By Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Firing behavior
- Trigger adjustment
- Cocking effort
- RWS Hobbys
- RWS HyperMAX
- Evaluation so far
Today’s test of the Beeman Double Barrel air rifle turned out strange. It was half surprise and half the disaster I thought it might be. But I did get some interesting data that I will try to interpret for you. Let’s get started. Today is velocity day, plus I’ll look at a couple other things. Let’s go right to the shooting.
The first pellet I tested was a Crosman Premier Lite — the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier dome. Since the rifle is advertised to get 700 f.p.s with lightweight alloy pellets (it’s written on the box!) I expected a lot less from this lead pellet. But the first shot went through the chronograph at 723 f.p.s. Was it a fluke?
Apparently not, because the average for 10 shots — that’s 20 pellets, because each time the trigger is pulled two pellets leave this gun — was 713 f.p.s. The high was 723 that happened on both the first and last shots, and the low of 697 f.p.s. came on shot number 7.
Shooting this rifle was no different than shooting any other breakbarrel springer — at least through the first string. The rifle is calm when it fires. There is a jolt with the shot, but no lingering vibration. It’s a very pleasant spring gun. But I did note that the trigger pull was very long through stage 2, so I looked at the adjustments, to see what could be done.
There are no directions about how to adjust the trigger in the owner’s manual that uses an old Beeman drawing of an FWB 124 to illustrate what an air rifle looks like. So I was on my own. I found a large screw behind the trigger, with a hole through the triggerguard above the screw — sort of inviting adjustment. In front of the trigger is a much smaller screw that actually passes through the trigger blade. There is no hole to access this screw, plus the slotted screw itself is quite small. You will need a clockmaker’s screwdriver to turn it. I decided to adjust the large screw, only.
That screw adjusts the length of the first stage travel. All the way in gives the most travel before engagement and all the way out decreases travel to almost nothing. I settled for all the way in, but stage 2 is still long and creepy The trigger breaks with 6 lbs. 5 oz. pressure that sometimes increases to 6 lbs. 9 oz.
The rifle cocks with 32 lbs. of effort, right up to the end of the stroke. Then it spikes to 34 lbs. as the sear engages. Cocking is smooth and quiet. Now, let’s get back to testing the venocity.
Next, I tested some RWS Hobbys. This is where the problems started. I noted that these pellets fit the breech of both barrels tightly, but that wasn’t the problem. The first shot was recorded at 790 f.p.s., which was about what I expected after testing the Premiers, but the second shot went out at 506 f.p.s. That stopped me for a moment, but I was not surprised by it. I had thought that if the two pellets left the muzzle at different times and the start screen saw the first one but the stop screen waited until it saw the end of the second one, the lag in time might be recorded as a slower velocity.
Shot number 3 was recorded as 503 f.p.s. and shot number 4 registered 801 f.p.s. I think what happened is two shots were recorded at their actual velocity — 790 and 801 f.p.s. and two were mistakes — 506 and 503 f.p.s. Notice how close each pair of velocities is!
I did shoot some more with Hobbys and the results were either high or low. I’m going to say the velocity with Hobbys is in the 790-800 f.p.s. range. Yes, I could put a board in front of one of the muzzles to stop one pellet and get the other one across the chronograph, but I’m not going to do that. It’s too much trouble and somewhat dangerous to boot.
For the next and final pellet I thought I would test an alloy pellet. I selected RWS HyperMAX pellets. They fit the breeches loosely, and gave the most confusing results of all.
The first three shots registered 614, 651 and 642 f.p.s., respectively. Just when I thought this was all I would see, shot 4 went out at 1108 f.p.s.! Shot 5 was 916 and shot 6 was 795 f.p.s. With results like these I stopped recording the velocities and ended the test. It seems to me that the rifle does indeed shoot much faster than it says on the box, but getting an accurate measure will take a lot of work. If there was a reward for that work — a point to it — it might be worth the effort, but this air rifle still shoots two pellets every time the trigger is pulled.
Evaluation so far
The Double Barrel rifle is large, heavy and takes some effort to cock. The firing cycle is powerful and smooth. The trigger is heavy and creepy.
Next time I will be shooting the rifle at a target, and I have to admit I am somewhat concerned. The first shots will be fired from very close to the backstop to keep them in the trap. If that works, then I will probably test the rifle with open sights at 10 meters and decide from those results if further testing is warranted.
This is a strange airgun, but it’s also interesting to watch it perform.