by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This is the completion of our guest blog on the Apache multi-pump air rifle. Today Benji-don shares his experiences with the performance of the rifle, after it was made operable.
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me. Over to you, Benji-don.
Apache-Fire-Ball-Texan: Part 2
Apache-Fire-Ball-Texan multi-pump pneumatic air rifle.
Apache-Fire-Ball-Texan multi-pump pneumatic air rifle.
This report covers:
- Trigger pull
- Test for velocity and energy
- Number 4 buckshot velocity
- Daisy BBs velocity
- Accuracy tests
- Accuracy with BBs
- Accuracy with BBs
- Measuring #4 buckshot
- Accuracy with airsoft BBs
- Accuracy with .25 caliber pellets
- From B.B.
I measured the trigger pull with a fish-weighing spring scale. It was 1 lb. 1 oz. It is one-stage with a long and creepy release. As much as I have shot the Apache, I still do not know when it will fire. That really requires holding on the target while squeezing the trigger.
Pumping the Apache air rifle is very similar to pumping a Benjamin 392. It starts off very easy and requires more effort as the number of pumps increase. The mechanism is very similar to those of the older Sheridan, Crosman and Benjamin multi-pumps. I measured the pumping force needed for the tenth pump at about 35 pounds. It seems to me to produce more muzzle energy for the pumping effort than other multi-pumps.
I would rate the Apache rifle with 10 pumps at a loudness of 4-Medium-High with #4 buckshot and 3-Medium with steel BBs. As with all multi-pumps, fewer pumps will quiet it down significantly.
Test for velocity and energy
I started the velocity testing at four pumps. Pumps 1 through 3 did not generate much pressure and gave erratic results. I think one of the valves [inlet and exhaust. Ed.] needs at least four pumps to seal.
I tested both #4 buckshot and Daisy Premium Grade BBs from 4 to 12 pumps. The seals are old and stiff like me, so I set the gun in front of a heater until it was warm to the touch. That made a big difference in the uniformity of the progression of velocity per pump.
The #4 buckshot weighs 20.4 grains. The BBs are 5.1 grains. When cold the gun gives erratic results until it warms up from pumping, and that is a lot of work.
These tables show the velocity and energy of the buckshot and BBs, per pump.
Number 4 buckshot velocity
Pumps……..velocity…………..energy (ft. lbs)
Daisy BBs velocity
Pumps……..velocity…………..energy (ft. lbs)
The following chart gives a different view of the data.
All shooting was from a bench with a rest using open sights. I am not the best shot with open sights, but I can tell you the following groups are the gun, not me. I used 5=shot groups because they won’t get any better with 10 shots, and these are enough to show that it is not even a good plinker. It does pack a punch, though, if you hit what you are aiming at.
The shots with the buckshot were outdoors with the wind at my back at 4 miles per hour. The temperature was 56 degrees. The BBs were shot indoors.
Number 4 buckshot — 5 pumps at 10 yards
The velocity spread was 48 f.p.s. and the average velocity was 373 f.p.s. These five shots went into a group that measured 4.04-inches between centers.
Number 4 buckshot 10 pumps at 10 yards
The spread was 60 f.p.s. and the average velocity was 525 f.p.s. These five shots went into a group that measured 2.18-inches between centers.
Accuracy with BBs
I tried shooting BBs at 10 yards but they were off the paper. So, I went indoors at 3 yards. Even at 3 yards a Red Ryder will shoot rings around the Apache. I know some of you are wondering what may happen with 3 or 4 pumps, as the BBs, with even 5 pumps, are going pretty fast. Well, the gun is not consistent in velocity with less pumps. I tried 4 pumps at the beginning and they were no better. The 10-pump groups are in a very neat string. I think it is just an anomaly as other 10-pump groups showed more of a scatter. These are the targets I set up for this report and I am using them the way they came out.
BBs shot at 3 yards. Left target 5 pumps 1.92-inches. Right target 10 pumps 0.58-inches.
For the BBs with 5 pumps, I kept track of each shot on the target so you could compare the locations with the velocities in the table above. I did not see any correlation. The string of BBs with 10 pumps did not start at one end and proceed to the other. They somehow ended up in a string.
Measuring #4 buckshot
Buckshot are not made to be particularly uniform. They are made for a shotgun. Normally they are made by cold swaging. They not made under the same controlled conditions that pellets or round balls are made. The #4 buckshot is nominally .24 caliber.
I measured 10 random #4 buckshot. Here are the results. Measurements are in millimeters.
2. 6.20 (6.11 to 6.24)
6.11mm equals 0.240 inches
Buckshot groups at 10 yards. Left target 10 pumps, 2.18-inch group and right target 5 pumps 4.04-inch group.
Buckshot seemed to do okay, for the poor uniformity in their size and shape. If round balls of the optimum diameter could be found the rifle may be adequate for a plinker.
Accuracy with Airsoft BBs
I also tested some airsoft BBs as they are nominally 6mm or 0.24 caliber. They actually measure more like 5.94 to 5.97mm, less than 6mm. At 6mm they would be 0.236 inches. The airsoft BBs were too small and did not provide any improvement in accuracy. I made a threaded insert for the muzzle end of the barrel so it would have a flat surface and a diameter that would allow me to use a patch with the airsoft BBs. Using the same idea as a muzzle loaded rifle with round balls. I think the barrel end I made left a gap that caused the patch to get caught and not leave the barrel symmetrically. The airsoft BBs did not beat out the buckshot at 10 meters. They did do better than the BB gun steel BBs.
Accuracy with .25 caliber pellets
I did not originally plan to test pellets because they did not fit in the circular loading port on top of the breech. Both #4 buckshot and BBs are just dropped in with the bolt open, making loading as easy as it gets for a single shot. For the pellets I considered opening the loading port with a file or Dremel tool, but did not want to alter the gun in that way, especially since I did not know if they would even work.
I decided to remove the bolt and see if the .25 caliber pellets would fit. They fit with a little help tapping on the end of the bolt with a wooden mallet I use for my black powder muzzleloaders. It took less effort than I expected. With the bolt back in and the handle back on the bolt I was all set to test fire, when I looked at the bolt pointed at my face! I decided to put the screw cap back over the butt end of the bolt. The first shot sounded good so I decided to check the accuracy.
I did not expect much and did not have a target handy. I set up my pellet trap with a sheet of paper and a peel-and-stick bullseye at 10 yards. Wow! The first shot hit the edge of the bullseye at 10 o’clock. I shot 5 shots with 10 pumps each and was surprised to see a respectable group.
Pellets worked, too. This 5-shot group with .25 cal. Beeman Kodiak Tapered Dome pellets measures 0.49 inches.
The Beeman Kodiak pellets are 31.02 grains. They look the same as H&N Baracuda .25 Cal. round nose pellets that weigh 31.02 Grains. I shot one pellet over the chronograph giving 525.2 fps and 19 foot-pounds of energy. This was a major improvement in all respects over the #4 buckshot.
I gathered three of the pellets from my pellet trap. They were all smashed on one side of the dome. I figured it must be from the trap based on the accuracy but just to be sure, I pushed a pellet through from the breech and checked it out.
The three pellets on the top and the #4 buckshot on the bottom left are from the pellet trap. The single pellet in the middle bottom is straight from the tin. The pellet on the bottom right was pushed through the barrel with a cleaning rod.
The Apache – Fire-Ball – Texan is a solid gun that developed a fair amount of power for a multi-pump from 1948. The gun has a few features that I like such as the half-cock safety. The cone in the pump seal is also a good idea, it comes close to that of a flat top pump head in reducing the air remaining in the pump tube on the compression stroke. If converted to shoot pellets this rifle would be a good plinker.
I do not know how many of these rifles are still around, they show up for sale once in a while. I would not recommend one for a shooter. For me the enjoyment was seeing how it worked and getting it to shoot again. I will pass it back to my son.
First, thanks to Benji-don for an excellent report. He showed us the inside of an air rifle that few even knew existed.
He slugged the bore of his rifle and found the diameter to be 0.249-0.250-inches. He tells me he’s read conflicting information about the caliber of the Apaches being .22, .24 and .25. My guess is some of that is people guessing at the caliber without knowing, biut there might be several different calibers out there, as well. If anyone knows the answer, please enlighten us.
Finally, I promised to show you an Apache pistol. This one is in very nice condition, but the box you see it in is not original.
This nice Apache pistol is in the collection of a lucky airgun collector.
78 thoughts on “Apache-Fire-Ball-Texan: Part 2”
Thank you so very much for all the time and effort you put into this most interesting blog about your Apache-Fire-Ball-Texan. She is an interesting rifle with .25 caliber pellets.
Thanks, yes I was surprised at the relative tight group with pellets. I think much of the difference is in the better ballistics of the pellet. Now though, I measured the barrel bore at .25 inches or 25 caliber instead of 24 as stated in most of the literature.
You mentioned rifling in Part 1 and also mentioned that it appeared to be quite shallow. The .25 pellet you slugged shows no rifling, nor do the fired pellets. Perhaps it is not rifled? The Blue Book has a nice write up on the company history. I appears to have been quite a crap shoot as to just what components were used at any given time in the production. The individual gun listings show smooth (or) rifled. So,.. apparently both (either/or) were provided. Just something I noticed. Any thoughts? Chris
The barrel has rifling it is shallow. When I push a cleaning rod and patch through it I can feel the spin. You can also see the rifling when you look in the barrel. I think the pellet was tight enough to pick up some spin. The round balls fit was too loose. I think there would be better groups with .25 round balls. I will look for some and check out a group.
Thank you. That is interesting. You wonder why they bothered at all since it will not even transfer to the pellet in a visible manner. That is a variation of rifling that I do not recall being discussed. Perhaps B.B. could shed some light on that? Chris
It’s nothing out of the normal. This one is just so shallow that it’s hard to see on the pellet. More a function of sloppy rifling than it is a special kind of rifling.
You know, airgun barrels are made from seamless tubing of some kind. Apache must have bought tubing that had a broad internal diameter allowance.
Thank you. As always,… something new is learned. The concept of very shallow and rounded rifling is an idea. (No) well defined ridges or grooves. Much like corrugated cardboard if you will. Continuous of course, but “wavy” in profile. I do not recall that one. Chris
Oh, THAT is polygonal rifling and it has been around for decades.
🙂 I always enjoy your rifling articles, or any discussion pertaining to. I guess I will have to cancel my order for the new “Lambo”. Oh well,… onto the next Grand idea. 😉
Men like you and me are the backbone of this nation. We are legends in our own minds! 😉
At least the real inventors must get some sense of satisfaction that what they did was so right that people like you and me coninute doing it for years afterward.
Well said,.. and funny as well. True too. Like you have said,.. before you go inventing something new,.. one is well advised to research what has come before.
Further study of your pellet picture does show some patterned, reward distortion of the lead in what looks to be in 4-5 areas around the pellet. The shot pellets have a more noticeable deformation -vs- the slugged one (at the skirt),… I presume from the skirt expanding under air pressure and engaging what there is of the rifling. The head of the slugged one shows the same pattern. I am surprised that you could even see it in the barrel. Good eye!
The rifling is much easier to see in the barrel. I tried to measure the twist with a cleaning rod and a tight patch. That works on most barrels. On this one I could feel the rod rotate but it would skip before I could get even a quarter turn. I measured the twist by putting a small rod in the barrel and shined a bright lite from the same end of the barrel as the rod. I watched a single ridge in the rifling as I pushed the rod into the barrel. I needed three arms and better sight to feel good about the twist rate.
On a side note I bought my wife a Sheridan 2260 for Valentines Day. I put a Hawk 2-7 x 32 scope on it. She told me she did not even know she wanted one. Anyway I made a spinner target out of some 5/16 steel rod bent to have two legs and a cross bar on top. I then hung five wires from it with bottle caps on the ends. Her first five shots took out all the bottle caps. Guess I will need to empty some more bottles to get the caps. They really spin on about 6 to 12 inches of wire,
I have been using lead free pellets in the back yard when I am not shooting into my pellet trap. The groups have been very good with the H&N Baracuda Green .22 Cal, 12.65 Grains, Domed, Lead-Free pellets. I have not pushed them out past 20 yards yet but they hold their own at that distance.
“She told me that she did not even know that she wanted one”,…. !!! That is classic. 🙂 From what you describe, she is a pretty mean shot. Maybe,.. just maybe,… a subtle to sign to get her something (other than) an airgun next year? It is nice that you can enjoy airgun shooting with the wife. The 2260 looks nice. I have yet to try any lead free pellets. 20 yards is good. For shorter distances, they probably kick butt pretty well. Chris
Yep she had a similar comment years ago when she got a 20 gauge over under for Christmans.
I have three of these and each one is slightly different. Variations seem to be the norm with these. I’ve not however seen much variation in the pistols.
Welcome to the blog.
Yes, that seems to be expected from what the Blue Book describes. I do not have any old air guns. I have enough new ones as it is. And yes, welcome to the blog. Chris
Welcome to the blog. I just came back to see if there was any more comments.
Hard to believe you have three of the Apache rifles. Have you shot yours and if so what kind of results do you get? Do you have some of the original Apache round balls? I think they would do well with a .25 caliber round ball. I have not been able to find any .25 caliber round balls it seems like they are made from time to time but are out of stock now.
I would be interested to hear about your guns.
Thanks for joining the blog.
Thanks for taking us along on this little adventure! I am glad you were able to get it going again. Maybe you or your son might be able to find some .25 round ball to try in it.
As for the BB barrel insert, perhaps you should slug it to determine it’s true caliber. This thing is old enough that maybe they intended it to be used with .177 round ball instead of steel BBs. I would think it would be worth a look at.
Thanks, it looks like Bemman and H&N are not making .25 round balls right now. I could get some #3 buckshot it is nominally .25 caliber but they are not very uniform. I will check around maybe someone has an old tin.
The barrel insert is in poor shape I don’t know if it has much chance of giving a decent group. I will admit I have seen some black powder gun barrels that looked pretty bad but gave decent groups. I will see if I can get a measurement of the bore.
I pushed a standard 4.50mm pellet through the barrel it is not a bad fit but would fall through the barrel if there was no oil. I also tried a 4.52 mm pellet and it seemed to be a perfect fit. I pushed it through the barrel and it did not seem to be deformed in any way. Some lead balls at 4.54 mm would be interesting to try. One issue is the barrel insert is split in two for 1 inch at the breech end and has a slight constriction that may be to hold the BBs in place until shot. I can’t tell if the split and constriction is original or was later cut by someone with a hack saw. I did not think to mention that split earlier.
I will muzzle load some 177 pellets into the barrel insert and let you know how it does.
The split at the rear of the .177 insert was done at the factory; it is there to allow the end of the insert to be pinched slightly hold the .177 ball in place and prevent it from exiting the rear of the insert.
Paul in Liberty County
Paul in LC,
That is interesting, is your Apache a single shot or a repeater? I know a BB would fit in the exhaust port of my gun and could jam the exhaust valve a pellet was in there when I took it apart. It sounds like you are loading .177 balls or BBs from the muzzle. On my gun, from my memory the barrel insert extends about half way across the exhaust port preventing BBs from getting into the port. I was loading mine BBs from the port on top of the breech. I thought the constriction was to keep them from falling out until they were shot.
My Apache is a single-shot.
Upon further research, you are correct. When using the BB insert you are supposed to load the BB’s normally, not from the muzzle as I stated. The constriction is indeed there to keep the BB in place until firing. Sorry for the confusion.
If you do a search for “Trev’s Airgun Scrapbook” you will find some interesting information and adds on the Apache (and many other interesting airguns.) I didn’t want to post a link and get in trouble with the powers that be.
Paul in Liberty County
You got my curiosity up. I just shot a 10 shot group at 3 yards with Crosman Hollow Point pellets. By muzzle loading them in the barrel insert. I used 10 pumps. The group was 0.82 inches with 7 shots going under 0.5 inches. I think with work I could get the group of 10 shots under .5 inches adjusting the number of pumps and different pellets. Still not good a 3 yards. I don’t think round balls will do better then the pellets but you never know till you try.
I did notice today as the weather is warming up the gun pumped and held air very well.
It does indeed sound like it was made for round ball. I would have to get a tin to try them. As to whether they would do as well or better than pellets, I seriously doubt it. But if they can they be loaded from the breech with the insert in place, it would certainly be fun to try.
Excellent article. I had not expected the follow up so quickly. Very, very nice job on all the pictures, tables, graphs and data. I like the methodology in your testing with supporting data. Nice call on giving the pellets a try too.
Thank you very much for all of your time and effort (many, many pumps). Fine job. 🙂
Great blog Benji-Don!
I appreciate the time, effort and details you put into this report – very interesting observations and tests. Was wondering if some automatic transmission fluid would rejuvenate the seals.
The accuracy of the pellets is a real improvement over the buckshot. The .25 pellet you pushed through the bore looks like it lost a fair amount of its diameter. You might want to make a head-sizing swaging die and pre-form the pellets to make loading easier.
I made a swaging die for my drillpress from a large bolt. I can send you some pictures if you would like to see it.
Happy Friday all!!
I soaked the seals in transmission stop leak for a couple of days, it did help considerably. I also replaced the intake valve with a new one. After I ruined the original.
I would definitely take your idea on the drill press if I was going to modify the gun to shoot pellets. Removing the bolt each time to load a pellet is not practical. If I was going to make it a pellet shooter I would have to rebuild the loose pump linkage. I would also have to build a new exhaust valve and piston cup seal.
I bet that gun is a thumper when it hits something. And it looks like it can hit with the Baracud look alikes.
Interesting gun and a nice article. Well written.
If it wasn’t so much trouble to shoot pellets I would try some 20 yard shots. I think someone with better eyes than me could get good groups. I feel like the rifle is better than I am at 10 yards with open sights.
If I was going to shoot this gun on a regular basis I would need to rebuild the pump seal, pump seal and modify the loading port and add a scope.
If I added a new barrel In .25 cal then it would be close to what we have been asking for in a multi-pump rifle.
I am thinking real hard about getting a 1322 and a 2260 to make a multi pump rifle. Then I would need to add the Marauder trigger assembly. I know you have done a similar approach. The draw back maybe more perceived than real is the 1322 pump could be more efficient scaled up to rifle size.
The Apache puts out quite a bit of energy, the exhaust port is relatively large and the mass of the hammer is enough to keep the valve completely open during the shot cycle. Just my guess. It dumps all the air every time and I don’t observe any bounce in the hammer.
Maybe a .25 cal multi-pump would be a selling factor with the market going from speed to bigger bores?
About the 1377/22. The longer barrel from the Discovery has been the best performing barrel I have tryed on my 1300 series pumper. Tryed .177 and .22 caliber in different lengths. Even a Walther Lothar barrel in both calibers. But the longer barrel is what I believe is helping performance. A pumper in my opinion is a scaled down pcp.
There is a company right now that sells a 18-3/4″ barrel in .25 caliber barrel that will slip right into the plastic or steel breech of the 1300 series guns. I keep telling myself I’m going to get one and I forget and start on another project.
I really should order one right now while it’s in my mind again.
Have not heard how your Maximus is doing at long range, what kind of groups are you getting? I am thinking real hard about getting one.
I don’t remember if you tuned up the trigger or not. How about an update.
On another topic;
I would think the 13xx valves would be a little small for a .25 but an enlarged port and a couple extra pumps may be all that is needed.
If you get one and it works I will be copying yours. I want a full sized stock on my next one though, the 1399 stock is ok but not optimum for accuracy.
Well I can still hit starlings at 80-90 yards with the Maximus. And yes I did tune the trigger. Cut a couple coils off the spring that’s directly behind the trigger. And bent the spring that holds the sear up so it doesn’t hold up as hard. Trigger has a slight first stage feel now and stops. And very light pressure needed to make the shot go off.
And I think a bigger inside diameter orifice for the transfer port and a long barrel would make a .25 caliber pellet work with the 1300 series guns.
And yep love the wood Discovery stock on the 1300 long gun I made. But I also have good luck putting air conditioning insulation foam on my 1399 stock to help with that low cheek weld they have. Found some that has a sticky tape down the seem that works nice to keep it in place instead of zip tying it.
Good to hear, I am jealous. I think a Maximus may be on my next order.
Don’t be jealous. Just get you one. The Maximus is a great gun for the price. 🙂
See bottom of weekend blog.
A Crosman 101 is the easiest and most similar to your Apache if you want to try. Pick -up a beater 101 and re-barrel it. There have been a few made before. As an aside , I have used the Crosman 2260 barrels to build a couple guns and they shot the Gamo RB with excellent accuracy. Cheap entertainment…
Good advice, I may keep my eye out for a 101. At least there are parts available.
I agree on the 2260 barrels they were only $15 the last time I ordered some and they have good accuracy. I really want to get my hands on a Maximus barrel.
I think I know why the diabolo pellets shot so well. Look at the results I got at 10 meters from a smoothbore Diana 25 shooting diabolos:
You make a good argument and there is very little rifling in the gun. I do not know what abuse this gun has had or how many times the barrel insert has been in and out of the gun. I think it has just enough rifling to spin the pellet. I could be wrong though.
Does anyone have an idea on how to test a pellet to see if it is picking up any spin without using a slow motion camera that I don’t have?
I also think that as you stated in the repot on the Swedish Excellent: Part 3 that size matters is also coming into play. A good smooth bore in .25 with good ammo should be decent at 10 yards.
The only idea I have is to shoot some pellets into duct seal (electrical sealing putty). It is cheap and a .22 pellet will not go past 1″ at 41′. Mark the pellet in some way, orient at loading,.. say 12:00,… and then see where the mark ends up during digging it out of the putty. You could try it at different at different distances.
Hey,.. it may not be the best idea but it is the only one I have for you. Chris
BB—Thank you for reminding us about your smooth bore Diana. In re reading the part re round balls, I noticed your comment about the harsh cycle when firing them. I tried round balls in my Diana Mauser 98K and it sounded like a dry fire ! They were not accurate. This was before I had the tune kit installed. I will not try them again. ——Ed
Thank you for this very interesting report. It is terrific that you were able to rescue a piece of history from the trash heap and learn for future endeavors. Job well done!
B.B. and anyone else who might know,
Off-topic, but without the .22 pellet insert, what is the bore of the Gamo Viper Express Toy Shotgun? .24? .25? .26? (Don’t ask. It’s a long and dull story.)
I don’t know.
.22 caliber; the insert is just a brass version of the plastic shotshell. Any .22 pellet will work fine, and the bore is not choked.
Paul in Liberty County
You misunderstood me.
What is the actual bore of the Viper Express, the barrel of the gun itself? In other words, what is the external diameter of the shotshell and the insert? Obviously it is quite a bit greater than .22. Is it .24?, 25? .26? Is it between any of those?
My apologies. The shotshell has a two-diameter body; the narrower part makes up most of the length and measures 7mm (.275″) and the larger part measures 8mm (.315″). The larger part is at the base end and is about .14″ tall, making the shotshell look like a belted magnum case.
Paul in Liberty County
Sorry for the off topic post but I was reading your old report on the Weihrauch HW 75M. I assume the M means match however the new model available at Pyramyd is the Weihrauch HW 75 and the description still calls it a match pistol. Is there a difference between the Weihrauch HW 75M and the Weihrauch HW 75?
No, I think they are the same. The marketeers must have dropped the M off the model name awhile back. It was never a true match pistol, just one with nice ergonomic grips.
Thanks B.B. I will continue to shoot my P17. I love it and am still smiling at the price.
Great job on the pictures and the write up.
The accuracy test was very interesting;
thank you for thinking to show what it could have done if they had thought to make it a pellet rifle.
Regarding the comment, “You know, airgun barrels are made from seamless tubing of some kind.”
I realize this was aimed towards “real” airguns having higher power and cost than a Daisy BB gun. But unfortunately, Daisy used seamed tubing on at least some Red Ryders- I bought a Millennium 2000 model Red Ryder, the seam was so wide that light shown through the seam. I mention this only to pass on the info in case anyone has a Daisy from this era and is unable to get the velocity where it should be- even after resealing. What’s worse is this was when Daisy Red Ryders were still made in the USA. I have recently bought quite a few old models as well as new production Daisy BB guns made in China (I am on a mission to make myself the “ideal” Daisy lever action BB gun, will be based on the Model 96) and they all use seamless tubing. This includes current production shot tubes bought from Daisy.
In the photo linked to below, I’m holding a flashlight under the seam while trying to take a photo of the light through the BB-sized hole in the abutment end of the shot tube. The takeaway is, the light seen is coming through the seam of the shot tube:
I would have been more precise to say all rifled barrels. A BB doesn’t engage rifling, so the barrel or shot tube can be seamed. However, the 499 does use seamless tubing for greater precision.
Thanks so much for sharing this unique airgun with us. When we speak of accuracy today, we must be reminded of the computer assisted machines that allow the tighter tolerances needed to give us the size of groups we’ve come to expect as normal today. Still, we need to respect the forgotten companies that took a chance making airguns like the Apache-Fire-Ball-Texan, as contributing a large part to our knowledge of airguns, as well as to our heritage. I particularly enjoyed the parts pictures in part one of your report. If anyone else has an oddball airgun lying around, think about doing a similar report. It would be much appreciated.
I checked my notes from testing by Apache rifle. My gun needs a new hammer spring since it does not dump all the air on more than 5 pumps. Here are the numbers I got with Hornady round balls:
2 pumps………. 275fps………. 3.4 ft lbs
3 pumps………. 363fps………. 6.1 ft lbs
4 pumps………. 426fps………. 8.1 ft lbs
6 pumps………. 492fps………. 10.9 ft lbs….. air left after shot
8 pumps………. 548fps………. 13.8 ft lbs….. lots of air left after shot
Mine also needs “warming up”; it will not compress air until I work the pump 20 or so strokes.
Thanks for all of your hard work on this article; it will be a useful reference for the future.
Paul in Liberty County
Paul in LC,
Thanks for your input. The comparison between the two guns gives a better idea of how they are suppose to operate. I think it shows my pump piston may not be adjusted up to the end of the pump tube as well as yours, or mine maybe seal is leaking. I did not state the round balls I used, they were “Hornady BULLETS #4 BUCKSHOT .240 Diameter”. Is that what you are using and have you tried #3 buckshot or some .25 caliber round balls in yours?
I am sure there are others besides me that would be interested in what kind of groups you get with your Apache.
Even with air left in the gun you are ahead of me on the power per pump curve. I wonder if it is your hammer spring (most likely) or I added more weight to my hammer with my new stud and knob (not likely) I used a plastic knob. The stud I used is longer than stock though.
I measured my cocking force for you I used a fish weight scale. I got 10 1/2 pounds to cock my hammer. I would say that is within 1/2 pound for sure. I checked the fish scale against my more accurate weight scale and they are very close at 11 pounds.
Thanks for the information.
I also used the Hornady #4 buckshot. Your accuracy with a pellet was very interesting, though. I have some smallish .25 BSA Pylarm pellets that I think I will try.
I did my testing at 10 meters, all are 5 shots:
6 pumps……….1.93″ and 1.75″
Most of my groups were elongated vertically; I thought it was due to a worn crown (from the insert) but it may be due my bad eyes and the sights. Now that I have the EyePal patches, I need to test the Apache again.
Regarding the leftover air my guess would be the spring tension; these airguns are almost 70 years old and the metallurgy was not so good back then. I will have to take mine out and measure it for a replacement again.
It’s nice to find someone else with one of these old guns in working order.
Paul in Liberty County
Paul in LC
Thanks for the additional information. 70 years doesn.t seem that old.
I just put a loop of string around the knob and cocked the hammer by pulling on the string with a fish weight scale. My guess is yours requires significantly less pull than mine. The hammer spring looks like it would be common at a good hardware store. You might try stretching yours just a little to check the results.
It is interesting that my groups got smaller with more pumps and yours got larger with more pumps. If I get some .25 round balls I will let you know the results.
Even with both our bad eyes I would say that your groups represent the gun not your shooting ability.
Very comprehensive report which I know took some time. Great job!
Well, once again looking in PA’s New Products page, I found a new item designed for a gun that, tic, was never supposed to be able to accept this accessory. It’s the brand new Air Venturi M14 Scope Mount System designed for the no longer manufactured Daisy/Winchester M14 pellet/bb rifle as well as other M14 airsoft guns.
The question I ask is why now, after the gun is no longer made, and similar mounts were available from airsoft suppliers when the gun first became available in North America. The new mounts look to be identical to the earlier ones. If you were to do the bean shuffle with them I doubt you could tell which was which afterwards.
I bought my Winchester M14 shortly after your review in early summer 2012 and mounted one of the CYMA M14 scope mounts a few weeks later with a Leapers 4×30 mil dot scope. Fitment was perfect using the holes in the plastic receiver that had the threaded metal inserts inside them. One bolt had to be replaced as the metal insert was American, not Metric thread.
Hmm – maybe I just answered my own question. Could the new mount come with American thread parts??
Later, a simple conversion to bulk CO2, gave me the ability to use the gun in the colder spring and fall temperatures we see here. Simply carrying the 12 ounce bulk tank under my jacket, using my upper body as a heat sink, gave me hundreds of full power shots at below freezing temperatures.
So, BB, what do you think. Did Air Venturi just add the Daisy M14 to the description to pad it out or were actual technical changes made. Maybe you could find out for us.
BB, I have two old Benjamin pumpers. A 312 and a 342, both in .22 cal. While this isn’t new to these guns, both will retain about one pump of air after they have been fired. The number of pumps doesn’t seem to matter. It happens with 4, 5 or 6 pumps. I think this is common with these types guns but is it considered a problem. If so, is there a fix? Thanks.
Here is my two cents.
I have owned three of the Benjamin 312 rifles. My first one went for over 35 years of abuse and did not care if there was a pump of air left in or not. It always worked fine. The pump seal was leather and needed to be oiled regularly. The other two had did not have the leather pump seal and did not need to be oiled often. They also did not need to be stored with a pump of air. I do recommend a pump of oil in the 312 just to be safe. It will help keep the valve clean and the seals tight.
I also have a Benjamin 342 that has given me fits. The original manual said, not to oil the gun. That did not work. I also did not know to leave a pump in the gun and paid a hefty price in replacing pump cups and seals. If it was put away without a pump or two it would leak the next time I used it. Once I started leaving a couple of pumps in the gun it has worked fine.
Maybe I did not answer your question. If you are saying both guns leak off to about 1 pump worth of air no mater how many you leave in the gun then you have a leak. Not knowing how long it takes to leak off I don’t know how severe the issue is. If it is holding any air for a couple of hours you may just need to try some Pellgun Oil in the intake hole that allows air into the pump tube when the pump is open as far as it goes. If that does not work try some transmission stop leak. I learned all these tricks on this blog. If the oil doesn’t work the guns will need to be resealed.
Put some pumps in the gun and then pull up the pump handle until it is just free to move on its own. If the pump handle moves up on its own after you let go then the intake valve is leaking. If you can hear air coming out the barrel after pumping up the gun then the exhaust valve is leaking. It could also be the valve gaskets leaking. Some folks pump up the gun and put it under water to see where the bubbles come from! I have not ever tried this but it should work well. If you use water make sure you get everything dry afterwards, especially the hammer spring. You need a special tool to remove the valve. They are sold on pyramid air along with the valves and seals.
I would say if it shoots well some are very accurate some not so much. You can have one resealed for a reasonable cost if you don’t want to do it your self. I would say almost all local shops that work on air guns will work on those two rifles. If not there are quite few on line.
I think there are utube videos on how to repair those two guns. They are almost identical inside.
I just reread you question. I for sure took off in the wrong direction on that one. The simple answer is yes they normally always retain some air in the pump after every shot. That is not a problem and may be why my 312s did not care if I left a pump of air in or not. As long as it is always a about one pump worth after you shoot that is normal. The more pumps the more it will normally retain.
One thing to remember on the 312’s I think it is the same on the 342’s is to make sure the handle on the bolt goes all the way down. If the cam is set too tight on the bolt stud the handle will not be all the way down and the exhaust port will be restricted. That can leave a significant amount of air in the gun after each shot.
I am going to try to answer your question if it takes me all day. If you gun is not exhausting enough air after every shot then it will start to be very hard to pump. If you can shoot 10 shots of 8 pumps each and don’t notice any increase in the pump effort along the way you should be fine.
The fix would be a new hammer spring if it is not exhausting enough air.
After all my running in circles I think your guns are working the way they are suppose to.
Thanks for the information. What you said about covers it all. The guns seem to be working OK right now. I’ll keep and eye on a possible replacement of the hammer spring at some point.
My two cents is that you should try the automatic transmission sealant fix. Oil the pump piston head with it like you would with Crosman Pellgunoil. No matter what is wrong, that stuff seems to fix things.
It’s worth a try.
Interesting observations. It sounds as if the older Benjamin’s could use a heavier hammer spring. I wonder if they got weaker over the years by just a tad? I would think that it would (not) be ideal for any to be left. That is like wasted power and might have resulted in a few more fps.
For anyone that can remember,.. I wonder if they typically held any air when new? If so,.. it could be that the stock spring was not optimal right out of the gate. At any rate,.. just some thoughts.
Again,.. fine job on the report. Chris
I received my first 312 for Christmas in 1960 I think. From what I remember it would hold about one pump of air from the beginning. I don’t think that a stronger hammer spring would give a significant increase in fps as it is left at the tail end of the power curve and is there in the front of the curve. The potential energy in that compressed air just stays in the gun. As long as you used the same number of pumps the air left in the gun would stay the same with each shot. A little more would be left the more pumps you used but after one or two shots things became consistent. If you want more power you just use more pumps.
The small amount of air in my opinion would not increase the velocity. If you stay under 10 pumps I don’t think you get air lock on the exhaust valve with 10 pumps or less. I have not measured the fps on a 312 though to test this out. It would be interesting.
The 342 I have has never been a go to gun and I don’t have a good feel for it. I think it may have something going on with the hammer spring I am going to check it out. That may be one reason it has never performed well.
I also had a 3100 if I remember the number correctly that was based on the 300 series multi-pumps. It was a smooth bore repeater with a long BB tube above the barrel. It is the only gun I have ever traded away, it had poor accuracy.
The 300 series Benjamin guns are not the most powerful pellet guns but there strong points when you get a good one is that they can be very accurate (not all) and very reliable. That is unless the barrel comes loose, they are soldered to the pump tube. The only one I have had that the barrel came loose on was my first one when Dad was in forward instead of reverse and mashed it against the end of the garage.
BB et al..
This morning I did the final pellet testing with the Daisy 450 Pellet Rifle. I shot only 5 shot groups for most of the pellets tested. A few only made it to 2 shots they were so bad.
In general the wadcutters – Meisterkugeln’s, Hobby’s, Crosman, JSB Match and Daisy were all close to 1.25″ to 1.5″. Like I said nothing to get excited about!
I thought the 7.9gn. Pointed Crosman Hunting Pellet that comes 1250 count in the little milk carton would do well because it’s the main pellet I use in most of my Chinese guns but not so – off the paper – it was one of the 2 shot groups greater than 4″ along with Gamo Perfect Rounds.
The pellet that did the best was the JSB Exact Diabolo Dome at 7.8gn. The first 5 shot group was a nice .51″. After that I did 4 -10 shot groups with the smallest being .62″ and the largest and last group being .85″. Not too shabby for a smooth bore! I
All the pellets tested this afternoon were shot using the artillery hold with my elbow supported on a sand bag. The range was 10 meters.
It seems I now have a gun that I can use on my indoor range when I feel like taking just a few shots or spending a fun hour. I have other more accurate guns but they require time to set up with heavier traps or 12 gram cartridges or bulk CO2 and sometimes I don’t really feel like having to do 100 or more shots just to use up the CO2!!
Next I will try the Daisy 450 at 15 yards. This is the maximum comfortable shooting distance on my indoor range. Probably sometime next week.
All for today guys..
In answer to your comment (on the Thurs. blog,.. as to pellets doing better further out, than closer),.. well first,.. I asked that very question to B.B.. The answer was no. There is no pellets that will do better further out than they did in closer. I think physics would prohibit it. Like I said, plain luck. “Luck of the landing” if you will. Just like my 13/16″ group with 7 of 10, at 100 yards with the .25 M-rod. I have not come close since. Maybe 2-3″ at best.
Sorry,.. I ain’t buyin’ it.
Nothing to buying it. Just try it.
Set you up some targets outside from 10 yards to 50 and try some different pellets. See what happens. Then you can truly have a argument. And it doesn’t matter to me what someone says happens. I don’t buy that till I try it. Sorry but just how I am. Proved people wrong before when they said something wasn’t possible. To many times be it drag racing, motocross racing, RC planes and so on.
Hard to say what is if you never tryed before. 😉
🙂 I am much the same. You have without question shot more and tried more. I put my trust in MY repeatability. Good days and bad days. Over time. I have come to realize that line between consistency and an anomaly. If I can repeat results, same or close, on a regular basis,… then I am “sold”.
I just want to say thanks for being kind on your comments. It is a little scary putting out a report to this huge audience on something that I am not an expert at. It is more work than I expected to put out a one day report but has also been very enjoyable. My family has really got a kick out of it. I recommend others submit a report.
The controlled, factual, and professional operation of this blog is a tribute to Edith. BB’s continued day in and day out remarkable effort in keeping this blog a fantastic source of information and training on all things air gun related goes beyond belief.
Thanks for the opportunity,
Thank you for this blog, recently bought one of these at a garage sale for $5. Can’t pass up a bb gun for $5, that’s an automatic notch on man card! Unfortunately it didn’t have the insert, unless it’s hidden?