HID­DEN GEM

Airgun World - - Contents -

Could tell me what this gun is, please? It be­longed to my father and has been stuck in my cup­board for years. I would love to know what it is, and what to do with it.

PAULINE PEA­COCK

John Milewski an­swers:

This is a Gem-style airgun from c.1900. These were made in their thou­sands by con­ti­nen­tal mak­ers, and were based on 19th cen­tury de­signs that orig­i­nated in Amer­ica. Most were smooth­bore, the advantage be­ing that darts could be reused if they were fired into some­thing soft, like a dart­board. The ‘cylin­der in the wrist’ for­mat re­sults in a short over­all de­sign and what could be de­scribed as the first ‘bullpup’ airgun, where the trig­ger group is sit­u­ated ahead of the air cham­ber.

It is hard to iden­tify the orig­i­nal maker with­out close study, so it might be worth look­ing at the rear sec­tion of the bar­rel to see if that gives a clue. For ex­am­ple, the ini­tials ‘FLZ’ would tell us that Fredrich Lan­gen­han made the airgun, but not all were marked with the maker’s name with some sim­ply stat­ing ‘made abroad’.

Kind re­gards.

JOHN

Pauline’s Gem was ac­tu­ally one of the very first bullpups!

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