Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Lee's Mk II .177 Innova

Lee's .177 Innova

It would appear that i'm getting myself a bit of a rep for fixing up old Innova's for people and each time i find something new that i've not come across before. Lee got in touch with me saying that he could not get any power out of his .177 MkII Innova after trying to follow some of my guidelines, i offered to take a look at it and a few days later a rather splendid looking example of an Innova came through the post.

exciting, what's in the box.

Oh, it's an Innova in bits.

It was in many bits where he had tried to fix it and a few of the parts were damaged through wear and tear with the odd part missing, the arms of the front sight post had snapped off

This is not good, but will do for now.

 and the circlip for holding the pump arm pin was missing. 

I'm gonna have to make a circlip for this.

Originally this was Lee's rifle and he had let a friend have it and from then on it had passed on through a few other people till it came back to Lee, it would appear that a few of these people have been messing about with it in a not to kind of manner since then.

Still the same Innova

Lets face it  the Innova is mostly polymer/plastic and after 25 odd years things are going to wear out, get stressed, chip and snap off, work loose and bend. Especially if a few off those people think it's a cool idea to ramp the power up, when really it will recieve a hell of a lot less sress if you only pump it 8/9 times to get 12 ft/lb and not 15 times to get 16 ft/lb. 

The tension on that spring will decide if it's under power, just leagal, or over the top.

It's certainly not the same gun Lee remembers from his youth, but with a bit of TLC and some crafty bodging it could be pretty damded close

There you go, MkII Innova.

MkII's have the safety catch.

MkII's also have a butt pad.

The power was no problem to fix as i adjusted the pump rod to the maximum reach. oiled the pump head, and with five pumps it was letting out a satisfyingly loud crack, however i could still put in 15 pumps without the blow off valve kicking in. I also left three pumps of air in the rifle overnight which had leaked out come the morning time, so looks like a good old fashioned overhaul is required.

When i stripped it again i noticed that oil had leaked past the exhaust valve body O ring so that one needed replacing, 

Yep, had to replace some O rings here.

i also stripped the valve and replaced the O ring between the Valve and firing pin housings thinking that that could be the cause of the slow leak. Everything else inside looked fine which was what Lee had done himself, there was still a leak on putting it back together but much, much slower.

Seeing as i had a set of firing pin seals i removed the firing pin,

Bolt assembly.

so replacing the seals would let me know that all the power from pumping was hitting behind the pellets.
New seals fitted.

Using a pipe wench, 10 and 14 mm spanners, and some pliers i unscrewed the housing and pump head off the blow off valve, 

If you have to do this it's usually only the once, after that finger adjustment is all that's needed

out came the spring  and valve pin was removed easily with a small pair of needle nose pliers. 

Someone else has been messing about here, looks like somethings missing.

Inside the valve housing was a brass sleeve which screwed into the inner wall and held the blow off valve seal in place tightly, lining up with the underside of the pumphead there were two knotches so i could cut and shape a flat bit of metal to act as a screwdriver. It all came out with years of crap and oil and gunk but looked in good knick all the same, and sure enough when it went back together it worked which in my opinon was a result, praise be Saint Jezzer.
Down to all the basic bits

The head of the valve pin has a cup shape which looks like it would seat a 4.5 mm ball bearing,

Reckon a ball bearing should fit in there, but some sad hat must of lost it way back.

so i added a ball bearing as it would seat better against the blow off seal and the air pressure would blow off at pretty much the same each time.

Now that looks like it should work better.

Putting the pump arm back together now left me with getting the the blow off valve to release around 11.5 ft/lb, minute adjustments on the spring pressure where needed.First adjust the tension on the blow off valve spring,

!001 minute adjustments.

then adjust the slack on the other end of the valve

1001 minute corrections

 198 mm seems the ideal length for the whole pump rod assembly.

I really couldn't be arsed to check this a 1001 times.

If it's too short the the pump arm doesn't lock in place and hangs down,
So sometimes this happened.

if its close to right then it will lock in place.
But mostly not.

It sort of went too low, too low , too low, shit too high, still too high all the first afternoon.

Why did it take so long that afternoon?

But for some reason on the second afternoon it took no time at all, sure had me puzzled.

2nd afternoon took no time at all.

So there you go, one MkII Innova fixed to the best of my abilities. To get it nearer perfect Lee will have to invest in a new front sight unit and a stock screw and brass collar as they are fairly worn, but for now i got the stock on tight with the use of a small washer.

With the aid of a little washer the action sat firmly in the stock.

Remember boys and girls, old Innova's never die they just get sent to me to bodge, fix, and generally get loving treatment.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington/Smythe. 

 P.S. Remember to remove all and any burrs from the inside of the compression tube as not only do they ruin seals, but they can make the pump rod awkward to to remove and replace.

It's boring work but it saves you so much hassle in the long run.


Saturday, 18 June 2016

DIY Air Gun Targets With a Twist

Shootin' shit is fun.

Paper targets are great for seeing how close a grouping you can get from whatever distance they are set up, also good for zeroing in a new scope and finding the hold over/under you need on different air rifles. They don't cost a great deal of money but i tend to just knock some up fom a few peices of A4 scrap paper, also a pellet tends to rip a rough hole through this paper unless it's backed by a piece of cardboard and that does for me. 

Shooting at the dot is fine for sighting in

A simple 5 mm dot works fine for setting up a scope and working out pellet trajectory, though i  tend to draw a circle with a diagonal cross for groupings and general target practice.

Concentric circles and cross hairs gives you a better idea of how you're fairing.

This is all well and good but sometimes more often than not i want a target with a little more oomf to it, not quite one that lets off fireworks and streamers while playing the Can Can but some thing that's a little bit interactive. Knockdown targets that are reset by pulling a piece of string like the ones used in HFT are great, i have one with a resetable paddle with four different size target holes. You can pick them up for 15 to 20 quid but i got mine for a fiver with a few pellet dinks in it, it's not a problem as they all need a respray eventually.

Hoers of fun can be had by shooting and resetting a steel HFT target.

Once i've practiced with paper targets and the knockdown target i place the lids of plastic milk bottles balanced on top of sticks or wire at various distances out to 50 yards, 

Pill and milk bottle tops are plentiful and ping off to the side when you hit them.

then i try to estimate the holdover or under and try to shoot them off the sticks. It really is a crack and fairly challenging with my .22 s410 or .177 Shamal PCP, 

The AA Shamal is single shot but soooo satisfying to use.

it's even more taxing when using one of my springers but such a buzz to see them go flying off to the side when hit. Round mints are challenge to shoot at and explode in a ball of dust, and if you're really shit hot you could always shoot through the center of a polo mint.

Small pill bottles or alcohol minitures filled with parafin with a burning wick on top make a good ball of flame when hit (90 percent of the time), but you have to be careful where you set that one up as you don't want to piss of your neighbours or start major fires. Failing that there is always an inflated balloon with flour in it, an easy target but very effective all the same. A ballon filled with lighter gas with a lit night light behind it goes up a treat and is far less of a fire hazard, it is a bitch to get the gas into the balloon without an adaptor but it is possible and well worth it.

Recently i've been going down the woods with my blow back BB pistols and shooting a energy drick cans, which is great fun in itself but i felt i had to step up the anti. So i got to cutting out some metal plates of various sizes and seeing how quick i could shoot the lot while hanging them from tree branches.

DVD casings are great targets for low powered steel plate shooting, but the BB's still rebound with a vengence.

 The plates were made from the cases of old car cassette players, VCR cases, and radiator heat shields all cut down to handy sizes with tinsnips. By putting a right angle fold at the top of the plate and and hanging the wire from edge of the short length, the plate hangs at an angle so the BB's rebound to the floor (usually). 

By hanging the plate from the back of a 90 degree bend i have found the BB's rebound safely to the floor in front. Tried and tested.

Recently i have started to hang a larger plate below a smaller plate and taking two shots at the larger plate and one at the upper smaller plate. It would appear i have been watching too many Navy Seal's shooting technique You Tube videos, and to those people who may call this childish all i can say is that your granny does it better when she takes her false teeth out.

A cardboard box backed with a piece of carpet to deaden the rebound of a BB is pretty cheap and handy. and if you tape a piece of paper to the front with a target stops any rebounding bb's. Toy soldiers, plastic pill bottles, plastic lids to Monster drink cans amongst other things make cool targets when set up in front of the box. Or you could buy one ready made but that will set you back 15 odd quid, besides it's not really DIY is it.

And remember most importantly of all is always wear your safety glasses, as a BB in the eye is a sure fire way to really crap on your day. These you will have to buy as i can' t think of a DIY way to knock up a pair of these.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.

Sunday, 12 June 2016


Got a voucher for four free sessions at Old Down Pursuits rifle club off the Wifey Christmas just gone, so due to the fact that sessions are every second sunday and crap weather in general, i finally got to go. Its the other side of Cirencester from where i live, so 1st sunny sunday found me being dropped off by the wifey.(Two weeks later it's pissing down with rain again)

There is a lot of clay shooting going on which i ignored, but the 30 lane HFT course did take my fancy.

Some one with a HW100 using the HFT course at Old Downs Pursuits.

Though i didn't take advantage of this i did of the sighting and plinking range, with it's many spinning targets, knockdown targets out to 45 yards , and a large board for sighting with a couple of once used Shoot N C targets on it.

Two lanes and four spaces at the sighting and practice range.

Having brought a selection of rifles, a Hills pump and a small bag with some tools and pellets in it i was content to sit at the double bench and seats and plink away, next time i'll take less rifles and some target paper for fine tuning of sighting.

All set up and ready to rock and roll.

I started off using the Air Arms Shamal in .177 with 4.52 AA field diablo pellets, this rifle is heavy, incredibly accurate, but accuracy goes tits up if it's canted.

I get a boner just thinking about my Shamal.

I could not top up on air as i forgot to bring a 14 mm spanner to remove the forster fitting on the pump as the rifle dates from 1989 when diver's bottles where a screw fit, so i had no idea how much air i had in it.

It's a good job the air cylinder is this big on the .177 Air Arms Shamal,it's annoying if you forget the spanner to attach the refill hose.

Fair enough i must of got over 80 shots out of the Shamal so i could of used it, however i had topped it up on air over a year ago so it's nice to know the old girl is still air tight.

The .22 Air Arms s410 for which i did have an adaptor fitting for shot very accurately as well using H&N field target trophy pellets, I did have trouble hitting accurately past 40 yards as i had forgotten how much hold over i needed. I used clip after clip on the s410 and refilled the resevior twice, as i did have the adaptor fitted to the pump for this one.

.22 Air Arms s410 is also a bloody cool bunny basher

Later in the session i did use the ASI Sniper which has proven to be an accurate little springer shooting AA diablo's at around 7 ft/lb, annoyingly this one didn't hit a dickie bird as the sighting was out.

The ASI Sniper is not too bad for an old Gamo.

I met about three pairs using the HFT course who were very affable and friendly, they had rifles such as a BSA Ultra, a HW 100, and one of those Evanix tactical jobs. Also a father and son with a under lever and one of those 715 Dan Wesson rifled barrel co2 pistols which they kindly let me have a go with, i really was impressed with the pistol even if the trigger pull in double action was a little on the heavy side.

I was having so much fun i didn't even notice the clay shooters banging around and was saddened when the wifey informed me by phone she was on her way to pick me up, after all i would look a trifle dodgey walking through Cirencester with three gun baps on my shoulders. Any way that's it for now.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.   

Monday, 30 May 2016

Holdsy''s Innova

Hello every peeps, it's that time again. Time for a blog on another .22 Sharp Innova, this time it's gonna be completely stripped, resealed, overhauled to make it efficient as possible, and lovingly put back together.  Whilst not working on it in a sterilized enviroment, it shall be laid to rest on a bed of crushed velvet.

And this i had too collect from the Post Office as i was still asleep at 8.20 am when parcel force knocked on our door.

The reason for doing this is that it belongs too a fine chap who goes by the monicker of Holdsy, he lives in the flat lands of east England and had posted the action and two different sets of replacement seals for me to work with.

After unwrapping tape , box, and bubble wrap, this is what i would need.

Holdsy's Innova looked in excellent condition but had a few niggling problems with it,these were that it  took 10 pumps to reach the 12 ft/lb mark, the loading bolt had the wrong O ring seal and would not shoot back when the catch was released,\ after it had been left standing for a while.

Stripped Innova and tools used.

So seeing as i was sort these problems and reseal the exhaust valve i decided to strip his Innova right down, just to be on the safe side if you know what i mean.

One fat over sized rubber O ring replacing the original double set.

 This was just as well, as i found the front sight unit that holds inner and outer barrel, compression tube, and pump arm in place had one of its jaws broken clean off.
The front end cap that had the broken jaw, now as good as new...ish.

 However i managed to clean it in white spirit and glue it back in place, using a quality super glue made it as good as new, almost (i wouldn't go testing it with a hammer any time soon, but it will withstand the contant strain produced from the pump arm working).

Holdsy's .22 Sharp Innova stripped right on down, coulda gon further but it wouldn't all fit in the picture.

Holdsy had supplied me with both the T R Robb valve repair kit and the J Knibbs valve repair kit, i decided to use the T R Robb kit for the valve which has a firing pin and spring with it. As well as some silicone grease and bottle of lubing oil this in my opinion is the better of the two valve repair kits, this one i used on Holdsy's Innova valve

J R Robb Sharp Innova seal kit.

The J Knibbs kitt has a spare buffer plate and two sets of O rings for the loading bolt, i have seen at least three slight variations in bolt design on the Innova. Holdsy's Innova had one oversized O ring at the tip of the loading bolt, this was causing it to stick when the bolt catch was released.

T R Rob kit on the left, and J Knibbs kit on the right.

Two sets of two O rings of slightly differing dimensions should give you a set that would seal and not let it stick, the thinner of the two sets sealed perectly and stopped the bolt from sticking.

Loading bolt, bodge job O ring (that did seal well, too well), and the two sets of double O rings that came wih the J Knibbs kit.

I reckon the forward assist spring for the bolt was on the weak side, but seemed to be working fine now it was back in the reciever block.

A .22 Sharp innova with all original parts should give you roughly 12 ft/lb when the pump head is adjusted so the face of the pump head and inlet valve touch at the end of a stroke, this took 10 pump strokes to reach 12 ft/lb. So the first thing to do is adjust the pump head assembly to top out at 12 ft/lb, first releasing the bigger brass locking nut,

Unlocking the brass lock nut so the air release valve housing can be removed.

Then i removed the release valve outer body too check on the inner spring and blow off seal.

That spring holds back a lot of Pressure

All seemed hunky dory there so i screwed it back in place, and set to adjusting the rod assembly length so pump and valve touched ( 217 mm).

The air release valve housing about to be locked in place with the brass locking nut.

Working out the the length took a hell of a lot of tiny adjustments but once it was found the rest was easier.

Silver lock nut holds the air release valve securely in place.

Once the blow off valve was set to ones desired muzzle energy, the silver lock nut on the rod could be loosened and the newly adjusted release valve unit could be moved so the whole assembly reached the magic 217mm. 

However something was amiss, Holdsy's Innova would only reach 12 ft/lb after six pump strokes. This would be more noticable if one wanted to go FAC which would take 20 instead of 12 pump strokes to reach 20 ft/lb (pellet dependant).

I took it apart again to make sure the firing pin was well clear of the transfer port, i took the compression tube out to make sure the air inlet hole in the barrel was properly aligned with the transfer port in the breach block, i even took loads of measurements with the vernier calipers to make sure everthing internal was in the right place. I was stumped, i hadn't a clue  what was up.

So i looked at the trigger, for change is as good as a break after all. It's a lovely trigger because it's the first Innova trigger that still had it's first stage  adjustment screw still in place, 

The trigger adjustment screw does make a difference.

Just one more thing that makes Holdsy's Sharp Innova so nice, Triggers that release an exhaust valve get stiffer the more pump strokes one adds, so adjusting the first stage shorter is a lot of help and therefore a little easier.

Another view of thefirst stage trigger adjustment screw.

Eventually i realised what the problem was with the needing two extra strokes to make 12 ft/lb was, it was fitted with a later J Knibbs parachute style pump head seal. The outside face of the air inlet valve has a flat surface with the last two mm bevelled backwards at outer circumference, 

This is the shape the pump head seal has too mirror for best results.

the original sharp pump head seal, and even the T R Robb replacement O ring pump head seal sit flush even at the bevelled circumference. There will be trapped air the same PSI that is stored in the exhuast valve body in the V of the parachute pump head seal and the bevelle on the valve.

The orinal Sharp Innova pump head is made from Black delrin type plastic, but when it's damaged the whole thing is junked and is bloody impossible to remove without destroying it.

The T R Robb pump head seal is made from stainless steel with two rubber O rings used to seal it, pretty much the same set up as BSA Meteors and Mercurys use on their piston head seals. You also need to cut an half inch UNF thread into the pump head assembly for it to fit, looks the best though i've never fitted or used one yet. And they don't work on the newer Webley Rebels either.

The J Knibbs pump head seal is made of an  orangey red delrin type plastic and just clips into place, though just like the Innova seal it's a bitch to remove. If you don't mind six/seven pumps per shot they are fine, and half the price of the T R Robb seal

I'm sure there was a lot of fiddling about with this rifle that escapes my mind at the moment, as i had it for about four weeks and tinkered with it most other days. But the seals were changed, the bolt unstuck, overhauled and made as efficient as possible with what parts i had to hand. So that's it for now, and thanks too Holdsy for letting me work on his splendid Sharp Innova.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe