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Education / Training Beeman R1 supertune: Part 1

Beeman R1 supertune: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman R1
Beeman R1 Supermagnum air rifle.

This report covers:

  • 13-part tuning series
  • Honest talk
  • The ultimate tune
  • Malvern 2015
  • Bryan’s tune
  • Buttoning the piston
  • ARH mainspring and piston seal
  • Bronze spring guides
  • Smoother cocking arm
  • New cocking shoe
  • Stock screw escutcheons
  • Finish

Today we start looking at a rifle many of you already know. It is the Beeman R1 that was featured in my R1 book. While the R1 has changed since mine was purchased in 1994, the essence of the rifle remains the same as always. And the tuneups I’ve done over the years have pretty much obliterated what was originally in the rifle anyhow.

13-part tuning series

If you don’t know the rifle from my book, then perhaps you read about it in the 13-part report I did back in 2006. Not only did I use the rifle to show you the insides of a spring gun for the first time in this blog, I also tuned the rifle for you in that series.

Honest talk

To tell the truth, my R1 has never been the most accurate spring piston rifle I have owned. I never said it was, but I’m sure that people must think so because I wrote a book about it. In the days I was writing that book I was also discovering fundamental things about spring-gun accuracy, like the artillery hold. And I was using the rifle to test a number of theories, like how long a mainspring will last. So the rifle was as much a teaching tool and working laboratory as it was a functional pellet rifle.

The ultimate tune

In the R1 book, I documented the results of several different tunes. Some were conventional and a couple were edgy tunes that were done to prove a point more than to make the rifle a better shooter. At the end of the book I wrote that I had a dream rifle in mind that I had not yet seen. I wrote about some of the things I hoped to see in that rifle someday, but I finished the book without having seen them. That was in 1994. Today we are nearing the end of 2015, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge of my life. Twenty-one years have passed since I wrote that book and that R1 has undergone some changes, as well.

For starters, I sold it! Yes, I said I sold the rifle. I did it when times got tough for us in Maryland and I had to raise some money quickly. The man who bought it did so because he already owned my book and wanted the rifle to go with it.

Two years after I moved to Texas I was contacted by the man to see if I wanted to buy back my Whiscombe rifle. Yes, I had to sell that, as well. I did want it back, so we arranged to meet at a gun show in Maryland, where we exchanged airguns and money. He had the R1 with him when we met and I had just sold a pristine uncocked Daisy 1894 Texas Ranger commemorative in the box, so I had the money to buy it back. He didn’t like the rifle’s heavy cocking effort so we did the deal and the R1 came back to me.

He had installed a Maccari walnut stock on the rifle while he owned it. The job was done so well and the wood was so nice that I decided to leave it on, though I do still have the original stock, as well. That was the history of rifle from 2005 until now. But it didn’t sit still during that time, either.

Tom Gore of Vortek had made a gas spring for the R1 that I tested for and also for the R1 book. That unit was back in the rifle until I did a special 2-part report on the R1 18 years later. Then I tuned the rifle to cock easier and shoot slower. I got it pretty nice, but it still wasn’t what I wanted.

Beeman R1 last tune
The mainspring in my R1 was weaker, so the gun cocked easier. The spring guide was a loose fit and the mainspring is starting to cant at the far end in this picture.

Malvern 2015

I attended the Malvern airgun show this year and chanced to shoot a Beeman R10 that was lying on the table behind me. It was perfect! That was the dream tune I had been looking for all these years. When I discovered that Bryan Enoch had tuned that rifle, I made a deal with him to tune my R1. I delivered the rifle to him several weeks later and told him to take his time. I wanted the very best job he could do.

Beeman R1 Bryan's R1
Bryan holds the first R1 he tuned. This one is his own rifle. Photo provided by Bryan Enoch.

The rest of this report will be about what Bryan has done for my R1. Naturally I plan to test it for you in the conventional way.

Bryan’s tune

Before I describe what Bryan did to the rifle, let me show you the parts he made and customized. In this picture you can also see the rifle’s end cap that was trued and polished.

Beeman R1 Bryan's tune
This is what Bryan put into the R1. Notice the bronze spring guides front and rear and the buttoned piston. The stock screw cups are brass, as is the new safety bar. The face of the end cap has also been trued up and polished, so the base of the new spring guide can turn easily without friction. Photo provided by Bryan Enoch. 

The compression chamber was cleaned and honed to remove any burrs and also to freshen the cross-hatching on the cylinder walls. Then it was oiled and set aside while he worked on the other parts.

Bryan found the piston body to be oval by 0.035-inches at the base of the piston skirt. He trued it in a lathe, then he sanded and polished the piston body, even though it doesn’t need it, because it now rides on Delrin bearings (buttons) front and rear. He just wanted it to look good.

The piston rod that latches with the trigger when the rifle is cocked was found to be off-center by 0.025-inches. Bryan centered it to within 0.001-inches. He also polished it, just to make a good job of it.

Buttoning the piston

Bryan installed 3 quarter-inch Delrin buttons at the front of the piston and another 3 at the rear. They are equally spaced around the piston body to center the piston in the spring tube. He took care to size each set of buttons separately, so the piston slides easily inside the tube without being loose. This is why he wasn’t worried about trimming down the rear of the piston body to make it round. The piston body can never contact the inside of the spring tube, now that the buttons are in place.

ARH mainspring and piston seal

Bryan installed an ARH mainspring and piston seal in the rifle. He sized the seal so the piston slid inside the spring tube just the way he wanted. Both ends of the mainspring were deburred and polished so they don’t cut into the spring guides at either end.

Bronze spring guides

Bryan made custom spring guides from bronze for both ends of the mainspring. The forward spring guide is shorter and fits inside the piston. We commonly call this a top hat, because its profile looks like an old-fashiopned top hat. Not only does it prevent the mainspring from vibrating when the gun fires, it also adds some weight to the piston which makes it more resistant to bounce at the end of its travel. Each end of the guide has a Delrin washer to reduce friction.

Smoother cocking arm

Bryan also machined the cocking link arm and fitted Delrin bearings to remove any side play when the rifle is cocked. He also installed a new cocking pivot pin (where the cocking link attaches to the base block) because the old one was worn and loose. The rifle now cocks butter-smooth,  yet the barrel remains wherever I put it after the rifle has been cocked. The cocking smoothness has to be experienced first-hand to be appreciated.

New cocking shoe

When he examined the cocking shoe that connects the cocking link to the piston, he found it was cracked. He installed a new shoe on which he had first smoothed all the sides. Then he removed the piston liner to get access to the cocking slot that was milled straight and polished. When the liner was replaced it was polished so the cocking shoe rides on a slick surface.

He then cleaned the barrel (which hasn’t been cleaned in more than 10,000 shots) and installed a new Vortek breech seal. He also lightly chamfered and cleaned the transfer port.

Stock screw escutcheons

Most folks call them screw cups. Bryan calls them escutcheons. They are handmade to fit into the stock perfectly and prevent the screws from chewing into the wood.


After everything was made and fitted, Bryan lubed all the parts (with what he didn’t say), then buffed the stock with 0000 steel wool and gave it a coat of Minwax. He delivered the rifle to me at the Texas Airgun show and the occasion felt like a father giving his daughter’s hand in marriage! Bryan got his start tuning spring guns by reading the R1 book, and now he was the guy who had given her the dream tune mentioned in the book two decades later! He was keenly aware of what he had been asked to do and where it was headed.

Beeman R1 Tom's R1
I received my tuned R1 at the Texas airgun show.

How much did it cost? If you have to ask…. Seriously, though, the price depends on what you want. I wanted the smoothest tune Bryan Enoch could give me. Naturally you will hear a lot more about this air rifle in future reports.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

96 thoughts on “Beeman R1 supertune: Part 1”

      • Tom, I am happy for you and your newly tuned R1! I had the opportunity to shoot Bryan’s personal R9 that he tuned and that rifle is the best that I have ever shot so, I think that I have a pretty good idea of what you may be experiencing with with your R1! Bryan not only does great work on spring guns but he is a good guy, helpful and a great friend! You definately have a rifle to treasure there in your hands.
        Cheers, Brett

        • Thanks Brett! That R9 is awesome but this R1 shoots just as nice. You can close your eyes and not hear anything while you are cocking it until the safety clicks to “On” position.

          The shot cycle is just as nice, a dull thud. No hint at vibrations at all.

          The trigger job came out fantastic. It was nice when I got it but reworked it to be even better and adjusted to a nice let off.

          Got to say that the custom walnut stock on Tom’s gun was a wonderful design and I loved it.

          Wish this gun was mine, and had stayed at my house but…was a proud moment to hand it to Tom and see his smile when he shot it a few times. Being told that a gun you’ve just tuned for Tom Gaylord, that it is “Awesome Job” was huge.

  1. B.B.

    WOW, what fancy parts. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together on the range. I finally caught up on my family to do list. I did a little more testing on the UTG 2×16 scope.

    My UTG 2-16 scope is on a Benjamin Trail NP 1st generation. It is not too fussy on pellets it doesn’t like any of them. I do not know if it is me or the gun or ????. We don’t seem to work well together. For this test I started out with four different pellets to see if I could find one that would group well they were some of the better ones in this gun in previous tests.

    I selected the RWS Meisterkugeln wadcutter 14.0 grain pellets they grouped a little better than the others I shot today.

    I you remember on my scope vise test:
    On the vertical test this scope went from zeroed at 16 power to 2 ¼ inches low at 3 power and back up to ½ inch low at 2 power at 50 yards. The focus and parallax were consistent with the distance shown on the 80 mm side wheel when focused at 50 yards and minimum parallax, at least as best I could see.

    I set a target at 23 yards. I found the side wheel focus distance shown to be different at each power:
    At 16 power it read 20 yards
    At 3 power it read 37 yards

    Here is the results with 5 shot groups at 23 yards:
    Group one at 16 power was 1.12 inches with four pellets at 0.91 inches.
    Group two at 3 power was 1.39 inches with four pellets at 0.83 inches.
    For this gun nothing to write home about but typical of its groups.

    Ok for the vertical measurements I obtained the following:

    Pellet vertical distance from target center inches
    Group One – 16 Power Group Two – 3 Power

    -1.61 -0.06
    -0.49 -0.28
    -0.50 +0.23
    -0.83 +0.44
    -0.77 +0.49

    Average -0.84 +0.16 Difference 1.0 inches.

    This gives a change of 1.00 inch from the 3 power to the 16 power setting:
    Assuming the pellet flies the same path every shot (not really but ok for this test) that would make the site line the only variable so a linear relationship should apply.

    Using the 50 yards with -2.25 inches and converting to 23 yards:
    (-2.25/50×23)=-1.03 inches.

    Summary: It looks like I cooked up these numbers but I have no Idea why they came out so close with all the variables and poor 5 shot groups. I was planning on saying I could do better with a more accurate gun or 10 or 20 shot groups. I don’t think I could get this close again with the exact same conditions. Anyway I think it does show at least for this scope the non-shooting test provides a good indicator of how it will perform in actual shooting. Not sure what I am going to do with this scope now. The side wheel focus is excellent, the clarity is very good at all power levels and the etched glass reticle is great. I just don’t have much confidence in the scope.

    • Yea, “second focal plane” scope’s vary at different magnification levels, some more than others. Either get a first focal plane scope, get a fixed power scope, or take really good field notes.

      • Yogi,

        I will test every performance parameter of this rifle for you as this test unfolds. All I’ll say at this time is this R1 has never cocked this smoothly. It feels like a 120-ton telescope on a perfectly balances mount that allows the observer to move it easily.


      • Yogi,

        Yep, I just can’t justify the dollars of the high end scopes, I guess that is why I have a box of cheap ones in the shed. I would think I could get a good fixed power scope around 6 to 10 power with adjustable AO for under $400. I don’t mind field notes but if the number of variables gets to high or hard to figure out then I get a head ache. My non shooting tests try to identify some of the variables especially the most important ones. I have spent many hours trying to figure out if it is the gun the sights or the amo. The only way I know for sure is to try lots of variations of the three, or try to eliminate one or two.

        • I always say, check the crown.. that and for the shake rattle and roll of the nps and strong springers in general get your work out on and get that barrel down to between 12 and 14″, 10″ if you can. Most low budget high power springers will go from 2″ at 15yds to .5″ and less with good pellets. A crosman np .177 I have with 11″ barrel snipes sparrow headshots from 30yds easily, and a new ruger impact .22 (metal spring yukon different safety) puts jsbs in one hole at 20yds, that has 10.75″ barrel. Ill pull 5 extra pounds for one hole groups.

          • RifledDNA 22

            Thanks for the help. I will keep that in mind when I finish playing with my marauder. I don’t mind extra effort as long as I get results.

            I also have a benjamin 312 with a bent barrel. It is like new I picked it up at a show for $20. It was missing a few parts. I had the missing parts. it pumps and holds air like new. When I feel brave I straighten the barrel a little. It is almost straight and still no cracks in the solder. It might be my favorite gun if I can get the barrel straight. It is accurate now just shoots off to the right.

    • Benji-Don,

      Nice testing. Parralex will vary with temprature, so that must be remembered. The biggest variable in your shooting and non shooting would be you, your hold and rest, and the pellet selection. Also, different pellets will group at different locations, (high,low,left,right) around a bullseye. Even 2 brands at the same weight will group in a different place, which points to pellet fit and pellet profile/shape. The last 2 sentences are without changing (anything) on the rifle.

      I guess that 2 things come to mind,….do some warm up shots for your own sake and the rifles. The other thing is data collection over time. If you can see some degree of repeatability over time, that will give you more confidence in your results. As for group size, 10 is best. I think that it was proven that a 30 shot group will show the maximum group size that you should ever see from a particular pellet in a given rifle.

      I like your non-shooting test in that it does show that shift can/does occur with mag. level changes. At least with that scope.

      At any rate, nice testing. Chris

      • Chris,

        I used to think if a group did not have 10 shots it was not any good. I still do. But I was looking for a trend and did not expect such a good correlation between the vice test and the shooting test. I did shoot 5, 5 shot groups before this test, although I used 5 different pellets. But I know this gun and it does not get better after shooting 30 pellets of the same kind for break in. The center of its groups are very good they just don’t tighten up. For some reason this gun seems shoot similar with most all of the 25 or so different types of pellets I have used in it. The groups are also fairly round. I am going to try some more aggressive barrel cleaning. It shoots the same with the shroud on or off makes not big difference.

        Now my .22 Marauder is the most pellet sensitive gun I have seen. I had a tin of crosman pointed hunting pellets when I first shot the gun. They were fantastic. Not so with the next tin of the same pellets. On a good sunny day I can see the pellets flight. Some pellets must not pick up any spin from the rifling because I can see them make a big spiral loop to the target. My plan is to spend the next few weeks tightening up its groups with crosman premiers in the card board box. I just picked up four boxes.

        Lots of folks have been mentioning temperature I may try to do a test on that in the vice. I can see where it would make a big difference on long distance shooting not only on the equipment but especially on the trajectory. Right now I am working on tenths of an inch not even hundredths much less thousandths at the target.


          • B.B.

            Thanks. All I can think of is the baffles or the barrel harmonics causing a wobble in the pellet axis of rotation. I did not find any indication of the pellet touching the baffles; it is 2nd generation Marauder .22 cal. The crown looks good. So maybe just the harmonics. Those pellets shoot over a 6 inch group at 30 yards. I am getting good groups well about 0.5 inches at 40 yards with the crosman box pellets. Do you think I should try to figure out why some of the other pellets have the spiral. It could also be in the better pellet groups but I can’t see it. I have thought about placing one or two weights on the barrel but have a lot of other things to try first.


                • Benji-Don,

                  I would not believe it if you had not said it. I would be freaked out! I have only done 10 or so and never saw anything that extreme,…or rather,…that bizzare.

                  If not not too much trouble, what brand and weight?

                  • Chris
                    I did not find the target with my worst group. With ruger super point 16.8 grains I got a 5.51 inch group at 34 yards. With crosman destroyers 14.3 I got a 4.83 inches at 34 yards. I would have sent the gun back if I didn’t start with the tin of crosman pointed 14.3 grains. That first tin was great but I tried two more tins of the same pellet with fliers out an inch. Right now I have the best luck with crosman cardboard box pellets. At some point I may try an aftermarket barrel.

                    • Benji-Don,

                      That makes sense as I believe that those are both pointed pellets. Pointed and flat nose are not much good past 25 yds. with the flat nose being suited to close range even more so. Domes are best for longer ranges. The Pred. Mtl. Mags. did 26mm (just over an inch) in 25 yds. with the TX.

            • Benji-Don
              I had gen 1 and gen 2 Marauders in .177, 22 and 25 caliber.

              And I’m just going to say it as it is. Tryed many pellets in all 6 guns. All with the same Hawke 1/2 mildot reticle Varmint scopes.

              Had good luck with the .177 and .25 caliber Marauders. No good luck with the .22 caliber Marauders.

              I have heard mixed results on the .22 caliber models. But always have heard good results about the .177 and .25 caliber guns.

              I tryed all kinds of things with my .22 caliber Marauder. The best results I had with the gun was the 15.89 JSB exacts. And 850 fps is what I had the velocity set at. It would get a little under 1″ groups at 50 yards but would throw about 3 flyers out of 10 shots. And I mean flyers! They were like 3″ from the main group.

              I tryed all kinds of things even used a single shot tray. No good luck with the .22 Marauder.

        • Benji-Don,

          25 pellet types?….wow! You have tried everything,…pellet wise anyways. Round groups are good, even if not tight. Be carefull on cleaning. Damage to crown and rifling damage can occur.

    • Benji-Don,

      Of all my variables I almost never adjust their power. I set them and forget them. If I do adjust power, it’s for something simple — like locating the target. After I find it I set the power where I want it again and leave it there.

      It’s the parallax wheel that gets the greatest use on my scopes.

      That’s what I recommend doing, not just with that UTG scope but with every variable you own.


      • B.B.

        Thanks, I think I knew that intuitively before; cause that is when I had the best luck. Don’t touch the power and keep everything in best focus. Now I know it for sure. When there is a knob on something I just can’t help but to try it out. Maybe a little JB weld on the power ring would help LOL.

    • Benji-Don
      If you get a chance try the test you did again. But this time have the direct warm sun light shining on the side of the scope. Then do the test again after the scope is cooled back down and shoot while in the shade with no direct sun light on the scope.

      Have you ever tryed that?

      • GF1

        I have not tested with that in mind but would expect some change. As we discussed when I was surveying I had to adjust the level of the instrument every time a cloud went over and put me in the shade. The trouble with temperature is that it affects everything.

        You are never satisfied. Every time I do a test you come up with three more. Just cause I’m gullible and curious I will probably try it at some point.

        For the next little while I plan on sitting in the shade with my Marauder and working on the tune. I haven’t even had time to download and plot the results of my first runs with the Chrony. And my trigger needs some work. When I get the trigger set the way I want the safety won’t lock. Safety will come first so I need to do careful study of what is going on.

        • Benji-Don’

          Yea, ol’ Gunfun1 can be that way. He’ll give you a little bit of info. to play with and let you go from there. Then, just when you think you have figured “it” out,….he’ll throw a few more curve balls at ya’ and get ya’ to thinking again. 😉 I have learned a lot from him, as well from the others here.

          You sound like you have the testing parameters under control. You mentioned shrouded and unshrouded. I put weights in the muzzle of the LGU and it helped. Not sure how the NP shroud comes off, or if you can get to the inside of it, but the weights helped. Reduced muzzle jump. Try some thumb pressure behind the action with your trigger hand. Not sure where the safety is on the NP, but it helped with TX and the LGU which have the safety attached to the rear/top of the action. Got to give it up to Gunfun1 for that tip.

          As for Gunfun1’s heat test, you could control it with a work lamp like a 500W halogen. Them puppies put out the heat. With chrony testing, that is what BB recommends,…so it can do double duty. 😉


          • Chris USA
            Yep that ole Gunfun1 can be a pain in the butt sometimes. Everytime you think one thing is under control he’ll bring up a hundred more to think about.

            I think I know somebody like that. 😉

        • Benji-Don
          I do remember you saying you surveyed but I didn’t remember if you said something about the sun or heat.

          And sorry but that’s just the way I am. If your testing something you might as well check out other aspects to see if they could cause problems of some sort.

          And if you try that scope test on your Marauder remember that the heat change can affect your high pressure air in the guns resivoir. So that could be a variable you don’t want with the scope test. Maybe a springer would give more consistent results. But then you have to throw in the fact of the spring guns shot cycle affecting the POI.

          So there I went again even adding more tests to the mix. Maybe a person should just shoot what they have and see if the gun performs good enough for their standards. You know there’s a wide mix of uses for a airgun from plinking all the way up to competition.

    • Benji-Don,

      Sounds just like my NP Trail just doesn’t like to group under an inch with any pellets. Finally gave up and bought myself a 34P. Got a new Hawke Sport Optics 4-12×50 AO scope coming for the 34P later this week.


    • Benji-Don,

      Thanks for this excellent post and review. I have one of these that I just mounted on an air rifle, and just ordered another one for a different rifle. I’ve only been shooting it at my 10m basement range so far, but I have like the clarity. I’ve used it on 10x for about 95% of my shots (a total of maybe 250 so far).

      I am sorry to hear the range finding seems to be so far off — especially since I have another one arriving in a day or so. What do you think it would be if you had a big side wheel on and measured your own distances — like the FT shooters do? Is it crazy to think the “off factor” might not be so great using a large wheel?

      Last question — your last comment about “not having much confidence in the scope”….that came after you mentioned what you liked about it. Is the lack of confidence all about the range finding? (not to discount the importance of that.)


      Jim M.

      • Jim M
        I have not done enough shooting with the UTG 2×16 yet to know if it is consistent. As long as it will reproduce the same results at a given set of settings I will consider it a good deal. I have the 80 mm side wheel on the scope. It makes it easy to adjust. I don’t think it would show the correct distances by changing its location. I will use tape and Mark the correct distance once I select the power setting I will leave the scope at. If all that works I will be happy with the scope.

        Let us know how your scopes work out. Yours might be right on.


  2. I imagine that any air gun, even the new Walther LGV, would benefit from a tune like that. Pretty amazing, like blue-printing an engine. I assume that cocking is easier too?

  3. BB,
    A question concerning your statement about that the ‘R1 has changed since yours was made’, is this for the good or bad? I have been considering a refurb in .22 for awhile and wanted your opinion, thanks.

    • Scott80,

      I guess I should have covered that in the report. My rifle came with open sights. R1s no longer have open sights.

      My rifle had a metal spring guide. They now come with a Delrin guide.

      Are these changes good or bad? Well, I like the open sights, but like 99 percent of R1 owners, I don’t use them. They came off the rifle as soon as I got it and have never been reinstalled. So there is $50 down the drain.

      I do like a metal guide over a plastic guide, but neither one was tight enough on the mainspring. So that’s a wash, as well.

      If you want an R1, get one. The .22 caliber would be my choice. I owned one in .177 as well, but it’s really too much rifle for that caliber. Of course with a tune like this one, it will handle anything.


  4. B.B.,

    The expert and numerous facets of this tune are impressive, to say the least. Anyone who ever balks at the price of a master tune of a spring air rifle should be required to read this report. Obviously a remarkable amount of work and fine, detailed craft went into the project. One can’t get that kind of work done without making it very much worth the tuner’s while.


  5. B.B.,
    I’m excited for you and your R1 dream. It’s important to make dreams come true for yourself.

    Please also describe the lubrication methods and products Bryan used on the internal parts during reassembly.

    • The artillery hold works for multi-pump guns also. I found that when shooting off of a bipod, my Crosman 66c shot better when I held it loosely and put more pressure on the middle finger instead of the trigger finger while squeezing the trigger, something I read a recent? blog that BB said he learned while shooting the 1911 in the Army.

  6. B.B.

    That’s what I call expert tuning.
    I always wander if airgun makers could make such “souped-up” versions of their most successful products somewhat like S&W custom shop. With modern tech it could be easy and, actually, cheaper then tuning each rifle individually.

    On Mk II.: There was a setback, my contact failed me with 28 mm tube, so I changed it for 30 mm and already have one in my hands. However I had to rework the main coupling for larger diameter and at the same time loose some weight from it. Not an easy stuff, but already done and transferred to production.



      • Brent,

        Actually it has no connection to CFX. The only CFX project I worked on is my “Shillelagh” customized CFX with gas ram, zero dead-volume seal and “ride rings” for the piston, LW barrel, reworked trigger with CDT blade and custom “space stutzen” stock. It is one of my most prized posessions and I regularly use it.

        Mk. II is a project for opposing pistons springer similar to BB’s famous JW series rifle. That was the stuff that brought me to this blog, I lurked here for a long time but surfaced only on Russian piece of the story B.B. once told.

        Mk.0 was made before as proof-of-concept, tested, proved to be a feasible concept, but required A LOT of refinement and loss of weight. That turned out to be Mk.II, involving some non-traditional approach to springer construction. Well, I’ll be the first one to realize if I was right or wrong 😉


    • Duskwight,

      It seems to me that the Air Arms TX200 MKIII comes close to what you describe. It has many of the elements of a master tune, such as tight tolerances, low friction contacts, buttoned piston, and so on. I do occasionally see used TX200 rifles that the seller advertises as having had this tune kit or that tune kit, but isn’t it really pretty much already a tuned gun right out of the box? Granted, I’m sure that someone like Bryan Enoch could open one up and refine it a bit to make it even smoother shooting than factory stock, but that would be like going from superb to outright sublime.


      • Mike,

        Did the TX come with buttoned pistons at one time? The TX I got Jan. this year has split rings front and rear that are some sort of plastic. It’s a new one and not an older one. Just curious. Chris

      • Michael,

        TX200 is a great gun in its own right. Very close to what I mean, but I believe even that can be wisely and consciously improved. The only thing is to know where to change and where to stop.


  7. BB
    That was a good idea to make the top hat and spring giude out of bronze. And you do mean bronze right? Not brass. And by chance was it oillite bronze. That type of bronze is suppose to lubricate as it contacts something. We use that as bearings for some of machines at work.

    And you didn’t mention what preload he put on the spring. Was it zero preload or did he have one, two or more inches of preload. Or did he leave some freeplay like maybe a 1/8″ or so in the spring when he set it up before assembly.

    And I don’t want to know why something will work or not work with what I mentioned. I would just like to know how he sets the spring up since he went through all that other trouble.

    Oh and not going to tell what kind of secret sauce he topped it off with. You know what was the secret mixture of lube he used. Or I should say which types off lube and where he used them and how much. That’s a very important part of the tune you know.

    And while I’m on the lube part of the tube. That 46 I got was shooting funny and the guy said he put new seals in it. But I had to take it apart because it was way harsh when the piston finnished its stroke. Well it had a new seal in it after I wiped a ton of goop off of it. He had so much black lube inside the cylinder. And yes I mean cylinder that the piston and seal was just slamming to the end of its stroke. Well I cleaned it all up, and scotchbrited the inside of the cylinder then added some of my little tune tricks to what the spring contacts and set the spring load and added my little secret sauce. Yep a much nicer shooting gun now. It does pay to go the extra mile. Plus its kind of a way to personalize the gun the way you want it.

    • Packed the chamber with grease? At least he didn’t hurt it. Maybe that’s how he thought it was supposed to dampen spring vibration, by suddenly stopping the piston before the end of it’s stroke? Oh well that’s probably why you got a good deal on it.

      • Reb
        I believe he wasn’t thinking. It was a mess. That black goop was everywhere. You ever tryed cleaning that stuff off. It’s a nightmare. And had a heck of a time finally getting a clean patch to come out of the barrel. I’m say’n that stuff was everywhere! And you know me. I don’t usually clean a airgun barrel unless it goes south on me.

        Anyway shooting great now. Well till I ran out of the 15.89 JSB’s. Suppose to get more delivered tomorrow my tracking number says. So I’ll be back in business with it again. Can’t wait actually. It was shooting so nice when I ran out.

            • When I bought my bore floss it came with a buncha small patches and a bottle labeled Goo Gone,I’ve used the stuff before and it breaks down adhesives very well. The second patch was the last dirty one on the QB-88.

              • Reb,

                Now that is a new one……you recommend the stuff? I am wanting to do a clean on the TX and LGU but have no set up do so. I figure just cloth patches to start. Save the nylon and brass for later, if ever. I figure a little solvent followed by some lube, and good to go.

                Will be looking into pull throughs real hard on next P.A. order. Chris

                • I’m not sure you’ll find anything like this pull-thru in PA’s catalog, I wish I knew who was selling them because it’s the best solution for cleaning gunk outta fixed barrel bores without having to strip them down.
                  I made my first one outta old school braided fishing line but can’t tie the knots like I used to do I bought this one for $10 that has an eyelet woven into it about midway it’s also got some kinda wax in the fibers that makes it stand up when you slide it through your hand with a little pressure
                  The goo gone has a citrus aroma and may contain acids but it’s safe for plastic and rubber.
                  I always lube a bore directly after cleaning it just in case,I doubt it’ll break down lead but if a bore is loaded with that tar it’s what I’ll be using.

  8. My serious adult airgunning journey began with an R-1 rifle and Tom’s book. Before I was done, the pages of that book were as grimy and grease-covered as my tattered copy of “Volkswagen Repairs for the Complete Idiot.” I probably had that gun apart four or five times, trying different approaches to calm it down while still retaining sufficient energy to justify the gun’s size and weight. In the end, I decided that the big gun simply wasn’t for me. I preferred smaller, less powerful air rifles. Still, the quest for a good shooting R-1 was such a challenge that I will be following this series closely to see the true potential of the gun. Glad to see it come full circle.

  9. Wow, this R1 is taking on the status of totemic samurai swords with their own history. What’s the supermagnum part? I assume that was part of the original branding when the gun broke velocity records. If B.B., is anywhere near as satisfied with his tune as I was to get my Garand fixed, it will be well worth it.

    Buldawg, in hunting in swamps were you splashing through water and fighting mosquitoes? Was that really fun culminating in the close-quarters battle with the boar? Maybe if adrenaline is the goal. William Faulkner has a story about people pursuing a legendary bear, and one hunter finally climbs on his back and dispatches him with a knife. But I didn’t know people did that for real. It sounds like a 30-06 is not nearly enough for a wild boar.

    Mike, I had supposed that the ban on large ammunition capacity had to do with sport. Apparently, the offbeat journalist J. Hunter Thompson used to hunt pigs with a full-auto Tommy gun. So, the capacity limit prevents prevent abuses like this. But, the hunter has a considerable advantage anyway with a firearm, and it seems like the extra rounds could ensure a quick and humane kill if necessary.


    • Matt,

      The Supermagnum is exactly what you thought. When the R1 came to market at 940 f.p.s. it was the fastest sp[ring air rifle around. Within a little over a year they got it up to 1000 f.p.s. and the Laser tune topped 1100! In those days that was something.


    • Matt
      Yea it was more trying to stay top of the clumps of dry ground but when the chase was on it was go thru what you was in the way to get to the hog and it most always was water and mud to get to them so yea not a fun hunt by any means but then if you have ever tasted wild boar then you would know it is worth the effort. We did not have mosquitos we had dive bombing vampires that sounded like a pack of pissed off bees and you wore long shirts and jeans to protect from the skeeters and the briar patches that you would encounter as the briar patches were worse than the skeeters with barbs up to an inch long and sometimes 20 feet deep that you either went thru or had to circle up to a 1/4 mile to get around.

      If you could get a exactly placed shot in the eye, ear or under the throat or right behind the shoulder blade a 30/06 would do the job but it was that perfect shot that was never as easy to achieve in the heavy brush, marsh and briars you were hunting in so it was far easier to let the pit bulls do the dirty work of catching and tiring the boar out so that it and the dogs would be on the ground resting when you came up and you had to approach from the boars blind side to be able to kneel over his jaw and shoulder while you stuck his throat with the knife and stirred the pot so to speak.

      It was most definitely the adrenalin rush that kept us coming back and the excellent eating as there is no pork as sweet as a root and grub fed wild boar that you have the pride of defeating yourself and be the victor in a battle of the beast versus man.


      • Hemingway used to fish for sharks off the Pilar. Fact, as there are a number of photos of him doing it with what looks like a 1921 Thompson. So the story goes, the 20 round mag was inadequate, so Ernie upgraded to the 50 round drum…and it was still not up to the job. He had to continue pulling the occasional bodieless Marlin head in after the Sharks were done.
        It should have been “The Old Man and the Sea…and his Tommy-Gun.”

        • David
          You just made my day with a great laugh to start it out as there is no better medicine for the soul than pure laughter.

          I to have had sharks destroy a catch when deep sea fishing in my youth and not knowing to pull the fish on board after being caught since we were in a small boat we were trying to keep the boat from being overloaded and ended up fighting off the sharks and only the heads of our catch to left to admire.

          Having grown up in the thousand islands of Cocoa Beach, Florida and spending my early years on the canals and islands of the area we would walk thru the flats of the canals systems in 6″ to 1 1/2 feet of water with our shotguns after stingrays or sand sharks that would be swimming in the shallows in search of food and I remember feeling at times much like Hemingway with my shotgun after shooting at a 5 foot sand shark only to see it react like it just got kick in the gut and would thrash about wildly. Luckily we never had one truly chase back after us but then it was mostly 3 to 4 of us all with guns so the few encounters we did have with them we did have what seemed just enough gun/s to do the job and it took all 5 rounds from the shotguns and as many 22LR s as our guns would hold to kill the sharks, stingrays were not much of a problem.

          I have been barbed in the calf by a stingray though as I was not looking close enough where I stepped and when I stepped on one I felt the immediate stinging fire in my calf and knew exactly what just happened. We cut the tail off the stingray and I had to go to the hospital to have it removed since their tails have a similar setups as a arrow with barbs so that it will penetrate very easy but you don’t dare try to pull it back out as it will rip flesh out and not come out easily. I have also been stung by Portuguese Man O War another of which is a very painful sting of concentrated poison and sets the affect area on fire with an acid type solution that is best calmed with direct application of a basic liquid such as vinegar followed by baking soda with a damp cloth over the area.

          All very fun years of exploration and learning about mother nature and how subtly cruel and devious her many creatures can be and are armed to defend themselves.


      • BD76,

        I can not remember the price per pound, but is was wayyyyy up there on hogs raised this way. Like a 7# ham would be over 100$. So there must be something to your comment on the taste being so good. Yea, there is people raising them in this natural way.

        • Chris
          I have never seen or really looked for pork that was raised naturally like that as I am sure its out there but it my opinion it is worth every penny they charge for it as I don’t know why it makes such a difference but I can say after having wild boar that you go to the effort to kill and quarter for a BBQ it is well worth the effort.

          it is as I said some of the best tasting pork you will ever have and one of the best meats there are health wise for you as well especially back in the 70s before all the grounds they lived on became so toxic with chemicals man has produced and emptied on to the earth. That is one reason the price is so high since there is a lot involved in ensuring the boar are raised in untainted soil and fed only all organic natural feeds.

          We caught a 60 pound baby boar on one hunt and brought it home and raised it in my buddies backyard that had the hog claim by feeding it corn and grubs and whatever natural foods we could come by until it was 400 pounds and the neighbors started to complain about the noise and odor from it so we finally had it slaughtered and again we had one of the best BBQ parties ever as that one the main reason we hunted them so that we could throw our famous block party BBQs that we would feed a hundred or more people for pretty much free.

          I miss the old days


  10. BB,

    I am soooooooo envious! I have been wanting an HW80/R1, but I knew it was going to need a special tune before I would be truly happy with it.

    If you go insane, I have first dibs!

  11. BB.
    It’s great to see the rifle that started it all. It is also the gun that got me hooked years ago. I have desired one since 96 and never saw one in person. 3 yrs ago I found mine a 177 on a forgotten gunshop rack. New old stock San Rafael. It honestly is not my most accurate either, but I love it’s golden age charm. The Diana 45 is superior in accuracy, as is the HW 97 and the HW 35. Sorry I missed the Texas show, life and work happened again!

  12. I’m having a hard time deciding on whether or not to buy the R1…..It’s a toss up between that and the Benjamin Maurader. Which would you say has more power and long distance shooting ability? I’m looking to hunt some small to mid-sized game….is that even possible with either of the air rifles? Could use some direction or advice if possible! Thanks!!

    • David,

      I can answer your questions easily. The Marauder is far more powerful than the R1, and has demonstrated much better accuracy at long range.

      The R1 trigger is superior to the Marauder trigger, but the Marauder trigger is a good one.

      Yes, both airguns can be used to hunt game up to the size of woodchucks and raccoons, under the right conditions. The Marauder can reach out farther than the R1 on all game animals.

      Your choice is not about the potential of these rifles, though. It’s about the huge difference between spring guns and precharged guns. Precharged guns are easier to shoot accurately. Spring guns are more self-contained. Which appeals to you more? That is the decision you have to make.


  13. BB,

    I have a older Beeman HW 97K under-lever with a straight 4 power blue ribbon scope that I bought new back in the late 80’s or early 90″s. The shop I bought it from no longer carry’s airguns. Well after 1000’s of rounds through this gun it is not what it used to be, but I still enjoy shooting it. I was wandering if you thought that this gun was worth having it totally gone over. If so I was hopping you would have a name of a place that will work on these older Beemans.

    Thanks for writing such a great blog.

    • Bruce,

      Yes, your rifle is worth a rebuild. That can be anything from a replacement of factory parts that Pyramyd AIR can do, to a full-blown tuneup like the one seen here. Be prepared to pay nearly as much for a tune like this as you spent on the rifle originally.

      Your rifle is still being made today — maybe not exactly the same but similar enough that you can order the parts to do the job yourself if you want.

      A call to the Pyramyd AIR tech department will get you started. 888-262-4867


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