Posts Tagged ‘Daisy Precision-Max pellets’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll finish Vince’s report on his new Relum Telly.
If you’d like to write a guest blog, please email us.
Over to you, Vince!
The Relum Telly: Part 2
When we last saw the Telly, I’d just reduced the cocking effort by repairing the cocking linkage and smoothing the outside of the spring tube. Then I set about to fix the other things that were wrong with my new airgun. I had just fixed the stripped stock screw holes and was about to go into the gun’s innards. So, today join me on a tour of the Telly’s belly.
The piston is basic enough, and the fact that the leather piston seal was still in passable condition saved me a fair bit of hassle. It’s riveted in, so replacement wouldn’t have been very straightforward:
The leather piston seal looks good.
Looking inside the piston reveals the rivet that holds the piston seal to the body.
So, a soaking in 30 weight oil is all it gets before reassembly.
I mentioned the concentric springs earlier. This is what they look like:
The inner and outer mainspring. The inner spring shows a bit of “snakeiness” from its long life.
The thinner inner spring has about 1/3 the spring rate of the outer, which means that it does indeed contribute significantly to the powerplant energy.
The trigger is a linked direct sear. Oddly enough, it’s sorta similar to the linkage in the el-cheapo Industry Brand S2 pistol. The trigger blade pops right out but the actual sear pin is peened in place so I can’t remove the sear block. I’ve sketched in what it sorta looks like, sorta (yellow area).
The trigger blade came out easily. The sear is held in by a heavily peened pin, so I didn’t remove it. The yellow area is approximately what the sear looks like in profile.
As the blade is pulled back, it rotates the sear block clockwise (downward in back), which releases the piston. Here’s where I discovered something. Remember that goofy lockscrew I noticed in the front triggerguard bolt? It wasn’t a lockscrew at all. The bolt itself threads into the hole identified by the yellow arrow (above picture), and the concentric screw (which is both smaller in diameter and longer) pushes up on the sear block opposite of the trigger. This can be used to reduce the sear engagement and adjust the trigger. In fact, you can adjust it to the point of not even working. I don’t like messing too much with direct sears of any type, so I run the gun with the screw all the way out.
What I thought was a lockscrew turned out to be the trigger adjustment screw. It controls the amount of sear engagement area.
All the innards look usable, so after proper cleaning and relubing I reassemble the gun and get ready to shoot.
This is not going to be a super-comprehensive shooting test. Considering how few of these things that are around, the Relum Telly is not exactly a vintage gun you’re gonna want to use as a routine shooter. If you want a nice, usable vintage gun for a youth, get them something like a Diana 25. We just want to see what sort of performance the Telly was capable of.
The gun didn’t like Daisy Precision-Max or Crosman Wadcutters, but (surprise, surprise) it thrives on 7-grain RWS Diabolo Basic pellets. This 5-shot group shows what the gun is capable of at 10 meters:
That’s 0.35 inches, center-to-center, with rotten open sights. The rear blade has a “V” notch, while the front post tapers to a point on top — which means to my eyes, the top of the post sorta fades in and out like Captain Kirk stuck in a malfunctioning transporter. It’s very hard to make sure I’m getting a consistent aim point, which makes me think the gun is capable of even better.
Next up is the velocity — and laziness dictates that I only bother testing the pellets that shot well. Or, in this case, the one pellet. After 5 warm-up shots, the gun laid down this string:
The average was 617 f.p.s. This is just shy of 6 foot-pounds of energy…which, for the size of the rifle, really isn’t bad. On the OTHER hand, it’s HORRIBLE for a gun that requires as much as or more cocking force than a Diana 350 or a Baikal 513, while delivering less than 1/3 of the energy.
Anyway, it’s at this point that I decided to snap a quick picture of the breech with a pellet loaded to show you how loose it fits:
See how deep into the breech the pellet falls?
See? It drops right in with no fuss or fighting. But then I get to thinking that SOMEbody’s going to carp about that ancient leather breech seal! So, should I replace it? The gun is probably doing as well as it can, so I have no reason to. In fact, I can even hear that little voice in my head saying, “LEAVE IT ALONE!”
So, naturally I popped it out, destroying it in the process. To my delight, it seems to be the same size as a Diana seal, which means I can use a #109 o-ring. But wait — there’s something funny about the groove it sat in.
The groove is cut parallel to the bore, but not to the slanted breech. As a result, it’s deeper on the top than on the bottom.
Dang. The breech face is slanted on this gun (like on a lot of Dianas), and the groove is cut parallel to the barrel bore, not parallel to the breech face. This means that the top of the grove is a lot deeper than the bottom.
At first, I tried to see if I can “split the difference” by shimming it just right, but obviously that won’t work:
The shimmed breech seal obviously isn’t going to work.
Eventually, the obvious solution hit me, and I cut a wedge-shaped washer out of semi-rigid tubing:
By cutting this washer on a bias, I got a wedge shape to lie under the new o-ring breech seal.
The wedge-shaped washer raised the new o-ring to be level with the slanted breech.
One final note: the gun shoots no faster with the new seal.
So there you have it, the Relum Telly in a nutshell. Cocking effort aside, it’s a decent little plinker. I’d say it’s easily the equal of a small Diana or Slavia in accuracy but superior in power. Granted, this pup ain’t gonna get shot very much — but at least in looks at home in my airgun rack:
The new Telly is near the right side of the top rack.
My New Relum Telly!
Not such a bad little felleee,
At least with the right pelleee…
My New Relum Telly!
And so, both my Telly review and brief poetical foray draw to a long-overdue conclusion.
by B.B. Pelletier
Fresh from the closet, another fine Crosman 160 emerges into daylight. We’ll watch this one blossom.
Today, I’m testing the Crosman 160 for accuracy. This is a target rifle — originally intended for 25-foot ranges, so 10 meters, which is very close to 33 feet, is the distance I shot for this test. And I shot at 10-meter rifle targets. It’s important to remember this rifle is a .22, not a .177, because the larger pellets will influence the overall group size.
The 160 has a post front sight that isn’t as precise as an aperture, but I learned to shoot on a similar sight, so it still works well for me. I’d disassembled the rear aperture sight during cleaning, so when I sighted-in there was a lot of adjusting to get the pellet on target.
I held my eye as close to the aperture as I could get, because my recent experience with both the Ballard and Remington model 37 has taught me that this is the way to get the best accuracy from an aperture sight. The tiny hole made my pupil dilate and the front sight came into sharp focus, as it always should.
I sighted-in with the JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome and left the sights there. So, the first group is well-centered and the other pellets are a little bit off.
Remember that wonderful trigger I told you about last time? Well, this is where it came into its own. It is breaking so light that I leave my finger off the blade until the sight picture is correct. Then it’s just touch and “Bang!” It breaks at a pound. I’ve bump-tested the gun several times without a pellet just to see if I could jar it off the sear, and it’s holding fine…but it feels like a precision set trigger. Perhaps, having the overtravel adjustment makes the difference.
I remember these 160s as being more accurate than they have a right to be, given their original price, and this one is, too. The first 10 shots went into a group that measures 0.313 inches. The group is very round and gives every indication that the rifle loves this pellet.
Next, I tried the .22-caliber Premiers. Back in the early 1990s, when this pellet first came out, 160 owners discovered their rifles were much more accurate than they had believed. When the 160 was new, it was thought that the best they would do was a quarter-sized group at 25 feet. Now they were shooting into a dime at 33 feet.
This time, the group wasn’t as good as some others I’ve shot. Ten shots measure 0.449 inches between centers. The point of impact shifted to the left a bit, as well.
I also wanted to try a pellet I’d never used in a 160, so the next pellet was an RWS Superdome. They should do well, being both medium weight and thin-skirted. A thin skirt can be blown out into the rifling by the low pressure of the CO2 gas, which will seal the pellet in the bore quite well.
Before you get excited from looking at these next targets, you need to know that I was interrupted while shooting and as a result I put 5 shots on each target, instead of the 10 on one, as planned. Although this was a mistake, it does illustrate, once again, the difference between the sizes of 5-shot and 10-shot groups.
If you didn’t know there were only 5 shots in this group, you could make up all sorts of claims for the RWS Superdome pellets. The group measures 0.107 inches between centers. This is 10-meter target rifle size — even though it was shot with the larger pellets! But it is only 5 shots.
As I loaded and shot, I reflected on the ease of the bolt’s operation. Opening it requires just the flick of one finger, because you’re not cocking a spring. It’s as quick as pulling back the bolt on a biathlon target rifle. Pushing the bolt forward takes some effort, though, because this is where the hammer spring gets compressed.
The big .22-caliber domed pellets lie in the loading trough and feed without a bobble. Where some guns want to flip pellets around, the 160 feeds them effortlessly every time. I can describe the cocking and loading experience as having an oily smoothness.
Upon examination, I feel the JSB Exact pellet did the best in this test. It put 10 pellets into a group the same size as the final 5 Superdomes made. It would be interesting to shoot another group of Superdomes that were not shot at the end of the gas supply, but I still think the JSBs will turn out better.
I noticed on the final 5 shots that the rifle sounded like it was losing power. Since 5 shots were used for sight-in, this rifle has given me 35 good shots on two cartridges. Blog reader Jim in PGH commented that an Archer Hammer Debouncer Device (abbreviated HDD and designed to give the valve stem a dead blow to exhaust gas without valve flutter) installed on a Chinese version of the 167 (a .177-caliber version of the 160) that he owns has increased his shot count to 80. That would be worth looking into, if you decide to go the 160 route.
Where are we?
As I shoot the 160, I cannot help but think of a fine 10-meter target air rifle. Kevin would be proud to shoot one so fine. I think most of you would be impressed with what this gun can do.
This is the last report I have planned for the 160. As I suspected, the owner of this 160 was not too keen about the two CO2 cartridges needed to power his gun, so he sold it to me. I have no plans for it at this time, other than to show it to several firearms shooters to impress them with what an airgun can do. I’m also toying with shooting it at 50 yards, just to see how it does.
by B.B. Pelletier
Fresh from the closet, another fine Crosman 160 emerges into daylight. We’ll watch this one blossom.
Today, I’ll report on the cleaning of Jose’s Crosman 160 and the adjustment of the trigger. This rifle was quite rusty when I got it, so today it came out of the stock for a thorough cleaning. The barreled action comes out of the stock by removing one nut on the bottom of the forearm and by removing the safety switch. To remove the switch, it must be turned toward SAFE while you push it out of the triggerguard. It will pop right out when you get it in the right position.
The broken safety has been pushed out, and the nut removed from the stock. That’s a new safety to the left of the broken one. The barreled action is now ready to come out of the stock.
Once the action was out of the stock, I could see that it was far rustier than I originally thought. The rust that could be seen when the rifle was intact was just surface rust, but the stock was hiding deep active rust that had to be removed.
This was under the stock — heavy, active rust that must be dealt with!
I used Ballistol and a special scrubbing pad I bought at a recent gun show. A friend of mine says this pad looks like a stainless steel pot scrubber. All I know is that it removes all the rust and doesn’t harm the blue.
I used Balistol in a spray bottle and a special metal scrubber to remove the rust.
I was surprised at how fast the rust was removed. In all, it probably took no longer than 15 minutes to completely clean all the metal parts.
With the gun finally clean, it was time to address the trigger. I mentioned in Part 1 that this trigger is one of the finest ever put on an inexpensive air rifle, and it can be adjusted to a very light, crisp pull. When I got the gun, the single-stage trigger had lots of creep and was breaking at 5 lbs., even. Something had to be done about that.
The Crosman 160 trigger is an adaptation of a 15th century crossbow trigger, where a rotating piece called a nut forms the sear that releases the hammer — in the case of the pellet rifle. The nut is a lever that’s shaped like a circle. It allows a small force (the sear) to overcome a greater force (the hammer spring) through leverage. No filing or stoning of the trigger contact surfaces is necessary, because the trigger doesn’t work like a conventional one.
From Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey’s book, “The Crossbow,” (published in 1903) this illustration of a 15th century crossbow nut shows how a great force can be overcome by a smaller one.
But the Crosman 160 trigger is more sophisticated than the crossbow trigger. It allows the adjustment of the sear contact area and also the point at which the trigger stops. This gives the shooter a safe trigger that breaks cleanly, yet feels like an expensive precision target trigger.
The trigger in the subject rifle was about as filthy as I’ve ever seen. This trigger has a sideplate that allows the user to watch the adjustments of the parts and even to cock and fire the trigger with the parts exposed. Normally, this sideplate keeps the parts inside pretty clean, but you can see from the photo what I saw inside this one.
I’ve removed the trigger unit from the action here. It isn’t necessary to do this, and in fact you must be able to cock the rifle when you adjust the trigger, so leave it connected. I did this for cleaning purposes.
Compare this photo to the previous graphic, and you’ll see all the important trigger parts. This is before cleaning. The rusty red part at the upper right is the nut that’s the sear.
I removed the trigger blade from the trigger assembly and cleaned it outside the trigger box, but all other parts were cleaned where they were situated. Ballistol on cotton swabs worked wonders at removing the rust, dust and dirt. And it left all the parts with a lubricated surface.
The two trigger adjustment screws were stuck in place by dried grease, so Ballistol had to dissolve that before I could clean the threads. The final touch was to apply moly grease to the mating surfaces of the trigger blade and the rotating nut that serves as the sear. Then it was time to adjust the trigger.
The first step was to back off the trigger return spring, which is located at the bottom rear of the trigger box. With this spring relaxed, you can feel the engagement of the sear much better.
Next, I adjusted the top screw, which adjusts the trigger/sear contact area. I set it very quickly because I’ve adjusted dozens of these triggers over the years and I know what they need. You may have to adjust the screw then cock the rifle and fire it several times to get the engagement you want. The engagement needed is very narrow, and it looks like the trigger is about to slip off the sear; so I always give the cocked rifle a bump test after adjusting the trigger, just to be safe. If I can’t jar the trigger off the sear, it’s safe.
The final screw to adjust is the trigger stop or overtravel screw. It stops the trigger blade after the sear has released, and the closer this is to the release point without impeding the trigger-pull, the better the trigger feels. Once the engagement area is okay, it’s easy to set this screw to stop the trigger immediately following trigger release.
With that done, I put the cover plate back on the trigger and shifted my attention to the S331 sight. By the way, Robert of Arcade explained in a comment that the S331 sight was actually made by Mossberg and not by Williams, as I originally said in Part 1. I changed the maker to Mossberg in Part 1, and now I’m telling you.
The rear sight on this rifle was loose when I examined it, so I removed it from the rifle and disassembled it for cleaning. Most of the parts are aluminum, but a couple are blued steel and suffered from rust to the point that there were pits left on their surfaces after the rust was removed. The detents are very crisp and easy to feel as you make the adjustments. This is a simple peep sight assembly, but it works very well and adjusts precisely, which is all you can ask of a sight.
Once the sight was clean and back on the rifle, I put the barreled action back into the stock. I had to use the old broken safety switch because the replacement I have is slightly too large to fit the hole. I’ll trim it down in a separate session so the gun has a complete safety switch. For now, I’ll just keep the rifle off safe.
How does it look?
Because the bulk of the deep rust lies below the stock line, the deep pits that appeared from cleaning do not show. What was above the stock line was mostly just surface rust that’s now completely gone. The metal on this rifle now appears to be 80 percent or better. The stock finish is still flaky and needs to be taken down all the way with sandpaper and reapplied, but it doesn’t detract from the rifle’s appearance.
And the trigger?
The trigger now breaks at one pound, even. It’s glass-crisp, and you would swear that it releases at just a couple ounces if you didn’t see the trigger-pull gauge. I think the owner will be amazed at the transformation this rifle has undergone.
Yet to come
I won’t bore you with the other mundane jobs like the safety and the stock finish, but I’ll test this rifle for accuracy. So, there’s one more report yet to come. We already know the velocity is in the right ballpark — 656 f.p.s. for a 14.2-grain Daisy pellet on a 90-degree day. But I want to show you the accuracy these old rifles can give with modern pellets.
by B.B. Pelletier
Jacque Ryder is this week’s BSOTW.
Fresh from the closet, another fine Crosman 160 emerges into daylight. We will watch this one blossom.
I was at the rifle range yesterday, and a friend delivered an air rifle that another friend had asked him to give me. It’s a Crosman 160, and that’s a classic air rifle that I’ve never reported in this blog, so here we go.
The Crosman 160 and 167 (.22 caliber and .177 caliber, respectively) was first produced in 1955 and lasted until 1972. There were several variations of the basic model over the years, but most airgunners rank them by their triggers. There was a very simple trigger in the first variation from 1955 through 1959, then Crosman put out a very special variation with a super-adjustable trigger in the guns made after 1959. The gun I’m testing has this wonderful trigger.
At some time in the 1960s, the Air Force bought a large number of 160s that were fitted with a Crosman S331 peep sight (made by Mossberg) and sling swivels that held a one-inch leather sling. As chance would have it, several hundred of these rifles were discovered unused in a government warehouse in Maryland or Virginia in the 1990s, and Edith and I bought one. It was brand new and still contained the original Crosman CO2 cartridges that had been used to test it at the factory. I knew they were original cartridges because they were sealed with the patent-dodging “bottlecap” tops Crosman had to use for several years. The end flap of the box had the Air Force Federal Stock Number for the gun, and everything inside the box was new and untouched.
Still rusty and dusty from long years of storage, the Crosman S331 peep sight is a great addition to this accurate target rifle.
I reported on that 160 in The Airgun Letter several times, but eventually I got rid of the rifle. And until yesterday, that was all I had to do with a Crosman 160.
A shooting friend of mine told me a couple months ago about an airgun he had, and from his description I guessed that it was a 160. Yesterday, he sent it to me so I could examine it and tell him what he has. Jose — I have your rifle, and it’s a Crosman 160!
Yours is the last variation they made, which in all ways is the best 160 model to have. It isn’t a former military model, because they all have sling swivels and your rifle has no evidence of ever having them. But you do have the adjustable trigger and the S331 peep sight.
Your rifle has a lot of surface rust that I’ll remove with Ballistol and a special scrubbing pad I’ll show you in the report. I’ll also open the sideplate on your adjustable trigger and clean and adjust it for you. If it’s like the other 160 triggers I’ve adjusted in the past, I should be able to get a glass-crisp trigger-pull of a little less than one pound. I think you’ll be surprised!
Back when these air rifles were new, people thought they were only capable of putting 5 shots into a quarter at 25 feet. What we didn’t appreciate back then were the poor pellets we used held us to that level. Once world-class pellets became available in the 1980s, everything changed and these rifles suddenly became capable of putting 10 shots inside a dime at 10 meters. That is — if they had a good barrel.
Crosman made the barrels for the 160s. When they were good, they were very good. But when they were bad, they were horrible! I’ve heard tales of barrels with only half their rifling and even some that had no rifling at all! It isn’t common, but it happened often enough that old Crosman collectors know about it.
Pellgunoil works, again!
I installed two fresh powerlets and a LOT of Crosman Pellegunoil, and the gun held gas. I then fired 5 shots at a 50-yard target, just to see what kind of barrel it had. I got a group of about 5 inches, but it was a windy day and all I was trying to do was see if the barrel was rifled or not. It is. When I shoot it for accuracy, this rifle should do very well.
The safety switch is broken, which means I’ll have to use pliers on it, because it’s key to disassembling the rifle. The good news is that some plastic aftermarket safety switches exist and I may be able to locate one.
The big problem with a 160 is that it uses gas like a Hummer towing a house trailer! Typically, the two CO2 cartridges give about 30-35 good shots before they give out. Since they cost at least 50 cents apiece, a 160 can cost more than a .22 rimfire shooting good ammunition.
The solution is to convert the rifle to bulk-fill operations. That reduces the gas cost per fill to around 5-7 cents per fill. You still get the same number of shots and the same velocity, but the operating cost is much lower. Of course, you have to have all the equipment that’s needed for bulk-fill to do this, and that does cost some money.
Most 160s I’ve tested pushed 14.3-grain pellets out the spout at between 600 and 630 f.p.s. on an 80-deg. F day. It was about 90 when I shot through the chronograph at the range and the 14.2-grain Daisy pointed pellet (very similar to the current Precision Max) went through the Oehler skyscreens at 656 f.p.s. — right on the money! The rifle can be souped up a just a bit, but at the cost of increased gas usage. There’s really no convenient way around that.
By contrast, the Crosman 180 was a single-cartridge rifle that shot a .22-caliber pellet at around 575 f.p.s. and got about 40 good shots per cartridge. It was the favorite of many shooters. But the Air Force obviously didn’t care about how much CO2 they used, and the slightly more powerful 160 also had a better stock, a longer barrel and better sights. It was the obvious choice for a target rifle. I feel the procuring agency must have bought the gun, not so much for its accuracy but more for its much safer operation when compared to a standard .22 rimfire that was the normal target rifle of the time. A pellet rifle range could be set up safely in a gym, where a rimfire range required more safety measures.
The Crosman 160 is a .22-caliber single-shot CO2 rifle. It cocks on closing the bolt. It needs two CO2 cartridges to operate, though it will work with just one at lower velocity and with fewer shots.
The rifle weighs 6 lbs. and is 39-1/2 inches long. The barrel is 21 inches. The pull is 14-1/4 inches.
The rifle is mostly blued steel in a solid wood stock. The metal was not highly polished and I’ve always thought that the wood stock was some very clever kind of laminate, since it shows more grain than I think it should. I will show you the detail and let you be the judge.
The stock sure looks like a laminate to me.
I plan to clean the metal of this rifle and preserve it with Ballistol. I’ll open the sideplate of the trigger and show you the inner workings, then I’ll adjust the trigger to get it working as fine as I can.
Next, I’ll test the rifle for velocity with several pellets. I’ll also get a shot count for you.
Finally, I’ll shoot the rifle for accuracy at 10 meters with several pellets. I’ve examined the barrel, and the bore appears sparkling clean. The rifling is deep and everything looks okay. We should have some fun with this one.
Jose, you have a very nice air rifle, here. I hope you enjoy this report!
by B.B. Pelletier
Our favorite guest blogger, Vince, is at it again. Today, he shares his experience of testing a Chinese airgun.
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.
Now, take it away, Vince!
Ahhh… the way we were! The way some of us were, anyway. By “us,” I’m referring to those of us who first got into airguns (or came back to airguns) after being seduced by those irrascible Chinese. I’m going back about, oh, 10 years or so ago, when, waltzing through the internet, we would find all sorts of places selling “The Chinese Can Opener” or the “High-Power Military Training Air Rifle.” What a deal they were — my goodness, why on earth would ANYONE spend $100 or more on one of those high-falutin’ overpriced airguns when these $25 Chinese models were obviously just as good? And we knew they were just as good because that number said so!
You know, that number. The velocity number. Because that was the only thing that mattered! That one number told us the whole story!
Sooner or later, we discovered the inevitable — although for some (like, uh, me), it was certainly later than sooner. Eventually, the B3, B4-2 and Fast Deer airguns went by the wayside to be replaced by Gamos, RWSs, Cometas, Noricas, and then Spanish and German Beemans. Around this time, the Chinese started cranking up the quality, though, so their better products didn’t entirely leave our field of view. But the old carved-out-of-a-2×4-and-lubed-with-pig-fat models — along with all their broken seals, mainsprings and promises — were pretty much forgotten.
But man is a funny animal, and a collector (even a half-baked collector) often sees value in diversity as well as quality. And just as a man who collects Mustangs sort of really needs a 1974 Mustang II 4 cylinder automatic (as horrid a car as it was) in his collection, I began pining for some of those old, crude guns just because they were there.
So it was that I found myself fishing around for some of those old bottom-feeders…those poorly made, all wood-steel-and-leather guns that smelled like bacon grease when fired. Those guns that, frankly, I had virtually no interest in shooting, except to appreciate the better guns that came later. The subject of this report, the Industry Brand QB-51, is one of those fossils I dug up.
Industry Brand B-7 spring-piston rifle.
This .177-caliber breakbarrel air rifle was also called the Industry Brand B-7 and shouldn’t be confused with the BAM B-7. That gun was the old sporter-style sidelever that actually had a reputation for being sort of decent. No, the Industry Brand B-7 was one of those smoke-and-soot, machined with a dull file and worn-out drill bits and carved-with-a-hatchet examples of communism at its most typical. If you were lucky, it worked out of the box. If not, well, it simply didn’t. But luck shines upon me, and this one actually did.
The QB-51 was one of those novelty guns they used to put together by combining a low-buck action with some possibly less-than-useless useless bells and whistles. This one was apparently playing paratrooper with a folding wire stock, a total weight of under 6 lbs. and an overall length of only 35 inches. But it’s not a kid’s gun by any stretch — the pull length of 14 inches and a 28-lb. cocking force certainly attest to that.
Since the folding stock is obviously the most interesting aspect of this gun, let’s take a look at that first. It actually has two interesting features, the less obvious being an adjustable buttpad.
Buttpad is centered.
Buttpad adjusted down.
Is an adjustable buttpad on this cheap gun completely pointless? Actually it isn’t. It can be used to dial up a more comfortable shooting position. The gun does look awkward as all get out if the pad is moved too far off the normal position; but let’s face it, this pup isn’t winning any beauty contests if the judges are permitted to keep their eyes open.
The folding stock is perhaps less useful.
Folding stock extended.
The stock is folded flat against the side of the gun.
This is what it looks like from the side.
Some rifles with a folding stock can be handled as a pistol (sort of); that’s not really going to happen with this gun. All it does is make the rifle a bit shorter and easier to pack up for transport — if you could think of any reason you’d want to. But at least the rough cast folding/locking mechanism is stout enough.
The hinge is stout and tight!
Moving past that, we come to the pistol grip — and another gadget! The grip is hollow and has a sliding door at the bottom.
The grip has a secret compartment!
Presumably, you can put pellets in there. It would hold several hundred, even if getting them out one at a time might be a bit tricky. Again, we have an oddball feature that still isn’t quite useless.
On top of the gun, we can see the simple rear sight. If you were into mid-grade airguns 10-15 years ago, you might recognize it. This is pretty much a knock-off of the old Gamo sight that used to come on a variety of their breakbarrels. Frankly, they did well to copy it. It’s simple, largely devoid of free-play and pretty darned rugged.
The rear sight was kind of nice!
Finding it on this rifle was a pleasant surprise, and I was hoping to find a similar surprise as I moved rearward toward the trigger. I already knew that Industry Brand used a knock-off of the Gamo trigger in their QB-57, QB-88 and QB-25 models. When I saw that telltale safety tang in the triggerguard area, I got my hopes up. It says something about bottom-feeder Industry Brand triggers when you’re seriously looking forward to a Gamo trigger. But even those modest hopes were quickly dashed. This gun has a simple direct-sear and a crude sliding safety, both of which makes a 2004 Gamo Shadow feel like a Swiss watch.
As I move around the gun, it’s becoming obvious that this thing is based on the old Industry Brand 61 and 62 model actions, later known as the B-1 and B-2, respectively. I’ve had those. My B-1 had a horribly inaccurate barrel and probably a 12-lb. trigger. One B-2 had a soft trigger that quickly wore and went into the auto-fire mode, and the other B-2 bent its rear retaining pin because it couldn’t handle the spring pressure. As one might guess, I don’t get all excited by B-1/B-2 variants.
One giveaway is the breech pivot bolt.
The pivot bolt has only four places for the locking screw to engage. That often makes it difficult to adjust properly, for many times you want to stop somewhere in-between.
And the other is the smashed-leather breech seal.
The leather breech seal is as flat as a pancake.
Both are hallmarks of Industry Brand inferiority, and that breech bolt (with its four positive locking stops) frequently makes it impossible to properly tighten up the sideplay without making custom washers to go under the bolt head.
Oh well…let’s keep going. The front sight is basic enough.
Front sight is what you would expect.
Although I won’t be using it. I’ve learned from recent testing that I just can’t be consistent with open sights anymore — so I pretty much have to go to a scope. The problem is that the grooves milled into the receiver are ridiculously short. In trying to mount a scope, look at what I had to resort to.
The Daisy variable scope was cheap enough and worked well. Notice how close the rings have to be to fit the short dovetails!
The skinny scope mounts I used — moved as close together as possible — barely fit. The scope, by the way, is a cheap Daisy Powerline 3-9×32 (no AO), in which I had fudged the objective lens to eliminate parallax at 10 yards. Set up this way, the $35 scope works like a champ — and seems way too good for a rifle like this.
I do have some concerns about running a scope on this gun, however — Diana’s aren’t the only breakbarrels to have droop, and this one seemed to have joined that party. But there’s only one way to find out, so I’m off to test it. And, yes, this time I checked the stock screws first.
I’m shooting the gun with the same series of pellets I used last time — although, frankly, putting Crosman Premiers through this rifle seems rather silly.
I tried all these pellets in this gun.
No matter, same drill — 5 shots to get the barrel used to a pellet, then 5 on each through two separate bulls.
Much to my surprise, dialing in the Daisy scope wasn’t such a big deal, and soon I was landing pellets close enough for government work. Though the Daisy scope worked well enough, the Daisy Precision Max wadcutter pellets didn’t.
These groups came in at 0.66 inches and 0.82 inches; but come to think of it, maybe I’m being too hard on these pellets. Maybe this really is the best this gun can do!
Crosman Competition wadcutters do nothing to dispel that notion. At 0.78 inches and 1.40 inches, they’re making the Daisys look good.
At 1.28 inches and 1.52 inches, Crosman Hunting pellets (pointed) do even worse.
Even my cherished Crosman Premier hollowpoints are sucking canal water at 1.12 inches and 0.9 inches.
Of all the Crosman pellets, only the Premier Lites seems to consistently do under an inch — although 0.82 inches and 0.9 inches is nothing to squawk about.
Oddly enough, those new Gamo Match pellets I don’t like so much just about equalled the Crosman Premier Lites in this gun.
But at 0.95 inches and 0.88 inches, they still couldn’t match the Daisys. I had high hopes for the RWS Diabolo Basic pellets that seem to shoot so well in many low-power guns. I finally started to see some improvement.
At 0.57 inches for both groups, they were quite consistent; and now we’re starting to get into the range of acceptable performance for a cheap rifle.
But then we have the Beemans. Not the German Beemans from H&N. I’m referring to those imposter, Chinese-made Beeman wadcutter coated pellets. My very first group with them was typical for this rifle.
As you can see, the second group was a shocker. We went from 0.78 inches to 0.37 inches in one set. Something’s up. Let’s try this one more time.
My goodness! Stick a feather on my rump and call me a turkey — but this Chinese junk just put 5 pellets into virtually a 1/4-inch group.
Now, before anyone starts complaining — “That’s not fair! No other pellet got a third chance!” — let me explain something. The Beemans were absolutely the first pellets I shot, and during that time I was trying to come to grips with that yucky trigger. That’s why I think the first group was poor. Since the second group did so well, I shot the third group last after I had completed all other testing. So I think this third test was fair and that it really means something.
[Editor's note. This happens sometimes, and it's a reminder of the hold sensitivity issue and why things have to be done just right to see good results. I've seen what Vince is talking about. With some experience under your belt, you'll know when something deserves a second chance like this.]
But before we get too excited, let’s do a velocity check. Since the Chinese Beeman pellets were far and away the best, those were the only ones I tested. 10 shots came out like so: 396, 397, 388, 390, 380, 381, 381, 379, 381, 377.
We immediately notice three things: (1) The velocity stinks, especially for a gun with an almost 30-lb. cocking force. (2) The velocity seems to be on a downward trend. (3) The spread of 19 f.p.s. is significant, considering the fact that this thing is outgunned by a P17 pistol.
Where does that leave us?
Well, to begin with, this gun obviously has a decent barrel. Not sure how that happened, but happen it did. And if the barrel is good, the gun is good, right? Couple that with the fact that, against all odds, this example also seems to have a consistent lockup — and we seem to have a perfect diamond in the rough.
Yes – very rough. I could probably go through this gun and get the velocity up to 500-600 f.p.s. range, and some trigger smoothing and lubing would probably help as well. Even at that — will I ever want to shoot this thing just for fun? Really?
If I’m honest — not really. In fact, I have absolutely no reason IN THE WORLD to go through the trouble of tearing this thing apart and making it right.
Nope. No reason at all.
I’ll let y’all know how it turns out.
[Editor's note. Maybe I should have made this a Part 1. We'll see what Vince does. I don't want him to feel pressured.]
by B.B. Pelletier
Regular blog reader Vince is regaling us with another great guest blog about a gun he’s repaired…although this isn’t about the repairs he made. He never fails to inform and entertain! So, sit back, relax and enjoy!
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.
Take it away, Vince!
Cabanas air rifle
So, where to begin? I don’t quite know how to write an introduction to the this gun simply because I know virtually nothing about it. In fact, everything I DO know will fill no more than a single paragraph on an airgun blog…and not a terribly long paragraph at that:
The Cabanas rifle was manufactured by Cabanas Industrias, S.A. in Aguilas, Mexico, and was imported and distributed through Mandall’s Sporting Goods of Scottsdale, Arizona. The release of these models may have been announced at the 1989 SHOT show, and this particular rifle might belong to the RC-200 family of airguns from that manufacturer.
And that’s it.
The Cabanas company IS relatively well known for making primer-powered guns in both .177 and .22 calibers. These were known for being as low-powered as an air rifle but less accurate, more prone to fouling than a regular .22 and yet classified as a full-fledged firearm in the eyes of the ATF.
In other words, the worst of all worlds. Little wonder they didn’t last.
Where does that leave this thing? Was it a last-gasp effort by Cabanas to salvage some workable market share in the United States before completely getting swamped? Cabanas went under in 1999. If this rifle does, indeed, date from 10 years prior, it hardly qualifies as a “last gasp.” But, no doubt, it was part of an effort to expand their US market. Given the dearth of information on these models, it wasn’t a very successful effort at that.
That is, if you define success only in a commercial sense. Because this particular air rifle is a very likeable gun. Before I get ahead of myself, though, let me introduce this particular example.
I first heard of this gun when blog reader Wacky Wayne mentioned that he had a certain type of “Cabanas” he wanted me to do something with. I asked him what in the heck was he growing in those raised flower beds of his! But after we cleared up THAT little misunderstanding, I said “SURE! I’ll work on anything!” A short time later, the Cabanas arrived at my doorstep. I worked it over, sent it back, he shoots it a couple of times and then sends it BACK to me to keep in exchange for some more work. Which means that this orphaned waif is now mine.
Wwhenever I see another air rifle, I’m always on the lookout for signs of cross-breeding or design commonality. Since this gun is from Mexico, my thoughts immediately turned to Mendoza. Those thoughts were reinforced the first time I broke open the barrel and compared it to its Mexican cousin.
Mendoza at the top, Cabanas at the bottom…kissing cousins!
The scope grooves milled into the spring tube are typical enough, but the gun’s potential Mendoza-ness was further reinforced by the presence of an oil hole.
On the other hand – the automatic safety is definitely un-Mendoza like (safety engaged).
It’s kind of clunky, really. It seems a bit odd to have a large block of metal sliding back and forth like that, and it doesn’t work all that smoothly. And that’s AFTER messing around with it to improve the feel. Worst of all, it’s not resettable which, frankly, is inexcusable on a gun with a simple, direct-sear trigger like this one. Small matter, though. B. B. has talked me out of relying on safeties, and the more I shoot the more I’m convinced that they really are superflous annoyances for the most part. This safety is not a terrible bother to pop off, so it’s not a major gripe.
Otherwise, the gun seems well made, with steel for everything and no apparent chintzy compromises in the name of fads, mass-marketing, or penny-pinching. The Cabanas is a very solid gun.
The reddish stock, to my eye, is oddly evocative of something I can’t quite put my finger on. It sorta reminds me of the wood furnishings that might be found in a classy 1960’s bar or smoking room frequented by older, well-dressed men. Or something like that. Shaping and finishing does show a decent level of workmanship (if a bit blocky in shape), but the thumbhole is a bit small, I think. It’s marginal for me, I can easily see where larger shooters might find it genuinely undersized.
It’s a handy rifle at 6.50 lbs. Cocking effort maxes out at only about 20 lbs. (peaking right when the sear is engaged). Trigger effort (direct sear) is on the high side at about 7 lbs., but that’s really the only downside to shooting this gun.
The sights are low & relatively close to the centerline of the barrel.
I especially like the styling of that front sight — very sleek, the way it’s almost hidden by the muzzlebrake. But as for function? Middle-of-the-road, at best. The biggest problem was that at 10 yards, I ran out of height adjustment. It still tended to shoot low with the rear sight on the highest notch. The locking-screw type windage adjustment (a la Crosman 1077) is also a bit cheap but less of an issue. Sight picture is good, though, with the front blade sized well for the rear notch.
At this point, I’m ready to start shooting the gun, and y’all might be expecting what B.B. does…velocity tests followed by accuracy. I’m taking a slightly different approach and doing the accuracy test first, since there’s no reason to chrono the gun with pellets that shoot like poo. So, accuracy testing is up first.
Being a naturally boring person, I decided to run this test with a set of very run-of-the-mill ammo. Budget-concious pellets are definitely on the menu, and I’ll round it off with Premier 7.9 grains.
The pellets I used for the record.
Half the pellets are Crosman, beginning with the old Copperhead Competition wadcutters (shown upper left) that have been a staple of indoor shooting for 20 years or so. The pellets below that are Crosman Hunting Pellets, which are pointed – but not with the straight-sided cone common to pointed pellets. This one looks more like a Premier that’s told a lie or two to the pellet packer at Crosman. And despite the fact that they’re cheap — $14/1250 at Pyramydair. I find that in some guns they shoot about as well as doomed Premiers even at longer ranges. This performance starkly contrasts with the more expensive (and conventionally designed) pointed Premiers, which I’ve found to be absolutely horrible.
The next column shows the Premier Hollowpoints that I’ll be testing and an old box of standard doomed 7.9-grain Premiers. Generally, I find that the HP’s shoot just about as well, I’ll be curious to see if the same holds true here.
Next over, we have the new Gamo Match, which is no longer the Gamo Match, if you catch my drift. They changed the design of the pellet a year or two ago — and in my experience, not for the better. Below that is ANOTHER pellet that’s no longer the Gamo Match — the Daisy Precision-Max. I’ve generally found this to be also an inferior pellet, but a few guns do like them.
The last two are the RWS Diablo Basic (used to be the “Geco”) and the not-really-Beeman-because-they’re-made-in-China Beeman Wadcutters. The RWS pellets look to be very well made, and some guns just love them. I generally have a bit less success with the Beeman pellets — but it depends on the rifle.
Now, as to the testing procedure. I planned to put 5 shots of each pellet through the gun before shooting two 5-shot groups side by side. This will get the barrel “used to” the new alloy before shooting for the record, something that I’ve found to be significant. All shooting will be done over about 10 yards in my basement, so wind will be a non-issue.
I started rattling off groups using the open sights and immediately identify 2 problems. First, I’m tearing up the bullseye. While this sounds good, the fact is that I prefer to have the group OFF the bullseye, so I’m always sighting on a clean target. I don’t want to mess with the windage because there’s no easy way of setting back to exactly where it was, and I didn’t want to lower the sight because my target paper put the lower dots near the bottom of the trap. Second, my eyes have managed to get even WORSE than the last time I did any serious testing.
And then I found the loose stock screws. So, I threw out all the targets I already shot, tightened the screws, mounted a 3-12×40AO Centerpoint scope and dialed it in.
First up are the Crosman Wadcutters:
Don’t know what’s up here: .87″ and .40″? Not very consistent, is it? Well, we’ll see how the next pellets do:
The Crosman Hunting Pellets don’t disappoint and punch out passable .40″ and .38″ groups. Which, on balance, is a bit better than the Premier Hollowpoints:
…which came in at .45″ and .40″. The boxed Premier Lights, however, were the best of the Crosmans at .33″ and .35″:
The Daisy Precision-Max pellets didn’t live up to their name:
At .58″ and 1.06″ they did the worst average group out of this gun, although the new Gamo Match pellets were certainly vying for top dishonors:
At least they were more consistent at .80″ and .70″.
The real star in this gun was the RWS Basic (not an uncommon occurrence) which went into a pair of .33″ groups:
In my mind this just further confirms them as one of the best cheap pellets out there. Beeman’s best of .31″ was slightly better:
…but it’s worst of .53″ would seem to indicate that it’s not as consistent.
With the accuracy test over, I’m now looking at putting some shots over the chrony.
I know that this review isn’t really useful as a review for a potential purchase. Considering it’s rarity, you’re not very likely to find one in the used gun market. I’ve even wondered if this one was a sample for the importer, and that no others were even brought into this country. Next to this thing, the Sterling is as common as a Toyota Corolla.
Since all I’m doing is a curio writeup, I decide I’m only going to do one pellet to show the general velocity range of this gun. I decided to use the most accurate pellet of the test — the RWS.
Ten shots across the chrony yield the following results:
A 16 fps spread is pretty good, and the muzzle energy of 7.5 to 8 ft-lbs is sufficient for plinking out to 40 yards or so.
Overall, this Cabanas is an enjoyable, mid-range airgun that seems to be a bit easier to shoot and a little less pellet-fussy than my experience with that other Mexican brand. A better trigger (like, for example, the Mendoza unit) would make it positively delightful.
That wraps up the Cabanas. And, now, if I ever do a search on this rifle again I’ll probably get twice as many hits on it as I did before… because half of them will point me back to my own review! Maybe some day I’ll be able to dig up a bit more on this; and if ANYone has any more information on this pup, I’m all ears.
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.