Saturday, 30 March 2013

Two Breakbarrels, Big and Small

 Today I shall take a look at two break barrels, and see the odd bits of repair that have been done to them to get them up and running. Both guns are classics in their own right and deserve a little TLC at least, so here is what has been done so far to the Original Mod 16, and BSA Mercury mk11.

Diana/Mod 16 with BSA Mercury and scope

Firstly I picked up the Mod 16 which was looking in fair condition, but alas when i cocked, loaded a pellet and fired it, the pellet did not move more than two inches down the barrel. The Mod 16 is a small rifle made from pressed steel with a brass smooth bore inner barrel. It has a leather piston seal and a large leather breach seal on the cylinder which runs flush with the inner barrel and the large outer barrel - the outer barrel is a a tad smaller in diameter than the piston cylinder. The cocking linkage is pressed steel with a notch that locks onto a pin under the cylinder, you can cock it with one finger once unlatched. Cosmetically it just needs a paint job as the wooden stock is in pretty good nick.

Mod 16 breach and sight
Large leather breach seal on barrel and liner
Barrel catch is the loop piston lever

To get it working I popped a few drops of synthetic oil on the breach seal to rejuvinate it, and a little bit more of the same down the transfer port to put some life back into the piston seal. I then stored it barrel up for 18 hours to let the oil soak into the leather, and sure enough it fired just fine after that. I was getting 1 1/2 inch groups at 10 yards with the simple open sights, but I knew it should do a lot better than this. This is a junior rifle and is working just dandy at at the moment, but it does need a new spring and piston seal really. I reckon I can get away with soaking the leather in WD/40 then oil to bring it back to its former glory.

Tis a dinky lil' rifle, and pooch
Mod 16 shoulder stock
Pressed steel trigger
Whole barrel presses onto leather breach seal

Getting on to the BSA Mercury ... I find an air rifle that looks in a tidy condition, the bluing is fine and the stock just has a few surface dinks on it. The Airsporter is basically the underlever version of the Mercury and has the same trigger unit that creates a flowing curve from the piston cylinder to the stock, which makes for a a rather sexy looking air rifle in my mind. However, at one point someone has pulled the trigger while the rifle was cocked open, resulting in a very noticeable bend in the barrel at the breech. Also the rifle has had the open sights removed at some time, the jaws holding the breech are slack so the barrel moves from side to side a little, and the original spring has been taken out and replaced by one from a SMK B2. Why? I don't know, but it's sure easy to cock and probably produces about 8 ft/lb if it's in a good mood.

Smooth flowing lines of a Mercury
Ventilated rubber shoulder pad

So the first thing i did was to remove the stock, then tapping out the pivot pin i removed the barrel from the action. Clamping the breech end in a vice putting pieces of leather between the vice jaws and barrel to protect it, i used a piece of pipe slipped over the barrel till it came just short of the bend then pushed like mad till the barrel looked straight. Metal used to make gun barrels needs to be fairly soft, so it wasn't that hard a job to do. Using a long metal rule i held it flush to the barrel to see if any fine adjustments were needed, of which two or three were needed but the barrel was now true.

Straightened out barrel
Breach seal still in good nick

For fixing the barrel side play i used dial calipers to check if the jaws were out of alignment, and sure enough they were. By using the 90 degree angle on the end of a small rule i found out which jaw was bent, and again i used the vice to remedy this. By placing a 5 mm piece of metal at the end of the bent jaw i close the vice around both jaws and the end of the piston cylinder, on releasing the vice the jaw sprung back but only so far as to make a tight fit for the breech. Whoopee! Problem solved.

Articulated linkage on piston rod
I then slapped a Crosman 4x20 scope on it and it fired on target no problem, the only problem is that the scope is rather short and i have to crane my neck to use it, and the magnification is more like x2. With a lot of older BSA's in .22 the bore is a tad wider than most other .22's, so i found that using Eley Wasp no2 pellets work the best as they are 5.6 mm as opposed to 5.5 mm.

Cheap Crosman scope soon to be removed when i get something better

Some time soon i will get to sevicing and tuning the springers, but for now they seem to be doing fine. It's all down to when i can afford to buy the spares and springs for them, so it looks like i'll be doing a fair bit of busking to finance this air gun habit of mine.

Trigger guard needs a spot of paint i think


Salutations, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe O.B.E.

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