Last weekend I missed a call from Tim McMurray of Mac 1 Airguns. As I listened to the message my heart skipped a beat:
“Dan, This is Tim McMurray of Mac 1 Airguns. I found the body to a Elevator Gun, and I know you wanted it. I just wanted to give you first shot at it, I know nobody else would appreciate it as much as you.”
Last year I visited Tim and he helped me put back together the Master Blaster / Elevator Gun I received from Earon Carter.
Earon’s Elevator Gun was in horrible shape after being left outside to rot but after Paul cleaned it up so the elevator mechanism would move I took it to Mac 1 and rebuilt it with one of Tim’s Crosman MK1 rebuild kits. After the rebuild, Earon’s Master Blaster shot great. Ted even used it for some Trick Shots at Spew 2013!
When I first met Tim on September 4th of 2012 I had a ton of questions about the Master Blaster / Elevator Guns. The only thing I knew for sure was the vague info from the Frontline and APG photo captions (which I believe show the same Elevator Gun I received from Tim).
Frontline November 1987 states:
“”Master Blaster,” first collaboration between Stan Russell and Tim McMurray. A Short Lived experiment with non-Sheridan basic gun.”
And September 1987 APG has printed :
“This early prototype, called the “Blast Master,” was a pellet-to-paintgun conversion.”
In APG’s caption Tim intentionally scrambled the name for APG’s editor to correct but it was missed (Was it Russell Maynard?). Tim says, “Cause it cocks backwards we put the name backwards in the article.”
So with only these few lines to go off, I asked Tim about production numbers, the origin and the date Stanley Russell and Earon Carter built the Master Blasters but since it was close to 30 years ago and Tim has been trying to forgot paintball ever since the late 89s I figured I’d be lucky to get anything.
Tim didn’t remember production numbers, only that there were a few, built off the Crosman Mark 1s he had give Stan and Earon.
He did remember how the reverse pump Master Blaster came to be though (watch the video above from September 2012 to see what he says).
When Tim started contracting Stan and Earon for projects, such as the thousands of delrin pump handles he sold, he wanted to give South Bay Arms a challenge.
Sometime in the early 80s, Mac 1 had purchased the reaminder of Crosman’s Mark 1 pellet pistol stock and had over a hundred remaining. The Mark 1 is a superb airgun with a lot of adaptability that remains popular decades after production and Mac 1 builds a good portion of their business around servicing these pistols.
Tim gave a few of these Crosman MK1s to Stan and Earon and as Tim says, they “sketched out a design on a piece of paper.” Tim remembered that “It would have to be reverse cocking, and probably wouldn’t fly.” But it was really a “development exercise to test the capability of the Machinist to prototype something and execute the design.”
Tim didn’t remember an exact date of production and since it was 30 years back, at the time I couldn’t even nail down a year other than the fact it predated the Annihilators.
At the time I, of course, asked Tim if he still had any of the Master Blasters left but he thought he sold the one he had to a paintballer in Canada since he hadn’t seen it in ages.
But over the last month, as Tim McMurray and Mike Haymer have been cleaning the shop to install a 4500 psi compressor. In the bottom of the gun cabinet they found the long lost remains ( the Paintball front half) of Tim’s Elevator Gun.
If the parts to assemble another Master Blaster weren’t enough, I needed to have Tim confirm a couple videos that we shot in Early 2013 (yes, I’m pretty slow on videos) and he wanted some tips on recording tutorial videos for youtube (check out Mac 1 Airguns on youtube here). So when I visited Tim yesterday we had a bunch of stuff to talk about. I also got a look at Tim’s new 4500 PSI compressor which can fill paintball tanks and Scubas.
Tim’s two videos from 2013, which will be online this week, feature him sharing his thoughts on the Nel-Spot 707 and a 6 minute segment on the history of the Larry Durham Simple Simon (LDSS) Pellet Rifle and the Mac 1 US FT (Field Target) rifle.
When I got to Mac 1 we watched Tim’s videos and discussed a few changes, and I took a few additional photos of his pellet rifles for the previously videos. Then we took a look at the Elevator Gun he found. Immediate I noticed a few differences from Earons.
Differences include the super short barrel, at least compared to Earons, I’ll have to measure the barrel but I think it’s only 8 or 10 inches. Only one of the two arms is used for raising the elevator, both are still used for cocking though. This makes me thing it predated Earons. The Elevator mechanism is attached with a screw instead of a roller bearing. The Aluminum barrels are round and not hexagonal as Earon’s Master Blaster used. And the end of the barrel almost looks like it’s epoxied together rather than welded.
I’m also fairly sure this is the same barrel assembly pictured in APG and Frontline, the tubes are round, it uses the same PG lowertube feed plug and the front sight is a sheridan sight pin.
Watch the playlist of Master Blaster videos above.
Since I haven’t been able to figure out an exact date I’ve been trying to find more general dates and establish a timeframe for when Stanley and Earon would have created the Master Blasters. So with the timeline of early southern California Paintball History I’ve been working on we discussed possible dates.
Tim remembers Mac 1’s best years were 85, 86 and 87, during the golden age of Southern California Paintball Innovation. Tim first dabbled in paintball in 1984 when Jeff Perlmutter of PMI dropped a PG pistol off at his shop. I believe it was a side tube which Tim says he later sold to David Freeman (and then it went missing from Freeman after being displayed in Florida one year).
In 85, paintball started “ramping up” and Mac 1 had gross sales of roughly 1,000,000 a year in 86 and 87, which was double anything they had possibly done before. Tim’s relationship with Earon in Stan went south in 1987 and he contracted AK Enterprises for his next projects (including the Annihilator MKI). AK stood for Allen Kaneshiro which would eventually become A+ Machine once Kaneshiro’s brothers become involved.
After the release of Sheridan’s released the P-12 which was a blatant rip off of Mac-1’s Annihilator (barrel length of 12 inches, sight rail cut in feed) and Sheridan’s unwillingness to pay Mac-1’s consulting fees, Tim took Sheridan (Ray Katz was the president and owner at the time) to court which I will discuss more in future articles and videos (especially when I get to Gramp and Grizzly’s interviews). At this point (1988-1989?) Tim called it quits in paintball and sticked to the more constant Airgun work that Mac 1 is still known for today.
I’m so excited to add this piece of Paintball History to my collection and In August I’ll be completing this Master Blaster with the help of Mac 1 Airguns.
The more specific timeline includes:
•1984 Summer – Tim received Ramped front sight PG from Jeff Perlmutter and advises Permutter to remove ramp sight since sights are skewed and will make shooter aim low. Suggests bead sight placed closer to end of tube so tube will fit 10 balls.
•Late 1984 – Receives 4 prototype K series Long rifles. Advises they need dual 12 grams and should be cut down for better velocity. Sheridan insists they remain long.
•1984 – Steve “Gunner” Tetz comes up with first west coast example of pump handle.
•Very Late 1984 -Early 1985- Tim makes deal to purchased 200 rifles for 14 thousand dollars (=70 dollars a piece). Sends check to Sheridan but receives it back several weeks later.
•1984-1985 – Tim meets Stan Russell. Stan’s first involvement with Tim was the screw attached to the bolt to make cocking the PG pistols easier. 2nd was the speed loader attached to the horizontal feed tube. Tim remembers that he would get royalties to each speedloader that was built by Sheridan when this modification was integrated on the pursuit pistol.
•1985 Sheridan produces K1 and K2. Pump Twist Dual is built off a few of these prior to idea of delrin pump handle.
•Late 1984-1985 – Tim comes up with Delrin pump handle and has Stan Russell and Earon begin to manufacture them. Uses 14K loan on pump handles. Bud Orr says, “Tim was the first to come up with a Delrin pump handle.” Tim remembers that he was not the first to built a pump handle (he remembers Gunner had one earlier). Tim says, “I definitely didn’t make the first pump, I just made the first clean [pump handle]. I was more involved with making modifications to Sheridans and Gunner at the time was modifying Nelsons.”
Along with the pump handle, a hole is drilled in the bolt for the pump rod.
•At same time Tim proposes a test for Earon and Stan which results in Master Blaster (late 1984-early 1985). One of the Knurled bolts is used in Tim’s Master Blaster and the pump handle has very small ridges indicating the pump handle was very early.
•Stan, Earon and Wes Poatle create Annihilator in August of 1986.
Big thanks to Tim McMurray at Mac 1 Airguns!
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