by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Beeman’s HW 70A breakbarrel spring pistol.
Today you get a twofer. Or at least it will be more than just one test, as I’m starting to test a second product with today’s accuracy test of the Beeman HW 70A pellet pistol. The other product I’m testing is the EyePal Master Kit for Rifles and Pistols. Because it did play a pivotal part in today’s test, let’s begin with it.
EyePal Master Kit for Rifles and Pistols
The EyePal is a soft patch that’s applied to prescription or safety glasses to provide an aperture for the sighting eye. This concept is close to a century old, and many of the veteran readers will remember the Merit adjustable iris that had a suction cup to attach to glasses. The Merit was adjustable, so the aperture you looked through was controlled by the user. The EyePal is not adjustable. In the Master Kit I’m evaluating, there’s one soft patch for handguns and another for rifles. They have different sized holes, and the handgun patch that I used in today’s test has the slightly larger hole. The lids on the boxes and the patches themselves are color-coded so you know what each one is.
The EyePal Master Kit contains an eyepatch for pistols and another for rifles.
The pistol eyepatch has gold lettering.
The rifle eyepatch has white lettering, and the hole is slightly smaller than the pistol eyepatch hole.
The EyePal patch attaches by just laying it on the surface of the glasses (safety or prescription) and rolling it flat.
I won’t report on the EyePal as a separate item because I need to use it more than a few times to get comfortable with how it works. So, very much as I reported on the Winchester Airgun Target Cube over several tests that spanned many months, I will do the same with the EyePal.
I’ve tried the Merit accessory in the past and found it to be quite difficult to position. Also, as it aged, the rubber suction cup that held it to the glasses hardened and became less pliable — to the point that it eventually stopped working.
The EyePal patch, in sharp contrast, attaches easily and can be removed just as easily, though it does have to be pried up at one corner before it comes off. I find that it’s very intuitive to use the first time and that repositioning it is simple and needs no explanation.
Shooting the HW70A
Now, it’s time for the test. I found myself faced with a number of test variables, so I decided to test all of them with the first pellet, and then use the best result from those tests for the other pellets. The first pellet was the RWS Hobby. The test was a rested pistol held in two hand at 10 meters. I used standard 10-meter air pistol targets.
When I say I shot the pistol rested, I mean that both my arms rested on a sandbag. The pistol was held forward of the bag, so it never touched them to set up a variable recoil reaction. I kept both hands in the same place on the pistol for each shot.
I had to test this pistol under the following circumstances:
* Pellet seated deep and EyePal worn
* Pellet seated flush and EyePal worn
* Pellet seated flush and prescription glasses worn with no EyePal
* Pellet seated flush and no prescription glasses worn with no EyePal
The 4 targets for the first part of the test are shown below. I used RWS Hobby pellets every time for these 4 targets. After you look at the results, I’ll critique them and tell you what I found.
Hobbys were deep-seated and EyePal was worn on prescription glasses. Group measures 1.522 inches between centers.
Hobbys were seated flush and EyePal was worn on prescription glasses. Group measures 1.863 inches between centers. The large central group within this group made me think this was the best group of Hobbys.
Hobbys were seated flush and EyePal was not worn on prescription glasses. Group measures 1.953 inches between centers.
Hobbys were seated flush and prescription glasses were not worn. Group measures 1.953 inches between centers. I know that sounds too coincidental, but that’s what it measures.
First, I have to tell you the EyePal did make the front sight appear sharp when glasses alone did not. However, without glasses, the front sight appeared just as sharp as with the EyePal. What I did not know until I measured all the groups for this report was that deep-seated pellets measurably outshot all flush-seated pellets. That was a surprise; and if the Hobby pellet was the only one I used, I would re-run this test. But as you’ll soon see, I don’t have to.
The next thing I discovered is that the Hobby pellet wasn’t a good fit for this gun. These groups do not show what the HW 70A can do. However, this does illustrate an important point. By staying with the same pellet and varying other things, it didn’t really matter that the pellet wasn’t the best. I was still able to compare the effects of the other variables by staying with the same pellet.
Next, I must say that the trigger that I liked in Part 2 isn’t as crisp as I would like it to be. It has a very mushy, indistinct pull and release comes as a surprise every time. While that sounds good, it actually isn’t because the trigger can go off before you’re ready.
The bottom line for the first test is that deep-seated pellets and the EyePal on prescription glasses produced the best results. However, I did not pick up on that during the test, and shot all the other groups with the EyePal and flush-seated pellets.
Test 2: 3 other pellets
Next, I shot the pistol with Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets. The group measured 2.163 inches between centers and was clearly not in the running for this pistol.
Premier lites were seated flush and EyePal was worn on prescription glasses. Group measures 2.163 inches between centers. It looks like only 9 pellets were fired, but they were counted carefully and there were 10. Not a pellet for this air pistol.
Then, I tried 10 Beeman H&N Match pellets. Bingo! This was the pellet I was looking for. Ten made a 1.085-inch group that’s very round and unifirm.
Group measures 1.085 inches between centers. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! This is the accuracy I expected from this pistol.
Because the H&N Match pellets did so well, I also tried RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. For them, I adjusted the sights back to the center of the bull. They didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, grouping in 1.18 inches. While that’s the second-best group of the test, the H&Ns are clearly better this time.
Group measures 1.18 inches between centers. It’s a possible second good pellet, but more testing is needed.
For those who keep score, I shot this pistol 70 times in this test. I was concerned about getting tired, but the best two groups were the last two. So, I think I gave it a fair evaluation. However, I do admit that the best method of loading is deep-seating pellets, and I didn’t use that on the most accurate pellets. I’m going to come back and do a part 4. It’ll be at 10 meters, again, and only Beeman H&N Match pellets from this test will be used along with several new target pellets.
25 thoughts on “Beeman HW 70A air pistol: Part 3”
I’d say that if you can consistently get groups near one inch at 10 meters, as you did, then you have a gun that’s good for target practice. What I would do is simply consider anything within an inch to be a bulls-eye. The point is that, with a gun that can perform consistently you have a way of measuring your performance.
No, I’m not saying it’s a precision class 10-meter air-pistol.
I agree. That’s why I’m going to do a Part 4.
That is the way I look at things also. Sometimes I like to think about it as focusing on the shooter rather than the gun, as the shooter is where most of the improvements can be made, esp. in my case :).
Yes, in addition to this, an air-pistol like this can be shot at a closer distance than 10 meters, which obviously results in smaller groups, and yet you still won’t be piling shots on top of each other, because the gun just isn’t that accurate. If I had a gun that could put shots on top of each other, and if I were good enough to shoot tight groups at 10 meters, then I likely wouldn’t learn as much when shooting at a closer range, because my groups would be that much smaller.
I shoot my Gamo Compact at 23 feet, where I make my own 10 meter targets reduced to 23 feet. In truth, what I should do is measure the guns potential group size and make the bulls-eye (the 10 ring) THAT size. The Compact simply doesn’t have real precision class 10 meter accuracy, but it does group well enough to learn from.
Why all this talk about shooting a closer distance? Well, first of all, these guns don’t have a lot of velocity, so they don’t always cut the cleanest holes through regular paper at 10 meters with a wad-cutter. In addition to this, if you shoot outdoors, then the wind is relatively significant, even at 10 meters. I sometimes like to shoot in the side of my home, but that area can act like a wind tunnel. It’s OK for my more powerful springer’s, but not for my relatively weak pneumatic air-pistol.
Hello B.B. and fellow airgun addicts. O.K., this was the part of the test I have been waiting for. After your claim of the nice two stage trigger in part 2, I thought my HW70 Black Arrow’s trigger was a one off factory dud. Weihrauch just wasn’t capable of making such a horrible trigger. Your description of the Beeman HW70A’s trigger in today’s blog, confirms it is the same as mine, to a T. Mushy, and unpredictable would be the words I would use to describe my trigger too. One thing I am curious to know however, did the trigger on the test gun have a nice two stage pull and release up to part two, and gradually turn to mush as you racked up the pellet count? My second question: Is there any way of adjusting the single screw, to make it a more predictable 2 stage trigger? On the plus side, I have found if I just keep squeezing the trigger, not getting anxious and predicting the release, my gun will produce sub 1/2 in. groups of 10 pellets at 7.5 meters. I have also been experimenting shooting seated and non seated pellets for a year or so. There seems to be a few variables that come to play here. How tight the pellet fits the bore, combined with the ft.lbs. the gun is producing, seem to be the biggest variable. I have yet to reached a conclusion one way or the other. My suggestion is for someone to try the two methods with their own equipment, and come to a conclusion. This is what I love about the shooting sports. The never ending quest to tighten ones groups. And testing, testing.
May I also humbly suggest testing the JSB RS 7.33gr. or equivalent brand pellet? These pellets combine my gun’s highest speed, at 439-446 fps, with the sub 1/2 in. groups at 7.5 meters. Equally accurate are the 7.87gr. Cometa Exact Express, made by JSB, at 420-429 fps, and sub 1/2 in. groups the same distance, 7.5 meters. I believe the softer lead of JSB pellets, seem superior to H+N, or Crosman, concerning performance with low speed airguns. I am speaking sub 500fps. It would also be interesting to see the difference in seating and non seating.
So many questions about this wonderful gun. However, I will leave you to do what you do better then anyone. Giving this pistol a thorough and fair test.
When you talk about shooting seated vs. unseated are you talking about velocity, accuracy, or power ??? Or some kind of combination of the above ???
Hello Twotalon. When I talk of seated vs. unseated pellets, suppose it would include all three of the subjects you mentioned. I think velocity, accuracy, and power, are all related to some degree. Currently, I am still waiting for my chronograph to be repaired. I’m not sure what the problem is. It just started giving unrealistic variations in velocity. I was told the clock speed was out of whack, and one of the sensors might need replacing. To make a long story short, I cannot do any testing until I have it working correctly.
A question for a fellow .22 cal. HW97 owner? I took mine apart to clean and replace the piston seal with a vortec model. When I put everything back together, The gun will not cock so it locks the piston to the trigger. I first thought it might be the cocking lever hitting the stock, but when I took the stock off, same thing. It seems to stop about an inch short of the piston contacting the trigger. I have had it apart and together twice with the same result. I have done the same work to 2 HW77’s and an HW97 in .177 cal. with excellent results. Oh yes, there are no parts left over after re-assembly. I am stumped. I realise how hard it is to diagnose a problem without seeing it. I just wondered if you, or anyone else might have had the same problem, and can offer a clue as to what is going on. I don’t mind if you suggest it is just a foolish newbie thing I am, or am not doing. I just want to get my favourite gun shooting again. Thanks in advance.
Wow. Did I really sign off twice?
Before you install the trigger mechanism, you have to cock it. Then while installing the mechanism, install and push in the safety. Be careful not to lose the little spring.
Once you have the pins in and everything in place, you simply pull the trigger to “fire” the trigger assembly.
Works best to install the front assembly pin first before inserting the safety and spring. Once you have the safety in and pushed down, you swing the back of the assembly up and stuff in the rear pin. Then snap that bugger.
T.T. Thanks for the prompt reply. I understand what you suggest, and will give it a try tonight. The wife goes to bed before 10:00 pm, so that gives me some time to work on my guns in piece. Actually, she is very understanding of my “eclectic” hobbies. I’m sure another woman would have gone in search of greener pastures long ago. I’ve always considered myself a lucky man to have such a great wife. She loves to travel, and has found a soul mate in my sister. Probably spends more then I do too. 😉
About my post just below…
I wonder how many are thinking that I don’t know what I am talking about in reference to a velocity increase with a leaky breech seal ??? After all, “everybody knows” that the seal is the first place to look when the rifle shoots SLOWER.
A couple other things about the 97k…
I had problems with it repeatedly slowing down and needing chamber oil to keep the velocity up. I think that as the factory lube wears off, the piston seal starts to drag. The shape and texture of the factory seal look like the culprits. I don’t see the same problem with the Vortek seal.
The breech seal did not last very long. Indications were…
A few f.p.s. velocity increase.
Started burning lube (bit of smoke).
Firing behavior got a bit rough.
Velocity spread opened up.
Groups opened up.
I think the primary cause was the constant pressure on the breech seal mashing the seal. Solution so far was to drop a thin nylon washer in the breech when not in use. The cocking lever will hang down about an inch. Do not try to force it closed. Time will tell how long this fix will last.
Took about 20 shots to stabilize and stop burning lube after the seal change.
Yes. The trigger was nice to begin with and evolved into mush.
RS pellets, eh? I will try some.
I have tested a lot of air guns for accuracy – and many think this is quick and easy work. It is not! Testing a gun might take many, many hours – and you have to be 100 % concentrated all the time if the results should have any value.
I regularly do official 10 meter air pistol shooting competitions. It is very hard to concentrate 100 % when firing the 60 competing shots. So well done with your 70 shots, B.B! I know you spent some hours with shooting, picture taking and then finally the computer work.
I’ve got the Beeman P5 version of that pistol, and I also have the EyePal. The pistol is a tack driver with a superb trigger, but the EyePal doesn’t really work for me.
I acquired the EyePal last year at the CT airgun show. I found the patch not only kept the rear and front sights in sharp focus but my target was also in sharp focus. In the end, I stopped using the patch as I found with my very strong prescription glasses, I could just re-position them on the bridge of my nose and keep the front sight in focus while everything else went soft but my results didn’t seem to change either way. Plus, since I only have decent vision with my right eye, the EyePal interferred with my vision enough that it had to be removed everytime I needed to walk around and down to my target(s).
I do not get the EyePal idea. It seems redundant for an aperture sight, and for a rear notch it doesn’t seem to accomplish anything.
BG_Farmer, I see another advantage to those full length military stocks, especially for the Enfield No. 4 where the barrel is still free-floated, and the rifle is not particularly heavy. Presumably, the right location on the barrel for a rest is based on finding the nodes for the barrels oscillations. But given the complexity of the movement, this can be an uncertain thing. Even the BOSS system (for Winchester I think) and a barrel tuning device on the Ruger Mini-14 Target rifle that use this principle seem to have dubious results.
john, you can always count on Mom can’t you. And who could refuse a Mom 4 boxes of 7.62X39mm.
Desertdweller, thanks for the explanation. I hadn’t known that about CO2 displacing air. That would depend density wouldn’t it? For my used powerlets, I notice a sort of rarified burning odor but not very strong. Yes, the carbon monoxide interferes permanently with certain reaction sites for oxygen on red blood cells and is a much faster method of asphyxiation than anything that CO2 could do.
The whole idea of these “on eye” apertures is that they limit the angle of light rays entering the eye.
With all light rays coming in nearly parallel, the depth of field increases, and objects at different distances still appear to be in focus.
I’d love to put an illustration in, but this is a text-only forum…
I don’t think I’d waste money on a “harmonic adjuster”, either, my patience would be sorely tested :). Probably if accuracy is the main focus of a rifle (I know it is always important, but I’m talking about tiny group stuff), better to put the money toward the upgrade to a heavy barrel or even a custom barrel (on a firearm or PCP). Yes, finding nodes seems to be the ticket. Someone commented (elsewhere) that 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 of barrel length seemed to be pretty good bets for likely optimal locations, but I think you have to factor in that barrel is often joined to stock and/or receiver even if most is free-floated and that has to affect the oscillation — I’ve got in mind that it is probably something like 2 or more frequencies interplaying. One thing is certain and that is that the amplitude is attenuated by the diameter and weight of the barrel. Now, I wonder if a bull barrel would do a springer any good… I think it might.
The BOSS system is a Browning design not Winchester.
Don’t underestimate the value of “tuning” your barrel to shot a certain round no matter what method you use.
It appears on some Winchester branded models — incestuous industry… The Winchester and Browning names are (were?) both owned by the same parent company (Fabrique Nationale? Wikipedia claims Herstal owns FN and Browning Arms — and both FN and Browning license the Winchester name from Olin…)
If you don’t mind, I would like to pick up on BB’s use of the Winchester foam block. I didn’t read the description well enough, so when the one I bought arrived, I was surprised at how small it is. So, can anyone fill me in on what the foam itself is that is in that block, and maybe some suggestions as to where to get some? I would like to make a backup sheet for a clean miss altogether as I am currently living in a rental apartment property. Any ideas?
The foam is not special.There is a steel plate in the middle of the cube. It stops the fast pellets.
To preserve the foam, tape cardboard to the face you shoot at.
I have been shooting my HW70a for years now. Over time it has lost velocity now down to about 320 to 350fps. Here is what is interesting. I have never been a fan of the high velocity lead free pellets. However I recently purchased some crosman SSP’s. Surprisingly this have been shooting at over 630fps and accurate. At first I thought it was the chrony, and tested out a number of pistols and rifles to make sure. The pointed SSP’s do about 561fps. The pellets fit tight into this gun and the pistol seems to really like them. I’m happy.
Thanks for that feedback.