Posts Tagged ‘JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo Monster pellets’

Air Arms Shamal: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Shamal
Air Arms Shamal is an attractive PCP. It was Air Arms’ first precharged rifle.

Message from Pyramyd Air
Before I begin, here’s an email message that went out from Pyramyd Air to everyone who bought a Crosman NP2 rifle from their first shipment.

Subject:
Important Information Regarding Your Benjamin Trail NP2 Purchase

Message:
Thank you for your recent purchase of the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 airgun from Pyramyd Air (Part # PY-3368-6474). We have been notified by Crosman, the manufacturer of the Benjamin Trail NP2, that there were manufacturing process variances that may have affected some of the airguns in the initial shipment. We have determined that your order came from this shipment. While the variances appear to have impacted only a small number of guns and there are no safety issues, we would like to offer you the following options:

▪ Replace your purchase with a new airgun at no charge to you
▪ Return your purchase for a full refund

Please contact our customer service department at 1-888-262-4867 by July 31, 2014, if you would like to move forward with either of these options. You can also arrange for a replacement directly through Crosman by calling 1-800-724-7486.

Our number one priority is the satisfaction and safety of our customers. We thank you for your continued loyalty and support.

Now, on to today’s report. This report covers:

• Things done differently
• Whassup?
• Ta-da!
• Summary
• Has this blog changed how you think about airguns?

Today’s report may not be very long, but it does represent an interesting bit of serendipity! This is a re-test of my Air Arms Shamal at 50 yards. Of course, that was shot outdoors at my rifle range.

Things done differently
The day was calm — perfect for shooting pellets with accuracy at 50 yards outdoors. You’ll remember that in my last test I went straight to the 50-yard range because I thought this rifle is so accurate that a lesser distance would be a wasted effort. Well, man plans and God laughs! My best 50-yard 10-shot group with 14.3-grain Crosman Premier domes, which I was sure were the most accurate pellets, measured 1.254 inches between centers. You can see that in Part 3.

While 1.254 inches for 10 shots is not that bad for 50 yards with an airgun, it’s certainly larger than I expected from this particular rifle. When I owned it before, I never shot it as far as 50 yards, but at 35 yards it was a killer. I just assumed it would hold together for the extra 15 yards; and when it didn’t in the last test, I was embarrassed.

Someone suggested that I clean the bore with a bore brush and J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound, so I did. I had to clean from the muzzle because the breech is not accessible with the bolt in the way. Because I couldn’t keep J-B Paste out of the transfer port, I didn’t use very much on the brush. Otherwise, the cleaning job was the same as always.

Then, I took it out to the range a second time 2 weeks ago, filled it with air and prepared to shoot. The Shamal is a single-shot, so getting it ready isn’t a big chore — or so I thought!

Then, I boarded the boat to Serendip. My first group on this dead-calm day put 10 Crosman Premiers into 0.818 inches! Yeah, that’s right! I shot a 10-shot group that can almost be covered by an American Quarter! Almost!

Shamal Premier group 1 with quarter and dime
The first group of 10 Crosman Premiers went into 0.818 inches at 50 yards. It can almost be covered by an American quarter. That’s phenomenal!

Whassup?
Okay, what gives? This is the same pellet, same gun, same quiet weather, same distance, same shooter. Did I suddenly have an attack of virile youth? Did I suddenly remember how to shoot again? How can my groups shrink by almost a half inch (0.436 inches), when the only thing that changed was the calendar?

And why was the Shamal suddenly accurate — like I remembered? I wouldn’t mind being an old goat who can’t shoot anymore, but this off-and-on thing drives me nuts. It makes it hard to believe anything I write — even for me.

Well, the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. So, I decided to chance a second group on the same fill. You know — just to see what would happen. In case you haven’t been following this report closely, I discovered in Part 2 that this Shamal has a maximum fill pressure of 2250 psi and gets 16 shots before needing to be refilled. I’d already shot 10 on the current fill, so I’m wandering off the power curve to shoot another 10 — or at least that’s what I thought!

The next group stretched out taller than it was wide, with a max spread of 1.126 inches between centers. That’s considerably larger than the previous group, yet still somewhat smaller than the best group from the previous test. Well, I’m now off the power curve for sure, so it’s time to fill the reservoir.

Shamal Premier group 2 with quarter and dime
The second group on the same fill was strung vertically but was also smaller than the entire previous range test — at 1.126 inches between centers. Same Premier pellet.

Ta-da!
I connected the rifle to the carbon fiber tank and began the fill. When you start filling a PCP, you can always tell how much pressure is left in the gun, because the needle on the gauge will stop moving fast and start moving slower as the rifle’s reservoir opens to accept air. The point at which that occurs is the pressure that was already in the gun’s reservoir. This Shamal has a second quirk. It makes a loud buzzing noise when the reservoir is taking a fill. So, if you missed where the needle stopped, there will always be the noise to tell you when the rifle starts accepting a charge.

This time, the needle slowed down when it hit 2800 psi on the gauge, and that’s when the buzzing began! The rifle I was shooting had been overfilled to 3000 psi.

I was so shocked by this that I almost didn’t stop the fill. But I did and the rifle now had about 2900 psi in it. Going back to what was learned in part 2, the rifle was now grossly overfilled.

But curiosity demands to be satisfied, so I disconnected from the tank and returned to the shooting bench. The next 10 Crosman Premier pellets went into an identical 1.126-inch group! Oh, there’s no doubt some small size difference between them, but none large enough to see. Curiouser and curiouser!

Shamal Premier group 3 with dime
After refilling the rifle to 2900 psi, I shot this 1.126-inch group with Crosman Premiers.

Knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that there was more than enough air remaining in the reservoir, I shot another group. These 10 went into 1.268 inches. That’s slightly larger than the smallest group I was able to shoot the last time (1.254 inches). That’s 2 more okay groups from the rifle, and a total of 4 for this day.

Shamal Premier group 4 with dime
The final group was a little larger — but not much. Ten Premiers went into 1.268 inches at 50 yards.

But I know this rifle. It takes at least 40 shots to drop the pressure from 3000 psi down to 2250 where the power curve begins. I’d just fired 20 shots toward that end, but I’d also taken up more time out of a day in which I had another airgun to test — namely the Hatsan AT44-10 Long QE (read that report later this week). So, I stopped shooting the Shamal at this point.

Summary
I don’t know what’s going on, except that when this rifle is overfilled to the point that the pellets are leaving the gun at 650-690 f.p.s., it’s more accurate than when the gun is shooting the same pellet at about 790 f.p.s. Or at least that’s what it looks like. I think I need to get back to the range and do some more testing — a lot more testing!

Has this blog changed how you think about airguns?
I initially published this section on the May 30, 2014, blog, and I’m going to repeat it at least once a week through the end of July so it doesn’t get lost or forgotten.

From the comments many of you make, it sounds like the blog may have positively impacted your shooting and/or airgunning in general. I invite you to send me an email telling me about that impact.

Were you a firearms shooter who accidentally discovered airguns through this blog? If so, tell me how this blog has helped your understanding of airguns.

Were you already an airgunner, but you thought what you saw in the big box stores was all there was? If so, how has this blog helped you understand more about airguns?

I’ve gotten quite a few responses already, but I want to make sure you know that I’m not looking for “attaboys,” pats on the back or personal recognition. I’m looking for real feedback on how the information in this blog and the comments from your fellow blog readers have enriched your airgunning experience, what you’d like to know and what you’re still unsure of. This blog is written for its readers, and I want to share your stories with others who may be where you were before you found this blog.

Pyramyd Air has created a special temporary email address so you can send me your feedback. I’ll be the only person to get these emails, and we’re not going to generate any lists from the addresses.

My plan is to publish one or more blog reports with the more interesting comments. If you give me written permission, I’ll use your real name or blog handle, otherwise your comments will be anonymous.

This email address will be live for only a few weeks. We have tens of thousands of readers worldwide. Even if you’ve never commented on the blog, email me your message. If you’re reading this blog after July 2014, email submissions will no longer be forwarded to me, and you may get an auto-reply email stating that or your email might bounce back to you.

Air Arms Shamal: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Shamal
Air Arms Shamal is an attractive PCP. It was Air Arms’ first precharged rifle.

This report covers:

• Accuracy at 25 yards
• Accuracy at 50 yards
• Pellets that didn’t work
• An observation
• Next time

We’ll begin looking at the accuracy of my .22-caliber Air Arms Shamal precharged pneumatic air rifle. We learned in Part 2 that this rifle wants to be filled to 2250 psi, rather than the 2600 psi that I remembered. Of course, the gauge on my carbon fiber tank is different than the gauge on the Shamal fill clamp that I no longer have, so some difference is to be expected. This is a good example of why a chronograph is so important when testing a PCP. If you don’t understand why I say that, read Part 2, where I used the chronograph to determine the optimum fill pressure.

I knew from previous experience the Shamal likes 14.3-grain Crosman Premier domes, so they were the first pellet I started shooting; but I have to tell you that the testing was done backwards. I actually took the rifle out to the 50-yard rifle range a couple weeks ago and shot it at that distance first, because I was certain it would not disappoint. I’ll show you those results at the end of this report, but first I’ll show you what the rifle did yesterday at 25 yards.

Accuracy at 25 yards
The range was set up in my house, so there was zero wind. Knowing that Crosman Premiers are good in this rifle, I shot the first group with them. Ten Premiers made a group that measures 0.447 inches between centers. That’s okay, but not great. I have spring guns that can do as well. I expected something closer to 0.30 inches from this rifle at 25 yards.

Shamal Crosman Premier target 25 yards
Ten Crosman Premiers made this 0.447-inch group at 25 yards.

Now, from the 50-yard test, there were a number of pellets that I already knew did not work well in the gun, so I tried some different .22-caliber pellets at 25 yards, hoping to find another good one. Alas, none of the pellets I tried were good! In a moment, I’ll include them in a list of all the pellets I’ve tried.

Accuracy at 50 yards
As I said, 50 yards was the first distance at which I shot the rifle. The day started out calm but picked up as I shot. I also had the EscapeSS to test that day, so I didn’t want the wind to get too strong. So, I shot only 4 different types of pellets besides the Premier.

Ten Premiers went into 1.254 inches, which was certainly larger than I expected. I shot the Premiers first, so the wind was calm as I shot.

Shamal Crosman Premier target 50 yards
Ten Crosman Premiers made this 1.254-inch group at 50 yards.

Pellets that didn’t work
At 50 yards the following pellets failed to group well.

JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo Monster pellets
JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo RS pellets
JSB Match Exact Jumbo Diabolo pellets
Beeman Kodiak Extra Heavy pellets

At 25 yards I tried the following pellets that did not group well.

H&N Field Target Trophy pellets
RWS Superdome pellets
H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme pellets
Eley Wasp 5.56mm pellets

An observation
The breech of this rifle is vary large. None of the pellets I’ve tried have had any resistance until the bolt pushed them past the air transfer port, which is why I tried the Eley Wasps. They’re so large that I felt they might solve the accuracy problem, but they didn’t. I think the barrel is fine, but the breech is somehow larger to accept more pellets.

Although I have only 2 groups to show you today, I did a lot of shooting with this rifle! The 50-yard groups I’m not showing were around 1.75 to 2 inches between centers. At 25 yards, I quit shooting as soon as I had a half-inch group or larger. That happened with each of the other pellets by the fourth shot.

I’m surprised that the Shamal isn’t more accurate than this. I’m not going to leave it here.

Next time
I think the obvious thing to do now is clean the barrel with J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound. Since the design doesn’t allow convenient cleaning from the breech, I’ll have to clean through the muzzle.

I plan on returning to the 50-yard range to try the rifle once more. Do you see that the groups almost triple in size going from 25 to 50 yards? That sometimes happens. Many people, including me, think a gun that shoots an inch at 50 yards will shoot 2 inches at 100 yards, but it seldom works that way. Fifty yards is a much better range to test the accuracy of a rifle like the Shamal, which ought to be a fine long-range air rifle.

Air Arms Shamal: Part 2

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

Part 1

Shamal
Air Arms Shamal is an attractive PCP. It was Air Arms’ first precharged rifle.

This report covers:

• Trigger adjustments.
• Discovering the maximum fill pressure.
• Shot count.
• Velocity with various pellets.
• Discharge noise.
• Loading.

In this report, we’ll discover the Shamal’s pressure curve, which will be instructional for all who are new to precharged airguns. As I mentioned in the first report, this rifle didn’t come with a manual; so when I got it, I had to discover the pressure curve on my own. I did, and it turned out the rifle wanted an initial fill pressure of 2,600 psi. That was on the gauge that was on the fill device that came with the rifle — the device that I no longer have. I need to find out where on the gauge of my carbon fiber tank the needle wants to be when the rifle is full. These small pressure gauges are not that precise, so the number could be off by several hundred psi. Also, the gauge on my carbon fiber tank isn’t marked in hundreds of psi. There will need to be some interpolation involved.

More than a decade has passed since this rifle was mine. I’m not sure where it’s performing today. So in all respects, this is a brand new air rifle to me. That will benefit you if you want to look over my shoulder while I do what needs to be done.

Trigger adjustments
Before I get into that, however, I first want to address the adjustable trigger. Shamals haven’t been around for a long time and there isn’t that much written about them. I want this report to serve as an owner’s manual for all who get one in the future.

The Shamal came with two different triggers — a standard one that my rifle has and an Olympic trigger that sounds more adjustable, but which I know nothing about. My trigger has 4 adjustment screws. From the back to the front (holding the rifle on your shoulder) they are:

1. The sear engagement (clockwise to reduce).
2. The first-stage travel (clockwise to reduce).
3. The first-stage weight (clockwise to increase).

and in front of the trigger:

4. The second-stage weight (clockwise to increase).

Shamal trigger adjustments
Trigger-adjustment screws: (1) Sear engagement, (2) first-stage travel, (3) first-stage weight and (4) second-stage weight.

When I tested the trigger with my electronic gauge, the firs-stage weighs just under 6 oz., and the let-off was between 12 and 14 oz. The first stage is long, which I like, and the release is as light as I like a trigger to be, so I’m satisfied with this trigger as it stands.

Discovering the max fill pressure
This is something that has to be done whenever a new gauge is used. I had data from previous tests that told me the fill pressure should be 2600 psi, so I filled from my carbon fiber tank to 2750 psi. That gave me the following velocities with the same 14.3-grain Crosman Premiers I used over a decade ago.

Shot Vel.
1     742
2    740
3    748
4    744
5    745
6    746
7    757
8    754
9    748
10   763
11   774
12  775
13   770
14   771
15   —-
16   772
17   —-
18   782
19   782
20   790
21   780
22   801
23   791
24   804
25   806*
26   793
27   800
28   799
29   801
30   —-
31   —-
32   782
33   788
34   778
35   775
36   775
37   769

*Fastest shot

The fill pressure at the end of this string was 1500 psi. This string tells me almost everything I want to know about this rifle. First, the fill pressure I used was way too high. I’ll fill the gun again to a much lower pressure and see where that gets me.

Shot count
Next, there are just under 20 good shots on a fill — down from what I thought so many years ago. I like the velocity that runs from 780 to 806 — a spread of 26 f.p.s. Looking at the curve for Premiers, I should start with shot 18, although the shot before that didn’t record, so I can’t be certain whether it was any good or not.

If I end the string at shot 34, I’ll get 17 full-power shots close to my desired range. What should the starting air pressure be? That’s solved easily.

I’ll guess that 2350 psi is the start point. I filled the rifle to that pressure and got the following results.

Shot Vel.
1     773
2     770
3     774
4     781

Okay, as the pressure inside the gun has decreased with each shot, the velocity has increased. The last shot was 781 fps, which is as low as I want the velocity to go on the power curve I’m willing to accept. The gun’s reservoir pressure has now dropped to the maximum pressure that will give me a velocity on my desired power curve (781 fps).

The velocity of 781 is at the bottom of the power curve that I have identified for this rifle. Since my last shot was 781, the rifle is now on the power curve. The pressure in the reservoir is now at the highest it can be and still give me the velocity I want. From this point on, as the rifle’s reservoir pressure drops, the velocity will either increase or remain stable. As long as it’s at 780 fps or higher, the rifle is on the power curve I’m looking for.

Now I can find the ideal starting fill pressure for my desired velocity range. All I have to do is start to fill the airgun, again. When the needle stops moving fast, indicating the fill hose is full and the gun’s intake valve has just opened, I stop the fill by closing the tank’s valve and look at the needle. The needle is pointing at the air pressure that is in the gun’s reservoir. I can see on the gauge that this rifle likes a starting fill pressure of 2250 psi!

To confirm that I’m right, I fired one more shot with Premiers. It went 781 f.p.s. Bingo! I’m right at the start of the power curve, with at least 16 more good shots in the reservoir.

I also discovered that the rifle performs very much the same as it did long ago. I’m using a different chronograph, yet the velocities from the late 1990s and today are within a few f.p.s. of one another.

The power curve I’ve accepted gives me an average velocity of 792 f.p.s., which is good for 19.92 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Other pellets
I will now test the velocity of other pellets, but I’m not going to shoot long strings and get the averages. I will shoot 2 of each pellet and take the lowest velocity of each pellet as the average for that pellet. While that’s not exact, it’s far faster than shooting whole strings and averaging. I know I’m on the power band for the next 16 shots; and if I use even fewer than 16 shots (4 pellets x 2 shots each = 8 shots), I can be sure that all of them are on the power band. The power band is the place where the velocity of any pellet will vary the least.

Eun Jin domes
This 28.4-grain Eun Jin dome pellet gave me velocities of 592 and 586 f.p.s. Taking the lower number as the average, I get a muzzle energy of 21.66 foot-pounds.

Beeman Kodiaks
The Beeman Kodiak pellet weighs 21.14 grains and gave me velocities of 683 and 680 f.p.s. That’s very close to the “magic” velocity of 671, where the weight of the pellet in grains equals the energy in foot-pounds. Using the low figure of 680 f.p.s., this pellet gave an energy of 21.71 foot pounds at the muzzle.

JSB Exact Jumbo Monsters
Next, I tried JSB Exact Jumbo Monsters — a 25.4-grain pellet. They gave me velocities of 584 and 611 f.p.s. Using the lower number, that’s a muzzle energy of 19.24 foot-pounds.

The bottom line is that this Shamal is a 20 foot-pound air rifle as it’s operating now. That’s what it was when I owned it in the 1990s. So, the rifle hasn’t changed, but the gauges have changed and so has my perception of the total number of shots that are available. So, this update was important to the operation.

Discharge noise
I don’t know what I was thinking when I reported the Shamal as a quiet air rifle before, but it isn’t. It sounds exactly as loud as a .22-caliber Benjamin Discovery running at the same power.

Loading
Someone asked about the loading room at the breech, and on this rifle there’s a generous amount. There’s no loading trough, so it’s easier to get your fingers behind the breech with a pellet. And all pellets load easily because there’s no rifling at the breech. Rifling doesn’t start until after the air transfer port, which is deep inside the breech. The bolt nose has a long probe that pushes the pellet past the air transfer port and into the rear of the rifling.

Shamal breech with pellet
That’s a 28-grain Eun Jin standing on the receiver. It’s one of the longest .22-caliber pellets around. As you can see, there’s plenty of room at the breech.

That’s it for this look. Next time I’ll scope the rifle and head to the range.

Shamal right

My new Benjamin NP Limited Edition: Part 2

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

Part 1

Today’s report is a second installment from our blog reader RifledDNA, a.k.a. Stephen Larson. He’s modified his new Benjamin NP Limited Edition and wants to tell us how it’s going.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Over to you, RifledDNA.

Benjamin NP Limited Edition
Benjamin Nitro Piston, Limited Edition. This is what the rifle looks like out of the box.

Today is part 2 of my new NP Limited Edition, and we’ll look at what’s changed on the .22-caliber rifle since I took it out of the box, what pellets it likes so far and the accuracy I’ve been able to achieve. I wrote an earlier part 2; but the day after it was finished, Crosman alerted me they had a new stock for me. A few days after that, my order of pellets would arrive. It made sense to wait until these things were available for inclusion in this report. Both packages arrived, the stock was installed, the pellets have been tested and I can now tell you everything that has happened in one big mess of journalistic chop suey.

First, let’s see what I’ve changed on the gun. In the first report, I told you how uncomfortable and misconfigured the grip and trigger assembly seemed to me. I’m used to pistol grips, and the Benjamin NPS was designed for one. I knew that a stock with a pistol grip that fit properly must be found.

I approached Crosman and asked for a Benjamin Legacy Jim Shockey stock based on the fact that rifle is similar to my rifle and both have the highly angled forearm screws. While these things are true, the receiver tube of my NP Limited Edition is 1/8th of an inch wider than the tube of the Legacy NP, and the forearm screws are not located in the same place.

The screw holes needed to move an inch back to line up with the screw holes in my rifle; and the stock above the trigger, where the end of the spring tube rests, had to be notched, allowing the stock to open wide enough to receive the larger diameter receiver — say that 5 times fast!

Benjamin NP Limited Edition notched stock
I notched the stock at the back so it would relax and accept the larger NP Limited Edition spring tube.

Benjamin NP Limited Edition screw holes
The forearm screws had to be moved back about an inch.

Anyway, the action has now been fitted into the new stock, and it makes me very happy. Although it’s Mickey-Moused in, it’s solid. While someone might notice the screws are now in a different spot, shooting yields no problems. Quite the contrary. It fits my hand wonderfully, and the trigger is easily accessed and is in a location that feels natural to me. Thank you, Crosman!

Benjamin NP Limited Edition new butt
The new buttstock has an adjustable cheekpiece.

Benjamin NP Limited Edition new stock
The new stock and modified rifle now fit my shooting style.

I told you about thinning the trigger in the first report. I also told you the barrel is shorter, down to 10.75 inches. [Editor's note: You did? I can't find any reference in Part 1 where you told us how long the barrel is.] I originally had plans to shorten and rethread the barrel to put the shroud back in place. I wasn’t able to get the barrel threaded; and different configurations, though effective for the noise level, were not making me happy. I found that the unmodified level of noise is not offensive, anyhow and have abandoned the attachments. The short barrel is simple and manageable. For my style of shooting, ease of movement means making the shot.

I also removed the anti-beartrap safety and can now decock the rifle. I think the ability to dencock is very important and have done so countless times already, so I’m glad I did this. [Editor's note: Removing a safety device like the anti-beartrap device cancels your warranty protection and places the liability for any accidents with the gun squarely on you.]

The trigger modifications improve performance; the shortened barrel improves performance (I believe); the stock that now fits me better improves both performance and appearance. Removing the anti-beartrap device gives me the option of decocking the gun.

Two more performance mods were applied. First, the breech seal was replaced with a nice, thick leather one. I noticed a change in the discharge sound when I did this, and it seems the gun loses no pressure at the breech with the new seal. It may have been losing air with the thin factory o-ring. The difference in contact area of the seal is about 10-fold, so I would hope it seals better!

Second, while the barrel and breech were off the gun, I opened the transfer port by just a hair, maybe one-sixty-fourth of an inch. Without a chronograph, I can only tell you these things haven’t hurt the performance. I believe they’ve probably helped velocity and have definitely helped accuracy. The short barrel and powerful Nitro Piston have the pellets hitting their marks as soon as the trigger breaks.

That brings me to the pellets. I had very little pocket change to scrape together an order of pellets, but I did manage to buy three and get the fourth tin free! I ordered two tins of Beeman Round Nose. I had good luck with Beeman Pointed pellets in a .177 Crosman TR77. At ~3 bucks a tin, these .22 domes work surprisingly well. They’re also very soft, which helps with energy transfer. They were the second most accurate pellet.

The two other tins I bought were JSB Exact Monsters and RWS Superdomes. The Monsters were bought to test the powerplant’s limits with pellet weights. My Ruger Blackhawk Elite spring rifle rebounded when a too-heavy pellet was used, and I wondered if the Nitro Piston powerplant might act the same. It doesn’t. It shoots them smoothly but not very accurately.

The most accurate pellets were the Superdomes. They also seem to run very fast. Again, no chrony, but on a super moist rainy day they were creating supersonic cracks. Shooting in dry weather they did not, so either the moisture lubricated everything to send them supersonic or wet air cracks more easily. Interesting.

The RWS Superdomes shoot like laser beams. Since I bought the NP for small game hunting, I shot a 10-shot, 20-yard group with one extra shot, a first-shot-counts test right out of the bag at a small liquor bottle (not mine, found it on the ground on the way to the shooting spot). That shot went dead-center on the 1.25″x2.5″ body of the bottle. That’s good plinkin’ in my book.

I set up a 5.5″ Caldwell Orange Peel target on the side of an old 4-slot toaster, settled in on the canvas folding sports chair rest and put ten Superdomes in a group that’s covered by a nickel. The hole in the paper target looks quarter-sized, but the holes in the toaster metal show 5/8 inch center-to-center. Two shots opened up the group, but 7 or 8 went into a little under a half-inch group.

Benjamin NP Limited Edition target
Ten RWS Superdome pellets at 20 yards made this group. It looks larger on paper than it really is.

Benjamin NO Limited Edition toaster group
The holes in the toaster metal show how tight this group really is. The coin is a dime.

All in all, I’m very happy with the NP. With the new stock and short barrel, I can achieve hunting accuracy out to about 35-40 yards using the pellets I’ve tested so far. If another pellet shows up that shoots better, and I keep shooting the gun well, I can see this NP easily shooting an inch consistently at 50 yards.

That’s about it. Besides a little more trigger time and work (it’s still a little creepy), the gun is in top form with no more changes to be made. I’m now just heading out to enjoy the fruits of my labor as often as possible. When I get a chrony, I’ll let everyone know to be on the lookout for part 3. Until then, thanks for reading!

Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Hatsan AT-P1 air pistol
Hatsan AT P1 air pistol

It’s taken me awhile to get back to this pistol because I injured my hand, so I couldn’t fill the Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol from the hand pump for a couple of weeks, but last Friday I was at it again — probably for the last time. You may remember that I discovered that the AT P1 likes a fill pressure of 3,200 psi — which is sort of ironic in light of several recent reports I’ve done. This time, I used the Hill pump to fill the gun to that pressure to see if there are 10 good shots on a fill. That was the problem before — the circular clip holds 10 pellets, but the gun didn’t seem to want to shoot more than 7 of them on a single fill of air.

I decided that instead of wasting time with a lot of different pellets, I would concentrate on the one good pellet that I knew gave the best accuracy. That’s the Beeman Kodiak. First, I filled the gun to 3,200 psi, then loaded the clip and inserted it into the gun. Someone asked me how I held the gun to shoot it, given that it’s scoped with a Leapers UTG 3-9X40 AO rifle scope. The eyepiece has to be held within 2-3 inches of the eye in order to see the image. There’s a way to hold the gun that uses the scope as one of the handles, and that’s what I did. I photographed it for you, so you can see it as I describe the hold.

Hatsan AT P1 air pistol held on bag
This is how I held the pistol on the bag. My hand is holding the back of the scope and positioning it close to my sighting eye.

I hold the back of the scope at the eyepiece and let my hand separate the rear of the scope from my sighting eye by the required distance. My hand is pressed against my safety glasses to maintain the separation. The weight of the pistol rests directly on the bag, so all my other hand does is keep the pistol steady. With this hold, I can squeeze the trigger without moving the gun.

This hold is one I learned while shooting the LD Mark I pistol from Tim McMurray. That’s a Crosman Mark I Target pistol that Tim converts to add a longer bafrrel, a CO2 tank hanging down from the grip and a rifle scope mounted on top — just like this one. With the LD, I rested the external tank on my chest and held the scope like you see here. That gave me near-rifle accuracy.

The result is a steady hold — especially when you consider I’m shooting only 25 yards. I don’t recommend holding a recoiling firearm pistol this way, but you can get away with it on a PCP.

First target
All targets were shot at 25 yards. The first target looked very good until the final shot. I could see that the pistol was grouping low and to the left, but all I was interested in was the size of the group. It could always be moved later with a simple scope adjustment. The group that formed looked very encouraging until the last shot, as I said. I could clearly see that one go high and into the center of the bull, ironically enough. But when I walked downrange to examine the target more closely, it wasn’t as good as it had seemed. A line of four shots appears to the right of the main group, and they’re strung vertically up to the center of the bull. The last one is the highest one. I never saw the other 3 shots in the string, so they could have been any of the preceding 9 shots. All I could see through the scope was the large group that formed at 7 o’clock on the edge of the bull.

Hatsan AT P1 air pistol 25 yards Kodiak target 1
Ten Beeman Kodiak pellets went into this 0.699-inch group at 25 yards.

I guess this first target took the wind from my sails. It was no better than any of the previous targets shot with this pistol. My idea that a higher fill pressure would keep 10 shots in a tighter group was bogus. But I still had time on the range, so I thought something else was in order. I adjusted the scope higher and to the right just a little, to correct for where the Beeman Kodiaks had grouped. Then, I loaded the gun with 10 JSB Exact Monster pellets. The Monster pellet weighs 25.4 grains, making it even heavier than the .22-caliber Beeman Kodiak. And it’s a JSB. I wondered if this might be the pellet that turns things around for the AT-P1 pistol.

Target 2
Alas, it wasn’t. It turned things around, all right, but not for the better. The pellets were all over the place! In the end, 10 of them printed a group measuring 1.933 inches at 25 yards. It’s more of a full-choke shotgun pattern than a group shot from a rifled barrel!

Hatsan AT P1 air pistol 25 yards JSB Monster target
Ten JSB Exact Monster pellets went into this 1.933-inch group at 25 yards. Obviously, not the right pellet for this pistol.

Final target
Now, I was really downhearted. I switched back to the Kodiaks and give them one final try. The gun was, again, filled to 3,200 psi, and 10 more pellets went downrange. This time, the results were not as good as the first time. Ten pellets made a group that measured 1.211 inches between centers. It was higher on the target and also centered better, which proves my earlier statement that the group can always be moved by adjusting the scope, but things were not getting better.

Hatsan AT P1 air pistol 25 yards Kodiak target 2
Ten Beeman Kodiak pellets went into this 1.211-inch group at 25 yards. Though they are positioned better on the bull, this group is almost twice the size of the first one.

Outcome and final evaluation
I put a lot of time and energy into testing the Hatsan AT-P1 pistol. The reward was not worth the effort, in my opinion. While I agree that Hatsan does know how to make a fine precharged air rifle, the AT-P1 pistol is not as refined as the rifles they make. It’s too large and too coarse for what it delivers. I wanted it to succeed because there aren’t that many nice PCP pistols to choose from, but the test results do not live up to the hope.

I think that if you’re interested in an airgun like thi,s you should look at the AT-P2 pistol, which comes with a shoulder stock. That way, you won’t have to learn how to hold the gun like I did here. As long as you know how few shots you’re going to get on a fill of air (7) — and you manage that, you’ll be fine.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Evanix Rainstorm 3D Bullpup
Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup PCP air rifle. Since this is such a powerful and loud air rifle, I decided not to shoot it in my house. So, today is a 25-yard accuracy test that was conducted at my rifle range. I doesn’t matter, though, because 25 yards is the same indoors or out.

You may recall that I adjusted the trigger last time. I said I got it as light as it would safely go because the adjustment acts on the sear contact area, so this day on the range was the first real chance I had to test it under real shooting circumstances. Although it’s a little heavy at 6 lbs., 10 oz., it’s now reasonably crisp. There is no significant creep in the trigger, which for a bullpup is pretty amazing. It’s about the same as some military rifle triggers. I can shoot this rifle with no excuses.

Someone thought that the rifle would be easy to cock because the sidelever is on the right side of the receiver. Well, touch your right shoulder with your right index finger to get an idea of how easy it is. I found it best to dismount the rifle from my shoulder to cock it each time.

Another assumption I made while in my office was that the Bug Buster scope that comes with medium-high rings would work well on this rifle. Size-wise it does look good; but when I went to shoot off the bench, I discovered that the high rings will be best, after all. That’s no reflection on the Bug Buster scope — the rings just need to be higher. As it is now, I have to tilt my head severely to see the image.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavys
While I usually begin any shooting session at 10 feet to check the scope’s alignment, this time I settled down at 25 yards and just started shooting. The pellets for the first group landed 3 inches low and 1.5 inches to the left, which is not bad for just mounting the scope and shooting without sighting in. The first group was 10 JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets — an 18.1-grain dome that often works well in airguns in this 40 foot-pound power range.

The first group measures 0.574 inches for 10 shot at 25 yards. I thought that was an auspicious start for this rifle.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup 25 yards JSB Exact Jumbo 18-grain group
Ten shots into 0.574 inches at 25 yards is a good start.

The rifle doesn’t move when it fires. I think that’s due to the weight, though I had a good hold on it, since I was in a somewhat odd position and had a tight grasp, just to see through the scope.

JSB Exact Jumbo Monsters
After the first group, I adjusted the scope by guesswork and brought the next group up to just under the bull I was aiming at. This was with a clip of the 25.4-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Monster pellets. This is another dome that’s even heavier than the tried-and-true Beeman Kodiaks. They acted like they wanted to group, but a couple strayed outside the main concentration, making me think they’re not the best for this rifle. Too bad; because at that weight, they really pack the punch.

Two pellets got stuck in the clip and had to be unloaded and reloaded to work right. That would be reason enough not to pick this pellet.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup 25 yards JSB Exact Monster 25-grain group
Ten JSB Jumbo Monster pellets went into 0.942 inches at 25 yards. Two pellets got stuck in the clip, so this pellet is not recommended for the 3D bullpup.

Eun Jin
Next, I tried 10 of the 28.4-grain Eun Jin domes. They just barely fit in the clip lengthwise and 2 got stuck in the magazine; but if they were accurate enough, I could overlook any shortcomings just to get the extra power. Ten landed in a group that measures 0.666 inches. That’s pretty darned good when the extra power is needed.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup 25 yards Eun Jin group
Ten Eun Jin pellets went into 0.666 inches at 25 yards. Two pellets got stuck in the clip, so this pellet is only recommended for this rifle when you need the extra power.

Beeman Kodiak
It was time to try the Beeman Kodiaks that I thought might be one of the best pellets in this rifle. And I was right! Ten of them went into a group measuring 0.491 inches — the smallest group of the test! Don’t be misled by the appearance of this group. It does appear larger than the first group, but careful measuring shows that it’s smaller.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup 25 yards Beeman Kodiak group
Ten Beeman Kodiaks went into 0.491 inches at 25 yards. No pellets were stuck in the clip, so this is the pellet of choice for the Evanix 3D bullpup.

RWS Superdome
The last pellet I tried was the 14.5-grain RWS Superdome. It’s a very popular pellet — especially among spring-gun shooters, so I thought I’d include it in this test. Boy, what a dramatic finish it was! Ten Superdomes went into a group that measures 2.914 inches between centers! If I hadn’t shot it myself I wouldn’t have believed it after seeing all those other groups! Obviously, I’m not going to recommend Superdomes for the Rainstorm 3D bullpup!

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup 25 yards RWS Superdome group
Ten RWS Superdomes went into 2.914 inches at 25 yards. This is a non-starter for this rifle.

Cool carrying case
A while back, AirForce Airguns presented me with a TalonP pistol that I tested for you. They were kind enough to put it in one of their soft carry bags, and I found that it fits this bullpup perfectly! After posting this, Edith told me that the bag is no longer being made. If you are buying the 3D, you might want to try one of the tactical bags made by Leapers. They’re about the same size and are already linked to the gun on Pyramyd Air’s site.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup AirForce case closed
The AirForce tactical bag is perfect for the Rainstorm 3D bullpup.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup AirForce case open
Besides the rifle, there are many zippered pockets for the rest of your shooting stuff.

General impression thus far
I learned in this session that, while the Bug Buster is a wonderful scope, the medium-high rings it comes with are too low for this bullpup. Since I’ll be changing the rings anyway, I’ll use this opportunity to mount a different scope on the Rainstorm 3D bullpup.

I also learned that JSB Exact Jumbo Heavys (the 18.1-grain dome) and Beeman Kodiaks are the 2 best pellets in the test rifle. Next time, I’ll shoot these 2, plus perhaps one additional pellet I haven’t tried yet. That will be the final test at 50 yards.

The bullpup configuration was never meant to be shot from a bench. It would feel and handle much better in the offhand position, I’m sure. But the test was to prove how well the rifle shoots, which is why I shot it rested.

The long pull length is no hinderance whatsoever. I found that it supports the bullpup configuration and helps you control a rifle that’s otherwise too short.

If this is a rifle that fascinates you, I would have to say it’s probably a good one to get. I’ll still shoot it at 50 yards, but I believe today’s test shows all that you wanted to see.

Cometa Lynx V10 precharged repeating air rifle: Part 4

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

Cometa Lynx V10 precharged air rifle

The Cometas Lynx V10 is an exciting precharged repeater.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Before I start, here’s a reminder that the Roanoke Airgun Expo will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 19 and 20. If you can come, try to arrive on Friday (noon to 7 p.m.), because that’s when the best deals are found — though there can be some good local walk-ins on Saturday. They say the show goes 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, but don’t believe it. By 1:30 the place starts clearing out fast.

The location is in the Roanoke Moose Lodge #284 at 3233 Catawba Valley Drive in Salem, VA, but don’t expect to find it with Map Quest. Just drive up Catawba Valley Drive (which is on Map Quest) several miles until you see the Moose Lodge on a hill on your right.

Mac and I will have a couple tables there. Mac’s bringing a couple 10-meter guns, and I’m bringing that cased FWB 124 I wrote about. Other dealers like Larry Hannusch will be there, and you never know what you will find at this show. Several of our regular blog readers such Fred from the PRoNJ and RidgeRunner will also be there. If you’re a blog reader, please stop by my table and say hi. Okay, let’s get to today’s report.

Today, I’ll show you the results of shooting the Cometa Lynx precharged air rifle at 50 yards. This is the real acid test for any air rifle — precharged or otherwise. They may hold together well out to 35 and even to 40 yards, but I’ve found from long experience that 50 yards separates the good ones from the great ones. And it exposes the ones that can’t keep up.

And here’s an important reminder for newer readers. I shoot 10-shot groups unless there’s a good reason not to. I always tell you if I’m shooting less than 10 shots. Five-shot groups simply do not test a rifle’s accuracy. What they test are the laws of chance, a shooter’s hopes and a bunch of other things that aren’t important, but 10-shot groups prove the real accuracy of the airgun.

My groups will always be larger than those you see elsewhere. Ten shots will group larger than 5 shots in so many cases that it isn’t worth thinking about. Whenever I go back and read these reports to find out the accuracy of an airgun I’ve tested, I’m so glad when I tested it with 10 shots and disappointed if I tested it with less. I hate the additional work it entails, because every one of those shots has to be perfect, but the result is well worth the effort.

News from AirForce
The day before I went to the range last week to test this rifle, I got a call from John McCaslin of AirForce. He told me they’ve been testing all the Lynx rifles and they found that dialing the power back to 20 foot-pounds produced better results for them. You’ll recall from Part 2 that our Lynx is putting out pellets at close to or just over 30 foot-pounds. So, based on that information, I went to the range with the power dialed back to about 20 foot-pounds.

I did that over the chronograph the day before going to the range. There were two pellets that John told me were giving him good results — the 15.9-grain JSB Exact pellet that had not done so well for me at 25 yards and the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy that was the best pellet in my 25-yard test.

John told me to adjust the velocity until the 15.9-grain JSB was going about 750 f.p.s., so that’s what I did. It took 2 complete turns of the power adjustment screw to get it to that velocity, where it produces 19.86 foot-pounds, and I nailed that average.

Cometa Lynx V10 precharged air rifle power adjustment
The Allen screw atop the rear of the receiver (in the upper right corner of the photo) is loosened so the power adjustment screw can be turned. I had to remove the scope to loosen the top screw, so I left it loose for adjustments at the range. The position of the Allen wrench leg tells you where the adjustment has been moved relative to where you began.

To adjust the power, loosen the locking screw atop the rear of the receiver, so the power adjustment screw will turn. I had to remove the scope to get at this screw; but if I owned this Lynx, I’d cut the short leg off an Allen wrench for this job. Then the scope could remain in place.

Since I was going to the 50-yard range and the 4.5-14×42 Hawke Tactical Sidewinder scope was available, I installed it at this time. It’s the clearest scope I have, and I wanted to give the Lynx every opportunity to shine.

Beautiful day!
I get to the range very early to avoid the wind that always picks up in this part of the country. Unfortunately, on this perfectly calm day, there was another shooter already there and he was one of those super-gregarious types who likes to tell you his life’s story in 30 minutes or more (per anecdote!), so I had to be a little rude. If I’m not done shooting by 9 a.m., I’m out of time because the breeze almost always kicks up. I also had the Rogue to test on this day, but I tested the Lynx first because the Rogue’s bullets are heavy enough to buck a little breeze.

The first pellet I tested was the 15.9-grain JSB. Unfortunately, the test rifle still did not like it, even at 20 foot pounds, so I stopped the group after just 6 shots. The group was already at 1.871 inches, and I didn’t see any future in it. As I said, I was burning sunlight fast and trying to pull away from Gabby the Gunman on the next bench, so I shifted to the 18.1-grain pellets next. We were the only two shooters at the entire range complex and, with a dozen benches on the 50/100-yard line, he had to sit right next to me and shoot his short-barreled Remington 600 in .308! The blast reminded me of tank gunnery!

Cometa Lynx V10 precharged air rifle JSB 15.9-grain-target
Even at 20 foot-pounds, the test Lynx still does not like JSB 15.9-grain pellet. I shot only 6 times at 50 yards.

While it sounds like I’m rushing, I’m actually taking a lot of time with each shot. I’m just moving as fast as possible for everything besides shooting. But with 10-shot groups, it’s vital that no shot can be called a flyer. Because if it can, you have to shoot the group over again.

The 18.1-grain pellet was much better at 50 yards, though the final shot did open the group quite a bit. But it was a perfect shot on my end — that was just where the pellet went. Ten shots went into a group measuring 1.756 inches, but 9 of them went into 1.005 inches. And this was on low power, with this pellet going about 710 f.p.s. The breeze was just beginning to kick up, so I adjusted back to high power and shot another group.

Cometa Lynx V10 precharged air rifle JSB 18.1-grain-group-low-power
Ten 18.1-grain JSB Exacts made this 1.756-inch group at 50 yards. Nine went into just more than one inch.

You might wonder how I adjusted power at the range. I didn’t have to use a chronograph, because the day before I’d discovered that the Lynx will return to a certain power level based on how far the screw is turned. All you have to do is watch the short end of the Allen wrench and use it as an indicator. I knew that two complete turns of the screw would put me back where I wanted to be, so it was that simple.

On high power, 10 shots went into 1.47 inches, but 9 of them went into 1.108 inches and 8 made a group that measures just 0.928 inches between centers. See what I mean about 10-shot groups? I shot only a couple of them, and yet I got data as good as a handful of 5-shots groups. Because with a 5-shot group, you never know….

Cometa Lynx V10 precharged air rifle JSB 18.1-grain group-high-power
The high-power setting was better. Ten 18.1-grain JSB Exacts made this 1.47-inch group at 50 yards. Nine went into 1.108 inches and 8 made a 0.928-inch group.

The breeze was starting to pick up, and I needed to get on with the Rogue test, so there was time for just one more pellet — the big 25.4-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Monster. It had shown promise at 25 yards, so I wondered how it would translate to 50 yards. The gun was still at 30 foot-pounds, so the power should be fine. Even at this level, this heavy pellet only goes 741 f.p.s. But this one did not want to group at 50 yards! The pellets were shooting such a large open group that I didn’t even bother completing it. And I can’t show it to you because several shots were off the target paper (but still visible on the paper backer I always use).

So my test shows that the Lynx seems to group 10 good pellets into just over one inch at 50 yards. That’s good, but it has a lot of competition at the same price or better.

Final observation
The Lynx has a regulator, so it gets more shots than unregulated guns shooting at the same power. When it’s on the reg, those shots are very consistent. It has both a magazine and a single-shot adapter, so you can be satisfied either way.

Although several readers did not like the appearance of the wood stock, I like it. The work seems on par with any other high-end PCP stock. I also liked the standard Foster quick-disconnect fill fitting. And the shroud certainly works well, as the rifle never hints at the power it produces — it sounds like a .22-caliber Diana 27 springer running at 475 f.p.s.

I expect the accuracy will be the biggest sticking point for most people. With the Talon SS, Condor and Marauder on the market — all of which can produce smaller groups at 50 yards under perfect conditions — a fellow would really have to love the Lynx. He might like it because, unlike the AirForce rifles, it has a wood stock, or unlike the Marauder, the stock is slim and trim. Either way, now you know the whole story.

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