New-old-stock TS-45 air rifles: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


This TS-45 rifle is probably at least 30 years old, yet also brand new.

I’ve anticipated this day with great hopes, because this TS-45 rifle has the tightest bore I’ve ever seen on a vintage Chinese air rifle. I’ve owned a couple older Chinese air rifles, and they always had huge bores that every pellet wallowed in. The only one that was ever accurate was another TS-45 that I modified by changing the barrel for a Lothar Walther from Dennis Quackenbush. That one also had the benefit of an overhaul and was really a nice little plinker after all the work was done. But it didn’t have the original oversized barrel.

Through the years, I’ve heard from many owners of Chinese springers who said they had accurate guns. And always their barrels were considerably tighter than any I’d seen. Well, Lady Luck finally smiled on me, because this time it was my turn to get a tight barrel. So, I anticipated the possibility of accuracy.

Loose stock screws
Before testing I tried to tighten the stock screws. The rear triggerguard screw and the rear sling swivel anchor screw are what hold the action in the stock. Both were loose and needed tightening.

For fun, I removed the barreled action from the stock. From what I see, this would be an easy action to work on, so I may have a go at it at some future date. No promises, but if I can collect another dozen “round tuits,” I’ll have what I need to smooth out this action.

Firing behavior
I have to compare the firing of this rifle to that of the El Gamo 68 I recently tested. Both have heavy triggers and quick shot cycles with very little vibration afterward. The firing pulse is heavy and disagreeable, but I think that with the fitting of a few parts it could be made smoother.

The trigger looks simple enough and is obviously has a case-hardened sear. I can tell that by the shape of the part and its thickness. If I were to rebuild the gun, I might have a go at smoothing the sear contact area a little.

Accuracy
I had a gut feeling this rifle wanted to shoot, and it didn’t disappoint me. The first pellet I tried was a 7.9-grain Crosman Premier dome. I shot at a 10-meter pistol target at a distance of 10 meters (33 feet). The pistol target has a larger bull than the 10-meter rifle target, and I find it easier to see when I use open sights like the ones on this rifle.


Ten Crosman Premier lites made this 1.657-inch group at 10 meters. Nine went into 0.891 inches. This is a very horizontal group.

Speaking of the sights, I find the sights on this TS-45 to be among the sharpest and easiest open sights I’ve ever seen on an air rifle! I wish the makers of modern air rifles would put sights this good on their guns! The rear sight has a U-shaped notch that’s positioned at just the right distance from my sighting eye, so the top of the notch appears clear. And the front post is very sharp and easy to focus on. I had no trouble holding a 6 o’clock hold on the target.

Trigger
The trigger, on the other hand, is appalling! It’s too heavy to measure on my trigger-pull scale, but I am guessing that it breaks at something approaching 14-15 lbs. of effort! It’s so heavy that my wrist started hurting from pulling it during the test. I’m not sure the final group I shot was as good as it could have been because my wrist hurt so much from squeezing this horrible trigger.

The first group wasn’t as nice as I had hoped, spreading out to the left as the shots increased, but it was much better than a typical old Chinese airgun would do for me. One pellet went way out to the left; but as far as I could tell, the sight picture was perfect for that shot, as well as for all the others. I used an artillery hold with the back of my off hand touching the front of the triggerguard. The rifle sits well in the hand for this hold and is light enough to feel good. Later in the series, I flipped my off hand over and rested the rifle on the backs of two fingers. That seemed to have less movement on target as the trigger was pulled.

The second pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby. I’ll usually default to this pellet in a lower-powered spring gun because, for some reason, many of them seem to like it very much. This pellet fit the bore very tight and gave the best group of the day.


RWS Hobbys made the best group of the test. Ten went into this group measuring 0.835 inches between centers.

The Hobby group was very encouraging. I started believing this rifle was going to shoot like a target rifle. The next pellet was shot with the Gamo Match, and here’s where I started to notice the heavy trigger-pull taking its toll. I can’t say for certain, but I think some of the size of this group was due to fatigue.


Ten Gamo Match pellets made this 0.845-inch group. Almost as small as the Hobby group, this one may have suffered from the fatigue of my trigger finger.

The final pellet I tested was the H&N Finale Match Pistol, but by this time there was no mistaking my fatigue. The only other time I remember feeling like this while shooting a gun was when I tested one of those $2,500 Airrow airguns made by Swivel Machine Corp. They had a trigger pull over 25 lbs. and were horrible to shoot. You can see the results of my fatigue in the vertically scattered shots, where the other three groups were good in the vertical plane.


This vertical dispersion is definitely due to the fatigue caused by the heavy trigger. Ten H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets made this 1.376-inch group at 10 meters.

What now?
As I indicated earlier, I’ll set this rifle aside for now. But it looks like a simple action to work on, and I may eventually return, just to see what I can do about that heavy trigger and violent pulse at firing.

I was never one to praise these old Chinese airguns; but if I’d encountered one like this one back in the days when I tested them, things might have turned out differently. I certainly would have cut them more slack if I’d known they could shoot so well.

31 thoughts on “New-old-stock TS-45 air rifles: Part 3

  1. TS-45……….2 observations

    B.B.’s trigger pull was too great for his gauge??!! Guestimated pull at 14-15lbs. Gadzooks. Did you see that group made with rws hobby pellets? First observation, I’ll never be as good a shot as B.B. since with the greatest pellet and a 14-15 lb trigger pull with a violent pulse at firing I couldn’t keep 10 shots in a .835 group even at 10 meters. Geez. Ever pull a 14 lb trigger cobined with a violent pulse at firing for 10 shots shooting for accuracy? I’ve dealt with bad triggers. I’ve had violent shot cycles. Can’t deal with both. Uncle.

    Second observation. In the last paragraph B.B. says, “I was never one to praise these old Chinese airguns; but if I’d encountered one like this one back in the days when I tested them, things might have turned out differently. I certainly would have cut them more slack if I’d known they could shoot so well.” What this says to me is that although this NOS (New Old Stock) TS-45 may be improved, i.e., tighter bore, my interpretaion is that we’re being taught to pay attention to stock screws, perfect the artillery hold over 20 years and test all ammo even the lightest that may not even be on the radar.

    The TS-45 has no appeal to me since it falls in the catagory of a “TINKERERS GUN” but this article really hit a home run for me since it forced me to rethink prejudices like trigger pull weight and pellets that I have a prejudice for. I really need to expand my mind and experience. First, I need to learn how to shoot a .835″ group with a 14 lb trigger pull. Never been one of my goals but in shooting it should be. I’m a trigger nazi but maybe I should learn a new skill. Never thought about this aspect. Hmmm.

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      I used to think a five-pound trigger was heavy. Then I spent some time with a Trapdoor Springfield and discovered how good a crisp military trigger can be, as long as it remains consistent. This TS-45 trigger is not one you should ever want to be able to use. If I can reduce the pull to a third of what it is now this might be a good plinker, but at the moment it’s an exercise machine in disguise.

      B.B.


      • Another Tomism! “an exercise machine in disguise” LOL!

        I’ve got a lot of those. This weekend they were a chainsaw and a rake.

        kevin



  2. b.b.

    Could you show us a pic of how you rest on the back of your fingers? The only way I can see how to do it hurts the back of my fingers.

    twotalon



      • B.B.

        Yup. That’s how I tried it. My fingers are not fat enough to tolerate it. Hurts bad enough before the shot, but having rifles like the 48 and 97 bounce on my fingers REALLY hurts. On top of that, the 48 likes to be held a little front heavy too, and that makes it worse.
        So, it makes it better to just flat hand it for me. No pain distraction.

        Something else I tried a little but not enough to really evaluate is something I will have to post a pic of. Will get one up in a while.

        twotalon



        • TT,

          The weight of the rifle makes a big difference in how you will be able to hold it. If this TS-45 wasn’t light, I couldn’t balance it on the backs of my fingers.

          Your holds also look good, just as long as they are consistent.

          B.B.


        • B.B.’s video on the artillery hold is a classic. The C1 that started it all is front and center. Did you see the pythons on that guy holding the C1??!! Scary.

          The best offhand local shooter here forms a type of tripod with his non trigger hand for holding springers. Thumb is against the trigger guard and his other 3 fingers on his hand form a tripod that cradles the gun. He’s a very good offhand shooter and since this hold is easily replicated it must contribute to his consistency.

          B.B. and Edith,

          When is PA going to get in the new weihrauchs with the upgrades? They have hit the shores on other sites but I’m married to buying from PA.

          kevin


  3. A last (?) fast (?) comment on the USS South Dakota:

    The Wikipedia article says that when she was scrapped the government ordered the scrappers to turn over 6,000 tons of armor plate to the Atomic Energy Commission (predecessor to DOE). The armor from old ships was a great benefit to physicists doing high energy physics experiments, virtually to the present day. It was thick and heavy and best of all, cheap. So it was cut and bent and shaped to become the shielding for high energy physics experiments. It was a sad day when we ran out of naval steel and had to start buying steel commercially. I know in the lab at Stanford where I was a student we had lots of armor plate in the back lot and just moved it to where we needed it.

    Other parts of the ships were used too: as a good example we mounted huge magnets on the gun turret mechanisms so they could be rotated to the right angle, and could have the angle changed during an experiment. It was a lot cheaper than building your own from scrap and slightly “romantic” too.

    More modern vessels have too much aluminum, which is just too light weight for the job. And besides, they’re still sailing.

    pete


    • Pete,

      I had assumed EMP considerations would be taken care of by shielding. But you know what “assuming” does.

      The ships I had in mind as possible prototypes for modern battleships were the Kirov-class “battlecruisers”. Use bigger main guns and expand the missile capability. These things use fuel oil-boosted nuclear plants.

      Pre-nuclear age steel is in demand because it lacks nuclear contamination. Sunken navy ships in international waters are owned by the countries they sailed for. Salvage of these ships is also hindered because they are usually war graves.

      I have noticed you can get a rough idea of the effectiveness of warship armor by trying to use your cell phone from inside the hull.

      The development of rail gun technology might just bring a revival of the big gun ship. It would solve a lot of problems with the powder-burning guns, and might result in a cost savings.

      Do you think rail gun technology will ever find its way into air guns? Imagine a gun powered by lithium batteries driving the piston with linear magnets. Or maybe launching the pellet in the manner of a catapult gun, using a linear magnet powered sled.

      No sear, just a set of contacts. Trigger pull would be regulated by pulling against a spring.

      Les


  4. B.B.,
    Did you notice how the last three groups are symmetrical? I don’t know if it means anything, but it sure is weird.
    I have an idea for a blog and would like to talk to you about it. Would you like to keep it on the forum?
    -hm


  5. Hello B.B. and Airgun Enthusiasts. Well, I’m going to have to be a contrarian when it comes to this blog. I see nothing good about the TS-45 at all. Maybe it is better then it’s predecessors, however, that isn’t saying much. There is just too much wrong with this rifle for me to like. Heavy trigger, so-so quality, and those 10 meter groups are nothing to write home about. I have read this blog a couple of times just to make sure I didn’t miss something. So, maybe you are telling us to stay away from these guns unless we are into tinkering and tweaking? My $20.00 would be better spent on accessories such as pellets or co2. I realize you are trying to educate us in the ways of the airgun, so I look at this blog as such. An education on what to stay away from.
    Cheers–Titus



      • I paid a whole $8 for my example and have probably 16-20 hours of my time into it, plus some shop supplies. Some folks pay more than that for two coffees at starbucks everyday. You are right, if you want a cheap , accurate gun to shoot you should buy a 2240 , or the AR looking 760 with the rifled barrel. For me ,it is the fun of the tinkering that I get out of these. Beats watching re-runs of storage wars on TV. I notice too that the allure of the Chinese gun seems to be dying out lately. The newer stuff is almost as expensive as some better guns. Their niche was/ seemed to be the cheap tinkerers gun IMO.


  6. My hand is up as one who has an accurate Chinese rifle in the form of my B30. The JSB Exacts fit loosely in the chamber, so could the barrel still be tight? Regardless, the rifle is deadly accurate. I’ve had limited opportunities to shoot it outside of my 20 foot range. But I believe that it averaged .6 inches at 25 yards, and I could hit a shotgun shell case pretty regularly at 50 yards. (Once standing up, but I think the case moved from a near-miss).

    Duskwight, you’ve got your own numbering system just like the SMLE. :-) Yes, economy is the hallmark of genius, so I think you’re on the right track. The Whiscombe, for all its accomplishments, is a curiosity for most because of its astronomical price.

    Wow, you guys are quite the fund of knowledge about naval warfare. I think one of the dirty secrets of the surface actions around Guadalcanal was that the Japanese were generally better at it. On its side, the US Navy had better technology, a larger number of ships, especially at the end, and–notwithstanding the Japanese samurai spirit–an almost suicidal aggressiveness that carried the day more than once. I’m thinking of the second or third Battle of Savo Island, I forget which. Admiral Daniel Callahan, who did not survive the battle, had a boneheaded deployment of his ships but charged into the Japanese fleet and sent them into retreat. Similarly, another factor in the Battle of Midway was the aggressiveness of navy pilots operating at the extreme limit of their range and attacking into overwhelming odds.

    As another factor in the battle, I’ll mention Captain Miles Browning, the second-in-command to Admiral Halsey. Browning, by all accounts was a loathsome person whose career was finally ended as a result of conducting an affair with the wife of a fellow officer, but he had a “slide rule mind.” Some have observed that the apparent luck of the American pilots in catching the Japanese at their most vulnerable with their carrier decks covered with fuel lines and ammunition was part of a deliberate strategy by Browning. It was not unlike throwing a counterpunch in boxing at the moment the opponent is punching and his guard is open. Browning timed the airstrikes in coordination with the Japanese attacks when they would be most vulnerable. He was also responsible for ordering the American planes out to the limit of their capacities and beyond which guaranteed casualties. Browning’s removal from service is also attributed as the cause of Admiral Halsey’s boneheaded behavior later in the war, especially when he was fooled by the Japanese into leaving the landings of the Phillipines exposed and almost losing them if not for the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

    PeteZ, my Dad got to know some enlisted guys on the U.S.S. Enterprise carrier in the 1970s, and they told him that the ship had a number of secret capabilities including its top speed. So maybe when the anti-ship missiles are converging, the super-carriers will open up to 70mph, throwing off an enormous bow wave! In any case, I place my hope in some of these cool new littoral shapes of exotic design whose astounding speeds have been documented.

    Matt61


    • I think Halsey’s Second in Command at Midway was Jack Fletcher, not Browning. Fletcher (a man from my hometown) was a destroyer man, not a carrier man, but he did a fine job at Midway.

      If you recall, Fletcher was tapped for the job by Halsey when Halsey was incapacitated by shingles at the time of the battle.

      Even with the intelligence about the Japanese plan for Midway we had gained, we still could have easily lost this pivotal battle. Yamamoto’s refusal to develop a contingency plan doomed the Japanese efforts when the USN did not act the way he expected it to. You might count Midway itself as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier”, but the fact is its air power was ineffectual. The fighters based at Midway were insufficient to stop the Japanese air attack, and the bombers did not inflict much damage on the Japanese fleet.

      Besides not having a backup plan, Yamamoto made some serious mistakes in planning the battle. Some of this can be credited to hindsight, but most of it was stuff he should have forseen going in.

      He knew the Americans had no heavy surface units bigger than heavy cruisers. He also thought we had only two carriers to commit to the battle. In reality, we had three.

      Yamamoto had a total of nine conventional carriers in his force, five of which were regular fleet carriers. He also had four smaller carriers, plus three seaplane carriers, two of which were carrying midget subs instead of planes. He also had eleven battleships and numerous light and heavy cruisers.

      With this overwhelming superiority of force, instead of concentrating it to crush the Americans in the final battle that had been planned since 1920, he chose to divide his forces in the face of the enemy.
      He split this massive armada into four groups, any one of which could have been defeated by the Americans, and all far enough apart to be incapable of mutual support. He took a page right out of Custer’s playbook.

      He sent one group with two carriers off to attack the Aleutians. Thus this battle group, which could easily have swung the balance in the battle, was two day’s away from the real action where they were needed.

      His big-gun battleships, including the largest on earth, stayed a couple hundred miles behind the Strike Force with its own carrier screen, contributing nothing.

      The Invasion Force, again with its own carriers, approached from the Southwest, too far removed to support the Strike Force.

      Any one of these three groups could have carried the battle if combined with the Strike Force.

      I also think you give too much credit for our attacking the Japanese while they were refueling. We didn’t even know for sure where the carriers were located, much less what they would be doing at any given time. This was pure luck.

      If the oilers had been in the right place, and a plan had been made for regrouping and attacking the third day, we would have faced five carriers and eleven battleships with, what? Two depleted carriers and some 6″ gun and 8″ gun cruisers verses battleships ranging from 14″ gun to 18″ gun, and a variety of 6″ and 8″ gun cruisers and a whole mess of destroyers.

      70 mph in a CVN is apt to do as much damage as a couple good missile hits.

      Les



    • Hello CBSD. Well, I remember a guitar teacher I had recommending one of these to strengthen my fingers. I was having trouble keeping an even tremolo, such as on the Spanish tune, “Recuerdos de l’ahambra”. A four minute Tour de force by Francisco Terrega. I did obtain one, but I never achieved the desired results. My tremolo still sounds like a galloping horse.
      Titus


    • I can’t use those :-(
      I have carpal tunnel syndrome and I tought it would be a good idea to get one but my doctor told me it was a very bad idea and would worsen my problem.

      J-F


    • Frith preserve us… GripMaster BLACK!

      I own Blue and Red, and red is horrendous to begin with…

      There is one difference — these are designed to work from the tip of the finger, pushing down… Triggers are from the “ball”, which puts them at perpendicular to how a GripMaster is meant to be used.

      (I also own a Planet Waves VariGrip — which has threaded adjustment nuts to change the tension on a per button basis).

      None work to build up calluses as well as a Mandolin though (!)



  7. I just received my newest airgun… A beautiful Crosman 1701P that I fixed an awesome wood shoulder stock that a friend made me and it fits very well, it’s beautiful, it’s super easy to fill with a hand pump and I haven’t had time to fully test it out yet but it seems to easily do one holers at 10M.

    It’s as close to a marauder pistol as I’ll ever get and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

    J-F



      • Sorry you’ll have to hang on the CAF or Eric new forum to find out about the details as I don’t think PA would be happy if I started putting other guys stores here.
        Since it used to be considered a restricted firearm (and there is two listings for the same pistol now so don’t even think about importing one yourself unless you are ready to deal with the hassle) it was a pain to import and I contacted all the big sellers in Canada about it and no one was willing to touch this with a 10 foot pole except for that guy, he went thru the hassle, contacted the CFC and had another listing created based on the info from Crosman that it couldn’t shoot over our limit in stock form.

        Only thing left to do is finding some good optics to make myself the best mini single shot carbine out there (as the multi-shot crown is probably taken by the marauder pistol).

        J-F


    • J-F,

      Congratulations on a fine new airgun! Isn’t it nice to have such perfection that you cannot possibly shoot as well as the gun can?

      B.B.



    • Paul,

      You only need to ask one time on this blog. I answered you on the other place you asked this.

      First, you MUST become more precise in how you enter the model number! Many internet sites are based on exact spelling, so they may not respond to a Ts-45. It is a TS-45 . If a website is case-sensitive, this does matter.

      All you need is an equivalent mainspring; not one for your model. The UK has many places that sell mainspring so find one and give them the dimensions of your old spring. If you don’t know how to measure a spring, read this:

      http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/2012/02/the-spring-piston-powerplant/

      Please stay in touch, so we can help you with your project.

      B.B.


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