by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
BSA Airsporter Stutzen was the final version of the Airsporter with a tap.
This report covers:
• Why I wanted to test the Airsporter
• Interesting adjustable sights — front and rear
• Accuracy at 10 meters
• Webley Flying Scot High Velocity Twin Ring pellets
• RWS Superpoint pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• Accuracy at 25 yards
• Webley Flying Scot High Velocity Twin Ring pellets
• RWS Superpoint pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• RWS Superdome pellets
• Overall evaluation
Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the BSA Airsporter Stutzen, and I’m going to shoot it at both 10 meters and 25 yards. I’ll be using only open sights because this rifle is such a classic that I feel a scope would spoil the look. I could also mount the Tech Force TF90 dot sight, but I have other plans for that one.
Why I wanted to test the Airsporter
If you’ve read this blog carefully, you know why the BSA Airsporter fascinates me so much. It’s the air rifle that spawned a number of very famous and very nice underlever such as the Falke models 80 and 90 and the Hakim that served as a training rifle for the Egyptian army in the 1950s. I have a real thing for Hakims, and you also know that I have done a lot with the Falke 90 that fell into my lap a few years back. In fact, I’ve written two separate reports on the Falke 90. In the first one, Vince fixed the rifle for me and my friend Mac tested it for me.
And the Hakim is an air rifle I cannot seem to ignore. I’ve owned more than 15 of them over the years, and the one I have now and am testing for you is a real beauty! In fact, there will be a Part 5 accuracy test for that rifle coming very soon.
Both these fine rifles had convinced me that I needed to get a BSA Airsporter. When this like-new Stutzen came along at a gun show last month, I snapped it up. I had experience in the 1990s with a Gamo Stutzen that wasn’t a smooth-shooting airgun, so that had me prepared not to like this one; but in Part 2, I discovered that this taploading rifle is nothing like the Gamo that has the rotary breech. This gun is very smooth, has a crisp trigger and shot faster than many people predicted.
But there was one drawback. Unlike the Falke 90 and especially the Hakims I’e shot, this Airsporter’s cocking linkage is pivoted farther back on the action. Even though the cocking effort is only 29 lbs., it feels more like 40. Also, unlike the Hakims, the tap on this Airsporter doesn’t open as the rifle is cocked.
Interesting adjustable sights — front and rear
I decided to begin at 10 meters. That way, I was more certain of being on paper with the open sights. The front sight blade seemed to be very tall — so tall, in fact, that it almost touched the hood that’s over it. That didn’t seem right; and when I began shooting, it proved not to be.
The rear sight does adjust for both windage and elevation, but the elevation adjustments are small. So, I looked at the front sight and thought the post might also adjust up and down. I removed the one slotted screw that holds the front ramp to the barrel and the entire assembly came off the rifle. It was then that my suspicions were confirmed. Indeed — the front sight on the Airsporter Stutzen does go up and down.
The front sight with the hood off. I’ve already lowered the blade here.
This is the underside of the hollow aluminum front sight ramp. The sight blade is seen from underneath.
This closeup of the front sight post shows the ratchet steps that lock the post in position when the attaching screw is snugged down.
Front sights have to move in the direction opposite of how you want the pellet to move on the target. Since my rifle was shooting very low at 10 meters, I pushed the front post down to about half its former height. As you will see, that was about right for 10 meters!
Accuracy at 10 meters
I like to begin shooting at 10 meters if I’m not sure where the gun will be shooting, and this time that was a good choice. The rifle struck the targets several inches below the aim point before I adjusted the blade. I was using a 6 o’clock hold on a 50-foot smallbore bullseye as my sight picture.
Webley Flying Scot High Velocity Twin Ring pellets
First up were some Webley Flying Scot domed pellets that are no longer available. I selected them because their skirts are large and thin, which a taploader likes. Ten pellets went into a 0.753-inch group that was centered on target, but isn’t as small as I would have liked. I knew this wasn’t a premium pellet, but because it was a good size for the gun I tested it anyway.
Ten Webley Flying Scot pellets made this 0.753-inch group at 10 meters.
RWS Superpoint pellets
Next, I tried the RWS Superpoints that I thought would do the best in this rifle. They’ve always done well for me in other taploaders, although most of them I’ve tried were .22 caliber. I don’t have as much experience with this pellet in .177.
Ten Superpoints made a group that measures 0.963 inches at 10 meters. The group is nice and round and also well-centered in the bull, but one pellet is apart from a 9-shot main group that measures a much smaller 0.62 inches. I think Superpoints show potential, but we’ll wait to see what they do at 25 yards.
Ten RWS Superpoints went into 0.963 inches at 10 meters, but 9 of them are in a much smaller 0.62-inch cluster.
RWS Hobby pellets
The last pellet I tested at 10 meters was the RWS Hobby. Hobbys have a wide, thin skirt that this taploader needs, plus they’re light enough to give the rifle some zip. This time, 10 Hobbys went into a group that measures 0.48 inches between centers. That is more like what I was hoping for!
Hobbys were the winner at 10 meters. Ten went into 0.48 inches.
Accuracy at 25 Yards
After seeing the performance at 10 meters, it was time to back up to 25 yards and try again. The same pellets were used, plus I added one additional pellet that a reader had suggested. I left the sight settings where they were, so you can see how the point of impact changes as the range increases.
At 25 yards, the targets I used at 10 meters were too small to see, so I switched to 10-meter pistol targets. Their bulls are roughly twice the size of the bulls I shot at 10 meters.
Webley Flying Scot High Velocity Twin Ring pellets
The first pellet tested was the Webley Flying Scot that had done poorest at 10 meters. They remained centered on the bull, but the center of the group is perhaps a little higher. It’s hard to tell because they scattered a lot at 25 yards. Ten pellets went into a group that measures 2.602 inches between centers.
At 25 yards, Webley Flying Scot pellets blew up into this 2.602-inch group. All you can say is that it’s centered on the bull.
RWS Superpoint pellets
Next up were the RWS Superpoints. They were centered at 10 meters but landed very high and slightly right at 25 yards. Ten went into a group that measures 1.603 inches between centers.
This 25-yard group of 10 Superpoints looks promising except for the strays that went high and low. It measures 1.603 inches between centers.
RWS Hobby pellets
Next, I tried the RWS Hobby pellets that did the best at 10 meters. They also landed high and right at 25 yards in a group that measures 1.918 inches between centers.
Hobbys opened up at 25 yards, as wadcutters will do. Ten went into 1.918 inches.
RWS Superdome pellets
The last pellet I tried was the RWS Superdome. One reader had suggested that it might do well in the Stutzen, so I gave it a chance. Superdomes landed low and to the right on the target. Ten went into a group that measures 1.917 inches center-to-center. That puts them behind the Superpoints and about even with the Hobbys ay 25 yards.
Ten RWS Superdomes went into 1.917 inches at 25 yards, but nine of them hung together.
I’m glad I got the chance to test a BSA Airsporter because it answered many questions I’ve had for years. First, the cocking linkage is not as well-placed as the linkage on a Hakim, so the rifle feels harder to cock. Next, the firing behavior is quick and without vibration. The trigger is two-stage and very crisp. Even though it isn’t adjustable, I could get used to it.
I think this rifle would group much tighter if it were scoped. The Superpoint and Superdome groups lead me to think it might put 10 into a half-inch or so at 25 yards.
Finally, I have to say this Airsporter Stutzen is one of the handsomest air rifles I’ve ever seen. It holds and shoulders like a thoroughbred. I can now see why the Airsporter has so many ardent admirers.
98 thoughts on “BSA Airsporter Stutzen: Part 3”
I agree that this is a very handsome rifle ( a much better word than beautiful to describe it. If you can get it to shoot half inch groups at 25 yards as you think you can that will make it a wonderful rifle to own on top of the looks. I could live with that. Keep us posted on your progress with accuracy as you shoot this rifle further. I would love to see one of these stutzens in my closet.
I am certain a scope would bring those groups to under an inch. I would not be surprised that with time BB could do such without a scope. He just doesn’t have time with one long enough to get to know it real well.
What I really like about this air rifle is the quality that is exhibited in the close up photos. Take a close look at the photo that shows the loading tap. If you look real close, you can see the joint between the breech and the compression chamber.
Slide back through the report and look at the rear sight. Look at the other close up photos. All of them scream top shelf. Who builds anything like this anymore?
Nowadays, most people who would buy this air rifle would stick it back in a closet or gun safe because it is old or nice looking and will never take the time to really know it. That person probably has quite a few airguns and doesn’t have the time to do such or is just collecting.
If BB decides this air rifle needs a new home in the future, I hope it is with someone who has shot quite a few airguns over the years, but has decided they only want one or two nice ones to shoot on a regular basis.
My 1906 BSA is my go to air rifle most of the time. I am rebuilding a couple of 10 meter air rifles right now and when I am done with them, I am certain I will sell them. If I do keep one of these, I will sell my other 10 meter air rifle. My old BSA however is not going anywhere.
No, that thing needs to see the light of day more.
I think that’s not scope to do the magic. From my experience with fullstock springers it may be screws or wood touching the action somewhere in the wrong place. With B.B.’s skill it may be well sub-inch even with open sights. So before installing glass, I’d check wood and steel, as grouping seems to look like the case with 1-2 holes falling off the main group. And then scoping will bring even stronger magic.
Later this week you will see what B.B. can do with a dot sight at 25 yards.
Every gun in my closet gets used. I don’t really have a go to gun. I use different guns depending on what I’m doing on any given day. Even in competition I will use different guns depending on the type of competition, the class I’m shooting in and/or the distance.
That is great and I must say, most unusual. Many buy airgun after airgun and end up with so many it is ridiculous.
Right now I have five air rifles and one air pistol. Three of those air rifles are rebuild projects and likely at least two of them will be sold when they are finished. I am seriously thinking of buying one more air rifle and maybe one more air pistol, that is unless I stumble across a great deal on a Lincoln Jefferies pistol and then I will likely buy it also.
I know many may think I am weird, but I refuse to have a bunch of toys I have no time to play with. I would sooner pass them on to others to enjoy for a while.
Some people buy vintage cars, fix them up and rarely drive them — being perfectly happy to have them sit in the garage for years/decades.
Using a product isn’t always the main reason for having it. Sometimes, people love to look at something that’s well made, or rare, or that has been saved from going to the dump and lost for all time.
It’s been my experience that men tend to collect mechanical things, especially well-made or complex mechanical things. I also think they’re enamored with things that work well — all those machined parts meshing perfectly, functioning flawlessly for decades or even a century. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
You hit the nail on the head for sure. I am one of those men because in my opinion things nowadays are not made with the same passionate delicate precision that the men who designed and created those masterpieces had intended and hoped that the end consumer would cherish it as much if not more they gig themselves.
I would rather buy an old car or gun or whatever mechanical device I can’t seem to live without and put that same passion and care into bringing it back to it former glory. The self satisfaction in being able to take what most consider to be worthless junk and make it as good or better than new with your own two hands and knowledge is quickly becoming a lost art.
If I could only remember half of what I have forgotten thru the years I would indeed feel complete as humanly possible.
This was my last report on this rifle.
Well aesthetics are an individual thing. Full-stocked rifles just turn me off. Even a little bit of barrel poking out the front is enough to change things. The Enfield No.4 Mk I and the WWII military rifles look great. But when you have the full stock Mannlicher style, the rifle looks…up a sleeve. I don’t know how to describe it. On the other hand, I like the look of black rifles very much while having some reservations about the design, so I’m not suggesting a universal standard.
I’m pretty sure that the front sight blade can also be turned over. I seem to recall that my BSA Stutzen’s front sight blade had a post on one side and a bead on the other end.
Interesting! That was something I didn’t consider.
I went back to look because I had noticed something “special” In your underside photo of the front sight and I believe Derrick is right! Flip that thing over and give it another go with more pellet variety.I believe I’m not alone when I say. This gun’s worth it!
I would hate to see a scope on this style of rifle. My first choice would be a peep sight. The adjustable front sight would , I think, work well with a peep.
As I was born in the first half of the 20th century I find red dot sights very useful. One of my favorites is the Milley. It has a 3 minute dot and I think it would work well on this gun.
That should have been Millet sight.
I agree that a scope would ruin the classic looks of this rifle.
A peep sight is a good suggestion, if it didn’t require wood removal from the stock.
I don’t remember at this time what gun it was. I was fitting a Weaver peep to a gun that would have required cutting the stock. I figured where the peep need to be elevation wise, then cut the riser to clear the wood. Smoothing the cut and covering with black magic marker worked OK.
BB, Before my 2nd safari, I installed Warne QD scope mounts on several of my rifles. The detachable rings were large enough to convert 2 of them to detachable peep sights. I had my gunsmith remove the ring part, and drill and tap them for small, simple peep sights. I could remove the scope and install the peep sight in less than a minute. I took an impala at 150 yards (7mm mag.) with this “emergency” peepsight to test it. I am sure that you can find an airgun scope mount that can be adapted in a similar way. You would then have a peep sight that could be put on a variety of airguns without having to cut the stock. The rifle would probably need a higher front sight , like a 1903 sight height. This would mean a scope sight height . But it would work. Ed
Good idea! And, with this BSA the front sight adjusts up if I need it.
Safari veteran, eh? 🙂 Too bad you missed some of our discussions about how fast you would have to work a bolt in the face of a charging lion. Preliminary arithmetic analysis suggested not nearly fast enough.
Keep an eye out for a parker hale peep sight. They are period correct for your airsporter and even offered as an option by bsa when your airsporter was sold new.
Thank you. I will probably sell the Stutzen at the Ft. Worth show, but this sight looks like the classic way for an owner to go.
If you put a ph peep sight on that fine bsa you probably won’t sell it.
Sell your B3-1 at Ft. Worth instead.
I’m with Kevin below but if you do sell it, it should bring top dollar, after all it’s a top shelf gun. I really expected this gun to do much better, But I believe there is a pellet out there that it likes even more than the Hobby’s,are you sure you’re done testing it?It sure is a nice gun to give up on so easily.Think about it anyway. Unfortunately the rear sight blade on my QB-36 broke when I tried to adjust it or I’d go head to head with it. I was forced to reinstall the Red Star 4×20 scope but I went through the scope settings and mounts this time. Someone had screwed the stop out onto the receiver when there is no hole available.I’m lucky it didn’t fall off! It’s back together and doing very well, yesterday I put 10 in .750 at 20 yds!Thank goodness for a decent trigger finger because I definitely can’t HOLD it on target , just have to be ready when it gets there.
P.S.Those Hobby’s sure made a pretty hole!
One of those is a temptation for mine!
I really like your Title Sir ” Godfather “. May I address you so in future cos its so apt for you? Also, why would you think of selling such a fine gun? I know you don’t favour pointed pellets due to accuracy issues, but it seems that some like JSB, RWS & H & N perform very well in some good airguns. JSB Match Diabolo Pointed 8.25gr. in .177 gives super groups at 20 yds with the Hatsan Striker 1000s. Also, what became of the Diana 23 that you were restoring?
It’s a long story. Tom/B.B. doesn’t want to be called The Godfather. Reasons that are too long to list here have forced us to put “The Godfather of Airguns” on the blog byline.
Thanks for understanding.
Thanks for explaining. Although I’ve never met B.B. & you I want you to know that I have the GREATEST respect for both of you, for the totally unselfish & generous way you impart your knowledge for the benefit of us airgun buffs. B.B. revived my craze for airguns & it has given me immense pleasure and knowledge. For that he has my Eternal gratitude.
Inevitably someone would abbreviate it to GF. Not a fitting title for a man with so many guns.
It sounds like your liking your gun that buldawg gave you that spring for. What pellets are you using? It looks like you said hobby’s. Which ones?
The pellets I got that group with were Stoeger X- Match8.18 grain,(I think a rebrand of H&N Match as price reflects-$.03 apiece).The gun was hitting a little to the right but one adjustment of 15 clicks and it was dead on. I went through the scope & mounts which were a mess,I found a scope stop in the rear mount keeping it too high to clamp in the dovetail with no hole for it which I removed. I also learned a variation of the fishin’ line bore cleaner. Send the braided line down through the muzzle and tie around a Q-tip instead of a patch, insert into breech and pull straight to avoid crown damage, Genius.Yes, it’s grouping now! I’ll be trying some Winchester 9.8 roundnose out a little farther today to see if it’ll hold together at hunting range with a hunting pellet.
I just tried 3 Win. Roundnose. I guess it didn’t like ’em because I didn’t find a group at 30 yds so I tried 5 8.18’s and put 5 into .825 @ 30 yds, however the other 5 opened it up to 1.25″.I guess it really likes them! I’d take it hunting alongside the 392 and Airmaster, if I just had a place to hunt.
I am glad to hear you got your 36 back up and shooting good , those groups are pretty good for sure.
I hope the scope stays on the gun, I tried putting one on my B3-2 because it had the dovetails for the rear sight or scope. The scope kept walking of the rear of the action, but I only had some cheap two piece mounts also so I could probably not get them to grip good enough.
I just put the regular sight back on it and it is fairly accurate at 15 yards, but nowhere near as accurate as my B3-1. The 3-1 does not have dovetails though and the rear sight is permanently attached to the top of the action. They are both just fun little plinkers any way and I have not shot them at any distance over 15 yards. Got any chrony numbers yet, mine are in the mid 500s for the 3-2 and low 600s for the 3-1
They’re on the Umarex blog from yesterday along with a couple tips. I tried to transplant them here but have no idea how to do so. Anywho it settled in around 650fps with 8.18 grain for 8fpe. Go check it out, it’s pretty close to the end, You can’t miss it with all them flags wavin’!
Buldawg,It was at 12:11pm yesterday Umarex Fuel blog.
Just left you a reply on the umarex blog. Just happy for you that you got it back shooting real good actually which is a big plus and makes me feel good that I could help you out.
Just don’t fall off your bike again until you heal up completely and then don’t fall off either.
Glad to help Bro.
That’s good enough of a group size at 30 yards. That is probably keeping the fpe good at that distance too. Bet it would be good for some pest control at those distances. As long as you make the shot count.
It’ll probably be a while before I feel very comfortable hefting it for offhand shooting but I’d trust it for headshots If I could carry a bench:) .
Ha ha, yep that would be kind of a bummer carrying a bench around.
But you really need to check into a shooting stick. The bi-pods work really nice with the adjustable legs and the swivel yoke that you rest the gun in. And they usually have a carrying strap and they are light weight.
Been working on that QB-36 stock. The forearm is down to bare wood all the way into the pistol grip.It’s got my forearms pumped up so much I had to take a break. It’s got a couple gouges in butt that I’ll be needing my 80 grit and a block to get out without it being rippled but so far all work has been by hand with 100 grit.
Refinishing the stock I suppose.
Down to the pistol grip & a little strip down the comb.I also took the opportunity to fit the buttpad. I’ve got as fine as 320 and an assorted package of steel wool. I don’t know yet if I’ll stain it but it’s gonna be a Tru-oil gun.
I took the action out of the stock on my hatsan and put some foam in the stock like you did and it does seem to help a good bit, but it still has a very faint pong noise and I hope it will be like yours and have to settle in some more to get quitter. I think I will hear mine some no matter what because of the moderator there is no report noise at all so the pong is much more noticeable.
Did you see the link I provided in the hi-pac blog about signing the petition to deregulate silencers from being a class 3 item to non regulated at all. if it get 100,000 signature’s it will got to the house floor after the August recess for a vote. if you didn’t please look it up and sign it if you are so inclined.
Remember I got the new QE model with the shroud and baffles in the shroud. The shroud steps up to a bigger dia. and that’s where the baffles are. Then the end cap screws on. So its got double sound deadening benefits. Basically a shroud plus a built in moderator.
Remember I said it was about just as quiet as my Mrods. Well my Mrods are real quiet. The only thing that the gen 2 Mrod had over the Hatsan was the anti-ping deal they have Incorporated into the stocks on the Mrod.
The gen 2 Mrods don’t even make no ping noise or I should say very, very little if any plus they have a quiet report from the muzzle when they shoot. Now my Hatsan is just as quiet and don’t ping no more after I put the piece of vinyl with the 1/4” foam backing in between the stock and the air reservoir.
So that is one mod that I’m definitely glad I did to the Hatsan. And it seemed to help isolate the action from the stock. I do believe that my groups got better Sunday when I shot the Hatsan because of the foam.
Yep I forgot you did get the QE model, but I did not realize it had an end cap that screws on after the built in silencer. I will have to look at the pictures closer to see what you are talking about.
I have not shot mine enough after putting in the foam to know if it has helped the groups any. But when I get a chance I will let you know, its back to the doc today for the wife and she may have to have the scope down her throat because she has a hiatal hernia that we think is acting up.
On your OE can you see how many baffles are in the shrouded section, mine has 6 baffles and they make one with 8 but it is almost 10 inches long. mine is 8 1/4 inches itself which make the rather long , but it is definitely quiet.
I put some adhesive backed 1/8 inch thick foam stuck together with the adhesive facing each other to make 1/4 inch the length of the four raised ribs in the stock ahead of the middle screw hole and then two pieces of large open celled foam that was about 1/2 inch thick in front of the raised rib area just behind the front screw so that the entire length of the cylinder in the stock has foam against it and it compressed the foam down pretty tightly in the stock. The only thing I don’t like about that is if you want to unthread the cylinder to replace it if you had another one to replace it with like when out hunting is that the foam would probably not let you get the replacement one threaded back in. but since I don’t have an extra cylinder yet it is not and issue,
The baffle area is about 7.5” long. And no I haven’t taken off the end cap to see how many baffles it has in it. Just don’t feel like unscrewing it. Probably wont affect anything in the way the gun shoots but just don’t want to open it up yet.
And this is something else to remember the baffles are usually made a different way when they are used with a shroud. They have some kind of hole or slot in them that allows air to be vented back in to the shroud area. The whole shroud back to the breech will capture that air. So a shrouded gun will usually be quieter than a gun with a just a muffler on the end of the barrel.
That’s part of why the Mrod is so quiet. And if they would of stepped the shroud dia. up like Hatsan did the Mrod probably would be extremely quiet.
And you are right that it would probably not be fun to screw the replacement air reservoir back in with the foam in there. But here is something to remember about that. There’s got to be some sort of seal that you would have to be stressing if you kept taking the reservoir on and off. That is why I liked when the AirForce guns started making the new spin lock tanks with the air gauge and foster fitting on them. Now you don’t have to take the tank of or on those guns to fill them. But my idea is to not have to disassemble anything if I can avoid it. I would rather just keep filling the Hatsan as is and not disturb the guns stock or anything if I didn’t have to. Just me but It just makes me feel better that way.
I have had my cylinder out several times and like I stated in one of my post to you the valve is in the end of the cylinder. it is the brass colored ring that you see at the joint between the cylinder and the action. The valve has two O-rings on it one that seals the valve to the action on the backend to keep the air released when pulling the trigger going into the barrel and one on the front side of the valve to keep the air from being released to the outside past the action.
It is designed to be able to replace air cylinders without any loss of air in the cylinder. You can carry filled cylinders with you when you are out hunting and just unscrew one and install another full one. The valve seals the filled cylinder from leaking and only release the air when the hammer hits the valve stem. that is what I meant about the foam making it difficult to change cylinders.
I wish we could compare the reports from our guns because mine literally has no report whatsoever not even a pop.
I know the resivoir is desined to be changed out in the field. But it will put more wear on the o-ring. I would just rather fill my gun with the buddy bottle instead of buying another air resivoir. And less moving the barrel and such. I dont like to disturb the gun after I get one shooting right.
And I bet your Hatsan and mine are both equaly quiet guns. I can hear the target getting thumped more than any report from the gun.
I agree they are probably about the same in their report because I hear the pellet hit the target or the paper whichever I am shooting at. I understand about not wanting to put any more wear on the o-rings and just fill with a bottle from the port. I cannot afford another cylinder now any way. I don’t think that removing and installing the air cylinder will effect the accuracy of the gun as it is a loose fit in the front guide any way.
Does yours have two guides at the front of the stock or just one. Mine has only one, but has the boss and provision for a second one to be put on and I was thinking about seeing if I could get a second one for added support.
I wish we could get together to shoot sometime, maybe when I get my disability I can get up your way and we can meet and shoot some.
Im on my phone and I think we are getting thin. I will post a reply at the bottom.
I agree that this a very good looking gun and open sights is probably the way to go. But I would like to see the results with a scope.
Maybe that Leapers scout scope would look ok on this gun. I know you probably don’t need the long eye relief but it would kind of give the gun a sniper type of look to it. kind of like the Mosin’s and such.
Yes BB I’m trying to convince you to try a scope on it just once.
Back from the range! Things started out strong on the pistol range where I was shooting at 15 and 25 yards. The groups are closing up. The SW686 with .38 special blasted out a contiguous whole with about 40 shots. The 1911 group was in about 6 square inches, and I was only heeling the gun down a couple inches from point of aim. I love the 185 gr. load which makes all the difference from the regulation 230 gr. load. And at 25 yards, I was actually centered with both guns although a little spread out. This was also my chance to appreciate my cool black leather shooting gloves which make me look like Doc Holliday. I’ve never had a need for them with airguns. But they help you handle the hot firearms, especially in the 106 degree heat. They are also, for me, like little shooting jackets in giving extra support to the gun. Maybe this is the feeling that people strive for in paying for the shooting jackets and even underwear, but the gloves are as far as I go.
The pistol range also tends to be the most crowded. Much of it is taken by people benchresting their tactical rifles at 25 yards. So I observed the crowd. Females are always shepherded in a protective way by guys, but there was one guy who was holding the shoulder of a woman while she was shooting a pistol. That seems a little extreme. But there may be reasons for extra protectiveness. In a gun magazine a long time ago, there was a story by a woman about the condescension, patronizing, and harassing behavior that women were exposed to at gun ranges. While shooting her pistol one day, a guy came up to her, whipped out a huge pistol, and said, “Try this.” She hit the ten ring and the guy muttered and retreated.
And there was a new bunch this time in the form a group of large guys with huge bulging muscles. I was reminded of the Navy Seals ill-fated attempted to disguise themselves with the acronym, MARESFAC, which was supposed to mean Marine Research Facility. They were supposed to be scientists but the sight of the extremely muscular, active men walking around did not convince anyone. After much exposure to academics, I can say that they do not look like this. Anyway, the new bunch was impressive looking, but I noticed a fatal flaw. They held their shots for a long period. I don’t know if they were overstaring the shots or whether they were trying show off their muscles, but this is not the sign of expertise. Ye shall know your airgunner by his cavalier attitude towards ammunition.
Onto the Anschutz. The big event was standing. I got almost everything on target with the open sights. So a certain someone about my height who looks a lot like me is now holding the black. Oddly enough, when I switched to the scope things deteriorated a little bit. Partly it was fatigue and partly it was intimidation. The rifle was so expensive, the scope was bobbing around. The bulls seemed to be mocking me. On the last bull, I reset by adopting my sneering airgun disdainfulness at the target, and then I focused extra hard on the steps of my technique irrespective of the result. The theory was sort of like a Star Trek episode where an evil disembodied creature has invaded the ship’s computers. Spock commands the computer to calculate the value of Pi to the last digit and the activity expels the alien being. It worked, and I hit the X ring with two shots. That’s not much of a statistical sample, but I felt the technique. The convinces me that there is a fine shooter somewhere in there. Maybe when I get to 200,000 shots which is about 65,000 away, I’ll really have something to show. I read an interview of a shooting pro with Para-USA who said that he used his first million shots to learn how to shoot, so I might even be an advanced student. At 100 yards, the rifle really hit its stride. Out of several five shot groups, no less then four shots of each were sub MOA and all five shots of one group were in about a half inch. This rifle is beyond. I hate to say it folks, but I think it’s worth your while to buy an Anschutz or the the airgun equivalent with the Feinwerkbau match rifles. Notwithstanding the fine performance of the Air Arms rifles, the elite target rifles are playing in another league. Paying out the money will be painful, but you’ll be glad you did over time. With the amount of money it costs to run high caliber tactical rifles, you might have bought the equivalent of an Anschutz already without knowing it. I suspect that German engineering doesn’t do especially well at the lower prices and the value packages. But when fully unleashed with its intricate little mechanisms and stupendous prices at the higher levels there is no beating them. Ironically enough, on this time out, the Anschutz felt most like an airgun. Recoil is virtually non-existent and with my newly designed triple hearing protection, the discharge is like a twang. So, I’ve sort of come full circle.
Ah yes, the M1. I did NOT receive satisfaction. Things did not go well from the start. I ran a splinter into my hand on the table which I chalked up to the WWII experience. The first clip would not fit either. I changed it for another, and the clips gave no further problem. Here is the tally. 51.0 gr. had 2 jams. 51.1/1 jam. 50.9/0 jams. Plus, the accuracy for 51.1 gr. was exceptional. A cluster of five were inside of an inch which shows what the rifle is capable of. But the load with no jams opened out in alarming fashion. The 16 shots from the clip were a little over three inches. So what the heck is going on? The accuracy and the jamming is not following any pattern at all.
After some reflection, I think that my theory is battered but still intact. As the load goes down, the jams decrease. I had a jam rate of 2 per 16 at the recommended load, and a half grain down, I’m at 3 per 48. The accuracy reduction may have been due to me. By the last load, I was overstaring the shots and peeking at the breech with each shot to check for jams. I was starting to freak.
Thanks for all the advice. Mike, I suspect you are right that the .1 variations are not enough to change the rifle from its current condition. Wulfraed, your theory about the primer variation changing the pressure would tend to support my theory. You’re at odds with internet wisdom that there is really no difference between primers, but I didn’t read enough to average out the dubious people who might have posted. Ed, thanks for the detailed advice about disassembly, but that runs into a problem. Clint told me not to disassemble the rifle because of his many modifications. So, I don’t want to open the box to find that I have ruined the present in doing so. And there’s also the question of what I would do once I got in there. Clint coached me over the phone in disassembling the trigger mechanism to check the safety, and it was like being taken over by a higher alien intelligence. I had no idea what was going on. So, this is almost Shakespearean in its tragic irony. I am “hoist with my own petard” as Hamlet says. (A petard is a land mine.) In seeking out expert service, I can’t fix the rifle now that my expert is retired.
Putting this altogether, I think we need to make one more agonized try with the loads: 50.9, 50.8, 50.7. I am just hemorrhaging money and time. But maybe success is right around the corner and my variations have been too cautious. I must thrust boldly into the lower powder levels. But if this doesn’t work at almost a full grain below the recommended load, then the load is not the problem. Why then I’ll…send the gun off to a gunsmith. And not just any gunsmith. The M1 is a complicated mechanism whose care is almost like art as much as science. The local gunsmiths are most suspicious, and after the muff job they did on my Lee-Enfield, I’m not trying them again. I had to go all the way to South Carolina to get a gunsmith who specializes in the Lee-Enfield, so I’m going to do the same for the M1. Researching this is interesting, and I’m already lining up some promising people.
Meanwhile, the gun is about history as much as anything, so I’m encouraging myself with different stories like the case of one Medal of Honor winner in the Pacific War. I forget his name, but he defended a position all night with rifle fire when his comrades were shot. When one rifle jammed, he picked up another (showing that the M1 does jam), and they somehow calculated that he shot over 400 people during the night. The next day, he was evacuated on a stretcher with serious wounds but snipers shot both of his stretcher bearers dropping him to the ground. He picked up the M1 from a stretcher bearer and shot the snipers before collapsing and was finally evacuated. Of course, the winners of the Medal of Honor are extraordinarily courageous, but reading these stories, you have to conclude that they are in some very unusual state of mind to be able to do what they do. No movie could equal it.
Interesting about the Red Ryder being the gun that won WWII. I recently found out that my Dad had a bb gun as a kid that sounds like a Red Ryder. But when he was drafted that skill deserted him and he was in danger of failing to qualify. What really motivated him was terror at being recycled into another round of basic training and extending his time in the army to which he was very ill-suuited. So he applied his recent college degree to studying the Eight Steady Hold Factors and managed to qualify as a sharpshooter.
103David, I love CS knives, and their major product, the tanto design is interesting to me. Reading up on this, I see that the Tanto is a dagger from Japan’s martial past that has just about the greatest point strength of any design ever made. It’s purpose was to punch through the lacquered armor that was in use. For that it was extraordinarily effective. The trouble is that most people today do not do that. So such a purpose built design should be almost useless. In fact, the tanto folding knife I bought turns out to be less useful than other knives for every day use. On the other hand, the designs of genius have a way of adapting to different situations. For the so-called American tanto with the secondary point and greater belly than the originals (which were perfectly straight), maybe you could get some more use out of them. They are certainly attractive and fearsome to look at.
There is definitely something wrong with your rifle. Even a Match Grade M-1 should shoot with almost never a jam. Think about it. These rifles were some of the tools that helped win a major war. They were cared for by folks with often minimum training and they worked. Your thought of finding a different gunsmith to look at it is probably the thing to do. Once the “Bugs” are worked out of it, I think you will have a rifle you will really enjoy. Keep at it…..you will succeed in the end!
Matt’s rifle is one of those super-tight hand-built competition rifles. It is beyond match grade.
The builder doesn’t even recommend disassembly for periodic cleaning.
Yes indeed. But it should still work.
Yes, hence the weird position I’m finding myself in. I will admit to eating some crow here as the M4 I shot functioned flawlessly for 100 rounds…
As far as the premier air rifles now available I will have to put in a plug for an American made one. Although I have several of the premier European air rifles right now my R.A.W. TM 1000 is out shooting them all. I must admit that it was custom built (not for me) with a hand picked LW barrel and not the typical off the line rifle but it is remarkably accurate. Everything about it screams ultra quality. Just my two cents worth.
Ah, the Tanto. I agree, unless laquered body armor returns as a fashion-statement, it’s unlikely I’d buy another, at least not as a weapon. Truth be known, even then it was (much) more of an esthetic acquistion than anything. Were I to do it over again, I’d opt for the longest blade available in the (what we’d call) the dagger format. These days, the longest from CS would with a 12″ blade…something not not only has a bit more reach while still being very quick.
I’m afraid I must correct you, however on the idea that the point was …”the point.” ( Sorry about that, couldn’t resist.). While indeed, the Tanto/wakisashi/katana/etc point is intended to pierce armor, the fighting style has always placed the major emphasis on the edge, or more precisely, the cut.
However, don’t ever forget a Tanto point (and an ice pick, for that matter,) will penetrate modern-Kevlar-and-such soft body armor like it’s not there.
I have to interject, I have several “real” swords and my father’s Katana is the only one I’m actually afraid of.
That said, being descended from Scandinavian-European stock, AND having worked a number of years at our local Rennaissiance Faire, my training resides with the quite realistic, one-in-each-hand Rapier/Dagger combination.
I know, just the thing one’s going to use every day of their life, right?
Amazing what you can learn at the Ren Faire. We’ll talk about what I learned about archery and Agincourt another time.
But basically, the “sword” (a terrible generalization) evolved from the club, modified with bronze and an edge to a short slashing weapon, through iron and as the metallurgy developed to longer edged club, to a big slashing knife, until somebody realized the “point” could become a “fighting point.” Rather than something used to simply finish off your soon to be finally departed foe.
There were, of course, some unfortunate dead-ends (very dead,as it turned out.) The New World native Americans wielding their wooden clubs with edge embedded-obsidian/sharp rocks/glass shards, and wrongly referred to as “swords” did not fare well against european steel rapiers and armor.
The evolution of the sword coninued through the curved, slashing saber but, a funny thing. The last issued military sword, intended for actual fighting, as opposed to ceremonial use, was on the eve WW1 and had no edge at all…(wait for it…) but solely a point. (Though the final Brit Cavalry sabre, blatantly copied by Geaorgy Patton for the final US Cavalry saber was a narrow-bladed single-edged needle-pointed back-sword that is what I’d probably choose if I was really intending to fight somebody with a sword.)
My limited (but nontheless real life experience) is when we’d occasionaly play with the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, a wonderous organization,) but who’s basic time-frame was late medieval or most folk with pretensions of Japanese Katana, or the multitude of Chinese martial art forms, or…
Well, you’re probably getting the idea. My experience is that with the emphasis on the slash, the chop, or anything else involving the edge, well, …someone familier with the form, will beat you with the point
We’d “kill” them and go home.
Whoops, gotta go have supper..
Matt61, On my 1st safari, I shot a Kudu at about 150yds, offhand. He went down, but got up right away. I had to rapid fire 3 more shots to finish him off. I was using a MarkX .375 H&H rifle. My hand load was the 300 grain Sierra at 2550 fps. This load would shoot 2-2.5″ groups at 200 yds. I discovered that although this load was accurate, the Sierra bullet broke up and did not penetrate deeply. I felt like a kid shooting cans rapid fire with a Red Ryder. ( I was 53, at the time). That’s when I discovered that I really could shoot a .375 bolt gun as fast as I had been shooting my 1903 in rapid fire matches. I wish that this event had been videotaped so that I could tell you how long it took me to fire the 3 rounds. Of course, I was facing a harmless herbivore, and he was not charging! Re your M1, all M1,s should be taken apart for a good cleaning, at the end of the match season. A match M1 should be broken down as few times as possible. That is for rifles that function normally. Yours malfunctions. So taking it apart (by you or a gunsmith) is justified. I have a cylinder lock screw without the valve. I some times use it to check the accuracy of my loads. It turns the rifle into a straight pull rifle, and the operating rod and associated parts do not effect the accuracy of the rifle. It would let you cycle the bolt by hand and perhaps find clues as to where and why the rifle jams. If it were me , I would send it back to the gunsmith. PS Does this rifle jam with GI or factory ammo? Keep us posted Ed
That’s a heck of a shot. I find that at the 100 yard range that I’m the only guy shooting offhand. Everyone else is in sniper mode in a rest. But I bet out West, 100 yards is nothing. So, you’ve shot the famous .375 H&H, one of the classic cartridges. I heard once of a DuBiel model rifle chambered in this caliber with a bolt throw of 36 degrees for the rapid follow up shot.
I’m about at the end of my rope for trying to find a pattern in the jams for my M1. My original plan was to use Greek surplus of which I purchased several hundred rounds. Clint said that would be okay and that the only restriction was in not shooting more than a 180gr. load. I shot a fair amount of the surplus with maybe two or three jams per 50. Finally, I asked Clint about this, and he said that rifle was probably not getting enough gas since he had tuned it for IMR 4064. So, I learned how to reload. I worked my way up a half grain at a time, starting with 49.0 gr. of 4064 up to 51.5 gr., the recommended load (which is almost at the pressure limit in the reloading tables). The jam rate decreased. When I finally got to 51.5 gr., there was slight hiccup in my shooting session which required just a touch to release the bolt and chamber the round. Satisfied, I put the rifle away for a few years while I purchased other surplus rifles and my gunsmith retired. But when I went back, the 51.5 gr. load jams 3 per 16 shots. Obviously crimping the rounds made things worse presumably by increasing the pressure. I tried two clips of the surplus, and darn it if that didn’t work fine (although two clips is probably within the jam rate that I had before). I had good results with 51.0 gr. last week with no jams in two clips. But then I get 2 jams in two clips with the same load a week later although 50.9 behaved well. I’m jiggered as to what’s going on here. One more try, and then I’ll deploy the gunsmiths.
One reason I’m pushing so hard is that I have to rethink storage of my reloading supplies in view of my imminent move. My supplies are stored well now to prevent them from any accidental discharge. But what if there was an external fire such as those that are springing up in California in drought conditions not far away from me? Any firefighters entering my place to put out a fire could get the ugliest kind of surprise. I want to get the loose powder loaded up. But even that’s not enough. I read that if any traces of accelerants are found in the remains of a fire, they could void your insurance policy that could lead to financial ruin. I had no idea what I was getting into with reloading, but the same is true of my yet unopened stash of surplus 7.62X54R.
But maybe things are looking up for me. I see upon looking at the new place that there is a small strip of dirt allotted to me. So, what I’m going to do is buy some of those survival containers and bury the stuff. And just so that I don’t make an underground bomb, I won’t seal the containers or fill in the pit. I’ll cover the top with cardboard covered by loose earth. So, nobody will notice and everything will be safe.
I’m normally pretty confident of one inch groups at 35 yards with an airsporter, and have taken plenty of rabbits with one over the years, it’s a shame you didn’t scope it, that would have shown you an anomoly, the airsporters grooves were somewhat too far forwards, especially for the scopes of the day, leading BSA to supply their own offset scope mount
I suspect you could get round it now by using a longer bodied modern sight though.
And BB, the Airsporter and Mercury trigger IS adjustable
Speaking of old air rifles, when you tested the 880 people mentioned an old steel breech model that may have been an 881? Well if that was it, my friend has a friend that gave me an 881 that’s about 35 years old to fix up, gunk in the seal. Anybody know anything about this gun?
The only difference from an 880 that I remember is that the 881 has a rifled barrel.
BB, Thanks for reviewing this great looking gun! I really like the intricacies of it and from what you have shown its fairly accurate to. Thanks for testing it as is. As I mentioned before I’m trying to get the Diana version of the stutzen and if there is interest I might make a report with lots of pics.
Beautiful gun, BB! Nice shootin’! And a nice handle for your byline! Did you try super h points? They work well in a couple of my guns.
No. These were the only pellets I tried.
Any chance you will do a review of the Diana 430 Stutzen? It’s the only stutzen that P.A. offers for sale now. I would love to see how it performs. Thanks.
I might test one in the future. But someone else said they are buying one and may do a guest blog.
If you ever can get around to testing the Diana 430 Stutzen that will be particularly interesting to me as a few years back when i was getting back into air rifles the Stutzen style configuration in the model 46 and though i hate to admit it the Gamo were serious contenders. Well now i have my magnum .25 gas piston in addition to my utilitarian Gamo big cat. My 17hmr varmint gun for longer range pests now i find myself looking for mid powered target pest and while i know my money would be better spent on an AA TX200 i just like the looks of the 430 Stutzen and i have read that the stock while split might offer some dampening effect over the basic 430.
That conversation took place a year ago. I have no plans to test the 430 Stutzen at this time.
I only ended up here and asked as a result as recent blog got me looking around at the Stutzen again, but context matters.
Then welcome to the blog.
I don’t mean to cut you off, but I test so few air rifles eaqch year that I try to test those that are unique, if possible.
I moved down here.
My Hatsan does have another place so you could put two barrel bands next to each other. Or change the location of the original barrel band. Sometimes changing the band location on pcp guns will change the way the barrel or resivoir vibrate. And also how the resivoir reacts as the fill preasure changes.
I have got better groups out of pcp huns by changing the band location. Thats why I like the barrel bands on the 2240’s and the Disco’s. You can add more and move them around. If you have a fixed barrel like the Disco and 2240 you can also use the band to keep the barrel true to your scope so you POI doesnt change side to side at different distances.
And wouldnt it be cool if all the blog readers could get together and shoot somewhere.
So yours only has one also, because if you look at the pics in the PA site they show the 44s with either one or two bands on them. The wood stocked version and the pump action long both show two barrel support bands on them where all the other ones only have one band, they also show a white faced pressure gauge on the cylinder instead of the yellow/green/red faced gauge that mine has on it.
That is one thing that bothers me is not having an accurate picture representation of the product you are buying. Does yours have a white faced gauge or the yellow/green/red one.
Yea it would be great if all the people on this blog could get together and shoot for a weekend somewhere.
Mine has the same gauge as yours.
Ok I think I am going to try and find out if I can buy another band to put on mine. You know I did that on my 60C and it is just behind where the threads on the fill end of the air tube end and it seemed to help the accuracy some by not letting the end of the barrel move at all. I just called Mike at FDAR and he sent me one for 10 bucks including shipping, I had to use a brake cylinder hone to enlarge the tube ID of the band, Mike said to use a dremel tool like he does but I do not have that steady of a hand to do it that way and keep it round. So a brake cylinder hone works real good,
I just ordered my Hi-pac kits for both my 2240 as I got the one from gun broker today also.
So its time to get busy swapping parts from my 2289 to the 2240 and do the machining on my 853 barrel.
Good glad you got your hi-pac on the way.
And we use the brake cylinder hones at work all the time when we rebiuld air and hydraulic cylinders. Use a little tranny fluid. It helps cut the metal a little faster. But yep they work nice to clean the air tubes up and give slight cross hatch on the pump guns. I make a light pass the last time and that helps the seal seat better. I guess that might work good for the spring guns. I dont know for sure. I never tryed it on them.
yes it does work good for spring guns also as when I built the FWB 124 the air chamber had some small scratches in it from the seal being disintegrated and being shot a few time before he figured out that it was not shooting right. I used a hone to clean up the scratches in the chamber and give it a good cross hatch for the new seal to seat into. It turned out very well with the gun shooting in the low 800 fps range and when I asked BB what was the stated fps for these guns he directed me to his 15 part review of the early 124s which this is one of and it stated that they were a 750 fps gun as the norm, so to be in the low 800s told me the build was done properly as BB stated when I gave the numbers.
I just hope he keeps his word and give my first dib on it when he decided to sell it.
You get first dibs if you are first through the door at the Ft. Worth airgun show on Sep. 6. Or you could talk to me at the reception at the hotel the evening before the show. I will be there.
So you went through the back door and got ahead of me huh. Well just wait and see who gets it first.
I wish I could make the Ft. Worth gun show just as you probably wish you could make the North Carolina show, maybe there will be one half way where we can meet and flip a coin for dibs on a gun
Good luck at the show and hope you sell and buy some nice guns
I haven’t decided yet about North Carolina. I might attend.
Depends on Ft. Worth and my filming schedule.
It would be great if you can attend , as I told Edith I would really like to meet both of you in person and talk for awhile and share some stories.
Edith didn’t think you would be able to make due to your schedule with the American airgunner series and all the other obligations on your plate.
If you are going to be able to make it Please let me know so I can be sure to look you up and spend some time together.
With older BSA barrels, nearer 5.6mm than 5.5mm, try the modern Milbro Select pellet in a grey labelled tin. Although not the best quality pellet, I find that they are the best modern solution for the slightly larger barrels. Using them, I often obtain sub 1 inch groups at 35 yards using various older BSA rifles.
I have some Milbro pellets, but I don’t know if I have what you recommend.
Addition: I have not tested the Milbro Select in 177, but would suspect they are also the British 177 size as opposed to the continental metric 177 size.
I’ve just found an old Nikko Stirling 3-9 x 40 gloss scope on eBay in mint condition. I fitted it to my Stutzen today with nice low mounts and it looks the business! It seems to be putting out some brilliant groups with 16grn Air arms Diablo Field.
The Stutzen is sure nice. isn’t it?
It’s my favourite at the moment. I like my other vintage springer’s, but the Stutzen just has so much character. I have a mark 6 Airsporter, a Superstar and a 1978 Weihraurch HW35. I recently bought a Walther LGU, a great gun but lacked soul. I shot it a few times but I was drawn back to my vintage stuff. I have a Webley Fx 2000 precharge and a BSA R10 which are fantastically accurate but give me the old stuff every time. I do love my pistols as well, most of them old! Thanks for the welcome, Steve (UK)
Ihave in my collection bsa rb2 stutzen in .25 cal. no2 off production line ser no 1001 they startedat 1000.
Brand new condition in orig. box.
P.S.mr bsa did say i could not have 1001 as they kept first two off production
line for themselves but this one got sold from factory to me.by mistake hard luck.
shoots very well indeed.
Welcome to the blog.
Congratulations on your airgun! It sounds like a real prize.
ps yet again bb. serial no on my gun says WT1001 which refers to .177 should be awr for .25.
had aword with j knibbs shop must have been stamped wrong at BSA.?.So serial nos. dont
always prove right as in many cases.
thanks again. roly.01630 652823
Tom, sorry to resurrect a defunct thread (flog a dead horse?). I just acquired one of these beautiful rifles in .177, as new, probably unfired, in the box with all papers, packing , and accessories. One thing I discovered in the instructions and confirmed on my gun. (I can also see it on yours.) Not only is the front sight adjustable for elevation, which I concluded from examining it, but, in the instructions it indicates that the front blade can be removed, swapped top for bottom, and it displays as a bead instead of a post! I’ve not seen that design on any other gun in my past or present collection. For cleverness, it rivals my old RWS 75HV match rifle that variably squashed an O-ring between two clear discs to adjust the front sight aperture size! I’ve mounted an RWS 2×7 32mm wideview airgun scope with parallax adjustment on mine and will test for accuracy and pellet preference. I agree that it’s one of the the most elegant and graceful airgun designs I’ve ever owned. Puts me in mind of a Model 88 Winchester (which I’ve never owned!) for sleekness. Mine has a trigger that’s adjustable for sear engagement and spring tension.
Welcome to the blog.
I’m glad you like your new/old BSA!