A look at China’s B26 – part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


B26 from BAM is an attractive copy of the Beeman R9. Scope is Leapers’ 3-12×44 compact Tactical SWAT scope.

One of our readers asked for this review, and, as I happened to have access to a .22-caliber B26, I was able to test it. The B26, made by BAM, is a second-generation Chinese copy of the Beeman R9/HW95. The first-generation copy is the B20, which was, and still is, an impressive airgun for the Chinese, but not up to Gamo quality or accuracy. The R9 was in no danger from the B20. It’s a tough act to follow for any airgun, and I’m cutting this one no slack. Let’s see what she’s got!

Appearance
The rifle is very attractive for a Chinese spring gun – heck, it’s attractive for ANY rifle. Period! The bluing is even, and the metal underneath is finished nearly as nice as a Weihrauch. But the bigger story is the wood stock. First, it’s a nice piece of wood – really looking like walnut with a very even medium brown stain. Second, it’s shaped as well as any German stock. Third, there are no gouges or divots filled with with wood putty – the trademark of Chinese gun stocks to this time. The butt is padded with a solid black rubber pad that’s fitted as well as any I’ve ever seen.

The only drawback is that the manufacturer shipped the gun in a single cardboard box with minimal padding and support, and a rifle stock simply cannot travel from China to America without more protection than that. As a result, the stock on my rifle has a tiny crack running with the grain in the pistol grip – the weakest spot on a rifle. Other than that flaw, the stock is wonderful.


Stock was marred by the presence of a hairline crack on the font of the pistol grip. It runs along the grain of the wood at this weak point.

Physical specs
The rifle measures 42.5″ long with a 16.25″ barrel. The one I am testing is a .22, but it also comes in .177. Weight is about 7 lbs., 5 oz., but that will vary a little depending on the density of the wood used in the stock. The sights are a fiberoptic post in front and fully adjustable notch (also fiberoptic) in the rear. The front sight is in a globe with massive cutouts for light to pass. Both sights are easily removable.


Front sight is a hooded post with a red fiberoptic bead.


Rear sight is a conventional notch with fiberoptic inserts. Windage and elevation screws bind and get loose as they adjust.

Trigger and safety
The trigger is a copy of the Rekord, a two-stage modular unit with adjustable pull weight and, if you know how to do it, adjustable letoff. As it came, it was not adjusted correctly. There was actual creep in the first stage, which, coupled with a light second stage, made a good shot nearly impossible. I intend adjusting this trigger to see how nice it can become. If it’s like a Rekord, it should be pretty nice. The safety is identical to Weihrauch’s safety, which goes on automatically every time you cock the gun. To reset it, you must break the barrel all the way, as though cocking the gun again. I’ve had some Weihrauch safeties on brand new rifles malfunction until they were cleaned, but the one on this rifle is crisp and positive.

Cocking is light and smooth
The cocking effort is an incredibly light 24-25 lbs. of effort, about 2-3 lbs. less than even the R9, which was itself a light cocker. That fact makes the B26 stand out, though all Chinese spring rifles have been easy to cock. Usually, the reason for light cocking is that the mainspring has taken a set or broken, but I don’t think that is the case with this one. It has too much power. Cocking is also smooth, though the gun does honk like a goose when cocked. That’s a sign of a piston seal that could used some lubrication.

Firing behavior is quick and smooth
It fires with almost no vibration and just a quick forward jump of recoil. So far, I’ve found it to be extremely sensitive to hold, just like an R9.But, even when it’s floated on the hands, it doesn’t move much upon firing.

A word about the scope
I’ve mounted Leapers’ 3-12×44 compact Tactical SWAT scope for this test. It’s sized just right for a smaller rifle, plus it gives a crystal-clear image of the target. The reticle is a bit thick for paper target shooting, but I’m not going to be shooting past 40 yards, so it shouldn’t make that much difference.

First test
I’ve already had this rifle to the range two times. The first time I tried it at 50 yards and was disappointed with large groups. The second time, I shot at 25 yards with JSB Exact Diabolo Jumbo pellets and got groups as small as one inch. While that is not a super showing, I think the rifle deserves more testing with other pellets after I’ve had a look at the trigger. The JSBs weigh 15.9 grains and gave velocities ranging from 693 to 778. That kind of spread would open groups beyond 25 yards but shouldn’t affect the closer shots that much. Most of the shots seemed to cluster around 750 f.p.s., which gives a muzzle energy of 19.86 foot-pounds. That is astonishing! I want to see whether the gun settles down and what can be done to the trigger to improve the situation.

Perhaps the B26 is a breakout Chinese adult air rifle.

30 Responses to “A look at China’s B26 – part 1”

  • Anonymous Says:

    20fpe? Most of what I’ve read on the B26 and -2 variant put it at around 14-15fpe. Mine is running 14.5fpe.

    I, too, had found groups to be a bit disappointing, but I did find that with RWS HP pellets (of all things) I could get groups as good as my HW97 out to 35 yards.

    Why it digests the RWS HP’s so well is beyond me. At that same range, I am lucky to get 1 inch groups with JSB’s or Premiers, but RWS HP’s give me ragged hole groups.

    Rob3dr

  • mike Says:

    I think you will find that as the barrel breaks in it will get alot better groups. The damage to your rifle was most likely incurred during shipping from the dealer to you as they are shipped from China in a case package of 5, the box the case pack comes in is quite strong and I have never had any major damage in the ones I have received. The quality of the chinese rifles is coming up, the higher end rifles are quite good. The $19.95 rifles are just that. If you would have time the QB-78 is another good rifle to look at, a clone of the Crosman 160/167.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Rob3dr,

    If I have RWS Super-H-Points in .22, I’ll give ‘em a try. Thanks for that tip.

    My gun may still be dieseling because it is new. You noticed the spread of velocities is from 693 to 778. At 693 it produces about 17 fpe.

    The gun now has several hundred shots on it, so it’s getting well into the used category. I will continue to chronograph it to see where it’s going.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Mike,

    The dealer shipped the gun to me double-boxed. I made that comment because Chinese airguns in general have a lot of breakage in shipment, even though they are ultimately shipped in a CONEX container.

    I have tested the QB 78 quite extensively and it is another nice Chinese airgun. Our readers haven’t shown a lot of interest in it, but it’s possible I can review one sometime.

    B.B.

  • Markus Says:

    Bb,

    can the QB78 be modded with crosman aftermarket parts or even the 2300 trigger assembly?

    Markus

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Markus,

    The OB78 is a rifle. It has a much better trigger than the 2300S, since it copies Crosman’s 160 target rifle, so you wouldn’t want to change a thing.

    B.B.

  • Crimson Sky Says:

    The review so far seems promising for this inexpensive rifle–based on the review I wouldnt mind owning some Chinese models just add some interest to my collection and gain more experience with airguns in general!~ cheers

  • Anonymous Says:

    HI, i already checked pyramid air and I couldnt find the b26, what websites carry the b26. thanks.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    I don’t know. Do a Google search.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Hey B.B. i’m shopping for an airrifle and thinking about something in the magnum class. not many guns have foot pounds listed. do you think you could list some of the more powerful airrifles for me. im a spring piston aficionado but price, weight, cocking effort wont be a problem.

    Bill

  • Josh Says:

    It’s interesting that this rifle is doing well in this overview so far. I’d guess the accuracy of the barrel would be the weak point… I’m curious if you will find it to be a good one or not!

    It would be great to have another decent competitor on the scene. It always seems to help broaden, and innovate any industry…

    This was the first chinese air rifle I gave a second thought to, and it’s great to see it here on the blog!

    -Josh

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Bill,

    You can do this yourself. Take the lightest lead pellet for the caliber gun you are interested in, take the advertised muzzle velocity and go to the energy calculator on this site. It’s in Tom Gaylord’s article about muzzler energy.

    That will give you the energy you seek. It’s how I do it and every other airgunner I know.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    wow i didn’t know about that calculator, thanks for the help
    Bill

  • Anonymous Says:

    B.B. i was wondering if you’d be interested in testing the RWS 850 airmagnum. it looks like a promising semi automatic. im asuming that the combo advertisement meant to say mock silencer. I’d be interested to know if its as accurate as rest of the RWS line is so well known for.
    scopestop

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    scopestop,

    I did the AirMagnum back in June.

    Here’s the third posting:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2006/06/rws-850-airmagnum-part-3.html

    To find things that have been done in the past, go to the current post and tryp search terms into the box on the right-hand column.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Speaking about the crack in the stock of your chinese airgun : HOW CAN YOU REPAIR A CRACK IN ANY AIRGUN STOCK ? This would be an interresting subject in this blog ! ERIC

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Eric,

    Woodworking is one of my many flaws. I don’t do it. I admire it in others, but I was born with a deficient woodworking gene.

    As for the crack in this particular stock, I don’t think it needs to be repaired. It seems stable enough and trying to do anything would only make the situation worse. I have had a crack in the pump handle of my 28-year-old Sheridan Blue Streak stock almost since it was new, and it hasn’t grown any worse.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for giving your attentionto this gun, I believe I was the reader who originally requested the review. You seem to be giving it a fair shake so far, and I am interested to see your further comments. You may want to mention that there is a thumbhole stock version of this gun, which I find very comfortable and makes shooting very pleasant (although there seems to be a universal consensus that the comb is too high, which it is).

    Again, Thanks.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Darn! You’ve gone and spoiled my surprise!

    I have the thumbhole version in .177 and plan to review it, too, but first I want to finish the .22.

    My market connections tell me the .22 is selling very briskly, right now, to the surprise of everyone. The .177 will be a different kind of fun.

    I will remember your “comb is too high” comment when I get to the thumbhole.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    BB,

    Talking about rifle reviews, I have read somewhere that even a FWB P70FT rifle needs to be tuned out of the box. My question, is there a rifle that is shooting accurate out of the box?

    Dave

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Dave,

    The list of accurate air rifles (out of the box) is almost endless. I think you have been reading (and believing) the airgun forums.

    In fact, I advise NOT doing anything but just shooting a new air rifle for at least 1,000 shots. Olympic competitors don’t tune their target rifles. They just adjust the various adjustments (trigger, stock, etc.) and shoot, shoot, shoot.

    I tested a Walther Dominator out of the box. It’s a factory-made field target gun. I got 3/4-inch 10-shot groups at 50 yards. You hear a lot of bragging about sub 1/2-inch groups, but they are always five shots. Watch what happens when they shot the second five shots!

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    B.B.
    Hello,
    I just got a B20 for my son but the ft sight is broken off. Any idea how I can get the fiber optic sight set as shown on yours??
    Thank you,
    Brian

  • Josh Says:

    BB,

    have you had any more time with the B26 yet? Could you give us a little preview of the accuracy results post-trigger tune, and with a broader spread of pellets?

    -Josh

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Josh,

    I haven’t picked it up in weeks, but it’s on my “to do” list. I’ll try to fast-track it for you, but the fall weather has been windy here.

    B.B.

  • Robert Gleeman Says:

    I own the B-26-2 thumbhole stock version in .177, and have reviewed it myself, in my own amateur fashion, so I really look forward to your comprehensive review!
    After several thousand shots, and very little lubrication on my part, I have found this gun a true pleasure to own, and if you guys don’t start selling them, you are nuts!

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Robert,

    Thanks for your comment. I think Pyramyd Air will seriously consider this rifle.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    BB.

    You said that the B26has a very smooth and light cocking mechanism, plus a quick and smooth firing behavior. Do you find those two aspects worse, equal or better than a new Beeman R9?

    anonymous

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Actually, those two features are equivalent between the two rifles. The R9 is slightly more accurate and has a better trigger, but the difference isn’t that large.

    B.B.

  • Yash Says:

    That was a very interesting write-up BB. I have tried my hands on a friend’s B40 and found it to be a very nice gun too. I was interested in a B26-2, the one with a muzzle-break and thumb-hole stock. Can you review this gun?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Yash,

    I can do that. If I don’t start it in two weeks, remind me again.

    B.B.

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