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Weihrauch’s HW55SF: Part 4

Pá, 11/24/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


HW 55SF.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Barreled action
  • Trigger out
  • The trigger
  • Remove the end cap
  • Remove the piston
  • Extra parts?
  • Piston seal
  • Inspect the parts
  • Put everything back
  • Tighten the pivot bolt
  • Installing the trigger
  • The test
  • Summary

Many readers wanted to look inside the HW55 SF, and today is the day! This is a Weihrauch spring rifle, and it comes apart like most of them. There are a few differences that I will mention as we go. Let’s get started!

Barreled action

The first step after checking to make sure the rifle is not cocked and loaded is to remove the stock. On this rifle that means loosening three screws — one on the underside of the forearm and the two triggerguard screws. The screws can remain in the stock and triggerguard for safekeeping, but the triggerguard is removed from the stock. I’ll have something more to say about this during assembly.


The sight comes off the action.

The next step is to remove the rear sight. That clears the dovetails for attaching the Air Venturi Rail Lock Spring Compressor. That has become a valuable tool for working on spring guns.

Trigger out

The next step is to remove the Rekord trigger. The HW55 has the special target Rekord that doesn’t have a safety, so when the trigger comes out there is no safety and spring to worry about. Just punch out the two pins left to right and the trigger is out.


Drift out the two pins that hold the trigger. I remove the front pin first and I go from the left side — opposite what this picture shows.


With the pins out the trigger can be lifted out of the action.

The trigger

With the trigger out I can show you how this one differs from a standard Rekord. I’ll do it with pictures.


The front of the piston catch is ground and hand-filed at the factory (arrow) to refine the engagement with the piston rod. A sporting Rekord is rounded at this point, unless someone filed it afterwards.


The rear of the piston catch that’s held by the sear (arrow) is also hand-filed at the factory.


The trigger return spring (arrow) is much lighter than the spring on a sporting Rekord. Hand-fitting the trigger parts makes it possible for this light spring to work.

Remove the end cap

Let’s get back to the rifle. To remove the end cap we unscrew it from the spring tube. I have attached the spring compressor and unscrewed the end cap until the last three threads hold it in the tube. Then the rod on the compressor is run in to hold the end cap and I start slowly unscrewing the cap and the rod in the compressor. When the end cap is out of the spring tube the compressor rod is unscrewed until all tension is off the mainspring.


The mainspring has just relaxed. So, there is almost 3-inches of spring precompression (the spring outside the tube plus the length of the threads) when the rifle is together.

Now the end cap is removed, the compressor is taken off the spring tube and the mainspring and its guide come out of the tube. When they did I found a small amount of grease on the mainspring. It wasn’t moly and it wasn’t lithium. It was some sort of general purpose grease. That tells me whoever tuned this rifle last was probably knowledgeable and conservative. It might have been a dealer.

The mainspring is also straight, so it’s good to put back in the rifle. The guide fits close but somewhat loose. These parts are factory for sure. I cleaned all the grease off the mainspring and rolled it on a flat surface, looking for a wobble. No wobble. As I told you, it is straight.


The mainspring is straight. The medium-viscosity grease is on thin.

Remove the piston

To remove the piston the barrel must come off, so the cocking link can be removed from the piston. That’s done by removing the pivot bolt nut, followed by the pivot bolt.


The pivot nut and washer come off the right side of the gun. The washer is a circular wire that is a replacement from later than the 1968-69 manufacturing date. This rifle has been apart since it left the factory.


Now the pivot bolt is removed. The barrel can then be removed from the action forks. Once it’s free, the cocking link can be taken out of the piston.


The barrel is separated from the action forks.


Remove the piston by sliding it out the back of the spring tube.

When the piston came out I saw moly grease on the rear, where the piston body is swelled. There was no grease on the piston body forward of this. That tells me the tuner knew what he was doing.


Only the swelled rear of the piston is greased.

Extra parts?

About this time I felt an “extra” part in my hand. Because I have experience with Weihrauchs, I knew it was a piece of the leaf spring that keeps tension on the articulated cocking link, so it doesn’t rattel. The other part of the leaf spring was still held by the forearm screw boss that was still in place. Was this a problem? Wait and see.


The forearm screw boss (left) and the broken leaf spring were removed.

Piston seal

I was somewhat surprised to see a synthetic piston seal in this gun. I would have thought it would be leather, but 20 years ago it was popular to replace the original leather seals with synthetic seals. At that time many people thought synthetic seals were better. I don’t, and I wish the original leather seal was still in the gun.

It is possible that this seal is original, though I have rebuilt two other HW55s that were a couple years newer than this one and they both had leather seals. The piston had to be changed for the synthetic seal to work, so if this was done is was a deliberate act.

At first glance the piston seal appeared to be ruined. It had a lot of black gunk caked on top and in the parachute groove. But I was able to clean most of the gunk off and what I found was a seal that’s still pliable and ready for more use. Because of that, I will press on and complete the cleaning and overhaul today. I may order a replacement leaf spring, but I will put the rifle back together and use it without the spring.


At first glance the piston seal looks ruined.


After cleaning the seal; is okay and still pliable.

Inspect the parts

At this point I inspected all the parts, including inside the spring tube. The cylinder is crosshatched well and surprisingly clean. All the parts were in good condition, except for that leaf spring, so the gun is good to go.

Put everything back

I lubed the piston seal with Air Venturi Moly Paste and slid it back into the gun.


The seal was lubed with a thin coat of moly grease.

I also lubed the swelled back end of the piston with moly. The body of the piston never touches the inside of the spring tube, but the swelled back end and the piston seal both do. That’s where the grease is needed.


The back of the piston is swelled to guide it inside the tube (if it bumps the inside of the tube). That got some moly.

The gun then went together the reverse of coming apart. I don’t like it when people say that, but it’s true. I will discuss the few things you need to watch for, but first, I lubed the mainspring with a good coat of Tune in a Tube grease.


Mainspring lubed with Tune in a Tube.

Tighten the pivot bolt

I lubed the pivot bolt with moly before inserting it. When you tighten the pivot bolt, remember to get it tight enough to hold the barrel in position after the gun is cocked.

Installing the trigger

When installing a Rekord trigger it helps to cock it first. Do that by pressing down on the back of the piston latch until the sear grabs it.


Press down on the back of the piston latch to cock the trigger before installation.

The gun went together smoothly. Just remember when you tighten the triggerguard screws that the rear (smaller) screw is going into a threaded piece of sheetmetal in the trigger body. Don’t tighten it too much! If you strip it a nut can be inserted to hold the screw, but it’s a chore.

The test

After the rifle is together I pulled the trigger because it had been cocked to install. Then I cocked the rifle to load it. Cocking was smooth and this time there was no hesitation in the stroke. Remember that? There was a spike in the cocking effort toward the end of the barrel stroke.

Then I fired it with a pellet. Dead smooth! So smooth that I don’t think I will do anything else to this rifle except retest the velocity and accuracy for you.

Summary

It took me 90 minutes to do everything seen here, including taking a lot more pictures than you see. These older Weihrauch air rifles are so easy to work on!

Hatsan Bullmaster PCP: Part 4

Čt, 11/23/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Hatsan Bullmaster semiautomatic bullpup PCP.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The test
  • H&N Baracuda
  • Trigger
  • Field Target Trophy
  • H&N Sniper Light
  • JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
  • Bug Buster performance
  • Summary

Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. readers! I hope all of you have lots to be thankful for!

Today we complete the first accuracy test of the Hatsan Bullmaster. Let’s get right to it.

The test

I told you how I sighted in in Part 3. Today I set up at 25 yards and started shooting with the H&N Baracuda pellets that were used to sight in. The first round landed on paper, and 3 rounds later I was sighted in. I normally don’t like to hit the center of the bull because it destroys the aim point, but the reticle in the UTG 3-12X32 AO Bug Buster scope is so clear and sharp that I could guesstimate exactly where the center of the bull was.

I shot off a sandbag rest. And you need to know one other thing. We learned  in Part 2 that the BullMaster has a lot of shots on a fill, so I shot this whole test on one fill. Couple that with the semiautomatic action and you have a fast-firing and accurate rifle, as you will soon learn.

H&N Baracuda

Hatsan sent the BullMaster and the Sortie pistol with three different H&N pellets. I figured they might be the best in the gun, so I tried all three. The Baracudas were best in the Sortie, so it was no surprise to see them do well in the rifle. Ten grouped in 0.702-inches at 25 yards, but as the picture shows, 9 of them are in 0.42-inches between centers. That qualifies as a screamer. The dime will give you the proportions very accurately.


Ten H&N Baracudas are in 0.702-inches, with 9 in 0.42-inches. Yes, that includes the hole to the right of the main group.

Trigger

What a start! I figured it was all smooth sailing fpr the rest of this test. I will comment that the trigger feels too heavy, now that I’m concentrating on the target. But not one time in this test did the trigger pull me off target. I would just like it to break at half the weight.

Field Target Trophy

Next up were 10 H&N Field Target Trophys with a 5.53mm head. These have never done well in any of my tests, but the BullMaster seems to like them. Ten went into 0.758-inches at 25 yards. They will get tested at 50 yards, too.


Ten Field Target Trophy pellets went into 0.758-inches at 25 yards.

H&N Sniper Light

The only pellet sent by Hatsan that made no sense to me was the H&N Sniper Light with a 5.50mm head. They didn’t group well in the Sortie and they didn’t group well in the BullMaster. Maybe Hatsan has a relationship with H&N that compels them to use their pellets, but this is not one I would chose for this rifle. Ten went into a scattered 0.997-inch group at 25 yards.


Ten Sniper Light pellets went into an open 0.997-inch group at 25 yards.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy

The beauty of being independent is I can test an airgun with anything I want. Looking at the BullMaster’s power my first choice for a pellet is the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy. At 18.13 grains it seems ideal for the power the BullMaster offers, plus it has a reputation for being one of the most accurate of all .22 caliber pellets. Ten of them went into a group that measures 0.536-inches between centers. Not only is this the tightest group of the test, it is also the roundest, telling us of the consistency of this pellet in the BullMaster.


Ten JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets went into a very round group at 25 yards that measures 0.536-inches between centers.

Bug Buster performance

I have to say that the Bug Buster 3-12 scope did its job in this test. The image is not as clear as I would like, but at 25 yards I can see the concentric circles of the bullseye good enough. And the reticle that I said was about medium I will now say is thicker than I told you. It made aiming easy. It’s a great scope for this bullpup and for hunters — saving lots of weight and size, while delivering good performance. But it’s probably not the scope for shooting small groups at long distances.

Summary

I now have three pellets to test at 50 yards. And I will continue to test the Bug Buster scope, as well. This is turning into a very pleasant and fun test!

Hatsan Bullmaster PCP: Part 3

St, 11/22/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Hatsan Bullmaster semiautomatic bullpup PCP.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Mounting the rings
  • Problem
  • Enter BKL
  • Two strap rings
  • More to mounting a scope
  • Shim the rear mount
  • Position and level the scope
  • Adjust the eyepiece
  • Thickness of the reticle lines
  • Is this scope clear?
  • Scope mounted — what’s next?
  • Summary

Today is Part 3 of my report on the new Hatsan Bullmaster precharged pneumatic airgun, but you may recall that I introduced two new products in Part 2 — the new UTG 3-12X32 AO Bug Buster scope and some UTG Accu-Sync scope rings that are so new they aren’t even on the Pyramyd Air website yet. Normally in Part 3 I start testing the accuracy of the airgun under review, but today I’m going to discuss mounting this new scope and getting the rifle set up to test. With all the new readers that have joined us over the past several months it seems like the right thing to do. Let’s get started.

Mounting the rings

Step one will be to mount these new rings on the rifle. Hatsan has made this very easy by providing a scope base that accepts both 11mm airgun scope rings and Picatinney/Weaver rings. The Accu-Sync rings I’m mounting have Picatinney bases, so they should be easy to mount — except for one thing. Bug Buster scopes have very short tubes that the rings attach to, so the position of the rings, fore and aft, is critical. Picatinney bases have cross slots that can cause a problem for fore and aft positioning. Let’s see how this goes.

Problem

Right away there was a problem. The UTG rings have lugs that are 5.02mm wide, which should fit into the cross slots of a MIL-STD (military standard) 1913 Picatinney (STANAG 2324) rail system. The bases on the test Bullmaster have cross slots that are 4.86 mm wide, which is undersized for the lugs of a Picatinney mount. Picatinney cross slots are a minimum of 5.23mm wide. So, even though it looks right, the base on the BullMaster I’m testing does not meet the MIL STD and cannot accept the UTG Accu-Sync MIL STD rings. Boy — am I glad I decided to report this for you! Weaver rings that have 3.5mm lugs will fit on the Bullmaster rail fine, but not Picatinney rings.

Enter BKL

The Bug Buster scope came with medium height rings of its own that I could have used, but because this is a bullpup, high rings are better. When something like this happens I reach for some high BKL scope rings that attach to an 11mm scope base by clamping pressure, alone. Fortunately the BullMaster also has a dovetail that’s 11.57mm wide.


The 11mm scope rail dovetail on top came into play because the cross slots in the rail below are not cut to the MIL STD.

I selected BKL 263 MB 2-piece high scope rings for this job. Whenever you mount a compact scope, and especially when it’s a Bug Buster, you can only use 2-piece rings because the positioning of each ring is so critical. One-piece rings are a fixed distance apart, and it’s usually a distance that does not coincide with your needs. Because of the Bug Buster scope’s short tube on either side of the turret, the rings have very little fore and aft leeway.

Two strap rings

BKL did something clever with the top strap of the ring. Instead of making it a wide single strap, they put two separate straps on top of each ring. This is clever because it releases you from the need to torque the strap screws in a certain pattern to keep from putting uneven torque on the scope tube.


As you can see, the BKL scope straps are separate, even though they are on the same ring. This decreases the importance of torquing each strap the same, though you do still want to be close.

More to mounting a scope

There is more to mounting a scope than just putting it securely on the rifle. The eyepiece needs to be located at the correct distance from your sighting eye. On many spring rifles Bug Busters are hard to position correctly, but the Bullmaster has a long scope base that makes it easy to find the right place.

Shim the rear mount

Whenever I mount a scope on any air rifle I have never shot before, I always put a shim under the scope — on the bottom saddle of the rear ring. That little bit of shimming tilts the scope slightly down in front and usually compensates for any droop the rifle may have. I use a piece of expired credit card, which is a thicker piece of plastic than what you get from a 2-liter soda bottle. Don’t use two of these credit card shims; one should be plenty. If you need more than that, shimming is not the answer. You need an adjustable scope mount.

Position and level the scope

Positioning means to place the scope far enough from your sighting eye that the image looks full and clear to you. Leveling means the reticle lines are level with the gun. There is just one problem with that. There is no way to tell when a rifle is level, because level has no concrete meaning. The best you can hope for it to adjust the scope so that when you hold the rifle the reticle lines appear level. If they don’t, they will bother you as you shoot. The gun will be just as accurate, but when you adjust for windage, the strike of the round will also move up and down as it goes left and right. And when you adjust the elevation the round will also wander left and right. This is why some rifles shoot a little to the right at 20 yards and a little to the left at 40 yards.

Some shooters get anal over “leveling” their scopes. They hang plumb lines at 50 yards and adjust the scope in the rings until the vertical reticle is parallel to the line. I used to do that, until I realized that it doesn’t make any difference.

You can worry about leveling as much or as little as you want. At the end of everything you must be satisfied that the scope is mounted correctly.

Adjust the eyepiece

After I get the scope positioned and leveled, I adjust the eyepiece so both reticle lines appear as one solid line. That will make your parallax adjustment come out as close to the yardage indicated on the AO scale as possible. If you don’t do it the indicated yardage can be off by 20 yards. That defeats the rangefinding capability of your AO scope. Of course a 12 power scope really isn’t an effective rangefinder, but having the reticle lines solid also makes aiming easier.


The new Bug Buster scope compliments the small size of the BullMaster.


This closeup shows just how short the Bug Buster scope tube is. Once the scope is in the rings there is almost no room to move the scope fore and aft.

Thickness of the reticle lines

Bug Buster scopes in the past have had very thick reticle lines. In the scope I am testing the lines are medium width. They are thick enough to pick up easily in the woods, but too thick for shooting quarter-inch groups at 100 yards.

The Bug Buster reticle is a duplex pattern, meaning the lines are thick at the edges and fine in the center. This is what a hunter wants, because the thick lines point to where the thin lines are, and in deep woods that’s what you want. The thin lines have mil dots that are spaced one mil apart, if you are into rangefinding with the angular measurements they provide. I use them as alternate aim points when shooting at different distances, which is fairly common.

Is this scope clear?

A reader commented that he didn’t think a 32mm objective is large enough for 12 power magnification, and the scope will not be bright as a result. I could tell you that it looks bright to me, but that’s just the other side of a subjective argument that can’t be proved either way. I think I need to get to the range and see how it performs on 50-yard targets to have a better way of evaluating the brightness. At my range the 50-yard targets are often dim and hard to see in the early morning, so this should be an acid test.

Scope mounted — what’s next?

After I mount a scope I like to check the rifle for zero at 12 feet on a target. I can tell from where the first pellet strikes the target if I will be on target at 25 yards for the accuracy test. My plan is to begin shooting with the H&N Baracuda pellets Hatsan sent with the rifle, so that’s what I will use for this.

The first shot landed at the right height but over to the right. I adjusted the scope and shot two hit to the left. So I dialed the scope back halfway and the third shot landed close enough to the center that I can accept it. A shots from 18 yards put a pellet about 5 inches higher than the aim point. That’s on paper at 25 yards in three shots (plus a check shot).

Summary

When I started today’s report I didn’t know how much material there would be, but it turned out for the best. I got to walk you thorough the process of getting a rifle ready for an accuracy test. And, because of the problem I had mounting the scope rings, there was even more to cover than I thought. The rifle is now ready to shoot for accuracy and I will do that tomorrow.

The Beeman P1 air pistol: Part 3

Út, 11/21/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


Beeman P1 air pistol.

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • RWS Hobby
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • RWS Superdome
  • Getting tired
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • RWS Meisterkugeln
  • Something different
  • Summary

Today I will test the accuracy of my new/old Beeman P1 pistol.

The test

I shot from 10 meters and rested my hands on a sandbag, but the gun was hand-held. I held it with two hands for the greatest stability. My days of shooting perfect scores one-handed are about over. Instead of 10-shot groups I shot 5-shot groups, but I tried a lot more pellets than usual. I also did something neat at the end of the test.

Sight-in

When sighting in, I started out shooting on high power. The first pellet hit the target very low. I played with the sight adjustments until I got the pellets up into the bull, but a thought occurred to me. What if the pistol did better on low power? That might explain why there is a hesitation going past low power when cocking.

So I shot some pellets on low power and, sure enough, they hit much higher. I ended up putting the rear sight back to pretty much where it had been when I started. I will have more to show you about that at the end of the report.

RWS Hobby

I knew from testing my other P1 that the RWS Hobby pellet does really well in this pistol. Five pellets landed in 0.87-inches. That’s pretty darn good!


Five RWS Hobby pellets went into 0.87-inches at 10 meters.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Next up were Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. Even on low power they moved fast enough to cut clean holes in the target. Five went into 1.489-inches at 10 meters. That’s a little too open for me. I think this is not the pellet for the P1.


Five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 1.489-inches at 10 meters.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next I tried 5 RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. I guess I was hoping that some of the success I had with the HW55 SF might carry over to the P1. Alas, it doesn’t look like it did. Five R10 pellets went into a very vertical 1.245-inch group at 10 meters. This is another pellet that’s not right for the P1.


Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets made this vertical 1.245-inch group at 10 meters.

RWS Superdome

Next I tried the RWS Superdome pellet. I hoped it would do well, but 5 of them went into a vertical 1.229-inch group. This vertical stringing was becoming a trend. I needed to find pellets that don’t do it.


Five RWS Superdomes went into a vertical 1.229-inches at 10 meters.

Getting tired

By this point in the test I was starting to get tired from cocking the gun. So the next group was a surprise, because it isn’t vertical.

Air Arms Falcon

The next pellet I tried was the Air Arms Falcon. These often do well ands I wanted to try them out in this pistol. They did pretty darned good, I think. Five went into a nice round 0.997-inch group at 10 meters. That’s certainly good enough to give them another try down the road.


At 10 meters Air Arms Falcons gave a nice round 5-shot group that measures 0.997-inches.

RWS Meisterkugeln

Pressing on with the RWS pellet theme, I decided to try the old favorite RWS Meisterkugeln. Five went into another vertical group that measures 1.179-inches between centers at 10 meters. It’s one of the smaller groups, but the vertical stringing is not to my taste.


Five RWS Meisterkugeln pellets went into 1.179-inches at 10 meters.

Something different

By this point I was beat and could not trust my ability any farther. But I wanted to try one last thing, so I shot a group of 5 Hobbys on low power and a second group on high power — to see which was better. The high power group printed low on the paper, but at 0.733-inches between centers it’s the smallest group of the day and certainly tighter than the low-powered shots that printed 2-3/4-inches higher. They grouped in 1.211-inches. It looks like high power is the way to go with the P1.


Hobbys grouped much tighter on high power than on low.

The reason the low-powered shots print higher is they remain in the barrel longer and are more affected by the rise of the barrel during recoil. That’s something to think about.

Summary

Now that we have the baseline on this pistol the next step will be disassembly for a look inside. I will decided what comes after than when I see the condition of the parts. Stay tuned!

Weihrauch’s HW55SF: Part 3

Po, 11/20/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


HW 55SF.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Readers impact
  • The test
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Now, I zeroed the rifle
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Qiang Yuan Olympic match pellets
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • But wait —
  • Summary

Today we look at accuracy. Because several readers have asked for it, I will re-test the rifle after I have tuned it. I have not decided yet whether I will do a full parts replacement tune, so there may be nothing to compare a Tune in a Tube tune to (say that quickly three times), but I will at least return and re-test the accuracy with the same pellets after I have quieted the action.

Readers impact

Several readers believe that making a spring gun’s action smoother will improve accuracy. It certainly won’t hurt it, but I have never found it to improve. However, I did an extra test today to see if I am doing all the things I can to get all the accuracy this rifle has to offer. We will get to that after the main test.

I am just an airgunner like the rest of you. I may have been doing this a little longer than some, but that doesn’t give me any special knowledge. From time to time I find it helpful to test the things I hold to be true. Today was one such time.

The test

I shot the HW 55SF off a sandbag at 10 meters. For the main test the rifle was rested directly on the bag. I used the same 4 pellets that were used in last Friday’s velocity test. This time I had my 1.25 diopter reading glasses and eye drops, so all was as good as it could be. Let’s begin.

H&N Finale Match Light

First up were the H&N Finale Match Light pellets. I didn’t know where the rifle was sighted, but since I don’t shoot it much I figured it would be pretty much on, so I shot this group without a sight-in.

Ten Finale Match Lights went into 0.378-inches at 10 meters. That number sounds small, but the group looks large when you compare it to other 10-meter target rifle groups I have shot. It wasn’t until the entire test as over that I remembered I usually shoot 5-shot groups with these rifles. A group of 5 of the same pellet from this rifle would be around 0.227-inches — if we consider that a 10-shot group is about 40 percent larger.


Ten H&N Finale Light pellets went into 0.378-inches at 10 meters. Some paper tearing on the right side of the group makes it appear larger than it is.

Now, I zeroed the rifle

As you can see, these pellets landed to the right of, and slightly higher than the center of the bullseye. After this first group I adjusted the sights until the Finale Match pellets hit the center of the bull. I left the sights set that way for the remainder of this test.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Next to be tested were the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. Ten of them went into a vertical group that measures 0.461-inches between centers. This target pellet is often one of the best, but not this time. I guess the 1968 Weihrauch barrel just wasn’t made for it.


Ten Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 0.461-inches at 10 meters.

Qiang Yuan Olympic match pellets

Next up were the Qiang Yuan Olympic match pellets. These have also done really well in other 10-meter rifles. The HW 55SF put 10 of them into a group measuring 0.267-inches between centers at 10 meters. Notice this group is also nice and round. This is a good 10-shot group for a spring-piston target rifle from the 1960s.


Ten Qiang Yuan Olympic target pellets went into 0.267 inches at 10 meters. Now, we’re talking!

RWS R10 Match Pistol

The final pellet I tested was the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. If you remember, these fit the rifle’s bore the loosest, and indeed, one of them fell out as I was shooting this group. I loaded a fresh pellet, even though it dropped on the carpet. Ten R10 Match Pistol pellets went into 0.195-inches at 10 meters. They are the clear winners in this test. But I did not stop there.


Ten RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets made this 0.195-inch group at 10 meters. That white patch on the right of the group is just a paper tear. This group is as small as many 5-shot groups I have shot with 10-meter target rifles!

But wait —

There is more. Remember what I said in the beginning of this report? Several of you think that a rifle’s tune affects its accuracy. I am going to test that for you with this rifle, but I obviously can’t do it today. But, what if I have also been wrong about resting the rifle directly on the sandbag? I have learned over the years that lower-powered spring rifles often do their best when they are rested directly on a sandbag, but since we have the tiny group from the R10 pellets, we have the perfect baseline to test against. Would this rifle do any better if I used the artillery hold? That’s where I rest the rifle on the flat of my open palm and hold the rifle as loosely as possible.

The most stable artillery hold is one in which my off hand is held out near the front of the forearm, so that’s what I did. I wanted to give the hold every chance to excel. This time 10 pellets went into 0.686-inches, but one of those shots appears to be a flyer. It wasn’t a flyer that I called, but perhaps it was a bad pellet. The other 9 pellets are in a nice round group that measures 0.307-inches between centers. It’s small, but it’s much larger than the one from the sandbag-rested gun.


When I used the artillery hold I put 10 R10 pellets into 0.686-inches at 10 meters. Nine of those are in 0.307-inches. Nope — the artillery hold is not the best way to hold the HW 55SF.

Summary

We now know what the rifle is doing as far as power, trigger pull, smoothness and accuracy are concerned. The next step is to disassemble it to examine the powerplant parts, look more closely at the trigger and give the rifle a Tune in a Tube tune. Then I will report velocity again and then accuracy again with these same pellets.

We are spending some time with this rifle — mostly because you readers seem interested, but also to show you the innards of a 1960’s target air rifle.

Weihrauch’s HW55SF: Part 2

Pá, 11/17/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


HW 55SF.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Qiang Yuan Olympic
  • RWS R10
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Next
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity of the HW 55SF target rifle. I will tell you now that I was surprised by the performance. This is an air rifle that lives for years in my gun closet and only occasionally gets shot, so I forget how it works. It’s like a brand new airgun every time.

I have owned several HW55s over the years. One was the Custom Match that was their final release of the 55 series. It came out several years after the World Cup matches had switched to FWB 150/300s and Walther LGRs, so it never had a chance to dominate, but it was still quite a target rifle.

I also owned a 55 Tyrolean that put me off Tyroleans for a long time. It just wasn’t fun to shoot. I tuned that one for you in the blog and got it shooting faster, but eventually I got rid of it.

H&N Finale Match Light

Let’s begin today’s test with H&N Finale Match Light pellets. I expected to see an average velocity around 575 f.p.s., but they averaged 613 f.p.s., instead. The spread was 31 f.p.s., from 594 to 625 f.p.s. But that low shot was the only one that didn’t break 600 f.p.s.

The pellet I linked to weighs 7.87 grains, but the truth is, my pellets are much older and don’t say Light on the tin. They say High Speed. So, I weighed a couple to see if they are the same as the ones I linked to. Three pellets weighed 7.5, 7.6, and 7.7 grains, respectively, so let’s call them 7.6 grains. At that weight this pellet generates 6.34 foot pounds at the muzzle

These pellets fit the breech loosely and the rifle buzzed every time it fired. The buzzing is most unpleasant on a target rifle that you are concentrating on shot after shot! But I have to say — the trigger seems to be adjusted fine!

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Next I tried Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. These are lead free and weigh 5.25 grains, so you know they will be faster. I guessed somewhere in the mid-700s, but they averaged 811 f.p.s. The spread was 16 f.p.s., going from 801 to 817 f.p.s. That is the tightest spread of this test. These Sig pellets have turned in some remarkable results in past tests, and I am hoping they will with this rifle.

They also fit the breech loosely and produced 7.67 foot-pounds. Lighter pellets usually do produce more energy in a spring-piston powerplant. The buzzing continued.

Qiang Yuan Olympic

Next up were some Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets. This is another target pellet that has performed well in past tests. They weigh 8.2 grains, so I expected to see velocities in the mid to high 500s. but surprise, surprise, they averaged 626 f.p.s. That’s faster than the lighter Finale Match pellets! The spread was 17 f.p.s., which puts them right there with the Sig target pellets.

These pellets also fit the breech loosely. In fact, one fell out as I was closing the barrel, so the string I reported is for 9 shots instead of 10. At the average velocity this pellet generated 7.14 foot pounds of energy.

RWS R10

The final pellet I tested was the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. At 7 grains, this one should be a screamer, but it wasn’t as fast as the heavier Qiang Yuan pellets. The average was 624 f.p.s.and the spread was 22 f.p.s., from 612 to 634 f.p.s.

These pellets actually fit the HW 55SF breech the loosest of all. They went into the barrel 1/16 inch (1.59mm). At the average velocity this pellet generated 6.05 foot pounds of energy. I think the loose fit robbed some of the power.

Cocking effort

One nice thing about 10-meter spring rifles is they are easy to cock. If they aren’t, I want nothing to do with them. The HW 55SF cocks with 18 lbs. effort for most of the way, but there is a spike to 22 lbs. at the end. It’s not the mainspring causing it; it’s something mechanical. Maybe when I look inside the powerplant I can eliminate it.

Trigger pull

Stage one takes 3.7 ounces and stage two releases at 8.3 ounces. That’s pretty light, but not as light as one of the better target rifle triggers from the 1960-70s.

Next

I’m going to test the accuracy next. That won’t change when I tune the rifle, so I can test it now.

Then I’m going to look inside the powerplant. I want to quiet the mainspring at the very least. I can do that with Tune in a Tube, or I can do it by eliminating all the slop between the parts. I’ll have to think about what I want to do awhile. I will also take more pictures of the special target Rekord trigger for you.

Summary

It’s been fun looking at this rifle after so long. I can’t wait to see what else I learn or remember.

Hatsan Bullmaster PCP: Part 2

Čt, 11/16/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Hatsan Bullmaster semiautomatic bullpup PCP.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Comments
  • New Bug Buster
  • Power
  • H&N Baracuda 5.50mm head
  • H&N Sniper Light 5.50mm head
  • H&N Field Target Trophy with 5.53mm head
  • Shot count
  • Trigger
  • Sound
  • Summary
  • Next
Comments

I’ll start today’s report by listing some of the comments you readers made to Part 1. Several of you don’t care for the Hatsan BullMaster’s looks. That’s why I show a picture of the gun at the top of each report. You have to be satisfied with the appearance if you’re going to buy an airgun this expensive.

Next, several of you commented on the weight. At more than 10 pounds before the scope is mounted, this is not a lightweight airgun. Bullpups are small, but not necessarily light.

Then there is the size, itself. For a bullpup, the Bullmaster is on the large side. The overall length of just under 31 inches is very short compared to a conventional air rifle, but for a bullpup it’s on the long side. That length does give you a fully shrouded barrel that’s just under 20 inches, and you need the barrel length for power, but the point of a bullpup is its compact size.

And there was a comment about the trigger — as in they hoped it was as good as a Marauder  trigger. Guys — that just isn’t going to happen. The BullMaster is one of the very few true semiautomatic pellet rifles available and you already read about this trigger in my test of the Hatsan Sortie pistol a while back. This rifle has the same trigger, and it’s going to perform about the same. I told you then that I tested the pistol first to get used to the action, because the BullMaster was the same. Well, it is. So, sit back and let’s all start learning how this air rifle performs.

New Bug Buster

One reader, I think it was RidgeRunner, suggested I mount the new UTG 3-12X32 AO Bug Buster scope on the rifle. I knew that scope was coming, but I didn’t know it was already out. I asked Leapers for a sample to test and they graciously sent one, plus some of their new UTG Accu-Sync lightweight scope rings that even Pyramyd Air doesn’t have in stock yet. Bug Buster scopes can be tricky to mount because of their short scope tubes, but I have looked closely at these rings and I think it’s going to work.

The new scope is everything we have come to expect from Leapers. It’s clear, lightweight, bright and it focuses down to 9 feet! It’s perfect for a rifle whose weight we don’t want to increase.

So — this test just got a lot better. We have a powerful and accurate semiautomatic air rifle to test, a new Bug Buster scope with the highest power ever and some new mounts to evaluate. We are going to have some fun!

Power

Today I will look at the rifle’s power, plus check the function of the 12-shot .22-caliber magazine. My large carbon fiber tank was down to just 3200 psi, so I put it on the Air Venturi compressor and had it back to 4500 psi in 15 short minutes! You guys asked me to keep on reporting how this compressor works, and that’s what I’m doing.

The specs tell us to expect 31 foot pounds from the .22 caliber BullMaster. I told you in Part 1 that Hatsan is always conservative with these numbers, so let’s see where this one is.

H&N Baracuda 5.50mm head

First to be tested were the H&N Baracudas with a 5.50mm head. Hatsan sent these with the guns and if you remember, the Sortie really liked this one. Ten rounds through the BullMaster averaged 842 f.p.s., which works out to a muzzle energy of 33.29 foot pounds. So Hatsan is being conservative, once again. The first shot went out at 812 f.p.s., but I included it in the string for the average. After all, hunters always shoot that same first shot. Velocity ranged from 812 to 857 f.p.s., which is a spread of 45 f.p.s., but if we throw out that first shot the next slowest was 840 f.p.s. So the spread was reasonably tight.

H&N Sniper Light 5.50mm head

The next pellet I tested was the H&N Sniper Light with a 5.50mm head. I have no experience with this 14-grain dome, but Hatsan sent them with the Sortie and BullMaster, and they didn’t do well in the Sortie, so I’m thinking they are for the Bullmaster. They averaged 965 f.p.s. for 10 shots with a low of 950 and a high of 974 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 24 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Sniper Light produced 28.96 foot pounds of muzzle energy.

H&N Field Target Trophy with 5.53mm head

The final pellet I tested was the H&N Field Target Trophy with a 5.53mm head. I usually don’t test pellets from just one manufacturer, but Hatsan sent these, too, so I have to believe they are the best for this rifle. They averaged 949 f.p.s. for 10 shots. The spread went from 943 to 955 f.p.s. That’s just 12 f.p.s. At the average this pellet produced 29.3 foot pounds of energy.

Thus far we see a rifle with a reasonable velocity spread. When I looked at the gauge it showed there was still 2/3 of a fill remaining, so I pressed on to get the shot count.

Shot count

The rifle is supposed to give 50 shots per fill. That’s in .22 caliber. In .177 it’s supposed to give 60. The shot count is where I usually part ways with the manufacturer, because they are willing to accept everything that makes a pop. I want to stay in the same power band. There were already 30 shots on this fill.

I chose the Field Target Trophy pellets for this next test, simply because I had just finished using them. This time I loaded the magazine with all 12 pellets. On the next string, which were shots 31 to 43, the BullMaster averaged 953 f.p.s. That’s a little faster than when I tested them before! The next 12 pellets — shots 44-56 — averaged 940 f.p.s. That’s a little slower, but still in the same ballpark! I was impressed. So I reloaded 12 more pellets. I’d like to show you what they did. These are still Field Target Trophys.

Shot………Vel.
57…………944
58…………939
59…………941
60…………935
61…………936
62…………930
63…………935
64…………933
65…………936
66…………926
67…………936
68…………937

In case you are curious, that string averaged 936 f.p.s. You readers know that I don’t cut these airguns any slack. I report what happens and leave most of the discussion to you. But I have to comment today. WOW! I might have complained about the 250 bar fill pressure in Part 1, but Hatsan clearly did a lot with all that air. Remember — they are working the action with it, too! Good on you, Hatsan!

Trigger

The trigger pull is two stage. Stage 1 is light and short. Stage 2 has movement you can feel, but it’s not too heavy or unpleasant. It breaks between 5 lbs. 15 oz. and 6 lbs. 6 oz. That sounds heavy if you are expecting a safe-cracker trigger pull, but it’s about where an arms room 1911 will be. It’s really not bad and will be no hinderance to accuracy.

Sound

Shooting the BullMaster in my office, it was loud, but not that loud. Louder than a powerful spring rifle, but still acceptable. You can’t shoot it in a small suburban back yard without notice, but it won’t deafen you, either.

Summary

The BullMaster is a rifle you can load on Sunday and shoot all week. At least it is when it comes to air. If this rifle is accurate, and we have every reason to suspect that it is, it will be one that hunters should consider.

Two action targets: Part 2

St, 11/15/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Venturi Rockin’ Rat target: Part 1
Codeuce spinner targets: Part 1
Codeuce spinner targets: Part 2

This report covers:

  • Benjamin Wildfire
  • More powerful airguns needed
  • Enter Codeuce
  • The eyes again
  • Did very well
  • Codeuce spinners
  • Summary

Today I will finish my report on two different action targets we have been testing. First up is the Air Venturi Rockin’Rat. Part 1 of this review was way back in September of this year, but it goes back even farther than that. I had the Rockin’ Rat at the 2017 Texas Airgun Show, back in August. And I had created what I thought would be a fascinating way to show it to you.

Benjamin Wildfire

I took the Rockin’Rat over to John McCaslin’s house, to let him shoot at it with the Benjamin Wildfire. I figured seeing the target hit 12 times in rapid succession would be pretty impressive. I got all set up with my camera and John zeroed the rifle at the distance he would be shooting, so we were prepared to be amazed. The camera started rolling and John shot 12 times and — nothing! I felt bad for him, missing such an easy target from only 25 feet.

Then I went to the target and saw all 12 impacts of his pellets. He hit the paddle every time! The paddle simply didn’t move. That wasn’t very impressive.

Then the Texas Airgun Show happened and I let the public shoot at the rat. When I retrieved it at the end of the show there were a lot of hits but no damage to either the paddles or the face (that’s the silhouette of the rat). Apparently I underestimated this target.

More powerful airguns needed

At the Texas show I had told the folks running the range not to let people with powerful airguns shoot at it. And, if we are talking about an AirForce Condor, that still holds true. The rat isn’t made for 65 foot-pound airguns. But neither is it made for 8 foot-pound airguns. So I set it aside for more than a month, while I pondered the situation.

Enter Codeuce

Then reader Codeuce sent me his spinners to test. I needed to get outdoors for most of a day anyway, to test that big Texas Star target that you will be seeing next week, so I decided to combine the test of the Codeuce spinners with the Rockin’ Rat that was tested on the same day. This time I took more powerful air rifles to shoot, but there was a problem.

The eyes again

I forgot to take a pair of low-magnification reading glasses, and on this day of testing my eyes were so bad I could not see the front sights of either of the two open-sighted rifles. I had my scoped TX200, but wouldn’t you know that it was sighted for 50 yards, and, since I wanted to shoot offhand, I needed to adjust the scope for closer. That’s when I discovered I didn’t have an Allen wrench to unlock the scope adjustments of the Hawke 4.5-14 scope. The best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley!

So I’m out there with all my targets and I can’t see the front sights, nor adjust the one scope I have. Well, I did think to bring my K98 Mauser .22 pellet rifle that has large open sights. When I wore my regular reading glasses (2.5 magnification) I could see both sights clearly, but the target was very blurry. However, if I stood no more than 20 feet from the target I could see it okay. That’s what I did.


The K98 Mauser saved the day!

I said in the video that the K98 is a 15-16 foot-pound rifle, but upon re-reading my test, it’s really 17-20 foot-pounds. So, that’s what I’m shooting at the Rockin’ Rat.

Did very well

I would say that I nailed the power requirement for the rat target. Twenty foot pounds moved the paddles well but didn’t dimple the metal on the face when I shot it. If you have a 30 foot pound gun, just back up to 20 yards. If you have more power than that, back up accordingly.

The paddles spin very freely, but the rat doesn’t like to move when hit. He has a flat spot on the bottom to keep him stable, so, unless you overpower him, I think you want to shoot just the paddles. Now, let’s look at the spinners that Codeuce made.

Codeuce spinners

I said in the title that this is Part 2, but for the Codeuce spinners it’s Part 3. We have already seen them shot by a low-powered air rifle. For the same reasons as the other target, I also shot them with the K98 Mauser. And I had to stand just as close to be able to see this target.

I missed the target on the third shot and that was edited out to save time. I also only nicked the spinner on the second shot, but hit the other spinner solidly on the first shot, and you can see the different effect that had on the target.

Again, this is what a 20 foot-pound airgun does to the spinners. I never swapped the paddles for the lighter weight ones Codeuce sent, and I don’t think it’s necessary. That bearing makes his spinners spin so freely that almost any energy is enough.

Summary

These two targets are perfect for most airguns, although you will want some minimum energy for the Rockin’ Rat — maybe 14 foot pounds. Somebody mentioned leaving these targets outside all the time. I don’t think that’s a good idea. They are portable enough that you can carry them in and out easily enough, and the way I have the Codeuce spinners mounted makes them very handy to move. The only thing I might add is a carry handle on the upright board.

Swiss Army life

Út, 11/14/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Two eventful hunts
  • The moral
Two eventful hunts

A friend of mine received the following call several weeks ago.

“Hey, man. Wanna go hunt some pigs?”

“You’re out of your mind. You don’t have pigs in Maryland.”

“No. The pigs are in Texas. A friend of mine just got special permission to hunt on a big ranch that’s infested with them. The landowner got fed up with the helicopters buzzing his cows, so he grounded them and now the place is overrun!”

“Texas, you say? We’d have to fly because I can’t take off work that long.”

“No problem. He’ll meet us at the airport Friday night and he has guns for both of us. You don’t need a license to hunt pigs in Texas, so all we gotta do is show up. We’ll be back Saturday night.”

“Then I’m in. I’ve got this Friday off already. Can we do it that fast?”

“Sure. I’ll book the tickets and you can pay me. But get here a day early, ‘cause I have another surprise for you.”

So my friend drove from his West Virginia home on Thursday morning, arriving at his buddy’s house in Maryland just after lunch. His friend told him to hop in his car and they drove a short way to Aberdeen Proving Ground where he worked. When they got there they drove through the main gate to the post headquarters. On the way my friend noticed the large number of marmots that were standing along the side of the road. He told me there must have been hundreds! Oh, and I should tell you — marmot is the proper name for the varmint we all know as the woodchuck! On the grounds of the post headquarters he counted 13 ‘chucks standing calmly next to their holes.

“I can’t believe it! This places is overrun with woodchucks!”

“Yeah. Since it’s an Army post, they don’t allow hunting, so the chucks know they are safe. It’s like Rapid City, South Dakota that’s swarming with whitetail deer, ‘cause nobody can shoot them in town. Anyway, I have permission to hunt on a farm near here that has almost as many chucks as you see here. They are destroying the farmer’s irrigation dikes with their holes. We have to use air rifles, but I have a .22 caliber TX200 for you.

After checking in with the owner of the farm they went back to the buddy’s house and he pulled out the TX200. It looked okay, but my friend asked to shoot it, to see where it was zeroed. When he did the best he could do with the pellets his pal said were the best was 5 shots in about 4-inches at 40 yards. When the rifle’s owner couldn’t even do that well he said, “I don’t get it. This rifle has always been spot-on with these Crosman Premier Hollowpoints.”

“When was the last time you shot it?”

“About 6 months ago, I guess. Ever since I got my .25 Marauder that’s all I shoot.”

“When was the last time you cleaned the barrel?”

“I never clean it. You can’t clean a TX200 barrel. The patches fall off inside the baffles.”

“Get your cleaning kit. This barrel needs to be cleaned.”

When the guy brought out his cleaning kit, my friend saw why he never cleaned the barrel of his TX. All he had was a piece of monofiliment line that had a loop at one end for patches. He also had a black nylon brush that went on the end of an aluminum 3-piece cleaning rod, but he said it wouldn’t work, because to clean the TX200 barrel you have to take the gun apart.

“Who told you that?”

“I read it on the forum. But I know it’s right because this brush is too long to go in from the muzzle end. It’ll get stuck in the breech when you try to pull it back out because it’s too long to clear the breech with the gun cocked.”

“Get your keys. We’re going to the store.”

Long story short they went to the local discount supercenter and bought a pistol cleaning kit. When he screwed the pistol brush to the three-piece cleaning rod his friend protested, telling him that a brass brush would scratch the barrel. They had a long conversation about whether steel is harder than brass, but the owner finally consented to let him clean the barrel from the muzzle. Obviously the shorter pistol brush was just what was needed. It cleared the breech so it could be pulled back out again. Half an hour later they were both shooting half-inch groups at 40 yards. But the groups were about 6 inches too low. [NOTE: The link given is to a nylon pistol brush, but what you need for this is a brass or bronze brush. You are removing lead.]

“Yeah. Now I remember. I dialed the scope as high as it will go and the groups were still too low. I forgot that.”

“Got a 2-liter soda bottle?”

“I think there are a couple in the trash. Why?”

“We are going to shim the scope.”

I won’t repeat the next argument but the owner thought that shimming ruins scopes. It was something he learned on another forum. His partner promised to buy him a new scope if they wrecked this one, so they shimmed the scope with two pieces of plastic and got the rifle hitting the target at 40 yards.

The next day they bagged 7 woodchucks (three for the TX) before they had to quit to go catch their flight to Texas. When they landed it was late in the evening. The Texas friend picked them up at the Houston airport and drove them to his house for the night.

The next morning they awoke at 3 a.m. and were at the ranch by 4:30. The guy from Maryland wanted to shoot the Ruger Mini 30 they were offered, so my friend got the well-worn Garand and a box of softpoint ammo.

“Looks like this old girl has seen a lot of rounds. I doubt if she can put five into 6 inches at 100 yards,” said the reluctant West Virginian.

“I’ve never shot her that far, but I bet you’re right,” said the Texan. “No problem, though, because you won’t be shooting past 30 feet. We are hunting in some real thick brush!”

Sure enough, when they got out of the truck the place they headed into was so thick they could hardly see 25 feet. But that was where the pigs were! Within ten minutes of walking less than 50 feet from the truck, a herd of 10-12 animals came crashing past them, snorting and rooting and making all sorts of racket. My friend dropped one old boar with the Garand and was about to drop a fat sow, but nothing happened. He looked at the rifle’s action and the empty cartridge case was sticking out of the ejection port!

“Not again!” he whispered hoarsely. Then he examined the rifle’s action with a small flashlight. The parts were as dry as a desert! He walked back to the truck. When he popped the vehicle’s hood, both other hunters joined him.

“What’s up?” asked the truck’s owner.

“This Garand is bone dry. I’m going to lubricate it,” he whispered as he pulled the engine’s dipstick.

“Garands don’t need lubrication. They can swallow a beach full of sand and keep on running.”

“Then how do you explain this?” he asked as he showed the cartridge stuck in the ejection port.

“It’s been doing that for years. I figure it’s worn parts. All you have to do is pull the bolt back and you’ll clear it.”

“When I get done lubing, you won’t have to do that again,” he answered as he applied the oily stick to the bolt channels.

“Listen!” said the hunter from Maryland. “Here comes another group! We need to get back into position!”

The second herd was twice as large as the first one and my friend shot three more pigs. The Garand functioned flawlessly. Those were the last pigs they saw on the hunt. In all they bagged 11 animals. The landowner was delighted and gave the Texas friend his choice of animals to take home. And the Texas host also got an important lesson in battlefield maintenance.

The moral

Sometimes what you read on the forums is either incorrect or an exaggeration. Also, it pays to know something about the technology before you venture into the field. If you are new to airgunning or to shooting as a whole, keep an open mind and you will learn new things all the time.

Weihrauch’s HW55SF: Part 1

Po, 11/13/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


HW 55SF.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • A rare find
  • No barrel lock
  • The trigger
  • Look in the Blue Book?
  • What is the 55SF?
  • Description
  • All hype aside
A rare find

I was at the Little Rock Airgun Expo in 2008 with my buddy, Mac, and I had told him a couple airguns that were on my short list. One was an HW 55. There was a HW 55 Tyrolean at the show but the price was too much for me. Then Mac asked me what I thought of the other one. The other one???

Sure enough, there was a second HW 55 on a table nearby and the price was very reasonable. Very reasonable means I could afford it. I was excited until Mac wondered if having a 55 without the barrel lock mattered that much to me.

No barrel lock

No barrel lock? But that’s what sets the 55 apart from all other Weihrauch breakbarrels, except the 35. I thought all 55s had barrel locks — it was one of the ways to spot them in a crowd (or laying on a table at an airgun show).


The barrel lock (arrow) is a distinctive feature of the HW 55. But the 55SF doesn’t have one. Notice the stock is relieved for this lever. A stock without this relief will be found on original SF MF and TF models.

When I went back to examine the rifle I saw that it did not have a barrel lock, but the base block was also clearly marked HW 55S. What was this? Someone told me he thought Weihrauch had made a 55 without the barrel lock, but he wasn’t certain.


The SF breech is marked HW55S. That way Weihrauch could put it on any 55S model.

Is this an HW 50 by another name? In essence, that’s what a 55 is — a 50 with a barrel lock, target sights, better wood (sometimes) and a better hand-tuned version of the Rekord trigger.

The trigger

This rifle had a barrel that was marked HW 55S. Had someone just installed it on an HW50 action? If they did they also bothered to swap over the target sights, front and rear, and the special target version of the Rekord trigger. I was beginning to think this rifle could be a version of the HW 55 that I had never heard of. So I bought it. Even it it was a put-together, it had all the best parts that a 55 has — except for that lock.

Hans Weihrauch, Jr. told me the Rekord found on the 55 is special. That fat “screw” behind the trigger blade is the outer locking housing for the adjustment screw inside. The target trigger also has a much lighter return spring, and all the moving parts are smoothed and hand-fitted at the factory. If you modify your Rekord by installing a lighter trigger return spring, don’t overlook smoothing all the moving parts inside.


This target Rekord trigger should be found on all HW55s. The hand checkering in front of the triggerguard is more evidence that this is a 55 and not a 50.

Look in the Blue Book?

I had a Blue Book of Airguns at the show, and if I didn’t there were many copies available, but in 2008 the book didn’t acknowledge any of this information about the 55. The 12th edition does have a sentence acknowledging other 55 variations, but says nothing about them. It just gives Mike Driskill’s email address if you want more information.

What is the 55SF?

At least as early as 1959, Weihrauch was offering special models of HW 55 without the breech locking lever. They were called the SF, MF and TF. I got that from a 1959 Weihrauch catalog that was posted by Mike Driskill on the American Vintage Airguns forum.

Gaines Blackwell, another forum reader and avid HW 55 collector, posted photos of his TF for people to see – so it isn’t just a rumor. He knows of at least one other TF, so his isn’t one of a kind.
Gaines has owned a great many HW 55 guns, but the only F-series model he’s ever seen in person is the one he owns. He’s seen photos of 5 or 6 F-series guns. He says he’s seen and handled hundreds of HW 55 guns.

I corresponded with several other HW collectors who had heard of the F-series 55 guns but had never seen one. So, this rifle that I was “forced” to buy turned out to be rarer than an HW 55 Tyrolean, which until then I had thought was the rarest of all 55s.

Most HW 55s have the breech locking lever that must be flipped forward to unlock the barrel for cocking. The F-series doesn’t have that lever. It uses the spring tube from an HW 50, which is close to the same size as the 55, but has a conventional spring-loaded breech chisel detent. The standard HW 55 has a very small chisel detent, but it isn’t as wide nor does it have a spring that’s as strong as the model 50 detent because the rifle relies on the manual lever to lock the breech.

The lack of a breech lock is one clue to a rare F-series 55, but there’s one more important item to look for. The stock on the 55 F-series does not have the cutout on the left side that provides clearance for the locking lever. That, plus the hand checkering I showed is the clincher.

Back when they were new, the F-series 55s were just less expensive versions of the target rifles. But they apparently didn’t sell that well and are very rare today. There is nothing about them that’s better than the 55s with the lock — they’re just harder to find. I guess if you are a shooter you might want the conventional 55 over the F model, but if you collect, this is the one to find.

Description

The rifle is a conventional breakbarrel. It’s 43-3/4-inches long with an 18-3/8-inch barrel. The stock has a deep crescent rubber buttpad that’s fixed in place. There are finger grooves on either side of the forearm. The wood is plain beech without any figure, but the pistol grip is hand checkered on both sides and there is a small patch of checkering under the forearm in front of the triggerguard.

The rifle weighs 8 pounds on the nose. The forearm is blocky, giving the rifle the feel of greater size.

The front sight is a globe that accepts inserts. The rear sight is Weihrauch’s target aperture type. It’s adequate, though not as refined as the target sights from companies like Anschütz and Feinwerkbau.

The trigger is that special Rekord I have already mentioned. It’s two-stage, and stage two can be set at less than a pound, but it isn’t as light as, say, an FWB 300 trigger. The HW55 was designed at a time before World Cup and Olympic airgun competition came into being.

All hype aside

All hype aside, I’m a shooter — not a collector. And my 55SF is not a smooth-shooting target rifle. It buzzes when fired. When I first found out how rare it is I was thrilled that I had done so well, but in the long run the rifle doesn’t stand up to other 10-meter air rifles of the era. However, I have an idea. Instead of a traditional 3-part review of the rifle, I thought I would take this opportunity to tear into the powerplant and “smoothen” it up! I bet most readers would like a peek inside and this is a very straightforward airgun to work on. Maybe I can show you some pictures of the special Rekord trigger while we are at it.

Will it make the rifle more accurate? Probably not. But it will be more fun to shoot, and fun is what this hobby is all about, so I think I’m going to do it.

One and a half years later

Pá, 11/10/2017 - 02:01

Hi all, I asked Tom to give me the stage for a day, and he graciously agreed!

About a year and half ago while Tom was under the weather and I made a few posts. In one of them asked for your honest feedback on our then recently released commercials.

I appreciated your honest answers very much.

Today, I am asking you to provide feedback on the following new commercial that we launched recently. The idea was born when I was sharing bread with Tom & Ryan Gresham from Gun Talk TV a few years back, so I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t.

Does it connect with you? Too cheesy?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Please provide your honest feedback, I seek the truth, so don’t mince the words if you don’t like it.

Thank you!

Hatsan BullMaster PCP: Part 1

Čt, 11/09/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Hatsan BullMaster semiautomatic bullpup PCP.

This report covers:

  • Like the Sortie
  • Comparisons?
  • Companies change over time
  • Description
  • Fill
  • Pressure gauge
  • Magazines
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • So much more to tell
  • Next

Today I start my review of the Hatsan BullMaster precharged pneumatic air rifle. This is a repeating semiautomatic air rifle in bullpup configuration. It is available in both .177 and .22 calibers and the published energies, 21/31 foot-pounds, respectively, are right where they should be for a handy hunting air rifle. I am testing the .22, but since it was sent directly from Hatsan, I won’t publish the serial number. Your chances of getting this particular airgun are slim.

Like the Sortie

I tested the Sortie semiautomatic air pistol for you in a 5-part review back in September and October, and I did it intentionally. I had this BullMaster at that time, and since the actions of the two airguns are so similar, I wanted to start with the smaller one first. Testing the Sortie got me ready for the BullMaster.

The Sortie I tested was a 14 foot-pound airgun. That’s suitable for hunting, but I think the greater power of the BullMaster makes it an even better choice. We discovered in testing that the Sortie is quite accurate, when the right pellets are used. The Sortie likes H&N Baracudas with a 5.50mm head, so I will be sure to include them in the testing of this rifle.

Comparisons?

A lot of readers want me to compare the airguns I test with other airguns they know. I don’t do that for a good reason. All airguns are not alike and there can be variations within a certain model and caliber of gun. Who knows whether the rifle you buy will be the same as the rifle I test? Some manufacturers hand-select airguns for tests that they know will be published. I have no control over that. So, when I test an airgun, it’s just that one gun I’m reporting on — not the entire line and not every example of that model.

Over time you will see that certain manufacturers tend to produce guns at the same level. A test of one can be extrapolated to others of the same type. But other manufactures do not have a good track record for consistency. A test of one of theirs only tells you what that specific airgun will do.

However — you readers can think for yourselves. So, when I tell you a certain airgun produces 31 foot-pounds at the muzzle, you can compare it to tests of other airguns that produce similar power. The same holds true for shot count, accuracy, the quality of the trigger and any other objective specification you can name. It’s more work for you, but I try to give you as much information as I can to make that evaluation.

Companies change over time

I will not name names, but I have seen airgun companies change the quality of their products over time. It works both ways — some getting better and some worse — and is a reflection of who is in change in the company at the time. Having said that I will now say that Hatsan precharged airguns have a very solid reputation for quality, accuracy and honesty in advertising. If they say the BullMaster produces 31 foot pounds in .22 caliber, that’s what I expect to see when I test it.

Description

The BullMaster is a 10.3-pound repeater. Yes that is heavy and yes, when you mount a scope it will be even heavier. But that’s why Hatsan installed sling swivels at the factory and also why they provide a Picatinney mount on the bottom front of the forearm for a bipod. I plan to use it!

The overall length of the rifle is a compact 30.9 inches. That makes it very compact and emphasizes the weight. Still, the bullpup design allows for a 19.7-inch barrel inside the full shroud.

The sculpted rubber comb adjusts up via a spring-loaded button on the left side of the butt. It’s already high at its lowest position, but after I mount a scope I may need some adjustment for good eye alignment. The description says the stock is ergonomic and after some examination and handling I have to agree, though I will need some time behind the trigger to know better.

The magazine is the same one we saw with the Sortie. In .177 the magazine holds 14 pellets, and in .22 it holds 12. The stock contains the action, which is typical of the bullpup design. A bullpup is a rifle whose action is set back at the rear of the gun, so the overall length of the rifle can be as short as possible. The shrouded barrel should keep the report quiet, and I will be reporting on that as the test advances.

Fill

The BullMaster accepts a fill to 250 bar, which is 3,626 psi, so it’s not a gun to fill from a hand pump. You will want a large large carbon fiber tank to fill this one. Hatsan has their proprietary fill probe that they package with the rifle, but I have made a universal adapter by attaching an Air Venturi adaptor that has a male Foster connection on the other end.

Not only is the reservoir filled to 250 bar, it also holds 500cc. That combination should give a good number of shots. The description on the Pyramid Air website says 60 for .177 and 50 for .22. I will test that for you, as well.

Pressure gauge

You can look all over the rifle and never see the onboard pressure gauge. It’s hidden deep inside the hollow pistol grip on the forearm. It’s small and a little hard to see, but I imagine after you get familiar with the rifle it won’t be a problem to know how many shots remain.

Magazines

The BullMaster comes with three magazines. Two are stored in the rubberized synthetic stock (you can see one in the picture) when the third one is in use. The shot count will be important because there may be enough shots on one fill that a hunter needs to carry nothing besides three loaded magazines. I’m hoping that is the case.

Sights

There are no open sights on the rifle so an optical sight of some kind will be required. As you can see in the picture, the BullMaster receiver top is a Picatinney rail, so either mounts for that or Weaver rings will attach. But Hatsan has also made an 11mm dovetail on the same platform, so the choice of scope rings is a big one. The bullpup style means the scope will have to be mounted high. And after examining the rifle I can see that a shorter scope is going to be best. I am thinking something in the 4-12 compact category, but we’ll see.


The clever scope rail accepts both 11mm and Weaver/Picatinney rings.

Trigger

Bullpup triggers need long linkages because of the design. The trigger has to function at the action, which is under your face, but your trigger finger wants to be a comfortable distance from your shoulder. That long linkage usually means some degradation in the feel of the trigger, so I will be focusing on that in my report.

The BullMaster is semiautomatic, so after the magazine is loaded and the first pellet is chambered all you have to do is pull the trigger until the magazine is empty. I liked that feature on the Sortie and I think I am going to love it on the BullMaster — with the difference being that this rifle is steadied against my shoulder, where the Sortie is held in two hands with no shoulder contact.

So much more to tell

Examining the BullMaster, I can see that I am only scratching the surface of this very different air rifle. You can see in the first picture that the stock is entirely different than a conventional rifle stock, so of course the hold will be, as well. I can see and feel that right now, but it’s kind of like sitting in a new car in the dealer’s showroom. It seems one way as you just sit there, but until you get it out on a test drive you really don’t know a lot. I need to get some trigger time before I can comment on many of these things.

Right now the rifle feels large yet also compact. It feels heavy, but maybe in a good way. The stock fits different than a conventional rifle, but I can’t tell whether or not it’s a good different. I have to get some time on the trigger.

Next

My next step will be to shoot the velocity test. That doesn’t really meet the need for trigger time, but it does familiarize me with the rifle’s operation. The time I spent with the Sortie has also helped. All in all, I am going to enjoy this test.

The Beeman P1 air pistol: Part 2

St, 11/08/2017 - 07:21

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Beeman P1 air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Cocking is strange!
  • Cocking effort
  • Crosman Premier lites
  • Dry fire
  • Bottom line
  • RWS Hobby
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets
  • Trigger pull
  • What’s next?

Today is the day we test the velocity of my new/old Beeman P1 pistol. I have a lot to say today and it may be of interest to some of you who own the P1 or HW45 air pistol.

Cocking is strange!

I’ll get right to it. This pistol I’m testing cocks in a strange way that I have never seen before. I have shot perhaps 10 P1 and HW45 pistols over the years and never have I encountered what this one does. It cocks to low power smoothly and easily, then it stops and I have to yank it past low power to high power! If this was the first P1 I had seen, I probably would not even think it had another power level. Are any of you P1 owners experiencing this?

Cocking effort

I expected the scale to show that the cocking effort is very high, but it didn’t. This P1 takes 13 pounds of effort to go to low power and 15 pounds to go to high. It feels like twice that when I’m cocking the pistol because of the strange way it has to be held, but it’s really quite easy to cock. However, high power is still an effort.

I looked back at test of my other P1. It cocks with 12 pounds of force, though I made the exact same comment about it feeling like more. And that pistol has no hesitation between low power and high — like every other P1 or HW45 I have tested.

Crosman Premier lites

On low power Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets averaged 413 f.p.s. On my other P1 they average 416 f.p.s. The spread with this pistol ranges from 396 to 428 f.p.s. — a spread of 32 f.p.s.

On high power Premier lites average 522 f.p.s. My other P1 averages 514 f.p.s. The spread with the test gun went from 507 to 529 f.p.s. — a range of 22 f.p.s.

Dry fire

I felt the test gun might be shooting a little slow, because I didn’t look at the test results of the other gun — yet. I didn’t want to know. So I dry-fired the pistol on high power twice to fit the piston to the compression chamber. Then I tested the gun again on high power. This time 10 Premiers averaged 540 f.p.s, but only because the first shot was a detonation that went out at 759 f.p.s. The other 9 shots averaged 515 f.p.s. Those 9 ranged from 508 to 523 f.p.s. — a span of 15 f.p.s. If you check, after the dry-fire the test gun is 1 f.p.s. faster than my other P1.

Bottom line

The bottom line is — this pistol is performing almost identically to my other Beeman P1. Except for the harder cocking and that hesitation going to high power, the guns are very close.

RWS Hobby

The next pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby . Hobbys are lighter so we expect them to go faster — which they did. On low power they averaged 423 f.p.s. The spread went from 412 to 428 f.p.s. That’s 16 f.p.s. My other P1 shoots Hobbys at 445 f.p.s. on low power, so it’s a little faster.

On high power Hobbys averaged 541 f.p.s. The low was 527 and the high was 553 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 26 f.p.s. My other P1 shoots Hobbys at 553 f.p.s. on high power, so it’s a little faster than the test gun.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next I tried RWS R10 Match pistol pellets. On Low power they averaged 457 f.p.s. with a spread of 19 f.p.s. (446 to 465). On high power they averaged 578 f.p.s. with a 10 f.p.s. spread from 573 to 583 f.p.s. I never tested this pellet in my other P1.

Although this target pellet weighs the same as the Hobby, I will admit I was surprised to see how much faster they went. And that gave me an idea. Somebody is going to want to know how absolutely fast this pistol can shoot, and there is a target pellet that’s also lightweight.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets

I have never tested the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellet in a P1, but given how accurate it is, perhaps I should. In the test pistol they averaged 478 f.p.s. on low power with a spread of 30 f.p.s. (465 to 495 f.p.s.) On high power they averaged 649 f.p.s. with a spread of just 9 f.p.s. (645 to 654 f.p.s.).

Trigger pull

The two-stage trigger breaks crisply at 3 lbs. 4 oz. It feels perfect to me as it is. There are two screws in the trigger to adjust the length of stage one and the release weight, but I don’t need to adjust anything. I modified my other P1 trigger and it now breaks at 11 oz., which is too light for me. I will leave this one alone.

What’s next?

I was given a replacement mainspring, piston seal and breech seal with this pistol when I traded for it, so I could tear it apart and tune it. But it’s shooting so well right now that I don’t think it’s necessary.

I will test the accuracy next, just like I normally do. But it won’t end there.

I would like to get to the bottom of that hard cocking, so a teardown is in this pistol’s future. Back in the 1990s when I tuned my other P1 I saw that it was fairly complex, so I made sure to write detailed disassembly instructions, in case I even had to do it again. Good on me!

Niche market advancement

Út, 11/07/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Benjamin Discovery
  • Crosman
  • The $100 PCP
  • The bottom line
  • The legal silencer from AirForce
  • Air Venturi
  • Lloyd Sikes
  • This blog!
  • We are waiting for:

Reader William Schooley mentioned today’s topic in a comment last week. We were talking about how many airguns needed to be sold for a company to take a customer’s recommendation seriously. Here is what he said.

“I may be way over my head on this, but isn’t this just the type of situation which creates niche markets and micromarketing? It seems to me that where a small but specific group wants a product that’s not being addressed by other larger firms, smaller more specialized companies will develop products to fill the niche. What is your historical take on niche or micromarketing in the air gun community?”

Man, did that ever get my neurons firing! I immediately thought about the development of the Benjamin Discovery, and Chris USA seconded my thinking, so let’s begin with that.

Benjamin Discovery

I owned a USFT field target rifle and knew that an air rifle can shoot fast on low air pressure. My rifle used a fill of about 1,650 psi to get 55 consistent shots of Beeman Kodiaks at 915 f.p.s. At 51 yards 25 shots went into 0.663-inches.

I thought this was a wonderful idea for a new sporting PCP. It could top out at 2,000 psi and get a shots that went 1,000 f.p.s., or thereabouts. That would make it easy to fill from a hand pump! It wouldn’t need to huge diameter reservoir of the USFT to get a reasonable number of shots. So I explained the idea to one airgun company who told me it would never work. That got me motivated to not only make it work, but to do so in a big way!

Crosman

I knew that Crosman wanted to get into precharged airguns, but they were struggling with just how to do it. They had sold Logan PCPs for a couple years, but it didn’t work out. I thought they needed to make their own PCPs, right there in New York. So, over the Christmas holiday of 2005 I put together a proposal of not only what I thought they could make but also how they should market it — with a hand pump and some pellets all in the same box! I pitched it to them in February of 2006.

My idea was to modify the Benjamin 392AS (an obsolete CO2 rifle that used 88-gram cartridges), but after I pitched the idea they brought me back to meet with them a couple months later and had two prototypes to show me. Ed Schultz had built them from the 2260 that’s now sold under the Sheridan name.

The rest is history. Thousands of Discoverys sold in the first year. The next year the Marauder came out and sold even better. Then came the Maximus and the Wildfire. Crosman went from not knowing how to market precharged airguns to being one of the top precharged manufacturers in the span of just one decade.

That is the best example of what a niche market builder can do. If it hadn’t been for Tim McMurray and his USFT, none of this would have happened.

The $100 PCP

We are not finished with this story yet. The Discovery was a landmark airgun design, but I knew there had to be something more. Dennis Quackenbush and I discussed whether it was possible to build a PCP that could retail for a hundred dollars. Dennis knew immediately what to do and he did it. Then he sent it to me to test and blog. That was a project that played in the series, Building the $100 precharged pneumatic air rifle. Turns out it’s not only possible — it works better than expected! I know for a fact that that series gave Crosman the motivation to develop the Benjamin Maximus — because they told me.

But it didn’t stop there. Oh, no! Today there is a flood of low-cost PCPs coming to market. Manufacturers are rushing to bring out affordable PCPs because they have discovered there is a market for them. It’s a market they have to grow and nourish (that’s called marketing), but it’s very real and getting bigger every day.

The bottom line

Here’s the deal. Companies don’t make a lot of money selling precharged airguns for such a low price. But PCPs are the most attractive airguns for many reasons — no special hold is needed, no CO2 cartridges to buy, no recoil, very accurate, etc. Once you get people shooting them they tend to move up to the more expensive guns with more and better features and a small but reasonable profit. The low-cost PCP is a wonderful entry into airgunning. It’s way better than the mega-magnum 1,400 f.p.s. springer that cocks too had and feels painful every time you shoot it.

The legal silencer from AirForce

Little did John McCaslin realized in 2001 when he launched the AirForce Talon SS that he would change the airgun market forever. At the time AirForce was a new company that was very small, but eager to grow. The Talon SS provided the nourishment they needed for that growth, and McCaslin was very nimble to take advantage of all the opportunities it brought his way. Where some airgun companies acted like large D10 Caterpillar bulldozers, AirForce was more of a Bobcat — lightweight and easy to transport to the job site and able to work all day.

The biggies wouldn’t move unless they saw sales in the thousands; AirForce was quick on their feet and listened to their customers. As a result, just 16 years later AirForce is a major player in the precharged market. They gave us the shroud that is now mandatory for all PCPs (if you want sales) but they gave us so much more.

They gave us Lothar Walther barrels when other companies dragged their feet or made them an expensive upgrade. They gave us interchangable barrels that swap easily in minutes, turning your one rifle into a multi-caliber shooting system! Both calibers and barrel lengths that translate to power are at the owner’s discretion. They also gave us easily variable power.

They gave us the Condor that shot a 14.3-grain Crosman Premier .22 caliber pellet at over 1,200 f.p.s., and then they gave us the Escape smallbore that went up to 100 foot-pounds. They gave us the Texan — a true production 500+ foot-pound big bore when most others were either lying about the energy they could generate, showing prototypes they couldn’t produce or developing far less power. And again AirForce gave us a new kind of adjustable power that allows for tuning for a specific bullet.

The good news is — they aren’t done giving! I know some things they are bringing to market that will have you guys jumping for joy. Once a small company, they are now a light heavyweight with a punch that dominates their sector of the market. Does niche marketing work? You bet it does!

Air Venturi

Air Venturi also plays in the niche market. Who would think in the days of the 1,000 f.p.s. there would be any demand for a lightweight, accurate, breakbarrel that’s also easy to cock? Air Venturi did! They gave us the Bronco that sold well for many years and is now a classic in its own right. I guess people really do want to shoot lightweight pellet rifles that are fun. But they didn’t stop there.

They took the air shotgun concept that has never fully succeeded and they made one that really works. The Wing Shot air shotgun not only throws the largest shot charge ever at over 1,000 f.p.s., it also shoots balls and arrows! Arrows?

Yes, the Air Venturi Air Bolt gives you an arrow-launcher with unsurpassed power and great accuracy for just the price of the bolts! They fit in most big bore barrels of the appropriate caliber (they come in .357 and .50 caliber at present). They make your Wing Shot a triple threat airgun! That’s better than spending a bunch of money for a dedicated arrow launcher, isn’t it?

Lloyd Sikes

Lloyd Sikes is the man. He invented the electronic solenoid valve that made the Rogue big bore possible. That technology has so much more to offer than what’s been done so far! I will never forget seeing his spreadsheets of the performance of that valve at the Roanoke airgun show and challenging him to show me videos of the performance. I simply didn’t believe it! When I saw the videos I contacted Crosman immediately, because this was something they needed to see. Unfortunately as the development was happening I was in the hospital, and when I came out, the Rogue project was pretty far down the road. My ability to influence it was curtailed.

The thing is — the Rogue valve is not everything it can be or do. It can turn a powerful sporting smallbore air rifle into a quiet indoor plinker at the push of a button. It puts the shooter in complete control of the air rifle’s power!

Lloyd also makes the spacer that allows a Benjamin Discovery to work with a Benjamin Marauder trigger. And he makes parts for the Disco Double — a lightweight rifle based on a Discovery that gets twice the number of shots at great power. Lloyd now sells through a different company called Stalwart Arms, but his products are still available.

This blog!

William, I know this blog was not something you asked about, but it does work in similar ways to a niche dealer. The manufacturers read it all the time and they pick up on an idea when it gets enough attention here. The hundred dollar PCP is one example. Crosman picked up of that and gave us the Maximus.

Just look at all the effort Gamo has put into their triggers. I think they saw all the discussions of bad triggers and decided they were going to do something about it. So, where does that leave us?

We are waiting for:

 

An M1 Carbine BB gun or pellet rifle

A Garand BB gun or pellet rifle

A Marauder-type PCP that’s a multi-pump

A foot-powered manual high-pressure pump

And I am waiting for a pistol version of the Avanti 499 Champion so kids can learn to shoot an accurate handgun.

I bet you readers have a long list of your own. Today would be the day to post it.

The Beeman R10/HW 85: Part 4

Po, 11/06/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Weihrauch HW 85.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Sight-in
  • The test
  • Crosman Premiers
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • POI shift!
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Evaluation
  • Summary

It took me a month, but today I’m back with the HW 85 to test the accuracy at 25 yards with a scope. In Part 3 I had a meltdown, turning in some of the worst groups I have ever published in this blog. I felt strongly that it was because I couldn’t see the front sight and today we will find out whether that was right.

I mounted a UTG 3-12X44 AO in 30mm BKL high rings. This scope is very clear and well-suited to the HW85’s power. The BKL mounts won’t slip even under recoil.

Sight-in

The scope was already zeroed from the Diana Stormrider test so sight-in went pretty fast. I started with two shots at 12 feet and then backed up to 25 yards for the test.

The test

The rifle was shot off a rest, using the artillery hold with the rifle rested on the flat of my palm. My off hand was extended out to the middle of the cocking slot. I shot 10 of each pellet, with one exception that I will discuss when we get there. Let’s get started.

Crosman Premiers

The sight-in pellet was the domed Crosman Premier, so that was the pellet for the first group. The group is fairly well centered in the bull, but I wanted to leave dead center to use as my aim point. Ten pellets went into a group that measures 0.387-inches between centers. Oh, my! In the last report I did not shoot this pellet at 25 yards, but the two I did shoot grouped in 2 inches or greater. I said then that I was hoping for a 3/4-inch group at 25 yards. This group is about half that large.


Ten Crosman Premiers went into 0.387-inches at 25 yards. That is a group!

Now we know the rifle can shoot! I discovered after the last report that I needed to use low-magnification reading glasses to see the front sight post and also to put drops into my eyes, which I now do several times each day. This is the most dramatic improvement I have ever seen when just one thing was changed. I guess BB is really gettin’ older!

In fact, this is such a good result that I am encouraged to try this rifle at 50 yards. I have never had much success with a Beeman R1 at longer distances, so this is a real positive result.

JSB Exact Jumbo

Next up was the 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbo pellet. In the last test these were great at 10 meters (0.288-inches for 10) but opened to 1.903-inches at 25 yards. Using the scope I mounted I was able to put 10 of them into 0.667-inches at 25 yards. It’s a larger group, but still very respectible.


Ten JSB Exact Jumbos made this 0.667-inch group at 25 yards.

POI shift!

Look at where those pellets landed. The point of impact shifted when I fired a different pellet. They are centered an inch higher and three-quarters of an inch to the right of the Premier group. That tells me the HW85 is very twitchy in how it wants to be held. To tell the truth, I really worked for group number one. For group two I shot faster and, while I still used the artillery hold, I didn’t prepare as long for each shot. That by itself could have been the difference in the group size.

RWS Superdomes

The final pellet I tested was the RWS Superdome. In the last test with open sights Superdomes grouped 10 in 2.694-inches, though only one pellets opened the group up. Nine were in 0.978-inches at 25 yards — just under an inch.

With a scope I was able to put 10 into 0.977-inches at 25 yards. I think maybe the Superdome is not the best pellet for this rifle. Notice that this group has shifted again. It’s about one inch to the left and a little lower than the last group.


Ten RWS Superdome pellets went into this 0.977-inch group at 25 yards.

This is the second group I shot with this pellet. I wasn’t satisfied that I was shooting well enough during the first group, though it turned out about the same size as this one.

Evaluation

The HW85 is a very accurate springer that’s also quite sensitive to the hold. There may be an even better version of the artillery hold than the one I used today. Maybe when I go out to 50 yards I will test that with a single pellet — the Crosman Premier.

Summary

I’m so glad the rifle is this accurate. It’s such a smoothie that I wanted to hang onto it, and today I saw the accuracy that makes that a done deal.

Crosman’s Town and Country multi pump

Pá, 11/03/2017 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


The Crosman Town and Country I tested was a model 108 in .22 caliber.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Town and Country
  • Was the Supergrade the influence?
  • Description
  • Front sight was a marvel!
  • Short pump lever
  • Velocity
  • Accuracy
  • Summary

When I was in the hospital for three months in 2010, my wife Edith kept this blog alive by publishing reprints of articles I had written for Airgun Revue magazine. One of those articles was the one I’m publishing today, with the difference being I am here now to edit my remarks and to lighten the black and white pictures.

Town and Country

A glance in the Blue Book of Airguns reveals that the Crosman Town and Country multi pump air rifle was made in 1949. That’s correct — ONE YEAR! Collectors debate whether it was also produced for a while in 1950, but the point is — this is one scarce airgun. And, look at that date again. What else was happening in the world of airguns, here in the U.S., in the late 1940s? Sheridan was making their model A, Supergrade!

Was the Supergrade the influence?

Many collectors have speculated that Crosman was challenging the Sheridan models A and B with their models 107 and 108 Town and Country pneumatics. Or at least they were trying to carve out their place in the upscale airgun market. I agree with them. These multi-pumps were quite different than the models 100, 101, 102 and 104 multi-pumps that Crosman had successfully been making and selling since 1924. For starters, they had full stocks instead of the exposed receivers with separate butt and forearm of the earlier rifles that must have appeared archaic in the years following WW II. The Supergrade showed the world what airgunners wanted, and Crosman was quick to adapt. However, they probably learned just as quickly that, while airgunners may have wanted nicer airguns, they were unwilling to pay for them. The model B Sheridan, priced at $35, compared to the Supergrade’s $56.50, was an acknowledgement of that.

The Town and Country was priced at $24.95 — a full ten dollars less than Sheridan’s model B and $31.55 less than the model A. While that sounds cheap to our inflation-deadened ears, consider that the still-impressive, if somewhat dated, model 101 was selling for $19.80 at the same time. And when Crosman brought out the Town and Country, they also brought out the models 109 and 110 (.177 and .22) Town and Country Junior — a rifle with a similar appearance that was priced at just $14.95. Now you tell me — which will you buy —a new eco-friendly all-electric Tesla for $69,000, or that gasser econobox Fiat 500 for $12,000? If you are a celebrity you’ll get the Tesla to be seen in and you’ll keep a Roller as your go-to vehicle. But a working stiff has to make do with just one reliable car.

People do make decisions based on cost. Marketing can offset some objections, but the bottom line is often just that.

Description

The Town and Country came in two calibers — the rare 107 is the .177 and the somewhat more common 108 is the .22. Except for the calibers, both rifles are identical. Then there was the T&C Junior — also in both calibers. I never owned a T&C Junior, but I did have a model 120 that was that rifle’s next generation. It was much shorter, slimmer and lighter than the T&C, yet it produced about the same power. Now, put that into the lineup, and then try to sell the more expensive gun. I remember years ago when the Chinese company BAM made the B40 — a copy of the TX200 that was extremely realistic, well-made and priced at less than half!

The T&C was somewhat larger than other Crosman pneumatics. It had a separate receiver, where the T&C Junior and model 120 had vestigial receivers like the current Benjamin 392. It featured a peep sight at the rear, although that was nothing new. Crosman had been using peeps on their 100-series rifles from the beginning.


Not only is the rear sight an adjustable peep, there is an open notch above it. This is the kind of innovation that sells airguns!

As you can see in the image, the peep sight adjustment was somewhat crude. But it worked. Besides that rear peep, Crosman put an open notch above it that adjusted with the peep. That gave owners a choice, and choices help sell airguns.

Front sight was a marvel!

If the rear sight is worth consideration, the front sight will take your breath away. It is the feature that makes this model a Town and Country. There are two different front sight posts — one tall for shooting close (Town) and one low for shooting far (Country). As you know, the strike of the round moves in the opposite direction that the front sight moves.


The tall “Town” front sight is up. It is what you see when you sight the rifle.


The collar in front of the front sight assembly is unscrewed, freeing the tall front sight to rotate out of the way.


The tall sight is rotated to the right, down and out of the way of the shorter front sight that is now seen when the rifle is aimed.

Short pump lever

As robust as the stock appears, the pump lever is surprisingly short. It reminds me more of the little model 760 that came a decade later, rather than the pump lever on a 100-series pneumatic that was its immediate predecessor. The short throw of the lever makes for easy pump strokes, so you can quickly build up to the recommended 8-10 pump maximum. When you do, though, the rifle doesn’t have the same power as other Crosman pneumatics — at least the one I tested didn’t. In a moment, I’ll tell you why I believe that is; but for now, let’s look at the performance:

Velocity

.22-caliber Crosman Town and Country
66 degrees F, muzzle 12 inches from start screen

Crosman Premier 5 pumps
Average velocity 453 f.p.s.
High 461 f.p.s.
Low 445 f.p.s.
Spread 16 f.p.s.
Muzzle energy 6.52 ft. lbs.

Crosman Premier 8 pumps
Average velocity 519 f.p.s.
High 531 f.p.s.
Low 509 f.p.s.
Spread 22 f.p.s.
Muzzle energy 8.56 ft. lbs.

RWS Superpoint 5 pumps
Average velocity 433 f.p.s.
High 438 f.p.s.
Low 429 f.p.s.
Spread 9 f.p.s.
Muzzle energy 6.04 ft. lbs.

RWS Superpoint 8 pumps
Average velocity 502 f.p.s.
High 507 f.p.s.
Low 495 f.p.s.
Spread 12 f.p.s.
Muzzle energy 8.12 ft. lbs.

These velocity figures seem low, when other Crosman pneumatics deliver 12 foot-pounds and often more. I believe the reason for this is the method of breech sealing employed by the T&C. On the rear of the bolt, a protruding pin slips into a cam slot in the receiver when the bolt is rotated closed. As this pin engages the cam, it forces the ground bolt face forward into a mating section of the breech. In other words, the T&C bolt seals the breech with a metal-to-metal contact at the bolt/barrel interface. Now, that fact, by itself, is nothing new to airgunning. The 101 does thew same thing. Airgun makers have been using that design for some time. But to effect a good seal this way, both pieces of metal must be ground to fit, and the cam must be a positive one; it has to hold the bolt in place. On the rifle I tested, the cam angle was so steep that the bolt could not help but rotate open slightly under the force of the air blast. In short, it wouldn’t stay closed.

I noticed a puff of air around my right hand every time the rifle fired, which I initially blamed on the recent resealing job my test rifle had gotten before the test. Then, I examined the bolt lockup more closely and discovered that the real problem was a loose bolt seal. No matter how hard I closed the bolt, that steep cam slot invited it to spring back just enough to exhaust some air. The problem was solved by manually holding the bolt closed with the thumb of my shooting hand as I pulled the trigger. There was still a small puff of air, but it was greatly diminished from what it had been. A real fanatic might have used some automotive valve-grinding compound to hand-lap the front of the bolt into the rear of the barrel; but this wasn’t my rifle, so I left it at that.

Accuracy

Accuracy wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t that great when compared to what other vintage Crosman rifles can do. RWS Hobbys were the best, shooting a dime-sized group of five off a rest at 10 meters. Five Premiers went into a slightly larger hole, but both pellets shot groups with a tight cluster of four plus one flyer. Surprisingly, the best accuracy with both pellets was at a full eight pumps. Usually, I’ve found that pneumatics prefer the middle of their power range. Perhaps, the T&C that I tested, being so tame, is better able to handle pellets at its top power.


Five RWS Hobbys went into a very tight group. A dime will cover all shots.

So, if you’re thinking about adding a T&C to your airgun collection, do it for the nostalgia rather than the power potential.

Summary

If this really was a challenge of the Sheridan models A and B, how did Crosman do? They did well, in my opinion. But it just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t low power that killed the Town and Country, because private individuals didn’t own chronographs in 1949. It had to have been the price. The market just wasn’t ready to spend $25 for an air rifle. And, after examining the advertising of the period, Crosman marketing didn’t give them a good enough reason to do so — any more than Sheridan did for their Supergrade. The thing we need to consider is, if the T&C were to come to market today, would buyers be willing to pony up $350-400 for one? It’s easy to say they would, but when a company like Crosman decides to sell a product they need sales in the thousands to justify the costs needed to bring it to market.

Crosman’s Town and Country multi pump

Pá, 11/03/2017 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


The Crosman Town and Country I tested was a model 108 in .22 caliber.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Town and Country
  • Was the Supergrade the influence?
  • Description
  • Front sight was a marvel!
  • Short pump lever
  • Velocity
  • Accuracy
  • Summary

When I was in the hospital for three months in 2010, my wife Edith kept this blog alive by publishing reprints of articles I had written for Airgun Revue magazine. One of those articles was the one I’m publishing today, with the difference being I am here now to edit my remarks and to lighten the black and white pictures.

Town and Country

A glance in the Blue Book of Airguns reveals that the Crosman Town and Country multi pump air rifle was made in 1949. That’s correct — ONE YEAR! Collectors debate whether it was also produced for a while in 1950, but the point is — this is one scarce airgun. And, look at that date again. What else was happening in the world of airguns, here in the U.S., in the late 1940s? Sheridan was making their model A, Supergrade!

Was the Supergrade the influence?

Many collectors have speculated that Crosman was challenging the Sheridan models A and B with their models 107 and 108 Town and Country pneumatics. Or at least they were trying to carve out their place in the upscale airgun market. I agree with them. These multi-pumps were quite different than the models 100, 101, 102 and 104 multi-pumps that Crosman had successfully been making and selling since 1924. For starters, they had full stocks instead of the exposed receivers with separate butt and forearm of the earlier rifles that must have appeared archaic in the years following WW II. The Supergrade showed the world what airgunners wanted, and Crosman was quick to adapt. However, they probably learned just as quickly that, while airgunners may have wanted nicer airguns, they were unwilling to pay for them. The model B Sheridan, priced at $35, compared to the Supergrade’s $56.50, was an acknowledgement of that.

The Town and Country was priced at $24.95 — a full ten dollars less than Sheridan’s model B and $31.55 less than the model A. While that sounds cheap to our inflation-deadened ears, consider that the still-impressive, if somewhat dated, model 101 was selling for $19.80 at the same time. And when Crosman brought out the Town and Country, they also brought out the models 109 and 110 (.177 and .22) Town and Country Junior — a rifle with a similar appearance that was priced at just $14.95. Now you tell me — which will you buy —a new eco-friendly all-electric Tesla for $69,000, or that gasser econobox Fiat 500 for $12,000? If you are a celebrity you’ll get the Tesla to be seen in and you’ll keep a Roller as your go-to vehicle. But a working stiff has to make do with just one reliable car.

People do make decisions based on cost. Marketing can offset some objections, but the bottom line is often just that.

Description

The Town and Country came in two calibers — the rare 107 is the .177 and the somewhat more common 108 is the .22. Except for the calibers, both rifles are identical. Then there was the T&C Junior — also in both calibers. I never owned a T&C Junior, but I did have a model 120 that was that rifle’s next generation. It was much shorter, slimmer and lighter than the T&C, yet it produced about the same power. Now, put that into the lineup, and then try to sell the more expensive gun. I remember years ago when the Chinese company BAM made the B40 — a copy of the TX200 that was extremely realistic, well-made and priced at less than half!

The T&C was somewhat larger than other Crosman pneumatics. It had a separate receiver, where the T&C Junior and model 120 had vestigial receivers like the current Benjamin 392. It featured a peep sight at the rear, although that was nothing new. Crosman had been using peeps on their 100-series rifles from the beginning.


Not only is the rear sight an adjustable peep, there is an open notch above it. This is the kind of innovation that sells airguns!

As you can see in the image, the peep sight adjustment was somewhat crude. But it worked. Besides that rear peep, Crosman put an open notch above it that adjusted with the peep. That gave owners a choice, and choices help sell airguns.

Front sight was a marvel!

If the rear sight is worth consideration, the front sight will take your breath away. It is the feature that makes this model a Town and Country. There are two different front sight posts — one tall for shooting close (Town) and one low for shooting far (Country). As you know, the strike of the round moves in the opposite direction that the front sight moves.


The tall “Town” front sight is up. It is what you see when you sight the rifle.


The collar in front of the front sight assembly is unscrewed, freeing the tall front sight to rotate out of the way.


The tall sight is rotated to the right, down and out of the way of the shorter front sight that is now seen when the rifle is aimed.

Short pump lever

As robust as the stock appears, the pump lever is surprisingly short. It reminds me more of the little model 760 that came a decade later, rather than the pump lever on a 100-series pneumatic that was its immediate predecessor. The short throw of the lever makes for easy pump strokes, so you can quickly build up to the recommended 8-10 pump maximum. When you do, though, the rifle doesn’t have the same power as other Crosman pneumatics — at least the one I tested didn’t. In a moment, I’ll tell you why I believe that is; but for now, let’s look at the performance:

Velocity

.22-caliber Crosman Town and Country
66 degrees F, muzzle 12 inches from start screen

Crosman Premier 5 pumps
Average velocity 453 f.p.s.
High 461 f.p.s.
Low 445 f.p.s.
Spread 16 f.p.s.
Muzzle energy 6.52 ft. lbs.

Crosman Premier 8 pumps
Average velocity 519 f.p.s.
High 531 f.p.s.
Low 509 f.p.s.
Spread 22 f.p.s.
Muzzle energy 8.56 ft. lbs.

RWS Superpoint 5 pumps
Average velocity 433 f.p.s.
High 438 f.p.s.
Low 429 f.p.s.
Spread 9 f.p.s.
Muzzle energy 6.04 ft. lbs.

RWS Superpoint 8 pumps
Average velocity 502 f.p.s.
High 507 f.p.s.
Low 495 f.p.s.
Spread 12 f.p.s.
Muzzle energy 8.12 ft. lbs.

These velocity figures seem low, when other Crosman pneumatics deliver 12 foot-pounds and often more. I believe the reason for this is the method of breech sealing employed by the T&C. On the rear of the bolt, a protruding pin slips into a cam slot in the receiver when the bolt is rotated closed. As this pin engages the cam, it forces the ground bolt face forward into a mating section of the breech. In other words, the T&C bolt seals the breech with a metal-to-metal contact at the bolt/barrel interface. Now, that fact, by itself, is nothing new to airgunning. The 101 does thew same thing. Airgun makers have been using that design for some time. But to effect a good seal this way, both pieces of metal must be ground to fit, and the cam must be a positive one; it has to hold the bolt in place. On the rifle I tested, the cam angle was so steep that the bolt could not help but rotate open slightly under the force of the air blast. In short, it wouldn’t stay closed.

I noticed a puff of air around my right hand every time the rifle fired, which I initially blamed on the recent resealing job my test rifle had gotten before the test. Then, I examined the bolt lockup more closely and discovered that the real problem was a loose bolt seal. No matter how hard I closed the bolt, that steep cam slot invited it to spring back just enough to exhaust some air. The problem was solved by manually holding the bolt closed with the thumb of my shooting hand as I pulled the trigger. There was still a small puff of air, but it was greatly diminished from what it had been. A real fanatic might have used some automotive valve-grinding compound to hand-lap the front of the bolt into the rear of the barrel; but this wasn’t my rifle, so I left it at that.

Accuracy

Accuracy wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t that great when compared to what other vintage Crosman rifles can do. RWS Hobbys were the best, shooting a dime-sized group of five off a rest at 10 meters. Five Premiers went into a slightly larger hole, but both pellets shot groups with a tight cluster of four plus one flyer. Surprisingly, the best accuracy with both pellets was at a full eight pumps. Usually, I’ve found that pneumatics prefer the middle of their power range. Perhaps, the T&C that I tested, being so tame, is better able to handle pellets at its top power.


Five RWS Hobbys went into a very tight group. A dime will cover all shots.

So, if you’re thinking about adding a T&C to your airgun collection, do it for the nostalgia rather than the power potential.

Summary

If this really was a challenge of the Sheridan models A and B, how did Crosman do? They did well, in my opinion. But it just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t low power that killed the Town and Country, because private individuals didn’t own chronographs in 1949. It had to have been the price. The market just wasn’t ready to spend $25 for an air rifle. And, after examining the advertising of the period, Crosman marketing didn’t give them a good enough reason to do so — any more than Sheridan did for their Supergrade. The thing we need to consider is, if the T&C were to come to market today, would buyers be willing to pony up $350-400 for one? It’s easy to say they would, but when a company like Crosman decides to sell a product they need sales in the thousands to justify the costs needed to bring it to market.

Codeuce spinner targets: Part 2

Čt, 11/02/2017 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • How to test?
  • Targets set for powerful airguns
  • Diana 27
  • What the pellets did to the paddles
  • Leveling
  • Evaluation so far

Today will be a short report, but there is a lot in it. I’m testing the spinner airgun targets reader Codeuce made, and many of you readers were interested ion them in Part 1. Today I will show you how they work.

How to test?

Codeuce made two different sets of paddles for these targets. I showed them to you in Part 1. I said at that time that, based on how freely I saw the targets spinning, I didn’t think the lightweight set for lower-powered airguns was necessary. So I went my own direction for today’s test.

Targets set for powerful airguns

I tested the targets set up the way Codeuce sent them — with the heavier paddles installed. Let me show you how easy they work. ALLOW TIME FOR THE VIDEOS TO UPLOAD TO YOUR DEVICE!

pan>

What do you think? Do you see why I thought they would work fine with a less powerful airgun? These are the most fluid spinners I have ever seen.

Diana 27

I’m shooting my Diana model 27 at the targets. I’m standing 15 feet away, and that’s just because I have to work the camera as well as shoot. This isn’t about my accuracy. It’s about how well these spinners function.

I’m shooting RWS Superdomes that exit the muzzle of this rifle with just over 7 foot-pounds of energy. I’m standing so close to the targets that you can figure that’s how hard they are being hit.

So let’s look at what these pellets do to the spinners.

What do you think? I have been shooting spinners for more than 30 years and these are the smoothest ones I have seen. That bearing makes a big difference!

What the pellets did to the paddles

The pellets left round splatters on the faces of the paddles with no deformation. I didn’t expect any at this power level. So the question is — what will a faster pellet do? I need to answer that for you (and for myself, as well).

Hitting the paddles with 30 foot-pounds will no doubt spin them fast enough to cut grass, but what else will it do? It needs to be tested. So that’s in the works.

Codeuce, I honestly think you can skip the lighter paddles. These targets work fine the way they are set up. This low-powered rifle will spin them at 25 yards pretty easily.

Leveling

A couple of you talked about leveling the targets. No doubt they will spin their best when level, but the one target in the videos is already spinning on an angle and it does fine, as you can see. Unless you live on the side of a mountain, leveling should not be a big concern.

Evaluation so far

These are great targets. They are perfect for private use, but made stout enough for a club. In my opinion, Codeuce has a winner on his hands.

I still plan to test them once more with a stronger air rifle. And there are things I could do but probably won’t — like testing them with a Benjamin Wildfire. Think how amazing that would be!

Codeuce spinner targets: Part 2

Čt, 11/02/2017 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • How to test?
  • Targets set for powerful airguns
  • Diana 27
  • What the pellets did to the paddles
  • Leveling
  • Evaluation so far

Today will be a short report, but there is a lot in it. I’m testing the spinner airgun targets reader Codeuce made, and many of you readers were interested ion them in Part 1. Today I will show you how they work.

How to test?

Codeuce made two different sets of paddles for these targets. I showed them to you in Part 1. I said at that time that, based on how freely I saw the targets spinning, I didn’t think the lightweight set for lower-powered airguns was necessary. So I went my own direction for today’s test.

Targets set for powerful airguns

I tested the targets set up the way Codeuce sent them — with the heavier paddles installed. Let me show you how easy they work. ALLOW TIME FOR THE VIDEOS TO UPLOAD TO YOUR DEVICE!

pan>

What do you think? Do you see why I thought they would work fine with a less powerful airgun? These are the most fluid spinners I have ever seen.

Diana 27

I’m shooting my Diana model 27 at the targets. I’m standing 15 feet away, and that’s just because I have to work the camera as well as shoot. This isn’t about my accuracy. It’s about how well these spinners function.

I’m shooting RWS Superdomes that exit the muzzle of this rifle with just over 7 foot-pounds of energy. I’m standing so close to the targets that you can figure that’s how hard they are being hit.

So let’s look at what these pellets do to the spinners.

What do you think? I have been shooting spinners for more than 30 years and these are the smoothest ones I have seen. That bearing makes a big difference!

What the pellets did to the paddles

The pellets left round splatters on the faces of the paddles with no deformation. I didn’t expect any at this power level. So the question is — what will a faster pellet do? I need to answer that for you (and for myself, as well).

Hitting the paddles with 30 foot-pounds will no doubt spin them fast enough to cut grass, but what else will it do? It needs to be tested. So that’s in the works.

Codeuce, I honestly think you can skip the lighter paddles. These targets work fine the way they are set up. This low-powered rifle will spin them at 25 yards pretty easily.

Leveling

A couple of you talked about leveling the targets. No doubt they will spin their best when level, but the one target in the videos is already spinning on an angle and it does fine, as you can see. Unless you live on the side of a mountain, leveling should not be a big concern.

Evaluation so far

These are great targets. They are perfect for private use, but made stout enough for a club. In my opinion, Codeuce has a winner on his hands.

I still plan to test them once more with a stronger air rifle. And there are things I could do but probably won’t — like testing them with a Benjamin Wildfire. Think how amazing that would be!

The Beeman P1 air pistol: Part 1

St, 11/01/2017 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Beeman P1 air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Lots of reports
  • What is the Beeman P1?
  • HW45
  • Three calibers
  • Good 1911 trainer
  • Two power levels
  • Adjustable sights
  • Adjustable trigger
  • All metal
  • PTFE piston seals
  • Overall evaluation

As I was packing up at the 2017 Texas airgun show a man stopped by my tables and showed interest in a BSA Airsporter I had for sale. He asked if I would consider a trade. He then showed me a Beeman P1 pistol in near-excellent condition. The only real detractor is someone had tried to mount a scope on it and they screwed a scope stop pin down into the top of the scope rail, leaving a mark. I already owned a P1, but my gun has been highly modified from the days of The Airgun Letter, and I welcomed this chance to test a stock one.

Back in 1996 I modified the trigger of my P1 and got an extremely light and crisp pull. Ever since then I have had to try to remember what the stock trigger felt like. Also, I have tuned my pistol, making it’s pretty far from the gun it once was. I like the P1 and have recommended it for years to shooters who are serious about air pistols that can shoot, but in all that time I have been talking about a stock gun that’s getting harder and harder to remember. With this trade I can rectify that!

Lots of reports

I have tested my P1 for this blog many, many times. First in 2005, then 2007, and then a complete test in 2011 and most recently another complete test in 2014. But all of those tests were with my own modified P1. Today I start testing this new one. It’s much older than mine, but I have no idea how many shots have been fired.

What is the Beeman P1?

A Beeman P1 is a single shot spring-piston air pistol that puts out a light .177 pellet at the mid to high 500 f.p.s. range. The specs say 600 f.p.s., but I have never seen that. I think 585 f.p.s. was the highest I saw before I tuned the gun. These days that may not sound like a big deal, but when it came out in 1983, not many spring pistols could match it. The BSA Scorpion may be the only one that could.

HW45

Weihrauch liked Beeman’s design so much they produced it as the HW45 along with making the P1 for Beeman. It used to sell for less than the P1, but today the prices are pretty equivalent. Outside the U.S. it sells for less, but importing one will wind up costing you more than it’s worth.

Three calibers

The P1 comes in .177, .20 and .22 calibers. The most popular caliber by far is .177. The other two calibers are generally much harder to find because the .177 has the velocity that shooters want.

The way it’s built the piston travels backward when the gun fires. That imparts a feeling of recoil that’s fairly realistic. Most spring-piston pistols recoil away from you, so this one is different.

The grip frame is a very close copy of a 1911 firearm. It’s so close that Colt grips will fit. But the P1 comes with checkered walnut grips that are as nice as the finest standard grips Colt ever put on their firearms.

The upper frame of the gun is massive! It looks like a 1911 on steroids. The top half of that upper frame pops up when the exposed hammer is thumbed back, allowing the shooter to pull the upper frame up and forward, rotating around the front of the lower frame as the cocking linkage pulls the piston forward and compresses the mainspring.


The upper frame rotates up and forward to cock the pistol. You can see one side of the twin cocking links that pull the piston forward.

Good 1911 trainer

The P1 weighs 2.5 lbs, which is close to the weight of a 1911 (2.44 lbs. with empty magazine). The grip feels like a 1911A1 that has the curved mainspring housing. The trigger is suspended from a pin, unlike the 1911 trigger, but the length to the trigger is very close to a 1911 (not an A1, whose trigger is much shorter).

It’s easier to get accustomed to the P1 than to a 1911 firearm because of the lower noise and recoil. Also, pellets are far less expensive than .45 ACP rounds, which makes the air pistol a great trainer. However, unless your 1911 is a good one, the air pistol may be more accurate — especially at close range. We will test it to see what a stock P1 can do, but all the ones I have shot in the past have been quite accurate.

Two power levels

The P1 is unique in having both a low and high power setting — depending on how far forward the upper frame is rotated forward. Stop at the first click and you have low power. The second click gives you high power. However, this feature isn’t as cool as it sounds. It’s not much harder to cock to high power because the geometry of the linkage changes as the upper part of the frame rotates forward. I do note that this test pistol seems to hesitate just after low power is reached, but with proper lubrication that will change. I know because my other pistol cocks to full power easily. In .22 caliber versions of the pistol there is just a single power level, though I have heard of shooters changing the caliber of their pistols by swapping barrels, so you might encounter a .22 with two levels.

Adjustable sights

The rear sight adjusts in both directions. The adjustments have detents, but the windage detents are soft and hard to feel.


The rear sight is adjustable in both directions.

Up front the sights is a low post that’s squared off at the top. It’s perfect for target shooting.

Adjustable trigger

The two-stage trigger adjusts for both the length of the first stage and the weight of the letoff. Again, unless you have a very nice 1911, the P1 trigger is probably better.

There is an ambidextrous safety lever on the both sides of the grip frame, but it is manual, as it should be. You can easily put it on and take it off with your trigger finger. And the P1 does not have that grip safety that disturbs many shooters of the 1911/A1.

All metal

The P1 is all metal on the outside, save the checkered walnut grip panels. It’s finished in what I assume is hydrostatic paint that’s tough and long-lasting. I have thousands of shots on my Huntington Beach 1995 P1 and have tested scopes, dot sights and wooden stocks with it. The gun still is in excellent cosmetic condition. This pistol I traded for is even older. It’s from San Rafael (1983-1989), though there is no telling how many shots are on it. The bottom line is — these pistols are built to last.

PTFE piston seals

The P1 piston seals are made from polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE, of which Teflon is one well-known brand. That material is low friction and takes the shape of the compression chamber. In fact, the break-in procedure for a new P1 piston seal is to dry-fire the gun a couple times on high power. That squashes the seal out until it fills the compression chamber perfectly. I was given that procedure from Don Walker who used to work at Beeman as their maintenance tech.

Overall evaluation

In 2017 the Beeman P1 is an anomaly. It’s a solid all-metal air pistol with features that go beyond anything else. In fact, there is very little else that comes close to it. Sure, the pricetag is hefty, as it must be to pay for everything you get, but I can’t name another airgun that’s like it. This is an heirloom airgun that you will own for the rest of your life and then hand down to your offspring.

I’m really looking forward to testing this airgun!