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BSF S20 M pistol

August 3 2009 at 9:34 PM
  (Login MDriskill)

Here's another old one-hander that I happen to have lying around the house, a BSF S20 M pistol from the 1960's.

BSF's were imported by Air Rifle Headquarters and later by Beeman, and the S20, along with the model 55 sporter rifle, were very popular. They must have been well-loved, too, as they are notoriously hard to find in good condition! The classic one-piece grip/frame is a classically German detail, and of a very distinctive shape on the S20.


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I admit to a special affection for this particular pistol. A good friend of mine had an S20 when I was middle-school age--the first quality European airgun I'd ever seen or used. Its nifty looks, quality materials, grown-up heft, and ease of use were quite the revelation at the time...you could say, I'm still trying to recover! The sucker shot hard too--the S20 had a justifiable reputation as the hardest-shooting air pistol available for many years. This oldster still shoots well over 400 fps.


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The attractive enameled brass medallion shows this is a house-brand gun, but they may also be found bearing the Burgo, Wischo, or Bavaria names.

I don't know much about the history of BSF airguns, but it's apparent there were three pretty common variations of the S20. The basic gun was similar to mine but had a simple, fixed-elevation, drift-adjustable rear sight in a transverse dovetail on top of the receiver tube. The S20 M, added a click-adjusting rear sight built into an extension plug at the rear of the receiver (which is milled on this gun, later ones were a well-finished casting of slightly curvier appearance). A later version of the M, seen fairly often in the US, added a fancier grip with a small thumb rest and palm shelf, but for my hand the basic grip is more attractive and more comfortable.


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Above are closeups of the rear sight and its mounting plug. The vertical adjustment is a nice clicking knob, while windage is an odd slider gizmo. Note the small screw underneath, which is the--rather unpredictable--sear engagement adjuster.


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The tapered barrel is a nice styling touch. The front bead sight is very precise, but can do some damage to your hand when cocking this stiffly-sprung gun. The later M version with the revised grip also had a large snap-on sight hood to avoid this problem.


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The action is a little unusual, being based on a small-sized rifle. The trigger mechanism is "bullpupped," i.e. moved well forward of the sear location. It all looks a little weird, with the sear bar actually hanging out the back of the wood, but works well enough.

I really like the handling of this old pistol. It's long, but like most of the old BSF's, the S20 is quite slim and efficient. Light and nicely balanced, with fine power and good accuracy, it's a real period piece that can still hold its own performance-wise. Highly recommended!


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This message has been edited by MDriskill on Feb 24, 2011 9:40 AM
This message has been edited by MDriskill on Aug 4, 2009 12:12 PM


 
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AuthorReply

(Login ddmann)

Dang that is nice!

August 3 2009, 9:48 PM 

I have seen a number of these for sale but none came close to the condition of yours Mike. Are parts difficult to scare up for one of these. The ones I have seen looked considerably worse for wear and were not priced according IMHO. That, however, is one gorgeous example. Thanks for sharing!







 
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Al
(Login als57)

That's a nice one Mike

August 5 2009, 8:53 AM 

I have the later (late 70's) Wischo CM imported by Beeman. Pretty accurate although the fine sights can be a pain in poor light. Pretty zippy too. Mine does about 470fps with H&N pistol match.


Al

 
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ejwills
(Login oldwizzer)

That's as good as they come...nt.

August 5 2009, 4:57 PM 

nt.

Sometimes silence is golden,sometimes it's not.

 
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(Login pffftair)

S20 differences

February 14 2010, 9:35 PM 

Wow... That is a nice one. By the way, who takes them beautiful photos? they are superb! I have a BSF S20 that has some differences than the one shown. The biggest noticable difference is in the rear sight. Mine is a stepped affair sitting directly in front of the rear plate, Which has An adjustment screw with + and - arrows With "abzugs-
stellschraube" on it. The BSF logo is 1/4" in front of the sight base. It has a dove tailed front sight. The walnut is beautifully figured. The BSF emblem in the grip is enamal inlaid. Made in Germany west stamped on the left side about an inch in front of the two take down pins. Model S20 is stamped on the left side bbl. flat.It has the number 10 stamped in the bottom of the receiver tube just inside the front of the grip. After that with a long space is the number 3710. On the bottom of the grip is stamped in little letters "SILE" The pistol is in almost like new condition and is in It's original box complete with a cleaning brush and a small tin of Meisterkugeln pellets in their proper place in the box. The interesting instructions are on a sheet attached to the inside of the box top. It mentions W.H.B. Smith in his book "Gas air and spring guns of the world" It also gives velocity data and much more. I wonder how many of these are still around? I bought this air pistol at a garage sale In Sacramento, Ca. about 25 years ago. (Give or take a few years.)Paid twenty bucks for it and only bought it because of the pretty walnut. It was several years before I found out what I had. I have Mr Smith's book and it has been my bible for many years. Thanks for all your great input!


pffftair

 
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MDriskill
(Login MDriskill)

S20 sport

February 14 2010, 10:27 PM 

Joe, your gun is the basic Sport version of the pistol. It sounds like a really fantastic example, in great condition with the box and paperwork. That version of the gun is the hardest to find in good shape in my experience--their owners either wear them out, or won't sell them! A gun exactly like that was the first "serious" European airgun I was ever exposed to as a kid...obviously, I still haven't recovered!

My gun in the pics above is early "Match" version, basically the same except for the rear sight. You will notice that the sight is mounted in an extended plug at the rear of the receiver. Later the Match acquired a slightly fancier grip and a hood over the front sight.

The adjustment screw you mention is not for the rear sight, but for the sear engagement of the trigger ("abzugs stellschraube" = "trigger regulation screw"). It seems to work better on the Sport version, since it bears directly on the sear, than on the Match where it becomes a rather odd 2-piece linkage. If memory serves the only sight adjustment is to drift it sideways?

My photos are taken in the shade on my back patio, on a card table with a piece of gray cloth tossed over it. Camera is an inexpensive Minolta Z10 compact. IMHO the biggest secret to internet photography is to size the file correctly (which means LOW resolution in this case), and simply cropping the shots to focus on the subject, and get distractions out of the background.

By far the easiest way to post pictures here is through Photobucket. The account is free, and you simply copy-and-paste a line of text (the URL address of the photo) when typing your message to put up the shot.

 
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(Login pffftair)

Many thanks...

February 15 2010, 11:08 PM 

Thanks for all that information. I knew I could count on you for some excellent input. Heck, anybody that loves them HW'S as much as we do can't be all bad...But It's these oddball things that makes the hobby so interesting.

pffftair

 
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(Login klentz)

Well done. There are so many things that are interesting about this vintage pistol.

February 15 2010, 12:51 AM 

Wonderful write up, as usual, with terrific photos.

I was short circuited early on when I saw the sear engagement adjuster at the rear of the pistol.  Then saw the "bullpup" design for the trigger.  Guess nothing is new but, coming from this era, this was new to me.

As with the majority of your fine collection I'm amazed at the condition.  Since this pistol was discontinued in 1985 and yours is an early version (pre-hooded front site) it must have been kept in a time capsule.  Perhaps found during one of your architecturally supervised renovations?

You take your photo's in the shade of your back patio?  Do you add additional lighting?  I'm striving to take better photo's and think lighting is key.  The LOW resolution and cropping and then resizing is interesting.  Sure is fun to learn new things.

I'm convinced that with your eye for detail and appreciation for craftsmanship that you are a spectacular architect.

Oh, by the way, you had a much better class of friends in middle school than I did.

 


 
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(Login MDriskill)

Old S20...

February 15 2010, 7:39 PM 

Kevin, I appreciate the kind words!

This gun is in about 85% condition--let's just say the pics are a tribute to Ballistol, Johnson's paste wax, and low-resolution digital photography! happy.gif

I picked it up Roanoke a couple of years ago. The S20 can be rather hard to find in good condition, but this year there were two S20's for sale there whose wood figuring and condition both made this one look bad! Al put one of 'em up a few weeks back...

I have often asked myself why, after being exposed to this nifty pistol as a kid, it never occurred to me that there might be similar interesting airguns out there I could own! I guess I've made up for it though...

 
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Al
(Login als57)

Mike I still had those pics

February 15 2010, 8:09 PM 

available. So here they are again.


Al


[linked image] [linked image]

 
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(Login cartertools)

My New BSF S20 WCM

March 1 2010, 6:59 PM 

My co-blogger picked up this "new" BSF S20 for me. Since the majority of my airguns look like they were run over by a truck I thought I should post a few pics of a truly mint airgun...
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Nick,
From ruralburbian Philomath.
anotherairgunblog.blogspot.com

 
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Al
(Login als57)

Very nice indeed

March 2 2010, 5:16 AM 

Same box as mine came in ; though mine has the Wischo trade name on it. From the stamping on the box it looks like a Beeman import. Below is a pic of mine.

Al


[linked image] [linked image]

 
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Derrick
(Login derrick38k)

Nice pictures

March 2 2010, 8:35 AM 

Nick, that is one cool pistol. I just realized that I need to look for a trigger shoe for that gun. Anyone have the old Beeman part number for it?

 
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MDriskill
(Login MDriskill)

Nick, what a beauty...

March 3 2010, 6:37 PM 

A gorgeous air pistol and about as minty as they come!

I am particularly struck by the complex coutours or the rear sight plug...what a bit of art that is! Note how my pistol is much simpler in execution:

Mine:

[linked image]


Yours:

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My gun is older, and the plug appears to be cut from steel stock to me. I would guess the part in your gun is a casting due to its complex curvy shape, but if so it is certainly beautifully made and finished.

 
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(Login cartertools)

I didn't notice that!

March 3 2010, 7:47 PM 

Interesting difference. I'll have to look at it again closer up and see if it's cast or milled.

Nick,
From ruralburbian Philomath.
anotherairgunblog.blogspot.com

 
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Al
(Login als57)

I think they claimed it was

March 4 2010, 4:13 PM 

milled in the old Beeman catalogs.


Al

 
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This forum dedicated to all that enjoy collecting and restoring airguns. Have fun. Dave