Posts Tagged ‘single-shot’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Brett Latimer is the Big Shot of the Week on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.
Today’s report was influenced by blog reader Kevin, who suggested that I use some of the old articles I’ve written in the past. Well, I’m always open to something that makes my life easier, plus I’ve had access to some of the most unusual airguns in the world over the years. So, today, we’ll take a look at one of them.
I wrote this article in 1999, and I’m not changing anything in it — apart from making some corrections to spelling, grammar and punctuation. It was originally published in Airgun Revue 4.
Someone said they wanted to see how Tom wrote in the old days. Well, here we go!
Erma’s ELG 10 was a single-shot underlever spring gun, though it looked like a western repeater.
There are never enough models to satisfy the curiosity of collectors of very finely made airguns. They struggle along, first discovering 10-meter guns, then German sporting models and finally coming to rest with the finer British guns like the Webley Mark III or the BSA Improved Model D underlever. And that’s where many believe the road ends. Unless they want to branch out into tinplate and cast iron toy guns, they think they’ve seen it all. But they have not yet turned over all the rocks. Not until they own an Erma ELG 10 will their collections be complete.
To look at it, the Erma is a curiosity. You find yourself looking for the plastic parts or where to put the CO2 powerlet. Your eye tells you the gun is solidly built, but your doubting airgunner’s mind tells you it can’t be as nice as it seems. It looks too much like a Daisy model 1894. You keep waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under you, and it never is. The ELG 10 is exactly what it looks like — an extremely high-grade spring air rifle built from all wood and metal, in the best Winchester tradition. In fact, the Winchesters of today should be made so well!
The gun came to the United States in the late 1970s through the Beeman company, where they were sold for a short time. Their retail price of over $300 was what killed them, coming as it did at a time when R1 rifles sold for the same money. The ELG 10 is a low-powered plinking rifle, and few people were willing to shell out big bucks to buy something that couldn’t even keep up with a Diana model 27. Never mind the fact that they produced the same power as the FWB 300 target rifle, which was selling for twice as much. The Erma simply looked too much like a toy; and until you hold one in your hands and realize what it is, there’s no sale.
There was an article in American Airgunner in 1991 about the Erma that spawned some desire for the gun. After that, people were placing ads to buy one in Airgun Ads and elsewhere. I even had the strategy of watching the Gun List ads for Erma firearms, hoping that one would mistakenly pop up. It’s a habit I haven’t shaken to this day.
My first ELG 10 came from Airgun Ads, and I paid plenty for it — $550, as I recall. It came with a Beeman box and was in pristine cosmetic condition, but the power seemed low. The gun was shooting lightweight Hobby pellets only in the low 400s. Knowing that Erma is not primarily an airgun maker, I reasoned that the gun might well have leather seals; so, I lubricated mine with Beeman’s Chamber Oil and saw the velocity jump up to the mid-600s…where it belonged. Despite what the article in American Airgunner said about the gun growing tired over time, all it usually takes to rejuvenate one is a little oil on the seal. I still don’t know if the seal is leather or not, but the gun responds to oil as though it is.
As luck would have it, after paying so much for that first one, I stumbled across a SECOND Erma just two weeks later. This one was in a local gun store, where they were asking $175. I bought it, figuring I could average the cost of the two guns and realize two good bargains. It, too, was shooting in the 400s until a shot of chamber oil fixed things.
Although the rifle is short, at just 37.75 inches, it’s a handful. It weighs six full pounds, and never does your hand touch anything except wood and metal. It’s as accurate at 10 meters as a Diana model 27, which validates the integral scope rails machined into the top of the receiver. Although the iron sights are quite nice, the Erma is the perfect gun on which to mount a small scope, like Beeman’s SS3 or SS1.
Firing behavior is a quick forward jump with a small but noticeable spring vibration. It comes at the end of a 6 lb., 12 oz. trigger-pull that’s crisp but definitely not light. Part of that extra weight is safety engineering, no doubt, because this rifle is loaded with it.
The gun is cocked by swinging the finger lever all the way forward. Although it looks like a lever-action firearm, the cocking lever is really much longer than just the finger lever because it has to provide some mechanical advantage.
The finger lever is part of a longer underlever that retracts a sliding compression chamber, opening the way for loading the breech.
This is not a gun you hold up to your shoulder and just flick the lever with one hand. No, indeed. You dismount it and work the lever with one hand while restraining the rifle with the other hand and your leg. Not that it is hard to cock, for it isn’t. It cocks with about the same 17 lbs. of effort as the FWB 124 breakbarrel rifle, but it’s not a job for one hand, alone.
As the gun is cocked, the sliding compression chamber retracts, just like on a TX 200 or HW 77. As it retracts, a clicking ratchet catches the chamber at intervals, so there is little possibility of an accident should your cocking hand slip.
When the chamber is all the way to the rear, there’s access to the rear of the barrel for a pellet to be inserted. It’s a tight fit, but elevating the muzzle helps you balance the pellet on your thumb until you make contact with the barrel. All the while, the sliding chamber is retained by an anti-beartrap mechanism to keep you from chopping off your digits.
The compression chamber is retracted, leaving lots of room to load the gun. The slot at the bottom is for clearance for the cocking linkage.
The cocking cycle is completed by returning the lever to the starting position. To shoot, upward pressure must be maintained on the finger lever, just like so many lever-action firearms. There’s also a safety behind the receiver, profiled to look something like the hammer on a firearm. It’s not automatic, but you can put it on at any time. The way it functions is very strange. Instead of blocking or disconnecting the trigger, it simply pushes a steel bar straight down through the bottom tang, where it props the finger lever from being squeezed closed. Thus, they use one safety device to force engagement of a second device. It works fine, which says a lot for the Erma engineers’ confidence in their design.
So, the gun is bristling with safeties! That means you cannot decock it. Once cocked, a pellet must be fired. Also, it means that a slot had to be cut in the bottom of the outer receiver to allow for travel of the link that connects the sliding compression chamber to the cocking lever. Unfortunately, the slot looks exactly like the ones in the cheap Chinese sidelevers that were formed from stamped sheet metal stock. Nothing on the ELG is cheap, but this one feature does give that impression.
The manual safety looks a little like the hammer. All it does is block the lever from closing completely — so the gun cannot fire.
The gun is cocked and the safety is off.
Push down on the safety button and the safety is on.
Another very neat feature of the gun is the full-length cleaning rod that’s stored in the “magazine” tube under the barrel. Simply unscrew the cap of the tube, located under the muzzle, and the rod can be dumped out. A cloth mop for the end of the rod serves to wedge it inside the tube without rattling. Of course, there’s no need to clean the bore of the gun for any reason, but it is a nice touch just the same.
The cleaning rod lives in the tube under the barrel. The cleaning mop keeps the barrel from rattling.
The iron sights are simple but effective. The rear is a notch with a sliding elevator, and the front is a hooded square post. It’s no problem to get on target at the ranges this gun is made for — say 5 to 25 yards. Windage adjustments are possible by drifting the rear sight in its dovetail. As we indicated, most people will probably mount a short scope or just use the sights the way they come from the factory because part of the gun’s charm is its fast handling and “plinkability.”
The rear sight is a simple elevator for elevation. Windage comes from drifting the sight in its dovetail.
The butt and forearm are made from beech, stained a dark red on all the guns I’ve seen. They fit as well as any firearm wood made after WWII. The buttplate is blued metal, reminiscent of Winchesters from decades ago.
Throughout this article, the word metal has been used without further explanation. The gun is not entirely made of steel. That would add at least a pound of weight, if not more, and it isn’t necessary. The receiver is made from tough aircraft-spec aluminum, while the functional parts and the barrel are made of high-grade steel. Everything is finished the same, so there is no way of telling what’s what unless you go over the whole thing with a magnet.
The Erma ELG 10 is going nowhere but up in price. Even in Europe, where more were sold, it was never a mainstream airgun. So, sitting around waiting for the market to go flat is a hopeless cause. If you want one, better get it now because it will only cost more later.
RETURN TO THE PRESENT
That article was interesting for me, as I hope it was for all of you. I want to thank Kevin for putting me onto this idea. Edith did it when I was sick, but I just never thought it could work in anything except an emergency. But since I don’t own an Erma ELG 10 any more, I guess this is as close as I will get to one, so we might as well enjoy it for what it is.
Regarding my prediction on the price continuing to rise in the future, it actually did keep increasing until around 2008. When the economy stalled, the prices for vintage airguns like this one all took a dive. Only in recent years have they shown any signs of increasing again, and I would have to say that the price is pretty well where it was in 1999 — around $550-650, depending on condition and if it has a box.
Resurrecting this old article was fun, and I think we’ll do it again as several of you have requested.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
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..
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.
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.
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!
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.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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.)
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!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
This report has a lot riding on it. First, I was specifically asked to do this by Pyramyd Air after I made some remarks about the new IZH rifles with their plastic receivers. I tested both the IZH 60 and the IZH 61 a couple years back and found they did not have the same accuracy as they did a decade ago when the receivers were made of metal. I found the plastic clips for the IZH 61 did not seem to index as well as the older metal clips.
But Pyramyd Air has brought out the IZH 60 Target Pro and the IZH 61 Target Pro air rifles as viable substitutes for lower-end target rifles. I was challenged to test one my usual way; and if the rifle I tested can’t keep 10 rounds in a quarter-inch at 10 meters, well — somebody is going to eat his hat!
Now, I enjoy a slice of hat every so often, nicely broiled with garlic and onions, but I won’t throw this test just to see someone else eat one. Because the second thing that’s hanging on the outcome is a lot of purchase decisions. There’s something about these Russian sidelever springers that attracts people; and when target sights are added, it gets serious!
Back when I wrote the Airgun Revue publications, a lot of airgunners in my area were buying these guns as fast as they could. My buddy, Mac, bought at least 23 of them. Every time he got one, he would show it to someone who would then buy it from him — forcing him to buy another.
One local guy took an IZH 60 and added Anschütz target sights and a custom-made laminated stock to it. He spent less than a hundred dollars for the rifle and then put over $500 into it. People thought he was crazy until he started doing well in local 10-meter target matches. Then they realized that this rifle has the capability to be a lot more than the price seems to indicate. [Note from Edith: I remember this man, as he'd brought his gun to an airgun show. He was accompanied by his wife and their infant. I recall seeing the gun reclining ever so tenderly in the stroller, while his wife had to carry the baby around the show!]
But what about today? Now that the receiver has been changed to plastic, does the gun still shoot? That’s the question this report will answer — and just in time for the holidays for those inclined to add a target rifle to their collections. If this rifle can shoot, then Pyramyd Air has done what it took over $600 to do back in the 1990s, and they’ve done it for less than $200.
Cost and serial number
Both the IZH 60 and 61 basic rifles cost $120. The Target Pro versions like the model 60 I’m testing are both priced at $180. The rifle I’m testing is serial number 126001228.
The IZH 60 is a single-shot sidelever spring-piston air rifle. It has a futuristic stock with an adjustable butt that changes the pull length from 12-inches to 13.25-inches. There are no detents, so the stock can be set anywhere within these limits.
The power is low, producing just under 500 f.p.s. So, the rifle cocks easy. That and the light weight of the little rifle make it a good one for smaller children, except for seating the pellet. On the 60, the pellet has to be manually seated by pushing forward on a thin steel bolt handle, while on the 61 the pellet is automatically seated when the cocking handle is returned home. Sometimes, manually seating the pellet takes a lot of effort. Therefore, the 61 makes a better youth target rifle if you don’t want to load every shot for them.
While the rifle comes with good adjustable sporting sights, the Target Pro guns have an adjustable target peep rear sight and front sight inserts. Daisy supplies the rear sight, and it is all-metal. It’s a lot better-looking than the plastic Daisy aperture rear sight they used to offer on some of their target rifles.
I tried both adjustments on the rear sight and they feel crisp and seem to be repeatable, without backlash. The older Daisy plastic peep sight had a problem with backlash, but this one seems fine. I will test the sight for adjustability after we know how accurate the rifle is.
The front sight has interchangeable inserts, and three of them are apertures, which are the preferred front sight for precision today. When I unpacked the rifle, the entire front sight assembly was canted several degrees to the right; and I was about to fire off an email to get the hat ready. But I discovered that when the sight is disassembled for insert replacement, you can adjust the assembly wherever you want it. So — crisis averted. I only wish my 1917 American Enfield had the same capability! Its front sight assembly was rotated to the right permanently during an arsenal refinish, and was so disagreeable to look at that I sold the rifle.
The barrel is what made the IZH 60 and 61 stand apart from most other spring rifles in the same price range. It’s hammer-forged, which is known to give a more consistent bore if done correctly; and the Russians have always been noted for the accuracy of their barrels. But as I said, we shall see by testing. After all, there’s a tasty hat at stake.
The rifle’s trigger adjusts for the pull length, which means where the let-off point is. It’s a single-stage trigger that’s very light but also very vague. It’s not a target trigger, but it’s much better than the trigger on a Daisy 953.
I plan to test the heck out of this rifle. If it’s as good as I’ve been told, I’ll shout it from the bell tower. But if not, there better be a hat ready!