.22-caliber Browning Gold air rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

With the assistance of Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1
Part 2


Browning’s Gold breakbarrel is a beautiful new spring-piston rifle.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Browning Gold air rifle. I think many of us have been eagerly awaiting this report, so we can evaluate this rifle in terms of a future buy.

Mac did the testing for me because the Gold cocks with a little more effort than I want to handle at this time. The cocking effort is still about 45 lbs., although you can tell that the action is breaking in and getting smoother as it does. The barrel lock, for example, is now very smooth and requires just a light touch to open. I’d hoped that both the cocking effort and the trigger would both lighten up as well, but so far that hasn’t happened.

I asked Mac to test several pellets for me. He got all the pellets that were used in the velocity test in Part 2, plus we added an interesting one for flavor.

Sight-in with Crosman Premier pellets
Not knowing which pellets the rifle would like, Mac sighted-in with the classic 14.3-grain Crosman Premier. The sight-in distance was about 15 feet; but when he backed up to 25 yards, there was still a lot more work to get the rifle safely on paper.

Normally, a rifle can be sighted-in at 10 feet and you’re assured it’ll be on paper at 20-30 yards, but this time it didn’t work that way. I don’t believe the rifle is different in any way from other powerful breakbarrel spring rifles, but I do think I need to spend a little more time with it. I get a vibe that there is more to the Gold than I’m seeing in the standard three-part test, so at the end of today’s report I’ll tell you what I’m going to do about it.

Crosman Premier pellets
After sight-in, Mac backed up to 25 yards and began the test. The first pellet he tried was the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier he’d used to sight in the rifle. But at 25 yards, Premiers were all over the place. After eight shots, he had essentially a three-inch group, so he decided to stop that target and more on.

H&N Baracuda Match pellets
The next pellet Mac tried in the Gold was the heavy H&N Baracuda Match. This is the same pellet as the Beeman Kodiak, and it turned in the best group of the test. Ten shots went into a group measuring exactly one-inch across the centers of the two widest shots. Within that group, though, is a smaller one containing seven shots that measure 0.52 inches across. That tells me that Mac hadn’t discovered the exact hold for the rifle. Indeed, he shot two 10-shot groups with Baracudas, and the first one was 1.5 times larger than the second. It was during the second group that he discovered the way the rifle likes to be held.

The best hold
The Gold requires the artillery hold. Mac started out by balancing the rifle on two fingers placed just in front of the triggerguard. That makes the rifle very muzzle heavy and is usually the best way to hold a sensitive springer, but not this time. Mac discovered the Gold wanted to be placed on the flat of his open palm in the classic artillery hold. His off hand was forward, where it just touched the back of the cocking slot. All the rest of the hold remained the same, which means no pulling into the shoulder and no heavy hand on the pistol grip.

Follow-through is a huge part of the artillery hold, and there’s a relaxation technique I sometimes use on extra-sensitive spring rifles to calm them down the maximum amount. I will explain it in part four of this report, because that’s where we’re headed.

While this 10-shot group of H&N Baracudas isn’t exactly tight, it does show promise. Seven of the 10 shots went into about one-half inch.

JSB Exact Express pellets
The next pellet to be tested was another one that I had high hopes for. Just like the Premier, the JSB Exact Express 14.3-grain dome is a classic pellet that usually does great things in spring guns. But they didn’t like the Browning Gold, grouping in over two inches before Mac stopped shooting the group. By this time, he knew how the rifle liked to be held yet this pellet still wouldn’t group. So, he moved on.

RWS Hobby pellets
Neither Mac nor I held out much hope for the lightweight RWS Hobby pellet in this powerful spring rifle. And this time our predictions came true. This was another pellet that didn’t finish, after several shots went into almost three inches at 25 yards.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets
The last pellet Mac tried was the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy 18.1-grain pellet. Because the heavy Baracudas were accurate, I figured these would be as well. They gave a best 10-shot group of 1.167 inches, which isn’t great but, once again, showed some promise within the group.

Ten JSB Exact Jumbos made this group, which measures over an inch but still shows promise.

Let me now try to make sense of what’s happening (I believe), and we’ll see where we go from here.

Powerful spring rifles are hold-sensitive
From hundreds of tests of different airguns, I’ve observed that powerful spring rifles are usually very sensitive to how they’re held. Sometimes, there are exceptions; and in one case, the exception gives good insight into what may be happening with the Gold.

Let me tell you about the Beeman R1 that I used to write the Beeman R1 Supermagnum Air Rifle book. I tested that rifle both before and after a 1,000-shot break-in period and what I found was interesting. When the gun was tuned with most conventional tunes, including the one that came from the factory, it was extremely sensitive to hold. I would get 3-inch, 5-shot groups at 50 yards. But the most powerful tune I could apply to that rifle, which came from Ivan Hancock, proved to also be the least sensitive to hold.

With the Mag-80 Laza tune in the gun, I could get 1.5-inch, 5-shot groups at 50 yards with the same pellets that gave me groups twice that size with all other tunes — including a gas spring! That told me that it wasn’t just the power of the rifle or the fact that it was a breakbarrel springer that made it touchy — it was also the specific tune on the gun.

I don’t have the time or inclination to tune this test rifle, nor do I want to go inside for that matter. I do want to give the rifle another chance to do well on the test. I want that because I sense there’s more here than I’m seeing from the brief test I normally do.

You might think I could say the same thing about all powerful breakbarrel springers, but I can’t. If the manufacturer didn’t bother making the barrel pivot joint adjustable with a bolt that allows the user to adjust the breech as the rifle breaks in, then nothing can be done that’s economically realistic to make it a better shooter. I’m referring to the current crop of Chinese-made magnum blasters that have plain pins for their pivots. But this Browning Gold has a bolt that can be adjusted, and I think this is one of those air rifles that will wear in, not out. I could be wrong, and I’m certainly not going to test it for several thousand shots to find out, but I do think the rifle deserves a second chance to succeed.

Part four — a plan for the future
I’ll do a Part 4 retest of accuracy, where I’ll shoot the rifle myself. Mac is on his way back to Maryland, unfortunately for me.

I plan to clean the bore with JB-Non-Embedding-Bore-Cleaning-Compound, the same as I have done in the past for other air rifles that I felt had more potential than they were showing. I’ll also tighten all the stock screws, because Mac noted that they loosened during testing. He tightened them as he went, but I’ll keep a watchful eye on them. Lastly, I’ll apply that special follow-through technique I alluded to earlier. When I do it, I’ll talk you through how it’s done so you can try it yourself. I have written about this technique several times in past reports, but it’s time to focus on it once more, I think.

I’ll start the test with Baracudas and then test some other good .22-caliber pellets to see if there are some that could prove to be accurate. When all is said and done, I want this rifle to have had the best chance to shine because I have a strong feeling that it’s a good one.

50 thoughts on “.22-caliber Browning Gold air rifle: Part 3


    • Mr B.,
      That’s something that I’ve wondered about myself. Offhand shooting seems like artillery hold, plus a lot of body movement. It might be best to try offhand by leaning on a wall, or post. Even sitting on a chair eliminates some of the sway.
      Victor


    • Bruce,

      Offhand is different, but let’s look at the AAFTA sitting position a moment. It is a modified artillery hold, if you have a springer. You balance the stock on your knee with your hand in-between. But if you shoot a PCP you can hold it harder.

      Offhand many springers respond differently, plus no offhand shooter can equal what a good bench shooter can with the same rifle. so a lot more is forgiven when shooting offhand. A modified artillery hold with the rifle balanced on the knuckles or fingertips often works well, but some more neutral rifles like the TX 200 can even be held tight like a deer rifle. They don’t deliver the same great groups as they do from the bench, but when you can bust a Necco wafer nobody complains that you miss the occasional aspirin.

      B.B.


    • Actually, I do nothing but shoot springers offhand–about 80,000 times so far. And it’s my sense that the artillery hold is built into the offhand position and is easier to do here rather than from a bench. The few times I’ve used a bench at the shooting range, the very solidity of the position seemed to cause the energy to rebound back into the rifle and make it harder to maintain that balance of looseness and control. It is intrinsically more difficult to maintain a loose grip in a firm position. But if a firm hold goes with a firm position then a loose hold goes with a … loose position. The inherent wobble of the offhand position is now your friend. You don’t need to do anything special. Just do the usual artillery hold, and you’ll find that the recoil of the rifle is dampened as the energy gets absorbed by your unconstrained body. In fact, I wonder if this effect means that springers are less hold sensitive offhand? Your groups will be worse in comparison with a rest. But the sensitivity may be less across rifles in the standing position.

      Matt61


      • Matt61,

        There are so many important details to shooting, and especially offhand. Some of the best shooters that I’ve known talk about visualizing the perfect shot in offhand. What better way to do this than to have actually experienced it? Kneeling is considered by most to be the second most difficult position. I often tried to capture that perfect shot in my mind while shooting kneeling.

        Because shooting offhand, like pistol, is so difficult because the entire body must be “managed”, I recommend spending some time practicing with your lower body supported, up to your waist, and even your whole back. As I said above, shooting while leaning against something. This will allow you to focus on certain details that get lost while trying to solve the whole problem set. If you wanted to compete against yourself, supported versus unsupported, this will give good feedback as to how much work you need to do in certain areas.

        Victor


      • Matt,

        Thanks for your reply. It makes a lot of sense and I sure have more than my fair share of built in wobble. I was also wondering if the POI would have a significant change between the bench and off hand, but I’m really not a good enough off hand shooter to really tell.

        Bruce


  1. I am a bit confused by your statement about the chinese rifles, the ones I have seen have the same pivot set up as the RWS rifles. The cross bolts adjust the tension on the forks, are you talking about something else?


    • Mike,

      Not all Chinese-made spring rifles are the same. Some do have adjustable pivot bolts, as you have seen, but there are plenty of others that don’t. Crosman has sold many with just a plain pivot pin and I have had several inquiries from owners who want to tighten the breech joint. I have to tell them that it is impossible without spending a lot more money that they wish to spend.

      Here is the thing. When a guy spends $90 on a powerful breakbarrel air rifle and then discovers after shooting it a thousand times or so that the breech joint is loose, he wants to correct it. But he doesn’t want to spend $250 to have someone machine the parts on his $90 gun to take an adjustable pivot bolt.

      The Chinese aren’t the only ones who have done this. The Beeman C1 has a plain pivot pin, and they were made by the old Webley & Scott company of the UK. But at the present time, the majority of rifles with this problematic feature are being made in China.

      B.B.


      • BB, which Crosman guns use a pin? As far as I know all the Quest and Legacy 1000 variants use the same pivot shoulder-bolt arrangement as the older, steel-barreled Gamo. The only ones that comes into mind are the old, discontinued (and very mediocre) model 795 and the current Raven.


  2. B.B.,

    Kudos for giving this air rifle an extended accuracy test. Hope you wait until your body is healed enough before you attempt this final segment because of the 45 lbs. of cocking effort. If you don’t, I’ll plan a trip to Texas in order to slap you silly.

    I also believe that this air rifle will become an easier gun to shoot accurately after 1,000 shots. The normal break-in period for a powerful springer. Occassionally I fantasize about building a machine that can cock, load and shoot a pellet. I would strap a powerful springer in this device and let it break-in the air rifle. I’m convinced that the rifle would emerge a smooth shooter that would be the equivalent of what many air gun tuners charge for. For those tuners that really know what you’re doing don’t flame me. I have some experience with this.

    Because this air rifle is offered in .22 caliber and has the name Browning slapped on it I think it’s a likely candidate for a firearm guys first adult air rifle purchase. I hope these potential buyers realize that this powerful break barrel requires advanced technique and experimentation for proper light hold for ultimate accuracy. Mac, the tester, is a very accomplished shooter of air rifles.

    This sounds like a springer that would also benefit from putting it on target with a very relaxed soft hold, closing your eyes then opening your eyes to see if you’re still on target. Good exercise to learn the hold this gun apparently requires. I’d also be tempted to try the trigger technique where you place your trigger finger on the trigger, thumb behind the trigger guard and squeeze them together in a straight line for firing.

    Learning the secrets of wringing out all the potential accuracy from a gun is what makes this hobby fun and interesting to me. Add additional pellet testing and I have lots of reasons to go out and shoot a new air rifle.

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      You have described my relaxing technique to a T. That’s what I will be showing when I test this rifle the next time.

      By the way, yesterday at the range I met a man who was shooting a Stevens schuetzen in 28-30 Single Shot at 200 yards. He was hoping to get 10-shot groups of an inch or less. He had everything — a Pope-style capper-decapper, a bullet seater, B&M Visible powder measure for loading the single cartridge he used and of course a small tray of perfectly cast bullets.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        So, in other words, yesterday at the range you traveled back in time over a century. How fun.

        I’ve also been fortunate to meet some very nice and interesting people at the range. An added dimension to shooting that I still enjoy.

        kevin



          • Matt61

            You said a mouthful there my brother! What a strange slice of life you can occasionally encounter at the shooting range. Some of these folks are the absolute best. Others…not so much.

            That is one of the multitude of reasons that I really prefer airguns to firearms. I can shoot at home, and avoid the freaks… unless I happen to pass by a mirror.


          • Boy! No kidding! My son and I sometimes prefer to go out to the desert, away from jerks who think it’s funny, or fine, to crossfire onto your targets. I had built my own target holder. The first day taking it out to the range, some idiot(s) decided to have fun by shooting the holder, and not the target. Fortunately, it was sturdy enough to handle it. It took me awhile to figure out that they were shooting outside of the housed firing line. They didn’t want anyone to know what they were doing. In any case, it always surprises me to see people crossfire, and act as if there is no need to respect others space. It’s as if they feel that if it’s out there, then it’s theirs to shoot at.

            Victor


            • I’m a little shocked at the range behavior you’re all relating. These folks wouldn’t last long where I shoot before the rangemaster would escort them out and tell them to never return. The rules are clear, the rules are acknowledged in writting by every shooter before you can enter the firing line and are strictly enforced.

              I’d suggest finding another, safer range.

              kevin


              • I second Kevin’s comment. The Charlotte Gun club range wouldn’t stand for that and would probably kick the offending shooters out of the club. Here in NJ at the Union County Pistol Range, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Sheriff Range Officer of the day didn’t arrest the jokester. At the very least, the Sheriff would confiscate his range ID card and inform him he could no longer shoot there.

                Fred PRoNJ


              • Wow!!
                At the range I’m a member of, the rules border at times on the seemingly ridiculous. Air guns are allowed on the rimfire range. They have a 15yd range that is great for the boys b.b. guns and such. We had to get special permission to set up their Daisy Shatterblast holders because, as the range master (is this what they call them in the U.S.) said…they don’t want everybody getting the idea that they can through out pop cans and such and made them dance across the field with their 10-22.
                That being said, in my two years of membership I have never met anyone out there who wasn’t courteous, pleasant and (importantly) willing to spend time explaining things to two very inquisitive children (8 & 10). Anyone who doesn’t show appropriate manners is quickly sent a letter with a refund for their membership.



                  • I like ridiculous when it comes to gun safety. We were taught to never accept a gun from someone, until we knew that it was unloaded. I’ve recently read of two incidences where someone was killed “accidentally” by loaded guns. One of them was in a gun store!


                • CowBoyStar Dad,
                  Yes, they are called Range Masters in the US. At my home range in CA, all range masters were ex-military and ex-law enforcement, and wore uniforms. The thought of conflict NEVER entered my mind in CA. I was able to focus on thing, and one thing only, namely, shooting. I guess that’s why I use to associate shooting with being at peace.
                  Victor


                • The range I normally use (currently averaging once a decade — sigh) has two explicit tin-can ranges (plastic water bottles also okay, just pick up the pieces). Pistol and Rifle. Air rifles permitted on pistol stages — though I wouldn’t consider putting the Condor there; just breakbarrels and pump models.

                  .22 rimfire (but maybe not .22WMR) permitted on the 25yd pistol stations. Pistol stations at 25, 7 (I think), and 50 yards (again, I think… maybe it’s 25, 7, 15).

                  50 and 100 yard rifle stations.


              • Kevin,

                What you describe is what I would have expected from any range. At least that’s what I experienced in California. Ranges there were top notch, and the shooters were all classy. Not so much in Nevada. As many Nevadan’s acknowledge, we’re still living in the wild-wild-west. Nevada is a macho town, where “real men” like things that go BOOM!!! Doesn’t matter if you hit anything, so long as everyone feels it. I’m sometimes amazed to see guys with high power rifles shooting 25 yards. Oh, we have shooters who are great people, and have as much class as you can ever hope for, but it’s much more of a mixed bag here. At ranges that I knew in CA, you could get kicked off the range just for walking away from the line such that it wasn’t 100% clear that your firearm was not loaded. They had real standards, and you either honored them, or you were OUT.

                It is a shame though. That’s why I won’t shoot past 50 yards in our range. If you go past 25 yards, your target is fair game. At 100 yards, forget it. I only shoot past 50 yards out in the desert.

                Victor


  3. I wish I could see this stock in person. I prefer traditional wood stocks with good grain and traditional checkering on my rifles. But I also really appreciate the craftsman/arts and crafts style of design. The stock on this Browning reminds me of something Frank Lloyd Wright might have designed. When I make my fortune and buy my fantasy house, the Kaufmann residence would be my first choice.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Wrightfallingwater.jpg

    I think this rifle would look at home hanging on the wall in there.


    • Nice house but does it have it’s own range?
      Ever heard of Robert E. Peterson of Peterson publishing (Hot Rod, Motor Trend, Guns & Ammo etc.) he had quite a big mention and an old photographer who worked for him said he had a pretty nice firing range. Wouldn’t that be great, you can shoot what you want whenever you want, no waiting for the dumbass besides you, no more forgeting to bring this or that… Wouldn’t that be awesome?

      J-F


  4. Falling Water is gorgeous, no joke. But it would not be a comfortable residence. It’s not air conditioned and sits at the bottom of a very humid and warm valley (in summer) and a freezing cold and very humid valley in winter. It’s also a *lot* smaller inside than I ever imagined. Wright did another building about 10 miles from the Kaufman residence, called Kentuck Knob. It’s small, but feels rather more open and airy. And it could be air conditioned.

    I don’t think either house has its own range; a serious disadvantage.

    pz


  5. B.B., so you’re going to initiate us into the deeper secrets of the artillery hold. This is like the grandmaster of my martial art style saying that the long and complex sword form at the black belt level has another six parts at higher ranks…. I haven’t even gotten into trying the various holds on my springers although if the rifle is that hard to shoot it gets less appealing to me.

    Victor, maybe the ego part of rowing was particular to that sport’s physical misery and its intensely team orientation with everyone matching strokes in the boat. Both reasons to disqualify me since I don’t consider myself egotistic–certainly not in a competitive sense–and therefore disinclined to misery and don’t like to participate in any team sports. Your description of elite shooters matches what I’ve read about David Tubb and Nancy Tompkins. They sound like surgeons or very sophisticated technicians–just about the opposite of the violent gun nuts in the popular imagination. They would be the last people to commit any sort of crime.

    As for dojos in Hawaii, there was a lot of martial arts interest there because of the heavy Asian presence, but if there were good dojos I missed them. The one Karate teacher/sensei I had for any length of time was one of the most repellent people I’ve ever met and worst teachers; he was a match for the ridiculous and absurd rifle team coach I had. He didn’t have very much knowledge of technique–none that he was passing on anyway–and he had degraded the principles of discipline and obedience to a kind of stupid brutality. His ideal he described was schools in Japan where, reportedly, if someone could not handle the workout, the rest of the students would work him over afterwards because “he couldn’t take it.” I looked this fellow up many years later online and found that he had been kicked upstairs to sixth degree, and he beamed beatifically out from his publicity photo.

    Wulfraed, I would think that a vacuum over control surfaces at transonic speeds would cause the controls to move freely without moving the airplane, but the accounts I’ve read say that the controls feel like they’re frozen or embedded in concrete. As for the dive flap for the P-38, you would think that an obstruction into the airstream would slow down the plane, but I’ve read that the dive flap did not do this. It altered the airflow without appreciably changing the speed. But at subsonic speeds this same flap did slow the plane down with a double-edged effect. The flap could be used to increase the already high maneuverability of the P-38 so that some pilots claimed that they could outturn a Zero (doubtful), but this move also left you slow and vulnerable. Incidentally, at the height of the air war in Europe, Lockheed flew over the entire existing supply of dive flap kits to retrofit the P-38J model, but the transport plane was shot down by mistake by a Spitfire and the cargo was lost. It took a year to replace them during which time the P-38 was passed over by other models, the Thunderbolt and Mustang although it would appear that the P-38 was the real starship of WWII and the most capable airplane.

    Maybe our very own Jane Hansen is working on the 13,000 mph hyperglider. :-)

    Regarding long range sniping it would appear that technology has taken an unexpected direction with the .338 Lapua and all those who invested in the .50 BMG and the .40 caliber spinoffs like the .416 Barrett are left high and dry. I suspect that the only reason for such a large caliber is for anti-vehicle use for which you do not need pinpoint accuracy. Otherwise you get equal range and better accuracy and smaller footprint with the .338. It makes sense and anyone who had figured this out and bought the right stocks in advance would be doing well. Apparently with muzzle brake design, the .338 is not that hard to shoot–about like a .308. But you will need good ear protection and a big wallet.

    What makes an “inherently accurate” caliber? If accuracy correlates with a flat trajectory, this would imply that the ratio of powder charge to bullet size, ballistic coefficient, and (more peripherally) bullet weight would be the deciding factors. But with sufficiently tight specifications, shouldn’t it be possible to make any cartridge with a looping trajectory repeat its loop and land consistently on target (within its working range)? If so, that would imply that there is no inherently accurate caliber and that the 7.62X39 for example can be loaded as accurate as anything else.

    Matt61


    • Matt61,

      What I, and others, loved so much about competitive marksmanship was the level of sportsmanship en grained in its culture. With only one exception that I can think of, everyone was VERY cool.

      As for dojo’s, there’s a full spectrum of possibilities, including those on the other end who offer nothing, expect nothing, but are willing to charge you a lot. Those are often referred to as “Mc Dojo’s”. Our senseis were very tough, but not sadistic. However, everyone is told on the first day of class that if they are there for sport, or exercise, to quick immediately. They made it clear that they were there to teach you how to fight, and that it would be among the most challenging things that you could ever experience. They really meant it. It was non-profit, so they had the luxury being able maintaining customs, traditions, and training, as passed down over generations. Only one out of every 32 students got past their white belt to their first colored belt. Not all black belts are created equal. We were taught to avoid conflict, understanding this, among other things.

      Victor


    • Wulfraed, I would think that a vacuum over control surfaces at transonic speeds would cause the controls to move freely without moving the airplane, but the accounts I’ve read say that the controls feel like they’re frozen or embedded in concrete. As for the dive flap for the P-38, you would think that an obstruction into the airstream would slow down the plane, but I’ve read that the dive flap did not do this. It altered the airflow without appreciably changing the speed. But at subsonic speeds this same flap did slow the plane down with a double-edged effect. The flap could be used to increase the already high maneuverability of the P-38 so that some pilots claimed that they could outturn a Zero (doubtful), but this move also left you slow and vulnerable. Incidentally, at the height of the air war in Europe, Lockheed flew over the entire existing supply of dive flap kits to retrofit the P-38J model, but the transport plane was shot down by mistake by a Spitfire and the cargo was lost. It took a year to replace them during which time the P-38 was passed over by other models, the Thunderbolt and Mustang although it would appear that the P-38 was the real starship of WWII and the most capable airplane.

      Well… at a point before the “vacuum” effect one probably has the shock-wave high pressure point located over the control surfaces, which could be more pressure than the control leverage was designed for…

      Note that the P-38 had “regular” trailing edge flaps, and then the added dive flaps with were mid-way under the wing:
      http://kazoku.org/xp-38n/articles/p38info.htm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_P-38_Lightning

      What makes an “inherently accurate” caliber? If accuracy correlates with a flat trajectory, this would imply that the ratio of powder charge to bullet size, ballistic coefficient, and (more peripherally) bullet weight would be the deciding factors. But with sufficiently tight specifications, shouldn’t it be possible to make any cartridge with a looping trajectory repeat its loop and land consistently on target (within its working range)? If so, that would imply that there is no inherently accurate caliber and that the 7.62X39 for example can be loaded as accurate as anything else.

      Design pressures would be one problem… Putting in a charge of faster burning powder in an attempt to flatten the trajectory could run peak pressures too high for the firearm.

      Time of flight is another factor. A slower “looping” trajectory spends more time exposed to the vagaries of the wind.

      I’ve spent some minutes on though experiments regarding the “bullet shot upwards” Mythbusters episode and some of the comments by viewers. Many of whom are not fully taking into account some effects of the gyro stabilization of a bullet when arguing that the bullet will not be landing sideways or tumbling.

      Simplifications: ignore air drag on horizontal velocity; presume bullet moves in straight line to midpoint (highest point) and then in straight line in the return to ground; predicate a 45deg take-off/arrival angle.

      Okay, first half of the flight the stabilized bullet is pointing along the 45deg take-off path, no problems… Now consider the descent — gyro stabilization keeps the nose pointing 45deg UP, but the bullet overall is moving 45deg down… That means the bullet is broadside the descending flight path!

      “But the bullet shape wants to point into the airflow”… Okay, pretend the gyro stabilized bullet, on the same 45 up/45 down flight path, noses over at the mid-point. Ever try pushing the top of a toy gyroscope over? What happens? Precession makes it “roll” 90 degs to the side of where you are trying to push the top. So, not only is it now broadside to the descending path, but it is also broadside to the horizontal path. You’ve also now given it a target for Bernoulli effects — it will either appear to “climb” (if the top side is back-spin — I haven’t checked the physics for which way the precession will leave the rotation — this is the “hop-up” effect in an air-soft gun) or become a “sinker”.

      Straight-line flight is, of course, fictitious… Draw a parabola from start to finish (I’m still ignoring air drag on horizontal velocity)… The nose of the bullet is supposed to be changing angle throughout that parabola — so the more the nose angle changes from launch, the wider the precession will be to the side. Add in air drag, which compresses the horizontal rate the closer you get to the target, and the rate of vertical change will increase in proportion.

      A high-speed, flat trajectory, with a bullet that doesn’t lose much speed from air drag will have much less precession over a lumbering, arcing, high drag bullet that reaches the target sideways.


  6. Question:
    I have some scouts who would like to shoot 3p rimfire sporter occasionally (any flavor – CMP, NRA, other?). What rimfire 22 cal rifle would you recommend ? (22 mags and .17′s are not allowed).

    Are there any airguns that would be the close match in terms of size/shape/weight – so that the scouts could practice at home ? Or does the sensitivity to front hand placement, grip firmness, and pull into your shoulder so different that they should really practice with the rimfire rather than with an air rifle ?


    • JohnG10,

      Young shooters, and women have a type competition exclusively for them, called Standard Rifle. An air rifle that is built similar to the Standard rifle that I used in competition decades ago is the Crosman Challenger. It has an accessory rail that will allow you to use the same hand-stop and sling as any competition small-bore rifle. The Challenger can also use the same aperture sights found on many target rifles (e.g., Anschutz). There are many small-bore rifles to choose from. You should be able to get a nice discount through CMP. Anschutz is the recommended rifle of choice for competition. To see what’s for sale with CMP, check out the following,

      http://www.odcmp.com/Sales/rifles.htm

      Victor


    • I would also highly recommend the Avanti series of air-rifles (the 853). They are approved by the NRA and the National Three Position Rifle Assoc as well as the Canadian Cadet corp (similar to your ROTC).
      The thing I like about them for home training (as opposed to the Challenger) is that they are a Single Stroke Pneumatic…no tanks or refills to worry about.


      • Yeah, I missed the “sporter” specification. I don’t know if sporter uses a sling or not. If not, then your recommendation definitely makes the most sense, and it’s much cheaper and convenient.


      • Sporter uses a sling for prone and kneeling/sitting, but not offhand. A 6X scope is allowed, and I imagine the scouts will be more motivated to shoot with it than peep sights.

        Sporter is basically “7.5 lb or less rifle, 3 lb or more trigger, no adjustable cheekpiece or buttpad”. ie: “Inexpensive”. Very similar to the 10m airgun sporter category ;)

        The Ruger 10/22, and Savage bolt action are 2 that were recommended to me. But by the folks who run a Scout camp, who may or may not be target shooting oriented… I imagine the Savage bolt action is more accurate than the Ruger 10/22, but about 1/5 of the competition that is “rapid fire” (5 shots in 25 seconds (auto), or 30 seconds (bolt or lever action)).

        Do you guys think that using a youth breakbarrel for practicing at home be OK – or would ingraining the artillery hold into rimfire shooters be a bad idea ? ie: Is a tighter grip and pull into the shoulder needed for sporter rimfire ?


        • JohnG10,

          For your needs, I’d recommend the Savage over the Ruger myself. I have a Ruger 10/22 Target model. It has decent accuracy, but the first shot tends to be more of a “flyer” because it lacks the tolerance’s found in bolt action rifles. Also, I would recommend iron sights (target aperture sights), as they are more universal, competition wise, for small-bore shooting, air-rifle. The Ruger 10/22 is NOT setup for iron sights. You can add a barrel band to add a dovetail front aperture sight (the rear scope rail of the 10/22 T is Dovetail on top of Weaver, so adding a rear aperture sight is no problem), but that’s kind of stretching things, I think. The Savage is more accurate, based on reviews that I’ve read, and it comes with target sights (front and real apertures). If you looked at the link I gave you for CMP .22 Target Commercial, you’ll see that the prices are pretty low at just over $225 for either single shot or 5 shot model.

          Regarding the appropriateness of a break barrel and artillery hold. Adding a sling adds an entirely different dynamic to shooting. A sling has to be fairly tight in order to support the rifle, such that the shooter uses no muscles at all. I have zero experience with Avanti’s, but I believe that there is an available accessory rail for some of the Avanti series rifles. Since they come with target sights, your shooters will be able to learn a great deal of common discipline. There is so much of value to learn with these guns.

          Victor


          • The Daisy/Avanti 853 comes with a shooting sling that clamps to the shaft of the pump arm, and may even have some ability to be positioned anywhere between the pivot point and the “hand grip”. I’d have to check my Daisy 953 (don’t bother looking, folks — mine is a limited production US Shooting Team benefit model; a 1980s era 953 action/barrel [that period 953 was single-pellet/BB-repeater] with an 853 wood stock/shooting [not carry] sling/peep&globe sights, and with the BB loading port permanently blocked)


        • JohnG10,

          I vote specifically against the Ruger 10/22. I own one and have spend a lot customizing it. It is a fine rifle, but it is the antithesis of a target rifle because it is semiautomatic.

          Whatever you get, make it a bolt action to slow down the kids and force them to learn good follow-through.

          B.B.


  7. BB,

    I’ve got a question about Turkish air rifles. A couple of years ago I was in Turkey on a business trip and asked my colleagues at one of the Turkish army bases in Ankara if they knew where I might buy a Hatsan. Oddly enough they told me that pellet guns were illegal.

    Now there were some language problems, but I thought I made myself clear that I didn’t want a firearm. I know that there are a number of shops in Istanbul selling what appear to be highly realistic pistols that, nevertheless, shoot only blanks. Do you know if it’s true that you can’t buy Turkish pellet guns in Turkey?

    I also found it impossible to buy Chinese air rifles in Beijing; I don’t know about the provinces. But in 1995 there were folks lining the banks of the Yellow River in Lanzhou “renting” rifles to people who wanted to pop balloons with them. I had fun.

    Anybody else have any experiences?

    pete


    • I found this page regarding airgun laws around the world.

      http://ial.thesignalpage.nl/law_details.php?country=Turkey

      It says that it hasn’t been “officially verified” but it says the same thing for Canada and it’s pretty much what they say it is.

      Looking at a few other country we (Canada) pretty much seem to have the dumbest airgun laws… Switzerland strangely only prohibit the use of lasers on airguns :rolleyes: and Ireland has a 1 joule limit :shock: and the Netherlands prohibit anything “looking” like a firearm, that’s a pretty loose and open to interpretation deffinition!

      J-F


    • Pete,

      When I return to work next week, I’ll ask a very good friend who is Turkish, if he knows anything about ownership of pellet rifles in Turkey.

      Fred PRoNJ


  8. The P-38 was a great airplane. Too bad it had to deal with the Alison engine. It would be awesome to have one fitted with Merlins.

    Mike


  9. B.B.,

    It’s interesting that you would hold out so much hope for this rifle. It is a beautiful gun, so I too would like to see that it’s worth every penny.

    I look forward to part 4 of this report, as I’m a HUGE proponent of follow-through, and finding your “natural point of aim”. Follow through is not only a critical element of shot execution, it also tells you a great deal about what you might have done wrong, by the jump.

    Yesterday I was watching shooting video’s on utube. I was amazed at how so many shooters start pulling their head up a millisecond after taking the shot. When a shooter does this, you know that they stopped concentrating on the shot before they were done taking it. What’s important about this is that WE ALL do this at one time or another. When we do it rarely, it’s because we’ve really tried to learn the fundamentals. You can’t escape the necessity of fundamentals.

    Victor


  10. I bought the Browning Gold Series .22 (with synthetic stock) at BassPro yesterday. I would like to think I’m a pretty accurate shooter, but have had a very hard time with this air rifle. I think it has to with the horrible trigger action more than anything else. It has performed admirably on a few occasions this morning. I hit a squirrel on a tree about 50-60 yards out. My first couple of shots of a group are pretty accurate and then I think I get frustrated with the crazily long trigger action and it makes me want to throw the rifle across the yard. It is I think the frustration with the trigger that would make any shooter inaccurate.


    • Shariq,

      All break barrel spring guns require a lot of technique to shoot well. People don’t realize how difficult they are until they try them. The groups shown above are the result of a special technique called the artillery hold.

      The trigger on the Gold appears to be variable from one gun to the next.

      B.B.


  11. Thanks for the artillery hold suggestion. With it, I am able to shoot 1″ groupings at 25 yards. I didn’t think it would make that much of a difference in consistent accuracy. I still hate the trigger. It has very little feel, in addition to the very long action. I wonder if there are aftermarket trigger upgrades (like the GTX-III) that would make a difference. FYI: I am using RWS SuperDome pellets.

    Another problem I have noticed is that the side screws for the stock keep coming loose. I am starting to think I may have bought a lemon. Would you guys suggest I take it back for an exchange? Bass Pro does have a 30 days return policy, so that’s also an option.


    • If you’ve read some of the back reports, you’ve seen comments about tightening screws before each shooting session.

      If it’s really bad, you might try a dab of LocTite (blue or green, I forget which is the “for already assembled” and which is “removable” — red is meant for permanent fixtures, unlikely what one wants for something that needs to be opened up at times for lubing — and since “for already assembled” implies fitting where you can see the threads after tightening, it likely isn’t recommended either. You want the formula where you put a drop on the screw, then quickly insert/tighten it)


    • Shariq,

      First, try something other than Superdomes. They don’t do well in this rifle. Try Beeman Kodiaks and JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes.

      There are no replacement trigger for this rifle, as far as I know. This rifle is supposed to have the Quattro trigger. Is yours marked that way?

      The exchange sounds plausible.

      B.B.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


2 + 4 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>