IZH 46M target pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

IZH 46M
IZH 46M single stroke target pistol.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • New in the box
  • Comparisons
  • Single stroke pneumatic
  • The IZH advantage
  • Difference between the IZH 46 and 46M
  • Power
  • Accuracy
  • Trigger
  • Sights
  • Grips
  • Weight
  • Can it be scoped?
  • The tests
  • Value
  • Importation
  • Not weapons!
  • Scarcity creates demand!
  • Summary

Today we begin a report on a target pistol that has become legendary — the IZH 46, and more specifically the IZH 46M that is the later magnum version. I picked this one up in a recent purchase that included the two IZH MP532 target rifles I’ve been writing about.

New in the box

This pistol was new in the box with everything that originally came from the factory. It had been used as a display gun at an NRA show, but I don’t think it was fired very much. According to its official certificate of acceptance, it was made in October of 2005, so although it is relatively recent it’s still been sitting around for a long time and will need some attention that I will document.

Comparisons

I normally don’t make comparisons between airguns, but this time I will make an exception. I’m going to compare the IZH 46M with my IZH 46 that was resealed by Pyramyd Air a couple years ago. I’m also going to show you how to get the best performance from a single stroke pneumatic. And I will address reader Lain’s question of whether an SSP whose piston is sealed with o-rings, like the Beeman P17 or the new Sig Super Target, reacts similarly to one with a pump cup like this IZH.

IZH 46M and 46
IZH 46M (top) and IZH 46. They look very similar. The 46M has a pump tube that’s about one-inch longer than the 46.

Single stroke pneumatic

The 46M is a single stroke pneumatic (SSP). Some dealers call it a one-pump airgun, because if the lever is opened for a second time, all the air that’s inside the gun is exhausted. Whatever power it develops from the one pump is all the power that’s available. While that does limit the power these airguns can produce, it also simplifies their mechanisms, making them ideal for use as target guns and short-range plinkers.

The IZH advantage

The pump handle of this pistol has a rounded rod that acts as a bearing that slides up a separate lever of a second linkage. This changes the location of the fulcrum as the pump handle is closed, magnifying the force you put into each pump stroke. Where it becomes the hardest to pump is also the point at which you have the best leverage, so it feels like less effort. For the power it develops the 46M is relatively easy to pump.

IZH 46M pump linkage
The rounded end of the pump link slides up the second bar as the pump handle is closed, changing the location of the fulcrum and magnifying the energy put into pumping. This is the IZH 46M

Difference between the IZH 46 and 46M

There is really only one significant difference between the standard IZH 46 and the more powerful 46M and that is the length of the pump mechanism. The 46M pump tube is almost an inch longer than that of the standard 46, resulting in a longer piston stroke that compresses more air. The result is a muzzle velocity of about 500 f.p.s. over 425 f.p.s. for the standard model. Other than that, the two airguns are identical.

Power

The thing that sets the 46M apart from other single strokes is its power. It develops a true 500 f.p.s., with lightweight lead pellets. That’s 75 to 100 f.p.s. faster than other single strokes. The manufacturer claims 410 f.p.s. for the 46 and 460 f.p.s. for the 46M, but I have done extensive testing over 20 years and have found my numbers to be more representative.

Accuracy

You have already seen the stunning accuracy of the MP532 air rifle. The IZH 46 pistol also has a hammer-forged barrel that gives similar accuracy. It rivals the accuracy of vintage target airguns like the FWB 65.

Trigger

The trigger is adjustable for the position of the blade, the length of the first and second stage pulls and the pull weight. It also has a trigger stop. If you compete, the trigger pull must be at least 500 grams (17.64 oz.) and that will be tested before every match by picking up a 500-gram weight with the trigger of your cocked air pistol.

The trigger on my 46 is set to 513 grams, which is 18.1 ozs. Most airgunners find that too light at first and have to develop sensitivity in their trigger finger before they can use it effectively. Pyramyd air has the IZH 46 owner’s manual online, providing an excellent resource for trigger and sight adjustment.

Sights

The sights are full-on target sights with a rear sight that’s completely adjustable in both directions. The gun came with one different rear sight blade that had two different notches, top and bottom, giving a total of four different notch widths to choose from. Other 10-meter pistol designers like Feinwerkbau simply make the width of the rear notch universally adjustable within the limits of the range.

The front post is also interchangeable with two other inserts that come with each new gun. The combination of possibilities, front and rear, makes for a wide range of selections.

Grips

If the pistol has a shortcoming, it is the grips. While they are fully target-style grips that meet international standards for competition (the gun must fit entirely inside a 50mm deep box), they are also smooth wood and they cannot be tightened enough to prevent them from moving when you grasp them. Most owners work their grips over, stippling them for greater roughness and finding better ways to anchor them to the frame so they don’t move as much.

Weight

When the 46 came out it was on the heavy side of normal for a 10-meter target pistol. But shooters have gone towards lighter pistols over the past 25 years and today the 1158 grams/40.8 oz. of the 46M (and 1107 grams/39 oz. for the 46) is 150-200 grams too heavy. I will say this — when you have practiced for several months with 350 dry-fire shots per day followed by 60 shots for record, you won’t notice the weight.

Can it be scoped?

Asking this of a target shooter like me is like asking if a Lamborghini sports car will accept a three-point hitch so you can occasionally plow your garden! However, not everyone shoots at targets and the answer is yes. There are several aftermarket scope mount possibilities for those who want to shoot air pistol silhouette or field target. I think the pistol is too light for hunting beyond eradicating the occasional water beetle or field mouse in your house.

The tests

I will shoot both pistols for velocity, then I will show you my special means of boosting their power. I will show how the trigger is adjusted and I will show the cocking effort. And of course I will show accuracy with both pistols.

Value

When they first came out there were only a few small private dealers selling them. As I recall the first one I saw for sale was asking over $300. Then the price wars started because small private dealers usually don’t care that much about profit. The price dipped below $200 for a while. Then EAA (European American Armory) took over importation and distribution and the price went back to over $300. As the years passed, it increased with time. The last retail price I saw was over $500

Importation

By executive order in 2014 President Obama banned the importation of all Kalashnikov rifles and other “weapons” made by Ishmash. In 2017 President Trump extended and expanded that ban.

Not weapons!

Now, airguns are NOT weapons! Yes, the Europeans call them weapons because their outlook on airguns and firearms is much different than ours. And yes, airguns have been misused in illegal circumstances, but that misuse doesn’t make them weapons. However, Kalashnikov was supposedly advising its distributors to falsify their documentation to get around the presidential ban, and that means they were thumbing their nose at the United States. As much as I regret the loss of the IZH 46M and the ISH 60/61 rifles, I support our nation taking a firm stand. So, for the present, the IZH 46M and the IZH 60 and 61 air rifles cannot be imported into this country.

Scarcity creates demand!

That spawns two things. First — there is a limited number of IZH 46 and 46M pistols available in the US. They are perfectly legal, as long as they arrived before the sanctions were imposed. But there can be no more new ones for the foreseeable future. So, if someone wants one they have to get it from the number of guns that are available. That sets up circumstance number two.

There will always be a demand for things you can’t get. If cow patties suddenly became scarce, people would pay extraordinary prices, just to have one of their own. But cow patties are and always will be cow patties — no matter how many exist. And IZH 46s are the same. I’m not saying they aren’t good. I’m just saying that I am about to give them the best test I can and let you be the judge.

I currently see IZH 46 and especially 46M pistols selling for around $600 (and up to as much as $1,000!) on the used airgun market. And they do sell. Where people stick their hands in their pockets and dance around, kicking the tires of a $1,400 to $1,800 Sheridan Supergrade, they seem to have no problem forking over 6 crisp Benjamins and more for a 46.

Are they worth that much? This is a case of the value to both the buyer and the seller. I see so-called modern art that I wouldn’t hang in my home selling for 6 figures. It isn’t worth that to me, but watching the reactions of some people, I know that it’s worth it to them. So — YES — these pistols are worth what is being asked.

Remember the Falke 90 I wrote about here and here? It is far scarcer than the IZH 46, but watch one languish on a table at an airgun show and you will gain a valuable appreciation for what things are worth.

Summary

When I wrote about the IZH MP531 target air rifle, very few of you even knew what it was. Now I’m writing about an air pistol whose fame precedes it. Most airgunners who have been around for a couple years know about this pistol. I hope to give you some perspective and insight into what has become a legend in our own time!

39 thoughts on “IZH 46M target pistol: Part 1




      • Siraniko,
        Making the levers and pivots stronger and adding rollers would take space and add weight. Probably not practical for a multi-pump. Too bad. Easier pumping would be nice. – Don



          • B.B.,

            I was thinking of that but you did mention in the article that “The inventor Robert Moss invented the pump assist and it took him a long time and many prototypes to get it right. It wasn’t just inventing something that worked the way he envisioned it. That was the easy part. The hard part was finding the right materials that would allow the pump assist to be built into a Benjamin 392 without adding a lot of extra weight and bulk. Also the materials that were needed were very exotic metals with high cost, so Moss had to find ways around that.” https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2016/12/pump-assist-benjamin-392-part-1/

            The cost of the materials made it too expensive at the time.

            Siraniko


            • Siraniko,

              Yeah, but he did it. It added $100 to the cost of a 392 and people were unwilling to pay for it. What does that mean? That no innovation that costs anything will be accepted? That will stop all serious innovation cold.

              B.B.


              • B.B.,

                People will pay for what they “think” is worth their investment. Unless something changes their minds they will not buy. As you said before some pieces of so-called “Modern Art” don’t look like anything but there are other people willing to buy such pieces at the price they are listed. In your country insurance is relatively easy to sell because you recognize its value. Around here most people are willing to take their chances everyday without it.

                Siraniko



  1. I have a IZH36M, got it about a year ago for about $300 on Ebay. It was made in 2003 according to the paper that came with it. I first saw them at a gun show in Miami, back in the early 2000’s but at the time I wasn’t interested. Then later when they were prevented from importation, the prices went sky high. Then the PCP ‘s came on the market and all the springers and pneumatic’s were being dumped on the used market. I discovered it shot very well, it was better than I could hold. The grips were a little strange, all flat edges on the center of the grip. A little rasping with a file in certain areas and it fit fine. I have since lost my sight in my left eye and had a set of left hand grips made up, from someone recommended on the net. The grip is two pieces glued together. As for speed, I didn’t get 500 fps but somewhere around 450, but I wasn’t using light weight pellets.


  2. BB,

    I had my Izzy out some yesterday evening. It did not take me long to be regularly flipping the 3/4″ spinner at 10 yards.

    I am one of those who broke out the rasps, sandpaper and stain and made a beautiful grip that fits my hand like a glove. When I fit it in my hand I can loosen my grip and it just floats there.

    I do not know what my trigger is set at, but it is real sweet. I have just enough 1st stage to feel it, it comes to a stop and I think shoot and it does. From the beginning of the 1st stage to the overtravel stop, the trigger moves less than an 1/8″.

    This was my second airgun. I bought it at the Roanoke Show in 2009. I came over and talked to you and Mac about it briefly and you recommended the RWS R10 Match for it. It loves them. I have some H&N Finale Match which it likes, but the R10 is most definitely the best.

    Folks here have heard me raving about my Izzy. They are a beautiful form follows function air pistol that is almost indestructible. With just a modicum of care this air pistol will still be shooting one hundred years from now.

    By the way, I bought mine for $300 from Gene and Sandy of PA at the show. The last retail price I have seen for a new one was $629. Not a bad investment. 😉


    • B.B.,

      I got my IZH 46M brand new in 2016 in the UK. Instantly loved it. The quirky good looks, ease of operation and what I thought was a fabulous trigger. Before I was using a Gamo Compact which is stiffer to close and the trigger takes some getting used to. In fact I hated that Gamo trigger until I opened it up and did what I could to smooth things up to lighten it a tad.

      I’ll tell you a funny story. On the day I bought my IZH 46M I was shooting away at 6y, marvelling at the excellent groups and loving the trigger, when I realised that only one of the breech seals was fitted! There was a seal missing under the transfer port. Yes seriously. So, I ‘found’ it in the box, and fitted it (it’s a one side bevelled O ring type affair). And then, my oh my, how I loved the gun even more with BOTH SEALS!

      Hehehe.

      BB, what I’d like to know is whether the 46 balances better than the 46M. The 46M is heavy and front loaded, but one gets used to it very quickly. I also have a FAS 604 and for a while that seemed easier to hold, but then I went back to the 46M and found the front heavy feeling welcome, more stable on release. Lately, my scores are just a fraction higher with the 46M than the 604 (at 10m Oly style, I tend to be hitting 80-90 points out of 100 on paper ISSF targets, all informal at home).

      Chuck


      • Chuck,

        The Izzy is an awesome pistol. It is pure form follows function. No frills. All business. Practically indestructible. To get an air pistol that will shoot better you have to pay double what these cost, even at today’s prices.

        I have considered an FAS, but after owning this Izzy I know I would be disappointed.


    • “I am one of those who broke out the rasps, sandpaper and stain and made a beautiful grip that fits my hand like a glove.”

      Hey RidgeRunner, it would be cool to see a pic of that grip; thanks. =>


  3. B.B.,

    Sweet air pistol! As I’m sure you know, this blog installment will be read and reread many times by a large audience. And $600 – $1000 for an IZH 46m is wild, but I believe it. I know that they are nice, and I know that supply and demand determine price, but I can’t help but think about how close $1000 might get a shooter to a lightly used FWB PCP pistol.

    If I lived close to the border, I’d be tempted to drive over, buy three, sell two of them to pay for the one I’d keep and the gas for the trip, and have a story to tell to boot.

    Michael


    • Michael,

      Yes, you can likely get a used PCP for that price, but it will likely be an older one. The newer, the less of a deal you can get. There really is not a big turnover of these things. People tend to hang on to them until they have something better.

      As far as new, the Alfa is about the starting point for a PCP and they go up from there. There is an expanding market for more budget minded SSP pistols. Are they as good as the Izzy? I do not know. We will have to wait and see.


  4. Good morning B.B.,
    This was an interesting look into the IZH46M and it is a real beauty and we’re looking forward to learning more about it! Perhaps an FWB65 or 80 would compete against this one in a match. Is there any chance you’d do a review of an FWB80 for the historical section of your blog? For the readers, like the FWB300S, the model 80 target pistol has its action mounted to a recoil “sledge,” so the action recoils separately from the pistol frame, so the shooter feels only a pulse when firing the shot. The trigger is so beautiful that you think the shot and it fires, like Ridgerunner said of his Izzy above. Do you have one of these in your inventory of delightful airguns, B.B?
    Best regards,
    Will


  5. I too have been looking forward to this report. My skills have been steadily improving as I work with my 46M. I got it before the ban, and thought I’ve lost the receipt, I feel like I paid $265 for it. Worth every dime.

    Now that I can mostly keep them in the black, I need to make some adjustments too the grip. My hand is big enough that I can handle a .45 doublestack, so this grip really isn’t too bad. It’s not right, and not helping me much (except for the palm shelf), but it could be better.

    I too have my trigger with a clear 1st and second stage, but have not checked the weight. It’s quite light, and I don’t feel like I ever pull a shot, even if I accidentally rush.

    Waiting for more!

    Steve


  6. BB ,

    You will be surprised by this pistol , the seals might still be good . Josh’s 46 is still on the original seals . The secret to any SSP is oil and more oil , there is no such thing as too much oil !! JUST NOT ENOUGH . These are great pistols even at the higher prices they bring now . Owners of these don’t need to worry about parts . We have been getting the seals sets reproduced in the US since 2015.


  7. Yes,I meant to say IZH46M. That’s what happens when you write at 4 am. I must also explain I also meant I only have my left eye. That’s why I needed a left handed grip.


  8. BB, to me the ceiling of the pricing of the IZH 46 or 46M is the bottom of the market for the FWB65. I never owned a IZH46 due to the shortage of left handed grips. I do enjoy their odd quirky looks.

    David Enoch




    • Brent,

      No, I never did. The 532 is so scarce that it hasn’t established a price here in the U.S. It’s whatever the seller and buyer agree upon.

      I have heard of two being offered — one at $600 and the other at $650. That’s all I know at this time. That demonstrates that something isn’t more valuable just because it’s rare.

      B.B.


  9. These are great guns. I have a 46M. It is more accurate than I can shoot even with with a rest.

    I have shot the silhouettes linked below at 25 yards. Getting all 4 with less than 8 shots is typical.
    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Air_Venturi_Airgun_Slynger_Metal_Silhouette_Targets/5801

    I found mine for $300 a couple of years ago. As RidgeRunner said the design is based on durability and function. I don’t think any parts were added to fix a problem, all the parts work in harmony.

    Don


  10. B.B., and Readership that are Veterans,

    First off: Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you for serving along side me!

    Errata: In, Importation
    “…other “weapons” made by Ishmash (Izhmash).”

    My experience with IZH is with the IZHMASH BIATHLON rifle and I must say for a first rifle for a Biathalete on a budget it is an outstanding buy. It can’t compare to the Anschutz 1827 Fortner Action especially when the temperature is really low, but then before the import ban the Anschutz was 6-7 times the price. Scarcity has not raised the prices very much but only sold more Anschutz Biathlon rifles.

    Thank a Veteran today!

    shootski


  11. A little comment about the Air Venturi manual you provide a link to.

    The exploded diagram, and trigger diagram, are taken from the original Baikal manual, the rest of the instructions and photos of the gun’s operation presumably prepared in-house. The reason some of the parts on the exploded diagram are shaded grey is that they are the parts that differ between the 46 and 46M. This is explained in the Russian original, which has a footnote at the bottom of the parts list and two separate exploded diagrams.

    That, I should add, is in a pdf of a Baikal manual that does actually cover both 46 and 46M that I found later. My own 1999 vintage 46, although it does indeed look like that shown above in the blog, came with a
    manual for what might be called the Mark 1 version of the 46 – there were originally differences in the sights and grip.

    iain


  12. As I mentioned above, this is the exploded drawing from the manual that came with a 1999 vintage ’46. The manual itself appears to be dated 1991, although it has the usual Baikal production date and serial number entered by hand in a section at the rear. The grips have a bit of contour to them, and while it’s not entirely clear how the rearsight works the sharp-eyed will notice that the foresight blade is a bit more substantial than a simple sheet metal part that slides in from the side.

    But as I said, the gun that this came with did not look exactly like this – it was the version shown in the blog with a squared-off front edge to the grip and exchangeable foresight and rearsight elements.

    iain


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