Posts Tagged ‘bulk-fill’
Every airgun show is unique. I’ve said that many times before, but it’s always true — and this one was no different. What I look for when I try to describe an airgun show is how it stood out from all the others. That’s what I’ll do today.
An airgun show is small, in comparison to0 a regular gun show, but there are more airguns on a single table then you’ll see at most big gun shows. And the guns range from inexpensive Daisys and Crosmans to then most exotic airguns imaginable. So go to gun shows for and crowded aisles, but to airgun shows to find airguns.
I didn’t get away from my table for the first half of the first day. When I finally did, the show immediately began to reveal itself. It was jam-packed with big bore air rifles! I mean jammed! Dennis Quackenbush and Eric Henderson are always the mainstays of the show; but this time I met Robert Vogel, whose business is Mr. Hollowpoint. Robert casts each bullet by hand from lead as pure as he can make it. His bullets mushroom on game perfectly and rip huge holes in living flesh, making the most humane kills possible. I bought a bag of 68-grain .308-caliber hollowpoints for the Quackenbush .308 test I’m conducting, and he threw in a second bag of .22 pellets for free. These will have a special debut in a smallbore test in the near future.
Robert Vogel (standing) is Mr. Hollowpoint. He has thousands of different bullets for big bore shooters to try.
But Mr. Hollowpoint wasn’t the only bullet maker at the show. Seth Rowland, the show’s host and promoter, also supplies the big bore airgunning community with cast bullets in numerous sizes and shapes. And their customers can hardly appreciate the untold hours they spend at the lead pot, casting and sizing these silver slugs one by one.
Need bullets? Seth Rowland has them in different sizes, shapes and weights.
Another theme that’s common to all airgun shows is 10-meter target guns. This year’s Arkansas show had plenty of them, both from dealers like Scott Pilkington of Pilkington Competition Equipment in Tennessee, as well as numerous private individuals. I mentioned several weeks ago that Mac was bringing some recently overhauled FWB rifles to this show, and on day one an interested buyer sought him out. This man was serious about buying a target rifle, and he had done his research on the internet. But this was the first time he’d seen, felt and shot these rifles.
Mac took him out to the shooting range to try out an FWB 150 and a 300; and from his testing, he decided the 300 was the gun he wanted. Because it lacks the barrel jacket, it’s lighter than a standard 300S. He was buying the rifle for his wife to shoot in competition. They made a deal, and he went home with the exact target rifle he wanted — an overhauled ex-club rifle at a price that was several hundred dollars below what he would have paid for a gamble on the internet. For this man, driving all the way to Arkansas made good sense.
I’m sure that same scenario was played out numerous times at this show, because that’s what happens at an airgun show that also has a shooting range. You get to try out the guns before you buy — something that’s impossible at a regular gun show.
The odd and wonderful
You never know what you’re going to see at one of these shows, but there are a few people who always seem to have interesting things. Larry Hannusch, the top airgun writer for the past 30 years, is one person who can always surprise you. This year, our tables were together, giving me the opportunity to look at his guns more closely than normal. He had a Crosman 113 bulk-fill CO2 rifle, which isn’t unusual, except the owner of this one had inlet a pellet box into the right side of the stock — much like the patchbox found on certain muzzleloading rifles.
Some owner made this patchbox in the stock of his Crosman 113 bulk-fill rifle.
He built the “patchbox” with a built-in spring. There were pellets inside.
When was the last time you saw one of these? A French ball-flask pistol from the 1700s.
The big find
Often there will be a big find of some certain airgun that shows up at a particular show. I remember one year someone was selling piles of brand-new-in-the-box S&W 78G and 79G pistols. There were at least 50, but as my memory serves there might have been as many as 100 brand-new guns that were at least 20 years old at the time. Another year, it was Scott Pilkington who brought almost 300 club target guns for sale. You could buy an FWB 300 for $150-$200! Of course, it would have been a beater and would have needed to be resealed, but it certainly was the budget way into a 10-meter gun.
Then there was the year that someone had over 20 Johnson Target Guns, the submachinegun-looking plastic catapult BB gun from the late 1940s. They were all new in the box, and the cloth backstop that was in the box to stop the BBs inside the box lid that also served as a backstop had turned to dust. But they were complete. To collectors, they were a wonderful find. I actually saw two of these at this year’s Arkansas show; so even after more than 10 years, they’re still slowly dissolving into the collector population.
Two brand-new Johnson Target Guns in the box with all the literature and accessories.
When I walked into the second large room in this show and turned the corner, I ran into Randy Mitchell’s booth, where he was selling a pile of recently discovered TS45 sidelever air rifles for $20 each! I blogged this rifle several years ago, and Vince also wrote a guest blog about the same rifle. Until now, there were no new guns you could buy. You had to find one by chance and would always be one somebody had owned and possibly modified. Now, Randy Mitchell, who runs his Adventures in Airguns store, has a huge pile of these rifles to sell. They aren’t very safe and are the very guns that chopped off thumbs when their anti-beartraps failed; but if you cock them safely and load while restraining the sidelever, they’re fun to shoot and are often accurate.
Randy Mitchell found these old/new TS45 sidelevers and brought them to the show. It’s stuff like this that keeps me going to every airgun show I can make!
Of course, there are too many modern guns to name here, but know that at any show you’ll find almost every modern classic airgun for sale. If you’re looking for good TX200s or old R7s, they’re usually available — and they were at this show, too. But what you also see are airguns that are so rare and hard to find that some of them won’t even be seen in airgun books. This yearm Ingvar Alm had both a Winsel CO2 pistol in the box and a Giffard CO2 pistol from the 1870s on his table. Giffard invented the application of CO2 for gun use, and Winsel made only 50 guns in the early 1950s. Neither gun is represented well in any airgun book I know.
The Winsel pistol was a bulk-filled CO2 pistol that required the owner to mail his tank back to the company to be filled. Yeah, that’s going to work! They made 50 and quit. Today, they’re a prized collectible.
Giffard pioneered the use of CO2 in guns in the 1870s. His pistols are many times rarer than his rifles. The empty pop bottle is for contrast — like Cindy Crawford’s mole.
There were more big bores at this show than I see at other shows. Perhaps, that’s because the focus of big bore airgunning seems to center around Texas, where the LASSO match is held. Dennis Quackenbush delivered his guns to eager buyers, but the only rifle he had to show was his own .308, which he doesn’t want to sell. Eric Henderson and Big Bore Bob Dean were both there with some guns to sell, as well as Robert Vogel. But the one maker with a lot of guns on display was Jack Haley, whose table was a rainbow of laminated stocks.
Jack Haley’s table was a colorful display of big bore rifles.
Then there was the big bore that has been a joke in the airgun community for many years. The gun itself is fine. It was made back in the 1980s by Ben Patron, whose name is clearly on the side of the receiver. Somewhere along the line, some person got ahold of it and displayed it at the Springfield, Missouri, gun show as a “U.S. military .50-caliber sniper air rifle.” The label for that display was still inside the guitar box that held the gun, and Dennis Quackenbush remembers seeing it at the Springfield show. After that, it somehow ended up in an Arkansas pawn shop where Big Bore Bob found it and bought it.
Some previous owner had concocted a colorful background story for the Patron big bore of the 1980s.
Many shows have a drawing, but airgun shows are so lightly attended that you actually have a chance of winning! This year, they gave away several very nice prizes at the close of the show, including a scoped TalonP pistol from AirForce! Then came the drawing for the frame-extended silencer for the Talon SS. I knew before the little girl picked my ticket that I would win it. How ironic is that? I’m testing a Talon SS with a bloop tube right now, so of course I’m going to win another one! But the supreme irony came when Randy Mitchell, a big bore hunter, won the .50-caliber Dragon Claw donated by Pyramyd Air.
Randy Mitchell (right) won the Dragon Claw. Show host, Seth Rowland, standing, ran the drawing. The young lady added a lot of sparkle and enthusiasm to the show. I see an airgunner in the making!
On the trip home, Mac and I relived the show many times. That’s another benefit. I can remember snippets from most past shows, and this one will now be filed away in the library.
by B.B. Pelletier
Guy’s winning photo. He says it’s a “great gun and very realistic feel!”
This report is getting convoluted. I’m reporting a device I found at the 2011 Roanoke Airgun Expo that allows the use of 12-gram CO2 cartridges to fill Crosman bulk-fill guns, but I used the Crosman model 114 rifle that already had two reports from 2009 before it broke and had to be resealed. So, the report is really about how this bulk-fill device operates on a Crosman model 114 rifle, but the performance of the rifle is also being examined.
Confused? Well, I will try to keep it simple from this point. Today, we’ll look at the velocity you can expect from a Crosman 114 when it is filled by this device.
The Crosman 114 is a .22-caliber, single-shot rifle from the early 1950s. The new bulk-fill device allows you to shoot it with minimal additional equipment.
Mike Reames, the inventor of the device, told me the CO2 in a 12-gram cartridge would not transfer entirely to the gun, so I should expect some gas loss when I disconnected it. There was a loss of gas as he said, so one of the things I want to determine is how many shots can be expected when the gun is charged this way.
When the gas and liquid flows into the rifle during charging, the CO2 reservoir cools immediately. That’s caused by the liquid CO2 flashing to gas as it enters the reservoir. When it does, it absorbs some of the heat of its surroundings — in this case, the metal reservoir tube.
One way to maximize the fill is to cool the gun before filling. When the CO2 enters, it encounters cooler surroundings; and when it flashes to gas, the pressure of the gas is lower. Since the CO2 cartridge is warm in comparison, it’ll have higher pressure and will push more gas and liquid into the gun. This is an old bulk-fill trick that I’ll try to see what difference it makes — if any.
Velocity with a regular fill
First, I filled the rifle in the normal fashion (i.e., at room temperature). The first pellet I tried was the Crosman Premier. As I test the gun, you must keep in mind that Rick Willnecker, who resealed it, has a policy that he will only return a vintage airgun to its specified power. While there are other repair stations that will soup up the powerplant, you can expect Rick to repair the gun so it will shoot like it did when it was new.
Crosman Premiers averaged 535 f.p.s. The spread went from 531 to 539 f.p.s., so a tight 8 foot-second spread. I have owned one other 114 that shot the same pellet 15-20 f.p.s. faster, so this is well within the ballpark.
Next, I tried RWS Hobby pellets. They averaged 549 f.p.s., but that number isn’t a good one. Because after only three shots, I could see the power drop in the traditional fall-off that happens after all the CO2 liquid has turned to gas. So, the rifle had come to the end of its useful charge. You can look at it in several ways, depending on what you’re doing with the gun, but there were anywhere from 13 to 20 good shots on a fill. If you were just plinking, that might stretch to 30 shots.
The first three Hobbys went 563, 558 and 558 f.p.s., respectively. The next one dropped to 551, which is still okay; but after that, each successive shot went slower. After shooting the string of 10 Hobbys, I fired a Crosman Premier pellet and got 499 f.p.s., so the rifle is definitely off the power curve.
The fill from a 12-gram cartridge is from 20 to 30 good shots. Compare that to 50-70 good shots that you will get when the gun is filled by a large bulk tank. I’ve always used the 10-oz. Crosman tank, so that’s what I’m using to get this number.
It’s time to chill the rifle and check the fill afterward. I placed the rifle in a chest freezer and left it in there for about an hour.
Let me caution you that what I am doing is considered dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. I know that the entire contents of a 12-gram CO2 cartridge cannot possibly overfill this rifle’s reservoir; but if I filled the chilled gun from a normal bulk tank, it could easily be overfilled. The consequences of overfilling an airgun like the 114 that has no pressure release device is that if the gun gets too warm, the gas pressure inside can build to the point that the brass reservoir blows apart in a catastrophic failure. That happens because the cold gun accepts too much liquid CO2; and when it warms up, the liquid has nowhere to go. The gun needs space for the liquid to become gas, to relieve the pressure, which is how it normally operates. If you fill at room temperature, the physical properties of CO2 will take care of stopping the fill at the right spot for you; but a chilled gun will continue to accept more liquid than it should.
However, in this case, the quantity of liquid inside a 12-gram cartridge is less than the gun is built to hold, so all that should happen is that more of the liquid goes into the reservoir. The test for that is to see how many good shots we then get from a fill.
After taking the rifle from the freezer, a layer of frost formed on all the metal parts. The fill was far more complete this time, with just a small puff of gas as the device was disconnected. However, the gun was now very cold and would not perform well until it returned to room temperature, so more waiting.
Two hours later, I shot strings with both Premiers and Hobbys. The first string of five Premiers averaged 515 f.p.s., and I thought something had gone wrong. It ranged from 498 to 522 f.p.s. But right after it, I shot the first string of five Hobbys and they averaged 570 f.p.s., which is where they should be. They ranged from 568 to 574 f.p.s. Next was the second string of five Premiers, which averaged 530 f.p.s., so they were now in the ballpark. The range went from 524 to 534 f.p.s. Then a second string of Hobbys averaged 567 f.p.s. with a range from 564 to 571 f.p.s. That’s the first 20 shots from the gun, and all are good except for a couple at the start.
Another string of five Premiers averaged 523 f.p.s., taking the total to 25 good shots on this fill. However, I could see the power tapering off within this string, which ranged from 519 to 528 f.p.s. From that point on, the velocity fell off in a straight line, which indicates the liquid is used up. So, filling this way extracts everything the CO2 cartridge has to give, which is about 25 good shots. If you were just plinking in the yard, there are probably 10 more useful shots in the gun.
The 114 action
When the Crosman 114 was selling new, I was still a kid who knew nothing about genuine bolt-action firearms. If I’d ever seen a 114 back then, I would have thought it was a conventional bolt-action because that’s what it looks like. However, it’s far from conventional.
A bolt-action firearm has lugs to engage the receiver and lock the bolt closed against the thousands of pounds of force the cartridge puts on it. The 114 bolt hasn’t got any lugs. Instead, a single metal stud engages an inclined plane at the rear of the action to push the bolt forward as the handle is turned down. At the front of the bolt, a hemispherical enlargement mates with a socket in the breech. Contact between these two metal surfaces, controlled by how hard the bolt is pushing forward, seals the breech against gas loss.
This 98 Mauser (firearm) bolt has two lugs at the front that pull the bolt forward and lock it to the receiver.
The 114 breech. There’s a lot to see in this picture. First, notice the enlarged bolt face that mates with the breech to seal gas behind the pellet. The pin on the rear of the bolt below the handle fits into a socket with an inclined plane to push the bolt forward tightly. The knurled wheel beneath the bolt is the power adjuster that all these bulk-fill guns have; and note the rear peep sight that I’ll use for the accuracy test.
The 114 trigger is single-stage and quite hard in the factory form. That can be altered with careful gunsmithing, but nothing can ever make it a great trigger. The simple design mitigates against it.
The safety is a standard crossblock pin that’s set into the stock. Punch in from the left to put the rifle on safe and from the right for fire. Back in the ’50s, this was a very common type of safety on inexpensive guns.
Now that I know the characteristics of the gun and how many shots I can expect, it’s time to test accuracy. I’ll use the peep sight that came with the rifle for this.
As far as the bulk-fill adapter goes, I have to say that it has fulfilled all expectations. In fact, I’m surprised that it works as well as it does — especially when the gun is cooled first. I don’t know if Pyramyd Air will ever carry it. If you want one, contact Mike Reames directly.
by B.B. Pelletier
If you’re a veteran CO2 user, the title of this report will confuse you, because bulk-filling and CO2 cartridges are two different ways of charging a CO2 gun. But, today, I’ll show you a device that lets you use a CO2 cartridge to bulk-fill a gun. And there’s a lot more to this story than just that!
Over two years ago, my good friend Mac traded or sold me a .22-caliber Crosman model 114 CO2 rifle — we can’t remember which. The rifle was in nice shape except that it didn’t hold gas, which is the kiss of death for a CO2 gun. No problem for me. I sent it off to Rick Willnecker in Pennsylvania to be resealed.
A couple weeks later, Rick called and asked if I would like to have the metal refinished, too. He said he had a friend who owed him a favor, and I could get the rifle refinished for nothing if I was willing to wait. I was in the middle of reporting on the gun at the time, but the work had stopped the report, so I figured why not? Little did I know that it would be two years before I would see this gun again.
Since the Crosman 114 was refinished, it looks like a new gun again.
If you’re interested in the first two parts of the report, they are linked below.
Back to today
Back to the main part of this story. At this year’s Roanoke Airgun Expo, I spotted a small device on Mike Reames’ table. It turned out to be a device that lets you charge a bulk-fill Crosman gun with a 12-gram CO2 cartridge. When I saw it I knew I had to report on it for you; and with the recent return of my now-refinished 114, I had the perfect test vehicle.
This device, made by Mike Reames, will attach to any fill port on a Crosman bulk-fill gun with an internal reservoir. It cannot be left on the gun when firing, though, because it will be hit by the pellet.
The bulk-fill device attaches to the rifle in the same way that the Crosman bulk tank did (read Parts 1 and 2 to see that).
Now that you have seen it you may be interested in where to get one of these. They run just over $30 with shipping, and I’m darned if I have the contact info for Mike. I thought I got it at the show, but a search has turned up nothing. However, I bet one of our readers has Mike’s info and can get it for us.
What is bulk-fill?
You probably know that most CO2 guns today rely on 12-gram or 88-gram cartridges to get their CO2. But it didn’t used to be that way. Back in the 1870s, Giffard of France made many CO2 guns that had a separate tank. When the gas ran out, you exchanged tanks; and they had it set up so you could mail them in.
Crosman made CO2 bulk guns starting is 1932 and continued building them until about 1955. Some of them had tanks that were separate, but others, like the 114 we are looking at today, had the reservoir built-in. In fact, when I initially had the idea for what turned out to be the Benjamin Discovery, I was thinking of a bulk-fill CO2 gun. When Crosman built the first prototype, they built it on the now-discontinued Crosman 2260 frame. Just the reservoir on the prototype was changed to hold the compressed air.
There have also been quite a few target rifles and pistols that operate on bulk CO2. For these, like the early Crosman guns, a separate bulk tank of CO2 is connected to the gun to fill it.
Back to this report. There was also a .177-caliber model 113 rifle that looks exactly like this .22-caliber 114. These were both single-shot, bolt-action guns that didn’t change substantially throughout the years they were manufactured, which was 1950-1955.
The 114 used to get around 70 good shots on one fill of gas when I filled it from a separate bulk tank. If you took the time to cool the gun before the fill, you could get even more shots than that.
A 12-gram CO2 cartridge doesn’t have that much gas inside it, plus some is lost when you make the transfer, so this isn’t the most economical method of filling the gun. It just lets you fill your guns without the need to own a bulk tank. Some people will like that, while others will complain that it’s costing too much to fill their guns. For them, I caution that what I’m showing today is not the best solution. However, if you’re like me and want to shoot your bulk Crosman guns occasionally, this is probably the most convenient way to do it.
Filling the gun
To fill the gun, simply attach the device to the fill port of the gun and insert a 12-gram cartridge. Screw down the top on the device, which pushes it onto the piercing pin and starts the gas flowing. With this device, there’s no way to stop the flow of gas; so when everything gets quiet, you know the gun has taken all the gas it will accept. If you dry-fire the gun one or two times at this point, you might get a denser fillbecause dry-firing lowers the temperature of the gun, causing more gas to flow.
Once the gun is filled, you just keep cocking and loading pellets and shooting until the power seems to go away. This is done by listening to the rifle’s report and is fairly easy to learn.
As far as shooting the 114, I was just about to get to that back in 2009 when the gun failed, and that’s where we are now. There’s a lot that needs to be tested on this rifle, but I’m going to end this tale right here. I’ll save the velocity testing, number of shots per fill, which in this case is also the same as the number of shots per cartridge, and accuracy for another day.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, we have a guest blogger. Paul Hudson has done other guest blogs for us; and true to form, he’s been very thorough. This blog is about the Crosman 116, which is a great vintage gun that’s the father of the Crosman 150. I’d say this is the ultimate test, as he tried 18 different pellets!
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.
Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html that Blogger software uses, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them), and they must use proper English. We’ll edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.
Take it away, Paul!
by Paul Hudson
This guest blog could almost be labeled as “Part 2″ since B.B. did a very good review of the history and details of the Crosman 116 bulk-fill CO2 pistol. I had an opportunity to borrow a Crosman 116 from Jason, my brother-in-law. During the months I had it, I resealed it and did some testing. This 116 originally belonged to Jason’s grandfather, who used it for pest control. It was passed down through his father to him and has seen a lot of use over the years, but the bore is still in excellent condition. A few hours spent stripping and repainting would make the gun look almost new. It turned out to be a lot of fun shooting this old pistol; and with the right pellets, it’s surprisingly accurate as we’ll see later.
What sets this pistol apart from most other CO2 guns (and the reason I like it) is that it’s a bulk-fill gun. It doesn’t use the familiar Powerlets but is, instead, recharged using an external tank. The old Crosman 10-oz. tanks are still available, but many filling stations will not service them. However, with a simple adapter, you can charge these guns from a paintball tank that’s inexpensive to refill and will provide over a thousand shots.
Introduced in 1951 as a companion to the 8-in. barrel models, the .22 ca. 116 was produced in a time when American manufacturers could afford to put more hand work into making a gun. Most of the gun is made of brass to avoid rust. The breechblock and front sight are silver-soldered to the lower tube and fix the barrel in place. Overall, the pistol gives the impression of having been solidly built for years of service. All of the bulk-fill Crosmans were phased out after 1955 and were replaced by similar guns using the now-familiar Powerlets. The modern equivalent to the 116 is the 2240, which has the advantage of being modular and thus easily upgraded with a longer barrel, improved trigger, and many other parts.
At 23 oz., the 116 has a nice weight — heavy enough to be steady without being muzzle-heavy like the long-barrel models. A square front post and fairly wide rear notch are easy to use and work well at plinking ranges. The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation and can be locked in place once adjusted.
Anyone who has used a 1377 or 1322 will immediately recognize the grips, trigger and safety of the 116 since they are identical to the 13xx models. The trigger-pull measures right at 5 lbs., but it feels far better than my 1377. There’s almost no detectable creep, and with a little practice it’s easily controlled.
The bolt is opened by rotating the upper knurled bolt handle and pulling back until the striker clicks. A pellet is then loaded into the breech. Push the bolt forward and rotate the handle into the locked position and you’re ready to go. Unlike my 1377, there’s no screw head in the breech area, and pellets almost never flip during loading. The longest available pellets load easily. Below the bolt handle is a power adjustment screw that controls the amount of tension on the striker spring. Backing the screw out reduces the tension and the velocity. It also conserves CO2.
Shooting the 116
The 116 was shot at both full and reduced power. At full power, it gets about 30 to 35 shots per fill and is roughly as loud as a 1377 at six pumps. With the power adjuster three full turns out, it’ll get around 42 to 48 shots per fill and the pistol is noticeably quieter. For indoor shooting, this would be a real plus. At full power, the velocity spread was surprisingly low — never more than 11 fps and in several cases less than five. On low power, the spread was as much at 27 fps. With the lighter hammer blow, the valve is probably operating outside of its optimal range but accuracy didn’t seem to suffer. The temperature was around 80 degrees, and I took about 45 seconds between shots during all testing.
All pellets were tested at full power and some with the power adjuster three full turns out (the low column is on the right):
|Pellet||Weight||FPS||FtLbs||ES||Low FPS||Low FtLbs||Low ES|
|Beeman Crow Magnum||18.2||380||5.8||7||273||3.0||20|
|Crosman Premier Ultra Magnum||14.3||431||5.9||3||329||3.4||27|
|Crosman Premier HP||14.3||407||5.3||11|
|Eun Jin Domed||28.2||285||5.1||4|
|Beeman H&N Match||13.6||430||5.6||8|
|JSB Exact RS||13.4||432||5.6||8||323||3.1||13|
|RWS Super Dome||14.4||430||5.9||9||356||4.1||10|
|RWS Super Point||14.4||413||5.5||5|
New meets old
To get the best accuracy from the 116, a BSA 2×20 pistol scope was added using Crosman intermounts. With just the open sights, the best groups I could get were about 1″ at 10 meters. With the increased precision of a scope, several pellets grouped well under an inch at 10 meters, and 25-yard hits on soda cans were easy. None of the pellets performed poorly; most gave 5-shot groups in 1″ to 1.5″ at 10 meters. There were a couple of standouts, however.
Where do you get one?
There are plenty of Crosman bulk-fill guns still around, and they can be found at most airgun shows and on the usual auction sites. The 116 is probably the most common of the pistols since .22 was the preferred caliber in the 1950s and the shorter guns are more handy. Expect to pay about $90-$100 for a working sample in good condition. Many of these guns have not been shot for many years and are in need of resealing. The parts are readily available, and there are people who will do the job for a reasonable cost. If you have one of these guns, there’s no reason to let it lie around. With new seals and regular use of Pellgunoil, they’ll give many years of service. It would be a shame to leave one of these fine, old airguns sitting in a box and gathering dust.
I’ve had a lot of fun shooting the 116. Part of the charm is getting a 55-year-old gun working again. The 116 is also more accurate than I expected. For short range at low power, they’re a real joy. Lots of shots with no pumping!
by B.B. Pelletier
Update on Tom/B.B.: Things are really popping at the hospital, as they make their final moves to send Tom home. We still don’t have a discharge date, but it appears to be imminent!
Today, we have a guest blog. Airgunner Paul has written for us before, and I think you’ll enjoy his foray into the world of bulk-fill CO2 with the Benjamin Katana. Summer’s here, and that’s the perfect time for using this gas.
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.
Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them), and they must use proper English. We’ll edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.
Take it away, Paul!
The Benjamin Katana is the fourth PCP rifle released by Crosman. It follows the Discovery, Challenger and Marauder. Of the three high-power rifles, the Katana happens to be my favorite: it’s more compact than the Marauder, it’s a single-shot, and it has a nicer trigger and stock than the Discovery.
B.B. has already gone into detail about the development and performance of the Katana in a previous posts. One nice feature of all the Crosman PCPs is that they’re dual-fuel — capable of using CO2 as the power source. There’s a distinct lack of information on how the rifles perform using CO2; most of what you can find is “many more shots using CO2.” Since it’s getting warmer, I thought this would be a good time for some testing.
I was primarily interested in determining three things:
- How many shots per fill does CO2 provide?
- What’s the performance loss with CO2?
- Is there any accuracy difference between using high pressure air and CO2?
Questions one and two are easy to answer. Question three is a mixed bag.
Why use CO2?
The Katana requires only 2,000 psi fill pressure and is easy to fill with a hand pump. Since it operates at a lower fill pressure than most PCP guns, you’ll get more fills from a 3,000 psi scuba tank than many other PCPs. So, why would someone shoot with CO2? Lots of reasons! Not everyone is physically able to use a hand pump. Pumping when the weather is hot and humid isn’t fun, either. Dive shops aren’t readily available in lots of areas, plus scuba tanks can be quite expensive. You could easily pay 2x the price of the Katana to buy a scuba tank along with all the fittings.
On the other hand a 20-oz. CO2 tank is very reasonably priced and can be refilled for five or six dollars. An adapter is required to connect the source tank to the Katana. The equipment to shoot the rifle with CO2 is much cheaper than the most inexpensive scuba tank, and you’ll have money left over for pellets and CO2 refills. For us incurable experimenters, it’s something new to test.
Filling the Katana
Before filling the Katana with CO2, all remaining air pressure must be exhausted. This can quickly be done through dry firing. When the tank is empty, cock the rifle to relieve any tension on the exhaust valve, put the safety on, connect the tank using the adapter and charge the rifle. As the CO2 will generate around 900 psi, you’ll use a different area of the pressure valve.
Shooting with CO2
With a good fill, the Katana will deliver around 60 shots at a very consistent velocity. A 20-oz. CO2 cylinder should be good for about 600 shots; this gives a nice, low per-shot cost. When the liquid CO2 has been consumed, the pressure gauge will fall to about halfway through the green CO2 area; and the velocity will drop 5-10 fps per shot for several shots and then really start to deteriorate. The Katana is also noticeably quieter using CO2 vs. compressed air. After refilling with a hand pump after every 25 shots, it’s nice to take 50 shots and have the pressure gauge not move at all!
Depending on the pellet, the velocity is anywhere from 18 to 27 percent lower using CO2. This still produces about 14 to 15 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, which is plenty for hunting within the appropriate limits. Heavier pellets tended to produce better muzzle energy than lighter ones.
The following table lists the velocities and extreme spreads (ES) with pellets that were tested with both compressed air and CO2. It’s interesting that the velocity spread for each pellet was very close between air and CO2. Pellets that have a low ES on air generally have a low ES on CO2.
|Pellet||Weight||Air FPS||Air FtLbs||Air ES||CO2 FPS||CO2 FtLbs||CO2 ES|
|Beeman Crow Magnum||18.2||781||24.7||11||625||15.8||8|
|Beeman Silver Arrow||17.1||776||22.9||11||646||15.9||4|
|Crosman Premier HP||14.3||855||23.2||14||665||14.0||13|
|Eun Jin Domed||28.4||613||23.7||6||491||15.2||5|
|Gamo Round Ball||15.4||810||22.4||16||602||12.4||10|
|JSB Exact RS||13.4||878||23.0||7||690||14.2||8|
|JSB Exact Heavy||18.1||767||23.7||5||630||16.0||5|
|RWS Super Dome||14.5||848||23.2||5||671||14.5||5|
|RWS Super Point||14.5||842||22.8||17||670||14.5||12|
|Skenco Big Boy||26.2||656||25.0||5||539||16.9||6|
With the right pellet, the Katana can be very accurate. A number of people have reported groups around a half-inch at 50 yards. I’ve been able to shoot several 5-shot, 0.60-inch groups at 50 yards with the Beeman Kodiak, Beeman FTS and JSB Monster pellets. In general, accuracy with an individual pellet was nearly identical for air and CO2. A few pellets were noticeably more accurate using CO2, and one was worse.
Final comments on accuracy
At 25 yards, the following pellets all grouped in less than an inch: Beeman FTS, Beeman Kodiak, Eun Jin, Gamo Hunter, JSB Exact, JSB RS, JSB Exact Heavy, JSB Predator, JSB Monster and Skenco Big Boy. All gave nearly identical group sizes on both air and CO2.
At 50 yards, I couldn’t do better than about 1.25 inches with the Kodiaks. I assume this is due to the reduced velocity resulting in a longer flight time and reduced spin stabalization. It looks like CO2 will limit your effective range on small targets. On the other hand, hitting soft drink cans at 50 yards is still easy with the Kodiaks. A couple of other pellets were tried at this range, but all gave groups of 2 inches or more.