Posts Tagged ‘H&N Baracuda Green pellets’

Hatsan AT44-10 Long QE: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Hatsan AT44S-10 Long QE
Hatsan’s AT44S-10 Long QE is packed with features for airgun hunters.

This report covers:

• Inconsistent shots?
• Most accurate pellet?
• 100 yards means scope adjustments
• JSB Exact Jumbo heavy pellets
• Crosman Premier pellets
• H&N Baracuda Green pellets
• Gamo Hunter pellets
• Call it a day
• Conclusions
• Pyramyd Air sale

Today is a test of the Hatsan AT44-10 Long QE at 100 yards. I don’t do this very often for many reasons; but when I find a PCP that’s exceptionally accurate at 50 yards, I feel it’s worth testing at the greater distance. It takes a perfect day for this test because any wind will push the pellet around. We don’t get many windless days here in Texas, but this past Wednesday was one of them. It was so calm that dandelion fuzz would fall straight down.

You also know from reading this blog that groups do not always open in linear fashion as the distance increases. A rifle that shoots a half-inch group at 50 yards will not automatically shoot one-inch groups at 100 yards — even though the day is perfect.

Inconsistent shots?
While testing this rifle, I’d seen that the first 10 shots could be less accurate than the second 10. They sometimes contained fliers that didn’t seem to exist in the second group. Yesterday, blog reader Jerry in Texas asked me why one shot out of 10 from his Benjamin Marauder was dropping in velocity by over 250 f.p.s. I told him I thought some PCP guns do that in certain places in the power curve. I saw evidence of that on the 50-yard range and again at 100 yards, as I’ll show you.

Most accurate pellet?
I also hedged my bets by taking several pellets to the range that hadn’t been tested in this rifle before. I was getting such great performance at 50 yards from one pellet in particular — the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy — that I sort of stopped testing other pellets. That’s not very scientific of me, though it’s very much in keeping with being a gun crank. So, I took some other pellets along and gave them a try at 100 yards — even though they’d not been tried by me before in this rifle.

100 yards means scope adjustments
I knew the pellet would drop a lot going from 50 yards to where the rifle was sighted to 100 yards. I guesstimated the drop would be at least 12 inches, which would be 48 clicks on the quarter-minute elevation knob to bring things back up. But when I adjusted the scope, I stopped at 40 clicks because you never know if the clicks are exactly quarter-minute or if that’s just an approximation. As it turned out, both my guesstimate and the adjustments were close to correct, and I had to adjust the scope another 16 clicks up to get close to the point of aim.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets
The first pellet up was the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jubo Heavy that had given me a group of 10 in 0.522 inches at 50 yards. If any pellet was going to excel in this rifle at 100 yards, I felt this one had the best chance. Alas — the best-laid plans….

The best I was able to do with this pellet was 10 in about 3 inches. I shot the same pellet in both the first 10 shots and the second 10 shots per fill with pretty much similar results, except there was a flier in the first group. I’m not going to show you those groups because they don’t help the report and also because the first group fell below the target paper and hit the 2×4 backer paper I always use when I’m not sure where the pellets are going.

At this point, I decided to punt — as in testing something I hadn’t tried before. One reader had recommended trying the 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbo pellets, and I thought it was a good choice. It happens to be one of my favorite .22-caliber pellets, and I normally would have tested it at 50 yards; but when the heavier JSB did so well, I decided to just shoot it to the exclusion of all others.

I refilled the rifle with air and loaded 10 JSB Exact Jumbos into the circular clip. The first group was very telling. Nine out of 10 pellets landed in a 1.668-inch group, but the first shot hit about 4 inches above the top of this main group. Remember what I said about inconsistencies in the first 10 shots after a fill?

Hatsan AT44S-10 Long QE JSB Exact group 1 100 yards
Nine of the 10 JSB Exact pellets landed in this 1.688-inch group at 100 yards. The first shot was 4 inches higher. This is a very good group for any pellet rifle at 100 yards.

After that group, I refilled the clip and shot a second group with the same pellet. This time, all 10 went into 2.385 inches. I know that doesn’t sound very good, but I ask you to reserve your comments until you have shot some 10-shot groups of pellets at 100 yards. It isn’t easy! And guns that group in a half-inch at 50 yards do not necessarily group in one inch at 100 yards.

Look at the shapes of these holes. Many are oval in shape, which indicates they didn’t go through the paper straight-on.

Hatsan AT44S-10 Long QE JSB Exact group 2 100 yards
Here are 10 of the same JSB pellets in a 2.358-inch group. These oval holes show some evidence of a tilt on axis.

Crosman Premier pellets
One of the most accurate .22-caliber pellets is the domed Crosman Premier that comes in the brown cardboard box. Sometimes, they’re the most accurate, and other times they’re among the top 3. But in PCPs they don’t do as well — especially when the PCP is more powerful such as this Hatsan. And this was no exception to that rule, as Premiers couldn’t stay inside 6 inches at 100 yards. I didn’t even complete a group with them after seeing the first few shots land so far apart.

I’d planned on trying Eun Jin pellets, as well; but when I started loading them, I discovered that the tin I picked up were .25-caliber pellets.

H&N Baracuda Green pellets
The next pellet I tested was the H&N Baracuda Green. While lead-free pellets are not that accurate as a general rule, Baracuda Greens are an exception. In the Hatsan, they managed to put 10 shots into 5.25 inches, with 9 of those shots in 2.988 inches. That’s pretty good for lead-free pellets; and, yes, this was the first group of 10 after a fill.

Gamo Hunter pellets
The last pellet I tried was the Gamo Hunter. While I have very little experience with this pellet, I do recall it working well in one spring rifle years ago. But it was not suited to the Hatsan AT44. I didn’t see where the first Hunter struck the target; but I saw the second pellet’s flight through the scope, and it was a wild spiral curve to the right that landed a foot off the target! Clearly this rifle is not suited to shoot Gamo Hunters.

Call it a day
After this last attempt, I decided to call it a day. The shooting had worn me out by this time. I think it’s clear that of the pellets I’ve tested so far, the JSB Exact 15.89-grain Jumbo is the best. Out to 50 yards it may do no better than the heavier 18.1-grain JSB Jumbo Heavy, but something about this lighter pellet carries it to 100 yards in better form.

I believe the Hatsan AT44-10 Long QE is one of the finest PCP rifles on the market at any price. It has power, accuracy, a great trigger and very quiet operation –all for a wonderful price. If you’re in the market for a good PCP, I would put this one on your short list.

Pyramyd Air sale
Pyramyd Air is having a “Christmas in July” sale. If you’re planning to make a purchase, click here to visit their sale pages.

Chinese KL-3B Fast Deer sidelever: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle right
The Chinese Fast Deer sidelever air rifle is attractive. Does its performance live up to its looks?

It’s been a long time since we looked at the Fast Deer sidelever. The last report was in December of last year! At that time, I was unsatisfied with the results of the 25-yard targets because of how well the rifle seemed to do at 10 meters. I said we might come back to it, but the gun got put on the back burner to simmer while I did other things.

It was those other things that bring you today’s report, and surely the ones that must follow. I’ve spent a lot of time this year exploring the fundamentals of airgun accuracy. Of course, I’ve barely scratched the surface, but some of the things that have popped up have been surprisingly helpful in ways I couldn’t imagine when they happened. One of them was the test of the Diana model 25 smoothbore that we finished way back in March of this year. In Part 4 of that test, I saw that while the smoothbore was very accurate at 10 meters, it was pretty bad at 25 yards. From those results, I deduced that spin is important to stabilizing a pellet over longer distances, while the high drag of the diabolo pellet is sufficient for accuracy at close range.

It wasn’t until I wrote a column about the Fast Deer for Shotgun News this month that I noticed the Fast Deer’s 25-yard targets resembled those of the Diana 25 smoothbore more than a little. The Fast Deer was also accurate at 10 meters but not at 25 yards. So, here was a rifled bore that performed like a smoothbore. Could we learn something from this? Is the Fast Deer capable of better accuracy than we saw in Part 4?

I was so impressed by these results that I wrote a special report titled Advanced airgun diagnostics: Part 1, in which I showed you the comparison between the 2 airguns. Yesterday I tested the Fast Deer again at 25 yards, but this time I did so believing that it was the fault of the pellet that made the groups so large. Turns out I was only partly correct, and therein lies the meat of today’s report.

The test
I had one pellet that fit the Fast Deer’s bore well…both the skirt and the head. It’s a Tech Force domed pellet that Pyramyd Air used to sell but no longer does. That makes it a Chinese pellet, and I’ve seen only one other Chinese pellet that was worth a darn. That one was a hand-sorted wadcutter that I used to compete with in 10-meter pistol.

Fast Deer Chinese pellet
These Tech Force domed pellets are larger than most. They fit the bore of the Fast Deer rifle well.

The subject pellet fits the bore well, but not tight. Many other pellets just fall out of the breech, indicating a too-large bore, which is characteristic of Chinese air rifle barrels. I knew from the last test that the rifle was at least on paper at 25 yards, so I set up at 25 yards indoors and commenced firing. The first 10 pellets all landed to the right of the aim point, but they were all on paper, so I finished the first 10-shot group with the sights set where they were. This group measures 1.428 inches between centers. That’s not great, BUT — it’s actually smaller than the best group I had fired in the entire last report! In that session, the best group was shot with Air Arms Falcon pellets, so I knew I had to try them again for comparison; for now, I stayed with these Chinese domes.

Fast Deer Chinese pellet target 1
Ten pellets made this first 1.428-inch group. It may not look good, but this is the best 25-yard group this rifle has made so far.

After the first group was completed I adjusted the rear sight to the left. You may remember that I had flipped the sight backwards in response to a suggestion blog reader Vince gave me. That gives a sharper rear notch when aiming, and any little thing like that will help. So, all adjustment had to be done backwards; but since this sight has a very visible index mark to watch, the adjustment was no problem.

As I adjusted the sight, I also discovered that the entire unit is loose. It’s mounted on the gun securely enough, but the very construction of the sight itself is a sheetmetal tangle of parts that will always be loose and subject to movement.

Fast Deer rear sight
The rear sight is clearly marked and easy to adjust, but it’s always going to be loose because of how it’s made.

I decided that I had to push the sight to the left before every shot. That would hopefully return it to the same place every time, giving me the best chance to get good results from it despite its looseness. Then, I shot the next group with more Chinese domes. I forgot to move the sight for 2 of the 10 shots. Nevertheless, this group measures 1.328 inches between centers, which is a significant improvement.

Fast Deer Chinese pellet target 2
Ten shots went into 1.328 inches at 25 yards. I never thought I’d be happy with a group like this, but I am! It’s interesting that perhaps 6 of the pellets in this group went into a much smaller cluster near the center of the main group.

After this target, I adjusted the rear sight once more and then shot a third 10-shot group with the Chinese pellets. I only forgot to push the sight once this time, on shot 9. The group measures 1.597 inches between centers, which is the largest group shot this day with this pellet. Perhaps I was tiring?

Fast Deer Chinese pellet target 3
Ten shots went into 1.597 inches at 25 yards. I never thought I would be happy with a group like this, but I am! While it’s tempting to think that the shot on the left was the one that I didn’t push the rear sight for, I cannot say that for certain.

Falcon pellets
It was time to try the Falcon pellets again. In the last test, 10 Falcons made a group that measured 1.497 inches between centers at 25 yards. This time, 10 went into 1.783 inches. Obviously that’s a lot larger; but if you examine the group, you’ll see that 7 of the pellets went into just 0.692 inches. Taking that and the other group-within-a-group that I shot with the Chinese domes, I came to the conclusion that this Fast Deer may really be accurate but is being hindered by its open sights. The next test of this rifle must therefore have a scope mounted.

Fast Deer Falcon pellet target
Ten shots went into 1.783 inches at 25 yards. While that isn’t very good, look what 7 of those shots did! That’s a 0.692-inch group.

I do not like testing airguns that have been given every chance and still haven’t performed. Every once in awhile, something anomalous like this Fast Deer jumps out at me and needs to be investigated further. If it hadn’t been for my going over the results of this rifle so close to the time I reported similar results from the Diana 25 smoothbore, I might never have given this rifle its second chance today. Now, we’ll all get to see if that was worth it.

I admitted up front that this test demonstrated that the pellet was only part of the reason the Fast Deer has been inaccurate at 25 yards. From today’s test, we might conclude that the poor rear sight that moves is also affecting the outcome. In the next test, I need to make sure that the scope is locked down solid, so the rifle is free to be as good as it can be.

Chinese KL-3B Fast Deer sidelever: Part 4


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

Announcement: Bill Cardill is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their airgun facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card. Congratulations!

Big Shot of the Week

Bill Cardill is the Big Shot of the Week on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.
This same scenario will be repeated in countless homes this coming Christmas!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle right
The Chinese Fast Deer sidelever air rifle is attractive. Does its performance live up to its looks?

This is a fourth look at the intriguing KL-3B Fast Deer sidelever from China. We saw some pretty good 10-meter results in Part 3, and I said I’d be back to expand on that. I didn’t mention a scope was coming in part 4, but that’s what I had in mind. However, when it came time to shoot the gun, I decided to see how well I could do with the same open sights I used last time.

Today, I backed up to 25 yards which always reveals things that were perhaps masked when I shot at 10 meters. Twenty-five yards is a middle distance for a spring gun — at least for one in this power range — and you can count on the shots opening up.

The first thing I noticed right away was that heavy trigger! I’d forgotten about it. I don’t think it disturbed my accuracy, since I shot from a rest, but neither did it enhance my shooting.

The second thing I noticed was the size of the rifle’s breech. Three times in 55 shots the pellet fell out, and I didn’t notice it. The result was always a surprising detonation, and once I found a squashed pellet still in the receiver, where the sliding compression chamber had flattened it.

Other than those two distractions, the Fast Deer is a nice rifle. The stock is the right length and size, and everything fits me quite well. If I could mount a peep sight on the gun, I think it would be just about perfect. In fact, I’m going to look into the possibility of doing just that!

RWS Hobbys
The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby that did so well at 10 meters. After confirming they were still on target at 25 yards with the same sight setting as 10 meters, I stopped looking through the spotting scope and just shot the group. But Hobbys didn’t do so well at 25 yards. Ten of them made a group that measures 1.918 inches between centers. As you can see, the shots are scattered and show no tendency to go anywhere, in particular. I noted that Hobbys were loose in the breech. Also, the Hobby is a wadcutter pellet, and wadcutter accuracy usually starts falling off around 25 yards.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle Hobby group
Ten RWS Hobbys made this 1.918-inch group at 25 yards.

Baracuda Green
The next pellet I tried was that remarkable lead-free dome, the H&N Baracuda Green. They’ve surprised me on more than one occasion, and they looked good at 10 meters in the Fast Deer. At 25 yards, they were a little better than the Hobbys, but not that much better. Ten of them made a group that measures 1.815 inches between centers. The Baracuda Greens fit the breech rather well.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle Baracuda Green group
H&N Baracuda Greens were slightly better than Hobbys, but not much. Ten went into 1.815 inches.

JSB Exact RS
I tried JSB Exact RS pellets next, and I got an interesting result. First of all, this was one of the pellets that fell out of the breech. When I tried to compensate for the lost rounds, I shot 11 rounds instead of 10. The entire group was large, at 1.918 inches between centers. Before you comment, I’m aware that’s exactly the same as the RWS Hobby group, but please remember that there’s always a built-in margin of error when measuring these groups. So, they probably aren’t exactly the same size — that’s just how it looked to me.

The interesting result was that 6 of the 11 shots were in a smaller group that measures 0.475 inches between centers. That hints that this pellet might actually be the best one for this rifle, though the overall group doesn’t show it.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle JSB Exact RS group
This group of 11 JSB Exact RS pellets is large, at 1.918 inches between centers; but within it, 6 pellets are grouped in just 0.475 inches.

Beeman Kodiak
Next I tried the heavyweight Beeman Kodiak pellet. Although many would not try it in a rifle as low-powered as the Fast Deer, I’ve often found that Kodiaks are some of the most accurate pellets in lower-powered spring guns. Not this time, however. Ten went into a group that measures 2.134 inches between centers. That was the largest group of the test.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle Beeman Kodiak group
Beeman Kodiaks didn’t do so well in the Fast Deer. Ten went into 2.134 inches — the only pellet to go over the two-inch group size.

Air Arms Falcon
The final pellet I tried was the Air Arms Falcon. These are made by JSB; and, often, if other JSB pellets do well, these will, too. Ten Falcons made a group that measures 1.497 inches between centers. It’s the smallest group of the test, though it doesn’t have the same tantalizing group-within-a-group that the JSB Exact RS pellets had.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle Air Arms Falcon group
Air Arms Falcons made the smallest group of the test, with 10 going into 1.497 inches at 25 yards. They also hold some promise for greater accuracy if the sighting was more precise.

Overall evaluation
I don’t think we’ve seen the full potential of the Fast Deer, yet. The groups from the JSB Exact RS and Air Arms Falcons seem to promise a higher lever of accuracy if things were somehow different. I’m going to think about that for a while and see what I can do about it. Yes, I think there will be a Part 5 of this report at some point.

One thing is very interesting and that is what the 25-yard shooting and 10-shot groups have taught us about this rifle. Some things to think about in the future are better sighting possibilities and perhaps expanding the skirts of the two most accurate pellets — to see if that has any bearing on the outcome.

Chinese KL-3B Fast Deer sidelever: Part 3

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

Announcement: Kyle MacLeod is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their airgun facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card. Congratulations!

Pyramyd Air Big Shot of the Week

Kyle MacLeod is this week’s Big Shot of the Week on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.

Part 1
Part 2

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle right
The Chinese Fast Deer sidelever air rifle is attractive. Does its performance live up to its looks?

Today will be both a report on the Fast Deer and a rant. The report comes first.

This is accuracy day. Since the Fast Deer has open sights, I thought 10 meters would be a good test distance. You may remember that in Part 2 I told you that I turned the rear sight around to get longer eye relief. Well, that really paid off big time in this test. I found the rear notch to be sharp and well-defined, making alignment of the front and rear sights easy. Blog reader Matt61 asked why good eye relief is necessary for an open-sighted rifle. It’s because you must align the front and rear sights with each other and with the target. If you shoot with a peep sight, no front and rear sight alignment is required — just look through the rear hole and align the front sight with the target. The peep sight is more like a scope in that respect, while the open-sighted (notch and post) sight requires good eyesight for the alignment of the two sight elements.

I started with 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lites. They fit the breech on the loose side but good enough to shoot. The first shot was high and wide to the right, so I adjusted the rear sight down and also to the right. Because it’s turned around, I have to adjust to the right to make it go to the left. And you always want to adjust the rear sight in the same direction that you’re trying to move the pellet.

The group of 10 shot with Premiers was average. It measures 0.756 inches between centers of the two widest shots. That’s not wonderful for 10 meters, but it’s a start.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle rPremier lite group

Ten Premier lites made this 0.756-inch group at 10 meters. Although it does have a large group of 6 or 7 at the right, it’s a little too open for my tastes.

Next, I tried H&N Match Pistol pellets. During the velocity test, I found them to be very consistent in this rifle. I also said this pellet seemed to fit the breech well; but as I loaded them for the accuracy test, I felt they were still somewhat loose. But look at what they did on target! I did adjust the sights after the Premiers, but I didn’t check where it got me — I just shot 10 of these target pellets and let them land where they would. I didn’t even look at the target through the spotting scope until all 10 had been fired, and in retrospect that was a good decision. I could see the dark hole growing in the center of the bull from where I sat, but I didn’t know if there were any pellets outside the main group. This 10-shot group measures 0.48 inches between centers and is centered in the bull.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle H&N Match Pistol target

Now, this is what I was hoping for! Ten H&N Pistol Match pellets went into 0.48 inches.

Next, I tried RWS Hobbys. They seemed to fit the breech very well and just look at the group they gave. The sights were not adjusted after shooting the H&N Match Pistol pellets but notice that the point of impact shifted slightly to the right. Ten of these pellets gave a super-tight 0.38-inch group at 10 meters. That was the best overall group of the test.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle RWS Hobby group

It just gets better. Ten Hobbys went into 0.38 inches.

The last pellet I tried was our new friend, the H&N Baracuda Green that has done so well in recent tests with other air rifles. I did so for two reasons. First, the weight of this pellet, at 6.5 grains, is light enough to be effective in the Fast Deer. And second, because I wanted to see one domed pellet do well in the rifle and because I may want to shoot it at 25 yards. At that distance, the will start to fight me on accuracy.

This pellet did well, but it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. And there was a problem. I was shooting the lower right bullseye with this pellet, and a piece of Scotch tape I used to hold the target tight to its backer was reflecting brightly. Was that causing aiming errors? I can’t say for sure, but I can say that this one target was harder to aim at than all the others because of that reflection.

Baracuda Greens gave me a 10-shot group that measures 0.902-inches between centers. In the center of the group, though, as seven shots in just 0.353-inches. So maybe this is a great pellet and maybe it isn’t. But I think I know a way to find out.

Fast Deer sidelever air rifle H&N Baracuda Green group

Not the best group, but does it contain the best pellet? The Baracuda Green was hampered by aiming difficulties. Would that have made a difference?

The Fast Deer has earned a Part 4 accuracy test with a scope. I find the heavy trigger is not as much of a problem as I thought it would be. And I really want to see how those Baracuda Greens do when I can aim precisely. So, there’s at least one more report coming on this unique Chinese sidelever.

On to the rant
Why can’t airgun manufacturers recognize that spring guns running at this power level (650-700 f.p.s.) are more accurate and have the least problems with hold? That was what gave me the idea to develop the rifle that became the Air Venturi Bronco — because I couldn’t find enough good, accurate airguns that aren’t Olympic-grade target rifles or top-end PCPs.

Everyone seems to think the market will not support a 700 f.p.s. spring rifle that also has great accuracy. They all point to the Beeman R7 and say that it isn’t selling that well. But the R7′s price has left three-quarters of the market behind. To succeed, a rifle needs to cost under $200, like so many of the mega-magnums now do.

No — airguns have to hit the magic 1,000 f.p.s., and the faster you go the better! I appreciate that new buyers are swayed by velocity, and so are some who should know better; but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for a few super-accurate guns that don’t take 50 lbs. to cock. And just so people in all the marketing departments around the world get my meaning: by “a few,” I mean a few tens of thousands per year.

The current horsepower race in airguns reminds me of the muscle car days of the 1960s. Sure, everyone wanted power and speed, but Detroit completely ignored that segment of the population that just wanted reliable transportation. Even after Volkswagen poked a finger in their eye, the fat cats in Motor City thought it was just a blip on the radar that would eventually go away.

Well, it wasn’t a blip, and it was Detroit that went away, instead, when the Japanese snuck quietly into the American car market with their little cars that were what the majority of buyers really wanted. Call them names if you must — we certainly did back in the late ’60s — but acknowledge that they took over the world of automobiles from the Big Three.

People will tell you that it was the gas crisis of 1973 that boosted Japan to the top. Well, I was there and that wasn’t it at all. The Japanese were already entrenched when the gas crisis hit. Sure, it put them over the top, but they were already poised to win before the gas stopped flowing.

The same thing exists right now with spring-piston airguns. Everyone, and I mean every single company who builds or imports spring-piston airguns today, will tell you that a gun HAS to go a thousand feet per second or they can’t sell it. That is the kind of reasoning that drives people like me to the Diana 27 air rifles and Hakims of the world. And I shoot airguns all the time. The folks in the airgun marketing departments play golf and fish and have lives outside of the airgun realm. To them, this is just a job — a paycheck.

Well, I see ways of making that paycheck bigger and fatter than ever, and nobody’s paying attention The Bronco is just one such gun. This industry is starved for more like it. But until we learn the hard way that monster vibration machines are not what the world needs more of, the status quo will remain.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Cometa Indian spring-pistin air pistol right
The Cometa Indian spring-powered air pistol is a powerful, big airgun.

Today, I’m testing the accuracy of the Cometa Indian air pistol. There’s been a lot of interest in this pistol, partly because it isn’t familiar to many of you — but mostly because of the power, the easy cocking and the value it represents.

I tested the pistol at 10 meters, using 10-meter pistol targets and a rested hold. For most of the shooting, my hands were forward of the bag, but I did do one experiment where I rested the pistol directly on the bag — and that I’ll address later.

This is a different air pistol
Before I start telling you about the results, I’d like to describe some things about this pistol that are different. For starters, the loading process is a bit fiddly, and I never quite got used to it. You have to put a pellet in the trough behind the breech, and I dropped more than a few of them during the 90-shot session. The rest of the cocking and loading process is learned very quickly.

The sights are different. The front sight is too tall for a 10-meter zero on a bullseye target — assuming a 6 o’clock hold that’s pretty standard. You’ll notice that all my shots are below the bull and there’s no elevation adjustment. I do like the image of the sharp front post against the rear notch, except for the top of the rear sight, which is angled up toward the center of the notch. That shape made it difficult to estimate where the top of the rear sight was when I shot, and I’m sure some of the openness of the groups was due to that. You’ll notice that they tend to be taller than they’re wide. If I owned this pistol, I would file the rear sight flat across the top and take the front post down a bit to bring the groups up.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol rear sight
The tapered shape of the rear sight makes it very difficult to determine where the top is located when sighting. If this were my gun, I’d file it flat.

The trigger-pull does you no favors when shooting targets. The single-stage pull is too long and hard for the best results. I would so much prefer a crisp two-stage pull with a glass-rod release. That means the sear releases suddenly, like the breaking of a glass rod under pressure.

The pistol twists to the right when it fires. At first I thought it was just me, but then I watched it and the pistol is torquing at the moment of firing. I chalk that up to the centerline of the piston being so far above the web of your hand holding the grip. The Mars pistol (a semiautomatic firearm from the early 20th century) had the same problem, as did the broomhandle Mauser pistol.

I’m not saying that any of these aspects of the gun’s performance is a deal-breaker, but a buyer should know they are there. All air pistols have their little quirks. This was just the first time I’d noticed these.

I shot over 90 rounds with six different pellets in this test. I did so because the Indian was a new design to me, and I wanted to get to know it better. I’d tested the gun for The Airgun Letter years ago, but I don’t remember a thing from that test.

In the entire test, there was only one pellet that I would call bad in this pistol. Our friend the H&N Baracuda Green refused to shoot well for me, giving a 10-shot group that measures 2.46 inches between centers.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol HN Baracuda Green target
H&N Baracuda Greens were the worst pellet in the test. Ten shots in 2.46 inches between centers. Notice the group is more vertical than horizontal — supporting the rear-sight comment.

RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets and RWS Hobby pellets turned out a couple of so-so groups that were right around two inches. I can’t swear that I wouldn’t do better if I shot either of these two pellets again; but I was so interested in finding a good pellet, that I didn’t spend the time to find out. Please bear in mind that it only takes a couple sentences to describe a 10-shot group, but it can take over 10 minutes to actually shoot one!

Getting better
The H&N Baracuda Match was next. While there was a lone shot that opened the group to 2.021 inches, 9 of the shots landed in 1.343binches. I think the smaller group is more typical of the accuracy we can expect from this pellet in the Indian.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol Baracuda Match target
Baracuda Match pellets tightened the group considerably. Except for the lone shot at the top that opened the group to over 2 inches, nine pellets landed in 1.343 inches.

The JSB Exact RS pellet was another goodie. Ten of them went into 1.655 inches. It was very encouraging to see at this point in the testing.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol JSB RS target
JSB Exact RS pellets made this 1.655-inch group that looks smaller than it measures. After the earlier attempts, this seemed like a breath of fresh air!

Seeing that group inspired me to try something different. I wondered if the pistol could be rested directly on the sandbag and still group. So, I tried two groups that way. The best of them measured 2.267 inches between centers, but within that group were eight shots measuring just 1.052 inches. I tried to better that with a second group, but that was as good as it got.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol JSB RS bag rest target
I shot two groups with the pistol rested directly on the sandbag. This was the best one. It looks good, but the two shots that went high are typical of this hold.

And the best
Then I tried RWS Superdomes. Many of you love this domed pellet, and I’ve been working it into more of my testing these days. The Indian seems to like Superdomes a lot. Ten landed in a group that measured 1.383 inches between centers.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol RWS Superdome target
RWS Superdomes turned in the best 10-shot group of this test. The group measures 1.383 inches between centers.

I shot the pistol a lot in this test, mostly because I was getting used to how it handles. As you can see from the groups I’ve shown, it has potential but I can’t say that it’s an accurate pistol. I think this is a gun you need to get used to, and it’s possible I haven’t found the shooting technique for it.

Overall observations
The Cometa Indian is certainly an interesting spring-piston air pistol. It’s well-made, heavy and exceeds its rated power. Yet, it’s also the all-time easy-cocking spring gun champ! Shooting, however, reveals some differences that the buyer needs to know. The pistol is somewhat hard to load, torques in the hand when fired and has a heavier trigger than you might like. However, those are small considerations in light of all the power and the build quality. If you like spring pistols, this is one to consider.

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle: Part 2

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

Part 1

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle right
The IZH 60 Target Pro now comes with target sights.

Today is velocity day for the IZH 60 Target Pro. Before we begin, there’s a surprise correction I need to make to Part 1. When I measured the length of pull, I didn’t mention that the adjustable stock can be lengthened an additional inch by relocating the anchor point of the adjustment screw.

Increased length of pull
Mac reads the blog sometimes, but he doesn’t comment very often but he loves the IZH 60/61 family of rifles. After reading Part 1, he called and reminded me of something I’d forgotten. If you pull the butt stock off its post, you’ll see a second spot for the screw anchor on the butt stock post. All you have to do is move the anchor from the first slot to the second, and you’ll add just over an inch to the length of pull on your rifle. I had reported a LOP range of 12 inches to 13.25 inches in Part 1. Now, I’ll revise that to a maximum of 14.5 inches. (Edith will amend the owner’s manual to show this info.)

IZH 60 Target Pro air rifle stock adjustment screw anchor
By moving the screw anchor from one slot to the other, the length of pull can be increased by more than an inch!

The importance of follow-through
We discussed the fact that this powerplant is not capable of producing a lot of velocity. There was a comment on Part 1 that low velocity makes you need to follow through all the more, but I want to address that. Low velocity is not why you must follow through when shooting a spring-piston airgun. Even a 1,300 f.p.s. springer requires follow-through because it has the same problem as the IZH 60. In a springer, the pellet does not begin moving until the piston has almost come to a complete stop. The gun is already vibrating and moving in recoil before the pellet starts its journey down the barrel. But if it takes an IZH 60 to drive that fact home, all the better, because the proper follow-through can do nothing but make you a better shot.

As I explained in Part 1, Pyramyd Air sent this rifle to me for this test. They were very confident this rifle would shoot accurately, and they even sent a tin of what they feel are the best pellets. Guess what they are? H&N Baracuda pellets! The website says these are supposed to weigh 10.65 grains, but I weighed the ones sent by Pyramyd Air, and they weighed 10.4 grains. H&N Baracuda pellet weights have changed a lot over the past few years, and I would always recommend actually weighing them rather than accepting the description, because the weights seem to change a lot.

These pellets averaged 382 f.p.s. in the test rifle. The range of velocity went from 371 to 389 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 3.37 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. They will be the first pellets I test for accuracy; but since they’re domed pellets, they cannot be used in a formal target match due to the difficulty of scoring the holes. I’ll also test some wadcutter pellets — both target and general sporting types.

The second pellet I tested was a target wadcutter — the H&N Match Pistol pellet. This 7.56-grain wadcutter is a good general target pellet that costs less than H&N’s Finale Match pellet line. As a pistol pellet, it weighs less than 8 grains, making it appropriate to the IZH 60 powerplant.

This pellet averaged 485 f.p.s. and ranged from 481 to 490 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generated 3.95 foot-pounds at the muzzle. This is the velocity I expected from this rifle.

Next I tried the H&N Baracuda Green — the lead-free pellet that’s performed so well in a number of lower-powered airguns. This time, though, the performance wasn’t as good. The average velocity was 425 f.p.s., despite the fact that the pellet weighs just 6.48 grains. It must be the harder alloy that causes excessive friction with the rifling, because the range for this pellet was from a low of 367 f.p.s. to a high of 489! At the average velocity, the muzzle energy was 2.60 foot-pounds. Even at just 10 meters, a velocity variation this large will cause the group to grow, so I don’t think I’ll test this one for accuracy.

The last pellet I tested was the RWS R-10 Match Pistol pellet. At just 7 grains, this pellet was the lightest of the lead pellets used in this test. It averaged 525 f.p.s. with a range from 507 to 534 f.p.s. The low shot was an exception and loaded very hard. The next-slowest pellet went 516 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produced 4.29 foot-pounds of energy.

Overall the rifle performed better than I expected. There’s some buzzing in the firing cycle, but it’s not objectionable — probably because of the low power of the rifle. A “beer-can” tune would probably do wonders for it.

The trigger is light enough, if not very positive. It breaks at 1 lb., 7 oz. consistently. I did try adjusting it, but it was set as light as it would go when I received the rifle, so there was no improvement.

One final thought. I went through the box the rifle came in and found a target that proves this rifle can shoot a tight group at 10 meters. It’s shot on a Shoot-N-C target, so measurement is impossible because of the paint flaking off, but it does look like a quarter-inch group. However, it’s only 5 shots and the standard is 10, so that hat is still on the line!

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol: Part 2

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

Part 1

Cometa Indian spring piston air pistol
The Cometa Indian spring-powered air pistol is a powerful, big airgun.

Lots of interest in this Cometa Indian air pistol! Some of you know it already, and many more are interested in the light cocking effort. How can “they” make a gun that shoots 500 f.p.s., yet cocks with just 7 lbs. of effort? Well, today we will find out if it really does shoot that fast.

The cocking lever
Blog reader Wulfraed was puzzled by what appear to be a lopsided cocking lever. I told him that it’s really two-sided and I would show a picture of that in this report, so here you go.

Cometa Indian spring piston air pistol
The cocking lever does have two sides, as you can see. Only the right side extends back a little farther to provide a place to grasp the lever at the beginning of the cocking stroke.

On to the test
Okay, let’s get to the velocity. The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby. I used it both because it is a very light pure-lead pellet, and also because it’s an accurate pellet in many airguns.

Hobbys averaged 538 f.p.s. in the test pistol, so the claim of 500 f.p.s. has been vindicated. In fact, it’s conservative. The spread was from 533 to 542, so a 9 f.p.s. range. At the average velocity, Hobbys generated 4.5 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

I found that seating the pellets was difficult unless I struck the back of the breech with the heel of my hand to close it after loading. Then, every pellet seated fine.

Next up was the RWS Superdome. This is a medium-weight, .177-caliber pellet that I expected to go slower. But it didn’t go that much slower! The average was 491 f.p.s. with a spread from 488 to 493 f.p.s. That’s a spread of only 5 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generated 4.44 foot-pounds of energy.

I did have a little excursion with this pellet, however. If you refer to Part 1, I showed you a picture of the open breech, in which a small o-ring is seen around the bolt probe. I lubricated this with one drop of silicone chamber oil and immediately got an increase in velocity. Then I got three detonations! The fastest went 673 f.p.s. I then had to dry off the probe and shoot off the oil until the pistol settled back down, again.

So, I advise against oiling the bolt probe of this pistol. Maybe put some silicone grease on the o-ring — but keep it light!

The last pellet I tested was our new friend, the H&N Baracuda Green. We know this is a very accurate pellet, and I wanted to see what a lightweight pellet would do in the pistol. Actually this pellet weighs 6.48 grains and the Hobby weighs 7 grains, so it shouldn’t be that much faster. The average was 568 f.p.s. with a low of 564 and a high of 575. The spread was 11 f.p.s. The muzzle energy averaged 4.64 foot-pounds. Of the pellets tested, this is the power champ by a slim margin.

The single-stage trigger breaks at 4 lbs., 13 oz. on my electronic gauge. It’s still creepy and may be a factor in the accuracy test.

From the comments that have been made, I’m anticipating a good accuracy test for the Indian. Someone said that his out-shot an Umarex Colt M1911A1. If that’s the case, this could turn out to be a wonderful air pistol. Accuracy test is coming soon!

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