10-meter rifle – Part 2 The budget rifles

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

There’s been a lot of interest in this series. I had to set it aside while I was at the SHOT Show, but now we’re back on track. Today, I’ll take a look at the affordable rifles for 10-meter competition. This segment is so large that I broke it into two installments, so the rest will be posted tomorrow.

A broad range of prices!
Because the true world-class 10-meter rifles have now all climbed up to and over $2,000, the range of guns in the budget category has become very broad…almost to the point of confusion.

For example, if you’re affiliated with a CMP or NRA-sanctioned airgun club, Feinwerkbau and Beeman have joined forces to offer the FWB P70 Junior for under $1,000. I would guess that the new P700 Junior will be going the same direction. That makes it a “budget” 10-meter rifle, a class that also includes the Daisy 853 and the Crosman Challenger 2000. It’s not a fair comparison, because the two FWB junior rifles are really world-class, while the two American guns are the anchors of the true budget class.

Between the top and the bottom, but closer to the bottom, are rifles such as the Tau 200, the Alfa Proj, the Air Arms S200 Target and so on. The S200 Target actually cannot be used in NRA or CMP 10-meter competition because it’s too powerful. At 12 foot-pounds, it has double the power (and 250 f.p.s. more velocity) of an Olympic target rifle.

And, then there’s the Air Arms S400 MPR, a rifle with true 10-meter power and features but priced at the $1,000 mark. It has to be lumped in with the budget rifles because you’ll never see one in world cup competition. It lacks the sophisticated ergonomics shooting competitors demand at that level. They’ve been seen in the Sporter Class events, but only on rare occasions. For a private individual who wants to shoot a target rifle but doesn’t want to compete, however, the S400 MPR might be perfect, because it has everything an Olympic target rifle has, other than the ergonomics, at $1000 to 2000 less.

The true budget class – under $500
The NRA defined budget-class 10-meter rifles for us when they defined what they (and only they) call the Sporter Class. This class is intended to be an entry level for young shooters, and the NRA maximum price isn’t hard and fast. The rationale is to keep the sport affordable for kids, and I have to applaud that. Also, in NRA 10-meter competition, the shooters of all classes shoot in three different positions – standing, kneeling and prone, rather than standing-only of international competition.

I don’t know if I’m making this point clear, so let me say it here: there are budget 10-meter target rifles and then there are rifles that have been approved for use in officially sanctioned matches run by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) and the NRA. When I refer to a Sporter Class rifle, I mean one that has been officially accepted for such competition.

AirForce Airguns recently had to become familiar with the official and unofficial requirements for a Sporter Class 10-meter rifle because their new Edge will compete in that class. You had better get familiar with some of them, too, because the guns in this class are built to satisfy these requirements.


The Edge from AirForce will compete in the Sporter Class. It has more features than are usually seen at the under-$500 level (club price), where it’s expected to be. The rear aperture sight is brand-new, American-made and affordable!

Trigger – You’ll not find any sub-pound triggers on Sporter Class guns, though there can be some very light ones in the budget category. The guns with light triggers are simply not permitted to compete in sanctioned matches. That and price are what differentiate the Sporter Class guns from the rest of the budget guns. So, a Daisy 853, which just about owned the Sporter Class when it was started, will have a heavy trigger. As it comes from the factory, I’ve measured them at over 4-lbs. pull; in competition, they’re slicked up and lightened. At the lowest limit permitted in competition, the rifle trigger must be able to lift a weight of 1.5 lbs. and not fire.

Sights – Gamo switched the manufacture of their diopter rear sight from Spain to China and lost credibility among America’s shooting coaches. The word on the street right now is to buy Crosman diopters instead of Daisy or Gamo because they’re still sourced from Spain – but that could change at any time. And, you cannot tell any of them apart ina a photograph. You have to have them in hand and check the mechanisms to know for sure. Where the HW50 Diopter fits in is anyone’s guess! The rear sight is one area where the buyer has to be careful, because once Daisy and Gamo started sourcing their sights from China, everyone became confused.

Continued tomorrow…

27 Responses to “10-meter rifle – Part 2 The budget rifles”

  • jw burns Says:

    BB
    I recently picked up a marvelous Beeman c1 in excellent ahape. The gun shoots very smooth, has no twang at all and groups at 10 meters on a dime. It is in 177. cal. The cocking is also extremely easy, and very smooth. The gun feels like it may have have had a good tune. I did a chrony test today and it was shooting about 615 fps. Is this about the correct speed? By the way, I am not a power guy, and this speed is quite fine with me. I am just trying to asses the health of the gun. thanks
    JB

  • JP Says:

    Not a bad report, but I’m more of a practicle rifle man: stick with it’s intended purpose. I love target shooting, but I’d rather do it with a rifle that’s made for hunting, then I’ll KNOW that a good shot counts. Have you ever done a report on hunting rifles and their performance? Most of that would be based on experience, so the comments section would probably light up with much of the useful information. Anyway, if you could squeeze in an all-around hunting air blog sometime, I’d appreciate reading it. JP

  • Anonymous Says:

    BB,Totally respect your knowledge and opinions in this great field.Off topic question. All things being equal which rifle do you think is more accurate, a Benjamin 392 or a Gamo CFX .177.Thanks again.

  • Anonymous Says:

    that new Edge from Air Force looks really sweet. Is it powered by compressed air or Co2? These blogs on 10 meter shooting are really piquing my interest. Keep up the good work BB.

    Al in CT

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    JB,

    A Beeman C1 should be in the high 800s with light lead pellets. The smoothness you feel is characteristic of a gun that’s been shoot a lot – over 4,000 times, according to the rifle I had. Cocking was never easy, but it was smooth after the long break-in.

    Even the trigger went from poor to excellent with a lot of shooting.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    JP,

    I’m not much of an airgun hunter. In fact, I gave up hunting with firearms about 30 years ago. I am scheduled to go on a ram hunt with my Quackenbush Bandit .457 LA at the end of this month, if I can kick this pneumonia, so if that happens I will have some fresh experiences to tell.

    You might be interested in Jim Chapman’s website. Jim goes hunting with airguns all the time, and he goes to Africa about once a year, so there’s a lifetime of hunting experience there.

    http://www.americanairgunhunter.com/airgun_hunter.html

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Benjamin 392/CF-X,

    I have to go with the CF-X in the accuracy department.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Al,

    The Edge is powered by air.

    B.B.

  • CyberSkin Says:

    B.B.,

    The Beeman R7 like so many people have said is a perfect back yard gun. Every time I pick it up, cock it, shoot it or put it down I say “this thing is nice this thing is very nice”. It feels as if it has already been broken in. Shoots 15 shot clover leaves with Silver Bears at 26′ and very quiet. I have killed 102 black birds in two days. There learning that I’m feeding them more than bird food. A 50lb bag of pop corn ran me $12 at Sams. I ran across this hot link while researching reviews of the R7 http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2005/05/take-your-power-down-notch-to.html

    I’m glad to see that RWS/Diana is offering guns in this power range.

    Your wife certainly does not look like average air gun shooters age.
    Hope you feel better soon!

  • Shooter Says:

    Good report BB,

    Sorry if I run ahead a bit. Is the Mendoza a real diopter sight, or is it just a peep? I don’t see the eye cup on the picture of the Mendoza, and I don’t know if it has interchangeable diopter inserts for the rear sight. Or do any of them? Always wanted one of those super accurate, everything is adjustable 10 meter guns. Never could fit one into my budget though…

    Speaking of low cost 10 meter things- I see that the delivery dates for the Izh 46 pistol keep getting pushed back. I keep holding off on buying one until they’re in stock, because I don’t like the uncertainty of when it will finally ship (maybe a little impatient). I may make an exception to that though with the 46, if you think it would help PA in getting some. What do you think?

    Thanks,
    /Shooter

  • dragonslayer Says:

    Cyberskin, R-7, Wow you lucky dog! Sat. I purchased a Diana 24 from my local gun shop. ($87), My salesman (manager), who collects airguns hiself,told me it needed new seals. I bought it anyway based on the exellent condition. I put 5-6 drops of silicone lube in chamber,stood it on its butt& changed the angle reguarly for about 4 hrs.. Wow, it shoots great! Every screw was loose,,brl. had alittle internal rust,when cleaning brl. I found out it is choked!! What a sweet little gun! B.B., sorry to hear your sick,Get well soon! B.B., do you think my Diana 24 marked 03-93 (date of man?) is healthy shooting Cros. 7.9 @ 550 fps.? JSB 8.4 @ 525 fps.? And B.B. do you think I could use any other “oil” to help rejuvinate the piston seal? Thanks Tim.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    /Shooter,

    There is no distinction between diopter and peep and aperture. The diopter has no reference to any ocular adjustability.

    So what you really mean is the Mendoza a sport aperture or a target aperture, and the answer is – it’s a sport aperture. It can, however, accept different-sized holes.

    All aperture sights can accept holes of different diameters – that doesn’t distinguish them as diopter sights.

    Placing an order will not speed the delivery of the IZH 46. That’s all up to EAA and to the manufacturer. However, placing an order may mean that you get a gun, because it is not unheard of for a supply of guns to completely vanish when the backorders are filled.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Tim,

    Your rifle is right on for velocity. And silicone oil doesn’t rejuvenate a synthetic seal like regular oils rejuvenates a leather seal. All it does is seal better when there is oil on the cylinder walls. I would stick with the silicone oil you are using now.

    Yes, that date is the date of manufacture.

    The choking may be due to the dovetails for the front sight. When they are swagged in, they displace barrel metal to the inside, which is why all Weihrauch barrels are choked. It isn’t exactly a real choke, though many shooters feel that it helps.

    It sounds like you got a sweet new rifle.

    BB.

  • Shooter Says:

    Thanks BB,

    For both the clearing up of the diopter, peep and aperture fog for me, and for the advice on the 46. I guess I’ll probably order, since I’ve been wanting one of these for a long time. The Discovery will have to wait until later this year.

    Thanks again, and get well!
    /Shooter

  • dragonslayer Says:

    B.B. After I re read my post, kinda like sorry your sick,now how about answer my questions. Very rude, sorry B.B.. I am pretty exited about my new (old) Diana 24! My “need for speed” is over. My 460M in 177 cal. cured me! (its at my local gun shop looking for a new home)! Do you have a 24 in your collection? Good to have you back,sicerly hope you feel better soon,Tim.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Tim,

    I have what’s known as “walking pneumonia.” I’m working a normal day; I just have fluid in my lungs that sometimes slows me for a minute.

    Anyway, your question was in no way offensive. I don’t have a Diana 24, but not for lack of trying. As you will learn tomorrow, I just popped for a BSF 55N for my collection. It’s about the size of the 24, but with twice the power. I needed it to complete my collection of the “big 4 of the 1970s.”

    I still like the gentle guns, too, and I especially like my 27, which is another little sweetie.

    B.B.

  • dragonslayer Says:

    B.B., thanks for the feedback on my new Diana 24!! You are an unreplaceable source of information pertaining to airguns! I thought maybe my 93year model Diana 24 had a leather seal? Thanks again B.B.,Tim.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Tim,

    Sorry, I misunderstood you. No, Diana stopped using leather seals gradually in the 1970s and early 80s. They had switched entirely to synthetic (the Diana 45 was the last to switch) by around 1987, or so. I am probably off in years, but not too many.

    B.B.

  • ajvenom Says:

    Get well soon. I was sick for about 6 weeks. Now I am looking forward to getting a few more bunnies before the season is over. Crows season is coming up, but no problems if hunting on farmland.

  • dragonslayer Says:

    Thanks B.B.,for clearing the leather seal question up for me! Really helps me put the puzzle together. Ive been away for awhile cause: I made a post in which I “plugged” a new blog I found,,No competition to P.A. sales,,just a new blog kinda like our own 22 Multi,s new blog. A really cool site w/guys like us,that LOVE airguns. Because it was removed by maybe you or P.A. I thought you were mad at me. Well I could not stand to be away from here any longer,based on your imidiate replys to my posts tonight,,seems your not mad at me at all!!Thanks B.B.,you are the BEST!! Im so glad to be “BACK HOME”!!!! I wish you would check out a cool site that I feel is in no way in competition w/ this one or P.A.. E-Mail me & I will give you the link. timmyj1959@yahoo.com I know you will have to remove this & I undersand.Great to be back here! Thanks for all you do for us B.B./T.G. Your friend in S.C. Tim.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Tim,

    In the past month I have knocked off two comments by readers who referred to websites on which airgun sales were being done. It said so clearly at the top of the website. I don’t know if you were one of those or not. The rule here is no referrals to sites in competition with Pyramyd Air.

    But anyone is welcome to read and make comments on this blog.

    B.B.

  • dragonslayer Says:

    B.B.,, Thanks so much! As I said above,Kliffs new blog site is new & growing fast! Great bunch of guys like here that love ALL airguns. I dont see any competition to P.A. or your blog. In the words of Bob W.,AKA “Charlie Da Tuna”,, The more the better! (he is a member of Kliffs site). Please check it out B.B. kliff53.proboards101.com & check out my pics. “Redneck Shootin Range”!! (I made front page!!) Lord I LOVE this hobby! Thanks B.B. Tim.

  • kliff Says:

    Thanks for the “plug” Tim. Even though we know it is in no way competitive to BB’s site, he doesn’t always have time to check all the postings out. So, if he edits it out, no worries.

    Besides, I’m still gonna use PA, I’m waiting on my new Panther now. Should’ve shipped yesterday, but Erica said there was a glitch, so it went out today. Just a day late, won’t kill me, and $5.00 won’t break me, so all is well.

    Let’s see….that’s a :
    Sierra Pro
    RWS34
    Air Venturi Combo
    RWS Panther Combo
    B30-1
    and now a Panther, not to mention scopes, mounts, pellets….

    all from PA since December! Severral of those are Dad’s…

  • Anonymous Says:

    Is the front site removable on the IZH 61? I have one on the way. Is it still the gun it used to be ? Thanks, Fasdraw

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    kliff,

    I just followed the link Tim left and your server was down. I will try to see your site again when it is up. If you could send me a comment with the link when that happens, that would be very helpful.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Fasdraw,

    Please stop asking the same question everywhere. I have now answered you three times! Remember where you ask questions and return to there to get the answer, please.

    The answer is yet, the front sight is removable.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Sorry, don’t be mad. This is all new to me! I had no idea you were so efficient or fast. Great service. Thanks, Fasdraw

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