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Education / Training Sub-1 crossbow: Part 3

Sub-1 crossbow: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sub-1 crossbow
Sub-1 crossbow.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Airgun shows
  • On to the Sub-1
  • Why a crossbow?
  • No longer afraid
  • Not confusing
  • Today
  • Start show
  • 30 yards
  • Stupident!
  • 40 yards
  • Trajectory
  • Oh, oh!
  • 50 yards
  • Summary

Airgun shows

First, here is a list of the airgun show dates that I know about.

Flag City Toys That Shoot airgun show April 14 THAT IS THIS COMING SATURDAY!

Malvern Airgun Extravaganza April 27 & 28 (For more information email seth.rowland@att.net)

NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits Dallas, TX, May 4-6. Open to the public. Free admission to all NRA members. Nominal fee if you are not a member.

Texas Airgun Show Saturday, June 23, followed by a field target shoot on Sunday, June 24.

Midwest Airgun Show June 30

Baldwinsville Airgun Show July (For more information email rh6larry@mac.com)

Kalamazoo Airgun Show August 19

North Carolina Airgun Show October 19 & 20

On to the Sub-1

I haven’t shot the Sub-1 crossbow in several weeks for a good reason — high winds! I’m done shooting at close range. I wanted to get it out where I could see if it holds up at distance. Well, last week I got a chance to do that, and I took it.

Why a crossbow?


You must admit, a crossbow is not exactly what you expect to find in a blog about airguns. Neither are straight razors, so I do have a track record for going off the reservation, but this time the tie-in is strong. You see, the Sub-1 turns out to be the TX200 Mark III of the crossbow world! What I mean by that is this crossbow promises to deliver superb accuracy, and then it delivers!

I know when a TX200 comes out of the box it’s going to be spot-on. If the new owner has never experienced a TX it will be a wonderful experience for him or her — every time! That is what the SUB-1 has been for me. It has delivered on every promise made by Mission Archery (a division of Mathews Archery). That doesn’t happen very often.

No longer afraid

I told you in Part 2 how concerned I was about shooing this crossbow for the first time. I had shot it at the SHOT Show, but that was under the watchful eyes of several people who knew what they were doing. Now I was on my own. There was nobody around to ask, when things got confusing.

Not confusing

Only things never did get confusing. I did what I remembered from the SHOT Show, augmented by the manual. The Sub-1 performed exactly like it was supposed to. That’s the TX200 experience I’m talking about.


Now that I know how the crossbow works, I am going to stretch out the range today. I want to see if B.B. Pelletier can really shoot a crossbow as far as they say.

Start slow

I went to my buddy Otho’s house instead of the rifle range, because I wanted to control everything I did. At the range, if anyone else is shooting you have to abide by the range rules. You can’t shut the line down every five minutes to go downrange to retrieve arrows.

I knew from the first time out that I could hit the target at 20 yards, so that’s where I started. I set up the new DOA shooting bench (yes, a report on that is coming) and placed the arrow backstop/target 20 yards out. The arrow went to my exact aim point! Boring! Please — bore me some more.

30 yards

I then moved the backstop out to 30 yards. I am checking the distance with a new laser rangefinder I bought for things just like this. From decades of shooting and the Army I can usually estimate ranges within one yard out to 50 yards and I had guesstimated the bag’s distance exactly.

Next I loaded and shot three arrows/bolts at the target. I was aiming at the 9-ball in the center of the target, and was surprised that my arrows landed as far apart as they did. The two on the outside are almost three inches apart! Oh, oh! What will happen when the distance increases?

Sub-1 30 yards
Three bolts at 30 yards when into this group. It’s nearly three inches across. I was aiming at the 9-ball.

Some of the initial fear crept back when I saw this target. Maybe I couldn’t do it. Maybe the Sub-1 wasn’t going to perform in my hands.

But maybe I wasn’t trying, either! Maybe I had forgotten to wear my glasses so I could see the crosshairs better!


While I was doing all of this I also did something dumb. When I attached the cocking rope for the second shot (the first shot at 30 yards) I forgot where the hooks are supposed to go and I attached them to the cables that are below the frame of the bow. It didn’t look right, and it certainly didn’t feel right, so I never attempted to cock the bow that way, but I did pull back on the handles and moved the cables a little — just to be certain it wasn’t right. That mistake was soon to bite me big time.

40 yards

I was on at 30 yards, so I moved the arrow stop/target to what I thought was 40 yards. When I checked it with the rangefinder it was only 35 yards, so I had to move it a second time. This time I got 41 yards.


One thing that has concerned me all along is the trajectory of the arrow/bolt. It leaves the crossbow at 340-360 f.p.s. and it weighs about 418 grains. Add to that the arrow shape with the fletching and you have a heavy slow-moving missile with high drag. It’s not going to fly straight very long.

The “range” I was shooting on had me positioned higher than the target. At 20 yards I was 5 feet higher. And at 30 yards it was more like 15 feet. When you aim up or down like that the drop of the projectile isn’t as noticeable. I had been holding on the target with the center crosshair all this time. But when I went out to 40 yards my height above the target remained at 15 feet, and I knew the arrows were going to drop. The arrow stop is two feet square, so that’s all there is to play with. Miss it and you lose a $10 arrow.

The Hawke scope I’m using has a reticle to compensate for the drop. It also has a velocity ring on which you set to the velocity of your arrows. When it is set correctly the reticle should be on target or pretty close.

Sub-1 scope reticle
This is the reticle in the scope.

Sub-1 scope velocity
Set the velocity if the arrow on the ring and the reticle should be close.

None of this is magic; it’s just optics. And it works well, but it isn’t perfect. How far from perfect was what I wanted to test for myself. If I elevated the 40-yard aimpoint in the reticle and put it on the target I wanted to hit, would it work?

The first shot was with the main crosshair aimed at the top of the arrow stop/target. The arrow hit about 18 inches low. It was so low in the grass that I could not see it with the Moeopta binoculars. I had to walk down to the target to see in person.

Oh, oh!

When I walked back to cock and load the bow for the next shot, I saw fraying on the lower cable. I hadn’t noticed this before. Something was wrong.

Upon close examination I saw that one of the two cables that stretch between the limbs of the bow had popped out of a white nylon holder that’s there to keep the cables from rubbing against the bow frame. The cable that was fraying was now touching the frame.

Sub-1 frayed cable
You can see the frayed cable. The arrow points to the groove in the white nylon bushing where this cable is supposed to be.

I didn’t know it at the time, but upon reflection I knew that when I attached the cocking rope to the lower cables I must have pulled this cable out of the nylon block. It started fraying immediately, but just became noticeable.

I still wanted to shoot at 40 yards and even farther. So, with trepidation, I cocked the bow and loaded an arrow. This time I held the 40-yard reticle aimpoint on the 4-ball at the top of the target. The arrow hit the top edge of the 4-ball, telling me that the reticle is right on! That is what I mean about the Sub-1 performing as advertised. What a delight it is when that happens!

50 yards

I then moved the target to 50 yards that my rangefinder measured at 51 yards. I knew I didn’t have many shots left because that cable was fraying fast. But I wanted to see if at least this much worked.

I shot two times at 51 yards. Both shots were at the 4-ball at the top of the target because I was still concerned about the trajectory. I heard both arrows hit the target and didn’t bother to look through the binoculars. I walked down to the target instead. The two arrows had hit just above the 4-ball and landed about 1-1/2 to 1-3/4-inches apart. This crossbow can shoot! But the cable was still fraying fast and I felt it best to stop at this point.

Sub-1 50 yard target
My final result at 51 yards. Two arrows less than 2 inches apart. The Sub-1 can shoot!

Here is why this is an important test. Mission Archery installed a premium scope on their premium crossbow and it performs just as good as the bow, itself. The bow continues to do everything expected of it.

I had made a mistake with the bow (attaching to the lower cables) and I caught it before it went too far. I informed Mission Archery of what had happened and they made arrangements THE SAME DAY to restring the bow at my local archery store for me! You readers are always shocked when you get this kind of service from Pyramyd AIR. Now I know how you feel!


So —I bought the bow! Sure, I don’t write about crossbows , but I do write about shooting and hopefully I write about good shooting. The Sub-1 crossbow just became a part of my good shooting arsenal.

And yes, I am not done with this report. After the bow is restrung I plan to back up and see how far I can shoot it accurately. I have no doubt the bow can do it.

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.

99 thoughts on “Sub-1 crossbow: Part 3”

  1. B.B.,

    Now you own the accuracy you are raving about. I wonder if there is a way to redesign this to prevent a recurrence of such a stupident. Then again the best way is located between your ears.


  2. B.B.

    Still waiting for you to shoot an apple off of somebody’s head with this crossbow.

    Why this makes me think about William Tell I do not know…
    Cool device!


    PS May be you could have some apple shaped targets made up?

    • Yogi,

      Similar to an apple shaped target, my favorite archery target is a 2 inch diameter disk (cut from 2 inch Eathafoam with a rimless soup can “cutter”) suspended in-front of the target butt on a string so it can move in the breeze.

      I find that shooting at a small, mobile target really helps with my focus. I do the same kinda thing shooting at Honeycomb cereal with my airguns.


  3. Was anyone else’s heartbeat rising as BB took shots with a fraying string, wondering if it was going to snap and if BB was posting this from his hospital bed?

    2 arrows 2 inches apart at 50 yards doesn’t live up to Mission Archery’s promises AFAICT (can tell.)

  4. BB
    PLEASE DON’T ever fire a crossbow with even a slightly damaged cable or string!! These cables are under considerable load & you can be Very Seriously injured or worse if they snapped during the firing cycle. I’m going in to crossbows as well & have read up all about them & still am.

  5. B.B.,

    Is there anything in cross bows that can be compared to a springer dry fire?

    Not that you would fire it without an arrow in place,.. but rather,.. what is the effect on the pulleys, wheels and bow arms if the string would have broken during the shot? I would think that they need the resistance of pushing against the arrow,.. just like a springer needs that air cushion.

    Good Day to you and to all,….. Chris

  6. BB,

    ARE YOU INSANE?!!! I have had a crossbow string snap on me while firing. I was fortunate I was not injured. I was also fortunate the bow was not damaged.

    You should probably look at a crossbow as you would an hand grenade. When everything is working properly and you handle it properly, it is an awesome weapon. If you mess up…

  7. G’day BB
    If your are worried about breaking knots or fletching why not aim at the circles centre for each shot and measure from there for group size.
    Cheers Bob

  8. The Sub-1 is a very interesting crossbow – looks to be an awesome hunter! Would be great for hogs.

    B.B., Would you write a blog on range estimation. Given the looping trajectory of our pellets (and arrows 🙂 ) learning to guesstimate the range is critical to success.

    An army buddy of mine said that the average person is lucky to be able to estimate distances (over 20 yards) to within 25% and a person with some training might achieve 17% accuracy. Don’t know about his numbers but I know that most people are not very good at estimating distances.

    It is my habit to estimate and pace-off distances. I do this when I am cutting the lawn, walking the dog or even when grocery shopping. Find that it helps my range estimation a lot. I’d like to hear how you do your estimating.

    Happy Monday!

    • Hank,

      Here are a couple tips. First, I did pace off the distance to the target. Then, knowing my stride is more like 30 inches, I added 8 more paces and called it hasty pudding. On another day I ranged to the target and got 51 yards.

      Second — I used to be in a marching band. We had to step perfectly to keep the line straight, so I remembered how many steps there are for every 5 yards. On a football field there are yardlines every five yards. As I recall there were 8 steps per 5 yards. That would be two measures of music, because most marches are played in 4/4 time.

      Third, I have run and also shot on thousands of ranges over the course of my life. The Army pistol range used to be 25 yards to the target. So that’s fixed in my head.

      There may be other things, but I can’t remember them now.


      • B.B.

        I also was in marching band. You are correct, 8 steps to 5 yards. It’s more difficult for me to estimate ranges because I do not see 3-D. My brain has learned to estimate pretty well, though I don’t have a rangefinder to verify it. It’s very difficult for me driving a car to estimate how far I am from another car when parking. It appears I am very close but when I get and look I am several feet away. I always error on the safe side because I certainly don’t want to bump anyone, or anything. I love the backup camera on my Equinox. That takes the guess work out of the rear.

      • Thanks B.B.!

        So your skill in estimating distance is one of long practice and experience. True of many things eh? Thought you might have some special training exercises that you used.

        My stride is very close to 36 inches so it works well for measuring out yards if I want to go there 🙂

        Because I usually shoot over random distances I am not so hung-up on the actual distance but am more orientated to relating the estimated distance to the setup of my rifles and where I need to start applying compensation.

        Part of my shooting cycle is to deliberately/consciously look at the distance to my target before I “lock-on” and commit to shoot. Constantly pacing the distance to the target and checking the trajectory has really helped to tie the distance and POI together for me at my normal 10-40 yard distances.

        With the 3/4″ kill zone I have setup on rifles, distances beyond 40-50 yards need accurate ranging to put the pellet on to a 1″ spinner. One of my plans for this year is to extend my effective range to what my rifles are capable of and I bought a nice rangefinder to help with that. All I need now is some half-decent shooting weather.


        • I have found that most people overestimate the length of their stride. That may not be the case with you, but it was with me when I took a course in surveying. Mine is slightly more than 30,, but not by much. I found that when pacing off distance ( estimation only for moving the level) If I reduced the number of steps taken by ten percent, I was very close in yards. Still worked after many years,, until the wheelchair happened. Now I just carry my rangefinder with me.
          Playing golf also helped. The distances were greater,, but practice makes everyone better at it. ( estimating,, not the game)

          • Hi Ed,

            As a teenager, the guy I hunted and fished with was tall (about 6′-6″) and had a very long stride – I needed a long stride just to keep up with him 🙂

            My “measuring pace” is longer than my normal walking pace and is actually very close to 36″ – close enough that I can ignore the difference over normal pellet-gun ranges.

            I have been lucky enough to acquire a couple of nice PCPs that have effective ranges out to about 75 yards. My definition of “effective range” is the range at which the rifle is capable of putting 90% of the pellets in a 1 inch circle when shot from a bench rest. Like you, I have purchased a rangefinder as there is no way I can estimate well enough at those ranges 🙂

            My challenge to myself this year is to extend my effective range. Was hoping to do some shooting this weekend but the weather is not cooperating – I just cleared 6-8 inches of snow from the driveway 🙁

            I used to go the the driving range with a couple of guys from work to bash out a bucket of balls. It was fun and I was half-decent at it but I never took the the game itself. My (former) boss was into golf. He even had a GPS watch with the golf courses loaded that would tell him the distance he was from the pin. I always thought that defeated the purpose of the game.


  9. BB,

    This review minds me of the main drawbacks of crossbows: how easy it ease to lose bolts if you miss, the cost of replacing them, and the annoyance of frayed drawstrings.

    I recall as a young lad the sinking feeling upon seeing a bolt miss its target and disappear into undergrowth or bury itself in soft ground, never to be seen again!

    When I could finally obtain an air rifle (at age 18 in Ireland) I never bothered with a crossbow again.

  10. BB
    Definitely like the scope. The fps wheel is pretty cool. And it seems in this instance that a chrony is very important so you can adjust your scope fps for (each) bolt.

    Now this is how a combo package should be put together.

    And I wonder if there is a scope for air guns that has the ranging reticle and fps wheel. I would definitely like to try it if it’s out there.

    • GF1,

      I shot my WildFire with the scope on it yesterday and got about a 2″ group, 11 are in a 1.55 inch group. With more pellets and time to settle in after the last few surgeries it could get better with a 1.5 inch group typical. Here is the target.

      I have this scope on my Marauder and I love it. It does not have a velocity wheel but has a reticle that is similar to the one on the Sub-1 crossbow. I love the clarity and ability to have a reference for windage.


      I also shot some pellets from my shop air compressor yesterday see below.


      • Benji-Don

        So far so good with the scope then. At what distance was the 2″ group shot and is the target you posted of the shop air group? Fingers crossed for ya.


        • Half,

          That is 25 yards with the WildFire it is good enough for me. That is all I expected from the WildFire in accuracy. Eleven shots were in 1.55 inches.

          I had no way to aim the shots with the shop air compressor other than you would do with a blow gun. I used to be pretty accurate with a blow gun but not at 25 yards. I gave a report on the shop compressor test below on the blog.


          • Don,

            Many years ago I made a rig to hunt pigeons at work. I used a pressurized water can fire extinguisher as the air tank that got strapped to my back. I taped down its discharge handle and attached a shop air blow off nozzle to the hose.The barrel was made from a 36″ length of a material called Textilite that was formed as a tube 1/4″ ID and 1/2″ OD. It was used as an electrical insulator around bolts on the resistance spot welders that we used. It is basically linen cloth set in resin and has a very smooth slick surface. It made a great smooth bore barrel. I shot 1/4″ diameter steel dowel pins from it. The ideal length ended up being 3/8″ long. I could kill birds at 25 – 40 feet overhead. Got lots of shots with 130 psi air. I had to stop after I discovered that the misses and shoot throughs were putting holes in the tar and gravel covered corrugated steel roof of the factory. It would shoot a full length 1/8″ welding rod all the way through the corrugated steel wall of our welding booth at 25 feet. Fun times! 😉


        • Half,

          To answer your question from yesterday I have been filling the WildFire from a tank. I have a Benjamin pump as a backup now. I don’t think it would be any effort at all to fill the Wildfire from 1000 to 1500 psi with the pump. When I get time I will give it a fill and get back to you. I think Gunfun was filling his WildFire with a pump but I don’t remember how many pumps he needed for the fill. He is filling about the same pressures I am using. That is where I got the idea.


      • Benji-Don
        I have the 3-12 Hawke Varmint scopes on my Condor SS and the Gauntlet. They are half mildot reticles. They work well to for hold over or under and windage holds.

        And yep not bad with the WildFire. What magnification was you using with the scope?

        • GF1,

          It is a fixed 4 power scope. It was recommended by Halfstep I believe, although it may have been someone else. I like the scope for the price.



          • Don,

            If I didn’t recommend that scope to you then I dropped the ball. I don’t own stock in the company but I do own about six of the scopes. Just what an old pair of eyes needs to shoot at short range. I’m glad it works for you.


          • Benji-Don
            Here is a scope I have that’s been on different air guns throughout time. Costs a little more than the one you showed but still not bad on price. And very clear from 15-60 yards.

            But yep there are some good scopes out there that are a good bargain.

  11. Mr. Gaylord:
    It’s not likely that I could put an arrow into a barn door at 10 feet. So I’m not ever going to purchase a crossbow;especially a fancy one like the one you’re shooting. I leave those arrow shooting things to the crew’s archery coaches.
    But something you mentioned about the scope caught my attention. Are you going to go into more depth with the Hawke scope? While there are drop compensating scopes on the market for both air rifles and firearm rifles, I’m interested in the velocity ring feature. Is this a standard feature on archery scopes? Crossbow scopes?
    And doe it have any counterpart for application or air rifle scopes?
    William Schooley
    Rifle Coach
    Venture Crew 357
    Chelsea, MI

    • William,

      The velocity ring seems to be common of most of the upscale crossbow scopes. I think that’s because when you switch the target points with broadheads, they weigh more than the velocity decreases. You have to test this to determine what’s what.

      The archers reading this will have to comment on the scopes for bows.


  12. Good day to all. BB, two things you wrote here today struck a cord with me (no pun intended but hey, I got a two-fer!). First, when I set up targets on the range, rather than walking back to check the distance with my laser range finder, I carry it with me and sight back to the firing line. Saves numerous trips when I’m setting up 4 targets at different ranges to dial in my scope on the air rifle du jour. Second, my son was in his High School Marching Band and it did wonders for his self esteem and social skills, which needed help. As for me, attending a marching band competition induced heavy drinking. I can still hear some of the obscure songs the Band Coaches picked for their bands (any ever hear of Robert W. Smith?). Obviously, JP Sousa was a no-no.

    Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now in GA

      • It’s a FAKE! We changed the font on the shirt to this sometime in the 80’s. However, I have about 10 shirts in different colors in my draw, “slightly” worn of course and also two sweat shirts. I’ll sell for $35 per shirt, including shipping! Only large and I think, a few XL. Matter of fact, I’m wearing a long-sleeve, blue shirt as I type this!

        The Alley, by the way, is pretty much defunct as there hasn’t been a meeting or dinner since I moved to GA (I ran the Xmas dinner since 1982 and at times, had 150 riders attending). Started shortly after WW II and incorporated and registered with the AMA as Charter 46. I don’t know if we are still paying the Charter fees to the AMA. Used to hold the Alley Xmas dinner at Al Sadusky’s brake repair shop in Patterson, NJ but folks complained about the brake dust in the sandwiches and food. You just can’t please people.

        Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now in GA

  13. Hey B.B.,
    I’ve been a crossbow fan ever since my wife asked for a target crossbow and I bought her 90-pound recurve crossbow from Excalibur Crossbows.
    Lately, I have been thinking of making a crossbow, a medieval style one, just for fun; I got intrigued after reading and watching this set of videos from Nick (The Backyard Bowyer), a cool and knowledgeable guy.
    I’ll post the link below for anyone who is interested.
    Thanks, and keep up the good work!


  14. BB

    The sub 1 is impressive! Off topic question. What would you consider the minimum magnification for the purpose of range finding out to 50 yards? I know the favored scope for many field target shooters is the Sightron iii 10-50. I assume it is used on 50x for range finding as an ideal. At around $1000 one considers alternatives.

    One I am considering is the Mueller 8-32×44. I’ve read of it being used by a field target club on a loaner gun. Rimfire benchrest groups give it glowing reviews for clarity and repeatability. It will focus to 10 yds. Cost is around $200. Lifetime warranty by a USA distributor.

    I plan on setting up an informal field target course on my property. I think rangefinding with a scope will be a lot of fun. I’ll be setting up other guns for grandkids so cost is an issue.

    • Idaho,

      I used a 8-40 Tasco Custom Shop when I competed. It was good out to 45 yards but no farther. You need to be able to see a blade of grass clearly enough to focus on it to rangefind.

      The problem isn’t seeing, it’s light. When the power gets big that image gets dark. That’s where the money goes for the good optics and why airgunners are putting $2,400 Nightforce scopes on their guns.


      • BB

        If I recall you set it at about 30x to avoid the darkening at higher power. Was the 45 yd limit due to the 30x limitation?

        Anyone else using their scopes to range find?

        • Idaho,

          Yes, most days 30X was the best I could see in the woods. The b45 yards was due to the 30X. Some guys with younger eyes were using 24X out that far.

          About half the competitors in those days — maybe 20 shooters — used rangefinding.


  15. BB,

    Was the scope designed especially for the Sub-1? I noticed the 100 yd limit on the scope and my first thought was that 100 yd shooting is not considered realistic with most crossbows, is it? Where was the market for the scope before the introduction of the Sub-1? Does it – the bow – have contemporaries in it’s power class?


  16. GF1,

    We have been talking about shooting pellets with a typical shop air compressor. I did a test using two Benjamin Maximus barrels one in .177 and the other in .22 caliber. In both barrels I started out deep seating the pellets with a brass punch so the pellets sit 25.5 inches from the muzzle to the back edge of the pellet. My compressor is set at 125 psi. I used an air nozzle with a simple button as the valve. Did I get the valve open all the way by the time the pellet left the barrel? I have no idea. I had to connect the nozzle to the barrel after the pellet was loaded with a piece of hose and clamps. The tightening and loosening the clamp on the hose at the barrel was tedious and made for a drawn out test. I only short till I got one good reading for each pellet. More shots per pellet would make for a much better sample but this was a test of concept not for design.

    For the first test I used .177 Crosman Premier Hollow Points. I started this test using a .177 Breech from a 1377 to seat the pellet. That did not work because I did not have enough pressure 125 psi to push the pellet through the lead into the rifling. That is when I went with a deeper seat, so the punch. Once the pellet was seated in the rifling it shot with no problem.

    – The .177 CP HP pellet 7.9 gr shot 340 fps with an energy of 2.13 ft-lbs

    The nest pellet I tried for no particular reason was the Daisy Wadcutter pellets at 7.5 grains.

    – The .177 Daisy pellet 7.5 gr shot 337 fps with an energy of 1.89 ft-lbs

    Next I went to the .22 Crosman Premiers Hollow Point pellets at 14.3 gr.

    – The .22 CP HP pellet 14.3 gr shot 340 fps with an energy of 3.67 ft-lbs

    At this point I began to wonder if the velocity was based on the air pressure alone as I had basically infinite volume of air and was getting the same velocity with all three tests so far. At that point I decided to go with a heavy pellet for the last test. I used the H&N Rabbit pellet at 25.62 gr. This pellet did not move even with the deep seating. To get the pellet sized to the barrel I pushed it with a cleaning rod to about an inch of the muzzle and then pushed it back till it sit against the brass punch at the same 25.5 inches from the muzzle. That gave it the fit in the barrel that it needed to move down the barrel.

    – The .22 CP H&N Rabbit 25.62 gr shot 165 fps with an energy of 1.55 ft-lbs

    So there went my theory on the velocity staying the same. I don’t know if it was the mass or added friction from this heavy pellet that slowed the velocity but some of each I suspect. My guess is once it started moving it was the mass that reduced the acceleration causing the loss of ft-lbs energy. In theory it should be the friction causing the loss of resulting energy because energy in should equal energy out but there are a lot of variables involved.


    I think an pellet gun could easily be developed for target shooting at close range using a shop air compressor. The valve would need to be designed for the low pressure and use the infinite volume of air available. And the lead would need to be designed to allow the pellet to get moving before it hits the rifling. With the long barrel low power pistol velocities are possible and with a good target barrel and a constant/consistent air pressure available accuracy should be not problem. The one issue is friction between the barrel and the pellet.


    • Benji-Don
      You know what just came to mind.

      Get a smooth twist barrel from FX and give your shop compressor a try. That is what FX claims. That the smooth bore before the rifling at the muzzle end of the barrel is suppose to increase velocity.

    • Don,
      My guess is that when you moved up to the .22 pellet the friction increase by a factor of about two. That is based on the simple increase on the pellet diameter. It could be effected by the hardness of the lead alloy and the bearing surface area of the pellet design. Not o mention the different barrel, barrel roughness, potential of choke and a hundred other little things.
      You should try one of the really heavy pellets in the .177 to get rid of the pellet diameter increase…
      If you have the time and inclination.

      The really old big bores used some relatively low psi to move some big heavy slugs.

      Don’t see why a long barrel (maybe smooth twist) with the right chamber volume of “way” low pressure gas good spring rates or even a dump valve with lots of good flow wouldn’t work up to a point.


      • Shootsky,

        The friction is based on too many factors to calculate. I will give a try at measuring it with a scale at some point. The basic friction formula would be based on the area times the force against barrel times the friction coefficient. The area would be the area where the pellet touches the barrel. To simplify it (that means I don’t know the real numbers) the area would be based on the circumference of the pellet times the length touching the barrel. for the first three diabolo pellets the length touching the barrel is similar,

        For the two pellets it would be based on the following:
        inches…………inches…………sq inches……..psi……….pounds



        The circumference increases by 24% from .177 to .22 caliber.
        The Force increases by 54% from .177 to .22 caliber.

        I think that is why larger bores need less pressure to develop good energy.

        The point you make is a good one for the H&N Rabbit pellet cause it is much longer than the other diabolo pellets and has a much longer surface touching the barrel at each end. See the four pellets tested below. The H&N Rabbit is on the far right.


        • I should have differintated between the force of the pellet against the barrel and the pressure force on the pellet. In the table above the force is on the pellet. The air pressure times the bore area. That is the force pushing the pellet.

      • Shootski,

        It seems like you are describing a spud gun in the last paragraph. Or in the extreme a pumpkin cannon. Sorry I should not have brought those two guns up.


    • Don,

      Nice test. Thank you for doing it. I guess that I would have expected better results. You have explained why you thought it did not do better.

      My homemade air gun story was similar to Halfstep’s. 36″ steel tube, 1/4″ ID?, 16 penny framing nail, shop air at 120-150 psi. Wrapped the nail with bands of 3/8″ wide masking tape, front and rear to increase the OD and provide a seal. Aimed at a plastic trash can (like you might place curbside for trash) and it went clear through one side and all the way to the head on the other side. That was from 3′ away.

      Shop air has some power potential if harnessed correctly. Just think what a framing nailer can do.

  17. B.B,
    Great blog on the Crossbow! Accurate and repeatability are the key to my interests in hunting, target shooting and life in general. Enjoy that CB to the max!
    For all the fox interested in range estimation I found this for you to get started:


    Don’t laugh to loud it isn’t half bad.
    There are so many ays to estimate range and many courses are taught on how to do it better. One thing seems to come up in all of them! It takes practice, practice and lots more practice once you have the basics.
    If B.B. agrees and you all chime in on the level of interest I could do a guest blog on the basics that I learned from a really in depth USMC class I was required to take on range estimation.


  18. I’ve been searching for information regarding the scopes used for field target. I mean the open class that allows the use of scopes for range finding.

    I figured it would be easy to find a list of competition winners and their equipment but so far no luck. I found it for benchrest but that’s completely different. I may find it with further searching but I’m wondering if any of the readers have input on this subject.

    If you saw this question on my comments for BB please put answers here so they don’t get into both comment areas.

  19. Mike

    I had read the report by BB but did not follow the link.
    The match report is exactly what I wanted. Nothing like seeing the rubber meet the road. Interesting to see the variety use to win.
    Much appreciated.

    • Idaho,

      Mark Mayer with a Daystate Air Wolf, if I remember right you have that one.

      I think .177 may have an advantage with a flatter trajectory and being smaller might hit the kill zone while a .22 might clip the edge and not drop the target. The .22 on the other hand will buck the wind better.

      Bottom line the gunner who knows his stuff and can shoot will win, place or show.


  20. Mike

    I have the Wolverine in .22. I think it will be fine for my purpose. I found some strong knockdown targets.
    I’ll get .177 for the grandkids so I can claim they have an edge 🙂

    • Siraniko,

      No doubt a case of forgetting to set the auto-post time (or) setting it for the wrong time. That has always been the case in the past and hopefully is this time. This is the first thing I go to in the morning with my first cup of coffee.

  21. I see over at HAM that they announced a book for the Gauntlet available on Amazon. 90 pages and 8 1/2″ x 11″. 20$.

    Now THAT! is the way to launch a new air gun! Maybe something similar will be happening with other new releases from other makers?

    • Chris
      That is interesting.

      I will probably get the book just to see how well it matches up with what I see out of owning one and what other people here on the blog say. Or if there other things found that we haven’t seen.

      And yes I would like to see that happen more.

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