Posts Tagged ‘H&N round balls’

Daisy Powerline model 35 multi-pump air rifle: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Daisy model 35 multi-pump air rifle
Daisy’s new Powerline model 35 multi-pump air rifle is designed for youth. It’s a smoothbore with several interesting features.

I’m retesting an airgun that I tested over a year ago. One of our readers called Daisy and said he was getting much better accuracy from his Daisy model 35 multi-pump air rifle than I had gotten in my test, and he asked Daisy if they would look into it. Well, they read the accuracy report (Part 3) and agreed with him that I should have gotten better accuracy than I did. So Joe Murfin, Daisy’s vice president of marketing, called and asked if I would be open to a retest.

Joe told me that Daisy engineers were getting groups of about 1.25 inches to 1.5 inches at 10 meters. I’m sure he meant 5-shot groups, and of course I shoot 10-shot groups; still, his groups were significantly smaller than what I’d gotten from the last gun. My 10-shot groups were in the 2.5-inch to 3-inch range.

I don’t like to retest
Normally, retesting airguns leaves me cold. My philosophy is that I test what users get, and it’s whatever it is. I look at the gun the same way a user would, except that I may know a few more things than the average user and am able to do things most people wouldn’t think to do. That gives the gun a fair test and also educates people who may learn a new trick or two by reading what I’ve done.

I have to admit that over the past year I’ve learned a lot about accuracy with diabolo pellets and the things to look for. More recently, I have become aware of the tremendous accuracy potential of some smoothbore airguns. From that standpoint, a retest of this smoothbore airgun is warranted.

This is not life-saving equipment, and the outcome isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things; but wouldn’t it be nice to know if this $35 airgun is really better than we initially thought? I agreed to retest the gun, and Joe sent one directly from Daisy. Instead of the black stock I had last time, this new gun is finished in camo. Other than that, though, it’s identical to the gun I tested before.

Upon reviewing the last accuracy test, I see I used the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier pellet, RWS Hobby pellet and some vintage Daisy Superior Match Grade pellets I had laying around. At the time, that sounded like a good idea; but after spending more time with the Diana 25 smoothbore in recent months, I think there are some other pellets I ought to try — namely the JSB Exact RS pellet and the RWS Superdome.

In the last report on the model 35, I wasn’t specific about what number of pumps to use for each shot. There was nothing to go on for this test except my experience with other multi-pumps. I would only be shooting at 10 meters, and high velocity wasn’t necessary. Six pumps sounded good to me, and that’s what I used for every target. If this was a larger, more powerful multi-pump, I might have opted for 5 or even 4 pumps, but the Daisy 35 is pretty small, and 6 sounded about right.

First target revealed loading problems
I shot the first target with JSB Exact RS pellets. They did well for the most part, but 3 shots landed apart from the main group. I was having difficulty loading the gun, and I think I may have loaded several pellets backwards because of how easily they flipped around on their own in the loading trough. I was shooting in a dark place to overcome the fiberoptic open sights and was unable to see the breech when the pellet was loaded. Those 3 stray shots might be explained as loading errors. Before I move on, I should note that the size of this first 10-shot group is close to what Daisy told me to expect from 5 shots at 10 meters.

Daisy model 35 multi-pump air rifle RS group1 10 meters
A well-centered group is ruined by three wild shots. They may have been pellets loaded backwards. Group measures 1.52 inches between centers.

Nothing to do but shoot another group with the RS pellets — making sure each pellet went into the breech the right way this time. I used a portable spotlight to shine on the breech during loading to see which way the pellets were oriented. I think Daisy could spend a little time fixing this problem because that loading trough is almost too small to work with.

The second group was much better. Ten more JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.108 inches. This is better than what Daisy told me to expect, and my interest was piqued. How good would this gun get?

Daisy model 35 multi-pump air rifle RS group2 10 meters
The second group of 10 JSB RS pellets went into 1.108 inches at 10 meters.

RWS Superdomes
The second pellet I tried was the RWS Superdome that so many people love. The first 10 pellets made a 1.119-inch group. It’s actually too close to the second group of RS pellets to see the difference, but that’s what the caliper read when I measured it. And these pellets hit the target in approximately the same place as the JSBs even though they’re heavier.

Daisy model 35 multi-pump air rifle RWS Superdome group1 10 meters
The first group of 10 RWS Superdome pellets went into 1.119 inches at 10 meters.

The second group of Superdomes wasn’t quite as tight as the first. One stray pellet that I hesitate to call a flier landed below the main group, opening it up to 1.243 inches. But that’s still the best that Daisy said to expect from this gun!

Daisy model 35 multi-pump air rifle RWS superdome2 10 meters
The second group of 10 RWS Superdome pellets went into 1.1243 inches at 10 meters.

But wait –
Well — there you have 4 groups that are all significantly better than any of the groups I got in the last test. The Daisy model 35 can shoot after all — just like our reader said. I wondered if there was any more accuracy beyond what the gun had already delivered. So, I fired a fifth group, this time with JSB RS pellets. Instead of 6 pumps per shot, I gave it the full 10 pumps for each shot. This time, they all landed in 0.76 inches, or as close to three-quarters of an inch as it’s possible to get.

Daisy model 35 multi-pump air rifle RS group3 10 meters
Ten pumps tightened each shot to deliver almost a three-quarter-inch group. JSB RS pellets, again.

Obviously, using the right pellets made all the difference in the world. That’s a lesson I’ll try not to forget. Even an inexpensive airgun like the Daisy 35 deserves a fair chance to perform its best.

What’s next?
I would love to press the 35 into service as a dart gun, but the tiny breech prevents the loading of darts. I may be able to load them through the muzzle, but you’ll have to wait to find out because I seem to have misplaced my .177-caliber darts. But there’s still 25 yards to test, so you haven’t seen the last of this airgun.

Crosman’s new M4-177 multi-pump air rifle: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

As you read this, I’m at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. I’ll be there all week. In fact, today is Media Day, where the media gets to go to an outdoor shooting range in Boulder City and shoot the guns displayed by manufacturers, importers and distributors. Since I won’t be monitoring comments much of this week, I would appreciate it if our regular readers would help answer them. Edith will still monitor all the comments but may not have a chance to answer many more than she already does.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Crosman’s new M4-177 is a smart-looking M4 battle rifle lookalike.

How many of you remember that I said I would come back to the Crosman M4-177 multi-pump air rifle and test it at longer range with a dot sight? Well, if everything went right, Mac and I are out at the range in Las Vegas at the SHOT Show Media Day today, but while we are seeing and shooting all the new guns you guys get one more look at this one.

As I mentioned in the last report, I mounted a dot sight on the rifle, to see how it performs at longer distance. I picked the 25-yard indoor range for this one. For the sight, I selected the BSA Optics red/green/blue dot sight that also has a laser and a tactical flashlight. It certainly looks right at home on this rifle, and the Weaver clamp fits the rifle’s Picatinny base. All I had to do was remove the open sights, front and rear, and put this one on the base.

The problem with optical sights on a multi-pump rifle is they get in the way of holding the gun during pumping. I had to hold the M4 at the buttstock extension tube because the sight sat right where I wanted to put my hand. Because of that, pumping was more difficult, and I wanted to pump the rifle 10 times per shot. So, I decided to shoot 5-shot groups until I found an accurate pellet, then shoot 10 shots with that one.

Accuracy testing
As I said, all testing was done at 25 yards off a rest. The rifle was pumped 10 times for every shot. Pay no attention to where the groups land, as I adjusted the sights several times to keep the pellets on the target.

I first tried the Crosman Premier Super Match pellet that had worked so well at 10 meters in Part 3. Once it was on target, I shot a group of 5 to see how they did. Unfortunately, at 25 yards, they didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. The group measures approximately 3.01 inches, but that’s not precise because the widest pellet didn’t land entirely on target. Suffice to say it was poor enough to disregard.


Crosman Super Match wadcutters didn’t give the performance I wanted.

I continued on, testing RWS Hobby pellets. They were better, with 5 going into 1.563 inches but not what I was looking for.

Next came 5 JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes. This was the first domed pellet I tried, and the group size shrank to 1.406 inches. The group was also very vertical, however, which leads me to an important point.


JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes did better.

By this point in the test, I noticed that this dot sight is not precise. The dot smears in all three colors at all three intensities. I’ve used quality dot sights that held the size of their dots very well, but with this one the dot smeared to the sides. I tried it both with my glasses and without, and the results were always the same. Maybe it’s me and not the sight, but I felt I wasn’t able to aim precisely enough with this sight.

The last pellet I tried was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome. This one gave me 4 very tight shots, with No. 5 landing several inches away. Now, I had a quandary. Should I go with the JSBs or the Premier lites?


Four of five Premier lites made this tight group, but there’s that lone shot up to the left. What to do?

I decided to go with the Premiers, because of the tighter group of 4. So, I shot 10 more Premier lites at 25 yards.


And this is what I got. This “group” is pretty poor, and I don’t believe it represents what the M4 can do. It measures 3.358 inches between centers.

What now?
Well, I had been unhappy with the performance of the dot sight to this point. What if I replaced it with the original factory sights — a peep rear and a post front? Hey! Haven’t I read somewhere on the internet that those kind of sights can do a good job?

The dot sight came off and the factory sights went back on. It took 4 shots to sight in, and then I shot another 10-shot group. This time, the pumping was much easier because my hands could hold the rifle in the right places.


And that’s the same rifle, same pellet with factory peep sights. This group measures 1.546 inches between centers, with 8 of the 10 shots going into 0.923 inches. Clearly, the factory sights were better in this case.

Bottom line
Well, I’ve wrung out the M4-177 pretty thoroughly. It’s accurate and fun to shoot, and for my money you can use the sights that come with it. I know that the look of the gun begs for tactical accessories; but for me, accuracy is always the trump.

Daisy Powerline model 35 multi-pump air rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


Daisy’s new Powerline model 35 multi-pump air rifle is designed for youth. It’s a smoothbore with several interesting features.

Today is accuracy day, and I know a lot of you have been waiting to see what this smoothbore Daisy Powerline model 35 multi-pump air rifle can do. Because it’s a multi-pump, I experimented a little with the number of pumps, but all groups were 10 shots at the stated distance.

Not a rifle
Before I start the report, here’s a little nomenclature lesson. Our UK readers should know this far better than our U.S. readers since they’re quite particular about calling guns exactly what they are. Americans, on the other hand, often refer to a long gun as a rifle, regardless of whether it is rifled or not. In this day, when there are no more buck-and-ball smoothbores or muskets to contend with, I suppose it’s understandable — but it isn’t correct. And, when we encounter a real smoothbore like this model 35 Daisy, we make the mistake of calling it a rifle. Heck, even Daisy calls it a rifle, but it isn’t. It’s a gun, by the strictest definition of the term. So, I’m calling it a gun — not a rifle.

Let’s begin the report.

Loading
I said last time that the pellets were prone to falling into the BB hole at the rear of the loading trough. Reader GenghisJan said he pushes the bolt forward to block the hole after cocking but not far enough to interfere with the skirts of the pellets being loaded. I tried his method and found that it works, but the loading area is still too small for me to roll the pellet in the way some other folks advised. So, I continued to let it drop over the receiver with the muzzle pointed straight down. That works for me nearly all the time.

Accuracy
I thought I would first test the gun rested at 10 meters. If it turned out to be accurate, I would then back up to 25 yards in a separate test. But if it wasn’t accurate at 10 meters (11 yards), there was no hope for it at the longer distance.

I used a 6 o’clock hold; and although the front sight has a white dot, I was able to mask it entirely by lighting the target brightly and shooting in a dark room. So, the maximum sighting precision was used on every shot.

Pellets were first, and the first pellet tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier. I pumped the gun 6 times per shot because that seemed like a good place to begin.

The performance on target, however, is not very good. I’m not showing the customary dime next to the group because I had to photograph the first group while the target was still taped to the backer board. Not all 10 pellets remained on the target, and this was the only way to show the actual size of the group.


One of the 10 Crosman Premier pellets missed the target paper entirely (to the right). The black bull is approximately 1-3/16″ diameter (30mm), and this group is about three inches in width.

After that group, I thought perhaps my technique was bad or maybe the pellet was wrong, so next I tried the RWS Hobby pellet.


RWS Hobbys were no better at 10 meters! Another pellet missed the target to the right and this “group” undoubtedly measures in excess of 3″ across.

At this point, I examined the pellet holes and thought perhaps the pellets weren’t stable in flight. Each hole seems to have a tear to one side, as if the pellet passed through slightly off-axis. Next, I tried a different pellet and a different number of pump strokes.

Daisy Superior Match Grade pellets
Don’t search for these pellets online. The ones I have date back to the 1980s and have not been retained in the Daisy line. They’re starting to show signs of corrosion but haven’t turned white yet. I shot them on 5 pumps and, surprisingly, they turned in the best group to this point. They were grouped about 2-1/2″ above the aim point, however.


Ten obsolete Daisy target pellets made this group, which is the best one made to this point in the test. It measures 2.201″ between centers and stayed on the target paper.

The “accuracy” improvement is so minimal, though, that I don’t think anyone needs to mourn the loss of this pellet. It’s a lightweight wadcutter, if you want to experiment.

Like the first two pellets, most of the holes with this one also seemed to have the telltale tear on one side, so I thought 10 pumps might solve the problem. Would going faster make the pellet any more stable? Ten pumps did bring the pellets back to the aim point — sort of.


Ten pumps did nothing to improve the group of Daisy target pellets. In fact, one of the three pellets to the right (probably the one closest to the target) missed the target paper entirely.

Summary of pellet accuracy
Obviously, I’m not going to shoot this gun at 25 yards and risk putting pellets into the wall. We wondered how accurate a smoothbore might be, and I must say that I’m a little disappointed by the lack of accuracy seen here. I could spend a lot of time chasing after a better pellet, but that’s not time well spent.

On to BBs
BBs were next, and I moved in to 25 feet from the target. Eight feet less might not seem like a lot; but when you’re dealing with something as potentially inaccurate as a BB, it can be. Normally, I would have started with a shot from 12 feet just to make certain the gun was on target, but something told me it was. The first shot was from 25 feet. I shot in the offhand supported position, which means I braced myself against a door jamb.

I used Daisy zinc-plated steel BBs as the ammo, because I’m testing a Daisy gun and because I’ve found them to usually be one of the best BBs on the market. RWS BBs are just as good; but like I said, this is a Daisy gun.

This time, I used a BB-gun target, whose black bull is about the size of a U.S. dime. The normal distance for shooting at this target is 15 feet (offhand); so at 25 feet, I was under a slight disadvantage. The lighting was the same as for the 10-meter targets and the sights were just as sharp as before.


Ten BBs from 25 feet offhand supported produced the second-tightest group of the entire test. It measures 2.277″ between centers.

Don’t go making any assumptions about the four BBs that landed together just above the bull. They were shot and sighted exactly the same as the other 6 shots and are just a coincidence. This is where 5-shot groups tell you much less, because notice there’s a fifth shot in the black just below the group. I have no idea when that was shot in the series of shots, but some writers will make that the reality and explain away the other holes — or just not show them!


Wow! A little Photoshop fakery and this “5-shot” group looks like a winner!

Bottom line
I liked the Daisy Powerline model 35 until it came to accuracy. Then, it seemed to be an adequate BB gun, but not up to par with pellets. I guess those little spiral scratches in the barrel mean something after all!

Daisy Powerline model 35 multi-pump air rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Daisy’s new model 35 multi-pump air rifle is designed for youth. It’s a smoothbore with several interesting features.

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Daisy Powerline model 35 multi-pump air rifle. You’ll remember from Part 1 that this is a smoothbore, and as such we’re going to be testing the accuracy with diabolo pellets. One reader asked me to test the velocity of the gun with round lead balls, so I did that, as well. There’s a lot to test, so let’s get to it.

Number of pumps
A multi-pump lets the shooter select the number of pumps for every shot — up to the maximum recommended number. In this case, that’s 10 pumps. I decided to test the model 35 on 5 and 10 pumps, just to simplify the test and to bound the amount of work to be done. Five pumps takes us to the place where the gun is shooting fast, but also where each successive pump provides diminishing returns. Ten pumps takes us all the way as high as the gun is recommended to go.

Crosman Premier lites
The 7.9-grain Crosman Premier pellet is a good choice for this gun if weight is the criteria. Because the model 35 is a pneumatic, this pellet won’t suffer like it would in a spring-piston gun of the same approximate power.

Five pumps
On five pumps, the velocity averaged 478 f.p.s. and ranged from 472 to 481 f.p.s. That gives us an average muzzle energy of 4.01 foot-pounds. This velocity should be okay for target shooting at 10 yards; but if I were shooting farther than 15 yards, I would probably pump it more.

Ten pumps
The model 35 is rated to develop 605 f.p.s. with pellets, but of course that would be with the lightest ones. I expected to see 550 f.p.s. with these 7.9-grain Premiers. They actually averaged 565 f.p.s. and ranged from 559 to 570 f.p.s. That’s a muzzle energy of 5.6 foot-pounds. I would have to say the gun meets my expectations when it comes to power.

Loading difficulties
I mentioned this in Part 1, and I’ll reinforce that now. This gun is very tricky to load with pellets. You must watch the large hole at the back of the short loading trough that’s there for BBs, or you’ll get a pellet stuck in it. I find it best to point the muzzle straight down and let the pellet tip over the edge of the receiver, where the nose will fall into the breech if you’re fortunate.

RWS Hobbys
Next to be tested were the 7-grain RWS Hobby pellets. You might think that these would be a lot faster because they’re almost a full grain lighter than the Premiers; but in a pneumatic gun, velocities don’t increase that fast.

Five pumps
Five pumps gave an average 495 f.p.s., or just 17 f.p.s. more than the Premier did at the same number of pumps. The range went from 492 to 503 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 3.81 foot-pounds.

Ten pumps
On the full 10 pumps, I expected to see the Hobby pellet approach 600 f.p.s., but it did not go quite that far. The average was 577 f.p.s., and the velocity ranged from 567 to a high of 586 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the muzzle energy was 5.18 foot-pounds.

BBs were next
Next up were steel BBs. I had to shoot either BBs or pellets. If there’s even a single BB in the gun’s internal reservoir, the magnetic bolt tip would attract it. I counted the BBs as I loaded the gun, because I didn’t want to have excess BBs remaining after this part of the test. Of course, I used Daisy zinc-plated BBs because this is a Daisy gun.

Five pumps
On 5 pumps, the BBs averaged 517 f.p.s. They ranged from a low of 505 to a high of 529 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 3.03 foot-pounds.

Ten pumps
Ten pumps bumped the average velocity to 616 f.p.s. — breaking the 600 f.p.s. level for the first time in the test. The velocity ranged from a low of 612 to a high of 619 f.p.s., so BBs were more stable than pellets in this gun. You don’t often see that. The muzzle energy was 4.3 foot-pounds.

Trigger-pull
The trigger-pull was noticeable throughout this test because it’s so heavy in relation to the overall weight of the gun. When a 9-lb. rifle has a 5-lb. trigger-pull, it seems right. On the other hand, when a 3-lb. gun, like this model 35, has a trigger that breaks at just over 6 lbs., it’s too much. It’s a single-stage and fairly free from creep, but the sheer weight of the pull is daunting. I think it’ll affect me during the accuracy test.

Round lead balls
I tried shooting some round lead balls in the gun because a reader asked me to. Since I will also shoot them for accuracy, I selected the largest lead balls in this caliber. Beeman Perfect Rounds, which were made by H&N and are identical to the H&N Rundkugel were the ones I chose. They measure 0.176-0.177 inches in diameter and weigh 8.3 grains.

Five pumps
On 5 pumps, these balls averaged 414 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 396 to a high of 434 f.p.s. At that speed, they generate 3.16 foot-pounds.

Ten pumps
On 10 pumps, they average 504 f.p.s. and range from 480 to 522 f.p.s. They produce an average of 4.68 foot-pounds. With such a large velocity spread, I don’t look for great accuracy — especially at longer distances.

Evaluation so far
To this point, the model 35 is proving to be an interesting little pneumatic. The upcoming accuracy test of a smoothbore airgun is what I’m really waiting to see. Feeding with BBs was 100 percent positive, but with pellets it was difficult to load the gun. The lead balls loaded easily enough because they have no sharp shoulders like the pellets to grab things and turn them around. After all — they are balls — so who knows where the front is?

The trigger is heavy, but the sights are crisp. I’m looking forward to seeing what this little gun can do.

I will say this. The model 35 is very quiet! It has a No. 2 noise rating on Pyramyd Air’s site, and it deserves one. Only a Red Ryder would be reliably quieter.

Crosman’s new M4-177 multi-pump air rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


Crosman’s new M4-177 is a smart-looking M4 battle rifle lookalike.

Here we are at accuracy day with the new Crosman M4-177 multi-pump air rifle that you steady readers also know as the M417. Speaking of that, Pyramyd Air sold out of their initial supply of guns and is now selling the second shipment of guns that are still marked M417. If you want one marked in that special way, the time to act is right now.

BBs and pellets
As you know, this multi-pump pneumatic will shoot both BBs and pellets, though not at the same time. Each type of ammunition requires a different loading procedure, so before you start shooting you have to pick one type. I decided to begin with steel BBs. I’ve been testing the gun with Daisy zinc-plated BBs, but during the velocity test I also tried Crosman Copperhead BBs. In the past, Daisy BBs have been more uniform and accurate, but in this gun the Crosman BBs are doing better — at least as far as velocity goes.

Sight-in
I decided to pump the gun five times for each shot. During the initial shooting, which I did at 25 feet, I found the gun shot very high and to the left. Elevation is adjusted at the front sight which, in this case, needed to go higher to bring down the strike of the BB. I had to adjust the front post an estimated eight full turns to lower the BB by the two-plus inches that were needed. The rear sight adjusts via a slotted screw on the left side of the sight, and to move the BBs by one inch required at least four full turns of the screw. As you’ll see, my final impact point is still off by a little, but it’s close enough.

I shot in the standing supported position, using a door jamb for support. While it’s not as steady as shooting off a rest, it’s much steadier than offhand. And the whole point of the test is to find out how well the rifle performs — not how good a shot I am.

Shooting for record
I shot 10-shot groups as always, and I think you will be glad that I did. The Daisy BBs went into a group that measures 1.594 inches between the two farthest centers. Throw out just one shot, and the other nine are in 1.046 inches. That’s very good shooting for BBs at 25 feet.


Ten Daisy BBs are grouped pretty tight for 25 feet. The center of the group is a little high and to the left, but I decided to leave it there.

Next up were the Crosman Copperhead BBs, and I wondered if they would also beat the Daisys at accuracy. After all, this is a Crosman gun!

Beat them they did, with a ten-shot group measuring 1.585 inches across the two farthest centers. This time, though, there was no single stray that enlarged the group, so in general, it was more evenly spread than the Daisy target.

Ten Crosman Copperhead BBs gave this well-distributed ten-shot group measuring 1.585 inches at 25 feet.

By this point, I was definitely in the groove, so I decided to keep on shooting at 25 feet. That’s arbitrary, I know, but I plan to visit this gun one more time, and perhaps then I’ll push the distance out farther.

The M4 on pellets
It seemed like the rifle enjoyed Crosman ammunition, so for the pellet test I used Crosman Premier Super Match wadcutter target pellets. I was still pumping the gun five times for every shot. I did not adjust the sights for the first group, and the results were so encouraging that I forgot to shoot the second five pellets. So, my five-shot group measures 0.449 inches between the two farthest centers. When I saw it I had to adjust the sights just a little more to try to center the group on the next and final attempt.


Five pellets went into this 0.449-inch group at 25 feet. Not a bad start!

The second time, I remembered to reload the clip after the first five shots, so this is a true 10-shot group with pellets from 25 feet in the standing supported position. This 10-shot group measures 0.519 inches between centers, so it’s ever-so-slightly larger than the five-shot group.


Ten pellets went into this 0.519-inch group at 25 feet. This is almost a screamer.

The sights
I find the peep sights on the M4 to be the easiest sights I’ve used in a long time. In fact they remind me of M1 Carbine sights. Yes, the peep holes are large, but that has nothing to do with their precision. All a larger hole does is pass more light, which decreases your depth of field. That makes it more difficult to focus on the front sight post and keep the bullseye in sharp focus as well. But you can light the range to compensate for most of that, which is what I did. The bottom line is that I like these sights a lot.

Trigger
The trigger, I don’t care for. It’s single-stage and has a long pull that, while at 3 lbs., 8 ozs. is not heavy, it’s also not light. It’s very consistent, though, I’ll give them that.

Bottom line
I resist the tempation of calling this rifle a tackdriver, but it’s surprisingly accurate. More so than any other 760-based rifle I’ve tested or owned.

We’re not done with this airgun just yet. I plan to mount a dot sight on it and give it one more accuracy test at a longer range. But from what I see thus far, it’s a no-brainer. This is one heck of a fine air rifle!

Crosman’s new M4-177 multi-pump air rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Crosman’s new M4-177 is a smart-looking M4 battle rifle lookalike.

Before we begin, I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for, and I hope all of you do, as well. Now, on to the report.

This Crosman M4-177 multi-pump air rifle has proven to be one of the most interesting new air rifles of the season; and as a result, I’m looking at it a little more thoroughly. Today is the day we test velocity, and I have a couple other interesting things to share. One I’ll share right now…I bought the test gun. This is a neat rifle, plus this is a future collectible because Crosman will change the name stamped on the gun (from M417 to M4-177) by January 2012.

It’s a multi-pump
As a multi-pump pneumatic, the M4 allows the shooter to pump a maximum of 10 strokes, with the power varying with every new stroke. You probably don’t want to pump less than three times because the power is so low you risk getting a pellet stuck in the barrel; but from three to ten pumps, it gives you the ability to vary the power of the gun according to the situation.

How can you shoot BBs in a rifled bore?
The first question I’ll address is the fact that you can shoot both BBs and lead pellets in this rifle. It has a rifled steel barrel that will tolerate steel BBs without undue wear. Like you, I wondered what the rifling for such a combination gun must look like, so I took a reverse impression of the bore by pushing a Beeman Kodiak pellet from muzzle to breech. The rifling was engraved on the pellet, giving us a look at the bore in reverse.


This is what a Beeman Kodiak pellet looks like after traversing the M4 barrel. The lands that are shown as grooves on this pellet are sharp and high. They’re wider than the grooves.

Notice how much lead has smeared to the back of the lands and sticks out like a small tail as an extrusion at the rear of each channel. This is what barrel maker Harry Pope said was ruinous to accuracy, because it’s influenced by the expanding gasses at the instant the bullet leaves the muzzle. In other words, it’s the equivalent of a poor crown.

Now we know what the inside of the barrel looks like. Does Crosman harden their barrels to prevent wear from the steel BBs? I don’t know, but I would presume that the rifling button will work-harden the steel to a certain extent, and maybe that’s all it takes.

Shooting BBs in the M4
When you shoot the M4, you can choose between BBs and pellets but it’s a choice you must make. If you leave the BB magazine loaded and also shoot pellets, I would imagine there could be a double-feed problem. The BBs are picked up by the magnetic tip of the bolt, while the pellets are simply shoved out of the clip and into the breech when the bolt is shoved forward.

When I refer to the BB magazine, I do not mean the 350-shot BB reservoir. You can leave that full all the time and shoot lead pellets without a problem. I’m referring to the visible BB magazine that can be seen on the left side of the gun.


The visible BB magazine on the left side of the gun is filled from the internal 350-shot BB reservoir. The small switch at the right of this photo controls this magazine. Here it’s shown in the open position, so the magazine can be filled by holding the muzzle down and shaking the gun with a twisting motion. After the magazine is filled, push the switch to the rear to retain the BBs.

The instruction manual says to watch the tip of the bolt when feeding BBs into the breech. I found that to be impossible, because the 5-shot pellet clip blocks the view, and it must be in place to feed BBs. But you can watch the BBs move through the visible magazine window shown in the photo above and know for certain that a BB has been fed. Once I figured this out, there were no difficulties and feeding was reliable.

Velocity with BBs
I started with Daisy zinc-plated BBs because I’ve noted in past reports they’re the most uniform and usually give the highest velocity and the best accuracy. I decided to test the gun on five pump strokes and again on ten. That should give us an idea of what the gun can do.

On five pump strokes, the BB averaged 460 f.p.s., but the velocity spread was large. From a low of 451 f.p.s to a high of 483 f.p.s., the total spread was 32 f.p.s. Normally, I expect to see a 6-10 foot-second spread when shooting with the same number of pump strokes. However, I did see that the more I shot the gun the faster it went, up to a point. I think the pump cup needed to be warmed up through repeated use, even though I shot in 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) temperature, so it wasn’t too cold for the gun. The pump cup just needed to be flexed a bit to warm it and get it sealing all the way.

On ten pump strokes, the gun gave an average of 579 f.p.s. with the same BB. This time the spread went from 566 to 588 f.p.s., so it was still a 22 foot-second spread. Perhaps the hardness (durometer) of the pump cup material is causing such a large spread. That would probably make it a longer-lasting material, so there’s a tradeoff.

Okay, I guess it’s not fair to test a Crosman gun and not use their BBs, so I also tested some Copperhead BBs. On five pumps, the rifle averaged 465 f.p.s. with a spread from 459 to 472. That’s only 13 f.p.s., which is much tighter than the Daisy BBs.

On ten pumps, the gun averaged 581 f.p.s., so it’s also a little bit faster than with Daisy BBs. The spread went from a low of 574 to a high of 592 f.p.s., so a total of 18 f.p.s. The bottom line is that Crosman Copperhead BBs are more consistent in the M4. I guess I’ll have to try both in the accuracy test.

Pumping not that easy
I said in Part 1 that the M4 is easier to pump because the stroke is short. Well, after today’s test, I have to change that. After you pass five strokes, the effort required to pump increases; and by the end of the session, my left hand was hurting from the pump handle. Also, the gun makes quite a racket with every pump stroke because the handle slaps down hard when the stroke is finished.

Velocity with pellets
I tried only a single pellet in the rifle. I tried it on five pump strokes and on ten. The pellet I used was the Crosman Premier Super Match, which is a wadcutter target pellet that’s appropriate to a rifle in this power range. On five pumps, the pellet averaged 429 f.p.s. and ranged from 424 to 433 f.p.s. The velocity spread is much tighter when the projectile fits the bore better.

On high power the same pellet averaged 529 f.p.s. with a low of 508 and a high of 545 f.p.s. That’s a big spread for a pellet in a multi-pump rifle, so I don’t know what is going on.

What about lead balls?
I figured someone would ask about shooting round lead balls out of this rifle so I tried it. First, there was difficulty finding a ball that worked. Since lead balls aren’t magnetic, they won’t feed properly through the BB feeding mechanism, so they have to be treated like pellets and fed from the clip. That eliminates all round balls smaller than a .177 pellet because they won’t stay in the clip long enough to feed into the barrel. The only round ball that worked somewhat was a Beeman Perfect Round, which is no longer made, but is similar to the H&N round ball. These measured 0.176 inches, which is close enough that they stuck in the pellet clip — sort of. When I tried shooting them, the two that were outside the receiver fell out of the clip on the first shot, so they’re not really large enough to use in this gun.

On five pumps, the one shot I fired went 407 f.p.s.; and on ten pumps, the other two shots went 502 and 519 f.p.s. I do not recommend this ammunition in this airgun.

Impressions thus far
Today, I got past the appearance and had a good look at the functioning of the rifle. The fact that the clip has to be indexed by hand for every shot slows you down more than you might imagine. Like I said in the first report, making a multi-pump a repeater sort of misses the mark. The time that it takes to get ready for the next shot negates any speed the repeating mechanism offers.

My test gun is shooting slower than the advertised top velocity of 625 f.p.s. for this rifle. It’s close, at 581 with Copperhead BBs, but not close enough. Maybe the rifle needs to break in, or perhaps the 625 f.p.s. is what a lone maximum shot could potentially be.

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