R.A.N. Air rifle pellet tests


I’ve just come across documentation of tests done on air rifle pellets for the R.A.N, by SAAF No. 1 Footscray on 27th February 1941.

Rifle supplied by the Navy and fired from a fixed rest. Results were poor.

I have no details of calibre.

What were they used for, shooting seagulls??



Navy wanted to study low angle entry of spheres into water. Was surprised by erratic results. Couldn’t believe that air guns have dispersion, resulting in different entry angles for each shot with big influence on results. Had rifle tested by Footscray which confirmed existence of dispersion.

(I’m just kidding. Sorry, but could not resist. I know of testers in Germany who actually did not account for gun dispersion and bullet yaw. They could not understand their results. Observation is much easier today with affordable high speed video.)


Together with David Mayne, we sorted out this strange ammo issue.

It was used in a piece of equipment called a Rypa, possibly of Canadian design, to train gunners in tank warfare.

Rypa is a device which simulates the Roll, yaw, pitch and alternating oscillation of a tank in action (Hence the acronym). The trainee gunner in a revolving turret looks through a telescopic sight, and shoots lead pellets at moving targets with an electric operated air rifle.

Needs more research to see how the Navy were using them, but the same principles would apply on a pitching boat deck I imagine.

I can see why they sent pellets to testing at Footscray, as the accuracy of those tested was terrible. Variations in weight seems to be the main reason, even from those supplied by I.C.I.