Posts Tagged ‘BKL mounts’

Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 2

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

Benjamin Marauder .177 caliber Part 1
Part 2
Secrets of loading the Benjamin Marauder magazine
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Fixing a Marauder magazine
Part 7
Benjamin Marauder .25 caliber Part 1
Benjamin Marauder .25 caliber Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock Part 1

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock

New Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock has all the features of the classic Marauder in a lighter, trimmer package.

Today is our second look at the .22-caliber Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock. We have a new log reader who goes by the handle AirrifleRatHunter, and he just bought a synthetic Marauder and it’s his first PCP, so I want to help him with his rifle.

Baffled?
ARH said his rifle wasn’t as accurate as he thought it should be. We found that he was using substandard pellets and corrected that, but I also mentioned to him that the baffles inside the shroud could be involved. He asked me what baffles are, so I’m now showing them to everyone. The test Marauder has 7 Delrin washers (the baffles) that are shaped to strip away the compressed air behind the pellet once it leaves the rifle’s muzzle, which is buried deep within the shroud. I’ve laid out these parts for you to see how they work. If the pellet were to touch one of these baffles as it passes through, it would destroy accuracy.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock baffles
Here you see all the baffles that are held inside the shroud under spring tension, so they don’t rattle around.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock baffle detail
Looking at a single baffle shows that the compressed air that’s behind the pellet gets stripped to the sides by the shape of the baffle (on the left) as the pellet passes through its center. This happens 7 times in succession before the pellet leaves the gun. The end cap that pushes the baffles against the coiled spring at the back has an o-ring to keep the air from escaping around its threads.

One other accuracy tip is to ensure that the shroud is not touching the forward barrel band on any side. Mine was touching on one side when I got the rifle, so I loosened the 2 set screws on the bottom of the band and repositioned it.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock front barrel band
I have repositioned the front barrel band so it clears the barrel shroud around its entire circumference.

Today is setup day, where I will adjust the rifle to suit myself. The first thing I did was select a scope and mounts. Marauders have a low receiver, which means you need to select a higher scope mount if the objective bell of your scope is a large one. I chose a Leapers UTG 4-16X50 scope with illuminated reticle, but mine is an older model than the one I linked to. Nevertheless, it’s a big scope with a large objective bell that needs height to clear the barrel shroud.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock with scope mounted
See how close the objective lens comes to the barrel shroud — despite my using high mounts? Also note that the magazine needs clearance, so the scope mount must be 2-piece.

You have to either use a 2-piece mount or a cantilever 1-piece mount that will clear the magazine sticking up above the receiver, so keep that in mind when looking at mounts. I chose BKL one-inch mounts with double straps that are high enough for the gun and scope combination. The double straps mean that you don’t need to worry about the torque sequence when you tighten the screws in the scope caps because each strap is independent.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock scope cap detail
These clever BKL scope caps relieve you of the need to follow a torque procedure when tightening the cap screws.

Adjust the cheekpiece
Usually, I have to just adapt to whatever gun I’m testing because most of them don’t have any ergonomic features. But the new Marauder synthetic stock does have an adjustable cheekpiece. I was able to raise it up so my eye in in line with the scope’s exit pupil when I shoulder the rifle normally. What a convenience that is!

The new trigger
The Marauder’s trigger has been moved back in the receiver by about one-half inch, which brings the blade closer to the pistol grip. The result is a nicer feeling when you hold the rifle because your hand doesn’t have to stretch to reach the trigger. I never noticed it until I shouldered the new rifle the first time, but it certainly feels much better now.

Moving the trigger back meant that several internal trigger parts had to be redesigned. In essence, this trigger is the same one that’s always been on the Marauder, but there are small differences inside. So, the next thing I did was adjust the trigger.

To properly adjust the trigger, you remove the action from the stock. It’s only necessary to remove one stock screw for this, and the action comes right out.

As the rifle came from the box it had a heavy first stage pull of 2 lbs., 6 oz. This can be reduced by adjusting a screw counterclockwise to take tension off the trigger return spring. When I backed the screw out entirely so no spring tension remained, the first-stage pull dropped to just under 11 oz., so there’s another spring inside the trigger group that also helps return the trigger blade.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock trigger adjustment screws
The large round screw at the left adjusts the trigger-pull weight. Behind the trigger blade the two small screws adjust the first- and second-stage pull length. And the screw behind those 2 allows for slight repositioning of the trigger blade.

I put the adjustment screw back in the hole and tightened it just enough to keep it from falling out. That raised the first-stage pull to just over 14 oz., which is fine for a sporting rifle; but I must note that it’s heavier than the triggers in the other 2 Marauders I’ve tested. They both break at 11 oz., and this one has a first-stage pull greater than that.

Next, I adjusted the first-stage pull a little shorter, and the second-stage pull to start sooner. Those were 2 separate adjustments; but each affects the other, so the manual tells you to do them together. The owner’s manual also warns you that these screws adjust the amount of sear contact, so go slow and be careful to not get the trigger to the point that it won’t hold the sear or will only hold it dangerously close to firing. After making these adjustments, I assembled the action in the stock once more and cocked the rifle. Then, I bumped it hard from several directions, and the sear did not slip off and fire.

Before the adjustment, the rifle fired at 3 lbs., 4 oz. That’s pretty good for an air rifle trigger, given the lawyerly influences in companies these days; but a Marauder is not an average air rifle. After adjustment, it fired at 1 lb., 7 oz. but still had a bit of creep in stage 2, so I adjusted the stage-2 screw one last time. This time, I didn’t take the action out of the stock. The small Allen wrench used on these 2 screws (a .050-inch wrench is used for both stage-1 and stage-2 screws) is small enough to reach through the triggerguard and fit into the socket of the screw.

The final adjustment took another half-ounce off the pull and eliminated most of the creep. I wouldn’t call this trigger glass-crisp…but the way it’s adjusted now, it’s quite good!

Now the rifle is set up for me. Next, I’ll shoot it for velocity and decide whether to leave the fill limit at the factory-set 2,500 psi or increase it for more shots. And I may adjust the velocity, depending on what I find.

El Gamo 68/68-XP – A futuristic airgun from the past: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


El Gamo 68 is a futuristic breakbarrel from the past.

Today, I’ll take the El Gamo 68 to the next level of accuracy testing. I mounted a scope and went back to 25 yards to see what this gun can do.

Blog reader Mike sent me a trigger shoe he wasn’t using, and I installed it on the rifle’s thin blade. It made all the difference in the world. I don’t think I could have endured the 80+ shots that went into today’s test without it! Thanks, Mike!


The trigger shoe made the heavy pull pleasant.

Scope
I mentioned mounting a scope on the rifle before I checked it out. The 11mm scope dovetails are cut into the top of the spring tube and are very short by today’s standards. I was able to mount only a Leapers Bug Buster scope using 2-piece BKL mounts. The Bug Buster is a very compact scope, whose size compliments the 68 — and the eye relief worked out fine, so this was a happy coincidence.


A Leapers Bug Buster scope fit the small 68 very well.

The test
I used this test not only to see how accurate the 68 is at 25 yards, but also to see if there’s a difference between seating pellets flush and seating them deep with an Air Venturi Pellet Pen’s PellSet. Each pellet shot one 10-shot group seated each way. Let’s see how it went.

H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets
I first shot a 10-shot group of H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets seated flush with the breech. The group measured 0.963 inches between centers.

Then, I shot another 10-shot group with the same pellets seated deep. It measured 1.232 inches between centers. Clearly, the flush-seated pellets were best.


Flush pellets on the left, deep-seated on the right. The flush pellets are more accurate.

Air Arms Falcon
Next, I tried the Air Arms Falcon dome. Ten pellets seated flush gave a group measuring 1.163 inches between centers. Ten seated deep printed into 1.28 inches. This is too close to call.


Flush pellets on the left, deep-seated on the right. Too close to call.

RWS Hobby
The last pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby pellet. And here we had a reversal of the first test with the H&N target pellets –because the deep-seated pellets out-grouped the flush-seated ones. Flush-seated pellets grouped in 1.311 inches at 25 yards. Deep-seated pellets grouped in 0.888 inches, which was the best group of the test, though the initial sight-in group of Hobbys did group even better. But all the controls of the test weren’t in place when I shot that first group, so I can’t count it.


Flush pellets on the left, deep-seated on the right. This time, the deep-seated pellets performed best.

Bottom line
The results didn’t turn out as good as I expected. The 68 is accurate, but it’s not a 10-meter rifle in disguise. Having the trigger shoe makes the heavy trigger-pull comfortable, but a lighter pull would be much better.

As for the seating exercise, it seems to work with some pellets but not with others. And, of course, I haven’t yet experimented with different seating depths.

The next step with the 68 will be to disassemble the rifle and see what I can do to slick it up a bit.

New BKL mount adjusts for barrel droop: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

It’s been half a year since I did Part 1 of this report. I always meant to do today’s test, but other things seemed to crop up every time I was ready. I did make an excursion in another direction to test BSA’s 2×20 pistol scope using another mount on the Beeman P1 air pistol. Such is the tangled life of the airgun blogger!

New territory!
Today’s report takes me into fresh territory with my Slavia 631 breakbarrel rifle. I had earmarked it as a testbed rifle for testing the accuracy of lead-free pellets a long time ago, but the lack of a scope mount caused me to substitute the Whiscombe rifle at the last minute. You see, the Slavia air rifles all share a common problem when it comes to mounting scopes. They have dovetails that are among the very widest on the market. Most 11mm scope mounts will not expand wide enough to fit the 14mm dovetails (they are still called 11mm, which creates a world of confusion among buyers who try to scope their rifles) that are standard on all Slavia breakbarrels. Even for me — with a drawerful of specialized airgun mounts and prototypes — the Slavia remained a gun I could not scope until this new BKL mount hit the market.


Those dovetail grooves may be called 11mm, but they’re really 14mm apart. And that makes a huge difference. Almost no scope mounts will open that wide. Those three scalloped notches are for a specific type of scope stop that no longer exists in the U.S.

I’ve owned this 631 since back in the 1990s when I was still writing The Airgun Letter. I got it from Compasseco (now owned by Pyramyd Air) for a test and liked it so much I decided to keep it. Over the years, I’ve used it for other tests, such as testing the accuracy and penetration of round lead balls; but these tests were done with open sights. Today, I get to discover for the first time how the rifle shoots when a scope is mounted.

Just fit!
The BKL adjustable mount is a one-piece mount that just fits the length of the scope grooves on the 631. There isn’t a millimeter to spare on either end. As for the width, the fit is much easier, though I did have to spread the clamping rails to get it on the gun. For those who are unfamiliar with BKL mounts, they hold onto the airgun by clamping pressure, alone — there are no mechanical scope stops on any BKL mount. It’s often necessary to spread the mount base a little to get it onto the dovetails of the rifle. BKL has designed an ingenious way of doing this with the base screws applying reverse pressure to spread the base “jaws” just the right amount. It’s easy to do and takes only a minute or two extra. Once the mount is on the gun and the base screws are tightened, you have a scope mount that’s not going to move under recoil, no matter how severe.

Droop-compensating!
The second great thing about this new mount is that the rear scope ring elevates to compensate for barrel droop. Newer readers may wonder what droop is, so allow me to explain


The BKL is mounted on my Slavia 631 rifle. The mount is silver because it’s an unfinished preproduction model, not because it’s finished that way.

Barrel droop
Breakbarrel springers are notorious for having barrels that are angled downward from the sight plane. Because the manufacturers mount both the front and rear sight on the barrel, they remain in a fixed relationship that masks the droop or downward slant of the barrel. When you install a scope, it goes on the spring tube and the barrel droop becomes painfully obvious. You adjust the scope up as far as it will go to bring the strike of the round back up to the intersection of the crosshairs. Sometimes, you just barely get there, but other times you can’t even get that high before running out of adjustment. Either way, when a scope is adjusted all the way up as high as it will go, the internal springs relax and the point of aim starts moving all over the place. New shooters blame this on scope shift, but it’s really a different problem that’s completely correctable

You want to mount the scope in such a way that its vertical adjustment is about in the middle of the range or even closer to the low end. That’s where the droop-compensation scope mount, or “drooper” as it’s called, comes into play. With a droop-compensation scope mount you can slant the scope downward so it follows the line of the bore more closely.

And this new BKL is a drooper mount! But until I tried to sight in my Slavia 631, I had no way of knowing that it’s a breakbarrel with a droop problem. Once I confirmed that it is, I adjusted the rear of the BKL mount upward and got the scope dead-on at 25 yards! It took only one adjustment, and I had the scope back into the middle of its adjustment range again. Now, it was time to see how this rifle shot.

Twitchy
This is going to be a longer report, so I’m cutting to the chase right away. When I started shooting the 631 at 25 yards, I discovered that this rifle is twitchy. What does that mean? Well, if a breakbarrel is very powerful, it’s usually extremely difficult to hold for accuracy. It wants to spray its pellets all over the place — that’s what I call twitchy.

But lower-powered breakbarrel springers like this 631 aren’t usually twitchy. Usually, they lob all their shots to the same place. They’re also very tolerant of different types of pellets. But my Slavia 631 is none of those things. It’s twitchy. Allow me to show you what I mean. The first group I tried to shoot was with the Air Arms Falcon pellet.


This first target shot with Falcon pellets revealed a lot about the gun. Do you see that two pellets are close together in each of the three groups, but the point of impact moves? That’s due to very small changes in the hold. Four of the 10 pellets missed the target altogether!

The first group I attempted told me this rifle is twitchy. But sometimes that’s only with a couple pellets, so I pressed on.

Next, I tried shooting RWS Hobby pellets. They did better and were less twitchy but were not really that good.


Ten Hobbys went into a real group at 25 yards. It looks like only 6 shots landed because several went through the same holes. This is a better group, measuring 0.73 inches between centers, but it’s still not great.

I had to use every bit of technique, short of a scope level, to get that group. The differing points of impact were obviously the result of very subtle changes in the hold. This was obvious to me as I shot, because I was able to feel where the pellets wanted to go. But in spite of that, I did my best to shoot the tightest group I could.

I tried Crosman Premier lites next, but they were all over the place. Then, I tried the JSB Exact RS pellet that often proves best in rifles of this power level. This time, though, they were too hold-sensitive to do well.

Finally, I tried the BSA Wolverine pellet that’s also a medium weight JSB but is subtly different from the others of the same weight (8.44 grains). Like the Hobbys, I got a group of 10; but like the others, it’s interesting for being more of a cluster of several smaller groups.


Ten BSA Wolverine pellets gave this group, which measures 0.75 inches across. There’s a cluster of 6 in one hole, then 4 others below. The fourth shot lies between the two that are stacked vertically.

Bottom line
The BKL adjustable scope mount works as advertised. It’s easy to install and to adjust. And it has jaws that are wide enough for the widest 11mm air rifle dovetails. Just don’t try to use it on a Weaver base, because it isn’t that wide, nor is it configured for the proprietary shape of a Weaver dovetail. This mount is one elegant solution for a drooper.

The Slavia 631 is a twitchy breakbarrel that shoots at a mild level of power. If I hadn’t done this test, I never would have guessed that from the muzzle velocity, alone. That made me think of another report I can write — and probably should: What to do with a twitchy breakbarrel. It would be a collection of the tricks and techniques I would use when I encounter a twitchy breakbarrel. In my role as an airgun tester, I see a lot of them over time, so I’ve built up a bag of techniques I employ to deal with them when one comes along.

The 631 is also a great potential testbed for an adjustable muzzle weight to be used for tuning the harmonics of a spring gun. I’ll look into that.

Testing BSA’s 2X20 pistol scope: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Beeman P1 pistol with a BSA 2×20 pistol scope mounted on BKL risers.

Once again, it’s time for me to fasten ice skates to the bottom of a stepladder, then try to skate across bumpy ice while carrying a flask of nitroglycerin. Seriously, that is how it feels to trust in something that all your life you’ve avoided because you felt it was too imprecise. Pistols and scopes just don’t mix in B.B. Pelletier’s world. But, today’s Part 2 of the test of BSA’s 2×20 pistol scope. It’s mounted on my Beeman P1 pistol, and I’m using BKL’s new 556 riser blocks to clamp to the P1 dovetail. I selected a pair of nondescript Weaver rings to hold the scope. They’re matte silver, so they don’t even match the finish on the pistol and the scope, but they work perfectly. You could use Hawke Weaver rings and do very well.

Last time, I was at 10 meters and wondering whether I would put a round through the wall behind the target trap. This time, I backed up to 25 yards — three rooms away from the target and wondered what damage I would wreak upon our house. Normally, I shoot handguns at this distance on a range, so this was a first. Even when I’ve tested other air pistols at long range, I’ve always shot out the bedroom window, but now I was trusting myself to keep them all on the target paper 75 feet away. Spooky!

No noticeable parallax
One reader asked me about parallax, but I was too busy not shooting the walls in the first test to notice whether or not the crosshairs moved when you move your head.

They don’t. Instead the entire image goes black. So, if you can see the image, no amount of head movement will make the crosshairs move on the target. If the image goes black, you’re done, anyway. Time to reposition the gun.

Parallax, of course, is the apparent movement of the crosshairs against the target; if your head is not always in exactly the same place, you’ll aim at different places on the target. With a rifle, you have a stock into which you press your cheek; but with a pistol, there’s no similar cue, so this was a good question. It appears the scope manufacturers have figured it correctly. At least BSA Optics has.

Shooting
I was genuinely afraid that the pellet would not hit the target from 25 yards. After the first shot, I trained binoculars on the target to see where the pellet had gone. Because I was still shooting Crosman Premier lite pellets, I could not see the small ragged hole even through the binoculars, so I walked down and checked the target. Surprise! Even though the crosshairs had been moving all around the bull, there was a neat hole cutting the nine ring at one o’clock.

The next nine pellets also hit the target paper and gave me a group that measures 2.92 inches. I’ll be the first to admit this groups does not look that good, but please take into account that it was shot by a handgun at 25 yards. If I did this well with a .45 ACP, I’d be smiling. Of course, the big holes left by the bullets would make the group seem proportionately smaller.


Doesn’t look like a good group until you realize that it was shot at 25 yards! I’m just happy all the shots hit the paper.

I wasn’t satisfied with that group — other than all shots hit the paper. I modified my hold by holding the butt of the gun just in front of the sandbag rest, where before the gun had been six inches in front of the bag.

Group two was only slightly smaller, at 2.675 inches. If you look at it, eight of the shots made a group measuring just 1.743 inches. That seems a lot better to me.


A little better group came from a different hold. But eight of those ten shots are grouped much closer.

Next, I put the actual butt of the pistol on the bag and held it there. The crosshairs grew rock-steady in this hold, and I thought I was on to something. But group three measures 3.467 inches — the largest to this point, and the largest group of the day, as it turned out. Apparently pistols need the artillery hold in the same way rifles do.


Oops! Can’t rest air pistols on sandbags, either.

For the final group, I reverted to the hold in which the butt of the gun was just in front of the bag but not touching it. I was getting tired by this time, but I still managed to shoot a 2.311-inch group to end the session.


What do you know? I went back to the former hold and it worked, again!

Forty shots and all of them on the paper at 25 yards. I’d call that success.

The scope is actually easy to use once you learn to trust it. I wasn’t used to seeing how much my hands shake and the scope really brings that out, so be prepared if you decide to get a pistol scope. I also find it difficult to believe that there’s any magnification at all. To me, it just looks like I am peering though a very clear window at the target about 40 feet away

I’m not finished with this test, because I still have to try the pistol with other pellets. I spent extra time trying to discover a good hold, and so far I’m satisfied. I’ll continue to experiment. For now, I think I know the best way to hold the gun for good groups. It just seems like those dang crosshairs are jumping all over the place!

Testing BSA’s 2X20 pistol scope: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Pyramyd Air has marked down their line of Falcon PCP rifles. Save up to $190 on some models. Check ‘em out. Now, on today’s blog.

It took a long time to get me to this point. As a handgun shooter I’ve always had great disdain for scoped pistols, because I couldn’t see what purpose they served. But, like many other things about which I have a strong opinion, I was in the minority. I finally broke down and took the plunge. Today, I’ll begin a report on BSA’s 2×20 pistol scope mounted on a Beeman P1 pistol. There’s more. To mount the scope, I had the use BKL’s 566 riser blocks that clamp to the P1′s 11mm dovetail rail and offer a Weaver base on top. Because this is a BKL product, we know that it isn’t going to move on the gun, and the Weaver base assures us that the scope rings are not going to move, either. That makes this a perfect scope-mounting solution for the P1, whose recoil has always presented a problem for scopes in the past.

Speaking of problems…
In fact, I was going to use the new BKL adjustable scope mount that I reported on back in July. There was only one problem with that. When I tried that mount on the P1, the recoil went in the wrong direction and the adjustable legs of the mount lifted out of their adjustment yoke. When I checked with BKL, I found that I’d gotten my wires crossed and they never intended that mount to be used on the P1. I’ll continue that report by selecting an appropriate air rifle on which to test the mount, and today I’ll start the report on the correct mount solution for the P1.

Installation
Installation of these two BKL risers on the P1 couldn’t be much easier. Remove the clamping screws so the front sight blade will clear and just slide the risers onto the rail. Then, install the screw and screw them in until the risers are tight. The P1 has a very wide dovetail of nearly 14mm, so these risers are machined especially for it and other guns of equal width.

I located the risers forward, close to the front sight because I knew I needed clearance for my hand to cock the pistol. And where they wound up was perfect. The scope does not intrude on my grip when cocking the pistol, which on a P1 means lifting the topstrap and rotating it forward.


The BKL risers allowed me to position the BSA scope in the right position for cocking the gun.

Because the BKL risers have Weaver bases on top, I was able to select some low Weaver rings to complete the installation. The BKL risers give more than enough clearance for the BSA 2×20 scope, which doesn’t have a very large ocular bell. The cross keys in each of the rings mean they’re not going anywhere.

The moment of truth approaches
Because the scope installation went so fast, I was now ready to begin testing, and this is where I faced my greatest fear. I’ve tested thousands of airguns throughout the years, but most of them have been rifles; and of the pistols I’ve tested, none of them ever wore a scope. This was my very first time. I felt like a unicycle rider who had agreed to walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls. Sure, I had good balance, but this was entirely new.

I think I felt like a new airgunner approaching a breakbarrel for the first time. What would keep the people from pulling back on the curtain and exposing me to all of Oz, when it became apparent that I couldn’t shoot this scoped pistol? Heck — I knew so little about shooting scoped handguns that I wouldn’t even know whether it was the gun or me that was putting the pellets into the drywall behind the trap.

The only thing that kept me on track was the knowledge that hundreds of other people have done this before. Surely if the emperor was truly naked, one of them would have spoken up by now? Then, the thought of present-day politics flooded my mind with doubt again.

Riding this turbulent sea of doubt, I addressed the target from 10 feet and let the first round fly. Wonder of wonders, the pellet went through the target paper! Not exactly where I’d aimed, of course, but close enough that I knew the danger of shooting out the house lights was over for the moment.

I backed up to 20 feet and loosed a second round. Again, the paper was hit and not that far from the first shot. Thus assured, I moved back to my rested position at 10 meters and started testing the gun and scope in earnest.

Today’s report is not going to end this test. Today, I’ll get the pistol zeroed for the accuracy test. I need the extra time to become familiar with holding a scoped pistol.

The Beeman P1 has two power levels, but I use high power because it’s more accurate than low power.

Finishing the zero
Back at 10 meters, it was time to adjust the scope. The caps come off and the knobs required either a coin or a screwdriver to turn. They have crisp click detents, so you know how far you’ve gone.

The reticles move in half-minute steps, but at only 11 yards there are still a lot of them required to move the strike of the pellet noticeably. After seeing the pellet move in the intended direction, I lost another fear that this scope would somehow not work as all other scopes had. It took about 10 pellets to get a reasonable zero. Then, I was ready to prove it.

Proving the zero meant a group of 10 shots, just like any air rifle would get. For me, it also meant learning how to hold the pistol to get the best results. I’m so used to holding handguns with one hand that any two-handed hold seems disturbingly complex to me. I know lots of people do it, and it can be very accurate.

I decided to use Crosman Premier lites for the sight-in, because I knew they worked well in my P1. They won’t cut a good hole in the target, but I’ll cross that bridge later.

I soon discovered that I should pull back with my left hand and push forward with my right, but I still need some practice. So the group below shows both potential as well as my not-yet-coming-to-grips with the hold, so to speak.

>
Ten Crosman Premier lites went into this target at 10 meters from the scoped Beeman P1 pistol. While this is not the best 10-meter pistol target I’ve ever shot, the group of five together under the 10-ring indicates this arrangement can work. The shots outside that group indicate that I still need to work on my hold.

What comes next?
This is a test of the BSA pistol scope, so that’s what I have to test. This first step taken today just got the scope mounted and started my education in using a scoped air pistol. I see that the hold is very important and also that it’s possible to do good work with the gun once you understand how to use the scope correctly.

I’ll also test the pistol with different pellets to see if I can find some good ones. In the past, I’ve used Premier lites in a P1, but I haven’t paid much attention to a P1 as anything other than a 10-meter target shooter. The scope will allow me to stretch out farther, once I learn how to hold it.

Tech Force TF99 Premier air rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


The Tech Force TF99 Premier underlever air rifle is a large, powerful spring gun. This model has evolved a lot over the years.

Before we begin today’s report, I have a special sale to announce. Pyramyd Air has a super special deal on two spring air rifles.

The RWS Diana 350 Magnum in .177 with the T05 trigger was $399 and has been reduced to $299.95. This is the T05 trigger model that we discovered works just as well as the newer T06 trigger. The Hammerli Pneuma in .177 was $349 and is now $299.95. Here’s your chance to get a fine PCP for $300!

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Tech Force TF99 Premier underlever air rifle. Some assumptions I made in Part 2 have to be changed after today’s test, but I’ll get to that.

Short scope dovetail
For starters, the TF99 has a very short dovetail for the scope mount, so one-piece mounts are mostly too long. I had to use a two-piece BKL one-inch, double-strap, high-profile ring set to mount the Leapers 3-9x50AO scope. The high mount gave me good clearance for the 50mm objective, but I had to hold my head higher on the comb to see the image in the scope.

Cleaned the barrel before shooting
I decided to go ahead and clean the barrel before testing with J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound on a brass brush run through the bore 20 times in both directions. Since this rifle has a sliding compression chamber, I had to enter the barrel at the muzzle. I put a cleaning patch over the air transfer port hole when the breech was slid back to prevent any dirt or cleaning compound from entering the compression chamber. The bore was loose and did not resist the brush like most new barrels do, so this bore is on the large side of normal.

Sight-in
I then sighted-in the rifle at 10 feet, prior to backing up to 25 yards. I used my special 10-minute sight-in procedure that works so well.

Some difficulties encountered
The rifle I’m testing has a lot of barrel droop, but the scope mount is not set up to compensate for it. Rather than spending another hour to re-do what I’d already finished to get to this point, I used a writer’s trick that works very well. The next time you think you have a scope problem, try doing this.

My groups were spread out laterally, and in a couple cases were falling into two distinct groups. That’s a classic sign of a weak erector tube spring, the cure for which is to adjust the scope’s elevation downward. So, I adjusted the elevation knob down 40 clicks and the lateral spread went away. Of course, my groups are nowhere near the point of aim. Since this test is just to determine the relative accuracy of the rifle, all I care about is how tight the groups are — not where they land. If I were going to shoot this rifle at targets, I would have to mount a drooper scope ring set to compensate for the droop so the scope could be adjusted normally.

Another difficulty I had was discovering how to hold the rifle. I tried it several ways with the off hand back by the triggerguard, but the TF99 doesn’t seem to want to be held that way. Then, I slid the flat of my palm out to the beginning of the cocking slot and that was where the rifle shot best. I remember when Mac tested the Browning Gold a few weeks ago that he found the same thing. Sometimes, you just need to play with the rifle until you discover its secrets.

Pellets tested
I tested a lot of different pellets while learning the secrets of this rifle, and I shot 10-shot groups with each pellet at least one time. With several of the pellets, I shot more than one group. Rather than show a bunch of large groups that were used to diagnose how the rifle likes to be held, here are the pellets I tested:

Beeman Kodiak
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome
RWS Superdome
Air Arms Diabolo Field dome 8.4 grains (JSB Exact)
RWS Hobby
Air Arms Falcon dome

Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that the RWS Hobbys are not the right pellet for this rifle. All other pellets tested seemed to group about the same, and the Beeman Kodiaks were the best of all I tested. But even with all the techniques and tricks, the TF99 is not a tackdriver. It’s capable of producing about a one-inch, 10-shot group at 25 yards under the best conditions. And, only Beeman Kodiaks were able to do that. The others seemed to group into 1-1/8-inch groups or slightly larger at the same distance.


Ten Beeman Kodiaks made this group that’s 0.946 inches between centers at 25 yards. The aim point was at the top of the target, about four inches above the impact point because the scope was adjusted down to eliminate erector tube bounce.

Velocity
I said I would retest velocity after the accuracy test because the rifle was dieseling during the initial velocity testing. Well, the dieseling continues after this test as well, and the 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers that averaged 956 f.p.s. in the first test now average 961 f.p.s. The spread went from a low of 951 to a high of 965 f.p.s., so the rifle hasn’t changed much even after 100 more shots have been fired. I think this is a rifle that needs a 1,000-shot break-in.

Firing behavior
The rifle has low recoil for its power, but it vibrates more than a little. I got used to a buzz after each shot.

The flat underside of the stock allows this rifle to lay very well on your off hand. It felt very neutral during accuracy testing, once the correct balance point was found.

The trigger is a single-stage and surprisingly crisp, though very heavy at the same time. I didn’t appreciate how it felt during velocity testing, but it came through loud and clear in this test. It’s a bit too heavy for the absolute best work, though I don’t think it cost me more than 1/8 inch in any of the better groups.

General impressions
The bottom line is that the TF99 underlever is a well-made, powerful underlever with reasonable accuracy if you do your part. It certainly isn’t a tackdriver, but it’ll hit a walnut or a cookie at 25 yards every time when the right pellet is used.

The right pellet, among those I tested, turned out to be the heavy Beeman Kodiak that I said I would not use in part 2. I said that because a spring-piston airgun generally likes medium and lightweight pellets best, but that was what I got wrong. This rifle likes the heavy pellets best, and it only came out when it was shot for accuracy.

New BKL mount adjusts for barrel droop: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Due to a mix-up, the most recent Big Shot of the Week winner wasn’t announced last Friday. Jeffrey Aaron Demers is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card.


Jeffrey Aaron Demers is this week’s Big Shot of the Week. Congratulations!


The optional BKL bubble level is mounted on the left side of the new BKL adjustable scope mount. This view shows the rear of the mount raised up to compensate for this rifle’s barrel droop.

Today, I’m going to show you the new BKL adjustable scope mount that will soon be available. I mentioned this mount in the Part 3 test of the new RWS Diana T06 trigger last week, which is where the first picture comes from. I’ll show all the nuances of the new mount and discuss how it works.


Looking up from the underside of the mount’s rear ring, we see the two legs that slide up and down for elevation compensation. Note that the ring has two cap screws.


The front ring is captured, so all it can do is rotate as the rear ring goes up or down. This prevents stress on the scope tube.

These first two detail shots show how the mount works. The rear ring moves up and down on forked legs that are open on the bottom. Two screws on the sides of the legs jam the ring tight in position when the right elevation is achieved.

The front ring is captive and is only able to rotate when the rear ring moves up and down. This prevents stress on the scope tube.


The black elevation pad is a Delrin screw that the scope tube rests on. It’s located just ahead of the rear ring.

Another key feature of this mount is the elevation pad, located back by the rear ring. The scope tube rests on this pad, which is used to make very small adjustments to the elevation of the scope. A small Allen wrench inserted into one of the holes in the periphery of the elevation pad lets you turn it up or down like a capstan, providing tight control over the elevation changes made. When the scope rests on the pad, it provides additional support against random movement once the scope ring screws are properly locked down.

Does it work?
I tested this mount on an RWS Diana 34P that I’ve retained for tests just like this. The rifle in question has 21 inches of droop at 20 yards (the only sight-in distance I use, since the pellet strikes the same place as the 30-yard point of intersection when it crosses the line of sight for the second time), making it a severe case of barrel droop. When I developed the UTG droop-compensated scope bases for RWS Diana spring rifles, this rifle was the worst test case, against which the base for the RWS Diana 34 base was designed. If the BKL mount can fix the droop on this rifle, it can fix anything you’re ever likely to encounter.

And fix it, it did! With the mount adjusted about as far up as it could go and still be locked in position, the scope was sighted-in dead-on at 25 yards, which is in the center of the 20-30 yard sight-in distance. And, the scope was in the center of its click-adjustment range. This was an acid test that the BKL mount passed with flying colors.

Another factor I was watching was the BKL mount’s ability to hold its position on a heavy-recoilling spring rifle. When the mount was given to me for testing, it had already withstood the jackhammer recoil of a Hatsan 125, which is even harder on scopes and mounts than the UK-produced Webley Patriot. Indeed, the scope that had been in that test was destroyed, but this mount held fast.

On the RWS Diana 34P, the mount also held fast under two different scopes, the intial one that finally gave up the ghost during my test and the replacement scope. Hundreds of test shots were fired without a hint of scope mount movement or scope movement in the rings. Despite there being just two screws per scope cap, both scopes remained in place throughout the test.

Additional features
This mount also offers 11mm dovetails on both sides of its base. If you want to attach a laser, tactical flashlight or rangefinder, your base for them is built right into the scope mount. Because BKL recesses the Allen screw heads into the base, both sides of the scope base have this feature and can be used in this way.


Here you can see one of the two 11mm dovetails in the base of the BKL mount. There’s another one on the other side, and recessed screw heads make it accessible for this purpose, as well.

The final feature this scope mount offers is the facility to mount a bubble level to the base of the new mount. It attaches to one of the three spreader holes in the base, though I think you’ll choose the hole that’s farthest from your eye so you can focus on the bubble. I used this level in the test of the RWS Diana 34P, and it worked well.


An optional BKL scope level can be screwed into one of the three spreader holes (the center hole in each group of three) on the base of the new BKL scope mount.

Mounting
If you need to spread the base of the mount to get it on a gun, the ring screws also have to be loosened. Then, the base can be spread evenly by the three spreader screws.

The best part
I’ve saved the best for last. When this mount was shown to me at the BKL factory, I was told that the motivation for making it the way they did wasn’t an air rifle, but a popular air pistol! The cuts on the mount are specific to clear the front sight on the Beeman P1/HW 45 spring air pistol.


The profile of the new BKL adjustable rings was made to accommodate (to clear) the front sight of the Beeman P1 pistol.


The Beeman P1 was the inspiration for the new BKL adjustable scope mount.

Because this is the first mount I’ve seen that was made for the P1, I think I’ll order a BSA pistol scope and give it a test. Whatever scope you select has to fit into the two rings that measure 4.0625 inches apart on the outside. Because this is a one-piece scope mount, those rings cannot be moved, so pick your scopes accordingly.

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