My day at Sig Sauer: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

ASP20
Sig Sauer’s new ASP20 gas spring breakbarrel air rifle breaks ground in many areas!

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Why a gas spring?
  • Trigger
  • Why a breakbarrel?
  • Does the ASP20 have an internal shock absorber?
  • On with the build
  • Final assembly — the stock
  • The barrel
  • Off to the range
  • Shooting sensation
  • Cocking effort
  • Accuracy
  • Whisky 3 ASP 4-12X44 scope
  • Summary

Boy, is there a LOT of interest in this new rifle! You guys are asking a lot of very good questions about the new ASP20 breakbarrel rifle, as you should. I will begin by addressing some of the most prominent ones.

Why a gas spring?

Some call it a gas piston, others say gas ram, but we are all referring to the gas spring (the industry term for a spring that uses compressed gas in place of a coiled steel spring to do its job). Gas springs replace coiled steel mainsprings in spring-piston airguns. They are more modern and easier to make and obtain, they don’t take a set if left compressed, they are less susceptible to cold and, if the design is right, they are smoother operating. They also eliminate several parts that rattle and they remove some weight from the powerplant.

Trigger

Why does the trigger stop at 2.5 pounds on the lower end? Someone yesterday said they wished the trigger adjusted down to 6 ounces like a Rekord, but the only Rekord that does that safely is the target Rekord found in the HW55. The standard Rekord stops at about a pound. Messing with screw 51B (the sear contact area) is dangerous! The Diana T06 is about the same, if not a little heavier on the low end.

When a trigger breaks cleanly, 2.5 pounds is very light. For a trigger on a hunting rifle generating 20+ foot-pounds, it’s as light as you need. Remember, when it’s cold your fingers will loose sensitivity. I’m sure there will be discussion about this, but that is the reason.

Why a breakbarrel?

Several readers asked why Sig didn’t just make a sidelever or an underlever — assuming those designs are somehow better. Sig designed this breakbarrel to be just as accurate as any sidelever or underlever and to save a couple pounds of weight and some cost at the same time. If they got it right, a breakbarrel was the way to go. We shall see how they did today.

Does the ASP20 have an internal shock absorber?

There is no internal shock absorber in the ASP20. You only need that when there is vibration to be absorbed. The ASP20 doesn’t vibrate, so nothing is needed. The Anschütz 250 (a target rifle of the 1960s) had an internal shock absorber, yet was well-known for its vibration. It’s better to design the gun right than to build in gimmicks that fix the problems.

On with the build

We left off yesterday with the powerplant being assembled. I didn’t cover the silencer/moderator/lead dust collector (ha ha!) on the front of the barrel. It is indeed an active silencer that contains three synthetic spools that look like old-fashioned hair curlers.

ASP20 silencer spools
Three synthetic spools snap together to make up the backbone of the ASP20 silencer.

ASP20 silencer wrap
Each spool is wrapped with felt. The small spiny projections on the spool hold the wrap in place.

Final assembly — the stock

I have passed by many things in assembly that are standard. I wanted to hit the high points of innovation for you, and even that has taken a long time. Now it’s time to drop the barreled action into a stock.

Some readers have commented on the strange shape of the stock. Sig patterned it after the German SSG 3000 sniper rifle stock. The first offering of the ASP20 will be in a black wood stock. Why? Because wood is easier to profile than injection molds are to fabricate. Instead of spending many tens of thousands of dollars creating the mold parts for a synthetic stock, Sig decided to launch the rifle with the wood stock first.

ASP20 stock
The barreled action fits in the stock in the conventional way.

They are still refining small design decisions for the synthetic stock, like should they offer an adjustable comb/cheekpiece as an option? They have already put in the design elements necessary to make the adjustable comb possible, but these mold parts take a long time to fabricate and wood is quicker to bring to market. So, Mrs. Calabash — do you want the rifle in September/October, or can you wait until next February? I’m making those dates up, but they represent the kind of timeframe the SigAir team is wrestling with. I shot the rifle in a wood stock and that is what I am about to report. It’s also on the rifle that I will test for you.

The barrel

We left the plant floor and returned to the conference room for a final discussion and presentation before adjourning to the range. This was where I got to ask about the barrel.

Sig rifles their own barrels. They use precision-honed seamless tubing. Do you remember the Benjamin Maximus and the fact that it has a slightly more accurate barrel than the Discovery? Honing before rifling is the reason. Most airgun barrels are rifled from seamless tubing that is held to a tight tolerance in manufacture. But, as tight as they hold the dimensions, reaming and honing the tubing makes it more uniform. It costs more to do it that way and the improvement in accuracy isn’t that great, but it is there.

Next I asked about the breech. Is there a leade (a taper to the rifling at the breech) to help with loading the pellet? Yes there is. There is a two-part leade that tapers gradually into the rifling.

The barrel has 12 lands and grooves, which is pretty standard for an air rifle. The twist is 1 turn in 450 mm which is 1:17.72-inches. I know for a fact that Lothar Walther uses the same twist rate in some of their airgun barrels.

The barrel is not choked. I asked, and Ed sort of smiled. He said, “After you shoot it today, you tell me if you think it needs to be choked.”

ASP20 barrel
We saw a sectioned barrel, but it did not show the breech.

Off to the range

After lunch we boarded Sig7, their black SUV, and headed to the range 7 miles away. On a 300-acre campus, Sig has put more than 40 firearm ranges that run from 15 yards to 1,000 yards. The public is welcome to attend special classes given on these ranges, and several times while I was in New Hampshire people outside our tour group, seeing the SIG logo on shirts and such, came up and volunteered that they had attended one or more classes and loved them! Even the desk clerk at the hotel where I stayed said the same thing when I checked in. If I lived in the area I know I would attend.

The ranges are also used for law enforcement and the military, and there were a couple ranges we were not allowed to see. Is this where where covert things are practiced? They run the ranges day and night and use cars, buildings and other structures to simulate real life. I jokingly asked where the Las Vegas cop had learned to shoot through his windshield while driving, and a particular range was pointed out!

We shot airguns on an indoor range that goes to 50 yards. Needless to say the ASP20 was first on the list, but, as there were only two firing positions and more than 8 of us, we took turns. Terry Doe volunteered to go first and Ed Schultz volunteered me. Great! Me, next to a world champion shooter. I guess Ed wanted some balance.

Shooting sensation

I started with the .177 caliber rifle. Shooting was off a bench that had a semi-hard bag for a rest. Knowing that a gas spring rifle needs the artillery hold, I assumed that hold immediately.

ASP20 Tom shoots 1
I started out shooting with an artillery hold.

The trigger was set with a medium length first stage, which is how I like it. And the safety is manual. Take it off and act like a big boy. Put it back on when you need to — not when the nanny committee thinks you should!

The rifle had been sighted-in so all I had to do was aim and shoot. The second stage of the trigger broke crisply — as nice as a T06 trigger, if a trifle heavier. And then came the sensation of firing.

There was a little recoil jolt and no vibration. I mean none — as in zero, zip, nada, null, void of, and lacking in all respects. If the rifle hadn’t jolted, I wouldn’t have known that it fired. I would compare the firing sensation to my R8 or to a tuned HW50.

After my first shot I turned to Ed Schultz who was watching my target through a spotting scope and I told him this is the first gas spring air rifle that hasn’t slapped my cheek when it fired! It feels like a TX200 Mark III, which I guess is the point. Remember that synthetic ring at the rear of the piston? A large part of the lack of vibration is due to that. Not all, though. Sig has paid scrupulous attention to every detail in this rifle, to make it shoot smooth.

Cocking effort

At dinner that evening I talked with Sig engineer Kris Kras, who told me Ed had requested up front they design a breakbarrel with a cocking effort of under 40 pounds. Kris developed a mathematical model that predicted a 36 pound effort, based on the design, and when they first tested the prototype it was 35 pounds. The production rifles are coming off the line at bang-on 35 lbs. cocking effort.

While that number sounds high after all I have said about the rifle being the new FWB 124, you have to remember — this one gets 20+ foot-pounds in .177 and 23 foot-pounds in .22! Any other air rifle in this category would cock with around 50 pounds effort, if not more. There were three women shooting with us this day and all of them were finding the rifle easy to cock. A couple who aren’t airgunners had to learn to hold the barrel at the muzzle to use all the leverage, but they did it without complaint. Would less cocking effort be better? Sure. I would also like to weigh 160 pounds, have hair and have a sixpack instead of a keg, but the laws of physics and nature have to be obeyed! (rim shot!)

Discharge sound

At this point I started listening to Terry’s rifle as he shot. You cannot tell how loud a spring gun is when you shoot it yourself, because most of the noise is in the powerplant — not coming out the muzzle. The sound travels through your cheekbones right to your ears and the rifle sounds loud. When someone else shoots, you hear how it really sounds and the ASP20 is not that bad. It is certainly quieter than any other 20+ foot-pound spring rifle that hasn’t been tuned. I would put the discharge as equal to my Diana 34P that I tuned with a Vortek spring kit. That rifle also doesn’t vibrate and vibration is where most of the noise comes from. Is it backyard friendly? That depends on the yard, your neighbors and where you live.

Accuracy

Okay — I have waved the big juicy sirloin steak in front of you dogs for three days now and I got you slobbering all over yourselves. I will make this pretty brief because I am still going to thoroughly test the ASP20 in .22 caliber for you. And, I will remain as skeptical as I always am when testing.

I started shooting with the ,177 caliber rifle at a target just 7 yards away, to verify that the scope was sighted for me. I hit just to the right of the aim point and at the same level. Then I reached out to 35 yards and shot a couple, all the while being amazed that the powerplant is as smooth as it is. Definitely no slapping of the cheek when this rifle fires. Then I shot it a couple times at 50 yards. I probably put 3 or 4 into 1.5 inches. Remember — I was using the artillery hold. That fact is about to become important.

Ed then asked me if I would like to try the .22 caliber rifle. He felt it was a touch smoother, which it is. That’s why I asked for a .22 caliber to test 6 months ago when Sig asked me which I preferred. At this power level the larger caliber is always a trifle smoother.

Remember, too, that Terry Doe, a world champion airgunner, was shooting on the bench next to me. I looked over at him and, lo and behold, he was resting the rifle directly on the sandbag. Golly! Doesn’t he know?

ASP20 Terry shoots
Terry Doe shoots at 50 yards with the ASP20 resting directly on the bag!

Oh! Wait! Maybe he DOES know! Maybe this rifle is so smooth that it can be rested directly on the sandbag. By this point I had shot the .22 caliber rifle at 7 yards and knew its scope was on. Then Ed mentioned something about the scope I am using.

Whisky3 ASP 4-12X44 scope

I listened to Ed before proceeding. The Whisky3 was developed for the ASP20 and, besides being a bright, clear optic, it does something I have never seen done well before. Sight it in at one distance (or was it two?) and you can then dial the elevation knob to adjust for any distance you are shooting. When I returned to the shooting bench I tried it. Ed showed me that the scope on the rifle I was shooting was set at 7 yards — its closest focus distance. He then dialed it to 35 yards and told me to try a couple shots. This time I rested the stock directly on the sandbag. Ed said to rest it just forward of the triggerguard.

I shot two pellets at 35 yards and they hit dead-center on the aim point with their holes touching. So the direct rest worked. Then I dialed the scope to 50 yards and shot at the far target. Once again, dead center. Ed was watching my target through the spotting scope and I told him to watch me shoot the second shot. This time when I shot, the hole at 50 yards stayed the same size. The scope was set on 12 power and Ed had a more powerful spotting scope, so I asked him what he saw. He said he never saw the hole increase in size! I either shot a second pellet through the same hole or I shot the rifle completely off target, which is an old marksman’s trick to impress newbies. Guys, I would have done that (the trick) but I wanted to know how accurate this new rifle is, so I was really trying. I never expected it to shoot through the same hole! Yes, Ed, I guess this barrel does not need to be choked!

The Whiskey3 scope is a real stunner! It retails for $359 by itself, but Sig is bundling it with the rifle for a whole lot less. One reader commented that bundled scopes are usually not good, and I would agree. This one is the exception.

Ed suggested that I not shoot a third shot at this target, because it might mess up my day. It probably would have, but at the same time Terry Doe was having the same good fortune on his 50-yard target with the .177 rifle. I did stop shooting after just two shots, but Terry went for a full 5 shots, and look at what he did.

ASP20 Terry's target
Terry Doe shot five .177 caliber JSB Exact 8.44-grain domes. Terry said this (it’s around one inch) group will only get better as he learns the rifle. Photo provided by Sig Sauer.

Oddly, I was also shooting .22 caliber JSB domes, so now we know what brand of pellets it likes. We also had some Sig Sauer Crux and Wraith domes to shoot, but I found them very hard to chamber.

Summary

Whew! I thought today would be the end of this report for sure, but there is still a lot more to come. I have pretty well covered the ASP20, though.

I’m taking a break tomorrow and writing about some gun from history. The last part of this report will come next week. This report has been fun, but I am also worn out! Have some pity on a tired old man and let me catch my second wind.

72 thoughts on “My day at Sig Sauer: Part 3

  1. B.B.

    You have no idea how much I have enjoyed this series!!!!!
    I understand before 4 and 5 axis machines, the keyhole lockup would be difficult or impossible to do. However, how come nobody(that I know of) has done the” bored the spring tube forks and the breech together” before?
    Did they talk about expected production numbers? Will they be effected by the tariffs on imported steel?
    Maybe that scope needs a series of reports on its own? What reticle type? How do the turrets work?

    -Y


    • Yogi,

      This is exciting for many reasons. I have no idea why the pivot pin wasn’t bored this way until now, but Sig is trying to do it right.

      Numbers will depend on sales. They want to make as many as possible, I’m sure.

      As for the scope questions, they are target turrets and I’m afraid the rest of your questions will have to wait for my test report. I just don’t know the answers.

      B.B.

      B.B.


      • BB,
        Sig did well in sharing manufacturing technique! They could have kept it secret and be ahead of the competition until the secret eventually comes out. I am sure that competing manufacturers will be copying that technique mighty soon. Want to take a bet as to the first and when?




  2. I have been reading everything i could find about this gun scope combo and even though i feel a need to see the eyeball of target with my rifles. I think it has been designed as a field hunting combination and as such to my mind i cannot find anything well other than adjustable cheek & swivel studs as these are what you need hunting and shooting off hand. So its a wood stock so i can given the shape add a cheek riser third party and install studs. I love that the close focus is 7yds & not 10 as i have wood piles that i shoot sometimes & 8yds and while i like bug buster that reticle is just thick and after using laser etched, but the close focus.

    You answered my main question i think is it a 50yd break barrel, but being honest when i save enough i will likely be looking for a FWB300s i tend to go practical though and will end up with the Sig. As much as i am looking forward to extended tests it is going to be very interesting to see how the other airgun manufacturers respond to the price point of the synthetic version. B.B. great coverage of a real benchmark gun.


  3. B.B.,

    Another fine installment. On the scope,… what reticle? Standard mil dot? Any windage hold offs below the horizontal bar? Etched glass?

    Did they make it or did they sub it out to another scope maker,… to be made to SIG’s specs.? UTG maybe?

    Oh wait,…. I do recall saying that you will be doing a feature on the scope,… I think. Till then.

    Good Day to you and to all,…. Chris


    • Chris,

      Sig will read these comments and they may help me with the scope details. I just don’t remember what kind of reticle it had. I want to say it was a mil dot, but I was more focused on what the rifle was doing than the scope details, other than what I reported.

      B.B.



    • Carl,

      Checked out your YouTube video interview. I only live 20 miles from Kalamazoo so I should go to the show. The only thing is, I do not know anyone else around me that is into airguns and I would have to go by myself.

      It was nice to see a face to go with the name 🙂 Very nice action targets…and very reasonably priced as well. The best of luck at the show in Kalamazoo.

      Geo


    • Carl,

      Very nice! Watched the video. Very nice again. I am glad to see that you are staying out there on the “front lines”,… so to speak. Best wishes on record breaking sales! Like Geo said too,… nice to put a face to the name.

      Chris




  4. B.B.,

    A Jimmy Durante reference! I loved it. “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”

    I was surprised to read the breech has a leade. The picture in Pt. 2 that shows the breech has just a slight visual suggestion of grooves on the bore’s end. Then again, my eyes are old.

    I am also surprised to see the rifle being handled by people, which provides a size reference. I had assumed it was large, but it appears on the medium-to diminutive-side, which is good. And of course in plast . . . er, polymer, it should weigh a bit less, too.

    Like everyone else I am eager to see how accurate it is.

    Michael


  5. BB,

    If I missed it ,I’m sorry, but did you mention the style (other than manual) and location of the safety? Great report and I can’t wait for the full review.

    Half



  6. Everyone,

    This just in from Ed at Sig.

    The Whiskey3 scope reticle is a mill dot and the turret is also stepped in mils to keep the match simple. It’s made by Sig’s Electro-Optic division, headquartered in Oregon, and has an infinite warrantee. In other words, for the life of the scope, regardless of the owner.

    Sig buys the gas spring. They feel that technology is best left to the experts, so they can concentrate on the things they do best.

    B.B.


    • Good to know, that sounds like maybe Leopold is involved in the scope. And i don’t see Sig going away anytime soon.

      I have a TX200 on my wish list, but this gun and scope combo is very intreguing. So far I have not found a spring gun that I enjoy shooting, this could be it.

      New pellet guns that I like are comming out faster than I can get the funding approved through the war department.

      Don


  7. BB,

    I’m really enjoying this report. I like to see innovation in springers. The best part to me is that this rifle is made right here in the USA. I hope that’s true and all parts are too. That should really resonate in our market.

    I’m a little disappointed with the trigger since HW can put a Rekord on an R1 and Diana a T06 on a 350 or 460 which can be adjusted a bit lighter. I get that it’s a powerful pellet gun but I think the trigger might be a little heavy for the paper punching crowd.

    I’m curious if there was any mention of a version with open sights? I would rather pay for sights than a moderator/ldc personally. Also can I assume the scope rail is Weaver and not something which requires special mounts?

    Also PA lists the rifle at 8.5 pounds. Is that correct and with or without the scope mounted in your estimation? I’m guessing without.

    Thanks for all you do,
    Mark N


    • Mark,

      Okay, this was in next weeks report. Ed was talking about a shorter version of the gun (a carbine) and one with a little less power. He said around 16 foot-pounds I I suggested the name “Sweet 16” which I stole from Browning who hasn’t used it for years.

      B.B.


      • I would be super excited to see the same gun in carbine, 14inch barrel, not cheesy butt pad adjustment ( seemless) open METAL sights, no moderator, SAME power.!!!! If this is a sporter rifle, and carbine is better for hunting, less power is a no go, especially if you are getting that power smoother then ever. Save the low power for the new target rifle they design next and UK version of this one, I must insist.



      • B.B.,

        My father had a “Sweet 16” pump. Sadly, after his passing, my mother let a family “friend” talk her into selling it when I was living out of state….

        Jim M.


  8. B.B.,

    I’m going to hazard a guess that the 20 fpe is the limiting factor for the high trigger weight. I think it’s unreasonable to expect a lower weight trigger to consistently hold back that amount of power. The Sweet 16 and the Euro 12 (OK I made that 12 fpe up) could probably have lower trigger weights. I do wish that they would offer a version with iron sights. Maybe the carbine version?

    Siraniko



  9. BB,

    Well, it looks like I will have a little bit of a breather before I get my ASP20 as I will be wanting the plastic stock. I should be able to find some appropriate homes for the ladies who will be moving out of RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns.


  10. I just have to say I like what I heard today.

    I like that they chose black for the wood stock. And that it is wood. And that’s funny who would of thought. Hair cullers in a air gun. Again I like that also. Simple but effective.

    And if the shot cycle is a bit better than the HW50s I had I like that too. And even the trigger. If I can adjust a trigger for first stage pull and also the pull wait I’m happy. I have used a heavier pull on some guns to help in a sense tune how the gun reacts. It’s one of things you do to get the trigger working with the gun.

    And ok it looks like it’s wanting to be a shooter for sure. Again I like what I see. And last but not least. I want to hear more about the scope. And I say hats off to Sig for putting a nice scope on the gun.

    I’m going to have to say I’m sold on it. But definitely interested in hearing more. Also when will it be available?


  11. Everyone,

    Sig just told me the molds for the synthetic stock have been produced and are being textured right now. The wood stocked gun will come out first but Sig expects to have the synthetic model available before the holiday season this year.

    The synthetic stock will not have an adjustable cheekpiece in the first offering. But they are looking into it, and the molds have been made to allow stocks for it to be made relatively easily.

    B.B.


  12. BB

    This rifle is living up to expectations as is your reporting. It appeals to me but I’m wondering if it is suitable for 10 meters out to 25 yards target shooting? There are readers like me who are limited by backyard size. The scope sounds great but moreso for longer ranges. A carbine or same rifle at 16 fps or less may be a better choice for me if accuracy is not compromised. I prefer a lighter trigger pull having been spoiled by my FWB300S, LGV Olympia and several Rekord triggers. I may opt for the scope anyway so I won’t be sorry later that I missed out on the combo price. I will likely choose the .177 due to more choices of match pellets. I have no problem with synthetic stocks. I really like break barrel rifles and especially one that locks up equal to a side lever.

    Decksniper


    • Deck,

      Well the synthetic stock will save you some money. Yes, at this power level the rifle is more for the longer distances. And remember that I am sharing some of their thoughts (the lower powered rifle, the carbine and the open sighted model). They first have to launch this one and see how it does before any of that becomes possible.

      B.B.


    • Decksniper,

      I shot this rifle a lot at the TX Airgun show – around 100 shots. I plinked at 7 to 10 yards, and shot silhouettes out to 25 yds. You will like this rifle, and it will be fine for targets at those distances.

      Jim M


      • Jim M

        Thanks for your input on shooting distances that apply to my yard. Your being able to shoot this rifle 100 times at the show allowed you to get the feel of it. How would you descibe the trigger pull?

        Decksniper


        • Decksniper,

          I hadn’t thought about the SIG’s trigger until I started reading this series last night – I’m a bit behind on the blog. I think I am a little surprised to learn it only tunes down to 2.5lbs, but also, thinking back, it was a smooth trigger. More of my airgun shooting is at or under 15 yds, punching paper — time constraints on my part — so I am sensitive to a bad trigger. Also, most of my collection are decent air guns — Weihrauch and Beeman branded ones, etc. I would say this is a trigger that fits in with those. it is leagues ahead of the trigger on the Umarex Octane I have.

          I have two HW90s — in .22 and .25. B.B. mentioned the “slap” of high-powered spring piston air rifles, and I can attest that those HW90s jar my jawbone with every shot. Even using a good artillery hold, and not having my cheek welded solid to the stock, you feel it. Not the case at all with the ASP20. The cocking was surprising as well. Those HW90s are a workout. I’m not a small guy — 6′ 4″ plus, and 240 or so. The Weihrauchs take every bit of 50lbs to cock. This SIG was markedly easier.

          I have seen several comments on here about the wood. I generally have thought I would not like a black wood stock, but I plan to get this one in wood.

          It’s funny — I read B.B. saying he did not remember what reticle the scope had. Neither did I. It was a good, clear scope. I think I will buy it.

          Jim M.


          • Jim M

            Very helpful and convincing. May have to be awhile as I just latched on to a tuned LG 55 but I have this one on my bucket list. Scope too.

            I find myself referring to the older BB reports. It’s never too late to enjoy them.

            Thanks,

            Decksniper


  13. Originally, I was interested in putting an optical sight on the rifle since I believed it didn’t come with anything thus allowing the customer to get what they wanted. I wanted a dot or halographic type sight since most of my air rifles are scoped with a few having peep sights. Something different for my collection. Now the scope Sig intends to offer has me intrigued and you have further muddied the waters, so to speak, by just commenting that Sig will/may offer iron sights as well. Now a carbine is in the works? Lot of choices already and the darn rifle hasn’t even reached the market yet!

    Very interesting that the rifle may not be very hold sensitive. A big plus as far as I’m concerned. Squirrels look out!

    Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now in GA


  14. BB,
    Has Sig briefed you on the Super Target ssp target pistol you described at the 2018 Shot Show? I read earlier this year they were planning a fall release.

    Lloyd


    • Lloyd,

      Welcome to the blog.

      Yes I got a small briefing on the Super Target pistol. It’s being made for them by Chiappa in Italy, which I see as a good thing. They have made some design changes to the gun before settling on the final design. I will try to find out when it will be available, because I am just as interested in it and anyone.

      B.B.


  15. B.B.
    You are getting ahead of yourself with talk about future products. I am watching to see the price point when this one is bundled with the scope. So far PA does not list more than the gun for preorder.
    Gerald


  16. B.B.,
    I’ve been quite, but can’t any longer. Wow what a gun. Do you think the gun could be held like a firearm (firm)? This does seem like a world beater. Could I ask for me? Sure….open sights. But that’s just me. I hope when you test it, it does that good. I still have a bad taste of the Crosman NP2 that shot so well for you at the gun show then in “real life” not so much. But I know this one is way above that just from the quality built into it.
    Now, wish time. I hope the gun makes it so well that Sig would make a break barrel pistol with the same designs as this AP rifle.

    Doc


  17. Well, the HW30s undersells this rifle by $50, but it only has 2/3 of the power. To marry high power with no vibration is some feat. The scope is very puzzling. How could it keep focus at significantly different distances? That doesn’t seem physically possible, and if it doesn’t that would seem to undercut the value of elevation changes. But the results seem to speak for themselves.

    I read more interesting developments in Lyudmila Pavlichenko’s memoir as she began her sniping career. We may have to revise our notion that the Soviet Union’s Red army was composed of peasant soldiers who didn’t know how to maintain rifles. Upon getting her unissued new-in-the-grease sniper rifle, Lyudmila made the following modifications: Free-floated the barrel, bedded the action, cut the gunstock down to her size, and used a needle file to modify all of the internal parts including the trigger. If this is a peasant, then I must be an amoeba. True that she was also a trained machinist who had specialized training as a sniper. On the other hand, the achievement of Soviet sniping in WWII was recognizing the power of quantity over quality and flooding the battlefield with skilled snipers. They probably weren’t up to the level of USMC scout snipers, but they were still good. And apparently all of them were expected to customize their rifles as she did.

    For example, they had training to get a lot of information out of their seemingly crude and thick three line scope reticle. For her first mission, she laid the horizontal bar across her target, and based on how much was covered, she was able to solve an equation that gave her a distance of 400 yards. I suppose that is the same process as converting mil dots in a modern scope reticle. Then she opened fire in her first mission and the result…? She sucked, raining bullets all over the targets before hitting them. She attributed it to the difference between shooting at people instead of cardboard. Oddly enough the same thing happened to Saburo Sakai one of Japan’s finest fighter aces in the Pacific War. Not only did he survive the horrendously difficult and brutal training of fighter pilots designed to turn them into samurai, but he even graduated first in his class to receive the emperor’s very own silver watch as a reward. With these credentials, he flew into his first combat in China where he did everything wrong, muffing easy shots and making the formation wait for him to catch up. When he landed, he fairly hoped the flight leader would beat him to a pulp. But, the guy did something even worse. After marching up to confront him and staring at him for a few seconds, he just walked away. That was the Imperial Japanese Army for you. It is quite a memoir called Samurai. Anyway, the lesson from him and Lyudmila is not to be put off by early failure.

    One other odd feature of Lyudmila’s book is how the Soviets are portrayed. By contrast in The Forgotten Soldier which is a memoir from a German perspective, the Soviets are a mass horde which acts irrationally, are drunk on vodka half the time, and whose “frenzied efforts were never accompanied by the least intelligence.” But for Lyudmila’s unit in the defense of Sevastopol, the Soviets are the model of military precision with their units leapfrogging each other in retreat, the officers speaking kindly to the enlisted soldiers, and the Soviets giving a good account of themselves against an overwhelming enemy. Both memoirs are highly credible and believable, so who knows what to think.

    Matt61


    • Matt, first off, I wonder when the book was originally written. If this is a translation from the Russian book, perhaps it was written shortly after WW II? Lots of censorship then so I suppose Ms. Pavlichenko couldn’t portray the Red Army in anything but a positive image. Wikipedia has a pretty concise history of her.It does appear that Pavlichenko was a target shooter prior to WW II so apparently did know something about accurizing (sp?) a rifle but this is just the results of my very brief searching on her. She died in 1974 at age 58 and was a history teacher after the war. Can you imagine having her as a teacher and not doing well in class?

      Regarding the Russian Army, my understanding is that the Russians typically assigned one rifle to 4 or 5 soldiers. As the soldier carrying the rifle was shot, the next one picked it up. They had a lot more manpower than arms at the beginning of Operation Barbarosa. Obviously, with a little help from us, they caught up to their needs. You have piqued my curiosity and these two books will go on my list of books to read on rainy days! Where’s Duskwright when you need him?

      Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now in GA


      • Hi Fred. For sure the book was written before her death in 1974 when the Soviet Union was a powerful force. The foreward actually says that she was not able to complete the manuscript before her death. It reads like a finished work so far, but they might have edited it. Undoubtedly there was some censorship. Still, she does mention the shortages of rifles and that her first combat rifle was a standard Mosin which she acquired when the previous owner was wounded which was very difficult for her. Prior to the war, she had learned to shoot in a youth club that was roughly equivalent to our NRA. Later she joined some kind of paramilitary citizen sniper school that has no counterpart here and participated in target competitions. I suppose she picked up extra gunsmithing training between that and her work as a machinist. On the other hand, she is quite proud of the Red Army’s designation as a people’s and peasant army, but she doesn’t fit my definition of a peasant.

        You certainly didn’t want to mess with her. She writes that prior to the surprise pregnancy with her first child at age 15, she was something of a leader of a male teenage gang who had no problems in punching out her rivals, and combat experience only made her tougher. There is a very weird video of her on YouTube made when she was touring the U.K. during WWII. Lyudmila is on stage holding a revolver and smiling and speaking rapidly in Russian. An old and proper-looking British woman is translating for her and is convulsed with giggles. The translator says, “Tee hee. She said it is best not to approach her when she has a pistol in her hand. Hee hee hee.” Still, one doesn’t get the impression from the book of a harsh and bloodthirsty person. I’ve even thought that upon going to Heaven, one of my first acts would be to look up Lyudmila and ask for a few tips on shooting the Mosin rifle.

        As for Duskwight, he’s doing great. Actually, he is rejoicing in the loosening of gun restrictions in Russia that now allow him to reload ammunition and which have reduced his waiting period for a rifle from five years to three.

        Matt61


        • Matt61,

          Glad to see you are posting again on a regular basis.

          On Duskwight,… was he not the one that was custom machining an opposing piston springer??

          If so,… how is that coming along?

          Chris


        • Matt61,

          Lyudmila should probably be counted as an outlier rather than a standard peasant. Historical memoirs of that era are always expected to be colored by the writers and editors to reflect the best image. Sure wish Duskwight would post an update of his project. Last I recall he was on Mk 2 focusing on weight reduction.

          Hope your shooting rehab is progressing well Matt.

          Siraniko



    • Matt,

      WW2 fighter aircraft and that period in history is a real interest to me. I collect those books (have around 90) and “Samurai” is one of my favorites. Yeah, the training they got was brutal!

      Hank


      • Yes, the subject captured my interest at an early age. I once spoke to a veteran Marine pilot from the Vietnam War about Sakai’s pilot training, and he was not impressed. He said that brutalizing people does not make them better pilots. He might have a point, but that’s not all there was. Do you remember the part where the recruits learned how to grab flies out of the air in front of them to develop rapid precise movements in the cockpit and how to see stars in daylight so that they could detect enemy planes at a distance?! Wow. I believe they were very good, but they never figured out the trade-off between quantity and quality which the Soviets did. The Japanese trained individual supermen who could just not stand up to the number of planes that were brought against them. And they even fought like samurai with every man for himself. So, a tactical innovation like the Thatch Weave neutralized their individual skills.

        Anyway, fascination with the WWII airplanes was enough to drive me to learn radio control flying whose high mechanical demands did not come naturally. But I did it. And I have to say one of the high points of my life was flying an F4U Corsair replica past myself and imagining that I was the tiny man in the cockpit, operating the controls.

        Matt61


        • Yes, remember that section. Not all their training made sense but the eye-hand coordination practice of catching flies would definitely be a benefit where fast, precise movements were needed.

          There was a quiet gentleman at the first place I worked who flew Stukas on the eastern front – he was in his early 20’s at the time. I got a chance to look through a couple of his photo albums with him narrating – some of the stories he told me were incredible. The stunts those guys pulled for “fun” were extremely dangerous! His explanation/defense of their “entertainment” was to compare the thrill of a young lad having a motorcycle then imagine what it would be like to have wings, 1500 hp, machine guns cannons and bombs. He did comment that “hunting wolves (with planes) was exciting and a bit dangerous”. He retired a few months after I met him and I lost contact.

          Matt, if you want to get a real good sense of flying do some research into the IL2 Sturmovik series… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IL-2_Sturmovik_(series) . The graphics and game engines are very realistic – the suspension of disbelief is extremely strong – you will feel like you ARE in the pilot seat! It takes a reasonably powerful computer to run the software (not a big investment these days). The program can be run anywhere from arcade level to full-real where you have to manage all the engine controls. I get most of my stick-time in the winter 🙂

          Hank


        • First rubber comet models at eight, first Lil Satan CL at twelve, first RC (schoolmaster) at thirteen, then a long time flying rc and dying to learn. Then a Cessna 140 at 39, and homebuilts ever since. What a hoot! Learning to hang glide now at 57. I’ve flown fast and powerful (Turbine and turbocharged Lancairs) but soaring and low and slow is more fun. Look at Pitman Air online and some of the vids on their web site.. There is something about aerobatics at 65 to 90 mph that is so much more fun than the same maneuver in an RV6 or Lancair. I was lucky enough to get my Dragonfly transition training from Bobby Baily, the designer. He can make that plane sit up and bark!


  18. B.B.

    Glad that you will be testing the .22 caliber! At that power level it would be great for hunting.

    SIG really seems to have done it right – a 50 yard break-barrel!!! Wow! 🙂

    I have been casually interested in gas-springs for years, looks like I need to make some room for the ASP20 in the safe.

    Thanks for the preliminary review – looking forward to your testing reports!

    Hank



  19. B.B.,

    On the cheek riser,… if and when,… it would be SUPERB to have front to rear slide of sorts that would (further) provide positive cheek weld verification. NOT the riser itself,… but rather a “cheek bone stop” if you will,… on (top) of the riser.

    On the M-rod,… the custom fit eye cup does that. The first light touch and you know that you are 99.9% of where you need to be.

    Correct rise is one thing for quick acquisition. Quick front to rear head/cheek position is another.

    As always,…. just an idea,…. Chris



      • Yogi,

        I have the M-rod tweaked out for comfort and fit,…. to/for me. Once you have experienced that,… nothing else will suffice. A simple, yet effective way to achieve fore and aft positive weld is something like stick on cabinet doors ‘bumpers”. Felt, stick on pads for a chair. You get the idea. You pull up the rifle and not only do you have the up and down on spot,… but also the front to rear on spot. Comfort. Easy. Fun to use,… because it so,.. well,.. easy.

        If something is comfortable and easy to use,.. you are more likely to do your best.

        Chris


  20. Chris USA,
    The idea of a fixed cheek weld is interesting! IIRC you shoot mostly rested and sitting so it will work for you.
    But a “marked” stock comes with a big downside if you shoot from more than a bench.
    If you shoot position target the cheek weld changes for each position. In hunting the cheek weld changes with every position you might find yourself being forced into to get your shot; to include depressed and elevated angle shooting.
    With position target shooting you know the cat’s meow is a FULLY adjustable stock and a rifle log with your exact stock adjustments for every position. No such luck exists with a hunting stock due to all the possible shooting positions, even with some limited stock adjstabilty the hunter must compromise or be stuck only being optimized for one shooting position. The hunter needs to know the eyeball- scopeweld if using a scope and is aided by the 2D target reticle presentation of the scope. It is way more complex with iron sights, open far more challenging then peeps!

    Different welds for different folks…Ooooo! That was bad!

    shootski


    • Shootski,

      You bring up many good points. And yes,… I mostly bench. To me, regardless of position,.. there is really only (one) fully optimized (eye to scope) position. Resting allows full opportunity to explore and refine that.

      Changing position/stance does change the geometry of things and finding that “sweet spot” will be more challenging,.. but,… it still must be obtained, regardless of changing body to gun contact points. Or, you will be shooting with a less than optimal sight picture,… which is possible/doable.

      Of course, nothing beats tons of practice to the point of everything becoming fully automatic/instinctual,.. regardless of shooting stance/position.

      Chris


  21. B.B.,

    I’ve been looking for this gun for three years. No wonder I couldn’t find it…it didn’t yet exist. But it does now….

    Can’t tell you how much I enjoy your work and how much it has helped my enjoyment of the hobby.

    Thanks again for all you do!!!

    Walt


  22. I’ve been waiting for this gun. I’ve got a stack of wooden and synthetic stocked Nitros and Springers, just waiting for one that would be as accurate as my RWS Diana. I’m a woods walking opportunistic hunter–I’m out there for the walk first and shooting second. Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE to shoot–but I like to DO something other than sit and punch paper. I’m good with that for an hour, max. Lately I’ve used the Condor SS as my go to woods gun. Reasonably quiet, minute of squirrel or turkey to 40 plus yards (that’s a looooong squirrel shot from a tree or shooting stick braced rifle) and easy to pack around. But I’d LOOOOVE to have a hunting rifle I don’t have to worry about air supply. I don’t want to leave a tank or pump in the car to worry about getting stolen, and pumping the Benji or Sheridan is loud and inconvenient. Also, I’ve got the same money in my tuned Benji as one of these would cost. Sounds like a winner! It seems like I’m buying one “real” air rifle every year for me, and at least one big box airgun for the kids or grandkids. And lots……lots! of pellets. Thank god for PA’s fourth one free!



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