Walther 1250 Dominator PCP air rifle: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Walther 1250 Dominator
Walther 1250 Dominator.

Today, we’ll test the Walther 1250 Dominator at 50 yards. I had to go out to the rifle range for this test, and we’ve been having some winds lately, so it took some time before I got a calm day. But this day was perfectly calm — I couldn’t have asked for a better day to shoot an air rifle at long range.

As you recall, the Dominator takes a 300-bar fill, which is 4,350 psi. I had to delay the test to get my carbon fiber tank refilled, and even then I didn’t have enough air for a full fill. When you fill a tank, it gets warm; and when it cools back down, you lose several hundred psi. I was able to fill to about 4,100 psi this time, but that single fill was enough air to last for the entire test, which was about 50 shots. And the needle in the pressure gauge is still in the green, which means there are more full-power shots remaining in the rifle.

I normally shoot from one of two mechanical rifle rests when I’m at this range, but for this test I decided to use my long sandbag, instead. The rifle lays in the crease on top of the bag and doesn’t move. There’s also more flexibility to reposition the rifle when required. Since this is a repeater that has to be reloaded, this flexibility was a good.

Since the circular clip holds 8 pellets, I decided to shoot 8-shot groups. It’s too much trouble to load just two pellets by themselves. So, all the groups seen today are 8-shots.

RWS Superdomes
The first pellet was the venerable RWS Superdome. They landed close enough to the bull that I didn’t bother to adjust the scope. Eight pellets made a group that measures 2.017 inches between centers. The pellets spread out horizontally, but there was no wind whatsoever. I don’t think this pellet is suited to the rifle.

Walther 1250 Dominator RWS Superdome group
Ten RWS Superdomes went into 2.017 inches at 50 yards.

Following this, I adjusted the scope up and to the left just a little to compensate for where the Superdomes had landed. Then, I shot a group of JSB Exact Heavy pellets.

JSB Exact Heavy
I expected the JSB Exact Heavy dome pellet to give good groups, and it did — sort of. Seven of the 8 pellets landed in a group that measures 0.753 inches between centers. But 1 shot landed apart from the group, opening it up to 1.933 inches. This shot was somewhere in the middle of the string of 8. It wasn’t the first or last shot, and there was no called flier. It’s just somewhere in the string.

When something like this happens, I’m tempted to believe that it was caused by a defective pellet or by something just as obviously wrong. I think the JSB Exact Heavy is a good pellet for this rifle.

Walther 1250 Dominator JSB Exact Heavy group
Seven JSB Exact Heavies went into 0.753 inches, but an unexplained lone shot strayed higher to increase the group size to 1.933 inches.

Beeman Devastator
I probably shouldn’t have tried Beeman Devastators because they’re essentially wadcutters in profile, and wadcutters don’t do well at long distances. But I did try them, and they strung vertically into a group that measures 3.067 inches. Obviously, they’re a non-starter for this rifle at 50 yards.

Walther 1250 Dominator Beeman Devastator group
Eight shots in 3.067 inches. Beeman Devastators were not too good. Sorry for the lines, but the Devastators overlapped another group and I had to mark them both to keep them separated.

JSB Exact RS
Next, I shot a group of JSB Exact RS domes. As light as they are, I wouldn’t normally recommend them for a precharged rifle of the Dominator’s power but had them along, so why not? Eight went into 0.945 inches, so I’m glad I tried them. This was the smallest group of the test. I do want to emphasize that the day was calm, because these light pellets do get blown around a lot.

Walther 1250 Dominator JSB Exact RS group
Eight shots in 0.945 inches. JSB Exact RS pellets were the best of the test.

Crosman Premier 10.5-grain
Next up were the heavy Crosman Premier 10.5-grain pellets. I expected them to do well in this rifle, and they didn’t disappoint. Eight went into a group measuring 1.19 inches between centers. While that number sounds a little large, look at the group it represents. It’s a little vertical, but it’s not a bad group.

Walther 1250 Dominator Crosman Premier Heavy group
Eight shots in 1.19 inches. Crosman Premier heavies were in the running.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
The last group I shot was with the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite. Eight of them made a group measuring 1.371 inches. That’s a little large when there are other pellets that are better, but it’s not a bad showing for 8 shots at 50 yards

Walther 1250 Dominator Crosman Premier Lite group
Eight shots went into 1.371 inches. Given the other good pellets, Premier lites are probably not the pellet of choice, but this isn’t bad.

The bottom line
I was glad to finally have the chance to test the Walther 1250 Dominator. It was a good rifle, overall, but I took exception to removing the air tank to fill it, the high fill pressure and the discharge noise.

However, out at the range, the rifle was much quieter — far quieter than a rimfire. Also, the trigger that I complained about when shooting indoors was actually no problem outside. I don’t know what the difference was, except that it was a different day and I saw things differently. I must say, there are a lot of very powerful shots in the tank once you get it up to pressure.

I did get used to fiddling with the bolt handle, and the rifle fed without a problem during this test. Installing the rotary clip is easier than on most other PCP rifles.

I would have to say that the 1250 Dominator is a fine precharged air rifle, but it runs into a lot of stiff competition. Buyers will get it because they like the overall styling, the all-weather materials it is made from and the high shot count.

36 thoughts on “Walther 1250 Dominator PCP air rifle: Part 4

  1. G’day BB,
    My scuba gets filled in a water bath to cool the tank. I guess carbon fibre is too good an insulant to use water?
    Cheers Bob


    • Bob,

      When I get a scuba tank filled, it does go in water for the reason you said. The carbon fiber tank was filled on the factory floor at AirForce Airguns and they don’t have a water tank, because they have the compressor right there. So they can refill their tanks at any time.

      Also, the carbon fiber tank has an aluminum bladder covered with carbon fiber, so it is insulated from the cold like you said.

      B.B.


  2. BB

    Two observations. First is that the pellet that landed wide of the CPL group is about as far away from the group as the measurement of the group itself. In my eyes the CPL is the clear winner. If you are going to measure one group minus a lone shot, measure the other. But you are the boss, and that is just my humble opinion.

    My second observation is that I am not surprised that the trigger issue and the fiddly cocking of the bolt seemed to shrink away while shooting outside. Shooting an airgun for groups at 50 yards is not an easy thing to do outdoors and the concentration required makes some matters fade into the background. For example, suppose you are camping somewhere, and you get a bad poison ivy rash. It can drive you crazy. But then you realize you are lost in the wilderness, and suddenly that fear of being lost overtakes the awareness of being so damned itchy. Then you run out of water and the thirst makes you completely forget about being lost. Finally, you get stung by a wasp. As anaphylaxis sets in and you can’t breathe, you don’t even remember being thirsty. Yes, my analogy is long and convoluted.

    Now that I have said shooting tight groups at 50 yards with an airgun is not so easy, I have opened the floodgates for plenty of liars to brag about how they can hit a dime everytime at 75 yards with a rusty BB gun, with open sights, in the offhand standing position, during a hurricane in the middle of the night, while being attacked by rabid badgers and without their bifocals. To them I say, “I am so impressed, I have to take a nap.”


    • Edith

      I am sorry that I wrongfully stated that BB is the boss. Everyone knows that you are the boss. However, when you are not around, that responsibility falls on Dale Evans. When you and Dale are not present to make decisions, Punky is in charge. Should Edith, Dale, and Punky be absent, Tom and Roy Rogers form a kind of bicameral legislature. Though Tom leads the committee on discretionary spending, Roy can bury these initiatives with filibustering. Though the system is complicated, it seems to work.


    • SL,

      Yeah, I noticed that CP Lite group, too. But for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to make that comment. I think the CP LIte is a very good pellet in this rifle, and it would be one of the finalists if the rifle were mine to keep.

      B.B.



    • TT,

      A couple of the holes seem to indicate they were tipping, so corkscrewing is entirely possible.

      B.B.



    • Joe,

      The Dominator barrel is not free-floating, according to my fresh dollar bill. It touches the forearm.

      B.B.


  3. B.B.,

    The issue that I see with Cromsan Premiers is one of quality control. While overall they are a very good pellet, in that they usually perform well, it is common (expected) that you get a bunch of pellets within a tin that just don’t fit as well as the rest (majority). Unless you sort them according to weight and diameter, you’re going to get a flyer on occasion. I’ve shot some of my tightest groups with CP’s (light and heavies), but have also bought tins that were truly horrible.

    I’m with Slinging Lead that the CPL’s are a good pellet for this gun, especially having a lot of experience with CP’s.

    Victor


    • Victor,

      You do bring up a great point. When I shot field target I sorted Premiers by weight and only 40 percent were good enough for competition. I bet if I did that will all the pellets except the Dominators and Superdomes, things would improve.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        I think what makes CP’s attractive is their price, and the fact that they seem to work well on most airguns. Most of us are simply willing to accept their inconsistencies, as they really aren’t that bad. I simply wouldn’t use CP’s for any kind of competition without sorting. For long range shooting (50 to 100 yards) I only use JSB’s.

        Victor



          • Mike,

            I have three .22 caliber air-rifles, and all do well with the CP’s. However, in my experience, I have found that the quality of .22 CP’s is worse than for .177′s.

            Victor



            • I also have a few .22′s (2 pistols and 6 rifles). The Crosman CP’s in the box don’t seem to do well in any of the springers and only marginal in the pcp’s. I haven’t tried the CPL’s yet or either one in my .177′s…

              /Dave


            • Mike, /Dave,

              Looking back at B.B.’s many rifle reviews, he’s gotten a some of his best groups using CP’s in .177. I’ve gotten my best groups with CP’s in .177. Most of my .177 rifles prefer the CP light’s, while only a couple prefer the heavies. In .22, my Crosman Titan GP loves CP’s. In fact, I’ve shot many single hole groups at 10 meters with CP’s and my Titan. But I’ve also experienced the “tin from hell” with the CP’s in .22. Again, CP’s have QA issues that some of the better brands don’t. But if you get a good tin, which for me as been most of the time, they are very good.

              I’m not convinced that CP’s in .22 caliber are better from the box than the tin.

              I do prefer JSB’s for my other .22′s, including my Marauder.

              Victor


      • I thought that the Crosman Premiers had gone downhill. They shot abominably in my IZH 61 so that I thought the rifle was broken, and I don’t remember them doing that badly before.

        Matt61


  4. I agree the problem with the Devastators seems to be mostly vertical stringing — probably not enough back pressure on the valve for consistent operation with them, thus inconsistent velocity? I looked back and you didn’t test them over the chrony, so that’s speculation :). If that is the problem, they are actually holding together pretty well for light almost wadcutters! The picture on the tin looks a lot like the Crosman Destroyer (EX) which I’ve been pretty impressed with for the price, although never thought to try it at 50 yards. Adding onto my “to-do” list.


    • PS. Superdomes are possibly some of my favorite pellet but they are really slow and weak by 50 yards — the BC is just marginally better than a wadcutter, and anything can screw them up, probably even thermal variations (e.g. flying through a sunny spot).


  5. Off Blog Post Topic: I’ve recently been considering getting a break barrel – my first after shooting PCP and Pump Pneumatic for ages. I’m not a fan of hold sensitivity, and other issues associated with powerful springers, so I began looking at the Crosman and Benjamin Nitro Piston rifles. From what I read, the NP power plants improve upon many of the limitations/issues of springers, and that’s why I decided to finally consider one (I have one springer, a low power IZH-61, a sidelever). The product pages on PyramidAir mention the benefits of NP, and most other sites claim the same. So far so good – NP good, big step forward.

    To my surprise when I posted here, and in another forum looking for advice… very knowledgeable people (like B.B. and Kevin here) advised me back to springers – almost universally. Not just one guy saying it, a bunch. (I trust you guys, and will follow up on your recommendations.) So, I’m a little confused. If the NP powerplants are so great, why are so many experienced guys pointing away from them? Are the rifles the NP are in not as good as the NP powerplants themselves? Am I looking at the wrong NP rifles? I’m confused, as most of the literature touts the greatness of the NP and what a huge leap forward they are… and yet the smartest guys in the field are advising springers. I admit, I don’t know much about these rifles (I’m a stored compressed air guy, not a ram air guy) but I’m obviously missing something that you guys aren’t. Can you help me understand? Thanks guys!


    • I think it is just that springs work so why not use springs :)! The nice thing about springs is that you can change them easily when they break, you can use different springs to get different characteristics, etc. There are also issues like the gas pistons are often higher in perceived cocking effort.

      I’ve never used a gas piston air rifle, but I’d focus on getting a good “platform” rather than a particular power plant, i.e. a solid rifle with good trigger(almost said triggers — woops my BP obsession is bleeding through) and support from the major tuners/suppliers. My “fanciest” air rifle is a Diana TO6 34D — I can buy at least 4 different tune kits for it when I want, parts are abundant, people know quite a bit about the internals and even custom stocks are available. I don’t think they are that much more (if any) than the Crosman Nitros, and refurbished ones are often pretty cheap.

      The same and perhaps more could be said about various HW/Beeman guns.

      Regarding Hold Sensitivity. This I know a little about. It is a non-issue almost until the power/weight ratio is pushed too high. Most springers come over-powered for their swept volume: to get the extra 25fps you get an extreme amount of harshness. The softer tunes will make them shoot better and cock easier. My 34D is on the edge. I had the almost identical Ruger Blackhawk (chinese copy of a 34; got rid of it for other reasons and still miss it) that was sprung just a little softer and it shot much better and was noticeably less of a chore to cock, although the actual velocity differences didn’t seem worth the tradeoff!

      Just my thoughts. I’m sure there are exceptions, caveats, etc.


  6. Reports about different pellets only remind me how grateful I am that there is no shortage of airgun pellets like firearms ammo. Victor, explain this mathematical puzzle to me. If so many people are in dire straits from the economy then how are they buying ammo in such huge quantities. I looked at Midway the other day and they are as empty as ever. The price of ammo for even a few range trips makes me cringe and some people are buying up everything in sight.

    I agree with your point about how serious shooting is removed from violence. The top shooters from what I’ve read about them seem like scientists or surgeons and are the last people to do something stupid or dangerous with a gun.

    I’ll make another plug for Smith and Wesson customer service which is like from another planet compared to the service you generally get in the gun industry. After numbers of practice sessions, I found that the grip on my SW686 wiggles every so slightly. Even after furious wiggling, it’s just barely perceptible, almost–but not quite small enough to disappear from consciousness. But I can’t stand it. It’s like shooting a rifle with the action loose in the stock. I took it to a gunsmith who advertises himself as a master shooting instructor and a master gunsmith. He loosened the Allen screw that fastens the grips and then tightened it again, but the wiggle remained. He told me that I had to live with it and that it wouldn’t hurt the function of the gun. So, maybe this foray into used guns came back to bite me.

    I’m not going to live with this, so I called the Smith and Wesson customer service which I’ve had good experience with before. The guy told me that the screw or whatever you call it that holds the grips on is anchored by something called an escutcheon nut which he said resembles the gears in a watch. That didn’t mean much to me except that apparently tooth-like shapes hold the nut into the rubber. When this is overtightened, the teeth will dig into the rubber like a cheese grater. So, the guy has a flair for technical explanation. He also brushed off my idea of sending it in for repair or replacement grips to the Smith and Wesson repair center which would be $50 shipping and $90/hour for labor. Instead, he insisted that I buy some Uncle Mike’s grips that were being cleared out and gave me the number of the Allen wrench I needed to do the job. How about that? Couldn’t ask for better, and I will be ready to go when my grips arrive.

    This leads me back to the master gunsmith. Don’t you think a master gunsmith should know something like this? I’m also wondering about his inspection of my Mauser k98. I was expecting him to test fire it, but he said that wasn’t necessary. He just did an inspection with a magnifying glass for about 20 minutes. So, is it possible to really test a gun for safety without test firing it?

    Matt61


    • Matt ,

      I’ve noticed that the masters these days are not what I would expect of a master. I think it’s due to the awe I held them in when I was younger. No one knows everything, and the matters are still learning if they are worth that title.

      I wouldn’t worry to much about the Mauser. If he didn’t find any cracks, excessive clearances, cycling and checked headspace, they are pretty bullet proof, which is one of the reasons people still buy them. When you do shoot it for the first time, check the brass for signs of over pressure, bulging, blown or pierced primers, etc, just asyou would do for a reloaded round. Also check to see if the bolt sticks when you try to extract that just fired first case. If everything checks out, I’m say develop a load for it.

      /Dave


    • Matt61,

      Just this weekend I saw two new ammo stores open up, and heard of another across town. As for why people are buying so much ammo during bad economic times, consider that people also spend money on things like entertainment during hard times. It also seems that people will always spend money on things that they don’t really need, like cell phones, cable, and expensive shoes.

      Going back to the ammo stores, if they are buying large quantities for their inventory, then that is going to further put a drain on availability, at least at places that we once shopped. I don’t go to the strip often, but a couple days I went by there and saw at least three gun ranges, one right on the strip and two across the freeway. In addition to this, there are at least a few gun stores that have opened up over the past few years. So the gun business is booming like never before.

      As I’ve said before, Obama has been great for the gun business. Doesn’t take much to sell fear and boogie-men. The real question is, how long will this last?

      Victor


  7. Sir,
    i enjoyed all your comprehensive and nicely done reviews on the Walther Dominator of which I have bought the .25 caliber.I have no facility for testing groups,speeds of different pellets etc here in a corner of India but I found that the Walther Dominator .25 cal is a beast and effective for hunting.A .25 cal 31 grn H&N pellet passed clean thro a skull of a munjac deer!!! at around 30 yards.Also I have taken Civet Cats(equivalent to Raccons),lots of Pigeons and Doves etc. at around 50 to 80 yards.I believe others PCPs with the same powers will do the same but I love my Dominator for its shape Size and detachable Cylinder which you can carry as an extra in the Hunt.I had some failures also,a medium size Boar raiding my Corm and Tuber plantation did not die despite being hit in the Neck area Side at close range of 15-20 yards while using JSB exact pellet.Also a Fox took a hit to its Chest from a .25 cal 31 grn H&N pellet at around 25 yards but did not die also.
    These are some of my experiences.
    Regards.


  8. Well Sir,
    There are some Gun Forums and Boards online in India,whose members are Gunfreaks and Gun Crazy like You and me and some how they navigate the Customs and sell to Board/Forum members.However Price are very high,I paid Rs 1,75,000/-(including all accessories,Hand pumps, adapters,etc) and Rs 1,75,000/- = USD 2,767.00/-.While here in Pyramid Air it is listed as only USD 629.99/-.See the difference.We are paying an equivalent for a quality Winchester, Browning or Blaser Centerfire Rifle.He-He- He.
    But we pay anyway as long as we get our hands on such quality products.
    The .25 Dominator of mine came without open sights,i ordered Open Sights from Umarex USA thro my friend and install it myself on the Barrel as my area is tropical rain forest type in North East India and while hunting ,targets(prey) is taken at medium to close ranges due to thick vegetation/foliage and scopes are sometimes not necessary.
    Indian made Airguns from .177 upto .22 caliber is allowed and can be purchased without any licence or papers.But Indian made Airguns are Junk comparing to foriegn ones.Quality very low.At present some Companies are starting to Clone the RWS/Diana 34 model and quality getting better a little.
    Only .177 cal Airpistol/Rifle are allowed to be imported by Provincial/State Rifle association members and it takes very long time.
    As for Firearms,the only allowed calibers are 0.315(8mm?),30-06,0.32 cal,22 Hornet,22 Hi power and 0.22 LR cal are generally non prohibited.
    Also,there is a blanket ban on hunting but people does it anyway and does not care as long as it is not done in a wildlife sanctuary especially in my border state(Chinese border) province.
    It is nice communicating with a renowned Airgun Expert like you.
    Regards.


    • muntjac123,

      I remember seeing some Indian-made spring rifles that were patterned after older BSA models. The workmanship looked very good. I guess like everywhere else, the quality slipped away over time.

      What you say about the price difference really shocks me. I am so glad I don’t have to pay such high prices like that. I would own far fewer airguns if that were the case.

      Thank you for all the information on the airgun situation in your country!

      B.B.


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