by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This is an eye-opening day for me and for all who want to know the 953 TargetPro velocity. We had some readers chime in that their rifles were not in the 500s, so today we’ll see what this one can do.

Because this is a plinker as well as an informal target rifle, I selected pellets that were appropriate. Somebody asked for a .22 caliber single-stroke that makes 500 f.p.s. Be advised that there is only one rifle I know of that’s ever done that. The Dragon single-stroke was a 12 foot-pound gun, but the lever had to swing 105 degrees to pressurize enough air. Single-strokes are not that powerful, as a rule.

H&N Match
H&N Match pellets are made in light and heavy weights for pistols and rifles, respectively. There were the lights that weigh about 7.6 grains. They averaged 471 f.p.s., with a spread from 462 to 479. That’s a large spread for a single-stroke — almost double what I expected. I will still try this pellet for accuracy, though, because it has an excellent reputation.

RWS Basic
Now, the RWS Diabolo Basic is a utility pellet. Ideal for plinking and probably okay for informal target shooting, too. We’ll see how good it is in the accuracy test. Because it weighs only 7 grains, I expected it to be the fastest pellet, but it averaged only 477 f.p.s. in this rifle. The spread was from 470 to 483, so it’s tighter than the H&N spread. But, like I said, not much faster.

Gamo Match
Gamo Match pellets are an old standby. Often, surprisingly accurate in some guns, they are always worth trying in a target gun. Look how they did with the Air Venturi US Avenger 1100, not that it’s a target rifle. In the 953, they average 477 f.p.s. with a spread from 472 to 480. That makes them the pellet with the tightest velocity spread in this test.

Am I surprised? Yes. I expected to see velocities around 540 f.p.s. with the lighter pellets. Does that mean there’s something wrong with the test rifle? Not at all. In fact, this rifle may speed up as it breaks in.

Then, I remembered what I did with the IZH 46 when I tested its velocity. And I tried the same thing with this rifle. Average velocity for RWS Basics climbed to 547 f.p.s.! The spread was larger, though. It ran from 530 to 562.

So–what was that “thing” I did? I pumped the lever almost all the way three times before closing it. That rams a little more air into the gun. After 10 shots doing that, I tried one more shot with a single pump and got 459 f.p.s. I cannot recommend this procedure to anyone. No doubt it is hard on the mechanism. I just did it to see if this gun would react like the IZH 46, and it did.

The trigger is still not two-stage, but a couple of times it seemed to be headed in that direction–like there was a greater or more noticeable pause in the travel toward the end. I’m sure the trigger is breaking in, because it now breaks at 4.5 lbs. very regularly.

Can’t wait to try this rifle for accuracy. I’ll try it with the standard sights, then with target sight and finally with a short scope. It will probably take a couple more blogs to cover all of it.