Irish Olympic target shooting

FrankenRifle

Okay, so after the Snappy Disaster in May, the air rifle has lain dormant in the safe in DURC while I tried to sort out a replacement part from Anschutz. I’m sorry to say that the fabulous after-sales experience I had described to me by those who praised Anschutz to the roof wasn’t quite as evident as I thought it should have been – as far as I was concerned, it was an Anschutz bag, which broke and then didn’t protect the rifle; the impact was not significant enough to my mind to cause the amount of damage it did without there being some design or implementation flaw at work in the Anschutz stock; and I bought the rifle and the bag directly from Uwe Anschutz himself personally.

The inital response from Anschutz was that a replacement stock was available (good, since it’s not been made for a few years) for only €500.

Yeah, I didn’t think “only” was an appropriate term there either. Mind you, I did look round a bit at this stage and contemplated other aftermarket stocks – about the only one that looked worth it was the MEC offering:

MEC Mark 1 Air Rifle Stock

Which is both slinky and smart, but more importantly, is made from a solid block of aluminium which is milled to shape. Far stronger than the sintering process used for the 2002CA stock. However, that stock was “only” €1500 or so.

Right. Spoke to Anschutz again, pointed out that I thought it wasn’t a very fair price, pointed out the exact nature of the failure and Uwe himself replied and said that because it had failed when dropped outside a range, it wasn’t considered a warranty affair; but that the spare part of just the stock itself would only cost €280.

I’m starting to hate the way other people use the word “only” at this stage. But at this point, I’ve very few choices:

  • pay €280 for a stock part (which as far as I’m concerned, is just as fragile as the original);
  • take up one of the nine or ten exceptionally generous offers to weld the old stock (seriously, people just started coming out of the woodwork with offers of help from Ireland, N.Ireland and the UK – it was tremendously cheering to see folks doing that, and my sincere thanks to all of you);
  • buy a completely new rifle and set it up all over again;

Not that the last wasn’t a temptation, but it’s just too expensive right now. Besides, I don’t like the current Anschutz rifles (too prissy), I’ve never liked Walther’s models (though the live/dry fire switch is a smart idea), and the Feinwerkbau P700 fits my hand perfectly, but it just feels too fragile compared to the old P70. Which just leaves the Steyrs. And there’s the temptation – the LG110 is probably the deadest rifle I’ve ever fired in my life. Shooters far better than me have said the same thing. You pull the trigger, you feel the trigger go back, you hear the shot, but the rifle just sits there. Seriously, it doesn’t move. Absolutely no recoil. Every other air rifle has some recoil, usually quite small, but always there and noticable. This just sat there. Magnificent engineering.

Unfortunately, it “only” costs €2200…

And I’d never be able to trust the repair job fully, so it comes down to door number one. But I’m not going to risk a recurrance, so the Anschutz backpack case gets retired, and I order a peli 1720 case from InterShoot as well as the replacement part from Anschutz. With a lot of logisitcal help from Ryan in InterShoot (for which, many thanks!) the peli and the rifle stock arrived in the lab in college last week. One slow, awkward bicycle ride over to the range later, and it’s all laid out, ready for major surgery 🙂

So that’s the 1720 laid open. It’s a nice comprimise between the 1700 which was light but just too small – I’d have to be unbedding and rebedding the air rifle every time I put it in, which wouldn’t be impossible, just awkward – and the 1750, which is frankly enormous. Seriously, I could put my entire rifle into one fully assembled with about a foot of room to spare. However, the 1750 weighs 10kg empty so if you put the rifle alone in there, you’re over the weight limit for the airline. The 1720 with all the kit is just about on the line, and we never do manage to avoid hassle anyway, but the extra weight of the 1750 is no fun for me to lug about either.

On the top is the old broken part, and underneath the new part which is, of course completely the wrong colour. Oh well. Appearance is decidedly secondary to performance. Move over all the mounting blocks and bold the action into the new part and viola: FrankenRifle!

It doesn’t look quite that bad, but there’s a definite patchwork thing going on here 😀

So, that done, all that was left was to set up the peli case:

That was an initial attempt, but the current layout is quite similar. Tools in one corner (the wheels are on the left, so that’s always going to be a bottom corner); air tanks are near the hinge and the rifle is above them by the handle; the buttplate comes off because the rifle won’t fit otherwise, but cheekpiece comes off too because that way if I adjust either of them, I don’t need to recut the foam. Sights go in as well in a top corner. Cutting the foam was done with a long knife and circles cut with a scissors; it’s a bit more ragged than I’d like but it’ll do. After trimming and checking the fit, the foam layer got glued to the bottom layer of foam in the base of the case (spray-on adhesive from an arts&crafts store) and that’s that.

So, how does FrankenRifle shoot?

Pretty well 🙂

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