IZH 53M air pistol: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: If you missed out on Pyramyd Air’s first shipment of extra Dan Wesson speedloaders with 6 extra cartridges, they’re back in stock.

Part 1

The IZH 53M air pistol looks like it stepped right out of the 1950s. It’s a modern breakbarrel with a retro look and feel.

Let’s look at the velocity of the IZH 53M air pistol. I wrote about what a nice, calm pistol this is in Part 1, and several readers responded to that. Many of you seem to like airguns that are well-behaved. I also made a comparison between this pistol and the BSF S20 that looks so much like a rifle cut down to fit a pistol grip. If you ever shoot that one, you’ll discover that it’s really a pussycat in lion’s clothing. Though it looks big and mean, it really shoots just as calm as you could hope for — like our test pistol.

Customer issues
Customers give the 53M four stars, and the chief complaints are that it shoots high and there’s no safety. Apparently, the sights have been changed, and we’ll find that out when I test the gun for accuracy. As for the lack of a safety being a problem, I respectfully disagree. I don’t think the pistol needs one. The shooter is the safety for any gun, and no mechanical device adds anything to improve safety.

If you want a safety so you can do things you wouldn’t do with the gun that are not on safe — DON’T DO THOSE THINGS! Don’t even do them with guns that have safeties and are on safe! I’ve had safeties fail so many times that I no longer trust them. If I have a gun that does have a safety, I’ll use it; but in no way will I behave any differently with that gun than I would if it didn’t have a safety. I guess I’ll go down swinging on this issue, but I advise all of you to never trust a safety for anything. Instead, control the gun so it doesn’t need one.

I looked at the advertised velocity and saw that it’s 360 f.p.s. But when I tested my sample pistol, it was much hotter. Someone complained that this pistol has BB-gun velocities, Well, they aren’t Red Ryder velocities! Let’s see what this gun can do.

RWS Hobbys
The first pellet tested was the 7-grain RWS Hobby. This is a wadcutter pellet (a sharp shoulder on the pellet head cuts clean round holes in target paper for ease of scoring) that’s one of the lightest lead pellets available. I would use¬†only lead pellets in this pistol because of the power level. When a gun shoots less than 500 f.p.s., I don’t like to use synthetics or lead-free metal pellets since they don’t perform as well as they do in guns that are more powerful.

Hobbys averaged 409 f.p.s. and went from 391 f.p.s to 420 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 19 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they’re generating 2.6 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Gamo Match
The next pellet I tested was the 7.7-grain Gamo Match. This is another wadcutter that, though it’s heavier than the Hobby, still went pretty fast. The average was 391 f.p.s. and the velocity range went from 384 to 399 f.p.s. The muzzle energy is an average of 2.61 foot-pounds. The total velocity spread was 15 f.p.s.

Crosman Competition
The final pellet I tried was the 7.4-grain Crosman Competition — yet another wadcutter design. These loaded easier than the first two pellets and gave an average of 389 f.p.s. That works out to a muzzle energy of 2.49 foot-pounds. The velocity in the string ranged from a low of 376 f.p.s. to as high of 394 f.p.s., for an 18 f.p.s. spread.

I tested these pellets because they’re the ones I intend shooting in the accuracy test. I wasn’t looking to show the pistol as a hot-rod, but the results speak for themselves. Also, because this is a springer, there’s always the chance that it will becomes a little faster after a good break-in.

Trigger
The trigger is not adjustable. The Russian-made schematic refers to a “trigger adjustment screw,” but in my gun the screw is only for securing the stock to the action.

Blog readerDerrick gave us a link to a blog he wrote on tuning the gun, and his photos clearly show a trigger travel adjustment screw that’s no longer in the current model. The sheet metal anchor is still there, but no hole has been drilled and tapped for the adjustment screw


The sheet metal anchor for the adjustment screw is still in place, ahead of the trigger blade, but the hole for the adjustment screw is not drilled.

I believe the trigger has been updated, but the schematic still shows the older design. So, I repeat what I said in Part 1 — the trigger is not adjustable. The trigger is single-stage and breaks cleanly at between 1 lb., 15 oz. and 2 lbs., 8 oz. That’s light enough for good informal target shooting.

Thus far
So far, I really like this air pistol. It seems to offer a lot of value for the money. If it proves to be accurate, it’ll be quite a buy!

37 Responses to “IZH 53M air pistol: Part 2”

  • twotalon Says:

    B.B.

    Looks like a fun little gun. Nothing bigger than sparrows for pesting. Might be best just for plinking and bug hunting.
    Nice to see that this one exceeds advertised velocity with real pellets. Hope it proves to be a good shooter too.

    twotalon

  • caveman Says:

    BB,
    “The shooter is the safety for any gun, and no mechanical device adds anything to improve safety.”

    Amen brother!

    • Matt61 Says:

      I agree with this especially in the case of the IZH 61 which has no safety and generally too. But I will make an exception for the Mosin-Nagant safety. It takes a gorilla to operate so it is mostly irrelevant. However, one common use of safeties is to put it on when a round is in the chamber. If you try this with the Mosin, the safety, which you work by pulling back on the rear of the bolt and twisting to lock it, will definitely slip out of your grip at some point and spring forward and likely set off your round. I cannot figure out why a clunky piece of machinery like that is on a rifle that otherwise keeps showing more hidden strengths.

      Matt61

  • J-F Says:

    Seems nice enough… I think it’ll be a “happy birthday to me” gift, I’ll order it when I get home tonight.
    I really don’t need another airgun… it’s all your fault BB, thank you ;-)

    J-F

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      J-F,

      I’m guilty as charged. Now, let’s hope the gun you get is as nice as the gun I’m testing. From the looks of it, I’m betting that it will be.

      Still don’t know about the accuracy yet, though.

      B.B.

      • J-F Says:

        I’m sure it will have plenty for what is needed. I was able to find and “excuse” or “reason” to buy this pistol. It will be “the plinker” (I didn’t have anything for this… Kinda). It will hang by the back door and it will be used to shoot cans I put on small stakes at the end of the yard.
        The 2240 is too loud for this, the FAS and Alecto deserves better quality time and the firearm look alike action pistols need to be loaded and emptied, I wouldn’t want to leave a loaded BB pistol in the house even if it’s locked away a friend is over and your showing him the pistol and first thing you know there’s a hole in a wall or a window has been broken.
        I have no gun for this (except for the P17 and P1 but I had “forgotten” about those).

        J-F

  • Wildey Says:

    About the safety / no safety issue, this guy has the right idea.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uytPO0UaDM&feature=g-all-f&context=G27a45eeFAAAAAAAAFAA

    Wildey

  • Fused Says:

    I’ve been playing with my Titan GP .177. I really like it. It cocks and clicks much better than I would have expected at the price. Shot cycle is very nice, although not as quiet or gentle as I had expected. Wondering if there is a difference between the .177 and .22 (aside from the obvious) the website has them listed separately and only the .22 as ‘lower power’. In other words, if you click on the Titan GP Lower Power, only the .22 shows up. And if you click on the Titan GP, only the .177 shows up. Is there a difference in the power between the two, or is this just an error on the site? Thought maybe that would explain why it’s not quite as gentle as I thought it would be.

    Accuracy is also pretty good, AA Diablo Field 4.51 is the best pellet I’ve found for it. Very narrow barrel, other pellets skirts stuck out from the breech. I have not tried it at longer ranges yet, so reserving final judgement…

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Fused,

      And did you want to buy a lower power Titan GP in .177?

      As for the sound, hold the rifle away from you and fire it. When you hold it to your cheek all the sound travels through the bones in your skull.

      B.B.

      • Fused Says:

        Yes, I did want the lower powered version. So, is there a difference?

        I did hold the rifle away from me to see, my 94 is still gentler/quieter with similar power. I guess everything gets compared to the 94 and nothing has surpassed it yet! But, I do like the gas spring characteristics here.

  • Matt61 Says:

    I hope they correct those sights, but otherwise, this one looks like another low-priced winner from IZH.

    /Dave, on the one hand, your method will increase sales of the Justin Bieber action figure. On the other, you’re right. They would make outstanding targets!

    On that note, Merry Christmas to all and see you in the New Year. I’ll have reports on how my handloading treasures make out in my M1 Garand.

    Matt61

    • flobert Says:

      I bet that kids wishes everyone picked on his hair, instead of how he’s … big-boned.

      This time of the year is cold in most areas of the US. Which means, when you wake up in the morning and it’s 35 degrees *inside*, you wear a cap of some type. The warmest type, the knit caps favored by old-time sailors and Central Casting’s burglers, tend to squeeze the hair down quite a bit. Mine ends up looking painted on. I hate it. But, there’s no way I’m not wearing my knit cap this time of year.

  • Robertoborge@bellsouth.net Says:

    I’ve been wanting to buy a gas spring .22 rifle, so far the choices (within what I can afford) are: Benjamin (Chinese), Crosman (Chinese), Gamo (Spain, I believe), Walter (Hatsan, Turkey). I wish I could just buy a german one, but for a gas spring they start at over $600.

    from the above brands, which one normally, represents the best in quality, reliability?, your input will help me decide. For some unknown reason(probably the name Walter), it seems to me that the Walter’s are the better quality.
    Thanks.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Robert,

      You asked for an opinion. In my opinion, the best is the Crosman TitanGP Nitro Piston – lower velocity.

      http://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Crosman_TitanGP_Nitro_Piston_Lower_Velocity/2291

      This rifle is easy to cock, and accurate. It has all the positive attributes of a gas spring and none of the drawbacks.

      The others are very difficult to cock and require a LOT of technique to shoot accurately.

      If you are accustomed to the artillery hold and can shoot a magnum springer well, then the Walther Talon magnum is a good one. But it’s only for hunting, because it’s too hard to cock for general shooting.

      B.B.

      • Roberto Says:

        B.B: Thanks for your input. I guess you are right. I only need the rifle to shoot rats. I have a springer, which normally I have to keep it cocked, sometimes for over 30 to 40 minutes while I wait for them, because, if I try to cock the rifle when they show up the cocking sound scares the away.

        I was also looking at the Benjamin Trail NP which at 33 +/- lbs of cocking effort is in the ballpark where I am right now with my springer (38 lbs), which, I have not problem cocking. Probably by changing the trigger with a GRT III would help a lot on a Benjamin Trail NP.
        Thanks for your input.

  • cowboystar dad Says:

    Okay…I can be such a weenie!!
    So Friday afternoon I pick up the Savage 93 FVSS (22WMR with bull barrel and 3-9 Bushnell).
    I gave it to a friend of mine, who the boys know well, who is also a shooter.
    I told the boys that John was coming over after supper to show us his new gun.
    About 8PM he shows up. Takes out the gun and the boys are beside themselves with excitement…and a wee bit of jealousy. Asked a number of times when we were going to buy a .22 and both offered to put all their savings towards it if I’d buy it.
    Kept ‘em going for about 1/2 hour.
    Finally John says he has to go home to tuck his kids into bed. He packs up the gun and as he starts to head out the door he turns to the boys and says…”Oh, by the way, this is your gun”…hands it to my oldest and walks out the door.
    Man…I gotta buy me a video camera!!

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      CSD,

      A classic variation of what Ralphie’s dad did to him with the Red Ryder! Edith may scold you for teasing, but I think it’s a wonderful reveal. As they say, “All’s well…”

      B.B.

  • Dave@vabch Says:

    Tom, years ago I purchased a IZH 61 (little black Russian) and never looked back. Fell in love with this little gun, later purchased another one and later found a model 60 with a steel breech. I have been reading this topic and have to say, the gun sounds like a nice shooter. My question to you is this. How come you have never done a review of the Beeman HW70A. By all comparisons they are very similar pistols except for the price. PA says the trigger on the IZH is only 2lbs and higher on the Beeman. Now the velocity of the Beeman is around 320 370 range. So I’m thinking the Baikal might be a better buy given the cost is so much less and if the quality is like the model 61 then hey, it would be a good buy. What you take on the comparisons?

    Thanks
    Dave

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Dave,

      No particular reason for not testing the HW70A. I’ve never even shot one, but I’m sure you are right about it being a nice air pistol. I’ll have to put it on my “To do” list.

      B.B.

  • Bill Says:

    Off topic

    The replacement spring for my RWS 36 is on the way. I was reading an entry from July 24, 2006 on tuning a spring air gun. You mention that the newer trigger groups on RWS guns are easier to re-assemble except “the automatic safety bar that has to be fiddled in between the two crosspins”.

    Looking through the two pin holes from the side I see a thin flat bar, (spring?), running from back to front slanting downward toward the front. Does this bar need to have the rear cross pin below the spring and the front cross pin above the bar?

    Thanks in advance.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Bill,

      Do you have a T01 trigger?

      B.B.

      • Bill Says:

        Really don’t know. It is self contained and the gun was bought in the late 80′s or very early 90′s. It also has two adjustment screws if that helps any.

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Bill,

          Yep, that’s a T01. Some guns actually say T01 on them near ther model number.

          The rear pin goes in first, then the front pin will go in easily. When you insert the rear pin you will see the bar and how it has to clear the pin.

          Use a powerful flashlight to look inside the trigger as you assemble the rifle.

          B.B.

          • Bill Says:

            There is a small 1 near the front on one side but that is the only marking I see on the trigger unit. I looked real close and I do see a bar with a bend that looks like it is for the pin. I’m guessing that is part of the safety and it goes below the pin, when held up right. The little slanted bar I saw lays flat along the top side when the trigger is upside down. I now think I know how it goes together.

            Thanks for letting me know the rear pin goes in first, that gave me the clue I needed, and for your help.

            • B.B. Pelletier Says:

              Bill,

              I once embarrassed myself for ten minutes in a public demonstration at an airgun show when I couldn’t get the pins back in. That’s why I remember the order.

              B.B.

  • kevin Says:

    Speaking of pistols….does anyone need a wilson combat 1911 .22 conversion for a decent price?

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/554567/thread/1324225654/Wilson+Combat+1911+.22lr+Conversion%2C+3+metal+mags%2C+mag+loader%2C+and+slide+stop

    kevin

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    BB,
    I’m not a pistol shooter, but I may buy one of these just for the lack of a safety. Add me to the list of those that finds them unnecessary, falsely reassuring, and potentially dangerous outside a few special situations. With some folks, I’d be happier to see a flag stuck in the empty chamber holding the gun open than trust them about the safety!

    To play “Clue” so to speak, I suspect a lawyer in the import company was involved in the case of the missing adjustment screw — it looks like a simple sear engagement mechanism (assuming a simple single stage trigger) and that probably gave some legal guy (or gal) an ulcer. I have a bunch of drill bits and a a box of taps…

    • G.Austin Says:

      Air gun pistols at 2-4 ftlbs has limited need for a safety. I like crosmans decision to use manual safeties on their 2240, 2300, 1377 etc.

  • G.Austin Says:

    To lower the POI get some heat shrink wrap and cut an over sized piece for the front sight. Put a drop of superglue/hot glue on the front post after degreasing it. Apply heat to the shrink wrap and use pliers to compress the top and seal the work.

    Finally, use a pair of sharp scissors to gradually reduce the height of the new front sight until you rear sight has control over your POI.

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