Volvo gets a PCP! – Part 2

Part 1

PCP No. 1, day 3 – Wednesday
The pump has arrived. In my search for a hand pump to fill the PCP, I learned the following.
 
Limited selections are available, which is further reduced by what is actually in stock. I ended up ordering an FX 4-stage pump that claims to lower the effort needed to fill the rifle. Additionally, I based my decision on not much more than I recognize the FX brand name and the unit is available immediately. Sold.
 
When I open the shipping box, I quickly surmise that my request for “the piece that connects the rifle to the pump” has been denied. My disappointment is furthered by a non-specific, one-page sheet for assembly and use. I have to thank the yellow forum members as they explain the seemingly extra part is a moisture filter and actually post a link to Pyramid Air with the fill probe I’ll need along with a picture of it.

I ordered the last piece of the puzzle just before midnight.
 
I picture B.B. holding the all-in-one-box Discovery and shaking his head.
 
Earlier in the evening, I replaced the malfunctioning Bushnell Trophy 6-18x with a lesser Bushnell 3-9x that did light duty on a Beeman R7. The first shot is close, and I’m spot on in about 5 shots.
 
I start with Crow Magnums. As they drop an inch below the aimpoint, I switch to JSB Exact Jumbo Express, which puts me back on target. Finally, I put H&N Match in the rifle and shoot them, starting at an inch high to more than an inch below the bullseye.
 
Even with hearing protection, I realize the discharge noise is greatly reduced. I take off my earmuffs, and the rifle now sounds like my Daisy 922. A quick check shows the H&N Match are down to 497 fps. I’m done until I can charge the rifle.
 
I shoot an HW30S as if to show the Raider the beauty of self-sufficiency.
 
PCP No. 1, day 4 – Thursday
Until the fill probe arrives, I’m at a standstill. I add a board to the bottom of the pump to increase stability. It’s an old drawer front sample finished in maple toffee, and I attach it with antique bronze hinges. Any scrap of lumber would work, but I fuss with it like an expectant mother in the nursery.


This base holds the pump steady.

Since this is downtime, I would like to at least partially explain my purchase of the Webley. The power level is attractive, along with what appears to be a very simple design, so my assumption is that not much can go wrong. The size and weight are also close to my ideals.
 
My first adult spring airgun was a Webley that I ordered directly from England in the ’70s. Given the demise of Webley’s UK operation, I assume the opportunity for UK-made Webleys will become increasing difficult. Finally, I had two offers to purchase it at the price I paid before I even received it.

PCP No. 1, day 5 – Friday
The fill probe is here. The rifle has 50 bar in it and needs to go to 190 bar. It’s apparent that shooting the rifle down so low has its disadvantages. I add air in groups of 20 strokes and find it to not be overly strenuous.
 
At 150 bar, a knob is turned on the pump to keep the final strokes on par with the first. It seems to work. It takes 103 strokes total before the rifle is fully charged. Eureka! I think many adults would be able to fill a PCP at their own pace with a hand pump. My guess is the scuba tank option probably allows anyone capable of just holding a rifle to shoot.
 
I check the scope settings by shooting a group at a little over 10 meters. This is the longest indoor range I can accommodate. The 5 shots are fired quickly, and the result is ok but nothing noteworthy. The big up side is that once the rifle is filled, the rest of the procedure is effortless.
 
Since the Raider is no longer available, I don’t think tons of statistics will be that beneficial, but here are a few.
 
The manual states that the non-FAC version will provide about 60 12-foot-pound shots. I get 30 shots that range from 21.4 to 23.8 ft lbs with 14.3-grain JSB Exacts.
 
Each shot requires about 2.7 pumps. That’s not too bad, considering the power is at the level of a tuned Beeman R1. For lack of an onboard gauge, I simply count 30 pellets out and put them on deck in the lid of the tin. When they’re gone, I know it’s time to start pumping. It takes about 81 strokes. I was concerned about variation in velocity, but POI does not seem to change much with a spread of 32 fps.

The results of one of the 30-shot strings with .22 caliber JSB Exact Jumbo Express:
 
Shot 1…839
Shot 10…844
Shot 20…849
Shot 30…806
 
And just for fun, shot 40 is 742 fps.


Five JSB Exacts at 36 feet.

 
I try some Gamo Hunter pellets. At the 36 feet I am shooting, 3 pellets make a single oversized hole. That is better then some of the “quality” pellets I tried. The Gamos are not very pretty, but often give acceptable results. Once again, the scope is an older, inexpensive 3-9s set on 6x.


Not too shabby for 36 feet–3 Gamo Hunter pellets.

 
The 2-shot clip would be appreciated in the field; but from a bench, using it as single shot is actually more efficient.
 
This may seem odd, but working the bolt is one of my favorite parts. It’s very satisfying and something spring rifles don’t offer. Once, toward the end of the session, I instinctively smacked the end of the barrel to break the rifle open. Old habits die hard.

Final thoughts
I think a PCP would be the best way to convert a firearm shooter to airguns. The ability to bench the rifle, not worry about hold, mount a scope with no more difficulty than mounting one on a rimfire and the lack of recoil make for a user-friendly platform. Once you become acquainted with the process, a PCP is not as daunting as many make it sound.
 
If I could design my own PCP, my priorities in the order of importance would be quiet operation, adjustable power, onboard gauge, multiple shots, less than 7 lbs. weight, under 40″ long & easy to refill.  
 
If you want an air rifle with the power of the magnum spring guns, the feel of a recoilless match rifle, and handy size, it seems a PCP would be hard to beat.
 
My final conclusion: I would recommend one to a friend.

27 Responses to “Volvo gets a PCP! – Part 2”

  • wayne Says:

    Good Morning Volvo,

    Great job writing, and real nice groups!!

    Just a quick comment while I wait for Josh and Nate to get here a 5 am.

    "If I could design my own PCP, my priorities in the order of importance would be quiet operation, adjustable power, onboard gauge, multiple shots, less than 7 lbs. weight, under 40" long & easy to refill."
    HHMMM……….Sounds like my Air Arms s410….

    And your right to show the PCPs that the little R7 may be slow, but the turtle can win the race…when the rabbit runs out of gas, and no stations are around!!

    B.B.
    Drive safe, but get their first.. I bet with the economy down so much now, their will be some very good deals this year. I would think that the people with booths, will get to deal with each other before it opens to everyone… At least that is how craft shows work.. It would be nice to have a camera mounted on your hat as you go from booth to booth…off you go now…sho shoo

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  • Il Bruce Says:

    Very well done, Volvo. Thanks for taking the time.

  • kevin Says:

    Volvo,

    Great job on your article. Impressive groups. 2.7 pumps per shot, hmmmm. Rather be shooting than pumping. Scuba tank in my future? I’m curious, how did you know the gun had 50 bar left in it if you don’t have a gauge on the gun? Thanks again I’m intrigued.

    Have you broken in your fwb yet after the tune or has the darkside stolen away your time with the springers?

    kevin

  • Anonymous Says:

    Good report Volvo. There is something very satisfying to working a bolt on bolt action rifles.

    Al in CT

  • Anonymous Says:

    Volvo,very enjoyable reading!aside from the great groups I felt like I was testing a new purchase.thanks for taking us along for the ride. To all:If money wasn’t a factor,what is the quietest pcp out there?A talon SS? or maybe a logan S16?any feedback would be appreciated.especially from you wayne,since you have more airguns than a small developing nation…FrankB

  • Anonymous Says:

    Frank B,

    I have asked the quite question before, and it seems the answer is the FX Whisper, at least in stock form. I believe the verbiage was “mouse fart quiet”.

    Volvo

  • Anonymous Says:

    Kevin,

    I actually thought the hand pump was quite efficient. It takes ten pumps for just one shot with most self contained pneumatic air rifles, and the result is no where near 20+ ft lbs.
    So less than 3 pumps isn’t bad?

    Just look at it as doing all the work up front. I’m not sure of the total effort that goes into filling the rifle, but I know an R-1 is about 34lbs each time x 30 shots = 1020 lbs of effort. So they all require some effort to replace the powder.

    The pump has a gauge, so the existing pressure in the rifle balances it quickly. I gauge on board would be nice, but this is such a simple design, no regulator, gauge, etc – very little to fail.

    I’ll tell you about the 124 later.
    Volvo

  • Mr B. Says:

    Good afternoon Volvo: Wonderful, very interesting–both parts of your article. Well written and informative. Yes I can really relate, having purchased a Talon SS a couple of months ago. FrankB with an after market frame extender, moderator, bloop tube, whatever you want to call it, the only noise is the ping of the hammer hitting the valve and the noise of the pellet hitting the target. That’s with the power dialed up with enough steam to shoot clean through a 2×4 at the muzzle. I cann’t speak to the Logan S16, but there is a large price differential between it and the Talon SS. My pump crapped out and I was very glad for the Dual Fuel capability of both my guns while I waited for it’s warranty replacement by Crosman. (Done in 12days.) Yes the word of the PCP’s is great, but not perfect either. A question to those of you who hunt with PCP’s–what’s the best way(s) to keep them charged? Carry small tanks of air,a hand pump, a scuba tank in the car and make trips back to it–what works best for you and why? Thanks one and all. Mr B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Wayne,

    The S410 has tempted me many times. The only fault I see is that it is a little large. I know that means more air in the tank, but with a hand pump that may not be so great.

    I was hoping the carbine would be quite, but I thought you said it wasn’t?

    Anyway, hope you don’t read this until late – which means you’re working on that elk meat.

    Volvo

  • Anonymous Says:

    Volvo,

    Nice job. And how nice for someone else to make the leap to PCPs first instead of me.

    So, why did you go with the Webley instead of the Discovery? The Discovery is supposed to be simple for first time users and at 800 fps seems pretty powerful, by my standards anyway.

    Nice shooting, and yes, I agree that working a bolt-action is the most satisfying of all of my firearms. I finally figured out the secret of my Savage rifle. If the bolt is worked briskly AND the rifle is held tight to the shoulder that rifle is absolutely stone-cold reliable. I expect to not have another failure to feed in my lifetime. And the A Zoom snap caps are a way to get limitless cycles of the bolt; equivalent training time with live ammo would cost a fortune. Right now, I’ve got those snap caps fairly raining out of the ejection port just like the British soldiers of WWI.

    Quietness is a big priority with me too, and there are a couple solutions you might try. Dr. G’s method is to have a silencer custom-built for your rifle. My way is to build a cardboard box with padding on the inside that you can poke your rifle into. It’s not pretty but it is fairly effective and you don’t even notice it after awhile. With the amount of effort you put into your pump base, you could make a very nice cardboard box. Sweats and pillows seem to work best as lining for sound insulation.

    Mr. B. I’ve never heard of scuba tanks in the car but that would be best, I suppose, if you didn’t wander far. I suspect that portable tanks are only available for certain rifles–the S410 is not one of them, for example. Otherwise, the portable hand pump seems to be the market answer. I read a review by a guy who did that with the Talon SS, and I seem to remember the Discovery literature saying that its hand pump was designed for that purpose, and there is even a handy carry rig for it.

    Matt61

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    Volvo,

    Now you’ve done it! Those groups have me thinking about a PCP again:). The drawer face looks really classy on that pump, too. Maybe some gold plated handles…

    I keep eyeing the AA S200 and S400MPR, but then the FWB’s are just another step away: it’s only imagination money:).

  • Lloyd Says:

    Volvo,
    I don’t have a PCP yet, so its nice to have the first time experience vicariously.

    I had to chuckle when I saw the pic of the cabinet drawer front and hinges. My immediate reaction was, “Uh Oh, Volvo’s wife is not going to be happy!” Glad i was wrong!

    Thanks for putting the dime in the target pics. The extra visual aid is nice. I just measured a couple of dimes and they average .703 dia, so if all the .22 holes are exactly hidden by the dime, that is .483 C to C. Not bad.

    So is a “first scuba tank” blog in the future?
    Great job,
    Lloyd

  • Anonymous Says:

    BG – Farmer,

    I knew I would get some flack for the drawer front, and when I couldn’t find a large enough washer lying around, I figured my fate was sealed with brass hinges. It was all zero cost if that helps?

    A couple of my spring rifles, namely the HW 97K, will out shoot those groups without a problem. I also had an R-7 that at the same distance could hit each numeral and perforate the target. Stupidly, I sold the R-7 and replaced with a HW30S that is a tad less accurate. The breech seems slightly over sized. It still will give okay groups.

    Lloyd,

    At that distance I actually consider a dime group large. I will work with Raider to get better. The trigger is about 3 times the effort of my HW rifles. If I can’t get one slightly over sized 5 shot hole indoors, I never keep the rifle. I think the Raider will be able to do it. I ordered some Kodiaks and heavier pellets to try in it also.

    Volvo

  • Anonymous Says:

    Matt61,

    I picked the Webley over the Discovery for a few reasons. New, the Raider sold for about $600, so the value was strong at $395. The lack of a detachable magazine and all the other fancy extras caused their decline, but those are the parts that often result in the issues I read about.

    It is based on an early FX design that I think is considered simple, but solid. The ½ twenty thread muzzle was also an advantage. I like a slightly heavy carbine size, the Discovery maybe a little too light? Also, if I went the Discovery route I would have wanted the new version, but didn’t want to wait it for it to come out.

    Lastly, I sold two rifles – a Patriot and an R-1 to fund the purchase of rifle and pump – that made this combo a good match, and still and a little change left.

    Volvo

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    Volvo,

    I never spent a dime that I didn’t miss afterwards — I think it’s fine, just couldn’t resist ribbing you. Are you shooting those groups offhand or benched? If offhand, I’m going to have to take my hat off.

  • FRED Says:

    Volvo, if you’re thinking of going the SCUBA tank route, here’s my experience. I found two steel tanks for sale on Craigs’ list and ended up buying one for $40. My tank is only rated for 2400 psi which is fine for my Discovery but won’t do for your Raider. The tank is 24 cu. ft. in capacity. However, the tank had not been hydrostatically tested since 1978. That, the clean-up and some work on the valve which the dive shop said had a problem (news to me), ended up costing me another $90. To get the fill rig which consists of a yoke, a high pressure line, guage and the Foster connection set me back another $150. I probably would have been better off buying an aluminum tank new for $150 which would have been rated for 3,000 psi.

    BB had done a blog on SCUBA tanks in the past for those thinking of going the PCP and tank route.

    And let me also add my admiration on the size of your groups. Outstanding.

  • Anonymous Says:

    mr.B,can you try to describe the sound level before and after the custom CASH removal??multi-caliber and power adjustable are large selling points,as is MADE IN USA! the Whisper is no slouch either.maybe Wayne can help once he’s back up the hill with a trophy! Frank B

  • Anonymous Says:

    Bg – Farmer

    Neither, over my shoulder with a mirror. : ) Actually I am sitting on the floor elbows on knees for the JSB 5 shot. That is the first group out of the rifle once sighted in. I expect JSB pellets to do well, they always do. Downside is they are hard to get and lots of $$$.

    The Gamo Hunters I pulled a chair over to rest on – still floor sitting. I limit the Gamo to 3 shots as I have a work bench full of pellets to try – BB can attest to that with one of the photos I sent – and I want to save “air.” I have accumulated a vast assortment of pellets over the years, and at three shots per tin that let me try 10 tins before a refill was needed.

    My goal is to find at least 2-3 pellet types that a rifle likes accuracy wise. I have some pellets; Napier comes to mind as one, that I have yet to find a rifle they will shoot decent in.

    Indoors off a rest is about exciting as peeling an apple and watching it turn brown once you sight in and get a good pellet combo.
    So most of the time indoors I do shoot standing & off hand, but not when I want to test a riflepellet combo – does that makes sense?

    Sorry if that is disappointing news, but better than if I had just stuck my Montblanc in the target?

    Volvo

  • Mr B. Says:

    Frank B, I was wondering about my discription earlier and thinking that I didn’t define the ping of the hammer hitting the valve. Do a single, as loud as you can clap of your hands. The sound of my Talon SS with the Moderator that I purchased from Airhog for $150.00 is less than 1/2 as loud. I’m grinning just thinking all that power with no noise. I’ve also ordered the optional 24″ barrel and Moderator. Yes if you want a quiet, accurate, powerful PCP you for sure cann’t go wrong with the Talon SS with an aftermarket moderator. The power wheel is a great plus. Turned down to paper punching at 20 yards=100 shots per tank. If you order one now Airforce is including their CO2 adapter which yields maybe 1,000 shots per tank for free, I think. Mr B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Fred,

    Thanks for the scuba tank info, I may try one in the future.

    Volvo

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    Volvo,
    Still good shooting, but I thought we were going to have to start up a fund to send you to the Olympics:).

    Wayne,
    I’m on the edge of my seat to hear the elk report.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Bg –farmer,

    I’m still hoping to shoot for pink slips with Wayne someday. So lets leave it at that.

    Speaking of which, I have to believe either his trip was successful or he is drowning his sorrow with few cold ones somewhere.

    Volvo

  • Dr. G. Says:

    LOOKING FOR QUIETNESS?

    I own both the AirHog bloop tube, which is very good, and the TalonTunes (Tony from FLA.) moderator, which is outstanding. Tony’s moderator is about 40% more expensive, but if you want the very quietest, Tony is The Man.

    Now if I can only get Tony to build a moderator for the 9mm “big bore” (read LOUD) air rifles, then we’ll really have some quiet magic! But he is not interested in anything but Air Force air rifles.

    Still, to moderate the sound of a .25 Condor from that of a .22 rimfire to that of a light duty office staple gun is very impressive, and Tony is to be commended.

    – Dr. G.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Volvo

    Nice report
    I got my first PCP December of last year a Talon. I know that when your reports are done it will really help people decide to go PCP or not especially with Christmas coming.

    Once you find the best pellet you should be able to push those dime size groups to 30+ yards.

    jeff

  • Anonymous Says:

    mr.B,thank you, your further elaboration was most helpful…SS is almost a lock.the whole package deluxe looks like the best the bet…dr.G,any problem shipping the TalonTunes moderator,or do you send him your gun? Frank B

  • wayne Says:

    Hi All I’m Back,

    Yes, we have no elk, we have no elk today (oh bananas)!

    The only elk that came into my cross hairs was the lady of the house, no big daddies..

    We got to the pond before light and our approach spooked something, I can’t believe our the forest service can afford to rock the damn logging skid roads, sure it’s great for getting fire and logging trucks in, but you can’t walk on it without noise at all… So after light we kept hiking up the canyon along the creek, on the elk trail, instead of the road since we picked it up at the pond.. (2,800′ to 4,200′) and back down again, to the perch we had built overlooking the pond area, and the burned over hillside. We sat there from 3 to 6:30 PM when it got dark. It was about 5 when I saw the cow elk.. so the last hour and a half was full of excitement, but to no avail. Lots of great breathing of fresh air, and leg work..very good for the old man, and very little crawling..

    We’ll try Friday morning to night again I hope.. that’s the last chance for elk, this season, but then Josh and Nate can go for deer again, until Nov 7th, I think.

    Empty handed hunter, but with a full heart… and blisters..

    Wayne

  • wayne Says:

    Now what’s all this talk about my S410..

    “The FX wisper is quieter than the Air Arms S410″… well it might be, I haven’t tried the FX wisper.. but I know that MY S410 is quieter than a mouse fart.

    The question is; what was the mouse eating for your test, mine had oatmeal and rice. I bet your test mouse had beef jerky and beans..
    It won’t be a fair test until we have both mouse farts tested in a lab first.

    And even if the Fx wisper is AS quite, It doesn’t get as many shots, and it doesn’t get to sleep over with a USFT on Saturday night either.. so there..

    Folks, the Discovery will not give the kind of groups to compete with Volvo’s Webley Raider…. at least the 3 that we have here won’t.. They will sometimes, but not over and over again, 3 or 4 very good and then a 1/4 to 1/2″ off at 20 yards, even in a bench rest with the same best pellet….

    But the Condor and I guess the Talon will… and the bloop tube really quiets the condor on lower power. I think that Talon SS package is the one to go for… for sure..

    IF YOU CAN DEAL WITH THE TANK AS A CHEEK REST!! ( it can be hard to get eye relief on a scope.) If you can, then it’s a super great PCP for the money, because that is the easy fill on the hunting trip solution as well.. You can have extra full tanks in your back pack, while hunting.

    Off to the shower and beeddyy by..

    Nighty nite, and shoo shoo B.B. We will be fine…. keep driving safe, and may the ultra force be with you!!!! Blessing you path..

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

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