Posts Tagged ‘FWB 124 piston seal’

A shrine built for a Feinwerkbau 124 – Part 14

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 13
Part 12
Part 11
Part 10
Part 9
Part 8
Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Airgun Academy videos #19 and #20 are now available.

2011 airgun show calendar
Before I get to the report, here’s a calendar of all the 2011 airgun shows I know of. If you want to go to an airgun show, here they are.

March 5 & 6
Pacific Airgun Expo
Placer County Fairgrounds
Roseville, CA
Contact Jon Brooks @ 707-498-8714
pae@pacificairgunexpo.com

April 9
Flag City Toys That Shoot
Lighthouse Banquet Facility
10055 S.R. 224 West
Findlay, OH 45840
Contacts:
Duane Shaferly @ 419-435-7909
Dave Barchent @ 419-423-0070
Dan Lerma @ 419-422-9121
To register contact:
FlagCityToysThatShoot.com

April 15 & 16
2nd Arkansas Airgun Extravaganza
Fairgrounds, Exit 98A on I-30
1605 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Malvern, AR 72104
Contact Seth Rowland

June 11 & 12
5th CT Airguns Airgun Show
Windsor Elk Lodge
Windsor, CT
Contact Kevin Hull @ 860-649-7599

July 15 & 16
Airgun Show and Shoot
American Legion Post 113
Baldwinsville, NY
Contact Larry Behling @ 315-695-7133

August 21
Daisy Get Together
Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds Expo Center
Kalamazoo, MI
Contacts:
Wes Powers @ 517-423-4148
Bill Duimstra @ 616-738-2425

September 17
St. Louis Airgun Show
Stratford Inn Garden Room
800 S. Hwy. Dr.
Fenton, MO 63026
Contact Gary Anthony @ 636-861-1103

This is the 14th report I have made on the FWB 124. In all that time, I was mostly tracking a single 124 — the one I obtained that had been packed for eternity in a wooden case like an Egyptian sarcophagus. We went through many tunes with that gun and saw what each one did. Then, I tuned a 124 for Mark Taylor, a shooter I met at Roanoke. That one wasn’t planned, but it did give us a look at a later and different rifle.

Today, I’m reporting on the bluebird buy I happened upon while registering a firearm several weeks ago. The guy at the gun store owned this 124 that had suddenly stopped shooting, a fault that is common with this model because of a bad formula of synthetic used in the piston seal. You’ll also see it in FWB 150 and 300 rifles, Walther LGV air rifles and probably a lot of other airguns made back in the 1970s. The fix is to install a new seal. You’ve already seen me do this several times in this series, but the one thing I haven’t shown you is what the old seal looks like when it’s broken up inside the gun, and that’s something all airgunners should know.

I originally thought I was going to tune this for the guy at the store, but he wound up selling me the rifle, so I’ll do both a velocity test after the tune and an accuracy test using the curious little Bushnell scope that came on it.

How the new gun differs from the old
Before I tear into the action, let me report on how this later 124 differs from the ones I have already shown you. The Deluxe models weren’t made when this one was built. It’s called a Sport, but it has a checkered grip and sling swivels, two features from the older Deluxe class. Gone, however, is the Wundhammer palm swell, and the cheekpiece that’s on the left of the butt of this later rifle is so small and ill-formed as to make the rifle nearly ambidextrous. With the ambi-style safety and the ease of breakbarrel loading, it should have been an ambi from the start.

Disassembly
When I tore into the gun, I initially wondered if it had ever been apart. The serial number is 42,648, which places the gun very late in the production cycle. So, it could have been a virgin rifle, but it wasn’t. The mainspring was coated with moly grease, a sure sign that someone has been inside, because the factory used only clear grease. From the look of the tune — moly on the mainspring, an FWB mainspring instead of an aftermarket spring, a replacement FWB piston seal (a Beeman trademark, even though they knew about the disintegration problem) and the trigger adjusted very nice — I believe this rifle was last tuned by Beeman. All those characteristics are the ones Beeman would do. As good as they were, even Beeman could not prevent that piston seal from decomposing. And, that’s what I want to show you.


This is what a decomposing FWB seal looks like. The brown particles you see used to be hard, tough synthetic. Now, they’re soft, waxy particles that break apart easily.


In this view, you see hundreds of smaller particles in the tube; and at the bottom (the end farthest from you in this picture), the top of the piston seal has broken off and wedged itself against the end of the compression chamber. The small hole at the lower right inside the compression chamber is the air transfer port. All of this mess must be removed before the rifle can be tuned.


There isn’t much left of the piston seal after it disintegrates. Most has been left inside the compression chamber, but this root has to be cut out of the piston top. Like most of them, this one popped out easily.

I won’t say anymore about disassembly and reassembly except for one thing. Installing the bolt that holds the trigger assembly in the gun is a tricky job. The trigger assembly has the spring guide and is what keeps the whole powerplant together. The bolt is hardened steel, but the trigger housing into which it threads is softer aluminum. You can easily cross-thread the bolt if you aren’t careful. If you do, the trick is to remove the trigger housing from the gun and carefully thread the bolt into the hole, keeping the head aligned straight. It’ll reset the threads in most cases and you’re home free. You can then assemble the gun, and the bolt will not cross-thread anymore. This is the biggest reason you need a mainspring compressor to do this job.


This large bolt with the two flats for gripping is what holds the 124′s powerplant together. It threads into the soft aluminum trigger housing and can easily be cross-threaded. This photo shows an older 124 trigger assembly, not the one from the newer gun I’m testing in this report…which has an aluminum trigger blade.

Many tunes — final satisfaction
I tried several combinations of springs and piston seals until I settled on the Maccari Mongoose spring and seal. At first, the seal was way too tight, as it’s supposed to be, so I sized it by hand-sanding until it had just a little resistance in the compression tube. The spring was lightly lubed with moly grease, and the seal also got a coat of moly before going back into the gun.

Crosman Premier 7.9 lites
The first pellet I tried with the new tune was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain “lites.” They’ll be among the most accurate in this rifle; history has proven many times. They averaged 761 f.p.s., with a spread from 752 to 770 f.p.s. The average velocity produced a muzzle energy of 10.13 foot-pounds. All pellets were tight in the breech

RWS Hobbys
Next, I tried RWS Hobbys, a 7-grain pellet that’s the speed-demon of the lead pellet world. They averaged 821 f.p.s., but a curious thing was happening as I shot them. The velocity kept increasing! Shot one went just 767 f.p.s., but the fastest shot among the 10 I fired went 832 f.p.s. With the average working out to 821, you can see that velocity was climbing all the time. I think this tune will wear in to the point that the Premiers will go about 800 f.p.s., and the Hobbys will get up to 860 or so. At the average velocity, the muzzle energy was 10.48 foot-pounds.

Beeman Silver Jets
The last pellet I tested was the vintage Beeman Silver Jets that are no longer available. They were the No. 1 go-to pellet when the 124 was in its heyday. Back in Part 10 of this report, I tested them against the best of today’s pellets, with the result that they weren’t far from the leaders.

The 8-grain Silver Jets averaged 732 f.p.s., with a range from 721 to 747 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they were generating 9.52 foot-pounds.

Trigger
I mentioned that this rifle has a nice trigger. It’s sort of a single-stage, by which I mean that pressure is there immediately when you begin the pull, and there’s no obvious hesitation. It breaks with only 26 oz. of pressure, and it feels like less than a pound. I have to be very careful, because I’m used to three-to-five-pound triggers on the rifles I shoot the most. This one feels like nothing to me.

Most 124 triggers have more creep in them than this one. When I owned Mrs. Beeman’s personal custom 124, the Queen Bee rifle, I found that the Beeman company could really adjust a 124 trigger very finely. Whenever I feel a good one, I always suspect someone from Beeman has been inside.

Well, that’s it for this test. Next time, I’ll see about sighting-in the rifle with that unusual scope.

A shrine built for a Feinwerkbau 124 – Part 13

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 12
Part 11
Part 10
Part 9
Part 8
Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

The November podcast has been posted.

Before we begin, my buddy, Randy Mitchell, who was also the outlaw, Dakota, from Frontier Village (an amusement park in San Jose, California, from 1961-1980) sent me a photo from over 40 years ago. I was Casey Jones, the engineer who ran the railroad at the Village, and Dakota had put an obstruction across the tracks out in the badlands. When I stopped the train, he jumped me at gunpoint and forced me to clear the rails. Then, he stole my boots and drove the train back to the station himself. How time flies!


Dakota forced me to clear the obstruction, then stole my boots and drove the train back to the station himself. I had to walk back!

Now, on to today’s report. Well, well. How the tide turns when you go to an airgun show! I went to Roanoke hoping to score an FWB 124 to tune and instead I picked up one to tune for somebody else. That’s usually a good thing, because when I tune for other folks I do a better job. I’m like the cobbler whose children are barefoot.

You’ll remember from Friday that this rifle is Mark Taylor’s, and I gave you an idea of how it performed. The cocking was too hard, plus there was a scraping or grinding feel to it. Well, once I got the guts out I found out what that was and why it happened. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first comment I’ll make is that Mark’s rifle hasn’t been apart many times. The mainspring I removed looked like a 124 mainspring, except that it had 39 coils — and a standard spring I have has only 35. So, the spring I removed was much longer than standard. At least I think it’s longer. Heck, it’s been so many years since I tuned a 124 that I doubt I know anything for sure anymore.


Looking through the cocking slot before disassembly, you can see that the mainspring has been coated with moly grease.

The second comment is that Mark’s rifle had the strangest lubrication I’ve ever seen in any spring rifle, and I include my older San Anselmo rifle in that observation. My gun was tuned back in the day when it was standard practice to use an entire jar of Beeman’s moly grease on the mainspring of a 124. When I took that gun apart the first time, I was scraping grease from everywhere! Had I known how full it was, I could have called Mike Rowe and gotten him to put it on his Dirty Jobs TV show.

In contrast, Mark’s rifle was almost dry inside! Only the mainspring was coated with moly, and it looked like a smear of lithium grease might have been applied to one spot on the back of the piston. As a result, the piston was touching the top of the spring tube when the gun was cocked and had galled (made shiny by removing a small amount of metal) a large area that wasn’t too deep. It wasn’t serious, but it also was never going to get any better.


This is how the piston looked immediately after removing it from the gun. There’s no lube on the seal!


This is the back end of the piston, called the skirt. As you can see, it has next to no lubrication.


The scraping, grinding feel came from this area. Those two bright lines are galled metal, where the piston skirt scraped against the inside of the spring tube. The damage is minor and correctible with the proper lubrication.

I discovered this lack of lube when I cleaned the inside of the spring tube. It was practically dry and grease-free in there. If I had tuned it, there would have been a lot of moly burnished into the metal and the cleaning patches would have come out black instead of white.

Using moly grease on the mainspring isn’t the best thing when you want a smooth shot cycle. That’s where Maccari’s Black Tar comes into play. A dry piston isn’t the right thing for this gun, as evidenced by the galled metal. I lubed the front and rear of the heavy 124 piston with moly grease. Gene Salvino, Pyramyd Air’s tech manager, recommends using lithium grease on their piston seal, but I used moly on this one because of the galled metal.

The piston seal that was in the rifle looked to be in fine shape. Since this was supposed to be a test of the new Pyramyd Air seal, I removed it anyway. I’ve never seen another one like it and have no idea where it came from.

I also noted that the baseblock bearings weren’t lubricated with much of anything, which might have added to the cocking effort. Also, the barrel pivot pin was dry. I spread moly grease on both the bearings and the pivot bolt before installing them in the rifle again.

I selected an old Maccari Deluxe tune kit for the rifle. This kit drops in, but is made so perfectly that the mainspring goes on the spring guide like it was nailed on. That’s tuner’s slang for a very tight fit. The spring diameter expands when it’s compressed lengthwise, so the fit isn’t as tight as it seems when you install it. There was also a Delrin spacer for the spring guide that put a little more tension on the spring.


This is how to lubricate a 124 piston correctly. Both the front and rear of the piston can contact the other metal surfaces inside the gun. The center of the piston is smaller and cannot touch anything. Besides this, I also burnished moly inside the spring tube before installing the piston.

All metal-to-metal contact surfaces except for the outside of the mainspring got a coat of moly grease before the gun was assembled. The outside of the mainspring was buttered with Black Tar. Then, the gun was assembled in reverse order from disassembly.


This is how I “buttered” the mainspring with Maccari’s Black Tar mainspring dampening compound.

On to shooting
The proof is in the shooting, and the first time I cocked the assembled rifle it worked as it should, which doesn’t always happen. I noted that the cocking effort didn’t seem to have decreased much, but the cocking cycle was now as smooth as it should be. Then, I shot the rifle.

Wow! What a beautiful tune this is. Not only is all vibration gone, but the forward recoil I had noticed disappeared, as well. The gun just sort of pulses when it’s shot.

I then measured the cocking effort and was stunned to find it had increased a pound to 28 lbs. of effort. Personally, I think it’s too heavy for a 124, but the smooth shot cycle is too nice to ignore. Let’s see what is does over the chronograph.

Crosman Premier lites
The 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers averaged 744 f.p.s. with this tune. The spread ranged from 736 to 750 f.p.s. That’s a little tighter than the original tune, and much smoother. The average muzzle energy was 9.71 foot-pounds.

RWS Hobbys
RWS Hobby pellets averaged 784 f.p.s. The spread went from 776 to 793 f.p.s. Again, a slightly tighter spread than before. The average muzzle energy was 9.56 foot-pounds, and a super-smooth shot cycle.

JSB Exact 8.4 grains
JSB 8.4-grain Exact domed pellets averaged 723 f.p.s., a surprisingly low figure. They ranged from 713 to 730 f.p.s. and produced an average muzzle energy of 9.75 foot-pounds. They shot just as smooth as the other two pellets.

What to do next?
This is a toughie. The rifle is cocking and shooting extremely smooth right now, but the cocking effort is a bit high. Mark, the owner, says he doesn’t mind that, as long as the gun shoots smooth, which it definitely does. I’m at the point of a decision that I’m going to let Mark make. I feel certain that the Black Tar on the mainspring is what’s slowing down the gun just a bit. As tight as the mainspring fits, it probably isn’t necessary. Still, the gun does shoot very smoothly, and almost all of the forward recoil seems to be gone, as well. From a shooting standpoint, this is a fine tune. I’ll let Mark decide.

If he wants more power for the cocking effort, I would remove the Black Tar and lube the mainspring with moly grease. But, if he wants a super smooth shot cycle, we have that right now.

Mark, what would you like me to do?

A shrine built for a Feinwerkbau 124 – Part 12

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 11
Part 10
Part 9
Part 8
Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Before I start today’s report, Joe B. in Marin and Duskwight were really impressed by that air bazooka I showed on the blog for Day 2 of the Roanoke airgun show , so today I included a picture of the ammo. Duskwight — all U.S. bills are the same size, so those projectiles are very large.


Two of the air bazooka projectiles from the Roanoke airgun show dwarf a dollar bill.

Well, this report has taken on a life of its own! I never intended for it to grow this huge, but things just kept popping up and I had to address them. Today was supposed to be my report about tuning my San Anselmo gun once again with the new Pyramyd Air piston seal, but something strange happened at the Roanoke Airgun show to change that.


When Pyramyd Air assumed responsibility for the high-end Beeman airguns, they had this piston seal made for the FWB 124. It’s a 70-durometer material with a good parachute channel. I’ll install it in a 124 and report my findings.

This seal is also available from Pyramyd Air, although I don’t think it’s online yet. They’re using them so fast that they’ll soon make another run of seals.

Mark Taylor, a reporter for the Roanoke Times, wrote a nice piece on the show that Edith sent to me while I was on the road. Mark stopped by my table to introduce himself. As we chatted, he asked me if there were any airgun tuners who could tune his FWB 124 to shoot smooth. Of course, Paul Watts was at the show, but Mark knew that Paul has a long waiting period, and he wanted his gun back as soon as possible.

So, I thought, “Why don’t I tune his rifle?” Then, I won’t have to open up mine one more time. Mark’s rifle has a 38,000 serial number, so the tight compression chamber shouldn’t be quite the problem that it is on mine.

Mark went out to his car and got the rifle for Mac and me to examine. It’s a deluxe model in excellent condition. When we cocked it, we both knew something dreadful was wrong. It cocks much harder than a 124 should, and there’s a grinding feel to the mainspring as it’s compressed. Today, I’ll shoot the gun for a baseline, then in the next report I’ll pull it apart for a look-see and a smooth tune.

From the feel of the cocking effort, I believe someone has tuned this rifle for power and left smoothness to suffer. The chronograph will tell the story, of course. If I’d experienced this 124 as the first 124 I’d ever seen, I would have thought all the wonderful reports about it were lies. The cocking effort is a whopping 27 lbs., which is about right for a Beeman R9 but quite a bit too heavy for a 124.

Mark stressed that all he wanted from his rifle was smooth shooting. Well, the 124 can certainly deliver that in spades, and it doesn’t have to give up much in the way of power to do so! While Mark was at my table, Mac picked up a 124 from a table nearby and showed Mark what the gun should feel like. The difference was night and day.

The rifle test
This rifle cocks with a gritty, rubbing feel. Through the cocking slot, I can see what appears to be moly on the spring, so the gun has definitely been opened up at some time. I wonder what I’ll find inside?

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets
The standard test pellet is a Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domed pellet, because it’s the one more shooters choose for their accurate airguns. Mark’s 124 was shooting this pellet at an average of 761 f.p.s. as it was tuned. The spread went from a low of 752 f.p.s. to a high of 770. That’s an 18 f.p.s. total spread, which isn’t too bad. The average muzzle energy is 10.16 foot-pounds

RWS Hobbys
The next pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby. At 7 grains, it’s among the lightest of the pure lead pellets. Hobbys averaged 808 f.p.s., with a spread from 798 to a high of 819 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy for this pellet is 10.15 foot-pounds

JSB Exact 8.4-grain pellets
For some reason, JSB Exact domes weighing 8.4 grains were the most powerful of all. They averaged 764 f.p.s. with a spread from 757 to 777 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy is 10.89 foot-pounds.

While I shot the rifle over the chronograph, I felt the harshness of the powerplant. The vibration was quick and powerful, and the forward lunge of the rifle that’s a trademark of the 124 was quite noticeable. I won’t be able to cancel that out, but I should be able to get rid of all the vibration and the scraping feeling when cocking.

Now that I have a baseline of performance, I can pull this rifle apart and see what’s inside. It’ll be a pleasure to tune this rifle sweet for Mark so he can feel how a 124 is supposed to behave. That’ll be in the next report.

A shrine built for a Feinwerkbau 124 – Part 11

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 10
Part 9
Part 8
Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Well, here is our old friend, the San Anselmo Beeman 124, again. Today, I’ll address the scope problems I was having the last time I tested the rifle for accuracy.

You may recall that I suggested that the front and rear rings be swapped to see if that would alter the amount of down angle the rifle appears to have. One reader was appalled that anything manufactured could be that far off from true, but believe me, it doesn’t take much. I’ve seen this trick work many times in the past. However, I failed to mention that three inches is a bit excessive to try to correct this way. This trick is more for those who optically center their scope and have a half-inch problem at the first point of intersection.

However, I did remove the rings and swap the front for the rear. Because these are two-piece rings I could also turn one ring at a time, giving me six different permutations of the setup, I believe. But three inches of change is so major that if it doesn’t come by swapping positions, you might as well look elsewhere.

Well, I was right. Swapping the rings did make a big difference. Only the difference went the wrong way. Now the pellet was striking the target four inches below the aim point, using the exact same scope with no adjustments. So, this set of rings was history. No amount of shimming would ever be able to make up an angular difference that large.

However, I had an ace up my sleeve. I’d visited the AirForce factory and asked to borrow a BKL drooper scope mount, and they happily complied. So, now I had the BKL 260 with .007 drop compensation to try out. This is a one-piece mount and it comes with simple instructions for which way to mount it. However, I did encounter a problem. This BKL mount is too low to allow the 50mm scope I had been using to clear the 124 spring tube. And you’ll recall that I have to use a BKL mount because of the 124′s non-standard scope stop system. I have mounts that will work with it, but you can’t buy them, so I’m not testing them here.

The solution was to use another scope, and all I was trying to do was ascertain that there was a scope mount and ring set in the world for this rifle — a vintage 124 with a large barrel droop. So, I picked a BSA 3-9×32 scope that didn’t have parallax adjustment. As a result, I had to run it at five power or the target was too blurry to see well.


The BSA scope fits well in the BKL drooper mount. I could have gotten away with a 40mm objective, if I’d wanted.

Even with all that disadvantage against me, I proved the concept. The 124 and this new scope adjusted on target perfectly with no problem of adjusting the elevation knob too high.

So, I shot one group of 10 Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets and then another. Sure enough, the problem has been solved.


Good group, properly centered and 10 tight shots at 25 yards with Crosman Premier lites.

I’m removing the scope from the gun, because the only reason I scoped it in the first place was to conduct the Silver Jets accuracy test. That’s over now, so the 124 can go back into its sarcophagus, except for one more tuneup that will employ the newest Pyramyd Air 124 piston seal.

A shrine built for a Feinwerkbau 124 – Part 10

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 9
Part 8
Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Well, I’ve finally healed enough to cock the FWB 124 breakbarrel, so today I’ll test the rifle at 25 yards with the best modern pellets against the Beeman Silver Jets. If you recall, that premise is what started this entire report so very long ago.

Today is going to show some wonderful things, and we’re going to prosper from this experience far beyond the 124 and into the world of modern pellet rifles and scopes. So, sit back and let it come to you!

I scoped the 124 with a Leapers 3-9×50 scope sitting in BKL two-piece mounts. In retrospect, boy am I glad I used the two-piece rings because of what ultimately happened.

As you recall, the last time I tested this rifle was with six modern pellets and Beeman Silver Jets left over from the 1990s. All the pellets did well, but I selected three to compete at 25 yards. So, let’s test the gun.

Sight-in revealed a gun that both buzzed when shot and also one that shot very low. The buzzing will have to be corrected because I want a super-smooth rifle. The low grouping doesn’t phase me one bit, except that I can use it to illustrate a concept that I get asked about several times a month. That concept is either scope shift or an inaccurate spring gun.

I also seasoned the bore with three shots before recording any groups. That may or may not be enough, but that’s what I did. The theory on this is that each new pellet needs several shots before it begins to perform its best. I don’t know whether I believe it or not, but it’s all the rage right now, so I did it.

Beeman Kodiaks
The first pellets I tested were Beeman Kodiaks. Veteran airgunners will remember the Kodiak as a 10.6-grain pellet, but blog reader CJr discovered in May that they’re not really that heavy. Edith has updated the description on the website to reflect the 10.2 grains they actually weigh. Apparently, this is going to be the weight of that pellet.

I was disappointed with the performance of Kodiaks at 25 yards out of the 124, because they gave me a group that was strung out vertically. I dialed the scope 10 clicks down and continued to shoot a different pellet. However, the vertical stringing was a clue about something that was happening…and happening real bad. The reason I dialed the elevation down 10 clicks was to tighten the spring of the erector tube inside the scope to keep it from floating. Vertical stringing is a sign that a scope has been adjusted too high. You’ll remember how the erector tube is supported by a spring from the scope report I did last week.


This vertical string of 10 Kodiaks tells me the erector tube is floating.

Air Arms Falcon
The next pellet I tried was the one that had performed the best at 10 meters — the Air Arms Falcons. I grouped pretty good at 25 yards, but not as good as the R8 did last month. I’ll never forget that rifle’s performance, and I don’t see why this 124 shouldn’t be just as accurate. So, I cranked in 10 more clicks of down into the scope.


The first groups of Air Arms falcon pellets is still open. More verticality says we haven’t solved the problem yet.

The next group was superb, but it had one teaser flyer that opened it to a half-inch. And that flyer was also vertical, so I cranked in another 10 clicks of down.


Things are getting much better with the second bunch of Falcon pellets after another 10 clicks down, but that flyer is still vertical above the main group.

As you can see, the pellets are still landing in a vertical string. Once more, I cranked in 10 down clicks. At this point, we are 40 clicks down from where we started.

Air Arms 8.4 domes
The next pellet I tried were the Air Arms domes that weigh 8.4 grains. Although there’s a trace of verticality to the group they made, the group is starting to look much rounder, which is what I’m after.


The bunch of 10 Air Arms domes is a pretty round group. It’s the second-best group of this test.

I actually shot several groups with the 8.4 domes, and they all turned out round like I wanted. Plus, they gave me the second-best group I got during this test.

With this success under my belt, I tried another 10 Kodiaks and got a rounder group than before, but also one that was too large for any further testing. Clearly, Kodiaks are not the pellet for this rifle.

Beeman Silver Jets
It was now time to try the Silver Jets, so I seasoned the bore and shot two groups of almost identical size. They were smaller than the Kodiaks but were not as small as the Air Arms domes or the Falcons. So, I reckoned there was but one more thing to try.


These ten Beeman Silver Jets went pretty tight but not as tight as several other pellets.

Crosman Premier lites
I had mentioned during the 10-meter test that I didn’t select Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domes to test because I simply didn’t. Several of you commented that the Premier lites were the most accurate in your 124 rifles, so I thought I’d include them in this test as a last-minute write in. I’m glad I did, because they turned in the best group of the day.


Ten Premier lites made the best target of this test. Whoda thunk it? I should have tested them at 10 meters.

This test was not complete because I did not return and retest all pellets after discovering that the scope had been a problem in the beginning. I didn’t because I was bursting with something else to tell you — namely how a scope that’s improperly adjusted can ruin your day. I hope you have seen that in the groups I’ve shown here today. But we’re not done!

Fix it, please
I get requests all the time from readers who have similar problems after they’ve mounted a scope. They have huge vertical groups and don’t understand why. I explained why last week in the scope report, so go back and reread that report to better understand.

The problem isn’t the scope, but rather how it’s being adjusted. And that was proven as I applied more and more clicks of down adjustment until the tension on the erector tube stopped the tube from floating. Only now, I gotta fix it. And that’s why I’m so happy that I used two-piece scope mounts. You can always turn one-piece mounts around to try to fix a problem like this, and that will probably work, but with two-piece mounts you can also turn each piece separately from the other, which gives you two more adjustments you can make.

I’m going to remount this scope to see if I can get it to stop shooting three inches low at 25 yards without resorting to the vertical adjustment that we now know will not work. Then, I’ll shoot some more at 25 yards to show the difference. And even that’s not the end of it.

While talking with Gene Salvino, the technical manager at Pyramyd Air, I discovered that Pyramyd Air has had the FWB 124 piston seal reproduced. He said that when they took over the high-end Beeman guns for support, they had to start fixing everything that came in, and of course the 124 will be one of those. Gene sent me one of the seals. So, by golly, you know that I’m going to install it in the rifle for a test. And, I’ll have a test for you to see how it performs.

Then, one of our readers told me about a place that machines the compression chamber to have parallel walls instead of the tapered walls it has in the earlier guns like mine. That will open up the power potential of the gun. Right now, I am debating whether or not to have this work done to this early San Anselmo gun. I certainly don’t need the power, nor do I even care to have it, but it might be nice to see a before and after of a job like this. We’re going to have fun with this 124 for some time to come.

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