My First Break Barrel – A Marksman 746 Air Rifle.

This is the story of my first break barrel gun, a Marksman 746 air rifle.

The year was 1976. The country was celebrating our bicentennial and the Buchanan family had just moved from Phoenix to the rural area of Mesa AZ. My Father’s recapping company was doing well and Dad wanted the family to grow up in a kinder more organic life style with chickens, ducks, goats and a horse.

As we all know, with critters come the vermin and birds that live off of the feed and the bugs etc. that farm animals bring. The Buchanan boys now were blessed with space to shoot and a growing number of pest that needed to be controlled.

My brother and I had been gifted the deluxe versions of the Crosman 760 pump gun with wood stocks and brass colored receivers. After wearing those guns out and wanting more performance I began to scan the Guns magazine articles written by Jess Galan about European airguns.

I was star struck with visions of power and accuracy never before possible from even 20 pumps of the 760!

At the back of each Guns magazine a small add had been placed by the Marksman company that offered a catalog for one dollar. I cut out the one inch square black and white ad, put in a dollar that had been earned by mowing the lawn: Mom provided the envelope and stamp. And then I waited…

A few weeks later a color Marksman brochure arrived. I found myself reading its four pages from cover to cover multiple times per day. I wish there was a degree in Airgunology as I would  have a Doctorate with all of absorbing of airgun info I thirsted for in my youth.

The airgun that captivated me the most was a Marksman 746 air rifle, a break barrel Scottish-made Diana model that boasted 600 fps in 177 cal. and 500 in 22 cal. It was awesome!

I had to have it!

After months of working at Dad’s tire store on Saturdays re-grooving tires for 10 cents per groove I earned the $49.95 plus $8.00 shipping to make the purchase. Mom took my cash and sent in a check to the Marksman company.

I waited for the 6-8 weeks delivery. It seemed like a year! But one day after school the brown Santa pulled up to our house and the driver pulled out a long box from the truck.

Carefully, I opened the carton and removed the air rifle its wood stock with cut checkering and polished blue action was the most beautiful rifle I had ever seen.

My First Break Barrel Air Rifle - A Marksman 746.

The Marksman 746 is a high quality Scottish made Diana rifle. The Milbro company had the rights to produce certain Diana guns – they even advertised these as Scottish Dianas in the ’70s. The Marksman company had a production run made of these special
rifles for the U.S. market.

The rifle sports a very nice Micro click rear sight with a hooded front and re-settable safety. The piston and breech seal are made of leather. With proper maintenance they last for ever. The cocking action is very smooth and easy for a 600 fps rifle and the firing behavior is delightful with almost no vibration and little recoil.

I enjoyed this gun to such an extent that it prompted me to want another higher power model to reach out and take the birds on the property at extended ranges. In our youth we make choices that seem smart but time may show them to be stupid.

So I sold the gun to a friend. STUPID!

With the money and of course extra added in I ordered a HW35L from Beeman. NOT STUPID!

As time passed and life found me in the airgun trade, I longed for my first break barrel gun back. I have collected many fine pieces but the missing Marksman 746 air rifle created a fire that would not go out. Rather like one’s first girlfriend…

I am happy to announce that the friend I sold the rifle to kept it and maintained it in very nice condition. A feeling of guilt weighed heavy on his head and the opportunity for a nice profit helped too. My first love is now back in my care. It’s the gun in these photographs.

Robert Buchanan runs Airguns of Arizona.