Beeman QB Chief precharged pneumatic rifle: Part 2

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.

51 thoughts on “Beeman QB Chief precharged pneumatic rifle: Part 2

  1. That is a shame for this rifle, and Beeman, with as long as the QB line has been around, you would think they would have gotten it right, or close to right from the factory.

    With the linear velocity drop you think it’s possible they kept the same Co2 valving and spring setup from the regular QB line, and just secured the valve and put a HPA tube on the gun?

    With no thoughts to the smaller air molecule, or more air volume consumed per shot.

    But, as much as it pains me to say this about the Beeman name, with its long rich history in airguns,
    It is the same company that brought us the dual barreled abominiation of an air rifle we discussed in yesterday’s blog, and the springer with interchangeable .177 & .22 barrels, held in place with one set screw.

    45 Bravo


    • 45Bravo,

      I could be wrong, but that “dual barrel abomination” would just about have to be a collectors item. One,.. it is odd. Two,.. perhaps very few were ever made. I am not a collector, so I passed at the time. It would be interesting to do a hard search and see if one could still turn up new and in stock somewhere.


      • Chris,

        I believe that from a collector’s point of view that abomination is strictly for the oddity of it as it will likely never have a financial return, no matter how rare it may become.


      • That’s what I said yesterday. In 20 years it may be on the collectors radar as a short run gun.

        B.B. with his insight into the way things work in the airgun world may be able to give us a ballpark idea of the number that would have to be ordered to manufacture something this far from SMK’s normal airgun tooling.

        What would you think, 1000, 2000, 5000 pieces?

        There are some out there in reviewers hands.
        And undoubtedly in the hands of some shooters, but I am sure some collectors have bought a few to hide away for a decade or two.

        45 Bravo



        • Here’s the problem with rarity equaling a rise in value, the dual caliber Beeman is available at Wall world. In other words there’s probably millions of them out there. So much for becoming a collectors item.


          • Toddspeed,

            I always look at Walmart expecting that I will see one. A perfect “fit” ehh? 😉 No such luck. My local Wally is nice, but I pass a bigger one on the way to/home from work. It DOES offer more in choice. It would be interesting to know the #’s of sales.

            If truth be told?,…. it could be that the marketer’s are smarter than we are? Gimmick sells. Maybe far bigger than we would like to admit.


            • I’ve been to every Waly in my area, at least 4 of them, in search of Crosman .22 domes. I’ve always found the same thing, no domes only HPs, and a Beeman dual caliber. Usually next to a swarm Maxim .177.


              • If you want to see what the store has available check out the web site. You can order an M-rod and hand pump for in store pick up but I am not recommending you do that. Support the source of this blog first.
                Gerald


          • I wasn’t talking about the dial caliber rifle with interchangeable .177&.22 barrels.

            I was talking about a dual barrel over and under rifle that beeman released in 2016 and B.B. reviewed that same year.

            You loaded a pellet in each barrel, it fired both barrels at the same time.

            With no way to fire only 1 barrel.

            So if you loaded only one barrel the velocity was severely reduced as the air was just blown out the barrel with no pellet.

            Also, the barrels were regulated (aligned) at the factory so you as a end user had no way of making the pellets converge at your point of aim.


      • ChrisUSA,
        I would like to be one of the 22/177 double barreled Beeman. The oddity appeals to me. Sadly they were not to found. I had the opportunity to get the double 177 but that I don’t want.


  2. You are a bloody genius BB. My first thought looking at that first string would have been, “Huh? and my second would have been, “Am I firing a CO2 gun too fast?” but you nailed it straight away.


  3. B.B.,

    Very nice. Having read the blog daily now for several years,.. this is the first time that I recall this being shown/explained/tested in this way. Bravo to you! 🙂

    The flip side would be if the heavy pellet would be the least accurate. At least the spread was cut down and that is always a good thing. At least you know that it likes a heavy pellet. Yup on the chrony!

    I am with you on controlling trigger over travel. I find it to help me a lot, while some people do not seem to care. I kind of liken it to stepping off a curb that you did not see. Like a brief free fall if you will.

    Good Day to you and to all,…… Chris


  4. BB,

    Today’s report illustrates why we read this daily. You have gleaned so much knowledge from your years of experience and also have the talent to disseminate this knowledge in an entertaining fashion. No, you may not know all there is about airguns, but your willingness to share what you have and also provide us an opportunity to also share what little tidbits we have gathered along the way is what makes this blog such a wonderful experience for all.

    As for this air rifle, it would seem to be not as well suited for the beginner as it should be. But then again as has been pointed out previously, the new Beeman seems to be trying to capitalize on their name to sell high profit margin products. My self, being a late arrival to the airgun world, would rather buy a Weihrauch branded air rifle than the same air rifle with a higher price tag just because it says Beeman on it.


    • +1 on RR:
      “Today’s report illustrates why we read this daily. You have gleaned so much knowledge from your years of experience and also have the talent to disseminate this knowledge in an entertaining fashion.”

      Mostly, I lurk and learn. B.B. You were so right on when you said that I wanted a tool. Still do, still trying to find the perfect (Ha!) tool. But rather than being frustrated, I’m enjoying the learning curve, thanks in large part to you and to the posters on the blog.

      Thanks All.

      GrandPa Dan


      • GrandpaDan,

        I know you and I were both searching for a “tool” that we could just shoot and would be accurate without having to use a special technique. Well, my search is over. In March I made a decision to buy a PCP as recommended by some very experienced airgunners on the blog. As you may recall, I just wanted an accurate airgun that I could use to dispatch house sparrows that were harassing my bluebirds.

        After a lot of consideration I chose the Gamo Urban, a UTG 3-12x44SWAT scope, and a cheap Taousa HPA hand pump. So far I have dispatched several starlings and a few sparrows from my feeders. I’ve not had much of chance to shoot the Urban outside at longer ranges yet but I am looking forward to doing that. I have a range setup in my basement which is 17 yards. I am able to hit a 1/4″ dot most of the time using the JSB Heavy 18.13g pellet. I get 25-30 good shots on a fill and using the hand pump presents no problem for me. For the way I use the Urban, the hand pump works perfectly well. My Diana 34P springer is now resting in my gun cabinet. The Urban is much lighter, shorter, and a lot easier to maneuver for a quick shot. I purchased the Urban and all the accessories for $510. I did later have to order some BKL offset rings in order to achieve a good eye relief. It’s perfect now and this setup is exactly what I wanted, and needed to get the job done. I love it. 🙂

        Geo


  5. B.B.,

    Analyzing the pellet behavior from the velocities obtained tells me they did very little homework in producing this item. This might have went toe to toe with the Discovery when it was first introduced, but at this time when the new market is PCPs with regulators and silencers, this is not going to sell well. At the minimum they have to choke down that transfer port which they seem to be using the size meant for CO2. That one change can increase the number of shots and decrease some of the blast. The more difficult part will be modifying the valve and balancing the springs of the striker and valve. Maybe on its next iteration. A little too late now that it has been released to the market.

    Siraniko


    • Siraniko,

      I like your assessment… looks like they took a decent 750-850 fps rifle and (brutally) over-tuned it to satisfy the marketing “speed sells” mantra. The rifle should perform properly with mid-range pellets.

      Waiting for Part 3 to see if in addition to shot-count and loudness they sacrificed accuracy for fps as well.

      The overall appearance of the QB Chief is very nice (traditional) which suits my tastes. Like you I wonder if they will “fix” the design in the next iteration.

      Cheers!
      Hank


      • Hank,

        That will be Part 4 because I’m doing the trigger in Part 3.

        The maker didn’t purposely over-tune this rifle. They just built it and it is what it is. I suppose some buyers impressed them with the need for speed and they pulled out all the stops. But nobody tuned this gun. It’s like Topsy — never born, just always was.

        B.B.


        • Thanks B.B.

          Always like when you get inside of the rifles, will be watching for the Trigger post.

          Many times I have seen when one requirement gets too much attention it compromises the balance of the whole design.

          Beeman may not of started with a moderate power rifle and tuned it up but it appears ( from the components and working pressures) that the QB Chief might be happier in the 750-850 fps range.

          Hank


      • Vana2/Hank,

        I don’t hear much complaining lately regarding QB series inaccuracy. Here’s to hoping that they have figured that out and have become more consistent in making barrels. Then again in pursuit of the price line they may have sacrificed that too. Just look at the market building on this platform. With that many manufacturers grabbing a piece of the pie, whoever is last may be scraping the bottom of the barrel.

        Siraniko


  6. B.B.,

    This air rifle seems to be one that really needs to be .22 or .25, not .177.

    Would you consider doing a report in which you detail adjusting the crossbow style trigger?

    Michael


  7. B.B.
    WOW. Well that was a big let down. I was really pulling for this one. Even if it’s accurate, I don’t think this gun fits the entry level PCP class. Darn, I loved the looks of her too. Be nice if it was detuned. Thanks as always for telling just how it is. Hoping this gun you are testing is just a one off, for the newbies to PCP that buy her.

    Doc



  8. BB,

    Just curious. What approach you would take to detune this gun for a medium weight pellet. Lighten hammer spring? Lighten hammer itself? Smaller transfer port? Get inside the valve and go with heavier spring? Some of each?

    What single thing would you expect to give a meaningful improvement in shot count and shot to shot consistency, if those two results aren’t mutually exclusive?

    Half


    • Half,

      I would examine the action first and go from there. The striker spring is the easiest to modify and that might be first. Lightening the striker can be coupled with lightening the valve return spring if the transfer port isn’t too large. It would take some assessment.

      B.B.


      • BB

        Thanks for the feedback. I recently lowered the velocity and raised the shot count on my stormrider by lightening the striker spring and making the the transfer port smaller. I soldered the port closed with 50/50 lead tin solder and drilled it out in increments until I got the results I wanted. Do you think that sort of material in the port will hold up over time? I didn’t care much how it turned out on that gun but it seemed like something I may want to try on a more valuable gun to me in the future. I’d value your opinion.

        Half


  9. B.B.,

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge, most of what I learned about air guns was self taught. Some of it was god some not so good. I learn something every day on your blog both from your reports and from the comments.

    Thanks
    Don


    • That got scrambled. Most of what i learned about air guns was self taught by trial and error before I started reading your blog. Should be good not god.


  10. BB
    The FX Monsoons that I had. To get them to shoot correct the weight of the pellet and fill pressure was very critical. Definitely not a beginner’s gun.

    The pressure behind the pellet had to be right to cycle the bolt for it’s semi-auto shooting. To light of a pellet and there wasn’t enough resistance behind the pellet to cycle the bolt correctly. Then also fill pressure came into play to get usable shot count and also if you got fill pressure to high the striker wouldn’t hit the valve hard enough to cycle the bolt.

    So it definitely was a balance to get those gun’s to shoot right.

    But from what I see about the Chief if you fill it to a given fill pressure and use whatever pellet weight you choose. You should still get a fair amount of usable shots. The next step to see how many usable shots it gets is shoot at some paper. If your poi stays good for say 20 shots from a given full fill pressure down to your end fill pressure. Well that’s what the gun is. To me that’s just what a normal basic PCP is about. You have to do that to any pcp to get the sweet spot figured out on fill pressure. Then see what pellets shoot the most accurate.

    If a PCP only gets 15 shots with out poi change than that’s what it is if it doesn’t have adjustments. If it gets 25 shots well even better.

    I’m waiting to see how the Chief does in the accuracy department. But for what it is so far it seems like a basic PCP to me. Sounds to me like we’re getting spoiled by the price point pcp’s already.


  11. B.B.

    Off topic-

    How about a report or series on the “air cannons” that you see at many sporting events that shot t-shirts and whatnot into the crowd? I saw one last night that looked like a gatling gun, plus the single shot hand held ones…

    -Yogi


  12. I said earlier that the loudness of the Chief killed it for me, but the funny thing is I actually came into a Chief cheap a few weeks ago because it wouldn’t cock consistently. It was so loud I never even scoped it and it has been sitting in my basement since then, but I decided to fix it and get it ready to sell. I got the 3.5lb trigger down to under a pound, added a bit of oil to the sears and the problem was fixed.

    Then I scoped it and sighted it in. I shot it at 30 yards and stopped after five shots because it was an incredible group and I didn’t want to spoil it! I would have shot another group but a friend came over and shot it and he got the best group of his life!

    The vertical spread of his 5 shot group was 0.03″ CTC and 0.11″ wide CTC. Mine was 0.10″ CTC and pretty round. Now I don’t know what to do with the gun. It’s too accurate to sell and too loud to shoot!


    • Rambler,

      Look at what B.B. said earlier:

      B.B. Pelletier
      May 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm
      Half,
      I would examine the action first and go from there. The striker spring is the easiest to modify and that might be first. Lightening the striker can be coupled with lightening the valve return spring if the transfer port isn’t too large. It would take some assessment.
      B.B.

      Couple these with an LDC might take the blast from the Chief and make it something you can use enjoyably.

      Siraniko



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