Posts Tagged ‘Bushnell Banner 6-18x50AO scope’

AirForce EscapeSS: Part 3

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

AirForce Escape: Part 1
AirForce Escape: Part 2
AirForce Escape: Part 3
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 1
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 2
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 3
AirForce EscapeSS: Part 1
AirForce EscapeSS: Part 2

This report covers:

• 50-yard accuracy of Predator Polymags on high power.
• JSB Exact Kings accuracy.
• Kings on high-fill pressure.
• Benjamin domes.
• Kings on max power.
• Observations so far.

EscapeSS
AirForce EscapeSS

If you’re seriously interested in one of the AirForce Escape survival rifles, this blog series should be very beneficial. I’ve tested each rifle and attempted to get the best accuracy possible, using the best pellet. Last time, we looked at the rifle at 50 yards with the Predator Polymag pellet. Today, we’ll look at the EscapeSS accuracy at 50 yards using different pellets with the gun set to higher powers and greater fill pressures. Today’s test was an eye-opener for me.

The day at the range was windy, with a 5 m.p.h. breeze blowing all the time and gusting to 20 m.p.h. I waited for the wind to get as calm as possible, but all shots were in the wind. Sometimes, I took shots with the wind blowing up to 10 m.p.h. I think you can get away with that when shooting a .25-caliber pellet gun, though it’s not ideal.

Predator Polymags at higher power
In Part 2 of the EscapeSS, I shot the rifle at power settings 6 and 7 and with the reservoir filled to 2000 psi and 2200 psi. That was done because testing with both the Escape and the EscapeUL rifles demonstrated that the Predator Polymag pellet was the most accurate. Those rifles also seemed to be most accurate with their reservoirs filled to 2000 psi.

I said at the end of the last test that the Predator Polymag pellet still had to be tested at higher power and with a 3000 psi fill, so that was the first test on this day. I filled the gun’s reservoir to 3000 psi and dialed the power to 8. Then, I shot 5 Predator Polymags.

EscapeSS power 8
The power was set to 8, but as you can tell from the dial on the left, this is not a precision setting.

The results were not very promising. Instead of the 3/4-inch to 1-inch groups I got last time, this time 5 Polymags went into 1.526 inches. While that’s acceptable for hunting at 50 yards, I’d hoped to get better accuracy from this rifle.

EscapeSS Predator target power 8
When the power and pressure were raised, the Predator Polymag pellets started to scatter at 50 yards. Five went into 1.526 inches.

JSB Exact King
For the next group, I wanted to try something that was way out of the box. I filled the reservoir to 3500 psi and left the power setting on 8. That’s more pressure than the factory recommends, but I’ve read some reports from other shooters that say the gun does well with this kind of fill. I wanted to see. This was the first time I was trying JSB Exact Kings in this rifle.

The impact point shifted up about 4 inches, and 5 Kings landed in 1.387 inches. The rifle actually shot better with this pellet at this higher pressure; although, with a 12-inch barrel I doubt that there was much more velocity.

EscapeSS JSB King target 1 power 8
Five JSB Exact Kings went into 1.387 inches at 50 yards on power setting 8 and a fill of 3500 psi.

Having one good target, I decided to try it again with the same setting and fill pressure. This was to see if the first group was a fluke. This time, 5 Kings landed in 1.588 inches, which is close enough to the first group to say this is about what the rifle can and will do with these settings. This time, though, I adjusted the scope to get the pellets on target.

EscapeSS JSB King target 2 power 8
The second try with Kings at a fill of 3500 psi and power 8 gave me this 1.588-inch group.

Now, I decided to follow the manual and fill to just 3000 psi. I left the power setting on 8 — and 5 Kings went into 1.077 inches. Almost a one-inch group!

EscapeSS JSB King target 3 power 8
The fill pressure was lowered to 3000, and the power stayed on 8. Five Kings went into 1.077 inches at 50 yards!

That was so surprising that I filled the rifle to 3000 again and shot a second group, also on power setting 8.  I noted that the shots did drop a bit, so I adjusted the scope again. This time, 5 Kings went into 1.233 inches. So close to the first group that I think this is where the rifle wants to be.

EscapeSS JSB King target 4 power 8
The second try with Kings and a 3000 psi fill on power setting 8 gave me this nice 1.233-inch group. This is a good setting for this pellet.

I also noticed something interesting that illustrates a point I’ve been making for years. The gauge on this particular rifle does not agree with the gauge on my carbon fiber tank. When the tank gauge reads 3000 psi, the rifle’s gauge is off the scale! This illustrates how some small pressure gauges can be off by a lot, which is why you pick one gauge to follow — in this case, the one on my carbon fiber tank — and go by it all the time.

EscapeSS  pressure gauge
When the carbon fiber tank gauge reads 3000 psi, this is what the rifle’s gauge says. This is only on this particular rifle. The other Escape gauges read pretty much the same as the carbon fiber gauge. The point is that small pressure gauges can differ a lot.

Benjamin dome
Now it was time to see what the rifle would do with the Benjamin domed pellet. I kept the power at 8 and the fill at 3000 psi, and 5 pellets went into 1.667 inches. That sort of turned me off after seeing what the Kings could do, so I didn’t shoot a second group. Sometimes, you just know when one pellet is better than another.

EscapeSS Benjamin dome target power 8
Benjamin domes seemed to open up at these power and fill settings. These 5 measure 1.667 inches between centers.

JSB Kings at max power
It was time to try the JSB Exact Kings at maximum power and a 3000 psi fill. I shot 5 of them into a 1.831-inch group. As I was finishing this group, the wind was picking up to the point that I had to shoot in 10 m.p.h. wind and higher. I finished the day with these results:

EscapeSS JSB King target 5 power max
The last target was shot with Kings on a 3000 psi fill and poower set at max. It measures 1.831 inches between centers, but the wind was really picking up when it was shot.

Observations so far
I was surprised that the EscapeSS liked a higher power setting and fill pressure than either the Escape or the EscapeUL. Perhaps, that’s because of the shorter barrel, whose muzzle is so close to the front barrel bushing. I don’t know, but it underlines the need to test these adjustable rifles in many ways and with many pellets.

All 3 Escape rifles are for survival, though they can be used for hunting by anyone. Hunters typically use very few actual shots. The only exception would be when eliminating pests like rats or pigeons. The Escape rifles have small reservoirs that allow easy filling from a hand pump. I’ve found all 3 rifles to be well-suited to their role, but each has different qualities that the shooter may enjoy. With the EscapeSS the big difference is how quiet the rifle is. It’s not as quiet as some PCPs, but it’s also a good deal more powerful than most of them.

I’m still planning to report on the velocities of the 3 Escape rifles at their optimum power settings, so there’s more to come.

AirForce EscapeSS: Part 2

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

AirForce Escape: Part 1
AirForce Escape: Part 2
AirForce Escape: Part 3
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 1
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 2
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 3
AirForce EscapeSS: Part 1

This report covers:

• How loud?
• Experience with .25-caliber Lothar Walther barrels.
• First accuracy test of the Escape SS.
• What’s next?

EscapeSS
AirForce EscapeSS

Today, we’ll start looking at the accuracy of the AirForce EscapeSS. Unlike other accuracy tests, this one didn’t start at 10 meters or even at 25 yards. I went right out to the rifle range and shot the rifle at the 50-yard backstop.

When you have an air rifle with the power of these Escape rifles, you have to take it outdoors. Unless you have a very special place to shoot, this is an outdoor air rifle.

How loud?
But with that said, the EscapeSS is also the quiet version of the rifle. So, I didn’t wear hearing protection at the outdoor range. I knew the gun wouldn’t be loud enough to hurt my ears, and I wanted to be able to tell you how loud it is. I did not fire the rifle on full power for today’s test, but all the shots sounded very restrained. I would say it was louder than a Benjamin 392 on 8 pump strokes, but not as loud as a Benjamin Discovery in .22 caliber. It’s a sound you can hear, but it isn’t as sharp as a .22 long rifle or even a .22 short.

Experience with AirForce .25-caliber Lothar Walther barrels
To this point in time, I’ve tested the Escape and the EscapeUL — both in .25 caliber. The .25 caliber doesn’t have many accurate pellets, but testing these rifles and the TalonP pistol has revealed a few. One of them stands out as the absolute best. The Predator Polymag pellet in .25 caliber is hands-down the most accurate pellet I’ve tested in these Escape rifles, and my observation agrees with the Escape’s co-developer — Ton Jones.

I cut right to the chase and used the Predator Polymag pellet exclusively in today’s test. I’ll try other pellets in future tests — but, for today, I shot only this one.

Setup
The other experience I have with the Escape rifles is that they’re most accurate with fill levels of 2,000 psi and a power setting of 6. That’s how I set up the rifle for the first group.

I removed the Bushnell Banner 6-18X50 scope from the EscapeUL and mounted it on the EscapeSS in a BKL 1-piece mount and, without even sighting in, I started shooting at 50 yards. I’d planned on sighting in, but my first pellet struck the bull I was aiming at, so there was nothing more to be done. Apparently the EscapeUL and EscapeSS are very similar!

I shot 5-shot groups, because I have found the Escape rifles to be most accurate within a 5-shot band. Sometimes, this will stretch to 6 or even 7 shots, but that’s about all if you’re shooting groups at 50 yards. And I’m shooting groups so small they prove the rifle for hunting purposes! This is not some generalization or extrapolation of accuracy. I’m reporting what these rifles can do in the field.

The first 5 shots went into 1.197 inches at 50 yards. The group was off to the left of the bull, with just the first shot in the black.

EscapeSS first group
First 5 Predator Polymags at 50 yards went into 1.197 inches. This was without sighting-in the rifle — just mounted the scope and started shooting!

With these same settings, the worst group of 5 went into 1.341 inches, and the best 5 went into 0.975 inches. That’s 3 groups that average 1.171 inches. That is about what the rifle does on this setting.

EscapeSS second group
Second 5 Predator Polymags at 50 yards went into 1.341 inches. Of the 3 groups on this setting, this was the worst.

Next, I boosted the fill pressure to 2,200 psi and left the power setting at 6. I got 2 groups — one that was 0.903 inches and the other that was 1.63 inches. That’s a big difference.

EscapeSS third group
Bumping the fill pressure to 2,200 psi and leaving the power set on 6, I put 5 Predator pellets into 0.903 inches — the second-best of this test. But the very next group using the same settings opened up much larger.

Next, the power was increased to 6, and the fill pressure remained at 2,200 psi. I got one group at 1.638 inches, which turned out to be the worst of the test, and a second at 1.077 inches.

I dropped the fill back to 2,000 psi and left the power at 8. This gave a group measuring 1.185 inches.

After that, I dropped the power to 7 with a fill pressure of 2,000 psi. The first group measured 0.778 inches, and the next one measured 1.444 inches. The 0.778-inch group was the best of the entire test.

EscapeSS fourth group
These 5 Predator pellets went into 0.778 inches — the best of this test. That ragged hole at the top is a pellet hole that has partially closed.

Analysis
How do we make sense from these results? It seems the rifle is capable of shooting 5-shot groups smaller than one inch at 50 yards, but the average is slightly larger than one inch. Only one group in this test was as large as 1.50 inches, which I think says a lot about the stability of the .25-caliber Predator Polymag in this rifle.

I didn’t test the other 2 Escape rifles this way, but the results I got with both of them do seem to fit this pattern. It was only because of those results that it was possible to cut through the maze of pellets, pressures and power settings and get these results so fast.

Of course, I haven’t tried this pellet at full power, yet, nor have I tried the rifle with a 3,000 psi fill. I think that has to be tried — just to say that it was done.

The rifle also needs to be tested with other pellets; although, if the groups it gets are similar to those gotten with the other 2 Escape rifles, we may begin to understand that all .25-caliber Lothar Walther barrels perform similarly.

When the other accuracy testing is completed, I’ll test all 3 Escape rifles for their velocities with the most accurate pellets. That would be the information I would want as a hunter.

Evaluation of the EscapeSS
The EscapeSS is closest to the TalonP pistol that sired all three Escape rifles. You would expect the performance to be identical, except that this rifle is both quieter and comes standard with an adjustable buttstock. If you’re looking for quieter performance in a survival air rifle, the EscapeSS might be the one for you.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle: Part 7

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank
AirForce Condor SS with Spin-Loc tank.

I bet some of you thought we were finished with the AirForce Condor SS rifle with Spin-Loc tank. Well, we are…in a way. I’m removing the Hi-Flo Spin-Loc tank and replacing it with a standard AirForce tank. Instead of the Hi-Flo valve that gets 20-25 shots per fill, this tank has the standard valve that gives 35-40 good shots per fill. Of course, the power is lower, but it’s still a powerful airgun.

Blog reader Gunfun1 recently asked me to test the Talon SS rifle with all three barrel lengths so he could see the power and velocity increase that the longer barrels bring. I will do that in a future series, but today’s test is different. What we’re testing today is how a Condor powerplant and a .22-caliber 18-inch Lothar Walther barrel performs with the standard tank. The Condor and Condor SS share a common powerplant and air tank — only the barrel lengths differ.

Valvology
Let’s talk about pneumatic valves for a minute to gain a better understanding of what we’re testing. A couple things determine how much power a precharged pneumatic airgun has, and most of them are attributed to the valve. Fundamentally, it comes down to how much compressed air gets through the valve. That’s controlled by two things. The first is the size of the air hole running through the valve. A Hi-Flo valve has a huge hole running though it, so more air gets through each time the valve opens.

AirForce Condor SS Hi-Flo tank and standard tank
The Hi-Flo tank on the left has a larger hole at the end of its valve stem than the standard tank on the right. This is where the extra power comes from.

The second thing that determines how much air gets through a valve is how long it stays open. For a knock-open design like the AirForce valve, the duration the valve remains open is controlled by the length of the valve stem stroke and the strength of the valve return spring (the spring that closes the valve after the shot is fired).

Think of it like this. A hundred thousand people cannot all go through your front door at the same time. The number that can get through depends on how wide the doorway is and how long the door stays open. The moment the door starts to open, people can start coming though; and they’ll continue until the door closes. If a powerful man controls the door, only a few people will get through at a time. If a child controls it, many more will get though each time.

A Hi-Flo valve is like a very large door, while a standard tank is like a regular door. But here is the thing. No matter whether there are a hundred thousand people or two hundred thousand people outside the door (the analog of the air pressure inside the tank), only a certain number will get though each time it opens. And if the number of people outside the door becomes too large, they press against the door and hold it shut. No amount of force can open it then. That’s valve lock.

Barrel length
I’ve said many times that a pneumatic barrel is a lot like the barrel in a black powder gun — the longer the barrel is (within limits): the more time the gas has to push against the pellet, the faster it will exit the muzzle. Bore diameter also figures into this equation. A .177 barrel runs out of steam sooner than a .22 barrel does. The longer barrel is also tied to the caliber. This deserves an explanation.

Imagine 2 funnels. Both have spouts that are 3″ long. One spout is .25″ diameter on the inside, the other spout is 1″ diameter on the inside. Which funnel will empty fastest? The one with the wider spout. That’s because more of the material that passes through the funnel is not in direct (frictional) contact with the walls of the spout. Don’t get confused by what I just said. The larger spout does have more material that’s in contact with the spout; but because the inside diameter of the spout is larger, a much greater amount of material never touches the walls of the spout.

We’ve been testing a .22-caliber Condor SS that has an 18-inch Lothar Walther barrel. As we saw in the earlier tests, this barrel is 6 inches shorter than a regular Condor barrel and produces somewhat less velocity than a standard Condor of the same caliber. We’re now going to install a standard tank that has a smaller valve, so the velocity will drop. That’s one way of looking at it.

The other way to look at this is a standard Talon SS has a 12-inch Lothar Walther barrel. This rifle’s barrel is 6 inches longer. We’re about to see what a longer barrel does with the standard tank. The only difference between today’s rifle and an AirForce Talon (not the SS — the Talon that has an 18-inch barrel) will be the Condor powerplant, which means the weight of the striker. That will add a little velocity because the valve is being opened more forcefully. Going back to the door analogy, it won’t affect things nearly as much as those additional six inches of barrel.

Installing the standard tank
The Condor SS I have is fitted with a Spin-Loc tank. It stays on the rifle all the time and is filled through a male Schraeder nipple. To convert to the standard tank, I’ll remove the Spin-Loc tank with the wrench supplied by AirForce. Then the standard tank will spin on and off for filling, just like it does on my older Talon SS. No tools are required, but of course it does not have a built-in pressure gauge, either. So, I’m back to counting the shots fired; but in today’s test, we’ll see exactly how many good shots there are in this tank at high power.

The test
For the purpose of comparison, I’m going to test the same pellets and the same power settings as were used in the Condor SS test. While those pellets aren’t necessarily correct for this lower-powered rifle, it will give you a basis for comparison between the two tanks, which is all we’re testing here.

Condor SS velocity

AirForce Condor SS velocity data

What we have learned?
There isn’t much adjustability with the Condor SS using the standard tank. I haven’t given you the velocity spreads or the shot count, which are all very close, regardless of the power setting. I actually recorded over 40 shots on power setting 10; so I think I would shoot 40 shots per fill, regardless of where the power was set. The velocity spread varied by pellet, but not so much by power setting. It was about 32 f.p.s. across 40 shots for Eun Jin 28.4-grain domes; 41 f.p.s for 40 Premiers; 25 f.p.s. for 40 JSB Exact Jumbos, except on power setting 4, where it was 17 f.p.s. and 15 f.p.s. for 40 Beeman Kodiaks.

I would set the power on No. 4 for the test rifle because that setting gave more power and velocity than any other setting. You probably want to know why that is. I think the valve opens too forcefully at settings above 4, and it bounces (flutters open and closed rapidly) on the valve seat, costing power. But on setting 4, it doesn’t bounce and thus gets the highest power. Note that setting 2 was always less than setting 4. I believe the valve on setting 2 is not bouncing, but actually opening cleanly, which is why it resembles some of the higher power settings that are bouncing. At least that’s my theory.

The Condor SS is quieter with the standard tank, but it isn’t absolutely quiet. It sounds about like a Talon SS at power setting 10. That’s pleasant, like a loud hand clap. It is quite a bit quieter than with the Hi-Flo tank attached.

Summary
There’s less power when you use the Condor SS with the standard tank, but you just about double the shot count. And the discharge noise is less than that of the gun with the Hi-Flo tank.

What you get when the rifle is set up this way is a Talon that’s a little quieter. The Talon has more adjustability, of course, but today we’ve looked at a way to enjoy more flexibility from your rifle without buying another complete PCP.

If I were to use the standard tank with the Condor SS, I would set it to power level 4 and shoot 40 shots per fill. That would be regardless of which pellet I used.

We’ve already seen the accuracy of this rifle at 25 and 50 yards. Is it necessary for me to do those tests again with the standard tank installed? I think the group sizes will be similar, but of course they’re never quite the same. I’ll let you readers decide.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank
AirForce Condor SS with Spin-Loc tank. The buttpad is shown flipped down.

Before we start today’s report, many of you requested to see the Condor SS next to a regular Condor and a Talon SS for size comparison. The photo below shows that.

AirForce Condor SS rifle Condor and Talon SS
Condor SS on top, Condor in the middle and Talon SS on the bottom.

Today, we’ll begin the accuracy test of the new .22-caliber AirForce Condor SS rifle with Spin-Loc tank. This was shot indoors at 25 yards and was the first time I’ve shot this rifle for accuracy.

I mounted a Bushnell Banner 6-18X50 AO scope in a one-piece BKL mount with 1-inch rings. The scope was clear and bright at 25 yards. I’ve used it in the past, so I know it’s a good one.

One shot from 12 feet confirmed that the rifle would be on target at 25 yards, so I backed up and shot one more. The vertical adjustment had to be adjusted up about 8 clicks, and I was centered on the target. Now, the shooting could begin.

For this test, the rifle was set on power setting 2, as that had delivered good velocity with all the pellets I would be testing. I didn’t want to waste air; and I was shooting indoors, so there were no breezes to contend with.

Beeman Kodiaks
The first pellet I tried was the Beeman Kodiak that weighs 21.14 grains. The first shot almost destroyed the aim point, but the rest of the shots drifted to the left a little. After 10 shots, I had a 2-hole group that measured a maximum of 0.626 inches between centers. It’s okay, but not what I was hoping for.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank-Kodiak-group-25-yards
Ten Beeman Kodiaks made this group at 25 yards. At 0.626 inches between centers, it’s okay but not what I’d hoped to get from the Condor SS.

JSB Exact Jumbo
After the Kodiaks, I shot 10 JSB Exact Jumbo pellets. They weigh 18.1 grains and are perfectly suited to the power of this rifle. They did give a better, more rounded group; but at 0.613 inches, it wasn’t much smaller than the Kodiak group. I felt the Condor SS should be capable of even better accuracy.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank-JSB-Exact-Jumbo-group-25-yards
Ten JSB Exact Jumbo pellets did better, at 0.613 inches between centers, but I was still hoping for better from this rifle.

Air Arms Field Heavy
The next pellet I tried was one I’d not shot before. The Air Arms Field Heavy looks a lot like the JSB Exact Jumbo; and at 18 grains, it weighs about the same. But this pellet did much better in the test rifle. Ten of them made a group that measures just 0.328 inches between centers. This very round group was what I was looking for from the Condor SS. It tells me the rifle wants to shoot — I just had to find the right pellet.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank-Air-Arms-Field-Heavy-group-25-yards
Bingo! This is the group I was looking for. Ten Air Arms Field Heavy pellets went into a nice round group measuring just 0.328 inches between centers.

Eun Jin
The last pellet I tested was the Eun Jin 28.4-grain dome. AirForce barrel breeches are specially cut to allow Eun Jin pellets to be loaded more easily than in other PCP rifles, though they still do take a push to seat. But no tools are needed and your thumb doesn’t get sore. And they’re the kind of pellet to use when going after medium-sized game such as woodchucks and raccoons. They made a pleasing 0.577-inch group that’s good for a heavy hunting pellet. It’s a round group, too, so this pellet doesn’t seem to be disturbed on its flight in any way.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank-Eun-JIn-dome-group-25-yards
Ten Eun Jin domes made this well-rounded group, which measures 0.577 inches between centers.

What’s it like to shoot?
Now that the shooting is done, don’t you want to know what the Condor SS is like? I tested the new trigger and safety last year, but that was on a regular Condor. This is the first Condor SS I’ve had a chance to shoot.

The trigger is light and crisp, but I can hear one of the internal springs tensioning as I take up the slack. That became a sound I heard on every shot. It’s neither good nor bad, just different.

The safety goes off like a stick of butter on a hot pan. There’s almost no resistance. It may look similar to a Garand safety blade, but it’s much smoother and lighter.

The rifle recoils with the shot. Even on power setting 2, there’s a rocket-push to the rear with each shot you fire. It’s not as much as a .22 rimfire, but enough that you know something has happened. I think I like the sensation in a hunting rifle.

What’s next?
Next, we take the Condor SS out to 50 yards and try its accuracy there. We now know the best pellet. Let’s see if that remains the case when the distance doubles.

After that, I plan on installing the standard tank and rerunning the entire test — velocity and accuracy at 25 and 50 yards. With the standard tank, we should see Talon power (greater than the Talon SS) and quiet operation, too. We shall see.

Walther’s new LGV Master Ultra .177 air rifle: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Walther LGV Master Ultra 177 air rifle
The LGV Master with a wood stock is what readers have been asking to see. Today, I’ll scope it!

Today is the day many of you have been waiting for. I’ll scope the Walther LGV Master Ultra and test it for accuracy at 25 yards. I used the same Bushnell Banner 6-18X50 AO scope and BKL 260 1-piece high mount that I used on the Walther LGV Challenger in .22 caliber. The scope was already in the mount and ready to install. I thought about removing the sights; but since I couldn’t see them through the scope, I decided to leave them mounted.

One shot at 12 feet told me the scope was adjusted close enough to move back to 25 yards. The first shot at 25 yards then required some more adjustment, and I was ready to begin the test.

Best hold
With the .22-caliber rifle, I rested the stock on the flat of my open palm with the heel of my hand touching the triggerguard. That gives the rifle a very muzzle-heavy balance and is usually the best way to hold a spring-piston air rifle. But not with this .177.

I had chosen to shoot 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lites as the first pellet because they showed so much promise at 25 yards with open sights. The .177-caliber LGV Master Ultra strung its first 10 shots vertically in a group that measured 0.67 inches between centers. While that isn’t bad, the group was vertical, which can be caused by either loose stock screws or by resting the stock on the off hand at the wrong place.

I checked the screws, and they all did require tightening; but when I shot a second group, it was vertical as well and slightly larger, at 0.819 inches. Obviously, loose stock screws were not causing the problem. Experience then told me to slide my off hand forward until I could feel the back of the cocking slot on my palm.

LGV Master Ultra .177 air rifle Premier lite group 1 25 yards
The first group of 10 Premier lites at 25 yards was vertical. Though it measures just 0.67 inches, which isn’t too large, the verticality concerns me.

LGV Master Ultra .177 air rifle Premier lite group 2 25 yards
The second group of 10 Premier lites at 25 yards was also vertical and slightly bigger than the first. And this is after tightening the stock screws. It measures 0.819 inches across the widest centers.

Group 3 was the one I was looking for. Ten shots went into 0.326 inches at 25 yards. That’s 10 shots, not 5. Folks, that demonstrates what I thought was the case — the new Walther LGV is the TX200 of breakbarrel air rifles! Five shots in such a group might have a component of luck with it, but you don’t get lucky 10 times in a row. This rifle wants to put them all in the same place!

LGV Master Ultra .177 air rifle Premier lite group 3 25 yards
Now, this is a group. Ten Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets went into 0.326 inches between centers. This is a great group for 10 shots.

So, the best hold is with the off hand out forward, under the back of the cocking slot. That’s going to hold true for all of these Master Ultra models, I think.

H&N FTT
Next I tried some H&N Field Target Trophy pellets because reader TwoTalon asked me to. I haven’t had good luck with FTT pellets in springers, but he likes them, though I learned that he’s shooting them only in a PCP. Still, I thought — what the heck?

Ten pellets went into a group that measured 0.683 inches between centers. While that’s not a bad group, it doesn’t look good next to the Premier lite group, so I won’t use it when I move out to 50 yards.

LGV Master Ultra .177 air rifle H&N FTT group 25 yards
Ten H&N Field Target Trophy pellets went into this 0.683-inch group. It’s good — just not the best this rifle can do.

Beeman Devastator
The third pellet I tried was the Beeman Devastator that did so well in the 25-yard open sight test. Again, they proved their superiority by putting 10 pellets into a 0.475-inch group. That’s pretty good for such an open-nosed hollowpoint. The LGV was hot!

LGV Master Ultra .177 air rifle Beeman Devastator group 25 yards
Ten Beeman Devastators made another tight group. This one measures 0.475 inches across.

JSB Exact Heavy
The last pellet I tested was the 10.34-grain JSB Exact heavy, which did okay in the open-sight test but with qualifications. What “qualifications” means is that I got 8 pellets in a tight group but had two unexplained fliers that opened the group considerably. This time, the results were even more bizarre.

With 10 shots, I got two extremely tight groups…one with 3 shots, and the other with 4 — and 3 wild fliers that don’t belong anywhere. The overall group measured 1.791 inches between centers of the two widest shots. I think what’s happening is that this pellet is very close to what this rifle wants, but it’s still far enough from perfection that it causes wild shots. These pellets fit the bore looser than the other three, which all seemed to fit about the same. The head size is a whopping 4.52mm, so put that into your head-size theories and see what you get. I just don’t know what’s happening, but it’s clear this isn’t a pellet for this rifle.

LGV Master Ultra .177 air rifle JSB Exact Heavy group 25 yards
Wow — what happened? Four pellets went into the small hole at the bottom of the bull, another 3 went into the small hole at the top left and 3 pellets went off by themselves. Total group measures 1.791 inches across the two widest centers.

Overall impessions
It’s clear the .177-caliber rifle is pickier about the pellets it likes than the .22, which seems to swallow everything. Find the right pellet, though, and the game is on! The best group with this rifle is roughly half the size of the best .22-caliber group at 25 yards. Fifty yards — here we come!

Big Shot of the Month
Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Month is Brandon Syn. 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.

Big shot of the month

Brandon Syn is the Big Shot of the Month on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.

Walther’s new LGV Challenger breakbarrel spring air rifle: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Walther LGV breakbarrel air rifle
Walther’s LGV Challenger is an exciting new sporting breakbarrel springer.

Let’s see how well the new Walther LGV Challenger performs at 25 yards when the rifle is scoped. For starters, I had to mount a scope. I decided to select a Bushnell Banner 6-18X50 AO scope that I haven’t reported on before. This is a better scope than the Banners of a decade ago, and it performs quite well.

The scope mounts proved problematic, though, because the LGV has a high, rounded spring tube that precludes the use of many scope rings that have a flat base on the bottom. This base high-centers on the rounded spring tube and doesn’t allow the clamping jaws to get into the rifle’s deep dovetails. So, you need to select rings with either generous clearance under their bases, or BKL scope rings that actually are cut away at the base to allow the clamping jaws to clamp harder. I decided to go with the BKLs.

Since the scope has a one-inch tube, I selected the BKL 260 high one-piece mount that fits the rifle perfectly and was quite easy to secure. With the long scope positioned correctly for my eye, there’s still almost 2 inches of room to the breech. I think the LGV’s longer pull makes this happen, as I’m back farther on the stock than I would be with many other rifles.

Sight-in was one shot at 12 feet that landed nearly on target. Then, from 25 yards, the first shot went high and left. In all, it took 5 shots to sight in.

JSB Exact RS
The first pellet I tried was the 13.4-grain JSB Exact RS dome. When shot 2 landed next to the first one, I knew the rifle was going to group. And group it did! Shot after shot went to the same place, no matter how I held it. And that’s not normal for a breakbarrel. Some are more forgiving than others, but this one is the best I’ve seen. More on that in a bit.

Ten shots made a very round group at 25 yards. It measures 0.35 inches between centers and could easily be a PCP group rather than one from a springer.

Walther LGV Challenger breakbarrel air rifle JSB RS group 25 yards
Ten shots into 0.35 inches at 25 yards. Yes, the LGV Challenger can shoot!

JSB Exact Jumbo
The second pellet I tried was the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo that did so well in the test using open sights. This time, the group did not improve. Ten shots went into 0.82 inches at 25 yards, where before the group was 0.78 inches with open sights at the same distance. The group was tall, rather than round, which indicates a velocity variation may have caused the larger group.

Walther LGV Challenger breakbarrel air rifle JSB Exact Jumbo group 25 yards
Ten JSB Exact Jumbos made this elongated group that measures 0.82 inches. This group is actually larger than the group shot with open sights at 25 yards. There were no called fliers in this group.

I am running short of these Jumbos, though I have them on order. I think I’ll try them at 50 yards, too, in case this group is an anomoly.

Beeman Kodiak
The final pellet I tried was the heavy Beeman Kodiak. At 21 grains, this pellet is considered by some to be much too heavy for a 12 foot-pound rifle like the LGV, but I disagree. I don’t think shooting a heavy pellet harms a springer in any way. Ten Kodiaks made a group that measures 0.834 inches between centers; but within that group, 9 of the 10 pellets went into 0.552 inches. The one pellet that landed low and outside the main group was not a called flier.

Walther LGV Challenger breakbarrel air rifle Beeman Kodiak group 25 yards

Ten Beeman Kodoaks landed in 0.834 inches, but 9 of the 10 went into 0.552 inches. That’s a great group! The stray shot was not a called flier.

Impressions so far
I have to tell you, I always cringe when I have to test a breakbarrel for accuracy. That’s because it takes such inordinate skill to shoot one well. It’s like playing a musical instrument. Do it well and everyone is pleased, but they may not be aware of the struggle you went though to make it like that.

Well, this new LGV isn’t like that at all. It’s the easiest-shooting breakbarrel I’ve ever tested. By the time I finished testing it, it felt more like a precharged rifle because of how neutral the hold is. I, therefore, proclaim this Walther LGV to be the TX200 of breakbarrel air rifles. It’s a very forgiving breakbarrel — something that normally doesn’t happen.

Next up will be a test at 50 yards. I know the rifle will be great, and I’m eagerly awaiting the results.

The Air Arms Twice PCP Air Rifle: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Air Arms S400 MPR FT alert!
Before I start today’s report, I want to make an update to the Air Arms S400 MPR FT blog. Blog reader “coax” asked me to adjust the air transfer port screw to see if I could increase the power of the rifle. Following his instruction to locate that screw, I removed the action from the stock, but I cannot locate the screw he mentions. He says it is located below the loading trough, which I took to mean underneath the loading trough (the bottom of the action) at the rear of the reservoir. Well, there’s nothing to see on the reservoir itself, but on the action just behind the reservoir there is a threaded hole like he describes. The problem is that there is no screw inside that threaded hole. And that is the only threaded hole that I can see.

So there isn’t going to be any power adjustment report on this rifle. If coax wants to send me photos of exactly what he’s referencing, I will look again, but otherwise, the report is completed.


The Air Arms Twice precharged pneumatic air rifle is a dual-reservoir rifle with the air cylinders arranged side-by-side. The rifle has a rollover raised cheekpiece, so it is reasonably ambidextrous, though the bolt stays on the right side.

What is a Twice?
Now, on to today’s report. The Air Arms Twice PCP air rifle will certainly never win any awards for the name! Why they didn’t call it the Double-Up or something — anything — but Twice is beyond me. However, in the spirit of Shakespeare who said, “A rose, by any other name…” we will proceed. (I haven’t forgotten that Pyramyd Air took a survey about other names. Maybe they’ll christen it something else in the near future.)


This view shows the ends of the twin air reservoirs. There’s only a single fill port on the end of the right reservoir tube (the tube on the left in this photo).

The name Twice refers to the twin reservoir tubes under the barrel. Obviously, they increase the amount of compressed air the rifle can hold, yet by their design, the rifle is not made substantially taller. Wider, yes, but in the same sense that a double-barreled shotgun is wide. It’s width with elegance.

And, I’m testing serial number 098425, for those who are keeping score. The rifle came to me with a Bushnell Banner 6-18x50AO scope mounted on it. While that’s a good, useable scope, it doesn’t do justice to a premium PCP rifle like the Twice. Since I have the Hawke Sport Optics 4.5-14x42AO Tactical Sidewinder rifle scope on hand, I switched it for the Bushnell. Why not? After all, one doesn’t buy a Ferrari and then fill the tank with 87 octane fuel! A premium rifle deserves a premium scope.

It is a big air rifle!
Let me get this out of the way; because when these rifles start selling, you’re going to read about it on the forums. The Twice is a very large air rifle. Those twin reservoir tubes make it a real handful and that’s that. Also the barrel’s shrouded, which adds to the look of massiveness. The rifle isn’t heavy, at 7.50 lbs., but it is muzzle-heavy. I know there are those who think a muzzle-heavy rifle is a bad thing, but it isn’t if you want to hit things! The extra weight out toward the muzzle slows down the tendency all rifles have to wobble. The Twice hangs right in your hands if you put your off hand just forward of the trigger. My Ballard is very muzzle-heavy, and it doesn’t seem to suffer any.

Repeater
Of course, this is also a repeater. It features a 10-round magazine that loads the next pellet every time the sidelever pulls the bolt to the rear and shoves it forward again. Having used Air Arms repeaters in the past, I believe this one will be butter-smooth to cock and shoot. I’ll let you know when I test it.

Adjustable power
There’s a power-adjustment control on the right side of the receiver, with an index scale on the left side. I will test that function and report my findings during the velocity test.


Here you see the sidelever that operates the bolt. Just in front of the lever handle is the silver power adjustment knob. A scale on the other side of the rifle tells you where the power has been set.


It’s hard to see in this photo, but the symbol at the right of the scale is a plus, meaning greater power. The symbol at the left is a minus.

The specs say the Twice is a 20 foot-pound rifle in .177 caliber. Because it’s a pneumatic, it’ll develop the most power with the heaviest pellets…and I’ll be testing it that way. That’s the only way it’ll be the most accurate at long range.

The Twice also will be available in .22 caliber, which I think would be the caliber of choice for a gun in this power range. They rate it at 30 foot-pounds in .22 caliber, and that’s about what I would have guessed. There are so many wonderful new heavyweight pellets in .22 caliber that I would think an owner would want to test them all.

The specs also say you get 180 shots on low power and 60 on high. Unfortunately, a .22 caliber pneumatic will always be more efficient with air than a .177. That number was probably gotten with the larger caliber, but I’ll purposely test this .177 gun at both ends of the power spectrum for you.

General impression
The woodwork is nice, but it’s different than the classic look of the TX 200. Only the grip is checkered and the diamonds are sharp, laser-cut and very crisp. The Air Arms logo is also cut into the grip. The butt is scalloped below the cheekpiece on both sides for weight reduction, I presume. That lightens the rifle but increases the muzzle-heaviness.

The stock is finished evenly in a medium brown stain. The reservoir tubes are finished matte, and the shroud is a matching matte finish. The overall look screams “Hunter,” so that’s what I believe the rifle was made to do. With all that air on board, we should see a good shot string at all power levels.

The rifle is an FAC type. FAC stands for Firearm Certificate, which owners will need to own this airgun in the United Kingdom. Once a rifle has been designated FAC, it can never be downgraded to a legal air rifle again, so this will always be an FAC rifle. Because getting an FAC can be quite difficult in the UK, that means the Twice was created for the U.S. market, primarily, because we don’t have the same power restrictions the UK has, except for a couple of states. The United States is also starting to embrace airgun hunting, so I think Air Arms is testing the waters to see if the market is there for them. Certainly, they’ve seen the success of all the AirForce, Beeman, Benjamin, Daystate, Evanix and Weihrauch precharged rifles over here and want to get in on the market. It’ll be interesting to see if the U.S. hunting market can sustain a $1,360 PCP in the face of all the other guns that currently exist. If the Twice can deliver on the promise of power, accuracy, power adjustment and a long shot string, it just might be the best new gun in town. We shall see.

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?

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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.

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