The Walther LGV Olympia – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


The Walther LGV Olympia is a beautiful breakbarrel spring-piston target rifle from the 1960s.

Wow! It’s been two-and-a-half months since I did the last report on this rifle. A lot has happened since then, plus I had to wait until I was strong enough to lift the heavy rifle. Cocking it was easy, because the barrel breaks with just 15 lbs. of effort, but I was under a 10-lb. weight restriction after my last operation. I didn’t want to break apart in the middle, so I waited!

We learned in part 2 that this particular rifle is on the zippy side for an LGV following a recent tuneup (sorry, twotalon). It still has just a hint of twang when it fires, though compared to most breakbarrels it seems extra smooth.

The stippled pistol grip fits my hands very well. It’s a pleasure to grasp when shooting. However, being a rifle made primarily for offhand work, the Olympia doesn’t fit especially well when you shoot it off a bench. The trigger is a Goldilocks baby bear special, in that it feels just right. Though it releases at 12 oz., it feels like less to me. Not too light, not too heavy.

Remember how I gushed over the rifle in part 1? Well, gush, gush, gush all over again. One of the drawbacks of being an airgun writer is I often don’t have any time to play with the real beauties. Awww. Poor me! But, this rifle is so sweet that it really deserves to be shot way more than I have time for. [Let the offers to relieve me of this terrible burden commence.]

In Part 1, I mentioned that this was my steadiest target rifle, which it was at the time. But, as I also mentioned, Mac did bring an HW55 CM to show me when he came out to Texas in November, and I managed to get it away from him. So, that’ll be another vintage 10-meter rifle I cover some time in the future. Because of it, I now cannot say the LGV is the steadiest in my closet. But it is steady.

I also shot the TF79 Competition rifle at 10 meters on the same day as the LGV. While the TF79 remains on target through the shot, the LGV does not. It moves just enough that you lose the target in the front aperture every time the shot is fired.

The test
Because the Olympia is a 10-meter rifle, I tested it as such. I shot 5 pellets at each 10-meter rifle target, and with one exception I will tell you about in a moment, I shot only wadcutters. The rifle was rested using the artillery hold. I initially sighted-in the rifle with RWS Hobby pellets. Once the shots were landing in the 10-ring I didn’t adjust the sights again. So, the Hobbys are sighted-in and all the other pellets land close, but no attempt was made to get the highest score for any of them. We’re just looking at the size and shape of each group.

Speaking of the sights, I should mention that each click of the adjustment knobs in either plane (up/down or left/right) moves the strike of the pellet very little. I guess that’s what you need for the best precision in a target rifle; but when you have to move 40 clicks to move the pellet a half-inch on target, it seems excessive. And, the clicks are extremely well-defined. There’s no mistaking when the sight has moved.

RWS Hobbys
Let’s see what this beauty can do! The first target, which was fired right after sight-in, was shot with RWS Hobby pellets. While Hobbys are not premium target pellets by anyone’s definition, they often deliver startling performance, especially at lower velocities.


RWS Hobby pellets were used to sight-in the rifle. They produced this 5-shot group at 10 meters. It measures 0.218 inches between centers. Not bad!

H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets
Next, I tried H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. These would be more appropriate for air pistols because of their lighter weight of just 7.56 grains. As you can see very clearly, they didn’t group as well as Hobbys. And make no mistake, there were no called fliers. Every shot was calculated to be the best I could make it. These pellets have a head size of 4.50mm.


H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets are not right for the Walther LGV — at least not this one. The group measures 0.315 inches between centers.

RWS R10 Match heavies
Then, I tried the pellet that might be considered the best overall for this rifle. It’s certainly one of the two pellets I would spend more time testing. The RWS R10 Match heavy pellet weighs 8.2 grains and is meant for use in target air rifles. This pellet has a head size of 4.50mm.


The RWS R10 Match heavy pellet turned in the best group of the test. Five pellets went into this group that measures 0.143 inches between centers.

RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets
After the R10 Match heavies, I tried the R10 Match Pistol pellet that weighs only 7 grains. The difference between it and the heavy R10 was like night and day. The head size is not indicated on the tin.


The lightweight R10 Match Pistol pellet produced a group measuring 0.281 inches between centers. It was close to the worst performance of the test and is also a very good illustration of just how much performance can vary with different pellets in the same gun. Compare this group to the one made by the R10 heavies.

Vogel pellets
Next, I tried some of Scott Pilkington’s Vogel Match pellets. Scott, who is America’s airgun technician for the U.S. Olympic team, makes these pellets right here in this country. Vogel is a well-recognized, world-class pellet that was made in Germany before Scott took over the reins. These pellets weigh 8.18 grains and have a head size of 4.50mm.


Vogel pellets produced this 5-shot group that measures 0.164 inches between centers. It was the second-best pellet I tested and certainly deserves more testing in this rifle.

Gamo Glow Fire pellets
Finally, I tested a pellet that really doesn’t belong in this report, but it’s one I’ve had on my desk for the past 10 months, awaiting the right moment. One of our readers touted the new Gamo Glow Fire pellets in a comment in early 2010, and his enthusiasm drove me to acquire a tin for testing. My thought was always to test them separately, but my illness intervened, and I reckoned that if I don’t work them in somehow I’ll never test them at all. So, I’ll include them in several accuracy tests in the future to make a comparison on the fly.

The Glow Fire pellet has a luminous, pointed synthetic tip that glows in the dark. I suppose under the right lighting conditions they look like tracers, but I didn’t test for that. At just 10 meters, though, there isn’t enough time to acquire the pellet in flight before it smashes into the pellet trap. But the blog reader who mentioned them was impressed with their accuracy, not their appearance in flight, so I added them to this test knowing that we already had a very accurate rifle to shoot them.


Lo and behold, the Gamo Glow Fire pellets went into this group measuring 0.225 inches at 10 meters! That’s very good performance for a non-target pellet.

I can’t say the Glow Fires are not premium pellets, because Gamo sells just 150 of them for $11. So, from the standpoint of cost, they’re certainly among the costliest pellets around. At that price, 500 would cost you $36.67, which is beyond even the price for the finest R10s in the individual package. From a production view, they’re not as uniform and regular as most of these target pellets.

Of course, 10 meters is not the range at which to determine a pellet’s accuracy for anything other than target pellets. So, I’ll try to test the Glow Fires at longer range next time.

The last word
This has certainly been an interesting journey with the LGV Olympia. As I mentioned in Part 1, I owned one of these a long time ago, but I let it get away. I don’t think I’ll make that same mistake with this one. It’s a delightful shooter, and every time I pick it up a smile breaks out. I think I’m at that age where quality matters more than anything else, and this is one high-quality air rifle!

40 thoughts on “The Walther LGV Olympia – Part 3

  1. BB

    When I read that your time is taken up by testing so many airguns that you could not shoot the true beauties, it made me want to get out my microscope to construct the worlds smallest violin. This is only jealousy and bitterness talking, you are still my hero.


  2. Turns out to be a good shooter.
    Zippy? If you mean speed, it certainly does not hurt the accuracy.
    A little buzz does not hurt anything unless thinking about it blows your concentration. I still get a little noise out of my 97K, but it is nothing like it was out of the box. Even the severe vibration did not hurt the accuracy as far as I could tell. My reflexes are too slow to make me jump before the pellet is already gone. Just a little buzz after the shot now. Sometimes don’t even notice it.

    twotalon


  3. B.B.
    I notice you mention head sizes for some of the pellets. How did they fit? I like to feel a bit of resistance that tells me that the head is large enough for the bore. I have become wary of pellets that just drop in.

    twotalon


    • twotalon,

      I mentioned the head sizes of those pellets for which it was given. My belief is the larger the head to better the accuracy, though that hasn’t played out. But a tight pellet is certainly going to be more accurate than a loose one.

      B.B.


      • For sure. The one problem I have with the R-10s is that in the US you cannot buy them with specified head size. I assume that within a tin (or a sleeve) they are all the same size, but I’m not sure. And I presume that the diameter is supposed to be 4.5mm. But you cannot be sure because the 4.50mm mark on the tin is the same even on tins with a sticker on the bottom saying 4.51, 4.49mm, etc. And Umarex no longer imports the “off” sizes. However, they were still available in Germany as of a few months ago.

        My LP-10 was proof-tested with 4.49mm pellets; says so on the test target; my Izzy’s bore is a very tight fit for 4.5mm R-10s.

        –pz


  4. I have been reading your reports for quite some time now and I am finally stepping up and becoming active on your blog.

    I met you at the Roanoke show this year and talked with you briefly. I had purchased a Izzy 46M at the show and have enjoyed punching holes in paper with. Now if I could only learn how to shoot it as well as it is capable!

    I have really been enjoying your reviews of the vintage 10 meter pistols and rifles. Being an accuracy freak, these are where I want to go. I am hoping to have enough saved up for the show next year to add a single stroke or springer 10 meter rifle to my very modest collection. Be sure you and Mac keep that in mind. ; )

    By the way, have you tried the IZH-MP532? I am very curious about it’s performance.

    Thanks for all you have done for air gunning.


    • Ridgerunner,

      Welcome to the blog (as a commenter). No, I haven’t tested the IZH MP532 target rifle. I always wanted to, but the opportunity never presented itself. Since it is very similar to the IZH 46M, I bet it is a delight to shoot.

      B.B.


  5. I’m impressed with the results of this rifle. If I was a collector I would want to own one. However, I’m merely a shooter and springers have not been very friendly to me on my 10m range. The basic problem, from my point of view, is that I would have to spend a lot more money on a springer to get the same performance I get from a PCP.

    Rifles like this then become a financial risk. But on the other hand they do give me something else to blame other than myself. Wow, I’m reminded again in the short time I’ve been playing with airguns, I have almost completely slipped over to the dark, dark, dark side. But I still like to read about them and I still get tempted to try another especially by articles like this. (Hey, I still see SOME light)
    -Chuck


    • Chuck,

      This rifle represents zero financial risk. In fact, this is the rifle that inspired the blog series on buying and selling airguns at no risk. Remember from Part 1 that I only paid $425 for it, and I can get more than that any time I want to sell it.

      As for the targets, yes, they were against a cardboard backer, but they were hanging loose. Wadcutters simply cut good holes. These are National Target targets, which have always cut good holes for me.

      B.B.


  6. BB,
    Your pellet holes are looking very clean in these tests. It looks like you’re using the official NRA 10m targets. Are your papers hanging in open air in front of the trap or lying against the trap material?
    -Chuck


  7. Morning B.B.,

    Thanks for this marvelous 3 part series on your Walther LGV Olympia. I just revisited all 3 parts and am once again enamored with the purposeful beauty of this rifle from the stippled pistol grip to that elegant knurled nut that holds that beautifully polished and blued steel barrel sleeve.

    Bruce


  8. ATT’N VINCE:
    In case you didn’t get my answer to yesterday.
    Sorry for taking your answer the wrong way Vince.
    One of the issues I have with the ‘net…without face to face interaction sometimes things can be taken the wrong way.
    I owe you a beer…but only if it’s German or Belgian. 😉



  9. Well……this was a wonderful 3 part series but in my view only half the story has been told about this fine vintage match airgun. The Walther LGV Olympia (like many 10 meter vintage airguns) is two guns in one.

    Although B.B. alluded to it he has not openly revealed the “secret” of this purpose built airgun.

    This 3 part series is similar to sharing a brief moment in the life of an upper crust gentleman that always dresses impeccably and can usually be found rubbing shoulders at black tie events. Coincidentally the LGV Olympia has only been shown fully dressed in its’ element. 10 meter offhand shooting. Formal. Proper.

    We haven’t heard about those times that this gentleman is wearing old jeans, a tee shirt and no shoes and is perfectly happy about it.

    The LGV Olympia (and many other 10 meter guns) can easily shed over 3 pounds of weight and become a sporter that puts other sporters to shame. Remove the barrel sleeve, take out the lead/cast iron forestock weight and remove the match sights. Mount a scope. Viola’, a sporter.

    Now you have a gun that is what an R7 wants to be when it grows up. Similar weight, similar cocking effort, similar velocity/fpe, great trigger and superb accuracy. Two guns in one.

    After you’ve taken the 10 minutes to convert this gun from an offhand match gun to a sporter you’ll want to shoot at longer ranges. Domed pellets work better at longer ranges than the tested wadcutter/match pellets. I would encourage you to try jsb rs and air arms falcon pellets in your vintage 10 meter guns when you decide to “stretch their legs”.

    kevin


    • Vince,

      You’re probably one of those people who stuff high-performance 289 Ford V8s into MG TDs. 🙂

      Okay, I see your point, however I will not remove the gentleman’s evening dress for the next test. Yes, you have talked me into a part 4, shot at longer range with accurate domed pellets. But the weights stay on the gun.

      Actually, I was looking for an excuse to prolong my association with this grand old rifle.

      B.B.


  10. Kevin,

    A SCOPE!!!!!

    Next you’ll probably want me to add a bipod to the stock!

    No, I’m going to continue shooting with the aperture sights. I’ll just shoot at larger bulls. I may put a Gehmann variable aperture on the rear so I can adjust for the lighting.

    B.B.


    • BB what’s the longest range (with reasonable accuracy) you have shot the TF79 so far?

      Mine is clocking approx 720 fps in .177 w/ Gamo Match and I’m guessing that 30 yards ought to be a fairly flat trajectory? ( a click or two on the scope elev maybe?)


      • Brian,

        The farthest I’ve shot this TF 79 is 10 meters. The farthest I’ve shot any TF 79 is about 25 yards, but that was many years ago and I can’t say that the rifles then and now are equivalent.

        B.B.


      • Brian, I’m gonna go out on a limb here…

        My 46 Stutzen shot well out to about 60 yards, and it wasn’t running much faster than your TF79 (it’s not real efficient). So I see no reason why you wouldn’t be good out to at least that far…


  11. BB,
    That one looks like fun. Don’t listen to Kevin, he’s just getting old and frail, if you can take the weight currently and he can’t :). I like a barrel to be at least 6 pounds.


  12. A gehmann adjustable iris is fun too. Yep, the older I get the lighter I like my guns. I also like good glass on my guns but still have a few set up with match sights. Spice of life you know LOL!

    kevin (Blasphemer sp?)


  13. This is full of interesting items. The budget-priced TF 79 stays on target better than this top-notch springer? I guess that’s what gas guns will do for you. 40 clicks per half inch does sound excessive at 10m. When i was buying sights for my Anschutz, the costliest ($500) sights would do 1mm per click at 50 yards. How many clicks would that be per half inch at 10 yards? I don’t have my calculator handy and am not good at arithmetic. Incidentally, I opted for the budget sights that go 2mm per click at 50 yards… Nice to see the RWS Hobbys shooting well. I’ve always been intrigued by tracers. But shooting in the dark and not hitting anything seems like too much of a trade-off.

    How about this logical syllogism?

    Major premise: Oil is flammable.

    Minor premise: The 5000 degree flame in a firearm barrel should be enough to ignite anything.

    Conclusion: Firearms should catch on fire when discharged. (Shouldn’t they?)

    Matt61


    • Did you find that set of logic on a Tucson AZ anti-gun website?

      “Rush L. causes mass murder and guns cause forest fires?”

      The major premise is only partially correct, the minor is incorrect as is the conclusion.


      • Brian, actually I made this up while noticing traces of lubricant on the bolt of my Savage 10FP at the rifle range. Well, you have pretty much demolished the syllogism, but I feel safer. 🙂

        Matt61


    • Okay, according to my calculations, the Universal Olympic level match sight that moves 1 mm per click at 50 yards will get you 65 clicks per half inch at 10. That’s in the ballpark for the Olympia. I guess that means it is a very high quality sight but also a pain to use if you’re not an Olympian.

      Matt61




  14. Slinging Lead,
    I just now caught up with your question about my choice of 20 cal. for the condor I won. Well it’s like this I’ve been thinking about doing a down range comparison of crosman premiers between 20 and 22 cal. I know 22 has a slightly faster muzzle velocity, I could be wrong but I have a hunch that the 20 may take over about 30 yards down range.
    The two pellets are the same weight so I was thinking balistics should favour the 20. Not that it realy matters much, it’s just that since I’ve started thinking field target I’m looking at trajectories. But then thats a 177 game.
    My only 20 cal. right now is tack driving A. F. TALON.

    Loren


  15. NEWS FLASH!!!

    I recently received delivery of (1) Beeman R7 and (1) early Chinese TF45.

    THE R7 IS MORE ACCURATE

    This has been your ‘surprising news’ update for the evening.



  16. Nice review of a sweet looking air rifle. Just wanted to add that shooting a Daisy 853 at 10M, using the H&N Rifle Match .177 pellet I just got, I was able to shoot 3 shots into essentially the same hole.
    I practice with Crosman bulk Competition pellets, and they fly a bit higher than the H&N.


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