Posts Tagged ‘precharged pneumatic’

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle: Part 2

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

Part 1

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle
BSA Scorpion 1200 SE

We’re back to the BSA Scorpion 1200 SE. My hand has finally healed, and I can now work the Hill hand pump, but I stopped part of the way through the first fill and made the necessary changes to the carbon fiber tank hose, to attach BSA’s proprietary fill probe. I gave up because I just got tired of pumping! Those who encouraged me to do this from the beginning have won me over, I guess.

This PCP rifle takes a fill to 232 bar, which is 3,365 psi. We’ve looked at fill pressures for pneumatics a lot over the past month, and today we’ll see what this BSA rifle manages to do with its fill. The advertised number of shots is 25 per fill.

Because of the power potential of this rifle, I switched my backstop to the tough one blog reader Jim Contos made for me. If you want to read about this fine homemade quiet pellet trap that’s strong enough to stop the most powerful smallbore air rifle, here’s the link.

Familiarization with the magazine
After 10 minutes of trying (and failing) to load the 10-round spring-loaded magazine, I was prepared to blast BSA for creating a magazine that’s impossible to load. What we had, instead, was a B.B. who refused to learn new ways. The magazine loads easily once you do it the right way! I took a photo of the correct hold, so you won’t have the problems I did. Hold it like this and realize that BSA has designed this mag so the last pellet loaded holds the spring-tensioned drum in place until you’re ready to load the next pellet, and everything will be fine.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP aor rifle loading magazine
I’m holding both sides of the spring-loaded drum, making it easy to advance to the next pellet chamber. Once a pellet is loaded, it holds the drum in place until you advance it.

The magazine accepted all 3 of the pellets used in this test without a problem. They’re among the heaviest and longest .22-caliber pellets on the market, so I think you’ll be satisfied no matter what you try to shoot.

Pellet 1 — JSB Exact Heavy and the shot count
The 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellet averaged 883 f.p.s. in the rifle. The velocity ranged from 875 to 888 f.p.s. over 25 shots. And 25 shots proved to be the limit, exactly as advertised. After shot 25, the next 5 pellets went this fast.

Shot….Velocity
26………876
27………870
28………866
29………866
30………860

Clearly, the rifle has just fallen off the power curve but in slow motion. So there are actually 30 safe shots on a fill, and that equates to 3 full magazines. I’m so glad BSA publishes accurate figures for these things, as many other airgun companies seem to have no clue what’s right!

At the average velocity, this pellet produced 31.34 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. And I bet this pellet is also accurate, though that has to wait until I get out to the range, because this rifle is too loud for shooting inside the house. I took a risk by chronographing it for today’s report, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go.

Pellet 2 — H&N Baracuda
The second pellet I tested was the 21.3-grain H&N Baracuda Match. These are longer pellets that sometimes have difficulty feeding through rotary magazines like the BSA’s, but there was no problem today! They averaged 815 f.p.s. and ranged from 811 to 819 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they produced 31.42 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

The Baracuda is another pellet that should prove very accurate in this rifle. They should be the best pellet at 50 yards, but that remains to be seen.

Pellet 3 — Eun Jin
The third and final pellet I tested was the 28.4-grain Eun Jin dome. This is a very long pellet and may be the longest that will work safely in the BSA magazine. But they did fit perfectly and had no hangups once I learned how to load the magazine correctly.

Eun Jins averaged 718 f.p.s in the test rifle. They ranged from a low of 713 to a high of 726 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they produced 32.52 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. In other rifles, these pellets have never been the most accurate at 50 yards, but they have often been accurate enough to use as hunting pellets. However, as close as H&N Baracudas are in power, I would choose the most accurate of the 2 pellets after we test them at distance.

The velocity remained very tight throughout the entire fill with all 3 pellets that were tested. That means BSA has balanced their valve to work with exactly the amount of air they recommend using. And the fact that they got exactly the number of powerful shots they advertised was a welcome bit of news. Also, 25 shots is a good number for a rifle in this power class.

Adjusting the trigger
I mentioned in the first report that I would be adjusting the trigger in this report. To do that, the action is removed from the stock. The sear is a direct-contact type, so care must be exercised to not get the engagement surfaces too small, or the trigger will be in danger of jumping off from a bump.

The owner’s manual is a single sheet of paper printed on both sides, but the instructions for adjusting the trigger are good and thorough.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle adjusting trigger
The screw on the left adjusts the trigger-pull weight of the second stage. The nut and screw in the center adjusts the sear contact area and then locks in place. That adjustment affects the length of the second-stage pull. The screw under the trigger blade on the right adjusts the first stage and should not be touched, according to the manual.

I adjusted the trigger as light as it would go and set the sear as close as it would go and still be safe. The trigger still has significant creep in stage two, but it’s light and breaks at 2 lbs., 4 oz. I can work with it set this way.

50 yards next
Because of the rifle’s power, I’m going to skip the 25-yard test and go straight to 50 yards. If I’m successful, we should see accuracy that will override shooting at 25 yards, anyway. If I discover that’s the wrong way to do the test, I’ll change at the range and shoot at 25 yards first.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle: Part 1

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

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle
BSA Scorpion 1200 SE

Do you ever have preconceptions that are totally destroyed when you see what you thought you knew? That’s what happened to me with the BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle. Pyramyd Air shipped this rifle to me especially for this review because they want to get the word out as quickly as possible. So, here we go.

First impression
I was expecting something completely different. Something more like the BSA Hornet of several years ago. I’ve tested 2 different versions of that rifle already and was calling up the memories when the box popped open, revealing something completely different.

This model is a repeater. It has a 10-shot magazine and an exposed bolt. The magazine sticks out the left side of the action, so sidewheel scopes with large wheels won’t work because the wheel will block access to the magazine. To remove the mag, you must first cock the bolt and second push a locking pin forward on the left side of the action. Then, the mag comes straight out the left side of the gun.

The barrel has a large jacket that ends in a threaded cap. Remove the cap to expose UK-spec 1/2-inch by 20 UNF threads for a silencer. I looked inside the jacket and cannot see any baffles or chambers, so I’m thinking this rifle is going to be loud. I do own a legal firearm silencer, but it’s set up with American standard 1/2-inch by 28 UNF threads that will not attach to this airgun. No doubt, an adapter could be made, but since most shooters don’t own a legal silencer, there’s probably no reason to make one.

Manual
The rifle came with a single piece of paper containing the operating instructions, and a CD with a bunch of videos…and they’re not necessarily specific to this gun (I saw one about the BSA Hornet). Also on the CD was a file named Start.exe. What a shame they didn’t make a PDF file so I could open it on my Mac. It can only be opened by Windows users. Not everyone owns a computer; of those who do, not all of them are Windows platforms. That left me with the paper pamphlet, which does contain the minimum information I needed. Edith will get Pyramyd Air to send her the Start doc in format we can use, and they will keep it in the online library if it pertains to the gun.

The rifle
This model comes in both .177 and .22 calibers, and there are 2 different power levels. A 12 foot-pound model exists, but they aren’t being imported. The rifle I’m testing is the .22-caliber FAC (a UK designation for Firearm Certificate — required in the UK for an air rifle that generates more than 12 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle) version. Marked on the the end flap of the carton this rifle came in is the velocity of 1,200 f.p.s., so it should be a screamer! Naturally, we’ll test that with several different pellets. The serial number of the rifle I’m testing is TH220104-13.

The manual says I can expect 25 shots per 232 bar fill. That’s 3,365 psi, so I’m either going to fill with a carbon fiber tank or with a Hill hand pump because nothing else goes that high. Because the rifle comes with yet another and different proprietary quick-fill probe, the Hill pump will get drafted. I need to reserve my carbon fiber tank for filling all my PCPs that have the now nearly universal Foster quick-disconnect fill couplings.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle pressure gauge
Pressure gauge is under the forearm. Fill to 232 bar, which is 3,365 psi.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle fill probe
Proprietary BSA fill probe (bottom) comes with 2 replacement o-rings, plus an Allen wrench for the gun (trigger) another o-ring (for the bolt?) and a small tube of moly grease for the o-rings on the filler probe.

The rifle is just over 44-1/2 inches long and weighs 8 lbs., 12 oz., unloaded with no scope mounted. The balance is decidedly muzzle-heavy, as the 24-inch barrel really sticks out far. The stock is black synthetic and seems quite solid. It has a rough finish that helps with your grip. And as can be seen in the photo, the shape is ultra-modern. A raised cheekpiece rolls over on both sides of the butt and gives a Monte Carlo profile. The butt ends in a thick black rubber recoil pad, and the pistol grip is both vertical with a palm swell on both sides, making the rifle as ambidextrous as possible, save the location of the bolt handle (right side) and the safety (left side).

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle butt
The butt has a futuristic shape with a rollover cheekpiece that doubles as a Monte Carlo comb.

There are no sights, so some kind of optical sight will have to be mounted. You need to know that BSA has a good reputation when it comes to air rifle barrels. Their association with Gamo hasn’t changed that one iota. Their barrels have long been used by other makers of precharged rifles because of the sterling reputation. So, when I say it will need an optical sight, I’m planning on mounting a fine scope, for I feel certain this rifle will do well out to 50 yards, at least.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle receiver
Receiver is flat on top. Magazine fits below the top of the receiver, making low scope mounting a possibility. The square button on the left at the rear of the barrel is pushed forward to release the magazine.

The trigger is 2-stage and adjustable for the length and weight of the second-stage pull. The sear appears to be direct contact, so care must be exercised when adjusting the trigger to ensure there’s enough sear contact to hold the striker safely. I’ll look at trigger adjustments in Part 2.

Overall impressions
This is a BSA PCP, so I anticipate accuracy. The balance is very good, and this feels like a hunter’s rifle. Given the advertised power, that’s exactly what it should be. If the trigger bears out in testing, the BSA Scorpion 1200 SE will be another fine PCP for your consideration.

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.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup: Part 2

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

Part 1

Evanix Rainstorm 3D Bullpup
Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup

Well, the opinions of this rifle are sharply divided. People either love it or hate it, and nothing in between. A few haven’t made up their minds yet; but when they do, it’ll be one extreme or the other. The Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup is as far from a Diana model 27 as an air rifle can get.

Blog reader Rob is the only owner who has commented, thus far, and he says he loves his .25-caliber bullpup. He reports getting 25 good shots per fill and wants one in .177 for the greater shot count and 9mm for the additional power.

Some things I missed last time
I forgot to mention that there’s also a Picatinny rail under the forward part of the gun. This would be for a laser, flashlight or bipod.

I also failed to mention that the trigger is adjustable for both first- and second-stage pull. The second-stage adjustment is a sear contact adjustment, so you must be careful not to go too far or the gun will either become unsafe or won’t cock at all. After I see how the trigger is out of the box, I may attempt some adjustments.

Assumptions
Many of you took my comments too seriously last time. I mentioned that bullpup designs are notorious for poor triggers, and you assumed that this rifle’s trigger is bad. I haven’t tested it yet. It may be fine. We won’t know until I have the chance to shoot the gun.

And some of you criticized the gun for not having open sights. That’s like criticizing a Dodge Viper for not having a trailer hitch! The design of a bullpup doesn’t lend itself to the use of open sights. I don’t know of any bullpup firearms that have open sights, either. Compasseco used to sell a sidelever spring rifle bullpup that had open sights; but when you saw how high they had to be to be seen by the shooter, you understood why optical sights were preferred.

The magazine
The magazine is loaded through the larger hole on the left at the back. The back is the side where you can see 2 holes, while there’s only one hole visible at the front. The pellets do not drop into their holes. The have to be pushed in with something like a ballpoint pen. Once in, rotate the magazine one click counterclockwise and load again. Keep doing it until all 11 pellets are loaded.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup magazine
Load through the larger hole on the left. The pellets will not enter the magazine without a push from a ballpoint pen.

Velocity testing
Looking at the published velocity of the .22-caliber rifle I’m testing (1,176 f.p.s.), I decided that the gun wants to shoot heavy pellets. With all that power potential, this is potentially a 50 foot-pound air rifle, according to those numbers. The first pellet I loaded was the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellet, which weighs 18.1 grains in .22 caliber.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup pressure gauge
This is what the on-board pressure gauge reads when the gun has 2,900 psi inside.

The gun does not have a flat power curve. It drops in velocity from the first shot to the last, similar to many other Korean-made magnum PCPs I’ve seen. The shot count is simply how far down you’re willing to allow the velocity to drop. The next numbers for the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavys should explain everything.

Shot     Vel.
1……….1045
2……….1033
3……….1020
4……….1022
5……….1006
6……….1008
7…………997
8…………991
9…………981
10………..971

Average (shots 1-10) 1007 f.p.s.; energy — 40.72 foot pounds

Shot     Vel.
11……….959
12……….948
13……….939
14……….926
15……….915
16……….910
17……….898
18……….892
19……….882
20……….874

Average (shots 11-20) 914 f.p.s.; energy — 33.58 foot-pounds

Shot     Vel.
21……… –
22……….867

After seeing the first string of 10 shots, I normally wouldn’t go any farther; but I know several of you may be curious to see if the gun ever settles down and delivers several shots of similar velocity. As you can see, it never does. After this string of shots, the pressure in the reservoir was 1,400 psi, so the gun was shot out. I call that 10 shots per fill.

If the valve were tuned to deliver about 30 foot-pounds, there would probably be a group of 20 shots or so that were similar in velocity. As the rifle is now, it is running flat out, as fast as it can from start to finish.

Beeman Ram Jets
Next, I tried the obsolete Beeman Ram Jet pellets. They weigh 16.5 grains and combine the dome and wadcutter shapes. After a fresh fill, they averaged 1026 f.p.s. for the first 10 and they ranged from a low of 997 f.p.s. to a high of 1051 f.p.s. As with the first pellets, the velocity fell straight from the first shot. At the average velocity, this pellet averaged 38.58 foot-pounds.

Eun Jin domes
The last pellet I tried was the 28.4-grain Eun Jin dome. I tried it for two reasons. First, I wanted to see if they would feed in the magazine. They fed perfectly, so this is a pellet you can shoot in this rifle — at least in .22 caliber. Second, since this was the heaviest pellet I could get through the magazine, I wanted to see what kind of energy it might develop.

Eun Jins averaged 877 f.p.s. for 10 shots on a fresh fill. The low was 844 f.p.s. and the high was 907 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 48.51 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Trigger
The trigger changed behavior, once the rifle was cocked. It became as stiff and creepy as the bullpup reputation has caused us to expect. However — and this is very significant — I adjusted stage two by the owner’s manual, and the pull became crisp and the letoff dropped to 6 lbs., 10 oz. This was as low as it would go and stay cocked because of the direct sear adjustment. There just wasn’t anymore contact area to play with after I finished adjusting it.

So far, so good. It’s obvious from these figures that this rifle is meant to be a hunting air rifle — pure and simple. Oh, and the discharge sound is a very loud number 5 on the Pyramyd Air sound scale.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup: Part 1

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

Evanix Rainstorm 3D BullpupEvanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup

Today, we’ll begin to look at the Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup precharged rifle — one of the most different air rifles we have ever examined. It comes in .177, .22, .25 and 9mm, and I’m testing one in .22 caliber. The serial number of the rifle I’m testing today is 12121-1013235.

When I first saw a photo of this rifle I called it a construction girder with a pistol grip; and now that I have one to hold, nothing changes that description. I am impressed by the weight of 7.8 lbs. without a scope. It feels like more because the whole rifle is only 27 inches long. Everything on the rifle suggests compact, so the mandatory scope should be a mini SWAT from Leapers or perhaps a Bug Buster.

In .22 caliber, the velocity from the 17-inch barrel is rated as 1,176 f.p.s. That’s pretty specific, and I’m thinking they used a very light pellet to get it. Perhaps even a lead-free pellet was used. I’ll be shooting the rifle/carbine/bullpup with the best lead pellets that produce the best groups, so the velocity may not be quite as high as the rating.

Bullpup
This rifle (it’s really a carbine because of how short it is) is a bullpup, so let’s start with that. Bullpups are rifles whose triggers are moved forward so their actions can sit at the back of the gun. The conventional buttstock is either eliminated or radically repositioned on the rifle. Instead of 14.50 inches of buttstock that does nothing but provide an anchor point for your shoulder, this Evanix Rainstorm 3D bullpup puts the action back where the buttplate is. That cuts a lot of length from the rifle.

In firearms, the bullpup design is a safety concern because your neck and head rest on an action where up to 50,000+ psi of pressure gets generated with every shot. If anything lets go, your safety glasses can’t protect you from the blast. I had a rifle let go last year, so I know what I’m talking about. My Nelson Lewis combination gun blew the nipple and hammer off the barrel when it let go. Had my face been there, I probably would not be writing this report right now. We never did find the nipple!

But a PCP airgun uses just 3,000 psi pressure or less — not 16,000 psi (approximate pressure on the black powder in my vintage gun) and more. So, the risk of an accident is virtually nil. If you’re going to have a bullpup, this is the kind to have!

Moving the trigger forward means all bullpups have a long linkage between the trigger blade and the actual sear mechanism. Because of that, they’re notorious for having creepy triggers. The test rifle has the long linkage, but I’ll evaluate the trigger-pull in my report of the accuracy because that’s when I really get to test the trigger.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D Bullpup trigger linkage
The trigger linkage is about 13 inches long. The real trigger is back by the butt. It’s that silver thing sticking out of the bottom of the gun on the left side.

Mechanical action
The rest of the rifle’s action is mechanical. No electric motors or batteries are involved. The rifle is a bolt-action repeater with the bolt connected to a sidelever located at the right rear of the butt. The magazine is a spring-loaded circular affair that holds 13 pellets in .177 caliber, 11 pellets in the .22 caliber I’m testing, 10 pellets in .25 caliber and 7 pellets in 9mm. The magazine advances as the bolt is cocked, so all you have to do is keep working the sidelever. The safety is manual. Once the rifle is cocked and loaded, you’re ready to shoot.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D Bullpup magazine
The magazine is the same spring-loaded mag used by other Evanix PCPs. Two come with the rifle. Here you see both sides.

I cycled the action to learn about the safety, and I can tell you the cocking stroke is easy and smooth. Unlike some sidelever PCPs, the Rainstorm 3D feels like a luxury sedan car door opening. Given where the cocking handle is located (at the rear of the gun), that’s an important point.

Sights
The 3D comes without sights, but a Picatinny rail runs almost the full length of the top of the gun, giving you nearly infinite choices for scope or dot sight positioning. I mounted a new 3-9X32 UTG Bug Buster scope on which I’ll report separately. I mounted it because I wanted to make certain that scope would be high enough to use, given the very straight line of the bullpup’s profile.

The new Bug Buster comes with medium-high scope rings that are UTG’s new Weaver quick-detachable model. This is a high-end scope ring that others might sell for $30 or more but is included in the package with the scope. I find them to work okay, but I know many shooters will want a high ring to raise the scope higher to their eye level. I use what others have called the bazooka hold, which is the bottom tip of the butt pressed into a hollow on top of my shoulder. Many shooters prefer to have the butt contact the shoulder lower, and that requires high rings. Just keep that in mind when scoping this rifle.

There’s no magazine clearance problem with the top of the rifle because the magazine is covered by a synthetic plate on top of the action. When you mount a scope, there are no clearance concerns.

Evanix Rainstorm 3D Bullpup magazine opening
The magazine opening is under a synthetic plate, so scope clearance is never a problem.

The rifle
This is an all-metal rifle. It has no wood on it anywhere. There are a couple parts made from synthetics, like the grips, but the main component is metal.The metal that isn’t blued is anodized an even medium brown, lending a very attractive high-tech look to the gun. The buttplate is covered with a thin rubber pad so the rifle can be stood up against something and not slip on the floor.

The barrel is enclosed within a fat shroud, and there appears to be a chamber in front of the muzzle that might help attenuate some of the muzzle blast. A rifle of this power is going to be loud, so let’s hope this chamber does lower the sound, if only a little. The barrel shroud is deep inside the girder-like framework of the rifle. You have to look hard to see what’s barrel and what’s reservoir.

The reservoir is filled with a proprietary quick-fill probe that’s supplied with the rifle. It has male screw threads that attach to a 1/8″ BSPP coupling that’s very standard on fill hoses today. The rifle is filled to 200 bar, which is 2,900 psi. Although there’s a pressure gauge on the gun, trust your fill-device pressure gauge for the fill because its accuracy should be well-established.

The Rainstorm 3D is a different precharged air rifle, make no mistake. The look, feel and operation all have to be tailored to the bullpup design. Even though the controls are all fairly standard, except for the bullpup trigger with its long linkage, this rifle will probably take some getting used to. Given its power and cost, I plan on testing it out to 50 yards for you, so this should be a very interesting report.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle: Part 7

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank
AirForce Condor SS with Spin-Loc tank.

I bet some of you thought we were finished with the AirForce Condor SS rifle with Spin-Loc tank. Well, we are…in a way. I’m removing the Hi-Flo Spin-Loc tank and replacing it with a standard AirForce tank. Instead of the Hi-Flo valve that gets 20-25 shots per fill, this tank has the standard valve that gives 35-40 good shots per fill. Of course, the power is lower, but it’s still a powerful airgun.

Blog reader Gunfun1 recently asked me to test the Talon SS rifle with all three barrel lengths so he could see the power and velocity increase that the longer barrels bring. I will do that in a future series, but today’s test is different. What we’re testing today is how a Condor powerplant and a .22-caliber 18-inch Lothar Walther barrel performs with the standard tank. The Condor and Condor SS share a common powerplant and air tank — only the barrel lengths differ.

Valvology
Let’s talk about pneumatic valves for a minute to gain a better understanding of what we’re testing. A couple things determine how much power a precharged pneumatic airgun has, and most of them are attributed to the valve. Fundamentally, it comes down to how much compressed air gets through the valve. That’s controlled by two things. The first is the size of the air hole running through the valve. A Hi-Flo valve has a huge hole running though it, so more air gets through each time the valve opens.

AirForce Condor SS Hi-Flo tank and standard tank
The Hi-Flo tank on the left has a larger hole at the end of its valve stem than the standard tank on the right. This is where the extra power comes from.

The second thing that determines how much air gets through a valve is how long it stays open. For a knock-open design like the AirForce valve, the duration the valve remains open is controlled by the length of the valve stem stroke and the strength of the valve return spring (the spring that closes the valve after the shot is fired).

Think of it like this. A hundred thousand people cannot all go through your front door at the same time. The number that can get through depends on how wide the doorway is and how long the door stays open. The moment the door starts to open, people can start coming though; and they’ll continue until the door closes. If a powerful man controls the door, only a few people will get through at a time. If a child controls it, many more will get though each time.

A Hi-Flo valve is like a very large door, while a standard tank is like a regular door. But here is the thing. No matter whether there are a hundred thousand people or two hundred thousand people outside the door (the analog of the air pressure inside the tank), only a certain number will get though each time it opens. And if the number of people outside the door becomes too large, they press against the door and hold it shut. No amount of force can open it then. That’s valve lock.

Barrel length
I’ve said many times that a pneumatic barrel is a lot like the barrel in a black powder gun — the longer the barrel is (within limits): the more time the gas has to push against the pellet, the faster it will exit the muzzle. Bore diameter also figures into this equation. A .177 barrel runs out of steam sooner than a .22 barrel does. The longer barrel is also tied to the caliber. This deserves an explanation.

Imagine 2 funnels. Both have spouts that are 3″ long. One spout is .25″ diameter on the inside, the other spout is 1″ diameter on the inside. Which funnel will empty fastest? The one with the wider spout. That’s because more of the material that passes through the funnel is not in direct (frictional) contact with the walls of the spout. Don’t get confused by what I just said. The larger spout does have more material that’s in contact with the spout; but because the inside diameter of the spout is larger, a much greater amount of material never touches the walls of the spout.

We’ve been testing a .22-caliber Condor SS that has an 18-inch Lothar Walther barrel. As we saw in the earlier tests, this barrel is 6 inches shorter than a regular Condor barrel and produces somewhat less velocity than a standard Condor of the same caliber. We’re now going to install a standard tank that has a smaller valve, so the velocity will drop. That’s one way of looking at it.

The other way to look at this is a standard Talon SS has a 12-inch Lothar Walther barrel. This rifle’s barrel is 6 inches longer. We’re about to see what a longer barrel does with the standard tank. The only difference between today’s rifle and an AirForce Talon (not the SS — the Talon that has an 18-inch barrel) will be the Condor powerplant, which means the weight of the striker. That will add a little velocity because the valve is being opened more forcefully. Going back to the door analogy, it won’t affect things nearly as much as those additional six inches of barrel.

Installing the standard tank
The Condor SS I have is fitted with a Spin-Loc tank. It stays on the rifle all the time and is filled through a male Schraeder nipple. To convert to the standard tank, I’ll remove the Spin-Loc tank with the wrench supplied by AirForce. Then the standard tank will spin on and off for filling, just like it does on my older Talon SS. No tools are required, but of course it does not have a built-in pressure gauge, either. So, I’m back to counting the shots fired; but in today’s test, we’ll see exactly how many good shots there are in this tank at high power.

The test
For the purpose of comparison, I’m going to test the same pellets and the same power settings as were used in the Condor SS test. While those pellets aren’t necessarily correct for this lower-powered rifle, it will give you a basis for comparison between the two tanks, which is all we’re testing here.

Condor SS velocity

AirForce Condor SS velocity data

What we have learned?
There isn’t much adjustability with the Condor SS using the standard tank. I haven’t given you the velocity spreads or the shot count, which are all very close, regardless of the power setting. I actually recorded over 40 shots on power setting 10; so I think I would shoot 40 shots per fill, regardless of where the power was set. The velocity spread varied by pellet, but not so much by power setting. It was about 32 f.p.s. across 40 shots for Eun Jin 28.4-grain domes; 41 f.p.s for 40 Premiers; 25 f.p.s. for 40 JSB Exact Jumbos, except on power setting 4, where it was 17 f.p.s. and 15 f.p.s. for 40 Beeman Kodiaks.

I would set the power on No. 4 for the test rifle because that setting gave more power and velocity than any other setting. You probably want to know why that is. I think the valve opens too forcefully at settings above 4, and it bounces (flutters open and closed rapidly) on the valve seat, costing power. But on setting 4, it doesn’t bounce and thus gets the highest power. Note that setting 2 was always less than setting 4. I believe the valve on setting 2 is not bouncing, but actually opening cleanly, which is why it resembles some of the higher power settings that are bouncing. At least that’s my theory.

The Condor SS is quieter with the standard tank, but it isn’t absolutely quiet. It sounds about like a Talon SS at power setting 10. That’s pleasant, like a loud hand clap. It is quite a bit quieter than with the Hi-Flo tank attached.

Summary
There’s less power when you use the Condor SS with the standard tank, but you just about double the shot count. And the discharge noise is less than that of the gun with the Hi-Flo tank.

What you get when the rifle is set up this way is a Talon that’s a little quieter. The Talon has more adjustability, of course, but today we’ve looked at a way to enjoy more flexibility from your rifle without buying another complete PCP.

If I were to use the standard tank with the Condor SS, I would set it to power level 4 and shoot 40 shots per fill. That would be regardless of which pellet I used.

We’ve already seen the accuracy of this rifle at 25 and 50 yards. Is it necessary for me to do those tests again with the standard tank installed? I think the group sizes will be similar, but of course they’re never quite the same. I’ll let you readers decide.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle: Part 6

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Spin-Loc tank
AirForce Condor SS with Spin-Loc tank. The buttpad is shown flipped down.

Yesterday, I shot the AirForce Condor SS rifle with Spin-Loc tank at 50 yards. I’m also going to show you that one surprising group I got last week when I tried shooting the rifle in windy weather. That is a pellet I need to try more often!

The day was not perfect for shooting airguns at 50 yards, but it was calm enough to get the best results. I proved that by shooting some groups when the wind wasn’t calm and they didn’t open at all. We’re talking about a 5 m.p.h. head-on breeze that occasionally dropped to 1 m.p.h. at the lowest, so it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. But when the target is 50 yards away, any breeze can affect the pellets.

I’m going to cut right to the chase in this report. I did try Beeman Kodiak pellets, as well as .22-caliber Crosman Premiers, and neither pellet was worth pursuing. Then, I tried the Air Arms Field Heavy pellet, and knew I’d found the right one. I got good 10-shot groups that had superior smaller groups inside them, but there were always a couple fliers. The power was set to 6 on the power window, and the discharge sound was quite loud, especially considering I was at a rifle range (with my ear protectors off, so I could hear what was really happening).

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Air Arms Field Heavy pellet power 6-1
Ten Air Arms Field Heavy pellets went into 1.968 inches on power setting 6, but 8 of them went into 1.046 inches. That’s good, but why were there fliers?

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Air Arms Field Heavy pellet power 6-2
This best group of 10 Air Arms pellets on power setting 6 went into 1.254 inches, but 9 of them are in 0.906 inches. Once again, we have a flier.

By this time, I had fired about 40 shots and was starting to understand how this rifle behaves. It seemed to be using too much air at power setting 6 with this pellet, so I dialed it back to power setting 4, and that’s where the magic started. The groups tightened up dramatically, and the fliers stopped altogether. Power setting 4 is where this rifle wants to be with this Air Arms Field Heavy pellet.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Air Arms Field Heavy pellet power 4-1
This best group of 10 Air Arms pellets went into 0.873 inches. This was on power setting 4, which seems to be the best setting for this pellet.

Not only did I get better groups at power setting 4, but I also got an astounding 40 good shots per fill. The last 10 shots (shots 31 to 40) did open up just a bit, but even then the group was just 1.172 inches between centers, which is still very good for 10 shots at 50 yards.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Air Arms Field Heavy pellet power 4-2
Shots 31-40 on power setting 4 did open up a bit; but these 10 pellets are still in 1.172 inches, and I got 40 shots from one fill.

I’ve a thought about what’s happening. I understand the Talon SS rifle and its 12-inch barrel quite well, and I also understand the Condor and its 24-inch barrel. What I do not yet have is much experience with a Condor valve and tank and an 18-inch barrel. I need more experience with this combination before I’ll be comfortable with the power settings and pellets that work the best. For now, though, the 18-grain Air Arms pellet on power setting 4 is the best in my test rifle.

A wind-bucking pellet
Now, for that pellet that seems to buck the wind better than the rest. It’s a Skenco New Boy Senior 28.6-grain dome. I shot it last week when the wind was higher and it bucked the wind when every other pellet was getting thrown around. My 10-shot group size was a bit large, at 1.704 inches, but 8 of those 10 pellets are in a tight 0.789 inches, and this was in considerable wind! I didn’t have any more of them for today’s test, but I’ll be ordering more for the future, I can assure you.

AirForce Condor SS precharged air rifle with Skenco New Boy Senior pellet 4
On a windy day, 10 Skenco New Boy Senior pellets made a 1.704-inch group, but 8 of them landed in 0.789 inches. This is worth pursuing.

All things considered, the Condor SS performed flawlessly this day. I like the new trigger a lot, and the new safety is the best. I can’t wait to try out this rifle in some novel ways!

We aren’t done with the Condor SS yet. Next, I’m going to switch the Spin-Loc Hi-Flo tank with a standard tank, and we’ll look at the velocity, shot count, noise signature and accuracy at both 25 and 50 yards. By the time I’m finished, you all should know quite a lot about this new air rifle from AirForce.

Swiss Arms P92 replica pistol
Swiss Arms P92 CO2 BB pistol

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

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

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