AIR GUN. Of all weapons, this is the most dangerous, and the best advice I can give the young ones, is never on any pretext to have one in their possession. Air guns have been in vogue for a considerable period on the continent, as well as in England; but none are so safe, (if safety can be an attribute of such a missile) as those manufactured in the last mentioned country. A variety of forms has been adopted in their construction to please the eye, and to add to their power of propelling ; but none answer better than those constructed with a stock, like the ordinary fowling-piece, which has a spheroid ball, or large copper bu1b just under the lock. This ball is filled with common air, pumped into it by an instrument of that name, and when filled is attached to the missile by a nutt, which screws on, and thus prevents the escape of the air. The trigger being pulled, the valve instantaneously opens, whereby a sufficient portion of air rushes into the barrel, and the bullet is sent forth with great velocity. But as successive firings absorb the air, from a parity of reasoning the strength of the projectile becomes lessened, and ultimately enfeebled; until the pump is again had recourse to. In point of fact, from the first shot, a failing of strength progressively takes place.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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