Posts Tagged ‘trigger adjustment’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today’s report is a guest blog from blog reader DMoneyTT. He promised to show us how to fine-tune the Octane trigger, and he’s provided some good photos to go along with his article.
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.
Over to you, DMoneyTT.
Umarex Octane trigger job
As the cost and availability of firearm ammunition continues to keep many shooters from getting adequate trigger time, scores of shooters are turning to airguns to keep their skills honed. Often, new airgunners will be tempted to put down their hard-earned dollars on a rifle offering the highest advertised velocity. Airgun marketing tends to focus on this aspect of performance over all else; but experienced shooters know that accuracy is paramount, and it takes more than just a good barrel and powerplant to deliver tight groups. Proper fit and trigger control are critical considerations when attempting to extract the maximum potential from any rifle.
It’s no secret that the Chinese-manufactured airgun market has seen unparalleled growth and their products are steadily closing the gap between these affordable rifles and their more precise, yet costly, brethren manufactured in Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States (to name but a few). Many times the differences in quality of manufacturing may be ironed out by the end user. It’s not beyond the skills or tools of the average shooter to dramatically improve the performance of a budget Chinese airgun.
For the shooter who desires all the power of a magnum springer and wants the accuracy to make good use of the velocity but doesn’t want to spend a lot, there are a few good choices. In my humble opinion, the best of these is the Umarex Octane combo. I picked one up several months ago, and it’s been a real joy to plink with and should be excellent for hunting small game, as well. The only downside to this excellent rifle is the trigger-pull. Out of the box, the pull on my rifle registered almost 10 lbs. Others have reported slightly less, so I may have started with an abnormally high pull weight to begin with. There was very little creep (which is a result of minimal sear engagement), and the break was quite crisp. So, a trigger job was necessary, and lessening the pull weight was the only task required.
I would like to say that this does take a steady hand, and careful attention should be paid to the work done on these tiny parts. Any work you decide to do on your rifle should be done with care to maintain the original parts geometry, and it’s always a good idea to carefully test the rifle after any work has been performed. I suggest reading this article before beginning any work to decide if this is within your skill set.
Note from B.B.: Do not work on your gun’s trigger if you do not already have experience working on airguns or are not 100% confident that you can properly disassemble and reassemble the gun and trigger. If you decide to do any part of this trigger tune, you will void the gun’s warranty.
The necessary tools are few.
You will need:
• An Allen wrench that fits the forearm screws.
• A large Phillips screwdriver
• Some paste-type lubricant (synthetic open-gear lube worked well for me)
• A fine wet stone (300-600 grit is preferable)
• A Dremel (or any other rotary tool) with a grey rubber polishing wheel may be used on contact points other than the primary sear and secondary sear interaction point because it’s too likely to round edges.
• A vise to hold the rifle while performing the work.
• Small needlenose pliers or hemostats.
So, let’s begin! Start by ensuring that the rifle is not cocked or loaded. The next task is to remove the stock from the rifle so the trigger group can be accessed. Use an Allen wrench to remove the two forearm screws that attach the action to the stock.
Next, a large Phillips screwdriver is used to remove the screw found behind the triggerguard.
The action can now be removed from the stock. It’s helpful to hold the rifle directly upside down, as the trigger pins fit very loosely and will fall out if the action is tilted to either side once the stock is removed. It’s wise to do all the work over a flat and clean surface that will easily allow dropped parts to be seen and recovered. I chose to mount my action in a vise to allow easy removal of the stock and to gain access to the components of the trigger group. It’s certainly easier to work on the rifle if both hands are free.
Here is the correct placement of the pins in the trigger housing.
Each pin will now need to be removed, and the associated component will need to come out with it. I find that hemostats are very helpful for those with large hands like mine. To help organize the parts, it’s advised to lay them on a white sheet of paper according to their position as they’re removed.
To illustrate the internal layout of the parts, I assembled a jig to hold the pins in the same position they are within the trigger housing. Notice that the shorter leg of the V-shaped sear spring rests against the secondary sear. This is important to reproduce when assembling the trigger group.
Now that the components have been removed from the trigger housing, warm soapy water should be used to degrease all the parts. All contact points between the parts should also be deburred and polished. These areas are circled below in red. I first used a fine (500 grit) whetstone to debur and smooth any rough surfaces. I then polished these parts with a very fine (1000 grit) whetstone. Remove as little metal as possible to get the desired mirror finish and be careful not to round any of the sharp edges. The goal is to make the parts smooth and shiny so they’ll slide against each other with minimal friction but not alter the shape of the parts.
Like the previous photo, these parts are also shown upside down.
Perhaps the most important part to refinish is the trigger adjustment screw. It comes from the factory with a very sharp point that digs into the tertiary sear where it touches. This galls the metal, and there’s significant drag produced when attempting to pull the trigger in its stock configuration. Simply removing this grub screw with a small Allen wrench and rounding and polishing the end that contacts the tertiary sear will reduce the pull weight by 2 or more pounds, depending on the severity of the galling.
I chucked this screw into my drill and spun it against my whetstone until it had a nice, smooth ball end instead of a sharp point. It should look like the image below when you’re done.
If you are not confident enough to tackle this full trigger job, the trigger adjustment screw can be removed from the rifle without any other parts being removed. That allows you to round and polish the end and install it in the trigger to realize a vastly improved trigger-pull with little work involved.
The adjustment of this screw has very little effect on the pull weight or quality because it allows adjustment of the first stage only. This first stage is not a true first stage because the sears do not move as the trigger travels through this stage. The trigger return spring is just being compressed, much like a Gamo or Crosman trigger. Feel free to adjust this screw to whatever position you prefer. There’s no set rule except to not adjust the screw so far in that it eliminates the first stage. That will result in an unsafe rifle that may cause a bear-trap incident (where the piston releases without the trigger being pulled, allowing the barrel to snap shut unexpectedly).
Assembly of the trigger is fairly straightforward and is the reverse of disassembly. The use of a thick paste-type lubricant on the bearing surfaces of the parts will help decrease pull weight as well. I use Mobile One synthetic open gear lube, but most any paste-type lubricant should work. My Octane trigger group was bone-dry from the factory, which certainly contributed to the very stiff pull weight. Use the pictures to help install the parts and pins in their appropriate locations. The hemostats will come in handy again at this point. I installed washers to remove slop from my components but would not recommend it. The difference is hardly noticeable, and it makes assembly much more difficult.
The sum of these modifications should get the trigger-pull down to around 4 lbs. and make it much more smooth and consistent. After averaging the pull weight from 5 measurements, my trigger has settled down at a 3 lb., 2 oz. pull. It’s possible to go slightly lighter with some modifications of the secondary sear geometry; but because of the required precision and the possibility of dangerous results, I suggest stopping at this point. A 3.5-lb. trigger is quite good for a magnum springer and is ideal for accurate plinking and hunting. I know that my groups have improved dramatically, and I’m enjoying the fruits of my own labor when I feel a crisp trigger-break and see targets fall. I hope this helps you get the best from yourself and your rifle.
Please post any questions, comments or tips you have. I’m curious to see what you think.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today’s report is both interesting and a little different. I shot the .22-caliber Octane combo from Umarex at 25 yards and used the Umarex 3-9X40 scope that came in the package. I’ll talk about the scope and mounts first.
The scope is a variable with parallax adjustment from 10 yards to infinity. It features a duplex reticle and comes with 2-piece Weaver rings that have 4 screws per cap. The top of the rifle has a Picatinny adapter clamped on the 11mm dovetails that are cut directly into the spring tube, so the scope rings mounted quickly.
I found the scope to be clear and sharp, and the parallax adjustment to be close to the actual distance once the eyepiece was adjusted correctly. This is one of the nicest scopes I have seen bundled with a combo airgun. I don’t think you need to buy anything other than pellets — lots of pellets.
I sighted-in the gun at 12 feet with one shot, then backed up to 25 yards to refine the sight picture. Veteran readers know I’m purposely trying not to hit the center of the bull, as that erases the aim point.
I was finished sighting-in after 4 more shots and ready to start shooting for the record. The first pellet I selected was the .22 caliber 14.3-grain Crosman Premier that had done so well in the 10-meter test with open sights.
After the first 5 shots, I thought I had a slam-dunk accurate rifle, but I guess I got a little sloppy. Shot 6 went into the same hole, but shots 7 through 10 moved over to the left of the main group. Six consecutive shots went into 0.449 inches; but after 10 shots, the group measured 1.067 inches.
After this group was finished I discovered the scope base screws were both loose. That made the scope loose, as well. I tightened them and checked them frequently throughout the remainder of the test.
The second group of Premiers opened to 1.382 inches. This one is very horizontal, but within it is a tight group of 4 shots that came early in the string. That group measures 0.188 inches between centers.
Following this group, I noticed that both forearm screws had come loose. So they were tightened — a lot! And for the rest of the test, I monitored their tightness closely.
The Octane recoils a lot, and you have to watch all the screws. Once they’re tight, they probably won’t back out for a long time; but the first time you use the gun, they probably need to be tightened just a bit more than normal. At least, watch for them to loosen.
This is nothing new. We have always been told to watch the screws on spring guns that recoil heavily. I just forgot it this time until it became obvious downrange.
JSB Exact Jumbo
Next I tried JSB Exact Jumbo pellets. They did very well for the first 6, then the last 4 wandered over to the right. And when I say “wandered,” I mean they really went places! The group measures 2.822 inches between centers, with 6 of those shots in 0.763 inches.
After this group, I played around with holding my off hand at different places under the forearm, and then some non-standard holds that included resting the rifle directly on the bag 2 different ways. By the time I was finished, I’d fired over 60 shots from a rifle that takes 39 lbs. of force to cock. I never reported that effort in Part 2, like I normally would, so now you know that the Octane is hard to cock — like all powerful gas spring airguns.
I suspected that I was tiring at this point. The term used in competition is I was “blowing up”! The Octane wanted to put them in the same place, but something prevented it. I shot one final group of Premiers — just to see if I could see what it was doing. But that group wasn’t worth reporting. I had clearly pushed past the point of fatigue, so the session was over.
Here’s what’s at stake. Priced at just $200 with a very good scope, the Octane is poised to take its place beside legendary air rifles like the RWS Diana 34 Striker Pro combo. It’s actually $100 less than the 34, yet offers the same power. If it also gives the same accuracy, the Octane suddenly becomes an important air rifle; and if the horribly heavy trigger has a workable solution that the average owner can follow, then folks, we have a winner. So, I want to give this air rifle every chance to compete. It seems to want to do well, so I need to find out what needs to be done.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today is the start of accuracy testing for the Octane combo air rifle, and I’m going to make some changes. For starters, I’m going to give you the summary now. The Octane is a smooth-shooting, accurate air rifle. It’s everything the manufacturer wants it to be, and a couple of things they probably didn’t think about, on top of that. The rest of this report will justify and explain my summary.
Another thing, the Octane is different from any gas spring I’ve ever tested. Gas springs always fire fast, as in instantaneously. When the sear releases, the shot is over, and you usually know it from the sharp crack of sound and the painful slap to your cheek. The Octane fires slowly in comparison. There’s a lot of forward recoil and almost no vibration, and the discharge is very quiet, as I noted in part 2. I attribute this behavior to the Reaxis gas-spring design that’s reversed from the norm, and to the SilencAir silencer on the muzzle. Both apparently work as advertised.
I decided to just shoot 5 shots per pellet today, and to shoot the rifle with open sights at 10 meters. I wanted to get a good sense of how accurate it is before putting the walls of my house at risk. And what I discovered was that this rifle is fun to shoot! I normally don’t have much fun shooting a 20 foot-pound spring rifle, but the Octane is so civilized that it gave me a lot of confidence. By the time I’d fired the first 2 shots at the target, putting them into the same hole, by the way, I knew this day was going to be fun.
I held the rifle with an artillery hold, but the thumbhole stock makes you grip the gun harder than you normally might. So, I would have to call it a modified artillery hold. But the rifle cooperated, and there was noting to worry about. The muzzle heaviness holds the front sight steady on target once you’re dialed in.
The sights are fiberoptic, which destroy all attempts at precision, but by lighting the target brightly and sitting in a darker room to shoot, I could defeat the fiberoptic tubes and get a very sharp sight picture. When they don’t glow, the Octane’s sights offer a nearly ideal sight picture, and that was what made me decide to not mount the scope, yet. I wanted to have the fun of shooting with open sights since the rifle was cooperating.
The trigger is still quite heavy and very creepy, so I envy those who own their rifles and can modify them. If I could drop the release weight to under 4 lbs. and if there was a way to eliminate all the second-stage creep, this trigger would help accuracy greatly.
The first target was shot with 5 Beeman Kodiak pellets. This was when I first noticed how slow the Octane’s gas piston is. It feels like an airgun equivalent of a 45-70 single-shot. You feel the recoil and the rifle bounces around, but you know the pellet got out of the muzzle before all that started and that accuracy wasn’t affected in the slightest.
As I said, the first 2 pellets cut the same hole, though each made a distinctive mark. Then I stopped watching through the spotting scope and just shot the next 3 pellets. In the end, the group is larger than I would have liked for 10 meters, at 0.581 inches, but this is with open sights. Still, it is just 5 shots instead of 10.
Next, I tried the RWS Hobby pellet. It felt good while loading because it fit the breech tight but not overly so. And, though the point of impact shifted up a bit, the Hobby was quite accurate — putting 5 pellets into 0.368 inches! I thought that was remarkable. I couldn’t wait to test some more pellets!
Next, I tried the RWS Superdome. Here’s where you’re going to see something significant. RWS makes both Hobbys and Superdomes in Germany, and presumably they use the same lead alloy for both. And domed pellets are generally regarded to be the most accurate. Yet look at how the Superdomes did! They grouped horizontally, to exactly 1 inch, while the Hobbys stayed together.
You might try to blame me for getting tired at this point in the test, but there’s group coming that will show that I was still shooting my best. That’s one benefit of these 5 shot groups. They don’t tire me as quickly.
Now, for those of you who think I might have slipped up on the last group, I shot 5 Predator Polymag pellets next. They’re a recognized premium pellet, just like the Superdomes, and I’ve shown some great groups using them in recent tests. But not this time. Instead of the group stringing sideways, the Predator group were stringing vertically. Five went into 0.982 inches, so we won’t be seeing them in any future tests of the Octane.
If you have now decided that I’ve gotten tired and ho-hum, what’s so special about the Octane if this is the best that it can do — hold on! I saved the best for last. Actually, the Octane saved the best for last because the next group is the last one I shot on this day.
The 14.3-grain Crosman Premier pellet is sometimes the best pellet you can use in an airgun. And it is in the Octane test! Five Premiers went into a group measuring 0.245 inches between centers. It looks like only 3 pellets have passed through, but I did shoot all 5. This is very clearly and hands-down the most accurate pellet I tested in the Octane.
I already gave you the summary in the beginning of this report. Now you see the substantiation of what was said.
Several readers reported higher velocities than I got in the last test, and I was asked to change the breech seal. Well, I might do that, but frankly the rifle is shooting so nice right now that I don’t feel any urgency.
The Octane is unlike any gas-spring breakbarrel rifle I’ve ever tested. I wish the trigger was better, but it’s hard to argue with the accuracy or with the rifle’s firing behavior.
I will skip testing the rifle at 10 meters with the scope that comes in the package and go straight to 25 yards next time.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Benjamin Marauder .177 caliber Part 1
Secrets of loading the Benjamin Marauder magazine
Fixing a Marauder magazine
Benjamin Marauder .25 caliber Part 1
Benjamin Marauder .25 caliber Part 2
Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock Part 1
New Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock has all the features of the classic Marauder in a lighter, trimmer package.
Today is our second look at the .22-caliber Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock. We have a new log reader who goes by the handle AirrifleRatHunter, and he just bought a synthetic Marauder and it’s his first PCP, so I want to help him with his rifle.
ARH said his rifle wasn’t as accurate as he thought it should be. We found that he was using substandard pellets and corrected that, but I also mentioned to him that the baffles inside the shroud could be involved. He asked me what baffles are, so I’m now showing them to everyone. The test Marauder has 7 Delrin washers (the baffles) that are shaped to strip away the compressed air behind the pellet once it leaves the rifle’s muzzle, which is buried deep within the shroud. I’ve laid out these parts for you to see how they work. If the pellet were to touch one of these baffles as it passes through, it would destroy accuracy.
Looking at a single baffle shows that the compressed air that’s behind the pellet gets stripped to the sides by the shape of the baffle (on the left) as the pellet passes through its center. This happens 7 times in succession before the pellet leaves the gun. The end cap that pushes the baffles against the coiled spring at the back has an o-ring to keep the air from escaping around its threads.
One other accuracy tip is to ensure that the shroud is not touching the forward barrel band on any side. Mine was touching on one side when I got the rifle, so I loosened the 2 set screws on the bottom of the band and repositioned it.
Today is setup day, where I will adjust the rifle to suit myself. The first thing I did was select a scope and mounts. Marauders have a low receiver, which means you need to select a higher scope mount if the objective bell of your scope is a large one. I chose a Leapers UTG 4-16X50 scope with illuminated reticle, but mine is an older model than the one I linked to. Nevertheless, it’s a big scope with a large objective bell that needs height to clear the barrel shroud.
You have to either use a 2-piece mount or a cantilever 1-piece mount that will clear the magazine sticking up above the receiver, so keep that in mind when looking at mounts. I chose BKL one-inch mounts with double straps that are high enough for the gun and scope combination. The double straps mean that you don’t need to worry about the torque sequence when you tighten the screws in the scope caps because each strap is independent.
Adjust the cheekpiece
Usually, I have to just adapt to whatever gun I’m testing because most of them don’t have any ergonomic features. But the new Marauder synthetic stock does have an adjustable cheekpiece. I was able to raise it up so my eye in in line with the scope’s exit pupil when I shoulder the rifle normally. What a convenience that is!
The new trigger
The Marauder’s trigger has been moved back in the receiver by about one-half inch, which brings the blade closer to the pistol grip. The result is a nicer feeling when you hold the rifle because your hand doesn’t have to stretch to reach the trigger. I never noticed it until I shouldered the new rifle the first time, but it certainly feels much better now.
Moving the trigger back meant that several internal trigger parts had to be redesigned. In essence, this trigger is the same one that’s always been on the Marauder, but there are small differences inside. So, the next thing I did was adjust the trigger.
To properly adjust the trigger, you remove the action from the stock. It’s only necessary to remove one stock screw for this, and the action comes right out.
As the rifle came from the box it had a heavy first stage pull of 2 lbs., 6 oz. This can be reduced by adjusting a screw counterclockwise to take tension off the trigger return spring. When I backed the screw out entirely so no spring tension remained, the first-stage pull dropped to just under 11 oz., so there’s another spring inside the trigger group that also helps return the trigger blade.
The large round screw at the left adjusts the trigger-pull weight. Behind the trigger blade the two small screws adjust the first- and second-stage pull length. And the screw behind those 2 allows for slight repositioning of the trigger blade.
I put the adjustment screw back in the hole and tightened it just enough to keep it from falling out. That raised the first-stage pull to just over 14 oz., which is fine for a sporting rifle; but I must note that it’s heavier than the triggers in the other 2 Marauders I’ve tested. They both break at 11 oz., and this one has a first-stage pull greater than that.
Next, I adjusted the first-stage pull a little shorter, and the second-stage pull to start sooner. Those were 2 separate adjustments; but each affects the other, so the manual tells you to do them together. The owner’s manual also warns you that these screws adjust the amount of sear contact, so go slow and be careful to not get the trigger to the point that it won’t hold the sear or will only hold it dangerously close to firing. After making these adjustments, I assembled the action in the stock once more and cocked the rifle. Then, I bumped it hard from several directions, and the sear did not slip off and fire.
Before the adjustment, the rifle fired at 3 lbs., 4 oz. That’s pretty good for an air rifle trigger, given the lawyerly influences in companies these days; but a Marauder is not an average air rifle. After adjustment, it fired at 1 lb., 7 oz. but still had a bit of creep in stage 2, so I adjusted the stage-2 screw one last time. This time, I didn’t take the action out of the stock. The small Allen wrench used on these 2 screws (a .050-inch wrench is used for both stage-1 and stage-2 screws) is small enough to reach through the triggerguard and fit into the socket of the screw.
The final adjustment took another half-ounce off the pull and eliminated most of the creep. I wouldn’t call this trigger glass-crisp…but the way it’s adjusted now, it’s quite good!
Now the rifle is set up for me. Next, I’ll shoot it for velocity and decide whether to leave the fill limit at the factory-set 2,500 psi or increase it for more shots. And I may adjust the velocity, depending on what I find.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Just a word
Befoere I get started with today’s report, I want to say something about what happened this weekend. Friday’s airsoft report got a lot of comments. Among them are several questions about the technology of the guns. And some admissions that people didn’t think much of airsoft before they tried it, then they found their opinions changed drastically. That also happened to me, so I can relate to it.
But all you who don’t care for the subject don’t need to worry. This isn’t going to become an airsoft blog. I will continue to report on it at a low level, but I know this is an airgun blog, and that’s not going to change. I want to assure the readers for whom the subject of airsoft is not welcome that we are still going to talk about pellet guns and BBs guns for the most part. I will write a few reports on airsoft now and then, and I trust they won’t upset you too much.
Okay, that’s done. On to the topic of the day!
Today is our second look at the .22-caliber Octane combo from Umarex, and it’s velocity day. Before I get to that, there are a couple adjustments I wanted to make to the rifle. Let’s look at those now.
The first adjustment is the trigger. In the first report, I said the trigger is crisp but heavy. The adjustment screw adjusts only the length of the first-stage pull; so I adjusted it to be longer, and stage 2 decreased. Don’t go too far or the rifle will not cock at all because this adjustment does affect the area of sear contact.
I did go too far and had to call Umarex USA, where I learned that the Octane is supposed to come with a warning tag telling you not to turn in the adjustment screw more than one full turn. I went way past that, so all I had to do was turn the screw back out until the head stood even with the trigger blade — and the trigger was back to working again. For even greater contact, turn the screw so it stands proud of the trigger blade.
The second thing I wanted to adjust is the tension on the action forks because the barrel pivot was too loose. To do that, I normally take the barreled action out of the stock. But with this rifle, you need to be aware that the pins in the trigger are not held in and will fall out of the trigger if the action is tipped sideways. I didn’t know this, of course; and when the first pin fell out, it set me up for 45 minutes of work to get the trigger back together again. It seems that the trigger pins are held in place by the stock. Other airguns I’ve worked on have the same arrangement, and one solution is to put tape on one side of the trigger to hold the pins in place…and keep the trigger oriented straight up and down.
Each of the 6 free (not held by circlips or springs) trigger pins seen here is very loose in its hole and will fall out of the trigger if the gun is jostled or tipped to the side. They’re held in place by the stock. What appears to be a pin at the far right is actually a rivet.
Better still — what you can do (VERY CAREFULLY!) is remove both forearm screws and just LOOSEN the rear screw behind the triggerguard. Then the front of the action can be tipped up clear of the stock far enough to tighten the barrel pivot bolt and nut. I would advise against taking the action completely out of the stock. If you do, know how loose the trigger pins are and treat the rifle accordingly. When the pins fall out, the internal trigger parts start moving around. They’re fairly easy to align with their pin holes, except for the safety that takes a little fiddling since it’s a 2-piece assembly with an internal pivot. My advice is to leave the gun in the stock.
One final tip. When you tighten the stock screws, don’t tighten the rear stock screw (the one behind the triggerguard) too much or the trigger won’t function. It was not tight when I first took the action out of the stock; and I found that if I tightened it too much, the trigger would not work. Umarex told me the screw shouldn’t affect the trigger at all, but I’m just reporting on the behavior of my test rifle.
Now, let’s look at the velocity of the Octane. I’ve selected 3 popular lead pellets and one lead-free pellet.
JSB Exact Jumbo
The first pellet I tested was the 15.9-grain JSB Exact Jumbo. This is a popular and very accurate pellet in many airguns, and I think it may be accurate in the Octane. This pellet averaged 762 f.p.s. in the Octane. The low was 748 f.p.s., and the high was 787 f.p.s.; so the spread was 39 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produced 20.51 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
This pellet loaded easily, perhaps too easily. I think it might be a little undersized for the Octane’s breech. That could affect the accuracy. We’ll see.
The RWS Hobby pellet weighs 11.9 grains in .22 caliber and is very tight in the Octane’s breech. It averaged 889 f.p.s. in the rifle with a low of 867 and a high of 902 f.p.s. So the spread was 35 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produces 20.89 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
I don’t know how Hobbys will do in the Octane, but I suspect they’ll do well because of the tight fit in the bore. Of course, the Hobby is a wadcutter, so accuracy will fall off after about 25 yards.
The .22-caliber Beeman Kodiak dome weighs 21.14 grains, which makes it a very heavy pellet. In the Octane, Kodiaks averaged 682 f.p.s. with a range from 665 to 691 f.p.s. That’s a total spread of 26 f.p.s. At the maximum velocity, the Kodiak produces 21.84 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
My guess is that the Kodiak pellet might also be a good one for the Octane. If so, that’s great because it also produces the most energy of all the lead pellets tested.
Okay, the name of the game with pellet rifles these days is speed, and the RWS HyperMAX lead-free pellet at 9.9 grains is the way to get it. In the Octane, they averaged 1029 f.p.s. with a spread from 1022 to 1075 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 53 f.p.s., so the rifle is probably still burning a lot of fuel. At the average velocity, the HyperMAX pellet produced 23.28 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
The HyperMAX pellet fit the breech very loosely. That’s probably where the extra velocity spread came from, as more dieseling was generated by less pellet resistance. I doubt this pellet will do very well in the Octane because of the loose fit.
The rifle recoils noticeably in both directions, but there’s no vibration, whatsoever. Nearly all rifles with gas springs have a sharp buzz that hits you in the cheek, but the Octane doesn’t. In fact, aside from the recoil, it’s a very smooth-shooting spring rifle.
Remember that I had to adjust the trigger for a very definite stage-2 let-off. That affected the trigger-pull a lot. I was able to adjust it back to a release of 7 lbs., 14 oz. with very little creep. It’s heavy, as I noted before, but I think it’s crisp enough to do good work. We shall soon see!
The Octane IS NOT LOUD!
When I first tested the rifle it was very loud. And the sound persisted for longer than I felt the dieseling of a new airgun would last. But during this test the rifle suddenly became MUCH quieter. Obviously, it had been dieseling and I didn’t know it.
I originally told Edith it was a 3.7 on the sound scale when I tested it, and she adjusted the loudness level on Pyramyd Air’s product page to 4. But now she can hear that the Octane is clearly a 3. I apologize to everyone who was mislead by my earlier report. The Octane is a normal-sounding breakbarrel air rifle.
Observations thus far.
I said in Part 1 that the Octane holds very well in the hands. The weight is biased forward toward the muzzle, and the stock is slender when the off hand rests. Add the smooth shooting to this, and I think the Octane might surprise us in the accuracy test.
I plan on shooting the rifle at 10 meters with its open sights first. That should give us an idea of which pellets it likes. Then, I’ll mount the scope and shoot those best pellets at 10 meters, again. That does 2 things. First, it confirms the pellets are as good as we think; and second, it allows me time to adjust the scope for the second accuracy test at 25 yards.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’ll report on the Hatsan 125TH’s accuracy using open sights. It was a day of learning the rifle, and a lot was discovered. In the next report, I’ll mount the scope that comes with the rifle and test it again. But today it’s open sights all the way. When you read tomorrow’s report, you’ll understand how appropriate this test is.
The 125TH has a post-and-bead sight with TruGlo fiberoptic inserts. Fiberoptics are a poor choice for precision shooting because they cover too much of the target to aim precisely; but when you shoot outdoors on a bright day, they’re quick to acquire. Out to 25 yards, they’re adequate; but never choose them for long-range shooting or for hunting in the woods.
The rear notch on the 125TH is too small for the size of the front bead — hence I found it difficult to see any light on either side of the post when sighting. I also discovered that the barrel is drooping quite a lot; because even with the rear sight adjusted as high as it will go, I was still shooting below the aim point at 25 yards. That won’t get any better at longer distances, either. So, I think a scope will be better if I can get it to accommodate the droop as much as I need.
The first pellet I tested for accuracy was the Beeman Kodiak. I selected them because I knew they wouldn’t break the sound barrier, and I was shooting inside the house. The distance was 25 yards, and I used a 10-meter pistol target. The hold was at 6 o’clock on the bull. The first group was the best one of the day. It won’t look that good to you, but I learned a lot from it.
The group was 1.272 inches between centers, but it was taller than it was wide. The width is only 0.956 inches. This a characteristic that holds throughout this session.
Pellets that didn’t work
I tried JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes that went supersonic, but they were not grouping well. And Air Arms domes that also weigh 8.4 grains are equally bad. Both pellets broke the sound barrier and gave quite a crack as they went downrange.
The absolute worst pellet of all was the H&N Rabbit Magnum II. For starters, it’s designed with straight walls, so you can’t load it into the breech of a breakbarrel. You have to have something to press it in because your thumb isn’t hard enough to push it to engrave the rifling on the sides of the pellet. But I knew that going in. The first shot was about four inches higher on the target than any other pellet, and I hoped that I had found the miracle pellet for this rifle. Alas, the second pellet dropped about a foot (12 inches) at 25 yards, went through the reflector of my spotlight and popped the light bulb! Needless to say, I stopped shooting those pellets at that point.
Crosman Premier heavies
I figured the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier heavy pellet might do well, so I gave it a try. They grouped in 2.111 inches overall, but side-to-side the group was just 1.34 inches. Again, the group was taller than wide. I’m tempted to try this pellet again when the rifle is scoped.
I tried a different hold with the Kodiaks that were the most accurate pellet to this point. This time the group measured 1.71 inches between centers, but the width was only 1.152 inches. Again, taller than wide.
So, the hold didn’t improve things, but it’s now clear that the open sights are causing the problem. I’m not getting enough precision in the vertical orientation, which is why all the groups are significantly taller than they are wide. That means using a scope should show a marked improvement.
How the rifle feels
Whoever suggested trying to pull up on the trigger blade — I can’t do it because the thumbhole stock forces my hand to pull the trigger straight back. And the trigger is too heavy for good work. While there’s no creep in the second stage, there’s considerable travel that can be felt. I have the trigger adjusted as light as it will go, so this is a detractor.
The SAS works very well. I can feel some vibration with the shot, but it dies quickly, which must be attributed to the SAS.
The rifle recoils heavily. But it also rests very well on the flat of the hand, so it isn’t difficult to shoot. The best hold point is with the off hand touching the front of the triggerguard.
If the trigger were lighter, this rifle would be a pleasure to shoot. I’m getting used to the cocking effort needed, and I can’t wait to see how the rifle does with a scope.
A good day!
You might feel from these targets that I had a bad day, but with what I learned about the rifle I think I had a very good day. Next time, I’ll know two pellets to try going into the test, and I’ll also know the best hold to use. Until I did the pellet velocity versus accuracy test a couple weeks ago, I wouldn’t have known that it’s harmonics and not velocity that opens these groups. Let’s see what I can do with that newfound knowledge.
What is it?
Can any reader identify the tool in the photo below, and tell us what is it used for? It will play a part in an upcoming blog.
What is it?
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is velocity day. Before I dive into the test, I want to say some things about today’s test. This is not supposed to determine the velocity of the best pellet for this rifle. It’s supposed to give a general range of power that can be expected from a rifle like this. That way, you’ll have an understanding of all the pellets that aren’t tested. They should either fit within the range or be very close to it.
I must admit I had some misgivings about this test, because the Hatsan 125TH is such a powerful spring-piston air rifle. I already knew it took a lot of effort to cock. I’d estimated over 50 lbs. in Part 1; and when I tested it for today’s report, the bathroom scale went to 51 lbs. If you’d like to learn how to measure the cocking effort of a breakbarrel air rifle like this, watch this video.
Hatsan advertises this rifle as getting 1,250 f.p.s. with lead pellets in .177 caliber. And this one does! I’ll spare you the anticipation — the 125TH hits its advertised velocity on the head!
Three things to watch
There were three things I was curious about. The performance of the new Quattro trigger, the amount of vibration transmitted through the stock with the gun’s Shock Absorbing System (SAS) and the general firing characteristics. Let’s look at the trigger first.
The Quattro trigger resembles the Air Arms TX200 trigger more than a little, which in turn is an improved Rekord trigger. The Quattro has adjustments for the length of the first-stage pull, the pull weight (which is the weight of the second-stage release) and the weight of the first-stage pull. I adjusted it several different ways, and the lightest pull I got was 6 lbs., 5 oz. — which is heavy for the best work. The letoff is very crisp after adjustment, and I do like the wide trigger blade very much. But this is not a TX200 trigger.
I believe the SAS is doing its part to attenuate vibration, but there’s still a lot to be felt when the gun fires. Perhaps nothing can completely tame this action short of a master tune, because the long piston stroke makes the rifle leap forward at the end of every shot. So, those scope stops are not there for window dressing! The vibration dies off fast, which I attribute to the SAS doing its part.
This is a really big spring-piston air rifle, and it does move around a lot when it fires! I believe it’s fully the equal of the old British-made Webley Patriot, which was legendary for its recoil. Factor that into your buying decision. The 125TH is a hunting rifle — pure and simple. Or buy it for the bragging rights. But don’t expect to plink a lot with it unless you have 18-inch biceps.
As I started the velocity test, I noticed two things. First, the rifle is not over-lubricated. There was some honking during initial cocking, but that went away after 30 shots. Second, the big gun diesels heavily with the first few shots. I saw Beeman Kodiaks clocking 1,194 f.p.s during the initial shots! That’s to be expected with a rifle of this power — but it never detonated. So, praise for the spare lubrication!
The Beeman Kodiak, whose weight is back up to 10.60 grains, following several years of lighter weights, averaged 1,021 f.p.s. in the 125TH. The spread went from a low of 1,013 to a high of 1,042, but only two pellets went faster than 1,024 f.p.s., once the big gun slowed down. The total spread was 29 f.p.s. I think it’ll stabilize around this speed, if not increase just a little with a break-in. At the average speed, this pellet generated 24.54 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s really cracking for a .177!
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
The next pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier dome. This is a light pellet for a rifle of this power. Plus, it’s a Premier, and the antimony in the lead will tend to lead the bore at these velocities. These pellets averaged 1,186 f.p.s. and had a spread from 1,167 to 1,191. At the average velocity, they produced 24.68 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Did you notice that the velocity spread of 24 f.p.s. is tighter with these than with the Kodiaks? I believe that shows that the rifle is settling down quickly.
Hatsan advertised 1,250 f.p,.s. with lead pellets, and RWS Hobbys are the normal test pellet for velocity with lead pellets. Of course, any of the other 7-grain RWS pellets would work just as well. The Hobbys fit the breech of the 125TH loosely, yet they produced the tightest velocity spread of all three pellets, varying by just 19 f.p.s. They averaged 1,254 f.p.s. and went from a low of 1,248 to a high of 1,267 f.p.s., generating an average of 24.45 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
This was my first test of a true Hatsan airgun, so it represented an introduction of the entire line for me. I’ve tested other air rifles they’ve made, but always under other names; and the specifications are subject to change when someone else sells the gun. This time it was just them. I think the impression is a good one, in general. The Quattro trigger could be a lot lighter without compromising safety, but the SAS is probably doing everything it was designed to do.
They met their velocity specification with lead pellets, just as they advertised. That was both surprising and encouraging.
This is a big, powerful spring-piston rifle and my plan is to treat it that way. I’m not looking for quarter-inch groups at 25 yards, though I would be delighted to get them. But next I will test the rifle using the open sights. They look like a good set, and that will give me some time to find a good pellet for this rifle.