Posts Tagged ‘Crosman Premier heavy pellets’
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is the day I tell you about the horrible blunder I made. Remember the two tests I did with the Talon SS PCP rifle using the AirForce Micro-Meter air tank? Well, that wasn’t a Micro-Meter tank! It was a standard tank!
Blog reader twotalon guessed it was wrong, and I ignored him. When John McCaslin, the owner of AirForce Airguns, read my last report of the Micro-Meter tank — the one where I got 340 shots on a fill — he saw that I reached over 800 f.p.s. in .22 caliber and knew a Micro-Meter tank couldn’t do that. He called me and walked me through the logic of why it couldn’t be a Micro-Meter tank. Sure enough, he was right!
I guess what happened is that when I went to AirForce to pick up the Micro-Meter tank, I grabbed the wrong tank. Then, when I tested it on the optional 24-inch barrel first, I didn’t question the numbers because I didn’t know what the numbers should be with the longer barrel. As for why I missed seeing it when I tested it with the 12-inch barrel, that was entirely my fault. I simply didn’t think it through. Twotalon even asked me if there was a sticker on the Micro-Meter tank, and I told him there wasn’t, but I thought that was because AirForce had forgotten to put one on. Or I’d picked up a tank before the sticker was applied.
It doesn’t matter. The fact is that I tested the gun with both barrels using a standard tank. I’m going to update those other reports to reflect that, and today we’ll see what a Talon SS does when it’s using a real Micro-Meter air tank. And now we have the results of a standard tank for comparison.
I’ll start today with the standard 12-inch barrel, and then I’ll test the real Micro-Meter tank with the 24-inch barrel in the next report. Because I have a good idea of how many shots I’ll get from this tank, I modified the test to shoot 30 dry-fire, or blank, shots between the recorded strings — just to burn up air a little faster. In the previous two tests, I fired only 20 dry-fire shots between strings.
I’m still shooting only the .22-caliber Crosman Premier pellet in this test. And I started with a fill to exactly 3,000 psi.
The first string of 10 shots was with the power wheel set at the lowest setting, which I’ll call zero. The gun averaged 590 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 583 to a high of 601 f.p.s. That’s an average of 11.06 foot-pounds.
For the next 10, I dialed up the power as high as it would go. The rifle averaged 585 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 582 to a high of 590 f.p.s. The average energy at the muzzle was 10.87 foot-pounds. Then, I fired 30 blank shots without pellets.
Shots 51-60 were fired on low power and averaged 557 f.p.s. They ranged from 547 to 563 f.p.s. The average energy was 9.85 foot-pounds. I fired 30 more blank shots. From this point on, all shooting was done on the lowest power setting.
Shots 91 to 100 averaged 547 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 539 to a high of 556 f.p.s. They averaged 9.5 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Notice how tight the strings are? Even though the velocity is decreasing, the consistency remains good. After this string, I fired 30 more blank shots.
Shots 131 to 140 averaged 525 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 516 to a high of 533 f.p.s. The average energy was 8.75 foot-pounds. I noticed that the first couple shots at the beginning of each string were always the slowest, so those blank shots had an affect on the numbers. After this string, I fired another 30 blank shots.
Shots 171 to 180 averaged 512 f.p.s. and ranged from 502 to 523 f.p.s. The average energy was 8.33 foot-pounds. After this string, I fired 30 more blank shots.
Shots 211 to 220 averaged 489 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 475 to a high of 500 f.p.s. The average energy was 7.59 foot-pounds. That puts the gun, after 220 shots have been fired, in the same power range as a .22-caliber Diana model 27. After this string, I fired another 30 blank shots
Shots 251 to 260 averaged 467 f.p.s., with a range from 458 to a high of 474 f.p.s. The average energy was 6.93 foot-pounds. After this string, another 30 blank shots were fired.
Shots 291 to 300 averaged 443 f.p.s. with a spread from 434 to 451 f.p.s. The average energy was 6.23 foot-pounds. The velocity is dropping off steadily, but slowly; and if you were plinking in the backyard, you’d never notice it. After this string, I fired another 30 blank shots.
Shots 331 to 340 averaged 416 f.p.s. and ranged from 410 to 425 f.p.s. The average energy was 5.5 foot-pounds. Another 30 blank shots followed this string.
Shots 371 to 380 averaged 379 f.p.s. and ranged from 370 to 392 f.p.s. The average energy was 4.56 foot-pounds. I stopped after shot 380 because the velocity was getting low and I heard a short hiss of air escaping from the tank. Clearly, the valve was down to its bottom performance point and would not continue to hold air at pressures much lower than this. When I checked the pressure remaining in the tank it was exactly at 1,100 psi. The gun used an incredible 1,900 psi of air over these 380 shots.
What have we learned?
The first thing we learned is that the gun gets even more shots with the Micro-Meter tank than it does with the standard tank. I count 40 more shots, though there were still some shots left in the standard tank when that test ended at 340 shots.
Next, we see there was no increase in velocity, as this tank was used up. Instead, there was a slow and steady decline in velocity from the first shot to the last.
As far as consistency goes, the standard tank was just as consistent as the Micro-Meter tank, but at significantly higher velocities. The Micro-Meter tank will be easier on your backstop. If that isn’t a problem, the standard tank still gives you plenty of low-velocity shots.
The last thing I’ve learned is that I’m still capable of making mistakes. I thought I was done with them several years ago, but apparently it’s like riding a bike. Once you learn how….
by B.B. Pelletier
The report that follows was done in error. I thought I was testing a Micro-Meter air tank, but it turned out that I was really testing a standard air tank.
The corrected test is located here. I am sorry for this inconvenience, but you can click on the link in the sentence above and it will direct you to the correct test.
Today, I’m testing the AirForce Talon SS with the standard 12-inch barrel using the Micro-Meter air tank. This is the setup the tank was designed to use; and although I predicted that this test would look a lot like the last test with the Micro-Meter tank and an optional 24-inch barrel, I was wrong. Today’s test is amazing! It’s an insight into how a precharged airgun operates.
I’ll begin at the end. I fired a total of 340 shots on just one fill, and there was still plenty of air remaining for at least another 150 shots! I saw first hand at the NRA Annual Meetings how the Micro-Meter air tank stays on the line for so long without needing a refill!
But don’t go cashing in those 340 shots just yet. Allow me to explain what I did and how the gun performed.
As before with the longer barrel, the tank was filled to 3,000 psi. That proved to be a mistake in this case. Allow me to show you what I mean.
This time, I didn’t fool around with any pellets other than the .22-caliber Crosman Premier. Everything you’re about to read was achieved with that single pellet.
First 10 shots
The first 10 shots were fired on the lowest power setting and averaged 392 f.p.s., ranging from 347 to 442 f.p.s. That is a large spread, and, as you’ll see shortly, the valve was partially air-locked.
The next 10 shots were fired on the highest power setting and averaged 849 f.p.s.! That’s correct, the gun produced 22.89 foot-pounds with the Micro-Meter tank at the highest power setting. The low was 836, and the high was 861 f.p.s. That was clearly not what this tank was designed to do, so I dialed the power back to the halfway point, which corresponds to about the No. 6 on the dial.
Power setting 6
At this setting, the rifle averaged 836 f.p.s., so I stopped at shot 5. The low was 832, and the high was 839 f.p.s. I wasn’t interested in this kind of power from the Micro-Meter tank, and I didn’t want to waste air. So, I dialed back to power setting 2 and continued.
Power setting 2
On power setting 2, the rifle averaged 786 f.p.s. Again, I stopped at 5 shots. The low was 758, and the high was 803 f.p.s. By this, time a total of 30 shots had been fired on the fill. I dialed the power down as low as it would go and continued.
The next 10 shots on the lowest power setting averaged 514 f.p.s. The spread went from 487 to 537 f.p.s. It was clear that the valve was now staying open longer, and I would estimate the tank pressure had dropped to 2,800 psi by the start of this string. I could see at this point that this was going to be a long test, though I never imagined how long; so, I shot twenty “blank” shots (dry-fires that had no pellets) just to use up some air. It’s arguable whether shots that have no pellet in front of them use the same amount of air as shots that do have pellets. As you’ll see, it really doesn’t matter that much because we haven’t even started yet!
The gun is still on the lowest power setting, and this 10-shot string averaged 574 f.p.s. The low was 550, and the high was 628 f.p.s. After this, I fired another 20 shots with no pellets.
The gun is still set at the lowest power. These 10 shots averaged 649 f.p.s. and ranged from 603 to 689 f.p.s. In retrospect, after the test was over, I determined this string to be the start of the useful shots. I estimate the tank had about 2,500 psi at the start of this string — though that would have to be confirmed if the numbers meant enough to you to do the work. They didn’t to me, so 2,500 psi was just my estimate. Now, I fired 20 more blank shots.
This string averaged 703 f.p.s. and ranged from 633 to 743 f.p.s. After this, I fired 20 more blank shots
This string averaged 750 f.p.s. and ranged from 719 to 766 f.p.s. I would like to note that the rifle is now performing almost exactly the same as a Beeman R1 breakbarrel in .22 caliber! When this string was finished, I fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 752 f.p.s. and ranged from 743 to 757 f.p.s. This was the top power the rifle developed in this test, and I would estimate the pressure at the start of this string was around 1,900 psi. The gun will not use air in a linear fashion as the shots increase. As the air pressure in the tank drops, the valve stays open longer. I then fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 735 f.p.s and ranged from a low of 727 f.p.s. and a high of 740 f.p.s. Notice how tight these later strings are! You could shoot at 35 yards with the gun shooting like this! And you could also hunt with it. I then fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 713 f.p.s. and ranged from 707 to 726 f.p.s. The rifle is slowing down, but the valve is keeping each 10-shot string relatively tight. I then fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 688 f.p.s. and ranged from 682 to 694 f.p.s. I then fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 659 f.p.s. and ranged from 652 to 664 f.p.s. Notice how tight this string is after 300 shots have been fired! No other air rifle that I know of can do this when running on air. The USFT might be able to, but I haven’t tested it this way to see. I then fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 624 f.p.s. and ranged from 613 to 630 f.p.s. This was where I stopped the test; but as you can see, the gun will still continue shooting for a lot longer.
Ending air pressure in the tank
After 340 shots had been fired, the Micro-Meter tank still had 1,200 psi remaining. That isn’t an estimate — I actually determined it by filling the tank and noting when it began accepting a charge. If my estimate about the pressure was correct when I declared the gun to be on the power curve (at shot 91), and if I include all the shots fired after that, then there were a total of 250 useful shots on a fill to 2,500 psi. The gun got those shots on about 1,300 psi of air. That is remarkable when you consider that it was also developing some pretty respectable power at the same time.
Remember what the Micro-Meter tank is for
To accept what I’m saying, you must keep in mind that the Micro-Meter tank is for shooting quietly in your basement. The range I envision is 10 meters, maximum, though we can see that the rifle can actually shoot a lot farther than that. But that’s not the purpose of the tank.
If the starting fill pressure is only 2,500 psi like I suspect, then the Micro-Meter tank can be easily filled from a hand pump. Another good thing about this novel air tank.
If you want to use the adjustable power feature of the gun, the range will be in the lower numbers. After the halfway point on the power scale, the rifle is just wasting air.
I’ve tested the Micro-Meter tank in the past, but never before with the mindset of its real purpose. Now that I have that in mind, this test has revealed an incredible level of performance.
Sure the velocity varied a lot over the useful shot strings; but at 10 meters, I doubt anyone will notice. For plinking and keeping the grandkids amused, the Micro-Meter tank is the lazy man’s PCP!
Next, I plan to test that theory with an accuracy test of this tank and gun combination at 10 meters.
by B.B. Pelletier
This is a continuation of our in-depth look at the AirForce Talon SS precharged pneumatic air rifle. Today, I’m going to begin examining the optional air tank with the Micro-Meter valve. The rifle I’m testing today has the optional .22-caliber 24-inch barrel installed. I would not normally put this long barrel together with the Micro-Meter tank — because this is a pneumatic rifle, and a long barrel will give higher velocity than a shorter one. When I use the Micro-Meter valve, I don’t want high velocity. But since a detailed test like this has never been published (to my knowledge), I’m doing it here and now. After this test, I’ll install the 12-inch barrel that comes standard on the SS and rerun the test with that, since that’s what most owners will probably be doing.
Blog reader twotalon posted some results he got with his gun on the last report, but he was shooting a .177 rifle with a 12-inch barrel and he filled to only 190 bar. I filled to 206 bar, which is 3,000 psi.
Which power setting do I use?
There was some data that suggested the power settings on the gun would be reversed with the Micro-Meter tank on a full fill, and, indeed, that’s what I experienced. The first 10 shots were with .22-caliber Crosman Premiers at the lowest power setting and they averaged 718 f.p.s. Two additional shots were fired in this string but failed to record, however, I kept track of them to keep a running tally of the velocity over the entire shot count. In this first 10-shot string, the slowest shot went 713 f.p.s., the fastest went 723 f.p.s.
Next, I adjusted the gun to its highest power setting. The first shot went 722 f.p.s., but after that nothing was above 709 f.p.s. These 10 shots on the highest power setting averaged 707 f.p.s. and ranged from 699 to 722 f.p.s. Highest power gives lowest velocity when the Micro-Meter tank is full.
Then, I shot RWS Hobby pellets on high power and got an average of 740 f.p.s. But this string was very telling. Because it started out at a higher velocity, then began dropping about halfway through the string, I’d reached the place in the fill where the power settings on the gun reversed and started acting normal again. This string had a low of 713 and a high of 747 f.p.s.
Indeed, when I switched over to the lowest power setting for the next string of 10 Hobbys, the average velocity dropped to 738 f.p.s. This string was very close to the one before on the high setting. In this string, the low was 729, the high was 745 f.p.s.
At this point in the test, I’d fired a total of 44 shots on the same fill, four of them failing to trip the chronograph. I knew before testing that the next string of 10 Premiers at the lowest power setting would be much lower than the average of 718 f.p.s. that was seen on the first string. And it was. This time, the average was 689 f.p.s. on the lowest setting with Premiers, and the shots ranged from a low of 684 to 693 f.p.s. There were now 54 shots on this fill.
How the Micro-Meter tank will be used
This is when it finally dawned on me that the Micro-Meter air tank never gets used like a standard air tank. With a standard tank, a shooter will be shooting at great distances and often trying to shoot very small groups. Once the point of aim starts to drift after 30 shots or so, he’ll consider topping off the tank. But he’ll shoot a Micro-Meter tank at very short ranges, often at targets where precision doesn’t matter that much. He probably won’t be interested in group sizes; or if he is, he’ll adjust his sights when the aim point wanders a quarter-inch. Instead of 30-40 good shots, a shooter will probably get well over a hundred shots from a Micro-Meter tank — mostly because of how he shoots. I’ve seen it play out that way for years at the NRA public airgun range, but the difference in shooting expectations never dawned on me until now.
Getting back to the test, I was now 54 shots into the fill, but the rifle was still launching Crosman Premier pellets in the high 600s. Or, to put it another way, it was still shooting about 200 f.p.s. faster than my Diana model 27 on its best day! How’s that for perspective?
I bumped the power back up to the highest setting, just to see what the rifle would do. The next 10 Premiers averaged 688 f.p.s., or one foot-per-second slower than the previous string’s average. The low was 684 f.p.s., the high was 692 f.p.s. It seemed that the highest power setting was now launching the pellets just as fast as the lowest setting and with approximately the same spread.
I left the power on high and fired another 20 shots without recording anything. Then, I fired another 10 for the record, with one additional shot that failed to be recorded. The average velocity at 95 shots was 664 f.p.s., with a spread from 657 to 675 f.p.s. The rifle was clinging to its velocity during every string but losing steam slowly at the same time. Each string of 10 had consistent velocities, but the average was continuing to drop.
I adjusted the power setting to low and fired 20 more shots without recording anything. Then, a string of 10 gave an average of 646 f.p.s., with a low of 638 and a high of 657. One more unrecorded shot brought the total to 125 shots since filling the tank.
I checked the tank pressure without refilling it and determined that the remaining pressure after 125 shots was 1,900 psi. Normally, I stop shooting a standard tank when it’s dropped to 2,200 psi, but this tank still had lots of shots left to give.
In the interest of seeing what would happen, I fired another 50 shots without recording them. That brought the shot count to 175 shots. The next string of 10 shots was fired on the lowest power setting. They averaged 624 f.p.s. — so, after 185 total shots on this fill, the gun was still shooting .22-caliber Crosman Premiers in the 600s! I find that amazing. The spread for this string, however, was large…going from a low of 616 f.p.s. to a high of 668 f.p.s. And the slow shot came before the fast one. So, it was all over the place.
If a person was plinking with a Micro-Meter tank, he would still be shooting at 185 shots. That’s phenomenal performance for an air tank.
It didn’t seem normal to shoot the Micro-Meter tank with a long barrel, but I’m glad now that I did. As far as the shot count goes, I would expect the short barrel to give about the same number of shots, but at a lower velocity. We’ll see that, of course, when we test it next.
It will drive some people nuts!
This test is not for those who sit at their chronographs and sweat their shot string deviations. Those who feel threatened whenever their velocity spread goes over 20 f.p.s. will find what I have done today to be a train wreck! The Micro-Meter tank wasn’t invented for shooting groups at 50 yards.
But for grandpa who has the grandkids over on the 4th of July, how nice is it to know that, with a Micro-Meter tank, your Talon SS will give you hundreds of good shots for the basement or backyard range without refilling? They shoot AirForce guns on the NRA airgun range for hours between fills, and this is the same sort of performance they’re seeing. Yes, the impact point may wander a bit at 33 feet, but it’s not too much to keep up with for this kind of freedom with a precharged air rifle. If you want more shots than this, consider the CO2 adapter.
by B.B. Pelletier
Wow! Before I started this report on the AirForce Talon SS, I really had no idea of just how expansive it was going to be. Today, I’m going to start a report on the AirForce Micro-Meter air tank that transforms the Talon SS from a powerful outdoor hunting rifle to a plinker that gets lots of low-power shots. It brings the outdoors inside!
Now that you’ve seen the difference in performance between the factory 12-inch .22-caliber barrel and an optional 24-inch .22-caliber barrel with the standard tank, I’ll have to test both of those barrels with the Micro-Meter tank, so that’s a minimum of two tests for velocity and another test for accuracy. I hope you’ll let me get by with just a single accuracy test (from just one of the two barrel lengths); because after the Micro-Meter tank, I still have to test the rifle using the CO2 adapter with both barrels. Then there’s the new Spin-Loc tank still to be tested. And, yes, the Spin-Loc tank does come as a Micro-Meter tank and as a Hi-Flo tank, as well as the standard Spin-Loc tank. Talk about job security!
New airgunners who read about the Talon SS probably wonder why a Micro-Meter air tank is needed. Doesn’t the SS have adjustable power? Yes, it certainly does. But the stability between shots always falls off (the velocities vary more) when the power is adjusted on the low side. You can see that for yourself by carefully reading Part 2 of this report. And some airgunners shoot a lot more in their houses than they do outdoors. They want the power adjustability that comes with the rifle, but most of the time they’ll be shooting at the exact place on the power curve where the standard tank varies the most. These people are mostly shooting in a basement, attic or garage at 25 feet or 10 meters (33 feet), and the velocity variation doesn’t affect them that much. So, once more the question is: Why the Micro-Meter tank? The answer is that it budgets the air much better than the standard tank, and you get more shots. But that wasn’t why it was created.
I was there when the original idea for the Micro-Meter tank was hatched, though I left AirForce before it became a regular product. Here’s an overview of how it came to be.
The NRA Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas, in 2005 is what brought about the Micro-Meter tank. The NRA has an airgun range at their Annual Meetings and Exhibits where thousands of people can see, watch and even shoot various airguns. The guns have to be controlled because they’re in a public building! They can’t be shooting 1,000-f.p.s. airguns indoors. The pellet traps they bring for the range are satisfactory for lead pellets (lead ONLY, please, because synthetics can damage the traps and ricochet) at muzzle velocities of 600 f.p.s. and under. That turns out to be approximately the velocity of a 10-meter target airgun (both rifle and pistol) but manufacturers want to have their other sporting-type guns on the line, as well. And AirForce was left out altogether, because of the power potential of their guns.
How sad is that? A Texas-based company is excluded from providing airguns for the public to shoot at a show that’s being run in Texas!
Yes, the Talon SS can be adjusted down to below 600 f.p.s., but the problem is that it can also be adjusted the other way. The NRA had to guarantee their insurance carrier that all guns on the airgun range were not capable of shooting faster than 600 f.p.s. The best and really only way to do that is to not put out guns that have the potential of shooting faster. And the Talon SS most certainly does have that potential.
There were only a couple weeks before the show, and we really wanted to put a couple Talon SS rifles on the line. What to do?
We’d been making special valves for guns going to other countries that must have very low velocity, but even then the velocity of those guns was greater than 600 f.p.s. with lightweight wadcutter pellets. But another overseas customer needed a valve that was restricted in a different way for a different reason. So, what we did was make up a special valve that had both forms of restriction — a “double-restricted valve,” so to speak. And it worked! There was no way guns that had air tanks with that valve could shoot faster than 600 f.p.s.
It’s not easy!
For all who think designing a precharged pneumatic valve is straightforward, let me assure you it isn’t. I remember talking to AirForce while they were designing the Edge target rifle and saw the difficulty they had balancing the internal volume of the new target valve with the valve opening size and the return spring strength. You might get a gun to shoot 28 shots at 580 f.p.s. with only 5 f.p.s. variation, but then the velocity drifts up to 675 f.p.s. over the next 40 shots — and after that you’re out of air! Keeping a balance between velocity and shot count is the pneumatic hat-trick — ask anyone who has ever tried to do it.
So we built a few double-restricted valves for the annual NRA meetings, and that was it. They worked fine and gave hundreds of shots on a fill, which made them perfect for a public event like the show. Those guns have been in service ever since and have now been shot by quite a few people and are still going strong. But there was no immediate move to make the valve available to the public.
Several years later, however, AirForce decided to bring out the Micro-Meter tank as an option so everyone wanting an indoor target capability for their Talon or Talon SS could have it. I’ve never tested the Micro-Meter tank for you, except on the Condor back in 2008. So, this test has been waiting a long time.
The Condor was tested on both a high-power setting and a low-power setting. Initially on low power, the rifle had velocities from 829 f.p.s. to 848 f.p.s. over the first 21 shots when shooting the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier pellet. That’s much faster than what we hoped for from this tank, but a Condor has a heavier striker that holds the valve open longer than it was designed to. It also has a 24-inch barrel, which we know is usually more efficient in a pneumatic airgun. A Condor may not give the same performance as a Talon SS when using the same Micro-Meter tank. It also may not give the performance you want for an indoor airgun.
When I switched over to high power for shots 22 through 34, the Condor produced velocities ranging from 733 f.p.s. to 835 f.p.s. This string was fired without refilling the gun, so 21 shots had already been fired before this string started; but notice that the velocity actually dropped, even though the power was set on high. Then, I switched back to low power for shots 35 through 55, not filling the gun before shooting this next string, and the velocity ranged between 795 and 812 f.p.s. There was a lot more to that test, but you get the general gist of it. Pellets went faster on the low power setting! Just the reverse of what the power adjustment wheel normally gives!
I will test the SS with both the factory 12-inch barrel as well as the optional 24-inch barrel, and I think the 24-inch barrel will give me the faster shots. But I want to know whether the Micro-Meter tank is still viable when using a 24-inch barrel on an SS powerplant. And, of course, I’ll give you the total number of shots I get with both barrel lengths.
As for accuracy, I think I’ll test that with the 12-inch barrel, only, since that’s probably the most likely combination an owner will have. I doubt that at short range we’d see anything but stellar accuracy from the 24-inch barrel at 10 meters. Do you?
Too much to test!
Please reread the opening statement of this report. There’s still one more barrel length in .22 caliber and three lengths in each of the three other calibers that the SS can be converted to. And then there’s the regular Talon to test and the Condor to finish testing — in all three barrel lengths and all four calibers! Life isn’t long enough to test them all. But I do want to thank reader new2this for reminding me how much I like the AirForce Airguns. Until he commented, I didn’t realize how much there was.
by B.B. Pelletier
I’m on my way to Malvern, Arkansas, for the airgun show on Friday and Saturday. If you’re going to the show, please stop by and introduce yourself. I’ll have limited time to spend answering the blog comments, so I would appreciate it if the blog regulars would help answer questions from newcomers and new shooters. Now, on to today’s blog.
Today, we’re going to change the stock 12-inch barrel of our AirForce Talon SS for an optional 24-inch .22-caliber barrel. The caliber will remain the same but the barrel length will double. That will demonstrate the benefits of installing a longer barrel on a PCP.
Changing the barrel
AirForce barrels are held in the gun by two bushings around the barrel. These center the barrel inside the tubular aluminum frame. The SS frame is equal in size to the Condor frame. All that differs is the Condo scope base, which is longer. A 24-inch barrel fits the SS frame quite well.
Step 1: Make the gun safe
The first step is to ensure the gun is not cocked or loaded. The safety will be off for this procedure. Dial the power adjuster to zero to take tension off the barrel.
Step 2: Remove the end cap
The end cap is held in place by one 2mm Allen screw. Remove it, and the end cap comes out. It’s held tight by an o-ring to prevent vibration, so just pull a little harder than you think you should, and it’ll slip out.
Step 3: Remove the forearm
One 2.5mm Allen screw holds the forearm in place. Remove it, and the forearm comes off the gun.
Step 4: Remove the barrel
The barrel is held in place by either two or four 2mm barrel bushing Allen screws. The first guns, like mine, had just two screws, located in the channel under the forearm. Later guns had two more very short screws on the left side of the gun. They were just 1/8-inch long and beared directly against the side of each bushing. Today’s guns have two longer Allen screws in the same place, and they fit into holes in each bushing.
The barrel now comes straight out of the frame. If it is tight, just bump the muzzle end of the frame on thick carpet a couple times and the barrel will slide out. You only have to do this with the 12-inch barrel, as all other barrels come out to the end of the frame or past it.
The barrel is out, and you can install the new barrel. Since I’m installing a 24-inch barrel that will stick out of the frame by 6 inches, I can just slide it into position and fasten the screws. If I were installing the 12-inch barrel, I would need some kind of pusher because the 12-inch barrel sits down about 4.5 inches inside the frame.
The assembly is the reverse of the disassembly, but here are some tips.
1. Coat the thin section of the barrel with diver’s silicone grease or o-ring lubricant, because the bolt that slides on this section has two o-rings to seal it.
2. If you’re installing a 12-inch barrel, the alignment of the screw holes in the bushings is critical, because you won’t be able to turn the barrel when it’s inside the frame. So, check that before the barrel goes in.
3. Watch through one of the screw holes for the bushing hole to appear. Align it and install one screw. After that, all the other screws should be perfectly aligned.
4. When you install the forearm, don’t tighten the screw too much. It holds only by a couple threads; and if you tighten too much, you may cause firing problems.
The first time I swapped barrels, it probably took me 30 minutes, because I went very slow and was super-careful. The second time, it took seven minutes (I timed it) — and after that it took less than five minutes.
How does it work?
We have data from the 12-inch barrel, so now let’s shoot the gun on the same power setting with the 24-inch barrel.
With the 12-inch barrel, 14.3-grain Crosman Premiers came out at 854 f.p.s. They gave an average energy of 23.16 foot-pounds.
With the 24-inch barrel on the same setting, the same pellet averages 1027 f.p.s. f.p.s., for 33.5 foot-pounds of energy.
JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes
JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes averaged 823 f.p.s., producing 23.92 foot-pounds of energy.
With the 24-inch barrel, they average 991 f.p.s and make 34.68 foot-pounds.
Because the 24-inch barrel is so much more efficient, I can load the heaviest pellets and still shoot them with the SS powerplant. The 28.4-grain Eun Jin pellets that I would not shoot in the 12-inch barrel average 814 f.p.s. on the highest power setting and produce 41.79 foot pounds of energy. That’s not quite the 45 foot-pounds I’ve been reporting, but the Eun Jin I shot isn’t the heaviest .22 pellet, either.
The 24-inch barrel does improve the power with no other change to the gun. Next, we’ll see how it shoots.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll take our first look at the accuracy of the AirForce Talon SS precharged pneumatic air rifle. Since I just returned from the NRA Annual Meetings and heard from a lot of owners what they think about this airgun, let me tell you what they all said. Many of them said they’ve never seen a more accurate airgun. Some do own other precharged air rifles, but admit that the Talon SS is equal in accuracy to the best of them.
A few years ago, I used to hear some criticism about the Talon SS trigger since it isn’t adjustable, but I guess people are shooting it more these days, because everyone I talked to at the NRA Show loves their trigger. They all confirmed that the trigger and safety both get lighter, smoother and easier to use as the rifle breaks in. One man was awed that his rifle had held air without leaking for seven months. Then, I told him about the prototype rifle I once found in the factory when I worked there. It was tucked under a work table and was covered with dust. It was still holding a charge after more than five years! So, they do hold their air indefinitely.
Many perspective buyers came up to me knowing a lot about the gun already, yet this was the first time they’d actually seen one. And a great many of them went to the airgun range and shot the Talon SS that was available to the public. After that, some of them came down to the Pyramyd Air booth and insisted on writing an order on the spot. If there had been working guns to sell, I estimate we could have sold quite a few during the show. And .22 caliber was the overwhelming choice of all buyers.
I used an obsolete Leapers Accushot 4-12×44 Mini SWAT mil-dot scope (without illuminated reticle) on the rifle. I mounted it in two-piece Leapers 30mm medium-height rings. Most shooters feel they need higher rings than I use because they don’t hold their rifles the same way I do. I get by with much lower rings because of this hold, so you may need more height than I do. Consider that when you buy one of these rifles.
I normally recommend an AirForce 4-16×50 scope for this rifle. It helps with the longer distances. But both of my AirForce scopes are on other airguns that are also being tested, so I had to use something different this time.
As I mentioned in the last report I had to install the factory 12-inch Lother Walther barrel that comes standard for this test, because I keep an optional 24-inch barrel in my SS at all other times. The benefit of almost doubling the power with the same amount of air is too good to pass up. I didn’t show the barrel changing process, but I will show it when I switch over to the 24-inch barrel in the next report.
So, the new barrel is in the gun and how many shots did it take to sight in? How about two? That’s correct. After two shots, all pellets were landing where I intended. This was not in the center of the bullseye, as I didn’t want to destroy the aim point.
As I mentioned in Part 2, there’s just one pellet for this rifle — the JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome. It’s true that the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier was once the most accurate pellet for the rifle; but as I mentioned, this particular JSB has replaced it in my rifle.
There were already 35 shots on the tank from the velocity test and two from the sight-in, but I dialed the power setting to 6 and proceeded to shoot a 10-shot group at 25 yards that measured 0.296 inches between centers. Getting 47 accurate shots on a single fill is pretty darned good.
Then, I filled the tank and shot the next group on power setting 10. Same pellet, just going faster. And naturally because I said in the last report that power setting 10 was the most accurate, this time it chose not to be. A single pellet turned a 0.33-inch group into one that measures 0.394 inches between centers. Again, the group is fairly round, telling me that the gun has no hangups and is performing up to snuff.
I mentioned earlier that I used to shoot 3/8-inch test groups at 23 yards when I set up a new rifle for an AirForce customer or when I tested a customer’s rifle after repairs, but that was always a 5-shot group. Three-eighth’s of an inch is 0.375 inches, so I’m actually getting 10 shots into about the same size group as I used to get 5. I guess what that says is that you have to move back farther to really test an air rifle this accurate.
If this was the final report on the SS, I would go into some other things…but there’s more to come. So, that’ll be it for today.
I’ve already been asked by one reader to test the CO2 adapter on the gun. As long as I’m doing that, I think I’ll ask AirForce if I can borrow a Micro Meter tank and test that for you, as well. Next up will be the gun with the 24-inch optional barrel, which is the way I keep my SS set up. It effectively doubles the gun’s power and makes a rifle that I believe to be the most flexible in the PCP world.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is Part 2, the velocity test of the AirForce Talon SS. With an AirForce rifle, this could easily be three separate reports by itself because there’s so much flexibility built into the rifle that it takes that long to explain it all. The rifle isn’t complex, but the adjustable power and barrel options give the shooter a world of possibilities to explore.
I’m testing a box-stock Talon SS in .22 caliber. My rifle is around 10 years old, so it’s broken-in. New Talon SS rifles may not do what mine does right from the box, but keep shooting them a while and they’ll settle in like this one did.
Normally in the velocity test, I pick a range of pellets to test, but today I’ve selected only two. These are the two most accurate pellets in this rifle, and I don’t shoot anything else. What this allows me to do is show you what the adjustability looks like in operation.
Power setting 10
I learned many years ago that my SS likes power setting 10. Adjusting it higher only gets a few extra f.p.s., but the air is exhausted much faster. I get about 35 powerful shots from the 12-inch .22-caliber Lothar Walther barrel that comes with the rifle on power setting 10, and I’ll show you what that gives me. Refer back to Part 1 to see the power adjustment mechanism and what the settings look like.
The first pellet I shot was the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier. For many years, this was the hands-down best pellet in my SS and also in the hundreds of SS rifles I tested at the AirForce factory, where I used to work as technical director (2003-2005). I used to mount scopes on rifles that were sold directly and then I sighted them in. For this, I used the Crosman Premier pellet. I also tested every rifle that was sent in for repairs — including several that were simply sent in because their owner’s claimed they weren’t accurate. In the latter cases, I always tried calling the owner to ascertain what was going wrong, because in all cases except one the rifles were always deadly accurate. I may have had to clean the barrel, but afterward it always shot great.
I had only 23 yards of distance inside the old factory, so that was the distance at which the gun was tested, but I have shot the SS at 50 yards so much that I could extrapolate what it would do from a 23-yard group. The standard was about a 3/8-inch group of five at 23 yards, and, with one exception in three years of testing, that’s what I almost always got. In a couple cases, I got a quarter-inch group, and I envied the owners of those special barrels! By the way, this is where I developed my 10-minute sight-in procedure.
At power setting 10, my SS (filled to 3,000 psi) gets an average 854 f.p.s. with Crosman Premiers. The range is from 850 to 860, so the spread is 10 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the rifle produces 23.16 foot-pounds. This is fast for an SS at power setting 10. Most of the brand-new rifles I’ve tested get from 820-830 f.p.s. on the same setting, but as I said earlier, once they break in they go a little faster.
Then, I tested the JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome. This is now the best pellet in my SS, having passed the Premier a number of years ago. And that’s in both the factory 12-inch barrel as well as the optional 24-inch barrel I usually have on the rifle. On power setting 10, this pellet averages 823 f.p.s., with a spread from 821 to 825 f.p.s. That gives us a muzzle energy of 23.92 foot-pounds.
Can the rifle give more energy?
The short answer is yes. By loading heavier pellets, you’ll get increasingly higher energies. An SS is good for a bit more than 25 foot-pounds; but if you want to hit what you shoot at with my rifle, you’ll shoot either of the two pellets already mentioned.
Power setting 6
Okay, let’s back off the power and see what happens. On power setting 6, my rifle shoots Premiers at an average 787 f.p.s. The spread is from 775 to 800 f.p.s., so it has jumped from a 10 f.p.s. spread to a 25 f.p.s. spread. At lower power settings, you can expect your Talon SS to shoot less consistently than it does on higher power. However, you aren’t going to shoot 50-yard groups on power setting 6 if you want to do well, so it really doesn’t matter. At 25 yards, you won’t be able to see a difference between the rifle on 6 and 10. At 6, the pellet produces 19.67 foot-pounds, so it’s still as strong as many powerful spring rifles. The benefit of this setting is more shots per fill, but I get so many shots on power setting 10 that I never use anything else.
The heavier JSB pellets average 778 f.p.s. on setting 6. They range from 769 to 785 f.p.s., so the spread is a bit tighter than with Premiers. And the average energy with this pellet on setting 6 is 21.38 foot-pounds.
Power setting 0
I then adjusted the power as low as it will go. I call it setting 0, though there is no zero on the adjustment scale. On this setting, the rifle is quieter than a Red Ryder BB gun. Crosman Premiers average 486 f.p.s. with a spread from 451 to 522 f.p.s. The velocity has really opened up at this low setting. You can live with it if the distance is 10 meters or less, or you can bump the power up to setting 2 (on my rifle) and cut the velocity spread in half. At that setting, the velocity will average about 520 f.p.s. On setting 0, the power averages 7.5 foot-pounds, or just about what you get from a Diana 27 breakbarrel in good shape.
JSB Exacts 15.9-grain pellets average 507 f.p.s,. on setting 0 and they range from 492 to 521. Once more they produced the tighter spread, and this time they went faster, as well. They produced 9.08 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
Shot No. 35
People want to know how many shots a PCP has and the answer is always, “That depends.” In this case, the 35th full-power shot from the rifle set on power setting 10 was a Crosman Premier at 837 f.p.s. Remember, we were getting an average of 854 f.p.s. on this setting in the beginning of the fill. That should give you an idea of how many shots you can expect from a single fill.
Adjusting the top hat
The top hat refers to the end of the valve that is struck by the striker (through the bolt) when the rifle fires. It looks like an old top hat in profile. Back before the Talon rifle came out in 2001, AirForce rifles had no power adjustment mechanism. So shooters would put an o-ring under the top hat to cushion the blow from the striker. You could run the gun without the o-ring, which was wide open, or use the o-ring and get twice the number of shots at reduced power.
Another way to adjust power on that old model was to adjust the clearance under the top hat, so the valve opened for more or less time, depending on what you did. You loosened a single small Allen screw (just one in the old days) and screwed the top hat up or down to suit your intention. That is where the top hat adjustment came into being.
When the Talon first came out with its power adjuster, it was no longer necessary to adjust the top hat, but many owners didn’t get the memo and continued adjusting it anyway. The top hat can still be adjusted today; but it’s set at 0.080 inches from the factory on a Talon and a Talon SS, and there’s no good reason to change that setting. My tank is about a decade old, and its top hat has never been adjusted.
The space under the silver “top hat” (above the center of this picture) controls how far the valve opens and how long it remains open. Leave it alone. The bolt is pushed forward to cock the rifle and for showing the top hat in this photo.
Does adjusting the top hat change anything? Yes, it does. It changes the way the power adjustment mechanism affects the gun. Changing the top hat is like changing the tire size on your car. When you do, the speedometer doesn’t work correctly anymore, because it is calibrated to the original tire size.
My advice is to leave the top hat right where it is when you get the gun, unless you get it used from someone who has adjusted it. It that is the case, set it to 0.080 inches of clearance (Talon and Talon SS) and leave it alone.
The trigger on a Talon SS is two-stage, and the factory rates it at 2.5-3.5 lbs. Mine, which has never been serviced in any way, probably has 10,000 shots on it and breaks at 25-27 oz. — just a shade under 2 lbs. It has no creep in stage two, though most brand-new triggers do have a little.
The safety is automatic, and you can usually push it off with your trigger finger. Some new guns are too stiff to do this; but when they’re broken in, most safeties are easy to release this way.
The trigger parts are case hardened and coated with a film of moly that lasts a lifetime. You never oil the trigger, as that will attract and hold dirt — but the dry moly coating leaves the steel parts looking silvery.
AirForce triggers used to be adjustable; but when they developed the current design, they removed that feature. The adjustment was for stage one, only. Stage two takes care of itself, as it must, since the trigger parts move as the gun is cocked. So they need to be free-moving to align perfectly every time. Don’t trust any aftermarket modifications, because many of them are not safe. I’ve seen them slip off the sear without external intervention.
Is it quiet?
Yes, and no. Compared to the precharged guns without silencers that preceded it, the SS is quiet. But it’s not silenced. To a shooter who has experience with a Korean PCP, it’ll sound quiet. Compared to a fully silenced PCP, it seems loud. At power setting 10, it’s as loud as a magnum spring rifle. On power setting 4, it sounds like a Sheridan Blue Streak on three pumps. On power setting 0, it’s quieter than a Daisy BB gun. If those comparisons mean nothing to you, on power setting 10 it sounds like hands clapping loudly.
We could continue
There are many power settings I haven’t tested in this report. I hope the ones I did test demonstrate the range of power that’s available. Between settings 2 and 6, the power changes very rapidly as the adjuster changes; then from 6 to the top, the changes are slower. The rifle is most stable around power setting 10. Each rifle will differ, and each rifle will also change as it breaks in — getting faster with time if left alone.
If you buy a Talon SS and don’t own a chronograph, don’t worry — all you have to do is adjust it to the setting that gives the best accuracy. That’s going to be somewhere near setting 10 on the coarse setting and forget what the number on the power wheel says.
I’ve also told you the two very best pellets for my rifle. Because I’ve tested so many of these guns, I know that these pellets will work well in any of them. That’s not to say that a better pellet won’t come along someday, but for right now — these two are the best.
Next, we’ll mount a scope and see what sort of accuracy we get from the rifle.