Michael’s Walther LGV: Part 1
Reader Michael’s Walther LGV.
This report covers:
- Sent it in for repair
- Time lapse
- The current state of tune
- What does Michael want?
- RWS Basic
- RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
- JSB Exact Heavy
- Discharge sound
- Cocking effort
- Trigger pull
This report is for all of you readers who have a spring gun that you don’t enjoy shooting. Reader Michael has such a rifle. It’s his .177-caliber Walther LGV that is no longer made. He has been quite vocal about it on this blog. Instead of me telling you what he thinks, I’m going to let Michael tell you himself in the comments. Wake up sleepy bear — summer’s coming!
I’ll start the conversation by telling you that Michael’s chief complaint was that his rifle squeaked when it was cocked. Heck — I wrote a chapter in my R1 book about air rifles that squeak when they are cocked. I even drew an amateurish cartoon to go with it.
When Michael said his LGV squeaked when cocked, I understood!
Sent it in for repair
Uncharacteristically, Michael sent his LGV in to be repaired. I think he told me he sent it to Umarex USA. I say uncharacteristically because what an airgunner is supposed to do when something like that happens is go on all the forums and trash the gun. At least that’s what I’ve seen.
He did tell all of us his problems, but that was after he got the rifle back. So — I thought — Umarex couldn’t even fix a squeaky piston seal? That was when I ducked into an alley and shed my outer clothes for my superhero costume, complete with cape. Captain Oblivious to the rescue!
I told Michael to send his rifle to me. I had tuned his Winchester 427 and he liked it, so I already knew I could meet his depressingly low standards. He sent it and it sat in my office. And sat. And sat…
This is where we watch the calendar sheets fall to the floor as the days, weeks and months pass. Actually, I used the time for pondering. Pondering is what you do when you don’t know what to do and you take your time figgerin’ it out. You see, when I took it from the box Michael sent me and I cocked it the first time, his rifle was dead silent! Huh? I am wearing state-of-the-art hearing aids and I know when there is a sound! Is Michael somehow a gifted mutant with the hearing of Daredevil — a rival superhero who sometimes wins his battles? Can he hear the beating of a hummingbird’s heart?
After cocking his LGV and starting to ponder, I casually loaded a pellet and fired it, so it wouldn’t stay cocked too long. And THAT, my friends, was when the curtain pulled back and the wizard was exposed. Bang, and then the rifle went BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! This breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle is the buzziest air rifle B.B. Pelletier has ever examined! If you tried intentionally to make it buzz for a long time after the shot I don’t think you could beat how it is right now. I will guess that the buzz continues for a full half-second after the shot! Heck, it is a shame to do anything to this rifle. It is the perfect training aid to demonstrate what we mean when we say a rifle is buzzy!
The current state of tune
Yes, Michael’s LGV has been tuned. What tells me that is the cocking is dead silent, the barrel remains in whatever position it’s put after the rifle is cocked, and the left pivot bolt head is ever-so-slightly buggered. I mention that because I will probably bugger the same screw head more — IF I go inside the powerplant. Which I don’t want to do.
Yes, the screw slot in the left side pivot screw is ever-so-slightly buggered. The gun has been opened.
Right there I have told you what I hope to do — to demonstrate that even a case of terminal buzzzanoma can be cured without ever opening up the action. I sure hope it can because the Walther LGV is about as maintenance-friendly as a fake Rolex made in North Korea! If a Weihrauch rifle rates a 10 on a one-to-ten scale of being maintenance-friendly, then a Walther LGV is about a 4. Only Haenel 311s, all Mars guns and most older BSAs are worse. But hey, I’m Captain Oblivious and I can do anything you guys set your minds to. At least I can get this project started! My house is filled with projects that are in-process, and as long as I never give up they always will be. When you come to my estate sale bring lots of boxes and paper bags for all the parts.
Umarex — really? You had to name this modern spring-piston sporter the LGV — the same name you gave your last breakbarrel target rifle? Maybe Ford should bring out a new sports car and call it the model T. I’m reminded of a scene from the movie Galaxy Quest where the party of astronauts is on a planet watching the tiny aliens mining the beryllium spheres they need for their ship. Dr. Lazarus asks, “Could they be the miners?” and Tech Sergeant Chen says, “Sure. They’re like three years old.” To which Dr. Lazarus responds, “Miners, not minors!” and Chen responds, “You lost me.”
Umarex — you lost me when you named this air rifle the LGV. And now that it’s no longer made, there are two totally different Walther LGVs from different eras and everyone is lost. Do an internet search on disassembling a Walther LGV and you’ll see what I mean. And that, company formerly known as Crosman, is why we don’t call a Chinese-made breakbarrel springer a Benjamin Sheridan Super Streak!
What does Michael want?
I thought Michael wanted an air rifle that cocked quietly. He did at one time, but now that it does, what more does he want? Well, I bet he wants an air rifle that is pleasant to shoot. This one is as far from that as it is possible to get, which makes my job easy. I have to make it more likable. What does that mean?
It means getting rid of the buzz when the rifle fires. Now I know a whole bunch of tricks to do that — from tin cans stuffed inside the piston, to custom top hats and spring guides and buttoned pistons. I bet all the couch commandos can come up with a lot of other stuff. And, when it comes time to do any of it, they wave their hands and say things like, “And that’s where a miracle takes place.”
As the miracle worker, I have do it and then convince Michael that it is really done. Well, like I said before, he has both seen and liked my work in the past, so I know his standards are acceptably low, but with this one that won’t be enough. I have considered using a combination of drugs and hypnosis on him, but with this rifle even that won’t do the trick. With this LGV the emperor is well and truly naked!
So I pondered what to do. And I thought of all of you. What could you do that would take a buzzy springer and turn it into a rifle you would enjoy shooting? What would you want to do?
First, let’s see what we have. I tested the rifle with three pellets — a light one, a medium one and a heavyweight.
The 7-grain RWS Basic wadcutter should go the fastest in Michael’s rifle. It averaged 945 f.p.s. with a 16 f.p.s. spread that went from 936 to 952 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 13.88 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
Next up was the 8.2-grain RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutter. They averaged 882 f.p.s. which generates 14.17 foot pounds of energy. The spread was 14 f.p.s., from 873 to 887 f.p.s.
JSB Exact Heavy
For a heavyweight pellet I tried the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy dome. They averaged 755 f.p.s., which translates to a muzzle energy of 13.09 foot pounds. The spread went from a low of 748 to a high of 763 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 15 f.p.s.
This tells us that Michael’s rifle is shooting consistently. I will compare those numbers to a test of the rifle after I do something to alleviate the spring buzz.
You don’t get this kind of power without some noise, and the buzzing mainspring can’t be helping matters. A shot registered 92.4 dB on the C scale of my sound meter.
Michael told me that he doesn’t care about power. What he wants is a spring-piston rifle that is nice to shoot. I know his Winchester 427 is as smooth as they come, but it is only about one-third as powerful as this LGV, so the cocking effort is far less. To make this LGV cock with less effort would require a major tune that Michael didn’t want. He just wants a rifle that shoots nice. Let’s see what that takes.
The rifle currently cocks with 39 pounds of effort, with a bump to 43 pounds at the end of the stroke when the trigger gets involved. That’s heavy for an all-day shooter, but okay if the powerplant is not buzzy.
The two-stage trigger pulls with 8.7 ounces for stage one, followed by a definite stop and no discernible creep. Stage two breaks at 1 lb. 8 oz. which tells me that the trigger has been adjusted by an expert. Maybe when the buzzing stops I will have more to say about it, but for now this is a good trigger.
Threaded for a silencer
The LGV has a muzzle cap that unscrews to reveal 1/2X20 threads for an airgun silencer. Putting a silencer on a spring gun like this is like getting a quieter intake manifold for an AA fuel dragster. The muzzle isn’t where the rifle’s sound comes from. It’s the powerplant that makes this one so noisy. Tighter powerplants like the one found on the TX 200 Mark III are quiet enough that a silencer does improve things, and theirs is built into the outer shroud.
I’m not testing this rifle in the normal way. I’m just trying to get rid of the buzz and make it shoot smoother. So things like the sights and an accuracy test will not be a part of this report.
My goal is to see whether Tune in a Tube can fix the buzz without me opening the powerplant. If it can, a lot more of you will have a solution to those buzzy springers you don’t enjoy shooting.