Posts Tagged ‘IZH-60’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
This topic was received well last week, so I’m doing the second list today. Several readers have reminded me of other gifts I should mention, and some of them will make today’s list. If I don’t list something you suggested, there’s a reason. These are the things I recommend without question.
Stocking stuffers/small, neat gifts
Gifts in this category don’t cost a lot but will have great meaning to airgunners. Some of them are things that shooters won’t buy for themselves.
Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Seater
Someone suggested the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Seater, and I have to agree. This is a great gift, and it’s one that a lot of shooters won’t buy for themselves.
EyePal Peep Sight Master Kit
The EyePal Peep Sight Master Kit is another gift that people may not think about; but when they have one, they’ll love it. I chose the Master Kit so you can use it with both rifles and pistols (and bows if you’re an archer, too). Even if you don’t wear prescription glasses, the EyePal is a great aid for your safety glasses to sharpen your vision and make that front sight clear!
Here’s a gift I’m putting in this section, although it will cost you some money. Pyramyd Air offers 4 tins of pellets for the price of 3. Your favorite airgunner has pellets he or she really likes, but they don’t buy them all the time because they may cost too much.
Consider this gift similar to one of those fancy boxes of candies or Christmas smoked meats that are given this time of year. Nearly everybody likes them, but we don’t spend money on them for ourselves. So, this is an opportunity to buy something your airgunner wants but will never buy himself. The one problem you have is finding out which pellets to buy. Rather than try and guess what your airgunner wants, I’m going to leave this up to you. You need to do a little investigation, maybe look at the pellets that he has on the shelf, or just talk to him and find out what he really wants but hasn’t bought.
Gifts under $50
For a pistol shooter the Crosman 357W is a great idea. It’s a revolver, so you get multiple shots per loading; and for the money, it’s an accurate little air pistol.
Walther Multi-Tac tactical knife
If your airgunner is a gadget junkie, you can’t do much better than a Walther Multi-Tac tactical knife. It’s a tool kit for your pocket. And it has a 440C stainless steel blade to cut whatever you need.
Walther Xenon Tactical flashlight
Can’t have too many flashlights! Not when you need one! The Walther Xenon Tactical flashlight uses two CR123A batteries to cast a 60-lumen light. That means you get both good battery life and a powerful light.
Gifts under $100
Some of these gifts are just over the $50 mark, so look at them carefully. This category holds some of the most surprising values in airguns.
The Makarov from Umarex is a wonderful BB pistol that I just can’t stop talking about. I bought one for myself after testing it! It’s extremely accurate for a BB pistol, which means you really can use it for target practice. It runs on CO2, so don’t forget to get some CO2 cartridges if you give this gun as a gift.
Another fine CO2 pistol is the single-shot Crosman 2240. It’s a .22-caliber, bolt-action pistol that’s powerful and accurate, plus it serves as the basis for many aftermarket modifications.
Ruger Mark I
The Ruger Mark I air pistol is powered by a spring-piston. It isn’t very powerful, but it’s a great companion for the handgun shooter who only wants to poke holes in targets and plink with a pistol that’s easy to cock and accurate.
Stoeger X5 air rifle
The Stoeger X5 air rifle is a wonderful, youth-sized, spring-piston rifle that has enough quality to make my list. The trigger is a little stiff, but the accuracy is there. It reminds me of the Hämmerli 490 that is, sadly, no longer available.
Gifts a little over $100
I created this category for those items that are a few dollars over $100 but are still within the realm of economy. Sometimes, the things you want are just over the line — no matter where you arbitrarily draw it.
Shooting Chrony Alpha chronograph.
The Shooting Chrony Alpha chronograph is the instrument I use to document 98 percent of the work I do. I use it because it’s small, portable and very reliable. Sure, there are reasons to use my Oehler 35P chrono, sometimes; but most of the time, this is my choice.
Daisy Avanti Champion 499 BB gun
I have to recommend the Daisy Avanti Champion 499 BB gun because it is the target shooter’s dream. Where other BB guns will put 10 shots into three-quarter of an inch at 16 feet when all is right, this one will put 10 into a quarter-inch at the same distance. This is a shooter’s tool, not a hunting gun or bragging-rights gun. Be sure to stock up on the special Avanti Precision Ground Shot if you get this gun because it definitely adds accuracy! And order some special 5-meter BB targets that are sized right for this gun!
IZH 60 air rifle
I am also going to put the IZH 60 air rifle on my list this year. Though the accuracy slipped when the gun’s design was changed several years ago, this is still a delightful youth rifle that’s easy enough for even smaller kids to cock. It has reasonable accuracy, and the sidelever design means that fingers can’t be pinched in the mechanism like they would on guns having sliding compression chambers. I recommend the single-shot over the repeater for reasons of safety.
Daisy 953 TargetPro
I normally don’t recommend combo guns, but I’ll make an exception for the Daisy 953 TargetPro. It’s a pellet rifle with enough accuracy to get you into the game without spending a bundle.
Gifts under $300
Gifts in this category start to take on the aura of personal taste. My recommendations may not be what your airgunner wants, so you need to find out if they are before you buy anything.
Benjamin 392 pump
This one is very personal. You airgunner will either like it or not. So, check first. The Benjamin 392 pump is the best multi-pump rifle going, these days. Its heritage dates back to the late 19th century, so there’s a lot of history there. I also chose the .22-caliber 392 for its power; but if your airgunner only wants to shoot at targets, then the 397 is the same rifle and shoots cheaper .177 pellets.
Daisy Avanti 853
The Daisy 853 is right at $300, but its a great buy even at that price. It features a Lothar Walther barrel and has been used by millions of kids for competition in the decades it’s been around. The trigger is rough, but there are several websites that tell you how to fix it. To get anything with better accuracy, you’re going to need to spend several hundred dollars more.
Diana RWS LP8
Want an air pistol that shoots like a rifle? The Diana RWS LP8 is the one to get. It just may be the best value in a really good air pistol these days. It has plenty of power and is very accurate. The breakbarrel cocking is on the heavy side, but an adult male shouldn’t have a problem.
Gifts without limit
Now, we can spread our wings a little. This is where many of the better airguns live.
Let’s start with the HW 30S. You know this rifle as the Beeman R7 when it’s in a different stock, but airgunners know the HW 30S has the same powerplant and the same adjustable Rekord trigger as the R7. If your airgunner likes the styling of the HW 30S, it’s less expensive; but if he wants an R7, it’s also a wonderful spring-piston air rifle.
Diana RWS 48
If you want a big bruiser spring-piston air rifle, the Diana RWS 48 is one I would recommend. And, I recommend it in .22 caliber, where you get all the power it can develop. The 48 is a sidelever that’s surprisingly easy to cock, despite the level of power it delivers. It’s also very accurate. One thing, though, the 48 is a big air rifle, so be sure your shooter knows what he’s in store for. Definitely for adults, only.
TalonP air pistol
There’s no other smallbore air pistol that can hold a candle to the TalonP air pistol from AirForce Airguns. It comes in .25 caliber and has 10 shots per fill at over 50 foot-pounds of muzzle energy! Many rifles can’t equal it! When I tested it for accuracy, I got sub-one-inch groups at 50 yards. It’s a hunting air pistol extraordinaire.
Walther LGV Challenger
If you want a really fine breakbarrel spring rifle, you can’t do better than the Walther LGV Challenger. I recommend the .22-caliber gun because it was so smooth when I tested it.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
It’s accuracy day for the IZH 60 Target Pro and this is the big test that everyone has been waiting for. And there are a couple of things that have to be cleared up, too. So let’s get started.
Cosmoline in the bore
Blog reader chasblock mentioned finding Cosmoline in the bore of his rifle and asked if I would take a look at the test gun’s bore. I don’t think he really meant Cosmoline, which is a range of military long-term metal storage lubricants. He probably just meant excess grease or oil. At any rate, I ran a patch through the bore, and it came out dry. There was some anti-oxidant compound on it, but no oil or grease. So, that’s one down.
Front sight element not centered
Then, we had a discussion about the front sight element not being centered in the globe and wondered if that wouldn’t that throw you off. Or at least wouldn’t it be annoying? Well, I shot 82 shots in this test and the front sight position was a non-issue for me. Once I had the black 10-meter bull centered in the front aperture, I forgot about everything else. But I’m posting a photo of a Winchester model 94 front sight so you can see that this is a very common phenomenon, and it isn’t troublesome in the slightest.
Rear sight doesn’t adjust low enough
Another issue that was raised is that the rear sight doesn’t adjust low enough to get on target at 10 meters. I didn’t find this to be a problem, as you will see. I also found the rear sight to adjust very positively in all directions without any backlash. So, that’s now laid to rest.
I was told by the folks at Pyramyd Air that the IZH 60 Target Pro can put 10 pellets into a quarter-inch at 10 meters. The gun they sent to me to test had a 5-shot group of H&N Baracudas with it. It was fired into a Shoot-N-C paster, so measuring is difficult, but as near as I can tell, it measures 0.268 inches between centers, so even these 5 shots grouped larger than a quarter-inch, though not by much. But we expect a 10-shot group to be 40 percent larger when the same pellet is used.
The rifle was shot from a rested position at 10 meters. The targets were standard 10-meter rifle targets, and they fit well inside the front aperture. It was very easy to hold on target with this rifle. I laid the stock on the back of my hand that was resting on a sandbag.
The trigger-pull is single-stage and vague as to the let-off point, but it’s light enough to work very well in this rested position. The rifle is very light, but it didn’t seem to move around as much as I’d feared it would.
The first target I shot was with the H&N Baracudas. It took me several shots to get on target because the sight adjustments work backwards of U.S. adjustments. Turn the windage knob in (to the left) to move the pellet to the right, and so on.
The first group of 10 Baracudas measures 0.546 inches between centers. It was larger than expected, but not too bad for the first group.
As you can see from the pellets I had chosen to use, I expected to shoot a lot in this test, so I thought I would speed things up by firing 5 shots and then seeing if it was worth firing 5 more. The next pellet up was the RWS Hobby that sometimes surprises us with great accuracy. This wasn’t one of those times, however, because the first 5 pellets made a group that measures 0.482 inches between centers. No sense finishing that one!
Five RWS Hobbys made this 0.482-inch group. No sense finishing it.
Next, I tried the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet that I thought might be the most accurate in this rifle. It wasn’t, as 5 made a group measuring 0.452 inches. Once more, no sense going on. So I stopped at 5 and moved on.
Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets made this 0.452-inch group. No sense finishing it, either.
Then, I tried the H&N Match Pistol pellet. Something was different with this pellet, because the rifle recoiled noticeably less. It was easy to feel, and I could follow-through much better because the sights remained on target after the shot. The feeling was so good that I didn’t check the target after 5, but went all the way to 10 shots before looking. The 10-shot group measures 0.391 inches between centers and was the tightest group (10 shots!) to this point in the test! It’s not a quarter-inch, but it’s a very good group, nonetheless.
Ten H&N Pistol Match pellets made this 0.391-inch group. This pellet felt like it made the rifle recoil a lot less, so I finished the group without checking.
Next, I tried the JSB Exact RS pellet that often surprises us. This is a domed pellet, so it can’t be used in a formal match (impossible to score), but most shooters won’t care about that. Ten pellets made a group measuring 0.284 inches between centers. It’s a nice, round group, and it’s the best 10-shot group the test rifle shot all day!
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets made this 0.284-inch group. This pellet also felt like it made the rifle recoil a lot less, so once again I finished the group without checking. This is the best 10-shot group of the test.
This pellet shoots so well that I shot a second group with it. That one didn’t turn out as good, at 0.502 inches between centers. Perhaps I was tiring out?
I then turned to H&N Finale Match pistol pellets, which I thought would be better than the Match Pistol pellets. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Ten of them made a huge 0.675 inch group, which turned out to be the second largest of the entire test..
Then I tried five RWS Superdomes, but when I looked at the group they made I stopped. It measures 0.646 inches between centers, so no point in continuing.
By this point in the test, I knew how the rifle shot. I was also very accustomed to the trigger. So, I thought I’d try another group of Baracudas — just to see if I could improve things from the first time. Ten went into a group measuring 0.702 inches, which was larger than the first group.
By this point I knew I was tired. But was that the cause of the group sizes? Was I no longer able to lay them all in the same hole? To see, I grabbed my FWB 300S, which is the most accurate 10-meter rifle I own. I put 10 RWS R10 pistol pellets into a last group that measured 0.135 inches. That’s for 10 shots. So it wasn’t me!
The IZH 60 shot about as well as I remembered. It certainly cannot group 10 shots in a quarter-inch at 10 meters in anything other than a chance encounter. So, there’s a hat to be eaten!
On the other hand, for what it costs, the rifle is reasonably accurate and the target sights make it even easier to shoot well. I don’t think it can out-shoot a Bronco, but it’s certainly worth considering for informal target shooting.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today is velocity day for the IZH 60 Target Pro. Before we begin, there’s a surprise correction I need to make to Part 1. When I measured the length of pull, I didn’t mention that the adjustable stock can be lengthened an additional inch by relocating the anchor point of the adjustment screw.
Increased length of pull
Mac reads the blog sometimes, but he doesn’t comment very often but he loves the IZH 60/61 family of rifles. After reading Part 1, he called and reminded me of something I’d forgotten. If you pull the butt stock off its post, you’ll see a second spot for the screw anchor on the butt stock post. All you have to do is move the anchor from the first slot to the second, and you’ll add just over an inch to the length of pull on your rifle. I had reported a LOP range of 12 inches to 13.25 inches in Part 1. Now, I’ll revise that to a maximum of 14.5 inches. (Edith will amend the owner’s manual to show this info.)
The importance of follow-through
We discussed the fact that this powerplant is not capable of producing a lot of velocity. There was a comment on Part 1 that low velocity makes you need to follow through all the more, but I want to address that. Low velocity is not why you must follow through when shooting a spring-piston airgun. Even a 1,300 f.p.s. springer requires follow-through because it has the same problem as the IZH 60. In a springer, the pellet does not begin moving until the piston has almost come to a complete stop. The gun is already vibrating and moving in recoil before the pellet starts its journey down the barrel. But if it takes an IZH 60 to drive that fact home, all the better, because the proper follow-through can do nothing but make you a better shot.
As I explained in Part 1, Pyramyd Air sent this rifle to me for this test. They were very confident this rifle would shoot accurately, and they even sent a tin of what they feel are the best pellets. Guess what they are? H&N Baracuda pellets! The website says these are supposed to weigh 10.65 grains, but I weighed the ones sent by Pyramyd Air, and they weighed 10.4 grains. H&N Baracuda pellet weights have changed a lot over the past few years, and I would always recommend actually weighing them rather than accepting the description, because the weights seem to change a lot.
These pellets averaged 382 f.p.s. in the test rifle. The range of velocity went from 371 to 389 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 3.37 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. They will be the first pellets I test for accuracy; but since they’re domed pellets, they cannot be used in a formal target match due to the difficulty of scoring the holes. I’ll also test some wadcutter pellets — both target and general sporting types.
The second pellet I tested was a target wadcutter — the H&N Match Pistol pellet. This 7.56-grain wadcutter is a good general target pellet that costs less than H&N’s Finale Match pellet line. As a pistol pellet, it weighs less than 8 grains, making it appropriate to the IZH 60 powerplant.
This pellet averaged 485 f.p.s. and ranged from 481 to 490 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generated 3.95 foot-pounds at the muzzle. This is the velocity I expected from this rifle.
Next I tried the H&N Baracuda Green — the lead-free pellet that’s performed so well in a number of lower-powered airguns. This time, though, the performance wasn’t as good. The average velocity was 425 f.p.s., despite the fact that the pellet weighs just 6.48 grains. It must be the harder alloy that causes excessive friction with the rifling, because the range for this pellet was from a low of 367 f.p.s. to a high of 489! At the average velocity, the muzzle energy was 2.60 foot-pounds. Even at just 10 meters, a velocity variation this large will cause the group to grow, so I don’t think I’ll test this one for accuracy.
The last pellet I tested was the RWS R-10 Match Pistol pellet. At just 7 grains, this pellet was the lightest of the lead pellets used in this test. It averaged 525 f.p.s. with a range from 507 to 534 f.p.s. The low shot was an exception and loaded very hard. The next-slowest pellet went 516 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produced 4.29 foot-pounds of energy.
Overall the rifle performed better than I expected. There’s some buzzing in the firing cycle, but it’s not objectionable — probably because of the low power of the rifle. A “beer-can” tune would probably do wonders for it.
The trigger is light enough, if not very positive. It breaks at 1 lb., 7 oz. consistently. I did try adjusting it, but it was set as light as it would go when I received the rifle, so there was no improvement.
One final thought. I went through the box the rifle came in and found a target that proves this rifle can shoot a tight group at 10 meters. It’s shot on a Shoot-N-C target, so measurement is impossible because of the paint flaking off, but it does look like a quarter-inch group. However, it’s only 5 shots and the standard is 10, so that hat is still on the line!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
This report has a lot riding on it. First, I was specifically asked to do this by Pyramyd Air after I made some remarks about the new IZH rifles with their plastic receivers. I tested both the IZH 60 and the IZH 61 a couple years back and found they did not have the same accuracy as they did a decade ago when the receivers were made of metal. I found the plastic clips for the IZH 61 did not seem to index as well as the older metal clips.
But Pyramyd Air has brought out the IZH 60 Target Pro and the IZH 61 Target Pro air rifles as viable substitutes for lower-end target rifles. I was challenged to test one my usual way; and if the rifle I tested can’t keep 10 rounds in a quarter-inch at 10 meters, well — somebody is going to eat his hat!
Now, I enjoy a slice of hat every so often, nicely broiled with garlic and onions, but I won’t throw this test just to see someone else eat one. Because the second thing that’s hanging on the outcome is a lot of purchase decisions. There’s something about these Russian sidelever springers that attracts people; and when target sights are added, it gets serious!
Back when I wrote the Airgun Revue publications, a lot of airgunners in my area were buying these guns as fast as they could. My buddy, Mac, bought at least 23 of them. Every time he got one, he would show it to someone who would then buy it from him — forcing him to buy another.
One local guy took an IZH 60 and added Anschütz target sights and a custom-made laminated stock to it. He spent less than a hundred dollars for the rifle and then put over $500 into it. People thought he was crazy until he started doing well in local 10-meter target matches. Then they realized that this rifle has the capability to be a lot more than the price seems to indicate. [Note from Edith: I remember this man, as he'd brought his gun to an airgun show. He was accompanied by his wife and their infant. I recall seeing the gun reclining ever so tenderly in the stroller, while his wife had to carry the baby around the show!]
But what about today? Now that the receiver has been changed to plastic, does the gun still shoot? That’s the question this report will answer — and just in time for the holidays for those inclined to add a target rifle to their collections. If this rifle can shoot, then Pyramyd Air has done what it took over $600 to do back in the 1990s, and they’ve done it for less than $200.
Cost and serial number
Both the IZH 60 and 61 basic rifles cost $120. The Target Pro versions like the model 60 I’m testing are both priced at $180. The rifle I’m testing is serial number 126001228.
The IZH 60 is a single-shot sidelever spring-piston air rifle. It has a futuristic stock with an adjustable butt that changes the pull length from 12-inches to 13.25-inches. There are no detents, so the stock can be set anywhere within these limits.
The power is low, producing just under 500 f.p.s. So, the rifle cocks easy. That and the light weight of the little rifle make it a good one for smaller children, except for seating the pellet. On the 60, the pellet has to be manually seated by pushing forward on a thin steel bolt handle, while on the 61 the pellet is automatically seated when the cocking handle is returned home. Sometimes, manually seating the pellet takes a lot of effort. Therefore, the 61 makes a better youth target rifle if you don’t want to load every shot for them.
While the rifle comes with good adjustable sporting sights, the Target Pro guns have an adjustable target peep rear sight and front sight inserts. Daisy supplies the rear sight, and it is all-metal. It’s a lot better-looking than the plastic Daisy aperture rear sight they used to offer on some of their target rifles.
I tried both adjustments on the rear sight and they feel crisp and seem to be repeatable, without backlash. The older Daisy plastic peep sight had a problem with backlash, but this one seems fine. I will test the sight for adjustability after we know how accurate the rifle is.
The front sight has interchangeable inserts, and three of them are apertures, which are the preferred front sight for precision today. When I unpacked the rifle, the entire front sight assembly was canted several degrees to the right; and I was about to fire off an email to get the hat ready. But I discovered that when the sight is disassembled for insert replacement, you can adjust the assembly wherever you want it. So — crisis averted. I only wish my 1917 American Enfield had the same capability! Its front sight assembly was rotated to the right permanently during an arsenal refinish, and was so disagreeable to look at that I sold the rifle.
The barrel is what made the IZH 60 and 61 stand apart from most other spring rifles in the same price range. It’s hammer-forged, which is known to give a more consistent bore if done correctly; and the Russians have always been noted for the accuracy of their barrels. But as I said, we shall see by testing. After all, there’s a tasty hat at stake.
The rifle’s trigger adjusts for the pull length, which means where the let-off point is. It’s a single-stage trigger that’s very light but also very vague. It’s not a target trigger, but it’s much better than the trigger on a Daisy 953.
I plan to test the heck out of this rifle. If it’s as good as I’ve been told, I’ll shout it from the bell tower. But if not, there better be a hat ready!
by B.B. Pelletier
Today we’ll hear Part 5 of how Pyramyd Air began. This story is written by the company’s owner and founder, Joshua Ungier.
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.
Bloggers must know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them), and they must use proper English. We’ll edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.
by Joshua Ungier
This story picks up at the point where I left you at the end of Part 4 in February, 2010.
I believe what really started PA was my non-stop traveling to Russia and Germany, sometimes for a month at the time. One day my wife asked me not to go to Russia anymore, or at least not to go for awhile. I had been on the road a lot that year, and to be honest I got really tired of frequent travel. Freezing in Siberia one day and the next day boiling in beautiful Uzbekistan was really a lot of fun but after a while it got old.
After seeing the sleek IZH-60 in a window display in Moscow, I decided to buy one for myself and bring it back to Ohio. Well, it didn’t happen. That rifle is still in Russia. The paperwork required and the little time I had to register it and get a permit that was not issued in time were the reason I missed out. In the meantime, my former partners produced a series of air pistols that were sold in the USA.
After my partners and I split to pursue different business directions, I had a eureka moment. It was an epiphany. I liked airguns. Period. And you can shoot at home without wrecking your house. Although I have a very large basement that in one area offers almost a 30-yard range, shooting a firearm of any caliber bigger than a .22 long rifle has, sometimes, disastrous consequences — like ventilating a perfectly good cinderblock wall. The only good that comes from shooting a .44 Magnum Ruger Super Blackhawk in the basement is that you do not need to dust your rafters after firing a round. Just vacuum the dust off the floor. Don’t ask!
Being a gardener, I live for spring. My backyard, over time, has become a mini-farm. I grow everything from strawberries to watermelons and tomatoes. I also grow cherries and peaches and varieties of grapes, and, with them, the rodents that come to help me with the harvest. For years I’ve avoided killing the rodents by fencing off the area. They quickly learned to scale a wire fence or dig under. Short of putting razor wire and Claymore mines (face toward enemy, remember) around my tomatoes and strawberries, I figured I would have to breed attack cats.
“Get an airgun,” my friend Jerry suggested.
“You are nuts,” I answered. “I have plenty of real stuff in my safe.”
“Right,” he responded. ”I can see the morning paper tomorrow.
“Insane resident of Pepper Pike shoots a chipmunk eating blueberries in his suburban garden. Several automobiles and houses in direct line of fire were severely damaged by the .50 caliber projectile continuing far beyond the vaporized remains of the annoying chipmunk.”
“Yes, unfortunately I can see that,” Jerry continued. ”You are very possessive over your rhubarb. Get on the internet and buy an air rifle!” he concluded.
And I listened. After spending a week on the internet and visiting many auction sites, I found and bought the meanest, baddest and most powerful monster air rifle on the planet — very gently used .22 cal. Webley Patriot. It came with almost a full tin of Beeman Crow Magnum pellets. Needless to say, within a few weeks I had the yard to myself again. I did not count how many chipmunks met their maker that year. Local laws clearly state that one cannot discharge FIREARMS within city limits. Airguns are in a totally different category.
The Webley Patriot spring rifle was a large, powerful airgun.
Then I got the idea to contact some gardeners and orchard owners around my farm and beyond. That Friday I took my Patriot out to my 65-acre farm. Groundhogs were destroying the lower fields and both banks of the Black River that meanders through the property. Erosion was catastrophic. The dam holding back my 8-acre lake was in jeopardy!
Later that fall, I was preparing the lower field for spring when the front end of my John Deere took a dive into a hole big enough to swallow its front wheel all the way to the axle. It took a pickup full of dirt to level it off. On the river, the critters were denuding the banks of vegetation, leaving nothing to stop erosion. The area where most of them lived was on the steep bank on the east side of the Black River. That bank is peppered with holes leading to their burrows. Some holes were frightening in size. I set up a camo pup tent under a large willow across the river from that bank. The distance from my hide to the furthest hole was 32 yards. I wanted to see if using the air rifle would be as successful as my AR-15 is at 337 yards.
Over the years, more and more houses have been built around my farm, and shooting long-range firearms became a problem. Instead of seeking confrontations with my new neighbors, I decided to mothball my guns. A lot of young families have moved into spec-built houses that are not far enough away for a Lapua round. Because of these conditions, my Dragunov and other toys have been silent for a long time. But I digress.
On the way to the farm, I stopped at a gift shop and bought a pack of 25 brown party balloons with, coincidentally, a bulls eye with a cupid’s arrow through it. Is that coincidence or is it karma? I inflated a dozen of them and set them up in the field at 30 yards about 5 inches off the ground. It was fun to zero my rifle with the balloons moving in the wind. After I was satisfied with the results, I went back to the pup tent. A 20-lb. bag of sand was set up as a rest. The prone position was very comfortable. The most I had to elevate the rifle was 5 inches, and I had a horizontal sweep of practically 7 ft. I switched my cell phone to vibrate and looked over the 22-ft. span of the river separating two banks. There was no wind, just a soft sound of the water caressing numerous rocks.
Then one of the chucks peered out of his hole. His nose was sniffing furiously. I reached for my rifle only to remember that it was not ready. It was not loaded and the pellets were not accessible. They were still in a closed tin! Without taking my eyes off the critter, I reached for the rifle. The rodent scooted back into his hole. I slowly cocked the rifle, then opened a tin and reached for a pellet. The critter reappeared at the hole a moment later, sniffed the air again then came all the way out and slowly sashayed to the river, a mere 10 feet away from his burrow. I inserted a pellet into the breech and started to close the barrel.
The rodent stopped at the water’s edge as I closed the breech. Click! I put him in my sights as he looked up to find the source of the noise; at that moment he joined leagues of woodchucks in woodchuck heaven. He dropped where he stood!
The noise from a Patriot air rifle in close quarters rivals a .22 rimfire. Sound ricocheted off the bank and came back to me very loudly. It had not sounded that loud in an open field. I thought that that was it, that it would scare the rest of them into hiding. But that was not the case. A second animal came out no more than a minute later. I waited for him to get to the water’s edge. When he did, I was ready. With my sights on his head, I whistled very softly. As soon as he picked up his head to investigate, a Crow Mag tore through his heart and into the bank behind him. He dropped motionless where he was. That scene was repeated 11 more times over the next four hours. Every groundhog was dispatched with a single shot. It was getting dark, and the drive home was an hour. I left my tent right where it was anchored.
Next morning, I returned. This time I also brought a 10/22 Ruger for the second shot, if necessary. As it turned out, though, it was never necessary. By this time, I was very impressed with the air rifle. I removed 20 rodents in two days. Some were quite large. When the story got around about an air rifle that could take down groundhogs, the nurseries I had contacted got interested and I saw an opportunity.
A week later, I called Webley & Scott. A soft, very British voice on the other end said, “Webley and Scott. May we help you?”
“Yes,” I said. ”My name is Joshua Ungier. I own a company called Pyramyd Air. I like your rifle very much and, perhaps, I could sell them for you in USA.”
“Let me switch you to our export manager,” the soft voice said.
“Thank you very much.”
“This is Tony Hall. How can I be of help to you, Joshua?” I heard a voice saying. It was a nice voice.