IZH 53M air pistol: Part 2
by B.B. Pelletier
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The IZH 53M air pistol looks like it stepped right out of the 1950s. It’s a modern breakbarrel with a retro look and feel.
Let’s look at the velocity of the IZH 53M air pistol. I wrote about what a nice, calm pistol this is in Part 1, and several readers responded to that. Many of you seem to like airguns that are well-behaved. I also made a comparison between this pistol and the BSF S20 that looks so much like a rifle cut down to fit a pistol grip. If you ever shoot that one, you’ll discover that it’s really a pussycat in lion’s clothing. Though it looks big and mean, it really shoots just as calm as you could hope for — like our test pistol.
Customers give the 53M four stars, and the chief complaints are that it shoots high and there’s no safety. Apparently, the sights have been changed, and we’ll find that out when I test the gun for accuracy. As for the lack of a safety being a problem, I respectfully disagree. I don’t think the pistol needs one. The shooter is the safety for any gun, and no mechanical device adds anything to improve safety.
If you want a safety so you can do things you wouldn’t do with the gun that are not on safe — DON’T DO THOSE THINGS! Don’t even do them with guns that have safeties and are on safe! I’ve had safeties fail so many times that I no longer trust them. If I have a gun that does have a safety, I’ll use it; but in no way will I behave any differently with that gun than I would if it didn’t have a safety. I guess I’ll go down swinging on this issue, but I advise all of you to never trust a safety for anything. Instead, control the gun so it doesn’t need one.
I looked at the advertised velocity and saw that it’s 360 f.p.s. But when I tested my sample pistol, it was much hotter. Someone complained that this pistol has BB-gun velocities, Well, they aren’t Red Ryder velocities! Let’s see what this gun can do.
The first pellet tested was the 7-grain RWS Hobby. This is a wadcutter pellet (a sharp shoulder on the pellet head cuts clean round holes in target paper for ease of scoring) that’s one of the lightest lead pellets available. I would use only lead pellets in this pistol because of the power level. When a gun shoots less than 500 f.p.s., I don’t like to use synthetics or lead-free metal pellets since they don’t perform as well as they do in guns that are more powerful.
Hobbys averaged 409 f.p.s. and went from 391 f.p.s to 420 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 19 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they’re generating 2.6 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
The next pellet I tested was the 7.7-grain Gamo Match. This is another wadcutter that, though it’s heavier than the Hobby, still went pretty fast. The average was 391 f.p.s. and the velocity range went from 384 to 399 f.p.s. The muzzle energy is an average of 2.61 foot-pounds. The total velocity spread was 15 f.p.s.
The final pellet I tried was the 7.4-grain Crosman Competition — yet another wadcutter design. These loaded easier than the first two pellets and gave an average of 389 f.p.s. That works out to a muzzle energy of 2.49 foot-pounds. The velocity in the string ranged from a low of 376 f.p.s. to as high of 394 f.p.s., for an 18 f.p.s. spread.
I tested these pellets because they’re the ones I intend shooting in the accuracy test. I wasn’t looking to show the pistol as a hot-rod, but the results speak for themselves. Also, because this is a springer, there’s always the chance that it will becomes a little faster after a good break-in.
The trigger is not adjustable. The Russian-made schematic refers to a “trigger adjustment screw,” but in my gun the screw is only for securing the stock to the action.
Blog readerDerrick gave us a link to a blog he wrote on tuning the gun, and his photos clearly show a trigger travel adjustment screw that’s no longer in the current model. The sheet metal anchor is still there, but no hole has been drilled and tapped for the adjustment screw
I believe the trigger has been updated, but the schematic still shows the older design. So, I repeat what I said in Part 1 — the trigger is not adjustable. The trigger is single-stage and breaks cleanly at between 1 lb., 15 oz. and 2 lbs., 8 oz. That’s light enough for good informal target shooting.
So far, I really like this air pistol. It seems to offer a lot of value for the money. If it proves to be accurate, it’ll be quite a buy!