by B.B. Pelletier
Photos and testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald
Before we begin, here’s another update on the Roanoke Airgun Expo that’s coming up Friday and Saturday, October 22 and 23. Pyramyd Air will probably be coming, with some new guns as well as some stuff from the back rooms. I’ll be returning a couple years of guns I’ve used for testing, so here’s your chance to grab a bargain on a gun you’ve read about.
Their plans are not solidified, yet, but it looks good at this time. If you want them to bring something particular to the show for you, this is fair warning that you should call them.
I’m also planning on bringing a larger number of my personal guns to sell, including some of those Daisy No. 25s I mentioned a few days ago. I’m also bringing my old 10-meter Chameleon target pistol that I no longer need since I bought Mac’s SAM-10. I’m coming to wheel and deal, and I hope to meet a lot of blog readers. I’ll take plenty of pictures for those who cannot attend so you’ll feel like you were there. Now, on to today’s report.
Here we are, looking at the rifle many shooters feel is one of the nicest spring guns ever made: the celebrated Beeman R7. Only today’s R7 is not the rifle Dr. Beeman designed. There have been numerous changes in the appearance of the current model that Mac will highlight for us. The first is that someone made the decision to omit the open sights. I think that was a mistake on a rifle of this power level, but we’ll see what the world thinks.
Next, the barrel was cropped noticeably shorter. It won’t affect velocity or accuracy, of course, but it’ll boost the cocking effort. The aluminum muzzlebrake was added to make up for this. The actual rifled barrel of the new R7 is about four inches shorter than the previous model. Mac says it feels to him like cocking an R9, but when he measured it, the effort required was only 18 lbs. That’s a solid youth rifle number and a force you can tolerate all day long.
Mac has his own R7 made back in the 1990s. I tuned it for him years ago; and from time to time, he’ll make comparisons between it and the new R7. My tune was just to quiet the powerplant, so the factory mainspring was retained.
While the R7 is touted as a youth rifle, the pull is 14.25 inches, making it ideal for full-grown adults. However, with the shorter barrel, the balance has now moved decidedly toward the butt, and the scope that must be mounted on the rifle accentuates the butt heaviness. The aluminum muzzlebrake doesn’t offset the loss of four inches of steel barrel.
The overall length of the new R7 is just 37 inches on the nose, putting it deep into carbine territory. If you look at the new design, it looks very inviting from that standpoint. It’s a faster-handling air rifle, which should thrill those who like carbines.
The fit and finish is high quality, both wood and metal. This is still an heirloom-quality air rifle, made to Weihrauch’s highest standards. However, Mac noted a few differences. The palm swell is gone. That’s a swelling on the right side of the pistol grip that feels better in the hand than a flat pistol grip.
The stock forearm is now checkered, along with the pistol grip. Before, only the pistol grip was checkered. The stock is no longer contoured at the triggerguard. And speaking of that, the trigger and return screw are both plated gold, as Beeman has been doing with several R-series guns in recent years. The Rekord trigger is set to break at 20 oz., which Mac feels is just about ideal.
The stock comb is not as pronounced as before, and Mac has provided photos of this so we can see the difference. The baseblock is also no longer tapped for open sights. Of course, this makes mounting sights much harder, but it also means you don’t have to buy a separate plate to cover the holes if you use a scope.
Mac’s rifle came with a Bushnell Banner 4-12x40AO mounted in rings. Although he noted that the barrel seemed to have a lot of droop, the scope was pretty well sighted in, which surprised him. We’ll hear more about that in the accuracy test to come.
The bottom line thus far is that Mac likes the new R7. He’s presented the most significant changes, and some, like the loss of open sights, he doesn’t like. But most, like the extra checkering and the shorter overall length, he likes just fine.