Known alternately as BB or pellet guns, air rifles use compressed air to propel projectiles. They date back to the late 1700s, but still have a place in today’s world, and some can be used to hunt small game. Because they are quiet, accurate and easy to shoot, air guns also make for good training guns.
Used by Lewis & Clark during their Corps of Discovery expedition from 1803-1806, this Girandoni air rifle created an illusion of superior firepower that enabled the small band of explorers to claim an area greater than one-half of the landmass of North America for the U.S.
This competition-grade air rifle, introduced by Crosman in conjunction with the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, was presented to sportsman George H.W. Bush in recognition of his service to the outdoor shooting sports. Once the youngest Navy pilot to ever receive his wings, today Bush is the oldest living former president and vice president.
The Crosman Arms Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of pneumatic and CO2 guns, was founded in 1925 by members of the Crosman family. Their first product was a pump compressed air gun designed by William McLean, the family chauffeur.
In the 1900s, the Benjamin Air Rifle Company was the world’s second-largest manufacturer of high-powered compressed air and CO2 pellet guns. Unlike many air guns of its day, the Benjamin was intended not as a toy, but as a high-powered air gun in which pressure was built up by pumping a built-in pistol located beneath the barrel.