AirForce EscapeSS: Part 3

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

AirForce Escape: Part 1
AirForce Escape: Part 2
AirForce Escape: Part 3
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 1
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 2
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 3
AirForce EscapeSS: Part 1
AirForce EscapeSS: Part 2

This report covers:

• 50-yard accuracy of Predator Polymags on high power.
• JSB Exact Kings accuracy.
• Kings on high-fill pressure.
• Benjamin domes.
• Kings on max power.
• Observations so far.

EscapeSS
AirForce EscapeSS

If you’re seriously interested in one of the AirForce Escape survival rifles, this blog series should be very beneficial. I’ve tested each rifle and attempted to get the best accuracy possible, using the best pellet. Last time, we looked at the rifle at 50 yards with the Predator Polymag pellet. Today, we’ll look at the EscapeSS accuracy at 50 yards using different pellets with the gun set to higher powers and greater fill pressures. Today’s test was an eye-opener for me.

The day at the range was windy, with a 5 m.p.h. breeze blowing all the time and gusting to 20 m.p.h. I waited for the wind to get as calm as possible, but all shots were in the wind. Sometimes, I took shots with the wind blowing up to 10 m.p.h. I think you can get away with that when shooting a .25-caliber pellet gun, though it’s not ideal.

Predator Polymags at higher power
In Part 2 of the EscapeSS, I shot the rifle at power settings 6 and 7 and with the reservoir filled to 2000 psi and 2200 psi. That was done because testing with both the Escape and the EscapeUL rifles demonstrated that the Predator Polymag pellet was the most accurate. Those rifles also seemed to be most accurate with their reservoirs filled to 2000 psi.

I said at the end of the last test that the Predator Polymag pellet still had to be tested at higher power and with a 3000 psi fill, so that was the first test on this day. I filled the gun’s reservoir to 3000 psi and dialed the power to 8. Then, I shot 5 Predator Polymags.

EscapeSS power 8
The power was set to 8, but as you can tell from the dial on the left, this is not a precision setting.

The results were not very promising. Instead of the 3/4-inch to 1-inch groups I got last time, this time 5 Polymags went into 1.526 inches. While that’s acceptable for hunting at 50 yards, I’d hoped to get better accuracy from this rifle.

EscapeSS Predator target power 8
When the power and pressure were raised, the Predator Polymag pellets started to scatter at 50 yards. Five went into 1.526 inches.

JSB Exact King
For the next group, I wanted to try something that was way out of the box. I filled the reservoir to 3500 psi and left the power setting on 8. That’s more pressure than the factory recommends, but I’ve read some reports from other shooters that say the gun does well with this kind of fill. I wanted to see. This was the first time I was trying JSB Exact Kings in this rifle.

The impact point shifted up about 4 inches, and 5 Kings landed in 1.387 inches. The rifle actually shot better with this pellet at this higher pressure; although, with a 12-inch barrel I doubt that there was much more velocity.

EscapeSS JSB King target 1 power 8
Five JSB Exact Kings went into 1.387 inches at 50 yards on power setting 8 and a fill of 3500 psi.

Having one good target, I decided to try it again with the same setting and fill pressure. This was to see if the first group was a fluke. This time, 5 Kings landed in 1.588 inches, which is close enough to the first group to say this is about what the rifle can and will do with these settings. This time, though, I adjusted the scope to get the pellets on target.

EscapeSS JSB King target 2 power 8
The second try with Kings at a fill of 3500 psi and power 8 gave me this 1.588-inch group.

Now, I decided to follow the manual and fill to just 3000 psi. I left the power setting on 8 — and 5 Kings went into 1.077 inches. Almost a one-inch group!

EscapeSS JSB King target 3 power 8
The fill pressure was lowered to 3000, and the power stayed on 8. Five Kings went into 1.077 inches at 50 yards!

That was so surprising that I filled the rifle to 3000 again and shot a second group, also on power setting 8.  I noted that the shots did drop a bit, so I adjusted the scope again. This time, 5 Kings went into 1.233 inches. So close to the first group that I think this is where the rifle wants to be.

EscapeSS JSB King target 4 power 8
The second try with Kings and a 3000 psi fill on power setting 8 gave me this nice 1.233-inch group. This is a good setting for this pellet.

I also noticed something interesting that illustrates a point I’ve been making for years. The gauge on this particular rifle does not agree with the gauge on my carbon fiber tank. When the tank gauge reads 3000 psi, the rifle’s gauge is off the scale! This illustrates how some small pressure gauges can be off by a lot, which is why you pick one gauge to follow — in this case, the one on my carbon fiber tank — and go by it all the time.

EscapeSS  pressure gauge
When the carbon fiber tank gauge reads 3000 psi, this is what the rifle’s gauge says. This is only on this particular rifle. The other Escape gauges read pretty much the same as the carbon fiber gauge. The point is that small pressure gauges can differ a lot.

Benjamin dome
Now it was time to see what the rifle would do with the Benjamin domed pellet. I kept the power at 8 and the fill at 3000 psi, and 5 pellets went into 1.667 inches. That sort of turned me off after seeing what the Kings could do, so I didn’t shoot a second group. Sometimes, you just know when one pellet is better than another.

EscapeSS Benjamin dome target power 8
Benjamin domes seemed to open up at these power and fill settings. These 5 measure 1.667 inches between centers.

JSB Kings at max power
It was time to try the JSB Exact Kings at maximum power and a 3000 psi fill. I shot 5 of them into a 1.831-inch group. As I was finishing this group, the wind was picking up to the point that I had to shoot in 10 m.p.h. wind and higher. I finished the day with these results:

EscapeSS JSB King target 5 power max
The last target was shot with Kings on a 3000 psi fill and poower set at max. It measures 1.831 inches between centers, but the wind was really picking up when it was shot.

Observations so far
I was surprised that the EscapeSS liked a higher power setting and fill pressure than either the Escape or the EscapeUL. Perhaps, that’s because of the shorter barrel, whose muzzle is so close to the front barrel bushing. I don’t know, but it underlines the need to test these adjustable rifles in many ways and with many pellets.

All 3 Escape rifles are for survival, though they can be used for hunting by anyone. Hunters typically use very few actual shots. The only exception would be when eliminating pests like rats or pigeons. The Escape rifles have small reservoirs that allow easy filling from a hand pump. I’ve found all 3 rifles to be well-suited to their role, but each has different qualities that the shooter may enjoy. With the EscapeSS the big difference is how quiet the rifle is. It’s not as quiet as some PCPs, but it’s also a good deal more powerful than most of them.

I’m still planning to report on the velocities of the 3 Escape rifles at their optimum power settings, so there’s more to come.

35 Responses to “AirForce EscapeSS: Part 3”

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    It seems that as the day progresses, your groups become more horizontal.

  • tabrown Says:

    B.B.,
    While the total number of hand pump strokes required to fill these Escape rifles from 2000 to 3000 psi will be much less than for a Condor, the number of pump strokes to recover the air used for 20 shots would be similar between them would it not?

    • steve Says:

      tabrown,MY TalonP with the 24″” barrel that is basically the same gun as the survival guns here after five shots require eleven pumps to get it back up to even pressure then it takes eight pumps per shot on average.So around forty pumps and your ready to hunt again.This is not a paper punching gun,to much work and not enough shot for the payoff but will do 3/4″” hole at 150 feet with JSBs power setting at 6 at only 2000psi.After the 5th shot tanks will be around 1500psi so not to much work when pumping if you use this for hunting.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      tabrown,

      You don’t get 20 shot on a fill. Ten is the max I have seen. This is a survival rifle.

      Welcome to the blog.

      B.B.

      • nyhunter1874 Says:

        i need to go fill my “escape”. i have had a 24 inch barrel on it since i got it when they first came out. i chronied it for a couple shots only to get a ballpark, but it was doing 1080 or thereabouts with jsb kings with the power wheel on “0″. never tried a string because if i get 5-6 shots a day while i am hunting it’s a good day. i am currently sighted in for skenko ultra shock hp as they do a real number on vermin out to the 30 yds or so that i need in my yard. not super accurate, but minute of sparrow chest at that range. POOOF!!! mr. BB , you do a great job of testing these guns and reporting!any time you are in western upstate ny and want to come out and play…welcome! i burn a lot of powder too, 45-70 buffalo classic with peeps is one my favorites, it kills at both ends with my home brew bear loads though! ;)

  • Reb Says:

    Well it turned out to be a very pleasant afternoon, Gotta few shots off with the QB-36.I rode my bike over to my friend Terry’s afterwards, about 1 mile. all I could think about while I was gone was the fact that I had left my gun laying out on my shooting bench so when I got home I went straight out to bring it in. I was commenting again, on how heavy this gun was, as I tried to fit it in my overhead 3 gun rack when I lost my balance… Nothing to break my fall except the corner of a Hard rock Maple end table. Apparently L-9 of my rib cage took the brunt of the impact because it’s broken, along with another one. I went straight to the car this time, actually got there about the same time as I caught my breath and there was no argument or doubt about our destination.The things we endure in pursuit of enjoying our sport! Feels like I got nailed in the side by a 95mph fastball!
    OUCH!
    Reb

    Reb

    • Rob Says:

      Sorry about that, Reb. Take it easy for a bit if you can.

      • Reb Says:

        That 2240 is lookin’ better every day! It’ll be alright but my heavier rifles are definitely outta the question for a couple of weeks. Gonna get a battery for the Daisy Point Sight so I can star testing my 760 with the H&N sampler pack that I picked up before all this mess.
        Thanks Rob
        Reb

    • /Dave Says:

      Sorry to hear about your back, Reb… Falls can be pretty nasty to the body. I pray that you’ll heal up quickly! Take it slow and easy…

      /Dave

      • Reb Says:

        Dave, Thanks for your prayer & concern. While I’ve had plenty of broken & separated ribs, this is the first one this far into my back, and by far the most uncomfortable & debilitating one yet. I can’t even work the soreness outta my legs from the bike ride.There’s always tomorrow!

        Reb

  • StevenG Says:

    Follow the manual? I don’t think I am familiar with that procedure.

  • Michael Says:

    B.B.,

    Off-topic, but here’s another anecdote endorsing the Pellgun-to-revive-leakers technique and a hearty thank you to all here who offered this great tip.

    I picked up an early (Crosman-era) Walther Lever Action for a price just too good to pass up for a mint, still in the wrapping, unopened box, air rifle.

    Of course, the seals were dried up. And this is the version with the two 12 gram powerlets. I put two fresh ones in (the old ones were the original empties they shipped with), tightened the yoke and pssssssst! One good seal, one bad. But because the unit is connected inside, both powerless exhausted through the one leaker. It took six powelets and half a tube of Pellgunoil, but I got them to hold.

    THEN I discovered a leaky seal inside the gun, but the rest of the tube of Pellgunoil and six more powerlets, and now it holds like an offensive lineman. It cost me about $10 in powerlets and Pellgunoil, but that is a cheap repair by anyone’s standards.

    Yet another great tip from this blog!

    Michael

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Michael,

      What a story! I doubt I would have had your patience.

      But you saw it through and now you have a great airgun.

      B.B.

      • Michael Says:

        B.B.,

        Exactly. (Although I am confident you indeed would have had the patience, given the long repair/restoration adventures you have detailed here.) That is the sort of thing that so often makes me a happy camper here at this blog. Not that long ago, I would have considered it a gun to send to an authorized Umarex Repair center at great cost for professional repair, and there would have gone the awesome bargain.

        Instead, ten bucks of powerlets and Pellgunoil and an hour, counting the repeated waiting for things to cool off, but I did it on my patio and in between set the charging clip in the sun. And hey, it was a good excuse to sit back, have two cold beers and smoke my pipe (no, not a little funny one with wacky tobacco — although I do not judge — a nice Peterson in a beautiful burl burning some Borkum Riff).

        It was a good excuse to slow down and relax. Your experiences and other readers’ success with this technique just told me that if I kept at it, it would work.

        Thanks again!

        Michael

    • Reb Says:

      Gotta love it when a good plan comes together!

  • Michael Says:

    B.B.,

    Actually, shooting that Walther Lever Action, which uses Umarex’ long proven, 8-round, metal, revolving magazine, along with sending about 10 or so BBs from my Crosman M1 Carbine into an empty oatmeal cardboard “can” in the backyard got me daydreaming about that Umarex pellet-shooting, all metal and wood, M1 with a true-to-life set of sights. THAT would be a true “Legend” in the making!

    And if they do it, I hope it isn’t blowback. If it IS blow-back; however, heck, I’ll get one anyway. :^)

    Michael

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    I just wanted to make a comment about the gauges reading different.

    That is a good point. I have 3 Marauder rifles. And if I fill all 3 guns to 3000 psi on the gauge from my Benjamin buddy bottle each one of the Marauders gauges read different readings. One gun is 2900 psi. the other gun is around 3100 psi and the other is almost 3300 psi on the gauge readings.

    And then that makes me think of something else. I wonder if there is variation in the way the air valve in the tanks perform kind of like how the gauges act. Maybe that’s why it seems that the Escape SS likes the higher fill pressure.

    I guess the only way to know that would be to try a different air tank on the gun. Maybe one from the other Escape rifles. Or it could just be the barrel length that is making some difference like BB said.

  • duskwight Says:

    B.B.

    Finally – I can report on shooting sub-16J airgun at 100 m.

    The speed was set to 700 fps with JSB RS pellet and there was no felt wind. I put some flags made of videotape along the range and A3 size sheet of paper as a target.
    First 5-6 shots were miserable at best – I could not hit the paper. I fumbled the correct elevation by 12 or 14th shot and it looked like shooting mortar. POI at 50m is .2m lower than at 25 m. At 100 m it goes down more – I had to aim almost 1m above by lower dots to start hitting it. Even the slightest wind that only starts to move the tape flags kicks the pellet off target.
    Judging by marks on the paper, pellet looses enough speed to start to tumble – hit marks were oval. Even despite the fact that JSBs are very precise-made, slightest deviations in weight seemed to creep out – hit marks were definitely horizontal. There’s no talking about groups this time – there were none :)

    duskwight

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      duskwight,

      Still, you are trying to shoot a low-energy air rifle at 100 meters! Not many people who aren’t liars have ever done that!

      What a learning curve you will have!

      Thanks for the update,

      B.B.

      • duskwight Says:

        B.B.

        Well, B.B., I’d rather call this “throwing pellets targetwards” than “shooting” :)
        I feel that low power is has its max at 50 m indoors – after that air friction drops the speed too much and pellet becomes unstable.

        duskwight

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          duskwight,

          Thanks for saying that, because after shooting a scoped FWB 300 at 50 yards (less than 50m), I was of the same opinion. Ten-meter airguns are accurate at 10 meters, but they certainly aren’t long range guns.

          B.B.

          • duskwight Says:

            B.B.

            My experience with 300S stops at 25 m :) Mine shoots 634 fps with JSB RS and something near that with Geko Match and no one can ask for more. I wonder if somebody could calculate the critical speed where pellet definitely goes off trajectory and using that data build a tablet of max disciplines available for certain non-hotrodded models.

            duskwight

          • Reb Says:

            B.B. while Ya’ll got me thinking about this again, what decent and inexpensive MDAO scope(doesn’t have to be high power) would you recommend for such sniping with my 953? How about my Rem.Airmaster?
            Anybody else?

            Reb

    • Matt61 Says:

      Don’t forget the YouTube video of the guy breaking bottles with an Air Arms S410 at 230 yards… Still I think even B.B. shooting into the wind at 50 yards is pushing it and compromising those groups a little bit.

      Matt61

      • duskwight Says:

        Matt,

        I shot bottles at 100 m with my mod-CFX from prone. Nothing too difficult, not too easy either. It’s all about the energy that you start with.

        duskwight

    • RidgeRunner Says:

      Way to go! I love shooting “long range” with 10 meter rifles. When I had my FWB 601, I mounted a scope on it and shot 50 yards with it. You could watch the pellets arc downrange.

      Right now I have an Edge and two FWB 300S’s. One of them is going to end up as a mini sniper. I just have to figure out which one. I am kind of leaning toward the Edge, but those triggers on the 300′s are so sweet.

    • Gunfun1 Says:

      Sounds like fun to me. :)

    • Kansas Heat Says:

      Wow, the comment about video tape made me smile. When my daughters Mary Poppins VCR tape got jammed in my VCR, I dumped my last VCR player. I’ve been using the tape out of that Mary Poppins movie for the last 3 years as my wind socks. My girlfriend thinks I’m crazy, but my Dad would be proud of my frugality!

  • John Says:

    Accuracy looks good enough for basic survival work. I do like airforce guns a lot. These are on my most wanted list. But not today.

  • 103David Says:

    So here’s the obvious question few, if any, have dare asked. Referencing Reb’s self-inflicted bodily depredations, and in consideration of the positive benefits of Pengun Oil, has anyone considered a Pengun Oil IV application for Reb?
    It sounds as if it may not only knit ribs, but repair leaky heart valves, squeeky knee and hip joints and allow a daily Gin & Tonic.
    Properly applied, allowing only the last may be all that’s necessary:)

    • 103David Says:

      Sorry, meant to say not “Pengun” but rather “Pellgun.”
      Just goes to show,” too early in the morning,” coupled with “unsupervised spellcheck,” and trying to get a smile from Reb may not always work out the way one thinks.

      • Reb Says:

        Well, You got one :) !I gave up the sauce sometime back. Just kinda lost the desire for it somewhere along the way into this. gotta get used to these meds right now. Sometimes it feels like I’m on the short end of a six pack as it is

        Reb

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