by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
TexanSS big bore air rifle from AirForce.
This report covers:
- First comments
- Bubble Leveler
- Collar Buttons are a no-go at 100 yards
- 210 SWC is still a great bullet
- Balle Blondeau
- 355-grain flat point dogbone
- Ton shoots at 100 yards
- One more test
I had the Umarex Gauntlet out to shoot at 50 yards last week but the day was just too windy. Once I got it sighted-in for 50 yards the wind picked up and blew the pellets all around. I wanted this test to be a good one between the magazine and the single-shot tray, and it wasn’t going to happed this day. So I brought out the TexanSS that has no difficulty shooting in the wind.
Today I will show you how the AirForce TexanSS big bore performs at 100 yards. I have spent several days at the range to get today’s results. That’s why it took me so long.
I will first tell you that the TexanSS is a very well-developed air rifle. The gun shoots a wide range of bullet weights, as long as the bullet diameters are 0.457 or 0.458-inches. There are a lot of .45 caliber bullets out there that aren’t those sizes and you shouldn’t waste your time with them.
The trigger works well. It’s not adjustable but it’s as fine a trigger (both light and crisp) as I have seen on any big bore. The power adjuster works well, though the SS needs it to be set around the 3/4-power level or higher. It’s more sensitive to adjustment than the Texan, which I guess is due to the shorter barrel. I will also tell you that although this SS is not silent, it is remarkably quiet for a big bore rifle of this power (up to 400 foot pounds).
As I mentioned in Part 4 I installed the 4-16X56 UTG Bubble Leveler scope on the rifle. I put the bubble in the center of the vertical crosshair for every shot, knowing I am removing all scope cant from the equation. If that doesn’t mean much to you read this report. At $225, there isn’t a scope on the market that can match the optical clarity and quality of this one — and that’s without the bubble!
Collar Buttons are a no-go at 100 yards
First I will tell you that the collar button and short dumbbell bullets that did so well at 50 yards did not hold up at 100. That was one whole day at the range. I hoped they would astound us, after seeing them perform at 50 yards. But they opened dramatically and gave groups of 7-10 inches.
210 SWC is still a great bullet
Next I tried the Tin Starr 210-grain semi-wadcutter that did so well in the Texan. These did well at 50 yards in the TexanSS. They also performed well at 100. Knowing that the first two shots after the fill were the best, I shot one bullet, then refilled and shot two more. After those two I refilled again and fired the final two bullets. All five bullets were shot on the first or second shots after a fill. After a careful sight-in the first five shots for record went into 2.704-inches at 100 yards. Any one of them would have taken a deer-sized animal.
After seeing those shots I adjusted the scope again and fired five more. These were also fired as one shot then a fill and two more and another fill and the last two. These landed higher and are more centered on the bull but not quite as tight, at 3.215-inches between centers. Once again, five killing shots.
Because I was testing, I did not spend the time to fine-tune the adjustment wheel. It worked well enough at 50 yards with this bullet and I had a lot of testing left to do, so I left it where it was. Undoubtedly if this was the only bullet I shot in this rifle, the power could be fine-tuned for just it.
Johnny Hill of Tin Starr Bullets (817-594-8511) has been working with me throughout the Texan and TexanSS tests. He is the one who suggested the 210-grain SWC that is so accurate. Well, I discussed the Balle Blondeau-style shotgun slug of the 1960s with him and he liked it.
The Balle Blondeau shotgun slug revolutionized the world of shotgun hunting in the 1960s. It can do the same thing for big bore airguns today.
The Balle Blondeau shotgun slug flies straight and true over long distances, due to high drag on its tail.
Johnny tried several designs to see if these were as good as I said. The collar buttons were first, but the flying dumbbells that were so accurate at 50 yards were another successful part of that research. Johnny guessed they wouldn’t shoot well at longer distances because of their lack of weight, though, and they didn’t. He reckoned that a longer and heavier slug was needed — just like the Balle Blondeau. Enter the 355-grain pure lead flat point dogbone!
This is a pure lead bullet, so it will be faster than a bullet with antimony. The harder bullets may look better — these shoot better! I held off reporting the 100-yard test until I could test these for you. Unfortunately on the day I shot this bullet, I was at my buddy Otho’s house. The target was measured by laser as 93 yards distant. The 210-grain bullets had been shot at my club’s rifle range and were exactly 100 yards.
The first shot didn’t even hit the target box the paper target was taped to. Shot number two missed, as well. I had the target box sitting under a gong target, so I held on the top of the gong, knowing I could hear the bullet if it hit metal. Instead, the bullet landed 18 inches below my aim point, striking the target. From there it was easy to adjust the scope to hit the target. Then I fired five shots for record.
The first shot wasn’t loaded deep into the breech, but I thought it would be okay. That was a mistake I was to discover in a bit. That first shot hit high on the bull. The next 4 shots were all seated deep in the breech and landed together about 4 inches below the first one. Shots 2 through 5 are grouped in 2.892-inches between centers. That’s very good, but that first shot had me buffaloed until I spoke to Ton Jones at AirForce.
Ton shoots at 100 yards
Ton told me in his experience this 355-grain Tin Starr flat point dogbone is extremely accurate at 100 yards, as long as it is seated consistently deep. He said the bullet holes of the first and second shots will touch at that distance. I asked him to test it for me. Yesterday he did that. He sent me a picture of 7 shots at 100 yards that is better than the 6 shots I had fired with the Texan several years ago. And his distance was a true hundred yards, as measured by laser. Since we know an American quarter is just under an inch in diameter, this 7-shot group has to be around 1.25 inches at 100 yards.
Ton seats each bullet to the same depth, which is the base of the bullet. He doesn’t want to allow the bullet to cock sideways inside the bore and the two driving bands prevent that. If he can’t seat the bullet that deep he blows the shot off. That impressed me, because it’s the same sort of thing a blackpowder shooter would do.
One more test
I will test the TexanSS one more time, and this time I will seat the 355-grain flat point dogbone bullets consistently deep to their base. I have the power adjustment dialed in correctly (I think). Now it’s time to get the seating right, as well. Stay tuned!