by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Hy Score model 801 is a handsome vintage spring rifle.

Let’s look at accuracy today. I shot the 801 at 10 meters, resting it on the backs of my fingers and using the artillery hold. Someone asked me last week which breakbarrels require the artillery hold, and I will say that all of them do. In fact, nearly all spring guns require it, with the possible exception of the RWS Diana 54. The jury is still out on that one. Some rifles, such as the TX 200 and the RWS Diana 48 and 52, are less sensitive to different holds, but in my experience they all need it. In fact, John Whiscombe once counseled me that even his rifles need to be held that way!

Of course, all pellets were seated with the pellet seater. After the lesson learned in Part 2, I probably won’t forget to do that for the rest of my life. And we now know that spring guns up to the power of a Slavia 630 benefit from deep-seating, thanks to Cowboy Star Dad. So, we’re narrowing the field.

One more thing I want you to notice. Watch how the point of impact moves with different pellets. It’s a lesson in why you need to sight-in with a specific pellet.

RWS Hobbys
RWS Hobbys scattered over a wide area. They may be cheap and fast, but they’re not right for this rifle. I would have thought they would do better because they’re a larger pellet, but no dice in the 801.

Five RWS Hobbys gave this open group at 10 meters.

Gamo Match
I tried the 7.5-grain Gamo Match pellets next, and a funny story about them. Apparently they are no longer available. When the 7.71-grain Gamo Match pellets first came out, I was assured by Gamo that the 7.5-grain pellet would continue, but apparently that information was wrong. Or, at least, that’s how it looks at this time. I’m not wedded to the lighter pellets, but I have said in the past that they were continuing and I want to correct that now.

Five Gamo Match pellets gave this large group at 10 meters. Two pellets went through the hole at 9 o’clock.

JSB Exact
The JSB Exact domes in the 8.4-grain weight shot a tighter group that was also more centered on the bull.

JSB Exact 8.4-grain pellets shot a tighter group.

RWS R10 Heavy pellets
RWS R10 Heavy pellets turned in what is probably the best group of the session. Notice how they completely changed the point of impact, as well.

RWS R10 Heavy pellets were the best of the session.

By this point, I was in the groove and couldn’t stop shooting, so I just selected a few more pellets and continued to shoot. These easy-cocking rifles will do that to you. I also want to comment that the single-stage trigger on this 801 is not the best in the world. It takes a lot to get it started, then the effort drops considerably and the release is clean.

H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets
Next up were H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. I expected them to shine in the little rifle because of how the R10 Heavies had shot; though they did okay, the group is noticeably larger. Notice, too, the POI shift. They shoot close to where the JSB Exacts do.

Finale Match Pistol pellets moved up and in from the R10 Heavies. They’re good but not the best in the 801.

JSB S100 4.52mm pellets
I know what you’re thinking, because I was thinking it, too. I wonder what those “magic” JSB S100 pellets with the 4.52mm heads will do. Well, wonder no more because I tested them and they were surprisingly average. Not as open as some but certainly not as tight as the best.

The JSB S100 pellets with the 4.52mm head were only average in the Hy Score 801.

Crosman Premiers
Then, on a lark, I finished the session with Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets. After seeing that the JSB domes were only better than average, I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for the Premiers, and that’s when the fairy godmother of shooting whacked me over the head! Premier Lites seem to be nearly as good as R10s!

Don’t guess. Shoot the groups to find out which pellets perform. These Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets did admirably. Two pellets in the top hole.

The bottom line
The Belgian Hy Score 801 is exactly what it claims to be–a fun plinking rifle whose light weight and easy manners make it welcome all day long. This is a classic, though before David Enoch turned me onto it I was as unaware these things even existed. It isn’t another Diana 27. It holds, shoots, looks and feels entirely different. But, in the sense that the Diana 27 is an air rifle for the ages, the 801 belongs in the same category. This little look has been fun.