by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Tomorrow, I’ll head out to the Little Rock Airgun Expo, so I won’t be answering as many comments as usual. I’ll bring back some pictures and maybe a video! My wife, Edith, will monitor the blog comments.

This is the second test of the .177-caliber Air Venturi Avenger 1100, so today I’ll test velocity. You will recall that this rifle is notorious for dieseling when new. That’s because the piston has an oil-retention washer that soaks up all the oil put into the gun. Many people report that the gun calms down after this washer is dried and becomes pleasant to shoot, so maybe I’ll look into that for you.

This is a large air rifle, though not a heavy one. It has a cocking effort of 35 lbs., which is about what the Beeman R1 takes. As the rifle is cocked, I can hear the mainspring moving–a sign of not enough lubrication. But I would not advise oiling this spring, given the rifle’s propensity to detonate! Instead, maybe I’ll put some tar (mainspring grease that dampens vibration, too) on it if I take the gun apart.

I was prepared for detonations and, sure enough, they came. When they did, the velocity didn’t always increase. Sometimes, the gun slowed down, and a lot of gas exited from the breech joint. Now, let’s test the gun.

RWS Supermags
I started with 9.3-grain RWS Supermag pellets to limit the amount of dieseling. Heavier pellets often seem to do that. They were the best-behaved pellet of the test, averaging 856 f.p.s. The high, which was not a detonation, was 956 f.p.s. The low was 814 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 15.14 foot-pounds.

RWS Superdomes
RWS Superdomes were next. At an average weight of 8.3 grains, you would think they’d be faster than the Supermags, but they weren’t. They averaged 847 f.p.s., with a spread from 692 f.p.s. to 1016 f.p.s. This is the same kind of performance I saw with the last Avenger 1100, but this time I understand the breed better and will see the test through to completion. At the average velocity, which by the way is fairly close to the velocity the rifle usually shot, the muzzle energy is 13.23 foot-pounds.

Gamo Raptors
Gotta try the trick pellets just to get a number for you. Gamo Raptors weigh 5.4 grains and were too loose in the breech. They also detonated a lot more than all the others tested. The average velocity was 1,213 f.p.s. and ranged from 981 f.p.s. to 1,479 f.p.s. Three detonations put the pellet in the 1,400 f.p.s. range, so the average velocity is artificially inflated. It would probably be around 1150 f.p.s. if the gun were not burning fuel explosively. But at the average velocity I recorded, the rifle is generating 17.65 foot-pounds.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets were the last ones I tested and also the ones with the biggest surprise. I expected them to average somewhere around 1,000 f.p.s., but I was surprised with an average of just 718 f.p.s.! The one detonation got me up to 959 f.p.s., but no other shot topped 840. The average velocity results in a muzzle energy of 9.05 foot-pounds! The velocity range was from 551 to 959. I don’t know what to make of that. Maybe you can think about it for me.

The rifle fires with a pleasing thunk and just a hint of vibration. As reported in Part 1, the trigger is delightful and should be on more guns than just those made by Mendoza.

Next time, I’ll look at accuracy using my new 20-shot system. I will scope the gun, though it comes with adjustable open sights. They’re fiberoptic and difficult to shoot with precision, but for hunters and plinkers they’re fast and probably very good.