2020 SHOT Show Day Two

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:
Air Venturi
Butterfly
Avenger PCP
Bada Bang
Ataman big bore
Hill compressor
Leapers
Hatsan Invader
AirForce Airguns
.50 Texan
RAW
Raw HM Micro
RAW systems rifles
That’s all for today

Air Venturi

I told you there were a lot of things to see and I had to skip past them to finish Part One. I will begin today by going back and looking at what we missed. I’ll start with Air Venturi.

Butterfly

The Butterfly is the Air Venturi Dragonfly with a pump-assist built in. You remember the pump-assist that was tried on the Benjamin 392  many years ago? The additional linkage makes pumping the gun much easier. That linkage is built into the Butterfly, which was named for the look of the linkage. So, it’s a multi-pump that’s much easier to pump. You multi-pump guys will want to check this one out. read more


2020 SHOT Show Day One

by Tom Gaylord

Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

Hatsan Piledriver

Hatsan Blitz!

Hatsan HydraQE

Hatsan Volt

Hatsan Alpha — grandfathers of the world, rejoice!

Engage warp drive!

Lancer Tactical

Black Ops Quantico

Drum Roll — Mosin Nagant rifle

Rhino Limited Edition

M1A is here!

Bug Buster bubble level!

So much more to come!

If I didn’t see any more of the show than just today I have already seen more new and innovative airguns and accessories than there are at most entire shows. Let’s begin with Hatsan.

Hatsan Piledriver

Hatsan’s Cecil Bays showed me their new 800 foot-pound big bore rifle called the Piledriver. It comes in .45 and .50 calibers. It gets 3 to 6 shots at full power, depending on the caliber. The fill is 300 bar, or 4,350 psi, so you should have a compressor or a large carbon fiber tank for this one. read more


Range days at the 2020 SHOT Show

by Tom Gaylord

Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

Sig Virtus

P365 BB pistol

Virtus airsoft

Smart Shooter

It’s over

Media day at the Range

Umarex USA

Air Javelin

Air Saber

Constant Acceleration Pneumatic Arms

Light gas

Not done yet

That’s all

I went to two range days this year. Sig Range Day was on Sunday and Industry Day at the Range was Monday. Both are for the media, so we get to see and possibly shoot the guns they are showing at SHOT. I say, “Possibly” because the guns don’t always cooperate. I have seen several that failed to function on range day. That’s either because they were rushed through production or sometimes it’s just bad luck. read more


Diana 27S: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 27S
Diana 27S.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • SHOT Show
  • Odd-sized breech seal
  • Grainger
  • Velocity with Air Arms Falcon pellets
  • Fooled around
  • WHAT!!!?
  • On with the test — JSB Exact Heavy
  • Chronograph error
  • Cocking
  • 27S
  • Cocking behavior
  • Firing behavior
  • RWS Hobby
  • Summary

SHOT Show

I’m at the SHOT Show today. Today is Media Day At The Range, so I’m looking at all the new airguns that are on the range in Boulder City. Yesterday I went to Sig Range Day, so tomorrow I will have a report on both events. The show opens on Tuesday, so the Wednesday blog will be my first report from there.

Today we look at the velocity of the Diana 27S we are testing. If you recall, in Part 2 the breech seal failed and I couldn’t test the rifle. I replaced the seal with a temporary leather one and the velocity jumped from the mid-300s to the high 600s. I said then that it was the largest velocity increase I have ever seen from just replacing a breech seal. I expected a gain of 60-80 f.p.s. Several readers made similar comments.

Odd-sized breech seal

When I measured the old seal I expected to find numbers that were even, numbers that made sense! Instead I found the old seal’s material diameter (the thickness of the ring) was 2.4mm. The inside diameter was 8.3mm and the outside diameter was 13.1mm. Okay, where is the camera — I’m on Candid Camera, right? I expected a ring with a thickness of 2.5mm, an ID of 8.5mm and an OD of 13mm. Who would make something common like an o-ring with such random and odd dimensions? The ring wasn’t designed for Diana. Diana selected the ring from what was available and designed their airguns to fit.

Apparently, though, someone did design a ring like this because when I went to Grainger looking for one, there it was — 2.4mm by 8.3mm by 13.1mm! The reason I was so skeptical is because when it comes to measuring things I’m a cut-three-times-measure-once-and-then-hire-somebody-else-to-do-the-job kinda guy. But, listening to all of you guys with skills, I figured I could at least give it a go — might provide some fodder for a funny blog!

Grainger

So I placed an order with Grainger for 25 o-rings. I have about 6-8 Dianas that need these seals, and the way I love these guns more can come at any time. The rings arrived last week, and, with considerable trepidation, I installed one in the 27S. Then I set up the chronograph and fired the first tentative shot.

Diana 27S breech seal
The new o-ring/breech seal from Gainger fit perfectly.

Velocity with Air Arms Falcon pellets

Okay guys, we will start the velocity test with the Air Arms Falcon dome pellet. Ten Falcons averaged 689 f.p.s., for an average muzzle energy of 7.73 foot-pounds. Remember — the magic number of 671 f.p.s. is the velocity at which the energy of the pellet in foot-pounds is equal to the pellet’s weight in grains.

The spread ranged from a low of 672 to a high of 710 f.p.s. That’s 38 f.p.s., which is high.

Fooled around

After that I shot some more Falcons and got a string of three that measured 320, 309 and 310 f.p.s. — WHAT!!!?

WHAT!!!?

Right after installing the new breech seal and shooting the gun at velocities in the 690s, I suddenly got one at 374 f.p.s. And that is when it hit me. The new breech seal DOES NOT add 300 f.p.s. to the velocity of the rifle! I had shot through the chronograph in such a way that the first skyscreen was triggered at the wrong time. I know that because I can now do it anytime I want.

It isn’t common but I have seen this phenomenon before. If the muzzle of the gun is too close to the first skyscreen (with Shooting Chrony chronographs) you will get a reading like this. In the case of this Diana 27S I also have to point the barrel slightly downward by a few inches at 3 feet to make it happen every time. That is what happened in the last test, but I didn’t catch it until today. It was just the way I was sitting that made it happen. Apparently the Diana 27S is just long enough to put the muzzle in the exact right spot for this to happen.

So — chronograph users beware. And everybody — a new breech seal should not increase velocity by 300 f.p.s. unless there was no seal to begin with!

On with the test — JSB Exact Heavy read more


Crosman Mark I and II reseal

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is a guest blog from reader Ian McKee who writes as 45 Bravo. He’s going to tell us about the Crosman Mark I pistol he recently acquired and what he did to fix the leak it came with.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

A history of airguns

Over to you, Ian.

Crosman Mark I and II reseal

by Ian McKee
Writing as 45Bravo

This report covers:

  • Just kidding!
  • Four major changes over the years
  • I got this one cheap
  • It’s mine!
  • Bringing it back to life
  • BB’s end cap
  • Resealing both caps
  • How did it go?
  • Outer barrel removal
  • Wrong o-rings

Back in December 2018, and January 2019, B.B. reviewed a classic Crosman Mark I pistol in .22 caliber.

There were many comments about how it worked internally, and how the power adjuster worked, so today I thought I would give you a little peek inside the gun.

Mark II disassembled
Here is your peek of a disassembled pistol. This is actually a Mark II I photographed some time back. The parts of the two pistols are identical except for those pertaining to the caliber.

Thank you, that concludes today’s blog.

 

Just kidding!

I could not do that to you. Here is a synopsis to refresh your memory.

The Crosman Mark I and Mark II (.22 and .177 calibers, respectively) pistols are airgun versions of the classic Ruger Mark I and Mark II .22 rimfire pistols. They share the same grip angle, sight profile, and overall profile of the iconic Ruger rimfire pistol.

Ruger Marl 1
Ruger’s Mark I pistol.

All Crosman Mark air pistols retained an adjustable trigger throughout their production run, which was 1966 to 1986, but had other changes in their design over the years.

Four major changes over the years

The flip-style piercing cap was changed to a button-style piercing cap, similar to what’s found on the Smith & Wesson 78/79-series air pistols.

The metal bolt guide that was secured in the frame by a screw on either side below the rear sight was changed to a plastic bolt guide that is retained by 1 screw that’s hidden under the rear sight blade.

The power-adjusting screw that was located under the barrel was eliminated.

And to hold the grips they changed from using screws with countersunk heads to screws with flat heads, as shown.

Mark I grip screws
There are two different grip screw head profiles and grips that match them.

If you use the countersunk screws on grips made for flat-head screws, you will crack them, and it is not easy to find replacements.

There were some other minor changes over the years, but these were the big ones.

I have been a big fan of these pistols over the years, and have owned and resealed more of these than I have of the Smith & Wesson 78/79G series. In my opinion, the adjustable triggers of the Crosman guns are better than the adjustable triggers of the S&W guns. The engineer that designed these air pistols later had a hand in the design of the Smith & Wesson guns.

I got this one cheap

I saw this pistol online with a $50 or best offer price tag, and no photo. These two things together usually tell me to run away and let someone else take the chance.

I got to thinking I could always use it for parts, so I took the bait and contacted the seller. I found out he lived not too far away, and decided on a face-to-face look at the pistol.

He sent some fuzzy photos by text, that didn’t help my feelings about the deal.

In the ad he said the gun had leaks. When I finally saw it, it was one of the roughest Mark Is I have ever seen. It had been repainted several times, and at some point, someone had covered the bare spots with a permanent marker to make it all black again.

Mark I right
Right side.

Mark I left
Left side.

I put a CO2 cartridge in it and it vented all of the gas out of the piercing cap while I shot it a few times. [Editor’s note: Doing this in front of the seller is a big negotiating tip, because it emphasizes the fact that his gun doesn’t work!]

From this short examination I knew 3 things:

1. This was an early model Crosman Mark I in good mechanical condition.

2. All of the parts were there.

3. It did NOT leak out of the barrel, when it vented the gas.

It’s mine!

I made a ridiculously low offer, and he accepted. When I got it back home and on the bench, I started by cleaning off the permanent marker with alcohol.

I knew it was an older model, but did not realize how old, as in serial number 000659! There is not even a date code.

Mark I serial number
This is an early Mark I.

I now own one of the first ones made and also one of the last ones made.

Bringing it back to life

I put a second CO2 cartridge in it to check it out on the bench. It vented the gas in about 30 seconds and it all came from the piercing cap. That told me the valve seal was still good.

I shot it over the chrono as it was venting. The gun was cold from the CO2 cool-down, but it still registered 485 f.p.s.

Most times the leak is because the tiny o-ring in the piercing cap deteriorates. The piercing pin moves up and down in the older models by a lever. You flip the lever one way to pierce the CO2 cartridge, then return to its normal position to let the CO2 into the gun.

Some online disassembly guides say you have to remove the snap ring at the bottom of the cap and then drive out a roll pin. That is the hard way. The easy way is to use a 3/8-inch wide (9.5mm) screwdriver blade in the slot inside the piercing cap. Use it to unscrew the cover that contains the 006-sized o-ring.

This cover is threaded and acts as a screw to hold the small o-ring in place. It looks in the photo like the piercing pin will prevent unscrewing it, but the end of the pin is actually below the screw slots. Remove this cover. In a moment I will describe and show a newer style end cap that has some different parts and comes apart differently.

With the cover off, use a dental pick to remove the old o-ring. It is probably hardened and will break into fragments when you pick at it. It may not even look like an o-ring, but it is tight around the base of the piercing pin.

Once all the small pieces are out of the cap and the o-ring groove is clean, lightly lubricate the new o-ring with your choice of lube, center the new o-ring over the piercing pin, and push it into its recess. Then screw the cover back into place over the o-ring.

Mark I cap 1
The screwdriver fits into the slots on either side and unscrews the cover. The tip of the piercing pin is below the slots. The cap looks brassy in this photo but it is really steel.

Mark I cap 2
This picture with a different angle shows how the o-ring sits at the base of the piercing pin. read more


What effect do heavier airsoft BBs have on accuracy?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

ASG CZ Shadow 2 Part 1
ASG CZ Shadow 2 Part 2
ASG CZ Shadow 2 Part 3
ASG CZ Shadow 2 Part 4
Sig Air M17 ProForce Part 1
Sig Air M17 ProForce Part 2
Sig Air M17 ProForce Part 3
Sig Air M17 ProForce Part 4
Sig Air M17 ProForce Part 5

This report covers:

  • ASG CZ 75 Shadow 2 first
  • The test
  • Game Face Maximum Precision 0.25-gram BBs
  • Trigger!
  • ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil
  • Umarex Elite Force Milsim Max 0.32-gram
  • Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram
  • Swiss Arms ProGrade 0.36-gram
  • Discussion 1
  • On to the Sig Air M17 ProForce
  • Game Face Maximum Precision 0.25-gram BBs
  • ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil
  • Umarex Elite Force Milsim Max 0.32-gram
  • Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram
  • Swiss Arms ProGrade 0.36-gram
  • Discussion 2
  • Summary

Today is a special report, done at the request of reader Michael. He wondered whether heavier airsoft BBs than I used in the final test of the Sig Air M17 ProForce airsoft pistol would be more accurate. Read what he said.

“I have always read that heavier Airsoft “BBs” are more accurate than lighter ones. One theory is that in order to be heavier, they are manufactured to have fewer and smaller gaps inside them. Theoretically, that would reduce imbalances in the sphere and make them spin and fly more true.

“Because this is a CO2 pistol, it should be able to launch .30g, .32g and .36g ammo without breaking a sweat. It would be very interesting to see how it shoots with, say, WE or Swiss Arms .36g “BBs.”

It was a good question and I thought I would give it a go. And then I remembered that I had tested two accurate airsoft pistols in 2019 — both the Sig ProForce M17 airsoft pistol and the ASG CZ 75 Shadow 2. If I was going to test Michael’s theory I should probably test both pistols. So I did, and today is the report. I have labeled all the links above so you can read the full report for each pistol.

ASG CZ 75 Shadow 2 first

The Shadow 2 was tested earlier in 2019 — May to July. I tested it with BBs weighing up to 0.26 grams. In today’s test I have five new BBs to test. They range from 0.25 grams to 0.36 grams. There are even heavier BBs but they will slow a gun down a lot, so I stopped at 0.36 grams.

The Shadow 2 is powered by CO2, so it’s fairly powerful. Its tactical rear sight adjusts for both windage and elevation, but I didn’t adjust it in this test. I also did not touch the adjustable Hop Up. This is just a test of the ammunition with the gun set at one single setting.

The test

I shot both pistols off a sandbag rest at 10 meters. My hands were resting on the bag — the gun never touched it. I found that to be the most accurate way to hold both pistols. And I am only shooting 5-shot groups today because of all the shooting there is to be done.

Game Face Maximum Precision 0.25-gram BBs

These BBs are from Crosman. They have a dark finish, are double polished and apparently not biodegradable. They are lighter than the 0.26-gram TSD Bio 180 BBs I tested earlier with the Shadow 2, which were also the most accurate. The Shadow 2 put 5 of those into 1.194-inches at 10 meters.

The Shadow didn’t like these BBs and put 5 into 3.808-inches at 10 meters. I didn’t use the dime for groups like this for obvious reasons.

Trigger!

I had forgotten just how sweet the Shadow 2 trigger is! All my pistol triggers should be as nice. It has a long first stage and a crisp stage two that’s incredibly light. It made the pistol a joy to shoot.

Shadow Gameface group
The Shadow 2 put five Game Face BBs into 3.808-inches at 10 meters.

ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil

The next BB tested was the ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil. They are white BBs that are also not biodegradable. The Shadow 2 liked them good enough to put 5 into 1.899-inches at 10 meters. That is better than the best target the pistol shot last year (1.954-inches).

Shadow Blaster Devil group
Now we’re talkin’! Five ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devils went into 1.899-inches at 10 meters.

Umarex Elite Force Milsim Max 0.32-gram

Next to be tested were five Umarex Elite Force Milsim Max 0.32-gram BBs. They are white and they are biodegradable. But the Shadow 2 didn’t like them. I shot 5 but only got 4 holes on the target. It’s possible that two BBs went through the same hole but I cannot see that they did. The centers of the 4 holes are 4.34-inches apart.

Shadow Elite Force Milsim group
Only 4 BBs seem to have hit the target. Their centers are 4.34-inches apart.

Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram

This is the one for the Shadow 2! Of the 5 BBs tested, this one was the most accurate. Five Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram BBs landed in a group measuring 1.245-inches between centers. This is a BB I would spend time with, adjusting both the sights and the Hop Up. It’s a black BB that’s not biodegradeable. It comes in a 2000-round resealable bag rather than a bottle.

Shadow Wearsoft Sniper Grade group
The Shadow 2 put 5 Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram BBs into 1.245-inches at 10 meters.

Swiss Arms ProGrade 0.36-gram

The last BB I tested was the Swiss Arms ProGrade 0.36-gram. It’s a black BB that’s not biodegradable. The Shadow 2 put 5 of them in 3.866-inches at 10 meters. Three of them are grouped nicely in the black, but the other two went high for some reason.

Shadow Swiss Arms group
Five Swiss Arms 0.36-gram BBs went into 3.866-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion 1

So, what’s the verdict. Well, Michael was right about heavier BBs being more accurate. But what I haven’t told you is how much drop there is. When you go heavier than 0.30-grams the BBs slow way down and I wouldn’t want to shoot many of them in a skirmish. As accurate as the Wearsoft 0.36-gram BB is, I think the ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil is the more suitable of the heavies because of the increased velocity over the Wearsoft.

Before I continue, have you noticed how many titles these airsoft BBs have in their names? Apparently the airsoft world is motivated by impressive names. Well, I have one for them — the Ubiquitous and Devastating Terminal Mega Blaster! I’ll take a quarter for that, please.

On to the Sig Air M17 ProForce

Now I moved to the Sig Air M17 ProForce pistol. I tested it in October and November, 2019. You may remember that this pistol is sold as a CO2 pistol but there is also a green gas magazine available separately. Sig Air made that magazine available to me to test, so that is the mag I used for today’s test. It was the more accurate of the two mags when I tested the pistol with lighter BBs last year, but after seeing today’s results I see that need to switch to the CO2 mag for a final test.

Game Face Maximum Precision 0.25-gram BBs

Where Game Face Maximum Precision 0.25-gram BBs weren’t so hot in the Shadow 2, they were actually the best in the M17 with the green gas mag. Five went into a group measuring 1.807-inches at 10 meters. In the last test of the M17 the most accurate BB grouped five in 0.80-inches. I was so impressed at the time that I shot a second five and got a 1.21-inch group. So today’s best isn’t up to what we saw before.

M17 Gameface group
The Sig M17 did best with the 0.25-gram Game Face 0.25 gram biodegradable BBs. I will put that down to the lighter weight of the BB because I’m running on green gas, though that wasn’t apparent until the end of the test. Five went into 1.807-inches at 10 meters. read more


Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB gun: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

M1 Carbine
Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB gun.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • 10 meters is hard for BBs!
  • Groups don’t double with the distance
  • Today’s test
  • Starting with a fresh CO2 cartridge
  • Air Venturi Steel BB
  • Smart Shot
  • Hornady Black Diamond
  • Dust Devils
  • Last group
  • Summary

Last week reader Thedavemyster asked me when I was going to do the final test with the Springfield Armory M1-Carbine. I said last April that I was going to shoot the Carbine at 10 meters since it was so accurate at 5. Well, I forgot all about that and never did the test — until today. Today I back up to 10 meters and shoot the Carbine at

10-meter air rifle targets read more