by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This TS-45 rifle is probably at least 30 years old, yet also brand new.

Let’s look at the velocity of my new-old-stock TS-45. It’s been many years since I tested a really old Chinese airgun, so this was a nostalgic test for me. The TS-45 surprised me by being smoother to cock and fire than I imagined. The stock bolts were loose; but once I tightened them, the rifle fired quite smoothly and without a lot of aftershocks. I think that’s mostly due to the low power rather than any special fitting of the powerplant parts. Randy Mitchell did lubricate the powerplant of this rifle, but an older Chinese spring-piston air rifle needs a lot more than a lube tune to straighten up.

The non-adjustable trigger is single-stage and if you pull it slowly it releases consistently at around 5 lbs., 14 oz. You don’t want it any lighter because of the danger of this mechanism slipping off the sear while loading. As cumbersome as it is, I always put my arm in the path of the cocking lever while I’m loading, just in case the sear lets go.

Velocity testing
The first pellet I tried to test was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier — the so-called Premier Lite. I say I tried to test the velocity, but it was all over the place. The first shot went 564 f.p.s. and stayed there for two more shots. Then shot No. 4 leaped up to 750 f.p.s. And the feel of the gun at firing was more harsh, which told me it was dieseling pretty heavily. No detonations (explosions) were heard, but I suspect we were running just shy of them.

The Premier pellet fit the bore tightly, which I take as a good sign for potential accuracy. They’ll certainly be among those pellets I use for accuracy testing.

The velocity remained in the 700s for a few shots, then slipped back through the 600s to the 500s again. By the time I had fired 16 shots, we were down to 523 f.p.s.; but I knew the velocity would drop even lower than that, so I switched to the next pellet.

Next up were RWS Hobbys. They started out at 558 f.p.s. and dropped to 523 f.p.s. by the tenth shot, but the average for the string was a healthy 552 f.p.s. I suspect that number is a bit high, but it’s close to the real velocity with this lightweight pellet. Accepting it as fact gives us an average muzzle energy of 4.74 foot-pounds.

Like the Premier, these Hobbys also fit the bore tightly. They will be tested for accuracy, as well.

One nice thing about Hobbys is that they force a lot of dieseling for some reason. Perhaps, it’s due to their lightness, but I often find they’ll burn off excess lubricant when a gun has just been tuned.

The next pellet I tried was the Air Arms Falcon dome. These pellets fit the bore loosely, and I don’t have a lot of hope for their accuracy potential. They averaged 512 f.p.s., which seemed close to the real velocity. The range went from 500 to 529, so the rifle is definitely becoming more stable. At the average velocity, they generated 4.25 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Back to the Premiers
The rifle seemed to have settled down by this time, so I tried chronographing the Crosman Premiers once more. This time they were very stable at an average 464 f.p.s. The range went from 462 to 466 f.p.s., so the rifle seems to have settled in — at least as much as it’s going to for now. A crude spring rifle like this always needs about a thousand shots through it to fully break in and start performing the way it was meant to, but I doubt the velocity will change by more than 20-30 f.p.s.

At this velocity, the rifle generates an average 3.78 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. While that seems low, remember that spring guns do favor lighter pellets, and this one will probably follow that trend very closely.

So, how do I like the TS-45 so far? Well, I see a lot of pellet rifles over the course of a year, and this one isn’t the best that I’ve seen. It isn’t even in the top half. But it also isn’t at the bottom of the list. I’ve tested guns with a lot more power that I liked less than this one. If it weren’t so dangerous, this might be a nice little plinker.

The accuracy test is next, and those results will be very telling.