Posts Tagged ‘break-in’

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.

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.

Hatsan Torpedo 155 underlever air rifle: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Hatsan’s Torpedo 155 underlever is a large and powerful spring-piston air rifle.

Today is the day I mount a scope on the Hatsan Torpedo 155 and test its accuracy once more. Knowing how much interest there is, I decided to pull out all the stops and mount the best scope I have on hand — the Hawke 4.5-14x42AO Sidewinder Tactical scope. Because the Hatsan scope base allows me to mount either Weaver or 11mm rings — and because the Hawke scope has a 30mm tube — I decided to use a set of two-piece Leapers high rings made for an 11mm rail. The straight line of the Hatsan stock coupled with the high comb made such a high mount work perfectly.

I promised to measure the trigger pull during this test. It broke at 5 lbs., 11 oz. with a lot of creep in stage two. I don’t think this trigger is going to break-in the way I’d hoped.

The rifle was tested at 25 yards off a bag rest using the artillery hold. Each new pellet was seasoned with several shots before shooting the group.

The best pellet last time was the Gamo TS-22 dome. This time, not so much. I know they should have been at least as good as they were in the last test with open sights, but for some reason I couldn’t get them to shoot this time. When you’re testing a rifle that cocks at 54 lbs., you don’t have all day to test different pellets; so three groups were all I shot. I’m showing the best one with no comment about the size. Suffice to say, this is not a good pellet for this rifle.

This time the Gamo TS-22 pellet didn’t do so well. This is the best of three groups I shot.

Next, I tried the RWS Superdome. I was worried they would go supersonic and make too much noise for the house, but they never did. However, they were all over the paper. I tried several variations of the artillery hold, but nothing seemed to work.

The last pellet I tried was the 5.6mm Eley Wasp that’s no longer available. I figured if it would shoot well, there might be another pellet on the market I could try. They did better than the TS-22 pellets did, but not as good as they did in the open sight test.

Ten Eley Wasps shot better than 10 TS-22s, but only by a little bit. This is still no group for a hunting rifle at 25 yards.

The rifle comes with a plastic clamp-on bipod. You just clip it onto the underlever at any point. It slips forward and back on the lever as the gun is moved, and it also allows the rifle to rotate from side to side a little. It does steady the rifle, but you have to remove it before you cock the gun. So, there’s no chance for it to settle in. I found it was just one more step added to cocking and loading the rifle. When I tried to shoot a group with it, the shots went everywhere. I stopped before putting one in the wall.

The plastic bipod clips onto the underlever as shown. It can be slid from one end of the lever to the other to change the balance point.

I find the Hatsan Torpedo 155 underlever to be too inaccurate to recommend. It takes a lot of technique to shoot it as well as I have shown here, plus it’s a bear to cock and the trigger is extremely creepy. I think I’ve given the rifle every chance to shine in this review…and it hasn’t. It’s a very powerful spring gun, but power without accuracy is meaningless. It looks great, but it needs about 10 foot-pounds less muzzle energy to really shine, I think.

Hatsan Torpedo 155 underlever air rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Hatsan’s Torpedo 155 underlever is a large and powerful spring-air rifle.

Let’s look at the accuracy of the Hatsan Torpedo 155 air rifle. The thing I was concerned about was how the movable barrel affects accuracy, and also how the gun handled in general.

The artillery hold
I knew the rifle would be sensitive to how it is held, so I approached it with kid gloves. I initially balanced the rifle with the forearm resting on my flat open hand while the heel was touching the triggerguard. That makes the rifle muzzle heavy and often it stabilizes the gun. Beeman Kodiaks were the first pellets I tried. The distance was 25 yards off a rest, and this time I used the open sights, exclusively.

Open sights
The open sights are fiberoptic, so you know they are large and somewhat imprecise. I used a 6 o’clock hold but couldn’t see the sides of the rear sight, so there was more horizontal dispersion than there normally would be. The rifle was very close to being on target right from the box, and it took only a few small adjustments to get it shooting where I wanted.

Kodiaks were first
At 21 grains, the Beeman Kodiaks are heavy enough to keep the rifle from breaking the sound barrier. Since I was shooting inside my house, that was important.

But they didn’t group — no matter how I held the rifle. With my hand back against the triggerguard, 10 Kodiaks made a group larger than four inches! I moved my hand forward to the cocking slot, hoping the change would improve things…but, again, I got a four-inch group. Kodiak pellets were just not right for this rifle.

JSB Exact Jumbo heavies
The 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets were next. This is a pellet that really does well in more powerful PCPs, and I thought that might carry over to the big Hatsan. Again, no dice. I shot them with both handholds previously mentioned and also with the rifle rested directly on the bag. Nothing worked, and the groups were all around the three-inch size. So, another pellet that I couldn’t get to shoot. The only interesting thing I noticed was that resting the rifle directly on the bag didn’t make it any less accurate. That was an exception to the norm.

Gamo TS-22
The final pellet I tried was the Gamo TS-22. This is a 22-grain dome that you haven’t seen me test very much, because I haven’t found it to be accurate in anything until now. But in this Hatsan underlever, it was the best pellet I tested. The group was much smaller than all the others, plus I tried a third variation of the artillery hold — with my hand under the brass button that releases the cocking lever. That’s about halfway between both of the other two holds, and the rifle seems balanced at that point. What I’m going to show you is not a great group for 10 shots at 25 yards, but it is significantly better than those made by the other two pellets.

It’s not a great group, but these Gamo TS-22 pellets stayed together better than the other two I tried. Group measures 2.658 inches between centers. It indicates the rifle wants to shoot, but the open sights may be holding it back.

After shooting this better group, I tried another target with Kodiaks using the new holding method. The group opened back up to over three inches, so the assessment that Kodiaks were not right for the gun still stands.

Remember what the cocking effort measured during the velocity test? It was right at 64 lbs. of effort. After today’s accuracy test in which another 60 pellets were fired, the cocking effort had fallen to just 54 lbs. As expected, the rifle is clearly breaking in.

The trigger releases with a lighter pull than before, though I didn’t measure it again. Stage two has a bucketful of creep, but it’s now very light creep. I think the trigger is getting better with use, as well. I’ll measure it, again, when I do the next accuracy test.

The overall firing behavior is now faster and has less recoil than it did during the velocity test. That’s one more indication that the rifle’s breaking in.

Conclusions thus far
The Hatsan Torpedo 155 seems to need a prolonged break-in, like the air rifles of old. It’s a shame I can’t give it that kind of attention, but all indicators are that it will smooth out as the shots stack up. It’ll never be a plinker because of the size, weight and power it projects; but if I can get it to shoot accurately, it might be a viable spring hunting rifle.

Next, I’ll test it with a scope.

Hatsan Torpedo 155 underlever air rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Hatsan’s Torpedo 155 underlever is a large and powerful spring air rifle.

Today, I’ll shoot the Hatsan Torpedo 155 for the first time. As you remember from Part 1, this is a huge, heavy air rifle that the manufacturer lists at 1,000 f.p.s. in the .22 caliber I’m testing.

It has a serial number
In Part 1, I mentioned that I couldn’t find the serial number. Edith looked for it and was unable to find it, either. But it’s there — directly behind the image of a pellet on the left side of the spring tube and looks like the speeding lines of a pellet in flight. Too small for old eyes, I guess. The serial number of the rifle I’m testing is 111124934.

Cocking effort
In the first report, I estimated the cocking effort would be between 60 and 70 lbs. It measures 64 lbs. on my bathroom scale. That makes this a rifle for strong men, and some will not be able to cock it at all. For most people, it’ll be a two-handed operation.

Hatsan rates the .22-caliber Torpedo 155 at 1,000 f.p.s., which means it should handle heavier .22 pellets well. That being the case, I began the test with Beeman Kodiaks. This 21-grain lead pellet is considered a heavy pellet in .22 caliber, plus it’s also one of the most accurate pellets on the market. At the start of the shot string, there were several faster shots; but after the first four were fired, the rifle settled down. After that, it averaged 772 f.p.s. with the Kodiaks. The range, once the velocity stabilized, was from a low of 767 f.p.s. to a high of 779 f.p.s. — a spread of just 12 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet averaged 27.8 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. That’s up in the super-magnum class for springers!

The next pellet I tested was the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy. This pellet was a loose fit in the rifle’s breech, and the results were not good. They averaged 779 f.p.s., but the spread went from a low of 669 f.p.s. to a high of 854 f.p.s. That’s 185 f.p.s., which is far too much for good results. At first I thought perhaps the rifle needed to get used to them, but that wasn’t the case. They were just all over the place. At the average velocity they produced 24.4 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Then I tried the RWS Superdome pellet that weighs 14.5 grains. They averaged 951 f.p.s., but once more the range of velocities was larger — going from 906 to 960 f.p.s. That’s a 54 f.p.s spread. This is another pellet I don’t think will do too well in the rifle in accuracy tests. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 29.13 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Can it do 1000?
Yeah, says everyone, but can it really do 1,000 f.p.s.? I was interested, as well, so I shot five RWS Hobbys. Here is a list of the velocities:

Shot —> Velocity
1 ———> 1,000
2 ———> 1,036
3 ———> 1,009
4 ———> 1,009
5 ———> 1,014

The average for that string is 1,014 f.p.s., which gives us an energy of 27.18 foot-pounds. And it answers the question of whether the Hatsan Torpedo 155 can really shoot a .22 pellet at 1,000 f.p.s.

Trigger-pull weight
The Torpedo 155 has a Quattro trigger; so after all testing was completed, I checked the pull weight. This trigger varies greatly, depending on how you pull it. The best (lightest) way is to get down low on the trigger blade and pull back and slightly up. Doing that, the trigger breaks at 6 lbs., 7 oz. with a lot of creep in stage two.

The rifle’s action was noisy and stiff when I started the test. As the shot count grew some of the stiffness seemed to disappear. I think this is an air rifle that needs to be broken in over many shots. Some of the Gamos from the later 1980s and early ’90s needed 3,000 to 4,000 shots to become smooth and nice to shoot. But like the Hatsans, they were also stiff and creepy in the beginning. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the cocking effort drop back under 60 lbs. as the rifle breaks in.

The next step with this rifle will be a test of accuracy using the open sights. I will get to learn the rifle’s quirks that way, and also put a few more shots on the action.

Top-notch springer
Air Arms TX200 air rifle

When it comes to spring-piston air rifles, the Air Arms TX200 Mk III is a favorite of many airgunners, including airgun writer Tom Gaylord. His favorite caliber is .177. While the gun will initially impress you with its beauty and superior craftsmanship, you'll be even more impressed with the incredible accuracy! Tom claims this is "the most accurate spring gun below $3,000." Beech or walnut, left-hand or right-hand stock. Isn't it time you got yours?

All the fun, none of the hassles!
Uzi CO2 BB submachine gun

You've seen tons of movies with guys spraying bullets from their Uzi submachine guns and probably thought it would be a blast. Except for the cost of ammo! You can have all that fun with this Uzi BB submachine gun at just pennies a round. Throw shots downrange for hours on end with all the fun, none of the firearm hassles and a fraction of the cost.