Air Venturi Tech Force M12 combo: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Air Ventury Tech Force M12 breakbarrel air rifle
The new Tech Force M12 breakbarrel is a new mid-range springer from Air Venturi.

I promised to do this report soon, and today it begins. The Air Venturi Tech Force M12 4-12x combo: this will be a report on what it is. Is it a worthy air rifle for $269.99 (as of this publication)?

This rifle was made by Mendoza, but it’s no model you will ever find in their catalog. So, you either buy it here or you don’t buy it. There are too many differences from standard Mendoza rifles to call it by that name. I will point out all of those differences today.

Tech Force?
The first question I have to address is the model name. Tech Force is the name of a line of Chinese guns, made mostly by the Industry Brand factory. What is a Mendoza-made airgun doing in the Tech Force line? It was a marketing decision, pure and simple. Management felt that the Tech Force name is already well-known, so why not use the marketing inertia that’s been established over two decades? They are, no doubt, right about that. The average buyer will not know the background story on these guns, and those that do will care more about the quality of the gun than they will the history or where it’s made. So, Tech Force M12 it is.

This is a medium-sized breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle that advertises a velocity of 1,000 f.p.s. in the .177 caliber I’m testing. We’ll get to that in Part 2. There’s also a .22 option; and if the gun lives up to its power claims, I would prefer it in that caliber, only because it should have a little more power.

Unique features
Some things set the M12 apart from other airguns made by Mendoza. It has no oil hole in the spring tube, so it cannot be over-oiled unless you go crazy oiling the air transfer port. Air Venturi visited the Mendoza plant and specified this feature — which is the same as on the Bronco — to keep this gun from becoming a dieseling runaway. The Air Venturi technicians discussed the assembly of this rifle with the Mendoza production personnel and were assured that this rifle will not be over-oiled at assembly. I can confirm that the test rifle is not too oily and does not detonate, so we’re already ahead of the curve on that account.

Cocking is 33 lbs., though the Pyramyd Air website says 26 lbs. Newer airgunners might think that’s no big deal, but it places this rifle in the serious shooting and hunter class, because even a bodybuilder will not want to shoot 250 shots at one time when the rifle cocks this hard. This is something you must experience to appreciate, because it doesn’t relate to how strong you are. It’s a simple fact that when the cocking effort climbs above about 28 lbs., the gun stops being a casual plinker for almost everyone. I’ll save the other observations about how it shoots for the next report, because all I’ve done thus far is fire just a couple familiarization shots. I cannot find a serial number anywhere on the gun or the box.

As some have noticed, the muzzlebrake is longer than the one Mendoza uses on their guns, and that’s a plus. The M12 has no sights, so it must be scoped. Pyramyd Air sells it both ways — scoped and not — with several scope options. I chose the most powerful scope to test for you, though not the one with the illuminated reticle. It’s a Tech Force-branded 4-12×40, and the combo also comes with one-inch rings to mount the scope. The rifle has an 11mm set of grooves cut directly into the spring tube, but no scope stop. With the Bronco I found that the plastic end cap served well as a scope stop, but the M12 recoils a lot more. It remains to be seen if this will work. I’ll report on it.

Trigger
The trigger is another feature that’s different on the M12. It’s not the two-blade Mendoza trigger that’s found on the Bronco. Instead, this is a single-bladed, single-stage trigger that seems to release fairly light and very crisp. It will take some getting used to, but I think it’s at least as nice as a T06 trigger. There appears to be no provision for adjustment; but as nice as it is, I don’t think the average shooter will mind.

Air Ventury Tech Force M12 breakbarrel air rifle trigger
The trigger is a single bladed, single-stage unit that’s not adjustable. It’s both light and crisp from the box.

The safety is automatic and also ambidextrous. In fact, the entire rifle is 100 percent ambidextrous. Nothing favors one side over the other — there’s even no cheek rest on either side of the Monte Carlo butt.

General description
Weighing almost 7 lbs., the M12 is a medium-sized air rifle. It feels larger because the forearm has a wide cross-section, but it’ll be very comfortable for most adults. The overall length is 44.25 inche,s and the pull is 13.5 inches. The stock is a dark-stained hardwood with machine-cut checkering panels on both sides of the pistol grip and forearm. The diamonds are flat and don’t provide any purchase. The butt has a red pad of soft solid rubber that holds your shoulder well. The pistol grip has a slight swell on either side for the palm of your hand. The woodwork is well-fitted and finished with an even satin finish. I don’t think there will be many complaints.

The barrel is back-bored, so the rifled section is only 9.25 inches in length. The finish on the metal parts is variable. The spring tube and the muzzlebrake are both highly polished, while the barrel is finished with more of a satin sheen.

General observations
At $189.99, the base M12 is positioned up close to the RWS Diana 34, but with some room to spare. It, therefore, needs to have something close to the published velocity and decent accuracy. We already know the trigger is a keeper, and I’ll cover the other attributes as I test the gun.

Is the M12 the gun I wanted the Mustang to be? No, it’s not. This rifle is more powerful than the Mustang was supposed to be, and the Mustang had open sights. So, the M12 stands by itself. I know there are a number of interested parties, so I won’t keep you waiting too long on this one.

54 thoughts on “Air Venturi Tech Force M12 combo: Part 1

  1. B.B.,

    A nice trigger seems to be a lot to ask for from most airgun manufactures, so if this rifle delivers one then it’s already ahead of the curve. Hope it delivers accuracy too!

    Victor



  2. B.B.

    All right, let’s boast a little.
    Plywood is glued together and it IS hard, but chisels cut it just excellent. The stuff weighs less than 2 kilos (remember about at least 40% going off) but it holds me sitting when I place it like a bridge between two chairs.
    Most recesses are done – and if you remember the pic, you can tell it’s a sort of steam engine below the cylinder. Now I feel myself a bit of August Rodin – seeing the shape through the raw material and freeing it from its captivity inside a bulk of plywood. And Rodin had no burr bits powered by 500W drill, he-he. The only sad thing is time – I can work on it only on weekends, so it’s going to be a bit slow, but slow and steady wins the race.
    If you like, I can make pics of blank stock and recesses in the evening.

    duskwight



      • Count me as an enthusiastic (+1) on seeing pics of the stock progressing.I must admit a real fear of the carving burrs in any high speed rotary tool.I have the darndest time trying to control the bit with all the forces present pulling in less than optimum directions……before the burr even touches down on the material.Are you going at this freehand? I would assume that the grain of the plywood material should cancel itself out as a three dimensional hurdle? It all sounds as tough as a sail around Cape Horn! Good luck my friend……may it come out as fine as the action!


        • Frank,

          Plywood has a great advantage over wood, as it is an isotropic, dead material – its qualities are equal in all dimensions. So it is rather easy to deal with despite its hardness. I have a beautiful set of hammered chisels, that cut it like butter, but to my mind plywood is worked best with abrasive tools (mind the respirator and goggles!).
          Burr heads and belt gringer are of course for rough work and removing large quantities of material in “safe” places, then come chisels and rasp files, then files on sticks and then files on hand.
          I’m used to powered tools and feel them (on the contrary Dad always prefers hand tools, as he complains that he cannot come to terms with powered, cannot get a feeling of the tool and predict its movement and action), so there’s almost no fear of spoiling something – just keep your hand steady and don’t try to make events happen faster than they want to.

          duskwight


    • duskwight,

      If I like? Go on — torture us!

      Yes, we want to see everything you are doing. How wonderful it must feel to be this far in the project!

      B.B.


      • Ok, sorry I didn’t photo plywood cutouts and assembly process, but that’s the way it looks now:
        http://i46.tinypic.com/sv44ut.jpg
        It is very thick, 65 mm, but just like I said – most of its volume will come to dust. Angular thing is a cheekpiece.

        How it was made? Simple – several sheets of aircraft birch plywood went into CNC cutting table. This time I experimented with mechanics as laser seemed to be too powerful for it. 12000 rpm on a 3 mm milling bit, pressurized nitrogen on the cut – to cool the bit and to prevent plywood burning. All in all it took less than 30 minutes to actually cut parts, but it took 10 minutes to calibrate the device – finding sheet dimensions and checking for thickness.

        Here are recesses. From left to right: rectangular stuff is for front support ring, then, deeper, triangular – piston interceptor, below it, connected to it – toothed pusher rod channel, large rectangular one is for main coupling, then triangular again, connected to pusher channel – cocking link, then oval opening for the trigger and rectangular recess for cocking/trigger group stock tail.

        http://i49.tinypic.com/xcm4yb.jpg

        Large ones were in layout, smaller ones were made by hand, chisel and file when it was still in 4 parts – left and right halves, front block and stock block. The rest (deep ones along the center line for installing pusher rods) will be milled in situ. Then some covers and after that – sculpting the whole thing out of of the mass. Nothing to worry, just be meticulous and patient.

        duskwight


        • Wow, that’s hot. Just my kind of stock shape. So does plywood have the same effect as what are called “laminated stocks”?

          Matt61


          • Matt,

            In fact it is quite the same stuff, however in my case it is uncolored and not impregnated to the state of plastic.

            duskwight



          • B.B.

            You make me blush red when you talk about craftsmanship.

            In fact I’m a cheap amateur compared to people who really make stocks. Their pieces of work of zebrano, yakara, amaranth, yatoba, walnut, amboyna, ash, beech, and other stuff are truly amazing both in design and in quality of work. And their skill and dedication eeeer, well, just let’s not compare :)

            This one is a purely technological approach – cheap, forgiving material, fast and cheap technology, simple shape to comply with my anatomy and holes for weight reduction. Minimum “hands” – display, mouse and CNC. The keyword is “enough” – simple, fast and not too expensive to screw up.

            duskwight


  3. B.B.

    Is there any advantage to a counterbored barrel ? What is it good for ?

    Does it mean that there is only half as much real bore to screw up, or that the rifling button only sees half as much use?

    A snag at the real crown would be hard to get to.

    twotalon


    • Have a BSA air rifle , and a couple air pistols with counter bored barrels , a Luznik and Walther LP-53. I also have a couple centerfire rifles and RF’s with counter bored barrels. You are right, a buggered crown would be hard to re-work. The counterbore though is designed to protect the bore from damage so it is a non -issue, unless you damage the bore with a rod or something. You really don’t need much rifling for accuracy, or cardridge /projectile performance . You can have a long sight plane though , and a barrel could be sleeved with a shroud for weight reduction and cosmetic effect.



        • It would seem that a long barrel shroud with a healthy overlap of the muzzle would be less cumbersome to manufacture and serve the same purpose…….I don’t envy whomever is responsible for the machining. (yes,it IS a BORING job…..) The short working section would definitely minimize barrel harmonics as pertains to the movement of the true crown in the shot cycle.All that positive, without the loss of leverage when cocking.I would assume it is well worth the trouble in manufacturing it.You already mentioned the decreased wear on the rifling button……I guess the actual method of accomplishing the rifling is the big question! Could a barrel blank have two interior passages of different dimentions….and be hammer forged just on the smaller end?? Such a set-up would have a high initial cost….IIRC….but would stress the barrel blank uniformly as a result.The shoulder of the ID increase should become a uniform crown,I would guess.It’s an interesting feature to ponder.


          • If you may recall, a springer only needs 6 – 8 inches of barrel to achieve maximum velocity. With the counterbore you have removed some of the excess friction yet retain the cocking leverage.


  4. Looks like it’s leaning a little toward the “R” gun look. I like that much better than most others. It’s easy to look at unless you just have to have open sights.

    twotalon


  5. B.B.,
    After all the problems I had with the “cereal box” scope stop on my TF89 & TF87, I will never buy another springer without a metal scope stop installed. I guess the Tech Force designers never read the customer reviews.

    Pete


  6. BB,

    I remember a while back you posted about good places to find deals on airguns. I think I found mine this weekend. I was at a gun show here in the state with my dad and my daughter, just browsing. Some neat stuff, but nothing I could afford- garands, 03 springers, mausers galore, ect… Anyway, I then pass by a table and see a familiar looking piece with a sign next to it. The gun was a Crosman Mark I Target .22 in good shape- the sign said “Crosman BB Gun Target Pistol- $50″ I asked the guy if he’d take $40, and we ended up agreeing on $45.




        • Al,

          The reason I asked is because if you put some Pellgunoil into the piercing mechanism before you pierce the cartridge, there is an even chance the gun will hold gas.

          B.B.



            • Al,

              What I do with a new CO2 gun is drop 10 drops of Pellgunoil into the piercing area with the gun flipped upside-down. That’s way more than you need, but it gets blown through the mechanism and gets on every seal inside. It can also flush old dirt off the inner seals.

              B.B.


          • Also, torn as what to do. I love my Ruger Mk II and MKIII 22/45. This would probably be a great understudy. I wasn’t looking for a Crosman Mark I, but knew a deal when I saw it. Not a fan of C02, but man, this feels like home in my hand….

            Ugh… :)


  7. B.B.,

    It sounds like the trigger may turn out to be a winner. I am intrigued by the idea of putting the single stage mechanism on this rifle and am wondering how that will affect the firing behavior. The first gun I ever shot was my father’s Remington Model 17, which had a singe stage trigger that moved only a very small fraction of an inch when pulled. I suppose that is different from a lot of airguns, but I tend to like it. That being said, how far would you estimate that the trigger on the M12 moves when pulled? Also (perhaps I missed it in the blog), what is the trigger made out of? It looks like metal of some kind in the picture, but it is hard to tell.


    • Lee,

      There are two distances to consider. The first is the distance to release, which is imperceptible. The second is the overtravel distance — which happens after the release. On this rifle, it is also fairly short, though an overtravel stop screw would tighten it up altogether.

      B.B.


      • Out of curiosity, roughly where would the pivot point be on this trigger. The view doesn’t show much, if any, forward extension, which would seem to imply a pivot point close to over the finger — with a pull that really moves to the rear, rather than sinking upwards into the stock.


  8. The lack of open sights on this one kills it for me, along with the mocking ugliness (muzzle brake?) on the front of the barrel where the front sight should be :). If I wanted a scope, I’d be concerned about the grooves and lack of stop. The lines of the stock are generally pleasing, and not excessively chubby. I love the lack of a cheekpiece; not only are they ugly in most cases, but they either do nothing or aggravate the problem of having no cast-off.

    If it is competition for the current D34 w/TO6, it will be nice indeed. In that category, though, if money is the overriding consideration, I’d pick one of the Rugers and budget time and money for a test and/or return if necessary. I’m happy with the D34P I have and it is wearing in nicely, but the Ruger Blackhawk was an exceptionally accurate shooter with open sights, with a very serviceable trigger, and that handled like a dream. All for around $100. I simply did not have time to risk messing with it (still don’t) and was “gun-shy” so to speak after being so delighted and then let down, but I’ve kicked myself for not trying another one — it was one of the best shooting rifles of any kind air or powder that I’ve shot in a long time, and I will get another one someday.


  9. For cocking behavior, the threshold for me is not weight exactly but the point at which one is required to take the gun off the shoulder to cock which is most springers anyway. It’s one reason I’m so fond of the IZH 61. Once the gun is down on your leg, you can handle quite a bit of weight. I’ve been experimenting with exhaling on the cocking stroke and sagging the body to bring the internal mass into play. I would love to try this out on the 50lb Webley cocking monster.

    FredDPRofNJ, the CMP sells service grad M1s for around $600 which is within airgun prices. Oh, let it not be your fate for those M1s to sell out and leave you scrambling the way I am for the Russian-capture Mauser. The 5 million or so M1s that were manufactured do not sound like a lot to me. And I can assure you that the purchase will be worth it. The aesthetics of that gun which for me includes its sound and the authoritative slamming of the bolt are indescribable.

    With Duskwight as my inspiration, I have embarked on my trigger job for my Mosin and almost instantly floundered. In my defense, the darn problem has kind of mushroomed. In order to adjust the trigger and perform the drop test, I will need to remove the side-mounted scope. But even apart from that, the first task is to disassemble and remove the barreled action from the stock. This takes me all the way to the muzzle end of the gun where I need to remove the two barrel bands. But before I do that, I need to remove the cleaning rod. And, that seems to be soldered in place. For that matter, so do the barrel bands. I’ve figured out how to press on the clips which are holding the bands in place, but the bands themselves do not budge. So, does anyone have advice on how to remove the cleaning rod and barrel bands if they’re stuck? Perhaps this has to do with cosmoline. I seem to recall that the way to remove cosmoline is to bake it in an oven. But my oven is not big enough for that, and I don’t know if I would use it for that purpose anyway. In my match-up with the Russian peasants for whom this rifle was designed, they’ve got me beat coming out of the blocks.

    I spent much of the weekend, eyeing my gladius from different angles. Never have I seen a weapon–to include firearms–that radiates menace like this one. Even at rest, it looks like it is assaulting the air. Its bloodthirsty intentions shout from every point. Holding it in the hand is worth any course in world history. Accordingly, I’ve changed my mind and am now giving it an edge that is almost worthy of FrankB.

    Wulfraed, you’re right about the utility of a razor edge on a sword in an environment with metal armor. However, FrankB has shown the way. I understand from him that sharpness is not tied to the smallness of the blade angle but to the cleanness/precision at which the two sides of the blade come together to an edge (achieved by honing). So you can have a beefy large angle honed to a razor’s edge. Anyway, I won’t be cutting metal armor, just bushes.

    And to show you how relevant this is have a look at a modern day samurai cutting a bb in half in flight!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qzhs1Z8Rwnk

    Why isn’t this man making a ton of money in the major leagues?

    Matt61



  10. G’day BB
    Have you ever changed barrels from fully rifled to a back-bored and compared MV on the same air rifle?
    It appears shotguns get 2-3% more MV back-bored but a few extra grains of powder is far more significant.
    Cheers Bob


    • Boib,

      No, I haven’t done that, but I do know that 9.5-10 inches is all a spring gun needs to achieve max velocity. So a 19-inch barrel would gain some from being back-bored to 10 inches, almost certainly.

      B.B.


  11. Bb,
    I love the shape of that tech Force stock! Can you explain how someone can use anothers brand name? I assume that they got permission from Tech Force? It sounds like cheating. It’s not even like how Beeman re branded Weihrauch guns. It’s just someone getting another to make a product and naming it after another’s. Who is Air Venturi anyway, do they actually make anything?


  12. B.B.,

    What do you mean by “The diamonds are flat and don’t provide any purchase.”?

    Also, you describe the trigger as being light, and yet the specs. say that it’s 3.5 lbs. Are you saying that it feels light because it’s excellent?

    Victor


    • I’d interpret it to mean that the checkering on the grip doesn’t form sharp pointed pyramids, but may be more of a flat-topped ziggurat… Or it could be even cheaper — inverted checkering created by using a “waffle iron” to impress a pattern into the word.

      Flat-topped would imply that they only ran the checkering files deep enough to start V-grooves, and would need another pass or two to bottom them out and create points.


      • Wulfraed,

        Websters provides this definition of purchase:
        3
        a (1) : a mechanical hold or advantage applied to the raising or moving of heavy bodies (2) : an apparatus or device by which advantage is gained
        b (1) : an advantage (as a firm hold or position) used in applying one’s power (2) : a means of exerting power
        Examples:
        – The ice made it impossible for the car’s wheels to gain a purchase on the road.
        – The surface was so slick that the wheels couldn’t gain purchase.

        Victor


    • Victor,

      Yes, Wulfraed answered the checkering question. The tops of the diamonds are flat, and therefore do not bite into your flesh.

      And yes, the trigger feels light because it is excellent.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        Yeah, I figured it out after I found that definition. I had never seen that use of the word “purchase” and wouldn’t have expected it.

        Victor


  13. It’s a nice looking gun and points for not being “made in china” since I have a big problem with chinese quality, or lack of quality as it is. I do expect a bit more than a 1000 fps springer though to entice that kind of cash out of me. I have several 1000 fps springers that are sitting in the gun rack unused now for better part of a year. I guess I’ll wait and watch the accuracy tests to determine if this could be a viable hunting gun.


    • John,

      Absolutely! The fact that it is rated at 1,000 f.p.s. is a point against it in my book. It will be so much harder for it to be accurate at that power level — not because of the velocity, but from the extra vibrations that are required to generate that kind of speed. Still, in the interest of fairness, the test will be impartial.

      B.B.


  14. Edith,
    Thanks for the explanation. It is an excellent idea that Pyramyd Air could stipulate designs for airguns seeing that they have their own brand! There should be no excuse then for poor triggers, lack of proper scope stops, over powered inaccurate guns and all the stuff that we degrade on this forum!


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