if this is your new project do it yourself lol
I think these chinese airguns have been marketed under lots of different names and imported by different companies...Westlake, Pioneer, Lion and Hunter are just some other brand names that come to mind, all seem to be made by a company called Industry Brand of Shanghai. In his book - Air Rifles (4th Ed) Dennis Hiller has these chinese guns pegged as being introduced to the UK in 1973.
Hope this helps
Wanted JM T-Bar Gems.-->>The Gem Forum <<
Ma Boggs: Oh, who gives a damn? Stealing all my Oreos, crapping all over the place. 12 ribs my ass!
From John Walter's The Airgun Book (4th edition, 1987),
The Lion itself dates back to the early 1980s at least. He also states that the guns are the product of a variety of different factories, not just in Shanghai.An improved underlever cocking Lion designated B3-1 Magnum has been distributed in the USA, but is yet to be seen in the UK.
Here is a more than you ever wanted to know about the B3 and its antecedents......
The Lion rifle was produced in .177 and .22. This gun is sometimes mistaken for the later models, B3 (in its various types) and DB4, but is quite different. It’s big and heavy, 41.5 inches long, rather crudely made and originally came in an awful basic stock, probably hand made, with horrid orange varnish and a crude metal butt plate. Its crudity was much remarked upon and it is probably the underlever gun that Robert Beeman was shown by an unfortunate salesman in the 1980s. The story he tells (A Salesman’s Ultimate Nightmare, http://www.beemans.net/a_shot_of_humor.htm ) is amusing There was also the ˜De Luxe” version in an imitation woodgrained stock that was not so bad, and possibly made outside China. Swing swivels were provided on the right hand side, one set into the stock the other forming part of the underlever arm pivot bolt. A tunnel foresight and a fixed rearsight with elevation adjustment only completed the open sights. The rifle was made by the Beijing Airgun Factory, an inscription in Chinese accompanied ‘Lion Brand’ on top of the receiver cylinder. Beijing is an establishment that seems to have got out of the air rifle business now. The Beijing factory also seems to have made the B45 pneumatic rifle, a vaguely Crossman-like copy which always seemed to blow its seals, though with a rebuild is apparently a nice little pump up, and also the ‘Fast Deer’ type sidelever.
Where does the design come from? The sliding breech mechanism is the feature that characterises these rifles permitting the pellet to be inserted directly into the breech. The idea of this loading system has been known since the early 20th century when BSA experimented with the idea, which at that time proved impractical to manufacture. The very first air rifle to use a sliding breech mechanism was the Anschutz 220 target rifle of 1959, though the design was later also copied by Feinwerkbau in the 300 target rifle and thereafter by Weihrauch in the HW77 and Air Arms with the TX200. However, the Lion rifle, the first Chinese design seemingly to use this breech mechanism, was certainly in production in 1981 when John Walters described it as: a fascinating sophisticated underlever action which retracts both the piston and the breech sleeve, permitting direct loading. I have come across annecdotal evidence that it was in production in some form as far back as the 1950s.
In fact the sliding breech was a perfect system to use for cheap mass produced guns as the only element that needed careful milling and polishing was the moveable compression chamber itself. The receiver tube is not made of carefully milled steel, smooth on the interior, and indeed does not even need to be made of steel tubing. The DB4, for example, is made form a piece of rolled and spot welded sheet steel. This of course reduces production costs enormously, perfect for the quantities that the Chinese factories intended to produce.
The Lion has been out of production for a long while now, but later versions of the design were produced by a number of companies.
BAM/XISICO/Jiangsu Xinsu Machinery Manufcturing Co.: The DB4 series
This is perhaps the best built (as far as any of them are) of the underlever rifle. BAM also makes some good quality copies of European guns and probably top the Chinese quality stakes generally. The underlever is called the DB4 and comes in standard (called “De Luxe” for reasons I’ve never understood in the UK) models and with an optional hardwood stock; both in .177 and .22.a.
General overall shape and operation are much the same as the Lion except the DB4 is smaller, has a wide transfer port across the receiver and an awfully long reach between pistol grip and trigger. The stocks of the original guns were made of poor softwood, with copious filler, and painted a dark sickly brown.
There are a number of different variations. The basic DB4 has a spot welded scope rail on the receiver, which incorporates a simple elevation sight as is the single piece cast foresight. The UK (and later US) variants have a milled dovetail mount cut into the receiver. All the basic variants have the sling swivels on the right hand side of the stock.
The oddity of this gun is the shape of the stock. The trigger guard is squared and the whole has something of the appearance of the Russian Simonov SKS semi-automatic carbine that was used initially as a front line rifle and later as a militia weapon. This has many of the features to be seen on the air guns and perhaps in this case he importers claims of this gun being intended for training really are true.
This rifle is no longer sold by Compasecco and indeed is not now listed on BAMs website, though production apparently continues. A sad fate for such a classic.
INDUSTRY BRAND (Shanghai): The B3 series
The Shanghai airgun factory has made a wide range of rifles under the Industry Brand label. The first of the underlevers that they seem to have produced the ‘Pioneer’ sometime in the 1980s using this as a brand name in its own right. Confusion is caused by this rifle still sometimes being referred to as the ‘Lion’, as indeed are sometimes the other later underlevers. This is not helped by a number of different names including 'Sea Lion' with a cavorting Sea Lion embossed on the reciever. This rifle, 45 inches long, had the general characteristics of all the Chinese underlevers and superficially looks much the same as the B3 series, though several things made it stand out. Firstly it was much more crudely made than the, presumably, slightly later DB4s and B3s. The internal parts are much more roughly finished, the piston being rolled sheet steel roughly spot welded, there are numerous burrs and small defects and the piston seal is leather. The spring guide is again of sheet steel, though a version of the ’Pioneer’ was also made with a plastic spring guide. While the receiver has the same dimensions as the B3 there is actually less internal space due to the design of the spring guide and the spring was consequently smaller than in the later guns. There are two or three stock forms, seemingly dependent on the age of the gun and where it was sold. The normal UK stock with finger grips and a curved fore-end The rather stock is rather roughly finished, better than the lion but still essentially hand finished and with the characteristic light brown varnished surface. Finally, the fore sight is of steel sheet pinned together with riveted finish, but it is folded over so as to make a true tunnel imitating the shorter DB4 cast foresight.
This gun then seems to be Shanghai’s first foray into the underlever market and it is likely to have been slightly later than the fist appearance of the DB4.
The Shanghai factory produces a range of four basic underlevers, B3-1 to B3-4. All are the same with the exception of the B3-3 which appears to have a completely different power plant in it (possibly reminiscent of the B26-1); and all the models are differentiated by slightly more elaborate features. So the B3-1 has no butt pad and a foresight spot welded in front of the transfer port, B3-2 has butt pad (comes with a 4x20 telescopic sight as a cheap ˜combo”), B3-3 different action and stock, rather crude safety fitted onto the trigger guard, B3-4 back to the original design, has scope rail and amazingly a decent safety catch at the back of the receiver! On all models the foresight is made from pressed steel rather than cast. In the US the Shanghai B3s were shipped with a much nicer stock under the designation of Tech Force 38, by Compasecco.
One other model which probably originates in Shanghai as it bears the Industry Brand diamond trade mark is the B3F with a rear sight fitted to the milled scope rails. This is mainly found in the UK and Sportsmarketing used to retail these, but they are also on occasion found on sale in the United States.
SNOWPEAK (Shioxiang): The other B3 series
In the States these generally go under the Hercules brand and are famous for being sold cheaply out of Cummin’s tool truck sales.
This is another manufactory which produces three underlevers. Their B3-1 and B3-2 are much the same as the Shanghai products, though the foresight is always spot welded in front of the transfer port. The B3-3 however, is akin to Shanghais B3-4 with the addition of Day-Glow foresights and a detachable rear sight on a dovetail mount..
The similarity is hardly surprising as Shopxiang seems to manufacture a number of other products also made at Shanghai, the QB57 take down rifle for example. However, they also make the B3 AK47 style gun made by BAM, under the designation of the B5!.
Neil. I've already had two fo these off you. Let me know if you decide the features of this one are not to your taste.