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Sharpshooting With The Bull's Eye

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Long before airsoft arrived, rubber band guns provided quiet indoor shooting fun for American shooters. Originally the invention of a Union Pacific Railroad machinist, the original Bull's Eye pistol was patented in 1924 in Rawlings, WY. An improved Sharpshooter model was patented in 1937 and either version was advertised as being "accurate enough to dispatch house flies at ten paces."

The propulsive mechanism for either the Bull's Eye or Sharpshooter was a a simple rubber band connected to the slide and barrel. When cocked, a single shot dropped into the launching chamber on the top of the barrel and on pulling the trigger, the shot was launched down the free space of the barrel. The original Bull's Eye had a magazine capacity of 58 and was nearly two inches longer than the later Sharpshooter. The difference in length also meant the earlier gun had a bit more power, a nuance that likely made little difference to its intended targets.

Packaged with a tube of No. 6 chilled shot, extra rubber bands, and thin paper targets, some guns also came with a rubber target stamp for those interested in crafting their own cardboard versions -- all for the sum of $2.50. A deluxe nickel finish gun could be had for $2.75 from manufacturers that ranged from La Jolla, CA to Lexington, PA. In the widespread legions of canvas tents that comprised Camp Perry's competitive lodging in 1925, the new Bull's Eye pistols offered inexpensive recreational practice against the many insect targets available there in profusion, then as now.