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2017 SHOT Show: Part 2

Út, 01/17/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

  • What I saw at Sig
  • What I didn’t see
  • Bucket list
  • Industry Day at the Range
  • Gauntlet
  • Havox
  • Gamo Swarm Maxim
  • Coyote Urban
  • There is more

Inn this report I will cover airguns I saw at Sig Range Day on Sunday, Jan. 15 and at Media Day at the Range on Monday, Jan. 16.

What I saw at Sig

Sig has been breaking into airguns over the past several years. This year they brought out the Max Michel 1911 that I tested for you back in November and December, plus they have now added the Sig P320 ASP pellet pistol. The 320 is unique in 2 ways. First, it has a 30-shot belt-fed magazine, so there are lots of shots on board. We haven’t seen a pistol with a belt-fed mag since Anics walked off the scene, years ago. This one is very slim, too.

The other nice feature is the trigger pull. Though it is a long pull, it is 2-stage and incredibly light. Yours truly was able to nail targets with this gun at respectable distances.


The 320 ASP is a 30-shot pellet pistol that’s new from Sig.

They also showed the new 1911 Spartan BB pistol. It has a rugged look that 1911 fans will like, if they don’t want all the embellishments found on the Max Michel race gun.


Sig’s new M1911 Spartan BB pistol.

What I didn’t see

Sig has a spring rifle in development, but it wasn’t ready for this show. It’s a clean-sheet-of-paper creation that should have some surprises, but not at this SHOT. In its place I saw something else that is remarkable. How about an American-made 9mm Sig P210 pistol? The P210 is one of the all-time classics, but carries a hefty retail price tag, its the stuff of dreams. Until now. Sig is now making the P210 in the U.S., and it will retail for just $1,650. I say “just” because you could spend close to a grand more for the German-made gun.


This Sig P210 9mm pistol is made in America!

Bucket list

I got to shoot it against steel reactive targets and I’m darned if I didn’t hit most of them. That was the Sig, not me. This Americanized gun has both an American mag release and safety. Scratch that one off the bucket list!

Industry Day at the Range

There were two disappointments at Industry Day. First, Crosman wasn’t there and I didn’t get to try the new Wildfire. Oh, well! I’m guessing it shoots just like a 1077, but with a little more oomph.

The other one was THE UMAREX HAMMER WASN’T THERE! I so looked forward to trying this 700 foot-pound big bore out, but that will have to wait, as well. Now let’s take a look at what was there.

Gauntlet

You read about the Gauntlet yesterday. I shot it today. There’s a lot of value packed into this $300 precharged repeater. From what I see it’s accurate, quiet (though I was shooting in a war zone, and the discharge sound of a silenced pellet gun is difficult to gauge), has a 10-shot rotary magazine and a decent trigger. Are there things to complain about? I’m sure there are — so the Gauntlet will have something for everyone!

One thing surprised me, though. The Gauntlet has an adjustable cheekpiece that operates via a thumbwheel in the stock. It is as if the leprechauns at Umarex sat down and asked what features airgunners wanted, then decided to give them everything at a stunningly low price.


I shot the Gauntlet. You’re going to like it.

Havox

But I had instructions to look at some pellets — the Havox. These all-copper pellets are fashioned on a medical screw machine — precision equipment used to make medical stents. The cuts are made with micro fine saws. Two things result from that. First, you get a pellet that penetrates then expends all its energy inside the game. I have seen the pictures and a video — it’s devastating. Second — they are expensive. I was told $12.99 to 14.99 for 25 pellets, depending on the caliber. Yes that is a lot of money, but this pellet delivers performance that airgun hunters need. Big game hunters in Africa often pay twice that much for a single round! So, if you really want that woodchuck out of the garden, wreak some Havox on him!

They come in .177, .22 and .25. The .177 weighs 7 grains. The .22 goes 13.9 grains and the .25 gets to 20 grains. So, normal pellet weights on the light side, which means faster velocity.


Havox pellets with a .22 after impact. Think broadheads for pellet rifles.

Those weren’t the only projectiles I saw, either. The ARX bullets were there, as well. And the mystery is solved — they are all .50 caliber for the Hammer — an airgun Umarex promises me they have, but were not able to produce at the Media Day range. These bullets are a copper/polymer blend and come in synthetic sabots.


The ARX bullets are all .50 caliber and sabotted. From the left — .357, .40, .45 and .50.

Gamo Swarm Maxim

At the Gamo booth Rick Eutsler showed me the Swarm Maxim breakbarrel rifle — a gas spring that I swear cocks with less than 25 lbs. of effort — despite producing over 16 foot-pounds in .22 caliber. And that isn’t its claim to fame. The Swarm is a 10-shot repeater. Now, Gamo has made pellet repeaters before. The Expomatic was one, if memory serves. Butt the Swarm has an all-new mechanism that seats each pellet into the barrel positively. It’s a complex mechanism, bit I saw it work and I think it is the first repeating breakbarrel I would trust.


Gamo’s Swarm Maxim comes in .177 and .22. It’s a 10-shot repeating breakbarrel.


I found the Gamo Swarm Maxim to be a light repeater that’s accurate and fun.

Even if it wasn’t a repeater I’d like this one because it’s so light and easy to cock. Can’t wait to test one.

Coyote Urban

The other rifle Rick showed me was the new Gamo Coyote Urban — a PCP with a synthetic stock that has lost 2 pounds in the process from the wood-stocked version! I guesstimated its weight at 7 lbs. or a trifle more with a scope. This rifle is a 10-shot repeater with a circular magazine, a nice trigger and a shrouded barrel. It comes in .22 caliber, only, and it putting 23 foot-pounds out the spout.


Gamo Coyote Urban

All that goes out the door for just $400. Thanks to rifles like this and the Gauntlet, the days of the PCP have arrived.

There is more

Of course there is more — this is the SHOT Show! But I want all of you to0 bear in mind that SHOT is a trade show — not a public unveiling. Some of the products you have seen and will be seeing are still in development and may not be avail;able until late in the year, if then. This is industry talking to its retailers — giving them a heads-up and also gauging their reactions. An olde English saying goes, “There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.” And that goes for trade shows, as well.

2017 SHOT Show: Part 1

Po, 01/16/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

  • What’s coming
  • Let’s get started
  • MP 40
  • Remington 1875
  • Benjamin Wildfire
  • Umarex ARX ammo
  • Umarex Hammer
  • Umarex Gauntlet
  • A shrouded Texan?
  • Other new things

Well, it’s that time again. Here I am at the 2017 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. This year will be the biggest one yet for new airguns. And when I say new, I mean really new designs. I’m not interested in a re-skinned gun that’s had other names in the past. There is so much stuff that is really new this year that everything else will get shoved to the rear.

What’s coming

Yesterday I was on the range with Sig and today I am out at Industry Day at the Range. That’s an event that allows gun writers to try out various new products at a gun range. Actually, it’s more than 50 ranges, all lined up, one after another, in a line that’s about a third of a mile long! A few years ago they started putting ranges on the other side of the walkway, for guns that don’t shoot as far — like shotguns and airguns.

Crosman used the only airgun company that was consistently at Industry Day, with AirForce Airguns coming out a time or two. This year, though Crosman is not there. Gamo is there with BSA, and maybe they also brought Daisy with them, now that they own them. Umarex USA will also be there, which will give me the opportunity to try a couple novel new things I plan to tell you about both today and again tomorrow — hopefully after I have shot them.

Let’s get started

Let’s jump in with some new things that are so hot they just won’t wait for me to see them at the show. I’ll begin with a couple new replicas.

MP 40

MP stands for Maschinenpistole, which is German for submachine gun. As a firearm, the MP 40 is a 9mm Parabellum (Luger) subgun that’s a modernized version of the MP 38. It’s an effective close-combat weapon that was cheaper to produce than the earlier MP 38, because stamped parts were used in place of machined parts. In that respect the MP 40 is like our American M3 “grease gun,” except the M3 comes in a larger caliber and has a much slower rate of fire. The MP 40, firing the smaller, lighter ammo, is easier to control and was a mainstay of many armies from WW II right up through Vietnam and even later.


This is an MP 40 firearm. The BB gun looks similar.

This year Umarex USA is bringing out a CO2-powered 60-shot BB-firing version of the gun. If it’s anything like the M712 Mauser machine pistol they gave us two years ago, we’re in for a treat. I’ll try to give you more info as it comes my way.

Remington 1875

Everyone is familiar with the profile of the Colt Single Action Army revolver, but a similar handgun was made by Remington. There were two main variations — models 1875 and 1890. This year, we will see the 1875 in BB gun form. Obviously powered by CO2, this gun may look something like a Colt, but the lockwork is entirely different. Crosman will be bringing it out later this year, and I hope to have photos for you this week. The gun is smoothbore, but will also shoot pellets, just like the Colt BB guns.

Fellows, prepare your wives! This will be a year of fine new replicas!

Benjamin Wildfire

I don’t think Crosman took the name Wildfire from the male ostrich in the movie Tremors II, but you never know! The Benjamin Wildfire is a pneumatic version of the famous 12-shot 1077 repeating pellet rifle. Crosman calls it semiautomatic, but the mechanism is a double-action-only revolver. That’s why the trigger pull is so long and heavy — it has to both cock the striker and advance the 12-shot revolving clip to the next pellet. With use it becomes smoother.


Benjamin’s Wildfire is essentially a Crosman 1077 running on compressed air. It dawned on me that this could be the $100 PCP!

Umarex ARX ammo

Umarex is bringing out a new hunting bullet called the ARX. These are a polymer/copper matrix in a plastic bore-sized sleeve or sabot, and are also suitable for muzzleloading rifles. I don’t know the calibers they offer yet, but I presume they are for the new .50 caliber Hammer rifle and others. They are designed for maximum expansion in game at lower velocities. Of course I will test them for you when I get some. These will be expensive, but they promise to deliver maximum performance for hunters.


Umarex ARX bullets promise revolutionary performance in game.

Umarex Hammer

I got a call from Umarex representative, Steve Lamboy, last week, He told me about the new Umarex Hammer. The Hammer is a .50 caliber big bore that Umarex claims will deliver 700 foot-pounds at the muzzle. Not only that — it’s a 3-shot repeater. Not only that — it will retail for $650! And, with sabotted ammo, you will be able to shoot several calibers from the same gun. I’m thinking the ARX, though that was not specifically mentioned. I am hopefully shooting this one as you read this, today at the Media Day range! If everything I was told bears out, and of course if it is accurate, the Hammer will raise the bar for big bore airguns.

Umarex Gauntlet

This could be the big deal of the day. No, make that the year. The Gauntlet is a 10-shot repeating PCP from Umarex that comes with a shrouded barrel and a regulator. None of those features is new, but they have never been offered in a $300 package before!


Umarex Gauntlet is a budget-priced repeating PCP with great features.

The Gauntlet comes in .177 and .22 calibers. They are saying it gets up to 70 shots in .177 and 60 in .22. If it is accurate, it will have a major impact on the airgun market this year. This rifle, coupled with several new air compressors, will be the big news for the year.

A shrouded Texan?

Anyone who has visited the Lone Star state knows how hard it is to keep Texans quiet. But this year, AirForce Airguns does just that with their new TexanSS. This novel big bore already leads the market; what will a quiet one do? It’s interesting they have done this just as the United States is moving toward legalizing silencers for all firearms in a modification of the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). Pictures to follow.

Other new things

There are several new air compressors for airgunners this year. Air Venturi has a stout one that fills to 4,500 psi quickly, and AirForce Airguns will have a model of their own later in the year. I have the one from Air Venturi right now and you can anticipate a full report will start soon.


Air Venturi’s new compressor goes to 4,500 psi quickly and shuts off automatically.

My head is bursting with all the other new things I know about. This SHOT will be the biggest one yet for airguns.

Wax on — wax off!

Pá, 01/13/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Some basic truths
  • What am I saying?
  • What many do wrong
  • Ready, fire, aim!
  • Back to airgunners
  • Use the sights!
  • The end

Homework assignment. You need to watch the movie, “Karate Kid.” The moral of the movie is to slow down, concentrate and focus power! At least that’s what Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel-san.

Another phrase from WWII is, “Straighten up and fly right.” It pretty much means the same thing.

I almost titled this report, “Why I shoot muzzle loaders,” but I thought that would turn off the very people I was reaching out to today.

Some basic truths

1. When shooting lead bullets in a big borte airgun, always size the bullet at least one-thousandth of an inch larger than the bore. This is the principal reason 9mm big bore airguns are not accurate when shot with 9mm bullets (0.356-inches) but tighten right up when shot with 0.357-inch and even 0.358-inch bullets.

2. The longer the bullet or pellet in a given caliber, the faster it has to spin to stabilize. Anyone who has ever thrown an American football in a spiral pass knows this.

By the way, there are two different ways of getting the spin faster. Decrease the twist rate ratio or drive the bullet faster.

3. Overloading a black powder arm beyond a certain point does not increase its power. An airgun corollary to this is the fact that an impact type air valve (i.e., knock open) has a pressure limit, above which it will degrade in power.

I learned all this stuff and a lot more by shooting muzzle loading firearms. They forced me to slow down and contemplate what I was doing.

What am I saying?

Do you need to shoot muzzle loaders? Of course not! What I’m saying is if you want to enjoy airgunning to its fullest you need to learn at least the basics of firearms performance, so you can apply them to your hobby.

What many do wrong

Daniel-san wanted to learn karate very quickly. Mr. Miyagi had him wash and wax all his cars. Then he had him sand the extensive deck that covered almost the entire backyard of Miyagi’s home. Finally he had him paint the fence that ran around the perimeter of the property. When the boy finally rebelled at all the work, his trainer showed him that what he was really doing was developing muscle memory and reflexes.

Ready, fire, aim!

Many new airgunners buy an air rifle, scope it and then discover they can’t hit anything. Was the gun they bought accurate? Was the scope proper for the gun? Was it properly mounted? Is it adjusted outside the range and is the reticle floating? Is the shooter familiar with the special hold we call the artillery hold? What we often see is they just finished watching a Jason Bourne movie and they want to shoot like him. Here is the deal — even Jason Bourne can’t shoot like Jason Bourne!

Like young Daniel-san, these new airgunners want to start shooting at the expert level. But if they lack the basics, they can never rise that high.

Here is an example of what I am saying. Yesterday a young woman called her mother because her car “broke down.” What was wrong? Well, It didn’t “go” when she put it in gear.

Obviously the transmission was broken.

Or, was it?

Automatic transmissions work by using hydraulic pressure to move the parts that on manual transmissions have to be moved by people. In an automatic transmission, a fluid that resembles oil is used to generate and transmit the hydraulic pressure to the parts that need it. It is called automatic transmission fluid. Don’t get hung up on the fact that I called ATF oil. I know it has loads of additives and is vastly different from motor oil. I’m just making a simple point. Without ATF, an automatic transmission will not work.

In fact, if the automatic transmission is low on ATF, it acts just like it is broken. Add ATF to the correct level and the transmission just might start working again!

But, since adding ATF is not something you can do with a smart phone app, a younger person might not even be aware that is has to be done. That’s not a slur against young people. It’s just the way our world works these days. How can they know what they haven’t been exposed to?

Back to airgunners

How does this apply to airguns? Well, I run into new shooters who buy a gun and can’t mount the scope. The gun has open sights, but since they have never used open sights, they sit around thinking their new airgun will not work. Think I’m exaggerating?

Use the sights!

What about this one — a guy has an airgun that’s getting 4-inch groups at 10 yards and he’s blaming the cheap scope that came with the gun. Why not take that scope off and try shooting with the open sights? Then you would know whether it is the scope or the gun. “Well,” he says, “I’m 48 years old and these tired eyes just can’t see well enough to shoot with open sights any more.”

Poor you! I’m a little older (69), and my sighting eye that went blind last April has a repaired retina, a serious cataract, astigmatism and sees 20/100 before correction, but I have continued to use open sights.

The difference is, I learned many years ago how to put wax on and take wax off.

That’s the lesson today. Learn more about how to shoot. I’ve done it through a lot of reading and by shooting muzzle loading firearms that put me in contact with the lowest levels of gun operation. To get any more basic than shooting a flintlock I would have to make the gunpowder myself, which I also know how to do.

The end

I know I’m preaching to the choir today. The people who bring me their shooting problems — the Daniel-sans of the airgun world — usually haven’t got the time to listen to my answers. They just want to shoot!

Diana model AR8: Part 4

Čt, 01/12/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Diana AR8 N-TEC air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

  • New Diana scope base
  • Droop?
  • The test
  • Baracuda Match 5.53mm heads
  • Firing behavior
  • Better artillery hold
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • RWS Superdome
  • Notice all three groups
  • Conclusions

This report has taken a long time to write. I wanted to test the Diana AR8 from 25 yards with open sights, but my sighting eye has degraded to the point that I can’t do that. The AR8 is also very hard to cock and it would be too much trouble to shoot it left-handed, so I scoped it for today’s test. I used a 3-12X40 UTG scope that’s no longer made.

New Diana scope base

As you may remember, Diana changed the installed scope bases on all their spring rifles a few years ago, negating the aftermarket bases that were designed for them in the past by UTG. There are still hundreds of thousands of those vintage rifles that those bases fit, but the new base on all their spring rifles will not allow the old droop-compensating UTG mount base to be installed.
The problem is — Diana’s base on the rifle doesn’t accept a scope ring set very well. I wanted to use a base that accepted Picatinney scope rings, because of the heavy recoil of the AR8, but Diana doesn’t provide a ring like that, nor would it fit their base if they did.

Droop?

I had a prototype UTG base that did fit, but it did not have any droop compensation. In my first test today with H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 5.53mm heads the pellet was striking the target about 8 inches below the aim point, and I thought it was due to droop, but with the next two pellets the groups were right on target. After testing I don’t think the AR8 I’m testing droops very much. It does droop a little, but not as much as vintage Diana breakbarrels.

The test

I shot from a rest at 25 yards. I used the artillery hold and in this report you will read that the best hold is with the off hand rested under the cocking slot, not touching the triggerguard. I shot 10 shots per pellet and the groups were so scattered that I had to photograph the target still taped to the backer board.

H&N Baracuda Match 5.53mm heads

First up was the H&N Baracuda Match pellet with the 5.53mm head. That was the most accurate pellet at 10 meters using open sights, so I thought it was a good place to start. Unfortunately this heavy pellet dropped so much (around 8 inches) that I had to use the third mil dot down on the vertical reticle as my aim point. And, even with that the group was still a couple inches below the aim point.

Ten pellets went into 1.321-inches at 25 yards. The group was very vertical and this was the only group that was shot with my off hand rested so it touched the triggerguard.


Ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets went into 1.321-inches at 25 yards. The verticality of this group may reflect where my off hand was resting beneath the rifle.

Firing behavior

The AR8 has a very light trigger that I love. The rifle doesn’t vibrate much when it fires, but it does recoil significantly.

Better artillery hold

After the first group, I slid my off hand out until it rested beneath the cocking slot of the stock. That stabilized the rifle more and I think gave better groups. I would have shot another group with these Baracuda pellets, but this rifle is too difficult for me to cock. After a few sighters and 30 shots for the record, I was finished.

JSB Exact Jumbo

The next pellet I tried was the 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbo. The heavier 18.1-grain Jumbo Heavy did not do well at 10 meters, so I wanted to give this lighter one a try. Using the new artillery hold, 10 of these pellets made a group at 25 yards that measures 1.415-inches between centers. The group did strike the bottom of the bull I aimed at, so this pellet shoots about 8 inches higher than the Baracuda Match. It’s also the reason I say the AR8 is not much of a drooper.


Ten JSB Exact Jumbo pellets went into 1.415-inches at 25 yards.

RWS Superdome

The last pellet I tried was the RWS Superdome. It’s light for the power of the AR8, but if it’s accurate, who cares?

Ten Superdomes went into 1.288-inches at 25 yards, which proved to be the best group of the test. They landed lower on the target than the JSBs, though they also did strike near the bull at which I was aiming. A couple of the last shots landed off the target paper, so I left the target taped to the backer board for photography and measuring.


Ten RWS Superdome pellets made this 1.288-inch target at 25 yards.

Notice all three groups

If you examine all three groups you’ll see there is a group within each of them that contains about half the shots. That suggests to me that there is a shooting hold that will improve the accuracy significantly. I almost had it, but not quite — as these groups show. I therefore think the AR8 is more accurate than my testing was able to demonstrate.

Conclusions

I still think the AR8 makes a nice hunting rifle for those wanting a springer. It’s definitely not for plinking, but if you can discover the right hold, I think you will be surprised.

Given the power, I think this rifle is very well-behaved. This is the second Diana with an N-TEC gas spring that has surprised me this way. I think they have their act together.

Methods of power adjustment — springers: Part 1

St, 01/11/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • More power!
  • Example
  • Stronger mainspring?
  • Piston stroke
  • Increase the piston length
  • Dual power is possible through piston stroke
  • Larger piston?
  • Cost
  • Transfer port size
  • Port location
  • Piston weight
  • What can be done with this knowledge?

Today’s topic was suggested last week by reader Riki from India. A lot of other readers jumped on the bandwagon when he asked for it, so I agreed to write a series of reports. The question is — how do airgun manufacturers control the power/velocity output of the guns they make?

More power!

An American airgunner who is new to the hobby will look at this in a different way. He will wonder how airgun manufacturers get the highest possible velocity/most power from an airgun. He won’t appreciate that in nearly every country in the world other than the United States the governments have limited the power of airguns. And there is no common way they limit it. In the United Kingdom they limit the output by energy, allowing no more than 12 foot-pounds for air rifles and 6 foot-pounds for air pistols, I believe. They aren’t concerned with velocity, except as it produces energy. This is a thoughtful regulation that forces airgunners in those countries to learn basic ballistics. It also forces manufacturers to test their airguns with almost every pellet to be sure they are not exceeding those limits.

Spain and Germany also limit airguns by energy, though they vary widely. Spain allows around 17 foot-pounds, I believe, while Germany is just over 5 foot-pounds.

Other countries like Denmark and Canada limit airgun velocity rather than energy. That’s a more simplistic way of doing it and it does allow the larger calibers to slip past with energies sufficient to kill deer and similar game. But the point is, no matter what country you are in, with very few exceptions (New Zealand?), airgun power is limited.

Where this comes into play is when a manufacturer wishes to sell their airguns in different markets. They must learn what those markets permit and not only produce guns that meet the specifications, they also have to ensure that their guns cannot be easily converted into an illegal configuration for that country.

Example

Let’s say Crosman makes a breakbarrel rifle that’s very popular in the United States. It’s accurate, easy to cock and has a great trigger, plus the price is just under $300. It gets 1,100 f.p.s. in .177 caliber with a 7-grain lead pellet. The U.S. market will be good for around 10.000 sales over the next three years. That’s good, but if you could sell this rifle in the UK, the sales potential would almost double. Canada, Germany and the rest of Europe are pretty much out of reach for this gun without a major redesign. But is it worth it to try to reduce the rifle’s power from 1,100 f.p.s./18.8 foot-pounds with a 7-grain pellet to 12 foot pounds/879 f.p.s., for the UK market? A bunch of airgunners sitting around and having a bull session will probably say yes, but do they know what that involves? That is what today’s report is all about.

How do airgun manufacturers control the power output of the airguns they make? Today we will look at spring-piston powerplants.

Stronger mainspring?

The novice response to gain more power is to install a stronger mainspring, and of course the reverse would also be true. But it often doesn’t work as you might think. Not only does a more powerful spring usually not increase the power/velocity, it almost always decreases it, while increasing the effort to cock. A strong mainspring has a place in spring gun power, but it is one of the last things to consider. Several things are far more important.

Piston stroke

One of the easiest ways of controlling spring gun power, all other things being equal, is by changing the length of the piston stroke. Hot-rodders knew this way back in the 1940s, but airgun designers didn’t catch on until the late 1990s. Now they all know about it. The longer the piston stroke the greater volume of air that gets compressed and the more power it produces. But there are several ways to do this and not all of them work well.

Increase the piston length

I have read where people advise others to just put a piston extender between the piston and the seal to reduce the length of the stroke and decrease power. This can work (though some alteration of the cocking slot may be required) but it can also be easily overcome by removing the extension, and customs inspectors are wise to it. They may not catch a single gun coming into the country, but they will certainly stop an entire shipment of airguns that have this feature. You see, customs inspectors are used to being fooled, tricked and hoodwinked. There isn’t much they haven’t seen. No reputable company would ever try to pull the wool over their eyes, because Customs has the power to seize entire shipments and fine shippers for violations.

The better (read more acceptable) way of limiting piston stroke is to redesign the piston and cocking linkage so the stroke is permanently reduced. Diana inadvertently did this in the 1970s with their Diana model 35. It’s a large breakbarrel rifle that looks like it ought to be a powerhouse, but the short piston stroke limits its capability, with no easy fix. When the model 34 came out a decade later, it was vastly more powerful — just from having a longer piston stroke.

Dual power is possible through piston stroke

Since the piston stroke does control the power, it is possible, through design, to control and vary the power on a gun that way. The Beeman P1 pistol is such a gun. In .177 and .20 calibers the P1 has two power levels. They are selected when you cock the gun. Stop at the first place where the piston is caught by the sear and you have low power. Continue to cock the pistol to the second and final detent and the power will be greater. This is a dramatic demonstration of how piston stroke affects power.

Larger piston?

Okay, BB, I get it. Longer stroke means higher power. But, what about a bigger bore?That’s also what hot-rodders do — they increase the bore size of their pistons.

Yes, but hot-rodders don’t have to fit the engine block to their shoulders. A bigger bore does increase power just like a longer stroke, but when you get over a certain size, the spring tube becomes unmanageable. Stroke length is the best way to increase power and piston diameter is second best.

Cost

Before we move on I just want to say that, while stroke length is a great way to control the power of a spring gun, there is a cost involved when you want to make a change. The individual airgunner thinks it’s just the cost of the parts, and as far as he is concerned, that’s all it is. But the manufacturer that wants to produce those parts has to look at the additional engineering that’s required to make the changes.

The piston and cocking linkage will have to be changed at a minimum, but usually changing those parts necessitates a new mainspring, as well. Instead of $90 for just the new parts for each airgun (yes, the other parts do come out, so the cost of the gun remains the same), think about $35,000 to design the changes, prototype the parts, test the prototypes, make additional changes, test those, baseline the software for the new parts, including cataloging the parts and their new numbers to keep the inventory straight, making catalog, advertising and online changes that differentiate the new guns of different power but the same model name (remember the 4 power levels of the Diana Mauser K98?) and any legal fees involved in getting the new guns accepted by the state departments/home offices (and their customs departments) of the various nations to which you wish to export. Did I say $35,000? Perhaps even more!

Are there other ways of controlling spring gun power? You bet!

Transfer port size

There are two ways to LOWER the power of a spring-piston airgun using the air transfer port. First, make the air transfer port smaller and second, make it larger. It turns out that the air transfer port is usually optimized for a particular model of airgun, although caliber changes in a specific model does blur this optimization a small amount. What I mean is — a certain springer in .177 may need a port of a certain diameter, while in .22 caliber in the same gun a slightly larger diameter port might work slightly better. The differences I’m talking about are extremely small, thousandths of an inch, which is why when companies make a certain model. the transfer port is the same size regardless of caliber. Nobody can afford to make three different spring tubes for one model airgun just to optimize the transfer port size.

When I wrote The Airgun Letter and also the Beeman R1 book, I did some testing that demonstrated that a port size of around 0.125-inches or 3.175 mm seems to be a good size for many guns. If you want to read more about this I extracted the chapter of the R1 book that deals with transfer ports and put it into a report.

I once saw a production port as large as 0.150-inches which is 3.81 mm, but that was on a mega-magnum gun that had a huge piston. I’ve also seen ports that were smaller than 0.125-inches, but not by much. However, port size isn’t the only thing.

Port location

Where the transfer port is located in the airgun also makes a difference, when it comes to power. A port in the center of the compression chamber that flows straight to the breech is the most efficient and will give the highest power. A port that is located in the center of the compression chamber and then angled to the breech, or a port located on the edge of the compression chamber end and angled to the breech is less effective. However, these port location choices are never made to control power. They are fundamental design choices for the entire airgun. But when a company like Air Arms puts a central port in the chamber of a rifle like the TX200 Mark III, they demonstrate how effective it is.

Piston weight

When the weight of the piston is changed you don’t really change the power as much as you bias the gun to lighter or heavier pellets. Heavy piston equals heavy pellets and so on. All it does is keep the piston from bouncing off the cushion of air that it compresses.

What can be done with this knowledge?

Here is where Mr. Wizard wows the kids. Knowing all the above, you can build a spring piston airgun that’s easy to cock because it has a light spring, yet it generates lots of power because of a long stroke. The TX200 approaches this ideal, but more can be done, I believe. Pay attention to dampening vibration, and such a gun would become a world-beater.

Or, a dual-power spring rifle could be built. It could generate low power (5 foot-pounds) by stopping at the first detent and high power (18 foot-pounds) by stopping at the second detent. Like the P1, power would be controlled by the length of the piston stroke. By using a progressive rate mainspring in conjunction with the cocking mechanism, the cocking could be very light (15 lbs.) for low power and heavier (30 lbs.) for high.

I hope this has answered some of your questions about how spring-gun power is controlled. We will look at pneumatic powerplants next. I might be able to do a third report on CO2 powerplants, though I haven’t decided yet.

Air Arms Galahad: Part 4

Út, 01/10/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Air Arms Galahad PCP in walnut is a striking looking air rifle!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • It’s a wrap
  • Constraining the possibilities
  • Filling the rifle
  • Test 1 — JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy 18.13 grains
  • Test 2 — H&N Baracuda Match pellets 21.14 grains at medium power
  • Test 3 — H&N Baracuda Match pellets 21.14 grains at high power
  • Test 4 — Dae Sung pellets 28.6 grains
  • Test 5 — JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy on power setting 3
  • Conclusion
It’s a wrap

I’ll wrap up the velocity testing of the Air Arms Galahad PCP today. This is when we find out how well it handles longer pellets. That’s always a concern when a rotary magazine is involved.

Heavier pellets are usually longer pellets, and weight is what generates energy in a pneumatic. PCPs are most effective with heavy pellets. To get the most power from this airgun you’ll want to shoot the heaviest pellet you can — as long as it is also accurate.

Tyler Patner from Pyramyd Air also told me that the Galahad does well with JSB pellets. I wanted to try them anyway because I felt they would be very accurate, but Tyler added that the 18.13-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy dome is also very consistent. He said his testing revealed a maximum spread of 15 f.p.s. over 60 shots for this pellet when the rifle was set on power level 3 — if he remembered correctly.

Constraining the possibilities

Like other highly adjustable airgun, the regulated Galahad offers more possible combinations of pellet choice, power setting and shot count than I can possibly test. So, here’s what I will do today. I will first shoot a string of the 18.13-grain JSB pellets I just mentioned on power setting 3 and record the numbers. Then I will test the other things I want to look at today (longer pellets, heavier pellets, etc.). I will finish with a final string of the first JSB pellet on the same power setting (3) and we can compare the two strings. While that may not be as controlled as my tests in Parts 2 and 3, it should be realistic. That’s the way most of you are going to use the rifle in the field. Let’s get started.

Filling the rifle

I filled the rifle to 250 bar, as indicated on the gauge of of the rifle, to start the test. I did this to illustrate a point I am about to make. I want you to take this to heart — the rifle’s gauge does not agree with the gauge on my carbon fiber air tank. The rifle’s gauge reads lower. So, I had to fill the gun to 3,800 psi (according to the gauge on my tank) to get the Galahad gauge to read 250 bar. When I did, the first 6 shots were off the power curve. They were too slow. The rifle was overfilled. But from shot number 7 on, the rifle was on the curve.

Two points to learn from this — First, even a regulated gun can be filled too high. The regulator operates inside a specific pressure envelope and if you over-fill the gun the performance will suffer. Second, gauges that are built into airguns are seldom as accurate as larger tank gauges. I happen to know from years of experience that my tank gauge is very accurate. I knew this was probably going to happen and I wanted to demonstrate it to the new readers.

Test 1 — JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy 18.13 grains

Shot……….Velocity (f.p.s.)
1………………..683
2………………..680
3………………..678
4………………..674
5………………..681
6………………..676
7………………..682
8………………..683
9………………..680
10………..……..684

This string averages 680 f.p.s. The low was 674 and the high was 684 f.p.s., so a 10 f.p.s. spread. At the average velocity this pellet generated 18.62 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Bear in mind the rifle is on power setting 3, which is the middle of the range.

Test 2 — H&N Baracuda Match pellets 21.14 grains at medium power

Next I tried some H&N Baracuda Match pellets. These are heavy .22 caliber pellets, and they fit into the rotary magazine fine. Since we know this rifle is extremely stable, I only tested 5 pellets at power setting 3. Let’s see how they did.

Shot……….Velocity (f.p.s.)
1………………..638
2………………..642
3………………..630
4………………..629
5………………..638

The average was 636 f.p.s. The low was 629 f.p.s. and the high was 642 f.p.s., so a spread of 13 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 18.99 foot-pounds at the muzzle. Again, this is on power setting 3. Now let’s go up to the highest power setting of 5 and see what this same pellet will do.

Test 3 — H&N Baracuda Match pellets 21.14 grains at high power

I dialed the rifle to power setting 5. We know from earlier testing that the Galahad changes power instantly. There is no lag. When you change the power setting the first shot comes out right on the money for that setting. Many other adjustable PCPs lag for one or two shots after adjustment, but not the Galahad.

Shot……….Velocity (f.p.s.)
1………………..812
2………………..813
3………………..811
4………………..810
5………………..811

The average velocity was 811 f.p.s. The low was 810 and the high was 813 f.p.s. That’s a 3 f.p.s. spread, but remember this is only 5 shots. At the average velocity this pellet generated 30.88 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

est 4 — Dae Sung pellets 28.6 grains

Next I tried some Dae Sung pellets that Pyramyd Air no longer carries. These are so long that they barely fit in the magazine, but they did go in. However, when shooting them  the third shot jammed, and, while trying to clear it with the cocking lever, I double-loaded and shot two pellets. I cannot recommend this pellet for the Galahad.

My recommendation is to stop with the Baracuda pellets. They produce 31 foot-pounds on high power, which is good enough.

After the testing you have seen, I was going to shoot a string of 10 JSB pellets next, but I flubbed the test. I started on the high power (setting 5). So I shot up that mag without recording it. At this point the rifle has fired 42 shots since being filled. Twelve of those were at high power and 30 were at medium power, which is setting 3. Now, I loaded 10 more JSB Exact Jumbo Heavys to see where the rifle is.

Test 5 — JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy on power setting 3

Shot……….Velocity (f.p.s.)
1………………..681
2………………..677
3………………..691
4………………..688
5………………..690
6………………..686
7………………..691
8………………..690
9………………..687
10………..……..687

The average for shots 43 through 52 was 687 f.p.s. The spread was 14 f.p.s. If we combine the first string and this string the average for those 20 shots is 683 f.p.s. The low was 674 and the high was 691, so the spread was 17 f.p.s.

Conclusion

What you have just seen in Parts 2, 3 and 4 is an example of the most consistent and stable precharged air rifle I have ever tested. Air Arms has combined a regulator and a power adjuster to give perfect control over the power band across a huge useful fill. This rifle performs the way a lot of people think all regulated PCPs perform, but I’m telling you they usually don’t. I’ve never seen consistency like this.

It’s quiet, it has a good trigger, the power is more stable and instantly adjustable than any PCP I’ve ever tested and it gets a huge number of useful shots from a fill. Next comes accuracy. If the Galahad is accurate, and you all know my standards are very high, then it will have it all. And that will earn it the world-beater title.The Galahad is not cheap, but performance like this costs money.

BB’s Christmas gift: Part 2

Po, 01/09/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Like all Supergrades, my new rifle is graceful and attractive.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Pump head may need adjustment
  • Compare to the other Supergrade
  • The other Supergrade
  • Test 2 — stability
  • Four pumps
  • Sick old girl!
  • Test is suspended

Today we look at the power of my new Sheridan Model A, also known as the Supergrade. My low-serial-number rifle was probably made in the 1940s. The wood has certainly been refinished. The rifle seems to function fine, though today will be the very first time I have tested it over a chronograph.

I had pumped the rifle twice when I put it away, and it had held the air when I started this test. That’s a good sign.

The test

I decided to perform my standard test on the rifle, starting with an assessment of the velocity/power at each pump stroke, from 3 to 8. For this test I used .20 caliber Crosman Premiers that are no longer available. It was very revealing.

Pump…….Velocity (f.p.s)
3…………….327
4…………….416
5…………….383/353
6…………….473
7…………….513
8…………….522

The first shot on 5 pumps was recorded at 383 f.p.s., so I decided to shoot a second time. When that one registered 353 f.p.s., I knew the first shot was recorded correctly. What’s going on?

Pump head may need adjustment

One clue is the pump arm. After 4 pumps (pumps 5 to 8) the pump arm springs up when I open it to pump. That’s a sight of some compressed air remaining in front of the pump piston head because it’s not entering the reservoir. It means the space between the end of the pump piston head and the air reservoir inlet valve is too large when the pump handle is closed.

These older multi-pumps were made with threaded pump rods, so this space can be adjusted as close as possible. Part of any tuneup is to adjust this distance to as close as you can without the head touching the inlet valve.

Too close and the pump head gets damaged, which can be another reason why this happened. If the pump head is adjusted too close to the inlet valve, it may have been pressing against the valve and the pump head may now have a crater in its end. The only way to fix that is to either get a new head or to fill the crater and adjust the head so it doesn’t crash against the inlet valve.

I don’t know what the problem is at this point, but this test shows there definitely is a problem. I want you veteran multi-pump owners to know that at 5 pump strokes and above I cocked the rifle and fired it a second time to hear whether any air remained after the shot. None did, though 8 pumps.

Compare to the other Supergrade

If this was our first excurion into Supergrades we might wonder where this rifle was, but fortunately I tested another Supergrade last October. That rifle also had some valve problems, but look at the results it gave for the same test.

The other Supergrade

Pump…….Velocity (f.p.s)
3…………….471
4…………….513
5…………….541
6…………….608
7…………….579
8…………….602

This other rifle was not without its faults, but the power it developed was significantly greater on each pump stroke. This is a classic example of why a chronograph is such an important tool for the airgunner.

Test 2 — stability

Looking at the first test, I decided to test the rifle for 5 shots with Premiers on 4 pumps next. That seems to be the best spot for the rifle at this time. This test was an eye-opener!

Four pumps

Shot……Velocity (f.p.s.)
1…………..345
2…………..401
3…………..374
4…………..435
5…………..488

What a test this was! The low velocity on the first shot told me that more is wrong with my rifle than just the pump rod out of adjustment. But that was just where it started.

On the second shot, the rifle failed to fire! I recocked it and shot again and once more, nothing. So I cocked it again (you have to cock a Supergrade before you pump it or the valve won’t hold air) and then pumped it 4 more times. That gave me 401 f.p.s. After the shot I cocked it again and fired. There was no air left in the reservoir.

The same thing happened on each successive shot. The first time, nothing. Then pump it again and fire and it worked. This is similar to what the other Supergrade did, but not quite the same.

After shot 4 I cocked the gun and fired it and there was air remaining in the reservoir. This was the only time that happened.

Sick old girl!

I think this test reveals that my new Supergrade is a sick old girl. I have seen similar problems with every Supergrade I have shot, and I think it comes down to the valve design. The Supergrade valve is a ball, rather than a tapered plug. I think it works fine when new, but over time the valve seat wears and hardens to the point that things like this start happening.


The Supergrade valve is a ball, rather than a tapered plug. It works well when new, but when it gets old there can be problems. I think it’s due to the valve seats hardening with age.

Valve seats in all pneumatic guns harden with age. but when they are replacxed the guns work like new again. The problem is, new Sheridan valve seats are not available. Even if you were to find a supply of new-old-stock Sheridan Model A valve seats somewhere, they would have hardened with age just sitting on the shelf and would not be any better than the seats in your gun.

Other airguns have similar problems. Diana recoilless airguns, FWB 124s, Hakims and Walther LGVs all had piston seals that went bad with time. I showed that you you dramatically when we looked at the time-capsule FWB 124 I once owned.. Click on that link and scroll down the page to see what I mean.

Test is suspended

This is as far as I will go today. The rifle isn’t performing well and I need to do something to improve it, if I can. When I do I will bring it back and continue the report for you.

Heilprin Columbian Model E BB gun: Part 2

Pá, 01/06/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


The Heilprin Columbian Model E BB gun is one few people have seen.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Instant gratification
  • Magazine doesn’t work
  • It shot!
  • Nothing happened
  • Oil it
  • Today
  • Success is short-lived
  • Next?
  • Rationale

It took me a long time to get back to this report. I bet some of you are wondering what happened.

Instant gratification

I know what it’s like to have a comfortable place to come to, like this blog. That is always on my mind when I write. And often I can give you successful results that you can discuss and enjoy. But sometimes things don’t work out as I hoped, and today is one such time.

I had hoped to report on the performance of the Heilprin BB gun in the next installment, but that’s not going to happen. The gun isn’t working yet. Instead, let me tell you what I have done so far and where I think I need to go.

Magazine doesn’t work

Since last time I have tried to load the gun through the magazine without success. There was a lot of dust and dirt inside the magazine when I got the gun and I think there is still lots of it in places I can’t see or reach. I can drop BBs into the mag and hear them roll around inside the gun, but they don’t load into the breech.

But I had an idea. What if I dropped a BB down the muzzle of the gun? Would that work? We know that the Daisy 499 is loaded through the muzzle, so perhaps I can do that with this gun.

It shot!

After loading a BB I cocked the gun and fired. The BB came out and hit the cardboard I keep on my quiet pellet trap to stop pellets and BB from rebounding when they hit others that are already in the trap. The BB left a shallow dent in the cardboard that tells me the impact velocity was 50 f.p.s. or so. I thought I was onto something so I loaded a second BB and shot again.

Nothing happened

This time the BB didn’t come out of the gun, so I used a cleaning rod to see if it was stuck in the bore. It was — about 4 inches down from the muzzle. I set the gun aside and pondered what to do next.

A day later I used the cleaning rod to ram the BB back down to the breech. This was all I could think of to do. And I shot the gun again but nothing came out. The cleaning rod told me the BB was stuck in the bore again, but this time it was just two inches from the muzzle. That was a positive result.

Oil it

I poured several drops of household oil down the muzzle and stood the gun on its butt for a few days. Then I shot it several times without a result.

Today

Today as I’m writing about this I am playing with the gun at the same time. So I shoved the stuck BB back down to the breech and put in more oil. Only this time I used an oil that could make a difference. I used Ballistol.

After shoving the BB down to the breech, I inserted a .177 brass brush on the end of the cleaning rod and started cleaning the bore. Of course it couldn’t go all the way through, so I had to saw back and forth in the amount of barrel I could access. The Ballistol was in there heavy and started coming out the receiver the way oil in an over-oiled BB gun will. I wanted that because it told me the leather plunger was getting soaked.

There was one place about 2-4 inches from the muzzle where I could feel a constriction. I worked on that place with the wire brush harder than the rest of the barrel. Before long it felt slick and I dropped another BB down the bore. It caught at the same place in the barrel (the place I just cleaned) but I shoved it down to the breech and shot the gun. This BB went through the cardboard on my pellet trap! I estimate that shot at nearly 200 f.p.s.

Success is short-lived

After shooting 2-3 BBs with force, the gun stopped shooting again. I exercised it some more and it did shoot, but weakly. It may never come all the way back, but I will keep after it.

Next?

My plan is to continue to work on the gun with the same methods I have just described. I don’t want to take it apart, or to try to take it apart and wind up with a basket case. I would rather have the gun mounted on the wall than working, if damage is the risk.

Rationale

This BB gun is worth money whether or not it’s working, but of course if it’s working it’s worth more.

Firearm pellet adaptor: Part 2

Čt, 01/05/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Loading
  • Loading takes time
  • Loading a pellet
  • Velocity JSB Exact Jumbo
  • Eley Wasps
  • Longer pellets failed to work
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Evaluation so far

Today I fire the pellet adaptor with several pellets to both find out what it can do and also to get familiar with its operation. Let’s get right to it.

Loading

Several things have to happen to load the adaptor. First I use a cotton swab to wipe the carbon from the previous shot off the inside of the case neck. Then I wipe the outside of the cartridge neck and shoulder with a rag.

The primer is removed with a small Phillips head screwdriver pushed through the case mouth. Remember that the primer pocket was enlarged to accept a 209 shotgun primer, so it’s much larger than a conventional primer flash hole. There is no primer pocket anymore — just a huge hole with an o-ring inside.

That o-ring must be lubricated every time or the primer is too hard to insert. To do that I put some airgun oil on the tip of a clean cotton swab and wipe the o-ring once. I used Napier airgun oil that comes packaged with a lot of British airguns. It works well for this.

Next I load a pellet. I will describe the pellet preparation in a moment, but know that they don’t come straight from the tin.

The primer is the last thing I insert. If the o-ring is lubed, the primer goes in easily, though it isn’t loose.

Loading takes time

I timed myself several times, and getting the adaptor ready for a shot takes 90+ seconds. That doesn’t include the time it takes to load the adaptor into the rifle, which does take more time, because I’m shooting this in an AR-15. Single-loading cartridges in an AR is fiddly at best. But the adaptor fits well and always fired, so reliability wasn’t a problem.

Loading a pellet

This operation is the trickiest of all. You have to stuff a lead pellet tail-first into a brass cartridge case mouth. They don’t want to go, and if you use brute force you will simply damage one side of the pellet skirt.

What I did was use a flat steel plate to roll the skirt of the pellet on my desk top. The skirt is the widest part of the pellet, so the pellet naturally centers itself as you roll it on the flat desk top with the steel plate. You are sizing the edges of the skirt down to fit into the case mouth, and with a little practice, you get the hang of it. A die you could shove the pellet through would be far more precise, but I don’t have one.

Velocity JSB Exact Jumbo

I tried the 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbo pellet first. No particular reason for that. But this pellet has a relatively soft skirt that did size down, once I got the hang of it.

I shot 5 shots rather than 10 for this test because of all the time to prepare each one. On this first try, though, I shot 6 pellets. The reason I shot 6 instead of 5 is the first shot went 385 f.p.s. and shot 2 went 695 f.p.s. The difference was in how deep I seated the pellet, so before I give you the average velocity, let’s look at that.

The first pellet I seated until the domed head was touching the case mouth evenly all around. It looked good, but gave me the 385 f.p.s.


The pellet skirt wants to cock the pellet when you seat it. You have to use some force to seat it correctly.


This may look good, but the pellet isn’t seated deep enough to give good velocity.

The first shot was with a pellet seated to the point where the head just touches the case mouth all around. It looks good, but doesn’t give as much velocity as a deeper-seated pellet gives.I accidentally deep-seated pellet number 2, because it’s hard to control your thumb pressure when seating.


This deep-seated pellet gave both the highest and the most consistent velocity.

Now, let’s look at the velocity of the JSB pellet. Six shots averaged 605 f.p.s., but that includes the first shot that only went 385 f.p.s. After I started seating the same pellet deep the next 5 shots looked like this.

Shot……Velocity (f.p.s.)
2…………..695
3…………..596
4…………..627
5…………..658
6…………..677

These 5 shots averaged 651 f.p.s. Yes the total spread is 99 f.p.s., but that’s better than the 310 f.p.s. if we include shot number one. I am surprised I got even this much consistency. I was expecting a variation of 250 f.p.s. or more. At the average velocity this 15.89-grain pellet produces 14.96 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Eley Wasps

Someone suggested I try Eley Wasps in the adaptor. They have very large skirts, so the rolling had to be longer and harder, but I got them to fit. I deep-seated all of them and here are the results.

Shot……Velocity (f.p.s.)
1…………..426
2…………..407
3…………..670
4…………..389
5…………..667

Wow! The spread for Wasps was 281 f.p.s. That’s more in line with my past experience with primer-powered pellets. The difficulty is fitting these large pellets into the adaptor. There is very little uniformity, because of the way I am sizing the skirts, so that’s where the velocity variation arises. No doubt a sizing die would be much more uniform.

At the average velocity of 512 f.p.s. Wasps generate 8.44 foot-pounds at the muzzle. I doubt they are going to be very accurate.

Longer pellets failed to work

I tried both H&N Baracuda Match and RWS Superpoints, but both pellets have skirts that are too long for the adaptor. They simply would not enter past the two dimples in the adaptor case neck. What I needed was a lead pellet with a thin skirt that was also short.

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet I tried was the 13.34-grain JSB Exact Jumbo RS. This pellet is both light and has a short skirt. But they surprised me! Let’s look.

Shot……Velocity (f.p.s.)
1…………..286
2…………..312
3…………..602
4…………..259
5…………..224

My gosh! The spread for RS pellets was 378 f.p.s. The “average” velocity was 336 f.p.s. I have no hope whatsoever for this pellet and I’m not going to post the energy, since not one pellet came close to the “average” velocity..

Evaluation so far

This test is turning out pretty much like I imagined. Unless these pellets have any accuracy, I think these adaptors are a failure. But there are folks who swear by them, so let’s wait.

Generation 2 .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder: Part 11

St, 01/04/2017 - 06:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Second-generation Benjamin Marauder in a synthetic stock.

UTG Bubble Leveler scope: Part 1
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

This report covers:

  • Brief recap
  • Bubble Leveler scope
  • Fill the rifle
  • The test
  • Second target
  • Third target
  • What did we learn?
  • Next
  • Pump-assist Benjamin video
Brief recap

As you may recall, this report now includes the UTG 4-16 Bubble Leveler scope that I am also testing. I mounted it on the gen 2 .25 -caliber Benjamin Marauder rifle because I had my rifle’s action tuned by Tom Himes. The maximum number of good shots on a fill went from 16 to 22-24 and the velocity spread across those magazines dropped to a much smaller number. That means an extra magazine before it’s time to top off again. Tom Himes can be reached at batts@spcracing.com if you want a tune like the one I had. You can read all about it in Parts 8 and 9.

Today we look at the rifle’s accuracy at 50 yards. It shouldn’t be much better than it was in Part 7 because I’m shooting the same JSB Exact Kings I shot then. What’s different today is I may be getting one additional magazine of 8 shots from the rifle after the Himes’ tune. I also mounted the Bubble Leveler scope since Part 7, so we get to see what affect, if any, that had on accuracy. The rifle was already grouping 8 shots in 0.795 and 0.796-inches with this pellet, and I don’t think it can get much better than that.

Bubble Leveler scope

This was the first time I had the UTG Bubble Leveler scope outdoors and at 50 yards. This was a dark morning, both because of the early hour and also from an overcast winter sky. That was perfect for the test because it showed that the bubble can be seen in low light. In truth the bubble wasn’t that easy to see, but there was i a silvery reflection off it that I could use for positioning, once I learned where it was. I rested the rifle in a long sandbag that made small corrections both easy to make and solid, once made.

Fill the rifle

I filled the rifle to 3000 psi on the gauge of my carbon fiber air tank which we learned in Part 9 was the right pressure. Now it was time to shoot.

 

The test

I loaded the first magazine and shot the first target. Eight pellets went into 0.782-inches at 50 yards. Very similar to what they did in Part 7.


Eight JSB Exact King pellets landed in 0.782-inches at 50 yards.

From this first target I think we can say that the Bubble Leveler scope isn’t needed for this range and target. That really applies more to the target than the range. That’s because I always align the vertical crosshair with the vertical line of bulls to prevent canting. The Bubble Leveler is good for when there are no other cues to the cant of the rifle. I need to devise a test for that.

Second target

Okay, the first target told me the rifle was performing on par and as expected. This second test would tell me if it continued to do its best. In test 2 eight JSB Exact King pellets went into 0.984-inches at 50 yards. That’s about an inch. So it’s larger than the first group, but not by much.


The second magazine put 8 JSB Exact King pellets in 0.984-inches at 50 yards. It’s a larger group, but still very credible. And the point of impact is almost exactly identical to where the first magazine hit.

The third magazine will be the telling one, because up to this point the rifle was only good for 16 shots per fill. Let’s see how it did.

Third target

The third target was very telling. The first 5 shots were right there with the first two magazines. Shots 6 and 7 dropped a little below the others and the final shot dropped almost 3 inches from the first 5. The rifle is definitely off the power curve on that shot! The group from the third magazine measures 3.332-inches between centers, with most of that attributable to the final shot.


The third magazine started well but finished off the power curve. Shots 6 and 7 dropped a little and shot 8 plummeted well below the others.

What did we learn?

So far we have learned there are more than 16 good shots in a .25-caliber Gen 3 Marauder when it is expertly adjusted. There might even be a full 24 shots if I fill the rifle to about 3050 psi at the start. But I am safest if I limit my magazines to just two between fills when I want to shoot accurately at 50 yards and beyond. Shooting to 35 yards is a lot less demanding than pushing out to 50 yards, and that is a function of the physics of shooting any pellet rifle more than which brand of pellet rifle you shoot.

As I went back through all the reports in this series on this rifle I found that the accuracy has not changed one bit. This rifle consistently groups 8 shots under one inch at 50 yards, and has been doing so all along. However, there might be something that is new — I just have to test it. The rifle might now group better at 100 yards, because it is so consistent in velocity and also because of the Bubble Leveler scope.

Next

So, I’m going back to the 100 yard range next. I want to see if precisely leveling the rifle will have any bearing of the group size. And I have past test data to compare to. Stay tuned!

Pump-assist Benjamin video

I put this last because the video take a while to load. It is there, so give it some time and it should load to your page.If it doesn’t load, refresh your page and it should appear.  Also, if you enlarge it to fill your screen, you can see it better.

Pellet shapes and performance: Part 3

Út, 01/03/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


My Beeman R8 Tyrolean is an accurate pellet rifle that I enjoy shooting.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Beeman R8
  • First test — Air Arms Falcons
  • Test two — RWS Superpoints
  • Test three — big one
  • What have we learned?

Today is the day we see how the three pellet shapes perform at 50 yards. This is the day we have all been waiting for. I was out at the range a couple times since the last test of these three pellets, but the wind was always a problem. Last week I had a perfect day and was able to get a lot of testing done. Tomorrow you will see another report that was also done on this day.

But today we look at the performance of the three pellet shapes — dome, pointed and wadcutter. Conventional wisdom says the dome should do the best, followed by the pointed pellet. The wadcutter will be dead last, if the wisdom holds.

Beeman R8

I’m shooting my Beeman R8 Tyrolean for this test. You have seen several times in the past what a wonderfully accurate rifle it is to 25 yards, but this will be its first test at 50 yards. I am as curious as you about what will happen.

I shot with the rifle rested directly on the sandbag, which we have learned over many years of testing is the most accurate way to shoot it. There was no wind on the morning I conducted this test, and I shot on the 50-yard range at my club, where there are 10-foot-high berms on both sides of the range. Any wind that might exist gets cancelled by these berms. I pulled no shots, out of the 30 that were fired, so this was a perfect test.

First test — Air Arms Falcons

First up were Air Arms Falcon pellets. At 25 yards they had grouped into one-half-inch, which is okay, but 8 of them were in a much tighter 0.286-inch group that I said was typical for that pellet in this rifle.

The first shot at 50 yards landed about 5-1/2-inches below the aim point. The shots were also slightly to the right of the aim point. In fact, one pellet landed about 1/4-inch off the paper, in what turned out to be a very horizontal group of 10. The group measures 2.733-inches between centers, and that is only an estimate, because of the shot that landed off the paper. After that result I wondered whether the other two pellets would even hit the paper!

I must note that some of the Falcon pellets hit in such a way that they tore the paper to the right of the main hole. That indicates a pellet that’s not flying straight — a pellet that has destabilized in flight.


Ten Falcon domed pellets made this 2.733-inch group at 50 yards. One pellet landed about a quarter-inch off the paper so the group size is just an estimate. Notice that several holes are torn on the right side, indicating a pellet that isn’t flying point-on.

Test two — RWS Superpoints

Now it was time to try the RWS Superpoints that have surprised us in this test series, thus far. In the test at 25 yards they outshot the domed Falcons, giving a 10-shot group that measured 0.464-inches between centers. At 50 yards 10 Superpoints went into 3.515-inches. That was better than I expected, given the group made by the Falcons.


Ten RWS Superpoint pellets went into 3.515-inches at 50 yards. Don’t overlook that hole at the bottom of the target, next to the pellet.

Test three — big one

Now it is time to look at how well wadcutter pellets do at 50 yards. Up to this point they have done well, grouping 0.472-inches at 25 yards and besting the domed pellets. I was anticipating a group that looked more like a shotgun pattern at 50 yards. But that didn’t happen.

Ten Vogle wadcutter pellets went into a group that measures 2.368-inches at 50 yards! Yes, it was the smallest group of the test — close to half an inch smaller than the domes that were supposed to be the most accurate pellets at this distance. This was a result I never expected.


Ten Vogle target wadcutters made this 2.368-inch group at 50 yards. It is the smallest group of the test.

This is just one group, but because it is 10 shots, it is far more illustrative of the true accuracy of the pellet that was tested. Not as illustrative as two 5-shot groups, but more like five 5-shot groups. Ten shots eliminates nearly all of the randomness of the test.

Note that some of the holes are torn on the right in this group, too. So if I am right, these pellets has destabilized, as well.

What have we learned?

I never could have predicted an outcome like this. I have tested this phenomenon so many times that I was sure I knew how the test would go. Well, I was wrong this time. And that is why we test.

We have also learned that groups do not always grow in a linear way as the distance increases. If that was true, the Falcons would have grouped in about one inch at 50 yards instead of 2.733-inches. I think the difference in the ewxpectation and what happened can be attributed to pellet stability, but that is just a guess.

Does this mean that wadcutters are the most accurate pellets for long-distance shooting? I don’t think it does. All it shows is that, out of the three pellets I tested in this one air rifle, the wadcutter proved to be the best — this time. To know anything more than that would require a lot more testing of other rifles and pellets.

The bottom line today is we have learned something very important. Don’t always rely on “common knowledge.”

BB’s Christmas gift: Part 1

Po, 01/02/2017 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Happy New Year
  • If you see it, buy it
  • Buy it now
  • The gun
  • So far, so good
  • Saving everything for you
  • Seller has more
  • The rest of the report
Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I promised you that today I would tell you what I got for Christmas this past year. You know that I bought the Sharp Ace Target Standard rifle, which you’ve already seen. We aren’t finished with that rifle yet, and, no, that’s not the airgun I’m talking about today. Let me set this up for you.

Right after I bought the Ace Target I got another alert from Gun Broker that another of my custom searches had a result. After just spending a lot of money on the Ace I was sure I wasn’t going to be interested, but I looked anyway. You never know when somebody is auctioning off a Sheridan Supergrade at a reasonable price.

And that was exactly what it was — a Supergrade was up for auction. This one was in very good condition and the seller said it functioned fine. Not only that — this was an early one — serial number 527. I thought it would go for a pretty good price, so I put in a bid at the highest level I was willing to pay and then sat back. However, before I left the website I noticed the seller had a “buy it now” price that was only $12 more than my high bid. Well, that was a no-brainer for me! I pushed my bid to the “buy it now” price and bought the air rifle.


Like all Supergrades, my new rifle is graceful and attractive.


The low serial number means the rifle was manufactured in the 1940s.


The Supergrade stock is well-formed.

Apparently this was one of those times you always hear about happening to other people, where the buyer hits the auction page just after something great has beene posted. I sent an email to the man whose Supergrade I tested for you very recently and told him what I had done. He had seen the auction, as well, but the gun disappeared before he could do anything about it.

If you see it, buy it

This is a pretty important lesson that I have learned recently. My shooting buddy, Otho, tells me that whenever he sees something he really wants in a pawn shop or at a gun show, he buys it if he can. He says things like that don’t pop up all the time. On television, Mike Wolfe on the American Pickers show says the same thing.

The problems is, most of us, like me, grew up with barely enough money to make ends meet (that’s the end of the paycheck meeting the end of the month). So we keep our money close and tight and we rarely venture too far from what we know. Well, here in the latter part of my life my finances have turned around, so there is enough to go around and some left over. But my head is still in the “poor me” posture. So, for several years I have let things like this Supergrade slip through my fingers.

Buy it now

But there is more. There was a “buy it now” price listed for the gun, and it was very reasonable. So reasonable, in fact, that unless something serious happens to the economy, I cannot lose money. I might even make a little. And bear in mind that this is a Sheridan Supergrade. It’s one of the most desirable airguns around! It’s money in the bank.

“Buy it now” prices are seldom given on guns like the Supergrade. Sellers know the market can go crazy, and if they want to make the most money from such a gun they put no reserve on it and start it for a penny. If the listing is for 14 days, they will probably make a lot more, because collectors will get into bidding wars. I have seen choice airguns vanish fast when they had “buy it now” prices.

The gun

As mentioned, this is serial number 527, so it’s a very early gun. I’m guessing it was made in 1948 or ’49. The first 200 or so had their serial numbers hand-engraved on the receo=iver, but this gun is a little too late for that.

It has the early long bolt handle that was changed sometime later in the production run. The original black finish on the bronze parts has worn down to perhaps 40 percent coverage that thankfully no one has tried to refinish. I say that because refinishing a gun like this takes away a lot of the collector value, although with a Sheridan Supergrade I don’t think it is as bad as with some airguns.


The long bolt handle of the early Supergrades adds a graceful line to the rifle.

The walnut stock and forearm are matching straight-grained walnut that has no real figure. I can tell that this wood has been refinished, because the finish looks too fresh to match the metal, and also because the stain is much blonder than a Suregrade is supposed to be. I don’t think it detracts from the gun’s appearance, but there are collectors who will shy away from a gun because of something like that. However, the low serial number offsets the refinished wood, in my opinion.

The overall length of the rifle is right at 37 inches, 20 of which are the barrel. The pull is a trifle under 13-1/2-inches. It weighs bang on 6 lbs. on my balance beam scale. When you look at a Supergrade in pictures it always looks larger than a Blue Streak, but when they are compared side-by-side there is very little difference in size.

So far, so good

Naturally I have pumped and shot the rifle, and so far it looks solid and good. The valve holds air for several days, which is all the time I have had to test it. The screw slots and pins all appear undamaged and there is very little evidence the airgun has ever been apart, even though the stock refinish required it. Only the slightest tearout of wood around one pin hole on the forearm gives any evidence of removal.

Saving everything for you

I’m purposely holding myself back from testing this rifle until I write about it for you. We will discover it together.

Seller has more

I discovered while talking to the seller that he has more Sheridans to sell and I’ve already arranged the sale/purchase of a Model B Sporter to another collector. The model B Sporter was Sheridan’s first attempt to lower the cost of the model A Supergrade. Instead of $56.50, the model B sold for $35.00. That still wasn’t enough off to stimulate sales when a .22 caliber Mossberg model 44 US bolt action repeater with a rear peep sight was selling for $27.90. So the model B Sheridan was made in about half the number as the model A (about 1100 compared to around 2200).

Model Bs don’t change hands as often as model As, so coming up with a price for one is hard, but expect to pay more for one than for a model A. That’s just for the rarity.

The rest of the report

I will test this rifle the same as any other multi-pump. Since I plan on keeping this one, I want to know how well it performs, the same as you.

I had to sell my first Supergrade years ago to pay bills, so hopefully I can keep this one.

Sharp Ace Target Standard: Part 3

Pá, 12/30/2016 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Sharp Ace Target Standard is a sidelever multi-pump 10 meter target rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • This rifle is not an Ace Pan Target
  • Today’s test
  • What happened
  • Finale Match Light
  • Sig Sauer Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Qiang Yuan training pellets
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • JSB Match
  • Evaluation
This rifle is not an Ace Pan Target

I received an email from advanced collector, Don Raitzer, who said he was sure this rifle was a Sharp Target Standard model. What he keyed on was the bolt handle I showed you last time. The Pan Target has a pushbutton bolt release and a spring-loaded bolt, similar to the Innova. That was a feature I overlooked when researching this rifle in vintage Sharp catalogs, but now that Don has brought it to my attention I see he is right. So I changed the title starting today. I will leave the previous reports as they are.

One benefit of the change is, according to the Blue Book, the Ace Target Standard is a little more valuable than the Ace Pan Target. So I profited by the mistake. But it also means the entries in the Blue Book are correct, after all.

Today’s test

Today we look at the accuracy of this air rifle. I shot it rested at 10 meters, and though I described in Part 2 how I planned to test the rifle for accuracy, things happened that changed everything.

What happened

I told you I planned on shooting it on 2 pumps today and then on 3 pumps. The first shot on 2 pumps failed to fire, so I went right to three pumps and did not plan to try any testing on 2 pumps. Then the rifle acted very strange on 3 pumps as I was refining the sight picture. It had a double bang release — almost as if it was a flintlock rifle. And a couple times there was just a pop follower by a hiss of air. Something was wrong and I wasn’t going to be able to shoot it on 3 pumps, either. So — 4 pumps is was! And I was able to finish the test on 4 pumps per shot.

I also only shot 5 shots per group instead of 10. I normally do that when testing target airguns. And I had to shoot left-handed to see the bull through the front aperture. My right eye can’t see well enough anymore.

Finale Match Light

The first pellet I tried was the H&N Finale Match Light. Five of them went into 0.168-inches at 10 meters. The group wasn’t centered on the bull, but I decided to press on with the test and leave the sights where they were.


Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets went into 0.168-inches at 10 meters.

Since I was only shooting 5 shots, I thought I would test a few more pellets. I will say this — pumping the rifle 4 times per shot was tiring, so I’m glad I only shot 5-shot groups.

Sig Sauer Match Ballistic Alloy

Next up was the Sig Sauer Match Ballistic Alloy pellet that has done so well in past tests. In the Ace Target 5 of them went into a horizontal 0.434-inches. I don’t think the Ace likes this pellet.


Five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets made this 0.434-inch group at 10 meters.

Qiang Yuan training pellets

Next I tried 5 Qiang Yuan training pellets. These have been very accurate in recent tests of target airguns. In the Sharp Ace 5 of them went into 0.302-inches at 10 meters. That’s okay, but nothing to get excited about.


Five Qiang Yuan Training pellets went into 0.302-inches at 10 meters. It’s good, but not great.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

I tried 5 RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets next. The group shrank to 0.180-inches. That’s almost as small as the Finale Match group. The R10 Pistol pellet seems like a good choice for the Ace Target.


Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets went into 0.180-inches at 10 meters. A possible contender?

JSB Match

The last pellet I tested was the JSB Match. Now, don’t get confused. JSB calls almost every pellet they make a match pellet, but only wadcutter pellets are allowed in 10-meter matches. That was the one I tested. Alas, they didn’t do that well. Five went into 0.323-inches at 10 meters. That’s not worth it, given the performance of the R10 and Finale Match.

1
Five JSB Match pellets made this 0.323-inch group at 10 meters.

Evaluation

Today’s performance disappointed me. I have shot regular Sharp Aces that were more accurate than this, and their triggers aren’t nearly as nice as this one. I think the trigger might need some adjustment to stop the problems mentioned at the start of the report. Perhaps the former owner tried to make it as light as possible to the detriment of everything else. Or maybe there is something I haven’t figured out yet.

The rifle is a curiosity, I’ll say that! I’m not finished testing it yet, either. I plan to shoot it with a scope from 25 yards as well, so we get a thorough look at this odd Asian multi-pump.

Umarex Throttle air rifle: Part 2

Čt, 12/29/2016 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Throttle rifle from Umarex brings a lot of value to the table.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Cocking effort
  • RWS Superdomes
  • RWS Hobby
  • H&N Baracuda Match
  • Trigger pull
  • Stock flex
  • Evaluation

Today we look at the velocity of the Umarex Throttle air rifle. As a quick reminder, I am already impressed by this rifle, just from the brief handling I did in Part 1. Today should advance that. Let’s get right to it.

Cocking effort

It would be easy for me to measure the cocking effort, then “guess” in writing that it will be somewhere close to that. I don’t do it that way. When I guess, I haven’t measured it yet. Today is when we both discover what the real cocking effort is. I guessed it would be around 33-36 pounds of effort. When I measured it on my bathroom scale the number was 28 lbs. Less than I expected. I am impressed!

RWS Superdomes

The first pellet I tried was the 14.4-grain RWS Superdome. No particular reason, other than it is a medium weight .22 caliber pellet and I wanted to start near the center of the weight range. The specs say the Throttle will get 1000 f.p.s. from lead pellets, and today I hope to test that for you.

The first shot registered 782 f.p.s. After that the next highest shot was 768 f.p.s. and I got a super-tight spread of 9 f.p.s., ranging from 759 f.p.s. to 768 f.p.s. If I include shot number one in the 11-shot string the average is 765 f.p.s. By eliminating it the average is 764 f.p.s. At that average the Throttle generates 18.8 foot-pounds of energy with this pellet.

I am impressed by the stability of this brand-new spring piston rifle with its gas piston unit that Umarex calls the ReaXis. It is smooth and vibration-free and the discharge sound is quiet.

RWS Hobby

I wanted to learn what the maximum velocity is with real pellets someone might actually use, and nothing is better suited for that than the 11.9-grain RWS Hobby. Hobbys averaged 806 f.p.s. in the Throttle, but the spread was pretty large, at 45 f.p.s. The low was 789 f.p.s. and the high was 834 f.p.s. At the average velocity, Hobbys generate 17.17 foot-pounds from the test rifle. This is an unusual case where a heavier pellet generates more power in a spring-piston rifle than a lighter one. Given the large velocity spread, Hobbys may not be the right pellets for the Throttle.

H&N Baracuda Match

The final pellet I tested was the 21.1-grain H&N Baracuda Match. I shot the one with a 5.51mm head, but I doubt the head size makes much difference to the velocity. Baracudas averaged 592 f.p.s over 10 shots, with a 10 f.p.s. spread from 589 to 599 f.p.s. Though the velocity is on the low side, Baracuda Match pellets sound like they are worth a try.At the average velocity this pellet puts out 16.42 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Trigger pull

Okay, this is an area several people have keyed on. The Throttle’s trigger pull is listed at 5 lbs., and that part of the trigger is not adjustable. I think it’s heavier than that, and again, I haven’t tested it yet when I say that. But the break of stage two is crisp, and that covers a multitude of sins. I once handed former reader Kevin Lentz my Wilson Combat 1911 pistol and told him to dry-fire it. He estimated the trigger at a pound when it was really 3 pounds. That’s what a crisp let-off can do.

The test rifle’s trigger breaks at 3 lbs. 15 oz. That’s less than 4 lbs., so I was over in my estimate. I think it’s fine for a hunting rifle and for general-purpose shooting.

Stock flex

One negative point needs to be mentioned. The synthetic stock flexes at the forearm and sounds hollow when handled. I tried tightening the forearm screws but the flex is still there. It’s not a deal-killer for me, but some of you are more sensitive to things like that.

Evaluation

I’m seeing features and quality that far exceed the Throttle’s low pricetag. I think we may have a winner here. It will all hinge on the accuracy test that comes next. I am not just impressed by the power — I am delighted! Here is a spring rifle with reasonable power instead of beating you to a pulp for that last foot-pound. This is a rifleman’s air rifle!

Air Arms Galahad: Part 3

St, 12/28/2016 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Air Arms Galahad PCP in walnut is a striking looking air rifle!

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • What we know
  • What I want to see
  • First string
  • Second string
  • Third string
  • Fourth string
  • Fifth string
  • Sixth string
  • Seventh string
  • Analysis
  • Out of time

Today I continue testing the velocity of the Galahad rifle from Air Arms. I told you in Part 1 that this rifle is complex and will require a lot of testing before moving on. Not only does it have a 5-position power adjuster, it also has a regulator, that adds an additional level of complexity.

What we know

In Part 2 we learned where the power bands are at each power setting. For example, we saw that the lowest power setting is virtually unusable, giving velocities with .22-caliber Crosman Premier pellets below 300 f.p.s. Power settings 2 through 5 are quite useful though. I find power setting 3 (Premiers average 749 f.p.s.) to be idea for general work outdoors and setting 2 (Premiers average 539 f.p.s.) is ideal for indoors. At those settings the spread of velocities was 14 f.p.s. and 15 f.p.s., respectively. That’s where the regulator comes into play.

What I want to see

You may not appreciate that a regulator isn’t designed for a gun with a power adjuster. The power adjuster works better on a gun that has no regulator, because the reg is balanced against a certain volume of air in the firing chamber. The power adjuster also has a firing chamber, but there is no regulator in the way, so some air still flows freely from the reservoir and that is how unregulated PCPs balance their power. For that reason, unregulated guns do better than regulated guns when there are power adjusters. Tell me if that still confuses you and I might write a blog about it.

So here is the test. I will fill the rifle and shoot on power setting 3. I will see how many strings of 10 shots I can get before the regulator quits. We’ll know when it happens because the velocities will drop fast after that.

First string

The first string averaged 762 f.p.s. for 10 shots. Let’s look at it now.

Shot……….Velocity
1…………….767
2…………….765
3…………….770
4…………….769
5…………….761
6…………….758
7…………….759
8…………….752
9…………….760
10……..…….758

The low was 752 f.p.s. and the high was 770 f.p.s. The extreme spread was 18 f.p.s. At this point this doesn’t mean much, but watch what happens as I continue to shoot.

Second string

The second string averaged 766 f.p.s. for 10 shots. Let’s look at it now.

Shot……….Velocity
1…………….779
2…………….774
3…………….770
4…………….765
5…………….766
6…………….760
7…………….753
8…………….752
9…………….778
10……..…….766

The low was 752 f.p.s. and the high was 779 f.p.s. The extreme spread was 27 f.p.s. Now you are seeing how the rifle performs. This second string was the most variable one in the test. Also, after firing string 2 the rifle was sitting at around 3000 psi, so for those who don’t have a means of filling to 250 bar, the rest of this test is what the rifle can do on a fill to 3000 psi or 206 bar.

Third string

The third string averaged 756 f.p.s. for 10 shots. Let’s look at it now.

Shot……….Velocity
1…………….774
2…………….759
3…………….759
4…………….753
5…………….756
6…………….750
7…………….755
8…………….750
9…………….750
10……..…….756

In this string the low was 750 f.p.s. and the high was 774 f.p.s. That’s a 24 f.p.s. spread.

Fourth string

The fourth string averaged 753 f.p.s. for 10 shots. Let’s look at it now.

Shot……….Velocity
1…………….763
2…………….756
3…………….752
4…………….764
5…………….746
6…………….751
7…………….752
8…………….750
9…………….747
10……..…….748

In string four the low was 746 f.p.s. and the high was 763 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 17 f.p.s. See how the velocity spread gets tighter as the reservoir pressure drops?

Fifth string

The fifth string averaged 752 f.p.s. for 10 shots. Let’s look at it now.

Shot……….Velocity
1…………….764
2…………….757
3…………….752
4…………….748
5…………….749
6…………….748
7…………….749
8…………….754
9…………….750
10……..…….746

In string number five the low was 746 f.p.s. and the high was 764 f.p.s. The spread was 18 f.p.s.

Sixth string

The sixth string averaged 749 f.p.s. for 10 shots. Let’s look at it now.

Shot……….Velocity
1…………….750
2…………….750
3…………….749
4…………….745
5…………….746
6…………….751
7…………….749
8…………….751
9…………….753
10……..…….749

In string 6 the low was 745 f.p.s. and the high was 753 f.p.s. That’s a spread of just 8 f.p.s. My instincts told me this was very close to the last string on this fill, but I pressed on just the same.

Seventh string

The seventh string averaged 638 f.p.s. for 10 shots. Yes, we have fallen off the power band because the regulator is no longer working, due to the reservoir pressure being too low. Let’s look at it now.

Shot……….Velocity
1…………….755
2…………….750
3…………….755
4…………….742
5…………….740
6…………….no shot fired
7…………….190 (must have been a double feed from the shot before)
8…………….561
9…………….605
10……..…….642

Can you see how fast the velocity changed on shot 6? That’s what it looks like when you fall off the reg. I’ve never tested a regulated gun that also had adjustable power before and I suppose other similar guns might perform somewhat different, but all of them fall off the reg in pretty much the same way, which is to say dramatically.

Analysis

First I want to note that I got 65 good shots on power setting three! Across all 65 shots the low was 740 f.p.s. and the high was 779 f.p.s. — a spread of 39 f.p.s. Since I’ve not tested a gun like the Galahad before I have no frame of reference, but WOW! That’s an impressive number of good powerful shots on a single fill. At the end of the test the onboard pressure gauge is reading 110-115 bar (1,595 psi to 1,668 psi).

You shooters with 3000 psi air tanks have to subtract 20 shots from the maximum shown here. You get 45 good shots per fill on power setting 3, when shooting the Crosman Premier pellet. That’s still impressive! Compare that to unregulated PCPs and I think you will agree.

Out of time

I thought I was going to wrap up the velocity test today, but once again I have run out of time. I still want to test the maximum power I can get, as well as how easily the rotary magazine handles longer (heavier) pellets. Because they are where the greatest power will lie.

The Galahad is an expensive airgun, and also one with some complexity because of both the regulator and adjustable power. I want to make certain I test it thoroughly.

Firearm pellet adaptor: Part 1

Út, 12/27/2016 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • On a dare
  • The adaptor
  • Priming
  • Is it dangerous?
  • Loading the pellet
  • Discharge sound
  • Cost
  • Legality
  • Conclusions

I love it when I’m wrong! I try to be correct in my reporting, but sometimes I hit the wall and splatter all over the place. Today might be the start of one such time. I am reporting on an adaptor I bought to shoot pellets in a .223 Remington centerfire rifle, using the power of number 209 shotgun primers.

On a dare

My late wife, Edith, used to keep me straight by periodically challenging me. Whenever I said something that didn’t sound quite right, she invited me to put my money where my mouth iwa. She learned very quickly that I knew what I was talking about in the field of guns most of the time, but every once in awhile I was off the track. She learned to spot those times and she would call me on them.

She isn’t around to do that anymore, but apparently I got so used to it that I now call myself out! That happened the other day when I was talking about the adaptors that allow pellets to be loaded and shot in firearms. I said many things in my report that would not pass muster in the past, so I decided to dare myself to try pellet adaptors once again. I bought a .223 Remington adaptor to load into my AR-15. We all know that rifle is deadly accurate — putting 10 shots into a little as 3/8-inches at 100 yards. It ought to serve as a good test platform.

The adaptor

Okay, the adaptor is real high-tech (not). It’s a .223 case that’s been drilled out at the base to receive a number 209 shotgun shell primer. An o-ring inside the base holds the primer tight. The neck of the case has been punched on opposite sides to keep the pellet from falling into the case at loading.


The pellet adaptor has two “precision” divots punched into opposite sides of the base of the neck, to prevent pellets from dropping into the larger portion of the case, where they would be difficult to remove.


At the base of the adaptor the primer hole has been drilled out to accept a number 209 shotgun primer. An o-ring inside holds the primer tight. A fired primer is shown next to the adaptor.

Priming

The adaptor must be primed with a shotgun primer. The primer is simply put into the hole in the base of the adaptor and pressed in with your thumb. At first I thought it would not go, but eventually I discovered the right amount of force to use and the primer slid home. For as simple as it is, it really works quite well.


The primer is pressed into the adaptor by thumb pressure. As you can see, there is a lot of primer to go inside.

To remove the primer after it has been fired, a cotton swab through the case mouth works well. Not only does it press out the spent primer, it also wipes carbon deposits from the case mouth.

Is it dangerous?

Is pressing a primer into a case with your thumb dangerous? You know that primers are detonated by impact and pressure. So, is it dangerous? Not really. Your thumb spreads out the force to the entire surface of the primer, where a firing pin strikes deeply in one one tiny spot. Al;so that o-ring makes loading a lot easier.  It does take a little courage at first, but after you have done it a few times it becomes routine.

Loading the pellet

To load the pellet you press it into the case mouth, tail-first. It isn’t easy. It’s like trying to herd a cat! I found that some pellets like Wasps just don’t want to go in. Their skirts are flared out too wide to enter the case mouth. But I was able to load a JSB Exact Jumbo and an Air Arms dome. Neither is easy, but with persistence they do go in. So far those are the only two pellets I’ve tried because I was just trying to become familiar with how the adaptor worked. I will try a range of weights in the velocity test.


Sorry it’s a little blurry, but the background is exaggerating things. The JSB Exact Jumbo dome is pressed in as far as it will go. The skirt is sitting on those divots you see in the first picture.

Discharge sound

Here is where I admit I was wrong. The ad copy says this adaptor sounds like a spring-piston air rifle firing. All my past pellet adaptor experience was with handguns that are very loud. I braced myself for the loud bang in my office and was pleasantly surprised by the quiet pop. It was about the same as a RWS Diana 34!

My AR-15 has a 24-inch barrel, so it’s possible that a shorter barrel may make more noise. But as it stands, this adaptor is very quiet. Backyard in the suburbs quiet! Now I am intrigued, for a number 209 shotgun primer has a lot of oomph. This adaptor could allow us to reload our own CB caps. If it is also accurate, then it’s worth consideration.

Cost?

The adaptor costs $15. Primers cost around 4 cents apiece, so each shot costs that plus the cost of the pellet. It’s more expensive than just shooting a pellet and even more than shooting with CO2, but less than the cost of .22 rimfire ammo. Plus it is as quiet as a rimfire shot through a silencer.

Legality

But when you use this adaptor you are still discharging a firearm — not an airgun. If you were hauled into court for shooting this they could charge you with a firearm violation, because the pellet is propelled by means of a chemical explosion. Add to that the fact that you are shooting it in a firearm and it’s clearly not a way to circumvent the law.

Conclusions

I have a lot to test. The ad for the adaptor had a review that said the user was getting groups the size of a nickel at 20 yards. We’ll see about that. I still have a hard time believing this adaptor can be that accurate, given the difference in bore diameters of a .22-caliber pellet rifle and a .22 centerfire.

If it is accurate, though, it will be the first pellet adaptor I have seen that is. We shall see.

Pump-Assist Benjamin 392: Part 3

Po, 12/26/2016 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


The Benjamin 392 pump assist is an interesting side street in the hobby.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Crosman Premier
  • RWS Superpoint
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • Whadja get?

Today we look at the accuracy of the .22-caliber Benjamin 392 with pump-assist. I tested the rifle at 10 meters off a rest using the open sights that come with the gun.

Crosman Premier

We will begin with Crosman Premier pellets, that I expect to be one of the most accurate in this rifle. Shot one landed high on the bull at 11 o’clock, so I left the sights where they were.

Ten Premiers made a group measuring 0.577-inches at 10 meters. It’s not the best I have ever done at that diostance, but for a 392 it’s acceptable.


Ten Crosman Premiers went into .0577-inches at 10 meters.

RWS Superpoint

Next up were ten RWS Superpoints. This is a pellet I have not tried in a multi-pump, as far as I can remember, so I didn’t know what would happen. Alas — it wasn’t that good. Ten Superpoints landed in a group that measured 1.174-inches. The group is scattered all over the place. Obviously this is not the right pellet for this air rifle.


Ten RWS Superpoints made this 1.174-inch group at 10 meters. Not a good pellet for the 392 pump-assist.

JSB Exact Jumbo

The final pellet I tested was a JSB Exact Jumbo. This was the pellet I thought might be the most accurate, though to be so it would have to edge out the Premier. Ten pellets made a 0.748-inch group that is ironically shaped like a frown.


JSB Exact Jumbos did not best Crosman Premiers. Ten made this 0.748-inch group at 10 meters.

Are there other pellets the 392 likes even more? Probably. But accuracy isn’t why I own this air rifle. I own it for what it is — a multi-pump that almost was, but never caught a break. A multi-pump that’s easy to pump.

Whadja get?

I’d like to hear about your special Christmas gifts today. Not the socks and sweaters — just the good stuff. Or maybe it wasn’t a gift you got but onw you gave. Please share.

Today’s report is short because I wrote it last Thursday, so I could spend time with my sister who came for Christmas. I still owe you the video of the 392 being pumped, so don’t despair!

Sharp Ace Pan Target: Part 2

Pá, 12/23/2016 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Sharp Ace Pan Target is a sidelever multi-pump 10 meter target rifle.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • First test
  • Problem
  • Test 2
  • Test 3
  • Test 4 trigger pull
  • Test 5 trigger pull consistency
  • Test 6 power
  • Summary
  • Photo gallery

This is my last chance to wish you a Merry Christmas, but I decided to give you an early gift. Today I will test the Sharp Ace Pan Target velocity, and you can talk about it all weekend!

First test

For the first test I chose RWS Hobby pellets. This is the velocity test and Hobbys are one of the lightest lead pellets around, so they are ideal. Obviously you wouldn’t compete with Hobbys, though their accuracy could surprise us.

In this test I will pump the gun a specified number of strokes and record the velocity. I thought I would start with 3 pumps, but when I saw the velocity produced from just 3, I knew I could start with less. I tried a single pump but the pellet remained in the barrel, so 2 strokes turns out to be the minimum.

Stroke…Velocity (f.p.s.)
2…………..532
3…………..635
4…………..706
5…………..750
6…………..818
7…………..859
8…………..894
9…………..919
10…………929
11…………941
12…………Did not finish

Wow! Now we know this rifle is a full-power Ace that gives nothing away. And we know that it has more than enough power to shoot targets on just 3 pumps.

Problem

Why didn’t I finish? Because the plastic hand grip on the pump handle cracked and I didn’t want to damage it further. I removed it from the pump rod, but the thin rod is painful when the effort gets high.

I was upset about this until, on examination, I noticed that the crack wasn’t new. An attempt to repair it has been made before. The crack goes around three sides of the handle. I may have enlarged it in this test, but it was already there.


I stopped pumping when I noticed this crack in the pump handle grip. It goes around three of the four side of the grip.

I will look for a way to repair this. I’m looking at options now. One way or another the grip will be repaired and I won’t use the original plastic grip handle, as it is too brittle and weak.

What I learned from the first test is the rifle doesn’t need more than three pump strokes to function as a 10meter rifle. Now that the grip handle is off the pumping will be harder because the pump handle is shorter, but three strokes should present no problem.

Test 2

In this test I want to see how consistent the gun is. I will pump each of 10 shots three times and see how they register. Hobby pellets again.

The shots with Hobbys on 3 pumps averaged 633 f.p.s.. The string is below.

Shot……Velocity (f.p.s.)
1…………..595
2…………..620
3…………..649
4…………..626
5…………..636
6…………..631
7…………..634
8…………..649
9…………..640
10…………652

That is a 57 f.p.s. velocity spread, which is way out of profile for both a target rifle as well as for a multi-pump pneumatic of any kind. Granted the distance to the target is only 10 meters, but we still want more consistency than this. At the average velocity this pellet generates 6.23 foot-pounds! On just three pumps! The velocity at 11 pumps generated 13.77 foot-pounds with this light pellet. With a heavy pellet this rifle is probably capable of 16-17 foot-pounds.

Test 3

This test engendered a second test at just 2 pumps per shot. Would the rifle now be more consistent?

Shot……Velocity (f.p.s.)
1…………..484
2…………..532
3…………..538
4…………..545
5…………..541
6…………..540
7…………..553
8…………..550
9…………..546
10…………542

This test opened my eyes. After the first shot the next 9 stayed within 21 f.p.s. And the gun seems to pick up speed as it shoots, so perhaps a warm-up is called for. I might also try the 10-meter test both ways (two pumps and three).

Test 4 trigger pull

I said I would measure the trigger pull for you on varying pump strokes. That’s this test.

Pumps……trigger pull (oz.)
2…………..3.7
3…………..6.3
4…………..6.4
5…………..7.6
6…………..8.1
7…………..8.3
8…………..9.9

So, the trigger pull does increase with the number of pumps. There is wizardry involved, but the laws of physics still hold sway. This raised another question in my mind. How consistent is the trigger with the same number of pump strokes? Like in a match — would the trigger remain consistant?

Test 5 trigger pull consistency

This test I will pump the gun twice and test the trigger pull. I’ll do that 5 times, and then the same thing on three pumps.

Two pumps
Shot……trigger pull (oz.)
1……………5.2
2……………4.9
3……………5.3
4……………4.9
5……………5.5

Three pumps
Shot……trigger pull (oz.)
1……………5.9
2……………6.2
3……………6.6
4……………6.1
5……………6.2

The trigger is close to the same on 2 pumps and 3, except on 3 it is slightly heavier. On 2 pumps the trigger varied by 0.6 ounces from the lightest to the heaviest pull. On 3 pumps it varied by 0.7 oz. It was about one ounce heavier on 3 pumps than on 2. Five ounces equals 141.75 grams, for those on the metric system. So the Sharp Ace Pan Target trigger is slightly heavier than a world-class 10-meter rifle trigger that might break at 50 grams.

Test 6 power

I know some of you are thinking of this as a powerful hunting multi-pump. So now I will test it for extreme power. That means shooting heavier pellets. I’m not trying to set any records, for there are none to set. But we all want a fair idea of what the rifle will do.

Given the strain on the pump linkage, I will pump 10 times, only. I don’t want to ruin this collectible air rifle just to see what it will do.

Pellet……………….Velocity……………Energy in foot pounds
JSB Exact 10.3…………815………………………15.2
Premier heavy…….……812……………………….15.38
Baracuda Match……..…815……………………….15.64
Sniper Magnum………..703………………………..16.46

The 10th pump registered 52 lbs. of effort on my bathroom scale. While that isn’t the most I ever recorded, it certainly is a lot of work. The record for pump effort that I have seen was a Sheridan Blue Streak that Greg Fuller boosted to over 25 foot-pounds on 18 pumps. The final pump for that rifle was 100 lbs. And pumps 4 and 5 of the Daystate Sportsman Mark II were 54 and 77 lbs., respectively.

Summary

That is the most complete velocity test I have ever seen for any Sharp Ace — to say nothing of the Ace Pan Target. Let’s hope some collectors will come out of the closet and share their results.

Photo gallery

Reader RidgeRunner asked for some detail photos in this report, so here they are.


The bolt handle sticks straight down when the bolt is closed. It’s hard to grasp with the peep sight eyeshade in the way.


The pump head is adjustable for length to maintain maximum power throughout the life of the rifle. Notice the brass fitting that is self-lubricating.


The pump rod even adjusts at the pump linkage! And there’s another brass fitting.


The adjustable butt plate.


The loading trough has easy access.

That’s it. Merry Christmas!

Umarex Throttle air rifle: Part 1

Čt, 12/22/2016 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Throttle rifle from Umarex brings a lot of value to the table.

This report covers:

  • General information
  • Weaver bases
  • Differences
  • Description
  • Affordable rifle
  • Easy to cock!
  • Pivot bolt
  • Sights
  • General
  • Trigger
  • Fly on the wall
General information

Before I start today’s report I have a number of things I want to cover. First, I realize I am behind on a number of reports from the 50-yard line. I’ve been unable to get to the range for many weeks for various reasons, and when I did get to go before that, the wind was too high for airgun testing. I want to test the pellet shapes at 50 yards, the .25 caliber Marauder I had tuned, a new AirForce .357 Texan (I have a lot of things to do with that one), and now guns like the Galahad will soon be stacked up.

I have received the adaptors for shooting pellets in my AR-15 and that’s another one I think will have to be done outside because of the noise, though they say the report is quiet. I also got an adaptor to shoot .32 pistol rounds in my Mosin Nagant rifle, which I thought would be a nice addition to that report on adaptors.

Then there’s a question that keeps coming up, no matter how many times I answer it. People don’t understand the difference between Weaver bases and the military standard 1913 Picatinney rail. So here goes.

Weaver bases

Weaver bases are older than the Picatinney rail. They have the same width (0.617-inches) across the dovetail as the Picatinney rail. If there is any difference in dimensions it is so small as to not matter. And yes — despite what some people say, Weaver bases ARE dovetail bases, so calling 11mm airgun bases dovetails, is confusing

Differences

Weaver bases have cross slots that hold a bar on the bottom of a scope ring, to keep it from moving during recoil. I have always believed that these cross slots are 3.5mm wide, but while researching this report I found a Wiki page that claims they are 4.7mm wide. Picatinney rails also have cross slots, but they are 5.23mm wide. Fortunately, a firearm moves in one direction when recoiling, so once the bar hits one side of the cross slot, it will not be able to move farther.
Weaver cross slots have no specification for the location of the slots. Picatinney rail slots are evenly spaced every 0.394-inches, center to center. Let’s look.


The Weaver cross slot at the top is narrower than the Picatinney cross slot, and is not evenly spaced. Weaver bases are simply installed wherever they will fit on a gun.

So, Weaver rings will fit and work in a Picatinney base, but rings made for Picatinney bases may not fit in Weaver bases. I say “may not” because, if the rings were made with crossbars small enough, they would work.

Okay, enough general info. Let’s look at the Umarex Throttle air rifle.

Description

The Umarex Throttle air rifle is a breakbarrel rifle with a gas piston. The spring and piston are built together in a single unit that Umarex calls the ReaXis gas piston. They have turned the piston around so the weight of the part of the unit that moves when the gun fires is kept as low as possible. Weight that doesn’t move is weight that doesn’t have to be damped, which reduces the potential vibration. And, with the Throttle Umarex has done one additional thing. They have installed the first STOPSHOX anti-recoil system that I reported on in Part 2 of the 2016 SHOT Show report. I have been waiting for this product to come to market all year so I could test it and report it for you.


The STOPSHOX device was seen at this year’s SHOT Show, but the Throttle is the first air rifle to have it.

Affordable rifle

I had no idea of what the Throttle would be or cost until now. Justin Biddle, the marketing manager for Umarex USA told me it would be powerful, but he didn’t tell me much more. I think that was because even he did not know all the Throttle would be until the German engineers finished developing it.

What we have is a $200 air rifle that is supposed to send .177 caliber pellets out the spout at 1,200 f.p.s. and .22 caliber pellets will go as fast as 1,000 f.p.s. I have the .22 to test and I’m hoping to find a heavier pellet that’s accurate but limits the velocity to somewhere in the 800s. Not because velocity harm accuracy — we know from testing that it doesn’t. But I don’t need 1,000 f.p.s. from a breakbarrel .22. Of course, the Throttle is a brand new air rifle that might change my thinking.

Easy to cock!

Given the potential power I expected the Throttle to be the bow of Hercules, but it’s not. My calibrated left arm estimates the cocking effort is around 33-36 lbs. I will test that in Part 2.

Pivot bolt

The Throttle has a pivot bolt instead of a plain pin. That means you can adjust the pivot joint to as tight as required to get rid of all slop. Accuracy will only improve with this, and it’s a major concession that Umarex has made to the saavy airgun market.


A pivot bolt means you can control how tight the barrel joint is.

Sights

The Throttle comes without open sights and there is no easy way to mount them. But it does come with a 3-9X32 scope that has an adjustable objective. Normally scopes that come bundled with inexpensive air rifles are good for tent pegs and little else, but this one appears different. I looked through it with both eyes and, though it is not marked closer than 20 yards I would say this scope adjusts down to about 8 yards. The image is clear, and I think this might be a fine scope. As in, but the Throttle and all you need are pellets! If so, this will be the first time I’ve seen that happen. It’s almost as though someone at Umarex is reading this blog and knows what airgunners want! But how they do all this at $200 is beyond me!

Yes, the Throttle is made in China. I know that will be plastered all over the forums, if it isn’t already. This time, though, it seems that someone from Germany may have been inspecting what the Chinese produce and have made sure it’s good. We shall see!

Also, the Throttle comes with a Picatinney rail mounted on the rear of the spring tube. So mounting a scope that has Weaver rings will be quick and easy.


A Picatinney scope rail on top of the spring tube makes scope mounting quick and easy.

General

The rifle sits in a black synthetic ambidextrous stock that is shaped well and ribbed for better holding. The pistol grip is both thin, which I like, and also very vertical, which I also like. The pull is 14.5 inches and the rifle weighs 7.5 pounds without the scope mounted. Pyramyd Air shows the weight at 8.3 lbs. which I assume is with the scope mounted.

There are other plastic parts like the end cap that has windows cut in it to show the end of the STOPSHOX anti-recoil device. The triggerguard is cast into the stock, so of course it’s made from the same material, but both the trigger blade and the safety are metal. The buttpad is soft grippy rubber than will hold onto your shoulder well. The only other synthetic part is the large SilenceAir muzzle brake/silencer. Yes, it has baffles. The barreled action metal parts are finished to a semigloss sheen that’s a grade above matte.

Trigger

The Throttle trigger is two-stage and the length of stage one is adjustable. The weight of the trigger pull cannot be adjusted. I did adjust the first stage length already and it works as advertised.

The safety is automatic and does need to be pulled to the rear to release it. I think both of those decisions are mistakes, but pulling the safety off by pulling it toward the trigger is a safety concern.

Fly on the wall

I would love to have been a fly on the wall when Umarex designed the Throttle! This is so much more than an exercise in how cheaply a Chinese factory can manufacture a spring-piston air rifle. Real though has gone into designing and building this rifle. I wonder that it doesn’t carry the Walther name, though I suppose its origins mitigate against that.

I didn’t know what to expect when I opened the box and so far I am impressed. If the Throttler is accurate, Walther may just have given Diana a run for their money!

Air Arms Galahad: Part 2

St, 12/21/2016 - 02:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


Air Arms Galahad PCP in walnut is a striking looking air rifle!

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Power adjustable
  • Power setting 5 (high)
  • Power setting 4
  • Sound level
  • Power setting 3
  • Power setting 2
  • Power setting 1 (lowest)
  • Where are we now?
  • Extremely consistent
  • Fill probe
  • Trigger pull
  • Cocking and loading
  • More velocity to test

Today we begin looking at the velocity of the Galahad-rifle from Air Arms. This one has the longest barrel and should produce the maximum power available with this model in .22 caliber. Before we get to the mostest and the fastest, though, let’s learn the basics.

Power adjustable

The Galahad has a power adjustment knob with 5 settings. I want to establish what each of them will do. Remember two things: first, this rifle is filled to 250 bar and second, it has a regulator. So the first thing I will do is look at 10 pellets at each of the power settings. I will use the same .22-caliber Crosman Premier pellet for all power ranges.

Power setting 5 (high)

On the highest power I sent 10 Crosman Premier domes downrange at an average 941 f.p.s. That’s 28.12 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Naturally because this is a PCP, heavier pellets will generate more power. The spread ranged from a low of 936 f.p.s. to a high of 947 f.p.s. That’s 11 f.p.s. across all 10 shots. Here is the string.

Shot……..Velocity (f.p.s.)
1……………..947
2……………..944
3……………..942
4……………..939
5……………..945
6……………..940
7……………..940
8……………..937
9……………..936
10……………937

Power setting 4

I dialed the power down one notch and reloaded the magazine. The average on this setting was 880 f.p.s. That’s 24.6 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. The low was 874 and the high was 888 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 14 f.p.s. Here is that string.

Shot……..Velocity (f.p.s.)
1……………..888
2……………..885
3……………..879
4……………..880
5……………..877
6……………..882
7……………..874
8……………..876
9……………..880
10……………881

Sound level

I was surprised by the quiet muzzle report on high power. It was even less on power setting 4. The rifle is quiet enough for an urban backyard fon setting 4 and below.

Power setting 3

On power setting 3, which is the middle of the adjustment range, the average velocity with Premier domes was 749 f.p.s. That’s an energy of 17.82 foot-pounds. The low was 739 f.p.s. and the high was 753 f.p.s., so a spread of 14 f.p.s. Here is that string.

Shot……..Velocity (f.p.s.)
1……………..739
2……………..743
3……………..747
4……………..751
5……………..753
6……………..752
7……………..753
8……………..749
9……………..750
10……………751

Power setting 2

By this time I thought I could guess where the power would be, and on power setting two I expected an average of 650 f.p.s. The actual average was 539 f.p.s. — over 100 f.p.s. slower than expected and over 200 f.p.s. slower than on power setting 3. That is a big difference. Setting 2 looks like the indoor setting and 3 looks like a quiet outdoor setting that delivers about the same power as a factory Beeman R1.

At the average velocity, power level 2 delivers 9.23 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The low was 531 f.p.s. and the high was 546 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 15 f.p.s. Here is the string.

Shot……..Velocity (f.p.s.)
1……………..531
2……………..539
3……………..533
4……………..536
5……………..540
6……………..542
7……………..538
8……………..541
9……………..546
10……………540

Power setting 1 (lowest)

I had no idea where setting number 1 would be, but I hoped it would be useable. The average was 289 f.p.s. and the spread ranged from a low of 277 f.p.s to a high of 306 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 29 f.p.s. At the average velocity this setting produces 2.65 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. That means that setting 1 on the rifle I am testing is both too low to be practical and also a little less stable than the higher settings. Here is the string.

Shot……..Velocity (f.p.s.)
1……………..293
2……………..285
3……………..284
4……………..298
5……………..287
6……………..277
7……………..284
8……………..290
9……………..306
10……………291

Where are we now?

Now let’s and shoot one shot at each power setting to see where the velocity is. Bear in mind, the rifle has now fired 51 shots since being filled. I had one extra shot that was a mistake, because I forgot to adjust the power setting when I started a string.

Setting……..Velocity (f.p.s.)
5……………..932
4……………..870
3……………..738
2……………..521
1……………..290

Interesting. In the highest power the rifle seems to be slightly off the power band, but on all the other settings it seems to be right on. I had 5 more pellets in the magazine, so I did it again.

Setting……..Velocity (f.p.s.)
5……………..924
4……………..876
3……………..739
2……………..525
1……………..281

Extremely consistent

I think I called it correctly. After 51 shots the Galahad still is on the power curve on all settings except number 5. That means the claim of a large number of shots is correct, and also this is the payoff for having that regulator. Yes, the rifle does vary more at each power setting than some other regulated rifles, but those rifles don’t have 5 power settings. And, I have never seen an air rifle return to its power setting as immediately and accurately as this one. The Galahad really does operate like you expect it to!

Fill probe

In Part 1 I said Air Arms had changed from their proprietary fill adaptor that was so hard to use. I said they now use a common fill probe for the Galahad. Well, it isn’t common! They made a proprietary smaller-size probe that does not interchange with any Korean or BSA probe. Once again, Air Arms is different. If you only own one PCP this is not a problem, but if you own several that use probes you will have to swap probes when you fill the Galahad. That’s a misstep, in my opinion.

Trigger pull

Reader Matt61 responded to my observation that the Galahad is a bullpup that therefore has a long trigger bar to reach the action. It has to be that way if electronics aren’t used. I had not tested the trigger when I said that, so now let’s see how it does.

The trigger pull on the Galahad is fine for a sporter. It is two-stage and reasonably crisp. Stage one is adjusted to a 1 lb. 8 oz. pull. Stage two releases exactly one pound later — at 2 lbs. 8 oz. It feels great this way, so I plan to leave it right where it is.

Cocking and loading

The Galahad cocks via a lever on the left side of the forearm. It sits nearly parallel with the barrel until you push down on it with your thumb. Then it springs down to almost straight up and down. To cock the striker you push the lever forward when it is in the down position. Be prepared to push hard because you are cocking the gun. By returning the lever to parallel with the barrel, you load one pellet into the breech and are ready to shoot. You can feel the pellet entering the breech as the lever is moved up.


The cocking lever starts parallel to the barrel like this.


Push down and the lever springs down to this position.


Push lever forward to cock the gun. Lever then springs back to this position. Return lever to the up position to ready the rifle to fire.

If you think about it, a sidelever-cocking bolt action pellet rifle is also not that easy to operate at some point in the lever’s swing. This lever has to do the same thing to the rifle’s bolt that a sidelever does, so expect it to take the same effort.

More velocity to test

I’m taking my time with the Galahad because there is so much to test. Next time we will look at pellet lengths that will fit in the magazine, maximum power and the shot count at power level 3. Stay tuned — there is a lot to see!