by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Walther LGV Olympia was a top-quality 10 meter target rifle from the 1970s.
Don’t get confused. The title of this blog is the Walther LGV Olympia field test, but the first part was titled, We interrupt our regular program….I used that title so I wouldn’t give away the topic that first day. This report is, indeed, about the Walther LGV Olympia of history, but this is a new take on it. I already reported on it two and a half years ago, but that report was about the rifle as a vintage 10-meter target rifle, which at that time was all the LGV had ever been. Only in 2012, when Walther brought out their new line of sporting rifles under the LGV model name, was the LGV anything except a breakbarrel target rifle.
We’ve now looked at the .177-caliber Walther LGV Master Ultra rifle and also at the .22-caliber LGV Challenger (which I now own), so I thought it might be nice to see how the original LGV stacks up to these new rifles. This test will look at the vintage LGV Olympia at 25 yards and at 50 yards. At both distances, I’ll use the rifle’s target sights. I mentioned last time that when I tested the FWB 300S at 50 yards, it didn’t seem to matter that much whether target sights or a scope was used, so I see no need to switch the sights on this rifle.
One thing I have learned in the two and a half years since testing the LGV target rifle is how deep-seating the pellet often has a dramatic affect on accuracy. We have seen that with other airguns, but this will be the first time I think I’ve tested it on a vintage target rifle. This should be an interesting test. And, because the LGV is a breakbarrel, it plays right into the test plan, because breakbarrels are the easiest type of guns in which to seat the pellets deep.
Naturally, I’ll use the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and PellSet seater to seat the pellets. It’s so easy; because once you set the optimum seating depth, it never changes until you change it. If you don’t have a tool, you can seat pellets with a ballpoint pen…but the seating depth is not adjustable.
Today, we’re just going to see how well the rifle performs with some sample pellets that might get chosen for the 25-yard test. I’ll test the velocity of all pellets both seated flush with the end of the barrel and also seated deep. That will be a good comparison.
JSB Exact Heavy
You must wonder if I’ve lost my mind, testing the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy domed pellet in a rifle this weak. No, that’s one of the types of pellets I expect might do well at 50 yards. It certainly has the capability to buck the wind, so I thought it might be a good one to test. I have almost no experience shooting airguns of this low power level out to 50 yards, so this is just a hunch.
JSB Exact Heavys averaged 500 f.p.s when seated flush with the breech. The low was 499 f.p.s., and the high was 501 f.p.s., so there was a total variation of just 2 f.p.s. That’s remarkable for a spring-piston air rifle — I don’t care what type it is! This pellet generates 5.74 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
When seated deep, the same pellet averaged 511 f.p.s., with a low of 509 f.p.s. and a high of 512 f.p.s. The spread opened up to 3 f.p.s., which is still astonishing. Deep-seated pellets averaged 11 f.p.s. faster than flush-seated pellets. The average muzzle energy was 6.0 foot-pounds.
The second pellet I tested was the ever-popular RWS Superdome. This is another pellet that I believe might do well at long range when fired from this air rifle. When seated flush, they averaged 552 f.p.s., with a 17 f.p.s. velocity spread from 543 f.p.s. to 560 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy this pellet generated when seated flush was 5.62 foot-pounds.
When seated deep, the average velocity increased by 10 f.p.s. to 562 f.p.s. The spread ranged from 557 to 565 f.p.s., so it tightened up to just 8 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 5.82 foot-pounds.
Next, I tested the Beeman Kodiak pellet. This is another heavy pellet that I plan to try at 25 yards; and if it does well there, at 50 yards, too. At 10.65 grains, this is the heaviest pellet in today’s test. When they were seated flush, Kodiaks averaged 483 f.p.s. in the LGV Olympia. The spread went from a low of 478 f.p.s. to a high of 487 f.p.s., so 9 f.p.s. in total. That’s still pretty tight. The average energy was 5.52 foot-pounds.
When seated deep, the average velocity for Kodiaks increased to 501 f.p.s. The spread now went from a low of 479 f.p.s. to a high of 515 f.p.s., so a total of 36 f.p.s., which is on the high side. The average muzzle energy was 5.94 foot-pounds.
JSB Exact Express
The JSB Exact Express pellet is one I haven’t tried before. It’s a dome that weighs 7.87 grains. Normally, I would try the JSB Exact RS pellet in a rifle like this; but when I tested it in the past as a 10-meter rifle, I did try the RS pellets and they didn’t seem to do very well at 10 meters. So, I welcomed the opportunity to include this new JSB dome in the test.
Although it’s heavier than the RS, this Express pellet is still the lightest pellet I tried in this test. When seated flush, it averaged 585 f.p.s., with a spread from 569 to a high of 593 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 5.98 foot-pounds.
Of course, I expected this pellet to go even faster when seated deep, but it didn’t. In fact the relationship between deep-seating and velocity turned around 180 degrees with this pellet. The average for deep-seated Express pellets was 547 f.p.s., with a range that went from 545 to 553 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 5.23 foot-pounds. So, just like we have seen in some tests of deep-seated pellets in the past, here’s another surprise. I wonder what will happen in the accuracy test?
The Walther LGV Olympia has an adjustable 2-stage match trigger. The one on my rifle is set very nicely, and stage 2 breaks at 10.5 to 11 oz. I can do very fine work with a good trigger like this.
Impressions thus far
I was surprised by how consistent the rifle is with JSB pellets. The fact that 3 pellets increased when seated deep, while one decreased, is also something curious. It just points out the need to test a gun in as many ways as you can think of, I guess.
Best of all, this test gives me one more opportunity to shoot and handle this rifle. I own many nice airguns, but my work doesn’t often afford the chance to play with them; so, tests like this one are a refreshing change for me. And I know that many of you get enjoyment from reading about a fine vintage airgun. It’s a nice change of pace.
I do hope the newer readers will see how nice these older airguns are and maybe use the links to explore them more thoroughly. If you’re new to the shooting sports, this is where a lot of the fun is found.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, blog reader John shares his experience getting his AirForce Condor to shoot quieter. I asked him for this report because he’s written many comments about it. We all know that John is a pest hunter, so let’s look over his shoulder and see what works for him.
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.
Okay, John, the floor is yours.
Noisy gun goes quiet
Before I begin the report, I want to show you a piece of my past. It’s a Remington 514 made somewhere between 1948 and 1968. It’s a single-shot, bolt action .22 rimfire designed by K. Lowe.
Anyone who knows me knows I have a dislike for old guns. This one is an exception, however, since it’s the only thing I have that belonged to my dad. It’s fairly primitive, but as accurate as anything I’ve seen. It puts the shot where I want it…every time.
Remington 514 single-shot .22 rimfire.
It may not look like much, but it means a lot to me. And it shoots!
Now, on to the report.
I was thinking about how to make a noisy gun become not so noisy since noise tends to alert the pests you hunt, making your day very boring. I like to hunt with my AirForce Condor, which I lovingly call “Marvelous Magnificent Mad Madam Mim,” due to the fact that she can change just like that wacky Disney villain.
I took off the forearm and left it off just to make my work a bit easier today since I was going to be swapping things around. I think I should warn you that this is going to be an unusual report since I’m not using anything fancy like noise meters, showing accuracy targets or running shots through a chrony. All I’m concerned with is taking a loud gun and making it backyard friendly. So, I’m going to be using the tools we all have…ears.
For this test, I’m out on a little private island with a one-room guest cabin on 15 acres of land. It’s fairly dense, with trees and brush surrounding my work area. The cabin is about 10 feet to my right, where I normally set up for muskrat. We’re located in one of my actual hunting areas.
The first thing I did was test the Condor against my Remington 514 to compare how loud it sounds to me. I found that the Condor set at maximum power, with no barrel shrouds or anything to quiet it down, sounds louder than the Remington 514 shooting a .22 long rifle cartridge. It sounded about like a .30-caliber rifle to me.
I wanted to make it quiet, so I put on a Bullseye Bill frame extender (bloop tube) and tried it at full power with the standard Condor 24-inch .22-caliber barrel. Since the pellet was breaking the sound barrier, it sounded about like the Remington. It was quieter than before, but not quiet enough.
I wondered if stopping more air from escaping the gun would help, so I installed an optional 12-inch .22-caliber barrel and the Bullseye Bill frame extender. Now, the barrel was buried deep inside the frame extender. Since the shorter 12″ barrel wastes air at full power, I dialed down the power setting to about the middle of the scale. I figured that was about the top performance I could get out of the shorter barrel.
The rifle was now definitely quieter, but no quieter than if I’d just used the AirForce end cap on the frame of the gun and left off the frame extender. The report was now about as loud as a loud hand clap. Either way (with the end cap on or with the frame extender installed), it was equally quiet. I still wasn’t satisfied with how quiet it was. I knew I could do better and retain much more power than with a 12-inch barrel.
The 12-inch barrel and Talon SS end cap are just as quiet as the rifle with the frame extender installed.
Here comes the band
I heard B.B. talk about how they used to use rubber bands to quiet the sound of the striker, so I figured that was worth a try to quiet down the gun a bit more. Before trying this, I dialed down the gun’s power to about level 2 with a 12″ barrel and the end cap. Voila…a Condor became a Talon SS! This definitely made the gun as quiet as it could be. Then, I tried it with the rubber band installed.
No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the gun to fire with a piece of rubber band on the end of the top hat. That rubber band was acting like a shock absorber — not letting the striker hit the top hat hard enough to fire the gun. So, that was a total failure. Let’s try something else.
Looking for the best performance
We all know that performance is everything in airguns. You want a hunting gun to hit hard and accurately. I needed to get the most performance out of the gun. So, the 24″ barrel went back in the gun, and the frame extender went back on. If I correctly use that combination, the only sound the gun will make is the clunk of the striker and impact of the pellet. In other words, nobody’s going to know I took the shot but me and whatever I was shooting at. Now, it’s on to pushing the envelope.
Which of my available ammo types will get me the best performance, while not telling everybody around me what I’m doing? First up is my standard go-to pellet, the Crosman Premier Ultra Magnum hunting pellet. I like these because they’re available everywhere, and I get fairly good results with them. So, let’s see just where the upper power limit is for these while making as little noise as possible. I’m firing at a target 75 yards out, which is the longest distance I’ve ever taken a muskrat with this gun. The cabin is just close enough that I should hear any significant echo that a backyard shooter would also have.
I fired shots using the highest setting I thought I could and get just the clunk of the striker and slap of the pellet. Then, I’d inch up until it began to return an echo off the cabin wall. That told me I’d crossed the boundary, so I backed off to the last quiet setting for Premiers. The rifle stayed quiet up to 7.45 on the AirForce power wheel. This is the setting I’d use in the city for backyard target practice without anybody knowing what I was doing…and the setting I want to use if I do not want to alert critters to the fact I’m hunting.
With Crosman Premier Ultra Magnums, the rifle is still quiet when the power wheel is set no higher than 7.45. The major power setting (7) is indicated by the center of the screw head in the oval window on the right. The fractional power setting (.45) is indicated by the power wheel on the left.
Next, I dug out some Predator Polymags. I found these would give me slightly better performance, fly a bit faster and hit a bit harder while still not alerting anyone or anything to what I was doing. This is with a 24″ barrel and a frame extender — like a Condor SS on steroids. I got them to hit my 75-yard target with the dial set to a maximum of 7.10 [about 3/4 of the way toward power setting 8] as the outside power without advertising to everything around what I am doing. This gave me the slap of the striker and the thud of a pellet hitting the target 75 yards away.
Baracuda Hunter Extreme
I like the cross-hatch pattern on the nose of these Baracuda Hunter Extreme pellets for hunting, which is my primary use for air rifles. Surprisingly, with them, the power wheel went up. I thought the Polymags, with their nice sharp point, would cut through the air and give the quietest and most powerful shots of the day. But I was surprised. With these Baracuda Hunter Extreme pellets, the power wheel climbed up to 8.9 before anybody knew what I was doing. Birds kept on doing bird things. The Canadian geese kept swimming, totally unaware that a shot just landed in the target 10 yards to their left. Even the mallard ducks didn’t take off. That’s what I wanted.
This is important since, in the places where I hunt pests, we also have some very shy animals. I have to try my best not to disturb them. It’s spring, and the geese and ducks are nesting. I don’t want to scare them off their nests. It’s all about being a good steward of nature.
Gamo round balls
Last up was the .22-caliber Gamo round ball. I got these as a freebie with a Gamo gun, so I figured I might as well see what a “musket ball” would do. This one was the worst of the bunch. To keep the gun quiet with round balls, I had to dial the power down to 4.7. All the birds in the area took off and hid when I put one of these in the target at 8.9 on the power scale. I don’t think I’ll be using those again when I’m hunting at a sensitive time of the season.
What did I learn?
There’s plenty to take away from this that has nothing to do with the speed of the pellet. A PCP gun like the Condor can be accurate, powerful and quiet depending on how it is set up and which pellet is used. A shorter barrel robs power, but it also quiets down a gun. However, it can only do so much — even if you give it a massive space in which to allow the air to expand. My best bet was to leave the 24″ barrel on the Condor and put the frame extender on the barrel, leaving the end of the extender about 3 inches past the muzzle. This setup trapped spent air well due to the fact the pellet was blocking the end of the shroud at about the ideal time to minimize the muzzle blast. It’s kind of how a car muffler works.
This made my Condor about as quiet as a loud whisper. Just a thud of the striker and the slap of the pellet hitting the target. Very little echo, if any at all. Adjusting the power of the gun had quite a bit to do with this. If you throw too much power behind the pellet, you’ll hear something like a .22 rimfire bullet, which is not what you want to hear if you’re hunting pests in an environmentally sound-sensitive area or doing some backyard plinking and don’t want the police responding to reports of small-to-medium caliber gunfire in your neighborhood.
I tested a Condor only in .22 caliber since that’s all I had, and this is my primary pest hunting gun. I also used several pellets that I normally use for target shooting and hunting to compare their results. This is in no way a scientific study with high-tech instruments. Just one man with a good pair of ears. I did what I could to recreate a backyard shooting environment in an actual hunting environment. The intention was to gather some good information to help keep your shooting as quiet as possible so you don’t disturb the animals or people around you.
P.S. My day on the range ended on a high note when I took an opposum that was on my list of pest critters. It was a perfect shot with my dad’s old Remington 514.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll begin looking at the Gamo Whisper Fusion IGT breakbarrel air rifle. This rifle is offered only in .177 caliber, and I’m testing serial number 04-1C-419038-13. It has a gas spring, which Gamo calls their Inert Gas Technology, or IGT. In many ways, it reminds me of the older Whisper rifle, except the cocking is heavier. But this report will look at all the differences and new things Gamo puts on this rifle.
There’s a lot of synthetic material on the outside of this rifle. The stock is all synthetic, as is the fluted barrel jacket and the baffled silencer on the front of the barrel (they call it a double-integrated sound moderator). My point is that if you don’t like synthetics, this isn’t the airgun for you. If you don’t mind them, though, I see a lot of potential here.
The stock has an adjustable cheekpiece that will come in handy when you mount the 3-9X40 scope that comes with this package. The rifle has a large scope base attached to the spring tube. It rises high above the tube, so there shouldn’t be any scope bell clearance issues. The scope base has two generous holes to accept a vertical scope stop. The scope comes already mounted in a one-piece mount with a scope stop pin already correctly adjusted down far enough to engage the scope stop holes in the scope base. That makes this the first air rifle I’ve tested whose mounted scope came ready to install. I’ve always had to unmount the scope in the past to run the stop pin down far enough to engage the stop pin hole in the past. It’s a small point, but it tells me the factory gave some thought to how the gun was shipped.
The stock is very thick and full. It makes the gun feel larger than it is, but that’s offset by the light weight of 6 lbs. without the scope and 7 lbs., 2 ox. with the scope and mount. The buttstock sounds hollow, which I know puts off a lot of people, but it seems rugged enough to me. The stock material is rough to the touch, but not rubbery.
The fluted barrel jacket is very thick — giving the impression of a bull barrel, but without the weight. The silencer is huge — measuring 1-1/2 inches across, for a substantial gripping point when cocking the gun.
Cocking is easy until the final few inches of the stroke. Gamo has realized that the solution to power is not the strength of the spring but the length of the stroke. This is probably the longest cocking stroke I’ve ever encountered, with the barrel breaking down about 135 degrees. This is one of the easier-cocking gas-spring rifles I’ve tested; and if they meet their power output figure of 1,300 f.p.s. (printed on the outside of the box), then I think Gamo has built a winner — at least as far as power is concerned.
To their credit, Gamo installs open sights on the gun. The rear sight is fully adjustable in both directions with crisp, positive clicks. A scale on the windage slide tells you where you are at all times, but there are no numbers on the elevation wheel. They may think that most people look at the elevation of the sight from the side to see where they are; and while there’s some truth to that, the numbers do help you turn the wheel in the correct direction. Of course, the mechanically minded won’t get confused because clockwise turns the rear sight down and counterclockwise turns it up.
I plan on testing the rifle at 10 meters with the open sights. If it does good enough, I’ll back up and also shoot it at 25 yards. Then I’ll mount the scope and shoot it again with the most accurate pellets. So, you’re going to get an extra part or two from this report.
Is it quiet?
Gamo says on the package that this rifle is 89.5 percent quieter.* When you track down what the asterisk means, you find the phrase “Under the Gamo measurement standards.” Whatever that means! I already fired it a few times to get a sense of how it feels and Edith commented from her office, “Why is that airgun so loud?” The pellets I was shooting were probably going supersonic, so I then tested it with some extra-heavy Beeman Kodiak pellets, and it was most definitely quieter. Edith didn’t even notice it that time until I called her attention to it. So, for everyone except the shooter, this rifle is undoubtedly a quiet one…as long as the pellets are very heavy. The shooter, however, hears all the sound through the bones in his face, and the sound doesn’t change much from pellet to pellet.
The trigger is Gamo’s new Smooth Action Trigger or SAT. It comes set up as a 2-stage trigger, and everything was adjusted to my satisfaction right out of the box. A short first stage stops abruptly at stage 2, then breaks cleanly for the shot. I’ll have more to say about it in Part 2 of this report.
The safety is manual. I applaud Gamo for taking this bold step, because a shooter really should be the one to decide when to apply the safety. If they don’t know how to handle the gun safely, no automatic safety will change that or make the gun one bit safer. The one criticism I have of the safety is that when you put it on, the lever is pulled toward the trigger. If your finger slips, you could discharge the rifle. That’s where safe gun handling comes in, because the muzzle should always be pointed in a direction where it is safe if it should fire.
Gamo promises 1,300 f.p.s. with lead-free PBA pellets. I’ll certainly test them; but if experience holds, they won’t be the most accurate pellets in the gun. I’ll also test it with the types of pellets I believe shooters will really select if they want to hit their targets. If I’m wrong and PBAs turn out to be accurate, I will publicly apologize to Gamo.
I always liked the Whisper; and when a gas spring was added, I thought it was even better. The Whisper Fusion IGT was built from the ground up to be a powerful gas-spring gun, yet lightweight at the same time. It’s the combination many shooters say they want, so let’s see what you get.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Last week, the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation…they put on the SHOT Show) sent out a notice that said the number of new shooters is on the increase. That’s hardly news, except for the implications. Where are these new shooters getting their training?
For years, I’ve railed about the author Agatha Christie talking about putting the safety catch on a revolver in her novels. Any shooter can tell you that the number of revolvers that have safeties (not safety catches, but that’s another rant for another time) is extremely low. Revolvers do not have safeties, as a general rule, and the few that do are true oddities in the world of guns.
But that’s just the tip of the fiction writers’ iceberg of ignorance about guns. As I was reading a mystery novel last week, the detective/hero found the murder weapon in the grass, near a pond. One cartridge had been fired — presumably the one that killed the victim. So, the hero got the police to start a search for the cartridge case that had fired it! That’s correct, they started a search for the single cartridge case that had been fired by this revolver!
When a cartridge is fired in a revolver it remains in the cylinder until the shooter extracts it. This is one reason revolvers are selected for murders — because they leave nothing hehind.
I would have thought they might have found it still in the cylinder since the cases remain there until the shooter manually ejects them. Instead, they called in divers to search the pond!
As you ponder that incongruity, here’s another one. In another book, a female private investigator working in the Chicago area didn’t carry a gun because, to use her own words, she didn’t need a gun to do her job. The female author went on to say that once the female PI had her life threatened, she decided to get a gun and was able to buy one without being subjected to the “normal waiting period” because she had her private investigator’s license. Not a word about what gun she bought or whether she knew how to use it. The reader was supposed to believe that, because she had her PI license, she was automatically able to use any gun she might acquire. Perhaps she had played a gangsta video game a time or two?
When I read things like this, I wonder if this what people think. Do they really think a person can pick up a gun and, because they’re in a certain field, they’ll automatically know how to use it? Writing things like this lays open a person’s soul, because it displays all the misconceptions they have concerning the field of firearms. First, firearms are not needed in a city like Chicago — presumably because of their fine police force, and next, that a piece of paper and a job title are all you need to know how to properly handle a gun. I don’t think its a huge leap for me to guess the writer’s politics when they write stuff like this.
In another mystery novel, I read that an Army military policeman who was a major was investigating a murder scene and found a single cartridge case laying on the ground. He picked it up and thought that it resembled a 5.56mm case, though he wasn’t sure. He also knew that a .223 Remington cartridge case would look the same. But he knew the brass in the 5.56mm case was thicker and therefore the case was heavier than a .223 Remington case. So, he felt the weight of the case to determine if it felt heavy enough to him to be a 5.56mm case.
Two cartridge cases — one a .223 Remington and the other a 5.56mm Nato round. Their external dimensions are the same. Nobody can tell the difference just by holding them in their hand.
Then, he handed the case to the local sheriff, who did the same thing — felt the weight of the case and tried to guess whether it was heavy or light. A conversation followed about the construction of 5.56mm cases and .223 Remington cases.
Now, Wikipedia is a marvelous resource for those who already know a lot about their subject. But for those who are ignorant of the facts and cannot be bothered to do much beyond rewriting the Wiki entries to fit them into a murder mystery novel, it is sadly lacking.
By this time, I imagine most readers have already wondered why these two “experts” didn’t just look at the cartridge case headstamps that would positively identify beyond all doubt which type of case it was — 5.56mm or .223 Remington. Any cop in the world would know enough to do that as would most people who served in the Army — especially in the rank of major!
Cartridge on the left is a .223 Remington caliber made by Winchester. On the right is a 5.56mm cartridge made by the Lake City Arsenal in 2005. Duh!
I think it’s quite clear what’s wrong here. I read too many murder mysteries!
Seriously, what this reveals is the general public’s utter lack of comprehension about how firearms work. And yet, they’re coming into the shooting sports in increasing numbers. Who is going to train these people?
I welcome the influx of potential new shooters, but it also gives me cause to shudder. I have seen numerous groups of young men at the range shooting their 9mm pistols as fast as their trigger fingers can move. They stand 10 feet from full-sized silhouette targets, holding their guns in what they think is a Weaver stance, though I doubt any of them ever heard of Jack Weaver. I even saw one of them hold his pistol sideways with the ejection port pointed up toward the sky — a perfect Hollywood gangsta move.
Airguns are the ideal way for these new shooters to learn, but not if they think that a 2013 pellet rifle will just sting the same as a BB gun from 1900. There are so many things for these new people to learn, yet, because of their upbringing, they still view the NRA as a couple points to the right of Adolph Hitler. They haven’t been trained by the military, and so many families lack the gun-savvy fathers that were common in the 1950s.
So, who is going to train them? I simply do not know.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
“Have a wonderful summer.”
Great words, but not when they’re in my high school graduation yearbook. We were all going our separate ways. Some of us were going to southeast Asia and might never come back. Others were going on to colleges to become doctors, lawyers, nuclear physicists and accountants. A couple went to Hollywood and were never heard from again and at least one went on to win several Super Bowls and become a household name — actually two names. I went to high school with Larry Csonka in Stow, Ohio, and Craig Morton in Campbell, California.
So, why didn’t they write, “Since I’m never going to see you again, have a nice life.”? I’ll tell you why — because people don’t know how to say goodbye. So now, 48 years later, I have someone wishing me a perpetual good summer of 1965. I was never quite sure about what that meant, either. Was it just the one summer, or were all of them implied?
Know what else people aren’t good at? Visualization. Like what to pack for a vacation. Oh, the old swimsuit is easy enough, but what about taking an airgun?
Well, gee, I did just get a .50-caliber Dragon Claw. Wouldn’t that be neat to have along at Yellowstone?
Not unless your fantasy is to be the focus of a SWAT team attack! Unless you’re vacationing at a rifle range or somewhere very remote, a big bore airgun is not ideal. Nor is anything that requires a large support base such as scuba tanks, hand pumps, CO2 cartridges and ancillary stuff like that.
While you’re at it, leave your 4-foot gun bags and hard cases at home with the aquarium and the garden tractor. The last thing you want or need on a vacation is a lot of baggage.
My pick for you is the Beeman P17 single-stroke pistol and as many tins of pellets as you think you’ll need. Or, if you don’t like Chinese airguns, spend the money and buy the German-made Beeman P3 that it was modeled after. Both guns are quiet, accurate, have adjustable sights, great triggers and are very portable. Sure, they’re single-shots, but that’s part of their attraction — they slow you down and make you pay attention to what you’re doing.
Oh, you don’t absolutely have to stick with a single-stroke pistol if you don’t want to. A nice pneumatic like the Crosman 1377C or the .22-caliber 1322 would be fine. They’re larger pistols, but still self-contained, requiring only pellets for fun.
If you want a springer, might I suggest the Browning Buck Mark? It’s reasonably accurate, easy to cock and the price shouldn’t break the bank. If it does, you aren’t going on a vacation; you’re just staying home from work.
What about a rifle?
For an air rifle, I recommend the Diana 27; but since none of you were far-sighted enough to get one back when I was touting them, now you have to live with what’s available. Well, that was why the Air Venturi Bronco was created — for all those who should have bought Diana 27s but never got around to it. For a lot less money than a Diana 27 costs, you can get a brand-new Bronco and have the same fun with it. It’s a little larger and heavier, but just as accurate, just as easy to cock and quite the little all-day plinker.
I could go on and on with this — recommending multi-pumps and other springers, but that’s not the point of today’s blog. The point is that when you’re on vacation, take along something simple and fun to shoot. It doesn’t need to be your most powerful or most accurate airgun — just one that you like to shoot.
And travel light. Vacations are not the time to stress about air supplies or where to buy more CO2. They’re times when you want to be free and unencumbered by stuff, so you can have some fun.
And, one more thing. You guys all say that I’m an enabler who spends your discretionary money faster than your wives and girlfriends can account for it. But did you notice that the guns I chose for today were mostly inexpensive? You don’t have to spend a lot of money on an airgun to have fun with it. A $40 P17 or a $45 Buck Mark should certainly be affordable. And that was my criterion for selection — good airguns at good prices.
Keep things simple when you’re away from home and your support base. If you have to buy pellets from a discount store, even the cheapest ones should shoot okay in the guns I’ve recommended. In fact — that gives me a great idea for another report. I will test inexpensive pellets like you’d find in a discount store (and Pyramyd Air sells these, too) against the best pellets I can buy.
Yeah! I like that!
Oh, and have a wonderful summer….
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Let’s look at the Walther 1250 Dominator accuracy at 25 yards. In deference to the 8-shot clip, I’m shooting 8-shot groups rather than 10. The way this rifle loads, with the clip almost disappearing in the receiver, it’s too difficult to keep track of those 2 extra shots.
I’ll be honest — I stalled testing this gun in the house because of the noise. It’s one of the loudest airguns I’ve ever shot indoors.
I said last time that I would give you a shot count once I filled the rifle to 4,350 psi (300 bar). Well, that didn’t happen. I filled it as far as my freshly filled carbon fiber tank would go, but that was only to 4,200 psi on the tank’s gauge, which seems pretty accurate. The rifle’s gauge showed a lower fill pressure, but I chalk that up to small pressure gauges never agreeing.
I didn’t get a complete shot count. I did, however, fire about 40 shots in the test and still had air remaining for at least another 15. If you can get the gun completely filled, there have to be at least 55 full-power shots available. Probably more, but at least 55.
I mounted an AirForce Airguns 4-16X50 scope on the rifle in a BKL 1-piece cantilever mount. The scope was low over the receiver, even though the BKL mount is a high one; but because the circular clip is entirely contained within the receiver, there was no interference.
I shot from a sandbag rest at 25 yards off an MTM Case-Gard Predator shooting table. In a moment that will become important to know.
I sighted the rifle in and started shooting with the H&N Baracuda Match pellet. It was accurate enough, but I felt the rifle could do better. Eight shots went into a group measuring 0.597 inches between centers.
The Baracuda Match pellets didn’t give me what I wanted, so I switched to 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy domes. They started out doing better than the Baracudas and produced a 0.522-inch 8-shot group. But two pellets strayed from the main group. I called the one that went to the left, but not the other one that went high. So, as good as this pellet is, it isn’t the best pellet in this rifle.
Then, I tried RWS Superdomes — a pellet that many of you favor over just about all others in .177 caliber. And this is where I had an epiphany with this rifle. The first 8-shot group measured 0.461 inches, but it was full of wild shots that went off when I wasn’t on target. That was both the fault of the trigger and the rifle’s light weight. I’ll address it in a moment. But this target told me that this rifle could shoot much better if I really tried.
The Walther 1250 Dominator is a very light rifle, and the trigger isn’t that light. As a result, the gun moves more than a little as the trigger is squeezed. This can be overcome by paying extreme attention to detail on each shot, but it’s something I normally don’t need to do when shooting an accurate PCP.
That’s why I mentioned the shooting table and sandbag rest. Normally, such things are an absolute lock for the guns, but this time the rifle is so light that it still moves around too much. You’re only going to solve that with technique.
The next group was shot with as much concentration as if I were using the artillery hold. And the payoff is a 0.404-inch 8-shot group. That represents the best I can do with this rifle and pellet at 25 yards.
The bolt is hard to cock and sticks when pushing it forward to load the pellet. It isn’t much of a hinderance, but you do notice it. I did discover that if the bolt is worked fast and with authority, it does become smooth. So, the rifle likes to be treated like an SMLE.
Opinions thus far
I found things to criticize on the Walther Dominator 1250. No. 1 is the need to fill it to 300 bar. That’s just too much pressure, and it uses all the air I can get. The rifle is very loud, and I’m no longer used to pneumatic air rifles being so loud. The trigger is too heavy and long, and the rifle needs to weigh at least 2.50-3.00 more lbs. to be stable. However, all that pales when we look at the accuracy.
This is an accurate air rifle — make no mistake. Today’s test was at 25 yards, so it’ll be very interesting to see what happens when we move to 50 yards.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Gamo P-25 air pistol, and something interesting that happened. Normally, I report on the velocity of 3 or 4 pellets and leave it at that, but a strange thing happened with the first CO2 cartridge in the test pistol.
I didn’t screw the piercing screw deep enough into the CO2 cartridge, resulting in the gas flow being hindered. I’ve experienced this a few times in the past, but this time it was very pronounced. After each shot, there was a period of time that ranged from 5 to 10 seconds, during which the gas flowed audibly from the cartridge into the gun’s valve. It sounded like a leak in the gun, but I noticed it only lasted a few seconds before stopping, so it wasn’t venting to the outside. It was the gas flowing from the cartridge into the gun’s valve, where it would be used for the next shot.
Shooting the pistol in the rapid-fire mode proved impossible with this first cartridge. The first shot went out at the normal velocity, and shot 2…fired immediately after the first shot…clocked 88 f.p.s. through the chronograph.
It was my fault
So, I screwed the piercing screw much deeper into the next cartridge. Problem solved! Don’t be tentative when piercing a cartridge in this pistol. Do it like you mean it. After I pierced the second cartridge correctly, the pistol performed exactly as expected. Rapid-fire worked as you would expect, and the gun kept up with my trigger finger.
The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby. Weighing 7 grains, the all-lead Hobby pellet tells me so much about an airgun’s powerplant. For starters, it tells me what needs to be done to get the 425 f.p.s. velocity that’s claimed for the gun.
Hobbys averaged 353 f.p.s. in the P-25. They ranged from a low of 333 to a high of 379 f.p.s., and some of that large variance may be due to the gas flow problem I mentioned. At the average velocity, Hobbys were generating 1.94 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
The Hobbys told me what I wanted to know. This pistol wasn’t going to get its rated velocity with a lead pellet. So, I needed to try it with a lead-free pellet; and since this is a Gamo gun, the Gamo Raptor PBA sounded like a good selection.
The Raptor PBA pellet is made from metal that’s harder than lead. It weighs 5.4 grains and will generally boost the velocity of an airgun above what a lead pellet will, though the hardness of the metal actually slows it down sometimes. But in the P-25, the Raptor PBAs worked just fine. They averaged 412 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 395 to a high of 432 f.p.s. So, the ads are right on the money. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 2.04 foot-pounds of energy.
Next up were the lead Gamo Match wadcutters. They weigh 7.56 grains and are sometimes quite accurate in some guns. In the P-25, they averaged 348 f.p.s. with a spread from 329 to 357 f.p.s. The average energy was 2.03 foot-pounds. This will be a pellet to try in the accuracy test.
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain lites
The last pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite. They fit in the circular clips of the magazine rather easily, which caused some concern they might fall out; but the way the magazine is designed, only 2 pellets at a time are exposed in its clip. So the worry was for nothing.
Premiers averaged 344 f.p.s. in the P-25, with a spread from 330 to 360 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 2.08 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
The double-action trigger-pull broke at exactly 8-1/2 lbs., which is light for a DA pull. On single-action, it broke under 4 lbs., with a huge creep at 2-1/2 lbs. That creep is consistent and lets you know when the gun is ready to fire.
While I got just 50 shots on the first cartridge, I got more with the second one. Besides the velocity testing, I did another test with an entire cartridge, just to see how the pistol operates in the rapid-fire mode. So, the correct piercing is very important. I fired an entire cartridge, just to see how the pistol handled. Everything worked smoothly until shot 48, when the blowback failed for the first time. After that, the blowback would work if I waited long enough between shots, but not if I shot rapidly. However, if you allow time for the gun to warm up, it keeps right on shooting.
There are certainly 75 or more powerful shots in the gun if you allow the gun to rest between shots. The blowback will work reliably past shot 50, as long as time is taken between shots. Shoot fast, however, and the gun cools too much and wastes gas.
Impressions so far
So far, I like the P-25. I like its simplicity and the light single-action trigger. If it’s also accurate, this might be a best buy.