by B.B. Pelletier
I’m doing this report for Mr. B, but I suppose many of you multi-pump shooters will be interested. In the world of Sheridan Blue Streaks and Silver Streaks there are two modifications that make the gun different. One is the pump-assist gun, and that modification is really applied to a Benjamin 392 instead of a Streak. The two guns are very similar except for the caliber. A Sheridan Streak is always .20 caliber.
The pump-assist gun develops the same power as the stock rifle, but the pump strokes are easier–especially the last few. There haven’t been very many of them produced, and they’re no longer being sold by Pyramyd Air, so that version is now in the collectible realm.
The other modification for Streaks is the Steroid modification that increases the rifle’s power. I bought one of these and tested it for The Airgun letter, so I will draw on that experience to present this report.
Tim McMurray of Mac-1 Airguns developed the Steroid Streak in answer to customer requests for more power. Of course, more power is always the request, but Tim got a Streak up around 20 foot-pounds, where the standard rifle is down around or just under 14 foot-pounds. The difference is significant–especially to hunters.
Our rifle was a Silver Streak that Tim brought to Maryland when he paid our field target and 10-meter clubs a visit one year. We bought the rifle to test it for our readers. As a side note, we had also recently tested a special one-off Blue Streak made by Greg Fuller that developed up to 25 foot-pounds, but in a moment I will explain why that one was only a science experiment. It was documented in Airgun Revue #1.
The Steroid pumps just like a regular rifle except a little more efficiently. On the 8 pumps that marks the maximum for the stock Blue Steak, the Steroid developed more velocity than the standard gun. It went an average of 683 f.p.s.. with .20 caliber Crosman Premiers, while the standard rifle will usually shoot the same pellet around 645 f.p.s. But the standard rifle stops there, and the Steroid continues to as many as 14 pumps.
I was curious about the performance with more than 8 pumps, so I tested it carefully in that range. I discovered that up to 10 pumps, the rifle still exhausted all the air with the shot, which was good for 730 f.p.s. Starting with pump 12, there was some air remaining in the rifle after the shot. This increased with each additional pump until, at 14 pumps, enough air remained in the gun to fire a second pellet at 265 f.p.s.
On the Mac-1 website, it says that every pellet produces different results with air left in the gun. This is because of pellet weight. And, no doubt, every gun will differ somewhat as well.
Nothing was done to the barrel, so the accuracy didn’t change, except that the greater velocity lets you reach out farther. Our test gun had a burr at the air transfer port; after it was removed, the rifle was as accurate as any Streak.
Tim McMurray told me the Steroid tune has two distinct advantages, and three if you want to take advantage of them. First, the rifle is capable of greater power. That’s the No. 1 reason for getting the modification. But the gun also becomes more efficient to pump after being “Steroid-ed.” The valve modifications make the gun shoot with greater authority, even when the max of 8 pumps isn’t exceeded. Finally, the modification includes strengthening the pump linkage so it can take the added stress of higher pumping efforts. And they offer additional optional things to beef up the mechanism even more. So, you get a rifle that’s more reliable, to boot.
Overlooking the greater number of pumps for a moment, the final strokes do take more effort than any stroke with a factory rifle. Pump No. 7 took 42 lbs. of effort, and pump No. 14 took 51 lbs. Let me put that into perspective by telling you about Greg Fuller’s experimental gun and valve. Greg’s rifle can accept up to 18 pump strokes to generate up to 25 foot-pounds, but the final strokes take 100 lbs. of effort to complete. That’s why I said earlier that Greg’s gun is just a science experiment.
When I tested the Steroid, the Sharp Ace was a pneumatic with comparable power that sold at the same time. An Ace got about 22 foot-pounds on 10 pumps. As the number of pumps increased, so did the trigger effort. That isn’t true for the Steroid. For less money, a Steroid lets you keep the good trigger and get the same power. The trigger on our test gun broke cleanly at 34-40 oz.
Is it worth the money?
A Steroid tune costs $75 on your gun or adds $45 to the cost of the new gun. Whether or not you think it’s worth it depends on how much you value power in that gun. But this much is certain–there’s no easier way to get more power from a Sheridan Streak than by having a Steroid tune.
37 thoughts on “A Steroid Streak”
Good morning B.B.,
Thank you for the review. Makes me wish that I’d bought a punp assist 392 from PA and sent it off to Tim. However, my 392 will be heading his way.
You know if anyone’s ever re-bored a 392 out to .25? I would bet THAT would make a good gun. JP
The barrel on a 392/397 is next to impossible to get off the gun and not ruin in the process. So caliber changes are not feasible.
Maybe it’s time for me to shake the dead bees out of my Whiscombe? For a caliber performance comparison, read this:
B.B. I have read that PCP gun seals can leak. Can they leak from not shooting enough? I have an FX rifle that has been shot less than 200 rounds but it has a slight leak (one bar a day). The gun is 3 yrs old and purchased new. What “seals” are the usual culprits and is a “fix” too difficult for most airgunners? Is there a site that one could read about PCP air leakage?
Yes, seals can leak. I have several guns that do. They can sometimes be fixed with new seals all around because no one seal is the culprit, but often that doesn’t work. The metal of the gun can have pinholes that allow leaks.
Nobody knows how to fix them all. Even the “greats” sometimes produce PCPs that leak.
The solution for the ones you can’t fix is to top off before shooting.
Tim at Mac-1 also does the Steroid mod on Benjamin 392’s and 397’s. I’ve got a couple of them and they’re good guns; one is my ‘go-to’ air gun – lotta pigeons to its credit. Mac-1 also repairs older Benjis and Sheridans; I’ve been pleased with everything they’ve worked on.
Thanks for your imput on Tim’s Steroid mod. Do you have any chrony numbers on your 392? Did you have him up grade your pump linkages? Thanks for your reply.
Got a billet/steroid/peep 392 from Tim awhile back and it is a great gun. I really like your Streak but I wanted a .22 for hunting. Ihave only one problem. I let my wife try it and she loves it but she makes me pump it for her. If I knew I was going to be pumping for two I would have gone for the extended billet instead! Once you know the how long Tim’s family has been in the business you feel like you have a piece of history when you own a “Steroid”. After seeing yours I might break down and get a .20 one of these days!
Mr B –
I don’t have any chrony numbers off the top of my head, but give me 24 hours . . .
As for the linkage, I did go for the extended billet on my favorite gun. I did have one with the standard-length (i.e. looks the same as a factory gun), but ended up taking it back to Tim for the extended billet. I think the extended billet helps some with the pumping effort, since you’re pumping with a longer lever. And I think the gun looks better. I’ve never tried a Pump-Assist, although I did try to get one . . . right after Pyramyd ran out.
Pumping for wife..
get her a Benji Discovery!! and then you’ll want one too!!
My problem with the pumpers is the slapping of the pump arm and the time and energy between shots.. the disco solves that one!!
If one is stranded on an island.. then a 392 or streak would be great.. but I’m not.. not yet anyway.. None the less, I’ve still got a few for the collection.. and very much want to add that “supergrade”:):)
BTW the collection is getting out of hand, so to speak:)..
I’ve got to get the “shooting hands on museum and on going contest” thing started.. I’ve certainly got enough air guns to start it!!.. just need the buildings and target setups..
It’ll get going this summer as the raised bed business slows down..
Then you all can come and play with me!!
Ashland Air Rifle Range
Thanks for the tip but we all don’t have the same amount of disposable income as you!:-) But, the way Tim talked about the Marauder that he tweaked for Doug Owen over on The Yellow…I may have to start saving my pennies and finally go to the Dark Side! Actually, I was expecting a comment like, “You’re wife likes to shoot and you’re complaining?” I’m not complaining as she likes to fish and watch college football too! I’m just wishing I’d have gone for the extended billet!
Hello to all.
After fifty rounds with my steroid gun I rest my tired bones under a shade tree and dream of some kind of pump assist. My dream is about some type of application that can be routed into the extended billet forarm, then possibly glued and screwed. Then a short lever would snap in place (or maybe male/female) and attached when pumping and then removed and slipped into my back pocket until the next shot. The general idea here is to artificially extend the pump handle length thus decreacing exerted preasure (maybe 20/25%)needed for the stroke. Any suggestions?
I’ve got an idea.. get a PCP!!
Pumping for wife (PFW for short)..
Your are a lucky dude for sure!! Keep her happy in every way possible.. and I mean every way!!
Yes, I be blessed with a business that’s doing well in this poor economy!!.. it seems the worst is gets the more people think of gardening!!
.. and the air guns are a wonderful business and tax deduction for me.. so don’t feel bad about keeping up with the Joneses.. or Wacky Wayne:)
Ashland Air Rifle Range
I am interested in the scope mount/scope combination that is shown in today’s article. Does PA sell them? If not, where can I get them?
Tim set up my 1997 Sheridan Billet Steriod and it is great he also rebuilt A 1965 for me stock and it is one of my favorite rifles. I have three more Sheridans and A Benjamin “Franklin” that I will be taking to him soon.
Never a dull moment while you’re on this blog. I wish I lived near by. Where the heck is Ashland anyway?
Now that I saw this piece on the streak, I was wondering if you have had the opportunity to see the ANA Quigley Multipump? Apparently only few people have seen it in action. The maker claims that the pump system is much easier than conventional ones.
BB, the reason I’m asking about making a “395” is due to a squirrel I had to un-tree by hand. I shot him with a .22 air and he fell from the tree, then ran back up as I walked up on him. I had to climb up to get him (by that time he died clawing into the bark: I’ve heard of them doing that with a .22 rimfire too). I’m thinking, since the 392’s a good rifle (based on what you say and having used a 347 and a Sheridan model C), maybe they should bore one and put in a heavier powerplant. JP
Back in the office today after my conference in AZ. My first stop on Sunday was the NRA show where I had an opportunity to tour a number of airgun booths (Pyramyd, AirForce, Daisy, Crosman, Gamo, Shooters Supply who handles competition airguns and supplies and someone from MD who imports a line of breakbarrels from China and has named them Stoecker). I also got an opportunity to shoot the Crosman PCP 10M Rifle at the indoor airgun range that was setup. What a line but I came right at the end of the show and was ushered in, handed a ticket and told that since I wanted a specific rifle (I asked for the Marauder), to go and wait. Well, I got impatient and settled for what the Crosman rep told me was the prototype 10M rifle. It won’t go into production until this Summer. It was my first time using an aperture sight and with only five shots allowed, I really didn’t get a good feel for that really light and crisp trigger. All excuses for not hitting the 9 ring! Never mind the teenager next to me who obliterated the x ring on his target and got a red ribbon stapled to his target!
Sorry I missed BB and CJr.
I’m far from an experienced PCP shooter. But my 1-year old Disco leaks about 100 psi per day. Of course it leaks less as the presure drops.
Like BB said just top off when you pick it up.
We are on I-5 at mile post 11, just south of Ashland, Oregon…
Come on down!!
not open yet.. but come and play anyway..
just let me know your a comin..
Leaks in PCPs
Well I’m surprised to hear so many of you say it’s normal!.. Here is a list of ones that seem to never leak for us..
3 different AAs410
AA S400 MPR
one of the Discos
Ones that did leak;
2 other discos.. couldn’t figure out the very slow leaks.. just topped them off, like said above..
a 10 yr old AAs310.. leak fixed easy, it was at the fill port..
a FX TimberWolf leaked at the air tank pressure gauge.. easy fix.
So that’s a good percentage over almost 2 years now..
Ashland Air Rifle Range
The steroid is a clever idea but I would take a PCP any day over a pump gun and more so over one that required extra pumps with extra effort.
That’s a great group at 10 yards but I’m a little surprised at how it opened up at 30 yards. If one were to place a target 20 yards behind the 10 yard target, you should have gotten a better group than the 30 yard target. Could this be a matter of velocity spread? With a steroid tune, I wouldn’t expect pellet drop per se to be the problem. Or maybe it’s what Jeff Cooper called “range-probable error” associated with the longer distances although I didn’t think this applied to 30 yards.
Wayne, I have an idea for your massive resources. Thinking about the M1 Garand for you, a problem occurred to me which is the same one I face: ammunition. You wouldn’t think this would be a problem with 30-.06, but the key is that commercial loads are generally too hot for the Garand and can bend its operating rod. I have researched and there is no information that any commercial load fits the specs for the Garand. And the closest ones are expensive, starting at almost a dollar a round. That leaves surplus stocks. With the mountain of ammo at the Civilian Marksmanship Program, you wouldn’t this would be a problem, but with the present run on ammo, I suspect that it will go faster than one thinks. (After 5 months, I’m still waiting on my Black Hills ammo.)
Once the surplus is gone, reloading will be the only choice for supplying the Garand. Like you, this is a big burden for me, and I haven’t even started my Lyman reloading book yet. But you can make use of your best resource: people. 🙂 Assign the task of learning to reload to one of your able assistants, perhaps as a small return for getting to use your arsenal. Set him up with the Lyman book, reloading equipment, a chronograph, and one of your lower end rifles which can take some abuse. Surely, some of your staff will see this as an opportunity. Next thing you know, you’ll be able to do it too and then you’ll have unlimited ammo for whatever you want.
Is velocity or weight more influential with regards to penetration,if they are shot out of the same gun? Will the lighter pellet, travelling at a higher velocity, penetrate more? Or will the heavier pellet, travelling at a lower velocity, penetrate more?
That should be great for hunting, with the increased power and the nice scope mount. 1 inch is good for squirrels — or at least I’ve always thought and 30 yards is more than enough in most woods.
One more vote for not changing your handle. And before you ask, no, we won’t call you Bentley:).
Off topic but I’m excited. I followed Tom’s advice to “run, not walk” and ordered the Umarex Makarov, which arrived today. It is everything Tom said in his report. First 5-shot group at 5 yards well under an inch. Moving back to my garage limit of 7 yds, still at an inch.
The pistol has a nice glossy paint finish, fits my hand well, and points nicely. For my hand, better ergonomics than the PPK/S or P23.
Some comments: When they say “drop-free” magazine, they mean it. If you are clumsy like me, better develop a technique of catching it, or you’ll bang up that nice paint job when it hits the ground. The mag is metal.
“Cocked and locked” carry is possible. A separate piece of paper in the box expains you need to cock, then pull the hammer back slightly while setting the safty.
The grips and trigger guard have a little play in them. But all is tight when I grip the pistol. Might bother you if you are fussy about such things, but I’m not.
Double action trigger is better than I expected. I don’t have a trigger pull gauge, but subjectively the pull is lighter and shorter than my CP99 or P23. Single action is not as much better as I would have thought. Short, but a little stiff. maybe it will break in.
I’d about given up on shooting bb’s in pistols, but this one has me going again. Thanks, Tom.
The scope on today’s rifle hasn’t been available for 10 years. The mount was available for only a short time.
But PA has a good receiver mount for the Sheridan that you would like and I think a UTG Tactedge 4X40 long eye relief scope would be ideal.
My first ever car was a 10 year old 1954 544 Volvo. My first new car was a 1969 Volvo 144–keep the name.
Re your shot– but tree climbing squirrel, shoot them in the head, just above the ear hole, from the side, or between and just above the ears, front or back. I’ve had them flop on the ground, but never has one gotten up and ran hit there.
Have you tried the Williams peep sight that PA sells? I’ve done scopes and red dots on my 392, but the Williams peep sight is my favorit one. It shoots minute of a red squirrel at 30 yards, it’s extremely fast and looks right on the gun.
it depends but usually the smaller, faster pellet will penetrate greater but not necessarily give you more knock down power. Typically a .22 pellet gives the greatest energy. If you know the weight and speed of your pellet, you can use a calculator on the PA website to give you energy in either foot pounds or joules. Go to /article/What_is_Muzzle_Energy_August_2003/5
For shooting squirrels, rabbits and birds, it’s the shock to the head that achieves one shot knock-down, not penetration.
We are like minded when it comes to feeling foolish caring a semi-auto with a hunting long gun. I usually go as far as a single action to complement the look. The folks with the AR’s would be well suited with a semi-auto, however.
You never fail to provide a smile. While Bentley would be nice (I rode in a client’s once) I’m afraid Chevy is the reality if I maintain the auto nomenclature rule. Perhaps when I did my top ten list in January it was a bit of foreshadowing.
My History with Volvo’s is far less than yours; I feel I may have encroached on your right to the handle.
I will allow your wisdom along with the others to the rule the day for now and hold tight for the time being.
Thank you all for the suggestions.
Okay, I know I already caved – but how about Vespa?
No I don’t own one – yet, but I can see myself with the Cyclone tied to the back.
No, not a Chevy!!.. I’ll bring you one of my 740 or 960 volvo wagons.. we’ll trade it out later!!
That Vespa line is pretty cool..
but $3200 to $7,000 is a little out of line for two wheel travel.. even with these gas prices.. They said .05 per mile to operate.. that’s the good part..
and where does the client ride?.. front or back:)..
OH!! I get it no client.. air rifle instead.. that’s a good thing!!.. off you go then…
That’s really a great idea.. I actually think I know who’s the one too!
Now your planning in advance for me.. good thinking!!.. thank you very much indeed!!
Really, guys, I do thank you all so much for helping me pick out the air guns and now firearms for the collection that some of you might come and shoot some day…
…At the on going contest with special rifles and pistols, we set up at targets, where everyone’s score is kept track of..
Guns to include, but not limited to; .. Old Vince rebuilt classics, (uh.. a .. I mean Vince rebuilt old classics:)..
..and newer and unique high quality Field Target rifles.. so you can try them out and compare your score to others shooting before you..
So, keep the feed back coming folks!!
Wacky Wayne’s idea factory..
Ashland Air Rifle Range
Mr B –
Just finished cronying (is that a word? It must be – I just used it!) my Steroid 392. I’ll post the results as a comment on tomorrow’s blog – first I need a chance to assemble a cohesive explanation.
Thank you sir!
The revolver you need for your collection is a Freedom Arms single action in your choice of caliber. It will put your Dan Wessen to shame accuracy wise. The fit and finish is flawless. In my opinon, it is the finest production single action revolver made. I’m trying to remember the name of a German double action revolver that many consider the world’s finest DA–someone help me please. It’s a bit pricey and has a built in safety.
I’ll put that one on the watch list too.. that must be a real nice weapon if it put the Dan Wesson to shame!!.. but what do I know.. I’m a newbie to this thing..
I was afraid you’d say the scope and mount were no longer available. Ach, weh.
On my Sheridan, I tried the Crosman mounts that enabled a long eye relief scope to be mounted forward of the receiver. The mounts wouldn’t stay tight, so I gave up on that. I have seen the PA mount you mentioned but don’t like the way it looks or where it mounts.
Yes, my Sheridan and both the 392 and 397 all have the Williams sights. I installed them when I couldn’t get a scope mounted where it wouldn’t interfere with pumping the rifles. I love those sights.
The German Erma is one of the prettiest revolvers I ever saw. Is that the gun you’re trying to recall?
All this talk about .22 pumpers has me thinking about my S&W 77a. I lack a chrony and have never read stats on them. Any idea what fps they average?
Also, does anyone know of a "steroided" 77a? Mine has developed a slow leak, and I thought if I sent it to Mac-1 for the repair, a steroid job might be worth it at the same time. (There's no mention of 77a work on the Mac-1 site.)