Spring has sprung!

by B.B. Pelletier

Pyramyd Air just sent out a “Spring has Sprung” email promotion that has a special discount coupon attached. The slant of the email seems to be airsoft, but I’ll capitalize on their title and talk about spring air rifles today. A reader who calls himself “twe” says I should address the questions posted to the February 7 blog, HW97 & HW77. Many of those comments asked for comparisons between airguns, probably because that day I broke my rule of NOT comparing one airgun to another. I would now like to explain why I don’t compare airguns.

This is the problem
People say, “I wish you would compare the TF99 with the HW97. And, could you also please list the good and bad points of the Gamo Hunter 1250?” That’s like saying, “Please compare a Corvette to a Toro 5010 riding mower, and could you also list the good and bad points of a shrimp boat powered by a marine Detroit Diesel Series 60? I’m especially interested in the possibilities of interstellar travel using matter/anti-matter propulsion.”

Folks, these comparisons are real hard to do! What do you mean by “good and bad points”? I find the Gamo 1250 too powerful for .177 caliber, but someone else may like it for exactly the same reason. I think the CF-X is very light for an underlever spring rifle, but several of you think it’s quite heavy! Light and heavy, good and bad are all subjective terms for which we will never find complete agreement. So, instead of comparing one spring gun to another, I would like to tell you how the one gun I’m testing performs in several areas I consider important.

What is important in a spring air rifle?
Accuracy, for starters. If you don’t have accuracy there’s no reason to continue. A beautiful air rifle that isn’t accurate is just another inanimate object – a paperweight, if you please. The purpose of an air rifle is to shoot a pellet that hits the intended target. What happens AFTER it hits is in the next tier of comparison criteria, but we don’t waste time on those that miss. There are levels of accuracy that have to be acknowledged or we get stuck real quick. Rather than expound upon them, let me illustrate with a quick little story.

Many years ago, someone had this bright idea: “Ten-meter target rifles are the most accurate air rifles in the world. If I were to increase the power of a 10-meter rifle, it would make a great field target rifle that would dominate the sport.” So they began modifying 10-meter rifles, only to discover that it isn’t easy to raise the power from 5 foot-pounds to 20. Nor is your basic 10-meter gun ready for field target in any other way. Making one over is like modifying a Ferrari to haul manure. It can be done, but what will you have when you finish? And, 10-meter rifles ARE NOT the most accurate air rifles in the world, as it turns out. They are the most accurate 10-meter air rifles. When you try to push them out to 50 meters (for field target), you have to change them so much that they become completely different. They may still be no more accurate than a top-quality sporting rifle that was designed for that purpose to begin with. Before some of you start lecturing me on all the converted 10-meter rifles that are winning field target matches: (1) I am aware of it, and (2) They are no longer ten-meter rifles. And, that’s my point!

Back to springers
Several years ago, I read an article about a guy who poured a lot of money and effort into building what he hoped would be the most powerful spring air rifle in the world. He took the design of a Beeman R1 and made nearly everything larger. The mainspring was HUGE – with the result that the rifle, a breakbarrel, was very hard to cock – about 75 lbs., as I recall. The finished gun weighed almost 12 lbs. What did he get for his efforts? A spring air rifle with about the same power as a Beeman R1! Yes, even when he made everything 25 percent larger, the gun had no more power than a stock R1. So, after accuracy, what’s really important?

  • Power
  • Smoothness
  • Ease of cocking
  • Good trigger
  • Light weight
  • Good looks

  • That’s MY list. Is yours different? I would hope so. My list comprises the things I think are important, and style comes in very low, while smoothness is quite high. On my list, a Webley Patriot falls below an HW77; and a TX200, which isn’t much to look at, occupies the top rung. It’s the most accurate, it’s ultra-smooth right out of the box, it’s easy to cock for its power and it comes with a great trigger. Is the trigger on a Tau 200 Senior better? Yes, but the TX beats it in all other criteria. Besides, the Tau is a PT boat and the TX is a golf cart. Are you getting my sledgehammer wit?

    Before choosing a spring air rifle, consider what you want to do with that rifle. Hunt? Shoot varmints? Plink? Do you want it to be your constant companion or are you looking for something to rest behind the chicken coop door so you can get those rats when they appear?

    Specific answers to specific questions
    Best springers for field target:

  • TX200
  • HW77
  • HW97
  • R9
  • Everything else is like pulling a plow with a Ferarri.

    Best springers for a hunter:

  • RWS Diana 48/52/54
  • Beeman R1/RX-2
  • RWS Diana 350 Magnum
  • All in .22 caliber. Other guns are also useful, but this is MY list of favorites.

    Best general-purpose springers:

  • R7
  • R9
  • HW50S with open sights
  • Notice that power is very low on the list for a general-purpose air rifle.

    Best value springer:

  • IZH 61
  • Those are my picks. I like all spring airguns, but these have the best combinations of what I look for in a springer.

    39 thoughts on “Spring has sprung!

    1. thanks for the great article i am new to airgunning and have a diana rws model 45 it seem to be very accurate what is your take on this air gun i purchased it used for $90.00 was that a good deal? i hope so,again thanks for the great article…


    2. Diana 45,

      I keep answering your question everywhere you post it, but you don’t seem to see my answer. Hopefully this time you will see it.

      The Diana 45 (1978 – 2004) exists as two distinct models. The REAl 45 has a large round plug in the stock above the trigger. The model 45 that was made from 1988 until 2004 is just a model 34 in a different stock with different markings.

      The REAL Diana 45 was one of the first true magnum airguns, with a muzzle velocity over 800 f.p.s. in .177. It had a leather piston seal. Then Diana put a synthetic seal on the piston which boosted velocity over 900 f.p.s.

      Regardless of which one you have, you got a good deal. And somewhere on this blog, there is another answer or two that look a lot like this one.

      B.B.



    3. BB,

      This is my first time writing here.I want to know who,other that you,have a lot of time writing on this blog that have a gamo cf-x.Tell me all of the people you know in the blog and tell me the ones that have actualy reviewed the gun.I just want to share info when I get mine.

      Luis Raul


    4. Luis,

      The best thing for me to do is to let all the CF-X owners introduce themselves to you. Believe me, they WILL tell you what they think!

      And don’t miss the new article about the CF-X that was just posted on the articles page today.

      B.B.


    5. BB

      I saw on your last post a person called cf-x guy.He must own a cf-x,right?
      Do you think he knows about the cf-x?

      Luis Raul


    6. Luis
      I had a CF-X Royal. It was my first airgun. I bought it because of the advertised accuracy and power and for the price, and all I wanted to do was get rid of some pigeons. It delivered on all accounts. I am not a good shot, but I got lots of pigeons at 30 yards. However I missed a lot too, and I never got used to the trigger. I shot it at least 1500 times – no change. Loading I figured out – point the muzzle at the ground and put the pellet straight into the barrel. If you don’t, the pellet will flip over. As for recoil, it was my first airgun so I didn’t know what to expect. I got used to it and it wasn’t a problem. (I now own a TX-200 so I know the difference, but as BB said, it isn’t a fair comparison.) Power and accuracy were great- 1″ groups at 30 yds!!! (for me that is amazing) and tear up 3/4″ boards. For the price, the CF-X is a very good gun. However, if you think you might find it to be as much fun as I did, you should check out BB’s list today.
      Good Luck and Have Fun
      MCA


    7. Luis,

      I own a CF-X. I think it is a great rifle for the money. I have to agree that the trigger is a weak point of all Gamo’s. There is a trigger sold by Charlie da Tuna that I’ve heard works wonders, but never have expirienced first hand. My rifle likes Crosman Premere lites, and groups well with them at 30y. Like BB and Tom Gaylord, I found this rifle likes to be rested directly on a sandbag with no palm between. As such, I think it will be easier for newcomers to the hobby to shoot this rifle accurately vs. the more hold sensetive springers. The rotary breech, while it’s not my favorite, I don’t find it as annoying as some people do. I love the open sights on this rifle, though the front sight was loose as it came from the box. All in all the C-FX is a fantastic airgun.

      Jason


    8. B.B.

      As you mentioned, crosman premier pellets are subject to heavy leading. Could a cleaning pellet clean the residue out? Or do you have to use a cleaning rod? Also would it reduce the leading to oil the crosman premeir? Thanks.


    9. BB,

      I have owned two Gamo air rifles, the C-FX and a 890s. Both of them came in the box with a metal cylinder on the trigger. I read Tom Gaylords report on the C-FX in which talks about this piece, though made of rubber. I could never figure out why it was there, or what was it’s purpose. Tom says it is there to prevent the finger from slipping off the trigger. I don’t no what is more silly, Tom’s explaination or Gamo putting it there in the first place. I highly doubt that is what the piece is for. Like I said, mine were metal and didn’t even stay in place. I wonder what Gamo says?

      Jason




    10. I don’t know about those RWS Diana models you mention, B.B. I’m sure they’re great guns, but I just can’t get past that big old ugly side lever sticking out. If I’m going to pay that much money for a rifle, I want it to look good! From what I’ve read, they don’t buy you that much over a regular break barrrel. Have you done a blog on side lever vs. underlever vs. overlever vs break barrel…?

      jw


    11. BB,

      I dont know what the thing is on the trigger.All I know is that you pull it and take it off.It is NOT for use.All gamos hat ive seen dont have the thing on the trigger.But Ill contact gamo and ask them.Still,I think is good for using it cause I have very sweaty hands and in less than a month(with lubrication) the trigger had a lot of rust.If you lave that on you wont be touching the trigger but the thingy.Just my opinion.I tell you guys what gamo tells me.

      CF-X guy


    12. Luis,

      Yes I have the cf-x but im a begginer in the world of airguns.Still I think the cf-x is a steal and you will enjoy it.Good Luck

      CF-X guy


    13. Underlever vs sidelever vs breakbarrel,

      hmmm. I’ll give it some thought.

      If you don’t like something about a gun, stay away from it!Life is too short.

      B.B.


    14. BB,

      Just like I told you guys the trigger thingy is for nothing.Gamo told me that it has nothing to do with the trigger.I took mine off when I got it.It is no part of the trigger and it is put there very softly so you can take it of with your fingers.

      By the way,im going to get the weihrauch HW97K this summer.

      CF-X guy


    15. Could you do the same review for the PCP’s? This would be very helpfull to understand which PCP excell at which applications!




    16. BB,

      What does kudos mean?

      Well,I have a problem.I have to sell my cf-x to get my hw97 or Ill have to wait till december.I can wait but it will be hard.I read on the net that the hw97 is just as accurate as the hw77,is that true?

      CF-X guy



    17. Luis,

      I have a cfx also and find that for a couple a hundred bucks the thing is remarkable, trigger quirks or not.

      I’ve been eliminating mocking birds from 30 to 60 yards with ease. And have even hit a couple out to 95 yards do to the consistancy of the cfx. It wont kill at that range and I doubt that the pellet penetrated, but it shut him up!

      the cf-x is most accurate with a “medium weight” pellet. I use 8.5gr magnums for best results, for me anyway.

      Have fun and be safe

      dsw


    18. BB,

      Interstellar travel…matter/anti-matter propulsion…
      Are we lucky enough to possibly get a post on that?
      I will go ahead and ask now as I can see it coming… would I be able to take my Gamo CF-x with me? And do you think the “raptor” pellets would finally be worth something in this case? (ha, ha)

      dsw



    19. BB,

      Please do a post on the tx200.I Kind of like it.I also like the hw77.Both for field target.I tested both and got better accuracy out of the hw77.I just want a experts opinion on wich one to buy.Both in .22 cal but beeman only has the .17 and I dont think that it exists in .22 cal.Both the hw77 and tx200 I tested were .17 cal.I looked in the blog but did not find a tx200 post.If it exists please tell me were and also,is there a .22 cal hw77?

      TWE


    20. TWE,

      I couldn’t believe it, with all the talking I do about the TX 200, but you are right. I’ve never reported on it by itself.

      As far as accuracy goes, the TX and HW should be close. The reason I lean toward the TX is for smoothness out of the box and a slightly better standard trigger. Also, and this is a big one for me, the TX 200 can be disassembled without a mainspring compressor, while the HW 77 needs a good strong one.

      So, I will do the TX200!

      B.B.



    21. B.B.,

      I broke down and finally ordered an IZH 61 after reading your comments on it here. I was a competitive smallbore shooter in a previous life, and the shape appealed to me. Well, I LOVE the thing.

      I spent several hours running 8 different kinds of pellets through it to see what it likes best and posted the results: http://thaumaturgy.net/bb/

      Also, I weighed batches of pellets and came up with a figure of 8.37gr for the Beeman Field Target Specials in .177 as opposed to the 9.2gr listed in the Pyramidair catalog. Is this a surprise, or is my scale off? Measurements of other pellets are much closer to spec.

      Thanks for the great blog with so much genuine technical information backed up with experience.

      -E


    22. E,

      That is a big difference. Pyramyd posts the pellet weights given by the manufacturer, or in Beeman’s case, the distributor. It’s possible the manufacturer changed the weight and the information never got updated.

      B.B.


    23. man the hunting ones you listed all suck i have a friend who has tryed all the ones listed and more . he says there all to week no distance , because they dont go over 1,250 fps there not going to be accurate at 60+ yards and a 20 calliber bullet could make it accurate up to 100+yards wich would kill small game and not leave them just hurt and suffering no matter how good of shot you make so companys need to realize sport gun need more power and it would be okay to make a little hard to cock say up to 50 pounds after all this gun is fore adults and i wish they would stop catering to people who are not willing to go into the woods and hunt so i ask for you to help the company buld a better air gun. thank you fore hearing me out


    24. 1250 f.p.s.,

      Your “friend” is sadly mistaken. Guns that shoot 1,250 f.p.s. are not as accurate as the ones I listed, and they have to be slowed down to the 900s to hit anything at all at distance.

      An RWS Diana 48 can shoot rings around the Gamo Hunter 1250. The Diana 350 Magnum can be slowed down this slow with the right heavy pellets, which is the only reason it’s on the list.

      You need to get away from the computer and out to the field to try this for real. The chat forums are not the place to learn about airguns.

      I think it’s good that you are reading and questioning what you see. Get an airgun and try this out for yourself.

      B.B.


    25. Just wrote a long story, and then I was ask to create a blog at the end and now story gone. Anyway, I have been searching the web for info on air rifles. I want to shoot crows from long distances. Well, the top of a GA pine tree at the other end of the neighbors yard anyway. I like quality so I’ve been looking at Beeman and RSW. I don’t like break barrel, so how about the RSW 48 or 52? I don/t want a lot of frills, just range and accurate shooting. Maybe theres a better choice for this job? I have done plenty of shooting with .22′s and others but now I live in a subdivision. I hope to start up an old boy hood hobby as well as take out some crows.


    26. Most of the hunting I do is under 20 yards(60 feet). A .22 cal at 800fps is my main air rifle choice that I can afford.

      Main thing in hunting is accuracy and power. Getting into close range will help with both. Skill plays a big part in air rifle hunting.

      Needing more power than that, a .22 rimfire may be a more economical solution, but may not be neighbor friendly when shooting in the back yard etc…..



    27. BB,

      by saying that the R9 is the best breakbarell for field target, are you saying that it is the most acurate breakbarell.
      Could you tell me of any other breakbarell of the same quality and probable less hold sensitive

      thanks

      Maly


    28. Maly,

      I find the FWB 124 very good for FT and slightly less hold-sensitive than an R9. All breakbarrels are hold sensitive, so you have to learn good control to use any of them.

      B.B.




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