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Ammo AirForce Talon SS precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 9

AirForce Talon SS precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 9

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

AirForce Talon SS is a whole shooting system.

We last looked at the .22-caliber Talon SS on June 13, when I told you that I had mistakenly shot the rifle with a standard air tank instead of a Micro-Meter tank in the previous test. I retested the rifle with an AirForce Micro-Meter air tank and the standard 12-inch barrel. Today, I want to finish the test with the optional 24-inch barrel.

You’ll recall in Part 8 that I shot the rifle 380 times on a single fill of the Micro-Meter tank. Today, we’ll see what difference, if any, we get from the 24-inch barrel. The only pellet used in this test was the .22-caliber Crosman Premier pellet.

Let’s begin — shots 1 to 10
The tank is filled to 3,000 psi and shooting starts. The power wheel is set as low as it will go. The first three shots go 429, 536 and 667 f.p.s., respectively. Shot four goes 726 f.p.s. and the rifle is stable from that point on. The first three shots were needed to wake up the valve. Discounting the first three shots, the string averaged 727 f.p.s. and ranged from 725 to 732 f.p.s., a spread of 7 f.p.s. The average energy was 16.79 foot-pounds; and yes, I’m aware that a Micro-Meter tank isn’t supposed to be that powerful. But we’re seeing the effect of doubling the barrel length in a precharged gun, and it’s dramatic!

Because of the large number of shots I expect to get from the tank, I then shot 30 shots without a pellet. I’ll call these blank shots.

Shots 41 to 50
This string averaged 715 f.p.s. and ranged from 711 to 718 f.p.s, so another 7 foot-second spread. The average energy was 16.24 foot-pounds. Then another 30 blanks were fired.

Shots 81 to 90
I shot this string on the highest power setting the gun has — just to see if there was any difference. There wasn’t. The average was 705 f.p.s. and the range went from 702 to 709 f.p.s. Another 7 foot-second spread. The energy was 15.79 foot-pounds. Then another 30 blanks were fired.

Shots 121 to 130
The gun was set back to the lowest power setting and remained there for the rest of this test. The average was 675 f.p.s., and the range went from 668 to 679 f.p.s. the spread was 11 f.p.s. The average energy was 14.47 foot-pounds. Then 30 more blanks were fired.

Shots 161 to 170
The average was 658 f.p.s., and the string ranged from 654 to 662 f.p.s. — a spread of 8 f.p.s. The average energy was 14.17 foot-pounds. Then 30 more blanks were fired.

Shots 201 to 210
The average was 641 f.p.s., and the range was 637 to 653 f.p.s. This string had a 16 foot-second spread. The average energy was 13.05 foot-pounds. Following this, 30 more shots without pellets were fired.

Shots 241 to 250
The average for this string was 618 f.p.s., and the string ranged from 613 to 621 f.p.s. So, a spread of 8 f.p.s. The average energy was 12.13 foot-pounds. Following this, 30 more blanks were fired.

Shots 281 to 290
This string averaged 594 f.p.s. and ranged from 581 to 601. So a 20 f.p.s. spread. The average energy was 11.21 foot-pounds. Then 30 more blank shots were fired.

Shots 321 to 330
The average was 561 and ranged from 553 to 568, and the spread was 15 f.p.s. The average energy was 10 foot-pounds. After this, 30 more shots were fired without pellets.

Shots 361 to 370
The average was 539 f.p.s.,  and the string ranged from 534 to 545. A spread of 12 f.p.s. was observed. The average energy was 9.23 foot-pounds. Another 30 blanks were fired.

Shots 400 to 410
Now we’re in uncharted territory. The gun is giving me over 400 good shots on a single fill. Clearly, the 24-inch barrel is a real boon to the performance of the MM tank. This string averaged 519 f.p.s. and ranged from 514 to 527 f.p.s. A spread of 13 f.p.s. The average energy was 8.56 foot-pounds. After this, 30 more blanks were fired.

Shots 441 to 450
The average was 497 f.p.s. and the string ranged from 489 to 504 f.p.s., for a total spread of 15 f.p.s. The average energy was 7.85 foot-pounds.

I’m done
I could have continued to shoot the gun for many more shots, but I stopped at this point for a reason. After 450 shots have been fired, the Talon SS is still launching pellets slightly faster than my Diana model 27 breakbarrel. If that’s enough power for me, then this gun certainly gives all that and more. And I can’t think of another time when I shot 450 shots, unless it was for a test like this one.

The 24-inch barrel added significant performance
We all know that barrel length is important to a PCP, and this test makes that very clear. The 12-inch barrel gave 380 shots that ended up in the high 300 f.p.s. range. We’re still 200 f.p.s. faster than that after 450 shots have been fired! I think that establishes the Micro-Meter air tank as the champion of PCPs with the 24-inch barrel is installed.

What’s next?
In this series, we’ve looked at the Talon SS as it comes from the factory and with various modifications. The one we haven’t tried yet is the CO2 adapter, so that’s next. I’ll leave the 24-inch barrel installed since that’s the way I shoot the rifle all the time now, but I’ll test both velocity and accuracy with CO2 for you.

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.

45 thoughts on “AirForce Talon SS precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 9”

  1. And the Squirrels are Cowering

    Given 250 shots producing over 12ft-lbs — meaning they likely had over 5ft-lbs left at 20 yards, some time with ChairGun Pro should produce a table of hold-over as the velocity drops (or elevation adjustment clicks per 10 shots).

    Heck — if it wasn’t the middle of the city, I’ve got four turkeys that would be an average distance of 8 yards if I toss a handful of feed corn off the patio — an adjustable scope mount might allow enough down-angle to zero an AirForce under 10 yards <G>

    I have an insane urge to see if I can fit your numbers into Excel and produce a chart with velocity vs shot count with error bars… Something I’ve never done before (that type of charting — might be easier to produce using R [statistics software package].

    But… I’m going to bed rather than start studying manuals… We’ll see what I do when I wake up…

    I do think the last set of 10 could have been shot with the power-wheel back up to max, just to confirm that the power-wheel doesn’t have much effect over the entire range of usable air.

  2. I do wish these things looked more like guns and less like industrial cleaning equipment.

    The Diana 27 is much more to my idea of what a gun should look like. A fine gun should also be a thing of beauty.


    • Les,

      I was just thinking the same thing. They’ve got it all, except they’re ugly as heck… I remember watching spy movies and shows back in the sixties and wondering why everyone didn’t just use the ugly little spy guns for hunting and anything else. After all, they were supposed to be super accurate, small, light, and indestructible according to my young wisdom! Held that view for years and then I saw a picture of a Weatherby Mk V and after that saw a Sako in a gun store that had beautiful wood at a local gun store. After that the struggle was on for me. Beautiful lines, wood and accuracy? Or, strictly a utilitarian myth? I guess you can see which won out for me. The wood won. The AF guns are ugly, but at least the myth has ben made true! But for me, “rea guns” are wood and steel and are as much art as function!


      • I think the IZH 61 is better looking than the Talon. It has a funky “new age” appearance, whereas the Talon is just a long nozzle with a pistol grip on it, very much like that on a steam cleaner.

        It is my opinion that guns can be, and should be, things of beauty. The axiom that “form follows function” does not apply here. Who does not appreciate the beauty of a stained natural wood stock?
        Or even a multi-hued, laminated wood stock?


  3. Wow. This is quite an amazing result. Especially if you look at the results from a Canadian’s point of view. It took 441 shots before the Talon become legal here without a PAL permit.We need the permit to own an air rifle that shoots over 500fps. It boggles my mind when I try to imagine the amount of shots this gun would produce if it could be adjusted to shoot no more then 500fps. I wonder if anyone in Canada has tried to do this. To test this, you could maybe shoot 10 pellets and 50-75 blank shots. I think I could go for a gun like this as my first pcp. Thanks for this extended test B.B. Where do you come up with some of your blog ideas? However you do it, I enjoy them all and usually learn something new from each one.
    Caio Titus

    • Man I couldn’t agree more on this one.
      It’s sad we can’t get more detuned PCP here. Look at the AT-44’s and how many shots we can get overthe full power ones.
      I don’t know if I’m alone on this but I have very little interest in faster than 500fps airguns anyway because I can’t shoot them in my backyard because they’re too noisy (now if shrouds were legal it would be a whole different story).
      The Crosman 1701P is one of my favorite airguns, it’s accurate, has very little report, it’s fun to shoot, it can be shot for lots of shots and it’s easy to fill with a pump since the reservoir is so small. I think the Marauder Pistol would better suit me but it’s unavailable so…


      Geez those capchat are getting hard ?+9=17

    • You bet Ridgerunner! I am stymied by the possibilities with AF guns…..I could get rid of all my others (NOT) and spend a lifetime exploring all the possibilities with just my Condor,Talon and the three tanks/ valves.Actually five,because I didn’t count Co2,or the regged HPA tank with the Co2 valve.
      Truly the “Swiss Army Deluxe” airgun system.

  4. B.B.

    That sounds like a micro tank now.

    You sure ran out a long shot string. That’s going to be a lot of P.O.I. variation from start to stop.
    Depending on the nature of the particular rifle, I would think that there may be a particular pressure range where accuracy will be best with any particular pellet for maybe 50-70 shots. It would take a lot of shooting while watching group size and P.O.I. to determine this.

    I see that you got an increased velocity spread once you got to around 120 shots. This is what I saw with the micro on my .177 TSS. I had a very steady downhill curve going up to that point, then saw a bit more shot to shot variation set in.


    • TT,

      I don’t think the POI matters that much, because when you shoot this tank you are very close to the target. At 10 meters it isn’t going to make that much difference. Unless you are trying to shoot 10-meter a doubt you’ll even notice it.


      • B.B.

        You started at a velocity that would be O.K. out to 25 yds or a little better. You would see a lot of difference that far out if you run a long velocity spread.


  5. B.B.

    One extra thing….

    When the velocity spread opened up at around 120-130 shots, I think this may have been the point at which the breech slide started pounding the valve top hat against the valve body. I think accuracy and poi may start falling apart at this point.


    • TT,

      If one-tenth inch is “accuracy falling apart” then, yes, there probably if a difference. The MM tank is not a precision tool. It’s a plinker’s dream come true.

      Every year at the NRA annual meetings on the airgun range they shoot these guns for hours and people leave with holes through the 10 — if they are good shots.

      No, it wouldn’t do well at 50 yards, nor would a Corvette pull a three-bottomed plow very well.


  6. Ben sent this to the wrong address, so I have posted it here.

    Hey Tom I was looking into the Dan Wesson 6″ airsoft and was wondering if it could also shoot the gamo .22 round balls. I ask because I have always loved shooting air soft but I occasionally hunt small birds and rabbits with my Hammerli pneuma .22-10. But I want to practice my hunting skills with birds (not rabbits) with a pistol and also use it to play some airsoft games. Anyways it begins to become a pain after awhile to fill up the hammerli with a hand pump since I shoot around 800 rounds in a weekend. And I go shooting about three times a year so it’s easy on my wallet. So any thought on this working as a airsoft and small game weapon.


    • Ben,

      This won’t work for three reasons. First, a .22 round ball is the wrong caliber for airsoft. Airsoft is 6mm, while the .22 round ball is 5.5mm. The difference is significant and will render the ball useless.

      Second, the .22 ball is made of lead, and the Dan Wesson airsoft mechanism is regulated to shoot a (properly sized) plastic airsoft ball. The lead ball is five times too heavy for the gun’s powerplant. It would be like you trying to pitch a game of softball with a 12-pound shotput.

      And finally, airsoft guns are not weapons. They are designed to be safe to shoot, so they have nowhere near the power needed to kill game — humanely or otherwise. If you want to hunt small birds with an air pistol you need to use one that can generate ten foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.


  7. B.B.

    All right, it’s stock time! And again, aircraft engineering rules when it comes to airguns.
    Bought some aircraft-grade plywood: 3, 4 and 6 mm sheets. Spent almost an hour but found a near-perfect ones – beech/birch composition. Then 500 ml of two-component diane epoxy – good stuff due to its tremendous strength and relatively low molecular weight which means deep penetration into surfaces it holds.

    I already have Autocad drawings for the stock, 10 layers of different thickness. In a few days I’ll bring plywood to laser cutting and then just assemble things together, laser will take care of most inside chisel work and milling. I was contemplating upon coloring plywood to make colored laminate, but considered it to be too much of a fuss, as making it proper way would require very strict technology and lots of time – that I’m short of.

    Why plywood? First – it’s simple (as it is homogenous, “dead” artificial material that is very predictable and very easy to work with when you have laser) and cheap (a set of plywood cost me at least 8,5 times less than equal 1200x300x70 mm piece of gun-grade dry beech, ash or walnut). Second – calculations: plywood is relatively heavier than wood, but much stronger, so I can make a “skinnier” construction still with much more strength and… surprise, less weight. I re-checked it twice and still it seems I’m right about second point.


    • Duskwight,

      You are closing in on the end, my friend. How exciting this must be!

      Your skinner concept is ideal for that material. That’s where thought given first to the application and material saves so much in the end.

      I can’t wait until we can see pictures of the working Duskcombe!


  8. Impressive performance for the long barrel. I’ve been a little suspicious of the trend of shortening barrels for rifle firearms. Unless you’re doing Close Quarters Battle, the long barrel seems the way to go.

    That was an interesting discussion the other day about how you ignore past mistakes. Have wondered the same thing myself. This is the same problem that B.B. described for top-level competition shooting where he said: “I got into the winner’s circle but I never figured out what it takes to stay there.” How to break loose from patterns and achieve total repeatability… Maybe this is like one of those zen koans about the sound of one hand clapping. And maybe the answer is that there is no winner’s circle and no past shot or future shot. The problem is that when you develop compensation mechanisms, you’re already engaging with the mistake. As the saying goes: If you try your hardest not to think about pink elephants, the first thing you think of will be…pink elephants.


    • Matt61,
      “ignore past mistakes”. That’s one thing that I’ve been harping on here for over a year. Shots fired are already down range (like water under the bridge), so they aren’t important and should be forgotten. Future shots don’t exist, so why waste your time anticipating them? The ONLY shot that matters is the shot you’re in the process of executing. I was taught that NO emotion should be invested in the past or future, GOOD OR BAD. A serious competitor should always maintain an even keel. Don’t get excited because you’re doing great, and don’t get angry because you’re doing poorly, or blew a shot. None that will help you with the shot that you’re in the process of executing.

      I always understood that with time I’d develop the maturity that I needed to perform CONSISTENTLY at my best performance level. You have to give EACH shot it’s own due respect. You have to fully COMMIT to each shot individually. I was given a definition and told to always keep it in mind as I developed my abilities.

      Maturity: Lack of vacillation.

      Master and control having UPS and DOWNS (i.e., deviating from equilibrium) that affected individual shot execution.

      You see, in competitive marksmanship, physical ability is overshadowed/overpowered/dominated by by mental maturity. Only time will allow one to overcome the maturity issue. This is one reason why shooting is different than other sports like gymnastics. In shooting you peak out at a later age, normally by the mid-20’s, or even much later.

      Knowing this, I NEVER went into a match wondering, thinking, or wanting to win. I didn’t need the extra pressure. How could that possibly help me? It really couldn’t. The very first time I tried out for a US team (15 years old) at the US International Championships, my coaches told me that I had no hope of winning. They said that I was only there to start getting experience at that level. I won one Gold and and tied for a second. My coaches knew what they were doing. They told me that I had no hope of winning just to eliminate the pressure. I already knew not to pressure myself with thoughts of winning, but this time I felt pressure because of the expense. By telling me that this was “just for experience”, I was able to do my best.

      This is why you should NEVER allow yourself to focus on how good or bad you’re doing, or scores, or anything else. Once you’ve mastered your body and your skills, you’re still left with the issue of FOCUS (another thing that I’ve harped on). In competition, even a minor mental distraction can cause you to drop a point. But there are other distractions as well. Being too out of shape is a distraction in itself. For most, just improving on your physical condition will do more than buying expensive “solutions”. I like to play certain video games just to keep mentally sharp and to help with my focus. This really helps me to see how mental distractions can make a difference.


      • Then wouldn’t the best solution be to not know where your shot went until after the match is over?
        I was able to do this once with a GSG 92 BB pistol. The iron sight arn’t adjustable so it was shooting a bit under my aiming point and I could see where he shots were landing, I had zero pressure since this was only a blowback BB gun, what did I care… But I was trying to know what it could do in term of accuracy and concentrated on the trigger (which for that kind of gun is quite nice) and I feel on my butt as my jaw droped when I looked at the one ragged hole 10 shot group I had just fired with a cheap BB gun. I was looking everywhere on the paper to find other holes but couldn’t find any. It was a great day and I never tried to shoot another group like that with that pistol (or any other CO2 action pistols).
        The planets aligned themselves for that one time. To me it was more luck than actual talent but it was fun.


        • J-F,
          In theory, IF your fundamentals are perfect, then you don’t need to check your shots until after you’re all done. But this is not practical. OK, what you DO NOT DO is check your shots to keep track of how you’re doing (i.e., score). If shooting in the wind, you need to see the effects of the wind, so it isn’t wise to wait until you’re all done. Also, sometimes our fundamentals slip, like our grip or trigger finger placement (e.g., a string of shots that are off in some particular way). This is usually less of an issue because it’s less likely, but it can happen. With pistol it’s more likely than with a rifle, I think. What I’m mainly trying to get at is avoiding the mental pitfalls of focusing on the wrong thing, namely, anything but the current shot being executed.

          Awhile back I suggested to Matt61 that he shoot a session where he not worry (AT ALL) about groups or score. I suggested that he ONLY focus on execution. In such a session, you want to keenly observe everything that happened during each shot and make a note of what you believe you did (e.g., did you follow-through, jerk the trigger, took too long, etc.). You see, some of us (me for sure) sometimes have trouble trusting that the fundamentals really are everything. When we aren’t at our best we try to compensate during a shot or two by trying to “catch” a shot. Sometimes we take too long, or not long enough. Sometimes we look at the target, and not the sights. Sometimes we forget to follow-through. Lack of follow-through is one of the biggest bad habits that will plague us.

          The truly gifted just accept the fundamentals without ever questioning them. The rest of us forget from time to time. How you practice matters. You practice to overcome your weaknesses and strengthen your fundamentals, but not necessarily for score. If there aren’t enough local matches, then you do a regular practice match. If you’re doing informal shooting, then you’re probably not keenly aware of how important it is to not put pressure on yourself when doing something like shooting for groups.

          My personal philosophy is that you’re only competing against yourself, whether shooting formally or informally. Either way, you run into plateaus that you probably want to break out of. Seeing real improvement is where a lot of us derive a lot of our enjoyment.


  9. BB,
    That’s impressive for a PCP, but a little springer like my 490 or your Bronco or several others could shoot even more with less velocity variation, and the cost of the whole gun would be much less than or at worst comparable to the cost of the tank I bet :)!

    • BG_Farmer,

      Yes, but none of the guns you mention can also develop 45 foot-pounds and shoot into three-quarters of an inch at 50 yards, if the owner so desires. they are what they are and will remain so. The Talon SS is many different things — depending on the whims of the owner.


  10. Since the conversation has drifted towards accuracy a bit I wonder if I might ask a question? Just what exactly is considered ‘accurate’ in the airgun world?
    Is it simply being able to take your intended prey humanely if hunting, or putting 10 into one hole when shooting paper?
    I ask because, well, to be honest some of my groups look like they came from a shotgun! I’ve been beating myself up trying to figure out why…or maybe I’m just expecting too much?

    • Forgot to mention…I agree with the guys that like the looks of a traditional gun-I do too-but, to my eyes anyway, the Talon’s not half bad. It has a sort of utilitarian look that seems to suit it’s purpose perfectly.

      • If you shoot as I do, 30 rounds into a 6″ target, yes. it will look like a shotgun pattern. The idea is to keep your group small and round, and centered on the bull. Sometimes the bull will disappear into one big hole.

        The more rounds you shoot, the bigger your group is apt to be. You will find POI’s with multiple rounds, and cloverleaf holes.

        I now this is just a matter of taste, but, to me at least, the successful guns are things of beauty in an esthetic sense. Consider the Wingmaster shotgun, the Remington 700, the 1911 Colt pistol, the M-1, the PPK pistol, the Luger pistol. Or, in air guns, the R1, the Dianas, the Bronco, or even the Red Ryder.

        To me, appearance has a great deal to do with desirability.


      • dangerdongle,
        My take on accuracy is (leaving out the human part and the ammo’s part and the environment): an accurate gun will put every shot into the same hole every time. There may very well be a gun that can do that.

        Now, how accurate is your gun? You don’t know because you haven’t found the right ammo yet nor have you trained yourself to be accurate. You can shoot indoors and eliminate 99.999% of the environment.

        So what are you supposed to do? The first thing is decide how close to accurate you are willing to accept because you should now see that you will never achieve accurate. None of us will, yet we still strive toward that goal because we want to see how close we can get. And you will want to see if you can get closer than me. This is what keeps me shooting. I know I can be accurate two shots out of 10 or even 5 sometimes. I want more!

        You can be really accurate, or pretty accurate, or that overworked “tack driver” accurate, or not very accurate at all. You can come really close if you spend a lot of money on equipment and have the talent to be an Olympic level shooter. So how close to accurate do you need to be?

        If you are shooting 10m competition, you must be able to put every shot on the x. You may be able to do that every once in a while, but be ready to spend money and work hard yet still not achieve that consistently.

        If you are shooting small animals humanely, you need to be close enough to accurate to shoot 1.5″ groups consistently at the distance of your target.

        If you are plinking cans, you need to be close enough to accurate to hit a can sized target most of the time.

        If you are trying to stop a car with a .50 cal rifle you need to be close enough to accurate to hit an engine block sized target of the engine size you’re shooting at. You must be closer to accurate for a four cylinder Honda than for a 12 cylinder Ferrari.

        You probably get my drift by now. I’ll stop here before I get too silly with analogies.


    • dangerdongle,

      The fun part about accuracy is that YOU get to define what is accurate.

      The bad part about accuracy is when you spend too much time on forums and see pictures of groups shot at ranges that are suspect and you start to redefine what is accurate.

      I’ve learned that what I consider accurate and what most others consider is accurate are two different things. Velocity, foot pounds and distance have to be part of this discussion too. Acceptable accuracy with a 200fpe big bore airgun at 100 yards is different than acceptable accuracy with a 40fpe .22 caliber pcp at 100 yards.


    • You’ve just re-opened a can of worms…

      Namely: the difference between accuracy and precision…

      If your “shotgun group” is evenly distributed about the point of aim, one can conclude that you have accuracy — but you lack precision (repeatability). On the other side, you could have a 1/4″ group (high precision) that is landing two inches away from the point of aim (low accuracy). The latter case can be compensated for by adjusting the sights; but a “shotgun group” can be the result of lose fitting components, improper sight picture, poor hold, poor trigger control, etc.

      You haven’t mentioned what range, what gun, pellet/velocity/etc…. My last time at a range, where I was trying to sight in four rifles before the range closed (and where range control gave 15 minutes shooting, 15 minutes to check targets — so there was NO way I could spend minutes per shot!) my best group of the day came from the last rifle I tested… And being able to keep ~10 shots into an area the size of a standing squirrel at 50 yards is not something to be proud of… Especially since I was shooting 7.62NATO through a Browning A-Bolt II Varmint gun! At least that scope came up on paper from the start — the .17HMR the preceded it was so small and fast that I couldn’t see the holes in the target paper — I finally had to rely on having four targets up (2×2) with an orange sticky in the middle in order to get an idea of which way the scope was off.

      The .22 Condor I managed to get into the black at 50 yards, along with the .177 Marauder — and they were “shotgun” patterns at that distance. The Gamo NRA 1000 Special (.177) and RWS m54 (.22) I sighted in at 25 yards, using the pistol range — so no long bench to rest against. (And having someone shooting .44-40 revolvers in the next stall didn’t help).

      I’m hoping to get a five foot wide path in my father’s basement someday — it’s long enough for a 10m stage that I can at least work on grouping and then adjust scopes based on ChairGun Pro to get a usable zero range.

    • dangerdongle,

      Kevin pretty much summed it up. Accuracy is what you want it to be, and you provided a couple specific examples. Of course, you left out the detail of distance. But even that is up to your requirements, which it all really boils down to. Wulfraed brought up the distinction between accuracy and precision. We often interchange those to words by assuming that the gun is sighted in.

      So if your requirements are to put 10 shots in the same hole at 10 meters, then your gun is accurate if it can do that. If you’re requirement is to put 10 shots within an inch at 30 yards, because you feel that you can get a humane kill with this, and if your gun can do that, then your gun is accurate.

      But if you’re asking “How accurate are today’s airguns?” Then this blog is the place for you. Lots of guns are tested and reviewed, and we get a fairly practical assessment of what real-world out-of-the-box air-guns do do. What these real-world airguns can do depends on the gun, obviously. PCP’s tend to be more accurate because they introduce less mechanical vibration. In this case we’re talking down to half an inch at 50 yards, or quarter inch at 25 yards. Springers (spring-piston), or Nitro-Piston air-guns can do almost as well, but they require lots of practice and technique.

      To my surprise, I’ve bought $250 air-rifles that can easily shoot quarter inch groups at 20 yards. But I have a lot of experience shooting, and it took me months to master my springers.

      I think we’d all love to know more specifics to better understand these shotgun patterns that you describe, including the following:

      1. What gun, or guns do you own? An important issue here is the guns velocity.
      2. What kind of sights are you using? Scope, or iron sights?
      3. What distance are you shooting?
      4. What types of pellets do you use, or have tried? An important issue is experimentation.
      5. Are you shooting offhand, prone, or off a bag, rest (vice), etc?
      6. If shooting from, say, a table with some kind of bag;
      A. Are you familiar with the “artillery hold”?
      B. If not familiar with the “artillery hold”, then please describe your technique.
      7. Are you new to shooting air-guns?
      8. If not new to air-guns, how much experience do you have with them.

      You see, air-guns, and in particular springers, are a whole different ball-game, if your background is with firearms, or non-springers. They require special techniques, and even within the realm of springers, almost no two springers can be shot in exactly the same way. Well, most require the use of what B.B. coined as the “artillery hold”, but some are more hold sensitive than others. One springer may favor that you hold the gun towards the front, while another prefers to be held further back. The other big issue with air-guns is pellet selection. Air-gun enthusiast are willing to try several (even many) different pellets until they find one that is best suited for a particular air-gun. If accuracy/precision is important, the one pellet does not fit all.

      Active members of this blog are excellent resources because we all have our own unique experiences, and thus contributions. Tell us your story and we’ll see what we can share with you. What may end up happening is that you’re provide insights that will benefit us.


  11. Thanks guys for such well-thought out and insightful responses, I do feel a little better now. Kevin nailed it…I’ve been comparing what I can do to what I’ve read or seen online and couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that I must be a horrible shot! Another stumbling block has been that , for whatever reason, I keep thinking that since I do well enough with a firearm at normal firearm ranges, shooting airguns at greatly reduced distances should be a piece of cake.
    This might sound strange, (it does to me) but I think I might actually be missing the recoil as well. I grew up on a working ranch where I could shoot anytime and anywhere, and, Dad being the gun nut he is, my brothers and I never got to experience airguns. We carried .22’s and .410’s, and of course cattle prods. (Which the cows never received the benefit of as we were constantly shocking the snot out of each other) The point is, whenever I pull a trigger I EXPECT that big kick, so that’s been an adjustment I’ve had to make as well. I don’t know if that could be affecting my groups but it is a distraction at the back of my mind.
    I’m sorry, I’m rambling. I’ll try to give a few specifics to answer Victor then I’ll shut up.
    I did the typical n00b thing and bought first a ‘Ruger’ airhawk, suckered in by the salesmans claims of extreme power and that it was a copy of the finest airgun ever made, the Diana 34. I didn’t know what a Diana was so that meant nothing to me, but I took his word for it.
    I’d have more luck THROWING it at the target, so I upgraded to a nitro piston gun, the Crosman nitro venom. That thing is even more picky than the Ruger, and being a pistol guy at heart anyway I decided to go that route. A 2240 was next. I’ve had much better luck with it but my groups still aren’t as small as I’d like, and I don’t think it has enough power to take out a squirrel. At that point I decided to stop being such a cheapskate and concentrate more on shooting paper, so a Beeman P3 was up next. This is an amazingly accurate gun at short distances….but at 50′ not so much. I don’t know if it’s me or pellet selection-it seems to prefer the 8.2gr RWS meisterkugelns and at 21′ in the garage I can consistently get groups under half an inch, but those open to over 1 1/2 inches at 50′.
    Finally, really needing something for pest control, I bought a Benjamin Discovery. Right out of the box, sighting in at 50′, my first group with H&N field target trophys was 3/4’….I think there’s potential to do much better after experimenting with pellets, but the trouble is it is WAY too loud to shoot in my typical tiny suburban back yard.
    So…one more question : )
    The furthest I may have to shoot at home would be roughly 30yards max, but I suspect I could get within 50′ of any tree rats or pigeons that need to get dead. I’ve been trying to sight in at 50′ but the large groups and confusing fliers make me wonder if I shouldn’t try to zero closer and then just hold over/under?
    Sorry about the long post!

    • dangerdongle,

      Wow! You said a mouthfull!

      We need to slow down and address (and solve) one problem at a time.

      Let’s take the one you stated at the end of your comment. Reading between the lines, I think your problem is you are not using the best pellets for your guns. Meisterkugelns are okay out to 25 yards, but being wadcutters, that is where their accuracy ends. And I have never had any luck at all with H&N Field Target Trophy pellets in any caliber at any distance. You need to try a really accurate long-range pellet that will also be accurate at closer range.

      Please tell me the caliber of your Discovery, and we will go from there.

      Your Discovery

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