by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Pumping the gun has changed
- Three magazines or two?
- First group
- Second group
- On to different pellets
- JSB Exact Jumbo heavies
- Two more pellets
- Back to the Air Arms domes
- Is this a 100-yard air rifle?
Today we are back at the range with the Air Arms S410 TDR Classic. The last time we saw that the TDR groups shifted with every magazine. We also learned that this rifle likes the 16-grain Air Arms dome on high power. Today I want to see the full range of this pellet, plus test the potential of a couple other .22 caliber pellets.
Pumping the gun has changed
I reported in Part 2 that it took 94 pump strokes to get to 2900 psi after 40 shots had been fired. If you read that report you’ll see that I shot the rifle 10 times more after knowing it had fallen off the power curve. That was a total of 40 shots on a fill, but that’s not how I’m shooting the TDR today. I’m shooting 20 shots per fill, and I note that the number of pump strokes to refill the gun has dropped to around 60.
Three magazines or two?
One thing I wanted to learn today is whether there are 20 shots or 30 shots on a fill. In the past I have based the answer on velocity, but in this test I’ve discovered that the point of impact changes even when the velocity remains the same. So in today’s test I wanted to determine whether there are 20 or 30 shots in the TDR from an accuracy standpoint — by which I mean a point of impact standpoint.
I’m leaning towards just 20 shots, based on what I saw in the last test. I won’t spend any extra time discovering this, either. If the impact point shifts after 20 shots, that will be the determining factor. I’m shooting the Air Arms dome at 50 yards off a sandbag rest. The wind is still, so this is an ideal situation.
I started the gun on high power. The first group impacted 5/8-inches to the right (0.625-inches or 15.875mm) and 2 inches high (50.8mm). I didn’t adjust the scope, because I will be comparing groups of several different pellets shot at different power levels. Ten shots went into 1.238-inches, but I notice that it was the first 4 shots that are not together. The final 6 shots are in 0.507-inches. That tells me I overfilled the rifle just a little. If I can learn where the optimum fill pressure is, I should be able to reduce this first group’s size dramatically.
First group of Air Arms domes on high power measures 1.238-inches between centers. It landed two inches high and to the right of the aim point. The first 4 shots are scattered higher, and the final 6 are in a tight group that measures 0.509-inches.
The second group on high power after a fill will be the telling group. If it remains in the same place as the first group, there are at least 20 good shots on a fill.
But it didn’t stay in the same place. The center of this group is still 5/8-inch to the right of the aimpoint, but it’s 2.5-inches higher than where the crosshairs were placed. Ten shots went into 0.914-inches at 50 yards.
If groups 1 and 2 were overlaid, there would be 20 shots within the 1.238-inch boundary of the first group. In other words, group 2 rose, but it didn’t rise above those first 4 errant shots in group 1. Eliminate those 4 shots and you still get 16 shots in the same space. Therefore, I conclude there are 20 good shots per fill.
On to different pellets
Sitting in my office examining the target as I write this report I wish I had tried a third group with this pellet on high power, but I didn’t. For some reason I was convinced that 20 shots was the limit, so I moved on to test other pellets. To do the TDR justice, I need to try a third group with this pellet on a high power setting.
Sometimes when I am at the range trying to get things done, I don’t analyze the results thoroughly enough. Of course I’m doing this through a spotting scope 50 yards away, because my target is still downrange and the range is hot. This particular day was one day before the opening of deer season, so every hunter in the state was on the line, checking his zero. I do need to go back and check the rifle once more.
JSB Exact Jumbo heavies
Next I tried JSB Exaxct Jumbo Heavy pellets that weigh 18.13 grains. I knew the JSB Exact Jumbo 15.89-grain domes did not fare well on high power (Part 3), but these pellets perform differently, so they were worth a look. The first group after a fill on high power put 10 pellets into 0.96-inches at 50 yards. That’s better than the Air Arms domes for the first magazine after the fill. They also rose 2 inches above the aim point and are the same 5/8-inch to the right. This pellet is worth further testing.
Two more pellets
I was in a data-gathering mode at this point, and there were 2 more pellets I wanted to sample. The first was the new 25.39-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Monster. Would it group? If so it will probably add significant power to the TDR because of its weight.
While the hope was there, though, the pellet failed to perform. When the first 3 pellets landed almost 3 inches apart, I knew this one was not right for the rifle.
The other pellet I tried was the RWS Superdome — a pellet that has been on the top list a very long time. Superdomes often surprise shooters by their performance. But not this time. The first 2 pellets landed 3 inches apart and I knew they were not right for the TDR.
Back to the Air Arms domes
Now that I had tried 3 more pellets it was time to discover whether the Air Arms domes that do so well on high power also perform on medium power. This time I adjusted the rifle’s power setting to medium and filled to 2900 psi.
The first group of 10 pellets went to the exact aim point! This is why I didn’t adjust the scope for the high-power groups. Ten pellets went into a group that measures 0.891-inches between centers! Now, that is what I like to see at 50 yards!
The second group on medium power went to almost the same place as the first group. The center of the group is perhaps 0.3-inches to the left of center and the elevation is spot-on. These 10 pellets made a group measuring 1.132-inches between centers.
Now I have the TDR shooting the way I want it to shoot. While this pellet does work well on high power, it works remarkably well on medium power. This would be how I would leave the rifle set, if it was mine.
Once again, I did not shoot a third group on the fill, and this time I think I really want to know how it does. I do see one shot at the bottom of the group, though, so the rifle may just be about to fall off the useful curve.
I also want to give those JSB Jumbo Heavies a closer look. So there is at least one more trip to the range for the TDR.
Is this a 100-yard air rifle?
The accuracy I’m seeing from the TDR on medium power causes me to wonder whether it might be a 100-yard air rifle. And this will be where I depart from the sofa snipers and their theories of high velocity for long range shooting. I’ve seen enough airguns fail at 100 yards to know that velocity without accuracy is useless.
Suffice to say, there is more to learn about the Air Arms S410 TDR.