by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Let’s look at the velocity of the BSA Supersport SE. The factory advertises 750 f.p.s. for the .22-caliber rifle I’m testing. I just hope that’s with lead pellets.
I mentioned in Part 1 that the rifle cocks a little on the heavy side. I estimated 40 lbs. of effort. On my bathroom scale, this one actually requires 39 lbs. to fully cock the rifle. My gut tells me that some of the effort is the tightness of the new gun and will probably decrease by a few pounds over time.
I cannot resist making a comparison with the Beeman R9, which is also sold as the HW 95. The size and power of this rifle seem to align with that classic, but shooting will tell us the whole story.
The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby — a lightweight lead wadcutter that’s used to test the legitimate velocities of all airguns. By legitimate, I mean that there are many lead-free pellets that may go faster; but since very few of them are accurate, they probably won’t be used by many shooters.
Hobbys averaged 717 f.p.s. from the test rifle. But the velocity spread was large — from a low of 695 f.p.s. on the final shot to a high of 731 on shot three. That’s 36 f.p.s., which is a bit high for a springer — especially these days when many new spring guns come out so well adjusted.
At the average velocity, Hobbys generated 13.59 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Hold your comments, however, because I noted in Part 1 that I thought this rifle might have a heavy piston (or top hat) that I said could make it shoot better with heavier pellets. So, let’s try one.
The next pellet was the 21.14-grain Beeman Kodiak — a heavyweight if ever there was one. Kodiaks averaged 535 f.p.s. in the test rifle, and the spread was just 12 f.p.s. It ranged from 527 f.p.s. to 539 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet produced 13.44 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Not as much as the Hobby, but very close. And the tight velocity spread leads me to suspect I was right about the piston. I think the Kodiak has earned a spot in the accuracy test.
We need to see what a medium-weight pellet can do in the Supersport SE, and the RWS Superdome is a fine one to try. At 14.5 grains, it sits right in the middle of the weight spread — especially in the range of pellets that should be considered for this rifle.
Superdomes averaged 661 f.p.s. in the Supersport. Since we know the “magic” number is 671 f.p.s. — where the weight of the pellet in grains equals the muzzle energy in foot-pounds — we are very close to that level. This rifle must therefore produce a shade less than 14.50 foot-pounds with this pellet. And it does! It produces 14.07 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle — the highest energy of the three pellets tested.
The total velocity spread for the Superdome was 16 f.p.s. Therefore, the 2 heavier pellets did better (shot more stably) than the lightweight Hobby. I’ll keep that in mind as I test the rifle for accuracy. Yes, I will test it with a scope; but since it comes with a nice set of open sights, I plan to first test it with them.
The rifle cocks smoothly and without the normal noises I associate with a new spring rifle. And when it fires, there’s no objectionable vibration, as long as you hold it lightly.
The trigger is reasonably crisp. It breaks at 2 lbs., 14 oz., which is light but not overly so. I also really like the fact that the safety is manual.
Last comment. The Supersport SE feels very “old school” to me. It isn’t overly powerful. It has a smooth cocking and shooting sequence. And the size and weight of the rifle feel very nice. I’m so tired of those oversized breakbarrels that make me feel like I’m a kid shooting dad’s big shotgun for the first time. The Supersport SE feels just right.
91 thoughts on “BSA Supersport SE: Part 2”
This looks it deserves to be well taken care of and eventually be the new “red ryder” , as in “grampa grampa can you show us how to shoot?” If it proves durable and dependable, which bsa pretty well has covered, the classic styling would look great with 20 years on it.
the great red ryder will always hold a place in shooter education…
at the bottom, where you survive beeing shot. even if you shot a few guys yourself (and they survived too, maximum pain=2-day whelp, age 7).
if you can’t hit it with a red ryder, back your ego up, and get closer! afterwords, step up/back and get better, or find fresher eyes to shoot your gun, or give up (yes, you should quit shooting/driving/etc. when you can no longer see/hear/judge etc.)
i would never let a kid (of any age) loose with a 750fps .22 gun, unless you like replacing glass.
red ryder? this looks way better and stronger. remember, the red or #25, and such were built not to break human skin. maybe this will be a better springer to draw the msp guys over to spinglandia…..
the question is: why isn’t there any adult spring-piston gun(think b-3, or tx200-or, diana 430, etc.) with the “butterfly” or “elbow” style “hinged-under-lever pump-action”, aka:daisy 25? why not? it has been engineered by a classic shotgun designer and manufactured since 1914…….
let me be the first to say tanks, and happy Tuesday!
thank you BB and Edith!
thanks for your time,
Red Ryder? If you could adjust the sights it would be OK, at least an old one. Too much plastic on the new ones for this old fogey. Give me a 99 or a 299.
plastic? the same plastic lever they have had for30 years? or the trigger group? or the bb loading-door? explain?
Gotta admit this one always puzzles me.
People complain about the plastic on the R.R. The cocking lever, the trigger and the loading door.
On a $50 gun.
I have $200 Umarex pistols that have more plastic than this 😉
I’m a plastic picky person myself. Some places that it is used on a gun I just cant accept. But a synthetic stock is nice for durability. That’s plastic right? But on another note I do prefer a nice wood stock on certain guns. Just a people preference thing I suppose.
I hear ya gunfun.
Even though it’s a midrange gun, I love the wood and steel of my Slavia 630.
As for our powderburners, they all seemed to be ‘tacticool’…an AR .22, a synthetic stocked Savage .22WMR that is all decked out with kydex cheek risers and bipods…all the ‘new’ bells and whistles.
This past Christmas we bought our first shotgun. Went with an O/U…beautiful wood and steel. Went that route because I wanted at least one gun that was traditional.
I polish and shine my Diana 54 Air King to much. But she sure does shine. And definitely nice to hold. 🙂
Back in 2000I picked up a 618 for $10! Talk about bang for the buck!!!
There is a big difference in the plastic on the 953 &the 760/880!
In what way’s do you mean about the plastic?
My 953 survived being runover by a garbage truck! It’s an alley rescue also.
Well that has to be some good plastic I suppose.
All of the plastic. Hey, I’m an old geezer.
I purchased a (second) Red Ryder from Wally World a few years back. It features a metal cocking arm, and the upgrade is prominently celebrated on the packaging. The only plastic on this gun is the trigger/safety, ammo door, rear sight ramp and a spacer between the barrel and outside jacket. There really is very little plastic on this gun at all.
The PA product page states it has a plastic cocking lever, but I was thinking that this is an older description that hasn’t been updated.
any red ryder can be modified for a scope/red-dot. http://daisymuseum.3dcartstores.com/Bricemount_p_176.html
Someone posted this link the other d and I shared it with all my friends on FB, with the caption “Scope your Red Ryder!” still getting razzed about that one .Oh well!
Mine hits at about 11:00 and I have considered this option.
Well… I bought one last week when I stopped at the Daisy BB Gun Museum (which was a great place to visit). My Daughter wanted a pink Red Ryder, and for a few dollars more they sold me one with the Bricemount and scope. I just mounted it this morning on a Red Ryder that shoots left with fixed sights. The scope is mediocre quality, and with the Bricemount it shoots high, but that will be easily corrected by shortening a plastic shim under the rear of the mount. I think it will work out ok, but I prefer the original iron sights. For only a few dollars, it is an interesting experiment.
B.B., isn’t there a method of zeroing a Red Ryder for windage by inserting a steel rod down the muzzle and bending the barrel?
I also bought a 499. As B.B. described before, it seems like a tremendous little gun, far more accurate and pleasant to shoot then a Red Ryder. Unfortunately, this one also shoots slightly left with the rear sight adjusted to its limit. I think it will be a simple matter to lengthen the rear sight’s windage slot a fraction of an inch to zero the rifle.
I second that! Good idea! but you would have to remove the rear sight and that means …What to do about the rivet?
I would also like to hear about the barrel bending procedure.
I never heard of that barrel straightening method.
Now that is a good idea. You could even throw a peep on there. I still want a 99 or 299.
Rob, that is so cool. I like it. My boys will flip over it. May have to give one a shot. Thanks, Bradly
Aah, the 99, I always wanted one!
When I turned 7,in ’75 my parents told me I could have a BB gun, if I earned the money myself. I spent that whole summer cleaning, raking & mowing various yards in the neighborhood. gas was 50 cents/gallon and I figured at $2 per yard I’d make a handsome profit. My neighbor’s dad ,across the street had a 99 which,at the time I thought was a Red Ryder.He was fresh back from Viet Nam & didn’t get along with kids well but on a daily basis you’d see him sitting at his picnic table beside his bedroom window picking off bird after bird out of his mulberry tree until the ground was covered with them. Apparently he was n’t a morning person! When fall came, I found out that you could make money selling pecans and they were everywhere, soon I was up to $11, about a dollar short. My mom came home from work one day and said”Let’s go get your BB gun, they just put them on sale!” Turns out the gun that went on sale was no Red Ryder but had a plastic stock and forearm, all else the same, I took it home that day and spent all night up with a flashlight reading the instruction manual over & over. The next day I went to work with my dad, There was about 2 acres of trash pile behind the shop where he and Bob Manning restored & customized powderburners.Turns out someone was wasting a lot of beer because I found about a 12 pack’s worth. these were the preferred target as they would explode violently after sitting in the sun for 6 months. This gun lasted until I was well into high school when the plastic stock finally succumbed to the abuse of me and my closer friends, In hindsight I wish I would’ve built another stock for it, after all, I was in wood shop.
I have no children of my own but 2 nephews, ages 5 & 7, the oldest already has a Red Ryder,but hasn’t yet been bitten. When it does happen I have one for the younger one and I intend to be right beside both of them!
my 1976 Red Ryder has metal “screw” adjustable rear sight and metal lever. My boys “newer” Red Ryders have plastic “ramp” rear sights and plastic cocking levers. Yes, sad to say, one of the plastic cocking levers broke (snapped) when I cocked it. It was a Duck Unlimited Red Ryder that their Uncle got for them.
Mine didn’t have the adjustable sight but was dead on @ 10-20M & the only plastic was the stock & forearm.
In no way was I comparing this gun to the red in power, but in endurance in design, it looks like a brand new classic is what I meant. It looks like a gun that if a kid nowadays held onto and took good care of he might still have it when the grandkids are ready to shoot, that “grampas old bsa” title will someday apply to this beautiful airgun. I wish my grampa had taught me on a springer like this, but the old bb repeater did its job.
Imagine a 16 year old kid that just got his license with 427, 4 speed Camaro. That was me in the mid to late 70’s.
And lucky for me when I was a kid and not old enough to drive yet I was shooting not only 700 fps + airguns but also various fire arms. We would strap a gun on one side of our minibikes (yes Wulfraed me and my brother had those also) and a fishing pole on the other side and ride down the road to or favorite little shooting and fishing spot. So I’m thinking that its got alot to do about how and where a person was brought up. If I didn’t make it home on the time that my parents gave me I probably wasn’t going to get to go out the next day. There was always stuff to do around the farm that my Dad would keep me busy with at that them times when I didn’t do what I was supposed to.
Just imagine what would happen if somebody tried riding a minibike or dirt bike down the side of the road now day’s let alone have a gun strapped to it.
Oh I forgot to say nobody bought that car for me either. I bought it with grass cutting money. And the money people paid me for watching their hunting dogs when needed. And shoveling driveways when it snowed. I even bought my first 760 and 880 well and all the other guns I have got through out time.
Now that I think about it the only gun that somebody got for me was my Winchester 190 .22 cal. semi-automatic. And my dad got it for me when I was 10 years old. Still got that and the 760. I broke the pump handle on the 880. But got another one a few years later that I still have. Well I guess its a 880. I had that conversation the other day also. And now even more than ever I know I’m lucky that I grew up back then and that I was lucky to grow up in the sticks/country when I was young. Was good times that’s for sure.
Awesome ride! my first was a Mercury Capri, ’73 model. bought it for $50, with money earned “wormin'”, in ’86, right after graduation. also had a ’76 El Camino SS, from about ’98-2006.
Man, when those secondaries kicked in!!!
Was your El Camino SS a big block car? About 6 or so years ago I had a black on black 76 Malibu plane jane (not a SS or anything and not a El Camino) 402 big block 4 speed car. Even had factory full hubcaps and I had the build sheet and alot of 1 owner paper work that came with the car. How is 78,000 original miles and it had those clear seat covers over the front and back seats. And it was even a bench seat 4 speed car. Talk about a sleeper. Just love those old muscle car days.
Wow! Sounds like you got granny’s grocery getter. Those deals are, almost always, as good as it gets!
I bought mine from my Dad in’98 for $1000, it had a 350, 4 bolt when I got it. When it came time to do the front end, I set it up for a BB, just in case, but after playin’ with 4 355’s, I decided that was plenty of power. ’76 was the heaviest year for the El Camino, so weight was also a concern.
Had a lot of muscle cars overtime. Bought em, traded em and sold em. I would get one and fix it up and drag race it at the local track. Then sell and get another and do it all over again. Had some later model cars also that I bought new. A 90 RS Camaro 1LE car that had the 5.0/305 with a Muncie getrag 5 spd. 5th gear was 1:1 not a overdrive like the borgwarner box’s. I scca solo1 that car. Then later got a 97 Z28 1LE but it was a auto trans car. Drag raced it at the track. Then one of the last cars I had was one of the 05 Dodge Neon SRT-4’s. Had stuff done to it and it ran high 11’s @ 126 in the 1/4 mile. 1/8 mile it ran 101mph. And that car was getting 30mpg if I kept my foot out of it. Beat many EVO’s and TREX’s with that car. And It looked bone stock with the factory rims even.
I always liked the smaller cars, so I didn’t own too many muscle cars but my Dad was a used car dealer & you bet, I test drove ’em all! Around ’97 I went to work in my first “professional” shop, shortly thereafter,I moved to Austin& worked there. Some of the stuff I worked on!
One day I got a brake job on a Dodge Stealth, as i was pulling out of the parking lot I thought “This is a sportscar?” When the tach hit 2300rpm, both turbos kicked in and all 4 wheels grabbed, little did I know this was a one off,until it came time to order parts anyway! Much faster, off the line than the 300z twin turbo that got me the first time!
Don’t you just love when that boost comes in from those turbo cars.
About 2 months ago, I had taken my 392 & some brass swivel studs I had stumbled across, down the block to a friend’s house. I walked down the alley as there is a school across the street, showed him what I had and asked his opinion. While watching the news a little later my friend started dozing off so I decided it was time to go home and walked across the street and down the alley to my place. By the time I reached my back gate I had noticed a Brown Co sheriff’s deputy’s K-9 unit blocking the alley for the next block. After I laid the 392 on my shooting bench, I went to investigate “Do you own a BB gun?” “yes” “Can I see it?” “Sure come on back.” I had inadvertently, single handedly put the school on Lockdown!
After a brief discussion about the legality of the situation and ethical gun ownership it was determined no law had been broken. Whew!
“~The times they are a changin’~”
Yep exactly that. And I bet it could of turned out a lot worse if your timing would of been a little different. I can say that where I live people do ride the dirt bikes and 4 wheelers on the street but nobody has guns strapped to them.
There is a bunch of woods that start right in my back yard. My neighbor owns most of it. And me and him do go back in there in shoot airguns together. I always walk over to his place with the gun but for just in case reasons I keep it in a gun case. We both keep them in cases till we get in the woods. I bet if the right officer came by and saw us that they would maybe stop and ask questions. Definitely different now days.
A case was one of the options discussed, with my point being that then no’one would know it was an airgun, just a gun .
Here in Tx.,open long gun carry is legal! That’s what the assembly @ the Alamo was all about, this winter!
I need to move to Texas.
Come on down, and bring your neighbor too! I know some good hunting land & you’ll love the weather, at least until June.
My wifes brother and familly live in Grandview Texas. We come down in visit once and while.
I would like to move down there.
Rob, I don’t think you could get the leverage to pull enough of a stronger spring back to make much of a difference with the design and construction of the 25’s mechanism, at least not out of stamped steel. But I could be wrong. I am considering revvin’ up my Red Ryder, though.
Well do you have a new break barrel yet?
Nope not yet, it’ll be here tomorrow, which is nice and inconvenient since my wife has dental surgery and we will be in the city from about 9 till about 1pm. She can’t drive herself so I might have my neighbor bring her and we won’t have me sitting around with the kids and more importantly I’ll be home to receive my package…. shes not gonna like that but it does make sense not just for getting my new gun but that’ll take some convincing. Believe me you’ll know when I’ve gotten it.. Got the old Oklahoma all squared away besides the barrel catch.
I was thinking maybe thebarrel catch could be cast in brass, it would be about as durable as the die-cast but smoother. is this within your ability?
I could make anything with the right tools, trained some CAD, carpentry my whole life, fences and factories, but don’t have any equipment for good cuts like that, probably does not matter what metal, could be a cupboard latch if it works its good for me. Im big in improvisations that make you say “look at that- sweet”.
I pulled some really nice brass coathooks off a halltree, with big club ends, that I’ve been saving for such a project; With a dremmel & some time… give ya any ideas?Good luck man!
I’m sure it will melt with MAP gas, the rest is just setting up the mold.
At least you know your getting it tomorrow.
Did I read you right? You said this BSA had a nice set of sights. Your eyes must getting old and tired. Them things are those plastic glowey thingey sights.
Just razzin’ ya dude. I seem to be in that kind of mood this morning.
It is nice to see a new air rifle that is not claiming to be faster than last week’s new air rifle, although the Supersport line has been around for awhile like the HW95.
Interesting review BB. In the UK there remains a great deal of suspicion of the Gamo assembled BSAs, even when a lot of the parts are still made in Birmingham. Just good old fashioned British xenophobia to some degree, and of course the ever lasting fear that the UK airgun industry will go the way of so much industrial plant. i.e. go elsewhere! I saw your review of the Polaris too – both seem decent enough. One thing though, BSAs flagship springer, the Lightning XL (a fine pointable carbine) is still made in Birmingham, but unlike its more forward looking Gamo compatriots it still uses a breech pivot pin. You can take tradition too far….
I know how it must hurt to see BSAs made elsewhere. I was prepared to hate this Supersport SE for that very reason, but I can’t. It holds true to the BSA tradition and styling. Now, if it will only shoot!
Any detectable smoke or stench ?
No smoke but I can smell bacon frying.
Is it choked ? The description does not mention this.
I don’t know yet. How about I check for a choke and report it in Part 3?
Fine with me.
BB, I always liked the fact that the Supersports are lighter than the R9. Pyramyd shows the R-9 at 7.3 pounds and the Supersport at 6.6 pounds. For another reference, the R-7 weights 6.1 pounds so the Supersport is right in the middle between the R-9 and R-7. I think the current Supersport has the same internals as the Supersport XL. If so, I think that it will smooth out but I suspect it may take a lot of rounds to loosen it up which it feels it needs. I was impressed with the light trigger pull on the rifle you tested. The XLs that I have shot had pretty heavy triggers. Sounds like BSA has improved that.
I look forward to the accuracy testing. It has been my experience that the BSAs are very accurate.
That is my experience as well. Except for my old Meteor IV.
Tom, I’ve never heard of the “magic number”, could you discuss this in more detail at some point? I can see where it was a nice fit for this gun and caliber, but how would ” magic number apply to other calibers, like my RWS 350 that will shoot a Crosman 10.5gr pellet at 930fps?
The magic number applies to all projectiles fired from any gun. It’s just the velocity where the weight of the projectile in grains equals the muzzle energy it develops in foot pounds.
Check it out on the Pyramyd Air muzzle energy formula”
Aha! Got it! Thanks!
Some folks at the GTA forum asked us all to chime in and say hello, and thanks for a great blog!
Please say, Hi!” for me and express my thanks.
@ GunFun1, I don’t know what happened to the reply button, but it’s not there. Regarding the 953, this is the same grade plastic that is used in modern synthetic firearm stocks.
I guess when the text column gets that thin, the reply button automatically disappears.
OOps!, Thanks Edith! I’ll remember that.
Yep that synthetic is pretty tuff stuff.
Nylon would be a better word, I guess that’s why someone patented & trademarked it?!
Whatever they want to call it. I like it.
Nylon is a specific formulation of “plastic” As I recall, it is a thermosetting plastic (pour into mold, heat to setting temp, future heating will not result in shape changes). Whereas I suspect many of Sheaffer’s pens since the late 40s (the era starting with the Touchdown/Snorkel/PFM, and carrying on to the Balance II of the late 80s early 90s) are thermoplastic — heating them results in a return to plasticity (eg, they “melt”).
And recall that Remington actually used Nylon in the name of a .22 semi-auto (the one I recall was the Nylon Apache — black with white diamonds)
This doesn’t look like it breaks new ground, but it’s always nice to see a quality airgun.
B.B., Have you considered doing a review of the 901, I am very interested in how this gun performs & would like to hear an expert evaluation. I guess the discussion of grades of plastic combined with my very brief encounter with the gun and missing the 880 have my curiosity aroused!
No, I haven’t considered looking at the 901. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. I will look into it.
On the surface, the 901 looks a lot like the 880 with small differences.
It does look a little like a redressed 880, to an extent, however, I believe the difference in pumping mechanisms, alone, might justify not bulking them together, then the soda straw barrel, which we know can be accurate, especially when properly reinforced and ,last but not least, the feel! This has always been a shortcoming for the 880 and I feel that Daisy may have finally gotten it right!
Thank you for your time,Sir.
I’m curious about a couple of things: 1) Are you having to choke up on the pistol grip to reach the trigger or is it about right? 2) Can you tell how the front sight is mounted; is it on dovetails or glued?
Thanks in advance, David H
The trigger seems to be in the right place for me.
The front sight seems to be screwed on. The post must be drifted out to expose the screw head, but there is definite looseness in the ramp, plus I can see the screw hole in the counterbored muzzle.
B.B!I just found an ad for new Red Ryders with metal cocking levers through another supplier. I also just checked PA & theirs’ is plastic , the gun was advertised @$39.99
My question is, why does PA not carry this version, or could this be an attempt to intentionally mislead customers? If so, this would be a blatant violation as the gun is “specifically specified” as having a metal cocking lever
Pyramyd Air carries what Daisy sells them. Those metal cocking levers must be something special.
Thanks, B.B., I do believe them to be reputable, I’m just bewildered that PA would let the competition get a one up on them.
My opinion is that the metal cocking lever Daisy Red Ryder was a limited production run from Daisy the last time Daisy offered a metal Cocking lever Red Ryder was in 2011 right after the 70th anniversary edition all the big chain stores had them for sale $25. (Walmart, Acadamy Sports). Most recently the metal cocking lever was offered on the 2013 Christmas Dream Red Ryder $89. from Daisy Museum Store. One has to keep checking from this day forward on the Daisy Museum Site to see when they will do another special edition. I’m hoping they bring back the Chief AJ edition Red Ryder it had a xtra large metal cocking loop lever and extended wood stock.
The Red Ryder with the metal lever was also sold by Pyramyd Air and was very popular. It was called the Daisy 1938 Red Ryder 75th Anniversary BB gun. It was a limited run. What’s on the shelves in other stores is left over from when that gun was new.
I missed that one. Never knew of the 75th edition if I seen that I would of bought it regardless of lever, I randomly browse Pyramyd Air web site its so much fun (like a kid in a toy store), So I will advise everyone myself including to browse PA site every week so not to miss out on goodies.
Thanks for the input. I’ll take it into consideration.:) Toby
Waiting for part 3 and 4 for 9 months. Did you forget you were evaluating this rifle?
I did forget for a couple months.
The rifle is in my pile to test now.
Very curious – are you a Laurel and Hardy aficionado? Since few of us monitor these very old blogs, probably only a handful of readers will see your comment or this or BB’s. As BB and the blog do not mind off topic comments, in the future you are best to comment on the current blog where everyone will see it.
For those not up on their L & H, Charlotte Henry was the name of the actress who played “Bo Peep” in March of the Wooden Soldiers aka Babes in Toyland staring Laurel and Hardy, one of two movies I always make sure I watch this time of year.
Haha! I am a fan of Laurel and Hardy! Actually, I was researching the Supersport SE because I want a new air rifle and I don’t have a .22. I used to shoot small bore and position but the economy went crazy and my income dropped to the point I can’t really afford to be competitive (small bore is expensive). Air rifles give me plenty of opportunity to shoot and I don’t have to drive to the range to practice. I decided to go ahead and buy the GRT Supersport SE in 22 and do my own evaluation. I was reading about the recent event that PA sponsored and noticed that one of the employees competed with a BSA Meteor Mk 7. I was really liking that gun and its medium power rating but I went for the gas piston and hopefully better trigger. I may buy the Meteor in .177 anyway. Thanks for the response and I’ll post on the most current page.