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Education / Training Smith & Wesson M&P R8 BB revolver: Part 2

Smith & Wesson M&P R8 BB revolver: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos and test by Earl (Mac) McDonald, unless otherwise indicated

Part 1

S&W M&P R8 BB revolver. Photo provided by Pyramyd AIR.

I overlooked mentioning the S&W M&P R8 BB revolver in the first report on lookalike airguns last Friday, but of course it is one, as well. I’m not familiar with the firearm M&P R8 revolver, so it was natural to think of this as a standalone model. But there is a firearm counterpart, if that is of interest to you.

I also neglected to mention the short Picatinny rail on the underside of the barrel near the muzzle. I suppose it is for mounting a compact laser with a pressure switch located close to the firing hand, though since most shooters use two hands to shoot handguns these days I suppose you could also turn it on with your non-firing hand.

Plastic fantastic
We heard a complaint about the use of plastic and I thought I would comment on that. Guys, I don’t like plastic, either, but more and more firearms are being made with at least some of it these days. You have to understand that when you get into this price range for an airgun, there are very few options. Basically it’s either plastic or zinc. The dies for these two materials are very expensive, so the maker has to calculate how many guns they think they can sell against the tooling costs to produce. And there are also short-run tools that are less expensive, but which wear out faster and long-term tooling that lasts longer but can cost many times as much as short-term tools. All of this is a gamble on how well the manufacturer thinks the gun will sell.

Then there is the general public’s acceptance of plastic as a legitimate manufacturing material. As crass as this sounds, if a manufacturer can sell a hundred thousand pieces of a product, the fact that it is criticized by a few hundred or even a thousand aficionados makes little difference. That is the reason there are so many firearms being made with engineering plastic these days.

And finally there is the fact that if the part is correctly engineered, plastic has few shortcomings and actually offers significant advantages, like strength and resistance to wear (over zinc), corrosion resistance, the ability to accept a finish more uniformly, and even things like providing a low-friction surface that doesn’t have to be lubricated to work well.

Don’t think that I like plastic in airguns. I’m simply acknowledging the reality that exists today, when our telephones are also GPS devices, televisions, alarm clocks and 157 other things. But the “buttons” that work them are mostly in software, and if they don’t respond you can be in a serious pickle. Also, you can’t repair plastic when it breaks. That is just one of the reservations I have about plastic guns.

Good reception
The overall reception of this revolver was positive and enthusiastic. Many readers commented on the realistic look. The manufacturer even went to the point of copying the V notch in the rear sight. The reason for this is that on the firearm the front Patridge sight has a white dot, so the BB gun has it as well. If you can see the dot, the V-notch is entirely appropriate, making the centering of the dot quick and easy. If you can’t see the dot, you just have to struggle to estimate where the sides of the front post are. Since most handgunners don’t shoot at targets (the assumption must be), this is a compromise in favor of rapid target acquisition.

Mac really enjoyed shooting his M&P R8. He was very impressed and tells me every time we talk. So my opinion has to be that this revolver is worth your consideration and the money, if you buy it.

Today is velocity testing day. I went to the manual to see how the 8-round clip is loaded and believe it or not, it doesn’t specify. However, the photo shows loading the BBs from the front of the clip, which is how many other similar BB pistol clips have to be loaded, and that is how Mac did it.

The clip is loaded from the front.

The loaded clip is inserted in the back of the cylinder. Notice the ridge around each chamber that helps seal the gas behind the BB.

Mac used Daisy zinc-plated BBs, because experience has shown they are the most accurate and the most uniform BBs on the market. Another BB that also works well and is actually finished even smoother than the Daisy is the Walther BB, but Pyramyd AIR doesn’t carry them. Though these BBs are slightly larger than Crosman Copperhead BBs they usually get higher velocity and almost always the velocity variation of the shot string with them is tighter.

The 12-gram CO2 cartridge goes in the grip, like everyone assumed. Push in on a tab under the grip and the back opens to receive the new cartridge.

The back of the grip swings opens to accept the CO2 cartridge.

The screw that pushes the CO2 cartridge into the piercing pin is entirely concealed by the grip when it is locked closed. That satisfies those who dislike being able to see the mechanism. I am surprised no one mentioned that about the Walther PPK/S in the lookalike report, because it is the number one complain I hear about those replica air pistols.

Trigger pull
Mac measured the single action trigger pull at 9.6 pounds and the double action pull at 10.2 pounds. Remember that single action means the hammer is pulled back to the cocked position which also rotates the cylinder to the next BB, so when you pull the trigger all you are doing is releasing the sear to let the hammer fall.

The temperature was 60 degrees F (15.6 C) when Mac tested the gun. That is close to the bottom temperature at which CO2 should be used. Because it is a refrigerant gas, CO2 will cool the gun as it is fired, thus decreasing the velocity on each successive shot. On a 60-degree day, there isn’t much ambient temperature to warm the gun back up again, so once it is cooled, it tends to stay there. Mac allowed a minimum of 15-20 seconds between shots for the gun to recover from cooling, but on this day, there wasn’t much recovery.

He fired a string of eight shots, getting an average of 359 f.p.s. That works out to 1.52 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The low was 336 and the high was 379 f.p.s., so the spread was a bit larger than we normally see, but on a cool day that is to be expected. Also expect to see higher average velocity when the temperature warms up 20 degrees.

What Mac noted that surprised him was the great number of shots he got from a single CO2 cartridge. After shot 120 the gun was still sending them out at 320 f.p.s., which is petty astounding. There are certain BB guns that get many shots from a cartridge, but their average velocities are always well below 300 f.p.s.. So the evidence points to the fact that the design (barrel mating with the cylinder and ridges around each chamber in the clip) is very economical.

So far
This pistol just keeps getting better and better, as far as Mac is concerned. It’s a delight to shoot and now we find that it conserves gas like a hybrid car. Accuracy comes next, and I don’t think you will be disappointed.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

38 thoughts on “Smith & Wesson M&P R8 BB revolver: Part 2”

  1. Remember that single action means the hammer is pulled back to the cocked position which also rotates the cylinder to the next BB, so when you pull the trigger all you are doing is releasing the sear to let the hammer fall.

    Somewhat ambiguous phrasing… I might have used “… the hammer has already been pulled back to …” just to ensure readers (especially beginners to any gun terminology) don’t confuse that with double-action in which the /trigger/ *pulls* the hammer back (but not to a locked cocked position) and rotates the cylinder. Your last clause does imply this (proper single-action behavior).

    NINE pounds for single-action! OUCH.

  2. I can certainly overlook plastic in a revolver that breaks new ground in designed efficiency.I am completely impressed with the shot count/velocity numbers on such a cool day.Did Mac find any difference between single action and double? I know some show a difference and some don’t.

  3. Non-sequitur:

    A suggestion for the IT gurus for the “spam filter” — somehow add a “hold for approval” to new posts to any subject/thread that is, say, 30 days old?

    Seems (based on the subject lines) all the late night spam is on ancient threads, seldom recent ones (which implies the spammers can’t even get up-to-date search engine results). (and yes, I AM a night-owl — it is currently 0145 PST for me, and the last 8 posts were all SPAM)

  4. BB,

    That’s a lot of shots, sound like a fun little gun. Not really wild about plastic guns either, but I guess you have some strong points for it. Nobody want’s to spend $500.00 on a BB gun. What if the manufacturer sells way over their goal and makes a killing on a particular model? Would they invest in long run tooling for a metal run?

    That Pelgun oil is magic stuff, BTW! That 2240 that I thought was dead is kickin’ again! Now I can build a little carbine for myself!


    • KA,

      You ask a very good question — and the answer isn’t what you think. Daisy has been making Red Ryders since 1938 and they have made millions of them, along with similar guns that had different stocks or paint and were called other things. So there is a case for long-term tooling if ever there was one.

      What did Daisy do? Why they sent their rifle to China and had them copy it, so now the parts are all made in China and assembled in Rogers, AR. As a consequence of doing this for several decades, Daisy doesn’t have any engineers who understand folded-metal technology anymore.

      Crosman has done something similar with some of their spring guns, only they are entirely made in China. So somewhere in China they are making the tooling decisions.

      But AirForce makes everything but the barrels here in the U.S. They make all the difficult parts right in their own plant, on CNC machines they own and control. So their biggest concern is the extrusions they need. And they buy so much of them that they have suppliers who pay attention.

      Interesting contrast.

      I tried like the dickens to get Crosman to make their own barrels for the Discovery and Marauder. They built the rifling machine and we talked about how best to choke the bores.

      I wish AirForce would rifle their own barrels, because the barrel of a gun is like the wing of a passenger jet airliner. It is the most complex part of the gun, and if you control the making, you can advance the technology as you want — rather than being held hostage to a supplier. Fortunately Lothar Walther is a very good supplier who now recognizes AirForce as a major customer.


      • Got too agree with that! I don’t know why a manufacturer like Crosman wouldn’t want to make their own barrels. Great accuracy out of your own barrels on your own guns would be some pretty unbeatable braggin’ rights in my opinion. Must be too much trouble and expense for them for some reason.

        On topic… This looks like a nice little 6…, er, uh,…. 8 shooter! I’ve got several guns ahead of it on my list, but this will definitely complicate my decision when I get there. I can live with those types of complications….


      • Whoa, everybody is outsourcing to China. B.B., I thought you said that Crosman really knew how to rifle a barrel. So, is it the Chinese who are doing this successfully now?


  5. I wonder if Mac would get the same number of shots per cylinder once the weather warms up (and I wonder why he didn’t do his testing indoors?).

    As a bit of information…the airsoft version of the PPK does not have, nor obviously need, the screw on the grip’s bottom, so it looks more realistic. Unfortunately it’s plastic, so it doesn’t feel the same.

    I’m reading Ian Fleming’s 2nd 007 book, Live and Let Die (amazon has a sale on the Kindle version). I was surprised that Bond is armed with a .25 caliber Beretta, instead of the .32 PPK.

  6. Nice gun. Since B.B. solved the problem of the bad trigger on my Walther CPSport, I am without a reason to get another pistol. So, this one will mostly stoke my fantasies about the SW686, the premier .357 magnum on the market today I believe.

    Well, I am just returned from an early Thanksgiving to beat the ticket prices. Kevin, my friend, you set me up for an egregious fall. Thinking like you, my brother arranged a contest in the game Memory with my six year old niece who has been demonstrating a prodigious memory for the books she reads. I had never heard of this game before but apparently it is something of a classic and involves remembering the locations of pairs of cards among an array that are face down and turned over one at a time. Quite the challenge for the short-term memory. The result was zemmetsu or total annihilation for the visiting uncle. I simply could not summon any interest in where the card with the balloon was and my sleeping dragon could not be wakened. In fact, I took a heavy drubbing in all of the many games that were brought out which made me wonder about something. We’ve established that there is a high correlation between photographers and shooters and between generally technically savvy people and good shooters. What about those with game playing ability? If this is another correlation, then I am outside this trend because I have no head for games at all. Finally, at one dinner when my niece was prompted to contribute to the family saying of grace, my niece thanked God for her many victories over Uncle Matt. It was enough to send me scurrying back to my shooting range I can tell you where I am the only competitor and there is endless peace and nothingness.

    But there were bright spots too. My sister-in-law who originally could not bear the slightest mention of guns, seems to be coming around and asked some questions about my shooting. The source of the conversion? She was mightily impressed with how I sharpened her kitchen knives, and I guess she reasoned that anyone who could do that could not be all bad and might know some other useful things. Thank you Frank B.! When I shaved hair off my arm, there was nothing she could say. I think B.B. was right that the grand strategy of converting people to airguns has to do with meeting them where they are and leading them forward whether it be from firearms, sharp knives or something else.

    And shooting was never very far away either. I even picked up a new shooting game. I happened to run into a family acquaintance with an extensive background in guns, and the game is to find the false statements in his brief biography which went as follows:

    Trained as an army sniper in Hawaii for three years but did not get deployed before the Vietnam War ended. (Had a hot local girlfriend, though.) Used a Remington 700 sniper rifle in .308. Never did shoot the M1 Garand. Garnered the dislike of the local SWAT snipers because he defeated them in a fair contest. When he asked me what rifles I shot and I said the Savage 10FP Law enforcement rifle, he said that they were always coming up with new things. He owns an airgun, a Gamo Rocket topped with a 4X32 scope. With an aluminum alloy pellet, this gun is able to achieve 1650 fps. With pure lead pellets you get 900 fps, but the 1650 fps is what you want for real accuracy, he says. His son can use this rifle to hit the face of a bottle cap reliably at 30 yards. The boy shows promise and may try out for the University of Kentucky rifle team which is the best in the country. However, he’s not up to his old man who has shot crows out of trees at 100 yards with this rifle-pellet combination. (I believe that he might give Victor some competition.) However, this is by no means his greatest shooting feat. Probably that one was hitting a groundhog across five cornfields (1200 yards) with a 22-250 topped by a 24X scope. When found, the groundhog had its heart coming out its back. The guy ended with a firm, manly handshake and best wishes for my shooting….


      • Yep, sure – sounds like great shooting. Ever see the movie Quigley Down Under? Sounds just like Quigley. 🙂

        This is another one of those discussions you ‘ain’t gonna win”. Does he know what a chronometer is, by any chance?

        Fred PRoNJ

    • Isn’t 1650fps the maximum speed of air? So he would be shooting pellets at the speed of air? Someone on the CAF said he did shooting only the small plastic sabot some lead free pellets use but an actual pellet AND with amasing accuracy!!!


    • Matt61,

      1650 fps, and accuracy at 100 yards!? He must have used those special, and very hard to find, supercalifragilisticexpeALLOYdocious pellets. My son and I were able to hit a 7 inch diameter pan at a 100 yards with a Crosman Titan, and a Gamo Hunter Extreme, but I used a heavy JSB Exact Jumbo .22 pellets. I’m sure the Hunter Extreme/JSB combo was about half that velocity. At 1650 fps, he must have been talking about .177. I don’t even bother shooting .177 at 50 yards.


    • Matt,

      A couple of strong statements there don’t sound right to me. “1650fps with aluminum alloy pellets out of a Gamo Rocket for one. Also,”…has shot crows out of trees at 100 yards with this rifle-pellet combination.” Comes in a tight second. But my vote is that statement of Army snipers in Hawaii. Even in the ’70’s I thought they were trained in North Carolina. (at Fort Hood?)


  7. Off subject – I’ve never had a break barrel, because I haven’t been sure about how to handle barrel droop and what impact on accuracy the moving barrel has. The side or underlever options are nice, but I’ve not seen any of those with the new gas piston power plants. So, for target practice and plinking – I’ve always been an accuracy nut and stayed with fixed barrels rifles. Now, as I look for a small game hunter, it’s hard to ignore the power of these gas piston powerplants. There is lots of experience on this group, so I thought I’d ask the question here, where can I learn the pros and cons about these type of rifles? What should I avoid? What should I look for? For small game hunting, what would you recommend (up to and including woodchucks)? (I have a Talon SS and Discovery, and love them – but they cannot stay out in a field all day, and they aren’t self contained for extended use). I’m not looking for a match accurate rifle, but one that can do reasonable range humane shots for small game. Any and all input, advice and learnings are welcome. Thanks.

    • There is nothing wrong with a break barrel as long as you don’t have a sloppy hinge, breech seal too thick or thin, and lockup is sufficient. They will shoot good.

      Droop…open sights it won’t matter, scope you will have to shim or use a drooper mount.

      Gas rams…some crank out more power than others.

      Up to and including chucks…I have killed a lot of them over the years, and with a lot of different things. You had better use as much power as you can get and still be very careful about how you hit them. Even with Condor power you have to watch what you are doing with the big ones.


  8. Update on spare clips! Took them about a week to get back to me due to computer issues, but here’s the skinny:

    “We do carry extra magazines for the R8 for $7.00ea plus $5.95-$9.95 S&H (Depending on how many are ordered).

    You are more than welcome to place your order by phone with our service department @ 479-646-4210 ext 507 or via this email by providing your shipping address and credit card information, they are not available online.”

  9. The following was posted by Umarex and I removed it, because they didn’t identify who they were. I’m re-posting it for all who want extra clips.

    Update on spare clips! Took them about a week to get back to me due to computer issues, but here’s the skinny:

    “We do carry extra magazines for the R8 for $7.00ea plus $5.95-$9.95 S&H (Depending on how many are ordered).

    You are more than welcome to place your order by phone with our service department @ 479-646-4210 ext 507 or via this email by providing your shipping address and credit card information, they are not available online.”


  10. Thank you for your information, Edith. This is unfortunate as I was looking at purchasing the S&W M&P 8. I use extra magazines with all my air guns. I have 13 air guns and 2 air soft guns in my collection. Wish the S&W M&P 8 was pellet friendly. Will see in the future. Once again thank you for your time. Ben Blackwell

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