Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB gun: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

M1 Carbine
Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB gun.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Different mag
  • The test
  • Air Venturi Steel BBs
  • Close to the aim point
  • Smart Shot
  • Discussion
  • Hornady Black Diamond
  • Gas management
  • Air Venturi Dust Devils
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the new M1-Carbine from Springfield Armory. I think you’ll be surprised, because I certainly was!

Different mag

You may remember from Part 2 that I had difficulty loading several different brands of CO2 cartridges into the magazine. They were just too fat to fit in easily and I had a problem getting the first one out after it was used up. One brand that was particularly difficult to load was the Crosman cartridge. So, Tyler Patner from Pyramid Air sent me a different magazine, and I returned the magazine from this rifle, along with the Crosman cartridge that was too big. That way he can see what I’ve seen and, if there is a problem, maybe they can fix it. Tyler also sent me a new box of Crosman cartridges that I started today’s test with. There was no problem loading them into the new magazine. I don’t think you will experience the same problem I had, although if you do, Pyramyd Air now knows about it.

I will say this–-I still had to screw down the piercing screw an extra two turns to seal the cartridge. If you remember, I mentioned that in Part two with the first magazine.

The test

Today I shot the Carbine from 5 meters while it was rested on a UTG Monopod rest that is almost as steady as a sandbag sitting on the shooting bench. I was prepared to sight the gun in with the first BB, but when you see what happened you’ll understand why I didn’t.

Air Venturi Steel BBs

First up were Air Venturi Steel BBs. I started sighting in with them, but when I saw what they did I didn’t change the sights — I just finished the group. Ten BBs went into 0.804-inches at 5 meters with 8 of those shots in .362-inches. Now, that’s a group! When I saw that I knew this day was going to be special!

M1 Carbine AV Steel group
The new M1 Carbine put 10 Air Venturui Steel BBs into 0.804-inches at 5 meters. Eight of them are in 0.362-inches.

Close to the aim point

The main group with this first BB is so close to the aim point (6 o’clock on the black bull) that I decided not to refine the sight picture. The other BBs are probably not going to the exact same place. The rest of the test was shot with the same sight setting as was used for this target.

Smart Shot

Next to be tried was the Smart Shot lead BB from H&N. These fed through the Carbine mag as easily as any other steel BB used in this test. Ten of them grouped in 0.533-inches. And, while they aren’t in exactly the same place as the Air Venturi Steel BBs, they are very close! By the way, this is the smallest group of the test.

M1 Carbine Smart Shot group
Ten Smart Shot lead BBs went into 0.533-inches at 5 meters.

Discussion

I have to tell you that shooting this Carbine is addictive. The trigger breaks so cleanly and the recoil is so realistic! And the accuracy is pretty amazing, too. I have no way of knowing if all M1 BB-firing Carbines are this accurate, but I can tell you that this one isn’t going back to Pyramyd Air! This one is a keeper! It even out-shoots my expensive Swiss K31 trainer made by Hammerli.

Hornady Black Diamond

I loaded 10 Hornady Black Diamond BBs into the Carbine magazine. In many BB guns this BB is the most accurate. What would they do in this gun?

Ten Black Diamonds went into 0.764-inches at 5 meters. Note that this BB shifted its impact to the center of the target, making it appear that the gun was purposely sighted-in for it. But I told you the sights were never adjusted throughout this entire test.

M1 Carbine Black Diamond group
` Ten Hornady Black Diamond BBs went to the center of the bull in a 0.764-inch group.

Gas management

We learned in Part 2 that this gun has perhaps 35 good shots on a CO2 cartridge. At this point in today’s test there were a total of 30 shots on the cartridge, but it did leak some gas when I installed it, so it is probably low.

I went ahead and loaded 10 of the next and final BB, but the power dropped off sharply at shot 36. The final shot (number 40) barely made it out of the barrel and dropped to the floor before making it to the target. So I removed the spent cartridge and installed a fresh one to test the final BB.

Air Venturi Dust Devils

The last BBs I tested were Air Venturi Dust Devils. I expected them to shoot tight, as well, and they did, though not as tight as the one that went before. Ten made a group that measures 0.768-inches between centers. Not much larger than the Black Diamonds and still quite small for a BB gun.

M1 Carbine Dust Devil group
Ten Dust Devil BBs made a 0.768-inch group at 5 meters.

Summary

The M1 Carbine I am testing can shoot! In fact it is one of the most accurate BB guns I have ever tested. I think I’m going to test it again at 10 meters to see if the accuracy holds that far. I won’t do that for awhile because there are so many guns being tested right now, but since I’m keeping the gun, I will get back to it.

This lookalike is not cheap, but it functions well and is worth the investment. It shoots better as a BB gun than my M1 Carbine shoots as a firearm. To quote the 18th century British seaman, “I am impressed!”


Tuning BB’s Diana 27: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Tuning time
  • Flat breech seal
  • New breech seal
  • Big lesson number one
  • Was there any change?
  • Oh, my!
  • Smooth
  • But wait…
  • Smoke tripped the chronograph start screen
  • Summary

What a story I have for you today! Talk about a trip to Serendib! I started writing before something incredible happened, so I will leave the start of the report as I originally wrote it and realign things when we get to the good part.

Tuning time

We learned in Part 2 that the Krytox grease that many people tout is no good for dampening vibration. After tuning Michael’s Diana 27 I wanted mine to be as smooth, so in Part two I cleaned out the 20+-year-old lithium grease from my rifle and applied Krytox, as several people have recommended over the years. But no dice. With Krytox my 27 buzzed again, though not as bad as a factory gun might. It also shot a little slower, though I think that might have been due to the breech seal and not the lube.

Diana 27 leather breech seal
The leather breech seal (arrow) is flat. It still works, but may not seal the breech as well as it should. Just to the left of the arrow’s point there is a small depression where some leather has fallen out.

Flat breech seal

I knew the breech seal was flat, but leather seals can be flat and still work. Mine, however, wasn’t just flat — it had a divot where some leather had popped out! Perhaps it wasn’t in tip-top shape any longer?

New breech seal

One way to tell if the old seal is bad is to install a new seal and test the gun. I learned from tuning Michael’s rifle that there is supposed to be a steel shim under the new synthetic breech seal, to raise it a bit higher. So, I ordered both parts for my rifle from T.W. Chambers & Co. and had them in less than two weeks.

Diana 27 breech seal shim
A new synthetic breech seal and steel breech seal shim were purchased from Chambers.

Big lesson number one

I usually remove breech seals with a dental pick. It works for both synthetic and leather seals alike. However, when the leather is dry-rotted, it doesn’t come out in one piece. It breaks up and comes out in many small pieces. That’s what happened to this seal. Even though it was lubricated the entire time it was in the gun, it somehow has dry-rotted and become useless. I had to scrape the pieces out with a pick and a small screwdriver blade.

When the breech seal channel was clean I placed the steel shim in first, followed by the new seal. The new seal sits proud of the breech, and I think it will seal better than the leather seal did.

Diana 27 breech with seal
With the shim the new seal sits a little proud of the breech face.

Was there any change?

I said I would check the velocity again after installing the new seal, but before I tore the gun apart and relubed it with Tune in a Tube. It’s always good to start from a known point. The last time I chronographed the rifle was after applying Krytox in Part 2. At that time RWS Superpoint pellets averaged 435 f.p.s. with a 51 f.p.s. spread. That velocity was down from the velocity I recorded when my lithium grease tune was on the gun. At that time it was 465 f.p.s. with the same pellet.

Oh, my!

When I tested it after installing the new breech seal the average velocity was 460 f.p.s. and the spread was 18 f.p.s. It went from 450 to 468 f.p.s. So, it’s back performing like it did before the Krytox was added. But that isn’t why I said, “Oh, my!”

Smooth

The rifle is now smooth again! Apparently that dry-rotted leather piston seal was really letting the gun down and I never knew it. I suspected it was leaking because of the large velocity spread, but I had no idea that the Krytox tune would also smooth out when the breech was sealed better!

That is the first big lesson I learned today. I was all set to tear the rifle apart, clean it and lubricate it with TIAT, but now I don’t have to! Or at least I don’t want to. The Krytox tune is still not as smooth as Michael’s gun, but it’s back to being as smooth as it was with the lithium grease, and that makes me very happy. I owe those who recommended Krytox an apology for what I said in Part 2 and again at the beginning of this report. I still wouldn’t spend the money for Krytox, because it’s no smoother nor more powerful than a straight tune with white lithium grease that costs only a fraction as much — but it is a good grease.

But wait…

Yes, there is more. Something else happened today that you need to know about. I had oiled the Diana’s piston seal heavily for the Krytox test and it’s still pretty oily. And, when I chronographed today’s short test I was getting velocities like 183 f.p.s. and 201 f.p.s., interspersed with the 460s. I knew from seeing the pellet’s penetration in the duct seal trap that it wasn’t shooting that slow. So — what could it be? Well, it’s big lesson number two!

Smoke tripped the chronograph start screen

The rifle is dieseling, as all spring-piston guns must, but because there is a lot of oil on the piston seal, this one is smoking a lot. Apparently the smoke is escaping the muzzle ahead of the pellet and tripping the start screen. That starts the chronograph’s clock, so the time of flight appears to take longer. The solution is to back up the muzzle a foot from the start screen and everything works fine again. In those 12 inches the smoke dissipates and only the pellet is seen by the skyscreens.

Summary

I’m going to leave my Diana 27 tuned with Krytox for the time being. It’s back to being as smooth as I remember and I want to give the Krytox a chance to break in.

How about that? A return to normal velocity and the Krytox tune smoothed out — I got a twofer, just by adding a new breech seal! And, I don’t need to tear this rifle apart again. I guess that’s really a threefer!

What’s coming next is a look at the Diana 35. That was the air rifle that started this whole series of reports. There is a lot to tell you about the 35, but let’s let that wait until then.


Diana model 26 breakbarrel air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 26
The Diana 26 air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Falcons
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • RWS Superdome
  • Trigger is great!
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • JSB Exact RS
  • H&N Match Green
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head
  • The final test
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Diana 26 I have been testing. Two things are different about this air rifle. It’s a Diana 26, which I didn’t hear of until recently and it’s a .177, which I haven’t had much luck with. So I chose 7 different pellets, in hopes of finding one or more than were accurate.

The test

I shot from 10 meters off a bench using the artillery hold, though I had to hold the rifle tighter than normal because the butt is so slippery against my shoulder. I shot 5-shot groups to speed things up, but decided I would shoot a final 10-shot group with the pellet that was most accurate.

Sight-in

I sighted-in with Air Arms Falcon domes. The first shot hit 1.75-inches above the aim point and a little to the left, so I adjusted the rear sight down and right. Shot two landed a little too low and still to the left so I adjusted again. Shot three was in the bull and close to the center, so sight-in was finished.

Falcons

The first group was shot with Air Arms Falcon domes. Five pellets made a 0.444-inch group that was right on for elevation and just a little to the right. After this group I adjusted the rear sight one click to the left and never moved it again for the rest of the test.

Falcon group 1
The Diana 26 put 5 Falcon pellets into 0.444-inches at 10 meters.

This group isn’t bad. It’s just not great. I had hoped for something tighter.

H&N Finale Match Light

The second pellet I tested was the H&N Finale Match Light with a 4.50mm head. Five of them went into 0.666-inches at 10 meters. The group is vertical — a phenomenon that plagued me throughout the test.

Finale Light group
Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets went into 0.666-inches at 10 meters.

RWS Superdome

Next I tried RWS Superdomes. RWS pellets often do well in vintage Diana airguns for some reason. This time the 26 put 5 of them into 0.743-inches at 10 meters. That’s not a good group. And notice that it is also vertical. I will discuss that at the end of the test.

Superdome group
Five Superdomes went into 0.743-inches at 10 meters.

Trigger is great!

I have to comment on the trigger on this rifle. It’s 2-stage and very crisp. I pull through the first stage and the blade stops at stage 2 positively every time. It’s not a target trigger, but for a sporting trigger it’s fine.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

The next pellet I tried was the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter. In this group there may have been an aiming error, because 4 pellets are in a tight round group that measures 0.39-inches between centers, and then one stray opens it to 0.923-inches. If I’m still shooting well at the end of this test I may return and shoot a second group of five Sig pellets.

Sig Match group
The Diana 26 put 5 Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets into 0.923-inches at 10 meters. Four of them are in a much tighter 0.39-inches.

JSB Exact RS

The next pellet I tested was the JSB Exact RS dome. The 26 put five of them into 0.846-inches at 10 meters. Once more the group is vertical.

JSB RS group
The 26 put 5 JSB Exact RS domes into 0.846-inches at 10 meters, and once more there is some verticality.

H&N Match Green

Next I tried five H&N Match Green target pellets. At 10 meters they landed in a group that measures 0.65-inches between centers. This group isn’t as vertical as many have been .

H&N Match Green group
Five H&N Match green target pellets went into 0.65-inches at 10 meters.

H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head

The last pellets I tested were the heavy H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm heads. They are really too heavy for the power of the 26, but in .22 caliber Diana 27s I have found heavy pellet to be accurate. Five of them went into 0.655-inches at 10 meters. It’s not a great group, but for the 7 pellets tested today, it’s not that bad.

H&N Baracuda Match group
At 10 meters the Diana 26 put 5 H&N Baracuda Match pellets into a group measuring 0.655-inches.

The final test

I said I was going to select the most accurate pellet and shoot a 10-shot group with it at the end. That pellet is the Falcon — the first pellet I tested. Remember after that first group I did move the rear sight one click to the left.

This time 10 Falcon pellets gave me a 1.089-inch group that is almost straight up and down. This is not the pellet — it’s me. I am clearly finished shooting!

Falcon group 3
I’m done! I put 10 Falcon pellets in 1.089-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion

I tested 7 pellets in all. I expected there to be one or more that would group well. Falcons did the best and even they were just mediocre. But let’s talk about those vertical groups.

One vertical group in eight is probably the pellet. I had four out of eight and that starts looking like the sights. This 26 has a tapered post front sight and a vee rear notch — about the worst possible sights for precision. They are quick to get on target and fine for plinking, but not suited for shooting targets.

That said, when I shot Michael’s .22-caliber Diana 27using similar open sights I put 10 Air Arms Falcon pellets into 0.595-inches at 10 meters.

Falcon group 2
Ten .22-caliber Falcon pellets from Michael’s Diana 27 went into 0.595-inches at 10 meters — proving a .22 Diana can shoot!

This is one more episode in my ongoing saga with the vintage .177 Dianas. I just can’t seem to get them to shoot!

Summary

There are many more things I could do with this Diana 26, but I’m going to stop here. I still have two more vintage Dianas to test — a 27S and a .35. I also have my own .22 caliber Diana 27 to tune with Tune in a Tube, to see how nice I can make it.

It’s been fun testing a vintage rifle I had no idea existed until recently. I will set this one aside for now and move on to my other projects.


The AirForce Ring Loc Kit: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Ring-Loc Kit
AirForce Condor Ring-Loc Kit.

This report covers:

  • Condor
  • Flexibility
  • Goof jobs
  • More power
  • For the latest Spin Loc valve
  • What it does
  • The kit
  • AirForce testing
  • Widest range of power today/li>
  • So what?
  • Summary

Today we start looking at what I believe is a really big deal. This is what I teased you about on Tuesday. The Ring Loc Kit from AirForce takes the world’s most powerful and flexible air rifle and expands both its power and flexibility by an order of magnitude! That’s a strong statement that I will now begin to justify.

Condor

The kit we are looking at is for the AirForce Condor and also for the CondorSS. The Condor has a 24-inch barrel. The CondorSS barrel is 18 inches, so everything you read about the Condor will be just a bit less in the SS. As you know, in PCPs barrel length makes a difference.

I was working at AirForce when the Condor first came out and I hand-tested the first 100 production rifles to make certain they would shoot a .22 caliber Crosman Premier pellet at 1,250 f.p.s., because that was the AirForce ad campaign. They never launch anything without first making certain that it will deliver as advertised. We recorded each serial number and the velocity it produced with a Premier, just so we could be certain that each and every rifle we sold delivered what was promised. After testing those rifles we knew with confidence that the valve design was right on the money and production was making them the way we thought. We could go back to testing a sample of production and not every gun.

Flexibility

I have said it many times before — when you buy an AirForce sporting rifle you aren’t buying just one air rifle; you are buying an entire system. No other airgun on the market allows you to change barrels for three different lengths in 4 different calibers (that’s 12 combinations), has a primary power adjuster that operates without the use of tools, and has a secondary means of power refinement in the valve cap. The secondary means of power adjustment involves adjusting the height of the valve cap to control the length of the valve stroke. In turn, that determines how long the valve remains open for the air to flow. And it doesn’t stop there. You can put a standard air tank on a Condor to reduce the power, and even install a Spin-Loc Micro-Meter air tank to take it right down to nearly nothing (12 foot-pounds in .177 caliber). I tested that for you in 2008. So, a Condor can be almost whatever you want it to be.

Goof jobs

However — as soon as the rifle came out in 2004 the couch engineers had to “fix” the things that AirForce got wrong. One of the popular early modification was to install a heavier striker weight, thinking that a harder blow would hold the valve open even longer. What it did was pound the Delrin valve seat into the valve stem, ruining the valve. And, on Mr. Condor’s personal rifle, it also bent the aluminum frame of the gun, so that when we rebuilt his gun for him (one of the original 100 to go out) we weren’t able to repair the frame. We got his rifle working within specifications again and he stopped posting his fixes on the forums, but I often wondered where that poor beat-up Condor is today!

Mr. Condor's valve
I saved Mr. Condor’s destroyed valve, or what was left of it (the valve cap and stem were broken off), to show people what happens when you fool with things you don’t understand. My Condor that’s just as old still works perfectly.

Now you understand my background. I was there and saw this from the inside. The Condor was a world-beating air rifle that produced up to 65 foot-pounds of muzzle energy when it first came out in .22 caliber. Today it is offered in .25 caliber and goes out the door capable of 80 foot-pounds, mostly due to the heavier pellets that have come into the market.

More power

As Tim the Tool Man Taylor tells us — what we need is more power! For those not living in the U.S., that’s a reference to a comedy television show, Home Improvement that ran from 1991 to 1999. It’s based on comedian Tim Allen’s humor. And AirForce has listened! The Ring Loc Kit that I’m reviewing for you starting today (and continuing for I don’t know how long) does just that. It takes the 80 foot-pound .25 caliber Condor up to 105 foot-pounds! That’s Escape territory, with the additional benefit of the large Spin-Loc Condor air tank instead of the smaller Spin Loc Escape air tank! So — there are more shots!

For the new Ring Loc valve

The Ring-Loc Kit is made to fit the new Spin-Loc tank that has the Ring Loc valve, only. If you have the older Spin-Loc tank that has two Allen screws in the valve cap, you need to buy a new tank with a Ring-Loc valve to use this kit. However, if you have an even older Condor like mine that has the quick-detach tank (the one that unscrews from the rifle and doesn’t have the gauge or quick-disconnect fill port) with one or two Allen screw(s) holding the valve cap to the stem, your gun has to be modified by AirForce to accept a Spin Loc tank. Then the Ring-Loc Kit will fit. Obviously if you buy a spare air tank for this kit, only buy the one that has the latest Ring-Loc valve.

old Spin Loc Allen screw tank
This is the Spin Loc tank you are familiar with. It has two Allen screws to lock down the valve cap at the proper clearance.

new Spin Loc tank
The new Spin Loc tank has the Ring-Loc valve cap.

What it does

Now I will get specific. The Ring-Loc Kit allows the owner to quickly adjust the size of what AirForce calls the orifice (we would call it the air transfer port) of the firing valve. A larger orifice allows more air to flow from the tank, resulting in more power. How much more power depends on the caliber and weight of the pellet.

Of course it also works the other way, as well. A smaller orifice give less power and more shots. Since the Condor is the most powerful smallbore air rifle you can buy, going down in power is also of interest. I already linked you to my report on the Micro-Meter tank, which takes the power as low as you can go, but what about the Spin-Loc Kit? How low can it go? Well, nobody knows — yet. Let’s look at the kit now.

The kit

The $50 Ring-Loc Kit comes with 4 orifices of fixed dimensions:

0.232-inches
0.166-inches
0.145-inches
0.123-inches

Ring-Loc Kit
The Ring-Loc Kit comes with all of this.

There is one additional orifice with a hole that’s 0.070-inches in diameter that will not even shoot a .177 caliber pellet out of the Condor’s 24-inch barrel. That cap is for your own experimentation! Drill it out to whatever size you want and set up your Condor to do what you want.

You also get three replacement o-rings that fit between the valve cap and the ring lock underneath. I will have more to say about them in a future report.

Finally you get two wrenches that you use to adjust and lock down the ring lock valve cap.

AirForce testing

You get the most power from the largest orifice, which is the 0.232-inch one. However, that orifice does not work well with .177 caliber barrels. We aren’t very sure how well it works with .20 caliber, either, as tests have been run but more testing is needed.

Obviously as the orifice size decreases, the power does, too. And of course the shot count goes up. For the .177 Condor the 0.123-inch orifice is great, and for getting a lot of shots at consistent velocity the 0.145-inch orifice works quite well in .22 caliber. AirForce has a video on their website that covers the kind of results you will see with the different orifices.

What hasn’t been tested thoroughly is the Ring-Loc Kit at lower power. So, that’s what I’m going to do. I will first give you a synopsis of the data that’s been generated at the higher end of the power spectrum, then we will test the lower end together.

Widest range of power today

We know from my testing in 2008 that a Condor can deliver 12 foot-pounds in .177 caliber when it uses the Micro-Meter tank. AirForce has proven that they can dial a Condor with the Ring-Loc Kit down to around 22 foot-pounds in .177 caliber. That’s a 7-grain pellet traveling 1190 f.p.s. What I want to know about is the area in-between 12 foot-pounds and 22 foot pounds. In other words, can the Ring-Loc Kit make a Condor suitable to shoot indoors and still protect the bird feeder? I’m talking 14-18 foot-pounds or so. And, can the Ring Loc Kit make it unnecessary to buy the Micro-Meter air tank, altogether? Wouldn’t that be nice?

With all that testing yet to be done, though, we can still say conclusively that the AirForce Condor has the widest range of power available in a smallbore air rifle today — 12 to 105 foot pounds in 4 different calibers and 3 barrel lengths. They are so far out in front that second place is still over the horizon!

So what?

Here’s what! Want to get into PCPs and cover the spectrum for as little money as possible? Get a Condor. You can shoot indoors. You can protect the bird feeder and garden, you can hunt woodchucks at long ranges. You get a Lothar Walther barrel that offers great accuracy. One gun has it all, at least from a performance standpoint.

Summary

Don’t set up your Corvette with a 3-point Ferguson plow hitch just yet. You may still need your tractor for some jobs around the garden. But, glory be if the Ring-Loc Kit for a Condor and CondorSS isn’t something Tony Stark would be proud of!

I have so much more coming! Next time I will get to the results of some tests, plus I’ll show you how to install and adjust the orifices. New toys, guys!


Remington 1875 BB and pellet revolver: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Remington 1875
Remington 1875 pellet and BB pistol.

This report covers:

  • Remington revolver
  • The start of single action cartridge revolvers
  • 1875 Remington
  • The Remington air pistol
  • .44 Remington cartridge
  • Pellets and BBs
  • CO2
  • Blister pack
  • Manual
  • Is this a REAL Remington?
  • Loads through the gate
  • Sights
  • Cylinder removes
  • Safety
  • Hammer stands proud
  • Summary

Remington revolver

Today I begin a review of the 1875 Remington revolver from Crosman. It is a smoothbore, but has 6 cartridges for shooting BBs and a second group of 6 cartridges for shooting pellets. They know you’re going to shoot both anyway, so why not do it right?

The start of single action cartridge revolvers

Colt came to market in 1873 with their Peacemaker, which was the first time they could legally make a firearm with a bored-through cylinder. That allowed the convenient use of cartridges, but had been blocked for years by Smith & Wesson, who made the first cartridge revolver in 1856 (the S&W website says 1857, but I have always heard 1856). When the S&W patent expired, other firearms manufacturers piled on fast.

Colt Peacemaker
The Colt Peacemaker of 1873.

1875 Remington

Remington followed suit in 1875 with their first revolver. And, because they based theirs on earlier Remington designs, there is a significant difference between the Colt and them. The Colt has two screws through the frame — one for the bolt and the other for trigger to pivot on. Remington has just one to serve both parts. In the firearms, that made a big difference!

Remington 1875 screw
This is a genuine Remington 1875 revolver and you can see the single screw (arrow) that both the trigger and bolt pivot on.

That single screw made the Remington action a little stiffer and more prone to jam than the Colt. Remember, I am just talking about the firearm now — not the pellet/BB gun. I owned a well-worn Remington 1875 firearm and found its action to be troublesome.

The Remington air pistol

This 1875 BB/pellet gun, in sharp contrast, is just as smooth as a Colt. I can see that an extra screw has been added at the front of the frame, so this action is not exactly like the Remington firearm. That’s good for us because it means we won’t suffer the same problems that Remington firearm owners had.

.44 Remington cartridge

The second problem with the firearm was its caliber. It was .44 Remington! Find a fresh box of those today! The replica guns are being chambered in .44 Special, .44/40 and .45 Colt. Most gun owners do not reload, so making a true replica firearm that copies everything exactly is a recipe for disaster. Even Remington realized their mistake and started chambering the 1875 in .44/40 (correctly called the .44 Winchester Centerfire or WCF, but Remington would never call it that!) later in the run. To the best of my knowledge the 1875 was the only firearm ever chambered for the .44 Remington. Even the Remington 1890 revolver that came later wasn’t chambered for it.

Pellets and BBs

Fortunately for airgunners, this air pistol has a smooth bore that allows both standard BBs and pellets. You get different cartridges for each type of round.

The pellet cartridges have a small profile of a diabolo wadcutter on their base next to the Crosman name. The BB cartridges say 4.5mm on their base (which is wrong, but we won’t complain) and the Crosman name. Load both types of ammo into the back or base of each cartridge.

CO2

It’s pretty obvious that this revolver is powered by a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge. Where Umarex had to use the 1860 Colt Army (cap-and-ball revolver) grip frame on their SAA to accommodate the cartridge, the Remington grip was always larger and longer and fits a cartridge readily.

Remington 1875 grip
The left grip panel comes off to load the CO2 cartridge. It also holds the piercing screw wrench.

Blister pack

The gun comes in a blister pack that I didn’t like at first. However, I know why they did it that way — and it wasn’t primarily to save money. Airguns are never the top-selling products in a store, so they fight for shelf space. It’s called real estate in the trade. A tree of blister packs allows many times more product in the same aisle space, and volume-sales stores tend to carry more product if they come packaged this way.

Manual

The gun comes with a manual that’s printed in 1-point type, as in the print is smaller than the inscription inside your wedding ring. I have to wear my magnifying hood on full power to read it.

Is this a REAL Remington?

It probably doesn’t matter to most of you, but to a Remington collector, it does matter whether the gun is a licensed product or just a knockoff. This one is the real deal and says so on both the package and the gun. It’s made in Taiwan.

Loads through the gate

If you are not a single-action shooter you might expect the cylinder to swing out of the side of the gun for loading. This one doesn’t do that. To load you first pull the hammer back to the first click, which is half cock. Then open the loading gate on the right side of the frame and rotate the cylinder clockwise by hand one chamber at a time to unload the empty cartridges and load fresh ones. A spring-loaded ejector rod located under the barrel is there to push the fired cartridges out. You won’t have any problem extracting them because in this pistol they don’t change dimensionally from firing, but a firearm cartridge does swell and needs to be pushed out. The ejector rod is there for that.

The cylinder holds 6 cartridges, though in a single action firearm you only load 5, because you want the hammer to rest on an empty chamber for safety reasons. Some gunfighters would roll paper money and stuff it in the empty chamber — a sort of Hide-A-Key for money in the old west.

Remington 1875 loading gate
Load the cylinder through the loading gate. You can also see the rear sight notch here.

Sights

The front sight is a fixed blade. The rear sight is a V notch cut into the top of the frame. That’s the same as the original and just as hard to use. Add to that the fact that this pistol is nickel-plated and you have to pick your targets carefully. A day with bright sunshine will be a challenge that may require dark targets.

Cylinder removes

The cylinder can be removed to clear a jam, or just because it’s fun and you want to. Put the gun on half cock. The firearm has a screw up front that has to be removed, but the airgun has a spring-loaded screw just in front of the cylinder that is pressed in while pulling out on the cylinder rod. When the rod is all the way out, release the screw and the cylinder comes out of the right side of the receiver.

Safety

Yes, like all replica revolvers there is an unobtrusive safety on the underside of the triggerguard. Slide it back until the white dot shows and the gun is safe. It also cannot be cocked. Slide it forward till a red dot shows and the gun will fire. On the test gun the safety is hard to apply when the gun is cocked. I imagine it will break in over time and with use.

Hammer stands proud

Like all the Colt SAA airguns the hammer of this Remington stands proud of the frame by a fraction of an inch. It does go all the way forward when it fires the gun, but rebounds to this position immediately.

Summary

This looks like a well-made replica. I’m looking forward to testing it!


Air Venturi TR5 Multi-Shot Target Air Rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

TR5
Air Venturi TR5 repeating pellet rifle.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Something’s coming!
  • A target rifle?
  • RWS Hobby
  • Discussion
  • Trigger
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Pressing in the pellets
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Trigger pull
  • Cocking effort
  • Summary

Today I test the velocity of the new Air Venturi TR5 Multi-Shot Target Air Rifle. Reader GunFun1 has been chomping at the bit to talk about this air rifle, but he has restrained himself until I reported on it. Today I will talk about the power you can expect from a factory gun. I know from reading the comments that you readers are way ahead of me in this discussion, but I have purposely avoided reading your comments, as I didn’t want them to color my opinion of the gun.

Sometimes when I test a new (to me) airgun I read up on it before I start testing. Most of the time, though, I don’t do that. I want to experience the airgun exactly as a first-time buyer would. Not everyone reads this blog, and, of those who do, not everyone tunes and modifies their airguns. Some readers just shoot the guns the way they receive them, and I want them to know what they can expect.

Something’s coming!

For those who do like to tinker, there is something major on the horizon, and I will begin telling you about it this Thursday, if all goes according to plan. But today I’m testing a TR5 straight from the box. Let’s get started.

A target rifle?

Air Venturi calls the TR5 a target air rifle, so I have to test it with target pellets. We know that it’s rated to 500 f.p.s. (Pyramyd Air says to expect a little more) which means lighter pellets will be the way to go. Quick — what’s the lightest pure lead wadcutter you can think of? There are a few, but the RWS Hobby comes to my mind first.

RWS Hobby

I loaded both magazines for this 10-shot string. Hobbys averaged 548 f.p.s. with a spread of 16 f.p.s. from 539 to 555 f.p.s. At the average velocity Hobbys generated 4.67 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Discussion

If I hadn’t talked to Pyramyd Air about this TR5 before receiving it I would think they had hand-selected this one, just for me to test. But Val Gamerman told me all the rifles he is seeing are shooting close to 550 f.p.s. They aren’t guaranteeing that velocity; it’s just what they are seeing and also what is coming out the gun I am testing.

The rifle shot Hobbys with very little vibration. There is a little, but its minor. I hate to make comparisons, but it’s about the level of a new Beeman R7.

At the start of the test the cocking lever did not want to come away from the receiver unless I jiggled it up and down as I pulled it back to cock. And, when it went forward again I sometimes had to jiggle it to get it to seat on the stud that holds it. I got used to this in a couple shots and after that I didn’t notice it.

TR5 cocking
The cocking lever locks down on the stud sticking out from the receiver.

After 30 shots the lever started functioning normally, with no jiggling required. So this was just a break-in thing.

Trigger

I was surprised by the trigger! It’s better than it should be at this price point. I will test it for you today.

All of that came from the first 10 shots! I was pleasantly surprised by the TR5.

H&N Finale Match Light

Next up were H&N Finale Match Light target pellets. The ones I shot had 4.50mm heads, but they do come in other sizes. Ten of them averaged 506 f.p.s. in the TR5 with a spread from 500 to 510 f.p.s. So, 10 f.p.s. in total. That’s tight! At the average velocity this pellet generated 4.48 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Pressing in the pellets

If you read Part 1 you noted that pellets were falling out of the magazines unless I pressed them in. So I did that in this test and then tested every magazine afterward. Not a single pellet fell out!

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

You know I’m going to test this rifle with Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. I have to! And they were interesting, to say the least. They averaged 638 f.p.s. in the TR5! Wow! The spread was 12 f.p.s., from 633 to 645 f.p.s. Wow!

However — the TR5 powerplant made a strange noise with every shot. It sounded like it didn’t like shooting a pellet this light. I will still test it with this pellet for accuracy, and probably I’ll also test the H&N Match Green pellet. And, only because some of you commented on the green-stocked version of the TR5 (yes, it does remind me of the Umarex Embark), I will also test the accuracy of the TR5 with the SAR Journey pellet.

Air Arms Falcon

I thought I would also test the TR5 with a domed pellet, and the Falcon from Air Arms seemed like a good choice. Falcons averaged 532 f.p.s. from the TR5 with an 8 f.p.s. spread — from 529 to 537 f.p.s.

Trigger pull

Okay, the TR5 has a single stage trigger that has a release that’s fairly crisp, which is unusual for a single stage trigger. The release comes at about  3lbs. and is easy to  get used to.

It does have adjustments for sear engagement and pull weight. I adjusted the pull weight down from 3 lbs. 2 oz. to 3 lbs. That seemed like as light as it wanted to go. There are no holes in the triggerguard for the adjustment wrenches, but the Allen screws are offset to one side so the guard doesn’t get in the way.

Also — hurrah! The safety is 100 percent manual — as in, you decide when it goes on!

Cocking effort

I can’t believe what I’m about to report, but I tested it and saw the number. The TR5 I’m testing cocks with 11 lbs. of effort! That’s right — eleven pounds! Given the geometry of the sidelever linkage, it does feel a little heavier, but this is a spring rifle a kid could learn to cock.

Summary

I’m impressed. This TR5 is stable, relatively free from vibration, feeds reliably and has a very nice trigger. I sure hope that it’s accurate!


Diana model 26 breakbarrel air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 26
The Diana 26 air rifle.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • This is a .177
  • RWS Superdome
  • Firing behavior
  • Trigger pull
  • No vibration
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Hobby
  • Barrel tension
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm heads
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Summary

I asked in Part 1 for owners of Diana 26s to tell me of their airguns and I was surprised that so many responded. Apparently I was in the minority for not knowing about the Diana 26. From what they said and what I’ve read I have learned that the 26 was closely related to the model 28 that came out when the model 27 ended production. So models 23, 25, 27 and 35 went away and models 24, 26, 28 and 34 came into being.

The model 34 is a whole story on its own, that I will cover one day, but not today. This report came about because I wanted to get a model 35, to see if I could tune it to be as smooth and light-cocking as a 27 and have a little more power. I got the 35, which is an early rifle with some very curious features, but I also acquired this model 26 and a model 27S that’s equally unusual. We are looking at the 26 in this series, so that’s where the focus will remain today.

Today we will look at power. Carel, the man I bought this rifle from, had installed a Maccari mainspring, so the powerplant on this rifle is not stock. It shoots very smooth, and I’m inclined not to mess with it — other than to test it and see what it can do. I am curious how it stacks up against a Diana 27.

I’ll also report on the feeling when the rifle fires, the velocity, trigger pull and cocking effort. Let’s get started.

This is a .177

As much as I have reported on vintage Diana air rifles, I haven’t done much with .177s. I have owned, tuned and tested them, but they never interested me like the .22s. Maybe I thought the .22s are smoother — I don’t know the reasons. I just know that when it come to a .177 Diana, I’m uncertain. This will be a learning experience for me, just as it is for many of you!

I did lube tune and test a .177 model 27 back in 2008-2009. That rifle was way off it’s power when I got it, but my tune brought it back strong. I will include some comparison data from that tune in today’s report.

RWS Superdome

Dianas do well with RWS pellets, so the first pellet I tested was the RWS Superdome. This 8.3-grain domed pellet is on the heavy side for a gun of this power, which I assume is around the 650 f.p.s. range with lightweight pellets.

Superdomes averaged 566 f.p.s. in the 26, with a spread of 27 f.p.s. The low was 546 and the high was 573 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet produced 5.91 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

For comparison, the Diana 27 that I tuned in 2009 shot RWS Superdomes at an average 563 f.p.s. with a 24 f.p.s. spread. The low was 552 and the high was 576 f.p.s. That’s pretty similar.

Firing behavior

This 26 shoots like a tuned spring-piston rifle. The cocking, for starters, is very precise. A regular vintage Diana will cock and then the barrel will come back a bit after the sear catches; this one goes all the way to the end before the sear engages and then it stays there. By that I mean the barrel doesn’t bounce back an inch or more. There is very little slop in this rifle. The mainspring feels like it is coil-bound at the end of the cocking stroke, which is typical of Maccari tunes.

Trigger pull

The trigger is set about as perfectly as it can be. It’s a crisp 2-stage pull and stage two breaks like the proverbial glass rod. Stage one of the pull is 1 lb. 11 oz. and stage two breaks at 2 lbs. 13 oz. I told you that I wasn’t sure if this rifle has the ball bearing sear or some other arrangement. Perhaps Carel will tell us. Some 26s have ball bearing sears and others don’t.

No vibration

There is no vibration on the shot. The rifle does lunge forward as most spring-piston rifles do, but the shot is nearly dead calm. This is a masterful tune!

JSB Exact RS

The second pellet I tested was the JSB Exact RS dome. These pellets weigh 7.33 grains, which I think makes them ideal for an airgun of this power. Ten pellets averaged 626 f.p.s. with a 13 f.p.s. spread from 620 to 633 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 6.38 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Hobby

I think the power is probably very close to what it was in factory trim. Diana advertised the 26 at 650 f.p.s. in .177, and looking at what the JSB Exact RS pellets did I have to wonder what it would do with RWS Hobbys. So I shot a string of five and got the following numbers.

Shot…….Vel
1………..629
2………..638
3………..630
4………..637
5………..615

The average for that string is 630 f.p.s. and the spread is 23 f.p.s. At the average velocity Hobbys generate 6.17 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The lighter Hobbys are not quite as efficient as the JSB Exact RS pellets, which may mean the JSBs are better-suited to this powerplant. What all that entails I won’t discuss until I test the accuracy, because if a pellet isn’t accurate it doesn’t matter what it does through the chronograph.

Barrel tension

The barrel tension is adjusted quite tight. Once cocked the barrel remains where it is positioned because the base block is pinched tight between the action forks. Carel will probably deny any tuning skill, but I would be proud of a job done this well.

H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm heads

Now it was time to try a heavyweight pellet. I chose the H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head. This domed pellet weighs 10.65 grains and, while there are heavier pellets in .177, this is a mainstay that’s worth a test.

This pellet averaged 489 f.p.s. for 10 shots. The spread went from a low of 483 to a high of 500 f.p.s., so 17 f.p.s. in all At the average velocity this pellet generated 5.66 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. I chose this pellet because in .22 caliber Baracudas are accurate, if slow.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

The final pellet I tested was the lead-free Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter. We know these are often quite accurate, plus I wanted to see how fast they would go in the 26. They averaged 763 f.p.s. (wow!) with a 64 f.p.s. spread that went from 732 to 796 f.p.s. I don’t know whether these will be accurate in this rifle or not, but they sure are fast. I expected 675 f.p.s. — not the mid-700s!

Discussion

That’s a total of 5 different pellets tested if you include the Hobbys. That gives us a pretty good idea of the power of this 26. As large as this rifle feels in the hands, I was expecting a little more, but it seems to be about the same as a model 27.

Cocking effort

The rifle cocks with an even 23 lbs. of effort. I knew it was more than the 27s I have tuned and that is due to the Maccari mainspring. Still, 23 lbs. is light cocking and this is an all-day air rifle.

Summary

Three months ago I had never heard of a Diana 26. Now I’m testing one! Ain’t life grand?