Jump to content

Romanian Pellet Pioneer Youth Trainer Rifle

72 usmc

Recommended Posts

In Russia the Pioneer youth movement originated and was named, The All-Union Pioneer Organization, called the Young Pioneers. It was a school youth organization similar to the Cub and Boy scouts in America. In the Soviet Union, children between the ages starting at 7 or 8 to 14 were forced into this school organization that existed between 1922 and 1991. Later Soviet satellite countries also participated. Similar to the American Scouting groups, both Girl and Boy scout organizations; the Communist youth, both boys and girls, were participants in the Pioneers. More historical information is briefly presented below. Like the American scouts, shooting was an activity. They had their own rifle trainers to improve marksmanship.

In America a huge cache of surplus Romanian Pioneer training rifles appeared on the air gun market in 1990. They arrived on pallets and were stacked so high that the toy like air guns were bent under their own weight with those at the bottom of the pile suffering the most damage. Some of these are still available today at Libertreecollectors. These are select specimens that arrived in average used condition. Since these are inexpensive youth rifles designed for training very young children they are basically toy like in size and simplicity. The Romanian rifles are simple, single shot, .177 lead pellet, springer air rifles that were produced as two types. The late 1960s and 1970s dated rifles have a composite bakelite tough plastic stock, in contrast the later 1980s rifles have a yellowish wood stock. Each model is marked differently and are rather short with a length of approximately 35 inches. The metal action is the same on both types, it is a simple springer break barrel breach action single loaded pellet rifle. To cock the air gun one simply pushes down on the barrel and the barrel breaks down to expose the loading chamber and cocks the rifle. Very few arrived in excellent condition. They were subject to years of use, had wear, and suffered from poor storage and shipping conditions. Most lacked their original slings, barrels generally had a slight curve or bend, stocks suffered dents and gouges, and the front sight post was cut or trimmed. Safeties no longer functioned and the metal had surface rust to varying degrees. The Romanian trainer is a rather weak pellet shooter having approximately 375 to 425 f.p.s. The short toy-like rifle weighs about 4.25 pounds and has a very light cocking effort designed for young kids. The 1970s composite stock Model 2 are marked “UMC PIONER 2 CAL 4.5 MM, year, and the rifles serial number.” The 1980s wood stock model 3 is marked “IMC PIONIER 3 CAL 4.5 MM, year, and the rifles serial  number."

Since I collect military pellet trainers, I was lucky and recently obtained a very early imported specimen that was purchased by its former owner in 1990.  This rifle has an intact wood stock, unbent barrel, working safety, and original sling(very rare). The rifle does have minor rust. I shall photo document both models, their barrel markings, and show detailed photos of my 1981 Romanian Pioneer air rifle. Their history is more fascinating then the toy-like rifle.



Some Pioneer History


"Pioneer Organization
The Pioneer Organization (Romanian: Organizaţia Pionierilor) was a pioneer movement in Communist Romania, founded on April 30, 1949.

Most students joined the organization while in the second grade and remained pioneers throughout eighth grade, therefore, in practice, the normal age range extended from seven to fifteen, or nearly fifteen.


The organization's responsibilities paralleled those of the Union of Communist Youth (UTC) and involved political (preparing children to become party members) and propagandistic training for political work, as well as military service. Until 1966 the Pioneers functioned as an integral part of the UTC, but thereafter it was under the direct control of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party. 70 percent of the 9-14 age group, or approximately 1.3 million young people, belonged to the Pioneers in 1981.[1] The organization published Cutezătorii.[2]

The Pioneers ran a variety of summer camps and other activities, also having a number of recreation centres around Romania. For instance, Cotroceni Palace became the Pioneers' Palace on June 1, 1950.

The Pioneers served an important propaganda function, as a
central part of their activity lay in mass demonstrations, held
on August 23, May 1, November 7, and, starting in the 1950s,
on the birthdays of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, as well
as Youth Day. In later years, three to five thousand Pioneers
would be brought to Bucharest (7,000 in 1987), training rigorously every day for a month (two hours in the morning and two in the evening) before their moment in the spotlight.

   Symbol of the organization


Pioneers on a Romanian stamp below


Romanian New Pioneers 1986

From 1977, students admitted to the Pioneers came as members of the Șoimii Patriei ("The Fatherland's Falcons") organization founded in 1976, the first full members admitted joined the PO in 1979.


Members wore a small triangular red scarf (with the triangle over their backs), with a red-gold-blue strip outside border (red-gold-blue were, and still are, the colours of the Romanian national flag). Both ends of the scarf were passed through a narrow ring of clear plastic. They also had pioneer uniforms that they wore on certain days instead of their regular school uniforms. When in school uniform, students had to wear their pioneer scarves.[2]

Individual awards could be bestowed on members; these included stripes, along with the titles "Pionier de frunte" ("Leading Pioneer"), "Cutezătorul" ("The Brave One"), "Pionier fruntaş în muncă patriotică" ("Leading Pioneer in Patriotic Work") and "Meritul pionieresc" ("Pioneer Merit"), as well as insignia based on the type of activity. Collective awards came in the form of diploma-like scrolls: "Unitate fruntașă" ("Leading Unit"), "Detașament fruntaș" ("Leading Detachment") and "Grupă fruntașă" ("Leading Group"). These were commonly awarded at the school's annual year-end ceremony.”


Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_Organization



Romanian Pioneers

Source:    https://histclo.com/youth/youth/org/pio/pioneer-rom.htm




An interesting paper.  This is worth a view!

This is a self-archived version of an original article. This version may differ from the original in pagination and typographic details.

Author(s): Pitkänen, Silja, 2018



Title: Kids, Guns and Gas masks: Military Technology as Part of the Photographs Taken at the Schools of the Leningrad Province in the 1930s



…Military education had also another side. In addition to defence, students were taught how to shoot and attack. Image four is part of a series of 18 images taken at the Model school No 1 in the Leningrad province’s Kirovskiy district. The images in the series were taken between the 1920s and the 1950s, with most of them dating from the 1930s. The archive card of the image – most likely completed in the 1930s deducing from the handwriting, the outlook of the card and the detailed information – includes the description: “Members of the Komsomol – students

Image 4. Students of the Model school No 1 of the Leningrad province’s Kirovskiy district – members of the Komsomol and the school’s first Voroshilov sharpshooters. 1936. tsGaKFFD SPb, image number ar 31860.

Kids, Guns and Gas masks of the Model school no 1 of the Kirovskiy district (under patronage of the ‘red triangle’ plant). The school’s first Voroshilov sharpshooters. In the photo, in the upper row: Obraztsov, Kalashnikov, Semenov, Kraut- ner and Garezin. In the lower row: Limnenkov, Rakov, Aleksandrova, Nikolaeva.” The image was taken on 20 March 1936.


In this image, a boy is loading a rifle, and a group of eight other students – apparently consisting of six boys and three girls – are watching him while holding their own guns. In the background are two targets. The students seem to be smartly dressed: at least of the two boys in the background (the first and second from the left) wear suits and ties, and the others also wear quite formal clothes. Furthermore, the students appear to be excited and enthusiastic. Perhaps they have dressed up for the photo, and perhaps they are exaggerating their excitement for the important photo session? However, they have a good reason to be excited – they are the first Voroshilov sharpshooters41 of the Model school no 1 of the Kirovskiy district! In the back row, on the right of the image, one girl seems to be leaning towards the boy. Despite the formal dress, the overall atmosphere of the photo is rather relaxed. This might be because practicing shooting was introduced for the Komsomol youth in the contexts of sports and leisure, not in the context of war and death. In addition, this photo is a bit unusual because the family names of the students are mentioned on the archival card.

Shooting can, of course, be considered as a sport, but in the context of this photo it most likely had explicit militaristic aims, as the inclusion of the name of the People’s Commissar for Defence, Voroshilov, indicates. as the archival card of the image indicates, shooting was also connected to the free time activities of the students, in other words, to the Komsomol movement. Historian Catriona Kelly notes that great changes took place in the early 1930s in the Pioneer movement, and “to begin with, the [Pioneer] groups were now firmly located in the educational world…”



The Pioneer Air Pellet Training Rifle

A discussion on an air gun forum:



A 2009 Pyramid Air review:



 The 1960s-1970s Composite Stock UMC   PIONER  Model 2

I do not own one of these Model 2 specimens. The photos are from Libertytreecollectors and WhatACountry’s web page. I dislike the shape of the stock.





The odd shaped stock




Markings found on a Model 2 composite stock trainer 1974 date




The 1980's Wood Stock IMC  PIONIER  Model 3

This is my 1981 dated rifle. Some wood stock rifles have a 1979 date, but most have 1980s dates. The wood has a nice aged patina that has a warm, yellowish brown tone.






Markings on a 1979  early wood stock Model 3  Mine is 1981. 



The chamber and action









 Close up views of the wood and its patina





The safety




The rarely found intact original sling.  This is some sort of nylon fiber reenforced sling. It is not leather or rubber. 








 On some rifles the wood is very light, they generally have later 1980's dates.








  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you have a pre-war German .22 air rifle by Haenel? These are really nice quality, I remember in my school days, a friend of mine had one, which his father gave him, the father had also had the gun since his younger days.

Haenel Modell I DRP.

Haenel Modell III 284 - Qualität -1-

Similar examles, pre-war, D.R.P. marked

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 No , but that is now something to look for. I will have to research those. Here are some markings, that looks so similar to the Romanian ones.image.png.7baf15238284bbfbeb42888fb88cf13a.pngimage.png.55e93fac79f5803cb94c0943dde40cfd.pngimage.png.b3b6946f43585a3936109b41c2211266.pngimage.png.2994a9ebef08cb4d7a668062482f3a29.png

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

D.R.P are pre-1945. I remember the previous one had a different Haenel Logo.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 There is a considerable difference between pre-war Haenels and their post-war rifles when it comes to value.   It seems the  early ones are classy equivalents (great German quality) when compared to vintage  Dianas or  English BSA's. In the U.S. these seem to price out at  $350- 550 per rifle depending on condition. Haenel air guns are generally very well constructed, made with German craftsmanship and rock solid. Rarely does one  see vintage German Haenels or BSA springers at gun shows. Apparently those air guns are sought after and command top buck.  I guess its one reason I do not have one - rare and costly.  A friend just laughed when I said i'd like to see one.  They are like  vintage Steiff Teddy bears or 1900 German handmade marbles, beyond the reach of most due to value & quality.  The one I shown is a 1927, starting price is $425🤫

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...


Well,  I was at the big Fond du Lac, WI gun show on the 22 September and there were a good number of pellet and BB guns. However, very few military trainers (actually only one) was present.   I  found another version of the Romanian communist youth trainer and at $50 I picked up a Bakelite stock, 1976 model, IMC Pioner springer pellet trainer to go with my wood stocked version. There are some differences between the two versions: the bakelite earlier version has no sling mounts, a reddish brown bakelite stock with a different shape than the wood version, mold seams can be found on the molded red brown stock,  and it has a different rear sight. The barrel markings on the wood stock version are "IMC PIONIER 3. "  In contrast, on the Bakelite version they are "IMC PIONER 2. " Other than these characteristics, both Romanian pellet trainers are identical in function, caliber, parts, and size. A good number of these have cracked stocks, bent barrels, and a missing rear sight or the post cut on the front sight; this specimen remains intact. Here are some views of the rifle. First, I will some photos of the rifle and its markings, then some details.  The rifle came out a little fuzzy.  Please see the above Libertytreecollector  sourced photos for this variation. 





Shown below is the true red brown color seen on the rifle.








 See a video review of the Baklite version: 


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...