AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank
AirForce Condor SS with Spin-Loc tank. The buttpad is shown flipped down.

Before we start today’s report, many of you requested to see the Condor SS next to a regular Condor and a Talon SS for size comparison. The photo below shows that.

AirForce Condor SS rifle Condor and Talon SS
Condor SS on top, Condor in the middle and Talon SS on the bottom.

Today, we’ll begin the accuracy test of the new .22-caliber AirForce Condor SS rifle with Spin-Loc tank. This was shot indoors at 25 yards and was the first time I’ve shot this rifle for accuracy.

I mounted a Bushnell Banner 6-18X50 AO scope in a one-piece BKL mount with 1-inch rings. The scope was clear and bright at 25 yards. I’ve used it in the past, so I know it’s a good one.

One shot from 12 feet confirmed that the rifle would be on target at 25 yards, so I backed up and shot one more. The vertical adjustment had to be adjusted up about 8 clicks, and I was centered on the target. Now, the shooting could begin.

For this test, the rifle was set on power setting 2, as that had delivered good velocity with all the pellets I would be testing. I didn’t want to waste air; and I was shooting indoors, so there were no breezes to contend with.

Beeman Kodiaks
The first pellet I tried was the Beeman Kodiak that weighs 21.14 grains. The first shot almost destroyed the aim point, but the rest of the shots drifted to the left a little. After 10 shots, I had a 2-hole group that measured a maximum of 0.626 inches between centers. It’s okay, but not what I was hoping for.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank-Kodiak-group-25-yards
Ten Beeman Kodiaks made this group at 25 yards. At 0.626 inches between centers, it’s okay but not what I’d hoped to get from the Condor SS.

JSB Exact Jumbo
After the Kodiaks, I shot 10 JSB Exact Jumbo pellets. They weigh 18.1 grains and are perfectly suited to the power of this rifle. They did give a better, more rounded group; but at 0.613 inches, it wasn’t much smaller than the Kodiak group. I felt the Condor SS should be capable of even better accuracy.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank-JSB-Exact-Jumbo-group-25-yards
Ten JSB Exact Jumbo pellets did better, at 0.613 inches between centers, but I was still hoping for better from this rifle.

Air Arms Field Heavy
The next pellet I tried was one I’d not shot before. The Air Arms Field Heavy looks a lot like the JSB Exact Jumbo; and at 18 grains, it weighs about the same. But this pellet did much better in the test rifle. Ten of them made a group that measures just 0.328 inches between centers. This very round group was what I was looking for from the Condor SS. It tells me the rifle wants to shoot — I just had to find the right pellet.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank-Air-Arms-Field-Heavy-group-25-yards
Bingo! This is the group I was looking for. Ten Air Arms Field Heavy pellets went into a nice round group measuring just 0.328 inches between centers.

Eun Jin
The last pellet I tested was the Eun Jin 28.4-grain dome. AirForce barrel breeches are specially cut to allow Eun Jin pellets to be loaded more easily than in other PCP rifles, though they still do take a push to seat. But no tools are needed and your thumb doesn’t get sore. And they’re the kind of pellet to use when going after medium-sized game such as woodchucks and raccoons. They made a pleasing 0.577-inch group that’s good for a heavy hunting pellet. It’s a round group, too, so this pellet doesn’t seem to be disturbed on its flight in any way.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank-Eun-JIn-dome-group-25-yards
Ten Eun Jin domes made this well-rounded group, which measures 0.577 inches between centers.

What’s it like to shoot?
Now that the shooting is done, don’t you want to know what the Condor SS is like? I tested the new trigger and safety last year, but that was on a regular Condor. This is the first Condor SS I’ve had a chance to shoot.

The trigger is light and crisp, but I can hear one of the internal springs tensioning as I take up the slack. That became a sound I heard on every shot. It’s neither good nor bad, just different.

The safety goes off like a stick of butter on a hot pan. There’s almost no resistance. It may look similar to a Garand safety blade, but it’s much smoother and lighter.

The rifle recoils with the shot. Even on power setting 2, there’s a rocket-push to the rear with each shot you fire. It’s not as much as a .22 rimfire, but enough that you know something has happened. I think I like the sensation in a hunting rifle.

What’s next?
Next, we take the Condor SS out to 50 yards and try its accuracy there. We now know the best pellet. Let’s see if that remains the case when the distance doubles.

After that, I plan on installing the standard tank and rerunning the entire test — velocity and accuracy at 25 and 50 yards. With the standard tank, we should see Talon power (greater than the Talon SS) and quiet operation, too. We shall see.

31 Responses to “AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle: Part 5”

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    I could see picking up one of these in .25 down the road a bit. Or maybe just wait for the .50.

    • /Dave Says:

      That’s kind of my thinking now, RR. If ever was there an excuse for me to start with the .25′s, this would be it! It should also be a little quieter because the end cap hole has less clearance for the pellet to go through.

      /Dave

      • Ridgerunner Says:

        Also, you can glue a rubber fender washer to the back of the breech block and trim it to fit the barrel and notch to reduce the hammer slap some and drill a couple of small holes under the fore stock between the barrel bushings to quiet it a bit more.

      • Ridgerunner Says:

        Some lighter springs for the trigger and sear will likely reduce the trigger pull a bit also. They did on my Edge and TSS. It sounds as if they improved the crispness (or lack thereof) of the trigger and fixed the safety, but at the cost of being able to uncock it (or not).

        • /Dave Says:

          Thanks for the hints. Now I just need tip sell off a couple of unneeded items since I obviously need more air guns…… :-)

  • Michael Says:

    Interesting that there is recoil. I guess that’s a reflection of the high amount of energy it delivers out the muzzle, although I’m surprised, given that it’s in .22 and the power was set only to 2. (Wait, is 2 a higher or lower power setting on the Condor?)

    Michael

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Michael,

      Two is almost the lowest power this rifle can deliver.

      All PCPs do recoil, proportionate to their power. This one is extremely powerful.

      B.B.

      • Michael Says:

        B.B.,

        “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” or something like that?

        I’m now remembering that not only, as you point out, is the Condor a powerful air rifle, but it is also very light for its power. My FWB 601 is a pneumatic (albeit single-stroke), but it shoots 7.0 grain Hobbies at about 610 fps. and the rifle weighs eleven pounds. The opposite of the Condor! It is completely inert when fired.

        I need to start thinking of the Condor as a small bore version of a custom, big bore air rifle. On all of the youtube videos of guys shooting those, they obviously recoil like many a powder-burner.

        Michael

    • John Says:

      My condor gives my shoulder a tiny push too when I fire it. Mine is the old ones with the old safety, but I also have the spin-loc tank. That’s just from the striker being released and hitting the air valve. I don’t think the .22 pellet has much to do with recoil since My discovery is a .22 and has no felt recoil that I have ever noticed. The condor’s recoil is so minimal that it’s really nothing that you should worry about. I have .22 rimfires that kick worse than my condor and those are also barely noticeable. If you want to feel recoil drop a round in my Mossberg 100ATR. That thing will kick you like an angry mule. Then go back and try a condor. You won’t even feel the condor’s recoil.

      • B.B. Pelletier Says:

        John,

        The recoil is from the air pushing against the pellet. Action — reaction.

        B.B.

        • John Says:

          Whatever the reason It’s still minimal. Especially considering some of the springers I own that have a fairly nasty kick to them and they deliver less power than a condor.

  • John Says:

    Well, the gun is accurate as I have learned to expect with airforce rifles. Looks like my condor which everybody has seen is just about as good as this rifle. I’m a bit on the fence about this new safety though since it can’t be decocked. I was thinking this would look good with one of the Maddog stocks bolted to it. But I’m not sure if this would work with those custom stocks. Any idea if that can be done with these new safeties? They look a bit more bulky than the old ones.

  • Anonymous Says:

    So, how does the accuracy of this Condor compare with the other kind of Condor so far? And so it is possible for PCPs to have perceptible recoil. I’ve never considered that with big bores which should have more than a Condor. What kind of recoil do you get with a big bore?

    Victor, perhaps your mistake in reading the pulse of the public is to look for reason. I was reading about the new female athletic director at Rutgers hired to clean up the abuses of her predecessors and bring a woman’s tolerant perspective to bear. Turns out she left a head coaching job at Tennessee 16 years ago for abusing her volleyball players who unanimously signed a letter of accusation against her. However, the Rutgers administration is standing solidly behind her. Maybe it’s not even a matter of what buttons to push. Maybe there’s no sense to it at all.

    Matt61

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Matt,

      The accuracy seems about the same as other AirForce guns. Let me get it out to 50 yards and we should be better able to tell.

      All PCPs have some recoil. The 10-meter target rifles use so little air that you don’t feel the recoil very much, but after a few hundred shots with a rifle, it begins to be perceptible.

      As someone above said, the big bore arev the most obvious. I have seen some big bore kick like a 12-gauge shotgun.

      B.B.

    • Victor Says:

      Matt61,

      Often times, the reason comes by way of conditioning. Everyone says that they hate negative campaigns, and yet we will never see an end to them. They work because they push known buttons, even if completely baseless. Fear is an effective force that will always be used for mass manipulation of minds. Reason and facts, on the other hand are relatively “boring” and thus ineffective. The masters know what they are doing.

      Victor

  • Cole Says:

    About how many more shots can you get off the tank on power setting 2 than on 10?

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Cole,

      If you look back at Part 4, I showed that there are around 25 shots on power setting 2 and 20 on full power. That was what that report was all about.

      B.B.

      • Cole Says:

        Ok thanks but I was wondering looking at the condor ss on the PA website and it said in .177 you can adjust it from 600 fps to 1300 fps which is a 700 fps difference but here you only got about a 100 fps different in the power settings so where do they get the low number because you showed you couldn’t adjust it that much.

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Cole,

          The velocity numbers on the PA website are supplied by the manufacturer. The numbers I provided were those I got when I tested the gun, as described in the reports. I cannot explain the differences, except to say maybe they used different pellets than I tested.

          B.B.

  • Guns & Guitars Says:

    Speaking of recoil. When I use the standard air tank on my Talon SS there is very noticeable recoil above power setting 6. However, when I use CO2 the recoil diminishes to almost nothing.

    Regarding CO2, I never hear anyone talk about using it with their Condor or Talon but I do most of the time. For one thing, the air tank is very large and uses a lot of air. Since I have 6 PCPs to feed using CO2 with the Talon reduces trips to the dive shop even though I have 2 air tanks.

    Also, I do not see any change in accuracy between the two power sources and since I use my Talon strictly for target shooting any loss in velocity is irrelevant (at the velocities we are looking at anyway).

    Just some food for thought for those Condor and Talon shooters.
    G&G

  • Guns & Guitars Says:

    I forgot to mention. Using a 12 Oz. CO2 tank also gives me a better view thru the scope.
    G&G

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    Cost, availability and temperatures prevent me from considering CO2. My hand pump works for me.

  • Guns & Guitars Says:

    RidgeRunner

    Fortunately for me I live in Florida so I can shoot C02 year round with the exception of a few days. Unfortunately for me due to some disabilities I could not use a pump any more than I could fly to the moon.

    I appreciate the cost factor.
    G&G

  • Wulfraed Says:

    I’d probably have photo-edited in markers for the normal barrel length inside the tube of the two SS variants.

  • Guns & Guitars Says:

    B.B.
    I’m afraid I must have missed something. In this series of reports on the Condor SS you said in one of the earlier reports that the Condor SS was very quiet. However, the Pyramyd Air specs list it under loudness as Medium-High. Which is it? I certainly hope the former.

    I am very sorry if I missed something along the line.
    G&G

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      G&G,

      You DID miss something. In part 4 I explained in detail that the Condor SS sounded much louder to me when I tested it than it did last November, when I heard it shoot at AirForce. Re-read Part 4.

      B.B.

  • Guns & Guitars Says:

    B.B.
    I realize that now because I re-read the entire report after I opened my big mouth.
    Thanks
    G&G

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      G&G,

      No problem. This discovery was such a big deal to me, because I had touted the quiet report so much, that I felt compelled to tell people what I had found in testing. This gun is loud by any standards. For its power it isn’t bad, but it is no indoor rifle.

      B.B.

Leave a Reply


4 + = 13

Top-notch springer
Air Arms TX200 air rifle

When it comes to spring-piston air rifles, the Air Arms TX200 Mk III is a favorite of many airgunners, including airgun writer Tom Gaylord. His favorite caliber is .177. While the gun will initially impress you with its beauty and superior craftsmanship, you'll be even more impressed with the incredible accuracy! Tom claims this is "the most accurate spring gun below $3,000." Beech or walnut, left-hand or right-hand stock. Isn't it time you got yours?

All the fun, none of the hassles!
Uzi CO2 BB submachine gun

You've seen tons of movies with guys spraying bullets from their Uzi submachine guns and probably thought it would be a blast. Except for the cost of ammo! You can have all that fun with this Uzi BB submachine gun at just pennies a round. Throw shots downrange for hours on end with all the fun, none of the firearm hassles and a fraction of the cost.

Archives