In the early 1990s Bob Long and the Ironmen were in my opinion at their heyday. Shooting very early but top of the line Autocockers and winning over and over globally.
Probably around 1993, Bob Long began offering his customized line of Bob Long Signature Series Autocockers in various splash colors and offering Proline 45 frames on them, engraved with “used by the Ironmen.”
Several years back a totally very early but totally tricked out example of a nearly period correct Bob’s cocker appeared on mcarterbrown.com for sale. The seller, from Canada, posted a neat story about meeting Bob Long in 1993 at the Canadian Indoor Championship and then ordering an Bob Long Signature Series Autococker from Bob, which was delivered the following year (1-22-1994).
Find this thread on mcarterbrown here:
The original owner, Europk posted:
“The next year when I heard they were coming back for the 1994 event I called Bob 2 months before the event and ordered my new dream come true Autococker. The original bill of sale is on the back of one of Bob’s business cards.”
Noted on the business card are:
The price paid: 1200, marked down to 1100 dollars (Canadian?).
The date: 1-22-1994
The serial: 19574
Europk also wrote, regarding one of the shorty Dye stainless Autococker barrels included, “The barrel that is on the marker is a 12″ DYE Stainless Steel barrel that i got from Dave the following year in 1995 at the same event. Also included is a preproduction/prototype 10” Stainless Steel DYE barrel that Dave gave me after the 1994 event. When the barrel finally went into production DYE was laser engraved onto the mid section of it as can be seen on the 12″ barrel, and then soon after the mid section had extra holes drilled into it.”
On April 25th of 2014, Rob Shaffer posted the same Autococker on the Old Paintball guns facebook page. With a photo of the business card included. Rob gave me permission to repost his photos which serve as an excellent reference to most period componets for those restoring a pre 95 Bob Long Autococker.
A couple other unique features on this Bob Long Signature Series Autococker were listed in the original for sale ad by Europk. I’ve shortened Europk’s list to include what I think was the norm for that period (or slightly afterward such as the Violator Unireg) and included my notes in parentheses afterwards:
• Anodized to match is the Body, Rear Block, Front Shroud, Stock, and 20oz. Tank.
• 20oz. Tank With Dac 3 On/Off Valve And Matching Thread Protector (brass dac valves would make sense to come stock since around this period Bob Long was also offering his Bob Long Signature Series Barrels which were rebranded Dac barrels.)
• Anti-Siphon Tube In the 20oz Tank (prevents freezing up by not pulling liquid from bottom of tank)
• Bob Long Team Ironmen 45 Slider Trigger Frame (rebranded Proline 45 frame, likely engraved by Skeeter Gordy for Bob Long).
• Custom 45 Grips That Match The Shroud Grips (I’ve never seen this style material on Bob Long cockers before, has anyone else?).
• Pro-Team Products PRO-DOT Sight (Most Ironmen were using Armson Prodots during this time so this would make sense).
• Pump Conversion Kit And Return Spring That Matches The Grips (I’ve never seen a pump kit offered directly from Bob, has anyone else?).
• Bob Long Stock (another accessory I’ve never seen offered from Bob?).
• Air America S.S. Unireg Violator Regulator (likely a little later for the Violator, likely 1996?).
• Super Light Aluminum Bolt (Could be a milled down stock bolt?)
• Black Aluminum Beavertail (Many Bob Long Autocockers came with this style beavertail before the integrated Back Block Cage).
The listed Stock and pump kit as well as that style grips are items I’ve never seen offered before by Bob Long. The diagonal gills are also unique and could be an indicator this was a cut that Dirk Gadberry (of the Ironmen) worked on?
Thanks to Rob Shaffer for letting me post these photos!