart. I've 'dryfired' it a couple of times to see what would happen. This was found up in the rafters of my grandfather's workshop about 30 years ago. It had at least that many years more of sawdust on it at the time so I haven't a clue where it had been or where it came from.

David Peterson
July 8, 2011, 02:04 PM
... if they're of any value.

Jim K
July 8, 2011, 02:54 PM
I think that might be the kind that has an air reservoir in the butt stock and can be pumped up (multiple strokes of the trigger-guard pump handle) to get some pretty respectable velocities.

I agree with Jim Watson about dry firing.


David Peterson
July 8, 2011, 04:04 PM
Jim K. - I don't think so. It takes quite a pull to cock it just the once and the spring action is already very respectable. Once the gun is cocked, the 'trigger guard lever' swings freely back into place. It no longer is in tension. The lever then engages on a sprung catch for firing position.

July 8, 2011, 05:15 PM
There is an almost exact twin of this rifle shown in the 2nd Edition of "The Airgun Digest"; it's described there as a post-Civil War 25-calibre "gallery gun" made by O.Will, for an arcade shooting gallery, and there are a few photos showing it being loaded and fired. This could conceivably be worth significantly more than the Luger you showed earlier. I'd take a very close look at all of the metal pieces to see if you can find any names or addresses engraved anywhere, and then try to get an appraisal and ensure it, or sell it to a collector.

David Peterson
July 8, 2011, 06:00 PM
That would be remarkable! I don't know guns but I do know woodworking and antiques - it's conceivable that it has that kind of age. Luckily, the gun has never been cleaned or buffed. I'll take a magnifying glass and see if there is a ghost of a mark somewhere.
Interesting that of the half dozen guns now in my possession I was sure this was just an 'also-ran'. They're all going to stay with me but an insurance value would be helpful to know.

David Peterson
July 9, 2011, 06:00 AM
SDC - you have a sharp eye. It may not be quite so old but it is definitely an offshoot of the German company of Oscar Will. I'm still sorting out the history - patents in latter part of 1800's, merged into another company in '21. But you pointed me in the exactly right direction to find out more. Thanks very much for that.

July 9, 2011, 07:45 AM
Here's the picture in "The Airgun Digest" that made me think of your rifle; I'm not sure if the rifles in the WUM catalog were made in the US and exported to Germany, or the other way around; J.I. Galan, the editor of The Airgun Digest says that these were produced in the US, and could be identified as to which area by a number of features.

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