by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

The 92FS with wood grips is a big, beautiful handgun. With its weight and size, you’ll be hard-pressed to imagine that it’s an air pistol.

Today, we’ll test velocity on this Beretta 92FS wood grip air pistol, and I’ve incorporated one or two extra things into the test. But first things first.

Installing the CO2 cartridge
I said in the last report that I’d show you how the CO2 cartridges load into the gun. Today’s the day for that. To open the grip for a CO2 cartridge, just press in on what looks like the magazine release on the left side of the gun. That pops off the right grip panel, and you have access to load the cartridge.

Once the grip panel is off, you have access to load a CO2 cartridge. Here, you can see the mechanism to adjust the tension on the cartridge before the floorplate is pushed up to pierce it. Do not adjust the screw as tight as it can go, or you’ll wear the face seal that seals the cartridge.

Once the floorplate is pushed up, the CO2 cartridge should be sealed. The adjusting screw doesn’t have to be absolutely as tight as you can make it before you push the lever up. Leave a small amount of play (maybe 1/8 turn of the brass wheel), so the cartridge doesn’t smash the face seal. Don’t forget to use a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of each new cartridge. That’s how to keep your gun sealed for years to come.

Starting the test
The 92FS pistols function in both double-action and single-action modes. Double-action means just pulling the trigger for every shot, and the gun does the rest. For single-action, you first cock the hammer, then a pull of the trigger at your convenience fires the gun. Double-action requires a much harder trigger-pull, because the trigger has to both cock the hammer and advance the clip before the shot’s fired. Single-action offers the better trigger-pull, but it’s slower to perform.

The point is that the gun will perform differently depending on which firing mode is used. So, I chronographed it both ways for comparison.

You’re also interested in how many reliable shots you get from a CO2 cartridge. Umarex rates the pistol at 425 f.p.s., which is pretty fast for a CO2 pistol, so we can estimate that there will be about 50 good shots to a cartridge. Testing will confirm or refine this number. I should point out that because this gun has an 8-round clip, that was how many shots were fired in each string.

RWS Hobby pellets
The first pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby. It weighs exactly 7 grains and is a pure lead pellet, so it’s among the very lightest of all the lead .177 caliber pellets. That means we’ll see the highest velocity the pistol is capable of with lead pellets.

Double-action mode
In double-action, the Hobby pellet averaged 404 f.p.s.The range of velocities went from 388 f.p.s., to 434 f.p.s., so the advertised velocity is well within reason. At the average velocity, this pellet produces 2.54 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Single-action mode
In single-action, I often see greater power than double-action, but that seems to vary from one model to the next. In the test pistol, RWS Hobbys averaged 393 f.p.s. in single-action. The range of velocities went from 385 to 401 f.p.s. So, the gun is a little more consistent in single-action, though it gets a little less velocity. At the average velocity, the pistol generates 2.40 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Deep seating
I noticed that Hobbys fit the clip very snug and stopped before their entire skirt entered the chamber. Could that have lowered velocity, because of the energy needed to push the pellet into the chamber? I wondered, so I conducted a separate test.

RWS Hobby pellets fit the chambers of the clip very snugly. In this experiment I pushed them into each cylinder with a seating tool. The pellet at the top is seated with finger pressure alone, and you’ll note it doesn’t quite go all the way into the chamber.

The deep-seated Hobby pellets were all fired in the single-action mode. The average velocity was 395 f.p.s. and the spread went from a low of 385 to a high of 413 f.p.s. That’s so close to the results of the regular seated Hobby pellets fired single-action that I felt it wasn’t worth pursuing.

Beretta Target pellets
Next, I tried some Beretta Target pellets. They are an 8-grain pure-lead wadcutter pellet that Pyramyd Air no longer stocks.

Beretta Target pellets were smaller than Hobbys and did not have the same resistance to entering the clip chambers. In the double-action mode, these pellets averaged 373 f.p.s., with a spread from 355 up to 387 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 2.47 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

In the single-action mode, Beretta Target pellets averaged 348 f.p.s. The spread went from 340 to 365 f.p.s. The average velocity produced a muzzle energy of 2.15 foot-pounds.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets
Next, I tried Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets. They’re hard lead, of course, but they fit the clip chambers very well.

In double action these pellets averaged 361 f.p.s. They ranged from a low of 345 f.p.s to a high of 368 f.p.s. At the average velocity they produced 2.29 foot-pounds.

For some reason, the Premiers were slightly faster in single-action than in double-action. That was contrary to the rest of the test; but because I tested them last, it may be an indication that the pistol is breaking in. They averaged 363 f.p.s, and ranged from 351 to 375 f.p.s. At the average speed, the muzzle energy is 2.31 foot-pounds.

Total shots per cartridge
Since I was shooting both single- and double-action, my shot count was not as high as it might have been if I’d shot only in the single-action mode. In the test gun, I got 56 good shots before the power started to drop rapidly. The final shot went 326 f.p.s double-action. That equates to seven full clips between CO2 cartridges. Had I shot only single-action, there might have been one more clip in the cartridge.

None of the velocity strings were shot near the end of a cartridge. I made sure I had a relatively fresh cartridge for every pellet velocity test.

The gun has a long, heavy double-action pull. I would estimate it runs 12 lbs. or more. In single-action, stage two is very creepy and the break point is 5 lbs., 6 ozs.

I’m still impressed by the width of the grip on this gun. It really feels like a chunk in my hand. We’ll see in the next report whether that affects accuracy at all.