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Optics Revisiting the BSA GRT Lightning XL SE

Revisiting the BSA GRT Lightning XL SE

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This is a guest blog from reader Dennis. He may have a handle, but I don’t know what it is.

Today he presents an air rifle he really enjoys. If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me. Now over to you, Dennis.

Revisiting the BSA GRT Lightning XL SE

By Dennis

BSA GRT Lightning XL
BSA GRT Lightning XL SE.

This report covers:

  • Introduction
  • The rifle
  • The optics
  • The shooter
  • Issues and solutions
  • Results
  • Conclusion

Part Two


The BSA Lightning was reviewed a few times a few years ago [However, not on this blog — as far as I can tell, Ed.]. The results were mixed. One had no idea whether or not the gun was a keeper. Well, she is for me, and I want to tell you why.
I love this gun! It is beautiful and accurate. It is light and ergonomically designed. Yep, I love her, but getting to this point was difficult. The courtship was long and tortuous. Let me take you instead by the straight and narrow path directly to the end which is quite good.

The rifle

The BSA GRT Lightning XL SE is a gas-piston springer with a shrouded barrel and a beautiful ambidextrous beech stock. My model is the .22 caliber version, as I felt it would be best for poppin’ squirrels in the backyard.
The gun is short (37.5 inches) and light (7 pounds), so she comes to the shoulder and points easily. She is a joy to shoot. I ordered my rifle with the Pyramid Air ten-for-ten and she registered 767 f.p.s. with 11.9-grain pellets, for a muzzle energy of about 15.5 foot pounds.

The optics

The Lightning comes without sights, so one needs to mount optics. I mounted the 30 mm UTG 4-16X44 AO Accushot Swat scope.

UTG 4-16X44
UTG 4-16X44 AO scope.

It’s a fine scope, but perhaps a bit heavy for the gun. It seems to adjust consistently and to hold its settings. I don’t use the illumination feature on the reticle, and would be happy to find a scope of similar quality without this feature, but there it is!

The shooter

It might help you understand my odyssey with this little gun if you know a bit about me. I am a sixty-eight year-old, soon to be 69 (hold the jokes), who just started shooting about one year ago. I started with inexpensive, box-store guns, but soon became frustrated with the accuracy and ‘graduated’ to this mid-priced springer. I had a lot to learn! This little Lightning lead me by the hand along a learning curve that included most all of the issues one can encounter. These included dealing with loose bolts, finding Mister Right Pellet, developing shooting technique, and shooting around floaters in the eye. It’s been a journey!

Issues and solutions

In the course of shooting some three thousand rounds through this gun, the various issues have conspired to thwart my quest for accuracy. I couldn’t tell you which issues were most important, but I can assure you that they all contributed, and I can also tell you what seems to be working for me right now.

Trust me when I say that you will keep much more hair on your head and rest much easier at night if you loctite (blue Loctite) every bolt securing the stock and scope to the action. Do this as soon as you get everything properly mounted and tightened.

The lightness of this rifle is a double-edged sword. It makes for easy shouldering and shooting, but allows for significant recoil. The kick is not a hard smack, but it can be a very noticeable jump, and it is sufficient to repeatedly loosen every bolt on the gun.

Mister Right Pellet for my rifle has turned out (so far) to be the 14.66-grain H&N Field Target Trophy. I have not yet extended the range beyond 15 yards, but at 15 yards the accuracy is quite impressive, as you will see. The next best pellet to date is the 15.43 grain Gamo Match Diabolo. Several other pellets have been okay from time to time, but have fallen out of favor. Perhaps this is the result only of bolts loosening up. I’ll be going back to test a few of them in the future. For now, the H&N FTT is the best.

My shooting technique has varied as I have experimented with various holds. In the end, I find only that it seems best to hold as lightly as possible so that my unsteadiness creates the least disturbance during the shot preparation and execution. I find that the gun actually shoots quite well rested on a BOGgear BOG-POD Xtreme Shooting Rest. I shoot from a seated position. Here is my setup:

BOG-POD Xtreme Shooting Rest
BogPod Xtreme Shooting Rest.


Accuracy! Accuracy! Accuracy! In the end what we all want is accuracy and here are the results. I have settled on shooting three shot groups so that I can discern most shots. (Sometimes the shots are through the same exact hole and are indistinguishable.) Based on 27 shots taken at 1-inch targets at 15 yards, I calculate an average center-to-center displacement for the nearest two shots in each group to be about 0.04 in. The average extreme c-t-c spread for the nine three shot groups is 0.18 in. The calculated repeatability for this rifle in this shooting system is less than one minute of angle. Here is an image of the target set.

BSA GRT Lightning XL targets
My targets show why I’m excited about this rifle.

I suppose that the flyers in these groups are the result of my poor technique, probably shot anticipation or poor follow-through. I hope to do better with practice. Further analysis will have to wait until I zero the scope and take shots at greater ranges.


The BSA GRT Lightning XL SE is an excellent gun that undoubtedly exceeds my personal shooting capability. It has great accuracy if one takes the time to tighten ‘er up and find her preferred pellet.

I hope this revisit of this outstanding rifle will help someone choose to work with the gun and hopefully shorten the path to success.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

131 thoughts on “Revisiting the BSA GRT Lightning XL SE”

  1. “I love this gun! It is beautiful and accurate. It is light and ergonomically designed. Yep, I love her, but getting to this point was difficult. The courtship was long and tortuous.”

    Nice turn of phrase 🙂

    Some nice accuracy there. Did you do anything different on targets 1 and 5 which have higher points of impact.

    What led you to the BSA GRT Lightning XL SE? I am fairly sure I would have gone for Diana or HW in that price range.

    • Seantheaussie,

      Thanks for your comment. I am unaware of anything I did differently. Perhaps a slightly different posture or shooting position or cheek weld or level of concentration – not sure. I’m still working on consistency/repeatability in my technique. I think I did a little better in my next session after ‘zeroing’ the scope. I’ll try to attach the target set. On this set (i hope it attaches) I became concerned after shooting target 4 – and tried to focus more on technique for targets 5-9. Seems to have had an effect.

      The Diana (RWS 34 I think) would have been my second choice. I chose this gun mainly because of aesthetics and that some people reported it as very quiet, backyard friendly. Turns out mine is not as quiet as I would like, but it gets me by.

      • “I chose this gun mainly because of aesthetics”

        That is how I chose my first powder burner so I completely understand. 🙂

        To my eye your shooting in the article is superior to the shooting in the attachment.

        • Seantheaussie,

          Yes, I think I was somehow not concentrating as well on the first four targets. But the last five are pretty good. I got a bit worried after target number 4, so I tried really hard to focus on the reticle (not the target), tried not to anticipate, and tried to follow through on the trigger pull. You know, at my age, it’s hard to keep all these things in my mind!

          • On the second sheet the center of impact is much higher than even the high groups 1 and 5 on the first sheet. If you didn’t adjust your sights then something has certainly changed.
            It could be there was a change in wind.
            Does your scope have parallax adjustment and is it set correctly for your target distance? Basically if you hold the rifle perfectly steady on the rest and you move your head a little while looking through the scope does the reticle move?

            • Hey Sean,

              Thanks for the thoughts. The POI on the second set changed because I adjusted the scope up seven clicks (I think) to put the shots on target. There was a little more wind during the session with the second set of shots; perhaps a little effect on the tightness of the groups. And, yes, the scope does have an adjustable objective, which I usually check before each shooting session.

              Again, thanks!

    • I forgot to mention: there may be an effect yet to be determined that results from resting the gun directly on the shooting rest. As I understand, springers are sensitive to such things.

  2. Dennis,

    A fine report — congratulations!

    You can overcome any difficulty in measuring cloverleaf patterned groups by employing the “center-to-center” method. Measure the greatest outer edge to edge. Lets say that measurement is, for simplicity’s sake, 1.0 inches. Then subtract from that measurement the diameter of the pellet, in your case .22 of an inch. The center-to-center measurement of the group is therefore 0.78 inches.

    With this method, it is not necessary to distinguish one hole from another, You can choose to shoot 5 or 10 shot groups and accurately and easily measure them.

    Again, very well done,


    • Dennis

      Michael’s suggestion for scoring clover shaped groups is what I use at 10 meters. Pressure on the shooter sometimes mounts on shot number 10 if a fine group depends on that last shot. But shooting 10 shot groups is less tiring than 27. It also will expose any variation that happened on your 5th vs 1st group.

      I have so far avoided using Loctite being concerned I may mutilate a machine screw head. How difficult is it for you to remove a stock or scope fastened using blue Loctite.

      Beautiful rifle!


    • Thanks Michael.

      Yes, I measure outer edge to edge. But I also want to know the distribution for half of the shots in a group (or in this case 2/3) so that I can get a feel for the statistics of the shot distribution for the total shooting system: gun, pellet, distance and shooter. Most shots should fall near the center of the distribution with a few outliers or flyers. I’m just trying to get a better feel for how that shakes out.

      By the way, even though my pellet is .22, the hole in the target is only between .20 and .15. I have been using .2 as the hole size, but I’ve made some recent changes to my target and it appears with the new target I need to use .15 in the future.

      I’m probably making this much too complicated, but hey, I’m retired and have time on my hands!

  3. Dennis,

    Fine article and good reminders of what we all go through in getting a new air rifle and the learning curve involved. Most important is to not give up. You have definitely “earned” the right to move on to longer ranges. 🙂

    That is a fine looking stock and you have to appreciate the ambi stock. I like that rest. It looks to be something that a big game hunter would pack up into the mountains. I use a saw horse table with a hard rest topped with a bit of foam gasket for all my air guns. I like your approach. Having that rear supported makes a huge difference in overall sight stability.

    Good tip on the blue Loctite. That can be very frustrating. Best wishes on continued good shooting. Like Gunfun1 told me some 3 years ago after shooting 41′ indoors all Winter,…. (Ok,… Now it is time to take it outside and “stretch it legs”.) In your case,… 25 yards, then 30,… and then 50 yards. That rest should make 25-50 a piece of cake.

    • Thanks Chris.

      This shooting rest seems to work out pretty well for me. The rear support has another advantage: you can consistently place the riffle at the same point on the rest by placing the trigger guard up against the back support. One issue I’m trying to work out is, what is the effect of the front support on the point of impact? This effect may be what Seantheaussie noted in the target set. Don’t know.

      A am ready to start moving to longer ranges, but I have only just gotten to this point. As I say in the article, it has been a long and tortuous path, mainly because there were so many variables and things I needed to learn along the way.

  4. Dennis,

    Great job and great shooting! My porch chair that I shoot from is very similar.

    I had gone back and forth for quite some time on this BSA. They are indeed a nice piece of eye candy. It is nice to know that it is a sweet shooter also. I just may have to make room for one of these at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns.

    • Thanks RidgeRunner.

      Yeah, she’s a beauty. You know, I read a lot of reports on this gun, with a lot of mixed reviews about the accuracy. I must admit that I was on the verge of giving up on her several times, but there was always just enough consistency to make me believe she had potential, and always something more to try.

      At this point, I’m pretty pleased.

      • Dennis,

        The main issue that I have had with this rifle is they use a pivot pin for the barrel rather than a bolt. Should the barrel become loose over time your accuracy will suffer and it would be very difficult to tighten.

    • RR
      Did you see the exploding long range golf ball challenge the other Ohio air gun company has going on.

      You can buy them for a $1.99 a peice even if you don’t want to enter the competition. Might be cool to have a few on hand for some special plinking sessions with the kids or grandkids and family and friends.

    • Gopher,

      Just an FYI,… the slightly higher priced UTG’s with the etched glass reticles are very nice. The lines are much finer and there is 1/2 mil dot lines that are great for 1/2 – 3/4 mildot hold over’s/under’s. It is a world of difference.

      Unfortunately, the advertising does not seem to show this well, if at all. At least that has been my experience’s.

      • B.B.,

        Unless I am incorrect,.. you know exactly just what I am talking about on the 1/2 mil dot lines. P.A. and UTG are doing themselves a great (dis)favor by not showing this accurately in their advertising. I just re-checked both of my etched glass UTG reticles and one without etched glass,… and then,… tried to find the etched glass reticle accurately depicted again in the P.A. ad’s and could (not) find one example.

        Perhaps a mention in one of your blog’s and/or a mention to P.A. and UTG might be in order? You do seem to be a fan of the UTG brand.


        • Chris U
          And yes if the scope your talking about is a half mildot scope like the Hawke scopes. I would strongly agree that Pyramyd AIR should show the correct reticle on the webpage.

          The picture is something I look at to see what reticle the scope has before I purchase it.

      • Chris U
        I got the lower cost wire reticle UTG scopes on the springers right now and been having good luck. Here’s what I have on the Tx 200 Mrklll, FWB 300 and yes the HW30s now.

        And before I go any farther. I wanted to keep the HW30s open sight. I tryed the scope and liked it to much when I shot out at 50 yards. And yes I still shoot open sight. I use my Colt Python for that and the M22. And I have the red dot on the Wild Fire. So just like all those air guns I tryed through time. I also gave a bunch of different sights I tryed. Including the See All Sight. And yes I got some peep sights with the 300 I tryed.

        So yep just had to scope the HW30s. And to say it definitely holds it’s own out to 50 yards. I hit my steel spinners and sqerrial feild targets always. And I can’t count how many groups that would equal that I made my shots count.

        • GF1,

          The etched glass mil dot reticles are much better, trust me. I have a non-etched glass on the Maximus and am (seriously) thinking about trading it out for the etched glass scope on the TX200. That scope is around 200 and cost more than the Maximus did. I was trying to keep the Maximus simple and low cost, but I wish I would have “stepped up” on the scope. Oh well,.. live and learn,.. at least I have one to slap on it. I just need to get up the time and gumption to do it and re-sight them both. All of the saved data goes right out the window!!!! 🙁

          • Chris U
            When you say better tell me in what way. I have had both types of UTG scope reticles also in wire and etched glass.

            But not a UTG etched glass 1/2 mildot reticle. If that’s what your talking about. Again tell me why.

            • GF1,

              Just checked. Line wise, they are close. The UTG is without any doubt better in that the space between the line and dot are further apart and give a better, more open sight picture. Both at 7 mag. level. That is about the best I can describe it.

                  • Chris U
                    No need to try. I know more reference lines spaced closer together will give you more holds.

                    And reticle thickness really don’t afd ct my shooting.

                    • Reticle thickness really does not affect my shooting.

                      For starters the target needs to be seen no matter how thick the reticle is.

                      In some instances a thicker reticle can be better.

                      Remember when I told you I sized my mildots t on my .25 Marauder to a target dot when we did the 100 yard shoot off.

                    • GF1,

                      Gotta’ luv that phone,… huh? I do not envy you in the least. That is unless I have it all wrong,… and you are trying to start some new language?

                      😉 Out’a here.

                    • Chris n gf1
                      Thanks for the info. I will look for the etched glass the next time I am in the market for a scope.

          • Chris U
            And where I’m going with this is why does the thinner reticle help you.

            I made shots on pests successfully with thick and thick reticles. Big and small dots on red dot sights and also with open sights.

            So why is reticle thickness make you feel better when you shoot?

  5. Dennis,

    After I made my comment above regarding 5 and 10 shot groups, it occurred to me that you might be distracted by shooting out your point of aim. You could sight-in your scope for the bullseye and then shoot just one shot per target. Then simply keep score: 10 points for completely within the bull, 9 points for in the next ring, etc.

    I agree with Chris wholeheartedly regarding starting to shoot at progressively longer distances, if your space will allow it. You clearly have the ability as a shooter to do so, and at this stage you might learn more by trying 20 yards out and then 25.

    Again, very good report and, I should add, good shooting.


    • I print out my targets with a 1/2″ black dot on a 1/2″ grid pattern. If I cannot see the center of the black dot, I just focus the crosshairs on the grid pattern. The grid pattern helps to make sure the rifle isn’t canted too.

          • Chris U
            So what do you use to repeat holding your reticle level. And I’m talking not only bench resting but also off hand shooting.

            What makes your reticle level to the target when you shoot ether way?

              • Chris U
                How about your Marauder with the bipod that helps repeat your hold.

                And maybe your shoulder and the butt of the gun and your cheek resting on the comb of the stock.

                • GF1,

                  It all helps. Like I said to Matt61 the other day,…. nothing wrong with stacking all of the odd’s in your favor,… and,.. whatever works for you.

                  • Chris U
                    Yep true but if you don’t explain what your saying. How does that help someone trying to learn from reading the blog.

                    Ya know what I mean. Explain yourself . No body knows what you said to Matt61 right now. Today is a new day on the blog for a new reader.

                    They would never have a clue what you said to Matt61 the other day. Right?

        • GF1
          When sighted in at 25 yards the PBR is 9.2 yrd to 31.5yrd with a 1″ kill zone. That more than covers the range at which I shoot the sparrows. So if there is no hold over or under a slight cant of the rifle should not matter…correct?

          • Geo
            Yes it still matters on the cant.

            Think about what happens if you put as little as 3 clicks left or right in your scope adjustment. It moves your poi.

            Now think about what happens if the barrel is moved to the right or left of your normal zeroed aim point with your scope. Your poi will change too. And yes probably enough to make you miss your sparrow to one side or the other.

            Again get out a paper target at 25 yards. Shoot some shots at a bullseye as normal. Then cant the gun to the left. Makes some shots at another bullseye. Then cant the gun to the right and shoot at another bullseye.

            Let me know what the point is on all 3 targets.

    • Thanks, Michael.

      Until recently, I shot 6-shot groups. But it was sometimes hard to distinguish the closest three shots in order to help me determine the shape of the shot distribution (if I said that right). I find that I can almost always distinguish each shot in three shot groups at this range. When I can’t, it’s because the two shots went through the exact same POI, which means they are pretty darn close!

      Perhaps when I go to longer ranges, larger shot groups will work better for me.

      • Dennis
        You will know real quick at longer distances what your gun will do.

        Tell me this. If I shot 10 shots at one target. Or 10 shots at 10 dots on targets on one peice of paper what is the difference?

        • GF1,

          You’re right. Going to longer distances will make errors more visible. I have only just gotten to the point where the groups are tight enough that I feel I can try longer distances.

          About 10 shots at one target versus at different points of aim, there are several possible differences depending on the particular setup. The main difference for me would be just the ability to see and measure the error between the POA and POI for each shot.

          • Dennis,

            B.B. tends to study group sizes and shapes both with the entire target and subgroups. Usually he writes off as human error individual shots that are significantly far from the rest of the shots, unless a particular air rifle does that over and over again, in which case something with the gun is amiss.

            If I were you, I would try to refine my technique such that the groups simply get smaller and not obsess over one or two shots which do not touch the others.


            • Hey Michael,

              I agree.

              I think that now that I finally have the gun tightened down, and have found a pellet she likes, the ‘flyers’ are essentially all due to my errors. I’m just trying to understand them and reduce or eliminate them.

        • Gunfun1,

          In my opinion there is no difference, except the method of measuring accuracy. With oner shot pwer target, a bullseye is 10 points, 9 ring is nine points, and so on. After ten shots on ten individual targets, add up your score. Offhand at 15 yards an Olympian would probably score between a 97.5 and 99.5. Rested at 15 yards I would probably score a 70 if I were using one of my 10 meter air rifles.


          • I should add that indoors, offhand at 10 meters (32 feet, 9.7 inches) with a 10 meter air rifle, today’s Olympians regularly shoot 99 percent or better. Prefect scores of 60 straight bullseyes within one hour, a score of 600, have been shot in competition.


      • Dennis,

        In my opinion you should subtract .22, especially with the Gamo Match pellets, as they are wadcutters and ought to be producing clean round holes that are 5.5 mm in diameter. Domes like the H&N Field Target are trickier, but I would try to look at tears and if there are attached remnants of paper on the back of the target and simply try to do your best.

        By the way, if the Gamos are not producing clean round holes, that could be a sign that they are tumbling or just beginning to tumble ast they get to the target, either of which would be undesirable.


        • Michael
          Read my comment above to Dennis.

          Never mind. Here.

          Yep that is the difference.

          Why make a shot gun f you ain’t worried about hitting what you aim at. Right?”

        • Thanks Michael.

          The hole size is about .15 with the H&N FTT. My targets are concentric circles at 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and one inch diameters. So the distance between each concentric circle is .125. As you can see on the target set, the shot hole diameters are slightly larger than the distance between the concentric circles. I used a micrometer to measure the holes.

          I didn’t measure the Gamos.

        • Hey Michael,

          I just measured a few hole made by the Gamo Match pellets. .22 would be right for them. BTW, I was using .20 in the past because that is what I measured with Crosman Premier Ultra Magnum Domed pellets.

  6. Brassman,

    yes, many of us “old timers” (to the blog) have used blue locktite on our springers for years – not only on stock and barrel pivot screws but on the scope rings and mounts. On hard recoiling rifles, like an RWS 350, I’d list that as a mandatory requirement. If one doesn’t, then checking tightness of all rifle and scope screws is a mandatory requirement before beginning a shooting session. If your POI starts to wander, check those screws again!

    The blue locktite or some other threadlocker (do NOT use RED) has not prevented me from removing screws for repair or replacement of stock or scope screws nor have I damaged any screw heads. The trick here is a proper fitting screwdriver and a bit of care. Don’t ask me how I know this.

    Somewhere in the blogs archives, I seem to recall a list of steps to take in checking out a springer before starting a shooting session including grabbing the mounted scope and trying to shake it to check for loose mountings. Anyway, enjoy that Beeza and welcome to the blog. What’s your next rifle going to be? 🙂

    Fred formerly of the Democratik Peoples Republik of New Jersey

  7. Fred,
    I agree with you on not using Red Locktite with one exception. It worked great for me on stopping the sippage of a one piece scope mount on my RWS 350.

    Mr B.

  8. Brassman,

    Please excuse my bad manners. Thank you for your guest blog. I have a question about how you use your BogPod Xtreme Shooting Rest. Are you supporting your rifle with your left hand between it and the rest or is the forearm sitting on the rest itself.

    Mr B.

    • Hello Mr B.

      I’m not sure if you are asking me (Dennis) or Brassman. My technique is to place the rifle directly on the shooting rest. I position the rifle forward until the trigger guard is against the back rest. I grip the gun lightly. My left hand thumb and forefinger touch the bottom of the butt, hold it lightly against my shoulder steady the gun, and acquire the target (POA). I try to hold as lightly as possible so as to limit aiming error.

      • Dennis,

        I have enjoyed your comments this morning. As you can see, there is no lack of opinions and suggestions to be found here. 😉

        I think that you have near the ideal set up going for you. I say “ideal”,.. in that you have removed most all variance’s that come with other styles of shooting. You seem to be analytical, as am I, but I think that with your set up, you will “get what you get”. Beyond shoulder pressure, I do not think that much else will affect the POI. Pellet choice does matter, but you seem to have found your best so far,.. at least at 15 yards. Switch to another style, (bench, front rest only, shouldered rear only),.. and you have opened up an entirely new can of worms.

        As your range increases, you will find the groups will open up. That is to be expected. I find a mm scale to be perfectly suitable and just “eyeball” the center to center. You can try some duct tape on the back of your target paper. That may improve the appearance of your holes, but really, they look pretty good already.

        Thanks again for the rifle review and I wish you the very best with your continued air gun journey. Keep us posted as things progress.


        • Good morning Chris!

          I’m glad you enjoyed this little journey! Well, you know what they say about opinions!

          Yes, I agree with the changing of the setup, and I think that I have found a pretty good system for me. Nevertheless, I think it will be interesting to make a controlled change to the rested position of the gun and to verify that it does indeed have an effect. Given the nature of springers, I feel sure there will be an effect, but I’m not so sure I’ll be able to measure it. Should be interesting.


          • Dennis,

            Yes, I failed to consider the rest(s) would be movable. And yes,… you are right in that it will probably change the POI. It should be noted,… that most any decent air gun will look good at 15 yards. 25 yards will really start to show things. You may have to reevaluate your favorite pellet.

            As for you being able to measure it,… it will be easier at 25 yards. One of the biggest variances to shooting is the shooter and the rest/hold. You have both pretty well minimized. You should have clear results in which you can be confident that it is more the gun/pellet choice,… and less you.

            Please keep us posted as things progress,…. Chris

  9. Hello Chris,

    I suspect that either changing the rest locations or changing the position of the gun on the rests will have some effect on the recoil response of the gun. How much this will effect the POI remains to be seen, whenever I get around to testing it.

    In the meantime, I have shot a set of targets this morning in order to establish the holdover from 10 to 40 yards. The results are shown in the attached image. Bottom line is that this gun-pellet-shooter combination seems effective out to about 35 yards. The groups out that far are about dime size – with a couple of inexplicable flyers.

    I was surprised that the POI seemed to stay flat between about 25 and 35 yards! These are 4 shot groups out to 45 yards. At 45 yards, I took 2 extra shots – but these probably only confused the set as it shows 4 shots high and to the left; 2 lower and to the right. In any case, the group has opened up at 45 yards.

    I’ll see what I can learn from this set and perhaps update the original post with a part 2.


    • Dennis,

      Good to hear from you so soon. I think that you have a winner on your hand’s there! 🙂 That is good, if not real good!!, at 40 yards in my opinion. I really think that your rest saved the day on being able to do that on your first real attempt at going further out. I might add too that it did not take you long to “stretch it’s legs” either. Nice job. From what I can see, everything further out is pretty well dime sized.

      Now you will just have to play with different rest(s) positioning and maybe different pellets,… though I think that what you are shooting (pellets) are doing you pretty well. POI can always be adjusted. The pellets going left further out indicates the scope the scope is a bit askew to barrel though. You will be “on” at your zero point and then L/R or R/L closer to further. Adjustable mounts could fix that. Double check the mounts you have. It could be the dovetail is not true to the barrel either. Then again, all that said,… you could just leave it as is and “know” what it will do at a given yardage and compensate accordingly.

      Nice, very nice. Frankly I am a bit amazed and taken aback a bit!

      If you have the time, get on the Hawke scope website and download the free program called Chairgun and it will explain a lot!,… of what you were wondering about on the POI staying the same from 25-35. It is not that hard to use and you can learn a lot by changing the input data and seeing what effect that it has on trajectory. It shows you in real time as you change things. Visually. In a graph that shows the pellets path.

      I am super happy for you! That is some fine shooting!,…… 🙂 x10,….. Chris

    • Dennis,

      An additional thought,…. I would have expected the pellet to move (further) left than it did at (further) out. I am not sure what to make of that. The strong shift from right to left at (closer) range does not support my barrel to mount alignment theory. Something changed. Were you adjusting the Windage at during the test?


      • Chris I would guess that the target was situated with the numbers at the top, so the impact point was moving from up to down, rather than from right to left.

        If I am right then Dennis’ 15 yard zero is the “far” zero, rather than the “near” zero as I would have it.

        On second thought I don’t know why Dennis would have changed the orientation of the target so I am confused.

        • Hey Sean, In going back over some of these comments, I just found that I had missed this one from you. The orientation of the target set was in landscape view with the numbers on the bottom. Unfortunately, I could only scan the set in portrait orientation. I rotated the image, and saved the file, but somehow it got rotated back to portrait when I attached it. You need to rotate the image 90 deg clockwise to see the target set as shot. I’ll try to attach a figure in the correct orientation.

          The near zero is at 15 yards. I was expecting the far zero before 40 yards, but it didn’t happen. So I figured that the muzzle velocity must be significantly greater than I thought. Using ChairGunPro, I was able to get a pretty good match to the observed trajectory by assuming a muzzle velocity of 845 fps. In ChairGunPro the far zero is at about 53.5 yards.

        • ” I was able to get a pretty good match to the observed trajectory by assuming a muzzle velocity of 845 fps. In ChairGunPro the far zero is at about 53.5 yards.”

          Here’s the ChairGunPro image.

      • An interesting variable, I change the magnification as I went to longer ranges. It was 11X at 10 & 15 yrs, 12X at 20, 14X at 25, 30, & 35, and 16X at 40. I wonder if I hit a mechanical stop at the maximum magnification, and if that had an effect on consistency.

        Just a thought.

        • Dennis,

          Your magnification changes (everything) at different ranges. Your holdover and under WILL be different. That does not explain the right to left, but it will make a difference. Bottom line,… know what your gun will (actually do) given a certain pellet, at a certain range, and at what magnification. You got that down and you got the cat by the proverbial ***.

          • Yeah, I recorded the magnification and estimated/observed holdover/under for each target in the set. I feel sure I could put lead on target within about 3/8″ from POA for all of these ranges out to 35 yards. Without wind of course.

            I’ll give Chairgun a try and let you know if I have any difficulty.

            BTW, I think I will see if Tom will post a part 2 to my review, showing longer range shooting. I think this gun is a great one that people have not given enough credit.

                • Dennis,

                  It all sounds good. From what you have described, you seem to be on the right track in all regards. I have (full confidence) in your testing and am looking forwards to a Part 2,.. if things work out that way.

                  Thank you for taking the jump to going out further. Again I will say,.. the results you got are really amazing. I think that rest of yours should be given some serious consideration for those that may not feel stable with other methods.

                • Dennis,

                  I looked at the On Target. It is good in that there is much of the same values to input as Chairgun. You should have no problem with Chairgun. You will like the visual depiction of the pellet’s flight path. It will show the other data, like clicks, moa, mil dot HO and HU and much more.

                  I use it to get the best zero and a rough idea of what will occur. I do not adjust my turrets as a big game hunter might shooting over a long distance. Once I have my best zero (the one that keeps the pellet in a 1″ kill zone the longest and continuous),.. I just use mil dots to adjust for different ranges. Nothing else. The turrets stay put as is 99.9% of the time.

                  Like I said, you are doing just fine. I just wanted to check back in with you just to let you know that I looked at On Target.

                  • Thanks, Chris. Yeah, I think the rest is a big help. It is probably great with pcps and perhaps with other springers. It may not work with some springers: I think springers are more temperamental!

                    I still have to work out my technique with the scope for longer and varying ranges. I’ll probably settle on one magnification across the spectrum of ranges. Might have to go with a lower magnification for 10 yards and higher one for all other ranges. We’ll see.

                    I’ll also give Chairgun a try.

                    • Dennis,

                      My mistake, I checked out the link, not On Target. But everything I said still applies. I use 7 out to 60. I will use 9 out to 90 and 10-12 at 100. That is with the .25 M-rod. The springers I tend to keep at 50 or under, but have taken the TX out to 70. You might have noticed that the scope picture got a bit “cloudy” at higher magnification. Also, your eye position is much less forgiving. I just try to keep it as low as possible and still feel confident that I can discern the target well. Everyone is different, so play around and see what works (for you). One setting does simplify things a whole lot.

                      Yup, springers are more finicky,.. but I think that you have a good combo going with that gun and the rest.

                      I see that B.B. seemed to give you the thumbs up on a Part 2. 😉 If you do another one, I would put some emphasis on that rest. That might be just the ticket for more “mature” springer owners that may not be as steady as they once were. Or new shooters for that matter.

                      You are doing great and I feel that you have a good handle on things. I know that you will be busy trying stuff out. Keep us posted as things come along.


                  • Chris,

                    I’ve been playing with Chairgun. It seems that I need to better define the parameters in order to match the observed trajectory. The pellet velocity and scope height in particular need to be determined more accurately.

                    Nevertheless, I can see that it should be possible to approximate the trajectory. And what it seems to be telling me at this point is that the pellet velocity and muzzle energy are much greater than I thought.

                    We’ll see after I pin down some of the parameters a bit better.

                    • Dennis,

                      Play with that zero range and watch the blue bars at the bottom. As you do, you will see them separate or come together. You will also notice that pellet stays within/or not, the kill zone that you selected. I use 1″ kill zone.

                      Bottom line on that is that you can take a quick shot and know that you will be within a given kill zone at a close and far yardage.

                      A final tip, you may change something in the input data, but the screen will not update. Just click on another box. That will update the screen. You can get scope center to barrel center by just using a ruler. As for velocity, go with the manufactures spec. assuming that you do (not) use an alloy pellet fps.

                      The drop downs at the top have a ton of options too. In the end, nothing replaces getting out there and just shooting and collecting the (actual data).

      • Clarification for the above comment,…. the closer range results DO support the barrel/mount alignment theory for closer in,… it does NOT support the theory as to why the pellets stayed to a consistent left at further range. I have no answer to that.

  10. Hey Chris,

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    My initial take is that the groups were pretty well centered (left-right) out to the 40-yard target – that’s where the shooting kinda fell apart. There was no wind this morning, and I made no windage adjustment. The scope is zeroed at 15 yards. I expected that the groups would be about 3/4 – 7/8 low at 10, on target at 15, 1/2 – 3/4 high at 20, about 1/2 – 1 high at 25, a little high at 30, a little low at 35, and much lower at 40. I expected the groups to get exponentially larger with distance.

    If I look kinda cockeyed at the set of targets, I can imagine that the form I expected held true out to 25 or 30 yards. But the shots did not drop off as fast as I thought after 25 yards, the group at 35 yards was much tighter than expected, and the group at 40 yards was really loose – 4 shots high and left, 2 shots lower and right. Clearly something went amiss for that last group. I can think of many reasons, but I’ll have to dig a bit to find the truth, if I can find it!

    I’ll look into that Chairgun program. I’ve seen it referred to but haven’t tried it. I have played a bit with On Target. That’s what I used to set trajectory expectations. But all is based on an assumption of velocity based on the Pyramyd AIR chrony testing when the gun was brand new (adjusted for pellet weight).

    Again, thanks for your time and your thoughts.


    • Dennis,

      Well,.. if you have played with “On Target”,.. which I have not,… it sounds as if Chairgun would be no issue. As you might know,.. hold under at close and hold over at far. As far as hold over/under,.. I assume that you have that figured out. For me,.. I just hold the cross hair on the POI and then see how many mildots I am to the aim point. Reverse that, and you have the holdover,.. or under,.. whichever the case is.

      The other thing to think about is that depending on your zero range,… your pellet will (stay) within a 1″ “kill zone” longer (and continuous), versus a different zero range. If you move your zero in or out,.. your pellet will drop in,.. and then above,.. and then back in,… the 1″ kill zone. On Chairgun, there will blue bars at the bottom the graph. What you want to do is to vary your zero until the pellet stays within the 1″ kill zone the longest,.. and continuous. Maybe “On Target” does that? I am guessing that your best zero is well past 15 yards.

      If you were to give me the pellet weight?, dome or wad cutter? and the factory fps specs.,… I could run some numbers for you? Would that help at all?

  11. Hi Dennis,
    I just got back from a trip, so I am “late to the party” on reading this.
    It’s a very nice report, and I am with you on the tortuous courtship and the blue Loctite!
    Years ago, I bought an HW97 with a Simmons 6-18X scope for Field Target shooting.
    Eventually, I got to the point where it could hit an empty 12-guage shotgun hull at 50 yards.
    But it took a long time, a lot of shooting, and much blue Loctite to get there!
    Keep up the good work. =)
    take care & God bless,

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