by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Beeman P1
Beeman P1 air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Cocking is strange!
  • Cocking effort
  • Crosman Premier lites
  • Dry fire
  • Bottom line
  • RWS Hobby
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets
  • Trigger pull
  • What’s next?

Today is the day we test the velocity of my new/old Beeman P1 pistol. I have a lot to say today and it may be of interest to some of you who own the P1 or HW45 air pistol.

Cocking is strange!

I’ll get right to it. This pistol I’m testing cocks in a strange way that I have never seen before. I have shot perhaps 10 P1 and HW45 pistols over the years and never have I encountered what this one does. It cocks to low power smoothly and easily, then it stops and I have to yank it past low power to high power! If this was the first P1 I had seen, I probably would not even think it had another power level. Are any of you P1 owners experiencing this?

Cocking effort

I expected the scale to show that the cocking effort is very high, but it didn’t. This P1 takes 13 pounds of effort to go to low power and 15 pounds to go to high. It feels like twice that when I’m cocking the pistol because of the strange way it has to be held, but it’s really quite easy to cock. However, high power is still an effort.

I looked back at test of my other P1. It cocks with 12 pounds of force, though I made the exact same comment about it feeling like more. And that pistol has no hesitation between low power and high — like every other P1 or HW45 I have tested.

Crosman Premier lites

On low power Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets averaged 413 f.p.s. On my other P1 they average 416 f.p.s. The spread with this pistol ranges from 396 to 428 f.p.s. — a spread of 32 f.p.s.

On high power Premier lites average 522 f.p.s. My other P1 averages 514 f.p.s. The spread with the test gun went from 507 to 529 f.p.s. — a range of 22 f.p.s.

Dry fire

I felt the test gun might be shooting a little slow, because I didn’t look at the test results of the other gun — yet. I didn’t want to know. So I dry-fired the pistol on high power twice to fit the piston to the compression chamber. Then I tested the gun again on high power. This time 10 Premiers averaged 540 f.p.s, but only because the first shot was a detonation that went out at 759 f.p.s. The other 9 shots averaged 515 f.p.s. Those 9 ranged from 508 to 523 f.p.s. — a span of 15 f.p.s. If you check, after the dry-fire the test gun is 1 f.p.s. faster than my other P1.

Bottom line

The bottom line is — this pistol is performing almost identically to my other Beeman P1. Except for the harder cocking and that hesitation going to high power, the guns are very close.

RWS Hobby

The next pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby . Hobbys are lighter so we expect them to go faster — which they did. On low power they averaged 423 f.p.s. The spread went from 412 to 428 f.p.s. That’s 16 f.p.s. My other P1 shoots Hobbys at 445 f.p.s. on low power, so it’s a little faster.

On high power Hobbys averaged 541 f.p.s. The low was 527 and the high was 553 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 26 f.p.s. My other P1 shoots Hobbys at 553 f.p.s. on high power, so it’s a little faster than the test gun.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next I tried RWS R10 Match pistol pellets. On Low power they averaged 457 f.p.s. with a spread of 19 f.p.s. (446 to 465). On high power they averaged 578 f.p.s. with a 10 f.p.s. spread from 573 to 583 f.p.s. I never tested this pellet in my other P1.

Although this target pellet weighs the same as the Hobby, I will admit I was surprised to see how much faster they went. And that gave me an idea. Somebody is going to want to know how absolutely fast this pistol can shoot, and there is a target pellet that’s also lightweight.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets

I have never tested the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellet in a P1, but given how accurate it is, perhaps I should. In the test pistol they averaged 478 f.p.s. on low power with a spread of 30 f.p.s. (465 to 495 f.p.s.) On high power they averaged 649 f.p.s. with a spread of just 9 f.p.s. (645 to 654 f.p.s.).

Trigger pull

The two-stage trigger breaks crisply at 3 lbs. 4 oz. It feels perfect to me as it is. There are two screws in the trigger to adjust the length of stage one and the release weight, but I don’t need to adjust anything. I modified my other P1 trigger and it now breaks at 11 oz., which is too light for me. I will leave this one alone.

What’s next?

I was given a replacement mainspring, piston seal and breech seal with this pistol when I traded for it, so I could tear it apart and tune it. But it’s shooting so well right now that I don’t think it’s necessary.

I will test the accuracy next, just like I normally do. But it won’t end there.

I would like to get to the bottom of that hard cocking, so a teardown is in this pistol’s future. Back in the 1990s when I tuned my other P1 I saw that it was fairly complex, so I made sure to write detailed disassembly instructions, in case I even had to do it again. Good on me!