by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
The IZH 61 sidelever repeating air rifle.
This report covers:
Where to oil
The rifle is oiled!
Loading the clip
Why not do both?
Where does that leave us?
A different clip
Today I’m going to shoot the IZH-61 rifle and see what velocity it produces. A healthy 61 should make close to 500 f.p.s. with lighter (7-grain) pellets. Since I have two rifles, I’m just going to shoot one from this point on. That will be the one that I showed you in Part 1 — the one that was accepted on November 26, 2005.
Before I start the test I have something to tell you. I have told you several times how my rememberer isn’t what it used to be. Apparently its function is being replaced my my forgetter that is very active and only too willing to wipe my hard disc.
In Part One I made the following statement.
“Unfortunately after the final shot the bolt is still stuck through the last pellet chamber, so the rifle has to be cocked again to remove the clip. Or, you can just leave the empty clip in the receiver until you want to shoot again and no dry-firing is required.”
Reader Vassili Z. from Buenos Aries commented with the following.
“Though I read the blog every day, I seldom comment. I want to point that, at least in my 61 (bought here in Buenos Aires about a decade ago; they are no more imported), there is a spring loaded silver lever at the right side, sort of a silver triangle, which allows the bolt to retract without cocking the action. In fact, when you press this lever, the bolt pops back, as it is spring-loaded to do so. Thus you can then press the upper lever and take out the clip without operating the side lever.”
Well — of course he’s right! That’s how the rifle works and that’s how the empty clip is removed. Let me show you,
The lever or button that releases the bolt carrier (arrow) is forward, holding the clip in the action.
Pushing the top of the silver button forward releases the bolt carrier, pulling the bolt back and out of the clip. The clip can now be released from the receiver.
View from the right side showing the same thing. Carrier forward.
Thank you Vassili. You put the train back on the track!
To test the velocity in a spring-piston airgun you first need to determine that the piston seal is lubricated. If the seal is synthetic it only needs a drop or two but if it is leather it needs to be saturated to soften and preserve the leather.
I didn’t know which type of seal the 61 has, so I went to that in-depth resource for airguns — Ebay! Don’t laugh! If you search for IZH-61 piston seals there you will discover that the same ones that fit both the 60 and 61 also fit the IZH MP512, MP514K, IZH 53 and the 53M. And the seals they call “original” are synthetic. In fact, I believe the Baikal company is selling both seals and entire steel pistons with seals directly on Ebay!
There is also a leather IZH-61 piston seal available. It’s sold as a custom piston gasket cup seal. It’s being sold by a Russian dealer located in Izhevsk who calls himself izzygear, which tells me he is well-connected to the worldwide airgun community and also speaks and understands English quite well. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he reads this blog! It’s probably someone at the IZH factory.
The bottom line is — my two new old stock 61s both have synthetic piston seals and therefore only need a drop or two of oil. But where to put it?
Where to oil
Okay, the last tip was to press forward on the top of that silver bolt release button on the right side of the action. Here is what happens to the air transfer port when you do that.
With the clip removed you can see how the bolt passes through it when it is forward.
If you look at the rifle from the side you will see that the piston does not line up with the barrel. It’s lower. The compressed air generated by the piston has to flow up to the breech, entering around the narrow tip of the bolt inside the rear end of the barrel. And I would now like to point out that I am the only one calling that part that slides back and forth and pushes the pellet from the clip into the breech the bolt. It’s called many things around the world, but bolt doesn’t seem to be one of them.
So, move the “bolt” back and drop the oil into the rear of the barrel with the muzzle pointed slightly down and the front sight sticking up. You are trying to get oil to flow into the tiny air hole at the bottom rear of the breech. In fact, that is exactly what the American-written manual says to do — not that I ever read manuals or tell anyone to follow them!
But I will point out something that I think the American-written manual (from EAA) got wrong. They say to use a high-flashpoint oil for the piston seal. That would be correct for a powerful spring-piston airgun. However, you don’t need to do that with a 500 f.p.s. spring-piston gun! Use regular household oil, because it works just as well and there is no danger of a detonation in a spring gun as weak as this. Silicone oil won’t harm the rifle, but neither will 3-in-One.
The rifle is oiled!
In Part One I told you that the magazine feed mechanism was iffy when I got the rifle. Lubricating it as I wrote about in Part One got it up to 90 percent reliability. As I have been writing this report I have been lubricating the rifle all over and it is now functioning and feeding reliably all the time. It’s 100 percent — or nearly so, as you will learn! Remember — it was made back in 2005 and has been sitting around for about 15 years. The oils that were applied back then have thickened and gummed up a bit, which caused the problems I mentioned, but all it took was fresh oil and the parts sprang back to instant life!
Now let’s look at velocity. I have waited until now for this very moment. I know the rifle shoots okay, but I have no idea how fast it is shooting. We will discover that together!
The RWS Basic wadcutter pellet weighs 7 grains. That should give us a good idea of the velocity potential. I shot 10 of them using the same magazine for all 10. That would be five, followed by a second five. Let me show you the string.
The average for this string is 399 f.p.s. But look at shots 4 and 5 and 9 and 10. Those four shots are from the last two chambers in the clip and they all went faster than 400 f.p.s. They were the only shots to do so in this string.
The extreme spread went from a low of 366 to a high of 421 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 55 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Basic pellet generated 2.48 foot-pounds at the muzzle. Lets do that again!
This time the velocity varied more from chamber to chamber, but the average was the same 399 f.p.s. The spread this time went from 375 to 426 — a difference of 51 f.p.s.
I think several things are happening. First I think the piston has too much oil. I could see a light spray around the breech when the gun fired the first few times. Next, I think the rifle is breaking in. Until now it hasn’t had a chance to. And finally I think the chambers in the clip are ever-so-slightly different and are giving different velocities. I will say that when I pressed the pellets into the clip with my seating tool they all went in with a sharp pop.
Loading the clip
I pushed the pellets flush into the clip chambers with my finger, then seated them with a precision seating tool — a fat ballpoint pen with the point retracted. It was just fat enough to push each pellet a small fraction of an inch into the clip.
I used a fat pen with the point retracted to seat the pellets in the clip.
Next we will try the Air Arms Falcon dome that’s made by JSB. Falcons weigh 7.33-grains so by weight alone they should shoot slower than Basics.
Okay — does that surprise you? First, Falcons averaged 422 f.p.s. in this rifle. Second, at that velocity they generate 2.9 foot-pounds. Third the spread went from a low of 412 to a high of 436 — a difference of 24 f.p.s. Don’t gotta be a rocket scientist (no offense, Jane) to realize this rifle “likes” this pellet a lot more than Basics.
Yes, there is more to ponder. The next and last pellet was the H&N Finale Match Light that weighs 7.87 grains — despite the name. I wonder what we are going to see?
3……..did not register
4…….. a blank — the mechanism failed to advance the clip
5……..420 — WHAT?
That is a total of 9 shots recorded so far in this string. Shot number 5 made me think a different pellet had found its way into the tin, but shot 6 put an end to that. Shots 10 and 11 are also much faster. Is that the effect of those two larger chambers again? Because it does seem to line up.
BUT — and this is a big one! I still had one more pellet to fire to complete my string of 10. Should I shoot it from the chamber at one end of the clip where I believed it would shoot slowly? Or should I use the chamber at the other end where it would shoot faster?
Why not do both?
I loaded the chambers at both ends of the clip. The first pellet was fired from the slow end and registered 359 f.p.s. Using that as shot 10, the string averaged 384 f.p.s. and generated 2.58 foot-pounds. The low was 357 and the high was 420 f.p.s. — a difference of 63 f.p.s.
The last chamber registered 392 f.p.s., which made the average for the string 387 f.p.s. So, although the difference in the last two shots was 33 f.p.s., the difference in the average velocity for the string only rose by 3 f.p.s., which is what averages tend to do. The spread for this string is the same as before. The energy registered for the new average is 2.62 foot pounds.
Where does that leave us?
Don’t start inventing a universe for this IZH-61 to inhabit just yet. I think you can see that it is too soon after the Big Bang and things have not sorted themselves out. This rifle still needs to break in. But I am still curious. I want to do two more things. First, now that I have shot a total of 42 shots on the rifle, I wonder how another string of pellets will look. I don’t think the rifle likes Basics too much, so let’s shoot Falcons.
The average for this string is 428 f.p.s. and the spread goes from 420 to 438 — a range of 18 f.p.s. The previous average with this clip and pellet was 422 f.p.s. with a spread of 24 f.p.s. So this string is both faster and more consistent. Is the gun settling down as it breaks in? Probably, but it’s too soon to tell.
A different clip
The other thing I wanted to try was this Falcon pellet in a different clip. For the next string the same clip was used for all 10 shots, but it was different from the clip I had used before.
This clip has one loose chamber that the pellet kept falling out after it was seated. I had to take special pains to load that clip into the rifle without the pellet falling out.
Following seating with the pen the pellet in the fourth chamber kept falling out.
The average for this string was 419 f.p.s. The spread went from 407 to 433 f.p.s. — a difference of 26 f.p.s.
I think the rifle is breaking in. Of all 62 shots fired today there was just one failure of the clip to advance, resulting in a blank shot. Other than that the clip advanced smartly every time.
Will this rifle ever get up to 500 f.p.s.? It’s possible but I think unlikely. Falcons will probably settle out in the 440s and there might be another pellet that averages 10-15 f.p.s. faster, but I think that’s about as far as this rifle will go.
The trigger is very light at 1 lb. 8 oz. The pull is single stage and mushy. I can’t tell when the rifle will fire. I’ll need to concentrate when shooting this light rifle at targets, because that unpredictable trigger will keep me guessing.
The rifle cocks with 11 lbs. of effort. At the end of the cocking stroke a little extra pull is needed to set the trigger, so call it 14 lbs. It is extremely light for a spring-piston air rifle. Does that indicate that the mainspring is weak? I don’t think so. At any rate I’m happy with the velocity we have now, so it doesn’t matter.
This IZH-46 is an air rifle that needs to be loved and used a lot. It practically begs to be shot. Unfortunately, with all the testing I do I won’t be able to do that. It’s a great little plinker for someone who has the time!
I am excited about testing the accuracy.