Posts Tagged ‘targets’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Walther LGV Olympia was a top-quality 10 meter target rifle from the 1970s.
Don’t get confused. The title of this blog is the Walther LGV Olympia field test, but the first part was titled, We interrupt our regular program….I used that title so I wouldn’t give away the topic that first day. This report is, indeed, about the Walther LGV Olympia of history, but this is a new take on it. I already reported on it two and a half years ago, but that report was about the rifle as a vintage 10-meter target rifle, which at that time was all the LGV had ever been. Only in 2012, when Walther brought out their new line of sporting rifles under the LGV model name, was the LGV anything except a breakbarrel target rifle.
We’ve now looked at the .177-caliber Walther LGV Master Ultra rifle and also at the .22-caliber LGV Challenger (which I now own), so I thought it might be nice to see how the original LGV stacks up to these new rifles. This test will look at the vintage LGV Olympia at 25 yards and at 50 yards. At both distances, I’ll use the rifle’s target sights. I mentioned last time that when I tested the FWB 300S at 50 yards, it didn’t seem to matter that much whether target sights or a scope was used, so I see no need to switch the sights on this rifle.
One thing I have learned in the two and a half years since testing the LGV target rifle is how deep-seating the pellet often has a dramatic affect on accuracy. We have seen that with other airguns, but this will be the first time I think I’ve tested it on a vintage target rifle. This should be an interesting test. And, because the LGV is a breakbarrel, it plays right into the test plan, because breakbarrels are the easiest type of guns in which to seat the pellets deep.
Naturally, I’ll use the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and PellSet seater to seat the pellets. It’s so easy; because once you set the optimum seating depth, it never changes until you change it. If you don’t have a tool, you can seat pellets with a ballpoint pen…but the seating depth is not adjustable.
Today, we’re just going to see how well the rifle performs with some sample pellets that might get chosen for the 25-yard test. I’ll test the velocity of all pellets both seated flush with the end of the barrel and also seated deep. That will be a good comparison.
JSB Exact Heavy
You must wonder if I’ve lost my mind, testing the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy domed pellet in a rifle this weak. No, that’s one of the types of pellets I expect might do well at 50 yards. It certainly has the capability to buck the wind, so I thought it might be a good one to test. I have almost no experience shooting airguns of this low power level out to 50 yards, so this is just a hunch.
JSB Exact Heavys averaged 500 f.p.s when seated flush with the breech. The low was 499 f.p.s., and the high was 501 f.p.s., so there was a total variation of just 2 f.p.s. That’s remarkable for a spring-piston air rifle — I don’t care what type it is! This pellet generates 5.74 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
When seated deep, the same pellet averaged 511 f.p.s., with a low of 509 f.p.s. and a high of 512 f.p.s. The spread opened up to 3 f.p.s., which is still astonishing. Deep-seated pellets averaged 11 f.p.s. faster than flush-seated pellets. The average muzzle energy was 6.0 foot-pounds.
The second pellet I tested was the ever-popular RWS Superdome. This is another pellet that I believe might do well at long range when fired from this air rifle. When seated flush, they averaged 552 f.p.s., with a 17 f.p.s. velocity spread from 543 f.p.s. to 560 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy this pellet generated when seated flush was 5.62 foot-pounds.
When seated deep, the average velocity increased by 10 f.p.s. to 562 f.p.s. The spread ranged from 557 to 565 f.p.s., so it tightened up to just 8 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 5.82 foot-pounds.
Next, I tested the Beeman Kodiak pellet. This is another heavy pellet that I plan to try at 25 yards; and if it does well there, at 50 yards, too. At 10.65 grains, this is the heaviest pellet in today’s test. When they were seated flush, Kodiaks averaged 483 f.p.s. in the LGV Olympia. The spread went from a low of 478 f.p.s. to a high of 487 f.p.s., so 9 f.p.s. in total. That’s still pretty tight. The average energy was 5.52 foot-pounds.
When seated deep, the average velocity for Kodiaks increased to 501 f.p.s. The spread now went from a low of 479 f.p.s. to a high of 515 f.p.s., so a total of 36 f.p.s., which is on the high side. The average muzzle energy was 5.94 foot-pounds.
JSB Exact Express
The JSB Exact Express pellet is one I haven’t tried before. It’s a dome that weighs 7.87 grains. Normally, I would try the JSB Exact RS pellet in a rifle like this; but when I tested it in the past as a 10-meter rifle, I did try the RS pellets and they didn’t seem to do very well at 10 meters. So, I welcomed the opportunity to include this new JSB dome in the test.
Although it’s heavier than the RS, this Express pellet is still the lightest pellet I tried in this test. When seated flush, it averaged 585 f.p.s., with a spread from 569 to a high of 593 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 5.98 foot-pounds.
Of course, I expected this pellet to go even faster when seated deep, but it didn’t. In fact the relationship between deep-seating and velocity turned around 180 degrees with this pellet. The average for deep-seated Express pellets was 547 f.p.s., with a range that went from 545 to 553 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 5.23 foot-pounds. So, just like we have seen in some tests of deep-seated pellets in the past, here’s another surprise. I wonder what will happen in the accuracy test?
The Walther LGV Olympia has an adjustable 2-stage match trigger. The one on my rifle is set very nicely, and stage 2 breaks at 10.5 to 11 oz. I can do very fine work with a good trigger like this.
Impressions thus far
I was surprised by how consistent the rifle is with JSB pellets. The fact that 3 pellets increased when seated deep, while one decreased, is also something curious. It just points out the need to test a gun in as many ways as you can think of, I guess.
Best of all, this test gives me one more opportunity to shoot and handle this rifle. I own many nice airguns, but my work doesn’t often afford the chance to play with them; so, tests like this one are a refreshing change for me. And I know that many of you get enjoyment from reading about a fine vintage airgun. It’s a nice change of pace.
I do hope the newer readers will see how nice these older airguns are and maybe use the links to explore them more thoroughly. If you’re new to the shooting sports, this is where a lot of the fun is found.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Remember that I said I would return and do another accuracy test of the Beeman HW 70A pistol because I didn’t test the best pellet seated? I felt a little guilty about missing that; but after my wife, Edith, got done with me, I felt really guilty. Good job, Edith!
Today is a revisit to see the effects of deep-seating the best pellet, which you may recall was the Beeman H&N Match. The other two pellets I shot last time aren’t in the running, so they don’t get retested.
However, a reader commented that his HW 70A really likes the JSB Exact RS dome, so that one got tested, too.
Several readers described their pistols as very accurate. One person even said his was a tackdriver. That really drives me nuts because of the results I’m getting. And I’m a good pistol shot — plus, I’m shooting the gun rested! I ought to be there with the best of you, but up to this point I’m not.
Beeman H&N Match
This was the best pellet in the first accuracy test, so this is the one I started with. And I started with the deep-seated pellets. I’m using the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Seater, and the adjustment hasn’t changed since the last time, so everything is equal.
The first group was pretty poor. I thought I’d forgotten how to shoot because it looked nothing like the group of flush-seated pellets from the last time.
That prompted me to try a group of the same pellets seated flush. You will remember in Part 3 that, when these were seated flush, 10 of them made a 1.085-inch group. This time 10 flush pellets went into 1.067 inches. That’s pretty close to the last time, and very persuasive that flush-seating is what this pellet likes!
JSB Exact RS
Next I tried some JSB Exact RS domes — just to see if I could duplicate what a blog reader reported. Lo and behold, I did! As I was shooting, I could see that the group didn’t seems to be growing, and I had a sense that the pistol was drilling the target. As you can see, it was doing exactly that! Ten pellets in 0.761 inches at 10 meters. I wouldn’t call it a tackdriver, but it’s the next best thing.
Next, I was going to try the same pellet seated deep, but that’s when I saw that the barrel was flopping from side to side at the breech! Oh, no! All that work for nothing!
Fortunately, this pistol has a pivot bolt that can be both tightened and also locked in position with a jam screw. However, I didn’t have time to do that because I was crashing on tests to put in the bank for my trip to see my friend Mac.
When I return from my trip, I’ll tighten the breech and rerun this entire test — plus shoot the RS pellet deep-seated. So, there’s fifth part coming.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today you get a twofer. Or at least it will be more than just one test, as I’m starting to test a second product with today’s accuracy test of the Beeman HW 70A pellet pistol. The other product I’m testing is the EyePal Master Kit for Rifles and Pistols. Because it did play a pivotal part in today’s test, let’s begin with it.
EyePal Master Kit for Rifles and Pistols
The EyePal is a soft patch that’s applied to prescription or safety glasses to provide an aperture for the sighting eye. This concept is close to a century old, and many of the veteran readers will remember the Merit adjustable iris that had a suction cup to attach to glasses. The Merit was adjustable, so the aperture you looked through was controlled by the user. The EyePal is not adjustable. In the Master Kit I’m evaluating, there’s one soft patch for handguns and another for rifles. They have different sized holes, and the handgun patch that I used in today’s test has the slightly larger hole. The lids on the boxes and the patches themselves are color-coded so you know what each one is.
I won’t report on the EyePal as a separate item because I need to use it more than a few times to get comfortable with how it works. So, very much as I reported on the Winchester Airgun Target Cube over several tests that spanned many months, I will do the same with the EyePal.
I’ve tried the Merit accessory in the past and found it to be quite difficult to position. Also, as it aged, the rubber suction cup that held it to the glasses hardened and became less pliable — to the point that it eventually stopped working.
The EyePal patch, in sharp contrast, attaches easily and can be removed just as easily, though it does have to be pried up at one corner before it comes off. I find that it’s very intuitive to use the first time and that repositioning it is simple and needs no explanation.
Shooting the HW70A
Now, it’s time for the test. I found myself faced with a number of test variables, so I decided to test all of them with the first pellet, and then use the best result from those tests for the other pellets. The first pellet was the RWS Hobby. The test was a rested pistol held in two hand at 10 meters. I used standard 10-meter air pistol targets.
When I say I shot the pistol rested, I mean that both my arms rested on a sandbag. The pistol was held forward of the bag, so it never touched them to set up a variable recoil reaction. I kept both hands in the same place on the pistol for each shot.
I had to test this pistol under the following circumstances:
* Pellet seated deep and EyePal worn
* Pellet seated flush and EyePal worn
* Pellet seated flush and prescription glasses worn with no EyePal
* Pellet seated flush and no prescription glasses worn with no EyePal
The 4 targets for the first part of the test are shown below. I used RWS Hobby pellets every time for these 4 targets. After you look at the results, I’ll critique them and tell you what I found.
Hobbys were seated flush and EyePal was worn on prescription glasses. Group measures 1.863 inches between centers. The large central group within this group made me think this was the best group of Hobbys.
First, I have to tell you the EyePal did make the front sight appear sharp when glasses alone did not. However, without glasses, the front sight appeared just as sharp as with the EyePal. What I did not know until I measured all the groups for this report was that deep-seated pellets measurably outshot all flush-seated pellets. That was a surprise; and if the Hobby pellet was the only one I used, I would re-run this test. But as you’ll soon see, I don’t have to.
The next thing I discovered is that the Hobby pellet wasn’t a good fit for this gun. These groups do not show what the HW 70A can do. However, this does illustrate an important point. By staying with the same pellet and varying other things, it didn’t really matter that the pellet wasn’t the best. I was still able to compare the effects of the other variables by staying with the same pellet.
Next, I must say that the trigger that I liked in Part 2 isn’t as crisp as I would like it to be. It has a very mushy, indistinct pull and release comes as a surprise every time. While that sounds good, it actually isn’t because the trigger can go off before you’re ready.
The bottom line for the first test is that deep-seated pellets and the EyePal on prescription glasses produced the best results. However, I did not pick up on that during the test, and shot all the other groups with the EyePal and flush-seated pellets.
Test 2: 3 other pellets
Next, I shot the pistol with Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets. The group measured 2.163 inches between centers and was clearly not in the running for this pistol.
Premier lites were seated flush and EyePal was worn on prescription glasses. Group measures 2.163 inches between centers. It looks like only 9 pellets were fired, but they were counted carefully and there were 10. Not a pellet for this air pistol.
Then, I tried 10 Beeman H&N Match pellets. Bingo! This was the pellet I was looking for. Ten made a 1.085-inch group that’s very round and unifirm.
Because the H&N Match pellets did so well, I also tried RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. For them, I adjusted the sights back to the center of the bull. They didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, grouping in 1.18 inches. While that’s the second-best group of the test, the H&Ns are clearly better this time.
For those who keep score, I shot this pistol 70 times in this test. I was concerned about getting tired, but the best two groups were the last two. So, I think I gave it a fair evaluation. However, I do admit that the best method of loading is deep-seating pellets, and I didn’t use that on the most accurate pellets. I’m going to come back and do a part 4. It’ll be at 10 meters, again, and only Beeman H&N Match pellets from this test will be used along with several new target pellets.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, blog reader Paul Hudson shares his Theoben Crusader rifle with us. The Crusader is not as well-known in the U.S. as some other Theoben models, so this will be an interesting report.
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.
With its walnut stock, the Theoben Crusader is a large, handsome airgun.
The Theoben Crusader is a high-power breakbarrel airgun, identical in size and performance to the Beeman R1. Its stablemate, the Theoben Eliminator, seems to get far more press since it’s one of the most powerful breakbarrel airguns available. That power comes with a high price — a cocking effort of 50+ lbs. — that most shooters are not willing to endure for very long. The Crusader, on the other hand, is far easier to cock and is a more practical airgun. Based on the used guns I’ve seen for sale, either the Crusader sales are much lower or people tend to keep them. Few are seen on the usual airgun sales sites or at airgun shows.
The Crusader is a high-quality spring-piston rifle.
Measuring a full four feet in length and weighing 8 lbs., 3 oz. unscoped, the Crusader is a large airgun. Mine is .177 caliber; but .20, .22, and .25 calibers are also available. The Lothar Walther barrel is 16 inches long, and a muzzlebrake is standard equipment (.22-caliber Crusaders have an Anschütz barrel). There are no baffles in the muzzlebrake. No open sights are supplied by the factory, making an optical sight a necessity. My rifle has a right-hand walnut stock, but an ambidextrous stock can be had from the factory as a no-cost option. The pressed checkering does give enough grip to be functional. A very good non-slip recoil pad keeps the rifle in place. No plastic parts are used on the rifle.
The metal work on the Crusader is first-rate, with a high polish that’s typical of many British airguns, and the wood-to-metal fit is excellent. Allen-head screws are used throughout the gun except for one screw that secures the triggerguard.
Behind that screw, a Schrader valve allows the owner to change the air pressure in the gas spring. Note the thumb rest in the stock.
A gas spring
Like all Theoben springers, the Crusader uses a gas spring, not a metal spring. Cocking is butter-smooth and requires 38 lbs. of effort. The piston includes a sliding weight that reduces piston bounce and felt recoil. A Schrader valve at the rear of the receiver allows the pressure in the gas spring assembly to be adjusted to vary the power of the gun. Upon firing there’s no spring twang or vibration, just a quick snap. The sound level is moderate. And, due to the size of the gun and careful tuning, the felt recoil is mild for the power level.
The lower bolt is pinched between the breech block and the locking wedge to prevent vertical barrel movement. Note the taper at the rear of the barrel to make pellets easier to seat.
The barrel pivot setup on the Crusader is a little unusual. Most breakbarrels use a breechblock that’s close to the width of the forks of the receiver. Wide, thin shims may also be present between the breechblock and the receiver forks. The pivot bolt is then tensioned to the point that the lateral barrel movement is constrained. The breechblock on the Crusader has much more side clearance. Belleville washers are used to control the lateral movement. Belleville washers are cone-shaped from the side and are actually considered to be springs. A second bolt behind the pivot bolt mates with a hook on the back of the breechblock. The locking wedge pulls the breechblock tightly against this bolt to control the vertical movement of the barrel. Like many classic Webley rifles, the Crusader takes a bit of a slap to open the barrel for cocking.
The unusually wide breechblock/fork clearance is visible from below the action. (The photo is overexposed, leading to the yellow stock color. This was necessary to bring out the detail within the cocking slot.)
The Evolution trigger of the Crusader and other models has been criticized by some; and given the price of the gun, that may be justified. No creep is felt in the first stage, but the second stage is not as crisp as a Rekord trigger. As the gun came from the factory, the second stage breaks cleanly at 1 lb., 13 oz. The safety blade resides in front of the trigger and automatically sets when the gun is cocked. It can also be manually reset. Overall, I would rate the Crusader trigger as very good, just not quite as good as a Rekord or TX200 unit but not a reason to avoid the gun.
The trigger blade is almost straight; the automatic safety resides in the front of the triggerguard and is pressed forward to fire.
Velocities with the Crusader are similar to what’s found in a Beeman R1, and some lighter pellets in a .177-caliber rifle will go supersonic and ruin the accuracy. I tried a couple H&N Field Target Trophy Green pellets, but they traveled almost 1200 feet per second and missed the bullet trap at 25 yards. Extreme spreads with most pellets were under 20 feet per second, and a few varied by less than 10…very good for a springer.
These are the velocities the Crusader can deliver with the selected pellets.
Many pellets gave 5-shot groups around an inch in size at 25 yards. Several gave very good accuracy, including a few that surprised me. To get the best accuracy shooting from the bench, I had to hold the airgun loosely with my right hand and keep my left hand open. If I let my fingers touch the forearm, I had to make sure I didn’t squeeze the gun at all or the groups would open up. In other words, use the classic artillery hold. You cannot grip this airgun tightly and get good accuracy; it’ll take practice and proper technique to get the best results.
All groups were 5 shots at 25 yards, and the sights were not adjusted for the different pellets. It was interesting to see the difference in the points of impact. Predator Polymags and 8.4-grain JSB Exacts shot especially high in relation to the other pellets. Unfortunately, neither 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lites nor 10.5-grain Premiers heavies did much better than one-inch groups at 25 yards. While that’s not too bad, a number of pellets did far better.
Five H&N Baracuda Hunters made this 0.50-inch group.
Five Predator Polymag pellets made this 0.40-inch group. Good enough for hunting.
Gamo TS-10 surprised me with a 0.45-inch group; but their size seemed a bit inconsistent, and there were some flyers with this pellet.
Skenco Big Boys gave this nice 0.43-inch group. The group is almost twice as wide as tall.
The 13.4-grain JSB Monster also produced a 0.43-inch group.
The Crusader really liked the 8.4-grain JSB Exacts, as this round 0.24-inch group shows.
Best accuracy came from the Beeman Kodiak pellet. This group above is just 0.23 inches.
Adding it all up
Why buy a Crusader? After all, it costs just over $1000, and that price will keep many away. Compared to a Beeman R1, the size and power are identical. The R1 has a better trigger, but the Crusader has a better firing behavior due to the gas spring. The Crusader also has a far nicer stock, better metal finish and includes a factory muzzlebrake. Between my Crusader and my R1, the Crusader shoots more pellets accurately and will shoot slightly smaller groups, probably due to the fine Lothar Walther barrel. Unfortunately, the Crusader is more hold sensitive than my R1.
Both rifles should last a lifetime with proper care. It’s possible to upgrade an R1 with a new stock, a gas spring, muzzlebrake, etc., but you’ll end up spending more than the cost of the Crusader and still do not have the nice metal work. If you can afford it, the Crusader offers very good accuracy in a nicely finished package.
Theoben Production ceases
In October, 2012, Theoben Ltd. in England announced that they were entering liquidation (bankruptcy). It remains to be seen whether another company will take over production rights for Theoben springers.