Posts Tagged ‘BB guns’

Building the $100 precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 2

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

Part 1

$100 PCP
The PCP built on a Crosman 2100B chassis.

Today is Media Day at the range, and I will be shooting many of the new airguns that will be coming out this year, plus a lot of firearms — I hope. Tomorrow the 2014 SHOT Show starts, and there’s a special first-day report all set for you.

Let’s look at the performance of the $100 PCP that big bore airgun maker Dennis Quackenbush created on a Crosman 2100B chassis. I read some comments about the gun in Part 1. Before we get started, I need to address one of them. Some of you say you want a PCP that operates on 100 psi, so you can run it on your shop compressor. Gentlemen — such an airgun doesn’t exist and cannot exist as you envision it. That is simply not enough pressure to push a pellet to the kind of velocities we want. You can shoot t-shirts into the grandstands with that kind of pressure or perhaps run a pneumatic tube delivery system, but not a pellet gun.

I know that the airguns of old used lower pressure than we use today. They got amazing power from 500 to 800 psi. But they weren’t shooting smallbore caliber pellets. They were shooting .40 to .70 caliber round lead balls and they got them up to 450-600 f.p.s. They did that because the area of the projectile is much larger than a .177 pellet, and also because they used very long barrels (30-36 inches).

You can shoot tennis balls with shop air, but not pellets. I did report on a .25-caliber pellet rifle that worked with 800 psi air, but that’s a lot different than 125 psi air. You can’t pressurize air to 800 psi with a shop compressor. So, we’re going to have to confine our research to what is physically possible. I’m not trying to shut you down for thinking outside the box, but this is a very real physical constraint.

On with the test
Today, we’re looking at the velocity of this rifle with air for both pellets and BBs. Pellets are our principal concern, but I’ll test BBs, as well, since they can be used in this airgun.

Dennis told me what the performance curve looked like, but I’m going to approach this as if I know nothing about this gun. Where do I begin? Well, I may not know much about this particular PCP, but I’ve used enough other PCPs that I’m not completely in the dark. I filled the reservoir to 800 psi, as indicated on the gauge of my carbon fiber tank and then started loading Crosman Premier lite pellets and firing through the chronograph.

800 psi
1…..539
2…..509
3…..474
4…..441
5…..409
5…..361
Stop

Okay, the velocity dropped with every shot, so the valve is not on the power curve, yet. It wants to see more air pressure.

1,000 psi
1…..654
2…..634
3…..582
4…..556
5…..525
7…..483
8…..453
9…..417
10…384
11…345
Stop

Look at the velocity increase from just an additional 200 psi of pressure! That’s an indication that we’re quite far from the power curve. It took 5 shots before the rifle was shooting as slow as in the first string, so that extra 200 psi really added shots.

A word about the next part of the test is appropriate. The gauge on my tank doesn’t show even divisions of pressure as closely as I would like. Instead of adding another 200 psi, I found myself guessing that I added another 300 psi. If I had a more accurate gauge, I could do this with greater control; but it’s all going to turn out in the end. You’ll see.

1,300 psi
1…..722
2…..695
3…..659
4…..did not record (DNR)
5…..593
6…..550
7…..516
8…..488
9…..DNR
10…423
11…DNR
12…DNR
13…309
Stop

This was interesting because there wasn’t such a big increase over 1,000 psi as there had been when going from 800 to 1000, despite adding 300 psi rather than 200 psi. It took just 3 shots for the velocity to become equal to the 1,000 psi string (compare shot 3 from this string to the first shot of the previous string). The extra air pressure isn’t doing as much as it did before.

1,500 psi
1…..791
2…..765
3…..751
4…..DNR
5…..706
6…..677
7…..645
8…..605
9…..570
10…542
11…500
12…466
13…428
14…DNR
15…357
Stop

1,800 psi
1…..808
2…..796
3…..786
4…..763
5…..753
6…..721
7…..699
8…..661
9…..625
10…600
11…566
12…524
13…DNR
14…442
15…405
16…366
Stop

Okay, look at the first 5 shots in this string. See how little velocity they lose compared to the first shots in previous strings? That’s significant. It means the valve is beginning to operate more efficiently at this pressure level. Dennis told me that when he reached 1,800 psi, the rifle stabilized for him, as well. What we don’t know and cannot know for sure is what pressure either Dennis or I actually used because neither of us has a calibrated pressure gauge. We’re just guessing based on the inexpensive small gauges that come with all pressure tanks. But, whatever the exact numbers are, they’re pretty much in the same ballpark.

We have a PCP that operates at 1,800 psi — or so. But when I say “operate,” it isn’t really operating the way we want a PCP to operate. We want to see a nice string of shots that are fairly consistent — some a little higher and some a little lower, but a nice string where the velocity is stable. We don’t have that yet. What we have is a rifle that wants to operate at this fill pressure but probably needs a number of tweaks to get where we want it to be.

There’s one more thing to do. Dennis and I talked about this, and he said if there’s a weakness in this rifle, it’s at the threads where the air reservoir is threaded to the brass valve. While the reservoir is way overbuilt, those threads are a place where not too much more strain can be applied. Dennis feels that it will be safe to 2,000 psi but not much higher. I agreed with him on that, so I did one last test at 2,000 psi.

2,000 psi
1…..853
2…..833
3…..823
4…..825
5…..820
6…..809
7…..799
8…..780
9…..762
10…746
11…717
12…687
13…654
14…624
15…588
16…550
17…513
18…472
19…434
20…397
21…DNR
22…298
Stop

Okay, adding 200 extra psi increased velocity significantly, plus it also gave us a greater number of consistent shots. I would call the first 7 shots fairly consistent, and the velocity doesn’t really start to plummet until after shot 9. What this tells me is that the valve return spring is way off. It’s probably too heavy. And Dennis has already criticized the valve itself. It’s a poppet shape (looks like a top hat) instead of a valve with angled sides that mate with an angled valve seat.

Add to that an enlargement of the valve port (through which the air flows) that might help lower the operating pressure, and the new valve would handle the pressure better than this stock one that got pressed into service for which it wasn’t designed.

What about BBs?
Okay, I can’t end without giving you some BB velocities. Since the rifle works so well at an indicated 2,000 psi, I decided to skip all the early stuff and go straight to the string we’re all interested in.

For this test, I used Daisy Premium Grade BBs that I know from measurement are both the largest and also the most consistent steel BBs on the American market. Since steel BBs run 0.171 to 0.173 inches in diameter, they’re considerably smaller than .177-caliber lead pellets, no matter what their packages say. BBs are NOT 4.5mm!

2000 psi
1…..910
2…..900
3…..891
4…..871
5…..DNR
6…..856
7…..DNR
8…..DNR
9…..809
10….786
11….763
12….DNR
13….698
14….DNR
15….DNR
16….599
17….577
18….533
19….484
20….441
21….408
22….340
Stop

Like the pellets with a 2,000 psi fill, the first several shots with BBs are close to each other and after, perhaps, shot 6 or 7, the spread opens up. Of course, you have to realize that steel BBs going over 800 f.p.s. are extremely dangerous. Lead pellets start to disintegrate at velocities above 600 f.p.s.; and at 800 f.p.s., they almost vaporize when they hit a hard target such as metal. But BBs not only hold together, they absorb the energy of the impact and bounce back at nearly the same velocity. Believe me — you don’t want to be hit by one!

What have we learned?
So far, we know this rifle works but is not a fully functional precharged pneumatic because it does not shoot a string of shots at a steady velocity. However, that doesn’t stop us from proceeding with accuracy testing.

What’s been proven by this test is that the idea of a $100 precharged pneumatic rifle is completely plausible. The needed changes have been pointed out; but as we proceed further, no doubt, other things will be revealed. That’s the way of product development.

Remember this is a testbed — not a production rifle. Also remember the rifle that it was built from. We should expect accuracy to be similar to the Crosman 2100B, which is fully acceptable at this price point. And I’m going to select a string of shots whose velocities are relatively close to each other, so I probably won’t be shooting 10-shot groups.

I’ll need to do some things to the gun before starting the accuracy test, but I’ll tell you about those things in the next report.

Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol: Part 1

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

C96 BB pistol
Legends C96 BB pistol

Let’s cut to the chase. The title of this report says Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol, but Americans are going to call this a Broomhandle Mauser because of the shape of the pistol grip. The Legends part comes from the Umarex line of replica air pistols.

Before we continue, I want to express my concern about the Umarex lookalike airguns. I got a CO2 Colt M1911A1 pellet pistol when they first came out, and soon I had 4 different M1911/1911A1 firearms to go with it. Then the PPK/S BB pistol hit the market, and I got one of those. Not long after that, I added a .22 rimfire PPK/S to my firearms collection. Then came the Walther Lever Action rifle. Good, I thought. I’ll never buy the Winchester 30/30 1894 that it is patterned after. But I didn’t need to, because Edith did.

Then came the Magnum Research Desert Eagle pellet pistol. I knew I would never own the firearm version of that big hand cannon, but 2 years ago I got an IMI .357 Magnum Desert Eagle.

Of course there was the Makarov BB pistol that I used to train Crystal Ackley to shoot on American Airgunner. I say “train” advisedly; because after her first magazine, she was out-shooting me! That pistol spawned the purchase of both a 9mm Bulgarian Makarov, as well as the genuine Makarov firearm that the Russians at IZH turned into a BB pistol.

And just last year, Umarex came out with the Parabellum P08. I had already owned a junker Luger in the early 1970s, and I swore that I would never own another one. Well, my resolve being what it is, this past Christmas, Edith gifted me with a 1917 Erfurt P08 that is definitely not a junker!

And, now, I must confess that in my youth I’ve owned not 1 but 2 different low-grade Broomhandles. Both were in 7.63mm Mauser caliber, and neither one was particularly accurate. I reloaded for the last one, which might have been a large part of its problem. And here’s the Legends C96 Broomhandle! Lordy, I can’t afford to keep this up! I just hope they don’t bring out a Colt Walker next!

Is it a C96?
Technically, this pistol is not a C96. It is a copy of the M32/712 Schnellfeuer (German for rapid fire) pistol that has a selector switch on the left side of the gun for semi- and full-automatic operation, but it’s just a cast detail and is entirely non-functional. It also has a detachable magazine hanging down in front of the triggerguard, just like the 20-shot Schnellfeuer.

The C96 never had the detachable magazine or the selector switch. It has an internal 10-round magazine that’s loaded from the top of the gun through the ejection port with 10-round stripper clips. The bottom of the C96 magazine is flush with the bottom of the triggerguard. It’s true that the C96 magazine floorplate can be removed and a separate, detachable magazine can be installed, but these were never a popular option for the C96. I suppose only collectors and students of history will know the difference, so I’ll call this pistol the C96 from this point on.

The pistol
The Legends C96 is a 19-shot BB pistol powered by CO2. The CO2 cartridge and BB magazine are housed together in a single removable magazine unit that’s located in front of the triggerguard. Press a button on the right side of the receiver to release the mag.

There’s a lower magazine cover that hides the CO2 screw and the CO2 cartridge. This is something BB gun shooters are very sensitive about, so it was a necessary feature that completes the look of the gun.

C96 BB pistol magazine

The magazine has been removed, and the lower cover is off. You can see the selector switch in this photo.

When the CO2 cartridge is installed and the magazine is loaded, you might think the pistol would be muzzle-heavy like the firearm, but I don’t find that to be the case. This BB pistol is light enough that there’s very little muzzle heaviness. And it’s light because it’s made with a lot of synthetics. But this stuff is dense, strong and difficult to tell from metal. A matte finish makes it even more difficult to identify.

The pistol grip butt is slotted for a shoulder stock, just like the firearm. Those stocks are hollow wooden holsters with steel attachments that lock into the pistol at this point — forming a small carbine. However, since the gun is made of synthetic, I’m guessing a shoulder stock will not be an option since it would invite fractures at this slot.

C96 CO2 BB pistol grip slot
The pistol grip is slotted for a separate shoulder stock.

Not having a shoulder stock is not a great loss, though. I’ve fired the Broomhandle as a carbine and found it to be very inaccurate. Of course, that could just be the ammo I used, once again. But any pistol/carbine is a compromise, and none of them have a reputation for accuracy or even utility. It would be nice to have an authentic holster in which to carry the pistol, though.

Since the pistol is made to also be a carbine, the rear sight is an adjustable tangent leaf that adjusts up to 1,000 meters. The BB pistol has the same markings on its tangent sight leaf, though no shooter should ever expect to shoot a BB that far unless it’s downward from a high platform. But it does give you the option of elevation for close-range shooting. There’s no windage adjustment on this BB pistol or on the Mauser firearms.

C96 BB pistol tangent sight
The rear sight adjusts up and down for distance.

Blowback!
This pistol has true blowback! Just like the firearm, the bolt handle comes back with each shot and cocks the hammer, so every shot is single-action. You must cock the hammer for the first shot. Some writers have suggested this is not a blowback pistol, but I think they’re not familiar with the C96 Mauser action. It doesn’t have a conventional slide like many autoloading pistols. The bolt is what moves to cock the hammer; and on the firearm, it also ejects the spent cartridge and strips a fresh one from the top of the magazine.

So, the Legends C96 is a true semiautomatic CO2 pistol. The trigger-pull is light and crisp. Unfortunately, unlike the firearm, the bolt does not stay open after the last shot’s been fired, so it’s up to the shooter to know when the last BB has been fired. You can continue to pull the trigger without BBs if you like.

The barrel of the Mauser firearm is dovetailed to the frame and does move when the gun recoils. It’s how the designers delayed the opening of the bolt until after the high-pressure gasses were exhausted. It also allows the pistol to tolerate ammunition with a wider range of power. The BB pistol looks the same as the firearm, but that’s just the casting details. The barrel does not move.

C96 BB pistol barrel detail
The barrel appears to be dovetailed to the frame, but this is just a casting detail.

Although it has blowback, this BB pistol will not recoil like the firearm. A Broomhandle Mauser really snaps your hand back, despite being chambered for light cartridges like the 7.63 Mauser and the 9mm Luger. That’s because the bore is high above the grip, so the recoil has nothing to slow it down. I remember the recoil as one of the bad points of a Broomhandle.

Yes, the blowback of this BB pistol does give the shooter a sense that the gun has fired, but there’s no heavy snap to your wrist. Trust me, this is better!

The safety is identical to the Mauser firearm part and works the same way. I found it to be positive and much easier to apply than the firearm safety.

C96 BB pistol safety
The safety is rotated to the rear and the hammer is cocked, making the pistol ready to fire. You can see the selector switch clearly in this photo.

Summing up
When Herr Wonish of Umarex told me last February this pistol was coming, I told him I was eager to see it. Now it’s here, and I intend examining it thoroughly!

Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic
Crosman MK-177 is a multi-pump version of FN’s SCAR.

Today, we’ll begin testing the accuracy of the Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic. Because this rifle shoots both pellets and BBs, I’ll test both, but not at the same time and not in the same way. Today’s test of lead pellets was done at 10 meters, using the iron sights provided with the rifle.

I decided to use 5 pumps per shot for the entire test. That was both easy to do and was also pretty quick. According to the velocity test we did last time, Crosman Premier lites were averaging just over 500 f.p.s. on 5 pumps.

It took five shots to sight in the rifle. The first shot was 3 inches high and 2-1/2 inches to the right. Crosman supplies a sight adjustment tool with the MK-177, and I had to use both ends of it. One end is a flat-bladed screw driver that moved the rear sight to the left. The directions are printed on the sight, so there’s no confusion.

The front sight had to be raised because the rifle was shooting too high, so I unscrewed the front sight post several turns. Shot 2 was about three-eighths of an inch too high and three-eighths of an inch too far to the right. The hole was in the black bull, but it wasn’t centered. So, I made small adjustments to both the front and rear sights and fired again. This shot cut the 9-ring, which was close enough for me. I fired the other 2 shots, and they landed near the third shot. Sight-in was finished.

Crosman Premier lites
This is a Crosman rifle, so the first pellet I chose to test was the Crosman Premier lite. The first pellet hit the 10-ring of the bull, so I stopped looking through the spotting scope and just shot the gun. After the 10th shot, I looked at the target and saw a disappointing horizontal group that measured 1.173 inches between centers. None of the shots had been called as pulls (meaning the sights were off target when the gun fired), so this group surprised me.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic 10 meters Premier lites
Ten Crosman Premier lites made this 1.173-inch group at 10 meters with the Crosman MK-177 pneumatic. It is surprisingly wide for 10 meters.

Air Arms Falcons
Next to be tried were the Falcons from Air Arms. They’re domed pellets made by JSB and weigh 7.33 grains. Once, again, the first shot cut the 10-ring, and I never looked after that. This time, the group was much better, measuring 0.839 inches between centers. It’s also much rounder than the Premier lite group, leading me to think the rifle likes this pellet better.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic 10 meters Falcons
Ten Air Arms Falcons made this 0.839-inch group at 10 meters. This group is rounder than the first, which is a good sign.

The rifle’s behavior
At this point, I’ll comment on how the rifle performs. Shooting for accuracy I found the left-mounted cocking handle to be less of a problem than it had been when I tested the velocity. My procedure was to cock the bolt, advance the magazine, close the bolt, then pump the gun. This became a routine after a few shots, and it went surprisingly fast.

I rested the rifle on a sandbag for the shooting. Though it’s very light, the rifle was dead calm on the bag. The sights did not move one bit. And the MK-177′s trigger is so light and smooth that I found it very easy to shoot this way.

Pump effort identical to the 760
A reader asked me last time how this rifle compares to the 760 Pumpmaster in pumping effort. Silly me! I should have realized that the MK-177 is a 760 in another skin, but I tested my 40th Anniversary 760 just to make sure. The pumping effort is identical; or if there’s a small difference, the 760 is slightly harder because the MK-177 pump arm is a little longer.

RWS Hobbys
The next pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby. These fit the clip a little tighter, and I could feel some resistance when the bolt pushed them into the breech. Again, I checked the target after the first shot then never again until I was through. I noted that this pellet moved over to the left side of the bull with no change to the sights. There’s a lesson to remember!

Hobbys grouped very close to Falcons, with the difference being due to measuring error more than any real practical difference. Ten Hobbys went into 0.858 inche…again, the group is fairly round.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic 10 meters Hobby
Ten RWS Hobbys made this 0.858-inch group at 10 meters. This is so close to the Falcon group that it’s too close to call. Hobbys are wadcutters which cut cleaner holes, and may have lead to their group measuring slightly larger.

H&N Match Pistol
At this point, I was ready to declare the MK-177 to be an accurate multi-pump, but I had one more pellet on the table to test. And that one was the H&N Match Pistol pellet — another wadcutter. I’ve had remarkable results with H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets in some target rifles, but the straight Match Pistol pellet has never done better than average. Until this test!

Ten pellets went into a group that measures 1.239 inches between centers. No record there! But look at the tiny group that 9 of those 10 pellets made! It measures just 0.399 inches and is very round! Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner!

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic H&N Match Pistol
Ten H&N Match Pistol pellets went into a 1.239-inch group, but 9 of them went into 0.399 inches! I think this pellet might be the best one for this rifle.

From the results seen here, I think the MK-177 is a very accurate air rifle. It’s worthy of a 25-yard test with an optical sight. I’m thinking the red dot sight I’m using on the TX200 Mark III would be good for that. Before I do that, though, I’ll test the rifle with BBs at 25 feet.

So far, the MK-177 is a real winner! I enjoy the ease of use and the accuracy. If I didn’t already own a 760 and an M4-177, I would, perhaps, buy this one.

Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic: Part 2

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

Part 1

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic
Crosman MK-177 is a multi-pump version of FN’s SCAR.

Happy New Year! 2014 promises to be a wonderful year for airguns, and we all will have a lot to celebrate. Edith and I wish all of you a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Lots to cover today, so let’s begin. This is the day we test the velocity of the Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic.

First things first
There’s a storage compartment in the butt, but Crosman doesn’t tell you how to access it. The black rubber buttpad is just a rubber cover with a lip that goes into a channel on the buttstock. The cover comes off like a jar lid. Don’t try to pry it off with a knife or a screwdriver because you’ll mar the plastic. Instead, grab the whole buttpad sideways and roll it off the butt. It was too difficult to do with my hands at first, so I used a pair of channel-lock pliers and it rolled right off. After 3 times though, I could roll it off at will. Be careful not to crush the plastic buttstock when doing this.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic butt storeage
The rubber buttpad is made like a cover and has to be rolled off the butt.

Next, I was wrong when I said the bolt handle is okay on the left side of the gun. Because you have to manually advance the magazine, which is on the right side, having the bolt on the left does make cocking and loading the gun clumsy. However, if you look at where the BB magazine is located (on the right side) Crosman put the cocking handle on the left because they had to. This is something that I think could stand some attention.

Next, I told you the pump handle is hard to pull away from the gun. Several readers agreed with me, but one reader told me to shift my pumping hand so it wasn’t so close to the end of the pump handle. When I did that (held the pump handle in about the middle), the handle easily came away from the rifle and the problem was solved. It does come home with a very loud clack, though.

And, finally, I forgot to mention that when you shoot BBs you have to leave the pellet magazine installed. It doesn’t have to be advanced, but the bolt uses 1 of the 5 pellet slots as a guide to push the BB through when you load a BB.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic BB magazine
BBs have been put into the gravity-fed BB magazine and you can see them though the slots cut into the right side of the receiver. The pellet magazine must be installed (but not moved) to guide the BBs into the barrel.

Velocity with Crosman Premier lite pellets
The Crosman Premier lite pellet is a domed lead pellet weighing 7.9 grains. That makes it a medium-weight .177-caliber pellet. Instead of giving you averages for the various numbers of pump strokes, here’s a list of the velocities per pump stroke from 3 to 10 strokes.

Stroke…Velocity
3…………421
4…………473
5…………510
6…………543
7…………568
8…………585
9…………604
10………..621

After the final shot, I cocked the bolt and fired the gun. No air was exhausted.

Then, I shot 5 shots of Premier lites with 5 pumps each. The average was 499 f.p.s., and the range went from 491 to 503 f.p.s.

Crosman SSP pointed pellet
Next I shot the 4 grain lead-free Crosman SSP pellet. Again, I’ll give a string of velocities as the number of pump strokes increases.

Stroke…Velocity
3…………476
4…………553
5…………601
6…………656
7…………704
8…………723
9…………738
10……….751

After I fired the last shot, I cocked the bolt and fired the gun again. No air was exhausted. So, I did something that I don’t recommend, just to show what happens. I pumped the rifle 12 strokes and achieved a velocity of 762 f.p.s. with this lightweight pellet. Then, I cocked again and fired. No air was exhausted.

You can see that the velocity increases start to get smaller after 6 pump strokes. Those last few strokes (9 and 10) don’t really add a lot more velocity, making them hardly worth the extra effort.

Steel BBs
Next, I filled the BB magazine with Crosman Copperhead BBs and did the same test.

Stroke…Velocity
3…………476
4…………529
5…………569
6…………594
7…………619
8…………636
9…………651
10……….669

Following this test, I pumped the rifle 5 times for each of 5 shots and got an average velocity of 564 f.p.s. The low was 560, and the high was 567 f.p.s.

It seems obvious that BBs will go faster on fewer pump strokes; but when the number of strokes increases, the lead-free pellet goes even faster. It’s more than a full grain lighter; and, of course, it seals the bore better than the BB.

Trigger
The last thing I’ll comment on is the trigger. I said I thought it was a good one in Part 1. Well, that was confirmed in this test. Though it’s only single-stage and the pull is long, it’s free from creep and is light enough to be a delight. It fires with 2 lbs., 8 ozs. of pressure.

Overall evaluation
So far, I like the rifle a lot. It takes some getting used to — expecially that bolt handle location and finding the proper method of grasping the pump handle so it operates smoothly. I don’t like the loud clack when the pump handle comes home, but I bet a small piece of rubber padding could take care of that rather well.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol left
Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol

It’s accuracy day for the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol, and some of you have been eagerly awaiting this day! I decided to shoot 3 different BBs in the gun just to give you a general idea of how well it groups.

Because this is a BB gun, the shooting distance was 5 meters, which is 16 feet, 5 inches. I sat backwards on a chair, resting my forearms over the back, so the pistol was fairly steady. I selected a 10-meter rifle target for this session because the smaller bull seemed appropriate for the shorter distance.

I forgot!
After installing the CO2 cartridge and loading the first 10 BBs, I tried to shoot the target and the gun wouldn’t fire! What was wring? I knew this was a double-action-only trigger, and it should have worked. Right?

Wrong! This trigger is not DAO. It only feels like one! It’s really a single-action trigger that requires the hammer to be cocked before it’ll work. You can squeeze the trigger all day and nothing will happen until the hammer is cocked. So, with this little problem out of the way, the test could begin.

Crosman Copperhead BBs
First up were 10 Crosman Copperhead BBs. As I shot, I noted that the pistol was very steady in my rested hands. And the target shows that…I think. Ten Copperheads went into 1.521 inches at 5 meters. But note the 2 holes that are apart from the main group. Eight of those BBs made a group measuring 0.78 inches.

The farthest of the 2 holes that are apart from the main group — the one to the extreme right — was a called flier. My hand twitched to the left as the shot fired. The other one, though, was held just like all the rest.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Coppergead group
Ten shots in 1.521 inches, though the one at the right was a called flier. But look at the 8 that landed on the bull. They measure 0.78 inches between centers.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs
Next I tried 10 Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Like I mentioned in Part 1, they’re top-grade BBs that always deliver the goods. This time, 10 of them went into 1.114 inches. There were no called fliers, and the group is fairly well centered on the bull.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Daisy group
Ten Daisy Premium Grade BBs went into 1.114 inches at 5 meters. No fliers were called.

Umarex BBs
The last BB I tried was the Umarex precision BB — another top-grade BB. Ten of them grouped in 1.28 inches, with 9 going into 0.998 inches. There were no called fliers in this group, either.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Umarex group
Ten Umarex BBs went into 1.114 inches at 5 meters. No fliers were called.

Overall impressions
As I told you in Part 2, the trigger-pull on this pistol feels very much like a double-action pull. That’s one where the trigger first cocks the hammer before releasing it to fire the gun. It “stacks” or increases in effort significantly toward the end of the pull, like a vintage Colt double-action revolver. Once you learn how to use that, it helps with accuracy. The pistol is actually stabilized before firing.

This little Beretta is a fun BB gun, make no mistake. I found it trouble-free and easy to use. The sights are right on, and there are no quirks in the operation. If you like BB repeaters, this would be one to consider!

Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic: Part 1

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

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic
Crosman MK-177 is a multi-pump version of FN’s SCAR.

Here’s an air rifle I’ve been waiting to test since this year’s SHOT Show last January, and now it’s Christmas Eve and I’m just getting started. Where do the days go?

There are 3 versions of the Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic. The one I’m testing is dark earth-colored with non-optical sights. There’s also a black version with non-optical sights and a dark-earth-colored kit gun that’s packaged with a dot sight instead of the non-optical sights. All 3 variations are pneumatic versions of FN’s Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) in Close Quarters Combat dress.

This is both a pellet repeater and a BB repeater; and, yes, the barrel is rifled. Pellets are fed from a plastic 5-shot harmonica-style clip that’s inserted on the right side of the receiver. BBs are fed from an internal reservoir that holds up to 300. To shoot pellets, the rifle must not have BBs in it, or a jam might result. So, it’s one type of ammunition or the other. Not both at the same time.

I will shoot the rifle with both BBs and pellets, but it’s the pellets that I’m most interested in. They offer the opportunity for accuracy, and I hope the rifle delivers on that promise!

BBs go into an internal reservoir through a covered hole located on the right side of the breech. Then, a sliding switch on the right side of the receiver is pushed forward, and the rifle is pointed straight down and shaken from side to side. This fills a small visible BB magazine that works by gravity.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic BB magazine
The gravity-feed BB magazine is on the right side of the receiver. Push the black switch forward and shake the rifle side-to-side with the muzzle pointed down to fill this magazine from the internal BB reservoir. The BBs are visible through the slots cut in the receiver.

The 5-shot pellet clip is just a carrier. It stops in place for each pellet to be pushed into the breech by the bolt. Once the last shot has been fired, a light push in from the right ejects it out the left side of the receiver. Be careful outdoors, or you’ll lose the small clip when it pops out. Any time you want to unload the rifle, you can just pull the clip back out or push it through — nothing prevents it from moving.

Speaking of the bolt, the handle is located on the left side of the gun. This accommodates right-handed shooters best because your off-hand is free to work the bolt. In reality, it makes no difference since the gun must be pumped for each shot, which means it has to be manipulated anyway.

The forearm is the pump lever, and the rifle uses a short-stroke pump similar to Crosman’s 760 Pumpmaster. Pump the gun from 3 to 10 times maximum, depending on what you’re shooting. The pump strokes are light and easy, but the forearm/pump handle sticks a little when its stored. That may change as the gun breaks in.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic pump arm down
The MK-177 has a short stroke pump. The forearm comes down like this for every stroke.

Sights
I intentionally asked to test the rifle with open sights, and am I ever glad that I did. I thought the sights would be plastic like the rest of the gun, but they’re both made from aluminum and built to last. The rear sight has a flipper with 2 aperture sizes, while the front sight is a simple post.

A sight adjustment tool comes with the gun. The front sight adjusts up and down for elevation (remember to do it in reverse of what you want on to target), and the rear sight adjusts side to side.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic rear sight
Rear sight is made of aluminum and adjusts for windage. The sight has 2 different peep holes.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic front sight
Front sight is made from aluminum and adjusts for elevation. A special tool is provided to adjust both sights.

Overall
This air rifle is made of a lot of plastic, and I know that will upset some shooters. But you can’t get a metal air rifle at this price point today. The shape is very realistic, but none of the conventional firearm controls work. They’re simply cast into the shell of the gun. And the buttstock doesn’t extend, making the 12-inch pull something you must live with. The buttpad is soft black rubber and sticks to your shoulder very well.

The trigger is surprisingly good. It’s so good that I think they designed it during the lawyer’s vacation! I’ll report the specifics in Part 2, but I wish their Benjamin multi-pumps had triggers this nice.

Finally, Crosman has managed to eke out a tad more velocity from this valve in a redesign. They rate BBs at 800 f.p.s. with maximum pumps, which is screaming fast for steel BBs! Naturally, that’ll be tested in the velocity test to come.

In all, I think we have a nice air rifle to consider!

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Part 1

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol
Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol. We’ll also look at the trigger and the shot count.

Of course, the first step to shoot a CO2 BB pistol like this one is to install a fresh CO2 cartridge. And when you do, never forget to put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip before piercing. The oil will be blown through the gun, coating every seal on the inside and sealing it tight for a long time. I found the cartridge sealed immediately after it pierced, so this pistol is conventional in that respect. Remember — once the cartridge is pierced and the gas stops hissing, you don’t want to tighten the screw any more or you’ll soon tear the face seal that the cartridge butts against, creating a leak.

The BB magazine holds 17 BBs comfortably, and 18 can be forced in. I loaded them one at a time, but in this mag, they load easily.

Umarex Precision BBs
Thye first BB I tested was the Umarex Precision BB. In past tests I have found this BB to be one of the 2 top BBs on the market for precision and size uniformity. They tend to be larger in diameter, which means they give the best velocity.

These BBs averaged 368 f.p.s. for 10 shots, but I did notice the gun is very susceptible to velocity dropoff if the shots are fired fast. When I waited at least 10 seconds between shots, the velocity held steady; but if I fired 2 shots quickly, the second one was always much slower. In one test, the first shot went 372 f.p.s. and the next shot…fired a second later…went 358 f.p.s.

The fastest shot in the string went 385 f.p.s. and the slowest went 356 f.p.s., so the spread was 29 f.p.s. However, the first 3 shots on a new cartridge always go much faster than the average. If we eliminate those 3 shots from this string, the average drops to 363 f.p.s., which seems like a more reasonable average.

Daisy Premium Grade BB
Next I tried the Daisy Premium Grade BB that’s the other top BB on the market. These BBs are also very uniform and very consistently sized. Ten of them averaged 357 f.p.s., with a spread from 350 to 373 f.p.s. That’s a 23 foot-second spread.

The Daisy Premium Grade BB is as good as BBs get, unless you opt to buy the special Avanti Precision Ground Shot that are the finest BBs available today. But they only show their advantage when used in the equally superior Daisy Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. If you shoot them in anything else, you’re wasting money as sure as someone who loads target rimfire ammo into a semiauto sporter.

Crosman Copperhead BB
The final BB I tried was the Crosman Copperhead BB. This BB is not as consistent as the other 2 because the diameter varies, causing velocity variations. You probably won’t find any flat spots on these BBs, but the diameter inconsistency puts it into the second rank for both velocity and accuracy.

In the 84 FS, Copperheads averaged 348 f.p.s., but the spread is very revealing. The low was 314 f.p.s., and the high was 375 f.p.s. That makes the spread 61 f.p.s.

After shooting 64 BBs (there were many that didn’t register on the chronograph, plus I filled the magazine with each type of BB and then shot the rest of them without recording the velocity), the next few Daisy BBs went 317, 306, 301 and 294 f.p.s., respectively. So, the liquid CO2 was exhausted at this point, and the gas pressure was dropping.

Shot count for a CO2 cartridge
I continued to shoot the pistol until the blowback no longer worked. That happened at shot 78, so that’s the number of shots you can get from the gun. By that time, the gun is shooting the Daisy BBs in the mid-200s, meaning that about 100 f.p.s. have been lost since the cartridge was fresh.

Blowback
The blowback on this pistol is faster than the blowback on most air pistols, because the slide doesn’t come back as far. When the CO2 cartridge is fresh, you just feel an impulse when the gun fires, but I wouldn’t call it realistic recoil. But as the gas pressure lowers, the slide starts cycling slower and you do feel the recoil.

Trigger
Remember that I told you in Part 1 that the trigger felt strange? I said it felt like a double-action-only trigger instead of the single-action trigger that it is. Well, this time I tested it and proved that’s how it feels. Despite the slide cocking the hammer for each shot, the trigger is still very long and heavy.

The first-stage pull runs about 4 lbs., and stage 2 breaks at 9 lbs., 9 oz. every time. Pull the trigger slowly, though, and stage 1 becomes creepy, plus stage 2 increases by a full pound. This will be an interesting handgun to shoot for accuracy!

Evaluation thus far
I like how the 84 FS holds. It’s small, but not tiny. It fills the hand with its wide grip frame. But that trigger will be something to contend with. The trigger on my Micro Desert Eagle .380 firearm pistol is also DAO and also challenges me when I shoot farther than 20 feet; but it’s smoother near the end of the pull. This trigger stacks up a lot at the end of the pull. We’ll see!

Swiss Arms P92 replica pistol
Swiss Arms P92 CO2 BB pistol

More and more, we're hearing that airguns are ideal for firearm training when it comes to improving trigger control, acquiring a target and increasing accuracy. While all those are big pluses, let's remember the other reasons: (1) Save a fortune on ammo (if you can even get firearm ammo!). (2) Shoot at home. (3) No hearing protection needed. (4) Airguns are a fraction of the cost of firearms. So, click on the image & add this to your gun vault.

New .22-cal. Sheridan!
Sheridan 2260MB CO2 rifle

Sheridan has always made .20-cal. airguns. So, this new .22-cal. rifle is particularly exciting. And, it's available only in limited quantities. If you collect Sheridans (or just love them for their quality), you MUST add this to your gun vault. It's a single-shot CO2 rifle with a metal breech. Bolt-action single shots like the 2260 are ideal for teaching proper gun handling. Everything you love about Sheridan guns…and more. Get yours NOW before they sell out!