Tuesday, 1 October 2013

SMK 15, Small plinker for Small People

My wife got a message from a friend of hers the other week asking if she'd know of anywhere she could sell her sons old .177 air rifle. He was no longer interested and Mum was aware of my hobby (obsession) with air rifles. Wife says " it's never really been used and it's got SMK and 15 written on it, oh and it's got a scope and gun bag with it". She won't get a lot for that I thought, i'd give her 20 or 25 quid at the most though I could suggest a few sites she could advertise it. Seems she was happy with 25 because a week later we're off to pick up the wife's new air rifle. I hand over 25 of our English pounds and in return I am given a very well padded gun bag with an unknown quantity of wood and metal inside it. Mmmm, this should be fun, I thought!

As it came, Rifle, Scope, Gun slip, and bits and bobs.

The SMK XS 15 Supergrade  air rifle is a junior size Chinese air rifle very much along the lines of the Webley Cub. For 70ish quid you get an air rifle and a 4x32 scope. Now this is an older version of the same deal coming with an extra gun slip, two packs of .177 darts, and an abrasive cloth for cleaning the gun. I would say it's about 10 years old owing to the fact that the open sights are not fibre optic, which to some people is a good thing. I reckon they're OK on some rifles, but I would be mortified if they were on my HW35, if you know what I mean!

The front sight is a square post in a hood on a raised slope and has no adjustment, apart from the post, the sight is made from a molded plastic which fits around the end of the barrel.

 The rear sight is adjustable for both elevation and windage in the traditional style and is also mainly composed of plastic, however it makes a clear and crisp sight picture when aligned with the front sight. The wheels turn with nice pronounced clicks, and there is no looseness to them at all.

When I tested the rifle, it was pretty accurate with open sights but with the scope fitted you could see the rifle could do with an internal overhaul, or maybe it was just typical of an old Chinese air rifle. We shall have to see.

The rifle having been stored for ages had tiny little rust spots all over it, so some very fine 000 wire wool and gun oil soon had those removed.

The wood was in really good condition apart from a tiny nick at the front of the stock.

I don't know what wood it is, most likely something cheap, but still looks of reasonable quality - the wood on my SMK multi pump is awful in comparison!

The SMK sign could be seen through the the half decent bluing. It has a blackness to it that is common to all SMK's I have found, not very deep.

The end cap is made of plastic along with the safety catch, the end cap being held in place with a steel pin.

The safety sets on cocking and pushes in easily at the rear like many Diana air rifles. I'm truly tempted to paint the white dot red but alas it is not my call.

The breech is held between the forks by bolt as opposed to a pin, which is always a bonus in my opinion, and a locking screw keeps the whole business in place.

The trigger is made of pressed steel and is not too heavy, it feels as if there are two stages to let off though I imagine there is no adjustment.The front screw of the trigger guard holds the stock to the action, along with two screws at the front which screw in diagonally up into front of the compression chamber.

The rubber butt pad is just what it is, made of rubber and screwed into the rear of the butt by two screws.

It doesn't need to be ventilated or anything fancy as this is a junior rifle and fires lightly with no major kick to it, and it takes very little effort to cock the gun.

The break barrel breech is held in place with a ball bearing and spring, which with the power this puts out should do the job nicely. Though wear and tear could see problems with vertical accuracy, which is a shame as the breech block is bolted horizontally.

The breech seal looks nice and healthy so I can't see any problems there for a while. In fact when I took the rifle out to the woods for some free hand practice it was surprisingly accurate at ten yards, and at 25 yards could hit a drinks can every time.

It's a junior plinking air rifle and does what it says on the tin. It's pretty solidly constructed and feels hefty in your hands and I must admit i like how it looks. The rifle feels small to me but will fit the wife nicely, I also have a Crosman 1077 which she likes to shoot as well.

I reckon that should do it for now and im sure I will be back with a blog on the internals of this feisty little bugger, that is if it's OK with the missus for me to take it apart.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe OBE.

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