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Park RH91 Recoilless opposing-piston spring rifle

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by cloverleaf, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    As of tonight there's a bit less room in the rifle cupboard :p

    I've posted this in general rather than the gun gallery as I'm after information and it'll get more views here ;)


    The rifle is a Park RH91 (I think), a recoilless opposing-spring-piston design penned by the late Roy Hutchinson and released it 1991. Unusually for a springer it has the barrel located above the compression cylinder, the transfer port positioned directly above the mid-point where the pistons meet. The rear piston is cocked directly by the underlever while the front one is drawn forwards by a chain linked to the cocking arm (or rear piston - not quite sure) - in this respect it's much like a Whiscombe. The rifle is loaded via a bolt action, located on the RHS.

    This particular example is a beech .22. Its in very good nick considering its age, and works as it should bar the fact that it's only putting out about 8ftlb. The construction of the rifle is excellent - pretty much everything except the cocking lever release knob and stock are blued steel. Finish is a little unrefined in places, however the quality and solid build shine through.

    In use it feels dense but not overly heavy, the trigger (while a touch heavy) is an extremely clean 2-stage unit and while there's a touch of light vibration on firing, there's nothing that could be described as recoil :cool:

    In addition there's also a period "C-Tec" moderator which attaches to the barrel with a collet system; not unlike the old Webley Pro-system / PH Universal mod. It's very skinny, looks queer and doesn't achieve much, but interesting nonetheless and again very well made.

    I know these guns are pretty rare and reasonably sought-after by collectors, I also know that spares and information seem scarce while the thought of stripping it and having a look inside is somewhat daunting!


    I'm undecided as to what to do with it for now - I've always fancied one and it will probably only appreciate, however it's the wrong calibre and I have too many already... for now I'm content with sticking it on the forum for general interest's sake - might sling a 'scope on it and get it up the club tomorrow!


    Anyway, a few pics - if anyone can shed any light on the history of the rifle, model differences, production numbers, spares sources etc, I'd be most grateful :)

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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
  2. gasman

    gasman Up a bit,,,,,,,

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    very very nice, now this is what airgunning is about, I loved these gun and have always wanted one, but in .177 :),now all I can add is that these lovely guns where made in Dartford in Kent (just down the road from were I was born and me nan lives) and most of all lucky its .22 or I'd have had another trip all the way round the m25 :yehright:
     
  3. gasman

    gasman Up a bit,,,,,,,

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    oh yer and they made a RH93 :D
     
  4. JD

    JD Donator

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    Fitted with a walnut stock.
     
  5. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Donator

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    That's ace - I'd heard about that system years ago but didn't know who made it or how well it worked.
     
  6. Accuspell

    Accuspell Pro Poster

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    Chain drive to cock the two pistons, one travels forwards, the other rearwards, when the trigger is pulled they both head for the middle, where the transfer port and the pellet is. Same design was used by Stirling Arms for a training rifle, not built to the same quality though.
     
  7. engraver

    engraver Keyboard Hero

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    Don't they work just like a whiscombe? I always wondered how the patents didn't clash.

    I remember picking one up in the gunshop brand new a long time ago and IIRC it was a heavy beast, and was told they are hard to cock but I would love to actually shoot one as I was told they are truly recoiless, and accurate.

    All the best hope it goes to someone who has probably wanted one for the best part of 20yrs, at 14yrs old it was in my top 3 dream to own airguns.

    IIRC there was a walnut version also which had chequering panels on the grip and fore end, but someone please correct me if Im wrong.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  8. SteveO

    SteveO Top Poster

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    That's a nice looking rifle, the quality is evident from the pictures!

    Great British engineering. :up:
     
  9. Egg

    Egg Major Poster

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    That's a bit tasty, it looks so well machined. I'd love a go of it :up:
     
  10. Stevie Darling

    Stevie Darling Sexual tyrannosaurus

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    Another cracker mate!

    Can I come to yours to play:D
     
  11. 1961nuffield

    1961nuffield Honorary Member

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    Very nice, thanks for putting the pictures up, I have one of the Diana recoilless pistols and they are odd things to shoot!

    John
     
  12. 18 Wheeler

    18 Wheeler Busy Member

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    Designed by Roy Hutchinson, hence the letters in the rifle designation - RH91. He also had a hand in designing the Sterling HR81/83 and BSA VS2000.

    Built by GAFAC Eng in Dartford, now Kennard Eng.

    First available in April 1991 (hence the 91) costing £300 in Beech, £350 with a walnut handle. The first 700 rifles were all .22, after which both calibres were produced. They should do 10ft/lb+ when operating correctly.

    The RH93 was introduced in 93(!), and added a safety catch, there was also a thumbhole stock available. Total production numbers are thought to be in the 2-3000 range.

    Whilst it is an interesting design, and has a high quality finish, by 1991 PCPs were becoming mainstream. You could buy a Titan MC010 for under £200, whilst a regged AA SM100 was about the same price as the RH91, so selling these heavy spring guns was always going to be a struggle. The 93 model eventually drifted into obscurity, by 1995 they had essentially been consigned to history.

    Interesting rifles, and some of the Walnut stocks are of unusually high quality. No idea about spares I'm afraid.

    HTH
     
  13. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks guys :)

    Yes. I believe the Sterling rifle you're referring to is the HR81; which to the best of my knowledge had a more straightforward recoiling spring / piston setup ;)


    Aye, I thought similar re. the Whiscombe.

    Yes, there were Walnut stocked versions as well; both a sporter and (possibly on the later RH93) a TH effort too :)

    I'm quite intrigued by this rifle (and would like to get it working to it's full potential) so for the time being it won't be going anywhere!


    Thanks - think you might have be a substantial round trip :p


    Thanks - the Dianas operate using the "Giss" system I believe - where the pistons travel away from each other during firing, and only the front one compresses any air. Another innovative system that I find very interesting. Not a whole lot of fun to work on though, by many accounts :p


    Thanks for all the info - didn't know a lot of that!

    I can completely understand the reasons for the demise of recoilless spring guns in the face of the PCP onslaught; the TX200SR being another example and one that came out at approximately the same time as the park, too. From an engineering perspective I find these guns very interesting, however I can appreciate why a PCP makes a better tool for most jobs, novelty aside.



    Not being able to leave anything alone for very long, I pulled the barrel out of the rifle last night and gave it a clean. The previous owner seems to have kept it practically submerged in oil (possibly the evil WD40); leaving brown sticky deposits everywhere. Better than having rust all over the action though :)

    The barrel was pulled through and was absolutely filthy - as a result of the amount of burning lubricant being sprayed down it with every shot, I imagine. The over-zealously applied, congealing oil has clearly found it's way pretty much everywhere - I'm hoping that it's causing drag on the pistons and is hence responsible for the low / inconsistent muzzle energy.

    I've found a disassembly guide (and it doesn't sound too bad tbh) so hopefully once I've secured a chain separator and summoned the knackers to get the tools out; it will come to bits for a damned good clean!

    In other news the rifle is certainly unique in many ways - it's construction relies heavily on fabrication - both the action block and main trigger / lever housing underneath are welded on (can't think of any viable alternatives tbh); so it really doesn't have that many separate parts.

    Will keep the forum updated of my progress - as usual though don't hold your breath ;)
     
  14. 177

    177 Donator

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    I had an RH93 back in the day and I loved it.

    It weight a bloody ton - I seem to remember well over 11 pounds scopes - might even have been 12 :eek:

    It could shoot the nads off a gnat thought.

    I was never overly concerned about air rifle power, mainly due to the overall scarcity of chronos outside of some RFDs.

    My local telephone directory 'chrono' indicated similar power to my Fenman, so I very scientifically concluded that was enough to hunt with. After the first trip I rarely took it out though - it's not a fun gun to cart around for a day on the hills...

    I've often thought about getting another one to monkey on with, mainly for the sake of nostalgia :)

    Have fun with it.
     
  15. smudgerii

    smudgerii Busy Member

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    I had the good fortune to shoot one of these once... Weird to shoot a spring gun without it recoiling. Awesome engineering .
     
  16. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks :)

    Sadly it appears that this one isn't living up to the generally favourable rep these guns seem to have.

    Even after quite a few shots to try and clear it out, it's still chucking out a lot of excess lube and / or dieselling. Consistency is terrible and following a trip to the club on Wednesday, I now know that you couldn't it the proverbial barn door were you stood inside the proverbial barn :p

    I'm still hoping that all this is the result of the previous owner's penchent for drowning everything in (probably unsuitable) oil and still intend to strip and relube it when I get the time. Fap knows what I'll do if it needs parts, though...
     
  17. Oilman

    Oilman Newbie

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    I have an RH91 which requires attention, oldest son (34) let the cocking lever go and as such the place where the barrel attaches has come away.
    Any one know where I can get this fixed. Does anyone have an exploded diagram of the gun.
    Pity as it was in mint condition with the walnut stock model in .22
     

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