More power! What can be done to an airgun?
by B.B. Pelletier
We received this question last week. Because it goes to the heart of airgun operation, I wanted to address it today.
i wonder is there a way to pep up the 1077 by changing valves. there is a company out there, which offers to upgrade co2 guns to higher velocity. i forgot the name of it. if you use your airsource canister only 200 times instead of close to 400 shots and double your velocity to close to 1000 fps instead, what a nice squirrel hunter you would end up with. i wonder why nobody ever asked this question. i read somewhere, this company does this conversion all the time or sells the conversion kits. btw canadian tire sells now the 1077 as crossman airsource 1077 and comes with the airsource can nicely snuggled underneath the belly. no fumbling around necessary any more. looking forward to your reply. cheers faustus
The age-old question!
How do I get MORE POWER? That's what many airgunners want. Sometimes, they take too many things for granted in their desire to get there. Faustus asks if someone offers a more powerful valve for the 1077. There may be someone who does, but I don't know who it is. However, the 1077 is a poor airgun to supe up - for a couple of reasons.
First, it's a .177. Even if you get it up to 900 f.p.s., it's still not ideal for hunting. Anything much faster becomes inaccurate. Second, the 1077 is mostly plastic. While the gun is accurate at the power level it comes with, increasing the power will put too much strain on parts not designed for that. It's like the tires on your car. They are probably rated for 90 m.p.h. You can run them at that speed for a long time, though the manufacturer doesn't expect you to. But try to run those same tires at 110 m.p.h. for a half hour and they may very well fail catastrophically - as in blow out! The third reason for not suping up a 1077 is that the sighting system isn't made for it. If you have a gun with 900 f.p.s. velocity, you're going to want to shoot it at long range. The dovetail on a 1077 is plastic, so it's not able to give the precision required for high-power operations. It's fine for shooting out to 30 yards; but at 60 to 75 yards, you will be at a disadvantage.
Twice the gas doesn't mean twice the speed!
The next thing Faustus did was assume that if the number of shots was cut in half, the velocity would double. In actual practice, you might see a 20 percent increase from twice the gas, and that's about it. We have covered this before. To get a real increase in velocity from a gas or pneumatic airgun, you need a LONGER BARREL. Increasing only the gas flow adds a small fractional velocity boost. But, you can't easily put a longer barrel on the 1077, because the receiver that holds the barrel is plastic. We have chosen the wrong model to hotrod.
Faustus has fallen into the trap that many airgunners seem to find. He has found a good inexpensive airgun he likes, and he has applied all the improvements he has read about. But that doesn't work. Those improvements only work with more expensive airguns. You can't take a Ford Escort and get 400 horsepower from the engine. You can do it with a Honda! An acquaintance of mine has a street racer Honda sedan whose engine develops over 400 horsepower. He spent $35,000 having the engine blueprinted and supercharged to get to this lofty level. Is it reliable? NO! Is it "worth it"? That depends on who you're talking to. In terms of practicality, this car is not in the running.
Airgunners see features they like in one gun, and they transfer them to a different gun or mentally apply modifications that aren't really feasible. HOWEVER - and this is today's lesson - there ARE certain airguns that respond well to "tweaking," because they have much more potential than they currently deliver.
The No. 1 airgun hotrod champion!
The .22 caliber AirForce Talon SS delivers a maximum of about 25 foot-pounds as it comes from the factory. That's above 95 percent of all spring guns, but it's just the beginning of what can be done. AirForce made all their rifles with interchangeable barrels - so an owner can change caliber OR BARREL LENGTH in five minutes! Quick - what boosts power in a pneumatic? Barrel length! Simply by installing an optional .22 caliber 24" barrel on a Talon SS, you boost the potential power from 25 foot-pounds to 45 foot-pounds! You can NEARLY DOUBLE the power of the rifle for $150! There is no degradation to reliability or accuracy - where boosting a Honda engine to 400 horsepower might shorten its projected life by 90 percent! If that isn't enough, the SS can also be returned to the factory for conversion to a Condor. Then, the power jumps to 65 foot-pounds! That's an increase of 160 percent over the original factory power level - and the gun remains just as reliable and just as accurate.
The Steroid Streak
I know of no other airgun with that much EASY potential for power increases, but any short-barrelled PCP or CO2 gun can always be improved by the addition of a longer barrel. Perhaps the next biggest power jump I have seen is with the Sheridan Blue Streak. Greg Fuller invented a better valve that got as high as 25 foot-pounds from a Blue Streak, where the factory gun is in the 13-14 foot-pound range. The gun had to be pumped 18 strokes to get that, and the final pump stroke was 100 pounds! That valve was essentially handmade and never really offered for sale. Mac-1 does a Steroid conversion of Sheridan and Benjamin-type pneumatics for prices starting at $75. His guns pump easier than Fuller's and reach a more realistic power. The pump linkage is also strengthened as part of this conversion. The barrel remains the same.
Crosman 160/TF 78
A few years ago there was a lot of modification of Crosman 160s and Tech Force 78s. Even using the factory barrels, it's possible to boost these guns from 12 up to 14-16 foot-pounds with various valve modifications. Some of this is still going on - and the 2240 pistols are involved, as well.
The Beeman R1 had at least 10 popular tunes a decade ago. The factory power of about 16.5 foot-pounds could easily be boosted as high as 22 foot-pounds with the right stuff. The shift in interest to PCPs in recent years has killed off a large portion of the spring gun interest. There still are tuners who specialize in springers and the same ratio of power increases are still possible, but you may have to search a little harder to find what you want.
So, Faustus, I hope that addresses your questions. Anyone else who wonders what can be done with airguns, I hope this points you in the right direction.