The IZH 61 - Part 2
by B.B. Pelletier
In the time between the first report and now there has been some discussion on this blog of the correct way to lubricate the rifle's piston seal. The IZH 61 comes to you with what seems to be petroleum oil inside the chamber and can stand a drop or two of real chamber oil early on. The only way I know to do this is to drop two drops of chamber oil down the muzzle of the rifle with the gun standing upright on its butt. Allow several hours for the oil to slide down the barrel and pass through the air transfer port. Because it flows slowly, the oil should make the 90-degree turn at the transfer port, but you can angle the muzzle slightly forward to help it, if you want.
The air transfer port is located at the bottom of the barrel, just forward of the breech. Reader Gazza noted that there is a screw on top of the receiver that's lined up with the transfer port, but I looked at it and it's not a steel screw. Also, the receiver into which it screws is plastic, so frequent removal of this screw is asking for trouble. This is the first evidence I have found that a steel receiver would have been more desirable than plastic, but as long as you lube through the muzzle, as explained above, there's no need to touch this screw. If you strip this screw, the compressed air will escape through the top of the receiver and your gun will lose power.
The mainspring could stand a few drops of oil while you're at it. Here you may use petroleum oil because the small amount that migrates forward to the compression chamber isn't going to cause any problems. The compression of the IZH 61 is too low for that. All it will do is cause some smoke from the muzzle.
The rifle comes with two clips. On my test rifle, one of them had oversized chambers. Both clips had large chambers that don't hold the pellets well, but one of them allowed Crosman Competition wadcutters to stick their heads out the other side.
Crosman wadcutters fell through the chambers in the clip and protruded out the front like this. The other clip had tighter chambers.
There is a trick to loading this rifle. After the last shot has been fired, the bolt probe that seats the pellet in the bore is still sticking through the last chamber of the clip. You have to push forward on a silver-colored lock on the right side of the receiver to release the bolt probe, which springs backwards. Then depress the silver latch on top of the receiver and the clip pops out. If no pellets have been fired and you want to remove the loaded clip, just depress the silver latch on top of the receiver and the clip pops out. What I just told you is more information than you will find in the owner's manual.
The silver triangle just below center is the bolt release. Press forward (to the right) at the top and the bolt springs back. The thin silver lever atop the receiver above the magazine housing is the mag release. The screw that I warn you not to loosen is the large Phillips head in front (right) of the magazine.
Too bad about the Crosman wadcutters being so loose because they are clearly the pellets this rifle loves best. I tried RWS Hobbys and a special Chinese target pellet that I use in 10-meter pistol matches and neither held groups as tight as the Crosman pellets. So, I protected them when loading the clip and relied on the gun to keep them in the clip when it was loaded (it did). Only one fell out during my shooting session. IZH can fix this loose chamber problem by putting two tiny ridges along the inside of the pellet chambers, running front to rear. That's how everyone else does it. Sure there will be a cost to rework the die , but the results would be worth it.
I would love to show you super-tight bragging groups, but that's not what I shot. Apparently, the old geezer is slowing down. I tried shooting with my bifocals on, but the results were worse than without them. I guess I'm one of those people who really needs a different sight on this rifle. Actually, that complaint is shared by a number of shooters, so this won't be my last look at the 61. I will find something suitable to replace the rear sight and go at it one more time.
My best group of Crosman wadcutters at 10 meters is nothing to brag about. The rifle can shoot much better than this.
Well, I see something in the velocity from this particular rifle that I haven't ever seen before. Usually a spring rifle requires a "wake-up" shot before it will come up to the normal velocity. Some require two (heck - PCPs need them, too), but this rifle seems to need one with every magazine! That's strange. This rifle was a return that Pyramyd Air refurbished, and I am starting to wonder if they caught all the problems. RWS Hobbys ranged from a low of 465 f.p.s. to a high of 487, with the final 4 shots between 474 and 487. Crosman wadcutters had a low of 331 and a high of 464, with the last 4 shots ranging from 441 to 464. And, the Chinese wadcutters ranged from a low of 404 to a high of 450 with the final 4 ranging from 435-450. That's an odd phenomenon, and I need time to consider it.
Am I still excited about the IZH 61? You bet! There is a lot of value in this little rifle. It may need better sights to wring it out, but we'll look into that.