The HW 55CM target rifle: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Is this Custom Match the best HW 55 ever made? Read the report to find out.

In the last report, I tuned the rifle and got rid of the objectionable firing cycle. It’s always a great pleasure to return to a classic air rifle like this one after testing so many modern airguns, because these oldies are so reserved and well-behaved. I know it’s not going to kick, roar and fight me at every turn. It may only be suited to shoot 10-meter target, but sometimes — and by that I really mean often — that’s exactly what I need.

Sight-in
I had to remove the sights during the tuneup, so the rifle needed to be sighted-in again. It wasn’t that far off, but the indices are so dark on a 55 rear sight and my eyes are so bad that I had to play around until I discovered which way to adjust the sight to go right. In this respect, a modern 10-meter rifle has it all over a vintage one.

The first pellet I tried was the H&N Finale Match Rifle pellet. I haven’t had a lot of recent success with this pellet in target rifles, but in the past this was one of two to contend with — the RWS R-10 Match Pistol pellet being the other. This time was different, though. Although the first group wasn’t what I wanted, it showed enough promise that I shot a second and a third. By the third group, I could tell this pellet likes this rifle.


Not bad! Five H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets went into this group at 10 meters. Any one of them could be a 10 if the sights were adjusted.

Next, I tried the RWS R-10 Match Pistol pellet, and I gave it the same number of chances, but it never showed me anything. That was a surprise, because I think this pellet is one of the more accurate pellets in several of my other 10-meter rifles.


Five RWS R-10 Match Pistol pellets made this nice round group. This is impressive to anyone but a veteran target shooter, who would see that it’s about twice the size it needs to be.

Following the R-10, I tried the RWS Hobby pellet, because in my HW 55 SF — the 55 that has no barrel lock — Hobbys do surprisingly well. Again, there was no joy this time. I’m showing the group to contrast with the others in this report.


RWS Hobby pellets are just not right for the HW 55CM.

At this point, I was satisfied that this rifle is accurate, though it won’t give an FWB 300S any competition. But why stop there?

I next mistakenly loaded some obsolete and nondescript European diabolos that I mistook for JSB S-100 competition pellets. Boy! If you ever wanted to see a comparison between good pellets and cheap ones in a good gun, this was it! How about a three-quarter-inch five-shot group?

Back to serious ammo. The next pellet I tried was the H&N Match Pistol. This is not a Finale Match pellet, and I find that these sometimes vary in weight a lot more than Finales tend to, but there can be surprises. Not this time, though. The best group looked like Hobbys. Oh, well!

After that, I tried H&N Match Rifle pellets. They’re the same as Match Pistol, only heavier. But for some reason that nobody understands but everybody believes, they shot great! These are the pellets for this rifle — until I find something better.


Now, this is what we’re after! Five H&N Match Rifle pellets are obviously working very well in this rifle. This would be the pellet to stick to until a better one comes along.

Overall evaluation
The rifle is shooting fine with the new tune. I could live with less power, but what I have isn’t bad. The trigger is a joy, because it breaks at just 7 oz., and that’s as light as I need it to be. Shooting from a bench in the rested position doesn’t give you the full feeling of the rifle. All it shows is the potential for accuracy, and this one’s got it.

59 Responses to “The HW 55CM target rifle: Part 4”

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    Now that to me is an interesting rifle! If my wallet was thicker, I would have a collection 10 meter springers and SSPs.

  • Jay in VA Says:

    Beautiful rifle, BB. In addition to grades, I know the H&N pellets come in different sizes: 4.50, 4.51, 4.52. It leads me to wonder whether the difference in performance might be due to a size difference. Also, I’d like to see that last group next to the Edge test from last year. I’ll have to look that up when I have a minute. 1 week to Roanoke! Jay

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    This message was sent to the wrong address, so I have posted it here.

    Tom, I have just found and have been reading your blogs linked for the Pyramid Air site. Let me compliment you on a diverse and exceptionally informative set of forums. I’m an avid shooter and hunter but also have a number of air rifles and pistols. I have used them to teach my son the basics of marksmanship fundamentals and safety principles; USMC style. He’s learned that adherence to fundamentals enables accuracy with any weapon and has become quite a responsible shooter. Mission accomplished.

    I have a couple of questions that you may be able to answer that I have been unable to find during web search. I have an old Benjamin 342 that a friend found in his house during a remodel. It was rusted, beat up and wouldn’t pump. I restored it with quite some effort and with a little oil the action came back and it functions well and looks great.

    My first question is where can I find a set of compatible mechanical rear sites for this weapon. I’ve looked on the parts sites of various companies but cannot be sure if the product will fit this old weapon. I looked up the serial number and the weapon was manufactured in 1976.

    Second: The powder coating was so rusted it had to be sanded leaving a brass bare metal. I would like to chrome or nickel plate the weapon but I am sure that the innards need to be removed. Is there a procedure for removal and is there a risk to doing so. I’m concerned I may not be able to find replacement parts. I see 397 replacements but not 342 replacements.

    Any help or insights would be much appreciated.

    Steve

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Steve,

      A Benjamin 342 is made mostly of solid brass, so except for some small parts like the bolt, it shouldn’t rust.

      You want a rear aperture or peep sight for this Benjamin? I see no reason why the current Crosman (Williams) peep sight wouldn’t work. It is sold right here by Pyramyd Air.

      http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Air_Venturi_Williams_64_Peep_Sight/5

      I know the description says that it’s made for rifles made in the past five years, but that refers to the fact that those rifles will be pre-drilled and tapped for this sight. You will have to drill and tap holes to mount the sight on the right side of your 342′s receiver, but there is no reason why it won’t work. People have been mounting this same sight to Benjamin rifles for the past 30 years.

      Plating the rifle will be impossible. The reason is, the barrel is soft-soldered to the pump tube, and if you prepare the metal to be plated, there is a very good chance the solder will let go. You are better off removing all the finish and polishing the brass to a high shine, like the Benjamin presentation rifles that were made for American counties many years ago. After it has been polished, clear coat it so it doesn’t tarnish. That way the solder joint remains integral. Because once that joint releases, it cannot be repaired –even by the factory.

      Welcome to the blog. Please come here and post your questions from now on. There are tens of thousands of readers and hundreds who will potentially answer your questions.

      B.B.

      • Steve Says:

        B.B, Thanks you for the quick reply and suggestions. I’ll give the Williams sight a try. Centering the holes to be drill will be key to accuracy. Any technique suggestions or link to a procedure will be appreciated.
        Semper Fi

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Steve,

          I would definitely recommend using a drill press with a machinist’s vise for a job like this. You want those holes to be exactly right, because this is a brass receiver.

          B.B.

      • flobert Says:

        You’ve reminded me I need 3 of those Mendoza sights. One for my Marlin, one for my Henry, and one for my Gamo.

        “Scan your sector!”

  • Fred PRoNJ Says:

    Hey BB,

    I see you’re still using that 1962 silver dime for comparison purposes. I think you should get some silver polish from Edith and at least clean that dime up! Then, make it your “go to” comparison dime until you find, say, a Mercury dime in good condition. :)

    That is a nice rifle – lines and shooting. I’ll put it on my list of desirable rifles to look for in Roanoke.

    Fred PRoNJ

    • Slinging Lead Says:

      Fred

      Mercury dimes might be rare, but jumbo oversized novelty mercury dimes are even more rare. Polishing might rub off some of the silver spray paint on the dime.

    • Wulfraed Says:

      Clean a silver coin! Horrors, the devaluation right there…

      I’ve got a small collection of Mercury dimes — the ones worn out so far that they are only worth the silver content (these were “prizes” in a metal detector hunt; the actual detection was for modern pennies with numbers stamped on them — a “0″ meant dime, anything else meant a bigger coin).

  • CowBoyStar Dad Says:

    A question b.b. (though one I could probably answer for myself when I get home tonight).
    I’ve been using the Meisterkughlen Pistol in my Gamo Compact and the Meister Rifle (7 vs 8.2 gr) in my 853c because…well because ones a pistol and the others a rifle ;-)
    From reading this blog would the lighter pellet be more suitable to the power (500fps) of the 853c?
    I’ve wondered this before but have thought that at 10m it probably doesn’t make a difference…or are the heavier pellets meant for a 600fps+ velocity?
    I’m getting pretty good results…and at 56 habits are hard to break ;-) …but if I must!

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      CSD,

      I try both the pistol and rifle in both pistols and rifles (sometimes) because you don’t know what you don’t know.

      You know?

      B.B.

  • kevin Says:

    B.B.,

    That’s some very good shooting. The proof is in your targets that you performed an exceptional job of tuning your HW55CM. It’s been my experience that shooting a 10 meter gun like your HW55CM without the forestock weight and barrel sleeve is tougher. Even off a rest the additional weight helps me with accuracy.

    Another fine classic revived by you.

    Sounds like you invested in a new trigger gauge that can go all the way down to 7 ounces. Be wonderful if you could get the ballard trigger in that range.

    kevin

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Kevin,

      Mac gave me a digital scale as a gift. I guess I didn’t appreciate it before right now.

      Yes, I do wish I could get the Ballard trigger that light. Or even a pound would be nice.

      I had it out today — shooting a separately loaded bullet and cartridge. No joy yet, however. Too windy today, anyway.

      B.,B.

  • Tom @ Buzzard Bluff Says:

    B. B.,
    FWIW—-
    Perhaps some of your readers will recall both myself and ‘Bearridge’ from both the Airgun Letter Forum and the early days of the Yellow Forum. In any case Bearridge spent a couple of days with me here at the Bluff last weekend and we ODed on airguns. Part of the program was indoctrinating him that accuracy is where you find it from target rifles to plastic ‘doorstops’ found at W-M. Below you will find the post I sent to him this morning concerning today’s blog entry. I commend this days words of wisdom in your post to the attention of all readers interested in ‘home defense’ from vermin. Tom

  • Tom @ Buzzard Bluff Says:

    OK—-lemme try that again!

    As luck would have it the final segment of Tom Gaylords HW-55 test was the subject this morning on his Pyramid Air blog. It is the article I couldn’t quite recall that I wanted to have you read and study because it—with included links—is an almost complete education in the basics of the spring-powered 10 meter target rifle that I believe represents your ideal bird-feeder/pecan defense weapon. Please bookmark it and at your liesure read and study the preceding 3 segments that are accessed thru the links immediately below the authors pen-name in the included link.
    Wherever there are links to his tests of other, related earlier 10 meter guns read and study them as well. They are a wealth of understanding of the genre and provide insight into why both he and I consider them the apex of spring gun accuracy and purely pleasurable ‘shootability’ that I think makes them the ideal ‘home defense weapon’ against feathered and lightly furred invaders.
    In one of the segments he states “At this point, I was satisfied that this rifle is accurate, though it won’t give an FWB 300S any competition”. While that is certainly true in a target competition sense the lightly recoiling models of 10 meter guns are a greater pleasure in home defense use purely because of weight—-and more accurate than the shooter in every case. Perhaps of greatest pertinence is that the earlier 10 meter guns can be maintained and repaired by mere mortals whereas the Diana Giss system guns and other recoil-less models must be entrusted to the care and ministrations of demi-gods that would make your local 1911 specialist seem prompt, amiable and inexpensive.;-)
    Note that in one segment he bemoans the fact that the test subject is shooting too fast—-above the power level of your R-7 arsenal. Because of the powerplants being so similar between the HW model 55 and the Walther 55 I have a high degree of confidence that the Walther should perform similarly and that is my object in working up a power tune for our examples.

  • Matt61 Says:

    B.B., masterful shooting. The Challenger could hardly do better.

    Victor, doesn’t Top Shot have people who really suck? In that case, yes, maybe I would apply. :-) Otherwise, that is a good question about whether there is a plan to what I’m doing. There is a circus-like quality to my routine that includes practicing with the match rifle, the M1, the surplus rifles, the sniper rifles, the 1911, the Single Six, the airgun arsenal, the bows and arrows, punching, kicking, slashing with my knife collection, flying the rc planes and helicopters. I think that some of my illnesses have had to do with my nervous system being pummeled even though what I do physically is not that strenuous. Well, the saying is that to the master of weapons all weapons are one, but if I escape dilettantism it will not be by much.

    Mike, interesting about the small base dies, but the gunsmith who tuned the M1 never mentioned them. I was wondering about cartridge length, but the gunsmith said that the length of the Greek ammo would work. The Greek stuff jams but I don’t know if it is because of the length or the powder. I’m guessing the Greek has 4895, so maybe I’ve already tried that. I’ll try the recommended load, but if things don’t work at some point, I will consult the gunsmith. Too bad he’s in Virginia and about 80 years old. Not sure how much longer he’ll stay in business.

    Wulfraed, couldn’t tell you by looking whether my feed ramp is original design or new. Since the SW1911 is a recent model which did make some modifications to the original design I’m guessing new. I polish the feed ramp scrupulously when I clean the gun. Flobert, I know you’re quick to modify guns, but I think I will stay away from polishing the ramp or any other modification. I don’t believe that the extractor was the problem. The nature of the jam was that the round would sit at the base of the feed ramp and would not budge. Sometimes I could start it by pushing the slide, but after a certain point, not. On the other hand, the round nose full-metal jacket rounds surfed right up over that ramp into the chamber like…elephant seals coming into shore.

    Matt61

    • Victor Says:

      Matt61,

      Top Shot does not have top shots, in my humble opinion. Furthermore, in my view, it disqualified itself as a shooting competition when they started to make it a contest of physical ability. Right away the competitors knew to weed out the physically weaker (men or women). That’s a great way to eliminate women who TRULY are the best shooters in the country. Mary Stidworthy is one of just a hand full of shooters who have ever shot a 6400 out of 6400 at Camp Perry. Sherri Lewellen won 4 position 3 out of 4 years at Camp Perry, losing only once because her gun malfunctioned. Still still came in second, I believe. Karen Monez won the CA 4-position championship every year that I competed, cleaning offhand (200/200) almost every year. I don’t think that Karen is over 5 feet tall. All these women (and there are many others) won major tournaments in open competition (men and women).

      The other thing about Top Shot that is reducing it’s value to me is the fact that they seem to want it to become more like an MTV “Reality Show”. I really hate bogus, unnecessary, drama. I’m afraid that “reality TV” is cultivating a new generation petty minded “game players”. That’s not the culture that I appreciated so much in competitive marksmanship. In one of the competitions, one guy gave up a definite winning of the title Top Shot, just because another guy gave him some hard luck story. STUPID!!! These guys play mental games, including softening up, or fooling other competitors. For some, this is purely about the money, and for those, there are no rules.

      I still like to watch the show, but never because of the shooters. I like the guns and competition setups. They give me ideas of what might be fun to do.

      Victor

      • Edith Gaylord Says:

        Victor,

        I couldn’t agree more. TV shows that have a chance to be good often muck it up with fake drama.

        Tom and I watch a few so-called reality shows — Pawn Stars, American Pickers, American Restoration, Auction Kings, Auction Hunters and Storage Wars.

        I believe much of what we see is scripted (including the 1/3 of the show that’s bleeped out). The fighting and denigration may have some basis in fact, but we don’t think most of it is real. In my eyes, it’s like wrestling: yes, there are 2 people in the ring, but that’s about the only real part.

        Edith

        • Victor Says:

          Edith,

          I too like to watch a couple of the shows that you mentioned. Of those, my favorite is Pawn Stars. They get some interesting guns sometimes.

          My issue with unnecessary drama is that it teaches the wrong lessons about how to deal with conflict. I have a similar issue with wrestling. Too many viewers are captivated by the hi-octane emotion and conflict that they take it in as if it were real and personal. I find watching “Professional Wrestling” to be even more disturbing than boxing because of the deliberate projection and connection of violence and personal hatred (however simulated it might be).

          “Reality TV” is on the same plane of consciousness as gossip. It’s lowest common denominator mentality. It’s going in the opposite direction of any evolution that man may have progressed through over history. In fact, it may be evidence that we are now seeing a lowering of consciousness that marks the de-evolution of mankind.

          Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, when she said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”. Since the goal of reality TV is to promote direct and specific conflict among individuals, it equivalently sets out to cater to small minds.

          Victor

          • Victor Says:

            BTW, I wouldn’t compare Pawn Stars, or some of the other shows, to something like “Professional Wrestling”, or MTV-like “Reality Shows”. Shows like Pawn Stars can be highly educational. There’s a lot of history and valuable detail in many of the items being bought and sold. Some of the items are incredibly novel, and bring back personal memories that otherwise would have been long gone.

            I only have a problem with “reality shows” that promote or glorify actions, people, and things that we should all be ashamed of, or disgusted by.

            • Edith Gaylord Says:

              Victor,

              This season, Pawn Stars has moved into the “drama” category. Tom and I noticed that just before the commercial breaks, Rick will say something like, “Oh, no” about something he bought, giving the viewers the impression that he messed up when he bought something. When the show comes back from the break, you go to that segment and the words “Oh, no” are never uttered. The words were inserted to heighten expectations and stop people from clicking off the channel. We’ve noticed this happening in almost every Pawn Stars show this season.

              On the other hand, I agree with you about the show in general. It’s great. I hope they cut the drama, though. Their motives are so transparent.

              I believe the advent of the internet, with so many people involved in social networking, has spawned all these reality shows. There isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t see an ad for still another reality-type show. Familiarity breeds contempt, and so there’s a lot of violence, rage and bleeping.

              Edith

              • Victor Says:

                Edith,
                Again, the media, including the internet, is cultivating a whole new culture and consciousness. The trouble with the internet, and social media outlets in general, is that it/they allow(s) people to hide behind their keyboard and say things that would otherwise be clearly unacceptable. Civility is become less valued. I’ve even noticed more “reality TV”-like behavior in the workplace, including bosses who seemed to enjoy watching conflict among employees, or even valuing one employees ability to manipulate others. So much to say about the foolishness in this, but I’ll leave it at that. Sure, conflict is inevitable in the real-world, but its better to teach how to handle it wisely, than to simply relish that possibility of it escalating into something foolish and unnecessary.
                Victor

        • /Dave Says:

          I’d have to agree, Edith. I think most of the reality in “reality tv” is the person sitting on the couch eating chips….. Maybe a little harsh on my part, but I can’t watch any of them….

          /Dave

      • pete zimmerman Says:

        This is the first season where Top Shot has basically bored me. You could see where they were heading when they got rid of the two women in the first three shows. This season seems to have been planned to be an alpha-male testosterone fest. They keep talking about pushing out the “weakest,” where that surely doesn’t mean weakest shooters. From the first there has been a great divide between those who had spent a long time in the military, and those who had not. I usually watch the first 10 minutes to decide if the weapon of the week interests me; if it doesn’t, I switch off and turn out the light.

        • Victor Says:

          Pete,
          You nailed it! They could legitimately, or more honestly call this, “Top Shot Alpha”. When I read Matt’s comment about shooters on Top Shot that “suck”, I thought about yesterdays episode where the guy demonstrated a mental meltdown while shooting the .50 caliber TEC. He showed that he’s NO true competitive marksmen after his FIRST miss. Anyone with any real experience at trying to win a real match knows that anything can happen to a certain probability. You blow a shot, it’s milk spilled, so you don’t cry, you keep on doing your best. That’s not only what real competitors do, but how competitors become winners. What a horrible demonstration for a show called “Top Shot”. It would be more fitting for the current crop of “competitors” to just throw large objects (maybe including each other) instead of shooting guns. :)
          Victor

        • GenghisJan Says:

          I’ve been disappointed by Top Shot since the beginning. But I still watch every episode! Like many shows in the genre, it’s absolutely unwatchable without a DVR. Tivo past all the drama, talking, etc. and watch the rare moments of actual shooting.

          The source of my disappointment was another History Channel show, called something like “History’s Top Marksmen.” This one was terrific. It showed professional shooters doing absolutely jaw-dropping stuff with shotguns, rifles, bows, and such. Without all the “reality” cruft. They used this show to market and cross-promote Top Shop, so I assumed Top Shot would be more of the same!

          -Jan

          • Victor Says:

            GenghisJan,
            A good percentage of the Top Shot cast are in law enforcement. Some not even that. This does NOT translate into competitive marksmen. It’s a pretty low bar to set. People in law enforcement also run on tracks for physical conditioning, but that doesn’t qualify them as competitive runners. However, I still like some of the guns and specific competitions. They look like a lot of fun.
            Victor

    • Victor Says:

      Matt61,

      I think that the Challenger can do better, but I seriously doubt that there are many other break-barrels that can even match the HW55CM. I would LOVE to see break-barrels like this selling for under $300. That, I believe, would be a much needed, and appreciated, game changer.

      Crosman, Gamo, others! Show the world some moxie by creating affordable products for true competitive marksmanship – If you dare!

      Victor

    • Mike Says:

      Something is not right with that M-1. It should eat that Greek ammo all day. Perhaps it won’t be the most accurate with it but it should work. As to your .45, it sounds like the rounds are nose diving as they come out of the magazine. A hollow point with the profile of ball ammo should work. Getting guns to run can be a chore. That’s why some pistols like the Glock are so popular. They just work and work.

      Mike

      • Wulfraed Says:

        Soft exposed lead or the interface between lead and jacket getting caught on the small gap between feed ramp and barrel throat?

        I don’t own a 1911 model (gas blow-back airsoft doesn’t count); what I saw on searching the web a few days ago is that the 1911 feed ramp is part of the frame, leading to the throat of the chamber. Much different from my 4006 or P99 (if my mental imagery isn’t wildly off) in which the feed ramp is integral to the barrel.

  • Victor Says:

    B.B.,
    This HW 55CM is truly respectable as a match rifle. In my dreams, I would love to see rifles like this (a springer), at an affordable price, on the shelves of places like Wal-Mart, and other stores that sell air-guns. I think this would change how young people look at air-guns (as opposed to what we see on shelves today). The crop of air-guns that we see today on shelves to not promote marksmanship. Instead, they promote death and destruction. I’ve read enough silly reviews from people who’s only appreciation of a gun is its penetration ability. Appliances, watch out!
    Victor

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Victor,

      Okay — tell me what an affordable price is. Because I am currently in a position to do something about it.

      B.B.

      • Victor Says:

        B.B.,

        For someone who knows a little about competitive marksmanship, $300.00 for a rifle like this would be a game changer. However, $300.00 might be considered a little high for someone who knows little or nothing about competitive marksmanship. A gun like this is not for plinking, but can be more safely shot in many backyards, garages, and basements. $200.00, along with excellent marketing material on the box/packaging would help interest, if not inspire, someone into choosing this type of rifle. A small booklet is a must to steer someone in the right direction towards competitive marksmanship. I know that $200.00 would be hard to achieve, so I’d have to say somewhere between $200 and $300.

        You see B.B., the only reason that kids play sports like baseball or football, is because there are organized programs. I played those sports myself as a kid, but when I accidentally discovered shooting as a sport, it was every kids dream come true. Kids LOVE TO SHOOT. Parents buy air-guns for their kids all the time, but eventually they feel that they’ve out gown them. They haven’t. They just don’t know what to do with them. Given a well defined purpose, and outline, an air-gun can stimulate a lot of interest, and more important, GOALS.

        Victor

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Victor,

          Okay, you think that it’s $200 to $300. Let’s see what we can do with that.

          B.B.

          • Victor Says:

            B.B.,
            I assume we’re talking about including target aperture sights. A gun in this price range with an Anschutz compatible accessory rail would blow people away. I don’t know if this is even feasible since I don’t know how far back the barrel sweeps when cocking, but any guy with a small-bore target rifle would love to have one of these for his kids, or even themselves. Doesn’t matter too much. Most air-gun competition is still done offhand. I think you know that you’ve got my interest on this one! :)
            Victor

          • JohnG10 Says:

            I was just in Bass Pro Shop today. Most of the “high-end” airguns were in the $249-$299 range. ie: GAMO CFR, GAMO Wisper ??? (with a “SAT” trigger), GAMO Bone Collector, Crossman Nitro Trail XL (and non XL), RWS 34, etc.
            I’d aim for $300-$350 – and noticeably better than those. (Although maybe just better ergonomics than the RWS 34, which I understand is pretty accurate and has a decent trigger).

      • pete zimmerman Says:

        If you’re going to put such a gun on Wal*Mart’s shelves, you’re going to have to do a lot of promotion to develop interest in it. You’ll have to counter years and years of the figure of merit being “penetration” or muzzle velocity — not the c-t-c five shot group.

        It would be interesting if you could develop a model that could be sold for $199.95 or, preferably $149.95 as well as an advanced model that went for up to $300. If a child wants to shoot, there’s a parental sweet spot somewhere in there.

        I don’t think you can make an HW-55-type rifle to sell for that price in either the US or Germany, so we’re looking again at a Chinese rifle, or maybe even one from a still-lower labor cost country. Now the Chinese did make an FWB-300 work alike that once upon a time did sell in that price range, and with robotic manufacturing, I suspect Industry Brand could do it again, better, if they had a customer who could buy in bigger quantities than the old Compasseco did.

        Do you want this thing to be a springer, necessarily, or a PCP or an SSP?

        –pz

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Pete,

          The way into Wal-Mart is to open a corporate office within five miles of Rogers, AR. In fact, it is a requirement for the top 5,000 vendors they do business with.

          This has to be a springer for my idea to work. $200 is the lowest price I will consider. You can buy a Bronco for $130.

          All the parts exist for this rifle right now. Accurate barrel — got one. Good trigger — got one. Micrometer adjustable rear sight — got one. Smooth-shooting powerplant — got one.

          The “trick” is to get the powers that be to agree that such a product is needed. And then, because what I am thinking of will be a real giant-killer, to get the NRA to accept it. They don’t like new products that do away with the status quo. That part will be harder than making the rifle.

          B.B.

          • CowBoyStar Dad Says:

            Would I be wrong in kind of assuming that we already have what is being spoken about here.
            The Avanti 853/853c is priced on Pyramyds site at $299/329.
            I have the 853c and it is a tackdriver…I would think on par with any of these classic style springer target rifles.
            I’ve always wondered…just how well do they sell…I know that in Canada they are used by the Army/Air Cadets for marksmanship training, and according to my dealer that’s where most of them end up…not in the hands of the ‘general’ airgun public.
            Is it different in the US…are people lining up to buy Avanti’s/Challenger’s/Edge’s?
            It’s sad…but the marketers have done such a good job of convincing John Q Public that FPS and cool looks trump all that I wonder if even a $200 accurate gun would just sit on the shelf.

            • B.B. Pelletier Says:

              CSD,

              They do buy a lot of those rifles, but never in stores. Those rifles are sold to educated buyers, mostly through club sales and organizations.

              You are right that a $200 target rifle would languish on the shelves because it isn’t a barn-burner. Oh, I can’t WAIT for tomorrow’s blog!

              But when the word gets out among those who are connected that there is a new game in town and it’s accurate, inexpensive and has a wonderful trigger, I think it would succeed.

              B.B.

            • Victor Says:

              CSD, B.B.,
              Having shot an FWB 300 precision air-rifle and an Anschutz small-bore Standard Rifle (there’s a specific type of competition for juniors and women, called “Standard Rifle”), I’m much less interested in any of the Avanti models. I don’t say this as ANY kind of negative against the Avantis. They just aren’t what I would be looking for in a competition rifle (entry level, or not). The same goes for the Edge. I held the Edge, and just didn’t find it as practical as the Challenger. The Challenger is the closest thing to a “Standard Rifle” that I know of for $600.00 and change. Unfortunately, $600 (even $500) is hard to justify for most. It’s the form and substance of the stock that tells me that a rifle will help me develop my offhand skills as a competitive marksman. Accuracy must be there, but accuracy alone is not enough. I like an air-rifle that translates well into small-bore shooting. It just has to feel right.
              Victor

            • Victor Says:

              In simple terms, when it comes to competition rifles, form matters as much as function.

            • Wulfraed Says:

              That was about my thought too…

              Especially as (if I recall catalogs) the current 853 has extenders/spacers that give the stock a full adult size pull, rather than just a junior length.

          • PeteZ Says:

            BB,

            I seem to remember that there is a very old line air gun company that is *in* Rogers, AR, not 50miles away…

            Seems to me that the NRA is going to be as tough a nut as getting production costs down. Another nut will be to get reliable supply, not a batch here and another when we feel like it. Can’t go out of stock too often.

            And you need a really gifted designer so that it will look good and skills will transfer to the next competition level.

            I should say that an HW-55 was supposed to be my first rifle. But it disappeared from the Beeman catalog, and then an fwb

            Pete

  • duskwight Says:

    B.B.

    That’s some really impressive group on last photo! The rifle itself – that’s what I call a good springer: noble lines, excellent production quality, moderate power and most important – laser accuracy.
    I guess I must support Victor, latest models promote d&d in “bucket buster” way. No good work, no accuracy, weird “tuck-T-kool” shapes and lots of blunt power and, God forgve, pl…stic.
    As for my project, blueprint work for metal is almost finished, only dimensions left and wood sketches (I cannot call woodwork “blueprints”, sorry) are finished too. I must say – it looks somewhat like an anteater out of wood and a crossbreed between FN SCAR and AI AW when “dressed up” :)

    duskwight

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      duskwight,

      Smile when you remember that young Samuel Colt whittled his first revolver model out of wood while still a deckhand on a sailing vessel. He didn’t have blueprints either.

      B.B.

  • Chuck Says:

    H&N Match Rifle?! … H AND N Match Rifle?! … Now why didn’t I think of that? Excellent shooting BB! You know, that’s one of the pellets I have managed to NOT buy. I have the H&N Match Pistol but not the Rifle. I guess I’ll have to place an order for those and see if the Challenger likes them. You did pretty good with those Gamo Match pellets with your Challenger review. I do have some of those I’ll have to try, too.

    Here’s a set of five 5 shot groups I just did with the Challenger. I used 7.56gr H&N Match Pistol pellets I have on-hand. The sad result is with target #4. I looked at the target after every shot. The first four of the five shots went into the exact same hole in the 8 ring, so it looked like only one shot, then the @#$ fifth shot went in the 9 ring. I don’t know the story on the #3 target. I didn’t watch every shot on that one. The others are self explanatory.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/cjrley/ChallengerResults?authkey=Gv1sRgCKLa-dLW-YebiQE#5660473648323404658

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Chuck,

      Yeah, I know about that last shot blowing the group for you. I shot a three-inch five shot group at 100 yards with my Ballard. The darn thing is, three of the shots were inside one-tenth of an inch! But the other two looked like they were shot from the hip. So that is the problem with groups that are always one or two shots larger than their bragging rights allow for.

      B.B.

      • kevin Says:

        3 shots inside a tenth of an inch.

        I’ve been very patient waiting for this information. Seems like you’re on the right path. Just a few more hills to climb and turns to navigate. This is very promising.

        kevin

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Kevin,

          I was hoping you would miss that one. :)

          Yes, three of the five shots were in a hole so small the bullet almost stuck in it. But the other two opened it up like a Jack-O’-Lantern under a semi’s wheels. This was at 100 yards.

          I used the separately loaded bullet with a cartridge holding powder, only. It was a small charge of SR-4759 and the rest was Cream of Wheat. The wind was 15-25 mph and gusty, but that wasn’t the real problem. I think I used the wrong powder, so I will now go on the hunt for the right powder.

          However, today was just a proof of concept day. To prove that I could load each cartridge at the range as I shot, so only one case was used (pretty ironic, wouldn’t you say?). ;)

          Anyhow — that part worked well, plus my shooting buddy, Otho, saw what I needed to seat the bullet in the barrel and he will make me a tool to do it the right way.

          I will make a report in the blog, but I want to wait until there is something substantive to report. Right now it’s odds and ends.

          B.B.

          • kevin Says:

            B.B.,

            …….then raised the rifle to settle the powder and then lowering the gun slowly and softly back on the rest.

            Bits and pieces are coming together. The day is coming quickly that you will master the accuracy that has laid dormant in that wonderful gun for so long. I can only imagine the satisfaction since you are rekindling/reviving our reloading and shooting roots. Fascinating journey.

            kevin

    • Victor Says:

      Oh, the anticipation of that near-perfect group of 5! ThE stuff that dreams are made of. Trust me, it WILL happen. :)

  • Mike Says:

    Very nice air rifle. That’s one you could really have some fun with.

    Mike

  • /Dave Says:

    If only I could shoot a group like that… With a break barrel springer no less! Nicely done, BB! :-)

    /Dave

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