BAM B51 – Part 1 A look at the “Chuntsman”

by B.B. Pelletier

Before we begin today’s post, I have to comment on the recent test of the RWS Diana 460 Magnum. This air rifle now tops the list as the No. 1 “trigger” gun in this blog. By that, I mean it triggered more responses than any other airgun. Based on all the comments, I have ordered a .22 caliber rifle to complete the look.

For the gentleman who wondered when I would be testing the RWS Diana 350 Magnum, I already did – back in February of 2006. Read the report.

For those who criticized the low velocities I reported, didn’t you read the other TWO velocity tests I reported? Both were considerably faster than my test rifle, and in the general realm of the advertised velocity. We need to get past this hype of velocity in a spring gun because it is meaningless without accuracy. And, the 460 is accurate. Compare the accuracy of the Gamo Hunter Extreme to the accuracy of the 460. The 460 is as accurate at 35 yards as the Hunter Extreme is at 25.

Now, on to today’s topic – the BAM B51 precharged pneumatic air rifle. I have one in .22 caliber, which is the only caliber Pyramyd Air currently stocks.

Why the “Chuntsman?”
The name is a slur of Chinese and Huntsman. BAM copied the Daystate Huntsman to make this rifle. Nothing wrong with that because most other single-shot PCP rifles are also derived from the Huntsman, which was the first modern PCP. The B51 is lighter in weight than my old Huntsman by quite a lot. The unscoped weight is around 8 lbs., give or take for wood density. The stock is quite a bit slimmer than the Huntsman’s stock was, and there may be dimensional differences inside the gun, where I can’t see, such as the wall thickness of the reservoir. At any rate, I like the lighter weight.

The wood is plain with straight grain, much like beech. I found only two small areas inside the thumbhole where it had been filled with wood putty. The raised cheekpiece is well-formed with sharp edges in the European style. A thick, black, ventilated buttpad is fitted well with only a few small overhangs. The stock has no checkering.

The metal is mainly steel, including the receiver and reservoir. It’s finished to a low shine, one step better than a hunter matte, and evenly blued. You would see a difference if comparing it to a Daystate Huntsman with its mirror polish. A muzzlebrake is for decoration only, though several new shooters have panned it on the forums because it isn’t a silencer. From what they said, it was obvious this was their first precharged experience and the loud report startled them.

The rifle has the vintage “swan’s neck” brass cocking handle of the Huntsman. It also has a rocker safety at the rear of the receiver. This is a single-shot rifle and as straightforward as PCPs ever get – by which I mean there is no air pressure gauge, no facility for attaching a repeating mechanism and no power adjustment. With this air rifle, you’re back in the 1980s.


Classic swan’s neck cocking handle and rocker safety is just like the old Huntsman.
There has been talk
Ever since this rifle hit the U.S. market, it has been hotly discussed and scrutinized. A fear of unreliability is one issue many have raised, and accuracy is another. We know the Chinese can rifle a barrel when they want to, but will they keep up the standard over time? Well, by waiting two years, I hope to find out. I was offered B50s and B51 a long time back, but I wasn’t sure they weren’t just set up to get a good review. I know where this rifle came from, and I know it is as random as can be. What I’m about to test should be the same as what you will get when you buy one.

Reliability – Does it hold air?
I filled the rifle to 3,000 and tested it for pressure a week later. If it lost any pressure, it wasn’t more than 100 psi, which took 11 pump strokes to replenish. I say “if” because I used two different gauges to test the pressure at the two different times, and all gauges do not read the same.

The fill adapter for this rifle is a female Foster hydraulic quick-disconnect fitting with a male Foster on the rifle. A black-anodized dust cap covers this fill nipple between fillings. This is the best connection for a PCP, and several makers have now switched to it, so I am glad BAM decided to go this way. There’s nothing more frustrating than a new precharged air rifle that cannot be filled because you don’t have the right adapter.


With the dust cap removed, you can see the Foster fill nipple. All it takes is a Foster female quick-disconnect fitting such as the one on the right.
Next time, I’ll mount a scope, sight in and shoot for accuracy.

30 thoughts on “BAM B51 – Part 1 A look at the “Chuntsman”

  1. China was once (long, long ago) a nation of great inventions. China has deteriorated into a nation of copiers, and poor ones at best. My experience with chinese made items is one of quality control mostly. It ranges from almost good enough to terrible. I see no reason the chinese can’t get it right. Other Asian nations do. I still wouldn’t support them.


  2. Hi B.B.,

    Being a total novice outside of spring guns, I don’t understand how a charge is kept in the reservoir if there’s a male Foster Fill nipple on the end. Does the nipple have an internal shut-off to prevent the compressed charge from just blowing out? Or is there an internal check valve beneath the male nipple?

    Thanks for your patience!
    GAF


  3. Hello B.B.,

    Haven’t posted in a while, just been reading the blogs. This is off topic, but you know sometimes I post observations that others might be fully aware of, that in turn is a new experience for me. I know this has been addressed before.

    Well, I have a medium-power pneumatic air rifle that has proven consistent accuracy within 25 yards. Could easily shoot the center out of a dime (or smaller group) at that range without hesitation. I had a #1 pellet I used that gave consistent accuracy, and had a #2 pellet that was a very close second. So I was sold on the #1 brand.

    I finished up a tin of the #1 one day, and set the rifle aside for about a week. Since I liked the #1 brand so much, I purchased other tins. Well I popped open a NEW tin of the #1 brand and started shooting, and low-and-behold, my groups opened up unforgivingly.

    My mind immediately started thinking about whether it was a re-sight issue, or dirty barrel, etc.. I paused and thought about it, and opened the tin of the #2 brand I used before, and the sub-dime groups returned. Went back to shooting the NEW #1 brand tin, and groups opened up again.

    I guess I learned that just when you think you have it all figured out for a gun, something as simple as a different “lot” of pellets of the “same brand” can throw things into a quandry again. Goes to show we don’t live in a perfect world, all we can hope for is consistency, and the wisdom to troubleshoot without wasting too much energy.

    Take it easy.



  4. Hi everyone,

    im not going to generalize “THE chinese” but some corperations have gone too far. They coppied apples new i phone, and they have like 20 harry potter books available over there (not that i read any of them). Why does international law not apply to them? I bet this chinese gun will do well in bbs test but there is somthing missing in those products – They come on a belt by the thousands. Come on! Wood putty. Probibly has some anti freez in it too! lol.

    -sumo




  5. Hey B.B.,

    Lol….thats why I referred to them as #1 instead of calling them out by name,…because they actually were H&N 14.6gr, and that really surprised me. I mean it really blew my mind.

    H&N’s are great pellets, and maybe I just got a bad batch, and I can live with it, because statistically they have always come through. I’ll just use that tin for plinking, wait a while, and order more which will hopefully be a different lot.

    Take it easy.



  6. since were on the subject of chinese i just bought a b-30 and it has the same scope rail as the rws 48/52 so would i mount the scope the same way you would on the 48

    thanks cody



  7. BB-
    Been on vacation, but had a blast catching up on your blogs. Look forward to your scope how-to’s.

    I also came back to my replacement scope from Pyramid. Seems to be shooting much better. I really like that tin of the kodiak match for my rws 48. I hope it’s ok to post a jpg link –

    http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa278/crudo20/Leapers4-16.jpg

    Those are my 25 yard shots. The kodiak match is really a 5-shot group. I think I’ve got it settled in ok! I started worrying after reading the Monday post about customers not doing something right since I had to return two scopes and am pretty new at this. I also found that the JSB jumbos shot better through my rifle than the exacts.
    Ozark



  8. Well, it looks like pyramyd’s vaunted customer service is gonna take care of me with my defective CFX – refund, no arguments, and they already sent me a FedEx shipping label via email.

    The CS guy also mentioned that Gamo, in general, has been sliding in the past year or so…



  9. bb,

    when you do your scope post(s), could you also do a “best of the best”, “best bang for the buck”, and “what brands and quality for each powerplant”(ex, spring guns need strong scopes, and pcp’s generally need higher power scopes to use to their full putential)? toss it around, and think if itll be a worthy post.

    DED


  10. Hello BB
    I read a old post on what was the best zero distance for a scoped air rifle and have a different idea of determining it. By using the software by Pellant called “AirGun”(free) I chose several pellets that shot tight groups in my gun.(Beeman GS950 .22 w/Beeman 4×32 AO scope) I then looked at their trajectories with different points of aim for a max deviation of .25″ of drop and less than .125″ rise from the sight line and found a range that could be considered “dead on”. I would then use the true “zero” point to sight in the gun. Since there are two “zero” points I chose the closer one to minimize wind deflection. Of course the far one will be used to check for accuracy. This gun will be used for hunting mostly rabbits and some squirrels. What do you think??

    Thanks Katmwz

    By the way, awesome blog!!


  11. Hi BB,

    If the B51 had come out sooner I might have bought one. Glad you are testing it so I can see whether to put it on my wish list!

    .22 multi-shot




  12. DED,

    Best bang for the buck is Leapers – always and every time. Best scope? Impossible to say because it’s subjective. If I say Leupold, Swarovski owners get their panties in a wad. If I say Swarovski, a Nikon owner will complain.

    There simply aren’t any “holy grail” scopes, like there are TX 200s.

    I will try to marry scope to powerplants and purposes, but that falls apart when Ralph insists on shooting field target with his Blue Streak, and Edmond wants to know if his Career 707 would make a good 10-meter target rifle.

    B.B.



  13. Thanks guys. I learned a lot just by reading the blogs here! I will finish up shooting accupell’s before doing the JB paste since I don’t want to foul the barrel after doing the deep clean.
    Ozark


  14. A question about a specific scope, and its suitability for springer air gun use (magnum, to be specific).

    I was under the impression that the Simmons Pro-Hunter 4-12×40 A/O scope is suitable for springer use (because a company had it listed under air gun scopes). Yet I have not been able to find any
    conclusive evidence that it is – wouldn’t the title Pro Air be attached?

    I’ve tried looking myself and ran into dead ends. Tried to contact Meade – just ran around in a circle looking for customer contact link.

    So help if you can.



  15. Hello BB,
    What is the story with the ‘Webley muzzlebrake for Axsor’, it sound like this would fit and indeed reduce the (moderate) loudness of my AA s410. But would this not make it a S.l..cer?
    If so how come mr Beeman has atleast 3 of them on the market?

    JS


  16. Just read mr Beemans piece on silencers again.., I guess a muzzlebrake doesn’t technically alter the loudness of a rifle…
    It doesn’t…, really…?

    JS


  17. J.S.,

    No, a muzzlebrake does not silence an airgun. The BATF&E checks them very carefully before allowing their importation. Several years ago I had a reader order the real silencer from England. He was arrested at his work by agents of BATF&E and forced to surrender his silencer. They could have pressed charges, but let him off with a scare.

    B.B.


  18. I purchased a B51 shortly after they came out. Subsequently I got an Air ARMs S400 and did not pick up the B51 for a couple of years. Just recently, I became interested in tuning it up and went to the Yellow Forum and found ‘The Book’ for B50/51 tuning. Following that book, with little effort and a $5 spring change, I was able to reduce the optimal fill pressure to 1700# (down from 2500#)and get a consistent shot string velocity within 15fps either side of 900fps for 40 to 50 shots. This is a 0.177 rifle. The point here is that these pellet guns are very amenable to do-it-yourself tuning. Now, the barrel crowns on these guns are kind of a crap shoot – thats my next tune step; grinding my own crown. At the price, I can practice tuning techniques on this gun over and over. Right now, it shoots about 1/2″ grounps at 35 yards with the fill up effort of a Benjamin Discovery (my next tuning project).

    The downside is that now I am thi of getting a BSA Top Ten – oh this is such an addictive hobby!

    Scott in Harwood, MD


  19. If you have valve lock due to overpressure its easy to solve.
    use a hand pump untill you hear the chargibg port is open, then open just a little slowly the purge valve in the pump, so the pressure will leave by this way and the firing valve will work again.


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