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Education / Training Do Tell! – Part 2

Do Tell! – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Guest blogger
This is the second part of Vince’s guest blog about Wacky Wayne’s vintage Tell air rifle.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

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by Vince

Part 1

The Tell’s spring was a bit of a stumper at first.

Trashed or not?

As you can see, it exhibits significant spring fatigue at one end. Or does it? Normally, those closed coils would raise a flag; but in this particular case, I really don’t think so for four reasons. First, the collapsed coils are all grouped together. Second, they’re at the end of the spring. Third, the spring itself is pretty straight–it’s odd that so many coils would fatigue and yield so evenly. Lastly, the coils gradually get spaced further apart as they get further away from the end of the spring.

This, I believe, is an ordinary variable-rate coil spring. As the spring is compressed, the closely spaced coils at the end quickly stack up, effectively reducing the number of active coils in the spring. It starts out relatively soft but stiffens up more rapidly than a standard spring as it is compressed. Variable-rate springs in themselves are not terribly unusual, especially in automotive applications (suspension and valve train, for example); but this is the first time I’ve seen one in a spring gun.

Moving into the gun itself, something catches my eye…something not nice catches my eye. Inside the spring tube, I see a bunch of circumferential grooves that don’t look like they’re from the piston, since that sort of wear would tend to be parallel to the axis of the tube and not perpendicular to it. I’m concluding that these marks are from the original machining process, not from use:

Grooves in the compression area.

Grooves in the spring area.

In any event, it doesn’t really matter. Since the seal is leather it’ll be quite tolerant of this sort of thing. I hone it out and reassemble the powerplant after gooping up the spring with Mystic JT6 MP grease and moly powder mix.

This is a grease. I’m not using tar on a low-powered springer like this one.

The rest of the reassembly is a reverse of the disassembly process. The relatively low spring preload pressure means I can just push it together with my hands.

During this process, I’d noticed that the stock was loose. Exactly how it is retained at all is a bit of a mystery at first, since there are no obvious screws holding it to the action. This means there’s only one other possibility, and pulling the buttplate off the rear of the stock uncovers the stud and nut that holds it together.

A few twists with a 17mm socket on an extension tightens the stock nicely.

The single-piece trigger is showing some obvious wear, and this explains why it was unreliable when I first tried it.

Worn sear. The spring is fine despite how it looks.

There’s not a lot of sear “meat” left to work with, so I just go real conservative on regrinding the sear angle so I KNOW it isn’t gonna let go. I went a little too far, and the trigger now takes more effort than it probably needs to. But considering how little metal there is in front of it, I decide not to risk any further refacing.

Now that the rear half of the gun is taken care of, I move to the front and that troublesome pivot. It comes apart with a spanner driver on the nut.

The tool is homemade. Obviously.

The lockup is pretty standard, although you can see the unusual practice of making the block and barrel all from one piece. The little screw in the second picture retains the locking wedge, making it a breeze to disassemble for cleanup and relube. The breech seal is pretty beat and gets replaced.

The breech seal is in the compression tube, not the barrel.

All milled from a single piece of steel.

A standard o-ring will replace the breech seal.

Vince continues on Monday with part 3 of the Tell discovery tour!

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.

26 thoughts on “Do Tell! – Part 2”

  1. Of topic:
    Mr B, I went shooting today. I managed to sight it in without running out of clicks. I dont seem to be getting the one hole groups that I was getting. But that could be down to my error. I had enough clicks though , so I will leave the barrel the way it is.

  2. Vince, B.B.,

    Have you guys ever seen another gun with the breech block & barrel machined out of one piece before?

    That seems like a very expensive way to do it.. and so might make that model very special indeed!

    Just hoping:)


  3. Ishaq,

    You dodged the pellet so to speak in that situation. I'm glad there was not permanent damage.


    Thanks for another great post! Did you write the number 30 on the butt of the stock? The barrel's construction sorta makes the gun look like those old falling block .22's that were aroung when I was a kid.

    Mr B.

  4. Mr. B, no, I didn't write the '30' on the buttstock.

    On further reflection, I'm wondering if the breech block and barrel might have been two separate pieces that were welded together then machined. Done properly that would be indistiguishable from a solid piece.

  5. B.B.-

    You mentioned in your article that the seal in this gun is made out of leather. I don't know a whole lot about the inner mechanics of springers or any airgun for that matter. What's a popular material to make a seal for an airgun these days?


  6. Wayne,
    I have seen one other air rifle where the breech block and barrel seemed to be machined from one piece of steel. It was a breakbarrel .177 marked Made in Belgium. The only other markings were Modelle 50, and a sunburst pattern on the end plug. It had a very unique cocking lever, with a bow in it. The bow was designed in, since the cocking slot in the stock did not go all the way through at the front. As near as anyone could tell me, it matched pictures and descriptions of a Belgian Lepco. I think Brian in PA has it now.

    Jim in PGH

  7. Vince,
    Not trying to be difficult, but there's a mystery here. The cylinder is still scored from machining in 1890 or whatever and the leather seal is like new, but the sear is worn to the point of being dangerous? Is the trigger a soft piece stamped out of some material different from the rest of the rifle?

    Additionally, that adjustment screw looks suspicious. While I respect your judgement that it looks factory, I would reserve judgement, as it seems possible that some typically trigger-obsessed gun nut did some re-engineering in the long ago time. A similar type of "adjustment" screw was (and may still be) popular on rimfires as an owner "improvement", but it often had/has the same affect — unsafe trigger:)!

  8. BG_Farmer, not sure about the trigger. It's possible that the angle might have been 'marginal' as ground from the factory, which means that just a little wear would push it over the edge.

  9. BG_Farmer,

    I've been search for the exact match of this gun in many different airgun pricing books like the "blue book of air guns", which shows the screw on the trigger in the photos.. so it's not an aftermarket jerryrig..

    I'm guess that it's just an easy way to get at adjusting triggers.. in those days tools were at a premium.. so "keep it simple" might have been a good thing then..

    But who knows..

    other than the SHADOW..

    .. who seems to be off filming..

    leaving us to get into the cookie jar..

    he'll never know the C-1 is gone Edith..
    Trade you for a raised garden bed?

    Wacky Wayne

  10. Wayne,

    You've made a tactical error. Tom is now home and reading the blog comments, and you've been caught scheming to get his guns!

    We'll have to wait for him to take another trip before we can discuss any trades.


  11. Vince & Wayne,
    Thanks — I'll trust your judgement. Given the forging/machining on the rest of the rifle, it does seem odd to have tapped the thin trigger guard without at least brazing a nut on it, which is why I was suspicious.

    Someone remarked on the similarity to a falling block .22, but I'm also thinking it looks very similar in some ways to a Zimmer. Is it possible that this was a model used for parlor shooting, perhaps when firearms were banned entirely in Germany for a short period following WWI? Probably the best argument against this is the crude sights, but perhaps they were dovetailed as much for upgradability as for adjustment.

    Sorry to ask so many questions, but it seems to be a unique little rifle.

  12. ooooppss

    Howdy hey Tom!!

    have a good time? we've been good while you were gone… really..

    When do you go out again?

    we will miss you for sure.. so off you go now..

    Wacky Wayne

  13. Great work Vince! I love it when old airguns are brought back to their former glory!
    Off topic, I have a question about the IMC pioneir,the Romanian airgun that BB tested. Does anyone know how accurate these guns are? And are they suitable for any thing else than plinking?
    And where can I get one?
    Ian 🙂

  14. Ian, that Romanian rifle is a notch above a BB gun. Not sure you'd really want one, you could find an old Slavia 618 or 620 for pretty cheap that's a much better made rifle.

    You lookin' for a lower powered plinker?

  15. I can't remember who said that only one shot rifles are allowed in NRA competitions, but I got a little worried (I don't have the money to buy a second rifle so the one I have will have to do) so I checked the NRA website for the rules. "Any safe .177 caliber spring,
    pneumatic, or CO2 gas air rifle may
    be used."


    I'm happy with my current rifle. It's accurate, fun, looks great, and hits hard. I'm really happy I can use it in 10 meter competitions. 😀


  16. So, there's an NRA 10m competition that allows the Walther lever action? How interesting and liberating. I thought you were required to buy an expensive 10m rifle.


  17. Guys!

    The Walther lever action is NOT sanctioned for NRA 10-meter matches. The Daisy 853C is allowed, but only following a vetting process.

    The rules may not be clear, but only valid 10-meter rifles may be used in sporter-class competitions.

    For postal competitions, they may relax the rules and other guns may be allowed.


  18. Alex,
    I believe what you were looking at was the NRA Qualification courses. What BB is talking about is NRA competitive shooting. Appears to be a difference. The qualification courses are a step towards competition it appears. At least that's how it appears to me.

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