Posts Tagged ‘CO2 gun’

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
The Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel pistol is a competition airsoft gun in a box!

Today is the day we adjust the BAXS in the Tanfoglio Gold Custom CO2 blowback airsoft kit gun to see how it affects the gun’s ablity to group. Remember, the BAXS is another form of hop-up, which is the generic name for a rubber bumper that puts a backspin on the airsoft BB as it exits the bore. That causes the BB to fly straighter and farther than it would if it were not spinning, or if it were allowed to spin randomly.

So, the first thing to do is to get to the BAXS adjustment wheel, which is located deep inside the gun’s slide. The gun must be partially disassembled, and therein lies a problem. The manual is poorly written and illustrated with confusing small photos that don’t depict what you actually must do.

To remove the slide of this pistol, the slide stop, or what the manual called the slide stopper, must first be removed. There are 2 different things that must be done precisely to get the slide stop out, and the manual doesn’t cover them. First, the slide has to be pushed back only about a quarter inch to release the slide stop. If you see the rear of the barrel dive down as you push the slide back, it’s moved too far. Second, there’s a very small clearance hole for the large end of the slide stop on the left side of the frame. Once again, pushing the slide too far back will cause the stop to pass this clearance hole, and the slide stop cannot be removed from the gun.

Of course, you don’t find out any of this until the slide is off the gun, which is too late. And the instructions are one sentence long. If you don’t know how to remove the slide, the instructions will not help you!

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol slide off
The slide must be removed to adjust the BAXS wheel.

Once the slide is off, the BAXS adjustment wheel is located on the underside of the slide and barrel assembly. It’s a small plastic wheel that’s turned by a small thin blade, such as a tiny screwdriver. A pin in the wheel limits its travel to less than half a turn, so the amount of adjustment is small. But if the gun was designed right and manufactured carefully, it should be enough to make a difference.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol BAXS wheel
The BAXS wheel is turned to adjust the amount of backspin put on the BB. The adjustment is limited to less than half a rotation of the wheel.

I noted where the adjustment wheel was when the gun was disassembled. It was close to one end, so I moved it to the other extreme end. If there was going to be a difference, I wanted it to be immediate and visible. And it was — as I will now show you.

I decided to begin with the Air Venturi Pro CQBBs that weigh 0.25 grams because they were the most accurate in the previous test. When you adjust something as finicky as hop-up, stick to one BB whose performance you know. To do otherwise would just waste your time because you would never know if it was the particular BB or the gun’s adjustment that was right or wrong.

I shot a lot of targets in this test, but I’m not going to show you all of them. For the first couple, I was just getting the BBs back on target at 10 meters. The BAXS adjustment moved the point of impact several inches higher than it was the last time. But as I adjusted the dot sight and brought them back down onto the paper, I noticed something. They all tended to be strung out vertically, but were very tight horizontally. And each target, of 5 that I shot, had 4 BBs tight together and one that was apart from the group — a flier. Only there was no reason for the flier that I could see.

So, there were 4 BBs grouped together and the fifth BB would be more than one inch away from the main group. I adjusted the BAXS a couple times to correct this, but it persisted with this BB.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol Air Venturi CQBB target 1
This 5-shot group measures 3.197 inches, but the lone shot at the bottom opens it up by more than one inch. Notice how narrow the group is.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol Air Venturi CQBB target 2
Another 5-shot group of 0.20-gram Air Venturi CQBBs is also tall and even narrower. This time, 4 BBs went into 1.08 inches, and the fifth shot opened the group to 2.26 inches.

There were 3 more groups just like these, and then I decided to switch BBs. The next BB I tried was the 0.20-gram Marui Black that Pyramyd Air does not stock. Being lighter, these BBs went faster than the others. The first group was really tight.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol Marui black BB target 1
Here are 5 shots in 0.847 inches at 10 meters. The Tanfoglio seems to like the 0.20-gram Marui Black BBs. This is what a good airsoft pistol can do at 10 meters.

Alas, I was unable to repeat that group. The next group was 10 Marui BBs instead of 5, and this one spread out to 2.041 inches.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol Marui black BB target 1
Ten Marui Black BBs spread out to a much larger group that measured 2.041 inches between centers.

I tried several more times to shoot good 5-shot groups with the Maruis, but no luck. They all turned out like the 10-shot group shown above.

Let sanity prevail
This gun was never intended to be a 10-meter pistol. It’s supposed to be a rapid-fire action pistol that can compete in action target matches. Those targets are much larger than the ones seen here, and the BBs only have to hit a large center area to score their highest. I think they can do that without a problem.

What I’ve just shown you is how an adjustable hop-up, or BAXS in this instance, affects the grouping ability of an airsoft gun. If you compare these groups to those fired in the previous test, you’ll see how much improvement was achieved.

Bottom line
The Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft pistol is a high-end, factory-made competition gun. It has a wonderful trigger, great blowback action and is very capable of competing, as long as a quality dot sight is mounted. For coming right out of the box at this level of performance, I doubt you can find anything better.

Just remember, the factory owner’s manual is spotty and somewhat misleading. This pistol takes some getting used to before it can perform at its best, and that comes with time and use.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
The Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel pistol is a competition airsoft gun in a box!

Today is accuracy day for the Tanfoglio Gold Custom CO2 blowback airsoft kit gun, but it’s just the first of many tests. An airsoft gun with adjustable Hop-up, or BAXS in this case, has to be adjusted to shoot its best. I’ve never adjusted a gun with BAXS, but I’ve adjusted plenty of them with Hop-up and that is how it always happens. The gun never shoots its best right out of the box. I’m assuming the BAXS is the same.

All I did today was find out which BBs are worth continuing with and which aren’t. As it turned out, I got good results with several 0.20-gram BBs, which is what the manufacturer recommends for this gun. I also did well with one 0.25-gram BB.

I’ll warn you right now, the targets you’re about to see are not very impressive. They look terrible, in fact. If you’re used to good groups from pellet guns, these are going to seem hopeless. But they do show small differences between the good BBs and those that aren’t worth pursuing, and that was all I wanted to do today.

I shot off a bag rest with the butt of the gun (the bottom of the magazine well) rested against the bag. I also tried holding it ahead of the bag and just resting my arms on the bag, but it moved around too much. Maybe next time I’ll play with some different holds.

I shot only 5-shot groups today because I was testing a large number of different BBs. In all, I tested over 10 different brands, but only the most promising will be shown here.

Sight failure!
Before I get to that, however, there was another problem not related to the gun. The Swiss Arms red dot sight that was bundled with the pistol quit working suddenly during the first session. It wasn’t the battery because that’s still good. So, I dismounted it and installed a Walther Competition II Top Point red dot sight that I got from Pyramyd Air for testing; but some funny-bunny at the factory had left the sight turned to high power, and the battery was dead. I replaced it with a fresh battery but the sight failed to respond. So — two red dot sights out of the running even before we start. That was what ticked me off yesterday and caused the rewriting of my blog.

Fortunately, I have an older Tasco Pro Point red dot sight that has functioned perfectly on many airguns over the past 15 years. That one went on for this test, and everything was good again.

Quick rundown
Sight-in was a bit frantic because I unknowingly chose the least accurate 0.20 BB for the job. The gun doesn’t like the Air Venturi Pro CQBBs that weigh 0.20-grams. It took me about 10 shots to get sort of on target, but it wasn’t until I switched ammo that I found out what was happening. More on that in a moment, now for the quick rundown.

This pistol hates 0.12-gram BBs. They couldn’t even stay on the trap at 10 meters, and I was using the UTG Accushot Pellet and BB trap. Forget staying on target! This things were hitting the backer board that was behind the trap. Fortunately, I expected something like that, so I didn’t waste much time. BBs this light are usually good only in lower-powered spring-piston guns.

The pistol also performs only average with the 0.28-gram BBs. Though I only tried one brand, the TSD Tactical 0.28-gram BBs, I can tell from experience that this BB is too heavy for the pistol.

That leaves 0.25-gram and 0.20-gram BBs. The gun shot the best group with Air Venturi Pro CQBBs 0.25-gram BBs, but it was 2.864 inches for 5 shots. See what I mean about not getting too excited?

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol Air Venturi 0.25-gram BB target 10 meters
Five shots of 0.25-gram Air Venturi Pro CQBBs went into 2.864 inches at 10 meters.

The second-best group of 5 shots was a 0.20-gram Marui Black BB that Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry. Five of those went into 2.875 inches at 10 meters, which is really too close to call. The round BBs tear holes that are indistinct and measurement may be off by a lot. Fortunately, the pictures don’t lie.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol Marui-Black-0.20-gram BB target 10 meters
Five Marui Black 0.20-gram BBs went into 2.875 inches at 10 meters. It was the second-best group of this test, but also too close to call. It may be just as good as the first group.

But it was another 0.20-gram BB, the TSD Stealth that’s apparently no longer made that tipped the scales on this day. The first group I shot was spread out wide, but it was just one BB that did it. The other four were in 1.809 inches. I was so encouraged that I shot a second group; and, again, 4 BBs went into 2.229 inches and the fifth shot opened the group several more inches. I think this might be the most accurate BB after the BAXS gets adjusted, or at least 0.20-gram BBs of some other brand might turn out to be the best. If not, the 0.25-gram Air Venturi BBs might get better with the adjustment.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol TSD-Stealth-0.20-gram BB target 10 meters
Four of five TSD Stealth BBs went into 1.809 inches. This BB shows promise and may do a lot better after BAXS adjustment.

Don’t get discouraged!
My time with airsoft has taught me to first look for the best BB, and then spend more time adjusting the Hop-up to maximize its potential. That’s what lies ahead of us for this pistol. I won’t guarantee the gun will be much more accurate than this; but if past experience holds true, it will be!

Shooting characteristics
Believe me, I do understand that this is not a target pistol. But to win as a competition gun, it has to place its shots close together. IPSC for airsoft doesn’t shoot as far as 10 meters, so this test is extreme, but it’s also quite good at showing what the gun is capable of.

The gun’s recoil is sharp when you’re aiming carefully. And the trigger that I loved before is still preforming well. All in all, I’m a little disappointed that I can’t show you better groups than these; but if the BAXS works as it should, I should be able to reduce these by a lot.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit: Part 2

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

Part 1

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
The Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel pistol is a competition airsoft gun in a box!

Let’s look at the velocity of the Tanfoglio Gold Custom CO2 blowback airsoft kit gun. When I started the test, I discovered something unusual. The CO2 cartridge I’d loaded last week to test the gun initially had leaked down completely. That usually doesn’t happen until several months have passed, so it got me wondering. I’ll watch the gun and see if it happens again. I left the test today with a 75 percent filled cartridge; so if I test it again in a week and it’s out, I’ll know. And to answer your question, yes, I did use Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of each fresh cartridge when I installed it.

Testing the velocity of an airsoft gun is a little different than testing a pellet gun. It’s more like testing a BB gun because the airsoft BBs come in specific weights. The velocities tend to conform to the weights rather than to the individual brands of BBs used. I’ll test the pistol today with the 4 most popular weights — 0.12 grams, 0.20 grams, 0.25 grams and 0.28 grams. And let’s get something straight right now. When we’re talking about airsoft BBs, we’re speaking in terms of GRAMS — not grains. There are about 454 grams in a pound, but 7,000 GRAINS per pound. So a gram is MUCH heavier than a grain. A gram is a decimal unit of the metric system. It’s one-thousandth of a kilogram. A grain is an apothecary (medical) weight from the old English system of weights — a system that is also used by jewelers. It was historically the weight of one barley seed, but has been standardized to one seven-thousandth of a pound.

Regardless of the weight of each BB, they’re all the same size. Their weight is controlled by the material used to make them.

UHC Precision Ground BBs, 0.12 grams
First up are 0.12-gram (1.85 grains) UHC BBs. They averaged 417 f.p.s. in the Tanfoglio pistol. The range went from a low of 406 to a high of 425 f.p.s. That’s slightly slower than the maximum advertised veloicity of 453 f.p.s for this pistol. At the average velocity they produce 0.71-foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Given the design goals of airsoft, that’s fine, because much more than that will start to injure anyone hit by them.

Air Venturi Pro CQBBs, 0.20 grams
Next up were Air Venturi Pro CQBBs 0.20-gram (3.09 grains) BBs. These are value-priced BBs that come in bottles of 2,700 rounds, 5,000 rounds and, for the serious shooter, supersized bags of 125,000!

These averaged 333 f.p.s. with a spread from 315 to 346 f.p.s. This is the recommended BB weight for this pistol, which means it will probably be the easiest one to tune the BAXS (the trajectory adjustment in the pistol) with. At the average velocity, this BB produced 0.76 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. I have other brands of 0.20-gram BBs, including competition BBs; so if this weight turns out to work well in the gun, I plan to give it the biggest test. As a final note, the velocity was right where the specs say it should be (320-350 f.p.s.).

Air Venturi Pro CQBBs, 0.25 grams
This 0.25-gram (3.86 grains) BB is a little heavier than the recommended weight, but sometimes that doesn’t hurt the accuracy at all. With the right BBs, it can enhance it — and this is where having several different brands of premium airsoft BBs is an advantage. I tested velocity with the Air Venturi Pro CQBBs 0.25-gram BB that’s the equivalent of the 0.20-gram BB mentioned above, but heavier. It comes packaged the same way, and I have the 2,700 BB bottle for the test.

These BBs averaged 296 f.p.s. in the Tanfoglio pistol. The range went from 282 to 304 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this BB produced 0.75 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

TSD Tactical, 0.28 gram BBs
The last BB I tried was the TSD Tactical 0.28-gram (4.32 grains) BBs. These are clearly too heavy for this gun, but they did produce velocity very close to the 0.25-gram BBs. The average was 289 f.p.s., with a spread from 274 to 302 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this BB developed 0.80 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Loading the magazine
I don’t have a speedloader, so I loaded each BB one-by-one into the double-stack magazine. They have to be pressed through the top of the magazine, which then holds them against falling out while the gun is operating. That’s the sign of a quality airsoft gun. If you remove the loaded mag for any reason, a BB doesn’t fall out of the mag as it often does on lower-priced gas guns and most spring guns and auto-electric guns (AEGs).

I also note the BBs instantly arranged themselves within the mag…and without any fuss. With lesser guns, the BB stack will have gaps on one side that lead to misfeeds.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol loaded mag
BBs arrange themselves perfectly inside the magazine every time!

Stopping the BBs
Nothing rebounds worse than a plastic airsoft BB. Nothing! Those of you who know airsoft probably wonder how I managed to stop the BBs in the velocity tes. When I tell you that I stopped 100 percent of more than 60 BBs fired, you need to know how I did it! I used a UTG Accushot Pellet and BB trap, and in front of that I placed a heavy cardboard sheet at a slight angle of perhaps 15 degrees to the face of the trap. The trap and cardboard both stood in a shallow cardboard tray that caught all BBs that came back out of the trap. It worked so well that I will use it when I conduct the accuracy test.

I proclaimed how much I love the Tanfoglio trigger in Part 1. Now let me tell you the specs. It’s single-stage, with the blade moving through an arc that can be felt, and it breaks cleanly at 2 lbs., 9 oz., which is even lighter than the trigger on my Wilson Combat CQB 1911 firearm. This is a pistol trigger to die for! The only criticism is that it doesn’t break like a glass rod; but since the gun is for action shooting and not bullseye targets, that doesn’t matter.

Shot count
I got exactly 40 shots before the gun began slowing down. After that, there were another 10 good shots before the blowback function came into question. I guess a lot of the CO2 is used for blowback. Since this is a competition gun, that makes no difference. Winners will buy it and use it, no matter what it takes to make it work. This is not a budget plinker. It’s a full-blown competition airgun!

I hope this pistol will be a real tackdriver because that would make it perfect. I know that it’s not a target gun, but it does have to place its shots in the same place to score high in the competitions it would enter. If it does — well, I don’t know that I will let it go back!

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit: Part 1

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

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
The Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel pistol is a real competition airsoft gun in a box!

Well, here’s something different! I’m testing an airsoft gun — actually the Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit — which the distributor calls a softair gun. Many of you don’t remember this, but years ago I used to test airsoft guns for this blog from time to time. Then Pyramyd Air got a dedicated blogger for airsoft and I stopped reviewing them. Well, that blog is no longer active, so I told Edith I wanted to start testing them again, now and then. I don’t skirmish and I don’t shoot guns at people. So, my interest in airsoft guns is in their realism and how well they shoot. That’s how I’ll be looking at this one. Since realism was the original impetus behind the creation of airsoft guns, I don’t think my views are out of line.

This test is actually the first part of a twofer because there’s also a Tanfoglio Gold Custom CO2 blowback BB pistol that I have. I’ll test that one after I finish this test, but I won’t link the 2 reports to keep the confusion down. The gun I’m looking at is serial number 12021442.

Today’s test isn’t just a gun — it’s an entire shooting kit that comes with a Swiss Arms red dot holographic sight. The pistol comes with a Picatinny sight base attached to the gun but no dot sight in the package, so this dot sight completes the ensemble. And it’s an all-metal gun that weighs 3 lbs., 4.4 oz. without sights, ammo or CO2! That makes it 2.5 oz. heavier than my Wilson Combat .45 ACP when it’s fully loaded! Nothing but metal touches your hand. Although the gun resembles a 1911 somewhat, it’s also clearly different. The grip frame reminds me of a Llama Max II 45L/F hi-cap pistol because it ‘s wider, more rounded and softer than a slabsided 1911.

This firearm is purpose-built as an IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) competition gun. It’s endorsed by 5-time IPSC world champion Eric Grauffel and is a copy of the gun he uses. Its purpose is to place as many shots as possible into the highest-scoring kill zone of silhouette targets in the shortest possible time. The slide has a cocking knob located on the right rear, so you don’t rack the slide to start the gun — you pull back on the cocking knob. Even though the trigger appears to be double-action, this pistol is single-action only. And the trigger-pull is to die for! I’ll get to that in a moment.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
A knob on the right rear of the pistol retracts the slide to cock the hammer. Blowback continues to cock the hammer after the first shot until the magazine is out of ammo, then the slide remains open.

With this gun, we have a dilemma. It has blowback action that drives the slide to the rear with each shot, cocking the hammer for the next shot. With most airsoft guns with blowback, you get the feel of recoil that a firearm would have. It isn’t exactly the same, but it’s a good simulation, which is the primary reason these guns have it. However, with this pistol, we want to recover from each shot as fast as possible, so any movement caused by blowback runs counter to the purpose of the gun. We have it and it works, but we don’t really want it — except to cock the hammer. Fortunately, the makers understood that, and the blowback of this pistol does not make the gun bounce in your hand. Throw in the safety, which is wide enough so you can rest your thumb on it, and you’ve got an action pistol that’s still very controllable.

I don’t know how they did it, but the makers of this pistol gave it one of the finest 2-stage trigger-pulls it has ever been my good fortune to try. It’s not a glass-crisp release; stage 2 does have movement. You can feel the blade as it moves, but there isn’t even a hint of creep. I’ll test the trigger for you in Part 2 and give you the numbers. But I’m telling you now — this one is very good!

The gun has an ambidextrous thumb safety that can be used as a thumb rest for your shooting hand. The reason to do this is to reduce the amount of muzzle flip with each shot, allowing you to get on the next target faster. Since IPSC is a timed competition, everything that saves time is a benefit.

The forward part of the grip frame and backstrap are both finely checkered for a better grip. I would want even more checkering, but the gun still grabs your hand well. The backstrap is a full beavertail that goes way back over your shooting hand. The hammer is both bobbed and skeletonized for speed. This pistol showcases the type of race gun features competitors would spend thousands of dollars to get.

The magazine holds both the single CO2 cartridge and 17 6mm airsoft BBs arranged in a vertical double-stack column. The specs say this is an 18-shot magazine, so I will be checking that during this test. The extended magazine release on the left side of the frame cleanly releases the drop-free magazine, and the next loaded mag installs easily in the funnel-shaped butt…because, once again, time is the issue.

Of course, the gun’s caliber is 6mm. The lithographed box indicates the pistol does best with 0.20-gram BBs that are supposed to leave the muzzle at 350 f.p.s. Velocity is also given for 0.12-gram BBs that are supposed to go out at 450 f.p.s. Naturally, I’ll test both claims.

This pistol has a proprietary version of Hop-Up called the BAXS shooting system. It puts a controlled backspin on the plastic ball, giving straighter flight over a longer distance. It’s adjustable and requires partial disassembly of the gun to access the adjustment. The slide has to come off. It’s held on by a disassembly pin, similar to the one found on a Beretta 92FS. I’ll test the efficacy of this for you when I write the accuracy test.

There are no open sights on this gun, as it’s a competition model. But it does come with a Picatinny rail for optical sights. The rail is attached to the left side of the gun’s frame by 4 Allen screws, and there are 4 more threaded holes on the right side of the frame, although the base isn’t symmetrical and cannot be switched over to the other side. The slide is free to cycle beneath the rail and is the reason there’s a cocking knob on the gun.

These days, dot sights reign supreme in IPSC competition, so that’s what’s provided in the kit. The Swiss Arms dot sight is a holographic-type red dot that has 11 levels of brightness and the off position. Naturally, the dot is adjustable for both windage and elevation. I see that the dot is very fat, which helps with rapid target acquisition more than precision; again, time is the crucial factor. So the choice of this particular sight was well thought out.

Yes, there’s a blaze orange muzzle to comply with U.S. import regulations. And, no, it’s not okay to take it off or cover it up. If you get in trouble with this gun and have altered the muzzle, you bear the full brunt of liability for the problems it causes.

There’s also a compensator on the muzzle of the gun. It would work if the gun had the volume of gas that’s generated by a .45 ACP cartridge. But with CO2, it’s just there for looks.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
This pistol is a serious IPSC competition gun.

Initial impressions
I know handguns, and this KWC (Taiwan) airsoft pistol blows me away. It isn’t just good — it’s great, and you can tell it was purposely made that way. There’s no luck involved here — this pistol is intentionally meant to be wonderful.

I know it isn’t a precision target pistol; but it’s made for a type of target shooting, so it has to be accurate. Right? I’ll try to test it in the way it was intended to be shot.

I didn’t select this pistol on my own. I asked Pyramyd Air’s airsoft expert, Sergey, to send me the best gun he has. And this was his choice. I haven’t fired one BB through it, yet I’m already inclined to agree with him!

Colt 1911 Special Combat CO2 BB pistol: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Colt’s 1911 Special Combat BB pistol is a knockout for looks!

Happy Independence Day!
Happy Fourth of July to my U.S. readers! And to everyone else, happy Wednesday!

Today, I’ll look at the accuracy of the Colt 1911 Special Combat BB pistol. We discovered in the velocity test that the pistol doesn’t quite reach the velocity advertised. That made it possible for me to start using and testing the new Winchester Airgun Target Cube that serves as a BB/pellet trap. We also learned that the pistol shoots at dramatically different velocities in single- and double-action. Naturally, I looked at both modes in this test.

The test
I shot the pistol at 16 feet (as close as possible to 5 meters — the international BB-gun distance) from a rest. A fresh CO2 cartridge was installed at the start of the test and was used for the entire test.

The first 10 shots were to ascertain how the sights were set. Also, I knew from the velocity test that this pistol needs a couple shots to “wake up” the valve and get up to its top velocity. So, the first 10 shots were just sighters.

I discovered the rear sight needed some elevation. Happily, the sight is completely adjustable, but the direction for a vertical increase isn’t clear. The straight arrow doesn’t tell you which way to turn the screw. Fortunately, the sight works like most other rear sights, and a counterclockwise turn provides elevation. There seemed to be no click detents in the adjustment, so I watched the orientation of the screw slot.

First up were Daisy zinc-plated BBs, and 10 were loaded into the stick magazine. Then, I fired the pistol single-action, using a 6 o’clock hold with the sights. Yes, at just 16 feet from the target, I could hardly miss, but this was a test of the pistol — not of my shooting ability.

Ten Daisy BBs went into a group that measures 1.58 inches between centers. It proved to be the best group of the entire test.

Ten Daisy BBs made this 1.58-inch group at 16 feet.

Next, I loaded 10 more Daisy BBs and shot them double-action at a fresh target. As expected the group opened up. This time ten went into a group measuring 2.606-inches between centers. Although, the double-action trigger-pull is relatively light, it stacks at the end and is difficult to control. Nevertheless, this accuracy is minute-of-pop-can at the same 16 feet.

Ten Daisy BBs fired double-action made this 2.606-inch group. A stacking trigger-pull was the culprit.

Next, it was time to try the RWS BBs. Though they appear to be even smoother than Daisy BBs, I find the two brands about equal in most guns I have tested. The first ten were fired single action, making a group that measures 2.369-inches between centers. That is nearly as large as the Daisy BBs fired double-action!

Once during the 10 shots, there was a double-feed, and two BBs went down range together. This never happened again, so I don’t think it’s a problem. And, if the wide shot from that double-feed was eliminated, the remaining 9 BBs made a group measuring 1.668 inches between centers — much more in line with what the Daisy BBs did.

The RWS BB single-action group looks large because the hole at the upper right is one of two that went down range together. Take it out, and the group is much closer to the single-action Daisy BB group. Overall group measures 2.369 inches, but 9 shots went into 1.668 inches.

On double-action, I was able to see several of the BBs as they went downrange. They seemed to all be curving to the left — almost as though the gun had a Hop-Up that wasn’t quite adjusted. This reminded me of the gun’s airsoft heritage. Ten shots landed in a 2.128-inch group, besting the single-action group, but only because of the double-feed while shooting single-action. This group also bested the Daisy double-action group

Ten RWS BBs went into 2.128 inches shooting double-action.

Winchester Airgun Target Cube
I used the Winchester Airgun Target Cube for this accuracy test. It’s a new combination BB/pellet trap that I’ve been eager to include in my testing. The trap is a cube of dense foam that has a metal plate inside. Shoot at it on one side, and you’re just shooting at foam, unless you chance to hit the edge of the metal plate. That’s the side for velocities below 350 f.p.s. Orient the cube the other way and the plate’s in the middle. That’s the side for velocities above 350 f.p.s.

The paper targets were all taped to the front surface of the cube. The solid backing of the cube helped define the BB holes a little. And as light as the cube is, it never moved when hit. The sound when hit is quiet, but it’s noisier than a Quiet Pellet Trap.

Daisy markets this cube and says the side of the cube that’s rated above 350 f.p.s. is good up to 1,200 f.p.s. for .177-caliber pellets. I won’t be testing it at that speed. Several shots in the same place might blow through the metal plate inside the cube, and I’m not a testing laboratory for Daisy or anyone else. I’m interested in how many practical shots we can expect from this trap, so I plan to keep a record. Hopefully the number will be in the thousands, like other commercial BB traps.

The Winchester Airgun Target Cube has its first 50 shots. Ten were from the sight-in.

The BBs all stayed inside the cube, but it’s too early to say how long this trap will last. As I use it, the tendancy will be to strike near the center of the cube, so in time we will see what effect that has.

What I like about this pistol
I like the trigger in both the single- and double-action modes. I like the adjustable sights, and I like the way the sights look when shooting the gun. I like the snazzy appearance of the gun and the way it is exactly the same size as a 1911 firearm. I like the drop-free magazine/CO2 holder. And I like the velocity that gives a lot of shots per CO2 cartridge. This gun is very quiet and only rates a two on the sound scale!

What I don’t like about this pistol
The accuracy could be better.

The bottom line
This BB pistol has to compete with many other 1911-style BB pistols that all offer a lot for the money. This one probably leads them all in looks, but it trails the field in accuracy. In the end, though, it’s more than accurate enough for a BB pistol.

Colt 1911 Special Combat CO2 BB pistol: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Colt’s 1911 Special Combat BB pistol is a knockout for looks!

Wow! Today’s test is as different as any I’ve done! This air pistol surprised me completely, with results I’ve never before seen from any airgun.

The Colt 1911 Special Combat pistol shoots BBs, so a velocity test is going to be pretty humdrum. There are a limited number of different BBs to try, and they aren’t going to give fantastically different results like lead pellets do. So, usually a velocity test with a BB gun is a no-brainer for me. Shoot and record the numbers — plain and simple. But not today.

Both single-action and double-action
This pistol fires in both the single-action and double-action modes. For you newcomers, single-action is where the trigger performs the single functon of releasing the hammer to fire the gun. You have to manually cock the hammer before each shot — the trigger doesn’t do it.

Double-action, in contrast, is where the trigger both cocks the hammer and releases it, all in one smooth pull. So you just keep on pulling the trigger. As long as there’s ammunition, the gun keeps on firing.

Because the trigger is doing more for double-action, it’s always harder to pull in that mode than it is for single-action. So a semiautomatic pistol that has single-action operation will normally have the very best trigger possible. If a gun functions in either single- or double-action like most revolvers, the single-action mode will give the best trigger-pull. The double-action mode is reserved for when you want to fire a lot of rounds very fast.

There’s more to it than that, of course. Some semiautomatic pistols such as the Beretta M92/M9 fire either single- or double-action; but when they fire, the slide comes back and cocks the gun for the next shot. These guns are quick to fire the first shot, since you can carry them with a round chambered and just pull the trigger to get them started. They also have the advantage of switching over to single-action once they begin firing.

At any rate, when I have a CO2 pistol that’s both single- and double-action, I test it for velocity both ways. That often gives results that favor the velocity on one or the other of the two modes. But this gun was vastly different. It varies by about 100 feet per second greater velocity in the single-action mode. And there’s even more to report, so read my results carefully.

I started out shooting the pistol with Daisy zinc-plated BBs in the single-action mode. The gun is rated to shoot at 400 f.p.s., so I expected something in that neighborhood; with BBs, there isn’t much variation between brands. So, I was surprised to see the first shot on a fresh CO2 cartridge register only 205 f.p.s. But sometimes pneumatics and CO2 guns need to “wake up” when they first start shooting after a rest, so I kept on shooting and watching the chronograph. The next shot went 203 f.p.s., but the one after that went 334, then 345, then 366 f.p.s. That last shot was as high as the pistol wanted to go.

My first good string of shots on single-action averaged 363 f.p.s., with a low of 360 and a high of 375 f.p.s. That’s good consistency, after the valve had woken up. I figured shooting the gun on double-action would give similar numbers. Guess again!

On double-action with the same Daisy zinc-plated BBs, the velocity averaged 252 f.p.s. The low was 224 and the high was 280 f.p.s. What a spread, and what a difference from single-action. Next, I shot two more shots single-action to see what had happened, if anything. They went 337 and 321 f.p.s., respectively. The gun was shooting slower, but it was still much faster in the single-action mode.

I then tried the RWS Match BBs that Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry. I’ve found them as accurate and precise as Daisy BBs, and sometimes they give slightly different results. This time in single-action, they averaged 319 f.p.s. with a spread from 280 to 344 f.p.s. In double-action, they averaged 240 f.p.s. with a spread from 227 to 250 f.p.s. And shooting single-action immediately following the double-action string gave me two shots at 324 and 302 f.p.s., respectively.

I was concerned that the pistol seemed to be running out of CO2, so I fired it 20 more shots double-action with no BBs in the magazine, then I fired another shot single-action (with the RWS BBs) that went 321 f.p.s. So, it wasn’t out of gas just yet!

How many shots per cartridge?
At this point in the test there were 63 shots on the cartridge. I fired another 10 blank (no BB) shots double-action and then fired an RWS BB single-action that registered 335 f.p.s. At 84 shots, the gun is still going strong.

I next shot a single Daisy BB on single-action to see if there was still such a difference between the two brands. This one went 327 f.p.s., so both BBs are going about the same speed. The initial string of Daisys was just a little faster for some reason.

I shot another 10 blank shots double-action and then an RWS BB at 327 f.p.s. So, at 96 shots, the CO2 cartridge is still going strong. Then another 10 blank shots, followed by a Daisy BB at 323 f.p.s. That was shot number 107 on the cartridge.

Another 10 blanks shots were fired double-action and then an RWS BB went 331 f.p.s. That was shot 118. Then another 10 blanks, followed by a Daisy BB that failed to register. Then a second Daisy BB went 325 f.p.s. for shot 130. Then another 10 blank shots were followed by shot 141 — an RWS BB at 321 f.p.s.

My gosh — this pistol is starting to remind me of the AirForce Talon SS using the Micro-Meter tank! Another 6 blanks were fired and then the remaining gas spontaneously released from the cartridge. All gas was exhausted, and it was all over. This cartridge had maintained its velocity down to almost the end of the CO2 charge — something I’ve not seen in a long time. For the record, I got a good 140 shots from a single cartridge.

What about the large velocity variation at the beginning of the test? I think we can chalk that up to the gun breaking in. After several hundred shots have been fired, I think the gun will perform more consistently; but I’ll come back in a special test, after we look at accuracy, and rerun the velocity test again.

The double-action trigger-pull broke at an average 10 lbs., 6 oz. of effort. The range went from 9 lbs., 6 oz. to 11 lbs., 5 oz. The faster the trigger was pulled, the lighter it became. The pull effort increases rapidly (stacks) the further back the trigger is pulled.

The single-action pull was a very consistent 3 lbs., 7 oz. The second stage is very apparent (I mean there’s a definite hesitation of the trigger blade at the start of stage two), and there’s just a hint of creep in the second stage.

So far, this ranks as a very interesting BB pistol. The test pistol fell short of the advertised velocity, but delivered a huge number of good shots from a cartridge. I think the way it turned out was better than if the velocity had been higher and the shot count less, because high-velocity in a BB gun is about the worst thing you can have. Given the tendency for BBs to rebound with great speed, you really don’t want them going too fast.

Accuracy testing is next.

Colt 1911 Special Combat CO2 BB pistol: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

New Colt 1911 Special Combat BB pistol is an attractive CO2 gun.

I love my job! I love my job because I get to see, handle and test the latest airguns. Today, I’m starting to look at the Colt 1911 Special Combat BB pistol by Colt. Okay, we all know that Colt doesn’t really make this airgun, any more than Ruger, Remington and Winchester make the airguns with their names on them. But unlike most of the guns that carry those other manufacturers’ names, this 1911 was originally a Colt design. Designed by John Moses Browning, the M1911 pistol is one of the world’s most iconic handguns. It’s more than a full century old, yet more alive and vibrant today than ever.

This is one beautiful airgun! If it was a firearm, you would have to pay over a thousand dollars to get all the features this one has. Luckily, you’re an airgunner and can enjoy owning a BB pistol like this for one-tenth the price.

Let me start by covering all you get with this airgun. First of all, it’s double-action, so the gun fires with each pull of the trigger. That is important because, although the slide moves, the gun does not have blowback. So, the double-action trigger keeps you shooting as fast as you want. I’ll cover the trigger in a later report; but in both single- and double-action, it’s light and easy to pull.

The gun is all metal, so the weight feels about right. As far as I can tell, it feels just like a 1911 firearm when I hold it.

The sights are fully adjustable. The front post has a white dot and the rear notch is plain and square.

The backstrap ends in a wide beavertail extension that keeps the web of your firing hand safe from the slide of a firearm 1911. There is no grip safety (hurray!) but there is what is called a speed bump in the right place, so it looks like there’s a grip safety. No more worrying about how you grip the pistol — it’ll always work.

The safety, slide latch and magazine release button all function. The magazine is a drop-free design that holds both the CO2 cartridge and a stick BB magazine. The safety is for right-handed shooters, only, and the lever is of the flat wide design that’s currently so popular among those who carry the 1911. You can hook your thumb over the safety on the firearm, and the pistol will not flip up nearly as high in recoil.

The backstrap, or what would be the mainspring housing on the firearm, is of the flat 1911 design instead of the arched 1911A1 style. It’s crosshatched for additional purchase, though the metal surface on this air pistol is much smoother than it would be on a firearm. The front part of the grip frame is covered with square diamonds that run about 20 to the inch to give more grip there.

The grip panels carry the Colt logo in a plastic button, and they’re fully removable by the same two screws that all 1911 guns use. You would think the designers of this pistol did that so all Colt 1911 grips will fit, but alas, the screw bosses are set about one-eighth of an inch too far apart and firearm grips don’t fit! That’s like making an AR upper on proprietary pin centers so it will only fit your lower! The entire market for a 1911 is driven by aftermarket sources, ever since Colt lost their vision in the late 1970s and gave up the 1911 business they once dominated. Having a 1911 that doesn’t fit aftermarket grips makes no sense at all!

The slide has slanted grooves front and rear to facilitate gripping while racking the slide back. They aren’t needed on this gun, but they do give it a very tactical appearance.

There is a light rail/Picatinny rail under the slide and in front of the triggerguard for mounting a laser or tactical light. I’m guessing a lot of BB gun shooters are going to mount a laser.

The gun appears to be finished in stainless steel with black oxide sections, in a nice tuxedo pattern. And the backstrap, muzzle plug, barrel, trigger, slide release, magazine release button, safety and hammer are all chrome plated. That’s right, I said chrome — not nickel. It sounds horrible, but actually looks rather nice. It blends well with the faux stainless finish on the slide.

One criticism
The only thing Colt will take heat for is the presence of the CO2 screw head sticking out from the bottom of the magazine well. Why they couldn’t have just surrounded it with a brushed stainless magazine funnel is beyond me, because I know the air pistol fans are going to key on this one oversight.

This pistol is rated to shoot at 400 f.p.s., which makes it ideal for testing a Winchester Airgun Target Cube I just received. If there is one thing we need more of it is BB gun traps, so I look forward to the forthcoming test.

Such a striking BB pistol from Colt! This will be a pleasure to test.

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