BSA MeteorMark I: Part 8

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSA Meteor
BSA Meteor Mark I.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

A history of airguns

This report covers:

    • Bear food
    • What about a Weaver/Picatinny mount?
    • Yes, but couldn’t you…?
    • However
    • Wrong again
    • Evaluation

     

    Bear food

    Sometimes the bear eats you! At the end of Part 7 I said I would back up to 25 yards and test the BSA Meteor Mark 1 with a “real” scope. I fully intended doing just that and a reader (August from Germany) reminded me of that recently.

    Folks, it ain’t-a-gonna-happen! When I located the rifle and removed the BSA scope for this test I found a problem. The rifle has two places on the spring tube where the scope base clamps to. Those places are unlike any other scope base I have seen. Instead of cutting parallel dovetail grooves in the scope tube, BSA pressed two steel plates into large transverse dovetails, making a place for scope ring jaws to clamp to that isn’t exactly a dovetail but functions like one.

    BSA Meteor scope base detail
    There are two of these scope bases on the Meteor spring tube. That flat steel plate is pressed into a large transverse dovetail to create the parallel dovetail grooves the jaws of the scope rings clamp to.

    The steel plate is far too wide for an 11mm scope mount to get past. It measures 0.632-inches wide, which is 16.07mm. There isn’t an 11mm scope ring that I know of that will open that wide. Now, 11mm is just a name. Airgun dovetails range from as small as 9.5mm to as wide as 14mm. But 16mm is just too wide. Let’s see what I’m talking about.

    11mm base compared to BSA base
    The BSA base is on the left. As you can see, it’s way larger than the conventional 11mm dovetail on the right.

    What about a Weaver/Picatinny mount?

    Both Weaver and Picatinny scope mount bases are even wider than 0.632-inches/16mm. Wouldn’t they fit? Yes, but both of them have a transverse raised ridge of some kind that engages with a slot in the scope base to lock the mount after installation. That ridge contacts the BSA’s steel plate, preventing the jaws from dropping low enough to grab the dovetails. Let me show you what I mean.

    Weaver base
    A Weaver base is wide enough, but they have a ridge across their width that hits the flat plate on the BSA. It prevents the jaws from engaging the dovetails.

    Yes, but couldn’t you…?

    Sure, I could remove the Weaver ridge from the bottom of the scope ring if I wanted to. If it meant enough to me to modify a set of rings that would then fit only this air rifle, I could do it. Just a little time on a grinder is all it would take.

    But why? Just to run one test that shows how accurate a BSA Meteor Mark I can be when it sports a decent scope? That’s a good topic for when you’re at an airgun show and run out of interesting things to talk about, but hardly worth the effort to destroy a perfectly good scope mount.

    However

    Okay, so the bear ate me this time. Still, no guarantee that he won’t get indigestion! So, I decided to shoot the rifle at 25 yards with open sights (which is how a vintage air rifle like this should be shot, anyway!). Can’t go wrong there, can I?

    Wrong again

    Oops! I forgot that the sights on this rifle don’t happen to align with where the barrel looks — not by a long shot. If this particular Meteor had been made in the U.S., I would call it a Monday gun — as in one made by someone suffering on Monday morning from a weekend bender. If it were Russian I would call it a quota gun — one that was slapped together to meet some arbitrary production number. I don’t know what terms the Brits use for things like this, but here is what I am seeing.

    At 25 yards the pellets are hitting the paper 6 inches high and 8-10 inches to the right. They aren’t even on paper! Looking at the sights I see the front sight is sitting on an angle and it’s off the the left of the centerline. It’s far enough off that I can easily see it.

    The rear sight has no provision for windage adjustment and the elevation is adjusted as low as it will go. I did drift the sight to the left as far as it would safely go, and that was where I got the results I’m reporting.

    The bear isn’t just eating me — he’s enjoying a fine meal at my expense. In a world where Diana model 27 rifles exist I see no reason to break my heart over the shortcomings of this vintage BSA Meteor!

    One good thing has come from this misadventure. When I tested the BSA Super Meteor Mark IV several people told me I was testing the wrong airgun. I should definitely get a Mark I, because they are so much better. Well, I did that and now I know the whole story — don’t believe everything you are told.

    Evaluation

    The parts in the Mark I are much better than those found in the Mark IV. They are both better-designed and better-finished. And the exterior finish of the Mark I is blued steel instead of painted metal. But the assembly quality of the Mark I I am testing is no better than that of the Mark IV I complained about. In fact, the Mark IV was assembled better, despite the lower quality of its finish. And it shot to the point of aim. I had to invest a ton of work to get it up to snuff, but when I did it turned out to be a very nice air rifle.

    This Mark I needs to be modified in a major way to equal the shooting quality of that Mark IV. I’m sure there are Mark I Meteors that are assembled perfectly and they must give their owners great joy to own and shoot. This isn’t one of them. It is a scarce gun though, and as such still commands a lot of value for being what it is. The factory scope just makes it all the more rare. So I haven’t lost anything by owning it. But it will not be in my estate sale!

    I don’t suppose I need to tell you, but this is the last test I will do on this rifle. August, I hope this answers your questions.

59 thoughts on “BSA MeteorMark I: Part 8


  1. B.B.

    Bummer!
    I think most people fail to realize is that England, UK, did not really come out of the cloud of WWII until the late 70’s early 80’s. 50’s and 60’s were lean times in the UK. They did not have the Marshal Plan to help them recover.
    Thank goodness the Air Arms guns are better made!

    -Y


  2. GRRRRRR!!!!,….. BURP! 😉 (Now that is a proper Weaver cross-block!) The UTG’s I have seen/have, all have round bolt for the cross-block. The one Weaver brand, Weaver set I bought at Wally World, at least had a square block that the bolt passed through.

    Maybe something to keep in mind when someone is ordering P/W rings for a magnum springer.

    Good Day all,… Chris


  3. Well, I have a Mk3 with an eighties 4×40 on it (I’d forgotten about those weird early mounting grooves) and it shoots a 10 pellet group at about an inch at 20 yards if that helps to give people an idea, so not hyper accurate by any means. Again though it’s a 22 not a 5.5mm so most pellets are a bit slack in the breech (it was doing 9.2fpe last time it was tested)


  4. Put in perspective I have a Diana 27, also, unusually with scope grooves, that will group nearly half that size, though, in the UK at least, the Diana would have set you back half as much again to purchase
    The Meteor really is the UK’s Red Ryder, built to a price and with a place in the nations heart because it was so many kids first gun. So many, if not all Airgunners started that way over here and I must say, I’ve never come across one that shot “off,
    My first gun was a Diana 25 with an odd externally adjusting scope mind


  5. BB,

    That Is quite an amusing report. It looks more like a late 1 april version. By the way; Thanks for testing.

    I have a Mark IV super on which I can place a normal scope as it has a 11 mm rail. With the right pellet, is shoots 1/2 inch groups at 10 meters. The open sight on this Mark IV is also horrible and only adjustable by very drastic means.

    As you said it is no joy to shoot as I have better ones in this class. But it is perfect for the blog!

    Regards,

    August


  6. BB,

    LOL! Are you saying this air rifle will likely be on your table at the next airgun show, assuming it does not get listed on an online auction site in the very near future? So there are limits to what will qualify to be in your estate sale. It has to at least be able to hit the target.


  7. Off topic:
    If I were to find a used TX200, other than the checkering on the stock, is there a way to be sure that it is the MarkIII? Keep thinking that I want a TX200.



    • Jonah,

      To follow up on what B.B. said, my TX200 HC (same action as a MK III, shorter barrel) purchased new sometime around 2010 has 3 beartrap ratchet clicks and at the very end of the cocking stroke the trigger sear and safety are set which makes an audible click but less noticeable.

      David H.


  8. B.B.

    Interesting that you mention bears in you report today – yesterday I was cutting my lawn and a young bear (last year’s cub, about 150 pounds) came out and watched me for a couple of minutes before going about his business.

    I see bear sign at the back of the property every once in a while, this is the first time one has shown up so close to the house.

    Happy Monday all!
    Hank



      • RR,

        That bear looked cute and cuddly as a young’un but just imagine him in his prime at 500-600 pounds!

        He’d take up half the bed or all of the couch! 🙂

        Hank


    • Vana2,

      We also, are visited by Pennsylvania black bear(s) from time to time. If I neglect my duty to bring in our bird feeders before dusk, we may have a bear visit. One bird feeder was carried off a couple of days ago, I forgot to take it in. My bad. We do have daytime visits, though less frequently. Happily our bears don’t seem aggressive and my wife and our dog chase them off.

      GrandPa Dan


      • Grandpa Dan,

        Yes, my evening routine… let the dog out, feed the deer and bring in the bird feeders.

        Love the rural environment – could never live in a city again.

        Hank


        • Hank,

          Ah the deer, sore subject here.

          My wife is a gardener and has a lot of landscape gardens around our home in the woods. The deer treat her Hosta beds like a salad bar. Makes an angry wife. The deer are an ever-present nuisance, the bears less frequently and there are fewer of them. Then there are the squirrels and chipmunks. Oh the wildlife. The chipmunks burrow in the gardens and eat the roots of the plants.

          Actually, chipmunks are the reason that I bought the Gamo Hunter. Now I’m learning to shoot it. Looong learning curve. 🙂


          • GrandpaDan,

            I am also a resident of the Commonwealth, owning 83 rural acres in Greene county. Which county do you reside in?

            You are correct about the deer and chipmunks, they can be a real nuisance at times. Moles are another problem and the occassional eastern flying squirrel which decides to chew on the house.

            A few years ago I had to replace the drivers side mirrors on two vehicles due to a male pileated woodpecker (he tried for three but the one on my Ford Escort must have been too tough).

            Bugbuster


            • Bugbuster,

              We’re in Lycoming County, about 10 miles North of Williamsport on 12 acres, mostly woodland.

              Carpenter bees in conjunction with woodpeckers are also a problem. The bees bore holes in the house and lay eggs. The woodpeckers hear the hatched larvae and peck open the burrow for a meal. Makes Swiss cheese of wood soffit .

              But I stuill wouldn’t live anywhere else.

              GrandpaDan


              • GrandpaDan,

                There is a new spray just for carpenter bee’s. You spray it the hole and it foams. The residue is what gets them after they fly away. It works and got it at Walmart. Oh yea, caulk the holes shot. In the short term, a bad mitten racket will do a number on them.


                • Chris USA,

                  Thanks for pointing out the spray. I’ll be at Walmart tomorrow and will look for it.

                  Grandkids butterfly net and a 5′ length of 3/4″ sched 40 PVC works well too. I’ve been able to get more of the buggers with that rig than when I was using a tennis racquet. Then again, I suck at tennis.


              • GrandpaDan and Bugbuster
                I live in the country also. Probably close to around 1000 acres behind my house with 3 different houses back towards the 1000 acre mark.

                So yes alot of the things you mentioned I have also. Including Carpenter bees. Wild life can be a pain in the butt but and sometimes need eliminated.

                But also they don’t know your flower gardens and such ain’t their big ole salad bowl to chomp on. We usually set up feeding places for the wild life. And not to hunt them. But to feed them naturally and away from the house. Well I guess if you call corn natural. That’s what grows in my backyard in different areas the farmer plants. So we always have dried corn from the harvest saved for them.

                The deer and hawks and other animals pretty well roam the ground by the house and we haven’t had problems for along time now since we added the feed. The racoons even stay away from the bird feeders since we changed to red color feeders. The old farmer told me that trick. And I’ll be darn if it works.


              • GrandpaDan,

                That is too bad, I was hoping that you lived closer. I haven’t traveled that far east since since 9/29/95 when I drove to Williamsport to participate in a 1000 yard shooting match.

                I am seventy years old and I detest driving in this day and age due to all of the self-centered idiots on the highways today. It just drives up my blood pressure.

                Yes, I am also familiar with the carpenter bees and have the same problem as you, especially in my lean-to machinery shed. In years past, when my eyesight was better, using open sights, I would shoot them with my sons Daisy Powerline 922, my TS45 and an IZH61. It is the males which briefly hover and oftentimes fight with each other. It is VERY satisfying to bust one on the wing with a pellet rifle, needless to say, you miss many more than you hit.

                I have had very limited sucess shooting them with my generation II BUG-A-SALT, even at point-blank-range, they are just too tough. It does work pretty well on SOLITARY yellow jackets and bald faced hornets though (NEVER ATTEMPT THIS ON A NEST). I will have to try the spray that Chris USA recommended.

                Another process which works is a blowgun nozzle with a piece of brake line attached to the tip running at max pressure on your air compressor, 120psi give or take. Insert the end into the almost perfect 3/8″ diameter entrance hole, blow, and it will violently eject the female, usually in pieces!

                Bugbuster


          • Dan,

            No doubt about that – deer love hostas. We are on a first-name basis with a several deer and I have found that planting clover and trifoil helps to distract them from the gardens. An eight-foot fence around the vegetable garden keeps them at bay.

            The chipmunks are a nuisance. This year I have a family of red foxes denning near by and they are doing a great job of keeping the chipmunk population under control.

            You might find that baiting the chipmunks (I use sunflower seeds) to an area makes it easier to get them. I scatter the seeds around about 40 yards from the balcony which is far enough that I can get the rifle and set up without spooking them. Fun shooting as the pop up and down as they are gathering seeds.

            Hank


          • “Now I’m learning to shoot it.”

            GrandpaDan, I hope one of the pellets I sent works out for you; I’m just sorry I didn’t have more different types for you to sample; but please do let us all know how that Gamo performs once you get it “up to snuff.” Thanks! =)


  9. Would the rings for a CZ 527 work? I believe they are 16 mm, so they may get big enough except the rear ring still has a stop lug to prevent the scope moving under recoil.


  10. BBP, I hesitate, even went back to look at my rifle, but I was correct in recalling that my CZ 527M has 16 mm dovetails on the receiver. They used to supply rings with the rifle, but no longer do so. CZ sells them for both 1 inch and 30 mm scopes (mine are 16 mm long), and I believe Leupold does, as well. Not sure the expense and effort would be worthwhile.


  11. B.B.
    Interesting report on your “Yugo”. It still gets a pellet from A to B. however, apparently not in a straight line. Going off topic here. I just ordered a refurbished RWS Mod 48, couldn’t pass up the price. It has not arrived yet so I just read you old blog report (2006) on it. You mentioned it is “somewhat touchy as to how it is held” but didn’t elaborate any further. Did you find that some kind of a modified artillery hold works best and if so, what did you modify?
    Ken


  12. Well I did what I said I wasn’t going to do over the weekend. Couldn’t take it any longer.

    I put a scope on my HW30s. Shot it Friday evening and about half the day Saturday. Then the scope came off. Yep took it off.

    The gun for some reason is easier to shoot unsupported without the scope than with. I can hit targets out to 40 yards with the open sights as well as the scope. It just seemed like I needed more time to get held on target to make the shot with the scope

    Plus the 30 is just balanced so we’ll with out a scope. Well at least I found out what I needed to know. And to add I think that front globe sight it has really helps me get on target and stay on target at that.



      • Michael
        I just got my FWB 300 back last week and I tryed the front globe sight on it with the rear peep sight. I can see to shoot with the HW30s open sights better than the peeps on the 300. I even tryed moving the rear sight closer and farther away from my eye.

        For some reason my eyes work with the HW30s open sights.


        • Gunfun1,

          Try an Eagle Eye magnifier (1.5x) for the 300s front sight. Get ahold of Jim E. for info about compatibility and to buy one. He is always selling 10 meter stuff on the American Airgun site with his contact info.

          Michael


  13. Gunfun1
    I agree. I find most of the time when shooting off hand, it is more fun to use open sights. When my 48 gets here, I do not intend to scope it unless I find I have to. Have fun with that 30.


    • Pelletpopper​
      Yep love my 30 off hand shooting. And like to know how your 48 does with open sights when you get it.

      I have a right hand beech .22 Tx 200 Mrklll on the way. I really wish they would come with open sights. I bet they would be great shooting open sights. I had a Tasco red dot on my .177 tx for a while and it didn’t miss my spinners from 15-50 yards.

      Kind of cool shooting open sights and dot sights at that. I keep saying you myself I’m not going to hit when I’m shooting and I’ll be darn it rings the steel everytime. Got to get it out of my mind and trust the sight.


      • Gunfun1
        Don’t laugh but I have a Crosman 2100 pumper that is scary accurate at 15 yards with no scope. It’s fun shooting small balloons. The slightest bit of wind sets them moving and keeps things interesting.


  14. BB

    I just read all 8 parts to this report (and comments) and would ask before you put it to bed,” Did the Tune In A Tube hold up? ” It looks like you did at least some additional shooting since part 7 to conclude that the gun can’t be tested at long range. Was it enough to take a position on the longevity of the TIAT. If not this gun then has there been another gun or guns that you have used enough to put forth your opinion. (I think in an earlier part of this report you alluded to at least one other gun that you might track in this regard.)


  15. B.B.,

    In my opinion two weaver rings have more value than this BSA air rifle. It would be wrong to hack a pair to study this BSA any further. I have a MK IV (I think), and it is a loser. I intend to use it as a “learning to work on air rifles” training aid, like a fetal pig in a biology class.

    Michael


  16. B.B.,

    Off topic, but a couple years ago you did a rave review/report on the UTG Monopod. Since then you have periodically mentioned it as equipment you used in a given report on something else, usually when you report on an air pistol. I decided way back that I would get one, but they were pricey. Well, the price eventually was lowered a bit on them awhile back, and then, when P.A. had their anniversary 20 percent coupon, I finally bought mine.

    It is fantastic! It is quite rigid even when fully extended, works very well in the seated technique you have demonstrated, is excellent for photography, and in its fully collapsed mode, it could be used as a baton.

    Great product, and thanks B.B. for bringing attention to it.

    Michael


  17. Gunfun1 and ChrisUSA,
    Just to let you know…I shipped my RWS34p .22 out to Mr. Gaylord this afternoon. So maybe in a week or so we’ll see some results from Mr. Gaylord’s evaluation. Oh BTW GF1, I took your advice and sent along samples of the pellets I have been trying. I sent (30) pellets each of JSB 15.89gr, RWS Superdome 14.5gr, and CPHPs 14.3gr. Can’t wait to see how Mr. Gaylord does with this beast.


    • Geo
      Good deal. I think that would be the best way to do the test is with what you shoot with.

      And maybe BB will try some of his favorite pellets in it. Then he can send you a couple handfuls back for you to try.

      I think this will be a very cool test. I don’t recall BB doing anything like this before. I could be wrong though. Hope BB will mention in the blog he does about your gun if he shard any shooting results with him and a buddy shooting the same gun. Pretty cool stuff though.


      • Oh yes…B.B. is going to run this rifle through the same tests as he does when he reviews other rifles. He is going to blog everything in several parts. Everyone is going to see the results of his evaluation. I think this may be the first time he has ever offered to do something like this for poster in his blog…but I’m sure happy that he has agreed to do this.



  18. I took my air rifle out for an extended walk in the woods the other weekend and was wishing it didn’t have a scope on it too. It’s great to zoom in at 50 yards and all that but when you’re actually shooting at different distances and have to make fast shots the thing just gets in the way. And definitely shooting offhand is easier without a scope, I concur with that. Now if I could just find those iron sights, I know they’re here somewhere. Maybe I should look in the box…



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