by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

The latest podcast is posted today. Enjoy!

Sometimes you get a lemon and there’s nothing you can do about it. This is a tale of such a gun, as well as the final report for THIS IZH 61.

I wanted to see what sort of improvement would result when the IZH 61 sights were replaced with something more precise. A couple readers mentioned they had done this to their 61s and it helped a lot, which is what I expected. Additionally, one reader told me to only use the clip with the tighter chambers, which I already planned to do.

I selected the Beeman Sport Aperture Sight for the rifle. The price is high, when compared to the cost of the rifle, but this is a sight I’ve had for years. I use it for experiments just like this. The other diopter sights with 11mm clamps that Pyramyd sells are priced about the same, so there’s a choice of sights, but not of price. If they would stock the Mendoza peep sight, there might be a superior sight for a little less money, but, alas, they don’t.

Change sights
You might think the first step is to remove the rear sight, but it’s not. First you mount the new sight so you can align it with the existing rear sight. That will go a long way to getting you sighted-in. The Beeman attaches via a strange clamping system that is so simple I won’t describe it. It’s no more complex than a screen door latch. Installation of the peep sight and then removal of the open rear sight took a total of 30 minutes.

A pin punch is needed to drift out the pin that holds the rear sight.

The rear sight base remains on the rifle when the sight is taken off.

Beeman Sport Aperture Sight is just right for the IZH 61.

And then comes the real test – shooting!
And what a test it proved to be. Instead of shooting better, the rifle shot progressively worse! There is definitely something wrong with the feed mechanism, which reinforces why I don’t like repeating airguns. When the cocking lever is closed, the bolt probe pushes a pellet into the breech of the barrel, only on this rifle you can feel that the pellet is not aligned correctly.

I shot more of the Crosman Competition Wadcutters that were the most accurate pellets in the last test, but this time I couldn’t even equal the poor groups I had gotten with open sights. Then I tried several other pellets of known pedigree – all to no avail. My final group at 10 meters was over three inches wide with an RWS Superdome pellet!

There was no best group. This is what they looked like, only the final group was over three inches wide!

When something like this happens I like to rule out the simple things such as barrel and sight tighteness, and this time everything was tight. So I muzzle-loaded five .177 round lead balls and shot them. That would determine if the loading mechanism was at fault. Pellets don’t load through the muzzle well, but .177 lead balls do.

The balls scattered all over the place just like the pellets, so the fault isn’t with the feed mechanism – it’s the barrel. This rifle either has a poorly-made barrel – or it is so dirty that it acts like there is no rifling. Because of the low velocity, the chances that the barrel is dirty are slim, but not altogether ruled out. Being a repeater, there is no easy way to clean the barrel except through the muzzle, so that’s what I’ll do. Then I will try to shoot some good groups. If it does shoot well, there will be another report. If it doesn’t, and I suspect it won’t, then this is the final report for this rifle. I will arrange to get another one to test for you.

I am finished with this particular rifle but not with this test. You may recall that this was a rifle returned to Pyramyd Air for repairs, and I think it has something wrong that cannot be fixed. But I know the IZH 61 can shoot because I’ve shot so many of them before and never had this problem. So, I’ll order a new one and take it from there.