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US Army and BB guns

Discussion in 'Air Guns' started by kBob, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. kBob

    kBob Well-Known Member

    Just puttering about today and ran across a thing on the WWII Mc whoever air gunnery trainer.

    I was wondering if anyone knows of BB gun or air rifle use other than what I am about to write.

    During the 1970s the US Army began to worry about the security and safety of JROTC used .22 rimfire rifles. In most units they were soon replaced by A daisy pellet rifle.

    During the late 1960s the US Army used Daisy bb "rifles" in a program called "Quick Kill" to teach pointed fire without using the sights. A special BB rifle was procured with an adult stock. The system was packaged and sold to civilians by Daisy as the "Quick Skill" The system of point shooting was developed by a competitive trap and skeet shooter.

    Around 1970 some Quick kill got used in force on force training by the US Army by troops wearing only normal winter clothing, helmets and eye protection. This apparently lasted only long enough to be mentioned in a few publications before better judgment prevailed.

    Finally the Daisy CO2 200 BB pistol was used in handgun training and plans for a range were included in a 1970-ish Field Manual on Pistols and revolvers. While the pistol had excellent sights, the Army encouraged point shooting with the CO2 200.

    I found the last most interesting as early on in the service I was asked why I shot so well with a handgun and the answer was thousands of BBs through a CO2 200 in the mid 1960's ( and then thousands through a Ruger RST4).

    While in Europe in the mid 1970's I tried to get the rifle version (CO2 300?) as a means of teaching Quick Kill to M-16A1 users but got nixed by higher ups. Without their approval we did make some use of a Diana break barrel to teach basic marksmanship skills to a few of our "Bolos" (unqualified rifle shooters) as my unit required everyone be qualified with in six months of assignment to our major mission so two to three times a year. I found a little individual instruction and relaxed firing of the pellet rifle went a long way to having enough folks to do the job without not having anytime off. The rifle was hidden under a wall locker when not in use in the barracks or just propped up in a wall locker on a Combat Alert Sight until we got a new less understanding 2Lt and then we "lost it." It had a set of Walther peep sights that provided a sight picture mush like the M-16A1

    I currently have a non functional CO2 200 I still believe it would make a much better basic trainer than any of the CO2 BB gun "replicas" out there and wish I had one that worked for my kids. My original (who's seals had failed) was tossed by my folks in a move while I was over seas.

    Anyone else aware of other BB or pellet gun use by the US Army?

  2. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    The word "bolo" goes back to the fighting in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War. A bolo* is a heavy, machete-like knife, used for hacking through jungles; a soldier who couldn't shoot was assigned to carry a bolo and cut the way for the unit, hence the name "bolo" for a soldier unskilled in marksmanship.

    *The Army experimented with a bolo-like bayonet for the Krag rifle; only a few were made and a bolo bayonet is a valuable collectors item today.

  3. Apachedriver

    Apachedriver Well-Known Member

    I'll be doggone. I retire in 6 days, and have used that word for years, and now I find this out. I've always liked learning where and why some of our terms started.

    Thanks for sharing and apologies for going OT.
  4. kBob

    kBob Well-Known Member

    Yep. Phillipine constabulary and such were given a class on basic marksmanship and then taken out to shoot. Those that failed to listen and heed the warnings of the instructors where given a Bolo.

    It came to be a term used for any dummy in the service as well as meaning not firearms qualified. When Jim Baen brought back Kieth Laumer's intelligent tanks I tried to explain what the term meant in a phone conversation while finalizing one of the later (or I suppose with Baen earlier, Triumphant I think)books. He was convinced that the Laumer "Bolo" tanks had no heritage from this. As Laumer's own "ogre" and some early marks were dum as posts I thought this was indeed the case. But of course we could not ask Laumer at that time....

    Besides the bayonet there was a service knife that was the same except it had no way to mount it on a rifle. They reminded me more of a Kukri than a machete. The one I handled was slightly bent and had been painted but the owner wanted full value for it so he got to keep it.

    Interestingly in more recnt history Alberto Bayo reminded Fidel Castro when he wsa in the mountains that hose that could not master firearms were valuable as "Macheteros" to clear the way for those that could and that it was important to remind them how valuable to the revolution their work was.

    Interestingly in the 1970's some NCOs thought it was a modification or slang version of "No Go" as in when failing an objective on a test one was told "You are a NO GO" The test were graded only Go or NO GO though some thought the NO GO came from the timing and headspace gauge on the M2 Browning HB .50 cal HMG. No amount of explaining its roots did any good then either.

    But back to air guns......I suppose one might say the dynamite guns of the Spanish American war were sort of air guns. The Navy versions on the Vesuvius used steam but the field guns of the Army used a blank round to compress air for each shot.

    I suppose the VN era suppressed .44 Mag cartridge might also be sort of an air gun. The cartridges featured a captive piston driven by traditional pistol powder though I can find no definitive reference as to whether the piston shoved the round ball out of the revolver or compresses air between it and the ball and never actually came in contact with the ball.

    The closest thing I can think of would be the early 1980's paint ball machine gun made here in Florida. It resembled a Mac 10 a bit though was slightly larger and used a captive piston cartridge to launch paintballs and cycle the action for full auto fire. It used a real magazine through the pistol grip and shells about the size of a .44 automag, but slightly bigger. They were quickly banned by most paint ball outfits for use in people vs. people games as they were too powerful. I know of a case where someone trying to frighten a fellow employee by shooting his cars windshield had to replace said windshield which was cracked. Please do not shoot me with windshield breaking paint balls, OK guys? I think I may have a spent cartridge from that episode some where and no it was not me as either the shooter or victim.

    I will try to find the FM that has the CO2 200 range in it tonight.

  5. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Well-Known Member

    The jungle training course at Fort Sherman in the Canal Zone during the mid nineteen sixties conducted force on force "Quick Kill" as part of the training. You'll note the clothing was for the Tropics. It was a stinging experience.

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