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Does hand position affect springer accuracy?

by B.B. Pelletier

We have a guest blog from regular blog reader and commenter Fred DPRoNJ (Democratik Peoples Republic of New Jersey). He’s tested an interesting concept that will be beneficial to all you spring gun shooters. I’ll let him tell you about it.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

Take it away, Fred!

by Fred DPRoNJ

Spring-powered air rifles are the hardest guns to shoot accurately. At the top of this list are the magnum springers (those that generate 15 or more foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle). Once the trigger is released and the spring propels the piston forward, the rifle shoves back against your shoulder. When the piston stops, its forward motion transfers to the rifle, which then moves forward. This is the jarring motion that turns scopes that are not airgun-rated into castanets. Also, as the spring is uncompressing, a torque is produced which tries to twist the rifle about its longitudinal axis. It’s next to impossible to control these three forces the same way every time and obtain consistency. The pellet will strike the target at a slightly different place than your point of aim.

As long-time readers of this blog know, the trick to wringing out the utmost accuracy from a spring-piston rifle is to use the artillery hold that B.B. Pelletier has popularized. It allows the rifle to recoil as it wants, while achieving consistency in the point of impact. In the artillery hold, the forearm of the rifle rests lightly on your palm or the back of your fingers or top of your closed fist so the rifle can move how it wants. You do not grasp the forearm with your fingers. That technique is explained here.

However, additional accuracy can sometimes be obtained by positioning your hand under a different point on the forearm. There’s no tried-and-true position since each rifle has its own characteristics, and that requires experimentation. I thought I had the most accurate hold for my .177 Diana RWS 350 Magnum, which is the hardest recoiling and one of the most powerful spring-piston air rifles in my collection. Its recoil makes it one of the hardest rifles to shoot accurately. But I wondered if varying my hand position might improve the results. And that’s the subject of my report.

What I did
I marked the forearm of my rifle in four positions, shot a number of different pellets at a target, rested the rifle at each of the four points and then measured the groups. Distance to the target was 28 feet — the maximum limit of my basement target range. The rifle has an optional peep sight — the Beeman version of the Williams model 64 receiver peep sight — and a hooded front.

Williams peep sight.

I quickly found out that my arm was too short for the farthest position, which would have been at the end of the forearm, so the experiment was revised to three positions.

The RWS 350 Magnum stock is marked for three positions.

Even position one (shown above) was too far out for me to comfortably hold the rifle, and that probably contributed to the poor results obtained in that position. The rifle was rested on the top of a closed hand (the top of my fist), with my elbow rested on a flat surface. The rifle did tend to move with the movement of my body, hand and arm. [Editor’s note: The rifle will always follow the body. That’s why the stance is so important for an offhand shooter…and a baseball pitcher.] I’m afraid these aren’t one-hole groups.

Falcon pellets
My first pellet was the Air Arms Falcon domed pellets that weighs 7.33 grains. The smallest group I got with all but one pellet was with my off hand in position three, which is closest to the triggerguard. For the Falcon pellets, that group measured 0.6355 inches between centers. Positions one and two resulted in groups that were larger than one inch across.

The first three groups were shot using Falcon pellets. They’re arranged in this way — upper left from position one, upper right from position two and lower left from position three. Position three gave the tightest group.

At this point, I’d like to apologize for the wrinkled targets. Spike, my pet cockatiel, overturned a glass of water and soaked all the paper targets prior to my taking photos of them. He was sternly spoken to and told to straighten up and fly right.

Spike posed for this picture, but he tipped the glass on the targets before I could photograph them. As you can see from the look on his face, he has a mischievous streak and he won’t allow me to photograph him when he’s misbehaving! His favorite TV sitcom character is Eddie Haskell.

Crosman Premier Ultra Magnum
Next up were 10.5-grain Crosman Premier Ultra Magnum pellets, and, once again, the smallest size obtained was position three — 0.698 inches between centers. As you can see, positions one and two produced groups in excess of one inch, total spread.

Crosman Premier Ultra Magnum, 10.5 grains. Once again they’re arranged — upper left from position one, upper right from position two and lower left from position three. Position three gave the tightest group.

RWS Super H-point
The third pellet I used was the RWS Super-H-Point weighing in at 6.9 grains. The rifle didn’t like these at all. This target produced the only anomaly of the entire test – position one had the tightest group of 1.198 inches between centers, while position three was 0.125 inches larger. Perhaps, this could just be a measurement discrepancy?

The RWS Super-H-Point target was the one anomalous target in the test. They’re arranged — upper left from position one, upper right from position two and lower left from position three. In this case, position one beat position three.

H&N Baracuda
My next pellet was the 10.65-grain H&N Baracuda Match pellet. Once again, the third position produced the smallest group of 0.698 inches between centers.

Finally, with the H&N pellet, I was starting to get some decent results. Again, they’re arranged — upper left from position one, upper right from position two and lower left from position three. Position three gave the tightest group.

JSB Exact 8.4-grain dome
The JSB Exact 8.4-grain dome produced a grouping that was equal for positions two and three, with position one being roughly one inch across.

Even better results than the H&N Baracuda. The RWS 350 likes the JSB Exact 8.4-grain pellet. Groups are arranged as before, with positions two and three being identical. Position one is larger.

JSB Exact 10.3-grain dome
My last pellet was the JSB Exact 10.3-grain domed pellet. This pellet was the most accurate of the test with a best group of 0.573 inches between centers, which was almost a one-hole group.

Groups were fired in the same sequence as the others. This is obviously the best pellet for this rifle, and position three is the best place to hold

What I can deduce from my testing is that position of the hand on the forearm certainly affects accuracy. With one exception, the groupings did get tighter as my hand position was moved in from position one to position three. Position three was nearly always the best place to rest the rifle on my hand, irrespective of the pellet used.

[Editor’s note: Fred’s findings correspond with my own. Placing the off hand back by the triggerguard is nearly always the best place for a spring rifle. There have been exceptions, however, so it’s good to test all positions with every rifle.]

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.

61 thoughts on “Does hand position affect springer accuracy?”

  1. Fred,

    Thanks for taking the time to do this test, take the photo’s and do the write up. Well done.

    I also have found that the ideal point on a springer for your support hand placement is at or very close to the guns balance point. Usually just ahead of the trigger guard with most guns.


    ps-I think your groups would shrink if your aimpoint was smaller. At 28 feet try a pellet hole or a red dot from a magic marker that is the size of a pellet hole. Thanks again Fred.

    • Kevin,
      Near or at the balance point works out best for me as well. This is especially true if the shooting angle is something other than flat. I tried your trick on using smaller aim points, and indeed my groups improved. It really helped in my efforts to properly adjust the scope.

      Thank you for taking the time to document and share your experiences.

    • Kevin,

      no argument from me with “aim small, miss small”. The problem was trying to see the dang circle I made through the peep and hooded front sight! I had to make them larger to see them!

      Fred DPRoNJ

  2. Thanks Fred.
    You got bird problem, I got cat problem. A friend of mine had a keet one time that liked to get drunk. If you were holding a drink, it would fly down and sit on your hand or the edge of the glass and guzzle the booze. When it got wasted good, it would fly up and perch on something and weave around a lot. Don’t know if it got hangovers. Knew a cockapoo that would drink anything. Was funny when it tried to walk, but looked pathetic when the beer or booze wore off. Definitely a bad hangover.

    My HWs like to be held at about the balance point. This means that if I feel the cocking slot under my hand at all, then I need to move back. My 48 likes to be a little nose heavy. I have something else that likes the same thing.


  3. Update on bad 200T barrel…

    Did not recieve the new barrel yesterday so I fooled with the old one.
    I pushed a lot of pellets, cut and crowned twice.

    I started out pushing pellets and measuring pellet head to muzzle distances when the pellet encountered the rings in the barrel. The rings were about the length of a pellet apart. No good way to cut so that the pellet could exit the muzzle without the head or skirt hitting a ring.

    I ended up taking off about 1/8″ (the tightest and worst part of the choke) . Groups improved a little more.

    Before I got to my stopping point I could see that as I pushed pellets through, I could see fine lead dust and micro shavings along the edge of the pellet head as it got to the muzzle. The bore was really eating them up.
    Since the choke was progressively worse towards the muzzle, I should have started by cutting off a half inch or so. The choke was originally about 1.2″ long.

    New barrel should be here this morning. P.A. shipped it a day later than expected.


  4. Hy guys !
    I fellt that i have an obligation that maybe one last time explain my absence -well here in Croatia B category of weapons went to C category so now i have to fight for my rights to posses any of my air rifles (although i only use them for target shooting in my basement),since i can’t have a hunter’s license and i never shoot in anything that’s alive (i believe in Karma) but I am on meds SSRI basically meds for depression i can’t own any firarms and every air rifle that has more than that 10,5 J and every 5,5 cal is firearm by the law so i have 1 year to destroy my Diana 34,Slavia 634 and Norica basic

    • Milan,

      I am sorry to hear about your problem. I guess I just don’t appreciate living in the U.S. as much as I should!

      Edith and I were wondering about you, since we hadn’t heard from you in a long time. We are glad you posted this comment!


    • I’m not gonna destroy them and am not gonna let boys in blue to destroy them either,but it all depends on my mother well being if she stays alive everything gonna be OK and i will get the permission to own them and i will fight for my rights (if nothing i will give my rifles to the Vukovar’s shooting club but even they are in status quo about 5,5 cal in short i would rather destroy my air rifles then give them to the boys in blue-which roll in society i appreciate)

  5. Yeah but even if guys in blue come and take my rifles -man i understand that out Croatian forum for airguns has become a shame where psychopats are letting their anger or joy by killing cats ,I have a cat and i love her more than any of my air rifle -i will try to make a license for Slavia 634 in 631 stock 4,5 just because it is my favorite and unique rifle

  6. B.B. even without air rifle (but i will fight for my rights ) i will occasionally post a comment i will as much as can but there is one problem that i have to report to you guys since i consider you guys as my friends -my mother is on waiting list for heart transplant but i hope for a best a second chance if you will …

        • You guys are best!Frank I have to say she is feeling really good right now and I will be her support -right now her heart is working just about 25 percent and I am sure that she will have another chance i have faith ,guys i was the first who have laughed on the organ donor card and now i see one organ can save life i know- my dad was a doctor and my mom is a doctor thank God she is on priority list -i’m gonna be in the organ donor list now for sure now

        • You guys are best!Frank I have to say she is feeling really good right now and I will be her support -right now her heart is working just about 25 percent and I am sure that she will have another chance i have faith ,guys i was the first who have laughed on the organ donor card and now i see one organ can save life i know- my dad was a doctor and my mom is a doctor thank God she is on priority list -i’m gonna be in the organ donor list now for sure now
          P.S. Comp say that this message is duplicate if it is i am sorry 🙂

          • Yeah it is never mind i have to share my ballistic jelly recipe again -10 or more cooking jellies melted on about two spoons of water,plastic bag in the jar(not to let jelly to stick) and right amount of water (to make jelly as thick as you like 🙂 )if it isn’t enough add more jelly or let it boil just enough and stir and achieve right consistency

            • Milan,

              I will pray for your mother, too.

              Your air gun situation is a nightmare we are trying very hard to avoid in this country. These things start out incrementally, not a total outright ban at first. It will start with firearms and proceed to include air guns. The focus is always on the guns, rather than the people who misuse them.

              It’s good to hear from you again.


              • Desetrtdweller -i respect the law even if a am “just” 27 yrs old without law where would we be -just look in requiem for my home town Vukovar but i am angry in law that make us all a criminals over night – and again I WILL FIGHT FOR MY RIGHTS and respect the law

    • Milan,

      Keep up! Držite se, nikada ne odustati!
      Sometimes I feel that the state is ruled by madmen, elected by madmen who allowed them to rule.
      After all, there’s a solution – you can find a fellow airgunner who’s fit for a hunting license, help him to obtain it and “sell” your rifles to him to store. So whenever you feel like going to the range you can just call him and get there together. Not the most comfortable way, but completely legal and safe.


  7. Well done Fred. Try marking(tape) the balance point of the rifle then place your open palm just behind that point using your index or middle finger to locate the tape and ensure that your palm is in the same position for every shot.
    It worked for me with my TF 87 which has roughly the same power as your 350.

  8. It’s great to hear from you Milan after such a long but it’s too bad that it’s under such circonstances.
    I hope you, your mother and your airguns make it out OK.


    • J-F
      Life is though but i don’t see this as a trouble but rather as an opportunity really, as for a rifles i will find a way to keep at least my Slavia 634 Thank you J-F !

  9. Update on 200T update…..

    Got a new barrel this morning. Wrong barrel. It is a TX200 barrel….in the white to boot. It’s going back.

    Parts are not available for this rifle. Keep that in mind when ordering the S200 variants.

    I worked on the barrel when I thought I had a replacement barrel coming, so I can’t send the rifle back.
    Gonna pull the barrel and go back to work on it again.

    This one will not be getting a very glorious review.


    • Beaz,

      I settled on electricians black friction tape as it’s easy to remove should I decide to do so unlike duct tape which leaves a residue of adhesive.

      Pete from the Carib, thanks for the tip with placing one’s finger on the tape.

      Fred DPRoNJ

  10. Fred,

    Great job! I found much the same thing on my springers. I rest them on a mono pod just about at their balance point and for most, that is what they like. Like TT though, I have a couple that like to be shot noise heavy.


    My thoughts and prayers for you and your family.


    • /Dave -thank you ,and for all you guys a message FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS- and respect the law even when the law is Draconicas not all of us are gun crazed cat killing psicopats (my cat is the dearest thing in the world for me ) and all I ever done is shooting bottle caps and yet now i have to get hunter’s permission and give my air rifle to the police to keep 1 month to get a permission ….

  11. Fred,
    Very good posting! I have done what you have, moving my hand back and forth, but not as methodical as you. Mainly, I did it looking for comfort. I’m going to try the tape idea when I get my guns out of storage. I think it should help with PCPs also but for different reasons, maybe?

  12. By shooting the TX200 quite a bit, I have noticed that very small changes in the hold have a significant effect on accuracy at long range. I have put a serious effort in shooting at 36- to 50-yard targets and I have gotten really amazing groups in moments where everything seems to come together. By this, I mean placing the hand and every single muscle of the hand, arm, as well as the entire body in exactly the same position for five to ten shots. It is an extremely difficult thing to achieve, and not doable by me every time. Not tot talk about follow through and breathing.

    It almost seems as if I will never get all the accuracy the rifle is capable of (possibly less than the 3/8 to 1/2 inch groups I have come up with at 50 yards)

    This really makes me doubt all those accuracy numbers that are reported in the media about different guns. They must be significantly affected by the human factor and are possibly meaningless

    Also, accuracy is also very dependent on what the hand is resting on. Sand bags are NOT best for me.


  13. Milan,
    So good to hear from you. A few good readers have disappeared over the past couple years and you are one of the best. We have just entered a terrible time in regards to firearms and our second amendment rights because of a few incidents by mentally unstable people. The news media are full of knee-jerk reactions about gun control, creating more fear, and fearful people do not think clearly. I’m concerned we may fighting for our rights soon, also.

    Thanks again for writing to us and I hope you can keep your reason for interest in this blog.

  14. It is not something “terrible ” for police to have some notion of who have an air rifle or any kind of rifle in their papers but having a hunter’s license is NONSENSE as i only shoot in bottle caps ,but Ialso don’t think this is the stupidest law cause police must have some information who have a gun firearm or air rifle but this law as i previously said i a NONSENSE but this law is the same in Serbia and even Germany -what can i do ?

  15. So i will continue like nothing has happened -recently i bought Norica Atlantic 5,5 i am impressed with mechanic sights but the power is over estimated ,over all it is a good buy for the money (in my case for the police 🙂 ) kidding i will get my license but how do i can explain my 3 air rifles 🙁

    • So, you have to let the police use your air rifles for the first month before you get to use them? That sounds like New Jersey, where the police get to use citizens’ new air guns first “just to make sure they are safe”. (What happens to the warranty on new guns that break while the police are playing with them?)

      Then, you have to justify to the police the number of air guns you own?

      In this country, air guns are exempt by Federal Law from being considered fire arms. However, that Federal guarantee does not extend to citizens of certain states and cities that consider all air guns, even bb guns, to be banned firearms. It is ironic that the “Windy City” PCP guns cannot be owned or shot in our “Windy City” (Chicago).

      Out in the West where I live, the police actually teach youngsters how to shoot air guns. I shoot my air guns on the police practice range.

      Shooting cats is disgusting! Anyone shooting my cats is asking to be shot by me.


      • desertdweller,
        I live in Illinois and I’m not sure the “Windy City” is part of the continental U.S.. They seem to be somewhere else in this solar system, definitely not Earth. Unfortunately, because of many laws of physics and crooked politics, what ever they do to disable and embarrass themselves always has a detrimental affect on us poor hick farmer downstaters, at least in their eyes were hick farmers. The capital of Illinois is Springfield, which is in the middle south of the state. Yet, all the ridiculous laws the WC (now there is an unintended pun) needs to control their population get passed and needlessly affects the rest of the state that doesn’t have those problems.

        Oops, DD, I’m sorry, I just realized you live there. I retract everything I said because of my respect for you.

        • desertdweller,
          I’m sorry again. I re-read your comment and you do not live in the WC. Therefore, my previous rant stands as written. And you still get my respect.

  16. This was sent to the wrong email address. I have posted it here for the writer.

    Yes I would like a guest to post instructions and whatever assembly photos that they may have for a Marksman repeater BB/Pellet hand gun (4.5 MM 1.77 Cal.).
    I think that the model or serial number is 32G28.
    It is a spring action pistol. Made in Torrance, CA.
    There is a UMAREX name with a F in a box near the cocking mechanism.

    Thank you,

  17. B.B.

    have you ever done a review of the IZH 46m or the Weirauch HW 75 air pistols? I looked for them in the files but could not find them. I start asking this sort of questions about every 6 months when funds accumulate…

    Thank you

    • TE,

      He’s tested the predecessor to the 46M:

      In this 6-part blog, he compared the 46 and Compact:

      He also did a report on the HW75:


    • TE,

      Since you’re pistol shopping and the IZH 46 is on your list of considerations………….did you know that there is a new aftermarket kit that was introduced on July 4th that will convert the IZH 46 from a SSP (Single Stroke Pnuematic) to an MSP (Multi Stroke Pnuematic) ?

      With the kit installed you can put up to 8 pumps in the gun. Doubles the power/flattens trajectory, reduces operating pressure, reduces stress on operating components and the 8th cocking stroke is less than the stock gun at 14 lbs. I don’t own one but have been reading everything I can about this kit that is supposedly easy to install.


      • Edith,

        Thank you very much for the information. I wish I was smarter and able to find old reports using keywords and not bother so much

        Thank you. I did not know that. I will certainly look into that!


      • Kevin, from what I can see there is no kit available. You send the gun to Innova and they modify it for a price. About twice the velocity and over three times the power is available with 8 pumps, while still retaining the same single-pump performance and accuracy. Have you seen this somewhere as a purchased kit?

        • Wuups, I just found their kit link. They just said VIP kit and not IZH, so I had missed it. From everything I’ve read this sounds their and in the GTA forums this sounds like a good deal. Kevin, thanks for bringing it up!

  18. My FWB 124 went off to Pyramyd AIR today. So the wait begins. But, it’s not like I don’t have an air rifle to shoot! I shot a Cowboy Action Match last Saturday, Trap league of Tuesday, and will shoot a Three Gun Action Match Saturday. So much to shoot, so little time! 🙂


  19. Fred,

    Paging Fred. No comments on a post that generated over 50 replies on a mid week post?

    Are you okay? Worried about you.

    Thanks for the in depth article with great photos.


  20. Fred,
    I am trying to wring the best accuracy from a 15 fpe springer, so I went back through some of B.B.’s old reports, and I found this guest blog by you quite useful. Thank you!
    Take care,

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