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.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Ramble

I haven’t posted much lately, letting Derrick do most of the heavy lifting on the blog. Part of that is because of the demands placed upon me by business and the (free to drive me crazy for the summer),kids, and part because I haven’t acquired any airguns lately that have inspired me to dive in. When I say lately I mean in the last month of course.

I could write about airguns I’ve already written about, and I am working on putting together another Crosman 101 out of two parts guns at the moment, but the work isn’t as inspiring to me as tearing into unfamiliar territory as was the case with some of the airguns I have covered this year, like the Crosman 600, Crosman SA6, HW80 and the BSA Meteor.

Looking over my records (you do keep detailed records of your collection, don’t you?) I find that last year there was a two month period between June and September where I didn’t find any airguns to purchase. That seems to be holding true this year as well. I suspect it’s largely because there are no gun shows during the summer months, and less activity on the forum classifieds during the summer. Or I’m just unlucky. Of those airguns that I have found, some have been duplicates, such as the Crosman 600, Crosman 760, Crosman 180 and Crosman 400 I’ve bought. That does put a crimp in my blogging, although I think I did my best to do something interesting.

Anyway, I figured it would be interesting to talk about the airguns I bought during the period of August 1st, 2009 to August 1st 2010, where I bought them and ways you can possibly find more airguns for your collection.

September 2009

Daisy model 200 pistol
I bought this for  $15.00, although I mainly bought it for the holster that I sent to Derrick so he could practice his fast draw. The source was a local antique/junk store that keeps an eye out for airguns for me. I buy everything he finds so he’ll keep looking. The 200 has a problem that I have been unable to fix as yet, and I’m not inspired to work too hard at  it.

Benjamin model 137 pistol
Bought for  $60.00 at a local gun show, it had the glaring flaw of working perfectly.

Mondial MMM Roger BB  Pistol
Bought it at the same gun show from the same dealer for $15.00  Thankfully it didn’t work and I had something interesting to blog about.

Crosman Model 73 “Saddle Pal” BB rifle
Same gun show, but from a dealer who could have cared less about BB guns. Cost me all of $20.00 and I had fun tearing into it.

October 2009

Haenel model 310 and Haenel Model 311 rifles
I placed a “Want to Buy” (WTB) ad on the Yellow Airgun forum classifieds. Listed a bunch of different things and received a great offer on the pair for $156.58 including shipping. I spent quite a bit of time figuring those two out. I should probably place another WTB ad soon, shouldn’t I?

November 2009

Taiyo Juki Junior rifle
I found this on Gunbroker listed as a EIG pellet rifle. It probably would have gone for much more if listed as a Taiyo Juki, so my relentless reading of the Blue Book payed off in this case as it was only $63.10 w/ shipping

Benjamin 132 pistol & Daisy 717
We sell our jewelry down in Eugene at the Saturday Market. The market moves to the fairgrounds in November and there’s a great gun show there hosted by the Willamette Valley Arms Collectors Association. The show boasts many vintage, antique and target firearms and usually a few airguns. The Benjamin 132 pistol, as well as a Daisy 717 were underneath a dealer’s table for a pittance. Neither worked which was a bonus. The 717 went out to Derrick. $40.00 for the Benjamin and $20.00 for the Daisy!

Crosman/Hawthorne Model 140
The same show yielded the 140 for $40.00. It didn’t work and although I’d played with them before it was fun to work on another one.

December 2009

I picked up two Crosman 600 pistols in December, one in somewhat tired shape from Derrick and the other as a trade for some Taig Lathe parts with a long time customer of mine which works fine after a reseal but has a broken trigger guard. I had fun messing with both.

January 2010

I managed my first airgun trade, sending a Crosman 140 and a Benjamin 397PA in exchange for the somewhat screwed up HW80K I covered on the blog. I’m still not sure who got the better deal…I do hate shipping long guns, lots of packing to make sure they arrive without extra damage. But I did get rid of two airguns I didn’t shoot much for another basket case.

February 2010

Crosman Model 180
Another Taig accessory trade, for a rather uniquely modified Crosman Model 180 rifle. I had fun cleaning up the stock to my liking.

BSA Meteor
This was a fortunate purchase on the Yellow Classifieds, the price was only $50.00 and while it required extensive work I was happy to lay my hands on a somewhat unique (compared to others) spring piston rifle.

March 2010

Derrick forced me to buy a perfectly functional (or so I thought, see my recent teardown!) BSF S20 pistol. It was $130 which I thought was a great price given the condition and box.

April 2010

Gecado (Diana) model 5 pistol
This is one I should have passed on. It was $53.00 and in somewhat worse shape than I thought. I still have yet to work up the enthusiasm to get it working right. But I hadn’t found anything else to buy.

May 2010

Crosman SA6
Derrick found a pair of these at a flea market and sent me one. I had a lot of fun getting it running. Crosman knew how to make enjoyable fun guns back then.

June 2010

Crosman 600
I asked “any airguns?” at a local yard sale and was rewarded with a Crosman 600 in great shape for $45.00 It never hurts to ask, does it?

I also picked up George’s Sheridan rifle from him, he wasn’t shooting it and wanted some cash for another project. He threw in a Sheridan pistol as well. I haven’t covered it yet.

July 2010

Asking the same “any airguns?” at another yard sale yielded a Crosman 760 with a rifled barrel and metal rather than plastic construction. It was $7.00 so I couldn’t say no.

So that’s it, show the list to your significant other when she complains you have too many airguns. I didn’t find anything at all this August but there’s a gun show coming up in a few weeks and I feel lucky!

Looking up at my list, it seems that gun shows and the forums yield the rarer items, but yard sales the least expensive. The local gun shops and pawn shops haven’t had anything in years around here.