(This article) THE BAIKAL IZH-61 AIR RIFLE

                                                            THE BAIKAL IZH-61 AIR RIFLE  

  The Russian made Baikal IZH-61 is a mild shooting .177 caliber springer air rifle with a 5 shot self indexing clip.  Cocking is achieved using the side lever located on the right of the rifle. With each motion of the lever the clip will index outwards. The one downfall to this design is you must count your shots or the clip will sit at #5 position as you dry fire the attempted 6th shot.

Although the pellet clip for the -61 holds the 5 pellets prior to shooting, it does not hold them during the shot. For each shot the bolt mechanism will cycle and push the pellet through the clip and into the barrel. The pellet is fired from the barrel which eliminates any possible small alignment problems with the clip and barrel. This also eliminates the need for a fired pellet to pass through a forcing cone when it enters the barrel. 

Construction of this low priced rifle was quite good in January 2000 when I bought two of them. They use metal for all parts except the stock which is synthetic. Metal receiver, sights, all metal barrel (no plastic sleeve), etc.  From what I have seen and heard the newer versions have several synthetic parts such as the receiver and sights. Personally, I would prefer purchasing an older "used" -61 before buying the new version. I have never shot the new version so maybe they are still capable of the same decent performance.  

Total length = 33 1/8" at max
Length of pull =  12" to 14.5"

Barrel Length = 16.5" from front of receiver
Barrel Diameter = .515"
Receiver Grooves = 2" long
Front Tunnel Size = .550" inside
Total Weight = 5lb 12.8oz with factory sights
Weight = 6lb 0.4oz with TAU rear aperture sight

The trigger on the IZH-61 is 3-way adjustable and can be set to a light 1.5lb pull with no creep. I have had my gun adjusted this light since new and it has not changed. For the price paid for this rifle the trigger feel belongs on a gun triple the cost.

The two IZH-61 rifles that I bought were both fine examples. No major problems were encountered with either. One rifle did occationally hang up with the clip indexing on the 5th shot. A very light pull on the clip would allow things to work perfectly again. This is not a problem that happens every time but I have experienced it.

I ended up keeping one of the IZH rifles and selling the other to a guy who "had to have it". Both these guns were the same for accuracy but one gun produced a little higher velocities. I kept the HV gun, of course!

When they were new the velocity of one gun was 477fps average with CPLs and 505fps average with Hobbys. The other gun shot 432fps with CPLs and 475fps with Hobbys. Both guns had consistent velocity readings. I recently chronographed the faster rifle, after 2.5 years and many thousands of pellets. Results

Crosman Premier (7.9gr) = 475, 475, 468, 471, 475, 474, 469, 474, 473, 470  AVE = 472fps
RWS Geco (6.8gr) = 510, 508, 501, 508, 506, 512, 505, 504, 501, 505           AVE = 506fps
The velocity is pretty much the same as when I purchased the rifle.

The IZH-61 manual states a muzzle velocity of 460fps but the one common difference among various -61 rifles seems to be the velocity results. Some guns will shoot 7.9gr pellets at 400fps and others closer to 500fps. 

Thoughts have been that the barrel choke my vary in constriction which causes this velocity difference. Also the compression chamber diameter may not be identical between examples. Quality control in some areas is not the best but maybe the budget price makes up for it. As long as the gun functions 100% and shoots accurately it doesn't really matter if it produces 425fps or 475fps if paper is the main target.

I dug some IZH-61 accuracy tests out of a paper pile I have. Below are my results. All groups are at 10 meters and all are 5 shots ctc.

(ctc @10m)
Meisterkugeln(7.7gr)- .237,.283,.297,.225             AVE=.261"
RWS R-10(7.7gr)- .317,.290,.342,.380,.239          AVE=.314"
CR Supermatch(7.9gr)- .315,.162,.250,.227,.150  AVE= .221"
CPL (7.9gr)- .256,.190,.181,.294,.151                  AVE= .214"

  I'm not sure why the Meisterkugeln test had only 4 groups. There may have been a radical flyer in the 5th group that would not reflect the pellet's true capability. I have the written paper report only so I cannot look at the original targets I shot.

Accuracy with favoured pellets seems to be around the 1/4". After many many accuracy tests I have found this to be true. Other pellets produce groups in the .27"-.35" range.

I have bench tested the -61 outdoors at longer distances on a few occations. At 20 yards I shot two 5 shot groups of 5/8"ctc and two groups of 3/4"ctc. The wind is a huge factor when testing this mild springer outdoors. I think on a calm day it might do a little bit better.

Plinking at longer distances is loads of fun. Trajectory gets loopy but with a bit of holdover I can hit tin cans at 30 and 40 yards when shooting offhand.

With the IZH-61 I shot at the base of 10oz (284ml) mushroom cans placed at 30 yards. The base measures 2.5" across. I was able to easily hit 10 out of 10 shots. Then I moved the cans to 40 yards and stood them up. The can height is 4" with a 2.5" diameter. At 40 yards I was able to hit most shots. Any misses were always my fault. The IZH-61 is not powerful enough to penetrate the cans but deep dents were left with CPL pellets.

  When they were new I did a bit of a lube tune on my two little black Russian rifles. Beeman M2M moly and Beeman Spring Gel (silicon grease) were the main products used. I applied the spring gel to the exterior of the mainspring. I was told that black tar was a bit thick for this light spring. Moly lube was applied to the piston seal perimeter, piston skirt, and burnished into the compression tube. Moly was also applied to all moving parts and pivots.

For acuracy tests my IZH-61 had a Bushnell Sportview (79-0039) scope mounted with Burris medium rings. The rings were located between the turrets and eyepiece of the scope. I placed one ring on each end of the short 2" dovetail on the receiver.  This system seems to work very good and the eye relief was perfect for me with the stock at full adjustment length. I now have a TAU-200 rear aperture sight on the IZH and it works perfect. The factory IZH-61 rear aperture sight also works fine but only the elevation is adjustable by a knob, the windage is two set screws which are a bit tricky to set up. The TAU sight is more of a target type unit with good adjustments. 

Overall the IZH-61 is a pretty decent springer rifle for indoor shooting or short distance outdoor fun.  I think I paid $80USD for each of my two IZZY rifles and for that price they are a great deal. These are not serious 10m target rifles but they are not junk either. Mine is mainly an indoor gallery type rifle. It's very quite to shoot, almost no recoil and
good accuracy.


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