by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
I promised to do this report soon, and today it begins. The Air Venturi Tech Force M12 4-12x combo: this will be a report on what it is. Is it a worthy air rifle for $269.99 (as of this publication)?
This rifle was made by Mendoza, but it’s no model you will ever find in their catalog. So, you either buy it here or you don’t buy it. There are too many differences from standard Mendoza rifles to call it by that name. I will point out all of those differences today.
The first question I have to address is the model name. Tech Force is the name of a line of Chinese guns, made mostly by the Industry Brand factory. What is a Mendoza-made airgun doing in the Tech Force line? It was a marketing decision, pure and simple. Management felt that the Tech Force name is already well-known, so why not use the marketing inertia that’s been established over two decades? They are, no doubt, right about that. The average buyer will not know the background story on these guns, and those that do will care more about the quality of the gun than they will the history or where it’s made. So, Tech Force M12 it is.
This is a medium-sized breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle that advertises a velocity of 1,000 f.p.s. in the .177 caliber I’m testing. We’ll get to that in Part 2. There’s also a .22 option; and if the gun lives up to its power claims, I would prefer it in that caliber, only because it should have a little more power.
Some things set the M12 apart from other airguns made by Mendoza. It has no oil hole in the spring tube, so it cannot be over-oiled unless you go crazy oiling the air transfer port. Air Venturi visited the Mendoza plant and specified this feature — which is the same as on the Bronco — to keep this gun from becoming a dieseling runaway. The Air Venturi technicians discussed the assembly of this rifle with the Mendoza production personnel and were assured that this rifle will not be over-oiled at assembly. I can confirm that the test rifle is not too oily and does not detonate, so we’re already ahead of the curve on that account.
Cocking is 33 lbs., though the Pyramyd Air website says 26 lbs. Newer airgunners might think that’s no big deal, but it places this rifle in the serious shooting and hunter class, because even a bodybuilder will not want to shoot 250 shots at one time when the rifle cocks this hard. This is something you must experience to appreciate, because it doesn’t relate to how strong you are. It’s a simple fact that when the cocking effort climbs above about 28 lbs., the gun stops being a casual plinker for almost everyone. I’ll save the other observations about how it shoots for the next report, because all I’ve done thus far is fire just a couple familiarization shots. I cannot find a serial number anywhere on the gun or the box.
As some have noticed, the muzzlebrake is longer than the one Mendoza uses on their guns, and that’s a plus. The M12 has no sights, so it must be scoped. Pyramyd Air sells it both ways — scoped and not — with several scope options. I chose the most powerful scope to test for you, though not the one with the illuminated reticle. It’s a Tech Force-branded 4-12×40, and the combo also comes with one-inch rings to mount the scope. The rifle has an 11mm set of grooves cut directly into the spring tube, but no scope stop. With the Bronco I found that the plastic end cap served well as a scope stop, but the M12 recoils a lot more. It remains to be seen if this will work. I’ll report on it.
The trigger is another feature that’s different on the M12. It’s not the two-blade Mendoza trigger that’s found on the Bronco. Instead, this is a single-bladed, single-stage trigger that seems to release fairly light and very crisp. It will take some getting used to, but I think it’s at least as nice as a T06 trigger. There appears to be no provision for adjustment; but as nice as it is, I don’t think the average shooter will mind.
The safety is automatic and also ambidextrous. In fact, the entire rifle is 100 percent ambidextrous. Nothing favors one side over the other — there’s even no cheek rest on either side of the Monte Carlo butt.
Weighing almost 7 lbs., the M12 is a medium-sized air rifle. It feels larger because the forearm has a wide cross-section, but it’ll be very comfortable for most adults. The overall length is 44.25 inche,s and the pull is 13.5 inches. The stock is a dark-stained hardwood with machine-cut checkering panels on both sides of the pistol grip and forearm. The diamonds are flat and don’t provide any purchase. The butt has a red pad of soft solid rubber that holds your shoulder well. The pistol grip has a slight swell on either side for the palm of your hand. The woodwork is well-fitted and finished with an even satin finish. I don’t think there will be many complaints.
The barrel is back-bored, so the rifled section is only 9.25 inches in length. The finish on the metal parts is variable. The spring tube and the muzzlebrake are both highly polished, while the barrel is finished with more of a satin sheen.
At $189.99, the base M12 is positioned up close to the RWS Diana 34, but with some room to spare. It, therefore, needs to have something close to the published velocity and decent accuracy. We already know the trigger is a keeper, and I’ll cover the other attributes as I test the gun.
Is the M12 the gun I wanted the Mustang to be? No, it’s not. This rifle is more powerful than the Mustang was supposed to be, and the Mustang had open sights. So, the M12 stands by itself. I know there are a number of interested parties, so I won’t keep you waiting too long on this one.