by B.B. Pelletier
Beeman P1 pistol with a BSA 2×20 pistol scope mounted on BKL risers.
Once again, it’s time for me to fasten ice skates to the bottom of a stepladder, then try to skate across bumpy ice while carrying a flask of nitroglycerin. Seriously, that is how it feels to trust in something that all your life you’ve avoided because you felt it was too imprecise. Pistols and scopes just don’t mix in B.B. Pelletier’s world. But, today’s Part 2 of the test of BSA’s 2×20 pistol scope. It’s mounted on my Beeman P1 pistol, and I’m using BKL’s new 556 riser blocks to clamp to the P1 dovetail. I selected a pair of nondescript Weaver rings to hold the scope. They’re matte silver, so they don’t even match the finish on the pistol and the scope, but they work perfectly. You could use Hawke Weaver rings and do very well.
Last time, I was at 10 meters and wondering whether I would put a round through the wall behind the target trap. This time, I backed up to 25 yards — three rooms away from the target and wondered what damage I would wreak upon our house. Normally, I shoot handguns at this distance on a range, so this was a first. Even when I’ve tested other air pistols at long range, I’ve always shot out the bedroom window, but now I was trusting myself to keep them all on the target paper 75 feet away. Spooky!
No noticeable parallax
One reader asked me about parallax, but I was too busy not shooting the walls in the first test to notice whether or not the crosshairs moved when you move your head.
They don’t. Instead the entire image goes black. So, if you can see the image, no amount of head movement will make the crosshairs move on the target. If the image goes black, you’re done, anyway. Time to reposition the gun.
Parallax, of course, is the apparent movement of the crosshairs against the target; if your head is not always in exactly the same place, you’ll aim at different places on the target. With a rifle, you have a stock into which you press your cheek; but with a pistol, there’s no similar cue, so this was a good question. It appears the scope manufacturers have figured it correctly. At least BSA Optics has.
I was genuinely afraid that the pellet would not hit the target from 25 yards. After the first shot, I trained binoculars on the target to see where the pellet had gone. Because I was still shooting Crosman Premier lite pellets, I could not see the small ragged hole even through the binoculars, so I walked down and checked the target. Surprise! Even though the crosshairs had been moving all around the bull, there was a neat hole cutting the nine ring at one o’clock.
The next nine pellets also hit the target paper and gave me a group that measures 2.92 inches. I’ll be the first to admit this groups does not look that good, but please take into account that it was shot by a handgun at 25 yards. If I did this well with a .45 ACP, I’d be smiling. Of course, the big holes left by the bullets would make the group seem proportionately smaller.
Doesn’t look like a good group until you realize that it was shot at 25 yards! I’m just happy all the shots hit the paper.
I wasn’t satisfied with that group — other than all shots hit the paper. I modified my hold by holding the butt of the gun just in front of the sandbag rest, where before the gun had been six inches in front of the bag.
Group two was only slightly smaller, at 2.675 inches. If you look at it, eight of the shots made a group measuring just 1.743 inches. That seems a lot better to me.
A little better group came from a different hold. But eight of those ten shots are grouped much closer.
Next, I put the actual butt of the pistol on the bag and held it there. The crosshairs grew rock-steady in this hold, and I thought I was on to something. But group three measures 3.467 inches — the largest to this point, and the largest group of the day, as it turned out. Apparently pistols need the artillery hold in the same way rifles do.
Oops! Can’t rest air pistols on sandbags, either.
For the final group, I reverted to the hold in which the butt of the gun was just in front of the bag but not touching it. I was getting tired by this time, but I still managed to shoot a 2.311-inch group to end the session.
What do you know? I went back to the former hold and it worked, again!
Forty shots and all of them on the paper at 25 yards. I’d call that success.
The scope is actually easy to use once you learn to trust it. I wasn’t used to seeing how much my hands shake and the scope really brings that out, so be prepared if you decide to get a pistol scope. I also find it difficult to believe that there’s any magnification at all. To me, it just looks like I am peering though a very clear window at the target about 40 feet away
I’m not finished with this test, because I still have to try the pistol with other pellets. I spent extra time trying to discover a good hold, and so far I’m satisfied. I’ll continue to experiment. For now, I think I know the best way to hold the gun for good groups. It just seems like those dang crosshairs are jumping all over the place!
44 thoughts on “Testing BSA’s 2X20 pistol scope: Part 2”
I’m a terrible shot with a pistol. Spring piston pistols are beyond me. I’ve shot a P1 and others. My first spring piston pistol that I shot was a webley tempest. Humbling.
I’ve done my best just resting my arms and wrists on a large bench bag when shooting a scoped pistol but am anxious to hear about B.B.’s suspicion about “the best way to hold the gun for good groups.”
When I shoot my pistols for groups or for longer range shots ,I do my best when sitting with my back to a solid object like a tree trunk. I sit with my knees up and rest my hands on my knees. I’m leaning back a bit. My left hand under the right ,supported by my knees. I hold the gun firmly but not in a death grip. I get the grips of the gun to fit my hands. I could never do as well from a bench using a bag for support of my wrists. I also have a .177 Tempest, and it is hard gun to shoot well. With the trigger in it’s original state it is similar to shooting my Arrow stapler I use for installing insulation. When I smoothed up the trigger and broke it in , I got to the point I could hit a small pill bottle every time at 15 yards. I also shoot a Walther LP 53 ,and bought a few of the Lucznik clones when they were cheap a couple years ago. They really are good for training and I find that using mine helped my rimfire pistol informal field shooting a lot.
Robert from Arcade,
Really appreciate the tips. In the past few years I’ve shot pistols more than all previous years combined. I’m still horrible. I’ll never forget my grandfathers credo, “The only reason to use a pistol is in order to fight your way back to where you left your rifle.” I think this is partly to blame for my mental block.
You said, ” My left hand under the right ,supported by my knees”. Is your hold a “cup and saucer” type?
Kevin : Yes, I hold my right hand cupped in my left. Lightly pressing your knees together helps to steady your hold with scopes and heavy guns. I find that resting againist a solid object steadies me most because my shoulders and neck are a mess from injury and now arthritis . You can also use a collapsable walking stick to form a triangle to help seady your pistols. Leaning with your left elbow placed on your left knee, and holding your gun in the right hand cupped by the left hand . Your left hand is also supported/steadied by a mono-pod, whose tip is placed on the ground in front of your right knee which is also on the ground. Very good field support, and able to see over some cover, and works if you are downhill on a slope. I use a Cabels brand “Gunpod” with the bottom section extended fully for this position. IMO, grips are very important as they have to fit your whole hand .
Thanks. I’m going to try that.
I’m curious about the lack of parallax.I wonder if it is a function of the longer eye relief that the exit pupil becomes much smaller.It seems to me that would eliminate it,if it is in fact smaller.There’s no room to move,you either see the sight picture,or you don’t.I have found the Beeman stock makes the groups larger just like resting the pistol on the bag did.I’ll bet a P17/Marksman 2004 would really group well with that scope in your hands BB!
I hadn’t thought of testing the scope on another air pistol, but you may have something. With a single stroke pneumatic I could use the bag as more of a rest.
The P1 is more accurate than the P17, I believe, but since I got sick I have lost the ability to test it in one hand, the way it was meant to be shot.
When I read your report and saw the first group, I was under the impression that you were shooting off hand and was astounded at how good the groups were. Reading further, I discovered that while not exactly off hand, you weren’t really bench resting the handgun. Considering that you may not be shooting the best pellet for this gun, I’m still impressed! But tell me, how did you manage to shoot in your house from 25 yards with Edith not making any complaints? I’d like to use that technique here.
I am the man who once shot the couch! Edith is very understanding and even laughed out loud when she read today’s blog. She knows how hard I try not to screw up. 🙂
The cats are the ones who complain. We used to lock them up with me in my office while Tom shot, but that drove all of us crazy. We discovered that the cats don’t like the sound of the projectiles hitting the target, so they leave the shooting area after the first shot anyway (no need to remove them physically).
Tom shoots from our bedroom’s far corner, through the living room, through the edge of a short hallway and then into a trap in the garage. After the first “clink” into the trap, I get an earful from 3 ticked-off kitties who march into my office…meowing their objections all the way. Eventually, they settle down and tolerate the sound. When Tom moves the furniture back into place, they know the shooting session has ended.
“Tom shoots from our bedroom’s far corner, through the living room, through the edge of a short hallway and then into a trap in the garage.”
Where is that 8 year old girl with her “timeouts” You may be in timeout for 2 weeks for this.
The thing that bothers me the most is when I see a hole in something that shouldn’t have a hole…walls, furniture, door jambs, etc.
When I see the hole for the first time and point it out, I get this answer: “That? That’s old. It’s been there for years. I told you about it when it happened. You forgot that I told you.”
I also get this answer: “That’s not a pellet hole. That’s the texture in the drywall.” Then, I comment on the lead smear inside the hole and place a .177 wadcutter neatly into the hole. It’s a perfect fit.
Of course, I don’t believe a word of it!
As bad as this sounds, that’s not what makes me angry. What really frosts me is finding pellets in the laundry. They fall out of Tom’s pockets because he forgets to empty them. They get stuck in the drain holes of my washing machine. My old washing machine had a number of holes plugged with pellets (I couldn’t get them out). So far, my new washer hasn’t had that problem (drain holes are the wrong size), although I continue to find 4-5 pellets in the drum after the laundry’s been removed.
3 Weeks!!! To your room Tommy.
We men must be awfully predictable, because that is the same technique I use to convince Mrs. Slinging Lead that a new airgun is not actually a recent purchase. “That? I’ve had that gun for awhile… don’t you remember shooting it with me in the back yard?”
She usually buys it. Or at least pretends to. Ironically, she uses the same technique on me when she buys more shoes.
If you think pellets in the washer is bad you should talk to my wife. I once left a carpenters red crayon in my over-alls pocket. Only once, the aftermath was stunning… That’s why you need a practical washing machine with .16 cal. drain holes if you are a airgunner. Who wants to lose pellets?
So I guess you have to tell Tom to “get the lead out”?
I was able to get away with a pellet hole in my office for over a year by hole punching masking tape of a similar color, and covering the hole. 🙂 The tape recently fell off when someone brushed against it, and my wife found out. 🙁
A childhood friend of mine told me that when her family moved from one Airforce base house to another, the walls of the house they left were not allowed to have holes from pictures hooks or anything else. They had 6 kids, and each child was given a tube of toothpaste the same color as the walls. The kids filled & smoothed over the holes.
I’m sure I’ve given a bunch of airgunners a really great idea. Tom–Don’t even think of doing this. I WILL find out!
As any ex-serviceman or -woman will tell you, toothpaste is the standard wall filler for clearing quarters (clearing means passing the examination that the post, camp or base housing office gives you when you want to leave government housing). I’ve done it many times, as I am sure have many of our readers.
BB: As a landlord who owns a few apartments , I can tell you that I absolutely hate it when tenants plug holes with tooth paste. It turns yellow. Also have to wonder why a 20 D spike is needed to hang a small picture.
In short words since the column is getting squeezed:
I’m SO glad to hear the great Tom Gaylord has trouble shooting a pistol at longer ranges too. I thought it was just me!
There was a time, years ago, when I could do it, but not anymore. I talked with my buddy Mac yesterday and we both agreed that we have become worse pistol shots and better rifle shots as we have aged.
And I’m starting to find the opposite.
The last few months I’m scoring the best I ever have (10m pistol)…yet my 10m rifle scores are falling off.
I did have a pleasant surprise a couple of weeks back. It seems that most of my guns really like RWS pellets. I’ve found Hobby’s are the best in my Slavia at 30m and under…and Meisters are dead accurate in my Compact and 853c.
I have been disappointed with my 1911 Umarex however, as it just wasn’t as accurate as my old CP99, using the pellets that worked well in the Walther, which were the Hobby’s.
I ran out of Hobby’s a couple of weeks back and tried the only other ‘sporting’ pellet I had, JSB Exacts. Well all of a sudden the gun is shooting inch and a quarter groups at 10m offhand.
You just can’t try to many pellets!!
I’m still blinking at the 75 feet INDOORS…
My parent’s basement is just long enough to manage a 10m distance (once the crud is cleared out) and still have room behind a bench to maneuver.
My apartment’s longest diagonal may make 10m, if you don’t mind using the toilet as the shooting seat, and firing between the corner of the linen closet (on the right) and the interface to the living room four feet further on the left — with an effective target zone about 12-18″ wide at the end (so figure out the angular width five feet from the toilet… )
We bough the house partly on the basis of the floorplan. I actually scoped out all the possible indoor ranges, because the land we have is a postage stamp.
I’m not a beleiver in scoped pistols either, but today’s subject was interesting. I’ve been using red dot sites for the last couple months with great results.
“The only reason to use a pistol is in order to fight your way back to where you left your rifle.” Ha! Priceless.
BB and all,
In my (way) younger days I shot metallic pistol silhouette at ranges of up to 100 meters (yards?) with a scoped pistol. It was a 30 carbine Ruger which my local club let me use long as I showed them I was using lead bullets. When I shot at other clubs had to go to my 8″ barrel scoped Dan Wesson. I shot much better scores with the Ruger. Less recoil and a flatter trajectory!
But what was most interesting, my first master score was shot on .22 pistol metallic silhouette using an iron sighted S & W Model 41! Guess there is something to be said for less recoil, eh?
But for ranges up to a maximum of 25 yards I much preferred iron sights. I still do today and I have to admit my hands shake much more at 65 years of age than they did at 25!
It’s killing me that I won’t be able to attend Roanoke this year. Here’s an update for those of you that are fortunate enough to attend:
“Roanoke International Airgun Expo Oct. 14/ 15 2011
Update – It is going to be a great show – I am going to run an ad in the Salem and Roanoke papers trying to get some new local interest in the show, plus possible walk-ins with items to sell – Dee Liady will have the balance of Fred’s collection at the show for sale – I also have a new collector coming from the PA area that will be offering his collection of high end European spring guns for sale – If anyone needs information please email me for a flyer – To all the people that have contacted me – Thank you very much for your support”
Sounds like there’s going to be lots of nice air guns to choose from.
I had a scope on my Desert Eagle .44. Never really tried long range with it, so I took it off. Now, I’m thinking of putting it on one of my Mosin’s to make it a scout rifle.
Interesting to read about your surprise about shaking and movement. Matt61 and I talked about this in recent months. An important lesson that I learned from Stan Hulstrom is to not allow motion to distract you from following basic fundamentals, namely, sight alignment, trigger squeeze, an follow-through. Bottom line, any shooter who can shoot to his true wobble area is doing good.
The worse thing that anyone can do is try to compensate for movement in other ways like jerking at the trigger or trying to catch the bull by twisting their wrists or deliberately mis-aligning their sights.
Motion is not your enemy until you’ve perfected the fundamentals.
Victor, I find this reinforced more and more. Once I try reading the movement and compensating for it, I’m a goner. Maybe that’s behind the principle of shooting as soon as you get a sight picture. The woman who draws blood from me in a lab is my new model. No hesitation at all. She flicks the vein, chooses her spot, sticks the needle, and never misses.
The rifle range in Hawaii only allows pistols with scopes….
B.B., is it true that Lt. Col. Bonsall was shooting his amazing .45 ACP groups at 25 yards without the thumb safety? Hard to believe but I don’t know how it would be otherwise since the army 1911s did not have the large thumb safety to rest on.
As for the relationship between rifle and pistol shooting, I really don’t know. I thought I had discovered the secret to holding steadier with my IZH 61. Just shoot it after my Daisy 747. But the other night, I broke out a 25 ft. pistol qualification target and, at about 20 feet more or less obliterated the bull (up to the 8 ring) with 20 shots with the 747. That’s good for me. Then I shot the IZH 61 all over the place in one of my worst outings.
Ms. Linnet, do young girls like to shoot each other with airsoft? I went through my own phase with an airsoft machine gun, but pellet guns and marksmanship are much more satisfying.
J-F, what does it mean to “hook” with your muscle car?
It’s great to see that PA is now carrying the Anschutz line including the AiR rifle. We should have a review on that one. Incidentally, I just read an interview with R. Lee Ermey (who liked the AiR a lot). He was mad because of his recent performance at Camp Perry with his new accurized AR-15. He “fell on his ass” as he put it and sold the rifle on the spot for $1800. His explanation was that the Springfield 03 and M1 series rifles require you to pull the rifle into your shoulder. The AR design on the other hand has you “hanging off the pistol grip” so that when you get “heavy on the trigger” you will “pull your shots left or right.” Didn’t make a lot of sense to me. But I would say that he is no candidate for springers with their intricate holds.
Matt61, I have yet to experience that at least while I am home, now Daddy on the other hand they love to go after him, funny to see the little red mark on his bum, hence the reason I am switching to airguns, I am going with one of the Daisy Rifles there are quite a few in my price range, the hubby and I have different ideas about this for the girls, but I think he is going to like that while chasing him around the house with the Airsoft was fun, the airgun is going to be all about targets, and less about what kind of shapes they can make on his body with the airsoft ones.
I have a couple recomendations and observations on Daisy air rifles for kids. My boys ( aged 7&10) like my .22 SG Daisy better than the .177 cal 880 Daisy when shooting pellets. The pellets can jam in the .177 model 880. They fall into the BB res. when loading ,unless you partially block it by pushing the bolt forward a little bit. Fiddly for them to do, and jams are frequent. In the Daisy BB guns, the single stroke pneumatic model 840 (Buckmaster) is a favorite for BB’s . It is easy for them to load and pump. They learn fast . My youngest just got a Bronco for his first pellet gun. The oldest has the Gamo Recon with a 4X Leapers scope, and a Daisy 880 with a 1″ Daisy 3-9X scope. They both have been shooting with me since they could walk. Have fun.
Robert from Arcade, Thanks, I will check those out. I am guessing it won’t be fun for me if I have to load for them every time.
Just make sure you can enforce/instill the difference in lethality — and that a pellet gun will draw blood, not bounce.
While my first exposure was a Daisy Model 25 BB rifle, mid-60s, with a Marlin/Glenfield 60 .22LR the following year… My typical targets were plastic models in the back yard (not with the .22!). At the time, my allowance would let me buy three or four model kits a month [army PX pricing was so nice back then]… To make room, I take some older ones out every once in a while and shoot them full of holes.
However, since BBs bounce off of hard surfaces, sticking with pellets and an accurate rifle may be more desirable.
I suspect the Daisy 853 is over your budget (and I don’t care for the current production 953; two piece plastic stock, at one time it was a convertible using pellets or BBs, plain sights — I’m spoiled: I have the one-year production US Shooting Team 953 which was a 1983/4 era 953 rifle and action with the BB port blocked off, mounted in the 853 wood stock with peep sight rear and globe type front — the real 853 has an imported target barrel). 853/953 are “junior” sized, single pump pneumatics. Biggest drawback is they don’t have the best trigger in the world — just Google “953 trigger mod”
If I may slide in… And without checking history for the full phrase… I suspect the usage was “hook up” — meaning the tires were grabbing the pavement. Failure of such meant lots of tire spin while going nowhere.
Perfectly illustrated on the schlocky US version of Top Gear in:
One challenge was indoor land speed record — large empty factory floor (well, except for the I-beam columns every 20 feet). He (Foust) first tried with the top current Corvette… and couldn’t even come close to the existing record; the rear end just kept breaking loose. Second attempt was with an Audi Quattro of some model; that broke the record but he wanted to do it with an American car… The third try was with a Ford (Focus I think)… But I’d hesitate to call it “American” — it was his personal $500,000 Rally car: all wheel drive, around 500HP, sequential shifter with the short throw lever sticking up next to the small diameter steering wheel. That one beat the Audi (and then went on to take the top spot away from the Ferrari/Lamborghini/etc. on their air-field test track when driven by their anonymous professional driver).
(Unfortunately, the episode does not appear to be available online)
Just in case J-F doesn’t get back to you. What he probably means is to get the car to “Hook Up’. This means getting the tires to grip and not spin when you launch it. This is taking off from a dead stop.
You want this “caus spinnin ain’t winnin”.
It’s what happens when you put pizza cutters on your car.
Depends on weight of the car and torque the engine puts out…
As other have mentionned it hooking does mean the tires getting traction on the pavement.
Did I mentionned it was the scariest car ride to date? We we’re going around 50 mph when he went about half throttle WITHOUT TELLING ME FIRST, the rear end off the car was all over the place because the road was somewhat bumpy and each bump was moving the car sideways and the tires still had next to no traction.
A drag racing track is not made the same way as regular road, it’s a lot more smoother because they don’t need it to drain rain or snow and it can be prepped with chemicals and… And… This could keep going on. It helps the car get traction but even with the larger slick tires on a prepped track the thing doesn’t get traction.
His wife has stopped riding in the car somewhere between 500 and 600hp and I now know why.
We used to street race togheter when we were younger and I sold my car because life (work, wife etc) got in the way but I was still going too fast but I know my and the vehicule limitations so I started driving pick-ups to help slow me down but I got the bug again after riding with him and I’ve been watching the classifieds for a new street machine/drag racer with the wife approval 😀 but no more street racing. Not anywhere near my cousin Corvette 800hp but with 383 in the 500/600hp in a heavier car it could be LOTS of fun.
Sorry for the long comment, I love cars and often get carried away.
A scope on a pistol can work really well at long range. I have a Thompson Center Contender in .44 magnum. It has a super 14 inch barrel with a 1.5X to 4.5X Burris Scope on it. We would set up quart milk jugs with water at 100 yards. Shooting off of a rest, it would be rare to miss one. I would let some folks try it that had never shot a pistol with a scope before. Off the rest, they most often hit the jug with the first, second or third shot. The scoped .22 LR barrel shoots great too.
I shoot custom modified pistols. using a Theoben Rapid MFR action, Lother Walther barrels chocked 8.5 inches, FX Ranchero air tubes with custom stainless adaptor tube to action. Custom built stockk/grip. I have this in .25, .22, & .177. using 12 & 17 shot magazines. MV 800/900 fps.. Accuracy is quarter sized groups off sandbags at 25 yds.in all three calibers. I am using Aimpoint 2X red dot scopes on all three pistols. Allen Zasadny did the fine tuning. on all pistols and have about an 8 oz trigger pull. For pictures see email@example.com.
Welcome to the blog.