Archive for January 2007

Logun’s Sweet 16 on CO2 – Part 1The other S-16s!

by B.B. Pelletier

Logun’s S-16s has been adapted to CO2 by Pyramyd Air.

Let’s look at an air rifle backwards! What that means is that the Logun S-16s has been around for a few years, and we’ve not yet looked at it. But, now, Pyramyd Air offers an entire rifle set up for CO2 operation. That’s the rifle we will look at first. And, before I am asked for the umpteenth time about the possibility of a CO2 adapter for AirForce air rifle…yes, it’s in the works!

Why CO2?
Why would anyone pay $900 for a powerful PCP and then run it on CO2? BECAUSE THEY CAN! CO2 changes the nature of your powerplant, giving you a rifle that shoots slower for plinking, indoor shooting or just more shots without refilling. When I tell you how many more, you’ll be amazed. I was!

You lose nothing
Taking a PCP and converting it to run on CO2 doesn’t change the basic rifle in any way. If the barrel was accurate before, it still is. If the gun had a good trigger, that doesn’t change. All that changes is that the power drops. Depending on which gun you convert, the drop can be small or large. The thing to remember is this conversion doesn’t take anything away – it adds more functionality to your investment. Imagine that you could drive your car on diesel fuel, kerosene, jet fuel and gasoline. The military pays a bundle for truck engines that do just that. Well, Pyramyd has found an affordable way for you to so the same thing with a PCP. Enough generalities; let’s get specific.

The S-16s
The heart of this rifle is a Logun S-16s. Logun meant for it to operate on air, and they meant for it to be a fine PCP rifle, so all those characteristics will translate to CO2. It’s a 16-shot repeater with a special magazine holding two 8-shot circular clips. It’s got a lot of steel in the frame, so the weight is very substantial at 8.25 lbs. The conversion kit takes the weight up over 9 lbs. with a 20-oz. CO2 tank installed.

16-shot magazine holds two circular 8-shot clips.

The trigger is very heavy. After I adjusted it as light as it would go, it still required 10 lbs. to release. It’s crisp and creep-free, but if you’re anticipating a light trigger-pull, this rifle doesn’t have one.

Pressure gauge
There is a pressure gauge built into the back of the rifle’s receiver, so it works with the CO2 adapter, too. Although it isn’t marked for all pressure levels, it’s close enough that you’ll know when the tank needs to be changed.

Although not marked for all pressure levels, the Logun gauge does a good job with CO2.

The S-16s uses a shrouded barrel for quieter operation. I’ve tested it only with CO2 thus far, and the discharge noise is about equal to that of a powerful spring pistol. It’s certainly much quieter with the shroud in place than with the barrel exposed.

Many shots
In fact, I didn’t believe how many shots were possible when I first did the math. With a 20-oz. tank installed you will get over 1,000 shots per fill! In fact, the number is so high that nobody will probably ever test a tank until it’s empty – it takes too long! Now you see the advantage of operating the gun on CO2. Of course, the power is less; but, if all you’re doing is plinking, what do you care?

Inexpensive to convert
If you already own an S-16s, all you need is a CO2 adapter and a CO2 tank. Pyramyd Air sells 12-oz. and 20-oz. tanks, and they can even ship it to you already filled! What a wonderful way to enjoy your PCP even more.

In the future, I’ll show you the accuracy and velocity on CO2, plus we’ll also test the rifle with air. It should prove interesting!

The new Webley Patriot! – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

I tried chronographing the rifle before going to the range, but it was dieseling and getting too broad a velocity spread for accuracy. There were no explosions, but there were variations of 60 f.p.s. in the shot strings, so I figured it needed to be shot in to settle down. That proved to be a good assumption.

At the range
Conditions were perfect for shooting an air rifle. There was no wind and good light to see the target. Because the Patriot is a breakbarrel, it needs a lot of technique to shoot well. I did rest my off hand on a sandbag to steady the rifle, but when rested directly on the bag the groups opened to three times the size.

The Patriot has always been especially sensitive to hold, probably because of the heavy recoil and relatively long time the pellet spends in the barrel when compared to a .177 shooting 1,000 f.p.s. So, how you hold the gun is critical. You have to float it with as light a touch as you can and allow it to recoil as much as it wants to for the best accuracy. It always takes me time to get into the right frame of mind before my groups will tighten to what they should be. And, it was that way with this test rifle, too. However, once I was dialed-in, the rifle shot like – well, a rifle!

The two-stage trigger was reasonably crisp, if a trifle heavy, at 4.5 lbs. The single adjustment screw affects the length of the first-stage pull. I found the trigger usable and not too heavy for good accuracy.

The recoil is about as heavy as a smallbore airgun ever gets. Hold the stock tightly, and you’ll get a headache from repeated punches in the cheek. Something else I forgot about was also a concern. The Patriot will shake itself to death if you don’t keep checking all the screws. The scope mount screw loosened several times, as did the stock screws and the rear sight mounting screw. Loose screws are bad for accuracy, so remember to keep checking them, until you apply some blue Locktite to all the threads.

Setting up the scope
I gave the rear scope mount an extra full turn as I normally do for all breakbarrel spring rifles (except RWS Diana guns – they get two turns). That elevates it above the front ring and corrects the normal tendency for the barrel to droop. After sighting-in, I discovered that it isn’t required for the new Patriot. In fact, I didn’t need to use adjustable rings at all. The barrel was looking straight ahead! To save time, I sighted-in the scope so I was aiming at the target below the target that the pellets were hitting. It worked fine for most pellets, except that Diana Magnums were still climbing too high.

The best pellet
Without a doubt, the 31-grain Beeman Kodiaks are the best pellets for this rifle. Always have been and probably always will be. Beeman Ram Jets were also good, grouping about 0.8″, and Beeman Perfect Rounds proved adequate – giving 1″ groups at 25 yards. You could hunt with them to that distance if you like, but Kodiaks were so much more accurate that I don’t know why anyone would. The lightweight 21-grain Diana Magnums were a disappointment, shooting 1.3″ to 1.5″ at 25 yards.

Once the shooting technique was right and the screws were tightened, the new Patriot began to perform. This group, measuring 0.657 ” at 25 yards, was typical for five Beeman Kodiaks. Because these are .25-caliber pellets, the group appears larger than it really is. The beauty of this caliber is that the pellets cover a lot of area!

Through the chronograph
After the accuracy test, I retested the rifle for velocity and found it had settled down. Beeman Kodiaks averaged 620 f.p.s., with a spread of 13 f.p.s., which translates to 26.47 foot-pounds. Round balls go an average of 711 f.p.s. and vary by 15 f.p.s. They generate 26.5 foot-pounds. Ram Jets average 723 f.p.s., with a spread of just 9 f.p.s. and a power of 28.07 foot-pounds.

Is this really a Webley Patriot?
Yes! Without a doubt, it is. There are some subtle physical differences, and probably a few I missed, but the performance is pure Patriot. Welcome back, Webley!

The new Webley Patriot! – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

The new Webley Patriot looks just like the old one. But does it perform?

Many airgunners have been waiting for this report. When Webley closed their doors in 2005, the world’s supply of powerful .25-caliber Patriot breakbarrels dwindled steadily until there were no more to be found. The Beeman Kodiak suffered a similar fate, being derived from the same basic rifle. Then, the news came that Webley had been saved, though manufacture of its spring rifles was moved to Turkey.

In March of 2006, I spoke with Webley Managing Director Tony Hall, who assured me no rifle with the Webley name would ever leave the new plant until it was ready. So, like everyone else, I waited. Well, the wait is over. Pyramyd Air received the first shipment of Patriots in January, and they were kind enough to ship me a rifle to test for you.

At first glance, the new Patriot appears identical to Patriots from the UK. However, upon closer inspection and after spending time with the gun, the following was noted. The markings that were stamped into the metal on the gun are now laser-etched. The scope stop grooves appear to be smaller in radius, though they fit the B-Square scope mount made especially for the Patriot. There are probably dozens of other small differences, because it is impossible for one machine to exactly duplicate the output of another – CNC included. But, I don’t think you will be able to spot them without a vintage UK Patriot for side-by-side comparison.

These grooves are the scope stop on the Patriot. Your scope mount must have ridges to interface with them. The B-Square one-piece mount has two ridges in the correct positions.

The stock looks like beech with the same reddish-brown stain as before. Perhaps the wood finish isn’t as shiny as before, but at least one observer remarked that they probably use the same stock supplier they used before, so there shouldn’t be any differences. The metal finish seems more matte than the UK rifle, though the blue/black is just as dark as ever. The actual barrel is still 17.5″, but a threaded plug in the muzzle makes it appear to be 18″. That plug closes the hole for a silencer, but we have already discussed how a silencer on a spring gun isn’t that effective.

Muzzle cap unthreads to open a place to accept a silencer. This is for UK use, only

The stock’s pull is 14″, a good compromise for all sizes of adults, and the stock has the same fullness that has been characteristic of Patriots from the beginning. The overall weight is 9.3 lbs., which is the same as always, give or take the density of the wood in a specific stock. The length of just over 46″ is a gain of half an inch, or the specifications have been slightly off all along.

The part that will be familiar to all who have ever owned a Patriot is when you break the barrel to cock the rifle. You have to slap the muzzle to pop the barrel lock detent off its seat, same as always. The rifle I have cocks with 46 lbs. of effort, slightly less than the nominal 50 lbs. stated in the specs, but individual rifles have always had a couple pounds of variation. It still takes two hands to cock if you shoot more than just a few shots.

The safety is the same automatic button that pops out the back of the receiver, and the trigger feels the same as ever. The safety is a trigger-block type and can be set at any time, rifle cocked or not. You can uncock the gun if you need to by releasing the safety and pulling the trigger with the barrel broken open. Just be sure to restrain the barrel when you pull the trigger, because the same force you fought when you cocked the rifle will now try to rip the barrel out of your hands!

I mounted a Leapers 3-9x50mm scope in a B-Square AA adjustable mount, because it has the right crossbars to interface with the scope stop slots on the receiver. The scope is very bright and has a thin reticle with enough mil-dots to make it stand out against the background of vegetation. It’s the kind of reticle that allows very precise aiming.

Leapers 3-9x50mm scope was bright and has a thin reticle for precision aiming. This model is obsolete and has been replaced by a new TS mount with the same features.

So, from appearance alone, this is a Webley Patriot through and through. But, the range test tomorrow will reveal if it still functions the same.

REALLY tuning a PCP!

by B.B. Pelletier

I just have to write this post, so forgive me if it’s not to your taste. Yesterday, I got a question from The.Man regarding air usage in a Talon SS, which is a precharged pneumatic. He wondered if he installed a 24″ barrel on an SS that normally has a 12″ barrel, if he could get a greater number of shots at the same energy level as the standard 12″ barrel is able to produce. I told him yes, he could, but then my brain went into gear, and I had to carry the thought through to completion.

Talon SS from AirForce is one of the most adjustable PCP rifles around.

To my thinking, The.Man has asked one of those fundamental life-changing questions that has the potential to open up airgunning for him. It’s fundamental because it shows that he understands how pneumatic guns work. To me, pneumatic guns work very much like black powder arms. In a pneumatic, a longer barrel means more acceleration time, which equals more velocity. In a black powder gun, the longer barrel promotes more complete burning of the powder, which equates to more push behind the bullet and greater velocity. The two power sources are very much alike in this respect.

To continue the comparison, I have found most black powder arms have a preference for a certain bullet. Once you find it, don’t shoot anything else. Also, find the right powder load and stick with it. A pneumatic pellet gun is the same. Find a power setting (if the gun is adjustable) that works best and the one pellet that’s right, and you don’t need anything else. Allow me to share the work done by another airgunner.

This airgunner took his Talon SS and added a 24″ .22 caliber barrel. He knew that was the best combination for what he wanted, which was a lot of shots at a decent power level. Then, he selected a power setting on the adjustment mechanism. It wasn’t wide open like you might think. He wanted a good number of shots with a good amount of power and a decent velocity spread so he’d have accuracy at 50 yards. He settled on power setting No. 8 in the power adjustment window. The pellet he chose was the Beeman Kodiak.

If you read the forums, you will see Talon SS owners trading power wheel settings back and forth, talking about setting 10.13, for example, which means the gross power indicator is resting on the number 10 and the power wheel is resting on the number 13. What they fail to realize is that EACH TALON SS WORKS DIFFERENTLY! You might get a velocity of 830 f.p.s. with a .22 caliber Crosman Premier on the setting 10.13 on your gun, while I might get 790 from the same setting on mine! I might have to dial up to 12.9 to get the same velocity you get on 10.13. Yet for both of us, 830 f.p.s. might be the maximum velocity our guns get with the .22 Premier pellet.

The AirForce adjustment mechanism is a wheel and an oval window cut in the left side of the frame. The round screw head (it’s an Allen screw) in the window indicates the power setting. The reading is taken from the center of the screw. The power wheel on the left also has numbers that align with an index mark. These are the finer adjustments. Each revolution of the wheel moves the power screw one whole number right or left.

Install the 24″ barrel and the adjustability becomes much more sensitive over a far broader range. The gun shoots both slower and faster with the 24″ barrel installed.

Well, this shooter found a spot on his adjustment mechanism where everything was what he wanted, then he did one more thing – which is what this posting is all about. He loosened the two Allen setscrews on the SS top hat (the end of the valve stem that acts as the firing interface for the striker and also the valve stroke limiter) and adjusted the top hat to the point that the gun gave exactly the velocity he wanted. But if he adjusted the top hat to as little at two-thousandths of an inch less clearance, the velocity would drop. To do what he did requires a chronograph, a feeler gauge and patience. But a thoughtful shooter can really maximize his PCP’s potential if he knows what he’s doing.

The stainless steel “tophat” was the earlier Talon’s method of adjustment. Today the adjustment wheel makes it unnecessary to ever move this tophat setting, which has 0.080″ clearance from the factory. However, it is possible to adjust this to get a much more efficient setting for a single pellet at a single velocity.

What he achieved is what The.Man asked about – the optimum flow of air without wasting any. The results were incredible! Instead of getting the usual 35-40 powerful shots, he got over 90 shots in a tight velocity spread! In other words, he had his cake and ate it, too!

On Monday, I have a big surprise for you. An old friend has returned, and we’re going to spend some time with him. In fact, next week should have several exciting things for you all!

The silencer issue

by B.B. Pelletier

Curtis asked a number of questions about silencers. Although I think the answers have already been given, they are perhaps not worded exactly as he asked the question, so today I want to spend a little time on the subject. Before I do, here is a linked bibliography on the silencer issue.

Airgun silencers: What’s the big deal? Article by Tom Gaylord
Airguns and noise Blog Feb 8, 2006
Guilty! Jury finds airgun silencer illegal Blog July 18, 2006
What about a silencer for your airgun? Blog May 2, 2005

This is (very) off-topic, but I wonder if you would be so kind as to address an air gun topic that is “loaded” (pun fully intended). This regards the sensitive issue of air gun “silencers”, “moderators”, “shrouds”, “dampers”, or whatever name that people care to call these devices. Specifically, my inquiry involves an assertion by Dr. Beeman (“Silencers on Airguns” -an article that can be found on his website) that shrouds, moderators, etc, besides being (in his opinion) illegal, are also, according to him, ineffective in reducing the report of any “springer” type of air rifle.

I am not concerned here with the legality issue, but rather the assertion that these devices do not work on airguns. His logic is that though the moderators may be effective on CO2 guns and PCP’s because of the fact that they involve allowing the slower expansion of a large volume of air rushing from the gun upon discharge, that this is NOT the case with springers since springers merely use a cusion of air as a medium for transfer of the energy of the expanding spring to the pellet, and so, in his opinion, the moderator does nothing to dampen the sound of the spring air rifle.
This seems contrary to both common sense as well as observation to me for the following two reasons;

1) I notice a definite difference between my (very loud) Webley .177 Tomahawk and the sound of a TX200 in the same caliber being discharged (though I do know that the Tommy is more powerful) and;

2) Noise inside of a structure, such as a home, can be “dampened” or moderated by the use of special building techniques involving more insulation and a second layer of wallboard held to the studs by special clips which allow the wallboard to move and cancel the transfer of sound.

It seems to me that dampening the noise from an airgun would similarly involve allowing vibrations to be muffled by an expansion chamber (such as a moderator or shroud), and that the noise of the rifle firing is not solely generated by a large blast of air such as issues from a PCP or CO2 rifle. For that matter, my QB-78 is very quiet and has NO moderator or provision for sound reduction other than a rather long barrel, yet it is very quiet. Further, it seems that these devices would not be so popular in the countries of Europe where they are legal, if they were not effective. I am very interested in reading your opinion on this matter. Thanks for putting up with my (verbose) and lengthy rant on this matter, and thanks also for your attention and consideration.

Dr. Beeman is correct about the “noise” of a spring gun. Most of it is transmitted through the bones of the shooter’s face, so the sound is much louder for the shooter than for those standing close by. Thomas Edison was deaf and listened to the phonograph he invented by biting on the wooden case of the instrument, so he was intimately familiar with the sound conductive properties of facial bones.

It is possible to muffle the muzzle report of any airgun with a silencer, however. As quiet as spring guns are, the TX200 is further muffled by the use of a shrouded barrel containing a baffled silencer. It works, but the payoff is very slight. The TX200 is also a very smooth spring gun, and that, alone, reduces the noise. So, yes you can silence a springer, but why would you want to? An exception is a gas spring gun, whose gas-driven piston produces a small crack of sound upon discharge. But a well-adjusted spring gun is already very quiet (EXCEPT TO THE SHOOTER!). Curtis, you need to let someone else shoot both guns and you listen to the report. The TX will be louder than the Tomahawk, but not by as much as you think.

So why is Curtis’ QB78 so quiet? Because by the time the pellet exits the muzzle, the gas pressure has dropped relatively low, and it doesn’t have enough remaining energy to make a loud sound. This is the same reason all spring guns are quiet. Because they use so little air, there is no energy remaining by the time the pellet leaves the muzzle.

I’ll leave you with this thought. In the 1980s, certain printers were extremely noisy. The Lexitron word processor printer was so loud (either 92 or 96 dB, as I recall) that it had to have an acoustic shield over it at all times. It was an impact-type daisy wheel, if that means anything to you. But times changed. Today’s office printers are so quiet that they cannot be heard in most offices. They use different technologies, of course, but the fact is that they’re quiet. You could lower their noise signature even more by putting an acoustic shield around them, too, but why would you want to?

What are airsoft guns used for? – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Reader DSW requested this report. Part 1 was written way back on December 26, 2006. If someone hadn’t called my attention to it, this part would have slipped by. I ended the first part with Hollywood, where airsoft guns have greatly replaced the use of firearms shooting blanks. Blanks fired from a firearm are dangerous by themselves, because they do expel hot gas and burning wads at high speed. Gunfighters in western amusement parks have to be extremely careful, as a blank fired in a firearm can serious wound and even kill at close range.

Blanks can be dangerous
In 1969, the marshal of Frontier Village in San Jose, California, accidentally fired his revolver before the barrel had cleared the holster in a mock gunfight. The blank blast ripped open his heavy wool trousers and tore the skin from his upper thigh, leaving a surface wound the size of a football. Marshal Westin used a genuine Colt .45 Single Action Army revolver for his gunfighting weapon, and the blast from 40 grains of black powder produced a fireball three feet wide and eight feet long from the muzzle of his gun. So, you can see that even a true blank is not safe when it’s fired in a firearm.

Blank-firing guns are made in such a way that none of the blank force can project straight ahead, nor can it propel a missile of any kind. But Hollywood used real firearms because they needed the authentic look for the silver screen.

Midrange wadcutters
However, when actor Brandon Lee was killed, someone had loaded a midrange wadcutter cartridge in the revolver that killed him. A midrange wadcutter cartridge has a bullet loaded flush with the top of the case. To someone who doesn’t know better, it could appear to be a blank, though the bullet inside is as deadly as any bullet fired from a handgun. Hollywood can’t take chances, so when realistic airsoft guns became available, they jumped on them.

This .38 Special midrange wadcutter has a 148-grain lead bullet seated flush with the top of the case. I use bullets like this for home defense, because they are more reliable killers when fired at slower velocities. The cut a very round and large wound channel.

This is what the midrange wadcutter bullet looks like in .38 Special caliber.

Other theatrical events
Hollywood lobbied the federal government to let them own and use airsoft guns without the orange marking at the muzzle. When exclusions to the law about visible markings on airsoft guns were written, they were expanded to include “other theatrical events,” such as high-school plays, dinner theater, etc. Many others besides Hollywood are using airsoft guns for their incredible realism and safety.

Airsoft is now an industry of its own!
Consumers being what they are, it wasn’t long before airsoft buyers began wanting to modify their guns, so the parts were created and airsoft gunsmiths sprang up. More robust parts were made when gamers complained about reliability problems. Today, the entire airsoft industry overshadows the airgun industry by virtue of the fact that gamers spend hundreds of millions on gear, tactical clothing, vehicles, radios and an endless list of mil-spec hardware. Not yet 30 years old, the airsoft industry has passed conventional airguns that have been around almost 500 years.

Airsoft’s future
The future of airsoft in the U.S. is threatened by legislation. It was killed once before in the 1980s, which is where the orange-tipped muzzles came from. Some companies are making guns with clear bodies that cannot be mistaken for firearms, but that’s just a delaying action. What airsoft needs is guidance and direction. Currently, there is none. It’s a grassroots free-for-all with war games being the No. 1 attraction and problem. The NRA will never touch airsoft as long as it is used to promote people shooting people, and I agree with their sentiment.

What airsoft needs, if it is to survive in the U.S., is an action sport that doesn’t involve shooting at other people. If that were to happen and if the NRA were to then throw their weight behind the sport, airsoft guns might have a chance. Popularity, alone, is not enough to keep the guns coming in!

Modify a Crosman 2240

by B.B. Pelletier

This request came in a couple of months ago, and I’d like to address it today. The Crosman 2240 is the latest in a long line of similar CO2 pistols Crosman has made since the mid-1950s. The model 150 was the first. These guns are modular, while the bulk-fill CO2 models (111/112/115/116) that preceded them were not. A modular gun lets owners make changes easily.

For greater power, lengthen the barrel
CO2 responds well to a long barrel, so just adding a longer barrel will dramatically increase the power of any CO2 gun – the 2240 included! In the past, shooters have used Crosman rifle barrels to bump up the power of their handguns. The old model 180 barrel was popular for this, as were some of the pneumatic barrels. If you closely examine a 2260 rifle, you will note that it uses the same short plastic breech as the 2240, so the barrel can be swapped. Of course, you’ll end up with an ungainly pistol, but it will be more powerful! You can cut the barrel shorter if you like, but don’t forget to dress and crown the cut.

You can also adapt almost any airgun barrel to the gun if you are able to machine the profile and make the cuts required. Other airgun barrels are not easy to come by. Crosman barrels are usually very accurate, so they’re a good place to start.

Smooth the flow of gas
The gas that exits the valve has two 90-degree turns to make before getting behind the pellet. A little work with a Dremel tool can radius the transition area to let the gas flow easier, which translates to quicker. Quicker gas means more power that will be seen most readily in a longer barrel.

More gas!
To really step up performance, look into a new valve with an enlarged gas passage. A good home lathe can modify an existing valve, or you may find one available from one of many custom shops on the internet. Fire up your Google, and you’ll see what I mean. I did and found plans for several modified valves on the first search. Remember…caveat emptor!

Steel breech
If you plan on making any sighting upgrades, the short plastic breech of the 2240 needs to be replaced with a long steel breech. Crosman sells one for $30 that is ideal. The long 11mm dovetail rail will hold most rifle scopes on 2-piece mounts.

Shoulder stock
Many owners want to turn their 2240 into a small carbine, and a shoulder stock makes this easy. Crosman lists these on their website, but I’ve heard they might not be around much longer. If you mount a rifle scope, a shoulder stock is pretty handy.

Custom grips
I’ve received numerous questions about a source for wood grips for Crosman pistols. Last year, they teamed up with Ralph Brown, the grip maker, and now they offer several exotic wood grips for the 2240.

Don’t forget the 2260 rifle!
What a shame it would be to pour a bundle of money into a 2240, only to wind up with 2260 performance for twice the price! Customizing a pistol to make it your own special gun is a laudable goal, but reinventing the wheel and paying heavily for it is not something to strive for.

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