RWS Diana 350 Feuerkraft 350 in .177: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Test and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Today, the Feuerkraft gets a quality scope.

When Mac did the accuracy test of the RWS 350 Feuerkraft air rifle, he got mediocre groups with the open sights, but great groups with a peep sight. The rifle quickly killed the scope he had on hand, so we asked him to mount a different scope on the rifle and try again. This time it would be a good scope on good mounts.

Scope up!
We sent Mac a Hawke Eclipse SF 6-24x50AO scope. That’s a scope so good that nobody can complain about it. We also sent him a UTG scope base that has no droop, because 350s are known to not normally droop. To mount the scope, we sent a set of UTG 30mm quick-detatchable scope rings that allow you to move scopes from one gun to another rapidly without destroying the zero. Actually, Mac did a separate test of just the scope rings that has yet to be published. When you see it, you’ll see how nice they are. For now, though, I’ll tell you that he moved the scope from another rifle over to the 350 with absolutely no fuss and only a minute’s worth of work.

Best pellet?
Mac then researched Part 3 of the report and found that the JSB Exact 10.2-grain domes were the best pellets in this rifle. So, instead of wasting his time testing a long list of possible pellets, he confined the test to just this single pellet.


Nine of the ten JSB Exact 10.2-grain domes went into a group measuring 0.62 inches at 30 yards. Shot 10 was a called flier.

Best group
In fact, this is the best group we’ve gotten from this rifle. The previous best group measured 0.66 inches and was shot using a peep sight. I have to believe that we’re seeing the potential accuracy of this rifle at this point. Please remember that these are 10-shot groups, not 5-shot. As such, they’re about 40 percent larger than the best 5-shot groups will be. However, Mac was not done testing the rifle just yet.


The group shot with peep sights was pretty good, too! It measures 0.66 inches and there were no fliers.

Another pellet
I had asked him to also try RWS Supermag pellets, which are heavy wadcutters. Remember that this is being shot at 30 yards, where wadcutter pellets don’t do so well. After 25 yards, wadcutters usually start to open up and cannot usually be counted on to deliver good accuracy. In this case, they did better than expected and gave some interesting insight into their performance. Let’s take a look at what they did.


The heavy RWS Supermag wadcutters in the 350 Feuerkraft displayed some interesting groups. Mac recorded how each pellet felt when loaded, and they landed in these corresponding groups. The overall group measures 1.21 inches across, but you can clearly see three sub-groups within, and that’s where it gets interesting.

Mac was fascinated by how the Supermag pellets felt when he loaded them, so he kept track of each one in a 10-shot group. Some loaded loose and made a lot of powerplant racket when shot, while others loaded tight and shot smooth. Two had loose heads but tight skirts. They also shot smooth. Let’s look at the group and the subgroups they made at 30 yards. All ten shots in the following group were made with the same aim point, and each had the loading feel as indicated on the target.

The most interesting sub-group is the one with four shots at the lower right. Those were the pellets that fit the bore the tightest. I see an interesting correlation between this performance and what my Ballard rifle did at 100 yards, when shooting the largest, tightest bullets I had. As you may remember, in that test the group tightened up into the smallest one of four fired that day once I learned how best to use the rifle’s sights. In firearms that shoot lead bullets, the best performance is always with bullets sized .001 inches to .002 inches larger than the bore at its widest. I wonder if there’s a similar correlation with air rifles and pellets? Well, that’s something I’ll file away and check as I test other airguns.

Overall impressions
For starters, the RWS Diana 350 rifles are big, powerful spring rifles and shouldn’t be bought unless the buyer understands what that means. They’re hard to cock, the kick hard enough to bother cheaply made scopes and they require the best holding technique for good accuracy. Unfortunately, too many brand-new airgunners look at the velocity, alone, when making their choices without understanding what it means in the spring rifle.

On the other hand, if you’re an experienced spring gunner and want the power that this model offers, it’s one of the best. It holds like a classic 1903 Springfield rifle and rewards those who take the time to do things right.

95 thoughts on “RWS Diana 350 Feuerkraft 350 in .177: Part 4

  1. I would have expected a little more improvement with a scope — best case of 0.62 vs. 0.66 doesn’t seem like enough unless something else is going on. and the unequal dispersion does not seem likely to be attributable to parallax error — I agree the head/skirt size may be important. Usually 2x for scope versus open sights and 1.5x for scope versus peep works as a rule of thumb. This is one rifle I would only consider in .22, as I think the velocity may be way too high even with heavy .177′s.


    • I think this is about right BG.
      I know that my Slavia at 25 yards is just as accurate with the Gamo Diopter as my 4x scope.
      Remember, Olympic shooters use ‘peeps’…and their placing pellet after pellet in pretty much the same hole.
      I would expect that much beyond 30 or so yards for the magnification of the scope to really start to make a difference.


    • BG_Farmer,
      In my experience, a good shooter can shoot at least as accurate with aperture sights as with a scope. I personally shot my best scores with iron sights, and yes, world class competition is only shot with iron sights, and these guys pretty much shoot at the limits of the capabilities of their high end rifles.
      Victor


      • Victor

        I am certain you are 10X the marksman I am, but the competitions you speak of are 10m. 30 yards is a world of difference with the naked eye even for an above average shooter. Mac is apparently above the above average shooter. No Quigley references please.


        • Not really slinging lead. Olympic rimfire, as well as biathlon is at 50m. These people are still hitting the bull more often than not.
          I’ve been told by some of my friends in the military that they consider a C7 (Canada’s version of the M4 carbine) to be just as accurate at 100m with the peep sights as with a 4x Red Dot. They say (yes, the famous ‘they’) that the main reason for going to the optical red dot is that you’re only worrying about one focus point. But more than one has said that for accuracy it’s a tossup.


          • CowBoyStar_Dad,
            Not only do you have small-bore 50 meter competition in world class shooting, but you also have 300 meter Standard Rifle competition, shot in 3 positions, exactly like the 50 meter competition, with very similar rules, AND aperture sights (no scopes). Lots of shooters that shoot 50 meter 3 position, also shoot the 300 meter equivalent.
            Victor


        • Slinging Lead,

          Actually, I’m talking about any distance. In my specific experience, I’m talking about being able to clean an entire day of prone shooting (1600 out of 1600) at 50 yards, 50 meters (with a smaller bull than at 50 yards), and 100 yards. You see the same thing at even up to 600 yards, maybe even 1000 yards, (competitors using the same iron sights that I used for small-bore). Now maybe one difference is that I’m mostly referring to “Target” sights, in which you have both front and back apertures. When shooting targets, all you have to do is align each circle with the next; the target is perfectly centered within your front sight, and your front sight perfectly centered within you rear sight.

          Consider that a scope cannot make you more steady than any iron sight, so the goal is the same, namely, getting everything perfectly centered. Even with a scope, you have to get your eye perfectly centered, if you want the best accuracy. Oh, I can clean targets with a scope, but not better than with iron sights. That’s all I’m saying. Also, too much magnification can also be a distraction.

          If we’re talking about shooting targets, or some other object in clear view and with good lighting, then the difference is mostly psychological. On the other hand, if we’re talking about picking up an object from within an ocean of background noise, then a scope is obviously better.

          Victor


          • Victor

            I agree with you completely about almost everything. I dial my scopes back to the minimum magnification I can deal with. But again you refer to “world class” or “Olympic” shooter, while I refer to average to above average shooter, you realize better than most the difference between the two.

            Victor, maybe you are too good a shot for your own damn good! ;-)


    • Victor, CBSDad,
      For some types of target shooting, you may not be able to tell the difference between peeps and a scope, but rested shooting for groups (which is what accuracy testing is all about), there is a very noticeable difference if something else is not the limiting factor. 10M and smallbore shooters are likely better and no doubt equal marksmen, but they do not shoot anywhere near the groups that BR shooters can achieve, and I do not know of any of them who don’t have scopes, unless it is a special competition for iron sights. Add to that the fact that Mac’s’ aperture was only a post in front with a peep in back, not a full aperture system front and back, whereas the scope used today is pretty serious. That is why I expected more of a difference.

      As an aside, 4x scope or reddot may not be any more accurate than a peep or even open sights if there is uncorrected parallax error.


      • B_G_F,

        (The spell checker is messing things up here, so I can’t address this properly to B G F.)

        Agreed about the iron sights, which is why I said, “Now maybe one difference is that I’m mostly referring to “Target” sights, in which you have both front and back apertures.” I don’t have enough experience with the combination of peep and post iron sights, but I do have some. I found that this combination is more sensitive to light, which limits testing somewhat for high accuracy. There are many differences between bench-rest shooters and competitive marksman. When I think “competitive marksman”, I don’t think bench-rest. The differences are obvious enough, I think, such that you’ll never see bench-rest shooting in the Olympics. When I think if competitive marksmanship, I think about the strong human element, which includes lots of limitations that are to be expected with human performance. That’s why I only shot by ISU rules, and never by NRA rules. When I won tournaments, it was me, and not my equipment doing the shooting.

        In any case, if a human is doing the shooting, then there should be no difference between iron sights and a scope (“any sights”). In the extreme case of bench-rest, a scope is more forgiving to human error, and that is the reason why scopes are used. Not so in competitive marksmanship, where at best, you are supported by a sling, but still have to deal with the effects of pulse, breadth control, muscle fatigue, and imperfect vision (which we all have).


      • I think one of the issues here is what we, as different people look for in a test report.
        I’m personally interested more in how a gun shoots in my hands (probably a somewhat better than average shooter).
        Others are interested in the all out mechanical capability (taking out the human factor) of a gun, in other words benchrest shooting.
        The problem is that something can be inheirently accurate…but not be easy to shoot well. When b.b. or Mac provides a test I usually feel that I have a fairly good indication of how the gun would shoot in my hands, under real world shooting situations.
        But, thankfully these differences are what makes the world so interesting…as much as my thinking is always right :-) :-) it would be a boring world if everyone thought like me.


        • CowBoyStar Dad,
          You’re right about everything here. Sure, it would be “interesting” to know how accurate a barrel is in absolute terms, but since we can’t isolate the barrel from every other part of the gun, we just have to deal with it, and everything else that will contribute to errors, including the human element. B.B., and Mac, are masters in this game, so what they provide to us are “real world” expectations that most of us can only hope to equal, and possibly better. An almost perfect barrel, coupled with a mediocre trigger, requires more effort to achieve great performance, but almost guarantees that the absolute best will not be achieved over a long shot string. That’s why many resort to 3 shot groups.
          Victor


      • Also, I don’t consider what B.B., or Mac do to be bench-rest, because they are shooting stock guns with off the shelf ammo, off a bag, and not in any way secured. It will take me a long time before I’m able to do what they can do, as well as they do.

        Oh, one last thing, a scope is not more forgiving to error, but rather to imperfect eye sight (at least a lot more so than any iron sight). If the goal is to extract the last bit of accuracy of the gun, then bench-rest is the way to go. Competitive marksmanship is about extracting the last bit of performance from the shooter. Even a perfect gun won’t help a mediocre marksman.


        • I have a biathalon 50 meter olympic style target and the smaller 10 meter airgun version as well. I find that practice on both with iron sights seem to benifit me the most. I will add that I haven’t shot competive range setting in 30 years, but I also need to see what the gun will do in my hands. These targets were expensive but have taught me how to shoot better. When I hunt, I seldom use a scope over 4X on anything even out to 100 yards. My most powerful varmit rifle is a Ruger swift and that has only a 8X (fixed) power AO Burris scope. My .22 cal Diana 48 has only a 4X scope on it and it will knock down the plates on the 50 meter RF target ,at 50 yards if I take off the marker plates. That’s how I practice off hand. After a summer of this ,I can do it using the smaller set of holes in the 50 meter target. I can get 3 or 4 most of the time out of 5, which is good for me. Today, I see most folks shooting with varible power scopes up to 16X with sporting rifles . Problem is , they never get off their butts, and they aren’t shooting benchrest guns. I know that BB and Mac can shoot without a rest so this isn’t a critzism of the testing methods they use on the blog reviews where they are testing equipment.- Robert.


  2. B.B.

    I am glad that you included the target that broke down the fit differences between pellets.
    I have said before that if I load a pellet that fits too loose, I will shoot it into the ground and load another. I know that loose pellets do not shoot with the group.

    I even feel the same way about muzzle loaders. When a ball fits looser than normal when loading, it is best to shoot it into the ground and load again. A ball that loads tighter than normal will not shoot as badly as a loose one as long as it is not so tight that the ball will be badly deformed when getting it started.

    The accuracy of this rifle does not look too bad with the right pellets, but it looks just a bit on the too hot side. I have seen some rimfires that shot worse than this.

    twotalon


  3. It’s a killing machine. The guns energy combined with a 0.6″ group is fine for center mass pest shots. A little closer with a good quality hollow point is even better. You can put a shotgun recoil pad on the back which provides a little cushion on each shot.

    This is not a plinker or target gun – you will be disappointed if that’s what you want it for… This is a 18-20 ft/lbs monster with a little more power in 22 cal.


    • g. austin,

      Wow! It didn’t sink in until I read your comment… “This is a 18-20 ft/lbs monster with a little more power in 22 cal.” This thing is a beast at 18 – 20 in .177! Squirrel getter, scope buster machine.

      ka


  4. Same experience here with my Gamo .22 Nitro Piston. The Gamo pellets (round-nose and pointed pellets) had a very loose fit. Crosman Premiers were much tighter and the groups proved it to be a significant variable in accuracy. It would be great if all pellet makers labeled their tins with the nominal diameter of the pellets, that would provide at least a general guideline for the user when choosing which to try.


    • I got my 4.50 Finale Match yesterday. They fit just as tight as the 4.51′s do. Could not tell any difference.
      Had thought about getting some that were even smaller to do a comparison, but did not when I ordered. Oh well…..So I have a couple more tins that fit tighter than I want.

      twotalon


      • Sounds like 4.498 is the perfect diameter/fit?

        But… that is at the breech, wonder what the diameter variation or taper is out to the muzzle?

        BTW is a Condor or Talon barrel choked?


        • I think if they were really 4.50 they should fit like the FTT. These seem just like the 4.51. No difference.

          Talon and Condor barrels are choked to hell and back.

          twotalon



  5. BB I don’t see the .22 listed on the PA web page for this rifle but, there are sevral .22 reviews there.

    Also, what is the main (powerplant & trigger) difference between this rifle and the Compact Pro, both are listed at “1250 fps” in .177 ?


    • Brian,

      There is NO powerplant difference in any of the 350 rifles. Barrel length and cosmetics change, but the guts stay the same.

      B.B.



  6. BB and Mac,

    I also found the JSB’s to be a bit of a loose fit in my 350 but H & N Baracudas produced a nice, snug fit and provided the quietest shots due to their tight fit and decent groups. In fact, I’m finding H & N’s are providing better groups than the vaunted JSB Exacts in many of my air rifles. The heavier H & N’s for my magnum powered air rifles are, of course, providing the best results.

    As for group improvement using a scope via an open sight, for me it would be drastically better but as I have seen, Mac is a superb shot with open sights so I really didn’t expect much of an improvement! He proved me right.

    Fred PRoNJ


  7. Thanks for this report BB. It has given me some other things to think about in my quest for accuracy on my .22 Mrod.

    I was able to shoot a little bit over the weekend, and was not overly impressed by my results. My best grouping was .5″ ctc for 4 and one flier at 30yards; i had to shoot several 5 shot strings before i got that group; many of the other groups were un-remarkable; i was beginning to wonder if it was just my shooting ability (which it could have been). I was using these pellets lubed w/ Krytech: http://www.pyramydair.com/s/p/H_N_Baracuda_Match_22_Cal_21_14_Grains_Round_Nose_200ct/837 ; they seem to be the most accurate ones I’ve found for the tune i am currently shooting.

    BTW, i am shooting w/ the same scope that Mac used, and i really like it; i am going to have to get some offset rings for it though, as i have to position my head too far back on the stock to get a good consistent cheek weld.
    I’m thinking about these:
    http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/BKL_30mm_Rings_3_8_or_11mm_Dovetail_Offset_Black/2915 ;
    Do you think they will be high enough to allow for use of the magazine ??

    For my future accuracy testing, I’ll load single pellets and try to pay attention to how they load into the barrel.

    One thing i am curious about is how much velocity affects accuracy; i intend to try to slow down these pellets just a bit (maybe 20-30fps) and retest the accuracy. I wonder if this will give me more consistency ?? Any comments about this idea would be appreciated!

    Thanks,

    –Steve


    • Steve,

      You have some good ideas to try in order to tighten your groups. I have some suggestions if I may.

      First, make one change at a time. My suggested order would be:

      1-do whatever is necessary to get a comfortable and repeatable cheek weld. I’m bewildered at why your current two piece rings can’t me moved forward to provide the right eye relief and good cheek weld?

      2-make sure that the ocular/eyepiece on your scope is adjusted correctly to minimize parallax. make sure the sidefocus is adjusted to give you a sharp picture

      3-shoot some groups

      4-shoot more groups

      5-now consider adjusting the power to shoot the barracudas faster or slower

      kevin


      • Hi Kevin,

        I have the scope moved as far forward as it will go, and when i shoulder the rifle, and put my cheek in the natural position, i am too close. I have to move my head back a bit to get a full picture in the scope. #2 is good as long as i have my head in the correct spot on the stock.

        (Do you have an opinion on the rings i am thinking about ??)

        I hear you on #3 and #4!!! :) Agreed.

        The current tune averages ~805fps over a 30 shot string from 3000psi to 2000psi. I’ve been shooting the middle 20 shots from 2800psi to 2200psi before recharging.

        As always, i appreciate your expert advice!

        –Steve


        • Steve,

          I like bkl rings. Have never used the ones you linked to but have used the bkl offsets with double straps. Is it the turrets that are not allowing the scope to be moved farther forward? Have you considered doubling the rings up on one side of the turrets?

          You may have a point with velocity. I think the kokiaks/barracuda pellets were best in the marauder doing 850+fps.

          Gotta go. I’ll check back later tonight.

          kevin


          • Steve,

            let me add one more point to what Kevin has suggested you to try. Move your hand along the stock to different positions using the artillery hold and see if you find one that the rifle likes best. BB typically likes to hold his rifles with his left hand just touching the trigger guard. My 350 likes a support several inches forward of the trigger guard.

            Fred PRoNJ


          • Thanks Fred,

            I’m shooting off a bench w/ a tack-driver bag right in front of the trigger guard. I thought the pcp rifles were not supposed to be very hold sensitive ??

            –Steve


            • Steve,

              I missed the reference to the Marauder. I thought you and Kevin were discussing accuracy problems with the RWS 350. Never mind.

              Fred PRoNJ


        • Kevin,

          Yes, the turrets are not allowing it to be moved any further forward on the front of the receiver. I’ll look at whether i can double up on the rings on the back side of the turrets.

          Thanks,

          –Steve


        • Steve,

          Based on my experience with my .22 Marauder and Baracuda pellets, there may be some opportunity for accuracy improvements at a slightly slower speed. I’m getting 10 shot groups of about .45″ ctc at 20 yards when averaging 790 fps, but have got .35″ ctc when averaging 740fps.

          Not earth shattering, but it is a difference . . . .

          Alan in MI


    • Steve

      Sorry to read of your frustrations. I had a similar experience when I purchased my first air rifle, a TX200.

      I couldn’t get a decent group to save my life. Plus they would ” group ” about a foot and a half lower than the POI at about 25 yards. Thats no good. I purchased 4 different pellets with the rifle and it seemed they all shot like crap. Gamo match, RWS Superpoints, RWS hollowpoints, and Crosman Premier Lights in the 1250 count brown box. The Gamo pellets were a very loose fit, and the quality looked horrible. They looked like they had been excreted rather than extruded. Yet I had read high praises from many about this very pellet. So I kept on shooting them thinking that the rifle might need a break in period.

      The RWS pellets were just as dissapointing. The Premiers almost as bad.
      Then one day I remembered that I had shot the rifle for a while before I had noticed that the scope mounts were slipping, and I had changed the mounts. Since then the only pellet I had not retested was the Premier. I lubricated them this time and shot several groups. Then the angels began to sing. One hole groups.

      I have a .22 Marauder and was lucky enough to stumble upon the favored pellet in my gun early on, the Crosman Premier. In .22 there is only one weight in the Crosman Premiers.

      I don’t know what to say about the scope mount situation. Perhaps your scope has long eye-relief? I have UTG 30mm two piece high mounts with a Leaper’s 8X32X56AO scope. I have the large sidewheel mounted. I have the scope in ideal position for cheek weld with about a half inch of forward movement available.

      I would quit messing with settings and concentrate on finding the right scope placement, and the right pellet. Trying to shoot the wrong pellet and/or straining with hold to get the right eye-placement are sure fire accuracy killers.


      • Thanks SL! I appreciate the encouragement. I really do love the rifle, and am pretty sure I’ll eventually find accuracy nirvana. I double checked the scope mounting, and i definitely need to go ahead and get the offset rings which should give me the proper eye relief. I’ll also go ahead and get a box of crosman premiers and give them a try as well; i think you are the second one to recommend them.

        –Steve


  8. BB,

    There is a guy around these parts that was talking to me about his pellet rifle. He said it was a “nice looking gun but very inaccurate”. I looked at it and low and behold it’s a Diana 350. That was a year ago, so I think I’ll look him up this weekend to see if his gun is still not accurate… maybe he will sell??

    How’d Mac like that Hawke scope?

    ka


  9. Anyone interested,

    I loaded my first batch of .45auto the other night. I loaded 20 each of 5 different loads starting low and increasing by .2gr. Going to the indoor range Friday. I wrote all down and marked primers with different colored sharpie.

    ka


    • KA,

      I’m interested. But 0.2 grains of powder is pretty small. I think you may have to open up the delta a little to see differences.

      B.B.


  10. Brian,

    I am about to order some pellets and a peep sight for my 392. BB said to try the JSB 18.1 domes, and the 15.9 exacts. The 15.9s are back ordered. I also have the superdomes in my cart. What other pellets should I try? I have a few dollars to spend to get free shipping. lol

    Any others have a choice please chime in.

    Gene



    • Gene, the JSB’s work very well, not too heavy not too light, just right. I have not used the Exacts so not sure on those. Also, check your bore / rifling out with a bright light when you get the gun, some guns have had significant overspray in the bore near the muzzle. It’s a brass bore so, be kind with any swabbing and cleaning. If you have paint in there, plug the bore down about 6 inches and just use a swab or soft nylon brush with a little gun solvent to remove it. No biggie, but frustrating for accuracy if you didn’t know about it!


      • thanks guys. I have had the gun for a few weeks and I cannot see any paint. The only .22 pellets I had were hobbys and they seem to shoot pretty good with the stock sights. A little hard to load though. Have the peep ordered and more Hobbys, the 15.9s, the 14.3 domes and some super domes. That should keep me busy.

        Thanks again


    • PS re Benji 392, with your Williams Peep, sight in at 10 to 15 meters with 3 to 4 pumps max. Get her broke in a little at these ranges first (approx 50 pellets worth) and get used to your sight picture and the adjustments etc. After that, range or distance is as much a function of pumps (up to 8) as it is any adjustment to the sights. Be sure to use high quality gun oil on all the linkage parts and pins and Crosman Pellgunoil on the pump head / psiton area.

      She’s a hard hitter at 8 pumps!


      • I have reservations with the Williams peep sight. I hate to remove the stock sights to use it. I like stock, in cars or in guns. Is the stock rear sight hard to replace, if I don’t like the peep?

        She is a booger to pump up. That 8th pump is a gut buster. (Sorry BB, lol)

        Have a few tubes of Pellgun oil. I have oiled the head once so far.

        Thanks


        • Gene, your rear sight is “mounted” using the small spring steel tabs that are part of the sight base. It is just tension clipped to the barrel. To remove it, use a wood or plastic instrument to pry it off the barrel from one side. Lube up the area where it meets the barrel and do all of this delicately to retain your finish.

          Repeat later with lube if you want to put (snap) it back on.


          • Thanks Brian.

            ( BB, I hope my bad attempt of humor did not offend you. I would delete it if I could. I hope you are doing better. Sincerely, Gene)


            • Gene,

              Yesterday I had an outpatient procedure to remove my pancreatic stent. It was one year to the day from when I first went into the emergency room at the first of four hospitals that would work on me.

              The doctors have pronounced me cured of pancreatitus and I feel fine. I have a lot of energy and am ready to rock, except for a hernia that will be repaired in one month.

              No, I am not upset by anything. I beat the odds on this thing, and lost 100 pounds in the process. Sure, it cost a lot of money, but I’m still upright and taking nutrition, as they say.

              So, no, I am not sensitive in any way. Except in the groin. :)

              B.B.


              • Today IS a happy anniversary in that sense BB.

                Keep on the mend, and what a great time of year to be back at it. Outdoor range time, once again!


              • Yes, happy anniversary! Just thought I’d pass along the sentiment and say BOO! I’ve been reading all along, but ran out of things to say for a while.


            • Gene, I think you will like the Peep sight , it takes a little practice to acclimate your eye to a small circle versus the sheet metal v-notch sight but, it has the side benefit of putting the “world” outside the sight picture (mostly anyway). I tend to concentrate much more easily on the 10 ring or target with the peep sight. Kinda like looking down a milk-shake diameter straw to read a newspaper, you notice other words around the one word you are focused on but, your eye/brain doesn’t perceive a need to read those other words. Make sense?


              • Thanks Brian, I have never touched or used a peep, I think I will like it, the stock rear sight is mostly fuzzy anyway, so I hope the peep works better for me.

                Good for you BB, keep on getting better. And thanks, I was feeling bad with my remark.

                Gene


    • I’m wondering if Crosman has upgraded their dies for the premier dome 14.3′s because my last 2 tins have seemed very consistent in terms of fit – nice and snug like I like ‘em. In any case, a great value and very accurate in both my guns.


  11. Can someone remind of the difference between this RWS 350 and the standard model?

    B.B., I hope that Crystal Ackley keeps up with shooting. That would be cool if she could be prevailed upon to make a blog appearance. She might find that having a fanbase is not that easy to come by.

    Victor, yes the shooting coach was a mess. Isn’t one sense of the concept of “ministering” in the New Testament to demonstrate your values by the way you live your life? Nothing is lost from observing eyes all around you, especially from kids who you are supposed to be teaching. Yes, the world of coaching is weird. When I taught martial arts, I decided I would do it as a tutorial of students (college age) whom I selected very carefully since this was an avocation for myself and not for pay. I did have some extraordinarily good experiences with individuals but overall it was not a very successful enterprise. One of my most promising students apparently went on an isolated, ill-advised trip to the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota which is pure wilderness and simply disappeared in a case that was never solved. Another kid had to quit because of some serious brain problem. Some were rude and unequipped to study martial arts. Others were hyper-aggressive and seemed to be trying to cheap shot their training partners rather than learn something. I finally hung it up because I had other interests. But somewhere in this time, I encountered a teacher from my organization who was 400 pounds–could barely jog–but was a fabulously successful teacher with a big business (for reasons that were lost on me from observation). He seemed like more of a showman and a personality. Anyway, the whole experience made me wonder how I would fare in the business world–maybe not too well.

    Duskwight, my understanding of memory and aging is that the memory for facts will go to a degree but the repository of knowledge about life experience and problem-solving skills will only increase. I think that older folks sometimes upset themselves necessarily about memory. I forget things all the time, and it doesn’t bother me.

    Slinging Lead, a metal receiver IZH 61 would be interesting, but I’ve never been unhappy with mine. The concern now is to fix what I am certain is a broken spring from the way it crunches. But it still shoots about the same. Isn’t it true that a broken mainspring reduces power but not accuracy?

    Mike, thanks for the info about the sights on the SMLE. I was wondering if this rifle would be an option for my Dad whose vision does not allow him to use aperture sights. Apparently not, but still a great rifle. I’ve been slavering over a whole line of great reconditioned military rifles at the James River Armory of which the SMLE is just one model. Savage comes through again with their version of the SMLE. I’ve been compiling reasons why your Savage design is so accurate.

    1. headspacing of the barrel on a minimum headspace gauge.
    2. floating bolt head that meets the cartridge case head precisely.
    3. High quality button rifled barrel.
    4. Pillar bedding and free-floating the barrel.
    5. Accu-trigger.
    6. Bolt handle placed directly above the trigger. Some people don’t seem to like the looks here preferring a swept back handle. But the Savage design allows rapid working of the bolt. You lift your trigger hand straight up and the grasping ball floats right into your hand, and you are cycling the bolt before you know it.

    B.B. I had thought that the Creedmoor position was a position for long-distance shooting of handguns. Now I see that it was the preferred position for target shooting with rifles in the 19th century. As I understand it, you lie on your back with ankles crossed and support the muzzle on your boot while propping your head up with your other hand to look down the barrel. Pretty weird, like prone in reverse and upside down. Was this position displaced by modern prone because of effectiveness or as a matter of fashion? I guess for true historical authenticity with your Ballard you will need to try out this position although the range officer might have some questions….

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      Well, it is a good scenario that you describe. A bad one is when you forget to zip up after taking a leak or to zip down to do it. If some unneeded facts go off – it’s OK, it doesn’t bother me, but when one loses a memory of which key on a chain opens his door and unable to get to his or her medicine – that’s bad, but I’m afraid it is a sort of a dominoes effect – and who knows where it’s going to stop.

      In my understanding it’s somewhat like leg muscles – you can walk all right, but to keep them good and prolong their “service life” you must train them by taking long walks or running. Same goes for memory – it needs exercise all the time to run well.
      Anyway, senile marasmus, age-induced loss of memory and so on it a very personal thing – it depends on way of life and genes, someone develops it, others don’t. What I know for sure – a man who constantly works his brain is very unlike to lose a sharp edge, it’s rather his heart will stop first. I’d like it to be this way.

      duskwight



    • Matt61,

      Yes, we are suppose to lead by example, which would include coaches. As with my parents, I did not come to full appreciation of my coaches until much later in life. As it turned out, years later when a nephew was being honored for his shooting accomplishments, I was asked to write an article by a local newspaper about my own shooting experiences. The most outstanding element of my experiences was not my direct experiences as a competitor, or what I had accomplished, but rather, the great men who made it possible for me. I wrote an article about how my coaches were “Men Among Men”. Each were accomplished in their own right, and because of that, they also distinguished themselves as educators, leaders, and molders of young minds. They understood what it took to be a winner, and more importantly, how to create winners. That’s partly why they never uttered a negative word (they were above resorting to that). You see, they did not stop at things like teaching fundamentals, or other shooting specific lessons. They also taught about building character, integrity, sportsmanship, and even class. It was from them that I learned to act maturely after a win or loss. You’ll never see me jump for joy because I won something, no matter how important it is to me. On the other hand, you’ll never see me complain about a loss (at least not publicly). IF any of my coaches ever had to score one of my targets, you could be sure that they’d never give me the benefit of the doubt, even if fairly obvious. I’d always have to “challenge” close shots. In competition, scores that a shooter considers questionable can be challenged by putting up a buck, and then personally reviewing your targets with an official. Scoring “plugs” are never used, unless a challenge is made. That’s when you see precisely whether the hole touched a scoring ring or not. In any case, my coaches never gave me a point, even if fairly obvious by inspection. These are lessons that I’ve raised my own kids by. My kids know that I am always honest and upfront with them. No BS from me, so they respect my word, just as I respected my coaches. I can’t say this for all but two coaches outside of shooting; my Sensei, and my pitching coach, who was once a professional pitcher.

      I like the saying, “The source of all creation is love.” The New Testament teaches us that love is the greatest gift of all (1 Corinthians 13). Love is the soil which gives rise to all things good, small and great. A great coach must love what they do, and see promise in every person that they work with. A great coach, like a great boss, or leader, extracts the best of their team members. They can’t make everyone equal, but they can respect each individual equally. You see, not everyone will take the teachings of a coach at the same pace, or even in the same way. Sometimes the significance of a lesson won’t take root until years later. Teachers should know that, and so, they shouldn’t expect the instant gratification that comes with seeing the seeds that they’ve planted express themselves when they want it. The fruit may not be seen for decades, which is often the case. What matters are our intentions. Do things with good intentions, and just know that good will come from it. This is not a matter of faith, but of nature.

      Victor


      • re “Coaches” …Joe Paterno has been quoted as saying, “give me a group of can’t do guys over won’t do guys any day, I can teach the can’t do guys, the won’t do guys are a waste of my time”



          • Well, in this case won’t is worse, because it’s a commitment to not doing anything, versus the guys who seem to lack ability. In this case, “can’t” is just a label. Won’t is a commitment to failure. Got it!



    • B Square makes a no gunsmithing scope mount for No. 4 and 5 rifles. That might be an option. Also, keep in mind the the earlier No. 1 Mark III has an open site.

      Mike


      • I have used the S&K no gunsmithing mounts as well on a #5 jungle carbine and a P-17. They worked well. I once won a turkey shoot with a Mk 3 SMLE . Of course, the Mk 3 SMLE only has open mid -barrel battle sights. The match was one shot off-hand at a quart milk carton filled with water and stapled to the target frame. Distance was 100yards. One shot ,miss and you were out. The folks that hit, shot until they missed. The SMLE reputation is justified, they are good old guns,Robert.


  12. B.B. I saw a post yesterday regarding suppressors. I’m curious to learn if a rimfire suppressor will work on an airgun and if so their effectiveness. Most rimfire suppressors come in 1/2-28 threading. Off hand I don’t know of any airguns with threaded barrels. If they will work on airguns, will the metal on your typical airgun barrel hold up to being threaded and having a suppressor mounted? Bub


    • Bub,

      They do work. I got mine to test on a Condor. Barrels can always be threaded.

      Airgun barrels are virtually identical to rimfire barrels, so yes, the threads will hold.

      B.B.


    • Bub, a 1/2″-28 is a very fine ( and strong) thread mounting. I have threaded several air rifle barrels at this size and at 1/2″ -20 UNF which is more common for airguns.

      Either way, a good, non-tapered steel barrel with enough wall thickness will work just fine.


      • Thanks to both B.B. and Brian.

        Since B.B. mentioned the Condor, I went over to the Airforce listings at Pyramyd’s site and it is showing a couple models in the Condor and Talon lines that have threaded barrels in 1/2-28 with flash suppressors attached. Bub


  13. This 350 is a great gun in it’s several versions, including the Pro Compact I have in .22. I’ve persevered through the “Magnum Springer Learning Curve”, which I feel will benefit me in shooting other airguns and firearms (archery and golf too maybe). Identifying all the variables of hold and follow through, then finally combining all the right stuff consistently, is now very rewarding. I must agree with B.B. that magnum springers are not for the casual or occasional shooter and can bring frustration in large doses. But after about 5,000 rounds, I’m finally close to where I want to be.

    I have an excellent Leapers 3-12x TS series scope mounted on mine which has been bulletproof, and it sits on the RWS one-piece lockdown mount. I’ve installed a Vortek kit which has smoothed cocking and firing behavior, produced more consistent velocities, and allowed me to become more familiar with the inner workings of my rifle. I’ve taken the length of pull down 3/4″ including the fitment of a nice vented recoil pad (my first gunsmithing job – quite proud, looks factory but better!) so now the gun shoulders perfectly. I’ve added small half-moon reliefs to the forend of the stock at the pivot, so proper pivot screw tightness can be maintained without stock removal. I get 830 to 845fps average with CP Domes (about 22 lbs/ft) and today I shot three 10-shot groups which were slightly under one inch outside-to-outside at exactly 35 yards, which thrills me. Since the Vortek kit installation there are no flyers (nothing wild anyway) although not all my groups are this good. I’ve got room for improvement, but at least I seem to have the gun figured out.

    My last “issue” was with vertical spread of groups – thanks to those who offered suggestions here! This corrected immediately when I snugged up the barrel pivot screw a bit. As it was, upon closing the barrel and hearing the “click” of the closure, there was still a miniscule amount (maybe a half millimeter) of up-and-down barrel play which was detectable. The moment I tightened the pivot screw a bit more (not overtightened though) the vertical spread disappeared. Hooray!

    So, I’m at the point of really loving this 10.5 (scoped) pound hunk of wood and metal, and plan to enjoy it for a long, long time. The crows that get into my garbage are so far not enjoying it as much though. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a high-quality, powerful air rifle with a self-contained powerplant, so long as they are willing to deal with the learning curve and don’t mind the extra weight in the field. TWO THUMBS UP!


    • Ken, sounds like a fun odyssey to get this rifle to meet your needs.

      Have any of us (ever) been satisfied with an out of the box air rifle or pistol? No, seriously, have we?

      My Walther Lever Action rifle is as close as I have come to such an “odd” event. Anyone else care to chime in here?


  14. Anyone watch Top Shot yesterday? They used a Ruger 10/22 and it looked like a blast. Too bad they will probably never use a PCP.


    • I did , saw the elimination challege part, and the last target on the row was around the same size as the 35 mm hole in the ten meter airgun training biathalon target that I shoot at. It isn’t easy off-hand ! I would have hated to use that fiber optic front sight on the S&W .22 revolver as well. Robert.




    • Volvo,

      You’re exactly right. The other guys were questioning his unorthodox hold, but it’s exactly what I would have done. It’s the only way that I know of to extract the last bit of accuracy from a human body. Remember, we’re not talking about a gun that’s going to jump out of their hands. You cant’ shoot a shotgun like that, but you definitely want that hold for precision shooting. I believe the guys name was Jay. I think that Jay did his homework.

      I don’t know if anyone else will agree with me, but Jay is not in this for the team. He is in this for the long haul, and in particular for the overall individual championship. This was not the first time that he sacrificed the team to eliminate the next weakest competitor.

      Victor


      • I think with the arcade in the beginning it was the wrong approach and he may have cost his team a win, but when the targets were all in a row it was a lucky break.


      • It’s not obvious to me what being in Top Shot “for the team” means. The prize goes only to the individual winner, so the name of the game is to be that winner. There didn’t seem to be any prize for the team that reached the green-shirt stage with the most shooters still standing. So it’s really hard to fault him.

        He shot the arcade targets with a stance much like that of an International-style air rifle shooter. While you cannot change targets rapidly that way, you can make every shot count. Almost by definition that’s the best position for offhand shooting with a low recoil rifle. If it weren’t, the ISSF champions would be standing a different way. Was it better to shoot a bit more slowly and hit with (almost) every shot? If he was missing a lot, maybe he should have fired his 20 into the ground and then gotten out so a better marksman could get to the board quicker. But he was hitting a lot.

        Not sure what was meant by “This was not the first time that (Jay) sacrificed the team to eliminate the next weakest competitor.” Was the idea that he should have rolled over in the elimination contest because his opponent was a better all-around shot, and that would have helped the team? BTW, the only prizes I saw being awarded at all were to the winners of the elimination shoot-offs.


  15. Hi, BB, I am newbie to air rifle.
    Which would you recommend me to try first? Springer or air-piston?
    Could you suggest me a model for a beginner?



      • Tom, thank you for the feedback.
        I think you are right. I read your article, “Airguns are too easy!”, from 2008, and I agree with you that beginner should not try to get all the top equipmenst, jumping ahead themselves too quickly, before they have any idea about the “universe”. I also remember from another article you wrote that a person should choose an air rifle which suits his/her condition. (You mentioned a middle aged men who has rheumatism, or something like that, should not purchase a Marauder, which he would have a hard time to hand-pump it, just because of the PCP receives great reviews, thus murdered his hard earned money and interest towards air gun shooting.)
        Just out of curiosity, I remembered that you said that you prefer spring over nitrogen-piston rifle, and single-shot over repeater. Why is that? It seems like gas piston and repeater are more popular among people compare to their counterparts–almost anyone would spill out how the gas piston is quieter, the springer has kick back and require more experience, repeater saves you time from reloading for a whole day.
        I am only a newbie to the field, so I really want to know the basics (and perhaps the legacy and the right attitude latter on if possible) about air rifle shooting. I wish that I will not become those fanboys who would walk into a gun store right after getting their permits and asking to purchase an AK-47 or M16 with all of their savings.

        (BTW, I am 23 and do have some money to spend on the hobby. Could you provide me with a little more options for me to choose from? I really appreciate your feedback and would like to learn more from your experiences.)

        Sincerely,
        Sean


        • Sean, for what it’s worth….

          I’ve tried a few repeaters and they just don’t pan out as promised. Some (like the RM2000) are very fussy about pellet dimensions – and if they’re the wrong size will either not feed or mangle them. Others, like the IZH61, will mangle pellets if the indexing isn’t just right – and on mine it was WAY off. As for saving time? I noted how long it took me to load 5 pellets and fire them off in the IZH and compared that to a breakbarrel. Over the course of 5 shots the repeater didn’t save any time at all.

          Gas piston does have a lot of theoretical advantages, but they are difficult to implement in some actions (anything with a center piston rod like an RWS34), and they are not perfect. They can leak, and unlike a spring it is a bit more difficult to check it’s condition.


        • Repeaters… Well, in things like the many (now Umarex, but my first was a Crosman distribution) CO2 pistols with the 8-round drop in magazine — pointed or heavy pellets just won’t work; the nose of the pellet will stick out and bind the rotary action. In these, there is no bolt [I don't recall seeing one], the pellet is fired from the magazine [which already grips the pellet skirt] after barrel and gas port are sealed to the magazine.

          Something like a Marauder — less problem. The magazine appears deep enough for pointed/heavy pellets, and bolt action pushes the pellet into the chamber — the magazine is not part of the pressurized system. Though a very thin skirted pellet might deform — the feed system is a clock spring that rotates the inner slotted pellet carrier until a pellet is pressed against a stop-ridge. Closing the bolt pushes /that/ pellet into the barrel and leaves the inner carrier pressing on the bolt. Opening the bolt lets the inner carrier “snap” to the next pellet position.

          Then there are the ones that use a strip magazine and a bolt. These may or may not use an indexed system, or just be a manual “push to next spot”… The one I’ve encountered may have problems with pointed pellets, though I think not as bad as the rotary CO2 pistols.

          OTOH, bolt types with single shot features (Marauder with SS insert), Daisy 853, Daisy 717/777… The pellets may have a tendency to flip as you put on into the loading groove… Or just stand on their head… Possibly also on underlever/sidelever models with rotary loading ports (flip-up loading ports load more like a break-barrel).

          And then there are underlever/sidelever using a sliding compression chamber — where you have to maneuver the fingers into a potential guillotine to fit a pellet into the end of barrel — without dropping it into the chamber itself.



            • Sean,

              tell us what you’d like to do with the rifle? For instance, plink at tin cans? Punch holes in paper? Hunt vermin (squirrels, rats, rabbits, starlings)? The Bronco is a fine rifle but depending on what you want to do with the rifle and how much you want to spend will have quite a bit to do with what you buy. The Bronco is an inexpensive and very good rifle for the price. Expect to become addicted to this sport so the Bronco will be a rifle you will keep. It’s got quality, accuracy and a decent two stage trigger. Want something more upscale? Go look at the Wiehrauch HW50S for about 3 times the price. But you will get a wonderfully accurate rifle with one of the best triggers short of 10M competition rifles. You can target shoot, plink and even hunt with it. My advice, go with the Bronco first and see how small a group you can manage at 10 yards and 30 yards. See what shooting a breakbarrel rifle is all about. Experiment with different pellets (see BB’s review and the pellets he used). Then move on to another rifle – more power? more accuracy? perhaps a PCP (think Discovery).

              Fred PRoNJ


  16. Hi, Fred.
    I think I will be shooting cans and paper for more than 97% of the time.
    This might be a noob thought, but, say, with about the prize of the Bronco, one can also get a Big Cat, which is more powerful.
    So am just not quite sure about why getting the Bronco.


    • Sean,

      couple more things to keep in mind – the more powerful the breakbarrel rifle, the more sensitive it is to hold and maintain accuracy. Second, a good trigger contributes quite a bit to accuracy. The Bronco trigger is a true, two stage trigger. By that I mean there is a low resistance travel and then a high resistance – at that high resistance the shooter knows the next bit of movement will cause the rifle to fire. This is a big issue knowing when the trigger is ready to let off and it lets off like a glass rod breaking. The Gamo does not have that. Third, from all the tests I have read, the Bronco has a better barrel – capable of greater accuracy. Fourth and most important, DO NOT LET power and speed be your deciding factors. First, you will find that as you reach the transonic area of speed of sound (say 1,000 fps, accuracy starts to suffer. Above the speed of sound and accuracy disappears because of the buffeting the pellet will suffer from the shockwave set up by passing through the sound barrier. A 14 grain pellet does not maintain the speed of sound for a decent interval and when it drops below the transonic region, accuracy goes away. You want to keep pellet speed at 950 fps and below. As we know, if you can’t hit what you’re aiming at, all the power in the world is of little use.

      Anyway, what ever you decide to buy, you’ll be more than welcome here. Good luck no matter your choice.

      Fred PRoNJ


      • Thank you Fred, I will make the Bronco my first air rifle.
        Apart from the reliable and useful features you described, I actually really like the design and the tone of the Bronco. I really like its buttery color as well as its plain appearance.
        The Bronco reminds me of good virtue, and it somehow resembles a high quality RWS Dianna rifle.
        Plus Tom can provide all the tips about the Bronco, putting a cherry on the top of the cake.
        Thanks for helping me.

        Sincerely,
        Sean


  17. Sean,

    You’ve gotten some good advice from the other readers. Now I’d like to add my own.

    I suggested the Bronco for the ease of the gun and the fun of it. I know that it’s accurate and has a wonderful trigger. When you get into other brands like Gamo, these things are not necessarily so.

    Gas springs are fine, except for one thing. The companies making air rifles with gas spring have all overdone it and have produced incredibly powerful air rifles that are beasts to operate. Most of them have problems with accuracy, because of their power.

    There is one gas spring rifle that I do recommend, though. The Benjamin Legacy is a low-powered gas spring rifle in .22 caliber. It is easy to cock and shoots as smooth as can be.

    Sean, the bottom line when shooting should always be to hit the target. Not to be the most powerful; not to be the cheapest, etc. Hitting the target is a large part of what matters, and doing it with a rifle that is easy to shoot is the rest of it, as far as I am concerned. That’s why I don’t recommend repeaters, and why I don’t own as many of them as other people.

    The people who take my advice will find their own way in airgunning, once they decide it’s for them. My job is to make their initial experience one that will encourage them, rather than turning them off.

    That’s why I said what I said.

    B.B.


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