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.

37 thoughts on “Benjamin Wildfire PCP repeater: Part 4



    • Yogi,

      If you ever had a auto-pump, a tank and 1,2 or 3 PCP’s,… anything else you have would be collecting dust pretty quick. Or,.. at the very least, get used a whole lot less. It is, what it is.

      -C


      • Chris,

        I don’t think so….. My LP8 get shot more that all my rifles combined. I put few few pellets in my pocket and go for a walk.
        My rifles, I need to set up my bench, haul my shooting stool out, tape a target to my backstop, carry 8-9lbs and a tin of pellets. What a hassle, I need MORE hassle like I need another hole in my head. KISS.

        -Y


        • Yogi,

          You do have a point. No argument there. I too, believe in keeping things simple in many ways. Other than the cost of getting started into PCP’s, I have no regrets. When it comes down to pulling the trigger, the experience is much nicer, that’s all. Of course,.. each to their own and that is only my opinion.



  1. BB,

    I’ve done a number on a BSA scope tube before, but not that bad.

    This thing sure is looking like it would be great to keep close by the door to fend off a ravaging pack of feral soda cans.


  2. B.B.,

    Fine shooting there. Many good things learned. You did not mention if you used a rest at 10 meters. I am assuming that you did.

    The bleed screw in the tank(s) is most interesting. I am not sure that I fully understand the issue. To me, it sounds as if the (check valve return spring) in the Wildfire fill valve is a bit too stiff. The fact that your tanks valves have worked fine in the past, further confuses the issue. Any further clarification that you could offer would be appreciated.

    On the fill nipple on the gun,… did the female hose end go on fine? or was it a bit tight? My Maximus nipple must be a tad larger than the one on the M-rod. The Maximus requires a bit of fiddling and perfect alignment, but it will go. I have thought about taking the OD down a bit on the Maximus fill nipple, but not sure where to do it without affecting the seal area.

    Good Day all,.. Chris



      • Michael,

        You could be right. I have never been in one. Either way,.. it sounds as if it has more to do with the gun than the bleed valve on the main tank. I believe BB had issues with the fill nipple on the Maximus he tested. Too big. That is why I asked the question about mine being tighter than the M-rod nipple. Now,.. the nipple valve on the Wildfire. It sounds as if Crosman would do well to look into both of these issues. I for one would not want to mess with the valve on my Guppy tank. BB’s comment below makes sense too, as well as the comment in the article. Still, it sounds more gun than tank.

        Chris


  3. BB,
    Thanks for a great report. I have had that bleed down of a fresh fill but it was from a hand pump. The frustration of wasted work. I learned that it was my mistake due to being carefull. I had to bleed off the hose pressure more rapidly than I was. My bad.


  4. Thanks, B.B., for the great write up.

    On an unrelated note, I was going over some of your old articles, looking up material on my Sheridan, when I came across this memorial to your wife ( /blog/2016/07/sheridan-blue-streak-part-1/ ):

    Goodbye, Edie
    That’s the start of my report on the Sheridan Blue Streak and also my memorial to Edith. Some of you readers may remember all the help she gave you when you first got started reading this blog. We will miss that, because I certainly can’t do it. I need as much help as any of you.

    B.B., Miss Edith was a great lady. May God bless and keep her till you see her again.


  5. BB,

    I’ve tried a couple of dot sights over the years and haven’t had a lot of luck with them. I think the dot has been too large and on one the green dot is toooo bright on it’s lowest setting. Do you know the MOA on your sight and can you recommend a sight for shooting (actually plinking small targets in the 1 1/2″ range) to 30 yds? Also any tips on dimming the dot would be helpful.

    On another note, could you check your gun to see if air blows out of the barrel locking slot when you fire your gun?


  6. PGAir

    In your post in part 3 of this report on Mar 19 ,you said you get 5 to 5 1/2 mags from a 12 gram cartridge in your 1077. I’m sorry but I have to respectfully question the accuracy of that claim. I own three 1077s and none of them gave more than 4 mags out of the box. After modding I get 6 mags (at 70 F) that give fair results at 15 yrds or so,and that’s shooting slow and deliberately. Anything approaching rapid fire is going to cause a velocity lose of over 250fps over the course of 3 mags. The Wildfire seems to drop a little over 100fps and starts at a significantly higher velocity to boot.

    The thing is, the drop off in velocity(modded or stock) is such that the gun it not capable of setting or resetting some reactive targets through out the cartridge life, if those targets are set up at reasonably challenging distances, and at closer distances will make some targets overreact and fail to set or to stay set when a second swinger is struck nearby.

    This gun has the potential to overcome this huge problem for shooters like myself that like shooting reactive targets ( 1077s are great on cans but I like more sophisticated targets as well) So it’s not just a cold weather version of the 1077. Consistent power is a big thing when one shoots at the things I do and I’m guessing that there are plenty of others that have been frustrated with the 1077 in this regard and don’t want to set up multiple sets of targets at increasingly closer range just to get all the use from a cartridge that they can.

    There are many ways to have fun with airguns and this may not be you cup of tea and ,as such, has colored your opinion in this case.



      • GF1

        I guess I’m not explaining myself well. Holding over is not going to flip over targets at long distance or reset certain targets after they have been struck down. The shot is too weak. I know this because I fight it every time I shoot at those type of targets with a co2 gun. Just try shooting at a Crosman metal resetting squirrel target at 20 yards with a 1077 and you will understand my point. I have a variety of targets that have their own unique set of problems that arise from the diminishing shot velocity in a co2 gun, and although I haven’t been able to prove it yet, because I still can’t pump, I feel certain that the Wildfire is going to solve that problem at as small of a cost as is possible right now. Maybe this problem is mine alone.


        • Halfstep
          I understand that. The hold over is to hit the target. And yes you need the fpe to reset a target for a given distance.

          And on the other hand I could reset my sqerrial targets with my FWB 300 shooting at around 600 fps at 50 yards. And matter of fact I had a couple 2240’s with steel breeches and .177 Discovery barrels and the 1399 stock resetting the targets even as the poi dropped as much as 2 inches as the Co2 was at its end.

          But I will say that I did the hi-pac conversions on the 2240’s which converts them to HPA. They did shoot with more athourity on the high pressure air than Co2. But still at some point at the end of the fill the point of impact would still start dropping. And yes if I wanted to continue to shoot I would just hold over what I needed. And of course there was a point in which the pellet would stop resetting the target.

          As it goes there is a distance that will work with whatever kind of power supply you use with a gun. And even pcp guns will have a point where the shot drops off. That’s why we always reference to usable shots in a PCP fill.

          And what benefit that I know is that a PCP gun will not slow down rapid firing like Co2 does. And a PCP will not drop in velocity like Co2 does in cold weather. But they both will reach a time when the cartridge or air resivoir will diminish in velocity and energy will be reduced and point​ of impact will drop off.


  7. B.B.,

    I am trying to figure out how slightly widening the air escape channel across the threads of the pressure release thumbscrew would prevent air from escaping the Wildfire’s reservoir. Is it simply that by bleeding the hose’s compressed air a bit more quickly prevents any air from leaving the rifle reservoir? Or does it merely reduce the amount of escaped air from the rifle?

    In any event, this solution involves modifying a part that is not the cause of the problem and leaving the cause of the problem unaddressed.

    I wonder if Chris USA is on to something with his question about why the Wildfire valve reacts this way. This doesn’t seem to be an issue with other HPA reservoirs, does it?

    Michael


  8. B.B., that is some fine offhand shooting at my preferred distance. I wouldn’t want to step up to the line with you. As a fond remembrance of Edith, I’ll point out that I think you should replace “tact” with “tack” in your sentence, “I took a different tact today when testing…” “Tact” means discretion while “tack” must refer to the turns that a ship makes in sailing against the wind and makes more sense as a new direction. Wherever she is, I’ll bet that Edith is smiling.

    Gunfun1, it could well be that the designers of converging machine guns on WWII airplanes had a purpose after all. In strafing, this configuration could rake over a whole area while the concentrated fire of a p-38 would be confined to a line, and there were other tricks that pilots could use. One was for the pilots to fix their flaps slightly down on a strafing run. This way, they could maintain level flight while pointing down and cover an area with a sheet of lead. You can’t omit the onsite expertise. But I suppose the culmination of strafing technique is a side mounted weapons platform in an orbit like modern gunships which can maintain concentrated fire over an arbitrary period of time. This is shot density at its zenith.

    Your scenario of running to launch an rc plane seems like a textbook case of how launch speeds below a certain threshold have no effect on projectile velocity. As for why I quit rc flying, the answer boils down to utter ignorance. I have a great open field nearby that is perfect for flying rc planes except that it is right next to an airport for small planes. I tried to be careful, calling up the police to ask if it was okay, and they had no clue. I also called the airport’s number and left a message and never heard back. So, for some months, maybe even years, I flew my planes there. I tried to be careful, scanning the skies like a fighter pilot and going down to the deck whenever I saw one approaching. I do remember some instances of flying my plane low and watching a real plane come in for approach above. Nobody ever hassled me, but gradually I realized that this was not a good idea. The next nearest field is not convenient, so that brought things to a halt along with my press of other activities. But that is reassuring to know that the skill never leaves, so I might pick it up again in future.

    On another subject to quote Shakespeare, “Confusion has now made his masterpiece,” and my military surplus .303 debacle is complete. Last night, I began reloading the hundreds of bullets that I pulled from my hangfiring British surplus only to find that they were all slightly too narrow for my cases. This time, I definitely resized the cases because my Sierra MatchKing bullets fit fine. I thought that .311 inches was .311 inches on both sides of the Atlantic but apparently not. This recalls one of the tribulations of the p-38. Once they were deployed to England, they began experiencing breakdowns, especially “throwing rods,” which was eventually traced to the fact that British gasoline was distilled slight differently from American. So slight institutional differences can have a large effect.

    Matt61



    • Matt61
      Yep I think there would be more casualties with the firepower over a exspanded area. And also if there is wounded soldiers it actually harder to fight when you also have to help the wounded. So I would think the shot gun blast effect would be why they chose to sight the multiple guns in each wing at one given distance.

      And I built a 80″ wing span Cub and put flaps on it. That plane would do near vertical take offs and landings in a 5 mph wind with the plane in a completely level aditude. And I could take the plane up say a hundred feet and let it hover in one place if I was facing into the wind. As I said before one of the most fun hobby’s I have done. And yes after one flight you’ll be zipping all around like you use too. I’m sure. 🙂

      Oh and you mention the P38’s throwing rods because of the fuel the way they made it. I bet it was something to do with the octane and the altitude they was flying at. The engine was probably leaning out and blowing the piston apart then throwing the rod. All in all whatever it was made for a not good day for the pilot or crew.


  9. PCPs, shooting frozen chickens, and spud guns have got me wondering how fast you could shoot a .25 pellet with some of the low pressure high volume PVC contraptions I’ve seen on YouTube? Hmmm…maybe a stop after work at Lowe’s some night is warranted.


  10. B.B.,

    Very nice and glad to see accuracy is better than reported elsewhere–especially considering you were using a red dot. I have a 1077 with a red dot sight on it and the fiber optic front sight is high (and bright) enough that I ended up popping out the fiber optic insert, it was so distracting. Did you notice the front sight at all on your setup?


  11. Hi BB et al..
    I haven’t been reading the blog for a few days due to having surgery on my left wrist for carpal tunnel (which was a success}. Today I was getting caught up and noticed matt61’s comment on having an IZH-61 with almost a 100k shot count. I also have a high shot count IZH-61, probably in the range of 60k to 70k+ shots as well as a B3 AK style sidelever with well over 15k+ shot count.
    What I’m wondering is, is it worthwhile to to do a piece on what kind of shot count and longevity can we expect from different types of airguns.
    My IZH-61 is pushing 60k to 70k+ shots – 2 evenings a week, 50 to 60 shots each evening while I’ve done laundry for the last 16 or 17 years. I maintain the gun with a couple drops oil here and there two or three times a year. It’s the original metal receiver version and still shoots as well as the first day I got it! .5″groups at 10M were not uncommon (before both wrists went gimpy on me) with the rear mounted Mendoza peep sight with the 10 metre aperture.
    I’m sure myself, as well as other blog readers would find this an interesting topic.
    Cheers
    Dave


  12. BB
    Interesting problem with the fill valve on the rifle. A ‘spring’ loaded check valve will only remain open when there is more pressure on the inlet side than in the tank. It will close the second the pressure equalizes on both sides or the flow of inlet air ends.
    A ‘sliding’, ‘flow ‘or ‘balanced’ check valve, as used in auto brake lines to shut off fluid leaks, moves only when the pressure of air or fluid is unequal on one side. The movement of the valve would be relative to the imbalance of pressure.
    So … a slow bleed down of pressure on one side of the check valve may not be enough to move a sliding valve to shut it off. A quick pressure drop immediately changes the force on one side of the balanced valve and causes it to move closed.
    Conclusion, this rifle has a faulty spring loaded check valve or a sliding check valve and bleeding off air faster will shut it off faster. That seems to be the situation here with a restricted bleed air flow.


    • Bob,

      I wouldn’t say the inlet valve spring is faulty. Some airguns have almost no valve spring at all. It is the pressure differential that makes the thing work. I just need to drop the line pressure faster — I think.

      B.B.


  13. Elsewhere (link below), there was mention made of the instructions for degassing the Wildfire being incorrect. Now, I have no idea if that’s correct, nor do I know if this is in any way related to what was being discussed above regarding the bleed/fill issues w/this gun and/or supply tank. But I’d appreciate an opinion on whether there’s anything to the claim of the instructions being wrong.

    Link: http://www.network54.com/Forum/79537/thread/1490751416/last-1490844129/Expand+Thread



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