Submitted by Doobliheim t3_ylt83o in history

I stumbled into this article titled The WAMO Powermaster .22LR Pistol: One Dangerous Gun which stated:

>Wham-O — the company known for classic toys like Frisbees, Superballs, Hacky Sacks and the Slip N’ Slide, apparently had a second division called WAMO.
>WAMO produced a variety of non-toy products, including crossbows and slingshots. On top of that, they made three single-shot .22 LR guns in the 1950s.

Wanting to check to see if that was actually true, I managed to stumble down a rabbit hole. There were tons of threads from the early 2000s that discussed the connection, but no one seemed to be able to prove they were related. Both companies listed addresses in the same city, and they both were shown to have produced products called Powermasters. Wham-O had a series of slingshots and crossbows, and WAMO had an extremely limited run (allegedly 1 year) of .22 caliber single-shot pistols.

Here's the example of what the pistol advertisement looked like:

I also dug around old forum posts for people that could definitively prove the connection. Most of the old pages were dead, but one was available through Wayback Machine. It was a guy's old blog (source) where he shows a scan of an advertisement found in 1956 Science & Mechanics magazine which contains both logos on one product.

The part that I find most humorous is that despite being advertised as "the safest firearm on the market", this gun was incredibly dangerous to the person holding it. The weapon was described as being "safe - dependable - rugged" even though it was shoddily made. To load it, you would lock the bolt back, place a round in the chamber, then guide the bolt forward. In doing so, you also cock the striker back. Once loaded, a spring prevented the bolt from opening again. This also meant that the gun couldn't be unloaded

The other two glaring issues were that the gun didn't have a safety mechanism, and the bolt had a huge issue with slamming forward without the trigger having been pulled. This meant it went off for no reason, including due to being jostled.

This gun was available via mail order for $19.95 (or $29.98 now), and is now a collectors item that rarely sells because it's too dangerous to use (along with supply issues). So yeah, the company that sold hugely popular toys like Frisbees, Hula Hoops, and Silly String, also sold one of the most dangerous pistols that was made available to consumers through the post.

Edit: A commenter pointed out the inflation calculator I used was incorrect. The pistol was $19.95 in 1956, which is $220.94 nowadays. Cheers for pointing this out!



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geraintwd t1_iv0akxp wrote

Did they sell bullets for them as W-AMMO?


Lost_Thought t1_iv0vxti wrote

The crossbow they made is also dangerous to the user. They used an aluminum prod (the bow part) instead of steel. While functional as a bow, it also fatigues the metal. There is no way to tell how fatigued it is as a user until it fails catastrophically, putting the users face in danger of highly tensioned blocks of aluminum smacking them at high velocity.

I have one of these crossbows, it does not get used.

Edit: fixed a spelling error


passwordsarehard_3 t1_iv0zzfq wrote

Does it look cool at least?


Lost_Thought t1_iv17dwo wrote

Kinda. it's plain but has some nice lines.


rezerox t1_iv1bcnq wrote

i think it looks pretty good. that's something I'd consider having a new spring made using the appropriate steel to replace the aluminum one.


Lost_Thought t1_iv1bm99 wrote

You can order a steel prod and have a safe to use crossbow, I just haven't had the inclination to do so.


Oznog99 t1_iv1nvjj wrote

If you like the aesthetic, you can get a fiberglass "150lb replacement limb" for a modern mall-weapon grade crossbow and fit it on there. They're cheap. That one's not a compound.


Lost_Thought t1_iv1uafk wrote

I'm happy with it as a display piece and momento of it's previous owner.


CrossbowROoF t1_iv2r1ig wrote

I own several Powermaster crossbows and have had one of the aluminum prods snap when I fired it. Luckily nobody was hurt. All of the ones I have in firing condition have had the prods replaced with spring steel.


kenlasalle t1_iv07pqa wrote

WAMO? I should think the line of firearms should have been called BLAMMO!


thegramblor t1_iv134ut wrote

BLAMMO makes Log!


WidespreadPaneth t1_iv1fugk wrote

That song still gets stuck in my head occasionally.


TheLeggacy t1_iv2qct5 wrote

What rolls down stairs alone or in pairs, and over your neighbor's dog? What's great for a snack, And fits on your back? It's log, log, log


Snakeulescu t1_iv0pdbf wrote

Artillery? KABLAMMO!


AmbulanceChaser12 t1_iv0sp9y wrote

“WHAM-O Toys is proud to introduce our new line of military artillery! For all your surface-to-air missile, HIMARS, undersea torpedo, amphibious assault, and armored fighting vehicle needs, think KABLAMMO!”


Rjj1111 t1_iv4c6sw wrote

If you thought the mk14 torpedo was bad something made by these guys would result in more friendly casualties than enemy casualties


Paldasan t1_iv2i5i3 wrote

They also started their own law firm. Blame-o.


scienceguy8 t1_iv0amm9 wrote

Congratulations. You found something interesting for Ian McCollum to cover on his show.

Fascinating info, OP. Thanks!


LeonardSmallsJr t1_iv0pvtf wrote

The sport of Ultimate (often called ultimate frisbee) pointedly uses competitors’ discs because Wham-O’s Frisbees are crap. They can’t even make a plastic plate.


Wahots t1_iv1z86a wrote

I thought all Frisbees were kinda shitty until I started playing Ultimate Frisbee in hs. Those discs are great and actually fly in a very satisfying way.


rnernbrane t1_iv0gwkh wrote

Another toy company that would have been a good name for a gun brand is Blammo. Know for "The Log". It's better than bad, it's good.


dug99 t1_iv0cwjo wrote

Not to be confused with BLAMMO.


jordantask t1_iv09cbs wrote

You would be surprised how many companies you know of have been involved in the production of weapons.

Once upon a time Mattel produced plastic parts for the M-16 family of rifles at a factory in China.


Le_Garcon t1_iv0qxl7 wrote

That's a myth, Mattel never made M16 parts.

It was a rumor started by soldiers who (understandably) didn't like the early M16 models and said they were toy guns or had furniture made by Mattel.

A persistent one too, you can find vets who swear up and down their rifle had Mattel markings on it but Mattel never had such a contract and there's no evidence of them ever making parts.


jordantask t1_iv1ae50 wrote

No, the myth was that Mattel was making M-16s. They were not. They were, in point of fact, making the pistol grip of the rifle.


herpestruth t1_ivcng3k wrote

I think l remember seeing a Mattel logo on an M16 stock back in 1972.


123chop t1_iv0pwks wrote

GMs Hydramatic division (automatic transmissions) made m16 receivers as well. Actual hydramatic transmissions were in m5 light tanks as well, with Cadillac v8s


roberte94066 t1_iv1eb42 wrote

Yep, had one in Basic in 1972. Nice rifle!


[deleted] t1_iv1xzib wrote



roberte94066 t1_iv2rvca wrote

It needed to be clean. Never used it in combat, but it was a hoot to target practice with, given the lack of appreciable recoil.


TeamADW t1_iv37u0w wrote

Singer sewing machines made M1 rifles and 1911 pistols, and even IBM made M1s in WWII. GM did liberator stampings.

Heck, Packard built the merlin engines for the P51 Mustangs, and did it better than Rolls Royce after they standardised all the drawings and parts.

Sherman tanks had Chrysler engines. Basically, if your company had equipment and workers, the war department would tell you what you were needed and allowed to make.


enraged768 t1_iv0stxa wrote

Looks like a ruger mk1 target pistol kind of. Even looks like the trigger Is close to the same.


dethb0y t1_iv1ird3 wrote

It's weird because looking at it it genuinely looks like i've seen a gun like that before but all the details are a little off

The Ruger MK I has a different rear portion but the same front portion (sort of).


Pan-F t1_iv1tutl wrote

An online inflation calculator is showing that the .22 pistol's retail price of $19.95 adjusted for inflation from 1956 to 2022 dollars is $220.00


Doobliheim OP t1_iv1vuqk wrote

Weird! The inflation calculator I originally used is totally inaccurate. Thanks for pointing that out!


Pan-F t1_iv1y232 wrote

No prob! What you wrote seemed low, since I normally think of a 50% increase as the inflation from about 20 years ago, so I wanted to look it up. Loved your post btw, thanks for sharing


mykulFritz t1_iv0le7v wrote

They should have made it compatible with what the toy guns shot too, just to make it more versatile.


wolfpwarrior t1_iv3lhmu wrote

They should have made it operate in the exact same way as a similar looking toy gun, to train people on how to use the real one.


Timepotato t1_iv1aq74 wrote

/r/ForgottenWeapons/ when? Need to hear more about this disaster from Ian.


Zapwizard t1_iv0xqfm wrote

It looks like the Nintendo Zapper light gun.


BinaryAbuse t1_iv1hqfi wrote

They named the company WHAM-O because their first product was a better slingshot.


lurker12346 t1_iv1lc8h wrote

Forgotten Weapons should do a bit on this


RojerLockless t1_iv1vff1 wrote

Fun there's one for sale on gumbroker I kinda wanna buy it now lol


lawndartgoalie t1_iv32eba wrote

I own a .22 rifle made for kids and styled after Roy Rodgers' gun from the TV show. It was a different time and kids knew better than to kill each other.


lifth3avy84 t1_iv0mr5b wrote

I failed when buyers realized it took a very specific ammunition, produced by their subsidiary “Wammo”


CaptainMarsupial t1_iv0wrh8 wrote

I do know Hacky sack wasn’t invented by Wham-o, they just bought the company who invented it.


Antisocialite99 t1_iv14bfj wrote

Looks just like a hi standard except the single shot thing and I guess being a lot less safe.

I cannot think of another single shot auto ejecting firearm. Seems auto ejection is most of the engineering of just making a semi auto


TitsAndWhiskey t1_iv166vf wrote

“Excuse me sir, but your wife is on my Wham-O.”


HugeHans t1_iv19oeb wrote

Safe, dependable, rugged.

They stole my tinder bio!


lurker12346 t1_iv1ecs4 wrote

That's funny, I had a bb gun that looked exactly like this, but made by Daisy


RojerLockless t1_iv1hrz2 wrote

Wait what?

Now I have to buy a gun made by Frisbee.. Bah how am I gonna find this?


concept_I t1_iv1k4h4 wrote

Toy/gun what's the difference?


BrockManstrong t1_iv1kwyd wrote

Not to be confused with GAMO the current air gun manufacturer


Hangman_va t1_iv1m47n wrote

Question: What would be the purpose of such a firearm? I guess one could claim 'defense' but would you really only want a .22 that's also SINGLE SHOT?


jrhooo t1_iv7budh wrote

Single shot .22s are usually best suited for

Target practice

Very small game hunting. .22 is popular for camp/trail guns with the idea that they’re usually cheap, light, and easy to pack (as is a big brick worth if ammo) and then they make a decent option for rabbit, squirrel, etc


Hangman_va t1_iv95362 wrote

Sure, I get that .22 as a caliber.

But I mean, the difference in weight and size between a normal .22 and a one-shot .22 cannot be THAT big of a deal to really think that the massive disadvantage of only having ONE shot vs several.


thefinder808 t1_iv1uv3b wrote

Very interesting, never heard of these before. That grip angle looks wild.


Acewrap t1_iv275dv wrote

I was issued a Mattel manufactured M-16 in basic training long ago


tsukiyep t1_iv2l73a wrote

Next step is "WAMUU", toys from the aztec gods


jilleebean7 t1_iv2ob8p wrote

For some reason this reminds me of ren and stimpy.


minerva296 t1_iv2pm9p wrote

Remember kids: guns are toys! Toys that make bad people go away when you play with them 🤩


GarrusBueller t1_iv2v8ju wrote

Also they put the group Wham! Together and created the character Wammu in JoJo


Justspektral t1_iv32wdp wrote

I think it kinda looks like an mix between a Luger P08 and a M1911


tucci007 t1_iv34bfr wrote

WAMO stood for "Weapons Ammunition Murderous Objects"


DSPbuckle t1_iv369vp wrote

What goes down stairs, over in pairs and runs over your neighbors dog? 🎶


TeamADW t1_iv371nr wrote

Daisy (the "you'll shoot your eye out kid" pellet gun company) made a few firearms as well. IIRC, both a 22 pistol and a 22 rifle, of which the magazines for the latter are harder to find than the rifles.


merlinh2o t1_iv3e0op wrote

it makes perfect sense lol, you very often see companies that do manufacturing dip into various fields


dollerhide t1_iv3mtpm wrote

I always chuckle when I see a Subaru ad touting how their cars are "made with love."

The same corporation also makes attack helicopters. Also, I presume, made with love.


Alexschmidt711 t1_iv3neum wrote

Wham-O seems to be the king of owning trademarks for names you didn't even realize were trademarked. I guess that speaks pretty badly for their brand awareness.


jdsciguy t1_iv43rft wrote

THAT is the name they went with and not WHAMMO?


Dakine_thing t1_iv4qwhq wrote

What was the target market? Kids I assume?


Adog1201 t1_iv4rj5g wrote

Someone does their NYT archived crosswords I see you


TJNel t1_iv0p0l8 wrote

Can still here that jingle..... "by Wham-o"


TPMJB t1_iv151fo wrote

>So yeah, the company that sold hugely popular toys like Frisbees, Hula Hoops, and Silly String, also sold one of the most dangerous pistols that was made available to consumers through the post.

"Did little Suzie make fun of you AGAIN for not being able to catch the Frisbee? Buy a gun!"

How did we have few school shootings before the 90s?


oxfouzer t1_iv22jm3 wrote

In 1956, the purchase price of $19.95 would buy you almost 22oz of silver (@$0.91/oz), which would be worth $462 in 2022 (@$21/oz).

The inflation calculator you used that says it would be $220 is absolutely lying to you.


ArkyBeagle t1_iv2pti5 wrote

Silver was $40 an ounce in 2011. Now it's $25 bucks. You just discovered why pegging currency to a metal is a bad idea.


oxfouzer t1_iv2tuqr wrote

I’ve done this math with every possible asset class, it’s far more accurate than any inflation calculator ever is. Way to not prove any point.


ArkyBeagle t1_iv2vaz9 wrote

Asset inflation is not monetary inflation. That rather is the point. To the extent that is has any use at all, CPI models monetary inflation.

I'd expect them to be decorrelated. Trying to make the correlated brings real problems.


oxfouzer t1_iv4uhea wrote

Funny how every time I use simple silver math I get consistent prices huh? Like, how much does a cheap pistol cost these days? Oh, like $400? The amount I calculated using simple precious metals?

So 70 years ago I could get a cheap pistol for 21 oz of silver, and today I can get a cheap pistol for 21 oz of silver?

Nah, it must be bad math. I bet the CPI inflation calculator is more accurate - not like it’s a completely manipulated metric, controlled by people whose sole interest is to underrepresent it or anything.


ArkyBeagle t1_iv6uvg1 wrote

This is a very good point but it will only hold for certain goods. Sorta "pawn shop goods" if you will. I don't think it holds for all such goods.

I don't know of a vetted data set that shows this correlation holds over time, either. Do you know of one? I'd be interested if you do.

Over time, the fashion has been to emphasize the "unit of exchange" property of money over the "store of value" property. There are practical reasons for this.

It's known ( to monetarists , not everybody ) that inflation is usually - the present one is the exception - caused by error in money supply creation. Some people think the error is necessary but some do not. SFAIK, the main goal isn't anything more than avoiding deflation and another Depression. There's the use of it of maintaining government funding. If the economy could actually treat the government as an outage and route around it, I suspect it would. But there's actually emerging Marxist theory about why it doesn't. It's Marx-based and not completely contained in works like Kapital. It could also be wrong; it's emerging.

I'd also throw in the the Hunt Brothers attempt to corner the market in silver shows another weakness of specie.

But SFAIK it's known that CPI has problems. It's required because of the Fed's dual mandate. That sort of thing is again done in memory of the Depression.


oxfouzer t1_iv70cp2 wrote

I’m so dubious on Fed monetary policy. It’s clearly been a 100-year failure. I do “silver math” with lots of stuff and it’s almost always right. Like a Sears home built in 1920 - the purchase price when adjusted with “silver math” comes out to almost exactly its current market value. CPI calculator had it at half.

And yeah, the hunt brothers saga is a bit of a boone, but if you average around it just a little then things still fall into place.

Basically, my contention is that current CPI metrics basically always indicate things as being worth half of what they really are. Because the people who control those numbers are incentivized for it to do so.


ArkyBeagle t1_iv744wi wrote

> It’s clearly been a 100-year failure.

I'm less sure of that than you are. I made the mistake of reading ( most of ) "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960" and the various panics and crashes of the 19th century were a big problem. Some of that is having money denominated in metals, some of it was stubborn attachment to other ideology.

Also - I suspect that the "Bernanke Put" worked great. That's more or less what the Fed was designed for - it was inspired by JP Morgan's ending of the Panic of 1907. Morgan died in 1913 so that avenue was lost. I think it shows well just how important an historical figure he was, regardless of any negative perception of him.

> Like a Sears home built in 1920 - the purchase price when adjusted with “silver math” comes out to almost exactly its current market value. CPI calculator had it at half.

Interesting. I'm just hoping that is not a coincidence.

I did find this:

I'm not 100% sure there's always been signal there. But the 10 and 5 year '"breakeven" rates seem pretty stable ( which is literally half of the dual mandate ). Does that mean it's an overly managed figure ( if I read you right ) ? Possibly. They could work out to the silver figures run thru a "low pass filter", something econometricians do.

> the hunt brothers saga is a bit of a boone

If our currency was silver-backed I don't think speculation would be legal so it's a wee bit specious on my part to bring that up. It does however show that commodity money earns the seemingly-counterintuitive property of feeding instability. You'd think otherwise, right? Well...