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!


The AV-46M Single Stroke Pneumatic Match Air Pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

AV 46-M
The AV-46M target air pistol is a reincarnation of the IZH 46M for the American market.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sights
  • Sight-in
  • Shot a lot!
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • New method of resting the pistol
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellets
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • Vogel
  • The trigger
  • Other pellets
  • Summary

It’s accuracy day for the Air Venturi 46M single stroke pneumatic target pistol. A day I think that will be the first of several.

The test

I shot off a rest from 10 meters. I started with the gun rested directly on the bag and held with two hands, but during the test I discovered a better way to hold the pistol. I will describe it when we get to it.

I shot 5-shot groups so I could test more pellets. That turned out to be a good idea with all the shooting I did.

Sights

I said in Part 2 that I would be changing the sights for this test, but when the pistol was extended far from my eyes the sights it came with are sized correctly. I will say, though, that the screws that hold the rear sight blade to the unit are left-hand threads — just like those on the IZH-46M.

Sight-in

The pistol was shooting high and to the right when I started. I adjusted the rear sight as far to the left as it would go, but the pellets still hit the bull too far to the right. However, these pistols have a number of secondary adjustments, so I stopped to examine the pistol.

It appeared that the front sight might have been installed one or two degrees to the left of center. I say it appeared that way, because it was not obvious. There is a single slotted screw under the front sight. Loosen it and rotate the sight unit in the desired direction. I rotated the sight ever-so-slightly to the right (front sight moves in the reverse of how you want the pellet to move) and tightened the screw. I could not detect the difference in angle visually, but the problem was solved.

46M front sight
Loosen that screw under the front sight assembly to move the sight blade.

As I shot the pellets today I didn’t worry about centering them on the bull. That will come later, when an accurate pellet has been selected.

Shot a lot!

I shot many more groups than I’m going to show you here. Some had called pulls that I will explain as we go, and others were just not the right pellets for this pistol. It took me the entire test to discover that this pistol probably wants to shoot a 4.49 mm or a 4.50 mm wadcutter. I’m not certain of that, but the results seem to indicate it. That’s more of a note to me than to you, but owners will want to pay attention.

As a result of shooting so much today (60-70 shots) I got tired. Toward the end of the test when I discovered the best hold, I was no longer shooting at my best.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

The first group I will show is one I shot with RWS R10 Match Pistol wadcutters. Five pellets landed in 0.605-inches at 10 meters with 4 of them in 0.326-inches. That turns out to be a theme in today’s test — three or 4 pellets in a nice tight group with one or two that went wide.

46M R10 group
Five RWS R10 Pistol pellets went into 0.605-inches at 10 meters, with four in 0.326-inches.

Air Arms Falcons

The only domed pellet I tried today was the Air Arms Falcon. The AV-46M put five of them in 0.455-inches at 10 meters.

46M Falcon group
Five Air Arms Falcon pellets went into 0.455-inches at 10 meters. The group looks smaller than it is because it was shot with domed pellets.

New method of resting the pistol

At this time in the test I tried a new method of resting the pistol. I had been holding it with two hands as it rested on the sandbag, but now I stretched out my shooting hand and just used that with the pistol still resting on the bag. That put the sights farther from my eyes which gave a sharper sight picture. The pistol was dead steady on the bag. I used this hold for the remainder of the test.

Qiang Yuan Training pellets

Sometimes this Qiang Yuan Training pellet does very well and this is one such time. I shot five into 0.679-inches, but the lone pellet on the left was a called pull. Now let me explain what I mean by that. When the trigger is as nice as the one on this pistol, you aren’t going to pull it by mistake. The “pull” in this case was that the gun fired when I could see slightly more light on the right side of the front post than on the left side. I didn’t want to fire at that moment, but the trigger was ready to go. That happens during matches all the time and the trick is to prevent it from happening to the best of your ability.

The other 4 pellets landed in a group that measures 0.285-inches between centers. This is a pellet to watch!

46M Chinese training group
Five Qiang Yuan Training pellets went into 0.679-inches at 10 meters, with four in 0.285-inches.

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

Next to be tried were RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets. Once again four landed in a tight group and a fifth hit outside — this time lower. Four are in 0.381-inches and five are in 0.647-inches. This was not a called pull.

46M Meisterkugeln Rifle group
Five RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets went into 0.679-inches at 10 meters, with four in 0.381-inches

Vogel

The last pellet I will show you is the Vogel target pellet with a 4.50 mm head. Five went into 0.65-inches, which isn’t that great compared to the other pellets — but three of the pellets are in 0.20-inches. That’s trime territory! I tested this pellet twice and got the same three-shot group inside of 5 shots. That told me that this is a pellet to consider and also that I was tiring out.

46M Vogel group
Five Vogel target pellets went into 0.65-inches at 10 meters with 3 in 0.20-inches.

The trigger

The trigger on an airgun is revealed during accuracy testing, and the one on the pistol I’m testing is gorgeous! There is no creep in stage two — something every IZH-46 I’ve ever shot cannot say. It also adjusts easily and stays where it is put. This is a trigger to admire.

Other pellets

Other pellets I tested but have not shown in this report are JSB Match S100 with 4.52 mm heads, H&N Finale Match Heavy with 4.50 mm heads and H&N Match Green with 4.50 mm heads. Their groups were just too large to consider.

Summary

I’m not done testing this pistol. I shot it so much today that I got tired and didn’t give the pistol a good chance to shine, once I figured out how best to hold it.


The AV-46M Single Stroke Pneumatic Match Air Pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

AV-46M lever open
The AV-46M target air pistol is a reincarnation of the IZH 46M for the American market. It is the easiest-cocking single stroke pneumatic around.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • The test
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • H&N Match Green
  • Surprise!
  • RWS R10 pistol with boosted pumps
  • Pump effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity of the new Air Venturi 46M target air pistol. There is a LOT of interest in this pistol and I must tell you that when the initial stock of pistols is gone you’ll have to wait until late March to get one. Russia is a long way away from Cleveland.

The test

I’m going to jump right into the velocity test because there is something special I want to do after that. Oh, and by the way — let’s remember that this is a 10-meter target pistol. It isn’t a magnum airgun made to shoot heavy pellets, and there is no convenient way to soup it up. This isn’t a sporting air pistol; it’s a target pistol.

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

I’ll start with RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets. They are a wadcutter target pellet, but at 8.2 grains they are really too heavy for this pistol. However, they will work, and, because the AV-46M is so powerful, they work better than I expected. Ten pellets averaged 449 f.p.s. The spread went from 435 to 461 f.p.s. — a difference of 26 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 3.67 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Air Arms Falcon

Next up was the 7.33-grain Falcon pellet from Air Arms. Ten of them averaged 489 f.p.s. Right there the pistol has exceeded it’s advertised velocity of 480 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 3.89 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

The interesting thing was this pellet only varied by 6 f.p.s. — from 487 to 493 f.p.s. That’s very stable!

RWS R10 Match Pistol

The next pellet I tested was the 7-grain RWS R10 Match pistol pellet. It was the first pellet I tested that it suited to this target pistol. They averaged 501 f.p.s. for 10 shots and I apologize to our Canadian readers, and especially to Hawkeye, who cannot own air pistols that shoot faster than 500 f.p.s. without registering them! The low was 497 and the high was 505 f.p.s. — a difference of 8 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 3.90 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

H&N Match Green

Hopefully the Royal Canadian Mounted Police don’t test airguns with the H&N Match Green pellet, because at 5.25-grains, it will always be very fast. In the 46-M they averaged 532 f.p.s. with a 9 f.p.s spread from 529 to 538 f.p.s.

Surprise!

Well, all that testing was done by just shooting the pistol in the way anyone would. Now I did something special and I was surprised when I mentioned it in Part One that some of you didn’t know what it is. I have written about this little trick dozens of times in this blog, as well as showing it on the American Airguns television show back in 2010.

To boost velocity in a single-stroke pneumatic, pump the lever almost all the way, but not quite, several times. Then complete the pump stroke. The partial pumps expand the pump cup, warming it and making it more flexible. On the final pump the cup seals as well as it possible can and the velocity goes up as high as it can go. On TV I boosted a standard IZH 46 from 425 to about 460 f.p.s. this way. Let’s now see what I did with the AV-46M.

RWS R10 pistol with boosted pumps

What I did for each shot that follows was make 4 partial pump strokes that were almost complete. Then I pumped stroke number five all the way. That flexed the pump cup and made it seal better.

This time the R10 Pistol pellet that averaged 501 f.p.s. before this technique now averaged 523 f.p.s. The low was 517 and the high was 531, so a difference of 14 f.p.s. Let’s call this technique a 20 f.p.s. boost. Is it worth the extra effort? Not when the pistol is new and functioning perfectly. But when an SSP gets older and the pump cup gets hard, this trick can make an old pistol shoot like new again.

Pump effort

On my bathroom scale the test pistol took 22 lbs. of effort to close the pump lever. The secret to keeping the pump force as low as possible it to not “horse” the lever. Let it close smoothly, without rushing things.

Trigger pull

In Part One I adjusted the trigger of the test pistol from 310 grams to 524 grams, to meet the 500-gram minimum required for a match — not that I’m ever going to shoot in a match again. Today I tested the trigger and stage two broke at 526 grams, so it’s holding right where I adjusted it! Not only is that a testament to the refinement of this trigger, it also shows that the AV-46M trigger adjusts perfectly. I never had an IZH trigger adjust this well.

Summary

This pistol is testing out better than advertised. I love the trigger on the test pistol, and, if this was my pistol to do with as I wish, I would be sculpting these beautiful target grips to fit my hand.

My plan is to install a different rear sight blade to get the sight picture I prefer before I shoot the pistol for accuracy. And for the record, Tyler Patner tells me that the screws on the rear sight blade are left-hand threads, just like the IZH sight. That should keep you from twisting them off as you try to exchange sight blades.

I hope Alfa Precision makes as good a barrel as they claim. I can’t wait to see the accuracy!


The AV-46M Single Stroke Pneumatic Match Air Pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

AV 46-M
The AV-46M target air pistol is a reincarnation of the IZH 46M for the American market.

This report covers:

  • It’s here!
  • Alfa Precision
  • Air Venturi
  • The pistol
  • Dry-fire
  • Easy to pump
  • Happy, happy
  • But wait….!
  • Sights
  • Weight
  • Owner’s manual
  • The price
  • Summary

It’s here!

This is the pistol many of you have been clamoring for, for years. It’s the IZH 46M match pistol. Only it isn’t from IZH anymore. Air Venturi has negotiated the construction and purchase of this iconic AV 46-M target air pistol from Alfa Precision, a non-military Russian barrelmaker. That means it is legal to import it into the US. They are available for sale right now!

Alfa Precision

Some airgunners are already aware of Alfa Precision. They are sort of the Russian equivalent of Lothar Walther — and I’m sure I will hear about that remark! Alfa Precision makes hammer-forged firearm and airgun barrels that have shown surprising levels of accuracy. They also know and understand airguns. These are all good things! 

Air Venturi

Most of you know the Air Venturi brand quite well. Over the years I have tested a number of their airguns and other important products, such as high-pressure air compressors. The good news about them in this picture is they can provide the support you need. That means parts, service and information. So, this target air pistol should be around for some time to come. And now for the question on everybody’s mind — is this one really as good as the IZH 46M that people are paying high prices for in used condition? There is a whole lot of testing to be done, but in the several hours I have had with it so far I have to say that it is. In fact, it’s going to surge ahead of the IZH just a little.

The pistol

The AV-46M is a single-stroke pneumatic 10-meter target pistol. To charge the pistol you pull the long underlever forward, and at the end of the stroke you pull the lever a little harder to cock the action. When the breech flips straight up the pistol is cocked. A target (wadcutter) pellet is then loaded into the breech that is very accessible and the underlever is returned home. Close the breech and fire. That single act pumps the pistol one time and should be good for a muzzle velocity of around 480 f.p.s. with lightweight pellets.

AV 46M lever extended
The pump lever goes far forward, and at the end it opens the breech and cocks the pistol. As it is brought back, the fulcrum of the pump stroke constantly changes to an optimal position.

AV 46M breech open
When the breechblock stands up like this, the pistol is cocked.

You can only pump the gun one time. If you attempt a second pump stroke, all the air from the first stroke will be lost. That’s why it is called a single-stroke pneumatic.

Dry-fire

The ability to cock and fire the trigger without firing a pellet is called dry-fire. Every respectable 10-meter pistol must have this feature. To dry fire the 46M you pull forward on the breech cover to unlock the breech block, then pull the breech block straight up until the mechanism is cocked. Return the block to its closed position under the breech cover and you’re ready to shoot. A shooter typically fires five times as many shots each day dry-fire than with pellets.

Easy to pump

One of the principal features of the 46M pumping mechanism is the sliding fulcrum that reduces the pump stroke effort. It take pounds off the pump force and gives you a muzzle velocity of close to 500 f.p.s. The description says 480 f.p.s., but you know I’m going to test that for you. And I know a secret that may boost the velocity a little.

Happy, happy

BB Pelletier loves airguns! I love them all, but I have been a competitor in 10-meter pistol shooting and that gives me a special appreciation for target pistols. This new 46M gives me the opportunity to test a target pistol that many of you already know is the best deal on the market — hands-down.

But wait….!

Yes, there is more. In the first place, what is it that Alfa Precision does? That’s right, they make barrels. Are their barrels any good? From the reports I have read, they are quite good. And they make the barrel for this AV 46M. What does that mean? Well, we will all have to wait impatiently for the Part 3 accuracy test, but I have high hopes.

And in the second place, what was the one criticism many shooters had with the IZH 46 and 46M? The grip! That’s right, the IZH grip was always on the small side and quite bland. It worked, but it wasn’t in the same class as what we see on an FWB or a Walther 10-meter pistol. Well, didja happen to notice anything special about the grip on this pistol? That’s right — this one isn’t made from pallet wood! In fact, this grip is made in Finland and it looks very much like it belongs at the party.

With the IZH you built up the grip with wood putty in places to conform to your hand. This snazzy new laminated grip has some meat on it that allows you to carve off what you don’t need and it will still look snazzy.

And finally we come to the trigger. The IZH 46/46M trigger was good, but it was far from perfect. A 10-meter shooter could always detect some creep in stage two. So far the trigger on the AV-46M pistol I am examining is perfect. No creep! And I can detect creep that a lot of folks can’t.

When the pistol arrived at my house, stage two was breaking at 310 grams. While that is a nice light trigger, it won’t get you into a match. Your trigger must break at 500 grams or more. I adjusted the trigger to break at 524 grams. That’s all I’m going to tell you today, and I only said that to remind myself of what I have done.

Sights

The AV-46M sights are fully adjustable with positive click detents. That is as it should be on a target pistol. But there is more. The rear sight blade has two notches of different widths, so the blade can be flipped to adjust the notch width to your preference. The pistol comes with a second rear sight blade that has another two notches of differing widths, so you can play around until you are satisfied.

The rear blade also slides from side to side to give you more horizontal adjustment, should you need it. All things considered, this rear sight is everything needed for a world-class 10-meter pistol.

The front sight has three replaceable blades of different widths. These should be matched to the rear notch to optimize the length of your arm, your eyesight and your personal preference for blade-to-notch fit.

AV 46M rear sight
The AV-46M rear sight offers everything a world-class 10-meter pistol sight should.

AB 46M rear sight elements
Besides what comes on the pistol, you get these sight elements.

Weight

The AV-46M weighs 1181 grams, which is 2 lbs. 9.7 oz. That is on the heavy side for a 10-meter pistol these days. Most world-class target pistols are weighing just under a kilogram, today. This pistol’s weight is more in line with the FWB 65/80/90 of several decades ago. Of course the modern pistols do have optional weights that can be added to satisfy all shooters. I competed with heavier pistols, so the weight doesn’t bother me, but a buyer needs to know this up front. This would probably not be the pistol on which to start a junior shooter.

The pistol is muzzle-heavy. That’s a trait many target shooters prefer, as it stabilizes any shakiness of the hand.

Owner’s manual

The owner’s manual was written by an American, so it’s easy to read. The sight adjustments are engraved on the adjustment knobs so no confusion there. However — while the manual does tell what each trigger adjustment screw does, it doesn’t tell which way to adjust for anything. So, some ‘sperimentin’ will have to be done. That being noted, the manual does tell you how to store the pistol to keep the breech seals as fresh as possible.

The price

Here’s where the tire-kickers have to depart. This pistol is no longer cheap. Yes, in the mid-1990s they did sell for less than $300, but by the time the pistol could no longer be imported into the US, that had risen to around $500. Used IZH-46Ms are selling for over $500 today, and with the Finnish grips and the special barrel on this one it should come as no surprise that the price is almost $600. That’s still low compared to other serious 10-meter pistols, but it is significant. And even at that price I don’t anticipate the first batch staying around very long. So if you want one, now’s the time.

Summary

This doesn’t happen every day. Here is an iconic air pistol we all thought was lost to time and world politics. It’s back again, and, from what I have seen so far, it’s better than ever!


Walther LP2 target pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther LP2 left
Walther LP2 single stroke pneumatic target pistol.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Adjusted the rear sight
  • Second Finale Match Light group
  • The trigger
  • Gamo Match
  • H&N Match Green
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today  we look at the accuracy of the Walther LP2 single-stroke-pneumatic air pistol. We saw the test group that came with the pistol in Part 2. It’s serial-numbered to this pistol, so we have a good point of comparison.

You will remember that this pistol was resealed by Scott Pilkington for the velocity test in Part 2. With lightweight target pellets the pistol averages 330-350 f.p.s. That’s not blistering, but a 10-meter pistol doesn’t need to be. What it does need is a good trigger, good sights and a good ergonomic set of grips. Let’s see what this LP2 has.

The test

I shot off a sandbag rest from 10 meters with the butt of the pistol rested on the bag. Because the LP2 is pneumatic there isn’t any recoil to speak of, so a bag rest works well. I decided to shoot five-shot groups today so I can shoot more pellets. That’s my normal approach when a target gun is being tested. Also you have to remember that the LP2 needs to be pumped for every shot, so it’s a little work to shoot.

I deep-seated all pellets used in today’s test with a ballpoint pen. The seating depths differed slightly from the differing thicknesses of the pellet skirts.

H&N Finale Match Light

First I tried five H&N Finale Match Light pellets. The gun was cold when I started (room temperature, but not shot recently), so I shot 5 rounds and let them go where they wanted to. I used a 6 o’clock hold on the bull of a 10-meter pistol target. The first pellet struck right below the bull at 6 o’clock, but the next three pellets climbed into the black. Some of that is my imprecision, but I think a little could also be the new piston seal warming up. The fifth shot landed next to the first one (that’s probably me) and the 5-shot group measures 0.63-inches between centers.

Walther LP2 sight-in
Sighting-in with 5 H&N Finale Match Light pellets made this 0.63-inch group at 10 meters. I think the pellets climbed higher as the piston seal warmed up. It’s not the  best group, but considering the circumstances (as in sighting-in), it isn’t too bad.

Adjusted the rear sight

After seeing this group I adjusted the rear sight up by three clicks. I will report that the LP2 rear sight has definite clicks that I like a lot. It also has something I’ve never seen before but I now want it on all my target rear sights. There is a single white dot on both sight adjustment screws that allows you to easily see that the sight has been adjusted. In a noisy room you may not be able to hear the clicks, but you should be able to see this dot every time. I like it!

Walther LP2 rear sight
That white dot at the bottom of the elevation adjustment screw tells the shooter that the sight adjustment screw has been turned. The screw head has a slot for a coin. No doubt it’s a German coin like a one pfennig coin, but an American penny or dime will also work. I used the screwdriver blade of my Swiss Army Midnight Manager knife.

Second Finale Match Light group

The second 5-shot group of Finale Match Light pellets struck the target higher and in line with the center of the bull. This group was also a little smaller — perhaps due to the piston seal being warmed up. Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets went into 0.382-inches at 10 meters. It’s a very good group, but not as small as a modern 10-meter pistol would produce.

Walther LP2 Finale group
Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets made this 0.382-inch group at 10 meters in the LP2. This is the best group of the test, but the test group that came with the pistol is less than half that size, at 0.145-inches. Old BB has a way to go to beat it.

The trigger

I can now comment on the LP2 trigger. It’s gorgeous! Stage one is smooth with a definite stop at stage 2. Stage 2 breaks cleanly. I have it set at exactly one pound which is 2 ounces too light to compete in matches, but since the LP2 isn’t competitive it doesn’t matter.

Gamo Match

The next pellet I tested was the Gamo Match. They are a budget pellet that sometimes surprise me with their accuracy. This time, though, there wasn’t a lot of joy. Five pellets landed in 0.707-inches at 10 meters. This is probably not the best pellet for this pistol.

Walther LP2 Gamo Match group
The LP2 shot five Gamo Match pellets into 0.707-inches at 10 meters.

H&N Match Green

I shot the lead-free H&N Match Green pellet next. These weigh the same 5.25-grains as the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets and H&N makes both of them, but I have found those two pellets to give widely different performance. Five of these went into 0.534-inches at 10 meters. Not bad!

Walther LP2 HN Match Green group
The LP2 likes H&N Match Green pellets. Five went into 0.534-inches at 10 meters.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Next to be tried were five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. They do resemble the H&N Match Green pellets, but they don’t perform the same, as you are about to see. From the LP2 five pellets made a group that measures 0.993-inches between centers at 10 meters. This is obviously not the right pellet for the LP2, and it is the largest group of the test.

Walther LP2 Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
Five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 0.993-inches at 10 meters. 

RWS R10 Match Pistol

The last pellet I tested was the venerable RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. At ten meters the LP2 put five of them in a group that measures 0.708-inches between centers. It surprised me because I thought the R10 would either be the best of second-best. But it ranks fourth today, by a slim margin.

Walthewr LP2 R10 Pistol
The LP2 put five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets in a 0.708-inch group at 10 meters.

Discussion

Well, that’s the test. H&N Finale Match Light pellets were the best and Sig Match Ballistic Alloy were the worst.

The pistol now has reasonable velocity for a target pistol. Scott Pilkington was able to return it to the factory spec.

The trigger is very nice. Only a modern high-end 10-meter target pistol has a better one. I would rate it as slightly better than the IZH46M trigger. This seems to be common among high-end target airguns from the 1960s. The FWB 300S trigger is also hard to beat, even today.

Summary

That’s our look at a target pistol from way back when… The Walther LP3 is more common than the 2 and probably a better air pistol to purchase. But once the valve is repaired the LP2 is a goodie!


Walther LP2 target pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther LP2 left
Walther LP2 single stroke pneumatic target pistol.

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • LP2 valve weak?
  • Differences between the LP2 and LP3
  • Velocity
  • RWS Hobby
  • Gamo Match
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Trigger
  • Pumping effort
  • LP3 velocity
  • Accuracy
  • Summary

As you learned in Part 1, my new/old Walther LP2 target pistol did not work when I got it. So I sent it to Scott Pilkington for repairs. Scott had to disassemble it first to see what it needed and then order the parts. I received the pistol back this Wednesday and it is now working fine — thanks, Scott!

LP2 valve weak?

I have always heard that the LP2 has a weak valve that’s subject to failure. It was apparently corrected when the LP3 came out. Whether that is true or not I can’t say, because this is the first working LP2 I have seen and handled. I have owned two LP3s in the past. The first was the model that had the full target grips and the second one had the sporter grips that look like the grips on this LP2. I have seen several LP2s at airgun shows but they were always non-functional.

Differences between the LP2 and LP3

I mentioned in Part One that the LP3 replaced the LP2. John McCaslin loaned me his LP3 for comparison. Now let’s look at some of the differences.

LP2 and 3
LP2 above and LP3 below. The 3 has the optional target grips.

valve access
Not only was the valve changed in the LP3, the method of access was, too. LP2 above and 3 below.

barrel profile
The barrel profile changed, as well. LP2 on the left. The LP3 round barrel is less expensive to profile.

Velocity

This is velocity day, so let’s get started. I know the LP2 powerplant is weak, so I will shoot lighter pellets and also no lead-free pellets, as they can stick in the bore of a weaker airgun.

RWS Hobby

The first pellet I tried was the 7-grain RWS Hobby wadcutter. Four of the first 5 shots were in the 330 f.p.s. range, with one going out at 290. That was on the low side of what I expected. But the Hobby pellet has a large skirt and I wondered whether that was slowing the pellet. So the next 10 shots were all seated deep with a ballpoint pen.

Hobby deep
A ballpoint pen seated each Hobby pellet about a quarter-inch into the breech.

When I did that the velocity increased by over 20 f.p.s. The average of 10 deep-seated Hobbys was 354 f.p.s. The low was 342 and the high was 364 f.,p.s. That’s a spread of 22 f.p.s. I know it’s not very fast, but it’s about what I expected from this pistol. It’s in the Daisy 777 range and perfectly acceptable.

Gamo Match

Gamo Match wadcutters weigh 7.56 grains. Ten of them were seated deep and averaged 336 f.p.s. with a low of 325 and a high of 350 The spread was 25 f.p.s. 

Sometimes Gamo Match pellets are surprisingly accurate and I hope this is one of the times. I did note while deep-seating them that that their skirts are smaller and they fit in the breech easier than the Hobbys.

H&N Finale Match Light

The last pellet I tested was the 7.87-grain H&N Finale Match Light wadcutter. They fit the breech about the same as the Gamo Match and I deep-seated them with a ballpoint pen as well. 

Ten pellets averaged 339 f.p.s. with a spread from 318 to 350 f.p.s. — a difference of 32 f.p.s. Eliminate that one slow pellet and the other 9 stayed in 11 f.p.s. (339-350 f.p.s.).

Trigger

The LP2 trigger is adjustable for letoff weight (the point at which the pistol fires), length of first stage, weight of first stage and overtravel. In all it’s a dandy trigger that was probably world-class in its day.

On the pistol I’m testing I lightened the trigger pull until stage two broke at exactly 1 pound.  It’s as crisp as a glass rod breaking, so even though it’s too light for competition, I’m leaving it where it is.

Pumping effort

The Walther LP-series pistols have always pumped hard — or at least that’s what I always thought. But when I measured the pumping effort for this one on my bathroom scale I was shocked. This one takes just 15 lbs. of effort to pump. I would have thought it was over 30 pounds. I guess the difficulty is because of the short pump lever.

LP3 velocity

Just for fun I also shot 10 RWS Hobby pellets with the LP3. I will show you the whole string because of what happened.

Shot………Vel.
1………….342
2………….340
3………….344
5………….351
6………….394 — WHAT?
7………….391
8………….395
9………….387
10………..349

I guess the piston seal needed to warm up. Or something. This is the hottest LP3 I have even seen.

Accuracy

No, this is not accuracy day. But there is something to see.

The pistol I bought came in the original serial-numbered box with two original owner’s manuals — one in English and the other in German. The one in German has a test target that shows what to expect and it’s serial-numbered to the gun, as well. I measure that group at 0.145-inches between centers.

test group
The test group that came with my LP2 measures 0.145-inches between centers.

Summary

Of course we still have to test this pistol for accuracy, so it remains to be seen what old BB can do with it. 


Walther LP2 target pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther LP2 left
Walther LP2 single stroke pneumatic target pistol.

History of airguns

This report covers:

History
LP3
Pumping an LP2
Lookalike
What the LP2 was
Next

Today we start looking at a Walther LP2 single-stroke pneumatic target pistol. I recently acquired one for a reasonable price, but when it arrived it did not pump. That is the bane of the LP2 — their valves were not robust and they tend not to work.

History

The LP2 was Walther’s first commercial success with a single stroke target pistol. It was produced from 1967 through 1972. Was there ever an LP1? There might have been, but if there was it didn’t last long enough to be officially recognized or to enter the market.

LP3

The LP2 was replaced in 1973 by the LP 3 that remained in the Walther lineup until 1985. The two pistols look quite similar, but as mentioned there were improvements made to the valve.

Walther LP3
The Walther LP3 looks much like the LP2, but has significant improvements to the valve. Speaking of the valve, let’s look at a single stroke pneumatic valve now.

SSP valve
This drawing shows why only a single pump of air can be put into an SSP gun. The moment the pump piston seal clears the air inlet hole on the second pump, all the compressed air from the first pump is lost through the hole.

Pumping an LP2

To pump the pistol, a lever is pulled down and back. It withdraws the piston and cocks the action at the end of the stroke.

LP2 pump lever back
The pump lever has been drawn down and back to cock the action and prepare to pump the pistol. The barrel is broken open, though it doesn’t do so when the pistol is pumped. A lever underneath at the rear is pushed up to open it.

Lookalike

The LP 2 and 3 pistols are copies of Walther’s famed Olympia target pistols from the 1920s. They were rimfire target pistols that competed in the Olympics.

Walther Olympia
The Walther Olympia target pistol is the basis for the LP2 and LP3 air pistols.

What the LP2 was

The LP2 was a very accurate air pistol with good ergonomics for the time, It had a good trigger  and decent power for a target arm. Don’t compare it to target airguns of today. Compare it to other air pistols that are not as precise, well-made and accurate.

What the LP2 was not

The LP2 was the first of many single-stroke pneumatic target pistols that probably culminated in the FWB 103 and the IZH46M. The FWB is a world-class target pistol and the IZH 46M has many of those aspects, though they are not as refined. The Walther LP2 is far from such refinement. It has a good trigger, not a great one. It is reasonably accurate, not world class. Its ergonomics are primitive by today’s standards.

The LP2 was an important step on the path to world class target pistols, just as the Model A Ford was an important step up from the ubiquitous Model T. But no one would compare a Model A to an automobile of today. That is how the LP2 should be viewed.

Next

If Scott Pilkington can revive my LP2 I will conduct a traditional set of tests and make their reports for you. If not I know of another LP2 in working condition I can borrow. Stay tuned!