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Thread: Slight rifle restoration project...Haenel Model 303 5.6mm Air Rifle

  1. #1

    Rifle restoration project...Haenel Model 303 ... 5.6mm.. Photos addedAir Rifle

    Well I have something to play with a .22 (5.6mm British No2 Bore) Haenel Model 303 air rifle. This one is the sporting version and the air cylinder is cut with dove tails for a scope. Although it appears to be of 13mm width:-

    If I reduce the length of the dovetails on a Sports Match one piece mount it might fit but no hurry on that. Edit:- Tried that and although it does fit it's not vry good as it must be one of the 9-13mm mounts so the angles in incorrect. Proper 13mm mounts will be sort.

    First I have to give it a good going over as there is some rust on it not in the bore though by the look of it. Right now the leather piston washer is soaking oil up as it's a bit dry as is the grease on the main spring. Have no idea how old it is but this one has :-

    "Made in GDR":-

    On the rear of the air cylinder. Further up towards the breech is the Suhl Marking. The sights are based on the Mauser style:-

    And give a surprsingly good sight picture even for my tired ole eyes. The stock is of Beech wood and has rather nice grain for beech:-

    There is some restoration work to be done here like removing that offending putty repair and fill it with some thing better. Perhaps a wood plug?

    Sadly it has been allowed to rust:-

    The steel butt plate was the worst effected.

    This is after I cleaned off a lot of live rust. Now must decide how far to take the restoration. The screws will have to have their heads peened to close up the damaged slots and then trued up.

    So perhaps it's time I finally got a chronograph have been putting it off for years but one would be most useful on this project .

    Suppose I had better take some photos of it. Can't do the before photos as I spent some time today removing live rust spots. The butt plate will probably have to be re-blacked as it was bad where it's been resting on the heel.

    Be interesting to see how it shoots once all cleaned and lubed up. Meanwhile a little research will be helpful. The bit already done today tells me that they made several versions of the Model 303. Mine has the basic trigger and not the match one along with a sporting stock make from quite nicely figured Beech. The iron sights are surprisingly good to my eyes. They are a simpler version of the Mauser K98 style and the foresight blade is a typical Mauser Barlycorn although this one is missing it's hood.

    Hopefully it will useful in bagging a few Wabbits in the garden and our field.
    Last edited by Brithunter; 16-04-2012 at 09:29. Reason: Added photos changed title

  2. #2
    Oh my what a beauty,you lucky devil thats in great shape for its age!!You say you are soaking the washer in oil??I hope it is not a proprietry gun oil or some other mineral based solution??The correct oil is neatsfoot oil obtainable from old style cobblers or saddle makers/tack rooms.The old guys used fish oil if they could not get this!! but no need for that these days as neatsfoot oil is common.You may need to "massage" the washer to get it more maleable if the gun has been left unserviced for a while.This oil prevents the gun from dieselling and giving abnormal recoil.The very old gun care kits had a small bottle of this oil to drip into the port sparodically (one drop every few hundred pellets)But it soon ran out and people used all kinds of oils to try and keep the washer in shape.The theory of a little dieselling was good has been well and truly diproved now,and it is well established that no dieselling at all is the best and most consistant aid to an accurate airgun.
    Whenever I rebuild a springer I always use the most up to date lubricants on hand except for this application where the old is still the best.I use Moly Paste (not grease) on the front and rear of the piston and a fine (less is more in this case)layer of moly grease on the spring.I also found that the use of Delrin slip washers at both ends of the mainspring was a definate boon to both smooth firing and quiet spring.I know that this is not totally in keeping with the original build but is in my opinion the very best thing you can ever do for a spring rifle.
    Good luck with the project it is a fine weapon and no mistake.

  3. #3

    Thank you for the kind comments.

    Forgive for I have sinned I used Abbey #35 Silicon Gun oil squeezed into the transfer port and the piston used to suck it in. I did this several times with time in between. The Rifle had according tot he previous owner been left for about the last eight years. On firing after leaving muzzle down for a few hours to help clear any excess oil the rifle did produce a small amount of smoke in the bore but no harsh dieselling.

    Now if you think this one is in nice condition I will see if I cannot get some photos of the one a passed onto a friend for his collection. That was was like new. I kick myself when i think how I let him have it now. My interest in the Haenel brand was sparked as Dad brought a Model 15 (Tin Plate) new back in 1933 or so. So when offered this in new condition one about 8 years ago I jumped at it. I have a feeling that was marked as Model 302. I id have photos but had to make room on the storage sight to deleted them need to pull out the other memory cards and see if they may still be on one of them.

    The next thing is to acquire some 13mm scope mounts then gather the bits'n'bobs to do a full service. I have shot it a bit now and things are loosening up with new lube applied. One "problem" the barrel latch is now so effective that it requires a sharp rap on the barrel to unlock it. Of course due to the double spring recoil the old problem of scope creep will need to be addressed in some way. Haenel unlike Feinwerkbau and Weihrauch did not build in anti creep ideas and finding good 13mm mounts is hard enough and so far although searching the web have not found a recoil arrestor for 13mm dovetail.

    As yet I have not taken it down and will have to fashion a spring compressor to do so safely and easily. The days of struggling to compress spring to fit the end caps are long passed for me. I think the last one I did was on a Relum Tornado and that must have been over two decades ago now. During my web search I found Chambers site and those top hats you mention will have to contact them and see if they can do other bits for this old one like perhaps a new piston washer and breech seals.. there is no rush on this so this week the screw slots will be restored and the outside of the stock given a clean so I can have a closer look at that filled hole in the side of the butt.

    Ahhh yes and a selection of pellets to try through it and see what it likes best.
    Last edited by Brithunter; 16-04-2012 at 09:31.

  4. #4
    Depending on the style of piston and washer fitted you can get replacement washers in the new synthetic style I usually make up an end piece out of ally to screw on the piston and then fit the new style washers.This can be accomplished just using a drill and file if necessary,The power recoil on these springers cane lessened to a huge degree by careful tuning.Using the updated Delrin slips and mirror polishing the spring ends is good for starters.I also find that the modern replacement springs (aftermarket brands) are a giant leap forward in sophisticated metalurgy and design.And will give more power for less effort,this also brings down the recoil.I now have a brake cylinder Hone for the compression tube treatment but actually started off with a broom stick fashioned to fit a drill chuck and used several grades of abrasive to sort out the scratches and pitting of the old guns.I remove every single sharp edge from the all the moving parts and the slots in the cylinder.where the spring and the pistons are of a vastly differing diameter and there is room I place a tube of rolled up shim material or indeed have even used PTFE sheet on a few occasions.I have heard that the use of fizzy drinks bottles cut up is the usual home fix for the removal of the spring twang against the piston walls.
    Oh by the way SILICON oil is not a lubricant !!!!!! silicon actually acts against steel srfaces and softens them to such an extent that they can literally weld themselves together.Obviously this is dependant on use but I would never think of using silicon on any internal parts of an airgun.I use moly paste exclusively on the actual piston and touching surfaces.And as said a very light coating of moly grease on the spring,I have used moly paste mixed up with a heavy motor oil to oil the triggers and sears,again very little is required and I still have the original small tub I mixed about ten years ago and i have only used 1/4 of it on quite a number of guns for friends and aqaintances.
    One thing is that if you go with a new updated spring is that it will almost certainly need trimming to length,and then closed properly again.Simply heat the metal to a cherry red then squash the cut end back into shape and let it cool naturally.The old way of quenching will make the end too brittle.
    The polishing of the spring ends will be good no matter which spring you use,along with the top hats and slip washers from a good kit, you will probably never need anything other than a good one piece mount for the scope.The one piece mounts are the same as the twin rings in design and you can turn the catch plate round for different widths of dovetails.And if you get a sportsmatch or equivalent grade or better they will remain centred over the bore where as cheap ones will not.
    As you can probably tell I am an uncurable tinkerer and just love making things work better than when thay came out of the box.
    Good luck with this restoration.
    If you fancy redoing the stock with a good oiling kit this is the best guy in the country and the best kit as far as am concerned,I have used his stuff for ages now and never any complaints.

  5. #5
    Thank you once again.. As for the wood well I have a fair bit of practice with stocks:-

    P-H 1100 Lwt as it came I just added the scope and rings.

    Notice the damage and wear to the original finish.

    Hand rubbed oil finish.

    The mount I have I am not sure which model it is. it would help if they marked them so methinks, but it came on a used scope I brought some years back. So I am not certain which model it is or even if it is indeed a Sports Match mount. It looks like one but?

    I brought the Silicon Abbey oil many years ago for use on my Feinwerkbau Sport Model 127. It has had a few drops used on it but that's it.. I used Gun Grease LT2 on the breech pivot and locking mech . I had the spring and washers in that one changed some years back. It was getting a bit tired spring wise and Philip who did it said the PTFE piston washer was worn. Cannot say i am surprised as it's had a lot of use over the decades.

    On this Haenel there a re few little bits that need attention, nothing serious but I have noticed them so will see if I cannot put them right, first as I said will be the screws (Pins) and I will polish the butt plate and see how it comes up and how badly the rust pitting is. Will order the washers for the spring and a new spring sometime this week and take it from there.

  6. #6
    I bet this is slightly beyong the restoration stage, it was given to me by my great uncle many years ago in this condition, it had a knitting needle jammed in the bore!
    Haenel Mod 45

    Yours looks stunning BTW

  7. #7
    I have a Haenel 303 in my collection - I'll have to dig it out and take some photos.

  8. #8
    Thank you that would be appreciated. Looking on the WWW I noticed that there are a lot of variations on the configuration. This one is clearly a sporting version and lots I saw ont eh WWW in the sporting guise did not have the dovetails machined into the top of the Air cylinder. Some have the target trigger and a n lot of Model 303's are target models with the typical bulky target stock.

    The target models have the dovetails to which the aperture rear sight is fitted.

  9. #9
    Boy o Boy O boy that refinished stock is gorgeous,lovely bit of woot that.What a pity the original finishes have to hide such good grain,beneath coloured laquer.You have made a damn fine job of the refinish Too

  10. #10
    Why thank you that was not my first by a long chalk. Not long after the Handgun ban once I recieved my money this new Brno ZKK 601 joined the stable. Being new it had the factory poly finish which I find slippery if wet so I stripped the factory finish off and used a Wharthog Purdey Finishing key...................... sadly no longer available as they were VERY good and this is the result:-

    That was the scope I brought to go on it sitting in Hilver rings. The scope is a plain 6x42 and in fact I have just had it repaired and serviced by Action Optics as the pin for the "fast focus" eye piece came out allowing the ocular lens housing to almost come out under recoil. A number of years after buying rifle and scope I picked up the dedicated Zeiss Jena ZF4/N scope seen in the photos.

    I also bevelled the stock around the loading port:-

    To improve it's profile in my eyes and removed the front sling swivel as it was in my way and fabricated the barrel band. A section five one at that as it was made from a scrap has block for the SA80 rifle was working at a place in Redhill in Surrey and they had the contract for quite a few bits of the SA80 to make. The barrel bad was annealed on the prongs so they could be closed tightly around the barrel without resorting to removing the foresight.

    This Brno Model 2 was also given a fresh stock finish due the the original being tired and damaged/worn:-

    Another old re-fresh of finish:-

    Rigby Mannlicher one reason I said "mine" when the Brno ZKK came out of the box in the shop was the stocks figuring being similar to this Rigby's. Some old rifles just need a clean and a freshen up of the oiled finish:-

    Such as that on the BSA Majestic Featherweight. The cheaquering was a bit clogged up so it was carefully cleaned out.

    This P-H 1200TX just need a damned good cleaning to remove the years of accumulated sweat and grime:-

    None of the grain on the pistol grip was visable and you could scrap off the build up of sweat and grime there.

    I have to wonder why the previous owner did not clean it properly. The action and bore were well maintained but the rest of the rifle was filthy. Carl the owner of the range who saw the rifle when I did the deal to acquire it saw it again after the cleaning and remarked it looked like a different rifle. Oh have just acquired a Tasco #707 16x target scope for the 1200TX:-

    Should look good if we ever get the chance to fit it.

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