Pellets

BSA Airsporter Stutzen: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSA Airsporter Stutzen
BSA Airsporter Stutzen was the final version of the Airsporter with a tap.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

• Why I wanted to test the Airsporter
• Interesting adjustable sights — front and rear
• Accuracy at 10 meters
• Webley Flying Scot High Velocity Twin Ring pellets
• RWS Superpoint pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• Accuracy at 25 yards
• Webley Flying Scot High Velocity Twin Ring pellets
• RWS Superpoint pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• RWS Superdome pellets
• Overall evaluation

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the BSA Airsporter Stutzen, and I’m going to shoot it at both 10 meters and 25 yards. I’ll be using only open sights because this rifle is such a classic that I feel a scope would spoil the look. I could also mount the Tech Force TF90 dot sight, but I have other plans for that one.

Why I wanted to test the Airsporter
If you’ve read this blog carefully, you know why the BSA Airsporter fascinates me so much. It’s the air rifle that spawned a number of very famous and very nice underlever such as the Falke models 80 and 90 and the Hakim that served as a training rifle for the Egyptian army in the 1950s. I have a real thing for Hakims, and you also know that I have done a lot with the Falke 90 that fell into my lap a few years back. In fact, I’ve written two separate reports on the Falke 90. In the first one, Vince fixed the rifle for me and my friend Mac tested it for me.

And the Hakim is an air rifle I cannot seem to ignore. I’ve owned more than 15 of them over the years, and the one I have now and am testing for you is a real beauty! In fact, there will be a Part 5 accuracy test for that rifle coming very soon.

Both these fine rifles had convinced me that I needed to get a BSA Airsporter. When this like-new Stutzen came along at a gun show last month, I snapped it up. I had experience in the 1990s with a Gamo Stutzen that wasn’t a smooth-shooting airgun, so that had me prepared not to like this one; but in Part 2, I discovered that this taploading rifle is nothing like the Gamo that has the rotary breech. This gun is very smooth, has a crisp trigger and shot faster than many people predicted.

But there was one drawback. Unlike the Falke 90 and especially the Hakims I’e shot, this Airsporter’s cocking linkage is pivoted farther back on the action. Even though the cocking effort is only 29 lbs., it feels more like 40. Also, unlike the Hakims, the tap on this Airsporter doesn’t open as the rifle is cocked.

Interesting adjustable sights — front and rear
I decided to begin at 10 meters. That way, I was more certain of being on paper with the open sights. The front sight blade seemed to be very tall — so tall, in fact, that it almost touched the hood that’s over it. That didn’t seem right; and when I began shooting, it proved not to be.

The rear sight does adjust for both windage and elevation, but the elevation adjustments are small. So, I looked at the front sight and thought the post might also adjust up and down. I removed the one slotted screw that holds the front ramp to the barrel and the entire assembly came off the rifle. It was then that my suspicions were confirmed. Indeed — the front sight on the Airsporter Stutzen does go up and down.

BSA Airsporter Stutzen front sight hood off
The front sight with the hood off. I’ve already lowered the blade here.

BSA Airsporter Stutzen front sight underside
This is the underside of the hollow aluminum front sight ramp. The sight blade is seen from underneath.

BSA Airsporter Stutzen front sight ratchet steps
This closeup of the front sight post shows the ratchet steps that lock the post in position when the attaching screw is snugged down.

Front sights have to move in the direction opposite of how you want the pellet to move on the target. Since my rifle was shooting very low at 10 meters, I pushed the front post down to about half its former height. As you will see, that was about right for 10 meters!

Accuracy at 10 meters
I like to begin shooting at 10 meters if I’m not sure where the gun will be shooting, and this time that was a good choice. The rifle struck the targets several inches below the aim point before I adjusted the blade. I was using a 6 o’clock hold on a 50-foot smallbore bullseye as my sight picture.

Webley Flying Scot High Velocity Twin Ring pellets
First up were some Webley Flying Scot domed pellets that are no longer available. I selected them because their skirts are large and thin, which a taploader likes. Ten pellets went into a 0.753-inch group that was centered on target, but isn’t as small as I would have liked. I knew this wasn’t a premium pellet, but because it was a good size for the gun I tested it anyway.

BSA Airsporter Stutzen Flying Scot group 10 meters
Ten Webley Flying Scot pellets made this 0.753-inch group at 10 meters.

RWS Superpoint pellets
Next, I tried the RWS Superpoints that I thought would do the best in this rifle. They’ve always done well for me in other taploaders, although most of them I’ve tried were .22 caliber. I don’t have as much experience with this pellet in .177.

Ten Superpoints made a group that measures 0.963 inches at 10 meters. The group is nice and round and also well-centered in the bull, but one pellet is apart from a 9-shot main group that measures a much smaller 0.62 inches. I think Superpoints show potential, but we’ll wait to see what they do at 25 yards.

BSA Airsporter Stutzen Superpoint group 10 meters
Ten RWS Superpoints went into 0.963 inches at 10 meters, but 9 of them are in a much smaller 0.62-inch cluster.

RWS Hobby pellets
The last pellet I tested at 10 meters was the RWS Hobby. Hobbys have a wide, thin skirt that this taploader needs, plus they’re light enough to give the rifle some zip. This time, 10 Hobbys went into a group that measures 0.48 inches between centers. That is more like what I was hoping for!

BSA Airsporter Stutzen Hobby group 10 meters
Hobbys were the winner at 10 meters. Ten went into 0.48 inches.

Accuracy at 25 Yards
After seeing the performance at 10 meters, it was time to back up to 25 yards and try again. The same pellets were used, plus I added one additional pellet that a reader had suggested. I left the sight settings where they were, so you can see how the point of impact changes as the range increases.

At 25 yards, the targets I used at 10 meters were too small to see, so I switched to 10-meter pistol targets. Their bulls are roughly twice the size of the bulls I shot at 10 meters.

Webley Flying Scot High Velocity Twin Ring pellets
The first pellet tested was the Webley Flying Scot that had done poorest at 10 meters. They remained centered on the bull, but the center of the group is perhaps a little higher. It’s hard to tell because they scattered a lot at 25 yards. Ten pellets went into a group that measures 2.602 inches between centers.

BSA Airsporter Stutzen Flying Scot group 25 yards
At 25 yards, Webley Flying Scot pellets blew up into this 2.602-inch group. All you can say is that it’s centered on the bull.

RWS Superpoint pellets
Next up were the RWS Superpoints. They were centered at 10 meters but landed very high and slightly right at 25 yards. Ten went into a group that measures 1.603 inches between centers.

BSA Airsporter Stutzen Superpoint group 25 yards
This 25-yard group of 10 Superpoints looks promising except for the strays that went high and low. It measures 1.603 inches between centers.

RWS Hobby pellets
Next, I tried the RWS Hobby pellets that did the best at 10 meters. They also landed high and right at 25 yards in a group that measures 1.918 inches between centers.

BSA Airsporter Stutzen Hobby group 25 yards
Hobbys opened up at 25 yards, as wadcutters will do. Ten went into 1.918 inches.

RWS Superdome pellets
The last pellet I tried was the RWS Superdome. One reader had suggested that it might do well in the Stutzen, so I gave it a chance. Superdomes landed low and to the right on the target. Ten went into a group that measures 1.917 inches center-to-center. That puts them behind the Superpoints and about even with the Hobbys ay 25 yards.

BSA Airsporter Stutzen Superdome group 25 yards

Ten RWS Superdomes went into 1.917 inches at 25 yards, but nine of them hung together.

Overall evaluation
I’m glad I got the chance to test a BSA Airsporter because it answered many questions I’ve had for years. First, the cocking linkage is not as well-placed as the linkage on a Hakim, so the rifle feels harder to cock. Next, the firing behavior is quick and without vibration. The trigger is two-stage and very crisp. Even though it isn’t adjustable, I could get used to it.

I think this rifle would group much tighter if it were scoped. The Superpoint and Superdome groups lead me to think it might put 10 into a half-inch or so at 25 yards.

Finally, I have to say this Airsporter Stutzen is one of the handsomest air rifles I’ve ever seen. It holds and shoulders like a thoroughbred. I can now see why the Airsporter has so many ardent admirers.

Crosman 2240 conversion to air: Part 3

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

Crosman 2240 conversion to air: Part 1
Crosman 2240 conversion to air: Part 2
R.A.I. Adjustable AR Adapter for Crosman 2240 pistols: Part 1
R.A.I. Adjustable AR Adapter for Crosman 2240 pistols: Part 2

WARNING: This conversion changes the operation of the pistol to use air at up to three times the pressure it was designed for. The parts that are installed are strong, but there are other parts in the gun that aren’t changed and could fail when subjected to the higher pressures. Pyramyd Air advises anyone making such a conversion to exercise extreme caution.

Crosman 2240 air conversion long barrel
The steel breech and longer barrel increase the 2240′s length dramatically.

This report covers:

• Installation of a steel breech and longer barrel
• Easy steps
• First velocity test
• Crosman Premier pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• RWS Superdome pellets
• What have we learned?
• Replace the striker spring with a heavier spring
• Crosman Premier pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• RWS Superdome pellets
• Evaluation to this point

This is the third look at converting a Crosman 2240 CO2 pistol to run on high-pressure air. In the last report, we saw how the conversion works with the factory barrel and factory striker spring. Today I will install a longer barrel with a steel breech and see what that does. Then I will add a stronger striker spring and see what that does.

Installation of a steel breech and longer barrel
Installing a Crosman steel breech and a Crosman 14.50-inch barrel on the 2240 pistol took all of 10 minutes. Four screws were removed, and both the plastic breech and barrel came off. After the detailed disassembly you saw in Part 1 of this report, this modification was a walk in the park.

Easy steps
The new breech was made by Crosman and sold by Pyramyd Air for $38, plus shipping. The barrel was also made by Crosman, and I bought it off eBay for $37 plus shipping. Together, these two parts have added about $85 to the cost of the gun, on top of the $65 for the air conversion that was given to me by Rick Eutsler. That’s an additional $150 I’ve put into this gun. And I’m not counting the adjustable stock and adapter that turns this pistol into a carbine. I’m not complaining about the cost, but don’t let anyone say this is a cheaper route than buying a Benjamin Discovery outright. What you get with this conversion is the time you need to make the investment. You can do this in easy steps.

First velocity test
I left the factory striker spring in place for this first test and pressurized the pistol to 2000 psi. Then, I shot the same 3 pellets I’ve been testing all along:

14.3-grain Crosman Premier pellets
11.9-grain RWS Hobby pellets
14.5-grain RWS Superdome pellets

Below are the velocities on CO2 for the factory gun; then the velocities for the factory gun with the high-pressure air conversion; and finally the velocities for the gun with the steel breech, longer barrel and factory spring — all operating at 2000 psi.

Crosman Premier pellets
CO2 avg…………..Air in factory gun average…………..Air in long barrel average
448 f.p.s…………………..486 f.p.s………………………………………517 f.p.s.

I got 15 shots with this pellet and the longer barrel. They ranged from 504 f.p.s. to 524 f.p.s.

RWS Hobby pellets
CO2 avg…………..Air in factory gun average…………..Air in long barrel average
482 f.p.s…………………..526 f.p.s………………………………………564 f.p.s.

This pellet gave me 18 shots from a 2000 psi fill with the longer barrel. They ranged from a low of 548 f.p.s. to a high of 573 f.p.s.

RWS Superdome pellets
CO2 avg…………..Air in factory gun average…………..Air in long barrel average
455 f.p.s…………………..483 f.p.s………………………………………525 f.p.s.

Superdomes gave 14 shots on a 2000 psi fill. With the longer barrel, the low was 516 f.p.s. and the high was 534 f.p.s.

What have we learned?
Obviously, the pistol shoots faster with the longer barrel and no other changes. Adding the steel breech does strengthen the rear of the barrel, but it doesn’t add anything to velocity.

All 3 shot strings posted above started out slow and increased as the shots were fired. So, the pressure curve is about ideal when the fill is at 2000 psi.

The velocity increase from CO2 in the standard pistol to high-pressure air in the longer barrel is very significant. But by leaving the factory striker (hammer) spring in the gun, we’re not getting all this conversion has to offer.

Replace the striker spring with a heavier spring
The kit Rick Eutsler sent me contained two striker springs — both of which are stronger than the factory spring. I removed the factory spring and installed the spring that was the weakest of the two, though stronger than the factory spring. I wanted to keep the fill pressure at 2000 psi, and the strongest spring would not be the way to do that.

I filled the gun to 2000 psi and proceeded to shoot Crosman Premiers. Here are the first 8 shots.

581
577
576
575
578
576
570
568

The velocity dropped with almost every shot. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but the trend is generally down. What this means is that the new spring is too strong for the fill pressure of 2000 psi. The pistol wants to start at a higher pressure with this spring.

I decided to fill the gun to 2250 psi. This is above the maximum I wanted to use, but it illustrates the relationship I just mentioned and is worth a look. Let’s look at the velocities at this pressure.

Crosman Premier pellets
588 f.p.s. average, low 582 f.p.s., high 594 f.p.s.

Compare the above to the average velocity with the factory striker spring and longer barrel, which was 517 f.p.s. This is a huge increase of 71 f.p.s. The stronger striker spring gives more of a boost than the longer barrel by itself. But — and understand this — without the longer barrel, the stronger spring would only waste more air. This is a modification that requires all the components to work together. You can’t just pick one item and be done with it.

RWS Hobby pellets
640 f.p.s. average, 632 f.p.s. low, 646 f.p.s. high

The remarks are the same for Hobbys as they are for the Premiers.

RWS Superdome pellets
590 f.p.s. average, 580 f.p.s. low, 596 f.p.s. high

Same remarks apply to this pellet as to the others.

All three pellets gave me maximum shot strings of 10 shots when set up this way. Obviously, more air is being used and the volume of the reservoir has remained the same.

Evaluation to this point
We’ve taken this Crosman 2240 pistol from one power on CO2 to a much higher power with high-pressure air, a longer barrel, a stronger spring and a steel breech. These modifications cost a total of $150 over the cost of the initial pistol ($60). Is it worth it?

The answer will depend on who’s talking. Some shooters enjoy putting their hands on the parts of their airguns and making their own creations. Others look at the total investment and just want something that shoots well for the least amount of money. This 2240 modification is not for the latter group, because we still have to add a $60 RAI adapter and a $60 UTG Adjustable Stock. That brings the cost of the gun we’re modifying to a total of $330.

The next step is to try this modification for accuracy. For that, I’ll attach the adapter and stock, again. I think it has to be tested to at least 25 yards with a scoped gun.

Ruger Air Hawk combo: Part 3

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

This report covers:

• Ruger Air Hawk velocity retest
• RWS Hobby pellets
• JSB Exact Heavy pellets
• RWS HyperMAX pellets
• New Arlington field target club
• Beautiful course!

Ruger Airhawk Combo

Ruger Air Hawk combo

Parts 1 and 2

Ruger Air Hawk velocity retest
I hadn’t planned to do this test, but the velocity numbers in the previous blog post were so far off expectations that I felt compelled to try it, again. I was curious about the poor velocity performance of the Ruger Air Hawk combo. Someone suggested the breech seal might be too low and others agreed, so I shimmed the seal. It appears to be ever so slight higher now, but the velocity is definitely higher.

Ruger Air Hawi Combo breech seal before shim
Before the shim the breech seal was low and flat.

Ruger Air Hawi Combo breech seal after shim

The shim raised the breech seal slightly.

RWS Hobby pellets
In the first test, RWS Hobby pellets settled into a range of 750 to 810 f.p.s. I didn’t give averages because the gun seemed to be detonating too much.

This time, the range went from 1014 to 1088 f.p.s. Two shots registered 649 and 761 f.p.s., respectively. My gut feeling is that the velocity has increased, but the rifle’s still detonating too much to know anything for sure.

JSB Exact Heavy pellets
The second pellet was the JSB Exact Heavy that weighs 10.34 grains. In the last test, these ranged between 534 and 757 f.p.s. In this test they ranged between 572 and 893 f.p.s., with all but two shots above 623 f.p.s. There’s a definite velocity increase this time; but, again, I can’t be precise.

RWS HyperMAX pellets
The last pellet tested was the 5.2-grain RWS HyperMAX lead-free pellets. Previously, these ranged between 817 and 970 f.p.s. In this test, they ranged from 906 to 1203, with only one not going above 1180 f.p.s.

I think it’s clear that the breech seal was too low during the first test. Raising it with a shim did boost velocity, though the gun is still burning too much oil to tell for sure how much velocity has been gained. When it stabilizes, we’ll have a better idea – but it does seem the gun is on the numbers now.

My next test will be for accuracy at 10 meters, using the open sights.

And, now, for something completely different!

New Arlington field target club
We have a new field target club in North Central Texas. The Arlington Sportsman’s Club has started a field target club, which held their second trial match last Saturday on 10 of the club’s 35 3D archery lanes. These lanes are carved into a wooded section of the club’s property and are ideal for field target matches.

This is the second FT match I’ve attended in the past few years, and I have to comment that the sport is now more popular than ever! When I competed in the 1990s, field target was run by a rigid set of rules that put older and less mobile shooters at a disadvantage. And there were some clubs that enforced offhand-only shooting to the extent that the sport just wasn’t attractive to many shooters.

Today, I see relaxed rules that allow seating and bipods for the rifles, changing everything! The shooter doesn’t have to get into a seated position on the ground and hold the rifle so nothing touches the ground. Now, it’s fun! And I can tell that the shooters are 10-20 years older than they were when I competed in the 1990s. That still puts them at my age — only, now, they’re having fun.

Beautiful course!
The Arlington match director, Chris Simmons, showed me around the course, which was the finest FT course I’ve ever visited. Of course, having those lanes premade by the 3D archers made all the difference.

match directors briefing
The match director’s briefing started early, so the match started right on time.

Chris allowed one point for every target that fell, which is the common way of scoring a match. The Pecan Plantation club I visited some months back allowed 2 points for a target fall and one point for just hitting the target. Either way works fine, but seeing the target fall is what the sport’s all about.

Chris left all the kill-zone reducers off for this match, so every kill zone was 1.5 inches. In the future, that will change. I know these targets seemed easier to kill, but when they have half-inch kill zones and are 25 yards distant, that will change.

target
The kill-zone reducers were left off all targets for this match.

tower
The match used archery facilities like this tower, which was designated for offhand shots, only. We never had features like this when I was a match director!

You might think that because this is a startup club all the shooters were duffers, but that was not the case. I saw many shooters who obviously knew exactly what they were doing. One man was shooting a Whiscombe JW 70, which is rare at any FT match. And another shot an Air Arms Pro-Sport he received only the night before the match. He got zeroed before the match started and did very well shooting from the offhand position.

Whiscombe
Here is a Whiscombe JW 70! How many of these have you seen?

The shooters from the Dallas FT club weren’t able to make this match because they were working on a new venue for their club on the same day. But they’ll attend matches in the future. And I think I may blow the dead bees out of my Air Arms TX200 and shoot a few matches, myself. It’s been over 15 years since I competed; but the way things are run today, this looks like fun!

Hatsan AT44-10 Long QE: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Hatsan AT44S-10 Long QE
Hatsan’s AT44S-10 Long QE is packed with features for airgun hunters.

This report covers:

• Inconsistent shots?
• Most accurate pellet?
• 100 yards means scope adjustments
• JSB Exact Jumbo heavy pellets
• Crosman Premier pellets
• H&N Baracuda Green pellets
• Gamo Hunter pellets
• Call it a day
• Conclusions
• Pyramyd Air sale

Today is a test of the Hatsan AT44-10 Long QE at 100 yards. I don’t do this very often for many reasons; but when I find a PCP that’s exceptionally accurate at 50 yards, I feel it’s worth testing at the greater distance. It takes a perfect day for this test because any wind will push the pellet around. We don’t get many windless days here in Texas, but this past Wednesday was one of them. It was so calm that dandelion fuzz would fall straight down.

You also know from reading this blog that groups do not always open in linear fashion as the distance increases. A rifle that shoots a half-inch group at 50 yards will not automatically shoot one-inch groups at 100 yards — even though the day is perfect.

Inconsistent shots?
While testing this rifle, I’d seen that the first 10 shots could be less accurate than the second 10. They sometimes contained fliers that didn’t seem to exist in the second group. Yesterday, blog reader Jerry in Texas asked me why one shot out of 10 from his Benjamin Marauder was dropping in velocity by over 250 f.p.s. I told him I thought some PCP guns do that in certain places in the power curve. I saw evidence of that on the 50-yard range and again at 100 yards, as I’ll show you.

Most accurate pellet?
I also hedged my bets by taking several pellets to the range that hadn’t been tested in this rifle before. I was getting such great performance at 50 yards from one pellet in particular — the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy — that I sort of stopped testing other pellets. That’s not very scientific of me, though it’s very much in keeping with being a gun crank. So, I took some other pellets along and gave them a try at 100 yards — even though they’d not been tried by me before in this rifle.

100 yards means scope adjustments
I knew the pellet would drop a lot going from 50 yards to where the rifle was sighted to 100 yards. I guesstimated the drop would be at least 12 inches, which would be 48 clicks on the quarter-minute elevation knob to bring things back up. But when I adjusted the scope, I stopped at 40 clicks because you never know if the clicks are exactly quarter-minute or if that’s just an approximation. As it turned out, both my guesstimate and the adjustments were close to correct, and I had to adjust the scope another 16 clicks up to get close to the point of aim.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets
The first pellet up was the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jubo Heavy that had given me a group of 10 in 0.522 inches at 50 yards. If any pellet was going to excel in this rifle at 100 yards, I felt this one had the best chance. Alas — the best-laid plans….

The best I was able to do with this pellet was 10 in about 3 inches. I shot the same pellet in both the first 10 shots and the second 10 shots per fill with pretty much similar results, except there was a flier in the first group. I’m not going to show you those groups because they don’t help the report and also because the first group fell below the target paper and hit the 2×4 backer paper I always use when I’m not sure where the pellets are going.

At this point, I decided to punt — as in testing something I hadn’t tried before. One reader had recommended trying the 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbo pellets, and I thought it was a good choice. It happens to be one of my favorite .22-caliber pellets, and I normally would have tested it at 50 yards; but when the heavier JSB did so well, I decided to just shoot it to the exclusion of all others.

I refilled the rifle with air and loaded 10 JSB Exact Jumbos into the circular clip. The first group was very telling. Nine out of 10 pellets landed in a 1.668-inch group, but the first shot hit about 4 inches above the top of this main group. Remember what I said about inconsistencies in the first 10 shots after a fill?

Hatsan AT44S-10 Long QE JSB Exact group 1 100 yards
Nine of the 10 JSB Exact pellets landed in this 1.688-inch group at 100 yards. The first shot was 4 inches higher. This is a very good group for any pellet rifle at 100 yards.

After that group, I refilled the clip and shot a second group with the same pellet. This time, all 10 went into 2.385 inches. I know that doesn’t sound very good, but I ask you to reserve your comments until you have shot some 10-shot groups of pellets at 100 yards. It isn’t easy! And guns that group in a half-inch at 50 yards do not necessarily group in one inch at 100 yards.

Look at the shapes of these holes. Many are oval in shape, which indicates they didn’t go through the paper straight-on.

Hatsan AT44S-10 Long QE JSB Exact group 2 100 yards
Here are 10 of the same JSB pellets in a 2.358-inch group. These oval holes show some evidence of a tilt on axis.

Crosman Premier pellets
One of the most accurate .22-caliber pellets is the domed Crosman Premier that comes in the brown cardboard box. Sometimes, they’re the most accurate, and other times they’re among the top 3. But in PCPs they don’t do as well — especially when the PCP is more powerful such as this Hatsan. And this was no exception to that rule, as Premiers couldn’t stay inside 6 inches at 100 yards. I didn’t even complete a group with them after seeing the first few shots land so far apart.

I’d planned on trying Eun Jin pellets, as well; but when I started loading them, I discovered that the tin I picked up were .25-caliber pellets.

H&N Baracuda Green pellets
The next pellet I tested was the H&N Baracuda Green. While lead-free pellets are not that accurate as a general rule, Baracuda Greens are an exception. In the Hatsan, they managed to put 10 shots into 5.25 inches, with 9 of those shots in 2.988 inches. That’s pretty good for lead-free pellets; and, yes, this was the first group of 10 after a fill.

Gamo Hunter pellets
The last pellet I tried was the Gamo Hunter. While I have very little experience with this pellet, I do recall it working well in one spring rifle years ago. But it was not suited to the Hatsan AT44. I didn’t see where the first Hunter struck the target; but I saw the second pellet’s flight through the scope, and it was a wild spiral curve to the right that landed a foot off the target! Clearly this rifle is not suited to shoot Gamo Hunters.

Call it a day
After this last attempt, I decided to call it a day. The shooting had worn me out by this time. I think it’s clear that of the pellets I’ve tested so far, the JSB Exact 15.89-grain Jumbo is the best. Out to 50 yards it may do no better than the heavier 18.1-grain JSB Jumbo Heavy, but something about this lighter pellet carries it to 100 yards in better form.

Conclusions
I believe the Hatsan AT44-10 Long QE is one of the finest PCP rifles on the market at any price. It has power, accuracy, a great trigger and very quiet operation –all for a wonderful price. If you’re in the market for a good PCP, I would put this one on your short list.

Pyramyd Air sale
Pyramyd Air is having a “Christmas in July” sale. If you’re planning to make a purchase, click here to visit their sale pages.

Gamo P900 IGT pellet pistol: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Gamo P900 IGT air pistol
Gamo P900 IGT air pistol

This report covers:

• Accuracy testing
• RWS Hobby pellets
• Trigger control
• Shot cycle
• Gamo Match pellets
• Gamo Raptor PBA pellets
• Air Arms Falcon pellets
• What’s the verdict?

Let’s look at the accuracy of the Gamo P900 IGT air pistol. Several of you have wondered if this is the air pistol you’ve been waiting for — today, we’ll see.

Accuracy testing
I shot the pistol off a rest at 10 meters. I rested my hands on a sandbag and held the pistol away from the bag with a two-hand hold. I used a 6 o’clock hold sight picture, which is more difficult to do with a bead fiberoptic front sight. But the target was brightly lit, and the firing point was in the dark; so, the fiberoptics did not illuminate, nor did the strange yellow rear sight blade cause any problems.

All pellets were deeply seated with the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Seater. You may remember that we discovered this pistol likes them seated deeply during the velocity test.

RWS Hobby pellets
The first pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby wadcutter that did so well in the velocity test. The first pellet landed to the left of the bull at about 7 o’clock, so I stopped looking and just shot the rest. Alas, when I was finished, the 10 shots had scattered over 1.724 inches. It looked more like a shotgun pattern than a group. Obviously, Hobbys are not the right pellet for this pistol.

Gamo P900 IGT air pistol Hobby group
Ten RWS Hobbys went into this 1.724-inch group at 10 meters. Despite being shot from a rest, this is not a good pellet for the pistol.

Trigger control
I find the trigger easy to operate. Stage 2 breaks relatively crisply and doesn’t take that much effort. As I said in Part 2, it’s a fine trigger.

Shot cycle
The P900 has a smooth shot cycle that’s quick and almost without vibration. It also doesn’t make much noise when it discharges. It just sits in your hand and pulses quietly with each shot. I know it has a gas spring, but it doesn’t have any of the usual drawbacks (hard cocking, stiff jolt upon firing, loud crack upon discharge, etc.) that I can see.

Gamo Match pellets
Next up were 10 Gamo Match wadcutters. Since this is a Gamo gun, I figured…why not? These pellets landed more in the center of the bull and also held a tighter group that measures 1.167 inches between centers. This is about what I expected the P900 to do.

Gamo P900 IGT air pistol Gamo Match group
Ten Gamo Match wadcutters went into this 1.167-inch group at 10 meters. This is more like it.

Gamo Raptor PBA pellets
Because I tried them in the velocity test, I figured I had to also try the Gamo Raptor PBA pellets for accuracy. I didn’t expect much, because I have seen Raptors do well only in one pistol so far — a smoothbore Marksman 1010. For some reason, they were better than any other pellet in that pistol when I tested it. But in the P900, they went into a group measuring 1.946 inches — the largest of this test.

Gamo P900 IGT air pistol Gamo Raptor group

Ten Gamo Raptor PBA pellets made this 1.946-inch group at 10 meters. This is the largest group of the test.

Air Arms Falcon
I thought I would give one more pellet a chance, so I tried the Air Arms Falcon dome. It’s light, at 7.3 grains, and it’s often among the most accurate pellets for a given gun. This time, they made the second-best 10-shot group, at 1.256 inches between centers. While that’s larger than I’d like to see, the pellets are nicely centered on the bull.

Gamo P900 IGT air pistol Falcon group

Ten Air Arms Falcon pellets went into this 1.256-inch group at 10 meters. It’s the second best group of the test and also nicely centered on the bull.

Of course, there’s no way to know if I’ve found the best pellets for the pistol without testing a lot of other brands. An owner would do that, of course.

What’s the verdict?
The P900 is a pleasant air pistol. It’s lightweight, holds well and has a nice trigger. The odd sights are easy to use, too. Take my results as typical; and if they satisfy you, this is a nice air pistol.

Ruger Air Hawk combo: Parts 1 and 2

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

Ruger Airhawk Combo

Ruger Air Hawk combo

This report covers:

• Why the Ruger Air Hawk?
• Impressions of the rifle
• Before the test
• RWS Hobby pellets
• JSB Exact Heavy 10.34-grain pellets
• Trigger-pull
• Firing behavior
• What to do now?

I’m testing the Ruger Air Hawk combo today, and I’m also starting something new. I’m combining Parts 1 and 2 into a single report. Part 1 has always been a general description of the item being tested, and Part 2 has been the velocity test. But you can follow the links embedded in the report to the Pyramyd Air product page and read the specs, so I don’t have to dwell on them very long. Just give you my impressions and then check velocity, cocking effort and trigger pull. If this works, I will do it this way from now on if the gun isn’t overly complex and if there’s nothing unique about it. If not, I’ll return to the conventional format. For that reason, I’m calling this both Parts 1 and 2.

Why the Ruger Air Hawk?
Most of you are aware that Ruger doesn’t make airguns. They have them made by others to their specifications. In today’s case, the Air Hawk is made in China. It’s imported and distributed by Umarex USA.

I chose to review the Air Hawk because many readers have asked me repeatedly to do so. At the time of this report, there are 114 customer reviews on the rifle and it’s rating is about 4.5 stars out of 5. That bodes well. I won’t read those reviews before I examine the rifle, just to keep my opinions honest.

The Air Hawk is a straightforward breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle. The one I’m testing is in .177 caliber, the only caliber they come in. Mine is serial number 00474874. It has a conventional coiled steel mainspring, a wood stock and blued steel finish. The fiberoptic sights are constructed mostly of plastic, though the rear sight does have some metal parts. And the rear sight is adjustable in both directions.

It has been said that this is a copy of the Diana 34. I do see the resemblance, but there are also differences. The trigger isn’t the same, nor is the cocking linkage.

So here we have a very traditional breakbarrel rifle. What’s the attraction? The price, I suppose. This combo that also includes a 4X32 scope retails for $130. What makes this Ruger Air Hawk such a bargain? One word: Power!

The Air Hawk is a 1,000 f.p.s. rifle — according to its manual, or a 1,200 f.p.s. gun if you believe what’s written on the box. One velocity is probably derived with lightweight lead pellets and the other with lead-free pellets. We shall see in a moment. The point is that velocity sells airguns these days. New shooters need to experience all they can with high-velocity spring guns before they’re willing to explore the rest of what’s available. And, with 4.5 stars from 114 customers, it sounds like the Air Hawk really delivers the goods. Again, we shall see.

Impressions of the rifle
The Air Hawk is heavier than I was expecting. It weighs a tad over 8 lbs. and feels stout in my hands. The stock proportions are generous without being oversized. This is a large air rifle. They rate the cocking effort at 30 lbs., and the test rifle cocks at 30 lbs. on the nose. I did have to try it several times before getting it down to 30 lbs., so there’s initial stiffness that has to be worn away; but that’s part of every break-in.

The finish of the wood and metal parts is smooth and even. The metal parts are matte black and the wood has a shine. The contouring of the wood is well done, although there’s no checkering. The comb is Monte Carlo-shaped, and there’s no raised cheekpiece. Since the automatic safety is located at the rear of the spring tube, this is a 100 percent ambidextrous rifle.

The cocking linkage is two-piece and articulated in the middle. The rear piece slides on a channel cut in the wood stock. Unlike many Chinese spring rifles, this Air Hawk sits centered perfectly in the stock, with no canting of the action! That’s a plus because it means there’s no rubbing of the cocking linkage parts against the wood.

The barrel detent is a ball bearing, similar to a Diana 34. I do have to slap the barrel slightly to break it open, so the ball is under a lot of spring tension. The base block that holds the barrel is held to the action forks by a bolt — meaning that barrel tension can be adjusted. That’s a huge plus in any breakbarrel.

The trigger blade is metal and very straight. I like the angle of the blade, as it suits my hand quite well. The trigger-pull adjusts for the length of the first stage, only. A screw in front of the trigger blade controls this.

My overall impression is that this is a well-designed air rifle. More importantly, someone is in the Chinese plant assuring adherence to quality standards.

Okay, you can get the rest of the specifications from the product listing I’ve linked to above. Now, I’m going to test the velocity and trigger-pull.

Before the test
I shot the rifle before the test and noted that the first 5 or 6 shots were detonations (loud bangs, like gunshots) with oil droplets coming out of the muzzle. So, the rifle is lubricated heavily at the factory. I shot the rifle several more times until the detonations  seemed to end.

RWS Hobby pellets
The first pellet tested was the RWS Hobby. I use the Hobby as my reality check with some airguns, because not only is it a pure lead pellet — it’s also often very accurate. I’m going to show the entire string here, for reasons I will explain.

Shot       Vel.
1…………1093
2………..1499
3………….789
4………….797
5………….766
6………….803
7………….810
8………….755
9………….769
10…………806
11…………750
12…………771

Pretty obvious what’s happening. The gun was detonating on the first 2 shots, then it sort of settled down for the next 10. I’m not going to give any averages here because I don’t believe the rifle has completely settled down yet.

People always ask me how I break in new airguns. Well, that depends on the gun. I thought I would show you with this one.

JSB Exact Heavy 10.34-grain pellets
Next up was the JSB Exact Heavy 10.34 grains pellet. If Hobbys are going in the 700s, then this pellet is too heavy for the powerplant; but when a gun is detonating, a heavier pellet will help burn off the excess oil. The rifle was still spewing out a cloud of oil mist with each shot.

Shot       Vel.
1………….659
2…………757
3…………665
4…………534
5…………553
6…………536
7…………550
8…………593
9…………555
10………..546
11………..631
12………..581
13………..559

As you can see, the gun is still burning off excess oil. That’s where those faster shots come from.

Another way to burn excess oil is to shoot a very light pellet. It makes the gun detonate, which is probably needed here. So, I switched to RWS HyperMAX lead-free pellets.

Shot       Vel.
1………….882
2…………970
3…………892
4…………904
5…………854
6…………835
7…………816
8…………877
9…………814
10………..799

The rifle is still burning oil, but it’s calmed down a lot by this point. I returned to Hobbys to see where things were.

Shot      Vel.
1…………630
2………..644
3………..677
4………..722
5………..720
6………..699
7………..706
8………..1080
9………..790
10……….1089

Okay, at this point I know the rifle is still detonating a bit and dieseling on every shot — as it’s supposed to. All spring guns that shoot over 600 f.p.s. diesel with each shot, according to the testing that was done in the 1970s by the Cardew father/son team.

Trigger-pull
The trigger adjusts for stage-one length of pull, only. This one feels good where it is, so I’m leaving it there. The trigger releases at 3 lbs., 6 oz. Stage 2 is fairly crisp. I think this will be an easy rifle to shoot.

Firing behavior
The Air Hawk I’m testing has a quick shot cycle with some recoil and some vibration. But during the few shots of this test, the rifle became easier to cock and the firing cycle smoothed out. So, I think this is a rifle that will improve with time. Also, I now note that the barrel no longer remains where it’s put after being cocked. So, the pivot joint needs to be tightened. I’ll do that before the next test, which will be an accuracy test using the open sights that come on the rifle.

What to do now?
This is where a lot of newer airgunners are stumped. If they have a chronograph, they may feel their rifle is broken or that they’ll hurt it by shooting it more. But the 98 percent of shooters who don’t own a chronograph will just keep right on shooting their airgun, which is what I plan to do.

Next comes the accuracy test. I’ll test the rifle at both 10 meters and 25 yards using the open sights, then I’ll mount the scope that came with it and test it again.

After I finish the accuracy testing, I’ll return and look at the velocity once more. I’m guessing the rifle will have settled down by then.

BSA Airsporter Stutzen: Part 2

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

BSA Airsporter Stutzen
BSA Airsporter Stutzen was the final version of the Airsporter with a tap.

Part 1

This report covers:

• Your interests
• Gamo: Yes or no?
• Get over it!
• Firing cycle
• Velocity with RWS Hobby pellets
• RWS Superpoint pellets
• Webley Flying Scott High Velocity Twin Ring pellets
• Cocking effort
• Trigger-pull
• Evaluation so far

We all learned about the BSA Airsporter in the last report, and I got some important feedback from readers. Apparently, these rifles have been sold at airgun shows right under my nose without my knowledge. The one thing that’s certain is that I’m not the only one who knows how nice this rifle is. Several of you know it and are smart enough to stay under the radar as you pick up these air rifles at airgun shows. I hope to see some of these at the Ft. Worth Airgun Show in September.

Your interests
There were several things the blog readers commented on in the first report. Several of you said you liked the stutzen styling, which is why I mentioned that stutzens are not specific to any one manufacturer. A couple folks noticed how this rifle resembles the Diana 430 Stutzen, and I agree they do look similar. But they aren’t alike at all. The Diana rifle has an entirely different powerplant design and cocking linkage; and even though it resembles this one, it isn’t the same or even that close.

The Diana 430 Stutzen has a sliding compression chamber, like the TX200 Mark III. You load the pellet directly into the breech of the barrel of that rifle. This BSA Airsporter Stutzen has a loading tap that accepts the pellet. When the gun fires, the air blast blows the pellet from the tap into the breech, and that results in some power loss when compared to a rifle that takes the pellet directly into the breech.

Power output was another topic you discussed a lot. Some of you hoped this rifle would make 12 foot-pounds, but a few readers guessed that it’s more of an 8 to 9 foot-pound airgun. Today is velocity day so we will see exactly what this particular rifle will do.

Gamo: Yes or no?
Then there was some discussion on whether or not this rifle was made by BSA in England or by Gamo in Spain after Gamo bought BSA. Here’s the answer: This rifle was made by the BSA company in Birmingham, England, before the company was sold to Gamo.

I related that I had tested a Gamo Stutzen with a rotary breech many years ago and didn’t care for it, and that kicked off a round of discussions. Fred_BR, our Brazilian reader, said he has a .22-caliber Gamo Stutzen with rotary breech that he loves. He found it difficult to understand what my objections were.

Some of you were angry that Gamo owns BSA and continues to build and sell spring rifles under that name, which I guess is similar to the Chinese owning Beeman and making and selling air rifles under that name. I understand that sentiment. When Umarex purchased Hämmerli and started to sell airguns made in China under that name, it really set me off. I’d always been a fan of the hand-built Hämmerli free pistols that cost thousands of dollars, and it just didn’t seem right to use that prestigious name to sell something inexpensive and mass-produced. When Crosman came out with a spring rifle they called the Benjamin Super Steak a few years ago, I went nuts! As far as I was concerned, the name Streak belonged to a Sheridan airgun.

Get over it!
But we just have to let it go. Brand changes are a fact of life and will always be with us. If they weren’t, there would be no such thing as Redline Levis jeans and Cleveland 335 Ford engines. The most we enthusiasts can do is identify those models that have the features we want and pursue them over the rest of the items bearing similar names but different specifications.

Shot cycle
That being said, I was prepared not to like this rifle when I got it. I remembered the harsh firing cycle of the Gamo Stutzen .177 rifle I tested for The Airgun Letter and expected this one to be the same. But it isn’t. Where the Gamo was harsh, this BSA is smooth. The first shot told me this is a completely different air rifle from what I’d expected.

Velocity with RWS Hobby pellets
The first pellet I tested was the lightweight RWS Hobby. Since this rifle is a taploader, you need pellets with wide skirts that are also thin so they can spread out and fill the tap chamber when the air blast hits them. A number of popular pellets I tested were 100 f.p.s. slower than expected because they were either too small for the tap or their skirts would not distort with the shot. But Hobbys are both larger in diameter and also have thin skirts. As far as pellet seating is concerned, it isn’t possible with a taploader. You just drop it in nose-first and you’re done. The pellet takes it from there.

Hobbys averaged 800 f.p.s. on the nose. The low was 795 f.p.s., and the high was 804 f.p.s., so the maximum spread was only 9 f.p.s. That’s an indication that the Hobby is a good pellet for this rifle. At the average velocity, Hobbys generate 9.95 foot-pounds at the muzzle, which is certainly on the high side of many of the guesstimates.

RWS Superpoint pellets
As I mentioned, I did try pellets from other makers, but they were all too slow –which indicates they aren’t sealing well in the tap. But I knew RWS Superpoints also have a thin skirt from my work with the Hakim, which is also a taploader, so I decided to give them a try. Superpoints weigh 8.2 grains in .177 caliber, so they aren’t the lightweights Hobbys are, but their thin skirts may compensate for that.

Superpoints averaged 766 f.p.s. in the Stutzen, with a low of 759 f.p.s. and a high of 770 f.p.s. The spread is only 11 f.p.s., which indicates this is also a good pellet for this rifle. The pellets that dropped 100 f.p.s. from what was expected also had large velocity spreads between individual shots, which shows how inconsistent they are in this rifle. At the average velocity, Superpoints generated 10.69 foot-pounds of muzzle energy — putting to rest the rumor that this is a weak spring-piston rifle. I believe the rifle I have is up to snuff and performing as well as can be expected.

Webley Flying Scot High Velocity Twin Ring pellets
Here’s a pellet most U.S. shooters don’t know. I know these are no longer being made in the UK; but since the usual pellets weren’t working, I decided to give them a try. The Flying Scot is a domed pure lead pellet that has a very thin skirt. They also stop about halfway down in the BSA loading tap, which makes them the largest of the 3 pellets I tested. The weight varies from 7.3 grains to 7.5 grains, but most of the pellets weighed 7.3 grains.

Webley Flying Scott pellets
Webley Flying Scot pellets are pure lead domes. They’re lightweight with thin skirts.

Webley Flying Scott tin
Flying Scot tin

Flying Scots averaged 775 f.p.s. in the BSA, with a low of 758 f.p.s. and a high of 791 f.p.s., with a spread of 33 f.p.s. — much greater than either of the other two pellets. This is an indication that this pellet is probably not a premium pellet and may not have good accuracy. But I’ll test it. At the average velocity, the Flying Scot produced 9.74 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Cocking effort
This rifle cocks with a maximum of 29 lbs. of effort. Most of the time the scale needle stays around 26 lbs., but it always does spike up to 29 lbs. early in every cocking stroke. It feels more like 40 lbs., though, because of where the cocking linkage pivot point is located.

Trigger-pull
The non-adjustable 2-stage trigger takes up with about 1 lb., 3 oz. for the first stage, then stage 2 releases at 4 lbs., 14 oz. The trigger shape and linkage is so perfectly placed that it feels like half that.

Evaluation so far
This BSA Stutzen rifle has surprised me at every turn. I expected not to like it, yet found it to be smooth-shooting with a light, crisp trigger. I expected lower power than I’m seeing in this test, so obviously this rifle can perform. I know BSA has a reputation for making great barrels, so I can’t wait to see how it does on targets. That’s next.

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?

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