Posts Tagged ‘H&N Field Target pellets’
by B.B. Pelletier
Today’s test is shooting the Crosman MAR177 at 25 yards, both with and without the magazine. We’ll also shoot it with the best wadcutter target pellets and the best domed pellets to see what differences there are.
Rather than shoot the rifle myself, I let Mac shoot it this time. He is the better rifle shot between us, and I just wanted to see what the rifle would be like in his hands. He shot it off a bag rest at 25 yards indoors. Ten pellets were shot from the magazine, then another 10 of the same pellet were shot using the single-shot tray. Mac tested both domed and wadcutter pellets, so we get to compare the relative accuracy of both today. And the results did not turn out as I expected.
I’d noted in an earlier report that the particular 10-shot magazine I’ve been using has two chambers with tight entrances. Mac found the same thing without being prompted by me. I had him use the same magazine as I did so I could compare his results with all other variables remaining the same.
You’ll recall that I mentioned not liking magazine guns because of how they handle the pellets. So, today was also a test between the magazine and loading each pellet as you shoot. I’m not saying that all pellets have feeding problems, but that some magazines may have a problem. But when you load each pellet singly, you have less chance of damaging the pellet.
That said, the MAR177 has a gap at the front of the single-load tray that can catch the nose of certain pellets and make it very difficult to load. The H&N Field Target pellets that were the most accurate in an earlier test had this problem and had to be exchanged for a different domed pellet. The H&Ns have a semi-wadcutter rim around the head that just catches in the gap on the tray and causes the pellets to flip up and possibly get damaged on loading. I substituted 7.3-grain Air Arms Falcon pellets that fed perfectly through the tray.
On to the shooting
Let’s get right to today’s test. First, Mac tested the domed pellets at 25 yards.
Mac tried the H&N Field Target pellets first, and they were very accurate, but a couple of them refused to feed through the magazine. But the Falcon pellets fed flawlessly, so we changed the test to use them as the domed pellet of choice. Once again, I want to say that in another magazine this pellet might have fed better, but this is a quirk you get with mags that you don’t get when loading singly.
Clearly the single-loaded pellets are more accurate than those loaded by the magazine. That may not hold from magazine to magazine; but for this one mag, you’re better off loading the pellets one at a time. Let’s see how the rifle does with wadcutters at 25 yards.
The trend continued with the wadcutter pellets. The R10s grouped even tighter than the Falcons at 25 yards, and those that were loaded singly did much better than those that fed through the magazine.
What have we learned?
First, we’ve learned that some magazines do influence the accuracy of the gun with all ammunition — or at least with the pellet types used in this test. A different magazine might well give different results, but one thing it will never do is outshoot loading the pellets by hand, one at a time. As a 10-meter shooter, I knew this going into the test. But it was nice that we were able to demonstrate it so clearly.
Next, we see that wadcutters were more accurate than the domes in this test. Even though both pellets were very accurate, the wadcutters had the edge. That was the part that surprised me. I’d expected the domes to take over at 25 yards.
The bottom line
The Crosman MAR177 is a valuable addition to an AR and a wonderful target rifle in its own right. It was held back in this test by the use of an AR National Match trigger, which is by no means as good as a target trigger on an air rifle. Even so, we see accuracy that any 10-meter precision rifle would be proud of.
I think Crosman has made a winning rifle in the MAR177. And when they bring out more powerful versions of it in the future, it’ll be all the greater justification for owning an AR! My thanks to Crosman for the loan of this MAR177 for both this test and for the feature article I am writing for Shotgun News!
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll look at the Crosman MAR177 upper shooting domed pellets at 25 yards. I’ll be using the 10-shot magazine, so we’ll get to see that in action, as well. I’ll tell you right now that today was a learning day that spawned another report that’s still to come. Read on to learn what it is.
As you know, the Crosman upper receiver is attached to a lower receiver that I built on a Rock River Arms lower receiver shell. I used Rock River parts, and the trigger is an upgraded two-stage National Match trigger, also from Rock River.
To the uninitiated, the term National Match sounds like the finest possible precision. Well, it isn’t! A National Match trigger in an AR is about like a John Deere tractor — strong and effective, but as far from real precision as it is possible to get and still have a good trigger. My trigger has a light first stage and a crisp release in stage two, but it’s not what any target shooter would call precision. The break point is right at 5 lbs. My Trapdoor Springfield, which was made in 1875, has a trigger just as nice. My 1879 Argentine rolling block’s trigger is lighter and crisper, now that I have replaced the heavy service-grade trigger return spring. So understand that National Match does not mean the same as precision. You owners of Rekord triggers don’t know how good you have it.
The National Match AR trigger is quite a bit better than the single-stage trigger that comes standard on a military or civilian AR, but it isn’t a target trigger by any stretch. I tell you that so you’ll understand what I had to deal with in this test.
The MAR’s magazine is the same one that a .177 Benjamin Marauder uses. It’s wound under spring tension as it’s loaded and advances by spring power as the bolt is worked for each shot. Remember that on the MAR, the bolt is retracted by pulling back on the charging handle — the same as all other ARs.
The 10-shot magazine comes from the Benjamin Marauder and is completely reliable, as well as quick and easy to load. Here the last shot is in the magazine, holding it in place. The clear plastic cover is rotated to drop in the other 9 pellets.
The mag loads easy once you know the right procedure. A couple of the chambers were tight, so I used a mechanical pencil to push in the pellets. Once they cleared the lips of the tight chambers, they dropped into place easily. There were no feeding problems throughout the test, which entailed about 90 pellets, give or take.
I mounted a Leapers 4×32 mini scope on the rifle. It’s not a scope that Pyramyd Air stocks, but it would be similar to this Leapers scope. You may criticize my choice for some lack of aiming precision; but when you see how good the little scope looks on the rifle, I think you’ll understand why I went with it. It allowed me to use medium scope rings and still clear the magazine that stands proud of the receiver top. If I were hunting feral hogs with a 300 AAC Blackout or a .50 Beowulf cartridge, this is the scope I would use. No, it doesn’t magnify as much as a good 3-9x scope, so we may have to take that into consideration when we look at these groups.
I sighted-in at 12 feet, using my 10-minute sight-in procedure. If you haven’t tried this yet, you need to. It took just three rounds to get on target; and although a bit of luck was involved, this sight-in procedure always cuts time from the front-end of my scope tests.
Air Arms Falcon
I used the 7.3-grain Air Arms Falcon pellet to sight in. The scope seemed right on for elevation, but off to the right. I dialed in some left correction and shot again. Almost there, but not quite. One more adjustment put me at 6 o’clock, as far below the aim point as the center of the scope was above the bore axis (approximately). I knew I was safe to back up to 25 yards and start shooting.
The next 7 shots made a group measuring 0.422 inches between the centers of the holes farthest apart. It was an auspicious beginning for the test!
It was also the best group I shot with the Falcons. The other two opened up to over three-quarters on an inch, so although they made a good first impression, Falcons were not the best domed pellet in the rifle I’m testing.
JSB Exact 8.4-grains
I also tried JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes. They put 9 pellets into 0.495 inches, but threw the tenth shot low and right, opening the group to 1.047 inches. I detected no reason for this wild shot, so I’ll have to chalk it up to the pellets — maybe.
Next I tried some BSA Wolverines. This is yet another JSB dome that sometimes out-performs anything else. But in the MAR, they were just satisfactory, putting 10 into 0.642 inches.
JSB Exact RS
Another tantalizing group was made by JSB Exact RS pellets. We’ve learned over many tests that the RS is one of the best pellets for low- to medium-powered springers, and the MAR177 shoots at the same velocity, so I wondered how well it would do. Nine shots went into 0.474 inches, but the tenth shot opened that to 0.874 inches. It was a second instance in which 9 shots were tight and the tenth was a flier. I cannot say where in the string the wild shots occurred, though, because the scope couldn’t see the pellet holes as they were made.
H&N Field Target
Next, I tried H&N Field Target domes. A reader recently asked me why I don’t try these, as he had good success with them. I responded that I had, and had not experienced the same success; but when I checked my pellets, I discovered that I’d been shooting H&N Field Target Trophy pellets. The Field Target pellet tin was unopened. See what confusion a small name change can make?
These 8.5-grain domes gave me the best 10-shot group of the test — a stunning 0.441 inches between centers! This is a pellet I will work into future tests, you can be sure. This also serves to demonstrate that although the scope only magnifies four times, that’s good enough.
I was starting to tire from all the concentration, so this was the place to stop. I would say that the MAR177 made a good showing, but also raised some questions.
What comes next?
The performance of the rifle in this test was so intriguing that I want to reshoot the same test, only using the single-shot tray next time. Then I will know for sure whether or not the magazine has any influence over the group size. I’ve always had reservations about magazines in any rifle, and I really want to see if there’s any discernible difference. If there is, I may have to do a lengthy test of magazines vs single-shot operations in PCPs.
The next test that will also offer an opportunity to pit wadcutter target pellets against the best domes at 25 yards. I’ve always maintained that 25 yards is about the maximum distance at which wadcutter pellets are accurate, and we even shot a segment on the American Airgunner TV show in which we put that to the test. The domes were clearly superior to wadcutters at 35 yards, so this test will be at a closer distance and indoors. It should prove interesting.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is the day we see the accuracy of the Hatsan 125TH air rifle I’m testing. I have a surprise for you, and it isn’t what you expect. Just to review, the rifle comes with a scope that’s best not used. It’s very poor optically. And their mounts are very lightweight, so I didn’t use them today, either. Instead, I mounted my favorite scope, a Hawke 4.5-14×42AO Tactical Sidewinder that I have raved about in other reports. It’s the sharpest scope I have (don’t own it yet, but I expect to), so no one can say the Hatsan rifle didn’t get the best optics.
Hatsan has a scope base that gives you the choice of Weaver or 11mm rings, and the Hawke scope was already mounted in a set of BKL 30mm medium rings with double topstraps. With these butted against the Hatsan’s scope-stop plate, there was no way the scope or rings were going to move under recoil — even the heavy thrust of the 125TH.
After the scope was mounted, I cleaned the bore. And that was when I got the surprise. Even a brand-new brass cleaning brush slipped through the bore with little resistance! I thought for a moment the rifle was a .22 and of course I was using a .177 brush. But no — the rifle I’m testing is a .177. It just has a very large bore. How large? The rifle I’m now testing has the largest bore of any .177 air rifle I’ve ever examined!
I looked through the bore to make sure it’s rifled, and it is. But there are no pellets in my inventory that begin to be large enough to fit this bore — which is why I got the results that I did.
Note from Edith: I asked B.B. if this is so big that it might be .20 caliber. He took a .20-caliber pellet and tried to insert it, but it was too big. So, this is just an oversized .177.
Still a drooper
If you recall, this rifle is a drooper. I knew that, but there are ways to test droopers that don’t compromise the scope. Pick a small aim point located as many inches above the intended impact point as necessary and let that be your aim point for every group. After adjusting things as much as possible, the groups were still landing three inches below the aim point at 25 yards. But if the groups you shoot are tight, you can always replace the rings with a set of droopers afterwards.
The first pellets I tried were Beeman Kodiaks — more to keep them from breaking the sound barrier in my home than for any other reason. I knew from earlier testing that middleweight pellets will go supersonic too easily in this rifle, and every shot will crack like a rimfire!
After I got the sight adjusted, I proceeded to shoot the best group of the day. In fact it was the only complete 10-shot group I fired in this test, because all other pellets scattered so much in the first three shots that it wasn’t worth my time to complete the group.
At 25 yards, 10 Kodiaks made this group that measures 1.336 inches between centers. The pellet at the low right isn’t part of the group. This is similar in size to the best groups made with open sights.
The group is terrible, but it tells me something important that I haven’t noticed until now. Notice that many of the holes are elongated rather than round? These pellets are wobbling as they fly downrange! Some look almost as though they were tumbling when they hit the target. There’s no way they can possibly be accurate when they fly like that, and that’s why I didn’t complete any other groups. Not only were the pellets scattered, many of them also tumbled or wobbled like these. Nothing I shot could ever be accurate in this airgun. When I looked back at the earlier targets from previous tests, I noticed some elongated holes there, too.
The other pellets
At first, I tried to keep the velocity below the sound barrier, so I tried JSB Exact Jumbo 10.2-grain domes and 10.5-grain Crosman Premier heavies. Both wobbled in flight and scattered worst than the Kodiaks. I don’t have the new JSB Exact Heavy 10.34-grain domes, but there’s little reason to think they would have performed differently.
I did try a couple middleweight pellets — just to say I did. Some old Beeman Trophy pellets I had on hand cracked like a .22 long rifle, and they did make a couple round holes, but they also scattered widely and one of them did rip an elongated hole.
On to other, lighter pellets. The H&N Field Target was on the border of supersonic. Some were, others weren’t. But I got more elongated holes with this pellet, as well.
Then I tried RWS Superdomes. I thought their thin skirts might blow out and hug the bore better than the other pellets. But, once again, I got all supersonics and elongated holes. Three shots opened to two inches, and I just stopped shooting.
That is as far as I am going to take the Hatsan 125TH. I’ve shot it with open sights, with the scope and mounts that come with it, and with the best scope available. I’ve checked the screws and cleaned the bore. I’ve tried a range of the best pellets. Nothing seems to help. This rifle I’m testing is simply not going to be more accurate than these tests have already demonstrated.
The bottom line
The Hatsan 125TH is a $200 magnum spring rifle. It has their best trigger, their shock absorber system and their Weaver/11mm scope base. Yet, it also has a barrel that’s so overbore that it doesn’t stabilize any pellet I tried. The trigger is too heavy and doesn’t adjust very far. The rifle cocks hard but gets easier as it breaks in. In the end, though, the test rifle wasn’t accurate. I could forgive everything else if I’d been able to shoot a good group with this air rifle.
by B.B. Pelletier
Before we start, Edith has some announcements about some new promotions at Pyramyd Air.
Guys and gals…Halloween isn’t even here, yet, but I’m going to tell you about some early Christmas shopping ideas that will save you some money and get you some free goodies. For starters, you can get some free clips when ordering the Walther PPK/S CO2 BB pistol.
Want a free rechargeable flashlight? Get one when you order one of these Umarex CO2 guns. The really neat part about this flashlight is that it plugs into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter and stays there, charging while you drive. Turn off the car, and it stops charging. Click here to read about this clever little flashlight. Keep the flashlight for yourself or save it for a Christmas gift.
Lastly, prices on some Umarex guns have dropped. An opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping and save some money, or maybe an excuse to buy something new for yourself. Whatever you decide, my lips are sealed.
Now, on to today’s blog.
Today is accuracy day for the TF 89 Contender test. I expected the test of this rifle to be a walk in the park based on my previous experience with it, but it wasn’t. In fact, I’m going to do a part 4 with additional accuracy testing, because I think the rifle has more to offer than I saw during this test.
What do we know about the TF89? Well, it’s a very powerful .177 spring rifle, and that means there’s a lot to be overcome. The fact that it’s a breakbarrel means it probably requires a very sensitive hold. Apparently it does, and I haven’t quite found it yet.
Since it’s very powerful and also in .177 caliber, most pellets will go too fast for the best accuracy. I’ll have to shoot heavier pellets to get the velocity down below the transonic region.
I knew going into the test that the trigger wasn’t the best — and it isn’t — but you can adapt to it. The second-stage pull is long and creepy, but not so much that it affects accuracy.
Before the test, I reread Part 2 to see how fast the rifle shoots. It’s a real scorcher! I started with Beeman Kodiak pellets, and in the end they turned out to have the greatest potential of all the seven pellet types I tried. Remember that I’m shooting 10-shot groups, and I shot four of them with Kodiaks, alone; so this test went through a lot of pellets and targets.
The test was at 25 yards. The rifle was rested, and I tried several variations of the artillery hold, as well as resting the rifle directly on the bag and also holding the rifle firmly. The best hold, which was confirmed several times, was resting the stock on the flat of my palm as it touched the triggerguard. I shifted the open palm forward on the stock, but all that did was open the groups and move the point of impact.
I scoped the rifle with a Leapers 3-9×50AO scope with a red/green illuminated reticle and mil-dots. I like the clarity of this scope for the price and also the fine reticle wires that don’t obliterate too much of the target. Though I shot this test at 25 yards, I would use this scope out to 100 yards with few reservations.
I mounted the scope in BKL 2-piece high rings that gave more than enough clearance for the large objective bell over the spring tube. I might have gotten by with BKL medium-height rings of the same configuration, but it seemed too close to call. Actually, because the TF89 comes with a scope stop on the spring tube, I didn’t need to use BKL ring; but since I switch around scopes so often, I keep this one in those rings in case the extra clamping power is needed.
As I said, the first group was shot with Beeman Kodiaks. They acted like they wanted to group well, but there was something I wasn’t doing quite right. A second group with the same pellet gave similar results. Then I started experimenting.
The other pellets I tried were these:
The Beeman Trophy pellet is no longer available, but it’s the same as the H&N Field Target Trophy. At 8.4 grains, this dome goes too fast for accuracy, which is why it shot groups larger than one inch at 25 yards.
Beeman Kodiak Hollowpoint
The Beeman Kodiak Hollowpoint pellets fit the breech tighter than other pellets. I hoped that would make a positive difference, but it didn’t seem to. However, even though the group was over one inch, it was while I was using a hold that turned out not to be optimum. In the next test, I’ll try this pellet again.
Crosman Premier heavy
The 10.5-grain Crosman Premier pellet is normally not used in a spring gun, due to the weight, but I tried it this time, just to see what it might do. The group was larger, but round enough to make me want to try this pellet again.
Crosman Premier lite
As fast as the TF 89 shoots, I figured there was no chance for accuracy with the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellet, but since I was experimenting, I gave it a try anyway. As suspected, it was no dice. The pellets were all over the place. But I had to try.
JSB Exact 10.2-grain domes
Sometimes, when the Beeman Kodiak does well in a rifle, it also shoots the JSB Exact 10.2-grain dome pellet. Not this time, though. I didn’t even finish the 10-shot group.
Eun Jin heavies
Just to say I did, I also tried the Eun Jin 16.1-grain dome. Once again, it was no dice, as the 10-shot group measured over an inch at 25 yards.
I returned to the Beeman Kodiaks, thinking that, by this time, I surely was in the groove with this rifle. But my last group wasn’t as good as my first, which is an indication that I’m getting tired. After shooting more than 100 shots on a rifle that cocks with 42 lbs. of effort I would say I had cause to be a little tired at this point.
The final group was large, but it also tantalized me with six shots that went into a very tight sub-group measuring 0.413 inches between centers. That’s what convinced me that this rifle wants to shoot, but I haven’t quite got it together, yet. I’ll do another accuracy test after cleaning the barrel with J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound and giving the rifle a once-over checkup to see if I’ve left any stone unturned. It seems only fair in light of the evidence.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll look at the power of this .177-caliber TF89 Contender. The rifle is advertised at 1,100 f.p.s., and today we’ll see if that’s true. I tested a TF89 air rifle back when they first came out; although that report is no longer available online, I remember saying lots of nice things about this air rifle.
This breakbarrel has a long arc to cock the long-stroke piston and you feel it all the way. It takes a peak of 42 lbs. of effort to cock the test rifle, though most of the way through the stroke it was just under 40 lbs. When the rifle was brand new, I could feel a dryness to the powerplant, accompanied by a squeaking sound during cocking. That went away during the velocity test, but the barrel still does have a hesitation spot about at the midway point through the barrel arc after the rifle is cocked. Through that arc, the barrel will remain wherever it’s put, but outside that hesitation spot the barrel is loose and floppy.
A tuneup with the removal of burrs and proper lubrication would no doubt help here, plus it might knock off a pound or two of cocking effort. I think the rifle could benefit from a look inside to remove the sharp edges and metal shavings that remain from manufacture.
The trigger is two-stage and supposed to be adjustable, but I did not attempt to adjust it for this test. As it came from the factory, stage two is very creepy and releases with variable pressure of 3 lbs., 7 oz. to 4 lbs., 6 oz. It averaged 4 lbs., 1 oz.
A close examination of the trigger shows that it is not a copy of a Gamo trigger, nor is it like anything else I recognize. It appears to be somewhat sophisticated, and Im going to devote a separate report to the adjustment of the trigger; because if I were to test the rifle for accuracy as the trigger is now adjusted, it would not be to the rifle’s favor.
The firing behavior varied with each different type of pellet. RWS Hobbys were loud (they broke the sound barrier) and just a little buzzy, while Beeman Kodiaks were solid and quiet. The ball-bearing detent that closes the breech is solid and reliable. From the test results I don’t think any air is leaking at the breech joint.
Overall I would rate the feel of the rifle while firing as very solid. It feels like an airgun that wants to be broken in. It also feels like an air rifle that I want to adjust as nice as possible, because it may have some real potential. I can’t explain how that feels, but sometimes I just sense that an airgun has more to offer, and this one certainly seems to.
The first pellet I tested was the Crosman 7.9-grain Premier dome. It averaged 989 f.p.s. with a velocity spread that went from a low of 956 f.p.s to a high of 999 f.p.s. That’s a total variance of 43 f.p.s., which is fairly large for even a new air rifle. Perhaps the lowest-velocity shot was anomalous, because the next-lowest was 980 f.p.s., bringing the total spread to a more reasonable 19 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the rifle produced 17.16 foot-pounds of energy.
Next, I tested the H&N Field Target pellet. This is a 8.5-grain domed semi-wadcutter design that should work for both paper targets and steel targets, alike. The average velocity was 962 f.p.s. and the total spread ranged from 954 to 968 f.p.s. — a spread of only 14 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the rifle produced 17.47 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
The next pellet tested was the RWS Hobby, a very lightweight, all-lead pellet. Hobbys averaged 1083 f.p.s., and all of them broke the sound barrier; so, there was a distinctive crack upon firing. They also made the powerplant noticeably buzzy, so they’re probably too light for this rifle. The spread went from a low of 1071 f.p.s. to a high of 1099 f.p.s., proving the claim for 1,100 f.p.s. At the average velocity, Hobbys produced 18.24 foot-pounds of energy.
Had to try Kodiaks
After seeing these velocities, I knew I had to try at least one heavy pellet to slow down the rifle below transonic velocity. I selected Beeman Kodiaks because I expect to choose them for the accuracy test, as well. They averaged 848 f.p.s., which is ideal. The total spread went from 843 to 855, so a very tight 12 foot-second difference. At the average velocity, they’re producing 16.33 foot-pounds of energy.
The feel when shooting the Kodiaks is like you’re shooting a tuned rifle. It’s so solid that it gives me confidence that the rifle has a lot of accuracy to offer.
So far, I like the rifle. It seems solid and well-built; and if I can adjust the trigger to be reasonable, I’m hoping to get good accuracy from it. It’s powerful, yet not overly so. It handles well and feels right when I shoulder it. This might be a breakbarrel for someone who is looking for power and (hopefully) accuracy at a reasonable price.