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Education / Training Air Arms Alfa Competition pistol – Part 1

Air Arms Alfa Competition pistol – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Before I begin, I have a big announcement for all those who own vintage CO2 guns. Pyramyd AIR now stocks the 8-gram CO2 cartridges that so many vintage guns need. Guns like all of the old Benjamins, the Plainsman BB gun, the Schimel and other guns of the early 1950s. You can see them here.

Now, on to today’s report.


Air Arms PCP 10-meter pistol

The Alfa Competition pistol is one I have wanted to test for three years. I’m so glad to finally be testing it for you.

On the surface, this looks like the CO2 pistol that Air Arms sold several years ago, and indeed it was created from that gun. But you don’t just pump air into a CO2 gun and expect the exact same valve to work. At least you didn’t until the Benjamin Discovery came out. But that rifle operates on 2,000 psi air pressure. If it used 3,000 psi, the CO2 operation would be curtailed.

So, some design changes had to be made before the Alfa pistol would work with air. I want you to notice that this pistol has its air reservoir in the butt instead of a tank slung underneath the barrel. That design was part of the economy of moving from CO2 to air, but it does mean this gun gets fewer shots that fall within the power curve than a pistol that has a much large separate air tank.

First things first
The first things I do with a new 10-meter pistol are adjust the trigger, set the sights and adjust the grip. The grip on the Alfa Competition pistol has no adjustments, so there’s nothing to do. I measured the width across the widest spot in the grip, and it’s just less than 50mm, so the gun will fit in the qualifying 50mm box that all international competition guns must fit.

On the minus side, there’s no adjustable grip shelf. Fortunately, the grip on this pistol fits my hand very well that way, but if I were keeping the gun I would do some major reshaping of the wood. And the reason for that is the huge plus this gun offers.

Ambidextrous grip!
This is the first fully ambidextrous target grip I’ve ever seen on a competition pistol. Lefties get to play right alongside righties with nothing more to purchase. Of course, that means some tradeoffs had to be made, but a wood rasp and sandpaper can correct that. And no competitive shooter ever fits a grip so perfectly that some adjustment isn’t required.

Adjustable trigger
Next, I adjusted the trigger. It adjusts for pull weight, length of first stage, one or two-stage operation, distance from the frame to the trigger blade, rotation of the trigger blade around the bar that holds it, angle of trigger blade on the bar that holds it (don’t worry, a photo will make this clear) and the overtravel that stops the trigger’s movement after the gun has fired. Like any 10-meter pistol trigger, adjusting one thing may change the settings of something else, so it took about a half hour to get everything the way I like. Fortunately, this pistol has a dry-fire training setting, so the trigger can be cocked and fired repeatedly without exhausting any air.


The trigger was adjusted to stick out to the side like this. I could have canted the trigger blade as well, but I chose to leave it straight up and down.

The ambidextrous grip is thicker than a normal grip, so the trigger had to be set up to accommodate that, and after shaping the grip it might have to be adjusted again. However, I was able to get things exactly where they felt the best with the standard grip that came with the gun.

Once set up, the trigger is without fault. I can easily identify stage two and there is zero creep in that stage. This is the lowest-priced 10-meter pistol I can say that about, for the IZH 46M does have some creep in stage two.

As you may remember, the international rule for a trigger on a 10-meter pistol is that it must hold a 500-gram weight. That’s just over 18 oz. So I set this one up at about 19 oz. to be safe.

The dry-fire training mechanism is one that allows you to sight and fire a shot without releasing air or firing a pellet. Competitive shooters use the feature about five times more often than they shoot pellets, and a world-class shooter shoots about one complete match a day with pellets.


With the hook behind the cocking button (one on each side of the gun) you are in the dry-fire mode.

The pistol weighs a light 907.18 grams (exactly 2 lbs.) and comes with a 172.9-gram (6.1 oz.) removable weight. That’s pretty light for me, so I positioned the weight close to the front of the track and it stabilized the gun very well.

The gun’s velocity can be adjusted, as can many of the finer PCP target guns today. What I need to do is find a good pellet, then select a velocity that gives me the greatest number of useful shots on a single fill. Hopefully, that number will be larger than 60, so a complete man’s match can be shot on a single fill. But for international competition, you need at least 70 good shots, because if you make it to the final round there are 10 more shots to be fired.

The last thing I adjusted were the sights. I don’t mean I adjusted them by sighting-in. I simply adjusted the width of the front blade to fit the rear notch, so I could see the greatest amount of light on either side of the front blade. The rear notch width is fixed, but the front sight has three widths that can be rotated into the sight picture. I selected the narrowest one.


The front sight post can be rotated to present any of three widths, to suit your taste.

Is it accurate?
That’s the big question everyone wants to know. Other budget 10-meter pistols sell on the basis of accuracy, and this one has to be as good or better to keep up. In traditional European fashion, the test target is attached to the Alfa’s operation manual and serial-numbered to the gun, so there is no mistake. If you’re not familiar with 10-meter pistols, this target may look like a lie, but rest assured that it is about what to expect from any world-class target pistol. Of course the Alfa sells for several times less than other world-class pistols, so there’s a story here and that’s why I’m so happy to finally test the gun.


Test target group is pasted to the back page of the operating manual.

Because this PCP-10 meter pistol has additional features that the lower-priced 10-meter pistols don’t have, I’ll probably have to do a more involved test. Just getting the right pellet could be a chore, and then trying to maximize the power setting after that promises to stretch out the time on this one.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

91 thoughts on “Air Arms Alfa Competition pistol – Part 1”

  1. BB, I know nothing about competition of this sort, so this might sound like a dumb question… but why is it so necessary to get 60-70 shots? Isn’t there an opportunity during a match to take a few minutes and give the gun at least a partial recharge? Or isn’t that allowed?

  2. It’s probably ALLOWED to fill a gun during a match, but no one would WANT TO. When you plant your feet you never want to move them again.

    And since all the really world-class 10-meter pistols get over 100 shots per fill, you never have to.

    Concentration is so intense during the match that you only want to have to think about a few things. You even arrange your pellets inside the pellet box so they will always remind you of where you are in the match.


  3. BB off topic
    was looking at the norica young and PA says when they’re gone that’s it.
    since the price is so close and the advertised vel. is ~100 fps different
    which would you recommend and why
    the norica or hammerli 490?
    the lower fps is good for my situation.was considering the tf15 because of price but can’t find much about them.
    thanx again


  4. JTinAL, FWIW I can give you my observations on the 490… it’s pretty much full-size and full weight (a bit over 6 lbs), so it’s not a kid’s gun like the Gamo Recon or Delta. On mine the trigger is 4-5lbs. It is super-easy to cock, but (oddly enough) the breech lockup is a bit stiff. Mine is quite accurate at 10 yards, although it does struggle a bit at 60! It did need some work when I first got it, though. I had been trying to sell it, but not because it doesn’t shoot well. It’s merely a matter of space and money.

    The 490 is a somewhat dressed-up version of the QB18 made by Shanghai, and the TF15 is really a QB15 made by the same company – and I believe is also the same basic rifle as the TF39. The mechanisms are almost certainly almost the same as the QB18/Hammerli 490, but with some things scaled down a bit to make the gun smaller.

    The cheaper Shanghai breakbarrels can really be “iffy”. I don’t know if the Hammerli versions go through any additional quality control or not, I would hope that they do. The triggers, especially, are subject to ‘factory tolerances’. Depending on exactly how the sear angles are ground, the trigger pull can range from ‘auto-fire’ to ‘not too bad’ to ‘get out the hammer!’.

    I believe the Norica Young had a direct-sear trigger and was thus a bit stiff, but I’d bet the gun overall would have much more consistent quality.

    Hope this helps.

  5. JT,

    Vince beat me to it, but I also recommend the Hammerli. I have a 490, but only checked out the Norica on the PA web site. The Hammerli is an adult-sized gun with a dark wooden stock, the Norica comes in white or yellow. Both appear to have the same sights. The main advantage of the Norica is that it is about 100 fps faster.

    I got the 490 combo, but used a see-thru scope mount so that I could still use the sights. It’s my “go to” gun at the garage range, though the low velocity affects it more at longer ranges or if there is a wind.

    You need to keep an eye on all of the screws to make sure that they stay tight. If I didn’t already have one, I would probably try to buy Vince’s.

  6. B.B.,

    Considering your passion and experience with 10- meter pistols and pistol shooting this was probably one of the more enjoyable tests for you and will be a valid critique for everyone considering a target pistol purchase. The reviews of a 10-meter pistol by someone that has never shot in competition are always suspect to me.

    You briefly touched on something that I'm a firm believer in. A correct fit of a pistol grip. Everyone's hand(s) is/are different. A properly fit set of pistol grips can make a huge differance in accuracy, minimize fatigue and increase the enjoyment of your pistol. A custom set of grips, that are made to match the mold of your grip are the ultimate. But a little work with a "wood rasp and sandpaper" and even a dremel can work wonders. Just take very little off at a time. For building up the low spots on a grip for your unique hand size I always liked to use plastic wood as a medium. Not that hard to create your own custom grips that fit your hand(s).

    Kudo's to Pyramyd AIR for the enormous number of new, relevant products they have added to their inventory (leapers/utg green laser, 8 gram CO2 cartridges & this new air arms alfa competition pistol to name a few). The last gun I purchased from Pyramyd AIR could have been purchased elsewhere for a little less but Pyramyd Air's customer service, wide variety of products and support of this blog are all reasons for me to easily justify loyally supporting them.


  7. JT,

    I only know the Hammerli, like the others, so I can’t really make any comparisons. But the Norica is in limited supply. The Hammerli is a variation of the Chinese breakbarrel that will be around for a while.

    If it were my decision, I would get the Hammerli because of what I know about it.


  8. Il Bruce,

    There are several guns that have this type of front sight. If I remember correctly, the Diana 10 used it, as well. Several others like older Walthers used different frint sight plates that were of varying widths.

    Still other guns allow the rear notch width to vary. And there have been guns that have both front and rear variations.


  9. B.B.,

    Re: Valid critique

    This is the kind of brutal honesty that makes your reviews so relevant and sought after. Even many years later.

    The price point of the Air Arms Alfa Competition Pistol and the fact that you’re spoiled will be factored in.

    Bet you don’t like the fill adaptor either. 😉


  10. A question completely off topic:

    Does Pyramyd AIR ship to central europe (Austria, specifically), and how does that work? I just found the Beretta Px4 Storm you reviewed on Pyramyds site and it cost just 89 USD! It costs 140 EUR from a dealer in germany, which would be 180 USD, double the price!

    An answer would be appreciated, love the blog ^_^

  11. Good Morning Everyone,

    Just got in late last night from a business trip to Portland…

    Lot’s to catch up on.. but glad to read today’s blog.. This pistol has been high on my wish list!!

    I’m going back to read the past couple days, as I can, and still pretend to be doing business!!


  12. gee, this sport is costing me waaayyy to much money (or is about to).
    Am having a ball in my basement shooting range with my Avanti 853 and Gamo Compact.
    But I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, accuracy wise. I've attended a few local matches and have befriended a few shooters who have implied that for the equipment I have (both the Avanti and the Gamo are definitely in the budget range), and nearly a senior (54 yrs) to boot…that I may be ready to move up in equipment and start competing.
    As you've mentioned b.b. I think I'd like to move up into a better pistol, because competitive rifle shooting requires the outlay of a couple of grande worth of clothing/shoes/etc before you even get to the rifle.
    I know this is a completely personal matter that can only be cured by holding them in the hand…but are there any pistols that you know of to specifically avoid, or conversly, stand out.
    I've narrowed the choice down to the Feinwerkbau P44, Morini 162 or a Steyr LP2
    And of course the boys (5 & 8) will inherit the Avanti and Gamo just to help insure a future generation of shooters.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  13. BB,
    I'm sorry if I'm a picky proofreader but the Pyramydair specs for the Alfa state the "Rear sight adjusts for elevation, windage & 2 widths".

    You said the rear sight is not adjustable. Pyramydair says it has two widths plus more. Looks like another misprint.

    Am I misreading this?

    The specs I'm referring to are listed just above the "Product Review Summary" section, which seems a little odd placement to me, not the ones with the + you click on.


  14. According to UPS, my chrony is due to be delivered this afternoon. It’s almost like Christmas, only I’m getting something I actually want.

    Look out you miscreant gun huggers, I’m coming after you…you…you…tight hold fps reductioners!


  15. Cjr – let us know if you’re having problems getting the Chrony to work indoors. Until I started using a halogen worklight (even though the instructions say not to -incandescent only), I couldn’t get the Chrony to work. I shine the light from the floor up to the underside of the sun shades as someone else on this Blog suggested. Works like a charm and even gave me a repair job. Be careful not to shoot the Chrony as it tends to make it read “error” and please don’t ask me how I know this.

  16. B.B.

    That’s some factory target. How many shots? What distance? And rested or standing? I’ll guess 3 shots, 10m, rested.

    On the subject of modifications, the wife of my infamous high school rifle team coach was supposed to be a national level shooter herself who brought her gear to the range one day. Her smallbore rifle had a huge hunk of some kind of putty attached to the pistol grip for her rear hand, and the trigger was set at 2 ounces!?

    As for uses for the green laser, you can attach it to your bike handles and try shooting things on the move. Against other bikes, you can even practice your air combat techniques of pursuing in the lag or the lead as they say although they might get mad….


  17. B.B.
    I did a bad thing.
    I have a condor tank and a hammer weight on the way for my .22 Talon.
    Hope to get into the mid 900 fps range with kodiaks keeping the 18″ barrel on.


  18. Fred,
    Thanks for the timely and useful advice. I had been wondering how chrony users were able to consistently hit those skinny little wires sticking up in order to get readings. I never could figure out how they were able to hit both the front and back wire with the same pellet 🙂

    I, too, have a halogen work light and a white tiled ceiling so I’m hoping that will work. But, it sounds like the ceiling is not important if I aim the light at the sun shades, as you described. I am encouraged that you have it working that way.

    I’m not sure how to verify my results, though. I suppose I could shoot out my back door with the chrony outside and compare results to those indoors. Hopefully, that won’t alert my neighbors.

    I really don’t want them knowing I even own a pellet gun for several reasons, the most being if someone gets a hole in their window I’ll be blamed first even though I am much more responsible and conscientious than that.

    I’ll let you know how things work out. It’s supposed to be in the 60’s by Tuesday so maybe I can try it at the range.

    Regardless, I should be able to prove a Relative drop in fps even though the numbers aren’t themselves precise.


  19. Matt,

    Always 5 shots. Always from 10 meters (what else?). Always viced (no time for anything else).

    These lasers are not eye-safe. No lasers are-even the ones they use for surgery. Do not point lasers at other people or animals unless you are in control.

    When the big, bad, rough and tough Army uses MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System) lasers during war games, they go to great lengths to protect the eyes of everyone.


  20. B.B.
    I don’t mind loud…I expect it.
    This is for shooting out in the country for groundhogs, not in the back yard for starlings. My SS gets the quiet jobs.

    Used to shoot groundhogs with a Knight LK 93 loaded with a 100 gr equivalent of Triple 7 and sabots with modified Lyman devastators…modified to have a hollow point about 2/3 the length of the bullet. Very loud and very nasty.


  21. JT,
    I’m late to the blog today, but it seems like you’re getting the same view I would give you. Go for the Hammerli 490. I don’t know for sure whether there’s any additional QA on it over other Shanghai guns, but I would bet a small sum on it; the one I got is several notches better in fit and finish than the two other clunks I’ve got. The sights are some of the best open sights I’ve ever used. Regarding the trigger, its a little heavy and can be stiff when it runs out of lube — put a few tins through it and then put moly on the sear (I can tell you how to do it without disassembly). A little wear will smoothe it out safely and the moly will stay on it. My 490 is at several thousand pellets now, with a crisp, light trigger. My experiences with the 490 are attached as comments to BB’s multi-part review, for what little they are worth.

  22. Review of the Mendoza Avenger 1100:
    I got the Mendoza Avenger 1100 based on the many positive reviews on PA and from comments in BB’s blog, even though BB’s review of the gun wasn’t very favorable. It arrived on 03/11/09, after more than a month on backorder; I was anxious to get it.
    Unlike the one BB tested, mine did have the checkering on the forearm and grip, just like the picture on the website.
    As soon as I had the rifle unboxed, I tightened all the exposed screws. Only the one in front of the trigger guard was slightly loose; ¼ turn. Then I ran a dry patch down the bore; it came out filthy.
    I like the design and heft of the gun. I had qualms about the double-trigger setup, but quickly adjusted to it. The trigger pull is very light, about like my Beeman R7, but I like it more.
    With the installed sights, I could not hit the bull’s eye at 25 feet; the gun shot high [in my basement, 25’ is the farthest I can get from the target]. I installed a Mendoza peep sight after removing the rear sight from the rifle. With the Mendoza sight installed and adjusted all the way down, and adjusted for the proper “windage,” I was able to hit in the black. Although I didn’t have any detonation or dieseling like BB mentioned in his review, the gun did produce a lot of smoke, and it is a bit “buzzy.” This is a quote from BB’s review: “I noticed a shudder of vibration with each shot. It isn’t bad, but it’s noticeable. Also, the mainspring makes some noise as the rifle is cocked.” I noticed the same traits. The recoil is a little heavier than my R7. On the right side of the barrel, at the breech, there was an imperfection in the metal, as if the barrel had been dropped before it was blued. Speaking of the bluing, it was adequate, not exceptional.
    The gun is more accurate than I can shoot it. I was getting good groups within about 100 rounds when I began to have problems. When I cocked the gun, the safety—which is automatic—did not reset, and the right-hand trigger, although it moved forward as it is supposed to, ceased to have any slack in it. That is bad, because the way the triggers are designed, the slack take-up on the first trigger must be completed before the second trigger will release. On my gun, the first trigger became heavy and it discharged the gun before moving back to the second trigger.
    Because of the safety/trigger problem, I reluctantly shipped the rifle to back to PA today (03/13/09) and asked for an exchange. I really like the gun and hope that the replacement lives up to all the positive reviews on Pyramyd AIR.

  23. Witt,

    Unfortunate sequence of events with the Mendoza Avenger 1100 especially considering you waited a month for delivery.

    By not being able to get the stock open sights on target at 25 feet I can’t help but think the barrel was bent. Maybe fired when the barrel was open at the factory? Maybe the “blemish” on the barrel was evidence of the barrel slamming shut? Doesn’t matter now since you’ve sent the gun back. Good move. Hope the replacement doesn’t have these problems since the gun sounds promising.


  24. BGFarmer
    thanks I’ve read your comments on the 490 awhile back.just wondering if you still have to oil it often to keep the seal(leather?)lubed for best velocity.what type of oil?
    probably won’t get a chance to play this weekend,100% chance of rain today tonight and tomorrow:(
    oh well,hope everyone else is safe and dry.


  25. JT,
    RE: Oiling. Seal is synthetic, according to Vince; I’ve never had any reason to take it down, although I probably will some day. I use Silicone Chamber Lube. I think its about every 500-800 pellets, and you can tell because it will honk or squeak when cocking.

    Just curious, don’t you have a 953? I would think the power level would be very close, and you don’t have to worry about springer hold sensitivity.

  26. BG
    yep you’re right got a 953 and a 1377
    really like the easy accuracy of both.Just thought I’d like to get back to springers for a while.
    Used to have a cummins B-3 but didn’t have a clue about tuning.so it got traded.Also had a daisy 1000 that I worked the trigger and foam filled the stock.Pinecones at ~40 yds. was no problem and power was nice,lived where there were no close neighbors at that time.Then a friend decided he needed it more than me for a squirrel problem:)
    Now I’d like to have something lower powered with a wood stock and nice open sights to practice with.might make consistant one holers easier with the scoped 953:)
    thanx for the lube tips as I might make a deal with Vince for his 490
    By the way,just guessing but the 953 is probably @ 100-150 fps. slower than the 490.Would really like to get into the higher end springers like a HW35s but I think the P1 pistol will come first.
    that darn wishlist is becoming a real monster!heheheh


  27. CowboyStar Dad,

    Your choice is a tough one. I am friends with Dieter Anschutz, and his target pistols are the cream of the crop–both the Anschutz brand and also the Steyrs, which he also owns and makes.

    But my heart has always beat for the Feinwerkbau. Ever since I first shot a P30, I have wanted one. The fully recoilless P34 was a dream, and I imagine the P44 is even better. Get it.


  28. JT,
    Sounds like you know what you want, so you should be pretty happy with the 490, especially for an open-sight rifle. If you get it from Vince, you can be sure it’s working well, too. The chamber oil isn’t a big deal, just a little quirk in my book. Mine really likes RWS Basics, so its cheap to feed, too.

  29. B.B.
    I just got a few parts from AF and am particularly pleased with one item….
    I got 2 replacement Talon tophats to replace two that I buggered up.
    The originals…in fact on all four tanks….were very rough and tended to be hard on the rear breech o-ring.
    I polished them until they were pretty smooth, but took too much off one of them attempting to clean up the machining marks. So the rear breech seal leaked on that one.
    The new tophats are very pleasing…they have a smooth satin finish that is void of rough, deep machining marks. Will require only just a bit of fine polishing to slick them up.


  30. BG-Farmer and all:
    thanks for the help,looks like I’ll be getting the 490 from Vince.
    With his great rep. I doubt I’ll have any problems.He offered what I thought was a nice deal so I couldn’t turn it down.I’ll be sure to post my impressions when I’ve put a few pellets through it.
    Since you’re a couple hundred miles north of here are yall gettin any of this liquid sunshine?we really needed it but not all at once:)


  31. Witt,

    On the Avenger 1100… I had 2 of the early ones..
    The cocking issue is because you’re not cocking all the way.. You have to be sure and fully pull back the barrel, or it won’t reset the safety… just cock it again, all the way..

    Or at least that is what I found on mine..
    They are very accurate and well made, for the money… if you can learn the recoil hold game.. it’s a great springer..

    But I don’t like them anymore.. no springers over 750fps for me.. I’m a PCP guy now..

    Wacky Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  32. Ammo Search..

    I'm looking for some 32-40 for my 1903 model 1893 Marlin lever action cowboy rifle..

    In the search at small reload gun shops around here and Portland, I ran across another Browning Auto 5 in 12ga. This one made in Belgium.. real nice curly grain stock, great bluing, deep engraving.. a real beauty.. couldn't say no to $400.. They also had a super clean, deeply blued Winchester .22 cal model 67 single shot, filling in a hole in that collection too.. I really love those old .22s

    I know I promised to do the pattern thing, next time I went to the range.. but, I was so close to the range after I bought those two, that I had to go and try them out… and I still didn't make the frames yet..
    Oh, I also got a Iver Johnson .357 mag. "Cattleman" single action, 6 shot revolver.. I think it's a Colt replica made in Italy… It has a 5-1/2" barrel, and I love the brass grip frame around the smooth walnut grips.. The rear sight is cool, you can only fully use it when the hammer is cocked, then you can see the full notch. The trigger is a perfect 1/2 lb. or so..

    I set up the clay thrower, and shot 2 boxes of 1 oz 8 shot and two boxes of 1-1/8 oz 6 shot.. (both without changing the cone, to my surprise).. The Browning A-5 worked perfect, not one jamb.. I got about 2 out of 3 by the second shot, and didn't need the third shot very often, but it's there, if needed.. I can't believe how fast it's ready for the next shot, a true semi-auto shotgun, with very little recoil!! The 12ga actually has less recoil than the Browning/Rem 11, 16ga, if that's possible, both shooting the 1 oz shells!!

    Then, I set up full and broken clays at the 100 & 200 yard pistol/rifle range..
    Some at 25, 50, 75, and 100 yards..
    I loaded up some .38 special in the Cattleman and started popping off the clays at 25 yards.. about 3 shots per hit, but the weird thing is I was 1 for 4 at 50 yards, and 1 for 10 at 75 and 100 yards!!
    This one is just as accurate as the Blackhawk .357, and easier to shoot, a little better balanced..

    I cleaned up the smaller pieces with the .22 cal Winchester with open sights!! Not very common for my old eyes, but the wider open rear sight, seems to work for me.. I thought I couldn't get any open sights to work, but my new glasses and the wider rear sight worked real good!!

    With all the fun I'm having with fire arms, I'm having less time to play with the air rifles!! I need to stretch time.. any ideas?

    Anyone seen a good deal on a time stretcher?

    Wacky Wayne

  33. I played with my new chrony today. Since no one else published numbers to confirm or debunk BB’s death hold numbers I thought it would be a fun thing to play with. Here’s my numbers. I’m shooting an IZH-61, open sights, RWS Super-H-Point 6.9gn.

    I have sorted the shot groups high to low for best comparison. So, each group is not really in the order I shot them.

    I shot the bench group first even though its column is third. The bench is actually two bags. I did not hold the gun, it merely rested on the bags. Then I shot the Death Grip hold (fourth column) that follows the bench numbers. I then used the artillery hold (first column) then shot the Death Grip hold (second column) again for comparison.

    The numbers seem to support BB’s claim but I don’t think the spread is very significant with my numbers.

    I will shoot the set again with a couple different guns for comparison. I’ll use another 61 and a Ruger Air Hawk.

    Artiller| Death |Bench |Death
    ——– |———- |——— |——
    474.98 | 473.53 |472.50 |468.40
    474.76 | 471.04 |470.42 |467.55
    472.07 | 469.98 |469.11 |467.44
    468.91 | 466.47 |469.03 |463.81
    467.77 | 466.14 |464.82 |462.44


  34. Wayne,

    Sounds like great fun at the range. You have plenty of time to do work (pattern boards). Keep having fun. When you become obsessed in hitting more clay (step 2 in the twelve step firearm program) patterning will become more of a priority.

    Glad you’re back. Send that fine airgun collection to me and I’ll make sure they get a work out while you’re engrossed in firearms.


  35. CJr,

    Saw the process of that guy building his automatic hand pumper. Very clever but I would be concerned about the heat generated without the motor allowing for the brief rest at either end of the pumping cycle B.B. talks about. I think the life of the pump will be dramatically shortened but time will tell. I’m sure you could build it for less yourself especially if you implemented a used motor rather than the new motor he utilized. I think I remember he wanted $600.00+ for his apparatus WITHOUT a pump? You can get a carbon fiber tank set up for less and not all pumps will work on his setup. I think he used a Hill since it has the two fittings necessary. My 4,500 psi tank cost me $8.00 to fill today.

    Your numbers with the chrony are interesting. Sure seem to validate B.B.’s findings.


  36. CJr.,
    Very consistent, but only a small percentage. Probably show up better on a bigger springer, if its legitimate?

    80 on TU, Snow on Thu, now light rain and high forties. Early in the week, some were mowing their yards and such, but later, you didn’t see a soul out. Happens at least once every year, but it always takes people by surprise.

    I’m thinking about a Marlin 1894 in .357 Magnum, but the prices seem to have gone through the roof — what are they going for in your haunts?

  37. CJr.,

    Also from me a thanks for running the numbers.


    Perhaps I could help you with exercising Wayne’s stable. I’ll leave the S410 with you, unless you really insist that I try it.

    Mr B.

  38. JT – Sunny and in the 50’s today in MI. Saw what I think to be the first Robin of spring!!

    Just mounted a Leapers 4 x 40 Tactedge on my muzzle loader. Haven’t shot it yet but it looks great and is incredibly bright. BB’s recommended this scope for a lot of things on this blog so I thought I’d try it out. So far, so good, can’t wait to shoot it!!


  39. twortaslon,

    AirForce really has their CNC machines dialed in. In the old days they had those parts subbed out and other shops were producing them on older CNCs and even screw machines. Now that their are made in-house, AirForce can control production quality closer.


  40. BG_Farmer,
    Chrony is a new toy and my first time using it, but prior tests had similar velocities with a different 61.

    I changed to the open sight gun from a peep because with the peep I couldn’t see the chrony parts. I didn’t want a holey chrony.

    The first sensor was 2 feet from the gun muzzzle and the shot fired was between 4″ and 6″ above the sensor as instructed in the manual, I turned out all the fluorescent lights and laid a double halogen work light on the floor as close to the tripod as I could get with it shining up onto the bottoms of the white diffusers. So, that’s about as legitimate as I can get.

    That’s why I want to try it again with the two other guns I mentioned in my last comment.

    Then I’m going to check all my other guns and see if they’re shooting as advertised. Then I’m going to see when all my CO2 guns start falling off. That’ll keep me busy until the weather warms up enough to ride.

    Holy Hunter S. Thompson! The word verification today is gonsess. Close enough to gonzo to trigger the memory.


  41. Chuck,
    I didn’t mean to criticize your technique, and those velocities are what I’ve read about for IZH61. I just meant that the difference is so small b/t artillery and vice grip — I suspect below margin of error for chrony — that its hard to say for sure that it proves BB’s thesis. The Airhawk is probably the way to go — even if its the same percentage difference, it will be a bigger number and we hope comfortably outside the margin of error for the chrony.

  42. Mr B,

    IF Wayne would ever turn loose of his infamous S410 you should jump at the chance to try it. His is in .177 but the one I just recently received is .22. I’m having more fun with this gun than one man should be allowed. Now that I have a tank I’m deeply concerned that I don’t have enough pellets. I have ten magazines (thanks Wayne for the extras) with ten shots each in a magazine, tank by my side and 100 pellets disappear in a few minutes. Haven’t found a truly inaccurate pellet but the 18 gr. jsb’s and kodiaks are crazy accurate. I’ve created a 60 yard range at my city home since 40 yards is so boring. Lots of fun.


    Our place in the mountains is about an hours drive from Aspen, Colorado if you take Independence Pass. One of our favorite beer and burger joints is Woody Creek Tavern. Saw Hunter S. Thompson in there many times since it was one of his favorite haunts. He was odd, at least in public when he had an audience. I remember one of his favorite sayings, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”


  43. Kevin,
    Hunter Thompson was weird everywhere. At least that is what I think he wanted people to think. Personally I think he really WAS weird everywhere. But, I never knew him personally, only what I’ve read about him in his own books and there he wanted to be crazy weird. He was, however, able to get close to some pretty famous people so maybe he could hide his weirdness when he wanted to.


  44. BG_Farmer,
    I wouldn’t mind if you did criticize my technique. That’s why I detailed my setup for you, to see if you or anyone else could spot a flaw in the process. I think I did the right things, but then even the experts can get screwed by a screw or two.


  45. Everyone,

    Alex owns a walther lever action and is having problems with pellets getting stuck in the magazine. PLEASE chime in with suggestions. Here’s Alex in his own words:

    Hi again!

    I know this is a bit off topic, but I came here looking for advice a few days ago and I was helped by both B.B. and a man that goes by Kevin. I am currently using the Walther lever action long rifle and for the most part it’s becoming a joy to shoot, however I am still running into some problems. Initially the rifle had trouble firing the RWS hobby pellets because the fit in the rotary clip was far too snug and they were not seating flush with the clip. I was advised to shove them in just a bit further with the tip of a ball point pen, which worked well, but still left me with some problems. Mainly when I do that the pellet fits so snug that the gun seems to lack the power needed to fire it. After some experimenting (and a lot of wasted CO2) i began to get frustrated with the Hobby pellets and shelved them, using instead the tried and true Gamo Match pellets. With very few exceptions these little guys do the trick for reliability and accuracy, especially in my rifle, but the odd pellet or two still gets stuck and it’s usually due to the variation amongst them. Some fit more loosely than others and those are the ones that seem to perform the best. I have even tried lubricating the inside of each pellet slot with airgun oil so as to reduce the friction. This works to a certain extent but it’s costly both in terms of money and time spent and it seems like it may be hurting my accuracy a tad. My question for the airgunning community is this: is there anything i can do to maximize the dependability of my air rifle and keep it from getting ‘”stuck”? I would love to go out and be able to shoot without worrying about a pellet getting stuck in the clip especially since I plan to use this gun for NRA sponsored events (the accuracy is superb) where any propellant expelled from the muzzle of the rifle is counted as a shot and if no pellet accompanies it then it is counted as a miss. If anyone has some advice for me please send it along.

    Many thanks for your time,


    March 14, 2009 9:25 PM

  46. Kevin,

    Thanks for the slack, we are all so busy with the raised garden bed business, no one has time to build the frames… but we need a break, and so, after a half work day, we went to break some more clays this afternoon!!

    And your right for sure about the patterning… I really want to know what the shot group looks like at different distance.. some shots are so easy, while others seem impossible.. I know it's the shot pattern and distance issue..

    The Citori is for sure the best of the bunch.. who ever shot it did the best today.. and having the ability to load a second shot with more power and longer range, it cleaned up what everyone missed..

    Yes, my AAs410 is lonely I'm sure, and since I shot 1-1/8 oz & 1-1/4 oz. in the Browning Citori today instead of the Browning Auto-5 with the recoil advance.. after 100 shots, my shoulder is a little sore, and left arm sorer from setting the clay thrower one handed!!… Maybe I'll finish the day with a 200 shots of FT with the quiet and easy Air Arms s410..

    I would like to work out a way to share the inventory with ya all.. ideas again?

    Wacky Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  47. BG_Farmer,

    Funny you should ask, since I’ve been loving the .38 special/.357 mag. pistols so much, I’ve been looking for a Marlin 1894 in .357 Magnum, so I could shoot the same shells in both…

    Haven’t seen one yet!! Puma makes a new one for about $600, but I want the 1894 like you..
    If I see one I’ll get it for sure! and let you know..


  48. Alex,

    I don’t have that rifle, but I wonder if your getting all the co2 though the magazine.. Could there be a leak along the way?

    Check with some bubble soap..

    Tight fit or not, the pellets should be blasted out of there.. if you have a full co2 and your not loosing it!!


  49. Wayne,

    Probably good we live as far apart as we do.

    If we ever shot together I’m convinced that neither of us would get any work done since we’d always be shooting something at your range.

    Glad you took some time off.


  50. Kevin,

    Thanks for your understanding.. growing a business can cause one to enjoy blasting some clays more than normal!!!

    It does get ones mind off things and onto flying orange disks.. and the best part is… the mind stays there!!

    It’s a good thing..


  51. Alex,
    I have a Walther Lever Action, also. I haven’t had a problem like yours but it seems there was one pellet that did cause trouble. I’ll go through my pellet collection tomorrow (Sunday) if I get time and see if it was the Hobby.

    One thing I would suggest: The Walther takes two CO2 cartridges. Make sure both of them are getting punctured good. I took me a lot of pressure to get both punctured completely. You may have a leakage problem also.

    My Walther will jam when the CO2 gets too low but that’s after 75 or so shots I don’t remember exactly now. I did a blog on the Walther a while back and you might find some useful pellet info in it. I did initial testing of the gun using Hobbys without problem.



  52. Alex,
    I forgot to mention an important step. Put a drop of pelgunoil into each CO2 port before you insert the cartridge. That helps the seal. Pelgunoil is sold by Pyramydair.


  53. Alex,

    The Walther Lever Action rifle is a repeater. I know you know that, but did you know that repeating airguns–especially pellet guns–have special problems with feeding pellets?

    Crosman Corporation has more experience than any other airgun manufacturer with repeating airguns. They make special undersized pellets with lead that’s been hardened with antimony. All of that makes their pellets feed best in repeaters.

    Try some Crosman Copperhrad match pellets in your rifle. They are wadcutters and you can get them at Wal-Mart. They are cheaper than just about any other pellet around.

    See if that doesn’t solve your pellet problem.


  54. Alex, by any chance have you chronied your gun? If there’s a valving problem and the power is low, that might be why a tight-fitting pellet doesn’t leave the magazine.

    Also, it may be possible that the holes in the mag are just too tight. You might want to bounce it off of GLenn Seiter at UmarexUSA and see what he says.


  55. B.B.,

    Re: Reminder that you asked for

    I know you’re extremely busy but I don’t want you to run out of topics and think you can retire since everything has been done.

    Back in September 2008 you promised an article on a topic that raised a lot of interest. Here’s the reminder:

    At September 30, 2008 3:24 PM, B.B. Pelletier said…


    As it turns out, I had a professional sound tester come out to the Damascus Airgun Show and test a long list of smallbore and big bore airguns.

    I thought I had published that list in the blog, but I just searched back to 2006 and I don’t see it.

    So I will do a sound testing article.

    The guns may have changed somewhat over the years, but sound hasn’t changed. The test I will publish is comprehensive enough to bracket any airgun now available.


  56. Wayne,

    Thanks for the advice on fully cocking the Avenger 1100. I did fully cock it. In fact, the first time the trigger/safety failed to reset, I suspected that I hadn’t fully cocked the gun. So each time after that I made sure the cocking effort was rapid and that the barrel came back as far as it would go. However, the problem persisted.

    I hope the replacement gun will work as it’s supposed to.


  57. Kevin,

    Thank you for that reminder! I can’t believe I haven’t done that yet. I will schedule it for Tuesday.

    I was at Crosman a could weeks ago and saw the results of a cheaper sound tester, so now I have a basis for comparison.


  58. B.B.,

    Just didn’t want you to think you were done with us just yet. I’m sure this topic can wait since you’ve got so many new products that are more important and you still need time for fulfilling your dating obligation.

    Hope all is well or at least better.


  59. Alex,
    I have some pellet info for you.

    First I want to thank you for giving me a good reason (to help a fellow airgun buddy out) to do some fun shooting with my Walther.

    I shot 24 Hobbys without a single jam. My firing speed was sufficient to take careful aim. Probably no slower than 10 seconds between shots until the mag needed replaced. The Hobby did seem like a tight fit. I started with the CO2 that was in my gun from the last time I shot it. The carts had already fired 48 pellets. My fps range was from 487fps and steadily decreased to as low as 68fps before the carts were too low to shoot. Again, I had no jams, even at 68fps.

    I then inserted two new CO2 carts after putting a drop of pellgunoil in each cart port.

    I shot:
    16 JSB Exact
    16 RWS Super Mag (tighter fit than Hobby)
    16 RWS Meisterkugeln
    16 Beeman Crow Magnum (Tight and long, read more later)
    16 RWS R-10 Match

    Not a single misfire.

    The Crow Magnums were longer than the rest so after I pushed them into the magazine I had to push them back from the other direction so that their tips were not protruding out of the mag.

    I’m pleased that you chose the Walther for competition shooting. I hope you get this problem worked out because I really would like to hear your experience on this.


  60. Big Bore Addict,

    Sorry for the bs on the yellow. That guy should be strung up.

    If you don’t mind, I’m on the verge of buying an airsoft gun to get my daughter even more interested in shooting. She’s ready to graduate from nerf to airsoft.

    You were a big fan of the ksc m11a1 submachine gun. Are you still a fan? If you had to choose between the dsc m11a1 and the crosman pulse 72 which would you choose?

    Would greatly appreciate it if you would share your experience since I don’t have any with either of these guns.


  61. “Can air arm tx200 out shoot Benjamin discovery?”

    HHHMMM.. should be able to, if you can shoot a springer at all.. The AA TX200 is about as easy a springer as they come for shooting accurate, and they are very accurate!! More accurate than any Discovery I’ve had so far.. But the Disco is not too far behind, and fun to shoot..

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  62. Hi guys,

    First of all I’d like to thank everyone who’s been responding to my messages. I appreciate it so much. I think this is the right post, though it’s currently 12:00 AM as I’m writing this and tomorrow there’ll be a new article for everyone to read. All the same I’ll post my comment here and hope that someone will find it. So basically I’ve tried a few things since last I wrote and I’ve found that it may just be the pellets i was using. I tried washing a batch to get the lead dust off so as to improve the accuracy a smidge, but I later found out from reading one of B.B.’s articles that it also washes away the protective coating. I think it actually did some harm to the pellets because I cracked open a new set and they seemed to be performing fine, save for one that remained lodged in the clip, which I’m still trying to figure out. All the same I’d like to find a way to eliminate the problem entirely. If anyone’s got any advice please send it along. I’d also like to say a special thank you to Kevin and CJr for their help.

    Thanks again for everything guys,


  63. Alex, I think you’re relatively new to this blog. Lately we’ve had problems with someone who took to posting inane comments like the one above in an attempt to get a reaction out of people. I can’t remember the last time (if ever) he posted a useful or completely coherent comment.

    Even though this comment is from ‘anonymous’, I suspect it is from the same poster. So don’t give it a second thought.

    Did you see my comment about the possibly defective mags and contacting Glenn Seiter at Umarex?

  64. TX200/Discovery,

    What do you mean by “out-shoot?” Do you mean is it more accurate? Then, no, it is not. The accuracy is about the same if you use good technique with the TX200.

    Do you mean is it more powerful? Again the answer is no. The Benjamin Discovery is more powerful.

    Does the TX200 have a better trigger? Yes. Is it smoother-shooting? No.

    I don’t know what you mean by out-shoot, so I took a stab at it.


  65. Alex,

    As I said there’s a great group of airgunners here with an enormous amount of experience that they’re willing to share to get to the bottom of your problem.

    As Vince said, don’t be alienated by the one comment from an immature individual (that has since been deleted).

    You received alot of good advice including two comments from CJr (Chuck) on March 14th, a comment from Wayne on March 14th at 10:36PM, a comment from B.B. on March 15th at 6:52AM, two comments from Vince the first on March 15th at 7:48AM, two more comments from CJr (Chuck) on March 15th at 12:42PM and 12:47PM and a comment from Randy-in-VA on March 15th at 3:54PM.

    Please keep us posted, in the comments section under todays article by B.B., as to your progress in sorting out the feeding problems in your Walther Lever Action.


  66. nce-

    I am quite new to this blog and I’m happy to say that with the exception of that one comment I’ve been met with nothing but the utmost respect, support, and guidance from the airgunning community. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to read your comment about contacting Glen Seiter. Being new to the blog and not as computer savvy as I’d like to be I’m having a bit of trouble navigating the site, but I’m learning quickly. I’m not sure if that would help me much (contacting Umarex about the clips possibly being defective) because I ordered new clips to just keep shooting somewhat continuously and they’ve all done it at some point, though maybe there’s something to it so I will give it a try. Anything is worth a shot. Thanks again, and thank you to everyone who has offered me advice on this topic. Kevin told me to beware of becoming addicted shortly after my first post on this blog and I’m starting to see why. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll soon become a regular reader of B.B.’s reports. He and the rest of the community are collectively a warehouse of information and I’m honored to be even a part of it all.

    Many thanks,


  67. What’s your estimated ctc on the target on the back of the operating guide?

    Didn’t people used to make custom grips out of Bondo (auto body filler putty)?

  68. ajvenom,

    Why estimate when I have the target? I just measured it and the group is 0.106″. That’s larger than I thought at first glance. Most world-class guns will go around 0.08″ or so. Sometimes I read about groups of 0.04″, but I don’t see them.


  69. I just ordered an Air Arms Alfa and I realized, belatedly, that it would need a source for air. The hand pump seems like a lot of work. How would a scuba tank work? Does the gun come with proper hookups for that?

  70. Hi, I'm new about air shooting; so can any of you give some enlighting about the minimun kit to shoot with an air pistol like this Alfa Competition pistol.

    Don't missunderstanding me, I mean, I have been shoot .22cal minisilhouettes for long time ago, so I have tha basic knowledge of shooting.

    But, besides buying the air gun. What else I need to buy? I guess an Air Hand pump? Can you tell me which hand air pump is the appropriate for the Alfa Competition pistol?

    Thanks in advance.

  71. Ranier,

    The Alfa Proj pistol is made for a particular sport called 10-meter air pistol. You need a lot of things, including pellets, targets, safety glasses (prescription if you need them) and you need to know the rules of the game.

    Here is a link to a series of reports I did on 10-meter pistol shooting:


    There are links to the earlier reports at the top of the page I linked you to. Read them all in order, starting with number one. They will engender hundreds of questions.

    When you are ready, please come to the current blog report, where you can ask anything. This report is very old and is only seen by a few people.



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