Ruger Air Hawk Elite – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

The Norica Young air rifles went on sale yesterday morning. There are just a handful of them, so act quickly if you want one. I’m not endorsing the rifle, because I’ve never tested one. All I can tell you is that Norica is a good maker, and the price for this gun is very low. They are new-old-stock, so expect some discoloration and possibly handling marks. Some will have boxes while others don’t.


A reader asked whether the Ruger logo appears on the rifle. Here it is.

On to today’s report, where I test the Ruger Air Hawk Elite for accuracy. You may remember that the 11mm dovetail scope rail grooves have no provision for a scope stop. Readers have suggested I use BKL scope mounts that hold by clamping pressure, alone, or put valve grinding compound on the dovetails to seize the scope ring clamps (not a bad idea!) or that I just back the scope mount bases up to the rear of the dovetails, where they’ll bottom out at the end of the cuts.

I’ve decided on a slightly different method, and we’ll see how successful it is. I put the rear ring at the end of the 11mm dovetail, where it stopped, then I added a separate scope stop behind the front ring for added resistance. The AirHawk Elite has a pretty hefty kick for a lighter rifle, so these two measures will be tested well.


The rear ring is backed up in the dovetail as far as it will go.


A separate scope stop is anchored behind the front ring.

I sighted-in the rifle and shot all groups at 21 yards indoors. It was windy outside, and this was a way to move the test along.

The test pellets
Not one of the pellets used for the velocity test proved accurate in this rifle. RWS Hobbys shot 1.5″ groups, as did Beeman Kodiaks. Gamo Raptors turned in the largest group of the day. Five of them stumbled through the target with a spacing of 1.912″ between the centers of the two farthest apart. Not a pellet to pick for this rifle! Beeman Trophy pellets did better, but still weren’t good enough.


Five RWS Hobbys went into this 1.438″ group at 21 yards. This is representative of both Hobbys and Kodiaks in this rifle. Note that all four shots in the white have tipped a bit, indicating they are not stable.


Five Raptors wandered through the target in this loose 1.912″ formation. Like herding cats!


Here are six Beeman Trophy pellets. They’re better than the others, but still not good. This group measures 0.946″.

Then I tried JSB Exacts
I’m sorry to always do this to you, but it’s the truth. JSB Exact 10.2-grain pellets are often the best in most guns. When they aren’t, try Crosman Premiers and Beeman Kodiaks. But this time the JSBs won hands-down.


Five JSB Exact domes made this pretty little group. It measures 0.330″.


I shot this one for the guy who wanted me to shoot more groups with the Walther Falcon Hunter last week, after I said I knew it could shoot. I knew this Ruger could shoot, too, and here’s the proof. A second group measuring 0.330″. It only looks larger because of the way the paper tore.

I’m not done with this one yet
Normally, I’d finish here, but I want to visit this rifle one more time. The way it vibrates with every shot, it loosens the stock screws and the muzzlebrake screws. I had to tighten the muzzlebrake twice during this report. I can live with that, but the trigger I want to examine in more detail. As is, the pull is far too long and the release feels indefinite. I’d like to see what, if anything, can be done.

51 thoughts on “Ruger Air Hawk Elite – Part 3

  1. Good morning B.B. Yes when you’re there you somehow know where the pellet is going to be before it gets there. Doesn’t make any make any real sense until it happens to you a few times. We’re all looking fwd to more on the RWS Diana scope base. My problem with all the high mounted scopes is getting a good consistent cheek weld. Suggestions please and thanks. Got the Chrony you recommended from PA. What’s the accepted distance from gun to it and how many shots to get good data?


  2. Bru8ce,

    Unless I’m shooting a bruiser like a Dragon Slayer, I get to within 6-12 inches of the start screen. Keeping the barrel perpendicular to the skyscreens is very important. I can change the velocity by 50 f.p.s. just by slanting the barrel up or down.

    Ten shots is considered the standard for good velocity data. The Chrony does all the math for the string as long as you turn it off between strings, so don’t overlook that feature.

    B.B.


  3. Mornin B.B.,
    I dont know if im going to be able to get the Panther, because dad wont order it. I will try and talk him into it(he will probably order it), but anyways, have you ever shot these noricas? Are they accurate enough for small pest control? I may have to purchase one just for the heck of it.
    Thanks,
    Brody


  4. BB, with all the restrictions on firearms and the places where one can shoot them dwindling, do you think that more firearm manufacturers are going to be making air guns? There are already a bunch that do, although they technically are just putting their name on another company’s air gun.

    Al in CT



  5. Al in CT,

    I think that might happen. Some makers distance themselves entirely from the making of their airguns, like Colt, Remington, Winchester and now Ruger. Others have actually made airguns in the past, and have an association with the maker of their current airguns, like S&W.

    And a few may actually make the guns in the future, though that hasn’t happened recently. If I thought there were a firearm manufacturing company that could do a good job, I would have approached them already.

    For my money, Crosman in the most innovative airgun maker around, and no firearm maker comes close. Of course Crosman is several times larger than many firearms manufacturers.

    B.B.


  6. B.B. -

    I just have to say “Amen, bother!” to your recommendation of JSB Exact pellets. After a year and a half of trying to wring any kind of consistent accuracy out of a Remington Summit, I was about to put it on the shelf for good. About that same time, I picked up my first tin of JSB’s at a gun show. As I shouldered the Summit, I was muttering, “This is your last chance.” Well, needless to say, it redeemed itself. Not only will it stack pellets in the same hole at ten meters, but it will do so with amazing reliability. Now I have a stack of JSB tins in the pellet drawer, and I can hardly put the Summit down.

    - Jim in KS


  7. Thanks BB. I really like what Crosman’s been doing lately and will gladly support them. Kind of wish Daisy would break out a bit from the “kid friendly” mode and offer an item or two with some more innovation and durability. I have a couple of Daisy’s that I enjoy, but man, they don’t seem to hold up well with prolonged use, though they are inexpensive.

    Al in CT



  8. About those Norica young. Pyramyd has under specifications
    Barrel Length:40.55″

    I want to think that is an overall length not barrel length. Either way it would not be that young.

    My Norica experience is just with those GS/GH Beeman sell and they are very good for the price.

    Yet I will pass on these Norica as I am still waiting/dreaming for a IZH 60.



  9. Thank you for the logo photos. I noticed them on the scope as well. Sounds like the rifle needs further refinement when produced. I always enjoy your post. Thanks


  10. BB, with regards to the Ruger’s trigger – on the AirHawk I had, the factory adjustment left the trigger acting as a single stager with a very long pull. I had to screw the adjuster all the way in in order to get a perceptible 2nd stage. Once I did that, the trigger felt an awful lot better.





  11. BB,

    Do you think Crosman might jump the fence in the other direction and get into the firearms biz?

    Do you have any idea if the archery and crosbow offerings have gone down well?

    Cheers,

    Bruce


  12. Bruce,

    I would be surprised if they did. The airgun game has enough liability for them. I doubt they would want to risk the treacherous waters of the firearms world.

    But Daisy did, didn’t they? Twice!

    B.B.


  13. all I can say to those results is “WOW”!what a difference the right weight and fit pellet to powerplant makes.the other groups look like shotgun patterns. different topic:I own a BSF/weihrauch marksman mod 70 .22 springer breakbarrel.no REKORD trigger here though.trigger is stamped steel with round face profile and hollow back.any idea what trigger unit they used? smooth enough due to thousands of shots,but it’s NOT rekord like.any ideas on approximate energy/velocity range? many thanks for best blog on the net …frankb


  14. BB,

    That vibration sounds bad. Conventional wisdom would be to loctite the screws, but that seems like a stopgap measure. This sounds like a good gun to tear into and clean up, since the outside is so pretty (to many — I’m still not sure about the TH stocks). It would make a nice blog or two, I bet.


  15. B.B.

    This rifle sounds pellet fussy. I’m giving the JSB Exacts increased attention for a couple of reasons. First, the price has not gone up as I had thought; it still looks to be about $.02 per pellet. Second and more importantly, they make a good alternative to the Beeman FTS which have definitely been changing size on me. A whole bunch were fitting very loose in the B30 which I had not noticed for numbers of my first tins. Then within a single tin, the pellets suddenly got very tight so that I could hardly fit them, then very loose. I know the gun bore is not changing size. I wonder if the Beeman FTS are having quality control problems.

    I started watching my new video by Bill Wilson on how to shoot and take care of a 1911. He’s not what I would expect for someone who is on top of the competitive 1911 market. He seems awfully young, and I don’t believe that television is his format. Can’t argue with his results though. The shooting tips seem to correlate what you said about Lieutenant Bonsall quite well.

    I’m led to wonder if the one-handed shooting stance used for match pistol shooting is used because it is the most stable or out of tradition. Notwithstanding the cantilevered hold, that second hand with the Isosceles and Weaver stances seems very intuitive in providing extra support.

    Matt61


  16. Frank,

    You have a very early Marksman model 70 – before Weihrauch swapped in the Rekord trigger. That means what you have is probably very close to a BSF model 70, except for the stock.

    The trigger is a regular BSF trigger like I show here:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2008/03/bsf-55n-part-2.html

    If I’m right about that, and if they also used a leather piston seal, your performance would be the same as the BSF, which is about 650 f.p.s. with a well-oiled piston. If they put a synthetic parachute seal in it, you could be looking at 725-750 for a lighter .22 pellet. So you are at 13-15 foot-pounds, somewhere. If you are a good shot, it’s a 40-50-yard rifle.

    Did they drill the three scope stop holes in the dovetails and is the end cap a long one like the Beeman R1? :Look at this post to see what I mean:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2006/07/spring-gun-tuning-part-5powerplant.html

    B.B.


  17. BG_Farmer,

    Yeah, I caught that “hint – hint” you did about the tuning. Funny thing is, that same thought had crossed my mind.

    I haven’t done any real tuning since the 13-part “Spring gun tune” series, so maybe I ought to see if I still have what it takes.

    B.B.


  18. Matt,

    The one-hand hold is tradition, I’m quite sure. In the world of target .22s and air pistols, the grips are made to help the one-hand hold to the maximum extent. Trying to shoot them two-handed would feel clumsy, I’m sure.

    I once competed with a cop who held two-handed and I held one-handed. I should have out-shot him (it would make the story much better) but I didn’t. I shot a dime-sized group , which was pretty poor for me. He shot one half that size, so I had to concede the two-hand hold was better. I didn’t believe it though, and I still don’t.

    B.B.


  19. Just wanted to say how much I appreciate you spending time here doing all these blogs. They’ve been very educational.

    May I hijack this thread to ask you a question. What would be your opiniion of the best, most accurate PCP rifle?

    Thanks BB


  20. Rudy,

    I think the USFT is probably among the most accurate PCPs made, but it’s hardly a general-purpose air rifle.

    I hear very good reports about the Theoben Rapid and the Daystate Air Wolf.

    As for the best PCPs, that would be all Theobens, all Falcons and all Daystates.

    Of course if you want the best money can buy, Get a rifle handmade by Fredrik Van Breen.

    B.B.



  21. Hi and help please. I cann’t get my Benjamin Dual Fuel charged with CO2. It starts leaking around the fill nipple, but I can charge it with its pump. It’s got me stumped. Any suggestions. Thanks you all.


  22. Rudy,

    You have to ask the question correctly to get what you want. You don’t want the best, most accurate. You want the best value in an accurate PCP.

    You want a Benjamin Discovery.

    B.B.


  23. Bruice,

    The only way for that to happen is if the female quick disconnect adaptor on the CO2 hose has a leak. You can try lubing the O-ring inside the female connector with Crosman Silicone oil, but you may have to send that adaptor back for a replacement.

    As long as the rifle takes a fill with air, the rifle is sealed okay.

    B.B.


  24. BB Thank You.

    You did answer my question. I was just being hopeful that it would be cheaper :)

    I just did some browsing here on your blogs and discovered that Beeman will be introducing the Falcons series. I’m axious.


  25. B.B. thanks for the super quick respone. I tried the silicone oil inside the female adapter without success, didn’t see an O-ring in either female adapter though. The gun is taking a HPA charge and I’ll call Crosman tomorrow AM. Ran 14 different pellets through the Chrony on air and wanted to try them on CO2. What is the relationship between standard deviation and accuracy? Thanks again


  26. Hi BB,
    Im planning on getting a custom modified 1377 from mountain air. What length barrel should i get? I thinnk air would not behave the same as co2 and so i could get away with a longer barrel, perhaps 24″?
    I plan on making a custom wooden stalk(Mabey i could do a guest blog about it?)Thanks

    Nate in MAss


  27. BB,three hole rail,but the trigger on my BSF/weihrauch frankenstein model 70 has a hollow back [like gamo 440 hunter].gun has no telltale BSF swaged rings,soon to dismantle and tune…great shooter,makes 392 benji look BAD frankb


  28. BB,

    I have read of sub-1 inch groups at 70 yards. How realistic is this in actual airgun shooting? Are videos and pictures enough evidence to show it can be done?

    Tophat


  29. B.B. -

    I am a long time spring gun fan that would like to try a PCP. My criteria are very low discharge sound, low weight, and a price tag under $1000.00 – not including accessories.

    The main reason for the change is a condition in my right elbow that makes spring guns difficult to use. For the last few years I tried to just move to smaller springers, but this was a stopgap measure.

    I also tried a CO2 airgun, a Walther 850 – but was disappointed in the accuracy of it and overall quality. However, the CO2 ease of use was very nice.
    I could shoot it for as long as I wanted, but just couldn’t get the results I’m use to.

    Can the hand pumps be used with just one hand?

    I am assuming the majority of the PCP’s will give acceptable accuracy? Lastly, I really prefer a traditional wood stock if possible. Something about the feel in the hands.

    Thank you in advance. I would really like to shoot for as long as I can. If you have any other thoughts, please share them. I look forward to your suggestions.


  30. Bruce,

    The difference between standard deviation (velocity variation) and accuracy depends on the distance at which you shoot. You’ll notice it sooner at 50 yards than at 10.

    B.B.



  31. Frank,

    That trigger is the one I showed you in the link. The three holes on top indicate that the end cap is threaded, which means you have a gun like an R1. It actually turned into the R10.

    You can disassemble the rifle like I did the R1 in the 13-part Spring gun tune series.

    Your trigger is modular and adjustable, as I mentioned in the linked article. Do not lube it with moly, however, as that trigger has a reputation for wearing in to become too light. I have a hole i the ceiling of my office from discovering that fact.

    B.B.


  32. Tophat,

    I have rear and seen photos of sub-inch groups at 100 yards. I haven’t done it myself yet, but it is a lofty goal. I do believe that it is possible.

    I’d say before someone attempts something like that, they need to learn to shoot at 50 yards first.

    B.B.


  33. Low discharge sound,

    Until I saw the “wood stock” part I was set to recommend the Condor from AirForce. With an Airhog bloop tube, the Condor is quieter than your Walther 850.

    Crosman is getting ready to announce their next PCP. It will probably be quiet, certainly will be priced right and I know they are wedded to 2000 psi, so pumping will be easier. I can do it with one hand, but I don’t know you, so I can’t say whether you can. But a carbon fiber tank will keep a gun like that running for a very long time.

    B.B.


  34. B.B.

    What do you think of the “Air Arms S410 Sidelever” 10 shot repeater $961 at PA…I like a wood stock also…..I love the quality of the TX200 so much, I ordered one from others reviews, the add says it is low to med. noise….

    Will it be as accurate as the TX200, and can PCP and springers shoot in the same contests?

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range



  35. B.B.

    Thanks, I started following your blog in Dec. 07….just missed that one…I have to remember to check your inventory of blogs before asking a question…….thanks for your patience……
    Can I get the techs at PA to set up the 410s with the same fill adapter that fills the discovery….I was hoping to use the scuba tanks on the 410 down to 2,500 or whatever is the low point for the 410, and then use the tank to fill the discovery until it gets below 1,800..
    Does this make sense?

    Wayne,


  36. Wayne,

    It makes good sense to me. You didn’t read all the five reports I linked you to, did you? This rifle has a most unusual fill adaptor. I doubt Pyramyd can change it, but ask them anyway.

    B.B.


  37. B.B.

    Yes I did read them all…very good..thank you..

    I was hoping that an adapter could be fitted to the treaded end or something.. is there no quick type disconnect that can be used?

    Wayne



  38. B.B.

    I guess the solution is to have one scuba tank setup for the discovery and one for the Air Arms 410s…then change tanks when it gets to a certain level.

    Thanks for your help.

    Wayne


  39. I’ve been shooting one of these for a friend. I broke the gun in by keeping it cocked for a couple of hours. This seemed to smooth out the cocking effort and the double recoil, reducing the vibration after each shot.

    The one I purchased came with a scope stop. I locktited everything after 10 shots and waited 24 hours before breaking it in.

    This is a great little gun! Perfect for back yard pests and getting some trigger time.


  40. B.B.

    I noticed that you tested the crosman premiers for the velocity test but not for the accuracy test. Right now I only have access to crosman premiers and not JSB's but I was just wondering how big of a difference there was between the two accuracy-wise in the Ruger Air Hawk. Just trying to figure out if the results would be worth getting someone to order the JSB's online for me.

    Thanks,
    Marshall


  41. Marshall,

    If you re-read the above article you'll notice that B.B. did test jsb exact heavy (10.2 grain) pellets in his Ruger Air Hawk Elite and they performed better than the crosman premiers in his gun.

    I'd suggest you at least try the jsb exact heavies (10.2 gr) in your gun.

    kevin


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