by B.B. Pelletier
Before I start, I have 2 announcements:
First, the January podcast is now available. My voice comes and goes, so I have to wait for it to be loud enough to produce the podcasts.
Second, the instructional video section of Airgun Academy has been filling up. I haven’t announced on the blog all the videos as they’ve been uploaded, but we’re already up to No. 18! Also, Pyramyd Air put the first 10 videos on a DVD so you can watch them on your TV or when you’re offline. Of course, you can still access them on Airgun Academy.
Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the .177 caliber Tech Force TF79 Competition rifle. This is Part 4 and not Part 3 because of the special report I did on the trigger in Part 2.
The trigger that I reported was doing very well in Part 3 is still performing up to spec for this test. Apparently, the moly took care of the tiny bit of creep left in the sear, so now the trigger breaks crisply. It feels like the target trigger that it is.
There were no called fliers in this entire test. The TF79 shoots so smoothly that the bullseye remains pretty much centered in the front sight aperture element. All shooting was done from a rest at 10 meters. I used both the artillery hold and the rifle rested directly on the sandbag, which you can get away with when shooting either gas or pneumatic recoilless rifles.
I sighted-in the rifle using RWS Hobby pellets. The sights were way off target and had to be adjusted over one inch in both directions. That took a lot of clicks, because each one moves the sight only a very short distance. The clicks are vague and indefinite, but I could feel each one. Some felt soft and mushy, while others felt like the mechanism was binding then releasing.
H&N Finale Match Pistol
The next pellet tested was the H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. Four of those grouped in a tight 0.29-inch group, but the fifth pellet opened the group to 0.587 inches. That makes me want to try these pellets again, in the hopes that the stray shot was a fluke. But, the sights were set perfectly for all shots and no alibi is claimed. This pellet has a head size of 4.50mm.
RWS R10 Match Heavies
RWS R10 Match Heavy pellets were next, and I really had high hopes for them. But they went the other way, giving one of the worst groups of the test. Five pellets grouped in 0.889″. Another 4.50mm-head pellet.
RWS R10 Match Pistol
If the heavy R10s were disappointing, the lighter RWS Match Pistol pellets were a shock. They produced the second-worst target of the test, with five shots grouping in 1.133 inches at 10 meters. Head size is 4.50mm.
Five H&N Match Pistol pellets made this 1.133-inch group at 10 meters. No need to point out how poor this is, but let’s learn something from it. Compare this group to the one made by the RWS Hobbys, and you’ll see how dramatic a change of pellet can be.
The old fallback, Gamo Match pellets, turned in a relatively good group of 0.458 inches. While that isn’t 10-meter target rifle performance by any stretch, it’s much better than what was done by several of the higher-quality pellets. No head size is given on the tin.
At this point in the test, I was beginning to wonder what I could do to get better accuracy from this rifle. The first group of RWS Hobbys showed that it could shoot, but for some reason the other groups were mediocre. I reasoned that a heavier, larger pellet might be the answer. The next pellet I tried was the RWS Supermag. Besides being a heavier pure lead pellet, the Supermag is also a wadcutter, so it prints well on target paper. No head size given.
Next, I tried a favorite pellet. The JSB S100 is not only hand-sorted by weight at the factory, these particular ones have a head size of 4.52mm. If size is a problem, I figured these would take care of it. The group they printed was 0.565 inches — again, no joy.
I can usually count on JSB S100 pellets to deliver the goods, but not today. Five shots went into this 0.565-inch group. Ho-hum!
JSB Exact RS
The last pellet I tested wasn’t a target pellet, but I wanted to know what difference it might make. The JSB Exact RS pellet has delivered the goods in the past, so it was worth a try. Five went into a group measuring 1.429 inches, which has the distinction of being the worst group of the test.
Five JSB Exact RS pellets made this 1.429-inch pattern (too large to call it a group) at 10 meters. Clearly not the right pellet for the TF79. You can also see why domed pellets are not used for formal target shooting. The vague and jagged holes they make in the target paper are too difficult to score.
The results of this test are not indicative of the normal accuracy of a TF79 in my experience. The group made by the RWS Hobbys indicates the rifle can shoot when it wants to. I’ll come back to it and test it with different pellets, plus I’ll also clean the barrel before that test. Don’t scratch this one off your list until I’ve had the opportunity for a second run!
Except for the accuracy, the TF79 has everything in the world going for it. Of course, that’s an absurd thing to say about a target rifle, so we still have to see better performance if this rifle is to be on the short list of good competition guns.