Posts Tagged ‘single-stroke’

Your Humble Correspondent demonstrating one version of the Creedmoor position which is used in many air pistol silhouette classes.

Your Humble Correspondent demonstrating one version of the Creedmoor position which is used in many air pistol silhouette classes.

If you would like to engage in some spirited competition at a very wallet-friendly price, let me recommend air pistol silhouette. All you need is an accurate air pistol, some pellets, and a place to shoot. You can get started for a total outlay of $100-400.

Air pistol silhouette is one of those classic games that takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. You shoot at metal cutouts of chickens, pigs, turkeys, and rams at various distances. If you knock one down, you get a point. If you miss, you don’t. The person with the most points wins.

Chickens, which measure just 3/4 inch high and 1 inch wide, are shot at 10 yards, pigs at 12.5 yards, turkeys at 15 yards, and rams at 18 yards. A typical match involves shooting at 10 of each animal: 10 chickens, 10 pigs and so forth. In case of ties, additional targets are shot to determine the winner.

IHMSA – the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association —  began sponsoring matches for air pistols in 2001. There are six categories of IHMSA air pistol silhouette competition.

Three are generally shot from the Creedmoor position (although other positions are allowed). Creedmoor looks pretty strange: competitors typically lie on their backs and brace the pistol against their calf or thigh. Some competitors  in these classes shoot from the “flop” position, which involves lying on the ground facing forward and elevating the pistol off the ground with the hands.

Uncle Jock's well loved and well used Daisy 747 match pistol with optional wooden grips.

Uncle Jock’s well loved and well used Daisy 747 match pistol with optional wooden grips.

Creedmoor classes include: Production, for open-sight pistols costing $375 or less suggested retail price; Unlimited (open sights only), for pistols with open sights above $375 SRP; and Unlimited Any Sight, for pistols of any price using any type of optical sighting device such as a scope or red dot sight. There are also three standing classes: Standing, for $375 (or less SRP) open sight guns, Unlimited Standing for any gun with any sighting device, and Unlimited Standing Iron Sight.

Competitors shooting in the Unlimited Any Sight class tend to shoot with long-eye-relief pistol scopes from the Creedmoor position. By contrast, Unlimited Standing competitors often equip their pistols with rifle scopes, shooting the air pistol close to their faces with one hand on the pistol grip and another on top of the scope.

The Crosman 2300S is a CO2-powered production class silhouette pistol.

The Crosman 2300S is a CO2-powered production class silhouette pistol.

IHMSA’s air pistol silhouette competition is unique in that it offers a “production” class  in which the price of the air pistol cannot exceed $375 suggested retail price. (This limit was recently raised to allow the inclusion of Crosman’s 1701P precharged pneumatic silhouette pistol.) This upper price limit levels the playing field so people with less expensive pistols are not competing head-to-head against much more expensive match pistols that might cost a couple of thousand dollars. (An inexpensive pistol such as the Daisy Avanti or the Crosman 2300S is not necessarily a disadvantage. There are documented cases of shooters using these relatively inexpensive pistols to beat the high-buck pistols in the non-production classes.) At many matches, shooters are also classed based on their ability, so beginners aren’t forced to compete against experts.

The Crosman 1701P is a precharged pneumatic production class silhouette pistol.

The Crosman 1701P is a precharged pneumatic production class silhouette pistol.

I have even interviewed a shooter who participated successfully in IHMSA air pistol silhouette competition with a Crosman 1377  . the only serious disadvantage of the 1377 (besides all the pumping) is that the sights are difficult to adjust. With the right pellets, it can be wickedly accurate.

This pellet trap has silhouettes that dangle from a center rod and make a satisfying "ting" when you hit them.

This pellet trap has silhouettes that dangle from a center rod and make a satisfying “ting” when you hit them.

You can print air pistol silhouette targets off the internet, but it is also useful to have a pellet trap with silhouette targets, and I can recommend this one.

Until next time, aim true and shoot straight.

Jock Elliott

The IZH-46M.

To ready the 46M for shooting, grasp the grip in your right hand and grab the end of the cocking handles with your left. Pull the cocking handle away from the grip until it extends well in front of the muzzle. When the cocking handle reaches the limit of its travel, the bolt will pop open. Next, return the cocking handle to its original position. This pressurizes the action.

The IZH-46M with the pump lever fully extended.

The breech ready for loading.

Slide a pellet into the rear of the barrel and press the bolt down until it snaps into place. The 46M is now ready to fire. Raise the pistol, alight the sights, take the first stage out of the trigger, and squeeze. With a pop, the pellet goes downrange. Velocities with light pellets are nearly 500 fps. An earlier model, the IZH 46 (no M), had a shorter pump tube and typically produced velocities 50 fps slower with pellets of the same weight.

The best part of the Izzy is the trigger. It is crisp, clean, and adjustable to below a pound. For the price, I know of no other air pistol that delivers a trigger as good, and I believe you’d have to spend much more to do better.

To get ready for the next shot, pump the action again and go through the same routine. I shot a season of 10-meter air pistol competition with a 46M and never had a mechanical problem or failure of any sort.

This is Steve Ware's IZH-46M configured for Unlimited Standing Silhouette. Photo courtesy of Steve.

But as I indicated in Part I, there is a lot more you can do with an IZH-46M beyond 10-meter air pistol. Steve Ware has twice won the IHMSA Unlimited International Championship with an IZH-46M, and once he won the Pan American Unlimited Standing Championship with an IZH. He likes it because it is economical, accurate, not dependent on SCUBA tanks or CO2 caplets, and can be adjusted to a sub-one-pound match trigger with just a screwdriver.

Charles Cammack uses his IZH-46 for air pistol benchrest competition in the New Mexico Senior Olympics Dona Anna County. For the last four years, he as qualified to shoot in the state summer games and has won several gold and silver medals in both the county and state games.

Larry Bowne uses this IZH for silhouette and pistol field target. Photo courtesy of Larry.

Larry Bowne uses his IZH-46M for both air pistol silhouette and field target competition. It’s quite a treat to seen him dropping field targets at the Easter Field Target Competitors Club in Wappingers Falls, NY, with the same model pistol that I used for 10-meter competition.

Bowne uses a custom scope mount made by Fenton Sandlin, an experienced silhouette shooter. Sandlin’s custom intermounts for the IZH have built-in droop that compensates for the height of the scope and the trajectory of a low velocity pistol. (Another way to mount a scope or red dot on the Izzy is to use the B-Square #17900 IZH-46 Weaver Adaptor Rail.)

After trying a lower power scope, Bowne mounted a Bushnell Trophy 6-18 scope with a scope knob that is calibrated out to 55 yards. His IZH-46M shoots JSB 8.4 grain exacts at 440-450 fps. He experimented with lighter JSB Express pellets, but found the heavier 8.4 grain pellets more stable for shooting groups at longer distances. Using this setup, Bowne has knocked down field targets with a 1.5 inch kill zone at 40 yards, which is impressive indeed. (This is not hearsay, either; I have personally seen him do it.)

If it seems like I am very keen on the IZH-46M, you’re right – I am. It is darned-near a do-it-all air pistol. The trigger is excellent. The accuracy is superb. You don’t have to worry about recharging it with air or CO2. It’s extremely easy to shoot well. You can compete in multiple disciplines with it and even control small pests at close range. It’s very difficult to think of any other pistol that offers so much at such a reasonable price.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

I had to grin the other day. Somebody had posted on the Forum, asking the denizens of the forum their opinion on three single-stroke pneumatic target pistols. One of them was the Baikal IZH-46M. The chorus of response to the posting was almost unanimous: Buy the Izzy!

When I mentioned this to Greg at Airguns of Arizona, he wasn’t surprised in the least; the IZH-46M is the most popular air pistol AoA sells, by a wide margin. So what is it about this Russian-built air pistol that makes it so popular?

It certainly doesn’t have the swoopy good looks of some of the high-buck
European match pistols . . . so what is it? I think it is simply that the Izzy hits a very sweet spot in the price/performance curve.

For less than $400, you get a wickedly accurate, self-contained match pistol that does a lot of things well, including 10-meter air pistol competition (that’s what it was designed for), pistol field target, air pistol silhouette, and I even heard of one fellow who shoots bench rest with one. In addition, if the forums are any indication, a number of Izzy shooters use them to control small pest animals at close range in the back yard.

The first thing you notice about the Izzy is that it has a very purpose-built air about it. If a part doesn’t need to be polished to function well, then it isn’t. Every part is designed with just one purpose in mind: to launch pellets down range as accurately as possible.

At stern of the 46M is a wooden ergonomic right hand grip that I found quite comfortable in my hand. (If you are a lefty, or you simply want dress up your 46M, custom laminate right or left hand grips and cocking handle are available from Airguns of Arizona.) At the bottom of the grip is an adjustable palm shelf. On top of the grip is the rear sight, which can bed micro-adjusted for windage and elevation. If you want a different width notch on the rear sight, the back plate of the sight can be unscrewed and flipped to give you a choice of notch widths.

In front of the rear sight is the bolt, which flips up to allow you to load a pellet into the rear of the barrel. There is a sliding assembly on top of the barrel that allows the bolt to be unlatched without cocking the gun and pressurizing the action. The barrel extends forward to a clamp that connects the barrel with the pump tube beneath. At the muzzle there is an assembly that holds the removable front sight blade and protects the barrel crown.

The pump tube is underneath the barrel. Beneath it, the cocking handle extends toward the trigger then angles away to the bottom of the palm shelf. At the end of the cocking handle is a small wooden block that cushions the hand while pumping the action. Together with a small metal shelf, the cocking handle encloses the two-stage adjustable trigger.

That’s all there is to the IZH-46M – a simple, unassuming, but highly functional air pistol.

Next time we’ll look at shooting it.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

If you have rabbits in the garden, squirrels in the bird feeder, or perhaps a youngster or a young person you would like to introduce to the joys of marksmanship, the Powerline 22SG combo may be just what you are looking for.

The 22SG (the SG stands for Small Game) is a.22 caliber multi-stroke pneumatic air rifle that is 37 inches long and weighs 4.5 lbs. It has a wooden buttstock with plastic buttplate, wood forearm, metal receiver with dovetail for mounting a scope, and a 20 inch rifled steel barrel.

The Powerline 22SG combo includes a Powerline 4×32 rifle scope that has mounting rings already fastened in place. Just remove the 22X and the scope from its blister package, loosen the large knobs at the bottom of the scope mounts, slip the mounts over the scope rail on top of the receiver, and tighten the knobs. That’s all that is required for setup. Now, you’re ready for sight-in. The hardest thing in the whole process is getting the blister pack open!

The action of the 22SG is charged using the pumping lever which sits between the two halves of the forearm. The pumping effort is remarkable light, and the air rifle can be pumped up to a maximum of 10 times to deliver maximum velocity of 550 feet per second with light pellets. The pumping effort increases very little during the pumping process.

To load the 22SG, first open the breech by pulling back the bolt on the right side of the receiver. This also cocks the action. With the scope mounted on top of the receiver, loading requires placing the pellet in the slot on the top of the receiver just to the right of the breech and rolling the pellet into the breech. It’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it.

Now you’re good to go. Take aim, squeeze the trigger, and you’ll discover that the 22SG has a remarkably light and crisp trigger for an inexpensive air rifle. There is a muted “pop” as the shot discharges, and the pellet goes down range. At 10 pumps and 11 yards, the Daisy 22X will readily shoot nickel-sized groups (edge to edge) with the right pellet, and at 20 yards, the 22SG has the power and the accuracy to protect the garden or the bird feeder.

In his fine book American Air Rifles, James E. House said this of the 22X: “ . . . it represents a fine balance of size and weight with power and accuracy. Because of the easy pumping action of the 22X and its overall size and weight, it would be a good choice for a youngster accompanied by an adult who wants to hunt small game or shoot pests. It is a favorite of my wife . . . “

He adds, “[it] is an ideal choice for a light, trim .22 caliber pellet rifle.” I agree.

— end —

There is something that I really like about target air pistols. Maybe it is the sheer joy of spending a few hours on an afternoon doing nothing more productive than trying to put some pellets through the 10 ring.

The Gamo Compact is an entry-level target air pistol. Weighing a just under 2 pounds, it stretches 12.6 inches from end to end, and delivers a wealth of goodies for a very reasonable price.

Let’s take a walk around the Compact and see what I mean. The first thing you notice about the Compact is the anatomically sculptured right-hand walnut grip with adjustable palm shelf. To the best of my knowledge, the Compact is the only entry level pistol that comes standard with such a grip.

Just forward of the grip underneath compact is the trigger guard, it – and the rest of the receiver and upper unit of the pistol, is made of an engineering plastic. The sides of receiver are reinforced with metal straps that are also part of the cocking mechanism. Unlike some plastic air pistols that I have shot, I have seen no flexing of the plastic while cocking or shooting the Compact.

Inside the trigger guard is the trigger. The first stage of the trigger is adjustable for travel, and the trigger blade can be swiveled to match the shooter’s finger. The manual says the second stage of the trigger is set by the factory at 750 grams, and it is not adjustable. Like many target pistols, the Gamo Compact does not have a safety. Once it is cocked and loaded, it is always live and ready to shoot.

At the front end of the Compact, on top of the upper assembly is the blade front sight. Just below is the muzzle, which is recessed into the plastic upper assembly. Along the top of the upper assembly is a wide plastic ridge. While the ridge is not a dovetail, I have successfully used it to clamp red dot sights to the Compact.

At the rear of the upper assembly is the rear sight, which – like virtually all target sights – is adjustable for elevation and windage. What sets the Compact’s rear sight apart is that the width of the rear sighting notch is also adjustable, simply by turning a screw on the left-hand side of the sight. As far as I know, this is the only entry-level target air pistol that offers such an adjustment, and I find it really handy for matching the sight picture to varying lighting conditions.

Underneath the rear sight, at the extreme aft end of the receiver, is a rectangular gray plastic button. To get the Compact ready to shoot, depress the gray plastic button. This releases the upper assembly which can then pivot forward. With the upper assembly fully extended, insert a pellet into the back end of the barrel. Now return the upper assembly to its original position so it latches. This cocks the single-stroke pneumatic action and requires about 21 pounds of effort.

Now you’re good to go. Take aim at the target, ease the first stage out of the trigger, and squeeze a bit more. The Compact gives a muted pop and launches medium weight pellets down range in the mid-300 fps. I find the trigger to be pleasingly crisp.

The Compact is not a powerful pistol. I wouldn’t use it for hunting anything bigger than hornets (or perhaps mice at very close range). But it is quite accurate. The factory says it will deliver .20” groups CTC at 10 yards. I seem to recall a test in IHMSA news in which a fellow achieved nearly the same size groups at 20 yards indoors under windless conditions.

In the end, I find the Gamo Compact an entirely worthy air pistol that I enjoy shooting very much.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott