by B.B. Pelletier
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.