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Air Guns Beeman P17 air pistol: Part 5

Beeman P17 air pistol: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman P17
Beeman P17 air pistol.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Sight-in
  • The test
  • Finale Match Light
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • R10 Match Pistol
  • Summary

I’m flying to the Pyramyd AIR Cup today, so I won’t be as quick to answer your questions.

Today I test the Beeman P17 pistol for accuracy at 10 meters with the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight mounted. I have to say, the sight installed in just a minute and I slid it as far forward as the pistol’s dovetail base permits. That leaves plenty of room for the hand to pump the gun.

Beeman P17 pistol with sight
My Beeman P17 with the UTG Micro Reflex dot sight installed.

Sight in

My first two shots were from 12 feet to ensure the pellets landed in the trap. After that I moved back to 10 meters and fired three more to refine the sight picture. It was mostly a question of how far the sight adjustments moved the pellet impact, which is farther than a typical scope’s adjustments.

The test

I shot from 10 meters with the pistol rested on a sandbag. I shot 5 shots per pellet and target. That is the same as I did in Part 4, and I also shot the same pellets in the same order.

You may recall that none of my groups in Part 4 were very good. I said I was either having a bad day or the open sights on my P17 are a bit hinky. Today we find out.

Finale Match Light

First to be tested were the Finale Match Light pellets. In Part 4 five of them went into 0.712-inches at 10 meters. Today five went into 0.509-inches. I think that’s a significant improvement, but we’ll know more after seeing what the other pellets do.

Beeman P17 Finale Light group
Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets made this 0.509-inch group at 10 meters.

Air Arms Falcon

Next to be tested were five Air Arms Falcon dome. Being domes they don’t cut a round a hole so their groups appear smaller. but this is still a good one at just 0.547-inches between centers. In Part 4 five grouped in 0.906-inches, so this is a real improvement.

Beeman P17 Falcon group
Five Falcon domed pellets went into 0.547-inches.

Meisterkugeln Rifle

The next pellet I tested was the RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutter. In Part 4 five of them went into 1.142-inches at 10 meters. In this test five are in 0.394 — about one-third the size of the Part 4 group! Gentlemen, I think we have discovered the secret!

Beeman P17 Meisterkugeln group
Five RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets made this 0.394-inch group at 10 meters.

Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets

Next to be tried were five Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets. They went into 0.769-inches at 10 meters. Last time with open sights five of them went into 0.983-inches, so we are still doing better.

Beeman P17 Qiang Yuan Olympic group
Five Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets went into 0.769-inches at 10 meters.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

The next pellet I tested was the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter. In part 4 five went into 1.035-inches at 10 meters. This time five made a 0.572-inch group at 10 meters. That’s almost half the size!

Beeman P17 Sig group
Five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into a 0.572-inch group at 10 meters.

R10 Match Pistol

The last pellet I tried was the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. I had high hopes for this one in Part 4, and also that they would revive in this test! But, alas, the R10 didn’t deliver. Five pellets went into 0.784-inches at 10 meters. In Part 4 five went into 0.966-inches, so the test with the dot sight is more accurate with all 6 pellets, which is what I wanted to find out.

Beeman P17 R10 group
Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets went into 0.784-inches at 10 meters.

Clearly, the open sights caused the problems I had with accuracy in Part 4, because today all 6 pellets were considerably more accurate. Just as clearly, the UTG Micro Reflex dot sight is a wonderful addition to my stable of sights and a perfect solution for the P17!


I’m done testing the Beeman P17, but but I’m not finished with this series. The next step is to look at a Beeman P3 that costs $200 more, and compare it to the P17. I have always wanted to do this. Stay tuned!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

35 thoughts on “Beeman P17 air pistol: Part 5”

  1. B.B.,

    I knew those glowy sights were hard to use unless you have a big target at close range and are in a panic. That is more like the P17 I would expect. Glad you went to the dot sight so you could show the guns potential. It is definitely a best buy.

    You were going to deep seat some of the pellets. I don’t see the need with the groups you were getting although some of the pellets may have done a little better.


  2. B. B.,

    Nothing like this test to show the importance of spending for the sights to achieve accuracy. Had to look up the price of the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight at $77 this is more than twice the price of the pistol but the increase in accuracy makes it worth it.


            • Hank,

              It was a long time ago, but I seem to recall I used two piece mounts that were very close together. If I am not mistaken there are some offset one piece mounts that may work nicely. Perhaps something like these.


              • RR,

                That BKL mount is the one I was looking at – if I go the scope route that is the one I’ll get.

                The other thought is that the mount alone is half the cost of the Micro dot sight which could be put on the rifle in 2 minutes without any modifications to the loading gate needed.

                Darn, guess that I will have to make a sport stock for the rifle and try it out. LOL!

                Thanks, RR!

        • Michael,

          No the gate is stock size (for now anyway). Was looking at it the other day and thinking about making a short gate or some other sort of breech-lock for it. If I manage to figure out how to make a low-profile breech I was toying with the idea of milling a couple of dove tail slots on the barrel side and going for a two-piece scope mount (and a new sport stock).

          The rear sight dove-tail is quite long so it is possible to put on a dot-sight and still be back far enough not to interfere with the gate. I’ve done that with a cheapie, that is why I was thinking about the UTC Reflex Micro dot.

          Don’t know, I shoot the 603 as a 10 meter gun in the winter (I can just manage 11 meters in the basement), might be nice to swap sights and stock and make it an awesome plinker.


    • RR,
      I just installed one on a 1701P and my first impression is very favorable. The target iron sights I had on the pistol are great when shooting from the bench but the dot is far more flexible in other situations.

      Most important, IMHO dot sights work well with ageing eyes (like mine) by focusing directly on the target.


  3. Don425,

    There are other alternatives to adjusting the power of the gas sproinger. One is to design and build your own gas sproing where you can adjust the power level. I do believe it can be done and I myself am seriously considering it for my Tomahawk.

    Another way is to make a new piston with a separate head that is held on by a screw. Using longer screws and properly sized washers you can lengthen the piston, reducing the volume.

    Yet another is less time consuming and far less expensive though it does require a spring compressor. Replace the gas sproing with a metal sproing. I myself am not sold on gas sproings They do fail despite what the industry says. They are affected by cold, also despite what the industry says. The vibration is reduced, but you usually trade that for a slap side the head. Today, some of the finest air rifles available use metal sproings.

    With a metal sproing you can reduce power by cutting off sections until you reach the level you desire. You can then leave it there or have another sproing made to that size. This method is really not that expensive, most especially if you like to tinker..

    • RR,
      Lots of good ideas there. Thanks. Found B.B’s review on the Tomahawk. Very nice airgun. Easy cocking, 20 ft-lbs of power, great trigger, comfortable stock.

      • Don425,

        Ahh, I wish mine was one of those older ones. Mine is one of the later ones built by Hatsan after Webley was bought out.

        I would highly recommend that someone wanting to buy a “new” Webley to be very cautious. The quality control on the Webleys is very poor. The only reason I bought this one is it was bundled with a nice Hawke scope for almost the price of the scope. I can tinker with this air rifle all I want and not worry about losing on my investment if I screw things up.

        It is a nice looking air rifle and if it was not for the quality control issues it would be a top shelfer. It is a good shooter and the Quatro trigger on it is pretty nice. There are very few sproinger triggers out there that can beat it.

    • RidgeRunner,
      Thanks for that paragraph 3 inclusion in your reply to Don425. I have arrived at the same conclusion about gas pistons vs springers. The one other drawback you didn’t mention is the “snap” that makes securing scope mounts very difficult. I fought with a GAMO 1300 BoneCollector for quite a while until I just gave it away to a nephew that wanted it. I still have a couple of gas rams but they control the scope mount set-back by having picitinny (sp?) rails instead of dovetail. I don’t find anything to be gained by a gas spring.
      Larry from Algona

      • Larry,

        I did indeed forget to mention that. I had great difficulty with the mounting of my scope when I converted my CFX to gas. After punishing myself for a short while and blowing out all of the seals, I sent it back to PA and they replaced my old spring and replaced the seals and graciously did not charge me for such.

  4. BB,

    Anotehr good one! I am glad that you did this follow-up report, there are several learned lessons here. I am also looking forward to the P3 report.

    Personally, I am more than satisfied – and honestly a bit surprised – by how well my own ‘glowy thinghy” P17 performs at 10m with good pellets. On the other hand, after two or three targets I have to stop. The cocking effort is just too much, with the rear sight biting into my hand. I am interested to know if the P3 is any better in this area.


    • Henry,

      Look for a Snowpeak s400. They are very similar to the P17 and are similarly affordable, but they have a much longer barrel and cocking mechanism which reduces the cocking effort by somewhere around a third (my “guesstimate”).


    • Henry

      Try a popular priced new leather golf glove on your cocking hand. It works! Oh, and loading pellets with it is easy because pellets don’t slip in your fingers.

      I too look forward to the BB’s P3 comparison to the P17


  5. B.B.
    Hanging on the edge of my seat, looking so forward to what we discover about the P3! It just has to be better! I’m hoping anyway. I see lots on the P17 but not a whole lot on the P3.


  6. B.B.,

    Well done. It goes to show that we should never rule out optic aids to maybe improve our performance.

    Have fun in Ohio. While never being to the old P.A. Cup location,… this one looks to be really nice. Even camping and cabin accommodations from my on line research of the venue. Golf cart rentals too! Save the feet’s!


  7. On my P17, I used a box cutter blade & shaved off the ends of the fiber optic. They’re melted into place as a way to hold them, but that results in large round ball-ends that spread the light into a much larger ‘glare dot’. Before shaving the ends off, I dabbed on a tiny bit of JB Weld on the forward sections of the rods. Easy on the front sight, as that was simply covering the front. On the rear blade, a bit more technical as I needed to avoid gluing the blade into place. A scratch awl and a bright light helped to place the JB. The result is that the ends of the optic rods are now much smaller, making a sharper & more refined sight picture

    I also did all the usual polishing but also waxed the bore with Boelube

    The SPA/Artimus S400 doesn’t have this problem, but on the .177 version I have, the elevating portion of the rear sight is too tightly held, so it doesn’t spring back up if pressed downwards – like each time the action is closed. Not a problem as I’m using a Bushnell TRS 26 with a pair of snap-in adapters. There’s a huge engineering challenge with this S400. The piston is adjustable & must remain out at a low compression setting as the exhaust valve wont open if you adjust the piston too far. I’m adding weight to the hammer soon, just now increased the spring tension, which created several new problems. More JB Weld & steel inserts helping keep the hammer spring from flying out. I only just today spotted an adjustable threaded bushing holding the muzzle. Guess I ought to replace that with a drilled-out bolt so there’s something to attach accessories onto. The S400 needed to be re-lubed before firing the 1st shot. The pins in the lower action were too tight in the grips & got polished for slight tapers and loosened the fit so they wouldn’t get pulled out of place when removing the grip. The action is pretty much exactly the same as the P17, but with a few small changes here & there. For example, the exhaust valve has a circlip backing up the nut, which I’m taking advantage of by keeping the nut tight up against the clip – this gives the hammer a small run-up to build inertia before knocking the valve open. The auto-safety delete goes exactly the same, with the pin going back to plug the holes. Trigger pull however, does not need to be lightened, and polishing the contacts removed too much metal, causing the pistol to fire on closing. I used a center punch to stretch the sear wider, so it’s back on the hammer far enough now. Haven’t measured it, but it’s lighter than my P17, which I did measure at 11.5 ounces. And there’s a .22 version of the S400 I need to get & overhaul…

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