IZH-61 repeating spring air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

IZH 61
The IZH 61 sidelever repeating air rifle.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The start
  • Fast-forward to 2019
  • Incomplete?
  • Get a clip
  • The rifle
  • Sights
  • Front sight
  • Rear sight
  • Repeating function
  • Clip release
  • Barrel
  • Summary

“I hear it’s really a 10-meter target rifle the Russians disguised as a cheap toy, so their kids would learn to shoot like marksmen.”

“No, it’s a magnum in disguise. They export it shooting 500 f.p.s., but with a little tweaking you can get it over 800 f.p.s. with no problem.”

“The ones with metal magazines and steel receivers are the only ones to buy. When they switched to plastic the rifle went in the trash can.”

“I used to buy them 10 at a time for $30.”

“I know a guy who spent over $500 dressing one up to shoot as a target rifle. He beat FWB match rifles with it.” read more

Sig ASP MCX Virtus PCP air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig Virtus
Sig Virtus.

This report covers:

  • Lookalike and much more
  • Accuracy?
  • Hunting?
  • Semiautomatic
  • Description
  • Combination tool
  • Loading
  • Sights
  • Accessories
  • Air reservoir
  • Discharge sound
  • Trigger
  • Cocking
  • Safety
  • Summary

Lookalike and much more

The Sig ASP MCX Virtus PCP is a pellet-firing copy of Sig’s MCX Virtus Patrol rifle. The firearm weighs 7.9 lbs. The air rifle weighs 7.5 lbs. The air rifle is finished in gray, which is one of the finishes the firearm comes in. So there are a lot of similarities, but also a couple of important differences.

Sig is careful to report that the MCX Virtus Patrol is not an AR-15, because the buttstock folds to the left side of the rifle. There is no buffer tube on the Virtus firearm that an AR would require. The butt also adjusts to one of 5 positions to vary the length of pull. But the Virtus air rifle uses a 213cc air cylinder as its buttstock, so it neither folds nor adjusts for length. read more

HW 35 Luxus: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

HW35 Luxus.

This report covers:

  • Barrel droop
  • First pellet
  • Next pellets
  • Bottom line

Before I begin, I must tell you that my wife, Edith, passed away yesterday, Sunday, July 26 at 10 a.m., Central. She was under sedation and unaware of what was happening.

Edith Gaylord will be missed.

Edith wanted me to tell you what happened. We actually talked about it last week. I am not in a frame of mind to write much these days, but I promised her the blog would carry on. Those of you who visit my socnets could help me by posting a comment regarding this, because I haven’t got the time to go there.

I said I would come back to this rifle and mount a scope because so many of you asked me to. Today is the day.

Barrel droop

If you remember, my HW35 Luxus has severe barrel droop, so mounting a scope is a challenge. I used a prototype UTG drooper scope base and mounted an AirForce 4-16X50 scope in 2-piece UTG Max Strength high rings. That put the scope too high for comfort, but it was the only mount I had at the time. I had to rest my chin on the comb to see through the scope.The HW35 Luxus has visible barrel droop

The HW35 Luxus has visible barrel droop.

First pellet

The first pellet I tried was the one that did best in the test with open sights — the Qiang Yuan Training pellet. With open sights I was able to shoot 10 into 0.986-inches and 0.898-inches at 25 yards.

With the scope mounted I put 10 into 1.574-inches, but 7 of them are in 0.724-inches. From this target I learned 2 things. First, the rifle shoots the same with a scope and with open sights. And second, it is very sensitive to how it is held. If I played with the hold I am sure I could tighten the group up to equal the best group with open sights.

Qiang Yuan Training pellets
Ten pellets in 1.574 inches, but 7 of them are in 0.724 inches. The placement of the hand with the artillery hold is critical.

Next pellets

I tried Air Arms Falcon pellets, but after 7 shots the group grew to 2.148 inches and I stopped shooting. I also tried Crosman Premier light pellets with 4.55mm heads, but they scattered everywhere. The same pellet with a 4.54mm head landed 10 in 1.982-inches. That’s not a good group, but it does show the difference the head sizes can make.

Crosman Premier light
Ten Premier lites with 4.54mm heads went into 1.982 inches at 25 yards

Bottom line

My HW35 Luxus is very hold-sensitive! I’m sure I can make it shoot tighter, but I don’t think I want to try. This is a perfect gun for open sights and that’s how I will keep it from now on. And this is the last test I will do with this rifle.

Webley Rebel multi-pump pneumatic: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Webley Rebel air rifle
Webley Rebel multi-pump pneumatic air rifle.

This report covers:

• Why so much trouble?
• Rebel’s sights not easy to use
• A field fix for the sights?
• Today’s test — Crosman Premier lite pellets
• H&N Field & Target pellets
• JSB Exact Heavy pellets
• H&N Baracuda Match pellets
• Comments

Today, we’ll look at the first accuracy test of the Webley Rebel multi-pump pneumatic. I told you last week that this test was scheduled for a certain day and I had so much trouble with the rifle that I had to write about something else. Today,I’m going to tell you why.

Why so much trouble?
I’m used to testing airguns. I do it so often that it’s difficult for one to fool me. But the Webley Rebel did! I started shooting the rifle at 10 meters using the open sights. I loaded Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets (Premier lites) for the sight-in and also for the first group. My plan was to shoot 5 pellets, and if the group was small enough — at 10 meters — I would shoot another 5 at the same target, completing the 10-shot group. If it wasn’t small enough, I would move to another bull and shoot a different pellet. That saves me time, which with a multi-pump is really necessary! Naturally I shot from a rest, because we’re interested in how the gun shoots, not how I shoot.

Rebel’s sights not easy to use
The Rebel’s sights are very difficult to use. The rear green fiberoptics are very bright, causing the rear notch to blur, and the front bead is 3 times larger than necessary. So, when I completed 5 shots with Premiers and saw the group was over one inch between centers, I blamed the sights.

I tried to mount optical sights on the gun. As it happened, all my optics were on other guns, and I couldn’t find the right combination of rings to go with the ones that were available. After 90 frustrating minutes, I set the rifle aside and moved to a new topic for that day’s blog.

A field fix for the sights?
Several of you have told me to black out fiberoptics with a Sharpie pen, so before today’s test I remounted the rear sight and attempted to do that. I don’t know if you have ever tried this, but Sharpie ink doesn’t stick to fiberoptic tubes very well. I got them dimmed but not blacked out all the way. Then, I had a thought.

Since it was the upper edge of the rear notch that was blurry, I would hold a fine bead (look it up) and use the bottom of the notch, which is more definite. It worked!

Today’s test — Crosman Premier lite pellets
So, I’m thinking everything is okay and back to normal and won’t this be a humorous anecdote for all of you. Then, I shot the first group of Crosman Premiers. Five shots went onto 1.125 inches — AT 10 METERS! Oh, no! It’s as bad as it was the other day.

Webley Rebel air rifle Premier group
Five Premier lites made this 1.125-inch group at 10 meters. This isn’t good, and there’s no sense finishing it.

But what if this rifle just doesn’t like Crosman Premier lites? Oh, that’s easy enough for me to say, and all you have to do is read it and accept that was the problem; but in many years of testing, I’ve never had Premier lites turn in a performance like this.

But this time they did. But the next pellets I shot did much better.

H&N Field & Target pellets
I tried H&N Field & Target pellets next. In all the years I’ve been testing airguns, I’ve never gotten good results from this pellet. I’m sorry to say the head size isn’t printed on the tin. And don’t look for them on the Pyramyd Air website — they’re no longer made.

The first 5 shots were okay, so I completed the 10-shot group. Ten pellets went into 0.50 inches at 10 meters. While that isn’t great — when you consider the sights I was using, it wasn’t bad!

Webley Rebel H&N Field & Targetrifle
Ten H&N Field & target pellets went into 0.50 inches at 10 meters. While this isn’t stunning, it does show some promise for the Rebel.

JSB Exact Heavy pellets
The H&N Field & Target is a pure lead pellet, where the Premier lite is a hard alloy pellet. I thought that might have something to do with the results, so trying JSB Exact Heavy pellets seemed logical. The head size is 4.52mm. Ten of them made a group that measures 0.703 inches at 10 meters. Not as good as the H&Ns, but much better than the Premier lites.

Webley Rebel air rifle JSB Exact group
Ten JSB Exact Heavy pellets went into 0.703 inches at 10 meters. read more

Webley Rebel multi-pump pneumatic: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Webley Rebel air rifle
Webley Rebel multi-pump pneumatic air rifle.

This report covers:

• Test design
• Velocity with Crosman Premier lite pellets
• Average with Crosman Premier lite pellets
• Velocity with RWS Hobby pellets
• Average with RWS Hobby pellets
• Velocity with H&N Baracuda Match pellets
• Average with H&N Baracuda Match pellets
• How fast?
• Pump effort
• Trigger-pull
• Made by Sharp
• Evaluation thus far

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Webley Rebel multi-pump pneumatic. As you read in Part 1, this rifle is advertised to get 963 f.p.s. in .177 on a full charge of 8 pumps. We’ll see if that’s the case.

Test design
I first test multi-pumps with one pellet, using a different number of pump strokes ranging from 3 to the maximum. Then I test the same pellet in the middle range for consistency in velocity from shot to shot. I do that with several pellets. I also test the trigger-pull, which on this rifle varies as the pump strokes increase. I’ll also test the effort that’s needed for each pump stroke, because it’s greater than most multi-pumps.

Velocity with Crosman Premier lite pellets read more

Webley Rebel multi-pump pneumatic: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Webley Rebel air rifle Webley Rebel multi-pump pneumatic air rifle.

This report covers:

• History of the rifle
• Where is this rifle made?
• Description
• Blow-off valve
• Sights
• Trigger
• Feel of the rifle
• Some surprises

Today is a treat. If you’re new to airgunning and have fretted over all the wonderful vintage airguns you missed by coming into the hobby too late — today is for you. Because, today, there may still be a chance to get a fine “vintage” airgun. I know I’m a little to the party since this gun has been around a couple years, but I don’t want to let anymore time pass without a look.

History of the rifle
This report says we are looking at the Webley Rebel multi-pump pneumatic, and that’s the name on both the gun and the box. But there’s lot more to it than just that. This multi-pump looks (to me) like a Sharp Innova, which was designed and built in Japan in the 1970s, when Robert Beeman was in his heyday and I was still in the Army. The Innova is a classic multi-pump, and a kid sister to the larger, more expensive Sharp Ace. I’ve owned several of both models, including one UK-spec Ace that had a pressure-release valve on the reservoir to keep the shooter from exceeding 12 foot-pounds.

Japan apparently had some political difficulties making airguns in their country in the late ’90s. I found that odd, because they didn’t seem to have any difficulty making firearms, which they still do today. But airguns were small potatoes and, for whatever reason, the Sharp company moved to Indonesia. I also tested an Indonesian Innova for The Airgun Letter and found it was made with inferior seals that couldn’t stand up to the rifle’s ability to generate power. Because of this, the Indonesian Innova was far less powerful than the Japanese one, and U.S. sales sort of petered out.

Don’t get this gun confused with the Cannon — another Asian multi-pump that sort of takes after a vintage Benjamin. Sort of. This is an Innova (in my mind) and definitely has a style all its own.

Years later, I heard through the grapevine that the company making the Innova may have moved to China. But the rifle wasn’t being sold in the U.S., and I didn’t keep track of it.

Then, this Webley showed up. I spotted it as an Innova right away, but what was under the hood? Have the seal issues been corrected? The Innova was also very accurate, so I’m curious about that, as well. Pyramyd Air’s description says the velocity of the .177-caliber Webley Rebel I’m testing is 963 f.p.s. If that’s true, this gun is about where the Japanese Innova was — power-wise. If it’s really that powerful, and if it’s also accurate, this is an airgun to get. It would be like finding a Sheridan Supergrade for $130.

Where is this rifle made?
There’s no marking either on the rifle or the box that indicates the country of origin. We’re looking into that right now, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s being made in Asia since the included inspector’s sheet lists the inspector’s name in oriental characters.

That’s enough of the background, let’s now look at the rifle that’s before us. This Webley Rebel is a .177-caliber multi-pump pneumatic. The serial number of the rifle I’m testing is A2150067. The owner’s manual says it can be pumped up to 8 times per shot, and that pumping more will not increase velocity. That seems odd, because the rifle is equipped with a blow-off valve, rather than the more conventional striker-fired knock-open valve. The blow-off type of valve was invented by Crosman back in the 1950s to end the problems of valve lock. With striker-fired valves, it’s possible to pump so much air into the reservoir that the striker cannot force the valve to open at all. When that happens, the gun stops working.

Blow-off valve
The Crosman 130 pistol and 140 rifle had valves that were held shut by the trigger. Pulling the trigger allowed these valves to blow open (open violently, like champaign corks), and it was theoretically impossible to over-pump one of these airguns. I say “theoretically” because this kind of valve has a softer valve face, and too much air pressure will force or extrude it through the valve hole. So you can, in fact, over-pump one of these guns. I’m always fascinated by stories I hear from owners of these guns that they pump them up 20 times and they crack like a .22. Sure they do — right up to the moment when they don’t anymore.

Also, the triggers on guns with this kind of valve typically get harder to pull as the air pressure in the reservoir increases. More power equals a stiffer trigger. That will be something I’ll look at in this test, because I already see indications that this rifle may have solved that problem to a certain extent.

The Rebel is 35.50 inches long and weighs 5.50 lbs. The barrel is 20.75 inches long, which is a good length for a pneumatic. And the length of pull measures 13.50 inches, so it will fit most adults and older youths.

The stock and forearm, which serves as the pump handle, are black synthetic material. The pistol grip and the forearm have panels of raised dots on either side for better purchase. Edith and I debated about the butt plate. She calls it plastic, but I detect a coat of non-slippery rubber around the entire thing. It is shiny like plastic, though. (Note from Edith–I changed Pyramyd Air’s product specs to reflect that it’s plastic until I hear from Webley that it really is rubber. If it’s really rubber, then buyers will be pleasantly surprised when they get the gun. If it’s plastic and people expect rubber, that’s bad.)

Webley Rebel air rifle pump handle open The Rebel pump handle opens just past 90 degrees. Not quite all the way open here.

The receiver is triangular-shaped and plastic. I recall that the Japanese Innova receiver was also plastic, but it has been a long time since I’ve seen one. There are 11mm grooves atop the flat-topped receiver for scope mounts.

The rifle comes with open sights. Both front and rear are, unfortunately, fiberopotic and just looking through them tells me there will be an aiming problem. The rear green dots overpower the rear notch, so I can’t tell where the front post is in relation to the notch. I’ll give them a try at 10 meters; but unless I’m bowled over by the results, I’ll also try the rifle with an optical sight — I’m thinking a dot sight.

Webley Rebel air rifle front sight
Front sight is fiberoptic. Those two ears will protect the fiberoptic tube from damage, which is a real advantage. Good design!

Webley Rebel air rifle rear sight
The rear sight fiberoptics are very bright. Time will tell what this does to aiming precision.

The non-adjustable trigger is single-stage, but creepy. I’ve shot the rifle a few times…and, as I said, the trigger effort does increase as the pressure increases, but it doesn’t seem as bad as the triggers on the Japanese Innovas I remember. It seems very reasonable. Of course, I’ll measure it for you in the velocity test.

The safety is manual — hoo-ray! I love it when the designer lets the shooter be in full control of the gun.

To open the bolt for loading, a lever located at the right rear of the receiver is pushed down. The bolt springs backwards for loading. The pellet trough appears to be very short and will limit the length of pellets you can load, but it isn’t as short as it looks. After loading a pellet into the trough, push the bolt forward to lock it.

Webley Rebel air rifle bolt lever
Press the bolt lever down and the bolt will spring open

Webley Rebel air rifle bolt open
like this.

The pellet trough looks small at first, so I tried loading a large .177-caliber pellet. The H&N Baracuda Match domed pellet fits easily with plenty of room to spare. The trough is easy to load, even when a scope is mounted. There are no steps in the way to flip the pellets, so they roll right in.

Webley Rebel air rifle pellet trough with pellet
Though the pellet trough appears short, it fits long pellets. That’s an H&N Baracuda pellet with plenty of room to spare. read more

Crosman 1077 CO2 rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

1077 rifle
Crosman’s 1077 RepeatAir is a classic.

This report covers:

• Crosman Premier Lite pellets
• Air Arms Falcon pellets
• Ran out of gas
• JSB Exact RS pellets
• RWS Superdome pellets
• Final evaluation

Today, I’ll back up to 25 yards and see what the Crosman 1077 CO2 rifle can do at that distance. I used a vintage Tasco Pro Point dot sight because, when I mounted the Tech Force 90 dot sight, it was angled too far to the right. So, the shots landed too far left. The Tasco was similarly skewed, but it wasn’t as pronounced, and I was able to adjust the impact point back to where I wanted it.

Crosman Premier Lite pellets read more