Posts Tagged ‘air rifle’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
I promised to do this report soon, and today it begins. The Air Venturi Tech Force M12 4-12x combo: this will be a report on what it is. Is it a worthy air rifle for $269.99 (as of this publication)?
This rifle was made by Mendoza, but it’s no model you will ever find in their catalog. So, you either buy it here or you don’t buy it. There are too many differences from standard Mendoza rifles to call it by that name. I will point out all of those differences today.
The first question I have to address is the model name. Tech Force is the name of a line of Chinese guns, made mostly by the Industry Brand factory. What is a Mendoza-made airgun doing in the Tech Force line? It was a marketing decision, pure and simple. Management felt that the Tech Force name is already well-known, so why not use the marketing inertia that’s been established over two decades? They are, no doubt, right about that. The average buyer will not know the background story on these guns, and those that do will care more about the quality of the gun than they will the history or where it’s made. So, Tech Force M12 it is.
This is a medium-sized breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle that advertises a velocity of 1,000 f.p.s. in the .177 caliber I’m testing. We’ll get to that in Part 2. There’s also a .22 option; and if the gun lives up to its power claims, I would prefer it in that caliber, only because it should have a little more power.
Some things set the M12 apart from other airguns made by Mendoza. It has no oil hole in the spring tube, so it cannot be over-oiled unless you go crazy oiling the air transfer port. Air Venturi visited the Mendoza plant and specified this feature — which is the same as on the Bronco — to keep this gun from becoming a dieseling runaway. The Air Venturi technicians discussed the assembly of this rifle with the Mendoza production personnel and were assured that this rifle will not be over-oiled at assembly. I can confirm that the test rifle is not too oily and does not detonate, so we’re already ahead of the curve on that account.
Cocking is 33 lbs., though the Pyramyd Air website says 26 lbs. Newer airgunners might think that’s no big deal, but it places this rifle in the serious shooting and hunter class, because even a bodybuilder will not want to shoot 250 shots at one time when the rifle cocks this hard. This is something you must experience to appreciate, because it doesn’t relate to how strong you are. It’s a simple fact that when the cocking effort climbs above about 28 lbs., the gun stops being a casual plinker for almost everyone. I’ll save the other observations about how it shoots for the next report, because all I’ve done thus far is fire just a couple familiarization shots. I cannot find a serial number anywhere on the gun or the box.
As some have noticed, the muzzlebrake is longer than the one Mendoza uses on their guns, and that’s a plus. The M12 has no sights, so it must be scoped. Pyramyd Air sells it both ways — scoped and not — with several scope options. I chose the most powerful scope to test for you, though not the one with the illuminated reticle. It’s a Tech Force-branded 4-12×40, and the combo also comes with one-inch rings to mount the scope. The rifle has an 11mm set of grooves cut directly into the spring tube, but no scope stop. With the Bronco I found that the plastic end cap served well as a scope stop, but the M12 recoils a lot more. It remains to be seen if this will work. I’ll report on it.
The trigger is another feature that’s different on the M12. It’s not the two-blade Mendoza trigger that’s found on the Bronco. Instead, this is a single-bladed, single-stage trigger that seems to release fairly light and very crisp. It will take some getting used to, but I think it’s at least as nice as a T06 trigger. There appears to be no provision for adjustment; but as nice as it is, I don’t think the average shooter will mind.
The safety is automatic and also ambidextrous. In fact, the entire rifle is 100 percent ambidextrous. Nothing favors one side over the other — there’s even no cheek rest on either side of the Monte Carlo butt.
Weighing almost 7 lbs., the M12 is a medium-sized air rifle. It feels larger because the forearm has a wide cross-section, but it’ll be very comfortable for most adults. The overall length is 44.25 inche,s and the pull is 13.5 inches. The stock is a dark-stained hardwood with machine-cut checkering panels on both sides of the pistol grip and forearm. The diamonds are flat and don’t provide any purchase. The butt has a red pad of soft solid rubber that holds your shoulder well. The pistol grip has a slight swell on either side for the palm of your hand. The woodwork is well-fitted and finished with an even satin finish. I don’t think there will be many complaints.
The barrel is back-bored, so the rifled section is only 9.25 inches in length. The finish on the metal parts is variable. The spring tube and the muzzlebrake are both highly polished, while the barrel is finished with more of a satin sheen.
At $189.99, the base M12 is positioned up close to the RWS Diana 34, but with some room to spare. It, therefore, needs to have something close to the published velocity and decent accuracy. We already know the trigger is a keeper, and I’ll cover the other attributes as I test the gun.
Is the M12 the gun I wanted the Mustang to be? No, it’s not. This rifle is more powerful than the Mustang was supposed to be, and the Mustang had open sights. So, the M12 stands by itself. I know there are a number of interested parties, so I won’t keep you waiting too long on this one.
by B.B. Pelletier
Kevin is responsible for this special Part 4 report on the Gamo Rocket IGT .177 breakbarrel. He pointed out that I didn’t give the rifle enough of a chance to excel in the accuracy test, and several of you agreed. Even Edith chimed in when she read Kevin’s comment. In light of the leniency I have shown the recently tested Hatsan springers, this is certainly true. I won’t change my normal way of reviewing airguns, but in this instance I can see that it makes good sense to try other pellets in this rifle.
It takes a long time to shoot a 10-shot group, so I resolved to shoot just 5 shots per pellet and see where that left me. If the five were reasonably close, I would complete the group with the other 5 shots.
First up was Kevin’s favorite, and a pellet I’ve found to be accurate in a variety of air rifles — the JSB Exact RS dome, which weighs 7.33 grains. I was prepared to be surprised by the accuracy, but RS domes delivered 5 shots into 1.29 inches at 25 yards. So I stopped shooting them. I remembered that the lighter pellets did worse in this rifle in the last test, so next I tried the heavyweight Beeman Kodiak pellet.
The first Kodiak pellet went way to the right of the aim point, then the next one about an inch to the left of that. After that, the pellets went to the same place until shot 6, when the pellet went back to the right. Some time in the final 4 shots, 2 pellets went to the right and low. How do I interpret this?
Kodiaks gave me this group. Six of the 10 shots are nicely grouped, but 4 others open the group considerably. This 10-shot group measures 1.257 inches between centers. The smaller group of 6 measures 0.635 inches.
This group made me wonder if I was being consistent enough with the Rocket IGT. Did I “season” the bore with enough pellets before shooting the group? I actually didn’t season it at all, but the fact that the last Kodiaks are as wide of the large group as the first one makes me think seasoning isn’t important here.
Was I holding the gun as carefully as I should be? That was a real concern. I hadn’t put a scope level on the gun, but was I completely relaxing and then shifting the crosshairs back to the target like I should?
Bottom line, I wanted to see another group of Kodiaks. That would perhaps tell me what I needed to know.
Ten more Kodiaks went into this group that measures 1.906 inches between centers. Eight of those pellets went into 0.784 inches — a group size that I think represents the true accuracy potential of the Rocket IGT.
The second group is very revealing. I tried just as hard to shoot well as I had with all the groups before, and there were no called fliers, but you can see from this group that some pellets didn’t want to play along. That tells me I’m probably not doing something consistently, and it’s affecting the results.
I tried one final group of 10 Crosman Premier heavies, just to see what another heavy pellet might do. This time, the 10-shot group was better than both groups of Kodiaks; but at 0.984 inches, it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. The openness of this group makes me think that this is perhaps not the pellet for the Rocket IGT. But I’m not sure of that, either.
I’m going to give the Rocket IGT a fifth test, and this time I’m going to do everything I can to make it shoot well. I’m going to mount a more powerful scope, sort the pellets by weight, mount and use a scope level, and spend the time I need to shoot the finest groups possible.
You may not realize it, but it takes a LOT of time to shoot the absolute best you can. It takes me about 5 minutes per shot when I’m really working the artillery hold. I want to do this for this rifle because, in this test, I see the potential trying to peek through. Normally, the shooting I already did would be enough to make a decision.
If you think what I’m about to do is overkill, consider this. I shoot hundreds of different air rifles every year and never have the chance to get familiar with any of them. An owner who has just one rifle can, over time, become so familiar with that rifle that he can shoot like I am about to, but do it in far less time. But if I do take the time to settle in for each shot and if I do remove all of the accuracy-destroying variables, we will finally see what this rifle can really do.
Don’t think that I’m going to do this for every airgun test from now on. I’m doing it this time because Kevin and the other readers were right. The Rocket IGT needed more of a chance to shine; and when it got that, it showed the glimmer of a rifle that wants to shoot.
by B.B. Pelletier
I shot the Gamo Rocket IGT .177 breakbarrel air rifle to see how potentially accurate it is. This is the day many readers have been waiting for. I was even nipped in the hocks by one reader to get it done faster.
The scope on the test rifle is the 4×32 fixed-power scope that comes in the package. The optics are clear, but at 4x, the image seems small. The crosshairs are also rather coarse. So, you really have to pay attention when aiming. I would say this scope is okay to start with if you don’t want to spend more money. And since the Rocket IGT has no other sights, you’ll need an optical sight of some kind.
Starting the test
I decided to use the same four pellets that were used in the velocity test. The distance was 25 yards and all shooting was done indoors, so weather wasn’t a problem. The first pellet tested was the JSB Exact 10.3-grain dome that delivered velocity in the low 800s. The group started very well. Around shot five, it had opened to twice its size. By the end of the session, it was double that. The 10-shot group measured 1.074 inches between the centers of the two widest shots.
It’s always best to evaluate the trigger when shooting for accuracy because you notice every little nuance while trying to hold the reticle still on the target. I now discovered that stage two of the new Gamo trigger has a long perceptible movement. I won’t call it a creepy trigger, but you certainly do feel it move as the sear gradually disengages.
So, my evaluation of the trigger changes from great to just good. It’s certainly the best trigger Gamo has ever fielded; but at the same time, it’s no Rekord.
Back to the test
I felt that JSB pellets were teasing me, and they really wanted to shoot better, so I would come back to them, but next came RWS Hobby pellets. Three shots went into three inches and they were through. Hobbys are not the right pellet for the Rocket IGT.
Next up was our new friend, the H&N Baracuda Green. I expected them to shock me with their accuracy after all the recent success we have seen. But the first group wasn’t that good. It measures 1.141 inches between centers, and you will see that it is more vertical than horizontal.
Since I’d now shot two vertical groups, I decided to try a differtent hold. Instead of placing my off hand at the rear of the forearm where I could feel the triggerguard, I moved it forward under the cocking slot. Then, I shot another group of H&N Baracuda Greens. This group measures the same 1.141 inches as the first group, but it’s even more vertical than the first.
At this point, I stopped shooting and checked all the stock screws. All were loose, and the two in the forearm had to be tightened quite a lot. When I returned to the bench, the point of impact had changed — and H&N Baracudas no longer grouped very well. Four shots went into 1.50 inches, and I just stopped shooting.
It isn’t supposed to work like that. Tightening the stock screws is supposed to give you the best groups the rifle is capable of; but with the Rocket IGT, that did not happen — at least not with Baracuda Greens. However, something told me to try the JSB pellet again, so that’s what I did.
The next group of JSB Exacts was shot with my off hand against the triggerguard and the stock screws tight. This time, there was a lot less walking of the pellets, and I ended up with a fairly good group of 10. It measures 1.025 inches between centers and is much rounder than any of the earlier groups. This is the best group shot during this test and is probably a good representation of what this rifle is capable of.
Gamo PBA pellets
I couldn’t do this test without giving Gamo’s PBA Platinum pellet that came with the gun a try. So I shot two of them. They cracked like a .22 long rifle in the house and landed seven inches apart. That ended the test!
What do I think about the Gamo Rocket IGT? Well, it has many good things going for it. Light weight. Easy cocking and a good trigger are the main ones. The power is also reasonable.
On the minus side, the accuracy I saw was mediocre at best. But I only tried four pellets in the rifle. Who’s to say there isn’t a good pellet that would make this rifle shine? It only needs one.