CZ Relum .177 (springer)

December 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm

My first rifle the .177 Relum was bought brand new in the ’60’s for £7 from a high street store that seemed to sell everything. I wanted a .22, but they were out of stock and being made in Czechoslovakia, I was told by the sales girl, that there could be a long wait. Being no difference in price, just the barrel calibre and not wanting to make a fuss, as I was only fifteen and not the required seventeen, a tin of pellets was added to the sale and I left with the box to catch the bus home.

Although cheap compared to my friend’s .22 BSA Meteor, the Relum proved very accurate and powerful, giving me entry to a band of scruffy lads, who spent many hours sinking cans and bottles along our local canal, or staking out likely rat runs at the dump, an area where unsold vegetables were left to rot in heaps along the towpath. A volley of shots would announce the untimely end of another pink tailed rodent. The older lads taught us the basics, safety, trajectory, cover, stalking and importantly, keeping quiet. This was in the days when owning an air rifle was considered a rite of passage for a teen age boy and to carry one on open land was not a criminal act, the law of armed trespass nowhere near the statute book.

The construction of this rifle was the then standard springer action. The barrel was “broken” and pulled down, compressing the mainspring, until it was cocked and held by the trigger. This exposed the rear end of the barrel, into which the waisted pellet was pushed, being held by the pellet skirt. On snapping back the barrel to the locked position, the pellet sealed against the air cylinder exhaust port. When the trigger was pulled, the spring was released, accelerating an attatched leather washer down the cylinder, until the air in the cylinder compressed enough to overcome the resistance of the pellet skirt and sent it down and out of the rifled barrel.

I recently overhauled the Relum, fitting a new spring, which brought it close to the now legal limit of 12 ft lb muzzle power and it gives good service picking off pigeons in a farmer’s barns at close range up to fifteen yards, the small calibre easily penetrated their feathery armour. I made the mistake of using one of my more powerful .22 rifles previously and noticed too late the holes appearing in the roof. Oops!