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

Part 1
Part 2

Cometa Indian spring-pistin air pistol right
The Cometa Indian spring-powered air pistol is a powerful, big airgun.

Today, I’m testing the accuracy of the Cometa Indian air pistol. There’s been a lot of interest in this pistol, partly because it isn’t familiar to many of you — but mostly because of the power, the easy cocking and the value it represents.

I tested the pistol at 10 meters, using 10-meter pistol targets and a rested hold. For most of the shooting, my hands were forward of the bag, but I did do one experiment where I rested the pistol directly on the bag — and that I’ll address later.

This is a different air pistol
Before I start telling you about the results, I’d like to describe some things about this pistol that are different. For starters, the loading process is a bit fiddly, and I never quite got used to it. You have to put a pellet in the trough behind the breech, and I dropped more than a few of them during the 90-shot session. The rest of the cocking and loading process is learned very quickly.

The sights are different. The front sight is too tall for a 10-meter zero on a bullseye target — assuming a 6 o’clock hold that’s pretty standard. You’ll notice that all my shots are below the bull and there’s no elevation adjustment. I do like the image of the sharp front post against the rear notch, except for the top of the rear sight, which is angled up toward the center of the notch. That shape made it difficult to estimate where the top of the rear sight was when I shot, and I’m sure some of the openness of the groups was due to that. You’ll notice that they tend to be taller than they’re wide. If I owned this pistol, I would file the rear sight flat across the top and take the front post down a bit to bring the groups up.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol rear sight
The tapered shape of the rear sight makes it very difficult to determine where the top is located when sighting. If this were my gun, I’d file it flat.

The trigger-pull does you no favors when shooting targets. The single-stage pull is too long and hard for the best results. I would so much prefer a crisp two-stage pull with a glass-rod release. That means the sear releases suddenly, like the breaking of a glass rod under pressure.

The pistol twists to the right when it fires. At first I thought it was just me, but then I watched it and the pistol is torquing at the moment of firing. I chalk that up to the centerline of the piston being so far above the web of your hand holding the grip. The Mars pistol (a semiautomatic firearm from the early 20th century) had the same problem, as did the broomhandle Mauser pistol.

I’m not saying that any of these aspects of the gun’s performance is a deal-breaker, but a buyer should know they are there. All air pistols have their little quirks. This was just the first time I’d noticed these.

I shot over 90 rounds with six different pellets in this test. I did so because the Indian was a new design to me, and I wanted to get to know it better. I’d tested the gun for The Airgun Letter years ago, but I don’t remember a thing from that test.

In the entire test, there was only one pellet that I would call bad in this pistol. Our friend the H&N Baracuda Green refused to shoot well for me, giving a 10-shot group that measures 2.46 inches between centers.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol HN Baracuda Green target
H&N Baracuda Greens were the worst pellet in the test. Ten shots in 2.46 inches between centers. Notice the group is more vertical than horizontal — supporting the rear-sight comment.

RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets and RWS Hobby pellets turned out a couple of so-so groups that were right around two inches. I can’t swear that I wouldn’t do better if I shot either of these two pellets again; but I was so interested in finding a good pellet, that I didn’t spend the time to find out. Please bear in mind that it only takes a couple sentences to describe a 10-shot group, but it can take over 10 minutes to actually shoot one!

Getting better
The H&N Baracuda Match was next. While there was a lone shot that opened the group to 2.021 inches, 9 of the shots landed in 1.343binches. I think the smaller group is more typical of the accuracy we can expect from this pellet in the Indian.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol Baracuda Match target
Baracuda Match pellets tightened the group considerably. Except for the lone shot at the top that opened the group to over 2 inches, nine pellets landed in 1.343 inches.

The JSB Exact RS pellet was another goodie. Ten of them went into 1.655 inches. It was very encouraging to see at this point in the testing.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol JSB RS target
JSB Exact RS pellets made this 1.655-inch group that looks smaller than it measures. After the earlier attempts, this seemed like a breath of fresh air!

Seeing that group inspired me to try something different. I wondered if the pistol could be rested directly on the sandbag and still group. So, I tried two groups that way. The best of them measured 2.267 inches between centers, but within that group were eight shots measuring just 1.052 inches. I tried to better that with a second group, but that was as good as it got.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol JSB RS bag rest target
I shot two groups with the pistol rested directly on the sandbag. This was the best one. It looks good, but the two shots that went high are typical of this hold.

And the best
Then I tried RWS Superdomes. Many of you love this domed pellet, and I’ve been working it into more of my testing these days. The Indian seems to like Superdomes a lot. Ten landed in a group that measured 1.383 inches between centers.

Cometa Indian spring-piston air pistol RWS Superdome target
RWS Superdomes turned in the best 10-shot group of this test. The group measures 1.383 inches between centers.

I shot the pistol a lot in this test, mostly because I was getting used to how it handles. As you can see from the groups I’ve shown, it has potential but I can’t say that it’s an accurate pistol. I think this is a gun you need to get used to, and it’s possible I haven’t found the shooting technique for it.

Overall observations
The Cometa Indian is certainly an interesting spring-piston air pistol. It’s well-made, heavy and exceeds its rated power. Yet, it’s also the all-time easy-cocking spring gun champ! Shooting, however, reveals some differences that the buyer needs to know. The pistol is somewhat hard to load, torques in the hand when fired and has a heavier trigger than you might like. However, those are small considerations in light of all the power and the build quality. If you like spring pistols, this is one to consider.