by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
AirForce Escape: Part 1
AirForce Escape: Part 2
AirForce Escape: Part 3
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 1
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 2
AirForce EscapeUL: Part 3
AirForce EscapeSS: Part 1
This report covers:
• How loud?
• Experience with .25-caliber Lothar Walther barrels.
• First accuracy test of the Escape SS.
• What’s next?
Today, we’ll start looking at the accuracy of the AirForce EscapeSS. Unlike other accuracy tests, this one didn’t start at 10 meters or even at 25 yards. I went right out to the rifle range and shot the rifle at the 50-yard backstop.
When you have an air rifle with the power of these Escape rifles, you have to take it outdoors. Unless you have a very special place to shoot, this is an outdoor air rifle.
But with that said, the EscapeSS is also the quiet version of the rifle. So, I didn’t wear hearing protection at the outdoor range. I knew the gun wouldn’t be loud enough to hurt my ears, and I wanted to be able to tell you how loud it is. I did not fire the rifle on full power for today’s test, but all the shots sounded very restrained. I would say it was louder than a Benjamin 392 on 8 pump strokes, but not as loud as a Benjamin Discovery in .22 caliber. It’s a sound you can hear, but it isn’t as sharp as a .22 long rifle or even a .22 short.
Experience with AirForce .25-caliber Lothar Walther barrels
To this point in time, I’ve tested the Escape and the EscapeUL — both in .25 caliber. The .25 caliber doesn’t have many accurate pellets, but testing these rifles and the TalonP pistol has revealed a few. One of them stands out as the absolute best. The Predator Polymag pellet in .25 caliber is hands-down the most accurate pellet I’ve tested in these Escape rifles, and my observation agrees with the Escape’s co-developer — Ton Jones.
I cut right to the chase and used the Predator Polymag pellet exclusively in today’s test. I’ll try other pellets in future tests — but, for today, I shot only this one.
The other experience I have with the Escape rifles is that they’re most accurate with fill levels of 2,000 psi and a power setting of 6. That’s how I set up the rifle for the first group.
I removed the Bushnell Banner 6-18X50 scope from the EscapeUL and mounted it on the EscapeSS in a BKL 1-piece mount and, without even sighting in, I started shooting at 50 yards. I’d planned on sighting in, but my first pellet struck the bull I was aiming at, so there was nothing more to be done. Apparently the EscapeUL and EscapeSS are very similar!
I shot 5-shot groups, because I have found the Escape rifles to be most accurate within a 5-shot band. Sometimes, this will stretch to 6 or even 7 shots, but that’s about all if you’re shooting groups at 50 yards. And I’m shooting groups so small they prove the rifle for hunting purposes! This is not some generalization or extrapolation of accuracy. I’m reporting what these rifles can do in the field.
The first 5 shots went into 1.197 inches at 50 yards. The group was off to the left of the bull, with just the first shot in the black.
First 5 Predator Polymags at 50 yards went into 1.197 inches. This was without sighting-in the rifle — just mounted the scope and started shooting!
With these same settings, the worst group of 5 went into 1.341 inches, and the best 5 went into 0.975 inches. That’s 3 groups that average 1.171 inches. That is about what the rifle does on this setting.
Second 5 Predator Polymags at 50 yards went into 1.341 inches. Of the 3 groups on this setting, this was the worst.
Next, I boosted the fill pressure to 2,200 psi and left the power setting at 6. I got 2 groups — one that was 0.903 inches and the other that was 1.63 inches. That’s a big difference.
Bumping the fill pressure to 2,200 psi and leaving the power set on 6, I put 5 Predator pellets into 0.903 inches — the second-best of this test. But the very next group using the same settings opened up much larger.
Next, the power was increased to 6, and the fill pressure remained at 2,200 psi. I got one group at 1.638 inches, which turned out to be the worst of the test, and a second at 1.077 inches.
I dropped the fill back to 2,000 psi and left the power at 8. This gave a group measuring 1.185 inches.
After that, I dropped the power to 7 with a fill pressure of 2,000 psi. The first group measured 0.778 inches, and the next one measured 1.444 inches. The 0.778-inch group was the best of the entire test.
These 5 Predator pellets went into 0.778 inches — the best of this test. That ragged hole at the top is a pellet hole that has partially closed.
How do we make sense from these results? It seems the rifle is capable of shooting 5-shot groups smaller than one inch at 50 yards, but the average is slightly larger than one inch. Only one group in this test was as large as 1.50 inches, which I think says a lot about the stability of the .25-caliber Predator Polymag in this rifle.
I didn’t test the other 2 Escape rifles this way, but the results I got with both of them do seem to fit this pattern. It was only because of those results that it was possible to cut through the maze of pellets, pressures and power settings and get these results so fast.
Of course, I haven’t tried this pellet at full power, yet, nor have I tried the rifle with a 3,000 psi fill. I think that has to be tried — just to say that it was done.
The rifle also needs to be tested with other pellets; although, if the groups it gets are similar to those gotten with the other 2 Escape rifles, we may begin to understand that all .25-caliber Lothar Walther barrels perform similarly.
When the other accuracy testing is completed, I’ll test all 3 Escape rifles for their velocities with the most accurate pellets. That would be the information I would want as a hunter.
Evaluation of the EscapeSS
The EscapeSS is closest to the TalonP pistol that sired all three Escape rifles. You would expect the performance to be identical, except that this rifle is both quieter and comes standard with an adjustable buttstock. If you’re looking for quieter performance in a survival air rifle, the EscapeSS might be the one for you.
29 thoughts on “AirForce EscapeSS: Part 2”
You are creating 2 variables using bottle pressure and the variable adjustment number of the gun.
But really isn’t there only one variable if you are using the one pellet, velocity?
So can’t we just get a velocity that shoots best with this pellet?
Or are we dealing between fast and slow “powders” in the same rifle with the same weight projectile?
I get what your saying, its more of a test of the polymag when all the barrels have been the same, systems, etc… it seems like if you’ve shot one escape…. sounds like this gun(s) with .22 barrel(s) with a mess of different pellets would be great, cause I would be buying it in .22, I don’t know about everyone else, but pellet selection is a big deal for me.
Buy a Talon SS or a Condor SS, you will get a bunch more shots per fill. Then if you feel the need to shave a few ounces off, you can buy a Talon P valve/tank assembly and you now have an Escape series. That is unless you want to change the bottle for one of the longer ones. That will help increase shot count.
You are not going to be happy with one of the Escape series as your primary AirForce PCP because of the low shot count. When hunting you do not normally need very many shots, but when you are attacked by feral soda cans, you will need to keep the scuba gear real close.
As far as .25, you should seriously consider it if you are going to hunt. They are bringing out new pellets every day. You can always pick up a .22 barrel.
The Escape series is a perfect example of the versatility of the AirForce line. In moments they were able to bring out three new models for this year and did not even have to set up a new production line. Next year they will probably add the Condor SS frame to the line and maybe even put a 17, 20 or 22 CI bottle on it, although they will likely save that for a separate year.
The Escape rifles offer the utility of being able to fill the gun from a hand pump easily. That is where they out-shine the Condor. In all other ways, I agree the Condor is the better choice.
A survival hunter doesn’t shoot a lot of shots at one time. But he does need to reflill his gun from a hand pump.
I was thinking that BB was changing the velocity by the PSI of the fill and changing the adjustment of the rifle. So what velocity range is this pellet most accurate?
However, he also maybe changing how fast or slow the pressure occurs behind the pellet when the trigger is pulled.
It maybe not be a specific velocity range that makes the pellet accurate but how the pressure is applied to achieve that velocity…I have no idea!
I have no idea, either! All I was doing here was what worked with the other two rifles. Then I played with the settings and fill pressure a bit. I was looking for a sweet spot that I didn’t find.
By the way, I am Anonymous. I cleaned out all my cookies yesterday.
I am going in that direction, but I’m not there yet.
You raise an interesting point, then you answer it quite well. Yes, I believe the rate of airflow through the valve may also be a variable. And that might be affected by both of the variables. I don’t know that, I am just guessing.
This test didn’t really show enough depth to say conclusively what the best settings are. All it did was show how this gun likes to be treated in a general way.
BB, I will ask this question here, because we are discussing PCP, although my question is related to all PCPs and not specifically about the Escape series.
I have only one PCP in my collection, a Discovery .22. I have experienced some slow leaks in the past, and as per your suggestion, I have dropped oil over the nipple every time I refill my gun. This, as you noted, prevents dirt to enter the gun, and thus leaking. I normally use a hand pump for this, but last weekend I used a cylinder (borrowed from a friend).
Then a question came to my mind:is it possible that my hand pump is actually collecting dust when not in use and eventually pumping it into the gun when I refill? And if so, what should I do to prevent this? Is a cylinder really “cleaner” than a hand pump?
Sorry is this question sounds basic, but I certainly do not have much experience in PCPs.
That is an excellent question! Certainly the coupling at the end of the pump hose can get some dirt in it. I would say to blast it with a keyboard cleaner (can of compressed air) or just blow it clean before making the connection. A cotton swab might work, but be careful of getting cotton fibers into the coupling when you do this.
I used to keep a baggie over the coupling of all my pumps and I still never let the coupling touch the ground for this reason.
am I correct concluding that you fired the 10 pellets on one charge of air or did you re-charge the SS after each group of 5? I ask out of curiosity in that the first group you shot seems to be the most accurate and then results degrade for second and third attempts? Or am I not reading something correctly?
I should have been more specific in the report. I refilled the gun after each 5 shots. The gun will shoot 10 shots when filled to 3,000, but not when filled as low as I was filling.
I will shoot the 10 shots for you (on a full 3000 fill) in the next accuracy test.
Off-Topic, but I a couple weeks ago the subject of the .22LR shortage was being discussed. I promised to go to the local Gander Mtn. to report back if they had .22LR. I was confident they’d have .45ACP, 9mm, .38 Special and .270, but I also predicted they would have .22LR. Well, I haven’t had the time to get over there.
But my local big box has had only shotgun shells and one lonely box of .44 Mag for the longest time. Yesterday they still had the dust-collecting .44 Mag, but they also had .270 and .38 Special, a dozen or so boxes of each. No .22, but a thaw seems to be occurring.
They have just recently stopped carrying Crosman Premiums in .20, I noticed.
In case anyone is interested, the new Feinwerkbau should be available this weekend from PA.
Wish I could.
Unlikely. A USA airgun importer heard from the EXPORT AGENT FOR FWB- WORLD MARKET- ONLY AGENT on May 7th. The export agent checked with FWB and they still don’t have a delivery date. Not sure when these new FWB Sporters are going to leave Germany.
Seems we have awhile to wait.
Kevin & RidgeRunner,
Pyramyd Air has just told me the date of receipt of FWB Sport air rifles is still in flux.
I would look for the rifle later this year. After September, possibly.
Pyramyd Air plugs in the arrival dates based on what they are told, but the companies don’t always honor their dates.
Doesn’t really matter. At that price, it is not going to happen for me.
I agree. It’s way too spendy at nearly $1000.00. I would look to other options.
The stock looks like an El Gamo from the 1970’s mated with a newer Webley made in Turkey.
I can see making it a little different from the 124, but not sure what look they were going after with that?
Shame, as it is an iconic brand.
Since the Escape SS use the same length barrel as the Escape UL which is 18 inches.
I wonder if it is same thin wall light weight version that’s used in the Escape UL and they use in the Escape SS also.
It made me think that could effect the accuracy at different fill levels with the thinner barrels. Or be seen easier anyway with a minimum of air pressure change.
The EscapeSS barrel is 12 inches — not 18.
Oh yea that’s right. I forgot that it needs to be the shorter 12 inch barrel like the Talon SS so there is room for the baffles.
Oh well that blows that theory about the thinner barrel.
But it still makes me wonder why one group is better than the other. Is that tune really that sensitive to pressure because of the valve size and tank size.
I’m guessing you reviewed a Talon P when they came out. I wonder if that gun grouped bigger and smaller also. If it didn’t and you used a different pellet then maybe that Predator pellet ain’t as consistent as it seems. Maybe that’s something to look at.
And then another Idea would be to put a full size high flow tank on and see what happens with the Predator pellet.
Yes I reviewed the TalonP. Read about it here:
No hearing protection at an outdoor range? I hope you were the only one there.
B.B., yes, my standards for reloading were excessive. It’s nice to know from your description how much I can relax things. On the other hand, the deviation in the powder charge was a little alarming. The indicator on my scale would go through its full deflection. I’m not sure if it was because the amount of powder in the reservoir was changing or because of variation in my motion for working the lever. I found myself adjusting the amount of the charge on the dispenser and trickling in powder to get the amount right. Variation on the overall cartridge length was better. Out of 77 rounds, the greatest variation was .010 of an inch. All but six or seven of the round were within .003, and another five were within .005 of those. Anyway, you’ll remember that I’m still working my way out of my demolitions mindset, so extra precautions make me feel better. Also, the final product with those shiny Sierra Matchking bullets are quite a sight. Smaug on his hoard could not be more satisfied.
Does anyone need mote proof that Texas is awesome? This ever happen at your house Tom and Edith? I would be out buying aquarium equipment immediately!
I’m seriously looking at the one with the 24″ barrel. I figure if I’m going to have to shoot something I might as well hit it as hard as I can.