View Full Version : Black Powder Pellet Gun

roy reali
November 5, 2010, 09:33 PM
I went to a gun show today. They had a most unusual rifle. In fact, I am not sure where to post this thread, I guess it'll be moved to the right category.

When I first saw it I thought it was a small, single shot rimfire rifle that might be used to start a kid off shooting. However, it didn't look quite right. So I asked the dealer about it.

It is called a Cricket. It is made in Mexico. It is a 22 caliber rifle but it shoots 22 caliber pellets propelled by black powder ignited by a cap like used in toy guns. He said that it was a way to get around Mexico's restrictive gun laws.

I wish I had a camera to photograph it. I tried to search the web for it, no luck yet. I'll try to describe it the best I can.

It had a wood stock and blue steel. The barrel was maybe eighteen inches long. The reciever had a round disc that rotated clockwise. When rotated ninety degrees it exposed this tube that is the chamber. That tube is filled with black powder and topped off with a pellet. Then you turn it back to align it with the bore. Then a cap is placed behind the chamber and the hammer is cocked. Pull the trigger and bang!

I realize that this might be a clever way around tough gun laws. But wouldn't a straight air rifle have fewer hassles. I wonder how fast the powder charge would launch the pellet and how it would compare to a 22 caliber air gun. It does seem like a lot of work to shoot pellets.

The price:$350

roy reali
November 6, 2010, 06:24 AM
I have "Googled" every possible combination of the words: pellet gun, blackpowder, Mexican firearms, muzzleloader, and so on. Nothing even close. Now I wondering if it was all a figment of my imagination.

November 6, 2010, 06:52 AM
Sounds like what used to be called a "Parlor Gun", except they only used a percussion cap for power. That led to the invention of the 22 rimfire as I understand it.

November 6, 2010, 09:32 AM
CajunBass had it 90% correct.
There were a lot of parlor guns, mostly in Europe. They were used for entertainment in bars and pubs. Some actually utilized small charges of black powder. Others, as stated, used only the percussion cap for a propellant.
But, what was described from Mexico sounds like a later-day recreation of the concept and not an antique.

Bill DeShivs
November 6, 2010, 02:22 PM
In the late 1960s and early 1970s every gun magazine had an ad for a single action revolver (like a miniature Colt SAA) that used percussion caps as a propellant. They were not expensive at all, and were supposedly very well made. You would think they would be common, but I don't remember ever seeing one. Has anyone else?

roy reali
November 6, 2010, 05:27 PM
But, what was described from Mexico sounds like a later-day recreation of the concept and not an antique.


The "chamber" looked like it would hold aout the same amount of powder that a .22WMR case would.

Would this set up produce velocities on par with air guns? If not, it would seem to be a lot of work for nothing.

VA Gent
November 6, 2010, 06:35 PM
roy reali,
After living in Arizona for the past 6 years and spending 30 years prior to my living in Arizona, visiting Nogalas, Mexico, shopping and looking at what is available in the curio shops etc, my advice is "anything is possible and available" in Mexico, anything. Even full sized very detailed eagles mounted on a boulder made from supposedly crushed cow bones ( and horses maybe ) and pressed into a shape. Mexico has a mass of creative people! From what I read though, sounds like you may have stumbled across something unique which is probably what you thought while reaching for your wallet. I did the same thing in Tombstone one day when I found a 1910 long rifle mauser with VILLA and the Mexican symbol stamped into the side of the stock. I to this day believe one of Villas men was issued that long rifle, not Bob Villa, as someone asked :-) just that it came from Tombstone so it had to be a original!
Enjoy your find. I however paid 125.00. Food for thought?

November 6, 2010, 08:35 PM
Cabela's sells a Pedersoli Derringer that uses a 209 cap to shoot a .177 pellet. At 200 bucks, though, it seems a little spendy to me.

November 8, 2010, 10:05 AM
I recall reading a Sherlock Holmes story (can't remember its name at the moment) where Watson returns to Baker St. and finds Holmes putting the finishing touches on a "VR" (Victoria Regina) monogram in the wall of his flat with a "Flobert" pistol. "Parlor " shooting games were a popular pastime in the late 19th/early 20th century both in Europe and here.

IIRC, the arms came from many makers, but "Flobert" became the generic name for them as he invented the ammunition they used, usually a very small caliber lead ball seated into a precussion cap-type case.

I've seen several iterations of the type over the years. For instance, Dixie Gun Works used to sell a Spanish-made "pepperbox" revolver (may have been "Star") which used standard percussion caps and .22 air rifle pellets. Cabela's and others a Pederoli a Remington "Ryder" parlor pistol repro that fired 4.5 mm lead balls. I've also seen the ads for the current Pedersolis which are set-up to use 209 primers and .22 lead pellets.

I also seem to recall reading about a Mexican-made (Mendoza, perhaps?) item a good many years ago which utilized a crimped .22 blank instead of a percussion cap. IIRC, there were referrences in the article to other models, some of which were said to be designed to use a small charge of powder, but its type (black or smokeless) and what sort of projectiles were needed escapes me.

November 8, 2010, 12:33 PM
How different is this from a .22 CB, if I'm calling it the right thing, or it is .22 CB cap?

November 8, 2010, 12:57 PM
IIR the progression correctly, it went something like: Flobert cap to "BB" (bulleted breech) cap to "CB" (conical bullet) cap.

All those were essentially "cartridges", whereas the arms that the original poster and I listed earlier are essentially variations of the cap-and-ball system regardless of whether they are designed to be loaded from the muzzle or the breech.

Ideal Tool
November 8, 2010, 10:27 PM
Hello, roy reali, I think the little rifle you are describing is either a copy, or a new company. I remember handling one in the early 1970's, it was new made by a company called the ROCKY MOUNTAIN ARMS. These were designed to use a toy paper cap-gun cap for ignition, powder capacity was about like a .22 L.R. case full of black. I almost bought one.

roy reali
November 8, 2010, 10:52 PM
use a toy paper cap-gun cap for ignition, powder capacity was about like a .22 L.R. case full of black. I almost bought one.

Yes, that sounds right. Any guesses what the ballistics could be? How fast do you think it would propel a pellet?


I even found a picture of the rifle.

Ideal Tool
November 8, 2010, 11:28 PM
Hello, roy reali, I am not sure an air-rifle pellet would "survive" being shot over a charge of black. Years ago, I was trying to come up with a quiet low-powered black-bird load in a .22 Hornet. Even with only 1 or 2 grains of Bullseye, the top of pellet would be blown out, leaving skirt in bore. You might have to go to a solid bullet, or better yet, a round ball..they make these for air-rifles & velocity would be higher than with a conical bullet.

roy reali
November 9, 2010, 06:59 AM
If the gun has a smooth bore, some birdshot would be interesting.

What about the new-fangled, nonlead pellets they have? I wonder if they could withstand black powder?

Darth AkSarBen
August 4, 2017, 09:17 AM
Old thread, yes I konw... but! When I lived in Crawford NE and worked there as part time Police Officer, a friend of mine, and Police Officer, showed me one he had just like this. He used fast smokeless and a piece of round lead, probably 0 buck and it was fired using a cap gun cap. He said it was rifled, and the bullet was "swagged" at the time of firing and it shot very accurately.

The reason I replied is I was racking my brain as to what the rifle was; who made it and what it was called. It did exist as I have also personally seen one. I'd pluck down $350 any day for one as they are rather unique and probably not a lot of them floating around.