by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Before we begin
- Very realistic!
- Why no pistol pacs?
- Texas Airgun Show
Before we begin
Just a word about the reports. A lot of them are backed up right now. The SHOT Show, the weather and then my eye operation tomorrow have combined to set me back on the schedule. I promise to attend to them when I can, but my sight has degraded to the point that it is challenging to just do all that I have to do. Shooting for accuracy takes me much longer than it ever did, and the weather hasn’t cooperated that much. But I have plans for this, and hopefully they will bear fruit.
One nice thing about the SHOT Show is it sometimes gives us immediate looks at new airguns. Today is such a time.
Today I start looking at the new Dan Wesson 4-inch pellet revolver from ASG. Many of you have been waiting for this after hearing of the success of the 8-inch pellet revolver. I wrote a three-part report on that one back in 2014. But today we begin looking at the 4-inch model of that same air pistol. And that is significant, because 4 inches is perhaps the most popular length for a magnum firearm revolver like the Dan Wesson. That’s because it’s easy to carry, yet accurate enough for those 100-yard-plus shots.
This is a heavy air pistol! It weighs 40 oz. with the shells in the cylinder but no CO2 cartridge installed. That’s very close to the weight of the .357 model. It feels substantial in the hand, which I think is a big selling point.
The realism of these pellet guns has to be experienced to be appreciated. The makers have gotten even the smallest details correct, so that now it will be difficult to pick the pellet revolver out of a pile of similar firearms. The Dan Wesson 715 firearm is back in production, by the way, and the image on their website looks exactly like the gun I am testing, except for the barrel length.
The grips are a pair of form-fitted rubberized scales. The left side removes to install the CO2 cartridge, and I found this one difficult to get off the first time, That’s a good thing, because it means the grips are tight on the gun! Inside the left grip panel is an Allen wrench for tightening the CO2 piercing screw. That detail is becoming common, but on this revolver the wrench is permanently attached and very convenient.
They call this a silver finish. It’s silvery, like chrome, which is very rare on a gun, rather than the more common nickel that has a gold cast to it. I normally don’t like silver handguns, but the sights on this one are black and have no reflection from the polished top of the silver barrel, so it will be easy to shoot. The finish is reasonably smooth and even over the entire surface of the gun, though in some places, like the exterior of the cylinder, you can see the machining marks.
The sights are a black ramp up front and an adjustable black rear notch. The sight picture is crisp and sharp, with both rear and front sights being very square. Target shooting should be a breeze with these sights.
The action is one of the main reasons to get a Dan Wesson revolver. The double action pull is light, short and crisp but it is the single action pull that made the gun! It rivals the best let-off that S&W ever produced, which is pretty remarkable for a factory pellet pistol. And, before I am asked, yes, this action does rival the S&W 586 pellet revolver. I always found Dan Wesson firearm revolvers to have a harder double action trigger pull than Smiths, but they were about equal single action. This pellet pistol, however, is just as good in both modes of fire.
The cylinder holds 6 brass cartridges that each contain one pellet. The pellet is loaded into the base of the cartridge where the primer would normally go. A plastic insert holds and guides the pellet forward into the barrel when the gun fires.
The rear of the barrel is spring-loaded and helps index the cylinder for alignment of the cartridge. This is a common feature with modern pellet revolvers, and from my testing it doesn’t seem to affect accuracy.
Why no pistol pacs?
When I reported on the 8-inch revolver several years ago I raised the idea of ASG making a pistol pac. Dan Wesson used to sell the 715 revolver in a case that came with 2, 4, 6 and 8-inch barrel lengths. The one different feature about the Dan Wesson revolver is it has interchangeable barrels that an owner can swap. Pristine examples of the pac now sell for in excess of $2,000. That’s up from about $1,500 about three years ago.
I asked Bob Li of Action Sport Games (ASG) at the SHOT Show why they don’t come out with a pistol pac and he said the fact the guns aren’t made of steel means they would eventually wear loose if their owners changed the barrels a lot of times. I can understand that, but I told him that maybe there was still something they could do — a take-off on the pistol pac theme. Maybe a case with the revolver and a belt buckle and cloth patch (the original pistol pac had them), a speedloader, 12 additional shells and a light or laser for the rail under the barrel? I think airgunners are just as conscious of the extras as firearms owners.
The velocity is listed as 344 f.p.s. That’s faster than the 8-inch gun I tested in 2014, but the 6-incher I tested last year was much faster — nearly 400 f.p.s. We shall have to see in Part 2. I do know I got better results from seating the pellets deep in each cartridge, so that may be the difference.
This is an exciting new pellet revolver. And there is also a test of the BB revolver, still to come.
Texas Airgun Show
Start planning for the 2017 Texas Airgun Show. It will be held on Saturday, August 26, at the Arlington Sportsman’s Club in Mansfield, Texas. Last year was the first year at the new venue, and the third year for the show. We are expecting a much larger show this year, as those who adopted a wait-and-see posture were disappointed that they missed it last year.
They haven’t updated their website yet, but the basics of the show (times, location etc.) should remain the same. I will let you know as soon as they get the information sorted.