Predom target pistol by Lucznik
by B.B. Pelletier
The weather has been poor, so I haven't gotten to the range to test that Hammerli Storm Elite, yet. Now, I'll add the Remington Genesis to the test, because I have not done part 3 as promised. I also have a Mendoza RM-2000 on deck for testing, so my spring-gun plate is overflowing.
Today, being a miserable rainy day, I thought I'd test a gun many of you will never see. The Predom by Lucznik!
Lucznik's Predom is a close copy of the Walther LP53, which, in turn, copies Walther's Olympia target pistol.
A little history
Lucznik is a Polish gun factory, possibly the state firearms factory, or what we might call an arsenal. They make military weapons. In the 1970s and '80s, they also made a curious single-shot pellet pistol that was a knock-off of the famous Walther LP53. The LP53 is most famous as the gun Sean Connery held for many publicity photos for James Bond films. Because they were filming in the UK, it was easier for the film's media team to use an airgun than a firearm. And, if you're going to use an airgun, the LP53 is as realistic as it gets!
The Predom is a .177 caliber breakbarrel that cocks in a very strange way. The piston is located vertically in the pistol grip and, upon firing, springs upward. The sales hype for the Walther LP53 always used to say the gun was designed to replicate the recoil of a .22 Walther Olympia target pistol, but the truth is that it feels nothing like it. Instead, it feels like a baseball bat has cracked in your hand, or perhaps a mousetrap you were holding went off. It doesn't pinch or hurt - just vibrates with a shock.
Breaking the barrel pushes on the triggerguard that is also a cocking link. The mainspring and piston are in the grip. Be careful! This gun has no anti-beartrap and can close suddenly from this position if the trigger is pulled.
To fit in the grip, the piston has to be small and the stroke has to be short - neither good for great power. When I tested several LP-53s, they were always in the lower 300s with lightweight target wadcutters such as RWS Hobbys. In spite of the small piston, the grip on the Predom is hand-filling at the very least. I wouldn't call it a large grip, just a trifle fat.
It's a biggie!
This is a large air pistol. It's constructed mostly of steel, though the frame is aluminum. The gun weighs 39.6 oz. and is just under 12.5" long. Because of the strange design, which is best seen in the photo of the cocking process, the barrel is almost 9.5 inches long, but not all that length is rifled. There is a whopping 3.5" freebore at the front! On the Walther, a much shorter freebore was used to accept a pin from a cocking device that protected the hand from the sharp front sight. A freebore means the barrel has been drilled out to a larger diameter than .177, and of course that part of the barrel is not rifled. Freebore protects the crown of the muzzle, but I would love to know why this pistol has such a deep one.
Hard to cock
This design is a real bear to cock. I estimate that it takes at least 35 lbs. of effort to break open the barrel to the point that the sear catches the piston. With the Walther cocking aid, cocking was tolerable, but the Predom didn't come with one. I have no idea if it ever had such a device, but it sure needs one.
The front sight is a fixed post and the rear is a notch adjustable in both directions. It's stiff but very crisp. And, I cannot complain about the accuracy. I get 3/4" groups and better at 10 meters.
Rear sight adjusts both ways. This is a nice target pistol that deserves these good sights.
I didn't expect the power to be greater than the Walther's, but here the Predom surprised me. It shot 7-grain Hobbys at 400-411 f.p.s. - a full 100 f.p.s. faster than I was expecting. The piston is powered by a double mainspring, a smaller-diameter inner spring and a larger-diameter outer one.
Can you say DEAL?
But the biggest news about the Predom isn't its performance or history. Like many deals I have told you about in the past, the Predom is a deal RIGHT NOW! They have flooded the U.S. market to the point that the Blue Book's suggested value of $350 has gone out the window. You will find them selling for $50-90 on the gun auction sites right now. Sportsman's Guide apparently unloaded several recently, and they're showing up at gun shows. So, if you want a crazy oddball air pistol, the time is right now.
I have no idea how well made these guns may be. They look very stout, but that doesn't mean they are. If you do go after one, caveat emptor!