Beeman P3 air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman P3 pistol
Beeman P3 air pistol.

Beeman P17 Part 1
Beeman P17 Part 2
Beeman P17 Part 3
Beeman P17 Part 4
Beeman P17 Part 5
Beeman P3 Part 1
Beeman P3 Part 2

This report covers:

  • P3 first
  • Disassembling the P3
  • Springs installed differently
  • Additional spring
  • Valve assembly
  • Assembly
  • The difference between the P3 and the P17
  • The finger pin fix
  • Why did the pistol leak?
  • How did I do? — the test
  • Cocking effort
  • Next

Today I will tell you the story of rebuilding both the Beeman P3 air pistol and the Beeman P17 pistol. Last Friday I resealed both of them and took a lot of video footage — 30 different clips in all. I’m still editing that footage and I plan to show you everything later in this series, but today I want to talk about the reseal jobs and also about the differences between the P3 and P17. I will also test both airguns today and compare them to where they were before the reseal. This will be an interesting report.

P3 first

I chose the P3 to reseal first because I wanted to see what made its trigger so much better than the P17 trigger. I did find out, plus I found out a lot more that I will tell you. Let’s get started.

Disassembling the P3

I filmed everything I did while working on the P3, but that wasn’t much of a distraction. I had the first two reports from 45Bravo on my laptop in front of me so I could follow what he said to do. That really helped a number of times. I referred to his photo of the assembled trigger many times!

The P3 came apart easily and exactly how 45Bravo said. However, when it came to the trigger parts I did a few things differently. I disassembled more than what he said to and in doing so I discovered a couple things.

Springs installed differently

In my P3 the tail of the coil spring that 45Bravo describes as the sear spring was tucked into the bottom of the left grip — not the top of the right grip.

Beeman P17 parts back
45Bravo showed us how to tuck the tail of the sear spring up into the top of the right grip panel when assembling the pistol.

I assembled the tail of the P3 sear spring the same way that it was when it came apart (down inside the left grip panel) and it has functioned fine every time during testing. Later when I disassembled the P17 the same spring was in the same place as the P3, so I assembled it the same, too.

Additional spring

While removing the trigger and hammer parts from the P3 I discovered an additional wire spring that 45Bravo didn’t mention or show. It’s inside the hammer (the part 45Bravo says looks like the number 7) and if you don’t remove the pin that holds the hammer and trigger linkage together you will probably never even see it. I did remove that pin, and when I assembled it into the gun again, I noticed that the pin didn’t go through the ends of this wire spring. That was when I noticed it. So I photographed it for you.

P3 hammer spring
You are looking into the P3 hammer at the wire spring that rests inside.

P3 hammer spring 2
I have swung the top of the wire spring out of the hammer for you to see. The loops on the spring align with that hole at the bottom of the hammer where the pivot pin passes through.

The rest of the disassembly went according to 45Bravo’s instructions. I will say, however, that his naming of what constitutes the sear doesn’t include all the parts involved. I found the trigger to be a multi-lever affair — or at least that is how it seems to me. And that will become important when I discuss the P17 trigger.

Valve assembly

There are two o-rings that need to be replaced in the firing valve. The smaller one (006) that fits the end of the valve is straightforward and goes on and off easily. The larger one (009) that fits just below the threads of the brass valve cap is far more difficult to remove and replace. I probably spent 10-15 minutes fooling with this o-ring and after I got it on it didn’t want to seat in the o-ring channel in the valve. This is a MAJOR difference between the P17 and P3! The P3 valve has a machined groove for that o-ring, but the P17 doesn’t. I’ll get to the P17 valve in a moment, but first let’s stay with the P3.

It took me at least 10 minutes to get the o-ring into its groove and after I did it sat high. It would never go back inside the valve that way. Then I rotated it on the valve and it seated down into its groove. Apparently it had twisted several times while being pushed onto the valve and needed to relax.

P3 valve
After sliding the o-ring (arrow) over the coiled valve return spring it had twisted and didn’t seat in the channel on the brass valve to the left of it. This is the P17 valve and isn’t exactly the same as the P3 valve.

P3 o-ring proud
Once on the valve, the larger o-ring sat proud of its channel and wouldn’t go back into the valve body. Rotating it made it untwist and sit down in the groove. This is the P17 valve, but the same thing happened with the P3 valve.

Assembly

The remainder of the P3 assembly went by the book. In all it took me 90 minutes to disassemble, exchange the o-rings and assemble the P3. And a lot of that time was taken up by the filming I did. I shot 30 clips in all. After assembly I tested the pistol, but let me tell you about the P17 disassembly and reseal first.

The difference between the P3 and the P17

The major difference between the two air pistols is the parts in the P17 trigger and hammer are rough and not finished well. Every surface is just rougher than on the same P3 parts. There was no one part that I could identify as the culprit for the trigger not being as smooth. I think they are all to blame.

The P17 had some major difficulties for me that I only appreciated after having disassembled and assembled the P3. The “fingers” (read 45Bravo’s description in Part 2) were particularly bothersome. I had to completely disassemble the pistol a second time because after the first assembly it would no hold air when pumped. I therefore had to remove those three fingers a second time and they were a major pain to assemble again. They are so tight in the slots they fit in that aligning them to accept the two crosspins is a bear!So I came up with a fix.

The finger pin alignment fix

To get the fingers aligned in their slots, I put them in one in at a time and then inserted the large crosspin to hold that one in place. Slide (with a plastic hammer!) the next finger in and tap in the crosspin through its hole to hold it. And a third time to finish the job.

P3 fingers
Two of the P17 “fingers.” The one on top is one of two that sit either side of the one on the bottom. The bottom one is really the center finger that interacts with the trigger when the gun fires.

P3 fingers pinned
I used the large crosspin to align the fingers in their grooves on the P17 compression chamber. Once aligned this way the crosspin was tapped out so the chamber could be installed back in the pistol frame.

Why did the pistol leak?

After assembly the P17 leaked as it was bing pumped and had to be completely stripped again. Why? Because the large (009) o-ring on the valve had torn in assembly. Let me show you why. This is another major difference between the P17 and P3.

P3 o-ring
The larger valve o-ring in the P17 has been torn in two. It’s supposed to be behind the brass collar to its right. NOTE — that “collar” is separate from the brass behind it!

As I was installing the new o-ring (they send several with the overhaul kit) I noticed the small brass collar that is separate from the rest of the valve. THERE IS NO O-RING GROOVE ON THIS VALVE!!!!! The Chinese have made this thin brass collar take the place of machining an o-ring groove.


I’m prying the thin brass collar away from the brass valve. The valve return spring keeps pressure on the collar, making it act as one side of an o-ring groove.

This is an ingenious design because as long as it is inside the valve, the o-ring is contained between the collar and the rest of the brass. It makes it a little more difficult to install, but as long as you know how it works you can pay attention to it and get the o-ring where it needs to be. This time the valve went together easily and the gun was assembled correctly. I replaced the breech seal last of all on both pistols.

How did I do? — the test

First the Beeman P3. I shot RWS Hobbys to test the velocity the same as in Part 2. Here are the average results

Seated flush
Part 2………After overhaul
370 f.p.s……….402 f.p.s.

Seated deep
Part 2………After overhaul
378 f.p.s……….412 f.p.s.

Now the Beeman P17. I last tested the P17 for velocity in Part 3 of the P17 test. The link is at the top of this report.

Seated flush
Part 2………After overhaul
389 f.p.s……….404 f.p.s.

Seated deep
Part 2………After overhaul
401 f.p.s……….388 f.p.s.

I don’t know why the P17 dropped in velocity from deep-seating, but it was very consistent. The low was 383 and the high was 395, so only 12 f.p.s. between them.

Before the overhaul the P3 was shooting a little slow and the P17 was on the slow end of where it should be. The P3 gained considerably from the reseal and the P17 stayed about the same.

Both triggers remain where they were before the overhaul, so no changes from this work. I haven’t got a clue what could be done to improve my P17 trigger, short of smoothing every part in the trigger/hammer system. That’s too much for for a trigger that’s not that bad as it is.

Cocking effort

P3
Before……After
37 lbs……..28 lbs.

P17
Before……After
35 lbs……..39 lbs.

Next

Next I plan to shoot the P3 for accuracy. I will remount the Millett red dot sight that came on the gun for this test and shoot at 10 meters. Stay tuned!


The Girardoni repeating air rifle of 1780

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Girardoni
The Girardoni of 1780 was the first successful repeating rifle, and it is an airgun!

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • History
  • Girandoni or Girardoni?
  • 1,000-1,500 rifles
  • Equipment
  • Firing the rifle
  • Problems
  • Lewis & Clark
  • Replica
  • Summary

Today will be a different sort of report. Much of what I want to show you is in a short video at the end. I have determined that videos are a good way to impart a lot of information that is hard to explain but easy to see. Therefore there will be more videos in my future reports.

History

In the mid to late 1700s several people were trying to invent a reliable repeating firearm. The military wanted such an arm, as long as it was reliable. The problem was, the gunpowder of the day was what we know today as black powder. Instead of burning like smokeless powder, black powder burns so fast that it explodes when confined inside a tight space. So many early repeating firearms exploded, because there were no cartridges to contain the powder.

The son of Bartolomaes Girardoni was killed when an experimental repeating rifle he fired blew up and took off his arm. That, probably more than anything, got Girardoni’s attention turned toward air rifles. And in 1780 his perfected air rifle repeater was selected by the Austrian army for limited use.

Girandoni or Girardoni?

The name has been spelled both ways. Dr. Beeman traveled to Europe to meet with members of the family and discovered that the name is spelled GiraRdoni. Apparently a misspelling in print about 50-60 years ago changed the spelling, and thousands of references have been written with the N spelling. Searching for that spelling will find far more data than with the R spelling. But the R spelling is correct.

1,000-1,500 rifles

You will find references to the fact that the Austrians bought anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 Girardoni repeaters for limited use on the battlefield. Riflemen were assigned individually to units and treated as snipers are today. That was more because they had a rifle than the fact that they had a repeater. There is one record of a sergeant being killed with one shot at 110 yards. He was standing next to a general officer who was probably the actual target.

Equipment

Each soldier was issued a rifle, two extra filled butt flasks that could quickly be changed in the field and a small hand pump to refill the flasks. Filling them with the small pump was futile — it took forever. So, in the army trains (the logistical area in the rear) there was a wagon-mounted large pump that was operated by two men whose only job was to fill flasks as fast as they could.

Dr Beeman has a modern replica that he has shot and tells us there are at least one magazine’s worth of shots and probably more from a flask.

soldiers pack
Each rifleman carried this leather pack that had two filled butt flasks in addition to the one on his rifle. There was also a hand pump in the kit, but it’s doubtful it was used very much.

Firing the rifle

The rifle was either .46 or .47 caliber. It carried 21 round balls (all bullets at the time were round balls) in a tube on the right side of the receiver. When the rifle was elevated for the hammer to be cocked, the tube was also elevated and the balls rolled to the rear. A steel shuttle was pushed in from the left side of the receiver and a hole allowed one ball to drop in from the magazine tube. Releasing the shuttle allowed a long leaf spring to push it back to the left where the ball then aligned with the breech of the barrel. All the shooter had to do was shoulder the rifle and fire. This entire process took less than three seconds. And a trained rifleman could keep up sustained fire until he ran out of bullets. The Girardoni was the assault rifle of the day.

Problems

The biggest problem was no doubt air leakage. The butt was probably pressurized to between 600 and 800 psi, and the leather and animal horn seals of the day were not airtight. They were kept lubricated with sperm whale oil which helped, but they still leaked down over time. There were probably some flasks that remained pressurized for a couple days and others that leaked down in hours.

A second problem was the maintenance of what at the time was a highly complex mechanism. Armorers (those who fix firearms for the military) were mostly blacksmiths at the time. This repeater called for the skills of a clockmaker! As a result, the Austrian Arms began phasing the rifle out of their inventory just after 1800. They couldn’t keep it going, but civilians reacted differently! Gunmakers began copying the mechanism and today there are far more Girardoni-type rifles than there are actual military Girardonis. But one Girardoni is the most famous rifle of all time — the repeating air rifle carried by Lewis & Clark on their expedition of 1803.

Lewis & Clark

For many years if was believed that the Lewis & Clark air rifle was a single-shot made by Isaiah Lukens. I have examined that airgun and even photographed it partially disassembled. But then Dr. Beeman found some missing diary pages from the L&C expedition that talk of a repeater and of a repair made to the hammer while in the field. Lo and behold, from forensic examination he discovered that he owned the exact rifle Lewis & Clark had carried! He donated it to the U.S. Army War College museum and it has been shown around the country ever since. This rifle kept the Indian tribes at bay as the small band of soldiers crossed the continent, because they were astounded at the “white man’s medicine.” They had never seen a repeating rifle! In fact, very few people ever had!

Replica

I have seen one military Girardoni at an airgun show. I have probably seen 10 or 15 Girardoni-type airguns if I include both the rifles and pistols. Airgun writer and collector Larry Hannusch owns a Contriner repeating rifle that he has shot at big bore matches and taken small Texas deer with. He also owns a beautiful pair of Girandoni-type pistols that I have reported on in the past.

Cantarini pistols
Larry Hannusch boxed this beautiful pair of Cantarini repeating pistols with all the tools they require.

Cantarini detail
Larry’s pistols are made for nobility or royalty without a doubt!

The Girardoni I saw changed hands for $3,500 at the Roanoke airgun show in the 1990s. Knowledgeable airgunners felt it was probably worth around $8,000 at the time, but who really knows? Today a similar example will fetch 50,000 to 90,000 Euro ($55,000 to $99,000). I can’t afford that, but let me show you one I can afford.

My thanks to John McCaslin for that fabulous gift! It now hangs proudly on my living room wall.

Summary

If you have any interest in owning a replica Girardoni for your man cave or living room, here is the man to contact. Karl Walker at [email protected]


The basics of shooting: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Accuracy
  • First development — sights
  • Scopes
  • Rifling
  • Accuracy with the smoothbore versus the rifled barrel
  • Trigger
  • More to come

Today I’m writing a special report for a reader named Bill who requested it. I will let you read what he said.

“Trying to make a point in a few words for a big subject doesn’t help me at all. I obviously had also in mind your report on the other side of the spectrum, see Stoeger, and I didn’t make my thoughts clear. I wish you’d make one more series about the basics of shooting. Where terms like relaxing before the shot, sniping, pulling a shot, use of different types of sights etc, every basic information that is, would be brought up AGAIN. General Rules, all together… It just came out when you took the Rolls Royce for test drive. I know, many years now, that you deal with the lowest and the highest gear as well. By the way I for one have enormous respect for the simple feeling of joy for testing such great items like these three. Bill”

Bill told me in an earlier comment that he is new to shooting and needs to find as many of the basics as he can. He is trying to use this blog as a large tutorial, which is one of the reasons it exists.

I’m calling this Part 1 even though I don’t know what the future subjects are right now. I have faith that you readers will tell me the things I need to cover as we go. So today I will just give it a start. What are the basics of shooting?

Accuracy

We believe that firearms were first created in either the late 1200s or the early 1300s. At that time they were more like science experiments than firearms, because everything was new. Airguns came along around the middle 1500s, and they were just as novel and new when they came into existence.

The Bogenschuetzen-Gesellschaft (Society of Bowmen or Archers) of Dresden dates from 1286, though there must have been activity prior to that time or else why would that group form? These were persons of royal lineage (about 400) who gathered annually at a festival to see who was to be the King of the Crossbowmen. The town granted them land, money and special honors, because when trouble came, they were the town’s first and best defense.

bird target
An engraving of the 1612 crossbow match in Dresden. From The Crossbow, by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey.

So accuracy was already well-known by the 1200s. The longbow had existed for many centuries by then, and the spear-thrower was even older. The desire to hit what you intended grew out of the need to hunt for food. And, from that, men developed games to see who was best at hitting their target.

I don’t want to depart from the central theme of this report, but you should know that even today spear-throwing is popular. The thrower is called an atlatl. Throwing contests are held around the world. And the point is — people like to shoot and to see how good they can become. So when the first firearms came about it was natural that the same things would happen to them.

First development — sights

Sights were perhaps the first development to come along for firearms. With a longbow or spear-thrower sights are not an issue because the shooter/thrower uses a different way to aim their weapon. But a firearm is a tube and it isn’t a natural thing. Some means of referring to the direction the tube is pointing is needed. At first all it was was a bump on the muzzle that told the shooter where the end of the tube (the muzzle) was pointing. Soon shooters discovered that if they aligned that bump with something on the back of the tube they could point their gun more consistently. The front and rear sights were born!

I’m not going to go through the history of sights because I have already done that in a different 5-part report. We are here to cover the basics and here we go. With open sights the basics are:

1. The strike of the round moves in the same direction as the rear sight. Want your shots to go to the right? Move the rear sight right. Up? Move the rear sight up.

2. The strike of the round moves opposite to how the front sight moves. To raise the strike of the round, lower the front sight. Move the front sight to the left to move the round to the right.

3. With open sights you can move the strike of the round by simply holding the front sight to the left or right within the rear sight notch. For more information on how this is done, read this report.

Scopes

When a scope is added it throws another monkey wrench into the works, because it allows the shooter to see and even obsess over small movements that are beyond his control. Most people when looking though a scope sight for the first time are amazed by how much the rifle seems to move. Even your heartbeat will move the reticle. The thing is, the same thing happens when you use open sights. You just can’t see it. And if you can’t see it you don’t stress over it and as a result you tend to do your best.

Rifling

Another big development that took a long time to catch on but revolutionized shooting when it did was rifling the barrel. As with sights I won’t write a special section on it, but read this report. And, if you want to know more, here is a brief history of rifling.

Rifling is important to the shooter because with it your projectiles are stabilized and more accurate. BUT — there are some things you cannot do! For example, you can’t accurately shoot a solid pellet (really a lead bullet) at a velocity that’s too slow to stabilize it. If it spins too slow it will not be accurate — just as a top that spins too slow won’t stand up and spin.

A diabolo pellet (wasp waist and hollow tail), however, will stabilize at much slower velocities, because it is also stabilized by air drag. Combine the drag with the spin from rifling and you get a heavy pellet that’s accurate at a velocity that’s too slow for a solid bullet to stabilize.

diabolo pellet
Diabolo pellet shares the fundamental shape of its juggling namesake, the diabolo.

Accuracy with the smoothbore versus the rifled barrel

This discussion begs the question — If diabolo pellets are stabilized by their shape, are they as accurate in smoothbores as they are when shot from a rifled barrel? I have tested the accuracy of a smoothbore pellet gun as opposed to that of a rifle. In this series look carefully at Part 4, because the accuracy drops off sharply from 10 meters to 25 yards.

The effects of rifling were known before very long. There are shooting contest rules from the 1400s that prohibit the use of rifled barrels and dueling pistols were not supposed to be rifled, either.

Trigger

This is the last subject I will address in this report. Firearms didn’t even have triggers in the beginning. They had touch holes like old cannons. In fact, early firearms were called hand cannons, and that is how they were viewed for at least the first century or even two.

The first “trigger” was a long lever that lowered a burning match to the touch hole, making “firing” (lighting the gunpowder on fire) a piece a bit less cannon-like. A trigger like that wasn’t sophisticated and did little to assist with accuracy

matchlock
The long lever on the left is the trigger and the curved piece on the right is the matchholder. Pull the trigger up and the match goes down to touch the gunpowder in the pan — setting off the main charge in the breech.

Of course triggers evolved into better and better units, but the lesson isn’t in their design but rather in how they are manipulated. For accuracy the trigger must be squeezed slowly and break cleanly so that no movement is imparted to the rifle when the sear releases. Yanking the trigger to set off the gun moves the entire gun, destroying consistency. I will have more to say about that when I discuss how the hold affects accuracy.

More to come

As I was writing this several other basic and important topics occurred to me. They are hold, breathing control, ammo and cleaning the barrel. I’ll also talk about training shooters to use the sights correctly (triangulation drills) and the accuracy differences that airguns bring to the table. Airgunners shoot so close to the sights that misalignment stands out in a major way, where with a firearm that gets masked by distance. I bet you readers will remind me of even more.


Artemis PP700S-A PCP pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Artemis
Artemis PCP air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Fill with Nomad II
  • Sight-in
  • The test
  • First group — Hades pellets
  • Remember…
  • Baracuda with 5.50mm heads
  • Second Baracuda group
  • Final pellet — the JSB Exact Jumbo
  • Next
  • Summary

It’s been a long time since we looked at this Artemis PP700S-A PCP pistol. Jungle Shooter — I haven’t forgotten.

Fill with Nomad II

Both my carbon fiber tanks are dedicated to other airguns right now and, for reasons of incompatibility, I can’t switch the fill adaptors. Neither hose’s female Foster fitting will accept the Artemis fitting. So, once again I used the super-handy Nomad II air compressor that is becoming an essential part of my equipment as time passes. I better ask Pyramyd Air to make me a price because I don’t think I can send it back.

I filled to 2800 psi because, although this pistol is rated to fill to 250 bar, when I tested it in Part 2 I discovered that the useful power curve starts at 2800 psi (193 bar). I know there are at least 20 good shots on a fill when I start at that pressure.

I had to read Part 3 to remember everything I had learned, and even then I overlooked one important thing that I will tell you about in a bit. However, for today’s test I scoped the pistol, and I want to address that first.

I mounted a UTG 1-4X28 variable scope with a parallax fixed at 100 yards. This is just the scope most of us wouldn’t look at twice — EXCEPT — it really works. The image is very clear, the reticle is clear and right-sized (Goldilocks reticle — not too small, not too big). Remember that this is going on a pistol, not a rifle. And the eye relief is less than 4 inches, so I have to hold it close to my eye to see the whole image. I’m sorry Pyramyd Air no longer carries this one, but at over $100, people just didn’t want a 1-4 power scope.

Artemis scoped
The Artemis scoped. I took this picture while holding a kitty in my hands, because she really wanted to be on the furry backdrop! When the pistol was removed she possessed it and slept there for a couple hours.

On the other hand — it works. And you will see that in a bit. I mounted it in 2-piece UTG 30mm P.O.I. high rings that Pyramyd Air no longer stocks. I shimmed the rear one, which was good because even then the Artemis shot low.

Sight-in

I fired the first shot from 12 feet and noted that it dropped 2.75 inches below the aim point when the center of the scope is about 1.75 inches above the center of the bore. That means the shot was at least an inch too low, so I cranked in a lot of elevation (several full rotations of the knob) and backed up to 10 meters to shoot the second shot. Shot two landed 1.5-inches below the aim point and in line with the first shot, so more elevation and a lot more left adjustment. Time to shoot some groups.

The test

I shot from 10 meters today with the pistol resting directly on a sandbag. I had planned to sight the pistol in with the scope at 10 meters, check for the best pellets and then back up to 25 yards, but the test got long as you will soon read. So all of today’s shooting is from 10 meters.

First group — Hades pellets

The first group is still an inch below the aim point and a half-inch too far to the left. I shot the group, though, to see if this pellet was right for the gun. I was shooting the JSB Hades hollowpoint that did the best by a slight margin in the last test. This time 5 pellets went into 0.585-inches at 10 meters. In the last test with open sights the best group with this same pellet was 0.716-inches between centers, so we are already better.

Artemis Hades group 1
The first group of 5 Hades pellets was shot without waiting for the regulator to recharge completely. It measures 0.585-inches between centers — much better than the 0.716-inch Hades group that was the best with open sights.

Remember…

And that was when it hit me! I hadn’t paused between the shots. In Part Three I learned to let 2 minutes pass between the shots to let the slow regulator in this pistol recharge. It does get faster as the pistol breaks in, but this one is still new. Sooooo — I shot a second group, and this time I waited between each shot. Oh boy! Four of the five pellets are in 0.315-inches, but the other shot (I think it was the second one) opens the group to 0.709-inches. Phooey!

Artemis Hades group 2
So near and yet so far! Five Hades pellets went into 0.709-inches when I waited 2 minutes between each shot. Oh, well.

Baracuda with 5.50mm heads

In the last test I found H&N H&N Baracuda pellets with a 5.50mm head seemed very accurate. So I tried them again with the scoped gun. They were off the aim point by 2.5 inches high and left, so after a LOT of scope adjusting I got them back on target. It appeared through the scope that the first two shots went wide and then shots 3 through 5 drilled the center of the bull. What I didn’t see until I went downrange to retrieve the target was that the last shot landed very low and almost off the target paper. I was really excited that the scope had “settled down” and I would have a great group to show if I shot again. But the actual group measures 1.229-inches between centers.

Artemis Baracuda group 1
This first group of Baracuda pellets looked good through the scope because the hole on the lower right was hidden by tape when I looked through the spotting scope. I thought the final three pellets went to the center of the bull, but the last one dropped to that lower hole. Five shots in 1.229-inches at 10 meters.

Second Baracuda group

Thinking the gun and scope had settled down (I hadn’t gone downrange yet) I shot a second group of Baracudas. This one measures 1.261-inches between centers. That’s actually a little worst than the first group. Baracudas are not for the Artemis.

Artemis Baracuda group 2
The second group of Baracudas was a little larger than the first group, at 1.261-inches between centers. I only discovered that when I retrieved the target.

Final pellet — the JSB Exact Jumbo

The final pellet I tested was the 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbo dome. I had to adjust the scope back to pretty close to where it had been fore the Hades pellet, as both pellets weigh the same. The first two shots landed separately on target but then shots 3 through five went into the first hole. So 4 pellets in 0.085-inches (where is that gold dollar?) with the last pellet (actually shot 2) opening the group to 0.371-inches. Oh, fudge!

Artemis JSB Exact group
Houston, the Eagle has landed! Five JSB Exact Jumbo pellets in 0.317-inches at 10 meters.

I believe we have arrived. Now, this is the point where somebody on the blog asks me to show them the inside of the action with the barrel removed. Sure — I’ll do that. Please sit right there and wait at your keyboard while I do it.

Next

We have heard from several readers who own one of these pistols that the Artemis is very accurate, but it takes some time to break one in. I think we are watching that happen in real time as this test progresses.

Next time I want to back up to 25 yards and, starting with the JSB Exact Jumbo that is now sighted in, I will test the accuracy again.

The scope is extremely easy to use with this pistol. I just have to hold the gun close enough that my eye can see the image through the eyepiece.

Summary

I  now declare the Artemis PP700S-A PCP air pistol to be , “Muy goodyoso!”


Umarex Synergis repeating underlever combo: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Synergis
Umarex Synergis underlever repeating gas piston rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Mount the scope
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Discussion
  • Next group
  • RWS Superdome
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Last group
  • Second discussion
  • Summary

Today we begin testing the Umarex Synergis for accuracy. There’s been a lot of interest in this budget underlever repeater and today we find out if it’s worth consideration. Up to this point the rifle has tested out very well.

Mount the scope

The 3-9X40 scope comes in a separate package, with the rings separate in another box inside the scope box. The Synergis has a Picatinney rail on top of the spring tube, so it’s quick and easy to attach the rings. They have two-screws per cap so there is no trick to tightening them. Just do it gradually all around.

I always shim the rear ring when I’m testing a new airgun, to offset any drooping problems. As things turned out that was unnecessary for the Synergis, but it doesn’t hurt, either. Mounting the scope took 10-15 minutes.

The test

I shot all my targets for this test off a bench at 10 meters. I used the artillery hold which I will describe as we go. I shot differing number of pellets at each target, so I will also address that as we go.

Usually I have no clue as to what pellet might work in a gun, but you may remember that Umarex included a tin of JSB Exact 8.44-grain domed pellets with the rifle. So I sighted-in with them and also shot the first group. But actually I shot a group that was unintentional during the sight-in.

Sight-in

The first sight-in shot was from 12 feet away and landed in the center of the target at which it was shot. That doesn’t happen often, but I accepted it and went back to 10 meters for shot number two. For shot two I aimed at the target below the first one, but the pellet went into the same hole as the first shot. It’s a little higher and a little more to the left, but it did cut the first hole. By that reckoning the shots have to come down 2-5/8 inches and also go more to the right. I just screwed the elevation adjustment down several turns, because at 10 meters the adjustments don’t move the pellets very far. I also put in some adjustment to the right.

Shot number three hit an inch too high and 3/4-inches too far to the left. So more adjustments and shot number 4 landed inside the black bull. It’s not centered, but I don’t need it to be. So I finished shooting the rest of the 12 shots in the magazine as the scope was now adjusted and was surprised by what I saw through the spotting scope. Seven shots are in a tight 0.246-inch group with the eighth shot opening the group to 0.536-inches at 10 meters. I wasn’t planning on calling this a group but it’s so good that I had to show you. Apparently the Synergis can shoot!

Synergis sight-in
This wasn’t supposed to be a group, but 8 sight-in shots at 10 meters went into 0.536-inches between centers, with 7 in 0.246-inches.

Discussion

Now you need to know some things. First, the scope has fixed parallax that is not adjusted for 10 meters, so I shot this entire test on 4 power and the bull was still a little blurry. I wore my normal vision glasses to shoot. I hope the image will clear up at 25 yards.

Next I will tell you and also remind myself that I shot the sight-in group above with an artillery hold where the heel of my off hand touches the trigger guard. That hold isn’t comfortable because the rifle is extremely muzzle heavy, but as you can see, it does work.

The trigger is absolutely delightful! It still feels very light and breaks suddenly enough that I was able to do good work with it.

The firing cycle is quick and relatively smooth. It does have a quick jolt, but it doesn’t slap your face or anything like that.

Next group

The next group was 12 shots (I had forgotten that the magazine holds 12 and not 10) of the same JSB pellets. I rested the rifle on my off hand out by the cocking slot where the rifle was better balanced and steadier. Twelve pellets went into a group that measures 0.56-inches between centers. I want you to know that I didn’t try to settle down before each shot like I discussed with the Stoeger S4000E last week. I just shot. Because the Synergis is a repeater you can shoot pretty fast. I wasn’t racing the clock, but I was moving right along.

Synergis first JSB group
The Synergis put 12 JSB Exact pellets in 0.56-inches at 10 meters.

After seeing this group I was naturally excited. I wanted to try a couple other pellets, though it seemed like the JSBs Umarex sent me were clearly the best.

RWS Superdome

I tried just 5 RWS Superdomes to see if they were worth further exploration. I continued with the artillery hold by holding my off hand under the cocking slot. This group was very open and measured 1.021-inches between centers. Superdomes are out for the Synergis.

Synergis Superdome group
At 10 meters the Synergis put 5 Superdomes into 1.021-inches. This is not the pellet for this rifle.

Air Arms Falcons

The other pellet I tried was the FFalcon from Air Arms. This is a pellet that’s also made b y JSB, so it should be good, but the test results were a little unclear. Four of the five pellets landed in a 0.525-inch group at 10 meters, but the fifth shot opened it to 0.945-inches.

Synergis Falcon group
Five Falcon pellets made a 0.945-inch group at 10 meters. Four of them are in 0.525-inches.

I think if I had tried I could have gotten Falcons to shoot better than that, but I really wanted to get back to the JSB Exacts that I knew were good.

Last group

This last group was shot with my off hand under the cocking slot. This time, and only this time, I relaxed and closed my eyes before taking the shot. Then I adjusted the hold until the crosshairs stayed on the target after relaxing. This time 10 JSB Exact pellets made a group measuring 0.479-inches between centers. It’s the smallest group of this test, though the first group of 12 shots looks smaller.

Synergis second JSB group
The Synergis put 10 JSB pellets into 0.498-inches at 10 meters.

Second discussion

I think that by both holding my off hand back by the triggerguard and also relaxing between every shot I can get the groups even better. I plan to move back to 25 yards next time because I want to see if the scope that comes with the rifle clears up.

Summary

There you go — the Umarex Synergis is accurate and not that sensitive to hold. The trigger remained light and easy to use and the scope is quite nice, though not clear at 10 meters. The magazine works great but I find myself counting the shots rather than working with the visual cues on the magazine.


Beeman P3 air pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman P3 pistol
Beeman P3 air pistol.

Beeman P17 Part 1
Beeman P17 Part 2
Beeman P17 Part 3
Beeman P17 Part 4
Beeman P17 Part 5
Beeman P3 Part 1

This report covers:

  • Growing larger
  • But wait — there’s more!
  • RWS Hobby — seated flush
  • Hobbys seated deep
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated flush
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated deep
  • Falcons seated flush
  • Falcons seated deep
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Thanks to 45 Bravo and Iain
  • Summary

Growing larger

This report is growing into a major one, and in a good way. Thanks to a two-part guest blog from 45Bravo we have now seen how to repair the two most common faults when either the Beeman P3 or the Beeman P17 air pistols fail. And I tested my P17 for you in the usual way. I even mounted the UTG Reflex Micro Dot sight on that pistol and tested it again for accuracy at 10 meters. We learned that BB does a little better with a dot sight than with open sights — especially if the dot sight is that one!

But wait — there’s more!

After thoroughly testing the P17 I then started testing a Beeman P3. In Part One of that report I compared the P3 to the P17. This is the first time I have seen such a comparison made, and I think it will stand for a long time.

Then reader Iain commented several times and we all learned a lot more about both airguns. To those with a conspiracy theory that Weihrauch is having the Chinese make the P3 for them, I can tell you that I spoke to Hans Weihrauch, Jr. at the Pyramyd Air Cup a few weeks ago and asked this same question — or one very much like it. They most definitely are not doing that. Of course Iain showed us where the guns are marked with their respective countries of origin, but Hans was adamant that the Chinese copied the P3 without his permission. I tried to explain to you why he didn’t go to court over it, and, although my story was made up, I bet it is not far from the truth. In the grand scheme of things it just wasn’t worth it. And, as things have transpired over time, the Chinese bought the Beeman company and Weihrauch still makes the HW40 almost two decades later. So the P17 and the P3 have their respective owners.

Now that we know a lot about the histories of both air pistols it’s time to put this P3 to the test. And if, for some reason, it isn’t where I think it should be I could just rebuild it like 45 Bravo taught us. Since this report is a comparison, I’m going to shoot the exact same pellets in the exact same way that I did for the P17 in Part 3. Here we go.

RWS Hobby — seated flush

First to be tested were RWS Hobby pellets seated flush with the end of the breech — the way you would normally seat them. In the P3 they averaged 370 f.p.s. In the P17 the same pellet seated the same way averaged 389 f.p.s.
At the average velocity Hobbys generate 2.13 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. The spread ranged from 365 to 377 f.p.s. — a difference of 12 f.p.s.

Hobbys seated deep

Next I seated the Hobbys deep with the aid of an Allen wrench. That way they averaged 378 f.p.s. — a gain of 8 f.p.s. over the flush-seated pellets. At this velocity they generated 2.21 foot-pounds at the muzzle. In the P17 this pellet seated the same way averaged 401 f.p.s. The spread for this pellet in the P3 went from 375 to 384 f.p.s. — a difference of 9 f.p.s.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated flush

Next up was the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellet that Pyramyd Air no longer carries. Seated flush they averaged 430 f.p.s. The spread ranged from 427 to 433 — a difference of only 6 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 2.16 foot pounds at the muzzle. In the P17 this same pellet seated flush averaged 451 f.p.s.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated deep

Seating the Sig pellets deep increased the average to 445 f.p.s. At that speed the pellet generates 2.31 foot pounds at the muzzle. The spread went from a low of 444 to as high of 447 f.p.s., a difference of only 3 f.p.s.! The P17, in contrast, shot this pellet seated the same way at an average 459 f.p.s.

Falcons seated flush

The final pellet I tested was the Air Arms Falcon dome. They seated much easier into the breech than the other two pellets. Seated flush they averaged 381 f.p.s. At that speed they generate 2.36 foot pounds at the muzzle.The spread went from a low of 377 to as high of 384 f.p.s. so 6 f.p.s. The P17 doing the same thing averaged 401 f.p.s.

Falcons seated deep

When they were seated deep Falcons averaged 388 f.p.s. The low was 386 and the high was 390 f.p.s. So the spread was 4 f.p.s. At the average velocity the pellet generated 2.45 foot pounds. In the P17 under the same conditions this pellet averaged 407 f.p.s.

Discussion

By now you have figured out that this P3 is a little tired. Wehrauch says to expect 410 f.p.s. from their P3, so 370 with a 7-grain Hobby is a little slow. But we know what to do about that — don’t we?
No, don’t try to talk me out of it. I already ordered the new seals. In fact I ordered two new sets of seals, and guess what that means? More fun for you and me. I plan to overhaul both guns and do a side-by-side velocity retest. Yippie!

Cocking effort

To measure the effort needed to cock (pump) the P3, 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 had been concerned about not pushing against that Millett red dot sight that was mounted on the gun when I got it, but now that I’m going to overhaul the gun the sight came off. So the cocking test was exactly the same as what I did with the P17. I slowly pushed down on the pistol grip until the top closed and the pistol was cocked.
It took 37 pounds of effort to cock/pump this pistol, where it took 35 pounds to cock the P17. I was certain the P3 cocked easier, but the scale doesn’t lie. Well, actually it’s just a cheap old spring bathroom scale and both guns probably cock/pump with the same effort. I know for a fact that the thing never cuts me any slack!

For the velocity the P3 produces, that’s a lot of effort. I hope to see some more velocity after the overhaul. I think just replacing the breech seal would get a nice gain, but why stop there?

 

Trigger pull

Now we come to the biggest difference between the P3 and the P17. The P17 trigger has a lot of travel in the second stage. The P3 trigger has none. It’s a glass rod that simply snaps. And how much effort do you have to provide to get it to snap? How about one pound? It’s 11 ounces to the end of stage one and 15.8 ounces to sear release. That’s every time! Even the IZH 46 and 46M, though their triggers can be adjusted lighter than this, have some creep in stage 2. The P3 has none, as in zero, nada, null! In sharp contrast my P17 trigger requires 16 ounces for stage one and 2 lbs. 4.5 ounces for sear release. That isn’t too bad, but it cannot compare to the P3 trigger.

 

Thanks to 45 Bravo and Iain

I want to thank both 45Bravo and Iain for their contributions to this report. I have learned so much about this pistol’s design and these two pistols in particular.

 

Summary

To this point we have seen how to disassemble and repair the two most common faults this air pistol has, and that includes overhauling it after many years of service has flattened and hardened its seals. We have seen the difference between the two pistols, which aren’t that great for the most part. We have then seen the P17 tested full and we are now testing the P3 in the same way. Over the course of testing both guns we have seen that they could stand some freshening up and that is now planned for both of them. Like I said at the start — this is turning into a wonderful report series.


Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Arms S510XS
Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Meopta MeoPro Optika6 3-18X56-scope: Part 1

This report covers:

  • Finish the sight-in
  • First JSB group
  • Hoity-toity!
  • So-the JSB pellets?
  • What to do?
  • First up — Air Arms 16-grain Field pellet
  • Air Arms Falcon pellets
  • What now?
  • Discussion
  • Summary
  • PS

I’m taking my time with this report because I’m testing three top-of-the-line products together. Of course the main report is about the Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock, but I have mounted a Meopta MeoPro Optika6 3-18X56 scope on it in Sportsmatch 30mm high adjustable scope mounts. Everything I am testing is the best of the best. And in Part 3 of the S510 report I spent a lot of time explaining how I adjusted the rifle and also how I mounted the scope and sighted it in. Today we see the fruit of that work as I begin testing the rifle for accuracy at 25 yards.

Finish the sight-in

You may remember that in Part 3 I showed you two shots at a target from 12 feet. They were to sight-in the rifle and to adjust the Sportsmatch rings with enough droop to compensate for the rifle’s natural tendency.

S510XS Ultimate Sporter sight-in 2
The sight-in target I showed you in Part 3.

Well, I used that same target to finish sighting in. Starting at 10 meters I fired five pellets and adjusted the reticle to bring them up to where I thought they should be at that distance. In my experience a pellet that’s one inch low at 10 meters will be spot on at 25 yards. I thought I had the shots fairly well centered at 10 meters, but when I backed up to 25 yards the shots were off to the left.

I had planned showing you that target and talking though what I did, but it looked too confusing after I was done. So I just dialed in some correction and shot five shots at 25 yards. And by the way, I’m shooting the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellet.

First JSB group

Wouldn’t you know it — the first pellet blew the dot (the 10-ring) in the target bull away. In the past I have powered through that because the scope reticles were thick enough to center the bull more-or-less. But not this time. This Meopta scope is so fantastically clear that I had turned on the illumination to watch the red dot in the center of the 9-ring. And my shot had just blown away half of that ring! So, I had to guesstimate where the 9-ring was and I was certain that caused my first 5-shot group to grow unnecessarily.

S510XS JSB group 1
The Air Arms S510 rifle put 5 JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets in 0.374-inches at 25 yards. A very vertical group!

Okay, BB can learn. I adjusted the scope up by 7 clicks and shot another 5 of the same JSB pellets. This time the aiming point remained clear but the group isn’t that much smaller. Five JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies are in 0.331-inches at 25 yards.

S510XS JSB group 2
Five JSB pellets went into 0.331-inches at 25 yards. This is also a vertical group.

Hoity-toity!

Well, listen to BB! He’s complaining about a 5-shot group at 25 yards that’s a third of an inch between centers. Get him!

You wanna know why I’m complaining? I’m complaining because I am seeing things through this fabulous scope that I have never seen through any scope before — not a Nightforce, not a custom Hakko — not even a Leupold scope that was custom-built for field target. This Meopta scope is C-L-E-A-R!!!

I’m complaining because, for the first time in my shooting career I can SEE that I can do a much better job! I could have stopped after the word SEE, because that’s what’s happening. I can see that tiny red dot of illumination inside the 9-ring on the target that is 0.217-inches (5.5mm) across, and I can see it so clearly that, if I concentrate, I can keep the dot inside that ring. In fact I can keep it on top of the 10-ring that’s the same size as the dot (0.5mm/0.01968-inches) about 80 percent of the time. This scope isn’t good — it’s FABULOUS!

Even with 32-power scopes I can’t see as clearly as I can with this one that stops at 18 power. I imagine this is what the world looks like through a Swarovski scope or one from Schmidt and Bender.

So-the JSB pellets?

These JSB pellets are not right for the S510 I am testing. They are wonderful in a lot of other airguns — just not in this one.

What to do?

I needed to find some pellets that show the real capabilities of the S510 and a crazy thought hit me — what about Air Arms pellets? Now some folks may think that because the tin says Air Arms that they make them, but of course they don’t. JSB makes them for Air Arms. As I understand it they are made on dies that Air Arms owns. So why not give them a try?

First up — Air Arms 16-grain Field pellet

The first pellet I tried was the 16-grain Air Arms Field pellet. The second shot went into the same hole as the first and right then I knew I was onto something. But, after 4 pellets had gone into 0.139-inches (I measured it), I got flustered and forgot how to shoot. I “pulled” the last shot and opened the group to 0.181-inches. I am not kidding! I got so focused by the potential of this rifle/scope/mounts setup (and so mesmerized by keeping the red dot over the 10-ring) that I was embarrassed by this “horrible” group. And, I really did “pull” the last shot to the left of the main group.

S510XS AA 16 group 1
Five Air Arms 16-grain domes. I was actually embarrassed by the large size of this 0.181-inch 5-shot group! I didn’t use the trime for scale because I thought the group was too big. The left side of the group is a pellet I “threw” on my last shot.

Air Arms Falcon pellets

The second Air Arms pellet I tried was their Falcon. This time it was even worse, because it was even better. This time the first 4 pellets went into 0.11-inches. Only because I was looking through that Meopta scope could I even tell the group was growing. And, sure enough, on shot 5 I got so flustered that I threw it high and right to enlarge the group to a whopping 0.345-inches! This time you can see the flier that I swear I threw there. I was sniping the trigger.

S510XS AA Falcon group
Yeah — I know it’s massive but what can I do? Five Falcon pellets went into 0.345-inches at 25 yards. The high right hole was the last pellet that I threw.

What now?

Okay, I am now as flustered as a teenaged boy on his first date. But I wanted to finish this test strong, so I selected the 16-grain pellet to shoot a final 10-shot group. And I did fabulously for the first 7 shots. In fact 9 of the 10 shots are in a round 0.17-inches. HOWEVER — shot number 8 wouldn’t go off until I jerked the trigger back. That one shot opened this group to 0.307-inches at 25 yards! Imagine that! I’m, upset at shooting 10 pellets into 0.307-inches at 25 yards.

S510XS AA 16 group 2
Ten pellets made this 0.307-inch group, but 9 of them are in 0.17-inches!

Discussion

We are not done with this test. Oh, no! In fact we are just getting started. Remember how I had to learn to relax with the Stoeger springer? Looks like I gotta do it all over again with the S510.

Being this close to real quality is a definite change for me. I feel like at any moment I will be asked to get out of the Rolls Royce and climb back on my bicycle again. So, I be draggin’ my feet.

Summary

Gee willikers!

PS

Hafta do this again real soon.