Posts Tagged ‘Beeman Kodiak Match pellets’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll test the Walther 1250 Dominator at 50 yards. I had to go out to the rifle range for this test, and we’ve been having some winds lately, so it took some time before I got a calm day. But this day was perfectly calm — I couldn’t have asked for a better day to shoot an air rifle at long range.
As you recall, the Dominator takes a 300-bar fill, which is 4,350 psi. I had to delay the test to get my carbon fiber tank refilled, and even then I didn’t have enough air for a full fill. When you fill a tank, it gets warm; and when it cools back down, you lose several hundred psi. I was able to fill to about 4,100 psi this time, but that single fill was enough air to last for the entire test, which was about 50 shots. And the needle in the pressure gauge is still in the green, which means there are more full-power shots remaining in the rifle.
I normally shoot from one of two mechanical rifle rests when I’m at this range, but for this test I decided to use my long sandbag, instead. The rifle lays in the crease on top of the bag and doesn’t move. There’s also more flexibility to reposition the rifle when required. Since this is a repeater that has to be reloaded, this flexibility was a good.
Since the circular clip holds 8 pellets, I decided to shoot 8-shot groups. It’s too much trouble to load just two pellets by themselves. So, all the groups seen today are 8-shots.
The first pellet was the venerable RWS Superdome. They landed close enough to the bull that I didn’t bother to adjust the scope. Eight pellets made a group that measures 2.017 inches between centers. The pellets spread out horizontally, but there was no wind whatsoever. I don’t think this pellet is suited to the rifle.
Following this, I adjusted the scope up and to the left just a little to compensate for where the Superdomes had landed. Then, I shot a group of JSB Exact Heavy pellets.
JSB Exact Heavy
I expected the JSB Exact Heavy dome pellet to give good groups, and it did — sort of. Seven of the 8 pellets landed in a group that measures 0.753 inches between centers. But 1 shot landed apart from the group, opening it up to 1.933 inches. This shot was somewhere in the middle of the string of 8. It wasn’t the first or last shot, and there was no called flier. It’s just somewhere in the string.
When something like this happens, I’m tempted to believe that it was caused by a defective pellet or by something just as obviously wrong. I think the JSB Exact Heavy is a good pellet for this rifle.
I probably shouldn’t have tried Beeman Devastators because they’re essentially wadcutters in profile, and wadcutters don’t do well at long distances. But I did try them, and they strung vertically into a group that measures 3.067 inches. Obviously, they’re a non-starter for this rifle at 50 yards.
JSB Exact RS
Next, I shot a group of JSB Exact RS domes. As light as they are, I wouldn’t normally recommend them for a precharged rifle of the Dominator’s power but had them along, so why not? Eight went into 0.945 inches, so I’m glad I tried them. This was the smallest group of the test. I do want to emphasize that the day was calm, because these light pellets do get blown around a lot.
Crosman Premier 10.5-grain
Next up were the heavy Crosman Premier 10.5-grain pellets. I expected them to do well in this rifle, and they didn’t disappoint. Eight went into a group measuring 1.19 inches between centers. While that number sounds a little large, look at the group it represents. It’s a little vertical, but it’s not a bad group.
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
The last group I shot was with the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite. Eight of them made a group measuring 1.371 inches. That’s a little large when there are other pellets that are better, but it’s not a bad showing for 8 shots at 50 yards
The bottom line
I was glad to finally have the chance to test the Walther 1250 Dominator. It was a good rifle, overall, but I took exception to removing the air tank to fill it, the high fill pressure and the discharge noise.
However, out at the range, the rifle was much quieter — far quieter than a rimfire. Also, the trigger that I complained about when shooting indoors was actually no problem outside. I don’t know what the difference was, except that it was a different day and I saw things differently. I must say, there are a lot of very powerful shots in the tank once you get it up to pressure.
I did get used to fiddling with the bolt handle, and the rifle fed without a problem during this test. Installing the rotary clip is easier than on most other PCP rifles.
I would have to say that the 1250 Dominator is a fine precharged air rifle, but it runs into a lot of stiff competition. Buyers will get it because they like the overall styling, the all-weather materials it is made from and the high shot count.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Let’s look at the Walther 1250 Dominator accuracy at 25 yards. In deference to the 8-shot clip, I’m shooting 8-shot groups rather than 10. The way this rifle loads, with the clip almost disappearing in the receiver, it’s too difficult to keep track of those 2 extra shots.
I’ll be honest — I stalled testing this gun in the house because of the noise. It’s one of the loudest airguns I’ve ever shot indoors.
I said last time that I would give you a shot count once I filled the rifle to 4,350 psi (300 bar). Well, that didn’t happen. I filled it as far as my freshly filled carbon fiber tank would go, but that was only to 4,200 psi on the tank’s gauge, which seems pretty accurate. The rifle’s gauge showed a lower fill pressure, but I chalk that up to small pressure gauges never agreeing.
I didn’t get a complete shot count. I did, however, fire about 40 shots in the test and still had air remaining for at least another 15. If you can get the gun completely filled, there have to be at least 55 full-power shots available. Probably more, but at least 55.
I mounted an AirForce Airguns 4-16X50 scope on the rifle in a BKL 1-piece cantilever mount. The scope was low over the receiver, even though the BKL mount is a high one; but because the circular clip is entirely contained within the receiver, there was no interference.
I shot from a sandbag rest at 25 yards off an MTM Case-Gard Predator shooting table. In a moment that will become important to know.
I sighted the rifle in and started shooting with the H&N Baracuda Match pellet. It was accurate enough, but I felt the rifle could do better. Eight shots went into a group measuring 0.597 inches between centers.
The Baracuda Match pellets didn’t give me what I wanted, so I switched to 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy domes. They started out doing better than the Baracudas and produced a 0.522-inch 8-shot group. But two pellets strayed from the main group. I called the one that went to the left, but not the other one that went high. So, as good as this pellet is, it isn’t the best pellet in this rifle.
Then, I tried RWS Superdomes — a pellet that many of you favor over just about all others in .177 caliber. And this is where I had an epiphany with this rifle. The first 8-shot group measured 0.461 inches, but it was full of wild shots that went off when I wasn’t on target. That was both the fault of the trigger and the rifle’s light weight. I’ll address it in a moment. But this target told me that this rifle could shoot much better if I really tried.
The Walther 1250 Dominator is a very light rifle, and the trigger isn’t that light. As a result, the gun moves more than a little as the trigger is squeezed. This can be overcome by paying extreme attention to detail on each shot, but it’s something I normally don’t need to do when shooting an accurate PCP.
That’s why I mentioned the shooting table and sandbag rest. Normally, such things are an absolute lock for the guns, but this time the rifle is so light that it still moves around too much. You’re only going to solve that with technique.
The next group was shot with as much concentration as if I were using the artillery hold. And the payoff is a 0.404-inch 8-shot group. That represents the best I can do with this rifle and pellet at 25 yards.
The bolt is hard to cock and sticks when pushing it forward to load the pellet. It isn’t much of a hinderance, but you do notice it. I did discover that if the bolt is worked fast and with authority, it does become smooth. So, the rifle likes to be treated like an SMLE.
Opinions thus far
I found things to criticize on the Walther Dominator 1250. No. 1 is the need to fill it to 300 bar. That’s just too much pressure, and it uses all the air I can get. The rifle is very loud, and I’m no longer used to pneumatic air rifles being so loud. The trigger is too heavy and long, and the rifle needs to weigh at least 2.50-3.00 more lbs. to be stable. However, all that pales when we look at the accuracy.
This is an accurate air rifle — make no mistake. Today’s test was at 25 yards, so it’ll be very interesting to see what happens when we move to 50 yards.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Thank you for being so patient with me on this Walther 1250 Dominator report. I had to suspend it while I was back in Maryland; but now that I’m home, I can start up again. Today is velocity/power day, so we’ll learn a lot about this air rifle.
Filling with air
To fill the reservoir, you first remove it from the rifle by unscrewing. Then, it’s screwed onto a brass adapter that’s screwed into a 300-bar DIN hole on a carbon fiber tank or scuba tank valve.
You fill the reservoir up to 300 bar, or 4,351 psi. The only way to get that much pressure is to use either a carbon fiber tank or to connect the reservoir directly to an air compressor or hand pump that goes that high. My carbon fiber tank was holding less than 3,000 psi when I conducted this test, but fortunately the rifle has a broad power band. Even though I can’t fill the reservoir all the way, the gauge on the tank still reads in the green. I’ll get fewer shots, but they will be at the same velocity. It’s just like a car that goes no faster when its gas tank is full or nearly empty.
However, I cannot give you a shot count in this report because I’m not filling the reservoir all the way. That will have to come later.
As an observation, I would use the Air Venturi female DIN adapter with this reservoir, so I could use either a hand pump or carbon fiber tank to fill the reservoir.
Trigger and safety
The two-stage trigger is adjustable for the length of the first stage. You can even adjust it out, and have a single-stage trigger. The adjustment doesn’t alter the force required to release the sear in stage two. On the test rifle, that broke at 2 lbs., 8 oz. with stage one taking 6 of those ounces.
Stage two has a definite feel of the pull through to it. It’s not creepy, in the sense that it stops and starts, but is rather a smooth pull-through that can actually be felt. It’s not bad — just not glass-rod crisp.
The safety is automatic on cocking, but it’s designed to go off easily with a downward swipe of the thumb. After several shots, I found myself not even thinking of it.
This rifle will have those with sensitive ears running for their hearing protection. There’s no attempt to muffle the discharge, so you hear the full effect of the power. It’s not as loud as a .22 rimfire; but if you shoot indoors, I can imagine shooters using that as a description.
It’s fully as loud as any other pneumatic of its power class when no attempt is made to attenuate the discharge sound. Thirty years ago it would have sounded normal; but in this day of shrouded barrels, it stands out.
This Walther is rated to 28 joules, which is just a bit more than 20.6 foot-pounds. There’s no mistaking the spec, for it’s written on the right side of the receiver. That is a lot of power for a .177 pellet rifle to generate, and of course you’ll need heavy pellets to achieve it. So that was where I started the test — with Beeman Kodiak Match 10.65-grain pellets. To achieve 20.6 foot-pounds (28 joules), this pellet needs to exit the muzzle at about 933 feet per second, according to Pyramyd Air’s energy calculator.
But the average velocity I recorded for this pellet was 968 f.p.s., which works out to 22.16 foot-pounds or 30.05 joules. So, the rifle is more powerful than advertised. The average velocity went from a low of 965 to a high of 972 f.p.s., which is a tight 7 foot-second spread.
Next, I tried the popular RWS Superdome pellet. It averaged 1005 f.p.s. from the test rifle, with a spread from 998 to 1013 f.p.s. That’s a 15 foot-second spread, and the energy generated is 18.62 foot-pounds at the muzzle. As you can see, that’s a big drop-off from what the heavier Kodiak Match pellets generated. Precharged pneumatics often generate their best energy with the heaviest pellets they can manage, so this comes as no surprise. However, it will only be after we see the accuracy of these test pellets and perhaps some others that we will select an optimum pellet for the rifle.
H&N Match Pistol
As a final pellet I selected the lightweight H&N Match Pistol pellet. I wanted to test two things here. First, how would the rifle handle lighter pellets; and second, would the magazine handle wadcutters smoothly. It actually did feed these pellets smoother than both of the domes, so that part of the test was a success.
The average velocity was 1018 f.p.s. with a spread from 1016 to 1020 f.p.s. That was the tightest velocity spread of all — just 4 feet per second. The average energy for this 7.56-grain pellet was 17.40 foot-pounds at the muzzle, so another power decrease came with this lighter pellet.
Reliability and pellet feeding
Any time I test a repeater, I always wonder if the gun will feed pellets smoothly and how the magazine…or in this case the clip…will handle the pellets. There are no concerns with the 1250 Dominator, though; because the pellets go into the clip easily, they stay in well and the clip goes into and comes out of the receiver with great ease. The bolt sometimes hangs up on the forward stroke, but that’s due to the newness of the gun — not a pellet feeding problem. I believe it’ll go away as the action is broken in.
The clip is long enough to accept the Beeman Kodiak, which is a long pellet, so I have no problem with it. And it feeds wadcutters well, so pellet shape is not a problem, either.
Observations thus far
The Walther 1250 Dominator is certainly a different PCP. It has a lot of synthetics and a different shape than is thought to be conventional, but it holds very well — hanging muzzle-heavy. The profile may appear different, but it holds like a rifleman’s gun. I can’t wait to see it shoot!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
This comment came in last week from our new blog reader Jim H, and I wanted to address it right away. It’s a good question for a new airgunner to ask, and it deserves a good answer.
“I’m new to the airgun side of things, so I have a lot of questions but here’s one that is really bugging me. I have read all of the reviews here by Tom and also the blogs over at that “other airgun retailer” written by Jack Elliot. One message that has come through loud and clear is that each gun will tend to like specific pellets and only experience will tell the shooter which one is best. What is the best approach for testing various pellets? Do you pick a velocity that you want to shoot at and then try all the pellets that will get you to that velocity range or do you simply have favorite pellet brands and types that you’ve come to love over the years and that’s what you go with? With the hundreds of pellets available out there, what is the ’short list’ of pellets that a newbie needs to start with?”
Several of you started to answer Jim in the comments section, so my answer comes a little late; but from what I’ve read, I’m telling him things that are pretty different from what all of you told him. He actually asked 2 different questions: 1. What is the best way to test a pellet? and 2. What is a short list of pellets to choose to test airguns? I took my direction for this report from his request for a “short list” for a newbie.
This will not be a very technical report. I’m not going to discuss pellet head sizes or skirt thicknesses, except where it affects the pellets I name. I have a short list for most of the airguns I shoot, and it’s not rigid. But it’s caliber-specific, and there’s also a small powerplant component to it.
Money is no object
I used to focus on the cost of pellets, but that was before discovering that hitting the target is far more important than saving money. If saving money is your principal goal, get a piggybank. I shoot for fun, and hitting the target is where the fun is. It costs no more to be accurate than it does to experiment by chasing the illusion of economy.
I must also say that I have more experience with pellets for rifles than for pistols. So, today we’re just looking at pellets for rifles. Let’s take a look at them.
For .177 rifles my short list is the following pellets:
Crosman Premier lites (brown box) springers and CO2
Crosman Premier heavies (brown box) pneumatics and CO2
JSB Exact RS (up to 12 foot-pounds)
JSB Exact Heavy 10.3-grains
H&N Baracuda and Baracuda Match
Beeman Kodiak and Kodiak Match
That is my short list. There are other pellets that are very accurate, but I find them to be more specific to certain guns. Please remember that this is not a popularity contest. If your favorite pellet didn’t make my list, don’t fret. I try other pellets all the time — these are just the ones I count on.
If you ask me why these pellets are on the list, it’s because they’re the ones that are the most reliably accurate. That’s my only criteria because if you can’t hit the target, nothing else matters.
The .20-caliber list is very short because there aren’t as many reliable pellets made in that caliber. The most reliable one is the Crosman Premier.
Other than that, I would try anything JSB makes, and that’s about it.
The quarter-inch caliber is another one with few good pellets. The two on my list have demonstrated they will deliver in all cases.
Benjamin domed (these have no name, but they are essentially a .25 caliber Premier)
JSB Exact King
I prefer domed pellets to all other shapes. They’re more accurate at long range and penetrate well. Wadcutters are good for distances under 25 yards but not for farther than that.
Pointed pellets, hollowpoints and lead balls
I have no use for pointed pellets of any kind. I’ve never found them to be accurate, and the slight advantage they have in penetration isn’t good if they can’t hit the target. Hollowpoints are a subject that need a blog report of their own. Lead balls are specialized for certain airguns and are not for most air rifles.
Pellets and power
As power goes up, the pellets should generally get heavier. And PCPs tend to do best with heavier pellets. CO2 guns are a lot like PCPs when it comes to pellets, so I consider them to be the same.
Other selection criteria
There are other selection criteria, of course. I’ve found certain pellets to sometimes be surprisingly accurate in certain guns, and that’s enough to keep me trying them in other guns — searching for more miracles. But the lists above are the tried-and-true performers that almost never let me down. That’s why they made my list.
The second question
The other question Jim asked was how to test pellets. I do it by choosing the most accurate rifle I have and shooting 10-shot groups with each pellet in which I’m interested. Do it that way, and pellet testing is easy.
I usually don’t express my opinions this strongly; but when it comes to picking a good pellet, I think it’s too important to let it slide.
It was another calm day at the range last week when I tested the TalonP air pistol once again. This time, I had a couple special goals. One was to see if the new method of scope mounting recommended by AirForce owner, John McCaslin, would help me hold the gun better, and the other was to test the velocity of the gun with the most accurate pellets on power setting eight.
New scope mounting method
The scope has to be moved forward for increased cheek contact with the reservoir/tank. You know that I’m now using the optional shoulder stock extension that clamps onto the pistol’s reservoir. The way it clamps gives you a wide range of pull lengths. I need a longer length of 14.5 to 14.75 inches, so I have the extension way out at the back of the reservoir, but most shooters will slide it in a bit. John recommends that you adjust the stock first then position the scope where it needs to be for your eye. He recommended a BKL cantilever mount that pushes the scope forward. I used their BKL 4-inch one-piece mount with what they refer to as drop compensation, which actually means droop. Because the one I had on hand has one-inch rings, I had to say goodbye to the superb Hawke 4-14×42AO Sidewinder Tactical scope I’ve been using and substitute a Leapers 5th Gen 6-24×50AO scope. While it was entirely adequate, I have to observe that the Hawke at 14x was clearer than the Leapers at 24x.
The first time around, the Hawke scope was mounted on two-piece BKL mounts that were slid as far forward as possible. The image was still too close to my eye to resolve to full size, so I needed to move the eyepiece of the scope forward about another half-inch.
Sight-in took longer because, at this rifle range, I don’t have the ability to place a small target at 10 feet. I have to mount all my targets at the 50-yard backstop. So, I mount a two-foot by four-foot silhouette target on the backstop with its plain, light backside facing me. Then, I place the sight-in target in the center of that, and usually I can catch the pellet holes somewhere on that huge piece of paper. You could use cheaper paper for this — just as long as it shows the pellet holes clearly. I’ve never used a scope collimator, and I don’t intend to start now. This is so much easier!
I hadn’t changed the power setting from the last test, so the performance went the same as before; this time, I cut off the fill at less than 2,700 psi. That allowed me to start shooting a group in three shots. As I learn this pistol, I’ll eventually learn exactly where to stop the fill so shot one is right on the money every time. However, as with most airguns — including springers — you have to “wake” the gun with a couple shots each new time. For hunters who spend hours between shots, this can be daunting; but very few guns will put the first shot in the same place as the others after a long period of rest. It’s true of firearms, as well, so I guess it should also apply to airguns.
How did it do?
Nothing really changed from the last time I tested this pistol. Now that I have the air fill down pretty well, I can even do “tricks” with the gun. Let me demonstrate with JSB Exact Kings and Benjamin domes.
50 yards: Five JSB Exact Kings in the hole below and two above. The five-shot group was 0.246 inches between centers. Add the other two shots, and the group grows to 0.577 inches between centers. Even that is better than most .25-caliber air rifles can do at 50 yards; but the point (trick) is that I knew those last two shots were going to stray, and I didn’t have to shoot them.
50 yards: Five Benjamin domes in the hole on the right and then I shot a sixth that I guessed would stray. Stray it did, but to the left this time, where in the last test Benjamins moved to the right. Go figure! The tight group measures 0.38 inches. With shot six, it opens to 1.059 inches.
Technique is important!
Lest a new airgunner buy this airgun and splurge on all the support equipment to operate it (basically just a carbon fiber air tank), and then buy the same exact pellets I’ve used in this test, only to be disappointed that he cannot replicate what I’ve done, allow me to show you how I’m able to do what I’m doing. It’s not a trick, but it does require an advanced shooting technique of which a new shooter is probably not aware. You will remember that I mentioned my intention to mount a scope level on the gun last time. I forgot to do that, but on a printed target there are plenty of references to help me control the amount of cant (the amount the rifle is tilted to one side) for every shot. So, for the two groups I’ve shown you thus far, I watched the visual cues as precisely as I’ve been watching the bubble level in the Pellet velocity versus accuracy test. Let me show you what it looks like when I ignore these cues and just shoot when I think the airgun is being held the same every time. I’m trying just as hard to shoot a good group, except I’m ignoring the one variable of cant.
50 yards: This is what you get when you don’t pay attention to cant when shooting an accurate pellet at 50 yards. Five JSB Exact King pellets made this 0.747-inch group. That’s still a very good group for a .25-caliber airgun at 50 yards, but it looks large in comparison to what I’ve shown you previously in this report.
I tested the velocity of this pistol with several pellets back in Part 2. That was when we confirmed that the TalonP isn’t just capable of hitting 50 foot-pounds at the muzzle — it can actually shoot a string of 10 shots above that energy figure.
Today, I’ll give you the velocities of the two most accurate pellets. I’m doing this for one reason. The 43.2-grain pointed Eun Jin pellets that are required to achieve that bragging power are not the most accurate pellets in this airgun. The two I’m showing today are, and they’re best at power setting eight. This is a real-world look at what the pistol can pump out when it can also keep five pellets inside a wedding ring at 50 yards.
JSB Exact Kings
The gun was filled to 2,700 psi and shot over an Oehler chronograph. The average velocity of JSB Exact Kings for the five best shots was 875 f.p.s., with a low of 860 and a high of 892 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the muzzle energy is 41.66 foot-pounds. So the total spread of velocity for the pellet that would put five under a quarter-inch at 50 yards was 32 f.p.s., but you can see that it doesn’t really matter that much.
If I had included the very first shot fired after the fill, the velocity was 844 f.p.s. and the next shot was even slower, at 836 f.p.s. I got a total of 11 shots on a fill, the last of which went 841 f.p.s. I’ve shown you both last time and today that there are five screaming shots within this larger string that I know for certain will be accurate if I do everything right. Do you want to kill the woodchuck at 60 yards, or do you just want him to envy you?
I refilled the gun to 2,700 psi and shot a string of Benjamin domes. They averaged 877 f.p.s. with a low of 840 and a high of 902 f.p.s. That’s a 62 f.p.s. spread, yet you can see what they did on target. This pellet generates 47.49 foot-pounds at the average velocity. Looking at the total string, shot one went 783 f.p.s., and shot 11 went 827 f.p.s. Those shots are outside the string that gives the best accuracy, and you’ll break your heart by hoping to get them to go into that tiny little group. Take your five great shots, or think about buying a different pellet gun.
You won’t find another pellet pistol that will touch this one for power and accuracy at this range, and many pellet rifles will fall behind as well. The TalonP air pistol is not for everyone. It’s for the shooter who has the heart of a buffalo hunter. The one who knows exactly what his gun is capable of and is willing to invest the time and care to get it.
Airgun hunter, Eric Henderson, has already taken a prairie dog at 100 yards with the exact same pistol I’m testing for you. I’m not the only one getting these great results.
What I’ve done is take the time to decode the operation of the gun and find two good pellets for it. I’ve told you the best fill pressure, which is way less than what the factory recommends. I’ve given you the power setting, which is under the maximum setting.
The TalonP is a thinking shooter’s airgun. If you want the most accurate and most powerful smallbore air pistol in production today, here it is.
by B.B. Pelletier
I had a perfect, wind-free day at the range for this report, and as a result I learned several very interesting things about the TalonP air pistol. There’s no substitute for a calm day when you’re trying to figure things out for an airgun.
The target was set 50 yards away, and I shot off a bag rest. I promised to show you how I hold the pistol when the shoulder stock extension is attached and I will, but John McCaslin of AirForce told me of a much better way to set up the gun. Since I didn’t try that this time, I’ll just show you how I held it for this test.
The butt is on my shoulder, which allows my cheek to touch the rear of the reservoir. My left hand is under the pistol grip for fine elevation adjustments. The bag I’m using is a large bunny bag (a sandbag that has “ears”) filled with crushed walnut shells that are as dense as sand but weigh only half as much.
This hold was stable, but I can see how the one John suggested will be even better, so I will show that next time. I have nothing but praise for the Hawke scope that is so clear I can see the pellets as they fly to the target. I think we need to add this scope to our stable of equipment, Edith.
I started this test shooting the JSB Exact Kings that were so accurate in the last test. They were still on the money — even better than before — but the calm day allowed me to see a dynamic I hadn’t see last time. The TalonP pistol can shoot a great five-shot group, but if you try for more shots, the pellets start to wander.
A new dynamic
As you know, I like to shoot 10-shot groups to demonstrate the accuracy of airguns. There are exceptions to that, of course. I won’t shoot 10 from a 10-meter gun because 5 shows all that I need to see. A big bore will also get 5 shots instead of 10, because there aren’t ten good shots in the reservoir. Well, that holds true for the TalonP, too.
I shot many groups that were astounding on this day, but only when they were 5-shot groups. When I tried to stretch them to 10, they always opened up. Before I get to that, though, I also discovered that this pistol doesn’t need a 3,000 psi fill when it’s shot on power setting eight.
If I filled all the way to 3,000 psi, the first shots were lower-powered. They would walk up the target in sequence until the gun came into the power curve, which was around 2,700 psi for this pellet on power setting eight at 50 yards. Then I always got an astounding 5-shot group. And then the pellets started wandering once again. Before I go any farther, look at a couple of these groups.
The larger hole to the right of the dime is four JSB King pellets at 50 yards. Shot five made the hole underneath the first group. But shots six and seven are above the dime and to the left. Those four tight shots represent the tightest group of shots I’ve ever made with an airgun at 50 yards. The group measures 0.159 inches and the 5-shot group measures 0.524 inches.
Kevin suggested that I also test the Benjamin domes and Beeman Kodiaks. I found the Benjamin domes to be equally accurate in the pistol as the JSB Exact Kings, which is surprising because in an earlier test at 25 yards they were not as good.
The Beeman Kodiaks were not good in the pistol at any power level I tried, though I didn’t spend as much time with them as I did with the JSBs and Benjamins. In fact, I ran out of JSB pellets and had to order more to complete this test.
I have said in the past that none of us have enough life left to throughly test even one AirForce airgun. The adjustable power, plus the ability to control the fill pressure, gives you an infinite variety of things to test with every good pellet you find. However, I do have an advantage, in that I used to work at AirForce and have tested hundreds of guns and thousands of valves during manufacture. So, I know a couple helpful things. Here’s one of them.
Sometimes, there’s a second power band located outside what you think of as the normal pressure curve. With a PCP gun that has a 3,000 psi fill limit, I find the bottom of the power curve is somewhere around 2,200 to as low as 2,000 psi. That’s for any gun — not just one made by AirForce. Of course, the AirForce guns have adjustable power, so you can do things — in that outside part of the fill curve — that aren’t possible with other PCPs.
I haven’t yet completed this test, but I just wanted to know if there might be another power curve below the normal pressure curve, so I kept on shooting JSB pellets with the gun set at power setting eight. As I did, the gun suddenly started to bellow a deep flat roar with every shot. I knew from past experience that this was what I was looking for. In fact, the pistol became so loud that I thought the end cap had fallen off, but it hadn’t. It was just the sound of the valve remaining open an extra long time and letting out a large volume of lower-pressure air. I didn’t get any good groups at this level; but with some lowering of the power setting, that might be possible. When I finished about an additional eight shots, the gun was down to 1,500 psi, which is way outside the normal curve.
On the TalonP, I find the best curve so far with the most accurate pellets to be between 2,700 psi and 2,200 psi. However, since I was trying to shoot 10-shot groups, the lower number isn’t correct, either. I didn’t have time to find out what the real lower limit was, exactly. The one time I checked it seemed to be around 2,550 psi, but that’s too rough to go by. Besides, it’ll be a different number on each different pressure gauge you use, so the number doesn’t really matter that much. You’ll have to find the number on your own fill gauge. If you do what I do in this test, you’ll find everything you need.
A big point
I’d like to stop here and mention that at no time have I brought a chronograph into today’s test. I did chrono the gun some back in Part 3, but that was before I knew how well it was going to perform at distance. Since there’s so much to do, I decided to set the chronograph aside until I find the best performance at 50 yards, then I’ll chrono just that. For those who own PCP guns but don’t yet own chronographs, this is something you should think about. It doesn’t matter how fast the pellets are going if they aren’t hitting anything, so find your most accurate pellets first and then chronograph them.
Knowing that the gun grouped 5 shots very tight with these two pellets, I tried a couple times to find the exact fill point for stopping to shoot 5 good shots. I could then shoot my 5 and refill for 5 more good shots. The ideal stopping point is located somewhere below 2,700 psi when the gun is set on power setting eight and shooting JSB Exact Kings or Benjamin domes, but I didn’t find the exact spot yet. When I shot the groups shown above, I had to shoot the first couple shots at a different target until the shots stabilized. Therefore, the number of good shots is greater than 5, since at least one shot and perhaps two were thrown away as I let the gun climb into the power curve.
I also tried shooting all the pellets, including Kodiaks, at power settings nine, ten and six. Those settings were not as good as setting eight when I filled to 2,700 psi.
This is the TalonP power adjuster I mention in the report. It appears to be set just under eight, as indicated by the center of the hex screw in the oval window. Forget the numbers on the wheel. Until you find the right setting in the oval window, they will just confuse you, and they aren’t that precise.
I now know the two best pellets for this gun. I have a rough idea of where the optimum power curve is located, so I won’t have to hunt for it as much next time. Also, John McCaslin has shown me a better way to mount my scope so I get a more positive spot weld (locating the cheek at exactly the same place every time so the maximum parallax is cancelled), and that may help me shoot the TalonP even better.
Here’s what I know so far. This “pistol” is the most accurate .25-caliber airgun I have yet tested. And I have one 50-yard group that’s the best I’ve shot to date with any airgun. That old one was five shots from a SCAN at 40 yards. There’s a heck of a lot of potential here. I can’t wait to get back to the range to try out all this new stuff!
by B.B. Pelletier
It was a blustery day at the range this past Wednesday. Texas is noted for being windy most of the time, and this day was a classic. I noticed it while loading my truck at the house, and when that happens it never gets any better. Today I would be shooting the TalonP air pistol at 50 yards — a challenge to any airgun, and certainly in this wind it would be an acid test.
Once I got to the range about 15 miles away the wind was still blowing, even though the entire range facility is set in a small valley. The 50-yard range has a solid 12-foot-high earth berm all the way down to the backstop on both sides, so the wind really has to blow to affect you. But it was. My shooting glasses blew off the bench and a sack of loaded centerfire cartridges did the same. Nothing was safe.
By the time I had everything set up the wind was gusting to 15 mph and blowing at least 5 mph during the lulls. So I thought about writing the day off and doing something else. But this was the first time I had the TalonP pistol at this range and I really wanted to salvage something out of all the effort.
However, I didn’t have an especially accurate pellet for the gun yet. Beeman Kodiaks were the best I had tested so far and, as many readers had pointed out after reading Part 2, they were only average. I figured I could find a sweet spot in the pressure curve where the Kodiaks would perform at their best, but I really had hoped for a better-performing pellet for this test.
No great .25-caliber pellets
But the odds were against me. You see, there has never been an especially accurate .25-caliber pellet. It is the one caliber of all four smallbore calibers that really has no pellets of note. Oh, they are okay for hunting at close range, but they simply cannot compete with the superb accuracy that some of the premium .22-caliber pellets give at longer distances. And, since the TalonP only comes in .25 caliber at this time, I needed to find a .25-caliber pellet that worked — even if it was only satisfactory and not really notable.
Years ago RWS imported a .25-caliber pellet called the Diana Magnum. It was a 21-grain dome and it showed real promise in my Whiscombe. Shooters everywhere thought the Diana Magnum was the best .25 caliber pellet ever made. I have a couple tins of them in reserve, but what’s the purpose of showing you a great pellet that you cannot buy? I needed something that worked and was available.
So hoping against hope I took some of every decent .25-caliber pellet I had to the range — in hopes that one of them might miraculously work. When I began shooting, the wind speed had increased. Now the gusts were as high as 25 mph and I had to wait a long time for a 5 mph lull. So I shot into wind moving 10 mpg and hoped one of the pellets I had brought would somehow be able to buck the odds.
Since I already knew how well Beeman Kodiaks and Eun Jin heavies do, I began shooting with Beeman Silver Arrows. No dice. They flew everywhere. Then I tried the Beeman Ram Jet pellet that is apparently no longer available in .25 caliber. Another loser.
Then I spied a tin of JSB Exact Kings. These are relatively new to the .25-caliber world, but JSB has a solid reputation for making some of the world’s best pellets in the other three calibers. I hoped their expertise carried over into the quarter-inch bore.
And it did! The second shot went into the same hole made by the first! I didn’t start celebrating, but things definitely looked better, because when two pellets go into the same hole at 50 yards on a windy day you are onto something! So I kept shooting that pellet and hoping it might be the one. The first hole with two pellets was soon followed by another two pellets in the same hole when the aim point was changed. This was looking promising.
A bunch of random holes scattered over the 50-yard target until, bam! Two pellets went into the same hole (bottom left). Then I selected a different aim point and, bam! Two more pellets in the same hole (upper left). Was I on to something?
I set the power level of the pistol on eight and refilled the gun to 3,000 psi. I know this should give at least 10-12 good shots, but since I hadn’t tested this pellet through the chonograph yet, I couldn’t say much more. Then I adjusted the Hawke scope and tried to shoot a group of ten. This time I got what would be a decent group for any .25-caliber airgun. Ten shots went into a group that measured 1.242-inches. Given the wind that was now gusting most of the time, that seemed pretty reasonable, however within the 10-shot group were two separate smaller groups that baited me. This gun had more to offer.
I refilled the reservoir then switched targets to a larger bull and shot another ten-shot group. This was the one that got me so excited! Although it is larger than the first group, at 1.343-inches overall, there are nine pellets in a group measuring 0.817-inches. That’s at 50 yards on a blustery day! No reason for the stray shot except the wind. But look at the nine! That would be good performance from any PCP on a calm day. This pistol really wants to shoot.
There it is. The group that caused me to reschedule today’s report. This is outstanding performance from any air rifle at 50 yards on a windy day. Note the group is strung horizontal by the wind. No excuse for that lone pellet hole. That’s just where it went.
The next step is to get out on a better day and shoot at 50 yards again. I won’t be testing any other pellets, because I’ve found the one that works. I know how that reads when you are sitting there wanting to know absolutely everything about this airgun, but here is the deal. I have shot enough .25-caliber airguns to know great performance when I see it. And this is it. You won’t get a group like that from Kodiaks, and as for the rest of the pellets on the market — good luck. If I were going to hunt with the TalonP, I would lay in a good supply of these JSB Exact Kings and go with it.
I also want to chronograph the pistol, but not in my office! I need to be out at the range to shoot a gun that is as potentially loud as a .22 rimfire.
The shoulder stock
AirForce loaned me the optional shoulder stock extension you see in the photo and I used it for this test. I discovered that the scope was positioned too far to the rear, so I relocated it during the test. The shoulder stock works very well, but the smaller size of the pistol’s reservoir means you need to find an alternative placement for your cheek when firing. It took a while but I found a hold that works for me and the last group was shot with it.
The really good news
I know the folks at AirForce will celebrate the performance of the JSB pellet in their gun, and for me finding this pellet is just as major as discovering how well the pistol shoots. I am reminded of the movie Back to the Future, Part III in which Doc Brown was trapped in the year 1885 with his DeLorean time machine and no gasoline. He had the greatest vehicle in the world, but without gas it was going nowhere. Well, the .25-caliber airgun world just got gas, in the form of this JSB pellet. Finally there is a no-apologies pellet that can hold its own with a .22 at distance! I think I will have to explore this pellet’s performance a little more in the future.
I was also able to retrieve several fired pellets from the thick rubber backstop and from their appearance it can be seen that they hit with a lot of force. I think this will make a good long-range hunting pellet.
The rest of the day
Just to put this day into perspective, my shooting partner shot a half-inch ten-shot group at 50 yards with one of those hyper-accurate .22 HM2 conversions he makes, but when we moved to the unprotected 100-yard range, a FIVE-shot group blossomed to 1.5-inches!
My .250 Savage that shot five shots into 0.8-inches at 100 yards last time shot three into 1.25-inches this time. The day was just too windy to do well with anything. And that is why I did not even bother shooting the Ballard.