USFT rifle Part 2
by Tom Gaylord
Before we begin, Pyramyd Air has asked me to announce a huge sale on Webley breakbarrel spring rifles. If you've been in the market for a new springer, this might be the sale you've been waiting for.
We'll now look at the rest of the features of the gun, but first a word about the trigger. Several of you wanted to know about the trigger's adjustability. In fact it is a two-stage trigger. I contacted Tim McMurray, who explained that the adjustment screw in front of the trigger adjusts takeup. If you adjust it as far as it goes, it turns the trigger into a single-stage trigger. I adjusted it to a two-stage, but the second stage is so light (I estimate an increase of 5-10 grams over the first stage) that I cannot always feel it. Rather than shoot when I'm not ready, I went back to single-stage operation, and I think most shooters will agree. There is another trigger adjustment, but you have to partially disassemble the gun to get at it, so I will leave it as it is.
I need to make some additional corrections . The part I called a bolt in the first segment is really a swivel breech. The bolt is just the handle that turns it. The large piece on which the logo is engraved is called the barrel mount (I called it the receiver). The receiver is below it. Both are made of 6061 T6 aluminum. The swivel breech and grip frame are made from 7075 T6 hard-annodized aluminum.
This is a spare swivel breech with a valve set for 12 foot-pounds. The valve stem and seat are shown. The breech removal tool makes changing easy once the air is gone from the reservoir.
My rifle came with a 25" Weihrauch barrel in .177 caliber. It is entirely free-floated, so what may look like two barrel hangers in the photo do not touch the outside of the barrel. When the reservoir flexes as the pressure drops, the barrel will be unaffected. The other barrel feature is a muzzlebrake similar to the one used on an M48A1 tank cannon. It strips off the turbulent air and directs it to either side of the muzzle, so the pellet gets out without receiving a push in the wrong direction.
On the bottom of those two barrel bands are studs to accept quick-detachable sling swivels. They are also possible anchor points for bipods. Tim made them for a Harris bipod, but I had a Leapers Multi-Functional Universal bipod that attached in the same way. I had to file off a small amount of material from the stud to get it to fit; but once I did, it worked perfectly. You can't use a bipod to shoot field target, so the reason you want one is to give the rifle a convenient stand between lanes. Otherwise, it's either laying in the dirt, or you have to drag a gun case around the course.
The adjustable knee rest is a popular option most people buy. Because this is a field target rifle and shooters will use it in the seated position, the knee rest is essential to hold the weight of the rifle while shooting. On the bottom of the walnut base is a dense foam pad that rests on the shooter's knee. The rest is adjustable for height and angle as well as postioning left and right. Since I shoot cross-legged instead of knees-up, my rifle has an extension that drops the knee rest down to contact my thigh when I sit. In the offhand position, it becomes a hand rest.
The adjustable knee rest swings to any position needed for support. Dense foam on the base cushions the knee.
Dog-bone thigh support and rifle butt
The dog-bone thigh support is a brand-new item that increases stability for the seated shooter. It's attached at the butt and swings into a position to rest on a seated shooter's thigh, giving one more point of contact for the rifle. Since field target does not permit direct contact between the rifle and the ground, anything that can help stabilize it without touching the ground is a plus. Your legs are already in contact with the ground, so the dog bone has a solid place to rest. The rifle butt slides in and out to give whatever length of pull works best for the shooter. It also rotates to either side, so there is no uncomfortable need to reach out to the rifle - it reaches out and holds you when it's adjusted right.
The dog bone rest swings to either side of the butt and locks in place quickly. It's great for seated shots, but with experimentation can also be used for better offhand stability.
I will finish this report tomorrow.