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Education / Training IZH-61 repeating spring air rifle: Part 3

IZH-61 repeating spring air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

IZH 61
The IZH 61 sidelever repeating air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • The rear sight
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • What if I really, really tried?
  • JSB Exact RS
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • No longer seating pellets in the clip
  • RWS R-10 Match Pistol
  • RWS Hobby
  • Trigger behavior
  • Firing behavior
  • Feeding reliability
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the IZH-61 repeating pellet rifle I am testing. And I’ll give you a heads up. There is a surprise coming. At least it surprised me!

The test

I shot off a rest at 10 meters. I tried to use the artillery hold, but the pistol grip of the 61 sort of foils that. Let’s just say I held the rifle gently. And I shot 5-shot groups.

I had planned to shoot one pellet from each chamber of the clip at different targets when I found the best pellet, but as you will see, that will not work today. I will explain as we go.

I also selected one clip that I knew was good from the velocity test and stuck with it throughout today’s test. This rifle has too many variables!

The rear sight

Nothing like an accuracy test to show me the good and bad sides of an airgun. This time it was the bad side, with respect to the rear sight. The notch in the sight is far too wide for any sort of precision shooting. Even though the sight is halfway up the rifle I found myself wondering if I was holding the front sight flush with the top of the rear and also if the front sight was centered. It was so unsatisfactory that I planned a retest for accuracy with a dot sight regardless of how today’s test goes. When you see my test results I think you will agree that was a good call. This is the surprise I mentioned earlier. It affected the whole test.

Air Arms Falcons

Falcon pellets did well in the velocity test, so I started with them. I consider the first bull to be the sight-in target. The pellets hit high and to the left. Three are in a small cloverleaf and the fourth is close, but shot number five is far away. I have no idea which one it was — except it was not the first shot. The group measures 1.129-inches between centers, but that little cluster of three made me think I was onto something.

Falcon target 1
This sight-in group of Falcon pellets measures 1.129-inches between centers at 10 meters. That little cloverleaf at the upper left was what caught my attention!

I adjusted the rear sight down and to the right — or so I thought. The rear sight moves for windage by a hinky method of loosening two screws and shoving the sight plate sideways. It is very hard to control.

IZH-61 rear sight
Theoretically the rear sight notch moves in both directions, but I hate it when they adjust this way! One of the screws fell out as I was adjusting.

What if I really, really tried?

I always try my best, but when a gun challenges me like this I have to step up the concentration. If you have shot for any length of time, you know what I mean. The second group landed low and still to the left of the bull. But this time all five Falcon pellets went into 0.453-inches at 10 meters. As you can see — that is a group!

Falcon target 2
Now we’re talking! The IZH-61 put five Falcon pellets into 0.453-inches at ten meters. It’s not the best group you could hope for, but it’s far better than the first one.

Now that I knew this rifle could shoot I adjusted the rear sight a lot more to the right and I raised it up two clicks. I hoped to get a small group in the center of the bull. What I got was five pellets in 1.367-inches. The center of the group is higher and fairly centered on the bull, but this is the largest of the three groups of Falcons I fired.

Falcon target 3
Five Falcon pellets went into 1.367-inches at 10 meters.

So which target is right? Does the 61 shoot or does it spray pellets all over the place? Well, I know the answer and I’d like to share it with you.

The first target that I am calling the sight-in target had that cloverleaf of three shots that gave me assurance that this rifle could really shoot — if I really tried. The second target proved I was right, and also showed that this clip that I’m using is lining up pretty well for all 5 pellets. The third target shows the effects of that rear sight. The bull for this target was located at the right side of the target paper and the rear sight notch was so far to the right of the bull and the target paper that I had to guess where it was!

This is when I knew that the rear sight was causing the problem with accuracy and not the rifle, itself. But I continued the test to see whether any other pellets stood out.

Stock up on Air Gun Ammo

JSB Exact RS

Since Falcons were good I thought JSB Exact RS pellets might be good, too. They are similar in shape and weight. I also shot them at a bull on the right side of the target, so I really had to concentrate on that rear notch to keep them together. Five pellets made a group that measures 0.724-inches between centers. Given the problems with the rear sight, I think this group demonstrates that JSB RS pellets should be given a second chance. Not today, but in the next test.

JSB RS target
Five JSB Exact RS pellets made this 0.724-inch group at 10 meters. I believe the lower hole that’s second from the left has two pellets in it.

H&N Finale Match Light

Next up were five H&N Finale Match Light pellets. Despite their name they weigh 7.87-grains, so they are more of a medium weight pellet — especially in the IZH-61! They all landed lower on the target, but four out of five landed in 0.406-inches! The fifth shot opened the group to 1.03-inches at 10 meters. I was now shooting at the bulls on the left side of the target paper, but for some reason that didn’t give me the same problem that the bulls on the right side gave.

Finale Light target
Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets went into 1.03-inches at 10 meters, with four in 0.406-inches.

I thought I had discovered the best pellet, so I shot a second group of Finale Match Light, and this time really concentrated on the sights. Unfortunately the rifle decided to act up. I could hear the pellets going downrange much slower than with the previous group and four out of five landed much lower on the target. This group is a disappointing 1.667-inches between centers — the largest of the day!

Finale Light target 2
Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets went into 1.667-inches at 10 meters.

Notice that three of the pellet holes are ripped to the side. Now look at the last target and see that the lower pellet hole is also ripped on one side. I think these pellets are going too slow to stabilize, so this is not a pellet for this rifle.

No longer seating pellets deep in the clip

It was at this point in the test that I stopped seating the pellets deep in the clip. I only did that initially to keep them from falling out, and it seemed they would stay in with finger pressure, alone. They get pushed through the clip and into the breech by the bolt anyway, so deep-seating doesn’t seem to have any benefit that influences accuracy. Of the rest of the pellet, only one fell out of the clip as I loaded.

RWS R-10 Match Pistol

I needed a lighter target pellet to test with. The next pellet was the 7-grain RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. Four of them went into 0.584-inches., One pellet went way low and to the right — almost like it hit something on its way downrange. That opened the 5-shot group to 1.626-inches! I have no explanation for that group, but it made me shoot a second one.

R10 pistol target
Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets are in 1.626-inches with four in 0.584-inches at 10 meters.

The second group is all together, measuring 0.539-inches between centers at 10 meters. I think the R10 Match Pistol pellet is right for this IZH-61.

R10 pistol target 2
Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets went into 0.584-inches at 10 meters.

RWS Hobby

The last pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby. It weighs the same 7 grains as the R10 Match Pistol, but it is a considerably different pellet. Five of them went into 0.958-inches at 10 meters.

Hobby target
The IZH-61 put 5 RWS Hobby pellets in 0.958-inches at 10 meters.

Trigger behavior

The rifle’s trigger is single-stage and as vague as a rumor. But it is light and does not hinder accuracy. 

Firing behavior

The rifle has a slight buzz when it shoots. Given the low power level I would leave it alone. Several readers posted similar velocities to those I posted in Part 2, so I think this rifle is performing as it should.

Feeding reliability

The clip functioned perfectly in this test. Ever since I lubricated it in Part 2 it has gotten better and better, until now it seems perfect.

Summary

I have never looked at an IZH-61 as closely as I am in this series. I loved the IZH-60 single shot, which is the accuracy champion of these rifles. The 61, being a repeater, just cannot compete. But it is accurate! And I think I have discovered in today’s test what needs to be done to get all this one has to offer. Next time there will be a dot sight on the rifle and we should see more consistent results.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

56 thoughts on “IZH-61 repeating spring air rifle: Part 3”

  1. B.B.,

    I had thought you would be continuing the Diana 27s today. Slight buzzing? Could some lithium grease help? TIAT is going to be too thick for this low powered rifle.

    Siraniko

    PS: Section H&N Finale Match Light First paragraph second sentence: “Despite their name they weigh 7.87-grains, so they are more of a medium weight pellet — especially in then (the) IZH-61!”
    PPS: Section RWS R10 Match Pistol: First image: Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets are in 1.626-pinches (inches) with four in 0.584-inches at 10 meters.

  2. BB,

    The dot sight should most definitely help. Now me, I would scrounge up a peep for it. Five dollars to a half eaten donut that is what that short rail is really for.

  3. “The third target shows the effects of that rear sight. The bull for this target was located at the right side of the target paper and the rear sight notch was so far to the right of the bull and the target paper that I had to guess where it was!”

    I don’t understand why the position of a bull on an 8″x10″ target paper would have anything to do with accuracy, regardless of a rear sight adjustment. What am I missing?

  4. BB,

    It is a pity that the poor rear sight arrangement affects the precision of this unusual and interesting rifle. Like others in the forum I also would like to know how much of an improvement will you get with a better sight alternative – either dot or peep.

    That said, the bad grouping and instability shown with the H&N Finale Match Light its interesting too. It seems that the rifle was losing power making the pellets hit low and sideways. Might this indicate that something else is at work?
    Henry

  5. Dear BB

    Not that this must be the reason for your variable size groups; but after experiencing a “strange” grouping behaviour with my 61, I discovered that the transverse little pin acting as the axis which allows the vertical adjustment of the rear sight was somewhat sloppy, so that the rear sight as a whole could be moved horizontally one or two mm. I replaced that pin with a thicker steel one and possibly (i can’t remember) added some washer, and the groups became much more consistent, about always half an inch at 10 meters.

    PS for Chris: I just read your questions. Regarding the rifling, airguns here are mostly american or european, and recently many come from China, so that are the same you can find in your country. There are some local brands, and I have a CO2 repeting Shark, but is difficult to examine the rifling given the peculiar feeding system for lead rounds; I will try, anyway. And about Coriolis: I have not been able to note an apparent systematic rotation in home-scale observations. May be the professor of my first physics course at the university was right and the effect can only be easily perceived at the larger scales of winds, sea currents and sediments dragged by glaciers; she said that she had made the suitable estimations (?) and found that any asymmetry in home objects could disturb the fluid motion, thus hiding the Coriolis effect.

    • Vassili
      Always love when the subject about the Coriolis effect comes up. Always seems to be something new to learn about it.

      Do you have any more info on that subject? Always interesting to hear.

        • Shootski,

          FWIW, 30 years ago I stood shaving at a bathroom sink in the middle of Quito, Ecuador, 17 miles south of the Equator, and the water went down the drain in the opposite direction than it did when I shaved in Chicago, Illinois.

          Then, a week later in Otavalo, Ecuador, an hour north of the Equator, the water went down the drain the same as in Illinois after I shaved.

          The cause? Beats me. But the drain thing is for real.

          Michael

          • Michael,

            Dejavu all over again…

            “But the drain thing is for real.”

            I may not agree with your erroneous draining belief but I will defend to the death your right to hold your water any way you see fit!

            shootski

            • shootski,

              The drain thing happened. I saw it with my own eyes multiple times over the course of 8 weeks. I do not have a “belief” that I saw something. I SAW IT, a fact, an objective, verifiable, repeatable (and repeated) FACT. NOT ERRONEOUS. Or are you arguing that you were there looking over my shoulder and saw something else? What other facts do you consider “beliefs”? Gravity? Is that a belief or a fact?

              I didn’t write that I believe in any particular cause for what I saw, just that I SAW IT.

              Michael

              • Michael,

                I have no doubt you saw what you say you witnessed. My point is, and was, that it is highly unlikely that the actual cause of the sink vortex you witnessed had anything to do with the Coriolis effect.
                The Physics of the Coriolis Force is based on a very weak scalar impulse; especially at or near the Equator. The piece I linked to is one of the most easily understood treatise I have been able to find. I certainly know that i am not able to explain it that well without resorting to mathmatical equations.

                shootski

          • Michael
            I believe you.

            Now the only way to truly test that would be take both sinks and swap locations.

            Too bad that will probably never happen. But I bet it would tell the story.

            • Gunfun1,

              You’re right. You have a legitimate point that the sink I used in Quito might have had contours that caused the different vortex. I saw what I saw, but yep, I don’t claim to know why it happened the way it did.

              Michael

                • Gunfun1,

                  If the sinks were swapped, that would make it scientific. There are billions of people on each side of the Equator, and I’ve never read someone say they traveled to the other hemisphere to find that it was not different.

                  Michael

        • Shootski
          See I knew we would get more interesting info.

          PS. Don’t let those snipers read today’s blog comments. I bet we would get even more interesting info on the subject.

  6. B.B.,

    Regarding my .177 Marauder. The new air pressure gauge seems to be working fine. Up to 3000 psi and holding nicely. I will be more careful to not allow the needle to go far into the red. Not that I actually know what caused what, but I know I can be more conservative and careful.

    Replacing the trigger blade yesterday was relatively simple. I hope I never need to replace the sear, though. I believe I can do that, but I still hope not to.

    I haven’t shot the Marauder yet. First, I wanted to see how things worked out at 3000 psi for a couple of days.

    Now, the rain and chill may persuade me to wait just a little longer. Sort of wishing I had spent some time with my nitro piston.

    ~ken

        • Ken,

          You are doing it right Bud! Take your time and get comfortable with what you are working with. New,… is well,… new. There is always a learning curve. Been there done, done that,… and still proceed with caution.

          As an adder,…. for instance,… when not shooting over the long Ohio Winter,… things are not so “automatic” come Spring. Again,… not the time to be over confident.

          One example that I (distinctly) remember when first coming on board here,… a fellow disconnected a high pressure hose from an air gun (before,.. depressurizing the hose),.. and was rewarded with a quick whip to the belly region and left with a real nasty bruise.

          Chris

          • Chris,

            Thanks. I didn’t edit in time. I was going to add that I respectful of anything high pressure, or at least I try to be. When I replace a nitro piston I thought the one I was removing was really low pressure, that is the reason I was replacing it. However, it got a way from me, shot across the room and nearly hit my cat, Pirogue. I would still be heart broken if I had hurt him.

            Some mistakes aren’t so bad, others are completely unforgiving.

            A few minutes ago I was remembering my visit to the Lima and Elida area. Three visits actually, summer, winter, summer. The winter visit is the only time I have ever been to a ski lodge and slopes. Both summers were hot, hotter than I had expected. This was back in 2003-2004.

            ~ken

            • Ken,

              Yes,…Ohio can be hot in the Summer. More humidity than anything. Maybe a dozen+ 90+ days on average. I will often get out right after daybreak and shoot before things heat up. As for skiing,.. never done it. In general,… when it comes to anything athletic,… I am akin to a Moose on roller skates! 🙂 LOL! My younger bro on the other hand has a nationwide ski pass and frequents Colorado often,… like last weekend. Snow Trails is the closest I know of. Mansfield area. Near I71 and St. Rt 13. No doubt,… “bunny hills” compared to the “big boy” slopes. Winters in general,.. are more mild,.. as a trend. Single digits about a dozen times per Winter.

              Chris

              • Chris,

                I didn’t ski. I just watched. Mansfield is likely, it was about 90 minutes one way from Elida. Watched folks snow tubing and some skiing. This and at least summer drive were mostly because my host liked getting out of the house. He and his sons all rode motorcycles and participated in a number of runs. The winter runs sounded cold and more potentially hazardous.

                Yeah, Mansfield for sure. Thanks.

                ~ken

  7. Just figured it out.
    What we have here is another EIB experience ( Excellence In Blogging ).
    And it seems to only be possible when you have the right person, in the right job, at the right time. Informative as well as entertaining.
    A truly rewarding experience we are participating in that attracts some of the most talented and helpful airgunners to be found.
    Also very addicting to those seeking Airgun Excellence through shared knowledge and information.

    We are very fortunate to have Tom Gaylord in charge of this experience. Life becomes just a little better each day with this blog. And I should stop calling him an old man, even though it’s probably a contributing factor to his extraordinary knowledge.
    Sonny, AKA Bob M

    • More runaway thoughts,
      Being called Sonny may not be a such a negative thing. I may have taken it out of context, considering it came from the Godfather ! ( Need to have seen the show ) And on the other hand, being called an old man by another old man may be taken out of context as well, not discriminatory at all. 😉

      Too bad we don’t have ‘master pellets’ that you can shoot and find out which pellet you need to use based on the performance of the masters. Say information telling you to use a thinner shirt, heavier weight or what ever.
      It would all be based on the results documented from using the perfect master in all types of shooting situations and finding solutions to correct any performance problems with the airgun you have in hand., something like an algorithm I imagine.

      • Bob M,

        “It would all be based on the results documented from using the perfect master…” Well sonny…you have got to read this: http://vogelusa.com/pellet-resources
        It kind of shows all the things that that algorithm could never deal with! Even buying by the case has a downside…you never know if a Lot# that you didn’t sample was The One Best run for your barrel. And then we go and clean our barrel(s) (I know, I know!) we clean them, with steel brushes and imbedding bore paste, until accuracy improves. Lol!

        shootski

  8. Shootski
    I see your point. Good info.
    So even if we find the perfect pellet for a given airgun it may not extend or continue to be, beyond the ones in that particular batch and there can be no “Master Pellets” due to production irregularities or changes.

    We may find a pellet that will keep you on the bull more often but the search for one hole wonders will be never ending or only happen when you happen to come across a perfect batch for your airgun and each particular reason you are using it for.

    Challenging for sure.
    Bob

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