Making lemonade

by B.B. Pelletier

Today, I’m going to share with you what happens when things don’t work out as planned. You know, all my days aren’t sunshine and bluebirds. I had fully intended to do part 4 of the Benjamin Katana test for you today. So yesterday I went over to the AirForce factory, where I can shoot long ranges undisturbed. I set up my MTM shooting bench and proceeded to finish the 50-yard accuracy test–or so I thought.

At first, I couldn’t get either the Gamo TS-22 pellets or the Crosman Premiers to group at 50 yards. In fact, I couldn’t even keep them on paper! You may recall from the last test that those were the two pellets I said I was going to test for you in the Katana before finishing the report.

I dragged the target in to just 20 yards to see where the rifle was shooting. Lo and behold, I then shot a 7-inch three-shot group with Premiers at 20 yards! End of shooting. End of test. End of good day.

Had this been the first time out with the Katana, I might have thought the rifle was lousy, but this is the same airgun that put 10 Beeman Kodiaks into a group less than six-tenths of an inch in size at 50 yards just last week. Something was wrong, and it probably wasn’t the rifle.

Just to be sure, I removed the small, decorative muzzlebrake from the rifle’s barrel, though it showed no signs of touching the pellets after they left the muzzle.

I then checked the scope and found that it was tight in the rings, which were tight on the rifle.

HOWEVER…

This is the same scope that caused me to walk away from the Norica Massimo test a couple weeks ago after I got lousy groups with a scope. You may remember that my open-sight groups with that rifle were MUCH better than after I scoped it.

So what?
Here’s what I want to get across in today’s report. Sometimes stuff happens, and you have to deal with it. With me doing accuracy testing on a lot of airguns and then publishing the results, the worst thing that can happen is for me to get a scope that cannot hold its zero. It doesn’t happen often, but I think it may have happened this time.

I don’t care about the scope, but I absolutely cannot be doubting my test equipment. Too much rides on the outcome.

And this is where learning takes place
I’ve never claimed to be an airgun guru. My claim is that I’m an average guy who shoots a lot; and, through years of experience, I’ve observed some things that seem to work for me. One of those things is that simple scopes are usually tougher and more reliable than complex scopes.

So, after suffering the loss of a full day at the range, like I did yesterday, I want to make certain that the next trip to the range is not wasted. Simple works better for me, so I will scope the Katana with a dead-simple scope for the return trip. The complex scope that I think may have failed will be set aside until I know the results of the next accuracy test. If the rifle works as I believe it will (i.e., it’s accurate at 50 yards), the other scope will be tossed and the accuracy test will be written.

Then, I’ll scope the Massimo with the same trusted scope and re-run that test for you.

More so what?
For those who keep score and “just HAVE to know,” the scope that MAY have failed is an AGS 8-32X56. It’s a nice-looking scope, but I cannot remember when or where I got it. It’s not a brand that Pyramyd Air carries, so either it came on a gun I was testing or I got it in a trade.

For the record, I have also broken Leapers, Beeman, RWS, Burris, Bushnell, Tasco and other scopes over the years. So, this isn’t a bad reflection on AGS, if it turns out that the scope is broken. It happens.

I’m going to also take a spare scope along to the next test. Regardless of the obstacles in the way, the Katana is going to be shot with a good scope, and I’ll finish my report. And that’s how I make lemonade. 8KAABSC48DEE

66 thoughts on “Making lemonade

  1. It's a shame you didn't have a few Kodiaks with you… after the Premiers failed, a quick group with them would have told you whether or not the scope was at fault.



  2. Thanks for the update on scopes. I think they are wonderful and frustrating at the same time! I have a love/hate relationship with them on springers… I'd love to use them but I hate missing all the time :-) Open sight on a springer is definitely the safest option for initial accuracy and testing.

    Good luck with your Katana testing.

    G.


  3. PLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLTTTT!

    Just some raspberry for your lemonade! LOL!

    Even the VERY expensive scopes break from what I hear. As I believe you have said as well, this is especially true on spring powered guns due to the extra forward jolt that many powder burner scopes are not engineered to absorb. What caused you problems with this one may never be known but I hope you have better luck going forward.

    JBA


  4. B.B.
    I have become familiar with scope problems.
    The problems that I had with both Talons drove me nuts for a while…..
    Non repeatable adjustments
    Adjustment out of range
    Non AO scopes…parallax
    Sticky adjustments
    Adjustments that are sticky below a certain temperature
    POI change with temperature
    POI change with a sticky scope at different temperatures

    Throw in barrel leading and bad crowns just for fun.

    For more fun, throw in corkscrewing problems that have not been identified.

    Lots of fun. Even with PCP guns.

    twotalon


  5. PurcHawk,

    You'll enjoy the 2240. It's a winner all the way around. It's really easy to work on. Check the Crosman Forum for more disassembly tips. It's far easier to work on than a Beeman P17 and stone cold reliable. The best part of the Crosman 22XX and 13XX guns is the modularity. You can also swap it to .177 caliber with just a new barrel and bolt if you need easier/cheaper pellet availability.

    I like to beat the drum for this pistol because it's so versatile. There's not much out there under $250 that can exceed it's all-around performance.

    Derrick


  6. Scopes break.

    Doesn't matter if it's on a rimfire, centerfire, shotgun, springer, pcp, etc. the scope can break.

    Everyone seems to acknowledge this but when it comes time to buy a new scope I am constantly seeing people prioritizing their new scope by what reticle, weight, finish (gloss or matte?), light gathering, ease of knob adjustment, AO or no AO, who has best price, etc.

    Very seldom any mention of which retailer is best about standing behind the sale and/or comparison of manufacturer warranty.

    If you read multiple airgun blogs like I do you will find that Pyramyd Air will stand behind their product sales. For example, I've read numerous times about this scope or that scope failing and Brand X Retailer requires the scope to be sent back to the manufacturer (the same manufacturer who's warranty expired or was worthless to begin with). Then another airgunner chimes in and says, "I had the same problem with that scope and sent it back to Pyramyd Air and they replaced it withing a week. No problems since."

    In my opinion, many higher end scopes are worthy of their price. I like good glass but I feel that I'm also paying for the lifetime "no bs" warranty that longtime manufacturers like Leupold and Bushnell stand behind.

    My two cents.

    kevin



  7. I had to return a Leapers scope because I was getting great groups, though unfortunately I was getting several of them within one ten shot group.

    The frustrating thing was I didn't know it was the scope until I'd experienced exactly the same thing on a second gun (that had been shooting wonderfully).

    I felt better after having an online conversation with a Marine sniper, who – in the midst of the year's biggest competition – had his nearly $3K S&B scope drop dead.

    Happens to everyone, and every scope, but it sure frustrates when it does.



  8. BB,
    I was going to recommend taking the Kodiacs along, too, but Vince gets up way earlier than I normally do.

    What an appropriate topic today! Yesterday, I spent a couple hours re-zeroing and remounting a scope that I have my suspicions about. I think I have a parallax problem that I hope to resolve buy doing it right.

    I was trying to create an entry for the eMatch event that ends Sunday. The target is an 8.5×11 with five bulls across and five down. After shooting the first two rows I began to notice that my POI changed as I moved from bull to bull. I don't really know if it's me or the scope but I do know it's a lot easier to change the scope than it is to change me so that's where I'm starting.

    I hope I don't get disqualified for starting over so please keep this just between you and me.

    -Chuck



  9. I'm gonna go with "I told you so"

    JC said…
    BB,

    Your problem is obvious.
    Let's look at the facts:

    1) No time
    2) Good Shot
    3) A scope that doesn't even rate you saying its name! The word scope is in that article 20 times, but not once did you disgrace yourself by saying its name. Of course its the scope!

    PS – We always attributed that too soon old, too late smart saying to the PA Dutch.


  10. B.B.

    I knew that rifle was a bad one…. Just kidding. Sounds like the scope is the culprit. I would get that settled right away.

    Scopes can be quite frustrating, but I must say that Leapers has come through in fine style. Their Bug Buster scope has survived tens of thousands of rounds on my IZH 61 without breaking or even, through the AccuShot rings, even moving. When my 6-24X50 scope didn't have its turrets operate correctly, the Leapers rep, with outstanding communication and rapid turnaround, got it replaced. The experience was a pleasure.

    Matt61





  11. Matt61,

    Interesting that you scope your 61, I find mine better suited to open sights. (Scope lasted just one day on it for accuracy testing; it did well but could not touch the Walther 55, mostly due to its long trigger). Actually, it is the only rifle I can recall open sights being my preferred set up on. For me, scopes rate number one with aperture or peeps in a distant second place usually. However, I have found the 61 amazingly well suited to the irons that come on it. Also, given the very modest power it seems a perfect combo. Standing and shooting off hand I am getting dime to nickel sized groups at just over ten meters with little effort.

    Very fun little piece. Sorry I haven't made a full review yet.

    Volvo


  12. Volvo,

    Glad to here your 61 is shooting well for you. Mine is due to arrive this afternoon. I hope the UPS guy doesn't make me his last stop. I want to get some shots in before I have to go to sleep.


  13. Kevin,

    Not sure, but few can appreciate like me. :-)

    Volvo, as B.B. noted somewhere, a scope becomes equivalent to iron sights at small distances, and that would certainly apply at 5 and 10 yards. The iron sights on the 61 are very good. In some ways they might even be better than a scope at the extremely short distances because of less wobble. I think that we are starting our own zimmerstutzen society. It could be that short-distance offhand shooting is where the 61 works best. The few times I tried benchresting it were less satisfactory although that could be because I almost never get out to benchrest my spring guns.

    Slinging Lead, tell us how the rifle works out. Just load the clip and crank the sidelever.

    All, as the state library association of California discusses how to grapple with future challenges, guess who suggested that a series of guest bloggers might be the very thing to liven up the proceedings. :-)

    Matt61


  14. I have been following these posts for a few months now. BB and many of the commentators were helpful in the purchase of my first airgun, a 397. I bought it because of the look, the feel, ease of use, and the price. And I am very happy to have it.

    So my question is, can the Marauder take a Peep sight? I know it has neither a front nor rear sight, but maybe one of you know if it is possible? I like the Discovery because of its sights and single shottedness (is there a better way to describe that?) but I am looking for a quieter pellet gun like the Maruader.

    Any suggestions?


  15. When I first got into air rifles, my second rifle was the RWS 350 magnum, a rifle I still am learning how to shoot. It's frustrating due to it's high recoil. When I thought I had the method down, I went to the local rifle and pistol range to shoot at 30 yards (all we have around here) and like you, BB, was scattering pellets all over the paper. As I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, I happened to grab the scope and found it had loosened up from the recoil. I had no tools to tighten up the screws so that ended my day but, and this is the point of this, whenever I go to the range or to my brothers or anywhere to shoot, I always take a small toolkit I've put together for my air rifles, just in case something like those loose screws come up again or I have to remove a dead scope or tighten a stock screw. A cheap Allan wrench kit, a couple of Home Depot screw drivers and I'm set for almost any calamity. Saved my shooting afternoon more than once.

    Fred


  16. Nate,

    Yes I have a suggestion. Don't think of peep sights on the Marauder. The shroud isn't connected to the barrel, so even if you solve the front sight mounting problem, your sight sre stiull not anchored to the barrel.

    I would get a used Diana 60, 61 or 65, if I were you. That's what you are trying to make out of the Marauder. A Diana 75 wouldn't be too bad, either. Likewise an FWB 300.

    B.B.


  17. Nate,

    I've got a different answer to your question. If you reallly like the Discovery, single shot, good iron sights and a PCP, but feel its too loud visit TKO Airguns and check out their Stage 5Muzzle Brakes. They work very well.

    Mr B.


  18. BB,
    There's no other device as likely to fail when you need it as a scope:). On the bright side, you were shooting pellets, not c/f cartridges as I was when this happened to me recently.


  19. Fred,

    I have a 177 RWS 350 and found it a pain to shoot with a scope. Just no luck at all despite several scopes and mounts and a ton of loctite.

    I took the scope off and used the bundled iron sights and I can now hit a 2" target all day long at 25 yards kneeling! My benchrest shooting is incredibly accurate.

    BUT here's a couple of tips and mods I made to mine.

    a) I had to open the rear sight clamshell and put friction tape inside the shell as there was lateral movement. The 350 recoils very hard.

    b) The front sight wasn't high enough for my range (10->30 yards) shooting 177 Kodiaks. So I took the front insert out, sanded off a little metal from the front post with Emery paper. I then degrease it and soldered a multi-strand wire which was too tall for my aim. Finally I sighted my gun in adjusting the rear sight and cutting the excess wire on the front post until I had a good balance. Remember to tin the wire completely to make it rigid.

    c) I'm not sure if this makes a difference but I put a commercial recoil pad on the stock so that when I hold it tight (yes tight) the recoil is absorbed. Its like Tom's Artillary Hold except you can sholder it tight and have the pad take the recoil.

    I know it sound like a lot of work but before I made my iron's golden I suffered many months of frustration and expense with scopes. Now I can pick the gun up and make a cold bore shot with confidence, so long as I do my part.

    G.


  20. Fred,

    I usually take two or three of my air rifles to the range at a time. Like you, I find it handy to bring along the items you listed. In addition, I include a long-nosed pliers and a tube of blue threadlocker.

    Les


  21. Fred,

    Did you get a chance to put the TKO trigger mods in your Discovery and how do you like it now?

    I have a private question for you. Would you please send your e-mail address to me at Dropdog2@Aol.com.

    Mr B.


  22. CJr,

    I made a cover for my Talon's CO2 tank. Nothing fancy, but it sure works. Feels better on your face and gets rid of most of the firing ping. Got one with your name on it. Send me an e-mail at Dropdog2@Aol.com and it's yours.

    Mr B.


  23. Mr.B,not to sound jealous or anything,but will you share your recipe for the co2 Airforce cover with the class??just interested in what material mainly[unless its classified]LOL Frank B



  24. This is my favorite blog and Ive been following it for over a year. I have been trying to get good groups from my .22 850 air magnum with CPs (in the tin). I don't have a lot of time for testing but have tried two leapers scopes and can't seem to get better than quarter size groups at about 10M. I usually shoot in my garage at about 60 deg F. I know I need to try other pellits because I am getting better groups with my Gamo Big Cat using the same scopes.
    David


  25. Frank B,

    Not a problem. I was in the dollar store and bought a roll of the rubber sheeting material that is used to keep place matts from moving on your table or for taming throw rugs.

    Roll a layer ot two around the tank leaving some extending past the base of the cylinder. Using rubber bands secure the top and sides. I folded the bottom over and secured it with duck tape.

    Shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you some. If you don't want any still e-mail me. I need to ask you some advice outside the blog. Please e-mail tonight. (Thanks)

    I cut the bottoms out of two beer cozies and slid them over my AirForce HPA tank which makes it more face friendly and also quiter, no ping sound.

    Mr B.






  26. Speaking of lemonade :)
    The 760 I recently got seems to be shooting pretty slow,I suspect the piston,
    seal looks pretty bad.The 1st 3 digits of
    the ser# are D76.I think this means Dec.
    of '76 is that correct? If so does crosman still sell parts for it or can I
    just use a 1377 piston?
    Anyone with advice I'd appreciate it.
    Thanx

    JTinAL


  27. Daniel posted this to Pyramyd Air Waves:

    I own two guns; RX-2, .22 cal w/Hawk scope, and an R-9, .20 cal, also w/Hawk.
    99% of time I shoot paper, out to 50 yds.
    I'm still in pellet accuracy selection for both. Exact pellets seem great for both. My question, do they make a gas spring for the R-9 and would I expect greater accuracy if I converted? Both are currently shooting dime groups at 30 yds. and 1 inch at 50. Also, could I expect better groups from these particular models or are they shooting about where they should be?

    B.B.




  28. Kanlee posted this to Pyramyd Air Waves:

    I am new to this and am really confused.I want a good not too expensive air rifle for less than $300 with scope and I also would like a wooden stock with a rubber recoil pad.I need to practice a lot to get decent with a springer and also I will use it for squirrels and rabbits.So far all I have seen in this are .177?Do you have any suggestions?I do not care for the composite stocks other wise there would be a lot more choices.

    B.B.


  29. Daniel,

    Welcome to the blog!

    You're obviously a man that has great taste in airguns. I've read alot about the RX-2 but never owned one. I did own an R-9 in .20 caliber (I like this caliber best in the R-9) and it liked the beeman FTS pellets best.

    To my knowledge there isn't a gas ram/gas strut for the R-9/HW95. I think that Theoben only made gas rams for a few Beeman guns. The R-1/Hw-80 and RX-1RX-2/HW-90.

    Your groups are exceptional. I'm sure you have had or will have perfect days, when you're shooting well and the weather conditions are just right, when those groups shrink a little bit.

    Is your R-9 tuned? There are tuners out there that can make a spring gun feel very similar to a gas ram and at the same time work majic on your rekord trigger.

    kevin


  30. Kanlee,

    Welcome to the blog! You've come to the right place since there are many airgunners here that started out right where you are now.

    Undoubtedly you'll get many opinions.

    Here's mine. I much prefer and would strongly recommend .22 caliber over .177 for hunting rabbits and squirrels. The gun I think your describing is the RWS 34 with wood stock. Pyramyd Air has the RWS 34, Leapers base (the only one you should use on this gun) and a Leapers 4×32 scope with AO for only $229.00.

    The only thing the RWS 34 is missing on your list is a recoil pad. You can easily install a recoil pad and still stay within your budget but I have to ask, Why is a recoil pad important to you?

    kevin



  31. G,

    thanks for those tips. I have a UTG scope base and everything and I mean everything, has been locktighted on that 350 Magnum. It's still a challenge to shoot but I enjoy it. Somedays I'm on and somedays I can't hit the backside of a bull with a banjo with that rifle. However, if and when (probably more when than if) I get my next rifle, I may be inclined to take the scope off the 350 and put it on the new one, depending on what I end up with, thanks to you.

    Fred


  32. Mr. B,

    I got the trigger kit completed and installed and the sear polished as per instructions and adjusted. Unfortunately, I was only able to shoot the Disco a few times before leaving for another function that I run. I got back at 2 this morning so haven't been able to do any more shooting. Regarding TKO's muzzle break, the hammer hitting the valve in my Disco is probably as loud as the retort at the muzzle. No hearing protection needed anymore and Spike the cockatiel doesn't lose any feathers when I shoot this now.

    I'll have to shoot the Disco some more before finally deciding if the trigger kit makes a difference for me.

    Fred



  33. BG_Farmer,

    I've learned my lesson. I don't stand guns up in the corner anymore with or without recoil pads.

    When I'm shooting I use gun racks. Each gun rack can hold twelve guns vertically. That's the only time my springers sit vertically.

    I store them horizontally. Less chance of lubes migrating to the wrong places. ;-)

    kevin


  34. Fred,

    My 350 Magnum can shoot, but it sure will vertically string pellets unless the forend of the stock is rested at exactly the same place for each shot. I can move the vertical POI by a couple of inches at 16 yards by changing that spot. Used to drive me crazy. On a good day 1/4" red sticky dots don't stand much of a chance on my 16 yard range.

    I have the early Leapers base which has the anti-droop built in. A shim under front ring took that out and gave me alot more vertical ajustment. Scope is Leaper's 3-12 x 44 30mm tube, big and heavy. Gun and scope come in right at 10 pouns. It's rock solid and hasn't moved in at least 1000 or so shots.

    Mr B.



  35. Ryan, regular ground shipping I would expect about 5 days….but don't be heartbroke if it takes 6 days!try to tell yourself "it doesn't matter if it arrives in one piece….:] whatcha gettin'?? Frank B


  36. Ryan,If your like me,you hate to wait!I'm currently waiting for a few goodies to be delivered…after reviewing my finances,I ordered one of those High tec green lazer collimeters.its said to put out a high intensity green beam visible for 5 miles.simply amazing the technology we're privy to…Frank B


  37. Frank B,

    I was looking at one of those little beauties myself, but too many wants and not enough cash.

    Would you please let us know how it works? Maybe a mini blog?

    Just be careful that there isn't a preditor drone up there someplace. It make think it's seeing a target painted by a lazer designator and launch a hellfire missle. Sure would liven up the neighborhood.:)

    Mr B.



  38. Ryan,

    Shipping questions should be asked of the Pyramyd Air salespeople. Call them.

    888-262-4867

    Do not email your questions, as they are on the phone for their entire shift and emails often take days to answer.

    B.B.



  39. Mr.B,IT should come in tuesday or thereabouts.Lasers have always been fascinating to me…I'll definitely have to write a little about it,because PA has no review as of yet.I'll definitely be careful with it,I probably just made a watchlist somewhere.Maybe once I've played with it a little,I'll lend it to you to blog…your little red stickers won't stand a chance!!! Frank B


  40. Ryan,When that comes you'll be ready to go.that reminds me I need some pellgun oil also.Be sure and let us know how she shoots!! Frank B


  41. Frank B,

    Thank you for your most generous offer. The folks at DealExtreme sell alot of intersting lasers. There are also folks out there that are "hopping" them up and doing some amazing things.

    Mr B.


  42. Fred,
    I've got the 3-screw mod on my Disco trigger. Not a TKO but home made.

    It took me a while and several adjustment settings to get it working well. It is now a 2-stage (sort of) with a heavy but crisp second stage. It is not a match grade trigger though. The heavy second stage forces trigger follow through and reduces sear drag that can play with shot to shot power consistency.

    Keep at it and you can make it work well enough for some fun. For sure it will be better than out of the box.

    DB


  43. DB and Mr.B,

    just fired off about 20 pellets with the Disco. I have a first stage and a very crisp, if somewhat heavy second stage, although not as heavy as stock. I wanted the heavy stage for safety reasons and am not concerned with it. I am happy that the break is crisp. I imagine it might get a bit lighter with some use on the trigger return spring and as the contact points on the sear and primary lever polish in even more.

    I was thinking of going the home made route like you did, DB, but imagined that the cost would be fairly close as I probably wouldn't be able to buy just three 6/32 screws and one spring, having to buy a package of each plus experimenting to get the right return strength on the spring.

    I'm practicing shooting off-hand, resting my elbow on a table. I wonder if I was this shaky 20 years ago?? This whole set-up makes me laugh when I see a movie and the camera shows the sniper's view through the scope as rock steady!

    Fred


  44. "Hopping them up"my gosh,I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with it the way it comes!!!it's kinda like in Pulp Fiction."five dollar shake??five dollars??what's in it? Frank B


  45. B.B.

    Listening to Air Waves today. You mentioned the Hammerli 850 as a good co2 pick. Noticed it comes in 177 and 22. Does caliber make much difference in a gun like this?

    Bub


  46. Bub,

    I have to say that I like the .22-caliber version better. I think more than 50 percent of owners feel the same.

    The rifle just has enough power to support the larger caliber and perhaps to give away something in .177, because the bore is too restricted to get as much velocity as you would expect.

    B.B.


  47. Fred,
    TKO does a fine job with the Disco trigger group… and the swap out deal is a winner of a program.

    But… you can buy just three little screws for just pennies from just about any hardware store. I find a Sear Hardware (not regular Sear store) store has the best selection. The have bins of loose screws; just pick your size and drop them in a bag and the charge you by the screw.

    Have also found some nice stainless stell screws that would work and Home Depot. But these are a couple bucks for a bag of three.

    Very glad you like the TKO upgrade. He has a good rep around town.

    DB


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