The Bronco from Air Venturi – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Air Venturi Bronco is a delightful new all-day plinking carbine.

Today, we’ll look at the velocity/power the new Air Venturi Bronco produces. Remember that I was after a classic plinking air rifle that can be shot all day without fatigue. My inspiration was the Diana 27, though the Beeman R7 really kicked off the project. The R7 got me started thinking, and the Diana 27 really focused my thoughts on a small, lightweight, easy-to-cock pellet rifle that’s accurate, calm and doesn’t hurt your wallet.

The Beeman C1 carbine was also thrown into the mix, because the Bronco’s name reminded me of a western theme. And the C1 is the best-known spring rifle with a Western-style stock. The C1 was too powerful for this project, so don’t be fooled by the similarity with the Bronco. I was definitely looking for plinking power in a quality rifle that would be comfortable to hold and shoot.

Cocking
The cocking effort for the Bronco is just 19 lbs., which puts it into the youth category. The short 12.75-inch pull means it’s scaled for older kids, teenagers and even adults. But there’s something else. Not only does the Bronco cock with just 19 lbs., but the barrel also moves through only about a 90-deg. arc for the complete cocking cycle. The first time you do it you’ll be done before you really get started. That translates to even less stress on the shooter, because they aren’t trying to bend the bow of Hercules through a 140-deg. arc.


Cocking stroke is very short.

Once cocked, the breech accepts pellets freely. The three types I used in this test all loaded easily, yet did not fall into the barrel. There’s adequate constriction there.

RWS Hobbys
Seven-grain RWS Hobby pellets were first. They’re pure lead and perfect for the power of this rifle. They averaged 558 f.p.s., with a spread from 538 to 566. All but two shots were above 550 f.p.s. That works out to an average power of 4.84 foot-pounds. While too low for most critters, it’s 50-75 f.p.s. faster than the Daisy 953 and it’s delivered by an all-wood and metal gun with classic lines. This is exactly what I was after.

Gamo Match
Gamo Match pellets come in two weights. I shot the 7.5-grain pellets at an average of 537 f.p.s., with a range from 534 to 541. So, the range was much tighter than for the Hobbys. The average muzzle energy was 4.80 foot-pounds. Again, this is a perfect velocity.

Crosman Premiers
The 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers averaged 528 f.p.s. in the Bronco. The range went from 526 to 533, so another very tight spread. The average muzzle energy was 4.89 foot-pounds. Again, a super performance for a plinker.

Trigger
The two-bladed trigger on the Bronco operates both stages of the trigger-pull. The blade that’s in front contacts the trigger finger first and represents the first stage of the pull. When it comes level with the second blade, stage two kicks in. The trigger on my test rifle breaks at 1 lb., 14 oz. That’s correct–just 30 oz.! It’s very crisp, with no hint of the release before it breaks. Try to find another plinking air rifle with a trigger that good! I think I’ll have to add this rifle to my testbed arsenal instead of returning it to Pyramyd Air when I’m done with my report.

Firing behavior
The Bronco’s a smooth shooter. Not smooth in the same sense as a magnum rifle that’s been slathered with black tar, but more like smooth in the sense that it has all the power needed for the job with nothing wasted. It’s quick and very calm, which you’d expect from a gun of this power. You expect it, but you don’t always get it when corners have been cut. No corners were cut with the Bronco. You’re getting everything you pay for in a compact, easy-to-handle package.

Aftermarket possibilities
Don’t buy a Bronco thinking that it can be magnum-ized. It has a short-stroke piston that will keep it in the mid-500 f.p.s. ballpark no matter what mainspring you put in. Don’t look for a .22 version, because at this power level, a .22 really wouldn’t be worth it. This is one time when the .177 caliber will rule. Instead, savor the 19-lb. cocking effort shot after shot and the trigger that breaks cleanly at less than 2 lbs. Savor the straight Western stock that fits like a glove and will accept a scope without frustration.

So far…
So far, I’m impressed with the Bronco’s performance. It does what a good plinker is supposed to do, and it has the build quality to last for generations. This is the rifle to grab when you just want to shoot without doing anything else. You can clip dandelion heads, eliminate wasps and pick off acorns from the highest branches

The accuracy test is next, and I’m eager to get to it.

49 thoughts on “The Bronco from Air Venturi – Part 2

  1. Ok, sounds like a winner so far. My first impression was so what? Just another entry into the already crowded field.

    But after reading the review, I am thinking I may just have to buy this thing.

    Even though I am an adult, I have short arms and youth guns usually fit me quite well. And being elderly with arthritis, low cocking effort is a plus. So is the shorter cocking arc of this gun.

    I love to shoot, and if this gun shows any kind of accuracy potential at all, it may have to go on my short list of to acquire guns! Most of my shooting is plinking, so this would be right up the alley!

    I already have a Daisy 953 target pro which is a really nice gun but the trigger on it basically sucks big time!

    Rested it produces great groups. Off hand is another beast! Yeah with some effort I could modify the trigger, but if I could purchase a gun with similar accuracy and a much better trigger I probably would!

    Keep up the good work BB!

    Sometimes you hit the nail smack on the head and drive it home with one swing. Hope this is one of those times!!!

    Btw…this is pcp4me, but my internet is glitched again and wont let me log on! Happens periodically.




  2. I've been snooping around for a nice youth gun for my daughter for awhile. She is six and a half now and does some shooting with me and she has shown enough interest that I've decided to get her her own gun. I probably won't give it to her for another year or year and a half, she still seems a little young to me, and we are still trying to master all the safety rules, but that doesn't mean dad can't get the gun and "break it in" for her!! Of all the research I've done on youth rifles, this one has moved to the top of the list, it looks great. Thanks for your contribution to what I am sure will be a great rifle for my kid for years to come.

    -Aaron


  3. Morning B.B.,

    Looks to me that you've hit another home run with your Bronco. Another thank you sir. We used to shoot walnuts out of trees and snip the flowers off of Queen Ann's Lace.

    Looking fwd to your report on the shot show. What's your take on Crosman's PCP pistols?

    Mr B.

    PS Thanks for including pictures of your Daisey Model 25 circa 1953


  4. B.B.
    That's sounding like a very good little gun so far.
    This would have been a good pest hunting gun for me when I was much younger…when barns were made with a lot more wood and a lot less exposed sheet metal.

    If the parts are made as if it were going to be a high powered gun, then it should last almost forever with a drop of oil in the right places once in a while.

    twotalon



  5. Like my dog when he hears the word “squirrel”, I perked up when you covered the trigger. I have been trying to learn to love my Gamo Daisy, but if I start pulling the trigger on Monday I finish on Tuesday morning… but it is accurate if I can stage the trigger. Curious on how the rubber meets the road on the Bronco.

    Volvo


  6. Edith

    The Eleanor Roosevelt of air rifles definitely looks like shes worth checking out. And at $125 she's a cheap date!

    Too bad Eleanor's inner beauty didn't keep Franklin from being a no-account good for nothing philanderer.

    How did you hear about that party? You must have had a friend who was homely.


  7. Mr B.,

    You're echoing my excitement for the Marauder pistol. Although the new single shot Crosman Silhouette is creating alot of buzz I'm not in the market for a target pistol.

    The New Marauder multi shot pistol in .22 caliber specs at 700 fps, comes with a red dot, is reportedly very quiet (at 18" overall length should be quiet) and includes a detachable stock to make this a carbine all for under $450.00! If you deduct the cost of the centerpoint red dot and stock this is cheaper than the Silhouette.

    If B.B.'s review confirms the expected accuracy and verifies a decent shot count I'm a buyer for this hunting rig.

    kevin


  8. Mrs Gaylord,

    Speaking of the New Marauder and Silhouette pistols, PA is estimating their shipping dates at 02-07-2010.

    February 7, 2010 is a Sunday. Since no one I know of can ship on a Sunday maybe their estimated shipping date should be Monday, February 8th?

    kevin


  9. Kevin,

    It's very possible it will arrive on Friday, be stacked on the shelves on Saturday & be listed online as being in stock & ready to ship on Sunday. Nevertheless, I have forwarded your comment to the people at PA who create these dates.

    Thanks,
    Edith


  10. I hope this isn't inappropriate, as Pyramyd does not sell BAM, but they have announced at the Shot Show that they (BAM) will no longer be importing into North America. They will be concentrating on all the OEM manufacturing they do for others.
    So if you need parts…or have been considering purchasing one of their airguns…nows the time.
    CowBoyStar Dad


  11. After reading this particular Blog, the idea that young women might also be very interested in a rifle like this. Wonder if I can convince my 18 year old daughter into trying one of my rifles?

    Fred PRoNJ


  12. Kevin,
    Did you get the Beeman R8 back yet? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

    Marauder pistol sounds cool so far, even if it is more Thompson Center Contender than SA Colt in size. Your observation on the ship date show you like to run a tight ship.

    Bg Farmer,
    My e-mail bounced back I sent to you. Sounds like you still have some PC issues? Unless you really are tied up in a trunk, in which case let me know. I’ll blast you out with the 1077.


  13. B.B.

    Looks good. If you can get an R7 or anything close for $125, this is a real winner, especially since you won't be running into the quality control problems of BAM. I'm anxious for the accuracy test.

    I have one more thought on stock issues. It occurs to me that the pistol grip is for the purpose of controlling the forward and back motion of the rifle. While the Bronco and 1894 stock seem to have no pistol grip in the ordinary sense, the same purpose is served by the cut on top of the stock where the thumb rests. The base of the thumb is doing the job; essentially, the butt is like a pistol-gripped stock inverted. As for optimal position of the hand, we are talking about the human hand after all which is designed to do different things. This flexibility has been the basis of human progress from fashioning stone tools in caves to…petting guns. So there may not be such a thing as an optimal hand position. Putting this inverted, thumb-based pistol grip together with the clean, axial lines of the stock makes sense of the western 1894 style stock for me.

    CowboyStar Dad, what's OEM? So has BAM managed to get itself kicked out of North America as well as PA? So strange, this really was the rifle that was just a tune away from being great. Someone in the management has really screwed up.

    I have found the answer to the comparison between the Edge and the Challenger! It's the FWB 603, the Olympic rifle with the SS mechanism. According to my PA catalogue from last night, the 603 won Olympic gold in 1996. So, you have Olympic quality with a single light cocking stroke and no air tanks to worry about. If only I had a 10m range. Alas, I cannot justify laying down this kind of money for a 5 yard range, especially when my B30 is practically cleaning the target already.

    Matt61


  14. Matt…OEM stands for 'original equipment manufacturer'…in other words they (the OEM) are he companies that make a lot of the 'name's stuff that isn't actually manufactured by the branded name.
    What the word is at the Shot Show (this all coming from the Chinese Yellow Forum) is that BAM is now the OEM for most of Beemans new products.
    They (BAM) is just going to be too busy making Beemans stuff to market their own.
    This is all hearsay (though fairly well substantiated)…perhaps b.b. could comment.
    CowBoyStar Dad


  15. Volvo,

    Haven't received the R-8 back yet. As you well know, he'll get to it when he gets to it. If it was my only gun it would be a tougher wait. Based on his other work on my guns it will be worth the wait.

    Me running a tight ship. That's a good one.

    kevin


  16. CowBoyStar Dad…

    Are you sure about Beeman being the big BAM customer? I thought Shanghai was, with BAM making more Crosman and Umarex related stuff.

    BB, a couple of notes on the Mendoza. The trigger (which I like, too) is a strange affair – it's actually 2 separate sears. Only the rear one is normally engaged, the front acts as a safety and just 'stands in the way' of the piston in case the rear sear fails. If you cock the Mendoza and only pull the rear trigger, the piston will jump a little and the front trigger sear will catch it.

    Good to see consistent velocities. The bigger Mendoza's I've sampled (and you too, if I remember correctly) could never be accused of that.

    Did they redesign the front pivot? As I recall, Mendoza's pivot is actually a pin, not a bolt – and if it ever develops side-play, it cannot be tightened up. Do you know if this is the case here?

    One more thing – that cocking arc. If I remember right the larger Mendoza's have roughly the same swing – and I would suggest it's more of a detriment regardless of the gun. If the geometry was modified give more leverage it would result in a longer cocking swing with an even lighter cocking effort. I think most people find a gun easier to cock with a longer but lighter cocking stroke than a shorter and stiffer one. I know this gun is pretty easy to cock at 19lbs, but for younger shooters it might have been a plus. All that would need to be done is to move the forward cocking arm pivot rearward a bit and shorten the cocking arm a smidgen.

    Oh well, just an opinion.


  17. BAM, the manufacturer for the big name brands like Beeman, Crosman and Umarex? That's a good one. Either BAM had better get its manufacturing in shape or the big companies have made a serious mistake and we can look for unreliable quality.

    Oh well, I understand that by reason of the monster deficit our nation has rung up that we have a huge financial dependence on the Chinese anyway.

    Matt61


  18. Hope B.B. chimes in with what he knows to be fact about the latest with Beeman. I don't want to add to the "rumor mill" but this is from a usually reliable source,

    "Beeman talked about the restructuring at the SHOT Show. They will focus on selling their low end guns through the big box stores, while the investment group that acquired them, Camfourd, will focus on the high end products. The service center in HB will continue, but still haven't worked out details."

    kevin


  19. I too would like to see b.b.'s take on this. As I mentioned I'm getting all my info from the Chinese Yellow forum and it would be nice to have some confimation.
    I agree with what Matt says. I'm actually quite surprised (and pleased) at how good my new XS-B9 is. But one of the things the dealer I purchased it from, for $10 extra was that he would hand inspect if before shipping it out…gotta admit that doesn't say alot for their overall quality control.
    I too hope that the Umarex stuff is not Chinese. I've got a number of their guns…my CP99 is made in Germany, the PPK is from Japan and my sons new Beretta Elite (one of their lower priced items) is from Tiawan…but nothing from China.
    CowBoyStar Dad
    verification 'ettore'…okay now I want a Bugatti!!


  20. BB,
    Is the pictured Bronco a prototype? I looked at the full spread on PA site and the Bronco pictured there, while not exactly to my tastes, has a slightly more gracile appearance, particularly at the wrist. In your pictures, it seems like the line from toe to receiver juts out behind the trigger guard, whereas the one on PA has a slight concavity behind the triggerguard; though it is not as thin in the wrist as I prefer, it does have a markedly more conventional look to it.

    Volvo,
    E-mailed you from bgfarmer0_at_gmail.com (anybody that wants to can use that to castigate me, by the way:)). I think I know what happened to your e-mail, hopefully mine reaches you.


  21. BG_Farmer,

    Tom's gun is not a prototype. When the shipment arrived at Pyramyd Air, they pulled one & shipped it to us.

    I think the gun's angle & the lighting might be playing visual tricks.

    Edith


  22. Edith,
    Thanks, there must be some of that going on. I also thought the PA pictures showed a smoother finish, which is another reason I asked. I guess its starting to grow on me, although I would still be happy to take a rasp to one and stain it:).

    Kevin,
    My poly can was too low to risk a refinish on my long-rifle, so I thought I would try something different in your honor:). After browsing around, I found absolutely rave reviews on Minwax Antique Oil Finish when used for stocks. Apparently it is mostly BLO with just enough poly to add waterproofing and protection. Can't wait to give it a try, although it looks like my patchbox is going to take the better part of three days "spare time" to finish and mount — should have just bought one premade, but I needed to make one just like a couple I've seen on rifles by Jacob Young:).

    Now, you need to try some poly:).


  23. CSD, yes, some Umarex stuff is Chinese. Remember the RWS320 of a few years ago? Rebadged B20. The Ruger Blackhawk, Air Hawk, and Explorer are made by BAM. The Hammerli Titan, Walther Force 1000, and Hammerli 490 are made by Shanghai.


  24. BG_Farmer,

    I'm honored.

    You know that buying a finished gun isn't the same as finishing it yourself. You just get a warmer feeling when looking at and shooting YOUR finished gun.

    I used plolyurethane on the first gun I "refinished". I was in jr. high and took a beat up .410 that had a 3 shot underloading magazine and stripped it. I bought some mahogany stain since my idea of mahogany was a deep rich brown color like my mothers hand me down (read very old and dirty brown) mahogany chest of drawers.

    The stock turned out red and when the poly was applied it was bright red. So much for poly.

    kevin


  25. Kevin,

    I think we attempted our first stock refinishing at the same age. Mine was on a Savage Stevens single shot .22 that I loathed. Everyone had a Marlin Glenfield that held something like 18 rounds, I mean everyone , not like when my kids tell me everyone has something now a days. : )

    So in early foreshadowing of my future sales career, I felt I had a better chance of getting a full $20.00 bucks if the little Stevens had a fresh coat of lacquer. My attempt was a similar disappointment as yours; however I did finally sell it to someone who liked the ultra shiny coat. “looks like new”

    Along with $20.00, funds from a Birthday, and the sale of a Daisy, I was able to swing a Ruger 10/22 that has been with me longer than any other firearm.

    Big difference is I never tried to refinish an entire stock again, where as you became an expert…


  26. Volvo,

    The more that I learn we have in common the more scared I become.

    My nephew has the gorgeous .410 I did. He's still young enough to appreciate the beauty of that one of a kind piece. Don't know how much longer that myth will last.

    Winters can be long here. It's amazing the indoor projects that one can become proficient at doing. Not an expert stock refinisher by any means. My lengthy dialogue on the subject was to show how easy it is if you follow a few basics.

    If you read between the lines you would learn how many things I fouled up.

    kevin


  27. Kevin,you show me someone who never made a mistake,and I'll point out his chart hanging at the foot of the bed that says"persistant vegitative state".Smart without mistakes is like strength without exercise…You have taught us all some things,humble is just one!I for one am very grateful. Frank B



  28. Kevin,I was born on Valentines day Preceding the "summer of love",perhaps that gave me my rose colored cataracts….or perhaps in a world of abundant cynacysm my oppositional defiance works to my advantage!



  29. Vince,

    The consistent velocity is due, no doubt, to the lack of over-oiling. We had a word with Mendoza about that when the Bronco was made. I think they will be watching the success of this rifle and they may incorporate any success we have into their future designs.

    The pivot is the same as all other Mendozas. However, I think that with the lower stress f this rifle, the pin should last a very long time.

    As for the cocking geometry, I left it alone to shorten the development time. I knew it could be made with greater advantage, but that entails a major redesign that would have prolonged this launch by a year of more.

    B.B.


  30. "We had a word with Mendoza about that". Yes, I imagine you did.

    With regards to sideplay, I imagine that if it ever became a problem the fork legs could be pressed together by a couple of thousandths to take care of it.




  31. Hi,
    I have a comment and a question.

    First, I like the style of this rifle. And I don't think that anyone else has said it, so I will: I think that the Bronco logo is very cool. You don't really see a lot of companies bothering with small details like that anymore.

    Also, I have been looking to test the waters in field target and was wondering if there are any rifles at this pricepoint and quality that would be up to that. What I basically want is a rifle that is to field target what the Daisy 953 is to 10m, except hopefully with a better trigger and without all of the ugly black plastic. I'm 6' with ape length arms, so any other factors aside, I don't think that I'd be a good match fort the bronco.

    Thanks!
    -Hans H.


  32. Hey B.B, I want to give you a mega thanks for promoting such good quality, affordable plinking/target rifles. I was shooting with my girlfriend yesterday. She loved it, butr is is 5' 2" tall and couldn't handle the long barreled Slavia 631 well. And she sure isn't interested in breaking the international cocking effort record when reloading. The Bronco isn't available in our country, but rifles like these are perfectly made for shoters like her.




  33. Hi B.B.,I'd like to compare accuracy between IZH 61 and Slavia 630 from your accuracy test. Your result was 0.430 with IZH 61 from 10 m and 0.25 – 0.35 c-t-c from 25 m with Slavia 630. So Slavia 630 is two time more accurate then IZH 61?
    Am I right? Is it true?
    Thank you. Borislav


  34. Boprislav,

    Not even close. You are comparing apples and oranges. Also, no way can you extrapolate that kind of statement from the results of just one test.

    A true comparison would be 500 rounds of different pellets from each of the two guns at the same range.

    B.B.


  35. Yes it is true but do you think IZH-60 has the same accuracy like slavia 630? Or more?
    I'm very pleased to read your blog BB.
    Thanks Borislav



  36. I'd like to buy a good 10m target rifle and I have to choose IZH-60 or Slavia 630. Are they equal at 10m.I'm not going to go to Olimpic games with it. I think Slavia 630 has better accuracy but I never used IZH-60. BB,I don't need a reel comparison I need your advisement, your sens, insight.
    Thank you. Borislav


  37. Borislav,

    I don't own either the Slavia or the IZH, though both are on my list of guns to buy when and if the funds allow. So, my opinion is freely given and probably worth about as much ;-) BB, on the other hand, did a nice post on the Slavia 630 some time back and reported accuracy of .25" at 25 yards, so it is definitely a shooter. He also did a 4 part series on the IZH 61 complete with pictures of groups from that rifle. There should be more than enough information there to help you make your decision.

    For what it's worth, I would go with the Slavia just because it weighs more, which will help to steady the sights when shooting off-hand.




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