This Czech Drulov DU-10 “Condor” target pistol was a recent birthday present from Jimmie Dee Snr, thanks, Dad!
Information is very scarce about Drulov or Družstvo Lověna (later “Dilo” Svratouch (National Cooperative), Litomyšl, Czechoslovakia) or perhaps Lověna-Družstvo, Czech Republic. It’s hard enough to determine what the company name is now or then or if it still exists! What I do know is that the company was originally founded in 1925 and that this interesting five-shot “semi-automatic” CO2 target pistol was designed by Vladimir Uhrinčat in 1975. The first prototype, designated TAU 10, was completed in 1980 and was originally designed for competition use in the Olympic Rapid Fire 10m category.
I am informed by a fellow collector from Romania that this particular pistol is an early model. Later models are supplied in a hard plastic foam-lined case whereas this one was supplied with a factory faux leather satchel case. It is complete with the instruction manual, factory test target and all of the factory accessories except perhaps a bulk fill adaptor. My Romanian friend also tells me that an 8g CO2 capsule adaptor was also available. I wondered what seemed to be missing from the empty loop in the case. I thought it was for a screwdriver as the pistol is supplied with all the other tools necessary for adjustments and maintenance.
To load the pistol, the breech is opened by turning the knob under the rear sight anticlockwise and then withdrawing it. This exposes the combined breech and inline five-shot tube magazine. Five pellets are loaded head to tail into the tube. The breech, with the spring-loaded probe, is pushed forwards and then turned clockwise to lock it in position and seal the breach.
It’s easy to think that the pellets are loaded directly into the rifled barrel. However, the spring-loaded probe isn’t strong enough to push the pellet into the barrel. Instead, the pellet is positioned just ahead of the barrel’s breech and a four-pronged claw holds it in place behind the skirt. This prevents the pellet from travelling backwards. The transfer port is just behind the pellet skirt and when the pistol is fired, the blast of CO2 forces the pellet into and down the barrel.
The semi-automatic action uses a “blow-back” style mechanism where part of the CO2 exhaust is also used to cock the hammer which is located under the barrel. Under the muzzle is a screw that adjusts the hammer spring tension which directly affects the power of the pistol. Or at least it should. I noticed during testing that it barely made any difference. Something my Romanian friend has also noticed.
The pistol takes a standard 12g CO2 capsule which is contained in the grip. The piercing cap is removed using a cylindrical tool that has two lugs that engage with the cap. The opposite end of this tool can also be used to remove the grip nut allowing the grip to be removed. This is necessary in order to reach the trigger adjustment screws.
The trigger is adjustable in reach, pull-weight, pull length and let-off point. It’s not the best trigger in the world although with careful adjustment a reasonable two-stage trigger can be achieved. However, I noticed during testing that the second stage adjuster crept with twenty or so shots which is a little disconcerting considering the screws are spring-loaded to prevent any creep. A small drop of low strength Loctite on the screw thread should solve this problem.
The 12g CO2 capsule is inserted neck last as the piercing pin is built into the cap. The cap also seals the CO2 chamber with an o-ring seal against the tube wall. However, the pistol must be cocked before screwing the cap down in order to relieve any pressure that might be exerted on the valve by the hammer. Otherwise, the pistol is likely to leak until it is cocked.
A safety catch is provided on the left-hand side which, when in the lower or “safe” position, prevents the hammer from striking the valve. However, it doesn’t prevent the shooter from pulling the trigger which will nonetheless release the hammer albeit without firing the pistol.
The sight adjusters are firm with spring-loaded ball-bearings to give precise adjustment of elevation and azimuth. The match grip is stippled walnut with an adjustable palm shelf. I found it to be comfortable and fitted my hand well.
Although the pistol was designed to compete in Olympic Rapid Fire 10m events, I think that it’s probably not up there with the best of target pistols. Mind you, technology has moved on a lot since 1975 so perhaps I am being a little harsh.
At maximum power, it achieved an average of 2.37 ft/lbs. It wasn’t any different when set to low power either! Of course for a target pistol, it is about consistency rather than power. Unfortunately, I think it lacked in that regard as well. Using RWS R10 Match Premium Line pellets straight from the tin and giving the pistol a few seconds between shots, I found the standard deviation was 8.5 fps whilst the variance was a whopping 33.8 fps! I’m no expert in target pistols so you tell me if that’s acceptable. I suspect it isn’t.
Amazingly though, the Drulov DU-10 manages to accomplish all of the functions of a feature-packed semi-automatic target air pistol with very few parts. It’s also easy to strip down making it easy to maintain should a leak occur.
Interestingly, Drulov also produced a semi-automatic rifle version called the “Eagle“. It used the same core components as the Condor except it was fitted with an extended barrel and a rifle stock. The rear sight was moved forwards to where the foresight is located on the pistol and, as you would expect, the foresight was moved to the end of the barrel.
Despite the power variance and trigger adjustment issues, it’s a nice pistol. It probably passes as an entry-level pistol for competing in rapid-fire competitions or perhaps as a trainer. Either way, I shall enjoy it at the range!
Until next time, happy shooting!