Sunday, November 6, 2011

Healthways Plainsman BB Pistol Disassembly, Part 1

I picked this up awhile back and forgot I had it! It’s an early Healthways Plainsman BB pistol. The CO2Airguns site has a great write-up about it with links to a few other articles on the pistol.

Sort of like a Colt Woodsman, somewhat like a Nambu… It’s not ugly, just oddly proportioned.

”Plainsman .175”, “PAT. PEND.”, “Healthways L.A. CALIF”.


The other side.

The rear sight doubles as the BB filling gate.

Well it’ll be hard to spill BBs, unlike other guns.

The lever actuated piercing cap. The screw head is for power adjustment.


The CO2 cartridge is inserted neck down and the lever actuates that piercing pin.

It uses 8g. CO2 cartridges. 

The left grip removed. 

Removing the right grip.

Right grip removed.

More valve elements down in the tube. 

Removing the left frame screws.

Five screws of two different lengths.

Nothing flew apart when I removed the left frame side although the loading gate spring did come out.

A fairly simple mechanism. Which is good. 

The spring should be under the post extending from the loading gate.

I find it interesting that they used a straight piece of spring wire both here and as shown below with the safety. I haven’t seen this type of spring in any other airgun.

The safety is captured by a piece of straight spring wire that passes through a hole in the post. Notice the semicircular slot.
More to come…


njlou said...

I have one of these guns that I had since I was a kid.

I always wanted to refurb it but I never could find anything on it. SO.. thanks for the spectacular write up.
I am about to start my journey and I would like to ask what "o" rings are used. size and material???
They can be tricky to eyeball. I think there are 3. The really little one in the stabber almost looks oval cross section , but thats because of ~50 years of confinement.
I have a tube of teflon grease that I will lube the internals, and seals.

Also I dont think I will remove the "L" gasket unless its messed.

Any further help would be appreciated . Thanks again


Nick Carter said...

I rarely measure o-rings as I'm never sure I'm right...They are usually always round originally. It's a good idea to build up an assortment over time. Use Polyurethane (Mac-1 has them) or Viton rings.

Ross B said...

I've completely restored 2 of these now and they're pretty simple. One I purchased new in the early 70's. I purchase a parts gun and it turns out that the wire spring on the safety is identical to the one on the loading gate and are interchangeable. There's a small o-ring between the valve assembly and the CO2 tube and it's an odd size. The little rubber "L" gasket that seals the valve/loading assembly to the frame was still in tact so I didn't try to replace it. Even though both of mine are over 35 years old they both still hold pressure and shoot great.

Anonymous said...

Trigger does not cock gun to fire.Does anyone know the solution?

Nick Carter said...

Open it up and double check that everything is aligned correctly as per the teardown. Look for missing parts, broken parts, etc.

racerjim0 said...

I have a plainsman but it does not have the piercing valve on the co2 end cap,its just a screw in cap and I can see trigger mechanisms from the co2 entrance hole so I am assuming that this version doesn't encase the co2. Was this an earlier version or------
I haven't seen this gun in over 30 years, RIP Dad, and Am wanting to play with it again like I was 13. Thanks for the effort it takes to post these blogs!!

Anonymous said...

I was given a plainsman 175 (as sort of) a gift - only to discover that the piercing pin was pushed in and does not have the ability to "puncture" the co2 cyl. Nice ! still searching for the valve body with a piecing pin. pistol does have a nice 'heft' to it . I suppose if I keep it any longer the seals will harden and leak - but nice presentations.

Anonymous said...

Where could I find a lever actuated piercing cap, mine is missing? What is this gun really worth with out it- parts gun. Can't find any articles about pricing......
Thanks in advance for any input, Paul

Felice Luftschein said...

You can try Gunbroker, they come up often. Without the cap it is just a parts gun, and even good condition ones seem to go for only $20-$30.

stan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

stan said: I tried to email u but my attempt failed. If you still have your Plainsman please notify me at Thanks, John C.

Anonymous said...

Do u have any idea how much this kind of airgun today..

gus steve spengler said...

Ive had my plainsmen since early 70s not enough power so i shortined power ajustment spring holy cow what a improvement

robert reddell said...

I just found a cool older healthways plainsman, it seems to work well but it is not holding the o2, it pierces the 8gr co2 cartridge, you hear the gas filling the chamber, you take one shot and its done, if you don't shoot it still leaks out. which O ring would it most likely be causing this. great write up, all 3 blogs. thanks it really helps. Robert said...

I have a Plainsman 175 serial # 778070. Appears CO2 piercing pin is down to a little nub. Otherwise it is vintage almost new condition. Are these better than a new pellet I can buy reasonably inexpensive?

Felice Luftschein said...

It is better than some but way worse than others.

Unknown said...

Anyone know where I can get parts for the plains men 175 missing the Co2 nut I guess it would be called on the bottom of the handle hold s the Co2.

Peter Leppelman said...

Anyone know where I can get parts for the plains men 175 missing the Co2 nut I guess it would be called on the bottom of the handle hold s the Co2.

stan said...

I think has parts for these.

Geoff Cruz said...

I also have one of these guns and I have been looking for months on information about it and thank God I found your post. Great work.

Doug Patton said...

I just purchased a Plainsman .175 from a flea market, found some 8 gram CO2 cartridges online but after loading the BBs they will not come out the barrel! The gas comes out with good velocity but no BBs. It can be used as a single shot by putting the BB down the barrel but it would be nice to use it as a semi auto. Can you help?

Nick Carter said...

Read all the posts about the Plainsman and make it work, probably the BB shuttle is gummed up?

Kevin Vonderharr said...

My name is Kevin and I just received the plainsman with the plastic wood looking grips.I am having the same problem. C02 not leaking and seems to work fine but, gun is not loading and firing B.B.'s. how do I go about cleaning the shuttle?

Colonel 666 said...

This Plainsman is in original box. I put seltzer 8gram charge in. Held pressure but not firing bb's. Cannot understand why?

Bill said...

Does anyone know of a parts source for the plainsman model 9401 (175). I would like to buy a new or like new lever operated co2 piercing cap and the o-ring seal that fits on it. I would also like to know if there is an adapter available for this gun that allows use of the 12 gram co2 cartridge.

Anonymous said...

We have an Healthways Plainsman 175 CO2 that is leaking CO2; does anyone know how we can fix it?

Anonymous said...


While cleaning out my Grandfather stuff I found a Plainsman MA22.
There were old lead BBs still inside it.
But they are visually larger than the BBs used in modern guns.

Any idea of the size they are? So I can buy replacements.

Thank you

Felice Luftschein said...

I don't, sounds like a really good excuse to buy some cheap digital calipers to measure them.