Dan Wesson Model 715 2-1/2 inch Part 3
The 21 foot BB test
By Dennis Adler
Why 21 feet? Aside from that being an optimum distance for CO2 BB pistol accuracy, 21 feet is a handgun training standard, 7 yards. This traditional handgun training distance, which some law enforcement departments have extended to10 yards, 30 feet (10 meters is 33 feet), is considered the minimum distance for an attacker (armed with a knife or other weapon, but not a gun) to reach your position in the time it takes to react, draw and discharge a handgun in self defense. The time allotted? It is a mere 1.5 seconds! That’s how long it takes an average person (non athlete) to aggressively cover, or simply run, 21 feet. It’s not a lot of time and those of us outside of law enforcement (or personal protection) are generally not trained to react in 1.5 seconds. It’s even hard to do with training. So is it coincidence that accuracy shooting with CO2 air pistols is generally conducted at 21 feet (BBs) and 10 meters (pellets)? Probably not, as 7, 10, and 15 yards are also traditional handgun target shooting distances. From a self defense perspective, a distance of 15 yards (45 feet) does offer the possibility to move to cover or retreat, rather than engage, and that is where a number of legal questions begin to arise, none of which we are even suggesting be addressed in an airgun column. But that 21 foot range for testing the ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 snub nose CO2 BB revolver certainly presents a training opportunity as well as sport shooting target practice. Let’s see what the smoothbore DW can deliver.
In terms of size and handling, firing the CO2 model is identical to comparable medium frame .38 Special or .357 Magnum revolvers, with the exception of the sound of gunfire and the heavy recoil one would experience when firing a snub nose revolver. Drawing from a holster, aiming and firing, either double action or single action, is the same. So, even if you are just shooting paper targets, you are learning muscle memory that can be put to use for actual handgun training. The latter is not intent, it is a choice. You are going to learn it either way, even if you only shoot for sport.
Shoot-N-C at 21 feet
I decided to begin the 21 foot test with the lighter Air Venturi Dust Devils, each carefully loaded to the same seating depth in the nose of the BB cartridges. As you may recall, average velocity for the Dust Devils in the 2-1/2 inch Dan Wesson was 333 fps, which is only 5 fps faster than the factory specs for a steel BB (however, none tested hit that mark). Dust Devils have a belt around their waist which is the BB’s largest diameter and I tried to make sure that the belt was centered on each BB as I pressed it into the cartridge nose. I don’t know that this makes any difference but I felt satisfied that they were seated equally from one shell to the next. At 21 feet firing single action and using a Weaver stance and two-handed hold, the frangible composite rounds grouped a pair in the bullseye and four in the 10 ring for a spread of 0.875 inches. I think that is about as good as you can do with Dust Devils from a 2-1/2 inch barrel, which makes them decent enough to safely shoot at reactive metal targets, which you can’t do with steel BBs.
As for paper punching with steel BBs, I went back to the Hornady Black Diamond for test number 2. With the Dan Wesson, the black anodized steel rounds had provided a slight velocity bump over the Umarex Precision steel BBs with an average of 324 fps, almost up to the factory advertised 328 fps for the 2-1/2 inch BB model. With the same shooting technique (shooting single action) I punched six Hornady into the Shoot-N-C and got another 0.875 inch spread with two in the bullseye and the rest to the left in the 10 ring.
To wrap up with BBs at 21 feet, it is back to the old standard, Umarex Precision steel BBs. In most of the tests I have done it has often been a tossup between Umarex and Hornady for velocity but in almost every test the Umarex has come out as the most accurate in blowback action models and a fair amount of the times with revolvers. This time around with the snub nose Dan Wesson, the Umarex didn’t quite make the cut (or I didn’t), and my 6-shot group with one barely bullseye cutting the edge, measured 1.18 inches.
As for trigger pull (5 pounds, 15 ounces on the BB test gun), and sighting at 21 feet, the out of the box adjustments for elevation and windage were good enough, though it can use a click or two to the right. Elevation was dead on, if you centered the bullseye. Shots hit an inch low with a 6 o’clock hold. At this point it is not as accurate as the rifled barrel pellet version. That extra ten bucks and cost of pellets vs. BBs might be worth it.
In the conclusion, up against the 2-1/2 inch pellet model, I will make some minor sight adjustments to the BB model and see how it stands up to the rifled barrel s nub nose at 21 feet and then at 10 meters.
A word about safety
Blowback action semi-autos and realistic CO2 revolvers provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.