Tech Force 99

by B.B. Pelletier


Tech Force 99 is a large underlever spring rifle.

This review was requested by a reader several months ago. The Tech Force 99 was created to rival the Air Arms TX200 in accuracy and power. It’s advertised accuracy is a five-shot group of 0.13″ at 10 meters, and the advertised velocity is 1,100 f.p.s. in .177 and 900 f.p.s. in .22.

The rifle
The 99 is a large underlever rifle. It weighs about 8 lbs. and is 44.75″ long. The pull is a generous 14.5″. The stock is reddish-brown hardwood with tight grain but without much figure. It has a low cheekpiece on the left side and the top of the comb is contoured in the Monte Carlo style. The metal parts are all an even dark blue. There are a few plastic parts, such as the end cap and triggerguard, but the bulk of the action is wood. The fit of the black rubber recoil pad and white line spacer is crude and uneven, but the rest of the wood fit is pretty good. The stock on the rifle I’ve got has one spot filled in with wood putty, which is almost a hallmark of Chinese wood stocks.

Unlike the majority of Chinese airguns, the TF99 is a copy of nothing. It is, rather, an enlargement of the TF97, which is an improved version of the QB36 underlever.

Loading and cocking
To load the rifle, pull down the underlever as far back as it will go. That retracts a silver-colored sliding compression chamber and reveals the breech of the barrel. The pellet is inserted directly into the breech, and the underlever is returned to the stored position, which closes the sliding chamber. You have to unlock the anti-beartrap mechanism or the underlever won’t move. The lock is a lever located just behind the trigger. Pull back and the underlever is released. You get used to this after a few shots.


With the sliding chamber withdrawn, the breech is exposed for loading.


Three levers inside the triggerguard can be confusing. The one in the rear (the right in this shot) is the anti-beartrap release for returning the underlever to the stored position. The trigger is the long one in the center. The automatic safety is in front (left) and must be pulled back before the gun will fire.

Velocity
The rifle cocks with about 28 lbs. of effort, which seems light for a rifle that shoots 1,100 f.p.s., but the one I tested did not achieve that velocity. With 7.0-grain RWS Hobby pellets, it averaged 890 f.p.s.; with Gamo Match pellets that weigh 7.5 grains, it averaged 801 f.p.s. With 10.6-grain Beeman Kodiaks that are among the most accurate, the rifle averaged 629 f.p.s.

Trigger-pull and firing behavior
The trigger pull is quite light. It’s a long second stage but not over 2.5 lbs. of pull weight. There’s a lot of low-level creep in stage two, but this trigger does break-in over time. After 1,000 shots, you should start to notice a smoother pull. Firing behavior is very smooth, with practically no vibration or recoil.

Accuracy
Accuracy is on the order of 0.30″ to 0.50″ at 10 yards when the best pellets are used. The rifle is very sensitive to how it’s held and demands a light hold on the palm of the hand. Resting it on sandbags destroys accuracy.

You have to compare this rifle to others in its price range. It currently sells for $170, though there are often sales throughout the year. That positions it against Gamo CF-X, which sells for $200. While that is $30 more, you get more power and a lot more accuracy with the Gamo. What you get with the TF99 is the .22-caliber option that many hunters will want. So there is a place for it.

20 thoughts on “Tech Force 99

  1. In my (very limited) experience with TF guns, they’re really no different from the straight “Industry Brand” stuff. And another vendor (South Summit) sells the QB36-2 (the Industry designation for the TF99) for $75, but they only advertise 900 fps in .177 cal.

    Seems to me that this might translate into lower to mid 600fps performance with a realistic .22 pellet. I’d think that’s kind of marginal for hunting… especially when a .22 Quest is still available for about $116


  2. It’s for sure TF is the same as industry brand. I bought a pistol which came in an industry brand box but was marked with the TF logo. I tried a TF model 34 and there’s no way it’s shooting 650 fps, so it’s the same as the 420 fps model 38′s from Industry. (comparing with Crosman 22.)

    It’s just like BB said, too. Very hold sensitive, vibrates a lot.


  3. BB –

    I’d really be curious to see you compare the $75 QB36-2 with the TF99, and confirm my suspicions or prove ‘em wrong.

    Also – I did you ever considered doing a test of the MP513? I’m kicking around getting one in .22 cal, I’ve heard it’s got a fair punch to it…

    Last thing – largely based on your write-up, I bought my 81 year-old Dad a 1077 for him to play with in the basement. He really seems to like it – the trigger isn’t too bad even with his weak fingers, it’s light enough for him to hold, and he doesn’t have to cock it. Thanks for the suggestion!


  4. How accurate can i expect a Crossman 1377 be at 10 meters. Also with my benji .22, at 20 feet with 8 pumps all pellets go through the same hole, but with 3 they group about a 3/4 inch group. Is it because the pellets aren’t stable at low velocity.




  5. Vinceb,

    By the QB36-II, do you mean the Tech Force 97? I have tested one, but it was a Tech Force from Compasseco and it has a Maccari spring. The power was about what you see here and the accuracy was better.

    I do have a .177 MP513 that I will get to soon.

    B.B.



  6. Target AIR rifles usually have SHORTER barrels than sporting air rifles. Typically they are 16 inches or less. The rest of the tube that looks like a barrel is just a hollow tube that extends the front sight out for greater sighting precision.

    B.B.


  7. I believe the QB36 is the same as the TF97, while the QB36-2 is the TF99.

    I know that the price difference seems rather extreme… but I don’t know if that’s uncommon for some of the Chinese guns. The same gun seems to be far more expensive under some labels than others (Industry Brand AR1000 is another).




  8. Tech Force 99 or QB36-2 in .22-taking off the safety stuff eliminates the clang. Hold on to the cocking lever while loading, as with any underlever. Leave the tab behind the trigger-the associated plate shroud holds in all the pins on the trigger assembly. If you can fashion and install a good synthetic piston seal, the rifle can deliver 16 ft-lbs., 14.5 grains at 710 fps. This could happen with the resident leather seal but that’s iffy. Accuracy is moderately pellet sensitive and is sufficient (1.25 inch)for about 35 yards, which is all the ballistics support anyway. The trigger is fair+ for an economy design but works better on the smaller QB36-1 (TF97)




  9. BB,
    After I got my wife’s QB88 shooting straight, I decided it would be good to get something to scope and shoot silhouettes and long range targets with (sure I have firearms, but I’m getting addicted to air power). I’ve dedicated the Hammerli 490 to 10M targets and 20m plinking with open sights, as it is too much fun to mess up with a scope. Since we have a break-barrel and a side-lever, underlever seemed to be the thing. At my level of the sport and cheapness, a TX200 or HW97 seemed silly, and that kind of money would go to a 10M gun or PCP anyway, so I ended up with a QB36-2 (generic industry base for TF99) for a low price, with the hope I would have to fix some things. I wasn’t disappointed:). Since some people asked about QB36-2, here’s my experience.

    The gun was pretty much as you describe out of the box, except that the entire actian was mounted at an angle, due to an improperly drilled rear action screw. It was easy to fix the cant with a drill and tap, but the huge stock and excessive LOP just don’t work for me, so I whittled it down substantially and re-finished it. At that point I was pretty happy with the rifle, as it was shooting accurately and powerfully (seemed up to the Industry spec., anyway, I’m pretty sure), and I could consistently hit targets at 50 yards and a coffee can at 75 yards with the open sights (the rear one is a piece of work, but servicable until it falls apart, as its twin on the QB88 did). So, I added a scope…first a 4×32, which broke w/in 50 shots, then a 3-9x32AO, which held up but wouldn’t stay in place, after several hundred shots of break-in. The rifle also started to shoot erratically, which I blamed on the scope-shift, but I don’t think that was really the problem. Finally, one day, it wouldn’t cock, so I shook it vigorously and whacked it gently against a post, whereupon a coil of spring fell out. It actually cocked better and shot smoother, afterwards, despite the occasional piece of spring jamming the action, but I knew I needed to fix it before it could be used seriously . Having spent a good deal of time re-doing the stock, etc., I decided to see if I could also improve the firing cycle rather than simply replacing the spring, so I ordered an aftermarket spring and synthetic seal and tore into it. The spring was broken in several places, with the longest piece being roughly 8 inches long. The seal (leather) was torn (probably at time of manufacture by the rough cocking shoe cutout) and dry, despite my having lubricated it as much as I dared. The piston is fabricated out of rolled steel and had some pretty rough welds on it. Remarkably, the finish inside the cylinder was smooth (except for the cocking shoe cutout). I’m no “tuner”, but it seemed pretty obvious what had to be done in terms of polishing and lubricating. I would also like to express amazement that the gun shot at all, but I think the explanation is that the torn seal was allowing enough “fuel” up from the spring to put out pretty good power via dieseling, but inconsistently.

    My goal was not to equal the original ~900fps or the inflated 1100fps claims, but to make it smoother and more consistent. To that end I did not try to get every fps out of the shorter aftermarket spring, but simply spaced it (inside the piston) until there was a little preload on it when pushing in the end cap — it is still a by-hand operation. The synthetic seal got a custom (shade-tree engineered) mounting and a drop of silicone oil on the edge. The cylinder and main tube got very spare amounts of M2M moly paste rubbed in, while the spring got a very light coat of heavy tar on the outside and on spring guide, as well as a little bit of M2M moly on the ends. Putting it back together (easier said than done the first time, considering the trigger group), I didn’t have high expectations, given my level of knowledge (none) and mechanical ability (little), but it did cock and fire. Actually, it cocks very smoothly and lighter than before, roughly high 20′s. The firing cycle is amazingly smooth now, just a little harder/rougher than my Hammerli 490, but the power is much higher as well, and no dieseling even on the first shot. The weight of the gun and its muzzle-heaviness has now become an asset — with the new spring and seal, it basically doesn’t move when fired, so it is excellent for offhand (which is good, because that’s the only way I can shoot). I believe the original spring with its significant preload might have been too much for the stroke, not to mention obviously brittle or otherwise deficient.

    At this point, I will try to remount the scope. I expect it will stay on better now, although I still need to deal with a bit of barrel droop. Accuracy is consistent right now with Superdomes and Crosman points, so I’m hopeful that its going to work out for my application. Ironically, b/t using the Hammerli all the time with open sights and this one with open sights a lot while getting it into shape, I’m starting to find some workarounds to what I thought were insurmountable difficulties with my eyesight even at decent ranges (50 yards) and starting to think about stripping the scopes off the rimfires, too, although that would probably be a mistake:). I thought I shot a lot before the airgun, but essentially daily practice (even if its just 5 minutes) with the airguns has been invaluable.


  10. BG_Farmer,

    Now that’s a post, but I suppose you knew that. Why not do it as a guest blogger? Can you handle some HTML and a few pics to go with your story?

    I really need more guest bloggers.

    B.B.


  11. BB,
    Sorry for a long, obscure post — I’m just having such a good time shooting air rifles that I get carried away.

    I’d be happy to blog it, if you think its worthwhile, and I won’t be hurt if the final product (blog or rifle) isn’t up to your standards. HTML is no problem and the pictures are fairly easy, but I need to disassemble the rifle again at least once (for pictures), so it will take me a couple of weeks minimum to get everything squared away, given my current schedule and commitments, if that sounds reasonable.


  12. BG_Farmer,

    Your comment is almost sufficient for a blog. Just work from that.

    Please contact me at:

    blogger@pyramydair,com

    … and I will lead you through the steps to be a guest blogger.

    B.B.


  13. RE: TechForce 99 Premier Chrony Numbers

    Thanks for the link.

    For the “original” TF99 BB reported 890fps for RWS Hobbys. The Taylor Gunsmithing numbers for the TF99 Premier were slightly better – 919 fps. Nothing to get excited about.

    Herb


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