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Thread: Here's a question.... what was the first British spring powered air pistol?

  1. #1
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    Here's a question.... what was the first British spring powered air pistol?

    What was the first home grown produced British spring powered air pistol and when was it first produced?

  2. #2
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    Interesting question, presumably it was a Gat type Air Pistol if you are only considering machine made in bulk items, but I don't know that, it's only a guess. I believe that Westley Richards were early 20C from around 1907 onwards, with Lincoln Jeffries pistols a few years later, but I'd be interested to hear what came before, presumably something along simpler lines ?

    If you count limited production specialist made items such as Bellows Guns and Gallery pistols, maybe the timeline slips back a couple of Centuries at least.

    Vic Thompson.
    Last edited by Vic Thompson; 06-08-2018 at 07:39 AM.

  3. #3
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    Bedford and Walker Eureka 1876 pat. in the running perhaps ? Or was that American. Bisley Backstrap 1911 ?

    Baz
    Last edited by Benelli B76; 06-08-2018 at 09:35 AM.
    We are going up, we are going home, we are going soon....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benelli B76 View Post
    Bedford and Walker Eureka 1876 pat. in the running perhaps ? Or was that American.

    Baz
    That's American.

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    What about a Bussey?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic Thompson View Post
    Interesting question, presumably it was a Gat type Air Pistol if you are only considering machine made in bulk items, but I don't know that, it's only a guess. I believe that Westley Richards were early 20C from around 1907 onwards, with Lincoln Jeffries pistols a few years later, but I'd be interested to hear what came before, presumably something along simpler lines ?

    If you count limited production specialist made items such as Bellows Guns and Gallery pistols, maybe the timeline slips back a couple of Centuries at least.

    Vic Thompson.
    Was the Dolla ever made in the UK though? Besides, didn't the Germans make it first (based on Quackenbush patent/license)?

    The Edwin Anson/Westley Richards "Highest Possible" was my thoughts on the first home grown British spring powered air pistol.... that was until I learnt about the Bussey 1876 patent. Although only rifle examples of the patent are known to exist, the patent drawings are for a pistol.

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    Interesting the way Pope and Bussey

    used 'rifle' and 'pistol' in a rather non-specific way.Covered all bases?
    The pistol at the bottom of the page has some rather 'Bussey' features.
    http://cinedux.com/all-things-bussey.php

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    Quote Originally Posted by cinedux View Post
    used 'rifle' and 'pistol' in a rather non-specific way.Covered all bases?
    The pistol at the bottom of the page has some rather 'Bussey' features.
    http://cinedux.com/all-things-bussey.php
    That pistol of yours could be a Bussey. Or an improved version of the design without needing to remove the barrel. It could also be something else entirely of course. I certainly has some resemblance of the Bussey patent.

    For me it's still the Highest Possible so far that's seems to be the first British produced spring air pistol - at least from a production run point of view perhaps.

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    Looking on your page Trev, there is an advert that clearly mentions "rifle & pistol". So it does make you wonder if they did produce a pistol afterall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmieDee View Post
    That's American.
    And the Bisley Backstrap Cocking model, was that too late at 1911 ?
    We are going up, we are going home, we are going soon....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benelli B76 View Post
    And the Bisley Backstrap Cocking model, was that too late at 1911 ?
    Yes. The Highest Possible patent was registered in 1907.

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    Stand back and wait, gents. We are extremely fortunate to have among us the esteemed author of the largest, most comprehensive encyclopedia of spring air pistols ever written. He has probably forgotten more on this subject than we'll ever know...
    Vintage Airguns Gallery
    ..Above link posted with permission from Gareth W-B
    In British slang an anorak is a person who has a very strong interest in niche subjects.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garvin View Post
    Stand back and wait, gents. We are extremely fortunate to have among us the esteemed author of the largest, most comprehensive encyclopedia of spring air pistols ever written. He has probably forgotten more on this subject than we'll ever know...
    Good shout
    A man can always use more alcohol, tobacco and firearms.

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    It is an interesting question, and one that as yet does not have a definitive answer. However, I think we can fairly safely say that it would have been a late 19th century Bussey spring air pistol that was the first all-British production model - but not necessarily the one described in his 1876 patent for which rifles are known but no spring pistol has yet been found.

    The only commercial air pistol unequivocally made by Bussey was this relic, which has a missing barrel, and is inscribed “ Bussey 1469 London” and “Patentee Brevete”. It was located in Germany.




    Originally I thought that the barrel arrangement would have been a simple removable barrel as in the 1876 patent, but a German advert has recently surfaced which pictures the self-same gun fitted with a sliding barrel, and describing the pistol as a “BUSSEY”. Unfortunately the advert is undated, but has all the hallmarks of the 1870’s. This sliding barrel loading system was patented in Belgium by Simonon in 1878. The numbers 469 appear on one of the relevant Belgium patents, so possibly the 1469 on the Bussey pistol refers to this patent. This all suggests that Bussey manufactured this pistol in the UK around 1878, basing it on the Simonon barrel system, and for some reason he marketed it on the continent rather than in the UK. At least, a UK example has not turned up yet.



    A possible prototype for this Bussey pistol is this one, which was a mystery unmarked pistol discussed by John Atkins in Airgunner Sept-Oct 1996. It has an identical sliding barrel system.





    Why do I think it is a Bussey-made prototype? Well compare its unusual style of grip with this old prototype pistol of mine. They must surely come from the same stable. My pistol is assumed to be a Bussey prototype, as it is inscribed “1878” and “ B&C” ( standing for Bussey & Co. ?) and is a simple improvement on his 1876 patent. That is, to cock and load the barrel is removed to insert the pellet, and the plunger is used to directly compress the spring.







    So it seems that in the late 1870’s Bussey was very active in the development of spring air pistols, and produced various prototypes (mine is marked number 7). At least one went into commercial production, though probably not for the British market. He was the only gun maker in Britain to show this interest until Anson’s Highest Possible development some 25 years later.

  15. #15
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    Impressive answer..... thanks
    A man can always use more alcohol, tobacco and firearms.

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