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Bussey air pistol


Garvin
(@garvin)
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Bussey air pistol 

This pic was spotted by Trev Adams of NZ.

It's the first know example of this pistol, which had previously been seen only in patent drawings.

With thanks to Robert Elgood, author of The Maharaja of Jodhpur's Guns, pub Niyogi Books (21 Oct. 2020), for permission to post the pics below and thanks to John Griffiths, author of the Encyclopedia of Spring Air Pistols, for asking him.

John said on the airgunbbs.com:

Unlike the situation in the USA, Germany and France, activity in spring air pistol design in the UK in the nineteenth century was virtually non-existent. The only Brit giving them any attention was George Bussey, who obtained his patent "Improvements in pneumatic pistols" in 1876. Although he made air rifles to the general design shown in the patent, nice examples of which still survive, a pistol has never turned up. For the past 13 years I have been of the opinion that he never actually got round to manufacturing his original pistol, but instead experimented with various prototype improvements over subsequent years. Now, thanks to Trevor and this picture we can say categorically that the pistol was an actual article of commerce and was made exactly to the description in the patent.

It is interesting to think that it would be another 40 years before a Brit took up the challenge to invent a new pistol, when Edwin Anson designed the Highest Possible.

 

With thanks to Bruce Jr for this pic from the book: 


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Garvin
(@garvin)
Curator in Chief Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 5698
Topic starter  

Bussey air pistol (earlier conjecture) 

John Griffiths, author of the Encyclopedia of Spring Air Pistols, said on the airgunbbs.com in 2018:

 

 

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.


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