Tanfoglio Witness 1911 BB pistol – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Well, the BB pistol guys have waited patiently for this second report, so I thought I’d combine velocity and accuracy into one post. The Tanfoglio 1911 BB pistol turns out to be a genuine surprise! While it doesn’t have all the neat switches and levers of more expensive BB pistols, this one has something very few others have – accuracy! In fact, this may be the most accurate BB pistol I’ve ever tested. Because I said almost the same thing when I tested the SIG Sauer SP 2022 BB pistol back in May, that statement deserves an explanation.

The SIG Sauer SP 2022 was and still is very accurate. I’m not changing my mind about that. But, if you look at the targets, it shot low and to the left. The Tanfoglio shoots dead-center at the same 15 feet. After seeing where it was striking, I couldn’t resist shooting full magazines of 20 rounds at each target. Granted my groups are larger than those shot with the SIG, but look where they landed!


The first target I shot turned out so well that I couldn’t resist dumping the entire 20-shot magazine! This target was shot with Daisy zinc-plated BBs.


The second target I shot was with Tanfoglio BBs. Although this group of 20 is smaller than the first, it’s due more to me being in the groove than to the BBs.

One way I know a particular gun is a good’un is when I can’t stop pulling the trigger. It doesn’t happen too often, but it sure did with this Tanfoglio. I stood there shooting five shots at a time with rests between. As long as the white dot on the front sight stayed on the black bull, that’s where the shots went. That doesn’t happen often enough that I can ignore it.


I made fun of the white dot on the front sight at first, but when I used it, the pistol shot to it! Front sight shown slightly elevated for clarity.

After 40 shots, my arms tuckered out and I was unable to hold the sights still enough to repeat the performance a third time. It’s nice to know that a gun is always there for you and makes you do your best because it’ll show. I never thought I’d say that about a BB pistol, though.

Loading
The 20-shot stick magazine is the easiest BB magazine I’ve ever loaded. Pull the spring-loaded follower down and it locks in place. Then, the BBs seem to pour into the opening. There’s even a grooved trough to help you align a bunch of BBs for the loading hole. The follower then unlocks in the same way the SIG Sauer 2022 magazine did, and the spring pushes against the BB stack.


The BB magazine is easy to load. Just pull the follower down to lock, then drop BBs through the funnel-shaped loading hole. There’s a trough that runs almost the full length of the mag top that guides the BBs to the hole.

Velocity
With Daisy zinc-plated BBs, I got two different velocities. When the CO2 cartridge was fresh, they averaged 410 f.p.s. with a spread from 396 to 418. When the cartridge was almost used up, they averaged 430 with a spread from 407 to a high of 444. Tanfoglio BBs averaged 414 f.p.s. when the Co2 cartridge was fresh and remained there until the end.

Shot count
You get more than 60 shots per CO2 cartridge, but not quite 80, so that last magazine needs to be watched. The CO2 piercing screw is inconvenient to operate because they put it where it can’t show from the side, and as a result you lose a little gas at each cartridge change. Screw in the piercing screw until you hear a hissing, then take two quick shots. Use Crosman Pellgunoil on every cartridge!

Trigger
This is a double-action only pistol, so there’s no cocking of the hammer – which doesn’t move, by the way. This is a modern DAO, and the trigger-pull is very easy and free from excessive creep. Look at my targets, and you’ll see how tight you can hold the gun.

I don’t often get excited about CO2 BB pistols, but this one is the exception. It’s accurate, fun to use and easy to load. In fact, it’s so accurate that I believe this BB gun could be used for serious handgun training. If you’re into BB pistols and don’t need blowback, try the Tanfoglio Witness.

39 thoughts on “Tanfoglio Witness 1911 BB pistol – Part 2

  1. BB,

    Regarding another CO2 pistol, the venerable Crosman 2240, I am thinking of having one built. I frequently hear that the standard model is fairly loud, particularly indoors. As I plan to shoot at an in-door range in the garage, can you advise on whether using the 10.1″ .22 barrel with muzzlebreak would tend toward a notably less-loud report? Thanks in advance.



  2. 2240,

    Ditto what BB says. the longer the barrel, the quieter the co2 gun will be. It’s not objectionable to the shooter. When I shoot mine in the basement, my wife can hear it upstairs, but it doesn’t annoy her nearly as much as having me upstairs with her.

    Derrick




  3. B.B. and Derrick,

    Thanks for the advice about applying 5 minute epoxy to the loose front sight of my B30. It is solid as a rock now with a hope of detaching at some later point (unlike super glue) although I won’t be testing this for some time. It was a fairly neat job if I may say so with no excess glue showing.

    BUT, no sooner was I firing away then another problem popped up. My accuracy started going downhill (although it may have been me experimenting with my shooting technique). Then, the discharge started sounding strange in a way that I can’t describe; it was no longer the solid powerful “thunk.” Then, after a particularly weird sound–blooplike–I opened the action and found that the crushed pellet had fallen back into the chamber along with another part that I didn’t recognize. It’s like a tiny cylinder that is slightly under 2cm with a diameter of maybe 5mm. The last fifth or so of the length are made of up screw threads of a slightly larger diameter. Any idea of what this is or what happened?

    In order to relieve tension on the spring, I fired one more shot which sounded fairly normal and went more or less on target, and stopped shooting. My patience is wearing thin with all of these breakdowns.

    Matt61


  4. Matt61, It sounds to me like the gun is releiving itself of unneeded parts. The B30 is a robust gun and can handle it, as shown by your last shot.

    Just go ahead and shoot and write back if any more parts fall out or if you have any more probelems.


  5. Matt61,

    I don’t know what that screw is, but you need it. Examine the gun thoroughly and see where there’s a hole.

    The pellet falling out of the breech is a more or less common thing. You are shooting pellets that are too small for the breech.

    B.B.


  6. Thanks BB and Derrick. I’ll probably go with the 10.1″ barrel based on your feedback. I’m used to lots of centerfire noise myself, but I’ve seen some YouTube videos that make the stock 2240 sound at least like a .22 short or mild .22LR in a heavy target pistol (but all depends on the recording of course). We have some shared walls, so I’m mostly concerned about neighbors. That said, the garage is at the bottom and pretty well insulated, so years of music and springers hasn’t seemed to bother anyone (or maybe my wife just takes the same attitude as Derrick’s :).


  7. Anonymous,

    Ha ha. Your solution is appealing to a non-tinkerer. It would be convenient to just let this go, but I’m worried about problems that affect the function of the gun the way this one does. And even if the gun keeps working now, there may be some damage being done somewhere.

    B.B. I had supposed that the pellet getting crushed was part of the new problem and not that it had fallen out of the breech before closing the sliding compression chamber, but I don’t know. I did look for a hole and saw one in the face of the compression chamber although I don’t know if it was there before. I dropped the screw in but it fell right out again.

    The only thing that prevents me from sending it on to Charliedatuna is that his tune-up will bring the price up to that of an RWS 48 which I was hoping to avoid. On the other hand, Charlie claims he can create a $500 value with his tune, so I would still be ahead, and it is nice to have a semi-customized gun worked over by a real pro like my M1….

    Matt61


  8. Matt61, You see Matt, your dropping the screw in followed by it falling right out again indicates that the gun just does not need that screw. I have had that happen tjo me with many different machines.

    Trust me, you can go ahead and just shoot it, dont worry. Be a man.


  9. Sorry, I find this quite humorous.
    In another life (about 25 years ago) a apprenticed and obtained my ticket as a heavy duty mechanic.
    I remember one engine rebuild we did on an old D6 cat, whilst I was still apprenticing. After everything was put back together there was a big bolt left on the bench…something in the neighborhood of 5/8×3″.
    The mechanic I was working with said to start it up, which we did. Everthing sounded fine and it ran smoothly (well at least as smooth as a Cat diesel can get). The mechanic tossed the bolt in the trash and walked away saying it wasn’t the first time.
    Cowboy dad.


  10. Matt61,

    Bob Werner is no longer tuning guns. He is in the trigger business only (GRTIII). Check the Yellow for some fine tuners, or perhaps BB can recommend someone based on his past (and vast) experience.

    Regards,
    Michael in Florida
    Success is not an entitlement.


  11. BB,
    i jumpin for joy. I just bought a Storm XT and when compared to my shadow express and RWS 34, it is so smooth. There is 0% spring twang, tons of recoil (I like that), and it just launched a premier domed heavy (on a detonation) 600 yards (the size of my local range). It has setteled down a bit and I can see 813fps average on a 10 shot string of premier heavys. the 3x9x32 mil-dot scope is exelent, but I use a Center Point 3x9x50 instead. The stock is really cofortable. Comfortable enough to shoot a 5inch group at 100yards with premier domed heavys. The trigger however is heavy, but it should break in over time.
    Shadow express dude


  12. Michael in Florida,

    I’ve lost touch with spring gun tuners over the year.

    In my day it was Jim Maccari and later, Paul Watts.

    Now I hear a lot of good things said about Rich in Mich, but I don’t know his work.

    B.B.


  13. Shadow express dude….
    The trigger on my storm is adjustable. Mine was pretty good right out of the box, but I lightened it a bunch more. After a bit of thought, I brought it back up a little. Might be possible to adjust too far and have it fire by itself.

    twotalon.


  14. Michael,

    Augh! I can’t believe it. I was always counting on a CharlieDaTuna job when I wanted it. Thanks for letting me know. Maybe this is a general situation to beware of with great gunsmiths and tuners: by the time they reach mastery, it’s time to retire. Clint Fowler is pushing 80, so I’m glad I got him to work on my M1.

    B.B., one other solution was sending the gun to PA to reinstall the screw. Would they do this? And what about a detailed disassembly and check of the gun? I didn’t really need a tune-up since the gun is very accurate and has good shooting behavior. I just don’t want things to keep falling off.

    For others like me who are surprised and appalled at Bob Werner’s retirement from tuning, I know he had good things to say about Mike Melick of Flying Dragon Air Rifles. Mike tunes other airguns besides the QB78s that are his specialty and was very pleasant and helpful when I asked him some questions.

    Matt61



  15. Matt61,

    I use Paul Watts, but he is very busy right now and not taking new orders, I think.

    An adv. tune is about $260 and up.

    The tunes are well worth the money, but I pick only my best “keepers” to send to him.

    Volvo


  16. Matt61,

    As BB stated, Rich from Mich has a great reputaion, as well as several others that are always mentioned on the Yellow. Lurk there for a while, and you’ll start to get a feel for what’s available.

    I’d always planned to send a gun or two to Bob, but for the usual reasons, I kept putting it off. Our loss for sure.

    All is not lost. As I said, lurk for a while, and you’ll figure it out.

    Who knows, maybe Matt61 will be the next great springer tuner.

    Regards,
    Michael in Florida
    Success is not an entitlement.


  17. Thanks to all for your input about tuning. I have no doubt that the $260 buys a great tune, but Bob’s turbo-tune cost $150. Yeow. But there are interesting new choices out there. I wouldn’t have made much of the Rich from Mich site if I had stumbled across it, but his reputation may be worth a try. I’ve noticed that great gunsmiths tend not to be so good at putting up websites. That’s a good one about the Matt61 spring gun tuning business, but don’t look for my sign any time soon.

    Matt61


  18. Matt,

    Mike Melick has a great reputation on chinese CO2, but he just recently started springers, if I understand correctly. My guess is that he would be worth talking to as well: early reports on springer work look good.

    BB,

    Is that a ten meter AR target? If so, it is pretty impressive from a BB gun, and a “sidearm” at that.


  19. I just ordered a Super Tune kit for a Shadow 1000 from Rich and I should get it this week. It has a Maccari spring,custom fitted guides,and all the lubes. I will let everyone know how it turns out.

    jeff


  20. Matt61,
    I can vouch for Rich from Mich, as he turned my 54 from my least frequently to my most frequently shot rifle, and did it in less than 2 weeks! That is much faster than the other “famous tuners” whom I have tried who have taken from months to seasons to complete work. Rich also answers his phone and communicates clearly and honestly.

    Being the experienced mechanic/machinist that he is, in response to your gun losing parts Rich would probably also tell you to just forget about the screw, there are so many more parts in the rifle that work. – Dr. G.


  21. B.B.,
    What follows is the 850 pellet accuracy information for the 2 rifle samples that I mentioned last week. There was a huge amount of information to make sense of, and so I will impart it in small sections so that I don’t end up writing for 10 minutes and having everything erased.

    Both 850s are .22, and all the pellets were shot in batches of both 8-shot groups (the number of pellets in the magazine) and 5-shot groups (because this is a common number that many readers are familiar with in shooting their own groups). Each pellet was shot for at least 2 groups of 8 and 3 groups of 5, and when I found conflicting information then I shot several more groups.

    All shots were bench shots, using 20X and 24X scopes, and I believe that in part due to the large number of shots taken, the results are far more reflective of pellet accuracy than shooter accuracy. – Dr. G.


  22. 850 PELLET ACCURACY

    In testing these 20 different pellets, I discovered some unexpected quirks in accuracy reliability.

    For example, a pellet like the RWS h.p., which mostly weighs 14.4-14.7 grains, will yield reliable groups of 4 and 5 16ths of an inch (all numbers which follow referring to C-T-C group sizes are in 16ths of an inch) without even weighing the pellets. These are very good groups of 8 right out of the box, when you remember that 4 (16ths of an inch) is basically pellets abutting each other.

    Interestingly, when these RWS h.p. pellets are weighed (and grouped), the accuracy of the groups improves by 1, to 3 (16ths of an inch).

    Then there is the pellet called the RWS Meisterkugeln, which weighs mostly 14.1-14.3 grains, a similar weight to the h.p., and yet even more restricted in its range of weight. This pellet, when weighted (and grouped), in 850 Gun A produced an amazing 8-shot group of 2 (16ths of an inch), many groups of 3, and a horrendous group of 9 (16ths of an inch). In 850 Gun B it produced an amazing 8-shot group of 1 (!), 5-shot groups of 2,3,4, and an 8-shot group of 6.

    So, here is an example of two excellent pellets, one of which (RWS h.p.) never shot better than 2 nor worse than 5 (and usually 3-4); and the other (Meisterkugeln) shot groups from 1 to 9.

    If one could visually inspect the Meisterkugeln pellets and see why some of them are flyers, this pellet potentially has the most accuracy for the 850 at 10 yards. I could not discern why some were flyers, and since this pellet thus becomes less reliable/predictable than the RWS h.p., it falls below the h.p. in its overall accuracy rating.

    Another interesting finding is that some pellets are helped a great deal by weighing them, and some are only helped a little. The Eun Jin wadcutters (about 20-20.8 grains) and domed (about 28 grain) pellets improved from erratic out of the box (4-10 16ths of an inch) to reliably accurate when weighed (3-5 16ths of an inch).

    As you can see, there is some latitude in judging such a collection of results. Some pellets might be better in general out of the box than most other pellets, while some other pellets might not be so reliably accurate out of the box, but once weighed they become very accurate.
    – Dr. G.


  23. 850 PELLET ACCURACY (II)

    In making accuracy judgments, it became more reflective of reality and more accurately descriptive to place some of the pellets into the same group, thus indicating that there is no substantial difference between the accuracy of any amongst the group. Between groups below, however, there is at least 1/16th of an inch difference.

    For 850 Gun A, the top 5 most accurate pellets are: Group 1: RWS h.p.[weighed]; Group 2: Barracuda Match [weighed], Eun Jin wadcutter [weighed], RWS Meisterkugeln [weighed]; Group 3: Kodiak [weighed]; Group 4: RWS h.p. [not weighed].

    It turned out that the RWS h.p. was so good that in Gun A, out of the box it bested 15 other types of pellets, even when they were weighed!

    For 850 Gun B, the 5 most accurate pellets were: Group 1: RWS h.p. [weighed]; Group 2: RWS h.p. [not weighed}, Eun Jin domed [weighed}, RWS Meisterkugeln [weighed]; Group 3: JSB Match Jumbo [weighed or not, no difference]; Group 4: Barracuda Match [weighed].

    Again, the RWS h.p. was so much better in this rifle that in Gun B out of the box it was better than 17 of the other pellets, even when they were weighed.

    So, there you have it. There are of course lots of numbers that were produced, but this is not the forum for too many numbers. And there were many pellets that were tested and came out in the middle of the road and are not mentioned here, yet. If you have any questions, just ask.

    Oh, the worst 5 pellets for these 850 rifles at 10 yards? Take a guess. – Dr. G.


  24. Dr. G and bg_farmer,

    Thanks for the info. I wonder if this will turn out to be a case of “my kingdom for a nail” or screw in this case.

    Matt61


  25. Jeff,

    Yes, please let me know about your super tune kit. So, this is something you do yourself. I couldn’t find Rich’s rates for doing the work himself. By the way, Dr. G, if you like him that is a very good recommendation as far as I’m concerned.

    Matt61


  26. BB,

    Do you or anyone know of a 5-6 pellet/shot airsoft shotgun(s)? Does any airsoft shotgun offer more than 5-6 pellet shots?

    –Joe B.





  27. Dr. G.,

    Thanks for your continued contribution to this blog. Terrific information. Very unselfish. Greatly appreciated.

    You mentioned above that Rich in Mich tuned your rws diana 54. What did you have him do to your rifle? Larger spring? Smaller spring? Or just polish, deburr and adjust? It’s become your go to rifle because…? Since it was tuned has the 54′s favorite pellet changed? Thanks in advance.

    kevin


  28. Dr. G.,

    I’ll second Kevin’s thanks for your report. You now know much more about both those rifles than the average owner. You also learned what sorting pellets by weight can do for accuracy. Isn’t that interesting?

    B.B.


  29. Off post I know, but why is the Beeman P17 so much harder to cock than the Gamo Compact. Both my pistols are the same age and have had the same useage. The air cylinders look very similar in size and although the Compact top slide seems longer the actual leverage from front pivot to the rear is virtually the same





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