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Education / Training IZH 61 – Part 3 Improved sights; depressing results

IZH 61 – Part 3 Improved sights; depressing results

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.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

42 thoughts on “IZH 61 – Part 3 Improved sights; depressing results”

  1. B.B.,

    the group looks like your shots circle around your point of aim – which means the rifling is ok. But how about the crown? Is there any damage at the muzzle?


  2. I see the RWS 460 is starting to become available in .22. What do you suppose are the chances that this gun can deliver HW97 or even CFX accuracy with the power of an RWS 48?

  3. hb,

    I answered you on the USFT posting where you first asked the question. This is what I said:


    You didn’t tell me the objective bell size nor the scope tube diameter, so I’m assuming 40mm or less and one inch. Try this:

    You want two-piece rings for that gun.



  4. The Mendoza peep sight is available directly from Umarex for about $43 ea. Something tells me that this still represents a nasty mark-up, as Umarex is not known for reasonably priced service parts.

    Also, what’s pyramydair’s policy when an oinker like this goes out the door?

  5. BTW – I bought a slightly used IZH53 from pyramydair and had it shipped to my motel in CA (I’m out here on business). It had the old bugaboo of shooting high (not uncommon for this gun, apparently), but that wasn’t too difficult to fix.

    Also, it seems to be very hold sensitive… which is exactly what I wanted. Hopefully this thing will force me to develop better hold consistency that will translate into improved performance when I shoot a powder-burner. I know you had recommended the RWS breakbarrel and the P1 for this purpose, but I’m too much of a cheapskate..

  6. Yes… but “properly applied” is the key, now isn’t it?

    Curious about something – did you run the round balls through the magazine and compare the way they shot with the way they did when you muzzle-loaded them?

    It seems to me that muzzle-loading a round ball might be problematic. Normally, a pellet placed in a bore has to overcome a fair bit of initial resistance before it will start moving, and this lets the pressure build up in the compression chamber before the pellet starts down the barrel. Since a muzzle-loaded ball is already engraved with the rifling, this initial resistance isn’t there, and the round can start moving a lot sooner. I’m wondering how badly this will effect consistency, both from the standpoint of velocity and POI.

  7. bb – regarding the poor feeding mechanism on the izh61: I took a close look at this situation by manually pushing the bolt into the breech and seeing if the probe was aligned with it. It wasn’t. The skinny tip enters fine, but where the bolt widens it hits the bottom of the breach ever so slightly off center. When the pellet skirt was too close to the top of the chamber I think the bolt was mangling it as it pushed the pellet into the breech. I would sometimes get a shot that sounded like a dry fire and the pellet would tumble out at probably around 100fps. I now try to seat the pellets as deeply as possible, and with a good magazine these misfires are rare. I think the Russians are still getting their heads around the notion of quality control. On a related note, if Pyramid restocks the izh514k it would make a good review. I can’t find any specs, but mine seems a lot more powerful than the 61, and is quite accurate.

  8. airdog,

    What do you call acceptable accuracy for the MP514K? Mine is shooting 2-inch groups at 10 meters. I don’t think that’s acceptable.

    Only the BBs are a surprise, because in my test gun they are just as accurate as pellets.

    The cocking is stiff and jerky and the gun feels cleap. I am unimpressed.


  9. The Beeman peep sight that you mentioned reminded me of another similar product, the Crosman Williams peeper. I was wondering if that can be put on any airgun dovetail, or is it specific to Crosman only. If it is universal so to speak, is this a good peeper to consider as a substitute for the Beeman peeper? It’s cheaper…
    –Dave Ennis

  10. bb – I’m getting 1 inch or less groups, although I’m using a 4x cheap gamo scope. I’m still figuring out the best hold. It does best for me held tightly, and with heavier pellets (rws supermags) You’re right that overall it comes off as a cheap gun, but I also get the sense that it’s not going to break or need much maintenance. I think I might just have a soft spot in my heart for the Russkies.

  11. BB, the IZH61 muzzle brake unscrews, very easy. You can then remove the front section, and the sight post and see the front of the barrel. Also the barrel easily unscrews from the receiver, so you can remove it and you could with it off the gun clean and inspect it. Easy… Gazza.

  12. bb,

    Too bad you had such poor luck with this rifle. Looks like a lot of fun for little money.

    I have a Baikal pistol, which I love. Hope they transfer the expertise to the rifle someday.

    Also thanks for the past report of the Leapers 4×40 scope. I got one on your advice and I am very pleased.

    Keep up the good work.


  13. Vince, I was wondering if anyone would comment on my cheaper peeper pun. I had fun with it. But the good thing was, it was actually a question with humor hidden inside. 🙂

  14. BB –
    In your opinion, what’s a reasonable expectancy of accuracy for a diana 48 at 50 yards? I understand that there are many factors to consider, but any ballpark educated guess would give me something to work towards.

  15. I’m not BB, but based on what I’ve seen with my refurb ’48 at 60 yards, I’m guessing that 1″ groups or less should be possible out of this gun.

    Not out of me, mind you – but out of this gun.

  16. On the IZH 61 rear sight. Can you install the peep sight and still keep the original rear sight?

    On a 10 meter range benched I can get a grouping of 1.25 inch so I would like to try the peep sight and be able to revert back easily.


  17. Willie, On mine I just screwed the rear sight down as low as it would go. I have the Daisy Avanti Diopter sight, which is much like the peep sight in use. – Gazza.

  18. Ozark,

    Vince and I agree. One inch at 50 yards is a reasonable expectation. I have seen half-inch groups from them at that range, but the technique has to be perfect. Sidelevers don’t need as much technique as breakbarrels, but they do need it. Even my recoilless Whiscome needs spring gun technique to shoot ots best.


  19. BB,

    I wanted to say “great blog.” I love my IZH 61, and the other 5 or so I purchased for friends and family have been nothing short of flawless. An occasional sticky magazine, but otherwise perfect. I’ve yet to hear anyone write in about scoping the 61. Cantilever BKL one-piece mount, riser and 6X Bugbuster scope, custom barrel weight/sleeve and it is n “asprin-buster” at 10 meters. I bought on your recommendation.


  20. I forgot to mention for the “Asprin-Busting”.. 12″ square of thin plywood, hanging on a hinge. Any momentum is stopped dead after the pellet hits either capsule or backing. Use a hot glue gun to set your “targets.” Lots of fun, be careful – use safety glasses!

  21. BB,

    this is off-subject, but can you give me your solution for stopping scope/sight creep on a Webley Typhoon? There is enough recoil to move a red-dot or scope with .22/airgun rails severely… and not much of any room for an additional scope stop. Also no pin grooves or recesses for a recoil pin… The open sights leave a lot to be desired.. I was thinking if there was a one piece mount for pistols with multiple tensioning points maybe… Your suggestions?

  22. I presume you are talking about the new Typhoon made in Turkey, and not the original Typhoon made in England?

    If so, I have no experience with this new pistol yet. But more clamping force sounds like the best way to go. But first, have you degreased the dovetails with alcohol? That and a similar degreasing of the scope mounts will sometimes increase friction to the point that the mounts stay put.

    Now, I am assuming you are using premium scope mounts – not cheapies that flex in any way. If not, change immediately.


  23. Sorry that this is unrelated, but I don’t know of another way to reach you besides comments on here.

    Why doesn’t anyone take the inniciative to import Brocock cartridge airguns into the USA? I know they are still being made by weirauch, and brocock themselves have stock outside of England that they want to sell. Brocock said they’re waiting for demand to resume production, but in my opinion they aren’t doing anything to “bring the brococks back” outside of England.

    I contacted the only USA brocock dealer and they will not import models because “they don’t sell”. I contacted other stores and they said the same thing. It IS possible and legal to bring them here, but no one wants to do it. I was very lucky to find a new brocock pistol on Gunbroker, but I have to turn to importing agencies to bring a new model from Germany.

    Perhaps brococks aren’t meant to sell by the thousands, but I’m sure there are plenty of US collectors who’d want to buy one or two pistols, or even more.

    What’s your take on this matter?

    PS: my email is Javieralejandrosanz(at)hotmail(dot)com if you’d like to talk more about the subject.

  24. Brocock,

    As I reported back in 18 Jan, 2006,


    the problem with the Brocock system is it takes work, and most airgunners don’t want to work that hard. I know there are still many who would like to see it imported to this country again, but the sales never supported the dealers who did carry it.

    Besides work, the system is costly, and the majority of airgunners are on tight budgets. That’s the nature of this hobby.

    And finally BATF&E lists any airgun that has been directly converted from a firearm as suspect until they examine it. That’s why the .177 Makarov and the BB-firing Kalashnikov cannot be imported.


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