by B.B. Pelletier
Because of the difficulty I had with the Oehler chronograph under the trees when I tried to do the velocity test the first time, today will be the velocity test. I was in the northern part of the Texas Hill Country for this test, and the sky was pure blue without a single cloud.
One reader left a message about several specific velocities he wanted me to test, but it doesn’t work that way. Since I now know the power settings and the pellets that produce the greatest accuracy in the TalonP air pistol, that’s where I started the test. It doesn’t make sense chronographing srtings of shots at different velocities if I don’t know that those velocities will be where the gun will always shoot best…does it?
Before we begin, perhaps I should mention for our newer readers that .25-caliber pellets are inherently less accurate than .22-caliber pellets. In test after test, I’ve seen the .25s perform less well than a comparable .22. Since .25-caliber pellets are the heaviest of the smallbore caliber pellets, they’ll produce the greatest energy. Many shooters choose a .25 for that reason. I’m telling you this so you’ll have some context for the report that follows.
This pellet performed great in the first (25 yard) accuracy test. It worked well from power setting three up to just before power setting six, where the groups opened up noticeably. Setting three was the most accurate setting of all, so that’s where I chronoed the gun.
Benjamin domes delivered an average 486 f.p.s. on power setting three. The range went from 480 to 496 f.p.s., for a total variance of 16 f.p.s. I did notice, however, that as I continued shooting, the velocity varied even more. For example, shot 20 was 499 f.p.s. The power curve of the pistol is narrow at this setting. That won’t matter one iota, as long as you keep your shots under 50 yards; and at this power setting, that’s what you should do anyway. But let’s keep this in mind. At the average velocity, this 27.8-grain pellet generates 14.58 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
Beeman Kodiak Match
At 31 grains, the .25-caliber Beeman Kodiak Match pellet has two things going for it. First, it’s one of the most universally accurate pellets in .25 caliber. Since many pellets are not accurate in this caliber, this is a pellet you want to try in just about every airgun.
The other thing Kodiaks have going for them is their weight. At 31 grains, they’re a medium-weight pellet in the quarter-inch bore. With the lightweights down at just over 20 grains and the heavyweights at 43 grains, the Kodiaks are a nice compromise of weight with accuracy.
We saw how accurate Kodiaks are at 25 yards in the last report, so let’s test them at the same power setting (three) they were at when shooting those groups. They average 439 f.p.s. on this power setting, and the range goes from a low of 435 to a high of 452 f.p.s. The spread is 17 f.p.s. At this velocity, the pellet generates 13.27 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
I know what you must be thinking at this point. Here’s an air pistol that purportedly gets 50 foot-pounds of energy, so why am I messing around with performance under 20? Good question. I’m just testing the velocity at which the best 25-yard groups were produced. However, I did not spend any time with the Kodiak at power settings above that during the accuracy test, so let’s now see what turning up the power gives us.
At power setting six, Kodiaks average 526 f.p.s. The spread went from 518 to 537 f.p.s. At the average velocity, that’s an average of 19.05 foot-pounds. I also tested Kodiaks at higher settings; but before we get to them, let me finish the other tests.
Eun Jin 43.2-grain pointed pellets
For the 43.2-grain pellet from Eun Jin, I cranked up the adjustment wheel as far as it would go. I want to test the maximum number of shots at max power. Instead of giving you the statistics, I’ll show you the entire string. This was starting with a 3,000 psi fill and finishing (based on velocity, not remaining pressure) at just under 2,000 psi:
Okay, looking at that string tells us several things. For starters, at closer ranges, like 25 yards, there probably are 12 good shots on a fill. But you’re safer stopping after shot 10.
For long-range shots, you might want to refill after 8 shots. As always, you need to prove these guesses by shooting at actual targets at the distances you’re interested in.
Taking the highest velocity seen in this string, we can calculate a muzzle energy of 57.48 foot-pounds. At the low end of the 8-shot string, 738 f.p.s. gives us an energy of 52.26 foot-pounds. Right there is your 50+ foot-pounds that everybody wanted to see.
Changes in the power wheel
One thing that’s characteristic of the AirForce power wheel is that, when changes are made, it takes a shot or two to settle the gun at the new setting. Let’s see what that looks like when I drop the power back to setting 10 and continue to shoot the heavy Eun Jins:
6 did not record
There’s a power drop at setting 10, and also no better shot count, for some reason. If we disregard the first shot because the gun was settling in to the new power setting, then shots 2 through 9 are the 8-shot string of consideration. The max power is 54.98 foot-pounds, and the lowest power is 47.15 foot-pounds. But with no more shots per string, I would only select this setting if it offered an accuracy advantage.
Back to Kodiaks
Now that we’ve seen what the pistol can offer with the heaviest pellets, let’s return to the Beeman Kodiaks and see what they do on power setting 10:
This group tells us a lot. First, the gun is not on the power curve at setting 10 with this pellet. The first shot is slow because of the gun settling in, but the remainder are still climbing into the power curve. I would call shot 4 the first good shot we see, and that tells me I should experiment with a lower fill pressure of perhaps 2,800 psi to see if I can get the first shot to go as fast as shot 4 goes in this string.
I would call shot 13 the last good shot in this string. If I stop there and begin with shot 4, there are 10 good shots in this string. Interesting!
The maximum power in this string came with shot 7 and is 47.78 foot-pounds. The lowest power came on the last shot and registers 44.18 foot-pounds. That’s a vert tight string and an interesting one that needs to be tested at longer range.
Dropping the power wheel back to 8 gives us the following string with Kodiaks:
Wow! It should be obvious with this string that on power setting eight, the gun does not want to be filled to 3,000 psi when shooting Beeman Kodiaks! In fact, it appears that a fill of around 2,600 psi might be the ticket! Notice that the velocity climbs more than 200 f.p.s. during this string.
I would say that the useful shots in this string start with shot 11 and continue to shot 22. That’s a string of 12 good shots with a low velocity of 771 f.p.s. and a high of 811 f.p.s. At the low velocity, the gun generates 40.93 foot-pounds of muzzle energy; and at the high, it generates 45.29 foot-pounds.
What have we learned?
We’ve learned that while there are a large number of powerful shots available, the number 10 to 12 keeps coming up, no matter where you are in regard to the power setting or which pellet is used. Take that with a grain of salt, though; because at the shorter range of 25 yards, I showed that the groups don’t open up that much. So, I’m now thinking of longer distances, like 50 yards.
I was very surprised when blog reader Matt made his comments last week, when he wondered how the TalonP operates. But I guess that’s because I’m so familiar with this gun, which is basically like all other AirForce sporting guns. Matt and everyone else who wonders how it works will get a little explanation.
The TalonP is a single-shot PCP air pistol. It has a removable air reservoir that nominally gets filled to 3,000 psi, though we’ve learned differently in this report.
While the Talon rifles have interchangeable barrels in each of the four smallbore calibers and each at three different barrel lengths, the TalonP pistol comes only as a .25-caliber gun with a 12-inch Lothar Walther barrel. Everyone wants to know if the rifle barrels will interchange with the pistol barrel, or if the pistol reservoir can be installed in a rifle. A quick examination shows that the basic hole patterns for the bushing screws are the same, but the length of the barrel breech is slightly different. I’m not going to try to interchange anything without checking with AirForce first, because there may be some fundamental differences between the pistol and the rifles that are not easily overcome.
The power adjustment wheel on the left is turned to advance and retard the power setting, indicated by the screw in the slot at the right. Here, the gun is set to 8 on the power adjustment. The numbers on the wheel correspond to smaller changes. The settings are just approximate but do relate specifically to each rifle. If I come back to this setting, I’ll get similar results.
The TalonP has a power adjustment wheel that resembles the one found on the three rifles. It works the same way and has the same characteristics of operation. Just like on the rifles, this wheel is not a precision adjustment that can be carried from gun to gun. In other words, power setting 3 on the test pistol may perform like power setting 5 on a different pistol. When it comes to the power settings, every AirForce owner must take the time to learn the peculiarities of his individual airgun, because no two are exactly the same.
In the next report, I’ll get back out to the range and test the pistol on higher power at longer distance.