Sheridan Blue Streak: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sheridan Blue Streak
My Sheridan Blue Streak dates back to 1978 when I bought it new.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Crosman Premier
  • Benjamin Cylindrical pellets
  • Predator Polymags
  • H&N Baracuda
  • Field Target Trophy
  • JSB Exact
  • Sheridan Cylindrical pellet
  • A different number of pump strokes
  • Discussion
  • What can cause poor accuracy?
  • Summary

We have an interesting day ahead of us! This is the first day we test the accuracy of my vintage Sheridan Blue Streak. Let’s get started!

The test

I shot from 10 meters off a sandbag rest. The rifle rested directly on the sandbag. I shot 5-shot groups for the entire test. To begin with I shot each different pellet on 4 pumps. I’ll take the most accurate pellet and do something more with it at the end of this test. And I never adjusted the sights during this entire test.

Crosman Premier

To this point the now-obsolete 14.3-grain Crosman Premiers have been the most accurate pellets in this rifle. The sights were on in 2016, so I shot from 10 meters with no sighters.

Five Crosman Premiers went into 0.382-inches at 10 meters. That’s a pretty good group! It’s very horizontal, though. I would like to see it more rounded.

Blue Streak Premier group
Five Crosman Premier pellets went into this horizontal 0.382-inch group at 10 meters.

Benjamin Cylindrical pellets

I tried 14.3-grain Benjamin Cylindrical next. They are the only .20 caliber pellet Crosman makes today. Isn’t that ironic? Crosman makes the pellets. They brand them under the Benjamin name and the only multi-pump pneumatics they fit are Sheridans!

Five Benjamin pellets went into 0.48-inches at 10 meters. Though they are okay they are clearly not as good in this rifle as the Crosman Premiers.

Blue Streak Benjamin group
The five Benjamin pellets stayed in one hole, but not as close as the Premiers.

Predator Polymags

Next up were five Predator Polymags. They went into a one-hole 0.433-inch group at 10 meters. In fact, one hole groups is a theme you’re going to see repeated a lot today.

Blue Streak Predator Polymag group
Five Predator Polymag pellets went into 0.433-inches at 10 meters.

H&N Baracuda

The next pellet I tried was the .20 caliber H&N Baracuda. Now, in .177, .22 and .25, Baracudas are heavy pellets. But in .20 caliber they are on the light side of middleweight, at 13.58 grains. Most pellet makers use the same lead preforms for .20 caliber and .22 caliber, but H&N has a different idea.

Five pellets went into 0.35-inches, which is the smallest group thus far. It edges out the Premier as the best pellet to this point.

Blue Streak Baracuda group
Now we’re shootin’! Five H&N Baracudas are in 0.35 inches at 10 meters.

Field Target Trophy

Some of you know that I haven’t had much luck with H&N Field Target Trophy pellets in the past. That changed with the Sheridan Blue Streak. Field Target Trophy pellets were so accurate that I used the silver three-cent piece as a size comparator. Five pellets went into 0.205-inches at 10 meters.

Blue Streak Field Target Trophy group
Five FTT pellets went into 0.205-inches at 10 meters. This is the second smallest group of the test.

JSB Exact

Next I tested the JSB Exact dome. Five of them made an interesting group that’s pretty good. I know the first shot went through the X because I saw it through the spotting scope.  The other 4 landed in 0.171-inches, in a group that was separate from the first shot. Those four would have brought out the gold dollar, but the first shot opens it up to 0.326-inches. It’s still a great group but there is the promise of something even better.

Blue Streak JSB group
Five JSB Exact pellets are in 0.326-inches at 10 meters, with 4 in just 0.171-inches.

Sheridan Cylindrical pellet

Now it’s time to test the pellet that was made for the entire Sheridan line — the Sheridan Cylindrical pellet. These are unusual because they have no wasp waist, being a true cylinder that rides on top of the lands. Only the short band at the rear of the pellet engages the rifling to spin the pellet for stability.

Blue Streak Sheridan Pellet
Sheridan’s pellet is unique.

But compared to the accuracy of today’s pellets, the old cylindricals are not as good. Five of them landed in 1.19 Inches with four in a tighter 0.44-inches.

Blue Streak Sheridan pellet group
Five Sheridan Cylindrical pellets made a 1.19-inch group, with 4 in 0.44-inches at 10 meters.

A different number of pump strokes

Now that I knew that the FTT was the most accurate pellet, it was time to learn what number of pump strokes was best for it. I had been shooting with 4 strokes up to this point, so I loaded another Field Target Trophy and pumped the rifle 3 times. The shot sounded the same as with 4 pumps, but I checked the target to make sure it was still okay, which it was. Then I loaded and fired 4 more pellets — each with three pumps of air behind them.

The 5-shot group looked beautiful. It is quite round. And, when I measured it, I was surprised to get a measurement between the centers of the two shots farthest apart of 0.203-inch. The previous FTT target with 4 pumps measured 0.205-inches between centers. There is no real way to know if this group or the other one is larger, because the error in measuring is greater than the difference between them. But for the record, I am calling this the smallest group of the test.

Blue Streak Field Target Trophy group 3 pumps
Field Target Trophys grouped in 0.203-inches at 10 meters when propelled by three pumps.

The next step was to pump the gun 5 times per shot and repeat the test. This time 5 FTT pellets went into 0.506-inches at 10 meters. That’s enough of a difference to know that 3 and 4 pumps are better than 5.

Blue Streak Field Target Trophy group 5 pumps
Five pumps was a turning point and accuracy started to suffer. Five FTT pellets went into 0.506-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion

My 41-year-old Blue Streak is more accurate than I knew! It’s very close to my Sheridan Supergrade, which is what I said about the Streaks in the beginning of this report. They were not made with the same expensive materials as the Supergrades, but their performance is just as good.

As far as which pellet is the most accurate, I think several qualify. The FTT is certainly the leader in this test because it turned in superior results two times. But the Crosman Premier, the H&N Baracuda and the JSB Exact also deserve to be tested again. That JSB might just surprise us at 25 yards!

What can cause poor accuracy?

Reader Michael did a search and found a Steroid Streak report I did in 2009 that talked about its power and accuracy. If you read that report you’ll see that the Silver Streak that was “Steroided” was just as accurate as the Blue Steak I am testing today. But that wasn’t the case initially.

The rifle had a burr at the air transfer port that caused it to shoot one-inch groups at 10 meters. So I returned it to Mac-1 Airguns and Tim fixed the problem. Then I had a rifle that was both accurate and powerful.

The air transfer port is the thing to suspect when accuracy is a problem with a Streak. I discovered the problem by pushing a pellet through the bore from the muzzle to the breech. It came out with a huge “bite” out of the head and skirt on one side.

Summary

I’m not finished with the Blue Streak just yet. I want to back up to 25 yards and see what it can do from there. So, you can relax, Streakers. There’s more to come!

29 thoughts on “Sheridan Blue Streak: Part 3

  1. B.B.,

    Your Blue Streak sure loves the FTT pellets. They should hold up at 25 yards even though they are a little lighter than the other pellets. I know you have proven me wrong many times but if your groups open up at 25 yds I would try 6, 7, or 8 pumps. I bet you had her pumped up all the way for that old rabbit at 35 yards.

    Is this the same gun Edith was pesting with? No wonder she liked it, if it’s the same gun.

    Don



  2. B.B.,

    B.B.,

    Great shooting. Looking forwards to the 25. I would second Don in that maybe more than 4 and 5 pumps may be required.

    Good Day to you and to all,…….. Chris



  3. BB,

    But the manual says you can pump it up 8 times! This air rifle needs to be it’s most accurate with 9 pumps! 10! More speed!

    Thank you so much for showing us the accuracy at different pumps. So many never seem to grasp that if you slow it down a bit, the accuracy usually goes up. With a pumper that means you get to shoot the next shot sooner.


  4. B.B.,

    Wow, that thing sure is a shooter! It’s pretty amazing to see how well it shot with such a variety of pellets as well.
    Can’t wait to see what it does when you back it up to 25 yards.

    As to my previous comments about the new Benjamin Variable Pumper, I was looking through the most recent Pyramyd Air Catalog and noticed next to the Benjamin there is a small “sticker” that says Tom’s pick. I just found it amusing after you had mentioned you had never shot them, so they must be the same as the 392.



  5. certainly enjoyed the look at Blue streaks; waiting for more! Picked up my first silver streak last month (own three blue’s)– it’s been in a closet for years- accurate but lower power, Suggestions for a quick fix or check first? Have a serious prob with a Diana 48– How contact you about that? ( new to this)


    • milk,

      Welcome to the blog.

      The best thing to do is write the problem as a comment top today’s report. Not only will I see it, but also a quarter-million-plus readers. Among that many folks we should be able to help.

      And, just in case — the number one problem for the Diana 48 for someone new to it is they don’t cock it all the way and they can’t get the cocking arm to go back in place. The solution is to pull back on the arm even farther than you think is necessary and the rifle will cock.

      B.B.



        • milk,

          Now why do you think I said what I said? Because this is the most common fault with a Diana 48 or 52 to someone who just got it.

          Right now the cocking lever is being held in place by the ratchet safety . So hold the rifle so that you can move the lever and press the safety button at the same time. Keep pulling the cocking arm back while you press down on the safety release button. I would “bounce” the cocking lever (pull and release in pulses) while I pressed on the ratchet release button. If I were standing there beside you that is the only thing I know to do.

          This is a problem with many sidelevers — the FWB 300 and 150 and the Chinese copy (the BS4) also having it.

          B.B.


  6. B.B.,
    Great report! All I can say is, “This ol’ gal can SHOOT!”
    I’m sure you’re very pleased so far; I can’t wait to see what she can do at 25 yards. =>
    Thanks again,
    dave


  7. This is the best forum related to guns even tho they are just airguns that I have found. firearm forums are loaded with egomaniacal know it all arrogant blowhards. BB is so humble answers most posts if a guy points out a mistake he made he thanks the guy even with his tons of know how instead of going insane like on a firearm forum. there are hardly any men like BB around. also the guys here are the nicest people also I ever saw on forums. I guess BB attracts them lol



      • Mildot52 and Jumpin,
        Yes, gentlemen, you have correctly assessed one of the main reasons for this blog’s popularity: the humility of B.B., and the culture he has created here that stems from it. B.B. and many of his followers here are also versed in firearms; B.B. will blog about those as well when his reports speak of general gun topics, such as rifling. However, whether discussing airguns, firearms, or even the odd catapult (slingshot), the tone of the discussions here is (due to B.B.’s lead) like unto many friends sitting around a campfire, sharing their knowledge about a subject that is near and dear to them.
        That’s why I read this blog on a daily basis, and firearms blogs (for reasons noted above) not so much.
        B.B. is representative of the gentleman of manners that is sadly lacking in today’s society.
        And that is why this blog is something to which I look forward each day.
        Blessings to all,
        dave



    • Mildot52,

      I concur wholeheartedly. The low-key and welcoming nature of this blog, along with the humble and genial tone B.B. sets every day, are essential to my enjoying reading it everyday. B.B., kudos to you for your daily contribution here. You add not just to the canon of airgun knowledge and study but to civilized discussion online in general. Your regular example is admirable.

      My parents brought me up to consider those who brag to be insecure, and they boast to compensate for those deep-down feelings of inadequacy. True confidence, they always taught me, shows itself in a calm, quiet, and understated manner, like Gary Cooper in High Noon. “If you can really do it, then you don’t need to brag about it.” Too often these days folks are subjected to loudmouths publicly proclaiming how great they are at every turn. I am embarrassed for them.

      Michael


    • Yes indeed, B.B. has created a great blog where everyone is respectful and helpful. I have been a daily reader and commenter on the blog since the spring of 2017. I didn’t know, what I didn’t know, until I began reading this blog. Everyone here has been very helpful with constructive comments. I can’t say that I have ever read a negative, or derogatory, comment here. I didn’t know there was so much to learn about airguns. There are others here in the blog with tons of experience with many airguns and pellets. It’s a great community of people with a great leader setting the example. Sometimes if one of us, I’m guilty, posts something a little too graphical regarding dispatching a pest, B.B. kindly reminds us that this is a family oriented blog and that we need to be mindful of our postings. If it’s too graphical he may remove it from the blog, but he never chastises us for posting it, but gently reminds us that it’s a family blog.

      Thanks to Pyramyd Air and B.B. for creating this environment where we can participate and share all things airgun. I truly appreciate this community and all of the contributors.
      Geo


  8. B.B. and Readership,

    I have had experience with what Mildot52 has pointed out on blogs covering not only the shooting sports but on things you would never think would become controversial. This is one of the few blogs I bother to spend any time reading.

    For those of you who live in the districts of the following letter authors please contact them or their respective staffs and point out RESPECTFULLY that most of these are sold to adults these days. Please note that it isn’t just about “Toy Guns” as we know them.

    https://www.thetrace.org/rounds/senators-urge-consumer-product-safety-commission-to-regulate-toy-guns/

    Remember the Antis will go after the “soft” targets whenever they can. You may not realize that the motivation is not to take away your guns but to kill our culture.

    The one we know to be far more respectful than the one they grow up in!

    shootski


  9. B.B.,

    At some point in the middle of your shooting it looks like you accidentally picked up your Feinwerkbau 300s 10 Meter target rifle! Those are amazing groups, and that is incredible shooting. That Sheridan is not just on the hot side power-wise, it’s a hot shooter, too.

    Seeing your Trime reminded me that a few weeks ago I found one in my pocket among the change I had received one day. So I dug into a little bowl I keep little trinkets in on the top of my dresser and lo and behold, it turned out to be just an Ecuadorian dime instead. :^( That was about an hour ago, and I am still sore about it. It seems only a teeny-tiny bit smaller than a U.S. dime, too, so it’s not as though I can use it next to the very few tiny groups I shoot.

    Well, at least it’s a nice day out, so I can go out and plink a bit in the backyard. :^)

    Michael


    • Michael,

      Every so often people get into their parents’ coin collections and pilfer things. I found a 1937-S Buffalo nickel in almost uncirculated condition in my change from a Chinese restaurant I sometimes go to. That had to have come out of a collection and probably just before I found it.

      I still find silver coins from time to time — dimes and quarters that were minted before 1965. There is no way they could have remained in circulation all those years and still be legible. Heck — the dime I use in my pictures is one of them. They have to have come from collections. An average worn silver dime is worth 95 cents in silver today.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        That’s a good point about a coin having to have been (what a verb construction!) uncirculated for a time because of the lack of wear on what is, after all, made of soft metal. Since I wrote the above comment I looked up the going prices on Trimes, and now I am really quite disappointed my find was only a recently minted foreign dime. Well, nothing ventured.

        Michael



    • Benji-Don,

      As you discussed accuracy and precision are the end result of multiple factors, sometimes independent, most often dependent on oneanother. With Multipumps the same pellet might be under-stabilized at 3-4 pumps but so slow a velocity that it doesn’t matter over the short distance covered. Especially due to the much higher drag stabilization of diabolo pellets. At 5-6 pumps with that same pellet the shooter might be/is tempted to reach out to longer ranges but the pellet might still be unstable because of too low an RPM. 7 or some higher number of pumps (before the pump headspace limit you describe is reached and MV stops increasing) may be sufficient to provide the RPM needed to get a stable pellet all the way to the target. Of note is that RPM does not decay at anything like the rate velocity does during the time to target; especially for diabolo pellets.

      Without a Chronograph NONE of this can even start to be detected…just saying.

      shootski


      • Shootski,

        I agree. The rpm and stability of the pellet is just one, but big, factor in the accuracy. I have a chronograph but still don’t know the accuracy for a given number of pumps till the pellet hits the target.

        I have heard that some of the extreme distance benchrest bullets accuracy can improve at longer distances. That seems to be an example of the bullet stabilizing over distance.


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