S&W 78G and 79G – Part 3
by B.B. Pelletier
Before we get started with today’s report, here are a couple of announcements. First, Dee Liady told me she is going to offer Fred’s remaining airguns at the show. When he sold his collection to Robert Beeman, Fred kept his airguns made by Gary Barnes. They will be available at the Roanoke airgun show along with any other airguns he may have had.
And, second, for AlanL., who wanted to know the velocity of a stock S&W 78G, Derrick has generously chronographed his stock pistol with the same pellets I tested in Part 2 of this report. He shot at 68 deg. F, with the muzzle 14 inches from the start screen of his Chrony Alpha chronograph. He had a bubble level attached to the gun and used a fresh CO2 cartridge for each shot string. He also adjusted power from high to low with the RWS Superdomes, so we get the entire power spectrum that’s possible with a stock 78G.
On low power, RWS Superdomes averaged 400 f.p.s.. The spread went from 391 to 405.
On high power, the Superdomes averaged 440 f.p.s. with a spread from 437 to 442. See how tight that spread is? That’s where the gun wants to shoot. The other two pellets were tested only at high power, though it’s easy enough to interpolate the lower power performance from what you’ve seen here.
RWS Hobby pellets averaged 457 f.p.s. The spread went from a low of 451 to a high of 460 f.p.s. Again, a tight spread. And this was on high power.
The Crosman Premiers in the cardboard box averaged 427 f.p.s. The spread went from 421 to 432 f.p.s.
Those averages are for a box-stock S&W 78G. Now you can see how much faster my souped-up pistol is by re-reading Part 2. Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the gun. Several readers have said they like the hang of the 78G best of the three guns I’m testing. I must admit that it feels very nice in my hands. And the trigger, despite being just a single-stage and not adjustable, is also quite nice.
The rear sight adjusts via two conventional screws, although the lack of click detents makes it something of a guessing game. There are also no reference marks for windage, so you have to watch closely to see which way the notch is moving. Remember, move the notch in the same direction that you want the pellet to move.
Superdomes had done well in the other two pistols, so I tried them first. In the 78G they fit the breech rather snug, though with the bolt to push them in there was no problem seating them. They ended up well-centered on the bull at 10 meters, but scattered in a disappointing group.
Premiers went into the breech without any tactile feedback. I wondered how they would perform.
RWS Hobbys printed a strange looking group, but it was the smallest of the three pellets tried. They would be worth further investigation.
The bottom line
The S&W 78G is the most powerful of my three pellet pistols, but it’s also the least accurate. However, I haven’t tried all pellets, so this one test is not conclusive. It’s a fine shooter with a great balance and feel. My thanks to Derrick who went the extra mile to give us what we wanted in terms of a normal test. That was a lot of work, and I thank him for it.
All three tests
When I started this test, I believe I said the 2240 would beat both pistols in power and accuracy. That didn’t happen. The 78G was more powerful and the Crosman Mark I was the most accurate. But the 2240 held its own against these costly veterans. And being the only one of the three still being made today, most shooters would welcome it.
Also, there’s the modularity to consider. The 2240 can be turned into almost anything you desire, while both the others are what they are. I think the 2240 is by far the best value in a CO2 informal target pistol.