Beeman P17 air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman P17
Beeman P17 air pistol.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Where we are
  • But wait — there’s more!
  • Velocity
  • The test
  • RWS Hobby — seated flush
  • Hobbys seated deep
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated flush
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated deep
  • Falcon pellets seated flush
  • Falcon pellets seated deep
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Construction of the pump cylinder
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Where we are

I told you that this report was going to be done backwards. Parts One and Two were guest blogs by reader 45Bravo dealing with repairing the two most common faults these pistols have. Today we start looking at the pistol’s performance. I changed the photo up top for this report because if you buy a new Beeman P17 pistol it will come with fiberoptic sights, front and rear. Why the makers feel the need for sights like these is a real mystery, because this pistol is not meant for hunting. This is a paper target pistol and a plinker, pure and simple. Many shooters will no doubt install a dot sight on their pistols, so I will test it with the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight that I have been reporting on.

But wait — there’s more!

After I thoroughly test this P17, I have also acquired a Beeman P3 that I will also test for you. That is the air pistol the P17 copies. This series will be a complete examination of this remarkable single stroke pneumatic air pistol.

Velocity

The P17 is advertised to produce 410 f.p.s. We know that was tested with a lightweight pellet, so I will test it with the RWS Hobby which weighs 7 grains. Then I will test it with a couple other pellets — just because everyone wants to know. Let’s get started.

The test

Several P17 owners mentioned that pellets went faster when seated deep. So I conducted each velocity test with 5 pellets seated flush and five seated deep.

It’s fairly easy to seat pellet deep in the P17, for there is a straight path in the upper slide that aligns with the barrel breech. I use an Allen wrench to push the pellet in, so the seating depth was never exact.

RWS Hobby — seated flush

Five Hobbys seated flush averaged 389 f.p.s. The spread ranged from a low of 385 to a high of 396. That’s a spread of 11 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Hobby generates 2.35 foot-pounds. In case you wondered why I said the P17 is not for hunting — that’s why.

Hobbys seated deep

When Hobbys were seated deep my pistol averages 401 f.p.s. That’s 12 f.p.s. faster than when seated flush. The spread for deep-seated pellets went from 395 to 406 f.p.s., which is a spread of 11 f.p.s. At the average velocity Hobbys generate 2.50 foot-pounds at the muzzle. In the case of Hobbys, deep-seating added 0.15 foot-pounds to the energy, which isn’t that much.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated flush

I tried Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets next. Pyramyd Air no longer carries them, in case you are searching for them, but I have quite a few on hand and have found them to sometimes be exceptionally accurate.
This pellet averaged 451 f.p.s. when seated flush. The velocity spread when from 447 to 453 f.p.s., so a total difference of 6 f.p.s. At the average velocity seated flush the energy was 2.37 foot-pounds.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated deep

When the same pellet was seated deep the average climbed to 459 f.p.s. That’s a gain of 8 f.p.s. When seated deep the energy climbed to 2.46 foot-pounds, a 0.09 foot-pound jump. All of the additional effort is hardly worth it, don’t you think?

Falcon pellets seated flush

The final pellet I tested was the Air Arms Falcon dome. And right here I will make a point. Both the Hobbys and the Sig Ballistic Alloy pellets had some resistance when pushing them into the breech. The Hobbys are just large while the Sig pellets are made of tin that is harder than pure lead. In contrast, the Falcon pellets push in easily. Let’s see if that has any impact on the velocity.

Seated flush the Falcons averaged 401 f.p.s. That’s correct — even though they weigh more than Hobbys, they go faster. The spread went from 398 to 402 f.p.s. — a difference of just 4 f.p.s. That’s a little more than one-third the variation that we saw with the other two pellets. At the average velocity the flush-seated Falcon generates 2.62 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Falcon pellets seated deep

As I said, it was very easy to seat the Falcon pellets deep. They averaged 407 f.p.s. that way — an increase of 6 f.p.s. over seating them flush. The spread went from 404 to 415 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 11 f.p.s. At the average velocity the deep-seated Falcon produces 2.7 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Deep-seating gains you 0.08 foot pounds or 6 f.p.s. Big woop!

Cocking effort

To measure the effort needed to cock (pump) the P17, I put a dry folded-up washcloth on my bathroom scale then opened the pistol and laid the top of the gun on the cloth. I slowly pushed down on the pistol grip until the top closed and the pistol was cocked.

It took 35 pounds of effort to cock the gun. For the velocity it produces, that’s a lot. It’s also why people love the IZH 46M that cocks with 20 lbs. of effort, and gets another 100 f.p.s. velocity with similar pellets.

Trigger pull

The two-stage P17 trigger requires one pound to go through stage one and it breaks at 2 lbs. 4.5 ounces. Stage two has some travel that can be felt and then it stops. At the end the break is reasonably crisp.

Construction of the pump cylinder

The pump cylinder that serves as the compression chamber is made of steel. The piston body and the rod that connects it to the upper slide are both made of aluminum. I’m telling you this because I will compare this pistol to the P3 in a later report.

Discussion

This particular pistol is slightly slower than the advertised velocity but not enough to worry about. I don’t think the pistol needs to be resealed, though now we certainly know how to do it, don’t we?

Also, deep-seating pellets doesn’t add that much to the velocity. I wouldn’t do it anyway because it’s one more step in the loading process that, with a single stroke, is already pretty busy.

Summary

We now know the power of this P17. The next step will be to test the accuracy using the open sights. This pistol has plain sights with no fiberoptics, so it will be easy to shoot it accurately. Stay tuned!

54 thoughts on “Beeman P17 air pistol: Part 3

  1. B.B.

    Not fair to compare the P17 with the IZH 46M. When available, the IZH costs 20 times what the P17 costs.
    At 30 bucks the question is the P17 better than spit balls, rubber bands, or just pitching pebbles?

    -Y

    PS I wish I had an IZH 46M! Or a Pardini.


    • Yogi,

      Until very recently I only owned one air pistol, an Izzy. Everything else was downhill from there, so why bother. You can get a better air pistol but you are going to pay more for it, a lot more.

      I occasionally see some nice used ones for sale. They are not cheap, but they are worth it.




  2. Well, you *can* hunt with this pistol, but it has to be something very small, like chipmunks! Because of its accuracy, you can nail them every time. There is a problem, however. If you go for distance on the chipmunks, you will find that they see the slow pellet coming and dodge them every time! So, wait by the wood pile and get them when they poke their heads out, but you will have to be close.
    Michael in Georgia




      • Mildot52
        I thought about that too. We have Chipmunks where I’m at. And around here anyway all I can say is they are nothing like a Fox (or where I come from they are called red squirrels) or gray squirrels. Really not a bother or should I say a pest at all. ???




          • Mildot52,
            I mostly leave the little chipmunks alone. It just doesn’t seem right to dispatch pests that have names My wife names them and if I were to shoot one, I would be in the dog house. Sometimes though they can get over populated, and if I see them climbing around under the cars, then I need to manage the herd. They will sometimes chew on the wires.
            Now gophers, that’s another story. If I see one in the yard, he is dispatched ASAP. Last summer I sprained a calf muscle trying to cut a gopher off as he ran from my wife’s flower garden. Guess at 72 it’s not good to cut like I used to. It reminded me that I’m not a youngster anymore. I hobbled around for five weeks recovering from that sprain. I did get that gopher a couple of weeks later though.
            Geo


            • when I was young I killed anything that walked swam crawled or flew. as I got a little older saw what a struggle life was to survive was and saw the animals trying to survive I changed my thinking. now there are time chipmunks do get out of control and have to be dealt with but if there are cats around they will cull them


              • Mildot52
                Was a little different for me.

                Dad always told me and my brother and our friends to never point a gun at what you didn’t want to kill.

                We shot pests.

                And when we did shoot a squirrel or rabbit or even bullfrogs it was for eat’n. If we shot something and brought it home my dad always would ask why. The answer always better be for food. Or if it was a pest let’s just say a raccoon. It better well of been getting into something it wasn’t suppose to. We wasn’t just suppose to kill it.

                We had alot of farm animals and such. There was always something trying to get something or birds roosting in the barns and mice and even rats would get the baby pigs. Basically we never ran out of pesting time.

                Just say’n what I remember.


                • That was the same for me. It was a very controlled pesting or you better eat it. I still don’t harass fish unless I eat them. I broke the rules a few times and suffered the consequences. Oh and you don’t waste ammunition. My dad grew up hunting to survive.

                  That reminds me my dad grew up in Rockwood, that was wiped out in the (I think) 1993 flood. Is that close to you? He moved to Los Angeles when he was 14 on his own.

                  I did shoot ground squirrels for farmers for a while. That was a whole different situation and became more like a job. I mostly shoot paper now.

                  Don


                  • Don
                    I’m by St.Louis Mo. About 15 or so miles to the east.

                    And yep did alot of pesting on our farm when I was a kid and on the neighboring farms. Still do some pesting for the farmers by me. They was more than happy to allow me. One farmer was using air guns but was always pressed for time. So he knew all about the guns I told him I had and said no problem and was glad I could help take over that chore as he called it.

                    But yep that’s how I grew up too.




          • TT
            I bet it was funny.

            No flips in the air and fly out of it before he hit the ground?

            Yep I bet they are fun to watch. The Chipmunks are fun to watch too. I swear they can run a million miles an hour when they start chasing each other. Get 3 or 4 going at a time and they jump over each other and all kind of craziness.


            • GF

              He fell out of camera view before I could see what he did. He could only fall about 6 feet to the ground. He was back up there in a jiffy.
              I used to like watching reds when I was bow hunting. They go into all kinds of tantrums.

              tt


              • TT
                If he was anything like Rocky and Bullwinkle I know he jumped off a few things on the way down. Heck if was back up that fast he might of swooped right back up there. 🙂


        • GF1,
          We have fox and black squirrels here in west MI. Red squirrels are a different breed and much smaller. They are fun to watch though. They all try to raid my bird feeders but I grease the poles with STP and then it’s hilarious to watch them sliding down the pole when they jump on it. I have seen the little red squirrel go up so fast that he doesn’t even slip. They are so quick and twitchy. They don’t eat much though, not like the fox squirrels if they get up there. They will stay on the feeders until they have emptied them, if you let them. I don’t shoot any of them though. The little red squirrels can be destructive and will chew holes though wood to get into an attic. Our house is all aluminum sided so they haven’t caused any damage. So if they aren’t destructive, I leave them alone.
          Any of these little critters can be very destructive to your vehicles. So you have to keep an eye on them to make certain they are not climbing up under the cars. The insulation on the wiring of the newer cars attracts these little critters and they find the insulation tasty. Raccoons like it too.
          Geo


          • Geo791,

            Most of the time rodents like Chipmonks and Squirrels are going after the road salts that get splashed up into engine compartment when the snow melts. Rural areas in northern regions that get a lot of snow and ice seem to have a bigger problem with it than in the south. The same conditions that causes some people to need new brake lines because of rust will also cause critters to chew through hoses and wires on your vehicles.

            Half


            • Half,
              You are correct about the road salt. We get too much of that here in MI and I know the squirrels and rabbits like it. They will lick the gravel in the driveway and even the blacktop in the road. I just don’t want them licking and chewing under my vehicles. I keep a salt block out back of the house for the deer, rabbits, squirrels, and even the birds seem to like it.
              I put out a small dish of corn and last night and a doe and her two fawns came in to eat. We sat in our screened room and watch them. I don’t put the corn out everyday because they would go through it really quickly. So I put it out about every second or third day just to keep them interested. We are hoping to see one of the big bucks the neighbor has been seeing but so far they have avoided the corn. I know they are out there though. Enjoy watching the deer.
              Geo


            • Half,

              The salt is certainly a treat but my daughter-in-law’s Subaru has the new biodegradable plastic on the taillight assembly and a ground squirrel ate half of the lense…she had to have the entire assembly replaced $$$, ¥¥¥, €€€, £££ and in any other currency! She borrowed my Son’s DAQ 2550 Pistol and fixed that issue quick.

              shootski



                • Geo
                  True if something is a pest and you know it’s doing something first try to deter it. If that don’t work then eliminate it I guess.

                  But if I don’t have a problem with something then I’m not after it. If it ain’t bothering me. I ain’t bothering it.


              • Shootski,

                I wonder if the plastic hurts the critters that eat it. PETA won’t let that stand! We’ll be required to carry health insurance on any wild animals in our yard in the event that they get sick.

                Speaking of pests, I trapped two young raccoons yesterday that have been getting into my trash can. First time I ever got two at the same time. I relocated them to a nearby park.

                Half


          • My neighbors up by my cabin have had over $10,000 worth of damage to their new car and truck. The new wiring has a soy based coating the pack rats love. My old tractors and dump truck hold up pretty well.

            Don


            • Benji,
              Yup, that is what I have read also. I believe this insulation is only on the newer cars. I also think the wiring comes from Japan or China, and of course American cars use that wiring as well.


      • The difficulty we have here is that they dig under the foundation of the house, weakening the foundation and providing access for a lot of other varmints. Better to keep them out, but this was one way to slow them down.


  3. Geo
    If I shot a Chipmunk I would be thrown out of the house and forbidden to ever pick up a gun again. Not only by my wife. But my two daughters. What I can say is this is one subject they all 3 agree on totally which is rare in itself.

    And I haven’t seen any problem with them ever. Am I missing something?


    • GF1,
      I saw a chipmunk climb up under my son’s Subaru and set on top of the tire. At that time I saw four more in the yard at the same time. Not wanting to take a chance on the one chewing wires, when I got a chance I took that one out, and one more, just to manage the number of them.
      Would NOT do that when anyone else was home and did not say anything to anyone about it either. Still have several chipmunks so no one has missed the ones I dispatched.
      Believe me, if any of the little critters chews on you vehicle wires, it could be a costly repair.
      Geo


      • Geo
        The Red squirrels/Fox squirrels here are big. And they definitely will destroy the wood on a house. I don’t care if you live in a big split level house or a trailer. It’s a mansion to a squirrel. They are in heaven. They can run where they want and stay out of the weather if they need too. It’s bad biusness when they get inside.

        And yep the Chipmunks are crazy when they want to be. It’s almost like they are showing off to each other or us. And I do know what you mean about eating the wiring on a car. Nice are bad for that in the country if you leave a vehicle unoccupied for a while.

        And all I know is you is one lucky guy. Boy oh boy could you imagine if your wife caught ya. You really do have Ninja skills don’t ya. 😉


      • Geo,

        My house is surrounded by woods. I have never seen one in the yard,.. but plenty when shooting in the 30-100 wooded portion of the range. I had a ground hog running across the 60 – 80 range,… so I just waited and scoped that range. I never did get him,… but it was hilarious to see the chipmunks run back and forth. In the fall,.. when the dried leaves are covering the wood’s floor,… they run (under) the fallen dried leaves. All you see is a straight-line disturbance, ripple effect. Like a shark cutting just below the surface of water. I have never dispatched one,… but chipmunks and/or squirrels WILL be dispatched if I catch them going near my car.

        My neighbor had one go under the front of his car and when he popped the hood,… the squirrel jumped right past him, since it was already sitting atop the engine, trying to hide.

        Chris


        • Chris,
          I had a plastic bag with some ear field corn in it which had I picked for the squirrels. The bag was on my workbench in the garage. I noticed that when I took the bag of corn out that there were a few kernels missing from the ears. I though it was kind of strange but it didn’t dawn on me that it could be mice getting into it.
          A month before I had done a timing belt change on my wife’s Volvo S40. After the job the Volvo ran fine for a month and then suddenly a “Check Engine” light came on. I took the car to a trusted mechanic who read the code for me. It was an intake camshaft out of position error. He cleared the code but it came back on before I even got back home. My mechanic could not reset the base timing because he didn’t have the $30k program to do it. So I had to take it to a Volvo dealer (get the wallet out big time) to have the timing set. I was very meticulous when I changed the timing belt to insure that I had the camshafts positioned correctly, so it seemed very unlikely that I had not gotten that correct, and it did run fine for a month.
          I took the Volvo to the dealer and they verified the timing was out. I told them “fix it, I’m here until it’s completed”. A while later the mechanic came into the waiting room and asked me to come back to the service area. He had the everything opened up and told me to look down into the area where the timing belt was engaging the crankshaft pulley. There were kernels of field corn lying on the pulley. I have no idea how those mice were able to get into that area as it is sealed up pretty tightly. The corn had cause the belt to jump a tooth on the cam pulley throwing the timing out several degrees. All the mechanic had to do was rotate the intake cam back one tooth and all was good again.
          This little mistake cost $700, but luckily my auto insurance paid for the cost as animal damage. I had to coax them a little into covering it but they had to agreed the damage was caused by an animal.
          Moral of the story…NEVER LEAVE FIELD CORN IN YOUR GARAGE! I made a mouse trap with a 5-gallon bucket with a coat hanger across the top and a spinning can with peanut butter on it. Best mouse trap I have ever had and haven’t had a mouse issue since.
          Geo


    • Gunfun1,

      Same here. I leave the chipmunks alone.

      For us, “pesting” involves squirrels (they get into the roofs), rabbits (they are turning my yard into a latrine, and have managed to bring in fleas too), and barn swallows (turning the barn into yet another latrine).

      Chipmunks seem likable to me. (And to the family, as you note). They dart around like little fighter jets. They leave things alone, so I leave them alone.

      We did have a squirrel get into a car engine bay once and gnaw some electrical wires. We could tell by the “presents” it left behind. It was clearly not a chipmunk. That squirrel is now no more.

      StarboardRower


  4. I’m not sure how familiar you are with the Stoeger XP4, but it’s interesting to look at a couple of the mechanical differences between that and the HW40 and its clones. The Stoeger’s piston is a different shape and looks almost as if it should have a front end cap to the compression tube, which it doesn’t. More subtly, the steel compression tube is secured to the valve housing not by crimping, but by a cross pin. This may not be an issue, but I think the valve housing has been extended further down the tube, presumably in order to provide a bit more metal for a hole to go through. The piston is therefore shorter, and may in fact be slightly too short to give the best compression. Fitting a HW40 piston in the XP4 (without the piston seal, just to check) and the gun will not fully close – the overlever stops at about 25 degrees open.

    The trigger mechanism and safety on the other hand will be very familiar to anyone who has seen the inside of a HW40 or the like. Stoeger don’t seem to describe the trigger as being adjustable, but in practice it actually is – the two contact points on the alloy trigger blade are provided by a steel cross pin and the tip of a screw, which may just be the best way of providing these points from an engineering point of view.

    Regards,

    Iain


  5. Chipmunk likers,

    I don’t bother them. It would only vaporize them to use a BIG BORE on them…

    http://www.havahart.com/chipmunk-facts

    But I might change my mind if they got through my homes rodent defenses and did that kind of damage.

    All I can say is compared to their fellow rodents the only differences is they have hired a better PR company, wear fancy fur coats, and have had Disney do PROPAGANDA films for them!

    shootski



    • if your foundation was to suffer damage from chipmunks it aint a foundation. the length that some people will go to in order to justify killing animals is amazing. just come out and say I love killing any living animal I see on my property


      • Mildot52,

        The linked sight (SITE) is actually flogging the Havahart® brand of traps and repellent products. I think they are all in favor of trapping and then relocating the Chipmunks.

        You must live in a “Old Construction” house!
        In modern construction the basement walls and slab Spall and turn to dust when various rodents (and other mechanisms) provide avenues for water intrusion up against vertical basement walls or under the foundation slab in both basement and on Slab Construction.
        So yes by definition modern construction is built on shifting sands!

        Depradation permits are hard to get in my neck of the woods.

        shootski


        • well I worked framing roofing and concrete for 48 years and never heard of rodent damage like that to a foundation or ever got a job to fix that type of problem. not having proper drainage and not putting enough gravel around the foundation is the main problem. putting all clay up to the walls is the worst thing


  6. Here in Oregon where my wife and I go camping, you had better keep the hood up on your rig when parked, because those cute little expensive looking fur coatted chippers will eat the wiring, well a bite or two which can leave you stranded or have to pay another day or two of camping.
    I don’t shoot em (their in the park and protected here and “Eh Eh Boo Boo” will steal your pic-a-nic basket if you do)
    Now the starlings are another song all together. 2.5 pounds isn’t much except head shots. A startled starling is no easy target…………but rewarding when dropped! 🙂


    • MV
      Yep if they are causing a problem or anything for that fact. Make them go away if you can. If not then it comes down to make the problem end. And I will stop there.


    • I say that is mostly field mice there are way more of them then chipmunks. my work truck would sit for a month and a half in the winter and once in the spring I started it put on the heat and baby mice came out of the bottom heat vent. shooting coyotes causes more field mice cause when I was woodchuck hunting would watch coyotes spend over an hour eating mice in the fields. sometimes 50-60 mice and the mice carry the tick eggs that cause lime disease


  7. I have lots of trees that drop thousands of acorns and pine cones and water in the pond ‘part’ of the year now-a-days so when jack rabbets, ground squirrel’s, field mice and rats wander in it’s like nirvana for them.
    They take up residency and raise families. I even had a few belligerent lizards. Snakes of all kinds are a given but no match for a gas powered lawn mower. Tarantulas are no big thing but little red scorpions are not tolerated at all.

    I have had good silicone spark plug wires, ignition wires, engine compartment and body wires, plastic air-conditioning vacuum hose, transmission / transfer case vacuum hoses and plastic / rubber hose connecters destroyed. Taking apart air conditioner blowers to clear out dead mice, grass and acorn shells is a real pain too.

    Some pests are just way too big for the airguns I have. Mountain lions, wild hogs, horses and yes even a bull but he was followed by a slim Mexican. Just had to repair my barbed wire fence he climbed over



      • Mildot52
        I live on a few acres at the end of a dirt road, about 2,700 ft. altitude, and with all the properties fenced in I am at the end of a funnel on the east and BLM land to the west. Did not even mention the coyotes, racoons, deer and stray pets. Check out P/A’s customer pics section for my Diana K98 and it will give you a rough idea of the neighborhood.
        My Puerto Rican friend keeps claiming to see Chupacabra’s in the bushes but I think they are rum sightings. 🙂
        We did have an illegal alien pet tiger roaming the neighborhood that belonged in a zoo but I never encountered it and had to change my pants.
        I leave low cost pump and springer airguns laying around the garage and sheds for use as needed.
        Bob M


  8. BB
    I received my plastic stocked M1 Carbine and have a wood stocked one coming in tomorrow. Somewhat of a surprise on that one considering it’s out of stock. Anyway I already took it apart, simple after doing the airsoft one.

    Wanted to compare them and switch stocks and painted parts. Came up with a few interesting changes and more info with pics. Will you be doing a Part 4, 10 meter test blog soon. If not I’ll just continue on the third blog.
    One point may have a serious impact on improving accuracy …. or not? But should!
    Bob M


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