by B.B. Pelletier

Parts 1 & 2

That’s right, Parts 2 and 3. I reserve the right to go back and revisit velocity, though I’m going to focus on the accuracy of the Haenel 310. I also want to add a little more background on the rifle.

Haenel 310 is an upscale BB gun that shoots lead balls. It’s also a rifle.

It’s a rifle!
You don’t expect airguns that shoot round balls to be rifled–at least I don’t. And there is the precedent of at least two smoothbore guns that are incredibly accurate. The Daisy 499B, which is now called the Avanti Champion, is a single-shot BB gun that has a smooth bore. What keeps the BB on track is the precision of the bore, plus the fact that 5 meters or 16.4 feet is about the greatest distance this gun is expected to perform. While the 499’s bore is a simple piece of tube, it is very precisely sized inside, and, when coupled with Daisy’s number 515 precision ground steel shot, it provides all the guidance the shot requires for extremely careful shooting. In international competition, the 499 in the hands of a champion can keep all of its shots on an aspirin at the given range.

The other super-accurate gun most airgunners know about is the Diana model 30 arcade gun. Its accuracy is due to both a precise barrel and ammunition that is even more precise than Daisy’s 515 shot. Apparently, the Diana shoots balls that are as good as ball bearings. I have heard tales of this gun being as accurate as the 499, which is to say nearly flawless.

Diana model 30 gallery gun was used in public shooting galleries in Europe. There are two shot counters on the left side–one for the lifetime total count and the other for the gallery operator. Accurate gun and also a smoothbore.

There are other ball-shooters that are rifled, but I don’t want to turn this into a huge history lesson. However, to complete the circle, the Czech Vz 35 and Vz 47 are both rifled and both shoot 4.4mm balls. They’re accurate, as well, though not quite up to the 499.

Having said that, I’ve thrown down the gauntlet for the 310. We know what a 499 can do, and I know that the Czech rifles will group about half an inch at 5 meters. So, the question is, where does the 310 fit? There’s only one way to find out.

The acid test!
This one is a toughie for me because I do it offhand. I’m not a good offhand rifle shot, and this light little rifle waves back and forth like amber waves of grain as I try to maintain my balance. Actually, more like a hippo on a pogo stick.

What I’m about to show you isn’t the best test of just the rifle by itself. There is a lot of me on these targets, too.

A good group for me, but not quite as good as a 499 at the same distance.

Another good group.

Modesty demands that I also show this group to you. It is as representative as the first two targets of how well I shot.

So, the 310 is about as good as the two Czech rifles, but not quite up to the Daisy 499. That’s still pretty impressive, and I don’t think anyone would be dissatisfied with this rifle.

I wanted to check velocity again, now that the piston seal had a week to absorb the oil and distribute it. Also, I shot the rifle many times in the accuracy test, so things should be well-mixed in the compression chamber by this time.

This recovered ball is almost a perfect hemisphere, so we should be able to apply splatology to learn how fast it was going when it hit the backstop.

Remember splatology? It’s the science of determining how fast a lead ball is traveling when it hits a steel plate by examining the deformation. I did a report on it back in September. If you try to read this ball, it looks like it was traveling 250-275 f.p.s. when it hit the backstop. A couple things to take into account are the backstop in the bullet trap is on a slant, so it robs the ball of some energy when it hits, and also the fact that the ball had to travel 16.4 feet plus go through target paper before it hit. That’s going to subtract a little more of the velocity. Let’s see what the chronograph says.

Well, surprise, surprise! The balls were averaging 250 f.p.s. at the muzzle. That’s egg on my pompous face from three different directions. First, the fact that spatology predicted the terminal velocity EXACTLY, and I didn’t have to temporize with all the reasons it might not.

Second, the piston seal was dry after all and the velocity did increase after oiling. Initially the balls were going only about 200 f.p.s., until I oiled the piston seal and let it sit for half an hour. Then, the velocity jumped up to 250. So much for what I think I know about the frequency of oiling airguns!

And finally, you may not remember, but in Parts 1 & 2, I said, “And a certain sized sphere made of pure lead tends to be pretty much the same from brand to brand.” Well, they aren’t! The balls I had not yet tested were the ones that shot in the 250s or the 280s after oiling. But the bulk balls I used in the velocity test generated an average of 355 f.p.s.–very close to what they did in Parts 1 & 2 (351 f.p.s.).

We live and learn…
So, shut my mouth! You do have to oil the leather piston seal before shooting every time, and round lead balls are not all the same and splatology does work exactly as we said.

It’s a lotta fun, this little gun. If you ever had a notion you wanted to shoot accurately in a short space, a Haenel 310 might be the gun for you. And for you apartment dwellers, I’m reminded of the u-boat captain who was found with a Haenel model 2 pistol in his cabin on board a captured submarine. I doubt your efficiency flat is any smaller than than a cabin on a sub.