About 18 months ago I started work on a rough and broken Record Champion air pistol. These air pistols are quite rare and very unique and so are very worthy of restoration and repair. Not only do they have a concentric oval piston and seal, but they are also side-lever cocking with a twelve-shot stick magazine that slides into the grip. Additionally, it has an adjustable two-stage trigger and a dovetail rail on which you could fit a pistol scope! How’s that for a feature-packed spring powered air pistol?
This particular example had a broken pellet probe as you can see in the photograph. A fellow collector of air guns and skilled machinist made two replacements for me. He also cleaned up the muzzle nut and machined a new pellet-probe retracting lever pivot pin. The original pin had been replaced with a filed down Allen bolt.
Some screws were also missing. I purchased replacements and blacked them by placing them in a shallow tin of mineral engine oil and gently burned the oil off with a blow torch. An empty pellet tin is perfect for this.
I could have left it at that. However, I wasn’t happy with the worn exterior. Being a project, I wanted to see if I could restore it to its original condition. Cerakote seemed to be the way to go as the original did not appear to be anodised. Cerakote is a very hard-wearing resin-based coating used for firearms amongst many other applications.
I embarked on a full strip-down of the pistol. Every last pin, clip and screw had to be removed in order for the frame to be recoated. The parts for each assembly was carefully stored in separate zip-bags and each stage of the disassembly was photographed for future reference during reassembly.
I sent the frame away to be cerakoted but on return, I was quite disappointed as the colour was grey and not black as requested. The rear sight, screws, trigger and pellet-probe window plug that were black looked clearly out of place on the grey frame. Not to mention that the muzzle nut that was also sent to be cerakoted turned out black.
This project was packed away with the intention of returning to it at some point. As the months rolled by I had forgotten all about it until just this week, someone reminded me of this project. I decided it was time to do something about it. I had some satin black spray paint leftover from a previous project. Let’s give it a shot I thought. The day was still and warm and I had half an hour to spare during a lunch break. I worked out how and where I would hang the parts to dry and then set about degreasing them with isopropanol alcohol. I carefully applied one coat of paint and left the upper and lower frame to thoroughly dry.
Some hours later I checked on the parts. I was stunned by the result. The finish was perfect as you can see in the photographs. A few days later I set about reassembling the pistol. Everything went back together perfectly. I also fitted a new piston seal that I had managed to acquire some years ago. These are like hen’s teeth to find!
With the pistol now reassembled I tested it out. It cycled and fired ok. Typically of these pistols, pellets sometimes jam in the magazine. Perhaps the pellet probe skips over the top of them and thus they do not get fed into the breech. I may investigate this further to see if any adjustments can be made.
If anyone has one of these air pistols, be warned! You must cock the pistol and leave the lever fully open to remove and refit the magazine. If you try to remove or insert the magazine whilst the cocking lever is closed, you will snap the white pellet-probe. Like me, you will need to have a new one manufactured as you will be exceptionally lucky to find any spare parts for these air pistols.
The second word of warning for you… that cocking lever is brutal! Keep your hands and fingers well out of the way when you let go of it to remove and refit the magazine. If the trigger sear gives way with your finger across the path of that lever by heck it’s going to hurt! Thwack.
So that’s one more rare pistol saved from the scrap heap. I’m quite pleased with the outcome of this one. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Until next time, happy shooting!
Are you using high quality wadcutters? It will not like anything else. RWS wadcutters were specifically listed in the original manual. If so, your magazine spring may need to be replaced.
Yeah pretty sure I was using RWS Hobby. I was going to try a bit of lubrication in the magazine first to see if that helps.
Hey I just got the chance to buy one of these today, after seeing your guide I had the confidence to go ahead and get it. It’s very weak on power so I will be studying your guide and striping it soon. It does have the grip Mark’s on the barrel nut from the last persons maintaince attempt, so hopefully it will come loose with out a fight, hoping the piston seal isn’t the problem ?
Thanks for the invaluable info?
Was it fritz or Walter barthelmes who ran the F record factory??? Anyway it was many years ago that an extremely clunker Jumbo came into my hands and I found an address for F Brecord in Heidenheim wesr Germany for you see this tale takes us back to the days before the wall dismantled I wrote to the address with drawings of all the parts I need including an oval piston washer and was delighted to receive_back a lovely bag of free spares as well as some quality ephemera in form company catalogue c/w pictures of the entire pistol production:mod. 1/mod.2/mod jumbo/mod. 66/mod.77(with anatomical grip) and final a flier for the recently invented Champion accompanied by a charming letter from Mr. Barthelmes himself he being the son of the designer of the Walter P38. Also in the catalogue an intriguing glimpse into the German Market for teargas guns, flare pistols(mini) and the scary so called fear-of-death blankfirers the Schientod-pistols popular since time began I suppose where firearms are concerned and folk shying from lethalforce
FBrecord(cont’d) Coming back to me the letter from Mr. Barthelmes where he described how he designed all the pistols produced at Heidenheim though the exception a luftwaffe survival pistol of his father’s deign still continued in production:an over and under drilling-pistol with the upper barrel chambered 22LR whilst the lower 6mmFlobert(BBcap)
Thanks for sharing your insight. All the best, Jimmie.