Diana’s model 5 air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana model 5
This Diana model 5 air pistol is marked as a Winchester model 353.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Hobbys
  • A couple observations
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Crosman Premier lites
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellets
  • Summary

Today is accuracy day for the Diana model 5 air pistol I’m testing, which is labeled a Winchester 353. We heard from several owners who like their pistols, so let’s see what this one can do.

The test

To get right into it, I didn’t know where the sights were adjusted. You may remember I mentioned that the rear sight was adjusted all the way over to the right. I decided to shoot the first group as the gun was set up. After that I could adjust the sights. All shooting was done from 10 meters with a 2-hand hold and my arms rested on a sandbag. I used a 6 o’clock hold.

Hobbys

The first target was shot with RWS Hobby pellets. They fit the breech tight, with the skirts not entering the barrel completely. They hit the target high and to the right. That told me that the rear sight is adjusted too far to the right.

Ten Hobbys went into a vertical group that measures 1.635-inches between centers. I didn’t know what to expect from this pistol, but this is a larger group than I imagined.

Diana model 5 Hobby group
Ten RWS Hobbys made this 1.635-inch group at 10 meters when shot from the Diana model 5 pistol. There is a hole in the bull at the bottom (arrow).

A couple observations

First, the trigger is very light. It doesn’t stop at the second stage, so when you’re on it expect the gun to fire at any time.

I was able to adjust the rear sight to the left, but it was already set as low as it would go. So I had to live with where it impacted the target.

The front sight is a tapered post. It’s not ideal for precision shooting and I’m sure some of the openness of the groups is due to that. The rear notch is square and screams for a square front post.

Air Arms Falcon

The second pellet I tried was the Air Arms Falcon. These struck the target just left of center, but were still too high. They made a group that measures 1.399-inches between centers.

Diana model 5 Falcon group
Ten Air Arms Falcon pellets went into 1.399-inches at 10 meters.

Falcons fit the breech loose, but not so loose that they presented a problem. I rather enjoyed loading them.

Crosman Premier lites

Next up were Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domed pellets. These fit the breech snug, but they loaded easily. I had high hopes for them and they didn’t disappoint. First of all, they went to the exact center of the bull. And they struck much lower, with at least 5 of them landing in the 9- and 10-rings. Nine of the pellets landed in a 1.276-inch group, but a stray shot opened that to 2.203-inches. I believe that shot was caused by an aiming error and is not representative of the accuracy of this pellet. Although this was the largest group, I do believe this is the best pellet I tested.

Diana model 5 Premier lite target
Premier lites were well-centered and made a 2.203-inch group. Nine went into 1.276-inches, which is more representative, I believe.

Qiang Yuan Training pellets

The final pellet I tested was the Qiang Yuan Training pellet. I expected great things from this pellet, but it didn’t perform up to my expectations. Ten pellets went into 1.773-inches at 10 meters. This pellet fit the breech the loosest of all 4 that were tested.

Diana model 5 Qiang Yuan group
Qiang Yuan Training pellets didn’t do as well as I expected. Ten went into 1.773-inches at 10 meters.

Summary

Well, what do I think of the Diana model 5? For starters, I was surprised that it didn’t shoot better. I know it’s not a target pistol, but in light of what the BSA Scorpion pistol was able to do a couple years ago, I expected better.

I think Diana missed the mark with the sights they put on this pistol. Or, more correctly, Winchester missed it by not specifying a better front sight.

The funny thing is, the model 5’s brother, the Diana model 6, is very accurate. And the model 10 target pistol is a flyswatter! Maybe because the 5 recoils it’s just too much to handle.


A light report — the UTG Compact Defense LED light

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

UTG Compact Defense light
UTG Compact Defense light.

This report covers:

  • 2017 SHOT Show
  • Let’s get real
  • Description
  • Main power
  • Lower power
  • L.I.B.R.E.
  • Runtime
  • Defense
  • Come on, BB — a light?
  • Side clip
  • Where to get one

The power went out in my neighborhood last evening, about 11:30 p.m. This time it was serious, because it’s now 7:10 a.m. the next morning and there is still no sign of restoration. [Note: the power was restored at 7:50 a.m.]

Power here in Texas is pretty reliable because this state is off the national power grid, but when I lived in Maryland that wasn’t the case. Power on the Eastern seaboard is iffy at best. So the Pelletier household was always well-stocked with alternative sources of illumination. I became a flashlight fanatic and now own more than 50 sources of portable light, including the Victorinox Midnight Manager pocket knife that is my constant companion.

2017 SHOT Show

While in the Leapers booth at this years’ SHOT Show I saw something so remarkable that I knew I had to share it with you. I will take this whole report to describe the new UTG Defense Light in detail, but let me say right now — this is the one to get! It’s a tactical light that throws out 400 lumens in a number of user-programable ways. But with all that, It fits in the palm of a medium-sized hand!

UTG Compact Defense light hand
Few defense lights are so small.

About 10 years ago flashlight technology was nowhere near where it is today. I was so thrilled to pay $80 for a 225 lumen LED light called the Fenix TK10. It is housed in a rugged metal body that’s tough enough to withstand an armored personnel carrier running over it. I watched a video of the TK10 withstanding more than 20,000 lbs. of force that was trying to crush it, and it was still functioning. Okay, sez I. That’s a lot of money for a flashlight, but that’s a lot of flashlight. In fact, it is a non-lethal weapon!

APC
The M113A1 is an 11-ton armored personnel carrier.

Let’s get real

We all talk about what handgun or shotgun we would use to dispatch an intruder, but the truth is, for most of us that situation will thankfully never happen. I have pulled a gun on intruders, only to discover they were some friends of a neighbor, trying to play a practical joke on his car at night. Bad move on both sides! If I had a tactical flashlight (they didn’t exist at the time) I could have startled them at no risk, and if the threat had been real, they would have been incapacitated long enough for me to do something, including running away. So the Fenix was not just a lark. It was something I was serious about. Even Edith saw the sense in that reasoning, and she wanted one for herself.

Well, tactical lights have gotten better by an order of magnitude in the decade since I bought the Fenix. And, when David Ding of Leapers showed me the new EL 223HL-A, I was ready for it! I had hoped that Pyramyd Air would carry this light, but as of this time they haven’t decided to.

Let’s face it — this is a specialized light that is really far afield for airgunners. So, why am I bothering to report on it? Because many of you readers need something like this, and many of you live in states where the options for self defense are highly restricted. I don’t think this light will offend any state’s regulations, but it’s up to you to determine your local laws.

Description

The light has two buttons. The one on top is the main power button and the one on the rear is the lumen control pad and secondary power button. So, how does it work?

UTG Compact Defense light buttonology
The botton on top is the main power, and at the rear, the secondary power.

Main power

If you want a bright light, just press the top main power button and instantly 400 lumens are shining. There are other lights on the market with the same and even greater power, but none of them come in a package as compact and convenient as this.

Lower power

The lumen control pad/secondary power button is where all the magic lives. First, if you hold that button down with the light on, it will dim from 400 lumens to 20 lumens over about 5 seconds. If you stop dimming at any point, the light will shine at that level as long as it is on. If you then click the secondary power button again the light turns off. But here is the neat thing. If you turn the light on with the secondary power button again, it will go to the preset power instead of going to 400 lumens. So, if you need to use a low-level flashlight for some time, this button give you that. Obviously the 2 CR123 batteries will last longer at the lower power than at the maximum.

L.I.B.R.E.

The technology that does this UTG calls a Light with Integrated Brightness and Regulated Emitter, or L.I.B.R.E. It’s a high-intensity LED, which is where the long runtime comes from.

Compare all this to the Fenix. All it does is turn on and off. No strobe. No dimmer switch. You get just 1.5 hours at 225 lumens with two 123 batteries.

Runtime

On full power the UTG light gives about 2 hours of runtime. On the lowest power the runtime is about 24 hours.

Defense

To activate the strobe, turn on the light with the main power button, then press the secondary power button twice in quick succession. The strobe is dazzlingly bright, and at night will startle someone not expecting it. Even in full daylight it will have a person seeing purple spots instantly.

And here is the very good news. If you turn off the strobe by pressing the secondary power button one time quickly, the light will turn off. The next time you turn the light on with the secondary power button, the 400-lumen strobe will be on! To carry the light for defense, this is the way to set it up. As long as you turn it on and off with the secondary button, the strobe comes on at full power every time!

Come on, BB — a light?

I read about guys who say their self defense weapon is a Smith & Wesson model 19 .357 magnum revolver with a 2.5-inch barrel. When I read that I know I’m reading the musings of mall rangers and couch commandos. Come on — tell me you carry a sidearm like that into a movie theater!

But this light is something you can carry anywhere. You can even carry it into a federal building, where firearms are not permitted. So, drop it into your pocket or purse and it’s there when you need it. That is self-defense! Not talking, but doing. Having what you need when you need it.

Side clip

The light does have a powerful side clip that I cannot see a use for. It doesn’t rotate and it clips at 90 degrees to the direction of the light. If it was 180 degrees I could clip it onto some field gear to have a light in front of me — the way we used to mount those big old OD elbow flashlights we had in the Army.

Where to get one

I searched the internet by looking for UTG EL223HL-A and found several sources. One that’s nearby was priced deceptively low until they added almost $14 to ship it just 20 miles!!! Sorry, guys, but I know that old trick. I found one for less (more for the light, a lot less for shipping) on Amazon. The total came to $53 and change.

This light is not for everybody, but if you have been looking for a good defense light, I don’t think there is a better one to be found.


Benjamin Wildfire PCP repeater: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Wildfire
Benjamin Wildfire.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Fill problem
  • Air Venturi G6 pump
  • Sight alignment problems
  • Accuracy
  • Summary

I had some operational issues today and learned some things that may be useful to new owners of the Benjamin Wildfire. Today’s test was ostensibly to mount a dot sight and test the rifle for accuracy at 10 meters. This is in preparation for moving back to 25 yards.

Fill problem

First up is a problem I had when filling the rifle. I filled from two different large Carbon fiber tanks and both have this problem. When I try to bleed the line to disconnect the rifle from the tank, the pressure in the line holds the inlet valve of the rifle open and all the air in the reservoir leaks out.

I called Pyramyd Air and talked to Stacey in the tech department. She told me that some air tank valves have bleed valve channels that are so small they do this. She suggested I open the channel just a little with a Swiss triangular needle file. This is not recommended for everyone, but I’m pretty good with a file and small work, so I decided to try it. Only I forgot about it until I filled the Wildfire this morning. Then remembered, and it was too late. With the time it would have taken, you would have gotten a blog about that instead of the rifle.

Benjamin Wildfire bleed screw
When the bleed screw is opened, air exhausts through that narrow channel in the screw threads. This one is slightly too narrow for the Wildfire.

Air Venturi G6 pump

So it was the Air Venturi G6 hand pump to the rescue! It filled the gun and exhausted perfectly. Once I modify the two bleed screw on my air tanks I will be able to fill with them again.

Sight alignment problems

The other problem I had was with the dot sight. I’m using a 23 year-old Tasco Pro Point sight that has been on dozens of guns over the years. At some point I dented the sight barrel rather deeply by tightening the scope caps too much. The sight still works, but it doesn’t align with the bore any longer. I do have a solution, but it took me until the end of today’s test to come up with it — because I didn’t know how far off  the point of aim the sight would be! Instead of clamping to the tube on both sides of the turret, I will only clamp on the side that isn’t dented. The thin 2-piece BKL scope rings I am using will allow for that, and the Wildfire doesn’t recoil, so there’s no problem.

Benjamin Wildfire dented sight
You can see the dents left by overtightening scope rings in the past (on the right of the tube). I will now mount the sight like this, which the thin BKL rings permit.

I’m using BKL 303L MB rings. They are thin enough to allow what I want to do.

Accuracy

I took a different tack today. Instead of testing several pellets, I used the pellet that was most accurate in the previous test with open sights. That was the Crosman Premier lite. I sighted-in at 12 feet and discovered that the group was high and to the right. Then I noticed that the dot sight was misaligned because of those dents and probably could not be adjusted to the point of aim. I decided to shoot 12 shots offhand at 12 feet anyway, and they gave me a pleasingly tight group that measures 0.343-inches between centers.

Benjamin Wildfire Premier group 1
From 12 feet I put 12 Premier pellets into this 0.343-inch group.

I then backed up to 10 meters and shot 12 more pellets. This time they grouped into 0.66-inches. While that’s not terrible, I knew from the last test in Part 3 that this rifle could do better.

Benjamin Wildfire group 2
At 10 meters 12 Premiers went into 0.66-inches.

This group was vertical and I noticed while shooting that the red dot was very large. I had the dot sight illumination cranked up all the way because the target was so bright, so I tried again. This time I only shot 10 shots.

The second 10-meter group was 10 shots into a group measuring 0.991-inches between centers. This wasn’t good. I was fighting both the brightness of the target and the size of the red dot that was adjusted to 11 on the brightness scale — as high as it goes.

Benjamin Wildfire Premier group 3
At 10 meters 10 Premiers went into 0.991-inches. The group is very vertical. I was struggling with seeing the dot against the bright target and the fact that the dot was large and therefore less precise.

After this group it dawned on me that a bright target was making my red dot appear dim. So I turned off the 500-watt lamp that normally illuminates my target and immediately things got brighter through the sight. I was able to adjust the dot brightness from 11 down to 5, where it appeared as a tiny dot once more. This was what I had been hoping for. Now it was time to shoot a final 10-shot group.

This last group was the clincher. The pellets acted like they were guided to the target! And this time I got what I was after — a true representation of the accuracy potential of the Benjamin Wildfire. Ten shots went into 0.528-inches at 10 meters. By a small but significant margin, that is the smallest group the rifle has give so far at this distance. With open sights the smallest group measured 0.573-inches for 12 shots.

Benjamin Wildfire Premier group 4
With the light turned down and the red dot as small as could be seen, the 10-shot group shrank to 0.528-inches at 10 meters.

Summary

First of all, I learned a lot from this test. I learned about filling the Wildfire and I learned about mounting tired old optical sights. Those thin 2-piece BKL rings will become an important part of my “go-to” kit from now on.

I also learned that dot sights don’t need or even like bright targets. And I discovered (I hope) a way to salvage an old reliable dot sight that in all ways has served me well.

The Wildfire is performing exactly as I envisioned — which is to say very well. It is what it is — a PCP version of the 1077 that’s a classic. One more test to do — see how it shoots at 25 yards.


Colt Peacemaker BB pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Colt Peacemaker
The new Colt Peacemaker is also available with ivory grips.

This report covers:

  • 300-yard shots with an SAA?
  • The revolver
  • Hidden from view
  • What’s different about this one?
  • Hammer doesn’t go all the way down
  • A licensed Colt
  • The gun
  • Sights
  • Safety
  • Evaluation so far

When Umarex started making the Colt Single Action Army BB pistols a couple years ago, we all knew they had a large number of variations to go through. The most popular of these was the very first Colt SAA — the revolver with the 7.5-inch barrel that was also called the Peacemaker, The Frontier Six-Shooter and the Colt Army .45. This is the revolver so many western stars like Paladin and Marshal Dillon carried. It’s not the fastest in a gunfight, but for 300-yard shots, it’s the one to have.

300-yard shots with a handgun?

Yes. When I was a gunfighter at Frontier Village in San Jose, California, I used to shoot live ammo on my days off. I was reading Elmer Keith at the time and didn’t know that a handgun could not shoot accurately to 300 yards, so of course I tried it and found that it worked just as Keith described. Too bad Keith was a liar, because so much of what he wrote is still true today!

Colt Peacemaker BB gunfighter
I was a gunfighter at Frontier Village when I was in college.

The revolver

Here we have a Colt SAA revolver BB pistol that’s nickel-plated. The standard gun comes with dark simulated wood grips, but for $20 more you can get the one I am reviewing today. I think the look is worth the price.

Hidden from view

Pyramyd Air sent me this airgun a couple months ago. It’s one they make up themselves and you may have some difficulty finding it online. Open the web page for the gun with the dark grips, and this one is an option that opens inside that page. Click on the “Pick your option” box.

What’s different about this one?

We have looked at the first SAA BB pistol that came out. We also saw a Duke weathered pellet pistol. But today’s revolver is the first we have seen with a 7.5-inch barrel. In many ways it is the same as the other BB revolvers — 12-gram CO2 cartridge in the grip, smoothbore barrel, shoots using cartridges with one BB apiece, is single action only. But the longer barrel will mean faster shots for sure.

Hammer doesn’t go all the way down

Before you ask, the hammer does not stay all the way down on this pistol. It does go down when the gun is fired, but it then rebounds to sit 1/4-inch fro the frame.

Colt Peacemaker hammer
The hammer sits like this at rest.

A licensed Colt

One nice feature about this airgun is it is fully licensed by Colt. That makes it an authorized Colt and for a Colt collector, that makes it one for the collection.

The gun

Aside from the finish this is a six-shooter that loads cartridges through a gate on the right side of the frame. The hammer is drawn back to half-cock (one click back) and the cylinder can be rotated clockwise, when seen from the rear. Hold the muzzle down as you do this or the cartridges will slip back and tie up the cylinder.

The gun weighs 2 lbs. 4 oz with the cartridges loaded but no CO2 cartridges installed. That’s not too far off the weight of the firearm.

With a firearm you have to use the extractor rod to push each cartridge from the cylinder after they are fired. That’s because the cartridges swell under the pressure of firing and hug the walls of each chamber tightly. Of course that doesn’t happen on the BB pistol because the cartridges are under no real pressure — maybe a couple hundred pounds at most, rather than the 15,000 psi of a .45 Colt cartridge. So they tend to fall out easily.

To fire the gun, the hammer is pulled all the way back. Then the trigger fires the gun. This is called single action. If the gun fired with just a pull on the trigger, that would be double action. Double action is faster but single action offers the chance for a much lighter and crisper trigger pull.

Sights

The sights are fixed. The front is a low blade and the rear is a notch cut into the rear of the frame.

Colt Peacemaker rear sight
Rear sight is just a notch in the frame.

Safety

Safety? On a revolver? Yes, to appease Agatha Christie and all the other mystery writers, to whom guns are the biggest mystery of all, this revolver has a safety. It might also be there for operational safety reasons. When it’s on the hammer can’t be cocked. If the hammer is already cocked and the safety is put on, pulling the trigger does nothing.

Colt Peacemaker safety
Safety is on the lower grip strap. It’s on right now.

Evaluation

This is a revolver people say they have been waiting for. Let’s see the reaction.


BSF S70 air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSF S70
BSF S70 rifle is the father of several famous Weirauch models.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Today’s the day
  • Oiled the piston seal
  • RWS Hobby
  • Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
  • What’s up?
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today’s the day

Today we find out how honest that Freimark is on my BSF S70 rifle. If you don’t know what Freimark is, read Part 1.

The Freimark is a German airgun mark that denotes a gun that does not exceed 7.5 joules power at the muzzle. That’s 5.53 foot-pounds. That would be a 7-grain RWS Hobby pellet moving 596 f.p.s. That will be our line in the sand.

From my experience with the BSF line, the S55/60/70/80 rifles (same powerplant in all of them) are above 7.5 joules all the time. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some that were made below that level, if German law allows. UK law states that if a model of an airgun can produce over 12 foot-pounds, then ievery one of them must be accompanied by a Firearms Certificate (FAC). They do not allow lower-powered versions of the same model gun to avoid that requirement. In other words, once a certain model needs an FAC, all of that same model need an FAC, regardless of what power they generate. But like I said, I don’t know how the German law reads.

Oiled the piston seal

This rifle has a leather piston seal that needs frequent lubrication. I oiled it with silicone chamber oil and then fired it several times. It did detonate a couple times, then it settled down to shoot normally again. It was ready to test.

RWS Hobby

I jumped right in and tested with the lightest lead pellet that was likely to be around when the BSF S70 was new. A 7-grain RWS Hobby would suffice. Ten Hobbys averaged 657 f.p.s. in this rifle. The spread went from 638 to 669 f.p.s., so 31 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 6.71 foot-pounds, or 9.1 joules at the muzzle. Oops — it was over the line. Close, but on the wrong side of the limit.

No judgement yet. Let’s continue and see what happens.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain

Next up was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier pellet. This is a good weight for a powerplant of this power level, and the Premier is also accurate in many airguns. Ten Premiers averaged 644 f.p.s., which was faster than expected — given what the Hobbys did. The spread went from 618 f.p.s. to 670 f.p.s., a whopping 52 f.p.s. difference. At the average velocity this pellet generates 7.28 foot-pounds, or 9.87 joules of muzzle energy, which puts it ahead of the Hobby. The theory says the lighter pellet will generate more energy in a springer, so this one is running counter to that.

At this point I noticed that all the stock screws had loosened. This is a common problem with spring guns of this vintage, so you have to watch for it. After they were all tightened, the rifle was noticeably calmer when fired.

RWS Superdomes

Next I tried the RWS Superdome pellet. Weighing 8.3 grains, it is the heaviest pellet I tested in the S70. This pellet averaged 623 f.p.s. at the muzzle, with a spread from 612 f.p.s. to 641 f.p.s. That’s a total of 29 f.p.s.  At the average velocity this pellet produced 7.29 foot-pounds or 9.88 joules at the muzzle. That was the highest energy seen in this test — from the heaviest pellet! Something was backwards, because springers are supposed to do best with the lightest pellets.

What’s up?

Why is this BSF S70 so much less powerful than the other one I tested for you years ago? That one averaged 866 f.p.s. with Hobbys and produced 11.71 foot-pounds or 15.88 joules at the muzzle. You may remember that in Part 1 of this report I said I suspected this one might shoot slower because it didn’t appear to have been worked on. The first rifle had an optional peep sight that Air Rifle Headquarters would install, and I had the feeling that they had sold the rifle.

Cocking effort

Until I look inside I won’t know for certain whether this rifle has been worked on, but the cocking effort for this rifle is 25 pounds, while the effort for the first rifle is 34 pounds. That’s quite a difference! But, is it enough to account for the difference in power? I don’t know. I normally believe a more powerful mainspring does not add any power to a spring piston airgun, but that may not be correct. Or, there may be other modifications to the first gun that account for the additional power. Until I look inside both rifles, I won’t know.

Trigger pull

Okay, it was time to test the trigger pull. BSF triggers are noteworthy for wearing in to the point they become unsafe. I’ve seen it several times. They get to the point that they have to be adjusted as heavy as they will go and even then they are on the ragged edge of unsafe.

This trigger acts like it’s brand new. Unfortunately it is single-stage only, which gives you no feel for the release. You just keep pulling until the rifle fires. There is no creep, but you do feel the trigger blade move as it is pulled. It turned out to be much heavier than I estimated. It broke between 5 lbs. 7 oz. and 5 lbs. 10 oz. I estimated something around 3 lbs. So, I guess the pull is very smooth. I have no desire to adjust it any lighter.

Summary

Where we are now is we know the rifle exceeds the legal German limit for power for a Freimarked airgun. But it is not as powerful as the other BSF S70 I tested several years ago. I think that probably means this rifle is stock — exactly as it came from the factory — while the other one has been modified. Maybe I will use the new Rail Lock mainspring compressor on both rifles to find out!

Accuracy testing comes next, though. I will start at 10 meters, using the open sights that came with the rifle.

I have to say this. While this BSF S70 isn’t as smooth or as light as a Diana model 27, it is in the same category, when it comes to quality. A shooter could do a lot worse than to shoot one of these.


Diana’s model 5 air pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana model 5
This Diana model 5 air pistol is marked as a Winchester model 353.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • A valuable report!
  • RWS Hobby pellets
  • Oil
  • Crosman Premier lites
  • The oiling
  • Experience pays off
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellets
  • Back to Hobbys
  • How is it doing?
  • Trigger pull
  • Cocking effort
  • Evaluation so far

Today’s the day I discover how healthy my new/old Diana model 5 (Winchester 353) air pistol is. This is best done with a chronograph, which is the Nth time I have told you that.

A valuable report!

Today’s test will be a valuable lesson in spring gun dynamics. Because of how I conducted it, this test shows things that are not often seen this clearly. Let’s begin.

RWS Hobby pellets

I wanted to know up front whether this pistol is in good condition or not. So I used the RWS Hobby pellet first. In my research for this report I found stated velocities for the Diana model 5 pistol between 375 f.p.s. and 450 f.p.s. Those numbers were no doubt obtained with a light pellet, and in the days that the model 5 was selling, lead pellets were the norm. I thought a lightweight lead pellet would have to give me the fastest average velocity. I was wrong, but let me tell you how the test went.

Oil

Before shooting I oiled the piston seal with a couple drops of Napier Power airgun oil that comes packaged with certain UK airguns. I have tested this oil in the past and found the manufacturer’s claims of faster velocity are false. But it is a good airgun oil that can bring a spring gun back to its optimum performance, just like many other oils on the market. In other words, there is no magic in this particular oil.

Okay, let me show you the first string. These are RWS Hobby pellets

Shot……………Vel.
1………………..361
2………………..385
3………………..392
4………………..384
5………………..385
6………………..377
7………………..375
8………………..371
9………………..364
10………………366

This string averages 376 f.p.s.. The spread is a large 31 f.p.s. — from 361 to 392 f.p.s. This tells me my Diana model 5 is probably performing as it should, because the velocity predictions from the Blue Book of Airguns and the internet ranged from 375 to 450 f.p.s. But look at how the velocity rises and then falls again over these 10 shots. That’s telling us something, too. We’ll see what in a bit.

Crosman Premier lites

Next I tried Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domed pellets. These pellets fit the breech very tight, plus they are almost a full grain heavier than the Hobbys, so I expected the velocity to drop considerably. Let’s see what happened.

Shot……………Vel.
1………………..354
2………………..332
3………………..326 (oiled piston seal after this shot)
4………………..353
5………………..430
6………………..355
7………………..348
8………………..345
9………………..333
10………………338

The average for this string was 351 f.p.s., but the spread was a huge 104 f.p.s. It went from 326 f.p.s. to 430 f.p.s. And look at how the string went. After I oiled the gun, it came alive again, then tapered off towards the end. What gives?

The oiling

First I will tell you that this time I didn’t use Napier oil. I used silicone chamber oil that has a long needle applicator that allows me to reach through the transfer port and get right to the piston. I don’t know how much oil I used this time, but certainly more than a couple drops! Maybe 10 drops. I think the needle applicator is the reason for all that’s about to unfold. The Napier oil has to drop through the transfer port on its own because I can’t even get the tip of the bottle next to the transfer port. The silicone chamber oil can be put right where I want it. That makes all the difference, I think.The type of oil is not important.

Experience pays off

Notice that the velocity dropped off after the oiling this time, as well? You might think the airgun needs even more oil, but I know from experience that after a heavy oiling like I just did, this gun needs to settle down again. It has enough oil for the next thousand shots. Let’s shoot another pellet and see what I mean.

Qiang Yuan Training pellets

The next pellet I tested was the Qiang Yuan Training pellet. This all-lead wadcutter weighs even more than the Crosman Premiers. At 8.2-grains, it is the heaviest pellet of the test. BUT — and this is a big one — it also fit the breech very loosely! They dropped into the bore deeply! Now let’s see what this heavier lead pellet did in the Diana model 5.

Shot……………Vel.
1………………..393
2………………..399
3………………..396
4………………..400
5………………..403
6………………..412
7………………..406
8………………..413
9………………..420
10………………417

This heaviest pellet of all averaged 406 f.p.s. The spread was 27 f.p.s., but if you examine the string you’ll see that the pellet “settled down” in the low 400s after shot number 4. In other words, the model 5 is now shooting more consistently than it did immediately after the second oiling. That’s the experience thing I just mentioned.

Back to Hobbys

Now that I think the pistol is shooting like it should, I wanted to retest it with Hobbys. Here we go.

Shot……………Vel.
1………………..392
2………………..400
3………………..395
4………………..397
5………………..396
6………………..398
7………………..386
8………………..387
9………………..384
10………………394

The average this time was 393 f.p.s. The spread was just 16 f.p.s.. That’s down from 31 f.p.s. the first time. And the average has increased by 17 f.p.s. (376 to 393 f.p.s.).

How is it doing?

In my opinion, this Diana model 5 pistol is shooting as it should. Could it be tuned to go faster? Certainly. But that’s unimportant to me. I have other spring-piston pistols that are much faster than this one. All I want for this one is to know that it’s healthy, and today’s test demonstrates that it is.

Trigger pull

The two-stage trigger breaks at a measured 1 lb. 2 oz. Stage 2 is very light and you need practice to feel it before the pistol fires.

Cocking effort

The cocking effort was difficult to measure precisely because the action wanted to open jerkily when operated slowly. Going faster makes it smooth out. I will say the cocking effort is somewhere between 22 and 25 lbs.

Evaluation so far

This pistol appears to be in fine shape as it is. It doesn’t seem to need any maintenance — just more shooting. Because of its age and also because of the timeframe in which it was made, it does need to be warmed up with several shots before it settles down. I’ll look at accuracy next. And because of the need to be fired to settle down I will probably warm up the gun before shooting for record.


ASG X9 Classic BB pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

ASG X9 Classic
ASG X9 Classic.

This report covers:

  • Strange things
  • Patterned after the M9
  • BB pistol
  • Action
  • Power
  • Not from Pyramyd Air
  • Summary

Strange things

Today I begin looking at the X9 Classic BB pistol from ASG. This CO2-powered pistol is unique in many ways. First, it was shipped with a box of plastic BBs that are called rubber on the box lid. Yes, this is a real steel BB pistol in every sense of the word, but it evolved from airsoft, and in this case it may not have left airsoft behind.

X9 Classic BBs
These are the first BB-sized airsoft balls I have seen. That’s a real steel BB and two 6mm airsoft BBs for comparison.

The next strange thing I noticed was a warning sticker on the bottom of the magazine that tells you to release the CO2 when you are finished shooting. The warning says this is to protect the o-ring seals, but I’ve not seen an o-ring that could not withstand constant pressurization. It will make the gun safer, though. They obviously mean this, so I will take them at their word — making this the first CO2 gun I’ve ever depressurized after shooting.

X9 Classic warning sticker
The warning sticker tells you to depressurize the gun after shooting. I will do it, but the sticker has to come off to press the button to remove the floorp[late and gain access Allen piercing screw.

Patterened after the M9

The X9 is quite obviously patterned after the U.S. military 9mm M9 pistol that is scheduled to be replaced starting in 2018 with the new Modular Handgun System that was awarded to Sig earlier this year. The M9 has been around since 1985 and is well-known to many current and former servicemen and women. And the Beretta 92F that is the basis of the M9 is known around the world to military, law enforcement and civilians alike. So the X9 has a large established audience who are very familiar with the platform.

BB pistol

The X9 is a true semiautomatic, with a blowback slide. The airgun is all metal, so the weight is there and the recoil simulation from the moving slide ought to be very realistic.

The gun is all black with a matte finish. Sights are a wide rear notch that’s fixed and a low front post that has a white bead in the center. The safety is located on the left rear of the slide and works like the one on the firearm. All the other controls work and the slide stays open after the last BB has been fired.

The pistol can be disassembled. I showed that to you in the 2017 SHOT Show report.

X9 disassembled
The X9 comes apart like the firearm.

The gun weighs 1 lb. 15 oz. without a CO2 cartridge installed. The grip is very wide because of the firearm’s double-stacked 9mm magazine. I prefer a 1911-sized grip, but shooters with larger hands probably prefer this.

Action

The X9 is both single action and double action. Those who forget the definitions for each type of operation won’t have to worry with this one. Since the slide blows back with each shot, it cocks the exposed hammer, so the usual way of shooting is to fire the first shot double action and then continue single action. I will measure each trigger pull for you in Part 2, but I can tell you now that the double action pull is very light and smooth.

Magazine

The drop-free removable magazine holds 16 steel BBs in a stack at the front. A spring-loaded follower pushes them up. The CO2 cartridge also fits in the mag and is pierced by an Allen screw on the bottom of the mag flooplate. But loading is not as straightforward as you think!

Loading

I had to read the manual (I know — but somebody has to do it) to discover how to load a CO2 cartridge into the mag. The magazine floorplate has to come off to access the piercing screw. Until that sticker is removed, you can’t depress the button that unlocks the floorplate, allowing it to slide off. Yes, it is fiddly. Here is a picture to show you what I’m talking about.

Xp floorplate off
The floorplate has to be removed to gain access to the piercing screw.

I think this extra step will put off some buyers. Airgunners are not a patient lot, and anything that’s extra tends to frustrate them. Of course nothing prevents you from leaving the floorplate off while you shoot. Like those removable cocking aides some spring pistols have, I believe people will leave the floorplate off while they shoot.

Power

The manual tells me to expect velocities around 312 f.p.s. That’s slow for a modern BB pistol but it has advantages. First, there will be fewer violent BB rebounds — the bane of all steel BB guns. Next, the shot count should be greater, though the blowback may use some gas, too. Finally, the pistol should be quieter.

Not from Pyramyd Air

As of this time the X9 pistol is not stocked by Pyramyd Air. I don’t know if they plan on picking it up or not.

Summary

That’s it for today. Let me know is there is anything particular you want me to look at on this pistol.