Air Venturi Tech Force M12 combo: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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

I usually have a handle on the gun by the time Part 4 rolls around. But, today, I’m still stymied by the Tech Force M12 breakbarrel. I’ll tell you all I’ve done to make sure this rifle is on the beam; but when I tell you my results, I think you’ll see I’m not there yet.

Big droop!
I discovered in Part 3 that the M12 I’m testing is a big drooper. That means it shoots very low relative to where the scope is looking. For today’s test, I installed a B-Square adjustable scope mount that has a huge downward angle to bring the point of impact back up to the aim point. It worked well enough for the test, so I proceeded to shoot several different types of pellets — trying all kinds of hand holds and even resting the rifle directly on the sandbag.

Here’s a list of the pellets I tried: (10-shot groups with each)
Beeman Kodiaks
Beeman Kodiak Hollowpoints
RWS Superdomes
Crosman Premier 10.5-grain
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
JSB Exact RS
JSB Exact 8.4-grain
JSB Exact 10.3-grain
RWS Hobby
Beeman Trophy (an obsolete domed pellet)
Eley Wasp (an obsolete domed pellet)

Best pellet
With most of these pellets, the rifle teased me with several pellets in the same hole — but a 10-shot group that was 1.5 inches and larger. A couple were all over the place and simply would not group at all. The Hobbys were probably the worst.

Only one pellet put 10 shots into 1.038 inches at 25 yards. Those were RWS Superdomes, and the hold was with my off hand back by the triggerguard, leaving the rifle very muzzle-heavy. The rifle was somewhat twitchy but not overly so.

Air Venturi Tech Force M12 breakbarrel air rifle group of RWS Superdomes
This is the best group I shot in the test from 25 yards. It’s 10 RWS Superdomes, and the rifle is rested with my off hand touching the triggerguard.

Encouraging
The encouraging thing about this group is that I didn’t have to use a lot of technique to shoot it. I know it isn’t as tight as others I’ve shot at the same distance, and you’ll compare it to them, but I compared it to the other groups I was getting with this rifle. In that comparison, this was the best one and it was also relatively easy to shoot.

What all did I do?
For the record, here’s a list of all the things I tried to get the M12 to shoot.

Cleaned the barrel
Tightened the stock screws (they were tight)
Installed a drooper mount with a lot of down angle
Tightened the scope mount screws (and they were loose on the B-Square adjustable mount!)

Tried resting the forearm of the rifle:
On my open palm in front of the triggerguard
On my open palm under the cocking slot
Directly on the sandbag

Tried shaking the barrel to test the breech lockup (it is tight)
Tried extra relaxation with the artillery hold — which worked for a few shots, but never more than four
Tried attaching an extra weight to the barrel during each shot (with a large magnet)

So, where are we in this test?
I still think the M12 can shoot because there’s evidence of it wanting to stack its pellets. It might be that this is a rifle that needs more than a thousand shots to break in. I’ve owned a few of those. The Beeman C1 from Webley that I used to own was such a rifle. At first it was a royal beast; but as the shot count passed 2,000, the rifle began smoothing out and transforming into something very delightful to shoot. By 4,000 shots, the trigger was very nice and the gun had no vibration to speak of. It was this very rifle that caused me to give the artillery hold its name, and I wrote the first article I ever wrote about airguns for Dr. Beeman. He didn’t respond to my submission, so I saved it and eventually wrote it up in The Airgun Letter.

I wonder if this M12 needs that kind of break-in? That’s something I haven’t done in a good many years because it takes so much of my time. But it might be interesting to see if the rifle responds to a long-term break-in. I think I’ve certainly shoot 250-300 shots at this point, because I also tested the gun at 10 meters and one time at 25 yards (it wasn’t reported). Maybe I’ll rack up some more shots to see how that affects a longer-term break-in.

41 thoughts on “Air Venturi Tech Force M12 combo: Part 4

  1. B.B.

    Yesterday I tested my new-old C62. I hot-rodded it to deliver circa 210 m/s (just some striker work, no main valve tricks, increased valve volume will give another 15 m/s at the crazy expense of gas). Full cylinder at this power is good for 120 shots and another 10-12 “spits” on pure gas with no liquid phase.

    Mounted 6-25x Vector FFP Counterpunch on compensating dovetail-dovetail riser and got an extremely boring rifle: it shoots directly where the crosshairs point with minimum effort on my side. I think I’ll use it for benchrest, wind may add some challenge to shooting.

    duskwight



  2. B.B.,
    Got similar results from my TF89 even after 500 shots. Found that the sear was not retracting fully into the trigger assy. My guess was that it was acting like a “speed bump”-like driving at 100mph over a bump in the road. There were times when the rifle almost jumped out of my hand when I was using a very light, relaxed hold.
    Pete



  3. Seems like a LOT of work to get a gun to shoot. My $150 Nitro Venom Dusk .177 shoots 1 inch groups at 25 yards without a proper bench rest. It probably did take 1,000 shots to settle in, admittedly. I typically shoot it with my left had against a tree or pole in a standing position and then rest the gun on my forearm. The only thing I did with the gun is replace the scope with a cheap Gamo because the internals broke. Note: I am NOT a good shot. I post this only because if you have to work this hard for a gun that costs $100 more it should raise some red flags. You can search Youtube for a video of it. Just search “Crosman Nitro Venom Dusk” and it should be one of the first ones.


    • se mn airgunner,

      You make a good point, but I don’t want to overlook a potential good gun by not doing something. I tested several of the Hatsans five times before giving up, and I think this rifle deserves as much. It has a better trigger, is easier to cock and feels better when shooting than any of the Hatsans I have tested. So I think I’m going to give it one more chance.

      B.B.


      • BB,

        I’m not suggesting that you give up on finding what is going on, but I have to agree with the original post. You have done far more trying to get this to shoot than most people are capable of doing themselves – what hope is there for an average buyer to figure this one out? This simply is unacceptable performance from a gun that is positioned in this price range, and people that buy one might be turned off of our hobby – especially those that are buying this as their first quality “adult” pellet rifle to get back into something they enjoyed in their youth.

        Alan in MI


        • Alan,

          Well, I was hoping that if I did go through with what I have planned and if there is a great improvement, that the new airgunner (who is aware of this blog) would realize that some airguns require a longer break-in before they start to perform.And if this works I was hoping that all you veteran readers might pass the information on when other new airgunners ask you what they should do.

          B.B.


          • I hope you are right in that it does trun out to be a shooter, but very few people want to have to put 2000 rounds through it before it becomes a good gun. I think a tin or two is the upper limit of what is reasonable to expect for a gun to settle in toa usable level for most people.

            I would always be happy to help with advice – I know I recieved much good advice, and I’m happy to help when I can.

            But I think my advice would be to buy something else. And if they had already bought it, and it was within PA’s window of return, I’d suggest they take advantage of that opportunity while they can – probably not what PA would want to hear, but it is the reality for most of us. There are simply better choices than one that requires months of shooting and tweaking to find out if it is even a good gun.


  4. Well, a bit off topic here. BB and Mac, you might be interested in how I’m proceeding on learning the intricacies of the Talon SS I bought from Mac at Roanoke. Yesterday was the first time I could bring it to the local range for 30 yard shooting. In my home target range in the basement, I had the power adjusted to 1 (lowest). Curious to see what it would do at the range, the first three pellets didn’t seem to be hitting the paper. I then thought maybe it was shooting high and lowered the sights and was rewarded with the view of the pellet bouncing off the target! Up to setting 5 on the rifle’s power adjuster and one full turn down (360 clicks) on the scope elevation control had me on the X ring. Seems Air Force Falcons work best in the rifle, but I still have to try JSB’s. I also found that I needed very high scope mounts in order to have a natural position in airing this rifle. I know Talontunes (?) makes an angled valve connector with a guage that lets the rifle mimic a typical wooden stock so that might be a direction to go in the future.

    Fred DPRoNJ


    • Fred,

      You bet I’m interested in your experiences with that rifle! Mac will be, as well.

      You will enjoy tomorrow’s blog, I think.

      B.B.


  5. All of your heroic efforts bring to mind an old saying, “one cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Is there really some magic that will transform this rifle?


    • Eric,

      Here is an analogy, The engine on a 750-cc (45 cubic-inch) bHarley Davidson flathead flat-track racer had to be run-in, then rebored before it could ever race. A run-in period was about 750 miles with very frequent oil changes. They did that to “season” the metal in the bores, to stop the warping that would always occur in a new engine. Perhaps if they had better metallurgy they wouldn’t have had to do that, but they did.

      I have seen airguns come alive after a long break-in period, so I’m going to give this rifle that chance. if it fails, I will report it. But if it succeeds, then we could have a rifle with almost the capability of a Beeman R9 for half the price. I think it’s worth looking into.

      B.B.


  6. B.B.
    Just curious,While cleaning the barrel did you notice
    any tight or loose spots?
    How about velocity any changes?
    You’ve already tried much more than I could have thought
    of so I’m just grasping at straws here lol.


    • JTinAL,

      No, I haven’t chronographed the rifle again. But after I put a couple thousand shots through it, I should do that.

      B.B.


  7. B.B. -

    Sounds a lot like the Remington Summit that tried my patience a few years ago. Out of the box, it was next to worthless. Lots of power, with lots of buzz. Shots all over the place, with the POI changing on a daily basis. Arrrggg. After a professional tune and replacement trigger, it was considerably better, but still not great. After about 8,000 pellets, it’s actually a keeper. Accurate. Consistent. Moderately powerful. Enjoyable to shoot. If the exercise of getting this gun to shoot has taught me anything, it’s this: In the absence of polish, sometimes wear will do.

    - Jim


  8. B.B. and All….what is a beginner to do when he buys his first ‘real’ pellet gun. Out of the box ‘real’ pellet rifle ? He doesn’t know to tighten the fasteners, tweak this and that..He becomes discouraged not knowing about the artillery holds, etc, etc.
    I feel that since not everyone reads blogs such as Tom’s or has the newest Pyramyd Catalog ( Vol 2, great issue..) that has good information for the layman, the beginner, like in amateur astronomy, becomes disenchanted. For me, if a firearm or airgun does not print fairly well out of the box, it should be returned.
    Pete in California


  9. BB,

    Again, I’ll suggest weighting the barrel with some lead. On my CZ 634 I took my own advice and wrapped a small piece of roofing lead, about a half inch wide strip, 1/4 of the way up the barrel from the muzzle. It’s currently being held on with a rubber band until I think of a more elegant solution. Shrunk my groups by 1/2 instantly. Now if I can just get rid of the buzz. Lube works for about 100 or so shots, but then the buzz is back. Guess I’ll try the beer can tune on it next. I reworked the trigger along with all of those things you mentioned her to this gun already, and it was a $250 gun too, but I could see its potential, so I don’t mind messing with it. It’s worth the effort. Kind of like what you’re doing with this TF gun. I can see other’s points of, how is a newbie going to know what to do, but sometimes there is a silk purse hiding inside a sow’s ear…

    /Dave


  10. B.B.,
    Now that you’ve made the decision to commit to break the rifle in, how does Tom normally do it? Cheap ammo, mindlessly firing into a trap waiting for a shot count number, or proper pellets with patient, careful shooting documenting group size and velocity? Will a heavy pellet help wear things in faster, or a harder one run the bore in quicker?

    On another note, I would like to see a series where you take a ‘modern’ lower priced springer and tune it a bit. Not unlike when you spiced up that Chinese side lever with the help of Dennis Quackenbush. I not proposing you replace the barrel this time, but rather work with the factory parts, testing before and after results. Possibly replacing the mainspring with an aftermarket something that is currently available. I think tuning lesser iron is still part of the hobby, with lots of folks wondering what could be with a little elbow grease. I nominate one of the finicky Tech Force underlevers that gave you so much grief…
    -hm


    • Hank,

      Yes, Tom shoots lots of cheap Chinese pellet into a trap. No scope, just shooting for shooting’s sake. If I start with full tins, it’s easy to keep track of the shot count.

      As for tuning an inexpensive airgun, I do have in mind to tune the Fast Deer I have been writing about. I’m not done with the initial testing yet, but the beauty of that rifle is it already has a good barrel. I don’t need Dennis to put in a Lothar Walther barrel for me.

      And I have been writing about making bad guns good. The barrel bending blog report was one such report. And the4 velocity versus accuracy test was another.

      In fact, Tomorrow’s blog starts a HUGE report on a very key accuracy issue.

      B.B.


  11. My impulse would be to dismiss a rifle that causes this much trouble. But I have my own example of my B30 which was giving me all sorts of trouble until I sent it to Rich Imhoff, and it has shot like a champ ever since.

    Thanks for all of the responses to my questions last week which deserved a quicker response, but I am just returned from a trip. J-F, did you know that studies have shown that those in power, like CEO’s, have a distinct taste for being pushed around and subordinated in their personal lives about which more should not be said…

    Saw Skyfall and can recommend it. It is low-tech Bond which puts emphasis on character and story which I think is a welcome change. I’ll also say that Bond goes through a rough patch (getting shot in the chest and falling 100 yards off a train into water) and he starts missing targets! It adds a new wrinkle.

    I had an interesting shooting experience while away. The highlight was a WASR AK47. I was surprised at how light the trigger was. I’ve heard that standard AR triggers are long and creepy, and this was much better. Accuracy was not bad. I put 20 rounds into a fist-sized hole at 25 yards offhand (large fist). Sights were mediocre but usable. Ergonomics were appalling with the Munchkin length of pull, but that could be fixed easily enough with a new stock. Working the charging handle felt just like a Garand. I was impressed, and my wheels are turning.

    The owner of the guns sprung an impromptu shooting contest with two targets side-by-side at 7 and 10 yards with his Beretta 92 and SW1911. I thought this was a little presumptuous but fair enough. I did well initially with the Beretta, but then fell off the pace considerably both with that gun and the 1911. Victor! A clear case of cracking under pressure! Argh. In my defense, I will say that for the 1911, I was experimenting with the Crimson Trace laser grips which I did not like at all. The moving light distracted me, and I didn’t like staring at the red dot. I would have thought that the laser was solely for tactical shooting except that there is a fellow named Todd Jarrett who is astoundingly good at competition with the 1911 who swears by the Crimson Trace as a tool for improving accuracy. Also, I will say that shooting high-caliber pistols, for me, seems to have the least carryover from my airgun training. And I have to admit that the other guy was pretty good. Up to 10 yards, the guy could put any number of rounds more or less on top of each other, although he didn’t like to shoot further.

    I also tried out his Ruger LCP and did not care for that at all. It seemed very cramped, and I would not have a lot of confidence in the power of that round although I was able to group okay with it.

    As a final event, the gun owner somehow managed to load a .38 round into the magazine of his Beretta. Thankfully, he was the one shooting it. The round went off although it did not cycle the slide which alerted him to the problem. Isn’t mixing ammo like this the way to blow up your guns and have fatal accidents?

    Argh. As the Russian women prisoners would say, “Trust no one…Never forgive!”

    Matt61


    • I also tried out his Ruger LCP and did not care for that at all. It seemed very cramped, and I would not have a lot of confidence in the power of that round although I was able to group okay with it.

      I was pondering some of the restrictions in MI for handgun hunting…

      .357 is the lower limit, as I recall, for caliber… So a .40S&W round would be acceptable… EXCEPT — most all .40S&W pistols are double-stack and exceed 10round capacity.

      This means my big stainless steel S&W 4006 with 4″ barrel is disqualified… But a “plastic” .40S&W pocket pistol with a 1-1.5″ barrel and 5 round limit is legal for deer!


    • Matt61,

      The Ruger LCP is tiny. I can’t see it being used for anything but an emergency back-up gun, or as something that must be concealed in a very small compartment. Like so many guns, I think it has it’s place, just not as a primary weapon.

      Victor


  12. BB,
    You’re in uncharted waters. I had some confidence in the D34 based on reading about it that it would take some pellets to settle it down. I’ve lost track of what you’ve done. Push a pellet through it to make sure it is smooth and reasonably snug. Didn’t the Mendoza barrels have a reputation for being on the large side of caliber?


    • BG_Farmer,

      Yes, uncharted waters. Exactly where a new airgunner will find himself with something like this. That’s why I wan to to press on.

      As for the barrels, I though Mendoza barrels had a reputation for being pretty good.

      B.B.


      • I agree 100%. The Hammerli 490 and the Ruger Blackhawk (despite its problems and maybe it was a fluke) are the only two I’ve ever had that worked more or less exactly as a firearms fan would expect out of the box. I think it is something that even Diana (and HW from what I’ve read) should work on as the marketing demographic for “airgunners” is just about saturated and others expect things to work out of the box.

        Maybe I’m misremembering about the Mendoza barrels (Bronco excepted), but I thought people used to say they needed really large pellets.


      • When I used to buy refurb rifles directly from Umarex USA I remember being told that they generally had a lot of problems with Mendoza guns. I’ve tried quite a few, and could never get decent accuracy out of a significant number of them. Others were just fine. Generally the higher-powered Mendoza’s seemed more problematic than the medium-powered ones.


  13. This Tech Force would be frustrating for me.

    Considering all the “fixes” that have been tried multiplied by the number of different pellets tired equals frustration for me. I appreciate the assumption that several thousand pellets need to be shot through this gun in order to determine whether a proper break in will result in a calmer airgun that will then group. Many airguns fall into this catagory.

    B.B. is going to the mat on this one. It’s been less than two weeks since part 3. In my case I’ve let frustrating airguns like this sit for a month or two since I need to cool off and reflect after this amount of effort has been unrewarded. He obviously has more patience and a stronger constitution than me.

    Allow me to switch gears.

    I received the new Pyramyd Air catalog in the mail today. I’m very impressed. I like the new format.

    The intro by Josh Ungier reminds me of the old Robert Beeman intro’s in his game changing airgun catalogs. Wonderful! The full color photo’s throughout the catalog put beemans to shame.

    I like that there are symbols on the airguns that Tom Gaylord likes best since this should greatly help newbies and oldies alike.

    I think there are 6 or 7 articles by Tom Gaylord throughout the catalog that talk about airguns and give the catalog substance as well as credibility. I wish Pyramyd Air would have added something at the end of all of these articles like, “We have a new article about airgunning everyday and talk about airguns everyday at http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/. Please come join us since we would like to hear about your airgunning experiences.”

    kevin


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