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Walther PPQ/P99 Q CO2 pistol: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Walther PPQ/P99 CO2 pistol

We’re going to finish the Walther P99 Q air pistol today with accuracy tests of both pellets and BBs. Several readers suggested that the double-action only trigger-pull would lead to larger groups, and I have to admit I thought so, too. A DAO pistol can be made to be very accurate, but it entails gunsmithing of the trigger that costs many times the price of this pistol. As they come from the factory, there are but a few DAO pistols, whether they’re air-powered or firearms, that have what I would call decent triggers.

The P99 Q trigger is one that “stacks” as it approaches the release. Much like a Colt revolver of the 1920s, the trigger-pull increases in weight dramatically just before the sear releases the hammer to fire the gun. Smith & Wesson found a way to overcome this and as a result they surpassed Colt as the world’s premier maker of revolvers before World War II. The stacking invariably causes the shooter to pull shots to the side opposite the shooting hand. A right-handed shooter will pull shots to the left while a lefty throws them to the right. This can be overcome with a lot of training, but it has to be practiced all the time, or you’ll revert to pulling your shots.

I’d earlier estimated the trigger-pull at 12 lbs.; but after firing about 100 careful shots, I have to say that it varies between 12 and 15 lbs. I had to use two fingers to keep from throwing my shots. That’s one finger on either hand, as shooting this gun was a two-handed proposition.

Having learned some lessons when shooting the Bronco with open sights and reading glasses last week, I was able to shoot that same way for this test without any problems. Instead of using a 75-watt shop light, I illuminated the target with a 500-watt quartz lamp that defined the bull very well. The rear sight was also sharp against the bull, and I don’t think I gave away any accuracy.

Shooting position
I shot from a standing strong-side barricade position for the whole test. That means I used a support to steady my right hand while shooting. I was standing for all shots and the pellets were shot at 25 feet, while the BBs were shot at 20 feet.

The P99 Q isn’t a target pistol, and we shouldn’t think of it that way. It’s a plinker and an action air pistol with minute-of-pop-can accuracy at 20-25 feet. If I could show that to you here, I would. But for this blog paper targets still work best.

I first tried RWS Hobby pellets. They turned out to be a very good choice, but I had to shoot about five clips before I found the best way to shoot the gun, so the first targets of Hobbys only hinted at what they might do. Once I was using two hands with two fingers on the trigger, I was able to lob pellets into a fairly tight group that was only limited by the gun’s slow gas flow.

This is a good group horizontally, but variations in velocity made it string vertically. Shots were fired in intervals of five seconds or less. Group measures 1.801 inches between the widest centers.

When I waited a minute or more between shots, the CO2 gas had time to flow through the small pierced hole and into the valve, making velocity a more stable thing. These Hobbys went into a group measuring 1.191 inches between centers.

The next pellet I tried was the JSB Exact RS, a domed pellet weighing 7.3 grains. They shot tantalizing groups with but a few strays, and I thought I was onto something, but no matter what I did I couldn’t get all the pellets to go to the same place.

This is a perfect illustration of what the JSB Exact RS pellets were doing. Five went into a tight group, but three strayed out for no obvious reason. Group measures 2.43 inches between centers.

Again, the JSB Exact RS domes were tantalizing. The dark smudge on the target is a black bull drawn on the back for a different project. The felt-tipped pen seeped through the paper to make the smudge. One shot is in the darkest part of the smudge, and the hole at the lower right has two pellets. Group measures 2.055 inches between centers.

I did try other pellets like Gamo Match and JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes, but they were not as accurate as these two. Now it was time to switch to BBs.

Several readers correctly predicted that BBs would not be as accurate as pellets in the pistol, and with what we know about the situation, I’d have to agree. Not only are BBs round and made of steel so they cannot be spin-stabilized in flight, they’re also smaller than pellets and therefore do not fit the bore as well. There’s no way they’re going to be as accurate. As I mentioned in the beginning of this report, I moved up from 25 to 20 feet for BBs because I wanted to keep them all on the target paper.

The first to be fired were Crosman Copperhead BBs. They fit the BB clip (loading from the front, only!) very well and functioned perfectly.

Crosman Copperhead BBs made this 3.782-inch group at 20 feet. This was shot with the same two-hand hold described for the pellets, above.

Next, I tried some RWS Match Grade BBs that Pyramyd AIR does not carry. They were a tighter fit in the clip and produced a smaller 8-shot group. Both BBs seemed to group to the same relative place as pellets, though with much larger distributions.

The RWS BB was more accurate, grouping eight in 2.996 inches at 20 feet.

Well, that’s it for the P99 Q. There were no malfunctions during the test once the pellet-seating tool was used. The gas flow problem I describe in this report is an issue if you want to fire the gun fast, which is what action pistols are designed for. Backing off on the piercing screw seemed to work when I let the gun rest for at least 10 seconds between shots, but shooting faster than that knocked the velocity down in a noticeable way.

This is a fine action pistol for the price. Considering that it accepts both BBs and pellets, it’s very accommodating. Buy it for fast plinking fun, and you’ll be getting a lot for your dollar. Just remember that it’s a double-action only pistol, so you’ll need a strong trigger finger.

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.

25 thoughts on “Walther PPQ/P99 Q CO2 pistol: Part 3”

  1. B.B.
    The PP/Q that my wife has seems to have a similar piercing problem.
    The very first cart, there was barely any gas came out of the barrel, and the blowback did not function. Backing off the cart until it leaked then retightening brought it up to full power.
    It dumps a full clip as fast as I can fire it without any problems.


  2. Off topic – Eley Wasp pellets. My buddy contacted the store where he originally purchased the Wasps and we got Spitfires instead (Ronnies’ Sunshine) and received an apology and request for an address where they could send the correct order. He was very nice in his request and received a like response from the merchant.

    Fred PRoNJ

  3. I am adding this comment from Gene, who sent it to the wrong address:


    I’ve read your blogs with great interest. I am overhauling an early FWB 124 … serial number 53XX … It must have the original seal, etc. The seal was plastered all over the end of the piston column … right where no tool reaches it easily.

    I have most of it out, but a ring of old seal remains at the edges. Do you have any hints on ways to remove this material?

    Thank you for your writings! I have employed many of your hints and kinks. PS: Have the ARH Mac rebuild kit to go into the gun … and bought his grease/tar kit as well.


    • Gene,

      I posted your question here so everyone can benefit from the answer.

      To get out the last ring of material in the compression chamber you need something like a flat-bladed screwdriver with a long shank. You need to punch through the ring at one point to break it and then just work at it until it comes out. It shouldn’t take too much time.

      If necessary, go to Sears and buy a screwdriver for this. You may only use it once, but think of it as a part you had to have.

      Please let us know how it goes.


      • If stuck on the end, yeah, a long screwdriver is probably it.

        If stuck on the sidewalls, at the end, it’s vaguely possible that a brake cylinder stoning unit would work (I don’t recall if the shaft protrudes too much in the center-line) — and smooth up the walls of the tube while one is at it.

        Expensive/complex for cleaning tube end… finding a wood bore (Forster bit http://www.acetoolonline.com/product-p/fre-fb-006.htm ) that just fits the tube and grind off the pilot tip (don’t want to enlarge the transfer port), leaving the flat cutting edge.

    • Gents: Thanks much for the tips. A little bit of hillbilly ingenuity made the day. That nylon bushing was mashed tight against the end of the tube.

      Imagine if you will, a section of universal bore cleaning rod, a part of a metal coat hanger sharpened on one side with a few strokes of a file, and that taped to the cleaning rod.

      Some squirts of brake cleaner down the bore to loosen (yeah, right) the crud at the end. Then a light source to see what I was doing.

      Done … The stuff is gone from the end of the barrel. Now, on with the Mac Pro rebuild.

      Thanks, all!

  4. So, that’s what “stacking” a trigger is. I have always wondered. Have not heard of two fingers on the trigger, but I’ve heard of a similar principle for heavy triggers. Jeff Cooper advises that for rifles, one puts the trigger finger in place as usual, the thumb of the trigger hand on the back of the trigger guard, then pinches the two together. (This was done for a rimfire.)

    Duskwight, that’s interesting about Stalin and his generals. As the saying goes, “Even paranoids have enemies.” The desire for power at the highest levels does seem quite intoxicating. The story is that in the later stages of the Roman empire, just about all of the emperors died by assassination, but there was never a shortage of candidates…. Stalin certainly did differ from Hitler in his ability to use those around him and back off when necessary; I understand that his rise to power was marked by this same shrewdness and skill. I suppose Hitler was one exception to the rule that everyone was incompetent at the beginning of the war, but look what happened to him. Better to be incompetent earlier than later.

    Thanks to all for the advice about not lubing the case shoulder–another complication but good to be aware of. As a side issue for you handy folks, does anyone have any advice about using acetone to remove superglue? I’ve spent the last few nights furiously painting acetone onto the tailboom of my rc helicopter to remove the tail motor mount and the darn thing feels like it is welded in place. Are you supposed to wait some certain period of time after applying the acetone?

    Does throat and muzzle erosion measure the accuracy of a rifle barrel or just the amount of life it has left? Are those two things separate?

    What do you think of this deal? Mosin Nagant sniper rifle from WWII beautifully refurbished and rebuilt after the war then locked in storage until now; original scope mounted and sighted, sling included for $495?

    Wulfraed, I’ve had my experience with airsoft and it was fun and educational but after pellet guns, they seem too inaccurate to me. But I do have a $20 airsoft 1911 that is fun to practice drawing and shooting with.


    • Matt,

      Mac just bought two WW II Mosin snipers for about $400 each. They go for that or more/ So your deal sounds okay.

      Just check the muzzle of the rifle to make sure it hasn’t been counterbored to correct cleaning rid damage that is common with Mosins.


    • Matt,

      Keep in mind that people here know the fashion and sometimes those “snipers” are refurbished (read – faked) army rifles that were taken from storage and fitted with PU scopes. The hardest part to fake AFAIK is a genuine WWII scope mount – it must be all-steel and fitted to rifle with very specific screws. I think you must ask for advice from guys of Mosin forums.
      Easiest way to check Mosin barrel is to put a round into muzzle and rotate it. The “tighter” the barrel is – the closer to the tip of the bullet the ring of fresh metal would be. Counterbored barrels can not pass this test, however a good recrown job is not a bad thing 😉
      Check the muzzle, check th inside of the barrel – use a pinky-sized LED flashlight, very convenient – just put it into chamber and enjoy the view from the muzzle side.
      Check all the numbers – they must be the same on all parts and of course of war series. Worst rifles are 1942, best – 1932-1938 as far as I remember. Again, Mosin forum guys know more.
      I wish you good luck with your purchase.


      • duskwight,

        Thank you for that information. I used to look down at the Mosin Nagant 91/30 as a crude rifle–until I owned one and learned different. My opinion has changed completely.

        I see the Mosin as the rifle equivalent of the 1947 Harley Davidson. It’s not at all sophisticated and wherever it broke in service they added a few more ounces of metal until it stopped breaking altogether. The Mosin doesn’t leak oil on the driveway, but they are made from overbuilt parts just the same. And the thrill of seeing a “three-line” rifle that looks like it has been dragged behind a truck drill out the center of a target is unparalleled.

        I used to have a love affair with the 1903 Springfield, but now I feel exactly the same about the 91/30 Mosin Nagant.


        • No doubt they work. However, if I had to use a bolt action rifle in a war, I would rather have a good No. 4 Mark II. It is just as reliable, holds 10 shots, better sights, an easier to use and properly placed bolt, more compact and also a proven design. But that’s just me, your mileage may varie. 🙂


        • B.B.

          There’s a type of style of Russian infantry weapons are constructed – they are “made for private Bel’dyev”. Bel’dyev – is a common surname among indigenous Tundra people, so it’s a synonim for a bit wild, simple and not very educated soldier.
          So a firearm must be constructed and built the way it cannot be broken by any means of force or stupidity, must have one-way foolproof construction and operation, must be easy to produce, learn to use and be as undemanding of maintenance and service as possible. This politics produced Mosin, AK family, RPG-7 and other tools of the trade.
          So Mosin IMO needs at least 1 thing to bring it closer to perfection – bolt handle moved some 20 mm backwards and crooked down (like on sniper versions).


          • duskwight,

            In the American Army we have a saying. Give a soldier an anvil and a case of C-rations (today it would be MREs) and put him in the desert by himself. Come back in a week and the rations will be eaten and the anvil will be broken.

            My ideal Mosin would have another 1.5 inches of stock to increase the pull length.


            • B.B.

              🙂 Yes, that’s true – soldiers are like kids – they break everything, and commander’s task is to make them break things on enemy’s part of playground 🙂

              Your 1.5 inch desire probably comes from the fact that you shoot wearing some light clothes. I had the same problem myself with Mosin. AK has the same problem, but you must keep in mind that both are made to be used by soldiers wearing thick winter clothes/armor jackets.
              When I shot them wearing winter coat it was OK. So maybe you should use some sort of shoulder pad to emulate this or order some telogreika jacket to fit Mosin rifle and have an authentic look? 😉


              • duskwight,

                I just traded for a beautiful 1939 Mosin that has all matching numbers and was refinished by an arsenal. I guess there are a lot of these around, here in the U.S., but I think I’ll keep this one.

                There is a rubber buttpad that can be slipped over the butt to give about an inch more pull, plus adding a recoil pad. On top of that I am able to reload the 7.62 X 54R cartridge so it has very little recoil. I think I will experiment with this rifle a bit. I’m also working a deal on a 1903A3 Springfield rifle from 1943 that also kicks like a mule, so I’ll do the same for it.

                Not that I will shoot either rifle that much, but it’s just nice to be able to look at them from time to time.


  5. This is completely off-topic…but it is so funny.
    I’m all for reading manuals…I have a feeling about 75% of home and industrial accidents could be avoided if people would only read the manual.
    What I find hilarious (at times) is the warning placed on products today to aleviate the manufacturer from people stupidity.
    We all have beautiful airguns that have all the crap etched into the fine metal telling us that we can put an eye out if we’re not careful.
    The funniest I’ve recently seen is some Claymore Mines that the Canadian Forces purchased. It states on the backside of the mine that ‘the explosive within can be fatal if ingested’
    Really…has someone, somewhere tried to eat C4 explosive?
    And did some idiot lawyer take on the case???
    Good God!!

  6. CowBoyStar Dad,

    I bought my a a Cold Steel Master Hunter a few years ago for Christmas and it had an orange sticker on the blade that said , “Caution this is a sharp instrument. Use care when handling to prevent injury.” I sure a h..l hope it’s sharp cause that’s what a knife is supposed to be!


    • Among other funnies like it found in a truck owners manual I was helping translate “if the truck catch on fire : get out of the truck and call etc..”
      Dang I always thought you were supposed to go down wih your rig like captains with their boats 😮


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