Founded in 1945 by Mr. Ed Wackerhagen and Mr. Bob Kraus of Racine, Wisconsin,
Sheridan Products Inc. were manufacturers of the finest air rifles made in the USA
By UJ Backus
Part of the fun in collecting Sheridan air rifles is learning more about them. When I became interested I found a lot of information on the various on-line air gun forums and in Ron Elbe’s book, ‘Know Your SHERIDAN Rifles & Pistols’. Equipped with a good knowledge base, I began to build a collection of Blue Streak and Silver Streak rifles. While searching for these models I would seldom come across a Model A or Model B. There was not much information on the A or B but I knew they were somewhat rare.
Then a friend picked up a functional Model A Super-Grade at an auction and brought it out to show me. Now that I had seen one up close and handled it, the fine workmanship and aesthetics of this rifle became evident. I had read that the Model A is “the finest American pneumatic rifle ever made” and now I believed it! There were no short cuts taken in the design and build of this rifle.
As described by a fellow collector: "The Super-Grade delivers a shooting experience that rivals the best; accurate, reasonably powerful, a joy to hold and shoot. The whole experience of shooting one of these is unique and filled with a mix of nostalgia and performance. Even though it is a terrific shooter, it is also a memento, a bragging right and a source of pride to its owner; one of the crown jewels of any serious air gun collection."
Wanting to know more about the Company, my continuing research led me to a wealth of information.
To quote Mr. Wackerhagen concerning the Company; “The idea started in 1945 as a sort of hobby and to give my son a better air rifle than anything then on the market. My close friend, Bob Kraus, who as you know, is a design engineer, as well as an excellent amateur gunsmith, designed and made the first Sheridan by hand. It out-performed and out-looked every air rifle by such a wide margin that everyone who saw and shot it wanted one.”
As a means of gathering more knowledge, and providing collectors a place to showcase their rifles, I started the Sheridan Air Rifle Registry for the Model A and Model B in 2007. Information on all the Sheridan air rifle models was later added and the Sheridan web site was born.
click here to go to the Sheridan Air Rifle Registry
In 2011, being urged by other collectors, I published the information that was on the web site in the first edition of my book, ‘SHERIDAN / Classic American Air Rifles’. The second edition was published in 2014. This book is a great reference for the collector.
click here for updates to my book
Having performed repairs on all the Sheridan air rifle models I also published a ‘Repair Manual’ to help those collectors and enthusiasts who are interested in this aspect of the hobby.
click here to download the Repair Manual
Revision 4.3 - 1/12/2016
Sheridan advertisements often showed a target with the bulls-eye shot out, and a pine board illustrating pellet penetration with different number of pumps. These were representative of accuracy and controlled power. In my own experience, I have fired hundreds of rounds through Super-Grade and Sporter rifles and the results are as advertised. Muzzle velocity of 700 fps is obtainable with the recommended maximum of 8 pumps. Average velocity is around 650 fps with 14.3 gr. cylindrical pellets. Accuracy is impressive! The same holds true for the later pneumatic models. Extensive performance data can be found in Ron Elbe’s book.
The Model C Silver Streak and Model CB Blue Streak are the pellet rifles that Sheridan is best known for. These models were produced for over 40 years and offer the collector several variations to seek out.
Dating your Silver Streak or Blue Streak
Pellet tins, shipping boxes, literature and other items related to Sheridan also enhance any collection. CO2 powered guns, tranquilizer guns, and paintball markers are other Sheridan products that can be of interest to the collector. Much of the information a collector needs to know, to make wise purchases and build a fine collection, can be found in my book and from the links on this page.