Posts Tagged ‘CO2 gun’
by B.B. Pelletier
Happy Independence Day!
Happy Fourth of July to my U.S. readers! And to everyone else, happy Wednesday!
Today, I’ll look at the accuracy of the Colt 1911 Special Combat BB pistol. We discovered in the velocity test that the pistol doesn’t quite reach the velocity advertised. That made it possible for me to start using and testing the new Winchester Airgun Target Cube that serves as a BB/pellet trap. We also learned that the pistol shoots at dramatically different velocities in single- and double-action. Naturally, I looked at both modes in this test.
I shot the pistol at 16 feet (as close as possible to 5 meters — the international BB-gun distance) from a rest. A fresh CO2 cartridge was installed at the start of the test and was used for the entire test.
The first 10 shots were to ascertain how the sights were set. Also, I knew from the velocity test that this pistol needs a couple shots to “wake up” the valve and get up to its top velocity. So, the first 10 shots were just sighters.
I discovered the rear sight needed some elevation. Happily, the sight is completely adjustable, but the direction for a vertical increase isn’t clear. The straight arrow doesn’t tell you which way to turn the screw. Fortunately, the sight works like most other rear sights, and a counterclockwise turn provides elevation. There seemed to be no click detents in the adjustment, so I watched the orientation of the screw slot.
First up were Daisy zinc-plated BBs, and 10 were loaded into the stick magazine. Then, I fired the pistol single-action, using a 6 o’clock hold with the sights. Yes, at just 16 feet from the target, I could hardly miss, but this was a test of the pistol — not of my shooting ability.
Ten Daisy BBs went into a group that measures 1.58 inches between centers. It proved to be the best group of the entire test.
Next, I loaded 10 more Daisy BBs and shot them double-action at a fresh target. As expected the group opened up. This time ten went into a group measuring 2.606-inches between centers. Although, the double-action trigger-pull is relatively light, it stacks at the end and is difficult to control. Nevertheless, this accuracy is minute-of-pop-can at the same 16 feet.
Next, it was time to try the RWS BBs. Though they appear to be even smoother than Daisy BBs, I find the two brands about equal in most guns I have tested. The first ten were fired single action, making a group that measures 2.369-inches between centers. That is nearly as large as the Daisy BBs fired double-action!
Once during the 10 shots, there was a double-feed, and two BBs went down range together. This never happened again, so I don’t think it’s a problem. And, if the wide shot from that double-feed was eliminated, the remaining 9 BBs made a group measuring 1.668 inches between centers — much more in line with what the Daisy BBs did.
The RWS BB single-action group looks large because the hole at the upper right is one of two that went down range together. Take it out, and the group is much closer to the single-action Daisy BB group. Overall group measures 2.369 inches, but 9 shots went into 1.668 inches.
On double-action, I was able to see several of the BBs as they went downrange. They seemed to all be curving to the left — almost as though the gun had a Hop-Up that wasn’t quite adjusted. This reminded me of the gun’s airsoft heritage. Ten shots landed in a 2.128-inch group, besting the single-action group, but only because of the double-feed while shooting single-action. This group also bested the Daisy double-action group
Winchester Airgun Target Cube
I used the Winchester Airgun Target Cube for this accuracy test. It’s a new combination BB/pellet trap that I’ve been eager to include in my testing. The trap is a cube of dense foam that has a metal plate inside. Shoot at it on one side, and you’re just shooting at foam, unless you chance to hit the edge of the metal plate. That’s the side for velocities below 350 f.p.s. Orient the cube the other way and the plate’s in the middle. That’s the side for velocities above 350 f.p.s.
The paper targets were all taped to the front surface of the cube. The solid backing of the cube helped define the BB holes a little. And as light as the cube is, it never moved when hit. The sound when hit is quiet, but it’s noisier than a Quiet Pellet Trap.
Daisy markets this cube and says the side of the cube that’s rated above 350 f.p.s. is good up to 1,200 f.p.s. for .177-caliber pellets. I won’t be testing it at that speed. Several shots in the same place might blow through the metal plate inside the cube, and I’m not a testing laboratory for Daisy or anyone else. I’m interested in how many practical shots we can expect from this trap, so I plan to keep a record. Hopefully the number will be in the thousands, like other commercial BB traps.
The BBs all stayed inside the cube, but it’s too early to say how long this trap will last. As I use it, the tendancy will be to strike near the center of the cube, so in time we will see what effect that has.
What I like about this pistol
I like the trigger in both the single- and double-action modes. I like the adjustable sights, and I like the way the sights look when shooting the gun. I like the snazzy appearance of the gun and the way it is exactly the same size as a 1911 firearm. I like the drop-free magazine/CO2 holder. And I like the velocity that gives a lot of shots per CO2 cartridge. This gun is very quiet and only rates a two on the sound scale!
What I don’t like about this pistol
The accuracy could be better.
The bottom line
This BB pistol has to compete with many other 1911-style BB pistols that all offer a lot for the money. This one probably leads them all in looks, but it trails the field in accuracy. In the end, though, it’s more than accurate enough for a BB pistol.
by B.B. Pelletier
Wow! Today’s test is as different as any I’ve done! This air pistol surprised me completely, with results I’ve never before seen from any airgun.
The Colt 1911 Special Combat pistol shoots BBs, so a velocity test is going to be pretty humdrum. There are a limited number of different BBs to try, and they aren’t going to give fantastically different results like lead pellets do. So, usually a velocity test with a BB gun is a no-brainer for me. Shoot and record the numbers — plain and simple. But not today.
Both single-action and double-action
This pistol fires in both the single-action and double-action modes. For you newcomers, single-action is where the trigger performs the single functon of releasing the hammer to fire the gun. You have to manually cock the hammer before each shot — the trigger doesn’t do it.
Double-action, in contrast, is where the trigger both cocks the hammer and releases it, all in one smooth pull. So you just keep on pulling the trigger. As long as there’s ammunition, the gun keeps on firing.
Because the trigger is doing more for double-action, it’s always harder to pull in that mode than it is for single-action. So a semiautomatic pistol that has single-action operation will normally have the very best trigger possible. If a gun functions in either single- or double-action like most revolvers, the single-action mode will give the best trigger-pull. The double-action mode is reserved for when you want to fire a lot of rounds very fast.
There’s more to it than that, of course. Some semiautomatic pistols such as the Beretta M92/M9 fire either single- or double-action; but when they fire, the slide comes back and cocks the gun for the next shot. These guns are quick to fire the first shot, since you can carry them with a round chambered and just pull the trigger to get them started. They also have the advantage of switching over to single-action once they begin firing.
At any rate, when I have a CO2 pistol that’s both single- and double-action, I test it for velocity both ways. That often gives results that favor the velocity on one or the other of the two modes. But this gun was vastly different. It varies by about 100 feet per second greater velocity in the single-action mode. And there’s even more to report, so read my results carefully.
I started out shooting the pistol with Daisy zinc-plated BBs in the single-action mode. The gun is rated to shoot at 400 f.p.s., so I expected something in that neighborhood; with BBs, there isn’t much variation between brands. So, I was surprised to see the first shot on a fresh CO2 cartridge register only 205 f.p.s. But sometimes pneumatics and CO2 guns need to “wake up” when they first start shooting after a rest, so I kept on shooting and watching the chronograph. The next shot went 203 f.p.s., but the one after that went 334, then 345, then 366 f.p.s. That last shot was as high as the pistol wanted to go.
My first good string of shots on single-action averaged 363 f.p.s., with a low of 360 and a high of 375 f.p.s. That’s good consistency, after the valve had woken up. I figured shooting the gun on double-action would give similar numbers. Guess again!
On double-action with the same Daisy zinc-plated BBs, the velocity averaged 252 f.p.s. The low was 224 and the high was 280 f.p.s. What a spread, and what a difference from single-action. Next, I shot two more shots single-action to see what had happened, if anything. They went 337 and 321 f.p.s., respectively. The gun was shooting slower, but it was still much faster in the single-action mode.
I then tried the RWS Match BBs that Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry. I’ve found them as accurate and precise as Daisy BBs, and sometimes they give slightly different results. This time in single-action, they averaged 319 f.p.s. with a spread from 280 to 344 f.p.s. In double-action, they averaged 240 f.p.s. with a spread from 227 to 250 f.p.s. And shooting single-action immediately following the double-action string gave me two shots at 324 and 302 f.p.s., respectively.
I was concerned that the pistol seemed to be running out of CO2, so I fired it 20 more shots double-action with no BBs in the magazine, then I fired another shot single-action (with the RWS BBs) that went 321 f.p.s. So, it wasn’t out of gas just yet!
How many shots per cartridge?
At this point in the test there were 63 shots on the cartridge. I fired another 10 blank (no BB) shots double-action and then fired an RWS BB single-action that registered 335 f.p.s. At 84 shots, the gun is still going strong.
I next shot a single Daisy BB on single-action to see if there was still such a difference between the two brands. This one went 327 f.p.s., so both BBs are going about the same speed. The initial string of Daisys was just a little faster for some reason.
I shot another 10 blank shots double-action and then an RWS BB at 327 f.p.s. So, at 96 shots, the CO2 cartridge is still going strong. Then another 10 blank shots, followed by a Daisy BB at 323 f.p.s. That was shot number 107 on the cartridge.
Another 10 blanks shots were fired double-action and then an RWS BB went 331 f.p.s. That was shot 118. Then another 10 blanks, followed by a Daisy BB that failed to register. Then a second Daisy BB went 325 f.p.s. for shot 130. Then another 10 blank shots were followed by shot 141 — an RWS BB at 321 f.p.s.
My gosh — this pistol is starting to remind me of the AirForce Talon SS using the Micro-Meter tank! Another 6 blanks were fired and then the remaining gas spontaneously released from the cartridge. All gas was exhausted, and it was all over. This cartridge had maintained its velocity down to almost the end of the CO2 charge — something I’ve not seen in a long time. For the record, I got a good 140 shots from a single cartridge.
What about the large velocity variation at the beginning of the test? I think we can chalk that up to the gun breaking in. After several hundred shots have been fired, I think the gun will perform more consistently; but I’ll come back in a special test, after we look at accuracy, and rerun the velocity test again.
The double-action trigger-pull broke at an average 10 lbs., 6 oz. of effort. The range went from 9 lbs., 6 oz. to 11 lbs., 5 oz. The faster the trigger was pulled, the lighter it became. The pull effort increases rapidly (stacks) the further back the trigger is pulled.
The single-action pull was a very consistent 3 lbs., 7 oz. The second stage is very apparent (I mean there’s a definite hesitation of the trigger blade at the start of stage two), and there’s just a hint of creep in the second stage.
So far, this ranks as a very interesting BB pistol. The test pistol fell short of the advertised velocity, but delivered a huge number of good shots from a cartridge. I think the way it turned out was better than if the velocity had been higher and the shot count less, because high-velocity in a BB gun is about the worst thing you can have. Given the tendency for BBs to rebound with great speed, you really don’t want them going too fast.
Accuracy testing is next.
by B.B. Pelletier
I love my job! I love my job because I get to see, handle and test the latest airguns. Today, I’m starting to look at the Colt 1911 Special Combat BB pistol by Colt. Okay, we all know that Colt doesn’t really make this airgun, any more than Ruger, Remington and Winchester make the airguns with their names on them. But unlike most of the guns that carry those other manufacturers’ names, this 1911 was originally a Colt design. Designed by John Moses Browning, the M1911 pistol is one of the world’s most iconic handguns. It’s more than a full century old, yet more alive and vibrant today than ever.
This is one beautiful airgun! If it was a firearm, you would have to pay over a thousand dollars to get all the features this one has. Luckily, you’re an airgunner and can enjoy owning a BB pistol like this for one-tenth the price.
Let me start by covering all you get with this airgun. First of all, it’s double-action, so the gun fires with each pull of the trigger. That is important because, although the slide moves, the gun does not have blowback. So, the double-action trigger keeps you shooting as fast as you want. I’ll cover the trigger in a later report; but in both single- and double-action, it’s light and easy to pull.
The gun is all metal, so the weight feels about right. As far as I can tell, it feels just like a 1911 firearm when I hold it.
The sights are fully adjustable. The front post has a white dot and the rear notch is plain and square.
The backstrap ends in a wide beavertail extension that keeps the web of your firing hand safe from the slide of a firearm 1911. There is no grip safety (hurray!) but there is what is called a speed bump in the right place, so it looks like there’s a grip safety. No more worrying about how you grip the pistol — it’ll always work.
The safety, slide latch and magazine release button all function. The magazine is a drop-free design that holds both the CO2 cartridge and a stick BB magazine. The safety is for right-handed shooters, only, and the lever is of the flat wide design that’s currently so popular among those who carry the 1911. You can hook your thumb over the safety on the firearm, and the pistol will not flip up nearly as high in recoil.
The backstrap, or what would be the mainspring housing on the firearm, is of the flat 1911 design instead of the arched 1911A1 style. It’s crosshatched for additional purchase, though the metal surface on this air pistol is much smoother than it would be on a firearm. The front part of the grip frame is covered with square diamonds that run about 20 to the inch to give more grip there.
The grip panels carry the Colt logo in a plastic button, and they’re fully removable by the same two screws that all 1911 guns use. You would think the designers of this pistol did that so all Colt 1911 grips will fit, but alas, the screw bosses are set about one-eighth of an inch too far apart and firearm grips don’t fit! That’s like making an AR upper on proprietary pin centers so it will only fit your lower! The entire market for a 1911 is driven by aftermarket sources, ever since Colt lost their vision in the late 1970s and gave up the 1911 business they once dominated. Having a 1911 that doesn’t fit aftermarket grips makes no sense at all!
The slide has slanted grooves front and rear to facilitate gripping while racking the slide back. They aren’t needed on this gun, but they do give it a very tactical appearance.
There is a light rail/Picatinny rail under the slide and in front of the triggerguard for mounting a laser or tactical light. I’m guessing a lot of BB gun shooters are going to mount a laser.
The gun appears to be finished in stainless steel with black oxide sections, in a nice tuxedo pattern. And the backstrap, muzzle plug, barrel, trigger, slide release, magazine release button, safety and hammer are all chrome plated. That’s right, I said chrome — not nickel. It sounds horrible, but actually looks rather nice. It blends well with the faux stainless finish on the slide.
The only thing Colt will take heat for is the presence of the CO2 screw head sticking out from the bottom of the magazine well. Why they couldn’t have just surrounded it with a brushed stainless magazine funnel is beyond me, because I know the air pistol fans are going to key on this one oversight.
This pistol is rated to shoot at 400 f.p.s., which makes it ideal for testing a Winchester Airgun Target Cube I just received. If there is one thing we need more of it is BB gun traps, so I look forward to the forthcoming test.
by B.B. Pelletier
Well, today is accuracy day for the Crosman Outdsoorsman 2250XE, and this was one time that I didn’t read the owners’ reviews before testing. I just mounted a scope and went to work.
Because I thought the 2250 would be a tackdriver, I mounted a Centerpoint 8-32×56 scope. It’s obviously too much scope for the gun, but I didn’t want people telling me afterward that I should have used a better scope. Nobody could say that this scope isn’t enough to do the job! The 2250XE does come with a 3-9×32AO scope that should be plenty good for all situations. I just wanted to stretch the limits.
As you’ll notice, the scope sits high on the gun, but with the raised comb that wasn’t a problem. The problem came with the eye relief. I had to shove the scope far forward because of how far back the scope came when mounted. It looks cumbersome but I was able to get it to the spot where the target image was bright and clear.
Sight-in with Premiers
I sighted in the gun at 25 yards with 14.3-grain Crosman Premiers that I thought would be the most accurate pellets of all. However, they surprised me by shooting a 10-shot group that measured about 1.338 inches between the centers of the two farthest pellet holes. I had expected something in the quarter-inch to half-inch size at this distance. Okay, so Premiers are not the right pellet.
The next pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby. In .22 caliber, it weighs 11.9 grains. They went to the same impact point as the Premiers, which preserved my aim point, and they also produced a 10-shot group measuring 0.889 inches between centers. That is an improvement but still not as good as I had hoped.
Other pellets tried
Next, I tried 15.9-grain JSB Exact dome pellets. They grouped over two inches for ten shots. They were followed by RWS Superdomes that grouped about the same. RWS Superpoints went over 2.5 inches for ten, as did H&N Baracuda Match.
Just for grins
Then I tried 5.6mm Eley Wasps and Daisy Max Speed pointed pellets, a pellet that hasn’t been in the Daisy lineup for some time, but which resembles the current Daisy Precision-Max pointed pellet more than a little. I tried the Eleys just to see if the bore was oversized, but from the difficulty I had loading them I’d say it isn’t. Three shots went to over two inches and I gave up. The Daisys went into a group of over 2.5 inches, just like many of the others.
This was frustrating! I had a fine scope mounted on the gun and I was shooting indoors where wind isn’t an issue, and still the gun refused to group. So, the Hobby group turned out to be the best group of the whole test.
Then, I read the customer reviews. While a couple of them cite good groups at shorter distances, several others allude to the same accuracy I was seeing in my test. And, I think they were all shooting five-shot groups, not the ten I was shooting!
Which leads me to wonder what’s happening. I know Crosman can rifle a good barrel, so I wonder what’s wrong with this one that it cannot deliver even Chinese air rifle accuracy. If it was just a question of pellets I would say, fine, don’t shoot the bad ones. But when the best group I can get out of eight different pellets tried is 0.889 inches, I think something is wrong.
What to do?
It could just be that I got a gun with a bad barrel, I suppose. There could be something fundamental that I haven’t as yet figured out. One possible clue is that I was using adjustable mounts and I had the scope set for a lot of barrel droop, yet in spite of that the point of impact was still very low. So, I had to crank in a lot of elevation to get on target. I suppose I could adjust the mounts for even greater droop and get the scope adjustment back toward the center of the range to see if that’s causing a problem. Besides that, I can’t think of anything else to do.
At one point with the Daisy pellets, I got two distinct groups about an inch apart. One of them was three pellets into the quarter-inch group I had believed that this gun would produce, which was reassuring until additional pellets opened the group too far. That would indicate an erector tube that is bouncing around.
I’ll definitely do a part 4, where I’ll mount the scope that came with the gun, and we’ll test my theory.
by B.B. Pelletier
We’ll look at the 2250XE today for velocity. I just want to remind you that I predicted this carbine would shoot faster than the advertised 550 f.p.s. and, indeed, it does.
This CO2 air rifle uses a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge as a power source. Normally, I would guess that we would see about 40 good shots from a cartridge, but today I counted them, so we’ll all know for sure.
I mentioned in Part 1 that I really liked the trigger-pull. Today, I’ll say more about it. At first examination, it feels like a single-stage pull, and that’s what the specs say it is. After using it a while, I could feel a definite hesitation in the pull that turned it into a two-stage pull for me. You have to be careful to not fire the gun by pulling too fast; but if you pull in a controlled way, the trigger does have a two-stage feel, which makes it much more precise.
I measured the trigger-pull at 5 lbs., 2 ozs. several times, and it did not vary from that weight. With the trigger shoe that came on the gun, this trigger will really help in the accuracy test because I will know exactly when it’s about to break.
I tested the potentially fastest pellet first. The RWS Hobby is one of the lightest lead pellets on the market, and yet it’s often very accurate, too. We’ll see about that in Part 3, but for today the average velocity was 584 f.p.s., with a spread from 578 to 591 f.p.s. So, there’s your faster pellet. It generates 9.01 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, on average.
Next, I tried the ever-popular Crosman Premier in the cardboard box. This 14.3-grain pellet averaged 546 f.p.s. with a spread from 541 to 552 f.p.s. That’s a nice tight spread and a 9.47 foot-pound average muzzle energy. Of course, this is a CO2 carbine; and like a pneumatic, CO2 guns usually generate more energy with heavier pellets.
The last pellet I tested was the 15.9-grain JSB Exact dome. These pellets should be very accurate in this carbine. They averaged 516 f.p.s.; but this was the third shot string, and I noticed a definite decrease in power during the string. The first shots were in the low 520s and the final five were at or below 516. From what I saw, I calculate that this 2250 gets about 25 stable shots from a CO2 cartridge before the power starts dropping. You can shoot it for 30 shots, but after that the velocity starts dropping fast.
On shot 31, I went back to the Hobby pellets and now got a velocity of only 567 f.p.s. Shot 35 was going 549 f.p.s. and shot 40 went 462 f.p.s. After that, you’re risking getting a pellet stuck in the barrel.
I loaded a fresh CO2 cartridge in the gun and ran a second string of JSB Exact pellets. This time, the average velocity was 530 f.p.s. with a spread from 528 to 534 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the carbine is putting out 9.92 foot-pounds of energy.
There aren’t as many shots as I would have expected from a CO2 cartridge, but the gun is definitely faster than advertised. I expect to see some good accuracy from this carbine, based on the fact that it has a Crosman barrel and such a good trigger.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll start a look at an unusual airgun from Crosman. It’s getting to be summer around the country, and the summer guns are CO2 guns, so today’s choice of the Crosman Outdsoorsman 2250XE is just in time. This .22 caliber CO2 carbine wouldn’t exist if Crosman hadn’t reinvented itself at the beginning of the 21st century.
Dennis Quackenbush and I sat on both sides of Crosman’s former president and CEO during the Airgun Breakfast at the NRA Annual Meetings in Kansas City, back in May 2001. We were all chatting about the airgun business, and I happened to mention that Dennis made a good living making and selling upgrades and accessories to what was at that time a $39 Crosman CO2 pistol. The executive was surprised, thinking that no one would want to spend money on such a cheap airgun, but Dennis floored him when he said, “You sell them the gun for $39 and then I sell them $125 worth of accessories for it.” From his facial expression, I don’t think he really believed me.
Fast-forward a few years, and Ken D’Arcy took over the top spots at Crosman. It took him a few years to get his new house in order, and then the Crosman Custom Shop was created. To make a very long and encouraging story short, today’s airgun is a direct benefit of that move. Crosman no longer pursues just the high-volume discount-store sales anymore. They also keep their corporate eye on the ball by making and selling guns for hardcore airgunners. Today’s offering is just one example.
Basically, the Outdoorsman 2250XE is a descendant of Crosman’s classic 2240 .22 caliber, single-shot pistol. But look at what they’ve done with it! It’s so prettied-up that it’s sometimes hard to see the family resemblance.
The 2250 XE is also a single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle that’s powered by a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge. But this gun is different in so many ways. First, because it has an 18-inch barrel instead of just a 10-inch barrel, you get optimum performance from each CO2 cartridge. Airgun hobbyists who modify Crosman pistols know that an increase in barrel length gives the CO2 gas longer to push on the pellet and produces higher velocity. However, there’s a point of diminishing returns, which happens to be somewhere around 16 and 18 inches of barrel. After that, the pellet looses some velocity from friction. So, the barrel length on this carbine is anything but an afterthought!
Edith knows what I think of airgun marketing. I believe that the moment the box opens the customer forms an opinion of the gun inside. Pack a beautiful airgun in a cheap, flimsy cardboard box and you cheapen the customer’s first impression of his or her new airgun. On the other hand, if the packaging is superior, it conveys a sense of pride that attaches to the customer in an instant. Top car salesman all know this, as do successful realtors. Why don’t more airgun manufacturers?
Well, Crosman is one company that knows what first impressions are all about. When I opened the box of the test rifle, Edith told me she thought I ought to show you what we saw. So, here it goes.
I’ve seen many hundreds of new airguns come from their boxes in my time, but this one was too tempting not to pick up immediately. Once in my hands, it invited a check of the trigger-pull after establishing it was unloaded and not charged.
This carbine feels very small in my hand, though the 14-1/4-inch pull length is adult in every way. Perhaps it’s the light 3.6 lbs. of weight that seems to float in your hand. I remember once owning another CO2 carbine like this that seemed just as nice and compact. The Sharp UD carbine I had years ago was a nice little shooter that’s extremely hard to find these days, and it felt just like this 2250 XE.
While holding the carbine, I couldn’t resist trying the trigger a couple times and was surprised by the best factory trigger I’ve ever felt in a Crosman pistol on this frame. Don’t misunderstand me, now, because I’m not comparing this single-stage trigger to the new Marauder pistol trigger, which is stupendous. This one isn’t as nice as that, but with the installed trigger shoe, I found the release nice and pleasant. More on that in Part 2.
Another nicety I noticed was the 6-inch steel breech with 11mm dovetails cut into the top. You get a scope with the carbine, so you’re expected to shoot it that way, but those who refer a peep sight will like the fact that Crosman also supplies a post front sight. I’ll scope the rifle for the accuracy test.
You cannot overlook the outrageous skeleton stock. Carved out of beech, it adds very little weight to the rifle, yet brings your sighting eye up high to intercept the exit pupil of the scope. I can’t wait to try it!
The rated velocity for this carbine is 550 f.p.s., but I expect it to go a bit faster than that — especially with lighter lead pellets. I’d be surprised if RWS Hobbys didn’t get up close to 600 f.p.s. That 18-inch barrel is not to be ignored.
What do YOU expect?
Let’s be honest. This is a $270 CO2 airgun that started life as a far less expensive model and got modified to this high price point. I want to know what to expect from a gun like this. I’ve already compared it to a rare Sharp carbine that you can’t buy used for less than $600, but that isn’t going to satisfy most people, especially those who aren’t collectors. I want to know what performance you think a gun like this should have.
by B.B. Pelletier
Before we begin today, I wanted to remind you of the 2nd Annual Airgun Extravaganza in Malvern, Arkansas. It’s being held on Friday and Saturday, April 15 & 16. Contact Seth Rowland for more infomation.
Seth has made a deal with a couple motels. Mention the show and you’ll get a discount:
Comfort Inn Malvern, 501-467-3300: Thurs. $55, Fri. $65 Holiday Inn Malvern, 501-467-8800: Thurs. $85, Fri. $90
Make reservations now because they may fill up since the show’s being held on the same weekend as the Arkansas Derby. I have two tables reserved, and the Lord willing I’ll be there with Mac.
Now, for today’s report. From time to time, I’m asked to verify some facts by testing airguns in a certain way. Reader Victor questioned the accuracy claim for the Tech Force 79 Competition Rifle in the last report, and rightly so. It said the rifle is capable of a 5-shot group measuring 0.08 inches at 10 meters — something that the world’s top 10-meter rifles of today still struggle to achieve. I reckoned that the number had been mistakenly carried over at Compasseco in the past from the Chinese BS-4 target rifle that is a near-perfect copy of the FWB 300. That one really was capable of stunning accuracy. When Pyramyd Air purchased Compasseco, they used that description and this detail was never questioned. Given the large number of products that had to be added to Pyramyd Air’s website, it’s easy to see why not.
However, my struggles with the TF-79 during accuracy testing caused Pyramyd Air’s leadership to examine the rifle more critically, and this past week I was asked to establish a new accuracy figure for the rifle — one that’s realistic. Also, one that we know can be obtained. Since I spent an entire morning testing this rifle again, I darned sure was going to get a blog out of it!
I already had a great target from the RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets. I showed it to you in the last accuracy report, so it became the group to beat. Remember, I’m testing just one rifle. Others may be more accurate and some may be less accurate, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. No dealer can give you absolute accuracy information for every rifle with every possible target pellet. It simply takes too long. Even the $3,000 rifles are tested with only one pellet. To do otherwise would add hundreds of dollars to the cost of the gun, and would still be meaningless, since at any time a better pellet could come along.
Lest any of you get on the “machine rest” bandwagon at this point, that’s not how 10-meter guns are tested at any factory. They’re tested by human shooters, shooting off a rest. The one time I actually used a machine rest (a heavy machinist’s vise) was at AirForce, testing the Edge, and the results were no better than if I’d held the rifle myself. So, get off the machine rest/vise kick. It just isn’t done in the real world in the interest of time, and it isn’t necessary.
Having said all that from my bully pulpit, I also must admit that the people who test 10-meter rifles at the factories in Germany and Austria are the closest thing to vices that still have a heartbeat. They get real good at what they do, and you can see it in the tiny groups they send with their rifles. On the other hand, I’m just an average joe. I know how to shoot. When I get in the zone, I can even shoot pretty well. But I’m not the equal of the guys who test Olympic-grade 10-meter rifles for a living.
For this test, I had to get into the zone and stay there throughout the test. And THAT, my friends, is where the value of shooting the Ballard .38-55 centerfire target rifle comes in! You may recall that in my last outing to the range, I discovered the zone for the Ballard, and the last two targets showed it most dramatically. With that experience fresh in my mind, it was easy to get into the zone with the TF-79. I think you’ll see that my results prove it.
The target to beat is the best one I shot in the last test. That was with RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets and measured 0.244 inches across the centers.
Pyramyd Air asked me to do a comprehensive test of H&N target pellets (they’re the U.S. importer). I did test other pellets, as well, but 14 groups of H&N pellets were fired during this test. All pellet head sizes of every pellet used in this test were 4.50mm. While other sizes exist, nearly everything I have on hand has that same head size. The JSB S100 pellet (4.52mm head) that I tested in this rifle in the last test made a poor showing. I’m thinking this may be the best head size for this rifle. That’s just a guess, since there’s simply not enough time to test all of the 50+ tins of target pellets I have on hand.
H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets
First, I tested H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets. I thought they might be the most accurate because of their weight of almost 8.2 grains. The TF79 is a powerful 10-meter rifle and needs (may need?) a heavier pellet to gain consistency.
All my guessing turned out to be wrong. The H&N Match Rifle pellet had a wider spread of accuracy than some others. It averages 0. 33825 inches for five groups. That’s not a great showing in light of what was to come.
H&N Finale Pistol Match
H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets were next — and they surprised me.
The average of all four H&N Finale Match Pistol targets was 0.31775 inches. That’s significantly better and more uniform than the Finale Match Rifle pellets. Even though the Finale Match Rifle pellets had the single best group of the session, all of the Finale Match Pistol pellet groups were better than all but two of the five Finale Match Rifle groups.
H&N Match Pistol pellets
Next I tried H&N Match Pistol pellets. They lack the Finale name and are a couple dollars cheaper per tin, so I assume they’re made with less precision.
As you can see, the targets of the H&N Match Pistol pellets varied widely in accuracy. They averaged 0.39567 inches for all groups shot.
I also shot a special hunting pellet that’s currently a secret but will be revealed soon. I’ve been testing this pellet under various different circumstances, and in this test it surprised me by turning in the second-best group of the entire test!
A surprise was this single group of five special hunting pellets that averaged 0.279 inches between centers.
I won’t tell you what pellet is is, yet. When it comes to market, I’ll direct your attention back to this group.
The bottom line of this test is that the TF79 shoots pretty much the same as I tested it last time. By concentrating on H&N pellets, I did manage to show their performance in far greater detail. The RWS R10 pellets are still the best in this particular rifle, and 0.244 inches is still the best group I’ve shot with it. I did shoot one group of R10 pellets in this test and got a group measuring 0.30 inches between centers, so it’s still a very consistent performer.
I was entirely in the zone throughout the test, and only one target had to be thrown out because of technical difficulties (sighting variations) that were noted. So, we’re going to show the potential accuracy of this rifle to be 0.244 inches. Some may be better than that, of course, and others may not be as good.
Also, you get a bonus out of this. After this exhaustive test, I got out four vintage world-class 10-meter air rifles and went to town, just to make sure I still know how to shoot air rifles. You’ll get to see the results of that on Friday.