The Most Fascinating Breakdown of the Giradoni Air Rifle Ever

Warning, if you like guns and click the link, you will spend at least a 1/2 hour of your life reading the article. No really, I am serious. The analysis and detailed breakdown of the operation of the air rifle is exhaustive, leaving no detail about the air rifle untouched.

Robert D. Beeman, Ph. D. has undertaken one of the most rigorous studies of the Giradoni and other air rifles. Their works are published on his website While last updated in 2007 (and the whole website in 2009), its obvious that Dr. Beeman is an avid collector and student of air rifles.

Click the link here or photo below to be taken to the website. 


Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Herky_Bird

    Interesting side note: as Dr. Beeman notes the air-valve predates Schrader’s patent by almost 100 years.

  • Just say’n

    That gun never ceases to amaze me. IIRC, Lewis credited it with saving their butts as they ascended the Missouri through less-than-friendly Lakota territory. Every time they’d stop they would summon the natives for a demonstration of the expedition’s cannon and air rifle. The natives were in awe at the repeating rifle’s capabilities, likely saving the crew of 30 from being wiped out. They never let on that they only had ONE with them.

    • Dust

      Considering that they were moving through unfamiliar territory with limited resources, it’s much more likely that… the grand majority of Indian tribes they encountered had no desire to harm them. Screw them over in trade, sure.

  • Southpaw89

    Continuing with the air rifles I see. Keep it up, they have an interesting and often under appreciated history, I would like to learn more about unusual air rifles and their role in the past. They may not technically be firearms, but they are still very interesting.

  • Shmoe

    My day was completely wasted because of that damn Beeman site! Fascinating!Cant’ wait for video of a working reproduction.

    • Tassiebush

      Hehe yeah a half hour warning is totally inadequate! I’ve posted a comment awaiting moderator approval that includes a link to an airgun blog that describes the functioning of vintage pumps that should waste some more time. There are working replicas and videos of them. My mobile doesn’t do links though but it’s worth a search. Personally I’d really like to see a built to price functional replica on the market. Doesn’t have to look exactly the same but with the type of lockwork.

      • Shmoe

        Glad to hear there are working replicas, I ‘ll check it out. I don’t know if I would buy one (it would be my first PCP : ), but it’s the sort of thing I’m just happy it exists. I hadn’t even considered reproducing the pumps, golly, that would be a nightmare!

        • Tassiebush

          Good thing about pumps of that era is they were simple. The tricky bits like the valve were on the reservoir from the gun. It just screwed off the gun and onto the pump which was just a single cylinder. It had enough pressure to push the valve open and fill it a bit more with each stroke. Although obviously the piston head is a tight tolerance piece, from what i’ve read lubricant (maybe mineral oil?) makes enough of a seal to help it work so they can be a bit more forgiving to make. To charge it you basically just pump away till you can’t do anymore (laughs crudely) and the heavier the pumper (sniggers rudely once more) is the more psi they can achieve. I don’t have pneumatic airgun experience either. I balk at the annoying and seemingly fragile accessories involved. I scratch my head over why this simpler lower psi type of airgun isn’t made since you could have the whole kit complete with bullet mold and probably wouldn’t need technical support ever again with a few spares and a tool or two.

          • Shmoe

            Yeah, I don’t mind the concept, I just can’t afford the durability and quality I would get in a comparable firearm. I mean something like one of the FX .30 cal/ multi-cal bullpups, would be pretty compelling…if it was $1000 cheaper. Throw in soft cast boolits and you have a pretty good long term close range hunting solution with very little ongoing expenses after the (high) initial outlay. Mean time, my old Sheridan is way underrated and there are ARs to build!

  • pbla4024

    What is the correct spelling? Girardoni (my prefered), Girandoni or Giradoni?
    Ps.: There is even a Czech comics about the rifle, the partisans using it during WW2 🙂

  • joeyskylynx

    God damn, why are their no reproductions of this piece of history??