by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald

The first report on the Beeman R1 received a lot of reader comments. Apparently, I’m not alone in my admiration for Beeman’s big rifle.

Kevin asked me what kind of tune I like for the rifle, and I answered that the Venom Lazaglide tune was the best I’ve ever tested for those wanting power and smoothness. I have my own R1 tuned down to 14-16 foot-pounds because it’s so easy to cock. I like how it feels at this level (read: without vibration), so I may be shooting it like this for a while. Of course, the Lazaglide doesn’t vibrate either, but it’s twice as hard to cock.

Mac’s test rifle was shipped with Pyramyd Air’s 10-for-$10 test. That gave him a chrono ticket for the rifle, and it opened an interesting window into testing and expectations. The chrono ticket Pyramyd Air sent with the rifle was for 10 .22 caliber RWS Superdomes. The velocity on that ticket ranged from 772 f.p.s. to 790 f.p.s. with an average of 779. The Superdome is a 14.5-grain pellet, so the average muzzle energy was 19.54 foot-pounds. Let’s keep that number in mind as Mac’s numbers are revealed.

Crosman Premiers
The 14.3-grain Crosman Premier pellet is pretty standard fare for the R1. Back in the day, which was the early 1990s, we used to speak of R1 tunes by referring to how fast the .22 Premiers were going. You could expect a new R1 to launch a .22 Premier at around 750 f.p.s.

Lo and behold, Mac’s R1 averaged 746 f.p.s. with the Premier dome! The spread was a super-tight 741 to 750 f.p.s., so only 9 f.p.s. separated the top from the bottom. That’s a well-behaved spring rifle. The average muzzle energy works out to 17.66 foot-pounds.

JSB Exact Jumbo 15.9-grain pellets
This is the pellet I would expect to challenge the Premier for accuracy in an R1. The JSB Exact Jumbo 15.9-grain pellet is the new world standard of the 21st century. It works in most air rifles of this power level.

In Mac’s R1, the pellet averaged 702 f.p.s. The spread went from 698 to 705, so again we see the evidence of a well-behaved springer. The average muzzle energy worked out to 17.38 foot-pounds. At this point, I began to suspect the Pyramyd Air numbers, because they were two foot-pounds above the averages of these two very consistent pellets. More on that in a moment.

JSB Jumbo Express 14.3-grain pellets
The JSB Exact Jumbo Express 14.3-grain pellet fit the R1 bore loosely and had a velocity spread of 16 f.p.s., or about double the others. The average was 731 f.p.s. and the spread went from 723 to 739. The average muzzle energy was 16.98 foot pounds. They may not be as accurate in this rifle due to the loose fit. We’ll have to test for that.

H&N Sport wadcutters
The H&N Sport wadcutter is a lighter pellet, at 13.73 grains. In the R1, it averaged 763 f.p.s., with a spread from 757 to 769 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 17.73 foot pounds.

RWS Superdomes
Okay, four pellets tested and not one topped 17 foot-pounds and change. So, now that 19.54 foot-pound number from Pyramyd Air is starting to sound suspicious. Mac decided to test the RWS Superdome on his chronograph and he got an average velocity of 727 f.p.s. The spread went from 720 to 731 f.p.s. That works out to a muzzle energy of 17.02 foot-pounds, or 2.5 foot-pounds less than Pyramyd Air got. What’s the reason for the big difference?

Chronographs don’t always agree
Well, two chronographs were used. That’s the big difference. I don’t know how the lighting is at the site of both chronos, but lighting will affect the numbers significantly. I remember having to scrap a bunch of R1 test figures when I was writing my book because they were 150 f.p.s. too high due to a lighting error. That’s the lesson here. The numbers don’t always tell the whole story.

You can also chrono a gun and get different velocities than somebody else, just because of how you shoot through the skyscreens. By not shooting straight through the skyscreens so the pellet path is perpendicular to the sensors, the numbers can be off. Pyramyd Air provided a chrono ticket, so it’s obvious they were sending the best information they had. But two chronographs will not always agree. That’s the lesson for today.

There’s one more big surprise coming in this test. Something Mac didn’t believe until he tried it and saw for himself. Stay tuned for Part 3.