Benjamin HB22 – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Today, we’ll check accuracy for the Benjamin HB22. Also, I’ll perform two other tests on velocity retention over time. I started with the 14.3-grain .22 caliber Crosman Premier pellet that was used for the velocity tests.

Another velocity test
After confirming that the velocity was sitting at 335 f.p.s. on five pumps yesterday, I pumped the gun and let it sit for one hour. Velocity after that shot was 330 f.p.s. Since we know how consistent the pistol is, that represents a velocity loss of five f.p.s. for the hour. Today, it’s time to test for accuracy.

First shots
I decided to go with 5 pumps because it was enough for the 25 feet I wanted to shoot it was relatively easy to pop the pump handle away from the pistol with that many pumps inside. Any more and the feat becomes a struggle. The target was a 10-meter air pistol bullseye target.

The initial shots went low and to the left, so I tried to adjust the rear sight. Elevation was easy, but windage was a problem. The rear sight was formed slightly askew, so the rear notch was too far left, and no amount of adjustment would correct it. I even tried to bend the sight to the right (in a vise and off the pistol), but it seems to be made of spring steel and resists bending. So it stayed where it was.

Things that need improvement
The front sight is too thin and the rear notch is too wide, so it’s difficult to get a good sight picture. I used a supported hold so I could concentrate on the sight picture more. The single-stage trigger is heavy, breaking at six pounds. Too heavy for best work. If this were my airgun, I’d take care of that.

Accuracy
The HB22 is a real nice-shooting air pistol, given all that you have to put up with. It lays the pellets into the same place, shot after shot.


Pistol is a great shooter, in spite of a too-heavy trigger and sights that are not well-suited to target shooting. Groups like this were easy to shoot from 25 feet.

The final velocity test
After all the accuracy testing, I chronographed the pistol and found that the velocity for Crosman Premiers on 5 pumps had returned to between 339 and 341 f.p.s. for 5 pumps. Somehow, after resting for a day (with one pump of air in the reservoir) the pistol recovered 5 f.p.s. That was the baseline for the final velocity test.

For some reason a reader asked what the velocity would be after 8 hours of sitting. Only he knows why that’s important, but I did it anyway. He had asked for 8 pumps, but I decided to go with 5 to keep from stressing the gun any more than I already have. We know the average velocity with 5 pumps is about 340 f.p.s., and after eight hours it’s 331 f.p.s. So it doesn’t leak much air over time.

The bottom line
The HB22 is a classic air pistol with over 70 years of history behind it. I don’t know how much longer this gun will be made, so if you want one, act now.

37 thoughts on “Benjamin HB22 – Part 3

  1. Got one and love it. I’ve owned a number of pneumatics over the years. Most were .22′s because they are easier to load and have more punch. My first pneumatic was a Sheridan silver streak. It followed me everywhere through my teens and fired many thousands of shots. Guess thats why I see no problem with pumping a gun up to whatever power you need for the shot. I hope to get a HB 177 just to have, before they quit making them or change them over to plastic (gag) and pot metal.


  2. I have the HB22 as well. I also have the same problem on the rear sight. The windage is not adjustable but the elevation is. What can be done? I would pay to buy a nicer rear sight!

    KTK – Racine



  3. “The trigger is heavy-If this were my airgun I’d take care of that” Please explain B.B. I have a 1377c that I love but it would be better with a lighter pull trigger.Or maybe this subject could be another post? As always thanks for the BEST airgun blog on the internet-by far. JR


  4. JR,

    No, for reasons of liability, triggers are something I don’t advise others to modify. I do my own and live with the consequences, but the world is too litigious today to get involved in advising others to do trigger modifications.

    However, usually all that’s involved is smoothing and hardening surfaces and proper lubrication. Sometimes with cheap triggers like the one on this Benjamin, there can be some shimming or bushing to remove sideplay.

    B.B.


  5. B.B.
    Thanks so much for answering my question in a round about way. I can take it from there. Also, as per your advice, yesterday, my Nightstalker is off to the dealer to be fixed. I’ll miss the satisfaction of “fixing it” myself, but to my surprise, that even without a receipt it would be covered by warranty because the serial number showed the gun was less than a year old.
    2 Thumbs up for Crosman customer service!
    JR


  6. BB, can you explain how sites are properly matched? Your review of the Airmaster 77 said that the front post matches the rear blade very well. I’ve found that, while the front post does sit snugly in the rear notch, it does so at the cost of taking up a lot of space, in general. I was shooting at a 10 meter target and the front post, fiber optic and all, covered the bullseye (as well as the black) completely.

    The Daisy Powerline 901 I think has a front post that’s too thin for the notch in the blade but with it, I can see most of the black giving me a better idea of where I’m shooting.

    I’ve been shooting scoped lately so the sights on my Airmaster don’t bother me much but I prefer to shoot with open sights.



  7. B.B,

    I was going to buy the HB22, until I read your comments on the windage adjustment for the rear sight. I have read about this problem from others experience as well. In my opinion, there is no point of owning a gun that doesn’t shoot straight. Thanks for writing an honest review, and saving me the needless aggravation and return shipping costs.

    -Andrew


  8. Kevin, et. al.,

    Yes, a trigger shoe would probably help. As for the sights, that may be too personal a thing for me to comment on. If you want to see lots of daylight on either side of the front sight, the HB22 is the gun for you. I like a smaller space.

    B.B.


  9. Hi! B.B.,
    Got my HB22 about 8 months ago.out
    of the box at 33′ it shoots a little over 1/2″ to the left but a little adjusment of the rear sight to the right had it on the dot. The trigger was too heavy but a little filing had reduced the pull to about 3.5 lbs which just suits me fine. Two of my friends also have no problem with their sights, their problems are the too heavy triggers but they can be fixed easily. I think yours is just the luck of the lot.
    Regards,
    Hank



  10. I think I will try to fix the sight as you suggested. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I have already done a trigger job on it and it is much better on that note.

    Right not my current project is to modify an Anschutz front sight tunnel to fit on my HW 50S. The rear sight is the Anschutz diopter vintage 1970′s off a .22LR Match Rifle. With this diopter I have some 0.314″ ctc groups at 50 feet so far. Any thoughts on how to do this? The HW Barrels have narrow dovetails vs the Anschutz. I plan on brass shimms epoxied on inside the front V surfaces to get it tight on the groves then the set screw can hold it firm.

    KTK

    KTK


  11. KTK,

    There used to be risers that elevated the front sights. I don’t suppose anyone made what you need, but if I were you, I’d see if a machinist would make a low riser with 11mm on the bottom and Anschutz on top.

    B.B.


  12. BB-
    Yet another shimming question!! I want to use my 48 for shooting targets at 25 and 50 yards. I saw in a previous blog you suggest siting in at 25 yard for my power gun, which keeps it within a pellet distance from 25-30 yards. Should I use a different distance for zeroing the scope or just change elevation clicks to adjust for distance?
    Thanks!
    Ozark


  13. Ozark,

    Not 25 yards, but 20. With a .22 caliber 48 you will be on target at 20-30 yards and maybe slightly more, depending on which pellet you use.

    The chief reason to sight in at this range is to click-adjust for other ranges.

    B.B.


  14. I have already tried Tim M. and Niel J in Colorado. Niel says the Anschutz premade risers won’t do and can’t seem to find someone interested in making one. Maby Boris at Pyramyd would? I met him twice and got my 3 HW guns from them.

    KTK Racine


  15. By the way the HW Barrel is not 11mm on the front dovetails that is the dim of the rear. The Anschutz is 11mm for front as well as rear.

    KTK



  16. thanks. I have considered the hb22 for hunting for a while. this blog really helped decide. I can’t get a gun with sights that bad.




  17. Hi! B.B.,
    Sorry, I didn’t explain “how to” regards HB22 windage adjustment. From the factory, the adjustment is about 1/2″ poi one side only. Now, unscrew and remove the rear sight, use a small rounded file or what ever tool you have, just elongate the hole one side only, don’t make the whole hole bigger, we want it tight when we replaced the sight. As to the elevation, just file to reduce front or rear sights. There are 2 models of the HB22. One has a thick end cap and one with a thin end cap that the barrel extends 1/8″ past the cylinder tube. Which one is yours?. I hope I have made a clear “How to” to any one who has a problem on their HB22 sights.
    Regards,
    Hank


  18. To the one who have hundreds of “o” rings for the Crosman Phantom .177. Can you spare a couple for me?, my address is 4571 Groat avenue, Richmond, B.C., Canada, V7E-5E1. I surely will reciprocate in whatever way in the future, just stay with this “Blog”. Thanks in advance,

    henry po



  19. Sure. Even though I probably only have about 90 left, I’ll send you a few….

    Like I said, they have to stretch a bit to get in there, and they have to go in “straight” (try to roll it in and it will probably roll back out once you let it go).

    But I’ve never had one pop out during use once it is properly seated.


  20. If the sights are a big issue purchase the scope mounts Benjamin sells for the HB22 and get Red dot scope with the rail to fit a 22 rimfire. Neither are expensive and will solve the problem. The scope in black adds to the appearance of the gun and does not hinder pumping.Who knows it might make it worth another addition to the testing of this pistol. HINT HINT


  21. I agree with Hank on the rear sight adjustment. I performed the same modification on my EB22. Just file the hole to elongate in the direction you need. Go slow, you can probably shift the POI about 1″ maximum at 25 ft.



  22. Hi BB
    I was wondering is it a good idea to leave one pump of air in my HB22 pistol when I put it away?. Thank you so much for all your help.
    Jeff



  23. BB,
    Is it possible to have a Benjamin HB17 bored to accept .20 caliber pellets? If so, can you recommend an air gunsmith to do it? Or is this not a good idea?

    Thanks,

    JLC


  24. JLC,

    Wiule it would be POSSIBLE to do what you ask, it wouldn’t be worth the effort. First, the barrel would have to be removed from the action – a complicated process involving removing the solder that holds ity in place. Then the barrel would have to be reamed to .20 caliber and then a rifling button would have to be pulled through. Since those buttons cost $300 to have custom made, you are looking at a job that would costs $600-800 to do right.

    A less expensive way to do it would be to machine a .20 caliber airgun barrel to fit the HB 17, then swap it for the one on the gun. That might cut the cost to $400. Since an HB 22 is so similar in ballistics, wouldn’t that be a better choice?

    B.B.


  25. I know this blog post is a bit old, but hopefully this might be helpful? or not? shrug

    Strange stuff about this sight business. I have a HB17 from 1998, my first airgun. The rear sights are windage adj just unscrew the screw and itll slide left and right or allow twist to get even more movement. Maybe this is something the new guns fail with?? Mine is all brass grip frame everything.

    I found the pump handle was never hard to pull out even after 8 pumps. O_o Is this possibly an issue with the 22 over the 117?

    The gun with the benji barrel clamps for 11mm does works wonders for a red dot or pistol scope. I grip it from the back palm across the breech index over the trigger guard and pump, this allows better force to pump and clears the dot or scope. Having recently bought a pc77 (1377) the piston and valve on those are like toys they are so small!

    After many years of abuse and no education on airguns she still produces (even with a nicked from factory rear valve oring!) I have had the pump arm welded back on had to remount the pump grip (roll pins ate the pump arm) It can still group under a dime at 20yrds with 10 shots. Recently found that I can order parts so I plan to fight the roll pin in the hinge and give her a new arm and a complete cleaning.



  26. Hi B.B.
    Long time reader, first time poster. I always enjoy your blogs, reviews, etc….informative and interesting!

    On the HB22, it is very reminiscent of the good ol' Benjamin 130 (notice I did NOT say "Franklin", though it is on there…I've seen your disdain for that!) I have my dad's old 130 (w/tootsie roll).

    I'm sure there have been many upgrades in all areas since the 130's days, but overall, it looks like Benj is sticking somewhat to the tried & true…I like seeing that.

    Mike



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