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. read more


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. read more


Walther LGR Universal: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther LGR
Walther LGR.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Off the track
  • RWS Hobby
  • Qiang Yuan Match Grade
  • RWS R10 Pistol
  • Could I do it again?
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • Shooting behavior
  • Summary

Today we test the Walther LGR for accuracy.

The test

I shot the rifle from 10 meters off a sandbag rest. Because the LGR is a pneumatic, it laid directly on the bag. I shot 5-shot groups at 10-meter air rifle targets. Let’s get started.

Off the track

Do you ever have a shooting day when you just know you aren’t doing your best? That was how I felt for for this test. I was just shooting at 90 percent instead of where I usually am. I tell you that to get you ready for some targets. I thought I did poorly but after measuring the groups I see it was better than I first thought. read more


Walther LGR Universal: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther LGR
Walther LGR.

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber
  • History
  • Stock
  • Sights
  • Fatal flaw?
  • Loading port
  • Trigger
  • Summary

Yes we are starting yet another 10-meter air rifle report. This blog has covered a lot of 10-meter target rifles from the 1960s and ’70s, the time when they first appeared. Here are links to many of the reports.

FWB 300
FWB 150
FWB 110
Walther LGV Olympia
Weihrauch HW 55T
Weihrauch HW 55 Custom Match
Weihrauch HW 55 SF
BSF S54
Haenel 311
Mauser 300SL
El Gamo 126
IZH MP532
Sharp Ace Target Standard
Diana 72
AirForce Edge
Diana 75
Daisy 853
Daisy 888 Medalist
Crosman Challenger 2009

Some of the rifles on this list are not serious target rifles and others are for junior marksmen. And I may have inadvertently overlooked one or two that I have covered in the past 15 years. But today I start to look at the first 10-meter rifle I ever saw — the Walther LGR. read more


The single stroke pneumatic

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • What is a single stroke pneumatic?
  • The pump head is critical
  • Quick fix
  • How much power?
  • More power
  • Low-cost plinkers
  • Great single stroke
  • Summary

This report was requested by reader Chris USA, and I expect it will be helpful for a number of other readers, as well. Today we’re going to talk about the single-stroke pneumatic, which was the most recent airgun powerplant to be developed. As far as I can determine, the first commercially successful single stroke was the Walther LP2 pistol that was offered in 1967. That pistol’s name tells us a couple things. Was there an LP1? Probably, but I find no record of it in the literature. That tells me it probably wasn’t sold commercially, or if it was, it was withdrawn and replaced by the LP2 soon after launch. So Walther probably developed the single stroke design in the early 1960s or even the late ’50s.

What is a single stroke pneumatic?

You are familiar with multi-pump pneumatics that use a pump attached to the gun to fill an onboard reservoir with compressed air. When the gun fires, all the air is released with the shot, though there have been multi-pumps that could shoot several times on one charge of air.

A single stroke pneumatic is also a pneumatic, but it will not accept more than one pump stroke. Instead of an onboard reservoir, it has a chamber that the pump head slides inside. When the gun is pumped, the pump head compresses air in this chamber. The pump head holds the pressurized air inside the chamber — there is no inlet valve like you would find on the reservoir of a multi-pump. If you were to open the pump handle for a second stroke, it would fly open from the force of the pressurized air inside, and all the compressed air from the first stroke would be released.

The pump head is critical

The pump head is critical to the operation of a single stroke. It is flexible, so when the gun is pumped, the compressed air in front of the head squashes the sides of the head outward to seal the compression chamber tightly. This is good, except being flexible, the head cannot hold the compressed air very long. It’s not like the inlet valve of a multi-pump reservoir that uses the air pressure inside the reservoir to help hold the valve shut. Air is constantly trying to escape from the chamber in front of the pump head. That is why most manuals say to not leave a single stroke pumped for longer than 5 minutes.

IZH 46 pump head
This is the pump head from an IZH 46. It looks like a spring-piston seal, but is much softer.

Oil is critical to the operation of the pump head. I use silicone chamber oil since the guns are pneumatics. The oil improves their sealing and velocity right away.

Quick fix

The pump head may dry out and stiffen over time. When that happens, it won’t flex enough to completely seal the pump chamber and the gun’s velocity will drop. I found a temporary fix for this several years ago that adds velocity to the gun. Simply pump it several times without completing the stroke. In other words, do not put any air into the gun. This will warm the pump head by squashing it repeatedly, putting some flex back into the material. I demonstrated this process on American Airgunner in the 2010 season. I think we got the gun shooting 60 f.p.s. faster with 20 partial pump strokes.

How much power?

What will a single stroke do? The LP2 produced around 350-375 f.p.s. That’s about what a Daisy 747 does. Modern versions of the powerplant can put lightweight lead pellets out of a target pistol muzzle at around 450-500 f.p.s. That’s ideal for a 10-meter target gun. Because of this power level and also because they don’t recoil, single strokes evolved rapidly in the world of target shooting.

Soon after the LP2, Walther brought out the LP3 — a refined version of the earlier pistol with a more reliable exhaust valve. It hit the streets in 1973. No extra power was created; the pistol just became more robust.

A year later Walther brought out the LGR, their first single stroke target rifle. It was so well developed that it lasted from 1974 until 1989. The LGR launched medium weight target pellets at around 575 f.p.s., so it was hotter than the pistol.

More power

Sporting shooters looked at the single stroke with envy and wanted one of their own. The thought of pumping an airgun just once attracted them. But they wanted more power — naturally. What they got, instead, was the Parker Hale Dragon — a science experiment in a stock!

Parket Hale Dragon
I saw this Parker Hale Dragon at the 2008 Little Rock airgun show. Its operation is quite complex.

 

Parker Hale Dragon step 1
First the button is pushed to open the bolt for loading. This keeps the firing valve closed during pumping.

 

Parker Hale Dragon step 2
Next, the cocking arm is pulled back and out to unlock it from the action.

 

Parker Hale Dragon step 3
Then the cocking arm is rotated about 105 degrees so it is past the muzzle. There is still about a foot more travel to go here. Then the arm is rotated closed and locked in place. The rifle is loaded, the bolt pushed home and locked and the rifle is ready to fire. It’s slightly less work than loading a flintlock rifle! read more


Airgun lubrication — pneumatics

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

Airgun lubrication — spring guns: Part 1

Airgun lubrication — spring guns: Part 2 read more


The new best airguns for the money: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Blog reader Kevin Lentz asked for this report; but as soon as he posted his request, it was seconded by a couple other readers. The first time I did a report with this title was way back in 2007, and that was a four-parter. This time, I’ll hold it to just two parts to save some time, because there are a lot of new models coming out at this time of year. Kevin revised the categories just a little and I went with his suggestions.

Guns under $150: Air rifles
A couple guns that used to be in this category have fallen off the list, in my opinion. They did so due to major changes in product quality. Even at this low level, a gun has to shine to make the list.

Crosman’s 1077 is a wonderful 12-shot CO2 repeater. It’s accurate, reliable and a lot of fun to shoot. This budget rifle is accurate enough to benefit from a scope.

The Crosman M4-177 multi-pump is another wonderful value for the price. It’s accurate, has a tactical look and is very rugged. As a bonus, this is a five-shot repeater!

The Gamo Lady Recon makes the list for its accuracy, ease of operation and the fact that it comes with open sights. The plain Recon doesn’t have open sights and misses the list for the lack. This is a lot of youth air rifle for the money, but I suppose only girls will like it because of the pink color.

Stoeger’s X5 makes the list for accuracy and build quality. The one drawback with this one is the heavy trigger. But if you get past that, this is a lot of airgun for the money.

Daisy’s Powerline 953 TargetPro is a budget version of that company’s 853 target rifle. Though it lacks the Lothar Walther barrel, the 953 manages to do quite well with its domestic barrel. It’s a great way to get into target shooting without spending a bundle.

Buy the Daisy Avanti Champion 499 only if you like hitting what you shoot at. Billed as the world’s most accurate BB gun and the only gun used in the International BB Gun Championships (because nothing else can compete with it), the 499 is every target shooter’s dream. Sure, it’s a BB gun, but one that will put 10 shots inside Roosevelt’s head on a dime offhand at 5 yards.

And the winner among air rifles in this price range is the Air Venturi Bronco. It is, without question, the most accurate pellet rifle under $150, and it has the best trigger of the category as well.

What can I say? I love this air rifle.

Guns under $150: Air pistols
For informal target shooting, you can’t do any better than Beeman’s P17 single-stroke pistol. It’s a Chinese-made copy of the German-made Beeman P3 that costs many times more, yet the P17 holds its own on power and accuracy. A few of them have been known to have reliability issues; but if you oil yours with Pellgunoil, I think you’ll get past that. I’ve owned two, and both were perfect.

There used to be several different models of this next gun to choose from, but the last one standing is the Crosman 357W. A pellet revolver for under $50, this CO2-powered gun has inspired shooters for decades. It has the accuracy you want and ease of operation, plus it’s a pellet revolver!

Another super buy is the Crosman 2240 .22-caliber single-shot pistol. This gun is the direct descendant of Crosman pistols dating all the way back to the 1940s. It’s accurate, powerful and a wonderful value.

The Crosman 1377C is a classic multi-pump air pistol selling for half the price of most other pump guns. It has the power and accuracy to hold its own against challengers selling at more than twice the price. Plus, it’s the basis of many hobby airgunners’ projects.

The Makarov BB pistol is the best BB pistol in this or any other price category. It’s accurate, reliable and extremely realistic. If you like to hit what you shoot at and want to shoot BBs, this is the gun to buy!

If you want a fun, realistic BB revolver, they don’t get any better than the Dan Wesson BB revolver. I’ve linked to the 8-inch barreled gun, but all the barrel lengths and finishes cost the same and provide the same great service.

Guns $150-250: Air rifles
Not as many guns in this price category, because I hold them to a higher standard. With guns like the Bronco and the Beeman P17 out there, most higher-priced guns can’t deliver.

Hatsan recently decided to go it alone in the U.S., but I haven’t had a chance to test anything they offer. Back when they were making guns for whatever conglomerate financial organization owned Webley at the time, who knows what craziness they were forced to make? So, they should be given the chance to make and sell good guns on their own. Time will tell, but this year I have no information, so they didn’t make the list.

With all the product-cheapening that’s been going on, it’s been difficult to see that the Diana RWS 34P has progressively morphed into a fine air rifle. The barrel got better, the trigger did the same and the powerplant went from a cheap buzzy nightmare in the 1980s to a dream gun in 2012. Diana avoided the Gamo pitfall of going to more power, and, instead, they concentrated on giving us a great rifle with reasonable power and splendid accuracy. You do need to use the artillery hold to get it, though. This one deserves credit for being a wonderful air rifle. When I list the 34P, I’m actually including all 34 rifles.

Guns $150-250: Air pistols
Same thing goes for air pistols as for rifles. Too much competition from the lower-price category and not enough innovation and quality in this one.

I can’t say enough good things about the Smith & Wesson 586 4-inch CO2 revolver. It’s a “real” gun! Get one if you like fine double- and single-action triggers, smooth revolver actions plus stunning accuracy. The realism cannot be faulted. Same thing goes for the 6-inch barreled gun.

Some of you may remember my story about telling the then-president of Crosman why airgunners would drop $150 on a handgun he sold for $39.95. Well, he left the company, and the new management decided to build these modified guns themselves! The Crosman 2300S is one such gun. It’s based on the 2240 frame, but has a boatload of high-value appointments that are just what most airgunners want. Can’t beat it for the price.

I’m going to include the Daisy Avanti 747 Triumph Match, which is somewhat quirky and more than a little clunky, but it’s the lowest-cost real target pistol available. The Lothar Walther barrel is what makes it rank above the nearly identical 717. And, Daisy, could you please give this gun a couple more names? I can still pronounce it without taking a breath.

What’s this? I put the Beeman P17 on this list for under $150 and I’m also putting the Beeman P3 on the same list? Yep. This one is good, too. Better trigger than the P17 and just as accurate and powerful. Want a better gun? Get a P3.

Well, that’s my list. You might ask me what the criteria were to make the list. Simple. These are the airguns I can recommend and not hear anything bad about them. That doesn’t mean that everyone likes all of them. It means that the guns, themselves, don’t have any bad habits or features that make people mad at me for recommending them. Next time, I’ll do a $250-500 list and an unlimited one. You think I was picky today? Just wait.

A note from Edith: This is a G-rated site
Recently, I’ve noticed some acronyms creeping in that aren’t G-rated. If you have a budding young airgunner that you’ve encouraged to read the blog and the comments, do you want to have to explain to him what those initials mean? Probably not, so it’s best if we don’t use those colorful words/acronyms in our comments.

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