by B.B. Pelletier
Today we’ll look at the accuracy of the Browning 800 Mag. We know it’s a hot number, but can it keep them in a tight group, too? That’s the big question.
How to hold this one?
You may remember me talking about shooting another air pistol when I wrote about the accuracy of the RWS LP8. This was the other pistol I was testing. I had just completed testing three different pellets with the Browning 800 Mag when I discovered that the LP8 likes to be rested on the barrel. So, I returned to this one after completing that test and I ran the whole test again. Ill tell you the results.
The trigger on the 800 Mag remained heavy but crisp during all the accuracy testing. The automatic safety blade is inside the triggerguard, and your trigger finger can take the gun off safe when you’re ready.
The fiberoptic sights are dark, and, with the lighting I had on the target, they darkened enough so the front sight looked like a target post. The rear notch is in the center of a downward-curving rear blade, so it doesn’t present quite as crisp a sight picture as I would like, but it’s clear enough to do good work as long as the pistol is held out at arm’s length and you sight carefully.
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets were the first to be tried. They fit the bore extremely tight, not seating flush most of the time. Ten shots netted me a group size of 2.128″.
But when I tried resting the barrel, which worked so well with the LP8, the group size grew to 2.653″. So, the big Browning doesn’t like to touch anything when it shoots. The hold I told you about a couple weeks ago is the way to go with this pistol.
RWS Diabolo Basic
RWS Diabolo Basic pellets fit the bore much easier and seated flush every time. But they grouped in 3.284″ for nine shots. I was distracted while shooting and apparently miscounted the string. This was using a classic hold with the barrel touching nothing. When it touched the bag, I lost several shots off the paper, so the group grew to over five inches. Obviously, the Browning does not want to touch anything when it fires.
Okay, we’re not doing so well, are we? Large groups, here. Will I ever be forgiven by those who want the big Browning to be even better than the RWS LP8?
But wait–there’s one more pellet to test.
The Gamo Match it a wadcutter target pellet that I have often said can be surprisingly accurate. Well, today was the day. Using the classic rest–where the pistol doesn’t touch anything–I shot a nine-shot group (yes, I miscounted again!) that measures 2.078″. As you can see, it’s also rounder and not as much vertically strung out, which means this pistol wants to shoot. This may not be the best pellet for a Browning 800 Mag, but it does show that the pistol can shoot better than the first groups indicated.
So, what do we think of the Browning 800 Mag. Without a doubt, it’s the most powerful spring-piston air pistol on the market–now and maybe ever. If you read the owner reviews on the website, most owners mention the hard cocking and several have held off mentioning accuracy because they haven’t found the right pellet. May I suggest starting with Gamo Match and then looking for something that’s even better? If you want a powerful spring pistol and don’t have the money for the LP8, this would be the way to go.