BAM B40 in .22 caliber: Part 4
by B.B. Pelletier
I love my job! Yesterday I got out on the range with the .22 caliber B40 for the accuracy test. The day was fairly calm; but the wind that was there, was squirrelly. It was swirling in all directions, so I had to wait for quiet periods to shoot.
I used the scope we saw mounted yesterday, which took three shots to sight-in at 10 feet. At 25 yards, the pellet was a little high, so a couple more shots brought it down to where I wanted it. After that, it was a five-shot group after group after group of 3/4" spreads. That's good but far from great. And, I had such high expectations for this rifle!
Any good rifleman worth his salt can manufacture multiple reasons for his inaccuracy at the drop of a hat. In fact, the skill becomes second nature in most shooters. As I cursed the mediocre groups, my mind began turning over some possibilities. The wind is always a good scapegoat, but on this day it wasn't bad. Probably no gusts over 5 m.p.h., but coming from all directions as I noted earlier. However, as light as it was and only shooting at 25 yards, I couldn't really use it. Well, maybe as a backup!
The same annoying bugs were out that I complained about when I tested the .177 B40. They were perhaps a little less annoying, but they still flew into my eyes and nose, which bothered me a lot. I shot well before, despite their pestering, so that was another good excuse down the drain.
The trigger became bad
Remember in Part 1 how happy I was about this rifle having a real two-stage trigger? Well, yesterday it reverted to the same ultra-light trigger that plagued the .177 test, and I didn't have the tools to correct it at the range. Sometimes it let off with a two-stage pull; but most of the time, it broke at about 4 oz. of single-stage take up. I would slowly take up the slack as the reticle was settling down and then WHAM! - the shot went off when I wasn't prepared. After blowing a few groups past the one-inch range, I realized what was happening and settled down to use the trigger the way it now wanted to be used. The shots were still surprising me, but I was locked on target when they went off, so once again, excuse blown.
And then a miracle happened!
I had taken four pellets to the range, but realized at this point that I'd only been shooting JSB Exacts. Well, sure I was. JSBs turn out to be the most accurate pellet time after time, so why would I want to waste my time trying anything else? But that doesn't explain which I also put Logun Penetrators, Beeman Kodiaks and that old tried-and-true Crosman Premier in my range bag. I had to acknowledge that each of the other pellets had been known to beat out JSBs in specific rifles in the past - that was why they were in the range bag.
So, what the hey! I loaded a Crosman Premier into the breech and let fly. It made a hole in the target, a little higher than the JSBs. Then I shot a second one. No new hole. Hey, I know Premiers may not be as accurate as JSBs, but there is no way I could miss that huge 10"x12" target at only 25 yards. I fired a third shot. This one landed a short distance to the left. Could shot two have gone through the same hole as the first shot? It must have, because that's where shots four and five both went! The group measures exactly one-half inch, and the four in the same hole measure 0.159", center-to-center.
The .22 B40 out-shot its .177 cousin! This half-inch group was the best 25-yard group I shot, and the four in one hole measure a bragging 0.159," c-t-c.
Apparently, the B40 in .22 caliber is also a good shooter - just not with JSB Exacts. At least the rifle I tested seems to think Crosman Premiers are the cat's pajamas. I am reminded that not every air rifle likes the same pellet. I only shot a little more, but the Premier was firmly established as the pellet of choice for this rifle.
What have we learned?
I have learned that some Chinese airgun manufacturers can rifle barrels for sporting airguns, and this BAM company really seems to deliver the goods. I still will guard my enthusiasm because the Chinese do not have a good track record for staying the course. If BAM were to do so, I think the end will have come for British and German sporting airguns. The Brits are having their own problems just making the guns, and now there seems to be a viable replacement on the street.
However, the BAM still needs trigger work and a stock without wood filler. They could also stand a higher polish on the metal surfaces, but let's stop right there. These two rifles, the .177 and .22 caliber BAM B40s, have exceeded any requirements I might have for accuracy. They are both powerful and accurate, which is 90 percent of the game, in my opinion.