AirForce Escape: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

AirForce Escape rifle
The AirForce Airguns Escape precharged pneumatic air rifle is a powerful new survival rifle in both .22 and .25 calibers.

Last time we looked at the accuracy of the AirForce Escape at 50 yards. I shot the rifle on low pressure and a low power setting on that day to see what it could do. You may remember that at 50 yards, I got a best 5-shot group with JSB Exact King pellets that measured 0.594 inches between centers. That’s great for a .25-caliber PCP, but I know it left some of you wondering what the rifle can do at its maximum power. Today, we’ll look at that.

The heaviest .25-caliber pellet I have is the Eun Jin pointed pellet, which weighs 43.2 grains. So, it’s a little heavier than the standard bullet of a .22 Long Rifle cartridge. We know from testing that this pellet leaves the muzzle at up to 1010 f.p.s., generating 97.88 foot-pounds of energy.

I also had some Eun Jin domed pellets to test. At 35.8 grains, they’re lighter than the pointed pellet but might be accurate enough to make a difference. As long as I’m testing, I thought why not test them, too?

AirForce Escape rifle Eun Jin pointed and domed pellets
These are the 2 pellets used in today’s accuracy test. The pointed pellet weighs 43.2 grains, and the dome weighs 35.8 grains.

The wind had just started to pick up at the range. I had finished testing the Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock and shifted to the Escape because I felt the power of the gun and weight of the pellet wouldn’t be affected by this wind nearly as much as a smaller pellet moving at lower speed.

Max power
The first thing I tried was the heavy Eun Jin pellet on max power and with a max power setting on the gun. The first 2 pellets went through the same holes at 50 yards, and I thought I was on to something. Then, shots 3 and 4 moved 2 inches to the right but also landed in a single hole. Shot 5 then landed an inch to the left of the first 2 shots, giving me a 5-shot group that measures 2.478 inches across the widest centers. While that is adequate accuracy for larger animals at 50 yards, it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be.

AirForce Escape rifle Eun Jin pointed pellet group 1
Five Eun Jin pointed pellets on maximum power with a 3,000 psi fill at 50 yards. The group measures 2.478 inches between centers, but look how they landed. The first two are left of the pellet, the next 2 are to the right of the dime (in the same hole) and pellet 5 is all the way over to the left.

I remembered that there are 10 good shots on a fill of the Escape’s small 213cc reservoir, so I shot the next 5 pellets at a different target. The scope wasn’t adjusted. The reservoir pressure at the start of this string was about 2,600 psi. This time ,all 5 went into 1.622 inches. That’s a significant improvement. According to the velocity test data, these shots ranged between about 71 and 82 foot-pounds.

AirForce Escape rifle Eun Jin pointed pellet group 2
By starting with less reservoir pressure, the group tightened significantly. These 5 shots went into 1.622 inches between centers at 50 yards.

I was satisfied with the results of this heaviest pellet, but I’ve never gotten the best accuracy with pointed pellets. I felt I might be at the limit of this pellet’s performance. Time was passing and the wind was building, so I moved on.

The lighter domed pellet remained to be tested. On max power with a 3,000 psi fill, I got several open 5-shot groups that all hovered around 2 inches. While that’s okay, it isn’t what I wanted. Then, I shot a couple groups with the power set to max and the starting air pressure set at 2,600 psi. The only reason I did it that way was because of the results of the heavier pointed pellet I’d just tested. And that’s where the magic happened!

The first 5-shot group on this setting (power set on max, starting fill pressure at 2,600 psi and shooting the 35.8-grain domed Eun Jin) measures 1.177 inches. Four of those shots are in 0.555 inches! That’s fantastic! I don’t have the velocity data for this pellet on that setting, but I’ll venture a guess it’s producing around 60-70 foot-pounds.

AirForce Escape rifle Eun Jin domed pellet group 1
Now, we’re cooking! Five Eun Jin domes went into 1.177 inches at 50 yards, with 4 of them making a 0.555-inch group! This is fantastic, but can I do it again?

Like you, I wondered if this single group was just a fluke, so I filled the reservoir to 2,600 psi, again, and shot a second group. This time, I put 5 into 1.089 inches. Three of those pellets are in 0.214 inches. If you overlay those 3 pellets on top of the other group, they all go to the same place!

Air Force Escape rifle Eun Jin domed pellet group 2
Here’s the miracle I was talking about. Same starting air pressure, and 5 pellets went into 1.089 inches. Three of them are in 0.214 inches and in the same place as the 4 pellets from the last group. This is significant!

What I’m saying is that somewhere around this power setting and fill pressure, there’s a super sweet spot the Escape loves with this domed pellet. By spending more time refining the fill pressure and by adjusting the sights for this combination, the Escape will become a tackdriver. It doesn’t get a lot of shots like this, but remember — this is a survival rifle. You want one shot — one kill. I think this gives that to you!

I could continue to refine my pressure settings with this pellet, but I don’t think I have to. I’ve now shown you 2 different ways the AirForce Escape can make very small groups at 50 yards. If you’re looking for a powerful air rifle to do some serious hunting, you should consider this one. I think Ton Jones and John McCaslin both have reason to be proud of their creation.

What’s next?
I was prepared to exchange barrels at this point and try the .22-caliber Escape, but I think I’ll let that slide for now. If I’m any judge, most buyers are going to get the .25-caliber Escape. Once they see these results, I expect they’ll do similar tests. Therefore, I plan to switch over to the EscapeUL next. That’s the ultralight rifle that has an 18-inch barrel. I’ll give you a combined introduction and velocity/power report, followed by a range test like this.

33 thoughts on “AirForce Escape: Part 3

  1. B.B.

    Ah! the Great Escape again! This is incredible stuff at 50 yards & more than enough for hunting and with those FPE figures, One Shot One Kill is on.

    Errol



    • GF1,

      No! I forgot to take it along!!!

      But I do plan on doing it with the next accuracy test of the EscapeUL. If there is a dramatic improvement, which I don’t expect, I would come back and re-test the Escape.

      B.B.


      • I’m not to crazy about oiling pellets so I was waiting for your test to see what results you had. And then it also gets things all messy. So if it did do something for improving accuracy I think I would still not do it.




      • To get an idea of what will be good for pellets, do you think it was the weight or shape that spread the pointed groups, Id say pointed NEVER will fly as accurate as domed but usually the heavier pellets go better for pcps i thought, be investing to hear a little of what you think about the Escapes pellet sensitivity?



          • I agree, those things do some cool deforming too, practically explode. Definitly good hunters if you get the right ones but yes range always seems to damper all but the venerable dome. What’s curious is no domes on department stores shelves , least not near me. I tried every pellet the local wallys and dicks had and not til ordering from pyramyd did i get some pellets i really enjoy shooting.


  2. Oh also got my UTG stock for the R.A.I. adapter that’s mounted on my .25 cal. Marauder rifle.

    And my See All Sight and BKL mount that I put on my Discovery to try out tomorrow.



  3. B.B.,

    The science of fill pressures versus accuracy, like many other parts of ballistics, seems little understood. Another great piece of writing, B.B.. Thanks.

    As a new PCP shooter, I have been wondering about the problems moisture might cause with my Discovery rifle and Benjamin hand pump. I’ve read accounts of hand pumps and rifle air reservoirs being wet and corroded on the inside. Is this a significant problem?

    Thanks again,

    RB


    • Hi RB,I am still hoping for a reasonably priced compressor,I have several PCN guns and I dread the hand pumping,And going to a filling scuba shop is a real pain,I have seen fiber tanks in the
      $400/500 range and I’d be willing to go $600 or 7oo hundred for a compressor,yes they do my Benjaminand Swedish one are rusty due to the humid Florida weather”Everything rusts down here.
      But I have found that a little oil here and there will help,I did it on my new reloading equip. that
      had a patina of rust on a two week old press and the rust hasn’t returned.


      • NNJM,

        just wanted to remind you and the readers that air obtained from a SCUBA shop’s tanks have minimal to zero humidity so even in Florida’s humid weather, there should be no rust inside of the compressed air tank on the AirForce rifle. Your hand pumps are another issue…

        Fred DPRoNJ


      • Hhas(haha),spell check i left the hash(haha) the way my phone is putting them! (Haha!) Have! Not even kidding, hahas, the human laugh confuses machines! Remember this when the robots take over!


    • RB,

      Dennis Quackenbush and I did a test on moisture introduced into PCPs. We discovered that a PCP blows the moisture back out and cannot retain it very long.

      If you ask me nice, I will locate that test and run it as a blog report. ;)

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        Yes, please tell us about the PCP moisture test done by you and Dennis. I think many of your readers would be interested.

        If a PCP blows moisture out upon discharge, and if it’s better to store the rifle under pressure, would it be a “best practice” to shoot the rifle (blow the moisture out) and store it with a partial charge of air in the reservoir (about 1,000psi for my Discovery)?

        As always, appreciate your blog.

        RB


    • I disagree, it is all understood- to be so intricate and leaden with variables that it becomes the ultimate, exaggerated, cause and effect segment of science, one reason I love it!


  4. Good shooting. But unless you called those wide shots, I think we may be running into statistical variation, especially when extrapolating between groups. Hard to say. And what happened to the 10 shot groups? :-)

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      I explained why I wasn’t shooting 10-shot groups with the Escape in the last part. It comes down to the one shot — one kill mindset. This is not a benchrest air rifle and the small air reservoir means the velocity changes rapidly.

      B.B.


  5. I’m liking this gun, but not really liking the fact I get only 10 good shots before I need to fill it again. Since this is a SHTF survival gun I’d need more than 10 shots per fill so I’d likely hold the small tank in a pack and put a regular high flow tank on it so I get more shots for survival purposes. The smaller tank would be my back up tank. The worst emergency I have ever experienced was a storm that knocked out power, cable, and phones for a week. That was quite a long time ago. Since then the longest time we have gone without power is about 30 minutes. Where I live we don’t get that many emergencies so this would likely be put in a gun rack for the “just in case” and likely only be fired for checking to see if it works and to keep it working. I lost my hunting area this year so I no longer need a gun like this unfortunately. But I really do love the concept. I just do not have a place to shoot it now.


    • John,

      The whole point of this gun is that it is easy to fill with a hand pump. In a survival situation you will likely fire a shot and wait for hours or days before shooting again. Plenty of time to top off the air tank.

      The same holds true for other survival guns. The Air Force uses a .22 Hornet single shot that takes a long time to reload. But they sacrifice everything for light weight and compact size. That’s the survival mentality — not quick follow-up shots.

      B,.B.


      • I guess the idea of survival situations is different to different people. To me a survival situation is fending off looters after some kind of serious disaster and potentially needing to hunt small game. So I am thinking more shots may need to be had than one shot. So I’d likely be carrying two different guns. One for quiet small game hunting and one for defense. I live in a city so the small game I might need to hunt in the case of epic disasters will be squirrels, small birds, maybe the yappy little dog down the street. I’m not picky. I’ll eat anything if I get hungry enough. But mostly my emergencies are so small I don’t require a gun to solve them. Mostly I just wait for the electricity to go back on.



          • I like the idea. Really I do. I was looking at this thinking I want it. However with the loss of my hunting area I have no place to shoot what I have now. I have to resolve that problem before I can justify buying any more guns. Now I’m really limited to a 12 foot area which is the longest straight line area I have in my apartment. I now need a range membership and I need to find a way to get to that range. That is a problem for me.



              • It was that I had an 8 mile bike ride to where I stored my guns. I had around 15 acres there of various environment, pine, hardwood, stream, pond, and wetland. Since my mom, who was part owner of the land is calling it quits and moving I had to move all my guns back home, sell some I didn’t like so well and put the rest in racks. I’m looking into the local gun range now but even then I have to figure out how to transport my guns on bike since I do not have a car.


  6. Off Topic here – sort of – This is a continuation of trying to get my AirForce non -spinlock tank to hold air after installing Talon Tunes’ Tank Adapter. The air was/is leaking from the valve/tophat head which means the little delrin stopper or plug inside the valve was not sealing. I tried lapping the delrin part to the brass outlet first using plastic compound – the type you would use to restore a cloudy headlight lens on your car. When that didn’t work, I brought in the heavy stuff – auto valve grinding compound – the fine stuff. No luck here so I have ordered a new part from AirForce plus a new spring as I figure the spring is pretty tired after all these years of holding the delrin plug against the valve.

    To be continued…..

    Fred DPRoNJ


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