The T&C Crosman is the nicest to shoot by a country mile;-) Second would be the Apache.I reckon the roughest US-made multi-stroke pneumatic is the Eagle Rock Plainsman......
There are three distinct models of Kessler, not two. The D model is the one with plated barrel, extra nice stock, etc. The B model is the large stock version with any plating and a simpler stock design. Probably the most common Kessler found. The model C was the Jr model and latest the longest, from the paperwork anyways, but the Jr is not a common model.
There has been a long running argument between myself and the Blue Book (ie Beeman) on these Kessler marked Rochester models. Maybe Mr. Groenewold, per the Blue Book, has some inside knowledge but nobody else that I know has ever seen a Rochester marked as Kessler. The Blue Book really owes it's readers some pictures of such a rare beast, if it exists.
Not sure if Mr. Groenewold made a trip to upstate NY, as stated in the Blue Book, but I certainly did in 1997. Met with some Kessler collectors there and visited the famous Smith's Lawnmower Shop which is where all the Kessler parts ended up, before being bought by Ron Sauls. In 1997, Smith's Lawnmower shop was still selling fully assembled Kesslers. It was also a popular local hobby to build Kesslers from the pallets of parts found at Smiths.
Have no idea what Blue Book is talking about Numerich acquiring Kessler parts. Seems like they are thinking of the Quackenbush parts that ended up there.
I also would disagree with the Blue Book's contention that the Rochester was developed from the Super Grade design. The Rochester came out about the same time or even before the Super Grade. However, The Kessler certainly did evolve from the Rochester. The two designs share many of the same parts.
I was 14yrs old when I purchased a Kessler air rifle, it was the 1st pellet air rifle I owned. I purchased it through mail order, either Hudson or Kleins. It was either 1952 or 1953 and was on discount for a few cents under $10. The cost of a Sheridan was a little more then I could afford.
After comparing your 'Instructions and Part List' to mine, I see that mine is different. Have included it here so it can hopefully be captured for posterity (I don't have a scanner so I just took pictures).
This indicates separate offices in Buffalo, in addition to the factory in Silver Creek (although the Guarentee Card has the Buffalo address struck out and the Silver Creek address overstamped).
The List of Parts is also for a slightly different version rifle. A quick scan shows differences in the front sight/barrel support, the shape of the trigger, some internal valve differences, and the inclusion of a butt plate.
I am guessing that this is an earlier version than the one you posted (although that could certainly be a bad guess).
This has to be the earliest of instruction sheets. Prudential Bldg location is new to me. With the over-stamped Prudential Bldg. on the warranty return, that tells us that the Prudential Bldg. location had already closed when this particular set of instructions was shipped with a gun.
But, even more interesting is the gun that went with this. The drawing clearly shows a Rochester style trigger and the same front-end-lever support as the Rochester.And, most important, the trademark Kessler style one-piece stock instead of the Rochester receiver casting. This is a transition model between the original Rochester and when Kessler went to full production: It clearly has design aspects of both. This is a new Kessler model. I'd call it the First Model Kessler or Kessler/Rochester transition model.
I'm going just on memory but I can't recall a picture of something like this and I'm pretty certain this model has never been described until now. I think It's a new find.
Also, if there were any Kessler's made with some Rochester marked barrels on them, it's reasonable to assume that they would also be this configuration. This means maybe two more Kessler models.
The Kessler flyer with three full kessler style trimmings is date stamped Aug 1949, so, this instruction sheet has to be before that. 1948 Kessler. It's the only bit of direct evidence left of Kessler company activity before it took up full residence at Silver Creek.
Anyone out there with a Kessler that looks like this?
It's interesting to note that this same first model design drawing was used throughout the rest of the Kessler documents.
This is a pretty interesting gun. If it wasn't for the Kessler instruction sheet, I would compelled to say that this was a combination of a Rochester and Kessler guns that was thrown together by somebody in their garage (or lawnmower shop.) But, it certainly matches what we see in the Kessler instruction sheet. The crude construction is a bit surprising but it also sort of fits with some guys who somehow came into procession of the remains of the Rochester Rifle Co. and started their own company from it: Kessler. The heavy scaring on the compression may also have come after production by a repair attempt.
Now, is there a Kessler marked version of this gun?
Initially, my thought was that this Kessler transition model discovery verified what the Blue Book of Airguns had, but, my mistake, this model is not described at all in the Blue Book. Instead, the Blue Book says that there is a two-piece model that looks exactly like a Rochester but is marked as Kessler. Such a gun is not pictured and nobody has ever come up with an example and, as we can now see, the Rochester/Kessler transition model is in fact an entirely different animal. It's a combination of Rochester and Kessler parts and, at least from the one example we've seen, is marked Rochester.
The confirmation of this Rochester/Kessler transition model by documentation and by example makes the prospect of finding a legit Rochester marked Kessler at about zero. It doesn't make very much sense that Kessler would have had to use Rochester marked barrels on their new design and at the same time put together full-blown Rochester models using Kessler-marked barrels.
I'm guessing this is a "frankengun" of sorts considering the piston seems to be from a Crosman 140.
The tapered valve inlet face matches up with the pump cup in the reseal kit I have so I'll be using that cup and fabricate a new pump rod. An interesting design all around.
From ruralburbian Philomath.