Gary Chillingworth looks at an HFT contender
Gary Chillingworth shows us how to change a trigger in just 20 minutes.
Over the last few issues, I have looked at two of the most advanced HFT rifles in the country today; the mighty FTP900 from Air Arms and the stunning Daystate Pulsar. Both of these guns are at the cutting- edge of airgun development and to own one is a serious investment, but to be honest, they are not everyone’s cup of tea. One of great things about the sport we all love is that there are two ends of a very large spectrum; at one, is the mighty PCP in all its glory, and at the other is the springer. Now, the springer is sometimes a much maligned (sometimes by me) piece of equipment, but over the years, they have been getting better and better and some of these rifles are now so good that they are almost more accurate than a basic PCP, and this has become a very interesting proposition.
PCP or springer?
PCPs are expensive and on top of the rifle cost, you have further outlay on kit, like charging bottles or pumps, plus a host of other paraphernalia. A high- quality spring gun, though, is self- contained and it only requires some muscle power to charge it, and a pellet to shoot out of the barrel.
In the past, I have looked at spring guns like the HW97, and my own favourite the TX200, but there are other manufacturers out there and they are making some great rifles. One of these is Walther, well known for making some of the most iconic guns in the world, from James Bond’s Walther PPK to airguns like the Dominator; the latter has helped shooters like Pete Dutton to both national and world championship victories.
“this is an accurate rifle and with a bit of work it can
be made to be a world- class rifle”
Rotating piston system
This is why we all got excited in 2012, when Walther announced they were going to bring a spring gun to the market. This rifle is the LGV and it is a thing of beauty. I was lucky enough to play with the Competition Ultra variant and for an unfettled spring gun, it’s a lovely thing to shoot. The LGV is a break-barrel rifle, and as most enthusiasts know, a breakbarrel is every bit as accurate as an under-lever. However, there is a small minority who always believe that a moving barrel is not a good thing, and that is why the LGU was born.
When you take the rifle out of the box, the first thing that you will notice is the weight; it is a heavy old Hector, and for me it felt a little front
heavy, but this 9lb weight does have other benefits. The sheer mass of the gun makes the LGU one of the least jumpy spring guns I have ever shot. When you cock the rifle and squeeze the trigger, you can feel the spring move forward, and a bit of recoil, but nothing like the normal ‘ thwack’ of an untuned springer. I messed around with a few scopes on top, and before long I found that with a heavier scope you could balance the rifle to a more neutral position and again, this increased mass made the LGU even deader to shoot.
I mentioned the ability to feel the spring move; within a spring gun you will always be fighting Newton’s third law of motion (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). In other words, when you pull the trigger and the spring flies forward, the rifle will want to fly backwards. Also, as a spring is a compressed spiral, when it is unloaded, it will want to rotate around its axis. This is not an issue, unless the spring is gripping onto a surface, and this can make the rifle twist slightly in your hand. To counter this, Walther use a rotating piston system, so the spring can spin around to its heart’s content. On top of this rotating piston, Walther have also developed its patented Silent Spring Technology and Vibration Reduction System (SST & VRS); essentially this is a mixture of Delrin rings and guides, and Delrin piston collars. The use of high- quality Delrin is a real boon for the LGU because it makes the firing- cycle a joy, and gives it one of the quickest lock times on the market today.
A fast lock time can be a real advantage for a spring gun, because you want the pellet out of the barrel as fast as possible, and this is probably why Walther has chosen to use a fairly short 12” barrel for the LGU. (Lock time is the time from trigger pull to the pellet leaving the barrel). The LGU has a reputation for not being hold-sensitive. Some spring guns have to be held lightly to make them shoot well, whilst others like to be gripped, but from what I found with the LGU, as long as you let it recoil, it did not matter how you held the rifle and it was even possible to shoot the gun with the butt resting on the ground.
Now, this brings me to the trigger. Don’t get me wrong, the LGU’s trigger is OK, but for such a great rifle it can be made better and this is where the aftermarket company, Rowan, comes in. With a few tools and a bit of time, the LGU’s trigger can be swapped out for a bladed aftermarket unit, in under 20 minutes. As you can see from the pictures, replacing the trigger with an aftermarket one is very simple. All you have to do is
drift out the main retaining pin, then remove the receiver, and once this is out, take out the grub screw, remove the two remaining flat-head screws and prise off the receiver cover. The trigger itself is retained by a spring and a star washer, so remove these carefully and place them to one side, remove and then replace the trigger, replace the spring and washer and you are done. All you have to do now is put the cover back on, put the action back in the stock and adjust the trigger to your liking - there are full instructions on how to adjust the trigger with every gun.
Easy to work on
The LGU is one of the easiest springers to work on, and the reason I am showing you how to replace a trigger is to emphasise why this rifle should be a great entrance into the world of spring guns. All springers need to be fettled; they need to be greased, lubed, polished, and taken out for romantic dinners to get the best from them. The LGU has been designed to be easy to work on and as you can see, with the removal of a single pin, a grub screw, and two flat-heads, you have access to the entire rifle.
On a spring gun, the trigger is so important, and getting it set up correctly takes a bit of time, but when you get it right, the LGU goes from shooting a group of about the size of a 10p piece at 45 yards, to a group of about the size of a 20p piece and that is in the hands of a complete springer imbecile (me).
If you are after a spring gun for hunting or HFT, then you really should look at a Walther LGU. When you hold the rifle, the scalloped beech stock is ergonomically pleasant; your hands find the grooves in the side of the stock and the laser chequering makes the gun easy to grip. The safety, located where the thumb sits, is perfect and the legendary German attention to detail and build-quality is evident in spades.
There is no doubt that this is an accurate rifle, and with a bit of work it can be made to be world- class. The fact that it is so easy to work on means you will not be at the behest of gunsmiths, and mates who can let you down the day before a comp, if your gun goes down. I have to add a caveat though - if you’re not entirely sure you can work on a gun safely, get a trained gunsmith to help you.
The LGU is a perfect rifle for beginners or shooters who want something different and if you get one, I have no doubt it will serve you well and teach you loads.
“some of these rifles are now so good, they are almost more accurate than a basic PCP”
Top: The balance is good with the scope set to the rear
Above left: Next, slide out the reciever block
Above right: Next, remove the grub screw
Main: The cocking force is quite light
Left: You can adjust for length and weight of pull
Below: With the new blade fitted, control improved
Above:The blade is only held in by a washer and a spring
Right: The pins are easy to drift out Below: It’s a goodlooking rifle in my eyes
Far right: The new trigger is full of adjustments