by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

IZH MP532
IZH MP532 single stroke target rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Rear sight
  • Greater eye relief
  • Scout scope
  • The test
  • Sight-in problems
  • Shimmed the scope
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • Discussion
  • H&N Match Green
  • Discussion 2
  • H&N Finale Match Heavy
  • Why I didn’t do better
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the older IZH MP532 target rifle. This is the one that was made in 1997.

Rear sight

As you may recall, the rear sight on this rifle cannot be adjusted up high enough to get on target at 10 meters. Some readers suggested I replace it with the rear sight from the other rifle, but I went a different way. Since this rifle has 11mm scope dovetails and the newer one doesn’t, I decided to mount a scope on it. And, I had the perfect one!

Greater eye relief

Because the breech on a 532 flips up when the rifle is cocked (to block the rear peep sight, so the shooter doesn’t try to shoot with the breech open), any scope has to be mounted ahead of the breech. The distance between your sighting eye and the scope’s eyepiece is 6-7-inches, and most scopes don’t work when they are that far away. However, one class of scope does.

Scout scope

The UTG 2-7×44 AO Accushot Scout SWAT Rifle Scope is perfect for something like this. A scout scope is one that has longer eye relief for situations like this. They were created for military bolt-action rifles that people don’t want to convert for a scope. Military bolts rise up and will not permit mounting conventional scopes because there is no clearance. I reported on this scope back in 2014.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout Scope on MP532
The UTG Scout Scope works well on the IZH MP532 because of the breech that flips up when it is cocked. Your head is 6 inches from the rear of the scope.

The scope goes up to 7 power, which is plenty at 10 meters. It has a fine crosshair that I was able to place right on top of the 10-dot of a 10-meter bullseye. The clarity is great. I will mention that this is a large heavy scope. It may look small on the website, but once you get it in your hand it is quite substantial.

The test

I shot 5-shot groups off a sandbag rest at 10 meters. Like the other rifle this one has an older pump cup that has hardened with age, but I lubricated it liberally with automatic transmission sealant. Then I partially pumped it multiple times at the start and then once before each shot, just as before.

Sight-in problems

I fired the first shot at 12 feet and was on the backer board below the target paper. It looked like a 3-inch separation between the aim point and point of impact.

I then moved back to 10 meters and fired a second shot. This one landed below the first shot, which isn’t right. I must have flinched on the first shot. I cranked the elevation knob up a couple turns and could feel the erector tube spring softening. Maybe the erector tube spring was already relaxed when I started adjusting it? Shot three was still too low, so the tube was probably floating.

Shimmed the scope

So I removed the scope and stuck one thick shim under the rear of the scope tube. That did it, as the rifle now shot three inches above the aim point at 10 meters. Now I dialed the elevation knob down several turns ands shot out the 10-dot of the bull I was aiming at! It was pure luck that I got it right on because I was just spinning the elevation dial with no thought of counting clicks.

And also — this FIXED BARREL air rifle is a drooper! That’s not uncommon, though many shooters think only breakbarrels droop.

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

I had sighted-in with RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets and I used the shot that went through the center of the bull after adjusting the scope as my first shot. Unfortunately I had blown away the 10-dot, so to perfect the aim I had to align the crosshairs with the numbers on the bullseye. If you overlay them perfectly the center of the crosshair has to be in the center of the bull.

Five Meisterkugeln pellets went into a group measuring 0.253-inches between centers. Compare that to the newer rifle that was shot with the peep sight. That one measured 0.179-inches between centers with this pellet, so it was better, but still in the same ballpark. That told me the barrels of the two rifles are probably very similar, which suggested that the pellets that are good in one are probably also good in the other.

Meisterkugeln Rifle group
Five RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets went into 0.253-inches at 10 meters — even after I shot out the 10-dot on the first shot!

Discussion

I am not going to re-shoot this first target, as all I’m trying to do today is get an idea of the accuracy of this rifle. Technically it should be the same as the other one, but because they were made 10 years apart and also because no two production items are ever entirely identical, I am checking.

If I were going to keep this rifle I would buy one of the new MP532 peep sights that are available on eBay right now. But I’m not keeping this one, so testing it with a scope seemed like a good idea. The other rifle cannot accept a scope, so this one is our only chance.

I’m also not going to shoot all the pellets that I shot with the first rifle, because that test told me what I needed to know about these IZH barrels. I know which pellets are good. If this test continues to parallel the last one, I will only shoot a couple more pellets.

H&N Match Green

I pleased someone last time by selecting the H&N Match Green pellet to test. It did well (0.148-inches) so I gave it a try in the scoped rifle. Five went into a group that measures 0.224-inches between centers. That’s not as good as the last time and this time the difference is significant, and I sort of blew away the 10-dot again!

H&N Match Green group
I didn’t exactly remove the 10-dot, but I made it very hard to see with my first shot. The older MP532 rifle put five H&N Match Green pellets into 0.224-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion 2

At this point in the test I was beginning to think that I couldn’t shoot a scoped target rifle as well as one with target sights when the distance was only 10 meters. When you talk about group size differences in the hundredths of an inch, removing the central aim point is a problem. So I adjusted the scope to impact lower in the bull for what I hoped would be the final pellet. Naturally I saved the best for last!

H&N Finale Match Heavy

The best pellet in the newer rifle was the H&N Finale Match Heavy wadcutter that shot five into 0.072-inches. I really doubted I could do that well this time for a reason I will share after I show you the group.

This time I was able to put 5 pellets in 0.147-inches at 10 meters. While that is twice the size of the  group I got in the last test with this pellet, it’s still a very good 10-meter group and I would always be pleased to do so well. Lucky for me the scope adjustment did move the strike of the rounds away from the 10-dot this time.

H&N Finale Match Heavy group
The older MP532 rifle put five H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets into a 0.147-inch group at 10 meters.

Why I didn’t do better

I can’t blame the rifle for today’s results. The problem was me and I knew it by the time I was shooting the second group. Because I could see through the scope where the pellets were going, I got flustered and probably opened the groups more than I should have. With the peep sight I just shoot all five shots and then go downrange and look. Watching the group form shot-by-shot is disconcerting. Sorry, but I was there and I know what happened.

The older 532 seems to be just as accurate as the newer one, but for me to shoot it that well it will need a peep sight. In all ways other than the scope, it feels just like the newer one.

Summary

This has been an interesting series about a target rifle few people have ever seen or will ever see. I have long wondered just how similar these rifles are to the IZH 46M pistol and now I know. They are practically duplicates of the pistol except for the ergonomic differences.

If the MP532 was still available and priced around a thousand dollars US it would be a welcome low-cost competition rifle for serious shooters who are just beginning. It’s heavy enough, has a good trigger and decent power. It does lack a hooked buttplate and a rail under the forearm, but both of those things can be addressed through the aftermarket.

As far as a collectible is concerned, there aren’t that many collectors of vintage 10-meter air rifles, but for those who do collect them this rifle is a must-have. And, like the Hammerli 450, the FWB 110 and the Anschütz 220, try to find one!