Thursday, January 15, 2015

How Lawrie Amatruda Makes Polyurethane Seals.

I received an email from Lawrie Amatruda last week showing how he makes polyurethane seals for air guns:
“I don't know if you have heard of me, my name is Lawrie Amatruda, I am in England UK, I read your great Blogs a lot, I hope you don't mind if I share with you my simple way of making flat section polyurethane seals, I am not an engineer, I'm getting to an age where I would like to pass on any helpful knowledge that I have to aid other DIY airgun enthusiasts to resurrect their old guns , I worked out this method some years ago after not very successfully trying to machine them on my lathe, I do lots of resealing of vintage and antique Co2 and pneumatic airguns for guys here, I hope the pictures are self explanatory.”
“…I believe that obviously from all the information you are giving the collectors around the world the knowledge to restore these older airguns for the next generation, the chance to do the same to their treasured collectables, after all we are only looking after them for future collectors to enjoy. Thank you for referring others to me here in the UK, although I am slowing down a bit now, because of my age, so I am fairly selective with the work I take on, mostly the vintage and antique Co2 and pneumatic airguns”.

000_1017 000_1018 000_1019 000_1020 000_1021 000_1022 000_1023 000_1024 000_1025 000_1027 000_1032 000_1033

Thanks so much for this hard-won knowledge Lawrie!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Pistol--Part 2















Revisited the plunger spring.  Went another coil longer.




















60% moly grease on the plunger.























The stock plastic bushings were really close to 1/16" thick.   I went hunting and sourced these 3/8" x 5/8" x 1/16" thick bronze thrust bearings.  They came from the local Ace Hardware store.  They were in the Hillman fastener section.  Hillman #58008-B.  Don't remember exactly what they cost, certainly less than a buck each.




















These will probably be just dandy, though ideally there would be more surface area against the breech block.






















So I kept looking.  McMaster-Carr part #5906K531.  1/4" x 5/8" x 1/16" ran me all of about 96 cents each.    They'll need drilled out for the pivot bolt.




































A letter J drill bit is about 0.003" larger than the bolt diameter. while this did work, a slightly larger drill bit would've made it substantially easier to install the pivot bolt.  Lining up the bronze washers was a real trick with so little clearance.






















Still have room to go larger in OD to fit the counterbore, but I've run out of easy to find commercial offerings.  This'll do.  


















Put it all back together and shot I forget how many pellets at the target--twelve or thereabouts.  Better than the last target, but I don't know how much to attribute to the thrust bearings.  This pistol doesn't exactly lend itself to being "benched" for accuracy.  It does feel better now when snapped shut after loading.  More solid, substantial.  The biggest improvement came from fixing the plunger spring to improve the breech lockup.   I think it's a pretty good shooter now for around $75 and I have the novelty of a pistol with a gas strut.   For the money, I still find that the CO2 powered Crosman 2240 has more going for it--more potential accuracy as well as a huge cult following and aftermarket component upgrades. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Pistol--Part 1

Bought this Benjamin Trail pistol at a flea market several months ago.  It looked to be new in the box and after some haggling, I got it for around $50 or thereabouts.   Knew going into it that there have been some "issues" with the pistol--mainly problems with it shooting high.










Here it is with the cocking assist lever installed.






 














 De-stalled.





















Oh, good.  Fiber optic sights. 




















Seems you can't get away from them nowadays.   The bright dots make it very difficult to achieve a repeatable sight picture--at least on a paper target.





















The rear sight is pretty flimsy--lot of play both horizontally as well as vertically. 





































Along with the sights, the long and heavy trigger pull has been almost universally panned.  A longer adjusting screw (It's a 3mm) will take care of most trigger complaints. 




















While digging through the bolt assortment, I swapped out all the phillips head stock fasteners for allens.


















































The grip is aggressive and took some getting used to.  There's a couple rub points, esp right under the trigger guard. 

This has taken so long because I couldn't get the gun to shoot worth a damn.  I shot some awful groups, changed pellets a couple times and shot even worse.  Couldn't get the pellets in the same neighborhood.  I mean I was missing the 8" x 12" backstop at 30 feet.  This thing was a complete dog.  Crosman owes me a quart of paint to touch up the concrete block wall it was so bad.  Since I've got a pile of other guns that are actually, you know, accurate, the Nitro Piston was set aside until my memory faded and I forgot just how bad things were.



















Initially, I had hopes that getting rid of the horrible sights would make thing better.  Used a heat gun to break the front loose.



















Pulled right off after about a minute at low heat.






















An angled flat on top of the muzzle.  At this point I started digging through my collection of pieces and parts to see if anything looked promising.
























This part of my experimentation didn't pan out for me, though it would work with a different rear sight.  This is the front sight unit from a AR2078 --it was a snug fit to the 15mm NP barrel.




















Removed the globe insert and installed a post.























Used an M5 cross bolt to clamp it to the gun.  Note that the proper way to mount this sight is to groove the barrel for a cross pin.  This is virtually identical to how break-barrel pistols used to be equipped with front sights.   The protective hood shields your hand from the sharp sight edges while cocking.   Archer Airguns sells these for about $15 here.  After getting this installed, I shot another group and realized that the grouping problems weren't related to poor sights.





















 Looked at the breech seal next. 

























 Really didn't see a problem.






















 Removed it and found a steel shim.


































Checked my breech seals and found I actually had a new one, so I tried that--with and without the steel shim.  The gun leaked slightly without the shim.   Looked at the spring plunger and found that the tension was very, very low.  I think the barrel lock-up is inconsistent and the cause of the inaccuracy.





















Removed the four screws and pulled the action out of the stock.
























Removed the e-clip at the rear of the anti-beartrap lever.
































Then the return spring and lifted it off.  I see that it's already slightly bent.  Superb.
































Barrel pivot lock screw...
























Barrel pivot.  The shim washers are plastic.  I didn't get to it today, but in my experience, these plastic washers are nothing but trouble for consistent lock-up.   Bronze will be a good replacement material.































Knocked out the roll pin and there was zero preload on the plunger.  Zip.  None.  I actually found this encouraging.













































Found a longer spring of about the same wire size.  It's about 2 coils longer.  If I do this again, I'll make it 3.





























A small nail made for a fine slave pin.  Tapped the roll pin back in.











































The bent anti-beartrap lever is humped slightly in the middle.

















Put it all back together with a cheap  red dot and a muzzle weight from the old TF79 project.
































I can live with this.  Just one called flier on the right.  Fifteen shots with a mix of RWS Super H-Points and Geco wadcutters.   Some bronze pivot washers and an even stiffer plunger spring should make this even better.  Lot of work.  A typical Crosman 2240 or 1377 will outshoot the Nitro Piston pistol all day long with no mechanical effort--or wall painting.