by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
The Beeman R8 looks like a baby R1.
This report covers:
- RWS Hobby
- Shot cycle
- RWS Superdome
- Trigger pull
- JSB Exact RS
- How does this rifle compare?
- Cocking effort
Well, to say there is a lot of interest in the Beeman R8 would be an understatement! Just as I got a huge interest at the Findlay airgun show where I bought it, this blog has also revealed many shooters who are interested in both the R8 and in the current HW50S that I will now have to test for you. [Update on that. my friend, Mac, did test an HW50S back in 2010.]
I was very excited to test this rifle because it’s one of the smoothest breakbarrels I have every shot. That list includes my Tyrolean R8 and the RWS Diana 45 I tuned for Johnny Hill. Let’s get right to the test.
First up was the RWS Hobby — the pellet I thought would be the fastest. When the R8 was current Beeman advertised the .177 version at 735 f.p.s. — a slight increase over where they rated the HW50S (705 f.p.s.). They listed the .177 R7 right at 700 f.p.s. They didn’t specify the pellet used to get those numbers, but the Hobby is a time-honored speed king among lead pellets.
The R8 I am testing shot 10 Hobbys at an average 523 f.p.s.. The spread went from a low of 515 to a high of 542 f.p.s., a range of 27 f.p.s. That’s pretty slow on the average and high on the spread. Something seems to be up.
The shot cycle is glass-smooth. I now think that’s due to all the grease we saw in the gun In Part 1, because these numbers are not what I expected.
Next I tried some RWS Superdomes in the rifle. They averaged 503 f.p.s., which was faster than I expected, after seeing what the Hobbys did. The spread went from 483 to 515 f.p.s. a range of 32 f.p.s. Yes, something is up with this rifle alright!
The Rekord trigger as it is adjusted on the rifle has two distinct stages and stage two breaks at 1 lb. 13 oz. That is a lot heavier than I expected. I thought it was breaking at less than one pound. That tells me the trigger is set up and adjusted very well. I plan to leave it where it it and just get used to it. Had it been less than a pound, I probably would have adjusted it heavier for safety.
JSB Exact RS
The surprise came with JSB Exact RS pellets. They averaged 645 f.p.s., even though at 7.33 grains they are heavier than Hobbys. That tells me this rifle doesn’t like Hobbys — probably because they are too big at the skirt.
The spread went from 628 to 657 f.p.s., which is 29 f.p.s., so even this pellet is not that consistent with the tune that’s in this rifle.
How does this rifle compare?
So, how does this R8 compare to my Tyrolean R8? In that rifle, RWS Hobbys average 721 f.p.s., compared to the 523 f.p.s. of this rifle And the spread with Hobbys in the Tyrolean is 40 f.p.s., so that one is not too stable, either.
With JSB Exact RS the Tyrolean gets 718 f.p.s. on average with a 9 f.p.s spread from 712 to 721 f.p.s. I think it’s clear this R8 is no performing up to spec. and I think the heavy grease has something to do with it. Maybe the rifle needs a new breech seal, too. I will explore all of that in the future.
This rifle cocks with 25 lbs. of effort, as measured on my bathroom scale. The R8 Tyrolean also cocks with 25 lbs. effort, so I think the springs in both guns are equivalent.
I will shoot the R8 for accuracy at 10 meters next, but that’s mostly for fun. After that I’ll tear it apart and see what we have. Is it just a lube tune or has more been done? We shall see!