The TS-45

China has been turning out some very nice air guns lately, and as in many other industries, what they’re doing is shamelessly cloning Western guns. Their version of the Feinwerkbau 65 pistol is hard to tell from the original, and their clone of the 300 rifle is pretty spot-on, too. I myself will admit to owning a Chinese-made QB78 CO2 rifle, a copy of the classic (but no longer made) Crosman 160, a hard-hitting and well made gun available in .177 or .22.

Lately we’ve been seeing some nice looking PCP rifles from China as well- mostly copies of British designs. But what I thought I’d write about today is the first Chinese air rifle that most of us saw, a spring gun designed for military training and known as the TS-45.


The TS-45 was not a pretty gun. With crudely finished metal surfaces and a stock made of some mystery softwood and heavily finshed in yellow-orange shellac, it looked like it had been hammered together by some apprentice backwoods still maker. The trigger was heavy, and the piston seal was leather. But it had two things going for it: It was cheap (under $40), and it was fairly powerful. It also came with an attractive little multicolored booklet suggesting that it was good for (and I’m paraphrasing) target practice and shooting rats.
Mechanically, the gun seemed in part based on the HW77 or TX-200- it had the ratchet cocking lever of the TX-200. That was about where the similarity ended, though. Tolerance were loose, the trigger was a heavy, single-lever job, and it shot rough. That didn’t discourage hobbyists; rather, it inspired a lot of them to tear it apart and rebuild it.

A lot of amateur woodworkers made custom stocks for the TS-45, and some of the more ambitious tore it apart and honed the cylinder and sear. Some replaced the spring, and a few ambitious types machined the piston to take a synthetic seal. With a few dozen hours of woodwork, metalwork, bluing and so forth you could get an attractive gun that didn’t shoot too badly and wasn’t as inaccurate as it was before. Whether it was worth the labor was another matter. I don’t think anyone did it for the money- doing a proper job required, among other things, a good lathe- not a trivial investment.

No one really did it for the money, though; they did it for the fun. That’s what a TS-45 was good for in the end: A disposable gun you could practice on instead of goobering up that nice $150 rifle you bought from Beeman.

2 thoughts on “The TS-45”

  1. I am a Chinese, this year, 36 years old. I am very excited to see this page, because this is my father’s generation that they manufacture and production. My home in China’s Xinjiang, the plant’s name is called “Red Flag of Xinjiang Machinery Factory,” the Chinese state-owned No. 979 Factory (the original is to create 56 military-style semi-automatic rifle factory), which accompanied the gun I had a number of memorable childhood ah, Oh, infinitely good memories ah. . . . . . I grew up playing with the gun is brought up. Until the early 90s, China’s ban on personal gun ownership until all of the air guns at home have been handed over, it never touched them had. However, in my mind, this gun is my eternal love and dreams.
    I remember in my middle school, I heard that the factory production of air guns are exported to the United States, and everyone is very happy about it. Because it can be recognized by foreign customers, this is our glory. I know that this gun factory our prices are 28 dollars one, until the last because of China’s domestic prices of steel and other raw materials only after the cessation of exports (which is the early 80s things).
    Do you know why this gun is called the TS model do? This is the abbreviated spelling words, because our factory in China’s Xinjiang Tianshan Mountains are the highest mountain here, so models with names such as TS, 45 because it is a 0.45mm caliber of the gun.
    Later, the U.S. buyers because of the cost of procurement is no longer only an air gun, the Chinese government control over private citizens can not have air guns, so we plant began to shift production to manufacture petroleum machinery and agricultural machinery for a living. Therefore, the plant life very difficult.
    Until 1995, the factory closed down closed down. Was sold to private individuals, of 500 million yuan, and this is one of several thousand workers, makers ah! Thought here is really very, very sad. My father, they have dedicated their youth to the old man of this plant. There are many workers, a third generation to work in the factory, from the grandfather, father to son. On the red flag factory, me and my generation are all very deep feelings. Until now, and my father (he has 65 years of age) against the Red Flag plant closure thing, he always face the tears. That is very, very deep feelings ah. When he was young when (18 years), to this plant, then, this plant is also full of sand, nothing, they build their own plant, installation of machines and equipment. Entirely with their own hands and build up the factory. Now it went out of business.
    Although no longer have this gun, but the longer see its photos. Already very satisfied. I told my father, let him look at this web page, he is very excited, happy and proud.
    Once again thanks, really, very, very grateful. If you have more photos on this gun’s enough.

    My E-MAIL is, welcome to e-mail discussion on this gun. He was never in my life is difficult to forget the good memories.

  2. What a sad letter from David Li. Hard to believe that you can’t even own an air rifle in China. They’re not even considered a firearm here in the U.S.A. Unfortunately, the progressive left in America now is actively trying to ban firearms, but American gun owners will not simply hand them over. As for the air rifles, I just purchased one of these little air rifles at a gun show for $120. Within a half hour, some guy tried to buy it and offered up to $175, but I kept it instead. I just saw one sold on ebay for $186. Anyway David, very sad to read the story of the plant shutting down. I think most Americans think the Chinese people are great, but also think the Chinese government is out of control.

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