Thursday, April 10, 2014

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Survival Air Rifles: Follow up on the Shanghai B1 Air Rifle

I received the Shanghai B1 this last Thursday.

The gun arrived in good shape cosmetically. It had a nice finish on the wood stock, and the metal parts were nicely blued, and of durable construction. The steel barrel was nicely rifled. The gun is somewhat short, and is light weight at 5.5lbs. For $30.00 (Really $50.00 after shipping and tax) this is a very nice gun!

Out of the box, the gun was pretty much sighted in, with the windage being perfect. At about 20 metres (60ft) I had to aim a little low to hit a beverage can that I was shooting at. Shot placement was pretty consistent, providing that I performed my part well. The sights were close enough on arrival, that I didn't even bother trying to adjust them further. The gun is also pretty quiet, unlike many of the super air guns with their all telling supersonic crack. This little gun is a very nice shooter for the price.

It was mentioned by many reviewers, that the chinese pellets that the gun shipped with, were the only ones that would fit the gun. The other industry standard pellets were too large, and that it was necessary to slightly ream the breech so that other brands of pellets would load. I did find that the pellets that the gun came with were easier to slip into the bore, but that my Crossman premium grade pellets fit just fine, so no problems with my particular gun. The gun was pretty easy to cock as well. The sights are constructed of all metal, and are of surprisingly good quality considering the price of the gun. The rear sight has an elevation setting (No windage) and the front sight is a military style hooded design, with a simple post for a front sight. It is wedged into the barrel, so that if the windage were to be off, an adjustment would be possible with a small hammer and tap.

Now for the bad. This air rifle lacks the velocity to be used as a serious hunting gun, and so I couldn't recommend it for this purpose. One reviewer mentioned that his B1 went through about a half inch of pine. I didn't have any pine, but I did have some 1/2” plywood, and my gun would only bury the pellet flush into the wood. I suppose that this would provide enough power to take small game, but only at close ranges with a very well placed shot, such as a head or neck shot. The trigger pull on this gun is very heavy; I would guess around 10lbs? So this creates a challenge when it comes to very accurate shooting. I do not know what kind of performance upgrade one can expect from tuning the gun? But I would not expect a significant increase in velocity? I do think that the trigger pull would benefit from polishing and reworking the trigger assembly, so I would plan on a trigger modification should you get one of these rifles.

A few words of warning should you purchase one of these guns. There is no safety. Also, as many others have mentioned, keep your hands away from the trigger when cocking and loading. A situation exists where it would be easy to slam the barrel on your finger, causing some serious injury resulting in the possible loss of ones valued digits! When I loaded mine, I held the barrel with one hand, while loading the pellet into the breech with the other. I would recommend the same procedure with the B3; that is, hold the cocking lever with one hand, while loading the pellet into the breech with the other.

Despite any imperfections or flaws that one would expect for such a low priced Air Gun, I do not regret the purchase at all, and will keep this gun as a backup. I think that I am going to give the B3 a try next? The B3 with its extra 200fps+ might just be enough to give it the extra edge needed for hunting? So knowing what I know now, if you are wanting to try one of these guns out, I would have to recommend the more powerful B3 to start. If you only want a plinker, and back up emergency rifle, then the B1 will suffice, but in my opinion, it's better to have the more powerful B3 gun that can serve both purposes well. Due to the B3 having a stationary barrel, (As opposed to the B1 with its cocking barrel) I would feel more confident mounting a scope on this model, should I wish to do so at some point.

The Shanghai air rifles are very nice guns for the price, and as long as you do not expect high end air rifle performance from these low priced guns, then I think that you will be pleased with them. Life expectancy remains to seen? But I will report back any incidents in this area as they arise.

If I ever get around to tuning this B1 (Likely at some point) or if I do end up upgrading to the B3 (Also likely) I will provide an update.


  1. Tuning the B1 requires spring removal. If you take the stock off, you will be left with just the "mechanics". There is a special spring removal tool available. What I did was take the end cap out of the back of the barrel and managed to compress the spring enough by forcing the gun onto a socket on a cement floor and pulling the spring retaining pin. This is pretty well a 2 person job to make sure the gun doesn't get away from you. WARNING-PUTTING IT BACK TOGETHER IS HARDER THAN TAKING THE PIN OUT. (kinda like the putting the pin back in a hand grenade) If you remove the old really heavy grease they use and use a lighter molly grease and polish all the sharp edges of everything and file the trigger sear a touch (filing too much will defeat the "safety" of the heavy trigger pull and cause the gun to go off unexpectedly) you will find the trigger pull lighter and the gun a bit faster. You may gain 100-150fps. When I first got mine, I tried lubing the trigger sear and the pin that holds it with a couple drops of oil. It helped to make the trigger pull a bit lighter & saved having to take it apart.
    The B3 is heavier to cock and the trigger issue is the same as the B1. I found that the crosman premium pellets shot better then the "industry" brand ones. The industry ones seemed to "tumble?" as it looked like some of them went in the plywood sideways? I used plywood as a backstop too and found the B1 would just bury the pellet flush and the b3 you couldn't see the pellet in the wood, but it would not go through 1/2 inch plywood. I would like to try a crosman or a Beeman just for comparison, but my budget won't allow it. Not sure how much putting a cheap scope on would help the accuracy?

    1. At 30 yards I don't think the scope helps, per se. But if your eyes are crap, you may not have a choice. I just wouldn't get the BB gun scopes. Get a regular cheap rifle scope.

    2. Thanks! That was very useful info!

      I haven't decided if it is worth it to strip it or not? Though at some point it will require a rebuild? There seemed to be plenty of tutorials online on how to make spring compressors.

      I've already shot almost a full tin of a 175 pellets, and plan on shooting it more this weekend. Fun gun!

      This is the one that I really want:

      But it would have to wait until I have another windfall.


    Sorry Jim,
    BLM sells 29 oil, gas leases in northeast Nevada


    1. I think the current corporate douchebags are almost more dangerous than a collapse is going to be.

  3. A caution with ANY Springer air gun scope - ask manufacturer if their product is air gun rated. The unique 'back and forth' recoil of spring firearms has caused many scopes to become damaged. Its best to be sure the scope can handle it before you buy - the scope manufacturer wants happy customers and should be forthcoming with the information.

    Low velocity - make lemonades out of lemons. One major use of these will be killing vermin around the household (maybe even INSIDE the house) and low velocity if fine for killing small things like mice. We had a concrete block ranch house that was not lived in permanently and every time we came in, resident mice were there. We used pump air rifles (Benjamins and Sheridans) for years for just this purpose - one pump would kill them with little danger of richochet.

    I don't know much about tuning these Chinese air guns, I think I own a pair, the bullpup QB-57 in .22 bore (takes down nicely), it too a low velocity (500 fps?) rated air gun. And another under barrel lever model (B3?). Mile thick shiny shellac stock finish, not sure how long I can leave in full sun without it melting off, lol. I've plinked with both and am satisfied with them - for the price, not bad at all.

    For $30, it sounds like a good deal.

    1. @ 10:14; Yes, the pump up models definitely have their place, particularly when variable power is an necessity. I wanted the quick follow up shot option, but if it were not for that, I would get the Benjamin model 392. Great little gun, long lasting, and still priced about the same as it was years ago, without any real reduction in quality.

    2. I just got one and it is well worth the cost. Unfortunately the stock was broken on arrival, around three sides of the action. With the non-existent recoil it was an easy fix but, still...