Just how durable are those springers anyway?

Monday, October 26, 2009

(An aside) Question: What’s in the boxes?
A new shipment from IZH/Baikal.

Answer: a new shipment of goodies from IZH/Baikal.

Now, back to today’s episode: I get curious from time to time whether one particular type of airgun powerplant is more reliable than another. As I explained in my “A Shooter’s Look at Airgun Powerplants,” each powerplant has its own positives and negatives, advantages and disadvantages, but if you are looking solely at the issue of reliability, which powerplant would win out?

I posted this question on the “Yellow” forum and got a wide variety of responses. Some people weighed in on the side of springers like the RWS/Diana 48. Others voted for the match rifles like the FWB 601 or FWB 300, while still others championed PCPs like the Air Force Condor.

In 2005, FT shooter Brad Troyer reported in his blog that an HW97 that he “bought over ten years ago has well over 100,000 rounds through it and it still shoots accurately.” I tried to reach Brad to find out the current status of that gun and whether it has been rebuilt at all, but I haven’t heard from him yet.

But then I got an email from an air rifle shooter that totally blew my socks off. He wishes to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, but he has given me permission to relate his story. The gist of his tale is that he went through an incredibly rough, grief-stricken period in his life, and he used airgun shooting as a kind of therapy to deal with the stress.

The RWS Model 350 Magnum.

Here’s what he had to say: “Back in august of 2001 I purchased an RWS 350M from Air Gun Express. This was an early production .177 with the T01 trigger.”

“I shot 1 tin 250ct. of Crosman Premier Heavies through this gun 7 days a week for 3 years. That comes out to 273,750 rounds. Now admittedly I did miss a few days, but I also made up time by shooting two tins 500ct. on some weekend days. Even if we estimate for 200 rounds 6 days a week we end up with 187,200 rounds. This was my only air gun during this time frame, and the CPH were purchased at the local Wal-Mart as they were readily available.”

(Note: The place where he was shooting was at an elevation of over 5700 ft.)

He adds, “I sold the rifle in 2004 to a fella in Indiana fully expecting the gun was in need of a rebuild as the velocity was pretty punk by this time. The rifle was bone stock, No after market kit of any kind, no lube tune etc…When he tore the gun down the piston seal was torn, and pretty well fried. Here’s the kicker !!! The breech seal was still solid (No leaks), and the spring was perfectly intact (No Breaks) although it was indeed crooked as hell, and pretty well shot.

“Nevertheless when you take into account that the gun was completely stock shooting at the very least 187,200 rounds of 10.5 gr. pellets over 3 years time, I find this pretty remarkable . The only real maintenance was religiously cleaning the barrel no less than once a week (CPH are high antimony, and typically Filthy as hell) and at high velocities they lead the hell out of the barrel in the worst possible way, and I’ll bare witness to that for fact!”

He concludes: “I’m a Dyed in the wool Weihrauch man all the way…and have no predisposition to ever purchase another RWS rifle. I’m completely sold on Weihrauch’s build quality and see no good reason to change that for anyone, but I’m forced to admit you would be very hard pressed to find ANY Springer that could repeat the experiment.”

All I can say to that is: “Wow!”

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

One Comment

  1. F Schoolmaster says:

    Found this article quite interesting, however I missed the connection between the fellow’s RWS and his acquisition of the Weihrauch. I’d like to know what precipitated his interest in the Weihrauch, and how his Weihrauch is shooting now.

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