IZH MP532 target rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

IZH MP532
IZH MP532 single stroke target rifle.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Rough-looking stock
  • Haemmerli free pistol
  • Who is the rifle made for?
  • Also in the box
  • Bringing them back
  • ATF Sealant on the seals
  • Part two of the seal fix
  • I bought a second rifle
  • Rifle one from 2007
  • RWS Basic
  • Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • Rifle two from 1997
  • Differences in the second rifle
  • RWS Basic first string
  • RWS Basic second string
  • RWS Meisterkugeln in rifle two
  • Trigger pull
  • Pumping effort
  • What have we learned?

Today we look at the velocity of the IZH MP532 10-meter target air rifle. I’m also going to tell you how I brought both of mine back from the grave — something so easy that you can do it too! But before we get to that I want to say a few words about some comments that were made to Part 1.

Rough-looking stock

The Soviets (and the Russians of today) had/have a different approach to target guns. They believe the shooter must shape the stock or grip to fit themselves. So, many Soviet/Russian target guns are sold with stocks and grips that are left in the raw. Perhaps the best example of this is the Soviet free pistol — the TOZ-35M.

TOZ-35M-right
The .22 LR Soviet TOZ-35M free pistol was sold with blocky grips that needed to be hand-fit to the shooter’s hands. There is no reluctance taking a rasp to something like this!

Haemmerli free pistol

Compare that rough blocky grip to one on a Haemmerli model 100 free pistol. It looks like an artistic sculpture, by comparison!

Hammerli 100 right profile
Compare the Russian pistol to this Haemmerli model 100 free pistol. It came to the buyer finished like this. I am intimidated from modifying a beautiful work of art like this.

Some Russian target guns are less rough and blocky, like the IZH 46 target air pistol. It was useable pretty much out of the box, but to get a better fit I had to use some wood putty.

IZH 46 grip
I had to apply some wood putty to the rear of my IZH 46 grip to get the pistol to sit right in my hand.

So, the IZH MP532 stock isn’t rough for cost savings. It’s a tradition of Russian target rifle makers and it’s intentional. And you will always see wood putty or rasp marks on a top competitor’s stock or grip, regardless of who made the gun.

Who is the rifle made for?

The MP532 isn’t a youth-sized air rifle and is cannot be easily modified to become one. It is intended for adult and near-adult shooters. But it is also not made to shoot at the world class level. Like I said last time, the Soviets shot world-class target airguns the same as everyone else. And their top shooters would have had the very best.

Rifles like the MP532 were made for everyone else. The wannabes. To have a small team of world-class target shooters, a nation needs a program in which thousands and even tens of thousands of shooters participate. That is the milk from which the cream rises. I used to participate in national matches that way. I was “nationally ranked,” but there were a host of better shooters ranked ahead of me.

A rifle like the MP532 and a pistol like the IZH 46 are for shooters in that category. I have shot in formal matches against shooters who were shooting Daisy 777 10-meter pistols. They were no competition for me, but if one of them started to show real promise, he or she might consider buying either a better but still inexpensive new target pistol or even a good used target pistol that had once been at the top.

Also in the box

Now, let’s talk about the two rifles I am going to test for you. The first one I bought came to me in its original box. As far as we could tell, it had never been used. The barreled action was out of the stock to fit in the box, but only two long screws that were provided were needed to put things together. I also got the traditional spare parts which consist of a second pump cup seal, a set of breech seals and a combination tool and pin punch to disassemble the rifle. There is also a long brass cleaning rod. The only thing I don’t have is the manual that includes the certificate of manufacture from the IZH arsenal.

MP532 seals
The replacement pump cup and two breech seals are in a sealed bag that I am not going to open!

MP532 tool
The combination tool has two screwdrivers (arrows) and a spanner at the bottom. The spanner is for removing the front sight, which you have to do to remove the weights. It’s in another sealed bag I will not open.

MP532 punch
The pin punch.

Bringing them back

When I first put the action into the stock and tightened the screws, the sidelever wouldn’t cock the rifle. Because of that, it also would not compress air. At first I thought the rifle had been sitting for so long without being used (since 2007, so 12 years) that the seals had dried out and become hard. They will do that over time. But when I took the action back out of the stock — lo and behold, it cocked and pumped fine. Apparently something in the stock was keeping the sidelever from functioning properly.

My neighbor Denny, a hobby woodworker, looked at the inletting and determined that the front of the action around the sidelever mechanism was going into the stock a few hundredths of an inch too deep, causing the cocking mechanism to bind against the stock. We fixed it with a single shim of card stock under the front of the action and the rifle was back in service. But it sounded weak. Good thing BB knows how to fix that!

ATF Sealant on the seals

Using an eye dropper I put a lot of automatic transmission fluid sealant on the pump cup seal and also on both breech seals. I show those seals in the video that’s in the report titled The importance of seals in airguns. Those seals are on an IZH 46M, but they are identical to the seals on this rifle.

Part two of the seal fix

We aren’t done yet. The ATF sealant softens the outside of all the seals, but there is a second step to make the rifle pump even better. Cock the rifle and then work the pump handle back and forth, building compression but not fully pressurizing the rifle. Do this 30-40 times, pumping back until you can feel the compression building up each time and then relaxing and doing it all over. You go perhaps three-quarters of the way to completion on each stroke. As you do this, the pump cup seal will expand and contract, softening and warming the material it’s made from. The ATF sealant will penetrate the material deeper (I think) and the pump cup will become way more responsive. Doing both these things, I took the rifle from about 300 f.p.s. to about 500 f.p.s., which is where it should be.

This same procedure works on an IZH 46 or 46M pistol. I demonstrated this on the first season of American Airgunner by taking my 46 pistol from about 420 f.p.s. to 460 f.p.s. on camera.

I bought a second rifle

While I was working with the first rifle to get it back in shape I decided to purchase a second one. This was an earlier rifle that didn’t have the box or anything else — just the rifle. I wanted this one in case the first one didn’t pan out for some reason. I don’t plan to keep it long, and from the response I saw to Part One I will have no trouble selling it when I am ready. There were three inquiries about the other two rifles I mentioned that are available, so this one will evaporate quickly. But I have it now so let’s see what it can do, as well.

Rifle one from 2007

Now let’s test these two, starting with the newest rifle. First I oiled the pump cup and breech seals again with ATF sealant. Then I pumped the pump 3/4 of the way and relaxed again 30 times to warm up the pump cup. The first shot seen below is from the 30th pump stroke that I completed.

RWS Basic

I will begin with the RWS Basic wadcutter pellet. It weighs the same 7 grains as a .177 Hobby.

Shot……..Velocity
1……………554
2……………513
3……………454
4……………419 At this point I changed the way I pumped.
5……………505
6……………480
7……………509
8……………518
9……………522
10…………..533

The average for the string is 501 f.p.s., but you can see that shots 2 through 4 are diminishing in velocity. I figured the pump cup wasn’t warm enough or flexible enough, so after shot 4, and for the rest of all testing, I would pump once to three-quarters of a stroke, then relax and then pump the gun all the way. You can see that sped up the shots and also got the rifle more consistent. That will be the way I pump this rifle from now on.

The extreme spread for this string is 135 f.p.s., but because I changed the way I pumped in the middle of the string and also because the first shot was at the end of 30 partial pumps, I think the spread is probable closer to 53 f.p.s. (480-533 f.p.s.).

The Basic developed an average 3.9 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. I think if I had shot a second string of these the average would have been a little higher, because look what happened with a heavier pellet.

Meisterkugeln Rifle

The RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellet weighs 8.2 grains. Look at what the MP532 did with them.

Shot……..Velocity
1……………493
2……………501
3……………500
4……………509
5……………503
6……………503
7……………508
8……………505
9……………503
10…………..502

I did not pump 30 times before this string. I felt that the pump cup was already heated and made flexible enough from the first string. The average for Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets in this string is 503 f.p.s. The energy generated at the muzzle for this average is 4.61 foot pounds.

The extreme spread for this pellet is 16 f.p.s. That tells me my method of pumping is working well.

Rifle two from 1997

Now I will test the second rifle I bought. This one was made in 1997, which makes it 10 years older than the first one. I oiled the pump cup and both breech seals with ATF sealant, just like the first rifle.

Differences in the second rifle

I noticed two big differences in the second rifle that is the earlier of the two. First, it has 11mm scope grooves that the second rifle lacks. And second, this rifle has a small air intake hole in the pump tube where the pump cup ends. The first rifle lacks that hole.

I also partially pumped this rifle 30 times to warm up its pump cup. And the first shot was on the 30th pump that was completed.

RWS Basic first string

Shot……..Velocity
1……………265
2……………240
3……………236
4……………398
5……………344
6……………493
7……………416
8……………484
9……………457
10…………..478

The first string revealed that the pump cup in this older rifle has grown very hard with age. At first I thought the rifle needed repair, but shot number 4 dispelled that. I think there was just too much oil inside the valve and passageways and it needed to be blown out.

Obviously I’m not going to compute the average for this string. So, I shot a second string without hesitating.

RWS Basic second string

Shot……..Velocity
1……………493
2……………482
3……………501
4……………512
5……………507
6……………507
7……………492
8……………511
9……………505
10…………..531

The average for this string is 504 f.p.s., which is 3.95 foot-pounds. The spread is 49 f.p.s., but once again I believe the rifle is still breaking in. The last shot is what tells me that.

RWS Meisterkugeln in rifle two

Shot……..Velocity
1……………460
2……………454
3……………445
4……………448
5……………456
6……………462
7……………461
8……………457
9……………463
10…………..456

The average velocity for this string is 456 f.p.s. The extreme spread is 15 f.p.s. The muzzle energy averages 3.79 foot-pounds. The question is — why is this rifle so much slower than the first rifle with one pellet and as fast, or even faster, with the other? I think it may be the size of the pellets and the differences between the two rifle bores. Maybe the older second rifle has a tighter bore? I’m just guessing at that.

Trigger pull

Both rifles have beautifully light triggers. The 2-stage trigger on the first rifle (2007) requires 9 ounces for stage one and breaks crisply at 13 oz. The trigger on the second rifle (1997) is set up for single stage and breaks with a little creep at 1 lb. 8 oz.

Pumping effort

I only tested the first rifle’s pumping effort. To test it I first pumped it three-quarters of the way, then relaxed and set the pump handle on a bathroom scale. Then I pressed the rifle down until the pump closed. It took 18 pounds of effort to close the handle.

What have we learned?

We have learned that the performance of the MP532 target rifle is indeed very similar to that of the IZH 46M pistol. We have also learned how to bring back a single stroke pneumatic air rifle, or how to boost its power. Next comes the accuracy test and I bet you can’t wait to see how these two fine rifles do. Me, too!

28 thoughts on “IZH MP532 target rifle: Part 2

  1. Very cool, throw my name into line, if for some reason the sales fall through.

    So, If you have the extra seals, why don’t we just reseal it?

    It’s Russian, think TICK TOCK, NOT HIGH TECH, it’s going to be simple.


  2. In the absence of the original Baikal manual it’s hard to be sure, but comparison with the ’46 would suggest that from the factory it came with a choice of foresight elements as well.

    The pistol also came with a spare (but different) blade for the rearsight, and each blade has two notches in it, is it possible (or even necessary?) to have the same degree of choice with the rearsight aperture on this gun?

    Iain


  3. BB,

    It sounds like the differences in these two rifles may compare to the differences in the 46 and the 46M. Would not the time frames coincide?

    My Izzy grip lasted as was for a couple of years, then the rasp helped me shape it to fit my hand. My son-in-law does not like the new grip. He says it does not fit his hand well.

    I would have a good old time with that hunk of wood. It probably makes Hank drool.



    • RR,

      You are right about that LOL!

      Winter is coming (fast!) and I was organizing firewood and kindling yesterday – found several ugly, nasty, knotted pieces of maple that totally defied the wood splitter. Lots of character and beautiful swirling grain in the wood – so I squirreled them away in the garage – they should make interesting accents in the laminated skeleton stocks I am planning.

      A couple of the guys on the Canadian Airgun Form have asked me to make shoulder stocks for their Crosman pistols.

      Happy Monday eh!
      Hank


  4. You can add my name to the list of interested candidates. I love my 46M, and have been looking for a 532 since I figured out how much better the 46M was than me. I wound up getting a Daisy 753, which I like, but do not love. Took all three butt extensions to get the pull even close to usable. That gun would be available if I got a 532.
    Anyway, the 532 would mean common parts for the action, and I’d still have two guns that shoot better than I do.

    Let me know how it works out!

    Steve


    • Steve,

      I will tell you how the 532 compares to the 753, because I have an 853 that I love/hate. The 532 is very solid, where the 753/853 feels flexible to me when I pump it. I doubt the 532 can outshoot the 753, but the trigger is light-years better. And of course the 532 is quite a bit larger and heavier.

      The accuracy test is coming up, so both of us are going to find out about it together, at that time. But I sort of predict the 532 will be a rifle version of the 46 pistol.

      B.B.


  5. B.B.,

    Some of the older folks like me might remember shaping wood with shagreen (skin from a shark or ray) or Sandvik Sharkskin, but those are, I believe, no longer available. The advantages over rasps is the ability to wrap the stuff around a block or dowel as well as cutting it to fit. It also removes wood aggressively without leaving deep grooves and scratches. There is a new product marketed to luthiers that looks promising: StewMac Sharkskin Abrasive https://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Tools_by_Job/Tools_for_Sanding/StewMac_Sharkskin_Abrasive.html It’s pricey, but it looks like it would last a long time if it is handled carefully.

    Have any of you tried it? I’ve been thinking of getting a sheet or two for fine shaping of guitar neck profiles.

    Michael



    • Michael,

      I remember shaping the bases of wooden skis with a metal cabinet scrapper my dad gave me. He had learned cabinet making in Europe as a young boy and had a big collection of cabinet scrappers of all kinds of shapes. He also used Rottenstone in little cloth bags to do mirror like finish work on wood. I still scrape my PTEX bases with what is now called a base scrapper; exactly the same tool! Thin metal card with a burr raised on one edge to act as a cutting edge. They give some of the smoothest surfaces flatest on wood or PTEX in the right hands.

      shootski


      • Shootski,

        What you describe sounds a lot like “sandplate,” which was similar to Sandvik Sharkskin. Cabinet makers and wood carvers probably didn’t provide a large enough market, and Sandvik discontinued it.

        Michael



        • Michael,

          No, actually no surface use on the plate of steel on a base scraper. Ask a friend who SNOW skis. The thin edge(s) is filed to create a burr which actually scrapes the wood, PTEX, and/or base wax. Think of a Blockplane blade but hand-held. A very primative tool in some folks eyes, Lol but the only way to get and keep a flat ski base other than using a stone grinding machine.

          shootski


          • Shootski,

            I see now what you mean. I just looked them up and see that they are marketed to snow boarders for the most part. And hey, the very best tools are the simplest tools, IMO. Consider the hammer. I’d hate to live before the invention of that. :^)

            Michael


            • Michael,

              Everything gets marketed to snowboarders these days! Nordic and Alpine skiers have used scrappers for decades and they double for rolling and cutting the dough into the salted boiling water for Spätzle! ;^)

              shootski


              • Heh, heh. In my youth I was an avid waterskiier and even strongly considered moving to Florida from the Midwest to try my hand at competitive slalom.. That has long been supplanted by wakeboarding these days. Easy come, easy go I guess.


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