Kral Puncher Pro B W PCP rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Kral Puncher Pro
Kral Puncher Pro PCP. The test rifle’s walnut stock is not as blonde as this one.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Fill
  • Test strategy
  • Premiers on the low power setting
  • Noise on low power
  • Premiers on the medium power setting
  • Noise on medium power
  • Premiers on the highest power setting
  • Noise on high power
  • The magazine
  • Mag and action are stiff
  • On to other pellets
  • How fast?
  • JSB Exact Jumbos
  • Trigger pull
  • Shot count
  • Evaluation so far

You have waited all month for this Part 2. In the first part of the month I went to the Findlay airgun show in Ohio, and then last week to Ft. Smith to film “American Airgunner.” This is the first chance I’ve had to get back to the Kral Puncher Pro. However, I did shoot one at Ft. Smith, so I was exposed a little more than just today’s test. Let’s get started.

Fill

The rifle was filled to 2900 psi/200 bar for this test. I complained about the fill probe in Part 1, and reader GunFun1 pointed out that Pyramyd Air sells a male Foster adaptor to convert the probe. Well, at Ft. Smith Rossi Morreale showed me a whole box of adaptors for all kinds of fill probes. That reminded me that I tested one for you some time back. As it turned out, it was still attached to a probe (but not a Kral), and that probe fit this Kral and worked perfectly. So, all my complaining was for nothing.

Test strategy

This Puncher Pro rifle has adjustable power, so I thought the best thing to do was test several different power settings with a single pellet first. I see that this .22 caliber rifle is rated up to 975 f.p.s. I didn’t know whether Kral tested it with a lightweight pellet like most manufacturers do or if they chose a pellet people might actually shoot, like AirForce and Hatsan do. I selected the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier dome as the pellet for this first test.

The power settings do not have detents, but there are 5 white marks that show where the rifle is set. I chose to set the rifle at low power, then medium power and finally high power for this test. I was also listening to the discharge sound as I tested.

Premiers on the low power setting

The low string of Premier pellets averaged 365 f.p.s., but there were two warm-up shots in the beginning. Let me show you the string.

Shot…………Velocity
1……………….343
2……………….354
3……………….370
4……………….371
5……………….didn’t register
6……………….371
7……………….368
8……………….377

The last two shots hung up in the magazine and didn’t get shot. I have more to say about the magazine in a bit, but for now just know that this first string was only 8 shots.

The rifle is shooting very slow on the lowest power setting. That’s good for indoor shooting! Notice that once it settled down, the velocity ranged from a low of 368 to a high of 377 f.p.s. That’s very stable for a rifle without a regulator — especially one with adjustable power set to the lowest setting.

Noise on low power

The rifle is whisper quiet at this power setting. Many weaker spring rifles are louder than the discharge of this rifle on low power.

Premiers on the medium power setting

I set the power in the middle of the range for the next test. The average for 10 shots was 736 f.p.s. and the spread goes from 727 to 745 f.p.s. The valve was awake from the first shot in this strong. At the average velocity this medium setting produces 17.2 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The rifle failed to feed after 2 shots and I had to reload the magazine. More on that in a moment.

Noise on medium power

The sound of the rifle increased on medium power, but it was still very quiet. Very acceptable for backyard plinking.

Premiers on the highest power setting

On high power Premiers averaged 846 f.p.s. The low was 843 and the high was 851 f.p.s. So, the rifle was also very stable on high power. At the average velocity this pellet produced 22.73 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. However there was one failure to feed at the end of the magazine.

Noise on high power

The sound didn’t seem to increase from the medium power setting. It probably did increase a little, but so little that I couldn’t detect it. This Kral rifle is very quiet!

The magazine

What’s up with the magazine? Well, it holds 12 .22 caliber pellets and on the surface it seems to be similar to the magazine that’s in the Benjamin Marauder, but for several reasons, it’s hard for me to get used to. I loaded it wrong at Ft. Smith and again in this test, whicxh is why I had to stop and reload it.  Also the shape of the mag doesn’t seem to me to fit into the breech of the rifle in a natural way. I will say that by the third magazine in this test I had learned how it works, but I still got one failure to feed, which was the mag’s fault, I think.

Mag and action are stiff

I think the Kral mag is stiff when it’s new and needs a break-in. I will say the same about the action. The bolt wants to stop before the mag advances to the next round. And the bolt takes a lot of effort to cock, which is partly due to how close the bolt handle is the the rifle’s butt.

These are just my observations, they are not criticisms of the Kral’s design. I just don’t take to it as quickly as I do to other PCPs.

On to other pellets

Okay, at this point in the test there are 30 shots on the first fill — 10 on low power (yes, there were 8 recorded shots, but also 2 blanks), 10 on medium power and 10 on high power. Now, let’s test different pellets.

Given the advertised velocity of 975 f.p.s., I figured that the Puncher Pro must have been tested with lightweight pellets. So I loaded 2 RWS Hobby pellets to see how fast it could go, followed by 10 JSB Exact Jumbos. At 15.89-grains they are near the upper limit for the rifle, though perhaps not at the limit.

How fast?

The rifle is still set on high power. The 2 RWS Hobby pellets went ou at 946 f.p.s. and 945 f.p.s., respectively. That’s close to the advertised maximum and also very stable. And at 945 f.p.s. the Hobby puts out 23.6 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

JSB Exact Jumbos

On high power 10 JSB Exact Jumbos averaged 846 f.p.s. The spread went from a low of 843 to a high of 851 f.p.s., which is extremely tight! That makes me think this might be an especially good pellet for this rifle! At the average these JSBs generated 25.26 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Trigger pull

By this point in the test I had become used to the trigger. It’s 2-stage with some creep in stage 2. I used the online manual that Pyramyd Air wrote and adjusted both trigger screws. Unfortunately I discovered the factory had it as good as it’s going to get. I mention the online manual because the one that came with the rifle isn’t nearly as clear.

The second stage broke at between 3 lbs. 4 oz. and 4 lbs. 1 oz. I will tell you more about it when I shoot for accuracy.

Shot count

This rifle is VERY sparing with air! At this point in the test there were 52 shots on the first fill, with 32 of them being full power and the other 20 perhaps amounting to an additional 10 full power shots. So 52 shots thus far. Next I loaded 12 Crosman Premiers to see where we were and the first shot came out at 878 f.p.s., which is right where the average was. Over the next 10 shots I watched the velocity start to decline, but the decline was very slow. By shot 11 the Premiers were still going 864 f.p.s. Shot 12 stuck in the magazine and it was then that I determined that the Kral magazine does not like to feed Premier pellets. I loaded another 12 JSBs and fired 4, but the velocity was 839, 831, 827 and 820, respectively. So the rifle is off the power curve, but it’s degrading very slowly. I see no reason why you couldn’t fire the rest of this magazine, though I didn’t. I shot a total of 70 shots on one fill, and I think 80 are possible.

Evaluation so far

The Kral Puncher Pro rifle has power that’s very broadly adjustable, the velocity is stable on every power setting, the power is right where they claim it to be, the trigger is okay but not great, the woodwork is fantastic and the use of air is very good. I have seen the accuracy first hand at Ft. Smith, plus I’ve heard lots of favorable reports, so I already think this is a PCP you should consider.

61 thoughts on “Kral Puncher Pro B W PCP rifle: Part 2

  1. B.B.

    Can you “work” the bolt without loading a pellet. Would 1,000-1,500 throws of the bolt help loosen it up?
    Are side levers much harder to engineer and manufacture?

    Thanks,

    Yogi


    • Yogi,

      Funny you should ask about side levers. All of the other models of Kral PCPs that PA is selling are side levers. I would say they are more difficult to manufacture and assemble than an end bolt air rifle action like this or the Marauder, however the other Kral PCPs are less expensive than this one. Also, a side lever tends to be an easier action to operate.

      Lloyd Sikes was telling me that an end bolt action is limited in the amount of power you can achieve with it. I believe he would not recommend going any larger than .25 with this action, though there are conversion kits to take the Marauder to .30. When you start pushing +100 FPE I would be most reluctant to be relying on a little nibbet of a screw to keep the bolt from blowing out the back and burying itself in my face.



  2. BB,

    You would think that with the Premiers being harder, they would be easier to feed. I would have concern of deformation of my pellets with the continual feed issues. Your problems with inserting the mag in the rifle may have also contributed to the loading issues. Maybe things were not quite where they needed to be.

    Otherwise, it does seem to be performing quite well. The trigger sounds as if it needs a little work, but that can be dealt with or become used to if such is the case. I personally would have to reshape the fore stock some, but the rear stock is very nicely shaped.


  3. B.B.,

    Interesting test. Nice shot count. In Part 1 you said that you were going to look into what the power screw adjusted. Were you able to find out? Looking forwards to the accuracy testing.

    Chris


  4. B.B. Pelletier,

    70 shots from an unregulated PCP delivering +20 fpe with each shot! Is the capacity of the tank bigger than that of the Marauder? Coupled with the very low noise level this tells me they have an engineer over there that understands how a PCP valve should work.

    Now I’m getting excited/apprehensive about the accuracy. How far is the design of Kral’s magazine from that of the Benjamin? Could it possibly fit? Will it improve with use of does it need a redesign?

    Siraniko


  5. This statement surprised me.
    “The rifle is whisper quiet at this power setting. Many weaker spring rifles are louder than the discharge of this rifle on low power”
    Other than a Red Ryder, which spring guns average less than 400 fps?



    • Nomadgd,

      That will depend on whether you want a wood stock or a polymer stock. They are almost identical otherwise, however some a claiming a slightly better performance from the Maximus.


    • Nomadgd,

      You might want to wait and consider the Umarex Gauntlet in that mix as well. Yesterday’s blog post had some interesting news about it’s accuracy, and since it’s regulated, it should be possible to fill it to somewhat less than maximum pressure, but still get a decent shot count. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

      B.B., any idea when you’ll be able to review the Gauntlet? Any chance the review will post before it goes on sale at Pyramyd Air?

      Thanks!


      • Rocketsci,

        I’m sure Umarex will get a rifle to me as soon as they can. They know the level of scrutiny I will put it under, so I think they sometimes wait until they can trust the design. I will do what any new owner will do, but I will also talk about it! 😉

        B.B.



    • Ken,

      This one does have 2 mags. I did not try the other one yet because I wanted to test all the warts that a buyer will get. For my next test I will try the second mag and also the single shot tray, which I like best of all.

      B.B.


  6. I purchased the Puncher Mega from Pyramid Air in .22 cal. and couldn,t be happier. Their 10 for 10 test showed the Hobbies going a little over 1000 fps. At home the Crossman HPs are doing an average of 945 fps on high setting and the side lever is smooth as glass. I hope you get a chance to test the Mega. Also after over 1000 shots I have had no problems with the magazine.




  7. This makes me wonder about stiff magazines and mechanisms as a general phenomenon. The bolt on my Mosin is relatively stiff but works smoothly, once you get it going. I attribute the stiffness to the power of the spring and the general durability of the rifle. On the other hand, I’ve heard that Mannlicher designs which are quite refined are notorious for stiff and gritty bolts. Someone said that the bolt on their famous sniper rifle, the Steyr SSG, felt like someone had kicked a load of dust into the receiver although it did not affect the gun’s high accuracy. Anyway, what I am wondering is if stiffness will generally go down with use as the various parts polish each other. I’m wondering this particularly about my Saiga trigger which is gritty. I’ve also heard that there are lubricants which can polish and smooth out triggers. Anyone had experience with them?

    ChrisUSA, that is interesting data about airgun accuracy. What kind of rifles produced those groups? Were they all done by Marauders? You’re right that the Marauder is not an elite rifle in the sense of the Feinwerkbaus or the high end Air Arms guns. On the other hand, my information is that the accuracy of this rifle is on par with those guns. It is the triumph of the Marauder to bring top flight accuracy to a relatively lower price. Since I have never fired this gun, myself, I am relying on the deep blog. Long ago, one of the epic figures of the blog was a reader called Wacky Wayne. But I never thought there was anything wacky about him other than his amazing ability to make money and his success in turning himself into an elite airgunner in a ridiculously short time. He got hold of a USFT rifle which, at least, a few years ago was a kind of world-class airgun. And I believe he said that the Marauder, at least for him, had accuracy that was almost equivalent.

    Those are my thoughts on the gun. Now as to the group size, that raises some interesting questions. Some time ago, B.B. gave a long explanation of why he was switching to 10 shot groups as a standard for accuracy. The gist of it was that 10 shots was enough for a good deal of statistical certainty about a rifle’s accuracy. But an important question raised by your post was the context for the 10 shots. Namely was 10 shots enough for a single group to stand on its own? Or was it the best 10 shot group in a session? For instance, the American Rifleman standard is the average of five, five shot groups. This was never really resolved in the original discussion, and I tend to doubt that we have the statistical knowledge to answer this if an answer is even possible. But I would hazard to say that the essential principle of any group size is repeatability. So, if a 10 shot group cannot be reproduced ever that works against its generalizability. My M1 gunsmith Clint Fowler said that he had achieved .10 inch five shot groups at 100 yards with his adjustable gas system modification, but even he admitted that this was luck. Moreover, the workhorse of statistics is the normal distribution or bell curve. The two tails of the curve go on pretty much forever on either side. So, it is possible to imagine an incredible 10 shot group that is way out on the tail of the curve that describes someone’s whole shooting history. In that position, it would not have a lot of relevance to the rest of the curve.

    Still, your data has a lot of cushion built in. Jeff Cooper’s concept of “range-probable error” says that group size increases over distance faster than MOA just because of the complication of all the factors. MOA at 100 yards is not uncommon. MOA at 1000 yards is world class. So, if you got your groups at 100 yards, it stands to reason you could do a lot better at 50 yards which is still a long shot for airguns. It could very well be, as you say, that airgunning has progressed even in the time frame of the blog. Long ago, B.B. mentioned that 100 yard shooting with airguns was a circus act. Now we’re talking MOA shooting at 100 yards. Still, the blog itself is a great trove of data with the standardization of a single shooter. And I can recall only a very few rifles tested here which have achieved MOA.

    Enlarging on my theory of accuracy from before, I think it might be useful to think of it in terms of two components. One is the criteria which will take the form of XMOA where X is some multiplying factor. Once you pick your criteria, any groups will meet it or not as a matter of fact. But how you pick your criteria is a matter of values, purpose, and circumstances and that will always have a subjective component. As for the relaxed attitude of the American Airgunners, I find that I’m actually a lot more concerned about group size than they are. But I hedge my bets by shooting at such short distances that my groups always appear pretty good even when I have a bad day.

    Matt61


    • Matt, one lube that I have used recently on triggers and sears is “Tune-in-a-Tube”. It worked so well on the two springers I used it on I thought to try in for some other things too. I have used in on a stock Ruger 10/22
      trigger/sear, a Rossi .22lr pump, and an AK. It did smooth them up.

      Mike


    • Matt61,

      Gunfun and I have the .25 Marauders. His is tweaked a bit and gets about another 100 fps. Ridge Runners is that new FX he got, but I forget the model. .30 cal. I think. Mine might have been the best of 2 or 4 targets. Gunfun’s was that “contest” I challenged him too a couple of years ago. 1 try if not mistaken. Gunfun’s and mine were 10 shots. Not sure what Ridge Runners was.

      I agree with much of what you said. I keep it a bit simpler. I do not shoot 100 that often, but whatever it is I get, I get. Yes, repeatability is paramount! I subscribe to the “luck of the landing” theory. In which, mistakes by you can be offset by factors that are not in your control. Pull to the right, wind pushes it back. Pull high, a lower power shot will drop the POI. You get the idea. The possibilities are near endless.

      Repeatability is the ONLY way I give any credit to what I/the gun, can do. Vana 2’s comment was good in that he holds himself to whatever yardage a rifle will do in giving him a 1″ group. Regardless of gun, power, pellet.

      I used to keep pretty detailed records and often boiled the data down to one page for a given gun at various yardages. It is not hard. Do that and record it for 6 months, or so, of data and you will quickly see what you and your rifle will average out at. (gun, pellet, yardage, group size, 10 shots) That’s all. Add notes to the single data sheet as one feel’s necessary.


      • Chris USA
        limiting my pellet guns to the yards/meters that give me a 1 inch grouping with 6 pellets sounds like a good idea for formal target shooting. I have one sweet shooting Weihrauch HW77 that lets me shoot up to 50 meters with under a 2 inch consistency. Then there is the joy of how far you can make a soda pop can dance. Of coarse I have to drive out in the boonies to achieve the longer distances, as I’m limited to a maximum of 35 meters in my back yard. Using the 1 inch method of accuracy, one can be assured of eliminating a starling with one head shot. But as you say, there is always the luck/unlucky factor that must be added/subtracted when shooting for consistent good groups. Wind, deflecting off a leaf or other unseen object, humidity, or even adjusting your sights to allow for the direction the sun travels. I remember having to correct my windage 3 full turns as the afternoon wore on in a tournament when I competed in archery. I firmly believe the lessons I learned in archery have transferred well to shooting airguns.
        This Kral Puncher Pro PCP airgun looks to be a standout in the field of new PCP airguns for 2017. It may not be regulated, but it sure gets a consistently high shot count. I can’t wait to see the next instalment where you test it for accuracy.
        Ciao
        Titus


  8. Hi. I just registered here and this is my first post. I have already found tons of valuable information here and I can’t think of a better place to ask.

    This is totally OT for this blog, but in an older blog concerning my question it was instructed that it would be best to comment to the latest blog even if off-topic. So here I go:

    I recently got myself an FWB 601 at a bargain price, so bargain that at the moment I bought it I dindn’t stop to think about it other than it was an FWB. However, as soon as I got home with it, it was clear that this can not be the most common version of the 601, since the first attempts with Google did not come up with pictures of my rifle. A bit (a lot) of digging revealed that I now have an FWB 601 RT with a Leupold M8 scope that has a Premier booster with a very special RT reticule (three vertical hairs with dots in the middle; the outer ones adjustable both vertically and horizontally by the Premier unit, the middle dot is zeroed with the Leupold’s original dials, no horizontal line at all) that I could not find a mention anywhere despite my quite adequate google-fu.

    Apparently this is a very special combination built for the finnish niché running moose shooting, which is essentially the same as running boar/running target, only with a moose as a target silhouette. My question is, how rare these RT models are and (although I have no intent to sell it) how much they are worth? Also, if anyone has some insight about that scope or could give me some directions for where to ask, I would be equally pleased.

    This far I have spent tens of hours seeking answers to those questions….and come up with nothing more than a vague understanding that I might have something special here or I might just imagine it being special because I don’t know how to search. I’m hoping that someone could enlighten me.


    • ScorpioFIN,

      Welcome to the blog.

      How rare are Running Target FWB 601s? Extremely rare. Does that add to their value? It does, but the number of buyers for a gun like that is limited.

      I own a Leupold M8 scope and can tell you it is one clear optic! Of course the three vertical lines are lead lines for the sport of Running Target. But I’m sure they can be used for other things, as well. I have a vintage Weaver V8 scope with those same reticle lines, as well as three horizontal lines.

      B.B.


      • Thank you, it’s nice to have a place where there’s knowledge about these rarities.

        I forgot to mention a few details: the loading port is factory shortened to allow for lower scope installation, there’s a dovetail in front of the port too, there is no attaching point for front sight and the stock is made so that the rifle is quite a bit tilted to the right when in natural shooting position and the Premier unit is tilted to the right so that it is vertical when shooting. I wonder if the muzzle velocity of this version might be slightly higher than standard as well.

        If this rifle indeed is that rare, it suffers from the same syndrome as all the collectible items; rarity adds to the value but at the same time the number of potential buyers reduces. In this case the Leupold/Premier scope adds to that because it seems to be rare on its own too. The story of the stormy relationship between Leupold and Premier is quite fascinating and I doubt that very many scopes were made in this combination.

        I figured that the adjustable side dots are for adjusting the lead, what puzzles me is that there is no horizontal line at all. The middle dot is zeroed in with Leupold’s own adjusting screws which means that in addition to it being in different focal plane than the lead lines which are adjusted with the four towers in the in the Premier unit, it also means that Leupold had to make a special reticule just for this configuration: a single vertical line with a dot in the middle. The Premier also doubles (or triples) the M8’s standard 4X magnification.

        All in all, this rifle is just as wonderful to shoot than the standard 601, only completely different because the natural hold is as I described and the diagonally moving butt plate and the very high cheek piece effectively make the shooting with the gun upright and using the conventional hold for stationary 10m targets very awkward. The height also makes installing a diopter virtually impossible in any practical way: even if there wasn’t the problem with installing the front sight, the sight would have to be intalled considerably higher than normal.

        I would appreciate any additional info and insight about this peculiar rifle and scope, I’m always fascinated when I find something different and also a bit mysterious.

        I would add some pictures if I only knew how…

        Samu


    • ScorpioFIN,

      As for worth, The Blue Book of Airguns puts it at % of condition. 80,90,95,100% is 600,650,750 and 850 and add 25% for a Running Target model. Left is minus 10%. Last MSR was 1,750. Supply and demand will fluctuate that,.. but that will at least give you a ball park figure. 11th. edition of Blue Book which was from a couple of years ago.


      • Thank you very much for this info, I really appreciate it. The ballpark is just what I was looking for. The exact value of any collectible item, be it an air rifle or a painting if it’s very rare, is always something that depends solely on how much the buyer wants that particular item and is willing to pay for it. So there is no such thing as a “right” price in those cases.

        I don’t have a blue book, but is it possible to have a same kind of ballpark estimate about the scope?



          • Yes, buyers will be hard to find. And if you are selling the gun and the scope as a rare, custom and specialized package that has been this way since new, I figure the price would be conciderably higher than it would be for these items separately but the buyers would be exponentially fewer. Fortunately I am in no actual beed to find a buyer, but it os nice to know I own something special here. 🙂

            BTW, I had no idea that even standard M8s are so highly valued.


  9. All the mystery and fascination aside, I MIGHT be interested in exchanging this rifle to a more practical FWB, if something nice turns out. Mainly because this is quite a handful for my 12yo daughter.


  10. Scorpio,

    I say keep what you got and browse the endless selection at the P.A. website for something more suitable for your 12 year old daughter. Just my 2 cents.


    • I 100% agree with you and that’s just what I would do if I had the choice of having it both ways. Unfortunately as an unemployed single father I do not have a choice, in fact although I have wanted an FWB for 35 years or so, I could’t have afforded it even now if I hadn’t been very, very lucky to have it at a price I could afford. Which is very little. I could (and probably will) keep this OR find something more suitable. Undortunately I can not do both…


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