Here’s an air pistol you are unlikely to see. It’s the Fenix manufactured by OJMAR (Ojanguren and Marcaide) in Spain from c. 1947 to c. 1958.
In fact, this is the first one that I have ever seen. In fact, I didn’t even know about it until recently! The pistol is constructed from steel with a chequered wood grip. Judging from this example and that of others I have since seen, whoever did the chequering was in a rush or had too much sangria, as there are signs where the tool has overrun its intended mark. The metalwork is blued and the barrel is smoothbore.
On the left-hand side ahead of the trigger guard, the pistol’s logo is stamped into the action. It’s a line drawing of a bird, probably a Phoenix, with the inscription “Fenix” below it. There are no other stamp marks on the pistol.
Whilst the pistol has a break barrel with a typical spring-loaded wedge-style locking mechanism, this is only used to expose the breech in order to load a dart or pellet. Interestingly, the breech seal is not on the breech as you would normally expect. It appears to be pressed into a recess on the joining face of the compression chamber.
The pistol is cocked by pulling the handle at the rear of the pistol. A pull-rod is connected to the handle which runs through the mainspring. The piston and seal are attached to the other end of the rod. The trigger is a spring-loaded dual lever affair. Whilst it isn’t adjustable, it’s not bad either!
Although I haven’t yet disassembled this air pistol, I am aware that it has a typical leather piston seal. It is held in place by a washer which itself is firmly held in place by the end of the pull-rod which has been riveted or hammered to widen it and thus hold the washer and seal firmly in place. Of course, that means replacing the leather seal may involve cutting off the end of the rod and ultimately reducing its length. This could reduce the compression cycle and render the pistol ineffective.
I can’t tell you how this one shoots because it doesn’t. It’s quite clear to me that the piston seal needs to be replaced. I expect it has similar characteristics as that of the Diana pop-out air pistol of the same period as both are of similar compression chamber size. No doubt I will try to reseal it at some time in the future.
Until next time, happy shooting!