BAM B26-2 thumbhole
by B.B. Pelletier
We saw a lot of emotion over this gun in the remarks after the first report. Some of you seemed to be against it because of where it's made, and others had read criticism into my report that I didn't put there. I'm only here to report what I see and experience when I test these airguns, and the BAM B26-2 is a very nicely-made gun. If I gave any other impression, please forgive me. Yes, I did comment that the trigger is not a Rekord, but two readers advised me how they got a first stage from theirs, so there are definite possibilities.
Today, I'll look at velocity. You'll recall that I tested the cocking effort at just 24 lbs. If the rifle turns out to deliver 900 fps velocities, it will be very significant.
Clean the barrel
The first step is to clean the barrel with J-B Non-Embedding Bore-Cleaning Compound. By this time, you know the drill. I like to clean the barrel of all new air rifles if possible, to remove latent bluing salts, rust and factory dirt. However, I'll clean only those guns that lend themselves to it. I don't clean guns with sliding compression chambers and most PCPs, because I can't clean them with a solid rod from the breech. Those guns I just shoot until they're clean.
I removed the muzzlebrake before cleaning the barrel, simply because it's less of a hassle off the gun. JB paste can get stuck inside if you leave it on. The barrel proved to be very smooth and had no choke. There was some dirt inside the bore, but nothing nasty like rust. Once clean, the rifle was ready to be tested.
Velocity with Air Arms Diabolo Field domes
Air Arms Diabolo Field domes are made by JSB, so you know the quality is there. Once the rifle settled down, they averaged 709 f.p.s., with a spread from 694 f.p.s. to 723 f.p.s. That works out to an average muzzle energy of 9.42 foot-pounds for this 8.44-grain pellet.
Velocity with Crosman Premier lite pellets
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets averaged 750 f.p.s. with a spread from 744 f.p.s. to 759 f.p.s. They seemed to fit the breech very well, which may be a hint of accuracy to come. The average energy was 9.87 foot-pounds.
Velocity with RWS Club 10 pellets
RWS Club 10 pellets are 7.0 grains, the same weight as RWS Hobbys, so I used them as my 1990s-era lightweight pellet. Once the rifle settled down, they averaged 854 f.p.s., with a spread from 839 f.p.s. to 869 f.p.s. That works out to an average energy of 11.34 foot-pounds.
Velocity with Crosman Silver Eagle hollowpoint pellets
Crosman Silver Eagle hollowpoint pellets weigh just 4.8 grains, and will usually give the highest velocity of any metal pellet. They averaged 1110 f.p.s., with a huge spread from 1009 f.p.s. to 1151 f.p.s. Only two shots out of 10 registered under 1100 f.p.s. The average energy was 13.14 foot-pounds, a number that is very interesting.
It straddles the fence!
By UK law, this pellet would make the B26-2 a firearm, since the energy is greater than 12 foot-pounds at the muzzle. And that should open your eyes to the precarious position airgun manufacturers find themselves in when trading in the UK market, since any new lightweight pellet has the potential to do this. Once a model tests above 12 foot-pounds, it's always and forever considered a firearm. Not just one specific gun, mind you--every gun made under that model number. If you bought it as an airgun and a new pellet pushes it over the limit, that's your bad luck! Spring guns are especially vulnerable to this because precharged guns don't normally vary quite as much.
What a spread of performance! From a low of just 9.42 foot-pounds to a high of over 13. That illustrates just how much it matters when choosing a pellet for an air rifle. U.S. shooters don't have to concern themselves with velocity or power, of course, so they can concentrate on accuracy and choose the best pellet they can. Next time, we'll find out what sort of capabilities this rifle can deliver. The .22 caliber B26 was pretty accurate, so I'm hoping this one will be, as well.