Rossi Model Sport 82

by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is the start of a guest blog from airgunner and blog reader Fred_BR from Brazil. He’s going to tell us about a breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle he recently acquired. It’s a civilian copy of a scarce military trainer.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Over to you, Fred.

This report covers:

• FAL in the Brazilian army
• FAC: Fuzil de Ar Comprimido
• My Model Sport 82

Rossi Sport 82 right
Rossi Sport 82

Today, I’ll show you an old rifle that I believe most of you have never seen: the Brazilian-made Rossi Model Sport 82. It is a civilian version of a military training rifle used by the Brazilian army to train recruits before letting them handle the firearm – the FN-FAL 7.62 NATO battle rifle.

FAL in the Brazilian army
In 1964, the Brazilian army adopted the FN FAL 7.62X51mm (.308 Winchester) battle rifle as a replacement for the old bolt-action Mauser rifles then in use. IMBEL, the Brazilian Government arsenal, acquired the rights to produce a local version of the firearm, eventually making 250,000 of them according to some sources. The FAL proved to be a very sound choice, and to this day it’s the preferred rifle of many military and police elite units. For recruits, however, the FAL is not exactly easy to master, especially for inexperienced hands.

The Brazilian army approached Amadeo Rossi S/A and asked for a version of their standard air rifle to mimic the FN FAL. Rossi, a Brazilian manufacturer well known to American shooters for its line of budget-priced revolvers, is also a traditional maker of popular air rifles, mostly inexpensive and very simple in design — but well built.

The response from Rossi was a breakbarrel spring-piston rifle with a redesigned stock that has a pistol grip, a false magazine, and front and rear metallic sights that copy those of the FAL. Lead inserts would bring the weight close to that of the standard FAL rifle. Even the carry handle was included. Caliber was .177, the only airgun caliber then available in Brazil.

Rossi Sport 82 left
The Sport 82 is a civilian version of the military FAC, or compressed air rifle, used by the Brazilian army for training.

[Editor's note: Many countries do not permit former military weapons or even airguns to be sold to civilians. They feel it promotes theft, which it certainly does. Some countries don't even allow civilians to use firearms chambered for military cartridges for the same reason.]

FAC: Fuzil de Ar Comprimido
The resulting gun would be adopted as the “FAC – Fuzil de Ar Comprimido,” Portuguese for “compressed air rifle,” a nickname sufficiently close to “FAL” to satisfy the officers. The rifle would be the initial introduction of recruits to shooting, before being allowed to use the firearm.

Rossi would sell this rifle to civilians with some modifications. Some say they were obliged to do so because of military restrictions, others say they modified the rifle to become more acceptable to young shooters — then the only market for airguns in Brazil. Rossi may have realized that no kid in their early teens would buy such a heavy rifle and made it lighter and without the false magazine and carry handle, but keeping the FAL-style sights. This model would be released to the shooting public in Brazil as the Model Sport 82.

My Model Sport 82
I searched for an example of this rifle after B.B.’s post on the Egyptian Hakim airgun. It didn’t take me long to find one. The gun is a spring-piston, breakbarrel rifle with 13.60 inches of barrel length, 38 inches overall, weighs 5 lb., 4 oz., and has a 15-inch length of pull. The stock is made of black-painted wood, and features a pistol grip and general style that basically copies the grip and stock of a standard fixed-stock FAL, although some models were sold with the natural color of wood. Later models would be equipped with barrel-mounted open sights, but my rifle has the FAL-style peep sights regulated for height and windage via two screws.

Rossi Sport 82 front sight
The front sight is a simple post protected by two ears like the FAL and located closer to the breech than on most airguns

Rossi Sport 82 rear sight
The rear sight is an aperture adjusted for height and windage by two screws. It’s mounted on top of a wood extension to fit the FAL-sized stock.

The spring-piston tube assembly is very short, almost junior-sized. To meet the FAL-lookalike specs required by the army, Rossi added an extension behind the rear portion of the spring tube, apparently also made of wood, just to keep the action from being too short in the long stock made for this model. Keep in mind, fellow readers, that airguns made back then in Brazil were mostly considered youth rifles not intended for adults at all, so they were mostly compact and lightweight models. The gun has no safety of any kind, so it relies on good handling to avoid accidental discharges.

The breakbarrel action is very smooth and easy to cock, as a good youth models needs to be. The short-stroke spring-piston rifle can push pellets in the 450 f.p.s. to 480 f.p.s. range. This is sufficient for most applications of such a training airgun. That’s the good news.

Now for the bad news: The trigger is horrendously heavy. I couldn’t even measure the trigger weight. I can only tell you that this gun sports the heaviest trigger I’ve ever encountered on any rifle — airgun or firearm. The thing is so difficult to pull that, after a few shots, I was feeling pain in my trigger finger. It definitely took the fun out of the equation pretty quickly. As the gun has no safety, I can only think this was Rossi’s way of preventing an accidental discharge by making the trigger so heavy that kids wouldn’t pull it unintentionally. Well, I almost could not pull that thing even on purpose!

I would love to show you lots of pictures of very tight groups made with the Rossi 82, but the best I could do was a mere 1.25 inches at 10 meters with this gun. I blame the trigger for that, and I plan to disassemble the gun to check the exact condition of its trigger and sear. Maybe some careful trigger work will improve it.

Rossi Sport 82 target
Ten 9.30-grain RWS Supermags grouped 1.25 inches at 10 meters, approximately. The rifle cannot really perform any better than this due to its heavy trigger.

Except for the trigger, the Sport 82 is a lightweight, easy-to-cock carbine with a distinguished look that sets it apart from other air rifles. It has a history of service to my country, training civilians and military recruits, and doing its job gallantly. To this day, the Brazilian army still introduces safe gun handling to trainees using the FAC.

49 thoughts on “Rossi Model Sport 82

  1. Maybe someone loaded pellets in the trigger slot or a rock got inside there or something.I can’t wait to see what’s wrong with it and start trying to make it shootable.I’m almost jealous!

    Reb


  2. I actually like the fact that the front sight is nowhere near in the way when cocking but I would think that a secure and repeatable lockup would be crucial to accuracy with the sight so far from the muzzle. I doubt it would ever be a 10m rifle but it will be interesting to see what it can do at 10m. It doesn’t look like they left much room for a trigger so there’s a bright side to the trigger work, at least it shouldn’t be complicated!

    Reb


    • The sights are located as they would be on a FAL. As far as the trigger goes, it might be a basic two stage, but I would not be a bit surprised if it is a single stage.



        • That’s right, the trigger is a very simple design. I have yet to disassemble it, but I also believe it is a single piece sear/trigger.


          • How bad is the trigger effort before cocking the rifle? This would tell you how much effort is due to sear friction, and how much is return spring.

            I once bought a “youth” gun for a friend’s kid – an Industry B1. I almost couldn’t pull the trigger. Pulling out the worst of the two return springs dropped the effort to about 10-12lbs.


  3. Great job Fred!

    That is a nice little piece of history you picked up there. I remember when they switched over to the FAL. I ended up with twenty of those Mausers.

    You should be able to improve that trigger some. It will never be a Rekord, but with just a little work it should improve dramatically.


    • Wow, I’m delighted with just my one. I imagine myself at the end of WWII, while everyone else is focused on other things, grabbing up all the Mausers lying around unappreciated.

      Matt61


    • We have a lot of those Mausers still floating around here too. I got my share of Mausers, including one that was completely restored. I know for sure that Imbel still has a lot of those in several different conditions, but our beloved Army does not sell them to civilians anymore.


  4. Nicely done, Fred_BR. I certainly had never heard of this unique gun before.

    Do you have a hard time finding airguns and pellets in Brazil? Having spent some time in Venezuela and Colombia, I recall a fairly good selection of European–especially German–imports like Diana, with a limited but quality selection of German pellets. However, I never saw a Crosman or Daisy down there.


    • HiveSeeker,
      The market has never been so good in Brazil for airguns. The cost of ammunition, coupled with the increasing restriction on civilian ownership of firearms have led many shooters to look more seriously at airguns as a way to keep shooting.
      Besides the domestic makers Rossi and CBC (known overseas by their export brand, Magtech), you can find Gamo, Crosman, Daisy, Hatsan, Zoraki, and others in any good gun shop. Sometimes you get really lucky and find some treasures among the most commonly found ones.


  5. Nice post, these things have always intrigued me. The UK equivalent I suppose were the Jackel range of rifles, by the long defunct Sussex Armoury (it was their bankruptcy that moved the engineering firm NPS that made the Jackal to set up on their own with a new brand, Air Arms, and the rest is history). There is a good website on these here http://www.jackals-lair.com/ These are taploaders though (come on it is the UK, home of the taploader), not a breakbarrel, and as kids we all wanted one of these with its military looks (for which they too came in for a lot of criticism back in the 70s-80s).

    Keep us in the loop about the Sport 82. it would be great to see the insides of one, and of course, if you ever got to report on one of the military models even better!


  6. Yup, sounds like something ain’t quite right. I do remember hiking a VW bug’s hinney-end up in the air once in preparation to replacing the clutch-that-was-no-longer-quite-engaging-no-more. Bugs’ ain’t so mobile like that.
    At the last moment I recalled the gist of a Len Deighton book called “Bomber” which was a rendition of a night raid by the British on Germany during the night of June 31st, 1940.
    A German Night Fighter Pilot, taking off in the defense, finds no matter how hard he pulls back on the stick, his aircraft refuses to respond, he crashes and is killed. We, the third person, know a foreign object has lodged in the channel the stick moves in. And stupid, and unnecessary as it may be, he dies because his (unplugged) incompressible headset microphone jack, lodged in the channel has not allowed him to pull out, no matter how hard he pulls.
    Recalling this, just before I began to remove the main engine bolts, i stop, go and check the clutch pedal and…
    You guessed it, it’s a fubar, kittie hairball, mechanical booger, archeological anomaly…hard metallic object wedged behind the pedal not allowing the clutch to engage no-way-no-how. (As irrelevant to the story it is, I would never not tell you the nature of the offending object, but you’ll have to read on to find out.)
    Anyway, object removed, Clutch now happy, Bug driven off ramps, sold to overpaying customer, everyone happy…especially me.
    Mostly happy about something to add to life lessons. And the life lessons? Learn the difference between deductive and inductive logic. Never think just because the dog didn’t bark in the night {that} it’s the only answer…(let’s look at the dog first, okay?)

    What was the offending object?
    A ring. As in something a human would wear on their finger. Simple and gold colored. I still have it and it sits among my collection of reminders on my desk. Still gold and un-corroded after more than two decades. Someday, perhaps, I’ll have a jeweler tell me what it’s really made of, but for now, the wondering and conjecture and lessons make it worth more than…?
    The last line of Deighton’s book, “Bomber” goes something like this;
    “It’s well to remember, there was no ‘June 31st in the year 1940′ nor any other year.”



    • TE,

      Sure,

      If civilians are allowed to own military firearms, what is to prevent their being stolen and sold on the civilian market? They wouldn’t be registered, because a thief wouldn’t do that.

      But if all military firearms are banned from ownership, the government only has to catch a person with one to prosecute. Ownership can never be legal, so where it came from doesn’t matter.

      By making them illegal to own, the government kills the demand.

      Here in the U.S. most military weapons have been legal to own, as long as they were not full auto. How many tens of thousands of Springfields, 1911s, and Garands do you think got “liberated” that way? After every war, tens of thousands of them came home, after being lost in the war.

      B.B.



    • We have a few domestic manufacturers of pellets, but the market is full of imported ones, so you can find most brands in any good gun shop. For a price, obviously.


  7. Fred,

    Thank you for writing this. I didn’t know Rossi made air guns, and I had never heard of this training rifle. Your report is a reminder of the global interest in this blog.

    Thanks!

    RB


  8. Thanks for the article Fred. Very interesting gun you have there.

    Have to assume you have some BIG youth in Brazil with a 15″ LOP>

    kevin


  9. Fred
    The more I keep hearing about these military training air rifles the more interestred I become in them.

    First they are a cool piece of history. And well they air guns wich makes them even cooler to me.

    But your article was very informative. And I will be wating to find out about that ridiculous trigger. I do not like heavy triggers thats for sure.

    Part 2 will be when? :)


  10. 103 David- The reason that the jack was unplugged was that the plane hit a bird, it came in through an open window, breaking the pilots neck, and unplugging the jack. The radar operators last words were ” close the win—”. I am in the process of cleaning and derusting an 1898 Krag rifle. It has been hanging on my friends wall, for 40@ years. I discovered that it had a dangerous hair trigger. A previous owner had inserted a shim that prevented the trigger from moving forward ,removing the first stage in a 2 stage trigger. ( Similar to the Huber trigger ). In this case it was dangerous, hitting the butt with a rubber mallet produced 2 slam fires out of 5 taps. I am no longer surprised at the unusual objects that I find stuck in guns and other machines. Ed PS, I think that the night fighter was a JU 88. It has been many decades since I read Bomber, and most of the other excellent books written by Deighton.


  11. 103David– I went to my archives and found bomber ( next to Deightons Fighter). The incident you described is on page 429 (large print edition). The gull that came in the window put out both of the pilots eyes, fractured his skull and dislocated his jaw. He lost consciousness almost instantly, but pulled back on the stick by reflex action. That’s when the jack made it impossible to pull the plane out of the dive. The radar operator did complete the word window. The reason that Deighton chose a ficticious date is because this book is fiction. I often wonder why he did not write a companion to this book ( perhaps Rotterdam, Coventry, London, etc.) Many of my friends who read this book (in 1970) felt that the book was too sympathetic to the Germans. Ed PS I am glad that you did not mention the eels.


    • Ed, hopefully no one misses the point about analysis of the actual point of failure. The “experienced” would assume pilot error in this situation using inductive logic (there’s only so many things that can go wrong…) The truth being somewhat different, and that difference perhaps being very, VERY important. In any case, excellent book and an excellent writer. I believe he’s still with us and our own blog crew here should add him (and “Bomber” to the prescribed reading list.
      As pertains to Deighton’s book, i can add an interesting personal experience somewhat echoing a happenstance related in the book. Many years ago (the late 60′s) and serving in the military, I hitched a ride with an acquaintance driving north on Highway One in Okinawa. Yeah, I know, sounds far-fetched already, doesn’t it? Well, read on, it gets even more far-fetched…but true nonetheless. The mission of the acquaintance was EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) but this particular crew was considering it merely a casual drive in what soon became the country.
      My mission was retracing the steps of my Mother, a former Army Nurse who’d experienced artillery, aerial bombing, and sniper fire courtesy of the Japanese Imperial Army both in both Alaska and Okinawa, 20 some years previously.
      See? I told you it would be far-fetched, and will become even more so…but still all true.
      For irrelevant reasons (for this story) we drove around the countryside all morning, enjoying the scenery, chuckling at some kids playing and romping on an old abandoned water-heater, older women in exotic dress pulling ancient carts with bald Uniroyal rubber tires, got some lunch at the market at let the Nei-Sans and the babies touch my (in those days) very blond hair. Fascinating in a land where everybody’s hair was black.
      Our crew headed back and we got a few miles down the road and the Lt said, “Pull over… PULL OVER!”
      He was very pale and we thought lunch had gone wrong for him.
      “What, Lt?”
      He looked at us and said, “Those kids playing…Ever seen a water-heater in an Okinawa village?”
      To make a longer story short, yup, an unexploded 16″ navel shell from 1945.
      Happily, being big-time “not my job” I didn’t need to personally pursue this little problem any further and I later found out the shell had been (very) carefully trucked away and dropped into the ocean with all the other unexploded.
      As Mom used to say,”Watch where you step…especially on certain Islands in the Ryukus.”
      No, really. She used to say that.



  12. Interesting gun, but I have always wondered what role airguns play in military training. I’ve never heard of airguns for training in the U.S. military and not sure what they would accomplish. It can’t be an issue of cost. The M1 Garand was chambered for the 30-06 because of the billions of rounds in that caliber that were stockpiled. And in 1960, my Dad remembers the army drill instructors saying, “Fire it off. It’s on the taxpayer”… The recoil is also so different that I don’t know how they would help recruits with high-caliber guns. For that purpose, they’re better off with .22 rimfire which from the military’s point of view would cost just about nothing.

    Another question is the reputation of the FAL. It is often compared favorably with the M14. While the FAL has a much longer service record–as a standard issue rifle anyway, I don’t know why it would be considered superior. It seems to be generally acknowledged not to be as accurate. For reliability you can hardly beat the Garand action which is also fundamental to the AK47. Besides, I’ve heard that the FAL mechanism is sensitive to dust. The Israelis dropped it for that reason, and I believe the British may have had problems with it as well. Perhaps the FAL is preferred for its ergonomics with its pistol grip, but it is not really controllable in full-auto. Semi-auto, I don’t see the advantage. I don’t get the mystique of the FAL.

    Matt61


  13. Now that’s a nice looking gun. I’d love to see a modern version of this, maybe with the quality I’m finding in the Russian guns that Obama executive ordered a ban on. I’m pretty impressed by the quality Russia was putting into their guns. I bet if this gun was brought back with that kind of quality it would sell. It has nice clean lines and a nice tactical look.


  14. Matt61–Training air rifles can be fired in many places where even the lowly .22 lr cannot be safely fired. Many countries do not want to place live ammo of any caliber, in the hands of raw recruits. They have not yet been trained in gun safety, and their loyalty has not yet been proven. Only after the recruits have become disciplined, will they be allowed to handle (and shoot) live ammo. Many rifles that have been imported from South American countries have mismatched bolts. The rifles (without bolts)were stored in one armory, and the bolts in another armory. That shows you the lack of trust of the politicians and their fear of a military coup. The same thing can be said of the officers, who had fears of a mutiny among the ranks. Ed


  15. Matt, I don’t start a war, but I am a great fan of the Belgian FAL over all other battle rifles. Personal preferences aside, the truth is that the three most famous western battle rifles (the M14, the FN-FAL and the German G-3) are indeed very close together in terms of performance and reliability.
    You are right when you mention the sensitivity of the FAL to dust. They eventually developed the “sand cuts” in the bolt mechanism, but that wasn’t enough for the Israelis and they eventually transitioned to the Galil, which is a better design for that kind of environment.
    For accuracy, I think the M-14 is slightly better, but FALs have also been converted as Designated Marksmen Rifles for years, including an Argentine one that was taken by a British sniper as a replacement for his own L-42 bolt action rifle.
    I think the Belgians must have done something right, or 90-plus countries would not have issued their rifle.


  16. B.B.,

    UTG scope question. My Diana 350 ate my new UTG 3-9 X 40 in about twenty shots. The inside of the eyepiece is cracked and spider webbing at the edge. I can tell its the eyepiece because the damage turns with the ocular adjustment.

    PA has agreed to replace it.

    My question is: is it possible that the eyepiece was too loose causing the problem? When I adjusted the eyepiece to focus the reticle I turned the adjustment out quite a bit until the reticle was very sharp for my eye. I don’t think it was out too much. Not like it was hanging by a thread or anything. But it makes me wonder and I don’t want to have the same problem again. To my way of thinking even if the eyepiece was too far out it wouldn’t cause the lens to break from the recoil of the 350. I realize the 350 is somewhat of a scope eater but these UTG’s are supposed to be tough!

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Mark N


    • Mark,

      What looks like cracked glass could also be delamination, caused when the glue that holds lens elements together separates. That can look the same as cracked glass.

      UTG scopes are tough, but lenses are all fragile, no matter what they are found in. I think you experienced a one-time failure that won’t happen again.

      But if it does, Pyramyd Air will back up the scope.

      B.B.


  17. 103 David–I wish that the eod,s had deactivated the shell. It would have made a great lawn ornament ! When I lived on long island. I used to visit my cousin who lived in Harbor Isle. One of her neighbors had a ww2 torpedo (a mark 7, I think), on his lawn. He had painted it gold, and it looked great. Ed


    • One of the early “Cheers” episodes centered around a bar-bet on “what was the most sweaty movie ever made. I recall that “Alien” with Sigorney Weaver was a major contender but Paul Newman and “Cool Hand Luke” finally won the day.
      Personally, I’d vote for “Danger UXB” as pretty darn sweaty.
      But I have to say, those guys transporting a live, unstable, 29 year old, 3000 lb, 16″ navel shell, in real life, over a bumpy road was some in excess of my coefficient of sweaty.
      Don’t think I’d want to spend the last microseconds of my life trying to make a pretty lawn ornament for the missus. :)


      • 103David,

        Amen to that! I remember getting puckered when I had to re-arm American explosives that failed to detonate on the first go-round. They were fresh and correct. I have seen a 2.5 lb.s brick of C4 that was blown apart by the force of a blasting cap. The second cap in the other end didn’t explode. Now you have to explode that ordnance in place. That is scary enough.

        Never mess with explosives unless you have to.

        B.B.


        • Another Amen to that. Burt Lancaster, having the best line ever on the subject, says in the 1966 film, “The Professionals” words to the effect, “Never ever mess with less than it takes to kill you.”


  18. Thanks for showing some of our airguns, Fred. It is not very good, but it has its place in history. If all the other guys allow me to say, “valeu cara!”.


  19. Well done Fred_BR, really loving these Military trainers and nice job scooping this rifle up. It’s always sweet when you find that gun you’ve been looking for. Too bad on the trigger but I’m sure it’s workable to a degree, maybe work it to a heavier side hunting trigger pull?


  20. Fred_BR
    Great review and I never knew that this cool little trainer air gun even existed. I do like the looks of it and it almost looks like what some of the modern day air gun makers are putting out. hope you find some gremlins in that trigger causing the stiff operation and if so remember do not feed then after midnight

    To 103David and Diaboloslinger, in the automotive repair world we have a motto and approach to diagnosing problems like you have talked about here above and it is known as the ” KISS ” principle which means ” Keep It Simple Stupid “. You always rule out the most simple and obvious problems that can cause a certain condition first and then move on to the more difficult and complex causes.

    Buldawg


    • Amen, but some of us are slow learners. i’m just glad I remembered…that I’m a slow learner…in the knick of time.
      Whew, that was a close one…:)


      • 103David
        It is ok to be a slow learner as long as you do learn. Another motto the automotive world and mechanics out there have is ” work slow to work fast” which means it only takes a minute to double check your work and make sure that there was nothing missed or left undone before finishing the job. Where if you just rush through it and forgot to do something it will take twice as long to go back and fix what you missed and can even cost twice as much to fix the second time because something got damaged that was not damaged the first time.

        So it is good that you remembered before you finished. I cannot tell you how many times I have done the same thing when first becoming a mechanic and would rush thru a job to make more money only to have to go back and do it over again because I forgot to do something the first time, We live and learn and never stop learning because that’s when you are in trouble.

        Buldawg


  21. Thanks for the report, Fred.
    The FN was used by the South African military for a long time and was also manufactured in South Africa as the R1 (automatic) and the R3 (semi-automatic only, used by the “part-timers”, mostly for training, but also by Namibian farmers to defend their farms). These South African manufactured models hab synthetic stocks. They were heavy rifles and the trigger was also quite heavy, so maybe your Rossi is not that far off. It does look a lot like the original and it probably helped new recruits to feel more comfortable when starting to use the real thing.

    A class mate of mine (Sonja Dressel) actually use a R3 to defend her family against a terrorist attack in northern Namibia in 1980 when we were only 15 years old. (http://www.61mech.org.za/operations/4-operation-carrot-1980)

    Anyway, this report brought back some memories, so thank you.


  22. Sir,

    I saw that kind of rifle and a sort of an “itch” got in me, and propelled myself to make one.so I made a break barrel and mimic the design, but my mainspring came from an old motorcycle, and my rifle do kicks a lot. It punches holes deep in a hardwood (3 Inches). but I can’t improve its accuracy.


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