Whiscombe rifles and barrel harmonics – Part 3Introduction continued

Part 1
Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

I’ll try to finish the intro with this post. Several of you have asked about the Whiscombe price and availability. John Whiscombe supposedly stopped building new guns several years ago, but his site is still up. If you read it, it looks like he still makes them, but the last post was in 2003. Mac-1 Airguns sold them for many years but the guns are no longer on their website, as far as I can determine. Pelaire also sold them, but they stopped before 2003. To the best of my knowledge, Whiscombe rifles are no longer being made. If anyone learns differently, please direct me to the website by posting a comment on this blog.

The HOTS!
As it turned out, I bought the next to last JW75 made. Most of Whiscombe’s customers wanted fixed-barrel rifles, so the JW80 replaced the 75 in the last few years. My rifle came with all four barrels, as I mentioned last time, but I didn’t tell you that all four of them are set up for Whiscombe’s Harmonic Optimization Tuning System or HOTS. It’s an adjustable weight at the muzzle to allow the shooter to “tune” the barrel harmonics to the pellets being used, which is why this blog also addresses barrel harmonics. We will spend more time with the HOTS in the future. My rifle, ordered in 1996 with a thumbhole stock in Grade III walnut, came to $2,350 for everything.


The silver weight can be screwed in or out, changing the barrel vibration harmonics. It’s an adaptation of the Browning BOSS that has been used successfully for decades.

When you change pellets or calibers (which means a different barrel), the HOTS has to be retuned. If you think about all the possible combinations, you’ll see what a daunting task this can be! That’s why it’s best to stick with one good pellet per caliber and to index the HOTS weight for that. I haven’t done this yet, so I’ll use the testing I do for you to establish that for this rifle.

Accuracy
To demonstrate the rifle’s potential, I shot a few groups with .177 Beeman Kodiaks at 35 yards. I have no idea if these are the best pellets for the .177 barrel. Of course, the HOTS has yet to be adjusted. The results were close to the best you would get from a TX200, but not quite at the PCP level, which this rifle is capable of. I haven’t had much experience with the .177 barrel, either.


At 35 yards, this group of five Kodiaks is good for a spring gun but not quite up to precharged levels. The rifle needs to be tested to find the best pellet for this caliber, then the HOTS needs to be adjusted.

Drawback of the breakbarrel
The barrel has to clear the scope, and that is the biggest drawback to the breakbarrel model. A benefit, of course, is that the breakbarrel is easier to load. I have a 3-12x Simmons on the gun, and it works well, but I cannot mount the Leapers 8-32x that I’d really like to have. The rifle is accurate enough to warrant it.

Trigger and safety
The Whiscombe’s trigger is fully adjustable and every bit as nice as any you would find on a premium PCP. The length of the first stage is adjustable, as is the sear engagement and the pull-weight of the second stage. There is also an overtravel adjustment. Despite having to restrain several hundred pounds of force, the trigger is both light and crisp. The automatic safety is a button on top of the receiver that moves back when the rifle is cocked. If the safety hasn’t set, the rifle may not be fully cocked. I had a few occurrences with that when I was first learning about the gun. Once taken off, the safety cannot be easily reset.

Worse than a dry-fire
I told you how bad a dry-fire is, but there is something even worse. If you load the rifle first and then cock the pistons, you create a vacuum in the compression chamber. The pellet blocks the air from entering. If you shoot, the pistons are drawn together by the force of both springs and the vacuum between them. That will destroy the rifle.

Adjustable buttpad
I could have gotten an adjustable cheekrest on the rifle; since the buttpad adjusts up and down, I figured a movable cheekrest was superfluous. It’s already high enough for scope use.

Well, that’s the intro. In the coming months, I’ll use the Whiscombe to demonstrate a number of classic airgun facts, including the accuracy benefit, if any, of harmonic tuning.

31 thoughts on “Whiscombe rifles and barrel harmonics – Part 3Introduction continued




  1. Yes, there are. That’s why the owner has to be mindful of the technology – just like the owner of a Ferrari. Treated right, this rifle is as robust as any other spring gun, but it will not suffer a fool.

    B.B.


  2. Crazy Old Man! You’ve had this rifle for 10 years and have not tuned the accuracy yet? Did you even put 1 full tin of pellets through it? I wish I was in your will! Just Kidding. Great topic, wring it out for as many posts as you can!




  3. Banker,

    I’m working on it, believe it or not. But tell me, what wouldn’t break the bank? Don’t just give me a number; tell me also what you want this gun to be able to do. How does it get charged? etc.

    Help me help you.

    B.B.


  4. BB,

    Plink, hunt small – medium game, charge via scuba tank, easy for follow up shot.

    .22 to 9mm

    single shot ok, but prefer multi shot capabilities.

    will be mounting scope and possibly bipod.

    $500 to $700 without scope?


  5. Hello BB,

    You did an article on July 11, 2005 on “How does cold weather affect different airgun powerplants?” Did you ever do an article on “How does hot weather affect different airgun powerplants?”


  6. Banker,

    What you have asked for already exists in the AirForce rifles, the Logun Solo and the S200.

    What would you say to a .22 single-shot with good scope possibilities, about as accurate as a Benjamin 392, and pumped with a pump that only needed one hand to operate it? For under $300?

    B.B.



  7. BB,

    Yeah, $300 sounds great!

    Is your $300 one hander a pistol?

    I am looking at the Career offerings. It looks like to get any kind of quality things dont start below $600.

    Also would like to get a ‘hands on’ on a AR6, know anything about it?

    thanks for your help



  8. BB,

    I need to clarify a bit.

    “It looks like to get any kind of quality things dont start below $600″.

    I think the multi shot capabilities are keeping things around or above $600.
    and thats not including scuba tank, scope, and whatever.

    perhaps I should look more seriously at those single shot offerings. that said , the Talon SS wins hands down!


  9. i learned something new about scopes today! you see, the scope i have is this cheap daisy that came with my bb rifle. it worked fine on my springer, but a fleck of some sort was driving me insane. i unscrewed the scope tube, and took a q-tip to the crosshairs to try and get rid of that damned fleck. can you guess what happened? perhaps no stupid questions, but i guess there are stupid actions! my next will be another daisy cheapie, the 3-7 variable power. i’d order the $40 leapers from pyramyd(no crosshairs to break!) , but i’m way too paranoid to submit credit information over the net
    even if its to a company like pyramyd.
    ah, and i was wondering about the HOTS, i’ve heard about it before and it seems like quite a bother! wouldnt a floated barrel be better than trying to actually tune the harmonics?


  10. No, the under $300 PCP is a rifle. The “one hand” comment referred to how easy it is to pump, not to how it is held.

    Have you read my 2-part report on the AR6? Or are you referring to the pistol which is currently out of stock?

    I have no idea when the Career II will be in.

    B.B.



  11. Anonymous,

    You might want to consider the Webley Raider. I have the Venom Viper version in .22, got it from Pyramyd. Super quality, 2-shot, super accurate.

    When all was sorted out, I spent about 700 dollars, including the hand-pump. I am VERY pleased with it. I put a Leapers 3-9x40AO MilDot scope on it as well for another $65.00.

    Might I suggest a very high-power scope if you’re going to go PCP? I’m finding the Venom so accurate that I wish I had put a 4-16 or better on it.

    Regards,

    Steve in PA


  12. Steve,

    thanks for the info

    I’m pretty sure I will be using my Leapers 4-12X44 mini AO, or the full size version, wich ever looks best, as I have both.

    Do you think it’s enough scope?

    dsw


  13. BB,

    If you had enough $$ to buy any air gun that your heart desired, which would you buy?

    Conversely, if you also wanted a relatively inexpensive fun gun, which one would you choose?

    Christmas is rapidly approaching, which gave me the idea of asking. (No, I’m not planning to buy you yet another air gun…just curious what you think.)

    Regards,

    Joe





  14. I assume the thigh rest is for field target work, and the butt hook helps you mount the rifle to the same place on your shoulder each time, increasing accuracy? Wow, talk about a Buck Rogers special. And only $1500. You should get one, BB; let us know how it performs…. -Joe





  15. Joe,

    That would be like borrowing a Lambourghini from a dealer. Too much money invested to lend around. However, I do have friends who own them, so you never know.

    B.B.


  16. i blogged the other day about a rifle in .22 or .25 for hunting rabbit up here in canada under 500fps, found a few models.one was the hatsan from turkey do you have any knowledge of this brand and what scope would i use do shoot clearly to 30 yds.


  17. I have no direct knowledge of the Hatsan, but from testing I have done on other Turkish-made airguns all I can say it make sure you can return the gun if you don’t like it. The Turkish rifles I have tested have all had poor accuracy.

    B.B.


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