Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Makarov pistol! - Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Okay, I'm in Arkville, New York, in the Catskills filming The American Airgunner as you read this, but I tested the Umarex Makarov at home last Thursday before flying here. I hope I demonstrated that I can shoot with the Air Arms Alfa pistol test. Since the Mak is a BB pistol, I'm testing it at 15 feet, which is my standard distance for smoothbore BB guns.

One of our readers asked me to compare this Mak's accuracy to the Baikal Mak, but I think that's too much of a stretch. So, I'll just test this pistol by itself today. If whoever it was will remind me in a couple weeks, I will do a whole separate report on the other pistol, because I think that's the best way to do it.

Getting right to it!
In my experience, BB pistols are not accurate airguns. The only two I have been impressed with are the Tanfoglio Witness and the SIG SP 2022. Fifteen feet is so close to the target that I have to use a much smaller bull to simulate the proper distance (10 meters for me) and it's so heartbreaking to miss the black from that close. So imagine my surprise when I saw the first group!


That shot at 9 o'clock is not a called flier, but...my gosh! That is a great group from a BB Pistol! Five shots at 15 feet with Daisy BBs.


I was hoping to stay within 1.5 inches, and here I had just fired a 1.113" opener. It boded well for the gun. Additionally, except for the one shot, all rounds are centered. I used a 6 o'clock hold, shooting one-handed.

Three groups later and I broke one inch!


Not all in the black, but they measure 0.923".


The sights were hard to use because of glare. Had the range been lighted better, I believe my groups would have benefitted. But my final group, which was UNDER three-quarters of an inch, shows I was able to compensate!


Smallest group of the test went 0.735".


I shot several groups two-handed but couldn't equal my one-handed groups. The glare from the sights was worse when they were closer to my eyes, so the two-hand hold suffered.

I also tried a group double-action and the pistol actually helped me shoot. The way the trigger stacks at the end of the pull assisted in steadying the sights. The group was almost 1.4 inches, but it was well-centered on the bull.

Bottom line
If all the Umarex Makarovs shoot like this one, my advice is to run, don't walk, to buy one as soon as you can. Only the Tanfoglio shoots close to this well, and this one is all-metal. My thanks to JB at Umarex USA for providing this pistol.

47 Comments:

At April 21, 2009 6:30 AM, Anonymous Mr B. said...

Goodmorning Edith,

Sure looks like it's a shooter! What do the people that have a Makarvos think about them? Is the gun quiet enough for city shooting, ie, neighbors 30' away.? Thanks for the input.

Waiting for UPS to get here--printer for my chronograph.

Word verification sicke.

 
At April 21, 2009 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NICE! those are some good groups
with a bb pistol,and 1 handed to boot!
Chuck I don't think you'll regret
any time spent improving the 1077.
they can be really nice if you can put up with CO2:)

JTinAL

 
At April 21, 2009 7:14 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Mr. B/Sicke

My neighbors live closer then 30 feet and I shot the gun with no problem. Outdoors it can be heard without a sound box like the one I described a few weeks back. Indoors, no problem.

B.B.

 
At April 21, 2009 8:27 AM, Blogger AlinCT said...

I'm waiting for UPS too, they should be dropping off the Daisy 499b I ordered last week. For some reason lately, the idea of shooting BB guns is appealing to me more and more.

This Mak will go on the list of "to buy".

 
At April 21, 2009 8:40 AM, Anonymous Pensy Shooter said...

Hi B.B.,

I said I would report back with how the Desert Eagle worked out. Turned out it wasn't for me. Fun to shoot and it functioned without a hitch but accuracy just wasn't there for what I need.

I ended up buying a used / now obsolete match grade 5 shot repeater (Walther) at a reasonable price, to practice with. I'm having a ball with that and my scores at the range with firearms are rising steadily.

Another project is to "kitchen table gunsmith" my Umarex PX4 just to see how accurate I can get it to be. I shot it so much that the firing pin broke and I ended up figuring out how to disassemble and repair it. Hats off to Umarex for carrying and selling repair parts. Key issues to its accuracy are:

1. the fit of the barrel assembly in its plastic outer sleeve -- shim it to tighten it up.

2. locking the plastic barrel sleeve to the rest of the frame -- I used a layer of "crazy glue" as a custom - form fitting shim.

3. tighting up the slide to frame fit -- this is giving me some fits. I upset some of the zink in the slide's cylinder assembly with a punch to tighten things up, but there is still some play that I have to figure a way to remove while still having the gun function.

4. replacing the front sight -- it's plastic and holster wear has taken its toal. Midway sells screw on Glock sights for low $$$ that I am going to try.

5. mounting an adjustable rear sight. Sights are expensive so this may be a while.

In any event, thank you again for your advice and shoot straight!

 
At April 21, 2009 9:07 AM, Blogger CJr said...

Well folks, it's time to demonstrate my newbieness again.

Maybe, first, I should ask if there is a book I should look for that has a glossary of all the gun terms.

But my question is, what is stacking of the trigger? I have seen this term used in a few previous posts and in a firearm magazine. I only think I know what first and second stage mean and I believe I know what creep is because BB defined it in one of his posts, but the definition is not intuitive.

Also, a while back there was a David who was having pellets fall through the barrel of his AirHawk and he was going to try Crow Magnums. Did anybody hear if that ever work out? Just looking for closure :)

-Chuck

 
At April 21, 2009 10:18 AM, Blogger FRED said...

BB,

where you live in Texas, most of your neighbors spotting you with a gun in the back yard wouldn't raise a ruckus. I imagine some will come over and ask if they can shoot your gun.

I don't know where Mr. B lives but knowing how folks are in the Northeast, walking around with a gun is a recipe for a quick visit from John Law with his real pistol drawn.

fred

 
At April 21, 2009 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred,

We live in a housing development on a small piece of property with a high wooden fence. We try not to shoot outside if we think the neighbors or their dogs are outside.

When we lived in Maryland, all but one of our neighbors owned guns. I know of at least one other house on our current street that has guns in it.

Edith (Mrs. B.B.)

 
At April 21, 2009 10:39 AM, Blogger AlinCT said...

It's funny, my dad would tell me stories of when he was a kid in the 50's. He had, and still has, a Winchester 67 .22 that he would shoot in Hartford CT. His father was a member of the Governor's Foot Guard and at the time, they had an indoor range. He was 10-11 at the time and he would just sling the rifle over his shoulder and hop on the city bus over the river to the range to shoot. No one paid him any mind. Imagine that happening these days.

 
At April 21, 2009 10:48 AM, Blogger ajvenom said...

This is the firearm glossary I sometimes use:

http://www.marplerifleandpistolclub.org.uk/general/glossary.htm

Trigger Stacking......? Got me....could it be the pull weight range?

 
At April 21, 2009 11:13 AM, Blogger kevin said...

Chuck,

"Stacking of a trigger" refers to the increase in pull weight toward the end of the triggers travel.

If you think about a typical double action pistol, it's common in double action that the "stacking" increases. Having a bit of stack in your action allows you to reaquire the target vs. too light of a trigger going off before you're ready.

kevin

 
At April 21, 2009 11:14 AM, Anonymous Mr B. said...

Fred,

I live one house off a 6 lane urban highway. I share a driveway with one neighbor and a side yard with the other. No stockaid fences--chain link instead. I live 10 minutes from the University of Maryland and 15 minutes from the DC line.

However, the Berwyn Rod and Gun Club in Bowie Maryland has a beautiful range a 30 minute drive away. If you live around here look us up!

word verification--afeeftan: maybe where we might be heading?

 
At April 21, 2009 11:22 AM, Anonymous BG_Farmer said...

BB,
Good shooting. Please write a blog on the Air Lodge setup while you're their:).

Chuck,
If I had to guess, trigger stacking is something new gun owners do to the triggers of guns they don't have time to practice shooting, because someone online said it was essential for good shooting:). It's probably necessary to "stack" the trigger when you put a $500 custom thumbhole stock on a $150 sporter. It is almost as important to "stack the trigger" as it is to "buy good glass" and clean your rifle for 6 hours after each monthly trip to the range.

PS.--Just saw Kevin knew the real answer. Mine was in fun.

 
At April 21, 2009 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is the power of the Makarov? Better or worse than expected? Thanks

 
At April 21, 2009 12:18 PM, Blogger CJr said...

Re: guns in the neighborhood

We are currently in gun hysteria as a country.

Last week my city locked down one of our local high schools for a few hours because someone called in and reported seeing someone enter the school carrying what looked like a rifle.

The real story is that a high school girl was taking her own pellet gun in for the JROTC air rifle program scheduled for that day. They kept the school locked down just to be on the safe side.

The school says they store guns for the students to use and didn't know why the girl brought her own. (You and I know why. Either the school guns are crap (most likely) or they didn't have enough to go around.) So they're going to review their procedures to make sure it doesn't happen again.

On the bright side it good to see a girl with an airgun, and interested in JROTC, also.

-Chuck

 
At April 21, 2009 12:24 PM, Anonymous Volvo said...

Bg Farmer,

It must be another rainy day for you. I have all my “crops” started, so I can take a break. The next step to what Kevin stated for some is staging the trigger on a revolver. It is considered a huge no –no, at least by the folks that print the Smith and Wesson manual, but it is basically pulling the trigger in double action mode to just short of where the hammer falls. It doesn’t work so well on my Taurus, but is an evil temptation on my silky smooth S&W. The correct procedure is to just shoot single action if precision is called for or the target is not yet acquired.

Volvo

 
At April 21, 2009 12:26 PM, Blogger CJr said...

So BG_Farmer, to follow your advice, instead of stacking the trigger, I should just stack the gun in a corner somewhere.

-Chuck

 
At April 21, 2009 12:33 PM, Blogger CJr said...

BG_Farmer,
On a serious note: I have a S&W .38 Special Airweight and it is real easy to "stack" its trigger as you described. I noticed it the second time I took it out to shoot it. I showed it to a friend of mine and he thought it was a great feature and was going to use it on his gun. Later, I read in the gun's manual that it was a dangerous thing to do. I showed that to my friend and his comment was, why did they make it so it would do that, then.

-Chuck

 
At April 21, 2009 1:26 PM, Anonymous BG_Farmer said...

Volvo,
Are you watching me:)? Actually its sopping wet b/t rains (more soon), typical for this time of year, but you're right, the weather is more conducive to blogging than a few weeks ago. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few snow-flakes tonight, either:).


Chuck,
Yes, stack it in the corner by the door, so you can shoot varmints:).

Kevin and Volvo provided the real information -- I was just trying to make you feel better about not knowing the term, not belittle your curiosity. Sorry if it came off wrong.

RE: your other post. Seems like half the country has heart palpitations if they see a gun-shaped object, while the other half is buying ammo faster than the factories can turn it out. Hysteria is right.

 
At April 21, 2009 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck,

Regarding the 1077, I have my universal solution: send it in for repairs, especially if it's under warranty. My first 1077 worked great for a couple months, then for no reason started shooting all over the place--8 inch groups at 20 feet rested. I sent it in, and they replaced it free of charge. The replacement began developing seal problems shortly afterwards, and they replaced that too. Since then, the gun has operated perfectly with accuracy that is indistinguishable from the IZH 61 at my distance.

If your performance is any less, send it in and do not try messing around with it as you will void the warranty.

Matt61

 
At April 21, 2009 2:21 PM, Blogger FRED said...

Mr. B,

it's looking good that my daughter will be going to U of MD this fall (I hope since it's a LOT cheaper than Northeastern U in Boston).

I agree there is hysteria in this country. I've been waiting 3 weeks for an order to ship from another major retailer for some .38 cal bullets and a .380 set of dies for reloading! This is incredible. People really are nuts.

Finally, when I shoot double action with my "old" Ruger Security Six, I "stack" the trigger all the time when trying for accuracy. I didn't know this was dangerous. I always thought it was dangerous for the object on the other side of the barrel that was in my sights!

 
At April 21, 2009 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB.
I´m thinking of buying an air rifle of the sort of an HW77, R9 or TX200, but Im very concerned about their performance at the altitude I live at (7200 feet). I read your february 7, 2008 report on airguns at altitude, and I seem to be able to live with the hipothetical loss of power shown there, but im most worried on damaging the gun. Is there any risk of damaging any of the spring-guns listed above because of shooting them at 7200 feet?

Thanks
ALEX

 
At April 21, 2009 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck
stacking the trigger in ref. to the 1077
when you begin trigger pull you are
pulling the lever in the mag which advances the clip(cylinder)
after a bit of travel and while the
clip is still aligning then the hammer is added to the pull which adds to pull weight.when the hammer reaches (full cock)and just before
it releases is when you feel the most resistance.
When I learned where this"sweet spot" was I got almost all 1 hole
groups at ~25 ft.because I had time to realign if necessary and stop pulling if I wasn't on target.
This is from a rested position cause I'm not that steady off hand:)

JTinAL

 
At April 21, 2009 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BGFarmer
I've got lots of triggers and other small parts "stacked" in a box
cause the guns they were in stopped working and I'm a scavenger :)

JTinAL
word veri is RATSY:like I'm a
pack ratsy :)or a rack patsy ?

 
At April 21, 2009 3:40 PM, Anonymous Volvo said...

Fred,

I think stacking and staging are differet. The first as Kevin stated is the increase in resistance as the pull continues. Staging is not finishing what you started and some just start too early. Stopping at that ¾ pull mark breaks a few safety rules especially if it becomes a habit and you start while the pistol is still at your hip.

I’ll admit at the range it can be a fine line between just a slow deliberate pull when shooting double action and staging.

 
At April 21, 2009 3:44 PM, Anonymous volvo said...

Alex,

Any reason you not considering a PCP? As far the effect of altitude and cold, I think Kevin holds the record here.

 
At April 21, 2009 4:13 PM, Blogger CJr said...

BG_Farmer,
You didn't come off wrong. I enjoyed the humor and tried to send some back. That's the problem with the written word. People don't hear the voice inflection or see the smiling face. I guess that's what emoticons are for. :) ;) :)

Here's my comb over one. (c:j

-Chuck

 
At April 21, 2009 4:16 PM, Blogger CJr said...

It was BB who got me wondering about stacking. Here is what he said in today's post:

"I also tried a group double-action and the pistol actually helped me shoot. The way the trigger stacks at the end of the pull assisted in steadying the sights. The group was almost 1.4 inches, but it was well-centered on the bull."

-Chuck

 
At April 21, 2009 4:38 PM, Anonymous Joe B. said...

BB,

In your opinion, which is the MOST accurate: the Makarov, the Tanfoglio or the Sig? I'm leaning towards the Tanfoglio, because of my love for 1911s, but I'm also a fiend for accuracy.

 
At April 21, 2009 5:14 PM, Blogger kevin said...

Chuck,

Re: Your S&W .38 Special Airweight

In your "serious note", in regards to stacking, you mentioned that you read in your gun's manual that it was a dangerous thing to do? What's dangerous? Shooting your gun double action? I'm confused.

What model do you have? 637? 638? 642? 442? 443? 629?

Many of the Smith & Wesson airweights can only be shot double action.

Enlighten me.

kevin

 
At April 21, 2009 5:36 PM, Anonymous Joe B. said...

BB,

Oops. Just re-read your blog. It ends with "Only the Tanfoglio shoots close to this well..." How close is "close" in your experience... .8, .9, 1"?

So I guess what I'm asking is, if you were buying only one of these three pistols, which one would it be?

 
At April 21, 2009 5:42 PM, Blogger kevin said...

Alex,

Welcome!

You've narrowed your choice of airguns down to an elite selection of spring guns.

I got into pellet guns about a year ago so I'm a novice here. I did dive in head first though and have tried a lot of guns in the past year. I normally shoot at 5,300 feet in elevation and on weekends shoot even more pellets at about 10,000 feet in elevation.

Alex, you're smarter than me. I bought several springers and shot them for awhile before I realized the loss of power because of elevation (didn't have a chrony back then). Finally unraveled the mystery of my springers shooting weak by reading this blog and others.

Advertised velocities are usually done with the lightest pellet the manufacturer can find and can't be considered a "base line" for measuring a true loss of velocity. Using B.B.'s velocities when he tested airguns that I subsequently purchased and then chronied, I lost about 10-15% power at 5,200 feet in elevation. I lost as much as 25% velocity at 10,000 feet in elevation. The more powerful springers lose greater percentage of velocity (please don't ask me why. I don't have a clue).

With only a year of shooting springers at these elevations I can't answer your question about long term damage to a spring gun. I haven't had any problems yet but I don't shoot the springers as much anymore.

There's an obsessed spring gun shooter on the yellow forum that goes by "peakchick" and she has been shooting springers for years in Colorado Springs (7,000 feet in elevation? I think). I asked her the same question you did and she said that she didn't have any problems out of the ordinary.

To compensate for the loss of power I needed for hunting with a springer I was forced into hard shooting guns with lots of recoil and that usually meant they required a lot more technique to be accurate. I owned the exceptions to this rule like the rws 54 that didn't require great technique and was powerful but was also a very heavy hunting gun.

For these reasons and more I got into pcp's. No regrets. Hope that helps.

kevin

 
At April 21, 2009 7:30 PM, Anonymous BG_Farmer said...

Chuck,
Good -- just wanted to make sure. I like the combover emoticon.

JT,
I just rescued some perfectly good stuff from a box my wife was going to throw away. We had a discussion not long ago where I tried to explain why a pair of jeans that's 4 inches too big in the waist and has a couple of holes in the south end might still be useful in certain situations. Certainly the denim material would be handy, even if they couldn't be worn all the time:).

 
At April 21, 2009 8:02 PM, Blogger CJr said...

Kevin,
I have the 637 Airweight.

You asked a very good question and below is S&W's answer.

You are correct, it is double action and it can be shot single action, also - a lot more accurately, as you already know.

Here is verbatim what the manual says in red ink:

"Warning: "Staging the trigger violates a basic rule of firearm safety to keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until ready to fire, and creates a serious risk of personal injury or death since it may lead to an unintentional discharge."

It goes on to say in black normal print the following:

" It has come to our attention that some users of Smith & Wesson handguns capable of firing in double-action mode may "stage" the trigger in anticipation of firing a shot in the double-action mode. Staging is the action of pulling the trigger rearward toward - stopping just short of - the point where the hammer falls and the handgun fires. Such manipulation of the trigger can reduce the user's control of the handgun and can result in an unintentional discharge. Furthermore if the user decides not to fire, release of the trigger from a position close to the firing point in the staging process could result in an unintentional discharge.

We warn all users of our handguns capable of firing in double-action to never "stage" the trigger."

On my gun, in double-action mode, I can slowly pull the trigger and watch the hammer come back and tell when the hammer is almost ready to release and hold it there. At that point it is almost like single action mode except it is the pressure of my finger that is keeping the hammer cocked and not a mechanical stop. If I were to change my mind and quickly release the trigger at that point the hammer could fall fast enough to cause the gun to fire. At that time I could be considered to have lost control of the gun. Hopefully I'm still pointing down range.

-Chuck

 
At April 21, 2009 8:30 PM, Blogger kevin said...

Chuck,

Ahhh!

Staging vs. stacking. Volvo already did a great job explaining the differances.

637 is a nice looking gun. I've heard they are notorious for cracked frames?

Thanks for clearing that up.

kevin

 
At April 21, 2009 9:23 PM, Blogger CJr said...

Kevin,
637...Great...I'd better check the warranty.
-Chuck

 
At April 21, 2009 10:08 PM, Anonymous volvo said...

CJr,

Not sure about the cracked frames, but personally I avoid the Airweights because with my skills there is a good chance I will need to throw the revolver or use it as a club, and I get an extra 10 ft lbs with stainless steel. : )

 
At April 21, 2009 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BGFarmer
isn't it strange how women will
keep rooms full of useless junk,
but always want to throw out our perfectly good stuff? :)

I know I'm in trouble again now!
hee hee haa hah hoo hoo

JTinAL

 
At April 21, 2009 10:29 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

The Mak is definitely more accurate than the Tanfoglio, but it is close. The difference might be an individual gun, rather than a whole model type. Get what you like.

B.B.

 
At April 21, 2009 10:31 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Alex,

I don't know about DAMAGING the gun from shooting at high altitude, but the power loss is real. Can any readers help him?

B.B.

 
At April 21, 2009 10:31 PM, Blogger CJr said...

Volvo,
I see them throw guns all the time in the movies and it never works for them. It just bounces off. I think you should buy a really good knife to throw instead. There are some guys on this blog who know knives. Maybe you're one of them. I don't know.

I've been practicing with a speed loader for my .38. As fumble fingered as I am trying to reload, maybe I can throw that.

-Chuck

 
At April 21, 2009 10:36 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Makarov power,

The power of the pistol is exactly where I expected it to be from the advertising.

B.B.

 
At April 21, 2009 10:38 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

BG-Farmer,

I took some pictures of the Air Lodge while I was there so a writeup will be easy. I spend three straight days in and around it.

B.B.

 
At April 22, 2009 4:10 AM, Anonymous Joe B. said...

Thank you, BB. Hope you're having fun filming.

 
At April 22, 2009 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB. and Kevin

I was worried about the damage because I thought that the thin air might not be enough to cushion the piston's travel and probably cause some damage.

Thanks for your help.
Alex

 
At January 17, 2010 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it safe to dry fire the Mak CO2 pistol without BBs or a CO2 cannister?

I've had the dry firing prohibition for real firearms drilled into me so I'm loathe to do so, but I have no idea if this applies to air pistols.

 
At January 17, 2010 4:09 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

I wouldn't dry fire this gun.

B.B.

 

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