by B.B. Pelletier
Before we start, I want to update you on the Arkansas Airgun Extravaganza show that’s coming up on Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16. The show’s organizer, Seth Rowland, told me he still has a few tables available, so if you want to try your hand at buying and selling at an airgun show, this might be a good opportunity. He also mentioned that Tom Kaye, the shoebox compressor man, will have a table there.
Another gentleman will be bringing some nice collectible Red Ryders. I’ll be there with Mac and am planning on bringing my 1860s gallery dart gun and perhaps one or two other beauties that you’ve read about in this blog. Mac will have several vintage 10-meter rifles to sell.
Crosman is considering attending, because they have to deliver a Rogue to me for testing. Umarex and Daisy are also considering attending. This year’s show should be the best one ever. The times, directions and contact information are all at the link provided above.
One more bit of good news before we begin. I thought I’d asked Mac to return the .177 caliber RWS Diana 350 Feuerkraft air rifle without retesting the accuracy with a good scope, but as it turns out, I hadn’t. So, Mac is doing that accuracy test and there will be a Part 4 to that report as initially promised.
Now, on to today’s report.
I must say that I’ve been eagerly awaiting this test. The 12-inch barrel on the Gamo PT-85 Blowback Tactical air pistol just begs to be shot for both velocity and accuracy. Today’s the day for velocity. Let’s get going.
The first step was to install a CO2 cartridge. I found it easy to do except that the winding stem is in a tight space and a little hard to grab. I think those with large hands will notice this. And, of course, I put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the cartridge to keep the gun sealed for a long time. I fired one shot to know that the cartridge was pierced successfully, and the blowback surprised me. I’d forgotten that feature, but it feels very realistic, which means it feels just like the recoil of a .22 rimfire pistol.
The first pellets tested were RWS Hobbys. They averaged 532 f.p.s. and the spread went from 510 to 565 f.p.s., but the decrease in speed was nearly linear from start to finish. I’ll have more to say about that in a bit. At the average velocity, the gun generated 4.4 foot-pounds.
Of course, I had to test Gamo Raptors in this air pistol! They averaged 544 f.p.s., with a spread from 529 to 567 f.p.s. Once more, the velocity decreased with almost every shot. At the average velocity, Raptors generated 3.55 foot-pounds.
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domes
The next pellet tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier. They averaged 480 f.p.s., with a spread that went from 459 up to 499 f.p.s. As before, the velocity decreased with almost every shot. At the average velocity, the energy was 4.04 foot-pounds.
By this point, I could see that the velocity was dropping off in a linear fashion with every 8-shot clip. But the gun was not yet finished firing powerful shots. It was acting like the impression everybody has of a CO2 gun, but of course they don’t really work that way. Only this one was working exactly that way — velocity dropping throughout the power band.
After the Premiers, which took me to 24 total shots, I fired another magazine of Hobbys. This time the average was 487 f.p.s., with a declining spread from 499 to 472 f.p.s. Then I shot another clip of Hobbys, which averaged 479 f.p.s. That spread went from 501 down to 451. Clearly, the CO2 cartridge was on its last legs. The next group of Hobbys fired averaged 394 f.p.s., and that was the last clip I fired. The spread went from 437 down to 341 f.p.s. The gun was now running on residual gas; and if I’d continued, I risked jamming a pellet in the barrel.
Total shots per cartridge
I calculate the total number of reasonable shots as 48. If you’re going after target accuracy, I recommend stopping after the fifth clip, which would bring the total down to 40 shots. Though that’s a small number, it’s much larger than what you get with a Magnum Research Desert Eagle pistol, which has lower velocity and also has blowback action. By the way, the blowback did function reliably throughout this test. That’s the extra gas conservation a 12-inch barrel gets you.
At this point, I can make two observations. First, loading the 16-shot magazine takes longer for this pistol than it would if the two circular clips came out. They have to be rotated chamber by chamber to load each pellet and that takes time. And, second, the trigger is strange. The stage-two pull has a huge spot of relaxed pull before tightening up again. It’s almost a three-stage trigger, which doesn’t exist.
On the single-action versus double-action power potential, I decided not to test it because of the blowback feature. After the initial shot, all the follow-on shots will be single-action because the slide has cocked the hammer, so that’s how I tested the gun. I doubt that anyone will lower the hammer every time after firing, just so they can keep shooting double-action.
Based on the performance we see here, I’ll probably shoot 40 shots at 10 meters for the accuracy test.