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Ammo S&W 78G and 79G – Part 3

S&W 78G and 79G – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

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.

RWS Superdomes
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 Hobbys
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.

Crosman Premiers
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.

Rear sight
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.

RWS Superdomes
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.

Superdomes are not the pellet for this 78G.

Crosman Premiers
Premiers went into the breech without any tactile feedback. I wondered how they would perform.

Crosman Premiers looked like they wanted to group. but in the end they were pretty spread out. Notice they also moved to the upper right even though the sights didn’t change.

RWS Hobbys
RWS Hobbys printed a strange looking group, but it was the smallest of the three pellets tried. They would be worth further investigation.

I didn’t try to make that smiling group. It just happened.

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.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

41 thoughts on “S&W 78G and 79G – Part 3”

  1. I know I’m always “a day late, a dollar short”, as the saying goes and the 2240 review ended. Why does everyone think it is so loud. As a kid I only shot BB guns, then in the military M14, M16 many others I don’t remember pistols, riot guns whatever. Now that I’m older I’ve only shot my friends 12ga and my 2240. Maybe I’m losing my hearing from old age and rock music, but I don’t find it loud and neighbors have never complained.


    • Rikib,
      The 2240 may not be loud compared to other C02 pistols or compared with the pumpers, but it is loud compared to a springer or moderated PCP. A lot of us are spoiled by quiet airguns and find guns like the 2240 loud. I have a nice Crosman 157 that I would love to be able to shoot at the house but it is too loud. It would be fine at a gun range or out in the country but I think it would be pushing it with neighbors on each side.

      David Enoch

      • David
        I guess I’m just fortunate to have neighbors that don’t mind. But then again they don’t complain about my 5 dogs (Great Dane, German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Pitbull/Bulldog Mix, and a Dingo) alerting them to people on their property either, their thankful. So I guess comparatively my 2240 doesn’t make much noise. 🙂


  2. Rikib I think you’re admirable. Not to insult you or disrespect you but you’re not one of the youngest persons here 😉 yet you’re still willing to learn and aren’t afraid of trying new things and most important… YOU’RE STILL ROCKING. I think you’re still young at heart and I truly think it’s great and I’ll try to stay like that as I get older (it shouldn’t be too hard as my wife often says that I’m a kid).
    Thank you and congratulations to all older people who like you aren’t afraid to try and learn new things.


    • J-F,
      Don’t see any disrespect in your comment. I am getting up there in years, retired U.S. Navy 100% disabled veteran and proud of it!
      I’m still try’in to rock and not in a rocking chair, yet.


  3. BB,

    I always find it interesting to see how different pellets behave in the airgun being tested. Here we have RWS Superdomes shooting right to the POA (point of aim) while the other two moved right from POA. This past Saturday, I was shooting on my “new” course – a target placed at the end of my property line against a thick tangle of bushes and my port well inside my house – basement entrance. Any pellets penetrating the bushes would shoot into the rising ground on the other side. Approximate range 29 yards. Falcons and JSB Heavys in .177 shot left of my POA with the Marauder while Crosman Premier Heavies shot right. Each pellet was roughly 1″ wide of my POA. FYI the Crosmans produced the best grouping of barely over 1″. The position was somewhat offhand – I was resting the rifle on the back of a chair while sitting behind the chair and making sure I had enough elevation to not hit the concrete lip I built at the rear entrance to my basement for flood control :).

    Rikib – time for you to experiment in your music tastes and try some jazz :). I know Georgia isn’t full of Jazz radio stations but if you have a high speed internet, try wbgo.org and look for the streaming audio connection. If you don’t like it – you’ve only lost time listening to rock. Only problem right now is BGO is conducting a fund raiser – they’re a not for profit station so no commercials.

    Fred PRoNJ

      • Hmmm, I don’t know but this is another experiment to peform to see if the pellets are doing weird things in flight. I’ll get back to you and the blog either Sunday night or next week. Looking forward to Roanoke – rooms and Commander Tom are set.

        Fred PRoNJ

    • Fred PRoNJ,
      I listen to all types of music from classical to heavy metal. Georgia is famous for it’s many musicians. Music Hall of Fame in Macon, Georgia. Even here in little Albany is where Ray Charles was from and there are may memorials to him. I was just using rock music to be funny about my possible degraded hearing.


  4. Morning B.B.,

    What an interesting series. You’ve made me the proud owner of a Crosman 2240–thanks PA. I’m going to mod the gun with a trigger job, steel breech, 10.5 inch barrel, pistol scope, walnut grips and an LDC. I’ll let you know how this all thumbs guy does.


  5. A note for those who get different barrels for their Crosman pistols…………

    Got my replacement barrel for the 2300 today. This one has rifling in it too. However there is a snag in the breech end that will need to be lapped out before installation.

    Check it out and fix if necessary BEFORE installation.


  6. ohhhh, I’m so newly impressed with my Slavia.
    As much as guns like the Slavia and R7 and such are considered to be best as short range iron sight plinkers, I’ve been on a quest this summer to see just how much long range accuracey can be wrung out of a gun like this.
    So on the weekend I received the 14mm BKL mount and Leapers 4x scope from Pyramyd. Set it up yesterday and headed out to the range.
    Now what I’ev been used to is 2-3″ groups at 30yds offhand.
    Got it sighted in and WOW…shot a 5 shot group offhand at 30yds that can be covered with a quarter.
    My next step is to see how hard it would be to fit a bi-pod on the thing…still trying for that soda can at 100yds by the end of summer.

    • CowBoyStar Dad,

      A bipod on your Slavia? I think your groups will open up. Anxious to hear your results. Have you tried bench resting the slavia to hit the soda can at 100 yards? I think it’s great fun to stretch the legs on these low powered plinkers. Kinda like lobbing a mortar round though.


    • I don’t know if there is a definitive answer to bipods and springers, but I think the verdict so far is negative. I would try for the soda can from a benchrest first. My sense of the bipod is that it improves convenience from a rest but not accuracy.


      • Thanks for the feedback guys. I did some googling in the last few minutes and one thing I came up with was a number of reviews on the Gamo CF-X with bipod…everyone of the reviewers said to ditch the bi-pod…it appears to be less than useless.

  7. B.B., going metric with your measurements, eh?

    Thanks for yesterday’s feedback on the question of bullet weight, charge, and recoil. Would you believe that where I meant to say “lighter bullet gives less recoil” that I actually meant to say “more recoil.” In other words, I was totally wrong. I’m reminded of my visit to the Indianapolis Children’s Science Museum with my aunt. She had never gone to college while I was a physics major at a university. We came to a display with two sets of identical gears, one large and one small interlocked with each other. One set had a handle on the small one; the other had the handle on the large one. The question was which was easier to turn. I gave my answer. My aunt turned a handle and… dead wrong. No wonder I switched majors.

    Anyway, being wrong is fine, but I’m a little more exercised about why. I don’t quite follow the explanation about powder residue, and in any case that wouldn’t apply to smokeless and certainly not to airguns. Besides, I believe that part if not all of the effect must be explainable in terms of the physics of forces. Here was my seemingly ironclad argument to convince me that larger bullets gave less recoil. The propulsive charge (say gunpowder) will generate a finite amount of force. The bigger bullet has more inertia requiring more force to get it out of the barrel. That will leave less force less over to push against the shooter. Now that you have shown me the light, I believe that my problem was in forgetting the Third Law about equal and opposite reactions. The extra force required to push the bigger bullet forward (especially in a sealed chamber) will also be transmitted back to the shooter. That must be what you meant by “reactive weight.” Also of possible relevance is dwell time in the barrel. The lighter projectile should go faster meaning less dwell time in the barrel and less time before the gases can expand into the air instead of recoiling the gun. Maybe a shorter duration of recoil is perceived in the mind as less recoil since the whole thing happens in milliseconds anyway. The business about powder fouling would add on to this, but that’s my best guess of the physics of what is happening.

    Redemption may be at hand. I don’t even remember the correct answer to the gear question which says something. However, with my biking experience, I will now say that a handle attached to the smaller gear (smaller diameter) would be harder to turn than the handle on the larger gear. Yes? If anyone lives near the Indianapolis Children’s Museum or knows the answer, let me know.

    On the subject of cats, I had quite an allergy to them as a kid so I tried to stay away from them. But that has cleared up, and there are a couple of cats around my complex for me to observe. They don’t have the joyous slobbering affection of dogs. In fact, they are always reserved and self-possessed. But something about their athletic grace, cool demeanor, mild affection, and familiarity when it appears definitely grows on you. I am a fan of cats.


    • Matt,

      Recoil is simply Newton’s Third Law of Motion at work. The rifle recoils in opposition to the force propelling the projectile. Greater projectile mass equals greater rearward thrust.

      The unburned black power mass (the smoke and soot) is added to the mass of the bullet to increase recoil. It’s that simple.


    • Matt61: I have a cat that is supposed to be hypoallergetic. (Did I spell that right?) Anyway she is a Abyssinian mix. My wife has been allergic to cats her entire life, at least to a certain degree. This cat does not bother her at all, something about the breed.( or a cats dander) If you like cats and want one, this might be worth checking out to see if it is for real or B.S.

  8. I’m writing today to thank you BB….this time around it’s thank you for getting me interested in the product “Blue Wonder”.I am about to order the professional size.That is how much I like the results I’ve gotten so far.I’m currently 2/3 of the way through a complete re-blue of a vintage lever action Marlin 36 30-30.This gun belongs to my best airgun “picker.” He has found me amazing airguns…like a Daisy 140 complete with strap in great cond.,a Daisy 1938 no.100,a perfect Sheridan C9 circa 1971,and a Benji 347 in the same condition.This will be his “keeper” Marlin,and when I hand it to him,he’s gonna flip.I am taking pictures,and will share them when I am finished.With 2 ruptured discs,it is great to have something to contribute to the world. Thank You BB!

  9. In know this is off the subject, but i m not sure where else to ask this question. The only airgun i own is an old pumpmaster, that i use to shoot squirrels, rabbits, coons, etc…. I have been looking to upgrade to a Nitro piston breakbarrel. After days of research and reading reviews i think i have narrowed it down to a Remington NPSS .22 in Carbon Fiber, Benjamin Trail NP XL1100 .22 Cal. Im not opposed to other brands such as Gamo but Crosman seems to get better reviews.

    The only differences i could find between the two guns i could find were the finish, length, and weight. I was hoping someone could help me compare the two guns pros and cons. Or possibly suggest another one of similar price that might be better.

    • Captbw,

      I don’t know where you are finding a Crosman NPSS to buy, but it is a better rifle than the Trail, in my opinion. I say that because the trigger is really adjustable. The Trail trigger has adjustments, but they don’t work very well.

      If you are buying from a small airgun dealer, find out what happens when things go wrong. Crosman will back the rifle, but it’s now an obsolete model and they may not have all of the parts at some point.


      • thank you for the reply BB. i was looking at the Remington NPSS .22. i only referenced crosman when asking about other possible guns because the i believe the Remington and Benjamin are both made by crosman. is the Remington NPSS .22 better than the Benjamin Trail NP XL1100 .22 Cal?

        • Captbw,

          Welcome! Glad you found your way here. Be careful these airguns can be fun and ultimately addictive!

          Would you mind sharing why you’ve narrowed your choices to the Remington NPSS .22 in Carbon Fiber or Benjamin Trail NP XL1100 .22 Cal?

          Leaning towards a breakbarrel since pumping is tiresome. Makes sense.

          Do you have pests? If so, what are they and how far. Are you target shooting? If so, how far? Are you just plinking at cans and tired of pumping your old gun? Is a scope necessary? Is a scope desirable? How much experience do you have in shooting a sensitive break barrel like the NPSS? What is your maximum budget for everything, i.e., gun + scope =?

          Your answers are not to satisfy idle curiosity but important to give you the best answers from this crowd of airgun enthusiasts that can save you a lot of time and money in directing you to the best airgun for your application without breaking the bank.


  10. BB, a while ago did you mention a large line of lead free pellets soon to hit the market, or am I just making this up in my head? I’d be exited to check out some of them.
    Thanks, HK

  11. CowboyStarDad,
    On your soda can challenge, be careful with the scope, it does halve your groups instantly, but with a low powered springer, you may run out of adjustment well before 100 yards, and its not as much fun, either. With ~500fps (Hammerli 490), 60 yards is about the best I’ve been able to do semi-regularly on a similar sized object offhand, but I haven’t tried many pellets with it (just wadcutters and Superdomes); with ~850fps(?–QB36-2), I can hit a soup can at 75 for sure (I had targets set up there for a while), or at least I could at one time, and I think I hit it a few times at 100, but it was more a miracle than skill, and the last 25 yards makes a big difference. In fact, everything after 50 is hard won, although once you find your zone, you’ll be surprised how many times you can hit something like that. Pellets also make a big difference — the Superdomes are the worst at >~35 yards in my experience, especially with a lower powered springer, because they have a lousy BC (~.011), just a little better than a wadcutter. It really gets noticeable at >50 yards. The cheap Crosman Field/Hunting Points really shine for long distance plinking (great BC), but they are not as consistent as RWS or better grades of Crosman, meaning you will get some dinky pellets that throw off your group or string of hits if they slip through; worth a try, however, as they almost give them away. Probably Premiers or Exacts would be a good choice, as always; I’m just too cheap to shoot them at cans all the time:). The bipod, as you already discovered, probably won’t help. Even resting a springer is trickier than just shooting it, so you might try moving the can out 10 yards every week or something and shooting it off hand. Free advice, and worth every penny:)! I know you can do it without my help, but I figured that it would be a shame to waste my lifetime of shooting at cans by not saying anything:).

    Any updates on your Savage? I just had mine out today after several months away from it (ML’ing), and it did fairly well at 100 yards with Remington subsonics (solids), after I figured out the wind. When I started, there was not much wind, and the shots were hitting mainly w/in a 1.5″ circle, but when the wind started up, the group widened over 3″. The wind was either coming toward me or from behind, alternating over time, and I could actually see/predict where the shot would land based on which direction the wind was blowing and how hard. It was neat, and a testament to how well the little rifle shoots if it’s aimed and fired properly (not to mention the bench and rest:)); wish I could get the hang of compensating for the wind a little more precisely:). That ammo seems worth trying if you are still experimenting — we can get it here for a reasonable price at Sportsman’s Warehouse, if you have one.

    • B-G Farmer…I do appreciate the feedback.
      Just looking at Chairgun confirms what you say…at 550fps, once your past about 30-40 yards it seems pellet drop increased dramatically.
      What I’m in fact aiming for is no more than consistently being able to hit the can 1 out of 5 times.
      I’m always up for a challenge.

      • CBSDad,
        Chairgun is really handy. The field points are king for that kind of shooting, if your rifle likes them. My 490 won’t shoot them well at all compared to wadcutters at its ideal range, but the 36-2 loves them, so I buy them by the carton.
        Just to clear it up, I looked at the box (keeping my notes), and the Remingtons are subsonic hollowpoints — not solids. I probably wouldn’t have shot them (or even bought them) if I had realized that, but I didn’t notice. The “old guy” at the store said they were good when he tested them (I was just looking for something different), and the hollow-point is just a small dimple, so I never really thought to look.

  12. Well I hope many people make to the Roanoke Show. I wish I lived closer, I would probably make an attempt to go. I took some time off from my job, but it looks like I may have to do a little work on my house. So now my budget and time is a little tight. But I will definitely get in some shooting outdoors while the weather is still nice.

  13. “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.” Granted there are many more mods available for the 2249 (including, but not limited to the highly cost effective Crosman Custom Shop), but my MAC1 LD would beg to differ that “they are what they are”!

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