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Education / Training Browning 800 Mag – Part 1

Browning 800 Mag – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

07-08-09-01

A big powerful air pistol may be just the thing to get your juices flowing.

Good morning everyone. I’m flying to New York today for another week of filming for the new TV show. I’ll be back next Thursday. Edith will watch the blog, and we’d sure appreciate any help you guys can give. I will look in while I’m on the road, but I can only do that late at night and in the morning.

I saw the Browning 800 Mag at the 2009 SHOT Show and told you it was coming. It already has several product reviews on the Pyramyd AIR website, so they have been selling for a while.

Let’s first consider the specifications. This .177 pistol is claimed to attain 700 f.p.s., which is very fast for a spring-air pistol. I will test it with Gamo Raptors and some Crosman Silver Eagle hollowpoints I’ve been saving for this occasion. I don’t expect it to go that fast with lead pellets, but it should be able to produce some remarkable velocities compared to other spring-piston air pistols. The manual recommends the use of lead pellets, only, so I will confine my testing with these non-lead pellets to velocity, only. Of course, I’ll also test the pistol with RWS Hobbys.

The gun comes only in .177 at this time. But as powerful as it is, I would imagine it coming out in .22 some time in the future.

The pistol has an anti-recoil power system. Although the owner’s manual doesn’t explain what it is, it seems to be a sledge-type action in which the action of the gun moves in the grip when the gun fires. I tried the pistol a few times just to see the effect. What’s felt by the shooter is a pulse without a harsh recoil. I wouldn’t say that all the recoil is gone, but most of it seems to be.

Upon closer examination, I see that this isn’t just a simple sledge system after all. Apparently with this system the action is allowed to float back and forth on rails as the recoil is tamed instead of moving to one position and locking up. It’s unique in my experience.

The grip on this pistol is like the stock on a rifle, in that it entirely contains the action, along with those rails I mentioned. It’s made of a dark black synthetic…so are the trigger, rear sight base (but not the front) and separate cocking aid.

The safety is automatic and must be pressed forward to take it off before firing. The trigger is adjustable for the length of the first-stage pull.

The rear sight adjusts in both directions and both front and rear are fiberoptic. I like the fact that the rear sight is clearly marked with directions for adjustments. There’s also an 11mm scope rail on top of the receiver, but it lacks a recoil stop. Perhaps with the recoil damping, it isn’t required.

This is a large air pistol, make no mistake. Though the pistol grip is sized well for an average adult hand, the big gun weighs just under 4 lbs., which is heavy for most shooters. However, the weight will help with stability.

The manual says the cocking effort is 32 lbs., and I checked that on my bathroom scale. Our test pistol requires 45-50 lbs. with the cocking aid being used. The first few cocks took 60 lbs., so it may decrease as the gun breaks in. I’ll test it again in Part 3 of this report.

One of the customer reviews praises the gun for its accuracy, so I have my work cut out for me. However, another customer asked if Browning would please put a metal receiver on the gun–yet the one on it right now is made of steel! I think he was confused by the large synthetic grip unit.

Essentially, the Browning 800 Mag is a small breakbarrel pellet rifle in a pistol stock. So, we may see some surprises as we test it!

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

31 thoughts on “Browning 800 Mag – Part 1”

  1. I thought it might be an RWS LP8 but it doesn't appear to have an anti recoil system. That said, it belongs to the Umarex family of products.

    Its half the price of the RWS LP8 also… I'm very interested 🙂

    It'll be interesting to see the ft/lbs and accuracy.

  2. BB,
    Why don't manufactures include a removable stock with pistols of this size and power? I just added a stock to my 1377c and it is so much more easy to shoot. The Browning/Diana pistols are more like carbines anyhow. A collapsible stock would be great to fit it in a backpack.
    Shadow Express dude

  3. B.B.

    Interesting to see if this one breaks the 30 yard barrier for effective accuracy. For some reason, my favoritism of spring guns does not seem to transfer to pistols. The Crosman 1377 pump pistol seems pretty ideal for me.

    All, I came across an interesting section in the David Tubb book on mental preparation. At last, something I can relate to instead of his super high-end equipment. The mental preparation is divided into 3 levels. Level 1 is, you guessed it, more of his microscopic preparation of everything under the sun right down to the best place for your spotting scope in the shooting area. But this all seems to have a mental aspect as much as a physical one.

    Level 2 is a sort of extended shooting procedure that includes not only the usual breathing, trigger press but even mounting the rifle to the shoulder (for offhand). Every last detectable thing is done exactly the same way.

    Finally, level 3, the ultimate. This is very interesting. The way you screw up a shot, according to Tubb, is by thinking about it too much. I've found that myself. The harder you try, the more you can screw up. Less is better which means…nothing is best. But how do you fire your best shot without thinking (like the Japanese samurai!)? The answer, generally, is by following your routine exactly and, specifically, by visualization. Tubb says that he visualizes the approach and sight picture he wants then immediately takes the shot. There's no time to start questioning and making judgments.

    This checks out with my own much more limited experience. And speaking of the samurai, it is very similar to what is found in Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings, the instruction manual of the greatest samurai in history who won 80 challenge matches. This book was all the rage on Wall Street in the 1980s as a manual of strategy. The samurai were not in the habit of writing things down, so it is a great treasure to find that the best one wrote at length on his methods.

    When you read it, you wonder why he bothered since most of it sounds like raving nonsense. But there are similarities with the Tubb method. The five rings or levels of the book start out with taking care of all the material things. They progress up to things like "Fire" and "Wind" and the last level is "Nothing." It's very short and says things like, "Open yourself to the void and find out that it is filled with love." Anyway, maybe that is what Tubb is up to.

    Matt61

  4. BB, I've never tried a breakbarrel pistol – or any spring-type air pistol – that didn't want to shoot WAY high even at close ranges. I worked on one for Wayne that grouped fairly well but was well above the bull even at 15'. When I compared the line of sight to the barrel axis I found that the barrel pointed DOWN relative to the sight line.

    So I shot it while holding it firmly against a rest – and the POI dropped by a few inches. Near as I can figure the intitial recoil of the gun (from the piston going forward) makes it rotate rearwards in my hand and, as a result, it points high.

    Am I the only one to have this problem? If not, how do you counteract that effect?

  5. Vince,

    It's not just you this time! The Webley spring pistols I've owned have all shot above the point of aim at close ranges (8-10 meters or so) and one didn't have quite enough sight adjustment to get to the bull.

    When Beeman was selling all the P1 versions and accessories, they used to include a front sight extension with the shoulder stock. The sight extension clamped to the existing front blade with a set screw to make the front sight taller. Beeman explained that this was necessary because the shoulder stock changed the way the gun recoiled and the impact point would rise.

    Just my old recollections. FWIW…

    Derrick

  6. Matt61,
    Interesting. I've never heard of the approach before, but it makes sense. I personally can't hold steady offhand – so if I understand correctly, the approach is like a timing exercise, when the two objects intersect – then fire. I'll try it, maybe I'll have better results.

    I also like the 5 Rings stuff. Haven't read that one yet, but it's on my list. I can tell you that in TKD sparring, not thinking is the best thing you can do, we call it anyalysis paralysis. If you pause long enough to think, you tend to get hit. You come to realize that your body and mind are thinking without you. Maybe sounds silly but it happens. Sounds like maybe it can happen in shooting too.

  7. BB is right, the receiver is metal, the plastic surround and handle is plastic and the cause of the "creaking" when cocking. Filling the handle with epoxy body filler cut down a lot of the noise. I mounted a Bushnell Banner red dot but have not found the right pellet as yet. Accuracy still leaves a lot to be desired. The pistol does need a stop. even with the claimed low recoil, the sight base has been "peened" back about 1/8in. Prior to the red dot I had mounted a four power scope in single rings. The scope continued working it's way back through the rings. I choose a one piece mount for the red dot, better,but as I said, the sight base is acting as a stop. This was after about 500 pellets, different brands, different weights. All things considered, my RWS MAGNUM 8 (for me) was a better buy, even though the RWS is less powerful and more expensive.

  8. Hi B.B.,
    Is Crossman coming out with a PCP Pistol anytime in the near future? Also, How well does the discovery hand pump filter out moisture that can damage the Marauder when they are used together.
    Thanks,
    -Jeff

  9. Vince,

    I have shot plenty of breakbarrel pistols that didn't have an issue shooting high. I will be interested to see what happens with this one.

    If the recoil axis is higher than the grip, and on the 800 it is, then the gun could be rotating back with recoil.

    B.B.

  10. One review listed the Browning shooting 10 shots in 1 inch at 10 yards. Perhaps this pistol will make a good short range hunting pistol. The anti-recoil device and power is very interesting.

    As for my 1377, I went from 2 inches at 10M 5 round groups ctc to .200" with some simple mods and a goods scope. The 1377 shoots well, but sometimes I wish I had more power for hunting as I've only used it on small birds and pests.

    I'm sure with the power, price and the growing popularity it won't be long before we'll see some mods and improvement tips for the new Browning pistol.

  11. Vince,

    A firm hold for a springer? Now, I know this is different. A .2 inch group confirms my respect for the 1377.

    Fused, the Tubb offhand method is not exactly hitting the target on the fly. He says to find your natural "wobble path" when standing which for him is lateral. Mine seems to be more vertical. You mentioned an arc. Whatever. You use the wobble path to your benefit by following it on the approach to the target. Ideally, when you're on target, you settle for a split second and let go the shot. Even if you can't hold the shot and shoot on the fly, Tubb claims that the approach method will speed up your learning rather than trying to hold steady. It's simpler and more repeatable to approach from one direction than 360.

    Since you're serious about martial arts, you should probably read the Musashi book, but don't expect it to make any sense at first. I think Musashi is supposed to have said somewhere that it is written to be pondered and have its meaning absorbed slowly over time. As a matter of fact, it sort of does work like that. Seemingly random images and phrases will get jogged by an association and make sense out of the blue. Odd book.

    Anyway, I came across a much more explicit, Western style approach to learning theory in an article about cognitive science. The general way to learn that crosses all disciplinary lines and all forms of skill consists of the following.

    1. Deliberate practice.
    2. Progressive program.
    3. Reasonable intermediate goals.
    4. Regular, accurate feedback.

    Using this method, one can achieve the highest level of mastery in any field in a remarkably uniform time-frame: 4 hours per day for 10 years. Assuming, that you can adjust this to 1 hour per day, I should be reaching my prime 40 years from now…. However, that's assuming that we're talking about hands-on practice. Tubb claims to practice rapid-fire strings in his head while driving; that would speed up the program considerably.

    All, I have had an insight into the ammunition drought. I was told today that Black Hills supplies the military first so the normal wait time for their orders is 6 months. That is now drawing to an end, but I'm not holding my breath. I was also told that Federal will not make another shipment of my 30-30 ammo until Halloween which will amount to a 6 month wait and maybe not even then. Where will this end? My hope is that without the economy improving, the hoarders will have to run out of money at some point. But if this keeps up, I may learn how to reload.

    Matt61

  12. Jeff,

    Yes, a Crosman PCP pistol should be out soon. It will be a world-beater from a value standpoint.

    I don't think I can be objective about the hand-pump/water issue. I know how to use a pump correctly and have never seen a problem, but over 90 percent of the people I see using pumps do not use them correctly.

    Procedure is what keeps the water out of the gun. However, I have not done any experimentation, nor have I disassembled all my PCPs, so as I said, I cannot be objective.

    B.B.

  13. BB,
    When you say "I know how to use a pump correctly " I think you mean pumping full strokes -SLOWLY- so as not to heat up the air, causing moisture. Am I correct? JR.

  14. Can you compare with Webley Typhoon, while not as high power, is a similar pistol. I'm looking for a self-contained field plinker with high accuracy. Both of these are on my radar. (General advice from others on other pistols to consider is welcome too)

  15. JR,

    You're "on target" about the correct way to use a hand pump but there's more. Here's a great article that B.B. did on hand pumps and it even has a video attached:

    /article/Using_a_hand_pump_May_2006/30

    Here's another article that B.B. did on high pressure pumps and their use:

    /blog/2006/3/the-3000-psi-hand-pump/

    kevin

  16. Hi BB,
    Thanks for reviewing this one. It interest me and I am sure others as well. Like I said earlier, I love the big BSA Scorpion pistols. I have three of them. I nice 22, a beater 177, and a like new in box 22. I may pick up one of the Brownings if they seem to be pretty good pistols.

    With the BSA Scorpion pistol, even though the cocking weight is high, it seems easier to cock than a P1 or P3 to me. I use the larger muscles in both arms and just puch the barrel and grip towards each other. I can cock it all day without noticing it.

    Thanks,

    David Enoch

    Thanks,

    David

  17. This "browning" appears to be a clone of the new Webley Typhoon which is an abortion of a pistol! The build quality sucks and the sights even more so. I've read too many reviews on the various airgun forums about the Typhoon and I expect the Browning to be no better in this respect.

    If a break barrel pistol is your desire then the RWS LP8 should be high on your shopping list-simply a superior pistol worth the extra money!

  18. I've not shot the Webley Typhoon but I've heard some less than flattering comments too. On that note, I have shot a Webley Hurricane, and was quite impressed. Pyramid still has a page for it, but lists it as Discontinued. Anyone know where any are available?

  19. The Webley Typhoon may look like the Browning 800 Mag, but I'm not convinced that it's the same gun. The Typhoon had really bad customer reviews. The Browning, on the other hand, has had 7 reviews resulting in 4.5 stars out of 5.

    Edith

  20. Vulcanator,

    I thought, like you, that the Browning was a renamed Typhoon when I first saw it at the SHOT Show, but now that I have it to examine at length, I'm thinking that it is a different gun. Yes, it is made in Turkey, but the design seems changed from the Typhoon.

    So I'm reserving judgement until I put this pistol through the full battery of tests.

    B.B.

  21. I spent the last week alternating between the Browning 800 and the RWS LP 8. Save your pennies. I'm beginning to think that Pyramid will run out of pellets before I can get a good grouping with the Browning. With a sandbag rest and 20 yards, the RWS is well worth the higher cost. I have not tried every pellet that Pyramid sells yet,(but I think I'm getting close). The trigger on the RWS alone justifies the additional cost. I intend to keep trying, but barring my finding a pellet that the Browning is happy with, the pistol is currently slated to be given to the strongest nephew I have, (who's not overly concerned with accuracy). A very reasonable price, powerful, and more than a capable "plinker". That said, I'm awaiting a scope stop from Pyramid (before the pistol chews up more of the sight base). I'm hoping that this could solve the problem, but shooting with open sights did not come close to the accuracy of the RWS. I'm aware that some airguns require a longer break-in period, but I'm concerned I may not live long enough to outlast this beast.

  22. BB.

    I compared the pictures of the Browning and the Typhoon and there are differences. The finish on the Browning is better and the sights look much better too.

    The gun however has the same semi-recoiless feature "ala" the Typhoon which makes me suspicious. It appears Hatsan are up to their old tricks of dressing up a pig-just like they did with the Webley Patriot, look where that got them!

    In the interest of fairness, I await your test. I think you should grab a Typhoon as well and strip them down for comparison, that I would find interesting.

  23. This is to Vulcanator. The pictures are deceiving, at least what you're looking at. I've owned both now for a month. No way does the Browning come close to the quality and finish of the RWS. You're probably being deceived by the vaunted Turkish engineering that has been lauded worldwide for our lifetimes.

  24. I own both the Browning 800 and the Diana LP8…had em for about a week now. The Browning has raw power and the Diana has better fit/finish. The 800 is about ~100fps faster, but the Diana is easier to hit a small target. I have not been able to take any pests yet, but my efforts at taking out quarter sized clay rocks have been very satisfying at 20 yrds. Also cottonwood leaves are left with a nice hole, right where I aimed. My velocity tests put the Diana at ~550fps and the Brwning at ~650fps…with 7.9gr domehead pellets. Lite pellets such as the Beeman Laser (6.5gr) will take the Browning into the 700fps range. I find that the Browning 800 is my favorite, because of its power and a recoil that is considerably less than expected. When cocking it, the use of the provided cocking aide is a must. Cocking the LP8 is very easy. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I like both, but I am drawn to the 800 every time I look at the two.
    Once you are familiar with the sites and how they shoot, either pistol will easily take out a small pest at 20~30 yrds with 7.9gr pellets.
    IMHO the 800 is reasonably priced, and the Diana was just a little too expensive.

  25. Hi…I just bought one of these at Cabelas Bargain Cave for $105..the person returning it couldn't cock it, soooooo…MINE!!! (hehe) I attached a 1.5×24 Marlin scope, but as stated, it moved to the rear when shot, so – I've attached a Gamo 4×30 using a pair of 3/8 to Weaver adapters, then weaver scope rings atop them – VOILA!!! no scope movement and accuracy at better than 30 yards!! Quite heavy tho! going to test power/range next to see what this massive beast can do! I'm 6'1" and 200lbs, and this is still a BIG freakin' gun! I can upload a few pics if you wish B.B., just tell me how…
    Dangerous Dan

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