by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


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.

Shooting
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!