Posts Tagged ‘BB guns’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
I’m retesting an airgun that I tested over a year ago. One of our readers called Daisy and said he was getting much better accuracy from his Daisy model 35 multi-pump air rifle than I had gotten in my test, and he asked Daisy if they would look into it. Well, they read the accuracy report (Part 3) and agreed with him that I should have gotten better accuracy than I did. So Joe Murfin, Daisy’s vice president of marketing, called and asked if I would be open to a retest.
Joe told me that Daisy engineers were getting groups of about 1.25 inches to 1.5 inches at 10 meters. I’m sure he meant 5-shot groups, and of course I shoot 10-shot groups; still, his groups were significantly smaller than what I’d gotten from the last gun. My 10-shot groups were in the 2.5-inch to 3-inch range.
I don’t like to retest
Normally, retesting airguns leaves me cold. My philosophy is that I test what users get, and it’s whatever it is. I look at the gun the same way a user would, except that I may know a few more things than the average user and am able to do things most people wouldn’t think to do. That gives the gun a fair test and also educates people who may learn a new trick or two by reading what I’ve done.
I have to admit that over the past year I’ve learned a lot about accuracy with diabolo pellets and the things to look for. More recently, I have become aware of the tremendous accuracy potential of some smoothbore airguns. From that standpoint, a retest of this smoothbore airgun is warranted.
This is not life-saving equipment, and the outcome isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things; but wouldn’t it be nice to know if this $35 airgun is really better than we initially thought? I agreed to retest the gun, and Joe sent one directly from Daisy. Instead of the black stock I had last time, this new gun is finished in camo. Other than that, though, it’s identical to the gun I tested before.
Upon reviewing the last accuracy test, I see I used the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier pellet, RWS Hobby pellet and some vintage Daisy Superior Match Grade pellets I had laying around. At the time, that sounded like a good idea; but after spending more time with the Diana 25 smoothbore in recent months, I think there are some other pellets I ought to try — namely the JSB Exact RS pellet and the RWS Superdome.
In the last report on the model 35, I wasn’t specific about what number of pumps to use for each shot. There was nothing to go on for this test except my experience with other multi-pumps. I would only be shooting at 10 meters, and high velocity wasn’t necessary. Six pumps sounded good to me, and that’s what I used for every target. If this was a larger, more powerful multi-pump, I might have opted for 5 or even 4 pumps, but the Daisy 35 is pretty small, and 6 sounded about right.
First target revealed loading problems
I shot the first target with JSB Exact RS pellets. They did well for the most part, but 3 shots landed apart from the main group. I was having difficulty loading the gun, and I think I may have loaded several pellets backwards because of how easily they flipped around on their own in the loading trough. I was shooting in a dark place to overcome the fiberoptic open sights and was unable to see the breech when the pellet was loaded. Those 3 stray shots might be explained as loading errors. Before I move on, I should note that the size of this first 10-shot group is close to what Daisy told me to expect from 5 shots at 10 meters.
Nothing to do but shoot another group with the RS pellets — making sure each pellet went into the breech the right way this time. I used a portable spotlight to shine on the breech during loading to see which way the pellets were oriented. I think Daisy could spend a little time fixing this problem because that loading trough is almost too small to work with.
The second group was much better. Ten more JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.108 inches. This is better than what Daisy told me to expect, and my interest was piqued. How good would this gun get?
The second pellet I tried was the RWS Superdome that so many people love. The first 10 pellets made a 1.119-inch group. It’s actually too close to the second group of RS pellets to see the difference, but that’s what the caliper read when I measured it. And these pellets hit the target in approximately the same place as the JSBs even though they’re heavier.
The second group of Superdomes wasn’t quite as tight as the first. One stray pellet that I hesitate to call a flier landed below the main group, opening it up to 1.243 inches. But that’s still the best that Daisy said to expect from this gun!
But wait –
Well — there you have 4 groups that are all significantly better than any of the groups I got in the last test. The Daisy model 35 can shoot after all — just like our reader said. I wondered if there was any more accuracy beyond what the gun had already delivered. So, I fired a fifth group, this time with JSB RS pellets. Instead of 6 pumps per shot, I gave it the full 10 pumps for each shot. This time, they all landed in 0.76 inches, or as close to three-quarters of an inch as it’s possible to get.
Obviously, using the right pellets made all the difference in the world. That’s a lesson I’ll try not to forget. Even an inexpensive airgun like the Daisy 35 deserves a fair chance to perform its best.
I would love to press the 35 into service as a dart gun, but the tiny breech prevents the loading of darts. I may be able to load them through the muzzle, but you’ll have to wait to find out because I seem to have misplaced my .177-caliber darts. But there’s still 25 yards to test, so you haven’t seen the last of this airgun.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
This test of the Daisy Avanti Champion 499 at 10 meters was requested a couple weeks back by a blog reader, and several of you seconded the request. It was in response to a discussion of the spin rate of projectiles and what benefits it conveys.
After I agreed to write the report, another reader asked me to test not only the Avanti Precision Ground Shot that’s made specifically for the 499, but also some more common BBs. So, today, we’ll see how the 499 performs at the 5-meter distance for which it was designed, as well as at 10 meters. I think we’re in for some interesting ballistics.
For those who don’t know, the Avanti Champion 499 is the world’s most accurate BB gun. It’s the only BB gun to compete each year in the International BB gun Championships at Bowling Green, Kentucky. Like the wheels and axels on Soap Box Derby racers (the All-American Soap Box Derby is an annual race where children race home-built cars powered by gravity, alone), the 499 is so specialized and ahead of the competition that there’s nothing that can touch it. Unlike derby wheels, though, anyone can own a 499 because they’re sold through specialized airgun dealers like Pyramyd Air (along with their special ammunition).
Although it may look like a Red Ryder to the casual observer, the 499 is as special among BB guns as a Formula One racer is among automobiles.
The 499 is a single-shot BB gun that has a precision smoothbore barrel. It’s loaded through the muzzle by dropping a BB down a funnel-shaped spout, where it enters the true barrel and rolls to the rear to be captured by a magnet. Regular BBs take 0.50 to 1.00- seconds to roll down the barrel, while the Precision Ground Shot can take up to 5 seconds.
The gun was developed by Daisy for their National BB Gun Championship Match. They noticed that coaches were ordering many shot tubes for their teams’ model 99 and 299 target BB repeaters that were used in competition at the time. The coaches were looking for the most uniform barrels that would shoot the best. When Daisy recognized that, they simply designed a gun to be accurate from the start. Once the 499 became a reality, all other BB guns were obsolete because nothing else could keep up.
For over a decade, the gun and ammunition was available only directly from Daisy, until I discovered it while writing The Airgun Letter. The guns were hand-built and Daisy didn’t really think they could sell them to non-target shooters because of the extra cost; but once the word was out about how accurate they are, everything changed. They’re probably still made by hand today, and I’m sure they’re not one of Daisy’s most popular products; but if you like accuracy, you really should look into getting one of these.
Baselining the gun
Before I shoot at 10 meters, I thought it would be nice to see what the gun can do at the regulation distance of 5 meters. I could have found old images for this because I’ve done this test many times before, but I always welcome the opportunity to shoot this marvelous little gun. I shot it on NRA 15-foot targets because I don’t have any of the slightly larger official 5-meter BB-gun targets on hand. The NRA is out of touch with BB gun competition and is stiill using the 15-foot target, where the rest of the world has backed up another 1.4 feet to 5 meters.
For this test, I selected three types of ammunition — Crosman Copperhead BBs, Daisy Zinc-Plated BBs and Avanti Precision Ground Shot. When I load the gun, I listen to the BB roll down the barrel and strike the magnet at the bottom. Copperheads roll the fastest — taking about a half-second to make the trip.
Crosman Copperhead BBs
I shot 10 shots with each BB at 5 meters. I used the back of a chair as a rest because this was a test of the gun — not me. There were no called fliers, and the 10 Copperheads grouped in 0.574 inches. That measurement is approximate, as BBs do not tear clean holes in target paper.
At 5 meters, 10 Crosman Copperhead BBs tore this hole, which measures 0.574 inches between centers.
Daisy Zinc-Plated BBs
Next up were Daisy Zinc-Plated BBs at 5 meters. These are ever-so-slightly larger than Copperheads and take 0.50 to 1.50 seconds to roll down the barrel. They made a 10-shot group that measures 0.361 inches between centers — and keep in mind this is approximate, at best. But you can see in the photo that this group is tighter than the first one.
Ten Daisy Zinc-Plated BBs made this 0.361-inch group.
The final group was shot with Daisy Avanti Precision Ground Shot that is specially made for the 499. If anything is going to group well in the gun, this is. Ten shots made a group measuring 0.224 inches between centers. The hole on the target tells all, as it is either a score of 99 or 98 — it’s too close to tell.
Avanti Precision Ground Shot shows what the 499 can really do. Ten went into this 0.224-inch group at 5 meters. This is almost a perfect score.
On to 10 meters
Now that we know how well the gun can shoot, it’s time to back up to 10 meters and test what we all came to see — namely, how well the 499 does at 10 meters. This is the first time I’ve done this, so I am just as interested in the results as all of you.
Crosman Copperhead BBs
First up were the Copperheads. I didn’t change the sight setting, so we’ll forgive the placement of the shots in this test. Ten shots landed in a group that measures 1.118 inches between centers. That’s actually slighly smaller than double the 5-meter group size (which would be 1.148″); so, allowing for the measurement error, it seems to be right-on.
Notice the two shots that landed below the main group. There were no called fliers, so those BBs are probably not the same size as the others.
At 10 meters, 1o Crosman Copperhead BBs made a 1.118-inch group. Those two at the bottom were not called as fliers.
Daisy Zinc-Plated BBs
Next up were the Daisy Zinc-Plated BBs that do so well in this gun for normal BBs. Ten of them made a group measuring 0.828 inches. That’s larger than double the 5-meter group size, which is what I expected at 10 meters. Again, there were no called fliers, and one stray BB hit below the main group.
Daisy Avanti Precision Ground Shot
Finally, I shot the Avanti Preciaion Ground Shot at 10 meters. The picture tells the story. Ten shots landed in a group that measures 0.755 inches across. This group is larger than double the 5-meter group with the same BB, which is what we would expect. Let’s talk about that next.
Why aren’t the groups just double the size at 10 meters?
This is a common misconception that I’d like to address. Groups don’t open up on a linear scale as distance increases. A 10-meter group should not be twice as large as a 5-meter group. And here we must differentiate between a spin-stabilized conical bullet and a round ball fired from a smoothbore.
A ball that’s not spin-stabilized will deviate much faster than a ball that’s stabilized by the spin introduced by rifling. A rough comparison can be made to a baseball that is intentionally thrown without spin — the famous knuckleball. It will go straight for a short distance, then suddenly deviate wildly and unpredictably from its ballistic path. The comparison is not perfect because a baseball has seams that affect its movement through the air, but the principle is similar.
Don’t run out and buy Avanti Precision Ground Shot for your Red Ryder. That would be like putting premium gasoline into a lawnmower! On the other hand, don’t buy a 499 and then try to shoot it with standard BBs. That’s false economy going the other way. Back up a few feet and look at what you are paying for ammunition, and then buy what makes the most sense.
The 499 is a special gun that’s purpose-built to do one thing — shoot BBs as close to where you aim as possible. I rested the gun for this test, but every year there are children who shoot similar targets offhand in competition.
I would like to thank everyone who requested today’s test because it was something I’ve never done before. Now, we all know what an accurate smoothbore shooting a steel BB can do at 10 meters.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, you’ll get a twofer — thanks to blog reader Les, who asked about adjusting dot sights and lasers. I said I would test the Umarex MORPH 3X with a dot sight, so I thought I’d combine that test with instructions on how to adjust the sight to hit the point of impact.
I hadn’t considered testing a laser on the Morph, but I can certainly describe how to do it. I’ll get to that at the end of the report.
The dot sight
What is a dot sight? Well, once you understand what it is, you’ll understand that adjusting one is the same as adjusting a scope. Because that is what a dot sight is — a scope without the magnification (usually) or the crosshairs!
On scopes, the crosshairs or reticle are lines that you see through to see the target. By adjusting where the lines are, you can adjust where your shot strikes the target. I think most folks understand that.
All a dot sight does is substitute a glowing dot of light for the center of the crosshairs. In other words, the intersection of the crosshairs is replaced by a glowing dot of light. Put that over what you want to hit; and if the sight is adjusted properly, it works the same as a scope. No one other than the shooter can see the dot.
The glowing dot is different than the crosshairs because it isn’t a solid object. It’s a reflection on the surface of a lens that appears in your line of sight. You can see it because the reflection is physically there, but it isn’t anything that can be touched, anymore than you can touch an image in a mirror. But you can adjust where the dot is seen by adjusting the lens that reflects it.
If you have a dot sight, try looking through it and moving your head around from side to side and up and down. You’ll note that the dot moves against the target quite a bit. That’s because you’re moving your eye, and that changes where the reflection of the dot appears to be. You can do the same thing with the reticle of a scope, but not to the same extent. Where a scope reticle will appear to move just a little against a target, a dot appears to move more. That’s the difference between looking at something that is physically there and something that’s just reflected off a curved piece of glass.
That should warn you that dot sights have a lot of parallax problems and require consistent eye placement for every shot. The same is true with open sights, but open sights give cues when the alignment isn’t right. The front sight moves relative to the rear sight. But a dot sight is just a single point of reference, so you can’t see the misalignment as easily. Therefore, the placement of your head is extremely important if you expect to hit the target every time.
What I’m saying about dot sights applies to the older tube-type sights, like the one I’m using in this test. I suspect, like all technologies, dot sights have become more precise in recent years. But my experience is with the older style.
Don’t get the idea that dot sights are impossible, though, because they’re not. Though they are somewhat dicey to use. It’s not as bad as ice skating on stilts.
Dot sight adjustment
Now that you understand what a dot sight is, you should know that it adjusts in the same way as a conventional scope. One knob controls the up and down movement, and the other controls the left and right. Sighting-in a dot sight is no different than sighting-in a scope. You select a point of aim, which you hope will also be the point of impact and hold on it as you shoot. If the pellets strike the target low and to the left, the sight has to be adjusted up and to the right.
Like a scope, it helps to begin sight-in of a dot sight at a close target. I like starting at 10 feet away, and I adjust the sight until the pellet is striking the target on the centerline and as far below the point of aim as the center of the sight is above the center of the bore. Then, I know I can back up to 10 meters, and I’ll be on paper. I may need to refine my sight adjustment a little when I shoot at 10 meters, but this is the fastest way I know to sight in an airgun — especially one that cannot be boresighted.
But what if you’re at a public range and can’t shoot at 10 feet? That’s when I put up a 2-foot by 4-foot light-colored paper backer and staple my target in the center of that. Even at 50 yards, there’s a good chance my shots will land somewhere on that big piece of paper if I shoot at the center of the target. When even that fails, I enlist the help of a spotter to watch the berm. I shoot at a dirt clod we can both identify and he watches through the binoculars that I always carry to see where my bullet strikes relative to the dirt clod.
Tasco Pro Point
I mounted a Tasco Pro Point dot sight to the rail on top of the Morph and was ready to commence sight-in. The Pro Point is a dated design, but it was good quality 15 years ago and still works well today. The amount of parallax is small for a dot sight, but I still watch my head placement every time.
It was very easy to install the Pro Point on the Morph. The Weaver bases on the Pro Point clamp right to the Morph’s rail, and clamping pressure plus the keyed cross-slots hold the sight in place.
Tasco Pro Pont dot sight fits the Morph quite well.
I think it was Victor who asked me how I stop the BBs from bouncing back, so today I thought I’d show you. I photographed my target setup, so you can see the light and the Winchester Airgun Target Cube with the Shoot-N-C target pasted on its front.
Absolutely no BBs bounce back using this setup. The target cube is starting to slough off small pieces of styrofoam, now that over a thousand shots have hit it, but nothing gets through it and nothing bounces back.
On to the shooting
At first, I shot the Morph in carbine form offhand at 15 feet (I’m using Umarex Precision steel BBs). I dialed the red dot intensity up to No. 8; because when the Shoot-N-C target turns green, it’s so bright that it masks the dot. Even at the 8 setting, I could barely see the dot against the target, once it changed from black to green (or yellow — I can’t tell…I’m colorblind.). Of course, when you shoot offhand, the dot seems to move all over the target — even at 15 feet.
Seeing the accuracy of the carbine made me want to shoot the gun rested. I brought in a kitchen chair, turned it around and used the back as a rest for my next group.
Seeing this result made me want to see just how good the gun could shoot. So I adjusted the dot to the right and shot another 10 rounds.
Let’s back up
Seeing how good the Morph could do at 15 feet prompted me to back up to 25 feet and try again. This was also a rested group of 10 shots. I adjusted the sight a little more to the right for this one.
I was running out of the smaller bulls, but with a dot sight that poses no problem. Since the BB goes where the dot is, the size of the target has no influence over where you hit, as it would with a peep sight or a post and notch using a 6 o’clock hold.
At 25 feet the group opened up a bit, but it’s still respectable. There’s a single BB above the bull in the cardboard. This is a larger bull; but with a dot sight, that doesn’t pose a problem. The sight is still not far enough to the right, and notice that the impact point has climbed just a little. The orange dot in the center of the bull was the aim point.
I don’t have a laser that will fit on the Picatinny rail of the Morph, so I can’t mount one, but let’s talk about how a laser differs from a dot sight and a scope. A laser actually shines a light on the target. What you see is reflected from the target — not from a lens inside an optical device. The laser dot can be seen by everyone — not just by the shooter — the way a dot sight can. And because the laser dot actually hits the target, there can never be any parallax. What you see is actually there, on the target.
With a laser, there’s nothing to look through. Think of a laser as a very powerful flashlight. It isn’t actually a sight. It’s more of a designator.
A laser is adjusted just like a scope or dot sight, except you’re adjusting where the light actually falls. So, the procedure is to use a separate sight to sight-in the gun, then adjust the laser so it’s on the target when the other sight is.
Adjusting a laser is usually different than adjusting a scope or a dot sight. There aren’t click adjustments, as a rule, but there are screws that push the laser tube in the direction you want it to go. This may be backwards of how a scope’s adjustments move, so read the laser’s manual before you start adjusting.
Distance is limited
Lasers can’t be seen very far on bright days, so they’re limited in distance. You can look at them through a scope which increases the distance at which the dot can be seen, but even then the laser is a limited-range sighting aid. A 50-yard shot is very far for a laser. Most shooters set them up for very close shots, like 20-30 feet. They use their other sights for longer distances.
Les — I hope this helps you with the sight-in procedure for dot sights and lasers. Let me know if you have more questions.
The Morph 3X rifle and pistol is a unique airgun that’s accurate and powerful at the same time. The double-action trigger-pull may take getting used to, but it poses no problem as far as accuracy goes.
I find the Morph accurate, conservative of gas and trouble-free to operate. If you want an accurate BB gun that also has power, check this one out.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
I didn’t realize how many readers were watching the Umarex MORPH 3X pistol and rifle until I read some of the comments. Apparently, many of you must use smoothbore BB guns for various reasons, and a long-barreled gun is something you like. Since this one can change from a pistol to a long gun, it’s of particular interest.
As you will remember, the Morph not only has two barrel lengths — it also has two power levels. Each of those conditions had to be tested. I shot at 15 feet, which is one of two established distances for BB guns — the other being 5 meters or just over 16 feet.
The gun has fiberoptic sights, but they do not illuminate well in room lighting. In essence, they were a sharp set of post and notch open sights. That’s better for accuracy, because fiberoptics are less precise since they cover a lot of the target.
The gun was loaded with 30 Umarex precision steel BBs and fired in its pistol form first. I started with low power and put 3 shots off the bull before I got the sight picture correct. I had to hold on the center of the bull with the Morph. Then, they went to the center of the bull but made a vertical dispersion. I believe the verticality is mostly my fault, as I’m not yet used to the double-action trigger-pull.
Next, I adjusted the pistol to high power and shot a second target. This time, the shots all went lower, as they often do when they go faster. They also went to the right for reasons I cannot explain. The group is even tighter, so I’m thinking this is where the pistol wants to shoot for me.
Pistol with long barrel extension
Someone asked if the barrel extension could be added to the pistol without connecting the longer forearm, and it can. They then asked me to show a picture of what that looks like. Here it is.
It was time to test the carbine. This is the forearm and barrel extension plus the detachable butt. I decided to test the gun this way and not just with the barrel extension by itself since the butt would give me greater stability. It also placed the rear sight too close to my eye for good aim, but I’ll address that at the end of the report.
On low power, the carbine shot slightly low and to the right of the aim point. I must report that shooting with the double-action trigger, while not as precise as shooting single-action, is not that difficult when the carbine butt is attached.
Then, I adjusted the gun to high power and shot another group.
Several owners have said they like their Morphs because they’re accurate, and I think this test supports that. The gun seems to be equally accurate as just a pistol or with the barrel extension installed. But high power does seem to improve things in either mode. Four targets aren’t enough data to prove anything; but since these are 10-shot groups, they do give a pretty good indication of how the gun is shooting.
The sighting situation was a compromise, as I mentioned earlier, so I do plan on another test of the gun. That one will be with a red dot sight attached. Then, I think we’ll see everything this unique BB gun has to offer. So far, though, the Morph 3X is a winner in my book.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Please don’t be confused. This is Part 3, but today we’re going to look at the velocity of the Umarex MORPH 3X pistol and rifle. This gun morphs into three different guns, so the introduction took longer than it normally does.
The Morph 3X is a BB gun powered by a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge. The cartridge fits in the grip, which opens by sliding the backstrap down and off the grip. The piercing screw must be adjusted all the way out to allow the new cartridge to fit in the space, then it’s turned in until it pierces the cartridge. I gave it an additional half-turn for security, but no more because that’ll make the cartridge tear the thin face seal it bears against. As with all CO2 filling operations, I always put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of each new cartridge to keep the internal seals lubricated and sealing.
Two power levels — two barrel lengths
The Morph has two power levels — high and low. I’ll test each of them for you. The Morph also has a barrel extension that increases the overall length of the barrel and boosts the velocity, so I’ll test the long-barreled version on both power levels, as well. I’m only going to use one type of BB — the Umarex precision steel BB, which is very uniform and accurate.
Pistol — low power
I started with the pistol set to low power, which is with the adjustment screw all the way in (to the right). The average was 308 f.p.s., with a range that went from 301 to 321 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the 5.1-grain BB produced 1.07 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The pistol was also very quiet at this setting.
Pistol — high power
Next, I adjusted the screw all the way out (to the left). The owner’s manual says this takes 1.5 turns of the screw, but on the test pistol it was closer to two full turns. I shot once to settle the gun at the new power level, then I shot another string of 10 to get the average velocity. On this setting, the power averaged 478 f.p.s., with a range that went from 417 to 502 f.p.s. That’s a big spread, but perhaps the gun is set up better for the low-power setting. The average muzzle energy was 2.59 foot-pounds. The noise and muzzle blast were significantly increased on this setting.
Buntline pistol — low power
Adding the barrel extension did not increase the velocity over the pistol — it decreased it! I guess the gas pressure drops too low before the BB leaves the longer barrel and the extra friction slows it down. The average velocity was 244 f.p.s., and the range went from a low of 208 to a high of 277 f.p.s. — a much higher spread than with the pistol barrel, alone. The gun was very quiet at this power setting, but it should be. The BB had nearly a third less velocity when it left the muzzle. The average muzzle energy was 0.67 foot-pounds.
Buntline pistol — high power
High power was meant for the Buntline configuration! The average velocity was 621 f.p.s., and the range went from 612 to 636 f.p.s. So, the spread on high power is much tighter with the barrel extension in place. The average muzzle energy was 4.37 foot-pounds. While the gun is louder on high power than on low power, the Buntline barrel extension does quiet the gun a little more than the pistol.
Several reviews said the trigger on the Morph 3X is hard to pull; but for what it is, it really isn’t. It’s a light double-action pull of about 7 lbs., 4 oz., which is very light for a double-action pull. It stacks near the end of the pull, which should make it possible to control the gun better.
If you think about it, you’ll realize that I can’t give you a 100 percent accurate shot count with this gun because it depends on how you have it set up. What I can do is tell you what I did, which was to fire 22 shots on low power and 58 shots on high power before I was certain the power was falling. I probably could have fired another 10 shots on high power before the BBs started to stick in the bore.
I have no idea of how many shots you’ll get on low power, alone, but I’ll guess that it’s well over 100. The gun really seems to conserve gas on low power; and since that’s enough for indoor target shooting, this is a very economical gas pistol. Of course, with the double-action-only trigger, you’ll have to work harder for your good scores than you would with a good single-action trigger. If you shoot mostly double-action pistols or revolvers, this will be a better trainer.
One thing I noticed while watching the BB magazine during shooting is that the last few BBs aren’t visible in the window, but there’s still a way to know if there are BBs in the gun. The follower won’t go all the way to the right end of the window/slot until the last BB has been fired. If you see the follower handle standing away from the right end of the slot, you know the gun is loaded.
Accuracy testing comes next. From what I read, the Morph should be pleasingly accurate.
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
Today, I’ll finish the introduction to the Umarex MORPH 3X pistol and rifle. We started looking at this strange BB gun two days ago, and there simply was not time enough to adequately cover all of its aspects, so this is a continuation of that first look at the gun.
The barrel “extension”?
The thing that confused me about the MORPH, and I think it confuses a lot of people, is the extra barrel that’s used when the gun is configured in its Buntline pistol and carbine modes. Is this a replacement barrel that you exchange with the pistol barrel or is this a barrel extension that somehow adds length to the pistol barrel? Nowhere in the description of the gun nor in the owner’s manual will you find the answer. So, I’ll tell you today.
The extra barrel is actually an extension to the pistol barrel. The pistol barrel stays in place, and this long extension screws into the pistol’s muzzle to join with the pistol barrel almost seamlessly. Since we’re talking about a smoothbore barrel, there is no rifling to be concerned with. The extension barrel must line up with the stationary barrel so the BB is not interrupted as it travels forward; and as long as that happens, the extra length of the extension should offer increased velocity. Of course, there will be some loss of gas pressure at the joint where the two barrels meet; but the designers put an o-ring at the end of the threads on the extension, so they must feel it is required. I’ll test the gun with both barrel lengths and on both power levels (remember, we learned yesterday this gun has two power levels), so we’re going to find out.
The extension simply screws into the muzzle of the pistol. Once it’s tight, you’re done — though you’re supposed to put a sleeve around the barrel extension to complete the look of the gun. Do that and you’ve built the Buntline pistol. The gun now has the longest barrel it can have, so the velocity does not increase when the buttstock is added to turn the gun into a carbine.
So, it’s the pistol, alone, or the pistol with the barrel extension. Those are the two barrel-length options of the MORPH 3X. But there are two different configurations that both use the barrel extension. The first is the Buntline pistol. To make it, first remove the pistol’s front sight by sliding it forward. The sleeve you attach next has a front sight of its own.
Attaching the sleeve takes a bit of fiddling on the first try until you realize how the plastic sides of the sleeve must give a little to allow the two parts to fit together. No excessive force is required, but you do have to pay attention that the pistol enters the sleeve low enough for the keyway on the sleeve to align with the sight rail on the bottom of the pistol frame. Once you see how it goes together, all subsequent assemblies will go faster.
Once the sleeve is in place, the barrel extension is screwed in place, and the conversion is done. It takes less than a minute to do everything once you’re familiar with how it goes together. The Buntline pistol weighs very little, being made of plastic and mostly hollow. You can easily hold the pistol in one hand to fire.
The Buntline version of the MORPH is just a pistol with a long barrel.
I want you to know that I’m calling this long-barreled configuration of the MORPH 3X a Buntline pistol only because I can think of no other name for it. Umarex does not refer to it by that title. But long-barreled handguns are more popular today than they’ve ever been. I’ve been reading what customers say about this gun, and a couple things jump out — with accuracy being one of them. While a longer barrel does nothing to increase accuracy, it does cause the front and rear sights to have a greater separation, and that does have a positive effect. So, I guess I need to test the MORPH 3X in both the pistol and long-barreled modes to determine how much accuracy is affected.
Creating the carbine from the Buntline is even easier than creating the Buntline. All you do is pull the backstrap off the pistol grip and replace it with the carbine backstrap. I’ll mention again that removing the backstrap is difficult, but since you have to do it to swap CO2 cartridges anyway, you’d better get used to it.
In the carbine configuration, the MORPH 3X is light and handy. But the rear sight fails by being too close to the eye.
As light as the MORPH is, the carbine butt is strong enough to do the job. Let’s be honest, there’s no bayonet attachment point on the gun and you’re extremely unlikely to give anyone a vertical butt stroke with it. Or if you do, you’d better be a great runner or have a firearm in your pocket!
The butt turns the MORPH into a fine little carbine…but for one item. The rear dot sights are now too close to your eye for aiming, and you must use an optional optical sight or just guess where your shots are going. I think owners are going to attach dot sights and that’s what I plan to do with the test gun.
Velocity testing will be next; and as you can tell, it’ll be somewhat involved.