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Advice Sterling Armaments Co. HR 81

Discussion in 'Vintage collectable airguns' started by Trouserferret, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. Trouserferret

    Trouserferret Donator

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    Hi all,

    I've a mate who has been passed one of these from his Da, bought new in '82. In fair condition, with minor pitting to the blueing (nothing major), good condition stock (a couple of minor dings, but nothing deep) and a one piece mount with a 3-9X40 scope on it. The original sights are still on the rifle. The bolt action is smooth and solid. Big beast of a gun, but feels okay to shoulder.

    Having done a fair bit of reading up on it, it seems that these can vary in price from £150-£350 and he's looking for a valuation for it.

    It's a bit (really) twangy, and seems to be sticking pellets wherever it feels like after 10 shots or so today. Had a spread of around 6 inches! I've given the barrel a clean as it was dieseling quite badly, but have to wait 'til I'm off work again to stick a few pellet through it. I'm gonna take the scope off and see if it settles down with the iron sights, the no-name optics that are on it are maxxed on the elevation and it's still hitting low (and to the left/right:confused:). The recoil off the thing is mental, and it jumps a fair bit. Cocking is a bit graunchy, feels like the spring is dry and it needs a teardown and some fettling done. Trouble is, Chambers are the only ones doing anything with regards to the internals nowadays, and we're not sure it's worth working on it first or just putting it out there as is. I imagine just getting a good gutting and a lube would work wonders for it.

    It's a well built rifle, but some of the insides are a bit mad (leather piston seal for example), and probably as rare as rocking horse poo nowadays. We were wondering if anyone has any recommendations on what to do? Sell as is, or spend a bit and sort it out first? Would the outlay and work be worth it?

    Any advice appreciated,

    Mick
     
  2. gunsnlandies

    gunsnlandies Busy Member

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    These things can be tamed with a bit of work. Mine as I've said before, is probably my all time favourite (no accounting for taste, I know).
    You can get a few spares from here.
    http://www.proteksupplies.co.uk/sterling-hr81-parts.html
    The low POI is due to low power I would think. If it hasn't been used for a long time time, the TP seal has hardened and more than likely split under load. You only notice if looking carefully. When I bought mine as a wreck, it went well for about ten shots, then blew said seal. The piston seal is a large leather cup. This may also have hardened. They fall apart where they're bolted to the end of the piston. Don't try and save money by fitting a normal O ring as a TP seal.... they blow apart within a dozen shots. Done that, been there!
    Mine has been polished internally. A Titan spring fitted. At this point it is worth stating, there is about 40lb pre-tension on the spring. A piston liner fitted which has de-twanged it. Trigger has been polished.
    In my opinion well worth the effort and money needed spending on it. But then I'm fairly well blinkered to their shortcomings.
    This is my one in all it's glory



    View attachment 93576
    Brian
     
  3. Tripleteer

    Tripleteer Donator

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    As above! Well worth the time and money spent restoring the rifle, looks good too. Atb Paul.
     
  4. Trouserferret

    Trouserferret Donator

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    I must say, I've seen your work on that thing through the search bar. It's gorgeous! A world apart from the poor soul I've been having a look at. Thanks for the help, I'll try and stave him off selling it straight off. Even if it is blinkered, your view on it certainly has me interested in this as a project. It'd be sad to see something that has so much promise be left neglected and thrown off as junk.

    I'll see what his Da has to say about it, he might not even want to sell it once the thing is running as it should... ;)

    Edit: Gotta say thanks for that link, too. That place is a goldmine!
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  5. Squirrelking

    Squirrelking Donator

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    So, necro thread resurrection time, guess who was handed said gun before the deadline?

    It's certainly a project, the top of the bolt guide looks like something has been dug into it all along so it's as rough as anything, I'll need to smooth and polish that to get it running nicely. The foresight assembly is too far back so the underlever catch doesn't click straight in and looks like it's been fired with the lever down at some point as there is an almighty dent the same shape of the locking pin on the bottom.

    I take it that the o-ring Protek list (ST52) will be the proper one then? I have read another source (concerning Benjamin variants) that glued o-rings in effectively but I'd rather avoid doing that if I can. For the sake of £2.50 it seems like a no brainer to just get the proper seal and from there I can easily size it and find the generic equivalent (and even if I can't I still have a seal!). A spring compressor is on my to-do list as soon as my s**thole of a loft/workshop is cleared out and I have room to move.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  6. gunsnlandies

    gunsnlandies Busy Member

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    Can't comment on the TP seal as I never bought one. Made mine from spinning up a bit of PTFE rod. I would certainly get a new leather piston cup seal when ordering though. My one had cracked along the bottom edge whare it turns up against the cylinder wall. The new one will need a good soak in Neatsfoot oil if you have it for 48 hours. Massage it in a couple of times a day while it's soaking. I did try a synthetic seal, but the leather one works far better.
    This was how it looked when I bought it.
    View attachment 150215 View attachment 150216
     
  7. Squirrelking

    Squirrelking Donator

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    Well I gave it a test shot, as Mick said the Webley scope is well out, at 5 yards it's aiming about an inch high however the grouping seemed reasonably tight. Once I get the scope off and up the range I'll be able to say for sure, I was told he had opened it up and done some work so it may not be in as bad nick as he described.

    As for overall condition, well it looks a boatload better than yours did, you must have put some serious graft in to get it back to the condition it's in! Can see why you think so highly of it if it's a labour of love. I'll have a look at your old thread as no doubt it'll throw up some useful info. For such a "rare" gun it seems there is just enough info on the web to give me hope that it will be fairly low maintenance.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The bolt slide damage:
    [​IMG]

    Foresight damage:
    [​IMG]

    You can see how far back the sight is in relation to the spring lock:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  8. gunsnlandies

    gunsnlandies Busy Member

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    At least your sprung plunger works. I had to drill out the end of mine as it had rusted solid. Made a new plunger up with a slot in it, then fixed in place by drilling and pinning the lever.
    You could always take the block off and drill a couple more locating dimples in the barrel a bit further back. Loctite the grubscrews as they have a habit of working loose.
    I found the barrel on mine wasn't pellet fussy. But JSB Exacts/AA Fields were the best.
     
  9. Squirrelking

    Squirrelking Donator

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    Would imagine they would be the ones to go for, will probably get a tin of Premiers just for knocking about. Ashamed to say I'm still burning through the free tub of Bulldogs I got. Should really have offered it for free fishing lead, about all they're good for.
     
  10. Ratdog

    Ratdog Banned

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    I saw one of these in a shop in Dudley as a teenager, always wanted to have a try of one. Do they do 12 easily?
     
  11. gunsnlandies

    gunsnlandies Busy Member

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    I had my one up there while working on it, but it shoots nicer at 10.5fpe.
     
  12. Ratdog

    Ratdog Banned

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    Ok, thanks.

    R.
     
  13. gasman

    gasman Up a bit,,,,,,,

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    I had one of these, was mint too, one of the ones I regret selling
     
  14. norris

    norris Engaging Member

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    I'm looking for one!
     
  15. Squirrelking

    Squirrelking Donator

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    Well I finally got it up the range. The scope is completely toast, can't get the reticule anywhere close to zero, might work for a rail gun but magnification may be an issue. On the iron sights, fantastic. Heavy but accurate. Looking forward to a day out with this next month. Oh, and ditched the Bulldogs, Superdomes all they way!

    Shame the same can't be said for the Diana 430, front blade is twice as thick as it needs to be and just about obscures the whole target and the piston is having sear engagement issues.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017

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