Posts Tagged ‘JSB Exact pellets’

Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This is the new Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol. It’ll send those light little airgun silhouettes into orbit.

Today is velocity day for the Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol, and there’s much to report. For starter…what a little sweetie this pistol is! This is one of those every-so-often-they-make-a great-one guns. The trigger seems to make all the difference in the world, but the power it generates is an additional benefit.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I filled the gun to 3,000 psi, as indicated by the gauge on my carbon fiber tank. The onboard manometer read about 100 psi less. But no matter, as I only watch one gauge during the fill, and the larger one on the tank is very reliable.

Let’s shoot!
Then, I just started shooting. Since this pistol is for airgun silhouette, domed pellets are fine, and I selected Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets. The shot string is presented below.

25……484 (avg. 1st 25 shots 476)
34……487 (fastest shot in string)
50……474 (avg. for shots 26-50 482)
75……455 end

The string shows that this pistol is well above the advertised 450 f.p.s. mark. It also shows that there are more than the claimed 50 good shots in the string. Whether you start with the first shot or drop 100 psi from the fill and start with shot number 6 (that’s a guess), you’ll still get over 60 good shots. We’ve discussed shot string analysis enough by now that you understand all too well how to look at this string and evaluate it. If you’re new to this blog and would like to see that analysis in greater detail, look at this report on the first Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol to see how a long shot string should be analyzed.

Foot-pounds of energy don’t matter that much in the silhouette game, because it doesn’t take much energy to send these little metal targets flying. Even the big rams that sit out at 18 yards will be bowled over by the energy that starts out at around four foot-pounds.

In centerfire rifle silhouette, the ram is at 500 yards and a light strike by a small caliber like the .243 Winchester is likely to turn the target sideways on the stand, but not knock it off. That’s a bad thing, for the target must be knocked off its stand to count. In airgun silhouette, it takes a really poor shot to not knock it off the stand. The real problem is finding those tiny chicken silhouettes on the dirt and grass after they’ve been launched 10 yards by a pellet. So, the power of this pistol is more than adequate.

They’ve come a long way
Five years ago, Crosman couldn’t even spell PCP, and now they’re one of the world leaders in the technology! That says a lot about the company and the resolute vision they have of the future. The valve in this test pistol seems to defy belief, getting so many powerful shots from such a small reservoir. It shows that Crosman knows how to design a valve and also how to build precharged pneumatics. Twenty years ago, the world would not have believed that such efficiency could be gotten from an air pistol.

Okay, so let’s test the pistol with some more potential pellets.

RWS Hobbys
I won’t put you through the agony of the shot strings for these pellets. RWS Hobbys averaged 483 f.p.s. The spread went from 478 to 491 f.p.s. over a 10-shot string. The average muzzle energy was 3.63 foot-pounds.

RWS Hobbys aren’t used for shooting silhouettes, but they are a legitimate lead pellet that people really shoot. They demonstrate that Crosman’s advertised velocity of 450 f.p.s. is extremely conservative.

Gamo Match
The next pellet I tried was Gamo Match. This is another lead wadcutter that no one will use to shoot silhouette, but they showcase what the powerplant can do. The website says they weigh 7.71 grains, but mine must be older because they weigh 7.5 grains. They average 484 f.p.s. in the Crosmann Silhouette with a spread from 479 to 490 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 3.9 foot-pounds.

JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes
The 8.4-grain JSB Exact dome averaged 469 f.p.s. in this pistol. It’s a pellet that might be used for silhouette. The spread went from 456 to 475 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generated 4.1 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

I said in Part 1 that I would report on the new trigger and this is it. As it came from the factory, the trigger had a 1-lb. first stage, then a definite second-stage stop and it broke at 2 lbs. on the nose. Because there’s an overtravel adjustment that’s set perfectly, the trigger is the paragon of crispness. If you’re a 10-meter pistol competitor, you’ll be used to pulling through stage one and stopping at stage two, waiting for the opportune moment for the break. Then, the trigger becomes like a 1-lb. trigger because the first stage has been removed from the equation. Don’t try to over-think it. It just works that way, and you need a precision trigger to learn that. This one certainly is.

Well, there it is and that’s how it works. It’s very sophisticated, yet not very complicated. If you like good triggers, you’ll like this one. (From Crosman’s owner’s manual)

A good day of testing and promise for a great finish for this latest release. Of course accuracy matters, so we still need to see that.

RWS Diana 350 Feuerkraft 350 in .177: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Test and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Today, the Feuerkraft gets a quality scope.

When Mac did the accuracy test of the RWS 350 Feuerkraft air rifle, he got mediocre groups with the open sights, but great groups with a peep sight. The rifle quickly killed the scope he had on hand, so we asked him to mount a different scope on the rifle and try again. This time it would be a good scope on good mounts.

Scope up!
We sent Mac a Hawke Eclipse SF 6-24x50AO scope. That’s a scope so good that nobody can complain about it. We also sent him a UTG scope base that has no droop, because 350s are known to not normally droop. To mount the scope, we sent a set of UTG 30mm quick-detatchable scope rings that allow you to move scopes from one gun to another rapidly without destroying the zero. Actually, Mac did a separate test of just the scope rings that has yet to be published. When you see it, you’ll see how nice they are. For now, though, I’ll tell you that he moved the scope from another rifle over to the 350 with absolutely no fuss and only a minute’s worth of work.

Best pellet?
Mac then researched Part 3 of the report and found that the JSB Exact 10.2-grain domes were the best pellets in this rifle. So, instead of wasting his time testing a long list of possible pellets, he confined the test to just this single pellet.

Nine of the ten JSB Exact 10.2-grain domes went into a group measuring 0.62 inches at 30 yards. Shot 10 was a called flier.

Best group
In fact, this is the best group we’ve gotten from this rifle. The previous best group measured 0.66 inches and was shot using a peep sight. I have to believe that we’re seeing the potential accuracy of this rifle at this point. Please remember that these are 10-shot groups, not 5-shot. As such, they’re about 40 percent larger than the best 5-shot groups will be. However, Mac was not done testing the rifle just yet.

The group shot with peep sights was pretty good, too! It measures 0.66 inches and there were no fliers.

Another pellet
I had asked him to also try RWS Supermag pellets, which are heavy wadcutters. Remember that this is being shot at 30 yards, where wadcutter pellets don’t do so well. After 25 yards, wadcutters usually start to open up and cannot usually be counted on to deliver good accuracy. In this case, they did better than expected and gave some interesting insight into their performance. Let’s take a look at what they did.

The heavy RWS Supermag wadcutters in the 350 Feuerkraft displayed some interesting groups. Mac recorded how each pellet felt when loaded, and they landed in these corresponding groups. The overall group measures 1.21 inches across, but you can clearly see three sub-groups within, and that’s where it gets interesting.

Mac was fascinated by how the Supermag pellets felt when he loaded them, so he kept track of each one in a 10-shot group. Some loaded loose and made a lot of powerplant racket when shot, while others loaded tight and shot smooth. Two had loose heads but tight skirts. They also shot smooth. Let’s look at the group and the subgroups they made at 30 yards. All ten shots in the following group were made with the same aim point, and each had the loading feel as indicated on the target.

The most interesting sub-group is the one with four shots at the lower right. Those were the pellets that fit the bore the tightest. I see an interesting correlation between this performance and what my Ballard rifle did at 100 yards, when shooting the largest, tightest bullets I had. As you may remember, in that test the group tightened up into the smallest one of four fired that day once I learned how best to use the rifle’s sights. In firearms that shoot lead bullets, the best performance is always with bullets sized .001 inches to .002 inches larger than the bore at its widest. I wonder if there’s a similar correlation with air rifles and pellets? Well, that’s something I’ll file away and check as I test other airguns.

Overall impressions
For starters, the RWS Diana 350 rifles are big, powerful spring rifles and shouldn’t be bought unless the buyer understands what that means. They’re hard to cock, the kick hard enough to bother cheaply made scopes and they require the best holding technique for good accuracy. Unfortunately, too many brand-new airgunners look at the velocity, alone, when making their choices without understanding what it means in the spring rifle.

On the other hand, if you’re an experienced spring gunner and want the power that this model offers, it’s one of the best. It holds like a classic 1903 Springfield rifle and rewards those who take the time to do things right.

RWS Diana 350 Feuerkraft in .177: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos and test by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1
Part 2

The RWS Diana 350 Feuerkraft is a powerful magnum spring rifle. Today, we’ll begin the accuracy test.

Get ready to learn!
Today’s blog about the .177 RWS 350 Feuerkraft air rifle is going to be very educational, especially for newer shooters. What you’re about to see is a comparison of the potential accuracy when using fiberoptic sights, and then the same gun with the same pellet but using a precision peep sight and a solid black front post.

Because of the length of time this test took, we won’t explore the rifle’s accuracy with a scope today. That will be reported on in a special Part 4 report.

Fiberoptic sights
The 350 Feuerkraft has fiberoptic open sights, front and rear. Fiberoptic sights have special light-gathering tubes inserted in them. When you sight the gun, you see a red dot for the front sight and two green dots for the rear. This type of sight is designed to be very fast to acquire, so hunters use them for rapid acquisition in the field. But there’s a tradeoff.

These two green dots in the rear are supposed to frame the one red dot from the front.

This is the thousand-word picture. Here you see the enlarged front fiberoptic tube that presents a wide dot to the shooter to use as an aim point. With this much width, coupled with the imprecision of locating this dot exactly in the center of the two green rear dots, the shooter has no chance for a precise aiming point. The best you get is a general location.

Less precision
The tradeoff is a loss of precision. Because of the size of the optical dots and the difficulty in centering them exactly the same every time, your sight picture allows for several minutes of slop in all directions. In other words, you can be several inches off with every shot at 100 yards. That won’t matter to a deer hunter who is looking to make a quick shot at an eight-inch wide kill zone. But a target shooter could not do so well with that kind of setup.

As airgunners, we don’t shoot at 100 yards very often, and the amount of slop diminishes as the target gets closer. If there’s a four-minute slop at 100 yards, you would be unable to sight any closer than four inches at 100 yards. So, at 25 yards you would have a one-inch error in your aim point. Some hunters can tolerate that much sighting error, but airgunners often can’t, so you need to give this some thought. Let’s see what Mac experienced.

Ten 10.5-grain Crosman Premier pellets made this 2-inch group with the 350 Feuerkraft rifle at 30 yards. This target is a 10-meter pistol target, which Mac needed because he was using open sights at 30 yards.

Ten 9.3-grain RWS Supermag pellets made this 2-inch group at 30 yards. This wadcutter pellet cuts a nice round hole.

Ten JSB Exact 10.2-grain domes made this 1.5-inch group at 30 yards. This was the best group of the test with fiberoptic sights.

Okay, it’s easy to see that Mac is getting between 1.5 and 2 inches for 10 shots at 30 yards with the standard fiberoptic open sights that come on the 350 Feuerkraft. You probably don’t think that’s very good, and I would have to agree. But, let’s not condemn the rifle for this, because it’s not the rifle’s fault.

Kill the fiberoptics and switch to peep sights
Both Mac and I knew the rifle should be more accurate than this. And, we both know that fiberoptic sights are less than precise. Mac had a good idea — mount a peep sight on the rifle and shoot more groups. I told him my method for turning fiberoptic sights into plain sights by changing the lighting. As long as bright light doesn’t fall on the fiberoptic tubes, they don’t glow. Then the sights act just like regular open sights. In this case, Mac removed the rear sight and used a Mendoza peep sight with the front sight of the rifle. By not allowing light to fall on the front sight, he turned it into a black post that he was able to use like any other front target post. The difference in the results is stunning!

Here are 10 shots with the same JSB Exact heavy pellet and the same 350 Feuerkraft rifle at the same 30 yards. This group measures 0.66 inches center-to-center. Pretty dramatic change, no?

Mac shot a couple of groups; but since the temperature was just 16 degrees, he didn’t test all pellets. He chose to use the pellet that had been the most accurate in the first test, and the group shown was the best group he got, though he says they were all sized similarly.

Amazing difference!
This test shows two things very clearly. First, it shows that fiberoptic open sights are not very precise. That’s why I’ve objected to their use on air rifles for so many years. We need enough accuracy to hit ants at 25 yards, and fiberoptic sights have only tin-can accuracy at that distance. That should be very plain and clear to everyone who’s read this report. Mac is a great shooter, as we have seen over the past several months, and fiberoptics were a huge limiting factor to shooting the 350 Feuerkraft well.

The second thing to take away from this report is that the 350 Feuerkraft is a very accurate spring rifle. Putting 10 shots into 0.66 inches at 30 yards is equivalent to putting 5 into a third of an inch at the same distance. So, this rifle can shoot! No question about that. Mac suffered a scope failure when he was testing the rifle with a scope, though he did get a couple half-inch 10-shot groups before that happened. We’re getting him a replacement scope for a part four report.

RWS Diana 350 Feuerkraft in .177: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos and test by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1

The RWS Diana 350 Feuerkraft is a budget version of the 350 Magnum powerplant. It still comes with open sights, so nothing more to buy.

Today, we’ll look at the velocity Mac got from his .177 Feuerkraft 350. Mac is a fan of the .177 caliber because of the high velocity. He wants his rifle to shoot flat so he doesn’t have to guess the range to the target as closely, and a .177 gives him the highest velocity.

He also wants a big punch at the target. In that, he’s a lot like many of you — wanting both speed and knockdown power. As a result, he tests all powerful .177s with the heaviest pellets he can find. In this case, they’re the 16.1-grain Eun Jin domes.

When he was ready to test them, Mac discovered that the Eun Jins appeared to have many flaws. For starters, they appeared to him to have come from four different dies. Let interject something at this point. One pellet die does not make just one pellet at a time. It makes 50 or 100 pellets at a time. What Mac may have seen was a gross inconsistency from pellet cavity to pellet cavity in one die. When he tested them for accuracy, he sorted them by weight and, I suppose, by appearance. When he tested velocity, which we’re looking at today, he did not sort the pellets.

Eun Jin pellets
Mac got an average of 682 f.p.s. from the Eun Jin pellets in the Feuerkraft 350. The spread was 18 f.p.s., from 673 to 691 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 16.63 foot-pounds, which Mac feels is disappointing for such a potentially powerful air rifle. I’d like to point out that unless the rifle has been tuned to shoot heavy pellets, a spring rifle will almost always be more efficient with the lighter pellets. To tune for the heavier pellets, the piston’s weight must be increased, but the factory builds it to shoot average weight pellets.

JSB Exact heavy pellets
The next pellet Mac tried was the 10.2-grain JSB Exact dome — the one we call the heavy. It gave an average 938 f.p.s., with a range that reached from 933 to 943 f.p.s. A spread of only 10 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 19.93 foot-pounds, which you can see is a considerable gain over the Eun Jins.

RWS Superdome pellets
Next, Mac tried his favorite — RWS Superdomes. These 8.3-grain pellets averaged 1039 f.p.s,. with a range from 1028 to 1050 f.p.s., a spread of 22 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 19.92 foot-pounds, or very close to what the JSB Exact heavies gave. With that high velocity, I don’t expect much accuracy from them.

RWS Supermag pellets
The 9.3-grain RWS Supermag pellet is a heavy wadcutter that sometimes tames the more powerful spring guns by virtue of its weight. In the Feuerkraft 350, they averaged 955 f.p.s. with an 11 foot-second spread from 951 to 962 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 18.82 foot-pounds. This is good velocity performance, though it may mean nothing when we test the accuracy. That’s why both things must be considered before we can tell what the best pellet is for a given rifle.

RWS Hobby pellets
For a lightweight pellet, Mac tried the old standby RWS Hobby, a 7-grain lead pellet that averaged 1145 f.p.s. in this rifle. The spread went from 1130 to 1160 f.p.s., for a total of 30 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 20.38 foot-pounds, which was the highest energy noted during this test. Mac also noted that the pellets fit loose in the breech, though the skirts were undoubtedly blown out into the rifling upon firing.

Crosman Premier heavy pellets
Mac tried the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier heavy domed pellet next. It averaged 891 f.p.s. and the spread ranged from 874 to 911 f.p.s., for a total of 37 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 18.49 foot-pounds. The fit in the bore was tight, which I attribute to the harder lead alloy of the pellet.

RWS HyperMAX pellets
Finally, Mac tried the non-lead RWS HyperMAX pellet. These 5.2-grain wadcutters are designed to get the highest velocity out of a powerful air rifle. They averaged 1293 f.p.s in the Fewuerkraft 350 and the 24 f.p.s. spread went from 1277 to 1301 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy worked out to 19.31 foot-pounds. At this velocity, these pellets should not be very accurate. They also fit the breech very loosely.

Well, that’s a fairly complete test of the potential power of a .177 RWS Diana Feuerkraft 350. As you can see, the lighter .177 pellets are scraping up against the upper boundaries of velocity, where best accuracy is concerned. And some of them go past the limit into the no man’s land of transsonic and even supersonic flight. Those should not give much accuracy at all.

Next time w’ell test the accuracy of this rifle. Because it’s a Diana, I’m thinking it’ll do fairly well when the velocity is kept below 1,000 f.p.s. But, we’ll see.

A shrine built for a Feinwerkbau 124 – Part 13

by B.B. Pelletier

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

The November podcast has been posted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark, what would you like me to do?

A shrine built for a Feinwerkbau 124 – Part 12

by B.B. Pelletier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Beeman R7 – Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Photos and testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Beeman R7

Before we start, an update on the BSA laser designator ND-5. The price has been lowered significantly.

Man, did we have a LOT of interest and speculation about the R7 accuracy results. I guess you guys just like a little test now and then. I thought the clues I gave were huge, but some of you didn’t seem to grasp them, so today we’ll look more deeply into this rifle’s performance.

Well, how many of you guessed correctly what is wrong with out test Beeman R7? I thought you might see some similarity between what is happening with the R7 and what happened to me during the FWB 124 25-yard test. In fact, our new reader Steve picked up on that. The only difference between the two tests is that because the 124 has open sights, I was able to test it at 10 meters before relying on the scope sight, and so I knew for certain that the 124 should not give me vertical groups. The scope had to be the cause.

But Beeman doesn’t sell the R7 with open sights any more, so you can’t use that as a means of checking the rifle. However, when you see groups that are predominantly vertical, you know that the scope is probably to blame. And Mac did say he noticed this R7 has a very large droop when he first examined it. I missed his comment until this happened, but we carried the test a bit farther, so everybody will be able to see exactly what’s happening.

Because the rifle came sighted in from Pyramyd Air, Mac never checked to see where the scope was adjusted. He was shooting it just as it came from the box. He used RWS Superdomes, even though they’d given the largest groups in the previous test.

Several of you thought that Pyramyd Air simply shipped out a returned gun from another customer. That wasn’t the case. And they don’t do that the way those who implied that they do might think. When a gun comes back it gets tested before going out again. Pyramyd Air cannot afford to pay shipping on guns that have a problem, so it would be foolish to just turn around a gun that way.

I was hot off the 124 test, so after examining that large vertical RWS Superdome group in yesterday’s test I suggested that Mac crank in 40 clicks of down elevation and shoot another group. He did that, continuing to shoot RWS Superdomes, and the point of impact didn’t change! That’s clear proof that the scope is at fault. He cranked in another 40 clicks of down and shot a third group that was lower but also strung out vertically. We’re now down by 80 clicks.

After that, Mac dialed in a third set of 40 clicks down and this time he shot a well-rounded group. Finally! So, after 120 clicks of downward adjustment, the gun starts shooting circular groups with one called flier. Then, he dialed in a fourth set of 40 clicks of down and shot another elongated group!

What? That’s not supposed to happen. Once the groups start shooting in a round pattern, they’re not supposed to go back to vertical stringing. In fact, when the vertical adjustment is coil-bound, the group should be as tight as it will ever get, though not in the right location. However, looking at the whole picture at once — the 50 shots fired over 160 clicks of vertical adjustment — you’re struck by one obvious fact. There’s no sideways dispersion! It’s all up and down and very little side to side. In fact, in over 12 inches of up and down adjustment, there’s only about one inch of side-to-side. That says something, and the something that it says is that the scope’s the problem.

All shots were with RWS Superdomes. Looking at all 50 shots made during the vertical scope adjustments reveals this interesting image. There is very little sideways dispersion. The shots simply string up and down. Notice that the first 20 shots are intermingled despite 40 clicks of adjustment after the first 10 shots. Clearly, the erector tube was floating big time when this target was shot until the fourth group was fired.

After 120 clicks of down were applied, the group rounded into this pattern. It’s still not great, but at least it isn’t as vertical as the others.

After Mac shared these groups with me, I asked him to crank the scope all the way down until the adjustment knob quit turning. That would be where the erector spring becomes coil-bound. And even there, which was 200 more clicks down from what you see here, the group was still vertical.

I also asked him to try the JSB Exact 8.4-grain pellets that were the most accurate in the previous test. He did, and they strung out vertically, just like the Superdomes. They were a larger group than in the previous test. Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets delivered similar results, except the group was even larger.

So, what we have here is a scope that’s unresponsive. No amount of shimming or droop compensation will fix what cannot be fixed. At least we now know that, so we can try a different scope and see how the rifle shoots.

We also know that this particular R7 has a lot of droop. Regardless of what other scope we try, we’ll have to compensate for it.

How much better it is to know this, than to curse the darkness and send everything back to Pyramyd Air. Anyone who plans to use a telescopic sight should know how to analyze these sorts of results. You need to learn how this works, so you can diagnose problems like these when they arise.

I am pleased to be doing this report because it’ll answer so many questions I get about scope mounting and “scope shift.” I often have to drag the facts out of the person with the question, when all they want is “the answer.” One guy wanted to sight in his scope at 10 yards. Okay, I told him, but it’s going to be way off at every other range. He got angry about that and wanted to know what was the matter with scope makers that they couldn’t simply make a scope that worked the way the customer wants it to work.

Physics is the answer to that question, and not many of the people who ask it want to hear that. They don’t want to hear that since the scope and bore are in two different planes that there must be a planned intersection of the two. Because the pellet starts falling the moment it leaves the muzzle, the trajectory must be taken into account, as well.

I’m getting off the subject, which is this R7 and what we’re going to do about it. Well, Mac is going to mount a different scope on the gun after the Roanoke airgun show, and he’ll use a mount with some built-in droop compensation. We’re also talking about stripping the gun to see what’s happening in the powerplant. One of our readers also mentioned that his new R7 is dieseling just like Mac’s test gun (you can smell the diesel but not hear it), so perhaps we’ll discover something there, as well. At any rate, we are going to get to the bottom of this together.

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