Posts Tagged ‘Tech Force M12’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
I usually have a handle on the gun by the time Part 4 rolls around. But, today, I’m still stymied by the Tech Force M12 breakbarrel. I’ll tell you all I’ve done to make sure this rifle is on the beam; but when I tell you my results, I think you’ll see I’m not there yet.
I discovered in Part 3 that the M12 I’m testing is a big drooper. That means it shoots very low relative to where the scope is looking. For today’s test, I installed a B-Square adjustable scope mount that has a huge downward angle to bring the point of impact back up to the aim point. It worked well enough for the test, so I proceeded to shoot several different types of pellets — trying all kinds of hand holds and even resting the rifle directly on the sandbag.
Here’s a list of the pellets I tried: (10-shot groups with each)
Beeman Kodiak Hollowpoints
Crosman Premier 10.5-grain
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
JSB Exact RS
JSB Exact 8.4-grain
JSB Exact 10.3-grain
Beeman Trophy (an obsolete domed pellet)
Eley Wasp (an obsolete domed pellet)
With most of these pellets, the rifle teased me with several pellets in the same hole — but a 10-shot group that was 1.5 inches and larger. A couple were all over the place and simply would not group at all. The Hobbys were probably the worst.
Only one pellet put 10 shots into 1.038 inches at 25 yards. Those were RWS Superdomes, and the hold was with my off hand back by the triggerguard, leaving the rifle very muzzle-heavy. The rifle was somewhat twitchy but not overly so.
The encouraging thing about this group is that I didn’t have to use a lot of technique to shoot it. I know it isn’t as tight as others I’ve shot at the same distance, and you’ll compare it to them, but I compared it to the other groups I was getting with this rifle. In that comparison, this was the best one and it was also relatively easy to shoot.
What all did I do?
For the record, here’s a list of all the things I tried to get the M12 to shoot.
Cleaned the barrel
Tightened the stock screws (they were tight)
Installed a drooper mount with a lot of down angle
Tightened the scope mount screws (and they were loose on the B-Square adjustable mount!)
Tried resting the forearm of the rifle:
On my open palm in front of the triggerguard
On my open palm under the cocking slot
Directly on the sandbag
Tried shaking the barrel to test the breech lockup (it is tight)
Tried extra relaxation with the artillery hold — which worked for a few shots, but never more than four
Tried attaching an extra weight to the barrel during each shot (with a large magnet)
So, where are we in this test?
I still think the M12 can shoot because there’s evidence of it wanting to stack its pellets. It might be that this is a rifle that needs more than a thousand shots to break in. I’ve owned a few of those. The Beeman C1 from Webley that I used to own was such a rifle. At first it was a royal beast; but as the shot count passed 2,000, the rifle began smoothing out and transforming into something very delightful to shoot. By 4,000 shots, the trigger was very nice and the gun had no vibration to speak of. It was this very rifle that caused me to give the artillery hold its name, and I wrote the first article I ever wrote about airguns for Dr. Beeman. He didn’t respond to my submission, so I saved it and eventually wrote it up in The Airgun Letter.
I wonder if this M12 needs that kind of break-in? That’s something I haven’t done in a good many years because it takes so much of my time. But it might be interesting to see if the rifle responds to a long-term break-in. I think I’ve certainly shoot 250-300 shots at this point, because I also tested the gun at 10 meters and one time at 25 yards (it wasn’t reported). Maybe I’ll rack up some more shots to see how that affects a longer-term break-in.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll learn an important lesson in spring-gun management. This report was supposed to happen yesterday, but the rifle wasn’t cooperating — and I had to spend an extra day testing it. I’ll explain what haoppened and tell you what I did to fix it. It was simple, and the results are astounding. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
As you know, I elected to test the .177-caliber Tech Force M12 4-12x40AO air rifle combo. I chose the package that came without the illuminated reticle but with the best scope.
I mounted the scope with no difficulties. The two-piece rings went on the rails easily and the rifle’s end cap was used to block the rear ring from moving during shooting. I can tell you at this point that you have nothing to fear using the cap this way. The end cap holds the ring positively and doesn’t seem to move.
Trouble in paradise!
But at 25 yards, I found I had difficulty shooting a group that was reasonable. The best I managed to do was 10 shots in an inch and a half, but I also had some that went two inches. It was discouraging, to say the least. I sat back and examined the groups to see what could be learned.
And one thing popped out. Each group of 10 was actually two very tight groups of pellets. There was enough dispersion that at first they just looked like a large group; but since I’d seen every shot go through the target and I remembered them going from one side to the other, I was able to see that there were actually two separate groups. And you know what that means, don’t you?
Let’s look at this from a different perspective. Let’s say a new reader wrote a comment and complained about the lack of accuracy in his new rifle. We might have to go back and forth several times before he mentioned that there are really two smaller sub-groups in the one group he shoots. But that would be the key that triggers a response.
Many of you would advise this reader to remove the scope from his gun and shoot a group with open sights. That’s what I would do. Only in the case of this rifle, there are no open sights. What do you do then?
There is a “secret.” It really isn’t a secret; but from experience, I’ve found that only a few people know about it.
The secret is this: When you get multiple groups like this, the problem is usually caused by a floating erector tube inside the scope, assuming that all the mounting screws are tight. And in this case, I checked them and all were tight. The stock screws were also tight. So the erector tube is the suspect. The thing that sets it up to move like that is when the scope is adjusted up too high or too far to the right, so the erector tube spring (the spring that pushes against both adjustment knobs) has relaxed to the point that the tube can move. It’s a common fault when using a scope, and I’ve been seeing it more and more often with firearms, too.
What I would tell a new reader is to crank a LOT of down elevation (at least 60 clicks — more is better) into his scope and shoot a group. I don’t care that the pellet is now striking the target low. What I care about is the size and shape of the group. That’s exactly what I did. I cranked in 5 or 6 full rotations of down elevation into the scope.
Because the rifle was now shooting very low, I decided to test the rifle at 10 meters just to keep the shots on the paper. I’m not going to tell you the pellets that were tried at 25 yards because what follows explains why they were not tested fairly.
The first pellet I tried in this experiment was the 10.3-grain JSB Exact dome. Inside of 3 shots, I knew I’d found the problem and was fixing it. The 10-shot group I got is not that small for just 10 meters, but it was relatively easy to shoot, meaning that I did not have to use more than the usual amount of artillery hold technique.
Next, I tried Crosman Premier heavies, thinking that the rifle was going to lay them in no matter what it was fed. But not this time. When 4 shots gave me almost 1.5 inches, I stopped! Clearly, this 10.5-grain dome is not the pellet for the M12.
Then, I tried a pellet that has never worked in any test I’ve done. The Beeman Trophy pellets I have are so old that they come in the old-style Beeman tin. But, I thought, what the heck — this is just a test. Let’s see what they can do. And, of course, they were stunning. Ten made a group that measures 0.458 inches, but 8 of those 10 shots made a 0.253-inch group that’s very round and encouraging.
Not only did the Trophy pellet make a nice round group, it also required very little special shooting technique. The gun felt like it was in the zone with this pellet.
I have to say this 4-12x40AO Tech Force scope that came with the rifle is a pretty nice optic for being included in a combo package. It focuses clearly and seems bright enough for general use. Once I found the problem, this scope performed as well as any scope would under similar circumstances. If you plan to purchase an M12, I would recommend getting it the way you see here.
Where are we with the Tech Force M12?
Obviously, I haven’t finished the test of the M12. I still need to shoot the rifle at 25 yards to see how well it does. And I know the groups are going to be larger than what you see here. Before I do that, I need to mount this scope in a good drooper mount so I can get the gun shooting to the point of aim, again.
Today’s report is a valuable lesson in what to do when you’re having problems getting a scope to work. The diagnostic for this is when the rifle wants to shoot several groups that are each respectable; but when taken together, they’re too large. In the situation I’ve shown here, we didn’t know if the problem was the rifle, the scope or something else. By dialing in a lot of down elevation and sometimes some left elevation, we put tension on the erector tube springs, taking them out of the equation. If the gun then shoots well, as this M12 clearly did, then you know you have a droop problem that’s easy to solve.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll look at the firing behavior and velocity of the Tech Force M12. You readers had mixed feelings about this rifle. Some of you liked the look of the gun and the fact that the trigger is nice, though it’s only single-stage. Others were put off by the lack of open sights. Once again, for anyone who missed it, the Tech Force M12 is made for Air Venturi (who owns the Tech Force name) by Mendoza. It is not a model Mendoza makes under any other name, so if you want one, you have to get an M12.
I’m testing the combo with the 4-12x40AO Tech Force rifle scope. The scope comes into play in the next report, when I look at the rifle’s accuracy. Now, we’ll look at its performance over the chronograph. The first pellet I shot was the one I think may shoot best in the rifle — the venerable Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome.
The first several shots from the rifle detonated, which means they were accompanied by a loud bang. Some people call that dieseling, but it’s more than that. Dieseling means that the piston causes the oil in the compression chamber to ignite when the gun fires. All spring guns in this power class diesel with every shot — even the ones that have been tuned. You don’t usually notice it because there’s so little oil to act as fuel for each shot that the gun neither makes a bang nor does it smoke. Only when there’s too much oil does the gun smoke with every shot, and only when there’s even more oil does it detonate. Detonation usually goes away after one to several shots, so you just keep shooting until the gun becomes quieter.
The M12 only detonated on the first 4 shots with Premier lites. The first shot went 1012 f.p.s., which is well over the advertised velocity of 750 f.p.s. for lead pellets. It was the detonation that caused the higher velocity, because shot No. 2 went 932 f.p.s., even though the rifle was still detonating.
After 7 shots, the rifle had stabilized, and the velocity had dropped to the 800 f.p.s. mark, which is what we expect it to do with this pellet. The average velocity was 797 f.p.s., and the spread ranged from 792 to 800 f.p.s. That’s a tight 8 foot-second range that tells me the Premier lite will probably be a good pellet for the accuracy test. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 11.15 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
The next pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby — an all-lead pellet that weighs 7 grains. I use Hobbys or other RWS pellets of equivalent weight to test spring guns for power, so we can have a standard reference.
Hobbys averaged 848 f.p.s. in the M12, but their performance was not stable. They ranged from 829 to 877 f.p.s. While I did not hear any definite detonations while shooting Hobbys, there was a lot of smoke with each shot, so the rifle is still burning off oil. It’s good to get that out of the way now before the accuracy test, where it would disturb the shots. At the average velocity, Hobbys produced 11.18 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
The next pellet I tested was the 10.3-grain JSB Exact dome. I felt that a heavier pellet might help stabilize the rifle in the early stages of its break-in. This pellet averaged 716 f.p.s.; but like the Hobbys, it wasn’t too stable. The spread went from 699 to 746 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generated 11.73 foot-pounds — the highest power noted in this test.
And the last pellet tested was the lead-free RWS HyperMAX pointed pellet that weighs 5.2 grains. These averaged 961 f.p.s. in the test rifle if I throw out the first shot that registered 919 f.p.s. The spread of the average string ranged from 948 to 970 f.p.s., so once more it wasn’t too stable. At the average velocity, this pellet produced 10.67 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
The M12 has surprised me thus far. Why? Because it’s a Mendoza, a company that I know can make some wonderful air rifles. But they often add too much oil during assembly. The M12 is not like that. Yes, it does have a little too much oil, but the same can be said of a new Weihrauch these days. And Air Venturi had them eliminate the oil hole they put on all their rifles, so there’s no encouragement to continue over-oiling the gun.
It seems well-behaved. The oil takes care of itself during the break-in period, so it’s of no consequence. The trigger is still very nice, though I can now feel it moving through the single stage. But there’s still no creep and it still releases crisply. The trigger breaks at 2 lbs., 15 oz. fairly consistently.
The firing behavior is accompanied by a slow shudder, not by high-speed vibration, so this rifle will probably be pleasant to shoot. The trigger is good enough to do good work on target, and I think the rest remains to be discovered.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
I promised to do this report soon, and today it begins. The Air Venturi Tech Force M12 4-12x combo: this will be a report on what it is. Is it a worthy air rifle for $269.99 (as of this publication)?
This rifle was made by Mendoza, but it’s no model you will ever find in their catalog. So, you either buy it here or you don’t buy it. There are too many differences from standard Mendoza rifles to call it by that name. I will point out all of those differences today.
The first question I have to address is the model name. Tech Force is the name of a line of Chinese guns, made mostly by the Industry Brand factory. What is a Mendoza-made airgun doing in the Tech Force line? It was a marketing decision, pure and simple. Management felt that the Tech Force name is already well-known, so why not use the marketing inertia that’s been established over two decades? They are, no doubt, right about that. The average buyer will not know the background story on these guns, and those that do will care more about the quality of the gun than they will the history or where it’s made. So, Tech Force M12 it is.
This is a medium-sized breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle that advertises a velocity of 1,000 f.p.s. in the .177 caliber I’m testing. We’ll get to that in Part 2. There’s also a .22 option; and if the gun lives up to its power claims, I would prefer it in that caliber, only because it should have a little more power.
Some things set the M12 apart from other airguns made by Mendoza. It has no oil hole in the spring tube, so it cannot be over-oiled unless you go crazy oiling the air transfer port. Air Venturi visited the Mendoza plant and specified this feature — which is the same as on the Bronco — to keep this gun from becoming a dieseling runaway. The Air Venturi technicians discussed the assembly of this rifle with the Mendoza production personnel and were assured that this rifle will not be over-oiled at assembly. I can confirm that the test rifle is not too oily and does not detonate, so we’re already ahead of the curve on that account.
Cocking is 33 lbs., though the Pyramyd Air website says 26 lbs. Newer airgunners might think that’s no big deal, but it places this rifle in the serious shooting and hunter class, because even a bodybuilder will not want to shoot 250 shots at one time when the rifle cocks this hard. This is something you must experience to appreciate, because it doesn’t relate to how strong you are. It’s a simple fact that when the cocking effort climbs above about 28 lbs., the gun stops being a casual plinker for almost everyone. I’ll save the other observations about how it shoots for the next report, because all I’ve done thus far is fire just a couple familiarization shots. I cannot find a serial number anywhere on the gun or the box.
As some have noticed, the muzzlebrake is longer than the one Mendoza uses on their guns, and that’s a plus. The M12 has no sights, so it must be scoped. Pyramyd Air sells it both ways — scoped and not — with several scope options. I chose the most powerful scope to test for you, though not the one with the illuminated reticle. It’s a Tech Force-branded 4-12×40, and the combo also comes with one-inch rings to mount the scope. The rifle has an 11mm set of grooves cut directly into the spring tube, but no scope stop. With the Bronco I found that the plastic end cap served well as a scope stop, but the M12 recoils a lot more. It remains to be seen if this will work. I’ll report on it.
The trigger is another feature that’s different on the M12. It’s not the two-blade Mendoza trigger that’s found on the Bronco. Instead, this is a single-bladed, single-stage trigger that seems to release fairly light and very crisp. It will take some getting used to, but I think it’s at least as nice as a T06 trigger. There appears to be no provision for adjustment; but as nice as it is, I don’t think the average shooter will mind.
The safety is automatic and also ambidextrous. In fact, the entire rifle is 100 percent ambidextrous. Nothing favors one side over the other — there’s even no cheek rest on either side of the Monte Carlo butt.
Weighing almost 7 lbs., the M12 is a medium-sized air rifle. It feels larger because the forearm has a wide cross-section, but it’ll be very comfortable for most adults. The overall length is 44.25 inche,s and the pull is 13.5 inches. The stock is a dark-stained hardwood with machine-cut checkering panels on both sides of the pistol grip and forearm. The diamonds are flat and don’t provide any purchase. The butt has a red pad of soft solid rubber that holds your shoulder well. The pistol grip has a slight swell on either side for the palm of your hand. The woodwork is well-fitted and finished with an even satin finish. I don’t think there will be many complaints.
The barrel is back-bored, so the rifled section is only 9.25 inches in length. The finish on the metal parts is variable. The spring tube and the muzzlebrake are both highly polished, while the barrel is finished with more of a satin sheen.
At $189.99, the base M12 is positioned up close to the RWS Diana 34, but with some room to spare. It, therefore, needs to have something close to the published velocity and decent accuracy. We already know the trigger is a keeper, and I’ll cover the other attributes as I test the gun.
Is the M12 the gun I wanted the Mustang to be? No, it’s not. This rifle is more powerful than the Mustang was supposed to be, and the Mustang had open sights. So, the M12 stands by itself. I know there are a number of interested parties, so I won’t keep you waiting too long on this one.