Posts Tagged ‘H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets’

Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7×44 Scout scope: Part 2

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

Part 1

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope
Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7X44 Scout Scope is a remarkable sight!

I’m on the road today to Ohio to Pyramyd Air and the Flag City Toys That Shoot airgun show this coming Saturday. If you plan to be there, please stop by my table and introduce yourself.

And while I’m gone on this huge road trip (there’s more driving ahead before I return home), I would ask the veteran readers to help answer the questions posed by the newer readers. I will only have about 3 hours each evening to exercise, answer emails and write the next blog — and I usually get 150-200 emails a day.

Today, I’m testing the UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope for accuracy. It’s mounted on the Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic that I tested for you awhile back. So, I have the data on that rifle using open sights.

I selected the 3 best pellets from that first test for today’s test. The distance was 10 meters because the groups I got before were not that small. Had they been small enough, I might have tested the rifle at 25 yards.

RWS Hobbys
The first pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby wadcutter. In the previous test at 10 meters with open sights, 10 Hobbys gave me a group that measured 0.858 inches. With the scope mounted, I got a group that measured 0.928 inches at the same 10 meters. So, no improvement.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope Hobby group
Ten Hobbys fared no better with a scope than with open sights at 10 meters. In fact, at 0.928 inches between centers, this group is larger than the one shot with open sights. But, the scope was much easier to use.

I found the scope’s thin reticle quite easy to pick up and hold on target. The optics seem clear and bright, although my test conditions were perfect. I would like to test this scope in the field under variable lighting.

H&N Finale Match Pistol
Next, I tested 10 H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. In the last test, they gave me a 1.299-inch 10-shot group, but 9 of those went into just 0.399 inches. I suspected at the time that the one pellet was somehow off, so I decided to try this pellet again.

This time, using the scope, 10 pellets went into 0.548 inches. That’s better than the last group and not much larger than the 9 pellets that grouped so well on the other test. Up to this point in the test, the scope hasn’t improved my results — but it has been much easier to use! My shooting went much faster because I wasn’t guessing where the top of the front sight was.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope H&N Finale Match pistol group
Yes, these 10 H&N Finale Match pistol pellets are in a smaller group than before, at just 0.548 inches. But I feel the one stray shot in the open-sight test may have been a damaged pellet.

After this group, I adjusted the scope to center the group in the bullseye. It’s easy enough to do, and the locking ring means there’s no fear of anyone messing up the settings.

Air Arms Falcons
The final pellet I tried was the Air Arms Falcon dome — a lightweight dome that has proven very accurate in a number of different airguns. This time, the results were better. Ten Falcons went into 0.839 inches in the first test with open sights and just 0.425 inches in this test. Nine of the 10 pellets went into just 0.154 inches — rivaling a 10-meter rifle!

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope Air Arms Falcon group
Believe it or not, there are 9 Falcon pellets in the larger hole! The one pellet strayed up a little (shot 7), opened this group to 0.425 inches.

Impressions of the scope thus far
I’m thoroughly impressed with this scout scope. It’s clear, sharp and easy to use. I want to test it on something else — maybe a firearm. This is a scope I can recommend if you’re looking for a good scope.

The benefit isn’t better groups, but a clearer picture of the target. On a rifle with real precision, that can mean something!

I do plan on another test with this rifle ay 25 yards. The Falcon pellets have earned their way into that test, and perhaps some similar premium pellets, as well.

Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic
Crosman MK-177 is a multi-pump version of FN’s SCAR.

Today, we’ll begin testing the accuracy of the Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic. Because this rifle shoots both pellets and BBs, I’ll test both, but not at the same time and not in the same way. Today’s test of lead pellets was done at 10 meters, using the iron sights provided with the rifle.

I decided to use 5 pumps per shot for the entire test. That was both easy to do and was also pretty quick. According to the velocity test we did last time, Crosman Premier lites were averaging just over 500 f.p.s. on 5 pumps.

It took five shots to sight in the rifle. The first shot was 3 inches high and 2-1/2 inches to the right. Crosman supplies a sight adjustment tool with the MK-177, and I had to use both ends of it. One end is a flat-bladed screw driver that moved the rear sight to the left. The directions are printed on the sight, so there’s no confusion.

The front sight had to be raised because the rifle was shooting too high, so I unscrewed the front sight post several turns. Shot 2 was about three-eighths of an inch too high and three-eighths of an inch too far to the right. The hole was in the black bull, but it wasn’t centered. So, I made small adjustments to both the front and rear sights and fired again. This shot cut the 9-ring, which was close enough for me. I fired the other 2 shots, and they landed near the third shot. Sight-in was finished.

Crosman Premier lites
This is a Crosman rifle, so the first pellet I chose to test was the Crosman Premier lite. The first pellet hit the 10-ring of the bull, so I stopped looking through the spotting scope and just shot the gun. After the 10th shot, I looked at the target and saw a disappointing horizontal group that measured 1.173 inches between centers. None of the shots had been called as pulls (meaning the sights were off target when the gun fired), so this group surprised me.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic 10 meters Premier lites
Ten Crosman Premier lites made this 1.173-inch group at 10 meters with the Crosman MK-177 pneumatic. It is surprisingly wide for 10 meters.

Air Arms Falcons
Next to be tried were the Falcons from Air Arms. They’re domed pellets made by JSB and weigh 7.33 grains. Once, again, the first shot cut the 10-ring, and I never looked after that. This time, the group was much better, measuring 0.839 inches between centers. It’s also much rounder than the Premier lite group, leading me to think the rifle likes this pellet better.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic 10 meters Falcons
Ten Air Arms Falcons made this 0.839-inch group at 10 meters. This group is rounder than the first, which is a good sign.

The rifle’s behavior
At this point, I’ll comment on how the rifle performs. Shooting for accuracy I found the left-mounted cocking handle to be less of a problem than it had been when I tested the velocity. My procedure was to cock the bolt, advance the magazine, close the bolt, then pump the gun. This became a routine after a few shots, and it went surprisingly fast.

I rested the rifle on a sandbag for the shooting. Though it’s very light, the rifle was dead calm on the bag. The sights did not move one bit. And the MK-177′s trigger is so light and smooth that I found it very easy to shoot this way.

Pump effort identical to the 760
A reader asked me last time how this rifle compares to the 760 Pumpmaster in pumping effort. Silly me! I should have realized that the MK-177 is a 760 in another skin, but I tested my 40th Anniversary 760 just to make sure. The pumping effort is identical; or if there’s a small difference, the 760 is slightly harder because the MK-177 pump arm is a little longer.

RWS Hobbys
The next pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby. These fit the clip a little tighter, and I could feel some resistance when the bolt pushed them into the breech. Again, I checked the target after the first shot then never again until I was through. I noted that this pellet moved over to the left side of the bull with no change to the sights. There’s a lesson to remember!

Hobbys grouped very close to Falcons, with the difference being due to measuring error more than any real practical difference. Ten Hobbys went into 0.858 inche…again, the group is fairly round.

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic 10 meters Hobby
Ten RWS Hobbys made this 0.858-inch group at 10 meters. This is so close to the Falcon group that it’s too close to call. Hobbys are wadcutters which cut cleaner holes, and may have lead to their group measuring slightly larger.

H&N Match Pistol
At this point, I was ready to declare the MK-177 to be an accurate multi-pump, but I had one more pellet on the table to test. And that one was the H&N Match Pistol pellet — another wadcutter. I’ve had remarkable results with H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets in some target rifles, but the straight Match Pistol pellet has never done better than average. Until this test!

Ten pellets went into a group that measures 1.239 inches between centers. No record there! But look at the tiny group that 9 of those 10 pellets made! It measures just 0.399 inches and is very round! Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner!

Crosman MK 177 multi pump pneumatic H&N Match Pistol
Ten H&N Match Pistol pellets went into a 1.239-inch group, but 9 of them went into 0.399 inches! I think this pellet might be the best one for this rifle.

From the results seen here, I think the MK-177 is a very accurate air rifle. It’s worthy of a 25-yard test with an optical sight. I’m thinking the red dot sight I’m using on the TX200 Mark III would be good for that. Before I do that, though, I’ll test the rifle with BBs at 25 feet.

So far, the MK-177 is a real winner! I enjoy the ease of use and the accuracy. If I didn’t already own a 760 and an M4-177, I would, perhaps, buy this one.

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.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol: Part 6

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4a
Part 4b
Part 5

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
Benjamin’s new Trail NP breakbarrel pellet pistol, with cocking aid removed.

We’re certainly getting a good look at the Benjamin Trail NP pistol! While the title says this is Part 6, it’s actually the 7th report because Part 4 was so large it had to be broken into two parts.

Let’s look at the performance of the pistol after break-in. This test pistol has been shot so much that it’s now broken in, so today we’ll look at the velocity. Crosman says in the owner’s manual that the pistol needs several hundred shots before it’s fully broken-in, and this gun certainly has that many shots through it.

They also say the gun will become quieter after a break-in, and the test pistol is certainly quiet now. Apparently, some guns have detonated and surprised their owners, so Crosman is being conservative in its explanation. The test Trail NP pistol has never been very noisy.

I’ll report the velocity of each pellet before and after the break-in period, so you can compare them.

RWS Hobby
The first pellet I tested was the 7-grain RWS Hobby. It’s normally the fastest lead pellet in almost any airgun.

RWS Hobby pellets

Crosman SSP hollowpoint
The Crosman SSP hollowpoint is a 4-grain, lead-free pellet that’s shaped like a wadcutter but with a deep hollow point. Being so light, it’s a real speed demon.

Crosman SSP hollowpoint pellets

Crosman Powershot Penetrators
Crosman Powershot Penetrators are synthetic-jacketed pellets that have a metal core. They weigh 5.4 grains and loosely fit the bore of the Trail NP pistol.

Crosman Powershot Penetrator pellets

Crosman SSP pointed
Crosman’s SSP pointed pellet is another 4-grain, lead-free pellet. You’d expect it to have about the same performance as the SSP hollowpoints, but this pellet isn’t sized as well as the hollowpoint. Consequently, they fit the bore variably, which affects the velocity.

Crosman SSP pointed pellets

JSB Exact RS dome
The last pellet I tried was the JSB Exact RS dome. It weighs 7.3 grains and fits the bore loosely.

JSB Exact RS domed pellets

So there you have it. All 5 of the pellets shot slower after the break-in, and all but one had more consistent velocity spreads. Clearly the Benjamin Trail NP pistol does break in as the company states in the owner’s manual.

This report has been a look into the performance of a spring-piston air pistol as it breaks in. We’ve seen the way to maximize the accuracy of the airgun, and we’ve learned how to overcome the too-tall front sight post. I hope this experience has been of benefit to the new shooters and perhaps provides a template of how a spring gun breaks in.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4a
Part 4b

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
Benjamin’s new Trail NP breakbarrel pellet pistol with cocking aid removed.

Before we begin today’s report, a word about my late friend, Earl (Mac) McDonald. His family has set up a memorial page in his name to collect finds for research into the causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is one of the names prion disease goes by. Most of you knew Mac only through his writing and testing here on the blog; but a few of you were friends with him through this hobby, and I thought you would like to know about this.

Today, we’ll continue testing the Benjamin Trail NP pistol. Although today’s title says Part 5, it’s actually the 6th report because I had to break Part 4 into sub-parts a and b.

We’ll look at the accuracy of those 3 lead-free pellets that Crosman provided with the test pistol. As before, I’m shooting at 10 meters, and the gun has a red dot sight mounted. I’ll describe all the other shooting conditions as we go. It has been so long since I last tested this air pistol that I had to read both parts of the fourth report to find out how to shoot the pistol for the best results.

I decided to shoot everything with the cocking aid attached. My testing demonstrated that it didn’t hurt the accuracy, and in a few cases it seemed to help it. At any rate, it makes the pistol easier to cock, so I left it on for this whole test.

Crosman Powershot Penetrators
The first pellet I tested was the Crosman Powershot Penetrator. It’s a synthetic-bodied pellet with a heavy non-lead metal core. They fit loosely in the breech, so I seated them flush but did not try to seat them deep. Since some of my best shooting was with the gun rested directly against the sandbag last time, I decided to start out that way. Imagine my surprise to see a near-pinwheel shot with the first pellet! [A pinwheel is a shot in the exact center of the target, and it refers to taking out the extremely small 10-ring of a smallbore target so that just the white scoring ring remains behind.] The shot was so good that I stopped and took a picture of it to show you — in case history was about to be made. This happens about one time every ten thousand shots or so for me, and it’s usually by pure chance. It is, however, the sort of thing that gives rise to lies and legends and is probably the basis for the Cargo Cults.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
Just in case I was about to make history, I photographed the first shot of the Benjamin Trail NP pistol with Crosman Powershot Penetrators.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
Shot No. 2 (at the bottom of the picture) made it clear that the first shot was a happy accident. Resting the pistol directly on the sandbag was not the thing to do!

Much as I would have loved to bask in the radiance of that first shot, shot No. 2 dispelled the miracle. Pellet 2 landed 4 inches south of the first one, humbling me once more.

Here’s a lesson in testing airguns. When something goes wrong like this, and all your experience says that it should have been wrong to begin with (resting a spring gun directly on a sandbag), take the hint and change your ways. So I did. I moved my hands forward of the bag and held the gun with no part of it touching anything except me. Then, I shot 10 more shots into a very decent group that measures 1.587 inches between centers. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a bad group for this pistol. Not the best by any means; but for lead-free pellets, it’s not bad.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
Resting the arms on the sandbag and holding the pistol free was the way to go. Ten flush-seated Powershot Penetrators made this 1.587-inch group at 10 meters.

Crosman SSP hollowpoints
Next, I tried the SSP hollowpoint pellets seated flush and with my arms resting on the bag but the pistol not touching it. This was how I held the gun for the remainder of this report. This time, 10 pellets made a slightly smaller group — measuring 1.513 inches. Amazing! Who would have thought that lead-free pellets could be so accurate?

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
Ten SSP hollowpoints seated flush made this 1.513-inch group at 10 meters. This is a decent group for lead-free pellets.

This pellet fit the breech tighter, so I figured I could try to seat them deeply. Next, I shot 5 of the same SSP hollowpoints seated deep with the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Pellet Seater. When the first 2 pellets landed very close to each other, I thought I might be on to something; but after 5 shots, I knew differently. I had a vertical string that measures 2.013 inches between centers. It’s very tight side-to-side, so I was holding the pistol okay…but the velocity of the pellet was way off, shot-to-shot.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
It took only 5 shots to learn that nothing was gained by seating the SSP hollowpoints deep. Group measures 2.013 inches.

Allow me to explain what I mean by the velocity was off. I’m not referring to the velocity from the muzzle to the target. At 10 meters, you can vary the velocity by 50 f.p.s. and not affect the group that much. But the time the pellet remains inside the barrel while the gun is moving affects things greatly. That is what I mean by the velocity affecting things. I really mean the pellet dwell time inside the barrel because that determines where the muzzle will be when the pellet exits. Obviously, when this pellet is seated deep, that time varies enough to affect where the pellet strikes the target — even at 10 meters.

The bottom line — deep-seating is out for this pellet. And another testing tip — I don’t need to fire a second 5 shots to figure that out. I can stop here and move on with the test.

Crosman SSP pointed pellets
The last pellet I tried was the Crosman SSP pointed pellet. This is another lead-free pellet. Instead of a hollow point, it has a pointed tip. The weight is the same 4 grains as the SSP hollowpoint. I seated them flush with the breech and started to shoot, but they were hitting so low that some were below the target paper. So, I stopped and adjusted the red dot sight up several clicks, then started the group all over. Ten pellets landed in a 5.004-inch group that told me the test was over. Sure, I could have tried seating these pellets deep or holding the pistol directly on the sandbag, but this huge group told me it wasn’t worth the effort. What was the best I could do — shade the hollowpoints by a fraction of an inch? No, I know when to hold ‘em, and I also know when to fold ‘em. Now, it was time to end the test.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
When your target looks like this, you’ll know what to do.

Impressions so far
I remain impressed by the Benjamin Trail NP pistol. For the money, it offers performance well beyond what most airguns of equivalent price can give you. It’s an air pistol you must be dedicated to, however, because it takes some getting used to. But for smashing power with decent accuracy, I can’t think of another spring pistol in this price range that does as well.

There is still one final test to do. I want to rerun the velocity test. That will establish if the hundreds of shots we’ve given this pistol to this point have finally broken in the gun.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol: Part 4b

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4a

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
Benjamin’s new Trail NP breakbarrel pellet pistol, with cocking aid removed.

Before I begin today’s report, I have sad news. Our friend Earl “Mac” McDonald passed away on Sunday, May 5, at 4:30 a.m. He was surrounded by his family.

Mac was diagnosed with a prion disease in April of this year. I don’t want to discuss it here, but if you want to know more, here is a link. This disease affects one person in a million. It is not only very rare, but the cause wasn’t even discovered until the 1980s. Scientists are still unsure of all the details.

I was aware of the probable diagnosis when I went to visit Mac last month but was asked not to disclose the details. Fortunately, when I arrived, he was able to recognize me. I sat with him and talked about old times whenever he was awake. My wife, Edith, and our friend Otho Skyped with Mac. Via the computer, Edith showed Mac the SHOT Show report in Shotgun News, which was the last thing he photographed for me.

Like everyone who knew him, I’m saddened by his passing — but that is more than offset by the pleasure of knowing him as long as I did. The fact that he was able to attend this year’s SHOT Show was especially rewarding.

As this blog moves forward, I will occasionally refer to Mac and some of the things he did. The best memorial I can give him is to never forget the time he was here.

Today’s report
I left you with a cliffhanger last Friday — more than I imagined, as it turned out, because I thought I was writing Thursday’s report and would publish the second part on Friday, rather than today. I know you all want to know what happened when I seated the H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets deep in the bore with the cocking aid attached and rested the pistol directly on the sandbag.

If you were expecting a Cinderella story, it didn’t quite happen. The group got measurably better — in fact, it was the second-best group of the test to this point. Ten shots made a group measuring 1.105 inches between centers. Compared to the previous group, which was larger than 2 inches, it seemed clear that this was the best way to shoot this pellet — deep-seated, gun rested on the bag and the cocking adapter attached.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol H&N Finale Match Pistol group gun rested-deep seated cocking aid on
Ten shots with H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets seated deep with the cocking aid attached and the gun rested directly on the bag made this 1.105-inch group. So, deep-seating these pellets reduced the group size by half.

Did you possibly think that it put all 10 into the same dime-sized hole that the 5 good ones went into on the previous test? I hoped that would happen, too, but it didn’t.

Not H.P.White Labs
Before you start looking back at all the testing done on this pistol to-date to recommend different things for me to test, let me say I am not H.P. White Laboratory, and the goal of this test is not to see how accurate the Benjamin Trail NP pistol can possibly be. My purpose is to evaluate the pistol as it comes from the box, so those thinking of making a purchase will have something to go on. I think I’ve done that already, and the gun is definitely worth the money. But the test is far from finished.

Air Venturi Pellet Seater
Blog reader Nomobux asked me how deep I seated the pellets with the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Pellet Seater. Well, that varies, based on how thin the pellet skirts are. But I measured the seater with the pin protruding by 0.163 inches, which seated the pellets about 0.125 inches deep.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol H&N Finale Match Pistol Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Seater
I set the pellet seater to this depth months ago and have been using it this way ever since.

Crosman Destroyers
A blog reader asked me to test Crosman Destroyers — a new hollowpoint that has a large open cavity in the nose. Since I was playing, I decided to shoot 5 shots and see if it was worth finishing the group. With the pellets seated deep, the cocking aid attached and the gun rested directly on the bag, 5 shots made a group measuring 2.546 inches, so I stopped there. Since that was already very large and 5 more shots would not make it any smaller I decided to save my time and effort.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol Crosman Destroyer group gun rested deep seated cocking aid on
Five shots with Crosman Destroyer pellets seated deep with the cocking aid attached and the gun rested directly on the bag made this 2.546-inch group. I stopped after 5 shots because the group was already too large.

But I also figured some of you wouldn’t let me rest if I didn’t test at least one more variable with this pellet, so I shot it seated flush, as well. Surprise! It turned out better. Ten shots went into 2.086 inches. That’s not a world-beater group, I know, but it is better than the 5 shots with deep-seated pellets. It points out that deep seating has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol Crosman Destroyer group gun rested flush seated cocking aid on
Ten shots with Crosman Destroyer pellets seated flush with the cocking aid attached and the gun rested directly on the bag made this 2.086-inch group. Though it’s not a great group, it is better than the 5-shot group with deep-seated pellets.

Michael, Michael, Michael!
Blog reader Michael saw that I hadn’t yet tested the best-shooting RWS Hobby pellets from the rested position with the cocking aid attached, but he was standing on my shoulder as I played with the pistol. I knew you would want me to go back and test it this way, so I did. This time, the magic didn’t work, however, and the 10-shot group size was 1.536 inches, so no improvement.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol RWS Hobby group gun rested deep seated cocking aid on
Ten RWS Hobbys seated deep with the gun rested on the bag and the cocking aid attached measured 1.536 inches at 10 meters. It’s not bad, but no cigar. The gun shot better when not rested on the bag.

Isn’t it interesting how changing one variable will change the entire performance of the gun? I think so.

The bottom line is that the Benjamin Trail NP is still a whole lot of value for the price tag. And I’m not finished, yet. There’s still another accuracy test to go with those lead-free pellets; and then I want to recheck the velocity of the gun, now that several hundred shots have been fired. There’s more to come, so sit back and enjoy.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol: Part 4a

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
Benjamin’s new Trail NP breakbarrel pellet pistol with cocking aid removed.

Today we’ll make blog history. This is the first half of a 2-part report on the Benjamin Trail NP pistol. I was shooting it yesterday and found myself going in so many directions that I collected too much data for a single report. So the second half of today’s report will come on Monday.

I told you in the last report that I decided to “play” with the pistol rather than subject it to a rigidly structured test. Well, that must be catching because I did it again today. Something about this air pistol seems to invite experimentation.

It doesn’t have to shoot low!
I said that it shot too low in the last report. It did, but I was using the sights in a way the manufacturer did not intend by using the tip of the front sight for a 6 o’clock hold. That caused the gun to shoot a little low by itself. But, today, I replaced the rear sight with a red dot sight and found that the gun can shoot to the point of aim with ease. In fact, I had to adjust the sights down, but I will talk about that later.

I mounted a Tasco Pro Point dot sight on the 11mm dovetails that are on the rear of the spring tube. You could use anything that has a decent amount of adjustability.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol with doit sight
This old Tasco Pro Point dot sight installed on the Trail NP pistol without a fuss. It brought the point of aim and point of impact together.

It’s so much easier using a dot sight because there’s just the dot and target to watch, instead of the sight alignment. Shooting the pistol was much easier.

The first pellet: RWS Hobby
In the last test, RWS Hobby pellets were the most accurate, so those were the first pellets I tested this time. That made it simpler to test the gun because I knew I was starting with a reasonably accurate pellet.

And because this will become important in a while, let me tell you that these first groups were shot without the cocking aid on the gun. It’s a little harder to cock without the aid, but installing and removing it for every shot takes too much time.

The first group surprised me, because it wasn’t as good as it was the last time I tested this pistol. The first shot was a low flier caused by my unfamiliarity with the dot sight; but after that, all the rest of the shots were the best I could do. I think the measurement for 9 shots is more representative in this case, and let’s exclude that one low shot.

Nine shots went into a group that measures 2.04 inches between centers. That’s still larger than the group I got with open sights, which is 10 in 1.155 inches. I wondered if some of the stock screws might have loosened in all the shooting. I checked, and they certainly had. I tightened all stock screws; but instead of running the same test again, I proceeded to the next test. How would the pistol respond to pellets seated deeply with the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Pellet Seater?

Benjamin Trail NP pistol RWS Hobby group flush
The lower shot is a called flier resulting from an improper sight picture. Nine pellets went into 2.04 inches at 10 meters.

Deep-seated pellets
Not only did the group improve measurably, the point of impact rose by two inches when I seated the pellets deep into the breech with the pellet seater. This pellet seater is really proving to be a valuable piece of equipment when used on certain guns — like this one. And this rise in the point of impact is why I say there’s no problem with the Trail NP shooting low. You simply need to seat the pellets deeply.

This time, 10 RWS Hobbys went into 1.025 inches between centers. That’s remarkably close to what I did last time with open sights, but just a trifle better.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol RWS Hobby group deep-seated
Deep-seated pellets made the difference. Ten went into 1.025 inches at 10 meters, and the point of impact raised by over two inches. Deep-seating is the trick, then.

Since deep-seating seemed to produce such good results, I decided to seat all pellets from this point, on. For my next test, blog reader Victor suggested that I try some good competition pellets. He recommended some H&N pellets, so I selected H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. I seated them deep and proceeded with the test. But, oh, my, they didn’t do well at all! At least not when taken as a whole.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol H&N Finale Match Pistol group deep-seated
Victor, Victor! Where did we go wrong? Ten H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets made a 2.008-inch group. But look at the 5 in the middle. Perhaps there’s hope.

Five of those pellets managed to make a very tight little group. They gave me hope that this pellet wasn’t as bad as the numbers said. Perhaps something more was required?

The dot showed that I was shaking a lot more than I was comfortable with, despite using a two-hand rested hold. My forearms were resting on a sandbag, and the pistol was held in my hands, just in front of the bag. It sounds like a solid rest, but the dot said otherwise.

Since I was playing with the gun anyway, I stopped shooting for score and started experimenting with different holds that were firmer. I tried using my off hand as a modified artillery hold, but that was just as shaky. Then, I laid the gun directly on the sandbag and had a go. That proved to be the best way to hold it, as all shaking stopped and the pellets landed together again.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol H&N Finale Match Pistol rested position
This shooting position with the pistol rested directly on the sandbag proved to be the best and stablest position of all.

I also thought that if I was going to rest the gun on the bag, I might as well use the cocking aid again, too. I had now fired the gun about 50 times in all and wanted to relieve some of the strain on my hands. So the cocking aid went back on the gun.

And that’s all I’m going to tell you today. Tune in Monday to see if this new position paid off.

Swiss Arms P92 replica pistol
Swiss Arms P92 CO2 BB pistol

More and more, we're hearing that airguns are ideal for firearm training when it comes to improving trigger control, acquiring a target and increasing accuracy. While all those are big pluses, let's remember the other reasons: (1) Save a fortune on ammo (if you can even get firearm ammo!). (2) Shoot at home. (3) No hearing protection needed. (4) Airguns are a fraction of the cost of firearms. So, click on the image & add this to your gun vault.

New .22-cal. Sheridan!
Sheridan 2260MB CO2 rifle

Sheridan has always made .20-cal. airguns. So, this new .22-cal. rifle is particularly exciting. And, it's available only in limited quantities. If you collect Sheridans (or just love them for their quality), you MUST add this to your gun vault. It's a single-shot CO2 rifle with a metal breech. Bolt-action single shots like the 2260 are ideal for teaching proper gun handling. Everything you love about Sheridan guns…and more. Get yours NOW before they sell out!