Mac tests a steel IZH 61 with metal clips: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Photos and report by Earl “Mac” McDonald

This report was promised back when I tested the IZH 60 Target Pro several weeks ago. If you’re not familiar with the discussions about the IZH 60 and IZH 61, both from Baikal, there was a major design change several years ago and the Russian pellet guns that had formerly been made of steel now sport plastic receivers. In the case of the repeating IZH 61 — plastic pellet clips. Knowing that there was controversy over which was more accurate — the old design or the new — Mac promised to test his steel-receiver IZH 61 and report the results to us. It’s a good thing we caught him at this time, because he’s selling his rifle at the Roanoke airgun show this Friday and Saturday.

We won’t go through the traditional three-part report because the new and old rifles are so alike, except for the materials. So instead this report focuses on the differences.

Sights
We’ll begin with the sights. All references will be for both rifles, unless stated otherwise. The only difference is the 5-shot repeating mechanism on the 61, and Mac shows that in detail. The sights on the older models allowed standard inserts in the from globe, and each rifle was shipped with one post and one aperture insert.

IZH 61 old model front sight
The old-style IZH 60/61 front globe accepted standard inserts, like any other target-style globe front sight.

Mac reports that the front aperture in his rifle sight is on the large side — too large for good precision on a 10-meter bull at 10 meters. He toyed with using a 10-meter pistol bull, which is three times the size of the rifle bull. In the end, he mounted a dot sight that gives approximately the same precision as the peep sights.

The rear sight on the old rifles was a value-added affair. It came as a notch that was mounted far forward for good resolution, but there was also a disk that could be attached in place of the notch. The rear sight was then repositioned to the far back of the receiver, where it was closer to the sighting eye. The disk was an inexpensive part, but it conveyed to shooters the fact that Baikal cared how their little sidelever performed.

IZH 61 old model rear sight with disk
The old-style IZH 60/61 rear sight had a disk that replaced the notch. As you can see in this picture, the disk can be moved from side to side and the sight’s normal elevation still works, as well.

IZH 61 old model rear sight with disk front view
It’s a small detail, but the disk works so well on the IZH 60/61 because the rifle’s designers made room for it to be mounted both forward and at the rear — depending on how the sight was being used.

Trigger
The old-style trigger was adjustable for pull length as well as engagement area, effectively giving the rifle a lighter trigger-pull. Contrast that with the new trigger, whose blade can be moved — but nothing else.

IZH 61 old model adjustable trigger
The old-style trigger adjusted for the length of stage one as well as the sear contact area.

Magazine feed mechanism and the metal magazines
The metal magazine is shaped differently than the plastic one — possibly because the plastic needed more material to offset wear. As with the modern gun, the mag inserts from the left side of the receiver and is pushed to the right as far as it will go.

IZH 61 old model metal magazine left side
Metal magazines work like the plastic ones, but they’re thinner. Note that this rifle was imported by EAA many years ago.

IZH 61 old model metal magazine left side front
Another view of the magazine on the left side.

IZH 61 old model right side of receiver
On the right side of the receiver, the silver button is pushed forward at the top, causing it to spring back and retract the bolt. Now, the magazine can be pushed into the receiver from the left side. It comes through the end of the hole seen at the extreme right center of the picture.

To load a magazine, a silver button on the right side is pushed forward at the top. A spring then pushes both the bolt and button to the rear, clearing the magazine channel for the insertion of the loaded mag.

Those are the major differences between the older-style rifles and the guns being sold today. In Part 2, we’ll look at the results on target from 10 meters.

21 thoughts on “Mac tests a steel IZH 61 with metal clips: Part 1


    • RR,

      As I stated in the blog, it is identical to the current rifle, with the exceptions noted. But Mac will have this one for sale at Roanoke, so you can see it up close.

      B.B.



    • D. Glumac,

      I had the sight off my rifle when it was here. It’s gone back to Pyramyd Air, but it just unscrerws. There should be no glue. The sight has to come apart to change the inserts.

      Look at the last photo in the first report:

      /blog/2012/09/izh-60-target-pro-air-rifle-part-1/

      B.B.



  1. I like a test that tackles significant questions head on, and I’m eager to see the accuracy results. So, I assume that Mac will be testing the metal rifle against the newer plastic ones. And the issue here is the relative stiffness of metal and plastic, right? I guess I should consider myself lucky with the plastic mags. I’ve heard complaints about them, even to the point of affecting accuracy, but have never had problems myself.

    Duskwight, thanks for the tip about WD40. I also learned that the cleaning rods for the Mosins are screwed in, so mere brute force will not pull them out. I tried unscrewing last night, but it still didn’t budge. I sprayed liberally with Ballistol which I had on hand but will try the WD40 next.

    Desertdweller, I was less concerned that he cut the bb than that he even made contact. There is some precedent to this activity. There is a martial art skill called arrow cutting which involves cutting arrows out of the air in flight with a sword or polearm. Also, I suppose that hitting a bb with a bb as Lucky McDaniel, the instinct shooting guru, taught people to do is in the same category of difficulty. But I’m still impressed.

    Matt61


    • Cleaning rod sounds more like an application for Liquid Wrench (and maybe a worn-out electric toothbrush).

      Liquid Wrench is strictly a penetrating oil, so a few drops at any of the joins and some time to soak in (the toothbrush is to vibrate the rod and assist the penetration, not to brush the oil itself — just hold the head to the rod).

      WD-40 might act as a solvent though its major function works on parts that are not stuck together — by blocking moisture.

      In either case, better be ready to remove the left-overs when it comes apart and use a real lubricant oil.


  2. I have an IZH-61. I do like it despite all the plastic. I can forgive this since it’s a weapons grade plastic. My only gripe is the pellet clip design. I found I have to handle the things very carefully or the pellets fall right out. This is the only thing I find that needs serious redesign to hold the pellets firmly. Other than that, I find the IZH-61 to be amazingly well built.

    I just wish I could get more time on mine, but I’m far too busy right now to find time to get some love to a target.


    • I had the same thing happen two me so I tried H and N Baracuda Match .177 witch has 4.53 mm and that solved the pellets from dropping out I watched the test that Paul did he had the same thing happen to him give them A try you will be happy you did.


  3. I think it’s a shame they changed the design. I love my IZH-60 even if it has a plastic breach but the plastic mags spooked me so I didn’t get the 61. Had it been metal mag I might have choosen the 61 over the 60 but today, with people talking about the pellets falling off the mags I’m glad I went with the single shot.
    Did the price change from the alterations being made on the product line? Did they lower the price after the switch from metal to plastic receiver and mag or has the plastic receiver kept them from raising the price?

    J-F


    • J_F,

      It’s nearly always the latter — changing the manufacturing keeps the price where it is. Prices change so fast these days that a true cost reduction is a bit of an anachronism.

      B.B.


      • I would have prefered paying more $ for a higher quality rifle with a metal receiver and mag.
        Look at Crosman 2240, 1377, 1322 the “new” backpacker. If Crosman installed the steel breach they’re selling for 30$ and sold the guns 30$ more would it sell as the same, worst or better?

        J-F


        • I would guess it probably depends upon how much of the total sales of those models goes through big box stores to casual buyers. Even to those people new to this site let alone the really knowledgeable enthusiasts, I would imagine most would jump at the chance to be able to pay a bit more for something better. For the average WallyWorld shopper, $30 might make the price seem way too high for a “BB gun”!

          By the way, I once added up the total cost to get a 1377 and fully trick it out with Crosman and other custom parts. With effort I managed to get it up to about the same price as an IZH-46!



          • But, but, but the parts is sold at retail by them for 30$?!?
            Is putting the steel parts harder, longer or more complicated than the cheap plastic one?
            If they could settle on 40$ I think it would work, I know I would buy one… I’d be willing to pay 40$ more to have the steel part factory installed or 30$ to have it included in the package. That way I’m would at least save on the shipping.

            J-F


  4. Good day. I’m from Russia and I have metal version MP-61. Sorry for my English skills. If you have
    questions , you can ask me.

    production of these rifles was discontinued in 2000-2002. After this period star make new plastik version.
    In Russia we prefer OLD-Metal version. Because steel more relible. And you can make psp on the base MP-60-61. you can see foto this change here http://airgun.org.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41607 (this is Russian air gun forum)

    If you want I can tell my position about this model and try to translate some articale. This is my mail gavroneakm@mail.ru

    Respectfully Igor


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