New Makarov pistol! – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


New Makarov BB pistol from Umarex is a striking air pistol.

Some firearms stir my senses. The Colt M1911/M1911A1 does it, though those actually made by Colt since 1970 leave me cold. The Colt Single-Action Army was the first handgun to capture my fancy. The M1903 Springfield rifle is one that thrills me–just to look at and hold. To me, it looks like the embodiment of what a rifle should be. And I’m a sucker for almost any rifle in a Mannlicher stock.

Well, about three years ago I bought a 9x18mm Makarov–the official sidearm of the Warsaw Pact for much of the Cold War. At the time, I didn’t think much of it one way or the other, but after one-thousand TROUBLE-FREE, JAM-FREE rounds, I am captivated by this reliable little pocket pistol. In case you’re keeping score, that’s a much better record than any of my vaunted 1911s!

I bought it because the price was right, and the 9×18 Makarov ammo was priced so incredibly low for what is effectively a .380 ACP +P round. I was paying $6.95/50 at that time. The current run on ammo nationwide has raised Mak ammo prices to a much higher $11/50 level, so it isn’t quite the little plinker it once was, but it’s still more affordable than the 9×19 Parabellum round.

An ultra-reliable pistol
Besides never misfiring or jamming a single round, my little Mak is accurate, holding inside 3-4 inches at 20 yards with a one-hand hold and careful sighting. Of course, the gun is made for quick double-taps and instinct shooting and is equally well-suited to that course of fire. So, I now like Makarov pistols.

I was, therefore, intrigued to see one in the Umarex booth at the 2009 SHOT Show–a fact that I reported in part 2 of the SHOT Show report this year. Today, I’m beginning my report on the gun. The new all-metal Makarov is listed under Umarex in the Air Pistols listing on the Pyramyd Air website; and although the due-in date is the first week of May, I’m starting to tell you about it today. Due-in dates from Umarex USA are generally quite reliable, and I think you air-pistol fans need to start planning for this one.

Realism
The CO2-powered BB Mak is very close to the appearance of the firearm, as you can see from the comparison picture below. The big difference is the presence of the CO2 cartridge key sticking down from the grip.

Makarovs were made by many different nations within the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet (now considered Russian) model is the prototype of the series and is considered by collectors to be the most-coveted of all Makarovs. The East-German is No. 2 and my Bulgarian Mak is considered to be in third place. That ranking is the desirability scale that also influences the price of the firearm. Umarex wisely copied the look of the Russian Mak, which is why the grips look so different from those on my Bulgarian pistol.


BB pistol (top) and firearm are close cousins.

The weight of the two guns is remarkably similar. My Bulgarian firearm weighs 25.6 oz. empty and the Umarex pistol weighs 25.3 oz. empty. Add a CO2 cartridge and you add 1.6 oz., making the airgun slightly heavier than the firearm. But eight rounds of 9x18mm ammunition adds 3.3 oz. to the firearm, so the two go back and forth.

One feature many air pistol afficionados ask about is if the slide retracts and the ejection port is open or just cast into the slide. On this Makarov, the slide does retract, but the pistol does not have the blowback feature. The ejection port is open, but the inside of the gun differs enough from the firearm that, with the slide retracted, there isn’t an open port into the gun.


The slide does retract (however not with blowback), but the mechanism inside still fills the ejection port.

The only control that doesn’t function the way it does on the firearm is the slide stop. It’s just cast into the frame and doesn’t move, though it looks realistic. What would be the cartridge case extractor on the firearm is cast into the slide, because there’s no need for it on a BB gun. The safety, however, is in the same place and functions much easier than the firearm safety.

CO2 installation
The grip is a single piece of plastic that’s pulled straight back to access the CO2 cartridge. It’s captive, so it doesn’t completely come off the gun. The winding key at the bottom of the pistol grip tensions the cartridge against the seal and piercing pin. Don’t forget to put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the flat tip every new cartridge before you install it. Also, don’t overwind that key. Just turn it until the gas hissing noise stops. Over-tightening leads to early failure of the seal.


Captive grip pulls back to install CO2 cartridge. BB magazine fits into the front of the grip.

Magazine
The BB magazine is a stick-type that holds 18 BBs in a single column. The spring-loaded follower locks in place at the down position, making the magazine easy to load. The mag release is identical to the one on the firearm, except that it’s relocated to the front of the grip because of where the BB magazine is.

Disassembly
This Makarov BB pistol disassembles like the firearm. Because of what would be the operating spring in the firearm is relatively weak in the BB pistol, disassembly is even easier than for the firearm. Just hold down the triggerguard and pull the slide back and up to disengage it from the frame. Then, ease it forward and it removes from the gun. If owners will be careful when they do this, maybe Umarex won’t have to pin the triggerguard in place they way they did with the PPK/S pistol when owners began losing parts and returning their guns as defective, instead of learning proper assembly skills.


BB pistol field-strips just like the firearm.

On the surface, this new Makarov BB pistol has a lot going for it, and I think air pistol fans will want to watch this report play out.

53 Responses to “New Makarov pistol! – Part 1”

  • ajvenom Says:

    Well since we’re on the subject of pistols, I read about a tip on an easy fix for the 1377 safety pin reinstallation (from the yellow forum). Someone suggested using an Oring in the pin in the groove next to the red band. They claim it works and is quiet.

    Today I asked on where t get some Orings and Steve V. (yellow) said to try Home depot or any real good hardware store.

    I got tired of getting parts and/or reinstalling my safety, so I am definately going to give this one a try.

    I hope this helps anyone else.

    AJ

  • David Says:

    B.B. OR ANYONE ,

    I just got done turning my .22 cal. Panther into a pro model !! I took off the sites and ordered the muzzle brake through Umarex for the Pro model. My question is this.. does anyone with the pro-model know why the end cap is threaded on the muzzle brake and why it screws off the muzzle brake ??? Is this to fill with foam or is it for an attachment piece ??

  • Thorin Says:

    For the real deal in a Makarov BB pistol, check this out: http://www.baikalinc.ru/en/company/122.html
    From the maker of the real pistol, most parts are from the same production line…

  • wayne Says:

    Good Morning All,

    We had a wonderful time on the coast!
    And I missed shooting! (got an hour or so on the USFT last night).

    B.B.
    You did a better job of selling me on the firearm than the CO2!

    I've been loosing interest in the repeating CO2 pistols, since you really can't fire them fast for very long without the CO2 loosing power.. (is this the case with this one too?)

    Shooting a revolver (love that S&W 586, it feels a lot like my Dan Wesson .357 mag.) on single action, and slowly cocking the hammer, seems to be about the right amount of time between shots.

    OH Boy, Randy just said we need more supplies.. I've get to go to the range again today.. and shoot a couple expensive boxes of .38 special for Volvo!! I better get an early start, it's gonna be another beautiful 75 degree day!

    Let's see what should I load up..

    I've got a lot of .223 ammo so the Howa 1500 for some 200 yard practice, and I want to try the Remington .22lr with the Golden Eagle from Mexico, that are suppose to be so accurate.. I'll let you know..

    Wayne

  • krakozyabla Says:

    Dit it accept 6mm airsoft bb?

    ps. http://www.baikalinc.ru/en/company/122.html Not a PM its close to PMM, but not so close as it can be.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Wayne,

    You may have been kidding about the firearm, but you could do far worse. The Mak has the power of a standard .38 Special (158-grain bullet at 750 f.p.s.) but the recoil is absorbed much better, so your hand doesn’t get beat up. The gun is accurate. Recoil is very controllable and the cost of ammo is still the best deal going.

    And in about a thousand rounds I have never had a problem. The European ammo is hot and the pistol loves it. I put in a Wolff recoil spring with 19 lbs. of tension, instead of the factory spring that is about 16.5-17 lbs. and the gun is a sweetie. Everybody should have one.

    B.B.

  • jon neet Says:

    Due to a certain frustration with accuracy and consistancy in my first “springer”, I picked up a new Remington Airmaster 77 yesterday. It comes with, what appears to be, the same cheap scope that my Beeman 1024 came with, but the one on the Beeman, no matter what I did, would never clear up.The scope on the Airmaster is relatively clear.I took a few shots at 10 yards with the open sights, and found the windage to be set perfectly.The gun shot very slightly low, but the groups were pretty good considering my bad eyesight. I then mounted the include scope and began sighting in.The gun shot about two inches left with elevation very close, so sighting in was easy and took all of six shots with the scope.
    I then began testing various pellets.I have a Crosman 1077, the Beeman springer, and now the Remington-all in .177.I was very pleasantly surprised at not only the accuracy of the Airmaster, but at the fact that this gun isn’t picky about what pellet it shoots well with.All shooting was done using five pumps.This is the only gun of the three that loves the RWS Hobby pellets.But it also loves the Beeman Silver Bears,Gamo Match wadcutters,Beeman Laser Sports,followed by Gamo Magnums.It wasn’t so happy with the Crosman Premier wadcutters, and I could feel that those pellets seemed to be a little bit smaller in diameter possibly (?), as they kind of entered the breech was easily compared to the other pellets which went in a bit tighter.The gun is very quiet, at least at five pumps it is.The trigger ,though some what “graty”, is the best trigger of the three air rifles.I’ll see how the accuracy holds up as I shoot at longer distances, but for now, this gun is more consistantly accurate that the others-though I have yet to try the 1077 in warm weather.The springer has shot some fine groups, but seems to be getting worse. After I put the new crystal clear Leapers scope on it I thought things would improve, but that doesn’t seem to be happening, and, in fact, I am getting some nasty “flyers” for no apparent reason.
    Anyway, so far I’m happy with my new $69.95 toy.

    Jon in Puyallup, Wa.

  • John from jersey Says:

    Can it be fired single and double action, or just double?
    Also, does anyone know if 20 ft. Lbs. (disco) is enough to use with a do all 22 auto reset target?

  • Anonymous Says:

    BB,I was pretty surprised when I read that this was not a blowback featured pistol.it’s that feature that made the PPK bb pistol fun,but it wastes co2 and helped contribute to poor “minuite of can” accuracy.I hope we will learn this pistol is more accurate and efficient,which adds to the fun in my humble opinion…FrankB

  • Anonymous Says:

    B.B.,

    Another sign of Russian ingenuity and reliability. I wish the U.S. made such reliable equipment–like its WWII airplanes I am reading about. Surely, the Makarov is not more reliable than your Wilson 1911.

    The Springfield 03 has great history but the fact that it seems to have been largely a copy of the Mauser 98 kind of turns me off. If one were being historical, it makes sense to get the original Mauser. However, I suppose good ones must be pretty much impossible to find outside of gun shows. Even the Springfields must be scarce. The CMP sold a small consignment of beat-up copies recently, and they disappeared right away.

    Wayne, I missed your Howa 1500. It sounds like a precision .223 rifle like my Savage 10FP. How do you like the Howa? My info says an easily-overlooked Japanese product of high quality.

    Matt61

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Jersey John,

    Probably not. Most action targets made for a .22 need at least a short to activate them at close range, and the Disco is 1/3 of that.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Since we are discussing handguns, real ones and pellet:

    I have noted elsewhere on this blog that I have NEVER had my Makarov .380 jam. It is the ONLY semi-automatic pistol I can say this about, and I have owned many semi-autos.

    As to the info regarding the O-ring for the safety on the 1377, that is welcome information. I have three highly-modified 1377s. In fact, the latest mods were made this past Saturday (04/04). I got some black-anodized front barrel bands from Blue Fork. Greg does an outstanding job on these barrel bands. In fact, in my opinion, they are over-engineered. Greg’s website shows the bands, which do not appear to have the red fiber optic front sight inserts in them, as did the ones I got. I got two bands that included the front sight, and a plain one for the 1377 that I converted to .22 cal.

    I got the three bands for $133 including shipping.

    –Witt

  • Anonymous Says:

    Matt61, I think you can still get a new, unissued Yugo ’48, a hybrid of Mauser design features. See if you can get a shop to get one from a lower priced importer than the one advertising in magazines.

    The Springfield coned breech allegedly added to smoother feeding.

  • Anonymous Says:

    B.B,
    im ina dilemma not about airguns though im always in one of those. Hoping you could help with your vast firearm knoweledge. I want to get a woods trompin pistol. I need it to be accurate enough to shoot squirrels out to maybe 20 yards. I would prefer 22lr, but 22 mag would be fine. Now my question is do i find a revovler, or an auto? i really can answer the question myself. I want an auto for the easier carry, but i want a revolver for the better reliability. What would you do. Any reccomendations. I am trying to saty below $300 if at all possible. Thanks B.B.
    Brody

  • Anonymous Says:

    Hi Tom: How about a comparison between the Umarex CO2 Makarov and the Baikal CO2 Makarov.

  • ajvenom Says:

    Well I tried a standard -007 or #60oring and it didn’t work. The person who used an oring on their 1377 must have had a thinner oring than 1/16. You might be able to run it backwards with the red on the wrong side. Other than that, I did pick up a spring in the spring drawer, shortened it, and fought like mad to put it back togather. Then I did’nt like it, so I took it out. I like the trigger more without it. If I want safety, I just jam in the pin….lol

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Brody,

    Even before I finished your question I had an S&W revolver in mind. The Kit gun in .22 lr with a 4-inch barrel would be ideal. My favorite might be the H&R 999 Sportsman with a 4" barrel, but you'll have to find that used.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    ajvenom,

    You ask a lot, because these two guns are so different. The Baikal is made from a firearm and is all-steel, which would make you think that it’s the best, but the Umarex is MUCH smoother!

    Also, the Baikal is rifled so I shoot lead balls and it is pretty accurate. Is it fair to compare that to a smoothbore?

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    B.B.,
    I was looking at an H&R 900 for $119, but i passed on it. dont know why though. i will look up the s&w. Thanks again.
    Brody
    p.s. do you know how i can retrieve my google blogger info? i forgot my name and password, and i dont know where to go to find it. any ideas?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Brody,

    I’m not too Google-savvy, but hopefully we have some pros around who can help.

    B.B.

  • .22 multi-shot Says:

    Brody,

    If you go to http://www.blogger.com and click on the “?” by the password box, it will bring up the forgot your password page. You can also go directly to:
    http://www.blogger.com/forgot.g

    What you need at that point is the name of your blog or your email address.

    Hope that helps.

    .22 multi-shot

  • Anonymous Says:

    Anonymous,

    Thanks for the tip about the Mauser. I didn’t know that about the coned breech for the Springfield. My understanding was that with the 30 degree feeding angle from the magazine and controlled round feeding, the original Mauser design was kind of the epitome in feeding.

    Matt61

  • Brody Says:

    thanks 22 multi shot.
    b.b.,
    is the bb mak very accurate? would it be possible to have a woods trompin pellet pistol? If so what would it be?

  • Anonymous Says:

    B.B.

    Turns out (IMHO) that your reply to AJ, about the CO2 Baikal/Umarex Makarovs, seems about as concise and to-the-point a comparison as might be given, after all.

    By the way, J.G. Airguns did a fine job of getting those round lead balls to me. Only ordered three pounds of the things, for the time being. Can see as I’ll be back, though. So, thanks to you and the others for helping me to feed the Baikal.

    As a favor, next time you visit J.G.’s site note how their 4-point… round lead balls are listed.

    Would have posted correctly, but Google won’t accept my password and am tired of messing with that kind of stuff stuff, anymore.

    Keep ‘em comin’. Best regards,

    Perk

  • derrick38 Says:

    Brody,

    Welcome back.

    Matt61,

    Bought an IZH-61 on a whim the other day. Lot to like. Probably already have more invested in sights on it than I paid for the gun. What a nice little shooter.

    Anyone here going to the Pyramyd sale?

    Derrick

  • Josh Says:

    Whoa B.B.

    The finish on the makarov pistol is beautiful; is the pistol’s frame/slide made of steel? Do you think this pistol can be converted to a firearm? (I hope not-this pistol will be banned from the U.S.)as is the case with some other bb pistols from the soviet union.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Derrick,

    Yay, what kind of sights do you have? I use the Leapers Bug Buster II which is plenty for the capability of this rifle and costs less than half.

    Matt61

  • tunnel engineer Says:

    S&W 586-6" performance…
    I thought I'd report on my week-long experience with this revolver.

    I get 40 shots with speeds around 400 fps (370 to 440 fps with average of 390 fps). Beyond that velocities drop. All this is with Crossman Premieres Light of the cardboard box. I can get a sixth clip but by that time it is a BB gun. Best thing for me is to remove the CO2 cartridge after the 50th shot to prevent a nasty jam right at the cylinder-barrel interface!! Temperature in my basement is around 65F.

    I am taking two consecutive shots, then wait at least 10 seconds for next two, and that seems to keep velocities pretty consistent up to the 40th shot. Maybe I could do three in a row but based on experimentation I think that velocity drop is too significant for accuracy

    I have shot several clips with Gamo Raptors and they seem to go well with this gun. However, there is enough variability in the Raptors so as to need to jam some of them with the finger flush with the clip face, while others go in easy and sink halfway into the clip.

    I shot a group with RWS 6.9 gr Hobby pellets. Out of the ten shots, there were two pellets that obviously hit sideways judging by the skirt marks on the target. There were two other that I also believe went in a little sideways. So, no good experience on that end

    I love this revolver. I am not an expert handgun shooter. This gun is really helping improve my style. It is also very fun!!

  • wayne Says:

    B.B.

    Yes, I’m serious about the firearm mak!! You’ve got me starting a search as we speak..

    Matt61,

    That Howa 1500 in .223 is real fine.. It seems to group well with the Russian “BarnauL” 62gr. I was using a makeshift benchrest, but still got mostly 2″- 5 shot groups at 100 yards. The best was 1-1/4″ with 3 touching the 1/4″ center on the 2″ shootNsee.
    There were some groups out to 4 – 5″… I don’t know if it was me moving in the rest or the ammo.. or the wind.. (10-15 gusts).. but overall I was impressed the Russian ammo.. (and the Howa 1500!) which is some of the only stuff available!! They’re no good to reload though..

    The 200 yard range was too full and I also wanted to shoot the .357 Dan Wesson revolver with the 8″ barrel, so I didn’t get the 200 yard test of that Russian .223 ammo.. The Dan Wesson revolver is just about as much cowboy fun as this old coot can handle!! Three boxes of 50 .38 special went real fast!! Lots of 4″- 6 shot groups at 25 yards and one was 2- 1/2″.

    The only problem I had was the Russian lacquered steel casings didn’t eject the empty a couple times out of the 80 rounds I shot.. I had to slide a wood dowel down the barrel to clear the empty shell. I don’t know if it’s the extractor or the ammo..

    That didn’t happen with the 55gr. .223 PMC Bronze remingtion, or 55gr .223 American Eagle tactical XM193… But I’ve only shot 40 rounds of each of those, since I don’t have as many, and they are harder to get now.

    The action is smooth and it loads easy… five in the well and one in the breech, by holding down the others, while closing the bolt.

    The non-wood stock was hard to buy, (you know how I love wood), but I’m glad I did now… It’s very easy to grip and hold, and the action is bedded nicely.. It fires like a dream.. hardly knocking me off target.. Very fun to shoot.
    It’s quite a serious weapon too, at least with those 62gr Russian.. I stacked 4 -2×6 on edge to see how it would penetrate.. right on though the 6″ thickness at 100 yards!! I’ll try the 55gr on those next time..

    Nice deep blue, good scope rail, I put the 6-24×56 Nikko side wheel, and it’s holding up good so far…

    Wayne

  • Thorin Says:

    Wayne,

    Sticky ejection is because of the lacquer melting in the chamber. Be sure to clean your chamber after sessions. Also be mindful that most bargain/mil spec russian ammo use copper washed mild steel jackets on their bullets, which are tougher on the bore.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Wayne,

    Ditto on what Thorin said about the melting lacquer on those Russian rounds. I use them in my Mak pistol and in my wife’s new Glock, but that stuff can cause real pressure problems in guns like the .223.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Tunnel Engineer,

    Thanks for that update. I’m betting this pistol will make a handgunner of you yet!

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Josh,

    Isn’t it beautiful? The metal they use on all the pistol parts is a casting metal that would be zinc-based. It’s called pot metal or casting metal and there have been some great strides in finish over the years. Umarex now seems to do it to perfection.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Perk,

    I went to JG’s website, which is a bit too convoluted for my tastes, but I didn’t get what you were referring me to. Help?

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Brody,

    The accuracy test will be Part 3 of the Mak report.

    Any gun can be a “woods trompin’ gun” if it fits your needs. But I like a .22 rimfire, for the extra power it offers.

    B.B.

  • wayne Says:

    Thorin & B.B.

    Thanks for that about the lacquer on the Russian ammo melting…

    But, B.B. please tell me more about the "pressure" problems in a .223!!
    Should I not shoot those rounds anymore?

    Wayne

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Wayne,

    The lacquer melts and then hardens–cementing the cartridge case in the chamber and the bullet in the cartridge case. Also, lacquer can build up ahead of the chamber in the rear of the barrel, cementing the bullet in place.

    It can’t stop the bullet from moving, of course, but it increases the bullet’s resistance to move. That increases the chamber pressure.

    B.B.

  • wayne Says:

    B.B.

    HHMMM…
    I guess I have to decide for myself if I should sell or shoot the rest of those Russian .223
    I bought about 400 rounds, so I need to decide to sell or shoot them.. it sounds like that’s too many to shoot without damage and lacquer build up in the barrel..

    I guess I better sell them.. Is there a gun that they will shoot better in? So I could tell people they are good in something…

    The funny thing is, a couple old reloading pros at the range yesterday, didn’t know that the lacquer did that. They said it was the guns fault.. they just knew you couldn’t reload them..

    Just one more great thing about this blog!!

    Wayne

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Wayne,

    I would shoot them in your rifle. Just don’t buy any more.

    Have you learned how to “read” primers in expended cartridges to determine the pressure of the round? It’s in those reloading manuals.

    Which reminds me… ;)

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Can case lacquer possibly melt if you don’t let the chamber get hot? Maybe just take it easy!

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    I’m on very thin ice here, because I just heard about this from a range owner a week ago. I thought the heat of the gasses generated melted the lacquer. In which case, the chamber doesn’t have to get hot.

    This whole thing could just be urban legend against the Russian ammo. I know it has always worked fine inmy Makarov.

    B.B.

    B.B.

  • Mr B. Says:

    B.B.,

    Just bought an AR from Joel, Atlantic Guns, and he said not to shoot the Russian lacquered steel ammo in it because of pressure problems.

    My question to one and all is that if that stuff does create pressure problems why do the Russians make it and what law(s) of physics have they repealed?

    Thanks–Mr B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    What creates pressure problems is shooting 5.56 ammo in a rifle chambered for .223
    The same? Not exactly, even though lots of folks disregard this knowledge and do it anyway. I’ve seen too many ARs blown apart and some of shooters injured because of it. AR is not AK! AR is not as tough so, do yourself a favor and research on the subject of NATO (5.56) vs SAAMI (.223 Rem) specs, and throat lengths vs barrel twists…
    However, you can shoot both in a rifle chambered for 5.56 NATO.

    As a good rule of thumb, a $1000+ weapon deserves a good ammunition. I simply refuse to shoot an inexpensive Monarch that is not consistent in any AR-15. That is what AK-47 for – shoot absolutely anything with the same degree of reliability. Always match the ammo with your gun AND application.

  • Anonymous Says:

    B.B.

    Didn’t mean to be cryptic. And, agreed; JG’s may not quite have the best-ordered site around. So, thank you for having humored me.

    Was referring to their ad for “4.4 Round Ball Lead balls – 1lb approximate. 800 rounds for Hae(.)” Believe there had been a question as to my use of the 4.4 designation, rather than having stated 4.5mm in a previous post.

    Seems that Haenels can favor pellet sizes of 4.4 or 4.45mm. As it turns out, the pellets received from AJ’s appear to be consistently .1mm smaller than my .177 cal. Rundkugeln and Beeman Perfect Rounds. For the test, mechanical calipers were used to take measured comparisons among the three brands of round lead balls. An even dozen of each brand was randomly selected.

    Guess I am going to stick with calling them 4.4s, here.

    To give credit where credit is due, your reports have been a very large part of the personal learning curve. That’s why I say to “Keep ‘em comin’.” This, by way of appreciation.

    Best regards,

    Perk

  • Leon Mercado Says:

    Matt61, Anonymous,

    I had an unissued, Yugoslavian Model 48 that was perfect cosmetically as a military grade rifle. But it was not that smooth in operation compared to my Polish 1944/55 Mosin Nagant Carbine or French MAS 1936. You had to chamber the rounds very quickly and positively to ensure feeding reliability.

    And the wing type safety of the Yugo 48 was relatively clumsy to use, although the Mosin’s is much worse, requiring quite some strenght to operate at all. You would think that the armies that used these rifles would have demanded safeties that were much easier to operate in combat conditions. When I think about it, the MAS 36 having no safety is a better design. You are more aware of the cocked condition of the gun, and have no doubts about having to fuss with a sticky safety, or relying on one that could fail anyway. With the MAS 36, the drill is to leave the bolt slightly open and fully chamber the cartridge only when one is about to shoot. Which is about as safe as any safety can be, since the firing pin is not held back by the trigger sear, but by the bolt notch when the bolt is left open.

    The design of the Model 48 had many other safety features taken from the Mauser 98, like those bolt vents and the third bolt lug. Also, everything appeared to be sized more than beefy enough to handle the working pressures of the 8mm Mauser round. I wonder however if controlled round feed is really as advantageous as they say. Why would the US armed forces and countless police agencies use the Remington Model 700 type action design, which is a push feed, for their current sniper rifles. Rounds have to be fed through the magazine on Mauser type controlled feed actions, while push feeds can be fed single rounds through the ejection port when the magazine goes empty. You may have problems with a push feed if you try to chamber it upside down but when does that situation happen with a bolt gun anyway.

    I also find the Yugo 48, like the Mauser 98s has hard to use sights. You just can’t see or well center the pyramid front sight on the rear v-notch. The peep sights on the MAS 36 and the Lee Enfield No. 4 rifles are so much more better to use.

    All that said I do have the attitude that if one likes to use particular mechanical devices, one should just learn to work with the limitations of the design and take it for what it is, to enjoy the way it works. A big part of the fun is learning how to work around the quirks of the machine.

    I ride a 2002 Russian Ural motorcycle which is a modified, still in production, clone of a pre-World War 2 German BMW. It is the most fun of all the dozen or so motorcycles I have ridden since the mid-1970s. You get all sorts of electrical and mechanical gremlins when you start riding even a brand new a Ural and the thing vibrates so much more than a modern design motorcycle. It also only makes 40 horsepower, and can only cruise at around 65 mph on the freeway. It also has all drum brakes, which means you have to anticipate the traffic flow or road hazards way ahead than you would with disc brake equipped bikes. But the fun is in figuring out and solving all those teething problems, as well as learning how to move with traffic on all sorts of roads with the limited power. Sorta like living with the quirks of the Mauser 98 rifle design. The fascination is that a 111 year old rifle design and a 72 year old motorcycle design can still be made to work well enough in the 21st Century.

  • Leon Mercado Says:

    I do agree that Umarex should have made this Makarov BB gun a blowback model like their PPKS. The configuration is so close anyway. And maybe there is some way to retrofit that feature on the new gun? And I think they should revamp their Walther PPKS to have a simulated blued finish instead of the flat black they have on now.

    These improvements would extend the sales of these models more at little additional expense. Many collectors would probably buy another one with these mods just to get a variation with a more authentic feel to these repro BB guns.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Leon,

    There is no easy way to convert this Makarov to blowback. That has to be done when the gun is designed.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Why would you want to use safety on Mosin Nagant? The trigger is heavy, just like on all military pre-WWI, WWI, and post WWI rifles. This gun is stupid-proof: there is no way to fire it accidently. BTW,600 yards on a human size target is a piece of cake with M-N if you know what you are doing, been there, done that. And that is with a 4x power scope!

  • Leon Mercado Says:

    I never use the safety on my Mosin Nagant. Too difficult to manipulate. Just use the brain for safety.

    I have also read that the Soviet Army never selected, accurized or radically customised special Mosin Nagants for the hundreds of snipers they deployed against the Germans. They simply bent the bolts to accomodate the installation of the PU sniper scope on regular production rifles. They figured that in sending out masses of snipers with scoped ordinary battle rifles, enough German officers would be killed to demoralize and disorganize the enemy. It was more of a calculated numbers game to increase the probability of causing confusion in the German ranks.

  • Anonymous Says:

    There was no need to accurize/customize Mosin Nagant rifles in close to medium range sniping. There was no such thing as a long range precision shooting in WWII. On top of that, the demand for inexpensive, simple, but durable and reliable rifles was too high to spend extra time and money to something that was not needed. However, there were, in fact, sniper grade Mosins out there. One of these guns is displayed in the Moscow military museum. The owner of that gun was Vasiliy Zaytzev himself – a legendary Soviet sniper. His longest kill was just under 800 yards, which was unheard of during the WWII. For your information, prior to WWI, Mosin Nagants were equipped with German Zeiss optics to enhance accuracy. When the war started, the contract was interrupted, and for obvious reasons, has never been resumed.
    To say that the Soviet snipers were a game of numbers is a little irresponsible. The Soviet and Finnish snipers were the best during the entire war. The US, UK, and others simply didn’t have any sniper programs developed whatsoever! If I can hit a human size target with a $100 Mosin Nagant and a 4x power scope, imagine what one can do with a true sniper grade Mosin Nagant that cost over $3000! Yeah, go figure. And…good luck getting one!

  • Leon Mercado Says:

    Of course the Soviets trained all those snipers well enough, but they in fact intentionally fielded more men as well as women snipers than any country in World War 2. With more snipers out there, statistically, it would be reasonable to expect that they would inflict more sniping casualties on the enemy and produce more of the best combat marksmen on record. And Russia, much like America, had a traditional hunting heritage that was vital to the peasant farmers survival in the country during the winter months. They had a bigger pool of good shooters to pick from.

    The Soviets were firm believers of mass attacks. Thousands of artillery pieces would first soften the enemy defenses, followed by the thousands of men, planes and tanks, rolling in to overrun the enemy. On Several occasions, they even sent more men out to die than they could equip. To hold the line in Stalingrad, several men were issued only ammo clips to charge behind the fortunate soldier with a rifle. When the armed man fell to enemy fire, the next man was to pick up his weapon and carry on the advance. Meanwhile, the NKVD secret police and political cadre waited with machine guns and pistols at the the rear and any soldiers bolting into a retreat would be summarily shot. With this extreme mentality, sending out hundreds of snipers behind enemy lines to create confustion was not a big leap in strategy for them.

    Figthing wars is a very rational process. In World War 2, the level of military technology was that the number of men you poured into the fight along with the amount of weapons systems provided, greatly mattered in determining the outcome of battles. For the Russian commanders this also held true when it came to sending out snipers to decapitate the enemy leadership.

    The definition of sniper grade weapons for all countries during World War 2 come nowhere close to the rifles snipers use today, because as you say, production resources were limited during such critical times. Simple accuracy sampling and selection of assemblyline rifles would have been more the case but probably hardly done at all. Trigger pull and accuracy tests yield similar results for samples of regular and sniper World War 2 Mosins. As I said before, only simple mods like bent bolt handles to accomodate the 2.8X model PU scope installation, made these “sniper grade”. This however hampered reloading as the stripper clips could no longer be used and the cartridges had to be inserted one by one into the magazine. For most Russian snipers, 500 yards would have been the practical upper limit to the range of their shooting given the limitations of their equiptment.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Leon, this all true. One more thing I wanted to add is that Stalingrad was a battle of snipers, just like Kursk was the battle of tanks (biggest in world’s history). Germans, in fact, were afraid of ferocious Soviet snipers and called Stalingrad “the city of rats,” because everyone was hiding during daylight hours due to massive sniper activities.

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