Smith & Wesson 78G and 79G – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


S&W 78G has reached the status of icon among air pistols.

Today, I’ll finish the report on the .22 caliber S&W 78G, covering both velocity and accuracy. You may remember that I sent my pistol to Dave Gunter to modify it to shoot faster, and today we’ll see what that means. A standard 78G shoots Crosman Premiers at around 395 f.p.s. or so. Mine goes a bit faster.

I’ll also tell you how many shots I get per CO2 cartridge. I don’t have a standard 78G to test for you, but I remember getting about 35 good shots per cartridge. Perhaps some readers who own the gun can tell us what they get.

I told you before that the trigger is single-stage. I measured it with a gauge, and it lets off at variable weights that range from 3 lbs., 2 oz., to 3 lbs., 10 oz. I mentioned the creep in the first report, and perhaps that’s why it’s so inconsistent.

Crosman Premiers
Crosman Premiers averaged 486 f.p.s., with a spread from 484 to a high of 490. The average velocity gives an energy of 7.5 foot-pounds, which is quite a bit for an air pistol. It’s certainly hotter than a Beeman P1, which is considered to be a powerful pistol. In factory trim, this same gun would produce about 4.96 foot-pounds, so this is half again as powerful.

RWS Hobbys
RWS Hobbys produced 7.15 foot-pounds, which is still rather impressive.

Shot count
Now for the bad news. The pistol gets only 15 shots in a reasonable power band at this level. There are another five shots afterwards that also sound good and if you are close enough they’ll hit the target. After that, you’re finished. Power takes gas, and this isn’t a conservative pistol. I was told of this relationship before agreeing to the modification, yet I still opted for it. I don’t shoot this gun often enough that it matters, but if I did, this would not be the way to go. I wanted to see just what the gun could do wide open, which is pretty much what I got. I could back off the power adjustment screw, but I’m not going to. That would be like owning a Ferrari and removing half the spark plugs.

Accuracy
My 78G isn’t as accurate as a modern 2240 or my Crosman Mark I. However, as powerful as it is, it has more of the firearm feel and sound when it goes off. The experience is more like shooting a .22 LR pistol.


Best group of five Hobbys at 25 feet.


… and the worst group.

I think if the trigger were a little crisper I might do better, but it’s difficult to say. However, I think the comparison to the 2240 is an eye-opener. I discovered that it was more accurate while writing a large article for Shotgun News.

Final impression
Accuracy aside, the S&W 78G is a blast to own and shoot. It harkens to a time when airguns in general were made of better stuff, though the current crop of lookalikes leaves little to be desired. I think I’m right about the 78G and 79G being too close to the Mark I and Mark II Crosman for them to be anything except close cousins.

This is an air pistol to put on your short list. Fortunately, they’re still affordable.

30 Responses to “Smith & Wesson 78G and 79G – Part 2”

  • Night Owl Says:

    B.B.

    I want to say thank you for running this blog. I am truly greatful to have such a wide range of information regarding airguns. Over the past several months I have been going through these blogs dating as far back as '05. I am impressed. So as a fellow airgun enthusiast I say, "THANK YOU." I do not have a repeated question. I just want to say you're doing a great job. And if you're not getting paid you are a Saint for dedicating yourself to this blog. If you are getting paid for this you deserve a raise. I salute you. At any rate you deserve credit for the hard work and long hours you have put in. I am one of many readers who are greatful this blog exsist. A wealth of knowledge. So whether your an expert or a novice I think I speak for many, "Thank you."

  • Mr B. Says:

    Night Owl,

    Well said sir. You just mirrored my thoughts. B.B., thank you for your dedication to and patience with us.

    Mr B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Awww, shucks, guys.

    B.B.

  • kevin Says:

    B.B. The Saint,

    Sort of has a ring to it. Not sure you get enough praise or recognition for your dedication to this blog. I know there are a few readers that realize the enormous number of comments that are generated every day, many from old articles that you did years ago and you patiently answer everyone. What you've created is an incredible resource (for those that utilize the search feature) and an enormous monster that takes your time everyday. Well done.

    Now get back to work….Have you modified your Crosman Mark I?

    kevin

  • Anonymous Says:

    Add my kudos. There is not a lot of airgun activity in my area (though I'm doing my best to change that).
    Without this blog I would feel much less connected to the airgun community.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Kevin,

    No, my Mark I is in stock condition. I had it resealed by Rick Willnecker about 10-12 years ago and I've just been shooting it ever since.

    B.B.

  • Night Owl Says:

    CowBoyStar Dad,

    I live in anti-gun Illinois. I actually had to get a F.O.I.D. card(Firearm Owner's Identification Card) to legally purchase airguns that have a greater velocity than 700 f.p.s or a cal. greater than .177. No big deal now that I have one, but it does make it harder to enjoy such a great hobby where I live. I turned my basement into shooting range. I dare not go outside and shoot for fear of all the yuppies.haha. anyways, I guess I'm in the same boat as you. Thanks for the internet we are all connected.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Yes, B.B., you're doing a terrific job.

    Night Owl, I thought California was bad. That's a hassle about the card in Illinois, however, I sort of like the idea that one of my rifles is like shooting a firearm at home.

    Matt61

  • Anonymous Says:

    In Canada the cutoff line is 500fps, so even mild guns like the R7 and Slavia's are sold in a 'detuned' version as well as stock.
    I don't know how strict they are on this when it's a close call. I know that my Slavia 630 has been chrono'd at 530fps with RWS Superpoints.
    But in Canada, much as I truly love my country, it does get a bit trying at times.
    For example, most people I know, when I tell them about the boys Red Ryder's tend to roll their eyes and ask how I can give such a violent message to my sons (good grief, you'd think they're going to put an eye out). I've become wary of whom I tell of our shooting passion.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    CSD,

    I used to be careful of talking about guns in public, but I have settled on a different tact. I go the other way. If the social do-gooders want to lecture me they should be prepared to get a lecture in return.

    And I don't do it from a standpoint most of them can understand.

    For example:

    "Oh my gosh, you teach your kids about guns! Isn't that child abuse?"

    "How else am I going to instill perfect hand-eye coordination and small-motor skills in a five-year-old. According to studies, shooting is the perfect trainer for those in youngsters."

    At this point they are turning purple from lack of oxygen, so I continue.

    ""Besides, I insist that my kids learn discipline, and it's a proven fact that shooters develop discipline faster than any other sport."

    If you take this line people will either stop talking to you or they will argue, giving you more opportunity to present you case. For example, the number of deaths from BB guns in the U.S. in 2008 = 4. The number of deaths from skateboards in 2006 = 42.

    B.B.

  • Night Owl Says:

    B.B. or anyone with knowledge of airsoft-

    Since this topic is raised I was wondering what type of airsoft gun would be the best training tool for my kids. I am thinking of starting them on airsoft first for safety reasons however, I know little about them. So what kind of power plant would be a good starter/learner? Are the spring airsoft guns hard to cock for a child? I have a 5 year old boy who may have to wait awhile before he starts, but my 9 year old daughter is ready to learn. Any thoughts?

  • Anonymous Says:

    Night owl, others may differ in their opinions but I looked at airsoft and opted out for my boys, who each received their Red Ryders on their 6th birthdays.
    I didn't like the concept of airsoft at such a young age. My thinking is that 6 is too young an age to be giving a child a gun that is meant to be shot at another person. My thinking was that a 6 year old would find it hard to understand that 'yes, you can shoot someone with this gun'…and then on the other hand that they must never point a powerful pellet gun (or hunting rifle) at someone.
    Instead I opted for the Red Ryder's with the express thought of instilling in them that all guns can be dangerous if used improperly, and that you never point a gun at someone unless you intend to kill them.
    Just my two cents.
    CowBoyStar Dad
    With

  • Fused Says:

    CSD,
    I agree with your reasoning whole heartedly. I've begun teaching my daughter with those same ideas. Never point a gun at anything unless you intend to kill it is good advice no matter how old you are. But just because it's serious business, doesn't mean it's not fun. And as B.B. pointed out, it has a lot to teach everyone.

    Another argument that I've thought of is that sooner or later my children are going to be exposed to firearms without my knowledge or presence. When that happens, I'd like for them to know what to do.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Night Owl,

    I'm going to agree with CowboyStar Dad for different reasons. I think if you teach children to never point any kind of gun at another person they will not be inclined to do so with an airsoft gun. I'm saying the gun, itself, doesn't encourage behavior or any kind.

    But I favor starting kids out with long guns simply because it is easier for them to act safely with them than with handguns.

    My choice for training kids is the Daisy Avanti 499 Champion. Here is a link to a 2-part report I did last year:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2008/05/daisy-avanti-499-champion-part-2-worlds.html

    B.B.

  • Night Owl Says:

    B.B.

    Thanks for the link. This might kill two birds with one stone. I have been looking for an airgun I myself could shoot in my bedroom at night when all is silent and the Night Owl is awake. I think my room is long enough. I might just get this for myself. As far as the kids are concerned, I'm not sure which way I will lean as their first gun. Airsoft/BB gun.I do think long guns are best as you suggest. I never gave airsoft much thought till I heard your reports on them over Pyramid Air Waves. And now my wife is so inclined to think it would be better to let them start off with the airsoft first. Then move onto the pellet/bb gun after they get basics down. I'm going to give it some more thought. That Daisy Avanti 499 Champion is going to be in my house soon for me. Chances are that will be the one they start off with. Unless the wife prevails.

    Heilige Schrift = Holy Scripture?
    If so, maybe you are a Saint.

    Night Owl

  • Night Owl Says:

    Off topic-

    Does anyone know of any airgun shows/expos coming up in the northern region? I have never been to one. I tried to Google Search but no luck. It keeps giving me past events. Maybe I have to wait till next year. Airgun Show/Expos this year in the northern region?

    Night Owl

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Night Owl,

    Yes, and on the podcast I went so far as to say that airsoft guns are perfect for training new shooters. I was thinking adults and older teenaged kids when I said it.

    The dangerous thing about youngsters is their tendency early-on to turn without thinking and so to point the muzzle at people in the area. You can overcome this with some pre-sensitization before bringing the gun into the session.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Night Owl,

    The northern region of what? There was an airgun show in northern New York last weekend.

    There is a BB gun show coming up near Plymouth Michigan on August 23rd.

    The Roanoke Airgun Expo is the largest airgun show in the world. It happens the last weekend in October (23-24).

    B.B.

  • VInce Says:

    BB, I gots one fer ya…

    Wayne just sent me a wad of pistols to work on, including 4 Daisy model 177 Targeteers. ONE of them is set up as a single-shot… muzzle funnel and no BB feed guide or feed hole in the shot tube. And it isn't just missing, either. And it's painted a different color from the others.

    Know anything about this?

  • Night Owl Says:

    B.B.

    Northern region of the midwest. I guess I'm going to penny pinch from here on out to be able to find a great deal at the largest airgun show in the world. I searched Roanoke Airgun Expo but did not find this year's listing. Thanks. Will PyramidAir being having a garage sale again?

    Night Owl

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Vince,

    Never heard of one like that. Of course I ain't the greatest Daisy guy.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Night Owl,

    Last year Pyramyd took seven tables, I believe. They did well and I expect them to repeat this year.

    I will have a table there, too, so be sure to introduce yourself.

    B.B.

  • Mr B. Says:

    twotalon,

    You mentioned close shooting causing real paralax problems with Your Talon SS cause the scope is very hight above the bore. I put a cheap lazor, on my SS, from Crosman for the close shots–works ok for me.

    Scope is dead on at 16-20 yards while the lazor is dead on at 8-9 yards. You'd be surprise at the differance between cross hairs and dot at 8 yards. Works so well that I'm starting to lust after PA's green lazor, Marauder in .22 AirHog .25, and a Freedom Arms Revolver in .45 Colt.

    Mr B.

  • twotalon Says:

    Mr B
    Holdover and parallax just don't get it for me for shorter range shots.
    Even a laser is a problem with the distance above or below the bore.
    I want open sights for particular kinds of shooting. A quick shot without the need to figure anything ….just aim where you want it to hit and pull the trigger.

    twotalon

  • Mr B Says:

    twotalon,

    With the laser attached forward of the "carying handle" on my SS I don't think you can get any closer to the axis of the bore with iron sights, but my 392 with a Williams peep sight is much faster for that first accurate shot.

    Mr B.

  • twitalon Says:

    MR B
    Tried a laser on the TSS. Not practical for the kind of shooting that I am talking about.

    I could use a pumper or a springer like I did when I was a kid doing a lot of barn hunting, but I want the extra zap of a pcp for those shots that can range from a few inches out to 20-25 yds.

    This requirement puts a lot of rifles off of my consideration list because of no sights.

    twotalon

  • Anonymous Says:

    Hi Guys!

    After a brief Hiatus Im back to doing builds on the 78G pistol.

    Info can be found here:

    http://houseofhomelite.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=wolf&action=display&thread=290

  • Anonymous Says:

    Cowboy Star Dad
    I agree completely with the idea of not providing airsoft – or for that matter, paintball – guns to children. It goes completely against the grain of firearm safety as presented by the most effective combat shooters in the world. Four rules; 1 – never point a firearm at something you are not willing to destroy, 2 – ALL guns are allways loaded! (at least treat them that way!) 3 – Keep your finger OFF the trigger until your sights are on the target and 4 – Be certain of your target and what is beyond it. These four rules will keep people with firearms (air powered or otherwise) safe and alive. Yes, I too gave my boys Red Ryder air rifles at an early age – I received mine at age 9, many years ago.
    As you can see, I am very hesitant to point a gun or anything resembling a gun at any other person. And, no, I am not a liberal tree hugger yuppie type, I am ex military – combat in 7 countries – and have been a combat firearms trainer for nearly 20 years.

    Major A. Baker (ret.)

  • Anonymous Says:

    BTW – the reason I came to this site was to get info on my 78G, now I feel much more confident attempting to reseal my CO2 pistol. Now if I could just get parts…. – Thank you, St. BB, for your posting!
    Maj. A Baker

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Major Baker,

    You have come in on an old thread. I am retesting the 78G right now on the current blog. Come to this page and look on the right margin for yesterday's post. Then read the first report (Part 1) from there.

    http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/2010/09/b-b-s-airguns-what-i-kept-and-why-part-3/

    As for parts to reseal a 78G, check here:

    http://www.bryanandac.com/

    And here:

    John Groenewold, PO Box 830, Mundelein, IL 60060-0830, (847) 566-2365
    http://www.jgairguns.biz

    B.B.

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