Walther LGR Universal: Part 1
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Fatal flaw?
- Loading port
Yes we are starting yet another 10-meter air rifle report. This blog has covered a lot of 10-meter target rifles from the 1960s and ’70s, the time when they first appeared. Here are links to many of the reports.
Walther LGV Olympia
Weihrauch HW 55T
Weihrauch HW 55 Custom Match
Weihrauch HW 55 SF
El Gamo 126
Sharp Ace Target Standard
Daisy 888 Medalist
Crosman Challenger 2009
Some of the rifles on this list are not serious target rifles and others are for junior marksmen. And I may have inadvertently overlooked one or two that I have covered in the past 15 years. But today I start to look at the first 10-meter rifle I ever saw — the Walther LGR.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
In 1976, while visiting the picturesque German town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I went into a German gun store and there saw and held a Walther LGR. I was amazed by its size its weight and the beautiful construction. The store owner told me how it operated and that, too, was amazing.
I wanted to buy that rifle but its price was too high. I was a young family man and could not afford such luxuries. I did buy a Diana model 10 pistol that got me started with serious adult airguns, but I had to wait 44 more years for my LGR.
According the the Blue Book of Airguns the LGR was made from 1974 until 1989. The Walther LPII pistol that started production in 1967 is probably the first commercial single-stroke pneumatic airgun ever produced. The LGR is also a single-stroke and may be the first target rifle of that type.
The rifle weighs 10.8 lbs, according to the Blue Book. I weighed mine on a balance beam scale and got 10 pounds exactly. Of course the walnut stock will make the weight vary somewhat and the one the Blue Book weighed may have been a Universal model that has a more substantial stock.
The caliber is .177, which it must be for world-cup airgun competition. The Blue Book lists the velocity at 580 f.p.s. which seems pretty brisk for a single stroke. I would have expected something more in the 475-525 region. I have tested this one and will again for you in part 2, but that’s all I’ll say about it for now.
Being a 10-meter rifle, the LGR stock is set up for competition. The forearm is very deep and square and has an accessory rail that will accept a sling swivel or a hand stop or both. It is stippled generously on both sides and underneath to allow a better grip
The buttstock is unusual, in that the cheekpiece can be set up high or low and out towards the shooter or away, and also slanted front to back through the positioning of two clever plastic posts that fit into special recesses drilled into the top of the butt.
The LGR cheekpiece lifts off and can be positioned by two plastic inserts. It goes from flush with the stock to raised very high, and the inserts have eccentric posts that move the cheekpiece from side to side (toward or away from your cheek).
The curved rubber buttpad adjusts up and down to align the rear sight with the eye. With all the adjustments it should be possible to fit the rifle to most adult marksmen, though the rifle is nowhere near as ergonomic as 10-meter rifles made today.
The front sight is a globe that accepts inserts. That has long been common to 10-meter target rifles. But this rifle came to me with a clear plastic 3.8mm aperture up front, and that is a welcome upgrade!
As nice as the front sight is, though, it doesn’t hold a candle to what’s in back. It’s a tube-type rear peep sight! For the past 15 years whenever I wanted to talk about tube-type peeps I had to ask reader Kevin to please send me a picture to show. Now I have one of my own. And it seems to accept a lens of some sort, though lenses that magnify are not legal in international competition.
The peep sight is a tube type. There are no lenses inside, though it appears it might accept one.
If the LGR has one flaw it is the fact that the pump arm is hinged in the rear and must be pushed forward to fill the rifle. That makes it more difficult to pump, and that matters in a 60-shot match. If the pump is hinged in front then your leg serves as a place to anchor the buttstock when pumping, but when it’s hinged in back and you pump toward the front it’s all done with your arms. Not a good idea.
The LGR pump arm is hinged in the rear, making you close the pump stroke to the front. That makes both of your arms get involved every time you pump the rifle.
The LGR has a flip-up cover that exposes the rear of the beech for loading. A cutout in the bottom of this area provides a little more room. However, I don’t find it that convenient to load the rifle.
To load the rifle you flip up the loading port like this. Note how the bottom of the area has been scooped out to make more room for the fingers.
Since this is a Walther we expect a world-class adjustable target trigger and the rifle doesn’t disappoint. The trigger is two-stage and the straight blade adjusts for position, forward and back. You can also adjust the pull weight and the length of the stage one travel.
The trigger adjusts for pull weight (screw 1) and length of first-stage travel (screw 2). The trigger blade also slides along its base to make the reach longer or shorter.
This Walther LGR is a fine vintage 10-meter target rifle. It doesn’t have the ergonomics of modern target air rifles but it was quite advanced for its day. I think it was the equivalent of the FWB 300s and I’m expecting the accuracy to rival it.