by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today is accuracy day for the .22-caliber Cometa Fusion Premier Star air rifle; and after the performance we saw with the .177, I’ll bet you were expecting another stunner. Well, it didn’t happen. I was unable to get this rifle to put 10 shots together, regardless of what I did.
I won’t tell you all the pellets I tested in this rifle, but it was a bunch. I’m not saying what they were because I don’t think I have seen what the Fusion Premier Star can do yet. I don’t think those pellets were given a fair trial. Something is missing or out of adjustment, and I have to try to find it for you.
I tied several different hand positions with the artillery hold, and I tried resting the rifle directly on the bag with two different holds. I tried relaxing, and I tried not relaxing. One thing that gave me some good results was pulling the trigger as soon as possible after getting on target. I got the first group that follows that way.
Just so you know that I sometimes have problems getting air rifles to shoot, let me share some promising, yet heartbreaking groups with you. This will show you what I was dealing with when shooting this rifle. I got the best results when shooting RWS Superdome pellets, though I would hardly call them good.
Four RWS Superdomes went into the larger hole on top, and a fifth one went below. This rifle wants to group — I just haven’t figured it out, yet. This group came by pulling the trigger as soon as the sight was on the target..
In case you are about to suggest that I just keep shooting and see how the group turns out — I also did that. Here’s what happened.
As you can see, only 7 of 10 shots made it on paper, with 4 of them in a tantalizing little group. All 4 were fired in succession, then all the fliers started.
I shot well over 80 shots in this test, and most of them were taken with a level of care that I hardly expect most shooters to understand — much less be willing to do. I shot so much and with such concentration that I got a headache! That’s when I know it isn’t me that’s messing up.
I tried light pellets, heavy pellets, even pellets that I seldom ever try because I have no luck with them in any airguns. Good or bad didn’t seem to make any difference in this Fusion Premier Star. Nothing seemed to work. So, that’s when I went into the diagnostic mode.
Was the scope loose? Nope! Were the stock screws loose? Yes, they were a little loose, but nothing that would explain what I was getting. Was the barrel loose? YES, IT WAS!
The barrel wobbled from side to side when shaken. So, I looked at the left side of the action fork to see if there was a pivot bolt, and all I saw was a plain pin! I got so angry that I looked like the Tasmanian Devil spinning up! How could the rest of this rifle be so well designed and the barrel only have a pivot pin instead of a bolt that can be tightened when the barrel gets loose? I was thinking up snotty things to say about it when I thought to look at the opposite side of the fork. There, a traditional barrel pivot bolt was held fast by a smaller locking screw — just the way it would be done on a classic vintage air rifle.
This is what you want to see on a breakbarrel air rifle — a pivot bolt that can be tightened with a locking screw that has many positions around the periphery. This gives great control over the barrel tension in the action fork.
I tightened the pivot bolt by one locking screw setting, which as is one-tenth of a revolution. It seemed to tighten the joint, so I installed the locking screw and put the rifle back in the stock.
Alas, the accuracy was no better than before. Something is still not right, and I’m darned if I know what it is. The rifle has a wonderful, predictable trigger and relatively smooth firing cycle, and I’ve adjusted the cheekpiece to fit me perfectly. I should be able to drill periods at the end of sentences with this rifle.
I did shake the barrel once more, following about 12 more shots. It’s just a little loose again, so apparently I didn’t tighten it as much as I should have.
For now, I’m going to listen to the comments and reflect on this test. There will be another test, because this rifle seems to want to shoot, even though I don’t yet know what to do.