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Thread: Soviet Bloc Springers

  1. #1
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    Soviet Bloc Springers

    There were some pretty decent springers to be found behind the iron curtain at one time but most are long dead now.
    Some of them were well made and accurate but were there any that were genuine alternatives to the better springers from this side of the divide?

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    Not if by better springers you mean German Diana, FWB Sport, A335, HWs, etc. Nothing in that league.

    The FEGs (Relum) were a decent competitor to Gamos and Milbro Dianas.

    Some of the Haenels (303) were really quite nice in the sort of Meteor/Mercury/Victor/Vulcan competitor range too.

    Slavias too, similar to the above.

    The Haenel 310 ball-firer was at least 90% the equal of the similar Anschutz 275 and Diana 30, but about half the price, IIRC.

    And the Haenel 311 match rifle was probably, in performance terms if not finish, the equal at 10M of a Webley Supertarget.

    The Baikal IJ38 was for many years the best really cheap air rifle you could buy.

    The Predom pistols mostly came here after the fall of the wall, but could have been highly competitive at the right (Gamo Center/Falcon) price level with typical NATO air pistols.

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
    Not if by better springers you mean German Diana, FWB Sport, A335, HWs, etc. Nothing in that league.

    The FEGs (Relum) were a decent competitor to Gamos and Milbro Dianas.

    Some of the Haenels (303) were really quite nice in the sort of Meteor/Mercury/Victor/Vulcan competitor range too.

    Slavias too, similar to the above.

    The Haenel 310 ball-firer was at least 90% the equal of the similar Anschutz 275 and Diana 30, but about half the price, IIRC.

    And the Haenel 311 match rifle was probably, in performance terms if not finish, the equal at 10M of a Webley Supertarget.

    The Baikal IJ38 was for many years the best really cheap air rifle you could buy.

    The Predom pistols mostly came here after the fall of the wall, but could have been highly competitive at the right (Gamo Center/Falcon) price level with typical NATO air pistols.
    This is a very learned answer that I certainly couldn't improve upon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garvin View Post
    This is a very learned answer that I certainly couldn't improve upon.
    Thank you, sir.

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    Of course these comparisons are a bit invidious. The Warsaw Pact countries had a different and fatally flawed economic system and were desperate for foreign currency, and so they would sell stuff to the west at prices that we would have thought of as a loss.

    In general, their designs were robust, solid, unsophisticated in overall design and in features like sights and triggers, and generally rather old-fashioned.

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    In general, their designs were robust, solid, unsophisticated in overall design and in features Ö and generally rather old-fashioned.
    They sound absolutely ideal for the inhabitants of collectors corner then !
    Morally flawed

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    A second hand Relum Tornado was all I could afford for my first air rifle back in the 1980ís.... I didnít hit much with it but it certainly didnít put me off airguns, so they definitely served a purpose.


    Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
    Not if by better springers you mean German Diana, FWB Sport, A335, HWs, etc. Nothing in that league.

    The FEGs (Relum) were a decent competitor to Gamos and Milbro Dianas.

    Some of the Haenels (303) were really quite nice in the sort of Meteor/Mercury/Victor/Vulcan competitor range too.

    Slavias too, similar to the above.

    The Haenel 310 ball-firer was at least 90% the equal of the similar Anschutz 275 and Diana 30, but about half the price, IIRC.

    And the Haenel 311 match rifle was probably, in performance terms if not finish, the equal at 10M of a Webley Supertarget.

    The Baikal IJ38 was for many years the best really cheap air rifle you could buy.

    The Predom pistols mostly came here after the fall of the wall, but could have been highly competitive at the right (Gamo Center/Falcon) price level with typical NATO air pistols.
    Yep. Excellent post. Not that I was trying to lure you out or anything..
    Leaving the 311 vs Osprey Supertarget aside for now, I was really seeking opinions as to how close the Haenel 302/303 and the bigger Slavias got to what was commonly available here at that time. I have the Haenels well ahead of the Meteor, which iwas never a great watermark anyway, and closer to the Original/ Dianas of the time. A large Model 25 in fact. I have very scant experience of the Slavias but I think they are up there with the Haenels, and I'm thinking they could perhaps do everything you wanted a spring air rifle to do. And for a lot less money at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
    Not if by better springers you mean German Diana, FWB Sport, A335, HWs, etc. Nothing in that league.

    The FEGs (Relum) were a decent competitor to Gamos and Milbro Dianas.

    Some of the Haenels (303) were really quite nice in the sort of Meteor/Mercury/Victor/Vulcan competitor range too.

    Slavias too, similar to the above.

    The Haenel 310 ball-firer was at least 90% the equal of the similar Anschutz 275 and Diana 30, but about half the price, IIRC.

    And the Haenel 311 match rifle was probably, in performance terms if not finish, the equal at 10M of a Webley Supertarget.

    The Baikal IJ38 was for many years the best really cheap air rifle you could buy.

    The Predom pistols mostly came here after the fall of the wall, but could have been highly competitive at the right (Gamo Center/Falcon) price level with typical NATO air pistols.
    Quote Originally Posted by Drew451 View Post
    Yep. Excellent post. Not that I was trying to lure you out or anything..
    Leaving the 311 vs Osprey Supertarget aside for now, I was really seeking opinions as to how close the Haenel 302/303 and the bigger Slavias got to what was commonly available here at that time. I have the Haenels well ahead of the Meteor, which iwas never a great watermark anyway, and closer to the Original/ Dianas of the time. A large Model 25 in fact. I have very scant experience of the Slavias but I think they are up there with the Haenels, and I'm thinking they could perhaps do everything you wanted a spring air rifle to do. And for a lot less money at the time.
    Yes, would agree with these posts from our learned gents. I still own a Slavia 634. Sadly, I think they were discontinued recently? As said, no frills. But solid. And some very good engineering in the right places....manual barrel latch, lightweight 25mm piston with synthetic rear bearing and superb barrel. Very accurate and brilliant manners. Simplicity itself to work on. The simple trigger's not the greatest but you get used to it.
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    Slavias are now I think out of production, but were made until at least the early/mid-2000s if not beyond. Although their 50s-70s guns appear pretty average (in a good way), the 630/631 seems to have had its fans:

    https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2006...spring-rifles/

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptdunk View Post
    A second hand Relum Tornado was all I could afford for my first air rifle back in the 1980ís.... I didnít hit much with it but it certainly didnít put me off airguns, so they definitely served a purpose.


    Matt
    As above
    But a bit earlier.
    I put a shed load of pellets through my Tornado,I did occasionally hit the odd tin can.
    I still have the gun..
    Les..

  12. #12
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    My first rifle in the mid-70's just had made in Hungary on it that I recall, it was a junior rifle in 177, around 8 ft/lbs at a guess - but amazingly accurate and consistent.
    Wish I still had it...

  13. #13
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    The Slavia Models lived on for some years as the Slovakian made Perun 730/731/735 but Im sure that production ceased a year or so ago. This leaves only the Baikal and you hardly ever see any reference their sping air rifles here nowadays.

    As I don't have experience of all the springers from Eastern Europe, I'm wondering the hierarchy of quality/performance between the various marques.
    As things stand, I think the various Haenels must rank as the best, well above the Relums and Predoms. I would expect the CZ/ Slavias to be right up there with the Haenels though- like for like, anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by les allam View Post
    As above
    But a bit earlier.
    I put a shed load of pellets through my Tornado,I did occasionally hit the odd tin can.
    I still have the gun..
    Les..
    Hi Les,
    I donít have my original one but for nostalgiaís sake picked up a nice Super Tornado from Protek recently.

    Having zeroed it in I was pleasantly surprised that it is rather accurate with open sights. Whoíd have thunk it?
    More on that story later.

    Atb,
    Matt

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptdunk View Post
    Hi Les,
    I donít have my original one but for nostalgiaís sake picked up a nice Super Tornado from Protek recently.

    Having zeroed it in I was pleasantly surprised that it is rather accurate with open sights. Whoíd have thunk it?
    More on that story later.

    Atb,
    Matt
    Hi Mat
    I thought that I would give my Tornado,a long deserved service and try and improve the fireing cycle by fitting a Bsa Meteor spring and guide.
    I removed the twin spring set up,and put in a new leather piston seal,together with the Bsa spring and guide,and it completely spoilt the way the gun shoots..
    I need to have another look at it one day.
    Atb
    Les..

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