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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:49 am
Posts: 188
Location: Quebec
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The Apache Fireball, a 1940s multi-pump air rifle in 0.24" caliber made for #4 lead shot but also featuring a 0.175" smoothbore insert to fire steel BBs

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As purchased, fairly complete condition but losing some air.

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Bolt, hammer and trigger assembly. The hammer is not linked to the bolt and needs to be cocked separately.

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Closer view of the trigger assembly which is a simple lever with a return spring. You can also see the threaded section on the right where the stock bolt attaches to the action.

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Valve and chamber unit which is of a conventional design, with the check valve opposite the firing valve held shut by the same spring. The chamber and valve head are held together by a plug threaded inside the pump tube, while a set screw keeps the exit port aligned with the barrel.

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Valve head and chamber assembled with retaining plug on the right.

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Synthetic pump head in good condition.

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Pump lever pivot detail.

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Pump lever handle.

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Channel stamped in the pump tube at the end of the piston head travel to enable the pump cylinder to refill rapidly.

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Muzzle endcap with pump lever retaining pin along with rear iron sight.

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Muzzle detail with partially unscrewed 0.175" BB insert.

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Breech end of the insert.

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View down the rifled 0.24" barrel.

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Breech end of the action showing the loading port.

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There is evidence of something having been engraved on the action that was subsequently filed off, the research I've done so far indicates that they were not marked at the factory so it's a little odd.

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Stock detail with stock bolt, the wood has seen better days but I will not be refinishing it. One of the butt plate screws is not original.

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Evidence of a repair to the stock where it attaches to the action.

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Diagram comparing the original valve and a new valve I machined for better performance

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Here are the chamber components excluding the return springs, also showing the new Delrin pump head. Since there's a refill channel stamped in the pump tube at the end of the pump head's travel I didn't make it a floating o-ring. If it looks a bit scorched it's because yours truly went a bit overboard with the silicone oil and it dieseled.

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Check valve assembly and pump head.

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Chamber components assembled with valve closed.

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Chamber components assembled with valve open.

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Another view of the chamber parts.

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Rear end of the valve showing the bleed hole that is rather critical to the spool valve operation. It ensures that the valve encounters minimal resistance from compressing air while opening, while also preventing a pressure imbalance when the valve is open.

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I originally didn't want to refinish the stock but I gave it a go, here it is along with the pump handle sanded down.

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The buttpad was originally held on by wood screws, one of which was not original. I decided to replace these with machine screws so I put in a pair of 10-24 threaded inserts.

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Here's the finished result, I wasn't too obsessed with bringing it to a satin finish or removing the dents but it's still a very decent result. The finish is 6 coats of tung oil applied over a couple of days, sanding with 600 grit sandpaper in between.

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Buttpad held on by two brass 10-24 screws.

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Original steel bolt with the new aluminum bolt featuring an o-ring and steel insert, which seals off the chamber completely and allows for better flow.

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Valve dimensions for those interested (drawing not to scale)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:52 am 
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Location: Edmonton
When using imgur.com, please use the RESIZE function to reduce your pic's width to 800 pixels.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:56 pm
Posts: 433
Location: Tecumseh, Ontario in South Western Ontario
Very interesting. Good job. Where were these guns made?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:35 am 
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Location: Quebec
Edmonton<500 wrote:
When using imgur.com, please use the RESIZE function to reduce your pic's width to 800 pixels.


Ah... can't seem to edit the post now.

Quote:
Where were these guns made?


California IIRC


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:03 am
Posts: 26
that is relay cool, i wonder how much that was brand new im the 1940's i remember seeing rifles for 15 bucks in those old outdoor life magazines , mind you the average wage was 5$ an hour if you were well off, still considerably cheaper by todays standards


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:11 pm 
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Location: Southern Ontario
Some nice work there...

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:27 am
Posts: 2385
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Interesting pumper.

Profile is much like my Crosman 101, but there the resemblance ends. My 101 is .22 cal. and has a brass bbl.

Would be interesting to see how your Apache performs with the #4 lead ball.
That air gun was advertised in the back of DC comics until the mid 60's. I remember wanting one pretty bad when I was a kid.

I gotta get the 101 out over the chrony again. It's an accurate shooter with the 18.1 gr JSB heavy. I have some Air Arms/jsb (?) 16 gr diablo domes to try in it as well...

-D.S.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:27 am 
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Location: Quebec
Doc Sharptail wrote:
Profile is much like my Crosman 101, but there the resemblance ends. My 101 is .22 cal. and has a brass bbl.


There's definitely a huge resemblance in terms of design, and since the Crosman was made well before we can surmise that it was the Apache's designer who too the inspiration.

Quote:
Would be interesting to see how your Apache performs with the #4 lead ball.
That air gun was advertised in the back of DC comics until the mid 60's. I remember wanting one pretty bad when I was a kid.


Never fired it with that ammunition, after a long and complicated order process with a local outlet I was finally supplied with a large bag of #4 Birdshot! Fortunately I got my hands on the Farco not long after :D

The rifle is currently in pieces again as I want to redo the valve, the o-ring on the stem lasts for less than 200 shots in practice and I had better luck with a delrin seal, but now the diameters are all wrong. My plan is to eventually make the bolt easily removable to I will be able to fire 0.25" pellets like this Apache owner did.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:42 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:52 am
Posts: 1869
Location: Caronport, Saskatchewan
Great job detailing what you did! Thanks for sharing your project. Quite the job on the valve. Did you notice an improvement in performance over the factory specs?
Nice work on the machining!
I also really like the look the Tung oil gave the stock. You've got a real collectors item there, and something special to take out and shoot.
Regards,
Wes

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:50 am 
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Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Seems to be a little miscommunication on ammunition here.

#4 round ball should be the same as #4 birdshot.
The #4 buck referred to in the link is likely a different diameter- probably just a typo/memory/habit of speech kind of error. It's been a while since I looked at shot sizes. Interesting on the 25 cal pellet in the link- may be worth a try if your bore is steel. Not sure how long I'd want to use the bore for resizing pellets- it may end up leading the bbl in the long run...


-D.S.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:42 am 
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Location: Quebec
wesb2007 wrote:
You've got a real collectors item there, and something special to take out and shoot.


Thank you for the kind words, this was my first attempt at restoration and I'm not done with it yet :) I haven't been able to gauge performance compared to factory specs due to the lack of correct ammunition, once it's redone properly I'll do some proper chrony tests.

Quote:
#4 round ball should be the same as #4 birdshot.


The rifle is made for 0.240"/6.10mm #4 Buck.

What I received to my chagrin was a large bag of No. 4 Birdshot, which is 0.130"/3.30mm diameter.

In any case, since lead shot is so inconsistent, I don't think it would be a good idea as a projectile, hence my desire to go for 0.25" pellets. The issue is that they would not fit through the loading hole and I don't want to cut up the receiver, so an easily removable bolt, perhaps with a spring loaded detent, is what I will go for.

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Not sure how long I'd want to use the bore for resizing pellets- it may end up leading the bbl in the long run...


Good point, I'd probably machine something to swage down pellets before loading them.


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