Posts Tagged ‘Broomhandle Mauser’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today is a special test of the C96, requested by blog reader RidgeRunner and seconded by several others. You want to see if the pistol will be more accurate with Daisy’s Avanti Precision Ground Shot, which is made expressly for the Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. More accurate than what? More accurate than the best BB tested in Part 3, which turned out to be the Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs that shot the tightest groups with this pistol?
We know that the Daisy Premium Grade BB averaged 395 f.p.s. with a total velocity spread of 18 f.p.s. (from 386 f.p.s. to 404 f.p.s.). RidgeRunner suspected the Precision Ground Shot would be faster in this pistol because it’s usually slightly larger and also more uniform. So, I first shot it over the chronograph.
Avanti Precision Ground Shot averaged 381 f.p.s. on a fresh CO2 cartridge. The velocity spread was 19 f.p.s., with a low of 371 f.p.s and a high of 390 f.p.s. The spread was 1 f.p.s. larger with this shot than with the Daisy Premium Grade BBs, and the average velocity was 14 f.p.s. slower. So, that part of the theory didn’t test out.
On to the accuracy test
I offered to do a blind test, but RidgeRunner trusted me to try my hardest with each BB: and that’s good because there’s a definite difference in appearance between the Premium Grade BBs and the Precision Ground Shot. The latter are not as shiny and appear more silver than steel in color than the Premium Grade BBs. I would have known which BB I was shooting.
The distance was the same 5 meters that was used for the first test, and I used the back of a chair to steady my hands as I held the pistol, just like I did before. This resulted in a very stable hold for every shot.
Daisy Premium Grade BBs
I shot 2 groups of 10 with each BB. The first group of Daisy Premium Grade BBs measured 1.115 inches between centers. Two BBs landed outside the black bull. The second group measured 0.644 inches between centers. That’s almost half the size of the first group, so you can see how much latittude there is with BBs — even at 5 meters.
Avanti Precision Ground Shot
Now, it’s time to test the Avanti Precision Ground Shot. This shot is ground to work best in the 499 BB gun, only. But you readers wondered if it would also be more accurate in the C96 BB pistol. To test that theory, I shot another 2 groups of 10 shots each at the same 5 meters. The first group measured 0.954 inches between centers. One BB was outside the black, and 2 more were right on the edge.
The second group I shot with this ammunition measured 0.556 inches between centers. It’s the smallest group of this session and would seem to lend credence to the Precision Ground Shot being more accurate than the Daisy Premium Grade BBs. However, the difference in group sizes of the 2 different BBs is not so great as to be overwhelming. Yes, both groups with Precision Ground Shot are tighter than the corresponding 2 groups made with the Daisy Premium Grade BBs, but the differences are not large. I don’t think they justify shooting the Precision Ground Shot in the pistol since they cost roughly 2.5 times more.
The Avanti shot went slower than the Daisy Premium Grade BBs and also varied more. However, the difference wasn’t much in either category.
The Avanti shot also appears to be slightly more accurate than the Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Again, the difference is very small, but it is there.
I’m surprised by these results. I predicted the Avanti shot would be faster because of its slightly larger size, but that it wouldn’t be any more accurate. So, I was wrong on both counts. I don’t think the difference between the two types of ammunition weighs in favor of using the Avanti shot in this gun, but it’s really a call the owner of the gun needs to make.
My thanks to RidgeRunner and others who asked for this test.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol, and I can sum it up in a single word: Spectacular! Those who like accurate BB pistols will want to put this one on their list.
I shoot all BB guns at 5 meters, which is about 16 feet, 5 inches. While that sounds incredibly close, it is the distance at which the Daisy National BB Gun Championship is shot; and if it’s good enough for the champions, it’s good enough for me. Besides, testing all BB guns at the same distance gives consistent results that can be compared across many tests.
I shot this test with my forearms rested on the back of a wooden chair, and the gun held in 2 hands. That eliminated as much of me as possible, giving the pistol a fair chance to shoot its best.
I used 50-foot smallbore rifle targets whose black bulls are almost 1.5 inches across. At 5 meters, they make perfect aim points for open sights. The C96 has a tapered post front sight and a V-notch in the rear. When the target is illuminated with 500 watts of halogen light, the sight picture becomes sharp and crisp, and sighting can be precise.
Daisy Premium Grade BBs
The first target was shot with Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs. The very first shot hit at the extreme bottom of the paper target, and I discovered one of the great features of this pistol. It has a tangent rear sight like the firearm it copies, and it was easy to raise the rear notch up just a bit. By sheer luck I got the elevation almost perfect on the first try, so I left the sights alone after that.
The next 9 BBs went into a shockingly small group, so I loaded one more BB into the magazine to make up for the first shot that was low. When I fired it, it was the only Daisy BB to hit outside the black after the sight adjustment. The 10-shot group measures 0.852 inches between centers. I think you’ll agree this is a very nice group of 10 from any BB pistol!
Next up were Crosman Copperhead BBs. They hit the target in the same place as the Daisys, and the 10-shot group measures 0.937 inches, which isn’t much different than what the Daisy BBs did.
Umarex Precision Steel BBs
Finally, I tried the Umarex Precision steel BBs. They rival the Daisys in precision and this time that was evident. Ten of them went into 0.863 inches, with nine of them in a much tighter bunch. Like the other 2 BBs, these also threw a single BB into the white.
Like the Mauser firearm it copies, this BB pistol has no provision for windage adjustments. Both the Mauser firearms I owned shot about a foot to the left at 25 yards, so I’m used to this. Some older pistols have sights that can at least be drifted to the side in dovetails, but not the Mauser. With this gun, you soon learn to apply Kentucky windage to lay your shots where you want them.
But let’s face it, this isn’t a realistic test for a BB pistol. BB gun shooters plink at cans. They don’t shoot groups at paper targets — at least not often. This pistol is easily a minute-of-Coke-can handgun out to 20 yards.
I found 2 things about the trigger pull when conducting this test. The first is that the trigger blade is located too close to the grip. That’s a part of the lack of ergonomics that the Broomhandle family of pistols all share, and there’s nothing to be done for it. This BB pistol is a faithful copy of the firearm, including a less-than-optimum grip.
The second thing I noticed was how hard the 2-stage trigger seemed to pull. Looking back at Part 2, I see that I did not measure the pull, so I got out the electronic gauge and measured it this time. Stage 1 requires between 2 and 3 lbs. to complete, and stage 2 breaks at an average of 7 lbs., 11 ozs. The range went from 7 lbs., 1 oz. to 8 lbs., 3 oz.; and the slower and more deliberate the pull, the greater the force required.
Even with that, though, the pistol is blisteringly accurate. And the blowback is pleasant. It’s nothing like the snapping recoil of a 7.63mm Mauser cartridge. So, there’s a benefit of shooting the BB gun over the firearm.
Umarex has a winner, here. Their Legends airguns are all remarkable guns, and the C96 takes its place among them proudly. Not only is it realistic-looking, it gets an astounding number of shots per CO2 cartridge; and, as we now see, those shots all go to the same place.
Let’s look at the velocity of the Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol. It’s advertised at 380 f.p.s., and we know that it has blowback. So, it’ll be interesting to see just how powerful this pistol really is, as well as how many shots it gets.
The first BB I tested was the Crosman Copperhead. They were tested when the CO2 cartridge was fresh, which boosted their average velocity a few f.p.s. They averaged 402 f.p.s, with a spread from 392 to a high of 409 f.p.s. At the average velocity, Copperheads generated 1.83 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
I found the magazine very easy to load. Pull the follower all the way down and twist the tab into a slot to lock it back, then the BBs are dropped into a trough where an opening dumps them into the single stack slot in the mag. Release the follower, and the gun is loaded. I found the rated capacity of 19 BBs to be spot-on.
Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs
Next up were Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs. I though they might be a little faster than the Copperheads, but they weren’t. They averaged 395 f.p.s., with a low of 386 and a high of 404 f.p.s. At the average velocity they produced 1.77 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
All the time I was chronographing the gun I was also counting all the shots. I noticed that when you load a new magazine, the first shot will always be a blank. That’s because of how the gun’s feed mechanism works. I did count those shots in the total because they used up gas the same as if a BB had been shot.
Umarex Precision steel BBs
The final BBs I tested were the Umarex Precision steel BBs. They averaged 394 f.p.s. with a low of 385 and a high of 404 f.p.s. That parallels the Daisy BBs pretty close. At the average velocity, these BBs produce 1.76 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
During the chronographing session, I was waiting a minimum of 10-15 seconds between shots to allow the gun to recover from the cooling effects of the gas. But after the 3 test strings were finished, I continued shooting Umarex steel BBs to see how many good shots there are on one CO2 cartridge. I went much faster during this shooting, with less than a second between each shot. I think this is closer to the way most shooters will use the gun.
I kept expecting the pistol to run out of gas at any time, and it kept right on shooting and surprising me. Finally, at shot 103, I chronographed an Umarex BB going out at 336 f.p.s. While that is slower than the recorded average, you have to take into account the fact that I was now firing the pistol very fast and allowing it no time to warm up. So, an unexpected finding was that this pistol doesn’t suffer as much from the cooling of the gas as most CO2 guns. There normally would be at least a 100 f.p.s. velocity drop when shooting this fast.
Finally, after shot 123, the hammer didn’t cock for the first time. I cocked it manually and kept on shooting, but it failed to cock again after a few more shots. The gun was now out of gas. Had I wanted to get more shots from it, all I needed to do was slow down my shooting to allow more time for the gun to warm up. I think the shot count could easily be stretched out to 140-150 shots that way.
So, the pistol shoots a little faster than advertised, and it gets a very respectable number of shots from a CO2 cartridge. That’s 2 big plusses for the gun.
Next on the schedule is accuracy testing. I’m looking forward to that! I have to tell you that this C96 is a very neat CO2 BB pistol. Of course, it isn’t ergonomic, but neither is the C96 firearm it copies. It’s not supposed to fit you well — it’s supposed to look like the real deal, and I think it does that very well.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Let’s cut to the chase. The title of this report says Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol, but Americans are going to call this a Broomhandle Mauser because of the shape of the pistol grip. The Legends part comes from the Umarex line of replica air pistols.
Before we continue, I want to express my concern about the Umarex lookalike airguns. I got a CO2 Colt M1911A1 pellet pistol when they first came out, and soon I had 4 different M1911/1911A1 firearms to go with it. Then the PPK/S BB pistol hit the market, and I got one of those. Not long after that, I added a .22 rimfire PPK/S to my firearms collection. Then came the Walther Lever Action rifle. Good, I thought. I’ll never buy the Winchester 30/30 1894 that it is patterned after. But I didn’t need to, because Edith did.
Then came the Magnum Research Desert Eagle pellet pistol. I knew I would never own the firearm version of that big hand cannon, but 2 years ago I got an IMI .357 Magnum Desert Eagle.
Of course there was the Makarov BB pistol that I used to train Crystal Ackley to shoot on American Airgunner. I say “train” advisedly; because after her first magazine, she was out-shooting me! That pistol spawned the purchase of both a 9mm Bulgarian Makarov, as well as the genuine Makarov firearm that the Russians at IZH turned into a BB pistol.
And just last year, Umarex came out with the Parabellum P08. I had already owned a junker Luger in the early 1970s, and I swore that I would never own another one. Well, my resolve being what it is, this past Christmas, Edith gifted me with a 1917 Erfurt P08 that is definitely not a junker!
And, now, I must confess that in my youth I’ve owned not 1 but 2 different low-grade Broomhandles. Both were in 7.63mm Mauser caliber, and neither one was particularly accurate. I reloaded for the last one, which might have been a large part of its problem. And here’s the Legends C96 Broomhandle! Lordy, I can’t afford to keep this up! I just hope they don’t bring out a Colt Walker next!
Is it a C96?
Technically, this pistol is not a C96. It is a copy of the M32/712 Schnellfeuer (German for rapid fire) pistol that has a selector switch on the left side of the gun for semi- and full-automatic operation, but it’s just a cast detail and is entirely non-functional. It also has a detachable magazine hanging down in front of the triggerguard, just like the 20-shot Schnellfeuer.
The C96 never had the detachable magazine or the selector switch. It has an internal 10-round magazine that’s loaded from the top of the gun through the ejection port with 10-round stripper clips. The bottom of the C96 magazine is flush with the bottom of the triggerguard. It’s true that the C96 magazine floorplate can be removed and a separate, detachable magazine can be installed, but these were never a popular option for the C96. I suppose only collectors and students of history will know the difference, so I’ll call this pistol the C96 from this point on.
The Legends C96 is a 19-shot BB pistol powered by CO2. The CO2 cartridge and BB magazine are housed together in a single removable magazine unit that’s located in front of the triggerguard. Press a button on the right side of the receiver to release the mag.
There’s a lower magazine cover that hides the CO2 screw and the CO2 cartridge. This is something BB gun shooters are very sensitive about, so it was a necessary feature that completes the look of the gun.
The magazine has been removed, and the lower cover is off. You can see the selector switch in this photo.
When the CO2 cartridge is installed and the magazine is loaded, you might think the pistol would be muzzle-heavy like the firearm, but I don’t find that to be the case. This BB pistol is light enough that there’s very little muzzle heaviness. And it’s light because it’s made with a lot of synthetics. But this stuff is dense, strong and difficult to tell from metal. A matte finish makes it even more difficult to identify.
The pistol grip butt is slotted for a shoulder stock, just like the firearm. Those stocks are hollow wooden holsters with steel attachments that lock into the pistol at this point — forming a small carbine. However, since the gun is made of synthetic, I’m guessing a shoulder stock will not be an option since it would invite fractures at this slot.
Not having a shoulder stock is not a great loss, though. I’ve fired the Broomhandle as a carbine and found it to be very inaccurate. Of course, that could just be the ammo I used, once again. But any pistol/carbine is a compromise, and none of them have a reputation for accuracy or even utility. It would be nice to have an authentic holster in which to carry the pistol, though.
Since the pistol is made to also be a carbine, the rear sight is an adjustable tangent leaf that adjusts up to 1,000 meters. The BB pistol has the same markings on its tangent sight leaf, though no shooter should ever expect to shoot a BB that far unless it’s downward from a high platform. But it does give you the option of elevation for close-range shooting. There’s no windage adjustment on this BB pistol or on the Mauser firearms.
This pistol has true blowback! Just like the firearm, the bolt handle comes back with each shot and cocks the hammer, so every shot is single-action. You must cock the hammer for the first shot. Some writers have suggested this is not a blowback pistol, but I think they’re not familiar with the C96 Mauser action. It doesn’t have a conventional slide like many autoloading pistols. The bolt is what moves to cock the hammer; and on the firearm, it also ejects the spent cartridge and strips a fresh one from the top of the magazine.
So, the Legends C96 is a true semiautomatic CO2 pistol. The trigger-pull is light and crisp. Unfortunately, unlike the firearm, the bolt does not stay open after the last shot’s been fired, so it’s up to the shooter to know when the last BB has been fired. You can continue to pull the trigger without BBs if you like.
The barrel of the Mauser firearm is dovetailed to the frame and does move when the gun recoils. It’s how the designers delayed the opening of the bolt until after the high-pressure gasses were exhausted. It also allows the pistol to tolerate ammunition with a wider range of power. The BB pistol looks the same as the firearm, but that’s just the casting details. The barrel does not move.
Although it has blowback, this BB pistol will not recoil like the firearm. A Broomhandle Mauser really snaps your hand back, despite being chambered for light cartridges like the 7.63 Mauser and the 9mm Luger. That’s because the bore is high above the grip, so the recoil has nothing to slow it down. I remember the recoil as one of the bad points of a Broomhandle.
Yes, the blowback of this BB pistol does give the shooter a sense that the gun has fired, but there’s no heavy snap to your wrist. Trust me, this is better!
The safety is identical to the Mauser firearm part and works the same way. I found it to be positive and much easier to apply than the firearm safety.
When Herr Wonish of Umarex told me last February this pistol was coming, I told him I was eager to see it. Now it’s here, and I intend examining it thoroughly!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Announcement: Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Month for February is Albert Kong. He’ll receive a $100 gift card. Congratulations! If you’d like a chance to be the next Big Shot, you can enter on Pyramyd Air’s Facebook page.
Albert Kong is the March Big Shot of the Month on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.
This past week, I was in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, the home of Umarex USA, to participate in some of the filming of the new American Airgunner television show. The show will start airing on the Pursuit Channel in July, and from what I saw during the filming, it’s going to be very fast-paced and interesting. They selected Rossi Morreale as the host, and I don’t think they could have made a better choice. Rossi’s resume includes hosting shows like Belly of the Beast, NBC’s Escape Routes and my favorite — Junkyard Mega-Wars. A former wide receiver for the Arkansas Razorbacks, he’s just as nice and genuine off-camera as he is on, and he really puts a lot of energy into his work.
Rossi and I filmed some outdoor show segments at the cabin in the hills above Ft. Smith.
Rick Eutsler and Jim Chapman joined me for the filming, so we all got to hang out and talk airguns for several days. I love this job! On camera, the three of us participated in something called the Round Table, which will be a regular show segment. Our perspectives on each topic are different, and it was nice to hear what the other guys had to say about the issues.
We also toured the facility while I was there. I got to see their warehouse (which they’ve now outgrown), their quality control facility, their technical department (where all your questions get answered), the offices of their corporate staff and last — but far from least — their indoor firing range.
The warehouse is “just” a warehouse, except that it has narrow aisles with cables laid beneath the floor to guide electronic pickers through the maze. The one thing that impressed me was the cleanliness and high level of light in these spaces. They’re growing so fast that they had to expand the warehouse into other space that was originally reserved for manufacturing. Because large shipments pass through the warehouse all the time, things have to be maintained shipshape and organized — and believe me, they are!
Marketing director Justin Biddle showed me the lithographed box for the P-08 BB pistol I recently tested for you. The P-08 joins the Makarov in the Legends line marketed by Umarex.
Quality technician Rustin Bates is responsible for testing the quality of all products that pass through the doors. He pulls samples from incoming shipments and inspects them to make sure they meet corporate quality standards.
Quality control at Umarex USA is an ongoing task, not just because they continually receive products from many manufacturers that must be checked, but also because they watch for product changes that might not have been announced. They do plan on manufacturing at Ft. Smith in the future, so the QC space is much larger than even the current high traffic volume demands.
Besides the QC lab, they also have a large space reserved for returns from commercial accounts. Large customers, such as the big discount chains, have varying policies regarding returns, and Umarex USA has to take all this product back. Some companies allow returns for any reason and spend no time looking at them before shipping them back. They just return them for credit. Other chains have stricter policies, plus they do some evaluation of the returns before sending them back. But whatever comes back must be checked — whether or not it was ever opened.
Everything that comes back from the commercial accounts flows through the returns department, where it’s restored to new condition and repackaged by service technicians. I don’t know about you, but I hate putting a gun back into the box exactly the way it came from the factory, and these guys and gals have to do it with dozens of different guns hundreds of times each day.
The consumer side of the house
After seeing the commercial side of their operations, we were taken through the consumer side. This is where all of you interface with the company; and after seeing it, I have great confidence that you’ll be well-served.
Our first stop was in the service department, where the technicians work on customer repairs and modifications. Department head, Glenn Seiter, showed us through his shop.
Janice Raab, Walther’s Director of Marketing for Competitive Shooting, talks with Jim Chapman (left, and Rossi) in the Umarex repair shop.
One of two chronograph ranges in the repair shop. This one is for pellet guns and airsoft. The other one is for firearms and has a snail bullet trap and an expensive air filtration system.
Glenn then took us to his call center, where the technicians handle all the service calls. He monitors every call for the time it takes to answer, the time spent resolving the problem and so on. Those statistics are displayed for each technician on a large monitor in the hall outside the call center offices so everyone can see how they’re doing. Glenn uses this information to know that his shop is keeping pace with demand or if he needs to add a person to maintain turnaround time.
Also in the hall is a large cabinet with every model gun currently in the Umarex/RWS inventory. When someone calls with a question, the technician can go get the same gun the caller has, so they can talk about it in detail. That’s a wonderful idea!
The indoor range
The tour ended at the company’s indoor range, where Rick Eutsler and I were offered the opportunity to shoot several Umarex airguns, BB guns and Walther firearms. The range has two 50-yard lanes with automatic target carriers, so we each took up a position and opened fire.
Rossi looks on as Rustin checks the lane for us. Before the range went hot, we all donned safety glasses and hearing protection.
Would I like to shoot the new Walther .22 rimfire PPK/S? You betcha!
Rick and I spent considerable time on the range while Rossi traveled to a cabin in the hills to film more segments for the show. I made sure Rick got to try the new Walther LGV rifle, and he liked it just as much as I.
We both enjoyed shooting Walther’s new 9mm PPQ and PPX pistols. I found them both to be as accurate as my 1911s, plus they recoil about the same even though they’re a pound lighter because of their synthetic frames.
Things yet to come
At dinner one evening, I sat next to Martin Wonisch, a managing partner of Umarex. When I thanked him for bringing out the P-08 pistol this year, he asked me what other guns I would like to see in their Legends lineup besides the Makarov. I mentioned the C96 (Broomhandle) Mauser, and he told me that it’s in the works. He also confirmed that it will have blowback.
The C96 (Broomhandle) Mauser pistol is coming. It will have blowback!
Then, I said the Colt Single Action Army, and we discussed the challenge of doing that. The SAA grip is too short to accept a 12-gram CO2 cartridge, but I mentioned that the Colt 1860 Army grip is a half-inch longer and might work in its place. He said they would look into it. But did I have any more iconic handguns I’d like to see?
I thought for several moments and started to suggest things most of you wouldn’t recognize — like the S&W Triple Lock and the Colt New Service revolvers. Then it hit me — the most iconic double-action revolver of all — the Colt Python! Because Umarex can now put a mirror finish on their pellet guns, I felt they could nail the Colt Royal Blue finish found on many of the Pythons. So, I spoke for all of you and recommended they look at producing the Python soon. I know I will buy one!
The trip to Ft. Smith was a success in all respects. We got a tremendous amount of film in the can because of the super-professional film crew from 5-Star Productions, and I got to work with some wonderful people both on- and off-camera. The tour of Umarex USA was an eye-opener for me, plus it gave me a number of ideas for future articles and blogs.
Best of all, I was able to communicate my appreciation for the new Walther LGV rifle. I told them I was prolonging the test(s) of the new rifle until the first shipments arrive for U.S. sales (so they will sell me the test gun) and was told they would be here in about one month. It won’t be that long before some of you can join me in celebrating the best new spring gun of this century.