Monday, April 02, 2007

Filling an AirForce Condor

by Tom Gaylord

B.B. Pelletier turned the blog over to me today to answer a question that has arisen in Mexico concerning the AirForce Condor. Some owners have noticed that when they fill their guns to 3000 psi, they don't shoot with much power. They have to shoot many shots before the guns start performing as they should.

This is normal for the Condor. B.B. already addressed it back on September 27, 2006, in the post What is valve lock in a pneumatic gun? Allow me to explain again what's happening.

Big valve!
The Condor has a huge air valve to pass all the air that generates its incredible power (65+ foot-pounds!). When the air tank is filled, the air inside presses against the valve, holding it closed. The Condor had to have a special firing hammer with additional weight to open the valve against all that pressure.

But the Condor is right on the ragged edge of performance as it comes from the factory. Some guns will work fine with a 3,000 psi fill and some won't. When I was the Technical Director at AirForce Airguns, I got phone calls when we first started shipping Condors. Nobody knew this situation existed, but when the calls came in and some early guns were even returned, I had to do some quick testing. Sure enough, SOME of the Condors we shipped did not operate properly on a 3000 psi fill. I experimented with these guns and discovered that each one worked fine, but required a lower fill pressure. They still achieved the same high velocity they were supposed to and they got the same number of high-power shots per fill, but their fill range was lower than the standard 3000 psi.

Other Condors worked fine when filled to 3000. But even these rifles would start losing power if we overfilled them by as little as 100 more pounds of air, so 3000 was the absolute max they could take.

Armed with that information, I stated asking the callers all sorts of pointed questions, and this is what I discovered. Some were filling to 3200 psi because somebody on some forum talked about filling their Talon SS to that pressure. When it didn't work, I would get a call. Others were using the gauge on their refill clamp, even though they knew it was off by 300 psi (that can happen with small pressure gauges). They were filling to "3000 psi," but they admitted that it was an overfill in all likelihood, because they knew their gauge was off.

If you own a Condor, here is how to proceed
Here is what I used to tell Condor owners when they called AirForce with the low power complaint. First, fill your air tank to just 2,600 psi and start shooting. If you have a chronograph, measure the speed of the pellet with the power setting as high as it will go. A .22-caliber 14.3-grain Crosman Premier domed pellet should go around 1,200 f.p.s. Some rifles are a little slower, others are a little faster. Of course, lighter pellets will go a lot faster than that, but the Premier is what we always used to test the rifle.

Field expedient
If you don't own a chronograph, shoot into a soft pine 2x4. The pellet should go all the way through, provided it doesn't hit a knot. I got so used to the gun that I could tell by the sound and recoil if it was shooting okay. The production manager could also tell; and when we chronographed the rifle to be sure, we were always right. There is something distinctive about the bellow and crack of a Condor that imprints on your mind.

If the rifle shoots fast at 2,600 psi, fill to 2,700 psi the next time and test again. If it's still shooting strong, go up to 2,800 psi the next time. I never saw a Condor that topped out at less than 2,600 psi; and, if the gun was not shooting right at 3,000, it was always topping out below 2,800 psi.

Condors are very individual guns and this procedure is how to determine their maximum fill. B.B. has been kind enough to allow me to write a second posting about Condors, which I will have for you soon. It's all about those who ruin their guns and want to ruin yours, too. I call it "Abusing your Condor."


At April 02, 2007 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it true AF decided to change the valve spring to something heavier to make it easier to sell the .177 Condor to countries that have restrictions on .22, So people who own the .22 get power a good bit less than the advertised specs.

At April 02, 2007 10:05 AM, Blogger mr-lama said...


When can we expect the next one? I wanna see what your talking about with people abusing their condors. Would suck to accidentally do it without knowing it's bad. :P

At April 02, 2007 10:19 AM, Anonymous Leon - Wolcott, NY said...

What has been your experience, anybody's, I mean, with the pressure gauges on their hand pumps ? I have a Logun, so, being British, it is marked in "bar", not "psi", as is my Air Arms S410 Xtra ... I forget where I found this out, and maybe I'm recalling it wrong, but isn't 200 bar approximately 3000 psi ? Is it possible or even advisable to swap a "bar" gauge out from my pump and replace it with a "psi" one ?

At April 02, 2007 10:41 AM, Anonymous GadgetHead said...

Hi Tom,

Thank you for the articles posted here and on the "Airgun Tips and Tricks" web pages at Pyramyd Air. I always enjoy reading your articles.


At April 02, 2007 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom will be out of the office for the next few days, but he will answer your questions in the evenings.

Edith Gaylord

At April 02, 2007 2:37 PM, Anonymous Jerry said...

I have a Pygmee tank with a Bar gage and an Infinity with a Bar gage. To help avoid confusion when filling from dissimilar tanks I made this handy reference table:

1000 68
1200 82
1400 95
1600 109
1800 122
2000 136
2100 143
2200 150
2300 157
2400 163
2500 170
2600 177
2700 184
2800 191
2900 197
3000 204
3100 211
3200 218
3300 225
3400 231
3500 238
Just print it out and laminate somewhere handy!

At April 02, 2007 3:01 PM, Blogger Veteran said...


I am new to blogs and how they work so sorry if not posting in the right place. I was wondering if you know anything about the new Umarex Beretta PX4 Storm? I have read that it has a newly designed dual cylinder magazine. Does that mean that the 16 rounds are actually from two 8 round cylinders that most Umarex airguns use? I've emailed Umarex but haven't heard back yet. I have a PX4 Storm on order but am just curious if anyone knows about the new magazine.

Thanks, Veteran

At April 02, 2007 3:53 PM, Blogger dbarr said...

Interesting... looking forward to the next article!

By the way, what is the typical accuracy for a small pressure gauge (e.g. one used in paintball) vs. a larger one?

.22 multi-shot

At April 03, 2007 10:08 AM, Anonymous Leon - Wolcott, NY said...

Thanks Jerry !

At April 03, 2007 1:56 PM, Anonymous FR aka FDR said...

Are the tolerances on the Condor valve so loose that some work correctly at 3000 psi and others need 2600 psi to work right? That is 13 percent.

At April 03, 2007 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

would talon tunes have a heavier hammer or anything that would help fix the condor fill problem. Does any of there upgrades do anything? They definantly can chang the look of the gun and silence it but what about the the trigger adjustments and the the o ring upgrade. I am also curios if the changes to the valve do anything besides making it shiny. There was a picture on there site of a trigger guage that read 12.7 ounces but that is very low compared to mine at 3.3 pounds. I havent taken the trigger out of my gun before so i dont know anything about it. I am not positive i would buy a gun from them. If somone recomends it i would consider it. I dont dought there antentions or there claims completaly but i am not sure there guns are at all superior to a standard air force condor. I realy want to know because the trigger bothers me. Its certainly on the heavy side. Other thant the trigger its a perfect gun. I am a good marksman but i cant outperform a condor.

At April 04, 2007 5:35 AM, Anonymous Bob said...

Anonymous, you need to pose your questions here:

This is a good users group and has an excellant forum. Like most of these types of forums, do LOTS of research before you act on any of the advice given.

At April 04, 2007 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why were my comments deleted? They were neither offensive, instigatory or in anyway against the spirit of this Blog. I find this to be most disheartening and in poor form.

- TeflonTron

At April 04, 2007 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My absolute apologies. I was reading the wrong window. Please disregard the above.


At April 06, 2007 2:56 PM, Anonymous B.B. Pelletier said...


It may be tolerances or it may not. Hard to say. But the fact it, that's the way the guns work.

Harley Davidson flathead racers (mile flat track) were each unique. Back in their time people understood things like that and worked witin the parameters. In these days of the ipod consumers expect everything to be identical. Well, they aren't And the more mechanical (and the less reliant on microprocessors to operate) they are, the more personality they display.

Other PCPs have similar characteristics, but their manufactures handle them differently. Daystate tests each rifle and sends a fill pressure recommendation with the rifle. My Harrier stops at 2650. Others stop elsewhere.


At April 07, 2007 3:51 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


The new Beretta PX-4 Storm has a very novel 30-round magazine. It's based on the Anics Skif A3000 mag, but the execution is better.


At April 07, 2007 3:54 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

.22 multi-shot,

I will answer your gauge question with a posting!


At April 16, 2007 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


im consnidering a condor and i have been researching but found nothing. my question is whether or not the condor is a multi shot gun?

At April 17, 2007 8:50 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

All AirForce air rifles are single shots, including the Condor.


At September 28, 2009 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I was reading that you said the refill clamp readings are of by 300PSI is this true for all of them? and still at this time? I just ordered a Condor with refill clamp and would like to know if it will actually do its job. Thank you

At September 29, 2009 3:17 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

I have no idea what you asked me.

But the AirForce fill clamp does work as advertised.


At September 29, 2009 8:59 AM, Blogger kevin said...

Anonymous with the question about the gauge on the air force refill clamp,

The clamp will do its job. But as B.B. said in the article and common sense dictates don't trust any gauge.

It's important that you learn the "sweet spot" of filling your pcp (any pcp). Once you find the sweet spot fill the gun to that point, no matter what the gauge reads. Your gauge may say that the ideal fill for your condor is 2800 psi or it may be higher or lower. Please re-read the above article especially the part about how to learn the fill your condor likes by starting out with a 2,600 psi fill then moving up from there. If you have a chrony it will be easy if not Tom Gaylord explains how you can use a pine board to estimate fill pressure. In the top of this article is a live link to an article B.B. did about "What is valve lock in a pnuematic gun" and would strongly encourage you to read that one as well.

If you have questions/problems please join the rest of us addicted airgunners talking in the comments section under the most recent article that B.B. has written (B.B. writes a new article everyday Monday-Friday). Here's a link that will always take you to the most recent article that he has written:

Look forward to seeing you there!



Post a Comment

<< Home