- .22 cal., combination airgun/firearm rifle designed to use special Daisy VL caseless ammunition. Mfg. 1968-1969.
Clearly an underlever, spring-piston airgun, which will fire as just an airgun, but which is designed to have its typical airgun action supplemented by the ignition of a propellant mass molded on the base of special 29-grain bullets, i.e., caseless cartridges. Ignition is due to the high temperature normally developed by spring-piston airguns at the moment of firing (adiabatic compression)? not friction in the barrel as usually reported. MV is 1150 FPS.
Developed at Daisy by Jules van Langenhoven (= VL), but apparently the unique valve system, which seals the gun against the back pressure of ignition, was invented by M.R. Kovarik, and some other German engineers. Richard Daniel, former president of Daisy, reported that 25,000 guns had been made and were ready for a promotional launch just as U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated. The public backlash against firearms was seen as a threat to Daisy´s excellent public image, so the project was immediately dropped. When considering the question of whether this gun is an airgun or not, remember that power augmentation is not new in the airgun world. The Weihrauch Barakuda used ether to boost its power, and many airgunners, most notably the Brits, have been jacking up airgun power by dripping low flashpoint oil into their spring-piston guns for over a century.
The resulting diesel explosion can add real zest to the shot -- and real strain to the gun. This is why so many originally beautiful, originally tight, BSA and Webley airguns sound like a bag of bolts when you shake them. (Collectors and shooters beware.) In final analysis, the VL does not fit cleanly into any group; it definitely is both a firearm and an airgun!