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“Tild Star” Valve Operated Pneumatic Speargun from France: 1970’s

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popgun pete

Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2008
This is the “Tild Star” speargun which was made in France in the early seventies. It is very unusual as this gun is tilt valve operated, the releasing valve in the rear of the gun is opened up by being dislodged by a revolving control rod that is operated from the gun’s mid-handle. In that same time period GSD in Italy were also producing valve operated spearguns, but these used a rather complicated set of levers and a push rod to withdraw a valve plug blocking the rear end of the inner barrel that enabled the gun to shoot. The “Tild Star” tips the releasing valve over by an internal lever acting as a finger pushing laterally on its long valve stem. In the patent for the gun this finger is referred to as a “cleat” part 26.

Like all valve operated guns progressive loading of the spear is enabled by the releasing valve operating as a large non-return valve, push the spear into the gun and the spear will continue to come forwards until you have squeezed all the air in the inner barrel through the valve opening, at which point the spear only comes forwards a tiny amount and stays put. That forward movement is due to the tiny amount of air left in the inner barrel expanding back to ambient pressure. A sign of the releasing valve being damaged is these guns refuse to load sending the spear straight back out of the gun as soon as you stop pushing on the loading handle. When working properly each successive spear push moves more compressed air into the tank trapping it there until the moment of the shot, thereby reducing the effort required for the next spear push until you have the gun fully cocked.

The “Tild Star” gun has two shooting powers which rely on the throttling method by only tipping the releasing valve to expose a much reduced opening for low power shots compared to fully opening the valve for full power shots. This is not such a great way to operate a valve, but makes for a relatively simple construction, as tilt valves don’t really fully open. The external safety lever on the grip handle revolves a small cam with two flats which allows a partial and full swing of the trigger to control the degree of opening of the rear mounted releasing valve. Pulling the trigger operates a control rod that in turn presses up on pusher 27 which revolves axial rod 25, but that is not shown in the patent diagrams. The parts diagram for the gun shows this long rod and it may actually be the same rod with part 27 being moved forwards to sit just above the grip handle. A better parts diagram would help, but right now this is the only one that I have seen and even then I had to clean the image up.

These French pneumatic guns are largely forgotten today, but came in a range of models and at one time a version was sold under the Cavalero name as the “Jet Valve” gun.

The Achilles Heel of this gun is surely the return spring 22 that is held at one end by a screw to the inner bulkhead that contains the conical releasing valve seat, if that arm of the spring fatigues and breaks then the gun is out of action. Tilt valves rarely appear in spearguns, the SOS “Ringo” used one as a pilot valve, but there it controlled a much larger diaphragm valve which operated using a hydraulic locking action.


Star France speargun diagram.jpg

Patent FR 1588050.jpg
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The Cavalero "Jet Valve", a badge engineering job on what is essentially the same gun. These guns have smaller diameter tanks than modern European pneumatic guns.
Comparison Cavalero Jet Valve vs Star France.jpg
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Using my experience on such things I have annotated the "Tild Star" parts list and pumped up the image size. I doubt spare parts still exist for these guns, but the releasing valve spring could be fabricated on a mandrel if it has broken.

The gun was operated at start pressures of 16 kg/cm2 up to 20 kg/cm2
Tild Star instructions.jpg
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More photos of a NOS small version of the gun from a French collector. This is where the instruction sheet came from, being typed it speaks of possibly small scale production, although the parts diagram is the sort of printed item that you would normally expect from a production model.
Small Tild-Star new in its box NOS.jpg

Tild-Star box lid.jpg

A bottle of light oil is included for periodic replacement of the gun’s internal lubrication.
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Guarantee for the speargun was a period of one year. Note the name of the company S.E.E.S.F.
Tild Star 1 year guarantee.jpg
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