Author Topic: My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)  (Read 12890 times)

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Offline Airsporterman

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My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)
« on: July 17, 2012, 07:33:19 PM »
Many years passed, the Family grew from babies to adults, the Mortgage changed from a millstone to a forgettably small monthly payment thanks to some endowment policies that actually lived up to their intended promise (some didn’t) and paid off huge chunks of outstanding mortgage in big bites!

Still have the Airsporter’s but the holy grail of Airsporter’s (a Mk1) was still but a dream.

I contacted my local favourite gun shop in Newcastle (still there) and spoke to the Manager/owner, lovely guy, I was after a replacement stock for my Mk4. "Don't have one but keep on trying, we get them in from time to time!"
I also joined a couple of Air rifle forums and enjoyed the 'banter’ with like minded enthusiasts, surprisingly (to me) there were a lot of similar people to me out there with similar interests, some older and some younger.
A lot were my age and remembered the golden days of fun shooting in your parents back garden without running the risk of being visited by the boys in blue, least of all a fully equipped tactical squad of trigger twitching firearms team.

I put the obligatory wanted adverts in the forums, not expecting much success.
I rang my local gun shop and was told they had an Airsporter stock, second hand in for sale in good nick, it was £60.
My Wife and I drove into Newcastle the following Saturday morning, first time I had been into town for many years without going in for work!
The stock was indeed in good condition but it was for an earlier Airsporter, a Mk1 or Mk2, no splits or repairs to the pistol grip area (a common problem)
Alan the Manager came over for a chat, I told him I was after a Mk1 Airsporter, “Keep contacting us, we do get them from time to time”! I was surprised to hear.
I decided to buy the stock and he accepted £50 cash!
I kept in touch via e-mail, Alan is a lovely guy and liked to reminisce  about the shop in the old days when his father worked there before him.

I saw an advert in Gunstar, for a refurbished Mk1 in nice condition, however, the rifle was a little more than I wanted to pay, I noticed that he also had an action for a Mk2 for sale (no stock) Only the week before, I had acquired a good second hand stock for a Mk1/2 so I knew I had one that would fit!

I contacted the guy who lived in a village just outside Manchester, we agreed I would drive down and look at the Mk1, he agreed to defer the sale until I had viewed it to save me a long wasted journey and petrol. I told him that at the very least, I would buy the Mk2 action (as I knew I had a suitable stock for it) as he was only after £50 for it.
My Wife and I drove down as arranged for the following Saturday, it was a pleasant enough drive on a nice sunny day. (remember those?)

The guy was younger than me but was an obvious passionate collector of older air rifles, he even had an old German Gem like the one I had owned as a kid amongst his collection, it was for sale too but I was there to buy an Airsporter.
The next thing I knew, I had a nice looking Mk1 in my hands, he told me that he had owned it for as long as he could remember, he had recently had it refurbished with all new updated piston/seals and spring etc, the rifle had been re-blued at MAG but he was now in the process of selling off a lot of his older guns.
The price was higher than I wanted to pay but the overall condition was very good for a rifle of it’s age, the blueing was the best I had seen on an Airsporter. (or anything else)

I tried cocking the action a few times, the piston seemed free enough and the trigger assembly appeared fine.
I asked about the MK2 action and that too was produced in a jiffy.
I was expecting something pretty rough, however, apart from the fact it was missing it’s stock and the rear sight, (dovetail fitting) it too appeared okay.
A deal was done to buy them both and money exchanged hands and I became the owner of a MK1 and a Mk2 Airsporter.
The trip back home seemed much longer as I couldn’t wait to see my new acquisitions.
Of course, the Mk1 was the focus of my attention and I was very pleased with it, the blueing is first rate, I believe Colin Molloy of MAG does the blueing and maybe he did this one – it was first rate.
I love the MK1 for it’s one piece tapered barrel, indeed the only Airsporter to have a tapered barrel.
The stock has been refinished to a good or at least for me an acceptable standard (walnut?)
The mk2 was offered up to the stock I had purchased exactly I week previously. It was obvious that some minor easing of the wood would have to be done in the region of the loading tap area, also, the groove in the front of the stock to permit the linkage for the self opening tap to operate wasn’t wide enough and had to be eased, it’s hidden when fitted on the rifle anyway.
The next problem was getting a large stock bolt for the rear pistol grip, this threads into the tapped alloy trigger housing and is an odd imperial size.

I looked through all my nuts and bolts and could only find one that fitted exactly but the bolt was way  too short.
I bit the bullet and went to a local Fishing and Shooting shop, “I am after an Airsporter stock bolt please.”
“Yes I have those but they are £10.
Thinks (£10 for a 4” long bolt!!!)  “okay I will take one!”
Man reaches for a plastic oddments box and gets a bolt out and slaps it on the counter.

“Mmmm, that looks rather long that!” says I.
“Well it’s an Airsporter stock bolt, I bought a few of them a while back!”

“Can I try my nut on it as I know the threads and pitch are the same”?
“Be my guest!” says he confidently!

“It doesn’t  fit!”

“Here, let me try”!
He cannot get it to thread neither, he looks at me – “You sure this is right?” he asks.
“I am sure, this thread on this nut and bolt fit both my Mk2 and my Mk4 Airsporters.
He sneers then walks off into the back shop and rummages around, finally reappears with a very mangled old Airsporter action. He picks up his Airsporter stock bolt and looking me in the eye tries to start threading it into the Airsporter action – it doesn’t fit!
He asks for my short bolt – it threads straight in, perfectly!
He tries a couple more of his Airsporter stock bolts from the box in his mangled Airsporter action, cannot get any of them to fit!!
Looks at me sarcastically, “Cannot help you then!”

I walked out of the shop with my money and pride still intact.
Bought two stainless steel bolts off a seller on e-bay, brand new – got two for £2.40!!! that’s more like it!

The Airsporter Mk2 was now re-assembled with the Mk1 stock I had with the little mods done to the tap area – perfect.
I also looked for a while and acquired a decent fold down rear sight, the correct one and for a reasonable price, much better than buying a replica remanufactured one for £ 18 + postage.
That too was fitted so now I had a fully assembled working Mk2, I didn’t set out to get a Mk2 and I suppose I should probably sell it as it’s the Mk1 that really lights my fire.

The Mk2s seem to be selling for quite high prices now, I guess I had intended to improve the finish on the Mk2 but to be honest, it’s not bad for a rifle of it’s age and has a kind of genuine patina to it that would be a pity to spoil, so I have chosen to leave it as is.
A lot of guys seem to favour the Mk2s but for me it has to be that gorgeous tapered barrel on the Mk1s that wins the day!
I have subsequently been lucky enough to acquire two other nice Mk1s, who knows, maybe a part 4 at some time?

atb
Airsporterman

I am a Man of La Mancha (Northumberland) a true Knight and spend my days on my Quest ( my duty nay privilege!) and fighting dragons and unbeatable foe, to right the unrightable wrongs, to bear with unbearable sorrow  and dreaming my impossible dreams.  Whether I win or lose does not matter - only that I follow the quest!

Offline Gambo

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Re: My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 09:13:07 PM »
Yet another cracking read Col...thanks for taking the time and effort to post it. ;)

It's great to hear that you have found what you were looking for....all good things and all that!! (are you taking note, Phil?  ;))


Only recently (within the last two or three months) I sold a Mk2 on behalf of a club member.

It was advertised on here, and was SOR down in Keens Guns in Bridgend.

The quality of those old 'sporters was above and beyond that of later models.


I'd never had an Airsporter in my youth, but about 4 or 5 years ago the opportunity came up to buy one, and buy one I did.

IIRC, it was a MK5, but it just didn't float my boat, or live up to my expectations, and so I sold it on.

IMHO, the 'flagship' Airsporters of mid-late 70' early 80's were not a patch on the supposedly 'lesser' Mercury, which remains my favourite BSA spring air rifle.

Offline anightrains

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Re: My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2012, 08:31:12 AM »
yet another cracking read thanks col i think most on here wait for your next instalment.
ATB brian  :)
A few rifles  and a few pistols and a pet dragon that flew off

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Offline Airsporterman

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Re: My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2012, 09:38:10 AM »
Thanks for the nice comments Guys, I am sure the reality is "Oh my God, (or expletive deleted!) he's back spouting off about his precious Airsporters again, the prat wants to get a life, what does he know about Air rifles!"

Probably right too!  ???

I love my Airsporters and I am happy to restrict myself to them, they give me more satisfaction than any other rifle, I can get more enjoyment of ownership from a Mk1 I have just bought for £80, than most would from a rifle they had just paid 10x as much or more for.

I am in awe of these modern PCP rifles with precision accuracy etc  but they lack that 'raw' element, it's a bit like the arguement about .22 over .177 (or the other way round) it cannot be argued or defined, you either agree or you don't. I would never want a PCP, nor would I want a .177 but that's not saying they are not better.

I came from a time/background where there wasn't any money, it wasn't that my Dad  hadn't a good job, he did! It wasn't that long after the war years that had drained this country of it's wealth. (and a generation or more of good Men and Women) There was no one around that had any money to spend, that was the 'norm'.
I find it hard to spend 'over the odds' on certain things and whistle through my teeth (yes they are all still my own) at some of the money Guys spend on Gimb stocks and this or that scope, but that's just me and my life 'conditioning'.

I have finally reached the point in my life where I can afford most things I desire, yet, it would spoil it for me if I had to pay more for something than I knew it was worth, it's a little like the Centenary Airsporter, I could 'afford' to buy one at any price, however, I would get no enjoyment from owning one knowing how much I paid for it!
My Wife Angie (Trackerlady) likes shooting and Air guns, she knows how much I aspire to a Centenary Airsporter, I showed her pictures of one that was up for sale, "How much is it?" she asked, "£700!" I replied. "Why don't you buy it and treat yourself then!" she said in all sincerity and walked out of the room.
Imagine the temptation, for me it was simple, If I paid that much money for a rifle not worth even half that amount, I simply wouldn't enjoy it's ownership! :-\

Sorry for prattling on again, it's just me, anyway, I enjoy writing about my Airsporters as long as you appreciate reading, if not, I suppose you can always just ignore these posts, I suppose like most of my age group, most will understand where I am comming from as you will have had the same sort of background etc as me! Some of the younger Guys may not.

Gareth, I have to say that you are probably right about the Mercury, however, the Airsporter was always the 'Flagship' of the BSA range of rifles at the time and always cost more than the Mercury.
For me, all things considered, the pinacle of the Airsporters was a Mk1, however, I rate my Airsporter  'S' Carbine with its oiled Walnut stock (bought new in 1985/6) almost as highly. Any of the 'S' range of Airsporters/ Mercuries are probably as good, if it's a good example/condition.
I have had a lot of fun with my 'plinking' Mk4 Airsporter that I bought secondhand back in the early 70s and I didn't pay much for that.

atb
ASM
I am a Man of La Mancha (Northumberland) a true Knight and spend my days on my Quest ( my duty nay privilege!) and fighting dragons and unbeatable foe, to right the unrightable wrongs, to bear with unbearable sorrow  and dreaming my impossible dreams.  Whether I win or lose does not matter - only that I follow the quest!

Offline Gambo

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Re: My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 10:07:54 AM »
Thanks for the nice comments Guys, I am sure the reality is "Oh my God, (or expletive deleted!) he's back spouting off about his precious Airsporters again

Not at all Colin...I find it very heartening and uplifting that someone such as yourself has a real passion for their airguns as you so obviously do, and is willing to take the time and effort to post about them.....and after all, that is why this forum is here, and what it's for.


I completely understand your view about how owning more expensive airguns may not give the same satisfaction as the cheaper/lesser models can.

Certainly, the most expensive airguns I own are not necessarily my favourites.....infact, shooting a Relum Tornado will put just as big a grin on my face as shooting a very expensive, top quality, cutting edge PCP, possibly moreso.


So please don't think that you shouldn't be posting about your 'sporters Col....this is a discussion forum....and an AIRGUN discussion forum at that....we are all on here coz we want to hear/talk about airguns.

So post away till your hearts content Mucker....as I'm sure I speak for many when I say we enjoy reading your ditties.

Offline Ieazo

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Re: My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 02:52:41 PM »
Thanks ASM, I too enjoy your posting so please don't stop.

I have a different background but grew up plinking with an old Milbro G25 in the garden, mostly at tin cans on a skateboard....not really sure why the skateboard tbh?!?!?

I loved every minute of that, targets, cans and foodstuff that have ruined like melon, apple or whatever, and it was with a .177 which almost never fatally wounded the cans, or the melons ;)

But I wanted to get into vermin control because I love nothing more than being out in the countryside, I don't live in a big town bt I hate Citys, vermin control allows me to be out there and gain a greater understanding of nature whilst pursuing a sport I love. That is why I moved onto pcps because IMHO they are more suited to the job in hand. Oh yes they are silly money and I bought a new Walnut stocked S510 for my first pcp which if t weren't so damn pretty and effortless to shoot I'd have sold by now. My second pcp is a BSA Superten (I have also owned an Ultra which I sold) which is a much better hunting rifle, if only because I don't worry about a scratching or damaging my S510 whilst crawling about a field or through bushes you get the idea.

My HW97k was bought because I always wanted one, ever since I was little and I was not disappointed after having shot it for a year and a half but decided to have it v-glided by Lyn. It is now a lovely rifle to shoot and cherry on the top was the laminate stock Gareth helped source for me, thanks again :) I will never part with this one, I'd sell all other rifles but this one!!!

Sorry I digress, keep up the good work ASM
Springers:- SMK VXS19 - 18 GRT3 trigger & HW97k V-Glide
PCP's:- Uncle Barry's Daystate Mk3 (FAC), BSA Superten & AA S510
FAC :- Anschutz 1417 .22LR, CZ 452 .17HMR & Tikka T3 .223 1:8
Shotguns:- 12 Gauge Bettinsoli Xtrail O/U & Beretta A302 Semi-Auto

Offline Airsporterman

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Re: My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 03:55:03 PM »
I hope people don't think I am 'pontificating' when I spout on about things, what's right for me isn't necessarily right for the next bloke. I am not one of these that thinks he knows it all cause I know that I don't. I don't always get things right neither, however I try to eliminate mistakes as they can be wasteful/expensive.

I appreciate the other guys point of view, even though it may differ to my own.
I don't begrudge people spending a lot on a rifle or stock, if that's what pleases them and gives them pleasure, or assists in their hunting then theyv'e worked for it /earned it - fair do's!

I have often said that if I was a serious shooter, ie target or game, I would not be shooting with an Airsporter, it likely would be a PCP. (even though I personally don't like them particularly)

Iain, I too am very much a Rural type, I love Architecture, especially most older buildings, I especially like Scottish architecture and Edinburgh is one City I am happy to be in.
Most modern cities I stay away from, have no desire to visit, I feel claustrophobic, not in a panicky sort of way, just in a I don't really want to be here kind of way.
I also don't like crowds of people or huge gatherings of people and so avoid them, again not scared, I just prefer not!
I am happiest in the countryside, I only wish I had the means to  live comfortably there.
I live in a semi rural setting which is affordable and acceptable.
If I won the lottery, I would have a Lochside cottage with a private jetty somewhere in Scotland, where would be the problem as I would be spoilt for choice!
The other option would be a nice residence on Lindisfarne in Northumberland, I could be quite happy there!!!  :)

atb
Airsporterman
I am a Man of La Mancha (Northumberland) a true Knight and spend my days on my Quest ( my duty nay privilege!) and fighting dragons and unbeatable foe, to right the unrightable wrongs, to bear with unbearable sorrow  and dreaming my impossible dreams.  Whether I win or lose does not matter - only that I follow the quest!

Offline Gambo

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Re: My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2012, 04:27:41 PM »
I hope people don't think I am 'pontificating'

Nah....only 'Ponty' could do that!!!  ;)

Offline Airsporterman

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Re: My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2012, 06:05:43 PM »
I guess I would sell the Mk2 for £150, after all, thats about what it owes me after buying the action, the stock, the rear sight, the stock bolt etc! Seen some selling for almost twice that for rifles probably no better. As it is I will probably never use it!  :o
It's in the proper cal too!  ::)

ASM
I am a Man of La Mancha (Northumberland) a true Knight and spend my days on my Quest ( my duty nay privilege!) and fighting dragons and unbeatable foe, to right the unrightable wrongs, to bear with unbearable sorrow  and dreaming my impossible dreams.  Whether I win or lose does not matter - only that I follow the quest!

Offline Gambo

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Re: My Love for the BSA Airsporter MK1 (Part 3)
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2012, 06:25:38 PM »
£150 is what the Mk2 I sold went for.

It was not mint, but was quite a nice example, which shot superbly.