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Education / Training Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle – Part 2

Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle represents a real challenge to other Sporter-class rifles.

With most airguns, the velocity test goes fast and easy. Sometimes a gun will be special and need some extra testing, such as a high-velocity claim that needs to be verified, but usually most airguns are straightforward and quick. Not so the Crosman Challenger 2009, though. This is a rifle that poses questions not normally seen.

How high to fill?
Before I read the manual, I guessed that the fill would go to 3,000 psi. That turned out to be wrong, but I thought so because a target rifle needs a very long string of shots to be really useful. This rifle is made to compete in the NRA Sporter class. The course of fire is 10 shots in the prone, standing and kneeling positions, in that order. That makes 30 shots for record. Before the record fire begins, competitors have five minutes for sighting shots. The number needed there varies with each shooter, but let’s figure another 10-15 to be safe. So a competitor should arrive at the line with a minimum of 40-45 good, stable shots in the gun.

In the ISSF men’s air rifle match, the number of shots in a match is 60, plus sighters. A competitor needs about 70-75 good shots in the gun when they get to the line. The Challenger 2009 isn’t made for ISSF competition, and we must keep that in mind. It’s a Sporter-class gun, and perhaps the most competitive Sporter-class rifle on the market at this moment. Our testing will reveal if it has what it takes to get through a match.

This one is different
Now, for the big surprise. Crosman has intentionally made this rifle to be filled to not more than 2,000 psi! That makes it EASY to fill with a hand pump! Of course, the Benjamin Discovery was also designed to be filled to 2,000 psi, which is one of its most attractive features, but the Disco is a sporter whose total number of shots isn’t crucial. The Challenger is a target rifle that HAS to shoot to the same place on every shot for a minimum number of shots. Granted, the rifle shoots slower than the Disco, and therefore each shot uses less air, but Crosman is very bold for using this lower fill pressure when a minimum number of similar shots is required.

What we have, therefore, is the first Sporter-class target rifle that’ll be easy to fill from a hand pump. Coaches can forego the trouble of lugging scuba tanks to fill this rifle, which will be a big benefit for them. Yes, many of the younger kids that are competing will not be able to pump their rifles to 2,000 psi, but coaches and assistants and parents who chaperone the team will have no problem keeping up with the task. That’s a major benefit.

How many shots?
Of course, the gun has to give the minimum number of shots at a relatively consistent velocity. That’ll be something I’ll test. However, the maximum acceptable velocity spread at 10 meters is higher than you might imagine. We’ve become jaded by the performance of $3,000 Feinwerkbaus that shoot long strings of shots with a maximum spread of less than 10 f.p.s. That’s fine and even admirable, but it isn’t really necessary. Back in the 1970s and even before, 10-meter target rifles were varying by as much as 25 f.p.s., and yet they still managed to shoot near-perfect groups at such a close distance.

The first thing I’ll do is test the number of shots the test rifle gives at a reasonable velocity. I used my carbon fiber tank to fill the rifle so I could watch the gauge closely during the fill. Since my tank gauge has not yet been correlated to the rifle gauge, it may require a couple fills before I discover the exact stopping pressure on the tank gauge, which is the only gauge I’ll be able to see when filling. Once I know what that number is, I’ll always fill to the same pressure.


Notice that when my tank gauge reads exactly 2,000 psi, this rifle gauge reads lower. I went by the tank gauge, which turned out to be right.

Well, well! Shooting Gamo Match 7.5-grain pellets, I got 72 shots within a power band ranging from a low of 550 f.p.s. to a high of 568. That’s a total spread across all those shots of 18 f.p.s.; well within the parameters of what it takes to win. Lighter pellets would go a little faster and heavier pellets a little slower, but they will all have the same number of shots. To be on the safe side, chop that number back to 65 and you get a full Sporter-class match plus 35 sighters. Or an ISSF match with five sighters. The average for the 72-shot string was 558 f.p.s.

You might ask how I knew I was off the power band. Simple! When the next shot registered 526 f.p.s., I knew the string was finished. That was the first drop below 550 in the string. The velocity did climb back over 550 f.p.s. a couple more times, but once a very slow shot is fired I consider the string to be over.

What about fill pressure?
To check the validity of the gauge on my carbon fiber tank, I next filled the gun to 2,200 psi, expecting to see a drop in initial velocity. That would be due to a partial valve lock, if my gauge is reading right and the Crosman manual is correct.

Guess what? The first 30 shots with Gamo Match were under 550 f.p.s. They hovered in the 530s for 15 shots before advancing to the 540s. Shot 31 went to 555 f.p.s., and they were never below 550 after that. So, YES, 2,000 psi on the gauge on MY carbon fiber tank is EXACTLY where to stop.

More pellets
After verifying the fill pressure, I tested velocity with 10 shots with each of two good target pellets. That didn’t require a re-test of the full fill pressure, because once that’s been identified, all pellets should perform the same, though each at their own unique velocity.

RWS R10 8.2-grain pellets averaged 548 f.p.s., with a spread from 542 to 553. We know from several past tests that R10s will be in contention as the best pellet for this rifle.

H&N Match
H&N Finale Match 7.6-grain pellets averaged 556 f.p.s., with a spread from 551 to 563. Of the target pellets on hand that are still available in the market, this the closest competitor for the R10s.

Bottom line so far
This Challenger 2009 is one heck of a target rifle. The discharge sound would rate a 2 on the Pyramyd AIR noise scale, because of how little air is used for each shot. The trigger is sweet, the sights seem good and it gets a reasonable number of shots per fill. But the fun isn’t over.

A deeper personality
The Challenger has a knob on the back of the receiver. It begs to be turned. The manual says turning it will change the tension on the hammer spring, resulting in a change in hammer energy. They call it a way to change the “tune” of your rifle, but they stop short of saying it will change the velocity. Well, next time we’ll see if it does! We’ll also see how nice that trigger can become with some adjustment. Till then….

81 thoughts on “Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle – Part 2”

  1. Good morning Edith,

    How's Tom feeling? Better we all hope!

    When you have the time a, question please, will my Disco fit in the Challenger stock and can the hammer spring tensioner be used also? Thanks much.

    Mr B.

  2. B.B.,

    This time around it seems likely that this version of the Challenger will give the 853 some stiff competition.

    Now that Pyramyd AIR now has these in stock they may want to update their picture of the gun to match what they will be shipping.


  3. I've been holding off on buying one until I heard the reviews. So is the gun available with sights on the Pyramid Site? It's a little confusing.

    Two other questions:
    – My son is ten and shoot a 888 @ a local club. It's a little big for him. Is the Crosman stock longer than the 888, even in the shortest position?
    – I'm just starting out in this and can't find a place for adults to shoot air rifles other than my backyard. All rifle clubs here are .22. Anyone know of a place in the Hudson Valley area of NY?

  4. Barrel band placement is interesting versus the original stock photo. Did you adjust at all? I would guess those are also a nice upgrade for the Disco. Given the velocity and barrel pedigree I would guess it shoots.

    Curious how it does at 25 yards plus target impact area versus point of aim when still sighted for ten meters…(I know I could use software but I prefer the real deal)

  5. B.B.

    Are the Disco and Marauder cousins to the Challenger? How much are they the same in a different configuration?
    And how is the disco pistol coming along?

    I should be getting the custom field target stocks for two Marauders today! Peter at TopGun made them for me, he's an artist carver that does stocks too!.. I can't wait to see them… and shoot the Marauder with a good field target stock.. I got some single shot trays too, so.. It's a legal FT gun now.

    This will be a good test… some folks on the yellow FT forum are laughing at the Marauder as a FT gun… I'd love to get a last laugh with one of our members doing well with one of our factory Marauders, with custom stocks.. I'll be competing with USFT#44, she is part of me now.. but I've had some amazing practice sessions with a regular stocked Marauder..

    Wacky Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  6. Volvo,

    Photo link in Part 1 AND Part 2 (today's article) takes you to an early version of the Challenger (not the one that Pyramyd AIR is shipping).

    B.B. is on top of this.

    Glad you got the pellets and I'm excited to hear that the Walther is closer. Please keep me informed. As you know, I'm very interested in your take on this fine gun.


  7. Don,

    The Challenger 2009 will be available from Pyramyd AIR with and without sights.

    As for the length of pull (the length from the center of the buttplate to the trigger) I don't know the 888 dimensions, but the Challenger 2009 is 12-1/8" with the butt all the way in. You can measure your son's 888 the same way.

    On the location of local airgun clubs, I advise you to call Crosman Customer Service. They have a man in southern NY, probably not far from you, who runs their youth programs. Bob Soldivera should be able to tell you where the closest local club is.


  8. Volvo,

    I haven't yet reported that the Challenger has a free-floated barrel with restrictions. The placement of the barrel bands may be critical to that arrangement. I would not fool with it.

    All the questions this morning have prompted me to continue reporting on the Challenger tomorrow instead of later. I will show you how that front band works.


  9. Well this gun looks real nice. But what does it give you that an Avanti 853CM doesn't except a thinner wallet?

    In addition to the Challenger being about $200 more expensive, you need a pump or scuba tank for it. Another couple of hundred bucks.

    And I doubt it is any more accurate than the Avanti?

    So what real purpose for it that some other gun at a more reasonable price won't fill?

  10. ,

    To answer your question you have to attend a Sporter class match and watch 10-year-olds try to cock an 853 while in the prone position. They look like salted garden slugs, writhing on the floor. Watch tomorrow's report and I will show you the difference.


  11. B.B.,

    "Salted garden slugs, writhing on the floor" is such a priceless discription. I'm still laughing–thanks alot.

    Wonder how many posts you're going to be getting from parents–how dare you compairing my little precious to a slug.

    Mr B.

  12. I gotta admit, as much as I like my 853c I will be checking the Crosman out.
    A group of us has started renting the local community hall once a month for informal target shooting.
    We try to follow ISSF rules (60 shots), but without all the clothing hoopla and such.
    After 40 or 50 shots cocking the 853c does become a bit of a PITA (pain in the arm). haha!!
    The 853 may just find a new owner (my 8 year old).
    In the past I have to admit I've felt that Crosman was not up to snuff quality-wise. I know I was being unfair, comparing my 20 year old Crosman .357 to my Umarex Walther P99. But though primarily 'engineered' plastic the quality of my Nightstalker seems great (3500 shots so far with not a single misfire or leaky cylinder) and the two Crosman Airsoft M4 replicas are functioning flawlessly.

  13. Not at all surprised by the efficient use of air on the Challenger. I once tuned my 22 cal Disco down to the 600fps range and could get 50 nice shots with no trouble. Best results were 90 good shots with plenty of power for 10 meter shooting.

    OK maybe not good enough for real competition… but plenty good for back yard paper punching with you 10 year old child.

    Would guess 177 would provide just as good or better results.

    My disco is a tack driver at very low power. Open it up to full power though and it is not so good.

    But with very heavy pellets at full power it does good enough for hunting or long range can popping.


  14. PITA,

    I'm busy working on another Challenger report for tomorrow. Apparently a lot of folks are watching this rifle closely. I'm confirming my facts with Crosman to make sure I tell you everything and I've discovered several things that need to come out, so tomorrow's report ought to be just what you want.


  15. RE: Challenger

    I'd be curious if the Challenger would shoot with CO2 well. Can the rifle be tweaked to run better on CO2 (like its big brothers)?

    For such low power, you should be able to get hundreds of good shots with CO2. No pump needed.

    Would a CO2 tank in fact give you more shots than filling from a scuba tank?

  16. I received my Challenger 2009 yesterday and tried it out. I did not take out my chrono, but my first impressions is that the airgun has alot of potential. I adjusted the trigger more to my liking and I filled it to 2000 PSI and used RWS Basic pellets at 10 meters. The groups I was getting were very good less than 1/4 inch when I did my part. The point of aim did not change until about 80 shots. This is not a thorough review just my impressions. It is a little light (weight wise) for me but you can add weights to the stock to make it heavier. I realize that for its intended use it is the right weight.

    I like it and I think that it will be a big seller. It is very accurate and 70 to 80 shots between fill up is great. If you adjust the hammer tension after those 70 shots and make a log of how much to adjust it you can probably get an additional 25-30 shots at a constant velocity.

  17. Sergio,

    I may revise my velocity spread after talking to Crosman. They felt the extra slower 30 shots I got by pressurizing to 2,200 psi would not affect the group adversely at 10 meters. That would extend the total to over 100 shots on air.

    I will mention this tomorrow and test it whyen I test accuracy.


  18. B.B.

    Most promising target rifle eh? What about the Edge? Air Force seems to be sitting on that rifle, and I don't see that it's to their advantage. I'll let you turn the hammer energy knob instead of me….

    By the way, on the subject of the pistol shooting video, I'm curious if the large beaver tail thumb safety for the 1911 like the one you pointed out is less reliable for carry than the small military one. It would seem that the large safety could get hung up on things and move.

    Wayne, why would anyone laugh at the Marauder as a FT gun? What are those people shooting?

    Don, I've heard of ranges restricting guns that are too high-powered but not guns that are too low-powered. Airgunners show up at my range all the time.


  19. Some comments from the other day inspired me to forget that offhand shooting was supposed to be hard. I gave up trying so hard to stay on target (i.e. keep from moving) constantly and tried instead to time the trigger release with a conscious attempt to remain on target for the moment and 'follow through.' Whataya know it works! No great groups or anything yet, but much better than they were. Using these visualization techniques, I got three in a row well inside a 1/2" circle from 10 yards standing. These were the last three of the 10 shot group. It was a progression of working out the thoughts, technique and timing. I'll try it again later, hopefully I'm on to something…

  20. B.B.

    I'll keep that reference in mind. I actually don't plan to carry my 1911, but it's nice to know that I could. Do you know where people go to practice rapid fire and holster draws for pistols? All of the ranges that I've visited forbid this–probably for a good reason. But it does sound like fun.

    Fused, sounds good and similar to my experience. There is a noticeable improvement between trying to control every movement of the offhand sight picture and what you described. I really think it is based on the David Tubb approach method which has an interesting premise. Offhand shooting will always be challenging at the top levels but something like 90% of the skill–that is up to very good results–can be achieved by a very simple method. As Tubb describes it, you don't fight the motion; you go with it by making sure that you approach the target the same way each time. At the beginning levels, you touch off the shot as soon as you're on target. As you get better, you hold at the moment you're on target. In all cases you follow-through. Very soon, you get to the point where offhand is a challenge and not just an exercise in frustration. I'm sold. And we may as well work on this since we'll never catch Wayne in the sitting position….


  21. Matt,

    I shoot at a private range, for fast-draw is possible but I would never practice fast draw with a 1911 unless I went to formal training and used an external holster designed for it. Remember, I have seen a man's leg after he shot himself with blanks in a stunt gunfight. Not a pretty sight.


  22. BB;

    If you're not feeling great, then I unselfishly volunteer to continue testing on the Challenger.

    Just ship it to me, and I'm sure it'll be returned… eventually.

    Yes, I am an exemplary human being.

    Hope you're feeling better. The Challenger could be another pivtoal gun for Crosman; the youth target gun that shoots almost as well as the real big-dollar deals.

    Could also see a healthy add-on market develop for the thing – the Volkswagen Beetle of the airgun world.

  23. Herb,
    I can't tell where you're going with your ballistics research. Was my summary of the incompatibility b/t drag and spin stabilizations at significant angles of elevation in line with what you understand? At this point, I feel fairly certain that it is conceptually untenable to give a drag stabilized pellet any significant spin if we want to preserve long range accuracy and stability. Likewise, if we want spin stabilized projectiles, they must not be drag-stabilized.

    From what I understant, your assertion that a teardrop shape is the most aerodynamic shape is true only at subsonic speeds. Seems like the spitzer tipped boat-tailed design is king in the high velocity realm, or am I wrong?

  24. Did everyone see Whiscombe JW-75 that sold in one day? Only had 2 barrels (.177 and .22) but still sold for $4,000.00.

    Kinda makes you wonder what a JW-75 with all 4 barrels and all the transfer port options is worth.


  25. BG_Farmer,

    I agree about spin and drag stabilization. For high power PCPs shooting at 900+ fps, I think there is too much spin.


    I'm really mousing around with the notion of a pellet precessing as a significant instability mode.

    I'm also confused by pellet vs. bullet thing in relation to some of the conventional factors in external ballistics. with CoP behind CoG for pellets, I'm trying to figure out if some of the forces for bullets act differently for pellets, besides the obvious drag stabilization.

    As part of understanding the whole bullet vs. pellet thing, I'm curious how you'd get a more bullet like projectile working on one of Jane's rifles. She seems to have a lot of power to spare. with a velocity of 1000 fps and a BC of .2 or more she'd have something close to a 0.22 firearm. A 0.22 short (30 grains) needs a greater spin than a 0.22LR (40 grains, and longer). Maybe you need a big hollow point tip. CoG would then be aft. Longer length gives you somthing more like .22 LR. If you hollow out the tail, then the CoG moves much more forward.

    All in all, I'm just enjoying learning about ballistics. No so much to worry about with a shotgun. I just pointed and pulled the trigger.

    Jane doesn't need my defense, but you have to take her tear drop shape as being the most efficient with a little leeway. I assumed that she meant for bullet type objects, not darts. So rounded on front to shed air around pellet and a tail to prevent the low pressure area behind the pellet. I'm not sure about subsonic and supersonic. It obviously can't be a real tear drop because you need to engage the rifling effectively. I'd guess that the longer tail of as boat tail, for a subsonic round, would move the CoG further away from tip of bullet which is probably not the best idea.

  26. Cowboy Star Dad,

    to get your name to appear at the top of your blog response, you have to open an account. Get a Google e-mail account and use that name (cowboystardad is as good as any) and where you have to enter the word verification, instead of anonymous, pick Google and enter your name and password there. From that point, when you post a reply, it will always start out with your "handle" or name you've chosen.



  27. RE: Name

    Just figured out difference between being logged into Google or not.

    If I just use name "Herb" in Name/URL, then my name shows up in black. Anyone could use "Herb" that way.

    But if I log into Google, then my name shows in blue – it has to be me!

  28. FWIW – the difference in vertical drop between 555 and 530fps at 10 yards is probably gonna be on the order of .060 – .070". It works out to .055" with a constant pellet speed, so that range is a bit of a guess.

    Is that significant in competition? I would tend to think that it might be…

  29. Luke,

    Ballistic pendulum – you shoot pellet into pendulum (like a block of wood) and then see how high pendulum rises. From height, wt of block + wt of pellet you can calculate how much energy. From K.E. = m*V you can then calculate that V = K.E./m

    Did it in high school with a 0.22 rim fire round. Lots of luck getting in the curriculum now!

  30. Fused and Matt61:

    For whatever it is worth to you, I've learned to shoot NRA-style bullseye .22 competition this summer, which meant learning to control a wavering red-dot sight on a black bull at 50 feet. It took a while to come to terms with the fact the waver is never going away and the sight picture will always be dynamic. The big jump in my scores came with a new, very light target trigger in my Ruger Mark III, which allows me to squeeze off the shot with only a small movement of my trigger finger. The light trigger means I can hold the waver close to the center of the bull and not disturb it too much when I get the shot off. Previoulsy, I was trying to snatch at the trigger as the dot passed the bull, which almost always meant a shot low and to the left.

    I had a great chance to apply what I learned last weekend when I shot in a 100-yard small-bore match, using a 50-year old Mossberg .22 target rifle with a peep sight (my 65-year old eyes can't focus on open sights at all). I absolutely shocked myself in shooting three 80s and a 90 on the final target after tweaking the sights a little. It was the same technique of trying to hold the smallest possible waver–or, in this case, the smallest jump caused by my pulse–and squeezing the trigger.

    Check out some of the articles on the Encyclopedia of Bullseye web sight, Fused. There's some great instruction on offhand shooting.


  31. Horrifically off topic – but may I pose a few questions to the experts?

    I gave up airguns 25 yrs ago, but recently after some research the Talon SS has smitten my interest – compared to my old BSA meteor(!)

    Here's the thing – I absolutely need to be able to shoot all day with minimal trouble – that means CO2. I also abolutely need to shoot a heavyish .20 pellet out to 40/50 yards with power – and that's definitely PCP. I need to do both at the same time QUIETLY. I'm a quadraplegic and can't fiddle with adjustments, barrel changes etc..

    And I like the Talon SS.

    First brainstorm: why not use an integral co2 tank to charge a gas-ram piston with the requisite power? Co2 could be either interior or exterior to the ram. Vent the co2 after each shot.

    But I like the Talon SS (no gas-ram)

    Second brainstorm: Dump a charge of co2 from tank into secondary tank, and then pressurise it further – say from 2500 to 3000. before firing. Heat? A hybrid lever? Pump action on the bolt? A regulator could keep a consistent, reliable ie acurate pressure..

    Shoot me down please.

  32. Grantland,

    Above about 89 F, CO2 becomes a supercritical fluid. There is no separate liquid and gas phase. The pressure would depend on the temperature, volume of container, and mass of CO2 in the container. Each shot would therefore reduce the pressure. You wouldn't ever have a constant pressure between shots.

    In order to have a constant pressure, you'd need a pressure sensor with feedback to heaters. Heat CO2 more after each shot to get pressure up.

    To get to 3500 psi you may be talking 200 F or more. You want to fiddle around with loading a pellet into a breach at 200 F?

    The whole thing wouldn't fit the idea of a "normal gun." You'd have to have electricity for all the circuitry. I wouldn't want CO2 around me if it vented, so you'd have to have a heated hose too. The CO2 bottle would have to be shielded a little distance away.

    Does the idea seem a little more impractical now?

  33. Grantland,

    Food for thought…

    Would you consider another gun?

    How many shots?

    Would a 0.22 be ok?

    Do you have to use some sort of support or stand for rifle?

    I was thinking of something like the Discovery with an aftermarket "shroud." (aka a silencer, so you need a permit to really be legal….)

    Use a scuba tank with a regulator. With regulator drop pressure to 2000 psi. Between regulator and connection to the rifle fill valve, use a needle valve. The needle valve would keep pressure drop with each shot from pounding the regulator. Basically you'd be using the whole scuba tank as a secondary reservoir. If you setup Discovery to use 2000 psi you should get a lot of shots from one scuba tank.

    Instead of a scuba tank, you might have somewhere to put a full size nitrogen tank. A bit more money, but I think there would be an off the shelf regulator that you could use. Also a full size nitrogen tank is huge. I forget what fill pressure is for a nitrogen tank. Off the top of my head I'm think 3500 psi.

    Either a nitrogen or a scuba tank would have to be secured so that it didn't fall over and break the valve off. Don't want tank turning into a missile.

    To disconnect rifle you'd need a valve to release the pressure in line. Close tank valve, bleed off line pressure and then remove hose from gun.

    my wild idea…


  34. Herb – pity about the supercritical thing. BUT it should still work on a secondary regulated firing chamber. Give it a shot from tank, apply warmth until desired pressure is reached, and keep it there (ie insulate the fring chamber). Not forgetting the valve for venting.

    Nah, I want the Talon. I need something light, portable and can't fiddle with valves – 250 shots at 20ft/lbs would be nice.

    What about (for another application) the gasram idea?

  35. So pie in the sky aside (how much co2 prssure could you get with a (safely) warmed 2ary chamber. Then, if the chamber is larger than the normal co2 emission – could you get a decent energy shot?

    22 is out btw licence needed.

  36. aha! I'm one step ahead of you – multiple conjoined tanks- a tank to store the co2 liquid plus gas,(bog standard) – feeds a heated hi(er) pressure firing chamber with 1. valve to shut out main tank and 2. regulated valve at repeatable/reliable set pressure. – all the way valve – PHUT!

    Tiny self-regulated heat pump warms the heated section and cools the integral lion battery.

    And a bipass for when battery is flat.

  37. Grantland,

    The power booster already exists. It's made by a man in Hawaii and sold as a handmade rifle. Here is the link:

    Forget trying to regulate the pressure of CO2 with heat. It would take laboratory equipment to regulate the temperature as close as required for reasonable results.


  38. I think the Hawaian did it he wrong way round. He'd do better with the higher pressure on the spring side. That would punch the inner piston harder and give him some adiabatic heating to boot.

  39. I see a safe zone at or below 120F, with <50 % fill at room temp. A miserable 1500 psi is what you get.

    What happens to co2 under violent adiabatic compression – like air in a springer.

  40. Actually the Hawaiian has been a great help – although he's constrained by the pumping. Exactly opposite to his design, my spring chamber is (much) larger in diameter than the firing chamber to give the differential piston a mechanical (pneumatic) advantage.

    Instead of reloading the spring, I vent the co2 differentials and repeat. Voila!

    Shoot me down.

  41. Here's a refinement. Charge only the spring chamber, hold with sear,and release the plunger (small end of the diff piston)into an empty firing chamber. The moving piston UNCOVERS the co2 charger filling the firing chamber with icy adiabatic CO2 which is then compressed

    How to stop the pellet from taking off prematurely.

  42. Hello B.B.,

    I'm looking for a very accurate starter target air gun. Up until I read more recent reviews of the Challenger 2009, I thought that the Avanti 753 (or similar Avanti's) was the only game in town.

    I must say that I prefer the shape of the Challenger, as it is more like the higher end precision class rifles (e.g., Anschutz or FWB), making it a better starter rifle. If it's more accurate. than say the Avanti 753, then I'm sold on the Challenger.

    I have yet to see ctc accuracy of either the Avanti or the Challenger.

    Which is more accurate? Do you know what the ctc error is for each?


  43. Victor,

    It sounds like you haven't read all the reports yet. I did three more after this one. Go to this report and you'll find the links back to the others.


    To answer your question though, I find the Challenger to be about as accurate as the 753 or 853. They all have the same Lothar Walther barrels. I think any opf them is capable of a 0.010" five-shot group at 10 meters with the right pellets.

    But the better trigger and ergonomics of the Challenger will make it easier to shoot accurately than the Daisys. That is its big advantage.


  44. B.B.,

    Thanks for your quick reply. I appreciate your blog and all the useful and insightful information that is available regading airguns. Actually, I did read the first three reports (I now know there's a fourth), but what I was curious about was whether the factory has ctc numbers.

    Why would you say "about", between the Challenger, 753 and 853, if they have the same barrel? Wouldn't it be the same absolutely?

    Also, I read that the FWB's have a ctc error of 0.04" (I don't if this true). Is the Challenger really more accurate?

    I agree that the ergonomics is better. I also feel that the extra weight, larger stock, and better trigger make a huge difference.

    If this gun is really this accurate (sub-0.1 ctc), it would be perfect for practicing fundamentals for both air gun competition and even smallbore.

    For the price it sounds like a real winner for someone who wants to get into serious competition at any level.

    Thanks again,

  45. Victor,

    Nothing manufactured is ever absolute. Beware of anyone who says otherwise. These guns will vary, one from another.

    Okay, now on to high-school decimal fractions. 0.10" is more than twice as big as 0.04". So the FWB is more than twice as accurate as the Challenger/Edge/Daisys. But the group sizes are so small that the differences aren't that noticeable.

    And yes, the FWB and Steyr and Anschutz and Walther guns really are that accurate.


  46. It was said awhile back that "From K.E. = m*V you can then calculate that V = K.E./m".

    Actually, this is the equation for momentum (i.e., p=mV).

    K.E. = 1/2 * mV^2 (m*V*V/2)

  47. BB,

    I tried to respond to this once, but for whatever reason, my reply was not posted. I'll try again.

    Ok, in reference to guns with the Lother Walther barrels (e.g., 753, 853, and Challenger), you said "I think any opf them is capable of a 0.010" five-shot group at 10 meters with the right pellets.".

    I mentioned that I've heard that the FWB has a ctc error of 0.04"

    So I'm comparing the 0.01" value that you expect for Lothar Walther barreled guns against the 0.04" that I've heard for the FWB.

    Just as I too would question any claims by any manufacturer, I question whether any of these (753, 853, or Challenger) is more accurate than a FWB (or Anschutz).

    Just to be clear, I'm comparing 0.04" (a claim for FWB) against 0.01" (your expectation/estimation for Lothar Walther barreled guns), and not 0.04" against 0.1".

    Since I don't believe the assertion that these Lothar Walther barreled guns are more accurate than 0.04" (i.e., FWB), I am, however, effectively compromising by accepting that IF these guns are in the sub-0.1" (i.e., 0.09" or better), then the guns is still a winner.


  48. BB,

    No problem. All of these ctc numbers are all new to me, so I couldn't say what's possible. I did, however, see one gun that boasted a 0.007" ctc accuracy. I'll have to find that again.

    My primary interest is in finding something that is affordable and yet accurate enough to allow me to measure MY performance. I'm willing to pay for something that is accurate enough to not leave me wondering whether a bad shot was me or the gun.

    If I make it worth it (i.e., prove that I have real skill after a lot of practice), I'll move up in class, but I don't want to start too far down the bottom.

    I've read some discussion about the gun versus the shooter. In my experience, it's good to start with something good, but not great. You first need to master the fundamentals, which a good but lessor gun (i.e., Challenger or Avanti versus a FWB or Anschutz) will help with.

    A great gun will mask some of your shortcomings (lack of fundamentals).

    As we know, obtaining great skills comes with time, a lot of learning, and practice. During the process we reach plateaus that we eventually break out of. But sometimes we slip back. The reason for this is that we lose our mastery of the fundamentals. This is why competitors dry fire (at least they should).

    In any case, the bottom line is that, if you can master the fundamentals with a lessor gun, then you've established that you're ready to move on.


  49. BB,

    One more thing. I saw your accuracy test's for the Daisy Powerline 953 TargetPro. Comparing those against the Challenger, I'd say there's a significant difference between the two rifles.

    On accuracy alone, the Challenger is much more accurate and definitely worth it, if your interest is target shooting.


  50. Victor,

    You got it. The 953 is basically an 853 without the wood stock and the Lothar Walther barrel and fancy sights. It can never be as accurate as the 853, and will therefore never come close to the Challenger 2009.

    The Challenger 2009 is worth the price and definitely the right rifle for you to start with. I think you will be using it for a long time.


  51. BB,

    I appreciate all of the work that you've put into testing these rifles! Having read many of your articles, I'd say that you definitely qualify as an expert on the subject. You have insights that are both rare and precious. That's something that can only be arrived at by passion and thus an expression of love for the subject.

    If they can afford it, anyone who truly loves shooting can easily justify spending the extra money for the Challenger. If you truly have "the bug" for shooting, you'll spend as many hours in a day as you can shooting. It's only logical that you make that time as worth it as possible.

    Long term, considering the cost of pellets, versus bullets, it will be a worthwhile investment in yourself. One could easily spend $600.00 on something that can't have the long lasting effects of personal achievement that can be derived from developing a skill in something like shooting. It's fun, there's a lot to learn, it's mentally challenging, it provides an opportunity for one to overcome themselves, and thus there's the pride in achievement.

    You can do it alone, or with a group. It has all of the benefits of individual sports. There's no politics, so in the end, you're really only competing against yourself. If you're biggest issue is the pressure of competition, then an opportunity has presented itself for you to overcome yourself. That kind of thing is relevent to all aspects of your life. We can all benefit from a little meditation.

    You're right BB, I think I will be using it for a long time, but by any definition. In my case, it would be in terms of accumulated hours, and not just the spread of time in something like years. Put it another way, I'd be the challenger to the Challenger. 🙂

    Thanks again,

  52. Victor,

    You're an inspiration to all airgunners. Thank you.

    I've been following your comments and am almost convinced to try a Challenger after all your research and down to earth conclusions.

    Your comments are posted under an old article (September 15, 2009) that B.B. wrote. Since he writes a new article everyday, Monday-Friday, most avid airgunners (like you) are asking questions, answering questions and sharing airgun experiences under his most recent article.

    Would you mind sharing your airgun observations and experiences in the comments section under the most recent article that B.B. writes. I would really like to continue following your airgun adventure. Here's a link that will always take you to the most recent article that B.B. has written:


    Look forward to seeing you there!


  53. Victor,

    I've been following your questions and comments with B.B. with much enjoyment. You also have the gift of writing.

    Perhaps you'd consider reposting your last one on the current blog. I think there are alot of other people here that would also enjoy and learn from what you said. /blog// will get you there. I also hope to see you there more often.

    Mr B.

  54. Kevin, Mr B.,

    Thanks so much for the kind words! I appreciate it.

    At both of your requests, I repeated my comments where I thought they would be most relevent and yet current. Specifically, you'll find them under "Christmas gift list 2009 – Part 4", Tuesday, December 15, 2009.

    A little background on myself. Some 35 years ago I competed as a junior in both air-gun and smallbore matches. I stopped shooting once I started college because I had to both work and study.

    I was good, but never great. I did win several state and national matches (including air-rifle, air-pistol, and smallbore rifle), and I'm a member of the NRA's 1600 club (smallbore prone). I used an FWB rifle and pistol. I know how accurate the FWB rifle is because in my prime I could shoot pinwheels at 50 feet.

    Althought I've been away from shooting for 30 years, I never stopped loving it. My competitions years seem a lifetime away, but I'd like to get back at it again.

    Because of time constraints, I need to start with something that is accessible for the first year or so. Specifically, I want to start with something basic (more easy to justify), and that can be done in my home or back yard.

    For my specific goals, I cannot justify buying something that is a poor performer. If not for having learned about the Challenger, I would be looking at something a lot more expensive.

    Long term, for an air-rifle, I will be looking at either the Anschutz or the FWB. I will also likely purchase an Anschutz 2013 for smallbore competition.

    For now, it's all about re-establishing the basics. For me, it will be a new journey, but one for which there was previous life, which I intend to take advantage of.


  55. Victor,

    Like you I took a lengthy break from serious shooting.

    Airguns rekindled my interest that lay dormant. I feel like a kid again but with bad eyes this time around.

    I appreciate and understand your self imposed challenge. I'm sure the Challenger will be the right tool to revive the basics that you obviously possessed.

    Good luck on your journey and hope it's as fun for you as it has been for me. Keep us updated.


  56. Victor,

    I had no idea you were so advanced. But I still recommend the Challenger 2009, now more than ever because of the trigger. Had you gone the Daisy route you would have had to move up a lot faster to escape a trigger that you would not have been able to abide.


  57. B.B.,

    When I first saw the Challenger, I saw an air gun that was the closest thing to what I remembered shooting, that wasn't precision class (air gun or smallbore). My first impression was that the Avanti 753 was possibly more accurate, but I struggled with its shape a bit. However, I would have bought it on accuracy alone. Knowing that the Challenger is at least as accurate, everything else about the Challenger sold me. In my opinion, it's worth the cost difference.

    It's been a long time since I've shot anywhere near the level that I once did, but I still have lots of knowledge. I had great coaches who taught me lessons that continued to sink into my thick skull years after I stopped shooting.

    When I got to the level of world class shooting (ISU), most of what they taught was very subtle and pertained to the mental aspects of shooting.

    When you're young, your body provides a gift of tremendous potential, but real maturity comes with time. You need both to be truly great. I stopped shooting before I matured enough to be great. Now I'm mature, but without the gift of youth. Maybe the older me can beat the younger me. I'm actually very curious about the possibility.

    I really only discovered this world of air-guns in the past couple of months. Since then, I've been enthralled by it.

    When I was a young competitor, I never learned so much about the guns and the technology behind them. I only learned about technique, how to practice, fundamentals, and the tournaments themselves. I was building upon my experience as a competitor, and little else. You might say that I took my guns for granted. I did care for them like no one else that I knew, but I knew little about them. I just assumed that they were almost perfect and that the rest was up to me.

    As I mentioned before, I had both an FWB air pistol and FWB air rifle. For smallbore, I had an Anschutz 1411 prone, 1407 standard, and 1413 freestyle. I shot as a Master in every type of competition.

    But again, that is ancient history now. I'm enjoying this world of air-guns tremendously. I can sit here and read about all that is available for hours.

    For starters, I bought the Gamo Compact air pistol. Love the gun! I had to sand down a few areas, but otherwise it's a perfect starter air pistol for me. Although I won a couple state championships and was the US International Champion, as a junior in air-pistol, I've never really considered myself a pistol shooter. What I do love about pistol shooting is that it presents some challenges that are more apparent than with rifle shooting. More oppertunity to overcome myself, you might say.

    However, I wouldn't say pistol shooting is harder than rifle shooting, because it's all relative.

    My advice to someone who is breaking into shooting for the first time, try one of the Avanti's for starters. They sound like a better gun for mastering the fundamentals. As I mentioned in another post, a great gun can mask subtle flaws in your fundamentals. I did not start with an Anschutz. I had to earn my way from an inexpensive Remington first. I was told that only when I can clean a target at 50 feet with my Remington, in competition, would something like an Anschutz be a consideration. Similarly, I had to earn everything from my shooting mat to my ISU jacket, and scope for any sights competition.

    Starting low is the smart approach, in my opinion. I'm not exactly starting from scratch, so I can justify the Challenger.

    Enough said.


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