Home History Restored Early Carter Machine Buzzard History

Restored Early Carter Machine Buzzard History

Right side of restored Carter Buzzard.
Right side of Sean Chip’s Carter Machine Buzzard/ Termite. Paul Schreck restored this classic to its former glory and it looks fantastic. Photo courtesy Sean Chip.

Sean Chip posted an early Carter Machine Buzzard (or Termite gun) for sale on both facebook and MCB over the last few days.  Some discussion popped up surrounding whether it was either one or the other, a Buzzard or a Termite.  Here is some history on that Buzzard and my thoughts on why this is a Buzzard and not a Termite.

Carter Machine Sheridan above early Buzzard.
Stock Class Carter Machine Sheridan next above Fernando Castillo Buzzard, prior to Paul’s restoration. Photo courtesy Phuong Nguyen.

This early breech drop unibody pump was on the wall in Earon Carter’s shop for a while (who knows, maybe the last decade?).  I saw it back in 2012 when I visited with Paul Schreck and we asked Earon about the history behind it. He told us that the earliest Buzzards he made used welded pump handles and that he couldn’t (or didn’t want to) get rid of this Buzzard because it belonged to Fernando Castillo, one of his employees at Carter Machine and personal friend.

In March of last year (2014), when Paul and I visited Earon again, this Buzzard/Termite was still hanging on the wall and since last seeing it a few more pieces were missing (sight rail, grips, internals). It was obvious that this piece of history would become more dilapidated if we left Chula Vista without saving it. And with some begging, Earon eventually gave this early paintgun to Paul.

After Paul took this early treasure home, he performed his usual magic, totally restoring the interior and exterior of this Buzzard. Afterwards, what was a skeleton of a pump, turned out looking fantastic.  
I imagine Paul used his own internals in it, found some grips a sight rail and the other missing pieces. He then had it polished and some of the piece reanodized. It turned out looking great and the welded arms with drilled holes are very unique. I’ve probably seen the welded arms on 5-10 Buzzards I’ve come across.

Left side of restored Carter Buzzard.
This Buzzard belonged to Fernando Castillo and was sold to Paul Schreck, who restored it, by Earon Carter. Photo courtesy Sean Chip.

The early block sight rail is, I think, the main factor on this paintgun that make people think Termite immediately when seeing it.
But I would call this a Buzzard since it likely dates to Mid/late 1989-mid 1990, after Jay “The Buzzard” passed away, it wasn’t sold through ASO, it has the welded on pump arms, the non standard nelson valve body and likely originally came with Earon’s internals, not Howdy internals.
Edit: Frank Postle is credited with making the first batch of steel (not aluminum) long barrel direct feed Nelspots in 1987. These pumps were used at the Sat Cong Challenge Cup Tournament Series of 1987 (August 26th to October 10th, 1987).
After the 20 or so Frank Guns (also referred to these as Land Shark guns) were made, Rob “Termite” Smith contracted parts to be made for his run of long barrel Nelspot spec guns known by his nickname, Termite. Termite continued contracting various parts to different shops and using premade standard spec parts (from WGP, Lapco, Tri Jay/Carter/NW) for these guns until the end of 1988/beginning of 1989. At the end of 1988 or early 1989, the name was changed in honor of Jay “The Old Buzzard” Jackson, who had passed away.
I don’t know if Earon was making the barrels prior to this but around this time Earon took over nearly full production of the guns and it was at this point that this paintgun, which now belongs to Sean Chip, would have been made, using Earon Carter’s longer nelson length body.

Close up of Paintball Magazine's ad for the Buzzard Gun.
Close up of “Paintball” magazine’s Spring 1989 ad for the Buzzard Gun. Standard nelson spec valve body.

Rob “Termite” Smith’s early model Termite/Buzzard is pictured above, scanned from the Spring 1989 issue of “Paintball” magazine. This Termite/Buzzard uses a standard nespot back bottle valve (AGS/Taso in the ad scan above) and this photo was likely taken in late 1988 as the last of Rob’s standard nelspot spec bodies were assembled.
For the Buzzard pictured in this article, belonging to Sean Chip, which is the model Termite/Buzzard (1989-1990), most of the parts were likely built by Earon and sold by both Earon and Termite and used a Carter spec valve.
Rob “Termite” Smith sold some of these through Action Sports Outfitters and the Master Blasters as his Termite guns. And as a member of the Master Blasters, Smith used Howdy internal in some of his guns.
So depending on where/who the pump came from can be the most obvious indicator of what the proper name is. Sean’s restored Buzzard is some of the best proof of that collaboration.

Spring 1989 article on the Buzzard gun, named after Jay "The Old Buzzard" Jackson.
Spring 1989 article on the Buzzard gun, scanned from “Paintball,” named after Jay “The Old Buzzard” Jackson.

The Spring of 1989 issue of the magazine “Paintball,” featured the earliest ad I’ve seen for the Buzzard and that particular paintgun has the welded on pump arms (likely welded by Stan Russell?).
Find more on the different models of the Termites and Buzzards in the article linked below :
https://paintballhistory.com/kevin-donaldson-captain-of-the-new-york-master-blasters-on-the-termite-gun-and-the-widowmakers

Also in that article are photos of one of Dana Mennerich’s Termites, which is the closes match I’ve seen to Sean Chip’s Buzzard.
Dana’s paintgun uses the slip on front sight, the later long body, originally used the same sight rail, and has the welded pump arms.

Left side crop of Mennerich's Termite.
Left side crop of Mennerich’s Termite. Photo courtesy Dana Mennerich.

Dana’s paintgun was likely sold through Action Sports Outfitters or came directly from Termite so it would be a Termite gun. But aside from the internals, the dealer and some aesthetic milling, it’s nearly the same gun.

Sean Chip’s Buzzard came directly from Earon, and since it supposedly belonged to Fernando Castillo (who also worked at Carter Machine), I would say there is no doubt it would have been called a a Buzzard when it was built.

Find Sean’s for sale thread on mcb at:
http://www.mcarterbrown.com/forums/rare-old-guns/269462-meteor-sterling-carter-termite.html

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