Posts Tagged ‘break-in’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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.
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 Kodiak Hollowpoints
Crosman Premier 10.5-grain
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
JSB Exact RS
JSB Exact 8.4-grain
JSB Exact 10.3-grain
Beeman Trophy (an obsolete domed pellet)
Eley Wasp (an obsolete domed 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.
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.
by B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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.
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.
by B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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.
by B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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.