Warrior (1st version)
With thanks to John G for this pic and text: "Warrior, First version: This relatively rare version can be distinguished from the later version by (a) the chamfered end to the cocking lever , (b) the semicircular trigger guard, (c) the absence of a serial number, (d) the lettering, which among other things, says “The Warrior. Made in England”, rather than 'The Warrior. Made by Accles and Shelvoke' as on the second version. This first version was made between 1930 and 1933."
With thanks to Jake on the airgunbbs.com for this description:
Resealing an Accles and Shelvoke The Warrior air pistol
About a year and a half ago I bought a Accles and Shelvoke Warrior .177 air pistol at auction. I paid £85 for it, the gun itself was in fair condition, Almost all the bluing had gone and the grips were missing and a pair of sculpted wooden ones were in their place. But it was complete and did shoot. Happy days! I was later able to find someone on here who could make a pair of repo's from a mold they had, Cheers!
Go forward a few months to around November 2017, After a short plinking session I found that something was blocking the transfer hole. Not really knowing much about the pistol and how it works, I decided to disassemble the pistol to see what the problem is.
The Warrior was actually fairly easy to work with, much easier than a Webley Premier I took apart months before, The front and rear sight screw are what locks both ends in place. Remove them and both ends can turn counter clockwise and unscrew from the main body. There is also a pin that connects the lever to the cocking link arm, this is easily push out with a small punch. After that both ends can be removed (be careful, like with many air guns, the spring will be under tension, no need for a spring compressor, it's not that bad, just be aware) and then the piston, spring and everything else can be removed.
After disassembly I found that the piston seal had disintegrated into mush. Bugger, oh well Ill find another. How naive I was.....
With the Warrior being a concentric air pistol, the barrel runs through the middle of the piston. So unlike with the more common Webley mark 1/senior/juniors of the time (which had their barrel above the cylinder, which was also used to cock the pistol). You simply have a cylinder with the barrel in the middle of it. Similar designs were used in the Shelvoke (also made by Accles and Shelvoke), The Titan air pistol (Which was created by F.Clarke, the same bloke who helped design the Warrior) and I believe Westley Richards the highest possible had some models that used a concentric design. And of course, the Warrior having a side lever to cock the pistol.
So the Warrior was not your standard air pistol of the 1930s. And it turns out it is bloody difficult to reseal these pistols, mainly because the piston does not have a screw which holds the seal in place like the Webley's, no. Since it is a concentric design, this would be impossible. So what they did instead was simply have a seal held in place with a metal washer and then the end of the piston that poked out above the seal were peened over to keep the washer and seal on the piston. Here is the piston after removing the mush of a seal:
As you can see, the end of the piston is peened over. Not exactly consumer friendly and replacing the seal was probably never a concern for the makers.
So as I have said, this was November 2017, a year ago....
After finding out it would be no small task to replace the seal, I placed the pistol and its components in a zip lock bag and into the drawer of my desk it went, never to see the light of day again. I really like the Warrior so I would never sell it, but I did not really know what I should do. A few months later I made a post on here asking for any advice on the matter. Understandably not many could help though one did suggest using a rubber seal from a brake master cylinder repair kit (cant remember your name, sorry!). Since rubber can be easily stretched over the top of the piston I thought great! But I never found a kit that had one suitable and with being busy with work, back into the drawer it went.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago (Some time at the end of October 2018) I was working on one of my old BSA's and was rummaging around a box of random bits and bobs for old airguns I bought off a bloke on E bay (believe he has an account on here but again, I am crap with names!) and I found a leather seal that looked like it could work. And alas it was a 1 inch seal and fits nicely in the cylinder. Now the only problem I have is fitting said seal onto the piston. After a lot of thinking I decided to ask someone who is more mechanically minded than me, my father. Asked him for his advice and he immediately said "why not grind away the top of the piston so you can get the washer off? We can then peen it over again". I was a bit worried since there is not much metal on the piston in the first place. And with it being the same age as my grandfather, I was worried it would be too brittle (A similar worry I have with my grandfather ). But after considering all other options, it was this or nothing.
So today I dragged the pistol out of my draw, blew the dust off it and gave the piston to my father. He got his bench grinder out and began to grind away, all the while I was praying to god for it to not break, since where the hell am I going to find another piston!
But thankfully, it worked! The hole in the seal needed to be widened, but this was an easy task. Once the seal was on and the washer in place, I held the piston as my father started to peen the ends over, swear he aimed at my hands a couple of times.....
In the end it went well and I am sure this seal will last another 80 years (Good luck to whichever unlucky bugger has the gun then!). Here is an image of the new seal on the piston:
Here are all the pieces together:
Not the prettiest thing but she will do.
Now all I had to do was remember how to put the thing back together...... I mean come on, its been over a year since I took it apart.... Still, thanks to the pistol not being a complicated bit of engineering, it quickly came back to me.
After a bit of trial and error when it came to remembering what order things go back together in, I found another problem I had long forgotten about. The trigger spring was kaput.
I then remembered that when I first got it, I thought it was weird that the trigger just flapped about when its not cocked. Well the reason being was that the spring was all mangled up. So I went and searched my spring set to find one that fits and well.....there wasn't one.
For Christ's sake I thought. But then I had an epiphany. What else can you find readily available about the house. Pens, that's what. So again I rummaged around for a pen and found one that would make a worthy sacrifice to to air gun Gods.
Now it turned out that the diameter of the spring of the pen is too large. I mean seriously, why is the trigger spring meant to be so small! Oh well I had an idea. After cutting the spring down to a decent length, I went and found some white tack (blue tack would also be ok, just I only had some white tack) and rolled some into a small ball and placed it into the spring guide on the Warriors trigger:
I then bent the cut end of the new spring so that it would go into the hole and at least make it so the spring would not just fall out when I tried to put the trigger back together.
Here are the old and new springs side by side (old on left, new on right):
After a bit of fumbling I managed to get it seated just right and then placed the holding pin through the frame and trigger, Boom! The trigger is in place and even better, it no longer wobbles about like a flaccid....you get the idea....:
All that was left was to put on the trigger guard and grips:
Now you know when sometimes you take something apart and then put it back together and you find you still have some bits left......Well I had this:
Just a thin metal washer, I think it came from the business end of the barrel but I cant remember. But hey the gun does cock and it even shoots! Now I cant remember how powerful it was before the rebuild but it is currently making a "phut" sound. And just seems a bit less powerful than before. But this could just be probably down to the seal being a tiny bit over size, I also forgot to apply some grease to the piston which could also contribute, ill do this another time. Hey remember that washer? Well I don't know if that was fitted from factory or by someone else later down the line, but maybe that was at the front of the barrel in the cylinder to restrict the space the mainspring has thus increasing the tension on the spring? But I cant say for sure.
Anyway after a clean up I took it outside and it shoots pretty well, Even with the seemingly lack of power (again I cant remember how powerful it was before) it can still penetrate cardboard and plastic lids well enough. Overall I am happy with the end result. Finally I have my Warrior air pistol back!"
With thanks to Exwind for these pics. He said:
"Another series of pictures of an exploded pistol of mine and the odd thing about this lot is the last 5 pictures of a secondary sealing system i was unaware of (and can find no reference to anywhere).
"A quick intro -18 months ago i was given opportunity to purchase upwards of 40 airguns-however-every single one of them was in bits in boxes and bin bags,so basically i purchased 40 jigsaw puzzles ,the warrior was from this lot but purchased seperately but,again in bits luckily all the bits were there. Whilst cleaning after taking some photos the three washers (2 leather and 1 dished steel) literally fell out of the piston after a blast of air from an airline.I've spent some considerable time googling this and can find no reference to a seal system that fits inside the piston (but which makes perfect sense to me) so is it aftermarket or is it the original factory fitted ?-whatever it is it works and perhaps explains the 'extra' washer left over by the gent whose 'resealing a warrior' post in the A & S area of the forum clearly shows something very similar to mine.
"A 20 plus shot string averages around 295 fps using Wasps at 7.5grains which im quite pleased with."
Accles & Shelvoke Warrior (boxed, detailed pics)
Note: John Griffiths in The Encyclopedia of Spring Air Pistols points out that the Italian gold medal awarded in 1921 (pictured on the box lid) - almost a decade before the Warrior was made - was in fact awarded for Frank Clarke's The Titan.
Note also that the serial number on the box lid is not the same one that is stamped on the forward edge of the pistol grip.