The BSA Mercury was a Break Barrel spring powered Air Rifle first produced in 1972, by Gamo's new subsidiary BSA Guns (UK) Limited. It was manufactured in both .177 (4.5 mm) and .22 (5.5 mm) calibers and marketed as a mid range weapon between the BSA Meteor and AirSporter models. The Mercury was a light and easy to use rifle with a PTFE piston and breach seal, giving a "just under legal limit UK power" of 12 ft lbf (16.2 J) of energy. Approximately 40,000 were produced.
- Overall Length: Rifle 104cm/42in
- Barrel Length: 47cm/18.5 in
- Weight: 3kg/6.6lbs
The rife shared the trigger, piston assembly and spring with the BSA AirSporter with the spring and piston being compressed by breaking the barrel through 125 before loading a pellet directly into the breach. The barrel was then returned into place and secured with a detent lock. The single stage trigger was plastic and adjustable for pressure only. The sights were plastic with the front sight being able to be switched from a bead to a blade and the rear adjustable sight could switch between a "V" and "square notch". The cylinder had two shallow grooves to accept a telescopic sight.
It had a "Black Crackle" painted finish, fitted with a beech wood stock and a rubber recoil pad. A negative point was that the barrel pivot was a low cost pin rather than a bolt/nut assembly, and this could lead to barrel and cylinder misalignment. The Mercury, being a spring-gun suffered from recoil and was quite noisy for an air rifle. Range was limited to about 40m, with 20-25m being the maximum hunting range.
The rifle was packed in a polystyrene tray with a printed cardboard sleeve. The standard kit included a bottle of oil, a small tube of eley wasp pellets and a pressed steel target holder with a few targets.
In response to increased competition from German Manufactured Air weapons it was re-launched in 1980 as the Mercury "S" with a checkered Walnut stock, an articulated cocking lever and a fully blued metalwork finish. .The quality of the "S" version is generally considered superior to earlier guns.
In 1985, it was upgraded again to the BSA Mercury Challenger with the addition of the maxigrip scope rail, before being superseded by the BSA Lightning in 1986.
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