Posts Tagged ‘Disco Double’

Air Arms Shamal: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Shamal
Air Arms Shamal is an attractive PCP. It was Air Arms’ first precharged rifle.

Message from Pyramyd Air
Before I begin, here’s an email message that went out from Pyramyd Air to everyone who bought a Crosman NP2 rifle from their first shipment.

Subject:
Important Information Regarding Your Benjamin Trail NP2 Purchase

Message:
Thank you for your recent purchase of the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 airgun from Pyramyd Air (Part # PY-3368-6474). We have been notified by Crosman, the manufacturer of the Benjamin Trail NP2, that there were manufacturing process variances that may have affected some of the airguns in the initial shipment. We have determined that your order came from this shipment. While the variances appear to have impacted only a small number of guns and there are no safety issues, we would like to offer you the following options:

▪ Replace your purchase with a new airgun at no charge to you
▪ Return your purchase for a full refund

Please contact our customer service department at 1-888-262-4867 by July 31, 2014, if you would like to move forward with either of these options. You can also arrange for a replacement directly through Crosman by calling 1-800-724-7486.

Our number one priority is the satisfaction and safety of our customers. We thank you for your continued loyalty and support.

Now, on to today’s report. This report covers:

• Things done differently
• Whassup?
• Ta-da!
• Summary
• Has this blog changed how you think about airguns?

Today’s report may not be very long, but it does represent an interesting bit of serendipity! This is a re-test of my Air Arms Shamal at 50 yards. Of course, that was shot outdoors at my rifle range.

Things done differently
The day was calm — perfect for shooting pellets with accuracy at 50 yards outdoors. You’ll remember that in my last test I went straight to the 50-yard range because I thought this rifle is so accurate that a lesser distance would be a wasted effort. Well, man plans and God laughs! My best 50-yard 10-shot group with 14.3-grain Crosman Premier domes, which I was sure were the most accurate pellets, measured 1.254 inches between centers. You can see that in Part 3.

While 1.254 inches for 10 shots is not that bad for 50 yards with an airgun, it’s certainly larger than I expected from this particular rifle. When I owned it before, I never shot it as far as 50 yards, but at 35 yards it was a killer. I just assumed it would hold together for the extra 15 yards; and when it didn’t in the last test, I was embarrassed.

Someone suggested that I clean the bore with a bore brush and J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound, so I did. I had to clean from the muzzle because the breech is not accessible with the bolt in the way. Because I couldn’t keep J-B Paste out of the transfer port, I didn’t use very much on the brush. Otherwise, the cleaning job was the same as always.

Then, I took it out to the range a second time 2 weeks ago, filled it with air and prepared to shoot. The Shamal is a single-shot, so getting it ready isn’t a big chore — or so I thought!

Then, I boarded the boat to Serendip. My first group on this dead-calm day put 10 Crosman Premiers into 0.818 inches! Yeah, that’s right! I shot a 10-shot group that can almost be covered by an American Quarter! Almost!

Shamal Premier group 1 with quarter and dime
The first group of 10 Crosman Premiers went into 0.818 inches at 50 yards. It can almost be covered by an American quarter. That’s phenomenal!

Whassup?
Okay, what gives? This is the same pellet, same gun, same quiet weather, same distance, same shooter. Did I suddenly have an attack of virile youth? Did I suddenly remember how to shoot again? How can my groups shrink by almost a half inch (0.436 inches), when the only thing that changed was the calendar?

And why was the Shamal suddenly accurate — like I remembered? I wouldn’t mind being an old goat who can’t shoot anymore, but this off-and-on thing drives me nuts. It makes it hard to believe anything I write — even for me.

Well, the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. So, I decided to chance a second group on the same fill. You know — just to see what would happen. In case you haven’t been following this report closely, I discovered in Part 2 that this Shamal has a maximum fill pressure of 2250 psi and gets 16 shots before needing to be refilled. I’d already shot 10 on the current fill, so I’m wandering off the power curve to shoot another 10 — or at least that’s what I thought!

The next group stretched out taller than it was wide, with a max spread of 1.126 inches between centers. That’s considerably larger than the previous group, yet still somewhat smaller than the best group from the previous test. Well, I’m now off the power curve for sure, so it’s time to fill the reservoir.

Shamal Premier group 2 with quarter and dime
The second group on the same fill was strung vertically but was also smaller than the entire previous range test — at 1.126 inches between centers. Same Premier pellet.

Ta-da!
I connected the rifle to the carbon fiber tank and began the fill. When you start filling a PCP, you can always tell how much pressure is left in the gun, because the needle on the gauge will stop moving fast and start moving slower as the rifle’s reservoir opens to accept air. The point at which that occurs is the pressure that was already in the gun’s reservoir. This Shamal has a second quirk. It makes a loud buzzing noise when the reservoir is taking a fill. So, if you missed where the needle stopped, there will always be the noise to tell you when the rifle starts accepting a charge.

This time, the needle slowed down when it hit 2800 psi on the gauge, and that’s when the buzzing began! The rifle I was shooting had been overfilled to 3000 psi.

I was so shocked by this that I almost didn’t stop the fill. But I did and the rifle now had about 2900 psi in it. Going back to what was learned in part 2, the rifle was now grossly overfilled.

But curiosity demands to be satisfied, so I disconnected from the tank and returned to the shooting bench. The next 10 Crosman Premier pellets went into an identical 1.126-inch group! Oh, there’s no doubt some small size difference between them, but none large enough to see. Curiouser and curiouser!

Shamal Premier group 3 with dime
After refilling the rifle to 2900 psi, I shot this 1.126-inch group with Crosman Premiers.

Knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that there was more than enough air remaining in the reservoir, I shot another group. These 10 went into 1.268 inches. That’s slightly larger than the smallest group I was able to shoot the last time (1.254 inches). That’s 2 more okay groups from the rifle, and a total of 4 for this day.

Shamal Premier group 4 with dime
The final group was a little larger — but not much. Ten Premiers went into 1.268 inches at 50 yards.

But I know this rifle. It takes at least 40 shots to drop the pressure from 3000 psi down to 2250 where the power curve begins. I’d just fired 20 shots toward that end, but I’d also taken up more time out of a day in which I had another airgun to test — namely the Hatsan AT44-10 Long QE (read that report later this week). So, I stopped shooting the Shamal at this point.

Summary
I don’t know what’s going on, except that when this rifle is overfilled to the point that the pellets are leaving the gun at 650-690 f.p.s., it’s more accurate than when the gun is shooting the same pellet at about 790 f.p.s. Or at least that’s what it looks like. I think I need to get back to the range and do some more testing — a lot more testing!

Has this blog changed how you think about airguns?
I initially published this section on the May 30, 2014, blog, and I’m going to repeat it at least once a week through the end of July so it doesn’t get lost or forgotten.

From the comments many of you make, it sounds like the blog may have positively impacted your shooting and/or airgunning in general. 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 how the information in this blog and the comments from your fellow blog readers have enriched your airgunning experience, 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 so you can send me your feedback. 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 give me written permission, I’ll use your real name or blog handle, otherwise your comments will be anonymous.

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, email me your message. 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.

Air Arms Shamal: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Shamal
Air Arms Shamal is an attractive PCP. It was Air Arms’ first precharged rifle.

This report covers:

• Accuracy at 25 yards
• Accuracy at 50 yards
• Pellets that didn’t work
• An observation
• Next time

We’ll begin looking at the accuracy of my .22-caliber Air Arms Shamal precharged pneumatic air rifle. We learned in Part 2 that this rifle wants to be filled to 2250 psi, rather than the 2600 psi that I remembered. Of course, the gauge on my carbon fiber tank is different than the gauge on the Shamal fill clamp that I no longer have, so some difference is to be expected. This is a good example of why a chronograph is so important when testing a PCP. If you don’t understand why I say that, read Part 2, where I used the chronograph to determine the optimum fill pressure.

I knew from previous experience the Shamal likes 14.3-grain Crosman Premier domes, so they were the first pellet I started shooting; but I have to tell you that the testing was done backwards. I actually took the rifle out to the 50-yard rifle range a couple weeks ago and shot it at that distance first, because I was certain it would not disappoint. I’ll show you those results at the end of this report, but first I’ll show you what the rifle did yesterday at 25 yards.

Accuracy at 25 yards
The range was set up in my house, so there was zero wind. Knowing that Crosman Premiers are good in this rifle, I shot the first group with them. Ten Premiers made a group that measures 0.447 inches between centers. That’s okay, but not great. I have spring guns that can do as well. I expected something closer to 0.30 inches from this rifle at 25 yards.

Shamal Crosman Premier target 25 yards
Ten Crosman Premiers made this 0.447-inch group at 25 yards.

Now, from the 50-yard test, there were a number of pellets that I already knew did not work well in the gun, so I tried some different .22-caliber pellets at 25 yards, hoping to find another good one. Alas, none of the pellets I tried were good! In a moment, I’ll include them in a list of all the pellets I’ve tried.

Accuracy at 50 yards
As I said, 50 yards was the first distance at which I shot the rifle. The day started out calm but picked up as I shot. I also had the EscapeSS to test that day, so I didn’t want the wind to get too strong. So, I shot only 4 different types of pellets besides the Premier.

Ten Premiers went into 1.254 inches, which was certainly larger than I expected. I shot the Premiers first, so the wind was calm as I shot.

Shamal Crosman Premier target 50 yards
Ten Crosman Premiers made this 1.254-inch group at 50 yards.

Pellets that didn’t work
At 50 yards the following pellets failed to group well.

JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo Monster pellets
JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo RS pellets
JSB Match Exact Jumbo Diabolo pellets
Beeman Kodiak Extra Heavy pellets

At 25 yards I tried the following pellets that did not group well.

H&N Field Target Trophy pellets
RWS Superdome pellets
H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme pellets
Eley Wasp 5.56mm pellets

An observation
The breech of this rifle is vary large. None of the pellets I’ve tried have had any resistance until the bolt pushed them past the air transfer port, which is why I tried the Eley Wasps. They’re so large that I felt they might solve the accuracy problem, but they didn’t. I think the barrel is fine, but the breech is somehow larger to accept more pellets.

Although I have only 2 groups to show you today, I did a lot of shooting with this rifle! The 50-yard groups I’m not showing were around 1.75 to 2 inches between centers. At 25 yards, I quit shooting as soon as I had a half-inch group or larger. That happened with each of the other pellets by the fourth shot.

I’m surprised that the Shamal isn’t more accurate than this. I’m not going to leave it here.

Next time
I think the obvious thing to do now is clean the barrel with J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound. Since the design doesn’t allow convenient cleaning from the breech, I’ll have to clean through the muzzle.

I plan on returning to the 50-yard range to try the rifle once more. Do you see that the groups almost triple in size going from 25 to 50 yards? That sometimes happens. Many people, including me, think a gun that shoots an inch at 50 yards will shoot 2 inches at 100 yards, but it seldom works that way. Fifty yards is a much better range to test the accuracy of a rifle like the Shamal, which ought to be a fine long-range air rifle.

Air Arms Shamal: Part 2

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

Part 1

Shamal
Air Arms Shamal is an attractive PCP. It was Air Arms’ first precharged rifle.

This report covers:

• Trigger adjustments.
• Discovering the maximum fill pressure.
• Shot count.
• Velocity with various pellets.
• Discharge noise.
• Loading.

In this report, we’ll discover the Shamal’s pressure curve, which will be instructional for all who are new to precharged airguns. As I mentioned in the first report, this rifle didn’t come with a manual; so when I got it, I had to discover the pressure curve on my own. I did, and it turned out the rifle wanted an initial fill pressure of 2,600 psi. That was on the gauge that was on the fill device that came with the rifle — the device that I no longer have. I need to find out where on the gauge of my carbon fiber tank the needle wants to be when the rifle is full. These small pressure gauges are not that precise, so the number could be off by several hundred psi. Also, the gauge on my carbon fiber tank isn’t marked in hundreds of psi. There will need to be some interpolation involved.

More than a decade has passed since this rifle was mine. I’m not sure where it’s performing today. So in all respects, this is a brand new air rifle to me. That will benefit you if you want to look over my shoulder while I do what needs to be done.

Trigger adjustments
Before I get into that, however, I first want to address the adjustable trigger. Shamals haven’t been around for a long time and there isn’t that much written about them. I want this report to serve as an owner’s manual for all who get one in the future.

The Shamal came with two different triggers — a standard one that my rifle has and an Olympic trigger that sounds more adjustable, but which I know nothing about. My trigger has 4 adjustment screws. From the back to the front (holding the rifle on your shoulder) they are:

1. The sear engagement (clockwise to reduce).
2. The first-stage travel (clockwise to reduce).
3. The first-stage weight (clockwise to increase).

and in front of the trigger:

4. The second-stage weight (clockwise to increase).

Shamal trigger adjustments
Trigger-adjustment screws: (1) Sear engagement, (2) first-stage travel, (3) first-stage weight and (4) second-stage weight.

When I tested the trigger with my electronic gauge, the firs-stage weighs just under 6 oz., and the let-off was between 12 and 14 oz. The first stage is long, which I like, and the release is as light as I like a trigger to be, so I’m satisfied with this trigger as it stands.

Discovering the max fill pressure
This is something that has to be done whenever a new gauge is used. I had data from previous tests that told me the fill pressure should be 2600 psi, so I filled from my carbon fiber tank to 2750 psi. That gave me the following velocities with the same 14.3-grain Crosman Premiers I used over a decade ago.

Shot Vel.
1     742
2    740
3    748
4    744
5    745
6    746
7    757
8    754
9    748
10   763
11   774
12  775
13   770
14   771
15   —-
16   772
17   —-
18   782
19   782
20   790
21   780
22   801
23   791
24   804
25   806*
26   793
27   800
28   799
29   801
30   —-
31   —-
32   782
33   788
34   778
35   775
36   775
37   769

*Fastest shot

The fill pressure at the end of this string was 1500 psi. This string tells me almost everything I want to know about this rifle. First, the fill pressure I used was way too high. I’ll fill the gun again to a much lower pressure and see where that gets me.

Shot count
Next, there are just under 20 good shots on a fill — down from what I thought so many years ago. I like the velocity that runs from 780 to 806 — a spread of 26 f.p.s. Looking at the curve for Premiers, I should start with shot 18, although the shot before that didn’t record, so I can’t be certain whether it was any good or not.

If I end the string at shot 34, I’ll get 17 full-power shots close to my desired range. What should the starting air pressure be? That’s solved easily.

I’ll guess that 2350 psi is the start point. I filled the rifle to that pressure and got the following results.

Shot Vel.
1     773
2     770
3     774
4     781

Okay, as the pressure inside the gun has decreased with each shot, the velocity has increased. The last shot was 781 fps, which is as low as I want the velocity to go on the power curve I’m willing to accept. The gun’s reservoir pressure has now dropped to the maximum pressure that will give me a velocity on my desired power curve (781 fps).

The velocity of 781 is at the bottom of the power curve that I have identified for this rifle. Since my last shot was 781, the rifle is now on the power curve. The pressure in the reservoir is now at the highest it can be and still give me the velocity I want. From this point on, as the rifle’s reservoir pressure drops, the velocity will either increase or remain stable. As long as it’s at 780 fps or higher, the rifle is on the power curve I’m looking for.

Now I can find the ideal starting fill pressure for my desired velocity range. All I have to do is start to fill the airgun, again. When the needle stops moving fast, indicating the fill hose is full and the gun’s intake valve has just opened, I stop the fill by closing the tank’s valve and look at the needle. The needle is pointing at the air pressure that is in the gun’s reservoir. I can see on the gauge that this rifle likes a starting fill pressure of 2250 psi!

To confirm that I’m right, I fired one more shot with Premiers. It went 781 f.p.s. Bingo! I’m right at the start of the power curve, with at least 16 more good shots in the reservoir.

I also discovered that the rifle performs very much the same as it did long ago. I’m using a different chronograph, yet the velocities from the late 1990s and today are within a few f.p.s. of one another.

The power curve I’ve accepted gives me an average velocity of 792 f.p.s., which is good for 19.92 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Other pellets
I will now test the velocity of other pellets, but I’m not going to shoot long strings and get the averages. I will shoot 2 of each pellet and take the lowest velocity of each pellet as the average for that pellet. While that’s not exact, it’s far faster than shooting whole strings and averaging. I know I’m on the power band for the next 16 shots; and if I use even fewer than 16 shots (4 pellets x 2 shots each = 8 shots), I can be sure that all of them are on the power band. The power band is the place where the velocity of any pellet will vary the least.

Eun Jin domes
This 28.4-grain Eun Jin dome pellet gave me velocities of 592 and 586 f.p.s. Taking the lower number as the average, I get a muzzle energy of 21.66 foot-pounds.

Beeman Kodiaks
The Beeman Kodiak pellet weighs 21.14 grains and gave me velocities of 683 and 680 f.p.s. That’s very close to the “magic” velocity of 671, where the weight of the pellet in grains equals the energy in foot-pounds. Using the low figure of 680 f.p.s., this pellet gave an energy of 21.71 foot pounds at the muzzle.

JSB Exact Jumbo Monsters
Next, I tried JSB Exact Jumbo Monsters — a 25.4-grain pellet. They gave me velocities of 584 and 611 f.p.s. Using the lower number, that’s a muzzle energy of 19.24 foot-pounds.

The bottom line is that this Shamal is a 20 foot-pound air rifle as it’s operating now. That’s what it was when I owned it in the 1990s. So, the rifle hasn’t changed, but the gauges have changed and so has my perception of the total number of shots that are available. So, this update was important to the operation.

Discharge noise
I don’t know what I was thinking when I reported the Shamal as a quiet air rifle before, but it isn’t. It sounds exactly as loud as a .22-caliber Benjamin Discovery running at the same power.

Loading
Someone asked about the loading room at the breech, and on this rifle there’s a generous amount. There’s no loading trough, so it’s easier to get your fingers behind the breech with a pellet. And all pellets load easily because there’s no rifling at the breech. Rifling doesn’t start until after the air transfer port, which is deep inside the breech. The bolt nose has a long probe that pushes the pellet past the air transfer port and into the rear of the rifling.

Shamal breech with pellet
That’s a 28-grain Eun Jin standing on the receiver. It’s one of the longest .22-caliber pellets around. As you can see, there’s plenty of room at the breech.

That’s it for this look. Next time I’ll scope the rifle and head to the range.

Shamal right

Air Arms Shamal: Part 1

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

Shamal
Air Arms Shamal is an attractive PCP. It was Air Arms’ first precharged rifle.

This report covers:

• The story of my Shamal.
• Description of the rifle.
• Performance.
• Trigger.
• Old versus new.

“Sadly, my Shamal went away. I know the man who owns it and he still treasures it to this day. If I still had it, I probably would not allow it to get away from me a second time. It was proof that you don’t always need a new air rifle to have a good one.”

Those were the last words I wrote about my Air Arms Shamal in the April 8, 2009, report I wrote on the old blog. I wrote that report for blog reader Kevin, who is still a reader and one of the most knowledgeable contributors to this blog. He asked what was the quietest .22 PCP I ever heard, and this rifle was my answer.

I did get rid of the Shamal many years ago, along with many other airguns and firearms that I enjoyed. I never thought I would ever see any of them again, but my Beeman R1 and Whiscombe JW 75 came back years ago — and this year the Shamal has returned. The gentleman who sold it back to me charged just what he had paid for it over a decade ago, so it was a good deal on top of a welcome homecoming.

The Shamal wasn’t the first PCP I ever owned — I think it was probably the second. I remember receiving it and discovering to my utter surprise that the rifle shot very slow with a fresh 3,000 psi fill. So, I recorded the velocity of each of the first 66 shots and learned that the rifle didn’t really come up to its power band until somewhere between shots 29 and 38, depending on how tight I wanted the power curve to be.

That exercise was the first time I used a chronograph as a diagnostic tool. I’d used one to gather data for my book about the Beeman R1, but this time I was evaluating the health and performance of a rifle whose background was entirely unknown to me. Without the chrono, I would have been lost.

The optimum fill pressure of this rifle was 2,600 psi — not the 3,000 psi I’d thought. Years later, I would use that experience when talking with customers who complained that their AirForce Condors were somehow defective because they didn’t get their top-rated velocities at 3,000 psi. “What does it matter,” I would say, “if your Condor starts out with a 2,700 psi fill? All that matters is that it gets the top power and 20 good shots on a fill?” — which they were getting in every case.

“Yes,” they countered, “but I bought a rifle that is supposed to take a 3,000 psi fill. I want to get my money’s worth!”

They were getting the best velocity that Condors ever got, and they were getting the advertised number of shots per fill; but because the number on the pressure gauge wasn’t what they expected it to be, they were dissatisfied. I wonder what they would say if they knew their car’s gas gauge was off…even though they’re getting the promised mpg and advertised speed?

That Shamal experience prepared me for a number of future experiences with PCPs. It was a good start for me. More than that, it was a real beauty that I can now share with you.

Description
The Shamal was Air Arms’ first attempt at a precharged pneumatic air rifle. It’s a sporting design, and the one we are examining today is in .22 caliber. Back in those days, manufacturers used to write the standard working pressure (SWP) on the side of the receiver so you would know what it was even without a manual. Manuals back then were single sheets of paper written on one side, only. This rifle oddly does not have the working pressure marked on it anywhere; so without a chronograph, you’re lost.

Shamal receiver
The aluminum receiver has a high polish and a deep black finish. Nowhere on the rifle is the standard working pressure noted, though that was typical for UK PCPs of this era.

The rifle cocks by turning a knurled bolt knob and pulling it back to cock the hammer spring. The bolt will open a considerable distance before the spring starts to compress, so you have to pull the bolt back quite far to cock the action.

The rifle weighs 8 lbs., 4 oz. without a scope. The stock is thick at every point, so the resulting feeling is that the gun is big and heavy. It measures 40-3/4 inches overall, which is short for a rifle, but the barrel is a full 23 inches, so nothing is lost as far as velocity goes. The airgun falls into the nebulous category of being long for a carbine but short for a rifle.

No doubt you’ve noticed that the stock is figured walnut. It features an oil finish that improves with a light rubdown of Ballistol. The holographic curl grain runs the entire length of the stock, though it’s hard to see in some places. There are 4 checkered panels — 1 on either side of the forearm and 1 on either side of the pistol grip. The pistol grip has a slight palm swell on the right side. When coupled with the high, sculpted cheekpiece, that makes this rifle for right-handed shooters, only. A thick ventilated rubber buttpad adds some length to the overall pull that measures 14-1/2 inches.

[Special note: Pyramyd Air is now stocking Ballistol in 16-oz. and 4-oz. non-aerosol cans. I use these to fill plastic spray bottles that I keep in several places. Buying it in bulk lowers the price. The link I gave takes you to the new cans.]

The metal parts of the rifle are finished commensurate with the wood, but the finish is not even. There are steel parts (barrel, part of the receiver tube, various bands, etc.) that are blued steel with an average bluing, and there are aluminum parts (receiver and reservoir tube) that are highly-polished with a deep black finish. The look is attractive, but not uniform.

The barrel is not free-floated. A forward band connects it tightly to the reservoir. That might cause vertical walking of the pellets as the pressure drops, so that’s something I’ll watch for.

The gun is filled at the front, under the muzzle. In the days when the Shamal was new, there were no quick-disconnects for any precharged airguns. Each gun had its own proprietary hose with whatever connection thread pattern the makers thought was good. When you bought a gun in those days, it was important to also buy a fill device that you knew for certain would fit. I had such a fill device when I owned the rifle the first time, but the gentleman who sold it back to me asked if he could keep it since it fit another precharged airgun he owns.

He gave me an adapter Dennis Quackenbush made that threads into the rifle’s fill port and has a male Foster quick-disconnect coupling on the other end. With this adapter installed, the rifle can easily be filled by a number of fill devices because Foster fittings have become the PCP fittings of choice over the past 10 years. I left the old fill hose and clamp with the previous owner and screwed in the Quackenbush adapter to the fill port. It works perfectly, and I’ll leave it on the rifle all the time.

With the adapter installed, it’s impossible to put the elaborate Air Arms muzzle cap back on the rifle. While it finishes the look of the gun, it had to be completely removed to attach the old-style fill hose coupling anyway, so I’ll just leave it off the gun.

Shamal muzzle cap
The muzzle cap (bottom) had to be removed every time to attach the original fill hose, but now I just leave the Quackenbush adapter permanently installed.

Back in those days, precharged airguns didn’t have pressure gauges built in. You had to keep track of the number of shots fired and know when to fill your gun. I’m used to doing that, and it doesn’t bother me.

Performance
Usually, I have the manufacture’s literature to go by or I know nothing about the gun at this point in the testing process, but I’ve owned this rifle before and know what it was doing then. In the 1998 timeframe, this rifle was able to produce about 20 foot-pounds with .22-caliber Crosman Premier pellets. The average velocity it got back then was somewhere in the 790 f.p.s. range, which gives a muzzle energy of 19.82 foot-pounds. A heavier pellet might raise that by a couple foot-pounds, but this is a 20 foot-pound airgun. In those days, that was considered very respectable, but today it seems rather weak. We’ve seen my Disco Double deliver the same pellet about 50 f.p.s. faster, on average, which translates to a muzzle energy of 22.4 foot-pounds.

Trigger
The trigger is adjustable, though I’ve never experimented with it to discover how it works. I’ll do that for the next report and give you the particulars.

It’s set up very nice as it is, and I saw no reason to change it in the past. But it brings up an interesting observation.

The old against the new
Now that the Shamal is back, I’ll be comparing it to the Disco Double I recently reviewed for you. The power is about the same, and both rifles are single-shot .22s. The Disco Double has the better trigger, but who can say how the rest of the test will compare?

.22-caliber Lightweight Disco Double: Part 7

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Disco Double new stock
The Lightweight Disco Double in its new stock looks striking!

This is a third look at the Disco Double shooting at 50 yards. All I’ve managed to do so far is demonstrate the Disco Double is very consistently mediocre with the best pellets — JSB Exact Jumbo RS domes. However, the last time I was out at the range with this rifle, I finally did what the builder, Lloyd Sikes, has been telling me to do all along. He said to tighten the 6 screws on the 2 barrel bands or hangers, and this time I followed his directions. Guess what? Four of the 6 screws were loose! Imagine that! I tightened them and knew the rifle would reward me for the effort.

It was no surprise when shot the best 10-shot group ever with the rifle. Ten RS pellets went into 1.195 inches at 50 yards. But I was 3 shots into a second group when the bolt handle broke off in my hand during cocking. That ended the day for this rifle.

Disco Double new stock 50 yard group 1
Ten shots went into 1.195 inches at 50 yards. This is the tightest group this rifle has fired to this point, and all I had to do was tighten a few screws.

Disco Double new stock bolt broken
The bolt handle broke off during cocking. This isn’t common, but it can happen.

As soon as I returned home, I emailed Lloyd, who put a new bolt and handle in the mail right away. I really wanted to finish the test before leaving for the Ohio airgun show (which is this Saturday), so I disassembled the rifle. I ran into a problem getting the old bolt out, but a call to Lloyd set me on the right path and soon the job was done.

The new parts arrived the following week, and I had them in the rifle inside an hour — though another call to Lloyd was necessary. He was most helpful, and I resolved my problem with a minimum of fuss. The rifle went back together, and I was ready to return to the range.

This time, I took the opportunity to mount a new UTG 6-24X56 scope scope in place of the UTG True Hunter 3-9X40 scope I took off. Naturally, the target image was much larger with this scope, which just made my job easier.

I tried several pellets that I’ve tried before, but once more this rifle demonstrated that it likes the JSB Exact Jumbo RS pellets the best. Since the rifle had been taken apart for the bolt repair (i.e., both barrel bands had been removed), I was back at the beginning on the first group. I had the front band about where it had been before (from the screw marks in the paint), and the first group of 10 went into 1.28 inches at 50 yards. That was marginally better than the 1.317-inch group I’d gotten during the previous full test, but not quite as good as the one group I shot just before the bolt broke (1.193 inches). All the screws were tight, so now it was time to move the front barrel band.

Disco Double new stock 50 yard group 2
After the barrel bands were reinstalled but before the front band was moved, I put 10 JSB RS pellets into this 1.28-inch group at 50 yards.

Harmonics
In case you don’t understand what moving the front barrel band has to do with accuracy, it comes down to harmonics. By changing the location of where the barrel is anchored, I changed how the barrel vibrates during the shot. I did a huge 11-part test of this effect a few years ago. You can read about it here.

I moved the front barrel band backwards about a half inch and tightened the 3 screws once more. Then, I fired another group of 10 shots. This time, 10 RS pellets went into 0.816 inches. That’s pretty telling, don’t you think? Of course, I have no way of knowing if I have the barrel band adjusted perfectly — all I know is that it’s better than it was before.

Disco Double new stock 50-yard group 3
After moving the front barrel band, I put 10 RS pellet into 0.816 inches at 50 yards.

A second 10-shot group went into 1.506 inches. Oops! Was that supposed to happen? Its difficult to say, but perhaps I wasn’t concentrating while shooting this group. I simply don’t know. Stuff happens to me, just like anyone else!

Disco Double new stock 50 yard group 4
The next 10 RS pellets made this 1.506-inch group.

So I shot a third 10-shot group. This one measures 0.961 inches between centers. That’s better.

Disco Double new stock 50 yard group 5
A final 10-shot group of RS pellets went into 0.961 inches.

The results
What I can tell you now is the that Disco Double is able to put 10 pellets into less than an inch at 50 yards under ideal conditions. I’ve shown you everything that’s happened, and I could go on and continue to test this rifle until I have it shooting its best. I probably will, in fact. But the lesson is what I’ve shown you today.

The Benjamin Discovery is an inexpensive PCP that can put 10 pellets into less than one inch at 50 yards under ideal conditions. The Disco Double I am testing for you here has a lot of extra work done to it and is not as inexpensive as the basic Discovery. However, this is the air rifle I wanted. It’s small, it’s accurate, it has a wonderful trigger and this one gets a load of shots on a fill of just 2,000 psi. That’s everything I wanted in a PCP.

Best of all, this rifle weighs no more and is no larger than a standard Discovery. Despite the additional air capacity, I had to sacrifice nothing. That was the real reason I had this air rifle built. Lloyd Sikes has a wonderful thing going here. If you’re interested in what he can do for you, find him at Airgun Lab.

.22-caliber Lightweight Disco Double: Part 6

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Disco Double new stock
The Lightweight Disco Double in its new stock looks striking!

This is a second look at the Disco Double at 50 yards. On this day at the range, the wind was quiet, so it was a good day to test.

I didn’t do anything to the rifle before this test because I didn’t have any time to stop long enough to clean the bore. So, it went uncleaned. I may have promised to do certain things before the next test, but all I actually did when the time came was grab the rifle and go back to the range.

I used the same black single sandbag you saw in the Daisy model 8 test earlier this week. The Disco Double perfectly fits the long groove of that bag and feels more secure than if it was in a conventional rifle rest.

Beeman Kodiaks
The first group was made with 10 Beeman Kodiak pellets, and they were on target since I’d already zeroed this rifle at 50 yards for the earlier test. They initially stayed together, and I thought the rifle might have turned the corner. They then began to fly farther and farther apart. In the end, 10 pellets went into 1.837 inches — hardly a group worth mentioning. When I checked back to the previous test, though, I noted that this same pellet had made a group that was 2.458 inches at 50 yards; so as bad as it is, this was an improvement.

Disco Double Beeman Kodiak target
Ten Beeman Kodiaks went into 1.837 inches at 50 yards.

Okay, that wasn’t the brilliant opening I was anticipating. Even though the same pellet beat the last group by half an inch, it didn’t seem like the time to gloat. Next up were the JSB Exact Jumbo RS pellets — the most accurate pellets in the first 50-yard test.

The first group was another teaser. It looked small through the scope. It wasn’t until I measured it that I found out it went over an inch. Ten RS pellets went into 1.317 inches at 50 yards. That’s smaller than the smallest group from the previous test. There, 10 RS pellets went into 1.3418 inches at 50 yards. This group is similar, but it’s not crushingly better by any means.

Disco Double JSB E$xact RS target 1
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.317 inches at 50 yards.

I now have 2 groups — each of which is better than the same pellet in the previous test. One is significantly better; the other is only better by a whisker. What does that mean? Rather than try to answer that question, I decided to shoot another group. Surely, this one would be conclusive!

The next 10 RS pellets went into a 1.773-inch group. That was the hands-down worst group of both days of testing for this pellet. On the same day, shooting under the same conditions with the best pellet, I got both the best and worst groups this rifle had fired to date.

Disco Double JSB Exact RS target 2
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.773 inches at 50 yards.

I’m sure someone can make sense out of these results — but I’m not that person! After 2 days of testing at 50 yards, I had not proven anything except that I can’t make this air rifle shoot — yet!

I considered shooting some more groups; but after looking at these results, I thought this wasn’t the day. Sometimes, the bear gets you!

Future strategy
I think what I’ll do is drag the Disco Double to the range every time I go and try to shoot different pellets each time. Maybe then I’ll stumble across the magic pellet that turns this rifle into a shooter. After testing similar rifles, I’m convinced this gun can shoot — I just haven’t yet discovered how.

.22-caliber Lightweight Disco Double: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Disco Double new stock
The Lightweight Disco Double in its new stock looks striking!

Today, we’ll look at the Disco Double out at 50 yards. I used the best pellets from the 25-yard test to speed up this test. No sense going over the same ground twice.

The first pellet I tried was the JSB Exact Jumbo RS. It did the best at 25 yards, plus it’s so light, at 13.43 grains, that it gives the rifle a little extra zing.

The rifle arrived at the range filled to 2,000 psi, so I went right to work. I clicked the scope up 5 clicks in elevation to account for the greater distance and began shooting. The day was surprisingly cold — about 28 degrees F. My trigger finger had very little feeling, yet I was able to feel when stage 2 engaged on the trigger every time. That’s important on this rifle because the trigger is very light on stage 2.

There was no wind on the range, which made this a perfect day for shooting a pellet rifle. The first 10 shots went into 1.558 inches between centers. That’s not as small as many 50-yard groups you’ve seen me shoot, but let’s keep testing.

Disco Double 50-yard JSB RS group 1
This initial 10-shot, 50-yard group of JSB RS pellets measures 1.558 inches between centers. I’d hoped for something smaller.

Crosman Premiers
Next up were .22-caliber Crosman Premiers. The first 3 shots went into 2.269-inches and I stopped shooting. These pellets weren’t going to work at 50 yards.

JSB Exact, 15.89 grains
Next up were the heavier 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbos that looked promising at 25 yards. They produced a 10-shot group that measured 1.778 inches between centers. It was a little larger than the JSB RS pellet group at 50 yards, just as it was a 25 yards. So far, no prize.

Disco Double 50-yard JSB Exact group
This 10-shot, 50-yard group of JSB Exact pellets measures 1.778 inches between centers.

Beeman Kodiak
The last pellet I tried was the Beeman Kodiak, which just did fair at 25 yards. Here at 50 yards, they put 10 into 2.458 inches. That’s hardly accurate! I almost stopped shooting this group when I saw how the shots opened up; but I thought that after doing that with the Premiers, I ought to let one go the distance just to show you what it looked like.

Disco Double 50-yard Beeman Kodiak group
Ten Beeman Kodiak pellets went into 2.458 inches at 50 yards. Not a pellet for this rifle.

Back to the JSB Exact RS
I wasn’t finished with the testing just yet. The rifle was topped off at 2,000 psi again, and I went back to the pellet that was giving me the best results — the JSB Exact RS. The next group of 10 was the tightest of the session, at 1.318 inches between centers. I’d adjusted the scope for the Kodiaks, so this one landed below the bull.

Disco Double 50-yard JSB RS group 2
This best 10-shot group of JSB Exact RS pellets measures 1.3418 inches between centers.

I then shot 2 more 10-shot groups with the RS pellet. The first measured 1.522 inches, and the second measured 1.543 inches. When I examined the target after bringing it back from downrange, I saw a pattern. The RS pellet wasn’t giving tight groups, but they were very consistent. Out of 4 groups, the total variance was 0.24 inches — from 1.3 to 1.5 and change. That’s pretty consistent.

What do we know?
We know this Disco Double can put 10 pellets into 0.365 inches at 25 yards. And with the same pellet, we know that it opens up to about 1.5 inches when the distance is doubled. We know it was warm when the 25-yard target was shot and cold when the 50-yard targets were shot.

And that’s about the only difference — other than I did remove the TKO silencer after shooting 25 yards. I think what I will do next is the following.

1. Clean the barrel.

2. Shoot 5 groups at 25 yards with the JSB Exact RS pellet.

3. Clean the barrel again.

4. Shoot another 5 targets at 50 yards.

One last feature I want to show you is the special optional barrel band Lloyd makes for the Disco Double. It has a Picatinny rail on the bottom, allowing you to attach a bipod at just the right spot with very little extra weight added to the gun.

Disco Double barrel band
This optional barrel band has a Picatinny rail on the bottom to accept a bipod.

Disco Double on bipod
The Disco Double on its bipod. Photo provided by Lloyd Sikes.

Summary
When I originally tested the .22-caliber Benjamin Discovery rifle in 2007, it was a pre-production prototype that was made out of a Crosman 2260. I shot several approximately half-inch groups at 50 yards with Crosman Premier pellets, but they were 5-shot groups. Now, I’m shooting 10-shots groups that I know are going to be larger. I didn’t use the JSB Exact RS pellet because it didn’t exist back then.

I believe this lightweight Disco Double has more accuracy than we’ve seen to this point. I think it must be capable of shooting at least one 1-inch group out of 5 at 50 yards. So, the test continues.

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