Elder Guns




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By Dan Beard

abhb133.gif (1476 bytes)
Fig. 133. 
A Simple Elder-Gun.

When the author was a very small boy he was taught by some playmates to make an elder gun, a simple contrivance, made of a piece of elder or any other hollow stick. A long notch cut in one side admits a spring made of whalebone (Fig. 133). By pushing the spring back the short arrow shown in the illustration can be propelled quite a distance. If instead of the awkward whalebone spring a piece of elastic be used, a much neater gun can be made. Fig. 134 shows a pistol made with an elder barrel and a stock of pine. A plunger, similar in the squirt-gun, is made with an edge to catch in the trigger.

abhb134.gif (5111 bytes)
Fig. 134. 
Plunger Pistol

An elastic band is bound to the barrel with string, and the loop fastened to the butt end of the plunger. When the latter is drawn back to the trigger it stretches the elastic. By pulling the trigger toward you it loosens the plunger, which flies back with a snap, sending the arrow out with considerable force.

The barrel of the pistol may be fastened to the stock by two strips of tin or leather. The diagram shows the form of the trigger, which should be made so as to move readily backward or forward upon the screw that fastens it to the stock.

abhb135.gif (3113 bytes)
Fig. 135. 
Pistol without a Plunger.

The diagram shows the form of the trigger, which should be made so as to move readily backward or forward upon the screw that fastens it to the stock. Fig. 135 shows how a pistol can be made to work without a plunger. In this case the barrel is partly cut off from A to B. The arrow should be made to fit in the groove, so that when the elastic is loosened it will strike the arrow in the same manner that the string of a cross-bow does. Both these Pistols, if made with good, strong elastic, will shoot quite a distance, and if the arrows are aimed with a tack or pin in the head they can be used in target practice. We now come to a gun in which the spring is the principal part.

American Boys' Handy Book






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.