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Education / Training Breech-seating tests – Part 1

Breech-seating tests – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Today’s test was inspired by the velocity test I did with the Belgian Hy Score 801 rifle I reported on a few weeks ago. You may remember that rifle shot much faster with the pellets seated deep in the breech. Because there was a breech-seating tool built right into the rifle, seating deep came naturally, but it got me wondering whether deep-seating is something we ought to be doing most of the time. Several readers did tests that showed no improvement with higher-powered spring rifles, so I guessed the technique only worked well on lower-powered springers. After you see today’s results, though, I think you’ll be scratching your heads, just as I am.

To keep this test inside a reasonable time limit, I decided to test two different rifles with two different pellets. I chose the new Air Venturi Bronco and a Slavia 631 I have because these two are close in power but also separated to some extent. I knew the Slavia was the slightly more powerful rifle and wanted to see what difference that would make.

For pellets, I chose Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets and RWS Hobbys. The Premiers are heavier than the Hobbys, plus they’re made of harder lead. The Hobbys have wider skirts, so we should be able to see if any of the pellet’s design matters to this test.

First the Bronco with Premiers
The Bronco went first with unseated 7.9-grain Premiers. I seated these pellets flush with the breech and pushed them tight so they wouldn’t fall out. That’s not a problem with the Bronco, but with some guns the pellets do want to fall out unless you press them in hard. This is especially true of some models made in China.

The unseated Premiers averaged 548 f.p.s. with a spread from 542 to 551 f.p.s. The rifle felt smooth shooting these pellets.

Then, I seated the Premiers with a Bic-type ballpoint pen, known in Europe as a Biro. The pellet seats about an eighth of an inch into the bore, and the pen stops when the tapered point contacts the diameter of the bore. You are simple pushing the writing end of the pen into the pellet’s skirt, which pushes the pellet straight into the barrel. So, every seating is the same. The average velocity for seated pellets was 527 f.p.s. with a spread from 522 to 529 f.p.s. The firing behavior was smooth once more. Thus, we see that the consistency of velocity remained when the pellets were seated deeply, but the average dropped about 20 f.p.s.

Now, the Slavia 631 with Premiers
The Slavia 631 averaged 600 f.p.s. with unseated Premiers, with a range from 594 to 606 f.p.s. Once, again, the pellets were pushed in hard with the thumb, though the 631 doesn’t have a problem dropping pellets from the breech. The firing behavior was full of a lot of vibration and some forward recoil. I probably would not have noticed it in any other test, but after shooting the smooth Bronco it really stood out.

When the pellets were seated deeply, they averaged 534 f.p.s. with a spread from 529 to 545 f.p.s. So, the velocity spread opened up when the pellets were seated deep, and the average dropped 66 f.p.s. As with the unseated pellets, the vibration pattern was full of vibration and forward recoil.

Now, the Bronco with Hobbys
With RWS Hobbys, the Bronco averaged 553 f.p.s. In fact, only one shot of 10 went any other velocity, and that one went 554 f.p.s. From a performance standpoint, the Bronco likes Hobbys a lot.

Deep-seating brings a big surprise
When they were seated deep the Hobbys averaged 515 f.p.s. with a spread from 493 to 547 f.p.s. Not a performance that you would think was any good except for one thing. These deep-seated pellets shot so butter-smooth that it felt like Ivan Hancock had personally tuned the rifle. All firing impulse went away. Curiously, the gun started to produce smoke with every shot. That’s what I meant when I said the results of this test were puzzling. If I hadn’t been chronographing them, I would have thought that I’d found the most ideal situation for the Bronco, which gave me an idea for the future. Since I have two more accuracy tests coming for the Bronco, I’ll include Hobby pellets and will try them both flush-seated and deep-seated to see what they do on paper.

The Slavia 631 with Hobbys
The Slavia 631 averaged 659 f.p.s. with Hobbys seated flush. They ranged from 653 to 667 f.p.s. The firing behavior of the rifle was very harsh.

When the Hobbys were seated deep, the average velocity was 564 f.p.s. with a spread from 545 to 573. So the rifle lost 100 f.p.s. on average and the velocity spread opened up considerably. Once again, though, the rifle became much smoother-shooting. I didn’t notice any dieseling with these pellets seated deeply.

I don’t know about you, but this little test has really caused me to think about the deep-seating situation. I note, for example, that both rifles shot faster with flush-seated pellets. I thought the Bronco might be faster with deep-seating. That leads me to wonder how representative the little 801 really is. Is it possible that unless a gun has a very small swept volume in the compression chamber that flush-seating is usually the best was to go? Is that even a true statement? I don’t know the answers to any of this yet, so it appears there are a lot of things that need to be studied.

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.

83 thoughts on “Breech-seating tests – Part 1”

  1. BB,

    I know this is a bit off topic for today's subject, but I need a little info concerning my RWS 48. I have had it a little over a month now and shoot it regularly just as you advised. It's a wonderful gun for bench shooting and extremely accurate with the JSB Jumbos (.22 cal). My question concerns maintenance. I have at least 2000 shots on it and have never cleaned the bore or lubed any of the mechanics. Is it time for any routine service or cleaning other than my normal wipe down and superficial inspection when I put it away? Also, do you recommend a certain flexible bore snake for this gun and any particular way to go about cleaning the bore that is not standard? Thanks so much for producing such a great blog and being such a good promoter of our sport.

    Rick O'shea

  2. Rick,

    No bore cleaning unless accuracy falls off. With soft lead JSBs that won't happen for a very long time.

    When it does, clean from the muzzle with a one-piece rod and a pistol-length brass brush coated with JB Bore paste. 20 strokes in each direction.

    Clean it out and start shooting again. Never clean the bore with solvent unless you use Gun Scrubbed synthetic spray.

    You are best not cleaning the bore at all. You should get at least 10K shots before you need to clean, but let accuracy be your guide.

    The mechanics don't need lubrication for a long time. You should be able to tell when they do by their behavior.


  3. B.B.,
    Experiments like this often produce more questions than answers. The "smoothness" change is noteworthy.
    Maybe with these low powered rifles, leaving the pellets flush allows the pressure to build a little higher before the pellet skirt snaps into the rifling, making the unseated velocity higher.
    Airguns are so finicky about pellets, maybe this is just another indication of that.
    At work we call figuring something like this out a "science project," and that can really burn a budget up in no time.

  4. AlanL,

    Time for a little reflection. Last week you sounded like a frightened rabbit, trying to avoid a hawk, as you talked about the many problems of your new RWS Diana 54 rifle.

    Then yesterday you posted this:

    "…I've totally mastered a smooth cocking motion bracing the rifle against my right side and load easily with my right hand while the lever is securely pinned by my arm. All the left hand has to do is hold the forearm (of the gun) and twist left a little. It's a breeze once you get the hang of it and a nice workout too."

    Of course you also posted your great groups.

    What a difference! Now you are going to discover why we all recommended the 54 to you.


  5. I would agree with Lloyd. In your mind, think about what would happen if you pushed the pellet 6" deep or more. What affect would THAT have on the pressure, with the limited amount of air that springers utilize.

  6. BB,

    I'm wondering if by changing the air volume in front of the piston you're seeing a reduction in piston bounce at the end of the stroke. If the piston bounce is negated, the firing cycle should feel smoother as it would effectively cancel the rearward recoil of the gun.


  7. B.B…Scott298–I have been using the pell seat and now that you brought it up I'll have to make a mental note of how my 350 fires with and without using the pell seat. I have found it to be very usefull especially when I have a few pelletts that are hard to get completly into the breach. I wonder if a magnum powered rifle wold have the same decrease in velocity? Who knows-seating the pellett may give the air a chance to bleed off a little pressure before making contact with the pellett vice having the pellett seated flush to the breach. Your the one who maybe able to answer the question-I'm the one that can only ask the question. Scott298-over and out!

  8. Hi Everyone,
    I am suspecting that the 801 has a tapered breech. That would be the kind of thing this gun maker might have done. In a gun with a tapered breech, seating the pellet deep enough to make full contract with the breech would eliminate any air loss. If the gun has a straight cut breech, deep seating the pellet just uses up some of the available compressed air. Derrick's theory of deep seating reducing piston bounce is a good one. It's funny that as long as we have been shooting springers that we still don't fully understand them. Unless you do all your testing on one gun such as Cardew did to isolate variables, it is hard to really understand what is going on.
    David Enoch

  9. B.B., this is quite off topic, but… I'm new to the more serious air gunning and can way way out shoot a Red Ryder. I'd like to purchase a reliable gun that is either multi-pump or spring because i'm tight on money. The money involved with buying c02 and the initial PCP cost is way too much. I would like to be able to not out shoot this gun for a while accuracy wise. Is a Benjamin 397 a good choice? (.22 pellets cost too much if I just want to plink). Thanks

  10. Wow!
    I had always assumed that pushing the pellet in to contact the rifleing would produce the best results. I'm in the process of making a longer bolt for my 1377 to do just that. Any thoughts on how pellet seating affects performance in pneumatics?
    Thanks for another great experiment!

  11. The loss of velocity with unseated pellets doesn't surprise me. When pellets are loaded into the breech flush, there's still a fair bit of initial resistance that has to be overcome in order to start moving the pellet down the bore.

    I imagine this acts like a pop-off valve… the pellet doesn't start moving until the pressure REALLY builds up in the compression chamber, so when it DOES finally start moving there's a lot of force behind it.

    If the pellet is pushed past this initial resistance when loaded, it'll start moving a heckuvalot quicker – before the piston has a chance to really build up as much pressure as it oughta. The pellet ends up leaving the barrel before the powerplant really develops full power.

    The effect might not hold true for a lower powered gun, especially if the seals or pellet-to-bore fit might be a little leaky. If the pellet takes too long before it starts moving, much of the powerplant's meager energy is lost before the pellet starts accelerating.

    Remember BB's review of the Marksman 1010?

    "That early Marksman of mine was so weak that lead pellets simply bounced off target paper; sometimes when I didn't seat them deeply enough they didn't even leave the bore!"

    I suspect the trend here is that lower powered guns are more likely to need better air sealing around the pellet and lower initial pellet-to-bore resistance, both of which are acheived by deep seating.

  12. B.B.,
    Yes, this is a fascinating subject, although there are many who think we need to get a life, LOL!
    You could think of the pellet as a burst disk for the compression chamber. We want it to perform within +/- 1%. If it goes to +/- 5% its a piece of junk. Pretty demanding standards, but that is what is needed for accuracy.

    I am surprised how much the velocity spread opened up by deepseating the pellets.


  13. woguph,

    I just read this blog and until I got to your post my mind was flying from one theory to another–almost hit a melt down. Thanks for your, "It's funny that as long as we have been shooting springers that we still don't fully understand them."

    You brought some sanity to my brain, at least what is left of it. I never would have thought about a tapered breech.

    I'm going to sit back and see what you all come up with.

    Mr B.

  14. Someone asked about a Benjamin 397. The 397 is a nice rifle that will last a lifetime. It is a good plinker since for most plinking you will not need but a few strokes. Plus, if you need more power for pest control or longer distances, you can add a few strokes. Get one and have fun with it!

    David Enoch

  15. B.B.,

    Yes, I certainly had that coming, didn't I? Nice tongue-in-cheek about the groups! As promised, I will post them for you. Okay, deep breath Alan, confidence, they should keep turning out the way they did yesterday! Boy will I have egg on my face if they don't.

    For what it's worth, I seated every pellet flush with my big thumb. No way in heck I can manage a pen on top of everything else with my Diana 54. However, the flush vs. deep-seating question has been on my mind from reading this blog ever since it surfaced. I've only tried two pellets so far, the JSB 14.3 grain domed Exacts and the 14.3 grain Crosman Premiers. Both of these pellets slip easily into the breech and almost give me the feeling that they would want to fall further into the barrel, but they never do. Equally, I worry that they will fall out before I can close the breech when returning the lever, but they never do. The gyrations I go through in cocking a heavy Diana 54 are such that both of these actions could easily occur, yet they do not. So the fit between bore and these pellets must be a very very precise match, with just enough resistance to keep the pellet in place. My instinct tells me from this that at least in my rifle these two pellets do not undergo the poppet valve effect that Vince proposed from the slight increase in pressure resulting from forcing the tail end of the pellet skirt into the barrel. Thus, deeper seating would only 1) reduce the available pressure to propel them and 2) shorten the time available for acceleration before leaving the barrel. What David Enoch said about the 801 maybe having a tapered breech resonates with me. Does it?


  16. AlanL,

    No, it doesn't Just keep on shooting Premiers and start thinking about oiling them with FP-10 or Whiscombe Honey, which you will make. You do that because you are shooting Premiers which lead the bore. But don't panic, there is plenty of time.

    Just seat the pellets flush.


  17. B.B.,

    By happenstance I saw your formulation for Whiscombe honey just the other day: 2 parts Hoppes, 1 part STP Engine Treatment. Many years ago, for reasons I won't go into here, I had occasion to test very thoroughly a variety of lubricants and additives on a Shell 4-ball friction machine and on another friction machine with a very hard steel roller spinning in a bath of the material to be tested onto which a roller bearing roller could be applied with variable pressure to test the wear characteristics. STP as an additive did not perform well, and neither did any of the standard motor oils with or without different additives, except for Quaker State Supreme. However, there was one oil and one additive that beat them all hands down by better than 300%: That was Bardahl, made in Washington State. I refer to the professional line, in the yellow cans with checkered flag, not the commercial line with the green racetrack logo. This brand (especially the professional line) is extremely hard to find. Even adding water to the mixture, so that the liquid became thoroughly emulsified, it was next to impossible to seize the roller, whereas with ALL other oils and additives they seized almost instantly when so emulsified.

    The original proprietary formulation was developed by Ole Bardahl during WWII. The idea was to keep the engines in fighters and bombers running smoothly long enough to get back to friendly territory without a drop of oil in them if the oil lines had been shot through, with just the film of lubricant left on the pistons and cylinder walls. He succeeded admirably, and his products were later used in ground vehicles as well.

    If I make this Whiscombe honey, I intend to substitute the professional Bardahl Engine Treatment for the STP (which performed poorly in my tests) unless you have a specific reason to prefer it?


  18. BB,
    One factor to consider is the difference in hardness between the two pellets: Hobby's are almost pure lead, whereas Premiers are a fairly hard compound. That goes a long way toward explaining the better firing behavior of both rifles with seated Hobbys, at least for me: the reduced pressure peak combined with a tighter seal (relative to the Premiers) results in less piston bounce, but also less flaring of the skirt into the rifling, so more leakage and greater velocity variation once the pellet is moving. It's a theory, anyway:).

  19. AlanL,
    Was it Slick 50 ad's where they used to drain the car of oil and then run it around the track? That came to mind from your post as there used to be a notable proponent of tuning springers for power by using Slick 50 on the spring and piston seal — improvements in power were dramatic, as the oil resulted in combustion:)!

  20. BB,

    Does the Hy Score 801 have a very short transfer tube from the piston chamber? I have noticed that the transfer tubes in the few rifles that I have disassembled run around a half-inch or so in length. If the 801 has a short tube, maybe the deep seating is needed to get the volume behind the pellet in the "sweet spot"?

    I have accidentally deep-seated pellets in both my .177 R1 and .25 Patriot and it always resulted in a drop of 50fps or more.


  21. Anonymous on the tight budget,

    Many of us here started out with a Benjamin/Sheridan 392 or 397 and, as it was our first air rifle, most of us still have them and occassionally take them out to shoot. As Wogupf said, three pumps is more than adequate for plinking or target shooting in your basement or garage. More pumps for vermin dispatch.

    However, one soon gets tired of multiple pumps between shots so a spring piston rifle is the next step. You are very fortunate that you have a number of choices. The Sheridan will run around $150 to $180 depending where you buy it. However, the newly designed Bronco at Pyramyd AIR is $126. Start with that keeping in mind its a target and plinking rifle and not intended to be for hunting or vermin dispatching.

    Welcome to the very addictive world of airgunning.

    Fred PRoNJ

  22. Next gun guy about 397,

    Like David said, it's a great all around gun for the money, if you don't mind the pumping and slapping of the pump handle and the chance of slamming it on your fingers..

    The Bronco is by far more fun to shoot, but you can't hunt with it except for starlings under 20 yards.

    Hitting what you aim at, is the most fun.. and the accuracy, trigger and smoothness of the Bronco makes that easy to do over and over again..

    But if you will need more power on occasion, then the 397 might be better….BUT WATCH WHERE YOU PUT YOUR FINGERS AS YOU PUMP!


    I found the same results when I first tested the Bronco. The groups at 19 yards dropped up to 1" when I seated only 1/8" deep. They were also not groups… they were wild all over the place until I added the coconut oil, then they tightened up, but still 1/2" low.

    I like David's theory about the tapered breech on the 801. Why else would they put that cool, but rather expensive pellet seater on the gun.

    B.B., maybe you should try the 801 without seating the pellets and see what happens.

    Wacky Wayne, MD. Ashland Air Rifle Range

  23. Off of today's subject:

    Do I need to do anything to my Discovery before filling and shooting it? It is supposed to come today and I'm excited to start shooting but I don't want to mess anything up being too hasty.

  24. Wayne,

    B.B. already answered that the 801's breech was not tapered.


    I know I tested many, including Slick50, JB, STP, Mobil 1 (synthetic) and some two dozen others. Many of these have tried to duplicate Bardahl's success and have succeeded to some degree. But the real test of lubricity and viscosity comes when you blend with water, which is deadly to most oils. White (not black!) smoke out of the exhaust is a clear sign of water contamination in the oil. A good engine treatment can forestall or even eliminate the need for an overhaul. Of course, this all has little to do with lubricating and shooting pellets (which are soft anyway.) I'm just very curious as to what role the STP is supposed to play in the Whiscombe honey formulation. However, it's hard to argue with success so no doubt B.B. will tell me to stop reinventing the wheel, or worse, to go fly a kite!


  25. You guys are killing me with the pens.


    If you look at the photo, you’ll see the round end which flattens, smoothes and gives every pellet a perfect flush seat. The other side, will deep seat pellets if you would like, but I never found a rifle that liked it.
    Insert plug for a Chrony here.
    I will admit towards the end I quit trying the deep seat method due to have never finding a rifle that preferred it.

    Wayne – Stroke of genius on why the included the part for seating the pellet.

  26. I finally got out to the garage to test pellet seating in my Hammerli 490. I tried three different pellets – JSB Exacts and Crosman HP's and Wadcutters. I tried flush, deep seating, and regular ("Bic") seating for each pellet. I did a five-shot group for each combination.

    My results were perplexing. I did not notice any difference between deep an regular seating. There were remarkable differences between flush and regular seaing. The CPHP group was slightly better. The JSB group went from 3/4" to 1/4", but the wadcutter group went from 3/8" to 1".

    I also did a quick phonebook penetrometer test. The JSB's increased about 40 POPB (Pages of PhoneBook), the CPHP'swent up about 20 POPB, and there was no noticable difference with the wadcutters.

    I guess that just reinforces the idea that there is a fine balance and timimng between the spring, piston, air, pellet and bore. Any change that we make to any of them dramatically affects the flight of the pellet. The problem is that we have no clue what that affect will be until we actually shoot the pellet.

  27. I believe Wayne's observation of poor groups is more important than merely the velocity drop caused by different pellet seatings. Realizing they both may go hand in hand. However, that would not necessarily have to be true. POI shift would be acceptable to me if I can ensure consistent seating, however, wild is not. I'm anxious to see if BB's accuracy observations equals Wayne's. Very good chance they will.

  28. When I first jumped into springer air rifles…I tried everything under the sun to increase power and consistency.
    Of course seating and/or deep seating was one of the experiments I performed on my rifles, but none of them liked it. I didnt know why, and I just moved on to other expirements.
    I had the best results with using the ball end of a Beeman pell-seater tool. Some rifles liked putting the pellet in the breech and then using the ball to form the pellet's skirt into the breech. Some other rifles liked using the ball to expand the skirt outside of a breech, and then just placing the resized pellet into the breech with my index finger, being careful not to get my fingernail in there, because that would cause indentations in the skirts of the pellets.
    I made a tool for expanding the skirts of .25 caliber pellets for my Walther Falcon Hunter, because it picked up about 50fps and consistency went up too. I placed a rubber grommet flat on a table, put a 1/4" ball bearing inside of the grommet, and then placed the pellet directly on top of the ball bearing. The ID of the grommet would catch the skirt and keep it from falling over…and then I could gently tap the top of the pellet with a small hammer…thereby expanding the skirt. I would do a whole tin of pellets like that. Great results too!!!
    Then I bought a Marauder…and the springers have been neglected for months.

  29. Coincidence.

    I spent some time over the weekend with a HW 55 that's shooting weak. Initially I used lighter weight pellets to keep velocity up and tried to find the most accurate pellet.

    Based on B.B.'s earlier article I then deep seated heavier pellets thinking that it would result in higher velocity and give me a broader range of pellets to test for accuracy. Disastrous results.

    Velocity and accuracy dropped off. I'm with Wayne and Chuck on this one. Accuracy is the true test. Won't be deep seating anymore pellets in the 55.


  30. AlanL,

    You continue to make me smile since you're going down the same path I did with the Diana 54.

    Initially I shot the old crosman premiers exclusively in my 54. Within 2 boxes my accuracy fell off. I tightened stock screws, tighted scope mounts, took scope off to eliminate that from the inaccuracy equation, etc.

    B.B. said to clean the barrel. MAGIC! Accuracy was back. Then he said to lube the pellets. I mixed up the tried and true formula that the legendary John Whiscombe invented (never gave a thought to reformulating whiscombe honey).

    Never had another problem as long as I shot crosman premiers lubed with whiscombe honey. Got tired of sticky fingers so I switched to lubing pellets with KryTech.


  31. AlanL,

    Looks like you can buy Bardahls by the case from them. Here:


    A case might be a bit much for our purposes here, but I have a '91 Dodge Stealth Twin Turbo that I'm thinking about an engine treatment for. Had good luck with Slick 50 in the past on other vehicles, but if this is better?…..!!

    Which product of their's did you test and can it be mixed with Mobile 1 synthetics? (after 20 years as a mechanic/ weldor/ machinist it's the only stuff I use) Was it this?


    Looks like my local Checker Auto carries that one.


    BTW: Quaker State performs because it's a parafin based oil, BUT, as such, it leaves a huge amount of waxy sludge in your engine.

    WV: "worse" (I didn't mean to be worse….)

  32. BB,

    My mistake on the terminology. I did not realize that "flush" was a degree of seating. By "regular", I was referring to using the Bic pen to push the pellet in about 3/16" or so. I guess that it should be "shallow" seating.

    It's strange how the Bic changes the JSB from one of the worst pellets that the gun shoots to one of the best, and I've put 15-20 different pellets through it.

  33. blowgunner62,

    Enjoy! A couple of things to keep in mind. Don't wipe off the lubricant on your pump shaft. TKO makes an inexpensive trigger mod that turns a good trigger into a GREAT trigger. Their muzzle breaks also work very well.

    I made a base for my pump that allows me to have my feet a true sholder width appart which makes pumping alot easier for me.

    Mr B.

  34. /Dave,

    The packaging and part numbering has changed since the days when I was familiar with the product. In any case it has to be from the professional line, not the consumer line. I think the correct product for your Dodge is item #21208, B-2 Oil Treatment, not the NoSmoke, but I'm not sure. See:
    Perhaps a quick call to Bardahl might be best.


  35. B.B.

    I would have thought that deeper seating of the pellet would improve things all-around, so I am jiggered about your results. I don't know enough about the breech mechanism to even speculate about what is going on. Pellet-seating is also too much of a bother for me and, like pumping a pcp–does not sort with my shooting image. I guess I'm a slave to fashion.

    AlanL, congratulations on your groups with the RWS 54. That's as good as I can do after tens of thousands of rounds. I should be breaking the 100,000 pellet mark in a few months. The 54 can certainly do even better.

    Wayne, I saw a SHOT show report of a carbine chambered in the SW .500 magnum pistol cartridge. That's a great idea for a cartridge that seems to be just about unshootable in a pistol. The ballistics should be an extreme of heavy and slow. I can see B.B.'s effects of differential projectile energy even at five yards. The .117 from the B30 punches right through leaving a small hole. The .177 from the IZH 61 at a slightly lighter weight and about half the velocity tends to tear a little bit.

    All, more information on the AA-12 automatic shotgun. The local Safeway is my university. There was an article about this weapon in a magazine called Tactical Weapons–not exactly a mainline publication. The main point of interest is that it has virtually no recoil. I understand that a 12 gauge shotgun has significantly greater recoil than a 30-06 rifle, so an automatic 12 gauge should be completely uncontrollable. They are using an AR style of straight line stock as part of their solution, but the big kahuna is the "constant recoil" principle. It's provenance is interesting. It was designed by someone named James Sullivan working for Eugene Stoner when he designed the AR-15. The key seems to be that the bolt does not hit any fixed object; the energy is somehow bled out through a spring. It sounds like an extreme of the RWS 54, but there must be more to it than that which they are not telling. One wonders about applications of this technology for accuracy. However, it seems tied to a full-auto mechanism and operation from an open bolt. Besides the gun is totally restricted to the military. In fact, despite rave reviews of the Marines testing the weapon, the acquisition process is at the very beginning stages.


  36. When I load my Talon SS (I use Crosman Premiers 10.5 in the box)I always press the pellet in as hard as I can with just the fingerprint area of my thumb. After a 60 shot session my thumb gets pretty sore. Kinda like learning the guitar. Someday my thumb will be hard as a rock and Mr T will sing like a canary.

    WV-slimetic (I wonder if these are as dangerous as the ones that carry Lime desease)


  37. Matt61,

    Thanks, but keep in kind I was only shooting from 25 meters! You guys do dime-sized groups starting at 35 yards, and probably at 50. Right now I have to leave, but later tonight I will post pics of my groups from this afternoon, where I tested 5 different pellets. I hope you all have good recipes for crow– I'm afraid I'm going to have to eat some.


  38. AlanL,

    Actually my duel with BG_Farmer was at 25 yards. Others do shoot tighter groups at further distances, but much of that is with pcps. I don't know of springer results that are much better. I woudn't worry about results with an array of pellets. All bets are off when you switch around.


  39. Rabbit Magnum

    Any info on the rabbit magnums would be great.

    Has anyone shot them and what kinds of results were obtained?

    Do they retain more velocity down range by not having the skirt?

    Are they accurate in any guns?

    Do they key hole at certain velocities and distances due to destabilization as velocity decreases?

    The video by Paul Capello under the video link on PA covering the H&N pellets mentions them and how interested Paul is in testing them.

  40. Matt61,

    A 2×6 can tell ya a lot!

    3 of them thick can tell ya more..

    What the heck good is foot pounds if it's in the soil or tree behind the prey.

    Sure if your hunting at 500 yards you want a 30-06 or 7mm win mag or more flat shooting rounds..

    But, that's not Southern Oregon…. That's Eastern Oregon.

    Nate, was just saying he found online that the "safest" round for self defense for the "neighbors" on the other side of the wall, is the .45… very rarely does it get to the next room, if it hits the target.

    When B.B. said my .45LC pistol round can take a buffalo in my lever action carbine marlin 1894… I got very interested and started testing on the 2×6…

    Isn't this the theory of Air Guns.. have the foot pounds end up where you want, the target.. not in your neighbors yards?

    Using the recoil..

    The 12ga. semi-auto Browning A-5 uses the recoil to advance the next round… It's very easy to shoot, the recoil seems half of a double barrel or single shot.

    Wacky Wayne, Ashland Air Rifle Range

  41. monster,

    copper plated pellets won't damage the barrel of a 392 in the traditional sense.

    BUT, I've read about the fouling that these pellets cause in a benji 392/397 barrel. Accuracy falls off.

    In a typical steel barrel we take a rod with a bronze/brass brush and coat it with JB bore paste (abrasive) and scrub the fouling out of the barrel that pellets have caused.

    You don't have that option since the barrel's on the 392/397's is brass.

    I would recommend that you only shoot lead pellets. No copper coated pellets. My opinion.


  42. Matt61,

    Sorry about the flight. I saw the shotgun you mentioned shot on a TV show awhile back. Possibly the Military Chanel. The shooter wasn't a man mountain, just an ordinary looking guy. When he put some rounds down range, my old eyes lit up with the thought of moding the gun to use belt fed shells. Talk about the ultimate close in perimeter defense weapon. 00 Buck @ 600 rpm with every 6th one being a tracer slug.

    Anyhow back to my recollection of the show was that his lack of being bounced around was not because of his size, but do to the very gentle recoil of this full auto shot gun.

    Mr B.

  43. Matt61,

    100,000 pellets! Do you realize that when you finally cross that mark you will have shot about $3,600 worth of pellets weighing 143 lbs? You must have calluses in strange places.

    Well, I humbly submit that I am a very far cry from being anywheres near as good as you. The day I sighted in my scope I got two nickel-sized groups at 25 meters and thought I was the cat's meow.
    Today, I think otherwise. B.B. Pelletier, with his usual masterful subtlety, took me to task for the lack of evidence, and you rightfully have done the same. Here is the proof that today I must eat crow:

    I tested 5 different pellets, resting the forearm of the rifle on a stand, but I feel it moves around on me too much. I wish it were a fence post. I think I could do a little better then. Would it be disgraceful to sit instead of stand? Is this even allowed in competition?


  44. AlanL

    Sit down? You can lay down if you want to! Whatever works for you. As far as what is allowed in competition, that depends on the competition. In FT for example there are several acceptable positions, but the lane may dictate which position you must use.

    I think that 80% or better of the groups you see posted on the internet are from the seated, bench rested position.

    Also you are not competing. You are just trying to figure out exactly what your rifle can do, yes? So use whatever you need to to get a stable base for shooting. I like picnic tables. I wouldn't be surprised if your stand was moving enough to affect your accuracy.

    Don't worry about rules. Relax, have some fun and shoot some bitchen' groups. You can constrain yourself with rules later on.

    One last thing, after looking at that poor abused clip holding your targets, I beg of you, put a backstop behind that pellet trap! (Unless you want your stucco to have that chipped, rustic look)

  45. AlanL (and BB),

    Don't be so hard on yourself – that realy is not bad shooting from a wobbly standing position at 25 yards. Benchresting will probably close that up dramatically.

    BB – AlanL's moving groups is the same thing that I have observed/commented about before – any thoughts? Particularily on the one he comments about being several hours later (without adult beverages). I get the same thing happening sometimes, even shooting from the bench – groups that aren't really bad, just a full inch off from the previous POI.

    Alan in MI

  46. AlanL,
    IMHO, you are not so much at fault. Based on your CP HP and your Pred Poly groups you're on the right track. It's just a matter of pellet selection for you.

    Boy, you can't get nothing past ole eagle eye SL can you?


  47. On the POI shift: I get that all the time when switching pellet types. They just do that for some reason. Now, if that happens while using the same pellet, you have a problem but with different ones it appears to be a natural phenomenon.

  48. Chuck,

    The POI shift is with the same pellet in my case, as well as AlanL's – note the POI shift between the two Polymag groups and the more extreme movement in the two Barracuda groups (plus that is the one that AlanL noted being mysitifed on as well).

    Any thoughts? When it happens, I really focus on consistent hold and technigue too. The groups aren't bad, just shifted – a lot!

    Alan in MI

  49. Alan in MI,
    Yeah, since the shift is with the same pellet the variables are so numerable I can't address it with my limited knowledge. There are so many screws, clamps, knobs, bags, wind, hiccups, belches and f**ts as to make it impossible to address.

  50. AlanL,

    Thanks for posting your groups.

    Your 54 will shoot better groups but let's keep this in perspective. You're still breaking in your gun. For at least the first tin of pellets you're smoothing out the firing cycle and cleaning the barrel by firing a tin of pellets. Relax, it will happen.

    Do you occasionally see smoke (dieseling) out of the end of your barrel?

    After you've broken your gun in you need to take as many variables out of your shooting equation to determine which pellet groups best in your gun.

    The first thing I would suggest is get or make a portable shooting bench. Get a front bag or make one. When shooting place your hand between the bag and the gun.

    As others have said, don't worry about your poi being different than poa when trying different pellets. It happens. You're looking for the pellet that groups the best and when you find it you can adjust your scope for that pellet to land where you aim.

    Is your trigger to your liking or should you adjust it to be lighter? I shoot better groups with a light trigger.

    Your shift of groups with the same pellet is interesting. On one group you took a 3 hour break and when you came back the group shifted. I've had this happen and in my case it was usually because I took the gun indoors where the temperature was dramatically different than the outdoor temperature. Until my gun and scope acclimated to the outdoor shooting temperature the groups would shift. I think the primary reason for this is the expansion/contraction of the glass in a scope.

    If a pellet (like the jsb 14.3 gr) won't group in your gun it won't group. Move on to other pellets.

    Check your stock screws and scope mount screws often. Also remember to check the lock ring around the turrets on your leapers scope. The 54 will jar these loose frequently.

    Pay attention to your cheek weld. Place your cheek at the same point on the stock every time with the same pressure every time. Put a piece of tape on the stock and make sure your cheek hits that tape in the same place every time. An inconsistent cheek weld could explain the group shifts with the same pellet as well.

    Have fun with this. It's not a job.


  51. Both Alans,

    Since I cannot see AlanL's groups (can't open his PDF) I can't comment on group shift. But in general group shift is due to shooter parallax. Kevin hit the nail on the head when he said to get in the same position on the stock every time.


  52. Kevin,

    As usual, thanks for your insights. I really appreciate the time you have taken to help me.

    I have been getting some dieseling, but not much, maybe on just 5 or 6 shots early on. Only was really bad though (big bang, lots of smoke)– maybe on the 5th or 6th pellet I ever shot, right at the beginning. When I opened the breech for the next pellet quite a bit of smoke came out. I almost thought I'd shot a regular bullet cartridge!

    I will definitely get a good bench and front support.

    Is it normal for the entire action on the 54 to move with a marked 'clunk' every so often when I lower the gun? I know the whole thing slides on its sledge to absorb recoil, but it's disconcerting when, after a shot, it sometimes just clunks forward again. Also, I sometimes get the impression that the sledge is still in the back position for some shots and didn't slide forward again when I cocked it. Then I seem to feel a little more recoil, but I'm just not sure– maybe I'm only imagining this.

    Another thing: does the connecting rod on your cocking lever have a slight bend at both ends? My lever does not 'click' into place when I close it and just seems to rest against the barrel with no resistance to keep it there, yet I thought that at the beginning it did. Once, when I raised the rifle and prepared to fire, the lever partially opened up again– just moved away from the barrel about 3". I find this annoying.
    (Should I move to the latest blog with this?)


  53. AlanL,

    The clunk is just the sledge system locking in place when it slides forward. All sledge systems do it.

    Yes, shoot from a bench. With an air rifle of this size and weight offhand is not a good choice. That would have been true of the TX 200, too.

    In the field you learn to rest the gun before shooting. Trees, stumps, fences or just a good sitting position if all else fails.

    All Diana sidelever cocking links have a bend in them. It's engineered to keep tension on the sidelever at rest. You can adjust it (read the manual, it should be in there, though I would not swear that it still is) by turning the threaded base of the flexible link. Of course the front end has to be disconnected from the sidelever when you do.


  54. AlanL,

    Dieseling is normal for a new gun. You're burning off the excess lube. This can explain your groups opening up since the velocity radically changes. Should stop or become minimal after about 500 shots (tin of pellets).

    Yes it's normal for the action to move backwards when you raise the rifle upwards.

    My 54 is long gone. I don't remember if my connecting rod on the cocking arm had a bend at both ends. I do remember "a little play" in the cocking arm when closed against the barrel. Don't remember mine moving away from the barrel 3" but I wouldn't worry.

    You'll probably get more readers of your comments on the newest blog.


  55. Tom I've known this for so long I don't remember how or where I learned it. When you seat the pellet flush or just barely past flush, the volume of the compression area is smaller and the pressure is higher. The opposite happens when you deep seat the pellet. HTH

  56. I recently purchased (3 wks ago) a crosman 2240 pistol. I'm really happy with it other than it doesn't seem to have the power I expected. At about 26-30 ft using .22 cal spire point magnum pellets, they do not penetrate an empty 2 litre plastic bottle. It takes the label of the bottle but that is about it. If the bottle were filled with sand or something adding weight would that help, or maybe a different type pellet. Maybe I'm expecting more than I should (been about 40yrs since I last owned a pellet or BB gun). Am I expecting to much from a stock version 2240?

  57. I once embarrassed myself in the Army with a submachinegun demonstration, trying to break balloons that were held inside a net bag. The .45 caliber bullets simply shoved the balloons to to one side without breaking them. It took a faster 5.56 mm round before they would pop.

    I think that is what you are experiencing.

    Try filling the container with water and see what happens.


  58. I am looking to buy Daisy Red Ryder and Davy Crockett Arrowheads. Does anyone have any they would like to part with? They are made of plastic and measure about 1 3/4" long and 1" wide. Any information would be appreciated.

  59. Anonymous Arrowhead,

    you are posting on a blog first written a week ago – Feb. 16, You should post on the most current blog to get the most exposure. Go here:


    Then scroll down to the end of that FIRST blog (there are a number of blogs here with the newest being the first and then getting older as you scroll down). You know what to do after that.

    Good Luck!

    Fred PRoNJ

  60. Glad to see Crosman pushing things. What I would like to see from them is a fixed barrel, side or underlever cocking, gas ram 'revolver' style repeater. One I don't have to cock the barrel. One that will shoot 6-14 rounds before changing to the next cylinder of pellets. Gas Ram for keeping it cocked longer inbetween gophers and grackles and in the field.
    We need a good repeating pellet rifle from the progressive folk in the USA. I love Theoben rifles but would prefer to give my money to a US company.

  61. Crosman pushing things for gophers and grackeles,

    Have you looked at their marauder?

    Have you looked at their Benjamin Trail NP XL by Benjamin?

    Did you know that their plans for the Marauder is to introduce a .25 caliber?

    I prefer to give my money to American companies as well.


  62. i understand how breakbarrel guns work but i'm unclear on how underlevers work. with the large price differce i;m currious about underlevers. if i go with a break barrel i' trying to decide between the crossman quest 100x with case or a gamo big cat.I mostly want it for target shooting but i may take the occasional squirrel any tips would be appreciated sorry about the typing i had a minor surgry and the pain pills are knocking me out.

  63. Steve,

    B.B. wrote an article giving the pros and cons for each spring power plant that might help answer your questions:

    If you'd like to know the technical details without perusing the full schematics of different rifles, try his 12-part series on spring gun tuning, particularly part 8 where he details differences between break-barrels and underlever/sidelever guns.

    If you still have questions, post them to the current days blog posting where most folks are hanging out, and you should get them answered more quickly.



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