Posts Tagged ‘Spin-Loc air tank’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’ll report the velocities I got with the new AirForce Condor SS rifle with Spin-Loc tank, as well as the shot count per fill and some other interesting things. Yesterday, I spent some time informing you of how the baffled silencer system works in this rifle. Today, that becomes important to understand.
Before we begin, let me clear up some things. Blog reader RidgeRunner thought the reservoir of the Condor SS looked smaller in the photo than the old reservoirs on the other two rifles. It isn’t. It is exactly the same size. The foam that surrounds the tank has changed, and that might give the illusion that new tank is shorter, but that’s just an illusion.
Blog reader Bob from Oz asked for a diagram that shows the flow of air because he was confused by my textual description. That’s where the photo of the silencer parts comes in. The end of the barrel, the true muzzle, is buried deep inside the frame of the rifle. The frame is tubular in front, and many people might think that it looks like a bull barrel, but it’s actually a hollow tube that has an inside diameter of one inch. The baffles fit inside that hollow tube exactly as shown in the photo, except that they are touching each other when they’re installed, so they’re not spread out like they appear in the photo.
When the pellet and compressed air exits the muzzle of the barrel (deep inside the tubular frame of the gun), it passes through the first baffle and much of the air is stripped off. It passes through the open slot of the baffle and is deflected backwards by the wide flange of the next baffle. Then, it passes back through the holes in the front barrel bushing and into the open space between the barrel and frame behind the front bushing.
As the pellet passes through each baffle more of the compressed air gets stripped off and reflected backwards. This all happens in miliseconds and the air is still under pressure, so it eventually comes out the end cap of the rifle.
Why am I telling you this?
You have to understand how this works, or nothing I say will make much sense. The key to quietness is the volume of empty space inside the frame of the gun and the length of time it takes the compressed air to exit the gun. You don’t notice anything, of course. You shoot and hear the report at the instant of firing. But there really is a small lag time, during which the compressed air expands and loses its energy. That energy is what makes the noise, so the greater the expansion, the less noise there is. And the less compressed air that’s used with the shot, the lower the noise will be when everything else remains the same.
I told you this because, when I began testing the Condor SS for velocity, I was surprised by the noise. I was testing inside my office, which is 12 by 15 feet, and the last time I heard the rifle was outdoors back in November of last year. I knew this gun I was testing was louder than what I’d heard back then. So, I went to AirForce yesterday and we conducted some tests to determine where the production Condor SS is sound-wise. I’ll get to that after we look at the velocity, so let’s do that right now.
Like all the sporting precharged rifles AirForce makes, the Condor SS has adjustable power and interchangable barrels. There’s no way I can test every possible combination of pellets, calibers and power settings, so I selected spots in the power spectrum that I’ll report today. I will report each pellet at all the power settings and give you the shot count for each one.
Eun Jin domes
The first pellet I tested was the Eun Jin 28.4-grain dome. While there are heavier pellets that will generate greater power in .22 caliber, I believe this one will do well in the accuracy test, so it’s a reasonable top-end pellet to test. On the maximum power setting, this pellet averaged 892 f.p.s. I shot it 20 times and the high (shot 3) was 912 f.p.s. The low (shot 20) was 814 f.p.s. Yes, that is a 98 f.p.s. spread; but out to about 35 yards, this pellet will hold zero for those 20 shots. If you plan on shooting at 50 yards and farther, stop at around 10 shots. Your average then climbs into the low 900s and the max spread is less than 30 f.p.s. At the average velocity for the 20 shots, this pellet generates 50.19 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
The power band is more or less a straight declining number from start to finish. Starting at 3,000 psi, you finish at 2,200 psi. A Hill pump then takes about 100 strokes to fill the tank again. So, there are 5 pump strokes per shot on max power.
The rifle was very loud, so I told Edith to change the sound rating in the description to a 4 because this gun is louder than a Sheridan Blue Streak on 8 pumps. It’s quieter than a Condor running at the same power, but still loud enough to notice. In fact, when I was testing the velocity in my office (with the door closed), Edith was in the living room and thought I was shooting a Quackenbush big bore because it was so loud.
Now, let’s look at the performance of the same pellet at different power settings.
On power setting 10, there were 20 total shots at an average of about 878 f.p.s. (48.63 foot-pounds).
On power setting 6, there were 22 shots at an average 868 f.p.s. (47.52 foot-pounds).
On power setting 4, there were 23 shots at an average 858 f.p.s. (46.44 foot-pounds).
On power setting 2, there were 25 shots at an average 830 f.p.s. (43.45 foot-pounds)
The power spreads from the first shot to the last were closing up as the power was dialed down; but even at setting 2, there was still 80 f.p.s. variation, start to finish. The beginning and ending air pressure was always the same for each string. Even on the lowest power the rifle sounded just as loud.
Then, I tried the Crosman Premier pellet that weighs 14.3 grains. The Condor was the first air rifle to get this pellet supersonic in .22 caliber. In the Condor SS, the average on high power was 1076 f.p.s. It ranged from a low of 1029 f.p.s. to a high of 1117 f.p.s., so, once again, a large spread. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 36.77 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. And there were the same 20 shots per fill, with the same starting and ending air pressures. There was no noticeable difference in the report between this pellet and the Eun Jin.
On power setting 10, there were 20 shots at an average of about 1067 f.p.s. (36.16 foot-pounds).
On power setting 6, there were 22 shots at an average 1062 f.p.s. (35.82 foot-pounds).
On power setting 4, there were 23 shots at an average 1033 f.p.s. (33.89 foot-pounds).
On power setting 2, there were 25 shots at an average 1010 f.p.s. (33.70 foot-pounds)
As with the heavy pellets, the power spreads were closing up as the power declined; but even at setting 2, they were still 60 f.p.s. from start to finish. The beginning and ending air pressure was always the same for each string. Even on the lowest power, the rifle sounded just as loud.
JSB Exact Heavys
Next, I tried the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Heavys. I expect this pellet to be matched well to the power of this new rifle. On maximum power, they averaged 1004 f.p.s., which generates 40.52 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. The high was 1059 f.p.s., and shot 20 was 962 f.p.s. I still got 20 shots per fill, and the muzzle report was identical to the others.
On power setting 10, there were 20 shots at an average of about 988 f.p.s. (39.24 foot-pounds).
On power setting 6, there were 22 shots at an average 981 f.p.s. (38.69 foot-pounds).
On power setting 4, there were 23 shots at an average 970 f.p.s. (37.82 foot-pounds).
On power setting 2, there were 25 shots at an average 966 f.p.s. (37.51 foot-pounds)
Notice that these pellets seemed to do very well on the lower power settings. That is important because the shot count increases with very little loss of power. The total velocity spread on setting 2 was 69 f.p.s. I think this may be the best pellet for this rifle, but accuracy testing will have to prove it.
The last pellet I tested was the Beeman Kodiak that weighs 21.1 grains in .22 caliber. Many will select this pellet for a powerful rifle like the Condor SS. On the maximum power setting, these pellets averaged 970 f.p.s. The high was 1017 f.p.s. The low was 908 f.p.s. Like the other 3 pellets tested, a large velocity spread over the 20 shots; but as I pointed out before, out to 35 yards it won’t make much difference. At the average velocity, this pellet generated 44.09 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
On power setting 10, there were 20 shots at an average of about 965 f.p.s. (43.64 foot-pounds).
On power setting 6, there were 22 shots at an average 952 f.p.s. (42.47 foot-pounds).
On power setting 4, there were 23 shots at an average 936 f.p.s. (41.06 foot-pounds).
On power setting 2, there were 25 shots at an average 920 f.p.s. (39.67 foot-pounds)
Summary of power performance
The Condor SS I’m testing seems to work best at power setting between 4 and 10, with the lower setting being better. The shot count increases, and the velocity spread gets a little tighter, plus not much power is lost. Let’s keep that in mind, and I’ll get back to it in a moment.
Sound testing at AirForce
I took my rifle out to AirForce Airguns and tested it against a production gun, another gun that had a pre-production prototype barrel and a .22-caliber Benjamin Marauder. I had said in Part 1 of this report that the Condor SS set on maximum power was no louder than the Benjamin Marauder when I saw it shoot last November. The one I now have for testing certainly seems to be louder.
We shot outdoors but next to the steel building, so there was some sound reflection from the building walls. Clearly, my Condor SS is just as loud as the current production gun, and both are louder than the Benjamin Marauder dialed up to its maximum power. But here’s the difference. The Benjamin Marauder shot Beeman Kodiaks between 801 f.p.s. and 828 f.p.s., and both Condor SS rifles shot the same pellet at an average 920 f.p.s. when set on power setting 2. So the Condor SS is putting out about 40 foot-pounds when dialed down low, and the Marauder is putting out around 30 foot-pounds with the same pellet when it’s adjusted as high as it will go. That’s a big difference.
So, why was the Condor SS I had heard back in November so much quieter than this one? Well, for starters, back then the baffles had smaller holes through them. Now, they’re able to safely handle calibers .20 through .25; but back then, they were still experimenting with the hole size. Also, the barrel in my test rifle is 16mm diameter. The prototype rifle had used a 12mm diameter barrel; so AirForce installed a 12mm diameter barrel in their production rifle that we tested yesterday, and the sound went down a little. The 12mm barrels are being processed now for production.
Then, we installed a standard SS tank on the Condor SS that now had the 12mm barrel and dialed the power down to 838 f.p.s. with the Beeman Kodiak pellets. That was as low as we were able to go when the 3,000 psi fill was fresh. Now, the Condor SS was only a little louder than the Marauder that was shooting just a little slower. We shot them side by side several times to make sure. There’s a difference you can discern when testing side by side, but outdoors it isn’t that great.
Remember, this is shooting outside but close to a building, and the standard tank is being used instead of the High-Flo tank that comes with the rifle. You can buy a standard tank as an accessory, but they aren’t going to sell one with the rifle instead of the High-Flo tank, so don’t even ask!
As far as the Spin-Loc tanks are concerned, they’re the new design. Pyramyd Air has opted to phase out the version with the old-syle quick-detach tank and stock only the versions with the Spin-Loc tank. The quick-detach tank that screws in is also available as an accessory in both the standard and High-Flo configurations.
Observations so far
Wow! This has to be one of the longest reports I’ve ever written. And the first part of it was yesterday, in Part 3. I hope this addresses your concerns about this rifle, and that you now clearly understand what you’ll receive when you order a Condor SS. It’s quiet for the power it generates, but it’s not whisper quiet like I originally said.
There’s still so much ground to cover with this test rifle. Accuracy testing comes next at 25 yards and then 50 yards. And after that, I’ll install a standard tank and do today’s test again. Stay tuned!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
This report is going to be a long one! There is so much to tell about the AirForce Condor SS rifle with Spin-Loc tank that I can’t pack it into the usual 3-part report. But today I’m going to start the velocity report and I’ll finish it tomorrow. I’m doing it that way because there are so many things to see and talk about before I get to the velocity test, plus the velocity test revealed some interesting things. And, since today is Wednesday, I really do mean that the second part of this report will come tomorrow.
A longer frame
Let’s start with a question that was asked by several people. What differentiates the Condor SS from the standard Condor? I told you about the barrel length differences (standard Condor = 24-inch barrel; Condor SS = 18-inch barrel) and the different frame lengths (the Condor SS has a longer frame than the Condor so it can hold the baffles), but several people asked me to show it. And I did promise to do that when I first reported on the new rifle, so here you go.
Here you can see the Condor SS (top) has the longer frame to hold the baffles. Under it is the Condor and then the Talon SS on the bottom. Note that both those rifles frames are the same length. The Condor end cap is slightly longer than the Talon SS end cap, so it looks longer,
Inside the frame — the technology
This is what you have been waiting to see. The Condor SS has 3 Delrin baffles, held tight between a bolt and a Belleville washer, so there’s no rattling of parts. The baffles fit close inside the frame, which AirForce reams for precision. That’s the only way this can be done because a raw extrusion will have a certain amount of size variation.
But there’s more than just the baffles. The front barrel bushing has air holes that allow the compressed air that’s reflected by the baffles to pass through.
The front barrel bushing has holes that allow the compressed air to pass through — giving more room for it to expand inside the frame. That robs the air of its energy and lowers the report at the muzzle.
And the changes don’t even stop there. The rear barrel bushing now has an o-ring around its circumference to help stabilize the barrel inside the frame without transmitting any sound. When you change barrels now, you’re going to have to push the barrel out of the frame instead of it dropping out like it did previously.
I’m going to discuss the sound of the rifle tomorrow, but there are several technical things you need to know before we get to that, so we’ll look at those today. First, there’s the size of the hole through the baffles. The pellet needs room to pass through the baffle without touching the side as it goes through. The larger the hole through the baffle, the less risky it is…but the more compressed air can also pass through and the less quiet the gun will be.
Remember that all AirForce sporting rifles allow you to change barrels, so the baffles have to accommodate all calibers. Or, in this case, the largest 3 calibers — .20, .22 and .25. The .177-caliber Condor SS has its own baffles that cannot be used on the larger calibers.
Then, there’s the power the gun generates. The more power you are dealing with, the greater the volume of compressed air that has to be quieted. Reduce the power, and the sound also goes down.
That’s all for today. Tomorrow, I’ll give specific velocities with different pellets, shot count and pressure curves. I’ll also discuss a strategy for using this rifle in the most effective way, as I believe I’ve discovered that for you. After that, but not tomorrow, we’ll advance to accuracy testing at 25 and 50 yards.
But that will not complete this report. After I wrap up this test of the factory rifle, I’ll install a standard Talon SS tank and run more velocity and accuracy tests. That will probably complete what I’ve planned. I could easily go on and run tests with a Micro Meter tank, a CO2 tank and so on, but I think what I have planned will give all of us a good look at this remarkable new air rifle.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’ll start testing the new AirForce Condor SS rifle with Spin-Loc tank. I’ve been waiting a long time for this test, because it affords us the opportunity to look at so many new things from AirForce Airguns. Not only will we get to see the new baffled silencer system, we’ll also get another look at the new trigger and safety on which I reported back in January. I linked to that report, above, and labeled it as Part 1 so you can get a better look at the new trigger by reviewing it, though I’ll continue to make comments on the trigger as this report unfolds. We’ll also get a look at the new Spin-Loc tank that allows filling without removing the tank from the gun. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s begin.
The rifle I’m testing is in .22 caliber, which I believe is the best caliber for all AirForce rifles. I won’t give the serial number because this rifle is mine. It’s not going anywhere after this report is completed. Don’t worry — they’ll make more!
What is the Condor SS?
AirForce Airguns is an American manufacturer based in Fort Worth, Texas. They make all the parts of their guns except for the barrels, which they source from Lothar Walther, the air tanks on many of the sporting models and the synthetic parts. Although shrouded barrels are commonplace in 2013, it was AirForce that introduced them to the market back in 2001 with their Talon SS.
In 2004, they started production of the Condor, one of the most powerful smallbore air rifles the world has ever seen, and one that still gets more shots per fill than any of its competition. Generating 65 foot-pounds of energy in .22-caliber, the Condor is a pellet rifle whose muzzle energy equals the standard speed .22 short rimfire cartridge. Only the diabolo design (wasp waist and hollow, flared tail) of the pellets it shoots prevents it from shooting as far as the rimfire. The Condor gave airgunners a rifle with .22 rimfire power and reasonable downrange safety at the same time.
These are all precharged pneumatic (PCP) airguns. Their butt reservoirs are filled to 3,000 psi (nominally — each gun may be a little different) and fired until they fall off the power curve at lower pressure. A Condor will get up to 20 powerful shots on a fill, and a Talon SS will get around 35-40 shots.
Shooters liked the SS for its quiet operation. When it was new, the SS was one of the quietest airguns in town that was also legal to own because it doesn’t have a silencer that can be installed on a firearm. And the Condor that can shoot a pellet through one and a half 2×4 boards delighted folks with power they’d only dreamed about. But the Condor was noisy, and the SS produced only about 25 foot-pounds of muzzle energy in .22 caliber. People wondered why AirForce couldn’t do both things — power without the noise.
The rifle we’re looking at in this report combines much of the power of the Condor along with the quiet of the SS. In fact, this rifle is even quieter than an SS. It’s as quiet as SS owners wish their guns were.
And, in response to customer requests, AirForce now offers the Spin-Loc tank that remains attached to the rifle, once installed. It has to, because it sports an onboard pressure gauge — a manometer — that customers also said they wanted. I’ll grant that this gauge is a handy thing since it lets you know the state of the fill the moment you grab the rifle. That’s very convenient when you pick it up after the gun hasn’t been used awhile. There’s no need to guess at the charge — it’s right there on the gauge. It was always easy to count your shots before; but when you set aside the gun for many days, you might not remember where it was in the fill. Of course, you could always top it off before shooting, which is what shooters did before the gauge; but now they don’t have to. The gauge tells them if there’s still enough air.
The Spin-Loc tank has to be installed with tools that come with the rifle. An Allen wrench loosens the single locking screw that allows the threaded bushing in the frame to turn freely. That bushing will join the tank to the frame. Don’t remove the locking screw — just loosen it so the threaded bushing can turn freely. A toothed wrench or spanner that comes with the gun can then turn the bushing to tighten it onto the tank. The tank itself cannot be turned much because neither the pressure gauge nor the male Foster fill nipple will clear the frame. So, the bushing has to be tightened onto the tank’s threads — drawing it onto the frame.
I have to say that it took me a couple tries before I got the tank threading straight onto the bushing. It’s a problem of controlling both the gun and the tank, so the tank’s threads do not start cross-threading. Both the bushing and the tank’s threads are steel, though, so the risk of damaging the threads is low. Just work carefully; and once the threads start to join, everything goes together easily.
Once the tank was on the gun, I adjusted the pull length by adjusting where the buttpad clamps to the rear of the tank. I noticed that the buttpad can also be flipped upside down, allowing it to extend lower for more contact with the shoulder, so I did that, too. In the end, I have the rifle set up for a 14-1/2-inch pull, which is ideal for me, and the buttpad is canted inward at the toe, which is how all my AirForce rifles are set up. There are several inches of adjustment with this pad, so fitting an adult shouldn’t be a problem. The picture at the top of this report shows the buttpad reversed like this.
New trigger and safety
I covered the new trigger and safety thoroughly in Part 1, but it’s new so I’ll mention it here. The trigger is 2-stage and not adjustable. I’ll give you the pull weight and critical data in the velocity test, which comes next, but we do know that it’s very crisp and stops after the sear is released.
The biggest difference in this trigger is that it cannot be uncocked. The gun, once cocked, must be fired. Since the Spin-Loc tank cannot be easily removed, the question becomes: Can you release the trigger without opening the valve? As it turns out, you can. Simply move the bolt a little forward so it isn’t pressed against the valve (which is referred to as the top hat), hold it there with your thumb and pull the trigger. Your thumb will catch the striker before it opens the valve very far, limiting the amount of air the gun fires. As convenient as this is, I would only do it with an unloaded (no pellet in the breech) gun that’s pointed in a direction that would be safe to fire. Because if you misjudge where the bolt has to stop, the gun could still fire a pellet.
The Condor SS comes with an 18-inch Lothar Walther barrel in your choice of calibers (from .177 through .25). Naturally, you can change the barrels as with all other AirForce sporting rifles, so you can own all 4 calibers for a fraction of what 4 complete guns would cost.
Ahead of the barrel is the system of baffles that make the SS what it is. I’ll show those in the next report, but there’s something that nobody has mentioned, yet. This rifle will also accept a tank with a standard valve; and if you use one of those, you’ll get twice the number of shots as you get from the Hi-Flo tank that comes standard on the Condor. And because of the 18-inch barrel, the gun will also be more powerful than a stock Talon SS. So, you’ll have great power and lots of shots! This is so intriguing that I’ll test it for you after I complete the full test of this gun as it comes from the factory.
Like all AirForce sporting rifles, this new one also has adjustable power. We’ll experiment with that when we test the rifle for velocity.
The Condor SS is made of aluminum, steel and some soft synthetic parts such as the grips and forearm. It has very straight lines, and the buttpad that drops down plus the raised scope rail make it quite easy to adapt to scope use. The accuracy is legendary, and we’ll put that to the test at multiple distances.
I’ve waited a long time to test this gun for you. So, sit back and enjoy this — it’s going to be a long ride.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Before we start, you’ll remember that the president of Pyramyd Air promised to eat his hat if the IZH 60 I recently tested could not put 10 shots inside a quarter-inch group at 10 meters. It was close, but he lost the bet, so today we have two photos — one of the hat and the other of him eating it. Well done, Val!
Pyramyd Air President Val Gamerman eating the hat.
The caption to the first picture of the Talon SS PCP says it is a complete shooting system, and today we’ll look at another facet of that. Let’s look at the performance of the CO2 adapter, which turns the rifle from a PCP into a CO2 gun. Before this adapter existed, people were always asking for it. They envisioned it exactly as it turned out, but the demand went unanswered for several years. Then, Pyramyd Air negotiated with AirForce for a production run of adapters and we got them.
I’m running this report today because I need to use my Talon SS for a lengthy test that’s going to increase our understanding of the components of airgun accuracy. The rifle is the perfect platform for the test because it accepts barrels so quickly and easily. That test will begin soon, and I won’t tease you — everything will be fully explained when that test begins. But before I get to the heart of today’s report, a little history on the Talon SS.
How fast on CO2?
Now comes the question of the day. How does the Talon SS perform on CO2? Using the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier as the standard pellet, I was able to push them out the muzzle at 854 f.p.s. with the power setting on 10. That would be the number I would test against with CO2.
I used a full 20-oz. CO2 tank for this test. I tested the Premiers on both the lowest power setting and the highest. There shouldn’t be too much difference between the two settings, because CO2 is at much lower pressure than air, plus it flows slower than air; so at the same pressure, the velocity with CO2 will be less than with air.
On the lowest power setting, the average velocity for Premiers was 571 f.p.s. On air, it was 854 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 283 f.p.s. with air over CO2. But that was on the lowest power setting for the CO2, so how much does it change when I set the power as high as it will go? The average increases to 582 f.p.s. Not much difference, is there? The extreme spread on the low setting went from 568 to 574 f.p.s., and on high it went from 580 to 584 f.p.s. Since the low and high settings are so close, I decided to just keep the riffle on the low setting for the rest of the test.
At the average velocity (at the low-power setting), the pellet generates 10.36 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. On air, it generated 23.16 foot-pounds, or more than twice as much. That gives you a good appreciation of what the CO2 adapter does for the rifle. And remember, this rifle has a 12-inch barrel. If a longer barrel were installed, the velocity would increase somewhat, but not as much as with air. The optimum barrel length for CO2 is around 14-16 inches. After that, the velocity starts to fall again.
After the Premier, I tested the Beeman Kodiak heavy domed pellet. It weighs 21.1 grains and averages 506 f.p.s. in this gun on the low setting. It’s generating exactly 12 foot-pounds of muzzle energy at that speed. I don’t have the data for this pellet on air. The variation on CO2 went from 503 to 508 f.p.s.
Next up was the JSB Exact 15.9-grain domed pellet, which is the most accurate in this rifle. They averaged 567 f.p.s. on the low setting, which produces an average 11.35 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. On air at power setting 10, they average 823 f.p.s. The variation on CO2 went from 564 to 570 f.p.s.
The final pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby, which weighs 11.9-grains in .22 caliber. It averages 618 f.p.s. on the low setting and ranged from 614 to 621 f.p.s. The muzzle energy was 10.09 foot-pounds at the muzzle. And I don’t have a velocity for this pellet on air.
How many shots on a tank?
All I can tell you is that there are hundreds of shots per 20-oz. CO2 tank. The number is certainly more than we saw in any other test, and I would guess there are no less than 800 shots per tank. It’s one of those things that will vary each time the tank is filled, because no two fills will contain the exact same amount of liquid.
On CO2, the Talon SS is a 12 foot-pound rifle in 70˚F temperatures. It’s better-suited to all-day shooting and indoor plinking, though the Micro-meter tank gives it a fair run for the money. The accuracy of the rifle will not change, except that on CO2 it won’t have quite the same range as with air.
So, there you have the Talon SS in a 10-part report. To recap, we’ve looked at this .22-caliber rifle in stock trim, with a 24-inch barrel installed, with a Micro-meter tank and now with a CO2 adapter. There’s more to come, but it won’t be a test of the rifle. It’ll be a test that uses the rifle as the testbed. Now that you know how it performs, it’ll serve us very well in this new role.
Get a free CO2 adapter for Xmas
After I wrote this blog, I found out that AirForce is giving away a free CO2 adapter with the purchase of every Talon, Talon SS or Condor PCP air rifle. The adapter sells for $99.95, so that’s a nice gift! I understand that the giveaway ends Dec. 31, 2012.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
We last looked at the .22-caliber Talon SS on June 13, when I told you that I had mistakenly shot the rifle with a standard air tank instead of a Micro-Meter tank in the previous test. I retested the rifle with an AirForce Micro-Meter air tank and the standard 12-inch barrel. Today, I want to finish the test with the optional 24-inch barrel.
You’ll recall in Part 8 that I shot the rifle 380 times on a single fill of the Micro-Meter tank. Today, we’ll see what difference, if any, we get from the 24-inch barrel. The only pellet used in this test was the .22-caliber Crosman Premier pellet.
Let’s begin — shots 1 to 10
The tank is filled to 3,000 psi and shooting starts. The power wheel is set as low as it will go. The first three shots go 429, 536 and 667 f.p.s., respectively. Shot four goes 726 f.p.s. and the rifle is stable from that point on. The first three shots were needed to wake up the valve. Discounting the first three shots, the string averaged 727 f.p.s. and ranged from 725 to 732 f.p.s., a spread of 7 f.p.s. The average energy was 16.79 foot-pounds; and yes, I’m aware that a Micro-Meter tank isn’t supposed to be that powerful. But we’re seeing the effect of doubling the barrel length in a precharged gun, and it’s dramatic!
Because of the large number of shots I expect to get from the tank, I then shot 30 shots without a pellet. I’ll call these blank shots.
Shots 41 to 50
This string averaged 715 f.p.s. and ranged from 711 to 718 f.p.s, so another 7 foot-second spread. The average energy was 16.24 foot-pounds. Then another 30 blanks were fired.
Shots 81 to 90
I shot this string on the highest power setting the gun has — just to see if there was any difference. There wasn’t. The average was 705 f.p.s. and the range went from 702 to 709 f.p.s. Another 7 foot-second spread. The energy was 15.79 foot-pounds. Then another 30 blanks were fired.
Shots 121 to 130
The gun was set back to the lowest power setting and remained there for the rest of this test. The average was 675 f.p.s., and the range went from 668 to 679 f.p.s. the spread was 11 f.p.s. The average energy was 14.47 foot-pounds. Then 30 more blanks were fired.
Shots 161 to 170
The average was 658 f.p.s., and the string ranged from 654 to 662 f.p.s. — a spread of 8 f.p.s. The average energy was 14.17 foot-pounds. Then 30 more blanks were fired.
Shots 201 to 210
The average was 641 f.p.s., and the range was 637 to 653 f.p.s. This string had a 16 foot-second spread. The average energy was 13.05 foot-pounds. Following this, 30 more shots without pellets were fired.
Shots 241 to 250
The average for this string was 618 f.p.s., and the string ranged from 613 to 621 f.p.s. So, a spread of 8 f.p.s. The average energy was 12.13 foot-pounds. Following this, 30 more blanks were fired.
Shots 281 to 290
This string averaged 594 f.p.s. and ranged from 581 to 601. So a 20 f.p.s. spread. The average energy was 11.21 foot-pounds. Then 30 more blank shots were fired.
Shots 321 to 330
The average was 561 and ranged from 553 to 568, and the spread was 15 f.p.s. The average energy was 10 foot-pounds. After this, 30 more shots were fired without pellets.
Shots 361 to 370
The average was 539 f.p.s., and the string ranged from 534 to 545. A spread of 12 f.p.s. was observed. The average energy was 9.23 foot-pounds. Another 30 blanks were fired.
Shots 400 to 410
Now we’re in uncharted territory. The gun is giving me over 400 good shots on a single fill. Clearly, the 24-inch barrel is a real boon to the performance of the MM tank. This string averaged 519 f.p.s. and ranged from 514 to 527 f.p.s. A spread of 13 f.p.s. The average energy was 8.56 foot-pounds. After this, 30 more blanks were fired.
Shots 441 to 450
The average was 497 f.p.s. and the string ranged from 489 to 504 f.p.s., for a total spread of 15 f.p.s. The average energy was 7.85 foot-pounds.
I could have continued to shoot the gun for many more shots, but I stopped at this point for a reason. After 450 shots have been fired, the Talon SS is still launching pellets slightly faster than my Diana model 27 breakbarrel. If that’s enough power for me, then this gun certainly gives all that and more. And I can’t think of another time when I shot 450 shots, unless it was for a test like this one.
The 24-inch barrel added significant performance
We all know that barrel length is important to a PCP, and this test makes that very clear. The 12-inch barrel gave 380 shots that ended up in the high 300 f.p.s. range. We’re still 200 f.p.s. faster than that after 450 shots have been fired! I think that establishes the Micro-Meter air tank as the champion of PCPs with the 24-inch barrel is installed.
In this series, we’ve looked at the Talon SS as it comes from the factory and with various modifications. The one we haven’t tried yet is the CO2 adapter, so that’s next. I’ll leave the 24-inch barrel installed since that’s the way I shoot the rifle all the time now, but I’ll test both velocity and accuracy with CO2 for you.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is the day I tell you about the horrible blunder I made. Remember the two tests I did with the Talon SS PCP rifle using the AirForce Micro-Meter air tank? Well, that wasn’t a Micro-Meter tank! It was a standard tank!
Blog reader twotalon guessed it was wrong, and I ignored him. When John McCaslin, the owner of AirForce Airguns, read my last report of the Micro-Meter tank — the one where I got 340 shots on a fill — he saw that I reached over 800 f.p.s. in .22 caliber and knew a Micro-Meter tank couldn’t do that. He called me and walked me through the logic of why it couldn’t be a Micro-Meter tank. Sure enough, he was right!
I guess what happened is that when I went to AirForce to pick up the Micro-Meter tank, I grabbed the wrong tank. Then, when I tested it on the optional 24-inch barrel first, I didn’t question the numbers because I didn’t know what the numbers should be with the longer barrel. As for why I missed seeing it when I tested it with the 12-inch barrel, that was entirely my fault. I simply didn’t think it through. Twotalon even asked me if there was a sticker on the Micro-Meter tank, and I told him there wasn’t, but I thought that was because AirForce had forgotten to put one on. Or I’d picked up a tank before the sticker was applied.
It doesn’t matter. The fact is that I tested the gun with both barrels using a standard tank. I’m going to update those other reports to reflect that, and today we’ll see what a Talon SS does when it’s using a real Micro-Meter air tank. And now we have the results of a standard tank for comparison.
I’ll start today with the standard 12-inch barrel, and then I’ll test the real Micro-Meter tank with the 24-inch barrel in the next report. Because I have a good idea of how many shots I’ll get from this tank, I modified the test to shoot 30 dry-fire, or blank, shots between the recorded strings — just to burn up air a little faster. In the previous two tests, I fired only 20 dry-fire shots between strings.
I’m still shooting only the .22-caliber Crosman Premier pellet in this test. And I started with a fill to exactly 3,000 psi.
The first string of 10 shots was with the power wheel set at the lowest setting, which I’ll call zero. The gun averaged 590 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 583 to a high of 601 f.p.s. That’s an average of 11.06 foot-pounds.
For the next 10, I dialed up the power as high as it would go. The rifle averaged 585 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 582 to a high of 590 f.p.s. The average energy at the muzzle was 10.87 foot-pounds. Then, I fired 30 blank shots without pellets.
Shots 51-60 were fired on low power and averaged 557 f.p.s. They ranged from 547 to 563 f.p.s. The average energy was 9.85 foot-pounds. I fired 30 more blank shots. From this point on, all shooting was done on the lowest power setting.
Shots 91 to 100 averaged 547 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 539 to a high of 556 f.p.s. They averaged 9.5 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Notice how tight the strings are? Even though the velocity is decreasing, the consistency remains good. After this string, I fired 30 more blank shots.
Shots 131 to 140 averaged 525 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 516 to a high of 533 f.p.s. The average energy was 8.75 foot-pounds. I noticed that the first couple shots at the beginning of each string were always the slowest, so those blank shots had an affect on the numbers. After this string, I fired another 30 blank shots.
Shots 171 to 180 averaged 512 f.p.s. and ranged from 502 to 523 f.p.s. The average energy was 8.33 foot-pounds. After this string, I fired 30 more blank shots.
Shots 211 to 220 averaged 489 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 475 to a high of 500 f.p.s. The average energy was 7.59 foot-pounds. That puts the gun, after 220 shots have been fired, in the same power range as a .22-caliber Diana model 27. After this string, I fired another 30 blank shots
Shots 251 to 260 averaged 467 f.p.s., with a range from 458 to a high of 474 f.p.s. The average energy was 6.93 foot-pounds. After this string, another 30 blank shots were fired.
Shots 291 to 300 averaged 443 f.p.s. with a spread from 434 to 451 f.p.s. The average energy was 6.23 foot-pounds. The velocity is dropping off steadily, but slowly; and if you were plinking in the backyard, you’d never notice it. After this string, I fired another 30 blank shots.
Shots 331 to 340 averaged 416 f.p.s. and ranged from 410 to 425 f.p.s. The average energy was 5.5 foot-pounds. Another 30 blank shots followed this string.
Shots 371 to 380 averaged 379 f.p.s. and ranged from 370 to 392 f.p.s. The average energy was 4.56 foot-pounds. I stopped after shot 380 because the velocity was getting low and I heard a short hiss of air escaping from the tank. Clearly, the valve was down to its bottom performance point and would not continue to hold air at pressures much lower than this. When I checked the pressure remaining in the tank it was exactly at 1,100 psi. The gun used an incredible 1,900 psi of air over these 380 shots.
What have we learned?
The first thing we learned is that the gun gets even more shots with the Micro-Meter tank than it does with the standard tank. I count 40 more shots, though there were still some shots left in the standard tank when that test ended at 340 shots.
Next, we see there was no increase in velocity, as this tank was used up. Instead, there was a slow and steady decline in velocity from the first shot to the last.
As far as consistency goes, the standard tank was just as consistent as the Micro-Meter tank, but at significantly higher velocities. The Micro-Meter tank will be easier on your backstop. If that isn’t a problem, the standard tank still gives you plenty of low-velocity shots.
The last thing I’ve learned is that I’m still capable of making mistakes. I thought I was done with them several years ago, but apparently it’s like riding a bike. Once you learn how….
by B.B. Pelletier
The report that follows was done in error. I thought I was testing a Micro-Meter air tank, but it turned out that I was really testing a standard air tank.
The corrected test is located here. I am sorry for this inconvenience, but you can click on the link in the sentence above and it will direct you to the correct test.
Today, I’m testing the AirForce Talon SS with the standard 12-inch barrel using the Micro-Meter air tank. This is the setup the tank was designed to use; and although I predicted that this test would look a lot like the last test with the Micro-Meter tank and an optional 24-inch barrel, I was wrong. Today’s test is amazing! It’s an insight into how a precharged airgun operates.
I’ll begin at the end. I fired a total of 340 shots on just one fill, and there was still plenty of air remaining for at least another 150 shots! I saw first hand at the NRA Annual Meetings how the Micro-Meter air tank stays on the line for so long without needing a refill!
But don’t go cashing in those 340 shots just yet. Allow me to explain what I did and how the gun performed.
As before with the longer barrel, the tank was filled to 3,000 psi. That proved to be a mistake in this case. Allow me to show you what I mean.
This time, I didn’t fool around with any pellets other than the .22-caliber Crosman Premier. Everything you’re about to read was achieved with that single pellet.
First 10 shots
The first 10 shots were fired on the lowest power setting and averaged 392 f.p.s., ranging from 347 to 442 f.p.s. That is a large spread, and, as you’ll see shortly, the valve was partially air-locked.
The next 10 shots were fired on the highest power setting and averaged 849 f.p.s.! That’s correct, the gun produced 22.89 foot-pounds with the Micro-Meter tank at the highest power setting. The low was 836, and the high was 861 f.p.s. That was clearly not what this tank was designed to do, so I dialed the power back to the halfway point, which corresponds to about the No. 6 on the dial.
Power setting 6
At this setting, the rifle averaged 836 f.p.s., so I stopped at shot 5. The low was 832, and the high was 839 f.p.s. I wasn’t interested in this kind of power from the Micro-Meter tank, and I didn’t want to waste air. So, I dialed back to power setting 2 and continued.
Power setting 2
On power setting 2, the rifle averaged 786 f.p.s. Again, I stopped at 5 shots. The low was 758, and the high was 803 f.p.s. By this, time a total of 30 shots had been fired on the fill. I dialed the power down as low as it would go and continued.
The next 10 shots on the lowest power setting averaged 514 f.p.s. The spread went from 487 to 537 f.p.s. It was clear that the valve was now staying open longer, and I would estimate the tank pressure had dropped to 2,800 psi by the start of this string. I could see at this point that this was going to be a long test, though I never imagined how long; so, I shot twenty “blank” shots (dry-fires that had no pellets) just to use up some air. It’s arguable whether shots that have no pellet in front of them use the same amount of air as shots that do have pellets. As you’ll see, it really doesn’t matter that much because we haven’t even started yet!
The gun is still on the lowest power setting, and this 10-shot string averaged 574 f.p.s. The low was 550, and the high was 628 f.p.s. After this, I fired another 20 shots with no pellets.
The gun is still set at the lowest power. These 10 shots averaged 649 f.p.s. and ranged from 603 to 689 f.p.s. In retrospect, after the test was over, I determined this string to be the start of the useful shots. I estimate the tank had about 2,500 psi at the start of this string — though that would have to be confirmed if the numbers meant enough to you to do the work. They didn’t to me, so 2,500 psi was just my estimate. Now, I fired 20 more blank shots.
This string averaged 703 f.p.s. and ranged from 633 to 743 f.p.s. After this, I fired 20 more blank shots
This string averaged 750 f.p.s. and ranged from 719 to 766 f.p.s. I would like to note that the rifle is now performing almost exactly the same as a Beeman R1 breakbarrel in .22 caliber! When this string was finished, I fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 752 f.p.s. and ranged from 743 to 757 f.p.s. This was the top power the rifle developed in this test, and I would estimate the pressure at the start of this string was around 1,900 psi. The gun will not use air in a linear fashion as the shots increase. As the air pressure in the tank drops, the valve stays open longer. I then fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 735 f.p.s and ranged from a low of 727 f.p.s. and a high of 740 f.p.s. Notice how tight these later strings are! You could shoot at 35 yards with the gun shooting like this! And you could also hunt with it. I then fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 713 f.p.s. and ranged from 707 to 726 f.p.s. The rifle is slowing down, but the valve is keeping each 10-shot string relatively tight. I then fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 688 f.p.s. and ranged from 682 to 694 f.p.s. I then fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 659 f.p.s. and ranged from 652 to 664 f.p.s. Notice how tight this string is after 300 shots have been fired! No other air rifle that I know of can do this when running on air. The USFT might be able to, but I haven’t tested it this way to see. I then fired another 20 blank shots.
This string averaged 624 f.p.s. and ranged from 613 to 630 f.p.s. This was where I stopped the test; but as you can see, the gun will still continue shooting for a lot longer.
Ending air pressure in the tank
After 340 shots had been fired, the Micro-Meter tank still had 1,200 psi remaining. That isn’t an estimate — I actually determined it by filling the tank and noting when it began accepting a charge. If my estimate about the pressure was correct when I declared the gun to be on the power curve (at shot 91), and if I include all the shots fired after that, then there were a total of 250 useful shots on a fill to 2,500 psi. The gun got those shots on about 1,300 psi of air. That is remarkable when you consider that it was also developing some pretty respectable power at the same time.
Remember what the Micro-Meter tank is for
To accept what I’m saying, you must keep in mind that the Micro-Meter tank is for shooting quietly in your basement. The range I envision is 10 meters, maximum, though we can see that the rifle can actually shoot a lot farther than that. But that’s not the purpose of the tank.
If the starting fill pressure is only 2,500 psi like I suspect, then the Micro-Meter tank can be easily filled from a hand pump. Another good thing about this novel air tank.
If you want to use the adjustable power feature of the gun, the range will be in the lower numbers. After the halfway point on the power scale, the rifle is just wasting air.
I’ve tested the Micro-Meter tank in the past, but never before with the mindset of its real purpose. Now that I have that in mind, this test has revealed an incredible level of performance.
Sure the velocity varied a lot over the useful shot strings; but at 10 meters, I doubt anyone will notice. For plinking and keeping the grandkids amused, the Micro-Meter tank is the lazy man’s PCP!
Next, I plan to test that theory with an accuracy test of this tank and gun combination at 10 meters.