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Education / Training Marksman model 70 breakbarrel air rifle: Part 1

Marksman model 70 breakbarrel air rifle: Part 1

Marksman model 70
Marksman model 70 breakbarrel rifle.

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • What is a Marksman spring-piston air rifle?
  • The great reveal
  • Buying companies costs money
  • BSF S70
  • The back story
  • Marked Marksman
  • BSF tooling
  • Rekord trigger
  • However
  • Transfer port block is not swaged in the spring tube
  • Scope base
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today’s report breaks ground in the history of airguns. Get ready for a download! There is so much to tell that this report will take many more than three parts. Yippie!

What is a Marksman spring-piston air rifle?

Well, this is where things get iffy. I scoured the internet for information and when it came to the Marksman breakbarrel spring-piston rifles we are going to explore today, most “facts” began with, “I’ve always heard…” or, It seems to me…” or, “I’m not certain, but…”

The great reveal

Today I’m going to brush away much of that temporization and give you some solid facts. And I am going to weave the airgun companies of BSF, Weihrauch, Marksman and Beeman together and then separate them to the best of my ability.

Some have said the Marksman 70 was the progenitor of the Beeman R9. Well, it isn’t. If anything, it’s closer to the Beeman R 10 that proceeded the R9 by several years.

The simple story many have heard goes like this — BSF, an airgun maker from Erlangen, Germany, went out of business in the late 1980s and Weihrauch either bought the company, or they bought the pieces of the company after it folded. The latter approach is often the cheapest and exposes your company to the least liability from the company that’s going out of business. The former approach gives you more control over what you get.

But here is the deal. This couldn’t have taken place in the late 1980s if one of the outcomes was the Beeman R10. Because that rifle is shown in a Beeman catalog from 1986. It takes several months to put together a catalog the size of the Beeman catalog, so the parts that became the R10 had to be under Weihrauch’s control sometime no later than 1985. Now, when one company buys another, the two parties talk for a time before the deal. In this instance that could have given Weihrauch’s engineers time to examine BFS’s models and determine what could be done with them.

Buying companies costs money

Buying a company costs money, and it often costs more than the purchased company is worth. If the company being purchased has outstanding debts, the purchaser has to service them up front and assume the payments for ongoing debts. They either do that or risk liens against their company or other legal actions. So it would seem (and I am the one who is guessing now) that this transfer had to take place in the first part of the 1980s.

BSF S70

At that time the BSF S55, S60, S70 and S80 rifles were being produced. The S70 was close to the top of this line and it weighed 7 pounds. The S80 was the top model and weighed 8.25 pounds, so it must have been larger than the S70 in some way. I think that it became the basis for the Marksman models 70 and 72.

I have reported on the BSF S70 many times, most recently in 2017. I know that rifle pretty well, so I will use it to support what I am about to tell you.

Before you engineering types ask me to start measuring things on the Marksman rifle, I have to tell you — there are some significant differences in these rifles and you are going to see a Rekord trigger today that I had no idea ever existed!

BSF S70
The BSF S70 was near the top of the BSF sporting rifle line. The BSF S80 was the very top and was a larger rifle. I have never seen one of them, but I do currently own an S70.

Hunting Guide

The back story

This rifle we are looking at was offered to me several months ago. A man had a Marksman model 72 in .177 caliber and this model 70 in .22 caliber, and he asked my advice on where best to sell them. Both were new in the box. So I told him I would like to buy one of them. I had bought a number of things at the time and couldn’t afford both rifles, so I offered what I thought was fair and he accepted. I bought the .22-caliber model 70. It arrived a couple weeks later. It and was/is as advertised — brand new in the box. But it is different from what I have heard and some of the differences I believe you will find interesting.

Marksman model 70 box
The Marksman model 70 is new in the box.

Marked Marksman

On page 716 of the current edition of the Blue Book of Airguns, it says that many of the airguns that Marksman imported from Milbro, BSA, Diana and Weihrauch are not marked with the Marksman name. Well, this one is. On the left side of the base block it says MARKSMAN, MOD 70, Cal 5.5 mm / .22″. Under that there are two pellets shown — a pointed pellet and a wadcutter.

Marksman model 70 left
The rifle is clearly marked with the Marksman name.

On the right side of the base block the address of Marksman in Huntington Beach, California is given. They even gave the Zip code.

BSF tooling

The Blue Book mentioned that these Marksman models and others were assembled using BSF tooling. I found a second trigger in the box with my new-old rifle. While it isn’t a BSF trigger that I recognize, it also isn’t anything else I recognize. It’s certainly not a Rekord, though it does have the same piston catch in front.

Marksman model 70 trigger
This second trigger came separate in the box with the Marksman 70. As you can see, it is a unitized model, but it doesn’t look like a BSF trigger that I know. The bits and pieces are to make it fit in this stock. Take note of the safety.

Rekord trigger

Someone on a forum said he doubted that Marksman model 70 rifles ever came with Rekord triggers. Well, this one does.

Marksman model 70 Rekord trigger
Yes, this Marksman model 70 does have a Rekord trigger installed.

However

This may not be the Rekord that we all know. Because on the right side of the rifle there is a safety unlike the cross button Rekord safety with which we are all familiar. Remember that safety on the extra trigger that came with the rifle? It’s the same as this one. Until I get the rifle out of the stock, we won’t know how this Rekord interacts with that safety.

Marksman model 70 safety
The safety on this Rekord trigger is identical to the one that’s on the extra trigger that came with the rifle. Is this Record made different to accommodate it?

Transfer port block is not swaged in the spring tube

If you look at the BSF S55 spring tube that reader Paul  Fitzgibbon shared with us this month, you’ll see that the steel block that holds the air transfer port  is swaged into the front of the spring tube to form the end of the compression chamber. These two swages are characteristic of BSF sporting rifles. The BSF S70 shown above has those same swages, but they don’t show up in the picture.

Marksman model 70 BFS S55 swages
Those two swages (arrows) clamp the steel block with the air transfer port to the spring tube — forming the end of the compression chamber.

On the other hand, the Marksman model 70 has no swages. The steel block is attached to the spring tube by some other means.

Scope base

The Marksman model 70 has a raised dovetail scope base that’s attached to the back of the spring tube by a screw. That’s because the spring tube is too thin to accept dovetails cut directly into it.

Marksman model 70 scope base
The Marksman model 70 scope base is attached to the spring tube by a screw. Note the two vertical scope stop holes.

Now let’s take a look at the Weihrauch HW 85 scope stop. Remember, the HW 85 is the same model as the Beeman R10, when a different stock is added.

R10 scope rail
Here is the Beeman R10/HW 85 scope rail. Notice that it has two screws instead of one. It also has two scope stop holes.

Discussion

I have a lot more to show you on this Marksman model 70. But at this point I have developed an early opinion. I believe that when the Marksman model 70 was developed by Weihrauch there was a lot happening in the company at the same time. If I’m right about their acquiring BSF before the middle of the 1980s, and I believe they did buy the whole company and not just the pieces after the company folded, then they had just developed the Beeman R1/HW 80, with the guidance of Robert Beeman. That was perhaps the first computer-modeled spring-piston air rifle, and for Weihrauch it represented a leap past their HW 35 that was stifled in power by a short piston stroke.

Weihrauch had just closed the deal to purchase BSF (this is my supposition). A lot was happening in Mellrichstadt, Weihrauch’s hometown. So, yes, I believe that the Marksman spring rifles were made with BSF tooling. But I also believe that they were made with other stuff that Weihrauch had on hand at the time. We may never sort it out completely, but I think we will end this series knowing a lot more about the BSF/Weihrauch connection than we have known up to now.

Summary

I have at least one more report to make on the general rifle before any testing begins. I have a test target to show you and the sights and some other stuff to occupy your thoughts.

As I said in the beginning, we are all going to learn a lot about this chapter in Weihrauch’s airgun development. In the end we should know more that has been said over the years — including the things written by yours truly.

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.

37 thoughts on “Marksman model 70 breakbarrel air rifle: Part 1”

    • Kevin,

      I am learning as much as anyone with this report. Yes, I do think the extra trigger is the Perfekt that you mention. I was unaware that the Beeman R11 had a side safety.

      That would explain why the piston catch in the other trigger looks so much like the one in a Rekord. 🙂

      BB

  1. B.B.,

    Why would they sell this rifle with another trigger group? Unless the trigger group was upgraded at the factory before shipping and they decided to package the original trigger with it?

    Siraniko

    • Expectations, since the early models shipped with what everyone assumed was a BSF trigger but was actually a Perfekt. Assume Weihrauch wanted to enter the world after the BSF takeover and install a rekord and make a loud trigger statement. Brilliant really

  2. B B,
    What a great find! Many people this side of the pond will be very interested in reading about this missing link in BSF55/ HW85 chronology, me included.
    There has been a lot written about this model over here in the UK but quite a lot of supposition as they are so rare. I, personally, do not know anyone who has owned one and I think Ive only read of a solitary example owned by a UK airgun forum mumber. The model was still known as the BSF 55 for the short time it was available, apparently. Chambers do list some parts for it.
    What I do know is that in 1980 BSF’s UK importer/ distributor went out of business, presumably owing them a lot of money. It effectively crippled BSF to the point where it was sold off by the Schutt family to another party whose name escapes me (not Weihrauch). There were a few revisions of the longstanding BSF models then and the S80 was introduced. The S80 is effectively an S55/60/70 action with a long barrel with large muzzle weight with front sight attached, housed in large stock with a very deep and bulbous forend. The final S54’s also received this stock.
    BSF presumably stumbled on for a few more years at a pretty low ebb until Weihrauch purchased the company or its assets somewhere around late 1984 or 1985 (at a guess).
    I look forward to the next installment with interest.

    Regards,
    Drew

    • Drew,

      Thank you for all this information. You have filled in several blanks for me, plus helped confirm the date at which BSF failed.

      BB

      • The UK importer was Norman May, and they also seem to have dragged down a pellet manufacturer (Bildstein, Mommer & Co) as well.

        Herbert Gayer first bought BSF, slimmed the range down (getting rid of the junior/intermediate size break barrels) without being able to save the company. I’ve no idea who he was in the German gun business, just the name.

        I know there’s been a little discussion in the past on UK forums as to where BSF sat in the UK market, relative to Weihrauch and Diana for instance, but I can’t recall what the consensus was – expensive, perhaps?

        http://www.muzzle.de/Reportagen/Bayrische_Sportwaffenfabrik/bayrische_sportwaffenfabrik.html

        iain

  3. BB,

    I am quite interested in how this Rekord trigger compares with the new Rekord. I cannot say I am a fan of the new Rekord safety. Once upon a time you could get an aftermarket piece to change the safety to a rotating safety that was resettable. If I pick up an HW for myself, I will either find one of those or remove the safety all together. Most of my airguns do not have a safety anyway.

    • RR

      Love my Weihrauchs but not the safeties. However they will likely remain intact for my descendants well being. But on the other hand I have several air rifles with no safeties which I much prefer. Somebody will just have to teach them to be aware of that.

      Deck

      • Deck,

        Like I said, most of the ladies here at RRHFWA do not have safeties. If you want to play with one of these gals, you had better know what you are doing. 😉

    • RR,

      Weihrauch does know how to make a proper safety – the ones on my HW100 rifles are manual with a positive detent.

      Like you, I don’t care for the automatic safeties, some are worse that others. The TX200 is a pain but the one on the FWB124 is not bad as it can be thumbed-off quite easily when mounting the rifle.

      Most of the sproingers we carried as kids didn’t have safeties and, since we carried them around loaded, muzzle awareness/control was strongly observed/enforced. Anyone who was careless was “talked to” and repeat offenders were (soundly) thumped 🙂

      We policed ourselves, the last thing we wanted was an accident and our gun privileges revoked.

      One kid who was stupid about gun handling lost his rifle – some how it “fell” into the river.

      Hank

  4. About a decade ago, I tore down a Marksman Mod 70 and documented it on Another Airgun Blog here on three parts. Wonderful rifle.
    http://anotherairgunblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Marksman Mod 70?updated-max=2010-09-15T13:00:00-07:00&max-results=20&start=2&by-date=false
    This rifle has the Weihrauch Perfekt trigger. There wasn’t a Rekord trigger in the box. After tuning, it went on to FrankB.

    I still have a Marksman Mod 56 FTS. Has a Rekord trigger and a side safety. I think its identical to the very first Beeman R11 model. The stock is shorter and doesn’t cover the barrel pivot. The barrel is also full length–longer than today’s version –and no barrel sleeve.

  5. A Marksman 70 like this with Rekord trigger just sold yesterday on Gunbroker.

    On a somewhat related note, Saturday I joined the fancy, schmancy HW owners club. Got a near new Beeman R10 at auction. Went for other guns that were listed/photographed and found this. Has a Beeman muzzle pickle, no rear sight and an excellent Bushnell adjustable objective (7 yards- infinity) Sportview scope. Nice looking gun and has an excellent ‘feel’ in the hands. Looking forward to learning to shoot this.

        • Certainly a correct scope for that vintage package. As a collector I really appreciate the time capsule that together they represent.

          The Bushnell Sportsview were Not bad optics for that era but glass has evolved so quickly since and prices have been lowered to such a point that we’re spoiled.

          Lot’s of talk about price point pcp’s but we overlook the vast choices we have for glass as airgunners. The wide variety of scope manufacturers that now carry lines of scopes targeted at airgunners has created a market competition that we airgunners take for granted. It wasn’t that long ago when we only had a handful of scopes to choose from that were springer rated, had AO that could adjust to a minimum of 10 yards and had mildots for holdover/hold under.

        • This is in reply to Kevin’ reply about the Sportview scope. I find the ever skinnier reply space difficult to read, so I bumped it out of line.

          Yes, modern manufacturing methods and advancing technology makes newer scopes quite the bargain relative to older scopes. Of course the predatory business practices of the PRC has had a huge impact as well.

          I’ve only shot a couple pellets through the R10, but this scope is entirely adequate for my needs. The features are good and for 35 years ago… why did this scope ever go away?

          • pacoinohio,

            No idea why the sportview scope went away. Maybe because it worked?!!

            One of my favorite, current production scopes that is short, lightweight, springer rated, has 4.5-14X power, a great reticle and has AO that focuses down to 7 feet is the Burris Timberline. Burris discontinued production of this fine scope and in its’ place offers the Burris Fullfield scope that can only focus down to 25 yards. Go figure.

  6. B.B.,

    Wow! This is my favorite kind of report, a “History Mystery.” I feel the same as Chris above. Shipping the rifle with a second, alternate trigger is unusual and interesting. Is there anything in the box’s inserts to suggest this was a regular thing for a time? I wonder if your rifle might have been a special order. Or, perhaps it was a transitional period between the Perfekt and the Rekord? I’m merely speculating, and I don’t believe it happened, but Beeman might have decided for a brief period to ship FWB 124s with the plastic trigger with an aluminum replacement in a little baggy in the box, and this could have been Weihrauch deciding to do something like that.

    Again, I love these sorts of whodunnits.

    Michael

    • Michael,

      I have heard of the separate trigger coming with the rifle, but this is the first new-in-the-box model 70 I have seen. You are seeing exactly what I am. I always thought they were BSF triggers, but as I said, this one isn’t like anything I have seen. Now I know what a Perfeckt trigger looks like, and thanks to Derrick I know it on the inside, as well.

      BB

  7. A very long time ago, I had a conversation with a (late) friend that owned an airgun store. He mentioned that some of the early Marksman branded Weihrauch rifles were shipping with two triggers. It’s been a long time, but I believe that the Rekord triggers weren’t ready at time of assembly and were added to the boxes later. Back in the eighties, the few airgun magazines available Airgun Illustrated? American Airgunner? had two page—or even four page—pull out ads from Marksman. They were mostly touting their private branded HW-77 and their version of the HW-98. And as I recall, Marksman only offered the rifles in .177 caliber. At the time, Marksman was also selling what was widely considered to be one of the very best domed pellets available for field target competition, the Marksman FTS. (Short for Field Target Special). Unlike the rifles, the FTS pellets could be had in .177, .20 and .22 caliber. And further down the rabbit hole, Marksman private branded two or three different scopes for these nice German air rifles. A fixed 4x and I think a 4-12 variable power were available. I think I still have that fixed 4x version here somewhere.

    • Found an issue of Airgun News and Report, Summer Edition 1987! Marksman International ad inside front cover. The Model 29 came in .177 and .22 the Model 55 in .177. The Model 70 shows all three calibers were available .177, .20, and .22.
      The underlever Mod 60 and 61 and the field target Mod. 56 and 58 were only offered in .177

      As an interesting side note, there’s a Beeman ad inside the rear cover. The R1 rifle listed at $359.50

  8. B.B.,

    Off today’s topic.

    ” ” Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier) May 20, 2021 at 2:35 pm
    shootski,

    It’s not the fill nipple, but a valve that’s one level deeper in the reservoir. Tyler Patner checked it out for me and I have to return this rifle to PA. They have already sent another one.”

    BB” ”

    I can’t find a schematic good enough to figure out the above.
    Would you show us a diagram or picture(s) of this – one level deeper valve – when you get back to the Eagle Claw please.

    shootski

  9. BB,

    A Model 70 – new in the box!!! Great find!

    Have to admit that I can’t relate to that though. Somethings – like paintings – are bought to be looked at, others are meant to be used. To buy an airgun and leave it unused in the box just seems to be so wrong

    Hank

  10. I realize I’m responding to a couple day old blog, but it seems appropriate in light of the subject here.

    Somewhere around 1990, a friend showed me his HW55. I never knew a “mere” pellet gun could be such a fine piece! The bluing, the wood, the accuracy, the power! German precision! Wow, I was impressed!

    Shortly thereafter I found a clean, used Marksman 70 at a local gun shop. Two or three visits and some dickering later I walked out with my first “big boy” airgun for something like $110 (keep in mind this was 30 years ago!).

    Although a flood of other air guns followed it, I still have my Marksman 70 and it is, indeed, dear to my heart. Not just because it was my first, but because it is powerful (it averages 980 FPS on my crono with a 18 FPS spread), but also because it will make one-hole, ten shot groups out past 50′ and (?) farther. BTW, I’ve never had it apart.

    When I bought it it did NOT have a Rekord trigger in it. I don’t recall why, but I called Marksman for some reason and the technician mentioned he’d upgrade the trigger to a Rekord if I sent it to him in CA. I did and he did. This was probably around (?) 1992 or 1994? He asked me if I wanted the original trigger back with it, but I had no idea what I’d do with it, so I told him to keep it. I wonder how many guns were upgraded to the Rekord trigger and the owner opted to keep the original trigger. Might be the case with your example, Tom?

    Interestingly, mine also has an automatic safety just like yours, but it is on the LEFT side of the spring piston tube! The safety also lacks any markings near it as yours has (S-F). The Marksman name appears on the right side of the base block along with “Huntington Beach CA” and “92649”. It’s also marked “Made in W Germany”. The left side of the base block it says, “Marksman Model 70” plus “Cal 4.5mm / .177″” and has illustrations of pointed and wade cutter pellets.

    The stock is identical to the one you show in the pictures above. Dark walnut, hand-cut checkering. The bluing is still mesmerizing.

    I put a Bushnell 6 – 18 air gun scope on it soon after I bought it and it’s still there.

    If I ever start selling my airguns, this would be the last one to go. Although the decision to purchase it was, looking back, a fairly uninformed one, I lucked out. It’s a great little gun.

    How this helps with your historical research!

    Motorman
    St. Louis, MO

  11. I have a marksman model 70 got it from a guy I used to work for was covered in camo duct tape it was a shame the tape ruined the finish so it’s been sanded off reblued and oiled up it may not be a factory finish but I plan to use it not just look at it so that doesn’t bother me I’m looking forward to seeing more about this rifle thanks

    • skunkape,

      Welcome to the blog.

      This series should be a good one for you. Just be sure to read them all befor starting to work on your rifle.

      BB

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