The strange story of Sharp Innova
The strange story of Sharp Innova.
1. A little of History
I have many times spoken, in talks with hobby colleagues that the amazing and fast air guns growth does not exists without Internet. As example you all will read this lines by that channel
Was like that how in the narrow circle of Spanish collectors-shooters, the extraordinary story of Sharp Air rifles came to my knowledge, by forums, a story which goes back in time nearly forty years.
This time I´m not telling the story. Zechnas (ac.net forum user) will gently do:
First news I had from Sharp were later seventies. At that time Spain were dominated by national companies Gamo, Norica, Cometa. Like in the motorbike business all were looking for others company´s improvement to their products. National air rifles were robust, sturdy guns made for give service for decades, cheap or inexistent maintenance, low powered and very simple.
When Spanish dictatorship ended, some manufacturers went frontiers across looking for new ideas or associations for selling foreigner air rifles in Spain. It was a little allowed for non legal restrictions for buying, owning, or, in rural places, shooting. Air gun imported guns came from American continent, Asia… by those years I saw the first Sheridan and first and last Sharp casually model Innova. It seems I was not the only one. Mister José Artés de Arcos had seen before, maybe a Sheridan? And had the happy idea of manufacturing the fabulous Setra, multi pump air guns which had nothing to see with the rest of air rifles made in Spain those years. Setra were exceptional air rifles, made during almost 15 years, but as all good innovate (and a little expensive) products, it was low appreciated by Spanish users. Too “new” concept for that years and that lands. Almost 90% of total production was exported. I knew him personally in ninety eighty five. He was a spectacular top series man, in his later years made even a super racing winner car…
Coming back to the seventies, like I explained yet several times, a friend of mine bought one of few units which came into Spain and quickly went sold out. This rifle really was all of us envy. Our highest aspiration was multi-pump Crosman… nothing to see…
In nineteen ninety nine I meet a North American working at IAS. He was very interested in restoring and one day I went with my old Gamo to his workshop for a new spring and seal. Quickly conversation went into Sheridan, Crosman, and Sharp.
He told me that he were knowing Sharp since he was a child. Sharp air rifles came into EEUU by an American soldier stationed in Timor, where Japanese were selling them for pigeon air hunting, plentiful at those islands. Sharp elevated energy and accuracy were perfect for shooting the birds on top of very tall palm trees…
Impressed by Those air rifles this soldier took one with him back to EEUU, and a few years later he decided manufacture them at USA.
I really do not know how they became an American-Japanese patent design. My friend´s one had its box and manual printed in Japanese characters. Something of a Zos concession was heard, and finally they are nowadays made in China.
What a pity Chinese quality control… My friend´s Sharp did not have a problem in these thirty three years… Modern ones only God knows how long are they will giving service.
That´s all, if I have more information I will tell by here.
Unit from my personal collection. Original 4x20mm Gamo scope.
It was just knowing that this air rifle model had forty years in service what decides me to buy one. Such production durability of an American-Japanese patent which provides air rifles China and Indonesia only could means that the product must be good. It´s a case as Sheridan in EEUU, saving distances. Modern Innovas came into Spain from Poland thanks to a few forum users that were looking for best price-quality multi pump air gun. They obviously, found out Sharp Innova.
I bought a second hand unit. They were, fairly I think, more expensive in second hand market than new posted from Poland (strzel gun store). Obviously buying in Spain spares uncertain shipping, misunderstanding, management, customs, and most important, polish post-sell treatment in case of trouble.
Shall we talk in money? In origin (China) could be 30€/24 pounds. In Poland they were 70€/55 pounds. In Spain, after all, 100€/80 pounds.
Although 24 pounds could be considered a ridiculous price for an minimum operative air gun, we must think where they are made, labour costs, and how much could be 24 pounds in these latitudes. In fact it is not a cheap air gun. Durability was the key word at isolated rural places where Sharps were exclusively survival hunting rifles. No pieces, no spares, no nearly armourers. It´s an air rifle which has to work by itself. No blueing, a lot of plastic and hard wood outside. The reliable valve and pump system inside. You got it.
This air rifle only provides a powerful shoot (24ft/lb) and very good accuracy. All the rest is not there. Minimum incidental detail is not allowed. Only ornament (and it is not fully a ornament) is the diamond grip.
Multi pump Spanish technology could be resumed in Setra, MG, Akron, Podium (Sportil) and Precisa. Of them, only big calibre Setra could stand up and exceed in energy this very rare American Japanese which appeared scattered by the bull skin.
However, at world´s other places Sharp are well know and collectable items...
Exclusive photographs by Robert Chastang.
I realized that screws which hold barrel to the air compressing chamber were not really working and barrel was dancing free. I decided to make a piece myself. It´s not finished yet in this review´s photos, but I was very anxious for testing the rifle so since it was working well, I went to my air shooting field.
2. Truth time: Shooting the Sharp Innova.
Shooting field..... ......Campo de tiro Felipe Monclús.
Ammunition........ ......H&H Diabolo Baracuda .22
Scope..... .Original 4x20mm Gamo.
Atmospheric conditions......Dr y day. 3ºC Soft breeze.
Distance.. ........27,3 yards (25 meters)
Muzzle energy.... ......14,7ft/lb (20,4 Joules) average
Muzzle velocity.. ........584fps (178 mts/sg) average
I was sat down on the floor and had front support for the rifle. Like this:
Same group in plumb:
Pumping: First three pumps are very soft. A little effort begins with fourth. General feeling is that Sharp is more robust than Benjamin Sheridan. Air compression cylinder is bigger, wood stock is wider, grip is bigger too... fills more air each pump.
After 6-12 pumps a shooter must wait to calm down before shooting for best accuracy. That´s not a problem: actually we are shooting a pcp system after pumping: there is not a damage in waiting with the rifle loaded and reading like happens when our rifle it´s a springer. Need to say Innova´s valve has a restriction regulated pin which, generally is regulated depending on the Country the gun is going to be sent. Mine was full power action and that´s what it shows a Modern Innova FAC nowadays at M-1 Chrony:
Ammunition: Gamo Magnum 15,4 grains (1g)
2 pumps.....413fps (126mts/sg) 6ft/lb (8,2 Joules)
4 pumps.....547fps (167mts/sg) 11ft/lb (15,2 Joules)
6 pumps.....633fps (193mts/sg) 14ft/lb (19 Joules)
8 pumps.....708fps (216mts/sg) 17lb/ft (24,4 Joules)
10 pumps.....774fps (236mts/sg) 21,4ft/lb (29Joules)
12 pumps.....826fps (252mts/sg) 23,6ft/lb (32 Joules)
Use: The Sharp Innova is a really multi purpose air rifle. From indoor shooting on bad winter days, back garden shooting, hunting and extreme plinking
Trigger: Too long and simple.
Action: Completely plastic made. Pushing a little button on right side the bolt goes out back sides opening the breech. After loading, we push bolt into fire position and the rifle is ready to shoot. Really simple system, I love it.
Scope: 4x20mm Gamo... need to say something about it?
Sound: very nice and not at all annoying sound. Quieter than Sheridan 392 .22.
Shooting: only the trigger penalizes great power and accuracy of Sharp.
Translated by ThisCharming (Eduardo Laporta)
Last edited by ThisCharming; 07-07-2012 at 07:37 AM.
Nice looking rifle you have there and good shooting. I have had my Innover for 31 years and it still shoots like new, I wish it had a stock like yours though!
Thanks for that, very interesting. I am no expert on Innovas, but yours has a longer barrel than any I've seen before, as well as a much better stock, more like the Sharp Ace. In fact I thought it was an Ace, apart from the well-known Innova loading bolt.( and Innova written on the side!).
The Victory that camer to the UK was fairly short-lived. I gather the valving was un-reliable at out 12 foot pounds limit, but was of much higher quality than the Innova, or even the Ace.
Nice guns, once saw a bill pup version which was very cool
I didnt read all of the post so excuse me if this has been said, look at the little screws in the front sight, one vertical in the top of the sight, two from each side lower than the centre of the barrel.
They are to fine tune the accuracy, especially if you have ran out of adjustment, if you cant raise or lower the sights far enough.
Loosening them allows the barrel to be pushed down by tightening the vertical screw, or loosening the vertical screw, and tightening the side screws evenly will raise the barrel.
There is left and right adjustment there too.
I think on later models the screws have been replaced by an oring, holding the barrel inside the front sight.
You may already known this.
Thanks for an interesting story.
I've gone away from Sharp Innovas to Benjamin 347/342 etc.
Opposite to the expressed opinion I've found the Benjamins to be better made rifles. The Innova relies heavily on the plastic breech and forend to keep everything together, after 30 years those plastic parts are starting to break up.
The Benjamin is all Brass and steel - no plastic anywhere on it.
Also the Sharp exhaust (dump) valve has an inherent design flaw, every time the gun is fired the exhaust valve is ejected at high speed through the exhaust 'O' ring, this O ring will (and does) fail regularly.
The Benjamin exhaust valve is a hammer open type, only air passes over the large sealing surface when the valve is struck.
Scope mounting is where the Sharp wins, but I hate the bloody things anyway, a Benjy 342 with a peep sight can group 1/2" all day long at 25yds and that's good enough for the rabbits where I live.
The early Benjamins 342/347 are pretty much all over 12ftlbs, but they're easy enough to make legal - the same mods applied to Ratcatchers to increase the power can be applied to the Benjy, but the other way round to decrease the power.
Your average legal 342 will give 3 full power shots from 10 pumps - it's like having a PCP with a pump built in )
Thanks for reading men.
There´s no doubt about Sheridan´s superiority every way we would compare them. Price Too. Think about buying it in origin for... 20 pounds?
Here my Sheridan 392. Sincerely, the reason why I came back into compressed air in adult life. http://antac.mforos.com/1616462/7880...92-calibre-22/
If anyone wants me for translating... only has to say about and I will do it trying not to elevate fury nor excessive laughs about my poor English.
sharp innova/webley rebel
i ve owned an innova for many many years ,loved it and cant fault its accuracy although i prefer to shoot springers now but on reading airgun world recently was interested to see the new webley rebel ,is it just me or does it appear to just be an old innova with a different trigger and stock ??
It is the Innova, it is the Puma Innova with a new badge.
thanks for satisfying my curiosity
Originally Posted by secretagentmole
hi there.this is the first time ive used a forum..and i am not brilliant with computors...i will give it a go..i have just read your input on sharp innova..it was very interesting..i have a mate whos got a sharp innova II its in good conditon it pumps up.but when you pull the trigger nothing happens,its like a safety is on.but there does not apear to be a safety catch anywhere..have you any idea what the problem might be..