AirForce Texan big bore rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Texan big bore
The Texan from AirForce Airguns is a .458 big bore to be reckoned with. The 4x scope and bipod are options.

This report covers:

• Starting to test accuracy
• Scope swap
• On my own
• The best bullet
• Yada, yada, yada…
• At 100 yards
• Summary

When I ended the last report, I said there was a lot more to say about the new AirForce Texan and that I would get to it in the next report. Today, I’m going to talk about accuracy, which all of you want to know about. This will be a complete report; but even when I finish, there will still be more to tell. I have a special report coming about the effectiveness of big bore air rifles on big game in general, and I’m sure that one will evoke a lot of discussion.

Starting to test accuracy
I began testing the Texan from my past experience with other big bore air rifles. I knew that guns that developed around 200 foot-pounds of muzzle energy may get up to 10 shots per fill of air, but those that generate above 300 foot-pounds usually get just 2 good shots per fill. I knew the Texan was a 500 foot-pound gun, so I started testing from that assumption. I would shoot 2 shots and then fill the gun again, and so on.

Texan big bore at AirForce
Before I tested it, I shot the Texan at AirForce several times.

Scope swap
Early in the testing, I removed that 4x scope that Airforce mounted on the rifle and mounted an obsolete scope that’s a lot like this UTG 4-16X56. The 4x scope was unclear at 50 yards (fixed parallax set for 100 yards), and I needed all the aiming precision I could get. The UTG scope gave that to me.

On my first trip to the range, I didn’t have the chronograph, and all I was concerned with was whether or not the Texan was going to be accurate with the bullets I was shooting. I’d already fired the rifle many times over at the AirForce plant, but the range we shot at over there was only about 25-30 yards; and I was now shooting at a 50-yard range at my gun club. Plus, I always shot their bullets. Now, I would be shooting my own.

Every time I shot the rifle at AirForce, it was deadly accurate. One time, shooting offhand, I put three rounds into the same hole at this distance, which is way out of profile for me. Another time I hit a dime-sized circle of Tannerite to trigger an explosion for a video that Ton Jones was filming. I knew the rifle was very accurate. But how good would it be with my own bullets?

On my own
The first bullet I tried was a 405-grain .458 lead slug that I cast myself. This is the bullet I shoot in my 45-70, as well as in my Quackenbush .458 Long Action Outlaw. I knew it was accurate in both those guns, so I felt it was a safe place to begin.

I did not understand the Texan at this point, so I just filled it to 3,000 psi and fired 2 shots per fill. The first 10-shot group at 50 yards measured 3.159 inches between centers. I was happy with this because it was the first attempt. However, on this same day, I also had some Tin Starr 405-grain hollow base bullets, so I shot a second group with them. Ten went into 2.071 inches at the same 50 yards. Now, I was excited! Simply by changing bullets, I had shaved 1.088 inches off the group size! And, I was just beginning!

Texan big bore my 405
Ten of my cast 405-grain bullets made this 3.159-inch group at 50 yards.

Texan big bore Tin Starr 405
Ten 405s from Tin Starr went into 2.071 inches at 50 yards. That’s much better!

The next time I went to the range, I went with 6 different Tin Starr bullets and a chronograph. On that first day, I’d noticed that when I filled the rifle after 2 shots the pressure was sitting at around 2500 psi. That means the rifle used only about 250 psi for each shot. The norm for a gun of this power is 500-750 psi per shot.

The best bullet
Next, I was fooling around with some of the lighter bullets — the 215-grain semi-wadcutters to be exact — and that’s when I did it. I shot 6 shots through the chronograph to see what would happen and got the following results:

Shot 1 — 835 f.p.s.
Shot 2 — 899 f.p.s.
Shot 3 — 881 f.p.s.
Shot 4 — 870 f.p.s.
Shot 5 — 856 f.p.s.
Shot 6 — 830 f.p.s.

When I filled the gun, it still had about 2,000 psi in the reservoir, so these 6 shots were not taking very much air at all. I’d adjusted the bullet tuner before switching to this light bullet, and apparently I got it just right.

Then, I shot 5 shots at 50 yards with the 215-grain semi-wadcutters. I shot all 5 shots on the same fill. They landed low and left in a group measuring 0.762 inches between centers! That was astounding! The Texan was clearly different than the other big bores I was used to.

Texan big bore best group 50
At 50 yards, I managed to put five 215-grain bullets into 0.762 inches. This was clearly a good bullet!

Yada, yada, yada…
Once I discovered how economical the rifle was with air, I started shooting it a lot. I mean, I shot 50-100 shots every time I went to the range. I tested every bullet Johnny Hill of Tin Starr bullets gave me, which is how I found the 4 that were the best. Those were mentioned and shown in Part 2 of this report.

My friend Otho also shot the rifle several times, as did another friend, knifemaker Tank Fisher. Tank found the Texan easy to load and shoot, and both he and Otho did very well with the 405-grain Tin Starr bullets. Though the 405s are great, the 215-grain semi-wadcutters are even better. I saved them for myself, since they were the most accurate of all and I had a serious test to complete.

Texan big bore Tank
Tank Fisher gets down on the Texan at 50 yards. Off to the right of the 50-yard berm is the 100-yard target berm, and to the right of that you see the 200-yard berm.

I shot the rifle so much that I actually ran my 88 cubic-foot carbon fiber tank out of air each time I went to the range! That was a new experience. I had to refill the tank before I could go back to the range again. In the past, this tank has lasted for at least a month of heavy PCP testing — but before now, I never shot a big bore this much. I had all the bullets I could shoot from Tin Starr, and the Texan is so easy to load and shoot that it was like shooting a smallbore — except for the size of the holes!

I have several more small 50-yard groups I could show you. However, at this point in the testing (with over 200 bullets downrange), I began to wonder about the rifle’s possible accuracy at 100 yards. I was up against a deadline for Shotgun News. I had to complete the article I was writing by the end of November.

At 100 yards
I did try the 405-grain bullet at 100 yards, but the best it could do was put 10 of them into about 3 inches. That’s better than I have ever done with a big bore air rifle at 100 yards, but it isn’t the best the Texan can do.

On the last trip to the range, I stapled a couple targets at 100 yards and set about to see what the 215-grain semi-wadcutter could do. At first, I shot 6 shots per fill. As I did, I noticed that shots 2 and 3 always landed very close to each other. I wondered what would happen if I shot a group that had several shot numbers 2 and 3 (after a fill)? So that’s what I did, and that’s what I’ll show you now.

I filled the Texan and fired a single shot three times. Then, I shot 2 carefully aimed shots at the 100-yard bull. When I finished, there were 6 holes that measured 1.506 inches between centers. That’s 6 shots in 1.50 inches at 100 yards. That was my best target of all.

Texan big bore best group 100

That ended my time with the Texan. I had just one day to get the rest of the article put together so Edith could edit it before I sent it in. Remember, we measure from the center of the 2 holes farthest apart. That equals 1 bullet radius (center to edge equals one radius). So, subtract one bullet diameter (.458″) from the measurement shown on the calipers.

AirForce needed their rifle back for other writers to test, so I had to give it up. There were only a few hand-built Texans in existence at this point in time, and the demand for them was enormous. Seldom, if ever, have I been so sad to see an air rifle go back to the manufacturer.

Summary
Let’s look at what we’ve learned about this rifle to this point. First, it has a unique new valve that operates on 3,000 psi air. It does not respond well to over-filling. Next, it has a bullet tuner that must be adjusted for each weight of bullet that’s fired if you hope to get the best results from the gun. This tuner is not the same as a power adjuster, though that’s exactly what it does.

The Texan is very easy to cock and load and uses less air per shot than most guns of similar power.

Finally, I learned that it isn’t the big heavy bullets that are the best in the Texan — it’s that 215-grain semi-wadcutter! I want to talk about that with you in the next part of this report, so stay tuned.

171 thoughts on “AirForce Texan big bore rifle: Part 3

  1. It would be really interesting to look at the last part of the flight of the 215-grain semi-wadcutter at 100 yards or so. Does the projectile precess in same direction or the opposite direction of its spin?

    The sharp ridge at the tail would seem to me to add a drag stabilized component to the flight characteristics. The precession direction would tell if such a drag component was significant or not.


  2. BB,
    I’ve got a silly suggestion for you, but you’ve made some changes to your format recently and you might be open to it. If not, it’s all good.

    I’ve seen a lot of videos where people shoot through clay, ballistics gel, plywood, 1x4s, 2x4s, metal sheets, cans, fruit, meat… You name it. It’s pretty entertaining, but beyond that I get a tangible sense of the power of the gun (beyond the ethereal fps), and I could attempt to replicate the results without an expensive piece of equipment. The problem is there is little consistency in distance fired and density of target. So, you have some guys claiming their Daisy will shoot through a 2×4 like butter (at point blank) and other guys having problems with cans (25 yards).

    You can see where I’m going with this.

    It would be cool if you would test using a standardized penetration test. Evenly spaced sheets of metal would do nicely at 20 yards…or depth into a pine board (s). I don’t care if is peanut butter (that would be fun! ) I would just like to see what a Daisy would do versus this Texan in some dramatic, entertaining fashion. And it could become a standard. I’d do it, but no one is sending me free guns.

    What do you think? If you need some help, I’d be glad to volunteer if you can get someone to ship me the airguns.
    Rob


    • Sam,

      You have me “painting” quite an interesting visual image of your “testing” there.

      In it, I see you posting a peanut butter dripping “selfie”, of you holding a peanut butter dripping Texan, with piles of once useable lumber and cases of blown up peanut butter in the back ground.

      While I would have to check, I’m not sure that peanut butter is an approved lubricant in any of Air Force’s products. Or Daisy’s either, for that matter. At least not “crunchy” anyways.

      Keep an eye out for the Fedex truck. I’m sure it will be rolling up the drive any day now.


    • Hi Rob,

      I will have to try the peanut-butter test (outside!!) – sounds like too much fun. Think the squirrels would be happy to clean-up after as well!

      What I use to get a feel for an air rifles’ power is to fire it into a ball formed out of 1 pound of duct seal (at room temperature).

      I do this in 10 yard increments up to the usable effective range of the rifle which also helps me determine the maximum usable energy range for hunting.

      Afterwards, I cut the ball open to check the depth of penetration and look at the size/shape of the cavity which give me an idea of how much energy is available at that distance. I also check the pellet to see how much it expanded and if it stayed together or fragmented.

      I prefer the duct-seal to the gelatin that is often used for testing because it doesn’t require mixing/molding and it is reusable. Wood is too inconsistent in density to give a decent evaluation and things like sheet metal would be costly to replace.

      Vana2


      • Thanks Vana2! I hadn’t tried the ole ball o’ duct seal capture yet but I will. an may eventually plaster a sheet of tin to use as a removable addition to my pellet-trap( i’m trying to keep the weight down so I can take it someplace when I want to. Still got no holes but my 392 has left some good size dents in it.Right now it’s under 50 lbs but duct seal will raise that number exponentially in no time once I start adding it.


        • Hi Reb,

          Some years ago I built a fairly large pellet trap that would accept a “B” size (11×17”) paper with multiple targets printed on it.

          Made it from ¼” plywood and a .093” thick sheet steel back plate set at 45 degrees. The steel back plate had a 2 inch cavity above it that was packed with dry sand and then sealed. At the base of the back plate there was a strip of .093 sheet metal mounted against the back plate to form a lip and the bottom of the trap had a sheet of .062 steel.

          The pellets would hit the angled back plate, skid down into the lip where the sheared in half losing all their energy. A 2 inch thick piece of soft urethane foam across the inside of the front of the target box stopped any fragments from exiting the box.

          Considering the size of the trap it was quite light (less than 30 pounds) and fairly quiet. There would be a bit of a “thwack” when the pellet hit but it was well deadened by the sand backed plate.

          Put thousands of pellets into it from my FWB 124 (around 750-800 fps) without any appreciable wear. Convenient way to collect the lead for recycling into fishing jigs and weights. Sold it to a friend who didn’t have the facilities to make one himself.

          Thinking about making a new one in the same design but with a .125” plate for use with my PCPs (850-1000 fps)

          Vana2


          • Mine’s just an old 2 drawer filing cabinet I’ve got laid on it’s side with the center support knocked out and I/O carpeted . I have a couple 1/8″ steel plates I move around as necessary.


          • Vana2,

            I like your design on the pellet trap. The “shearing” effect is nice and makes sense. I would have to wonder,…do all the pellets make it down to the “shear”? The sand “deadener” makes sense as well, but noise is not a problem.

            Curious,…how did you hold the 1/4″ plywood together at the joints?
            It is really not enough to nail into.


            • Hi Chris,

              As far as I could tell all the pellets hit the shear lip. The PACKED sand had two purposes, the main one was to support the backing plate to reduce any deformation and the second was to eliminate the “ping” when pellet hits steel. You could use thicker plate if you have it.

              Yes, ¼” is too thin for nailing because the layers in the plywood will separate and the nail will lose its grip. I used the “stitch and glue” method (used in plywood kayak construction) to join the panels and reinforced them with 3/4” quarter-round molding glued into the corners.

              You can use small finishing nails to align the panels and hold them together while the glue sets just be sure to pre-drill the holes. It is an almost completely closed box (the front was a full panel with a “window” cut out) so it is strong/rigid by construction so you don’t need a lot of nails/screws, a good glue joint is enough to do the job.

              The back plate was screwed to 2×2 mounted on the side panels and those seams were caulked to make sure the sand stayed where it was supposed to be.

              Hope this helps.

              Vana2


              • Vana2,

                Yes,..very nice! I WILL be doing a “nice” indoor trap in the future. Right now, plywood stop in a box for the 92FS and 1/16′ steel plate and box for the TX200.



        • Rob,

          Just kidding, you know? Really, I love your idea. Just added duct seal to the list for weekend shopping. Sorry, your “lead in” was just too tempting to not “go there”.

          Like Vana2, I want to know what pellet performance is like at different yardages. That, along with “my” performance, will let me know what “my” effective “critter” range will be. A lot of work to go till then.


          • Hi Chris,

            I have a couple of new rifles/pellets that I want to test but that won’t be until the spring and it warms up a bit – it was -24 Celsius this morning (makes you really appreciate seat heaters in the car!).

            I will be taking pictures and notes but really the test is pretty subjective. Duct-seal is an improvement over the “how big a dent/hole did it make in a steel can” or “how deep did the pellet go in to the 2×4” tests because duct-seal is that it is a pretty consistent medium at normal shirt-sleeve temperatures.

            Your results depend on how well the gun is performing and what pellets you use. The pellet design and alloy make a huge difference to performance. You will have to relate the penetration into the duct-seal to your experience on game. Doesn’t take long to get feel for it where you look at the impact and say: yup, ok for rabbit too far for woodchuck. A quick way to check out a new gun to see how it measured up.



      • Maybe it’s an idea for a single report when you have more time.

        Illustrate what different levels of foot pounds look like as pellets enter duct seal. Kind of like splatology. Folks could appreciate and compare the power of their airguns with the impressions they make on duct seal at 10 yards.


    • I clicked on the video button at the bottom of the page earlier to see what was in there and it went to Airgun Academy video with no clear options. I also left a comment suggesting such videos as well as the photos we’d like to share here on the blog for their consideration.
      Good idea!
      Reb


  3. B.B.

    Nice rifle indeed. It must have a comparable to .410 report and quite a kick 🙂
    I wonder what a good constant pressure regulator would do to its accuracy and what can lubing the bullet do. I also wonder if a longer bullet weighning the same 215 gr could give even better accuracy (perhaps, “long cup” or HP with ballistic tip) due to better ballistics, as the rifle seems to like that weight.

    duskwight


    • duskwight,

      Lubing the bullet has always degraded the accuracy in big bores I’ve tested in the past. If I get another shot at the Texan I might try it.

      You are right about the kick — about like a .410. The sound is less, but not a lot.

      B.B.


  4. Sounds like it might benefit from a lower fill pressure. Maybe around 2850?

    You’d lose a shot, but that shouldn’t be a big deal.

    I’m wondering, though. This test rifle has whatever barrel it has, then you said that they managed to source barrels from somewhere else for the production runs. How sure are we that the production barrels will be as accurate as this one?


  5. BB,

    It seems to me that according to your chrony and shooting test, this particular air rifle would prefer a 2800 PSI fill. I would have thought that with your experience, that would have jumped out at you. Even though the operating pressure is supposedly 3000 PSI, each air rifle is going to be a little different. As the valve on my Talon SS is adjusted at the moment, it prefers 1800 PSI.



  6. Good job B.B!
    I think we need to take what Ridgerunner said to heart a little. If the rifle starts performing at shots 2-3 why not lower the fill pressure by at least that 1st shot? I think I’m gonna like this PCP bug!
    If anyone’s got Hogs coming up from the creek into their backyard to raid their trashcan they should consider one of these and a freezer.




  7. Gunfun1,
    Got the shooting bench reclocked and set the rest up for some 10m pellet-trap work yesterday.I can’t consider it a vise but rather an aid or a big bipod that stays on the bench but it’s a great place to put it when I don’t need it in my hands and it’ll hold a gun in place while I get some work done.


  8. B.B Another question I keep asking myself considering how many shots it gets on a fill would be about valve lock It seems the rifle is experiencing it for the first round but how about any where else in it’s long strings of shots throughout the 3000- 1000 psi range. Would it shoot and how?at 1000, 1500,1800…?


  9. Both my PCPs have built-in regulators. Wouldn’t big-bore airguns that use such a large percentage of the air from the reservoir per shot benefit from a regulator to manage the pressure?

    Two consistent shots from a fill doesn’t amount to much of a sweet-spot. With a 69 fps spread over 6 shots I am not surprised are the group size.

    Still, a .458 caliber “pellet gun” is one heck of a beast!

    Vana2


    • I’m wondering if the valve’s gotta “built in” regulator and valve lock might not be just a one time deal on this gun but all the way through the string. If so we need to know where they are!


      • Think that a built-in regulator would provide a much lower velocity spread than shown by the chrony numbers than BB lists.

        My AR20 has about 3 fps deviation. Don’t know about the HW100 yet, won’t chrony it until the break-in can of pellets is empty.


        • Though a regulator would likely also result in a lower peak velocity too, as the output pressure would have to be set to the around the tank pressure of the last shot to be taken…


  10. I just plugged a buncha bullet weights into an energy calculator going up from 215gr to 350 in 15 gr increments assuming a 25fps loss per 15 gr and I think you should try right in there somewhere. We’re still talkink 325-350 fpe!


  11. Another bullet you might try if available to you is the 350 grain .45 bullet from a Lee mold. They shoot great from my Trapdoor and 1886. Lee says it’ one of their most accurate .45 bullets. They can be shot as cast.

    Mike


  12. B.B. What an outstanding Blog ! OMG ! Never thought this would even be in my mind…light weight..trememdous fun and no FFL involved !And the fun of casting lead again.Geez ! Ok, now onto subject No.2. You and your tesm ( Aka: Edith ! ) are, unknown to atleast one of you, that you are distroying yoursleves..SHOT SHOW ( well, a marathon..)
    Reading all of the wonderful guys here that seem to know a heck of lot, time for guests ! ( Plural ) to step in for a minimum of two weeks, and produce a Blog or so..
    kick back and get in the sun and drink Tea or Mint Julips…..get some sand in your toes..Jeeez !
    Pete

    .


  13. B.B.,

    The accuracy is impressive. I’ll try the Tin Star 215 grain SWC bullets.

    My Quackenbush .458 shoots two Seth Rowland’s 330 grain Cup Nose bullets into 1.6″ at 60 yards. Using a 3,000psi fill the first shot is at ~735fps (396fpe) and the second shot is ~640fps. My second shot hits ~2″ higher at 50 yards despite the lower velocity. Its the only bullet I’ve tried so far.

    I look forward to your future article on hunting with these rifles. It is controversial. Some people misunderstand these to be tank cannons. They are not. A hot .45 ACP can generate as much power, and no one recommends a .45 automatic as a general purpose deer cartridge. My experiences are limited. I did not kill a deer this season with my Quackenbush, but I have shot several deer with 200-230 grain bullets loaded to 900-1150fps (400-600fpe) from 25-75 yards. All of the deer were well hit and I recovered them, but it was nothing like the more positive effects of using a more powerful, general purpose cartridge. The high trajectories of these rifles are an added challenge. I look forward to reading your next report.

    The photograph of you shooting the rifle off the bench is very helpful to me. Seeing an air gun in your hands gives perspective absent when it is photographed alone. It always helps me visualize the object better.

    Thanks (as always) for a great report. It is great fun to have a place to daily learn and share ideas.

    RB


    • RB,

      I can see that you understand big bores, unlike those who haven’t shot them. They are finite guns, capable of doing things, but within reason.

      You will also appreciate what I have to say about the effect of big bore bullets on game, because you have seen it firsthand.

      B.B.


    • I’ve never even seen a big bore air rifle in real life, but reading these reports, it seems hunting with them is in between a bow and a muzzle loader in power and range.

      This is a good report. It is also good that RB tell his experience. So even though these are “big bore” air rifles, what we consider even a lower powered cf rifle round (223, 7.62×39) has power in spades in comparison.




      • Sam,

        As B.B. said, I think you well described the capabilities of these big bore rifles. They are lethal, but relatively low powered. Your suggestion they are between archery and firearms in capability is, I think, exactly correct.

        Best wishes,

        RB


        • A quick check indicates that this beast is around the power of the .44 Special — or a weak .44 RemMag

          Those are now permitted to be used in rifles in the lower zone of MI during deer season (so are the PCPs >.35 cal). Justification — they don’t carry as far as normal rifle bullets, so should not be a risk in the “heavily populated” lower zone. (Considering a standing shot would be slightly downward, probably at less than 50 yards in woods, and add in the trajectory of a .44 RemMag, and a miss is likely to hit ground before 100 yards).

          Wonder how long they had to work on that law… The minimum case length allows .357 magnum, but excludes all normal “self defense semi-auto” loads (including the 10mm Magnum).


  14. B.B.,
    I’m considering getting one of the pre-packaged Discovery/pump/scope& mounts,in a case. Is it just my assumption or would the scope be mounted and a 10 for 10 thrown in or does it all come in boxes?
    Might not happen today but I feel a fever coming on.

    Reb



  15. Good morning B.B.,

    I’m enjoying this review. Impressive air rifle. Going off topic here, but I seem to be having some trouble finding the right set up for my Weihrauch HW90. I posted a couple of weeks ago about some accuracy problems. I ended up changing scopes from the UTG 4-16 x 56, to the UTG 4-16 x 44 Compact. Much better! The first scope was too long and I had difficulty getting eye relief while leaving enough room to break it open. I also think that, although it said it would handle parallax down to 10 yds, the longer scope wasn’t really suited for that short distance. (I have a full 10m range in my basement.)

    My problem now seems to be finding some pellets it likes. I have worked on my artillery hold. For background, I’ve been shooting most of my life, spent time in the army, have shot in DCM matches in the past, etc. My first springer was a Umarex Octane. I then picked up the RWS 54 — very nice! I am confident that at 10m in the controlled environment of my indoor range that I can shoot the springer okay. I know it’s high powered, but I believe the Octane is also considered to be high powered. The RWS is a different story, but of all the pellets I’ve been testing in the HW90, there are very few the RWS won’t shoot well.

    As of now I have only found 3 pellets that the HW90 likes; the Beeman Crow Magnum 18.21 gr, the H & N Barracuda Hunter 18.21 gr, and the H & N Field Target Trophy 14.66 gr. I have read that the Crow Magnum might not continue to group so well at longer distances (farther than 20 yds?). Does that sound right?

    Here are the pellets I have tried that do not group well at all: JSB Jumbo Monster Diabolo 25.39 gr, JSB Jumbo Heavy Diabolo 18.13 gr, JSB Jumbo Diabolo 15.89 gr, CPHP 14.3 gr, CP Domed 14.3gr(brown box).

    A couple that don’t look great at 10m, but make me think I’ll try them at 25 yds anyway, are the CPHP 14.3gr (tin can), and the H & N Barracuda Match 21.14 gr. Both of those group a little larger than a quarter at 10m, but in a decent enough pattern that I’ll try them again when I get to 25 yds plus. Are there often pellets that will fare better at distance than up close?

    I installed the scope with a leveling system, and also put a bubble level on the rifle so I could control that aspect of my testing as much as possible. I have shot groups from prone with a bean bag supporting my forward hand, from a seated position on a stool using a BOG Gear monopod and the method you wrote about with your UTG monopod (that method works very well for me, by the way), offhand, and from a bench with a Monkey Bag under my forward hand. I also seated all the pellets to the same depth in the chamber when shooting to evaluate. I typically know when a shot is a little off because of my breathing, fatigue, etc.

    This is probably way more info than you care to read, but I wanted to try and cover several of the variables that you, or others may ask about (my experience, shooting position, etc.)

    So, my question(s) boils down to — is the HW90 really that darn finicky about pellets? I know it is hold-sensitive, but is it THAT much more sensitive than the Octane? Are there other pellets anyone has tried that they recommend for this rifle? I have found very little in the way of “professional” info about the HW90 and hold, pellet diet, etc. Any information from you or the readers here would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time.

    Jim M.


    • Jim M.,

      The HW90 has a gas spring. Enough said!

      Gas springs are difficult to figure out. Some like the artillery hold while others want to be held tight. Try holding your rifle like a deer rifle and see what happens.

      Yes, Crow Magnums do come apart with distance. My suggestion is to do what I have been doing recently — shoot pellets with larger heads. Look at the H&N Baracudas that have the largest heads you can get. Whenever JSBs don’t group I’m finding that a pellet with a large head is often the solution.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        When you say “larger head size”, I believe you mean a 5.51, 5.53, or so diameter instead of something that is 5.50 — is that right?

        I grabbed a couple of the JSBs and tried some different holds — rifle style, directly on the sand bag, etc. Nothing like that improves the grouping.

        Jim M.


  16. Tom,

    I keep checking the webpage for the blued version of the Colt SAA and it is still pictured in satin black. Has the plan changed for those to not blue them? I’m hesitant to pre-order because I would prefer blued over nickel, but I would prefer nickel over black.

    Michael



    • Michael,

      The pictures currently on Pyramyd Air’s website are of the guns that will be shipped. I originally got images of both guns from Umarex USA that didn’t jive with the gun they sent Tom to test. So, I asked about it, and they said the images we had were wrong and sent new ones. Those images are now correct.

      Edith


      • Edith,

        Looking at the pictures again, I can see, especially in pictures 5 and 6, that the finish is shinier than what I recall seeing before.

        Thanks for the clarification.

        Michael


  17. Sorry if my question sounds stupid, but I really have no experience with big bore PCPs. The second picture shows you holding the rifle and it seems to me that a hose is connecting the scuba tank to your rifle while you are (apparently) shooting it. Is that correct? Is it safe to shoot a PCP while the scuba tank is connected to the rifle?


    • Fred_BR,

      It is safe. In fact, most people who shoot the big bores sold by Gary Barnes do so with a gun tethered to a tank. Those guns use so much air that it really doesn’t make sense to fill it, disconnect the hose, shoot, reconnect the hose, fill it, etc.

      Edith


    • FRED_BR,

      You are correct. There is a step-down regulator in line with the gun.

      We found during testing that we could run the rifle that way and get lots of shots without fiddling with filling. Airgun manufacturers often test their PCPs this way. But all my testing in the field was done by filling the rifle in the conventional way.

      B.B.


  18. BB.
    Why not just fill the gun to 3000psi and shoot one shot at ten targets fill the gun to 3000psi and keep shooting once at each target in the same order till each target gets ten shots, then you will have ten targets shot ten times with identical fill pressure each and every shot, you cant get no more consistency than that.




      • BB,

        I always post so late,but I hope you get time to read this because it’s been on my mind for so long.

        I see Chris’ idea As one way to test pellet accuracy as a function of velocity .You showed ,with the Whiscomb,that the gun can have different vibrations that can ruin accuracy.I think that the way we hold a particular gun can accentuate those vibrations and your artillary hold minimizes the effect on many guns.

        I have a tin of RWS pellets in .177 cal.that hum like a tuning fork all the way to the target when fired from either of two magnum springers.When they hum they are not at all accurate.They are fine at other velocities from other guns.This hum is a resonant vibration imparted by the gun,but is only important because the pellet itself is resonant at the vibration the gun and shooter together are creating.Fired at a different velocity,the gun and shooter wouldn’t accentuate that wrong resonant vibration and the pellet accuracy may not suffer.Most things that resonate will also resonate to a lesser degree at some other multiple or submutiple of their main frequency of vibration.You test pellets in guns and conclude that a certain pellet is no good in that gun,but what if you could shoot it at a faster or slower velocity and change the gun/shooter vibrations?With PCP and multipumps this is possible.And using Chris’ idea velocity changes could be refined even more to study the effect.Do you think this idea has any merit?I believe that when the FX co.owner used 900 fps to fire his pellets and win a competition a while back,that the velocity had a lot more to do with his success than just a flatter trajectory.-Tin Can Man-


        • TCM,

          When you say your pellets “hum like a tuning fork all the way to the target…” are you saying you believe that your pellets are VIBRATING as they fly? That isn’t possible. They may be spiraling and that may cause a sound by ballistic projectiles do not vibrate in flight. At least not that I have ever heard.

          B.B.


  19. B.B.

    That is an incredible 100 yd group & done with light wadcutters. I’m just wondering, how practical is it for hunting if it needs to be close to an air compressor all the time on account of the huge volume it uses. But then again, it would be one shot one kill with a weapon of this performance so shouldn’t be a problem. I love the looks though. Its one hell of dangerous looking gun!!

    Errol



  20. Some muzzleloaders respond well, accuracy-wise, to paper patching conical bullets. I suspect this might be due to the paper (along with a bullet sizer) providing a custom bullet fit to the bore. I think it would be fun to try shooting paper patched bullets from the Texan, B.B.!

    -Cal



      • I tripped out myself when trying to measure grooves and lands in my 392.

        But that makes sense. In a firearm I think about 1/3 of the energy gets consumed forcing the projectile to fit, and forcing it to spin after it jumps the lead/throat. If the rifling was as shallow as an airgun, I think the round would “skid”, then keyhole- like a shot out barrel.

        Cal, I might have told you old news, but one more thing- thats the real reason cf rifle barrels heat up- friction.


        • Sam, B.B.,
          I agree that friction and wear might be an issue and significant premature barrel wear, because it’s so easy to send many more projectiles downrange with the Texan than a muzzleloader. Also, I don’t know how the L-W barrel compares in hardness. Paper patched bullets are not usually lubed, but I wonder if it might help. It would be an interesting experiment to try, but the L-W barrels are a bit pricey. At least it would be easy to replace a barrel, if the wear issue turned out to be a problem.

          -Cal


          • Yea,

            I never knew paper patches wore barrels out faster. Why? I figured if the steel is harder than the patch?

            I fired my first muzzleloaders a couple weeks ago. Way fun. But while the “set” triggers really are light and crisp- it seems more like a safety device than anything else.


            • I think the wear concern is debatable. I’ve never seen any empirical evidence one way or the other. It also dawned on me that while the Texan is likely to log more shots than a muzzleloader, they also go downrange at lower velocity than a 45 cal. muzzleloader or 45-70 and there is no hot gas or abrasive powder debris. Hence, less wear.

              -Cal



  21. Nice shooting and nice range. I am envious. One range I use has limited the distance to 100 yards by creating an enormously high berm and low baffles on the firing line. They had problems with stray shots going into the surrounding neighborhoods. What’s the blue hose for that is connected to the rifle? Is it continually filling up the depleted reservoir?

    A gun has just been shipped out to me, and I can’t believe it! I haven’t felt this kind of a thrill in a long time.

    I also saw the Hobbit movie, and, as with the Lord of the Rings series, its mythology has startling connections to the everyday. The way the dwarves become obsessed with treasure is a fair representation of the longing for guns. “I will not part with one single coin!” When a human is drawing his bow against a dragon ready to incinerate him with fire, that is a fair representation of how important it is to stay focused on your shot. And, there is a very creative use of animals. One dwarf goes into battle mounted on an armored pig, just like the kind I was talking about with Mike. And an elf rides a moose with enormous antlers. It’s sort of like Duskwight’s idea of people riding reindeer into battle with machine guns attached to their horns. The moose in the movie does some surprising things with those horns, but you’ll have to see the movie to find out.

    Matt61


  22. B.B.

    have you ever used Bob’s Boat Tail Bullets molds from Veral at LBT molds or from Accurate Molds. the bullets from these molds boast amazing B.C.

    I have shot original Nyclad bullets as well as 120 grain powder coated with polyester and sized to 357 they hit 900 fps in my recluse. I need some verification on the round. will you be at the Flag City Toys That Shoot in Findlay Ohio 4/11/15 if so I can slip you some and you can run in yours or give them to someone who can run them in theres.

    TwisterDM

    John E Oblender


  23. Maybe I need to talk to my shrink about my enthusiasm for this big bore since it seems I’m alone.

    With the exception of Errol no one is talking about the accuracy of this new introduction at 100 yards. Yes, the first shot had to be wasted in order to shoot that 1.5″ group but would further tweaking of fill pressure and/or adjuster for bullet weight compensate? Stunning accuracy with that 215 gr semi-wadcutter. Is this the best bullet for that Texan?

    We may never know these answers since B.B. Was only given a short period of time with this loaner rifle for testing.

    AirForce got Lothar Walther to provide these unique barrels! That’s huge to me. Obviously contributes to the 6 shots with the 215gr semi-wadcutter this rifle produces and the accuracy! 6 good shots in a big bore airgun!

    Don’t know why there isn’t more discussion about these highlights. Guess I need to schedule my next visit to my shrink.

    kevin


    • I think I might share the viewpoints of a few people on this air rifle.

      “That is an amazing air rifle! It is super accurate! It is going to cost quite a bit and not be legal for any of the game I would want to shoot with it in my state. It cost more than the muzzle loader or bow that would extend a hunting season. It’s to loud and has to much retained energy for the ‘burbs.”

      Now if I had a friend who owned a “canned hunt” private ranch, and if I was looking to spend that kind of money…

      It’s an amazing air rifle. I really enjoy reading about it and daydreaming. But after I look at “Road and Track” I put the kids in a minivan.


      • Sam,

        Thanks for sharing “the viewpoints of a few people on this air rifle”.

        Let me share some viewpoints on this air rifle that they may overlooked.

        My interest in this air rifle isn’t for taking “game”. It’s for eliminating large pests in a medium populated area. A bow isn’t practical and a muzzleloader isn’t allowed…no discharge of firearms. This airgun would be allowed for not only the types of pest removal we need but also is allowed for “type of pest removal tool permitted”.

        Can’t speak to “canned hunt” since the use of this air rifle reaches far beyond that for my intended uses.

        Not familiar with minivans since they never were ideal for my many needs with kids so can’t comment on that either.

        kevin



  24. Sam,

    The gun doesn’t have to be quiet for my needs but I would prefer that it is. A bonus not a requirement.

    NO, my pests are not stray cats and dogs. We don’t have stray cats and dogs or at least I haven’t seen any in 25 years.

    kevin


    • Where do you live? I’m guessing not in SoCal, I take that back- my dad lives 90 miles east of L.A. and there are no strays there.

      My dads cat disappeared out there and my stepmom was encouraging her kid to put out flyers with phone numbers. The cat wasn’t smart or fast enough to get away from the coyotes. Hence no strays there.


  25. I’m with Kevin. The accuracy and power of the Texan is truly worth discussion.

    BB according to Airforce the caliber is .457. I have a 340 g .457 bullet mold ordered. When I get the Texan in to test, I will let you know how accurate it is with this specific bullet at different distances.

    As far as hunting deer with a big bore PCP, it has been done since 1747 by Louis XIII,Landgrave of Hessen, killing large stag, according to “Air Guns” by Eldon G. Wolff.

    Those of you who are deer hunters know that shot placement is key to making a humane shot no matter what you hunt with,thus, my interest in accuracy and finding the right bullet for this gun. The more data we can gather the more informative choice of bullets we can make. Thanks for an excellent blog BB.



  26. BB,
    Is big bore airguns the current buying trend or big bore airguns are mostly purchased by hunters?
    If most buyers are NOT hunters, why would they want such a powerful airgun?





      • That would be me…

        I plan to purchase an AirForce Texan in .45 caliber to share the exciting sport of target shooting and would like to greatly reduce the report out of consideration for neighbors, and the participants hearing protection and enjoyment.

        I’d like to configure the Texan with an EMPEROR and quick-detach iron sites for primary use with the option of attaching a scope for secondary use. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on iron sites relating to the Texan, and none related to the Texan when using an EMPEROR with iron sites.

        Thoughts on this?



          • Thank you for the welcome.
            (References located at the end, look there if you’re wondering what I’m referring to.)

            I appreciate your thorough reports, and as you state:
            1.) The TexanSS is 400fpe (maximum), 100fpe less than the Texan at 500fpe (maximum)
            2.) The TexanSS is much quieter than the Texan.
            3.) The Texan airguns are most accurate at 3/4 to 7/8 power (depending).
            4.) Power means nothing if you can’t reliably hit the target.

            You tend to chide readers about “creating an alternate reality” where they want X, Y, and Z, and as I want X and Y at the expense of Z I intend to use your reports to do exactly that. (I also intend to use quotes properly.)

            X: As you said in other reports the way to get more power out of an airgun is to lengthen the barrel so the air pressure has more time to accelerate the bullet, which is also the way to gain efficiency. The Texan’s barrel is 8.25″ longer than the TexanSS, so the Texan makes a better starting platform given the goal of more power/accuracy/efficiency.

            Y: The TexanSS is what many readers asked for, a shorter barreled Texan that’s quiet, and I’d like the quiet part of that. DonnyFL makes a suppressor catering to big bore airguns, simply use a quality threadlock solution to hold a precision machined adapter on the end of the barrel and screw a muffler/suppressor/moderator on to that. What??? Basically stick a 2″ x 11″ can filled with Unicorn Dust on the end of the barrel and the Texan is magically quiet. (caps added for emphasis)

            Z: This is where a compromise is made, there’s no extreme bull-pup short-barrel affordable configuration that’s as light as a pixie. You don’t get that with a 50 BMG, and it ain’t gonna happen here either.

            Here’s where we need to think ahead a little. In my world, all the shooting will be relatively close range. We’re not talking 200, 600, and 1,000 yards, we’re talking 20 to 100 for a typical shot, and that’s iron sight territory in my book. However, nobody much talks about iron sights on a Texan, and therein lies the problem: I don’t have the experience to say what might work with this platform, and I’m hoping an experienced airgunner does.

            I don’t know about you, but I’m not getting any younger, and at 50 to 100 yards a gallon jug filled with water or a 1′ gong might be a bit hard to see, so it would be great to have quick-detach iron sights to swap out for a quick-attach scope.

            I did find the AirForce Quick-Detach Fiber Optic Open Sights, which fit the AirForce Talon & Condor and asked a PyramydAir rep. if they’d fit a Texan: “It should fit. They mount on the scope rail and the rail on the top of the gun. It’s same for the Talon, Condor and Texan.” “No riser is needed. The frame height is the same as the other rifles in the Airforce line.” “The sights should clear the can, as far as I can tell. There should be no problem.” The only concern is the fiber optic sights aren’t high quality according to the reviews on PyramydAir and Amazon, so I’m still looking, but at least we’re fairly certain this should work properly on an AirForce Texan with a fat can of unicorn dust attached to the front. PLUS (notice the use of caps), there are usually better third-party options for the same or less money, which the airgun gurus may have already adapted from the AR-15 world or rails.

            References:
            AirForce TexanSS: /blog/2018/03/the-texanss-part-4/

            AirForce Texan: /blog/2015/02/airforce-texan-big-bore-rifle-part-3/

            Proper use of quotes & caps: /blog/2018/02/everything-old-is-new-again/

            Barrel length: /blog/2005/10/whats-the-difference-between-short-long-airgun-barrels/

            DonnyFL EMPOROR: https://donnyfl.com/collections/ldc/products/m18-x-1-emperor

            50 BMG: https://www.cheaperthandirt.com/category/firearms/rifles/50-bmg.do

            Shooting with open sights: /blog/2012/03/learning-to-shoot-with-open-sights-part-5/

            AirForce Quick-Detach Fiber Optic Open Sights: https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/AirForce_Quick_Detach_Fiber_Optic_Open_Sights_Fits_AirForce_Talon_Condor/107

            Fiber Optic Open Sights Amazon review:
            https://smile.amazon.com/AirForce-Quick-Detach-Fiber-Sights-Condor/dp/B0018LDBN8/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_2609328962?_encoding=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0&ie=UTF8


            • Hedgehog,

              Okay, now I understand you.

              Forget open sights on a Texan or TexanSS. Mount a scope and be done with it. The AirForce sights are fiberoptic and in my opinion are not best for these rifles. And I don’t know of any others made for them. A properly mounted scope works fine.

              AirForce airguns all have a very straight stock, which means they sit higher than most people are used to. Plan on mounting that scope high and not worrying about it. If the scope is level each time the accuracy is there. You can see that in my groups.

              B.B.


              • B.B.,

                Close, fast target acquisition is best done with iron sights. Picture a deer at 15 yards, you want easy, fast sighting–especially if it is moving, and that’s not easy with a scope. Heck, even if it’s not moving all you may see is a mass of fur!

                Now picture a bunch of gongs, different sizes, different distances. Pick them all off, within a time limit. It’s doable with a scope, but it’s way easier with iron sights.

                Did your iron sights ever fog up on you? Probably not…

                Pollen blow by and stick to your iron sights? Wouldn’t even notice.

                Scratch your iron sights when cleaning them? Uh, no.

                Finally, there’s this well-seasoned feller who wrote a five-part article on exactly why iron sights are more better than glass:

                Shooting with open sights: /blog/2012/03/learning-to-shoot-with-open-sights-part-5/



                  • Perhaps B.B., but as fun as a Ferrari is to drive, you don’t drive it in Winter, you need a simple, basic, affordable, reliable vehicle (at least in Wisconsin, and I’m in Wisconsin…). So I need the 4×4 of sights, and that’s iron.

                    Did you notice that the “author of experience” (or as he calls himself, the “old man”) is also stubborn? Crusty bugger be he!


                • Hedgehog

                  Possibly a very low power scope such as 2-7X would work. A scope like that should give a good wide view at the lower power and would be faster to get on target and aligning the iron sights.


                  • Geo791 & B.B.

                    Maybe I’m not fully understanding the scope suggestions, and I’m open to understanding what I’m not currently understanding.

                    Background:
                    Small .177 CO2 airgun, BB/pellet, 3 to 15 yards, iron sights.

                    .22 rimfire single-shot bolt-action, 10 to 30 yards, iron sights.

                    .22 semi-auto carbine, 10 to 30 yards, with over/under sights (scope on top, iron sites underneath).

                    30-06: 10-100 yards, knock-down scope, iron sights.

                    AR-15 100 yards – 1,000 yards, iron sights.

                    So I’m good with iron sights as working very smoothly, as B.B. pointed out in his article and our previous in-fun banter. I’m also open to them not being a good idea on this airgun, but not understanding why.

                    At close distance shooting off-hand at a large-ish target I’d want iron sights as making a fat can jump or banging a gong or spinner doesn’t require bench-rest accuracy. Hunting in thick swamp mostly can’t be done with a scope or all the hunter will see is a mass of hair, and not see the nearby branches/twigs.

                    I do understand that at 25+ yards I may want a scope, hence wanting to have removable iron sights. Plus the airgun has that amount of accuracy.

                    However, there are lots of things to do that use the airgun’s power and not necessarily all the accuracy, therefore I’d like to figure out the iron sights. Am I way wrong? If so, why? If using an AR-10 for deer hunting, iron sights are fine, so why not on an AirForce Texan also?



  27. Hedge,

    What do you mean by “standard barrel diameter?” If you refer to sizes 1 through 5, nobody profiles barrels like that today — other than barrel makers. They might approximate the sizes, but standardization seems lost after 1960.

    And the answer is no, AirForce barrels are not curt to standard rifle barrel diameters.

    I think you need to experience this rifle for yourself, rather than to try to guess about it. Come to the 2018 Texas airgun show and shoot them for yourself. Nothing can beat first-hand experience.

    B.B.


    • Thanks for the invite to Texas, the warm weather must be nice, I’ve only heard such things exist… LOL

      Taking your advice, Texan should be arriving from PyramydAir shortly, will look at it and figure out where to go from there.

      What SCBA tank carrier and blocks are you using?

      Which in-line regulator would you suggest?



        • Good enough, I sent PyramydAir an email asking them to add a tank net and other things to the order…

          The chalks that hold the tank from rolling around, wondering where you got those, they’re small, light, and functional.

          I heard Tin Starr makes the Air Venturi bullets, it’s that true?


          • Hedge,

            The chocks top hold the tank are not needed with a good carrier.

            Tim Starr made SOME Air Venturi big bore bullets. I don’t know who makes all of them. Why does it matter who makes them?

            Coming to the Texas show can save you many thousands of dollars. You will see and shoot some of the guns you have only read about, and then be able to make a more informed decision.

            B.B.


            • That sounds like great advice…one can surely find discounts on things they never knew they needed. 🙂

              Thank you for all the help, this should prove an interesting journey with the Airforce Texan.



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