Posts Tagged ‘pellet pistol’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today is accuracy day with the Gamo P-25 air pistol. I inserted a fresh CO2 cartridge into the gun, loaded both of its 8-shot rotary clips and then slid the magazine into the grip.
I shot the pistol at 10 meters, which seems appropriate for a gun of this type. I shot it rested with a two-hand hold and my arms resting on the sandbag but the pistol free to move.
The pistol has open sights that are not adjustable. They have white dots, both front and rear, but that was cancelled by lighting the target brightly and shooting from a dimly lit place. I used a 6 o’clock hold, and the sights were very sharp and easy to align.
Because each rotary clip holds 8 pellets, I shot 8-shot groups instead of the usual 10. I don’t think it makes a big difference; and when you see the targets, I think you’ll agree.
The P-25 has blowback, so every shot except the first is single-action. I therefore cocked the hammer for that first shot, so all shots were single-action. It’s the most accurate way to shoot any handgun.
RWS Hobby pellets
The first pellets I shot were RWS Hobbys. Because they’re wadcutters, they left good holes in the target paper that were visible from the firing line. The pistol shot Hobbys to the left, as you can see, but the elevation was pretty good. The pistol’s sights are not adjustable, so to move the shots means you have to either aim off or use some Kentucky windage.
The group isn’t very impressive — 8 shots in 2.169 inches at 10 meters. Perhaps one of the other pellets will do better.
Gamo Match pellets
The next 8 pellets I shot were Gamo Match wadcutters. These pellets will sometimes be very accurate in a particular gun, but the P-25 I’m testing isn’t one of them. Eight shots went into 2.894 inches, though 7 of them are in 1.846 inches. Still, neither group size is especially good. They did go to approximately the same point of impact as the RWS Hobbys, however.
Crosman Premier lites
Next, it was time to try some 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lites. These domed pellets are sometimes the very best in certain airguns. And this was one of those times. Eight of them went into 1.624 inches, though they also went way over to the left.
Gamo Raptor PBA
The last pellet I tried was the lead-free Gamo Raptor PBA. We know from the velocity test that these pellets go the fastest in the P-25, but now we’ll see how accurate they are.
And the answer is — not very. Eight PBA pellets made a shotgun-like pattern that measures 4.036 inches between centers. Interestingly, they did tend to group in the center of the target — the only pellet of the 4 tested to do so.
This was one time I found myself hoping for greater accuracy from the test gun because it was so much fun to shoot. The blowback action is quick, crisp and comes as close to the recoil of a .22 rimfire pistol as I think I’ve experienced in an air pistol. Although the trigger is long and full of stops and starts, it’s also light and can become predictable after you learn its quirks.
The lack of adjustable sights means you have to find a pellet that shoots to center and is also accurate. Good luck with that. If Premier lites had shot to the center, they would have made this test end on a higher note. Because it shoots lead pellets from a rifled barrel, I’d hoped for better accuracy than this. Had I seen it, I would have rated this Gamo P-25 a best buy.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Gamo P-25 air pistol, and something interesting that happened. Normally, I report on the velocity of 3 or 4 pellets and leave it at that, but a strange thing happened with the first CO2 cartridge in the test pistol.
I didn’t screw the piercing screw deep enough into the CO2 cartridge, resulting in the gas flow being hindered. I’ve experienced this a few times in the past, but this time it was very pronounced. After each shot, there was a period of time that ranged from 5 to 10 seconds, during which the gas flowed audibly from the cartridge into the gun’s valve. It sounded like a leak in the gun, but I noticed it only lasted a few seconds before stopping, so it wasn’t venting to the outside. It was the gas flowing from the cartridge into the gun’s valve, where it would be used for the next shot.
Shooting the pistol in the rapid-fire mode proved impossible with this first cartridge. The first shot went out at the normal velocity, and shot 2…fired immediately after the first shot…clocked 88 f.p.s. through the chronograph.
It was my fault
So, I screwed the piercing screw much deeper into the next cartridge. Problem solved! Don’t be tentative when piercing a cartridge in this pistol. Do it like you mean it. After I pierced the second cartridge correctly, the pistol performed exactly as expected. Rapid-fire worked as you would expect, and the gun kept up with my trigger finger.
The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby. Weighing 7 grains, the all-lead Hobby pellet tells me so much about an airgun’s powerplant. For starters, it tells me what needs to be done to get the 425 f.p.s. velocity that’s claimed for the gun.
Hobbys averaged 353 f.p.s. in the P-25. They ranged from a low of 333 to a high of 379 f.p.s., and some of that large variance may be due to the gas flow problem I mentioned. At the average velocity, Hobbys were generating 1.94 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
The Hobbys told me what I wanted to know. This pistol wasn’t going to get its rated velocity with a lead pellet. So, I needed to try it with a lead-free pellet; and since this is a Gamo gun, the Gamo Raptor PBA sounded like a good selection.
The Raptor PBA pellet is made from metal that’s harder than lead. It weighs 5.4 grains and will generally boost the velocity of an airgun above what a lead pellet will, though the hardness of the metal actually slows it down sometimes. But in the P-25, the Raptor PBAs worked just fine. They averaged 412 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 395 to a high of 432 f.p.s. So, the ads are right on the money. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 2.04 foot-pounds of energy.
Next up were the lead Gamo Match wadcutters. They weigh 7.56 grains and are sometimes quite accurate in some guns. In the P-25, they averaged 348 f.p.s. with a spread from 329 to 357 f.p.s. The average energy was 2.03 foot-pounds. This will be a pellet to try in the accuracy test.
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain lites
The last pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite. They fit in the circular clips of the magazine rather easily, which caused some concern they might fall out; but the way the magazine is designed, only 2 pellets at a time are exposed in its clip. So the worry was for nothing.
Premiers averaged 344 f.p.s. in the P-25, with a spread from 330 to 360 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 2.08 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
The double-action trigger-pull broke at exactly 8-1/2 lbs., which is light for a DA pull. On single-action, it broke under 4 lbs., with a huge creep at 2-1/2 lbs. That creep is consistent and lets you know when the gun is ready to fire.
While I got just 50 shots on the first cartridge, I got more with the second one. Besides the velocity testing, I did another test with an entire cartridge, just to see how the pistol operates in the rapid-fire mode. So, the correct piercing is very important. I fired an entire cartridge, just to see how the pistol handled. Everything worked smoothly until shot 48, when the blowback failed for the first time. After that, the blowback would work if I waited long enough between shots, but not if I shot rapidly. However, if you allow time for the gun to warm up, it keeps right on shooting.
There are certainly 75 or more powerful shots in the gun if you allow the gun to rest between shots. The blowback will work reliably past shot 50, as long as time is taken between shots. Shoot fast, however, and the gun cools too much and wastes gas.
Impressions so far
So far, I like the P-25. I like its simplicity and the light single-action trigger. If it’s also accurate, this might be a best buy.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Okay, now for something a little different. The Gamo P-25 air pistol is a 16-shot pellet pistol with blowback and a rifled barrel. This pistol operates on CO2, and the 12-gram cartridge is hidden inside the grip.
Normally, a gun like this is a BB gun, but this time there’s a rifled barrel — and the chance to shoot many different lead pellets, plus a trigger that’s both single-action and double action. Because of the blowback action, you’re going to shoot this gun single-action most of the time.
The P-25 is a 21st century handgun is every respect. It’s nearly all synthetic, entirely black and the grip is fat, as though enclosing a double-stacked magazine. The fixed sights feature three white dots — like night sights, but without tritium inserts. Align the three dots and put the center dot over your target…and I assume you’ll have minute-of-soda-can accuracy at 25 feet. We’ll find out more about that when we test the pistol for accuracy.
I like the fact that this pistol comes with blowback. That gives a realistic feel to each shot, which makes this a good trainer for maintaining firearms proficiency. When we get to the accuracy test, I’ll let Edith shoot the pistol and give her assessment, too. The gun I’m testing is serial number 12F31301.
The P-25 is a large pistol. Maybe it looks like a pocket pistol in the photograph above, but in person it’s larger than an M1911A1 in all ways, save length.
The trigger is very strange. Usually a single-stage trigger is crisper and lighter than a 2-stage trigger, but this one isn’t. While the pull weight isn’t that heavy, there’s a country mile of takeup even in the single-stage mode — i.e., when the hammer is already cocked. Once the takeup is done, though, the trigger breaks cleanly enough. It isn’t exactly crisp, but it is light and very predictable. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble with it.
The double-action pull is relatively light, though you’ll only feel it on the first shot after installing the magazine. Once the gun fires, the slide blows back, cocking the hammer for every successive shot.
The trigger blade is very wide. I find that gives a nice feel to the pull when I’m trying to control the let-off or point at which the trigger breaks.
The safety is another matter. It’s one of those Euro-lawyer safeties that have a center switch that’s pulled back before the lever can be moved. There’s no way to operate this kind of safety with one hand. It blocks the trigger when its on.
The magazine is a stick type with two circular pellet clips — one on either end. It’s a drop-free design, and the release button is on the left front of the grip frame, where a right-handed shooter expects it to be. The mag has to be ejected and turned around for the second 8 shots.
This gun runs on CO2. The manufacturer says it gets up to 425 f.p.s. with pellets, and we will test that for you in Part 2. The cartridge is hidden in the grip, and this time the enclosure is different. The bottom rear of the grip is pulled away from the rest of the grip, and two-thirds of the CO2 compartment is exposed. When the cartridge is installed, a conventional piercing screw tensions and pierces the cartridge. Don’t forget to put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of each new cartridge as it’s installed. That will keep your gun sealed for many years.
The P-25 is moderately heavy, at 29 oz., so the blowback action causes a fair amount of bounce. It feels not much different than a medium-weight .22 rimfire pistol shooting standard-speed long rifle rounds.
The barrel is rifled steel. That gives me some hope that this pistol will also be accurate. If the blowback feature doesn’t use too much gas, the P-25 could turn out to be a very nice plinking air pistol.
All things considered, at this point the Gamo P-25 air pistol looks like a good one. I hope it delivers on that promise.
by B.B. Pelletier
Test data and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald
First of all, we got no answers on last Friday’s question at the bottom of the blog. The answer is: it’s a catapult gun, and it shoots steel BBs. It was offered by the same company that built the Johnson semiautomatic rifle that was used as an alternative by the Marines in World War II, but at the price of $15 in 1948, it never stood a chance.
Today, we’ll shoot the Quackenbush .25 pistol for velocity and accuracy. There was a surprising amount of interest in this pistol, though much of the talk took place on Pyramyd Air’s social network sites. But even here, many readers know about this airgun. Just as a reminder, this isn’t a fire-breathing PCP. It’s a CO2 gun that uses the same stock valve as a Crosman 2240.
This pistol bloops them out at less than 400 f.p.s. because it’s a .25 and shooting pellets far heavier than the valve was designed to handle. Mac says he loves watching them arc out through the scope and drop through the aim point at the last instant. When the sun is behind you, it can be quite a show.
We’ll start with the velocity first. A couple of readers guessed that this pistol would shoot under 400 f.p.s. and they were right. The fastest average velocity Mac recorded came from Diana Magnum pellets — an obsolete brand that used to be the best .25 caliber pellet on the market. Until now, Mac has found that it shot best in this pistol. Although Diana Magnums came in both 20- and 21-grain weights (they varied over time), Mac says these weigh an average 19.90 grains, so these are the lighter ones.
Because this is a CO2 gun, Mac had to allow for cooling — so he waited 15 seconds between each shot. That allows the gun to warm up. He also replaced the CO2 cartridge after 24 shots, even though he says the gun gets up to 40 shots per cartridge. That gave every pellet the best chance to perform.
Mac recorded an average 378 f.p.s. with this pellet. The total spread was 7 f.p.s., which is pretty tight for such an inexpensive airgun . At the average velocity, this pellet generates an average 6.32 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Because this is a gas gun, it’s probably going to get more energy from heavier pellets.
Next up was the Beeman H&N Match wadcutter pellet. Weighing 21.6 grains, they averaged 370 f.p.s., with just a three foot-second spread. The muzzle energy was 6.57 foot-pounds.
Mac upped the ante with one of the two new .25-caliber pellets. The Benjamin dome weighs 27.8 grains, so it’s a heavier pellet in this caliber. It averaged 323 f.p.s. with a 7 f.p.s. total spread. The muzzle energy was 6.44 foot-pounds, so less than you would predict; but because it’s a Benjamin pellet, there’s antimony in the alloy, and that may slow it down just a little.
I told Mac that this pellet and the next one are the two most accurate .25-caliber pellets on the market. I expected both of them to beat the Diana Magnum in his pistol.
The final pellet he tried was the new JSB Exact Kings that weigh 25.4 grains. This is the other very accurate pellet that Mac tested. It averaged 346 f.p.s. and generated an average 6.75 foot-pounds. The total velocity spread was 9 f.p.s.
Okay, now the velocity testing is out of the way, and what do we have? The pistol averages under 400 f.p.s. but over 6 foot-pounds of energy. So, it isn’t a weak air pistol. Slow, perhaps, but not weak. So, how does it shoot?
Mac shot the pistol at 25 yards. I asked him to shoot 10-shot groups instead of the five he used to shoot with this gun. That made a difference in the group sizes, of course. But another dynamic emerged during testing that I think you’ll find very interesting. I’ll explain it as we go.
Do you see the dynamic? The group forms around the final shots. Mac did “season” the bore between targets with two shots from each new pellet; but, even so, the pellets walked into the group at the end of each 10-shot string. I suggested to Mac that this might be due to seasoning the barrel, but he thought it was because the gun cooling down as it was shot.
The heavy JSB Exact Kings were next up. Mac found them to also string vertically for the first three shots, then bunch together at the end, just like before.
Ten JSB Exact King domed pellets made this 1.09-inch group at 25 yards. The first three shots are vertical, then the final seven are bunched together below. There’s one straggler out to the right, but this is a much better group than the wadcutters produced.
Thus far we have seen an interesting dynamic of the pellets moving to a place, then grouping tightly. So how do the formerly most accurate Diana Magnums react? They’re next.
The Diana Magnum pellets didn’t act like the first two pellets. They all landed at the same height on target, without an vertical stringing. Group size was 1.09 inches between centers.
The Diana Magnums don’t seem to follow the same pattern as the first two pellets. I don’t know why that would be, but that’s what the target shows. As with all other pellets, Mac seasoned the bore with two shots before this group was fired. Let’s go to the final pellet and see what happens.
The Benjamin domes gave the smallest group of ten shots at 25 yards. Group measures 0.85 inches between centers. Again, we see a vertical orientation to the group; though, this time, Mac didn’t indicate that the final shots were all bunched together in the large hole.
There you have it. That’s what this Quackenbush .25 can do.
In my opinion, Mac should pick just one pellet — the Benjamin dome — and shoot nothing else in this gun. I think the tighter groups at the end are due to seasoning the bore; because in my other testing, I’m starting to see very similar results. But even if that isn’t what’s happening here, the Benjamin dome is still the accuracy champ.
Is the Quackenbush conversion a good thing for a Crosman 2240? If you want a .25-caliber air pistol and you don’t want to get into high-pressure air, then I guess it is. You must accept the low velocity, while realizing that this pistol is still a good deal more powerful than a Beeman P1. And because it’s launching very heavy pellets, it retains more of that energy longer downrange, so things keep getting better the farther the target is from the muzzle — within reason.
This much is certain — people love tinkering with their Crosman airguns, and Dennis Quackenbush has provided the means to do that for over a decade and a half. This may not be the only game in town, but it’s certainly one of the very best.
by B.B. Pelletier
Test data and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald
Back in the 1990s, Dennis Quackenbush made a nice part of his living by modifying single-shot pistols from Crosman. In those days, there weren’t as many places to buy aftermarket parts, and Crosman didn’t have a custom shop. In fact, when Dennis and I were seated with Crosman’s CEO at an NRA Airgun Breakfast at the 2001 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Kansas City, Missouri, we introduced ourselves and he asked both of us what we did. Dennis told him that he made his living modifying Crosman single-shot pistols. “You sell them (the SSP 250) for $39 and I modify them for $125. I can’t keep up with all the work!”
To say the man was stunned is an understatement. I don’t think he believed Dennis, because he restated what Dennis had said, “You mean people pay you $125 to modify a gun that sells for $39?” You could hear the disbelief in his voice.
That man didn’t remain at the reins much longer. And his replacement, Ken D’Arcy, instituted the Crosman Custom Shop a few years after he stepped in. But that did not diminish the number of aftermarket places that modify Crosman airguns and make parts for owners to install. If anything, the number of places increased, though I would not say that it was in response to the Crosman Custom Shop starting up. But it was and still is a direct result of the openness of the Crosman Corporation toward their customers, by providing parts and information that support their guns.
For several years, one of the most popular modifications Dennis made was a steel breech for the Crosman 2240 single-shot pistol. Not only is it stronger and more rigid, it also allows for the installation of a scope — something that most home tinkerers will want to do. And Dennis switched the bolt handle to the left side for right-handed shooters, because they want to continue to hold onto the pistol while they load it. People who don’t shoot these pistols don’t understand that desire, but it only take 15 minutes with one and you understand completely. That one change may have been his greatest contribution, because it showed everyone what a little thought can do to enhance the operation of an inexpensive airgun!
Many of the handguns Dennis built on Crosman frames are righteous thumpers, with power levels far beyond anything Crosman ever envisioned. Dennis has made several guns on this 2240 frame that achieved 100 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, and I’ve personally witnessed one that produced 300 foot-pounds. So, like the modern AR, there’s no limit to what you can do with one of these flexible air pistols.
But in this report, we’re going to look at something a little closer to the original gun. It’s a .25-caliber pistol that has the steel receiver from Dennis and a 10.5-inch barrel that he rifled. In terms of power, it’s been left pretty close to original; so it gets a decent number of shots. Because of the large caliber, they don’t go very fast.
The Quackenbush .25-caliber pistol is built on a 2240 frame. It has a steel receiver, and the bolt is on the left side for easier loading.
There are no open sights, as Dennis envisioned owners would want to scope the gun. The receiver has an 11mm dovetail cut into the top. Since the frame is from a 2240, it readily accepts an add-on carbine stock that so many shooters seem to prefer. Certainly, when you put a heavy rifle scope on the pistol, the stock is the best way to go!
Mac reports that the pull length with the carbine stock is 16.3 inches, but the angle of the grip makes it feel shorter. He says it fits him well, and he usually likes a rifle with a pull length of 13 inches. I looked at the pictures he sent and see that the scope hangs back behind the receiver on this gun. That may be why the long pull doesn’t feel so bad. Also, the gun is very light, at only 48 oz. in the scoped pistol configuration, so there’s not a lot of weight hanging out front. The shoulder stock adds another 13 oz.
The optional shoulder stock is something nearly all pistol owners have.
Dennis didn’t number all of the guns that he made, but partway through the production he began to put his own serial numbers on them. His last gun carried the number 850. Mac’s pistol is numbered 509.
Though Dennis no longer makes complete guns, according to his website he still does make the parts for them so owners can modify their own guns. The velocity of the .25-caliber pistol is approximately the same as the 2240 that it was modified from when shooting a 14.7-grain .22-caliber pellet.
The features of this modification are:
Steel barrel, receiver and bolt
The barrel is threaded into the receiver
The transfer port is in the breech instead of the barrel
The new steel bolt is larger than the pellet
The bolt contacts the pellet’s skirt — no probe is used
The pistol is 14 inches long without the shoulder stock, and 26 inches in the carbine configuration. The trigger-pull is a repeatable 43 oz., though some may find the trigger blade a bit too thin for comfort. The scope you see here is a cheap Simmons that Mac thinks was probably a rimfire scope at one time. It has a one-inch tube and fixed 4x magnification. The 32mm objective lens has a fixed parallax that Mac adjusted to 25 yards by turning the lens locking ring.
While many .25-caliber single-shots produce lots of muzzle energy, this isn’t one of them. Those guns are modified into PCPs, where this one is still a CO2 gun. It gives you a taste of a larger caliber without all the extra fuss and noise that a magnum blaster would have.
Mac tells me this pistol is quite accurate, and he loves the way it lobs them in. Next time, we’ll combine Parts 2 and 3 for a good look at the performance of this vintage Quackenbush airgun.
With the longer barrel and no open sights, this pistol looks slicker than the 2240 it was modified from.
by B.B. Pelletier
We’re going to finish the Walther P99 Q air pistol today with accuracy tests of both pellets and BBs. Several readers suggested that the double-action only trigger-pull would lead to larger groups, and I have to admit I thought so, too. A DAO pistol can be made to be very accurate, but it entails gunsmithing of the trigger that costs many times the price of this pistol. As they come from the factory, there are but a few DAO pistols, whether they’re air-powered or firearms, that have what I would call decent triggers.
The P99 Q trigger is one that “stacks” as it approaches the release. Much like a Colt revolver of the 1920s, the trigger-pull increases in weight dramatically just before the sear releases the hammer to fire the gun. Smith & Wesson found a way to overcome this and as a result they surpassed Colt as the world’s premier maker of revolvers before World War II. The stacking invariably causes the shooter to pull shots to the side opposite the shooting hand. A right-handed shooter will pull shots to the left while a lefty throws them to the right. This can be overcome with a lot of training, but it has to be practiced all the time, or you’ll revert to pulling your shots.
I’d earlier estimated the trigger-pull at 12 lbs.; but after firing about 100 careful shots, I have to say that it varies between 12 and 15 lbs. I had to use two fingers to keep from throwing my shots. That’s one finger on either hand, as shooting this gun was a two-handed proposition.
Having learned some lessons when shooting the Bronco with open sights and reading glasses last week, I was able to shoot that same way for this test without any problems. Instead of using a 75-watt shop light, I illuminated the target with a 500-watt quartz lamp that defined the bull very well. The rear sight was also sharp against the bull, and I don’t think I gave away any accuracy.
I shot from a standing strong-side barricade position for the whole test. That means I used a support to steady my right hand while shooting. I was standing for all shots and the pellets were shot at 25 feet, while the BBs were shot at 20 feet.
The P99 Q isn’t a target pistol, and we shouldn’t think of it that way. It’s a plinker and an action air pistol with minute-of-pop-can accuracy at 20-25 feet. If I could show that to you here, I would. But for this blog paper targets still work best.
I first tried RWS Hobby pellets. They turned out to be a very good choice, but I had to shoot about five clips before I found the best way to shoot the gun, so the first targets of Hobbys only hinted at what they might do. Once I was using two hands with two fingers on the trigger, I was able to lob pellets into a fairly tight group that was only limited by the gun’s slow gas flow.
When I waited a minute or more between shots, the CO2 gas had time to flow through the small pierced hole and into the valve, making velocity a more stable thing. These Hobbys went into a group measuring 1.191 inches between centers.
The next pellet I tried was the JSB Exact RS, a domed pellet weighing 7.3 grains. They shot tantalizing groups with but a few strays, and I thought I was onto something, but no matter what I did I couldn’t get all the pellets to go to the same place.
Again, the JSB Exact RS domes were tantalizing. The dark smudge on the target is a black bull drawn on the back for a different project. The felt-tipped pen seeped through the paper to make the smudge. One shot is in the darkest part of the smudge, and the hole at the lower right has two pellets. Group measures 2.055 inches between centers.
Several readers correctly predicted that BBs would not be as accurate as pellets in the pistol, and with what we know about the situation, I’d have to agree. Not only are BBs round and made of steel so they cannot be spin-stabilized in flight, they’re also smaller than pellets and therefore do not fit the bore as well. There’s no way they’re going to be as accurate. As I mentioned in the beginning of this report, I moved up from 25 to 20 feet for BBs because I wanted to keep them all on the target paper.
The first to be fired were Crosman Copperhead BBs. They fit the BB clip (loading from the front, only!) very well and functioned perfectly.
Next, I tried some RWS Match Grade BBs that Pyramyd Air does not carry. They were a tighter fit in the clip and produced a smaller 8-shot group. Both BBs seemed to group to the same relative place as pellets, though with much larger distributions.
The RWS BB was more accurate, grouping eight in 2.996 inches at 20 feet.
Well, that’s it for the P99 Q. There were no malfunctions during the test once the pellet-seating tool was used. The gas flow problem I describe in this report is an issue if you want to fire the gun fast, which is what action pistols are designed for. Backing off on the piercing screw seemed to work when I let the gun rest for at least 10 seconds between shots, but shooting faster than that knocked the velocity down in a noticeable way.
This is a fine action pistol for the price. Considering that it accepts both BBs and pellets, it’s very accommodating. Buy it for fast plinking fun, and you’ll be getting a lot for your dollar. Just remember that it’s a double-action only pistol, so you’ll need a strong trigger finger.
by B.B. Pelletier
Announcement: Pyramyd Air has just introduced the Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. The rules are pretty simple (post a picture of yourself with an airgun or airsoft gun), and you’ll have a chance to win a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card.
I said last time that I would definitely talk about the trigger on this DAO Walther P99 Q air pistol and that time has come. When the pistol is functioning correctly, the trigger offers a smooth pull of about 12 lbs. However, the “functioning correctly” part can be a problem if you don’t load the clip the right way.
Don’t need no stinking manuals!
I began the test poorly, by assuming that I knew how the gun operates. Of course, I didn’t read the manual. And trouble came with the first clip. One good shot was all I got, followed by the remainder of the clip needing a trigger-pull in the neighborhood of 25-30 pounds. I opened the slide to see if something was jammed and there it was. One pellet had backed out of the clip and was now deformed from being dragged through the mechanism against its will. So, I loaded a second clip and started over.
Again the gun tied up after the first shot, so I went to Edith and complained. She told me she had read about the Walther Lever Action rifle when she put the description on the website and that the pellet clips were supposed to be loaded using a special tool. Well, I had no special tool, since the pistol didn’t come with one, but a few days later the Walther Lever Action rifle arrived and it did have a pellet-seating tool.
The special tool works as advertised — big surprise. All it is is a plastic pusher that forces each pellet into the clip deep enough that the ridges on the sides of each chamber bite into the thin lead skirts. That is enough to hold the pellets in place until, they’re fired.
The manual also advises that the BBs have to be loaded into their black plastic clip from the front end of the clip — which is the side without the ratchet.
Gas use — I learned something important!
Let’s start the test. First, I seated 8 RWS Hobby pellets in the clip and chronographed them. They averaged 320 f.p.s. with a velocity spread from 301 to 338 f.p.s. But I also noticed two very important things when shooting these pellets. First, every velocity was lower than the one before it, even though I allowed the gun 10-20 seconds between shots to warm up. With CO2, if the gun gets too cold from shooting too fast, the velocity will drop off, but allowing 10-20 seconds between shot is more than enough recovery time, especially since I was shooting in a room at 70 degrees F (21.1 degrees C).
The second thing I noticed was that, if I allowed a full minute between shots, the velocity would be back up where it was on the first shot. Let’s tuck away that information for a moment and move on to the next pellet — but we’ll come back to it.
The next pellet tested was the Beretta Target pellet that Pyramyd Air no longer carries. It is a 7.9-grain wadcutter made from pure lead. It shouldn’t be as fast as the 7-grain Hobby, but it was. These pellets averaged 318 f.p.s. with a spread from 309 to 326 f.p.s. Again, each shot was slower than the one before, unless the wait time was a minute or more.
That made me think of a day on the set of American Airgunner when we had a certain pistol that shot slower with each shot, but would restore full power after a minute or more in-between. The problem there and probably here as well was a cartridge that hadn’t been pierced as deeply as it should be. So, I backed off the piercing screw (used to tighten the cartridge against the piercing pin) about one-eighth of a turn until gas began to escape, then I tightened just a little to stop it. Now there was more room for the gas to flow if I was right about what was happening.
Next up were some old 7.5-grain Gamo Match pellets. They averaged 330 f.p.s. with the new CO2 cartridge arrangement and the spread went from 319 to 344 f.p.s. Clearly, the pistol was now shooting faster, so I re-tested the RWS Hobbys and they now averaged 330 f.p.s. with a spread from 320 to 343 f.p.s.
The lesson here is that CO2 is a very large molecule that needs lots of room to flow. The next time you pierce a cartridge, try to back off the screw a little, if that’s possible.
BBs are next
The P99 Q is also a BB pistol, so they got tested next. First up were some Crosman Copperhead BBs that averaged 330 f.p.s. The spread went from 319 to 344, so no advantage to the lighter weight of the BBs. The gas blowby in the bore must be offsetting any small gain.
I also tried the RWS BBs . They averaged 328 f.p.s. with a spread from 281 to 339. I cannot explain the lone reading of 281 except it was there. All these BBs fit the clip tighter than the Copperheads.
So far, this little pistol is doing fine. Just as long as the pellet seater is used and you load the BBs from the front, everything functions well. The trigger is heavy, but I should be able to get good accuracy if the pistol is capable of it.
Accuracy is next.