Chinese KL-3B Fast Deer sidelever: Part 4

BSOTW

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

Announcement: Bill Cardill is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their airgun facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card. Congratulations!

Big Shot of the Week

Bill Cardill is the Big Shot of the Week on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.
This same scenario will be repeated in countless homes this coming Christmas!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle right
The Chinese Fast Deer sidelever air rifle is attractive. Does its performance live up to its looks?

This is a fourth look at the intriguing KL-3B Fast Deer sidelever from China. We saw some pretty good 10-meter results in Part 3, and I said I’d be back to expand on that. I didn’t mention a scope was coming in part 4, but that’s what I had in mind. However, when it came time to shoot the gun, I decided to see how well I could do with the same open sights I used last time.

Today, I backed up to 25 yards which always reveals things that were perhaps masked when I shot at 10 meters. Twenty-five yards is a middle distance for a spring gun — at least for one in this power range — and you can count on the shots opening up.

The first thing I noticed right away was that heavy trigger! I’d forgotten about it. I don’t think it disturbed my accuracy, since I shot from a rest, but neither did it enhance my shooting.

The second thing I noticed was the size of the rifle’s breech. Three times in 55 shots the pellet fell out, and I didn’t notice it. The result was always a surprising detonation, and once I found a squashed pellet still in the receiver, where the sliding compression chamber had flattened it.

Other than those two distractions, the Fast Deer is a nice rifle. The stock is the right length and size, and everything fits me quite well. If I could mount a peep sight on the gun, I think it would be just about perfect. In fact, I’m going to look into the possibility of doing just that!

RWS Hobbys
The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby that did so well at 10 meters. After confirming they were still on target at 25 yards with the same sight setting as 10 meters, I stopped looking through the spotting scope and just shot the group. But Hobbys didn’t do so well at 25 yards. Ten of them made a group that measures 1.918 inches between centers. As you can see, the shots are scattered and show no tendency to go anywhere, in particular. I noted that Hobbys were loose in the breech. Also, the Hobby is a wadcutter pellet, and wadcutter accuracy usually starts falling off around 25 yards.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle Hobby group
Ten RWS Hobbys made this 1.918-inch group at 25 yards.

Baracuda Green
The next pellet I tried was that remarkable lead-free dome, the H&N Baracuda Green. They’ve surprised me on more than one occasion, and they looked good at 10 meters in the Fast Deer. At 25 yards, they were a little better than the Hobbys, but not that much better. Ten of them made a group that measures 1.815 inches between centers. The Baracuda Greens fit the breech rather well.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle Baracuda Green group
H&N Baracuda Greens were slightly better than Hobbys, but not much. Ten went into 1.815 inches.

JSB Exact RS
I tried JSB Exact RS pellets next, and I got an interesting result. First of all, this was one of the pellets that fell out of the breech. When I tried to compensate for the lost rounds, I shot 11 rounds instead of 10. The entire group was large, at 1.918 inches between centers. Before you comment, I’m aware that’s exactly the same as the RWS Hobby group, but please remember that there’s always a built-in margin of error when measuring these groups. So, they probably aren’t exactly the same size — that’s just how it looked to me.

The interesting result was that 6 of the 11 shots were in a smaller group that measures 0.475 inches between centers. That hints that this pellet might actually be the best one for this rifle, though the overall group doesn’t show it.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle JSB Exact RS group
This group of 11 JSB Exact RS pellets is large, at 1.918 inches between centers; but within it, 6 pellets are grouped in just 0.475 inches.

Beeman Kodiak
Next I tried the heavyweight Beeman Kodiak pellet. Although many would not try it in a rifle as low-powered as the Fast Deer, I’ve often found that Kodiaks are some of the most accurate pellets in lower-powered spring guns. Not this time, however. Ten went into a group that measures 2.134 inches between centers. That was the largest group of the test.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle Beeman Kodiak group
Beeman Kodiaks didn’t do so well in the Fast Deer. Ten went into 2.134 inches — the only pellet to go over the two-inch group size.

Air Arms Falcon
The final pellet I tried was the Air Arms Falcon. These are made by JSB; and, often, if other JSB pellets do well, these will, too. Ten Falcons made a group that measures 1.497 inches between centers. It’s the smallest group of the test, though it doesn’t have the same tantalizing group-within-a-group that the JSB Exact RS pellets had.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle Air Arms Falcon group
Air Arms Falcons made the smallest group of the test, with 10 going into 1.497 inches at 25 yards. They also hold some promise for greater accuracy if the sighting was more precise.

Overall evaluation
I don’t think we’ve seen the full potential of the Fast Deer, yet. The groups from the JSB Exact RS and Air Arms Falcons seem to promise a higher lever of accuracy if things were somehow different. I’m going to think about that for a while and see what I can do about it. Yes, I think there will be a Part 5 of this report at some point.

One thing is very interesting and that is what the 25-yard shooting and 10-shot groups have taught us about this rifle. Some things to think about in the future are better sighting possibilities and perhaps expanding the skirts of the two most accurate pellets — to see if that has any bearing on the outcome.

21 thoughts on “Chinese KL-3B Fast Deer sidelever: Part 4

  1. B.B.

    Sounds a little loose (fit) with the pellets that would (or should) probably work at this power level .
    Is the bore a little looser still at the muzzle ? Maybe you could try pushing a few from muzzle to breech to get some idea. I would not suggest that you tear it down to go from the breech end.

    twotalon


    • TT,

      Maybe I’ll do that. This test gave me inspiration to try something else that Kevin recommended a couple days ago, so I will be retesting another vintage rifle in the next report.

      B.B.


  2. BB,
    What happened to the H&N pistol pellets? Wadcutters do start to get wacky at 20+ yards, esp. with low power, though. I’d try Superdomes and CPH’s — both those tend to run toward chubby. The Superdomes sadly break down almost as quickly as wadcutters. The Falcons do look promising–you can probably get them under an inch with a scope…


  3. Just a wild thought, BB. Do .20 cal pellets fit in this rifle’s breech and are able to be pushed through the barrel? Perhaps the barrel was one of those bored out with a brand new cutting tool in China and is oversized?

    Fred DPRoNJ


  4. I would probably just leave the gun as is. It would be a fun plinker with the right pellet. But, for accuracy and power, there is just so much else out there.

    Mike


  5. Off-topic, but does anyone here happen to know (well, has both a micrometer and this air rifle) the outer diameter of the barrel on the current Weihrauch HW50s?

    Thanks very much,

    Michael




      • Loren

        I am curious, what are your impressions of the new HW50S? People usually love it or hate it.

        I received an HW50S in lieu of a gun the retailer said they had in stock, but didn’t (not PA). Since the HW50 costs a good deal more than the gun I ordered, I accepted the deal. I found the HW50S to be a pleasant surprise contrary to what I had heard about it. With medium size, medium weight, and medium power it is a great gun to carry around if you must do so. It comes with the best open sights in the business, yet easily handles a scope while remaining relatively light.

        I find the gun to be more capable of accuracy than I am, so I never feel limited by it. Eventually I will tune it, to smooth the cocking stroke to where my HW30S is. I just have no reason to be in a hurry to do so.

        The HW57 underlever is also a great gun. Just ask /Dave.

        My HW50 is .177, my HW57 is .22


        • Slinging Lead
          I have had my 50s for about a month now, have about two tins of JSB 8.4 gr. through it. I have found it to be very accurate right from the start. This is seated in the hunter field target position with the forend resting directly on a Stoney Point bi pod. With these 8.4 pellets she is making 775 fps and 820 fps withA/A Falcon. The only thing I don’t care for is the spring twang, but I have a J.Macari kit on order. One good feature this rifle has is a roller bearing under the articulated cocking link, this prevents the spring tube from being gouged by the link. Which is what hapens with the R7, and to prevent that on the R7 you install a piece of teflon from J.M.
          Yes I love my 50s and the stock on the newest one with the lazer cut checkering and stipling looks great.


        • About the only thing I don’t like about my HW57 is the twang, which I could easily take care of if I’d just get off my backside and do it… That sliding, pellet load tap thingy gets my ears ringing now and again when I forget to push it back down after loading the pellet and then pulling the trigger. Really loud! But that’s my own fault, not the gun… I really like that Rekord trigger and the accuracy it helps me achieve!

          /Dave


  6. If I recall correctly, the factory literature that came with the Fast Deer rated the accuracy as 30mm at 10 meters. I seem to remember that was about right when using Industry Brand pellets.

    I wonder if 25 yards is a bit of a stretch for this gun. Regardless, I think you’ve established that for a $30 Chinese rifle, these really weren’t that bad… and their reputation might not have been completely unearned!

    My regret is getting rid of them as early as I did, before really doing some serious accuracy testing myself. I think I’m gonna keep my eyes peeled for another one….


    • Vince,

      There were two at Roanoke this year and I’ll bet there are always a couple at most of the bigger airgun shows. You should be able to find one. I’ll watch for you also.

      B.B.


  7. Hello, I took your advise and got the TX MK3 and the only words I could say for an hour was WOW. Fast forward 6 weeks and the rifle quit cocking. I call customer support and they told me to return it for warranty repair. I did and today I got an email saying 4-6 weeks. Now I am questioning myself for not taking it apart and trying to fix it myself. 4-6 weeks for what is maybe a 15 minute job sounds crazy, I just did not want to lose the warranty, but hind sight says I should have. From my understanding you do not even need a spring compressor to take these bad puppies apart. Oh well live and learn, I just do not think my next AR will come from PA, because every time I deal with them something comes up. The RWS I got from them is still leaving a bad taste in my mouth.


    • Jesse…

      Don’t be in too big of a hurry to be getting down on P.A. . They probably needed a part that they did not have on hand. You would not have been able to fix it without the same part.

      I have gotten plenty of guns that had something wrong with them. Anything from inoperative to something that just needs a little work. No matter where I got them.

      Said it before…I can’t get a good gun, and can’t get a good scope. The story of my life. Makes me doubt all of the great reviews.

      twotalon


      • I am man enough to admit “I WAS WRONG”! Pymaryd Air contacted me and said it was just a form letter. He would look at my rifle this week and fix it. He also said he would check out the spring, seals, and give it a good cleaning of all the excess oil and lubes and re lube it for me. He also said if all goes well it should ship by Monday. I then turned around and ordered a Shooting Chrony Alpha Chronograph. When my TX200 returns I will be sending my RWS 34 out to be tuned. While it is being tuned I will be looking for a spring compressor so I can learn to tune on my cheap air rifles.


  8. Hi BB,

    If you really want to know how the story ends with a Fast Deer, you owe it to yourself to do a little work on it. Maybe you and Vince can tag-team it, Vince seems to miss his kl-3b’s. It could be interesting to show people what can be done with a very modest budget and sweat equity. The direct sear trigger will keep the Fast Deer from ever being “a world-class sidelever with an unbelievable price tag”, but if you set your sights on making it as much like a smallish Diana 48 as you can, without costing yourself a mint, you’ll do quite well.

    Some things I’ve done to my Fast Deer’s:

    Check the crown for burrs with a q-tip. 3 of 3 that I have checked needed light cleaning up.

    Clean the barrel with goo gone, you wouldn’t believe how much stuff is in there that resists other cleaning methods.

    Disassemble the rifle (model specific instructions are available online). Degrease and de-burr everything and then add proper lubes in proper amounts to proper locations. Following the instructions on tuning up will get you pretty close to as good as you can get with this rifle except for the following four suggestions that I think are important.

    Do a “shrink-tune” on the rear spring guide, be sure to use the thinnest shrink tubing you can find so the spring can go back on the guide without tearing up the shrink tubing. Alternatively, see how far the spring will easily go back on the guide and cut the tubing back to where it does the most good without getting tore up. This reduces any buzzy firing a bunch.

    Add a flanged bronze or brass bearing “top hat”, these come straight from the hardware store for less than $4, the important dimensions are; 3/8″ID X 1/2″ X 5/8″ X 1″length, with about a 1/8″ thick lip. There’s actually room for it to be about 1.5 inches long but you can’t beat a pre-made top hat for that price that will only leave about half an inch of spring unsupported at full compression. The bronze/brass top hat will get you unbelievably close to the magical 2.2:1 ratio of piston mass to spring mass (if you believe our brothers across the pond on that issue) and will get you pretty close to having the spring maximally spaced/pre-loaded. I believe the top hat also helps with alleviating spring twist on cocking and firing.

    Next – add a trigger stop – part of the poor feel of the Fast Deer’s trigger is that it has heaps of overtravel. Two ways to do this, add a small bolt through the trigger guard to limit over travel, or for a more sanitary look, but more difficulty in adjustment, add a set screw through the flat of the stock mounted safety. By far, limiting over travel is the best improvement to that “3 men and a boy” trigger one can make.

    Finally, a trigger shoe will help that half-ton trigger by a good bit. A quick and dirty trigger shoe can be made with a chunk of pvc tubing that feels good to your finger and our old pal shrink tubing, or just shrink tubing if you want to see how much improvement comes from just making that trigger just a tiny bit wider.

    I cannot take credit for any of these suggestions, they come from all over the web and the world, use them at your own risk – of course.

    Take Care,

    454freak


  9. What is it about cheap Chinese guns that make me want to get another and work on it when I already have nice springers?!? The “no great loss”if I mess it up? The “what kind of good giveaway gun” can I make? Just the hope of finding another diamond in the rough like my TF99?

    I don’t really know, but I always have to talk myself out of buying the cheap ones…. :-D

    /Dave


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