by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Today’s fill
  • JSB Exact
  • Predator Polymag
  • H&N Field Target Trophy
  • H&N Baracuda
  • Crosman Premiers
  • Benjamin Cylindricals
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Firing behavior
  • Summary

Today is velocity day for the Beeman R9 with the Vortek center-latching gas piston that I’m calling the center latching unit (CLU). Bear in mind as you read today’s test, that this unit allows the owner to adjust the pressure inside the gas piston — raising or lowering the velocity and cocking effort. So, this is the first of several tests of the unit.

Today’s fill

I filled the CLU to 675 psi when I installed it. So that’s how it’s set up today. I will test it with 6 different .20 caliber pellets — one more than Pyramyd Air carries, if you don’t count the felt Beeman cleaning pellets. Let’s get started.

JSB Exact

First to be tested were the 13.73-grain JSB Exact domes. They averaged 689 f.p.s. on this setting. That’s 14.48 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The velocity spread for 10 shots went from a low of 678 to a high of 699 f.p.s. That’s 21 f.p.s. I’m not going to say anything more about this or any other pellet, because we will be looking at the rifle tuned hotter and milder as this report progresses.

Predator Polymag

Next up were Predator Polymag hollowpoints. The website calls them pointed pellets, but the plastic point sits inside the hollow point and comes off on contact. They weigh 13 grains and averaged 672 f.p.s. in the R9 with the CLU tuned for today. That’s 13.04 foot pounds at the muzzle. The spread went from a low of 662 to 678 f.p.s. That’s 16 f.p.s.

H&N Field Target Trophy

The H&N Field Target Trophy pellet is the one Tom Gore of Vortek recommended to me for .20 caliber airguns. He likes it a lot. At 11.42 grains it is the lightest pellet being tested.

In the R9 the way it is set up today the FTT averaged 763 f.p.s. That produces 14.77 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. The spread went from a low of 758 to a high of 767 f.p.s. That’s just 9 f.p.s.

H&N Baracuda

In .20 caliber H&N Baracuda are not heavyweights. They weigh just 13.58 grains.

In the R9 the way it is set up today Baracudas averaged 676 f.p.s. At that velocity they produce 13.78 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. The spread went from 669 to 678 f.p.s. That’s another pellet with just 9 f.p.s. spread.

Crosman Premiers

This is a pellet you can’t get anymore. I have some set aside, and, since I don’t shoot a lot of .20 caliber, they will probably last.

Premiers weigh 14.3 grains, and in the .20 caliber range of pellets that I’m testing today they are one of the two heaviest ones. They averaged 662 f.p.s., which generates 13.92 foot pounds. The spread was 654 to 669 f.p.s., which is 15 f.p.s.

Benjamin Cylindricals

The last pellets I tested were Benjamin Cylindrical pellets. These are not the same as Premiers. They have less of a waist and are more — well, cylindrical!

These 14.3-grain pellets fit the R9 breech from extremely loose to snug, indicating a range of sizes. They also were all over the place on velocity. The average was 642 f.p.s. for a muzzle energy of 13.09 foot pounds. But the spread went from a low of 620 to a high of 666 f.p.s. That’s a whopping 46 f.p.s. I’m betting these will not be accurate in this rifle.

Cocking effort

The R9 cocks smoothly with 36 lbs. of effort. The barrel detent latch is stiff because this rifle is essentially brand new. That will change as it breaks in.

Trigger pull

The Rekord trigger has not been adjusted. I noticed that when I installed the CLU. You can tell because it’s full of Weihrauch yellow grease. I might do something about that when I do the next tune.

Currently it fires with 2 lbs. 2oz. pressure. That’s not much, but stage 2 has some detectible creep that I want to eliminate.

Firing behavior

Vortek told me how smooth this unit made the R9, but smooth is something you have to experience. Often a gun will be smooth until the piston stops. Then you get a sharp jolt. But the CLU isn’t acting that way. The whole shot cycle is smooth. I will know more when I shoot the rifle for accuracy, because that’s when it really stands out, but I did shoulder and fire it several times in this test — just to know.


Well the test is proceeding smoothly thus far. Next I will disassemble the rifle and tune the CLU down for the lightest cocking effort. Stay tuned!