by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This is Part 2 of a guest blog from reader Dennis. He sent this to me a month ago, but I got so busy that I forgot about it until he reminded me last week.

This is about the 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: Part 2

By Dennis

BSA GRT Lightning
BSA GRT Lightning XL SE.

This report covers:

  • Introduction
  • Mea culpa
  • Process modifications
  • Groups at 20, 30 and 40 yards
  • Trajectory
  • Conclusion

Introduction

In Part 1 I reviewed the BSA GRT Lightning LX SE (.22 caliber), discussed several issues and showed results of several groups shot at 15 yards. I was encouraged to extend the range beyond 15 yards and report back the results. Thus this Part 2.
If you have not yet read Part 1, you can find it via the link above. Feel free to check it out now. I’ll wait here for you.

Mea culpa

 

I apologize for the long delay in getting to this Part 2. I made the mistake of dry-firing my rifle. Nearly broke my heart. I cleaned the barrel with a few dry patches. Nevertheless, my little Lightning threw a temper tantrum until she settled down after a couple hundred rounds. Now that she’s calmed down a bit, we’re back in business.
Also, when I mentioned distances, these are not measured but only paced. So they are not precise but are pretty close, — within a foot either way.

Process modifications

At the greater ranges, the interface between the rifle and the gun rest seemed to be more critical. Inconsistent recoil motion in the gun-rest system was amplified and produced greater variation in point of impact downrange. After some experimentation, I found that lining the gun rest with adhesive-backed felt allowed the gun to move more smoothly in the gun rest, when in recoil, and seemed to result in a much smoother overall shooting cycle. In any case, I convinced myself that it helped me shoot tighter groups.

Here’s a photo of the felt-lined gun rest:

BSA GRT Lightning gun rest
The adhesive-backed felt is available at craft stores.

In response to comments in Part 1, I also changed the targets to permit scoring similar to that used in Olympic competitions. You will note the difference in the targets below. The targets consist of concentric circles with diameters from ¼ inch to 2-1/4 inches in ¼ inch intervals. The central circles out to one inch are shaded.

Groups at 20, 30 and 40 yards

After zeroing (more or less) at 20 yards, the following four-shot groups were shot out to about 40 yards. The ammunition is the 14.66 grain H&N Field Target Trophy.

BSA GRT Lightning 20 yard groups
20-yard groups.

BSA GRT Lightning 30 yard groups
30-yard groups.

BSA GRT Lightning 40 yard groups
40-yard groups.

Note that after the first two groups at 40 yards (at the top and on the right) are low. The last group (on the left) was shot using a one-dot holdover. I think these groups are pretty good for an old man with shaky hands and failing vision!

The following table summarizes the groups.

Range in yards…………20…………..30…………….40

Group size CTC
Avg. of 3 four-shot……..0.52”………0.70”………….0.82”
groups

percent of shots
within 1/2” of……………92……….….67………………75
POI*

Average score
per shot*…………………7.5………6.75…………..….6.0

*Based on the average of 12 shots at 20 and 30 yards. Four shots at 40 yards with one-dot holdover.

Trajectory

In shooting the groups shown above, the average point of impact at each range was lower than expected. Had the scope been a little better zeroed, or the holdover been better determined, all shots could have been within a 1 inch target. To get a better feel for the trajectory the following set of targets was shot from 10 to 40 yards. This will hopefully allow me to better calibrate my shots in the future.

BSA GRT Lightning trajectory
40-yard groups.
Note: there was some moderate and variable wind the morning this set was shot. Nevertheless, the groups were pretty good out to about 35 yards.

Conclusion

The BSA GRT Lightning XL SE is pretty accurate out to at least 35 yards. An experienced marksman could no doubt extend the effective range (i.e. hit a one inch target) to at least 40 yards. Pretty good for a mid-priced air rifle, and she’s a beautiful gun.