|This was generally how rusty all the exposed metal work on the rifle was when I first picked it up.|
My shed was getting full of junk that I keep picking up on the off chance that i'll find a use for it; I do that a lot and have found some good stuff, though lately I have managed to cut down. However I decided to take a car load of junk down to the recycling centre. I decided to ask if they ever have any air rifles or air pistols that they keep hold of to sell. They said they do sometimes and went off to have a look for me ... what they came back with was a break barrel that had rusted shut, they said I could have it for £5.
|Rusty old air rifle out of a bin.|
It was a .177 ASI Sniper micro accuracy, a Spanish air rifle made by El Gamo or Gamo, called the Expo. They were fairly popular in the late 70's and early 80's as they were even cheaper than a BSA Meteor or even a Relum.
|Slap on a sticker and it becomes an ASI|
|The stamp on the breech lets you know what model Gamo it is.|
It's a small to medium rifle that in it's day would do around 8-9.5 ft/lb in .177 or upto 10.5 ft/lb in .22 on a good day with the wind behind it.
|Three drops of oil and dieseling gives an extra 3 ft/lb.|
Not a light trigger but apparently surprisingly accurate, and for an air rifle from the 70's/80's looks pretty cool in sort of semi-tactical way.
|Spacious trigger guard.|
A molded plastic trigger guard, square muzzle break with metal hood and hooked butt pad give it this look.
|The muzzle break protects the crown of the barrel.|
|Hard plastic butt pad that's a tad too small for the stock.|
There was even a version that had a repeating mechanism that stored pellets in a tube, as did others of their models, and they were responsible for the iconic ASI Paratrooper around this time as well which was even more tactical looking.
|Rear sights worked just fine even when rusty.|
Anyway, the point is that I snapped it up as at that price it was worth it for the full set of open sights alone, besides, it just needed spraying in 3in 1 oil and it would be cocking again.
|One of the rustier parts.|
The stock is in pretty good condition and is made from beech I presume, with an orange looking varnish and no interesting grain at all.
|Quite a plain finish on the stock.|
The plastic butt pad is too small for the stock with the stock end overhanging top and bottom; if the the stock was re treated and the wood taken down it would look a lot better.
There is a plastic end cap on the compression tube that sits at an angle, it looks like it comes off a BSA Meteor and with some wood removed from the stock would sit straight.
|With a shallow recess cut into the stock the Meteor end cap will sit straight.|
The fore stock stops well short of the forks and barrel and slope back at an angle, very much like the stock off the later Relum break barrels; like them it has a slightly raised comb with cheek piece on the left, typical of air rifle stocks of the 70's and 80's (well the cheaper ones anyway).
|With a bit of a clean, the stock came up surprisingly nice!|
The plastic shaped trigger guard, plastic end cap, and plastic muzzle break with hood are really the only things that give it it's own identity over other air rifles of the era.
|Barrel looking tidier and a good square front sight post,|
Of course, metal hoods that usually fall off and get lost eventually tend to date the rifle, and of course no tru-glo sights.
|to match the square notch on the rear sight|
Hold it against an SMK 15 and it actually looks quite modern, but ill fitting parts do let it down a bit.
|Rub wire wool with oil into the rust.|
|See the scum it lifts while not touching the enameling or bluing.|
|Leaving it a different looking air rifle all together.|
After an hour with wire wool and some oil, nearly all the rust was removed, leaving behind 95% enamel and some patches where the rust had removed it, mainly at the front of the compression chamber and along the barrel.
|Pitting left on the more rustier patches of the enamel.|
Spraying some oil around the forks soon got the barrel to move, and moving the barrel back and forth for a while had it cocking and moving freely in no time. The rear trigger guard screw connects it to a lug at the rear of the compression tube and the two screws in the fore stock go in at a slight angle.
|The larger bolt at the rear of the plastic trigger guard screws into the lug on the compression tube.|
Underneath there's no rust at all but one of the fore stock screws is stripped at the end. Without the stock on, the damaged screw does bite and hold, so I swapped them around and they both held with the stock on, though I will most likely drill one of the stock holes a couple of mm deeper and that should solve the problem saving me having to replace the damaged screw which will definitely need to be done if I fit a new main spring.
|Hole for fore stock bolt on the under side will need drilling 3 mm deeper.|
The outside of the barrel is mildly marked with rust but looks nice and straight though possibly leaning slightly to the left; anyway, with extra rubbing with wire wool and oil it looks pretty nice.
|Barrel and plastic muzzle break comes up clean and shiny.|
An interesting thing about the barrel is that it is a rifled .177 barrel liner made of what looks like stainless steel with an outer casing to bring it up to 15 mm; I believe this is not an uncommon practice with Gamo even today as it a system they use on many of their air rifle barrels. Anyway it's nice and shiny and needs only a brief clean, lets see just how that effects the accuracy stakes.
|What looks like a stainless steel rifled barrel liner.|
|This rifling is very clean.|
When the stock was off I could see that the main spring appeared slightly lubricated and was not dried up. The articulated cocking linkage slides over a metal stud inside of the stock.
|Metal ball to hold articulated linkage in place.|
It cocked fairly smoothly with enough pressure to show the main spring still had some life in it still. In fact, it was knocking out Superdome's at around 5 ft/lb.
|Just under 5 ft/lb straight off.|
with a few drops of oil on the leather piston seal this should go up a little, in theory.
|About 6 ft/lb with oil settled into leather piston..|
A new main spring and rubber O ring breech seal should also improve things some more, but the main spring is the same that fits Relums and Meteors and I have a few of those so it's just a matter of using the best one for now. I don't want to put too stiff a spring in as it will make the trigger quite stiff and it's just fine at the moment, it feels a little gritty but a clean and lube should improve that.
|Simple trigger and sear with adjustment for sear contact.|
For a cheap old air rifle it's a bit of a tidy find and nothing appears to be missing from when it was new, it scrubs up nicely and shoots fairly smoothly considering it's age. As it is, it will make a lovely little plinker or youth rifle, but with a fair bit of tinkering it could become a nice light short range hunting rifle dispatching rodents with some quality hollow points.
|Looking better after a clean.|
This is one of those air rifles that people want nowadays because it reminds them of one they had as a kid back in the days when no one gave a second glance at a couple of young lads off down the fields with a couple of air rifles. One of my mates had one of these and one had a Paratrooper, whereas I had an old Webley Hawk if memory serves me well. Anyway, that's it for now.
Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe