by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Let’s look at the velocity and power of the .177-caliber Cometa Fusion air rifle. They advertise this gun at 1,250 f.p.s. with alloy pellets and 1,083 with lead, so I’ll test both types.
The first thing I’ll examine is the trigger. It has a two-stage pull with fixed lengths for both stages. The only adjustment you can make is to the trigger return spring, which changes the pull weight. And this one really does work. A single screw located behind the trigger blade and accessed through a hole in the triggerguard is how the adjustments are made. Screw in, and the pull weight increases until you reach a definite stop. Screw out, and it decreases until the screw comes out of its hole. I tried it all the way in and as far out as I felt the screw would still be retained safely. At the heaviest, the pull weight measured 2 lbs., 2 oz.; and at lightest, the trigger released at 1lb., 1 oz. Stage two has creep that remains throughout the adjustment range; and, as mentioned, the length of stage one never changes.
The rifle cocks easily for its power. It varies between 30 and 32 lbs. Once a rhythm was found, it cocked at 31 lbs. pretty regularly. The noise I reported in Part 1 turns out to be the piston seal. It’s on the cusp of needing oil; but with a rifle of this power, I don’t think I will oil it. Instead, I’ll let the gun break in and the noise should stop after a thousand rounds or so.
I tested the rifle with three lead pellets and one lead-free pellet. The first pellet was the RWS Superdome, an 8.3-grain pure lead dome that many shooters like. Superdomes averaged 976 f.p.s. in this Fusion. The spread went from 969 to 981 f.p.s., so a 12 f.p.s. difference. You know, back in the bad old days of 1970, a result like that would signal a tuned airgun. These days, the better powerplants all seem to hold their velocities tight when the pellets match the bore well.
At the average velocity, this pellet produces 17.56 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. That’s pretty snappy, and it’s still in the comfortable range for a breakbarrel springer. When these guns get over 20 foot-pounds, they become very twitchy to shoot — requiring all sorts of special techniques. Let’s hope the Fusion is well-behaved in that respect!
The next pellet I tried was the old standard RWS Hobby. At 7 grains, the Hobby is one of the lightest lead pellets, and I use it a lot to test velocity claims. Today, the claim is 1,083 f.p.s., so lets see what happened.
Hobbys averaged 1,044 f.p.s. in this Fusion. The spread went from 1,034 to 1,054 f.p.s., so a 20 f.p.s. difference. The last shot was the 1,054 f.p.s. shot, and I think this rifle will continue to increase in velocity as it breaks in, so the claim of 1,083 f.p.s, does seem reasonable. But it’s good that they didn’t say 1,084 f.p.s., because no one would believe that! At the average velocity, Hobbys produced 16.95 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
The final lead pellet I tested was the JSB Exact 8.4-grain dome. They fit the breech very loosely, and the average velocity was 920 f.p.s. The spread went from 909 to 968 f.p.s., though the bulk of the 10 shots were in the 930s. I think I won’t use this pellet in the accuracy test because of how loose they are in the breech and also the huge 59 f.p.s. velocity spread. Since the other pellets were so regular, I believe this one has to be ruled out. They produced an average of 15.79 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
The last pellet I tested was an RWS HyperMAX 5.2-grain lead-free pellet. These fit the bore even looser than the JSBs, though a couple were larger and fit better. They averaged 1,220 f.p.s. with a spread from 1,208 to 1,226 f.p.s. The small deviation was surprising because of the loose fit. I doubt they would be accurate, but what they did do was confirm that the Fusion seems to be right on the money as far as the velocity claims go. As I said earlier, the rifle is likely to speed up as it wears in, so the fact that no pellet went the claimed 1,250 f.p.s. doesn’t bother me. They produced an average of 17.19 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
One reader likened the Fusion to an FWB 124 just from the shape of the stock, and I have to say I think that comparison is accurate. Like a 124, this rifle cocks smoothly and with less effort than its velocity dictates, though the Fusion is far faster than the 124.
The trigger is creepy but repeatable. I believe I can learn it and will do well with it.
The overall size of this rifle is very good for what it delivers. It’s like a Beeman R9, in that it has the power in a convenient package. I can’t wait to see how it shoots!