by B.B. Pelletier
Today I tested the Air Venturi Bronco with a scope. I learned a lot today, but not all of it was good. I tried to force a shooting session outdoors when the wind was swirling from all directions at 20 mph and it was hard getting things to work right. Still, I have been trying to shoot the Bronco with a scope for so long that I went ahead and did it anyway. In the end I see I’m going to have to run this test again.
For starters, I was shooting at 21 yards and all the wadcutters were off their game from the wind. They would catch a blast and sail off like frisbees in whatever direction the wind happened to be blowing. Since it was swirling where I was, that could be any direction. So I didn’t test RWS Hobbys both seated flush and deep like I promised.
The scope I selected was a Leapers 4X32 long eye relief with a 100-yard parallax. That meant that either the crosshairs or the target could be in focus, but not both at the same time. Even at 21 yards, the bull was clear enough to see when it wasn’t in focus. So I compromised the focus. Next time I will mount a scope that adjusts for parallax and I’ll make sure everything is in focus. I didn’t link to the scope because PA doesn’t appear to stock it and I would not recommend it anyway.
So, this sounds like I’m building up to tell you that the Bronco doesn’t group, but I’m not going to say that at all. Even under these adverse conditions, this little Bronco is a wonderful shooter. But it only wanted to shoot domed pellets on this blustery day, and there’s a big tip for you guys.
Last year on American Airgunner we demonstrated the performance of wadcutters versus domed pellets at 10 yards and again at 40 yards. At 10 yards the domes, which were Beeman Kodiaks, shot close to the same as the wadcutters with the Kodiaks being slightly more accurate. I forget which brand of wadcutter we used, but they were also good pellets.
However, when we backed up to 40 yards, the Kodiaks were still shooting five-shot groups of less than one half inch, while the wadcutters opened up to over an inch and a half. One was as large as three inches! As the frosting on the cake a fly landed on the target with the camera running and Paul Capello hit him dead center with a Kodiak. And, for the benefit of both Wayne and Kevin, Paul was shooting an Air Arms S410 for this test.
The point is this–wadcutters are great out to 10 meters and they will work on calm days out to 25 yards, but they are the absolute worst long-range pellets you can use. And, if there is a wind of any kind, forget them.
But Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets performed admirably. They gave good five-shot groups and they gave good 10-shot groups, as well. I suspect they didn’t group as well as they might if there were no wind, but I wanted so much to do this test that I bulldozed through all the problems.
For the record I also tried JSB Exact domes in the 8.4-grain weight. Through the scope it didn’t look like they did very well, but when I examined the target I saw a different story. They looked as though they might out-group the Premiers.
The day was well below freezing and I wasn’t motivated to remain out very long–especially with the wind fighting me at every turn. So I will call this an abbreviated test that I will repeat in the not-too-distant future.