Posts Tagged ‘pistol’
by B.B. Pelletier
Normally Part 3 would be an accuracy test; but if you’ve followed this report, you know that my Webley Junior was shooting very slow when I tested it for velocity. So, I told you I would disassemble it and have a look inside to learn what I could about the shape of the powerplant.
The first clue I had took no disassembly whatsoever. I simply looked through the cocking slot on top of the gun and noticed that the mainspring was bone dry. I’d lubricated the breech seal and piston seal before velocity testing, but I left the mainspring alone. I’m glad I did, because I learned that this gun was really too dry inside for proper operation. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The first step in the disassembly of any Webley classic pistol is to remove the barrel. One screw was removed, and the .177 smoothbore barrel came out, though not easily. From the appearance of the machined surfaces on the barrel lug, it was obvious that this pistol had not been apart many times in its 60+ years since leaving the factory. Perhaps never!
Step two — the tricky part
The mainspring is held in place by a threaded end cap that also incorporates a spring guide. The cap threads are fine, and a pistol that hasn’t been apart presents a real challenge. The challenge is to get the cap off without disturbing the sharp edges around the slot in the cap.
I chucked up the handle of a big pair of channel lock pliers sticking straight up in my bench vice and inserted it into the end cap slot. Using the pistol grip as a handle to turn the gun, I broke the cap free. Once it was free, the threads were exposed in a couple places, so I squirted some Kroil penetrating oil on them to loosen the cap more. It came off with nary a mark left on the end cap.
The mainspring is under a bit of compression, so when the last thread is out the end cap springs away from the pistol. I was surprised by how far this one moved, and I photographed it for you. It seems close to a brand-new mainspring, but the look of the parts inside tells me the gun probably hasn’t been apart since at least the late 1960s. I say that because of a pristine leather piston seal and spacer. Those items were changed to synthetic by Webley in 1965, so I think they’ve been in this gun a very long time.
The piston can then be removed by pulling the trigger to get the sear out of the way. A screwdriver through the cocking slot does the rest, and you slide the steel piston out the front of the gun. The piston and mainspring were both dry but quite dirty, as though some minimal oil had dried on their surfaces decades ago. A couple wipes with a rag removed the grime, leaving the parts sparkling. The piston seal was oily, which was to be expected.
That completes all the disassembly I need to do. It took me half an hour for everything, but after I lubricate the parts and the end cap threads prior to assembly I’ll be able to tear it down next time in 15 minutes.
I expected to find a bad piston seal in this gun and am stymied that it’s as nice as it is. I can’t honestly see one part that requires replacement. On the other hand, I seriously doubt lubrication alone will let the gun gain the 100+ f.p.s. that it lacks. That just hasn’t been my experience. However, I will now clean the powerplant and all parts, lubricate everything correctly and assemble the gun to test once more.
by B.B. Pelletier
Before I begin today, just a word about the upcoming Daisy Get Together in Michigan. It’s in Kalamazoo on Sunday, August 22. That’s a one-day show. Admission is $2 to see a room full of fine collectible BB guns. For a flyer and more information, contact Bill Duimstra (616-738-2425) or Wes Powers (517-423-4148).
Today, I’ll test the velocity of the new Webley Junior. These guns are supposed to be low-powered, so expect velocities in the 275 f.p.s.region.
One thing I know about older vintage airguns is that they have leather piston seals. The Webley pistols also have a leather breech seal connecting the air transfer port to the breech. It’s a hollow metal tube surrounded by leather that also needs to be oiled. So, the first order of business is to oil the seals.
Since I didn’t know how long the gun had gone since its last oiling, I intentionally overdid it. The oil gets dropped into the transfer port with the piston retracted in the cocked position. That took care of both the piston seal and the breech seal. Then, I waited two full days before firing.
Despite being made for younger shooters, the Junior is still quite a handful to cock. I doubt most 12-year-olds have the strength. As I cocked the pistol, I felt some scraping that I didn’t like. I’ve not felt that before in a Webley pistol.
The first pellets I tried were RWS Hobbys, but they didn’t come out of the barrel when shot. Not a good start. The Hobby fits the bore fairly tight, but it should still fire okay, so I began to wonder if something might be wrong.
I tried JSB Exact RS pellets next. They exited the bore at an average of 146 f.p.s., with a spread from 144 to 150 f.p.s. That’s definitely slow. They should hit at least 250 f.p.s. with ease. They fit the breech loosely, which I think helped them to shoot at all.
Next, I tried some vintage Eley Wasp pellets. These are what might have been shot in the gun when it was fairly new. They fit relatively loosely and averaged 94 f.p.s., with a spread from 81 to 97 f.p.s. Egad! That told me there’s something wrong inside the powerplant. Maybe, under the circumstances, most people would be upset that a new gun needs repairs. Not me. That gives me the justification to disassemble the pistol and let everyone see what’s inside. Then, we’ll see just what’s needed.
Just to double-check my numbers, I shot a string of Gamo Match pellets that averaged 56 f.p.s. with a spread from 52 to 59 f.p.s. So, there was no longer any doubt that the powerplant needs attention and may even be disintegrating as I shoot.
What’s the next step?
What’s next is to disassemble the pistol and see what’s inside. The breech seal looks good at this point, but I’ve had to replace them before, too. What ever happens, I’ll show you what I do and where I get any parts that may be needed. Like my FWB 124, this will be a voyage of exploration for us. Accuracy testing will wait until the gun is shooting properly.
by B.B. Pelletier
When I came home from the hospital, all my internet business was in disarray. Edith had been keeping up with my email, but she hadn’t known about the various accounts I have, nor did she have the time to look at them. One of these was the Texas Gun Trader, an online in-state trading place where I meet others to buy and sell firearms. I had over 1,400 guns to look at!
One of those listings was a Webley Junior pistol, which caught my eye. It was priced close to the top of the market, but it seemed to be in very nice condition. So, I contacted the seller down near Houston and we negotiated. Normally, I meet the seller face-to-face, but in my current condition that was impossible, so we worked out a deal to ship the gun. Being an airgun, this was entirely legal.
When the pistol arrived, I had the pleasant surprise that the gun was in better cosmetic condition than I had imagined. The seller had posted photos, but a Webley pistol is all black and difficult to show any detail. I did the deal on trust that they were telling me the truth, and I feel they understated the fine condition. That made me very happy, because a vintage gun in beautiful condition always retains its value.
Edith had reprinted my Webley Junior article from Airgun Revue #6 in the blog while I was in the hospital, but that report was based on my brief examination of a Junior more than 10 years ago. Now, I own one, and can test it any way that I like. I especially want to try it with darts, for which it is ideally suited.
My new air pistol is a post-war Junior, where the one reported in May was a pre-war gun. And it’s a very early version of the post-war gun, being made sometime between 1946 and about 1950.
The clues to the age of my gun are the lack of an adjustable rear sight and the grips. From 1946 to ‘51, the Junior grip had an extra 1/4″ projection at the top. Gordon Bruce thought it might have been a thumbrest, but there’s no proof. Also, the checkering was coarse at first and finer in the later versions.
The book says the Junior is for children, but I will confirm that the “kids” are probably in their teens because it isn’t that easy to cock the gun, even for an adult. The price was the lowest of the Webley line, and most Juniors like mine have smoothbore barrels. Hence, my interest in shooting darts.
The frame is malleable cast iron, made outside the Webley plant but machined by Webley. That’s why the finish appears so different between the frame and the spring tube, which is high-quality steel.
I’ll enjoy getting to know this little (but heavy!) air pistol. I purposely have not yet fired it, so you and I will be only hours apart as I discover what kind of a gun I have.
When I returned from the hospital, a group of friends presented me with a fine single-action revolver. I hope to get to the range to shoot it one of these days, but I thought I’d share it with you today.
Next time, we’ll test the Junior’s velocity.
by B.B. Pelletier
Testing and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald
Today, I’ll cover the accuracy of the TT33 Tokarev BB pistol. I spent a little more time describing this gun for you in Parts 1 and 2 because of the exceptional realism it brings to the sport. However, as a shooter, the TT33 is very deliberate. The hammer must be cocked manually for every shot.
As I mentioned in Part 2, the sights on this pistol appear to have been specially milled lower to adjust the point of impact with BBs. Today’s report will show how well that worked.
BB guns are usually sighted to hit the point of aim between 15 and 25 feet. Today’s test was done by Mac at 15 feet. The pistol was aimed with a six o’clock hold in traditional target style (one-hand). He used Daisy zinc-plated BBs.
The pistol’s trigger is stiff and somewhat creepy. Mac said the trigger started to break in as he shot more, so perhaps you can expect a drop in pull weight over time.
As you can clearly see, the pistol shoots to the point of aim at 15 feet. Not many BB pistols do, so this is a happy discovery. The sights are not very adjustable, so this is a real blessing for those who shoot the gun.
The bottom line
What an airgun! For those who love realism, it doesn’t get any better than this. You can own what was once a firearm and disassemble it in the same way. You get the real Russian dated and marked parts from a pistol that is now quite expensive and collectible in its firearm form.
On the other hand, this is a not an action pistol. The single-action-only operation will slow you down and make you very deliberate. You must decide if it is for you.
My advice is to act fast before anyone changes their mind about the gun coming into the U.S.
Browning 800 Mag – Part 6
by B.B. Pelletier
Photos and testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald
Well! A surprising finish to the comprehensive test of the .22-caliber Browning 800 Mag pistol. Surprising because of the strong finish the pistol made in Mac’s capable hands. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s reel it back to the start of the accuracy test.
If I were a skilled storyteller, I wouldn’t put RWS Superdomes first in the report, but it was the first pellet Mac tried in the gun. I wouldn’t put it first because it turned out to be the most accurate pellet by an enormous margin. Sometimes, things happen that way, but you don’t know it for sure until you complete the test.
At 10 meters, 10 shots ripped through a group measuring just 1.38″ across the widest two shots. That’s with TEN shots at ten meters! With accuracy on that order, a fellow could draw down on a crow at 20 yards and expect to connect where he aimed. We already know the gun has the power to do the job. A six o’clock hold netted a point of impact at 12 o’clock on the 10m pistol bull. Sight correction would, therefore, be in order.
With the best pellet, the Browning 800 Mag is a valid hunting air pistol for small game at close range — provided you’re shooting RWS Superdomes or another pellet of equal accuracy.
All this buildup is necessary because of how the gun performed with the other two pellets. So, let’s move on to Hobbys.
At just 11.9 grains, the .22 caliber RWS Hobby pellet was the fastest of the three tested. But it wasn’t that much faster than the Superdome (536 to 502), and it developed less muzzle energy (7.59 to 8.12). So, unless it shines in accuracy, it’s not a pellet to consider.
And shine it did not. Ten pellets went into a group measuring 2.08″ at 10 meters. We know from the Superdome results that Mac can shoot, so the Hobby has to be rated as mediocre, at best.
That left but one pellet to test. The Crosman Premier.
In the velocity test, the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier pellet showed wild velocity swings. Mac determined that was due to the pellet being too small for the gun’s bore. One pellet even fell out as he was closing the barrel after loading. That was significant, because the 800 Mag barrel has a very strong detent that requires a swift and deliberate closure. What a setup for possible dry-fires.
But the group measured 3.08″ — an inch larger than Hobbys. Now, 8 of the 10 shots did cluster in a much tighter group, but with the wild velocity swings and possibility for dry-fires, I think the Premier may not be best for the big Browning — at least in .22 caliber.
The bottom line of the big Browning is that this is a powerful and accurate spring-piston air pistol. It clearly surpasses the Beeman P1 for power, and delivers the shots to the POA if you do your part.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today we’re going to look at the velocity of the TT33 BB pistol. This gun was tested by Mac McDonald, and I’m reading from his notes. Before I get to the velocity, a reminder is due. This is a single-action-only pistol. That means the hammer has to be pulled all the way back before the gun can be fired. The slide will cycle, but the gun does not have blowback. The hammer has 3 positions: all the way forward (or fired), half-cock and full-cock. The gun will fire only when the hammer is on the full-cock position. Then, the trigger needs to be pulled and the hammer will drop forward, firing one shot.
The trigger is creepy, according to Mac, and breaks at around 8 lbs. He DID note that it had improved as he shot the gun. So, it might be a little lighter than that after a break-in.
Mac recorded a velocity of 321 to 383. The average velocity of the test gun was 352 fps. The extreme spread is 62 fps, and the average muzzle energy is 1.40 ft-lbs. Mac used Daisy zinc-plated BBs for his tests.
Because of the deliberate way this BB pistol functions, it’s not for those who want an action pistol. They would be better served by any number of less-expensive and faster-firing BB pistols. The TT33 is an extremely realistic handgun. In fact, the realism is over the top. Order it if you want to own a genuine Russian Tokarev without all the registration nonsense.
Pyramyd Air is the exclusive importer of the TT33. Because of its firearm origins, they ran a sample past BATF&E, who did not seem to have a problem with the gun. But, remember, the government can change its mind in a heartbeat. They withdrew the Junker carbines, which were made from real AK carbines, and they could decide to do the same with this pistol. Therefore, if you want one, and I mean REALLY want one, the time to act is right now.
Next time, I’ll cover accuracy and wrap up this report.
by B.B. Pelletier
Photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald
It’s been a while since we looked at this pistol, but I knew we had to test it in .22 because of the power potential.
In .177, I topped 800 fps with the big Browning. Normally, a spring gun in .22 caliber will be up to 20% more efficient than the same gun in .177. That would not mean greater velocity in .22, but it would mean more muzzle energy. Today’s test will determine if that relationship holds true.
This time, Mac tested the gun and was just as impressed with the cocking effort as I was. All of these numbers were gathered by him.
RWS Hobbys were the lightest pellets tested. They averaged 536 fps and ranged from 526 to 546. That’s a max spread of 20 fps. While the number 536 doesn’t sound that high, please remember that this is a .22 caliber spring-piston pistol, not a .177. The 11.9-grain Hobby pellet produced an average energy of 7.59 ft-lbs.
I wanted to test the gun with larger lead pellets, because I thought they would seal better, so I asked Mac to try RWS Superdomes. At 14.5 grains, these are much heavier than Hobbys. They produce an average velocity of 502 fps. The spread was from 496 to 507. That’s only 11 fps and a really tight spread for a new spring pistol. Average muzzle energy works out to 8.12 ft-lbs.
I asked Mac to try Crosman Premiers because they’re so standard among .22 cal. pellets. Many shooters have them and use them, and they’re often among the best pellets for a spring gun…but not for the Browning 800 Mag. The average velocity was 441 fps and ranged from 391 to 462. That 71 fps spread is a clear indication that the Premier is not suited to this gun. Mac also told me that they loaded loosely, and I have to assume they’re much too small for the bore of the gun. Plus, there isn’t enough air pressure to force the skirt out into the rifling. In one case, the pellet actually fell out while Mac was cocking the gun. The average muzzle energy works out to 6.18 ft-lbs.
The .22 caliber pistol is slightly more powerful than the .177. That the two are so close indicates that the powerplant favors the smaller caliber. However, this is still a ver powerful .22 caliber air pistol.
I will return with the results of a accuracy tests, so you’ll have everything you need to make a choice between the calibers.