Air Arms S400 MPR FT: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


The Air Arms S400 MPR FT is a beautiful international-class field target rifle.

Today, we’ll test the accuracy of the Air Arms S400 MPR FT precharged pneumatic air rifle, and it’s a challenging test because I shot this 12 foot-pound rifle at 50 yards on a day with 20 mph winds. The wind was from my 6 o’clock, and the trees created some swirls. I had to wait out the gusts and shoot in relatively calm periods.

However, before I begin today’s report I’ll rant a little. I was testing several things last week and someone asked me to test his Talon SS. He claimed he could not shoot groups smaller than 2 inches at 30 yards and most of his groups at that range were four inches. Well, I’ve never seen a Talon SS that shot that bad; even the one with the only Lothar Walther barrel I ever condemned in my three years at AirForce.

When I asked for pellets to shoot in his gun he handed me Crosman Premier hollowpoints in a tin can. The first pellet fell through the barrel and the second one wouldn’t enter the breech, so I asked for some other pellets. He gave me some Daisy pointed pellets.

There’s your problem!
Folks, just as an airplane cannot fly on 87 octane gasoline, a precision air rifle cannot be accurate with discount store pellets. Yes, I know how “cheap” they are; but really, guys, when the rubber meets the road, you need better ammo than this.

I don’t want to start a long argument about bang for the buck, or anything like that, so I thought I’d show you just how important the right bullet/pellet is. Last week, I also happened to get out to the range with my Ballard target rifle. This time, I was testing a new load, and it just so happened that there was a new bullet in this load, as well.

The first target I ever shot with the Ballard was shot with lead bullets just as they dropped from the bullet mold. They were sized 0.381 inches nominally and lubricated by my finger pressing grease into the grooves. The new bullets I was trying were the exact same bullet, but sized to 0.379″ and with the grease grooves filled by a machine. Let me show you what happened.


This is the first 100-yard group I shot with the Ballard rifle. I was just burning up the old 16-grain loads with the as-cast, finger-lubed bullets. I made two sight adjustments while this group was being shot! As casual as this group is, it’s clearly better than the second group made with the new ammo.


This was supposed to be the perfect 10-shot group. Here, I used the new bullets sized 0.379 inches and 18 grains of powder. The reason the bullet holes are smaller is because the bullets were moving faster — I guess! This is not a good group.

Obviously, I moved away from a good load and toward a bad one. The unsized bullets are better in this rifle than the sized bullets. The powder change may not have helped as I thought it would.

Back to pellet guns
This is what I mean when I say that your ammunition matters. Want to know what I shot with that “inaccurate” pellet gun? At 30 yards, I shot groups measuring .75 inches in a stiff wind. One four-shot group inside the five was .25 inches. I was using Crosman Premiers in the cardboard box. It made all the difference in the world. The message? Stop using discount-store pellets in precision airguns!

Today’s report
Back to the Air Arms S400 MPR FT. I’m also testing a Hawke 4.5-14×42 Sidewinder Tactical scope with illuminated reticle, on which I’ll give a separate report, and it was mounted on the S400 MPR. I tried light and heavy pellets. Because of the wind, the light pellets didn’t fare as well as the heavies. Just like picking the right pellet for the gun, picking the right pellet for wind conditions is very important for accuracy, as you’ll see.

Air Arms Falcon pellets
The first pellet I tried was the Air Arms Falcon. At 7.33 grains, this domed pellet is extremely light, and while it is often one of the most accurate pellets in a given rifle, the day was too breezy for it to hold up at distance. Remember, I’m shooting 10 shots at 50 yards, which is not easy with any pellet rifle!


The spread of these 10 Air Arms Falcon pellets is 2.191 inches at 50 yards. Clearly, the wind is too much for this pellet at long range.

JSB Match Diabolo Exact pellets
The next pellet I tried was the JSB Exact 8.4-grain domed pellet. It proved to handle the wind quite a lot better, posting three 10-shot groups of 1.221 inches, 1.374 inches and 1.699 inches.


The best of three targets shot with JSB 8.4-grain Exact domed pellets. It measures 1.221 inches.

Crosman Premier pellets
Next, it was time to try the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier domed pellet in the cardboard box. Remember my rant in the beginning of this report? Premiers that are not in the cardboard box are made on the same dies as those in the box, but they’re not sorted by die. Which means they will have a larger variation than the boxed pellets. Look at the results that two thousandths of an inch made in the Ballard rifle and understand that it does make a big difference what you load into your air rifle. Maybe for plinking at 25 yards you can get away with discount store pellets. For the ultimate in potential, you have to use the best pellets you can buy.

With the 7.9-grain Premiers, I shot two groups. They were 1.697 inches and 1.736 inches, which is pretty close. Not as good as the JSBs and not the pellet to choose for this rifle on a windy day.


You can see the lateral dispersion from the wind. Ten Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets at 50 yards. This was the better of two groups of lite Premiers.

The last straw — Beeman Kodiaks
Had I realized the wind would be such an issue, I would have brought more heavy pellets to test. I almost didn’t bring the tin of Beeman Kodiaks, but I threw them into the range bag because this is a PCP rifle that performs best with heavier pellets. Even at only 12 foot-pounds, the Kodiaks should have done fairly well.


Beeman Kodiak pellets shot the best group of the test. Ten pellets went into this group that measures 1.183 inches.

The bottom line
You’re used to seeing .75-inch groups at 50 yards, so these results may not impress you. Bear in mind that this is a 12 foot-pound rifle. So, the pellet stays out in the wind much longer than if it were going faster. A 20 mph wind is not a day for setting records at 50 yards with any air rifle. That much wind is hard on even a .22 long rifle bullet at 50 yards! So, these groups are actually pretty good for the conditions.

I’ll be reporting on the Hawke scope. But, I’ll tell you right now it’s a wonderful optical sight. A lot of what I was able to do on this challenging day was because I could easily bisect the center of the small bullseye at 50 yards.


There will be a complete report on the Hawke 4.5-14x42AO Sidewinder Tactical scope in the future, but from this test I can tell you it’s a winner!

I’ll also do another report on adjusting the power higher. Stay tuned for that.

109 thoughts on “Air Arms S400 MPR FT: Part 3

  1. Wow, this article is out early. I had to do a double take on my calendar. Thought I’d missed a meeting. This rifle still gets my juices flowing.
    -Chuck


    • Chuck,

      I checked everything, and this blog came out the same time of day all of the others have come out. On the old blog, we scheduled publication for 5:30 AM Eastern. Because we have so many night owls, I started publishing the new blog at midnight Eastern. It’s been like that since last May :-)

      Edith


      • Edith,
        I have to apologize profusely for wasting your time! I didn’t realize how late it was when I wrote that comment. I get so wrapped up in this dang computer sometimes that I lose all track of time. I sat down to read the blog at 9:30, did some emails, checked some firearm deals, then noticed the new article thinking it was about 10:30. After sending the comment I looked up at the clock and saw it was really midnight. Man, time goes fast when I’m on the computer.
        -Chuck



  2. B.B.

    During WWII almost every Luftwaffe piston-prop aircraft flew on 87 octane fuel :) But you’re absolutely right considering pellets. Junky pellets equals junky results.

    On Saturday I met a guy at the range, he was testing his new FT rifle. He gave me a chance to make some shots, and he was very proud of his 3-stage trigger. A good rifle, typical PCP “distance drill”: free-floating barrel, pressure control valve etc., well, no challenge to shoot as usual – point and pull the trigger, you’ve got a hole punched. However I am not quite sure if anyone needs 3-d stage trigger – to me it seemed to be a sheer excess, as 2 I feel is enough.
    So I’ve got a question – do you know any factory-made rifle with 3-stage trigger and how many stages are really needed in your opinion?

    duskwight


    • duskwight,

      Thanks for the history lesson, though when I was training to be a pilot I could have sworn that I was taught that aviation gasoline needed higher octane because of the altitude shifts. I bet the Germans had an additive in their fuel to compensate for the lower octane.

      A three-stage trigger, huh? Never heard of one. I have shot some cheap guns that functioned like a three-stage trigger, but it wasn’t on purpose. I vote for two every time.

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        Well, there’s a sort of “cheating” :) The difference lies in estimating octane number: Imperial units are RONs (research octane number, taken on idle engine @ 600 rpm) and Continental are MONs (motor octane number, taken on engine under load @ 900 rpm) which is a bit more realistic.
        So Allied doped 100-octane and super-doped 130 and 150 octane “dragon blood” (greenish gasoline) seemed to be somewhat 92, 98 and 110 MON numbers respectively.

        Still German fuel had less energetic value and lower octane number by any scale, as it was received from older technology factories and synthetized from coal, so it was low on energetic aromatic polymers and doped with lead anti-detonation mix, making it heavier, while Allies used monomethylanyline (devilishly poisonous greenish liquid, giving that “dragon blood” name).
        However Germans treated their problem with better injection systems, NOX, methanol, superchargers and other stuff.

        And what aircraft did you learn to fly? I wish some day I will learn, receive a license (well, when our “air laws” will become more humanlike :) ) and fly my own airplane too.

        On 3-stage trigger – that’s right that I thought: I don’t know any 3-stage trigger factory rifle.
        You know them lots more than me, you shot lots more rifles than I did, and still you cannot remember any rifle with such trigger – so I suppose maybe that’s the proof that nobody really needs this kind. A pure designer’s quirk IMO – but if that makes the guy happy…

        duskwight


        • duskwight,

          Ahh! So you are a petroleum engineer?

          I learned to fly in a Cessna 150 and 152. It’s a small two-place highwing plane. I thought they were dogs until I soloed for the first time. Then the plane leaped into the air.

          I have soloed but did not get my certificate, so I’m not really a pilot.

          B.B.


          • B.B.

            Nope, I’m no engineer :) I’m a copywriter/creator for the event agency. I just learned that from my hobby – I’m a big fan of WWII aviation, and aviation in general, guess that’s my father’s blood driving me into the sky.

            Sometimes to understand some sky-high business one should go deep under the earth. E.g. that octane/energy stuff is pretty much important in understanding both sides’ design philosophy and processes of technological development, as well as their modus operandi on strategic and tactical level.
            Fighter is built around the engine and the gun, so engine is built with fuel in mind. Strategically lack of high-octane high-energy fuel ultimately gave _the_ push to German turbojet program and everything that comes from that and so on and so forth.
            If you remember that crazy pentaborane flying monster XB-70 “Valkyrie” – that’s when they tried to cheat on fuel, but failed. Enhancing turbofans and turbojets using conventional fuel turned out to be cheaper and steadier way. And now they are experimenting with ramjets and SCRAMs -still using quite conventional carbon fuel.
            There’s a second plane I love, that astonishes me – SR-71 Blackbird. Guess that’s how every designer must work – take a function in its purest form and embody it in a most perfect form available. Thats’ how great things are done, and I’m trying to imitate those great artisans. That comes to airguns too :) Right now, I’m finishing my set of blueprints, and as firs parts are being produced, I’m thinking (or rather dreaming/raving) over the next step – I wish to get rid of that external toothed rods. I don’t know yet – how, but I’ve got some ideas. Well, I hope I’ll succed with my “Duskombe” – and then we’ll see.

            duskwight


            • duskwight,

              Yep, I’m fascinated by the Blackbird, too. And also by the technology that is supposed to replace it.

              The Duskombe, eh? I like it!

              B.B.


            • Duskwight, what are you building? What is the Duskcombe? On the subject of gasoline, the only thing I know about it from WWII is that the many mechanical problems suffered by the P-38 in Europe were traced to British fuel that was being used that had a higher water content than the P-38′s Allison engines were designed for. There was no similar problem in the Pacific. This detail about fuel could have saved many lives as the P-38, functioning properly, could have served as a long-distance escort for the bombing campaign which took horrendous losses and almost collapsed until the P-51 became operational.

              Is the SR-71 Blackbird still the fastest airplane to have flown? I’ve read a reported speed of 2,000 mph which was claimed to be faster than a 30-06 rifle bullet. That’s an interesting visual although I’m sure the high altitude of the SR-71 was a factor. I wonder how fast it would go at lower altitudes. Otherwise, I’ve found the SR-71 not to interesting. It just flies around. But perhaps that is the wave of the future. Apparently, the F-35 has dispensed with some maneuverability because its sensor system will position it properly in advance and its missiles will do all of the turning. So, maybe supermaneuverability and flight performance are a dead end.

              If you want to fly, I recommend rc. It’s cheaper and safer and you probably need a higher skill level because of the extra responsiveness of the planes and the fact that you have to compensate for the changing perspective of the airplane to work the controls. Apparently, we’re right at the beginning of electric jet technology.

              Matt61


              • So far as i know, the top speed of the SR-71 is still classified; possibly for safety should the government pull them out of retirement.

                As for minor fun facts on the SR-71 (besides the presidential blunder when the [intended] RS-71 was first announced):

                The fuel is used as a coolant before being burned; it’s that resistant to ignition (the vapor ignition temperature is higher than lit matches) that they pipe it through the structure to absorb heat before it reaches the jets.

                An SR-71 on the ground leaks fuel badly — no neoprene or other sealant would survive the high temperatures in flight so it relies upon the heat expansion of the body to seal the tanks (basically, it takes off and almost immediately goes in for in-flight refueling).

                Those high flight temperatures essentially anneal the fuselage each time it flies.

                Due to the thrust of engines, a flame-out could not be countered fast enough by a pilot so there is electronics to counter-steer for the single engine thrust. Pilots tended to report the wrong engine had lost power due to the strength of the automated system.


              • Matt

                Highest SR-71 speed I know is 3350km/h, 3.2 Mach @ 24 kilometers altitude and it’s really faster than most rifle bullets. However it can go faster – but government keeps it tight.
                Fastest air-breathing plane in operation is MiG-31, with gauges redlined at 2.83 Mach, 3000 km/h, however it can run 3.1-3.25 Mach under full power – but that would kill engines too quick. Notice, that it uses AB turbofans instead of turbofan/ramjet combo on SR-71.
                Fastest human-operated stuff with wings seems to be X-15, with 7273 km/h – but that’s essentially a rocket with winglets, flying on the edge of space, without take-off capability and extremely difficult to land.
                Some Soviet piloted REV prototypes achieved near to that speeds, but that was judged to be unnecessary to develop – they were rocketed to that speeds just to test heat quartz-shielding for Soviet shuttle program and those works had no development after the conclusion of experiments.

                duskwight


                • And Duskombe is a portmanteau of duskwight and Whiscombe I wish to build this year. We’ll see if it deserves second part of the name :)


  3. B.B.

    That wind is a real bugger. Most people would think that it should just give a horizontal drift, but wind is never a straight line and constant vector. It also kicks pellets off their axis.

    On a windy day when the wind is from the north or northwest I can walk out my back door heading west and encounter several different speeds and directions of wind in only 25yds. And that’s only what I can percieve.
    In the summer when there are leaves on the trees, at some distances (looking as far as 150 yds) some trees are dead still, others are blowing left, and others are blowing right. Never constant anywhere.

    On junk pellets…
    When I was much younger I did not have the selection of pellets to choose from that we have today. Most often I was stuck with how any particular rifle shot the old Crosman wadcutters. Very frustrating. For a long time I wrote off the lack of accuracy in airguns as ‘bad gun’ or ‘airguns can only shoot this good’.

    I see plenty of complaints about new guns that shoot poorly. If the person finally says what they have been using for pellets (sometimes quite an assortment) I usually think to myself ” now that you have tried the worst possible pellets, why don’t you try something good for a change”.

    twotalon


    • twotalon,

      I was watching the pellets through the scope and could see some of them catch a breeze and execute a climbing right curve. The results of a pellet shot out of a right-hand twist barrel and hit by wind from the right side.

      B.B.


  4. Pet Peeve time.

    .177 Crosman pellets:
    Premier HP, 7.9gr, tin, $8.35/500, or 1.7 cents/pellet.
    Premier, 7.9gr, cardboard box: $23/1250, or 1.8 cents/pellet

    OK… very close. No real reason to go with the HP’s based on cost, and I don’t buy many HP’s.

    .22 Crosman pellets:
    Premier HP’s, tin, $8.25/500 or 1.7 cents/pellet
    Premier Domed, tin, $9/500 or 1.8 cents/pellet.
    Benjamin HP’s, tin, $9.50/500 or 1.9 cents/pellet
    Premier, cardboard box, $23/625 or 3.7 cents/pellet

    In the smaller caliber the price difference going from tins to the box is less than 10%. In .22 the difference is about 100%. Why?

    In .177 I found that the Crosman HP’s generally shot about as well as the boxed out to 60 yards (when I had that much room to shoot), and the Benjamin .22 HP’s also shot about as well as the .177′s where I had the same gun in both calibers.

    A few years ago I had bought some .22 Crosman HP’s and found them to be excellent. Shortly after that I bought about 10 tins and EVERY TIN was absolutely worthless.

    Having a pellet fall through the breech is not a matter of sorting by die number. It’s a matter of a pellet that was horrendously undersized regardless of the die it came from.

    So it seems that Crosman’s QC on the tinned pellets really comes and goes. You can easily get a run of very good tins (as happened to me when I tested them), but you can get bad ones as well (as I found out with the .22′s, and as you found out in this test). It isn’t a matter of 10% of the tinned pellets being bad vs. 1% of the boxed. It seems that when the tinned ones are bad, it’s the ENTIRE LOT of them.

    Not had those same issues with the .22 Benjamin HP’s – is the QC tighter or did I just get lucky?


    • Vince,

      I think you got lucky. I have twice visited the Crosman pellet-making shop and I assure you, they all come out of the same machines. It’s what happens next that matters.

      B.B.



        • Vince,

          They either sort them by die lot, or they don’t. It’s much easier and faster not to, but those in the cardboard box are sorted. Hence, they are usually more regular.

          B.B.



      • BB,
        Everyone talks about which die a pellet came from but I feel that’s only half the story, and maybe LESS than half the story. If all the pellets are from a particular die, that should be fine for “shape consistency” no matter which die is used, but it does not control weight.
        Pellets are made from lead wire and they first go through a chopper that cuts off slugs of a specific length. The weight is monitored, but the cutting is a plain mechanical operation. Once the slugs are cut, the forming die can’t fix a weight variation. Still, even with cheapie pellets, I don’t think I’ve seen much more than a 5% weight variation. If the quality of the wire (diameter, nicks, grooves, feeding problems, etc) isn’t up to snuff, that could also give weight variation in addition to the cut length variable. That affects die fill, C of G, etc. There are a lot of variables in the process.
        Lloyd
        Lloyd


  5. Morning B.B.,

    I am not a Field Trial shooting guy, but had the chance to shoot at Damascus one windy Saturday with Gengis Kan and have a lot of respect for the wind doping skills of those who do which leads me to my question. Does the Match Director change the hole size of the kill zone based on the wind?

    Bruce


  6. Based on JSB’s and RWS, I think Crosman could possibly go a step or two farther in terms of QC, even on the lower priced pellets. The saddest case is that if they made their Copperhead field points without 40% variation in size and weight (just a wild guess), they might be their best pellets in many applications; as it is, a tin is more of a sampler for weight and head size. I see a lot of posts about the boxed Premiers — die X is no good, etc. I suppose if all the pellets in a box come from a good die, you’re in high cotton, but if the die is bad or not compatible with your rifle, you have a large, somewhat shoddily constructed box of wheel weight material sitting around :).



  7. BB:
    On the subject of cheap pellets at the other end of the scale that sample of Prometheus Dynamic 22′s I got as a present works out at about 8.25cents a shot.Strewth!!
    A tin of 400 is roughly $33.
    I am tempted to donate a kidney and buy some. lol
    They are made of machined tin and are a very snug fit in the breech of my HW99.
    They were accurate in my rifle and made clean ‘Wadcutter’ type holes,even in tin cans at 50ft.
    Maybe useful for guys with over size rifle bore problems.
    DaveUK


  8. RE: wind doping -

    I can agree that gusting winds plays Heck with .22′s as well. My 50 yard groups on Saturday at the bench rest competition were .75″ c to c. Score was 291 out of 300 (good but not good enough compared to the real experienced shooters). At 100 yards, my best group of 10 was 3.75″ with only one round landing in the 9 ring!

    Chuck, about your comment late last night on turning on glare ice. The bike does lean and it would turn however, unless you’re running studded tires as they do in ice racing, the front tire provides minimal friction or traction so once you start to lean, you’re a gonna. The front end washes right out. I had to ride home from a college job one winter during a snow storm and learned that the only way to stay up was to avoid leaning. My successful turns were all under 10 mph. The snow provided a somewhat soft landing. That was on a 310 lb. 2 stroke 350cc Yamaha. Pete Z would be proud of what I’m going to say next – the laws of physics do not change due to weather.

    Fred PRoNJ


    • Fred,

      That’s some respectible shooting in wind. Did you use pellets sorted by weight for your shooting on Saturday?

      For those that need a humbling experience, shoot an air gun in wind out to 100 yards.

      kevin


      • Kevin,

        you’re late to the party (lol) and missed my posting last night. This was with a Remington 513 at a bench rest competition at the Charlotte Rifle and Pistol Club in NC. I’ve never experienced a wind that would actually raise the poi over 2″ from my poa. Then when I tried to correct and made the mistake of shooting during what apparently was a calm period (at least out by the target), I was 2″ off from the last poi! I couldn’t win no matter what I tried.

        You know, I wanted to talk to you about a comment you made last week about never going into a home if the wife’s husband wasn’t home…….. :)

        Fred PRoNJ


        • Fred,

          Guess I should have checked the old comments before posting. Didn’t realize you were shooting rimfire. I’ve got a new to me remington 513T that I haven’t even had a chance to shoot. Hope to get it to the range this week. What ammo works best in your 513?

          kevin


          • Kevin, the rifle belongs to my buddy. He supplied me with Wolf ammunition – I believe he had two types – Target and Extra. I think he gave me the Extra to shoot. His wife was using an Anchultz and he was doing pistol – a Thompson Contender. She might have been using the Target and I have no idea what he was using in the TC. I asked him to keep his eyes open for a bolt action target .22.

            I bought a Ruger 10/22 from him – stainless barrel with synthetic stock but it also came with a Battle Creek (?) bull barrel, wood stock and was scoped. Price was same if I had bought just the rifle with the stainless and syn stock alone new. Super deal I couldn’t pass up for a plinking gun. The trigger had some work done on it but I didn’t get a chance to try it out. He’s bringing it up in April from NC.

            Fred PRoNJ



  9. Edith,

    While browsing over the Hawke scope I compared the one in this article: # Rifle scope
    # 4.5-14x magnification
    # 42mm objective lens (adjustable objective)
    # 30mm tube
    # 1/4 MOA (1/4″ click value @ 100 yds)
    # Half mil-dot reticle (red-green illuminated)
    # 10 yds to infinity parallax adjustment
    # 8.46 yds to 2.21 yds field of view @ 100 yds
    # 3.9″ to 3.4″ eye relief
    # 26.3 oz.
    # 13.3″ long

    to the larger 6.5 x 20: # Rifle scope
    # 6.5-20x magnification
    # 42mm objective lens (adjustable objective)
    # 30mm tube
    # 1/4 MOA (1/4″ click value @ 100 yds)
    # Half mil-dot reticle (red-green illuminated)
    # 10 yds to infinity parallax adjustment
    # 8.46 yds to 2.21 yds field of view @ 100 yds
    # 3.9″ to 3.4″ eye relief
    # 26.3 oz.
    # 13.3″ long

    Are they the same length and weight, with the same field of view or did Hawke not give correct descriptions?

    Gotta run, will check in tonight.

    ka


  10. BB; I have had good luck shooting unsized cast bullets in .45-70′s with Lee liquid Alox lube. My old Lyman manual says that sizing never improves a bullet, it just changes the size.

    Mike


  11. B.B.,

    Tough time of year to be accuracy testing guns in Texas. Shooting a 1.18″ ten shot group with a .177 is terrific in 20mph wind.

    The example of your progression in finding the right ammo for the Ballard is a great analogy for air guns. I never ceased to be amazed at the differences in group sizes between pellets my guns like vs. pellets they don’t.

    Interesting results in the latest Ballard test load. The slower (16gr, 4198), overbore 255gr that you finger lubed shot better? I’m surprised that shooting closer to velocity specs (18gr, 4198 still?) with Mac’s bullets sized by you didn’t perform better. Are you logging chrony numbers for these initial loads? What a fun ride.

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      I haven’t chronoed any rounds yet. I’m still looking for the best load.

      Next I plan to pit 20 of the .379 bullets against 20 as-cast finger-lubed bullets and both with 17 grains of 4198 behind them. I’ll shoot two groups of ten with each load and see what develops.

      Up to this point I have also been learning how to load these rounds and getting my dies adjusted. I shot other rounds in this last session that I didn’t mention because I was still fiddling with the dies. I haven’t had this much fun with a reloading project in many years, because I never had a rifle to prove the rounds.

      B.B.



        • Kevin,

          No. The Starline Ballard 38-55 cases have been backordered at Midway since January. I keep watching and hoping. In the meantime, I’m using 40 Winchester short cases that seem to work fine.

          B.B.


  12. To all those with suggestions I requested on a .22 rifle,

    Thank you.

    I followed one posters advice and bought that gun. When I have it in my hands and have had a chance to shoot it I’ll comment some more.

    kevin


  13. Chuck,

    Re: Favorite cartridge for a Ruger MKIII target

    My MKIII has the long, fluted bull barrel. For a cheap plinking round it shoots the Federal American Eagle 38gr surprisingly well.

    I’m not a competition shooter and refuse to pay a lotta money for rimfire ammo. The Wolf Match Target (the kind that has “MATCH TARGET” printed on the box in a yellow diamond) 40gr. and the Federal Gold Medal Target 40gr. shoot very well. One note on the wolf match stuff. For whatever reason I need to shoot a box of these through my gun before they start grouping well.

    kevin


    • Interesting. Do you clean the barrel after you are done shooting? If so, it may need to be “seasoned” to shoot well with the Wolf Ammo (Which is really great). Unless their is a reason, you don’t have to clean the barrel every time you shoot with modern ammo. Perhaps it likes to shoot when dirty.

      Mike


      • Mike,

        Yes, I clean my powder burners after each shooting session. I don’t clean during shooting even if I’m testing different ammo. I agree with you. I think some guns need to have their barrels seasoned with some ammo. The wolf match target is one of those in my mkIII.

        The wolf match target shoots very well in the mkIII. It doesn’t shoot worth a darn in my 550 or browning take down. Go figure.

        kevin


    • Kevin,

      Is it possible the yellow background was a new box design? These products share the same description but the MidWay one’s picture doesn’t look like your description.

      http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=524473

      http://www.championshooters.com/store/product.php?productid=478

      I suppose I should assume not or you wouldn’t have stressed the color, but I want to make sure. It wouldn’t normally be a big deal but I already have my Illinois FOID card set up at Midway and I’d like to avoid the hassle of setting it up with champion.

      Chuck


      • Chuck,

        You’re right. The descriptions are similar but these rounds perform differently in my guns. Although you may want to try the wolf match target ammo without the yellow diamond on the box in your guns I’ll never buy it again for mine. In my experience the yellow diamond ammo is different and performs differently. Significantly different in the ruger mkIII.

        kevin


  14. B.B.,

    No kidding, wind is a problem for a pellet gun. This past Saturday, I decided to try my Titan .22 at 50 yards, after throwing a bunch of bullets down range with my new Ruger 10/22 Target model. The wind varied from around 10 to 25 miles an hour (probably more), as we were expecting a storm to come in. Trouble was, not only were the wind gust strong, but they were of varying speed, and even direction. It was a bad day to test my Ruger 10/22, let alone an air rifle. In any case, sighting in took a long time, and with this unsettling wind, who can say what “sighted in” really was.

    Victor


    • Victor,

      I’m glad to hear that you appreciate that. In fact, all respondents today have understood what a problem the wind is at 50 yards. That tells me we have a very savvy group responding to this blog. By savvy, I mean people who have actually tried these things in real life as opposed to yacking about them on a forum.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        As you know, I have real world experience shooting in wind with a smallbore rifle. I fully appreciate what shooting in wind is like. In this one particular case, I was running out of time as the range was near closing time. It was a struggle, but I did eventually get to where pellets were hitting the black. The obvious difference between a pellet rifle and a smallbore rifle is the difference in spread. What I found interesting is that I was getting distinct groups that were relatively far apart from each other. I wasn’t getting shotgun patterns, but separate groups. The worst gusts would push the pellet off the paper, so I did as much waiting as I could. Also, with a 16x scope, I could see the pellet drop in. At this particular range, Desert Hills Shooting Club, your facing a mountain, and behind you is a vast expanse of flat desert. I definitely want to get more experience doping wind with an air rifle.

        Victor


      • Also, you’re groups are tighter than mine. It’s not so much because of the difference in accuracy of the guns, but rather because my wind conditions were worse. I tried to wait out the wind, but it was unpredictable. I believe what I had was essentially 3 groups; one that reflect actual sight-in, one that was pushed by moderate gusts, and one in the middle. About the only thing that I could avoid was the extreme gusts (likely over 30 mph). The range didn’t have flags that I could use to judge speed or direction, so I had to rely on hanging paper on the target holders.

        As for direction, without flags, all I could go by was the chill and wind pressure on the back of my neck. Of course, what I felt, versus what was happening 50 yards down range could be different. Next time I go, I’m building my own target holders with flags.

        The “trouble” involved in solving the wind problem is what makes all of this so much fun! The range that I use to compete at, LAR&R, had a nice setup with flags, target holders, and uniform backdrop. It was strictly for smallbore competition. This range accommodates to high power up to 1500 yards. It’s not a strictly competition range.

        Victor


  15. BB and others, I’m looking at a Webley Tempest .177 for sale. Cost would be around $125.00 US. What do you think? Buy or not? Looks to be in good shape. I have never shot one but understand they are good and powerful for their size and weight.

    Mike


  16. I’ve posted something like this before, but it never hurts to see it again, and a picture is worth a thousand words:
    http://www.customriflesandcartridges.com/windchart.htm

    Depending on direction, wind can make a projectile go up, down, left or right. If you are lucky, the wind will be consistent both in terms of velocity and direction all the way to the target, but that almost never happens, even at 50 yards.




    • No, can’t ID that rifle but… I’m sure he reacted with the only tool he felt he had but, shooting someone with an airgun is likely to just make them more enraged. And what a girlie-man the perp is, breaking in and then calling the police because “someone shot me”. Wonder how he’ll work things out in the shower with his “mates” at prison?

      For all the U.S. chaps on-line here, be sure to celebrate our RIGHT to keep & bear arms. If this had been in the U.S., it would have ended much more permanently for the “perp” as it well should have.


    • Malcolm,

      I agree with Kevin that it’s a BSA. But it’s also a breakbarrel PCP. I’ve tested them years ago and they are quite accurate.

      B.B.


  17. Off topic: Has anyone heard of the Girandoni air rifle that Lewis and Clark carried during their exploration? I saw a thread about it somewhere and it almost seemed to amazing to be true.


    • Drew,

      The yellow forum had lengthy discussions last week about the Girandoni air rifle that Lewis and Clark may have taken on their expedition. It even had numerous video’s by historians, museum curators and the guys that spent years making a functioning reproduction of the Girandoni with Dr. Beeman’s help.

      kevin



        • Gene,

          Saw that last week. It’s interesting and in some cases hard to believe. You pump the gun up to 800psi and he claims that you get 40 accurate shots with a 46 cal roundball powerful enough to penetrate a 1″ board at 100 yards? I’d have to see the 40 accurate shots that come from that small reservoir charged to 800psi to believe it.

          kevin



      • wow, I looked at some vids on that forum and It’s almost unbelievable. I think the story might have been exaggerated over the many years. 40 accurate shots able to penetrate a 1″ pine board at 100 yards? That’s pretty crazy technology for those days. I wont be paying $26,000 for my replica of one of those even if I had the $$$.


        • I would think in the interest of credibility,and given the availibility of a chronograph the absence of
          velocity numbers is telling.It is hard to guestimate accurately without knowing the volume of the stock/pressure vessel……it would make a good “Mythbusters”.There is enough data given to debunk the claim.But that doesn’t disprove the idea that natives would have been shocked to see it function!! What a crazy spectacle…..compared to other arms of the time! No helpless guy standing behind a big cloud of white smoke! That part is easy to underestimate.They really did use the bluff to their full advantage.
          Am I the only one who thought the guy narrating looked a little like the late Chris Farley??





      • The 2300 S and 2300 T are the target, .177 cal version of the 2240. Unless I’m mistaken, you need breech, bolt and barrel, bu the parts for those guns are gonna be spendy.

        Go do a google search for “convert 2240 to .177″ and see what advice you get.


        • Okay, it looks like I need parts # 1740-001, 1377A062, 397-062. Right? How do I get the bolt into the receiver that comes with the gun? Or do I need a new receiver?

          Conor


          • You use a 3/8″ open end or box wrench to unscrew the bolt handle form the bolt. The bolt will slide out of the receiver after that and you should be able to re-use the bolt handle in the .177 bolt.



    • Kit, One reason is that at airgunarena, you can only use .177 in most of the matches, and the other, I like the idea of “wasting” cheap($2 for 250) pellets instead of “expensive” ones.

      Conor


      • Conor
        Your best luck will be if derrick or SlingLead checks in here. Derrick has his own website which provides a lot of 2240 knowledge I have used.

        rikib




    • EJBahnsen,

      Mac is out shooting the 350 magnum today. He broke a scope and we had to get him a substitute.

      And you never have to say “off topic” here. Just write whatever you like. I see ‘em all.

      B.B.


  18. Off Topic: Has anyone tried the new Gamo fixed barrel/under lever: Whisper CFR?

    How does it compare to the Gamo CFX? Better accuracy or same internals different stock?


  19. I saw your comments on Feb. 17th about not seeing many people on this blog anymore, and that only about 12-15 people seem to write on it any more. This is just to let you know that there are a bunch of us out here reading the blog. I posted once already when someone ask about new developments in pump guns. I got one reply from Edith. When I get on it’s usually late and the blog is winding down. After reading this blog for several months I notice a lot of comments are not picked up on the following day; especially when posted late. I’ve been shooting airguns since 49-50 when my father taught me while picking pigeons of Victorian houses with a pump Benjamin. All my life like you have wondered where are all the air gunners? I never really found them until the Airgun Letter came out and could find shows and meet people. Now the inter net is the greatest boon bringing air gunners together, but I still feel there are a lot of people missing from the rolls. Anyway were out here. Talk to you later.


    • HSR

      Glad you chimed in and… no, the comments don’t come over from the previous day so, you may not even see this!

      I’m guessing you meant 1949-50? If so, that puts you in line with a bunch of us “geezers”, ha! I’m not quite there yet, but soon.

      C’mon back here often, we look for al the readers to chime in.

      Brian in Idaho


    • hacksawridge,

      You’re a subscriber to The Airgun Letter? Then you are indeed an old-time airgunner.

      Yes, there are millions of airgunners in the United States, but a large number of the older ones are Luddites about the Internet. As a result, they are missing out. It’s sad, but I guess they will always be on the outside, not knowing the wonders that are here.

      There are now about 50K active airgunners in the U.S. who know and use the technology. Our job is to increase that number from among the shooting general public.

      B.B.


  20. High wind doesn’t really do justice to the accuracy of this rifle, but since it is designed for field target which takes place in wind, I suppose this performance is important to know about. It is not surprising that heavier pellets do better in wind, but is it not true that they will be worse when conditions are calm? So if there’s enough variation or you are very good at judging wind cycles and finding the calm moments, then heaviness could start working against you. David Tubb would calculate all this stuff.

    On the subject of pellets, it is certainly true that quality goes with money, but I believe that RWS Hobby’s are a significant exception. They’re very cheap and have done great for me and have saved a lot of experimentation. But I don’t believe that they are available at Wal Mart so you would at least have to take the trouble to order them online.

    Chuck and FredPRoNJ, thanks for your thoughts on countersteering. Chuck, as I understand your angle of attack theory, the angle in question is the one between the side of the tire and the road. By countersteering, the angle diminishes bringing more of the tire into contact with the road and attracting the wheel in that direction? I’m sure that tire friction plays a role, but as I visualize the geometry of the bike it seems that angle of attack would increase or stay the same on the side where you’re turning as you countersteer. But of course I’m not positioned to see. Fred, the patch business makes sense to me and matches my intuition that the initial same side push opens a space for the bike to fall. A fall requires space and pulling the same side handlebar as I thought I was doing just fills up that space with the wheel. No wonder I felt unstable and like I was going to fall over on the opposite side. I have a deeper appreciation for the turn as a controlled fall with the front wheel catching up just enough to prevent a crash. That would be why the initial push seems to be followed very rapidly by a pull. My bike riding is enhanced.

    Kevin, sorry I missed your call for the .22 rimfire, a surprising request from you who knows firearms so well. I would have voted for the Ruger 10/22 light target/varmint or the Savage Mark II rifles. I believe that they are as accurate as any Anschutz except for the pure target models.

    CowBoyStarDad, the CZ58 is interesting me more and more. It apparently copies the design of the original assault rifle the STG 44 which was a very fine gun in its own right.

    B.B., interesting YouTube video about the Chinese airsofters. (Do you surf YouTube?) The cardboard playground sort of looks like my range but roomier. Have to give them top marks for their safety procedures. But if you’re shooting for accuracy and not shooting at people, why would you go with airsoft instead of a pellet? And the fact is, plastering silhouette targets at close range was not that impressive, and it didn’t seem to require all of that fancy Lara Croft gear.

    Victor, on the subject of wind, what would do you look for in order to shoot those four inch airgun groups at a 100 yards that you mentioned awhile ago? David Tubb and Nancy Tompkins have a whole encyclopedia of stuff to consider which they undoubtedly really think of, but surely some things are more important than others. What do you think of the comparative values of the wind near or far? I tried some wind doping but decided that I should probably just hold steady and see how the wind affects my shots more before actually correcting.

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      You were watching a genuine IPSC match on You Tube. The “Lara Croft” gear is standard for IPSC, and the commands were the same.

      As far as accuracy, didn’t you notice the groups he was shooting? They were BB on BB on all the targets. He is a world-class shooter, and his gun is one that’s had a ton of money poured into it.

      B.B.


      • And another thing. if you didn’t notice, but if you’re familiar with IPSC you’d know, that devise in the starter’s hand is not just a beeper it’s an electronic timer. The idea is to complete the course faster than anyone else. So not only is accuracy important but so is the quick draw, fast reload, and shooting speed. So therin lies the challenge. The silhouette shooting at the end of the vid, where the two of them were shooting together, was just for fun and not part of IPSC but it did show the penetration power and accuracy they’re capable of with airsoft.
        -Chuck


  21. BB: Did you ever get the chance to shoot your Sheridan “Knocabout” pistol , while you were at the range? I also am enjoying your journey with the Ballard, take care ,Robert.


    • Robert,

      I’ve fired one CB cap from the Sheridan so far. Just not enough time to take everything to the range.

      But I haven’t forgotten it. I will tell you how it shoots, as soon as I get it to a range. Maybe I’ll compare it to my Wamo Powermaster.

      B.B.


  22. Hi,

    I own the Air Arms S400 MPR FT, I have read your article and I am especially interested in the ‘secret screw’… I have located it on my gun but it is not covered by a screw but some sort of mettle cap, I can not for the life of me work out how to get it out.

    Could you help me?

    Please reply to my email address as well as on here, po_yogi@hotmail.com.

    Kind regards
    Harry


  23. Quote : “This special report about the Air Arms S400 MPR FT rifle was unplanned, but blog member Coax asked for it. Today will serve as the best lesson I’ve ever written on how to properly use a chronograph, because I made a huge mistake and the chronograph straightened it out for me. Coax told me about a transfer port limiting screw that could be turned out to increase the velocity of the rifle”.

    http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/?s=s400+mpr+ft&search=Search

    Harry



  24. I do not understand why not, as its the same rifle you use to write the report.

    Oh well, thank you for your help anyway.

    Harry


    • Harry,

      I am saying that it may not be exactly the same rifle. I’ve heard that the S400 has gone through a number of changes. That some of them are different than others. Even guns that have the same model name might not be made on the same foundation gun.

      B.B.


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