Posts Tagged ‘BSA Wolverine pellets’

Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 6

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Crosman’s new MAR177 upper is big news!

Today’s test is shooting the Crosman MAR177 at 25 yards, both with and without the magazine. We’ll also shoot it with the best wadcutter target pellets and the best domed pellets to see what differences there are.

Rather than shoot the rifle myself, I let Mac shoot it this time. He is the better rifle shot between us, and I just wanted to see what the rifle would be like in his hands. He shot it off a bag rest at 25 yards indoors. Ten pellets were shot from the magazine, then another 10 of the same pellet were shot using the single-shot tray. Mac tested both domed and wadcutter pellets, so we get to compare the relative accuracy of both today. And the results did not turn out as I expected.

I’d noted in an earlier report that the particular 10-shot magazine I’ve been using has two chambers with tight entrances. Mac found the same thing without being prompted by me. I had him use the same magazine as I did so I could compare his results with all other variables remaining the same.

You’ll recall that I mentioned not liking magazine guns because of how they handle the pellets. So, today was also a test between the magazine and loading each pellet as you shoot. I’m not saying that all pellets have feeding problems, but that some magazines may have a problem. But when you load each pellet singly, you have less chance of damaging the pellet.

Single-load tray
That said, the MAR177 has a gap at the front of the single-load tray that can catch the nose of certain pellets and make it very difficult to load. The H&N Field Target pellets that were the most accurate in an earlier test had this problem and had to be exchanged for a different domed pellet. The H&Ns have a semi-wadcutter rim around the head that just catches in the gap on the tray and causes the pellets to flip up and possibly get damaged on loading. I substituted 7.3-grain Air Arms Falcon pellets that fed perfectly through the tray.

On to the shooting
Let’s get right to today’s test. First, Mac tested the domed pellets at 25 yards.

Through the 10-shot magazine, 10 Falcon pellets made this 0.667-inch group at 25 yards. This is very good!

When the single-shot tray was used, 10 Falcon pellets made this 0.429-inch group at 25 yards. This is clearly better than the group made using magazine-fed pellets.

Mac tried the H&N Field Target pellets first, and they were very accurate, but a couple of them refused to feed through the magazine. But the Falcon pellets fed flawlessly, so we changed the test to use them as the domed pellet of choice. Once again, I want to say that in another magazine this pellet might have fed better, but this is a quirk you get with mags that you don’t get when loading singly.

Clearly the single-loaded pellets are more accurate than those loaded by the magazine. That may not hold from magazine to magazine; but for this one mag, you’re better off loading the pellets one at a time. Let’s see how the rifle does with wadcutters at 25 yards.

Using the magazine, 10 RWS R10 7.7-grain pellets (an obsolete weight for the R10) grouped in 0.484 inches at 25 yards. That’s great performance.

When each pellet was loaded singly, the R10s grouped 10 in 0.402 inches. This was the best group of the test!

The trend continued with the wadcutter pellets. The R10s grouped even tighter than the Falcons at 25 yards, and those that were loaded singly did much better than those that fed through the magazine.

What have we learned?
First, we’ve learned that some magazines do influence the accuracy of the gun with all ammunition — or at least with the pellet types used in this test. A different magazine might well give different results, but one thing it will never do is outshoot loading the pellets by hand, one at a time. As a 10-meter shooter, I knew this going into the test. But it was nice that we were able to demonstrate it so clearly.

Next, we see that wadcutters were more accurate than the domes in this test. Even though both pellets were very accurate, the wadcutters had the edge. That was the part that surprised me. I’d expected the domes to take over at 25 yards.

The bottom line
The Crosman MAR177 is a valuable addition to an AR and a wonderful target rifle in its own right. It was held back in this test by the use of an AR National Match trigger, which is by no means as good as a target trigger on an air rifle. Even so, we see accuracy that any 10-meter precision rifle would be proud of.

I think Crosman has made a winning rifle in the MAR177. And when they bring out more powerful versions of it in the future, it’ll be all the greater justification for owning an AR! My thanks to Crosman for the loan of this MAR177 for both this test and for the feature article I am writing for Shotgun News!

Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 5

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Crosman’s new MAR177 upper is big news!

Today, we’ll look at the Crosman MAR177 upper shooting domed pellets at 25 yards. I’ll be using the 10-shot magazine, so we’ll get to see that in action, as well. I’ll tell you right now that today was a learning day that spawned another report that’s still to come. Read on to learn what it is.

As you know, the Crosman upper receiver is attached to a lower receiver that I built on a Rock River Arms lower receiver shell. I used Rock River parts, and the trigger is an upgraded two-stage National Match trigger, also from Rock River.

National Match?
To the uninitiated, the term National Match sounds like the finest possible precision. Well, it isn’t! A National Match trigger in an AR is about like a John Deere tractor — strong and effective, but as far from real precision as it is possible to get and still have a good trigger. My trigger has a light first stage and a crisp release in stage two, but it’s not what any target shooter would call precision. The break point is right at 5 lbs. My Trapdoor Springfield, which was made in 1875, has a trigger just as nice. My 1879 Argentine rolling block’s trigger is lighter and crisper, now that I have replaced the heavy service-grade trigger return spring. So understand that National Match does not mean the same as precision. You owners of Rekord triggers don’t know how good you have it.

The National Match AR trigger is quite a bit better than the single-stage trigger that comes standard on a military or civilian AR, but it isn’t a target trigger by any stretch. I tell you that so you’ll understand what I had to deal with in this test.

10-shot magazine
The MAR’s magazine is the same one that a .177 Benjamin Marauder uses. It’s wound under spring tension as it’s loaded and advances by spring power as the bolt is worked for each shot. Remember that on the MAR, the bolt is retracted by pulling back on the charging handle — the same as all other ARs.

The 10-shot magazine comes from the Benjamin Marauder and is completely reliable, as well as quick and easy to load. Here the last shot is in the magazine, holding it in place. The clear plastic cover is rotated to drop in the other 9 pellets.

To cock the MAR the charging handle is pulled back.

The mag loads easy once you know the right procedure. A couple of the chambers were tight, so I used a mechanical pencil to push in the pellets. Once they cleared the lips of the tight chambers, they dropped into place easily. There were no feeding problems throughout the test, which entailed about 90 pellets, give or take.

The scope
I mounted a Leapers 4×32 mini scope on the rifle. It’s not a scope that Pyramyd Air stocks, but it would be similar to this Leapers scope. You may criticize my choice for some lack of aiming precision; but when you see how good the little scope looks on the rifle, I think you’ll understand why I went with it. It allowed me to use medium scope rings and still clear the magazine that stands proud of the receiver top. If I were hunting feral hogs with a 300 AAC Blackout or a .50 Beowulf cartridge, this is the scope I would use. No, it doesn’t magnify as much as a good 3-9x scope, so we may have to take that into consideration when we look at these groups.

This mini-Leapers scope looks perfect on the MAR. The two-piece rings have to be close to each other because the scope tube is short.

I sighted-in at 12 feet, using my 10-minute sight-in procedure. If you haven’t tried this yet, you need to. It took just three rounds to get on target; and although a bit of luck was involved, this sight-in procedure always cuts time from the front-end of my scope tests.

Air Arms Falcon
I used the 7.3-grain Air Arms Falcon pellet to sight in. The scope seemed right on for elevation, but off to the right. I dialed in some left correction and shot again. Almost there, but not quite. One more adjustment put me at 6 o’clock, as far below the aim point as the center of the scope was above the bore axis (approximately). I knew I was safe to back up to 25 yards and start shooting.

The next 7 shots made a group measuring 0.422 inches between the centers of the holes farthest apart. It was an auspicious beginning for the test!

Three shots to get on target, then a great 25-yard, 7-shot group of Air Arms Falcons.

It was also the best group I shot with the Falcons. The other two opened up to over three-quarters on an inch, so although they made a good first impression, Falcons were not the best domed pellet in the rifle I’m testing.

JSB Exact 8.4-grains
I also tried JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes. They put 9 pellets into 0.495 inches, but threw the tenth shot low and right, opening the group to 1.047 inches. I detected no reason for this wild shot, so I’ll have to chalk it up to the pellets — maybe.

BSA Wolverine
Next I tried some BSA Wolverines. This is yet another JSB dome that sometimes out-performs anything else. But in the MAR, they were just satisfactory, putting 10 into 0.642 inches.

JSB Exact RS
Another tantalizing group was made by JSB Exact RS pellets. We’ve learned over many tests that the RS is one of the best pellets for low- to medium-powered springers, and the MAR177 shoots at the same velocity, so I wondered how well it would do. Nine shots went into 0.474 inches, but the tenth shot opened that to 0.874 inches. It was a second instance in which 9 shots were tight and the tenth was a flier. I cannot say where in the string the wild shots occurred, though, because the scope couldn’t see the pellet holes as they were made.

Nine were tight, then a tenth opened the group. JSB Exact RS pellets

H&N Field Target
Next, I tried H&N Field Target domes. A reader recently asked me why I don’t try these, as he had good success with them. I responded that I had, and had not experienced the same success; but when I checked my pellets, I discovered that I’d been shooting H&N Field Target Trophy pellets. The Field Target pellet tin was unopened. See what confusion a small name change can make?

Best group of the day was shot with 10 H&N Field Target pellets. It measures just 0.441 inches across.

These 8.5-grain domes gave me the best 10-shot group of the test — a stunning 0.441 inches between centers! This is a pellet I will work into future tests, you can be sure. This also serves to demonstrate that although the scope only magnifies four times, that’s good enough.

I was starting to tire from all the concentration, so this was the place to stop. I would say that the MAR177 made a good showing, but also raised some questions.

What comes next?
The performance of the rifle in this test was so intriguing that I want to reshoot the same test, only using the single-shot tray next time. Then I will know for sure whether or not the magazine has any influence over the group size. I’ve always had reservations about magazines in any rifle, and I really want to see if there’s any discernible difference. If there is, I may have to do a lengthy test of magazines vs single-shot operations in PCPs.

The next test that will also offer an opportunity to pit wadcutter target pellets against the best domes at 25 yards. I’ve always maintained that 25 yards is about the maximum distance at which wadcutter pellets are accurate, and we even shot a segment on the American Airgunner TV show in which we put that to the test. The domes were clearly superior to wadcutters at 35 yards, so this test will be at a closer distance and indoors. It should prove interesting.

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.

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.

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.

The great accuracy test: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Well, when was the last time we had a discussion this large on this blog? You were talking on yesterday’s report and on the first part of this series, all at the same time.

And, we were talking apples, oranges, cinnamon wafers and pseudo-dadaism in the post-war cinema! All at the same time.

So, once more, I will attempt to state what it is that we’re trying to do. We’re trying to discover some things that, if applied in certain ways, will always help improve accuracy. As I explained to several readers, the artillery hold is one such thing. I didn’t invent it. I just gave it a name so I could talk about it, and people would understand what I was talking about.

Now we’re looking for more things like the artillery hold that, if applied properly, will always improve your accuracy.

Today, you’re going to have to read the report very carefully, because the results you are about to see are the opposite of what you expect. But please read everything, and I’ll explain what I think has happened.

Yesterday, I tried using common reading glasses to improve the accuracy as I was shooting an Air Venturi Bronco rifle. I shot 6 groups of 10 shots each at targets 25 yards away. There were three pellets that I tested. Each pellet was shot first without me wearing reading glasses and then again with the glasses on. I showed you the targets as they occurred, and I told you after the shooting was finished that I could not discern any advantage to shooting with reading glasses.
Now I’ll show you what happened when I pre-sorted the pellets by weight before shooting. We’ll compare the best of the two targets shot yesterday with each pellet against a target shot with that same pellet sorted into a group of 10 pellets that weigh the same, down to the nearest tenth of a grain.

Those readers who do not have problems with their eyes can do today’s test as well by simply shooting two 10-shot groups — one with sorted pellets and one without.

Let’s begin
The first pellet shot was the same 8.4-grain JSB Exact domed pellet that I used to begin the test. I used that pellet because back when I tested the Bronco for you, it turned in the best results.

I weighed all the pellets on an electronic powder scale set to register grains. The scale weighs to the nearest tenth grain, so that was how I grouped them. Only those pellets that registered the exact same weight on this scale would be used.

Sorting the JSBs proved to be a big surprise for me, because they were not that uniform. Weights varied from 8.1 to 8.6 grains for a pellet that is nominally supposed to weigh 8.4 grains. I do appreciate that anything manmade will vary, but it has been my experience that premium pellets like these JSBs do not vary that much. But these did. In fact, I had to use the pellets that weighed 8.3 grains, because there weren’t enough of the ones that weighed 8.4 grains.

To get 10 pellets that weighed the same 8.3 grains, I rejected 26 others that varied from 8.1 to 8.6 grains.

Then, I shot the group. I took as much care as I had with all the other groups, plus these groups came after the first test, so I had 60 shots under my belt by this time. I expected to see a super-tight group.

It looks like only 6 pellets went through, but the holes next to the numbers 7 and 6 on the target have multiple pellets through them. I can tell that from the back of the target paper. This group of pellets sorted by weight measures 2.061 inches between centers.

That group surprised me a lot, I can tell you. I expected a lot better performance from sorted pellets. Look at yesterday’s best group, shot with unsorted pellets.

Ten shots with the same 8.4-grain JSB Exact pellet, only these were randomly selected from the tin. This group measures 2.085 inches between centers, which is only a trifle larger than the sorted group, above. These happened to be the ones shot while I was wearing reading glasses.

The next pellet to test was the BSA Wolverine. In sharp contrast to the JSB Exacts, above, these pellets were extremely consistent in weight, and I rejected only one while picking 10 to shoot.

What a contrast! Only one pellet was found not to weigh 8.3 grains, and it weighed 8.2 grains. These pellets are extremely consistent in weight.

Well, I figured the consistent Wolverines were going to win the day, except they hadn’t been that accurate in the first two tests, and they should have been if weight variation matters to accuracy. And this time they were a real surprise!

This group of 10 sorted BSA Wolverine pellets measures 2.481 inches on centers. It’s the worst group of the test (including all the shooting seen both yesterday and today).

I was really stumped, but please hang on because there’s an explanation coming. First, though, have a look at the best target shot with unsorted Wolverine pellets.

This Wolverine target shot yesterday without reading glasses measured 2.048 inches between centers. The target shot while wearing glasses measured the same size. Both are considerably smaller than today’s target shot with pellets sorted by weight.

The last pellet I tried was the RWS R-10 heavy pellet. I assumed that because it’s a target pellet it would be very uniform in weight. WRONG!

I had to weigh 18 RWS R-10 pellets to find 10 of the same weight. Those in the tin are the rejects, and they all weigh 8.1 grains. The pellets in the pile to the right weigh 8.2 grains.

And, you may remember that the R-10 pellets were by far the most accurate pellets of all in the first test. Well, this time they surprised me.

This group of sorted RWS R-10 pellets measures 1.743 inches between centers. It’s the largest group of R-10 fired. While the best group of the day, it’s larger than the random R-10s fired the day before.

Let’s look at the best R-10 group, fired during the first test.

This group of R-10 pellets shot without reading glasses measures 1.158 inches between centers. Not only is it better than the group sorted by weight, it’s the best group of all the shooting done thus far.

Okay, here comes the explanation I promised. All these targets from yesterday and today were shot at the same time, so these three final targets shot with pellets sorted by weight were shot last. They represent shots 61 through 90.

I can’t prove it, but I believe that pellets of a uniform weight should not be less accurate than the same pellets of random weights. The results of today’s test seem to indicate that sorted pellets are less accurate than unsorted pellets if we go just by the group sizes, but I think something else is at work here. I believe there’s a whole lot of test bias in what I have reported both yesterday and today. I believe today’s results were skewed to the bad end of the scale because they were the last groups I shot and I was getting tired from all the sighting techniques I was undergoing to use the reading glasses.

As twotalon observed, are we talking about something so ambiguous that it will be different for every shooter? I don’t think so. But I do think that the test design I have done yesterday and today doesn’t work.

I believe the problem is lighting, as in not enough light on the target in these tests. I say that because today I went to the outdoor range and shot two 10-shot groups with a .30 caliber M1 Carbine at 50 yards and each group measured about three inches across the two widest shots. The M1 Carbine has a very large peep sight that has been criticized for its crudity, yet I shot well with it using the same reading glasses that failed in these tests. And, today I was able to see the bull quite well, even though it was twice as far away.

Finally, even out at 25 yards, the uniformity of pellet weight appears to not be much of a factor. The BSA Wolverines that were the most uniform weight did worst of all. Of course, the results of these tests are so large and open that all kinds of errors and truths may be camouflaged within.

From these two tests that I will have to consider as failed, we can draw some important conclusions. First, I need to either use a scope or a dot sight when conducting accuracy tests. Tomorrow, I’ll show you some groups that demonstrate that I can still shoot well with a scope.

Perhaps a future experiment might be for me to put a dot sight on the same Bronco and re-shoot this test. I’ll use the same three types of random pellets (not sorted by weight) for that test, then I’ll mount a scope on the rifle and shoot the same test again. If there’s a definite difference between the results from the two optical instruments (and I’m thinking there will be), I’ll select the most accurate optical sight and rerun the weight-sorted test.

Meanwhile, you can select as much of this test as you desire and try to do it yourself. When we’re finished, we should know the value of pellets sorted by weight and those of you who have old eyes like me might give the reading glasses trick a try, but only outdoors or where there’s a lot of light.

The great accuracy test: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

No other single blog report has had the reception this one has! We have had readers awaken to discuss their favorite things and other readers say they are leaving the blog because they don’t want to read the lengthy comments made by enthusiastic readers who have been stimulated about this subject.

We also had a number of readers who failed to understand what this series will attempt to do, so perhaps I had best state it again clearly, so we all know. The purpose of this series is to discover those things a shooter can do to improve accuracy with an airgun. This is a quest to find out what works, as far as improving accuracy is concerned.

Today, I’m conducting an experiment for you to learn if the trick I mentioned yesterday about using reading glasses works for rifles. I selected an Air Venturi Bronco as a test rifle for several good reasons. The first is that it’s accurate. Next, it’s easy to cock. There will be a lot of shots fired in this test, and I need something that’s easy to cock. Yes, it’s a spring-piston rifle and a PCP would be easier to shoot accurately, but that’s not the point. More of you own springers, so using one is easier for a lot more people. You see, I want you to do this test right along with me. That way, we get a lot more results.

I’m shooting off a rest at 25 yards, so the artillery hold comes into play. Even I make mistakes holding a spring rifle from time to time, so I’m shooting 10-shot groups that will give me some leeway for the occasional bad shot.

This is just the start of a lot of testing with this one rifle, and even so, it’s only the beginning of the great accuracy test. Some of you got that from the title, but for the rest of you I imagine this series could run for a long time and many individual reports. There might even be a book in all of it, if enough worthwhile data is uncovered. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just see how today goes for starters.

Today’s test is simple and goes like this. I want to discover whether wearing reading glasses is beneficial to my accuracy, so I’m going to shoot groups both with and without the glasses. I will shoot several pellets, but because I’m shooting 10-shot groups, there isn’t enough time for me to shoot all the groups I need to. That’s where some of you come in. Read my test and then conduct one of your own. You can use a different rifle, different pellets and even shoot at different distances if you like, though I would recommend that you shoot out to at least 25 yards to get the group separation needed to show significant differences. Try to model your test after mine, so we can all talk about the same thing.

The test
I’m shooting a Bronco with a Beeman peep sight that was used in the report on the Bronco. The first pellet I tried was the 8.4-grain JSB Exact domed pellet.

Remember that my eyes have recently started to change their prescription during the day. I no longer can see the sights like I could a month ago, and the whole purpose of this test is to find a way to correct that.

JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes
I first shot the Bronco without glasses, trying to see the front sight as best I could. The sight was thin and fuzzy, so it was difficult to see the demarcation between the top of the post and the bottom of the bull. The bull was very clear to me. I shot quickly, but I wasn’t rushing.

Ten JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes shot at 25 yards without the aid of reading glasses. As you can see, I’ve lost the ability to see the sights. This group measures 2.135 inches between centers.

Next, I put on the reading glasses and shot another 10 shots with the same pellet. The front sight was razor-sharp, but the bull was dim, as though in a dream. However, I found that if I shifted focus to the bull and back to the front sight, the bull became much more distinct. I could walk the sight post in to it fairly well that way. It’s another technique that I’ll have to learn and get better at, but it’s possible.

Ten shots with the same 8.4-grain JSB Exact pellet, only this time I was wearing the reading glasses. This group measures 2.085 inches between centers. That’s not a big difference from the first group, however, look at the six pellets in one hole. The first group only had two pellets touching and the central cluster was much larger.

From this first set of targets, I would have to say that it looks like the glasses are helping a little. But one set of data is meaningless, so I continued with other pellets.

BSA Wolverines
The BSA Wolverine is an 8.3-grain domed pellets that is very accurate in certain precharged rifles, so I thought it might do well in the Bronco, too. The first group was shot without the glasses.

The BSA Wolverine pellet grouped like this when I shot without glasses. Yes, there are 10 pellets in this group. Four of them are in the larger hole at the edge of the bull. The group measures 2.048 inches between centers.

I shot 10 more Wolverines with the aid of reading glasses. This time, I knew the technique better, but that didn’t make it any easier.

When using reading glasses I got a group of 10 that measured the same size as without glasses, as near as I can measure it. It measures 2.048 inches between centers. There’s a cluster of three pellets in the lower hole. This target caused me to wonder if this technique is worthwhile.

After seeing this target, I started to wonder if the shooting glasses thing was working as I’d hoped. With two sets of targets in hand, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. However, I pressed on.

RWS R-10 pellets
Next, I tried the RWS R-10 heavy target pellets. These are the heavier rifle pellets that are suitable for the Bronco’s power.

Ten RWS R-10 pellets shot without the aid of reading glasses. Well, you can certainly see that the point of impact changed dramatically and the group got smaller. Obviously, this is a good pellet for this rifle. This group measures 1.158 inches between centers.

Then, I tried the same pellet with the glasses.

With reading glasses, the RWS R-10 heavy match pellets made almost the same size group. This group measures 1.327 inches between centers. It’s larger than the no-glasses group, but only by a small amount.

What can be said about this test, thus far? Well, I was surprised that the results came out as they did. I thought there would have been a big difference between the two sighting methods, but from these three sets of target it doesn’t seem that way. However, now you can do the same test, those who need the reading glasses, anyway, and see what you come up with.

For you people with good eyes, I haven’t left you out. Tomorrow, I’m going to show you the rest of the test, which is something you can all do, as well. I won’t tell you what that is, nor the results I got, but I will say that it’s quite compelling. In fact, it opens up a whole new test for us to do in the future.

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