by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman PCP
Beeman QB Chief precharged pneumatic air rifle.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • 2018 Texas Airgun Show
  • Velocity day
  • Crosman Premier lites
  • Discussion 1
  • Hang in there
  • H&N Baracuda Match
  • Super heavyweight pellet
  • Loud
  • Trigger pull
  • Discussion 2
  • Summary

2018 Texas Airgun Show

The 2018 Texas Airgun Show is approaching fast. It’s on Saturday, June 23. The hall is already filled with dealers and they are now selling spaces on the veranda outside. There are new private vendors attending this year, plus the prizes and giveaways have increased! Pyramyd Air has donated a TX200 Mark III for the raffle! They also donated 20 John Wayne Lil Duke BB guns that we are planning for a special giveaway just for kids. This is the most active selling and shooting airgun show in the country, and if you have always wanted to see a show, this would be the one to attend.

Velocity day

Today we look at the velocity of the Beeman QB Chief precharged pneumatic air rifle. You may remember that I doubted the claim of 50 shots on a 2000 psi fill. The size of the air reservoir doesn’t seem large enough to support that. We will find out today.

Crosman Premier lites

First up was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier pellet. Let me show you the string before I discuss the average of the first 10 shots.

Shot……..Velocity
1…………..1008
2…………..1000
3…………..997
4…………..994
5…………..985
6…………..977
7…………..962
8…………..954
9…………..965
10…………958

The average for this string was 980 f.p.s. But that average does not represent the string very well. It’s more of the median (the number in the middle of the string) than a representative average, though it is indeed the average for that string. At that average this pellet generates 16.85 foot pounds.

This first string of 10 shots represents a 54 f.p.s. drop in velocity. I will now address what is happening.

Discussion 1

The valve in the rifle has not been tuned for pellets this light. The striker spring is too strong for the valve and, as a result, almost every shot will be a lower velocity. I do see shot 9 was a small increase, but that stands out as an exception.

I used to see this kind of performance from Korean precharged pneumatic repeaters that were set up for raw power — rifles like the lever action Career 707. They might get 80 foot-pounds on the first shot and 50 foot-pounds by shot 10.

Let’s continue the string and see where this goes.

Shot……..Velocity
11…………949
12…………941
13…………933
14…………919
15…………916
16…………899
17…………880
18…………884
19…………884
20…………868

So, the velocity continues to drop in an almost straight line. Based on my experience with these airguns, I believe that if the rifle were tuned to deliver shots with this pellet at 885-900 f.p.s. it probably would get at least 20 good shots per fill. As it stands, it has lost 140 f.p.s. over the first 20 shots. Ain’t NO WAY this rifle can get 50 shots on a fill with this pellet as it now stands.

Hang in there

Okay, this looks bad, but really it isn’t as bad as you may think. Let’s see how the rifle does with a much heavier pellet. I refilled the reservoir to 2,000 psi.

H&N Baracuda Match

The next pellet I tested was the H&N Baracuda Match with a 4.50mm head. It weighs 10.65 grains. Let’s look at the string.

Shot……..Velocity
1…………..947
2…………..944
3…………..934
4…………..935
5…………..925
6…………..913
7…………..913
8…………..909
9…………..902
10…………889

We see the same sort of linear drop but with this pellet the drop seems to go slower and there are a couple places where it stays steady or reverses. Is the rifle is set up better for a heavier pellet? The average is 921 f.p.s., which is in the center of the string once again. At the average velocity this pellet generates 20.06 foot pounds.

The total velocity drop is 58 f.p.s., which is similar to the drop with Premiers, so the answer to this heavy pellet has to be no. But are we on the right track?

Super heavyweight pellet

I wondered how the Chief would perform with a super heavyweight pellet, so I tried the JSB Exact Beast next. In .177 caliber these weigh 16.2 grains. And I refilled the rifle for this test.

Shot……..Velocity
1…………..796
2…………..798
3…………..802
4…………..792
5…………..801
6…………..795
7…………..804
8…………..792
9…………..799
10…………800

Finally, here is a pellet that stabilizes the powerplant. The average for this string is 798 f.p.s. and it is representative of what the rifle will do on a full fill with this pellet. At the average velocity this pellet generates 22.91 foot pounds.

The spread here is only 12 f.p.s., which is very good. I had to try the next 10 shots without refilling.

Shot……..Velocity
11…………782
12…………772
13…………768
14…………780
15…………DNR
16…………775
17…………750
18…………736
19…………728
20…………726

Okay, the second string was slower. However, it is still fairly tight until shot number 17, at which point the rifle obviously fell off the power curve. The max spread of the first 16 shots is 32 f.p.s. If this doesn’t convince you of the need for a chronograph, nothing will!

Loud

This PCP is very loud! I have become so used to PCPs that are silenced that I forgot how loud they can be. This one will scare the neighbors. I will say, though, that it was a little less loud when shooting the Beast pellets.

Trigger pull

I did not adjust the trigger for today’s report. It is light but vague, breaking at 2 lbs. 4 oz. I would at least like to adjust the trigger overtravel to stop the blade after the release.

Discussion 2

I am finding the Beeman QB Chief not as well set up out of the box for general shooting as other low-priced precharged rifles. However, it is well made and would be good for someone who would spend the time to tune it down for a decent shot count. I would not tune it for the Beasts, but perhaps for the Baracudas going around 800 f.p.s. I think 20+ shots per fill might be very possible at that point, and you would have a 15 foot-pound rifle.

Summary

I am not going to tune or adjust this air rifle. I’m going to continue testing it for accuracy with both the open sights and with a scope. Is it a good entry point for people wanting to get into precharged guns? I’m not thinking so at this juncture, but let’s hold off judgement until we have seen the accuracy. I do think the rifle has a lot of potential for the person willing to work with it.