PCP No. 1, day 3 – Wednesday
The pump has arrived. In my search for a hand pump to fill the PCP, I learned the following.
Limited selections are available, which is further reduced by what is actually in stock. I ended up ordering an FX 4-stage pump that claims to lower the effort needed to fill the rifle. Additionally, I based my decision on not much more than I recognize the FX brand name and the unit is available immediately. Sold.
When I open the shipping box, I quickly surmise that my request for “the piece that connects the rifle to the pump” has been denied. My disappointment is furthered by a non-specific, one-page sheet for assembly and use. I have to thank the yellow forum members as they explain the seemingly extra part is a moisture filter and actually post a link to Pyramid Air with the fill probe I’ll need along with a picture of it.
I ordered the last piece of the puzzle just before midnight.
I picture B.B. holding the all-in-one-box Discovery and shaking his head.
Earlier in the evening, I replaced the malfunctioning Bushnell Trophy 6-18x with a lesser Bushnell 3-9x that did light duty on a Beeman R7. The first shot is close, and I’m spot on in about 5 shots.
I start with Crow Magnums. As they drop an inch below the aimpoint, I switch to JSB Exact Jumbo Express, which puts me back on target. Finally, I put H&N Match in the rifle and shoot them, starting at an inch high to more than an inch below the bullseye.
Even with hearing protection, I realize the discharge noise is greatly reduced. I take off my earmuffs, and the rifle now sounds like my Daisy 922. A quick check shows the H&N Match are down to 497 fps. I’m done until I can charge the rifle.
I shoot an HW30S as if to show the Raider the beauty of self-sufficiency.
PCP No. 1, day 4 – Thursday
Until the fill probe arrives, I’m at a standstill. I add a board to the bottom of the pump to increase stability. It’s an old drawer front sample finished in maple toffee, and I attach it with antique bronze hinges. Any scrap of lumber would work, but I fuss with it like an expectant mother in the nursery.
Since this is downtime, I would like to at least partially explain my purchase of the Webley. The power level is attractive, along with what appears to be a very simple design, so my assumption is that not much can go wrong. The size and weight are also close to my ideals.
My first adult spring airgun was a Webley that I ordered directly from England in the ’70s. Given the demise of Webley’s UK operation, I assume the opportunity for UK-made Webleys will become increasing difficult. Finally, I had two offers to purchase it at the price I paid before I even received it.
PCP No. 1, day 5 – Friday
The fill probe is here. The rifle has 50 bar in it and needs to go to 190 bar. It’s apparent that shooting the rifle down so low has its disadvantages. I add air in groups of 20 strokes and find it to not be overly strenuous.
At 150 bar, a knob is turned on the pump to keep the final strokes on par with the first. It seems to work. It takes 103 strokes total before the rifle is fully charged. Eureka! I think many adults would be able to fill a PCP at their own pace with a hand pump. My guess is the scuba tank option probably allows anyone capable of just holding a rifle to shoot.
I check the scope settings by shooting a group at a little over 10 meters. This is the longest indoor range I can accommodate. The 5 shots are fired quickly, and the result is ok but nothing noteworthy. The big up side is that once the rifle is filled, the rest of the procedure is effortless.
Since the Raider is no longer available, I don’t think tons of statistics will be that beneficial, but here are a few.
The manual states that the non-FAC version will provide about 60 12-foot-pound shots. I get 30 shots that range from 21.4 to 23.8 ft lbs with 14.3-grain JSB Exacts.
Each shot requires about 2.7 pumps. That’s not too bad, considering the power is at the level of a tuned Beeman R1. For lack of an onboard gauge, I simply count 30 pellets out and put them on deck in the lid of the tin. When they’re gone, I know it’s time to start pumping. It takes about 81 strokes. I was concerned about variation in velocity, but POI does not seem to change much with a spread of 32 fps.
The results of one of the 30-shot strings with .22 caliber JSB Exact Jumbo Express:
And just for fun, shot 40 is 742 fps.
I try some Gamo Hunter pellets. At the 36 feet I am shooting, 3 pellets make a single oversized hole. That is better then some of the “quality” pellets I tried. The Gamos are not very pretty, but often give acceptable results. Once again, the scope is an older, inexpensive 3-9s set on 6x.
The 2-shot clip would be appreciated in the field; but from a bench, using it as single shot is actually more efficient.
This may seem odd, but working the bolt is one of my favorite parts. It’s very satisfying and something spring rifles don’t offer. Once, toward the end of the session, I instinctively smacked the end of the barrel to break the rifle open. Old habits die hard.
I think a PCP would be the best way to convert a firearm shooter to airguns. The ability to bench the rifle, not worry about hold, mount a scope with no more difficulty than mounting one on a rimfire and the lack of recoil make for a user-friendly platform. Once you become acquainted with the process, a PCP is not as daunting as many make it sound.
If I could design my own PCP, my priorities in the order of importance would be quiet operation, adjustable power, onboard gauge, multiple shots, less than 7 lbs. weight, under 40″ long & easy to refill.
If you want an air rifle with the power of the magnum spring guns, the feel of a recoilless match rifle, and handy size, it seems a PCP would be hard to beat.
My final conclusion: I would recommend one to a friend.