Chinese B3 underlever: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

B3
The B3 underlever from China.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Pre-work baseline
  • RWS Hobby
  • Harsh firing cycle
  • Rifle is breaking in
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • RWS Hobby again
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today I will test the velocity of the B3 underlever that we cleaned and lubed on Friday. This will be a fantastic learning lesson for all airgunners, because the results are most informative!

Pre-work baseline

If you have been following this report you know I discovered in Part 2 that the rifle wasn’t performing to expectations. In Part 3 I replaced the breech seal and tested the velocity. That gave us a baseline we can use today for a before and after comparison. Let me get to the tests right now.

RWS Hobby

The first pellet to be tested was the RWS Hobby. In Part 3 Hobbys gave an average 617 f.p.s. with a 24 f.p.s. spread.

Now let’s look at how the lubed B3 did with Hobbys. Because of what happens in this string, I’m showing you every shot, and will then discuss it.

Shot………Vel.
1………….did not register (DNR)
2………….572
3………….604
4………….814 diesel
5………….822 diesel
6………….815 diesel
7………….805 diesel
8………….774 smoother
9………….743
10…..…….737
11…..…….734
12…..…….688 smooth!
13…..…….725
14…..…….705

Then, I had to take a short break and retire to my reading room. Let’s say I stopped shooting for 5 minutes.

15…..…….546
16…..…….565
17…..…….578
18…..…….567
19…..…….582
20…..…….689
21…..…….571
22…..…….699
23…..…….619
24…..…….557
25…..…….DNR
26…..…….570
27…..…….661
28…..…….DNR
29…..…….DNR
30…..…….576
31…..…….564

At this point I stopped shooting. Let’s look at these results and see what is happening. First, shot number 4 was a diesel — not a detonation. Dieseling is where the oil vapor is burning from the heat of compression and adding to the velocity, but there is no loud explosion like you hear with a detonation. Dieseling is normal and even good. Apparently this B3 is right on the cusp of dieseling, and, as I told you on Friday, I had saturated the leather piston seal with Crosman Pellgunoil. I could see oil droplets (in a fine mist) being expelled from the muzzle with every shot. That’s exactly what you want to see in an airgun that has a leather piston seal.

Harsh firing cycle

I told you Friday that the firing cycle became much smoother after the gun was lubricated. And the first three shots in this test were all very smooth. But the shots where I noted the dieseling were harsher than the others. They were almost as harsh as the shots from the time before the rifle was lubricated.

Notice that I said shot number 8 was smoother. I meant smoother than shots 4 through 7. The gun was still dieseling, but it was starting to settle down. Shot 12 was very smooth — about like what I saw in shots 2 and 3.

Rifle is breaking in

The reason I said today’s report is so special is that this string shows you what an airgun goes through as it breaks in. The B3 is a used gun, so what is breaking in and settling down is the oil on the piston seal. That’s why I wanted you to see the entire string — so you would appreciate what it looks like (and feels like) when a spring-piston air rifle breaks in.

If I were to look at this string and guess the final average velocity of this rifle with Hobby pellets, I would say 560 to 570 f.p.s. But — it ain’t over, yet! I decided that, because the rifle was settling down, I could now test the other pellets.

Air Arms Falcon

Next to be tested were Air Arms Falcon pellets. In the before test they averaged 605 f.p.s. with a 27 f.p.s. spread. I’m going to show you the entire string from this test, and then discuss it.

Shot………Vel.
1………….565
2………….564
3………….565
4………….562
5………….561
6………….566
7………….568
8………….559
9………….564
10…..…….561

This string tells me the rifle has settled down, and that’s why I showed it to you. The average for the string is 564 f.p.s. and the spread ranges from 559 to 568 f.p.s. — a mere 9 f.p.s. That would be good for an expensive spring rifle!

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Next I tried 10 Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. Remember how very accurate they were at 10 meters? In the before test these same pellets averaged 688 f.p.s. with a 32 f.p.s. spread.

I won’t show the whole string this time, but the average velocity was now 628 f.p.s. and the spread went from 624 to 633 f.p.s. That’s another 9 f.p.s. spread! This rifle has definitely broken in with the lube I gave it.

RWS Hobby again

It was time to revisit the RWS Hobby, to see what the actual average was. Remember, after looking at the first string I guesstimated it would be in the 560 to 570 f.p.s. range.

The average this time was 541 f.p.s. The spread went from 534 to 547 f.p.s. — a range of 13 f.p.s. Well, the gun has definitely settled down and I was definitely estimating too high when I guessed based on the first string.

Discussion

Before the lubrication Hobbys averaged 617 f.p.s. with a 24 f.p.s. spread. After the lube Hobbys averaged 541 f.p.s. with a 13 f.p.s. spread. The rifle has lost 76 f.p.s. and the velocity spread has been cut almost in half.

Before the lubrication Falcons averaged 605 f.p.s. with a 27 f.p.s. spread. After the lube Falcons averaged 564 f.p.s. with a 9 f.p.s. spread. That’s a loss of 41 f.p.s. and a two-thirds reduction of the spread.

Before the lubrication Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets averaged 688 f.p.s. with a 32 f.p.s. spread. After the lube they averaged 628 f.p.s. with a 9 f.p.s. spread. That’s a loss of 60 f.p.s. and a reduction of the spread by more than two-thirds.

So the lube tune I did has cost me between 41 to 76 f.p.s. in a rifle that wasn’t very fast to begin with. I’m pretty sure that loss can be attributed to the use of Tune in a Tube grease on the mainspring, because I didn’t do much else. The oiling of the piston seal probably didn’t help or hurt the velocity, though it will prolong the life of the seal.

Cocking effort

The B3 took 32 lbs. of force to cock before the tune and it still takes that much. Before the tune I felt some spiking near the end of the cocking stroke and now that the action is lubed I can tell it is from the trigger parts being pushed out of the way by the piston. I can tell that because the rest of the cocking stroke is now much smoother.

Trigger pull

Before the lube the trigger broke cleanly at 5 lbs. 3 oz. After the lube it breaks exactly the same. Remember — I did not lube the trigger in any way, nor do I feel the need to. I know that sounds like a heavy trigger to many readers, but I grew up with military rifles and 5 lbs. is where they have always been. Even today a stock M4 or M16 is at that weight. So it seems normal to me. I also like lighter triggers like most shooters, and I really like crisp 2-stage triggers, but I am very satisfied with the trigger on this rifle.

Summary

I think today’s test was an important one for those who are trying to understand spring-piston air rifles. While a tune doesn’t change the accuracy potential of an airgun, I feel this B3 now shoots so well that I want to test it for accuracy again.

72 thoughts on “Chinese B3 underlever: Part 6

  1. B.B.,

    I was worried for a while that you wouldn’t be telling us the cocking effort until I found it while reading further. It seems you did a too quick copy and paste as that you forgot to place a proper outline of the article. The outline right now is that of the previous article regarding its break down.

    I know I should not hope for the accuracy to improve radically but if it shoots easier I expect some improvement.

    Siraniko


  2. BB
    Interesting quote.
    “While a tune doesn’t change the accuracy potential of an airgun, I feel this B3 now shoots so well that I want to test it for accuracy again.”

    So that means it’s smoother and you want to indeed see if it helps the gun to be more accurate on the next report?

    Well that will be interesting for sure the next time around. I’m thinking it won’t hurt that it shoots so we’ll this time as you say. It’s got to help in some way.

    If so the next thing to figure out why it helped if it is more accurate.



    • Bob,

      You have it all wrong. This is a piece of exercise equipment that has been converted to shoot pellets. This is a marvelous example of Chinese engineering.


      • RR,

        Striving to hit half a dozen soda cans at 25 yards with the B3 would give you a good upper body workout that takes just half an hour to perform (less if you use premium pellets).


  3. B.B.,

    The post tune drop in fps avg. is quite surprising. I did not expect that and in fact thought we may see a slight increase.

    To what do you attribute that to?

    Good Day to you and to all,…. Chris


    • Chris USA,

      Having handled and used TIAT it’s probably the cause of the slow down. Some British tuners are now experimenting on very dry pistons using powdered graphite alone as their lubricant. No dieseling not detonation. Initial results work well for 12fpe energy level.

      Siraniko


      • Siraniko,

        Interesting. I know he said he went very light lube on the spring. That is why I was surprised. Plus, there is no new piston seal to break in and seat. The dry lube for pistons makes sense. I am surprised that would be new though. I would have thought that someone has already tried that. Thanks for the info..


      • Siraniko,

        With a synthetic piston seal they could get away with that for the piston lubricant, however I do not see how that could dampen spring vibration.


        • RidgeRunner,

          The specific boffin experimenting with the use of graphite powder uses very tight tolerances in his rifles. At 12 fpe they have achieved some pretty nifty engineering. Sleeving or making their own piston chambers 22mm in diameter. With the lighter pistons they get less recoil on firing. Fascinating reading.

          Siraniko


          • Siraniko,

            As you are pointing out here, they are making their own chambers, pistons, etc. with tight tolerances. Such things could also be achieved with higher levels of power except the manufacturers do not hold to such tight tolerances. We, I guess, are on our own.


      • Siraniko,

        I’ll second your observation – the TIAT is very “sticky”.

        Recently, I was assembling a machine and in awkward spots used it as an “adhesive” to hold the washer and lockwasher in place while I threaded on the nut.

        I like the red-grease for gears as it really stays where you put it. I think that I will stick to my mollys for springs and pistons where speed is important unless there is a lot of twang that needs to be dampened.

        Hank


  4. BB

    Do you think that the dramatically reduced velocity spread may improve vertical stringing? Maybe not at 10 meters but ballistics could count for something at longer distances.

    Decksniper



      • BB,

        If I understand the firing cycle of a spring gun, as you have explained several times since I’ve been reading these blogs, wouldn’t it be possible that the oil mist you were seeing leave the barrel also left a film in the barrel that would allow the pellet to slide forward in the barrel before the pre-lube job amount of compression took place in front of the piston face?

        It seems to me that you could end up with a velocity reduction much the way you would if you seated the pellets excessively deep in the barrel along with the expected TIAT reduction.

        If you think that makes any sense, you could run some dry patches down the barrel and then test the first couple of shots over the chronograph.

        Half


        • Half,

          There is supposed to be a thin oil mist with every shot. Wiping it with a patch won’t stop the action from misting it again. That oil is desirable because it keeps the bore clean and safe from rust. This is particularly true of a gun that has a leather piston seal.

          B.B.


          • BB,

            I understood that it was desirable, I was just speculating that maybe the barrel was dry before and was therefore holding its grip on the pellet until a higher level of compression was achieved. I thought that you could remove the oil and get off 1 or 2 shots before the barrel got recoated. I guess I was thinking out loud about something I would want to try had I gotten your results, just to satisfy my curiosity.

            I don’t remember seeing such a large reduction in velocity in your past reports on the use of TIAT and you did say you went very light this time. Thought maybe there was an additional reason for the reduction.

            Half


  5. “I think today’s test was an important one for those who are trying to understand spring-piston air rifles.”

    Amen (“so be it”) to that, B.B.! Very interesting; thank you for all your hard work on this one. =D


  6. B.B.

    Any idea as to why us readers are only able to see five comments when using “Comments RSS”?
    It was like this all weekend and made it difficult to follow new comments posted, of which there are 197!



      • I think it may be because Chris and I use this feature routinely and others are not aware of it, or don’t follow the comments as thoroughly as we do. I know that Halfstep, a long time poster, recently inquired as to what the “Comments RSS” feed is and how it’s used. Chris and I have tried to make the posters aware of this feature and how it can make following new comments much easier.


      • B.B.,

        I can confirm that this behavior is seen in Firefox. My RSS agregator in Chrome is also acting up. It used to be if I didn’t open up Chrome for some time all the unread comments would come knocking as one big wave of more than 50. Now I get it only in dribs and drabs. On the other hand I am not experiencing this from my Android RSS Reader. I get the usual updates which makes me aware that there are messages missing if I were to rely only on the desktop.

        Siraniko



      • I put “The RSS Aggregator” on my Chrome browser yesterday and while it only showed the last 5 comments most of that day, today when I opened it I had 33 comments starting around 16:15 yesterday waiting to be read.

        Half



  7. I am also only able to see the last five comments in the RSS feed. I do not use it as often as others here because it will not load at all on my tablet.
    Gerald


  8. Off topic…

    We are (enjoying??) an ice storm that followed the 8 inches of snow that we had yesterday. There are 7 deer bedded down in the cedars near the house waiting out the storm.

    Hope that people are having better weather than us!

    Happy Monday!
    Hank

    It is not this bad here but the picture kinda summed it up…


  9. Wow Hank,

    They are “breaking trail” for oneanother! You have some real team players out in your yard!

    We are visiting my son’s family out West and are due another 5-8″ ☃️ tonight above 8,000′ and more later in the week.
    There had been so little snow left at the end of Match that the Elk had started back up high from their Winter golf course resorts
    The ski resorts most all scheduled their closing this past weekend! Winter was not good to them; but the Backcountry way up high has been fantastic…long as you now how to keep out of the avalanche zones.

    shootski



  10. Hey All!
    A while back GunFun1 asked me about what the National Rifle Association (NRA) could do for us plinkers.
    Well today on the NRA Family sight they had this:

    https://yuduoutdoors.com/team

    YUDU is not an arm of the NRA but I haven’t seen anything about this Social Media outfit on any airgun related sight or blog. It looks legit as a replacement for UTube and Facebook and other social media sights that DISRESPECT and DEPLORE us for what we love to do outdoors and on the shooting range!

    IT IS TIME TO SAY: “Enough already with the DISRESPECT and hate spewing “Progressives” toward the folks who are mostly the Salt Of This Earth types and not the hipocrits of the Media, Hollywood Federal Courts, Federal Legislative branch and far too many in our State and Local governments.

    So see what you think of YUDO.

    shootski




  11. Well, the comments RSS feed is showing more than five comments now, but still only showing the ones from yesterday afternoon through today so far. No comments are showing previous to yesterday. Normally we see comments going back two weeks. So maybe we will only see comments going forward from today? In any case it seems good to see more than five comments again.


  12. Thanks for this interesting episode. I enjoy the technical stuff, especially when there is a surprise.

    Update on the UTG bubble level scope. The bubble is not off level. I tested more carefully with a plumb bob. The problem was my inability to see it clearly. No matter what glasses I use, it is not easy to see.

    While I think its a good scope, especially for the money, I plan to sell it. Part of the reason is I want something that will range targets well and better optical clarity. Bottom line I did not spend enough to get what would satisfy.

    I’m considering the Hawke sidewinder 8-32×56.

    I will likely use EBAY but wondered if people have better luck selling on the airgun forums like GTA or Yellow.


  13. Also I’m looking for any info on a em-ge 177 German break barrel rifle I bought today. Pretty rough, weak spring but I just couldn’t let it sit in the case of an indoor flea market I stopped at. I spent thirty dollars on it. Mostly curious about the age.




      • Chris
        That’s all I know there’s definitely a dash in there. About the only thing online about em-ge is some prewar pistol although I did find one old picture of the rifle but no info on it. I appreciate your effort and I have got to get the blue book especially if I’m gonna be taking in strays like this.
        Carl



        • Carl, (only 1 listing for that brand)

          EN-EG Krone, 4.5mm, break barrel, single shot or 15 shot repeater, 15.75″ barrel, 560 fps, adj. rear sight, blade front, walnut stock with PG (me=?), 38.5″ overall, Mfg. circa 1935-1940

          It is pictured, but yours is very dark. The photo says Courtesy Ingvar Alm Collection. It does look like it though.

          100% N/A
          95% 450
          90% 350
          80% 295
          60% 225
          40% 160
          20% 90

          Ya’ did good there Bud!!!! 😉



          • Chris
            Thank you very much I’m ordering the blue book tonight. It does say krone on the receiver and I would estimate it’s between 40 and 20% condition. I’m going to tear into it this week and see if I can find out why it’s so weak. I have to cock and shoot it twice to get the pellet to exit the barrel.
            Carl


            • Carl,

              There is a pistol section. The history section is rather extensive, in a short sortish way. 1922-1940 to 1950. Company seems to have vanished 1997. 2 German locations. (much more info. that that is listed)

              Good call on getting “The Blue Book”. To clarify my earlier statements, I realize that you do (not) have the repeater model. Other then the (flat, not vertical) repeater magazine behind the rear sight, your rifle is identical to the one pictured in the Book.

              I made one other comment, but it appears to be a new one and not in reply to you, but was intended to be.


  14. Carl,

    🙂 The Blue Book picture appears to be the repeater model. (add 250% for that one!!!!,… by the way) I gave your pic. and the one in the book a closer look and that is ((definitely)) it.

    Maybe the makers of the current trend of break barrel repeaters need to give this one a look see. It looks a heck of a lot better.

    B.B. could say for sure, but I think that one is worth restoring. There is places that have all sorts of springs and I do believe that Vortek will custom make you one. I have talked to them in the past via phone.


    • Chris,
      Right about the design it’s a light and very handy feeling gun for sure. Definitely a short stroke I like it a lot. Here’s more pics. And yes that’s a cobweb on the trigger.
      Carl


  15. Chris
    It won’t let me post a pic of the action. I’m trying to soak the piston head with Pellgunoil oil right now. There’s a couple of spiderwebs inside. It’s like a barn find.
    Carl


    • Carl,

      I think you have something that may be blog worthy. Take some pics along the way, (as you are),… and maybe you can put something together? Look out for Ridge Runner!!!,… he likes the old ones. Next thing you know he will be “plying” you with some smooth talking “sad” story and how he has this home for forgotten and orphaned air guns,… or something to that effect. 😉

      Out’a here for now. Up all too early. Chris



  16. All

    I am for one not surprised about the decreased velocity. Most lube tunes end up this way and I know we have experienced on this blog a lower powered springer suffer from just a TAD to much tiat.

    I say this with kindness… toss that junk… The truth is you can buy 10 of these or one hw30. Unless ur south bent on tuning I cant imagine you getting the same enjoyment…

    I opened a Hatsan Springer once… The work means too much to me to “help out a lost cause”.

    When I tuned my bsf media I had much less work to do than you B.B. but by the same token I would have rather spent my time where I did instead of where you did. 😉


  17. I think my brother-in-law has one of these b3 rifles that he inherited from his dad only his is painted an ugly opaque brown color rather than transparent lacquer like the one posted above. I’ll have to take another look at it to see which version it is.

    So did any of these come with dovetails in the spring tube for some sort of scope mount? Was there an aftermarket option for a small scope?


  18. BB,
    Thanks for an excellent report on the tear-down/lube. Just wondering, did you examine or clean the inside of the barrel? Years ago I used to sell B-3s and TS-45s. I don’t think I ever did as much to a B-3 but I did rebuild/tune TS-45s. I still think your rifle would have benefitted from finishing the inside of the compression cylinder with a Flex-Hone, and lubing both that and the exterior of the piston with a very light coating of Moly. On my springs after soaking them in degreaser and cleaning them up, I always use a very very light coating of moly then a very light coating of spring tar, which might be the same as TIAT. Don’t know because I have never used TIAT. Then again, it’s a $30 rifle!


Leave a Reply