Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol: Part 1

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


The Cometa Indian is a large spring-piston air pistol that is incredibly easy to cock.

Want something new and different? Here it is. The Cometa Indian, offered by AirForce International, is a spring-piston air pistol with great power and a low cocking effort. They advertise the velocity at 492 f.p.s., which, of course, we’ll check. But the cocking effort I can tell you right now is just 7 lbs.! That’s right — seven pounds!

The Indian is not a new gun. I tested one for The Airgun Letter many years ago, so it’s been around for over 10 years. But Cometa has never been represented well in the U.S., so we’re not familiar with it. For most of us, this is a new gun.

This is a very strange-looking air pistol, because the cocking lever that actually swings up, over and around the muzzle to cock the mainspring appears at first to be a sidelever. You have to see it function before you comprehend how it works. And it’s the enormous arc of the lever — more than 270 degrees — that allows the effort to be so low.

Let me talk you through the cocking and loading procedure, so the photos that follow will make sense.

Cocking and loading the Cometa Indian
1. Put the safety on safe by sliding the safety button forward. Most people will use the button on the left side of the receiver, but there’s also one on the right that works just as well.

2. Lift the cocking lever up. The breech will pop out to the rear under spring pressure.

3. Rotate the cocking lever up and around the muzzle and back down under the gun until it stops. There won’t be any audible clicking of a sear as this is done, but the sear will engage. The lever will spring back a little under its own tension and then hesitate, showing the piston has been trapped by the sear. At this point the cocking lever is free-swinging.

4. Put a pellet in the loading trough and shut the breech so the bolt probe pushes the pellet into the breech. The breech will not stay closed at this point.

5. Swing the cocking lever back around to the closed position as you press in on the breech. Release the breech with the cocking lever down and the lever will hold the breech in position. The pistol is now cocked, loaded and the safety is on. Take the safety off and the gun is ready to fire.


The first step is to apply the safety and lift up the cocking lever. The breech will pop open to the rear.


Swing the cocking lever up and over the muzzle…


… and continue around until the lever stops. The pistol is now cocked and ready for loading.


Lay a pellet in the trough and press the breech closed. The cocking lever will fall into place and be locked when the breech is released.

Does this sound complex? It is the first couple times you do it. Then, you get used to the procedure and it becomes easier and faster. You’ll be so astounded at the light cocking (if you’ve cocked other magnum spring air pistols) that you’ll delight in this gun.

General description
The Indian comes in .177 caliber, only. There are two versions of the gun. The one I’m testing is all black and the other one has a generous amount of satin nickel plating. I like black or blue guns over silver guns for their non-reflective properties, so this is the one I would have selected. This is serial number 1237-12.

This is a large pistol — approximately equivalent to a 1911A1 in size. The grips are made for right-handed shooters on the test pistol because it has a raised thumbrest on the left grip panel. I don’t see a left-hand model listed, but the grip panels don’t look too complex. It’s possible to make a set of neutral or left-hand grips with average woodworking skills.

The grip angle makes the pistol a natural pointer, and that’s always good! I would say the grip is a large size, as my medium-sized hands still have a lot of room around them.

The rear sight adjusts for windage. Loosen a locking screw and slide the sight to either side in a dovetail. The front sight is a squared ramp that fits the square rear notch perfectly. You can see light around the front blade and should have no difficulty holding this pistol on target.


The rear sight slides sideways in each direction for windage. A locking screw on top holds it in position.

This pistol is constructed of steel, aluminum and engineering plastic. Unless you look at each part and sample it, you won’t know what it is made of. I get the impression that some real engineers designed the gun and they used exactly the right material for each job. Most of you know that I do not care for the concept of plastic guns, and I’m telling you that the Indian both looks and feels right to me.

The test pistol weighs 2 lbs., 10.5 oz., which is a handful. It’s decidedly muzzle-heavy, which makes it hang stable for me.

All the parts are finished a uniform matte black. And I notice the same is true of the silver pistol — all parts are matched, except for a few that remain black.

The trigger-pull is single-stage, very long and somewhat creepy. It feels like the kind of trigger that will break in to become smoother, but I’m not making any promises because I haven’t tested one of these pistols long enough to know. There are no provisions for adjustments. I’ll report the pull weight in Part 2. The trigger blade is a stamped steel, rolled metal blade that’s fairly straight against your trigger finger. It has a thin, positive feel, like a target blade.

What’s next?
The only way to know anything about this air pistol is to test it. So that’s what I’m going to do, straight away. With the power of the Indian, it’s one more attractive choice for those wanting powerful spring-piston air pistols. I don’t want to make any direct comparisons, but this gun is challenging the Beeman P1 and the Diana RWS LP8. My job is to document its performance so you can make an informed choice.

52 thoughts on “Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol: Part 1

  1. Hello B.B. and Fellow Airgunners. Cometa guns have been available here in Canuck land, and under the 500fps legal limit, for over a year now. I have read a few Canadian airgun blogs that give some glowing descriptions and a few that aren’t too favourable. Without a reliable way of knowing how they stack up, it is with delight that you finally are able to test them. I have become increasingly interested in pistols, and this Indian is one I have been eyeing for a while now. With just four pictures and brief description on the cocking procedure, you have given me more info then I have been able to glean in a year. Thanks for testing this pistol B.B. I eagerly await the accuracy test. And to see if the trigger stacks up to a HW45’s. It would be nice to be scope able too, but I am getting ahead of things. Just proceed with your usual thoroughness, and all will be revealed.
    Caio Titus


    • Titus,

      “… some glowing descriptions and a few that aren’t to favourable…” is about what I would expect from any new mark. I remember all the grand “press” the Hatsans were given before I sampled the only three that apparently didn’t live up to the standards.

      As with the Hatsans, I intend giving the Cometa guns the benefit of the doubt. They are all good until they prove otherwise.

      The only aspect I am qualified to comment on at this point is the low cocking effort of this Indian. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

      B.B.


      • I’ve a friend who purchased on this past spring.
        I’ve had a few chances to try it, and it seems pretty well built. It seemed pretty accurate…more so than my Umarex 1911, not so much as my Gamo Compact. Its accuracy over the Colt however may have been more to do with the fact that one shoots it like the Gamo…target style, whereas I tend to shoot the 1911 more ‘action style’. To me the trigger was…’sorta acceptable’…easier to control by far than the 1911 on double action…not so light as on single action and no-wheres near as nice as the Gamo.
        Definitely harder hitting than the Colt. It is spec’d at 495fps here in Canada as well and I’d say that is pretty close with RWS Hobby pellets. I don’t have a chrono, so I’m going by the fact that it had a harder ‘thunk’ when the pellet hit, plus the fact that it stayed accurate over a longer distance. I’ve found the Gamo and the Colt to be at their best at 25-40 feet. We were able to knock over pop cans with the Cometa pretty consistently at 50 feet or so.
        The only downside…man…it…is…ugly!!! (well to me anyways)


  2. Oh, boy! This looks like a serious gun! More than looks, your description, and it’s weight, seems to back it up. The power is not bad either, considering it’s so easy to cock at 7 lbs.


  3. I am somewhat disappointed with the fact that the sights are not adjustable vertically, especially with the price tag this has. I guess you could file the front side down if you needed some rise. If they do not offer such, they could offer different height rear sights as some pistols I have seen have different height front blades for elevation adjustment.


  4. For some reason the first thing that came to my mind upon seeing the pictures of this pistol is that it would make a great base for a prop-maker to build a semi-futuristic sidearm on (I could see Harrison Ford packing something based on this in either Blade Runner or Star Wars for example!). The cocking mechanism is really interesting. As you said I had no idea how it might work until I looked at pictures 2, 3 and 4. Looking only at the first I would have been thinking “Sidelever? no, Webley style forward pivoting barrel? no, some strange combination of both maybe?”. Speaking of Webley, the article on how to shoot the Hurricane and Tempest helped quite a bit. After a little practice I’m getting much better groups than before. They seem roughly comparable to what you were getting though still a bit looser – which is to be expected considering that you’ve probably shot more rounds through spring piston air pistols alone than I’ve had hot dinners!



      • The non-symmetrical cocking handle bugs me for some reason… But I suppose they’d have to use a two-part grip that screwed together in order to use a cocking lever that wrapped both sides of the frame.

        OTOH: if the single side can manage a 7lb force, think of the nasty upgrade possible if the cocking arm linked on both sides, and you reinforced a few internal components to handle a spring needing 14lb force. {Judging by that extension sticking out the front under the muzzle I’m hypothesizing that this gun uses a rack&pinion cocking mechanism — the lever rotates a pinion gear, which drives a rack that hooks into the piston to draw it back, rather than directly drawing the piston back itself}


        • Wulfraed,

          The photos don’t show it but the cocking lever is on both sides of the gun. The only part that is just on the right is the part that extends back past the grip for grasping.

          I’ll try to show that better in the next installment.

          B.B.


          • The photos on Pyramyd’s site don’t make it obvious either…

            Okay, it looks like there is a linkage on the left, coming back to just in front of the rear sight, where it arches over the top. The cocking handle itself still appears to be single sided for a few inches.


  5. Ooooohhh! I think I like this one already! I just hope it shoots! Bolt probe looks decent, chamber looks roomy enough for my fumble fingers…

    Small suggestion for your blogs. When introducing the gun, enter you out the link in its name, maybe you can give a general price range. Like with this one, you’d say something like “Cometa Indian, in the $200 price range”, or something to that effect. I don’t know about others, but I like to have that info already when reading the article without having to jump to another page and then come back to resume reading. I made the comment in the paragraph above without having a clue what the gun costs, because I forged ahead reading your article without looking it up. After looking it up, my expectations are going to be higher. For my $200, it’s going to have to shoot pretty well with no modification. Better than average. Whereas, if it wet half that, I’d put up with a little more work required on my part…

    BTW, can you put a 20 round mag on it and make it shoot at 1000 fps without changing the cocking force?

    /Dave


    • /Dave,.

      That’s why all the pictures are linked to the PA web page where this pistol is located. And they open a separate window , so you don’t have to navigate between the site and the blog.

      Are you using the links that way, or do you still want to price in the blog?

      B./B.


      • Thanks for considering it, BB.

        I view the blog mostly from my phone. Navigation for me from here consists of a lot of clicking forward and back. Sometimes I lose what I was writing while clicking back and forth. I thought it might be nice to have an idea about where the price is while reading the report. Most of the time you get what you part for, so I thought it would be nice to have an idea of what to expect without needing to look it up. Thought maybe others would like to see it too.

        Yeah, I know… How lazy can a guy get?!

        /Dave


  6. The Nickel version of this pistol, as shown on Pyramyd Airs site, is a real eye catcher.

    I looked for the link on PA’s site to the Owners Manual and couldn’t find it. Can someone tell me where the link can be found?

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      All Cometa manuals are still be written. Cometa provides manuals of a sort, but they don’t measure up to AirForce International’s standards. So, they’re writing new ones. As soon as they’re available, manual links will be posted on Pyramyd Air’s site.

      Edith


    • I also have noticed the links to the owner’s manuals seem to be missing since Pyramyd upgraded their web page. I miss those links, since I often have questions about the guns that aren’t answered in the information presented on the site.

      Jim


  7. Hello Air Gunners,

    Just a reminder of the AAFTA 2012 National Field Target Championships being held in Grants Pass, OR. and hosted by our club, the Ashland Air Rifle Range. The Pistol match will be on Friday Sept. 28th, starting at 9am. We’ll have classes for up to 8fpe iron sights/un-magnified red, 8fpe sporter with up to 12 power scopes. Also classes for up to 12fpe pistols with up to 12 power scopes.

    There will be six classes for rifle as well, (details on our website http://ashlandairriflerange.com) and the rifle matches start Saturday the 29th & Sunday Sept. 30th mornings at 10am. We have 72 registered shooters from around the country and one coming over from England. There is room for more, so if you are interested, go to our website and fill out a registration form. Registering can be done up to the evening of Sept. 27th.

    There will be great meals, lots of very accurate air rifles and pistols to drool over, and many fine raffle prizes, including a Air Arms TX200 provided by PA! Thanks!

    Ya, all come now,

    Wayne Burns,
    Match Director,
    AAFTA 2012 National
    Field Target Championships


    • Hey Wayne,

      good hearing from you even if it’s only an advertising blurb. Hope all is well at the Burns household and the gardens are still selling lot, gardens. Wish I could come and compete – someone has to take last place!

      Fred DPRoNJ


      • Hi Fred,

        Yes, it’s the slow season for raised garden beds, but we’re hanging in there.

        Well, don’t just think about it.. DO IT!!! Come on down!

        There will be lots of beginner type shooters, so don’t worry about where you might place, just come enjoy the food, fun, airgun BS. and learn the game like lots of other shooters.

        Wayne


    • Hi Wayne. In my list of shooting vacations, how could I forget the Ashland Airgun Range! Does the rain in Oregon interfere with your shooting? I was kind of surprised that the members of Team Savage who have won the world 1000 yard championships and a bunch of other competitions with their off-the-shelf Savage rifles are mostly from Oregon.

      Matt61


      • Matt,
        You really have no excuse, Grants Pass, OR is most likely within 500 miles of you in CA.

        Southern Or. gets about 20 – 30 inches of rain and most of it in the Spring and Winter. Summer and Fall are pretty dry, we haven’t had rain in more than a month now… and don’t expect any for another month and a half.

        Weather has been highs in the low 80s and lows in the low 50s. Very low humidity. It’s a great place to visit and play.

        The Grants Pass range where we are holding the event also has up to 1,000 yard CF bench rest shooting too. There will be a Western Regional air gun bench rest match on OCT. 2nd just after the field target contest is over. The Wild River club is hosting that event.

        Come play!

        Wayne


        • Lovely…

          A decade ago if your dates were right I might have been tempted (Back when ConiFUR NorthWest was still viable and I could afford to attend — adding a few vacation days to the convention weekend would have been possible).

          Of course, it is so easy to miss the Grants Pass exit when coming down I-5 from California in the evening… (I used to run Sunnyvale to Cottage Grove as one day on the trip up to SeaTac — and on the way back it’s all downhill from Redding so I’d run SeaTac to Sunnyvale in 15 hours — refuel/lunch in Cottage Grove, refuel/dinner in Redding. Was a fun run when I had the 90 Plymouth Laser RS Turbo… Cruise control in the mountains — never saw the speedometer or tachometer move, nor feel the throttle pedal move, but got to watch the boost gauge of the turbo run from -21 to +7 [descending/ascending] [Yes folks — cruise control with a turbo charger is handled by controlling the turbo waste gate and fuel injection timing, NOT buy the throttle itself])



      • Chuck,

        Put the coconut oil on your food. It’s great on toast or corn on the cob… any where you would use butter. It’s great to cook with too. It will clean out the nasty fats in your system and leave you a clean machine:-)

        I don’t use anything on my pellets anymore, the Wild River Bench Rest club where I go to play often convinced me that nothing is the best. I do sort out dented skirts and weigh for competitions. The new Crosman CPH are not shooting that well for me, and I’ve switched to the H&N 10.6 for my 20fpe rigs. and JSB or Cometa 7.9 for my pistols and 12fpe in some rigs.

        Boy, do I like the new Crosman 1720T!!!!! That is really an accurate and easy to use air pistol. Many pistol field target shooters and now using it. I’ve dialed mine down to 7.9fpe and it’s just putting pellet on pellet at 25 yards!

        Wayne


        • Thanks Wayne,
          I’ve been waiting to hear how that’s been working for you. We had a lot of discussion on this blog a couple years past past about lubing pellets and your coconut version sounded pretty promising. I still use very light coat of Pellgunoil on both my .177 and .22 Crosman CPH to reduce leading but that’s all I do it for. I’ll start eating the coconut oil now. I do like coconut and some day I’ll remember how to spell it.
          -Chuck


        • Hey Wayne,

          Good to see you here. Thought you only hung out with those FT guys on the FT forum LOL! Guess we all need to go slumming now and then.

          Has the ranchero taken a back seat to the 1720T in pistol FT?

          kevin


          • Hi Kevin,

            It’s good to hear from you too. I do have to hang out on the FT forum and answer questions about the up coming Nationals, and right match reports and pretend to run a business at the same time.

            But, all that is no excuse to not stop by here more often too, where the best folks are:-)

            Your chastising is due.

            The 1720T I’m shooting is really amazing me. I dialed her down to just under 8fpe, so I could shoot “Sporter” class and Open class. So, I had to add some new numbers for hold over at the different distances. I was shooting off bags on a concrete bench, so I was solid, but that 1720 was putting pellet on pellet at 25 yards. I was thinking I should use it for bench rest!

            The one that Crosman sent to Steve Ware as a prototype last spring was also accurate. The only thing I don’t like is the plastic grips held in place by a single screw on each side. They just are NOTsolidly in place like they should be. Most folks are adding some nice Steve Corcoran grips & forestock.

            The Ranchero is not going anywhere either. I also like my Falcon pistol very much. Those are great rigs to buy and hold as collectors you can shoot and win with.

            Anyway, nice to visit.. I’ll try and stop by more often.

            Wayne


  8. The “Indian” huh? Nice-looking gun that demands a good look. I can tell that they’re a foreign company; I don’t believe American companies name their guns like this anymore. But all that matters is how it shoots.

    Victor, I’ve got it. I’ll just go to Camp Perry with no expectations and win everything. 🙂 Just kidding. Yes, right you are about damping down the oscillations of performance. My rowing coach told me that in college. I do wonder about what I hear of my younger relatives playing sports and what I myself heard at their age of “getting fired up” and feeling “desire” and “wanting it.” That’s all to the good, but that’s a lower level of performance. Using your head, monitoring your performance, and developing internal control, I think are signs of a higher level that I see in many different areas including from the Russian commandos. And controlling yourself amidst success is as important as fighting adversity. There’s apparently a German saying: “It takes strong bones to bear good fortune.” Ain’t that the truth. It’s all too easy to let exhilaration carry you off into the stratosphere. And maybe that partly explains the prominent people you see in the news acting like complete lunatics at a disproportionate rate. Anyway, what better way of instilling the mature mindset in kids than through shooting since they can hardly succeed otherwise.

    Deserdweller, I see your point about looks of a rifle. There is an element of style in the IZH 61 compared to the Talon. I would still hold out for a tacticool functional look to the Talon series, speaking for myself. But I’ve seen unfortunate extremes of this idea in certain benchrest race guns which seem designed to look like pipes fitted together.

    J-F, our statistical discussion indicates that all 10 of your shots cannot be a fluke. That’s somewhere inside you. It’s the Jaws of the Subconscious. Had a similar experience myself. When I was first learning the artillery hold, I was using an airsoft sniper rifle and I was able to cover the target with 10 shot groups that were single holes. That certainly convinced me about the artillery hold although I’ve never been able to repeat that performance with that gun.

    dangledongle, there is a degree a subjectivity in the concept of accuracy, but I will offer something a little more concrete. There is objective accuracy in the equipment you are using. Your Feinwerkbau Olympic rifle is capable of sub-minute accuracy while your Crosman Quest breakbarrel is not. The theoretical limit of the equipment is one sense of accuracy. Performance cannot be greater than that. It can be lower and still serve as a standard based on your personal skill and your circumstances like shooting a moving a target offhand. So, your final definition will be a combination of these objective and subject elements as they fit your situation.

    What kind of gun are you using? It sounds like it might be a springer. If so, you will want to check into the artillery hold if you’re not aware of it and that should make a big improvement. If you’re target shooting, shotgun patterned groups are not the goal. You can do better.

    Matt61


    • Matt61,
      Professional boxing has provided excellent examples of the benefits of maintaining control. The great ones have the ability to stick to their game plan, no matter how things seem to be going. They play the game for the long haul, and eventually the plan works. Knowing the significance of the mental game, some boxers will even allow their opponent to get overconfident.

      I can honestly say that I never went into a tournament allowing myself to think about how I might do, including winning. I was trained well enough to know that the only shot that mattered was the one that I am taking.

      In any case, I’ve always loved that definition of “maturity”, namely, lack of vacillation.

      One last thing, which I may have mentioned before… We were taught to be good sportsman at all times. More importantly, we were taught what that means. Specifically, it means to be respectful and considerate of all of your fellow competitors. That meant that we also did NOT show emotion AFTER a tournament, win or lose. I learned to appreciate this after winning a match by beating one guy by a single point. He allowed himself to get very excited by thinking that he must have won, since he only dropped one point for the day. When he found that he lost, he sat in the back of his station wagon crying. I’m satisfied with the simple feeling of just feeling good. I don’t need to jump up and down or throw a tantrum. Too much of that makes you unstable, and eventually that behavior sort of defines you. Let me just say this, by being even keeled, you don’t make enemies and it becomes easier to make friends. I loved our league!

      Victor


    • Matt,

      There are several very nice looking, wood-stocked PCP guns out there. So, being a PCP is no reason a PCP gun has to look like something other than a gun.

      I’m not a fan of PCP’s. I prefer springers. Partly because I enjoy the challenge of being able to shoot a springer accurately, but also I like the self-contained quality of the spring guns. And also because I can’t afford the price of the PCP guns and the needed support equipment for them.

      I would think that, if a PCP gun is really just a pump pneumatic without the built-in pump equipment, it would be possible to build the low-priced PCP gun BB was hinting at. It may even be possible to convert an existing multi-pump pneumatic into a PCP with a new reservoir and valves. If the price of the PCP guns can be brought down, and a practical means of filling them at low cost discovered, then maybe they will become popular.

      Maybe the answer is to get away from the very high pressure air equipment and develop a line of guns
      that can shoot fewer shots at lower pressure.

      Les


  9. B.B
    Just wanted to say thank you for your blog. I appreciate the money and time you have saved me. I trust your opinion and feel you keep it real. You don’t sugar coat it. Keep up the good job.



  10. Nice choice BB. I have had one of these for some time and shoot it regularly. The ‘Indian’ name is traditional, Cometa produced one of their very first pistols with this designation. To me as a Brit it feels very familiar, the odd appearance and arrangement of cylinder and superimposed barrel with all the aesthetic defects left visible (very post modern) is so reminiscent of the dear departed Webley pistols that I had to buy one. The cocking system does seem odd at first, but it produces appreciable power for little effort.

    The big downside for me are the sights, oit the lack of adjustment, that’s easy enough to compensate for, but the size of the fore blade and width of rear notch. All too large, and I find it makes accurate shooting a problem, but also a challenge! It takes some time to master this one I think.

    Personally I like the heft of the thing. it feels comfortable and familiar. Look forward to seeing your shooting tests.


    • Oliver,

      Thanks for your comments on the Indian. Americans are so worried about being “politically correct”. I just wish things could be said easier, without all the pussyfooting we do.

      And I am glad to hear from an Indian owner who has some experience with the gun. You are the first to mention this, and it gives me great hope that the gun will prove out.

      Does the single-stage trigger pull become smoother with use?

      B.B.


      • The trigger has become easier, but then I was not that troubled by the relatively strong pull in any case (I never measure it). I have large hands and heavy trigger pulls don’t bother me as long as they are consistent. I find my pistol perfectly consistent. Its not really a target pistol, but an interesting shooting challenge.





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