Diana 72 youth target rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Diana 72
Diana 72 is a youth target rifle from the late 20th century.

This report addresses:

• More on the trigger.
• Accuracy with various pellets.
• Why 5 shots?
• Accuracy with deep-seated pellets.
• Summary.

Today is accuracy day for the Diana model 72 target rifle. We had one extra report in this series, and that was on adjusting the trigger. I want to tell you some more of what I have learned about this trigger.

More on the trigger
During the accuracy test, the trigger failed to work two times. The first time I made a small adjustment and got it running again in a matter of a minute. The second time, however, I worked on it for 15 minutes without success. I finally read Part 3 of this report, to see where the two adjustment screws had been positioned when the trigger was working. The camera angle of that photo isn’t the best, so there was still some guesswork involved; but even then I couldn’t get the rifle to fire.

Then, I thought of something. I know this rifle has a very protective anti-beartrap mechanism, and I wonderd if it was a little too over-protective. So, I cocked the gun, again (it was still cocked and loaded from when the trigger had failed). I’ve had other spring-piston air rifles — most notably Weihrauchs and a few Dianas — that would seem to cock but wouldn’t quite go all the way. How many people have I talked through cocking their RWS Diana sidelevers because they had not pulled the lever all the way back, and the gun was stuck? Even my Whiscombe has done this often enough that I’m used to it.

When it happens to the 72, the rifle is cocked from the standpoint that the piston is back and the mainspring is compressed, but it also isn’t fully cocked in that the trigger isn’t in the right position to fire the gun. It’s a sort of limbo state that some spring rifles can get into. Think of it as a disagreement between the trigger and the anti-beartrap device, and the designers have allowed the anti-beartrap device to trump the trigger for safety reasons.

All you need to do when this happens is cock the rifle a second time, making sure that the cocking linkage goes all the way back. When I did this, the 72’s trigger began working immediately. So, if you ever get one of these rifles, keep this in mind.

I began this test not knowing where the sights were set. After all, this rifle had been through a complete rebuild, so those sights presumably came off. And the action has been out of the stock several times over the past 2 years. So, the gun needed to be sighted-in.

As a side note, the manufacturing date on the left rear of the spring tube is November 1989. That puts it near the end of the production cycle (1979-1993, according to the Blue Book of Airguns).

Sighting-in with H&N Finale Match Pistol
I started sighting-in with H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. The first shot was lined up with the center of the bull, but it was too low. It landed at 6 o’clock. Since the sights are target apertures front and rear, I was not using a 6 o’clock hold, but centering the bull in the front aperture.

The first sight-in shot was interesting, but the second was even more so, for it would tell me if this was an accurate rifle or not. It hit above the first shot, in the same line but the 2 holes didn’t quite touch. That was good but not what I had hoped for. I had hoped to see a single hole that had barely enlarged with the second round.

Shot 3, however, went into the same hole as shot 2, and shot 4 joined them. So, the rifle was probably accurate, after all. I clicked the elevation up two clicks and proceeded to the first record target.

Shooting for the record
The first 5 shots went into a group that measures 0.221 inches between centers. It’s a group you would love to see out of most sporting rifles but not impressive coming from a 10-meter rifle. Just to make sure it wasn’t me, I shot a second group with this same Finale Match Pistol pellet. As I shot, I could hear the voices of the newer readers, asking why I only shot 5 shots. So, on just this one target, I put 10 into the next group, which measures 0.269 inches. That’s encouragingly close to what just 5 shots did, so it renewed my enthusiasm.

H&N Finale Match Pistol target 1
Five H&N Finale Match pellets went into 0.221 inches at 10 meters.

H&N Finale Match Pistol target 2
Ten H&N Match Targets made this 0.269-inch group. This is not that much larger than the 5-shot group.

RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet
Next up was the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. Five of those made a group that measures 0.244 inches. It’s in the same range as the H&N Finale Match pellet, so no cigar.

RWS R10 Match Pistol target
Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets went into 0.244 inches.

RWS Hobby
After that, I decided to give the RWS Hobby wadcutter pellet a try. Who knows what they might do? Well, that was a good decision this time, because 5 of them went into 0.194 inches between centers — the smallest group so far.

RWS Hobby target
Five RWS Hobby pellets went into 0.194 inches at 10 meters. This is a good group.

At this point, I’d noticed that all the groups were landing off to the left. There’s no scope involved, so I can hit the center of the target and not destroy the aim point. I dialed in 3 clicks of right adjustment into the rear sight and continued the test.

JSB Match
Next, I tried JSB Match pellets. Five went into 0.264 inches. That was the second-largest group in this test, so no joy there.

JSB Match target
Five JSB Match pellets made this 0.264-inch group. Not that good.

Why 5 shots?
Before someone asks why I shot 5-shot groups, I’ll tell you. Accuracy is the reason. Ten-meter guns are generally so accurate that there isn’t that much difference between 5 and 10 shots. You only have to look at the first 2 targets to see the truth of that.

H&N Match Pistol
Next, I shot 5 H&N Match Pistol pellets. They’re a lower-cost pellet than the Finale Match Pistol, and sometimes they produce good results. This was to be one of those times. Five pellets made a round group that measures 0.166 inches between centers. That’s the smallest group of the test; and because it was noticeably smaller, I shot a second group to see if the first was a fluke.

H&N Match Pistol target 1
Now, this is a group! Five H&N Match Pistol pellets went into 0.166 inches.

It wasn’t a fluke at all, as you can see. The second group was a little larger, at 0.196 inches, but still one of the smaller groups fired in this test.

H&N Match Pistol target 1
This second group of H&N Match Pistol pellets was shot to confirm the first one. It measures 0.196 inches, which is larger but still one of the smaller groups of this session.

Seating the pellets deep
Now that I’d tested 4 different wadcutter pellets, three of them being designated as target pellets, I thought I would take the best 2 and test them by seating them deeply in the breech to see if there was any difference. For this, I used the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Pellet Seater that was also used in the velocity test. We learned then that the 72 doesn’t like pellets to be seated deeply where velocity is concerned. Let’s see what it does for accuracy.

The first pellet I tested this way was the H&N Match Pistol that proved to be the most accurate in the entire test. When seated deeply, they gave a 5-shot group that measures 0.23 inches between centers. While that isn’t bad, it’s larger than either of the two groups that were seated flush. They measured 0.166 inches and 0.196 inches, respectively.

H&N Match Pistol target seated deep
When they were seated deeply, 5 H&N Match Pistol pellets went into 0.23 inches. It’s larger than either of the 2 groups made with the same pellet seated flush.

And the last pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby. When seated deeply, Hobbys group in 0.252 inches. Again, this was not as small as the one group of flush-seated Hobbys that went into 0.194 inches. That leads me to believe that this rifle likes its pellet seated flush much better.

RWS Hobbys seated deep
Five deep-seated RWS Hobby pellets went into 0.252 inches. This group appears smaller than it really is because some of the target paper has closed around the holes.

The RWS model 72 target rifle is a fine example of the quality and ingenuity that Diana can put out. They took a great informal target pistol — the model 6 — and turned it into a youth target rifle. They didn’t pour a lot of money into this airgun, with the rear target sight being a conventional, adjustable sight fitted with an aperture, but they did everything right. This is a youth target rifle to covet!

If you want one of these, you’d better start looking right away. There aren’t that many of them, and owners tend to hang on to them longer than they do most airguns.

This was a test of the recoilless model 72, but don’t forget there’s also a model 70 that’s based on the model 5 pistol that recoils. There are more of them to be found, and their recoil doesn’t amount to much since they were originally an air pistol. Either model is a great airgun that you should certainly look for if this sort of gun interests you.

Walther 1250 Dominator PCP air rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Walther 1250 Dominator
Walther 1250 Dominator.

Today, we’ll test the Walther 1250 Dominator at 50 yards. I had to go out to the rifle range for this test, and we’ve been having some winds lately, so it took some time before I got a calm day. But this day was perfectly calm — I couldn’t have asked for a better day to shoot an air rifle at long range.

As you recall, the Dominator takes a 300-bar fill, which is 4,350 psi. I had to delay the test to get my carbon fiber tank refilled, and even then I didn’t have enough air for a full fill. When you fill a tank, it gets warm; and when it cools back down, you lose several hundred psi. I was able to fill to about 4,100 psi this time, but that single fill was enough air to last for the entire test, which was about 50 shots. And the needle in the pressure gauge is still in the green, which means there are more full-power shots remaining in the rifle.

I normally shoot from one of two mechanical rifle rests when I’m at this range, but for this test I decided to use my long sandbag, instead. The rifle lays in the crease on top of the bag and doesn’t move. There’s also more flexibility to reposition the rifle when required. Since this is a repeater that has to be reloaded, this flexibility was a good.

Since the circular clip holds 8 pellets, I decided to shoot 8-shot groups. It’s too much trouble to load just two pellets by themselves. So, all the groups seen today are 8-shots.

RWS Superdomes
The first pellet was the venerable RWS Superdome. They landed close enough to the bull that I didn’t bother to adjust the scope. Eight pellets made a group that measures 2.017 inches between centers. The pellets spread out horizontally, but there was no wind whatsoever. I don’t think this pellet is suited to the rifle.

Walther 1250 Dominator RWS Superdome group
Ten RWS Superdomes went into 2.017 inches at 50 yards.

Following this, I adjusted the scope up and to the left just a little to compensate for where the Superdomes had landed. Then, I shot a group of JSB Exact Heavy pellets.

JSB Exact Heavy
I expected the JSB Exact Heavy dome pellet to give good groups, and it did — sort of. Seven of the 8 pellets landed in a group that measures 0.753 inches between centers. But 1 shot landed apart from the group, opening it up to 1.933 inches. This shot was somewhere in the middle of the string of 8. It wasn’t the first or last shot, and there was no called flier. It’s just somewhere in the string.

When something like this happens, I’m tempted to believe that it was caused by a defective pellet or by something just as obviously wrong. I think the JSB Exact Heavy is a good pellet for this rifle.

Walther 1250 Dominator JSB Exact Heavy group
Seven JSB Exact Heavies went into 0.753 inches, but an unexplained lone shot strayed higher to increase the group size to 1.933 inches.

Beeman Devastator
I probably shouldn’t have tried Beeman Devastators because they’re essentially wadcutters in profile, and wadcutters don’t do well at long distances. But I did try them, and they strung vertically into a group that measures 3.067 inches. Obviously, they’re a non-starter for this rifle at 50 yards.

Walther 1250 Dominator Beeman Devastator group
Eight shots in 3.067 inches. Beeman Devastators were not too good. Sorry for the lines, but the Devastators overlapped another group and I had to mark them both to keep them separated.

JSB Exact RS
Next, I shot a group of JSB Exact RS domes. As light as they are, I wouldn’t normally recommend them for a precharged rifle of the Dominator’s power but had them along, so why not? Eight went into 0.945 inches, so I’m glad I tried them. This was the smallest group of the test. I do want to emphasize that the day was calm, because these light pellets do get blown around a lot.

Walther 1250 Dominator JSB Exact RS group
Eight shots in 0.945 inches. JSB Exact RS pellets were the best of the test.

Crosman Premier 10.5-grain
Next up were the heavy Crosman Premier 10.5-grain pellets. I expected them to do well in this rifle, and they didn’t disappoint. Eight went into a group measuring 1.19 inches between centers. While that number sounds a little large, look at the group it represents. It’s a little vertical, but it’s not a bad group.

Walther 1250 Dominator Crosman Premier Heavy group
Eight shots in 1.19 inches. Crosman Premier heavies were in the running.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
The last group I shot was with the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite. Eight of them made a group measuring 1.371 inches. That’s a little large when there are other pellets that are better, but it’s not a bad showing for 8 shots at 50 yards

Walther 1250 Dominator Crosman Premier Lite group
Eight shots went into 1.371 inches. Given the other good pellets, Premier lites are probably not the pellet of choice, but this isn’t bad.

The bottom line
I was glad to finally have the chance to test the Walther 1250 Dominator. It was a good rifle, overall, but I took exception to removing the air tank to fill it, the high fill pressure and the discharge noise.

However, out at the range, the rifle was much quieter — far quieter than a rimfire. Also, the trigger that I complained about when shooting indoors was actually no problem outside. I don’t know what the difference was, except that it was a different day and I saw things differently. I must say, there are a lot of very powerful shots in the tank once you get it up to pressure.

I did get used to fiddling with the bolt handle, and the rifle fed without a problem during this test. Installing the rotary clip is easier than on most other PCP rifles.

I would have to say that the 1250 Dominator is a fine precharged air rifle, but it runs into a lot of stiff competition. Buyers will get it because they like the overall styling, the all-weather materials it is made from and the high shot count.

Walther 1250 Dominator PCP air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Walther 1250 Dominator
Walther 1250 Dominator

Let’s look at the Walther 1250 Dominator accuracy at 25 yards. In deference to the 8-shot clip, I’m shooting 8-shot groups rather than 10. The way this rifle loads, with the clip almost disappearing in the receiver, it’s too difficult to keep track of those 2 extra shots.

It’s loud!
I’ll be honest — I stalled testing this gun in the house because of the noise. It’s one of the loudest airguns I’ve ever shot indoors.

Air use
I said last time that I would give you a shot count once I filled the rifle to 4,350 psi (300 bar). Well, that didn’t happen. I filled it as far as my freshly filled carbon fiber tank would go, but that was only to 4,200 psi on the tank’s gauge, which seems pretty accurate. The rifle’s gauge showed a lower fill pressure, but I chalk that up to small pressure gauges never agreeing.

I didn’t get a complete shot count. I did, however, fire about 40 shots in the test and still had air remaining for at least another 15. If you can get the gun completely filled, there have to be at least 55 full-power shots available. Probably more, but at least 55.

I mounted an AirForce Airguns 4-16X50 scope on the rifle in a BKL 1-piece cantilever mount. The scope was low over the receiver, even though the BKL mount is a high one; but because the circular clip is entirely contained within the receiver, there was no interference.

I shot from a sandbag rest at 25 yards off an MTM Case-Gard Predator shooting table. In a moment that will become important to know.

I sighted the rifle in and started shooting with the H&N Baracuda Match pellet. It was accurate enough, but I felt the rifle could do better. Eight shots went into a group measuring 0.597 inches between centers.

Walther 1250 Dominator H&N Baracuda Match group
This group of 8 H&N Baracuda Match pellets measures 0.597 inches between centers. Not bad for 8 shots at 25 yards.

The Baracuda Match pellets didn’t give me what I wanted, so I switched to 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy domes. They started out doing better than the Baracudas and produced a 0.522-inch 8-shot group. But two pellets strayed from the main group. I called the one that went to the left, but not the other one that went high. So, as good as this pellet is, it isn’t the best pellet in this rifle.

Walther 1250 Dominator JSB Exact Heavy group
Eight JSB Exact Heavys made this 0.522-inch group. The pellet on the left is a called shot, but the one that’s up in the black was not called.

Then, I tried RWS Superdomes — a pellet that many of you favor over just about all others in .177 caliber. And this is where I had an epiphany with this rifle. The first 8-shot group measured 0.461 inches, but it was full of wild shots that went off when I wasn’t on target. That was both the fault of the trigger and the rifle’s light weight. I’ll address it in a moment. But this target told me that this rifle could shoot much better if I really tried.

Walther 1250 Dominator RWS Superdome group 1
Eight RWS Superdomes went into 0.461 inches at 25 yards. It looks good, but there are several wild shots in this group. I knew the rifle could do better.

The Walther 1250 Dominator is a very light rifle, and the trigger isn’t that light. As a result, the gun moves more than a little as the trigger is squeezed. This can be overcome by paying extreme attention to detail on each shot, but it’s something I normally don’t need to do when shooting an accurate PCP.

That’s why I mentioned the shooting table and sandbag rest. Normally, such things are an absolute lock for the guns, but this time the rifle is so light that it still moves around too much. You’re only going to solve that with technique.

The next group was shot with as much concentration as if I were using the artillery hold. And the payoff is a 0.404-inch 8-shot group. That represents the best I can do with this rifle and pellet at 25 yards.

Walther 1250 Dominator RWS Superdome group 2
Eight RWS Superdomes went into 0.404 inches at 25 yards. Every shot was perfect on this one.

Sticky bolt
The bolt is hard to cock and sticks when pushing it forward to load the pellet. It isn’t much of a hinderance, but you do notice it. I did discover that if the bolt is worked fast and with authority, it does become smooth. So, the rifle likes to be treated like an SMLE.

Opinions thus far
I found things to criticize on the Walther Dominator 1250. No. 1 is the need to fill it to 300 bar. That’s just too much pressure, and it uses all the air I can get. The rifle is very loud, and I’m no longer used to pneumatic air rifles being so loud. The trigger is too heavy and long, and the rifle needs to weigh at least 2.50-3.00 more lbs. to be stable. However, all that pales when we look at the accuracy.

This is an accurate air rifle — make no mistake. Today’s test was at 25 yards, so it’ll be very interesting to see what happens when we move to 50 yards.

Walther 1250 Dominator PCP air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Walther 1250 Dominator
Walther 1250 Dominator.

Thank you for being so patient with me on this Walther 1250 Dominator report. I had to suspend it while I was back in Maryland; but now that I’m home, I can start up again. Today is velocity/power day, so we’ll learn a lot about this air rifle.

Filling with air
To fill the reservoir, you first remove it from the rifle by unscrewing. Then, it’s screwed onto a brass adapter that’s screwed into a 300-bar DIN hole on a carbon fiber tank or scuba tank valve.

You fill the reservoir up to 300 bar, or 4,351 psi. The only way to get that much pressure is to use either a carbon fiber tank or to connect the reservoir directly to an air compressor or hand pump that goes that high. My carbon fiber tank was holding less than 3,000 psi when I conducted this test, but fortunately the rifle has a broad power band. Even though I can’t fill the reservoir all the way, the gauge on the tank still reads in the green. I’ll get fewer shots, but they will be at the same velocity. It’s just like a car that goes no faster when its gas tank is full or nearly empty.

However, I cannot give you a shot count in this report because I’m not filling the reservoir all the way. That will have to come later.

As an observation, I would use the Air Venturi female DIN adapter with this reservoir, so I could use either a hand pump or carbon fiber tank to fill the reservoir.

Trigger and safety
The two-stage trigger is adjustable for the length of the first stage. You can even adjust it out, and have a single-stage trigger. The adjustment doesn’t alter the force required to release the sear in stage two. On the test rifle, that broke at 2 lbs., 8 oz. with stage one taking 6 of those ounces.

Stage two has a definite feel of the pull through to it. It’s not creepy, in the sense that it stops and starts, but is rather a smooth pull-through that can actually be felt. It’s not bad — just not glass-rod crisp.

The safety is automatic on cocking, but it’s designed to go off easily with a downward swipe of the thumb. After several shots, I found myself not even thinking of it.

Discharge noise
This rifle will have those with sensitive ears running for their hearing protection. There’s no attempt to muffle the discharge, so you hear the full effect of the power. It’s not as loud as a .22 rimfire; but if you shoot indoors, I can imagine shooters using that as a description.

It’s fully as loud as any other pneumatic of its power class when no attempt is made to attenuate the discharge sound. Thirty years ago it would have sounded normal; but in this day of shrouded barrels, it stands out.

This Walther is rated to 28 joules, which is just a bit more than 20.6 foot-pounds. There’s no mistaking the spec, for it’s written on the right side of the receiver. That is a lot of power for a .177 pellet rifle to generate, and of course you’ll need heavy pellets to achieve it. So that was where I started the test — with Beeman Kodiak Match 10.65-grain pellets. To achieve 20.6 foot-pounds (28 joules), this pellet needs to exit the muzzle at about 933 feet per second, according to Pyramyd Air’s energy calculator.

But the average velocity I recorded for this pellet was 968 f.p.s., which works out to 22.16 foot-pounds or 30.05 joules. So, the rifle is more powerful than advertised. The average velocity went from a low of 965 to a high of 972 f.p.s., which is a tight 7 foot-second spread.

RWS Superdome
Next, I tried the popular RWS Superdome pellet. It averaged 1005 f.p.s. from the test rifle, with a spread from 998 to 1013 f.p.s. That’s a 15 foot-second spread, and the energy generated is 18.62 foot-pounds at the muzzle. As you can see, that’s a big drop-off from what the heavier Kodiak Match pellets generated. Precharged pneumatics often generate their best energy with the heaviest pellets they can manage, so this comes as no surprise. However, it will only be after we see the accuracy of these test pellets and perhaps some others that we will select an optimum pellet for the rifle.

H&N Match Pistol
As a final pellet I selected the lightweight H&N Match Pistol pellet. I wanted to test two things here. First, how would the rifle handle lighter pellets; and second, would the magazine handle wadcutters smoothly. It actually did feed these pellets smoother than both of the domes, so that part of the test was a success.

The average velocity was 1018 f.p.s. with a spread from 1016 to 1020 f.p.s. That was the tightest velocity spread of all — just 4 feet per second. The average energy for this 7.56-grain pellet was 17.40 foot-pounds at the muzzle, so another power decrease came with this lighter pellet.

Reliability and pellet feeding
Any time I test a repeater, I always wonder if the gun will feed pellets smoothly and how the magazine…or in this case the clip…will handle the pellets. There are no concerns with the 1250 Dominator, though; because the pellets go into the clip easily, they stay in well and the clip goes into and comes out of the receiver with great ease. The bolt sometimes hangs up on the forward stroke, but that’s due to the newness of the gun — not a pellet feeding problem. I believe it’ll go away as the action is broken in.

The clip is long enough to accept the Beeman Kodiak, which is a long pellet, so I have no problem with it. And it feeds wadcutters well, so pellet shape is not a problem, either.

Observations thus far
The Walther 1250 Dominator is certainly a different PCP. It has a lot of synthetics and a different shape than is thought to be conventional, but it holds very well — hanging muzzle-heavy. The profile may appear different, but it holds like a rifleman’s gun. I can’t wait to see it shoot!

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Gary Lee is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their airgun facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card. Congratulations!

Pyramyd Air Big Shot of the Week facebook winner

Gary Lee submitted this week’s winning photo for BSOTW.

Part 1
Part 2

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle right
The IZH 60 now comes with target sights.

It’s accuracy day for the IZH 60 Target Pro and this is the big test that everyone has been waiting for. And there are a couple of things that have to be cleared up, too. So let’s get started.

Cosmoline in the bore
Blog reader chasblock mentioned finding Cosmoline in the bore of his rifle and asked if I would take a look at the test gun’s bore. I don’t think he really meant Cosmoline, which is a range of military long-term metal storage lubricants. He probably just meant excess grease or oil. At any rate, I ran a patch through the bore, and it came out dry. There was some anti-oxidant compound on it, but no oil or grease. So, that’s one down.

Front sight element not centered
Then, we had a discussion about the front sight element not being centered in the globe and wondered if that wouldn’t that throw you off. Or at least wouldn’t it be annoying? Well, I shot 82 shots in this test and the front sight position was a non-issue for me. Once I had the black 10-meter bull centered in the front aperture, I forgot about everything else. But I’m posting a photo of a Winchester model 94 front sight so you can see that this is a very common phenomenon, and it isn’t troublesome in the slightest.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle front sight
The IZH 60 front sight element is a little higher than the center of the globe. When you’re sighting, it’s not a distraction.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle Winchester 94 front sight
This Winchester 94 front sight is even higher in its globe and people hunt with it. Many open-sighted rifles with globes are like this.

Rear sight doesn’t adjust low enough
Another issue that was raised is that the rear sight doesn’t adjust low enough to get on target at 10 meters. I didn’t find this to be a problem, as you will see. I also found the rear sight to adjust very positively in all directions without any backlash. So, that’s now laid to rest.

I was told by the folks at Pyramyd Air that the IZH 60 Target Pro can put 10 pellets into a quarter-inch at 10 meters. The gun they sent to me to test had a 5-shot group of H&N Baracudas with it. It was fired into a Shoot-N-C paster, so measuring is difficult, but as near as I can tell, it measures 0.268 inches between centers, so even these 5 shots grouped larger than a quarter-inch, though not by much. But we expect a 10-shot group to be 40 percent larger when the same pellet is used.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle test groupt
The 5-shot test group measures 0.268 inches between centers, as close as I can measure it. It was shot with H&N Baracudas. The shot outside the black is a sighter and not part of the group.

The rifle was shot from a rested position at 10 meters. The targets were standard 10-meter rifle targets, and they fit well inside the front aperture. It was very easy to hold on target with this rifle. I laid the stock on the back of my hand that was resting on a sandbag.

The trigger-pull is single-stage and vague as to the let-off point, but it’s light enough to work very well in this rested position. The rifle is very light, but it didn’t seem to move around as much as I’d feared it would.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle pellets
This was a thorough test!

H&N Baracudas
The first target I shot was with the H&N Baracudas. It took me several shots to get on target because the sight adjustments work backwards of U.S. adjustments. Turn the windage knob in (to the left) to move the pellet to the right, and so on.

The first group of 10 Baracudas measures 0.546 inches between centers. It was larger than expected, but not too bad for the first group.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle Baracuda Target1
Ten H&N Baracudas made this 0.546-inch group.

As you can see from the pellets I had chosen to use, I expected to shoot a lot in this test, so I thought I would speed things up by firing 5 shots and then seeing if it was worth firing 5 more. The next pellet up was the RWS Hobby that sometimes surprises us with great accuracy. This wasn’t one of those times, however, because the first 5 pellets made a group that measures 0.482 inches between centers. No sense finishing that one!

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle RWS Hobby target

Five RWS Hobbys made this 0.482-inch group. No sense finishing it.

Next, I tried the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet that I thought might be the most accurate in this rifle. It wasn’t, as 5 made a group measuring 0.452 inches. Once more, no sense going on. So I stopped at 5 and moved on.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle RWS R10 Pistol target

Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets made this 0.452-inch group. No sense finishing it, either.

Then, I tried the H&N Match Pistol pellet. Something was different with this pellet, because the rifle recoiled noticeably less. It was easy to feel, and I could follow-through much better because the sights remained on target after the shot. The feeling was so good that I didn’t check the target after 5, but went all the way to 10 shots before looking. The 10-shot group measures 0.391 inches between centers and was the tightest group (10 shots!) to this point in the test! It’s not a quarter-inch, but it’s a very good group, nonetheless.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle HN Pistol Match target

Ten H&N Pistol Match pellets made this 0.391-inch group. This pellet felt like it made the rifle recoil a lot less, so I finished the group without checking.

Next, I tried the JSB Exact RS pellet that often surprises us. This is a domed pellet, so it can’t be used in a formal match (impossible to score), but most shooters won’t care about that. Ten pellets made a group measuring 0.284 inches between centers. It’s a nice, round group, and it’s the best 10-shot group the test rifle shot all day!

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle JSB Exact RS target1
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets made this 0.284-inch group. This pellet also felt like it made the rifle recoil a lot less, so once again I finished the group without checking. This is the best 10-shot group of the test.

This pellet shoots so well that I shot a second group with it. That one didn’t turn out as good, at 0.502 inches between centers. Perhaps I was tiring out?

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle JSB Exact RS target2
Another 10 Exact RS pellets were not so good, at 0.502 inches between centers.

I then turned to H&N Finale Match pistol pellets, which I thought would be better than the Match Pistol pellets. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Ten of them made a huge 0.675 inch group, which turned out to be the second largest of the entire test..

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle Finale Match Pistol target
Ten H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets made the second worst group of the test, a whopping 0.675 inches between centers.

Then I tried five RWS Superdomes, but when I looked at the group they made I stopped. It measures 0.646 inches between centers, so no point in continuing.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle RWS Superdome target
Five RWS Superdome pellets made this 0.646-inch group.

By this point in the test, I knew how the rifle shot. I was also very accustomed to the trigger. So, I thought I’d try another group of Baracudas — just to see if I could improve things from the first time. Ten went into a group measuring 0.702 inches, which was larger than the first group.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle HN Baracuda target2
Ten H&N Baracudas made this final 0.702-inch group — the largest in the test.

By this point I knew I was tired. But was that the cause of the group sizes? Was I no longer able to lay them all in the same hole? To see, I grabbed my FWB 300S, which is the most accurate 10-meter rifle I own. I put 10 RWS R10 pistol pellets into a last group that measured 0.135 inches. That’s for 10 shots. So it wasn’t me!

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle FWB 300S target
Yeah — it’s not me! Ten RWS R10s went into 0.135 inches.

Final impression
The IZH 60 shot about as well as I remembered. It certainly cannot group 10 shots in a quarter-inch at 10 meters in anything other than a chance encounter. So, there’s a hat to be eaten!

On the other hand, for what it costs, the rifle is reasonably accurate and the target sights make it even easier to shoot well. I don’t think it can out-shoot a Bronco, but it’s certainly worth considering for informal target shooting.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle right
The IZH 60 Target Pro now comes with target sights.

Today is velocity day for the IZH 60 Target Pro. Before we begin, there’s a surprise correction I need to make to Part 1. When I measured the length of pull, I didn’t mention that the adjustable stock can be lengthened an additional inch by relocating the anchor point of the adjustment screw.

Increased length of pull
Mac reads the blog sometimes, but he doesn’t comment very often but he loves the IZH 60/61 family of rifles. After reading Part 1, he called and reminded me of something I’d forgotten. If you pull the butt stock off its post, you’ll see a second spot for the screw anchor on the butt stock post. All you have to do is move the anchor from the first slot to the second, and you’ll add just over an inch to the length of pull on your rifle. I had reported a LOP range of 12 inches to 13.25 inches in Part 1. Now, I’ll revise that to a maximum of 14.5 inches. (Edith will amend the owner’s manual to show this info.)

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle stock adjustment screw anchor
By moving the screw anchor from one slot to the other, the length of pull can be increased by more than an inch!

The importance of follow-through
We discussed the fact that this powerplant is not capable of producing a lot of velocity. There was a comment on Part 1 that low velocity makes you need to follow through all the more, but I want to address that. Low velocity is not why you must follow through when shooting a spring-piston airgun. Even a 1,300 f.p.s. springer requires follow-through because it has the same problem as the IZH 60. In a springer, the pellet does not begin moving until the piston has almost come to a complete stop. The gun is already vibrating and moving in recoil before the pellet starts its journey down the barrel. But if it takes an IZH 60 to drive that fact home, all the better, because the proper follow-through can do nothing but make you a better shot.

As I explained in Part 1, Pyramyd Air sent this rifle to me for this test. They were very confident this rifle would shoot accurately, and they even sent a tin of what they feel are the best pellets. Guess what they are? H&N Baracuda pellets! The website says these are supposed to weigh 10.65 grains, but I weighed the ones sent by Pyramyd Air, and they weighed 10.4 grains. H&N Baracuda pellet weights have changed a lot over the past few years, and I would always recommend actually weighing them rather than accepting the description, because the weights seem to change a lot.

These pellets averaged 382 f.p.s. in the test rifle. The range of velocity went from 371 to 389 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 3.37 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. They will be the first pellets I test for accuracy; but since they’re domed pellets, they cannot be used in a formal target match due to the difficulty of scoring the holes. I’ll also test some wadcutter pellets — both target and general sporting types.

The second pellet I tested was a target wadcutter — the H&N Match Pistol pellet. This 7.56-grain wadcutter is a good general target pellet that costs less than H&N’s Finale Match pellet line. As a pistol pellet, it weighs less than 8 grains, making it appropriate to the IZH 60 powerplant.

This pellet averaged 485 f.p.s. and ranged from 481 to 490 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generated 3.95 foot-pounds at the muzzle. This is the velocity I expected from this rifle.

Next I tried the H&N Baracuda Green — the lead-free pellet that’s performed so well in a number of lower-powered airguns. This time, though, the performance wasn’t as good. The average velocity was 425 f.p.s., despite the fact that the pellet weighs just 6.48 grains. It must be the harder alloy that causes excessive friction with the rifling, because the range for this pellet was from a low of 367 f.p.s. to a high of 489! At the average velocity, the muzzle energy was 2.60 foot-pounds. Even at just 10 meters, a velocity variation this large will cause the group to grow, so I don’t think I’ll test this one for accuracy.

The last pellet I tested was the RWS R-10 Match Pistol pellet. At just 7 grains, this pellet was the lightest of the lead pellets used in this test. It averaged 525 f.p.s. with a range from 507 to 534 f.p.s. The low shot was an exception and loaded very hard. The next-slowest pellet went 516 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produced 4.29 foot-pounds of energy.

Overall the rifle performed better than I expected. There’s some buzzing in the firing cycle, but it’s not objectionable — probably because of the low power of the rifle. A “beer-can” tune would probably do wonders for it.

The trigger is light enough, if not very positive. It breaks at 1 lb., 7 oz. consistently. I did try adjusting it, but it was set as light as it would go when I received the rifle, so there was no improvement.

One final thought. I went through the box the rifle came in and found a target that proves this rifle can shoot a tight group at 10 meters. It’s shot on a Shoot-N-C target, so measurement is impossible because of the paint flaking off, but it does look like a quarter-inch group. However, it’s only 5 shots and the standard is 10, so that hat is still on the line!

The HW 55CM target rifle: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Is this Custom Match the best HW 55 ever made? Read the report to find out.

In the last report, I tuned the rifle and got rid of the objectionable firing cycle. It’s always a great pleasure to return to a classic air rifle like this one after testing so many modern airguns, because these oldies are so reserved and well-behaved. I know it’s not going to kick, roar and fight me at every turn. It may only be suited to shoot 10-meter target, but sometimes — and by that I really mean often — that’s exactly what I need.

I had to remove the sights during the tuneup, so the rifle needed to be sighted-in again. It wasn’t that far off, but the indices are so dark on a 55 rear sight and my eyes are so bad that I had to play around until I discovered which way to adjust the sight to go right. In this respect, a modern 10-meter rifle has it all over a vintage one.

The first pellet I tried was the H&N Finale Match Rifle pellet. I haven’t had a lot of recent success with this pellet in target rifles, but in the past this was one of two to contend with — the RWS R-10 Match Pistol pellet being the other. This time was different, though. Although the first group wasn’t what I wanted, it showed enough promise that I shot a second and a third. By the third group, I could tell this pellet likes this rifle.

Not bad! Five H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets went into this group at 10 meters. Any one of them could be a 10 if the sights were adjusted.

Next, I tried the RWS R-10 Match Pistol pellet, and I gave it the same number of chances, but it never showed me anything. That was a surprise, because I think this pellet is one of the more accurate pellets in several of my other 10-meter rifles.

Five RWS R-10 Match Pistol pellets made this nice round group. This is impressive to anyone but a veteran target shooter, who would see that it’s about twice the size it needs to be.

Following the R-10, I tried the RWS Hobby pellet, because in my HW 55 SF — the 55 that has no barrel lock — Hobbys do surprisingly well. Again, there was no joy this time. I’m showing the group to contrast with the others in this report.

RWS Hobby pellets are just not right for the HW 55CM.

At this point, I was satisfied that this rifle is accurate, though it won’t give an FWB 300S any competition. But why stop there?

I next mistakenly loaded some obsolete and nondescript European diabolos that I mistook for JSB S-100 competition pellets. Boy! If you ever wanted to see a comparison between good pellets and cheap ones in a good gun, this was it! How about a three-quarter-inch five-shot group?

Back to serious ammo. The next pellet I tried was the H&N Match Pistol. This is not a Finale Match pellet, and I find that these sometimes vary in weight a lot more than Finales tend to, but there can be surprises. Not this time, though. The best group looked like Hobbys. Oh, well!

After that, I tried H&N Match Rifle pellets. They’re the same as Match Pistol, only heavier. But for some reason that nobody understands but everybody believes, they shot great! These are the pellets for this rifle — until I find something better.

Now, this is what we’re after! Five H&N Match Rifle pellets are obviously working very well in this rifle. This would be the pellet to stick to until a better one comes along.

Overall evaluation
The rifle is shooting fine with the new tune. I could live with less power, but what I have isn’t bad. The trigger is a joy, because it breaks at just 7 oz., and that’s as light as I need it to be. Shooting from a bench in the rested position doesn’t give you the full feeling of the rifle. All it shows is the potential for accuracy, and this one’s got it.