Friday, 8 March 2013

Two Underlevers, Old And New

Relum Tornado above and Norica Quick below

Today I will have a look at two Underlevers, namely the Relum Tornado in .22, and the Norica Quick in .177.

Relum Tornado with slimmed down stock

First we have the Relum, which is in need of more metal restoration than I first thought, as the metal is slightly pitted with rust and 95% of the paint is missing. But when I rubbed it down with some really fine grade wire wool and oil it cleaned up quite nicely. I really need some rougher grade wire wool to remove the rest of the enamel then it could be painted, enamelled or blued, ooh! I'm spoilt for choice. The stock is interesting as only the fore grip is original, the rest has been slimmed down to come flush with the cylinder, and wood added to change the shape of the butt and grip. I have never seen a stock like this on a Relum before so I assume it's a home project, and I have seen a lot of Relums. I mean, you could buy them from the Co-op in the 60's and 70's, yes really! It may not be everyone's cup of tea but I like how it looks and it balances nicely at the foregrip, though that aluminium muzzle break and hood will have to go for sure.

Hole for scope stop.   Slimmed down stock.  Reshaped stock with wood added to comb and grip.  Hole in rear sight

The Tornado is about 7lbs in wieght without a scope, and about 40 inches long. It has the look of a long rifle about it and that is what appeals to me. This air rifle is going to need to have a lot of time invested in it to get it looking good and get it up for hunting - other people have reported thet they have got up to 11 ft/lbs but we shall have to wait and see.

serial number

All Relums have pretty much the same leather seal piston assembly and a double spring set up, which is a smaller diameter spring inside of a larger one, instead of a guide rod. This double spring can be replaced by a BSA Meteor spring, but it would be wise to have a guide rod made up to support this. They have a simple sturdy Eastern European build quality as they were made in Hungary, but have never been capable of more than 8/9 ft/lb. This I reckon could be improved upon by changing the piston head to seal with two O-rings and giving it a slightly longer piston stroke, which hopefully should not alter their light firing cycle much.

Another common feature on these air rifles are the rudimentary open sights. The rear sight is held in place by a dovetail and adjusts the elevation, whilst the front sight adjusts for windage by sliding it across its dovetail. This was originally covered by a simple hood. Pellets are loaded via a tap mechanism which still feels nice and tight, and the bore is the same as modern .22, unlike some older air rifles and pistols which are a tad larger. The BSA Mercury has this larger sized bore which is 5.6 mm instead of 5.5 mm, you can buy Wasp no2 pellets for the larger bore size. Interesting fact: did you know Relum is Muler spelt backwards, which is the surname of the owner of the factory!

Hole for scope stop (off center).  Loading tap.  Inlaid wood.  Rust removed with some oil and very fine wire wool 

Well, why won't this air rifle cock? I'll tell you why. When I removed the stock I found the sear pin was missing. This was replaced by grinding the base of a broken drill bit of the right diameter to size. Now it cocks and fires, but the piston seal and spring need looking at as it's nowhere near 8/9 ft/lb. The rear sight is a small hole through which you have to center the front sight (as opposed to a notch), this is not reliably accurate, so gluing some crosshairs made from a strand of copper electrical wire will improve this no end. There is a small hole at the rear of the scope rail which could be used for a scope stop if it ever needs one, however I suspect, along with the stock, that this has been added afterwards and was not produced this way. I reckon this air rifle will be fun to restore, and I have spares from the Relum Telly if they are needed. I could always use the Telly's barrel for another project I have in mind, so nothing is wasted.

Norica Quick and it's favourite pellets

The Norica Quick appears to be in tip top condition, apart from missing a small piece of metal that holds the cocking lever in place. There are two M3 holes on the underside of the barrel to hold it in place, so turning and drilling a replacement would be the thing to do until i can find the original part. However a search on the internet has turned up very little useful information and spares, I think this air rifle only had a short production run from its Spanish creators. You can find this same rifle bearing the name Hammerelli Nova which also returns very little information on the internet, so this one should be fun to work on.

Bodged underlever catch

 The Quick at first glance looks a little like a top quality under lever, but truth be told it is really mutton dressed as lamb. It was actually made in Germany for the Norica company. The stock is a nicely lacquered beech with chequering on the grip and forestock, the butt has a raised comb for the right handed shooter and a soft rubber butt pad which needs a spot of glue. The end cap is plastic as well as the chunky trigger guard, the front and rear sights are mainly metal with fibre optic and this is missing on the front. The trigger blade is stamped steel and the action and barrel are blued to a black finish, while the flip up loading breech which is vagly similar to the HW57 design is plainly plastic. This is a large air rifle at 46 inches long and is about 8 lbs in weight. It is full UK power to boot, action and stock fit snuggly together and is comfortable to hold.

                                         anti-beartrap on the Norica Quick

Loading and firing is a little long winded, but once you get used to it is fine. The plastic flip up breech is long, giving you plenty of space to load. It locks in place with a spring loaded knob on the right and hinges over on the left, this seals well but gives it a rather long transfer port. The cocking arm is heavy at 56 lbs and is hollow so has bent a little over the years. The trigger is really heavy and you have to hold the grip firmly to squeeze, this will obviously affect the accuracy somewhat and will also need looking at. But truth be told it's a good priced lower-mid range underlever that performs as well as it costs, and gives the appearance of a quality German air rifle.

Flip-up loading breach and dayglo open rear sight

At first loading a pellet, cocking the rifle, turning of the anti bear trap, then removing the safty in the trigger guard was a bit of a chore after firing break barrels, but it did not take long to become second nature. Improving the front open sight or fitting a scope will improve accuracy no end out to 30 yards, but will only help so much until I can improve the trigger pull. There is a slight buzz upon firing which Moly and spring grease should sort out and improve lock time, removing the anti bear trap and greasing the cocking linkage should make it a much quieter rifle, and Chambers supplies a decent exploded diagram to make the job a lot easier.

So there you have it, TTFN

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


  1. I think I'll be following your adventures, Sir Nigel. You have some interesting stuff here.

    The young lady who was cleaning my teeth this morning informed me that I should listen to the Pixies. We were talking about The National, Band of Horses, Bon Ever, State Radio and a few others (when I was able to be part of the conversation). This is an aside because I do come here to read about your airgun adventures. Although, an earlier blog did give me a new word, "busking". Thanks.

    1. Good advice from the the young lady there, think i will have a look on youtube for the other stuff you where chatting about. Oh but the joys of busking on Gold Cup racing week have financed some new kit for the rifles and some well needed spares, which no doubt will be used to write more blogs in the future. :)

  2. Sir Nigel, the Norica Quick looks a lot like a Bam B3-4.

    Here is a good page to track some Chinese airgun geneology :)


    1. Thanks Ken, a good link there. I could definitly see a lot of cloned similarities on the Woodsman but the Norica is a very solid rifle by comparison and beats it by miles, but saying that the Norica costs 6 times as much new.

  3. Okay...if the Bam B3-4 has anything to do with the Norica Quick, the the B3-4 is a clone of the Norica Quick just as the B40a is a clone of the TX 200. I can't be sure about this. It's kind of like saying, "all of those bearded white guys look alike". ~Ken

    1. If the Chinese did clone the Quick, then the best thing they could do is put a better trigger on it. The trigger pull on the Norica is unbelievably heavy, otherwise she is a tidy little gun.