Posts Tagged ‘Cometa Fusion Premier Star’

Cometa Fusion Premier Star .22-caliber breakbarrel air rifle: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle
The Cometa Fusion Premier Star is stunning! This is the actual test rifle.

Well, today is do or die for the Cometa Fusion Premier Star air rifle. The last report was back in early November of last year, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on the gun. Several times, I’ve started a test, thinking that I finally got the scope movement problem resolved — and each time a problem has cropped up. If I didn’t believe this rifle had potential, I would have given up long ago; but the .177 version of the rifle — the regular Cometa Fusion air rifle, was so accurate that I felt this one had to be, as well. Today, we’ll find out if it was worth the effort.

Thanks to Kevin
I want to publicly thank blog reader Kevin for all his help with this troublesome test. He sent me an adjustable mount that unfortunately did not hold on the test rifle, but he made a special scope stop pin that will be used today. If you read the past reports, you’ll discover that this rifle has a severe drooping problem. It needs as much scope alignment correction as you can possibly get. I used a special UTG drooping scope base that’s a prototype you cannot buy for today’s test, but I only did so to accommodate Kevin’s stop pin. You should be good with any droop-compensating mount as long as you have the right scope stop pin to fit the gun. I’ll say more on that in a moment, but first let me admit this is the very first air rifle I’ve seen that could defeat the BKL mounts. The one I tried slipped off the gun in five shots. In fairness to BKL, though, this rifle also broke other scope stop pins — and in one case dragged one through the top of the spring tube until it popped free. So, this is a special case.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle special scope stop pin
Kevin made this scope stop pin for the Cometa. It saved the day!

Those are NOT scope stop pin holes!
Well, excuse me! Those four holes on top of the spring tube that I thought all along were scope stop holes must not be there for that purpose; because if you insert a stop pin too far through any one of them, you’ll bind the action. The gun will not cock! So, not only are they too small in diameter, they’re also very critical of the depth to which the stop pin is inserted! I took some pictures to show you what I mean.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle rear scope stop holes
Looking down through the rear “scope stop pin” holes, you can see parts that move when the rifle is cocked. You can also see where, in an earlier attempt to anchor a scope, a pin ripped out of the rear hole.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle front scope stop holes
Looking down through the front “scope stop pin” holes reveals the mainspring coils. The gun will lock up and fail to cock if you insert a scope stop pin too deep in these holes.

Nevertheless, I was able to engage one of the front holes enough to finally anchor the scope base, thanks to Kevin’s pin. Now, it was possible to do some shooting.

Is the bore too large?
I did several things to prepare the Fusion Premier Star for this test. I cleaned the barrel with J-B bore paste. I also tightened the barrel in the fork, so it’ll stay wherever it is put after the rifle’s cocked. That’s the test of a properly tight pivot point — one that will keep the breech sealed upon firing. But since none of the scope mounts have worked until today, none of my shooting before today has been successful.

I also began to wonder if Cometa had used a .22 rimfire barrel for this rifle. That would explain the failure to group because the bore of a .22 rimfire is about 5 thousandths too large for normal pellets. A .22-caliber pellet rifle bore is supposed to be no larger than 0.218 inches in diameter, where a .22 rimfire barrel is 0.223 inches across. It makes such a huge difference that there is no chance of shooting well with the rimfire barrel and standard pellets.

H&N Field Target Trophy
Because of that, I decided to test the rifle with overly large pellets, as well as normal-sized pellets, to see if there was any obvious difference. The first pellet I tried at 25 yards was the H&N Field Target Trophy with a large 5.55mm head. Pyramyd Air has these pellets with head sizes of 5.52, 5.53, 5.54 and 5.55mm.

I was using the pellets with the 5.55mm head. They loaded very tight in the breech, as you might imagine. The first group of 10 I shot was large, but inside the main group were 5 rounds in a smaller hole. That prompted me to shoot a second 10-shot group, which showed me what this pellet is capable of.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle H&N Field Target Trophy group1
The main group is a little large, at 1.432 inches between centers, but the five in one hole are just 0.456 inches apart.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle H&N Field Target Trophy target 2
Here are 10 H&N Field Target Trophies in a 0.883-inch group. I think this is what the rifle is capable of at 25 yards.

JSB Exact 15.9-grain
Next, I tried the 15.9-grain JSB Exact dome that often does so well in .22-caliber spring-piston rifles. I stopped after just three shots, and I’m showing you those shots so you know why I stopped. I know many of you feel that the barrel needs to be “seasoned” with each new pellet — meaning that a number of pellets must be shot before any official recording can be done — but this spread is already larger than 2 inches, and I’m saying that seasoning isn’t going to help things that much.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle JSB Exact 15.9 group
Yes, I really do shoot those other groups that aren’t always shown. I doubt “seasoning” the bore will save this pellet. JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome.

5.56mm Eley Wasp
Was this a .22 rimfire barrel? It was starting to look like it, because the larger H&Ns did well and the JSBs did so poorly. But the proof of the pudding is to shoot the largest pellet of all and see what happens. That would be the obsolete 5.56mm Eley Wasp. If it also shoots well, then I’m thinking the barrel is a rimfire barrel.

Well, Wasps were not good. They made the same 2-inch spread the JSBs did with only three shots, so I stopped shooting them. I won’t show the shots because you know what a 2-inch group looks like. But at least I believe this barrel is not from a rimfire.

Beeman Kodiaks
Next, I wanted to try a heavy pellet that’s not necessarily a large one — the Beeman Kodiak. They fit the breech well — neither too large nor too small. And the first three shots were looking good, but shot 4 went to the right. In the end, I had a horizontal group that was a little large, but stayed at the same height for all 10 shots. I don’t think the Kodiak is the right pellet for this rifle.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle Beeman Kodiak group
Beeman Kodiaks weren’t terrible — they just weren’t as good as the H&N Field Target Trophies. This one measures 1.202 inches between centers.

Overall evaluation
I was disappointed by the .22-caliber Fusion after the .177 had done so well. In the end, I did get the rifle to shoot, but it took every trick in the book to get there. I can recommend the .177 version of this rifle, because I really like the adjustable cheekpiece and the adjustable trigger. But the .22 took too much to get it to shoot.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star .22-caliber breakbarrel air rifle: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle
The Cometa Fusion Premier Star is stunning! This is the actual test rifle.

Today is accuracy day for the .22-caliber Cometa Fusion Premier Star air rifle; and after the performance we saw with the .177, I’ll bet you were expecting another stunner. Well, it didn’t happen. I was unable to get this rifle to put 10 shots together, regardless of what I did.

I won’t tell you all the pellets I tested in this rifle, but it was a bunch. I’m not saying what they were because I don’t think I have seen what the Fusion Premier Star can do yet. I don’t think those pellets were given a fair trial. Something is missing or out of adjustment, and I have to try to find it for you.

I tied several different hand positions with the artillery hold, and I tried resting the rifle directly on the bag with two different holds. I tried relaxing, and I tried not relaxing. One thing that gave me some good results was pulling the trigger as soon as possible after getting on target. I got the first group that follows that way.

Just so you know that I sometimes have problems getting air rifles to shoot, let me share some promising, yet heartbreaking groups with you. This will show you what I was dealing with when shooting this rifle. I got the best results when shooting RWS Superdome pellets, though I would hardly call them good.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle first group of Superdomes
Four RWS Superdomes went into the larger hole on top, and a fifth one went below. This rifle wants to group — I just haven’t figured it out, yet. This group came by pulling the trigger as soon as the sight was on the target..

In case you are about to suggest that I just keep shooting and see how the group turns out — I also did that. Here’s what happened.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle second group of Superdomes
Four Superdomes in the one hole, then three fliers scattered around. There are three more that went below the paper!

As you can see, only 7 of 10 shots made it on paper, with 4 of them in a tantalizing little group. All 4 were fired in succession, then all the fliers started.

Many trials!
I shot well over 80 shots in this test, and most of them were taken with a level of care that I hardly expect most shooters to understand — much less be willing to do. I shot so much and with such concentration that I got a headache! That’s when I know it isn’t me that’s messing up.

I tried light pellets, heavy pellets, even pellets that I seldom ever try because I have no luck with them in any airguns. Good or bad didn’t seem to make any difference in this Fusion Premier Star. Nothing seemed to work. So, that’s when I went into the diagnostic mode.

Was the scope loose? Nope! Were the stock screws loose? Yes, they were a little loose, but nothing that would explain what I was getting. Was the barrel loose? YES, IT WAS!

The barrel wobbled from side to side when shaken. So, I looked at the left side of the action fork to see if there was a pivot bolt, and all I saw was a plain pin! I got so angry that I looked like the Tasmanian Devil spinning up! How could the rest of this rifle be so well designed and the barrel only have a pivot pin instead of a bolt that can be tightened when the barrel gets loose? I was thinking up snotty things to say about it when I thought to look at the opposite side of the fork. There, a traditional barrel pivot bolt was held fast by a smaller locking screw — just the way it would be done on a classic vintage air rifle.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle pivot bolt
This is what you want to see on a breakbarrel air rifle — a pivot bolt that can be tightened with a locking screw that has many positions around the periphery. This gives great control over the barrel tension in the action fork.

I tightened the pivot bolt by one locking screw setting, which as is one-tenth of a revolution. It seemed to tighten the joint, so I installed the locking screw and put the rifle back in the stock.

Alas, the accuracy was no better than before. Something is still not right, and I’m darned if I know what it is. The rifle has a wonderful, predictable trigger and relatively smooth firing cycle, and I’ve adjusted the cheekpiece to fit me perfectly. I should be able to drill periods at the end of sentences with this rifle.

I did shake the barrel once more, following about 12 more shots. It’s just a little loose again, so apparently I didn’t tighten it as much as I should have.

For now, I’m going to listen to the comments and reflect on this test. There will be another test, because this rifle seems to want to shoot, even though I don’t yet know what to do.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star .22-caliber breakbarrel air rifle: Part 2

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

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle
The Cometa Fusion Premier Star is stunning! This is the actual test rifle.

Part 1

Let’s look at the power the Cometa Fusion Premier Star air rifle produces. If it’s anything like the .177-caliber Cometa Fusion I tested several weeks ago, it will hit its advertised velocity. There weren’t a lot of questions about this gun, so I’m diving right into the test.

Adjust the trigger
Before I did anything, I adjusted the trigger. You’ll remember that I overlooked the length of pull adjustment on the first rifle until someone pointed it out. Then, I found that this trigger is very adjustable. That’s what I want with this .22, as well, so the trigger received my attention first. Both the pull weight and the length of the first-stage pull are adjustable, so I set the rifle up the way I like it — with a longer first stage and a light second stage.

The pull weight was light enough as the rifle came, but the second stage was full of creep. So I fiddled with the screw that’s located just behind the trigger blade until I got what I wanted. Now the trigger breaks crisply with no creep, at 1 pound 9 ounces. The first stage is long, but I don’t care about that. It’s not what I concentrate on when shooting the rifle. Only stage two matters.

RWS Hobbys
You already know the cocking effort is 31 lbs., so let’s get into the velocity test right now. First pellet up is the RWS Hobby, which weighs 11.9 grains in .22 caliber. In this rifle, Hobbys averaged 817 f.p.s., with a range from 811 to 821 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 17.64 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

I must comment again that the Fusion and this Fusion Premier Star feel like tuned air rifles when they fire. The firing cycle is quick and free from vibration of any kind. The good trigger lets me observe things closer, because I know when it will go off.

RWS Superdomes
Next, I tried RWS Superdome pellets. This is a very popular pellet because it shoots well in many airguns. In this one, the Superdome averaged 761 f.p.s. with a spread from 757 to 764 f.p.s. That’s a very tight spread for a spring-piston rifle. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 18.65 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Superdomes seem to fit the rifle’s breech very well. I noticed that one pellet had a dented skirt, but only after I had loaded it. So, I shot it and saw a 30 f.p.s. drop in velocity. I threw that one out of the string because of the damage to the pellet. If I were shooting in a match, I would shoot that pellet into the ground, if I could.

Crosman Premiers
The last pellet I tested was the Crosman Premier dome. This pellet is often the most accurate, or one of the most accurate in many air rifles. This time, however, I don’t think that it will be, because each pellet seemed to fit the breech differently. Many were very tight and squeaked as they were pushed in.

There was one anomaly of a pellet that fit extremely tight and shot 20 f.p.s. slower than the average. Because I knew it was an odd pellet, I removed it from the string. The Premier pellet averaged 751 f.p.s. in the Fusion Premier Star, with a range from 745 to 757 f.p.s. I really expected a wider variation than that from the way they fit the breech, so that was a surprise. At the average velocity, Premiers produced 17.91 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Impressions so far
I’m very impressed with the way these Fusion rifles shoot and how nice their triggers can be adjusted. This rifle feels like it’s been tuned, and that’s not a common ocurrence these days. The power it produces is exactly where I want a .22 spring rifle to be, and I’m anticipating a good performance in the accuracy department.

I must also comment on the adjustable walnut stock. Not only is it beautiful, but the adjustable cheekpiece means I can set up this rifle to fit me perfectly, which can do nothing but help when it comes to accuracy.

In short, I have high hopes for this rifle.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star .22-caliber breakbarrel air rifle: Part 1

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

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle
The Cometa Fusion Premier Star is stunning! This is the actual test rifle.

How many times do I show you a photo of the actual test rifle because it’s prettier than the example on the website? Well, this one is. The .22-caliber Cometa Fusion Premier Star air rifle has a gorgeous blonde wood stock that has a subtle fiddleback pattern running across the grain. I’m testing serial number 4243-12, but it’s on loan from AirForce Airguns and I doubt they will sell it.

The Fusion Premier Star is a Fusion action in a nicer stock with an adjustable cheekpiece. This one has a slight bias for right-handed shooters because of the low-profile raised cheekpiece on the left side, though a lefty should be able to do quite well with it. There are no bad angles anywhere. The wood is stained blonde, and as you can see in the picture, it’s attractive! The checkering pattern differs from the one on the standard Fusion. The cheekpiece adjusts via two large hex screws found on the right side of the butt. Finally, I’m going to have a rifle that fits me exactly without resorting to a Tyrolean stock.

Cometa Fusion Premier Star breakbarrel air rifle
The checkering is different on the Fusion Premier Star…and isn’t that wood pretty?

Now that I know how the trigger adjusts, you can be certain that this one will be adjusted perfectly for all the testing. And I’m mounting the Hawke 4.5-14x42AO Sidewinder Tactical scope, so the rifle will have the best possible chance to shine.

A powerful air rifle
We already know that the Fusion powerplant is right on the money, as far as the advertised velocity goes. So, I assume the advertised velocity for the .22 is correct, as well. They say 1050 f.p.s.; and if that’s right, this rifle is in Beeman R1 territory for several hundred dollars less! The rifle I’m testing retails for $392.50, and a new R1 goes for $614.25.

Metal finish
Some things remain the same on the Fusion Premier Star. The metal is finished in a matte black, with the same contrasting matte silver muzzlebrake. I neglected to mention it in the Fusion report, but both the trigger blade and the triggerguard are made of plastic. They’re not offensive in the slightest, and the straight shape of the trigger blade is actually a quality feature. It makes the trigger pull feel so much more positive and controllable.

Wood finish
The wood on this rifle really sets it apart from the regular Fusion. Not only is the stain blonde, the grain of the wood looks like walnut to my eyes. It can’t be or they would advertise it for sure, but it sure looks like it. And the wood is finished in a satin finish that looks like a fine oil finish. Again, it can’t be, but it does accept Ballistol readily and develops a deeper luster after wiping with an oily cloth. The buttpad on the Premier Star is the same soft, solid, thick black pad that’s on the Fusion.

The checkering on the Fusion Premier Star is cut diamonds instead of the pressed pebble grain that’s found on the Fusion. The diamonds are sharp and really grab your hands when you hold them.

You know that the barrel is backbored and really only 11-9/16 inches long when the freebore is subtracted. We know that the rifle is accurate in .177, and I’m expecting the same in this .22 caliber. The long barrel gives you a longer lever to cock the rifle, which is why it only takes 31 lbs. to cock the gun, despite the power it puts out.

The rifle is supposed to weigh 7.5 lbs. as it comes from the box. We know, of course, to allow for small variations that are based on differing weights of the wood in the stock. The test rifle weighs 8.75 lbs. with the scope mounted. That’s lighter than a Beeman R1 with no scope, so the Fusion Premier Star really is a medium-weight spring-piston air rifle.

Sights
Just like the Fusion, you’re going to have to install optical sights of your own because the rifle has no open sights. The same 11mm dovetail grooves are cut directly into the spring tube, and there are the same four scope stop holes for a vertical stop pin. They’re located along the top center of the scope grooves.

Overall impression
Thus far, I’m very impressed by this rifle. Can you tell? The appearance, alone, would be enough to guide me to the Premier Star over the regular Fusion. And I’m assuming the performance will be just as good, though we never know that for certain until the test has been completed. I’m looking forward to this one!

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