Posts Tagged ‘CO2’
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is accuracy day for the 327 TRR8 BB revolver, and there’s an additional surprise in this report. I was glad to get another chance to shoot this interesting BB revolver that feels so good in my hands. It actually has made me curious about the .357 Magnum firearm. Ain’t that always the way?
I inserted a fresh CO2 cartridge for this session, and we know from the velocity test that there are at least 65 good shots from a cartridge. I’m talking about the best part of the power band, where no excuses for accuracy can be made. So, I could conceivably fire 10 cylinders (60 shots) and be safe. As it turned out, I didn’t even need to shoot that many.
Before the cartridge went in for piercing, it got a couple drops of Crosman Pellgunoil on the small, flat end. That ensures some of the oil will be blown through the firing valve, where trace oil will coat every surface, including all seals and valve seats. I want this gun to hold gas forever, and this is cheap insurance!
I used Daisy zinc-plated BBs, which have proven to be the most accurate steel BBs I’ve found. I was recently surprised to learn that Daisy imports these BBs from China in 55-gallon steel drums, but I do know that they then put every BB through a sorting process here in the U.S. before packaging. Whatever they’re doing is working, because these are the most accurate standard steel BBs I’ve seen. Only the Avanti Precision Ground Shot is more accurate — and you’ll probably only see the difference in a precision target gun like the Avanti Champion 499.
I shot the gun at 5 meters, which is the international distance for BB gun competition. I used a rested two-hand hold with my forearms resting on a sandbag. I don’t believe I can hold the gun any better than I held it for this test.
I had said earlier that I thought I’d be using the bright green fiberoptic sight for this test. This revolver has some of the brightest sights I’ve ever seen. But when I lit the target with the 500-watt lamp, I found that I had to use the conventional sight picture of the front post level with the rear notch and lined up at 6 o’clock on the black bull. The bright light on the target made the fiberoptic tubes of the front post and rear notch go black. It was as if this was a conventional set of sights. The sights were crisper than I originally thought when the target was lit this brightly, so everything worked out quite well.
The first group was shot single-action, which proved to be the most accurate way of shooting this revolver, as expected. I was so close to the target that I saw the first shot rip through the black bull. After that, I fell into a rythym and didn’t check the target again. I shot 12-shot groups, since the cylinder holds six loaded cartridges. When all 12 shots were fired, I checked the target through binoculars and couldn’t believe my eyes! It really appeared as if only 6 shots had been fired, because nine BBs all went into a single tiny hole. I doubt very much that I could repeat such a grouop if I tried 100 more times.
The first group was phenomenal! It appears that 9 of the 12 shots went into the tiny group at the lower right, though the hole just above it may have more than one shot. Entire group measures 0.685 inches between centers.
With the success of the first group under my belt, I thought it prudent to shoot a second group single-action, just in case the first one was a fluke. As it turned out, it was. But I could see this group as it formed, and it looked better than the first one from the firing line. I wasn’t until I examined it in the binoculars that the whole story became obvious.
The larger hole in the center of the bull was visible from the firing line as I shot, but the holes that aren’t in the main group were hidden until I looked through binoculars. This is a more representative 12-shot group and measures 0.858 inches between centers.
I’m satisfied that the 327 TRR8 is an accurate BB gun. I was very relieved that the fiberoptics didn’t have to be used, because look at the precision I got. Combat sights (fiberoptics) aren’t ever going to give you that kind of group.
Next, it was time to try my hand at double-action shooting. This is more difficult, because the longer, heavy trigger-pull causes the gun to move in the hand as the trigger is pulled.
The first 6 shots went so well that I thought I’d be recanting my position on double-action shooting, but the first shot from the second cylinder fired before I was ready and as a result it went wide. It was a called flier that I could see because I was concentrating on the front sight so intently.
The rest of the shots went into a fairly nice group, except that there was one high shot that I cannot account for. But when you’re pulling a double-action trigger and the gun shifts by just a few degrees of angle, it’s enough to throw you off target.
I used the quick-loading procedure that was reported in Part 2 of this report. That’s where you press the mouths of the 6 shells into a layer of BBs, and they all pop into the cartridges. While doing this, I noticed one time that two of the BBs had not popped into their cartridge all the way. That would cause them to have less friction than the other four BBs and that could cause a variation. In handloading firearm ammunition, it would be called neck tension — and it’s a vital component of accuracy.
This is what happened when the cartridges were not pressed down evenly on the layer of BBs. Two BBs are sticking out the top of the cartridges and will have less friction than the other four that are deeper. When they were pushed into the cartridge, a noticeable pop was felt.
The bottom line
This completes the test of the S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver. We’ve seen how it works and all of its good features. It is a very well-made BB gun that looks like it will give good service for a long time. Accuracy is above average, and the power is well above the modest advertised velocity.
by B.B. Pelletier
The 327 TRR8 BB revolver is distributed by Umarex, which claims the muzzle velocity is 400 f.p.s. In fact, they print it right on the box!
To appreciate what I’m about to tell you, there are two things you must bear in mind. First, the manufacturer of an airgun has to publish the top velocity that gun could achieve. If they don’t, and if there’s ever a lawsuit, it would be bad if the gun was more powerful than advertised. A plaintiff could argue that they bought the gun, thinking it was capable of shooting at a certain velocity, when in fact it was actually capable of higher velocity. They could then argue that they would never have allowed their children to shoot (they may say “play with”) that gun, if they had known its true power.
This argument sounds bogus to a shooter, who would know that any gun is potentially dangerous, regardless of its velocity, but jury selection teams work hard to keep people with such knowledge off the jury, if they can. And to the uninformed, hearing that the gun is more powerful than advertised somehow makes it more evil, if the facts are presented in the right way.
Second, if a manufacturer advertises a certain gun to have a certain velocity and it clearly does not, they have just scored a black eye in marketing and public relations. They are called liars who just want to skew the facts in favor of their product.
This is the dilemma every manufacturer and distributor faces when they advertise their airguns. So what I am going to tell you today must be considered in this light.
Loading the CO2
I showed you the CO2 compartment in Part 1. The cartridge goes in easily, and the piercing screw is turned until a hiss of gas it heard. I then turn the screw just a little farther to make certain the hole in the cartridge is large enough. The pressure of the gas will prevent you from screwing the piercing screw too far.
I should add that, as always, I put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the cartridge before installing it. The oil gets blown through the gun’s valve and gets onto all the seals. It’s the best thing you can do for your CO2 gun.
The 327 TRR8 BB revolver has both a single-action and a double-action trigger-pull, and each must be tested for velocity. Sometimes, they’re fairly close, but there have been guns where the way the trigger was pulled made a 100 f.p.s. difference.
I used Daisy zinc-plated BBs for all shooting in this test.
Fresh CO2 cartridge — single-action pull
The first 10 shots on a fresh CO2 cartridge averaged 447 f.p.s., which is well about the advertised velocity. The string ranged from a low of 431 to a high of 462 f.p.s. That’s considerably above the advertised velocity and produces an average of 2.26 foot-pounds.
Next, I fired 10 shots double-action and got an average 441 f.p.s. The low was 428 and the high was 445 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 2.2 foot-pounds. So, there’s not too much difference between single-action and double-action in this revolver.
The trigger-pull seemed heavier than I remembered from the first report. It averaged 6 lbs., 4 oz. in the single-action mode, which is on the high side. However I must report that the trigger-pull is very crisp. It’s a single-stage trigger in this mode, which means there’s no travel before the trigger stops at the break point.
In the double-action mode, the trigger is easier to pull than on many other revolvers. It breaks at an average 9 lbs., 5 oz. on the test gun. When it’s pulled, there’s a definite stop point where the pull force increases before the release. It feels very much like a Colt double-action trigger from the 1920s rather than a Smith & Wesson trigger — because the Colts always stacked at the end of the pull, while the Smiths did not.
The 327 TRR8 comes with a speedloader, and Paul Capello showed us in his video of the Dan Wesson BB revolver how to quickly load the BBs. The 6 cartridges are loaded into the speedloader, which is then pressed down onto a layer of BBs held in the lid of a pellet tin. All 6 cartridges will be loaded this way, and it works perfectly every time.
As powerful as this revolver is, I was concerned about how many shots a single CO2 cartridge would give. And I wanted to stretch the number to as many as I could get, so I paused a minute between shots. Doing it that way, the first 25 shots were all in the 430+ f.p.s.range, regardless of whether they were fired single- or double-action.
After 46 shots had been fired, the velocity remained in the 412-425 f.p.s. range, again with a minute’s pause between shots. After 62 shots, the velocity was definitely falling and ranged from a high of 397 f.p.s. to a low of 286 f.p.s. at shot 85. In other words, there are plenty of shots in this revolver for the average backyard plinker. The high number of shots surprised me a bit, given the high velocities we saw at the beginning, but I did nurse the gas by pausing so long between shots. If you fire faster, and most shooters will, you can expect at least 10 percent fewer shots and all at a lower velocity. You’ll be able to hear when the velocity trails off and can stop shooting before you jam a BB in the barrel.
Observation thus far
So far, the 327 TRR8 seems to be holding up well. It’s powerful, reliable and gets a good number of shots from a cartridge. The trigger seems good, if not very light. The sights are fiberoptic, but have the brightest green tubes I’ve ever seen, so they’ll be used for the accuracy test, which comes next.
by B.B. Pelletier
S&W 327 TRR8 is an exciting new BB revolver.
Smith & Wesson’s firearm 327 TRR8 revolver is designed for self defense. The revolver is an 8-shot .357 Magnum revolver that employs a tactical rail, hence the TRR (for tactical rail revolver) designation. I wonder why S&W chose the number 327 for this revolver, because Federal Cartridge Company recently introduced their .327 Magnum cartridge that’s been touted as more effective in the real world than .357 — whatever that means.
The firearm revolver this BB gun copies retails for just a few dollars under $1,300, so you know it has to be a serious handgun! At 40-60 percent more than other models, the 327 must have a lot going for it. Its purpose is to provide a revolver that gives up nothing to the 1911A1, because it holds a similar number of rounds. Remember the comparison is being made with the .45 ACP, not a smaller law enforcement caliber; and .357 Magnum is considered to be equivalent to the big .45 as a man-stopper and superior in other aspects such as penetration. SWAT teams can now choose between a 1911-style semiauto or a revolver.
The firearm frame is made of Scandium, S&W’s lightweight metal that replaces steel. Although its large, it’s lightweight, at 35.3 oz. The BB gun is just a trifle heavier, at 35.9 oz. The firearm comes from the S&W Performance Center and has a custom-tuned trigger, trigger stop and a tuned action. That’s where the extra money goes.
I don’t own a 327 firearm, nor have I ever shot one, so I can’t evaluate the claims that it has the best trigger S&W is currently putting in revolvers or that it handles the recoil of the .357 cartridge more effectively than any other revolver. The closest handgun I have that also handles .357 Magnum recoil is a Desert Eagle pistol, and that comparison would be unfair and unbalanced in every way. This report will have to focus on the BB gun, by itself.
The prototype firearm is a high-capacity revolver, but shockingly the BB gun holds only 6 rounds instead of the 8 promised in the model name. And the size of the BB gun is on the small side. I find the finger grooves are too close for comfort. Instead of an N-frame Smith, this seems like more of a K-frame gun. I find that confusing. Isn’t the whole purpose of the gun to hold 8 shots? But looking at the BB-gun cylinder I can see there isn’t enough metal for any more than 6 rounds, so I must assume that the cylinder on the firearm is larger than the one on the BB gun. But the BB gun is about one full inch longer than the firearm, which I attribute to the angle of the grip that houses the CO2 cartridge.
This revolver has a cylinder that swings out to the left side of the gun when the cylinder catch is pressed forward. And when it is pressed back, the safety is engaged. Once out of the frame, the ejection crane does not come all the way back to fully extract the cartridges from their chambers. It isn’t necessary, because the cartridges do not swell during firing the way firearm cases do. So you can simply tip the muzzle up and the cases will drop from the cylinder on their own.
The spring-loaded breech of the barrel is rounded to fit into the front of each chamber, which is the primary way the cylinder locks during firing. There is a locking bolt that engages the rear of the cylinder, as well, but it doesn’t lock very tightly. It is possible to turn the cylinder in either direction with the gun’s hammer down in the fired position.
There are six brass-bodied “cartridges” that hold one BB each, and they are used to load the gun. They are approximately the same size as a .357 Magnum cartridge, so you get the realism of handling ammo when you load the gun.
The gun comes with a speedloader to hold the cartridges and it will be used to rapidly load each cartridge by pressing all six cartridge “mouths” into a flat pellet tin filled with a layer of steel BBs. When the speedloader is inserted into the cylinder, a central release button is automatically depressed, releasing all six cartridges into the cylinder. Gravity will do the rest and the cylinder can be closed. You may need to practice this move several times to develop a feel for it, but once you do, it seems to work fine.
The sights are fiberoptic on the BB gun. While I don’t like fiberoptics in general on any gun, in this case they work because this isn’t a target gun. It is supposed to be a rapid-acquistion handgun, and these sights support that goal perfectly. All three green dots are bright in nearly any light. Your eye will pick them up quickly, and putting them in a row give you the sight picture you want. So, forget groups on paper targets and think of rolling soda cans. That’s what this gun was designed to do.
Besides the open sights, there’s a Picatinny rail located atop the frame and another under the muzzle. The gun was built for optical sights. I may try that after the conventional accuracy test.
The CO2 fits neatly inside the grip with nothing showing outside. Even the piercing screw is hidden, which is what most buyers say they want.
The gun fires in both the single-action and double-action modes. I’ll describe the trigger-pull in greater detail in Part 2, but for now let me say that, in single-action, it’s relatively crisp; and a single-stage pull in double-action is short and reasonably light.
This revolver is distributed by Umarex. It’s very realistic-looking, even to the matte finish that the firearm has. It will be an interesting gun to test.
by B.B. Pelletier
Photos and test by Earl (Mac) McDonald, unless otherwise indicated
Today we look at the accuracy the S&W M&P R8 BB revolver offers. Because this is a BB revolver Mac tested it at 15 feet, but he also tested it at 25 feet as well. So we’ll get a look at what is considered to be a long distance for any BB pistol.
Oddly, Mac found the revolver more accurate when fired double-action and timed-fire. Timed fire means he got off all eight shots in about 20 seconds. It gets its name from a type of handgun shooting in which the competitors are given a certain amount of time to fire all their shots. So perhaps it is best understood as deliberate aimed fire, rather than slow aimed fire.
There was some question last time as to whether the velocity reported was obtained from single-action or double-action fire. Mac says it doesn’t matter because both ways produce the same results. The hammer on double-action releases at the exact same place as it does single-action, so the only real advantage is that in single-action you can slow down. However, that brings up a second controversy.
Several readers wondered about the high number of shots from a single cartridge. Mac advises that he charged the pistol twice and got the same results, so it isn’t s fluke. It really does get 120 good shots per cartridge, as long as the shooting is deliberate.
Many of you commented that the single-action trigger pull seemed very heavy, and at over nine pounds I guess it is. Mac says it doesn’t feel that heavy when you are shooting, but he does admit that the single-action pull is a bit stiff. He thinks that may be linked in some way to this action that is different than most other BB pistols he’s tried.
He felt the light weight of the gun did not hinder him while shooting, but adds that if he were keeping it, he would find ways to increase the weight. Putting lead in the cavities in the grip is one way to do this, and adding accessories is another.
During all the testing Mac used Daisy zinc-plated BBs.
The accessory rail under the barrel of the S&W M&P R8 revolver is the perfect place for a compact laser. At BB-gun distances, the dot would be easy to see. Also, Mac feels the extra weight would be nice.
Next he moved back to 25 feet and tried again. This time he tried it in both the single-action and double-action modes.
One more observation
Mac also noticed that one of the chambers in the plastic BB clip seemed loose. He noticed that there was always one or more fliers in his groups and he thinks this may be the reason why.
Mac feels there is a lot to like in the S&W M&P R8 BB revolver. He likes the realism and the large number of shots he gets from a single CO2 cartridge. For the price he thinks it’s a pretty good buy.
by B.B. Pelletier
Photos and test by Earl (Mac) McDonald, unless otherwise indicated
I overlooked mentioning the S&W M&P R8 BB revolver in the first report on lookalike airguns last Friday, but of course it is one, as well. I’m not familiar with the firearm M&P R8 revolver, so it was natural to think of this as a standalone model. But there is a firearm counterpart, if that is of interest to you.
I also neglected to mention the short Picatinny rail on the underside of the barrel near the muzzle. I suppose it is for mounting a compact laser with a pressure switch located close to the firing hand, though since most shooters use two hands to shoot handguns these days I suppose you could also turn it on with your non-firing hand.
We heard a complaint about the use of plastic and I thought I would comment on that. Guys, I don’t like plastic, either, but more and more firearms are being made with at least some of it these days. You have to understand that when you get into this price range for an airgun, there are very few options. Basically it’s either plastic or zinc. The dies for these two materials are very expensive, so the maker has to calculate how many guns they think they can sell against the tooling costs to produce. And there are also short-run tools that are less expensive, but which wear out faster and long-term tooling that lasts longer but can cost many times as much as short-term tools. All of this is a gamble on how well the manufacturer thinks the gun will sell.
Then there is the general public’s acceptance of plastic as a legitimate manufacturing material. As crass as this sounds, if a manufacturer can sell a hundred thousand pieces of a product, the fact that it is criticized by a few hundred or even a thousand aficionados makes little difference. That is the reason there are so many firearms being made with engineering plastic these days.
And finally there is the fact that if the part is correctly engineered, plastic has few shortcomings and actually offers significant advantages, like strength and resistance to wear (over zinc), corrosion resistance, the ability to accept a finish more uniformly, and even things like providing a low-friction surface that doesn’t have to be lubricated to work well.
Don’t think that I like plastic in airguns. I’m simply acknowledging the reality that exists today, when our telephones are also GPS devices, televisions, alarm clocks and 157 other things. But the “buttons” that work them are mostly in software, and if they don’t respond you can be in a serious pickle. Also, you can’t repair plastic when it breaks. That is just one of the reservations I have about plastic guns.
The overall reception of this revolver was positive and enthusiastic. Many readers commented on the realistic look. The manufacturer even went to the point of copying the V notch in the rear sight. The reason for this is that on the firearm the front Patridge sight has a white dot, so the BB gun has it as well. If you can see the dot, the V-notch is entirely appropriate, making the centering of the dot quick and easy. If you can’t see the dot, you just have to struggle to estimate where the sides of the front post are. Since most handgunners don’t shoot at targets (the assumption must be), this is a compromise in favor of rapid target acquisition.
Mac really enjoyed shooting his M&P R8. He was very impressed and tells me every time we talk. So my opinion has to be that this revolver is worth your consideration and the money, if you buy it.
Today is velocity testing day. I went to the manual to see how the 8-round clip is loaded and believe it or not, it doesn’t specify. However, the photo shows loading the BBs from the front of the clip, which is how many other similar BB pistol clips have to be loaded, and that is how Mac did it.
Mac used Daisy zinc-plated BBs, because experience has shown they are the most accurate and the most uniform BBs on the market. Another BB that also works well and is actually finished even smoother than the Daisy is the Walther BB, but Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry them. Though these BBs are slightly larger than Crosman Copperhead BBs they usually get higher velocity and almost always the velocity variation of the shot string with them is tighter.
The 12-gram CO2 cartridge goes in the grip, like everyone assumed. Push in on a tab under the grip and the back opens to receive the new cartridge.
The screw that pushes the CO2 cartridge into the piercing pin is entirely concealed by the grip when it is locked closed. That satisfies those who dislike being able to see the mechanism. I am surprised no one mentioned that about the Walther PPK/S in the lookalike report, because it is the number one complain I hear about those replica air pistols.
Mac measured the single action trigger pull at 9.6 pounds and the double action pull at 10.2 pounds. Remember that single action means the hammer is pulled back to the cocked position which also rotates the cylinder to the next BB, so when you pull the trigger all you are doing is releasing the sear to let the hammer fall.
The temperature was 60 degrees F (15.6 C) when Mac tested the gun. That is close to the bottom temperature at which CO2 should be used. Because it is a refrigerant gas, CO2 will cool the gun as it is fired, thus decreasing the velocity on each successive shot. On a 60-degree day, there isn’t much ambient temperature to warm the gun back up again, so once it is cooled, it tends to stay there. Mac allowed a minimum of 15-20 seconds between shots for the gun to recover from cooling, but on this day, there wasn’t much recovery.
He fired a string of eight shots, getting an average of 359 f.p.s. That works out to 1.52 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The low was 336 and the high was 379 f.p.s., so the spread was a bit larger than we normally see, but on a cool day that is to be expected. Also expect to see higher average velocity when the temperature warms up 20 degrees.
What Mac noted that surprised him was the great number of shots he got from a single CO2 cartridge. After shot 120 the gun was still sending them out at 320 f.p.s., which is petty astounding. There are certain BB guns that get many shots from a cartridge, but their average velocities are always well below 300 f.p.s.. So the evidence points to the fact that the design (barrel mating with the cylinder and ridges around each chamber in the clip) is very economical.
This pistol just keeps getting better and better, as far as Mac is concerned. It’s a delight to shoot and now we find that it conserves gas like a hybrid car. Accuracy comes next, and I don’t think you will be disappointed.
by B.B. Pelletier
Photos and test by Earl “Mac” McDonald, unless otherwise indicated
Mac’s back! As we enter the end of year season and approach the Christmas holidays, I want to review as many new guns as possible, while continuing to address my ongoing tests, so I asked Mac to give me a hand. Today, he starts with the S&W M&P R8 BB revolver.
I’m conservative, so whenever a company starts to use a model name inappropriately (in my opinion) it bothers me. When Benjamin used the name Super Streak for a breakbarrel spring rifle — where the name Streak has always been used only for Sheridan multi-pumps — it bothered me. When Smith & Wesson used their time-honored Military & Police (M&P) title to designate a semiautomatic pistol instead of a revolver, I was deeply concerned.
It seems the people in the marketing department that select these product names either don’t know the fine history of the company they work for, or they think the established name brings a lot of fetch with it. Of course it does, but look at what happened to the Weihrauch HW50 when the configuration of the gun was changed. Remember the lengthy conversations we’ve had on this blog and the lengths some people have to go to differentiate between the older HW50 and the one that’s now produced?
There’s still an M&P revolver, and today we’ll start looking at a CO2-powered BB gun by the same name. So, now you know what the M&P means, what about the R8? Well, it’s pretty simple. It’s code for a revolver that holds eight shots.
Mac was very impressed by this handgun. Even though it comes in a blister pack, it has many interesting features that are worthy of note. The first is that the cylinder is released from the frame to swing out to the left side of the gun just like the firearm it copies.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of this BB revolver is the length to which the designers went to control gas. The pistol is powered by a conventional 12-gram CO2 cartridge that fits inside the Hogue-like grip. Normally a gun like this might give 50-60 good shots on a single cartridge. But this one has several features that more than double that number without sacrificing power.
Like a Nagant firearm revolver, this CO2 BB revolver mates the cylinder to the rear of the barrel to reduce gas loss when firing. The 7.62 Nagant moves the cylinder forward to seal with the rear of the barrel. The M&P R8 has a spring-loaded barrel (a soft, weak spring) with a rounded rear that rides over the mouth of the cylinder, popping into each chamber in turn when the gun locks up.
The rear of the barrel is rounded to move over the mouth of the cylinder as it revolves. The barrel is held in place by a weak spring, so it always pops back to this position, yet doesn’t hinder operation of the mechanism.
Of course, revolvers don’t have safeties, except in cheap novels and the one exception that nobody ever hears about, but these days the transfer bar that connects the hammer to the firing pin only when it’s safe to fire is considered a safety. And this gas pistol has one! It’s not a bar at all, but rather a piece of thick wire that moves up when everything is right to fire the gun. It won’t prevent a fool from shooting himself or someone else, but they better not get me on the stand if that happens, because shooting this airgun requires a deliberate act!
This photo shows the transfer bar in position to connect the hammer to the valve stem that is analogous to the firing pin. You can also see the V-shaped rear sight notch that ought to be changed to a square one.
The M&P R8 has a decent front post and a ridiculous rear V-notch that’s better-suited to a .22 autoloading rifle. That kind of front sight needs a square rear notch, and I am surprised by its lack — especially given all the thought that went into the rest of the revolver! However, it IS entirely accurate, because the firearm has the identical rear sight. The front sight has an unnecessary white bead, but it goes away in the right lighting conditions and the post appears square against the target.
The manual says the sights are fixed, but Mac found that they are, indeed, adjustable. The rear notch can be slid sideways after the locking screw is loosened and actually be shimmed with paper for up and down adjustment. Had the makers put a spring under the sight, there’s even a screw that would allow vertical adjustment; so they’re selling themselves short by excluding it.
It uses a clip
Besides the cylinder swinging out to the side, this revolver also uses a circular BB clip. Only one clip comes with the gun; but as Mac reports, you could carry loaded clips easily and use them like a firearm revolver speedloader if you wanted. He noted while loading the one clip that one chamber always seemed looser than the others. We’ll see if that had any effect in the accuracy test.
Mac was particularly impressed by the robust appearance of the revolver’s action. The hand (lever connected to the cocking mechanism) that advances the cylinder with each pull of the trigger is metal. Mac noted that it didn’t appear to wear from his shooting test. He ended up firing well over 100 shots. Not showing even a shiny spot means the part is correctly hardened for the task it’s been given. While you shouldn’t expect a BB gun at this price to last forever, this is a good sign that it will shoot well for a long time.
I guess Mac really likes this one. We’re going to be looking at a lot of new guns in the coming weeks, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out!
by B.B. Pelletier
Shao Lin wins this week’s Big Shot of the Week.
The more I read the old books about shooting and guns written by men who were born in the 19th century, the more I realize how much alike we all are — and I don’t just mean shooters, now. I mean people, in general!
Let’s begin with nicknames or handles. We have some clever ones here on this blog. But are you aware that back in the late 1800s, shooters who posted letters in their favorite shooting publications — which at that time were mostly newspapers — did the same thing?
Names like Medicus and Iron Ramrod shout out from the late 19th century with their concerns that the younger shooters who are getting used to cartridge-loading breechloaders simply do not know the rudiments of shooting like the “real shooters” who grew up with black powder! The new crop of shooters (I’m speaking of late 19th-century shooters, now) have forgotten how to measure a group with string and they want to measure the distance to their targets in yards instead of rods like real shooters do.
Then, there are the experiments they performed. Dr. Mann was the great one for this, and he kept a very compliant Harry Pope busy fashioning the testbeds for his various forays into the arcane world of ballistics. Things like the cylindrical rifle action that allowed Dr. Mann to rotate the action by degrees in a complete revolution, all while the gun was safely snugged down in his 3,000-lb. “Shooting Gibralter” vise. Or the barrel he convinced Pope to rifle after drilling and tapping eight holes through the side of the barrel near the muzzle so Mann could test the effects of releasing gas to the side so it didn’t exit the muzzle with the bullet. Pope had to lay out that rifling job so those pre-drilled and threaded holes ended up in the grooves of his gain-twist rifling and did not cut through any of the eight lands!
I got a call the other day from Dennis Quackenbush, who follows my column in Shotgun News. He became interested in my comments on the rifling twist rate of airgun barrels as it relates to stabilizing those solid pellets that I call bullets. They don’t shoot very well in most airgun barrels because the twist rate of one turn in 16 inches of barrel isn’t fast enough to stabilize them once they exit the muzzle. So, he offered to make me two test barrels — one rifled 1 in 22″ and the other rifled 1 in 13″ — to test what effects the twist rate has on pellet stabilization. I’m going to accept his offer, and we’ll have yet another look at one of the big drivers of accuracy. I’ll also test velocity using the exact same power settings, so we will have a good look at how twist rates affect velocity.
Years ago, Dennis allowed me to cut off one of his smallbore CO2 rifle barrels an inch at a time so I could chronograph the pellets coming out of many different barrel lengths. I reported those results in The Airgun Letter after completing the test, which is why I now have some sense of how long a CO2 barrel needs to be to get maximum velocity.
Then, there’s the famous Cardew experiment from their book, The Airgun From Trigger to Target, where the authors fired a spring-piston rifle in an inert gas environment that didn’t support combustion — all so they could test the power level of a spring-piston rifle that was denied the possibility of dieseling. The fact that they did the experiment was good enough. We learned that all air rifles that shoot above a certain velocity diesel with every shot. But what was really cool was how they did it — by shooting inside plastic bags!
When I worked at AirForce, we had a customer who purchased a .22-caliber Condor, then proceeded to adapt the rifle’s reservoir to a large helium tank. He could then sit at a bench and fire the rifle on pure helium. He claimed to get over 1,500 f.p.s. from his modified rifle. It was useless for anything else, but he didn’t want to do anything other than see how fast it could shoot.
Even my semi-sane buddy Mac bought a 26-inch Weihrauch barrel in .177 just so he could adapt it to his son’s Condor. He was looking for a flat-shooting air rifle and I guess he got it, because his son is now supposed to be able to keep all his shots on the round end of a soda can at 80 yards.
Let us never forget the great pogostick repeating airgun! That one is now in Vince’s protective care, awaiting his verdict on whether or not it can be made operable.
Here’s a problem many shooters have. Their dominant eye is on the other side of their body from the side that dominates the motor skills. The most common is a right-handed person whose has a dominant or master left eye. This can be overcome in a number of ways — including tinkering! Back when Edith was shooting BRV, she discovered that she is left-eye dominant; but Gary Barnes, who made the rifle she competed with, made her an outrigger scope mount that put the scope in line with her left eye. The mount had to be boresighted for just one range; because like the pellet drop, the gun also shot to the left from the shooter’s perspective. No problem in BRV, though, because it was all shot at one distance.
Edith’s outrigger scope mount helped her sight with her left eye while shooting right-handed.
But Edith is far from the first shooter to have this problem. Take a look at the lengths a shotgun maker will go to satisfy his client.
A friend owns this shotgun with a crossover stock. It was made to aid a right-handed shooter who is left-eye dominant.
A couple months ago, I bought an unusual Schmidt-Rubin Model 1911 rifle at a gun show. This one has been carefully transformed into a fine target rifle. I could spend a whole blog on just this one rifle, but here are some highlights. The military stock has been completely reshaped into a target style with a deeply curved pistol grip. The bolt handle that used to be two cones of red plastic (yes, I said plastic — though they may be almost any synthetic, since this is a 1911 rifle) now has a steel ball for a pull. It looks odd but it works. And the front sight is a thing of beauty. A man has taken the time to hand-make a target globe front sight with replaceable inserts. I got only the one insert that’s in the sight now, which is two brass wires arranged like scope reticles. They look crude up close; but last week at the range I put four cast lead bullets in one inch at 100 yards, and that was the first time I ever loaded for this rifle.
Someone converted this Swiss Schmidt-Rubin model 1911 rifle into a target rifle. The stock is fashioned from the original military stock.
He replaced the conventional red synthetic bolt knobs with a steel ball, which he welded to the bolt handle.
The amount of time and care that someone put into making this target sight is amazing! This is where enthusiasts will take the sport when they have the time, motivation and skills.
I remember attending an airgun breakfast sponsored by the NRA at the Annual Meetings in Kansas City. Dennis Quackenbush and I sat on either side of the man who was the CEO of Crosman Corporation at that time. We got onto the subject of all the people who modify Crosman airguns, and the executive said he was surprised that shooters would spend time and money on a $39 airgun. Dennis told him, “Oh, but they do. You sell them the gun for $39 and I sell them $125 worth of accessories. Your guns are keeping me in business!”
From the look on the man’s face, I don’t think he believed us. And from his perspective, maybe he was right. He might sell 50,000 SSP air pistols in a year and Dennis might sell the parts to modify 500 of them in various ways. So, each man had an entirely different perspective on the situation.
As a writer, though, my eye is always on what people are doing, or what they say they want to do. I can’t be interested in a buyer who responds to a point of sale promotion at a discount store, because he may lose interest tomorrow. It’s when he finds his way to this blog through the tanglefoot of the internet and asks that first question that tells me we’re about to gain another potential member in out growing ranks. It’s at that point that my mantra becomes one of flypaper.
Almost anything can be interesting if it’s presented in the right way. And with airguns, one of the right ways is to wow the audience. Make them say to themselves, “I didn’t know that!” If you can do that, we’ll gain a lot of new shooters who are interested in learning.
Another way to attract new people is to help them through the minefield of hype and hyperbolae. The marketing people are doing all they can to attract people to the hobby, but it’s us veterans who will make things inviting enough that they’ll want to stay. And that is what I want, more than anything.