Beeman Double Barrel air rifle: Part 2

By Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Beeman Double Barrel air rifle
Beeman Double Barrel air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Surprise
  • 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.

Surprise

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.

Firing behavior

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.

Trigger adjustment

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.

Beeman Double Barrel air rifle trigger
The large screw behind the trigger (right) adjusts the first stage pull length. The tiny screw in front of the trigger (left) doesn’t look like it wants to be touched!

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.

Cocking effort

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.

RWS Hobbys

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.

RWS HyperMAX

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.

Beeman Double Barrel air rifle transfer ports
You saw the dual breeches in Part 1. These are the two air transfer ports.

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.

48 thoughts on “Beeman Double Barrel air rifle: Part 2

  1. At least it is consistently inconsistent! The right numbers are much better that I ever would have thought. They must have some sort of fancy splitter at the end of the compression tube or two exhaust ports? Could you tune for different velocities from each barrel. How do you know that that is not what you were getting? Just to rule it out.

    What were they thinking of when they designed this gun?
    They must have been chewing DoubleMint gum…LOL

    -Y


  2. I’m going to say this first. You know my saying. Get it on paper. That is the truth bottom line. It will tell you right away if the gun shoots consistently.

    Those velocities kind of made me worried at first. But I just believe the chrony eyes are not precise enough to see both pellets.

    I wonder if a radar gun would work? Or thinking another way. Could a camera or video capture frames time wise from firing time to impact time at a given distance even if the pellets not seen in flight. Hi ust fire time to seen pellet impact time.

    There has as to be a way to get the velocity.

    And listen to all that I just said. I think maybe it’s simpler. Before I did get a chrony and I was tuning a gun I tested a guns performance velocity wise with a 2×4 placed solid against a back stop. Something like the ground out side. Then hold the muzzle above the 2×4. You can judge the guns velocity by depth of penetration. And if you do chrony some different guns and different pellets and document velocity then do a 2×4 penetration test and record the depth to chrony velocity you can get a idea what the guns velocity is by how deep it penetrated.

    Plus if you try the penetration test it will show if one pellet in one barrel goes deeper than the other.

    If you don’t feel safe trying the 2×4’s for the test maybe some ballistic gelatin is what’s needed. Then some pictures could be shown from a side view how far the pellets penetrated. Or even ballistic putty or clay I guess I should call it. You could at least measure the depth of each hole and the clay can be reused for multiple tests.

    But that would give some velocity idea of what the gun does penetration wise. Another gun of verified velocity could be used as the base line penetration depth and chrony velocity.

    I know sounds like a lot of work. But penetration will show if the gun is shooting consistent too and give a estimated velocity so to speak. Just say’n. 🙂


  3. With chrony spreads like that, I do not believe that I would trust any of the readings. Short of a 2×4 like you mentioned, which I would not do either, I don’t know what to say. Looking forwards to the paper testing. Hopefully out to 25 yards (outdoors!),… just to see the results.



      • RR,

        So I have “heard”,….. 😉 Waiting to see what B.B. has to say and do with it.

        If I was into the collectable market, I would buy this “just because”. As far as I know, it is the first one. That will make it a collectable in and of itself. You certainly can not argue with the price for a such a fine and “unique” specimen. As B.B. has verified,… at least it (does) shoot.


  4. This air rifle started to surprise me also with that very consistent shooting of the Premiers. Perhaps you should have returned to the Premiers to see if they were still so consistent. I am sure it will show up one paper.


  5. Hey guys, just popping in to say hello, Been a busy summer, I see I’ve missed some very interesting developments here! A double barrel springer! What!? Hope all is well with everybody here and I’ll try to stay connected, if I haven’t been bustin da hump I’ve been just beat.


  6. Off the top of my head, I’m wondering if the two barrels are producing anywhere near the same velocities anyway… I’m not sure how this actually works out in real life, but in my head, one barrel is always going to be slightly looser fitting than the other, by some small margin, relative to the pellet. With that barrel being less-tightly-fitted, it would stand to reason that the pellet going down it would accelerate faster and leave with a higher muzzle velocity. Given that both barrels are fed from the same piston, that would also seem to mean that as soon as the faster of the two pellets left the muzzle, the pressure behind the other one would drop like a rock, given that now the system has a massive pressure leak, and reduce its final velocity even farther…

    Just tossing guesses off the top of my head, though. No real-world way to check or prove that without a crazy-high-speed camera, I suspect.


  7. If I really wanted to get a good velocity reading, I would rig up something to stop one of the pellets from going through the Chrony – something like a rimfire trap set to catch the bottom pellet. To do this safely, one would need to rig up something to consistently and safely hold the barrel in the right position relative to the top of the trap while the gun is shot (as it probably moves on the shot), and probably also put a sheet of plywood covering the bottom portion of the trap so nothing can come back out (picture all but the top inch or so of the trap being covered. The gun could be flipped around to test the consistency of the two barrels via an average over two strings as well, if one desired to do so.

    Not to add to your workload, but this could add the interesting twist of seeing what happens to the speed of the pellets when different weight pellets are used together, like Premier lights and heavies – not that I know what any practical use of this would be, as they would have vastly different POIs when shot. But it might be interesting to know how the power splits between the barrels . . . .


  8. I still miss the whole point of firing two pellets at the same pull of the trigger. Any suggestions of use for this? Now… regarding the velocity readings, I am surprised that you could read anything at all! I was expecting “error” all the time…


  9. Ah, and by the way… I shot my chrono last week… just slightly, barely hit the tip of the frame on the far side. And I got it on tape, because I was filming for a future You Tube video!


  10. I probably missed something but is it possible to only load one barrel at a time and shoot one pellet? Without damaging the piston/seal that is?

    Fred DPRoNJ


  11. You can tell that the Chinese don’t have a gun culture. Who else would think of an air gun that fires both barrels at the same time. Now if it fired one barrel at a time, that would be okay for hunting.


  12. BB– You are testing the wrong model of this rifle. You should test the model that lets you shoot either barrel , or both together. You will get your chronograph data by testing each barrel separately. Then you can try both barrels together. Ed



  13. I agree with Michael. What good is two barrels firing at once? Not sure, but it is interesting that for a lower price gun you can have around 18 “Total” ft. lbs of energy with that much cocking effort. Also, maybe a poor man’s .35 cal (.177 x 2)? I know this isn’t a perfect way to think about it, but neat just the same. Now if they could just both be in .22 cal…oh wait, maybe smooth bore and shot…..oh wait…….could go on and on. Can’t wait to see it on paper (hope it hits the paper)!


  14. While I can say the twofer-at-once is mildly mechanically interesting, fundamentally I must ask “Why?” I really can’t see a legitimate purpose for it, particularly seeing as how much of Chinese manufactured items seem to be often somewhat…challenged.
    A friend and I once wandered into a local trade faire featuring a pretty large representation of Chinese hand and industrial tools. The friend was somewhat the tool maven and picking up a proudly displayed rat-tail file said, “want to see something interesting?” He then quickly and easily bent it into a nicely formed ‘U’ shape. Then laid it back on the table. “We’ll just leave that there and see if the company reps notice. We’ll check back a little later.”
    After lunch we meandered back. The rep was standing right there.
    The ‘U’ was still there.
    “About says it all, doesn’t it?”
    Seems like the basics should be achieved before embarking on a concept of rather questionable value or even utility.
    (My over the shoulder editor comments with an interesting question. “Isn’t the legal definition on a gun that fires more than once with a single pull of the trigger…a machine gun?”)


  15. I don’t see how it is possible to get satisfying accuracy with this rifle that will produce two holes fairly close together. What would a group would that look like?

    Fido3030, thanks. I appreciate your comments too. I was quite unaware of the Frenchman who moved to Guadalcanal to get away from the war. This is oddly similar to the case of Wilmer McLean whose house was destroyed at Bull Run and whose second house hosted the surrender at Appomattox. Do you mean Winchester 94 rather 92? I haven’t heard about the 92 and don’t know why it would warrant a comparison with the 1873. If you meant 94, the result is initially surprising but not really. The 94 fired a rifle cartridge from a light rifle and would be less controllable in rapid fire than the pistol cartridge of the 73. The Clint Eastwood distances of Cowboy Action Shooting favor particular characteristics. I see now that Cowboy Action Shooting was the idea I was groping at for reenactment plinking: shooting well and looking good. But I’m more interested in marksmanship than rapid fire.

    Michael, I can imagine that fencing is exhausting if its anything like other martial arts. Somehow a sparring format against another opponent puts you in a completely different mindframe. You will want to read a book called The Far Arena by Richard Ben Sapir which features a combat between an Olympic fencer and a Roman gladiator who has been unfrozen. A few tidbits. When they introduce the Roman to the fencing room he notes that the wooden floors are highly polished which means that there was not much blood spilled on him. When, they give him the protective gear for fencing, he says, “This is silly.” For the rest, you’ll have tor read the book, but it is worth it. 🙂

    Interesting about cudgel fighting. I don’t believe you’ll find any schools for that except on the street. However, it was apparently developed to a fairly high level in Victorian England. There might have been any number of reason including a revival of interest in the medieval past and the militarized orientation of the British Empire. Apparently the book, Tom Brown’s School Days, indicates that stick fighting was part of the curriculum of the British elite public schools. Contemporary reports from commercial schools say that the sound of sticks hitting was so rapid that it was like running a stick along a picket fence as you walked. Those days are gone away. But you can get the same essence in another art that is very exciting in its own right which is the Filipino stick fighting style that goes by various names. No wonder the U.S. Army invented the .45 ACP to deal with them! But the problem is finding a teacher. I recently heard about a guy who is a martial arts master who has studied for 30 years, but I’m told that he suffered a recent heart attack that destroyed his short term memory, so he can’t recall his knowledge!

    Saw the new Tarzan film last night, and I would recommend it if you like action movies and the Tarzan story. Among the highlights for me were that Tarzan has a heck of a build with 6 separate abdominal muscles which you used to see only in Superman comics. I don’t believe they are the result of CGI. Also, they had some great bolt-action rifles. Now what rifles would Europeans have been using in the African Congo in the 1880s? My money is on the French 1886 Lebel. That rifle has faded into obscurity, but it was the premier rifle of its time which I believe was copied heavily by the Lee-Enfield, so it is still with us. Hippos also make a cameo running through the water in pursuit of people, so this movie really hit the spot for me.

    Matt61


    • Matt 61
      The Winchester 92 was an invention of John Browning. It was chambered in the cartridges made popular in the Winchester 73, the 44-40, 38-40 and 32-20. Later the 25-20 was added. It was lighter and slimmer and stronger the 73. Browning was annoyed that Winchester management didn’t discontinue the 73. But the 73 was strong enough for the cartridges, probably more reliable (cowboy action shooting evidence, but the 92 was very good) much easier repair in the field and i think was less succeptable to corrosion from black powder. It could also fire very fast if that was needed (the 19th century submachinegun) and was accurate enough considering the short range of the pistol type cartridges.
      Fido3030


  16. Matt 61— Except for the bolt handle, smokeless powder and small caliber, there is very little resemblance between the Lee and the Lebel. Oh yes, they both had open sights, wood stocks, took a bayonet ,leather slings and went bang when you pulled the trigger. I wish we lived near each other so that you could access my reference library. BB—I look forward to your tests of the selective fire system of this rifle. It is the model that I might buy. Ed


  17. B.B.,

    The picture at the top clearly shows the right end of the forearm squared off, while the left side clearly is rounded.
    I will assume this is a stock photo and photo shopped,.. and not one of the rifle that you are testing. Thoughts?

    Chris


  18. Matt,

    I missed the remarks of Fido3030 and can not find them. Can you note where I can find them?
    About cudgel fighting I am a bit in confusion. As far as I have read Victorian and early 20 century English novels, a cudgel is a stick with a head which is heavier that the rest so that the balance point is not in the middle but around a thirth from the head. Those heads can be artificially made heavier but normally the stick tapers from the head towards the handle. The fighting technique to handle these type of weapons is more reminiscent of using a long hand axe axe than a sabre. This technique was indeed from the streets and was not taught in schools as far as I know.

    The Victorians were trained in single stick fighting (which was also referred as cudgel fighting, to keep up the confusion) both in public school of the early 19 th century as in training schools later in the 19 the century. I do not know whether the public school kept up this training later in the 19 th century.

    Regarding the weapons used in the Congo, you need to keep in mind that the Congo was Belgian at that time . The Belgians had (and have) some fine armouries which also extensively made firearms for the British army. I do not know the film but arms used in Africa were normally not the most modern ones as the local market was not provided with up to date arms as the authorities were afraid that these could be used in insurrections. So the normal European which bought something local or took something with him had normally a weapon which design was at least 20 to 40 years behind date. Expeditions to the inland could be much better equipped but I have no information about that.

    Based on that I guess that a bolt action rifle is a somewhat anachronistic weapon in this film, I would expect a Martini-Henry rifle as the most advanced possible at that time in the Congo. Probably more common were the Lee Enfield rifles of the 1850 period. For the local population the percussion or even the flintlock were the normal arms.
    It is an interesting subject on which I do not know very much. I think I will spend some of my time this vacation to get some more insight in this. Thanks, that will make an interesting read !

    Regards,

    August



      • Fido3030,

        Matt remarked “Fido3030, thanks. I appreciate your comments too.” I would expect that comment of you somewhere on this page but I did not see anything (also after a refresh) so I assumed that it was some earlier remark of a previous day. I could not find that either.

        It can be my computer though. Sometimes comments come up quite late,

        Regards,

        August


        • August
          You might go back through the comments on BB’s posts for the last few days. We talked about knives, firearms, etc. nothing too profound but we enjoy kicking around the same off-topic stuff.
          Fido3030


  19. B.B.,

    Just a thought, but deep seating both pellets an equal depth (enough that the back of the skirt is completely inside the barrel)…may…aid in getting more consistent chrony results, especially with the pellets that are hard to seat.

    At the very least it would give you a good reason to find that pesky Pellet Pen!

    For what it’s worth, David H.


  20. August– There were no Lee-Enfields in the 1850,s. You are probably thinking of the Snider breech loading conversion of the 1853 rifle musket. In some ways, they resembled the 1873 Trapdoor Springfield. The Snider conversion dates to 1867 and the Martini to 1871. Ed


  21. Zimbabweed,

    You are completely right I was thinking of that model, but wrote down the wrong one as Lee Enfield is more familiar to me. Do you know anything of the situation in Africa at that time? It looks to me as quite an interesting (off topic) subject. There are quite a lot traveling diaries from that period and those can have information about that.

    Thanks for the correction,

    Regards,

    August.


  22. August– What part of Africa? It,s a big country. I have hunted in the RSA and in zimbabwae (twice). I have several books regarding hunting in Africa, some date back to the 1870,s. My guide in Zimbabwae was William Finaughty, grandson of the elephant hunter, gunrunner, who wrote “the recollections of an elephant hunter, 1864-1875”. My guide in the RSA had grand parents who fought in the “English ” war ( often called the Boer war outside Africa). In the same vein, I have met civil war reenactors ( from the south) who call it the Yankee- American war! I am mostly interested in the southern part of Africa, because I can hunt there, and I don’t like hot, humid, buggy forests. Of course, that could change if they discover living ogopogo,s in the Congo, Ed




Leave a Reply