The AirForce Ring Loc Kit: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Ring-Loc Kit
AirForce Condor Ring-Loc Kit.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • A little history
  • Installing the Ring Loc Kit
  • Adjusting the top hat clearance
  • The bolt-locking notches
  • Protect the bolt bushing
  • What is the measurement under the top hat?
  • Let’s test it
  • Air use
  • One last test
  • Summary

Today we take the Ring Loc Kit from AirForce in a new direction. To this point we have seen the performance of all the orifices except for the smallest one — the 0.070 orifice that is supposed to be a pilot hole for drilling your own custom orifice. But some of you have asked me to shoot the gun with that orifice as it is? Well, I was told that it won’t push a pellet out of the barrel when the rifle is set on maximum power, but when I pressed him, Ton Jones told me that was with the .25 caliber barrel installed. They were interested in the maximum power in each caliber, because this kit goes on an AirForce Condor, after all.

A little history

When the .22-caliber Condor was first released in 2004, the top power was 65 foot-pounds, with the pellets that were available. Today, in .25 caliber the rifle can deliver up to 105 foot-pounds! Power and accuracy has always been the focus of this amazing air rifle.

There was also a .177 Condor in the first release, but we didn’t think any shooters would be interested in it. Maybe a spare .177-caliber barrel, but certainly not a whole rifle. And, for the American market, that held true for many years. But we had orders from South Africa, where .22 caliber airguns were legally considered as firearms. They needed the .177 Condor, so we shipped them there. And that is when it became obvious that the Hi-Flo valve that worked so well in .22 was not as reliable in .177. It was borderline. On very warm days and very cold days the valve might not work. It could remain open and dump the entire tank on the first shot or it could refuse to open at all. We had to tweak the valve and we settled on a stronger return spring to balance the airflow so the rifle worked reliably every time. And that brings us to the Ring Loc Kit!

Ring Loc Kit two valves
The standard valve on the left has a smaller orifice and is not set up to accept the Ring Loc Kit. The Condor (CondorSS and TalonP) valve on the right can accept any of the orifices shown above.

The Ring Loc Kit allows the shooter to adjust the performance of his rifle by switching orifices. Today I’m going to show you how that is done. Let’s get right to it.

Ring Loc Kit Ton shoots
Ton Jones tested the Ring Loc Kit extensively. I spent several hours with him, learning how it performs.

Installing the Ring Loc Kit

Each new Condor, CondorSS and TalonP reservoir comes with a RingLoc valve installed, so installation of a different orifice from the kit is quite easy. Just remove the front part of what we used to call the top hat and replace it with a different orifice and you’re done. However — there is an entirely new way of adjusting the clearance of the top hat, so let’s look at it.

Ring Loc Kit wrenches
The Ring Loc top hat comes apart with two wrenches supplied with the kit.

Ring Loc Kit apart
The thousand-word picture. Ring-Loc orifices at the right (0.070- and 0.232-inches), and the Ring Loc base is still on the valve, along with the o-ring that fits between the base and orifice.

The Ring Loc base stays on the valve, with the o-ring that fits between it and the orifice. Screw the chosen orifice down on the valve until it contacts the base. Use the two thin wrenches to tighten the base and orifice together, but not too tight! The o-ring does not need the parts to be over-tight, and it is possible to squash the o-ring if you tighten too much. The kit contains three spare o-rings just in case.

Adjusting the top hat clearance

Now comes the most important part — the top hat adjustment. Remember, with the Ring Loc valve, the top hat is really two pieces with an o-ring in between.

The bolt-locking notches

Owners of AirForce rifles know that after cocking and loading, when the bolt is returned to cover the valve (top hat), its handle is then rotated into one of the notches on either side of the frame. If you don’t do this the bolt will be free to move upon firing and consistency of velocity goes out the window.

Ring Loc Kit locking notches
After loading the pellet the bolt is returned to the rear and rotated into one of the two notches (arrows) in the frame to lock it.

The locking notches in the frame of the rifle are the key to adjusting the Ring Loc Kit correctly. Once the bolt is rotated into the notch after cocking, you should not be able to push it forward and backward. If you can wiggle it back and forth, it is too loose and the Ring Loc base needs to be adjusted forward until the bolt cannot be moved in the notch. I discovered that the notches in my test rifle are not exactly the same. The bolt was solid in the left notch but wiggling in the right notch. I always use the right notch when I load the rifle, so I adjusted the Ring Loc top hat until it was tight in that notch.

Ring Loc Kit bolt locked
Here’s another important picture. You see the bolt handle has been rotated into the right notch to lock the bolt at firing. You also see that the rear of the bolt now covers the end of the top hat. Inside the bolt are two small o-rings that seal the bolt at firing to keep all the air behind the pellet. This and the straight-through airflow design are how the Condor develops all that power.

Protect the bolt bushing

Here is where a heavy hand can cause a problem. The screw that holds the bolt handle to the bolt passes through a soft synthetic bushing. Aside from elevating the bolt handle so it has room to rotate into the locking notches, that bushing deadens any vibration from firing that tries to dislodge the bolt from the locking notch. You can damage this soft bushing if you force the bolt handle into a locking notch — so watch it!

I adjusted the orifice several times until the bolt handle was locking solidly in that right notch without putting undue stress on the soft bushing around the bolt screw. The job was done!

What is the measurement under the top hat?

Guys, forget about the measurement under the top hat. That was what we worried about in the old days. The reason I say that is that each rifle is ever-so-slightly different and this adjustment method allows for that. Measurement doesn’t. This adjustment is critical because, if there is any movement in the bolt when the rife fires, you will loose air with the shot. That will cost you velocity or shot count, and probably both.

Let’s test it

I have installed and adjusted the 0.070-orifice that AirForce advises is not for shooting. It’s to use as a pilot hole for drilling your own custom orifice that can be any size up to but not exceeding 0.232-inches.

But some readers wanted to know what the 0.070 orifice does by itself. I selected the lightweight RWS Hobby pellet to shoot. I’m about to test something AirForce hasn’t tested yet. Let’s face it — given all the orifices, calibers, barrel lengths and pellets there are, they haven’t tested everything yet. So come with me and we’ll take a look at the dark side of the moon.

I am testing a standard .177-caliber Condor that has a 24-inch barrel. I’m shooting the 7-grain Hobby pellet for all this test. I filled the air reservoir to 3,000 psi yesterday and when finished the onboard tank gauge read 2,800 psi. It was still reading that at the start of this test.

Remember that I was told this orifice wouldn’t even shoot a pellet out of the barrel. That was for the .25-caliber gun of course, but for safety I decided to start the test with the rifle set on maximum power.

Ring Loc Kit max power
I started the test with the power dialed all the way up.

This test is just to find out if this orifice works at all, and, if it does, how well does it seem to work? Remember — this has not been done yet.

High power
Shot……Vel
1……….856
2……….846
3……….851

Power setting 10
Shot……Vel
1……….856
2……….840
3……….846
4……….847

Power setting 8
Shot……Vel
1……….828
2……….830
3……….838
4……….842

Power setting 6
Shot……Vel
1……….821
2……….819
3……….831
4……….831

Power setting 4 (discharge was quieter)
Shot……Vel
1……….822
2……….817
3……….810
4……….826

Power setting 2 (quieter)
Shot……Vel
1……….802
2……….804
3……….815
4……….804

Low power (quieter)
Shot……Vel
1……….787
2……….780
3……….792
4……….795

There you have it. The Condor does work in .177 with the smallest 0.070 orifice. The highest velocity produced 11.39 foot pounds. At the lowest velocity the slowest pellet produced 9.46 foot-pounds. So that becomes the known power spread for the AirForce Condor at this point. It can produce muzzle energies that span from as low as 9.39 foot-pounds to as much as 105 foot pounds. There isn’t another air rifle in existence that can come anywhere close to that! Of course you can install shorter barrels and get results that are even less powerful, because all this testing was done with a standard Condor 24-inch barrel.

Air use

When all 27 shots had been fired, the gauge on the reservoir showed that there were 200 less psi in the tank. Don’t ask me for a shot count; I won’t live long enough — ha!

One last test

Okay, how slow can we go? To test this I loaded a10.65-grain H&N Baracuda Match pellet with the rifle’s power still set on the lowest setting. Here is what I got.

Low power
Shot……Vel
1……….697
2……….696
3……….663
4……….702

Summary

Clearly the 0.070 orifice does work with the .177 caliber Condor. There is no need to drill it out. In fact I’m thinking it might be possible to slip a small o-ring under the top hat to take the rifle down even farther — they way we used to with the Gunpower Stealth.

This $50 kit makes the AirForce Condor the most all-around PCP ever built. If you own one, you need a kit!

21 thoughts on “The AirForce Ring Loc Kit: Part 4

  1. B.B.

    I have heard that top of the line PCP’s, FX, Daystate, etc. only sell about 10% of their models in .177.
    Is .177 in danger of becoming the next .20? Seems .25 is the coming caliber?

    Do they sell extra wrenches?

    -Y


    • I will say no,
      Like he mentioned above, some countries see anything above .177 as a firearm.
      And all international airgun competitions require .177 caliber.

      Even the official Guinness worlds longest shot with an air rifle, required it be done with a specific weight and shape .177 caliber pellet.
      Not the long range hammer projectiles being used for long range hunting.

      But B.B. has his ear to the ground, and he would know better than anyone.



  2. Thank you for testing the .070 orifice.

    Uncharted country, it feels good to go there.

    I knew it would work, and it SHOULD work in .22. (My Stealth in .22 uses a .070 orifice at 600 – 610 FPS. With 14.3 premier domes, and a 12 inch barrel.)

    I know Airforce is looking for the max power numbers.

    Speed sells, pure and simple.

    But I would venture to say that maybe 80% or more of airgunners shoot sub 15 ftlbs guns daily.

    And the outrageous shot count don’t hurt any either.

    This kit changes the world for flexibility in a single airgun.


  3. BB
    Glad you tested the small orafice with the .177 caliber. Look at that consistency. It’s just like a regulator was in the guns bottle. I like that. And by just a simple screw on top hat.

    And also glad you mentioned throw out the thought of a measurement. And yep my right notch is tighter than my left notch on my Condor SS. And that’s exactly how I set the top hat on my gun.

    Seems like this would be a good kit to have depending on how you wanted to use the gun for the type of shooting your doing for the day. A small orafice for plinking and then if going hunting turn up the power with the big orafice. Heck you could even go with a midsize orafice if you needed good power but not a lot for certain types of pesting situations. Like in or around a barn. Kind of reminds me of how I would use the striker spring adjustment on my Marauder’s when I had them. Cool stuff.


  4. Mr. Gaylord:
    WOW. If I correctly understand what you’ve written, the Air Force Condor fully tricked out with multiple caliber barrels and the Ring Loc Kit, can be “tuned” up or down to shoot any competition from 10 meter 3P to 100 yard bench rest to the CMP smallbore sporter class (if CMP ever lets .22 air rifles compete head to head with .22LR rifles).
    That is one versatile rifle. But I doubt it will ever show up for sale in a big box store.
    Respectfully,
    William Schooley



      • I was in 2 different big box hunting, fishing, camping, stores with a friend looking for a scope for his new Diana Outlaw in .22 cal.

        We had to educate them on the difference between springers/gas pistons and PCP’s that don’t ruin a non-airgun scopes. Yes, some/few non-airgun scopes can handle the double recoil from piston power plants.

        It is amazing how many sales people don’t know much about airguning with all that is changing in this “Golden Age of Airguns”.

        John


        • John
          I’m getting a part time job working at Cabela’s when I retire working in the air gun department.

          I’m thinking some educating needs to happen.

          Don’t see it any different than what I been doing the last 30 something years in my regular job. The fun teaching is when you teach the supervisors and CEO’s. You know, when one of those snickering smiles comes across your face. 😉


  5. And another air gun bite’s the dust I guess. Another Daisy. Now two of them gone. The 74 and M14. Here’s a link.
    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Winchester_M14_CO2_Air_Rifle/2719

    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Daisy_74_CO2_BB_Gun/3380

    I just bought one in new in box condition for less than what they sold for new plus free shipping.

    Wonder what others are going to drop off with Daisy’s new ownership.

    Hopefully not the 880’s. I had them in the past and not bad air guns at all.

    Got some airgun stuff happening now days don’t we. Time to pay attention in more ways than one.


    • GF1,

      Yes,… it makes one wonder.

      Off topic,… just now,…. 20# Ground Hog spotted while watching evening news. Open steel entry door,… slowly. Open full glass storm door,… slowly. The further out the door I get, the closer he comes into seeing me. He rises. I pause, wait, he resumes eating grass. Upon spotting, I preset the parallax to 25 yards while still inside. Loaded a JSB 15.89 (from my 3 pellet, foam, under scope, pellet holder). Long story short, a very nice head shot at 25 yards, braced off the house/porch. Quick and close up (1″) 2nd head shot and all was done.

      Very satisfying and the process all well executed.

      Looks like the size of the one that was climbing that clump of trees, that I mentioned the other day.

      Chris

      .22 Maximus,…. by the way.


      • Chris,

        I have one of those guys out back too and I think he will go 20# or more. When he sits up on his haunches he looks to be 2′ tall. He’s definitely a big one, and extremely wary. I’ve tried to sneak up on him a couple of times but if he get a glimpse of any movement he’s gone.

        I will say these PCP rifles are very powerful, even the moderately powerful ones like my Urban. The Urban is tuned to shoot about at about 24 ft-lbs at the muzzle. I am constructing a new pellet trap for my basement range. I blew the back out of my old one that was filled with duck seal. The new one will have a 11″x12″ x 1″ thick piece of aluminum plate at the back. Bugbuster sent me some uncured rubber sheets 10 1/2″ x 11″ x 3/8″ thick which I plan to mount in front of the aluminum plate. I was testing to see how many sheets I would need. This rubber is dense and heavy so I was thinking one or two sheets would do the job. I started with one sheet and shot a JSB 18.13g pellet from my Urban at 17 yards. The pellet went through the rubber sheet and penetrated into the aluminum sheet the depth of the pellet! Then I add a second sheet and the pellets went clean through both sheets. I added a third sheet thinking that would stop the pellet but no, five pellets blew right through three sheets and left marks on the aluminum. Finally after hanging a fourth sheet the pellets were stopped midway into that 4th sheet. That’s 1 1/2″ of solid rubber. All of the pellets that had penetrated through three sheets of rubber flattened out when they reached the aluminum plate to about 1/2″ diameter.

        I think your Maximus is of similar power compared to my Urban. I can see a pellet shot from these PCPs penetrating clean through a woodchuck’s head at 25 yards. These PCP rifles are no joke.

        After my testing, I think I will mount just two of the rubber sheets and let the aluminum plate stop the pellets. The rubber tends to heal itself after the pellet goes through so hopefully they will last for quite a few shots and I can replace them when needed. Two sheets seem to quiet the pellet as much as three and will keep the pellets from bouncing back out of the trap.

        I knew these airguns were powerful but I was surprised at just how much power they really generate. This was an interesting test.

        Geo



          • Geo,

            Very nice on the stop. I am very surprised that the pellet penetrated at all.

            On the ground hog,… he paused, made about 1/2 turn in place and laid down. I reloaded and walked up and it was not moving other than some twitching. 1 more close up. Yes, within the proper range a .22 will work quite well. Good luck with yours. I was lucky to get as far as I did as I have done that drill more times than I can count. Very wary they are. I was in full view before the shot, but he was busy eating. It was raining light, so maybe that helped.

            Good Day,….. Chris


            • Thanks Chris. I shot a smaller woodchuck in the back yard a few years ago with my RWS Diana 34P .22 Cal. He appeared to be sick and wasn’t moving normally. The Diana took him out with a headshot but they are tough and I had to shoot him a couple more times at close range to finish him off. Before I had a chance to carry him out into the field, a huge vulture came in and landed on one of my bluebird nesting boxes. He spread his wings out and just sat there eyeing that woodchuck. He wasn’t quite brave enough to come in closer to get him. Later I carried the woodchuck out into the field and the vulture had a picnic.



              • Geo,

                My Dad live traps and finishes them off with a .22 powder pistol and does the same. Kind of gross actually, but each to their own. (he puts them in a field that is in full view of a kitchen bay window).

                I think the rain helped me. You may want to consider that. It has to help to deaden/conceal other sounds that the ground hog might hear,…… like you moving about! 😉

                Chris


  6. B.B.,

    I like this kit. For some reason, I see me owning a Condor. One, the looks. Two,.. the power. Three,.. the tune-ability,… now even more. The only holdback has been repeater. High scope too,… (top heavy). But,… I do like the overall lightness.

    Chris

    Interested in a .25 M-rod with a fine UTG 4-16 x 56 glass in an RAI stock and FAB Defense 6 position? 😉 Hey,…. got’ta ask! 😉


  7. Good morning
    I may have missed a comment but is there any chance trying the big orifice on a Talon P or an Escape SS, in .25 caliber? I would like to know the power/shot count ratio with the small tanks and short barrels. Thanks in advance.
    Bill


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