Sunday, April 15, 2007

Nazi-killing Air Gun


From Dr. Beeman who has a really cool web page.
"Made in the 1940s during WW2, this gun doesn't look like a Girandoni, but examination shows that it clearly was built by someone familiar with the Girandoni repeating airgun system. Purchased in Europe, the story is that this gun was built somewhere in occupied Europe by a partisan bicycle maker during the Nazi occupation in WW2 . (Originally we suspected that the maker was in Austria but an Austrian friend pointed out that there really wasn't any resistance movement in Austria - most Austrians still considered Germany and Austria as a single unit, as it had been in the past, and actually welcomed the Nazi troops when they occupied the country, virtually without force.) The repeating magazine is spring fed and on the left side of the barrel, for the convenient use of a right handed shooter. The gun was charged with the accompanying bicycle type pump. Smoothbore, as would be expected, but firing a 11 3/4 mm lead ball (.463" caliber) (the very same caliber as the original Girandoni Austrian military repeating air rifles!), this would have been a fearsome weapon against sentries, drivers, military leaders, etc. at ranges up to perhaps 100 yards. To a freedom fighter, the lower discharge sound and the lack of flash or smoke would have been huge values. And it did not need powder, primers, or bullets - only easily cast lead or soft-metal balls! The builder surely drew his inspiration from a museum, or even just a book, which displayed a Girandoni system airgun. The excellent quality reflects the experience of a perfectionist bicycle maker with considerable time on his hands - consistent with such a craftsman in an occupied area.
Note that this gun has a spring fed magazine, rather than the gravity fed magazine of the original Girandoni military air rifle. While a gravity feed mechanism might be simpler, and even more dependable, the spring fed magazine has great advantages for the purposes of this gun. It is more suited for operation from a vehicle or firing slot where it would be impractical to tip up the rifle for loading and it allows firing with minimal motion at the firing point - very important to a sniper.
Why would a modern sniper want a functional version of an ancient airgun when automatic weapons were as close as the first German soldier that could be waylaid? The answer dramatically comes from the above notes and the fact that anAmerican maker is now doing a small, but excellent, business supplying coalition troops in the near East with high power 9mm repeating PCP air rifles, complete with silencers and nightsights. Unlike a firearm, such a weapon, without sound, flash, or smoke, does not attract return fire - esp. in reduced light situations - the deadly projectile just seems to come from no-where!
Basic specs: A husky 12.2 lbs., 45" overall, glare-free, w/ almost camo anodized type finish."

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3 Comments:

Blogger francois said...

"The answer dramatically comes from the above notes and the fact that an American maker is now doing a small, but excellent, business supplying coalition troops in the near East with high power 9mm repeating PCP air rifles, complete with silencers and nightsights"

Hello, and bravo for your blog!
I'm French, and very curious to know who is this American maker? Quackenbush?
I'm trying for years to get one of his rifles here in France, but none 'till now who was OK for selling...

Regards,

Francois

francois.d.leroy@gmail.com

Sat Jul 28, 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger nk said...

I don't know, Francois. I tried to Google it and although I found a number of Korean-made high-powered air rifles in large calibers, I found only 5.56mm American-made ones. It may be that the 9mm rifles the article mentions are made strictly for the military and not available commercially.

Sat Jul 28, 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger [toneknob] said...

In the blue book of airguns there are crosman 2240's that were converted into 9mm and other big bore caliber PCP airguns made by Dennis quackenbush that were for sale at one time. It could be his airguns Dr Beeman is referring to.?.?
I would love to know more about any modern military airgun, but it is probably a top secret weapon :(
All this talk of 9mm airguns is motivating me to finish cleaning up the vintage/antique crosman trapmaster 1100 I recently bought, a .380 gauge Co2 shotgun that shoots .36 calibre lead round ball loaded in the shells instead of the lead shot it was originally designed to shoot!
In Canada, without a gun permit, it is the closest that I will ever get to owning a 9mm high powered airgun :)

Sat Jul 30, 09:52:00 AM  

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