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Education / Training BSF S20 Match – Part 3 Germany’s rifle-pistol

BSF S20 Match – Part 3 Germany’s rifle-pistol

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Today, we’ll test the accuracy of this BSF rifle-pistol.

I decided on a 10-yard indoor test. I used a rest, resting my forearms on a bag and holding the pistol with two hands just in front of the bag. The hold was steady, but the post-and-bead front sight made it difficult to acquire a precise picture. Posts and beads are better for hunting or shooting cans and are not well-suited to holding at arms-length.

When I was testing the Air Venturi Avenger 1100 for yesterday’s blog, I read in the owner’s manual that they recommended using a Crosman 850 pellet trap for the rifle. I wrote a whole paragraph of criticism about that, because I felt the trap was built too light for such a powerful rifle; but my wife, who is both my editor and my conscience, called me on it. So, we went to the garage, and I shot a Crosman Premier 10.5-grain Premier into the trap from a foot away. I felt certain the pellet would deeply dent the steel backplate, but it didn’t even make a mark. So, we erased the entire paragraph, and on this day I used the same trap for the BSF S20 Match. It’s a fairly quiet trap and I envision using it a lot more in the future.

RWS Basic
I’m running short of RWS Hobbys, so I used RWS Basic pellets to sight in. Because this is a new pistol that I haven’t shot much, the first two shots were at 20 feet. They were high, so I cranked the elevation down several clicks and backed up to 10 yards. Still high at that distance, so I dropped the sight many more clicks and also put in some correction to the right. Now, the pellets were impacting at the right height but still too far to the left.


Six RWS Basics went into 1.5″ at 10 yards.

Then, I looked at the front sight. It was way over to the right in its dovetail, which of course threw the shots to the left. So I tapped it back to center and continued the test. After all this shooting, I was becoming aware that my prediction of a difficult-shooting gun, due to the high line of the piston, was true. The best group I could get with Basics was 1.5″ for 6 (I lost count). That’s a good BB-gun group, but hardly a target pellet pistol group. I decided to switch to RWS Meisterkugeln.

RWS Meisterkugeln
Meisterkugeln pellets were packed with this pistol when I bought it. I tried them, but they’re oxidizing fast and fit the gun too tightly. I tried some cleaner pellets and got about the same results as with Basics. Given the price difference, I’d stick with the Basics.


Five Meisterkugeln group about the same as the Basics.

By this point, I was starting to wonder if I would ever shoot a decent group with this pistol. I liked the light trigger that didn’t pull me off-target despite the shaky grip, but those post-and-bead sights were less than desirable.

Air Arms to the rescue!
Finally, I tried some Air Arms domed pellets. I think they are made by JSB. They gave me a group just slightly larger than a half-inch, which is what I expect from a gun like this at 10 yards. They also fit the bore much better than the Basics or the Meisters.


Now, that’s a group. But see how it’s still to the left? The sights need more adjustment.

What do I think?
My initial lukewarm reaction to this pistol the first time I saw one in Germany in the mid-1970s was right on the mark (in many ways). It isn’t the pellet pistol for me. However, I was wrong on a couple of accounts. First, the trigger is much lighter than I thought it would be and second, the gun cocks smoother and shoots smoother than I thought. I like the Beeman P1 much better.

17 thoughts on “BSF S20 Match – Part 3 Germany’s rifle-pistol”

  1. Good morning BB.

    Check your last pic of the AA domes group. It looks like you may have pasted the above pic twice.

    Michael in Florida
    Success is not an entitlement.

  2. I agree on the aesthetics of the S20. It does not ring my bell. I took a look at the P1. A bit too much for my budget at this point. My best pal has a Beeman P3 that I think is a super pistol. A pain to load but I really enjoy shooting it. It may not be as attractive as the P1 but it sure is a nice backyard can killer.

    I am very impressed with the Basic pellets. They have worked well with everything I have run them through. For basement 7 yard pistol shooting they have been great. I order a couple tins almost every time I place an order.



  3. Hi BB,
    I have a suggestion of a different hold for this type of pistol. With my BSA Scorpion pistols, I use my middle finger and thumb of the off-hand (for me the right hand since I am left handed) to support the pistol. The middle finger goes in front of or under the trigger guard and the thumb at the extended tang above the grip. I steer a little and pull the trigger with my left hand with a very light grip. This hold puts the support of the gun closer to it’s center of gravity and prevents the top heavy feeling you mentioned.
    I don’t know if it will work for you but it does for me.

    David Enoch

  4. B.B.

    I have a new respect for clear, sharp photographs. I’m also astounded that your Crosman 850 trap stood up to the Avenger. The B30 has about the same advertised velocity and put a lot of dents in the metal plate from 20 feet or so. In any case, I doubt that the “ballistic curtains” will survive the Avenger. Mine were in shreds from low-powered guns before the B30 showed up.

    I think that I have figured out the adjustable gas system business with the M1, M1A series. Some googling showed that there is one adjustable gas system on the market produced by a company called Schuester or something like that. But their design apparently came from Clint Fowler’s invention so I am right at the source. Most people, though, seem to use the Schuester device for hot rodding their M1 so that it can take heavier loads. Why anyone would want to hotrod a rifle that can already take any game animal in North America with an 8 shot clip in reserve, I have no idea. Clint seems to be the only one who uses it to increase accuracy. Unfortunately, it’s set for a specific handload, so I won’t be able to duplicate the tiny test groups. Yet another incentive to handload….


  5. By the way, I never mentioned that Leapers replaced my troubled 6-24X50 scope with another one. The power adjustment works and the controls have a click action although not as positive as I would like. Anyway, I can’t fault their customer service which was outstanding throughout. So, it only remains to test the controls in what will be a highly charged shooting session this weekend.


  6. BB,

    I’m convinced the Basics are the best deal going on practical lightweight pellets for plinking and casual targets — they’re such soft lead that they impart all of their energy to the target, making the most out of a lower-powered springer’s energy. Too bad they didn’t work for this pistol — they do seem to run a little wider than most low-priced pellets.

    You always seem to get much nicer holes out of domed pellets than I do. Whenever I try shooting JSB Exacts or Superdomes on paper, I go back to MK’s for the clean cutout, unless the range is significant enough to need better aerodynamics. Contrary to what you might expect of me (being so “thrifty”), I do use printed targets (bought from PA) with a cardboard backer, so I don’t know what the difference is.

  7. B.B.,

    A couple of questions about the Beeman R7:

    This is a wonderful gun, light, feels great in the hands. But a bit more power would be nice.

    Can the R7 be tuned for more power. And how about converting it to a gas spring power plant? Your reports on the gas conversion for the Gamo Whisper, etc., are compelling. Can the same treatment be given to the R7?

    Your blog is great. I refer to it all the time, the wealth of information is unsurpassed on the Net.


  8. Paul,

    The R7 powerplant is too small for much of a power increase. If a dedicated tuner put a lot of effort into it he might get the gun up to 800 f.p.s., but the cocking effort would be so high that it wouldn’t feel like an R7 anymore.

    If you want a lightweight gun that is even smoother than the R7 with a lot more power, get a Gamo Whisper with a gas spring and put a GRT III trigger in it.

    The R7 is so small that I doubt it will ever attract anyone to make a gas spring for it.


  9. A small note for those interested. I also have the 850 pellet trap and pretty much shot the curtains up. I found out that 5 to 6 one pound bricks of duct seal fits pretty good inside of this trap with a fair amount of thickness. This allows me to continue using the same cardboard backers as before. I do clean the pellets out with a small common screwdriver after a few hundred shots but that is mainly a personal preference.


  10. B.B.

    That is correct sir. Just stuff it in in the brick form as if laying bricks for a sidewalk. I did wonder if it would stay stuck as the back plate is at an angle but it worked fine.

    I shoot at about 27 feet and most of my guns are pistols so the pellets don’t go far into the duct seal. My Benjamin Legacy 1000 will bury the pellets about a quarter inch or so in but they don’t go through to the back plate.

    It works very well for trapping BBs also. Some will bounce out if they hit another but not far.


  11. Since you mentioned the garage sale I thought it may be OK to comment.

    I stopped by the people were friendly and assisted me the lowly beginner with respect and patience. Paul steered me in the direction I was already pointed and I purchased a Gamo CFX with the scope. I didn’t really go with the intention of anything with a scope, figuring it would come down the line somewhere, but they made a really nice price on an open box rifle.

    I had First looked at adult air guns 30 years ago and the price was way beyond what I could afford. When push came to shove and I needed to use something to remove the redwing black birds that were scaring the kids when they were in the sandbox, a Crossman 760 was in the price range and after 4 shots, 4 blackbirds didn’t bother the girls again. After that it pretty much sat in the closet.

    When we moved I gave it to one of the nephews and did the safety training and learn to shoot thing and made him pay me 10 dollars. If they don’t pay they don’t give any value to anything. I took the 10 dollars and bought him a supply of pellets to get started.

    I also got interested again and have been looking at reviews and guns for a couple of years. I just never got around to buying one. I bought 14 pounds of duct seal and a stout baking pan to use as a trap.

    I tried to arrange to actually see some guns at Pyramid but it was like I asked to get into Fort Knox.

    Then there was a garage sale.

    The gun is amazingly accurate. I had never actually shot anything from a rest before and tried the open sites while standing and actually hit the bull 3 out of 5 times at approximately 30 feet. I then decided to mount the scope that I didn’t want. These old eyes could now actually see the bull with no problem. I set up a rest and tried the artillery hold, or as near as I could get to it, and shot the gun. It was 3 inches right and 3 inches low or so. I took the second shot and figured I missed the target because I didn’t see another hole. Oh well. I went for number three and noticed the original hole was bigger than a pellet. I got out a knife and dug out the pellets. The holes were all touching each other. I found all three of the pellets in the putty. The next two opened the original hole a bit farther, but it was way better than I had ever expected.

    The trigger sucks as much as any I have ever used and I think the 760 was better. All of the reviews said it will get better so I will use up the box of pellets before I think about buying the aftermarket trigger.

    Sorry to go on but I think I am bit.

    Thank all of you for your sharing and the education you provide here and in some of the other forums. I hope one day to add something useful


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