What would B.B. do? Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


I’m on the 50-yard range with my Talon SS.

If you guessed that this was what I was going to write about today, good for you. I certainly left enough clues. And by “clues,” I mean hitting you over the head until you were bloodied by all the obvious references to what I am about to show.

The Talon SS stock DOES NOT have to be modified
But before we get to that, I told you back in Part 1 that I would be showing you things about the .22 caliber AirForce Talon SS that have never been seen before. Here’s one of them now. You know how people are always inventing things to “fix” AirForce airguns because the factory isn’t smart enough to do it right to begin with? Well, I used to stand in their booth at both the SHOT Show and at the NRA Annual Meetings; and whenever someone would come up and complain about how they couldn’t get their head down far enough on the stock of one of these rifles, they didn’t want to run into me! But some of them did, to their misfortune.

When I asked them to demonstrate the problem they shouldered the rifle with the buttplate squarely in their shoulder joint, like they would hold Winchester 1894. But the AirForce rifles are not Winchester 1894s, and they don’t respond to being held like one. If you try to hold one of them that way, the scope doesn’t come up high enough and you have to lean your head way over to the side to see the scope picture. The only time holding like that works is when you’re seated at a bench.

But if you hold it the way I’m going to show you today, you can mount the scope as low as possible and still have plenty of elevation for your sighting eye when shooting in the offhand position. It’s all in how you plant the butt on your shoulder.

Just above your collarbone, there’s a small pocket of meat that will hold the toe of the AirForce buttplate very nicely. If you learn to plant it there instead of holding it like a recoiling deer rifle, the scope then comes up to your eye naturally.


I’m pointing to the pocket above the collarbone where the toe of the buttplate will rest. (I should put a no-nudity clause in my contract!)


This is the proper hold for an AirForce air rifle when shooting off-hand. It’s sitting on the top of my collarbone. Notice that my head is erect and the scope is easily in line with my eye.

“But that’s so unnatural!” comes the complaint from the now-backpedaling shooter.

“What?” I ask in mock amusement. “You never shot a Light Antitank Weapon (LAW) or a Redeye missile?”

The funny thing is — most of them never did. These are the same guys who will try to use the sights on an M3 grease gun and then complain loudly that they don’t work. Of course they don’t! Nobody in their right mind would try to use them to begin with. You want to use sights on an SMG? Get an H&K MP5. The M3 is like a very nasty garden hose, on which, coincidentally, there are also no sights. Yet, somehow, people manage to get the hang of using a hose without taking extension courses or watching a video, and the same can be said for the M3 grease gun. All it takes is some time and enough ammo to waste to find out how the bleeping thing works.

So it is with the AirForce air rifles. When a serious shooter is shown the correct positioning of the butt, he grouses about it for a moment, then proceeds to shoot the lights out of all the targets. After that, there’s no more discussion. That’s one of the tips about these rifles you’ll never see anywhere else. Since I no longer work in the AirForce booth, you’re not in danger of being exposed to my shenanigans if you do go to a show.

How accurate can the Talon SS be?
I have already shown my unclothed body in today’s report, so I think I’ve stepped boldly over the line. Nothing else I say today will damage my reputation any further. So, here it goes. The Talon SS will out-shoot a customized Ruger 10-22 upon which a lot of time, talent and money have been expended. It doesn’t just out-shoot it by a small margin, either. It buries it! There! (Let the letters and emails start to fly!)

Several years ago, I wrote a series of four or five feature articles for Shotgun News about the Ruger 10-22. Each article was 4,500-5,000 words long and had about 20 photos, so they were pretty detailed. The title of the series was, What can you do with a 10-22? The goal I was working toward was to find out how hard it is to obtain a legal silencer and also how a silenced .22 rimfire rifle compares to a quiet air rifle. I haven’t finished that series yet, and perhaps I never will, because the reader reaction seemed to be, “Who cares?”

But while doing the series, I had the opportunity to have my own 10-22 gunsmithed in several important ways. I had the trigger lightened to 1.5 lbs. with a crisp letoff and an adjustable overtravel stop. The barrel was rechambered with a target chamber, which is much tighter than the rifle comes with, and the headspace was made tighter and more precise. I also had a bolt hold-open device installed and the magazine release made simpler to use. Then, I created a custom rifle on that customized action by adding a custom stock and a 20-inch bull barrel from Butler Creek.


The Ruger 10-22 is a very popular rimfire rifle that can be modified in many different ways.


Replace the factory barrel with a 20-inch bull barrel from Butler Creek and drop the whole thing into a custom laminated stock and this is what you get.

I tested the rifle out of the box, the same rifle after modification and the all-out custom rifle with about 100 10-shot 50-yard groups shot by about a dozen different .22 rimfire cartridges. I wanted to see how accurate my factory barrel was, then the same barrel with a target chamber and custom headspacing, then the same rifle with the Butler Creek barrel and the custom stock…and, finally, I conducted a two-gun shootout between my now-$800 custom rifle and a Ruger 10-22 Target model straight from the box.


Ruger also sells the 10-22 in this Target model. It has a hammer-forged barrel and many of the modifications that had to be done to the factory rifle, and the cost is about half of what a custom job costs.


A lot of different ammo was used in the test.

Please bear in mind that I was shooting 10-shot groups — not the five-shot fluff groups that many gun writers get away with today. Well, the absolute best 10-shot 50-yard group of that entire multi-part series was fired by my customized rifle and measures 0.537 inches between centers at 50 yards. To get it, I used Aguila Standard Speed ammunition. And, yes, I bought plenty of the expensive ammo for this test, as well. It simply did not measure up to what the Aguila standard speed rounds could do in the three rifles I was testing.


The best group of the entire 10-22 series was made by Aguila standard speed ammo in my highly customized 10-22. It measures 0.537 inches between centers and is 10 shots at 50 yards.

That group represents the best of dozens of similar groups under the best of conditions. There were many 10-shot groups under seven-tenths of an inch extreme spread and several that were under six-tenths, but none were better than the one mentioned above.

And, now, the Talon SS
But last week, when I sighted-in the Talon SS at the range with 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets for this report, the sight-in group measured 0.734 inches between centers. It was just the sight-in group that I fired in haste to see where the scope was shooting! I have so many pellet guns that scopes are mounted and dismounted all the time for tests, so practically nothing is ever sighted-in when I begin a test. Six of the ten shots in this hasty group went into a smaller group measuring just 0.275 inches, or just larger than a quarter-inch!


This group was fired at 50 yards as fast as I could shoot, without waiting for the wind gusts to die. The large hole on the right is where six pellets passed through.

I was bucking the wind during sight-in and several of the stray shots were taken when I shot before I should have. I was just anxious to get the rifle sighted-in and didn’t think this first group would amount to anything. After seeing where the center of the group was, I made the appropriate adjustments to the scope and moved the point of impact closer to the point of aim, but still far enough away that I didn’t shoot out the aim point.

This is getting to be a very long report, so I won’t keep the results from you any longer. The best 10-shot group I obtained with my Talon SS shooting JSB heavies measures 0.431 inches between centers and puts the entire Ruger 10-22 test to shame! Yes, the day was perfect; and, yes, I did everything right to get that group, but that was also true for the 10-22s on every one of the 10 range sessions I had with the three different rifles.


The best group of this session and a killer group, to boot! Ten JSB Exact Jumbo 18.1-grain pellets went into a group that measured 0.431 inches between centers.

This may be the best group I’ve ever shot with this air rifle, but I simply don’t know because I don’t keep such records. What I do know is that I can sit down on any calm day and do something very similar. Now that I’ve discovered the best pellet for this rifle, I have even greater confidence in the gun.

I shot two other groups with the Heavy JSBs. They measured 0.476 inches and 0.494 inches, so all three beat the very best my 10-22 custom rifle was able to do.

Then, I tried 14.3-grain Crosman Premier domes. I shot only a single group with them because they measured 0.559 inches for 10 shots at 50 yards. For most air rifles, that would be a screamer for a 10-shot 50-yard group, but not for my SS.


Ten Crosman Premiers went into this group measuring 0.559 inches between centers.

I followed that with the heavy Eun Jin 28.4-grain domes, whichย produced almost 42 foot-pounds in the velocity test. Again, I shot only one group and it measured 0.935 inches at 50 yards. That’s good, but nothing to write home about. It seems that the 18.1-grain JSB Exact is the pellet of choice for this rifle.


Ten 28.4-grain Eun Jin pellets went into this group, which measures 0.935 inches. While not as tight as the others, this pellet generates almost 42 foot-pounds in this rifle and retains that energy better than any other pellet.

While many of you might be surprised by what this rifle can do, I was not. I’ve grown accustomed to results like this from my long-barrel Talon SS. That’s why I don’t bother to save the targets. I know I can always do it again on any calm day.

So, my statement remains — the AirForce Talon SS out-shot the Ruger 10-22 customized rifle and a factory Target model. And, I shot all of the guns in all of the tests.

One of our readers said in the comments of an earlier part of this report that a CZ 451 American was cheaper in the long run than a Talon SS when all the support equipment gets tossed in. I won’t argue that point until it comes to buying the ammunition. But can the CZ keep up with my Talon SS downrange? Maybe it can. I know CZ makes a great barrel, but there’s still the difficulty of finding the rimfire ammunition that really works well in your particular gun. Having done an exhaustive test with the Rugers, I don’t know if I have the energy to do another one equally as exhaustive. Especially not when I know that all I have to do is pick up my Talon SS with its optional 24-inch barrel and start shooting.

I believe today’s blog is the longest one I’ve written to-date. It had to be this long, because I had to tell you everything at the same time so you could appreciate what I have known for years. I guess I became very accustomed to the high accuracy of AirForce rifles when I tested so many of them years ago. I don’t think about it very often, but we have enough new readers who need to know what I know about these airguns, so it was high time to speak up.

This isn’t the end of our look at the Talon SS. Oh no! This is just the beginning. Now I have a baselined PCP air rifle against which I can test .22 rimfires. I’m looking into such things when shooters make the statement, “I don’t need an air rifle to eliminate pests. My 10-22 with CB caps is just as quiet and just as accurate and whole lot cheaper in the long run.”

What do you think?

79 thoughts on “What would B.B. do? Part 3

  1. Sorry to hear you didn’t get to finish your articles for Shotgun News, sounded like a good comparison test. Most folks have trouble getting past the ideal that airguns are anything more than toys.

    The more you talk about the Airforce guns the more I like them. The nontraditional design doesn’t bother me. I’m an AR guy anyway.

    Bub


  2. The old guy CAN shoot! That is most impressive , or as R. Lee Ermey would say, “OUTSTANDING!”

    Edith

    Please don’t release any more photos of BB from your ‘secret stash.’ A little goes a long way. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. Slinging Lead, Oh c’mon now. Tom’s bravery should be rewarded. Not certain I would have the courage to post pics of my 64 yr old self sans shirt.


  4. People are amazed that an air rifle can outshoot a .22. If the ammo manufacturers were held to the same standard as the pellet manufacturers are by the consumers, that would change. I guess ignorance is bliss.


  5. Good shooting Tom.
    You must have selected a 24″ that is on par with my 24″ purple barrel. I mentioned that one quite some time ago.

    I don’t really care much for a 24″ on a Talon or TSS. The length seems to get in the way all the time. A bump to the barrel has usually knocked it out of zero, so I stick with 18″ on the Talon and the stock 12″ on the TSS.

    twotalon



  6. BB:
    Where’s my boot I need to kick myself in the butt.
    Why oh why didn’t I perservere with my Gunpower Stealth(Talon/condor)?
    Looks mean as hell,dead accurate and up to 40ftib power levels…Whaaaaa.
    I’m off for a sulk.
    Dave


  7. Nice custom 10-22. Wish I would have caught the series of shotgun news articles. That’s a lot of testing. As I’ve shared I’ve been doing quite a bit of testing with my rimfires as well. It’s amazing how much time this takes since travel to the range eats time and where I shoot inevitably the winds start kicking up halfway through my planned shooting session. Shooting through or with my winds is a waste of time and ammo for accuracy testing so I usually pull out the plinking guns to finish the session.

    Airguns have spoiled me since I can grab a gun when the conditions or mood suits me and start shooting off my deck immediately.

    I was talking last week about groups I’ve been getting with wolf match ammo at 100 yards. Someone asked what the groups were at 50 yards. The real reason I don’t shoot the rimfire target guns at 50 yards is because they aren’t more accurate than my S410. To be fair, I’ve shot the S410 much, much more than the rimfires at 50 yards so I know the perfect ammo, hold, trigger pull, etc. I’m spending the time shooting the rimfires at 100 yards since they’re less affected by wind and therefor they’re much easier to group than my pcp’s. The rimfires need to justify their place in the gun safe LOL!

    I’ve got to try that Aguila Super SE Extra ammo shown in B.B.’s photo. I can’t seem to find that exact ammo. Does anyone know if these are the same just in a different package?

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=919700

    My fear is that they have quit manufacturing them since I’m seeing individual boxes for sale on auction sites:

    http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=9190781

    kevin


  8. Kevin,

    Since I did my testing many years ago (at least 4 or 5), I wound bet that Aguila haas changed the box graphics and those are the rounds. I tested three or four Aguila rounds in all and found their average accuracy to be much better in my rifles than Remington (except Rem. Standard Speed, which are wonderful) and Winchester.

    I would buy a couple boxes of that stuff and give it a try.

    And here is a real tip. Try this place:

    Ammunition to Go

    They have super deals all the time and I often find hard-to-get ammo there, as well.

    B.B.


  9. I re-learned an important lesson yesterday. I was target practicing and wondering why when in the field, my point of impact was wandering. I started to wonder whether the scope was shifting, or the rifle not grouping, etc., all of the various things that we airgunners blame our own operator error on and then fill up the blogs with feedback on poor performing equipment. What I re-learned was that different holds change the POI. Common sense, I know! But I just wasn’t thinking about that when outside and not at a bench. It’s the old accuracy vs precision debate going on a while ago. When I changed the way I was holding, the POI moved, but the groups were still tight. When holding on a bench like normal, the groups went back on target. But, even when at the bench and something was changed like the hold, rest height or configuration of the rest POI changed again, but precision did not. Interesting but frustrating. I started to loose confidence on anything but shooting from a consistent rest in a repeatable position at an unmoved target. I think shooting groups makes sense for setting up a rifle and for fun, but taking the rifle outside and doing other things like hunting or mini-sniping is also fun. So, I think getting off punching holes in paper from a rest is a good idea for me before trying to use it in unusual circumstances. My solution is to be more mindful of how I’m holding the rifle while out and about as well as some more training by using paintballs on golf tees set up at various places for target practice.




      • Ack!

        No more “foop-foop-foop” graduation flights over Ft. Rucker?

        In the 60s, every few months, one basically had to give up watching TV due to the multipath interference from SWARMS of UH-1 criss-crossing the sky.

        Training must be harder these days — from what I’ve read, the UH-1 simplified things by having the engine throttle totally controlled via a governor rather than a twist-grip on the collective lever, leaving just the collective, cyclic, and rudder pedals for the pilot to manage.


  10. I never understand comparing air rifles to powder burners. Purpose built tools that each have there own specific applications. To me, it’s like trying to compare a car to a boat.

    Just my 2 cents

    Aaron


    • Aaron,

      I agree with you that airguns are not firearm and shouldn’t be compared to them. But, the firearms users are doing it all the time, and of course they don’t know what they are talking about.

      The comparison to CB caps in a .22 rimfire vs a good air rifle is al old one that I take great umbrage with. So I decided years ago that I would do something about it.

      Another one is the myth that if you pump ip a multi-pump 30-40 times it will shoot like a .22 rimfire. That’s one I have actually dispelled in print, but you just gave me tomorrow’s blog, because it’s time to do it again.

      Thank you!

      B.B.



      • Not taking into account that it’s not built for that and the dangers for the gun and that the manual specifies NOT to do it and that I think it’s ridiculous.
        Question 1 would be HOW can you pump one that much? Dosn’t the pumping get harder with each pump or does it reach a point where it takes the same force to close it pump after pump?

        Question 2 would be WHY??? After the 8th pump on my 2289 I’m already 7 pumps pass when I wanted to shoot it, I’d never have the patience to pump for a half hour to fire ONE shot!

        J-F



        • Answer #1…
          You get too much pressure and the valve will start to lock…You gain nothing.
          The pump never can push all of the air into the holding chamber, and it will expand in the compression tube when you pull the pump handle back up. At some point this residual air will completely fill the pump tube and no new air can be drawn in. At this point, pumping will not get any harder because you are only compressing and decompressing the same air over and over again.

          Answer #2…
          Ignorance.

          twotalon


  11. A perfect weekend past!
    The shooting range of which I’m a member has, not only full firearms ranges (with 2 airgun lanes), but a nice campground, a trout stocked fishing pond and an archery range. Except on long weekends the campground is never full, so it is usually easy to find a nice private spot.
    Friday after work packed up some guns (my Slavia and the boys Steel Storms) and our camping gear. By 7PM the tent was up, the fire was lit and we sat and watched the stars appear.
    All to the crackle of gunfire in the near distance ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Up at 8 the next morning. I got bacon and eggs going, the boys (7 & 10 now) did a little exploring and by 9AM we were on the range…a wonderul sunny, windless day.
    I think I’m finally getting the Slavia dialed in. Had the new JSP Exacts with me (previously was shooting RWS Superdomes). 5 shots at 15m were literally in one hole. Then went to the 30m range and started shooting 10 shot groups. The first group was 1/2 what I was getting with the Superdomes…a little over 3/4 of an inch (she was running 1.25-1.5″ with the Superdomes).
    So I’m quite pleased. My next step is to start really getting nit-picky…checking skirts, weighing and sorting. I’m still determined that by summers end I’ll make that Quigley shot…a pop can at 100yds with a 500fps springer!
    After checking out what others were shooting…everything from black powder to someone with a Timberwolf .338 Lapua…we drove to the nearest town, about 40mi away and had pizza and went bowling.
    Back to the campsite late in the afternoon and another pleasant evening in front of the fire.
    This is what memories are made of.
    And not a video game or computer in sight!!!


  12. BB,
    Topless! I guess you weren’t eligible for the Big Shot contest, so you put it up anyway :). Edith, keep him off of Facebook!

    I respect your opinion, but I don’t think diabolo pellets will ever come close to .22’s in the 50 yard and over ranges, except under perfect conditions, which I almost never encounter. Not necessarily a bad thing — I’ve already determined that a pellet rifle is adequate at 35 yards and less and much, much safer for, e.g., squirrel hunting. Much quieter for offhand shooting practice at 25 yards also. I’m not saying you can’t shoot a pellet rifle farther, just that is, to me, more a challenging or educational exercise than a practical application. In terms of trajectory alone, the MPBR of a pellet rifle, even a good one, is — I would guess — half that of a .22; I know some people “click”, but I am not convinced that it is a practical way to shoot in a hunting or pest elimination scenario. Has somebody done, it? Yes, undoubtedly, but it strikes me as a little bit of a hack and prone to error. I feel the same way about “hunters” making 600 yard (for example) shots at deer,etc., with mild c/f’s; it seems to trivialize the prey and demean it to little more than a “target”.

    Accuracy and economy-wise, those groups are good, but not any better than my humble savage can do with decent bulk ammo, which is not much different from a premium pellet per shot costwise. With the good stuff, it can do quite a bit better. And neither the rifle nor I are top of the line shooters!

    Just my opinion — willing to have my mind changed.


    • BG_Farmer,

      Okay, I will then continue my test of rimfires, selecting target-grade guns to test. I have already done some of this and cannot equal the results shown here, but I will persevere.

      This discussion begins to resemble my complaint about accurate, reliable AR-15s. Apparently they abound, but somehow they never come to the range when I am there. When I am on the range all the tricked-our AR-15s have jams and shoot 1.5-inch groups at 100 yards. But I’m sure the good ones are out there.

      I have started asking every AR-15/zombie-gun owner I see whether his gun can shoot a one-inch group at 100 yards. Last week I was next to a guy with an AR in .300 Whisper and a big silencer on the muzzle, and I asked him that. He was just getting started with the gun, he said, and it would be some time before it could shoot that well, but sure, it was supposed to be that accurate.

      Then he looked at the hunk of junk I was shooting — an SMLE No. 5 jungle carbine action mated to an ER Shaw barrel with a flat steel bar for a forearm. I was shooting .219 Donaldson Wasp cartridges and when he saw my groups he said, “There’s your one-inch groups!”

      Yeah, Sparky, I know the junker can shoot, but what about your $2,000 toy from Mattel?

      B.B.


      • I am beginning to believe that fishings ‘the one that got away’ definitley has its counterpart in shooting accuracy.
        As you know (see my above post) I’ve been struggling to get my Slavia shooting to where so many tell me it should be. Especially on another forum (the one named after a color) there are so many that claim that their bargan basement springers can easily shoot 10 shots into a dime at 50 or more yards…and the PCP’s…there a whole story unto themselves. The place seemingly abounds with guys who could put most Olympic shooters to shame on any given day.
        That’s why Iike this blog so much…it seems to be populated with ‘real’ people getting’real’ results.
        But I digress.
        On the weekend at the range I ran into one of the people I think b.b. speaks of. He was setting up a nice Ruger 77 with a bull barrel and a pretty fancy looking scope. We got to chatting and he told us that it could easily shoot MOA at 100yds. He proceeded to shoot and was getting at best, 3″ groups.
        He didn’t seem to fazed, except to say that he was having an off day.
        I think that’s where I (and I know a couple of others) get hung up. There are a lot of fantastic shooters on the internet. But if you can shoot a 1/2″ 10 shot group one out of 10 times…is it really fair to say that you and your gun can shoot 1/2″ groups?


        • CSD,

          Yep! That was one of those guys.

          One time I actually had one of them show me his 2″ group and tell me it was a 1″ group!

          Can’t do nothin’ about that except wear a tinfoil hat whenever you’re around such people.

          B.B.


    • BB,
      I don’t really have any reason to lie about the accuracy, but that wasn’t my main point, anyway. Comparing my $300 MkII BV (but it has a really nice $90 scope on it :)) to a customized AF Talon or a tricked out 10/22, I would be tempted to ask which is the $2000 toy from Mattel :). I will admit that not every .22 shoots as well, and not all ammo either; I’ve shot a lot of them both that fell short:). There are some that are better, some much better.

      The main point was that pellet trajectory and resistance to deflection in wind is nowhere near as practical at longer ranges. That is not an emotionally charged statement, simply my understanding of the physics. Given my experience with people’s (in)ability to estimate range, and their willingness to trust obviously incorrect readings from scopes and rangefinders, trajectory must be a consideration in practical applications. For me, that means that 35 or 40 yards is the end of “utility” for a pellet rifle, and the start of utility for the .22. In turn, a .22 is only marginally useful outside target shooting and plinking for anything beyond 75 yards. Again, just my perspective. You know I love to be the devil’s advocate!


      • BG_Farmer,

        Sorry I went off on you, pardner. I guess I’m spring-loaded on this issue.

        Now as to your real concern that the wind is very difficult to shoot through, I could not agree more. But that is why I love shooting an accurate air rifle out to 50 yards and beating an accurate rimfire that I put just as much effort into.

        Shooting an accurate air rifle at 50 yards is akin to shooting a .45/70 at 500 yards. The wind and trajectory are all against you there, too.

        Only I was bore too late for the 500-yard ranges. They are mostly subdivisions today. But I can still shoot my air rifle at 50 yards and pretend I’m Quigley for an hour or two.

        I hope there are long ranges in heaven, because I’d love to spend a couple millennia shooting accurate rifles at long distances.

        B.B.


        • BB,
          Not a big deal. I’d actually like for you to succeed, so I was trying to be honest, though adversarial. Also, I did not mean to “denigrate” airguns if anyone got that impression, simply explain where I think they fit in as far as practical applications. If you remember my own 100 yard Quigley obsession, I agree on the fun and challenge of long range shooting with pellets or anything else, just not that it is always a practical application! No 500 yard range, but I have access to a 300 yard range — stop by and we’ll go! I hardly ever feel like doing it these days, because if I go to the range it is to practice 50 yard offhand with my flintlock, which is likely to remain a satisfying challenge for me into the foreseeable future , and “long range” enough after a fashion :), but I would be happy to pack up the .30-06 and the .22 also and go along.


  13. Well,

    if I go ahead and get a high pressure SCUBA tank, I think a Talon SS is in my future. Perhaps a bench rest like you’re using as well, BB. One question, you mentioned in customizing your Ruger 10-22, you had a bolt hold open device installed. Does that hold the bolt open, out of battery, after the last round is fired? I’d like to have that added to the Ruger I acquired several months ago (it also came with a Bull Battle Creek barrel in addition to the stock barrel) and impressed me with it’s accuracy at 30 yards. Is this a “do it yourself” project or is a gunsmith needed for this? Recommendations on the manufacturer of the device?

    Fred PRoNJ


    • Fred,

      I can’t remember if the hold-open device works after the last round or not, to be honest. All I remember was being horrified of dry-firing a rimfire, which happens after the final round in a semiauto. Then I found out that Ruger solved this problem by spacing the firing pin so it never contacts the breech face. So the hold-open device isn’t needed for that purpose.

      Mac is the guy who turned me onto the gunsmith, because they did his 10-22. They are Connecticut Precision Chambering:

      http://www.ct-precision.com/ruger10-22.html

      B.B.


  14. BB.-

    Kudos for the detailed testing, as always. I did a quick scan of Parts 1 & 2 & comments, but did not see an answer to my question:

    What sort of shot count do you get with your 12″ barrelled SS set in the “4” region giving you about 750fps with 14.3gr. Premiers, which you described in Part 2? (If I remember correctly, I am getting about 35-40 shots with .22 Kodiaks at about 750fps, though it’s been so long since I adjusted the power wheel, I don’t remember what I have it set on.)

    Also, you might one day want to look over R&L’s new shrouds for the Talon & Edge family. Randy’s unit is blued steel, remarkably well-engineered and built, and it is virtually impossible ever to suffer pellet “clipping” with one of the shrouds. The only way to knock one out of alignment is to bend it. He makes several lengths, from the “Shorty” for the 12″ SS, to a long one for the 24″ barrelled rifles, and you can use the longer units over more than one length barrel if you change them around. They are beautifully machined to thread onto a new threaded front barrel bushing.

    http://www.rlairgunsupply.com/cart/products/AirForce_Airgun_Shroud-601-17.html

    Lance


    • Lance,

      I get the same number of shots from the gun at the same power setting regardless of the barrel length. So the answer is 45 shots from a 12″ barrel on power setting 4. But don’t chronograph them. Just shoot them at distance and stop the count when you see them start to drop.

      And it wasn’t Kodiaks, it was Premiers going that speed on number 4.

      B.B.


      • B.B.-

        That’s the curse of the confusing wordy question. I said _I_ was getting 35-40 shots at 750fps with 21gr. Kodiaks. I couldn’t remember what my power setting was, but I knew it had to be higher than your 4 to get the that velocity with the 50% heavier pellet.

        I knew you were shooting the lighter 14.3gr. Premiers at 750fps, and I was wondering how many shots you were getting at that velocity (which happened to be around a power setting of 4). Thank youfor the answer of 45. Since I don’t really need the 25fp I’m getting from the Kodiaks, and I’d like a higher shot count, I need to test my SS out with the Premiers.

        Thanks for your time.


  15. ROFLMAO! I couldn’t believe my eyes as I was scrolling and reading! First into view,an uncharacteristic
    close-up of BB with a big smile.I scrolled a little more…..and promptly spit my coffee out.Congressman Weiner (former) has got nothing on you Tom! That should be a page in the Airforce
    calendar! Not only “outside the box”,but maybe no longer allowed back in.LOL


  16. I’ve done a LOT of rimfire ammo testing in various accurate rimfires over the years and spent waaaaaay more $ on expensive target grade ammo than is reasonable so I have accurate rimfires in my stable.

    I’ve tried CBs in all of my own rifles and any others I could test. I have ’til yet to find a combo that fits my definition of ‘accurate’. Out of a 24″ barrel my chrono shows a bit under 700 fps—@ 29 ft. lbs. Plenty of power for vermin if it was accurate.

    I have numerous asirguns that are far more accurate than any CB/rifle combo I own or have tested. So good luck to those with the uncannily accurate rimfire guns that denigrate airguns. Tom



  17. B.B.,
    You got your best 10/22 results with the custom rifle, but you didn’t say how close the stock Target model did? Was the Target model even close to your custom (i.e., how close to .5″ did it get?)? Just curious.

    Also, in wind, my air-rifles don’t get close to my 10/22. Air-rifles are just different tools, but not better (or worse), obviously. BTW, I read MANY reviews and comments by probably hundreds of readers before deciding that the Target model was the better way to go than a all-customized version. It was difficult to cut through all the crap out there by people who didn’t have a clue about what they were talking about. So much bad information! It’s a matter of compromise either way. The stock 10/22 Target model, to me, made the most sense.

    For super accuracy with a rim-fire, I don’t see much option other than going with a real target rifle. I could shoot 200-20x most of the time with my Anschutz 1413, with wind. That would be hard to beat with any air-rifle. But I digress. Top small-bore shooters shoot 5 shot groups in competition that are so tight that scorers have to look at the backers to see if the lead build-up accounts for the difference between 5 and 4 shots. The test target that came with my Anschutz showed a one-ragged-hole group, and that’s precisely what it often did in competition. I never expected my 10/22 Target to do that, of course. But it’s still fun trying to see how well it can shoot. That’s the same thrill I get when shooting my air-guns.

    One last thing, knowing that my 10/22 can never come close to my Anschutz, I personally wouldn’t bother trying to shoot for groups at a 100 yards with it. If I can’t shoot a one-hole group at 50 yards, I’ll always see it’s error in real-world terms. 50 yards is adequate for comparing ammo, for instance. Another very important point, for me, is that it is ALWAYS windy at my range. Worse than that, the wind is constantly changing direction. Not the best situation for shooting groups, but it does provide a great venue for learning to manage wind.

    Victor


    • Victor,

      The custom rifle was best overall if you consider all the articles I wrote, but in the head-to-head test against the Target, the Target was best. But on that day, neither rifle shot under 0.6″. So I gave the overall nod to the custom rifle, but on one day at least, the Target beat it.

      I don’t have the files up right now but as I recall from researching for the blog, the Target shot ten into 0.634″ or so.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,
        Thanks! If there is one person that I could trust with this question, it is you. My Target model has shown flashes of greatness, but it’s so hard to be convinced when you can never get a truly great day to shoot. It’s windy out here, so I pretty much have to rush shots if I want to get lucky enough.
        BTW, I love the Bell & Carlson Odyssey stock. Fits me well. Now all I need is time at the range to get some real tests in with it.
        Victor



  18. I’m not at all surprised that the Talon outshot the customized and “Target” Rugers. The most precise rifles made are said to be 10 meter competition match rifles. When you compare the sizes of the bull’s eyes of an NRA or USAS target for free rifle and air rifle as seen by the shooter, that’s clear.

    What I don’t understand is the insistence of firearms fanatics that powder burners are ‘always’ better/more accurate/etc. However, that comes with a caveat: 10 meter matches are shot indoors, so there is never any wind; I’m pretty sure that the faster, heavier, and less aerodynamically stable .22 does better on a windy day than a 4.5mm (.177″) diabolo.

    Different tools; different competitions.

    Now I would like to see a comparison of a competition free rifle and a competition 10 meter match air rifle. Would be nice if they were both from the same manufacturer, but I wouldn’t argue if they weren’t.

    -pete


    • Pete,
      In international shooting, the bulls-eye for rim-fire at 50 feet is smaller than the bulls-eye for 10 meter at 33 feet. They are both just dots, but the 50 foot rim-fire one is actually significantly smaller. When I did have my FWB 300, I was able to prove that it could punch that bulls-eye out at 50 feet, but not as well as my Anschutz 1413.

      In truth, I don’t think that the difference was because of barrel accuracy. The difference was, for me, weight and ergonomics. I know from experience that these things make a huge difference. I found it to be true in archery as well. I seriously doubt that today’s air-rifle shooters are any better than than those of 30 years ago. 30+ years ago you had much stricter rules for EVERYTHING. A buddy of mine who coaches and travels with American teams tells me how comical it is to see modern air-rifle shooters walk around like robots because they can’t hardly move. In the past, all rifles were pretty much stock “standard rifle” types without all of the adjust ability, extenders, and riser blocks. Back then, it was more like “shooting in the raw”, where it was all the “shooter only”.

      Victor


      • Actually, I stand corrected as to which has the smaller dot size. The air-rifle bulls-eye at 33 feet is a smaller (0.5 mm) than the small-bore bulls-eye at 50 feet (0.76 mm). I was probably influenced by what I saw at the further distance.


        • Hmmm…

          50 is to 33 as X is to 0.5, solve for X

          50/33 = X/0.5

          0.5 * 50/33 = X/0.5 * 0.5

          25/33 = X

          0.757575757575… = X

          The two bulls probably subtend the same angle of view, hence should register as practically identical to the rifle sights.

          {Would you believe I initially started sketching the solution as 0.5/2 to get the short leg of a 33 foot right angle, then computing the sine, multiplying by the 50 foot long leg … But realized this is a simple proportion operation in time to stop just after converting 33 feet to mm}



        • I guess we all need to practice arithmetic again… But the rim fire bullet is larger in diameter than the pellet. That’s also a factor.

          The penguin suits were a major factor in my shift to AP. I just could not see having to lug all that stuff around and depending so much on clothing “instead of” skill. LOL. Besides, they look darned uncomfortable & hot. Are they?


          • When I make my targets, I scale them accordingly. For instance, if I want to simulate 50 meter small-bore for my air-rifle, in addition to scaling them for distance, I then scale the scoring rings down for pellet diameter. However, small-bore is not shot at 50 feet, it’s shot at 50 meters, with plenty of wind. At that distance, the bulls-eye is just a hair over 0.4 inches. At this level of competition, shooters are putting at least 50 out of 60 shots within that 10 ring. At least half of us were closer to 55 out of 60.

            The new jackets and pants are an entirely different animal than what was allowed when I competed. I had a custom made jacket. It was very loose, and very soft. The very first time I shot in the US International Championships, the back was deemed too thick and stiff. They had to remove a piece of canvas from the inner backside. That one piece of canvas was nothing compared to what you see in new jackets, either in thickness or stiffness. Comparing shooters of today and the past is like comparing apples and raisins. The same goes for the air-rifles used. Also, no one had the kind of pants that you see today. Those also would not have been allowed.

            The US Internationals use to be held outside of Phoenix AZ during mid to late June, outdoors. Was it hot? As a postcard use to say, “20 miles in the middle of nowhere, but 2 feet from hell.”. I shot on days where the temp reached 118 F. However, all the perspiration probably kept us shooters cooler than the spectators in shorts and a t-shirt. In truth, the heat never bothered me. I’m a true desert rat. The only thing that ever affected me was scorpions.

            Victor


  19. BB,
    Truley impressive report and a tremendous amount of information and testing. I bet you’ve heard ALL of the urban legends, misinformation, and downright lies about airguns and/or airguns vs firearms. You’ve mentioned at least 2 today, and have demonstrated the real truth about one of them.
    I think it would be fun to hear some of the doozies you’ve run across over the years.
    Lloyd




    • /Dave,

      Funny story about cameras and nudist colonies. I was on a cruise ship with Edith and I noticed that the fantail of the ship seemed to have a nice observation area near the top. So I walked up there with my camera in hand to snap a few memorable pics.

      The place turned out to be the nude beach on the ship, and there I stood in clothes with my camera in hand. It took me about 30 seconds for things to sink in and I reckon those nudies (men and women) thought I was a real perv!

      B.B.


      • BB,

        it’s been my experience that you don’t want to take pictures at a nude beach. Typically because the majority of the people there who are nude really should be clothed ๐Ÿ™‚

        Fred PRoNJ



        • I’m sure it was priceless. I felt like Daffy Duck who has just run out 15 feet on a 10-foot pole off the side of an 80-storey building.

          I smiled, averted my gaze and walked calmly back down the stairs, past the sign that clearly told what was up there.

          B.B.


          • That was my comment about the expression on your face. Sorry, I used my phone and it wasn’t logged in…… It was probably a look quite close to mine when I put my foot in my mouth. And since they were thinking the worst of you…. Shoulda snapped a few pics anyway! JK ๐Ÿ™‚

            /Dave


  20. BB,
    I never fired a L A W or red eye but I did get an ataboy from General Abrams for putting 4 rounds on target with a 3.5 rocket launcher at Graf. after I asked him to move out of the backblast area.


    • shaky,

      If I recall, the 3.5-inch rocket launcher was also called the Super Bazooka. Good thing you moved the general out of the backblast, though I expect he was testing you on that. These days with Hollywood showing people firing rocket launchers from inside vehicles, people just donโ€™t appreciate that they kill on both ends.

      B.B.


  21. BB,

    I would never say a .22 Ruger could outshoot a really good air gun at 50 yards. Given the right conditions they are both capable of some really good groups.

    Years ago I owned a stock Ruger 10/22 that I had traded for a $15 used gun. It was atrocious! Trigger pull was probably over 10 #, it was very gritty and accuracy was like 2″ @ 25 yards best. So I decided to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Many hours of hand labor went into getting that trigger down to 1.5 # with no creep and no over travel. Still not good as best groups at 50 yards were a little over 1″. Much better but not acceptable to me.

    Then I read an article in a gun magazine about “accurizing” the 10/22 by fooling with the bedding. First step called for glass bedding the action. Very little improvement there. Then free float the barrel. A little more improvement but not what I wanted. Then glass bed the tip of the barrel. A little more improvement but not what I was interested in.

    Finally as a last resort it called for bedding the whole barrel channnel so that barrel and action were fully bedded. BINGO! I was now consistently getting 5 shot groups under .5″! But only after using about every brand of ammo available. That included at least 10 different types of “match” ammo and about all brands of commercial hunting ammo. One brand/type consistently out shot all others! It was CCI mini-mag lr hollow points! With that I was consistently getting 5 shot groups under .4″ ctc at 50 yards. I could not even get .5″ groups at 50 yards with any other ammo.

    Later I bought a 541 S Remington and was having grouping problems with it at 50 yards. So I tried the CCI mini-mag hollow points and voila! Groups at least as good as the Ruger. Those things gave best groups with other guns also. I had a guy shooting a 541S Remington with Winchester ammo and getting lousy groups. I gave him some of my CCI mini-mags and the difference was like night and day. He simply could not believe it! They also were by far and away the best grouping in my Model 41 S&W pistol shot from a ransom rest!

    Now I have none of the above mentioned guns! I got “offers I could not refuse” on every one of them when people saw how well they shot. Unfortunately I foolishly accepted those offers and now regret it. I have only 1 Ruger 10/22 but it shoots only about 1 – 1.5″ groups at 50 yards and I probably will never spend 15 – 20 hours accurizing it like I did with the other one!

    The only .22 lr pistol I have is a .45 acp Springfield Armory “Trophy Match” with a Kimber conversion kit. Not a match gun with the kit installed!

    So now I am sure most of my better air guns would out shoot any of my rim fires or center fires at 50 yards. Good thing is that it is much cheaper to shoot the pellet guns!

    So may the pellet guns reign forever!


  22. What an interesting article. I believe the numerous responses is a testament in itself as to what thought-provoking pieces you always provide. I recently acquired an Air Force Condor with standard tank modified by Mac-1 Airguns. I have fired it only a few times without the chronograph. Tim informed me that it is set to propel H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 gr pellets between 865-900 fps for about 35 good shots at 2500 psi charge pressure. The hammer is set at 2-10. I am excited to shoot it for awhile! I will look forward to you doing an article on the TalonP air pistol when it is available to the public!


  23. Good Morning BB,I asked this question last night,but may have been in the wrong spot to get an answer,so here go’s.Can a bit of RWS silicone chamber oil be used on the Condors breech seals where it’s pure silicone oil? Thanks in Advance



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