Posts Tagged ‘Beeman Kodiak Hollowpoint pellets’

TX200 Mark III: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

TX 200 Mark III
BB’s TX200 Mark III.

Yesterday, I shot the TX200 Mark III at 25 yards and discovered that it can shoot accurately when rested directly on a sandbag. Today, I’ll take the rifle to the range and shoot it again at 50 yards.

I decided to continue shooting with the rifle rested directly on the bag because it seems to work well, and also because I haven’t settled down yet. The bag-rested results should be a fair representation of what the rifle can do.

The day was dead calm throughout the test. Conditions were perfect for the rifle to do its best. But the results were most interesting and not what I expected.

H&N Baracuda Match
You will recall that, yesterday, I got the rifle sighted-in with the point of impact hitting about quarter-inch high and a half-inch to the left of the aim point. I left the scope setting where it was, so you could see what happened out at 50 yards. I’m shooting with the same H&N Baracuda Match pellets that were used yesterday.

TX 200 Mark III H&N Baracuda Match group 50 yards

Ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets didn’t do very well at 50 yards. Yes, there’s the one pellet off to the left, but there are 3 more to the right of the main group. Group measures 2.2 inches between centers, with 9 pellets going into 1.199 inches.

The new point of impact (center of the group) is about 2-1/2 inches low and 1 inch to the left. This pellet dropped 2-3/4 inches, going from 25 yards out to 50 yards. The group is pretty large, measuring 2.2 inches between centers. It was shot 2 that strayed over to the left. The other 9 pellets are in 1.199 inches, or about one inch less. That’s still on the large side.

JSB Exact Heavy
Next up were JSB Exact Heavy pellets. They weigh 10.3 grains and are often the most accurate pellets in premium airguns. They certainly were this day, as the first 10 turned in a group measuring 1.042 inches. It was the best group of the day.

TX 200 Mark III JSB Exact Heavy group 1 50 yards
Ten JSB Exact Heavys made this 1.042-inch group.

The other 2 groups I shot with the JSB Exact Heavy pellets were larger. One measured 1.289 inches, and the other measured 1.66 inches. I did adjust the scope between groups, but I was careful never to hit the aim point of the target bull.

TX 200 Mark III JSB Exact Heavy group 2 50 yards

 The second group of JSB Exacts measures 1.289 inches between centers.

 

TX 200 Mark III JSB Exact Heavy group 3 50 yards

The third group of JSB Exacts measures 1.66 inches between centers.

Crosman Premier Heavy
Seeing that I’d given the JSB Heavys a fair chance, I then shot a group of 10.5-grain Crosman Premier Heavys. They made a 10-shot group measuring 1.365 inches between centers. Since its size is about in the middle of the 3 JSB groups, I think it’s safe to say this pellet is about as accurate as the JSB Exact Heavy. I’m not making any claims, though, because I don’t think I’ve done the TX200 Mark III justice in this test.

TX 200 Mark III Premier Heavy group 50 yards
Ten Crosman Premier Heavys made this 1.365-inch group at 50 yards. That puts them on par with the JSBs.

The bottom line is that I’m not satisfied with these test results. I’ve seen this rifle do better, and I believe it still can — I just need to change something. I’ve never before shot a spring rifle directly off a sandbag at 50 yards, but I don’t think that’s the problem. I think I was using the wrong pellets.

Some observations
Remember at the beginning that I told you how far the group dropped when I went out to 50 yards with the 25-yard zero? I also shot the TX200 at 100 yards on this day. I didn’t shoot an entire group, just 3 JSB Exact Heavy pellets. I used the 50-yard zero after adjusting the scope at the range. The 3 pellets went into about 6 inches, but what’s really interesting is the fact that they struck the target more than 2 FEET below the aim point. Don’t let anyone kid you that shooting at 100 yards is simply double shooting at 50 yards. The transition out to 100 yards is very dramatic! I did this just as an aside to see what would happen. Well, I saw all right!

I also think by shooting only heavy pellets on this day that I hindered the TX200′s chances to shine. I want to rerun this 50-yard test with some lighter pellets that are known to be accurate. Someone asked me about that already, and I think it needs to be tested.

Finally, blog reader Tunnel Engineer asked me to try resting the TX on the sandbag close to the triggerguard and again out at the cocking slot. He wanted me to compare group sizes and point of impact with the 2 balance points. But the bag I use is very long and runs all the way from the triggerguard to the cocking slot, so I don’t see how I can do that.

TX200 Mark III: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

TX 200 Mark III
BB’s TX200 Mark III.

Today’s lesson is about sighting-in a rifle scope. I know that scope mounting and sighting-in seems daunting, but it isn’t as hard as you might imagine. In the last report, I sighted-in at 10 feet. Because I got lucky, it took just 2 shots to sight-in the rifle; and when I finished, I told you I was ready to try the rifle at 25 yards. I said, based on the results of my 10-foot sight-in, it should be on paper at that distance (actually it would be on target at any distance between 20-35 yards, given the TX 200′s velocity), but it probably wouldn’t be exactly where I wanted it. Today, we’ll find out if that prediction is correct.

Let’s get to it
So, I set up the bench and started shooting at 25 yards. I chose H&N Baracuda Match pellets because they were the pellets I used at 10 feet. If you forget what happened during the 10-foot sight-in, you really should read that report first to appreciate what’s happened here. A quick summary would be that I guesstimated how high above the bore the center of the scope is, and shot at a dot the same distance above the desired point of impact. Aiming at the upper dot, I was trying to get the pellet as close as possible to the dot beneath, which meant the scope would be shooting to exactly the point of aim (offset by the scope and barrel centers) when all trajectory was removed from the equation.

TX 200 Mark III sight-in target shot 1
The two dots are separated by approximately the same distance as the center of the barrel and the center of the scope. Aim at the top dot and hit the bottom dot. This is the first shot. After I adjusted the scope, the second shot went through the bottom dot.

Shooting at 25 yards
The first shot at 25 yards landed slightly above and to the left of the bullseye. I then shot 4 more that moved over to the right just a little. I took the center of the larger 4-shot group as the place where the scope was really sighted, and I adjusted from there. In all it took me far less than 10 minutes to sight-in this scope, even though I spread the reports over a period of 2 weeks.

TX 200 Mark III 25-yard target first group
The first 5 shots at 25 yards landed high and to the left, with the very first shot landing farthest to the left. I took the center of the main group of 4 to be the point of impact. From there, I adjusted the scope down and to the right.

Bear in mind that I do not want to hit the dot at the exact center of the bullseye, if possible. That’s my aim point; and if I destroy it, I have to guess where to hold the crosshairs.

First group
Now that the rifle is sighted-in, I shot the first 10-shot group at 25 yards with the stock rested on my open palm, next to the triggerguard. I got a fairly good 9-shot group, but I managed to throw one shot to the left. Nine went into 0.376 inches, but that one stray shot opened the group to 0.605 inches. I was moving around too much in the artillery hold, and I could see it through the scope.

TX 200 Mark III 25-yard target second group
Nine shots in 0.376 inches isn’t bad for 25 yards, but a stray shot blew the group out to 0.605 inches.

Second group
Stability seemed to be my problem, so I slid my off hand out to where I could feel the cocking slot on my palm. The rifle seemed to rest steadier, but the group doesn’t reflect that. Ten pellets went into 0.714 inches, which is horrible for a TX200. Obviously, this wasn’t the right hold for the rifle. And just as obviously — I was having a bad day.

TX 200 Mark III 25-yard target third group
Ten shots in 0.714 inches at 25 yards is hardly something to be proud of for a TX200. It’s more of an outstanding group from a Chinese breakbarrel.

Sometimes, a disaster (okay, maybe just a small setback) contains the seeds of discovery! Since I couldn’t hold the rifle steady enough to shoot a good group on this day, could I rest it directly on the sandbag and do better? We’ve been interested in the fact that some spring guns don’t seem to need the artillery hold. I already told you the TX200 is one of them. Perhaps, this was the day to find out.

For the next group, I rested the rifle in the long vee-groove in the top of my sandbag. The bag is so long that the rifle rests there without needing a rear bag for support. It was dead-steady when I sighted this time.

The results tell the story! This time, all the shots went to the same place. The group is very round and tight, at 0.336 inches. This is clear proof that the TX200 can be bag-rested when shot, and also that the rifle is incredibly accurate. I’ve shot even better groups with it in the past; but whenever I do things right, I always get good groups with this rifle.

TX 200 Mark III 25-yard target fourth group
Shooting with the rifle rested directly on the sandbag produced the best group of the day. Ten shots went into 0.336 inches, and the group is relatively round, to boot.

Notice that in today’s test only a single type of pellet was used. That kept things simple and allowed me to look at other things without worrying about which pellet to choose.

So, we’ve learned 2 things. The first is that it’s easy to mount a scope on an air rifle and to sight it in. It doesn’t take a lot of time, nor do you need any fancy equipment. Of course, if your rifle has a drooping barrel problem there will be more to do, but these are the basics.

Second, we’ve learned that the TX200 can shoot as well or better when rested directly on a sandbag as it can with an artillery hold. That’s certainly true if you’re shaking when holding the gun.

Tomorrow is the 50-yard test, followed by a full test of a brand-new TX200 Mark III, I hope. There are some other things that can be explored with this rifle as our testbed. All in all, we have a lot of things left to do with this air rifle!

TX200 Mark III: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

TX 200 Mark III
B.B.’s TX200 Mark III

As you read this, I’m driving to the Roanoke airgun show. This is just a reminder that I’d like you veteran readers to help answer the questions we get from the new readers while I’m away from my desk. I’ll read the comments a couple times each day and answer those I need to, but I don’t have as much time when I’m on the road. Thanks!

Today, I’ll mount a scope on the TX200 Mark III and sight it in. This is normally accuracy day, but I’m slowing down this report so I can explain several things that are usually glossed over — such as mounting a scope and sighting-in.

This report will look like a photo gallery. And the photos were all taken with flash because there are so many of them. I apologize for that, but I have examined each picture and you will be able to see each thing I refer to.

Let’s get started. Someone said I should used the Hawke 4.5 to 14 X42 Tactical Sidewinder scope, so that is what I mounted. I used a set of Leapers 30mm medium-height rings because they’re high enough for this scope and have the vertical scope stop pin that the TX200 needs.

Does the scope fit the rifle?
The first step in the process is to lay the scope next to the gun, positioning the eyepiece where you think it needs to be to fit your eye position. That will tell you how the scope is going to fit on the rifle.

TX 200 Mark III fitting the scope
Laying the scope above the rifle where the eyepiece needs to be tells us how the scope will fit on the rifle. Notice that the objective bell will hang over the loading port a little; but as I mentioned in Part 2, that’s not a problem.

Seeing that the scope will fit, the next task is to position the scope rings on the rifle. I used 2-piece rings, so I will first position the rear ring with the scope stop pin. The TX200 Mark III has three holes for a vertical stop pin. Pick the hole you like and make sure the stop pin fits into the hole when the ring is installed.

TX 200 Mark III scope stop holes
Pick one of the 3 scope stop holes to receive the vertical scope stop pin in the bottom of the scope ring.

TX 200 Mark III scope stop pin
Adjust the vertical scope stop pin in the base of the rear scope rings so it goes deep into the hole on the rifle. On some rings, it will be necessary to peel up the anti-slip tape to access this pin for adjustment.

Now, you can mount the rear scope ring, making sure that the stop pin goes into the hole you’ve selected. Try to slide the ring to the rear of the gun so the stop pin makes contact with the rear wall of the stop hole. Then, you can tighten this ring in place.

TX 200 Mark III scope ring mounted
Attach the rear scope ring to the rifle, ensuring that the stop pin is pressed against the back wall of the hole in the rifle. Tighten the screws on the ring base when you’re satisfied.

Once the rear ring is positioned, you can position the front ring, using the scope as your guide. Leave room on both sides of both rings to slide the scope back and forth, if possible. This is where the advantage of 2-piece rings shows up.

TX 200 Mark III front scope ring mounted
Now the front scope ring may be installed, using the scope as your guide. Leave room to slide the scope back and forth, if possible.

Once both ring bases have been installed, carefully lay the scope in them and see how it fits the rifle.

TX 200 Mark III scope trial position
The scope is now laying in the rings. Notice that it does overhang the loading port by about as much as we estimated earlier.

Now that I know the scope fits as planned, I check it for fit with my eye by holding the rifle in a shooting position. The scope is still just laying in the bottom rings — the caps haven’t been attached yet.

TX 200 Mark III scope trial position for the eye
By looking through the scope, I determine that the rings have been positioned correctly. I adjust the scope slightly to align the vertical reticle and also to position the eyepiece for maximum light when the rifle is held comfortably. The caps can now be installed and secured.

TX 200 Mark III scope caps secured
The caps are secured.

Aligning the scope
You can go through all kinds of machinations to align the scope perfectly vertical, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it looks vertical to you when you hold the rifle comfortably because that’s the way you’re going to align the scope every time you use it.

I used to do all sorts of things to “level” the scope before I finally understood that the scope will NEVER be level! Level is what looks level to you; and if you hold it the same way every time, that’s all that matters.

Sight-in
Now that the scope is mounted, it’s time to sight it in. For that, I made a white card with two black dots made by a felt-tipped pen. The top dot is my aim point and the bottom dot is as far below the top dot as the center of the bore of this rifle is below the center of the scope. That was just a rough estimate — I didn’t use a ruler. I’m going to sight-in the rifle at 10 FEET. That’s right — 10 FEET!

If this seems strange, you haven’t read my article about a 10-minute sight-in. When I worked at AirForce Airguns, I used to mount scopes and sight-in all the rifles that were sold directly by the company. It took less than 30 minutes from the time I was told what rifle and what scope was needed until I had the scope locked down and sighted-in at 23 yards. This procedure is how I did it so fast.

I step back about 10 feet from the card with the 2 dots and put the crosshairs on the top dot. I fired one shot. I used H&N Baracuda Match pellets because I know they do well in this rifle.

The first shot lands slightly high and to the right of the lower dot. Remember, the lower dot is where the pellet should go if it comes straight out of the barrel while the scope is aimed at the top dot.

TX 200 Mark III sight-in target shot 1
Shot one is a little high and right, but it’s not too bad. I adjust the scope left and down from this.

Shot 1 was a surprise. Usually the first few shots are a lot farther off the mark than this. But I adjusted the scope from this — left and down.

How much left and down is not a precise thing. I do it by spinning both adjustment knobs and not even counting the clicks because I know that at 10 feet I have to move the crosshairs a lot to make them move at all. If I had to guess, I would say it was 16-20 clicks on each knob. Then, I fired the second shot.

TX 200 Mark III sight-in target shot 2
I enlarged the view so you could see the second shot. It went exactly where I wanted it to go.

Now, the rifle should be on paper and close to on-target at 25 yards. It may not be exact because this is a loose method — but it will be close enough.

Next time, I’ll shoot 25-yard groups, and I’ll start with where this sight-in lands me.

TX200 Mark III: Part 2

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

Part 1

TX 200 Mark III
BB’s TX200 Mark III

Let’s look at the power and velocity of my TX200 Mark III. You must bear in mind that my rifle is 13 years old and has been thoroughly broken-in. A new rifle will be much slower for the first thousand shots, or so.

Loading
Several readers mentioned how difficult it is to load the TX200 and other spring guns that have sliding compression chambers. I don’t find it difficult at all, and it’s not the size of your fingers that’s at fault. It’s your approach to loading. To load the TX, the muzzle needs to be pointed up. Not straight up, but close to it. The base of the pellet is then held between the thumb and index finger as it’s inserted into the loading port (not the breech, yet — just the loading port). I find the loading port is more than large enough for most hands.

Once you get the pellet inside the loading port, you need to use some technique. The trick to loading any airgun with a sliding compression chamber is to not try to insert the pellet directly into the breech on the first try. Instead, let the pellet connect with the breech face sideways, then move it around with thumb pressure until you feel the head pop into the breech. That helps straighten out the pellet so it can then be pushed into the barrel. Obviously, domed pellets load the easiest this way and wadcutters are the hardest. It takes a minute to read how to do it and about 2 seconds to actually do it!

Loading this way is not done by sight, but by feel. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll load the rifle so fast that you’ll forget about how “hard” it’s supposed to be. Then, it won’t bother you if the scope’s objective bell hangs over the loading port because you’ll be doing everything by feel.

Cocking effort
I measured the effort needed to cock my rifle. For most of the underlever’s stroke it took 32 lbs. of force, but there was one spike that rose to 34 lbs. near the first click of the sliding chamber catch.

Velocity test
The first pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite. The specs say this rifle has 930 f.p.s. velocity; but with these Premiers lites, my rifle averaged 963 f.p.s. The low was 958 and the high was 970 f.p.s. My TX200 has always liked Premier lites, so I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise…but it does.

At the average velocity, this pellet produces 16.27 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. As I recall, it was launching this pellet at around 875 f.p.s. when it was brand new, so this is quite an increase. The total velocity spread with this pellet was 12 f.p.s., which is pretty tight for a springer.

Next up were the Beeman Kodiak Hollowpoints. These weigh 10.34 grains and qualify as heavyweights in .177 caliber. They averaged 818 f.p.s. for 10 shots, with a low of 810 and a high of 836 f.p.s. That’s a 26 f.p.s spread, which is a little on the high side for a spring gun in good condition.

At the average velocity, the Kodiak Hollowpoint produced 15.37 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. I noticed that the heads of these pellets fit the chamber very tight, so I’m writing a note to myself to try them in the Fast Deer rifle the next time I test it.

The last pellet I tested was the Predator Polymag. At 8 grains, it weighs close to what the Premier lite weighs, but the Polymag is a pure lead pellet with a plastic tip, so the performance should be different. Many shooters feel this is a very accurate pellets, so I thought it would be good to test it in a rifle that’s known to be accurate.

Predators averages 916 f.p.s. in the TX200, but the velocity spread was large. It ranged from a low of 887 to a high of 936 f.p.s. That’s a total of 49 f.p.s. The second-slowest shot went 909 f.p.s., by the way. That would have tightened the spread to 27 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the Polymag puts out 14.91 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Trigger-pull
I adjusted the TX trigger many years ago. So many years, in fact, that I don’t remember when I did it. The 2-stage trigger now releases at 9 oz. on my electronic scale. Since the first-stage take-up is more than 7 of those ounces, this trigger feels really light!

Summary
That’s the performance of my TX200 Mark III. If any of you own newer Mark IIIs and have chronographs, I’d appreciate hearing how fast your guns shoot.

The next step will be to mount a scope on the rifle and sight it in. I think I’m going to slow down the report and document that procedure very carefully, so newer readers have a reference on mounting a scope and sighting-in. That will make Part 4 the first accuracy test.

Air Venturi Tech Force M12 combo: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Air Ventury Tech Force M12 breakbarrel air rifle
The new Tech Force M12 breakbarrel is a new midrange springer from Air Venturi.

Today’s report is an important one, but it may be confusing until you hear the whole story. The last time I reported on this Tech Force M12 combo was back on November 19 of last year. A lot has happened with this rifle since then, and I’ve kept daily readers informed of what’s been going on, but it would have been easy to overlook and even easier to forget. So I’ll summarize.

The M12 I’m testing is a drooper, and I first had to solve that problem. Once I did, I noticed it threw fliers. I cleaned the barrel — but it got no better. I tightened all the screws — again, no change. I cleaned the barrel with JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound — and still there was no improvement. Then, I shot the gun just to break it in — again, no change.

All of this work took a lot of time, as I was testing and reporting on other guns. I also set the rifle aside for weeks at a time out of sheer frustration. In late January of this year, I decided to have another go at discovering what the problem was. I had to locate a drooper scope because, by this time, I’d used the scope that was on this rifle for other tests. I reread the early reports and discovered that this rifle had shot very well at 10 meters with JSB Exact RS pellets. So, that was the pellet I tested, but at 25 yards.

Pay attention!
At 25 yards, I got several groups that had a bunch of shots close together and then some fliers. But one group stood apart as extraordinary. Seven of the 10 shots were in an extremely small group, and 3 others were huge fliers. This was what I had been looking for. When you see something like this, it tells you the rifle wants to shoot, but something is interfering intermittently.

Tech Force M12 breakbarrel air rifle 25-yard target
The group at the top left with the one shot that isn’t quite touching is 7 shots from 25 yards. That’s a 0.439-inch group. The other 3 holes are fliers shot at the same time. This is a clear indication of a problem.

I looked down through the muzzlebrake with a powerful flashlight and saw the real barrel muzzle deep inside. It appeared very rough, plus I could see bright bits of lead clinging to the inside rear edge of the muzzlebrake. I showed this to Edith, and she confirmed what I was seeing.

Apparently, the crown of the muzzle of my rifle was uneven and was causing pellets to wobble just a tiny bit when they left the barrel. A few of them were hitting the inside rear edge of the muzzlebrake, causing them to destabilize in a big way. Those were the random fliers I was seeing.

I communicated this to Pyramyd Air. Gene, the tech manager, took apart an M12 to look at the crown. He said it looked rough to him, as well. He crowned it and sent me the barrel to exchange with the barrel in my rifle.

The barrel Gene sent is .22 caliber, while my rifle is .177, but that makes no difference. One barrel works as well as another, as they’re the same size on the outside. I followed Gene’s instructions and switched barrels in 15 minutes. I didn’t have to disassemble the rifle because of how it’s made.

Once I got the original barrel out of the gun, I could see that the muzzle wasn’t as rough as I’d thought. I had seen grease on the end of the muzzle when I looked down inside, and it looked like rough metal to me. The muzzle is finished rather well, but the actual crown, which is a chamfer cut into the bore, is cut on an angle rather than perpendicular with the bore. It allows compressed air to escape the muzzle on one side of the pellet before the other.

Tech Force M12 breakbarrel air rifle 177 muzzle
The muzzle of the .177-caliber barrel that came in the rifle was crowned lopsided. The chamfer appears narrow at the bottom of the muzzle. That’s not an optical illusion — it really does grow narrow there!

Tech Force M12 breakbarrel air rifle 22 muzzle
It may be hard to see in this photo, but this crown is even all around the bore. This is the .22-caliber barrel sent to me by Pyramyd Air.

Following the assembly of the barrel to the rifle, I remounted the scope and proceeded to start my sight-in. I decided to test the .22 barrel with JSB Exact RS pellets, as well. One shot at 10 feet was all it took…and I was on target. Two more shots at 10 meters and I was sighted-in. Next, I shot a 10-shot group. The rifle behaved very stable and did not appear to throw any wild shots.

The 10-meter group I shot was consistent, if not terribly small. But the lack of fliers, even at 10 meters, gives me hope that the crowning of the barrel has solved the problem.

Tech Force M12 breakbarrel air rifle 10-meter target
Ten shots at 10 meters gave me this group with the recrowned .22-caliber barrel. This gives me hope that the problem has been fixed.

Test is not finished.
By no means is this report finished. I still need to shoot several groups at 25 yards to see what the M12 can really do. I have no idea what the best .22-caliber pellet might be. After rereading the first two parts of this report, I see that I very much liked the way the gun handles. That’s still true. It lacks the two-bladed Mendoza trigger — and that’s a shame, but the trigger it has isn’t that bad. Obviously, I’m able to use it.

I now have both a .22-caliber barrel and a .177-caliber barrel that fit on the same powerplant. If I can hold onto them both, I may be able to get a little more milage from this gun. First, I could do a redneck crowning job on the .177 barrel and report how well that works.

Next, I could test the .22 barrel for velocity and then swap barrels and retest the .177 barrel to get a comparison between calibers from the same gun. I’ve always been able to do that with my Whiscombe, of course, but this is more of a real-world air rifle to which many can relate.

I know there are several shooters who wanted the M12 to be a great buy, and my early tests didn’t bear that out. If they’ve continued to follow this blog, they’ll get the chance to see how the story ends!

Air Venturi Tech Force M12 combo: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Air Ventury Tech Force M12 breakbarrel air rifle
The new Tech Force M12 breakbarrel is a new midrange springer from Air Venturi.

I usually have a handle on the gun by the time Part 4 rolls around. But, today, I’m still stymied by the Tech Force M12 breakbarrel. I’ll tell you all I’ve done to make sure this rifle is on the beam; but when I tell you my results, I think you’ll see I’m not there yet.

Big droop!
I discovered in Part 3 that the M12 I’m testing is a big drooper. That means it shoots very low relative to where the scope is looking. For today’s test, I installed a B-Square adjustable scope mount that has a huge downward angle to bring the point of impact back up to the aim point. It worked well enough for the test, so I proceeded to shoot several different types of pellets — trying all kinds of hand holds and even resting the rifle directly on the sandbag.

Here’s a list of the pellets I tried: (10-shot groups with each)
Beeman Kodiaks
Beeman Kodiak Hollowpoints
RWS Superdomes
Crosman Premier 10.5-grain
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
JSB Exact RS
JSB Exact 8.4-grain
JSB Exact 10.3-grain
RWS Hobby
Beeman Trophy (an obsolete domed pellet)
Eley Wasp (an obsolete domed pellet)

Best pellet
With most of these pellets, the rifle teased me with several pellets in the same hole — but a 10-shot group that was 1.5 inches and larger. A couple were all over the place and simply would not group at all. The Hobbys were probably the worst.

Only one pellet put 10 shots into 1.038 inches at 25 yards. Those were RWS Superdomes, and the hold was with my off hand back by the triggerguard, leaving the rifle very muzzle-heavy. The rifle was somewhat twitchy but not overly so.

Air Venturi Tech Force M12 breakbarrel air rifle group of RWS Superdomes
This is the best group I shot in the test from 25 yards. It’s 10 RWS Superdomes, and the rifle is rested with my off hand touching the triggerguard.

Encouraging
The encouraging thing about this group is that I didn’t have to use a lot of technique to shoot it. I know it isn’t as tight as others I’ve shot at the same distance, and you’ll compare it to them, but I compared it to the other groups I was getting with this rifle. In that comparison, this was the best one and it was also relatively easy to shoot.

What all did I do?
For the record, here’s a list of all the things I tried to get the M12 to shoot.

Cleaned the barrel
Tightened the stock screws (they were tight)
Installed a drooper mount with a lot of down angle
Tightened the scope mount screws (and they were loose on the B-Square adjustable mount!)

Tried resting the forearm of the rifle:
On my open palm in front of the triggerguard
On my open palm under the cocking slot
Directly on the sandbag

Tried shaking the barrel to test the breech lockup (it is tight)
Tried extra relaxation with the artillery hold — which worked for a few shots, but never more than four
Tried attaching an extra weight to the barrel during each shot (with a large magnet)

So, where are we in this test?
I still think the M12 can shoot because there’s evidence of it wanting to stack its pellets. It might be that this is a rifle that needs more than a thousand shots to break in. I’ve owned a few of those. The Beeman C1 from Webley that I used to own was such a rifle. At first it was a royal beast; but as the shot count passed 2,000, the rifle began smoothing out and transforming into something very delightful to shoot. By 4,000 shots, the trigger was very nice and the gun had no vibration to speak of. It was this very rifle that caused me to give the artillery hold its name, and I wrote the first article I ever wrote about airguns for Dr. Beeman. He didn’t respond to my submission, so I saved it and eventually wrote it up in The Airgun Letter.

I wonder if this M12 needs that kind of break-in? That’s something I haven’t done in a good many years because it takes so much of my time. But it might be interesting to see if the rifle responds to a long-term break-in. I think I’ve certainly shoot 250-300 shots at this point, because I also tested the gun at 10 meters and one time at 25 yards (it wasn’t reported). Maybe I’ll rack up some more shots to see how that affects a longer-term break-in.

Tech Force 87 underlever – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


The Tech Force Contender 87 is a big, powerful underlever.

Before we start, I wanted to remind you that I’ll be in the hospital today and for the next few days due to surgery. I’d appreciate it if the regular blog readers could help by answering the questions in my absence. Edith will also help answer questions.

You guys have been very good to me this year, which is why I didn’t mind putting in the extra time with this gun. Too much.

In all my years of shooting pellet rifles, I’ve never worked harder to get a good result. The Tech Force 87 underlever has the potential to shoot pellet after pellet through the same hole, but only if you know what you’re doing and you never deviate from the right procedure. If you are a casual deer hunter, better stand inside a barn and be satisfied when you hit one of the walls. But if you can be an anal jedi/ninja sort of guy, you can get this rifle to perform.

Three separate days I shot the rifle. I shot it with so many pellets that I’m just going to list them for the record. I can’t even remember what they all did, because I spent so much time with the one pellet I finally got to shoot well (sort of) that I forget the rest.

The first thing I discovered was that the gun shot low. Okay, there’s a simple solution to that. A BKL drooper mount was installed. At first I selected the BKL one-piece mount with .007 drop compensation and a short clamp base, because there isn’t enough room to clamp the 4-inch BKL mount to the rails with the scope stop mounted. Well, it didn’t work. The mount actually walked forward under recoil! So, off came the TF 87 scope stop and what a surprise — it’s not anchored to anything. In other words, it doesn’t work!

But that cleared enough space to mount the longer BKL one-piece mount with .007 drop compensation. That one has 6 clamping screws and held just fine.

The scope I used was Leapers 3-9×40 mil-dot with red/green reticle. The one I used was an older scope than I’ve linked to, but the specs are the same. The BKL mounts lifted this scope high off the spring tube so a 50mm objective would even be possible. I found this scope to be very bright and clear throughout the whole test.

Problems, problems
Then, I turned to shooting and encountered problems. Three pellets would land in the same hole, then two would stray one or two inches away, then another would go through the hole, again. Experience has taught me that this is usually due to technique if the vertical reticle in the scope isn’t adjusted up too high, which, due to the drooper mount, this one was not.

I began experimenting with my shooting technique. By technique, I mean different variations of the artillery hold. Oh, in case you’re wondering, I did try the gun directly on the sandbag, too. Shooting it that way, the pellets didn’t even hit the pellet trap at 25 yards!

By this time, I had two different mounts on the gun and tried about 12 different high-quality pellets. Here’s the list of what I tried:

Air Arms 8.4-grain Diabolo Field domes
Air Arms Falcons Too light! Supersonic!
Beeman Kodiak copper-plated pellets All over the place!
Beeman Kodiaks
Beeman Kodiak HP
Beeman Kodiak Match
Crosman Premier heavies
Crosman Premier lites
H&N Rabbit Magnums Off the target!
JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes
JSB Match Exact RS domes Supersonic!
RWS Superdomes

Success, sort of
And then I found a pellet that the rifle likes, more or less. Actually, the rifle really likes the JSB Exact 10.2-grain dome a lot, but you have to use the right technique if you want to get it to shoot. And the right technique is this:

Hold the rifle dead, dead, dead! What that does is ensure a perfect follow-through. Now the regular artillery hold normally accomplishes this for me, but this time it wasn’t enough. Instead, I slid my off hand out as far on the forearm as I could reach and rested the rifle on my palm. Everything about that hold was dead calm. Then, I had to consciously relax with every shot. I’m going to show you exactly what happens when you don’t consciously relax. The following targets will not impress anyone, so please take the time to read the lengthy captions, because they explain what you’re seeing.

These were shot off a rest at 25 yards on a calm day.


This is the target that showed me what this rifle needed! I know it looks terrible, but look at the five shots in the black. They’re not too bad for 25 yards. At nine o’clock in the white are two shots — numbers three and five. With three, I wasn’t fully relaxed. With five, I tried to hold the rifle exactly the same as for shot three. The pellet went through the same hole! The three shots above the black are all when I didn’t relax completely. I figured out enough from this target to shoot a better one.


In this target, I put 6 shots into a good group in the black. But, 4 times I wasn’t as relaxed as I should’ve been. The two shots in the black at 7 o’clock are slight mistakes, and the shot in the white at 10 o’clock is when I rushed the shot because I’d just landed so many in the good group. The final shot I also rushed and got the hole at 12 o’clock in the white.

What’s the verdict?
This rifle is for the careful shooter who will take the time to learn his one rifle and what it likes. I’ve probably only scratched the surface of what can be done with it. However, it’s not a natural shooter that puts them on top of each other like they were radar-guided. The reason for that is the power.

If you remember from Part 2, the TF 87 lives up to its advertised potential. In .22 caliber, it might be a lot easier to shoot well, but in the .177 test gun, most pellets go too fast. You want to be sure to use only the heavier ammunition and use the good stuff. At this point, I’m recommending the JSB Exact 10.2-grain domes.

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