by B.B. Pelletier

This rifle is a strange duck. It’s a breakbarrel spring-piston airgun, but cocking requires a process unlike most other air rifles. Several readers have asked me to look at it because they know the high quality of Russian airgun barrels. I was very curious myself, since I’ve tested many of the other airguns IZH makes and found them all to be high quality. The IZH MP 513M is different, not only because of the cocking process but also because it’s a magnum rifle. Everything else the Russians make now or have made in the past has been low-powered and geared toward target use.

First impressions
The 513 is big! It’s sized like an RWS Diana 34, though at just 7 pounds it’s about a half-pound lighter. The stock dimensions are all on the large size except the pull, which at 13.75″ is on the short end of normal for an adult rifle. The stock is made from some medium-colored hardwood that, because the gun comes from Russia, I must assume is birch. It has a little figure that would be pleasing if it weren’t hidden by a muddy brown finish. The steel parts are finished completely matte, and I think this is how the Russians keep the cost down. They can finish the parts with production methods like tumbling, rather than having one person working on each part at a buffing wheel. And, for hunters, matte is more desirable, because it doesn’t reflect.

The open sights are nice but also odd in a few respects. First, the front sight is a large plastic globe that covers a very tall post. The globe gives every indication that it can be removed by tapping it forward, but that would leave a tall post exposed, which wouldn’t look nice. You can scope the gun and leave the front sight in place – the scope will never notice it because it is too close.

The rear sight is nicely adjustable and bears some resemblance to the rear sight on the 46M target pistol. It’s all metal and very simple in design. The Russians are known for designing things that way. If it works good enough, then simpler is always better.

Cocking and preparing to fire
With most other guns, cocking is how you prepare them for firing; but the 513M doesn’t work that way. You first break the barrel down until the sear catches the piston, like any other breakbarrel rifle. As you go, you’ll hear a ratchet that will catch the barrel, should your hand slip. Cocking effort is a stiff 40 lbs.

Once the sear has caught the piston, the barrel becomes free again, and you can even close it; but don’t forget to first load a pellet! With other guns, the rifle would either be ready to fire or an automatic safety would first have to be released, but the 513 works differently. Instead of releasing a safety that comes on automatically during cocking, you have to “cock” a hammer-like lever located at the back of the receiver tube. This is a safety, but it works in reverse. You don’t put it off to fire; instead you have to cock it, too, or the gun will not fire, despite the fact that the mainspring is fully compressed. It looks like a conventional exposed hammer, so that’s what I call it, though it is actually the gun’s safety.

The “hammer” is forward; even if the mainspring is compressed, the gun will not fire.

The “hammer” has been thumbed back. Now the rifle will fire.

There is another airgun that works this way. In August 2005, I showed you the Pioneer 76 BB gun gun. It must also be cocked first via an underlever, then the hammer has to be pulled back separately or the gun will not fire. The process seems strange, but it does force the shooter to be deliberate in his actions.

Obviously, there’s no way to uncock the 513M other than shooting it. So don’t cock until you are ready to shoot. The ratchet mechanism prevents you from breaking the barrel down part way; once it catches, you have to complete the cocking procedure.

The trigger has two stages, with a light first and a second that breaks at 4 lbs., 4 oz. It seems to be adjustable, but I’ll wait to shoot the rifle for accuracy before commenting further.

This was a first look at the rifle. If it turns out to be accurate, then it may just be a great hidden value. I know the power is there because of how the pellets have performed during the few times I’ve shot it. Clearly, this rifle was designed by someone marching to his own drum! It’s loaded with quirky innovations that may combine to make it a best buy in a spring rifle.