The Haenel 311 target rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Haenel 311
Haenel 311 target rifle.

History of airguns:

This report covers:

Not the Hurricane today
So what?
Haenel target rifles
The 312
The 311
Different way to oil the piston seal
Construction
Sights
Trigger
Summary

Not the Hurricane today

I was going to do a Part 2 velocity test with the Webley Hurricane today but this is Friday and I wanted to give you guys something to talk about over the weekend. Velocity tests of airguns I have tested before aren’t usually that exciting, so I looked for a different topic for today.

I don’t know if this has ever happened to you but I have forgotten something. I know it’s hard to believe but it’s true. I have forgotten that my Haenel 311 bolt-action target rifle from East Germany shot the smallest 5-shot group I ever shot at 10 meters. Let me show you.

Haenel 311 target rifle Gamo Match group
At 10 meters the Haenel 311 put five Gamo Match pellets through a hole so small that I could not measure it. 

Thinking that group was a fluke, I shot a second 5-shot group of Gamo Match. This time the group measured 0.163-inches between centers and was probably closer to representative of what the rifle can do. And even that one is a very good group.

Haenel 311 target rifle Gamo Match group 3
After the 10-meter first group I shot this one that measures 0.163-inches between centers. It’s still a very nice group.

So what?

Here is what is driving this series of tests. In Part 2 of the report on peep sights this week I said, “The Haenel 311 rifle that this sight is mounted on is a taploader that works via a bolt action. As far as accuracy at 10 meters goes it is a junior class target rifle at its best, and probably not even that.”

Then I got curious and looked at the test I did on the 311 in 2011. Lo and behold — those targets above materialized and I realized I owed the Haenel 311 an apology! What’s even stranger is the pellet that was used in that test — the  Gamo Match that several of you have asked me to try! So I think it’s time to take another good look at this East German target rifle.

Haenel target rifles

Haenel made several target air rifles. Some are so rare that you only read about them and never see one up close. But of the common ones the 310 is a bolt action round ball shooter that’s rifled. It’s a repeater that feeds from a tiny spring-loaded magazine that’s housed on the bottom of the stock. They came into the U.S. in boatloads after the Berlin wall came down and I snagged several at about $60 each. They are way higher now.

Haenel 310
The Haenel 310 is a rifled ball-shooter. The triangular projection ahead of the triggerguard is the anchor point for the bolt that serves as the cocking lever.

The 312

An important step up from the 310 are the 311 and 312 target rifles. The 312 is the better of the two. It’s a sidelever that has a sliding compression chamber to expose the breech. Its rear sight is larger and beefier than the one on my 311, but that could be due to the time when the specific guns were made. Or it could be a difference that always was there. I don’t know. The 312 was always more money than the 311 and today I think it brings about $350 if it has the sights and works.

The 311

The 311 is the oddball that I’m covering today. They originally cost about $75-80 when they were coming in but today they are much higher. However they are more common than the 312 and don’t quite command the same price.

The rifle began production in 1964, which was at the height of the Cold War. Production ended in the early 1990s.

The 311 is a 10-meter target rifle, but it is so different from any other 10-meter rifle that it’s very difficult to categorize. The cocking effort is very difficult — owing to the short cocking lever — so this is not a three-position rifle in anyone’s book. It’s meant for offhand shooting, alone. Even then, the shooter must take care where he points the muzzle while he struggles with the cocking lever. It takes 33 lbs. of force to cock my 311, and applying it through the 3-inch bolt handle isn’t easy. In the offhand position, I would shoulder the rifle and simply pull the handle back, using my shoulder to hold the rifle in place. It sounds easy, but after a couple shots you start feeling the strain. I will test the effort again in Part 2 but I doubt it has changed over the years.

The 311’s articulated bolt rotates up and forms the top half of a longer cocking lever. You can see how it works in the picture. You rock the bolt back to cock the rifle and, typical of these bolts, the effort to cock is not light.

Haenel 311 bolt
Swing the bolt up like this and pull back to cock the rifle. It is a rocking motion, with the anchor underneath the stock, as mentioned.

The 311 is a taploader, which is what drove me to make my comment about accuracy. And in truth with most pellets I don’t get accuracy that’s any better than a Daisy 853 would give. That’s a 5-shot group of around a quarter-inch between centers at 10 meters. But the Gamo Match performance makes me want to test the rifle with other pellets that are new to the market — and there are a bunch of them.

Haenel 311 target rilfe loading tap
Rotate the tap lever forward and the top opens to accept one pellet, loaded nose-first.

Different way to oil the piston seal

With a loading tap there are a couple of ways to oil the piston seal. One is to open the tap, drop 5 or so drops of oil in, close the tap and stand the rifle on its butt for several hours to let the oil drain back and saturate the piston seal. I believe the piston seal is leather because Haenel used leather seals on similar rifles like the 303-8 Super breakbarrel target rifle that I reported on in 2009. 

A second good way to oil the piston seal is to stand the rifle on its butt and pour the oil down from the muzzle. Use an extra drop or two because the barrel will retain some if you oil this way.

You can use silicone chamber oil if you wish. I use Crosman Pellgunoil, which is 20-weight motor oil with an o-ring preservative. The muzzle velocity is so low that you don’t need to use silicone chamber oil if you don’t want to.

Construction

The rifle is larger than a youth target rifle. It’s 43-3/4-inches long with a barrel that’s 16-1/2- inches. The pull measures 13-7/8-inches, which is very long for a target rifle. My rifle weighs exactly 8 pounds. The stock is plain hardwood that looks like beech. The pistol grip is checkered with coarse hand-cut diamonds. The forearm is rectangular and tall, with finger grooves on each side. In all the 311 is closer to a vintage adult target rifle of the 1960s than it is to a youth target rifle.

Sights

You have already seen the 311’s rear peep sight. Here it is again.

Haenel peep
The Haenel peep sight is as nice as any top-grade peep. It just looks odd in a swept-back way.

The front sight is somewhat conventional, but constructed in a different and unique way. Like the AirForce front sight the Haenel stands on a tall pillar. Unlike the AirForce sight the Haenel does not adjust for height.

Haenel 3411 target rifle front sight
The 311 front sight stands tall on a pillar, but does not adjust for height. It does accept interchangeable inserts that measure a non-standard 15mm in diameter.

I have one more sight that very few Haenel 311 owners know about. It’s an intermediate rear sporting sight. Many European gallery rifles and Zimmerstutzens had intermediate sporting sights like this that were used for certain sports where the peep sight was not allowed. All 311s have a raised dovetail base just behind the loading tap for this sight but very few people have ever seen the sight itself. I received it with my rifle when I purchased it and considered myself very fortunate. I have never seen another.

Haenel 311 target rifle sporting sight
Here is something you don’t see every day — Haenel’s sporting rear sight. It clamps to a raised dovetail base just behind the loading tap. Only one rear sight may be used at one time, as they get in each other’s way.

Trigger

The trigger is one place where the Haenel pedigree shines through. It’s a multi-lever unit that breaks cleanly and lightly if not crisply.

Here’s a warning to all you would-be tuners. Many years ago I wanted to quiet the vibration of my 311 action, so I started what I thought would be a simple disassembly. When I got inside the trigger, however, the job proved to be anything but simple. I the assembled the gun with the automatic safety out of whack and have lived with it ever since. When I cock the rifle I have to pull the safety back to set it, then push it forward to make the rifle ready to fire. The 311 is not the rifle to take apart unless you have a lot of patience and perhaps a spare rifle to look at when it’s time to put it back together.

Summary

This should be an interesting look at a target rifle few airgunners have ever seen. And we begin with a pellet that should prove accurate. I think we are in for a lot of fun.

132 thoughts on “The Haenel 311 target rifle: Part 1

  1. B.B.,

    You haven’t posted a picture of this rifle being cocked. Is the fulcrum located just in front of the peep sight? Trying to imagine how this would be cocked if the shooter was in the prone position they’d be struggling. Is the bolt handle knurled? That would aid in gripping while cocking.

    Siraniko

    PS: Section Summary first sentence: “This should be an interesting look art (at) a target rifle few airgunners have ever seen.”



  2. B.B.

    This is much more interesting than the Hurricane. There is an airgun dealer in Germany-East Germany before the Wall came down-that I look at occasionally. They always have Haenel parts and used guns on their site. Now I know why!
    I find the tap loading port very interesting. How can the East Germans figure out how to make an accurate tap loader at a time when the West German’s had not figured it out yet? I’m thinking about the HW 57.
    Maybe future history reports will be about some other Haenel rifles you own or want to own?

    Stay safe,

    Yogi


    • Yogi,

      My 1906 BSA is a tap loader. It holds a pretty good group at 10 yards and feral soda cans do not stand a chance at 25.

      The HW 57 is not a tap loader. A sliding gate loader? I call it that because it works like a gate valve. As for it’s supposed lack of accuracy, I cannot comment on. I have never had the luxury of even holding one.

      A tap loader works more like a ball valve. It requires much tighter tolerances to work. I like tap loaders.

      Another neat loading system is on the Gamo CFX. It has a rotating breech. My GFX was also an extremely accurate air rifle.

      The one “disadvantage” these have is the longer transfer port which reduces the power level.

      If you dig through BB’s past blogs you will likely find that the tap loaders there shoot pretty decent.


  3. BB,
    I was surprised to read your comments on the 311 in the peep sight pt2 report and popped up to defend the gun there only last night. A pal and I have both owned 311s for some years, his has both the peep and open sights present. Interestingly, both have had their safeties removed so its very likely each has seen use in proper matches/ competitions with previous owners. I got a wee box of spares with mine.
    Excellent photos in the report so far which show the Haenels good build quality well.
    Regards,
    Drew



      • B B,
        It’s my pal that has the open rear sight on his 311 but to the best of my knowledge he has always used the factory diopter. He has a 312 and a 303 also.
        I just dug out the box I referred to earlier. It has the Suhl emblem printed on and contains the following:
        1. Mainspring
        2. Piston seal
        3. Small aluminium plate, drilled twice
        4. Small cleaning brush
        5. Tiny flat headed screwdriver
        6. Small bradawl/ pick
        7. Bottle of oil
        8. Despatch note from Parker Hale Limited referring to a replacement diopter sent F.o.C
        9. Compliments PH slip referring to the above.

        On a separate note I recall another 303 owning friend writing to the Haenel factory as part of his school German work, telling them how much he liked it. He received a nice reply back from them with some bits and pieces. A little token of appreciation sent both ways through the iron curtain.

        Regards,
        Drew


  4. BB,

    I concur with Drew, you can see the quality construction quite well in your photos. Even the stamped metal parts look to be robust and well formed. Nice. It is a shame that by the end of the day the prices will have jumped. 😉



  5. BB ,

    Randy Bimrose has worked on quite a few of these . He might have the answer for the trigger . Neat rifle , anyone I have ever seen has been the 4.4 mm ball guns . The Anschutz guns are hard to cock also , can’t beat physics and geometry . Definitely some hand fitting on those tap loaders , that would give the bean-counters at a manufacturer the vapors today ! Probably why we don’t see them anymore , I think it is a good design and no need for a bear-trap safety .



    • Gene,

      As I state below, TAP LOADERS RULE!

      Talk about giving the bean counters vapors, my entire 1906 BSA would do that. Unlike many later tap loaders, this one has no seals. It relies on the fit and a slight film of oil to provide an air tight seal.

      All of the steel parts with the exception of the butt plate and the compression tube are machined. The barrel and the breech block is machined from a single piece of steel. Although visible due to the differing patina of the steels, the joint between the breech block and the compression tube cannot be felt.

      The butt stock is a nice hunk of striped walnut.

      The piston seal is leather. It works just fine at this air rifles power level, though I have toyed with the idea of making another piston with a modern parachute seal. If I should get my hands on another of these jewels I would most definitely do such. I might even try out an adjustable gas spring. 😉


  6. BB ,

    This place is swamped , more orders than Christmas . The only people in the building are Warehouse and Tech . Everyone else is working from home . We are not the only ones experiencing this, allot of online ammunition retailers have had to stop taking orders due to demand or are telling customers that orders are shipping at a slower pace . Air-Arms is closing until 5/4 in the UK and I know Crosman closed up last Friday due to NY law , just hope this doesn’t carry on too long or parts are going to dry up . Thankful to be working and Glad You are doing well .

    Gene


  7. The way of cocking these rifles was meant to simulate the cocking of a bolt action firearm. Shooting in GDR was closely connected to government funded youth training that ultimately had the goal to turn the kids into good soldiers.





    • To Dave, B.B., and all the rest of the Readership that believe,

      For I know the plans I have for you,
      declares the Lord.
      Plans to prosper you and not harm you,
      Plans to give you hope and a future.
      Jeremiah 29:11

      shootski


      • shootski,

        You know, old Daniel quotes Jeremiah when he prays for the release of Israel from Babylon. He is in his 80s and was probably made a eunich when he was captured at age 15, but he still prays for Israel to be returned to their land — even after reading that they would be returned after 70 years. Everyone else probably thought it was going to happen anyway after 70 years of captivity so why bother, but Daniel gets after it as if the words are fresh! Gotta love that man! 🙂

        B.B.



        • B.B.,
          I’ve read Daniel, but never considered things from the perspective you just outlined. Thank you!
          That’s what I love about this blog: we not only get to learn [a LOT] about airguns; we also get to learn something about airsoft, firearms, mechanical maintenance techniques, woodworking, and now even some Bible knowledge to boot. Yes, you have gathered a large readership over the years, people with a great amount of knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. Yet the really cool thing about this blog is that (unlike some forums I will not bother to name) it is instructive without being devisive. Here, people from a wide variety of backgrounds share their knowledge with each other to build each other up. And that is way cool, of course. =>
          Thanks again,
          dave


          • Dave,

            Thank you. I just recently discovered what I said about Daniel. As Adonai shakes things up, He also enlightens!

            I enjoy the atmosphere of this blog, as well. For that I thank Edith, who set the tone for all of us.

            B.B.



            • B.B.,
              Yes, God still rules in all things; and Edith did a wonderful job of creating an atmosphere of courtesy in this blog. The only other thing I would like to see is more comments from women shooters; this isn’t just a good ol’ boys club; I’m confident there are women reading this blog. Don’t be shy sisters, please share your comments.
              Or perhaps the wives of some of us guys could share their views on how being an airgunner has made their husbands into better husbands (as in, they are too busy working on and shooting airguns to have time to do the dumb things some other guys do. =>).
              Keep up the great work, B.B.!
              Peace & Blessings to all,
              dave


      • Shootski, excellent choice; that was the verse used by a counselor at the lowest point of my life.
        And my wife gave me a copy of it that hangs on the wall over my HW30S.
        Yes, we make our plans, but He has better plans for us. =>


  8. B.B.
    Great choice. What’s that saying, ” Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” from?
    I think It’s from a movie.
    Wash yer hands, and dont forget to clip your nails before you come to the table.
    Be well,
    Rob


  9. B.B.,
    I did a search on Haenel, and it appears they are still around: https://www.cg-haenel.de/sport-en/
    With that in mind, I posted them the following message:

    Subject: The awesome Haenel air rifles of the past

    Dear Haenel Personnel,
    I just read a report on the Pyramyd Airgun blog about an awesome air rifle you used to make:
    https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2020/03/the-haenel-311-target-rifle-part-1/#comment-453210
    It appears you had a whole family of really cool airguns, that were high-quality and well-regarded.
    Please check out the above report by B.B., and note all the comments on your rifle.
    I would venture that perhaps the time has come to make such guns again. Thank you.
    Take care,
    Dave MacFadyen, USA


    • Today’s Haenel is the name, I would not call it the same company it used to be during it’s time in socialist part of Germany.
      Haenel airguns are still rather common in Germany, used ones are not expensive.


      • “Today’s Haenel is the name, I would not call it the same company…”
        Mel83, I hear you; but besides the name, did they also acquire all the old blueprints, and the right to make any of the previous Haenel guns? I hope so.
        “Haenel airguns are still rather common in Germany, used ones are not expensive.”
        That’s great for you guys; too bad you can’t ship a boat load of them over here. =>



          • (what I mean is that if you made Haenel guns today, you would produce pretty expensive rifles thst are, by todays standard, vastly underpowered and cannot inferior in almost every respect to other rifles in its class. Mind you, the Haenel 310/311 was really expensive. You’d have to compare it to a modern 10m match competition airgun.


            • Mel83,

              I wouldn’t compare a Haenel to a world-class 10m match competition airgun of its own era. The Feinwerkbaus, Walthers, etc. were simply a step above for that sort of thing.

              As for modern 10m match competition airguns, the vintage springer models were usually 10-15 percent more powerful than today’s PCP ones. To an Olympic target shooter, power is irrelevant.

              But 10 meter air rifles aside, there still is a place for new, pricey, high quality, all metal and wood springers of the sporter variety. It’s not a Haenel (no offense to the Haenel), but how about the Air Arms TX200? At its power level (20 or so foot-pounds) and at distances it’s designed for, no PCP can exceed its performance. :^)

              https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Air_Arms_TX200_MkIII_Air_Rifle/174#515

              By the way, I have a Haenel 310, and it’s well-made and a lot of fun to shoot.

              Michael


            • Mel83,
              I understand what you mean; if you made such guns today, they would be underpowered compared to guns in their same price category (because it would cost a lot more to produce those wood and metal guns at that same level of quality). But I would still want to buy one. =>
              Take care,
              dave



                • TAP LOADERS RULE!

                  My 1906 BSA was not a cheap air rifle when it was made. To reproduce it today would give it a price tag higher than most others on the market. It is almost all machined steel and walnut. the only stamped metal part is the butt plate and it is pretty hefty.

                  Something I frequently wonder is how many of these “modern” airguns will be shooting over one hundred years from now?


  10. B.B.,

    That one group is Nixon Penny worthy! (It also reminds me of the Groucho line, “If I were any closer to you, I’d be behind you.”)

    This report has me thinking about digging out my Haenel 310 with a target style stock. I know I still have some of those tiny lead round balls they shoot, too, a bag of ’em I got from JG.

    Michael


  11. B.B.
    Why ball ammo and not slugs or slug type forms as the earliest types ammunition?
    Aren’t spheres harder to make than cylinder forms when it comes to mold making?
    Do spheres work better than slugs in a smoothbore? I think because slugs may tumble,
    round ball was used.
    R


    • 1stblue,

      I spent some of my misguided youth in the City of Brotherly Love. I visited this facility: https://www.ushistory.org/oddities/sparks.htm
      often before it became a tourist destination along with trips to Idependence Hall to play ON the Liberty Bell! You will get shot today for climbing on that bell if you managed to break through the big glass box it is encased in…
      But back to shot towers…they work. I saw it done.

      shootski


    • Rob,

      The first projectiles were wooden spears and rocks stuffed into the bore of a cannon. Then “they” (and that is everyone who is not “us”) started carving bullet molds. They were spherical-ish. Soapstone carves easily and works for awhile. They got better as time passed, but as you said, conical bullets tumbled and weren’t accurate. At least round balls were fairly accurate. Remember — this all took centuries to transpire.

      B.B.


      • Interesting about the Soap stone! Did the idea of a spin stabilized projectile drive the machine tool technology for a rifle barrel, or did the machine tool technology already exist before barrel rifling was invented?
        May be a chicken or egg question.
        Rob



        • Rob,

          I did a Wikipedia search to remind myself what i was taught at the Dalgren Museum of Naval Guns:

          “Barrel rifling was invented in Augsburg, Germany in 1498. In 1520 August Kotter, an armourer from Nuremberg, improved upon this work. Though true rifling dates from the mid-16th century, it did not become commonplace until the nineteenth century.

          The concept of stabilizing the flight of a projectile by spinning it was known in the days of bows and arrows, but early firearms using black powder had difficulty with rifling because of the fouling left behind by the dirty combustion of the powder. The most successful weapons using rifling with black powder were breech loaders such as the Queen Anne pistol.”

          So did the chicken come before the egg?
          I think so!

          shootski


          • Sshootski,
            The Queen Anne was ahead of it’s time, but too expensive for a regular guy.
            Plus, rifling was an expensive upgrade in the 18th century. Then the metaroulogy
            and machine tool technology was the relevent factor for the mass adoption of barrel rifling. I suspected the chicken as much. The carbon fouling was chemestry problem too.
            Thanks,
            Rob



          • shootski,

            As much as I obviously enjoy the times when I am correct, this is certainly not one of them. The tour has arrived in Topeka, KS and Midland TX. Shawnee county (Topeka) reports 4 coronavirus cases, and Midland and Martin counties (Midland-Odessa) report a total 7 coronavirus cases. :^(

            Michael



            • Michael,

              I’m certain they have enough ventilators in those places and doubt they would lose track of 1,000 of them like NYC’s/NY States’ admnistration sadly did.

              shootski



                • Michael,

                  really..like? https://gothamist.com/news

                  I do open source literature intel on the side;
                  inadvertent disclosures with follow up corroberation.

                  shootski

                  PS: NY Times:https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/nyregion/coronavirus-new-york-update.html#link-17793def

                  The outbreak, which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo once said was advancing “unabated” in New Rochelle, has appeared to slow: Over the last four days, only 38 new cases were reported in the county.

                  “Everybody talks about flattening the curve, and I think that’s exactly what we were able to do in New Rochelle,” said Dr. Sherlita Amler, the Westchester County health commissioner. “We know we can’t stop every single case, but our goal was to reduce the number of cases, and I do think the measures were successful in doing that.”

                  Fake NEWS?


                  • “really..like?” I DO really like the Gothamist, yes indeed!

                    Good for you. Trump considers it fake news as it’s regularly critical of him, but I think it’s fair. (It’s owned by Public Radio, I believe.) That article implicitly praises Cuomo, by the way. I’ll keep checking it out. I had heard it’d gone away, but glad to see it’s not so.

                    Thanks for the tip! :^)

                    Michael


                    • Michael,

                      I watch the regular local news, then national, then the local PBS news hour. The PBS is pretty good on representing both sides and tends to dig deeper and ask tougher questions. Cuomo is a clear speaker. I like him for that. Our local Governor does the same as well as the medical director. Ohio.

                      I watch Fox news channel which runs related stuff 24/7. They tend to keep on the facts with much less political bias/purposeful deceit/agenda.

                      I refuse to search the internet randomly for any news other than the local, state and national health sites. A neighbor will come over (outside) and say he saw XYZ on you tube. Really?

                      I try to watch everything and use it as an overall view. I decide from there,.. while also realizing that this is fluid and things change based on the real time data and recent historical trends.

                      I will take over prepare any day over anything less. I like Trump. He is a fighter. I will also say he could take things a little less personal with less ego. I will take him over any traditional Washington bureaucrat any day.

                      Anybody that can think independently will know when they see “fake” news. Trust your gut on that one and be always suspicious of everything else. 🙂

                      Chris


                    • Michael,

                      Fake news or not, you must beware to the editorializing of the news you do get. PBS is most definitely far left of center. Most, but not all news media is. Most, but not all news media editorialize.

                      Many people make the mistake of listening to the talking heads on the boob tube news. You will see a brief blip of real news and then they will spend five hours explaining to you what it really means.

                      This is why so many people will believe the “fake” news. It is as truthful as the “real” news most of the time.



  12. B.B.,

    Off-topic, but I’d like to know your thoughts on something and see if you can clear something up.

    Yesterday I decided to purchase an Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action air rifle. But I stopped myself when I stumbled onto something bizarre about it. It SEEMS Umarex is repeating what they did with the Diana Mauser springer and Walther LGV Challenger. Both of those came in two or maybe even three different power levels that were not revealed in company literature. By “not revealed” I mean perhaps to the retailer and definitely to the buyer. One never knew which version he would get until he ran it over a chronograph. They were grab bag air guns. (Oh, those zany Umarex guys!)

    Likewise, the Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action APPEARS to come in two versions, identical except for a) advertised and real world velocity and b) shot count. Umarex advertises and lists the velocity at 410 fps except for their other advertising and literature that has it at 600 fps. Some retailers use the first set of official Umarex specs, other retailers use the alternate Umarex official specs. All other specs are identical, as is Umarex sales copy and art.

    Online reviews report EITHER real world velocities of 450 fps. and shot counts of 90 or so shots while other online reviews report real world velocities exceeding 600 fps and shot counts around 50 or so shots. For example, Dennis Adler quotes Umarex specs as 410 fps. while he chronied its average in the 450 fps neighborhood. You found the gun shot well above 600 fps with standard steel BBs. You got about 45 good shots from the two CO2 cartridges. That is roughly half of the good shots some other online reviewers got out of their weaker shooting examples.

    Just so other readers understand, I am not confusing this air gun with the Walther Lever Action (either the earlier 2x12oz or later 88-90oz CO2 versions), and I am not confusing BB shooting performance with lead pellet shooting performance. I also am not confusing airsoft with metal shooting air guns. I am not confusing this air gun with the Barra multipump or the Daisy 1894 or the Erma single-shot. I am puzzled, but I am not confused.

    It looks as though there are two secret versions of the Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action, the hot-shooting gas hog one and the weak-shooting gas conserving one.

    Michael


    • Michael,

      CO2 = temperature sensitivity you need to give “test” data like ambient temperature as well as gas temperature along with number of discharges/unit time.
      Also pellet choice as well as weight (Mass) factors into results. Manufacturers literature is Fake News all to often…as are many internet reviews…you have been obviously spoiled by this blog of B.B.’s and a rare few other sources.

      shootski



      • B.B.,

        Here’s the thing that has me chuckling softly and shaking my head. I can’t figure out which of the two “versions,” if that is what has happened, to get. The one that can reach out farther but gets about 50 shots for every two 12oz Powerlets or the one that is limited power-wise (but not too bad for CO2) and provides about 80% more shots?

        My immediate thought is, “Grunt, grunt, more power!” But then I remind myself that the hotter one seems to get just 2 shots per liquid ounce of CO2. By the way, that is roughly the same dismal shot count as the all-time (as far as I know) CO2-Hog Champion, the Umarex Magnum Research Desert Eagle (full size).

        A good question might be why the Legends Cowboy higher-power “version,” which is comparable to the Walther Lever Action in muzzle energy, gets so fewer shots than the 2x12oz. Walther. The answer is probably in the redesigned CO2 system.

        Which to choose? The blue capsule or the red capsule? (BOTH?)

        Michael


    • Michael,

      Swapping parts mid production, knowingly? Poor incoming product quality control, unknowingly? Intentional?

      ** The only way to know for sure is to do several test, in controlled conditions. Then,… do a (full) autopsy on both specimens. Valve part differences being the most suspect.

      Look at Crosman and their custom shop. What valve will you get? Intentional? Just using what is laying around and have in stock? That debate still is not decided and believe it was just discussed recently.

      Chris


      • Chris,

        Regarding news, I had stopped watching local ten years ago (here in Chicago it’s always 50% murders, 45% losing sports teams, 5% happy talk), but because of the current health crisis I will start watching local again.

        As for the air rifle, I considered production inconsistencies. Thought about it hard. The things is, the differences are consistent within two categories. The hot ones are consistent with each other. The weaker ones are consistent with each other. And there seems to be a lack of any in-between, performance-wise.

        Michael


  13. I’ve had a couple 311’s over the years. The definition of “quirky” for sure – I believe this species comprises the entire genus of spring-piston, tap-loading, bolt-action, target air rifles, LOL! One of the rifles I most regret selling, there’s literally nothing else like it.

    I had one 311 about the vintage of yours, which was also extremely accurate. Laugh at these eastern Euro wonders if you want – my experience is they may look weird, but they invariably show quality where it counts. Whoever rifled the barrels and fit the taps on these guns absolutely knew his stuff.

    I may be wrong on this one, but I believe the front sight on the earlier 311’s uses Parker-Hale inserts; the rotating rear-sight eyepiece with differently-sized apertures shows a certain English influence too. I also had a late-build 311, which had a more angular stock and did not seem as well finished (and, incredibly, was even harder to cock and made less power!); the front sight on that gun was larger in diameter, and used Anschutz inserts.

    You are lucky to have both the open and aperture sights! Hard to find the set, and adds to the gun’s versatility. The twin sight rails is a neat idea also seen on some older Dianas.

    An interesting feature of the 311 is the triple safety system (which makes you think it must have been used widely for youth training): A) the trigger is blocked whenever the bolt is not in firing position; B) the safety button at the rear sets automatically upon cocking; C) of course the tap itself – physically impossible to discharge a pellet if it is open.

    Looking forward to your future exploration of this unique air rifle.



    • Parker Hale were the UK Haenel importer in the 70s. Most Haenels I have had seem to have had their stocks hand stained and lacquered. They also have the distinctive smear of discoloration just in front of the butt pad.
      But they had quality where it counts.
      Wish I had my 311 handy right now.



  14. Only have Internet.on this tiny cell phone for now. At least it lets me sort of keep up. Great discussions today. Doing ok here. In the words of Dicken’s Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone”.


    • Ken,

      Glad to hear you are well. Stay well! 🙂

      No TV? That will give you more than you want to know. Maybe not. At least it gives you a general sense of what is happening around your area, state, the country and the world.

      Chris



  15. B.B.,

    I am addicted to a Science Channel show called “How It’s Made” and I just saw an episode that had a segment on the making of an Anschutz 9015 air rifle. I don’t know if it was 10 meter or FT or what, but it looked like a 10 meter model to me, and it had Anschutz’ Stabilitasor recoil compensation system. It is a very cool segment, showing the assembly of the trigger unit, the making of the barrel, and the adjustment process for both the recoil compensation system and the trigger pull.

    Very nice!

    Michael




  16. Hey all, read through the last 14 years of the blog in a week. Learned a lot of new stuff, got reminded of a lot of old stuff I forgot, and confirmed a lot I already knew. But what I really want to know more about has only been partly covered, namely barrel harmonics. What causes them, what influences them, and how do we minimize them? I can see the air flowing through the barrel can cause it, much like a pipe organ. Also the action can cause it but if even a Whiscombe benefits from the HOTS that can’t be all to it either. Also can a randomly weighted barrel make things worse?


  17. Phantom,

    I can tell you that moving a barrel band (Maximus .22) will affect POI. Adding a muzzle break, moderator, air stripper will as well. I would attribute that to harmonics. Here is a couple of links that might be of interest:

    https://www.ctcustomairguns.com/hectors-airgun-blog/truly-taming-the-harmonics-in-spring-piston-airguns

    https://limbsaver.com/collections/all/products/sharpshooter-x-ring-barrel-dampener

    Glad to see to you made it to the current blog.

    Chris


  18. BB,

    I was just rereading about your experiences with your Daisy 99. Since it is obvious that you are disappointed with the performance of it compared to your 499, you should send it to RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns where these old gals are truly appreciated for what they are.

    As for mine, I was shooting carpenter bees at 15 yards with it. You,Chris and others have been trying to get me to try the 499, but it just ain’t the 99. To each his own I guess.


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