BSA Supersport SE: Part 4
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
• RWS Superdome pellets
• JSB Exact RS pellets
• 8-32X Aeon Classic rifle scope
• Baracuda Match pellets, 5.53mm heads
• Different hold
• Evaluation of the rifle
Today, I’m shooting the .22-caliber BSA Supersport SE at 25 yards. I’m also testing the Aeon 8-32X50 Classic rifle scope with a trajectory reticle mounted in the Diana Bullseye recoil-reducing scope mount. Those 2 products will each get their own separate reports because today I’m concentrating on just the rifle.
In Part 3, I shot the rifle at 10 meters using the open sights that came with it. From that test, I selected a couple pellets to try today. But first, I want to show you a picture of the Aeon 8-32X50 scope mounted on the rifle, because in the last report I mentioned how short it is for this range of power.
Now, let’s test the rifle. I started with a 12-foot sight-in that told me the pellets would be on the paper at 25 yards. No sight adjustments were done at this time. It isn’t often that I mount a scope and it lines up this well without some adjustments, but this mount was very easy to install and apparently it had just the right amount of droop angle for this particular airgun. I backed up to 25 yards and started shooting.
I used the classic artillery hold, with my off hand rested on a sandbag. The rifle was balanced on the flat palm of my off hand, which was positioned just in front of the triggerguard.
RWS Superdome pellets
The first pellet tested was the RWS Superdome. It did fair in the 10-meter test, and I wanted to see if the scope would allow it to shoot better. But, that didn’t happen. After some scope adjustments and after allowing the scope to settle in (it has some stiction, so several shots are required after making an adjustment), I shot a 10-shot group that measures 1.442 inches between centers. There was nothing about this group that suggested I should shoot a second one with this pellet.
JSB Exact RS pellets
In the 10-meter test, JSB Exact RS pellets did best of all. I figured they would also be good here. I shot the first 4 shots at a target, and then it dawned on me that I was shooting an 8-32x scope on 8x. I dialed it up to 14x and continued with the group. Only the point of impact seemed to move to the right!
I continued to shoot at this power setting — just to see what would happen. Sure enough, I got 2 different groups. One is on the left and the other is spread out on the right. I can’t say that I was shooting with the best artillery hold technique when I shot this group, because I was so fascinated with what was happening on the target. So, I don’t give this group any credit. All I can say is that I’m now wary of adjusting the power of a variable-power scope. I think the zero needs to be checked after adjustment.
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into this group. The point of impact shifted to the right when I changed the scope’s power from 8 to 14. Four shots on the left and 6 on the right. The “group” measures 1.879 inches between centers, but it isn’t representative of what this pellet can do.
8-32X50 Aeon Classic rifle scope
Here I was testing a rifle with a 32x scope and using less than half of that. What was wrong with me? I now adjusted up to 32x and shot the next group, which is quite telling.
This time, I got results! Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 0.994 inches at 25 yards, but as you see, 7 of those pellets are in just 0.295 inches! That shows the potential of the rifle, and it’s also why I like 10-shot groups over 5-shot groups. I know for a fact that one of those outlying pellet holes was made when I fired the rifle without completely relaxing. As for the other 2 outliers, I can’t say one way or another; but for sure, the 7 in the smaller group were all shot when I was completely relaxed.
Technique is needed to shoot the SE at its best. A LOT of technique! For the airgunner who only owns one rifle, this technique soon becomes normal and very repeatable. For me, it’s something I must concentrate on with each shot, because I shoot so many different airguns all the time that I never get used to any of them.
What I’m saying is that I think this SE is a very accurate spring rifle; but to shoot it, you have to use the correct technique. That and also shoot the right pellet.
Baracuda Match pellets, 5.53mm heads
Next, I tried H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 5.53mm heads. I couldn’t get these on paper. I shot 3 of them and was only sure that the final one landed about 3.5 inches below the aim point. It’s the pellet that in the center of the bull in the first target shown.
Rather than chase this pellet around the paper, I decided to return to the JSB Exact RS and try a different hold — to see if I could get rid of those 3 fliers in the best group.
Up to this point, I’d been holding the rifle rested on the palm of my off hand back by the triggerguard. For this test, I slid my off hand forward to the rear of the cocking slot. This removes about 75 percent of the wobbling that can be seen through the scope. But it didn’t help things. The pellets spread out vertically and even went off the paper. I stopped shooting after 4 shots. The original classic artillery hold is the best for the SE.
Evaluation of the rifle
I think the BSA Supersport SE is a fine air rifle. As we’ve seen today, it can be very accurate, provided the right hold is used. The trigger is creepy in stage 2, but it’s not hard to get used to. The rifle has reasonable power, a nice appearance and is a rifle I would recommend.