by B.B. Pelletier
Okay, you were very patient; so, today, I’ll show you the early results of pellet testing with the FWB 124. Remember, this testing is done with open sights at 10 meters, and it was done just to narrow the field of the new pellets that will compete with the vintage Silver Jets at 25 yards from a scoped rifle. You can’t really test a rifle’s accuracy potential at just 10 meters unless it’s a 10-meter target rifle.
Before we begin, though, I must thank Volvo for these pellets. Earlier this year, he generously donated several tins of odd and exotic pellets to my collection. Among these were several boxes of Beeman Silver Jets. So, thanks to him we are able to have this test series.
Many of you said you thought the Silver Jet pellets were well made and you predicted they would do very well against the best modern pellets. As it turns out, all of the modern pellets I selected to test are domes, which seem to be the most accurate pellets around. We’ll be pitting a pointed pellet against a dome, which under most circumstances I would say is unfair, because pointed pellets cannot keep up with domes as the range gets longer. But, in this case, all bets are off. We’re going to see what actually works the best.
The 124 is a little buzzy when fired. I don’t really like it, but I guess I left it that way to get the maximum velocity from the rifle. The trigger is adjusted to break crisply, though it’s certainly not a Rekord by anyone’s definition.
The first group of Silver Jets was fired using the rifle resting on the backs of my fingers. I got a good group, but soon learned that the backs of the fingers was not the optimum way to hold the rifle. Instead, I went to a standard artillery hold, with the forearm resting on the flat of my open palm. The palm was touching the triggerguard, so the rifle was a touch muzzle-heavy, which stabilizes the rifle.
The first target with Silver Jets looks promising, but there are two shots outside the main group of eight. We’ll have to do better than that to beat the modern pellets. This was the target I shot with the rifle on the backs of my fingers.
JSB Exact RS
The next pellet up was the JSB Exact RS that performed so well in the R8 test. I expected similar results from the 124, though the velocity is, no doubt, at least 100 f.p.s. faster. But the group I shot wasn’t a good one. It showed a tendency for vertical stringing, which ruined the hopes for a nice tight group.
JSB Exact 8.4 grain
Next, I tried JSB Exact 8.4-grain pellets. Almost a full grain heavier than the RS pellets, they seemed to calm down and group well. Are they worth consideration? Time will tell.
Beeman Kodiaks might be considered by some to be too heavy for a rifle in this power category. I’m not one of those who believes that. I’ve seen remarkable things from Kodiaks in low-powered spring guns, and I thought they were worth taking a chance with the 124. My hopes were vindicated by a very promising group.
Air Arms domes
The next pellets I tried were Air Arms domes in the 4.51mm head size. These pellets are made by JSB, so why bother trying them? Aren’t they identical to the JSB Exacts in 8.4 grains? No, they’re not. Air Arms owns the dies used to make these pellets, and the word on the street is that they’re made to better tolerances than the JSB dies. I don’t know if that’s true or just a rumor. I DO know they perform differently.
Air Arms Falcon pellets
The Air Arms Falcon pellet is one I probably would not have tried, simply because I was unaware of it. But someone pointed it out to me and I got a tin for tests just like this. From the weight, I’d have to say it looks like a close copy of the Exact RS pellet, but once again there might be a significant difference. From the performance results, I’d have to say there is.
Silver Jets, again
And, finally, I re-shot another group of Silver Jets using the flat-of-the-hand technique, and the results were better than the first time. This time, the group was as encouraging as the Kodiak group and indicative of a possible screamer in the future.
Ten Silver Jets are looking mighty good on this target. That was using the standard artillery hold technique.
Summary to this point
Okay, I’ve tested the 124 with Silver Jets and 6 other pellets that all have a reputation for great long-range accuracy. Why didn’t I test Crosman Premiers? I can’t say. I just didn’t.
Of the 6 pellets I tested, 3 stood out for further testing at 25 yards after I scope the rifle. The Beeman Kodiaks look like they want to group. The Air Arms 8.4-grain domed pellets look very promising, and the Air Arms Falcon pellets were the best of this test. But the Beeman Silver Jets don’t seem to be out of the running. What I need is a good scope and 25 yards distance to shoot some more 10-shot groups. Then we’ll have something to talk about.
Important news for 124 owners!
Last Friday, I spoke at length to Geve Salvino, the Tech Service Manager at Pyramyd Air. One of the things he told me is that Pyramyd Air has gone out and had their own proprietary 124 piston seal made, and they’ve repaired 22 124 rifles as of our conversation. I asked Gene to send me one of the new seals, so I can blog it for you, and yes, once more I’m going inside my 124 to install this new seal and give you a report. For those of you who would like to be able to just send in your 124 for repairs, Pyramyd Air is now open for business…and the rates are low. I’ll tell you more about that when I show you the seal.