by B.B. Pelletier,

We get this question from time to time, so today I thought I’d try to answer it. This one came from a reader who calls himself TB, and here is his entire comment.

BB,

I’ve been looking into PCP airugns for a while, and I am impressed with all of the accuracy claims. I am very intersted in the Air Force Condor rifle. Apparently many people on the web get sub-1″ groups with the Condor. However, all of those claims seem to be with perfect conditions and from a shooting bench. Before I make the choice to spend over a $1000 for a PCP rig, I would really like to hear about PRACTICAL group sizes.

I have heard enough claims of the people shooting 1″ groups at 50 yards. I am not planning on sitting around with a bench rest, waiting for pests to show up. So, what accuracy can I expect from an airgun like the Condor, unsupported, standing up with light wind at 50 yards? I am very curious… your input is greatly appreciated.

TB

Can you see why his question cannot be answered by me or anyone else?

Here’s the deal
TB’s question is similar to asking what sort of golf score would Tiger Woods get if he wasn’t a professional and didn’t have all those fancy clubs! I’m not picking on him, because this same type of question is asked all the time. And, I cannot answer it – any more than anyone else can. There simply is no answer for this question.

I have no idea what kind of shooter TB is. I have a friend who was state champion for four straight years with an M1A rifle. He could shoot 10 shots of match 7.62x52mm into LESS than three inches offhand (standing) at 100 yards. The only other person I know who can do as well was the Olympic high-power gold medalist in 1960 and 1964! You and I, if we are very good shots, might be able to put the same 10 rounds into a 6″ group offhand on a very good day (for us). The average rifle shot would be hard-pressed to keep 10 shots under 10″ at 100 yards if he didn’t rest the gun some way.

Because nobody knows what kind of shooter you are, they tell you about the GUN!
The gun is the one thing that remains constant from shooter to shooter. A gun that will group inside of one inch at 50 yards will be best in the hands of a great marksman and only mediocre in the hands of a mediocre shooter. But here is the important thing – a lousy gun will not shoot well in the hands of a good shot. If a gun can’t hold a 5″ group at 50 yards, nobody in the world will be able to shoot a 4″ group with it – offhand or from a rest. So, we report how good the gun is, and you determine how well it shoots for you.

I’m not just mincing words!
I know quite a few field target shooters who can shoot sub-1″ groups with an air rifle. Not just any air rifle, but with their own rifle. They can do this from the seated AAFTA position, which is not as solid as a benchrest. I know one who can shoot a 1″ group offhand at 50 yards when he is doing well. Very few shooters can do that.

TB – the reason we quote accuracy from a bench with no wind is because THAT’S AS GOOD AS IT GETS! I have shot a couple of half-inch 5-shot groups at 50 yards with an AirForce Talon SS. The Condor is no less accurate than the SS, nor is it more accurate. I have never shot a half-inch group at 50 yards with a Condor, but that’s because I don’t own one. I’ve shot maybe 10,000 shots from a Talon SS and not even 1,000 from a Condor. So the odds are that I will have done better with the SS, just from the greater number of opportunities.

What some people REALLY want to know!
They really want to know which rifle is the most accurate out of a Condor, an FX 2000, a Falcon and a Daystate. Believe it or not, all those rifles are pretty much equal in the accuracy potential department, because they all have wonderful barrels. I think the guns with the more conventional stocks (everything but the Condor) are easier to shoot accurately because of their stock configuration, but I learned how to shoot an AirForce rifle years ago, so a conventional stock is no longer an advantage. The others do have better triggers – of that there is no doubt. The Condor has a sporting trigger, and everything else I mentioned has very close to a target trigger. But if you learn your trigger, the advantage goes away there, too.

Shooting a Talon SS from a bipod, I believe I can hit an American quarter or a one Euro coin 7-8 times out of 10 at 50 yards, as long as there is no time limit (so I can wait for the wind to die). How is that different than potting a squirrel at the same distance? The American quarter measures 0.955″ in diameter and the one Euro measures 0.915″.

TB – and anyone else who might have the same question – I have tried to answer this as thoroughly as I can. But tell me if I missed your point.