Tech Force TF89 Contender breakbarrel: Part 3
by B.B. Pelletier
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Now, on to today’s blog.
Today is accuracy day for the TF 89 Contender test. I expected the test of this rifle to be a walk in the park based on my previous experience with it, but it wasn’t. In fact, I’m going to do a part 4 with additional accuracy testing, because I think the rifle has more to offer than I saw during this test.
What do we know about the TF89? Well, it’s a very powerful .177 spring rifle, and that means there’s a lot to be overcome. The fact that it’s a breakbarrel means it probably requires a very sensitive hold. Apparently it does, and I haven’t quite found it yet.
Since it’s very powerful and also in .177 caliber, most pellets will go too fast for the best accuracy. I’ll have to shoot heavier pellets to get the velocity down below the transonic region.
I knew going into the test that the trigger wasn’t the best — and it isn’t — but you can adapt to it. The second-stage pull is long and creepy, but not so much that it affects accuracy.
Before the test, I reread Part 2 to see how fast the rifle shoots. It’s a real scorcher! I started with Beeman Kodiak pellets, and in the end they turned out to have the greatest potential of all the seven pellet types I tried. Remember that I’m shooting 10-shot groups, and I shot four of them with Kodiaks, alone; so this test went through a lot of pellets and targets.
The test was at 25 yards. The rifle was rested, and I tried several variations of the artillery hold, as well as resting the rifle directly on the bag and also holding the rifle firmly. The best hold, which was confirmed several times, was resting the stock on the flat of my palm as it touched the triggerguard. I shifted the open palm forward on the stock, but all that did was open the groups and move the point of impact.
I scoped the rifle with a Leapers 3-9x50AO scope with a red/green illuminated reticle and mil-dots. I like the clarity of this scope for the price and also the fine reticle wires that don’t obliterate too much of the target. Though I shot this test at 25 yards, I would use this scope out to 100 yards with few reservations.
I mounted the scope in BKL 2-piece high rings that gave more than enough clearance for the large objective bell over the spring tube. I might have gotten by with BKL medium-height rings of the same configuration, but it seemed too close to call. Actually, because the TF89 comes with a scope stop on the spring tube, I didn’t need to use BKL ring; but since I switch around scopes so often, I keep this one in those rings in case the extra clamping power is needed.
As I said, the first group was shot with Beeman Kodiaks. They acted like they wanted to group well, but there was something I wasn’t doing quite right. A second group with the same pellet gave similar results. Then I started experimenting.
The other pellets I tried were these:
The Beeman Trophy pellet is no longer available, but it’s the same as the H&N Field Target Trophy. At 8.4 grains, this dome goes too fast for accuracy, which is why it shot groups larger than one inch at 25 yards.
Beeman Kodiak Hollowpoint
The Beeman Kodiak Hollowpoint pellets fit the breech tighter than other pellets. I hoped that would make a positive difference, but it didn’t seem to. However, even though the group was over one inch, it was while I was using a hold that turned out not to be optimum. In the next test, I’ll try this pellet again.
Crosman Premier heavy
The 10.5-grain Crosman Premier pellet is normally not used in a spring gun, due to the weight, but I tried it this time, just to see what it might do. The group was larger, but round enough to make me want to try this pellet again.
Crosman Premier lite
As fast as the TF 89 shoots, I figured there was no chance for accuracy with the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellet, but since I was experimenting, I gave it a try anyway. As suspected, it was no dice. The pellets were all over the place. But I had to try.
JSB Exact 10.2-grain domes
Sometimes, when the Beeman Kodiak does well in a rifle, it also shoots the JSB Exact 10.2-grain dome pellet. Not this time, though. I didn’t even finish the 10-shot group.
Eun Jin heavies
Just to say I did, I also tried the Eun Jin 16.1-grain dome. Once again, it was no dice, as the 10-shot group measured over an inch at 25 yards.
I returned to the Beeman Kodiaks, thinking that, by this time, I surely was in the groove with this rifle. But my last group wasn’t as good as my first, which is an indication that I’m getting tired. After shooting more than 100 shots on a rifle that cocks with 42 lbs. of effort I would say I had cause to be a little tired at this point.
The final group was large, but it also tantalized me with six shots that went into a very tight sub-group measuring 0.413 inches between centers. That’s what convinced me that this rifle wants to shoot, but I haven’t quite got it together, yet. I’ll do another accuracy test after cleaning the barrel with J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound and giving the rifle a once-over checkup to see if I’ve left any stone unturned. It seems only fair in light of the evidence.