CZ P-09 Duty BB and Pellet pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

CZ P-09 Duty
CZ P-09 BB and pellet pistol closely copies the firearm.

Part 1

This report covers:

• Test design
• Daisy BBs
• ASG Blaster BBs
• Air Arms Falcon pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• Shot count
• Trigger pull

Today, we’ll look at the power and velocity of the CZ P-09 Duty from ASG. If you remember from Part 1, this blowback pistol can shoot either steel BBs or lead pellets from its 16-shot magazine. Each end of the mag has an 8-shot circular clip that rotates as the gun is fired.

The pistol is both single-action (hammer is already cocked before the trigger is pulled) and double-action (hammer is cocked by pulling the trigger); but in this case, you’re going to be firing it single-action most of the time. That’s because each time the slide blows back, it cocks the hammer for the next shot. I did shoot it double-action (hammer down when the trigger is pulled) twice, but saw no real difference in velocity. And, since you aren’t going to shoot it that way most of the time, I decided to test the gun single-action, only.

Test design
I started the test shooting BBs. I shot 2 different ones in this test. The first was the Daisy Premium Grade BB that’s a standard for premium steel BBs. Because this pistol operates on CO2, which cools the gun and slows the velocity as it does, I allowed 10-15 seconds between each shot. That gives the gun’s parts a chance to warm up after the shot. I shot 8 shots per string instead of 10, because the magazine holds 8 rounds on either end.

Daisy BBs
Eight Daisy BBs averaged 317 f.p.s. The high was 330 f.p.s., and the low was 311 f.p.s. I noticed that the chambers in the circular clip grabbed the BBs with different tension, and that’s what made the biggest difference in velocity, I believe. This 5.1-grain BB produced 1.14 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

The pistol is advertised to get 412 f.p.s., so I think the manufacture’s velocity estimate is a bit high — at least for the pistol I’m testing. Maybe it will speed up a bit when it breaks in.

ASG Blaster BBs
I also tried ASG Blaster steel BBs in the gun. This is a BB that’s new to me, so I also took a close look at it for you. The surface is extremely smooth. When I measured several BBs, the diameter ranged between 0.172 inches and 0.173 inches, with most of the BBs measuring 0.1725 inches. Of course, the bottle says they are 4.5mm/.177 caliber, but every BB manufacture puts that on their packaging.

These BBs did appear to be very spherical — I measured several of them at different places, and the measurements never varied. They weigh 5.1 to 5.4 grains, with most of them coming in at 5.3 grains. That is both a larger weight spread than other premium BBs I have tested, and also a couple tenths of a grain heavier.

ASG Blaster steel BBS
ASG BB joins the lineup of premium steel BBs.

ASG BBs averaged 316 f.p.s., but the velocity ranged from a low of 303 f.p.s, to a high of 361 f.p.s. I attribute a loose chamber in the circular clip to that fast one because the next-fastest BB went just 319 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this BB produced 1.18 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

It was time to test the gun with lead pellets. Given the power level, I selected 2 light pellets that I thought matched the gun very well.

Air Arms Falcon pellets
First to be tested were Air Arms Falcon pellets. They’re a domed lightweight pellet that often produces surprising accuracy. In the P-09, they averaged 322 f.p.s., with a velocity spread from 303 f.p.s. to 337 f.p.s. You’ll notice that’s faster than either of the steel BBs, despite the pellet’s 7.33-grain weight adding 2 grains over the ASG BBs. Obviously, these pellets fit the bore better and get more power from the expanding gas. At the average velocity, this pellet produces 1.69 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

RWS Hobby pellets
RWS Hobbys weigh just 7 grains and are quite uniform, so I use them to determine the best velocity for most .177 pellet guns. In the P-09, they averaged 335 f.p.s., but the velocity spread was pretty high. It ranged from a low of 319 f.p.s. to a high of 348 f.p.s. At the average velocity, Hobby produced 1.74 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Hobbys fit the chambers of the circular clips very tightly. I had to push them in with a pen to get them seated below flush. That fit may account for some of the velocity spread. The accuracy test will be interesting.

Shot count
The lower velocity means the shot count can be higher, but blowback subtracts from that. By this point in the test, there were already 38 shots on the CO2 cartridge, and the slide was still blowing back strong. That’s a good indication of when the pressure is dropping — when the slide no longer blows back.

Shot 48 was a Hobby that went out at 324 f.p.s., so the gun was still on the power band. Shot 53 was 305 f.p.s., which indicated the CO2 liquid was gone, and the gun was now running on residual gas. Shot 60 went 275 f.p.s., 65 went 250 f.p.s., 66 went 254 f.p.s. and 67 went out at 247 f.p.s.

At this point, I stopped shooting pellets because I didn’t want to jam one in the barrel, but I continued to fire the gun to see at what shot the slide would stop blowing back far enough to cock the hammer. That happened at shot 75. I would say that plinkers will get 8 full clips from the gun and target shooters should stop after 6 clips. Subtract one clip if you want to shoot rapidly without allowing the gun to recover from the cold. Of course, we still need to see if the P-09 is a worthy target air pistol.

Trigger-pull
The last thing I’ll test for you today is the trigger-pull. Double-action went off at 9 lbs., 8 oz. Single-action broke at 5 lbs., even. The length of the single-action pull is very long, and you feel a pause right at the start. But when you get to the break point, the trigger blade stops moving and the pressure builds until the gun fires.

Next, we’ll test the pistol for accuracy. I think I’ll try to test both pellets and BBs in the same report, unless something unexpected happens.


Things you can do to make your new airgun better: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

• Shoot it!
• Test it!
• Clean it — maybe
• Oil it — maybe
• Keep your hands off!

Today, I’m going to look at precharged pneumatics (PCP). Maybe you thought these came ready to go right from the factory, and in many ways they do; but even with this powerplant, there are always things you can do to make the guns shoot better.

Shoot it!
The first thing is something most people are going to do anyway — I just want to make you aware of how it affects your gun. Shoot it! Don’t take it apart to see how it works and if you can “correct” all the flaws the “stupid” factory left in the gun when they made it. Don’t send it off to be tuned. Just shoot the thing, and it will get better.

Back when Falcon airguns were being made in the UK, they used to come from the box at one velocity — let’s say it was 890 f.p.s. with a .177-caliber H&N Baracuda Match. A thousand pellets later, the same rifle might be getting 960 f.p.s. from the same pellet. Falcons always increased in velocity as they broke in. That’s something my friend Mac taught me. He owned 6 Falcon air rifles, and each one of them got faster the more it was shot.

I started watching, and lo and behold my brand new Daystate Huntsman did the same thing. It started out at 875 f.p.s. with the same pellet and was up to 930 when I started competing in field target with the rifle, about 500 pellets later. Of course, to notice such things, you have to have a chronograph and use it.

Test it!
The second thing you can do for your PCP follows from the first. Test your PCP to establish the optimum fill pressure. Don’t read the manual and then slavishly fill to exactly 3,000 psi on the dial of your fill gauge just because that’s what it says in the book. It’s a good bet that your gauge is off by some amount, anyway, so use that chronograph to find out what works best with your particular airgun and your particular gauge. Use the owner’s manual as your starting point.

My Daystate came with instructions to fill to 2,600 psi. But that didn’t agree with the fill gauge on my scuba tank — and THAT did not agree with the gauge on my hand pump that I ultimately used exclusively in competition. I discovered that if I filled my rifle to 2450 psi, as indicated by the gauge on my hand pump, the rifle gave me 24 shots that didn’t vary by more than 10 f.p.s. That information didn’t come from any manual — it came from testing the rifle over a chronograph with the pellet I intended using. Once I discovered that, I made an indelible mark on the cover of the gauge of my hand pump — a mark that is still there today, even though the rifle’s long gone.

Clean it — maybe
This trick I learned from the late Rodney Boyce, who sold me both my Daystates. He told me that PCPs shoot with dry bores, and they sometimes get lead in the rifling that affects accuracy. He said that, whenever accuracy falls off, you need to clean the bore. Then Ben Taylor — the Ben of Theoben — told me exactly how to clean an airgun barrel. Use a brass bore brush (steel barrels only) that’s loaded with JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound and run it through the bore both ways 20 times. Clean out the residue, and the bore will be clean. I’ve been cleaning airgun barrels that way ever since, and it works.

And while I’m on the subject — don’t get hung up on the fact that Brownells calls their brush a bronze brush and I said to use brass. Brass or bronze — they all work the same. When the exact material really matters, such as when I say to use Silicone Chamber Oil, I’ll tell you that I don’t want you to use the silicone oil that comes in spray cans for oiling door hinges. And, I’ll tell you why.

Before I leave this subject, I have to say one more thing. LEARN ABOUT LEAD AND LEAD ALLOYS!!!! For over 50 years, I’ve had to know about the subtle differences between pure lead and certain lead alloys because I cast my own bullets. It really matters. If you use lead that’s been hardened with antimony, I guarantee that your bullets will leave lead deposits in the bore of your gun! I first discovered this in about 1968 while shooting a .45 Colt Single Action. But over the years, I have seen only a few gun writers who know that this happens or why.

Antimony is used to harden the lead alloy when you want to shoot a bullet very fast. Soft lead alloys will not withstand the rotational torque of the bullet when shot fast. In short, they’ll strip the rifling (they will not allow the rifling to grab and guide them) and will be inaccurate.

This leading happens more as the velocity increases, so until you top about 750 f.p.s. with pellets you won’t notice it. But when you shoot Crosman Premier pellets in an airgun at 900 f.p.s., they’ll lead the bore! It’s gradual at first, but it does accelerate as the lead builds up. Those using Premiers should clean their barrels when the accuracy drops off. But don’t be a slave to cleaning!

I know an airgunner who claims he cleans his barrel with JB Paste every 200 shots! Folks, that’s not cleanliness — that’s insanity! He’s being anal. This fellow will clean his barrel so often that a time will come when it will have to be cleaned all the time, because of the mechanical damage he has done from the rod impacting the rifling. Only clean your barrel when the accuracy falls off. And, if Premier pellets are the most accurate pellets in your airgun, by all means use them. I do!

Oil it — maybe
I do oil my PCP airguns. I use silicone chamber oil and put it in through the air intake port — the same way we put Crosman Pellgunoil into a CO2 gun. I know what this oil does for a PCP powerplant, and I do this as a matter of course. You don’t have to do it, and I am not advising you to. But if your PCP has a slow leak (loses pressure after a week), then some silicone chamber oil might fix it.

And, no — I didn’t say to use automatic transmission fluid or whale snot or Jake’s Sure-Fire Fix-it Oil. I said silicone chamber oil — period!

Keep your hands off!
The best advice I can give is going to roll right off the backs of those who need it the most. Leave your airgun alone! Just shoot it, and then shoot it some more. If there are adjustments (trigger, power, etc) avoid making them until you’ve shot your gun enough to know when an adjustment makes a real difference. I read about guys getting brand-new PCPs and tearing into them like they’ve been working at the factory for the past 10 years. They get knee-deep in the innards, and only then does it occur to them that they don’t know what they’re doing.

There’s a delicate balance between the striker weight, the power of the striker spring, the length of the striker travel, the diameter of the valve port, the shape of the valve head and seat, and the strength of the valve return spring. Is that complex enough for you? Your airgun has been designed to work best with the combination of these variables that’s in the gun when it leaves the factory. Changing any variable affects the others and may take the performance of your airgun outside the envelope in which it was designed to work.

When I worked at AirForce Airguns (2003-2005), I got to see the damage people will do to airguns. One case was particularly interesting, because the man who had brought us his nearly new and hopelessly broken Condor was posting on forums how to soup-up Condors at the same time he was asking us to fix the rifle he had destroyed. His “heavy” striker weight hammered apart the valve in his gun. It also ruined the screw hole in the frame that holds the threaded boss that the tank screws into. We fixed that as best we could, but he really ruined the rifle’s frame, which is the heart of the whole gun. Be wary of people who are self-proclaimed experts.


Qiang Yuan pellet comparison test: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• Introduction to 3 new pellets
• Test design
• Today’s test
• The pellet
• FWB 300S air rifle
• Crosman Challenger PCP rifle
• Bottom line

Introduction to 3 new pellets
Today, I’m doing something different. Pyramyd Air has 3 different wadcutter pellets from the Chinese manufacturer Qiang Yuan. One is a standard-grade pellet they call the Qiang Yuan Training Pellet. The second is an upscale target pellet they call the Qiang Yuan Match Pellet. And, the top-of-the-line Qiang Yuan Olympic Pellet. Unlike Chinese wadcutters of the past, these 3 are not trying to compete on price. In each of their categories, they cost as much as or more than well-known premium pellets. I think a comparison test is in order.

Qiang Yuan pellets
Qiang Yuan is a pellet name that’s unknown in the U.S. Olympic pellets in the red box (200), match-grade pellets in the yellow box (200) and training pellets in the round tin (500). These 3 will each be pitted against equivalent pellets that are well known.

Test design
My test will pit these pellets against well-known established pellets of similar quality. Since I don’t know how accurate these pellets are, I am basing the test on their product titles and prices. These are all wadcutters, so the test will be conducted only at 10 meters. Wadcutter pellets of all types scatter wildly after about 25 yards, so they are primarily a target pellet, with secondary use for close-range critter control.

I’ll shoot all pellets from 2 rifles — an FWB 300S and a Crosman Challenger PCP The 300S is my most accurate 10-meter spring-piston rifle, and the Challenger is the best 10-meter PCP I have access to. Both rifles have been used in this blog several times in the past. All shooting will be done from a bag rest to keep as much of me as possible out of the picture.

Today’s test
Today, I’ll pit the Qiang Yuan Training Pellet against the popular RWS Hobby. Hobbys are certainly considered to be training pellets, and they cost almost 2 dollars less than the Qiang Yuan Training Pellets for the same quantity of 500, so this should be a fair test. Since I’m shooting 2 different accurate rifles, both pellets will have an equal chance to excel.

The pellet
The Chinese Training Pellet weighs 8.2 grains. The skirt is smooth, and the skirt walls are thin. Looking closely at the pellet, I see that it’s well made.

Qiang Yuan Training Pellet
The Qiang Yuan Training Pellet is well-formed and looks uniform.

The RWS Hobby pellet weighs just 7 grains in comparison. The skirt has ridges and is also thin. This appears to be a well-made pellet on inspection, and of course its performance history bears that out.

FWB 300S
The first rifle I shot was the FWB 300S, and the first pellet was the RWS Hobby. Shot one confirmed the rifle was still sighted-in and I didn’t look at the target again until all 10 shots had been fired. Ten pellets made a group at 10 meters that measured 0.328 inches between centers. If this seems large, remember there are 10 pellets instead of just 5.

RWS Hobby target FWB
Ten RWS Hobby pellets went into 0.328 inches at 10 meters when fired from the FWB 300S.

Now it was the new pellet’s turn. I noted that when it loaded, it fit the FWB 300S breech much looser than the RWS Hobby had.

As before, I checked to make sure the first shot was in the bull and didn’t look again until all 10 shots had been fired. Lo and behold, 10 Qiang Yuan Training Pellets went into 0.234 inches at the same 10 meters from the FWB 300S. This is a clear and obvious improvement over Hobbys.

Qiang Yuan Training Pellet target FWB
The FWB 300S put 10 Qiang Yuan Training Pellets into 0.234 inches at 10 meters. It’s easy to see this is a smaller group.

If these had been just 5-shot groups, there might have been cause to wonder about random luck. But with 10 pellets in each group, luck plays no part. The Qiang Yuan Training Pellets did the best.

Crosman Challenger PCP
Next up was the Crosman Challenger PCP target rifle. The rear sight fell off the rifle as I was filling it, so I remounted it and had to sight-in the rifle, again. As you’ll see, I didn’t quite get the groups centered — but it was good enough for this test.

First up were the RWS Hobbys. The Challenger put 10 of them in a group that measures 0.424 inches at 10 meters. You can see some tendency for the pellets to string on a diagonal.

RWS Hobby target Challenger
Ten RWS Hobby pellets went into 0.424 inches at 10 meters when fired from the Crosman Challenger PCP.

Now, it was the Qiang Yuan pellet’s turn. This time, 10 went into a very round 0.181-inch group — the best group of the day!

Qiang Yuan Training Pellet target Challenger
The Crosman Challenger PCP put 10 Qiang Yuan Training Pellets into 0.181 inches at 10 meters. This was the best group of the day!

This test turned out better than I’d hoped. I say that because there’s a clear winner. And, also, because it’s easy to see how one pellet shoots better in one test rifle than the other.

Bottom line
The Qiang Yuan pellet beat the Hobby in both rifles today. It’s earned a spot among those pellets we call premium. Yes, they do cost significantly more than Hobbys; but, if I were shooting a match with either of these rifles, I would pick this pellet over the Hobbys.


Mosin Nagant 1891 CO2 BB rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Mosin Nagant CO2 BB gun
The Gletcher Mosin Nagant 1891 CO2 BB Rifle (gun) is extremely realistic.

This report covers:

• Why this rifle?
• History
• Description
• I’m impressed!

Today’s blog begins our look at Gletcher’s Mosin Nagant 1891 CO2 BB Rifle. For starters, it isn’t a rifle at all! It’s a gun, the difference being that this one has a smoothbore barrel for steel BBs. Anything that isn’t rifled is properly called a gun. The manufacturer calls it a rifle because that’s what it copies, but this is really a smoothbore BB gun.

While the barrel is obviously very short (I’ll get to that in a moment) what you see isn’t really the barrel. The actual barrel is about 6 inches long and is enclosed by a metal shroud that looks like a Mosin Nagant barrel.

Just because you read the word shroud, don’t think this gun is silenced in any way. This shroud is just a hollow sleeve with no constrictions at the muzzle.

Why this rifle?
One look at this gun, and most people ask what it is? The actual 1891 Mosin Nagant rifle is 48-3/4 inches long, and is one of the 19th century military rifles that had extra-long barrels. That was before smnokeless powder was discovered to burn so fast that the long barrels were not needed. But the trend had taken effect in the blackpowder era and had several more decades to run.

Mosin Nagant 1891 CO2 BB Rifle my Mosin
My Mosin has a UTG Scout Scope attached in place of the rear sight, but you can see the similarity with today’s BB gun. Only, my rifle is much longer.

What’s the purpose of this sawed-off little rifle/gun? During the Russian revolution, various irregular forces cut off their rifles this way. Criminals also used them — often without sights. They were a kind of pistol-rifle that could be hidden under clothing. The official name for this variation is the Obrez, and it’s among the rarest of all Mosin variants known. It would be classified as a Class III weapon in the United States because of the short barrel and would require a tax stamp to own. But the point is that this is a legitimate variation of the 1891 Mosin and extra rare!

History
The 1891 Mosion Nagant rifle was one of the first military rifles to chamber a cartridge that used the new smokeless powder. And it had a very long production run! From 1891 to 1945 for just the Soviet-made rifles, and I’m not certain of the actual ending date because some Soviet-bloc countries continued making them into the 1960s in various configurations. It was the principal battle rifle of the Soviet Army during World War II and some excellent footage of the rifle’s use can be seen in the movie, Enemy at the Gates. Use of the rifle continued until after Vietnam, and it’s one of the most recognized military rifles of all time, having been produced in numbers exceeding 35 million.

The Mosin Nagant uses a cartridge that we call the 7.62X54R (R=rimmed) today. It holds a .30-caliber bullet that in the Russian measurement system of that time was called 3-line. A Russian “line” was very close to 1/10 of an inch. I’m Americanizing all the spellings of the words to keep this report simple — the actual Russian spelling is liniya (and I may have that spelling wrong, as well).

The rifle contains design aspects from both Russian Army Captain Sergei Ivanovich Mosin and Belgian arms designer Léon Nagant. It’s mostly Mosin’s design but with Nagant’s feed system employed. Nagant wanted a 3.5-line caliber, but Mosin’s 3-line caliber won out. I find it interesting that many armies around the world were coming to very similar conclusions for the calibers of battle rifles at this same time.

The Russians contracted with Remington and Westinghouse to make over one million of these rifles, and some that were never delivered were used to train American troops for World War I, when Springfield and Enfield rifles were in short supply. I own a Russian-made and Soviet-altered model 91/30 that was a common WWII conversion of the earlier model 1891. My rifle has a very early action with flats on the sides that people call the hex action. Over time, the arsenals removed the original markings, which were czarist, and overlaid them with much later marks. I own this rifle because of the rich history that surrounds it — fully exceeding that of our own Springfield rifle of 1903.

If you’re interested in military history and the arms that were used, the Mosin Nagant is one you have to learn about. There are plenty of excellent books on the subject, so I urge you to start searching today. Now, I’ll return to the airgun at hand.

Description
This lookalike airgun is a gorgeous piece of work! It’s heavy, at 5 lbs., 10 oz., and it feels like even more. The stock is synthetic and covered with contact paper that has a dark walnut grain, but you can’t tell that without a very close examination. It looks like wood, even upon close inspection. And everything that isn’t the stock is metal. It’s very well done! Those of you who like airguns that have a rugged feel are going to love this one!

The overall length is 22.5 inches, and the “barrel” takes up 9.5 inches of that. I’ now referring to the exterior barrel — the actual barrel is hidden deep inside.

There are both a front and a rear sights on the gun, and they’re separated by just 7 inches. The rear sight adjusts for elevation just like the firearm sight. The front sight looks very similar to the firearm sight, but does not move sideways in a dovetail in the same way. Thus, there’s no windage adjustment for the sights.

Mosin Nagant 1891 CO2 BB Rifle front sight
The front sight looks like a Mosin firearm sight, except it doesn’t adjust for windage.

Mosin Nagant 1891 CO2 BB Rifle rear sight
The rear sight looks very much like a Mosin firearm rear sight.

The bolt looks and operates like a Mosin firearm bolt, though it is much easier to work. The BB gun cocks on opening, just like the firearm.

The owner’s manual is lacking in some details. One detail that’s lacking is how to apply the safety. To do that, you pull back the mushroom end of the bolt as far as it will go and twist it to the left. The firearm safety is applied in the same way, although it’s EXTREMELY difficult to do on an arsenal-refurbished rifle like mine! Until this report, I’d never applied the safety on any Mosin Nagant firearm. The airgun safety goes on and off quite easily.

The CO2 cartridge, the spring-loaded BB magazine and the gun’s valve are tucked into an insert that slides into the rifle’s magazine. Normally, you never remove a Mosin’s mag — the magazine is either loaded singly from the top or via a stripper clip of 5 rounds — also from the top. The firearm’s floorplate swings out easily for cleaning, but that’s the only time it’s ever dropped, and even then it doesn’t separate from the rifle.

Mosin Nagant 1891 CO2 BB Rifle mag insert
The magazine insert holds the CO2 cartridge, the BB magazine and the silver tool for tightening the CO2 piercing screw.

Mosin Nagant 1891 CO2 BB Rifle piercing tool
The piercing screw is tightened by the silver tool.

The hex wrench that’s needed to tighten the CO2 cartridge in its place is also contained in the part that drops free from the magazine. Everything you need to operate the gun is contained in the gun, itself.

The BB magazine is linear and contained inside the magazine insert. It runs on a slant that can be seen through a cutout on the left side of the insert.

Mosin Nagant BB magazine
The BB magazine is seen on the left side of the magazine insert.

The manual is written by a non-English-speaking person. Parts are given strange names that you have to convert before you understand what they mean. For example, they mean to tell you to not dry-fire the gun, but they say, “Don’t cock the shutter a few times for shooting.” I’ve read enough manuals written by foreigners to know what they mean. But will a newer shooter?

I’m impressed!
Guys, you know I handle a lot of airguns. And, I’m a little jaded by all that exposure. When something comes along that makes me take a second look, I know it’s special. The Colt Single Action Army is such an airgun, as is the Webley Mk VI. I nearly bought a Webley revolver because of that exposure. And I did get a Luger after being exposed to the Umarex Legends P08.

Even the way this gun is presented in the box when you open it is special. I want you to see what I saw.

Mosin Nagant 1891 CO2 BB Rifle box
Even the heavy cardboard box the gun comes in makes a wonderful presentation!

Will I buy this gun? I don’t know yet, but I will tell you this — I’m impressed and that doesn’t come easily!


Daisy 1894 Western Carbine: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Daisy 1894
Daisy’s 1894 Western Carbine is a classic BB gun. This one is an NRA Centennial model.

This report covers:

• Daisy Premium BBs
• Hornady Black Diamond BBs
• Avanti Precision Ground Shot
• Crosman Copperhead BBs
• Conclusions

Today, we’ll see if the Daisy 1894 can shoot. I know that a lot of you have been waiting for this report for a long time. I haven’t been waiting nearly as long as some of you, but I am just as excited. As I’ve said more than once while testing this BB gun, I like the way this 1894 feels when I hold it!

I shot the gun at 5 meters (16 feet, 4 inches) from a UTG Monopod rest. I loaded only one type of BB at a time, so the BBs didn’t mix. I shot at larger bulls this time, because the Daisy has open sights that aren’t too fine.

None of the targets below seem to have the correct number of holes. That’s because BBs tear ragged holes and sometimes they land together. Don’t make anything of it.

Daisy Premium BBs
First to be tested were Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Ten of them went into 1.334 inches at 5 meters. That’s not great, but at least they’re all in the same general area.

Daisy BBs
The Daisy 1894 put 10 Daisy BBs into a 1.334-inch group at 5 meters.

Hornady Black Diamond BBs
Next up were 10 Hornady Black Diamond BBs. Nine of ten went into 1.394 inches at 5 meters, which was just a little bigger than the Daisy group. Shot 10 missed the BB trap altogether and hit the backer board I had up to protect the wall behind. This one came straight back at me! So this group isn’t officially 10 shots. It’s just as close as we’re going to get with this BB, because I’m not shooting any more of them.

Hoirnady BBs
Nine Hornady Black Diamond BBs made this 1.3940-inch group at 5 meters. Shot 10 missed the trap and hit the backer board.

Avanti Precision Ground Shot
The next BB I loaded was the Avanti Precision Ground Shot, which is made specifically for the Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. Like everyone, I’d hoped this would be the BB that turns an 1894 into a 499. But it didn’t happen.

What did happen is the gun became stunningly inaccurate! The first 2 shots hit the target about five-eighths of an inch apart, then shots 3 and 4 missed the trap altogether and hit the backer board. They rebounded straight back at me! And that was it. I think the slightly larger size of the Precision Ground Shot is too much for the 1894’s barrel to contend with. And that’s also the reason I wear safety glasses whenever I test guns!

Crosman Copperhead BBs
The last round I tried was the Crosman Copperhead BB. After having 3 BBs rebound at me with force, I admit to being quite nervous, but I needn’t have worried. All 10 Copperheads hit the target where they were supposed to. In fact, they printed a group that measured 1.124 inches between centers. Not spectacular, perhaps, but a far cry from shooting back at me! In fact, this was the smallest group of the session!

Crosman Copperhead BB
Crosman Copperhead BBs turned in the best group of the day, with 10 going into 1.124 inches at 5 meters.

Conclusions
The 1894 turns out not to be a 499 in western clothing, like we’d hoped. In fact, the one I am testing is probably not as accurate as any new Daisy BB gun you can buy today.

Are there 1894s that are more accurate? I’m sure there are. But I wouldn’t set out on a quest to find one. Get an 1894 because you like how it looks and operates. Then the rest will be fun.

I’ve enjoyed looking at this classic for the first time. Testing it completes a small part of my airgunning experience. From now on when the subject comes up, I can join the discussion.


All guns are not accurate

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• Could it be?
• Presumption
• The test target
• The Emperor’s New Clothes
• Behind the curtain
• The point

This report is for my wife, Edith. She has suggested it many times in the past few years. Today, I’ll try to address it.

Edith tells me that when she worked at a major sporting goods catalog sales company years ago, she was shocked by some of the questions their call center got. The most shocking was when someone would call and say they had just purchased a certain model of firearm and would the call center please tell them what ammunition it used? This didn’t happen just one time — it happened often enough that it made an impression on her.

Folks, the caliber of ammunition is marked right on most new guns sold today, and it’s certainly marked on the box and the owner’s manual. Yet, here was a person with this information in their hand asking what kind of ammo they needed.

Edith has been telling me she believes that many people think all firearms, and airguns by extension, are perfectly accurate. That, if you put the gun’s sights on a target, you will hit it — period!

Could it be?
I had a hard time accepting that until I thought about it. I’ve been around guns all my life, and I’ve been shooting them for more than half a century, so of course I know the score. But could it be possible that some people don’t know that not every gun is accurate? To those people, would the other features like velocity (I’m talking airguns now) and styling be the important things, because accuracy is a given? Is that why marketing departments concentrate on the things that really don’t count for much — colors, camouflage, accessories etc. — because they can’t stand behind the accuracy that isn’t there?

Several things mitigate against today’s person knowing about the accuracy of a gun. Let’s look at the most influential — television and the movies. We all know that these forms of entertainment exaggerate the accuracy of guns. Seldom do they show what’s true, because the story plays better if every shot is fantastic. So, super-spook Jason Bourne falls down a five-story stairwell and shoots the bad guy between the eyes…and he’s running up the stairs with a handgun as he passes him his way down. And Matthew Quigley can hit an oaken bucket a quarter-mile away, shooting a 12-lb. Sharps rifle offhand.

Most people haven’t shot a gun in their lives. Or if they have, it was so long ago they don’t remember much. So, they buy into the Hollywood fiction of infinitely accurate guns.

Why, then, does a man (and I mean nearly EVERY man) walk up to within 15 feet of a paper target on the 25-yard pistol range to shoot 5 shots from his concealed carry revolver? Shouldn’t he be shooting them from his hip, back at the 25-yard line? Don’t bother telling me that snub-nosed revolvers are that accurate. I’m saying that most people think they are. But perhaps they really don’t.

Is it possible that most people KNOW instinctively that most guns are not that accurate, but they refuse to believe it on a social level? In other words an anonymous poster on a chat forum can shoot a quarter-inch group at 50 yards with his Benjamin Marauder, but when you see him in person at the range, he can’t seem to keep them all on the paper? He lies to himself so much that when he is confronted by the truth, he sloughs it off as passé.

Or is there more going on? I knew a man who believed that he was 6 feet 2 inches tall. I am 5 foot 11 inches on a good day, and I could look this man in the eye. We were the same height. Yet nothing could dissuade him from believing that he was 6 foot 2.

I have known people who think that 5 yards is 20 yards. The reason I know better is because I was in the marching band in high school. We had to march a certain number of steps between every 5-yard line on the football field to keep our lines straight while moving. Then, a stint in the Army reinforced it. On tank ranges, I learned to estimate distance out to 1200 yards pretty well.

But without this training some people haven’t got a clue how far certain distances are. They tend to over-estimate the close distances and under-estimate the far ones. So, 50 yards becomes 200 yards and so on. I am not kidding.

Pesumption
When I was a kid in the 1950s, most American cars had speedometers that went up to 120 mph. The cars they were in might not go faster than 90, but seeing that number on an instrument in the dashboard made you feel like it was possible. The manufacturers didn’t come out and say their cars would go that fast. But, if you wanted to believe that your 1956 Chevy 210 with its inline 6 was capable of doing that, they weren’t about to tell you different.

This concept translates directly over to firearms and airguns. Gamo is so proud to tell its customers that such-and-such a rifle will shoot a pellet at up to 1,600 f.p.s. The unknowing customers are thrilled, thinking that the accuracy is a given. Surely no gun company would make a gun that was NOT accurate — would they? That doesn’t make sense! So they get both the accuracy and high velocity. What’s not to like? Yes, there are more than a few people who think that way, and they are the constant targets of presumptive marketing.

But airgun companies do make guns that aren’t accurate. They make a lot of them. In fact, it is the accurate airgun that is the rarity, which is why I place so much emphasis on testing it when I look at a new gun.

If Col. Townsend Whelen said, “Only accurate rifles are interesting,” don’t you think there had to be some inaccurate rifles around to prompt his statement? If Dr. F. W. Mann spent 37 years of his life compiling data that he then reported in his book, “The Bullet’s Flight, From Powder to Target,” don’t you suppose something drove him to do so? He didn’t do it for the money.

Yes, most guns are not that accurate, and, no, I’m not going to get into a discussion of what I mean by accuracy. You either know what it is or else you’re one of those I am referring to in this report. Debating the precise meaning of a subjective term like accuracy is like trying to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The player on first base is named Who — end of discussion!

What’s wrong with presumption?
Barrels are not drilled straight. They are not connected in a straight and parallel orientation with the receiver that holds them. Barrels touch the stock and absorb vibrations when the gun fires. Or they touch the reservoir (or are connected by barrel bands) and flex as the reservoir flexes when the internal pressure rises and falls.

If the door on my house moves with changes in temperature and humidity, what prevents a wooden gun stock from doing the same? If it’s touching the barrel as it moves, what do you think happens?

A hundred years ago, most savvy buyers knew that no Colt Single Action revolver ever came from the factory with the sights perfectly aligned. You bought the gun, then went to the range and shot it at a target. You picked the distance you were most interested in.

Then, you bent the front sight blade in the direction opposite where you wanted the bullet to go! Yes, I said bent! In fact, I read a huge article in Gun Digest a few years ago written by a man who made a hydraulic jig that he took to the range just to bend the front sight blades on all his single actions.

In other words, my friends, Colt knowingly sold a handgun that did not shoot to the point of aim! They did so for over a century, and, in fact, are still doing so today. And no one is complaining. In fact, everyone is praising Colt for this wonderful timeless design — this design that has to have its front sight blade bent by the user!

The test target
Here is a misperception that’s a burr under my saddle blanket. Cooper Firearms makes bolt-action rifles that are well-regarded for their accuracy. In fact, the company claims that all of their centerfire rifles are capable of putting 3 shots inside a half-inch at 100 yards. They even supply a test target with each rifle that shows what that rifle did at the factory.

That target has a lot on information on it — the date it was shot, the shooter, the bullet that was used, the powder that was used, the caliber and serial number of the gun that shot it. Curiously, the distance at which the target was shot is missing from the target. That seems odd to me. The company claims all their centerfires shoot 3 shots in a half-inch or less at 100 yards — shouldn’t they proudly display the range at which the target was shot? Its absence makes me wonder.

Cooper target
This is an actual test target that was packaged with a Cooper centerfire rifle. I’ve cropped out the serial number and the other information. Nowhere on this target is given the range it was shot, though the implication is that it was 100 yards.

The other thing that amazes me is that every target Cooper sends out has the group in the center of a small paper target. How do they do that? If the target is really 100 yards distant, are they that good at boresighting — making every group hit the center of the target on the first try? Or does the tester just do a lot of walking?

The Emperor’s New Clothes
I hope the fairytale of The Emperor’s New Clothes is well-known around the world. If not, the point of the story is that sometimes people say they believe things that are not true. And when they act on those beliefs, strange things happen!

When the naked emperor walks by, the little boy shouts, “The emperor isn’t wearing clothes!” and the royal spin-doctor replies, “It isn’t so much that he isn’t wearing any clothes, as he has taken his clothes to a new minimalist peak.”

In management dynamics, this story was modernized into something called The Abilene Paradox. The premise remained the same but was stated more clearly — People will decide on a course of action in a group that each of them disagrees with privately. In short, you have a form of what is called political correctness — the fear of telling the truth because of who it might offend. Don’t rock the boat.

We live in an age where the emperor is walking around naked and being praised for his beautiful new clothes. The M4 rifle continues to be procured by the same army that acknowledges it is a highly specialized weapon that is completely unsuited for general battlefield use. But the procurement contract is in place, and you know how difficult those can be to initiate! Better to buy something you don’t need than to not be able to purchase something at all. At least you’ll have something.

Behind the curtain
Now, I’ll let you peek behind the wizard’s curtain and see the world though my eyes. I get new readers from time to time who come into airguns with their credit cards in hand and their minds made up. They want that new Bow of Hercules breakbarrel that shoots .25-caliber pellets at 1,000 f.p.s. They’re going after big game, and they want all the smashing power they can get — but in a self-contained rifle, please. “I don’t have time to mess with scuba tanks and dive shops.”

I just smile. I know that in 6 months these guys will either be building model rockets or else they will be turning to the “dark side” and getting into precharged pneumatics. Why? Because their .25-caliber Mashemflat Magnum was too hard to cock more than 10 times in a row, had a horrible trigger, kicked like a Missouri mule and wasn’t accurate. Top that off with pellets that cost almost as much as rimfire rounds, and you have a thoroughly dissatisfied customer who can now give a lecture on how not to get into airgunning.

I know this because, like Old Man River, I been rollin’ along for awhile. I’ve seen all this before.

The point
The point of this report is that not all airguns are accurate. That’s why I test them for you. Not only do I want to find out how accurate they all are, I also want to find out which ones are easy to shoot accurately. I go on and on about the TX200 and the Talon SS for this very reason.


Black Ops Junior Sniper air rifle combo: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Black Ops Junior Sniper air rifle combo
Black Ops Junior Sniper combo

This report covers:

• Monopod
• Daisy Premium Grade BBs
• Hornady Black Diamond BBs
• Crosman Copperhead BBs
• Avanti Precision Ground Shot
• Summary

This is the report you’ve been waiting for. How accurate is the Black Ops Junior Sniper air rifle combo with steel BBs? Today, we’ll find out.

I went back to Part 2 and discovered that the rifle gets almost 500 f.p.s. on 3 pumps when shooting BBs. Since I was shooting at 16 and a fraction feet (5 meters), this was more than enough velocity for the test. It also sped up the test a bit.

Monopod
I try to take my personal weaknesses out of any test I do, and resting the gun is a good way to do that. I used to use a bench and sandbag for all of this, but shooting a BB gun at 5 meters is a lot to set up for. Thankfully, I discovered the UTG Monopod. It’s light, quick and convenient. And, it produces results that are very close to a bagged rest. Certainly, they’re good enough for a test like this.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs
The first BB tested was the Daisy Premium Grade BB. I loaded just 10 into the gun’s reservoir, then started shooting. At first, I thought the gun was doing very well; but as the shots increased, I could see that it wasn’t. In the end, I’d put 10 shots into 1.787 inches. That’s at just over 16 feet! Most BB pistols will do better than that.

Black Ops Junior Sniper air rifle combo Daisy BB
Ten Daisy Premium Grade BBs made this 1.787-inch group at 5 meters. This isn’t very good.

As things turned out, this was the second-worst group of the test. Daisy BBs aren’t on the bottom very often, but this proves that it can happen.

Hornady Black Diamond BBs
The next BB to be tested was the Hornady Black Diamond. In other tests, I’ve found these BBs to be equal to the best, though not all guns seem to like them. But the Black Ops Junior Sniper seems to. Ten of these black steel BBs went into a group that measured 0.991 inches between centers — or just about an inch. While that certainly isn’t target gun accuracy, it sure is going in the right direction! It turned out to be the best group of the test!

Black Ops Junior Sniper air rifle combo Hornady BB
Now, that’s a group! Hornady Black Diamond BBs did well in the Black Ops Junior Sniper. Ten went into 0.991 inches at 5 meters.

Crosman Copperhead BBs
Next, I tried Crosman Copperhead BBs. While these are premium BBs, they’re slightly smaller than the others and vary in size just a little more than the rest. But this time they were just about even with the Daisy BBs, putting 10 into 1.79 inches at 5 meters. This was the largest group of the session, but it’s so close to the Daisy group that I have to rank them as equal.

Black Ops Junior Sniper air rifle combo Crosman BB
Crosman Copperhead BBs did about the same as Daisy BBs in this test. Ten went into 1.79 inches at 5 meters.

Avanti Precision Ground Shot
The last BB I tried was the Avanti Precision Ground Shot. Since these are so demonstrably better than other premium BBs in the Avanti Champion 499 BB gun, we tend to think of them as more accurate in all guns, but that isn’t the case. They’re slightly larger, and their surface is very uniform, but not all BB guns can make good use of those qualities.

In the Black Ops Junior Sniper, 10 Avanti shots printed a group that measured 1.625 inches. That’s not much better than the 2 worst groups, and way off the pace of the Black Diamond BBs.

Black Ops Junior Sniper air rifle combo Avanti Precision Shot
Avanti Precision Ground Shot offerend no advantage in the Black Ops Junior Sniper. Ten went into 1.625 inches at 5 meters.

Summary
In short, I think the Black Ops Junior Sniper is a much better pellet rifle than a BB gun. I would just shoot it with lead pellets. But you can do both if you want to. Don’t look for more than soda-can accuracy at 25 feet with BBs, though.

Next, I’ll mount the scope that comes with the combo and back up to 25 yards. Pellets will be back on the menu, and this time I know which ones work. Remember the accuracy we saw at 10 meters with this rifle? I’m hoping it holds out to 25 yards. If it does, this rifle becomes a best buy!