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Education / Training The IZH 61 – Part 2Let’s shoot!

The IZH 61 – Part 2Let’s shoot!

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

In the time between the first report and now there has been some discussion on this blog of the correct way to lubricate the rifle’s piston seal. The IZH 61 comes to you with what seems to be petroleum oil inside the chamber and can stand a drop or two of real chamber oil early on. The only way I know to do this is to drop two drops of chamber oil down the muzzle of the rifle with the gun standing upright on its butt. Allow several hours for the oil to slide down the barrel and pass through the air transfer port. Because it flows slowly, the oil should make the 90-degree turn at the transfer port, but you can angle the muzzle slightly forward to help it, if you want.

The air transfer port is located at the bottom of the barrel, just forward of the breech. Reader Gazza noted that there is a screw on top of the receiver that’s lined up with the transfer port, but I looked at it and it’s not a steel screw. Also, the receiver into which it screws is plastic, so frequent removal of this screw is asking for trouble. This is the first evidence I have found that a steel receiver would have been more desirable than plastic, but as long as you lube through the muzzle, as explained above, there’s no need to touch this screw. If you strip this screw, the compressed air will escape through the top of the receiver and your gun will lose power.

The mainspring could stand a few drops of oil while you’re at it. Here you may use petroleum oil because the small amount that migrates forward to the compression chamber isn’t going to cause any problems. The compression of the IZH 61 is too low for that. All it will do is cause some smoke from the muzzle.

The rifle comes with two clips. On my test rifle, one of them had oversized chambers. Both clips had large chambers that don’t hold the pellets well, but one of them allowed Crosman Competition wadcutters to stick their heads out the other side.

Crosman wadcutters fell through the chambers in the clip and protruded out the front like this. The other clip had tighter chambers.

There is a trick to loading this rifle. After the last shot has been fired, the bolt probe that seats the pellet in the bore is still sticking through the last chamber of the clip. You have to push forward on a silver-colored lock on the right side of the receiver to release the bolt probe, which springs backwards. Then depress the silver latch on top of the receiver and the clip pops out. If no pellets have been fired and you want to remove the loaded clip, just depress the silver latch on top of the receiver and the clip pops out. What I just told you is more information than you will find in the owner’s manual.

The silver triangle just below center is the bolt release. Press forward (to the right) at the top and the bolt springs back. The thin silver lever atop the receiver above the magazine housing is the mag release. The screw that I warn you not to loosen is the large Phillips head in front (right) of the magazine.

Too bad about the Crosman wadcutters being so loose because they are clearly the pellets this rifle loves best. I tried RWS Hobbys and a special Chinese target pellet that I use in 10-meter pistol matches and neither held groups as tight as the Crosman pellets. So, I protected them when loading the clip and relied on the gun to keep them in the clip when it was loaded (it did). Only one fell out during my shooting session. IZH can fix this loose chamber problem by putting two tiny ridges along the inside of the pellet chambers, running front to rear. That’s how everyone else does it. Sure there will be a cost to rework the die , but the results would be worth it.

I would love to show you super-tight bragging groups, but that’s not what I shot. Apparently, the old geezer is slowing down. I tried shooting with my bifocals on, but the results were worse than without them. I guess I’m one of those people who really needs a different sight on this rifle. Actually, that complaint is shared by a number of shooters, so this won’t be my last look at the 61. I will find something suitable to replace the rear sight and go at it one more time.

My best group of Crosman wadcutters at 10 meters is nothing to brag about. The rifle can shoot much better than this.

Well, I see something in the velocity from this particular rifle that I haven’t ever seen before. Usually a spring rifle requires a “wake-up” shot before it will come up to the normal velocity. Some require two (heck – PCPs need them, too), but this rifle seems to need one with every magazine! That’s strange. This rifle was a return that Pyramyd AIR refurbished, and I am starting to wonder if they caught all the problems. RWS Hobbys ranged from a low of 465 f.p.s. to a high of 487, with the final 4 shots between 474 and 487. Crosman wadcutters had a low of 331 and a high of 464, with the last 4 shots ranging from 441 to 464. And, the Chinese wadcutters ranged from a low of 404 to a high of 450 with the final 4 ranging from 435-450. That’s an odd phenomenon, and I need time to consider it.

Am I still excited about the IZH 61? You bet! There is a lot of value in this little rifle. It may need better sights to wring it out, but we’ll look into that.

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.

35 thoughts on “The IZH 61 – Part 2Let’s shoot!”

  1. hi bb
    sory for being off the topip. i accidently came across you and have not stoped reading for about 3 weeks now and thanx for what u are doing you have given me a diff perspective on what is realy going on. i have a fixed barrel gamo cfx and heard something that i should not clean the barrel because it scratches the barrel and i will have to clean it reg after that.
    what is ur take on this and after how many shots should i lube the gun. what are the reasons for this.

    thanx for your time and what you are doing. wish they had south african sites that do this.

  2. BB, if you have a rapid 7 producing 26 ftlbs in .20 cal with a 24 inch barrel that fires a jsb exact 13.78 grain pellet at 935 fps, and with logan penatrators at 15.6 grains produces 880fps,if you swapped the barrel over to a 24 inch barrel .22 ,would you expect to get the same or a bit more fps useing the same sort of weights of pellets ,say jsb exact in 15.9 grains.

  3. BB,

    I had a similar problem with the first shot of my IZH being low velocity and striking about two inches low at 10 meters. It turns out that it was the magazine. I had purchased extras when I ordered the rifle, so I switched to a new one and all five shots fire at “normal” velocity.

    As far as loading goes, if you tilt the muzzle down, and put your index finger along the front of the magazine while you slide it in, the rifle will hold almost any type of pellet, as long as it’s no longer than the magazine itself. The only ones that don’t seem to work are pointed pellets. Crosman Premier Super Match are the ones that work best for me.

    For scoping, I purchased a BKL cantilevered dovetail to weaver adapter. It moves the scope forward and up, and does not block the magazine release button on top of the receiver.

    I love my black russian.

    Michael in Florida

  4. Michael,

    I was having problems with pellets falling out of the loose clip, so I used the tighter one for chronographing – I think! I wish I could be sure.

    I think I’ll do all future testing with the tight clip.

    Thanks for your input.


  5. Quintin,

    I don’t clean barrels unless accuracy drops off. It is possible to damage the bore, but it isn’t the scratches that you mention. What happens is people let the steel cleaning rod bang against the rifling at the muzzle, or they use a flexible rod with a coating that has dirt embedded it its covering. It abrades the muzzle. Either way, the accuracy of the gun is harmed.

    A CF-X is particularly difficult to clean because of the rotary breech. I would clean it from the muzzle with a one-piece rod if and when the accuracy falls off. I have spring rifles that have over 10,000 rounds through them and they have never been cleaned.

    Oil the piston seal every 5,000 shots with two drops of silicone chamber oil dropped through the muzzle. Stand the rifle on it’s butt for four hours and the oil will run down through the port.


  6. BB,then would you think that the best length barrel in the .20 would be shorter than 24 inches to overcome the friction problems,if the pellet might be coasting at that length than being pushed by the exspanding air when it meets the choke it must be slowed done slightly would you say,its a shame thers not a formula for optimem barrel length,as bying varying legths of barrels is exspnsive.

  7. I was wondering about the mag, too… perhaps the first hole isn’t lined up quite right and the pellet gets damaged when it feeds into the breach, or perhaps there’s a slight flaw in the surface of the mag and the breach isn’t sealing well against it.

    That’s one thing that always made me wonder about pellet repeaters – it seems easy to damage the delicate pellet before getting it into the barrel.

    In any event, I’m wondering if the single-shot version of this rifle might be more consistent.

  8. hey BB,
    i was doing some thinking about spring airguns, and I was wondering if it would be possible (hypothetically) to pad the head of the piston so that when it slams into the gun (the only noise a springer makes) it might be quieter. I was thinking something like super high density foam (maybe foam from those posturepedic beds). That would make a sort of internal silencer…maybe. I’m not saying I’d try to mod it into a rifle, but why don’t manufacturers make them that way?

  9. Hmmm…being the everlasting experimenter…I wonder if this rifle would benefit from a slightly stronger spring to increase velocity up to say 500~600fps. That would be really cool.
    –Dave Ennis

  10. frog man,
    i considered doing that on an airsoft gun but i ever got around to it. i think your main prob will be holding it on the front of the cylender. because it cant move around inside. also it might get burned by the extreme heat of the commpressed air. ide try it out

    im thinking of ordering a costom crossman c02 carbine. im just curios as to what velocity i could get with a 24 inch .177 barrel and light pellets. thanks
    Nate in Mass

  11. On sights:

    I have found that I shoot better being able to see the target even if the front sight is out-of-focus. I tried using + diopter lenses to put the front sight in-focus, but then the target was a blur. I also find shooting with a larger peep sight opening better than small — more light and parallax is not really an issue.

    Bottom line, try various things — the “common knowledge” may or may-not work for each person. Following the “book” does not work for everyone!



  12. Frogman,

    Good thinking except it isn’t the piston that makes most of the noise. The piston doesn’t really slam into the end of the compression chamber. It is stopped by a cushion of air pressurized to a very high point. When the pellet moves, the pressure drops and the piston comes to rest.

    The noise is primarily the mainspring rattling around, followed by the rest of the reciprocating parts. A gas spring rifle is quieter, except for the muzzle blast, which cracks.

    Get rid of looseness among all the parts and you’ll quiet the gun tremendously. Just listen to a TX 200 sometime. It’s very quiet! And the R1 I tuned for this blog is whisper-quiet.


  13. Maybe a little air is getting out around past the clip when it’s in pellet one position…any way to shoot that one last or in the middle of the string?

  14. bb – I thought some of your readers might like to know that the izh mp514k (which I bought from pyramid a week ago but which was suddenly pulled from the website) has the peep sight which some have pointed out used to come with the 61. In fact, the rear sight assembly is otherwise the same as the 61 except it is reversed. (You gotta love Russian expediency) btw – I have found the 61 loves gamo match pellets

  15. BB, Regarding sights on the IZH-61. I had a BSA red dot that was OK, but now I have a Daisy Avanti Diopter sight. This fits perfectly and sits exactly where my eye wants to be. All I need now is to improve on the front post. I’d send a picture, but I don’t know where too… – Gazza.

  16. … and one more comment. It can be hard to tell when the 5 shots are complete… I lose track. This risks dry firing the gun. The magazine doesn’t move after the 5th shot and there is no indication all pellets are gone. What I did was put a small dot of red paint in the little dimple that is on the lower part of the rear surface of the magazine. When that appears you’re on shot 5. – Gazza.

  17. Vince,

    I remember the first pellet having a slight resistance as it was fed into the breech during the cocking cycle, so you may be correct about the first pellet being damaged. After I changed magazines, the problem went away.


    Each pellet is pushed into the barrel during the cocking cycle as you return the side lever to its forward position, so the magazine only holds the pellets, the pellets are not fired throught the magazine, so it shouldn’t have mattered with the chronographing.

    I have read of a mod to the bolt which is to cut a small groove around it near the probe end, and install a small O ring to help slightly with the velocity. It’s similar to how the bolt on the RWS 850 AirMag is configured.

    Follow this link and scroll to the bottom of the page.


    Michael in Florida

  18. BB,

    I guess that’s a possibility, hence the modification to improve the performance, but the air would leak on every shot if what you say is true, not just the first.

    All of this is what makes airgunning such a gas. (pun intended)

    Michael in Florida

  19. bb or anyone that can help i have an older rocker style sheridan model c (pre-crosman) but i need a bolt assy, cam face, cam face cover, 2 cam screws, but i dont know where to get these parts and i really need these parts do to the fact i dont have them so cant shoot it and its extremly nice and i really to shoot it its great condition and i got for just $20 unbelivible deal but anyway i really need these parts please help me

    thank you


  20. Hi BB,

    Just wanted to say thanks again for your great blog! I’ve learned a lot from you and those who write in here. A little off topic,but still Russian. You’ve done it again. I just bought an Izh/ Baikal MP 513 M in .22 cal. from Pyramyd AIR based on your review. Just needed to have another rifle in my small collection, and being a fan of Russian arms, I just had to get this one. Also, I wanted to get something else to shoot while working on my project gun. Man, is it long! And Light! It was delivered Wednesday and while I haven’t had a chance to give it a good run, I did manage some shooting through my ProChrono Digital last night. 5 shots each- JSB Pred. HP, 15.7 gr.- about 740 fps average, RWS Super H Points, 14.3 gr.- about 750 fps average, Beeman Silver Arrows, 16.9 gr.- about 705 fps, and JSB exact Domes, 15.7 gr.- about 740 fps average (so far these are the best for accuracy, though I was only shooting offhand at 10 yds). These numbers, before J&B bore paste, make it an 18-19 fpe gun so far, box-stock. It puts JSB Domes all the way through 1/2″ construction grade pine plywood! It came with an extra main spring, a spare “front” of the front sight hood or muzzle cover (I haven’t taken the time to figure this out yet), a steel cleaning rod slotted for patches, and 2 small/ tiny steel balls- I assume they figure you’ll lose these-. Chrono battery died (these things eat 9V’s) while I was finding my Hobbies, CP’s and other pellets, so I didn’t get any more averages, though I noticed that the gun buzzes a little with the lighter pellets. It seems that 14 gr. pellets and up is what this .22 likes. It feels very muzzle heavy, which helps me to steady it shooting offhand standing. This gun doesn’t move off target for me shooting offhand. It’s really steady, but requires some effort to cock, and kicks like a mule. I don’t like the bakelite (plastic) butt plate and will change that out for a decent recoil pad as soon as soon as possible. The trigger is pretty stiff, but breaks clean after a long easy take-up. Next, I’ll J&B the bore and check to see if the trigger can be adjusted. I have a Leapers 5th Gen 3-9 X 50 scope to put on it when the rings arrive. Then we’ll see what it can do. I don’t see a lot of barrel droop (one of my pet peeves), so regular mounts should work, but we’ll see since there is a little.

    Sorry to run on so long, and I didn’t mean to step on your toes here, BB. Just thought this short, 2nd assessment might help someone else who may be thinking of getting an inexpensive hunter. I think the Russian guns are a great value on the market today, including the surplus WW2- M44’s M38’s and M91/30’s. If you’re interested in the Russian side of WW2, there’s a lot of info to find on the net, and these guns have a lot of history.

    The 513’s manual says a few drops of oil every 500 shots. Do you know if the seals are leather or synthetic? It didn’t come with any spares.

    Thanks again,
    Shooter- another /Dave

  21. Which scope would you recommend for a gamo 220 for use out to 50 yards. I’m going to try my first FT match in the fall. My budget is about $50-$60.
    Thanks for running the best blog on the internet,

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