Posts Tagged ‘H&N Baracuda Green pellets’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Bill Cardill is the Big Shot of the Week on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.
This same scenario will be repeated in countless homes this coming Christmas!
The Chinese Fast Deer sidelever air rifle is attractive. Does its performance live up to its looks?
This is a fourth look at the intriguing KL-3B Fast Deer sidelever from China. We saw some pretty good 10-meter results in Part 3, and I said I’d be back to expand on that. I didn’t mention a scope was coming in part 4, but that’s what I had in mind. However, when it came time to shoot the gun, I decided to see how well I could do with the same open sights I used last time.
Today, I backed up to 25 yards which always reveals things that were perhaps masked when I shot at 10 meters. Twenty-five yards is a middle distance for a spring gun — at least for one in this power range — and you can count on the shots opening up.
The first thing I noticed right away was that heavy trigger! I’d forgotten about it. I don’t think it disturbed my accuracy, since I shot from a rest, but neither did it enhance my shooting.
The second thing I noticed was the size of the rifle’s breech. Three times in 55 shots the pellet fell out, and I didn’t notice it. The result was always a surprising detonation, and once I found a squashed pellet still in the receiver, where the sliding compression chamber had flattened it.
Other than those two distractions, the Fast Deer is a nice rifle. The stock is the right length and size, and everything fits me quite well. If I could mount a peep sight on the gun, I think it would be just about perfect. In fact, I’m going to look into the possibility of doing just that!
The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby that did so well at 10 meters. After confirming they were still on target at 25 yards with the same sight setting as 10 meters, I stopped looking through the spotting scope and just shot the group. But Hobbys didn’t do so well at 25 yards. Ten of them made a group that measures 1.918 inches between centers. As you can see, the shots are scattered and show no tendency to go anywhere, in particular. I noted that Hobbys were loose in the breech. Also, the Hobby is a wadcutter pellet, and wadcutter accuracy usually starts falling off around 25 yards.
The next pellet I tried was that remarkable lead-free dome, the H&N Baracuda Green. They’ve surprised me on more than one occasion, and they looked good at 10 meters in the Fast Deer. At 25 yards, they were a little better than the Hobbys, but not that much better. Ten of them made a group that measures 1.815 inches between centers. The Baracuda Greens fit the breech rather well.
JSB Exact RS
I tried JSB Exact RS pellets next, and I got an interesting result. First of all, this was one of the pellets that fell out of the breech. When I tried to compensate for the lost rounds, I shot 11 rounds instead of 10. The entire group was large, at 1.918 inches between centers. Before you comment, I’m aware that’s exactly the same as the RWS Hobby group, but please remember that there’s always a built-in margin of error when measuring these groups. So, they probably aren’t exactly the same size — that’s just how it looked to me.
The interesting result was that 6 of the 11 shots were in a smaller group that measures 0.475 inches between centers. That hints that this pellet might actually be the best one for this rifle, though the overall group doesn’t show it.
Next I tried the heavyweight Beeman Kodiak pellet. Although many would not try it in a rifle as low-powered as the Fast Deer, I’ve often found that Kodiaks are some of the most accurate pellets in lower-powered spring guns. Not this time, however. Ten went into a group that measures 2.134 inches between centers. That was the largest group of the test.
Air Arms Falcon
The final pellet I tried was the Air Arms Falcon. These are made by JSB; and, often, if other JSB pellets do well, these will, too. Ten Falcons made a group that measures 1.497 inches between centers. It’s the smallest group of the test, though it doesn’t have the same tantalizing group-within-a-group that the JSB Exact RS pellets had.
I don’t think we’ve seen the full potential of the Fast Deer, yet. The groups from the JSB Exact RS and Air Arms Falcons seem to promise a higher lever of accuracy if things were somehow different. I’m going to think about that for a while and see what I can do about it. Yes, I think there will be a Part 5 of this report at some point.
One thing is very interesting and that is what the 25-yard shooting and 10-shot groups have taught us about this rifle. Some things to think about in the future are better sighting possibilities and perhaps expanding the skirts of the two most accurate pellets — to see if that has any bearing on the outcome.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Kyle MacLeod is this week’s Big Shot of the Week on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.
The Chinese Fast Deer sidelever air rifle is attractive. Does its performance live up to its looks?
Today will be both a report on the Fast Deer and a rant. The report comes first.
This is accuracy day. Since the Fast Deer has open sights, I thought 10 meters would be a good test distance. You may remember that in Part 2 I told you that I turned the rear sight around to get longer eye relief. Well, that really paid off big time in this test. I found the rear notch to be sharp and well-defined, making alignment of the front and rear sights easy. Blog reader Matt61 asked why good eye relief is necessary for an open-sighted rifle. It’s because you must align the front and rear sights with each other and with the target. If you shoot with a peep sight, no front and rear sight alignment is required — just look through the rear hole and align the front sight with the target. The peep sight is more like a scope in that respect, while the open-sighted (notch and post) sight requires good eyesight for the alignment of the two sight elements.
I started with 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lites. They fit the breech on the loose side but good enough to shoot. The first shot was high and wide to the right, so I adjusted the rear sight down and also to the right. Because it’s turned around, I have to adjust to the right to make it go to the left. And you always want to adjust the rear sight in the same direction that you’re trying to move the pellet.
The group of 10 shot with Premiers was average. It measures 0.756 inches between centers of the two widest shots. That’s not wonderful for 10 meters, but it’s a start.
Ten Premier lites made this 0.756-inch group at 10 meters. Although it does have a large group of 6 or 7 at the right, it’s a little too open for my tastes.
Next, I tried H&N Match Pistol pellets. During the velocity test, I found them to be very consistent in this rifle. I also said this pellet seemed to fit the breech well; but as I loaded them for the accuracy test, I felt they were still somewhat loose. But look at what they did on target! I did adjust the sights after the Premiers, but I didn’t check where it got me — I just shot 10 of these target pellets and let them land where they would. I didn’t even look at the target through the spotting scope until all 10 had been fired, and in retrospect that was a good decision. I could see the dark hole growing in the center of the bull from where I sat, but I didn’t know if there were any pellets outside the main group. This 10-shot group measures 0.48 inches between centers and is centered in the bull.
Now, this is what I was hoping for! Ten H&N Pistol Match pellets went into 0.48 inches.
Next, I tried RWS Hobbys. They seemed to fit the breech very well and just look at the group they gave. The sights were not adjusted after shooting the H&N Match Pistol pellets but notice that the point of impact shifted slightly to the right. Ten of these pellets gave a super-tight 0.38-inch group at 10 meters. That was the best overall group of the test.
It just gets better. Ten Hobbys went into 0.38 inches.
The last pellet I tried was our new friend, the H&N Baracuda Green that has done so well in recent tests with other air rifles. I did so for two reasons. First, the weight of this pellet, at 6.5 grains, is light enough to be effective in the Fast Deer. And second, because I wanted to see one domed pellet do well in the rifle and because I may want to shoot it at 25 yards. At that distance, the will start to fight me on accuracy.
This pellet did well, but it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. And there was a problem. I was shooting the lower right bullseye with this pellet, and a piece of Scotch tape I used to hold the target tight to its backer was reflecting brightly. Was that causing aiming errors? I can’t say for sure, but I can say that this one target was harder to aim at than all the others because of that reflection.
Baracuda Greens gave me a 10-shot group that measures 0.902-inches between centers. In the center of the group, though, as seven shots in just 0.353-inches. So maybe this is a great pellet and maybe it isn’t. But I think I know a way to find out.
Not the best group, but does it contain the best pellet? The Baracuda Green was hampered by aiming difficulties. Would that have made a difference?
The Fast Deer has earned a Part 4 accuracy test with a scope. I find the heavy trigger is not as much of a problem as I thought it would be. And I really want to see how those Baracuda Greens do when I can aim precisely. So, there’s at least one more report coming on this unique Chinese sidelever.
On to the rant
Why can’t airgun manufacturers recognize that spring guns running at this power level (650-700 f.p.s.) are more accurate and have the least problems with hold? That was what gave me the idea to develop the rifle that became the Air Venturi Bronco — because I couldn’t find enough good, accurate airguns that aren’t Olympic-grade target rifles or top-end PCPs.
Everyone seems to think the market will not support a 700 f.p.s. spring rifle that also has great accuracy. They all point to the Beeman R7 and say that it isn’t selling that well. But the R7’s price has left three-quarters of the market behind. To succeed, a rifle needs to cost under $200, like so many of the mega-magnums now do.
No — airguns have to hit the magic 1,000 f.p.s., and the faster you go the better! I appreciate that new buyers are swayed by velocity, and so are some who should know better; but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for a few super-accurate guns that don’t take 50 lbs. to cock. And just so people in all the marketing departments around the world get my meaning: by “a few,” I mean a few tens of thousands per year.
The current horsepower race in airguns reminds me of the muscle car days of the 1960s. Sure, everyone wanted power and speed, but Detroit completely ignored that segment of the population that just wanted reliable transportation. Even after Volkswagen poked a finger in their eye, the fat cats in Motor City thought it was just a blip on the radar that would eventually go away.
Well, it wasn’t a blip, and it was Detroit that went away, instead, when the Japanese snuck quietly into the American car market with their little cars that were what the majority of buyers really wanted. Call them names if you must — we certainly did back in the late ’60s — but acknowledge that they took over the world of automobiles from the Big Three.
People will tell you that it was the gas crisis of 1973 that boosted Japan to the top. Well, I was there and that wasn’t it at all. The Japanese were already entrenched when the gas crisis hit. Sure, it put them over the top, but they were already poised to win before the gas stopped flowing.
The same thing exists right now with spring-piston airguns. Everyone, and I mean every single company who builds or imports spring-piston airguns today, will tell you that a gun HAS to go a thousand feet per second or they can’t sell it. That is the kind of reasoning that drives people like me to the Diana 27 air rifles and Hakims of the world. And I shoot airguns all the time. The folks in the airgun marketing departments play golf and fish and have lives outside of the airgun realm. To them, this is just a job — a paycheck.
Well, I see ways of making that paycheck bigger and fatter than ever, and nobody’s paying attention The Bronco is just one such gun. This industry is starved for more like it. But until we learn the hard way that monster vibration machines are not what the world needs more of, the status quo will remain.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today is velocity day for the IZH 60 Target Pro. Before we begin, there’s a surprise correction I need to make to Part 1. When I measured the length of pull, I didn’t mention that the adjustable stock can be lengthened an additional inch by relocating the anchor point of the adjustment screw.
Increased length of pull
Mac reads the blog sometimes, but he doesn’t comment very often but he loves the IZH 60/61 family of rifles. After reading Part 1, he called and reminded me of something I’d forgotten. If you pull the butt stock off its post, you’ll see a second spot for the screw anchor on the butt stock post. All you have to do is move the anchor from the first slot to the second, and you’ll add just over an inch to the length of pull on your rifle. I had reported a LOP range of 12 inches to 13.25 inches in Part 1. Now, I’ll revise that to a maximum of 14.5 inches. (Edith will amend the owner’s manual to show this info.)
The importance of follow-through
We discussed the fact that this powerplant is not capable of producing a lot of velocity. There was a comment on Part 1 that low velocity makes you need to follow through all the more, but I want to address that. Low velocity is not why you must follow through when shooting a spring-piston airgun. Even a 1,300 f.p.s. springer requires follow-through because it has the same problem as the IZH 60. In a springer, the pellet does not begin moving until the piston has almost come to a complete stop. The gun is already vibrating and moving in recoil before the pellet starts its journey down the barrel. But if it takes an IZH 60 to drive that fact home, all the better, because the proper follow-through can do nothing but make you a better shot.
As I explained in Part 1, Pyramyd Air sent this rifle to me for this test. They were very confident this rifle would shoot accurately, and they even sent a tin of what they feel are the best pellets. Guess what they are? H&N Baracuda pellets! The website says these are supposed to weigh 10.65 grains, but I weighed the ones sent by Pyramyd Air, and they weighed 10.4 grains. H&N Baracuda pellet weights have changed a lot over the past few years, and I would always recommend actually weighing them rather than accepting the description, because the weights seem to change a lot.
These pellets averaged 382 f.p.s. in the test rifle. The range of velocity went from 371 to 389 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 3.37 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. They will be the first pellets I test for accuracy; but since they’re domed pellets, they cannot be used in a formal target match due to the difficulty of scoring the holes. I’ll also test some wadcutter pellets — both target and general sporting types.
The second pellet I tested was a target wadcutter — the H&N Match Pistol pellet. This 7.56-grain wadcutter is a good general target pellet that costs less than H&N’s Finale Match pellet line. As a pistol pellet, it weighs less than 8 grains, making it appropriate to the IZH 60 powerplant.
This pellet averaged 485 f.p.s. and ranged from 481 to 490 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generated 3.95 foot-pounds at the muzzle. This is the velocity I expected from this rifle.
Next I tried the H&N Baracuda Green — the lead-free pellet that’s performed so well in a number of lower-powered airguns. This time, though, the performance wasn’t as good. The average velocity was 425 f.p.s., despite the fact that the pellet weighs just 6.48 grains. It must be the harder alloy that causes excessive friction with the rifling, because the range for this pellet was from a low of 367 f.p.s. to a high of 489! At the average velocity, the muzzle energy was 2.60 foot-pounds. Even at just 10 meters, a velocity variation this large will cause the group to grow, so I don’t think I’ll test this one for accuracy.
The last pellet I tested was the RWS R-10 Match Pistol pellet. At just 7 grains, this pellet was the lightest of the lead pellets used in this test. It averaged 525 f.p.s. with a range from 507 to 534 f.p.s. The low shot was an exception and loaded very hard. The next-slowest pellet went 516 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produced 4.29 foot-pounds of energy.
Overall the rifle performed better than I expected. There’s some buzzing in the firing cycle, but it’s not objectionable — probably because of the low power of the rifle. A “beer-can” tune would probably do wonders for it.
The trigger is light enough, if not very positive. It breaks at 1 lb., 7 oz. consistently. I did try adjusting it, but it was set as light as it would go when I received the rifle, so there was no improvement.
One final thought. I went through the box the rifle came in and found a target that proves this rifle can shoot a tight group at 10 meters. It’s shot on a Shoot-N-C target, so measurement is impossible because of the paint flaking off, but it does look like a quarter-inch group. However, it’s only 5 shots and the standard is 10, so that hat is still on the line!
by B.B. Pelletier
I shot the Gamo Rocket IGT .177 breakbarrel air rifle to see how potentially accurate it is. This is the day many readers have been waiting for. I was even nipped in the hocks by one reader to get it done faster.
The scope on the test rifle is the 4×32 fixed-power scope that comes in the package. The optics are clear, but at 4x, the image seems small. The crosshairs are also rather coarse. So, you really have to pay attention when aiming. I would say this scope is okay to start with if you don’t want to spend more money. And since the Rocket IGT has no other sights, you’ll need an optical sight of some kind.
Starting the test
I decided to use the same four pellets that were used in the velocity test. The distance was 25 yards and all shooting was done indoors, so weather wasn’t a problem. The first pellet tested was the JSB Exact 10.3-grain dome that delivered velocity in the low 800s. The group started very well. Around shot five, it had opened to twice its size. By the end of the session, it was double that. The 10-shot group measured 1.074 inches between the centers of the two widest shots.
It’s always best to evaluate the trigger when shooting for accuracy because you notice every little nuance while trying to hold the reticle still on the target. I now discovered that stage two of the new Gamo trigger has a long perceptible movement. I won’t call it a creepy trigger, but you certainly do feel it move as the sear gradually disengages.
So, my evaluation of the trigger changes from great to just good. It’s certainly the best trigger Gamo has ever fielded; but at the same time, it’s no Rekord.
Back to the test
I felt that JSB pellets were teasing me, and they really wanted to shoot better, so I would come back to them, but next came RWS Hobby pellets. Three shots went into three inches and they were through. Hobbys are not the right pellet for the Rocket IGT.
Next up was our new friend, the H&N Baracuda Green. I expected them to shock me with their accuracy after all the recent success we have seen. But the first group wasn’t that good. It measures 1.141 inches between centers, and you will see that it is more vertical than horizontal.
Since I’d now shot two vertical groups, I decided to try a differtent hold. Instead of placing my off hand at the rear of the forearm where I could feel the triggerguard, I moved it forward under the cocking slot. Then, I shot another group of H&N Baracuda Greens. This group measures the same 1.141 inches as the first group, but it’s even more vertical than the first.
At this point, I stopped shooting and checked all the stock screws. All were loose, and the two in the forearm had to be tightened quite a lot. When I returned to the bench, the point of impact had changed — and H&N Baracudas no longer grouped very well. Four shots went into 1.50 inches, and I just stopped shooting.
It isn’t supposed to work like that. Tightening the stock screws is supposed to give you the best groups the rifle is capable of; but with the Rocket IGT, that did not happen — at least not with Baracuda Greens. However, something told me to try the JSB pellet again, so that’s what I did.
The next group of JSB Exacts was shot with my off hand against the triggerguard and the stock screws tight. This time, there was a lot less walking of the pellets, and I ended up with a fairly good group of 10. It measures 1.025 inches between centers and is much rounder than any of the earlier groups. This is the best group shot during this test and is probably a good representation of what this rifle is capable of.
Gamo PBA pellets
I couldn’t do this test without giving Gamo’s PBA Platinum pellet that came with the gun a try. So I shot two of them. They cracked like a .22 long rifle in the house and landed seven inches apart. That ended the test!
What do I think about the Gamo Rocket IGT? Well, it has many good things going for it. Light weight. Easy cocking and a good trigger are the main ones. The power is also reasonable.
On the minus side, the accuracy I saw was mediocre at best. But I only tried four pellets in the rifle. Who’s to say there isn’t a good pellet that would make this rifle shine? It only needs one.
by B.B. Pelletier
Let’s look at the power and velocity of the Gamo Rocket IGT .177 breakbarrel air rifle. You learned in Part 1 that the numbers printed on the box and gun were in disagreement with the Gamo USA website and Pyramyd Air’s site, but it turns out that 1,300 fps is the correct velocity according to an email Edith received from Gamo’s vice president of sales. Well, Edith spotted yet a third velocity claim — this time on the end flap of the box. A sticker listed the velocity as 1,000 f.p.s., with no further explanation. We’ll clear all of this up and find out just how fast this rifle really does shoot.
I remarked in Part 1 that the cocking effort of the rifle seemed low for a gas spring, which is what IGT (Inert Gas Technology) means. My guess was the rifle cocked at between 30 and 35 lbs. of effort, which is a good 10 pounds less than other gas springs that generate similar power. My bathroom scale confirmed that the test rifle cocks with just 33 lbs. of force, making it easier than most gas springs. The piston stroke is quite long, which is how they manage to generate all that power from such an easy-cocking powerplant. I applaud Gamo for using the physics of the gas spring in this creative way.
I also remarked that the new Gamo Smooth Action Trigger or SAT, as they call it, is a large leap forward from any Gamo trigger I have ever tested. It’s adjustable via a hard-to-access Phillips screw located behind the trigger blade; and when I attempted to adjust it, I discovered that it was set by the factory to the best position.
Screwing the adjustment screw clockwise reduces the stage-two pull length and counterclockwise does the reverse. The screw was in as far as it would go, but I did unscrew it a full turn and verified that it does increase the second-stage pull length.
The trigger released at 4 lbs., 4 oz. with good consistency. The first stage is very light (just one ounce) and stops positively at stage two. This is the kind of sporting trigger that will please many shooters, and I’m so glad to be testing it.
The last comment on the trigger is that Gamo has made the safety entirely manual. The blade is in an usual (for Gamo) place, but it doesn’t go on when the rifle is cocked. I see that as a positive step toward customer satisfaction. Gamo has somebody who knows how to design airgun triggers.
And now to the principal business of the day. I tested the Rocket IGT with four pellets — two made of lead and two that are lead-free. The first pellet tested was the JSB Exact 10.34-grain dome — a heavy pellet for a .177. With a gas spring, there’s no coiled steel mainspring to worry about, so the question of whether this heavy pellet is suited to a spring-piston powerplant is moot.
The JSB Exact pellet got an average velocity of 822 f.p.s., which was below the estimate of 900 f.p.s. I made in Part 1. The velocity spread went from a low of 816 to a high of 828, so a 12 foot-second spread over 10 shots. That’s very consistent. At the average velocity and using weight of 10.34 grains, this pellet generates 15.52 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
Next up was the H&N Baracuda Green — the new lead-free pellet that’s surprising us with its accuracy. And that’s why I tested it here — because I intend to try it out in the accuracy test, as well. They averaged 1100 f.p.s. on the nose, and the range went from a low of 1092 to a high of 1105 f.p.s. So the spread was a tight 13 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this 6.48-grain pellet averaged 17.41 foot-pounds. That’s good power for this rifle; and if these are accurate at 25 yards, they’ll be a good hunting pellet for rabbits, squirrels and similar game.
Following the Greens, I tried Gamo’s PBA Platinum pellet, a 4.7-grain lead-free dome that they pack with the rifle. This is the pellet they say will go 1,300 f.p.s. (although Gamo’s website still says 1,250 fps). In the test rifle, this pellet averaged 1,229 f.p.s., but the string was large. It ranged from a low of 1,214 f.p.s. to a high of 1,242 f.p.s. The spread was 28 f.p.s. While that’s not terrible, it’s noticeably greater than all other pellets that were tested. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 15.77 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
The rifle comes pretty close to the 1,250 f.p.s. claim still listed on Gamo’s site (as we write this) — but not the 1,300 fps they claim on the box and rifle.
The last pellet tested was the venerable RWS Hobby. This 7-grain lead pellet is often the fastest of its type. In the Rocket, they averaged 1,004 f.p.s. with a spread from 996 to 1,013 f.p.s. The spread was 17 f.p.s., and this pellet generated 15.67 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Once again, the Gamo rifle met its advertised velocity with lead pellets.
Observations thus far
Gamo met the advertised velocity for lead pellets but was below the advertised velocity for their Platinum PBA pellets. Their Inert Gas Technology gas spring is easy to cock and doesn’t vibrate much when fired. And their new Smooth Action Trigger is performing just as nice on this rifle as the mockup in the Gamo booth did at the 2012 Shot Show.
I think you can sense my approval of this air rifle so far. It’s completely modern and nothing like the guns I usually favor, but it cocks easily, it generates the power it’s supposed to, is lightweight and has a fine sporting trigger. If it turns out to be accurate as well, I think Gamo has a fine new rifle in their lineup.