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.

An analogy
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.

Spring guns
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.

16 thoughts on “More power! What can be done to an airgun?

  1. I tried to find information on Greg Fuller, I did track him down. He is not doing any mods at this time. Is there anyone else that does the mods beside him and Tim McMurray


  2. I suspect that no matter how often one repeats it: “If it is not accurate, it does not matter how powerful it is.”

    As you noted, you are not going to have an accurate airgun if it shoots much above 900fps (even a USFT has limits not much above this). Thus, if one is interested in pure power, then the only solution is to go to heavier pellets. Gary Barns is probably the ultimate in large-caliber airgun makers — if someone has lots of $$$ and time, he is “the man.”

    Personally, as a FT (and 10M pistol) shooter, I am interested only in accuracy with a reasonable energy level. Faster only helps by reducing the hold-over at long distances (or number of clicks if one uses elevation) and by reducing the effects of wind (probably the most important factor).

    For 10M shooting, all that is of interest is accuracy (and balance and ergonomics, …) and the velocity is usually “only” around 500fps. The pellet only needs to go 33 feet!

    Best,

    Joe


  3. Power mods,

    Mac-1 is the only business I know of doing this type of modification. There are hobbyists that come and go by the week, but I don’t keep track of them.

    B.B.



  4. B.B.

    Great Blog! You mentioned the FWB 150. Will you be doing an article on the FWB 150 soon? The FWB 150 has more power than this S54.

    AW


  5. I’ve got a couple modified 2240s from Mountain Air Air Guns. These guns get fewer shots per co2 powerlett than the originals but hit way harder and are very acurate.


  6. Oops! I accidentially hit enter before I was done. My MA2540 is a Crosman 2240 converted to .25 cal. I shoots around 550 fps and as I said above is very accurate. I really love these guns. They are a bit costly though.



  7. B.B. i am confused you say that you can return your Talon SS to be converted to a Condor, how is this done, what does it cost. Also, if i was to purchase the Talon SS could I turn it into a Condor simply by getting a 24 in. barrel and the Condor hi-flow valve tank, or is there more to it than that??? I want max power out of my Talon SS with one barrel and tank, and quietness with the SS barrel and tank.

    ,John


  8. John.

    The Talon SS and Condor share frames except the Condort has an extra two inches of scope base. But the frame is the same.

    So Condor parts fit an SS. The upgrade consists of a striker weight a 24-inch barrel and a Hi-Flow tank.

    Call AirForce to find out how mucj:

    877-247-4867.

    You cannot have the power and the quietness at the same time unless you buy a silencer. I bought a legal one that cost $650 and took a little over a year to get through BATF.

    B.B.



  9. John,

    The striker is the name given to the part that strikes the valve stem, opening the air valve. Others call it a hammer. A striker weight adds mass to the striker, causing it to strike the valve stem harder and forcing it to remain open longer. That allows more high-pressure air to escape.

    In the case of the Condor, the Hi-Flow valve cannot be opened by the striker found in a Talon SS. So a weight is added to make the valve open.

    B.B.


  10. Hi B.B.

    Because you started out talking about suping up the 1077, I wanted to post some of my results from various tweaks. Like you said, this will never be a precision rifle, but it's still fun to fine tune. There are numerous forums on modding the 1077, but here are the changes I thought were worthwhile enough to perform…

    1) Replaced trigger spring with a much lighter one
    2) Recrowned barrel
    3) Polished the breach end of the barrel
    4) Shimmed the front of the barrel: fabricated a 2" long wooden sleeve that fits snugly inside the barrel jacket just behind the front sight – does a much better job (than the front sight) at keeping the barrel stationary
    5) Removed the butt plate and filled the hollow stock with rice (since I have the 88g AS conversion, my gun is really front heavy and this helps to balance it out)
    6) Polished all trigger contact points, ground down and polished the sharp edges on the stamped metal part of the trigger assy to reduce friction against the striker
    7) Used spray silicon lubricant on all moving parts within the trigger assy – plastic and metal alike – to reduce friction
    8) Replaced the detent spring with a stiffer one and installed a detent o-ring (mine was missing)

    Post tuning, my gun shoots 50-75 FPS faster, the trigger is 50% lighter and much smoother, groups are 30-50% better, and extreme spreads in 10-shot groups are over 50% tighter.

    I also wanted to mention how I fixed my leaky AirSource adapter, since it seems to be such a common problem. My adapter was leaking from the valve even when it was completely closed, and when I screwed in a fresh bottle, lots of gas would escape through the vent holes before I could get it tightened down.

    The first problem was caused by a poorly manufactured needle valve. I polished the needle tip with some 320, then 400, then 600 grit sandpaper. Inside the valve body where the needle seats, I could also see some burring, so I chucked up a long machine screw (round, slotted head) in a hand drill and used it to deburr the sharp edge. Finally I lubed the o-rings with some Pellgunoil and put it back together.

    The second issue was caused by an over-protruding piercing needle (where the AirSource bottle screws in, not the one on the gun itself). The bottle was getting pierced and was spraying out CO2 before making contact with the washer (instead of it making washer contact and then piercing as it compressed the washer further). I pulled out the rubber washer, placed a very thin stainless steel washer behind it as a shim, and put the rubber washer back in place, using Pellgunoil oil between each layer. Now the tip of the piercing needle is virtually level with the surface of the rubber washer – right where it needs to be.

    After making these mods, I crossed my fingers, closed the valve, and screwed in a fresh bottle. Presto! No gushing CO2 out the vent holes and no leaking valve.

    - Orin


  11. Orin,

    you have done some very fine work on this 1077 and you should be proud of the accomplishments and share them with the rest of the blog.

    The problem is that you have posted this on a blog that first came out in 2006 and almost no one will see this other than a core of volunteers, of which I am one, who monitor these blogs.

    May I suggest you copy and paste your comment on the current blog which can be found at:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog

    A new blog appears Monday through Friday and off-topic comments are always welcome. This is where you will get the most exposure and the most responses.

    I hope to see you there.

    Fred PRoNJ


  12. Orin,

    Your work on the 1077 deserves to be a guest blog. You have written almost all of it as your comment. All you need are a few targets and you are done.

    Think about it?

    B.B.


  13. Well its 2013 and i have seen the info. I too have a 1077 and im going to mod it mañana.. lol blogs are like librarys, eve if its old info it allways serves somebodys needs.


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