Dan Wesson M512 4-inch pellet revolver: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Dan Wesson pellet revolver
New 4-inch Dan Wesson pellet revolver from ASG is very realistic!

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight-in reveals a problem
  • First group of Hobbys
  • Qiang Yuan pellets
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets
  • Crosman Premier lite pellets
  • Evaluation

Today we look at the accuracy of the Dan Wesson 4-inch pellet revolver. As we do it may be helpful for you to keep in mind the fact that I have also tested both the 8-inch Dan Wesson pellet revolver and the 6-inch Dan Wesson pellet revolver, so you have something to compare today’s test to. To see those tests, go to the product listing I linked to and look for the link to the review/article. Let’s get to it.

The test

I shot from 10 meters, resting my hands on a sandbag. I’m shooting just 6 shots at each bull, because that is how many cartridges the gun holds. I sighted-in and also shot the first group with 7-grain RWS Hobby pellets. All shooting was done in the single-action mode (where I manually cock the hammer before each shot). There were no bad shots in this test. Everything you are about to see happened with the sights in perfect alignment.

Sight-in reveals a problem

My first shot from the gun landed very low on the target paper at 10 meters. Obviously I needed to adjust the rear sight up, which is where a problem occurred. When I turned the elevation screw counter-clockwise, it came up but the rear sight leaf remained down. There was no spring under the leaf.

What I did then was adjust the rear sight screw as high as it would go without coming out of the gun, then I shimmed beneath the rear sight leaf with a small piece of card stock that was folded over many times. I then screwed the adjustment screw back down to put some tension on the card stock, so the rear sight leaf wouldn’t move.

I’m sure there is supposed to be a spring under the rear sight leaf, but the test gun just doesn’t have one. My fix with the card stock is a good trick for you to learn, so here is what it looks like.

Dan Wesson sight shim
I shimmed under the rear sight leaf with some folded card stock (arrow) to compensate for a missing spring.

Shot number 2 landed almost as high above the bullseye as the first shot was low, so I pulled the shim out and removed several layers. Then I inserted it again and screwed the screw down until it was tight again. The third shot landed about an inch above the bull and slightly to the right, so I removed one more fold of the shim stock and tightened the adjustment screw back down. The next shot was in the black, just above the center of the bull. By this time I had fired 4 shots, leaving two loaded cartridges in the cylinder. I put pellets into 3 of the empty cartridges and loaded them into the cylinder. I now shot the remaining 5 rounds from the gun and then checked the target. There were no more sight adjustments in the test, and I was counting the first shot after the final adjustment as the first shot of this group.

First group of Hobbys

Okay, now we can talk about the first group. There are 6 shots in this group, but I want to show you the entire target first, so you can see where all the pellets landed during the sight-in. As I told you, the first shot was low, shot 2 was high and shot 3 was almost where I wanted it. Shot 4 landed in the back part of the bull, touching the red center, so I decided to consider it as the first shot of the group. Unfortunately one of the subsequent 5 shots landed close to the third sight-in shot, so I had to indicate that last sight-in shot on the target.

Dan Wesson sight-in target
Here is the entire sight-in target. Shot 1 is low. Shot 2 is high and shot 3 is nearly there.

The 6-shot group of Hobbys measures 1.422-inches between centers. One of the shots strayed out very close to the final sight-in shot, so I indicated on the target which on was the sighter.

Dan Wesson Hobby target
Six RWS Hobby pellets went into 1.422-inches at 10 meters.

Qiang Yuan pellets

Next up were the Qiang Yuan Training pellets that I thought might be the best in this revolver. Boy, was I wrong! Six of them went into 2.739-inches at 10 meters, making the worst group of the test. And, boy is my new right eye (the one that had the cataract removed) sharp! I actually saw that pellet that is way to the right in flight, and it looked like a major-league curveball! Looking at how the paper tears, I think this pellet is unstable in this Dan Wesson, and is yawing badly, so I don’t recommend it.

Dan Wesson Qiang Yuan Training target
Qiang Yuan Training pellets were not good. You can tell by their holes they are yawing in flight. Six went into 2.739-inches at 10 meters.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets

Next I tried some Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. I probably should have shot some of these in the velocity test. They would no doubt push the velocity up over 400 f.p.s. In past tests I have found this pellet to often be superior. It’s the only lead-free pellet I have ever tested that is accurate, and sometimes the accuracy is stunning — as it almost is today. This was the second most accurate pellet of the test, with indications that it wants to be the best. Six went into 1.708-inches, with 5 of them going into 0.925-inches at 10 meters.

Dan Wesson Sig Match Ballistic Alloy target
Six Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets made a 1.708-inch group, with 5 going into just 0.925-inches at 10 meters.

Crosman Premier lite pellets

The final pellet I tested was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome. Six of them made a group that measures 2.041-inches between centers. This group is well-centered on the target and would be good to use on soda cans and the like, as long as they are close.

Dan Wesson Crosman Premier lite target
Six Crosman Premier lites went into 2.041-inches at 10 meters. This is okay for closer targets.

Evaluation

The Dan Wesson 4-inch pellet revolver has a lot going for it. The looks are spot-on and the gun functions just as it should. The realism is remarkable. Accuracy is okay, but not exceptional. The cartridges are easy to load and they come out of the cylinder with no problem.

I didn’t test the speedloader this time, but I’ve seen enough Dan Wesson speedloaders to know they work flawlessly.

Is this the pellet revolver for you? It could be, though if you need better accuracy, you might want to consider the 6 or 8-inch guns.

38 thoughts on “Dan Wesson M512 4-inch pellet revolver: Part 3


  1. B.B.,

    This grasshopper has learned patience and remains calm unless the blog is over 6 hours overdue. Thanks for posting.

    Aren’t you scheduled to have your left eye operated on this week?

    Siraniko


  2. B.B.

    For shimming I use a “Post-it” notes pad.

    No folding required and because they tack-adhesive backed the thin sheets can be added or removed as needed.

    For a permanent fix I cut and sand the shim to size, color it with a felt marker and apply some thin CA adhesive to fuse the stack of sheets together before installation.

    A wedge of high-density foam ( cut from a “flip-flop” sandal ) would make a pretty good “spring” to keep the rear sight elevated.

    Just a couple of “MacGyvers” I use. 🙂

    Hank


  3. B.B.,

    Could the lower accuracy be attributed to the fact that this has a shorter sight radius? This revolver’s powerplant seems suited for lighter weight pellets.

    Qiang Yuan Training Pellets 8.2 Grains wadcutter six of them went into 2.739-inches at 10 meters
    Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome six of them went 2.041-inches between centers.
    RWS Hobby .177 Cal, 7.0-grains wadcutter 6-shot group measures 1.422-inches between centers.
    Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets 5.25-grains wadcutter six went into 1.708-inches, with 5 of them going into 0.925-inches at 10 meters.

    Siraniko



    • Siraniko,

      The shorter barrel can itself affect accuracy. With the shorter barrel you will have less power than with the longer barreled versions. Below a certain power level you can have stability problems with some pellets. With the shorter sight radius thrown in, it really begins to be challenging to hit feral soda cans.



  4. B.B.,

    Well, for plinking this would be fun, and man, it is gorgeous!

    ASG is making these revolvers so incredibly good-looking, I would like to see someone take on two 20th century classics (in blued finish only): the S&W Detective Special with 2 inch barrel and exposed ejector, and the S&W Model 29 in 6.5 inch unribbed barrel.

    The Colt Detective Special was the standard plainclothes service revolver for decades and made countless appearances in film and TV. Its “cool factor” is created by its simple, understated, form-is-function look. It is all business and no flash. Joe Friday carried one.

    Clint Eastwood carried 6 inch (maybe 6.5 inch) and 8 inch Model 29s in the first three Dirty Harry movies depending on the camera angle of the shot. If the shot was low angle and especially from the front, it was the 8 inch. In profile shots it was the 6 (or 6.5). The same was true for promotion stills.

    Michael




    • Hi Michael,

      I agree, I’d buy a detective special (or a j-frame Smith snubbie) if they made one!

      As to this Dan Wesson, my 2.5 inch Dan Wesson bb version is almost as accurate as this 4-inch pellet version. I shoot only the smartshot copper coated lead bb’s in it.

      Mike U


  5. BB,
    I was thinking about getting a simple easy to shoot rifle to shoot in the yard with my nephews. I have a Daisy 22SG, a Benjamin 392, and a .22 Marauder. I would like to get a simple 177 that would be cheap to shoot a lot, but I would like it to be reasonably accurate when we sit down at the bench.

    I remembered the Air Venturi Bronco that you designed/wrote about/recommended. My perception at least, was that the Bronco was easy to shoot, not terribly hold sensitive, had a decent trigger, was accurate, and yet was pretty inexpensive. (Please correct me if I am wrong on that.)

    But, in my usual style of being late to the party, it is no longer available. Is there a similar rifle that you would recommend today?




  6. Hi BB and the group. Nice to see you testing pistols again. It has been a long winter with mostly rifles being tested.
    I wish there were more quality built pistols built similar to the Webley Tempest . A smaller frame size pistols, either spring powered or single stroke pneumatic . I have the Crosman 2240 and Webley Tempest., Also the Browning Buck Mark. The Webley Alecto is a great pistol, but just too darn big. The Crosman 1377 is great, but for casual shooting and easy carry too long . So BB, I think you can get a idea of where I am coming from. Do you think I would be happy with a Cometa Indian, or would I find it too large . Boy if they made the Browning Buck Mark , with a bit stronger materials and a better trigger, I would buy it in a moment, if they could keep the price under $200.
    Thank you for the pistol rreport.
    Harvey


  7. Good deeds pay off. Friend and I went to help another friend rebuild his Dillon 650 loader. Talk turned to airguns and I saw a S&W 79G sitting on a shelf covered in probably several years of dust. Friend said it worked, but I had my doubts. Long story short, he gave it to me. Sure enough piercing assembly leaked due to hard dried out seals. Put the piercing assembly from my Crosman Mark 1 in the S&W and then shot 30 or 40 shots in the shop. Other seals may stay good, but I ordered a seal kit and will go ahead and reseal the whole gun. My lucky day.


  8. If this were my revolver , I would return it. The accuracy is not what I experienced with the 2.5, 6 inch and now 4 inch versions using Crosman 7.4 wadcutters. I would not accept a rear sight with no spring. The baffling thing ,and what I could live without is the sight rail. I was also surprised that the new pellet versions did not keep the steel gray finish of the 6 inch barrel version. With the size of the groups . I am wondering if the sight is moving in recoil or if the barrel is loose.


  9. That’s a clever idea with the cardboard, but it hurts the aesthetics. A much bigger problem is the ordinary accuracy. There are too many other good guns, like the SW 686 series, to put up with that.

    Gunfun1, by slipperiness of pumping pneumatic guns, I’m referring to the unpredictable variable resistance. The only pump gun I have is my Daisy 747. It’s hard to get an even and consistent stroke. It feels “slippery” and when the gun changes position even slightly during the stroke, the pressure changes. Could this be a feature of the gun geometry of the pistol rather than the air? Perhaps, and maybe things would change if I were pumping a rifle rather than a pistol which is intrinsically less stable. On the other hand, it seems like there should be a qualitative difference between compressing air directly or through a spring piston where I have never noticed this unstable feeling. (Granted my spring guns are all rifles with no pistol.) It makes sense to me that a metal spring under pressure is more stable than air. Also, as I mentioned before, I noticed the same difference on old weight machines ca. 1980s whose resistance came from compressing air compared to regular weight machines based on moving metal plates. The air machines had that same variable pressure. Maybe that’s why they were discontinued. It’s not a big deal since I love my Daisy 747, just an observation.

    Matt61


    • Hi Matt,

      Somethin’ ain’t right here. My 747 is very consistent in velocity, and no slipperyness in pumping. Maybe give yours a little oil? I think BB mentioned somewhere these like to run wet.

      Of course, I put custom grips on mine, so it fits my hand like a glove. Maybe that makes the difference.

      Mike U


    • Matt61
      Maybe so about the Daisy 747. I have never shot one. So don’t know.

      But didn’t you at one time get a 1377 for that girl you know. Or maybe it was a 2240. Don’t remember right now. But anyway you should try a 1377 or 1322. They are a very solid feeling pump gun. And then talking rifles. The 392 and 397’s are very solid feeling when they pump. I have had some single pump Daisy rifles and I can say they do have a different feel than the Crosman guns I mentioned. Maybe it’s the linkage design between the two different brands that makes them feel different. I can say I like the feel of the pump on the Crosman and Benjamin guns the best though now that I’m thinking about it.


  10. B.B.,

    Ahh!,… All is right in the Universe again. This AM the hot coffee went cold, the sun rose in the West and all day I had 2 left feet and 10 thumbs. 😉 Yup,… I am “hooked”. Kind of like moving an old dog’s food bowl,… he gets all messed up and confused.

    Sorry it did not shoot better. I may end up with a 6″ or 8″ yet.

    On the grips,… what is your opinion of the more slender ones (this one) VS the more traditional style ones? That is one of the things keeping me “on the fence” on getting one.

    Thanks,… Chris


  11. BB and Fellow Airgunners
    The Dan Wesson M512 4 inch pellet revolver is a very good looking revolver. Everything about it seems to conform to the real powder shooting McCoy. However, there is one question I have concerning the way the pellets are loaded into this, and other cartridge loaded revolvers that may affect the size of the groups. As in the bb gun version, each pellet is loaded into an individual “cartridge”, which adds to the realism, and provides for six shots. `When I load a pellet into my Weihrauch HW 70 Black Arrow break barrel pistol, the pellet is seated into the same chamber each time, which should assure me shot 1 will be as consistent as shot 5, or 10, as far as the gun goes. However, when you are loading your M512, you essentially have 6 separate chambers. I’m assuming each pellet cartridge has to pass a tolerance test before it leaves the factory, but I can’t help but wonder about slight deviations from one cartridge to the next. Could this account for the odd pellet or two that veers away from the main group? I realize the Smith and Wesson M512 is not meant to be a tack driver, however, the size of groups in a Smith and Wesson U-586-4 inch barrel are noticeably smaller, and their pellets are loaded into a cylinder. It’s probably just my anal obsession with small groups, but I like to account for any questionable pellets that have strayed outside the main group for no apparent reason.

    I’ve also obtained excellent results with a non lead pellet. I averaged a 1 inch group at 30 meters with the Field Target Trophy Green pellets, weighing 5.56grains, with my Walther LGU. They are quite “hard”, and seem almost indestructible when they bounce off each other. Ricochets aren’t quite as bad as bb’s, but they don’t flatten out like led pellets do. My best group to date, is a 3/4 inch group at 30 meters, What makes this all the more exciting is the speed of six consecutive pellets. From low to high I got 1084.2, 1084,8, 1085.4, 1085.4, 1085.9, and 1087.8. Thats just 3.6fps difference, shooting from a Walther LGU in .177. No modifications were done to the rifle, and it had gone through 2 tins of H+N Field Target Trophy 8.64gr. pellets, and maybe 2 tins of various other brands, and weights of pellets. This “testing” happened before my 260 days in the hospital of 2016, and I’ve just recovered enough to start shooting in earnest once more. I’m itching to get more data on the FTT Green pellets using the Walther LGU, and my Weihrauch HW77/97’s.
    Ciao
    Titus


    • Titus,

      Great to hear you are on the mend. That is good to hear. 1080 fps from an LGU? I never would have guessed it. I have a .22 LGU but never thought of trying alloys in it. Not sure I want to. It shoots below the TX200 but is more accurate on a consistent basis. Plus, any barrel fowling. I believe 8-900 is pushing the range for “must” cleaning a barrel periodically. Good luck and take care and continuing good health. Chris


    • Titus
      That’s very interesting info about the LGU and the green pellets.

      Definitely will be waiting to hear more about how the green pellets do in your guns. And glad you feeling better and able to do some shooting.


    • Titus,
      I have also been getting good groups with the H&N baracuda green .22 cal pellets 12.65 grains up to 20 yards. I will try some at longer distances soon. I normally lube my pellets and think it may reduce wear in the barrel with the non lead pellets. I don’t have any proof just seems like some oil will reduce barrel abrasion.

      I am trying to keep the lead out of my garden.

      Very good to hear you are back shooting.

      Don


      • I’ve had great results with the H&N Match Green pellets in my FWB602. I get very similar to the ones I get with the H&N Finale Match pellets which are the ones that worked the best in it.

        I too would like to see a Detective Special model built like this pistol.


  12. Nowhere,

    It is funny that the Colt Detectve Pistol came up today, I was just looking for a CO2 pellet one for my wife to practice with.

    I just received an order of the H&N baracuda and field target green in .177 to try out.

    Don


  13. After shooting this revolver several times , I would rate it is as decent but disappointing . The 2.5 and 6 inch version have better accuracy . My rear sight was only adjustable for two clicks of elevation and cannot be advanced past that . I think DW may have some defective rearsights on the 4 inch version. I have smoothbore bb that shoot tighter groups , including 2 DanWessons


    • loosened up rear sight and used designated gunsmith screwdriver. Switched to RWS 7 gr Meisterkugen pellets and got a centered ragged hole at 25 feet ,single action from a 2 handed weaver stance, so this revolver is capable of very good to excellent accuracy.


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