Browning 800 Mag - Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
Good morning everyone. I'm flying to New York today for another week of filming for the new TV show. I'll be back next Thursday. Edith will watch the blog, and we'd sure appreciate any help you guys can give. I will look in while I'm on the road, but I can only do that late at night and in the morning.
I saw the Browning 800 Mag at the 2009 SHOT Show and told you it was coming. It already has several product reviews on the Pyramyd Air website, so they have been selling for a while.
Let's first consider the specifications. This .177 pistol is claimed to attain 700 f.p.s., which is very fast for a spring-air pistol. I will test it with Gamo Raptors and some Crosman Silver Eagle hollowpoints I've been saving for this occasion. I don't expect it to go that fast with lead pellets, but it should be able to produce some remarkable velocities compared to other spring-piston air pistols. The manual recommends the use of lead pellets, only, so I will confine my testing with these non-lead pellets to velocity, only. Of course, I'll also test the pistol with RWS Hobbys.
The gun comes only in .177 at this time. But as powerful as it is, I would imagine it coming out in .22 some time in the future.
The pistol has an anti-recoil power system. Although the owner's manual doesn't explain what it is, it seems to be a sledge-type action in which the action of the gun moves in the grip when the gun fires. I tried the pistol a few times just to see the effect. What's felt by the shooter is a pulse without a harsh recoil. I wouldn't say that all the recoil is gone, but most of it seems to be.
Upon closer examination, I see that this isn't just a simple sledge system after all. Apparently with this system the action is allowed to float back and forth on rails as the recoil is tamed instead of moving to one position and locking up. It's unique in my experience.
The grip on this pistol is like the stock on a rifle, in that it entirely contains the action, along with those rails I mentioned. It's made of a dark black synthetic...so are the trigger, rear sight base (but not the front) and separate cocking aid.
The safety is automatic and must be pressed forward to take it off before firing. The trigger is adjustable for the length of the first-stage pull.
The rear sight adjusts in both directions and both front and rear are fiberoptic. I like the fact that the rear sight is clearly marked with directions for adjustments. There's also an 11mm scope rail on top of the receiver, but it lacks a recoil stop. Perhaps with the recoil damping, it isn't required.
This is a large air pistol, make no mistake. Though the pistol grip is sized well for an average adult hand, the big gun weighs just under 4 lbs., which is heavy for most shooters. However, the weight will help with stability.
The manual says the cocking effort is 32 lbs., and I checked that on my bathroom scale. Our test pistol requires 45-50 lbs. with the cocking aid being used. The first few cocks took 60 lbs., so it may decrease as the gun breaks in. I'll test it again in Part 3 of this report.
One of the customer reviews praises the gun for its accuracy, so I have my work cut out for me. However, another customer asked if Browning would please put a metal receiver on the gun--yet the one on it right now is made of steel! I think he was confused by the large synthetic grip unit.
Essentially, the Browning 800 Mag is a small breakbarrel pellet rifle in a pistol stock. So, we may see some surprises as we test it!