On July 17th, 2014 I met up with Tosh Tanaka in Santa Cruz, California and purchased two unique Annihilators from him. I had seen these Annihilators ten years earlier but I never would have guessed Tosh would let them go.
This story starts back in 2003, while browsing Scarecrow’s old site I came across a page showing Tosh Tanaka’s two classic Annihilators. One Annihilator was an Mk1 Apocalypse model with the Mac 1 Quick Config 12 gram drop out and the second was a 1st generation Stan Russell Annihilator that had been converted by Palmer’s Pursuit Shop to a Stroker.
Scarecrow writes, regarding this photo:
“Toshi Tanaka’s Annihilators. [Bottom] is a Mark 2 Model. Has mac-quick drop out changer, Stan Russell stock. Mac-1 Autotrigger, Custom Grips, Delrin Cooper-T EZ Bolt, velocity adjuster.”
Here is a link to that page on the Archived Wayback Machine website:
At the time  I hadn’t seen too many Mac 1 Annihilators pop up online and both of Tosh’s paintguns were really set up nicely. So I emailed Tanaka to ask about his Annihilators.
Responding back, Tosh wrote me that he was living in North Carolina playing occasionally there.
“I really enjoy playing Pump in a Semi world… Much more than I used to, more secure in my game I guess. It’s lots more fun than it used to be!”
Tosh also commented on his Annihilators (from the same 2003 emails):
“I also have a Palmerized Stan-nihilator which is different than the production Annihilator.
Barrel is longer, yet from the same tube stock. And the bolt has no detentes. So,
it is the best of both worlds Palmer [and] Mac-1, so to speak. I don’t have
the good valving that Typhoons are famous for, but it is automated and
Tosh goes on to describe his communications with Glenn when his “Stan-nihilator was sent in for the semi conversion (which was about 1997):
“Interesting note, [when I sent the Stan Russell Annihilator in to be converted,] Glenn asked me if I wanted the barrel cut down to 12″ from 13″… It shot great before automation, and just as well after. Man, he does awesome work!”
Recounting what he had heard regarding Stan Russell and Tim McMurray’s split in the late 80s, Tosh explained that, “Stan Russell was under contract from Tim McMurray to build some guns. Tim and Stan had a falling out when McMurray found out Russell was ‘back-dooring’ some guns…”
This was part of the well known story between Tim McMurray and Stan Russell’s falling out. Most people mention Stan [and Earon] “back dooring guns” but from what I’ve figured out, the problem was not that they were selling Marauders and Annihilators, since they were building them in the first place. I don’t specifically know for sure if there was a contract saying they couldn’t sell guns.
The problem that I know for sure was an issue was that Stan and Earon were selling Sheridan lower tubes that Mac 1 had given them to convert to Annihilators and return back to Tim as converted guns he could sell. Tim has repeatedly told me that his issue was that they were selling his “actions.”
By Actions Tim was referring to the lower tube internals and this is what the disagreement stemmed from. But Tim and Stan are not on bad terms today, Tim and Earon on the other hand have definitely not resolved their issue which at the time, almost ended in a brawl.
Back in 2003 I also asked Tanaka about his Cal Ordnance Silencer (or Rain Cover which I forgot to photographed).
“Cal Ordnance. Man, I don’t know much about them aside from they
manufactured this great silencer that was removed from the market by the
State of California, maybe even the Feds. It was too close to the ‘real
thing’… That’s why it’s so effective! I bought this particular product
from I&I in Los Angeles in about 1987 or so… They may have some info
So ten years pass by and I had every once in a while wondering if I would see another early 1st generation (longer bolt) Annihilator converted to a Stroker by Palmers. But then, to my surprise, in December of 2013, a full 10 years later, I receive an email from a Tosh asking if I would be interested in a couple Annihilators? And if not, did I know somewhere he could sell them?
I talked to Tosh, who was now living in Santa Cruz, on the phone a couple times after that (December of 2013 and February of 2014) and he explained how he acquired these Annihilators. The MK1 with the quick config was purchased in 1988 or 1989 from Mac 1 in Gardena and the cut up stock on the Mk1 came from Stan Russell shop at the time. Tosh refereed to this stock as a “Stan Stock”.
We discussed prices for his Annihilators and he mentioned wanting to just give them to me but I urged him to let me buy them. I didn’t hear from Tosh again for a few months so while preparing for my journey to Northern California over this summer, 2014, I gave him a call and we arranged to meet in Santa Cruz on July 17th, 2014. I would also be meeting David Kermode, of K-C Trouble Free Oil and the No Hot Shots Regs, for an interview video in Boulder Creek so Santa Cruz was on the way.
So the night before, I went to sleep at 1:30 am after packing up my car for Bacci Mountain 2014 and then woke up an 4am and hit the road at 5 for a hellish drive, first to Santa Cruz to meet with Tosh Tanaka, then to Boulder Creek to do a longer video interview with David Kermode, and then for a fun 5 hours of stop and go traffic while I made my way to Placerville to stay with ANT Linda.
Above, ANT Linda cycles the Stroker Stan-nihilator with just air.
I arrived to meet Tosh and after chatting with him for a few minutes I convinced him to record a quick interview video with me explaining his history and some of the modifications on these Annihilators. After we got started, Tosh got really into it and we recorded three short videos, the one above and two more, which I’ll be posting over the next couple days. In the second and third videos, Tosh goes into more detailed explanations on each Annihilator and his history with them.