Posts Tagged ‘Crosman Premier hollowpoint pellets’

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle: Part 2

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

Part 1

Today’s report is a continuation of the guest blog from HiveSeeker. Today, he tells us about accuracy

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Over to you, HiveSeeker.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle

Winchester MP4 is a realistic and fun-to-shoot military replica pellet rifle.

This report covers:

• Shots per fill
• Heavy trigger
• Best results
• The normal grouping
• Bug Buster
• Summary
• The Dallas Field Target Club inaugural shoot
• How the blog changed my life

Shots per fill
While testing pellet accuracy, I shot at 6 bullseye targets (60 shots), swapping CO2 cartridges after each set, and did not notice any decline in performance at 10 yards. I also did a lot of enjoyable spinner silhouette shooting and started noting an increase in misses only as I approached the 80-shot mark (you go through pellets fast with this semiauto!). In conclusion, shooters can expect at least 60 accurate shots before swapping CO2 cylinders, depending on temperature.

It doesn’t matter how good the Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle looks with that bipod or red dot scope on it while you’re reconnoitering the backyard. How well does it shoot? A gun is only fun if you can hit what you’re aiming it at, and the Winchester MP4 does reasonably well in the accuracy department.

Heavy trigger
My rifle does not appear to be suffering from the reported loose barrel problem (which can ostensibly be remedied by removing the 6 screws holding the Picatinny forearm and hand-tightening the barrel). However, the trigger-pull on this rifle is a conspicuously heavy 7.6 lbs. according to my hand scale. My wife and brother-in-law, who is former military (both ends of the spectrum, and both experienced shooters), singled this out as a major complaint. This is no youth rifle. I agree that accuracy would be better without having to exert so much pressure to get a pellet off. However, after some limited travel, the trigger — heavy as it is — breaks clean and crisp.

I shot outdoors at 10 yards from a benchrest using the aforementioned Bug Buster scope and a Leapers Golden Image 30mm red dot sight. All pellets tested grouped right around 1″ — give or take a little. Results were slightly better using the BugBuster. This rifle is not a tackdriver but is certainly a solid performer as long as you keep the range at 10 yards.

Best results
The following pellets gave the smallest 10-shot groups. At least one out of three measures 7/8″:
Crosman Destroyer
Crosman Destroyer EX (the slightly different version sold only in discount stores)
Crosman Premier Hollowpoint
H&N Finale Match Pistol
Air Arms Falcon

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle Destroyer EX
Ten Crosman Destroyer EX pellets (a slightly different version of the Destroyer pellet sold at discount stores) went into 7/8″ at 10 yards.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle Finale Pistol
Ten H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets made this 7/8″ group at 10 yards.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle Falcon
These Air Arms Falcons also grouped in 7/8″ at 10 yards.

These three pellets gave at least one 10-shot group out of three as small as one inch between centers:
Crosman Competition Wadcutter
Crosman Premier Super Match
Gamo Tomahawk

The worst pellet tested was the JSB Match Diabolo Light Weight. They gave a best group that measured 1-1/8″ between centers.

The normal grouping
Most groups were erratic and inconsistent, with more pellet scattering than clustering. Nevertheless, the largest groups I got were still a reasonable 1-1/2″ (for the Crosman Destroyer EX and Gamo Tomahawk). Since each group was 10 shots, I filled one drum of the magazine completely (8 pellets) and then put only 2 pellets in the drum on the other side of the mag.

One interesting and frustrating observation was that my final 2 shots, after flipping the magazine around, almost always opened up the group, in some cases by a full half-inch or so. At least part of the time, though, this gun is capable of significantly tighter groups than I’m reporting here.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle pellet scattering
On the left is the only really tight group I got — 7/8″ for the Crosman Destroyer EX. Nearly every other group looked a lot more like the Crosman Premier Hollowpoint group on the right, with hardly 2 pellets in the same hole anywhere.

Bug Buster
I mentioned that I shot this gun with a Leapers UTG 3-9×32 Bug Buster scope. When I first started sighting in at 10 yards, my initial POI was a very low 5″ under the bullseye. I had to do a lot of clicking to get the POI near the bullseye; and by the time I was finished, I noticed a fair amount of blurring in the bottom quarter of the scope’s field of view. I suspect I’m approaching the limit of adjustment on this sight. The amount of blurring worsens at higher magnifications. I own another Leapers UTG 4-16×40 scope that I just love, but field of view and eye relief on the compact Bug Buster are not nearly as forgiving or comfortable. Both my wife and brother-in-law (again, each an experienced shooter) complained about how difficult it is to sight through this scope. Although the Bug Buster has performed reliably and adds to the military look of this gun, I’m going to try a 40mm or larger compact scope on it at a later date.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle Bug Buster
The Leapers UTG 3-9×32 Bug Buster was much better to look at than to look through. The scope showcased the drawbacks of a small-objective compact.

A couple minor notes before wrapping up: Although Pyramyd Air rates this rifle a 4 out of 5 for loudness, I didn’t find it to be especially noisy outdoors. On my screened porch, the report was definitely loud, but that depends on how the sound is bouncing off the walls. Shooting noise from inside a bedroom was only average, which is how I would rate this gun for sound.

Also, the manual states that you should store this gun uncocked. Every time you fire, the bolt is re-engaged by CO2 pressure for the next shot. After you’ve finished shooting and have removed the CO2 clip, remember to point the rifle in a safe direction and squeeze the trigger one last time before casing it.

Summary
In conclusion, the Winchester MP4 is an authentic- looking and handling military replica with some known issues but enough accuracy to make it quite enjoyable for casual shooting. For plinking around the yard while looking like a commando, this rifle fills the bill — and does so nicely.

The Dallas Field Target Club inaugural shoot
Bob Dye submitted the following report and photos of the first Dallas Field Target Club shoot.

Twenty-six shooters appeared on a beautiful June 14 day for the event, some traveling from as far as Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Dallas FT Club meeting
The first Dallas Field Target Club match was well-attended.

Everyone had fun with friendly competition in all the usual AAFTA competition classes. Among them were 6-7 new shooters. Some chose to participate in one of the regular AAFTA classes, while four others participated in a Fun Rifle category, where basically anything goes concerning shooting style and equipment choices.

Great scoring latitude was offered, scoring one point for simply hitting the animal faceplate and two for a knockdown. This appeared to be a great way to let the novice shooters have fun scoring points plinking lead against steel, along with the extra satisfaction when the target falls over. It also served as a fun change of pace among the experienced shooters.

Dallas FT Club shooter
Shooters enjoyed the relaxed pace of the day.

While the facilities have lanes long enough to create a challenging Troyer difficulty of 36 or more, this first, 50-shot match was built on 9 lanes to a 23 Troyer, again to put some smiles on faces the first time out. [Editor's note: Brad Troyer devised a way to rate the difficulty of a field target course based on the size of the kill zones; the distances at which they're placed; and the difficulty of the shot based on placement, light and shooting position.]

Accordingly, two of the seasoned veterans rose to the challenge to ace the course. David Alsup shot a perfect 100/100 in Open PCP. And, while I told him I thought he was a shoo-in to do this, David asked to keep his score card, indicating it was a special day for him, too. Great shooting, David!

Likewise, perennial Hunter Class leader Ron Robinson also shot 100/100 with his brand new TM1000 rifle. I haven’t seen such a big grin on Ron’s face is some time. Or at least since last weekend in Pulaski. Ask him how he likes his new rig and be prepared for 5 minutes of superlatives. Excellent match with a new rifle, Ron!

Altogether, 17 of the 26 competed in one of the two Hunter Classes, including two in Hunter Piston. Four people posted scores in Open PCP — rather unusual in these parts.

The mostly sunny weather cooperated for a mid-June day, with a high of only 85 degrees F during the match, which made the humidity bearable. The turnout was superlative for this first ever club match.

Thanks to members Kevin Enzian, Jeff Latimer and Jerry Cupples for helping me set up the course the afternoon before. I couldn’t have done it by myself.

Next match is in August. Stay tuned. Visit the Dallas Field Target Club website.

How the blog changed my life
I initially published this section on the May 30, 2014, blog. I’m going to repeat it at least once a week during June and July so it doesn’t get lost or forgotten.

From the comments many of you make, I believe the blog may have positively impacted your lives. I invite you to send me an email telling me about that impact.

Were you a firearms shooter who accidentally discovered airguns through this blog? If so, tell me how this blog has helped your understanding of airguns.

Were you already an airgunner, but you thought what you saw in the big box stores was all there was? If so, how has this blog helped you understand more about airguns?

I’ve gotten quite a few responses already, but I want to make sure you know that I’m not looking for “attaboys,” pats on the back or personal recognition. I’m looking for real feedback on what you’ve learned so I can target my blogs to what you feel is important, what you’d like to know and what you’re still unsure of. This blog is written for its readers, and I want to share your stories with others who may be where you were before you found this blog.

Pyramyd Air has created a special temporary email address for this. I’ll be the only person to get these emails, and we’re not going to generate any lists from the addresses.

My plan is to publish one or more blog reports with the more interesting comments. If you want, I will use your real name or blog handle; but you can be anonymous, too. I won’t use your name or handle unless you give me written permission to do so.

This email address will be live for only a few weeks. We have tens of thousands of readers worldwide. Even if you’ve never commented on the blog, you can email me your message if you like. If you’re reading this blog after July 2014, email submissions will no longer be forwarded to me, and you may get an auto-reply email stating that or your email might bounce back to you.

Industry Brand B-7

by B.B. Pelletier

Our favorite guest blogger, Vince, is at it again. Today, he shares his experience of testing a Chinese airgun.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

Now, take it away, Vince!

Ahhh… the way we were! The way some of us were, anyway. By “us,” I’m referring to those of us who first got into airguns (or came back to airguns) after being seduced by those irrascible Chinese. I’m going back about, oh, 10 years or so ago, when, waltzing through the internet, we would find all sorts of places selling “The Chinese Can Opener” or the “High-Power Military Training Air Rifle.” What a deal they were — my goodness, why on earth would ANYONE spend $100 or more on one of those high-falutin’ overpriced airguns when these $25 Chinese models were obviously just as good? And we knew they were just as good because that number said so!

You know, that number. The velocity number. Because that was the only thing that mattered! That one number told us the whole story!

Sooner or later, we discovered the inevitable — although for some (like, uh, me), it was certainly later than sooner. Eventually, the B3, B4-2 and Fast Deer airguns went by the wayside to be replaced by Gamos, RWSs, Cometas, Noricas, and then Spanish and German Beemans. Around this time, the Chinese started cranking up the quality, though, so their better products didn’t entirely leave our field of view. But the old carved-out-of-a-2×4-and-lubed-with-pig-fat models — along with all their broken seals, mainsprings and promises — were pretty much forgotten.

But man is a funny animal, and a collector (even a half-baked collector) often sees value in diversity as well as quality. And just as a man who collects Mustangs sort of really needs a 1974 Mustang II 4 cylinder automatic (as horrid a car as it was) in his collection, I began pining for some of those old, crude guns just because they were there.

So it was that I found myself fishing around for some of those old bottom-feeders…those poorly made, all wood-steel-and-leather guns that smelled like bacon grease when fired. Those guns that, frankly, I had virtually no interest in shooting, except to appreciate the better guns that came later. The subject of this report, the Industry Brand QB-51, is one of those fossils I dug up.


Industry Brand B-7 spring-piston rifle.

This .177-caliber breakbarrel air rifle was also called the Industry Brand B-7 and shouldn’t be confused with the BAM B-7. That gun was the old sporter-style sidelever that actually had a reputation for being sort of decent. No, the Industry Brand B-7 was one of those smoke-and-soot, machined with a dull file and worn-out drill bits and carved-with-a-hatchet examples of communism at its most typical. If you were lucky, it worked out of the box. If not, well, it simply didn’t. But luck shines upon me, and this one actually did.

The QB-51 was one of those novelty guns they used to put together by combining a low-buck action with some possibly less-than-useless useless bells and whistles. This one was apparently playing paratrooper with a folding wire stock, a total weight of under 6 lbs. and an overall length of only 35 inches. But it’s not a kid’s gun by any stretch — the pull length of 14 inches and a 28-lb. cocking force certainly attest to that.

Since the folding stock is obviously the most interesting aspect of this gun, let’s take a look at that first. It actually has two interesting features, the less obvious being an adjustable buttpad.


Buttpad is centered.


Buttpad adjusted down.

Is an adjustable buttpad on this cheap gun completely pointless? Actually it isn’t. It can be used to dial up a more comfortable shooting position. The gun does look awkward as all get out if the pad is moved too far off the normal position; but let’s face it, this pup isn’t winning any beauty contests if the judges are permitted to keep their eyes open.

The folding stock is perhaps less useful.


Folding stock extended.


The stock is folded flat against the side of the gun.


This is what it looks like from the side.

Some rifles with a folding stock can be handled as a pistol (sort of); that’s not really going to happen with this gun. All it does is make the rifle a bit shorter and easier to pack up for transport — if you could think of any reason you’d want to. But at least the rough cast folding/locking mechanism is stout enough.


The hinge is stout and tight!

Moving past that, we come to the pistol grip — and another gadget! The grip is hollow and has a sliding door at the bottom.


The grip has a secret compartment!

Presumably, you can put pellets in there. It would hold several hundred, even if getting them out one at a time might be a bit tricky. Again, we have an oddball feature that still isn’t quite useless.

On top of the gun, we can see the simple rear sight. If you were into mid-grade airguns 10-15 years ago, you might recognize it. This is pretty much a knock-off of the old Gamo sight that used to come on a variety of their breakbarrels. Frankly, they did well to copy it. It’s simple, largely devoid of free-play and pretty darned rugged.


The rear sight was kind of nice!

Finding it on this rifle was a pleasant surprise, and I was hoping to find a similar surprise as I moved rearward toward the trigger. I already knew that Industry Brand used a knock-off of the Gamo trigger in their QB-57, QB-88 and QB-25 models. When I saw that telltale safety tang in the triggerguard area, I got my hopes up. It says something about bottom-feeder Industry Brand triggers when you’re seriously looking forward to a Gamo trigger. But even those modest hopes were quickly dashed. This gun has a simple direct-sear and a crude sliding safety, both of which makes a 2004 Gamo Shadow feel like a Swiss watch.

As I move around the gun, it’s becoming obvious that this thing is based on the old Industry Brand 61 and 62 model actions, later known as the B-1 and B-2, respectively. I’ve had those. My B-1 had a horribly inaccurate barrel and probably a 12-lb. trigger. One B-2 had a soft trigger that quickly wore and went into the auto-fire mode, and the other B-2 bent its rear retaining pin because it couldn’t handle the spring pressure. As one might guess, I don’t get all excited by B-1/B-2 variants.

One giveaway is the breech pivot bolt.


The pivot bolt has only four places for the locking screw to engage. That often makes it difficult to adjust properly, for many times you want to stop somewhere in-between.

And the other is the smashed-leather breech seal.


The leather breech seal is as flat as a pancake.

Both are hallmarks of Industry Brand inferiority, and that breech bolt (with its four positive locking stops) frequently makes it impossible to properly tighten up the sideplay without making custom washers to go under the bolt head.

Oh well…let’s keep going. The front sight is basic enough.


Front sight is what you would expect.

Although I won’t be using it. I’ve learned from recent testing that I just can’t be consistent with open sights anymore — so I pretty much have to go to a scope. The problem is that the grooves milled into the receiver are ridiculously short. In trying to mount a scope, look at what I had to resort to.


The Daisy variable scope was cheap enough and worked well. Notice how close the rings have to be to fit the short dovetails!

The skinny scope mounts I used — moved as close together as possible — barely fit. The scope, by the way, is a cheap Daisy Powerline 3-9×32 (no AO), in which I had fudged the objective lens to eliminate parallax at 10 yards. Set up this way, the $35 scope works like a champ — and seems way too good for a rifle like this.

I do have some concerns about running a scope on this gun, however — Diana’s aren’t the only breakbarrels to have droop, and this one seemed to have joined that party. But there’s only one way to find out, so I’m off to test it. And, yes, this time I checked the stock screws first.

I’m shooting the gun with the same series of pellets I used last time — although, frankly, putting Crosman Premiers through this rifle seems rather silly.


I tried all these pellets in this gun.

No matter, same drill — 5 shots to get the barrel used to a pellet, then 5 on each through two separate bulls.

Much to my surprise, dialing in the Daisy scope wasn’t such a big deal, and soon I was landing pellets close enough for government work. Though the Daisy scope worked well enough, the Daisy Precision Max wadcutter pellets didn’t.


Daisy Precision Max wadcutters: These shots are hard to see, but the group sizes are listed next to them.

These groups came in at 0.66 inches and 0.82 inches; but come to think of it, maybe I’m being too hard on these pellets. Maybe this really is the best this gun can do!

Crosman Competition wadcutters do nothing to dispel that notion. At 0.78 inches and 1.40 inches, they’re making the Daisys look good.


Crosman Competition wadcutters.

At 1.28 inches and 1.52 inches, Crosman Hunting pellets (pointed) do even worse.


Crosman Hunting pellets.

Even my cherished Crosman Premier hollowpoints are sucking canal water at 1.12 inches and 0.9 inches.


Crosman Premier hollowpoints.

Of all the Crosman pellets, only the Premier Lites seems to consistently do under an inch — although 0.82 inches and 0.9 inches is nothing to squawk about.


Crosman Premier Lites did better, but still not great.

Oddly enough, those new Gamo Match pellets I don’t like so much just about equalled the Crosman Premier Lites in this gun.


Gamo Match pellets were a pleasant surprise. But it still isn’t good enough.

But at 0.95 inches and 0.88 inches, they still couldn’t match the Daisys. I had high hopes for the RWS Diabolo Basic pellets that seem to shoot so well in many low-power guns. I finally started to see some improvement.


RWS Diabolog Basic pellets are an inexpensive wadcutter. They look good here.

At 0.57 inches for both groups, they were quite consistent; and now we’re starting to get into the range of acceptable performance for a cheap rifle.

But then we have the Beemans. Not the German Beemans from H&N. I’m referring to those imposter, Chinese-made Beeman wadcutter coated pellets. My very first group with them was typical for this rifle.


These groups are difficult to see, but Beeman coated wadcutters, which are made in China, did remarkably well.

As you can see, the second group was a shocker. We went from 0.78 inches to 0.37 inches in one set. Something’s up. Let’s try this one more time.


Incredible! Almost a quarter-inch group of Beeman coated wadcutters. I circled the group for you.

My goodness! Stick a feather on my rump and call me a turkey — but this Chinese junk just put 5 pellets into virtually a 1/4-inch group.

Now, before anyone starts complaining — “That’s not fair! No other pellet got a third chance!” — let me explain something. The Beemans were absolutely the first pellets I shot, and during that time I was trying to come to grips with that yucky trigger. That’s why I think the first group was poor. Since the second group did so well, I shot the third group last after I had completed all other testing. So I think this third test was fair and that it really means something.

[Editor's note. This happens sometimes, and it's a reminder of the hold sensitivity issue and why things have to be done just right to see good results. I've seen what Vince is talking about. With some experience under your belt, you'll know when something deserves a second chance like this.]

But before we get too excited, let’s do a velocity check. Since the Chinese Beeman pellets were far and away the best, those were the only ones I tested. 10 shots came out like so: 396, 397, 388, 390, 380, 381, 381, 379, 381, 377.

We immediately notice three things: (1) The velocity stinks, especially for a gun with an almost 30-lb. cocking force. (2) The velocity seems to be on a downward trend. (3) The spread of 19 f.p.s. is significant, considering the fact that this thing is outgunned by a P17 pistol.

Where does that leave us?

Well, to begin with, this gun obviously has a decent barrel. Not sure how that happened, but happen it did. And if the barrel is good, the gun is good, right? Couple that with the fact that, against all odds, this example also seems to have a consistent lockup — and we seem to have a perfect diamond in the rough.

Yes – very rough. I could probably go through this gun and get the velocity up to 500-600 f.p.s. range, and some trigger smoothing and lubing would probably help as well. Even at that — will I ever want to shoot this thing just for fun? Really?

If I’m honest — not really. In fact, I have absolutely no reason IN THE WORLD to go through the trouble of tearing this thing apart and making it right.

Nope. No reason at all.

I’ll let y’all know how it turns out.

[Editor's note. Maybe I should have made this a Part 1. We'll see what Vince does. I don't want him to feel pressured.]

Cabanas air rifle: Mendoza’s next door neighbor

by B.B. Pelletier

Regular blog reader Vince is regaling us with another great guest blog about a gun he’s repaired…although this isn’t about the repairs he made. He never fails to inform and entertain! So, sit back, relax and enjoy!

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

Take it away, Vince!

Cabanas air rifle

So, where to begin? I don’t quite know how to write an introduction to the this gun simply because I know virtually nothing about it. In fact, everything I DO know will fill no more than a single paragraph on an airgun blog…and not a terribly long paragraph at that:

The Cabanas rifle was manufactured by Cabanas Industrias, S.A. in Aguilas, Mexico, and was imported and distributed through Mandall’s Sporting Goods of Scottsdale, Arizona. The release of these models may have been announced at the 1989 SHOT show, and this particular rifle might belong to the RC-200 family of airguns from that manufacturer.

And that’s it.

The Cabanas company IS relatively well known for making primer-powered guns in both .177 and .22 calibers. These were known for being as low-powered as an air rifle but less accurate, more prone to fouling than a regular .22 and yet classified as a full-fledged firearm in the eyes of the ATF.

In other words, the worst of all worlds. Little wonder they didn’t last.

Where does that leave this thing? Was it a last-gasp effort by Cabanas to salvage some workable market share in the United States before completely getting swamped? Cabanas went under in 1999. If this rifle does, indeed, date from 10 years prior, it hardly qualifies as a “last gasp.” But, no doubt, it was part of an effort to expand their US market. Given the dearth of information on these models, it wasn’t a very successful effort at that.

That is, if you define success only in a commercial sense. Because this particular air rifle is a very likeable gun. Before I get ahead of myself, though, let me introduce this particular example.

I first heard of this gun when blog reader Wacky Wayne mentioned that he had a certain type of “Cabanas” he wanted me to do something with. I asked him what in the heck was he growing in those raised flower beds of his! But after we cleared up THAT little misunderstanding, I said “SURE! I’ll work on anything!” A short time later, the Cabanas arrived at my doorstep. I worked it over, sent it back, he shoots it a couple of times and then sends it BACK to me to keep in exchange for some more work. Which means that this orphaned waif is now mine.

Wwhenever I see another air rifle, I’m always on the lookout for signs of cross-breeding or design commonality. Since this gun is from Mexico, my thoughts immediately turned to Mendoza. Those thoughts were reinforced the first time I broke open the barrel and compared it to its Mexican cousin.

Mendoza at the top, Cabanas at the bottom…kissing cousins!

The scope grooves milled into the spring tube are typical enough, but the gun’s potential Mendoza-ness was further reinforced by the presence of an oil hole.

On the other hand – the automatic safety is definitely un-Mendoza like (safety engaged).

Safety off

It’s kind of clunky, really. It seems a bit odd to have a large block of metal sliding back and forth like that, and it doesn’t work all that smoothly. And that’s AFTER messing around with it to improve the feel. Worst of all, it’s not resettable which, frankly, is inexcusable on a gun with a simple, direct-sear trigger like this one. Small matter, though. B. B. has talked me out of relying on safeties, and the more I shoot the more I’m convinced that they really are superflous annoyances for the most part. This safety is not a terrible bother to pop off, so it’s not a major gripe.

Otherwise, the gun seems well made, with steel for everything and no apparent chintzy compromises in the name of fads, mass-marketing, or penny-pinching. The Cabanas is a very solid gun.

The reddish stock, to my eye, is oddly evocative of something I can’t quite put my finger on. It sorta reminds me of the wood furnishings that might be found in a classy 1960′s bar or smoking room frequented by older, well-dressed men. Or something like that. Shaping and finishing does show a decent level of workmanship (if a bit blocky in shape), but the thumbhole is a bit small, I think. It’s marginal for me, I can easily see where larger shooters might find it genuinely undersized.

It’s a handy rifle at 6.50 lbs. Cocking effort maxes out at only about 20 lbs. (peaking right when the sear is engaged). Trigger effort (direct sear) is on the high side at about 7 lbs., but that’s really the only downside to shooting this gun.

The sights are low & relatively close to the centerline of the barrel.

I especially like the styling of that front sight — very sleek, the way it’s almost hidden by the muzzlebrake. But as for function? Middle-of-the-road, at best. The biggest problem was that at 10 yards, I ran out of height adjustment. It still tended to shoot low with the rear sight on the highest notch. The locking-screw type windage adjustment (a la Crosman 1077) is also a bit cheap but less of an issue. Sight picture is good, though, with the front blade sized well for the rear notch.

At this point, I’m ready to start shooting the gun, and y’all might be expecting what B.B. does…velocity tests followed by accuracy. I’m taking a slightly different approach and doing the accuracy test first, since there’s no reason to chrono the gun with pellets that shoot like poo. So, accuracy testing is up first.

Being a naturally boring person, I decided to run this test with a set of very run-of-the-mill ammo. Budget-concious pellets are definitely on the menu, and I’ll round it off with Premier 7.9 grains.

The pellets I used for the record.

Half the pellets are Crosman, beginning with the old Copperhead Competition wadcutters (shown upper left) that have been a staple of indoor shooting for 20 years or so. The pellets below that are Crosman Hunting Pellets, which are pointed – but not with the straight-sided cone common to pointed pellets. This one looks more like a Premier that’s told a lie or two to the pellet packer at Crosman. And despite the fact that they’re cheap — $14/1250 at Pyramydair. I find that in some guns they shoot about as well as doomed Premiers even at longer ranges. This performance starkly contrasts with the more expensive (and conventionally designed) pointed Premiers, which I’ve found to be absolutely horrible.

The next column shows the Premier Hollowpoints that I’ll be testing and an old box of standard doomed 7.9-grain Premiers. Generally, I find that the HP’s shoot just about as well, I’ll be curious to see if the same holds true here.

Next over, we have the new Gamo Match, which is no longer the Gamo Match, if you catch my drift. They changed the design of the pellet a year or two ago — and in my experience, not for the better. Below that is ANOTHER pellet that’s no longer the Gamo Match — the Daisy Precision-Max. I’ve generally found this to be also an inferior pellet, but a few guns do like them.

The last two are the RWS Diablo Basic (used to be the “Geco”) and the not-really-Beeman-because-they’re-made-in-China Beeman Wadcutters. The RWS pellets look to be very well made, and some guns just love them. I generally have a bit less success with the Beeman pellets — but it depends on the rifle.

Now, as to the testing procedure. I planned to put 5 shots of each pellet through the gun before shooting two 5-shot groups side by side. This will get the barrel “used to” the new alloy before shooting for the record, something that I’ve found to be significant. All shooting will be done over about 10 yards in my basement, so wind will be a non-issue.

I started rattling off groups using the open sights and immediately identify 2 problems. First, I’m tearing up the bullseye. While this sounds good, the fact is that I prefer to have the group OFF the bullseye, so I’m always sighting on a clean target. I don’t want to mess with the windage because there’s no easy way of setting back to exactly where it was, and I didn’t want to lower the sight because my target paper put the lower dots near the bottom of the trap. Second, my eyes have managed to get even WORSE than the last time I did any serious testing.

And then I found the loose stock screws. So, I threw out all the targets I already shot, tightened the screws, mounted a 3-12x40AO Centerpoint scope and dialed it in.

First up are the Crosman Wadcutters:

Don’t know what’s up here: .87″ and .40″? Not very consistent, is it? Well, we’ll see how the next pellets do:

The Crosman Hunting Pellets don’t disappoint and punch out passable .40″ and .38″ groups. Which, on balance, is a bit better than the Premier Hollowpoints:

…which came in at .45″ and .40″. The boxed Premier Lights, however, were the best of the Crosmans at .33″ and .35″:

The Daisy Precision-Max pellets didn’t live up to their name:

At .58″ and 1.06″ they did the worst average group out of this gun, although the new Gamo Match pellets were certainly vying for top dishonors:

At least they were more consistent at .80″ and .70″.

The real star in this gun was the RWS Basic (not an uncommon occurrence) which went into a pair of .33″ groups:

In my mind this just further confirms them as one of the best cheap pellets out there. Beeman’s best of .31″ was slightly better:

…but it’s worst of .53″ would seem to indicate that it’s not as consistent.

With the accuracy test over, I’m now looking at putting some shots over the chrony.

I know that this review isn’t really useful as a review for a potential purchase. Considering it’s rarity, you’re not very likely to find one in the used gun market. I’ve even wondered if this one was a sample for the importer, and that no others were even brought into this country. Next to this thing, the Sterling is as common as a Toyota Corolla.

Since all I’m doing is a curio writeup, I decide I’m only going to do one pellet to show the general velocity range of this gun. I decided to use the most accurate pellet of the test — the RWS.

Ten shots across the chrony yield the following results:

711
700
710
716
706
707
713
710
710
705

A 16 fps spread is pretty good, and the muzzle energy of 7.5 to 8 ft-lbs is sufficient for plinking out to 40 yards or so.

Overall, this Cabanas is an enjoyable, mid-range airgun that seems to be a bit easier to shoot and a little less pellet-fussy than my experience with that other Mexican brand. A better trigger (like, for example, the Mendoza unit) would make it positively delightful.

That wraps up the Cabanas. And, now, if I ever do a search on this rifle again I’ll probably get twice as many hits on it as I did before… because half of them will point me back to my own review! Maybe some day I’ll be able to dig up a bit more on this; and if ANYone has any more information on this pup, I’m all ears.

Diana 300R repeating underlever: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Today you’ll read part 2 of Vince’s guest blog. As usual, he’s done an extremely thorough job.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html that Blogger software uses, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them), and they must use proper English. We’ll edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.

by Vince

You’ve loaded the magazine, and now you’re ready to shoot. Almost.


Lock & load!

Suppose the rotary mag wasn’t indexed quite right when you put it back into the gun? That could be a problem. To make sure there isn’t a problem, get into the habit of pulling back on the cocking lever after reinstalling the mag, as if you’re trying to reset the sear. As mentioned in part 1, this last little bit of travel is what indexes the mag, and the action will rotate it to the next position and line it up properly. If the mag is halfway between pellets, the feeding pin is going to be blocked from going forward. This means that the lever is not going to want to move toward the firing position. But only a little. Because of the immense amount of leverage in the cocking lever, there won’t be much resistance, you might force it and break the pin without even realizing it.

Now you’re ready to start making holes…and making holes is something the 300R does rather well.


Pretty good 6-shot group with Crosman Premier hollowpoints.

The above target is a quick 6-shot group at 10 meters with open sights using Crosman Premier hollowpoints. It can do even better — and I’ve done better. More on that later. The rifle is about as hold sensitive as any other non-breakbarrel Diana springer, which is to say not too bad. Just remember that you have seven shots with no indication when those seven are done. To make sure the mag is empty, you’ve got two choices: dry-fire the gun (a no-no, although it will happen by accident on occasion) or remove the mag.

making holes is something the 300R does rather well

Fortunately, you don’t have to completely cock the gun to do so. Back when I described the picture of the pin retracting, I pointed out the position of the cocking lever. I was only starting to pull it back, but the pin was retracted almost all the way. Fact is, the pin is out of the way well before the lever is even halfway cocked. So, you CAN remove and replace the mag without cocking the gun if you hold the lever in the partially cocked position. Familiarize yourself with exactly where this is before making a habit out of it. Don’t let the lever go while you’re in the process of removing or reinstalling the mag.

So far, I’ve described how this gun is supposed to operate. What goes wrong and what do you do when it does go wrong?

The most obvious boo-boo is to try to remove the mag with the lever all the way forward. A real easy mistake to make. What does this do? Well, first of all the mag doesn’t want to come out because the pin is running through it. Second, the thin, brittle pin probably breaks. The next real easy mistake to make is to say to yourself “Oh! Right! I forgot to cock the gun!” So, you cock the gun, but the now-broken pin is still lodged in the rotary mag and won’t let it index to the next position. Again, you’ve got so much leverage in the cocking linkage that you don’t notice the increase in resistance. You force it without realizing it, and you break the magazine. Yet, it still doesn’t want to come out. Since you’re probably holding the gun muzzle up while you shake the gun, pump the lever and fiddle with the mag — that broken pin will eventually come loose…and fall into the guts of the gun.

Hoo-boy. Now you’ve got three major problems, and you’ve collected them all in the space of about 45 seconds.

Some time ago, I wrote up a sheet of cautions and procedures to follow with this rifle, and I tried to cover every contingency. I’ve listed those instructions at the end of this blog, so I won’t rehash everything here.

The last thing I want to talk about, though, is what happens when the gun is operated without that pin. In that case, the air will blast the pellet out of the mag. The cylinder pellet holes are sealed pretty well at the front and rear of the magazine.



Front and rear seals help stabilize the rotary mag.

That rear seal is on the end of a spring-loaded plunger. When the lever is forward, the rotary is firmly sandwiched between these seals. Combined with the relative power of the rifle (compared to an Umarex pistol or a Crosman 1077), it should make for a nice, strong burst of air that will reliably feed the pellet from the cylinder to the breech…pin or no pin.

The only possible fly in the ointment, as far as I can see, is that the rapid blasting of the pellet into the breech might be more inclined to damage the pellet if there’s a significant mismatch between the hole in the cylinder and the barrel bore than if it was gently fed by the loading pin. Theoretically, this could affect accuracy. I’ve tried it both ways and could not detect any difference. In my basement range, I managed to shoot a .18″ group (don’t remember if it was 5 or 7 shots) at 12 yards with a pin-less gun with a scope. Frankly, I just don’t do any better than that. So, no, I don’t think the accuracy issue is a significant one.

That wraps it up for the 300R. It’s a unique experience that definitely keeps you on your toes. Like many unique relationships, it’s frighteningly easy to mess things up, but there’s no need for despair. One way or another y’all can patch things up again and literally find yourself repeating the experience.

Below is my list of things to remember when shooting the Diana 300R.

Read all factory instructions. The RWS 300R has a unique mechanism that can be accidentally damaged by mishandling.

The pellet is loaded from the magazine into the breech by a very thin, brittle pin that cannot tolerate any significant side loading. This pin is retracted when the cocking lever is pulled back and pushes the pellet forward as the cocking lever is returned to its normal (or firing) position. With the cocking handle in its normal position, this pin runs through the magazine.

Never attempt to remove the magazine unless the gun is cocked and the cocking lever is to the rear — or you will probably break the pin.

If the mag holder is inserted when the cylinder is not properly lined up, the feed pin might hit the cylinder between two pellets — or it might hit a pellet off-center and jam or mangle the pellet on loading. Here’s how you prevent this: After reinserting the magazine, pull the cocking lever all the way to the rear as far as it will go (just as you would when cocking the gun). This ensures that the magazine is indexed properly.

A cocked gun may be uncocked without firing and with the magazine installed or removed. Pull the cocking to the rear until it just reaches the point of meeting resistance from the piston and spring. Holding it firmly (just as you would while cocking the rifle), push in the safety and pull the trigger. This should release the handle. Let it return, under pressure, to the uncocked position.

The rotary magazine is indexed (rotated to a new position) during the cocking cycle just before the trigger engages. If the rearward part of the cocking stroke meets with unusual resistance right before the trigger catches and doesn’t want to fully cock, stop pulling the lever or the magazine might break. Something has probably jammed the magazine and won’t let it rotate.

Try to remove the magazine with the lever pulled back MOST of the way. If it’s difficult to remove, stop, reseat the mag, allow the lever to return to its normal position and service the gun (or have it serviced). The 300R is not a particularly difficult gun to disassemble, and the powerplant does not have a lot of spring preload (about 50 lbs.). If you’ve disassembled other spring-piston air rifles, you’ll probably be able to service this one.

If the magazine does come out, let the lever return forward. Is the loading pin visible in the magazine port? If it is, try recocking and decocking the gun without the mag. If it feels normal, empty and reload the magazine and try again.

Never attempt to remove the magazine unless the gun is cocked and the cocking lever is to the rear — or you will probably break the pin.

If the pin is not visible, it’s broken. Sometimes, the 300R will feed and fire just fine without it, but the owner must first make sure that the broken pin is not inside the barrel or inside the gun (trapped in front of the sliding cylinder). The barrel bore can be visually inspected. In order to check the cylinder, bring the cocking lever all the way forward and lock it into position. Look in the magazine port, and you should see the air nozzle with a blue seal protruding into the rear of the port. The outside metal shell of the nozzle should be protruding into the mag port by about .050 inches. If it’s much less than this or not protruding at all, the pin is probably in the gun and it needs to be disassembled.

Otherwise, the pin probably just fell out or was discharged behind a pellet. You may try operating the rifle without this pin. If it functions properly, go ahead and use it. The only risk is that if the pellet doesn’t discharge it might be lodged halfway into the breech. Given the relatively high power of this gun, this isn’t very likely, If you think it happened, do not recock the gun. Pull the cocking lever back slightly and try to remove the mag. If it comes out, you can easily check the mag and barrel for a damaged or jammed pellet. If it doesn’t want to come out, go in from the muzzle with a cleaning rod and push the jammed pellet back into the mag.

I’m from China. Do you know my name?

by B.B. Pelletier

Blog reader Vince has been very busy! Last week he gave us a 2-part guest blog, and this week he’s given us another blog. Like mysteries? Get out our magnifying glass and help Vince uncover the name of this air rifle.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html that Blogger software uses, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them), and they must use proper English. We’ll edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.

by Vince

I know there’s something to be said for mystery, even when it’s balanced by intimate familiarity. Still, I REALLY want to know what to call you.

‘Twas a dark and stormy night — or not — when she came along in as innocuous a manner as possible. I had spotted a “dump sale” on one of the sites (don’t remember which), where a fellow was getting rid of four bottom-feeder Chinese guns. I believe he had a business, and these guns didn’t move — but I’m not positive about that. In any event, the airguns included a pair of Industry Brand B3 rifles (.177 and .22, a cult gun if there ever was one), an old half-eaten Industry B7/QB51 (folding-stock breakbarrel missing the stock) and this orphan. It’s a nondescript Chinese sidelever that I thought at first might be a KL-3B Fast Deer (another cult gun that was sort of a flash in the pan about 5 years ago). But no, there was no safety on the starboard side above the trigger. Then, I thought it might be an old TS-45, which I always wanted for no particular reason. But the stock shape didn’t seem quite right. No matter, I’ll find out when it gets here, right?

The package finally comes into my possession, and I start going through the box. The B3 rifles were what you’d expect — ugly. Turns out that the .177 version has about the same velocity as the .22, and the accuracy with either was rather tepid. The .177 was sold off for $15, and I kept the .22 just to have one.

But that sidelever….



Well, the price was cheap enough. Are those serial numbers? Who knows!

Even up close, I’m not sure what it is. There are some numbers stamped into the wood near the buttplate. Whatever it is, it certainly isn’t a model number of any sort. I looked on the compression tube and found the obligatory Made In China (NO! REALLY?) stamped in the metal along with the just-as-obligatory Chinese characters. Above that is some sort of mountain range motif. Maybe Snow Peak? I don’t see any snow. Don’t see any scope dovetails, either.


The logo isn’t exactly on par with Diana throwing away her bow and picking up an air rifle.

So, I’m thinking, “I shall call you Pointy, and you shall be mine.” But that’s kind of a stupid name for a gun, so I’ll continue examining the rest of the rifle for clues.

I was always under the impression that Snow Peak was an early manifestation of Industry Brand, but the gun does NOT seem to have that special lack-of-attention-to-detail that distinguishes (extinguishes?) the early Industry guns. Even the stock — while the varnish on it is applied unevenly and is a bit orange-peeled — isn’t hosed down with that orangish-brown goo that Industry used in abundance.

Next, I looked at the sights — the AK47-style sights. The rear has a push-button slider with markings at each position for elevation, and no windage adjustment. While the front sight is adjustable for windage (with a punch or an AK47 sight tool) and elevation (again, with the AK47 tool):



Front sight is fully adjustable, rear sight is adjustable for elevation only.

For afficionados of cheap Chinese (guns, not food), this smacks of the old BAM B4-2 underlever that bore a passing resemblance to the inferior Industry B3. That makes me think about the BAM XS-B7 — the sporter version of BAM’s old XS-B3-1 AK47 lookalike sidelever:


The new gun sorta looks like this…in some ways…but not really. (Photo courtesy of the former Pellettrap website)

No, the stock shape is all wrong. The XS-B7 does NOT have the AK-style sights, but it does have a safety in the triggerguard. Pointy doesn’t have one at all. It makes do with an interlock that keeps the shooter from pulling the trigger when the arm is open, but that’s about it.


One last detail. My gun has a fairly substantial set of sling swivels mounted on its underside.

The gun comes with a full set of sling swivels. The rear screw on each swivel is actually one of the bolts that holds the action to the stock. I don’t thing they’re going anywhere. Despite the differences in stock shape, with these swivels I’m again leaning toward calling it a TS-45.


X-ray of the TS-45 trigger shows it’s the same as the B3.
(from Tuning a cheap Chinese airgun – Part 2)

The TS-45 has the same trigger as the B3, which has the trigger blade holding the sear in place until it’s pulled. Even without taking the gun apart, I can tell that Pointy has a simpler direct sear.

At this point, I’m flummoxed. So, I set the whole ID issue aside and just started shooting it.

The gun itself is very much full weight and size at 6 lbs., 14 oz., and 41 inches overall. As you’d expect from a sidelever, it balances well (since the cocking linkage is close to the shooter), and the pull length of 13.5 inches is well within the average range for adults. The sight is clear enough, with plenty of depth to the slot in the rear sight, although the notch is a bit too wide for the front post.

Side note: Why do some manufacturers get so danged stingy with the depth of the rear sight notch? Am I alone in finding that an open-leaf sight with a really shallow notch is a pain to use?

Anyway, holding and shouldering the gun doesn’t feel bad at all, the stock seems well proportioned. Meaty without being fat, it’s probably a good compromise for a variety of hand sizes. The not-so-smooth finish on the stock actually makes it easier to grip. Poor man’s checkering? Uh, yeah…that’s it.

Of course, old Chinese guns aren’t known for mechanical refinement. Pointy’s direct sear trigger (with a 6-lb. release), graunchy cocking cycle and dry, hollow-sounding firing cycle do nothing to dispel this reputation. And, I discovered something else the first time I cocked it — this gun is SHARP! Literally. They didn’t do much to bevel the edges at the end of the cocking lever. Ouch! Not rough or uneven, mind you, and not enough to cut skin, but darned uncomfortable. Glad it doesn’t take more than 20 lbs. to cock it.

I started punching paper at 10 meters so I can start adjusting the front sight windage. And, that’s when the rifle started doing things like this:


Just when you think you know how a gun’s gonna shoot…it does something like this.

Hmmm…. that’s about a .32″ group with Crosman Premier Hollowpoints. With open sights. Guys, laugh if you wanna, but this passes as a very good open-sight group for me at this range. It did the about the same thing with a group of 5 Gamo Match pellets and a little worse with RWS Super-H-Point and RWS Diabolo Basic pellets

So, whatever it is, whoever made it — they certainly paid attention to the barrel. What else did they pay attention to? Well, now I’ll get down and dirty to find out.


The action is dirt simple.

What am I seeing? The mechanism is certainly basic enough, with the direct sear trigger pivoting on the same pin that holds everything together. The stampings are straight, and the spot welds all seem to be spot-on.


Out come the main pin and parts.

Once apart, I found the expected leather seal, and the general mechanism is reminiscent of the horrid Industry B1 and B2 rifles I’ve worked on. But wait! Something’s different! That pin! That 5mm pin that holds everything together and holds the trigger!


The 5mm pin that held it all together.

Notice anything strange about the pin? It’s STRAIGHT! That’s strange, because every old Industry gun I’ve worked on with the same arrangement also had a bent pin (metal too soft). But not this one. What else did I notice? The sear mating surfaces weren’t significantly worn.


The sear mating surface wasn’t worn to a nub.

My experience indicates that would CERTAINLY be unusual on an Industry rifle. In fact, the sear faces on the old Industry B1/B2 guns can wear so much that they start shooting without you.

That rear guide seems to be machined out of a solid piece of steel, rather than fabricated from a sheet metal tube and a washer.


The rear guide isn’t the usual cheap manufacturing process I’m used to seeing.

The piston seems well made, and the piston rod is STRAIGHT and centered in the bore of the piston. All in all, I’m now certain that Industry didn’t make this gun.

Pointy was dry as a bone when I took it apart, so the gun goes back together with the typical moly goo I use. Since it’s a lower-powered gun, I didn’t bother with tar on the spring, but the leather seal did get roughed up and soaked in 30-weight oil. Cocking and shooting behavior is smoother, and the velocity seems to have stabilized in the mid-500s with Crosman 7.9-grain pellets.

But, I’m no closer to identifying the gun. So far, the sights and general build quality still make me think that it’s related to the old BAM XS-B3/B7 rifles, but now I’ve got pictures of the innards! So, I go perusing the internet til I find an exploded view of the XS-B3 variant so I can compare the general construction.


Exploded view of the XS-B3.

After noting some of the details — the rear guide and spring retainer, the trigger, the construction of the beartrap and of course those sights — I believe I now have part of the puzzle. Pointy is probably a product of the BAM factory before it was actually called BAM and provided the basic design for some of their subsequent rifles. I’m also guessing that this gun was produced at a less frenzied pace than their guns today, affording them a bit more time for QC.

So, I know where you’re from, and I know where you went, and I know you shoot well. But, I still don’t know your name. Who are you?

Beeman GT600 air rifle – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Yesterday, Vince regaled us with one of his recent purchases…a Beeman GT600 air rifle. Today, he’ll show us what he found when he pulled it apart and made it better than new.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html that Blogger software uses, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them), and they must use proper English. We’ll edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.

Here we go!

Part 1

by Vince

The GT600 is about as plain-jane a rifle as you’ll find. Dollars to donuts, the same basic design continues on in the more recent Young model 56 and 90 rifles currently available. Many guns have their own quirks when dealing with the rear spring retainer and trigger assembly, and the Norica is no exception.


Disassembly starts with the typical screws (like umpteen other rifles)…


…at which point the action pops out real easy.

The next step is to knock out the retaining pins. Yes, I said knock them out. No sticking it in a spring compressor. Even with the pins out, the spring isn’t going nowhere (which will become evident momentarily).


I used a punch to start tapping them out.


Next, I tapped them back IN and — and tapped them out the RIGHT way.

As you might be able to see in the picture, the pins are knurled on one side and should be punched out from the side opposite the knurls.

After you’ve tapped out the second pin, the spring will push against and trap the punch, which, of course, is now in the hole where the pin used to be. Push in the trigger assembly a little bit to relieve the pressure on the punch and pull it out.


Release the trigger assembly, and the punch jumps back a bit and stops.

This is where a special tool comes into play. Someday, I’ll make a good one, but this works for now. I quickly hacked it out of a 1-inch diameter piece of aluminum tubing some years ago when I got my first AR1000. It goes into the rear of the compression tube.


My special tool…necessity is the mother of invention.

The forks reach around the trigger assembly and push directly on the rear spring guide. Compress the spring, pull the trigger mechanism out through the opening and completely release the spring pressure. I can’t show you this step because I don’t use a spring compressor and have already become something of a pariah on another forum partly because I had the nerve to describe how I do it. So, let’s just say I use my SUPERPOWERS (and my, uh, above-average weight) to compress the spring. After the spring pressure is released, the spring and the rear guide can be removed.


The pivot bolt simply unscrews.


The barrel assembly separates from the rest of the gun.


Remove the pivot washers, clean everything up and moly paste it before putting it back together.

The barrel is then set aside for reassembly later. The piston that came out of the gun should look familiar to anyone who’s disassembled an AR1000 or Hämmerli 490.


The Beeman GT600 has a one-piece seal that’s held in place with a single screw.

The seal looks in good enough shape, so I’ll just reuse it. But, I’ve got visions of that middle screw backing out while shooting, which would probably cause me to say a bad word and flush the gun down the toilet. So, I took the screw out.


The screw was removed and given a good coat of Vibra-tite VC3. This reddish-orange goop gets put on a clean screw, as shown above.

Let it dry for 20 minutes or so BEFORE reassembling the parts. That solidified red gunk causes something of a friction fit between the inner and outer threads, which then resists loosening. Unlike Locktite, it doesn’t try to adhere to the inside threads, so I really think it works better when those inside threads aren’t entirely clean.

Next, I turned my attention to the compression tube. First thing to do is wad up half a paper towel and cram it down inside the tube. Then, I took a small file and broke the edge of the slots and holes in the tube.


Removing sharp edges with a file.

I don’t have to go nuts (well, over this anyway). All I’m doing is getting rid of the very sharp edges that might slice chunks out of a seal as I’m reinstalling it. I wish manufacturers would do this, as it’s not too uncommon to find factory piston seals that have pieces missing because of those edges.

After filing, extracting the paper towel, and cleaning the tube, I can start putting all the pieces back together. For this gun, I’m trying out a proprietary airgun grease some guy was selling on one of the forums. Never really tried it before (I have no idea if it’s any good), so I decided to use it here.

The subject of proper lubricants for springer guts is one that could easily take up waaaaay more space than I’ve got. As a side note, I’ll delve into it a bit. There are two major areas of concern, and the desired lubricant properties of each is a bit different.

Everyone knows about spring tar. This lubricant really has to do two things: stay put and dampen vibration. It has to be sticky and thick (like the guy writing this blog). But it can’t be too sticky or too thick because it’ll slow down things too much if it is. High-powered guns with their monster springs are less prone to suffering from tar-itis, so they can tolerate something heavier. Rich in Michigan’s stuff might not drag a RWS Diana 350 or Gamo Hunter Extreme down too much, but try it on a Slavia 618 and you’ll get stuck in slow-mo. And, Maccari’s tar, which is thinner, might work well on an RM-200 but be less effective on, say, a super-buzzy Diana 46 Stutzen. So, there’s some point in trying to match the tar to the gun.

The second lube needed is a spring cylinder lube. This is where it gets real tricky. You want something with good resistance to wear under heavy and low-speed loading so the cylinder wall isn’t gouged by all that piston side load during the cocking stroke. But, you don’t want something too thick that’ll get scraped out of the way after a couple of cycles and never come back. You don’t want something too thick because the drag from shear forces between the piston and the cylinder wall will really slow things down when the piston tries to spring forward.

You want something that won’t easily get past the piston seal. Anything that does, of course, runs the risk of going BOOM when the gun is fired. A little of this is tolerable (and not entirely avoidable), but a lot of it isn’t going to brighten your day. You want something that isn’t so thin that it flows right past the seal, and you don’t want it so sticky and thick that the seal can’t scrape it out of the way. Since some of it WILL end up in the chamber, you want a lube that’ll be sticky enough to stay on the chamber walls, where it can’t really burn, and not get atomized into the compressed air — where it burns very enthusiastically.

So, silicone is out. It just doesn’t hack it as a high-load, metal-to-metal lubricant. We need something thick that’s also thin, and sticky without all that awkward stickiness. That explains the plethora of lubes out there, many of which are homebrews with their formulations more closely guarded than our bank account data ever will be.

It’s one of these homebrews that I’m trying out. Since this gun isn’t a magnum springer, I can make do with something lighter on the spring. I’m using this same grease there as well. There’s a real advantage to doing so if it’s feasible: It doesn’t matter if the stuff on the spring gets slung off or if the stuff on the cylinder walls gets on the spring. There’s no intermixing of different lubes; it’s all the same goo.


The front guide…


the rear guide…


and the spring get all gooped up with this stuff.

I probably overdid it. But that’s actually one good test of a lube — to see if it gets in the chamber and diesel — or not — when there’s a lot of it to go around.


The piston gets a good coating as well and then goes in.

Now is the proper time to reinstall the barrel. Don’t forget to fit the cocking link back into the slot in the piston and cylinder! If you try to reassemble the barrel pivot AFTER the spring is reinstalled, you’ll find that the tension on the piston prevents everything from lining up and the bolt won’t go back in!


Okay, so I forgot.

If you forget and find yourself trying to reinstall the barrel after the fact (uh, like I did), there’s a way around it. The holes will not align perfectly but will overlap enough to get the round shank of a #1 or #2 phillips head screwdriver where the pivot bolt goes.


Did it wrong? A phillips head screwdriver to the rescue.

The gun can be cocked like this, which will take the tension off the pivot and allow the holes to line up and the screw reinstalled. But, if the sear lets go before you get the screw in, well, you’ve got a bit of a mess on your hands. So, this procedure isn’t really recommended. Just do it in the right order so you may live long and prosper in the land.

Anyway, this pivot bolt doesn’t have a locking mechanism of any sort, so some of the same red goop as used on the piston seal bolt might not be a bad idea.

After the barrel is installed, the front guide, spring and rear guide get installed — in that order. Putting the trigger back in is a matter of compressing the spring with the special tool and putting it in the way it came out.


It goes in about the same way it came out…but in reverse order.

Compress the spring a bit more (without the tool) and slide the pins back in. Voila! Your action is ready for action.

You’ll notice that I didn’t do anything with the trigger, and there’s a good reason for that. I’ve had a LOT of luck re-angling the mating faces to reduce friction and lighten the trigger-pull. Unfortunately, however, that luck’s been all bad. I’ve found that it’s a tightrope walking the line between nice feel and auto-fire. And, if you DO get on the right side of that line and the trigger wears a bit, be prepared for your sear to go on strike. I know that some guys have had good luck with improving direct-sear triggers, but for now I don’t mess with ‘em.

So the action goes back in the stock, and I tend to the last major issue for this gun. Don’t know how it happened, but it came out of the seemingly undamaged box that way.


The rear sight is slightly bent.

This always scares me, because I’ve had NO success straightening these out when this happens. I always seem to break the shaft. Anyhow, I contacted the seller, who insisted that it probably happened during shipping. I’m a bit doubtful about that, but no matter. I can’t use it as is. So, I might as well try to straighten it.


Miracles happen…I fixed the bent rear sight.

Dunno WHY I didn’t break it this time. Maybe, being extra careful to bend it JUST far enough was the key. Glad I was able to salvage that sight, as it’s actually a pretty decent one with not much play and a decent sight picture. With the sight back together, Bee (I’ll call her that just to make her feel better) is ready to spit.

Over at the crony, I tried pumping one of my standard test pellets through it — Crosman Premier Super Points. But not the Premiers I usually use. I’m using Premier pointed pellets that were thrown in with another gun purchase I recently made. Since experience tells me these pellets are useless for accuracy, I decided to use them for chrony testing instead. I don’t want them to go to waste, and they weigh the same as the domed Premiers. When I saw an almost 50 fps spread over 10 shots, I switched to Crosman Premier hollowpoints, and the results were a lot better: 549, 549, 549, 550, 549, 550, 551, 560, 557 and 553.

Eleven fps separate high from low. I can live with that! Now, I have yet another reason to hate those pointed pellets.

Firing cycle is improved and cocking is a nice, smooth 20 lbs., including latching the sear. Trigger-pull, incidentally, comes out to about 5 lbs. of creep-free snap. Well, creep-free except for the shooter, that is, who can be something of a creep at times.

Let’s look at what REALLY counts — making holes in stuff. At 10 meters, I tried 5-shot groups with Daisy Wadcutters, Gamo Match, and (one of my favorite cheapies) RWS Diabolo Basic pellets, all with so-so results.

Then came the Premiers – I went to cardboard-boxed Premiers (7.9 grains). Results were somewhat better until I loosened up my grip on the gun…and she threw a great group of 5.


Bee has stepped up to the plate!

Oh. OK. I think I understand. Bee ain’t foolin’ around! Hard to measure exactly, but my best guess is about .32″ ctc, although it might actually be less. I think we have a pretty good overall picture of the GT600. It’s a crude gun that certainly doesn’t live up to the Beeman reputation – or, at least, the old Beeman reputation – of combining superior design, almost hand-crafted workmanship and high-quality machining together in one piece of airgun art. No, “Bee” only gets one out of the three right.

But it’s the one that really counts. With the poor trigger and overall lower quality of workmanship, the GT600 wasn’t going to bring new glory and prestige to the Beeman line. But it wasn’t meant to at its price point. But, with this kind of accuracy and consistent velocity, it’s sure not going to drag down the Beeman name. It’s a cheap rifle, but a good cheap rifle. Which really makes it a good rifle, period.

Beeman GT600 vital stats:
Weight: 5 lbs., 13 oz.
Overall length: 41″
Pull length: 14.5″
Butt center of gravity: 18″
Trigger-pull: 5 lbs.
Cocking effort: 20 lbs.
Average velocity: 552 fps (with 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers)
Muzzle energy: 5.34 ft-lbs. (with 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers)

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