by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

My rifle is a lot longer than the standard Talon SS. It has a 24-inch, .22-caliber barrel and an aftermarket silencer tube that extends the frame of the gun past the muzzle. I’ll tell you about the scope in part 3 of this report.

Today, I’ll sample the velocity of my .22-caliber AirForce Talon SS with its optional 24-inch barrel. I cannot do a complete velocity test on this rifle, and neither can you. There aren’t that many years in any of our lives. This rifle has adjustable power and can therefore be “tuned” to do a remarkable number of things. And, with the 24-inch optional barrel, it becomes even more powerful and flexible.

This will just be a sampling to demonstrate the broad flexibility of this air rifle. I started with my favorite setting, which I cannot tell with any precision because my frame has no power scale. That drives airgunners nuts, because they like to trade “favorite” power settings for AirForce airguns like kids with baseball cards. You read on the forums that so-and-so shot well with the power set to 10.12. What that means is the gross power setting was at power level 10 and the power wheel scale was on the number 12. Too bad that information is next to meaningless!

My power adjustment has no scale. It’s the slot on the right with the Allen screw showing. The center of the screw head is the power setting, and this is about on the number 4, if the scale was there. The numbers on the wheel at the left are for smaller adjustments and there would be an index line at the left of the power window.

Here is the regular Talon SS power adjuster, so you can compare the numbers in the report.

It’s almost meaningless because these guns are all individuals. They develop vastly different power when set to the same settings. But my gun is a very early one that never had the power scale engraved on the side of the frame, so I simply guess where the gun is. I’ve gotten to know this rifle so well over the years that my guess ends up within about 20 f.p.s. because I know how my particular rifle performs.

Therefore, what I’ll now tell you will relate to a gun that does have a power scale, because I’ve memorized the positions of those numbers over the years. I just don’t use them.

When the 12-inch barrel is installed, I like to leave the power setting at around the number 4. That gives me about 750 f.p.s with 14.3-grain Crosman Premier domes that I shoot a lot. If I were to increase the setting to the number 10 with the same short barrel, my rifle would get around 830 f.p.s., for a muzzle energy of 21.88 foot-pounds.

When the 24-inch barrel is on the gun at the same power setting, the velocity of the same Premier pellet averages 840 f.p.s. and the velocity spread spans from 833 to 845 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy is 22.41 foot-pounds at this level. So, right there the gun is slightly more powerful on the low number 4 setting with the 24-inch barrel than it is on the high number 10 power setting with the 12-inch barrel. I’m saving a lot of air by making better use of it with the long barrel.

That’s about as fast as I like to go with Premiers because of barrel leading. Next, I boosted the power setting up to 10 to shoot the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy dome that could prove to be the most accurate pellet in this rifle. I’ve never tried them at distance in this rifle, so I’m learning right along with you as we go. The velocity at this power setting averaged 968 f.p.s. with a spread from 965 to 970 f.p.s. That means the rifle is now putting out 37.59 foot-pounds of energy on average. That could prove to be a very good place for this rifle, but I’ll need to get out to the range to see for sure.

The best it can do
Everybody wants to know how absolutely powerful this rifle can be with this longer barrel, and I’m sorry to say I don’t have the right pellets to test it. Eun Jin makes a 32.4-grain pointed pellet that would produce more muzzle energy than the Eun Jin 28.4-grain domes I have on hand. But even they averaged 822 f.p.s. with the rifle set as high as it would go. That’s an average of 42.62 foot-pounds. So, I think there’s little doubt that with the heaviest pellets this rifle will just top 45 foot-pounds. That’s what it did about six years ago when I tested it for AirForce. The velocity spread with the gun running wide open went from 812 to 832 f.p.s.

So what?
This is where those who’ve never owned an AirForce rifle get confused. They wonder what they should do or could do with a rifle that can go from very low to very high power. And, by the way, I didn’t show you how low this rifle can go, did I? With Crosman Premiers again on the lowest possible power setting, I get an average velocity of 474 f.p.s., ranging from 465 to 489 f.p.s. That’s an average muzzle energy of 7.14 foot-pounds. In my opinion, that’s not a valuable number because I’d never shoot this rifle that slow. It isn’t as consistent down there and what’s the point? I have Diana 27 rifles that will do the same thing. I just tell you because people want to know.

In the upper velocities, however, there’s a real benefit to my rifle. First, when set to deliver 23 foot-pounds, this rifle is quieter than a Beeman R7. Boost the power up to 37 foot-pounds, and the rifle sounds like a Sheridan Blue Streak on five pumps. When it’s running all-out, it’s still quieter than a Blue Streak on 8 pumps. So, this is a quiet air rifle. How quiet? Well, it’s noticeably quieter than most .22 rimfires shooting CB caps. That’s pretty quiet.

How many shots per fill?
This is another question whose answer depends on what you’re doing with the rifle. But for 37 foot-pound shots, I would get about 30-35 good ones before things tapered off. On 23 foot-pounds, I get about 45 good shots per fill.

How I operate the rifle is to leave it set on one power level that’s sighted-in. That way I know when I pick up the gun it’s ready to go. Based on the outcome of this particular test, I may change the power setting in the future because I may find a more accurate pellet. We shall see!

And, here’s the really good news. All this testing I’m doing here is simply in preparation for a much larger test I have been planning for several years. Had I not gotten sick last year, I would be deep into that bigger test right now; but as it is, I’m just getting started.