Monday, September 6, 2010

Marksman Mod. 70 Disassembly

This blog comes with back story: In my late teens, I acquired a Beeman/Webley Hurricane air pistol as a way to practice shooting in the backyard. After telling a mountain biking buddy about the purchase, he brought over a couple of nice air rifles--a Marksman Mod. 70 and a brand new .20 cal Beeman R1. While I'd shot lots of .22 cal rimfire and 30-06 bolt guns before, this was my first experience shooting adult air rifles. He ended up leaving the Marksman with me for a few months on long-term loan. I learned that the gun was actually manufactured by Weihrauch for Marksman--Marksman just got to put their name on it. I shot that gun something fierce for about two months. Thousand and thousands of pellets went downrange--until the spring broke. I removed the stock and could see the mainspring coils winding together through the cocking lever slot. I was pretty sure that was bad. Especially so because this wasn't my gun. A look through the phone book (remember those?) and a few calls to local gun shops gave up the name and number of Charles (Chuck) Trepes at Precision Airgun in Warrensville Heights, Ohio. Called him up and sure, he could fix it. Forty minutes later, I was standing in heaven. I was looking at guns I'd only seen in the Beeman and RWS catalogs. R1's, Feinwerkbaus, Anschutz, 48/52's, Walthers, Running Target guns, 10 meter...they were everywhere! --Then there was Chuck. Gruff would be an understatement. He examined the broken gun for a moment and then examined the kid standing in his store. He hit the kid with both barrels. "So, you're Gary's friend?" How did he know the owner of the broken gun? "Huh! Well, I don't like you already!" This guy scared the crap out of me. He grudgingly told me to come back in exactly three days and it would cost $60.75 or something like that. He'd figured out the tax in his head and I'd better bring cash because he sure wasn't gonna take a check from the likes of me.

Three days passed and I dutifully showed up with cash in hand and collected the gun. Chuck made me cock the gun and I got my first lesson about how many things I'd just screwed up. I was holding it all wrong and I'd let go of the barrel momentarily--and I was probably hopeless. Did I mention that he was in the Navy in WW2 in anti-submarine warfare? Maybe it was the German gun I was holding. Made me do it again until I passed inspection. Slightly less gruff when I left. Surely, my charm and the $60.75 had likely softened him up.

He'd replaced the spring, the spring guide and done who knows what all to it. But the gun shot better than ever. Smoother--with no mechanical noise except the click of the piston catching when cocked. Clearly, Chuck knew exactly what he was doing.

Scared or not, I liked shooting airguns in the backyard every morning so I kept going back and decided that the curmudgeon thing was just an act. Sort of his way of cutting to the chase, not suffering fools--or dealing with teenagers like me who'd read the Beeman catalog too many times but really didn't know anything. (OK, yeah, I figured that part out much later) Anyway, a lot of time has passed since those days (and he probably still doesn't think I know anything) and we've became good friends--probably because he finally accepted that I'm not going away. The bottles of Jack Daniel's Black Label every Christmas maybe helped, too?

Over the years, I've bought a lot of guns from Chuck, but it was that first repaired Marksman Mod. 70 that really cut my teeth on spring piston rifles. To this day, my favorite brand is still Weihrauch and I've been fortunate to have owned the larger part of their catalog at one time or another.

Eventually, that Marksman went back to Gary, but not for long. Over the last twenty years, I've brokered it's sale a couple times--once to another cycling friend, and later, from him to the best man from my wedding. Each time, I wanted to buy the gun for myself, but the timing was always wrong and my friends needed the the deal more than I did.

So, while fond as my memories are of the 70, I've never actually owned one. A couple weeks ago, airgun buddy FrankB posted a "want to buy" ad for a Mod. 70 on the Yellow Airgun Forum and once again I was in a position to broker.

Of course, I went to see Chuck as I knew he still had the last unsold Mod. 70 in the universe. And yeah, it's still in the box.

And still in the bag.

Dang, the test target is ripped from the packaging. It's serial numbered to the gun.

The rifle was made by Weihrauch using the old BSF tooling.

It's got the Santa Rosa, CA address on the right side of the breech block. It's from the about the same year or so when SR industries acquired Beeman.

The checkering is hand cut.

Two scope stop in holes in the raised scope rail. The compression tube is too thin to cut scope grooves directly. Keeps the weight down. This scope rail is also used on the old Beeman R10.

Pivoting safety on the right side. Not quite as convenient as the push button safety at the rear of the compression tube on modern HW's, but this one can be reengaged without re-cocking the gun. I like it.

Front sight is a standard HW with replaceable inserts, rear sight is pure BSF.



Stock and buttpad are similar to most of the HW guns from the time period.

Overall, the gun's light weight and size almost makes me think "Beeman R7"--except it's shooting .177 cal RWS Hobby pellets at 956 fps. That's R1 velocity territory in a much trimmer package. FrankB is on to something.

Since the gun has been sitting on the shelf for so long, FrankB gave me the green light to go through the gun before sending it off to him. Not sure what he was thinking.

So, I guess it's on with the show.

The front sight came right off, then I drifted out the cross pin on the rear.

The rear blade lifts off exposing the two mounting screws for the sight base.

After the base was off, I removed the forward stock screws...

and the two screws attaching the trigger guard.

Next, I removed the rearmost screw in the scope rail.

And pushed the rail forward then lifted it off the compression tube. It's got a tab on the front that fits into a slot. Sometimes these rails need a smack with a dead blow hammer to move them forward.

Unnecessary, but I removed the safety spring.

Found the snap-ring pliers.

Removed the external retaining ring in front of the trigger assembly.

And pulled off the two plates--these block the trigger (via the safety) while the gun is open during cocking and loading. Not exactly anti-beartrap, as there's no catch, but it means that the gun can't be uncocked.

The trigger assembly pushes straight out of the compression tube.

Nicely unitized. (I reinstalled the spring.)

Ah, the lone bolt holding back the mainspring.

It went into the spring compressor with a dowel bearing against the retaining plug. Unscrewed the bolt with a 10mm wrench and backed the plug and spring out.

Typical old-school HW metal spring guide. There was about three inches of preload on the spring.

Removed the right side pivot bolt nut...

and fished out the washer underneath.

Broke the barrel open to remove the pressure from the spring loaded detent chisel...

then removed the barrel pivot bolt and the two shim washers. (one per side)

Pushed the piston forward and removed the cocking lever shoe from the enlarged opening at the front of the cocking slot.

Finally, the piston can be slid carefully from the compression tube. Mindful to not cut the seal on the cocking lever slot.

Almost 7" of piston length from stem to stern.

So the gun comes apart like most HW spring guns. Only the trigger assembly and the plug that retains the mainspring are really different.

More installments in a couple days.

5 comments:

Frank B said...

First of all,am I lucky or what? A friend like Derrick AND a NEW old model 70!! I have a .22 cal that started me collecting and shooting.It has never been tuned,but is butter smooth and cocks with one finger on the barrel!Shoots with a thunk and once killed a starling at 70yds.headshot,hanging out a window in New Orleans.Because of it,I now have a few airguns...but that is another story.....thanks Derrick!

Frank B said...

Ironically,today a HW77 carbine was supposed to arrive by mail.When I opened the pkg,it was a Marksman model 61!!Damn,now I guess I need the other 8-10 decent models out there.I think Derrick would agree,Dr.Beeman's Bluebook has these valued ALL WRONG!

Fused said...

Nice post Derrick.

derrick38 said...

Frank B,
Nice score on the 61. It was a real deal compared to the pricier Beeman gun at the time.

I found a 56 FTS a couple years ago. Pretty much the same as the current R11/HW98.

Sorry it's taking so long to get the 70 finished. Too many beautiful days, too much work and never enough time for it all. And the wife won't let me run the lathe at 1:00AM.

John-Scott Leach said...

I have a Marksman Mod 70 and have been looking for the User manual, preferably in digital form. Can you point me in the direction to get one?