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Education / Training Romanian spring rifle – Part 2

Romanian spring rifle – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

It’s been a while since I wrote part 1 on this rifle. You may remember that I showed you the velocity, so today I’ll complete the report with accuracy testing. Of course you aren’t going to mount a scope on one of these by any normal means, so I’m shooting with open sights today.

Somebody mentioned that Pioneer means “Boy Scout” in Romanian. Actually, the Young Pioneers was the Soviet group that most resembles our Boy Scouts, but they are not the same organizations. The Young Pioneers were a paramilitary organization that rose from the ashes of the Russian Boy Scouts after the fall of the Czar. They did pretty much the same things as scouts, and also guarded military tombs and received limited military training. They were a youth adjunct of the Soviet Communist Party. Both boys and girls were in the same organization. Their motto, “Always Ready,” is an outgrowth of the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.”

Is there a connection between the rifle we’re examining and the Young Pioneers? I have no information about that, but perhaps some of our readers may know. At any rate, there’s no doubt that this is a youth rifle, designed for kids to cock and shoot all day. As such, it pulls at the heartstrings of many shooters who want nothing more than a lightweight, easy-cocking plinker to pass the time with. Today, we’ll see if this is the one. Vince has warned us that it isn’t, so we’ll see.

I figured 10 meters was a good test for a plinker, and of course the 20-shot group still holds. But for starters, I stood about 20 feet from the target and fired a 5-shot group with the first pellet I planned on using just to make sure the gun was on paper. Let me show you what that did.


The first five shots were Gamo Match offhand at 20 feet. This was just to ensure that the gun was hitting on the paper. I used a 6 o’clock hold for this well-centered group.

Two things were learned from those five shots. First, the rifle is reasonably accurate. Second, the single-stage trigger is very hard and stiff. I measured it at a repeatable 7 lbs., 8 oz. But the group didn’t look bad for starters. Then I moved back to 33 feet and shot 20 shots from a rest. Because I thought the group might climb when shooting from farther back, I tilted the 10-meter pistol targets sideways, so the bullseye would be lower on the paper. That’s why all the targets are printed on what looks like an angle.


Twenty Gamo Match pellets went all over the place. They are fairly well-centered on the bull if you discount that single shot at 9 o’clock, but the elevation was all over the place.

While cocking the rifle, I reflected that this was one of the easiest breakbarrels I had ever cocked. The bathroom scale confirmed that with a reading of just 9 lbs. to cock. That makes this the leader in cocking ease!

A second pellet I tried is a lead-free target pellet that’s not yet on the market. I have them to test in lower-powered spring rifles, and this one certainly qualifies.


This lead-free target pellet wasn’t bad. It’s not on the market yet.


Twenty lead-free target pellets shot about the same as the Gamo Match. Not quite as wide but a little more vertical.

Surprisingly, these plastic pellets shot about as well as the Gamo Match, which I didn’t expect.

The RWS Basics shot best in this test. They disbursed about half as far as the others, with all but a few going into one tight group. Remember, please, that I was shooting with crude open sights and with a 7.5-lb. trigger!


RWS Basics were the best–going into a smaller group with most going into the same hole. The target is displayed as it was shot–on an angle.

The significant improvement with the Basics lead me to believe there might be pellets that are even better. Vince said this gun is like a BB gun, but this one is just a little better than that. Not a lot, mind you, but it’s good for a minute-of-pop-can at backyard distances.

That’s going to be it for this gun, if you don’t mind. It was fine for it’s intended purpose; and in today’s terms, perhaps a bit overbuilt.

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.

36 thoughts on “Romanian spring rifle – Part 2”

  1. I went back through my emails to you, and it looks like I had reported that the gun was doing better than what you're getting – about 1/2" at 10 yards.

    Of course, that would have been a 5-shot group. And I'll be danged if I remember which pellet I used. Although I suspect it was either the Beeman 'Sportsman' wadcutter or Daisy Precision Max (which sometimes works surprisingly well in low-powered rifles)

  2. Vince,

    Yeah, that's the trouble with 20-shot groups. They always ruin things.

    I'm sure the gun can do what you say, but not consistently. Maybe the Daisy is a better pellet than I've given it credit for being, though. I'll have to work them into future testing.


  3. BB,
    I think you got about the same or a bit better result than Vince, if I'm guaging the scale correctly — but 20 shots with an 7.5lb trigger is sure to have some fliers, if only from lapses of attention. I was shooting my new .22 at 25 yards the other day, and had a 10 shot group around .2", but then decided to go for 15. Not one but two of those were way out of bounds, because I had started to drift:).

    I really like your new "big groups", but I think you need to allow yourself some margin, as in dropping the few outermost shots up to a certain percentage.

  4. Those lead free pellets look interesting.
    I shoot anywhere from 30-150 pellets per night in my basement range. If these are as accurate as a good wadcutter it would erase any of the concerns I have due to having children who also use the basement for play.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  5. Good post BB! Not only because I'm amazed at such vintage guns and that kids in Russia had fun like us, but because I also learned something about results. I always cringe at groups larger than 1" but never paid attention as to whether "strings" were vertical or horizontal or all around the clock. For some reason a light turned on and I saw the obvious. I'll bet now I learn more about my technique and my guns.

  6. Joe,

    I thought the rifle was going to shoot much higher when I backed up to 33 feet (10 meters). So I put the target on a diagonal to lower the bull, because the paper is longer when the target is slanted. That just gave me some more safety room at the top of the bull, where I was concerned.

    When I discovered that it didn't matter that much I just continued doing it to not confuse your readers. Apparently that didn't work.


  7. B.B.

    Interesting, but for a Boy Scout gun I'll take the Crosman 1077. Interesting too about the non-lead pellets, maybe biodegradable is next.

    BG_Farmer, I take it that your 10 shot group is with the Savage BV. It warms the heart.

    I don't know if Alan is still reading, but his shooting of cards at 10m and plans for competing got me thinking, and I want to share the results of my research….

    As someone noted, a 10 on a standard 10 meter target is like hitting a period at the end of a sentence which sounds very difficult, but there is another way to look at it. To figure out the requirements to guarantee hitting a 10, you can take a circle of a pellet diameter–say .177–and put the edge on this period. Then using this period as an axis, rotate your circle one full revolution. That gives you a circle whose diameter is 2 pellet diameters or about .34 inches. Any shot that falls within this area is guaranteed to hit the 10, so, you need only shoot a group of .34 inches standing or three and a half minutes of angle–and that's for a perfect score. This is difficult to be sure, but more plausible. It also checks out with B.B.'s observation that the only two people who he has ever seen shoot three minutes of angle offhand are an Olympian and a state champion shooter, so it's at the outer edge of performance.

    For those who shoot rested at 10m, you can apply our conversion from standing to rested which seems to be a factor of 1/4. So, the rested equivalent of the .34 group is about .05 inches or a half minute of angle. This says that if you can shoot this consistently and your standing scores have a more or less normal relationship to your rested scores, you should be able to shoot .34 without extra practice. Of course this is for a perfect score, so you can cut yourself some extra slack. Anyway, if Alan is reading that should be all the information you need to know to see how you would fare in competition.

    Filled with creativity, I went on to try to figure out the maximum possible size for a one hole five shot group, so that when someone says that they shoot a one hole group, we know what they are talking about. This means non-cloverleafing but not necessarily in the exact same pellet hole.

    I'm sure there's some elegant mathematical packing technique to figure it out. But I went with approximating things with four pellet diameters in a box formation to get a roughly symmetrical shape. Making a liberal estimate of size by measuring the diagonal between edges, I get 2 x (pellet diameter) x sq. rt 2. For a .177 this works out to be about .6 inches, call it .7 inches for 5 shots. So that is the maximum size of the mythical one-hole group.


  8. B.B.,

    Off topic ? I saw that PA has imported the 10 shot version of the Pneuma under their Air Venturi name. Will you be reviewing the Halestorm anytime soon?


  9. Matt61, unfortunately it isn't that simple (10m scoring).
    In competition you are allowed 60 shots in 105 min. At Olympic quality meets the top shooters will all shoot 600…perfect scores.
    These shooters then go into the finals, wherein the 10 'ring' is divided into 10. They then shoot another 10 shots, scored to 1/10 of a point, the higest score (for each shot) being 10.9 The only way these can be accurately scored is electronically…there is no way that you can accurately measure these shots visually so at Olympic level the there are sound sensors at the target that triangulate the sound of where the pellet hits to hundredths of a millimeter.
    At a recent ISSF world cup meet the difference between 1st and 2nd on the final 10 shots was 103.5 (1st) to 102.8 (2nd).
    You are correct in that for the first 60 shots we're talking the width of 2 pellets. But for the final 10 we're talking 100ths of an inch.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  10. Thought this would be of interest. I was at a 10m ISSF event a few years ago. To show how competitive this is I remember one that the top shooter were all capable of 590's or 600's on there 60 shot elimination round.
    One fellow, at about the 40 shot mark had a 'flyer'…solidlly in the 8 ring.
    He packed up his rifle and spectated for the rest of the match.
    1 not really bad (for most people on this blog) and he quit.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  11. Matt,
    Interesting analysis of 10-ring group size and one-holers. I believe that the number of shot makes a big difference, though. E.g., a three-shot group needs to be tighter than a five shot group to give the appearance of one hole. I would prefer to define a one-holer arbitrarily as <0.5(projectile_diameter) CtC, but that would limit the number of one-hole groups:).

    Yes, it was the BV (I'm not Wayne with a new gun every week, you know:)). I can't get shed of the wind when I've got time to shoot, so last time I started at 25 yards, which turned out better than I had hoped, even without paying any attention to the wind. I'm fascinated by the jump in wind effect and ballistics wierdness b/t 25 and 50 yards, some of which I think is due to the bullet going deeper into the transsonic region.

  12. Can't wait to read the review. The Marauder has created a whole class of rifles I call the "Marauder class" Where it is the base line or standard for PCP rifles in the $400 – $650 range. Not counting the Korean guns which have been around for a while & I think are different beasts & in a different class. The Blizzard is the Korean entry in the Marauder class & now the Halestorm.

  13. CowBoyStar Dad,

    I had heard something of that sudden death procedure, but I was thinking more of the threshold necessary to get to the top level. I didn't know that perfect scores were that common even at the highest level. That would explain the one fellow quitting although there's something to be said for finishing it out. David Tubb and other top-level high power shooters I know of say that their strategy is just to avoid big mistakes which seems to be more forgiving. Maybe smallbore/airgun competition is more precise.

    BG_Farmer, yes indeed one hole size depends on number of shots. I was calculating for a five shot group. This raises an interesting question for what number of shots a one hole group is even meaningful. A two shot group is not that big a deal. Neither is a 20 shot group although avoiding any fliers might be difficult. I suppose the most admirable one hole group would likely be somewhere between 5 and 10 shots.

    Hooray for the Savage BV. Is the protruding clip still bothering you? Wind strikes me as a huge problem that I haven't even begun to tackle. The thought has crossed my mind of simulating wind conditions in my indoor range by positioning fans at various angles but I haven't gotten around to it. I don't follow your point about the transonic region. Rimfire is subsonic, right? Why would it speed up as it gets farther from the muzzle at 25 yards?

    On another topic, I have just determined to go to a black powder seminar this weekend. Perhaps I'll come away with a tomahawk and a Hawken rifle, but I doubt it.


  14. off topic BB or Anyone
    I was looking over the Beeman pellets in the e-mail that PA sent out and I noticed that the Double Gold FTS pellets appear to be shorter than the rest of the lot. Just curious as to why they are shorter? I would think the longer pellet would be more stable in flight.

    Thanks Tiru

  15. Matt 61
    Typically .22LR RF sub sonics are specialty rounds.I believe designed either for quiet use or for ultra accurate
    target shooting.
    I've tried the fans on the range thing and
    with the 953 and 1377 the only way I could tell a difference was with the fan at right angle within 2 ft. of the muzzle.
    That could just be my good enough style of shooting though:)

    Be very careful at that black powder
    seminar!that can be almost as addictive
    as AG's:)for fun indoor shooting the .22
    BP pistols are great rat guns in a barn or shed:)


  16. Matt, I've never been to a big-bore competition, but I have been to a few 10 ISSF events.
    It seems a very 'zen' kinda pursuit. Once they're in their station and have their shooting glasses (most of which have blinders on the sides to cut out all extraneous sights) and ear muffs on (to cut out all sound, not as hearing protection) they seem to be completely in a world of their own.
    I have 'just' 10m in my basement and shoot daily. I used to compete (rimfire) 20 odd years ago and consider myself to be a fair shot, but there is no way I can nail the 10 60/60. I'd say my very best would be to hit the 10 7/10 with the others hopefully being 9's, but probably the odd 8.
    So on a very good day I could shoot, say 560, maybe 570.
    This wouldn't get you near the opening qualification rounds.
    I have a subscription to the ISSF (International Sport Shooting Federation…the governing body for Olympic shooting). Most of these guys/gals at the Olympic level are shooting 6-8 hours a day, 6 days a week.
    To me, that ain't fun!!
    CowBoyStar Dad

  17. Matt,
    .22LR Target ammo is subsonic (sometimes only marginally so). Transsonic is anywhere between 0.8 and 1.2 x speed of sound. I'm shooting high-velocity for break-in, 40gn @ 1240fps, if I remember correctly. Drift in a 10mph crosswind is 1.4 inches at 50 yards, but that would be ideal compared to variable wind speed and direction which is common in the warmer months. Subsonic doesn't get affected by the wind as much; BC actually changes with velocity, which is enough to give me a headache:).

    I wonder how the fans would work — it seems like you would need to control them with a computer, so that they could change speed at random or even right as you are about to take your shot! Pellets have such poor BC's that a stiff fan-generated breeze might be challenging.

    The protruding magazine seems to be a feature on almost every rimfire I've looked at — I think some people actually like the looks of the even larger 10 round "banana" clip. I'll paste something over it…probably some black foam pipe insulation that seems to be suitable:).

    Black Powder — sounds good. Cabela's has a nice Kentucky Rifle.

  18. B.B. ,
    I saw that another reader was asking about the Halestorm from Air Venturi and I wanted to ask a question about it and the Hammerli Pneuma. Since these are both Hatsan made air rifles is there anyway of knowing if they are going to be adding the sound supressor to either rifle ? If you look on Hatsan's website under PCP accessories they show it on their model which is just like the Pneuma or Halestorm which have the same identical 1/2" UNF end cap for a supressor or muzzle brake. I am really interested in purchasing the Halestorm over the Marauder but noise is a factor for me.

  19. David,

    If you have a threaded suppressor it falls under Federal Law and is regulated tha same as Class Three Firearm, transfer tax and background check.

    Use the search fuction cause B.B. has written a very good explanation about suppressors, air guns and the law.

    Mr B.

  20. Mr. B,
    Sorry to call it a supressor. I should have said muzzle brake because that seems to be the legal U.S. term. My Discovery was too loud for my Urban area until I got a TKO muzzle brake installed and now it is as quiet as Pumpmaster 760. All I am asking is why Air Venturi or Hammerli don't have something on their rifles to quiet the report and a simple muzzle brake or threaded shroud would definitely do the trick on both rifles.

  21. I tried to extrapolate Matt's one hole calculations to mean something to my skill level. I feel good shooting 1/4" groups measured ctc. That equates to .25 + .177 = .427, edge-to-edge. Using his standing to rested 1/4 factor I should be able to shoot 1.708" edge to edge groups standing. I think he forgot to take in the age factor (+.5), last time I took a drink (+.5), last time I had my grand kids over (+.5), and last time I stayed out past 12am (+.5). Let's see that gives me:

    .25+.177+(.5+.5+.5+.5) = 3.416

    That, ladies and gentelmen is darned near Pi and pretty much approximates my offhand shooting. So, I can say I shoot Pi when ever anyone asks.

  22. BG_Farmer,

    "A new gun a week"… surprise, surprise…

    Remember when B.B. "forced" me to start looking for a Makarov.. well..

    I was picking up the Russian Baikal Makarov .380 ACP Pistol I had bought on Gunbroker and shipped to my friend at the pawnshop and of course, why not check his rack.. might as well get two, since I had to do the background check anyway.. right?

    The one that stood out and caught my fancy was a Weatherby Vanguard in 7mm. It's got a real nice walnut stock with rosewood trim on the pistol grip and forestock.

    I wanted to try it since I like the Howa 1500s so much..

    ..well it's even better! A lot more recoil than the Hogue stock on the Howa 30-06, but still amazingly easy to shoot great groups with.. (2-1/4" 5 shot at 200 yards in the bench rest and 5" in the sitting FT position) The trigger is already perfect for me..

    I lucked out, and happened to stop by my favorite locally owned sporting good store just as they were unpacking a shipment of ammo.. I got loads of Remington Express Core-Lokt 150 and 180gr in 30-06 and 7mm rem magnum..

    That's the ammo that gives those 2" groups with either the Howa 1500 or the Vangaurd..

    And the Remington .223 express 55gr also does best in the Kimber 82 and Howa 1500 .223.. so I got 20 boxes of those too.. (all at prices half of what it's going for online now!)

    I would resell some online but.. who knows when there will be more, the shelves all over town are very, very empty! (because of people like me hoarding!).. but what's the choice? have guns and no ammo.. not a good thing..

    But the .380 ACP that I was looking for mostly, was not in yet.. and they said maybe it's not coming at all! They can't get a commitment for another shipment..

    I broke down and went online and paid $25/box (and that's the best price I've seen since) of 50 for 5 boxes of Fiocchi 380 95gr FMJ..

    Will they shoot good in the Makarov B.B.?

    Wacky Wayne

  23. Wayne,
    You know I'm just ribbing you — I'd buy more guns, too, but I have to go through a rigorous requirements analysis and spend months if not years researching it:)…then decide that I lived that long without it, might as well save some money:). As long as you are shooting them all, have at it.

    The Vanguard sounds nice, although I don't like them there "metric" bullets:). 7mm (mag?) kicks harder than 30-06, so the stock may not be entirely at fault. I've never tried the Howa action, but its on my list of things to do given your experiences with it. I gather you like it much better than the Savage. And, I need something in .243, so maybe a 1500:).

    I'm glad you like the Express CoreLokts — I really like the 150 and 180 PSP's in my .30-06 and can't see spending more for its intended use. Sounds like about the same for you — MOA at 200 yards is good enough:). When I find more ammo, I need to shoot some, but I'm sitting on what I've got until supply loosens up.

  24. BG_Farmer,

    I'm not buying them all for me… they're for the members of the Rifle range too! Our LLC members can check them out like at the library..

    listening Matt, does your library have guns to check out with the books?:)

    I just want to have a good selection of cal. and still have them easy to shoot for newbies like me.

    I can share some ammo with you, of course, and I bet there is still some remington express 30-06 on the shelve still, I could check tomorrow, I going out that way anyway..

    Wacky Wayne

  25. David,

    The name isn't the problem. It's what it is. The Hatsan silencer, sounds like it might be adapted to use on a firearm, which would bring it under the U.S. law. If that's true, don't look for it to come to the U.S.

    The solution for a super-quiet PCP is a Marauder, or if more power is desired, a Blizzard 10. For ultimate power and quiet, get a Condor and an aftermarket bloop tube from Airhog.

    All of those do what you want. I have tested and reported on the Marauder and the Condor with bloop tube and I start the Blizzard report next week.


  26. Wayne,

    I have no personal experience with Makarovs converted to the lower-powered .380 ACP cartridge, but from what I have read, they work well. Success seems to depend on the recoil spring, so if whoever converted that Mak to .380 put the right Wolff spring in, it should be just as reliable as an original 9mm Mak.

    Once again, my Mak is the ONLY semiauto pistol I have ever shot (.22s included) that NEVER jammed or stopped one time.


  27. B.B.

    I asked the guy I bought the Makarov from and he said it came from the factory as a 380 acp..

    and the gun says lJ-70-380K "Baikal" BFE 0799 on one side of the barrel…
    and Cal .380-ACP B-West TUC:AZ

    So is it from the factory 380 or converted?


  28. B.B.

    I found one box of 20 rds of very high priced ammo.. and couldn't wait to try it out, so they be gone now and I'm waiting for the online stuff I ordered..

    .. but those 20 shots were very smooth and nice.. I do love this pistol.. fits well, easy to aim and shoot accurate..

    ..but most of all, it's size/shape and the way you can load the mag and not put a round in the chamber.. (sliding the barrel to load, is a great safety feature.. isn't it? ).. it seems like a very good design for safety but still being ready..

    and the trigger on double action is so easy..

    Thanks for forcing me:):) to get it!! Your so powerful from a distance!!

    Wacky Wayne

  29. B.B.

    All the better! A factory conversion.. the seller thought they made some large runs just for the American market, knowing we like .380 Auto so much.. (I had know idea we did, but I'm getting it now!

    And, that's also what the local ammo dealers are saying.. "It was the first to go and the last to be restocked",

    I can't wait to get more ammo for the Mak.. I guess .40 per round is a good price these days, I got a bunch for a little less online.. (I know, you told me to get into reloading!!.. you can reload them for .05 ea!!).. but no time or space.. yet!

    And believe me, there's no .380 ACP to be had in the Rouge Valley!!

    Wacky Wayne
    Ashland Air Rifle Range.. firearms too!

  30. I bought one of these from CAI, Inc. in the mid-1990's and it sat in its box until about a month ago, when I realized I had hidden this treasure away.

    For a kid-sized break-barrel spring rifle it has delivered phenomenal results.

    My targets are used Diet Coke cans, with the bottoms facing me, a pair of shooting glasses and a lot of cover.

    If you're patient you can it that little 3" target at 20 yards no problem. What I realized was that the heavy trigger pull is actually a plus if you travel your hand back closer to the comb of the rifle. Because of this distance you get more leverage when you squeeze which puts the pellet right in the X every time.

    My ammo was the cheap $2 for 250 Daisy .177 Cal. Precision Max field tipped pellets. Available at your local Wal-E-World, Cabella's or Gander Mountain outlet.

    It has also done really well with Crosman field tipped hunting pellets. About the same. I really cannot tell the difference between them and they both appear to be made in China by the same manufacturer.

    The only difference is price. 500 pellets of the Crosman is $3.98.

    This is a very good plinker and makes for cheap target practice. Much cheaper than trying to find a 100 yard range somewhere. In the city its damn near impossible.

  31. Bought one of these a couple of years back from the "Sportsman's Guide" for abt $15.

    Mine like CR Premiere hollowpoints and shoots one-ragged-hole 5 shot groups at 10 yds with these pells.

    Other ammo I tried didn't group as well. 460 fps with the Premiers is what I'm clocking.

    About like a .177 Tempest, I reckon.

    I did degrease, polish and relube the guts on mine. Can regularly pick-off empty shotgun shells from the bench at 20 yds.

    Actually bagged 3 cottontails and one chicken-feed stealing squirrel with this little gun.

    Two of the rabbits were headshots, one through the lungs, headshot on the squirrel (range was abt 20 feet) and the pellet didn't shoot all the way through the squirrel, but just protruded slightly from the skull on the off-side.

    For such a small, easily cocked gun, it's really a joy to shoot.

    I was surprised to see that the mainspring in the Pionier was much smaller in diameter and shorter than the one in my El Gamo "Center" pistol, despite the rifle generating considerably more power.

    Seems like a rather efficient powerplant on these little plinkers.


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