Posts Tagged ‘CO2 pistol’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
It’s accuracy day for the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol, and some of you have been eagerly awaiting this day! I decided to shoot 3 different BBs in the gun just to give you a general idea of how well it groups.
Because this is a BB gun, the shooting distance was 5 meters, which is 16 feet, 5 inches. I sat backwards on a chair, resting my forearms over the back, so the pistol was fairly steady. I selected a 10-meter rifle target for this session because the smaller bull seemed appropriate for the shorter distance.
After installing the CO2 cartridge and loading the first 10 BBs, I tried to shoot the target and the gun wouldn’t fire! What was wring? I knew this was a double-action-only trigger, and it should have worked. Right?
Wrong! This trigger is not DAO. It only feels like one! It’s really a single-action trigger that requires the hammer to be cocked before it’ll work. You can squeeze the trigger all day and nothing will happen until the hammer is cocked. So, with this little problem out of the way, the test could begin.
Crosman Copperhead BBs
First up were 10 Crosman Copperhead BBs. As I shot, I noted that the pistol was very steady in my rested hands. And the target shows that…I think. Ten Copperheads went into 1.521 inches at 5 meters. But note the 2 holes that are apart from the main group. Eight of those BBs made a group measuring 0.78 inches.
The farthest of the 2 holes that are apart from the main group — the one to the extreme right — was a called flier. My hand twitched to the left as the shot fired. The other one, though, was held just like all the rest.
Daisy Premium Grade BBs
Next I tried 10 Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Like I mentioned in Part 1, they’re top-grade BBs that always deliver the goods. This time, 10 of them went into 1.114 inches. There were no called fliers, and the group is fairly well centered on the bull.
The last BB I tried was the Umarex precision BB — another top-grade BB. Ten of them grouped in 1.28 inches, with 9 going into 0.998 inches. There were no called fliers in this group, either.
As I told you in Part 2, the trigger-pull on this pistol feels very much like a double-action pull. That’s one where the trigger first cocks the hammer before releasing it to fire the gun. It “stacks” or increases in effort significantly toward the end of the pull, like a vintage Colt double-action revolver. Once you learn how to use that, it helps with accuracy. The pistol is actually stabilized before firing.
This little Beretta is a fun BB gun, make no mistake. I found it trouble-free and easy to use. The sights are right on, and there are no quirks in the operation. If you like BB repeaters, this would be one to consider!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol. We’ll also look at the trigger and the shot count.
Of course, the first step to shoot a CO2 BB pistol like this one is to install a fresh CO2 cartridge. And when you do, never forget to put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip before piercing. The oil will be blown through the gun, coating every seal on the inside and sealing it tight for a long time. I found the cartridge sealed immediately after it pierced, so this pistol is conventional in that respect. Remember — once the cartridge is pierced and the gas stops hissing, you don’t want to tighten the screw any more or you’ll soon tear the face seal that the cartridge butts against, creating a leak.
The BB magazine holds 17 BBs comfortably, and 18 can be forced in. I loaded them one at a time, but in this mag, they load easily.
Umarex Precision BBs
Thye first BB I tested was the Umarex Precision BB. In past tests I have found this BB to be one of the 2 top BBs on the market for precision and size uniformity. They tend to be larger in diameter, which means they give the best velocity.
These BBs averaged 368 f.p.s. for 10 shots, but I did notice the gun is very susceptible to velocity dropoff if the shots are fired fast. When I waited at least 10 seconds between shots, the velocity held steady; but if I fired 2 shots quickly, the second one was always much slower. In one test, the first shot went 372 f.p.s. and the next shot…fired a second later…went 358 f.p.s.
The fastest shot in the string went 385 f.p.s. and the slowest went 356 f.p.s., so the spread was 29 f.p.s. However, the first 3 shots on a new cartridge always go much faster than the average. If we eliminate those 3 shots from this string, the average drops to 363 f.p.s., which seems like a more reasonable average.
Daisy Premium Grade BB
Next I tried the Daisy Premium Grade BB that’s the other top BB on the market. These BBs are also very uniform and very consistently sized. Ten of them averaged 357 f.p.s., with a spread from 350 to 373 f.p.s. That’s a 23 foot-second spread.
The Daisy Premium Grade BB is as good as BBs get, unless you opt to buy the special Avanti Precision Ground Shot that are the finest BBs available today. But they only show their advantage when used in the equally superior Daisy Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. If you shoot them in anything else, you’re wasting money as sure as someone who loads target rimfire ammo into a semiauto sporter.
Crosman Copperhead BB
The final BB I tried was the Crosman Copperhead BB. This BB is not as consistent as the other 2 because the diameter varies, causing velocity variations. You probably won’t find any flat spots on these BBs, but the diameter inconsistency puts it into the second rank for both velocity and accuracy.
In the 84 FS, Copperheads averaged 348 f.p.s., but the spread is very revealing. The low was 314 f.p.s., and the high was 375 f.p.s. That makes the spread 61 f.p.s.
After shooting 64 BBs (there were many that didn’t register on the chronograph, plus I filled the magazine with each type of BB and then shot the rest of them without recording the velocity), the next few Daisy BBs went 317, 306, 301 and 294 f.p.s., respectively. So, the liquid CO2 was exhausted at this point, and the gas pressure was dropping.
Shot count for a CO2 cartridge
I continued to shoot the pistol until the blowback no longer worked. That happened at shot 78, so that’s the number of shots you can get from the gun. By that time, the gun is shooting the Daisy BBs in the mid-200s, meaning that about 100 f.p.s. have been lost since the cartridge was fresh.
The blowback on this pistol is faster than the blowback on most air pistols, because the slide doesn’t come back as far. When the CO2 cartridge is fresh, you just feel an impulse when the gun fires, but I wouldn’t call it realistic recoil. But as the gas pressure lowers, the slide starts cycling slower and you do feel the recoil.
Remember that I told you in Part 1 that the trigger felt strange? I said it felt like a double-action-only trigger instead of the single-action trigger that it is. Well, this time I tested it and proved that’s how it feels. Despite the slide cocking the hammer for each shot, the trigger is still very long and heavy.
The first-stage pull runs about 4 lbs., and stage 2 breaks at 9 lbs., 9 oz. every time. Pull the trigger slowly, though, and stage 1 becomes creepy, plus stage 2 increases by a full pound. This will be an interesting handgun to shoot for accuracy!
Evaluation thus far
I like how the 84 FS holds. It’s small, but not tiny. It fills the hand with its wide grip frame. But that trigger will be something to contend with. The trigger on my Micro Desert Eagle .380 firearm pistol is also DAO and also challenges me when I shoot farther than 20 feet; but it’s smoother near the end of the pull. This trigger stacks up a lot at the end of the pull. We’ll see!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta is one of the oldest companies in the world. They were founded in 1526, at a time when wheellock guns were high-tech and the flintlock was still a century in the future. On top of that, the company has remained under family control all that time!
Before the U.S. military adopted the model 92 as their sidearm, all I knew about Beretta was that they made some odd-looking handguns in small pistol calibers and they made fine shotguns. Since the 92 became the M9 pistol, Beretta has forced its way into the limelight in the U.S. gun culture. Still, what I know about the handgun models they make is very limited. So, when I first saw a picture of the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol, it looked like a rehash of the 92 FS to me.
Well, it isn’t! The 84 FS is two-thirds the size of the 92 and more closely related to a pocket pistol, though the width of the frame that accommodates a double-stack magazine makes it too fat for such a role. The firearm is called the Cheetah and comes in .380 a.c.p. caliber. Given the width of the grip frame, it must be a mild gun to shoot with such a light cartridge. The double-stack magazine holds 13 rounds, so buyers living in states with magazine capacity limits have to either get a smaller mag, or avoid this gun altogether. Or, they can enjoy it in this BB gun version!
The BB gun
I am looking at the BB gun, which is powered by CO2 and has blowback that moves the slide and cocks the hammer for the next shot. The trigger operates only in the single-action mode, so the hammer must be cocked every time for the gun to fire — you can’t just pull the trigger and fire the gun unless the hammer is cocked.
The trigger-pull is unusual for single-action. It’s a long pull that has an increasing resistance as the blade nears the back of the triggerguard. It feels more like a smooth double-action pull; except that with the hammer being cocked by the slide, it cannot be by definition. There’s no pause before the sear releases, so the double-action pull metaphor holds all the way until the sear releases.
The safety is ambidextrous and is a thumb-actuated lever at the top rear of the slide. As small as this pistol is, the safety is easy to put on and take off with just the thumb of the firing hand.
The magazine is a drop-free design with the thumb-release button on the left side of the frame, behind the triggerguard. The bottom black portion is synthetic, while the silver top portion that contains the firing valve is metal.
At the bottom of the magazine, the CO2 tensioning screw handle is spring-loaded to cling tight to the floorplate of the mag until you need it. Although it’s visible from the outside of the gun, the designers have taken steps to ensure that it isn’t obvious. This is a big red flag to BB pistol buyers, and it looks like the designers knew that.
I said this pistol is small, so the weight of 1.4 lbs. is lighter than that of a larger handgun. The overall length is 7 inches, and the smoothbore barrel is 3.6 inches. The single-stack BB magazine (single-stack for BBs, double-stack for .380 cartridges) holds 17 BBs plus the CO2 cartridge.
The sights are a fixed post in front and a fixed notch in the rear. The rear sight is cast with details to look like it drifts side-to-side, but it doesn’t. Given that the 84 FS is a self-defense type pistol, the sights are in keeping with that theme.
The majority of this gun is made of metal; and the grips are plastic, held on by two steel screws, each. Besides the safety, the slide hold-open lever and the disassembly lever are both functional. And that’s all the controls there are on this handgun.
The Beretta 84FS is at the high end of the price spectrum for a BB pistol. It has blowback, which shooters desire, but the rest of the gun is as basic as the firearm it copies. It will take this review to determine if this will be a desirable BB gun for the target consumer.
Another thing buyers want to know is the gun’s pedigree. The gun is made in Taiwan and distributed by Umarex. Those are 2 positive marks, because Umarex is known for distributing realistic airguns, and Taiwan is known for making many other fine airguns.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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!