A look at China’s B26 – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

My first look at the BAM B26 was back on September 18. At that time,.
00 I was surprised by the rifle’s quality and seeming accuracy potential, though it didn’t live up to that potential in the first test. The trigger was working poorly and I wanted a chance to look the rifle over before testing it again, because I felt it harbored more than it showed the first time out.

Into the trigger – NOT!
You will recall that the B26 is BAM’s second attempt at copying the Beeman R9 (or HW 95). It has a lot going for it, but the trigger on the rifle I am testing is single-stage and lets off with varying force. Because this is a copy of a Weihrauch rifle, I was hoping that I would find an exact copy of a Rekord trigger when I popped the action out of the stock. Alas, that was not to be. Weihrauch and Beeman owners can rest easy; their Rekord trigger has not been knocked off. What we have instead is a Bizarro Rekord – if you understand the Superman reference. For those who don’t…this trigger is an imperfect copy.

What it lacks is the Rekord’s sophisticated sear adjustment. Instead, a much cruder adjustment mechanism takes its place. So, I didn’t go to the effort of removing the trigger, but I did do something else that worked quite nicely. By tightening the trigger adjustment screw, I increased the pull to about 2 lbs. I now have a light, single-stage trigger – sort of the redneck approach to a Rekord. But, hey, it works!

Tightened all the screws
When I removed the action from the stock, I noticed that all the stock screws were loose…except for one. That never helps accuracy. When the rifle went back together, I made sure all screws were tightened the same.

Do as I say…
Two recent projects have renewed my interest in spring guns. The first was the long series on tuning a spring gun, where I was forced to come face-to-face with the internals of a springer once again. That awoke many old memories that are again fresh in my mind. The second big influence was the posting about Making a new spring gun ready to shoot. All those hard “rules” I dictated to you were things that I sometimes skipped. So, the loose screws on the B26 reminded me to do the other right things to give this rifle a fighting chance.

One very big thing I did was clean the barrel with J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound. You might think that the bore would still be clean after just a hundred pellets have been shot through it, but that wasn’t the case. Though it did clean up much faster than a brand new barrel, this bore was in need of some serious cleaning. After that it was on to the range – again!

Three pellets for best accuracy
The B26 is a .22 caliber, so I selected JSB Exact Jumbos (15.8 grains), Logun Penetrators (20.5 grains) and Crosman Premiers (14.3 grains). I could just as easily have included Beeman Kodiaks, but I felt the Loguns deserved a chance at bat.

Leapers tactical scope
You may remember that I used the Leapers 3-12x44mm SWAT Mini tactical scope with side parallax adjustment. The 30mm tube allows a lot of light to pass through, making this scope one of the brightest in my inventory. The reticle is thicker than I like for target shooting at long range; since I was shooting at only 25 yards, it didn’t make much difference.

Accuracy!
Wow! That’s the best way to describe how this gun shoots. Of course, it is a breakbarrel and a copy of the Beeman R9 at that, so it takes buckets of technique to shoot well. But, when you do – wow! JSBs were good, as usual, with a 0.387″ group being the best at 25 yards. The WORST group of JSBs was 0.581″. The Loguns were also good, with a 0.381″ group, but it looked larger than that, so I didn’t shoot a second one. They are definitely a pellet to try. Crosman Premiers would not group at all in this rifle, which is strange, but it happens.


This was the smallest group made by JSB pellets. It looked like the smallest group of all, but Logun Penetrators squeaked past it.


This group of Logun Penetrators looks larger than the JSBs, but it measures slightly smaller. At 0.381″ it was the best group of the day.

This is my last look at this B26, though I do have one with a thumbhole stock that I’ll also test. Based on what I saw with this one, the B26 is a pretty nice air rifle. It’s available in .22, something that’s getting rare these days!

29 Responses to “A look at China’s B26 – Part 2”

  • GadgetHead Says:

    Hi B.B.,

    Thanks for the review. Very interesting.

    Me think it am too good about the “Bizarro Rekord” trigger assembly.

    Doesn’t seem to be a big deal though. After your trigger adjustment, screw tightening, and barrel cleaning that particular rifle sure shot some nice 25 yard groups.

    Does it still “honk like a goose when cocked?” {grin}

    I might as well widden my shopping list range ($150 – $300) and add the B26 to my list.

    Cheers,
    GH

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    GH,

    busted.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    BB,

    How good are the optical quality of the leapers scopes? Can you please post a review with picture comparisons of different scopes looking fom the eyepiece. Thanks.

    Dave

  • Anonymous Says:

    CAn you do a post on customizing air guns: grips, re-stocking, Camo painting, pellet holders,etc

    Thanks

    Keep up the good work.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Question-Can you use Gamo-Oil as a chamber lube? It’s in a red box and says nothing about use.Thanks

  • Anonymous Says:

    Dave,

    Seeing as B.B. seems to reccomend the Leapers about once a week sometimes, I doubt it could be all that bad. ;)

    Easy rundown of scope quality: Price=quality %95 of the time. Paying for the name does come into it, but not like in guns and clothes. Leopold is the best in my opinion, but price is something north of high. No good glass is sold at $20, and no (very)bad at $400, so get what you can afford, or go after the features you want. Or try the classifieds. People get out of hunting all the time due to time, money, or age constraints and getting good glass this way is easier than you think. Mine sold for $400 US when new, I paid $85 for it eight years later.

    Good luck ad hunting!

    Mr. Watch

  • Anonymous Says:

    Thanks again for the review, I made the original request for the B26 review and appreciate you following through despite so many other requests for other post topics. I don’t know how you do it.

    John

  • Josh Says:

    B.B.

    Thanks for the review! I totally agree with you about the trigger. I’ve got both an R9 and B26 now. The trigger is probably the biggest difference between the two from what I can tell so far. (besides the fact that one is .177, the other – B26 is .22). I can’t wait to get the B26 all tuned up and see how she shoots, I think it’s a great gun!

    So here’s my question – how is rebarelling done? Can you just unscrew the barrel from the breach and screw a new one in? It doesn’t look that easy but I see people selling barrels all the time. I would kind of like to get a .20 barrel for my R9 someday so I thought it might be a fun project if it’s possible.

    Thanks in advance, I really enjoy the blog and the comments!

    -Josh

  • Anonymous Says:

    To add to the last guy’s post, I think of a rebarreling project from time to time myself. Can you name any sources of quality airgun barrels?

  • Anonymous Says:

    BB,

    If condor/talon are so accurate, how come no one uses them in field target competition? I am not doubting your word, I am just curious why. Maybe there’s something that I didn’t get. Thanks.

  • Anonymous Says:

    bb,

    How accurate is the S200 at 50 yards? Thanks.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Dave (and everybody else),

    Leapers scopes are beyond just good. For the prices, they are exemplary! I’ve used most brands on the market in the past 15 years and Leapers are ahead of 80 percent of them – even the ones costing twice and three times as much.

    The Leapers company never rests on their laurels. Every year they attempt to make strides in scope technology that will make what they sell the best value on the market.

    I’m not saying there aren’t some other scopes that are very good – some just as clear as Leapers. But I haven’t seen a company so dedicated to their product as this one, and I’ve come to trust what they make.

    Ten years ago, I couldn’t say that about any scope company. I used to recommend nothing but Leupold, even though they put out a few mediocre scopes. I did so because they at least stood behind what they made, while other companys were satisfied with just swapping a scope whenever there was a problem. Then Leapers came along and there was a different game in town.

    I’m saying that Leapers is the one scope company I can trust all the time. That means a lot to me because some of my readers will only buy one scope in their lives. If so, I recommend it be a Leapers.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Gamo oil,

    No, I cannot recommend Gamo oil for use in the chamber. The Gamo website has almost no information about this oil, but Pyramyd says it is a general-purpose oil. Read that as petroleum-based. You can use petroleum oil in the chamber of a weak spring gun that has leather piston seals, but not in a modern high-power springer.

    Do not use Gamo oil in the chamber.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    John,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the B26 report. When you requested it I had the guns on hand (luckily), but they were Chinese and I haven’t had much luck with them over the years.

    However, this B26 test, and the BAM B40 tests I’ve done have changed my opinion about Chinese airguns. After 30 years of crap, they are staring to perform like European airguns.

    So I should thank you that you requested this test. I learned something, and it’s always a good day when that happens.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Josh,

    Most airgun barrels are pressed into the base block or action. In fact, I can’t think of a single one that is screwed in! So when you replace the barrel you need to find a way to press out the old barrel and press in the new one. Not a daunting task, but beyond the kitchen table airgunsmith.

    Where do airgun barrels come from? Well, not from firearms barrelmakers – that’s for sure! A few airgun barrelmakers like Lothar Walther do sell barrel blanks (a rifled barrel with no contour), but then you need a lathe to shape it.

    So barrel replacement is not a task for the average hobbyist. Now, with guns like your R9, it used to be possible to buy a replacement barrel in a different caliber from Beeman. That was back in the days when Beeman was actively supporting the top European airguns. I don’t know if they even stock replacement barrels today, though it wouldn’t hurt to give them a call.

    A barrel swap on your R9 is a much easier operation. Just look at the spring gun tuning series and install a .20 caliber barrel when the gun is put back together. That’s all there is to it. There are no other modifications or parts to change.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Condor/Talon in field target,

    First of all, they are used in FT! But not often and not for long.

    The AirForce airguns are too light to hold as steady as an FT competitor needs. Most FT guns that win weight at least 10-12 pounds.

    Second, they have sporting triggers. While they are good enough for hunting, when you are competing in a 60-shot match and you have a 2-pound trigger, it gets on your nerves real quick. The AirForce trigger system is too complex to modify to a lighter letoff, so shooters tend to stop using it after a few outings.

    Remember, field target is a sport, not the real world. A Ferrari is a hot sports car, but you’ll never see one competing in NASCAR.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    S200,

    This is a 10-11 foot-pound rifle, so accuracy at 50 yards depends on a dead-calm day. The rifle is capable of one-inch groups at that distance if the wind is still. Occasionally you’ll see a tighter group, but that will be the average.

    Okay S200 owners, time for you to speak up!

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Airgun customizing,

    Let me give this some thought. There are endless things that can be dome to customize a gun, of course. I need to think about how I can make some sense out of all that’s possible.

    I’ve written your request down so I won’t forget it, but I need some time to ruminate on the idea. Any other thoughts you might have would help.

    B.B.

  • GadgetHead Says:

    Hi B.B.,

    Speaking of amateur airgunsmiths, I’m wondering about the sliding compression cylinder rubbing against the receiver which you observed in your review of the B40.

    Does it appear that’s due to ‘trash’ left inside the receiver tube during manufacture or just not having enough lubrication?

    If it didn’t appear to be a matter of cleanliness/lubrication, do you think that kind of friction point is a low, medium, or high importance issue?

    Do you think leaving that issue alone, to work itself out through usage, is the best way to go, or… what?

    Cheers,
    GH

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    GadgetHead,

    I trhink it’s a problem with the sliding cylinder having a burr. But I hadn’t though about trash.

    I’d rate this as a very minor problem that can be easily fixed by lubrication or some filing, or both. And, yes, in time it would probably take care of itself. And if you lube without disassembly, it might clear up faster. I’ll give that a try in the next installment.

    As it now stands, it’s an annoyance only because a TX cocks so smoothly. If there was nothing to compare with, the B40 would seem very nice.

    B.B.

    B.B.

  • GadgetHead Says:

    Hi again,

    Regarding your Leapers scope comment, “…The reticle is thicker than I like for target shooting at long range…”

    I thought I understood that particular scope has a mil-dot reticle, so I don’t understand what you mean. Is your opinion that the dots or lines are relatively big, or both, for picking out smaller targets beyond 25 yards?

    Would you please elaborate on your comment? Perhaps, relate it to your very helpful Tuesday, May 16, 2006 Blog article, “Why is .177 the only caliber for field target?”

    Thanks,
    GH

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    GH,

    I remember the comment well. Thick reticles are the only real complaint I have with Leapers scopes, and not all of their scopes have them. I am talking about the thickness of the actual lines, not the dots. The intersection of the lines on the scope in question covers so much of the target that it’s impossible to take a precise sight picture. You have to guess where the actual center of the crosshairs is.

    Please understand I am talking fractions of an inch at long range, but in the field target game, half a pellet diameter is important, so you want a real fine center to your reticles.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    BB,
    I was at a gun show a while ago and a very large display was there for NC Star scopes. I had not heard of this Chinese company before. They did not have any scopes that were rated for springers, but I am sure that my CO2 guns would do well with them. They seemed to be pretty clear, but the most impressive thing was the price! Now, of course, I am on a quest for my S&W 686 airpistol, so even to start the quest is a bit expensive. Do you have any experience with NC Star?

    Michael in Georgia

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Michael,

    There are just what they appear to be. Not real bargains. I have a broken one that I paid $20 for at a gun shot about 10 years ago.

    B.B.

  • GadgetHead Says:

    Hi B.B.,

    I do understand what you mean because I’m experiencing the same sort of thing and have been looking for a solution.

    I really appreciate your clarification, because I was going to buy that model scope.

    I had picked out that particular model of Leapers scope to possibly solve two issues… aging eyes trying to zero in on tiny targets and the scope objective hanging over the breech (aka loading port) of my .177 cal. Diana 52.

    Since seeing small targets well is most important to me, do you happen to recall which Leapers scopes, in general, don’t exhibit a crosshair thickness issue? If you don’t recall it’s no big deal.

    I’ll venture a very wild guess that the apparent line thickness may be side effect of using a common reticle assembly, and packaging it in a 3X-12X variable power AO scope with a short tube.

    Man, that’s alot of features to stuff into a 10.6 inch scope! Maybe I’d better still buy one, later… if I every figure out which .22 cal. air rifle to buy. {grin}

    Cheers,
    GH

  • Anonymous Says:

    Hello B.B.

    I see that more and more folks are finding your blog. It must be a full time job answering all those questions.

    I was shooting my RWS 34 this past weekend. I have a GAMO 4×32 scope on it. (Unfortunately this is all I can afford at this point. Maybe soon I’ll be able to get that Leapers scope from Pyramydair.) Anyway I was gettting good groups with it, but a little to the left. I made a small (one click) adjustment to the scope and all of a sudden my shots were all over the place! I would expect an adjustment to move the group, but not make it larger. Any thoughts on what happened?

    p.s. I’ve noticed in the past that my gun would occasionally make a loud pop. A pellet hit my leg the other day and I figured out that they were dropping out of the barrel. The pellets used to be very tight before I did the JB compound; now they’re very loose.

    jw

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    jw,

    I have a couple of thoughts for you. Let’s talk about the loose barrel on your rifle first. What brand of pellet are you shooting? JB Paste will not open up a barrel, it only removes crud and some small scratches. Have you been shooting Crosman pellets by any chance? They would do what you describe. So might a Beeman Kodiak in some rifles. I’d like to see you use a JSB Exact domed, if possible.

    Now for the scope. I believe I know what has happened. When you made that one click adjustment, was it by any chance to the right or up? I believe you have a fully relaxed return spring and your erector tube is now floating instead of staying put. Your description is pretty descriptive of this classic problem.

    To fix the problem (and your is a left-right problem, if I read it correctly) you need to adjust the mount and not the scope. Whenever a scope gets to the end of its adjustment range, the clicks get soft and mushy as the erector tube return spring relaxes. The erector tube holds the reticles, so when it floats, the reticle moves all over the place.

    A good adjustable mount will cost as much as your scope, so you might reinstall the open sights and shoot the gun that way until you can afford to get one.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Thanks B.B. I’m always amazed at how much time and care you spend answering your readers’ questions. Count on my vote for Blog of the Year!

    I was shooting RWS Hobbys (.22 cal). I bought a pellet sampler (something Pyramydair might want to look into carrying – got mine from Straight Shooters) to try some different pellets, but wanted to break the gun in a little first with the Hobbys. I don’t have it here with me but I’m pretty sure JSB Exacts are in the kit.

    And yes, the adjustment I made was to the right. I’ve had my eye on those B Square adjustable rings. I’ll have to see if I can work them into the budget.

    Thanks again for your help.

    jw

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    jw,

    I wouldn’t have expected Hobbys! They are very large pellets.

    Please keep me abreast of how this goes.

    B.B.

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