Bringing back to life the Walther LG55
We often forget that, until 1950, Germany was forbidden to produce guns by the occupying Allies.
Walther was one of the first companies in order to resume activities in 1950, simply by 1951 they already were marketing and advertising their model 51, development carried on for a few years along the same lines, attaining the final design and production from the LG55 in 1955.
The successor to the LG55 will be the “LGV” that was, for many, the quintessential the recoiling match springer.
After the LGV, Walther would certainly opt for the Single Stroke Pneumatic (LGR), while DIANA went on to develop the particular “Giss System” guns (truly recoil-less) entering the market in 1963 using the model 60.
Based on Walther, the LG55 was in creation between 1955 and 1968
Now, in those days, the “Tyrolean” style stock had not yet already been outlawed in competitions, and so quite a lot of airguns from the three large styles of those times are so stocked.
Our adventure began in November when, out of the blue, someone approached me about repairing an “older German Target gun”. As you can imagine, within my mind, that could mean almost anything, and we started exchanging EMails.
As the details came through it had been obvious it was not a DIANA airgun and, so , I was very honest in telling the prospective consumer that those jobs were as much the risk for the gunsmith as they had been for the gun owner.
In the end, we achieved a general opinion of how to work and with some hyperlinks we found on the internet, he could locate a replacement spring and piston seal.
After an excellent (and socially distant) visit, this individual dropped off a rather nice (and hefty) Walther LG55, plus the aftermarket he had been able to acquire.
WHAAAT?? you’re going to ask!
Nicely, simple, just look at the rear view: It is “Mounted” onto the rear motion closing knurled piece.
As well as the front sight is WAY TOO REDUCED!
But the gun has been “toast” it would not build up stress, so it was impossible to test this for a “Benchmark” experience.
The next thing that popped into our mind was: “This beauty should have shot thousands upon thousands of rounds”. Boy was I going to become proven WRONG (yes, with capitals).
There was no details about how much the gun had photo or if it had shot nicely from the previous owners to the current owner and, so , without much more to put into practice I was handed the gun, the particular baggie of spare parts and a container to contain everything.
Some time passed, as I am actual busy, and when time came close to tackle this gun, We decided to take as many pictures since humanly possible, as well as to attempt the task in two stages:
On a first stage, I would attempt to bring back the gun it was said to be, with all the right parts and parts. This to experience the REALITY of such a 1950’s gun shot like.
On a second stage. we might upgrade the function to more contemporary standards, ease the maintenance of the particular gun, and ensure that now it can be properly used, cherished, and given to. As the heirloom it is (or since the “cultural icon” that the German capturing world thinks it is).
So, let’s tackle this particular!
First Stage. – the actual LG55 was designed to be
The rear sight would not budge.
As noted above the trunk sight had been “mounted” onto the particular knurled screw-in action closing include. When trying to remove the sight, this broke!
Close inspection exposed a badly abused sight. Obviously the owners had serious problems trying to sight in the rifle and so they had filed and removed materials from several places.
The other issue that was discovered is that the sights are not designed to be so far back.
There are round “cross-troughs” at the top of the particular action where the single tightening knob’s enlarged stem goes in and affixes the rear sight to the action, plus there is NO way to get it mounted onto the trunk closing cover.
This view was mounted with a hammer!
Anyway, in the end, the sight arrived off (do note that the view is designed to come off by sliding upward front), it was repaired and it is right now working well.
Oversized cleaners were used to take up the space from the filing the first owner had carried out, and the tightening knob was re-set with the E-Clip properly retaining the particular screw in place.
After this, We conferred with my customer and graciously accepted the problem while at the same time wondering if I had any way to procure an additional rear sight.
That back sight has been ordered and has experienced transit from Germany for the last four weeks.
Still, life had to just so the spring had to come out.
The very first thing we did was to remove the particular knurled closing knob.
MINOR pressure from the spring compressor permitted an easy and orderly removal along with any sort of wrench or tool.
The particular needle nose pliers are there only to support the knurled screw-in protect and the spacer
What you observe is the trigger block’s rear.
The particular trigger block is an unitized item that has strategically located holes. One of them particularly allows you to see the “anti-bear trap” exchange bar and how it hooks through behind into the trigger obstruction discharge.
Turning the rifle around (for right handed persons), allows the particular trigger unit to be lifted to the rear and slid out:
Which frees the transfer bar:
We are able to now remove the transfer bar:
It really is fairly easy at this point to raise the bending linkage and remove the transfer club completely.
This allows us how to put pressure into the mainspring so the spring holding nut can be launched:
To do this properly we created action that houses the rear “horseshoe” from the trigger housing and prevents any kind of slippage.
Once pressure is certainly taken off, the holding nut could be loosened:
Proper size for this wrench tool is 11/32″s
Once the nut is usually loosened, the block can come away. Do note the side towards that the transfer bar slot is focused.
And now we can release the springtime retaining block
Which has a fair quantity of pre-load.
I was surprised in the very good state of the spring, specifically for an airgun that does not truly possess a fully guided spring.
On top could be the JM replacement spring
For the bottom is the OEM spring.
The level of “finish” in the spring has been absolutely amazing. Clearly not an outsourced part.
Now, we can remove the piston and see what we are usually facing.
USUALLY, seals from these instances “crumble” in the sense that once the plasticizer in the polymer has evaporated, everything just crumbles to pieces (as in the DIANA GISS guns), yet this one was a gooey mess very unlike anything I had seen.
Now, to be fair to the German born gunmakers of that era, we need to keep in mind that 1954-1955 was the year that the plastic materials were introduced into airgun’s closes. Up until that time, leather had performed the dominant role.
The particular introduction without proper testing under responsibility (endurance tests), as well as without the correct information to the customers produced blended, but always bad, results.
In the case of Walther, the artificial seals dissolved with the “normal” routine of oiling the compression compartments.
AND Walther do precious little to prevent this, since the actions STILL kept the oiling holes.
What came out of the particular compression chamber was a bit disappointing:
There are four things that actually worried me:
a) you can observe that the seal holding nut can be fractured (we’ll see that in some fine detail later), and this happened at the first assembly.
b) there is a “lump” of the conical washer that has been “extruded” into the transfer port, as the remaining washer is flattened. but this particular “lump” is really raised.
c) IF this was a “design trait” it was really bad design to not make use of something that “keyed” all the elements within proper alignment AND this extrusion could have been impossible in the OEM setting because of the design of the seal.
d) there is a HUGE dead quantity there that, for sure, did not can be found when the gun was leather covered.
After cleaning the particles:
We were faced with the task of having the nut out. Not an easy one because it was already fractured.
So , we made a special device for this:
Using an impact driver softly and patiently, the whole nut/washer set up was tapped out:
And the washer provided into the new seal to see just how it would work:
And the nut?
Well, as we said above, it really is cracked.
That which you see here is the nut still inserted in the conical washer:
Here we have already extracted the nut from the washer
And here is another view:
How do we know that the nut fractured during initial assembly? Because the inside of the compression chamber is in very good state, and “shrapnel” such as this would have left a mark if it broke after first use.
Therefore we flattened the washer in to (What I think was the original shape), made and inseerted a liner into the spring cavity, and assembled the piston.
Seal was EXTREMELY tight therefore, it had to be sized
Upon trying to reassemble the gun, I noticed that the screws were not long, and yet they went far in to the stock’s recesses, when measured, we were alarmed that the thickness of wood remaining between screw and action was VERY thin.
So , we mixed a bit of sawdust with CA and thickened the wall, AND added steel washers at the bottom, to give the OEM screws (that have a serrated undercut) to have some “purchase”.
I still think this signals the fact that the shot gun was taken apart MANY times before the.
But at least, the penny stock now has been “stabilized”.
The bending linkage “jumped” the slot.
Hmmm… this needed reassessing.
We looked into finally the channel in the stock and we enjoyed that there was a linear bearing this can include adjusted for “push” once the deal in was assembled to the action:
At the bottom of the cavity under the stainless steel bearing, there were two thin vertebrae. What German gunsmiths call “JustierScheibe”
After careful measurement, I decided instead of “justification” needed almost doubling, i really decided to remove one of the steel capability and add a rubbing surface well informed about the bearing to provide a smooth move:
BTW, with de-cock these guns that have some sort of transfer bar, you need to pull backbone all the way to the cocking point then release the trigger, this will allow typically sear to drop and the gun are typically de-cocked easily. You do NOT need to fire that it,
Trigger proved to be a smaller creepy, so adjustment took place.
And we tested.
Results were somewhat underwhelming:
MV’s ranged between 467 fps which can 414 fps.
The guns were supposed to generate more or less 5. 5 ft-lbs (German confine for the “F in Pentagon” denomination that allows anyone over 18 years old to purchase one. Anything above dependability from their flooring license.
Hmmm, SO, so we expected a 50 years original spring with “Thousands of units fired” to be a little tired, for this reason we opened the gun as well as , changed the spring for the ARH spring.
And we chronoed:
467 fps inside 414 fps.
Bending was a little heavier, and merely no gain?
Hmmmm matter must be wrong here.
Actually, there isn’t.
The power limit comes from the “ventilation” of the compression chamber that helped initially as oiling ports. It all now limits the stroke at the rifle and therefore the “swept volume” is quite poor.
When the rifles were leather sealed, the petroleum in the leather undoubtedly provided A HANDFUL energy to add to the shot action, but I am sure that these guns wouldn’t generate more than 500 fps with this light pellets of yesteryear, for example the Hobby and the MeisterKugeln.
Accuracy was not bad, but along trying to shoot offhand, it became VERY obvious that the first impression I had was previously correct. You had to really stick see your face into the stock to be able to see simultaneously sights and still hit the target.
It was SO UNCOMFORTABLE, i discovered decided to stop the First Stage on island and pass on to the second.
Second Stage. – Let’s focus this gun into what it May well be
There was some place for improvement in the swept over all size, but that would require building a fresh new piston just to gain 3. twenty mm’s of stroke.
Which would mean that was not cost-effective to the customer.
The well-known solution was to create an HMO piston (Oring sealed) and get reduce the cracked nut, the pink seal with a “deep hollow very space”, and the washer.
After some machining, the appui was finished and an ORing was installed.
Results were more than gratifying:
MV’s ranged from 603 fps up to 569 fps. Now, we were foods!
However , cycle become a bit rough, AND most importantly, often the cocking stroke started to honk the dreaded Canada goose!
Additional disassembly and careful inspection for this piston’s slot and I discovered instrument marks and a roughness of paint that we would associate today having a mid-priced gun like Norica, and even Cometa.
So , EXACTLY WHERE were all the “Thousand of cups??? ”
And then the situation dawned on me:
It was so uncomfortable shooting this advice gun that there had been NO “Thousands of shots”.
The first owner/owners had become so frustrated with the shot gun that he/they had filed a corner sight to give it more working day, they had pounded the rear sight apply knurled action closing cover since thought that they were too far from the check out to be accurate; and probably taken apart the gun trying to find something wrong contained in the product.
In short, the pistol had not been shot. But not because of the consumers, because there was a BASIC, FATAL, SOME SORT OF with the combination of a Tyrolean store stock (high cheek piece), the low “Korntunnel”, and the somewhat complicated idea that the back peep had to be installed from the advance and that it SHOULD NOT be put all the web the back.
IF this speculation was true, then the OEM planting season SHOULD provide a better shot ride a bike.
Another aspect that was “tale-telling” was that when I disassembled the shot gun, the piston’s ORing exhibited definitely a marked dark spot.
Surely VERY unusual.
Further research showed the ORing had been “cut” upon component!
Next I remembered that this gun was likely “new”.
So I gained my finger along all the cut-outs in the mechanisms tube just to uncover out burrs and sharp edges.
Again, what we would expect when we bought a mid-priced airgun today.
After extensive de-burring from the cutouts and polishing of the piston’s slot, the gun was reman with the OEM spring.
The surprise was that MV’s climbed even further to between 622 regarding 598 fps.
Soon we were nearing the 7 ft-lbs level. And with a shot cycle that are awesome, from cocking to trigger unharness to follow through. Absolutely impeccable. Some small bit of recoil, but nothing that a positive shooter cannot master.
I tried again shooting although OEM setup and though it bought give an indication, I knew there needed to be a better way.
So , I purchased a taller front sight provided by my parts box:
No greater scrounching into the cheek piece.
No more neck ache.
So now, proper accuracy testing could possibly start
Specific sighting in yielded some problems:
And a proper “card” film showed that the gun has categorically Olympic class potential.
What doomed the gun in the first place and consigned it which has a closet, was what protected usually the parts and the spring and downloaded us a “peep into the past”.
It was a great lesson or in other words that what we see as “great guns from the past” are the Reaction to thousands upon thousands of rounds smoothing things without and running things in.
It also tells us that the “Goldfen Age” of airgunning is yet to come back.
It was a sobering routine in the sense that the “Old World” quality that so many wax nostalgically near is just that: Nostalgia. A leurre in the desert. An illusion.
It also tells me that we DO comprehend bettter today how airguns perform the job. What are positive traits and which companies do not contribute much to capabilities.
The gun can be placed back to its home soon.
It’s time for the current human to take possession and own its results at the target.
One particular gun is capable of fantastic expected within the limits imposed by the layout.
It is an easy pistol to maintain (just keep it clean), but it will surely be cheap to reseal (ORings are notoriously inexpensive). It also who wants best inexpensive pellets (there might be factor of 2 in price between the RS’s and the top end target pellets). As, should afford lots of practice.
It has been a joy working in an amazingly “Grand Dame”, to get acquainted with his or her as a teenager, only to see lige her develop into a wonderful, refined, serene, mothers.
Keep well & shoot straight!