Apache Fireball Air Pistol
Groenewold, December 31, 1986.
in New Zealand
2, Number 2, April, 1987.
The Apache air
is one of the most collectable American air pistols.
was only produced for a short
time in the late nineteen forties and total production was very small.
The gun was
.25 and .175 caliber and had an eight shot force fed magazine which was
located on the right side of the receiver. The
gun had to be pumped up for each shot so it was not a true repeater. It
came with a black finish (although a few
were made with chrome plated receivers), walnut grips, adjustable rear
sight, and non-adjustable trigger. The
logo appears on the aluminum compression tube front plug, although some
were produced without any markings. The stamping on the test gun read
BURNHAMS & ASSOC., PASADENA
2, CAL. U.S.A. FIREBALL.
not stamped with the caliber or a serial number.
was die cast in zinc alloy.
of the receiver itself, magazine housing, and rear insert.
pump lever was also die cast
of zinc alloy.
grips were of American
Black Walnut with straight V groove checkering running the length of
V grooves had a
spacing of sixteen lines per inch. The
barrel and front sight were made of brass and soldered together. The
bass barrel was rifled and secured
inside the receiver with a set screw. Neither,
the front of the barrel nor the front sight was attached to the
resulting lack of support for the barrel and compression tube caused
the gun to be very fragile.
compression tube was thin seamless brass tubing, flared at the rear to
keep it in the receiver housing. This
flared lip was also the mating surface for the rear tube gasket between
the tube and valve body.
gasket was cup
shaped leather (with a brass spreader) of the same size as the Benjamin
130 series pistols, therefore, Benjamin pump gaskets can be used to
repair the Fireball pump.
used to make the compression tube as so thin, (only .032 of an inch
wall thickness on the test gun) the hole for the pump pivot pin often
became out of round and enlarged. When
this occurred usually the tube had to be replaced because any repairs
would be very weak and obvious.
Screws on the
several new models examined by the author were a mixture of chrome
plated and blued; slotted and hex-socket head.
The valve body
front and rear compression tube
gaskets were made of paper, therefore, porous, and if allowed to dry
out the gun would not hold air very long. The
check valve seal and exhaust valve seals are very similar to Benjamin
seals and these parts can be used to repair the valve if a lathe is
available to modify them.
valve body, compression valve body, compression tube, and two paper
seals are sandwiched between a shoulder on the front inside of the
receiver and the rear valve body nut. This
is an exceptionally large number of parts to be used to form four air
seals when compared to modern pneumatic valve mechanisms.
in wooden boxes which were made (or sold) by National Cart Corporation,
Oaks Avenue, Pasadena
affiliate of Burnham and Associates. It
appears that those pistols associated with Burnham and Associates were
called Fireball and those associated with National Cart Corporation
were referred to as Apache.
illustrated company fliers are dated 1948. The
.25 caliber lead ball ammo came in tubes of 100, and the .175 caliber
steel BB ammo came in the same tubes but contained 200.
came in cartons of 6 tubes.
was also a carton for 12 tubes.
ammo was in red and black tubes with metal
logo, etcetera is on a round
white paper disc pressed into the top of the tube.
.25 caliber ammo was actually
number 3 buckshot with an average diameter of .244 inches and an
average weight of 23 grains.
quality of the shot was rather poor.