IZH MP532 target rifle: Part 9

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

IZH MP532
IZH MP532 single stroke target rifle.

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

History of airguns

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

This report covers:

  • Blog will change
  • Bedding problem
  • Channel widened
  • Action now fits
  • Did that change the point of impact?
  • What’s next?
  • What now?
  • How did it do?
  • Sight-in
  • Summary

Blog will change

I have been asked not to schedule a blog for Monday because the blog is about to be updated. So we will be out of touch for a while. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here and I’ll get back just as soon as they give me the go-ahead. Now, let’s get to today’s report.

Today I attempt to correct the sight adjustment problem on my older IZH 32 target rifle. When the rear sight is adjusted as high as it will go the rifle still shoots a couple inches low.

Bedding problem

This rifle wasn’t bedded properly by the factory. The action and barrel stood proud of the stock channel in front.

532 old rifle bedding
The older MP 532 rifle action and barrel stood proud of the forearm. If that was corrected would the rifle shoot to the aim point?

I didn’t want to address this problem myself because I am a wood butcher. So I consulted with my neighbor, Denny and he agreed to look at it. I knew once he did he would take ownership, which he did. He knows my woodworking skills even better than you.

We tried swapping the old action into the new stock, but that solved nothing. So Denny felt the best approach was to rout out the barrel channel. He did it freehand, but made a pair of blocks for the router to ride on.

 532 make blocks
Step one was to cut two 9-inch oak blocks. The sparkles in the picture are sawdust in the air.

We discovered that the sides of the forearm are cut on a 7-degree angle. So the sides of the guide blocks had to be cut the same.

532 find angle
Denny determines the angle of the side of the 532 forearm.

532 set saw
Denny sets the saw blade to shave off 7 degrees from the side of each block.

532 router
The router was freehanded along the blocks Denny made.

Channel widened

I thought the stock channel wasn’t deep enough, but Denny knew that the problem was width. The stock channel was not wide enough for the forward end of the barreled action to fit into. Denny took a tiny bit of depth in his cut, but he mostly widened the channel in the stock. It was too narrow on the right and left side of the barrel channel at different places.

We had to set up the job four times to widen the channel by a few fractions of an inch on both sides. After each router pass we tried the barreled action in the stock. It wasn’t until the final try that the action dropped in the channel like it’s supposed to.

532 channel routed
The end of the forearm has been widened sufficiently to accept the barreled action. The clearance on both sides is now about 0.010-inches, give or take.

Action now fits

After the fourth try the 532 barreled action dropped into the stock with a click and fit like it should. Success!

532 fits
The old 532 now fits in its stock just like the newer one.

Did that change the point of impact?

I had fired 5 shots at 10 meters early in the morning before any work was done to the stock. Now that the stock was finished I fired five more shots with the same H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets and no sight changes. The pellets enlarged the hole, but there is still just a single hole at 10 meters. So bedding the action did not change where the rifle shoots. Many readers may now lord it over me!

532 10 shots
The second five shots that were fired after the action was bedded enlarged the hole but went to the same place as the first five shots, before the action was bedded. The aim point was to top bull, so at 10 meters the shots are landing low!

What’s next?

I knew I could shift the clear front aperture a little inside the front globe, so that’s what I did. By moving the aperture down and to the left I moved the POI up and to the right. It didn’t move far enough in either direction, plus I didn’t want to do it this way. It was just an experiment. I shot at the same target as before, so we could see what happened.

532 front aperture moved
Moving the front aperture inside the globe did work, but it wasn’t enough.

What now?

I was surprised at this point. Apparently the Russians, who know how to make guns, made this one with a rear sight that doesn’t adjust into the range needed for target work — on a target rifle. That’s like a car without a starter motor!

The best thing at this point was for me to drill a new hole for the rear aperture at the top of the post and remount the rear aperture. One or more readers had suggested this when I told you about the problem, and it has always been in my mind if bedding the action didn’t work. Clearly it didn’t, so it was time to make the fix.

532 rear sight
I moved the rear aperture as high as it will go in its post.

How did it do?

The big question is, did moving the rear aperture up help? I put up a new target, because the POI may have changed dramatically. As it turns out, it did, and I did the right thing. I aimed at the bottom bullseye and the first shot hit 4-1/2-inches higher. It was almost off the paper and would have missed completely if I’d shot at the previous target. The question now was — could I adjust it down far enough to get on target?

532 first shot
After moving the rear peep as high as it will go I aimed at the bottom bull and the shot hit 4.5-inches above, near the edge of the paper.

I cranked in a LOT of down and a few clicks to the right and shot at the bottom bull a second time. The pellet hit at the edge of the bull I aimed at. So I put in three clicks of right adjustment and shot again. The hole grew no larger. I decided to finish the group without adjusting the sight any more. Five pellets went in to 0.10-inches at 10 meters — the smallest group this rifle has shot to date.

532 best group
This is five H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets in 0.10-inches between centers WITH A SIGHT ADJUSTMENT AFTER THE FIRST SHOT! It’s the best this rifle has ever done in my hands.

Sight-in

It turns out that the rear sight moves the point of impact very little per click. It took me six more shots to center the pellet.

532 sight in
It took six shots to adjust the sights for a center impact.

Following that I shot one last group, just to prove the rifle was on. This one wasn’t as great, with five shots in 0.231-inches at 10 meters. But it had been a long day getting to this point, and I was looking forward to the photography and the writeup.

532 last group
The final group measures 0.321-inches between the centers of the five shots.

Summary

Well, we have certainly seen a lot about the IZH 532 target rifle. And today we culminated our look by fixing the sights on one of the two rifles. The other rifle doesn’t need it, so I now own two fine Russian target air rifles. I’m looking to part with one because how many Russian target air rifles does a guy need!


Why “they” can’t do what “they” ought to

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • NightStalker
  • Velocity?
  • Why did “they” drop it?
  • They built it before
  • What about the Crosman 600?
  • Would a new Crosman 600 sell today?
  • Summary

Today started out as one thing and quickly transitioned into another. I wanted to write a Part 5 to the Daisy 35 report. It was time for a test with BBs. But last week I shipped all the airguns I’ve tested for the past several years back to Pyramyd Air and unfortunately the Daisy 35 was among them. I’m sorry, but it was a busy week and that one slipped past me.

So then I wanted to run the test of bedding the IZH MP532. I shot a “before” group using my old glasses, but then I discovered that the bedding that needs to be corrected is not as straightforward as it seemed. I want to do that work under the watchful eye of my neighbor, Denny. We conferred this morning but the work will have to be done later.

NightStalker

While searching for the Daisy 35 my eyes fell on a Crosman NightStalker that is standing in the corner of my closet.

NightStalker
Crosman NightStalker.

The NightStalker is a 12-shot semiautomatic carbine-sized pellet rifle that uses an 88-gram AirSource CO2 cartridge. It was launched in November of 2005 and lasted through 2007, so not that long. The cartridge fits in the butt and gives the all-synthetic gun some weight. 

Velocity?

I don’t have velocity numbers for you but I think it would be in the same range as the Crosman 1077, which is to say somewhere in the mid 500s with 7.9-grain Premier domes.

NightStalker butt
An 88-gram CO2 cartridge fits inside the butt and gives over 300 shots at maybe something in the mid 500 f.p.s. range.

The gun has real blowback that does cock the hammer on every shot, but Crosman elected not to allow the clip to advance to the next chamber. So, unlike the Crosman 600 that has an incredibly light trigger pull, the pull on the NightStalker is heavier and the blade moves through some distance as the clip rotates. The trigger breaks at about 7 pounds on my gun.

But this is a 12-shot semiautomatic! And surely something could be done to lighten the trigger by half. At least that would be my vote.

NightStalker clip
The NighStalker used this 12-shot circular clip.

NightStalker clip installed
The NightStalker clip slips into the receiver and then the trigger advances it one chamber at a time.

Immediately I thought of contacting Ed Schultz to tell him that Crosman ought to bring back the NightStalker. Well, they may (and I am not saying that I know they will) but, and this is a really big but, if they were to bring it back it would be like creating an all new airgun.

Why did “they” drop it?

Why does any company stop production of anything? Well, the answer isn’t always as simple and straightforward as you might think. You might think that the sales were not high enough, and that might be the case, but not high enough for what? What if Crosman placed the NightStalker under the management of someone responsible for sales of guns to large discount stores — maybe the same person who was also responsible for the 760? Well, the 760 probably sold for $29 at that time and the NightStalker was priced at $200. You can’t sell as many airguns for $200 as you can for $29, and the manager would have noticed that right away.

Also the NightStalker is a semiautomatic, where the 760 is a multi-pump, so the level of complexity for the semiauto is much higher than for the single shot. It’s so much higher that, regardless of the price, it may be too complex for a typical discount store buyer.

I am not saying this is what happened and that it was the reason Crosman dropped the NightStalker. Maybe someone who was the NightStalker’s champion left the company and his replacement didn’t care for it. Or perhaps some of the folks who were old-timers in the company wanted it gone.

It could have been any of those reasons or others we don’t know about. Whatever the reason, the NightStalker was dropped from the line just two years after it was launched. But Crosman built the gun. Surely they could do it again if they wanted to?

They built it before

Why wouldn’t it be easy for Crosman to build the NightStalker today? They were still making it as recently as 2007. Why couldn’t they just build it again? Well, let’s see — why can’t Ford build the Model A again? Not that they would want to, but Ford is in no position to build the Model A in 2021. They don’t have the tooling, the metal or any of the parts they need. Maybe if they wanted to they could fabricate a good copy, but it would just be a one-off. They couldn’t produce Model As, even if they wanted to.

I chose the Model A to illustrate the difficulty of the problem. It’s so old and obsolete that it’s easy to see why it couldn’t be manufactured today. If I chose a car that was closer to a model of today people might think it would be easier for Ford, and in some respects it would be. Materials for a near-term obsolete car would be easier to come by than the metal for a Model A. But the tooling and machine settings would have to be redone from scratch, just like they were back in the day.

What about the Crosman 600?

Why am I going on about the NightStalker? I am because it was a real semiautomatic pellet gun — just like the older Crosman 600 that many airgunners love.

Crosman 600
Crosman 600.

The Crosman 600 is a .22-caliber 10-shot semiautomatic air pistol that feeds from a linear magazine located on the left side of the receiver. Because of how it fed it was a little pellet picky, but it still functioned with a lot of domed pellets and even some wadcutters. The trigger was superb, releasing at less than one pound with reasonable crispness.

The 600 is such a good pellet pistol that they sell for high prices today. Anyone who has shot one wants to own one. But could Crosman make a 600 today? They could if they were willing to reverse engineer it and start from scratch, but it is not a matter of dusting off the blueprints. It would be a ground-up design. And the generations of machines used to make airguns have changed twice in the time since the 600 left the range.

Would a new Crosman 600 sell today?

Forget the 1965 price tag. How about somewhere around $250 today? The same guys who complained about them when they were $19.95 (and I was one who did) would complain about them today.

And what about that light trigger? It certainly isn’t going to pass legal muster today. So, as much as I would like to see the Crosman 600 come back, I don’t expect to ever see one new again. The model name might be recycled, but the design — never.

Even the NightStalker would challenge Crosman today, though it would be less of a problem than the 600. Some of the machines that made a NightStalker have gone away, too, and remaking it would present a new set of challenges. So I won’t be calling Ed Schultz with a, “What you outta do.” message anytime soon.

But a true semiautomatic airgun that is accurate and has a good trigger would sell, if the price was reasonable. Crosman calls the 1077 a semiauto, but shooters know different. My advice to the company would be to do it right if you plan to do it at all. Give us true semiauto feeding, a good trigger and accuracy. Don’t let the lawyers talk you into compromising in any of those three areas. The price can be a place to fudge if you have to, but give us the rest of it or forget the whole deal.

One last note. It appears that Sig is about to end production of the ASP20 rifle, if they haven’t already. Six months after that they wouldn’t be able to restart the line without a significant investment of time and money. So love ’em while they last. And with some companies like Weihrauch and AirForce, that can be a very long time.

Summary

We sometimes think that if a company manufactures airguns they can make anything. But AirForce can’t make a 1077 without breaking their manufacturing model, and Crosman would turn themselves inside-out to produce a TalonSS. The iconic airguns of the past are just as hard for the companies to make as they are for other companies who don’t compete in the same market.

Why do I tell you all of this? Well, I’m really telling myself, because when I saw that NightStalker in my closet I was about to call Ed.


Benjamin 397 Variable Pump Air Rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord|
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin 397
The new Benjamin 397.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Dot sight?
  • The test
  • Accurate with JSB Exact Heavys
  • Adjusted the rear sight
  • H&N Baracuda Magnum
  • H&N Sniper Magnum
  • Adjusted sights
  • 10 shots
  • Summary

It’s been a while since we have looked at the Benjamin 397 Variable Pump Air Rifle. This is a multi-pump .177-caliber air rifle that was advertised as getting 1,100 f.p.s. It can be pumped up to 10 times and we learned that the test rifle was good for 773 f.p.s. when shooting RWS Hobby pellets. A thousand f.p.s. takes trick pellets that nobody uses.

It’s not a quiet airgun, because from two to 10 pumps of air it produces 105 dB pretty consistently. So it’s not friendly for small suburban backyards. But it is a shooter!

Dot sight?

I intended to shoot the rifle with a dot sight or a scope, but there was a question about whether the scope base that attaches to the two holes that are drilled and tapped into the receiver will work with scope bases that are for older 397s, or even with peep sights that I have for my older Benjamin multi-pumps. I tried them both and discovered they won’t fit. The holes are in the wrong place.

The Air Venturi intermount is a sight base that fits this receiver, if it is 0.540 to 0.565-inches in diameter. The test rifle receiver measures 0.567-inches in diameter and I’m going to order one of these bases to see if it fits.

The test

I shot today from 25 yards off a sandbag rest with the rifle rested directly on the bag. Obviously I used the open sights that came on the rifle.  I used a 6 o-clock hold on a 10-meter pistol target, which is perfect for this distance when you use open sights. I shot 5-shot groups because of the pumping, but I did shoot one 10-shot group at the end with what I felt was the best pellet. I pumped six times per shot.

Accurate with JSB Exact Heavys

At 10 meters we discovered the 397 is very accurate with JSB Exact Heavy pellets. So they were the pellets I started with today without adjusting the rear sight. Five pellets went into 0.689-inches at 25 yards. It was high on the bull and to the left.

JSB Heavy group 1
Five JSB Exact Heavy pellets went into 0.689-inches at 25 yards.

Wow! That is a good group for me with post-and-notch open sights at 25 yards! I lost my glasses on Saturday and I had to use reading glasses to see the front sight, but the bull at 25 yards was very blurry. I normally wear my regular glasses for 25 yards. Let’s try a different pellet.

The test at 10 meters showed this rifle likes heavier pellets and also prefers pure lead pellets to harder ones like Premiers. So today I’m exploring the heavier pellets

Adjusted the rear sight

Since the first group was high and left, I adjusted the rear sight. The next pellet was 60 percent heavier than the first one so I left the elevation where it was, but  I adjusted the windage to the right a little. The manual does not tell how to adjust windage, but what you do to go right is loosen the left screw a little then tighten the right one.

H&N Baracuda Magnum

Next up was the 16.36-grain H&N Baracuda Magnum. This pellet is extremely heavy in .177 and I don’t see it for sale on the website anymore. Six of them went into 3.7-inches at 25 yards. I guess I lost count! But this is obviously not the right pellet for this air rifle.

Baracuda Magnum group
I don’t need a dime for this group, I need a manhole cover! Six Baracuda Magnums made a 3.7-inch group at 25 yards. Not the pellet for this 397!

H&N Sniper Magnum

The last pellet I tested was the .177-caliber H&N Sniper Magnum. This one weighs 15 grains in .177 and I no longer see it on the website, either. The 397 liked them, though, and put five into 0.709-inches at 25 yards.

Sniper Magnum group
Five H&N Sniper Magnum pellets made this 0.709-inch group at 25 yards.

Adjusted sights

It was time to take the best pellet and shoot a group of 10. I adjusted the rear sight more to the right and down. Then I set out 10 JSB Exact Heavy pellets.

10 shots

I hate to make excuses but on this group I was having a hard time seeing the sights and the sight picture. And my target shows it. Ten shots went into 1.241-inches at 25 yards. The group is completely open and I think it’s obvious it was me and not the rifle. My eyes just couldn’t keep up. I want to try this again when I have regular glasses and am fresh.

JSB Heavy group 2
Ten JSB Exact Heavy pellets went into this scattered 1.241-inch group at 25 yards.

Well, I may have lost it but at least we know the rear sight adjustments work as they should.

Summary

This new Benjamin 397 is a wonderful follow-on for the line that began back in the 1940s. It has a longer pump stroke that’s more efficient, though 1,100 f.p.s. is a pipe dream unless you shoot only trick pellets — and nobody who wants to hit the target does that!

The synthetic stock is not right for use with open sights, and to my mind this rifle is made for open sights. Also, changing the hole pattern for the peep sight wasn’t such a good thing, either. Now I have to abandon the handful of sights and bases I have for these rifles and get something new. 

I plan to test the rifle with a dot sight and perhaps with a scope if I can get it mounted securely. And I have a secret up my sleeve that only one reader knows about. So you will see the new 397 again, and again.


HW 30S: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

HW 30S
The HW 30S I am testing seems to be a new version.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Lots of questions
  • Air Arms Falcon dome
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Crosman Premier Lights
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Safety
  • Rifle can be uncocked
  • Summary

Lots of questions

There certainly was a lot of chatter about the HW 30S breakbarrel from Weihrauch. Several of you asked why Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry it and is it the same as the Beeman R7? Well, it is very close to the R7, though I don’t know if the R7’s stock will be modified in the same way that the 30S stock has been. A lot of readers said they liked the new shape. I do, too. The checkering/stippling has also changed and I have no idea if the R7 will have the same pattern, but I doubt it. The R7 is a Beeman-branded air rifle and should not carry the Weihrauch name prominently, as this stock does.

I did ask Pyramyd Air whether they carry the 30S and they said they decided not to, because the R7 is so similar. Oddly the Beeman R7 is also available in .20 caliber but not in .22, while the 30S is available in .22 caliber but not in .20. I think the .20 caliber is a nod to Dr. Beeman, who prefers that caliber best of all 4 smallbore calibers, but it’s also a marketing mistake because there aren’t that many different good pellets available in .20 caliber. I think a .22 would sell much better.

It’s clear from several comments that the 30S has changed over the years. Some owners have one with a globe front sight that doesn’t accept inserts like this one. Some have a breech that isn’t notched like the test rifle. But the ball-bearing barrel detent seems to date back at least 30 years or more. However, reader Fish showed us that there was a 30S that had a chisel detent in the distant past.

Now let’s look at the performance.

Air Arms Falcon dome

The first string of 10 Falcon domes averaged 601 f.p.s. The low was 589 and the high was 609, so a difference of 20 f.p.s. I believe a lube tune that I intend doing will tighten that up a bit. At the average velocity the Falcon develops 5.88 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

RWS Superdomes

Next up were RWS Superdomes. At 8.3-grains I expected them to be slower, and they were, but not by much. Ten averaged 591 f.p.s. from the 30S, with a low of 572 and a high of 614 f.p.,s. That’s a difference of 42 f.p.s. That’s quite a lot, and I expect it to drop over time and perhaps with lubrication.

At the average velocity the Superdome develops 6.44 foot-pounds at the muzzle. So they are a little slower than the Falcons but a little more powerful.

Crosman Premier Lights

The last pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier. Ten of them averaged 593 f.p.s. but the spread was very large, at 47 f.p.s. The low was 569 and the high was 616 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Premier Light generates 6.17 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Cocking effort

The rifle took 22 pounds of effort through the entire cocking stroke, with a bump up to 25 pounds at the very end. The end of the stroke is where the rear of the piston cocks the trigger, so I may be able to decrease that a little with lubrication. I have no plan to disassemble the Rekord trigger like some shooters have reported, so I’ll either correct it with lubrication or it will remain.

I also have to comment that, while the ball bearing detent does keep the breech sealed well, it also offers little resistance when you cock the rifle. There is no need to slap the muzzle to break the barrel open.

Trigger pull

I tested the trigger as it came from the factory. It is two-stage with stage one taking 12 ozs. It has a positive stop at stage two. Stage two then breaks at 1 lb. 15 oz., so even from the factory this trigger is nice and light.

I mentioned in the Part One report that stage two of the trigger in the test rifle had a little creep and that I planned to lubricate and adjust it for you in a special report. Well, after velocity testing today all the creep has disappeared. I could use this trigger exactly as it is today, but I will still do a special report on the trigger to show lubrication and adjustments.

Safety

The Rekord trigger has a button safety that pops out on the left side of the rifle when the trigger is cocked. You have to push the button in before the rifle will fire, and there is a definite click when it releases. On some rifles the tolerances are a little off and the rifle can be cocked without setting the safety. Some shooters learn to do this and others disable the safety altogether. Back in the real old days (1950s and ’60s) there was no safety at all.  No HW 55 I have owned has had a safety and I have seen several older R7s without one.

But taking the safety off after cocking soon becomes second nature to anyone with a Rekord trigger. My advice is to leave it functioning and learn to work with it.

HW 30S safety off
The safety is off.

HW 30S safety on
The rifle is cocked and the safety is on.

Rifle can be uncocked

Because the safety can be taken off at any time, the HW 30S can be uncocked. Hold the end of the barrel against the mainspring and take off the safety, then pull the trigger and allow the barrel to close slowly. To reset the safety you break the barrel down all the way — even when the rifle is cocked. The piston rod has to push a part in the trigger down just a wee bit more for the safety to reset.

Summary

Reader Fish asked me if the 30S had replaced the Diana 27S as my favorite air rifle. I told him no, but it might be just as nice.

My plan is to complete a regular set of testing with this rifle, which includes one accuracy test at 10 meters with the open sights. Then I will address the trigger lubrication and adjustments in a special report. Then I will lube-tune the rifle and test velocity and accuracy again. Then I will mount a scope and test accuracy at 25 yards. Then I will install a Vortek PG-2 SHO spring kit and test velocity and accuracy once more. 

When I finish with the Weihrauch HW 30S you guys are going to know it just as well as I do.

Then I plan to get an HW 50S and run similar tests. And then we can make some comparisons. We are going to have some real fun with these two air rifles, and it just may last for most of the rest of this year.


Crosman 38T Target revolver: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

38T
Crosman 38T.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Grips & tips
Part 4
Resealing the Crosman 38T revolver: Part 5

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • No description
  • The test
  • RWS Hobby
  • The grip
  • Velocity drops
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS Meisterkugeln
  • Discharge sound
  • Double action
  • Summary

Today we are going to look at the velocity of the .22-caliber Crosman 38T that reader 45Bravo resealed. This report should be interesting because we saw the reseal and now we get to see what it did. 45Bravo did test it after he finished, of course, but he held off telling you so I could write this test. 

No description

I’m not describing the revolver because it is identical to the .177 version that we saw in Part 1. And we saw a lot more of it when it was apart for the resealing. Let’s get right to the test.

The test

I shot 6 shots for the record. That’s because 6 is the number the revolver accepts when you load it. Also, this one may not get a lot of shots per CO2 cartridge. The first three tests will be fired single-action.

RWS Hobby

The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby wadcutter. They are the lightest lead pellet I have and I wanted to know just how fast this revolver would shoot. But when I saw 389 f.p.s. on the first shot I was amazed! But the next shot was 343 and the one after that was 329 f.p.s. When shot 4 was also 329 I knew the pistol had settled down after receiving a fresh CO2 cartridge. The first couple shots on a fresh cartridge are usually much faster, because liquid CO2 gets into the valve where it flashes to gas and boosts the velocity. After that the gun settles down and starts to become consistent. So I dropped the first two shots and recorded the next ones. However there was a problem.

The Hobby pellets had tremendous difficulty loading. They wanted to turn sideways in the loading trough after they dropped in. So to get all six shots for the velocity I had to fire 12 shots.

The average velocity, once the gun had settled down, was 328 f.p.s. The range was from 320 to 335 f.p.s., so a spread of 15 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Hobby generates 2.84 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

The grip

I noticed that the left grip that was repaired  kept partially separating from the pistol. It wasn’t much and a squeeze would click it back in place. But it kept happening, so I had to keep an eye on it.

Velocity drops

As the gun is fired the velocity drops in the same way we have seen with some other CO2 guns. I found it best to wait 15 seconds between shots for the velocity test.

JSB Exact RS

Next to be tested were JSB Exact domes. They weigh 13.43 grains so they should be slower than Hobbys, which they were. Six averaged 311 f.p.s. That made the muzzle energy 2.89 foot-pounds. The low was 305 and the high was 322 f.p.s.

These pellets loaded perfectly, though the first one had to be smacked into the chamber a second time. But they loaded perfectly and will be a pleasure to shoot.

RWS Meisterkugeln

The RWS Meisterkugeln wadcutter was the last pellet I tested. At 14.2 grains you know it’s going to shoot a little slower. But not that much. The average for six shots was 306 f.p.s. and the spread ranged from 299 to 314 f.p.s.

This wadcutter also loaded perfectly. And they all went into the chambers of the cylinder like they were made for it.

Discharge sound

In Part 2 I tested the discharge of the .177 revolver and got 100.4 dB. This time the discharge sounded quieter, so I tested it. It was 96 dB, so I guess that’s enough to tell the difference. Remember, the last time I tested the discharge was about a month ago.

38T discharge

Double action

At this point in the test the gun  had been fired 25 times. Now I loaded 6 Hobbys and tested them in the double action mode, waiting 30 seconds between shots. They were just as difficult to load as before, so that wasn’t imagined. Three shots were lost in this test. Six shots averaged 291 f.p.s., with a low of 273 and a high of 313 f.p.s. So the pressure was definitely falling off. That’s a shot count of 34 shots on a cartridge. I need to know that for the accuracy test that’s yet to come.

Summary

Well, the .22 revolver is performing well after the reseal. But I think it goes through gas much faster than the .177. I’d like to hear from readers about their experiences with these revolvers.

Accuracy testing is next, and from what I have heard the 38T in .22 is quite accurate. We shall see!


The EM GE Zenit air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Zenit
The German Zenit air pistol from before World War II is a fascinating collector’s item.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • A little afraid
  • Sight-in
  • Adjust front sight
  • Falcons at 10 meters
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the EM GE Zenit air pistol. This is normally a 10 meter test, but today there were differences. Let’s go!

A little afraid

This test gave me some concerns. This Zenit is approaching 90 years of age and it has a cocking process that leaves the pivoting barrel in a position that I consider hinky at best. Could it even hit the paper? I was so concerned that I started cautiously, and I’m so glad that I did.

Sight-in

I started with Air Arms Falcon pellets. And I used a 6 o’clock hold on the bull.

I fired one shot from about 18 feet and it landed high on the target. It looked pretty good at this point so I backed up to 10 meters and started shooting. Neither of the next two shots hit the target paper. This wasn’t working!

So I moved the bench up to 5 meters and tried again. The first shot hit above the bull and the second shot hit next to it. These holes were lower than the one from 18 feet, but in the same general area. The front sight needed to go up to bring the shots down. Talk about hinky! Would that sight adjustment even work? Do you remember where it was set when I got the pistol?

Zenit front sight left
The front sight blade swings up to adjust the elevation. This is how the front sight was set when I purchased the airgun.

Adjust front sight

I loosened the jam screw that holds the front sight blade fast and levered the sight blade up to the second index mark on the blade. Shooting from 5 meters the next pellet hit the top of the bull. Nine more shots went into a group that measures 0.743-inches between centers at 5 meters.

Zenit 5 meters
This is the Zenit at 5 meters with Falcon pellets. The highest hole (arrow) was shot from 18 feet. The two shots under that one (arrows) were shot from 5 meters, rested, with the original sight setting. Then I adjusted the front blade up a little and shot ten more times. That group with one stray measures 0.743-inches between centers.

I held the pistol in two hands that were resting on the sandbag. My off hand was under the butt, which might have caused the muzzle to jump up when the pistol fired.

While shooting at 5 meters I noticed that the muzzle of the pistol flips up with every shot. As slow as this pistol shoots that’s got to have an impact on where the pellet lands. But from the group size I could tell that the pistol wants to shoot. So I dragged the bench back to 10 meters and adjusted the front sight a lot higher.

Zenit front sight
You can compare this front sight setting to the one that was on the pistol when I got it. This sight is cranked up 4 index marks.

Falcons at 10 meters

I shot the first round at 10 meters and the pellet hit the 8-ring at 4 o’clock. That’s well within the bull. I shot the next shot and saw that it landed close to the first one, so I then settled down and fired 8 more times. At ten meters 10 Falcon pellets went into 1.096-inches, with all pellets inside the 8-ring or higher. This little oldster can shoot!

Zenit Falcons 10 meters
The Zenit put 10 Air Arms Falcon pellets in 1.096-inches at 10 meters.

Okay, this little pistol can really shoot. I do have to mention that the flight time of the pellet is quite long. It seems like the pellet couldn’t possibly go where you want it, but when you look you see that it did.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next I tried the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. I guessed they would be really good, but that was wrong. They hit low on the target and ten made a somewhat vertical group that measures 1.689-inches between centers. It’s not that bad, but the Falcons are much better. Notice that the group remains centered on the bull — left and right.

Zenit R10 Match Pistol 10 meters
The Zenit put 10 RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets into a 1.689-inch group at 10 meters.

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet I tried was the JSB Exact RS dome. The Zenit put 10 of them into a vertical group that measures 1.901-inches between centers. Even though it was large, this group climbed back into the bull like the Falcons.

Zenit JSB RS 10 meters
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.901-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion

I never would have thought this old pistol would shoot so well. It was just a matter of adjusting the sights and then letting her do her thing. She is no powerhouse, but she is very well made and she shoots like you want her to.

Summary

It has been a pleasure testing this old air pistol. I hope our readers who own a variation of one of these Zenits will chime in and tell us how theirs compares.


HW 30S: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

HW 30S
The HW 30S I am testing seems to be a new version.

This report covers:

  • The stock
  • Light!
  • Sights
  • Rekord trigger
  • Adjust trigger
  • Articulated cocking link
  • Surprise number 2
  • Summary

Today we start looking at the Weihrauch HW 30S that I mentioned yesterday. It arrived last evening and I am excited to get started. There are two surprises awaiting, so let’s get started.

The stock

Let’s start with surprise number one — the stock. It is profiled in a very modern style. Gone is the western hunting profile. It’s been replaced by a more tactical-looking butt. It has just a hint of the A4 kickdown tactical butt without shoving your face in it. Compare it to the SIG ASP20 stock.

HW 30S ASP20 stock
The Sig ASP20 stock had the same tactical look.

The bottom of the cutout at the bottom of the butt is flat. You might not appreciate that until you slide a rear sandbag underneath and notice the stability. And folks — these are all small touches that any company can make that costs very little and add so much.

HW 30S butt bottom
The bottom of the butt is flat for stability.

HW 30S forearm
There are identical checkered, stippled and carved panels on both side of the forearm.

HW 30S grip
The grip is also checkered, stippled and carved. 

This stock fits me quite well. The forearm is thin so the rifle drops down deep in my off hand the way I like. The pistol grip is very full — almost to the point of being a palm swell. The pull from the trigger to the center of the soft but firm red rubber butt pad is a manly 14-1/8-inches. And the stock is 100 percent ambidextrous. Whoever designed this stock knows rifles! I’m not saying it will fit everyone but those it doesn’t will be in the third standard deviation on either side of the mean.

Light!

The first thing I noticed as the rifle came from the box was how very light it is! Mine weighs 5 lbs. 13.2 oz. It is 38-7/8-inches long with a 15-1/2-inch barrel. I think the slim profile of the stock adds to the impression of lightness.

Sights

And the gifts just keep on coming! The NON-FIBEROPTIC sights — thank you, Weihrauch! — are wonderful. The rear sight adjusts in both directions and has 4 different notches to choose from.

HW 30S rear sight
The HW 30S rear sight adjusts both ways. There are 4 different notches to choose from.

But it is the front sight that is amazing. In 2021 I never expected to find a globe front sight that comes with 6 inserts on a rifle selling for under $300!

HW 30S front sight
The front sight accepts inserts. The 5 additional sight inserts are in a pouch hanging from the triggerguard.

HW 30S front sight inserts
A pouch that hangs from the triggerguard holds five of the six front sight inserts that come with HW 30S. The other one is in the sight.

Rekord trigger

But wait — there is more! Aside from the small, light style, the HW 30S comes with a Rekord trigger! That’s what the S in the title signifies. And yes, there are HW 30 rifles that don’t have a Rekord trigger. If anyone owns one please speak up and tell us about it.

HW 30S Rekord trigger
The 30S has a Rekord trigger.

Adjust trigger

I will tell you right now that the trigger in my rifle is not adjusted the way I prefer. There is some creep in the second stage. Therefore, before I shoot for accuracy, I will adjust the trigger. That will be a report of its own. I have adjusted Rekord triggers before in this blog but I think this will be the first time I have adjusted and reported on one just as it comes from the factory.

Articulated cocking link

The 30S has a 2-piece articulated cocking link. That means that the cocking slot in the stock can be very short and that means less vibration. However, I have shot this rifle (had to, you know) and there is the tiniest bit of vibration. After the regular test and trigger adjustment I will break her down and tune her to be slick and quiet. But that ain’t all!

Surprise number 2

I told you there were some surprises in store with this rifle. The stock was the first one. Now let’s look at the second one. To see it, and I should say them, I broke the barrel open. Let’s look.

HW 30S breech
There they are — surprise(s) number two! From the bottom up I see a ball bearing barrel detent. That’s easier to machine in many respects, so Weihrauch is keeping the cost under control. 

I would like to hear from HW 30S owners whether your rifles have ball bearing barrel detents. I believe they had chisel detents at some point in the past. In fact I believe they had them until recently.

Above the barrel detent I see a funny-looking notched breech. Wait! I saw one like this recently, didn’t I? Where was that? On the Diana 34 EMS? The one with the interchangeable barrels?

Diana, this is a message from the folks at Weihrauch. When you launch an air rifle with interchangeable barrels and aren’t ramped up to supply the barrels yet — remain quiet! Don’t make it a feature that you can’t supply. In the future you can pull back the curtain and reveal an added value that’s been there for some time. AirForce Airguns does it that way, and their owners love them for it. Leave the stuff that isn’t real for BB’s April Fool’s blog!

Above the breech you can see the four rear sight notches. Choices!

Summary

Guys, we have a real winner to examine in this HW 30S. This is gonna be a fun series for all of us!