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Ammo Testing 4 vintage 10-meter air rifles

Testing 4 vintage 10-meter air rifles

by B.B. Pelletier

Well it’s Friday again, and it’s time to have some fun. When I tested the TF 79 competition air rifle, I mentioned that I also shot several vintage 10-meter rifles the same day, just to make sure I was still able to shoot a good group. Well, we heard from a lot of readers who apparently like these oldsters just as much as I do, so I thought I would take today and report on how they all did.

I’ve owned most of the better-known classic 10-meter target air rifles over the years, but I didn’t hold onto them because I was always chasing some other dream. Long-range accuracy or big-bore prowess were always competing with these quiet target rifles, and there’s only a finite amount of money to go around. So, over the years I’ve both shot and given up some real vintage beauties.

A couple years ago, I decided that I had to always have at least one vintage 10-meter target rifle on hand at all times for when those assignments — like testing target pellets — came along. At the Little Rock airgun expo, I searched for an HW55 — a rifle that I knew from experience would be right for the job. Well, there was one in my price range. What I didn’t know at the time was that it was a very rare version of the HW55 that not too many collectors have ever seen. It was the HW55 SF, the only HW55 ever made without the positive barrel latch on the left side of the action. In reality, it’s just an HW50 with a target sight, but Weihrauch had marked the barrel as an HW55, and I was able to find a listing for the model in a vintage catalog from Air Rifle Headquarters. Technically, it’s a 55, even without the barrel latch, because the manufacturer says it is.

I’ve owned most of the better-known classic 10-meter target air rifles over the years

That rifle sparked a renewed interest in vintage 10-meter target rifles; and over the course of the next two years, another four guns have come into my possession. They are, in order of acquisition, a Walther LGV Olympia, an HW55 Custom Match, an FWB 300S and, most recently, an FWB 150. The 150 is off to the airgunsmith getting overhauled right now, but the other three are on hand and are part of today’s testing.

From the comments I received, I knew that I would not only have to report on how these guns shoot, but also on their particular weaknesses, because many of you seem to want to acquire one for yourselves. Today’s report is not meant to be a detailed report on each of the rifles. There is no time for that here. I’ve already reported on the HW55 SF and the Walther LGV Olympia in separate reports that you can read, so there are only the FWB 300, HW55 CM and the FWB 150 yet to get their own three-part evaluations at some time in the future.

I’ll shoot four of the five target rifles for you to compare their accuracy against what you’ve seen from the TF79, not to mention the Crosman Challenger PCP and the AirForce Edge. Be sure to read the reports on the Crosman Challenger PCP and the AirForce Edge, too. And, also, please know that Crosman made another target rifle called the Crosman Challenger 2000 that was a CO2 rifle with a Benjamin 397 barrel. That rifle was never as accurate as the Challenger PCP, but you can easily get confused by the similar-sounding names.

The HW55 SF
As I mentioned, this was the airgun that kicked off my renewed interest in vintage 10-meter target rifles. As you can see in the picture, it’s just a simple breakbarrel that happens to have a target sight. In its day, which was around 1968, Weihrauch was making the finest breakbarrel rifles they ever produced, so there’s a lot to this rifle that you won’t see in an airgun made today.

The HW55 SF was an unexpected find. It was supposed to be a work-a-day test-bed rifle. Instead, it rekindled old interests.

Also, because this is a model 55 in the eyes of the manufacturer, they installed the special target version of the Rekord trigger. While the standard Rekord trigger is something to behold, the target version has a much lighter trigger return spring and can be set to release safely at just ounces of breaking pressure. So there’s not much difference in feel or performance between this trigger and the one found on the FWB 300.

Nearly all HW55 rifles have this locking lever for the barrel on the left side of the gun. It’s the most easily recognized feature of this model.

Only the rare HW55 SF is without a barrel-locking lever. The baseblock is marked “HW55.”

Five Hobbys made this incredibly tight target with the HW55 SF.

Five H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets made this somewhat mediocre target.

So, the old 55 likes inexpensive RWS Hobby pellets, too. What a plus! Sometimes, that’s exactly how it goes. I also shot RWS R10 Heavy pellets, but they weren’t as accurate as the H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets. The rifle is a bit buzzy when it fires, which I don’t like. But the accuracy is almost too good to do anything to the powerplant except use it as it is.

The two weaknesses an old HW55 can have are a bent mainspring and worn seals. The early seals were leather and can be handmade by the owner, but later guns used the synthetic HW50 seals that seem to last a long time. If the breech seal is synthetic, there’s a good chance the piston seal will be, too.

Walther LGV Olympia
The next rifle I tested was the Walther LGV Olympia. This old classic was one I bought from collector Tom Strayhorn, at what I thought was a super price. Tom sold it so low because of some finish loss on the forearm, but color me purple if that matters one iota! I’m a shooter. While I like a good-looking air rifle, if it shoots well it can look like a dog. Besides, I don’t think this one looks that bad! Finally, there’s a real advantage to my low standards!

Isn’t the Walther LGV Olympia a gorgeous air rifle?

The LGV has a beautiful firing behavior. It’s smooth and free from vibration. I like the way the heavy rifle cocks, as well. It’s so smooth that it’s like watching a bank vault door operate. The trigger is the equal of the HW55 target trigger.

A sort of mediocre group of RWS R10 Match Heavy pellets from the LGV.

This target was shot back in January of this year. It’s the same R10 Heavy pellet and the same rifle. I just did better that day.

The Walther LGV series guns have two flaws. First, they tend to crack their stocks at the pistol grip where the wood grain is aligned wrong for strength. Second, all of them were made with seals that crumble in time, but the replacement seals of today seem to last forever. So, check on the grip and seals before buying. Most airgunsmiths can work on an LGV because it isn’t too intricate.

HW55 Custom Match
This is a rifle that deserves a complete three-part report of its own. Although I’ve owned it for several months, I haven’t shot it that much. I know I got some good groups from it in the past, but to tell the truth, it was the ugly stepsister in this test. The firing behavior is harsh and jarring — not at all what I expect from an HW55. It feels like the rifle was tuned by someone who only wanted power. I think I need to open it up and calm it down.

The HW55 CM represents the finest technological advance of the entire series of rifles.

I have so much to say about the HW55 CM because it represents Weihrauch’s high-water mark with the 55-series rifles. Even rarer than the Tyroleans that everyone covets, the CM was around for only a very few years at the end of the half-century-long production run of the HW55. It was the finest “buggy whip” they ever made, though my rifle needed some fixin’ to get to that point.

An embarrassing target! These H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets should have grouped in less than half this space. I really need to tune this rifle to reduce the harsh firing cycle. I also shot the gun with the R10 pellets but won’t show it because it’s even worse than this one.

Compared to the other rifles, the 55 CM feels thin and spindly. It has the thinnest barrel of all; in this crowd of heavyweights, it’s a definite pipsqueak. The lower-grade 55 SF feels so much more substantial. Of course, that’s not how it’s supposed to be, and I think the harsh firing behavior is causing me to project bad feelings on the rifle. I really need to calm it down. When I do a separate report, I’ll tune the rifle and hopefully get it shooting like it should. If I can’t, this one will have to hit the road.

The 55 CM has the same flaws as the other 55 rifles. Mine has a leather breech seal, so I assume the piston seal is also leather.

FWB 300S
The last vintage rifle is the one all the others are always compared to — the venerable FWB 300S sidelever target rifle. It features a sledge anti-recoil system in which the powerplant slides a fraction of an inch on steel rails in the stock when the gun fires. The shooter senses only the slight rearward movement of the rear sight, but absolutely no recoil.

Feinwerkbau’s 300S is the standard against which all vintage target rifles are compared.

This is another rifle that will get a separate three-part report sometime in the future. I got it from Mac at the Roanoke airgun show last fall. Bought it for cash right off the table after looking at it for one whole day.

Five R10 Match heavy pellets gave this somewhat open, yet well-centered group from the FWB 300S.

This group of 5 H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets shows the fine pedigree of the 300S.

This rifle shoots good groups in spite of the person on the trigger. You almost can’t make it do otherwise. Together with the LGV Olympia, it’s the easiest 10-meter spring rifle to cock. I can’t wait to see what the FWB 150 feels like because this one has prepared me for a winner!

The FWB 300S is real prone to break at the wrist. And the seals will wear out. In this case, the No. 1 repair station in the U.S. is Randy Bimrose. I wouldn’t use anyone else.

The bottom line
I had a wonderful time shooting these four veteran target rifles. Each has its own personality and feel, but they all were at one time the best air rifles in the world.

It’s very relaxing shooting these old guns, because I don’t have to work hard to get good results. The lower velocity comes with reduced recoil and lower noise that makes the whole experience one worth repeating many times.

If I were to pick winners at this point, the FWB 300S would be the overall leader, followed by the LGV Olympia as the best breakbarrel.

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.

177 thoughts on “Testing 4 vintage 10-meter air rifles”

  1. It’s no secret on the blog that I’m a fan of the vintage 10 meter guns. The quality and pride of workmanship oozes from every pore of these guns. They’re so easy to cock, the triggers are wonderful and exceptional accuracy is effortless.

    If you only have up to 20 yards to shoot you really should have at least one of these guns. Make sure to buy one with the original match sights included. When you get bored with making one small hole at 10 meters with the terrific peep sight, slap a scope on it and shoot it further.


    Your HW55 CM is in stunning condition. Although the blocky forestock on the CM looks uncomfortable it’s more pleasant in my hand than even an FWB 124. Surprised me. I like the feel of the gun. Assume that your buttplate is adjustable? I know you like shooting wadcutters with these guns but…if pellets fit loosely in your CM (like they do in mine) try superdomes. The fatter skirts and tighter fit with these pellets are the only reason I can explain why they’re most accurate in my CM. The air arms field (4.52) are second best.

    It was your article on that HW55 T (that I think you got from Wayne) and the HW55 SF way back when that really got me interested in these fun guns. Thanks.


    • Kevin,

      I will give the CM a real chance to succeed, because it is a model I have wanted for at least the past 30 years. I only recently saw one and this one, that I got from Mac, is probably only the third one I’ve ever seen.

      For the sake of fun I will try the Superdomes, though my rule is if the gun is a 10-meter gun it has to shoot target pellets well.


  2. Hi BB,
    When I started to read this column I thought to myself that I only have one match rifle, a lefty FWB300S. I always forget to think of my HW55MM in the match rifle class. I tend to think of the HW55 rifles as a better R7 due to the HW55 being so much lighter that other match guns.

    I think I have had 3 FWB300S and still have one but i don’t enjoy the heavy weight so they often go on the chopping block. I have decided this time that I should keep this one, or at least one true match gun.

    David Enoch

  3. BB thanks for bringing out the “old guns”, this gives me inspiration to do some more work on my humble AR2078 in the appearance and functionality depts.

    Beeman P17 update; after 6 months and about 1000 rounds through her, still shooting tight groups at 10 and 15 meters with this little jewel. As I noted previously, I have been leaving the gun charged after shooting as an experiment towards valve and seal durability and again, yesterday, she came out of the gun case and went “pop”! Opened up the Chrony and put 10 rounds of RWS R10s over it and averaged 423 fps. No change from previous average of 421 fps.

    BTW I was about to toss out some of the “cheap” Beeman Chinese pellets that I have as they would not group in any of my rifles, they are accurate as can be in this pistol! Do Chinese pellets have an affinity for Chinese guns?

    This is a must have, too inexpensive to pass up pistol. (or did I just get lucky?)

      • This is why I come back here again and again for the constant reminders that there is always an “X” factor in this crazy hobby of ours!

        Thanks BB, as I bought 4 tins of these little Chinese buggers and thought I would have to toss them out!

  4. Good morning to all,
    I am a daily reader of the blog and a very frequent reader of the comments (when time allows). I have recently purchased a rifle I have been drooling over for 2 years, an AirForce Condor. Today I find myself with a question that I myself cannot find the answer. Also, I figured that Tom has worked extensively with AirForce rifles might be able to help me.
    I know that TalonTunes offers a frame extender as does Bull’sEye Bill. I can not seem to find any data on the Internet that would tell me which one works better. I have been unable to find any information comparing the two models.

    My Question is this: Does anyone know which barrel shroud/frame extender for the AirForce Condor most significantly reduces the report of the rifle.

    • Jason,

      As you probably know, I use the device that Air Hog sells. I haven’t tested it against other air rifle silencers, but I can tell you that it is quieter than a silenced Ruger 10/22 shooting standard-speed ammo.

      It is also about as quiet as a long-barreled .22 (28″ barrel) shooting short CB caps. I am testing my Talon SS with a 24″ barrel against a Winchester Winder musket shooting CCI CB shorts. So far the air rifle is more powerful, more accurate and just as quiet.


    • Jason:

      I installed an 18 in. 20 cal. barrel on my Talon SS, so I needed a frame extender for peace and quiet. I installed the Bullseye Bill, it works fine about the same as a standard 12 in. SS.
      For my Condor I decided to save the fifty dollars, I got a 1 in. piece of aluminum pipe from Lowes hardware. Take a 1 in. hole saw cut a plug out of 3/8 in. wood, seal it into one end of the tube with epoxy, use JB weld that way you smooth out the end with sand paper. Then paint the tube black and it looks factory made. You need to wrap one turn of fiberglass packing tape around the tube, because the tube is slightly smaller the the frame. This tape will not show.
      It works as good as the store bought one.
      The hole in the end is .250 you may need to enlarge it slightly if you have 22 cal. maybe not.

  5. B.B.,
    By any standard, the FWB 300S is a dream to shoot. It was when I started to shoot one of those that my offhand scores increased significantly. So easy to cock, quiet, and accuracy that I learned to trust implicitly. I guess the FWB 603 is the closest thing available still. Why did PA take it off their catalog?

  6. B.B….I seem to recall that you were giving the FWB300 to some deserving soul…you just needed my shipping address 😉
    Oh…it was a dream ;-(
    Man, that is one sweet looking gun, way more attractive (IMHO) than all the aluminum and carbon fibre in todays Olympic guns.

  7. BB.

    I can’t find a place where you specify the conditions of your testing. I assume it was 10 meters rested and 5 shot groups?

    I have to tell you these blogs on accuracy simply drive me crazy!! None of the groups you shot for this blog to me is great! The ones with a one hole clover leaf to me are simply acceptable but not great. All others shown are simply unacceptable to me!

    Granted I am a perfectionist. Granted I would like to see groups that look like one hole with fuzzy edges. Those are the groups in the .02 – .03 ctc range. Granted those don’t come in very often. I have shot only 2 or 3 such in my whole life. But for goodness sake, if you can’t consistently shoot a true target gun and obtain rested groups of .08 – .16″ ctc, what good is it?

    I expect any good high end gun to be able to do no worse than .25″ ctc consistently rested and any average run of the mill air gun to do no worse than .4″ ctc rested.

    I know many of you will consider those standards un-achiveable, but I won’t keep guns that don’t meet those standards. The standard for “run of the mill” airguns is the one that many run of the mill guns won’t reach. But I have shot many that will and still own one or two that will. And these are guns which top out at $200 max and some go down as low as $55 max!

    BB, if you will send me your email address to airsoftbestbuys at gmail dot com I will be glad to send you pictures of some of these groups.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Uhh, despite popular belief, BB is actually a human being, not a bench-rest vise. His groups are indicative of his eyesight, the conditions that day/hour, the pellets and 10 or 12 other influencing factors.

      BB often states that he does his best to simulate what the good, to better than average shooter would do if he were testing. That way, the more casual shooter or new-to-airguns person can read his stuff and come away hoping to achieve similar results.

      I’m sure that if he suited up like an Olympic Michelin Man with jacket and glovesand clamped his rifles to his body, he would meet your lofty standards.

      • Besides all that, he’s not functioning at 100% yet (about 90%, I’d say) due to his lengthy hospitalization. Plus, when he shoots, there are 3 cats milling around, and one is constantly meowing to chastise him every time he shoots. So, he has to contend with feline heckling with each shot! Not a perfect environment for top-level shooting. Put it all together, and you’ll understand why I’m surprised that he does even this good.


        • If I’m not mistaken, this blog is about what the average shooter who visits here can obtain with any given gun.
          If you’re looking for Olympic calibre shooting, which I daresay very few of us are capable of (including yourself pcp4me) you would probably be better off hanging out at targettalk.org or some such blog.
          I’m interested in knowing what a particular gun is capable of in MY hands…not what it will do in the hands of Matthew Emmons (likely the best American 10m air rifle shooter at the moment).
          If B.B. was to do what you seem to feel he should, this blog wouldn’t exist. Top calibre Olympic shooters train on average 6-8 hours a day. They wouldn’t be writing a daily blog helping all of us in cyber-space decide on what air rifle to buy.

        • Edith,

          I am sorry you felt I was criticizing Tom. I was not!

          My criticism was of guns which cannot reach a set of standards I deem reasonable, not shooters who can’t.

      • I don’t think he’s that far off — remember, he’s talking rested and only 10M, probably with a scope. 0.1″ at 10M is 1MOA roughly. I can break 1MOA at 100 yards with a c/f pretty easily from a rest w/scope, and I’m not going to be in the Olympics — I likely couldn’t even place in a local benchrest match with that.

        • Thank you BG. That is EXACTLY what I am talking about. Rested, 10 meters and a scope AND with the most accurate pellet for the gun. I want to know what the GUN will do, not what the average shooter can do. I already know what the average shooter can do, and it ain’t pretty!

          First I am not an average shooter. Far better. Second I am not an olympic quality shooter either. Far worse. But I like to use the best equipment I can within my means so I have no excuse for a shot gone astray. I have shot many different types of competition most of my life and I have found the winners are the guys with out the excuses.

          And I know .5 or even .35 moa at 100 yards from a rest is not a pipe dream. Years ago I had a Ruger 77V in .220 swift that with my hand loads printed .2 – .3″ 5 shot groups ctc. rested AT 100 yards. So often those watching knew it was no fluke. Also a Marlin 39M (for Mountie) lever action bull barreled .22 lr that would regularly shoot .5 moa from a good solid rest at 100 yards. So no reason a top quality air gun should not deliver at least .5 moa 10 meter groups from a good rest with a good scope and the best pellets for that gun!

          And WOW I simply can not believe my comments started such a controversy.

          Edith, I was not attacking Tom in any way. So chill please.

          To some of the rest, just because you can’t do it don’t mean it can’t be done. So chill.

          I started shooting at age 12. I am 64 years old now and have spent a LOT of time and a LOT of money shooting. At local and regional levels I have competed in just about any kind of match you can imagine. And won the greater majority of them.

          At 64 I don’t shoot as near as good as I did when I was 18 -45 years old, but still shoot WAY better than the “average shooter”.

          And no, I am not bragging. It’s only bragging if you can’t do what you claim! I am proud of my shooting abilities. And have every right to be. I learned it and earned it the hard way.

          If any one is offended by that, well I am not sorry. Get over it!

          To those who just discount me and blow me off, so be it. Many like you learned that I could do what I said when I beat them at matches! Others BET me and lost their money. And one gentleman lost the porcelain insulator on his electric fence AND $100 when he bet me $100 I could not hit it one shot with his “Whyat Earp buntline special .22 revolver” at 50 yards and watched his insulator split into many pieces when I squeezed the trigger. His brother bet me $100 I could not hit his Mercury vapor night light at 50 yards at night with my Ruger .44 magnum pistol. He lost his $100 and had to call the electric company the next day to replace the unit!

          To those of you out there who CAN beat me I say kudos. Keep up the good work! And I know there are some who can as I am not and never was the best shot in the world. I shot against him at a National ISPC? match about 30 years ago and he cleaned all our clocks! He wrote a book called “No second chance” I believe and I have an autographed copy of it. His name is John Shaw and at that time he was the BEST combat pistol shooter in the WORLD. And because he beat me I made it a point to glean as much information from him as I could.

          • pcp4me,

            No chilling required for me, as I’m not upset, perturbed or defensive. I was simply explaining that the environment wasn’t ideal and the shooter was not his usual self.


      • CBSD,

        Yes I am good! No doubt about it. But no where near in the olympic class either, and no doubt about THAT!

        But give me a break guys. We are NOT talking about off hand shooting here for crying out loud!

        We are talking BENCH RESTED here. At a mere 10 meters! With guns which have won the olympics! And with pellets which have a proven record of accuracy.

        And a really good bench rest setup is supposed to eliminate MOST of the variables such as old age, shooter wobble, poor health, etc. And a good pair of glasses along with maybe a good iris will eliminate the vision factor.

        Given all the above, for crying out loud why would I NOT expect stellar accuracy.

        Please guys don’t take it out on me for stating the obvious!

        • My take on this…

          B.B. was shooting from a rest. I have no idea what his sight picture was like. I have no idea how steady he was. I do know that he does not shoot these rifles a lot every day…he does not have time for it.

          I have some rifles that I can shoot much better than the groups that B.B. posted, but it depends on how steady I am on the bench at any particular time. I have gotten better groups at 25-30 yards with some of my rifles on the right day than B.B. did at 10m with these rifles, but on a bad day things do not go so well.
          Let’s say I am comfortable and not twitchy. I am never rock solid steady. If the groups are equal in size to my wobble factor then I know that I can never outshoot the rifle, and I have no way to determine how much smaller of a group that the rifle could actually shoot if it were held rock solid steady. I am happy with a rifle that works this way. When it is obvious that the rifle shoots worse than I can then I am not happy because I know that the rifle will always shoot worse than I can hold it.

          So I know that B.B. is doing his best on any given day, but what the rifles can really do will always be an unknown. We only know that these rifles can do AT LEAST as well as they did, and possibly a great deal better.


        • pcp4me…I’m going to offer a suggestion…and of course you can choose to ignore it.
          Perhaps reread what you write before posting.
          You’ve been taken to task a number of times here, on a number of occasions.
          As you have on other forums.
          You have a way of stating your opinion that can be quite aggressive.
          Which perhaps gets taken wrong.
          Or maybe instead of us all ‘chilling’ you just need to be a little more understanding and less aggressive.
          Just a thought.

        • pcp4me, you’re right about the benchrest factors. But I think another variable here is that the guns are springers. It is my (limited) experience that springers in some ways are harder to shoot benchrested than they are offhand to the expected level of accuracy. A soft hold on a rigid surface is inherently conflicted. Also, B.B. does not shoot these guns on a regular basis. This means there is the whole seasoning of the barrel with the pellet business that I don’t fully understand, and then there is the business of getting a feel for the gun which, again, I think is more difficult for springers. If I shot as many guns as B.B. does, my nervous system would be as confused as the chimp who went crazy because his old lady owner took bubble baths with him and dressed him in onesies.


    • pcp4me,

      I think you miss the point of Tom’s columns. He is trying to educate his acolytes, not just impress us with his marksmanship. Tom isn’t pretending to be an Olympic competitor. If Tom just wanted to impress us with marksmanship he’d have a PCP rifle in a sled and shoot one hole groups all day. But that column would be very very boring to read.

      The other thing here is that Tom is shooting springers in this column. Springers are notoriously fickle about the hold. I have no interest in reading a months worth of columns while BB would try to different rests, different positions, and different bags getting the group size down from 0.30 inches to 0.15 inches in a bench rest.

      Tom has always been open about his testing methods. His two groups with the RWS R10 Match Heavy pellets from the LGV are typical variations that one has to expect, sometimes reading between the lines. I’d like to see rigorously defined statistical testing before pronouncements that pellet A is better than pellet B. But it would be overkill, and boring to read. More importantly it would take a whole weeks of Tom’s effort to do such a column. I wrote one column and wow! I don’t know how Tom manages to crank out so many interesting daily columns. There were even blogs when Tom was hospitalized!

      I think most of Tom’s readers come back for the same reasons I do. Tom constantly injects wisdom and insight into aspects of the hobby that never even occurred to me to question.

      • I’m going to piggy back on what Herb has said since in typical fashion I think he’s hit a bullseye.

        The article today was an introduction to vintage 10 meter guns. Not an in depth look although that has been promised for the future.

        Anyone that has shot springers, whether they’re sporters or 10 meter guns, knows that it takes time to get acquainted with any gun. Even high dollar springers. Learning the correct hold that an individual gun prefers, proper position for cheek weld on that gun, THE pellet the gun prefers takes lots of time. In my experience when you have two guns that are the same model, that are manufactured in the same year in the same caliber one will outshoot the other. It’s rare to find a natural shooting gun in my world. It takes time and effort to unlock the potential accuracy in most airguns. Even 10 meter guns. Make no mistake. The accuracy is usually sitting there just waiting.

        Vintage guns, as stated in the article today, have other issues that are also variables in this equation. Tired breech seal, worn piston seal, hopped up springs, punched loading ports, incorrect front sight insert, etc. etc. that can also affect your accuracy. Some of the old club guns used in 10 meter greatly benefit from choking the barrels.

        It took me a lot of time with those few exceptional guns I own to be able to shoot .25″ ctc consistently rested at 18 yards (my quick and easy range). As B.B. has said repeatedly, the demands of this blog don’t permit this amount of time. It seems a pity that his priority has to be testing a new gun almost everyday to feed our insatiable appetite for new information. Seems impossible that this schedule would permit B.B. to get to know his own guns well.


  8. Hello all,

    I’m new to air gunning, a frequent reader, seldom poster to this blog. Some of you might remember that when i was getting into the sport i asked for and received some great advice here from the regulars. Well, i’ve continued to learn, and it has been a fun trip with no end in site… I got myself a .22 Benjamin Marauder last year when crosman had such a great sale on them right before Christmas. Recently i got a scba tank and fittings as well as a chronograph and have really been having a great time learning about this gun.

    Last weekend i spent the day tuning the gun, and was very pleased with the results. I am getting (on average) over 30FPE over a 30 shot string using 21.14g Beeman Kodiacs.

    I tuned the gun using cheap crosman 14.3g pellets, and when i got it tuned, i shot 5 different types of pellets to try and determine which would give me the most accuracy. They were (worst to best):
    Crosman premier 14.3(from the tin)
    Discover hollow point 14.3g
    JSB 14.3g
    JSB 15.9g
    Beeman Kodiacs 21.14g

    With the Kodiacs and the 15.9 JSB’s i could consistently make a ragged hole at 13yards from a bench rest. The others were worse, but all were w/in a dime sized group at that range. I figured that the gun just liked the heavier pellets, so i ordered some 18.1g JSBs ; i felt pretty sure that these would work well in my gun. Oh how wrong I was! These pellets are giving me 1.5 in groups at 13 yards.

    I’m very puzzled by this, and am hoping that some of you with much more experience will perhaps be able to shed some light on this for me.

    I am wondering… Will different tunes yield different results for a guns ‘favorite’ pellet ??

    I have read some posts on different sites where guys are saying they can stack the cheap Crosman Premiers w/ their mrods at this short range, and many many posts saying the JSB 18.1g pellets are favorites. Is there really that much variation from gun to gun ?? I’m thinking i may even want to swap barrel’s on my gun so i can have more choices of pellets which shoot well from it.

    Anyway, if any of you would be so kind as to share some wisdom with me about this, i’d be grateful.

    Thanks in advance,


    • Steve,

      Like you I have not been able to get good groups with the 18.1-grain JSB. While my groups are more like .75″ at 25 yards, they don’t come close to what a Baracuda/Kodiak will do. That is with 10 shots.

      I read about other people who do well with this pellet, but I have yet to see it myself.


      • Thanks BB!

        i’m not going to give up hope on them yet though.. i bought a thousand of them, so if Kevin’s ideas won’t make em shoot well for me, i guess i’ll be looking to find someone willing to swap.


    • Steve you have collected some good data there. Sometimes you have to stick with what works and let go of the “darkside” of perpetual experimentation (unless you really like experimenting?) The Marauder is a great example of a gun that has variables you can adjust and play with. Optimal shot count versus max MV or fps multiplied by weight of pellets you wish to play with could keep you busy for a long time.

      Your Kodiak and JSB results are excellent, why not stick with those and have fun?

      M-Rod Owners: Any pellet suggestions for Steve?

      • Thanks Brian!

        Actually, i DO like the experimenting. It is part of the fun! In the end though, i appreciate your comment; the end goal here is to have a very accurate shooter which i can depend on putting lead where i point it!


    • Steve,

      I spent a lot of time with a friends .22 cal marauder trying to get it to group at 50 yards. I’ll share some insight.

      Yes, a different tune/adjustmenting for power will affect the guns pellet preference. If you’re happy with where you have the power set (30fpe) continue on your road to finding the most accurate pellet. Here’s my insight and suggestions:

      1-Every gun is different. Don’t worry if your marauder won’t shoot the same pellet well that other marauder owners say is most accurate in their gun. Yes, there really is that much variation from gun to gun.

      2-If the 15.9 gr jsb’s and kodiaks are best at 13 yards they’re the two pellets to start with for longer distances. The inaccurate pellets won’t start grouping at longer ranges. Don’t worry about it. You only need to find one pellet that shoots accurately in your gun. When you find that pellet, stock up on that pellet.

      3-Have you cleaned your barrel? If not use the search function here and use jb bore paste. If that doesn’t improve your groups try mothers mag instead of jb bore paste on your brush. This was a final step that we took with erik’s marauder and the improvement was dramatic.

      4-Consider lubing your pellets with krytech. This also made a difference in his .22 marauder.

      5-Consider trying unlubed and lubed H & N Barracuda Match (5.52mm Head Size for starters) pellets in your marauder. These appear identical to the kodiaks but the performance differance between these pellets is dramatic.


      6-Swapping your barrel doesn’t provide any guarantees. You may have a good factory barrel that you just haven’t found the right pellet for yet. For longer ranges many have swapped factory barrels on the marauders with the green mountain or lothar walther barrels and seen some improvement. No guarantees though. I’d encourage you to spend more time pellet testing and consider my suggestions first though.


      • Thanks Kevin… You rock!

        I have not cleaned the barrel. This sounds like an obvious thing to try, but sometimes i overlook the forest for the trees 🙂 I’ll try this first; i only have about 800 rounds through the gun, and i didn’t clean the barrel when i got it.

        I”ll also get and try some of the Barracuda Match pellets that you suggest.

        I learned from one of your earlier posts about the krytech, and it really made a difference in the performance of the Kodiacs. I lube all of the pellets i shoot through the gun now.

        Thanks again for the excellent ideas!


        • Steve,

          You’re welcome. One last thing.

          We used the A Team advice on tuning eriks marauder and had the action in and out of the stock many times. The lone stock screw on his marauder didn’t care for this since it quickly worked its way loose while shooting. Pay attention to this screw. You may have to increase the size of the washer since the wood on the marauder stock “squishes” easily. Vibratite on the threads can also help. As you know, if you don’t keep that lone screw snug you won’t ever achieve the potential accuracy in your marauder.


          • Steve

            Welcome to the club! I also have a Marauder as does Chuck, Derrick, FREDproNJ and a few others I have forgotten. You can get some excellent advice here.

            My Marauder in .22 spits out 18.1 grain JSBs like a blind old man spitting out cherry pits. Not impressive at all. On the other hand, it quite likes the lighter JSB diablo exacts (5.52mm) and Air Arms diablo field. It’s absolute favorite pellet is the Crosman Premier IN THE BOX which I lube with BB’s recipe for Whiscombe honey. I would not expect to get stellar groups from ‘premiers’ in the tin.

            If you clean the barrel I would suggest you use Derrick’s method as outlined on his blog:


            scroll about halfway down to see the pertinent info.

            As you look around on the web, you will encounter much discussion about these rifles. I think you can disregard about half of it. Initially Crosman was shipping .22 Marauders that had baffles that were clipping the pellet as it left the muzzle. That problem has been fixed. Also I read alot of people who were fighting their rifles. That is to say they wanted their Marauder to shoot 18.1 JSBs well, so they would send their rifle off for several months and with several hundred dollars for a tune or a new barrel. Absurd! Just find the right pellet! Find the pellet that suits the gun, don’t change the gun to suit a pellet.

            Best of luck to you.

            • Thank you so much for the link to the step by step instructions; i didn’t read it till i responded to kevin’s link and asked yet another question 🙂 I think this answered my question about removing the barrel prior to cleaning/polishing.


          • Dang Kevin, you amaze me… I lost that screw in the leaves when i was doing my tuning. I’m waiting for another to come from crosman as i type 🙂 . That’ll be step 1; I’ll check again when i replace the screw and get it snugged up.

            Oh yeah, one other thing: When i go to clean/polish the barrel w/ the JB bore paste, i’ll need to completely remove it so that i won’t damage the o-ring ; is that the correct way to do this ??

            Thanks in advance!


            • Steve, yes, that would be optimal to remove the barrel as long as you are comfortable with doing that. Also, check the crown (muzzle) while you are at it. Take a new, clean Q-tip and gently insert about 1/8 inch into the muzzle (do this in good lighting) slowly pull it out dragging it against the edge of the rifling where it meets the crown. If any of the cotton fibers snag or look as if they are being pulled away from the Q-tip as you remove it, you have micro-burrs where the rifling and muzzle face intersect.

              Stop. Don’t do anything with the crown yet. Polish your bore as noted by Kevin with JB Paste or Mothers Mag Polish, there are videos and blogs on this site that will get you more info on polishing. Thorough polishing may take care of any micro burrs at the muzzle and maybe not. If you want to crown the barrel later, come on back here and take a look at Fred’s guest blog posted just a few days ago. He got his barrel just right after only a little work and experimenting.

    • Steve,
      I found .22 Crosman Premier, 14.3gr, IN THE BOX, to be the best so far for my Marauder. However, the CP’s are notorious lead residue pellets when shot dry at high speeds. I do as others do and very lightly lube my CP’s with the Wiscombe Honey formula. I, too, tested the JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo Heavy 18.1gr pellets and they came nowhere near the boxed CP’s. I have not tried any other pellets in mine except these two.

      I, too, would suggest you clean the barrel to see if it makes a difference. Be very, very, very careful not to nick the crown if you go in from the muzzle. If you can’t go in through the back as Kevin’s link shows then use the soda straw technique from the front with a Dewey rod. PA sells them (Deweys not straws) but they ain’t cheap (Deweys aren’t but straws are), but they are good (both Deweys and straws).


  9. At the end of the TF79 review, I was left with the impression that we were going to be blown away by the groups from these vintage target air rifles in comparison, one that would put us clunk owners in our place. I am just not seeing much of a difference.

  10. BB:
    What a treat.Every rifle is a beauty.
    Is it possible to jazz a HW50s up to a comparable standard as the HW55 SF?
    Also what minimum price range would you spend for a decent peep sight?

    Just chucking my hat in on the Facebook/Twitter debate.
    As a tool both can be very useful.I follow a lot of political and the odd science blog plus campaign sites.
    Rather than visit each site individually I can log on to Twitter or Facebook and check out the latest topics.Any of interest click the link.
    Also having friends and family here and abroad,both mediums are handy for keeping in touch as well.
    Choose your ‘friends’ carefully and it is a great time saver.

    • DaveUK,

      What do you mean when you say, “Is it possible to jazz a HW50s up to a comparable standard as the HW55 SF? ” Velocity? Wood? Trigger?

      Are you referring to the new HW50 or older HW50 that had an identical powerplant to the HW55’s?


    • Dave,

      If you can find one of the older HW50s, then all it takes is a sight. In the U.S. the HW55 rear aperture goes for about $125-175. I actually bought the HW55 SF because it had the rear sight with it. Separate, the price would have been too high for me.

      After mounting the rear sight and removing the sport sight, the front sight is the same on sport and target rifles, so you are ready to go.

      As for the special Rekord, you might have to modify the one you get, because I don’t think the trigger alone is easy to come by.


      • Kevin:
        Sorry I should have been more specific.
        Basically change the trigger and rear site is what I meant by ‘Jazz up’.

        I see,like Kevin and yourself have said,the older HW50 is the one most compatible for converting to a similar target rifle as the HW55 SF.
        Thanks for the cost figure of the peep sight as well.
        Even though in itself a peep sight wouldn’t make mine a proper target rifle,it may be worth a punt just to add variety to my shooting.
        Thank you fella’s.

        • DaveUK,

          Assuming you have a rekord trigger on your HW50 it can be adjusted very closely to the rekord target trigger. I wouldn’t worry about replacing the trigger if it’s a rekord. Do a little work and it won’t be the limiting factor for your gun to reach target level accuracy.

          If you have the older HW50 sporter it probably has the stronger spring vs. the softer spring usually found in the HW55. If you have the newer HW50 you have an even stronger spring. Soft tuning the gun to under 600fps with good lubes IMHO is the biggest step you can take to your goal.

          If you have an older HW50 pay attention to the dovetail width. The oldest ones had 13mm++. The newer ones have 11mm. The new HW50 is 11mm. This is important when you’re shopping for a rear vintage match sight. Make sure you buy the right width. Ebay and egun are good sources for these used match sights.


          • Kevin:
            Good news,mine does have the Rekord trigger and the 11mm dovetail info is very useful to know.Thank you.
            Unfortunately my rifle has to be a jack of all trades,so I’m less inclined to adjust the power plant to target rifle spec.
            I guess I’m looking at peep sights purely as an alternative option to open sights on my rifle rather than making a ‘Target rifle’ proper.
            Again,many thanks.

    • DaveUK

      When you mentioned a decent rear peep for your HW, this one came to mind:


      As they say here in the south, “Oh my stars and garters!” You’d have to hock the crown jewels to pay for that. Why the high price? I think it must give back massages.

      I believe your HW99/50 has a wider compression tube than the older HW50/55. For extra jazz, you can always try glitter. 😉

  11. BB
    Thank you for this fantastic report!
    No recoil, fantastic groups, and yet the 601, 602, 603 are reported to be better. How is that possible?
    I have an LGV that is like magic to shoot and have wondered how anything could be better.
    I almost bought a 602 on the Yellow just to find out, but I don’t have room to store any more nice guns.
    Could you explain the difference, or is that for next Friday.
    Thanks again.

    • MCA,

      In my experience, the 600-series FWBs don’t shoot any better than the LGR you own. But from an ergonomic standpoint, they surpass the Walther rifle. The 603 is especially nice ergonomically. But even the 601 is better than the LGR.

      The LGR comes from the 1970s, a time when ergonomics were just starting to matter. The stock is blockier than the 600-series rifles that seem to fit (me, at least) in all the right ways.

      But make no mistake, the LGR can shoot!


      • But… despite the vintage of the better match grade guns, they always had features and styling or components on them that wouldn’t be seen on daily shooter air rifles until years later. More or less the leading edge of the sport & technology, at least up through the mid 90’s?

  12. Gentlemen,

    Just today I received a video viewer comment that the only thing “wrong” with our videos is they concentrate on accuracy at 20 yards. The viewer contends that anything less than 50 yards is a waste of time.

    So, in this person’s opinion, the Olympic airgun events are all a waste of time.

    Three of the groups shown today surpass anything the TF 79 was able to do, yet I’m told that these rifles are a wash against that one. Because when they shot mediocre groups they looked just like those groups shot by the Chinese rifle.

    My point is that accuracy is in the eye of the beholder. The man who sifts out three exceptional groups from 100 and then praises the rifle just for them is seeing accuracy from one viewpoint. The man who thinks that groups shot closer than 50 yards are too close to consider views accuracy from another viewpoint.

    We will never be able to resolve this argument, because we’re all talking about something different. The owner of a Honda Accord who runs it with a blueprinted engine and a nitro injector and gets 400 horsepower from his $50,000 investment is just as proud of his car as the owner of a half-million-dollar Ferrari F40. You just don’t want to see those two cars going head-to-head on a Grand Prix course. Each is a universe unto itself.

    That’s why I show the targets I do. With PhotoShop at my fingertips it would be easy for me to impress you with groups that defy reality. But I prefer to show the warts.

    You know, in 40 years I have NEVER seen an AR-15 (and CERTAINLY never an M-16) shoot a five-shot one-inch group at 100 yards! And I have seen hundreds of people try. Do I believe that there has never been an AR-15 that can shoot a one-inch group at 100 yards? No, I don’t. Do I believe there is somewhere an AR-15 that can shoot 100 rounds without jamming? Yes, I do. I haven’t seen either one, but I believe they are both possible.

    But if I were writing about AR-15s and submitted the groups I HAVE seen, they would never be published. Because the fix is in on all black rifles. Look at how much advertising real estate they buy and look at what the readership expects to see.

    I guess that is why I write about oddball firearms, when I write about firearms. Because there aren’t enough shooters of them to rise up in protest when I publish my results.

    But airguns are different. In 1994, Edith and I swore to tell the truth about airguns. That’s why I publish those embarrassing groups that don’t sit well with many people. Because they are the groups I shot.

    Yes I am an old man with failing eyes and yes, I was sick for a long time. And yes, one of our cats sits right next to me and chews me out for every shot I fire.

    I’ve shot field target, but I was never a top competitor. I don’t shoot 10-meter rifle because of all the clothes and extra equipment it takes. I’m pretty good with a handgun, though even that is going south as the years progress. But I will not lie to you.

    This blog is about what really happened–not what we wish would happen.


    • B.B.,
      I know that this post will stir up a lot of discussion, so I’m reiterate my comment further below.
      10 meters guns should be tested at 10 meters, if the point is to demonstrate their accuracy at 10 meters to someone who wishes to compete in 10 meter competition. Why? Because the serious 10 meter competitor wants to be sure that the guns accuracy will not be called into question over the shooters ability. With that being said, testing a 20 yards is a great test for demonstrating relative accuracy between guns, because no air rifle, that I know of, will put 10 (or even 5) shots in the exact same hole. The point is that the errors are measurable for any air rifle at 20 yards. Going out to 50 yards introduces more variables (at a minimum, wind) than might be obvious (e.g., pellet shape), and it changes the whole dynamics such that the accuracy lost can render tests to be meaningless in a relative sense. As a simple example, consider that different rifles will prefer different pellets. At longer distances, a pellet that performs best in a particular rifle may itself become the issue. If errors are easily measurable at 20 yards, then going out to 50 yards adds very little to the discussion.

      One last thing about 10 meter precision class rifles. Precision class rifles are shot in the offhand position, usually indoors. This type of competition is designed to measure the shooters performance, and not the guns. We assume that going into competition, and in particular at the highest levels, that the rifle is never in question, only the competitor. At 50 yards, we’re demonstrating something other than the rifles inherent capacity to be precise. At 50 yards, we’re testing the pellets aerodynamic design, the effects of wind on a projectile of a very small mass, and the performance of the pellet at some particular velocity over the course of it’s trajectory. This may call several things into question, including; Does the rifle fire pellets of a given caliber at the best velocity? What would the best velocity be? Would a pellet that didn’t fire best at 10 or 20 yards/meters perform better over the longer distance?

      Accuracy reports are not meant to be so exhaustive that they cover every possible scenario, along with speculations that can only be tested for in a manufacturers laboratory. Most of us know that each gun is different, and so we know that the point of the accuracy tests are not to convince us absolutely of anything, other than we might expect to see similar results with our own copies of a tested gun (might, similar, but not absolutely).

      I’ve heard of top smallbore competitors who would buy half a dozen, to a dozen barrels, and test all of them to determine which one to use. In some cases, all of the barrels were the exact same model. What does that say about the absoluteness of barrel accuracy?

    • Man, those early Armalite and Colt 16’s made by toaster companies were a beater! They could not make them fast enough or get enough companies to make e’m. No MOA, more like Minute of Meter. I guess for the kids who had never shot precision weapons before boot or active duty it was all they knew. For me, I preferred dragging around my M14 at nearly 12 pounds (with the duct-taped mags).

        • Matt,

          I just read in American Rifleman, I think, that the M14 is being modernized (lightened and with new sights) for the Army. The lack of killing power of the 5.56 in the shortened M4 barrel has driven them to this point. And I think the Marines never did entirely let go of them.


          • USMC still issues them “as requisitioned” based on deployment or assignments. There are several makers out there who do some nice work on the 14 from basic, old-school, wooden stocks to fairly modern black-rifle looking stocks and rails and. and, and…

            If only $$$$$$$

          • B.B. I may have read that same article. It was about the Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR) conversion of the M14 into a designated marksman’s rifle. The big innovation seems to be putting the action into a Sage metal stock which is stiffer than the old M21 wooden stocks and even the replacement synthetic stocks. The average accuracy of the EBRs made at the Rock Island arsenal is .89 MOA! The rifles are scoped, so they’re better in that sense, but they are not lighter. The set up now is about 13 pounds which is a little heavier than the standard M14. But given the full-auto capability, I think the extra weight is more than worth it. Not only is the M14 reborn but so is the BAR!

            I’m curious about people’s opinion of the new trend towards shortening full power battle rifles by cutting down their barrels like with the M1A scout squad (18 inches) and the SCAR 17 (16 inches). At first I was intrigued, but I have decided against it. Too noisy, and you lose the long-range accuracy at that length. Instead of that route, I would go with a real assault rifle with a shortened full-power round like 7.62 X 39, not the 5.56.


      • Brian,

        I just read that the very early Colt-made M16s that were supposed to have a twist rate of 1:12 actually had between 1:16 and 1: 18, due to the worn-out machinery Colt used to make them. Some of this machinery had been in place since just after the Civil War.


    • BB,
      I”m sorry if my post gave offense. My point was not that these are horrible groups or that the rifles are not in fact arguably better than the TF79 — it was that visually they do not seem much different from the TF79 when the implication was that they would, and that you had already shot them. I may be mistaken — what are the measurements for these groups? I really do respect your honesty in testing, and that made it much more puzzling as to what is going on here — from the teaser, I was expecting nothing but groups like the R-10 HW55 target or better, which would be compelling. It seemed that you were saying that the TF79 had been shot to its limit and that you had proved that by shooting compellingly smaller groups with match rifles under the same conditions, which I think is a good proof, but I’m not sure I could interpret these results that way.

      By the way, I don’t shoot AR-15’s.

        • BB,
          If you are not still mad at me, you can at least admit that it is a little funny that the best group came from a non-match rifle with a bargain pellet :)! That is the weird kind of result that I find indicative of honest testing. Strictly, of the 4 rifles, only 2, the 55SF and the 300S, actually shot best groups better than the TF79’s best on this attempt (same day) or is that incorrect? It doesn’t make sense when I put it like this, I realize, but what the test seems to imply strictly is that the TF79 was under those conditions more accurate than half of the vintage 10M rifles tested :)!

          • BG…you need to remember one thing. The TF79 is a gas gun (even though a budget gun), where as these are all vintage ‘springers’.
            But being springers…no matter how well damped for recoil, there still is some springer recoil to deal with, which will affect overall accuracy.
            It’s why you wouldn’t see a modern springer no matter the price, in serious 10m competition

            • Good point. One does have to wonder if the “mediocre” groups aren’t in some way representative of what an average or even above average shooter isn’t going to see from these springers for a while, perhaps a long while for a less disciplined shooter — it isn’t BB’s first rodeo. That would be a real consideration for anyone interested in them, I would think.

              Just for the record, the accuracy of the TF79 so far seems a little marginal to me, esp. for a 10M rifle (at any level), from BB’s test — so I’m not really a big proponent of it, although I may seem that way and did have high hopes for it. I think BB went out of his way to give it a chance in his testing, and the best it achieved was adequate, barring finding a better pellet or some other fix. I went back and looked at the Edge and Challenger targets and they are really nice, esp. the Edge — the kind of consistent groups for that most part that you expect from a target rifle.

          • BG_Farmer,

            I was never mad at you. Just frustrated that what I thought was so obvious, obviously wasn’t.

            The Walther LGV also outshot the TF-79. So three of the four did better. Which is why I was so frustrated with the HW55 CM. It should have been right there, too, but the harsh firing behavior disrupted me that day.

            Yes I find it ironic that Hobby pellets beat the target pellets, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Actually I had two great groups of Hobbys, so they show the pedigree of the RWS pellets. If they were made more carefully they would be a contender, at least in that rifle.


      • Thre TF79 and AR2078 are $170 rifles, with a little TLC and a few tweeks, they do an admirable job. I have bench-rested (clamped) mine and made .237 holes again and again. Offhand, I’m lucky to get .370-ish groups. Shooter? Duh, ya.

        I’m having a hard time understanding what you guys are up in arms over here?

        “should be 0.080″ ctc” was one misguided post today, and now, more criticism of one man (BB) taking 4 guns of some vintage and configuration out for test and then having the “audacity” to show us the actual targets that he shot! OMG, how dare he not stya out at the range for weeks and come back with one, ragged hole target cards!

        This is a blog, not “I personally have never shot match grade groups but I expect them frorm others .com”

        • Brian,

          From the first paragraph of the current blog:
          “When I tested the TF 79 competition air rifle, I mentioned that I also shot several vintage 10-meter rifles the same day, just to make sure I was still able to shoot a good group. ”

          I see nothing wrong with asking questions about groups presented as “good groups” shot during the same session, with the clear (to me at least) implication that they were better than the TF79’s best group. The best groups for 2 rifles were in fact somewhat better than the TF79, although it is hard to tell from a picture. A third rifle’s best group was from January, not shot during the same session; the groups shot during that session apparently did not match the TF79’s best. The forth rifle had no groups to its credit that could better the TF79’s best group. The mediocre groups for all were, well, mediocre. Logically, it begs the question what constitutes a “good group” and whether vintage rifles are being judged by the same standard and procedure as current ones. Check BB’s groups with the Edge for a counterexample — they are indisputably good, and we know he can shoot.

          On the question of absolute accuracy, 0.1″@10M or 1MOA is not exactly crazy talk from the bench (it is mediocre to poor for BR shooting) for a target rifle, even one designed to be used offhand, although in that case I also question the absolute need for 0.08″ or any other number. It would be interesting to figure out the minimum requirement, but that is difficult: The reason it matters to offhand shooters is that any inaccuracy in the rifle in the worst case is added to that of the shooter. 10M target 10 “ring” is tiny. You are certainly correct that I have never shot a match grade target in an air rifle match, but I do think I have a feel for what is good and what is not as good. My ML’er (or rather I) shoots 2MOA more or less from the bench with open sights, for example; this would correlate to 0.2″ at 10M approximately. While I have won some local matches (all offhand) with it, I feel that a gain of -1moa would be noticeable and beneficial, although currently it is debatable how much of that my shooting technique could utilize. It can’t hurt, and it seems like it would be even more beneficial to 10M shooters given the precision required by their targets.

          Anyway, I’m not really up in arms about anything, but you seemed to want to know.

  13. B.B.,
    10 meters guns should be tested at 10 meters, if the point is to demonstrate their accuracy at 10 meters to someone who wishes to compete in 10 meter competition. Why? Because the serious 10 meter competitor wants to be sure that the guns accuracy will not be called into question over the shooters ability. With that being said, testing a 20 yards is a great test for demonstrating relative accuracy between guns, because no air rifle, that I know of, will put 10 (or even 5) shots in the exact same hole. The point is that the errors are measurable for any air rifle at 20 yards. Going out to 50 yards introduces more variables than might be obvious. If errors are easily measurable at 20 yards, then going out to 50 yards adds very little to the discussion.

  14. B.B.

    You are a lucky man to know all these beauties, especially FWB300. It’s a true epitome of a target springer engineering and manufacturing quality. Maybe it shares this place with D-75, but D-75 loses a bit in elegance to FWB 300.

    I finally solved my stock trouble. It would be single-piece wood with steel reinforcements for installing bipod. What really helped me is that my cogwheel box is of the same width with main coupling (while JW’s coupling is more narrow) and my ratchet bars almost completey hides under it when uncocked. So, I’ll just bolt there some aluminium spacers and bingo, all I have to do is to is to cut some grooves for ratchet bars movement when cocking.


    • Duskwight,it sounds like a much more stable stock design.The scariest thing to any JW owner,aside from theft…..is removing the action from the stock!Heaven help you 20 years from now when the action needs servicing! Having studied the cog and cocking mechanism,I’m sure yours is a leap foreward.I would love to see it.Do you have an aproximate weight in mind for the finished product??

      • Frank

        I didn’t make precise calculations, only estimations, I think that would be some 3-3.5 kg for metal and 1.5-2 for wood.
        I spent some time cutting off all unneeded weight and calculating materials. E.g. upper receiver will be milled from a bar of 7075, barrel shroud and cap turned from 7075. Short barrel – only 300 mm, but that’s enough for a springer with a bit longer shroud. It will be a cylinder-heavy rifle.
        Overall action length will be 680 mm and overall rifle length with stock – 998 mm, from trigger to shoulder – 380 mm. Stock profile is going to be close to AI AW shape.


        • I do envy your skillset! If I had it all to do over,I would ignore half the girls I chased…..and spend that time learning machining skills.Then I would build a time machine to go back and chase the aforementioned girls!!

          • Frank,

            I think you got a wrong impression. As for myself – I doubt if I’ll do much machining if any.
            My skills are mostly inventing, organizing the process and obtaining some materials needed. I do not own any lathe or milling machine or CNC mill (although I’d like one at my disposal as well as some skill to operate it).

            All I do is just thinking, drawing and a bit of counting. It’s easy and can be done using the very machine I’m typing these letters on. E.g. after a few tries you’ll begint to feel the metal and its optimal shape, it’s just feeling, nothing special. Using web you can watch and learn some proven and widely used solutions so you can just copy them or use them as an inspiration or study them to better understand how things work.

            Then I find right people to do the job for me and motivate them. Then some QC and all I have to do is some fininshing touches and assembly. That’s all, it’s not much of a job and it doesn’t require any special skills.

            I can work with wood at my countryhouse – but wood is way easier and cheaper to work with then metal. And it doesn’t require any great skill – just see, cut and file, that’s all. So, nothing to envy.


    • duskwight,

      I like the Diana 75, too. I owned one that was a great rifle. I eventually let it go, but I kept the adjustable rear diopter sight gizmo.

      Congratulations on your stock design. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Make haste slowly.”

      • B.B.

        Franklin was right. I learned this way for drawings: idea must be caught on paper, then you just put it away for a while and after a week or two you can take it back on your desk and think on it. 8 times out of 10 – you’ll find something to improve or to change, just to make it in accord with other parts.
        However I’ve made just my first step. It’s just an idea, existing on paper. Tomorrow I shall test it with playdough and reckon up in my head some numbers to see if I’m correct, but I feel that I am. We’ll see.


  15. B.B., nice shooting and beautiful rifles. If I were going into serious target shooting, I would go with the Challenger PCP, but there would be something special about the feel of a rifle that combined high-level accuracy with the feel of a springer which I truly enjoy.

    pcp4me, I’ve heard of the “zero” groups that you describe but I suspect that they are more of a statistical oddity than an indicator of the rifle. The reason they do not happen more often is that they are not really within the consistent capabilities of the rifle or shooter. And I will add that I can’t quite believe that anyone can shoot consistent .2 MOA groups offhand. This is what the best benchresters can do some of the time. So how could anyone achieve this regularly offhand?

    Some of you guys are very knowledgeable about nuclear reactions. As for the China syndrome, my info is that if a full meltdown occurred which caused a reactor core to sink into the earth, the process would also be spewing radioactivity into the atmosphere, so that is not a solution either. I like the idea of entombing the whole thing in sand and concrete like at Chernobyl, but apparently this makes the area uninhabitable for decades which is a very serious thing in a densely populated country.

    Brian in Idaho, yes I have seen those Ukrainian and Russian girls, and they are extremely attractive. I like the comment from this one marriage agency which said something to the effect that while walking down the streets of these countries you will routinely see women who would be on the covers of fashion magazines here and who (implied) would actually look at your ugly mugs unlike their their foreign counterparts. He he. Duskwight, I agree that the bikini thing on the range does not make much sense. As one YouTube comment said, “There was a gun in that clip?”

    I have also learned to keep it shut on this subject. After I mused too loud and long on the beauty of Russian women, a female friend of mine showed me a video that was a documentary about some American guy who found a bride in Ukraine, transferred all of his wealth there and was found with a fractured skull in his bathroom. This friend of mine had quite the rapier sense of humor. However, my appreciation remains undiminished, and as with guns, I can enjoy from a distance.

    How about this simple problem. Given a caliber and barrel thickness, would a longer barrel stay cooler than a shorter barrel? The answer is not jumping out at me. What I’m getting at is the new SCAR 17 rifle in .308 with a 16 inch barrel. I have a hard time believing that such a short barrel for that caliber can hold up to sustained fire much less full-auto.


    • Luckily, I don’t have to go to Russia too find out about those beauties. We have a town in northern Idaho, Moscow is it’s name, and for good reason, founded by Russians, much like Sebastopol in California.

      The senery there is beautiful!

      Duskwight, you awake?

      • Brian,

        I’m sorry to disappoint you, but…
        Wiki says “The precise origin of the name Moscow has been disputed, but there is no proof that it was named by a Russian or for the Russian city. (The Russian municipality is pronounced Moskva and the Idaho municipality is pronounced MosCO) is reported by early settlers that five men in the area met to choose a proper name for the town, but could not come to agreement on a name. The postmaster Samuel Neff then completed the official papers for the town and selected the name Moscow. Interestingly, Neff was born in Moscow, Pennsylvania and later moved to Moscow, Iowa.”
        “…The name of Sebastopol first came into use in the late 1850s as a result of a prolonged and lively fist fight in the newly formed town, which was likened to the long British siege of the then-Russian seaport of Sevastopol (now part of Ukraine) during the Crimean War…”

        Well, Russia owned a part of Washington and California states as well as Alaska, but trust me, Russians have nothing to do with Moscow Idaho 🙂


    • As a final comment on the feminine mystique, this female friend of mine with the Russian bride video when she found out that I was moving to Minnesota, gave me a surprise viewing of the film Fargo while snickering the whole time. Gents, beware of your intelligent woman with a keen wit and an excess of energy and high spirits….


  16. Hi.

    I just recently bought a Baikal 513, and I was wondering if an old(but slightly used, no more than 100 shots) Redfield Tracker 3-9×40 scope could withstand the baikal´s recoil.

    I asked about this in an old post, and Vince told me that it probably wasn´t right for my rifle because it appears to have been made before powerful springers became popular and well known.

    He also referred me to this blog so more people could see my questions, so here I am, not that I doubt his advice.

    Here es a link to my scope´s picture, it doesn´t have a serial number or date of manufacture, but all I remember is that I bought it around 15 years ago…probably more


    Thanks for your help.

    • Ivan,

      Welcome! Glad you found your way to the daily page that is updated every day Monday-Friday.

      I would advise you not to mount your wonderful vintage redfield tracker on a baikal 513. The baikal 513 is a relatively lightweight but powerful gun. Lots of recoil in both directions.

      Reason #1-I have a redfield tracker 6-18 but it’s more than 20 years old. Several years ago I mounted it on an R9. It wasn’t meant to be an experiment but rather out of necessity since I didn’t want to unmount a scope off of another airgun. I was just being lazy. The R9 broke a crosshair in my redfield tracker. ABO USA can still repair these old redfield scopes and they do a wonderful job. It was expensive and took time in my case since they had to fabricate or find a crosshair. The scope has been repaired and looks great but I’ll never put it on any airgun again.

      Reason #2-I’ll never put my redfield tracker on an airgun since mine doesn’t have AO (an Adjustable Objective). The redfield is back on a firearm where it should have stayed. For a scope to be suitable for my airguns it must have AO since we need/want much more precision out of a scope for airguns than typical firearms.

      Reason #3-Redfield was a premier scope maker in their day. I’ve lived in Colorado the past 50 years and back in the Redfield heyday I only lived a few miles from their manufacturing plant. I was a redfield fan and for some of their scopes I’m still a fan. Scope making has come a long way since redfield and optics are brighter, newer reticles, like mil-dots, are much preferred over the old thick crosshairs or even multi-plex reticles commonly found in redfields. Multi coatings have also improved scope performance and the light transmission in cheaper scopes is better than the dark redfield trackers. I just sold a redfield 6-18 that had AO and accurange since it would focus (even on 6x) under 30 yards and was very dark and in its day was one of the better redfields.

      Short version is I would recommend putting your redfield on a rimfire or centerfire or if you must on a pcp but leave it off of a springer. Look at the leapers line of scopes for your baikal 513 since they’re a great entry level scope for airguns. If you want to expand your budget beyond a leapers let me know and we can talk some more.


    • Ivan,

      Congratulations on bying Russian Monster and my condolencies on the scope – it just won’t survive as MP-513 is a harsh kicker. Try something like Leapers or Bushnell, sertified for springers.
      By the way, I’m curious about your name – wouldn’t you mind to tell me a few word on its origin?


  17. This accuracy controversy got me remembering the air pistol venue of the Olympics that was aired on TV last time. True story, but paraphrased a bit, and the number 7 is a true result. In the quarter finals the announcer read, “Lane 4 – 9, Lane 3 – 9, Lane 2 – 7, Lane 1 – 8”. I’m thinking 7?! I expected nothing less than an 8, but a 7? Out of an Olympian?! I can shoot that good. I would have never bought that shooters pistol based on some of today’s accuracy comment’s logic, given the chance.

      • Well, no. The ISSF awards quota places to national olympic committees on the basis of their athletes’ scores in specific international matches, so even if I wanted to shoot for Belize, and Belize were willing, either they don’t have any quota place, or they have a local athlete who earned it and wants it.

        Then, too, there’s the Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) which is the first hurdle: no MQS in a sanctioned meet? No participation at the Olympics. In AP it’s 563 and in AR it’s 570. The AP 563 is just barely doable for a talented amateur who practices every day and has decent coaching. I can almost see hitting it once, perhaps next year. 570? That’s a long, long way away.

        http://www.issf-sports.org/theissf/championships/olympic_games.ashx Most of the way down the page.

        • Chuck, I think the guy just had a bad shot. I’m trying to remember when it was that the #1 guy going into the AP final had a couple of points lead and then blew it with a 7.8 on the last shot of the finals. But it happened.

  18. Matt61 wrote: “How about this simple problem. Given a caliber and barrel thickness, would a longer barrel stay cooler than a shorter barrel? The answer is not jumping out at me. What I’m getting at is the new SCAR 17 rifle in .308 with a 16 inch barrel. I have a hard time believing that such a short barrel for that caliber can hold up to sustained fire much less full-auto.”

    Let’s think about it. Look at the first centimeter from the breech. The muzzle, regardless of barrel length, doesn’t even know the bullet’s been fired. Heat deposition from the cartridge an barrel friction into the metal of that first cm is identical in both guns. Next cm down. Same story. End of short barrel, bullet exits; lots of hot gas also vents. Bullet friction and gas heat not transferred to barrel.

    Go to the length from breech on longer barrel equal to barrel length on shorter barrel. Look at next cm. Gases and friction dump heat into the metal. Now the question: was the internal pressure dropping, and gas temp dropping at muzzle or not. If the gases are pretty much fully expanded at the end of hte short muzzle, then there’s very little heat dumped into the last few cm of the long barrel. That metal acts as a heat sink, and heat flows into it, so in the steady state after firing a lot of rounds, the equilibrium barrel temperature in the longer barrel ought to be lower than in the shorter one. If however, the hot gases remain hot and combusting at the end of the short barrel, heat will be dumped into the long barrel and the heat sink effect not so pronounced. So it’s going to depend on other variables: the load, the metal of the bullet, how many shots fired, and how quickly, and even on how long is long.

    • Pete, thanks for your attention to this question. I guess I’m gratified to see that the answer is not obvious. The partition method eh…? My only thoughts on this are that on the one hand, the greater volume of the longer barrel means more space for heat to dissipate implying a cooler temperature. But on the other hand perhaps the greater heat conductivity of metal compared to air means that more heat is retained by the longer barrel than if it were blown off into the air. These seem to be countervailing effects. Don’t know how they would compare, and no doubt there are additional complications. My scenario was everything the same except barrel length which is 16 inches for the SCAR and 22 inches for a full length barrel.


    • Mike,

      If you look at work photo’s of class competition, you’ll mostly see the following (not in any particular order):

      My understanding is that they are all about equal. The barrels of modern-day high-end precision-class air rifles are not more accurate than the FWB 300S, but as PCP’s are better turned and almost vibration free. In addition to this, they are adjustable to the nth degree, unlike the 300S that I competed with. Furthermore, lots of shooters add risers to the sights for additional personalization of the fit. Americans tend to use Anschutz, because of the close relationship between the owner and American top shooters. I don’t believe that shooters necessarily choose one over the other because it’s absolutely better. In some instances, the rifles are promoted through the shooters (as free-bees).

      If you want to compete at the highest level, you’ll also have to get the super stiff jackets and pants, and shoes, to lock you into position. Makes me really appreciate those shooters back in the 70’s who could break 390’s with loosely fit jackets, no special pants, tennis shoes, and an FWB 300S. I know first hand how hard it was to do (not that I ever broke 390).


    • Mike,

      Victor wins. Here’s an expanded look.

      Results from the 2004 Olympics, 2006 World Shooting Championships, 2005-08 world cups and the 2008 Olympic Games.

      132 total air rifle medals available (66 MAR and 66 WAR)

      79 medals won by shooters using FWB (30 gold, 28 silver, 21 bronze)
      27 medals won by shooters using Walther (8 gold, 9 silver, 10 bronze)
      21 medals won by shooters using Anschutz (5 gold, 6 silver, 10 bronze)
      5 medals won by shooter using Steyr (1 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze)

      Feinwerkbau 700: 34 medals (15 gold, 10 silver, 9 bronze)
      Feinwerkbau P-70: 45 medals (15 Gold, 18 silver, 12 bronze)

      Walther LG 300: 27 medals (8 Gold, 9 silver, 10 bronze)

      Anschutz 2002: 14 medals (4 Gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze)
      Anschutz 8002/9003: 7 medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 5 bronze)

      Steyr LG 110: 5 medals (1gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze)

      MAR = Men’s air rifle
      WAR = Women’s air rifle
      OR = Olympic Match Record
      FOR = Olympic Record with Final
      FWR = World Record with Final

      Current WAR world record holder:
      Sonja Pfeilschifter (GER) 400+105.0=505.0 – Feinwerkbau
      WC Milan, Italy 2008

      Current WAR Olympic record holder:
      Katerina Emmons (CZE) 400+103.5=504.5 – Anschutz
      Olympic Games, Beijing, China 2008

      Current MAR world record holder:
      Thomas Farnik (AUT) 599 +104.1—Steyr
      WCF Granada, Spain 2006

      Current MAR Olympic record holder:
      Zhu Qinan (CHN) 599+103.7=702.7 – Feinwerkbau
      Olympic Games, Athens, Greece 2004


      • Kevin,

        You’re post is as good as it gets in terms of demonstrating that all of these rifles are pretty much equally good. That is a great summary!

        Before I bought my FWB 700 ALU, I did my own research, only to find that there was quite a bit of mis-information out there on the part of people trying to influence others as to which was better. The more I looked, the more it became clear to me that I would not have any regrets with my choice of the FWB.

        I’m still considering buying the FWB 2700 smallbore rifle as well, even though I’ve been advised to buy Anschutz by some of our best shooters. You see, here’s the thing, when you look at the rifles that top shooters use, none of them are stock. You’ll see lots of Anschutz smallbore rifles (should I say, labels), but all have custom, or after-market, barrels. In addition to all of the custom barrels, they add tuners (limiting them to one type of competition, usually based on range), and bloop tubes (sight extenders). Add to all of this, based on articles that I’ve read, stock barrels get better with age, so the more you shoot them, the better they get. If I bought an Anschutz or FWB smallbore rifle, I’d just shoot the heck out of it. I had a stock Anschutz, and I know that that rifle could clean prone (NRA or ISU). The weak link was me. While there might be some benefit to trying to extract each last hundredth or even thousandth of an inch in accuracy, I think that most of that effort is mostly for psychological benefit, or to mask certain weaknesses. Just my opinion. Some of our best actually spend more time practicing at home with their SCATT systems (http://www.scatt.com/), than out at the range. I was told back in the 70’s that shooting is a rich mans sport. Unfortunately, I think it’s more so today.


        • Victor,

          I think you’re making a good point. At national, world or olympic levels the equipment that shows up is not the deciding factor as to who will win. I suspect this has always been the case with regard to 10 meter shooting with rare exception in technological break throughs. In other words I think the best shooters in the world could win with any of the brands listed above.

          This seems validated when you consider the most lucrative sponsor for a given shooter thrusts their gun in the competitors hand most times and adapts their gun to their shooters needs and wants. I’ve heard some shooters world ranked shooters are passionate about a certain brand of gun and will overlook sponsorship by other manufacturers but this doesn’t sound like the norm. Nonetheless, the rifles they’re shooting are so customized that we mere mortals will never be offered these options.

          Reminds me of golf. Professional golfers are walking ads for their sponsers. Although their clubs may say nike, taylor made, etc. the clubs they play with are so far from what youand I buy in the store it isn’t funny. The sponsors semi-trucks with full shops inside and very experieced fitters and customizers follow the players from one tour stop to the tour stop. On the flip side, a custom set of golf clubs won’t make you a scratch golfer.


          • Kevin,
            One famous American shooter was said to have bought a portion of a mountain with abandoned mines that he used to build an indoor 100 yard range. This man was then said to have tested over ten barrels against several lots of Eley before making a single selection. It is also not uncommon for top world class shooters to take multiple barrels to the Eley factory to test several lots against each barrel. This is why USA Shooting has to exist to try to level the playing field. No individual, with limited resources, is just going to walk into world class type (ISU) competition and expect to win. It’s a process that must involve special resources. Well, at least this is the case for small-bore shooting, and probably a few other types of shooting that you might find in the Olympics.

          • By the way, I’m not complaining. In world class competition, you need all the help you can get because almost every country will have a few select shooters with virtually unlimited resources, thus the need for USA Shooting, well funded teams or individuals.

      • Gagan Narang of India holds the men’s air rifle world’s record with a score of 703.5 in the 2008 World Cup final. His rifle was a Steyr LG-110 with all the modern bells and whistles. This score was 0.4 greater than the previous record of 703.1. In a non-sanctioned match, Narang shot a 704.3.

        At that level everything contributes to the last 0.4 ring to break the record — clothing, rifle, pellet, and shooter. Will Victor or I shoot a 704.3, even in the basement range with nobody around, if we buy an LG-110, the same pellets as Narang, and get a full kit of shooting clothing made up by Narang’s suppliers? Doubtful if we will even get close. Could Narang do it with an FWB 700? Maybe, if he could get it adjusted to fit him at least as well as the Steyr does. But he would be in the running. He’s the only man to shoot two 600s in sanctioned ISSF competition.

        Should you choose your rifle based on which rifle holds the world record? No, but as long as you like the fit of the gun and the feel of the trigger, you surely will not be making a mistake if you buy a Steyr LG-110. But you’ll shoot just as well with any of the other top 4 makers’ guns, day in and day out. And it’s not a mistake to buy them either!

        Why does FWB so dominate the air rifle medal rankings? Because there are more FWB rifles out there than any other brand as a result of superb FWB marketing and attention to pampering their shooters. Along with discounts and maybe (just maybe, I’m not accusing) some specially selected actions and barrels as well as (just possibly) some freebies. Note that Steyr dominates AP just as strongly, but hasn’t been able to convert that into dominance in the rifle market.


        • Not to mention that Narang comes from a wealthy family that was able to provide a shooting facility that his country could not, or would not, invest in for the rest of his country men, and he was able to import top coaches (authors of “The Way of the Rifle”), trainers, and sports psychologist that he worked double time, all just for him. That’s great that he could afford the best of the best, and then some, but this was an extraordinary investment equal to his accomplishments.

        • Matt,
          You’re right it does look like the FWB has the edge but look at it this way, the FWB’s also took 49 total silver/brons. That’s at least 49 FWB rifles that lost gold. That’s almost more losses than all the other rifles combined. That means there are at least 49 other rifles that beat the pants off the FWB. How many other sport teams would keep their coaches after a 30-49 season. 🙂
          -Chuck (the-glass-is-half-empty guy)

    • Mike,

      The FWB, the Steyr and the Anschütz. If you expanded it to four I would include the Walther.

      And I mean only the PCPs from each of these companies. The single-strokes are also good, but it is the PCPs that win the gold.


      • I would think that PCP is the way to go since you only have to focus on your shooting, not cocking the rifle.
        It may be that this may be the reason for the PCP wins. At that level, even a small advantage could be big.


    • Mike,
      I think the important point is that these rifles are all pretty much equally good, and more accurate than 99.9999% can truly test as designed for, namely, offhand shooting. I competed with a FWB 300S back in the 70’s and did fairly well with it. I was also a decent prone shooter, able to shoot 590’s/600 in competition, so I tested my FWB 300S in the prone position at 50 feet, indoors. It was easy to shoot a 200-20x using NRA targets, and I could also clean prone indoors using ISU targets back then. These rifles were that good. Of course, I never used anything but individually packaged H&N pellets. At that time, those were the absolute best that money could buy. I now own a FWB 700 ALU that I use for prone shooting at home. I was amazed at how much the improved ergonomics, trigger, and PCP power plant, help one shoot well. The rifle fires as dead as can be. FWB 300S are amazingly dead as well, considering it’s a sprint piston. They are true masterpieces.

      • I’ll keep my eye open for one of those old match rifles as I attend gun shows and some of the out of the way gun shops. You never know what you might run across. Like the Diana 52 in .22 cal that I bought used for $75.00 a few years ago.


  19. BB, Lots of fine rifles in this sample! I especially like your 300 – along with the Diana 60 through 75, they are simply amazing springers. What catches my eye is the grain in that stock. I suspect the original finish is hiding some especially fine wood. A hand refinish following the original process…shellac with a hand-rubbed lacquer top coat???

    These classic match springers are a real pleasure to shoot. I just came in from a brief outdoor session – 25yds with a scoped HW77 and aperture sight R10. After trying to decide which I like better (I’ve refinished both but only want to keep one), I brought out my LGV. That stock is one of the best feeling I’ve come across. Combine it with the match trigger, exceptional machining, and shot cycle…winner LGV.

    The targets BB shared raised a number of questions about what these rifles are capable of. My limited experience shows the 300 is capable of even better performance, but getting there with a given rifle takes a bit of work, including sampling a lot of pellets.

    • Jay in VA,
      You are absolutely right about what it takes to get the absolute best performance with one of these rifles. See my comments before to BG_Farmer. I don’t think that this report was meant to demonstrate the absolute best that could be achieved. Had that been the case, pellets from a round bulk tin would not have been used. I also wonder if these rifles could shoot their best from any kind of rest. In my experience, there is nothing better than testing from a sling in the prone position, which the FWB 300S would lend itself well to, being that it’s got an accessory rail.

      • Victor – I fully agree – these targets represent what a good shooter might find on their first day with a target rifle. The rifles are more than accurate enough to show what most shooters are capable of. For me, even when I’ve been practicing off hand, it’s tough to tell the difference between my classic springers and my 600 – most end up inside the 7 ring. Any advantage for the 600 likely comes from the balance, fit, and sight risers. I’ve done a bit of precision shooting with .22s and M-16s, but the best performance I’ve gotten from both my FWB300 and 600 has been rested on the bench. I suspect the best performance for recoiling springers like the HWs or LGV will come from the artillery hold or off-hand. Neither of my Walthers have the accessory rail to mount a sling, although it looks like BB’s HW55CM does…

  20. I love the 10M classics, but like you, I seem to only be able to hold onto one at a time. I became a bit obsessed with the recoilless concept, and have sampled and owned several different approaches to the problem. My first was a Haenel 312, which I can only call semi-recoilless, since it used a series of rubber buffers to absorb SOME of the recoil. My next 10M gun was an FWB 300S, with the sliding sledge system. I found this a little uncomfortable, since the sight moved with the action. Still a wonderful rifle, and much more capable than I am as a shooter. My next one was an Anschutz 250, which used an oil-filled shock absorber to eliminate recoil. It was also a wonderful gun, but a bit too ponderous for my tastes. Then I sampled a Walther LGR, which is a single stroke pneumatic. I had heard so much about these rifles that I just had to have one. The story goes that after Walther introduced this model, the regulation 10M target needed to be reduced in size. As an SSP, it is virtually recoilless, but you still feel the movement of the hammer striking the valve.

    Which brings me to the one I kept: a Diana 66. The Giss system of opposing pistons, when properly balanced, is the only rifle I’ve ever fired that is TRULY recoilless. I had a really hard time deciding which to keep between the Walther and the Diana, but the 66 fires absolutely dead, and the unique and somewhat ugly stock on the 66 fits me perfectly. To me, it’s not ugly at all. Kinda like the plain-looking girl at the party who really knows how to dance!

    Interestingly, having owned and shot all these fine 10M classic rifles, my Daisy 753 can shoot as well as any of them, and better than some.

  21. I haven’t weighed in on this accuracy controversy very much but I have to side with pcp4me. I was disappointed in the groups myself because my expectations were pretty high for a rifle of these touted credentials. And I didn’t see anything there to make me want to acquire one except for their purported history. I have to agree that these rifle were described as world class and not Olympic quality so maybe that does indicate that my expectations were too high. However, my intention in writing this comment is not to pick on these particular rifles because they are historically world class rifles and worth owning for that reason alone.

    The reason I care about this is because I don’t think I can learn to be the best I can be if I don’t have a rifle that can be the best it can be, or at least be known to shoot to the level of my expectations by itself. If not, I’ll never figure out what is wrong with me. I need to know the best a rifle shoots before I buy it or I’m just wasting money and getting frustrated. In order to make that buy decision I have to rely on Internet articles and reader comments that demonstrate accuracy. If a competition rifle is supposed to shoot one hole groups (and I mean round groups not connected strings), as I think it should in order to be competitive and be called world class then showing me a rifle that doesn’t do that, for whatever reason, is not a demonstrated world class competition rifle.

    The bottom line is, for a 10m competition rifle, I want to see the rifles that can shoot the one-holers and then I’ll decide if they’re worth the asking price. Then, I want to see the rifles that can almost shoot the one holers and I’ll decide if I’d rather buy that, instead. I do not want to buy anything less. If I want to shoot pests I want to see the .22s that can shoot a 1/4 – 1/2 inch group. If I just want to collect, accuracy is less of an issue.

    • Chuck,
      From personal experience, I can’t speak for anything but the FWB 300S. The FWB 300S that I used back in the 70’s was capable of shooting one single slightly ragged hole at 10 meters. I wasn’t good enough to test it for accuracy in the offhand position, as I was barely breaking 380 out of 400 in ISU when I was 17 years old, but I could definitely clean prone with both my smallbore rifles and my FWB 300S. Back in the 70’s, at every international tryout that I competed in, the winner was shooting mid 390’s out of 400, and that was without the super stiff jackets, pants, or special shoes. Also, we shot outdoors (with wind) in Black Rock Canyon, outside of Phoenix, during the summer where it was always about 110 F (and as high as 118 F). Points dropped were because of conditions and human error, not the rifle. In other national matches, the shooter had to reel the target in, one target at a time. According to Ray Apelles (sp?), the Crosman Challenger shoots a single slightly ragged hole at 10 yards. I don’t think that the Challenger is more accurate than the 300S, but it might be. Your expectations are founded.

      • BTW, I think it’s worth noting that the H&N pellets that I used were not from the round bulk tin, but rather from a square tin where each individual pellet had it’s own place in a foam loading block. Shooters who used the round tins sorted pellets by weighing, and using a gauge to measure the diameter of each pellet. The square tinned, individually separated pellets did not require that extra effort.

    • Chuck, I still don’t get your line of thinking.
      When I purchased my Slavia 631 it came with a sample 5 shot target shot at 10m.
      Five shots…one ragged hole.
      Now I don’t know of many people who could shoot this target with the stock open sights the guns comes with. Obviously (in my mind anyways) the gun was tested from the bench…likely in a vise.
      If this is what I wanted to know I’d go to the factory for their barrel specs…I’m pretty sure that most of the reputable barrel makers (the chinese and Gamo excepted) are fairly honest when they say their barrel is capable of .08 CtoC.
      What I come here for (and forums like this) is to see how a gun shoots in the hands of someone like me.
      If I purchase a new FWB…or a classic 300 (or even the Avanti 853c I own) I think I can trust the factory, the numerous competition wins and the reams of internet tests that tell me the barrel is spot on.
      What I want to know is if the gun is easy to shoot or whether it is finicky to upkeep…things like that.
      Because I know that good as I am (and not to pat myself on the back but I’m a fair shot), the chances of shooting any one of these rifle to anywhere near their potential is going to take months, maybe years to accomplish.
      So why expect it out of a forum blog such as this?
      To do this, in all the years this blog has been around would mean B.B. would be on about his 5th airgun test.

      • CBSD,
        Sorry for the late reply but I’ve been traveling. To attempt to answer your question on my line of thinking: What I’m looking for is a way to tell how accurate a rifle is without the human factor. If the rifle isn’t accurate by itself then it’ll never be accurate in my hands or anyone elses no matter how many years are spent learning how to shoot it. I want a rifle proven to shoot .08 inches, for instance, and then if it shoots 3 inch groups in my hand I’ll know who needs to do the homework. Therefore, it seems apparent to me that if a rifle will only shoot 3 inch groups at best, I’m sure not going to get it to shoot any better. And I thought that was what BB was trying to do. Show us how accurate a rifle can be with the different types of pellets.

  22. Victor,
    Thanks for your help. I’ve been considering the Challenger. I think it’ll work with my Marauder adapter for scuba and I like the looks of that style of stock. There’s also an AA S400 MPR I’ve been looking at and the FWB 700. It all boils down to how much is it going to cost to scratch the itch. Can I really justify $1,500 for a gun when one of those long-handled shoehorns with the claw on the end will do? BB’s blog gets under your skin until you shed green backs?

    • Chuck,
      I had “the itch” BIG TIME before I bought my FWB 700 ALU. In truth, what I originally wanted was the Challenger, but the in stock date kept getting pushed out, week after week, month after month, so I bought the 700 (the itch was too strong, and I really wanted to get back into shooting). In my opinion, the Challenger is a bargain for the performance you get. I haven’t shot one, but I held one at the Shot Show and was pleased with the feel. Reminded me of the standard rifles and the FWB 300S from decades ago. The AA S400 MPR might be a better choice for longer distances, but if you want something for 10 meters, I don’t think that you can go wrong with the Challenger. It has an accessory rail, so you can add more weight, if need be. I added the exact same counter weights to my FWB that I use to use on my Anschutz rifles. You can do the same for the Challenger because of the rail. (Obviously, I’m big on accessory rails.)

  23. I think we have talked about 10M accuracy requirements before, but I thought I would go over what I understand. The “10” on a 10M AR target is a dot which is about 0.02″ (0.5mm) in size. The pellet needs to intersect a piece of this to score a 10 in normal competition (more on extended competition later). So, maximum groups size of 0.177″ + 0.02″ = 0.197″ to score maximum score, i.e. all tens. A rifle has to shoot that 1.97MOA equivalent without any contributed dispersion from the shooter to get a perfect score. Obviously, a 0MOA offhand shooter is hard to find, and a 1MOA offhand shooter is exceptional if not freaky, so the less error coming from the rifle, the more human the shooter can be and still score 10’s. Modern match rifles are rated at, I believe, up to 0.01″@10M — which seems extravagant, until you factor in the shooter. A really good offhand shooter (in my opinion) at 2MOA can get a decent score (for normal humans :)), but he can’t get perfect scores in normal competition even with that extreme accuracy from the rifle — he needs to improve to 1.87MOA error with the 0.01″ rifle to get a perfect score. The scary thing is that perfect scores are not really rare in normal competition. To break “ties”, there is extended competition in which the score is based on how precisely the pellet is centered on the “10”, an even more demanding criterion.

    Please feel free to correct and/or expand on this. I thought a look at the actual figures (or as close as I could get to them) would help people understand where some of us are coming from. I haven’t shot 10M — nowhere near good enough, and I fell asleep trying to watch the Olympic AR comp’s, but I am still in awe of the shooters and rifles that can do that sort of thing, and I think a lot of people underestimate the precision required from both rifle and shooter.

    • BG_Farmer,

      I think that the target pictures shot with the FWB 300S caught the attention of some of us, because we expected better. Even the best of the two targets shown would not have won a big match back in the 70’s, when I used one. Those targets look like they might result in a score of around 392/400 (possibly less). That could possibly represent a winner, if the conditions were really bad, but otherwise would normally not.

      I am certain that today’s shooters are NOT better than the shooters of the 70’s. I doubt that any of them would be breaking 395/400 had they used a 300S with the standard stock, and wore loose fitting, non-super-stiff pants, jackets, and shoes. There is no comparison between what the shooters used back than and what they use today. To compare scores is like comparing apples and oranges. But, again, the FWB 300S used back then was capable of shooting a 400/400 (or 600/600).

      Also, I don’t think that one could justify the targets presented here based on test targets that typically come with new rifles. Those test targets are not meant to demonstrate the true accuracy of the gun. Rather, they show that the rifle is satisfactory under minimal testing, to minimal standards, with a single pellet. Rifles that don’t pass minimal requirements are sent back to the factory. It’s up to the shooter to conduct an exhaustive search for the best pellet, which could be one of several brands (or even lots).


      • Victor,
        I agree — I hope it didn’t seem like I didn’t. All I was trying to do was quantify why the groups looked bad in terms of what the requirements are. The links Caveman posted are a good graphic accompaniment for correlating group size to score visually.

        • BG_Farmer,
          No worries. All I’m saying is that I agree with you (and others). As I said months ago, when I buy a competition rifle, I don’t want something that leaves me wondering whether a bad shot was me or the rifle. Beyond a certain point, “better” is psychological, but there is an absolute expectation for “good enough”.

  24. Here’s a question bedeviling me that I’m sure someone can answer very easily. Both David Tubb and Clint Fowler talk about measuring the headspace of their guns with fantastic precision in order to reload their ammo. David Tubb likes to soft seat his bullets so that closing the bolt on them will press them down ever so slightly. Clint Fowler likes to seat his bullets so that they just barely touch the rifling when the bolt closes. The question is how to they measure chambers that precisely and more generally how do you even measure headspace. The chamber has to be completely sealed from the outside so how can you adjust anything in there to take a measurement? Surely this is not done all the way from the muzzle. This is beyond my comprehension.

    Other reloading questions. In my Lyman reloading manual 49th edition, there is a “trim-to” length listed for the case. Is this the minimum length to trim your cases to?

    Also, for those reloading for semiautos, is it necessary to use a bushing die to reduce slightly the neck diameter of the case so that it will hold the bullet tighter? This is described as a good precaution so that the bullet better withstands the violent action of a semiauto.

    An even thornier question. Any reaction to the offensive against Libya? On the one hand, I haven’t forgotten Qaddafi’s terror attacks against Americans over the decades, and I’m sure many of those in government have not either. On the other hand, another open-ended war is not the way to cut our deficit.


    • Matt61,

      Wow, where to start… Some great questions there Matt. Headspacing; there are gauges for this that measure prior to loading a cartridge. The cartridge is then loaded with bullet seated accordingly.
      “Trim to length”; not sure yet myself.
      Bushing die; Not sure what that is. Crimping die maybe? Some cartridges do not require this die. As I understand it most straight walled cases do not, though magnums do because bullets will “unseat” with the amount of recoil they produce. You can crimp LIGHTLY for semi autos, but they do head space on the neck of the cartridge, so don’t over do it. At least that’s what I’m getting from both Hornady’s 7th and Lyman’s 49th manuals.
      Libya; Maybe the French will step up? Lots more to say on the issue. Biting my tongue.


    • I forgot to mention that cartridges head spaced off the shoulder, or neck ideally need zero clearance for both case and bullet. HOWEVER, That isn’t a consistently attained feat, therefore case to chamber takes priority and bullet needs to be seated so as not to effect case to chamber fit. Same goes for belted cases that space off the belt, though they can be head spaced off the shoulder as well.

      I will be using a tight fitting “go” gauge to load for my Savage. After establishing a proper fit with it I will adjust my dies to that.


    • Should we take the offensive against a mad dog who says he’s going attack unarmed civilians and cruise ships in the Mediterranean? Who is accused of orchestrating the deaths of a commercial plane full of innocent civilians?

      • Accused??? Convicted!!! He admited and paid the families.
        If he’s saying he’s gonna bomb every plane and boat he can reach I have no reason to doubt him, he also said he wanted to be a martyr then why not give him a hand. There’s no way we can stop every insane dictator out there but when there’s an opportunity like this we should make the most out of it… The population wants to get rid of him (and for good reason) lets give them a hand.


        • Amen! If it’s 70 virgins he wants, let’s arrange it. The world won’t miss him and he’ll go to h–l thinking he’s a hero. Sounds like a short battle and a win win for the free world!


    • Trim-to-length is shorter than the maximum length of the cartridge. This allows you to load the cartridge several times before it needs to be trimmed again. This will vary from gun to gun since some will allow the cartridge to stretch more than others. I have found the standard dies reduce the size of the case neck enough to work in most semi-autos. Very little crimp is needed if any. Some semi-autos will need “small base” dies that further reduce the case head size for proper chambering.

      A easy low tech way to check overall length is to drop a rod down the barrel with the bolt closed and mark it at the muzzle. Then, drop a bullet into the chamber so it is up against the rifling. Now, put the rod down the barrel until in touches the tip of the bullet and mark the rod again. Measure the distance between the two marks. This gives you a length to work with. You can now reduce the overall cartridge length to obtain the distance from the rifling you want.


  25. kevin:

    Thanks a lot for your input, I will definetely heed your advise as well as vince´s and duskwight´s.

    The scope will stay put in my centerfire, I haven´t used it in quite a long time, that´s the reason I wondered about mounting it on the baikal, I´ll buy a leaper´s and, if … well… when I want to take it up a notch, knowing myself, it´ll happen, I´let you know so you can give some advise.

    I hope what I typed was understandable, because English isn´t my first language.

    Best regards

    • Ivan,

      Your english is excellent. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the leapers scopes. If you do have a problem with the leapers scope leapers is very good about standing behind their products. I’m hoping that you’re able to buy from Pyramyd AIR since their customer service is excellent.

      Keep us informed.


  26. duskwight :

    After what you and other users have told me, I won´t mount it on the Baikal, thanks.

    As for my name´s origin, the only thing I was told, which I´m not sure it´s true, is that Ivan is translated to Spanish as Juan, which is my Granfather´s first name, and my mother didn´t want me to be named Juan, as it´s a really common name in México(where I´m from), so, I´m Ivan hehe.

    Now that you mentioned that, is kind of funny that I ended up buying it, was this meant to be? hehe, now I like it even more hehe.

    Best regards

    • Ivan

      “Ivan” is one of the most widely used Russian male names, “Ivan” is a nickname, kind of equivalent to “Russian”, just like “John Bull” for English. So, away from one widely used name, I just thought you are one of US Russians just like I am one of Germans of Russia.
      513 is one of the best Russian-made mass-production rifles, think of it as of an AK, but it requires some skill to shoot, and high-quality mounts, as it kicks quite noticeable.


  27. Ah, yes! Grandkids. Time to be the good guy. Who doesn’t like grandma and grandpa more than mom and dad? Who gets more excited hugs and kisses, grandma and grandpa or mom and dad? Who gets to spoil a kid and not have to live with the results? 🙂

  28. Unfortunately for me, they are in North Carolina and I’m in Southern California! Trying to do one of those trips across country I’ve been dreaming about.


  29. Please understand I’m not trying to get any big discussions going, but I’m a big fan of AR15s. Are they perfect? NO. But as far as reliability goes I have not had any problems and have often shot in excess of a hundred rounds with no malfunctions. In the benefit of full disclosure mine is cleaned and well lubed after every range trip. (IE 200-500 rounds).

    Accuracy is another issue, to start with I’m not the world’s greatest shot and no doubt there are accurized rifles out there that can do better, but you can expect to see groups of 3-4 inches at 100 yards with a decent rifle and ammo.

    For me the guns are fun to shot, have a lot of ammo choices, and easy to accessorize. Plus with the right ammo make good self defense guns.

    P.S. I read the story on the M14 EBR…good article and nice gun.


      • It’s called the ANSCHÜTZ AiR-15, and is suppose to provide “one hole accuracy”. The rifle’s street price is around $1850. Just the stock conversion kit alone costs close to $900! Yikes!

        • I think Crosman is going to have trouble moving many of these at those kind of prices. Back last year there were some pictures making the rounds of a tactical style Marauder(prototype only). I for one would like to see a product of that kind on the market.

          Otherwise for that kind of money I would be looking at a high end PCP import.


  30. Kit Carson, impressive but pricey. You have to add your own lower. I hope in the future to see something a little more affordable from Crosman in the tactical style….Bub

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