by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Now that we know how powerful the new .177-caliber Walther LGV Master Ultra is, people are lining up to see it shoot. We get to that today. I’ll start at 10 meters because I’m using the good open sights that come on the rifle; but as I mentioned in the last report, there will be other accuracy tests yet to come. While I’m not keeping this rifle like I did the .22, I don’t mind having it around awhile. Also, I’m writing a feature article about these new rifles for Shotgun News, so I have to do the testing anyway. I love my job!
For today’s report, I shot the rifle rested at 10 meters. Although that is an easy test for what we assume will be an accurate rifle, it is sensible because the open sights are being used. If the rifle really is accurate, I may also shoot the rifle with open sights at 25 yards because I’ll have confidence that it can do it. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I shot the other couch in our living room about a month ago (I shot the first couch a few years ago), and we have since bought two new couches that I’m absolutely not allowed to shoot. So, any rifle I test has to be accurate…guaranteed.
I’m going to write a report this week for Jim H. on how to pick a good pellet, but let’s get that started today with how I selected the pellets for this rifle. I picked three for this rifle based on the power I thought it might have, which the velocity testing had demonstrated varied widely from 13 to 16.25 foot-pounds. I chose the JSB Exact RS dome because it’s been a wonderful pellet in lower-powered airguns, though in this one it’s up pretty high. I chose the H&N Baracuda Match because it often proved accurate in .177 rifles of wide-ranging power. Some say this spring rifle is too underpowered for a pellet this heavy and that the mainspring will suffer from shooting it, but I strongly disagree. I’ve used them in many rifles of this same power, and they usually worked well. The last pellet I tried is the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite, which has always been an accurate pellet. Sometimes, it’s even the absolute best in rifles of this power.
That was my pellet selection criteria for this rifle. It’s not scientific — it’s based on experience and some other factors I’ll talk about. I could just as easily have chosen 3 or 4 other good pellets for this test, but that would have been about all for this rifle, in my experience. Be sure to read that pellet-selection report later this week.
The rifle was shot off a rest at 10 meters. The rest was a sandbag on which I rested my off hand, then I rested the rifle on the flat of my palm, with the heel of my hand touching the triggerguard.
H&N Baracuda Match
The first pellet up was the heavy H&N Baracuda Match. The first shot was made without adjusting the sights. The pellets landed low but centered, so I dialed the rear sight up about 5 clicks. The next shot landed in the black, so I settled in and fired 9 more pellets without looking through the spotting scope. After the 10 shots, I knew we had another winner and how this report was going to end. This rifle is great, just like the .22, only more powerful.
Now, we’re on a roll. I expected great things from it, and the Premiers were up next.
After making certain that the first pellet was on target, I shot the other 9 without looking. When I went down to change the target I came upon a near-screamer of a 10-shot group. Ten Premier lites went into 0.325 inches. Yes, I’ve shot smaller groups at 10 meters, but maybe not with open sporting sights — I don’t really remember. This is justification for including this pellet in the test.
JSB Exact RS
The last pellet I tested was the light JSB RS dome. Again, the first pellet landed in the bull, so I stopped checking. Nine more went downrange, then I walked down to pull the target. This time the group wasn’t very good, which was something of a surprise. The group measures 0.666 inches between centers. I’ll shoot this pellet again at 25 yards, but I’ll be careful when I do.
JSB Exact RS pellets didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. This group is twice the size of the Premier group; and because this is 10 shots and not 5, it’s not just an estimate of accuracy: It’s the final word.
The trigger on this rifle continues to excel. And the sights are exceptional. The firing cycle is smooth and relatively free of buzz. But I imagine that will vary, rifle by rifle. And as it breaks in, I think it’ll become increasingly smoother.
I like the shape of the stock. I said that about the synthetic-stocked Walther LGV Challenger in .22 caliber I tested before, but this stock has a more conventional shape. The balance is slightly muzzle-heavy, which I find ideal.
Next, I’ll back up to 25 yards and test it there with open sights. But you already know how this is going to turn out. The new Walther LGV family of sporting spring rifles is a very refreshing change to the usually similar new airgun models.