Posts Tagged ‘disassembly’

Crosman 2240 conversion to air: Part 3

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

Crosman 2240 conversion to air: Part 1
Crosman 2240 conversion to air: Part 2
R.A.I. Adjustable AR Adapter for Crosman 2240 pistols: Part 1
R.A.I. Adjustable AR Adapter for Crosman 2240 pistols: Part 2

WARNING: This conversion changes the operation of the pistol to use air at up to three times the pressure it was designed for. The parts that are installed are strong, but there are other parts in the gun that aren’t changed and could fail when subjected to the higher pressures. Pyramyd Air advises anyone making such a conversion to exercise extreme caution.

Crosman 2240 air conversion long barrel
The steel breech and longer barrel increase the 2240′s length dramatically.

This report covers:

• Installation of a steel breech and longer barrel
• Easy steps
• First velocity test
• Crosman Premier pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• RWS Superdome pellets
• What have we learned?
• Replace the striker spring with a heavier spring
• Crosman Premier pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• RWS Superdome pellets
• Evaluation to this point

This is the third look at converting a Crosman 2240 CO2 pistol to run on high-pressure air. In the last report, we saw how the conversion works with the factory barrel and factory striker spring. Today I will install a longer barrel with a steel breech and see what that does. Then I will add a stronger striker spring and see what that does.

Installation of a steel breech and longer barrel
Installing a Crosman steel breech and a Crosman 14.50-inch barrel on the 2240 pistol took all of 10 minutes. Four screws were removed, and both the plastic breech and barrel came off. After the detailed disassembly you saw in Part 1 of this report, this modification was a walk in the park.

Easy steps
The new breech was made by Crosman and sold by Pyramyd Air for $38, plus shipping. The barrel was also made by Crosman, and I bought it off eBay for $37 plus shipping. Together, these two parts have added about $85 to the cost of the gun, on top of the $65 for the air conversion that was given to me by Rick Eutsler. That’s an additional $150 I’ve put into this gun. And I’m not counting the adjustable stock and adapter that turns this pistol into a carbine. I’m not complaining about the cost, but don’t let anyone say this is a cheaper route than buying a Benjamin Discovery outright. What you get with this conversion is the time you need to make the investment. You can do this in easy steps.

First velocity test
I left the factory striker spring in place for this first test and pressurized the pistol to 2000 psi. Then, I shot the same 3 pellets I’ve been testing all along:

14.3-grain Crosman Premier pellets
11.9-grain RWS Hobby pellets
14.5-grain RWS Superdome pellets

Below are the velocities on CO2 for the factory gun; then the velocities for the factory gun with the high-pressure air conversion; and finally the velocities for the gun with the steel breech, longer barrel and factory spring — all operating at 2000 psi.

Crosman Premier pellets
CO2 avg…………..Air in factory gun average…………..Air in long barrel average
448 f.p.s…………………..486 f.p.s………………………………………517 f.p.s.

I got 15 shots with this pellet and the longer barrel. They ranged from 504 f.p.s. to 524 f.p.s.

RWS Hobby pellets
CO2 avg…………..Air in factory gun average…………..Air in long barrel average
482 f.p.s…………………..526 f.p.s………………………………………564 f.p.s.

This pellet gave me 18 shots from a 2000 psi fill with the longer barrel. They ranged from a low of 548 f.p.s. to a high of 573 f.p.s.

RWS Superdome pellets
CO2 avg…………..Air in factory gun average…………..Air in long barrel average
455 f.p.s…………………..483 f.p.s………………………………………525 f.p.s.

Superdomes gave 14 shots on a 2000 psi fill. With the longer barrel, the low was 516 f.p.s. and the high was 534 f.p.s.

What have we learned?
Obviously, the pistol shoots faster with the longer barrel and no other changes. Adding the steel breech does strengthen the rear of the barrel, but it doesn’t add anything to velocity.

All 3 shot strings posted above started out slow and increased as the shots were fired. So, the pressure curve is about ideal when the fill is at 2000 psi.

The velocity increase from CO2 in the standard pistol to high-pressure air in the longer barrel is very significant. But by leaving the factory striker (hammer) spring in the gun, we’re not getting all this conversion has to offer.

Replace the striker spring with a heavier spring
The kit Rick Eutsler sent me contained two striker springs — both of which are stronger than the factory spring. I removed the factory spring and installed the spring that was the weakest of the two, though stronger than the factory spring. I wanted to keep the fill pressure at 2000 psi, and the strongest spring would not be the way to do that.

I filled the gun to 2000 psi and proceeded to shoot Crosman Premiers. Here are the first 8 shots.

581
577
576
575
578
576
570
568

The velocity dropped with almost every shot. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but the trend is generally down. What this means is that the new spring is too strong for the fill pressure of 2000 psi. The pistol wants to start at a higher pressure with this spring.

I decided to fill the gun to 2250 psi. This is above the maximum I wanted to use, but it illustrates the relationship I just mentioned and is worth a look. Let’s look at the velocities at this pressure.

Crosman Premier pellets
588 f.p.s. average, low 582 f.p.s., high 594 f.p.s.

Compare the above to the average velocity with the factory striker spring and longer barrel, which was 517 f.p.s. This is a huge increase of 71 f.p.s. The stronger striker spring gives more of a boost than the longer barrel by itself. But — and understand this — without the longer barrel, the stronger spring would only waste more air. This is a modification that requires all the components to work together. You can’t just pick one item and be done with it.

RWS Hobby pellets
640 f.p.s. average, 632 f.p.s. low, 646 f.p.s. high

The remarks are the same for Hobbys as they are for the Premiers.

RWS Superdome pellets
590 f.p.s. average, 580 f.p.s. low, 596 f.p.s. high

Same remarks apply to this pellet as to the others.

All three pellets gave me maximum shot strings of 10 shots when set up this way. Obviously, more air is being used and the volume of the reservoir has remained the same.

Evaluation to this point
We’ve taken this Crosman 2240 pistol from one power on CO2 to a much higher power with high-pressure air, a longer barrel, a stronger spring and a steel breech. These modifications cost a total of $150 over the cost of the initial pistol ($60). Is it worth it?

The answer will depend on who’s talking. Some shooters enjoy putting their hands on the parts of their airguns and making their own creations. Others look at the total investment and just want something that shoots well for the least amount of money. This 2240 modification is not for the latter group, because we still have to add a $60 RAI adapter and a $60 UTG Adjustable Stock. That brings the cost of the gun we’re modifying to a total of $330.

The next step is to try this modification for accuracy. For that, I’ll attach the adapter and stock, again. I think it has to be tested to at least 25 yards with a scoped gun.

Crosman 2240 conversion to air: Part 2

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

Crosman 2240 conversion to air: Part 1
R.A.I. Adjustable Adapter: Part 1
R.A.I. Adjustable Adapter: Part 2

WARNING: This conversion changes the operation of the pistol to use air at up to three times the pressure it was designed for. The parts that are installed are strong, but there are other parts in the gun that aren’t changed and could fail when subjected to the higher pressures. Pyramyd Air advises anyone making such a conversion to exercise extreme caution.

Crosman 2240 air conversion
My Crosman 2240 has been converted to operate on high-pressure air.

This report covers:

• Where we are
• Before filling the first time
• Shooting the gun
• Crosman Premier pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• RWS Superdome pellets
• What comes next

Let’s look at what the conversion to air did for the Crosman 2240. Boy, was there ever a lot of discussion on that report! I think this may be one of the all-time most popular subjects on this blog.

Where we are
Here’s where I am with this subject. The 2240 is now converted. I plan to test it with 2,000 psi air today, and I do not plan to go higher. This is a test of what’s out there and some of the things that can be done with a 2240, but I’m not in the business of hotrodding this pistol. Many other folks are doing that very well; so, if you are interested in what’s possible, read what they have to say.

Today, I’m going to test the pistol with the conversion but with the stock striker spring still installed. In other words, if you simply screwed the tube into the gun and did nothing else (the front sight still has to come off to clear the tube), this is what you’ll get. I did change the face seal, which is why I disassembled the pistol in the previous report; but that wasn’t strictly necessary, since I am pressurizing to only 2,000 psi. I did it just to show how the entire kit is installed.

Before filling the first time
Before filling the gun, which is now done through the male Foster nipple on the end of the air tube, I put several drops of silicone chamber oil into the fill nipple. It came to me bone-dry, and I wanted all the seals inside the unit to get a coating of this oil. Then, I connected the gun to my carbon fiber air tank and slowly filled it to 2,000 psi. I say slowly, but as small as this air tube/reservoir is, it fills pretty fast. It probably took only 15-20 seconds to fill it all the way. You want to go as slowly as as possible to keep heat from building.

When I bled the air connection in the hose, the inlet valve in the air tube remained open and all the air bled out. So, I refilled it and bled it a second time. This time, it sealed as it should — thanks to the oil, I believe.

Shooting the gun
It was now time to test the gun. I had no idea what it was going to do, but I left my hearing protection off to hear if the first shot was loud. It wasn’t. Perhaps the gun is a little louder than it is when using CO2, but the difference is not that great. Of course, I used eye protection for the chronographing session, because the pellet trap is so close. I use a trap with duct seal to keep the rebounds down and the noise to a minimum.

Crosman Premier pellets
The first pellet I tested was the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier dome. I should add that I shoot only the pellets from the cardboard box, which is why I link to them, only. We were informed several months ago that Crosman planned to stop selling Premiers in the cardboard box and I stocked up on them. But I see they’re still available.

Back in 2010, I did a test of the CO2 2240 pistol, so I have the recorded velocities for this exact pistol on CO2. It averaged 448 f.p.s. with Crosman Premiers. On 2000 psi air, the first shot was 468 f.p.s. It increased to a maximum of 492 f.p.s. by shot 7 and dropped back to 466 f.p.s. by shot 15. At the end of the string, the gun was still holding 1200 psi of air pressure. The average velocity of 15 shots was 486 f.p.s., which means air boosted the average velocity of this pellet by 39 f.p.s.

RWS Hobby pellets
Next up were 11.9-grain RWS Hobby pellets. When the pistol was running on CO2, these pellets averaged 482 f.p.s. On 2000 psi air, they started at 515 f.p.s. and increased to 537 f.p.s. by shot 9. The velocity droped back down to 511 f.p.s. by shot 16. The average velocity for this string of 16 shots was 525 f.p.s. — a 43 f.p.s. increase on air. The remaining pressure was 1200 psi, once again.

RWS Superdome pellets
The final pellet I tested was the 14.5-grain RWS Superdome. When the pistol ran on CO2, Superdomes averaged 455 f.p.s. On 2000 psi air, they started at 470 f.p.s. and drifted up to 495 f.p.s. by shot 7. They dropped back down to 467 f.p.s. by shot 16. The average velocity was 483 f.p.s., an increase of 28 f.p.s. over CO2.

Notice that the gun performs similarly, regardless of what pellet was tested. The curve starts out slow, builds to the maximum quickly and then drops back to the starting point just as quickly. The three pellets gave a total shot count of 15, 16 and 16, respectively.

What comes next?
I can’t test the pistol for accuracy as it is right now because the front sight has no clearance to be re-installed. And the plastic 2240 receiver does not have a scope base on the receiver. Decision time.

I could get a steel breech for the 2240 from Pyramyd Air. While it will not accept the 2240 rear sight, it does have 11mm dovetails for a scope. That’ll work with the barrel that’s on the gun right now; but if I get a longer barrel, I’ll get a little more velocity from this same setup. So, I ordered a 14.5-inch barrel from an eBay vendor.

There are a number of different ways this can go with these parts, so I will wait to see what seems best once I have them.

Crosman 2240 conversion to air: Part 1

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

R.A.I. Adjustable AR Adapter for Crosman 2240 pistols: Part 1
R.A.I. Adjustable AR Adapter for Crosman 2240 pistols: Part 2

This report covers:

• What this is
• Thanks to Rick Eutsler
• Step-by-step instructions
• How hard is it?

Today, I’m starting a fresh and different look at the Crosman 2240 air pistol. You may have noticed that I linked to the R.A.I. adjustable shoulder stock adapter at the beginning of the report. That’s because my plan is to convert the 2240 to operate on high-pressure air and test it again as a small PCP carbine. And, I might add, not only is it small, it’s also affordable if done in stages.

WARNING: This conversion changes the operation of the pistol to use air at up to three times the pressure it was designed for. The parts that are installed are strong, but there are other parts in the gun that aren’t changed and could fail when subjected to the higher pressures. Pyramyd Air advises anyone making such a conversion to exercise extreme caution.

What this is
What we are looking at today is a device that is so simple, yet apparently effective that many will slap their foreheads and wonder why they didn’t think of it themselves. It’s a drop-in device that changes the operation of a 2240 pistol from CO2 to air. It appears very simple, but there’s some disassembly and parts-swapping involved, so that’s what I’m going to show you today.

What’s happening is that you’re dropping a high-pressure air cartridge into the space where a CO2 cartridge would normally go. And if that was all there was to it, we would be done. Just remove the CO2 cap, remove the empty cartridge, slide the unit in and screw it tight against the face seal. But there’s the rub. The face seal in a 2240 is not designed for high-pressure air. So, we have to substitute a different face seal, and that’s where the disassembly comes in.

Thanks to Rick Eutsler
This conversion was suggested to me by Rick Eutsler, who appears with me on American Airgunner. He thinks a lot of it and wondered if I’d tried it, yet. No, I hadn’t. So he sent me a device. The device is made and sold by PowerMax-HiPAC.com. This one I am testing sells for $65, according to their website, but there are many other configurations and accessories available. I’ll focus on just this one for now, and we’ll see where it takes us.

Before starting the conversion, I removed the CO2 cartridge. Then, I removed the UTG 6-Position Mil-Spec Stock Assembly and the R.A.I. adapter that connects it to the pistol. The gun was now in its factory configuration, and the conversion could begin.

 Crosman 2240 air pistol stock removed
The R.A.I. adapter and UTG adjustable stock were removed from the 2240.

Crosman 2240 air pistol air tank
The air tank (bottom) goes into the 2240, replacing the CO2 cartridge and end cap. The tank is threaded just like the end cap. The face seal inside the gun must also be changed, so disassembly is necessary.

What follows is a step-by-step disassembly and replacement of the face seal. The work is easy, but some of the parts are small — and you have to exercise caution to keep from losing them. Note that I did my work on a dark wool blanket. The wool keeps parts from moving, and the dark color allows me to use flash photography without the dark parts appearing black. If a white background were used, that’s what would happen.

Step 1. Remove front sight
The front sight is knocked off with a wood block and rubber hammer. The sight isn’t attached by fasteners, so it comes off with a light tap.

Crosman 2240 air pistol front sight off
A wood block was placed against the rear base of the front sight and tapped with a rubber hammer to remove the sight.

Step 2. Remove barrel band
The barrel band is held by Allen screws, top and bottom. Loosen both, and the band slides off the gun.

Crosman 2240 air pistol barrel band off
Loosen the screws of the barrel band and slide it off.

Step 3. Remove rear sight
The rear sight is held by a single screw that’s one of two holding the end cap to the action. Take it off, and the end cap is almost ready to come off the gun.

Crosman 2240 air pistol rear sight off
Remove the rear sight by removing one screw.

Step 4. Remove grips (optional)
The grips come off next. This step isn’t necessary; but if you want to see all the working parts inside the grip, you can do it.

Crosman 2240 air pistol remove grips
Each grip panel is held on by a single screw. There isn’t a lot to see.

Step 5. Remove end cap
Remove the rear grip frame screw, and the end cap will come off the gun. There’s a powerful spring pushing against the cap, so contain it as you remove this screw or the end cap will go flying.

Crosman 2240 air pistol remove end cap
When the rear grip frame screw is removed, the end cap and mainspring are free. Contain the end cap or it’ll go flying.

Step 6. Remove grip frame
Now the front grip frame screw is removed, and you can separate the frame from the action tube. Be very careful in this step not to lose the tiny spring and ball detent for the safety — it rests in the left side of the grip frame.

Crosman 2240 air pistol remove grip frame
Remove the front grip frame screw and lower the frame from the action tube. Be careful not to lose the safety spring and ball detent that are in the grip frame.

Crosman 2240 air pistol safety spring and detent
The safety spring and detent ball are very small. They are not under tension when the grip frame comes off; but if you turn the frame upside-down, they’ll fall out.

Step 7. Remove receiver from tube
At this point, just a single screw holds the receiver and barrel to the action tube. That screw is located in the pellet trough and is very small (I believe it’s an .050, but it may be larger). Unscrew this screw, and the receiver and barrel can be separated from the tube.

Crosman 2240 air pistol remove action screw
Remove this screw, and the action and barrel lift off the tube.

At this point, you can remove the barrel from the action. It isn’t required; but if you do, you’ll see where the transfer port fits in the bottom of the barrel.

Crosman 2240 air pistol barrel
If you slide the barrel from the receiver, you can see the machined spot where the transfer port fits.

Step 7. Remove gas transfer port
After the barrel is off the tube, the steel transfer port will be exposed. It usually stays with the tube, but nothing holds it except the seal in the valve. This small part is how the compressed gas (or air, when we convert the pistol) moves from the valve into the barrel to push the pellet. So, it’s very important.

Crosman 2240 air pistol transfer port
The steel transfer port usually stays with the tube when the barrel’s removed. If not, don’t lose it.

The transfer port has two lengths to it — a long side and a short side. The short side fits into the seal in the valve that’s still in the tube, while the long side goes into the underside of the barrel.

Crosman 2240 air pistol transfer port detail
The short side of the transfer port goes into the tube and into the seal in the valve. The long side goes in the bottom of the barrel.

Crosman 2240 air pistol transfer port seal
The transfer port seal is shown here. You see the brass valve body under it.

Step 8. Remove striker
Next, remove the striker — or what many call the hammer. It’s held in place by a small pin that must be lifted out, then the striker will come out the rear of the tube. This pin connects the bolt to the striker and is how the gun is cocked.

Crosman 2240 air pistol striker pin
To remove the striker, first remove the striker pin. There’s an enlarged hole at the rear of the cocking slot through which the pin is lifted out.

Crosman 2240 air pistol striker out
Once the striker pin is out, the striker slides out the rear of the tube.

Step 9. Remove valve screw and valve body
Remove the screw holding the valve body in the tube. When it’s out, the valve will slide out the rear of the tube. I pressed it lightly with the barrel to start it, but some valves may take a little coaxing depending on how long they’ve been in the gun — but it isn’t difficult to remove this part.

Crosman 2240 air pistol valve screw
Remove the one valve screw.

Crosman 2240 air pistol valve body
The valve body slides out the rear of the tube.

Step 10. Exchange the face seals
Now we come to the place where the face seals are exchanged. The light-colored seal is for CO2 cartridges and is too soft for the air pressure we’ll be using. It must be pried out of the end of the valve, and the black seal that’s supplied with the air conversion kit should be installed in its place. Getting the new seal in is much like buttoning a shirt collar with small buttons. The new black seal will also work with CO2; so if you want to convert back, you can skip this teardown and just remove the air tank.

Crosman 2240 air pistol valve face seal
Here’s how the face seal looks before you pry it from the valve body.

Crosman 2240 air pistol valve 2 face seals
Here’s the factory face seal (lighter one on left) and the new seal to be installed. Notice that continual use has made a groove in the factory face seal.

How hard is it?
It took me a total of 20 minutes to disassemble the pistol, and that includes taking the pictures seen here. It isn’t hard, but there are places where caution should be exercised.

Assembly is the reverse of disassembly, and there are no special tips. Just make certain that the bolt will engage the striker pin when you assemble the action, and make sure all the seals are properly seated.

That’s it for now. Next time, I’ll put air into the pistol and chronograph the results.

BSA Meteor: Part 6

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

BSA Super Meteor
My rifle is actually a BSA Super Meteor.

Today, we’ll find out if a new breech seal fixes the low-velocity problem I had with my Meteor in the last test. You’ll remember that I tested the rifle for velocity and noted that the breech seal was pretty bad in the last report. I removed it and made a quick leather seal just to test the gun. I got initial velocities in the low 500s with light lead pellets, but they quickly dropped to the 300s to 400s. I felt the breech seal was the problem, and since T.R. Robb had treated me so well on the piston head and seals, I ordered some new breech seals from them. They were 5 pounds each, and shipping to the U.S. added 2 pounds, 50 pence for a total of 17 pounds, 50 pence, shipped ($28.82). They arrived last Friday, and I quickly installed one in the gun.

BSA Super Meteor new breech seal
The new breech seal is small in diameter, but tall to fit the groove in the breech.

BSA Super Meteor leather breech seal
The temporary leather seal had flattened out across the entire rear of the barrel. The darker circle is where the actual seal is supposed to be.

BSA Super Meteor no breech seal
This is the groove where the breech seal fits.

BSA Super Meteor new breech seal

And here’s the new synthetic breech seal standing proud of the breech, as it should.

The rifle is already well-lubed from the rebuild I just finished. After the new seal was pressed into place, all that remained was to test it. You would do well to at least scan Part 5 to see the last velocities. RWS Hobbys were running around 360 f.p.s.

RWS Hobby
I’d seated the pellets deep for the previous test, so that’s how this test began. RWS Hobby pellets averaged 648 f.p.s. with a spread from 633 to 663 f.p.s. It was obvious that some dieseling was happening, as I could smell it as I shot. I think these velocities are slightly elevated from where the gun will settle after a break-in of a few hundred shots. At the average velocity, this pellet is producing 6.53 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. That’s not a lot, but it’s much more than it was doing before the breech seal.

Next, I tried seating Hobbys flush with the breech with finger pressure, alone. These averaged 652 f.p.s., with a spread from 638 to 665 f.p.s. The muzzle energy raised slightly to 6.61 foot-pounds — not really a significant difference. The velocity spread tightened by 3 f.p.s., too, but that’s also insignificant. I’m of the opinion that at this point, deep-seating isn’t doing much — at least for this pellet.

JSB Exact RS
Next, I tried the 7.33-grain JSB Exact RS pellet. This one shot faster when the gun had the leather breech seal — an average of 460 f.p.s., but that number was also declining fast as the seal flattened out. The difference in velocity between these and the Hobbys might just have been the order in which they were tested.

When seated deep, the RS pellets averaged 611 f.p.s. for 5 shots, but I got the impression that the velocity was starting to drop — as if the excess lubricant had been burned off. Seated flush, the same RS pellet averaged 592 f.p.s., but the string was an almost linear velocity drop from the first shot at 611 f.p.s. to the last, at 577 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produces 5.71 foot-pounds.

The gun seems to be breaking in and the velocity is declining slightly. I think it will settle down soon, so the gun will still show a marked increase from the new breech seal. To test that, I’ll do a special velocity retest after the accuracy tests are complete. They’ll give the gun more time to break in.

Trigger-pull
I’ve mentioned more than once how much I like the way this rifle fires. The trigger, though single-stage only, is crisp enough for me. It breaks at 4 lbs., 14 oz., which may seem like a lot; but on a handy plinking rifle, it really isn’t bad. If I’d been trying to shoot groups at 50 yards, maybe I could complain; but for what I want this gun to do, the trigger’s fine.

Cocking effort
The rifle cocks with just 19 lbs. of effort! Though it’s an adult-sized airgun, it cocks like a youth model — a feature I really enjoy. And the cocking is so precise. Pull the barrel down until you hear the sear click into position…and you’re done. There’s no overtravel and no long cocking stroke that takes you outside the range where you have the best mechanical advantage.

There’s also no buzzing or vibration that’s noticeable. I’m sure there must be some, but the gun feels very solid when it fires. It’s difficult to explain until you feel it in another air rifle, but it’s a feeling you’ll really enjoy.

I literally cannot wait to shoot this rifle for accuracy! I’ll first try it at 10 meters. If it does well, I’ll also try it at 25 yards. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to test this rifle a lot, now that it performs so well.

BSA Meteor: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

BSA Super Meteor
My rifle is actually a BSA Super Meteor.

Today’s report is really interesting — at least I think so. If you want to know more about what’s behind the performance of a spring-piston air rifle, today will give you some insight.

In the last report, I installed the new piston head with a new seal and buffer. This head has a threaded shank with a nut to hold it to the piston securely. It replaces the old head that was held on by a flimsy E-type circlip that had failed. And you may remember that after the head separated from the piston, people continued to cock and fire the gun, not knowing what was wrong. The result was a lot of mechanical damage, including broken welds on the piston and heavy galling inside the compression chamber and spring tube.

After the rebuild (with a lot of help from my friend Otho), I fired the rifle and noted that it seemed okay, but it would have to wait for a run over the chronograph to know for sure. Today, we’ll do that run.

Before I did any shooting, I cleaned the bore with a bronze bore brush and J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound. It was filthy to begin with, but I was surprised that the brush went through easily from the first stroke. Usually, it takes 10 strokes or more before the brush loosens up.

Once all the paste was cleaned out of the barrel, it was much brighter inside, though not as shiny as a new barrel. I don’t have a borescope; but to my naked eye, the bore on this rifle looks very uneven. If this were a firearm, I would suspect it had fired a lot of corrosive ammunition and not been cleaned properly. We’ll see what that does to the accuracy in the future.

Pellet selection
I initially selected three different pellets for this test. Two of them were lightweights, and the other was a medium-weight pellet; but as it turned out, I never got to test the medium-weight pellet. I learned so much from the lightweights that I was pushed in a new direction.

RWS Hobby
The first pellet I tried was the 7-grain RWS Hobby. The Hobby is a lightweight pellet that normally goes faster than any other pure lead pellet. I use it in most of my velocity tests to give a good idea of the rifle’s power. I expected to see something in the high 400s or low 500s with this rifle, but that’s not what I got! Look at the first 3 shots.

337 fps
337 fps
350 fps

Obviously, Hobbys were not the right pellet for the Meteor. They fit the breech tight and didn’t seem to want to move very fast.

JSB Exact RS
Next, I switched to the JSB Exact RS pellet. While this 7.33-grain pellet weighs a little more than the Hobby, it fits the breach much looser, and I felt it might have higher velocity. Let’s look at the first 3 shots.

312 fps
343 fps
357 fps

Clearly something was wrong! I felt the tuneup should have given me more velocity than that. I took a look at the breech seal, which had not been replaced. It was flattened even with the breech but didn’t seem to be damaged in any way. However it seemed like a good idea to pull it out and examine it closer. That turned out to be exactly the right thing to do!

When I pried the seal from the breech, it fell apart! The Meteor’s breech seal is a synthetic circular seal that’s taller than an o-ring; and from appearances, this one is at the end of its life. I didn’t have a replacement seal on hand, but I know how to make breech seals out of leather. I had a couple of my homemade leather Diana breech seals on hand, and all they needed was some trimming to fit the Meteor. The first one was trimmed too small and gave me several shots at 216 f.p.s. Obviously, it wasn’t doing the job!

BSA Super Meteor breech seal
The Meteor breech seal disintegrated when it was pried out of the breech. It wasn’t doing the job anymore and needed to be replaced.

The next leather seal was left larger and just stuffed into the breech seal channel. It fit the rifle much better, while still standing a little proud of the breech. That’s what you want in a leather breech seal. This time I decided to oil the seal thoroughly before continuing the test. I applied several drops of silicone chamber oil about 10 successive times and allowed it to soak into the leather. Then, I left the gun overnight with the breech broken open to allow the leather to completely soak up all the oil, while not flattening out. The next morning, I oiled the seal one more time. Then, it was time to shoot.

The first 3 shots with JSB Exact RS pellets the next day were very revealing:

522 fps
510 fps
485 fps

I was on the right track, but maybe the job wasn’t finished. Even though the JSB Exact RS pellet fit the breech looser than the Hobby, I wondered if deep-seating would improve the velocity. The next 10 shots are all with the JSB Exact RS pellet seated deep in the breech, using the Air Venturi pellet pen and seater.

509 fps
494 fps
500 fps
481 fps
496 fps
480 fps
470 fps
446 fps
416 fps
408 fps

Time for learning!
Okay, what have we learned from this? I think an examination of this last shot string shows the gun wants to shoot a little faster than 500 f.p.s. with this pellet, but it isn’t for some reason. You notice that the velocity drops as the shots accumulate. What’s up with that?

It seems to me that the new breach seal is losing its ability to do the job as the gun is fired. An examination of the seal shows that it’s flattening out, but I didn’t want to accept this conclusion from just one string of shots. So, I returned to the RWS Hobby pellets next.

RWS Hobby
Because they fit tight, I also deep-seated these pellets with the pellet seater:

332 fps
344 fps
335 fps
379 fps
397 fps
363 fps
370 fps
373 fps
360 fps
373 fps

I’m not sure what to make of this shot string. It looks like the Hobbys wanted to go faster, but then they sort of stabilized around 360 to 370 f.p.s. I doubt if they’re going to go over 400 f.p.s. with the current breech seal.

Trigger
The adjustable single-stage trigger breaks at 4 lbs., 9 oz. as it’s set right now. Because this trigger adjusts by varying the amount of sear contact area, I plan to leave it right where it is, for safety’s sake. It’s crisp enough that I can work with it as is.

What to do next?
Based on the evidence I see above, this rifle now wants to shoot in the low 500s with light pellets, but the breech seal is holding it back. If that’s true, a new breech seal should push the gun back up over the 500 mark. The solution seems simple. I went online to T. R. Robb’s website in the UK and ordered 3 new breech seals. Since they’re synthetic, I don’t know how long they will last…but 3 should last me the rest of my life.

I’ll be very pleased to get a final velocity around 500 f.p.s. with lightweight pellets. Remember, I want to shoot this Meteor for fun — not to obtain the absolute last foot-pound of energy it can produce. The trigger is heavy but also very positive, and a delight to shoot. And the rifle fires with a pleasingly dead-calm shot cycle.

I have no idea if this rifle is worth the money, time and effort I’m putting into it, but I’m doing it as a learning exercise, rather than just restoring a BSA Meteor to usefulness. If I wanted a Meteor to shoot, I would have been money ahead to just turn this rifle into a parts gun and find a rifle that was in good condition to start with.

I guess the analogy to what I’m doing with this Meteor is the guy who finds a rusty old tractor laying out in a field — abandoned for decades. It isn’t worth the effort, but if he can get it running again, think of all he might learn along the way.

BSA Meteor: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

BSA Super Meteor
My rifle is actually a BSA Super Meteor.

The last report on this BSA Super Meteor was on October 15. That’s how long it’s been since we saw this gun in print. But in the background, I’ve been doing lots of things that I’ll share with you today.

The last time we looked at this rifle, I was taking it apart and getting a lesson on how it was built and what was wrong with it. To summarize for you, this BSA Meteor is made from folded metal, in the same way Daisy BB guns are made. And the piston head was attached to the piston by means of an E-type circlip that was incapable of standing up to the stress. I can tell that by the damage that was done when that clip let go — but more because the Brits have invented a much better solution for fixing this gun today, when it does break down — and all of them are going to break!

I sent my order to T.R. Robb in the UK for a replacement piston head, o-rings and spacers. The problem is that when I sent in that order I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the same order button also got a piston head for a BSA Scorpion pistol, which is larger than the Meteor head. Well, guess which one Mr. Lysdexic ordered?

That’s right, I ordered the Scorpion piston head. And a couple days later, when I realized what I’d done and contacted T.R. Robb, they had already shipped the order. But to their credit, they sent a second piston head — this one was for a Scorpion, too. That’s right! They sent me 2 Scorpion piston heads and no Meteor head! But I’ll give them credit for trying to help me, for being very generous and refusing my offer to pay for the second head, and for being very prompt in shipping both heads. I had them in less than 10 days.

So, blog reader David Enoch — I now have a spare BSA Scorpion piston head that I believe you said you needed. The price will be right, too. You’ll pay what I paid, which was nothing.

BSA Super Meteor new piston head
Lots to see here. The replacement piston head is the shiny one on the left, the darker original is on the right. Obviously, the replacement part is larger and has to be cut down to fit. The blue spacer and 2 o-rings are just some of the soft parts that came in the kit. There were a total of 4 o-rings of different sizes and 2 more spacers of varying thicknesses. They allow you to set the power of your airgun, and they also allow for differences in the tolerances of different guns.

When I saw how large the piston head was, I knew it wouldn’t fit. I asked my friend Otho to cut it down for me on his lathe. He also had to cut the o-ring channel deeper at the same time.

Silly me — I thought that would solve everything. So, Otho took the head and had it back to me in a week. Then, I assembled it to the end of the piston and tried to insert the piston back into the spring tube. But it wouldn’t fit! I’d taken it out several weeks earlier, and now it wouldn’t fit back inside! It was like that pair of blue jeans that used to fit, before they suddenly and quite mysteriously shrank. I hate it when that happens — especially to jeans I’ve worn for years!

I took a more critical look at both the spring tube and the piston. Glory be — they’re both made of folded metal like a Red Ryder! Except that Red Ryder spring tubes are generally round, while both of these pieces had variable shapes, with a tendency toward the oval.

BSA Super Meteor piston weld
The tail end of the piston. Here you clearly see that it’s folded metal, tack-welded at each end.

BSA Super Meteor piston weld broken
At least that’s the theory! Here you see the weld at the piston head end has broken. Wonder why the piston is no longer round?

BSA Super Meteor piston broken opposite the weld
And, on the other side of the piston, opposite the broken weld, the solid metal has also cracked! Here you can see the nut that now holds the piston head to the piston body. It’s not about to break off like the circlip did!

Looking at just the condition of the piston gives you an idea of the shape this rifle is in. I don’t think the design of the rifle caused all this damage. I think people continued to try to cock and fire it after the piston head separated from the piston, and they hammered it into the mess you see here.

I examined the interior of the spring tube very critically at this point and found a lot of metal galling (shiny areas that indicate the scraping of metal against metal without lubrication). There was also a fair bit of surface rust. I also found that some of the folded metal edges of the spring tube that hold the trigger parts were bent into the interior of the spring tube and were blocking the passage of the piston. I fixed those with a Dremel tool, but the inside of the tube was too deep to reach.

I showed the spring tube and piston to Otho, who agreed with me as to the extent of the damage. He felt he might be able to clean out the tube with a tool that holds strips of abrasive paper and is spun in an electric drill. I don’t own that tool, so I was only too happy to let him have a go at it. He also said he could tack-weld and refinish the piston where it was separating.

So, Otho came to the rescue once more. And he was true to his word, because a week later I got back the tube and piston, ready for assembly. But that wasn’t the end of the rifle’s problems!

BSA Super Meteor piston reweld
Otho welded the broken piston and dressed it round again.

BSA Super Meteor piston reweld back side
Otho also welded the back side of the piston where it was cracked.

Loose barrel pivot
I had discovered that the barrel wobbled from side to side when I first got the rifle. And a little research online told me this is a common problem with Meteors from the 1970s. Apparently, when the forearm stock screws are tightened, the shape of the stock allows them to pull apart the action forks that hold the barrel breech. It’s a design flaw of the rifle, and the solution is to not over-tighten those screws. But how to fix it — since the barrel pivot is a pin, rather than a bolt? Well, this is something I know how to do.

I chucked the forks in the padded jaws of my bench vice and closed the jaws on the forks. When there was some inward tension on them, I hit the outside vice jaw with a 2-lb. ball-peen hammer, which sent a shock wave into the metal of the action forks and realigned their crystalline structure. Or at least that looks cool when I write it. I haven’t got a clue what really happens! All I know for sure is that when you do this, the metal takes a set in the new position, and now the action forks are about 5 thousandths of an inch smaller then the breechblock of the barrel that has to fit between them.

Finally, all the faults had been corrected, as far as I knew. The piston now slides into the spring tube with only a little friction, not unlike a Weihrauch piston in a Weihrauch gun. It was time to assemble the rifle!

Otho and I both think whoever designed this Super Meteor Mark IV was a genius at eliminating cost and making one thing do many jobs. The way this air rifle is designed should be a study in an engineering course, but the students would first have to know how others had done the same things with other spring-piston powerplants. At every turn, you can see the embodiment of the Spartan design.

And the parts that need to be hard are hard! I mean glass-hard! There’s no wear on any of the trigger parts, or on the piston, where it’s held by the sear. The boys at BSA knew what they were doing.

Since there had been so much metal galling in the spring tube, I first lubricated it with Moly Paste before any parts went back in. The molybdenum disulphide particles will bond with the metal surfaces and will not wash out over time. I applied this paste (which is a thick grease) with a swab made from a long thin dowel rod covered with a paper towel on one end.

BSA Super Meteor cleaning and lubricating swab
This simple swab can be used to clean the inside of spring tubes/compression chambers, as well as to lubricate them.

After the inside of the spring/compression tube was lubricated, I also lubricated the outside of the piston head and piston tail with the same moly paste. I’d like to say a word about the piston head now. The kit of parts I was sent had 3 spacers of differing thicknesses. Any of them will work, but each gives you a piston head of a different length when it ‘s fastened to the piston body.

The way the Meteor is designed, adjusting the length of the piston head controls the power of the rifle. A shorter piston head will give a longer piston stroke and therefore greater power. I don’t want power. I want a smooth rifle that’s easy to cock and is also easy to shoot. So I went with a thicker spacer on the head.

Now, I lubricated both the piston head and the tail with moly. The center of the piston body can be left dry because it’s narrower than the ends and will never touch the inside of the spring tube.

BSA Super Meteor lubricated piston head
The piston head is lubed with moly paste. No precision is required for this application because this stuff spreads as the gun is cocked and fired. The other end of the piston got the same treatment before it was slid back into the spring tube.

Once the piston was in the tube, I coated the mainspring with Beeman Spring Gel and slid it into place inside the piston. Don’t look for that product anywhere — it’s obsolete. It was a viscous silicone (Beeman only says it’s a synthetic in their catalog; but given where it’s going, I’m pretty sure it’s silicone) grease that dampened vibration without slowing the gun much, if any. So, pretty much any viscous silicone with the consistency of toothpaste should suffice. Or, you could do it the old-school way and just use a lithium-based grease.

The powerplant went together the same way it came apart; but the barrel, which was the next item, was harder to install because the action forks were now smaller, thanks to my repair. Nevertheless, the barrel did go into the action forks of the spring tube (I “buttoned” it in using the baseblock to spread the forks slightly), with the cocking link locked inside the piston and lots of moly grease on all metal surfaces that touch.

When it came time to close the barrel, I got a small surprise. It seems the spring-loaded chisel detent (the chisel-looking thingie that holds the barrel shut when the gun fires) was sticking out so far that the barrel wouldn’t close! Examination revealed that the detent is held in the baseblock by the pivot pin that passes through. How in the heck was I going to do that?

Well, if you think like a redneck cheapskate, which I am trained to do, you insert the pivot pin partway, lever the chisel detent back as far as it will go and then tap the pivot pin home. I could have closed my eyes for this maneuver, it went so smoothly. Obviously, I’d discovered something that the original 28-year-old BSA assembler, Trevor, could do 175 times in an 8-hour shift back in 1978.

From there, the only big task was to get the mainspring back inside the spring tube all the way. It only stuck out the end of the tube less than an inch, but it also had to go another full inch into the tube, where it would be held by a crosspin that’s profiled on one side to capture the base of the spring guide. It’s easier to just show you.

BSA Super Meteor assembly pin
This is the side of the assembly pin that fits inside the base of the mainspring guide and holds it inside the rifle.

BSA Super Meteor mainspring tool
This 58-cent tool was made from a 4-inch plastic sprinkler pipe in about 20 minutes. With the action in the mainspring compressor, it pushes the washer at the base of the mainspring, while allowing the crosspin to be inserted through its slot. It isn’t beautiful, but it worked both times I used it and looks like it will hold up for dozens more jobs like this.

BSA Super Meteor assembly pin in
And the pin is back in place. The contours on the other side of the pin have meshed with the base of the spring guide.

I showed you these parts and the trigger parts in the earlier reports, namely in Parts 2 and 3. So I’m covering ground that I’ve already explained. When I took the rifle apart back in October, I didn’t have to use a mainspring compressor; but to get the mainspring back in place and insert the crosspin, I did. And it was easy.

And the remainder of the airgun went together exactly as it should. I have a theory. Whenever something goes together easily, it means I’ve left out something. I’m in my wetsuit but have forgotten to put on my briefs! I remember learning how to disassemble and assemble the M1 Garand rifle. I thought I could never learn, but a few weeks later I was stripping it like a pro. That’s the way BSA spring rifles are, I guess. You’d like them to come apart in 30 seconds without hand tools, but they don’t. However, once you’ve been down the path a few times, I’m sure the job seems simple.

The proof
This is the part I dreaded. Sure the parts were back together, but who was to say they were where they should be? Only cocking and firing the gun would tell me that. So I did. And it did! Hurrah!

The only task left to do is to clean the barrel. I had close to 2 months to do that while it was off the rifle; but to tell the truth, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get the gun back to functioning again. No sense doing a great job on a barrel I’ll never use. But now the gun is working, so the next report can be about the velocity.

TX200 Mark III: Part 9

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

TX 200 Mark III new rifle
Brand new TX200 Mark III. It’s very similar to my TX; but the checkering is different, and the line of the forearm is more scalloped.

This report is getting long and perhaps a little confusing, so let me explain what I’m doing. We’ve been looking at the Air Arms TX200 Mark III underlever air rifle. I used my own TX for the first 6 parts of the report. In Part 7, I introduced a brand new TX that Pyramyd Air sent for me to test. Many of you were concerned that the rifle had changed somehow over the years since mine was made, and perhaps what’s shipped today isn’t the same rifle…so I agreed to test a new one for you. The first look at that rifle came in Part 7 of the report, and in Part 8 we looked at the velocity.

Today ,I’m going to show you the trigger in detail, describe how to adjust it and explain why I always say the TX trigger is an upgrade of the Rekord trigger that Weihrauch introduced back in the 1950s. To get to the trigger adjustments, the triggerguard must be removed. But today I’m going farther into the gun to show you the entire trigger assembly. That will help me explain how the trigger functions.

The stock needs to come off to get into the rifle, so I did that first. Just remove 2 forearm screws and 2 more triggerguard screws.

Once out of the stock, the action and trigger can be seen clearly.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle action
The trigger unit is inside the spring tube with seemingly no way to come out. The rifle must be partially disassembled to remove the trigger.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle disassembly blot
Here you see the disassembly bolt  (all the way to the lef). Turn it out, and the rifle comes apart. You can also see the 3 trigger adjustment screws. On the trigger blade are screws to adjust the first-stage length and adjust the sear contact area. Behind the trigger blade is an Allen screw that adjusts the trigger pull weight. Behind that is the threaded hole the rear triggerguard screw goes into.

If I were just adjusting the trigger I wouldn’t need to go even this far. Just remove the triggerguard and start by adjusting the trigger return spring tension. I found that was all I needed to do on the test rifle, as the first-stage length and sear contact area were right as they came from the factory. But you can adjust either of them or both.

To take the trigger unit out of the gun, I removed the disassembly bolt. As it turned, I pressed down on the entire barrelled action with the end cap resting on a soft cloth pad. When the bolt was free, the mainspring decompressed less than 2 inches.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle disassembly bolt out
The disassembly bolt is out, and the mainspring has relaxed. The trigger unit moved less than 2 inches. A mainspring compresser was not used.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle trigger assebly out
When the trigger unit comes out of the rifle, it’s still pinned to the end cap and spring guide like this. Now, the trigger unit looks familiar to Rekord owners because the 2 pins that hold it to the end cap are visible.

Because I want to show you how this trigger works, I’m going to continue to disassemble the end cap. The 2 pins that hold the trigger unit in the cap are driven out. They are several times harder to remove than Weihrauch trigger pins. This unit is together very tight!

Once the trigger assembly is out, we can see how it differs from the Rekord.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle trigger assebly
The trigger assembly is similar to the Rekord — but also different. The box is riveted together instead of being a folded sheet metal structure. There’s an additional pin, forward of the trigger blade, and internally there are bearings where the Rekord parts just turn on pins.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle Rekord trigger
A Rekord trigger for comparison. Weihrauch did more with sheet metal stampings.

So far, I’ve shown you the differences but not described how they work. For starters, the Air Arms trigger has adjustments for the first-stage pull and for the sear contact area, as well as for trigger-pull weight. The Rekord has the sear engagement adjustment and the pull weight adjustment but not the first-stage adjustment. But that isn’t what makes the Air Arms trigger better.

What makes the Air Arms trigger better is the presence of bearings instead of just pins. The parts are also more finely fitted, which has to be done during manufacture because there’s no money in the gun for costly hand-fitting. And the trigger isn’t the only place that’s different. The piston is also different.

Circular piston
The TX200 has what I will call a circular piston. All pistons are circular, of course, but most of them are held from rotating by the cocking shoe. Because of that, the piston can have a hook that’s engaged by the trigger when the gun’s cocked. That’s how the Weihrauch rifles that use the Rekord trigger are made. But what if the piston was free to rotate on its axis?

TX 200 Mark III new rifle piston
TX200 piston has bearing surfaces front and rear.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle piston rear
Detail of the rear piston bearing. Also, note how far the piston rod sticks out the rear of the piston. Weihrauch pistons don’t have bearings front and rear, so they tend to vibrate more when fired.

Blog reader RidgeRunner asked how the TX piston was cocked by the sliding compression chamber. The answer is that the chamber pushes the piston back until the trigger catches it. The piston rod is so long that it can be caught by the trigger while the piston is still inside the compression chamber.

When the gun is cocked, the piston rod comes back and pushes the trigger parts into lockup. As they lock up, a hook catches the rear of the piston rod and holds it until the sear releases it.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle trigger cocked
I have manually cocked the trigger the same way the piston does.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle trigger cocked from side
This is what the cocked trigger looks like with my hand out of the way.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle trigger holding piston
And this is how the trigger holds on to the piston, no matter how it turns inside the gun.

The ability of the piston to turn on its long axis while being supported front and rear by bearings adds smoothness to the powerplant without sacrificing power. A centrally located air transfer port that’s centered on the piston boosts the air scavenging efficiency and therefore the available power. The TX200 Mark III is giving all the power it can from a powerplant that’s still smooth and easily cocked.

How is the trigger after adjustment?
Before I adjusted the trigger, it released crisply at 1 lb., 12 oz., which is 28 oz. All I adjusted was the trigger return spring tension and now the trigger breaks cleanly at 12 ounces. So the adjustment dropped one entire pound. And, yet, the sear still has the same contact area, so it’s just as safe as before.

A good tuner can adjust a Rekord just as light, but the sear contact area won’t be as great as it is at 3 lbs. The Air Arms trigger allows for this adjustment without sacrificing any safety. That’s what I meant by the TX trigger being more finely adjustable that a Rekord.

By the way, the work done here, including taking the pictures, took a total of 30 minutes.

Top-notch springer
Air Arms TX200 air rifle

When it comes to spring-piston air rifles, the Air Arms TX200 Mk III is a favorite of many airgunners, including airgun writer Tom Gaylord. His favorite caliber is .177. While the gun will initially impress you with its beauty and superior craftsmanship, you'll be even more impressed with the incredible accuracy! Tom claims this is "the most accurate spring gun below $3,000." Beech or walnut, left-hand or right-hand stock. Isn't it time you got yours?

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