Shooting the Air Venturi Wing Shot air shotgun: Part 2
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Safety blocks cocking
- Velocity on low power
- 10 yards
- 15 yards
- 20 yards
- Final observation
- A last word
Today we look at the Air Venturi Wing Shot air shotgun on low power. Several readers asked for this report after reading Part 1, so this was the natural next step.
Safety blocks cocking
The first thing I want to report is the safety will not allow the gun to be cocked when it is on. I discovered that when I started the session. The bolt handle comes back a little, but it won’t go back to the low power notch until the safety is released. Remember this if you get this gun. I don’t have a problem with it — owners just need to know how their gun works.
Velocity on low power
I only did one velocity test, because I only have a few shotshells left and I also wanted to do some patterning on low power. I saved a few shells in case there is another test I want to conduct after this one.
I filled the gun to 3000 psi before starting the test. Then I went to the chronograph. Last time I tested this I hit the chronograph with several shot, so I was careful to hold far above the skyscreens this time. Since the shot pattern spreads out fast, you have to stand close to the start screen to register anything. I was about 5 feet away.
I decided to shoot until the velocity fell below 700 f.p.s. Here is what I got.
Okay, I know going into this test that the Wing Shot has 3 good shots with a 3000 psi fill on high power. So it has to have at least that many on low power, and hopefully more. The first shot surprised me because I was expecting it to be more in the high 700s. The second shot tells me that the first shot is correct — the gun really does go this fast on low power.
But shot number 3 is a puzzler. My shooting buddy, Otho, who was at the range with me said the shot sounded different than the first 2, so the gun may have hung up and not delivered good power that time. Or the shot may not have recorded over the chronograph correctly. Since this is a shotgun, there is always that chance.
I tend to go with the first choice, because I was only 5 feet from the start screen and Otho did notice a difference in the sound. Knowing there are fewer than 100 shots on the shotgun at this time, it’s easy to believe it isn’t fully broken in yet.
Notice shots number 4 and 5 are still in the low 700s. This is where I expected all the shots to be on low power. That would have been fine, but it seems the Wing Shot is built to run wide open and isn’t as stable on low power as it is on high. That’s okay, though if the patterns are still good, because 5 shots are better than 3 and at close range (15 yards and closer) you won’t tear up game as much.
Shot number 6 is a definite decrease in power. Unlike shot 3 that was an anomaly, shot 6 tells me the gun is really off the power curve I wanted, which was 700+ f.p.s. So I stopped shooting and went to the patterning range.
We learned in the first test that the Wing Shot is probably best at distances out to 20 yards. That’s based on the size and density of the shot pattern. Several readers were curious whether the pattern would be different on low power, so that’s what we will see now.
The first pattern was shot at 10 yards. It measures 9.5 inches from edge to edge. That’s identical to the width of the pattern on high power (see Part 1) but the center of this pattern is denser than the full-power pattern. Interesting!
The shot cup was at the edge of the 12-inch bull and penetrated halfway through the tough cardboard box the target was on. If it hit something at this range, it would hurt.
At 15 yards I got the same 12-inch pattern as with high power. This time the pattern was dense on the left side, where on high power it was dense on the right. But no small bird like a dove would be missed at this range.
At 20 yards I had a problem centering the pattern on the 12-inch bull. Shotgunners shoot at 4 by 4 foot paper and then draw circles around their patterns. Nobody but me would try to hit a 12-inch target with the center of the pattern at 20 yards. And with the small amount of shot it really tells when I miss, which I did both times. Both times I hit high. Once to the right and the next time to the left. This isn’t the Wing Shot’s fault — it’s mine.
A second shot at 20 yards went to the left. This one is only a little high and contains the center of the pattern at the top of the bull. There are holes at the edges of the pattern, so you’d better be on target at this distance.
I was able to see the shot that hit the box outside the paste-on bull, which is how I can tell you the pattern is still about 16 inches at 20 yards. And the shot density is still good for dove-sized birds, though it is starting to open up around the edges.
I did note that the shot went completely through both sides of a rather stiff printer box this time. Even on low power there is plenty of juice out to 20 yards with number 8 shot. The Wing Shot is proving to be a competent air shotgun, in my opinion.
A last word
I read a couple comments about the small shot size. The writers were saying they would use a larger shot size if they had this gun. Folks, these shotshells don’t hold a lot of shot. If you shoot number 5 birdshot, there may not be enough shot to reach out past 12 yards with a killing pattern. Use number 8s. I hunt crows with number 8s and kill out to 40 yards with a 20 gauge shooting low-base shells through a modified choke. Number 8s will do the job at the ranges for which this gun is designed.