Posts Tagged ‘1911A1’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
You know how I always say that if a gun is accurate it covers a multitude of sins? It doesn’t happen that often, but today we will be looking at a BB gun that is without sin! Sorry to put the conclusion at the beginning of the report, but this test was a real eye-opener for me, and I want to pass along those feelings to you.
I know there are a few of you who are on the lookout for a good BB pistol that can be used for target shooting and firearm handgun familiarity training. I think this Winchester 16-shot semiautomatic BB pistol is one of them!
One more thing about loading
I mentioned in Part 2 that the stick magazine for this pistol is set up for easy loading. What I didn’t mention and didn’t discover until I shot it for accuracy, is the magazine is built to be loaded while lying flat on a table. The base of the mag is larger than the rest of it, so it rests on an angle. You can just drop BBs into the big loading hole and most of them will roll down to the front (the top of the mag) out of the way. I did have a couple of jams when I tried loading this way, but overall it seems easier than holding the magazine in my hand while loading.
Now, it was time to shoot the gun. I set up the range in my bedroom, where it’s warm. Texas has been cold recently and the garage where I would normally shoot is too cold for a CO2 gun. As the gas cools down the gun, it cannot recover. So, the velocity just keeps getting lower with each shot.
I used a 6 o’clock hold at 15 feet from the target. And I used a one-hand hold. As you can see, the BBs went right to the center of the bull when I did my part.
I used the Winchester Airgun Target Cube to hold a Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C target bullseye that I stuck to a cardboard square taped to the front of the Target Cube. When the group was completed, it took only seconds to rip the old one off and slap a new one down in its place. I like this kind of target because it gives me instant feedback on how I’m doing when the target changes color as the BB passes through. That helped me concentrate on my shooting technique because, with this pistol, all the shots went exactly where I aimed!
The first shot with any BB pistol is always in doubt because I have no idea where it’s going. A rifled gun will usually be more or less on target, but a BB gun can spray them anywhere. That’s why I shoot at 15 feet — aside from that being the generally established distance for BB guns. But with this Winchester pistol, I needn’t have worried. The first BB went into the 10-ring.
I wish I could tell you that the rest of the magazine went there, too, but it didn’t. I still don’t have the muscle control I used to have to hold a pistol on target with one hand. Even at 15 feet, my group was larger than it should have been.
After seeing the results of the first 10 shots, I became very interested in this pistol. The group was centered perfectly and the only thing that kept it from being better was me. That’s a good thing because it means this pistol shoots better than I do so I can use it to improve my skills. All of a sudden, I had an air pistol I could use to train with; and it was a repeater that had a light trigger and simulated recoil! That makes it perfect for firearms familiarization training.
I do have other air pistols that can be used to train with, but none of them are repeaters with blowback like this one. This one has a good trigger that has to be managed, and it has the same grip as my 1911 firearms — or close enough that I don’t notice the difference. If I want, I can pull the trigger several hundred times each week and possibly recover some of my pistol shooting ability.
I got a little excited on the second target and rushed several of the shots. The target tells the story. The group is somewhat larger and wider than the first one.
The second group was larger than the first one, and I threw one shot out of the black. But all the bad shots on this target are my fault because I could see where the shot was going to go the moment the gun fired.
By this point in the test, I was really excited. Here was an air pistol that shot to the exact point of aim. If the shot didn’t go where it should have, the fault was entirely mine. You can’t ask for a better training tool than that! The cost of shooting this BB gun is a fraction of what I have to pay for firearms cartridges — and I cast my own bullets, so I shoot for very little compared to what most folks pay.
It was time for another target and time for me to buckle down and try my best. Of course, this kind of concentration is very tiring; so by this point in the test, I was starting to experience some shaking in my gun hand. Training will fix that,. With this Winchester pistol, it looks like I’ll get that training.
An interesting group. All the shots but one are grouped on the right. That indicates that I was holding the pistol more uniformly and controlling the trigger better, but my feet were not planted correctly. There was tension in my body that caused me to pull each shot to the right. The hole on the left was a wild shot that was my fault.
What do I think of this air pistol?
Up to this point, I’ve been critical. I didn’t like all the words on both sides of the gun, nor was I very keen about the CO2 piercing arrangement because it makes it difficult to get the spent cartridge out of the gun. I also don’t like the safety that takes two hands to operate. But all that goes away when I see just how well this pistol shoots. As I’ve said many times, accuracy makes all the difference!
After my third group, I talked about the gun with Edith. She doesn’t get out to the range as much as I do, and she needs this kind of training even more. So, we decided to buy the test pistol from Pyramyd Air!
I’ve shot other BB pistols in the past, and several of them were quite accurate. That, by itself, is not what makes me like this one so much. I like this one for the trigger that feels a lot like a firearm trigger, and I like the sights that are so realistic. The designers could have put fiberoptics on the gun and ruined it completely, but they didn’t. You can aim this one exactly as you would a firearm.
I hope they’re all like this; and if you order one, I hope you get one that’s as nice as I got. Two thumbs up!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
NOTE: While I’ve been calling this a 16-shot gun, the owner’s manual and Pyramyd Air’s website state that it’s a 15-shot BB gun. I could easily get 16 shots into the mag. Edith informs me that it’s not uncommon for more shots to be loaded in airgun mags and that manufacturers sometimes understate the max rounds you can load.
Today is the day we look at the velocity of this Winchester 16-shot semiautomatic BB pistol. In Part 1, I looked at the design and noted that this is a realistic BB pistol with some of the controls of the firerarm it copies, but there are differences, as well. The two-hand requirement for the safety was a concern, as were the large number of words printed on both sides of the gun. But the heft and feel were about right. As I told you in Part 1, this gun has blowback, which means that on each shot the slide is blown to the rear by the force of CO2 gas. That cocks the hammer and readies the pistol for the next shot. The inertia of the slide imparts a feeling of recoil than many shooters like, including me.
Blowback allows the slide to cock the hammer automatically, making this BB pistol function like a true semiautomatic handgun. Since the slide cocks the hammer, every shot is single-action, which allows the trigger to be as light and crisp as possible. The cost is that some of the CO2 gas must be used to move the slide, and that subtracts from what is available to shoot BBs. But clever designers can offset this by lowering the velocity of the gun and by minimizing the amount of gas needed to move the slide.
Today’s test will focus on two performance variables — velocity and the number of shots that are available from a 12-gram CO2 cartridge. I’ll make an observation here. Do you remember that I showed you the unique way this pistol pierces its CO2 cartridge? I noticed that there was no hiss of gas when the cartridge was pierced. It may be that this pistol pierces its cartridges more efficiently than most other gas guns and therefore conserves some gas. We shall see in today’s test.
Winchester rates the pistol at 410 f.p.s. That’s on the high side for a BB pistol, so it’ll be interesting to see how many shots I can get from one CO2 cartridge. I tested with Daisy Zinc-Plated BBs, which testing has shown to be the most accurate and most uniform BBs available, short of buying the special Avanti Precision Ground shot. In a semiautomatic BB pistol like this one, the extra precision of that shot would be lost, so the standard Daisy BBs are the best.
Ten shots from a fresh CO2 cartridge averaged 388 f.p.s. I allowed a minimum of 10 seconds between shots to let the pistol recover from the cold CO2. The first shot was 395, and the velocity trailed off with each new shot until shot 5, where I waited 75 seconds after shot 4. Then the velocity rebounded from 384 (for shot 4) to 393 for shot 5. When I resumed shooting with 10-second intervals, the velocity again began to decline until shot 10. Shot 9 was 381 f.p.s., and shot 10 was 383, with about 10 seconds between. That tells me that this (the low 380s) is about where the gun wants to be.
The blowback is very powerful. It certainly feels like a .22 rimfire cartridge being fired in a medium-weight semiauto rimfire pistol, and that’s very good for a CO2 pistol.
Next, I loaded the magazine again and fired 15 quick shots. I waited a couple minutes to let the gun recover from the cold and fired the last shot through the chronograph — hoping to record it. Alas, the shot didn’t register, so I reloaded the magazine and started shooting again. On the third shot into the third magazine, I finally got a velocity reading that was 385 f.p.s. at shot 35, so my guess about where the velocity will be after the gun stabilizes seems to be correct. I finished that magazine and loaded another. The gun had now fired 48 shots on the CO2 cartridge. I reloaded and continued firing.
Shot 60 went 385 f.p.s. Shot 70 went 339 f.p.s. and was definitely falling off the pressure curve. That said, there are 4 good magazines of 16 shots each on a CO2 cartridge. Considering the power the gun delivers and the energetic blowback, I would say this is a very conservative gas pistol!
You can continue to shoot after this, of course, but at some point the velocity will be so low that you risk sticking a BB in the barrel, and that’s what I want to avoid. I also want to note that if you fire the pistol as fast as you can, the velocity drops in a pronounced way that can be discerned without the use of a chronograph. You can actually hear the shots getting weaker.
This pistol has something I haven’t experienced in more than 30 years. The trigger is a M1911A1 trigger instead of a longer 1911 trigger. The difference is in the reach of the trigger finger to the center of the blade. The M1911A1 trigger was developed for soldiers with smaller hands, who would have a more difficult time reaching the trigger when the arched mainspring housing was installed. Today, most 1911s have gone back to the flat mainspring housing and the longer trigger of the earlier model. I find the earlier design points more naturally, although the arched mainspring housing of the 1911A1 was developed especially to resolve the pointing problem.
The trigger-pull is two-stage, and please don’t get that confused with single-action. Stage one is very short and stage two is pleasant, but I can feel it move through the stage. There is no roughness to the pull and the trigger breaks at 4 lbs. on the nose.
The magazine has a large loading hole on the reverse side of the follower slot. It loads one BB at a time but loads very fast that way. I found it quick and easy, and the follower stayed put until I released it.
The CO2 cartridge that goes in without a hiss turns out to be a problem to remove on the test pistol. The clearance is just too small, and it takes a lot of fiddling to get out the old one. The new cartridge goes in very easily by comparison.
Evaluation so far
I keep finding things to like and things not to like. This is certainly a different BB pistol. I like how it handles, its power, the good blowback and nice trigger. But I dislike all the words on the gun, the difficulty of removing the CO2 cartridge, the two-handed safety and the fact that not all the controls work like the firearm. I guess it all comes down to accuracy.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today we start testing another BB pistol in the form of a Colt M1911A1. I’ve already tested several of these Colt airgun clones over the years, but Edith has recently noticed a trend of shooters who are using these airguns to maintain proficiency with their firearms between trips to the range. Of course everybody has talked about doing just that for years, but now it seems it is actually happening. I guess there is a large crop of new airgunners coming over from the firearms side of the house, and they see the value in the training these inexpensive airguns can offer.
At $90, the Winchester 16-shot semiautomatic BB pistol is sitting toward the high end of BB pistols made in the style of the 1911A1 Colt. It has blowback, which means the slide comes to the rear at every shot and cocks the hammer for the next shot. So, the trigger is single-stage, which bodes well for a good trigger-pull. And blowback gives you a feeling of recoil that many shooters enjoy.
The gun also has a realistic spring-loaded grip safety that feels great but has no effect on the trigger. You can shoot the gun with or without the grip safety being depressed. That’s not such a bad thing because 1911 firearms often have problems with their grip safeties if the grip is not grasped correctly. Various things are done to fix this problem, such as speed bumps (protrusions) on the grip safety that assist the hand to depress the safety, pinned grip safeties that have been inactivated so the gun will shoot without them being depressed, weakened grip safety springs and even certain models of 1911 clones like the Ballister Molina that don’t even have a grip safety. All of this is done in the hopes of making the gun a more reliable shooter.
You may be surprised to see the Winchester name on a handgun, but this isn’t the first time it’s happened. At the end of the 19th century, the company built one prototype revolver that was very advanced for the time. It was taken to Colt and shown to senior management, ostensibly for their feelings about the design, but actually to give notice that if Colt persisted in the manufacture of lever-action rifles, Winchester could enter the market with a highly competitive revolver. Nothing formal was said, but Colt stopped the production of their Burgess lever-action rifles within the year and Winchester never put the handgun into production.
This gun isn’t actually made by Winchester, of course. It’s made in Japan and imported by Daisy under the Winchester label. The pistol is remarkably well-scaled to the firearm, and the finish is quite similar to a military finish. The one drawback I see is that both sides of the slide and frame have been used to print out the most important parts of the owner’s manual — sort of like a Ruger pistol carried to absurdity! And whoever checked the words was not a shooter, because the magazine release (and this gun does have a spring-loaded 16-shot stick magazine) is labeled “clip release.” This is what happens when the uneducated are given a task for which they are not qualified.
More words on the left side of the gun. Maybe the next version of the gun will have the words “Trigger — press here” printed on the front of the trigger and “Don’t look into this end” printed around the muzzle!
In truth, however, the words on the gun seem to vanish as the viewer steps back, so it isn’t as obnoxious as it first appears. The gun’s finish is matte black, which hides the lettering well.
Do the controls work?
The magazine release works exactly the same as the firearm, and the stick mag drops away freely. The slide release also works the same and holds the slide open after the last BB has been fired. The hammer is real and does act upon the firing valve as you expect it to.
The safety has been modified to require two hands, which I find to be a serious design flaw because it defeats the training value of drawing a cocked-and-locked gun (condition one) and flipping off the safety when you’re on target. To remove the safety on this pistol, you must press in on a small button located in the middle of the safety lever while simultaneously pushing the lever down the conventional way. I’m sure it looks good to the lawyers, but it’s a serious disruption to an otherwise fine air pistol.
This pistol cannot be disassembled. The barrel bushing and spring guide are simply very accurate casting details, and the slide release is captive. The grips look like they’re removable, but the left one is really a complex casting that forms part of the CO2 cartridge containment. The mainspring arch pulls out and down as part of a complex articulated lever, releasing the left grip and giving access to load the CO2 cartridge.
I installed a CO2 cartridge to weigh the pistol and discovered that the process is not like other CO2 pistols. It works well, but you probably should read the owner’s manual before you try to do it. The pistol weighs 33 oz. with a CO2 cartridge installed, against 39 oz. for a government M1911A1 empty with a magazine.
The sights are fixed, just as they are on a conventional M1911A1. The rear sight is about as high as the one on the firearm, but the notch is square and sharp as opposed to vague and narrow on the firearm. The front sight looks like a 1911A1 front sight from the side, but it’s wider and appears square when viewed from the rear. These will be easy sights to use. If this pistol is accurate, it should be easy to obtain a good score.
This is an interesting and apparently well-made air pistol. But they picked a part of the market that has a lot of competition, so it’s really going to have to perform on target.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is accuracy day for the 327 TRR8 BB revolver, and there’s an additional surprise in this report. I was glad to get another chance to shoot this interesting BB revolver that feels so good in my hands. It actually has made me curious about the .357 Magnum firearm. Ain’t that always the way?
I inserted a fresh CO2 cartridge for this session, and we know from the velocity test that there are at least 65 good shots from a cartridge. I’m talking about the best part of the power band, where no excuses for accuracy can be made. So, I could conceivably fire 10 cylinders (60 shots) and be safe. As it turned out, I didn’t even need to shoot that many.
Before the cartridge went in for piercing, it got a couple drops of Crosman Pellgunoil on the small, flat end. That ensures some of the oil will be blown through the firing valve, where trace oil will coat every surface, including all seals and valve seats. I want this gun to hold gas forever, and this is cheap insurance!
I used Daisy zinc-plated BBs, which have proven to be the most accurate steel BBs I’ve found. I was recently surprised to learn that Daisy imports these BBs from China in 55-gallon steel drums, but I do know that they then put every BB through a sorting process here in the U.S. before packaging. Whatever they’re doing is working, because these are the most accurate standard steel BBs I’ve seen. Only the Avanti Precision Ground Shot is more accurate — and you’ll probably only see the difference in a precision target gun like the Avanti Champion 499.
I shot the gun at 5 meters, which is the international distance for BB gun competition. I used a rested two-hand hold with my forearms resting on a sandbag. I don’t believe I can hold the gun any better than I held it for this test.
I had said earlier that I thought I’d be using the bright green fiberoptic sight for this test. This revolver has some of the brightest sights I’ve ever seen. But when I lit the target with the 500-watt lamp, I found that I had to use the conventional sight picture of the front post level with the rear notch and lined up at 6 o’clock on the black bull. The bright light on the target made the fiberoptic tubes of the front post and rear notch go black. It was as if this was a conventional set of sights. The sights were crisper than I originally thought when the target was lit this brightly, so everything worked out quite well.
The first group was shot single-action, which proved to be the most accurate way of shooting this revolver, as expected. I was so close to the target that I saw the first shot rip through the black bull. After that, I fell into a rythym and didn’t check the target again. I shot 12-shot groups, since the cylinder holds six loaded cartridges. When all 12 shots were fired, I checked the target through binoculars and couldn’t believe my eyes! It really appeared as if only 6 shots had been fired, because nine BBs all went into a single tiny hole. I doubt very much that I could repeat such a grouop if I tried 100 more times.
The first group was phenomenal! It appears that 9 of the 12 shots went into the tiny group at the lower right, though the hole just above it may have more than one shot. Entire group measures 0.685 inches between centers.
With the success of the first group under my belt, I thought it prudent to shoot a second group single-action, just in case the first one was a fluke. As it turned out, it was. But I could see this group as it formed, and it looked better than the first one from the firing line. I wasn’t until I examined it in the binoculars that the whole story became obvious.
The larger hole in the center of the bull was visible from the firing line as I shot, but the holes that aren’t in the main group were hidden until I looked through binoculars. This is a more representative 12-shot group and measures 0.858 inches between centers.
I’m satisfied that the 327 TRR8 is an accurate BB gun. I was very relieved that the fiberoptics didn’t have to be used, because look at the precision I got. Combat sights (fiberoptics) aren’t ever going to give you that kind of group.
Next, it was time to try my hand at double-action shooting. This is more difficult, because the longer, heavy trigger-pull causes the gun to move in the hand as the trigger is pulled.
The first 6 shots went so well that I thought I’d be recanting my position on double-action shooting, but the first shot from the second cylinder fired before I was ready and as a result it went wide. It was a called flier that I could see because I was concentrating on the front sight so intently.
The rest of the shots went into a fairly nice group, except that there was one high shot that I cannot account for. But when you’re pulling a double-action trigger and the gun shifts by just a few degrees of angle, it’s enough to throw you off target.
I used the quick-loading procedure that was reported in Part 2 of this report. That’s where you press the mouths of the 6 shells into a layer of BBs, and they all pop into the cartridges. While doing this, I noticed one time that two of the BBs had not popped into their cartridge all the way. That would cause them to have less friction than the other four BBs and that could cause a variation. In handloading firearm ammunition, it would be called neck tension — and it’s a vital component of accuracy.
This is what happened when the cartridges were not pressed down evenly on the layer of BBs. Two BBs are sticking out the top of the cartridges and will have less friction than the other four that are deeper. When they were pushed into the cartridge, a noticeable pop was felt.
The bottom line
This completes the test of the S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver. We’ve seen how it works and all of its good features. It is a very well-made BB gun that looks like it will give good service for a long time. Accuracy is above average, and the power is well above the modest advertised velocity.
by B.B. Pelletier
The 327 TRR8 BB revolver is distributed by Umarex, which claims the muzzle velocity is 400 f.p.s. In fact, they print it right on the box!
To appreciate what I’m about to tell you, there are two things you must bear in mind. First, the manufacturer of an airgun has to publish the top velocity that gun could achieve. If they don’t, and if there’s ever a lawsuit, it would be bad if the gun was more powerful than advertised. A plaintiff could argue that they bought the gun, thinking it was capable of shooting at a certain velocity, when in fact it was actually capable of higher velocity. They could then argue that they would never have allowed their children to shoot (they may say “play with”) that gun, if they had known its true power.
This argument sounds bogus to a shooter, who would know that any gun is potentially dangerous, regardless of its velocity, but jury selection teams work hard to keep people with such knowledge off the jury, if they can. And to the uninformed, hearing that the gun is more powerful than advertised somehow makes it more evil, if the facts are presented in the right way.
Second, if a manufacturer advertises a certain gun to have a certain velocity and it clearly does not, they have just scored a black eye in marketing and public relations. They are called liars who just want to skew the facts in favor of their product.
This is the dilemma every manufacturer and distributor faces when they advertise their airguns. So what I am going to tell you today must be considered in this light.
Loading the CO2
I showed you the CO2 compartment in Part 1. The cartridge goes in easily, and the piercing screw is turned until a hiss of gas it heard. I then turn the screw just a little farther to make certain the hole in the cartridge is large enough. The pressure of the gas will prevent you from screwing the piercing screw too far.
I should add that, as always, I put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the cartridge before installing it. The oil gets blown through the gun’s valve and gets onto all the seals. It’s the best thing you can do for your CO2 gun.
The 327 TRR8 BB revolver has both a single-action and a double-action trigger-pull, and each must be tested for velocity. Sometimes, they’re fairly close, but there have been guns where the way the trigger was pulled made a 100 f.p.s. difference.
I used Daisy zinc-plated BBs for all shooting in this test.
Fresh CO2 cartridge — single-action pull
The first 10 shots on a fresh CO2 cartridge averaged 447 f.p.s., which is well about the advertised velocity. The string ranged from a low of 431 to a high of 462 f.p.s. That’s considerably above the advertised velocity and produces an average of 2.26 foot-pounds.
Next, I fired 10 shots double-action and got an average 441 f.p.s. The low was 428 and the high was 445 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 2.2 foot-pounds. So, there’s not too much difference between single-action and double-action in this revolver.
The trigger-pull seemed heavier than I remembered from the first report. It averaged 6 lbs., 4 oz. in the single-action mode, which is on the high side. However I must report that the trigger-pull is very crisp. It’s a single-stage trigger in this mode, which means there’s no travel before the trigger stops at the break point.
In the double-action mode, the trigger is easier to pull than on many other revolvers. It breaks at an average 9 lbs., 5 oz. on the test gun. When it’s pulled, there’s a definite stop point where the pull force increases before the release. It feels very much like a Colt double-action trigger from the 1920s rather than a Smith & Wesson trigger — because the Colts always stacked at the end of the pull, while the Smiths did not.
The 327 TRR8 comes with a speedloader, and Paul Capello showed us in his video of the Dan Wesson BB revolver how to quickly load the BBs. The 6 cartridges are loaded into the speedloader, which is then pressed down onto a layer of BBs held in the lid of a pellet tin. All 6 cartridges will be loaded this way, and it works perfectly every time.
As powerful as this revolver is, I was concerned about how many shots a single CO2 cartridge would give. And I wanted to stretch the number to as many as I could get, so I paused a minute between shots. Doing it that way, the first 25 shots were all in the 430+ f.p.s.range, regardless of whether they were fired single- or double-action.
After 46 shots had been fired, the velocity remained in the 412-425 f.p.s. range, again with a minute’s pause between shots. After 62 shots, the velocity was definitely falling and ranged from a high of 397 f.p.s. to a low of 286 f.p.s. at shot 85. In other words, there are plenty of shots in this revolver for the average backyard plinker. The high number of shots surprised me a bit, given the high velocities we saw at the beginning, but I did nurse the gas by pausing so long between shots. If you fire faster, and most shooters will, you can expect at least 10 percent fewer shots and all at a lower velocity. You’ll be able to hear when the velocity trails off and can stop shooting before you jam a BB in the barrel.
Observation thus far
So far, the 327 TRR8 seems to be holding up well. It’s powerful, reliable and gets a good number of shots from a cartridge. The trigger seems good, if not very light. The sights are fiberoptic, but have the brightest green tubes I’ve ever seen, so they’ll be used for the accuracy test, which comes next.
by B.B. Pelletier
S&W 327 TRR8 is an exciting new BB revolver.
Smith & Wesson’s firearm 327 TRR8 revolver is designed for self defense. The revolver is an 8-shot .357 Magnum revolver that employs a tactical rail, hence the TRR (for tactical rail revolver) designation. I wonder why S&W chose the number 327 for this revolver, because Federal Cartridge Company recently introduced their .327 Magnum cartridge that’s been touted as more effective in the real world than .357 — whatever that means.
The firearm revolver this BB gun copies retails for just a few dollars under $1,300, so you know it has to be a serious handgun! At 40-60 percent more than other models, the 327 must have a lot going for it. Its purpose is to provide a revolver that gives up nothing to the 1911A1, because it holds a similar number of rounds. Remember the comparison is being made with the .45 ACP, not a smaller law enforcement caliber; and .357 Magnum is considered to be equivalent to the big .45 as a man-stopper and superior in other aspects such as penetration. SWAT teams can now choose between a 1911-style semiauto or a revolver.
The firearm frame is made of Scandium, S&W’s lightweight metal that replaces steel. Although its large, it’s lightweight, at 35.3 oz. The BB gun is just a trifle heavier, at 35.9 oz. The firearm comes from the S&W Performance Center and has a custom-tuned trigger, trigger stop and a tuned action. That’s where the extra money goes.
I don’t own a 327 firearm, nor have I ever shot one, so I can’t evaluate the claims that it has the best trigger S&W is currently putting in revolvers or that it handles the recoil of the .357 cartridge more effectively than any other revolver. The closest handgun I have that also handles .357 Magnum recoil is a Desert Eagle pistol, and that comparison would be unfair and unbalanced in every way. This report will have to focus on the BB gun, by itself.
The prototype firearm is a high-capacity revolver, but shockingly the BB gun holds only 6 rounds instead of the 8 promised in the model name. And the size of the BB gun is on the small side. I find the finger grooves are too close for comfort. Instead of an N-frame Smith, this seems like more of a K-frame gun. I find that confusing. Isn’t the whole purpose of the gun to hold 8 shots? But looking at the BB-gun cylinder I can see there isn’t enough metal for any more than 6 rounds, so I must assume that the cylinder on the firearm is larger than the one on the BB gun. But the BB gun is about one full inch longer than the firearm, which I attribute to the angle of the grip that houses the CO2 cartridge.
This revolver has a cylinder that swings out to the left side of the gun when the cylinder catch is pressed forward. And when it is pressed back, the safety is engaged. Once out of the frame, the ejection crane does not come all the way back to fully extract the cartridges from their chambers. It isn’t necessary, because the cartridges do not swell during firing the way firearm cases do. So you can simply tip the muzzle up and the cases will drop from the cylinder on their own.
The spring-loaded breech of the barrel is rounded to fit into the front of each chamber, which is the primary way the cylinder locks during firing. There is a locking bolt that engages the rear of the cylinder, as well, but it doesn’t lock very tightly. It is possible to turn the cylinder in either direction with the gun’s hammer down in the fired position.
There are six brass-bodied “cartridges” that hold one BB each, and they are used to load the gun. They are approximately the same size as a .357 Magnum cartridge, so you get the realism of handling ammo when you load the gun.
The gun comes with a speedloader to hold the cartridges and it will be used to rapidly load each cartridge by pressing all six cartridge “mouths” into a flat pellet tin filled with a layer of steel BBs. When the speedloader is inserted into the cylinder, a central release button is automatically depressed, releasing all six cartridges into the cylinder. Gravity will do the rest and the cylinder can be closed. You may need to practice this move several times to develop a feel for it, but once you do, it seems to work fine.
The sights are fiberoptic on the BB gun. While I don’t like fiberoptics in general on any gun, in this case they work because this isn’t a target gun. It is supposed to be a rapid-acquistion handgun, and these sights support that goal perfectly. All three green dots are bright in nearly any light. Your eye will pick them up quickly, and putting them in a row give you the sight picture you want. So, forget groups on paper targets and think of rolling soda cans. That’s what this gun was designed to do.
Besides the open sights, there’s a Picatinny rail located atop the frame and another under the muzzle. The gun was built for optical sights. I may try that after the conventional accuracy test.
The CO2 fits neatly inside the grip with nothing showing outside. Even the piercing screw is hidden, which is what most buyers say they want.
The gun fires in both the single-action and double-action modes. I’ll describe the trigger-pull in greater detail in Part 2, but for now let me say that, in single-action, it’s relatively crisp; and a single-stage pull in double-action is short and reasonably light.
This revolver is distributed by Umarex. It’s very realistic-looking, even to the matte finish that the firearm has. It will be an interesting gun to test.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is accuracy day; before we begin, I’d like to share a Beeman P1 anecdote with you. I interviewed Robert Beeman for the podcast that will go live in the near future. After we were finished, he told me some stories about the old days, when Beeman Precision Airguns was getting started. This one relates to the P1 and the gun that was never designed.
After the success of the R1, Robert and his wife, Toshiko, embarked immediately on the design of the P1 pistol. They wanted a powerful spring-piston pistol made with the handling characteristics of the M1911A1 pistol. They also wanted dual power levels. They had sketches drawn and took their ideas to Hans Weihrauch for implementation.
Several months passed, and the Weihrauchs called the Beemans to Europe to see the new gun. When they arrived, they were ushered into a conference room where both Hans and his wife, Christa, were waiting along with both their sons. Everybody was hopeful that the design would blow away the Beemans.
When they showed the gun to Robert, he said, “What is this?” This is a single-stroke pneumatic. We wanted a powerful spring-piston pistol with dual power.”
“But you left the firing mechanism blank on the sketch!” was the reply.
“Yes. Because we aren’t airgun designers. We figured you would know what to put in that space to make the gun we wanted.”
“We thought you left it blank to indicate an air reservoir!”
Needless to say, the meeting did not go the way the Weihrauchs had hoped, but they asked for a few more months and would deliver the Beemans exactly what they wanted.
When the Beemans returned home, they had an artist sculpt a chalk model of the pistol to better guide the effort. It was darkened with finish and sent to Germany. A couple months later, they flew back to view what we now know as the P1.
A year after that, Hans Weihrauch caught Robert and said, “Herr Beeman, would you like to see the pistol you designed?”
Beeman knew he hadn’t designed any other air pistol, but he said yes out of curiosity. The Weihrauchs brought him the single-stroke pistol we now know as the P2. It was nearly an exact copy of the P1, but of course it operated entirely different. Beeman was so impressed that he added it to his growing line of airguns.
Pyramyd Air no longer imports the Beeman P2 pistol, but they still carry the Weihrauch HW 75, which is the same gun.
I’m still not strong enough to hold the pistol properly, so I shot off a rest with my shooting arm rested on a sandbag and the pistol extended out in front of the bag. I held the gun as I described in the last report, and it made a huge difference. The distance was 10 meters.
My eyesight has improved to the point that I was able to shoot with my prescription shooting glasses. With a 500-watt light on the target, the bull was very sharp, and with concentration I could bring the front sight blade into sharp focus, too.
Not surprisingly, the gun shot to a different point of aim, so it had to be resighted for this rested hold. I used a conventional 6 o’clock hold on the target.
I shot 5-shot groups instead of 10-shot groups, for reasons you will soon see. In a match, a competitor only shoots one pellet per bull because of the difficulty of scoring multiple hits stacked so close to each other.
RWS R 10 Match Pistol pellets
The first pellet I tried was the RWS R 10 Match Pistol pellet. It’s always been good in this P1.
The sights needed to come down and to the right, which was easy to do since the P1 sights are so adjustable. All it takes is a thin-bladed screwdriver. It took several more targets to get the sights dead on, but that was good practice for this unconventional hold I was using.
Five R 10 pellets score a perfect 50. This is why I don’t shoot 10 pellets at the same target. When they clump together like this, it’s difficult to see the individual holes. Back when I was competing, I could sometimes do this with my target pistol in a conventional one-hand hold, though I don’t think I ever did it with a P1.
The best target really is a great one. Ask any 10-meter pistol shooter how hard it is to shoot five 10s in a row like that. Of course, my arm was resting on a bag in this test, so this wasn’t that difficult.
The bottom line
The Beeman P1 is an exceptional air pistol. If you don’t believe me, just read all the comments from other owners who have had the same experience.
The one thing I wish I hadn’t done was lighten the trigger-pull, because now the pistol is too sensitive. Air pistols need triggers that have at least 1 lb. of resistance, and this one now breaks at just 11 oz., making it too sensitive. You can control that in a rifle, but not in a pistol.
I’ve tried this gun with both red dot sights and scopes. It works fine with both, but being a veteran handgunner, I do not care for optical sights. As long as my eyes can still see the front sight, I’m not going to use them.
The power of this pistol is legendary. And I’ve shown you in this report that the power doesn’t diminish over time. The lube tune I did was probably unnecessary and cost me some velocity, so I would just start shooting a P1 as it comes from the box and leave it alone. Remember to dry-fire the gun two times on high power if it ever starts detonating.
Dr. Beeman said this is one of the four airguns he would rather not do without, and I can see why. It’s an heirloom airgun that will perform well throughout the years for both you and those to whom you pass it when you are through.