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Ammo IZH 53M air pistol: Part 3

IZH 53M air pistol: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

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.

Accuracy day for the IZH 53M air pistol, and it’s a day with some good surprises. I want to talk about how this pistol shoots, so I’m going to skip the drama of finding a good pellet, because of the three I tried, only one stood out. That was the one I played with the most.

The sights work fine!
No need to worry about the sights anymore. They shoot to the point of aim and have plenty of adjustment in all directions. They’re also very crisp in the right lighting, which is strong light on the target and the shooter in relative dark.

I did have some adjustment to do in both directions and can attest to the sights adjusting easily and accurately. The windage adjustment lacks any markings on the gun to tell you which way to turn the knob, but it’s clockwise to go to the right and counter-clockwise to adjust left. There are very crisp detents, and the increments of movement are quite small.

The elevation knob is marked but lacks the crisp detents of the windage, so it’s more of a guess. Since I wasn’t going for a score, I stopped when I had the pellets hitting inside the bull at 10 meters.

You notice a trigger a lot more when shooting targets than during any other testing; so now that I have more experience with it, I’ll say this one is okay but not great. It feels a little too heavy for the absolutely best work and, being a single-stage trigger, there’s no feeling of control or precision. You just squeeze until the gun fires.

The first pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby that went so fast in the velocity test. Alas, this time they weren’t that good, giving me lots of vertical stringing at 10 meters. That can be caused by a limp wrist or weak grip on the gun, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the case this time.

Ten RWS Hobbys made this 3.028-inch vertical string at 10 meters. This is not a good pellet for this pistol.

Next, I tried the Crosman Competition pellets. They grouped better, plus the group was more round and less vertical. That tells me that my grip on the gun isn’t the primary problem. About the time I switched to this pellet, I also started using my real competition shooting glasses instead of my normal prescription glasses. That did two things. First, it sharpened the image of the front sight, because the competition glasses have an adjustable iris to control the amount of light that passes through the lens to the eye. Second, the blinder on the competition glasses meant I no longer had to close my non-sighting eye. That cleared up the image of the sights and target and from that point on sighting was much more precise.

Ten Crosman Competition pellets made this 1.947-inch group at 10 meters. As you can see, it’s rounder than the group of Hobbys shown previously.

Then I tried a group of Gamo Match pellets, but that was a mistake. They shot all over the target, and I was afraid of missing the trap at 10 meters! After shot 7, I stopped and considered what to do next.

Getting better and better
As I shoot, I find that normally I get progressively better as the shots pass. So, the first group will be bigger than the next and so on. But there’s a downside to this. If the gun I’m shooting requires a lot of concentration, I’ll soon become tired and the groups will start to open up. It’s a fine line between getting accustomed to the gun and tiring out.

With the IZH 53M, however, the gun is so easy to shoot and the sights are so easy to see that I don’t tire as quickly. Therefore, instead of selecting another pellet, I went back to the Crosman Competition wadcutters that had already proven good and shot another group with them.

This time, I was definitely in the groove. Each shot felt the same and, what’s more, each shot felt right. When that happens you know you’re shooting to the best of your ability.

This group of Crosman Competition pellets showed the pistol’s capability the best. It measures 1.341 inches for 10 shots.

Well, that’s it for this one. The more I shot the gun, the more familiar I became with its operation and the better it seemed to shoot — with the right pellets. By the end of the session, I was sorely tempted to bring out my BSF pistol and do a comparison test. But that would not have proven anything, since the BSF is no longer made and the IZH 53M is so inexpensive. Best to just let the results stand as they are.

If I’d continued shooting the pistol, I might have found an even more accurate pellet, for this feels like an air pistol that wants to shoot! It’s an all-day airgun that you’ll enjoy for both plinking and informal target shooting.

The last word
I think the IZH 53M is a great value for the price. You get a lot of performance in this low-cost package, and it’s capable of plinking tin cans all day long.

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.

36 thoughts on “IZH 53M air pistol: Part 3”

  1. BB,

    to my untrained eye, it appears that all the targets are exhibiting the results of what appears to be a tumbling pellet – I see tears and keyholing which normally I don’t see on the targets you post. What do you think or did you just not have a good backer on these targets?

    Fred PRoNJ

    • Fred,

      I think it’s just the low velocity that tears the target paper. But if I test the gun again, I will tape the target to a fresh backer, so we discover what is happening.

      I would be shocked if any of these three wadcutters tumbled, because they are all so short. They are only a little longer than they are wide.

      Still, it may bear investigation.


    • Fred,

      Not to answer for BB, but I get this a lot with any of my lower power guns and sometimes even with my higher powered ones because my target paper isn’t square to me. (at a bit of an angle) When I’m looking for yaw, I flatten the holes back and check for witness marks (wipes on one side of the hole). There is usually a good impression of the nose impact, and then some one-sided faint marks to one side from the yaw-ing pellet skirt.


  2. Well, it’s painfully obvious to me that I’ll never be a good shot with a pistol. A 1.3″ 10 shot group with a spring pistol and heavy, single stage trigger is all the additional proof I need. Guess I need to find a holster that will fit a rifle.


  3. Edith,
    I tried to respond to my past comment on animals, offline, via your charterinternet address but it failed to go through. I just wanted you to know I wasn’t ignoring your response. At this time it is so far out of context and probably wouldn’t have been that helpful or interesting anyway. Thank you for challenging that, though. You’re doing an excellent job with this blog and it’s good to know you care.

  4. I just want to make an unrelated comment here on something I have noticed in the news lately. There seems to be an increase in crimes committed with air guns. Not crimes against property, but crimes against people.

    Somebody robbed a convenience store in Denver recently and shot the clerk in the face with a BB pistol.
    Then a guy in North Platte yesterday was shot in the stomach with a pellet gun in a random drive-by. When asked by the police who might want to do that, he answered that he had just arrived in the community and hadn’t been there long enough to make any enemies.

    As any regular readers of this blog know, I am quite concerned about gun owners’ rights. I am a member of the National Association for Gun Rights.

    Air guns are specifically exempted from being fire arms. But that exemption that protects them from firearm regulations also leaves them without any legal protection. So far, in most states, things are still OK. But the use of air guns in crimes has me worried that they might be regulated, at least at a state level. I don’t know how to counter this. If criminals keep this up, it will just be a matter of time until someone gets killed, then we will get laws dumped on us like a ton of lead. And, just like with firearms, it will be the law-abiding folks who will suffer.

    Does anyone know what can be done to avert this?


    • Les

      The only reason that citizens can still exercise their rights under the second amendment is due to the efforts of the NRA, in my opinion. Without their influence and political maneuvering it would be illegal to merely talk about guns. I think that protecting rights to shoot airguns can best be accomplished through the influence of that organization.

      I say this through gritted teeth, since they once endorsed Harry Reid.

      • SL,

        Yes. I was going to join NRA until they decided to play footsie with Harry Reid. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that afterwards.

        I really hope they have learned a lesson, not from me, but from a lot of disgusted members. If they can straighten up their act and respect the feelings of their members, I may still join them. I can understand the political power of their numbers. I would like to support them if I can be assured they will not try to work at cross purposes again.

        Whether I join them or not, I intend to continue with NAGR. I think the NRA set their cause back a ways by championing Harry as a Second Amendment supporter.


  5. It is curious, but of no particular importance; but my vintage Sheridan yellow box pellets will not chamber in my 2002 era Sheridan gas gun. The switch had been made to a domed pellet…still in an iconic yellow box.

  6. It seems evident from your comments BB,that this pistol delivers on shooting enjoyment.Really,in this price range the fun to shoot factor is tied with accuracy.Before anyone chastizes me,I will say I love accurate airguns.I just find that with non-hunting power……plinking level accuracy and ease of safe use rank pretty high.Shooting with the right airgun is just plain fun.This one seems ideal to me,and the new sights sound pretty spot-on.
    I have a couple friends that search the city for scrap for extra income.One of them found a NICE tripod in the garbage pile on the swanky side of town.He brought it to me to see if I wanted it,I said “Heck ya!” and gave him $20 for it.It’s lightweight but really sturdy,and it has a neat Velbon fluid pan head on it! This will be just right if I ever get around to making some shooting videos,not to mention a good spotting scope mount.One man gathers what another man spills!

  7. Just got a Crosman 2300S and with a little polishing of the sear the gun shoots great and very consistent… As you said in your report! I have a SD of 6fps from CO2!!!!!

    Thanks for all your posts. I wish you and Edith a Merry Christmas!!!!

  8. BB

    “It’s a fine line between getting accustomed to the gun and tiring out.”

    You said a mouthful there brother. It’s a hard thing to do, but sometimes I have to finally admit that I am done, and any more shooting would be a waste of pellets.

    Just in case your inbox is running empty, a test of the HW 75 would be a treat. If you can’t talk Josh into that, a review of the Beeman P17 with the full 3 part treatment would be equally welcomed. For the money, it just might be the best air pistol out there. The German made P3 is only marginally better, at 6 times the cost.

    • I’ll second that, SL! I think the P17 might just be one of the best purchases I’ve made! It follows the old saying… “a bargain at twice the price” (with out the sarcasm… 🙂 )


    • SL,

      Here is the review of the Beeman P3:


      Here is one on the Marksman 2204, which was what the P17 was called before it was theP17:


      And I could have sworn that I reviewed the P17, but I’m darned if I can find the report. So I will do it soon.


      • BB

        Thanks for that. I don’t remember that series of blogs, despite the fact that I made comments at the time. It must have been before I purchased my P3 or else I would have paid closer attention. Or maybe the blog is what inspired me to buy one. I just don’t remember.

        No need for a separate blog on the P17 for my benefit, there is little difference at all in my experience. The biggest difference is the trigger. The P3 trigger is heavenly. Just perfect really. The P17 trigger is merely awesome. A blog on the P17 sure wouldn’t hurt sales though.

        Indecently, on the clamshell package that my P17 came in, nowhere does it say P17 on it. At the top of the package it was labeled ‘Model 2004’.

        If you pester Josh enough, I’m certain he’ll let you test the HW75.

  9. Off topic, but I was wondering about the Leapers/UTG mounts for Diana rifles. The Pyramyd AIR site states that they will only fit the rifles with the T05 trigger and that they will not fit the new models with the T06 trigger. Do you know if there are any plans to make a new version of the mount to fit the new rifles?

      • Thanks for the reply! I’m planning to get a Diana 54 sometime in 2012 and plan to scope it (I love diopter sights, like scopes and really don’t care for notch sights) so I’ll keep watching to see if they come out with something. The UTG seemed to be the only mount that had a hope of staying in one place on one of these rifles so I hope they modify it. Actually, it would be really nice if Diana changed the rifle itself to make it easier to mount a scope but I doubt that’s going to happen!

  10. I have owned a izh 53m for about 6 months. I enjoy shooting it and find that when I stay behind the gun and don’t flinch I can follow the pellet through the air. I live in Florida on one of their many canals. Across from me is not inhabited (except for Gators).This allows me to shoot 30 yards. I like watching the pellet flight and trying to hit shells on the other bank. Good inexpensive gun.

  11. This is an intriguing air pistol. I was thinking about buying one a while back, but a dearth of reviews put me off.

    Is there any compelling reason to get one of these instead of a Beeman P17?

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