AirForce Talon SS precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 6

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


AirForce Talon SS is a whole shooting system.

This is a continuation of our in-depth look at the AirForce Talon SS precharged pneumatic air rifle. Today, I’m going to begin examining the optional air tank with the Micro-Meter valve. The rifle I’m testing today has the optional .22-caliber 24-inch barrel installed. I would not normally put this long barrel together with the Micro-Meter tank — because this is a pneumatic rifle, and a long barrel will give higher velocity than a shorter one. When I use the Micro-Meter valve, I don’t want high velocity. But since a detailed test like this has never been published (to my knowledge), I’m doing it here and now. After this test, I’ll install the 12-inch barrel that comes standard on the SS and rerun the test with that, since that’s what most owners will probably be doing.

Blog reader twotalon posted some results he got with his gun on the last report, but he was shooting a .177 rifle with a 12-inch barrel and he filled to only 190 bar. I filled to 206 bar, which is 3,000 psi.

Which power setting do I use?
There was some data that suggested the power settings on the gun would be reversed with the Micro-Meter tank on a full fill, and, indeed, that’s what I experienced. The first 10 shots were with .22-caliber Crosman Premiers at the lowest power setting and they averaged 718 f.p.s. Two additional shots were fired in this string but failed to record, however, I kept track of them to keep a running tally of the velocity over the entire shot count. In this first 10-shot string, the slowest shot went 713 f.p.s., the fastest went 723 f.p.s.

Next, I adjusted the gun to its highest power setting. The first shot went 722 f.p.s., but after that nothing was above 709 f.p.s. These 10 shots on the highest power setting averaged 707 f.p.s. and ranged from 699 to 722 f.p.s. Highest power gives lowest velocity when the Micro-Meter tank is full.

Then, I shot RWS Hobby pellets on high power and got an average of 740 f.p.s. But this string was very telling. Because it started out at a higher velocity, then began dropping about halfway through the string, I’d reached the place in the fill where the power settings on the gun reversed and started acting normal again. This string had a low of 713 and a high of 747 f.p.s.

Indeed, when I switched over to the lowest power setting for the next string of 10 Hobbys, the average velocity dropped to 738 f.p.s. This string was very close to the one before on the high setting. In this string, the low was 729, the high was 745 f.p.s.

At this point in the test, I’d fired a total of 44 shots on the same fill, four of them failing to trip the chronograph. I knew before testing that the next string of 10 Premiers at the lowest power setting would be much lower than the average of 718 f.p.s. that was seen on the first string. And it was. This time, the average was 689 f.p.s. on the lowest setting with Premiers, and the shots ranged from a low of 684 to 693 f.p.s. There were now 54 shots on this fill.

How the Micro-Meter tank will be used
This is when it finally dawned on me that the Micro-Meter air tank never gets used like a standard air tank. With a standard tank, a shooter will be shooting at great distances and often trying to shoot very small groups. Once the point of aim starts to drift after 30 shots or so, he’ll consider topping off the tank. But he’ll shoot a Micro-Meter tank at very short ranges, often at targets where precision doesn’t matter that much. He probably won’t be interested in group sizes; or if he is, he’ll adjust his sights when the aim point wanders a quarter-inch. Instead of 30-40 good shots, a shooter will probably get well over a hundred shots from a Micro-Meter tank — mostly because of how he shoots. I’ve seen it play out that way for years at the NRA public airgun range, but the difference in shooting expectations never dawned on me until now.

Getting back to the test, I was now 54 shots into the fill, but the rifle was still launching Crosman Premier pellets in the high 600s. Or, to put it another way, it was still shooting about 200 f.p.s. faster than my Diana model 27 on its best day! How’s that for perspective?

I bumped the power back up to the highest setting, just to see what the rifle would do. The next 10 Premiers averaged 688 f.p.s., or one foot-per-second slower than the previous string’s average. The low was 684 f.p.s., the high was 692 f.p.s. It seemed that the highest power setting was now launching the pellets just as fast as the lowest setting and with approximately the same spread.

I left the power on high and fired another 20 shots without recording anything. Then, I fired another 10 for the record, with one additional shot that failed to be recorded. The average velocity at 95 shots was 664 f.p.s., with a spread from 657 to 675 f.p.s. The rifle was clinging to its velocity during every string but losing steam slowly at the same time. Each string of 10 had consistent velocities, but the average was continuing to drop.

I adjusted the power setting to low and fired 20 more shots without recording anything. Then, a string of 10 gave an average of 646 f.p.s., with a low of 638 and a high of 657. One more unrecorded shot brought the total to 125 shots since filling the tank.

I checked the tank pressure without refilling it and determined that the remaining pressure after 125 shots was 1,900 psi. Normally, I stop shooting a standard tank when it’s dropped to 2,200 psi, but this tank still had lots of shots left to give.

In the interest of seeing what would happen, I fired another 50 shots without recording them. That brought the shot count to 175 shots. The next string of 10 shots was fired on the lowest power setting. They averaged 624 f.p.s. — so, after 185 total shots on this fill, the gun was still shooting .22-caliber Crosman Premiers in the 600s! I find that amazing. The spread for this string, however, was large…going from a low of 616 f.p.s. to a high of 668 f.p.s. And the slow shot came before the fast one. So, it was all over the place.

If a person was plinking with a Micro-Meter tank, he would still be shooting at 185 shots. That’s phenomenal performance for an air tank.

It didn’t seem normal to shoot the Micro-Meter tank with a long barrel, but I’m glad now that I did. As far as the shot count goes, I would expect the short barrel to give about the same number of shots, but at a lower velocity. We’ll see that, of course, when we test it next.

It will drive some people nuts!
This test is not for those who sit at their chronographs and sweat their shot string deviations. Those who feel threatened whenever their velocity spread goes over 20 f.p.s. will find what I have done today to be a train wreck! The Micro-Meter tank wasn’t invented for shooting groups at 50 yards.

But for grandpa who has the grandkids over on the 4th of July, how nice is it to know that, with a Micro-Meter tank, your Talon SS will give you hundreds of good shots for the basement or backyard range without refilling? They shoot AirForce guns on the NRA airgun range for hours between fills, and this is the same sort of performance they’re seeing. Yes, the impact point may wander a bit at 33 feet, but it’s not too much to keep up with for this kind of freedom with a precharged air rifle. If you want more shots than this, consider the CO2 adapter.

18 Responses to “AirForce Talon SS precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 6”

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    I can see me getting one of these. There are just SO many modifications you can do to these with just swapping out parts. This thing could keep even me amused for quite some time.

    • twotalon Says:

      It gets into your pocket, even if you don’t send it to a “professional” for some exotic work.

      twotalon

      • RidgeRunner Says:

        You mean someone else is alive at this hour!

        Look at it like this, how much would you put out for a .177 PCP for a leisurely shootout with a friend and a .25 PCP to be a tree rat’s worst nightmare?

        I do not have any PCPs for that very reason. Once I break down and buy one, I have to have a pump that costs almost as much as it. And then there are the other accessories. That is why I only am able to pick up about one new toy a year and usually have to sell off some of my old toys to do it.

        • twotalon Says:

          One good thing about AF guns…
          It costs less to have an AF gun and the parts you need to convert it to a different gun when you want to than it would cost to have two completely different guns.

          One bad thing..
          You need to re-zero the scope every time you do it.

          twotalon

          • Ridgerunner Says:

            Think on this.
            Put a scope stop against one of your mounts and snug it down good. Loosen the mounts and slide the scope off. Change out the arrangement and take another scope and mount it with one of it’s mounts against the scope stop and zero it in. The first scope stays with the first arrangement and the second scope stays with the second arrangement.

            In theory, you should be able to swap out and go. In reality, you will not be able to mount the scope, barrel, etc. and set your adjustments to the EXACT place as previously, but it will likely be close.

            • twotalon Says:

              If you change the torque on any of the mounting screws, you should expect the zero to change at least a little.

              twotalon

        • twotalon Says:

          I have taken down tree rats with the .177 12″ and standard tank with CPH and .22 18″ and 24″ with standard tank with Exacts. I could do them in pretty good with the Talondor configuration I have on one rifle. Condor power supply with 18″ .22 barrel. There was this one red squirrel at a little over 40 yds that thought that the Kodiak that hit him hurt….but not for long.

          twotalon

  • twotalon Says:

    B.B.

    I think when you got down to the last string that you had two things happening…

    The pressure was low enough that the hammer was bouncing the tophat against the valve body pretty hard. You get a less than consistent valve operation.

    Also, with the pressure that low, you have too much barrel for the amount of air used. The slightest difference in pellet fit could cause the wider velocity variations.

    Yes, the Micro is good for some things. Depends if you have realistic expectations for how you want to use it.

    twotalon

  • twotalon Says:

    B.B.

    I expect that you will get a little less velocity when you switch to the shorter barrel. I also expect that you will see the shot strings play out about the same way.

    You went way beyond what I did with the .177 barrel. I stopped at 130 shots.
    Mine started getting a little bouncy in the 100-120 shot area but not much. It looked like it had finally dropped by 100 fps by 120 shots, but wanted to make sure. Had to run it out to 130 to make sure. Bouncing was getting worse in that range (120-130).

    twotalon

  • /Dave Says:

    Ugly gun (says he who has a ps90)! But, I think I kinda want one sometime…. ;-)

    /Dave

    • Ridgerunner Says:

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    • duskwight Says:

      Dave,

      I can’t agree with you – IMO this gun is pure function, that’s why it cannot be judged in terms of beauty or ugliness. I love this approach – no eye candy. I wonder if its designer had his roots in USSR :) However if I were the designer I would definitely redesign pistol grip, it’s not so comfortable as it must be, but rifle’s overall modular construction allows to change that that with ease.

      duskwight

    • Desertdweller Says:

      It looks like something you might find in a do-it-yourself car wash.

      Les

  • Loren Says:

    B.B. & other fellow Air Force nuts,
    I recently aquired a micro tank and 18 in. 177 barrel for my Talon SS. My plan was to try this rig in hunter class field target, probably not the perfect set up but thought it would be fun. I’m not a serious competitor, I just do it for fun and comaradorie.
    Anyway what this rig delivers is 13 ft lb down to 12 ft lb with 7.9 gr. cpl thats starting with a 3000 psi fill, 860-835 fps. The strange thing is, there is no bath tub curve to the velocities. From 3000 psi I get 25 good shots, from 860 fps down to 835. this should work for accuracy out to 50 yds. I just thought it a little strange so I pumped the tank to 3300 psi, then it was still a down hill run 25 shots 880 down to 860. To me it looks like the valve wants higher presure but the tank is only desighned for 3000.

    Oh and by the way adjusting the power knob does’nt seem to change much so I jus t leave it on 6.

    • twotalon Says:

      It won’t self regulate. You will always get a downhill curve…..so don’t even try it. Waste of time in the attempt. Expect a straight downhill.

      twotalon

      • Wulfraed Says:

        Given the description of the Micro-meter valve (as having a small inter-chamber filled through a very small port from the main tank, besides the restricted throat into the barrel), I’d agree.

        The small volume of air in the inter-chamber with the slow fill port wouldn’t build up enough back-pressure to hold the valve open upon firing. Rapid pressure drop, valve closes, inter-chamber refills to whatever pressure remains in the tank.. Conversely, the forward pressure would drop too rapidly to force the valve to close early (the high-pressure end of the curve wouldn’t have reduced velocity).

        Hmmm, pity regulators tend to be rather bulky — imagine a micro-meter tank filled to 3000PSI but with a 2000PSI regulator feeding the inter-chamber… One could probably get 150 shots (since the test ran close to that many) but with no variation in velocity (besides normal pellet friction/seating/temperature variation). That might put the unit into solid short range squirrel gun — consistent velocity/POI, and still 15-20ft-lb.

  • Matt61 Says:

    More shots is good and goes some way towards making up for the lack of a magazine. :-)

    Desertdweller and Slinging Lead, thanks for your good wishes. Slinging Lead, that is quite an observation about me being the librarian most passionate about shooting in the country. That sounds like Benjamin Braddock (The Graduate) when he says, “Mrs. Robinson, you are the most attractive of all my parents’ friends!” As a matter of fact, I had a co-worker once who was a fan of black powder guns about which I know very little. But thanks to airgunning, she could not match the hurricane of lead I’m putting out. I’m rapidly coming on line again and will only hold back an additional day or so to complete my recovery.

    Meanwhile, I can enjoy shooting vicariously with the upcoming Battleship movie. Follow the 16inch shells out the barrel! Critics have panned it, but that counts for very little with me…..

    Matt61

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