Diana 23: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 23
Diana 23.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

The back story
Watch Ebay
Get ready
RWS Hobby
Crosman Premier Lights
JSB Exact RS
Cocking effort
Trigger pull
Summary

Today is the big day because today we discover what the velocity of my Diana 23 is. A couple readers have guessed it will be in the low 300s, and to keep the test fair I will shoot a couple lightweight pellets with perhaps one of medium weight.

The back story

I didn’t tell you where I got this Diana 23 yet, did I? I held back on that in Part one. In fact I held back on a lot more than that! Some of you who have been readers a longer time may remember that this isn’t the first Diana 23 I have tested. It is the second one. I tested the first one several years ago — from September 2013 to July 2015. The average velocity for that one was 381 f.p.s. for Hobbys and 452 f.p.s. for JSB Exact RS pellets. But I never completed that test, because the final thing I wanted to do was strip off the bluing and show you how well Blue Wonder cold blue works. Well, I stripped the metal in the early part of July, 2015, and that was as far as I got. Edith went to the hospital on July 14 and passed away on the 26 and I had projects laying everywhere that were never completed. The parts I stripped back then have now corroded again and I need to clean up the metal all over again.

Watch Ebay

Well, I watch Ebay, and from time to time something interesting pops up. Several years ago the Diana 23 I am now testing was listed and the seller was atypically honest by saying that in his description that there was some rust on the metal parts. That’s atypical. Most sellers will post 4 dark out-of-focus pictures of the gun laying on a quilt and tell you that the photos are the description of the gun. I won’t deal with those guys. This seller showed detailed photos of the rust and I saw that this rifle was in far better cosmetic condition than the one I had been working on.

His starting bid price was very reasonable, as was the shipping, so I bid and won it. There were no other bids than mine. I expected to have to rebuild it, but when it arrived I was surprised to learn that it worked. All I did was oil the piston seal and start shooting. That was a couple years ago. This little rifle has been standing in a corner of my office while I have tuned a Winchester 427, a Diana 27, a 35 and, most recently, a 27S.

Get ready

Today as I shoot the rifle through the choronograph I will be seeing how good the powerplant is, and we can compare it to the Diana 23 I tested many years ago. You will see the results just hours after I do!

To prepare for this test I oiled the mainspring with bicycle chain oil in Part 1. I removed the barreled action from the stock and oiled the spring through the cocking slot. When the stock came off I noticed that the two forearm screws were loose, but when I put the stock back on, I tightened them without a problem.

The final thing I did to get ready for this test was drop 5 drops of Crosman Pellgunoil down the barrel with the gun standing on its butt. I did that just after I wrote Part 1. This is one way of oiling a piston seal, and, in the case of the Diana 23, it is especially good because the leather breech seal is not around the rear of the barrel but around the air transfer port on the end of the spring tube. As the oil flows past that place, some of it is absorbed into the breech seal. Let me show you what a test shot from 12 inches away from cardboard looks like.

Diana 23 shot
See the oil mist around the pellet hole in the cardboard? That’s proof that the piston seal is well-oiled.

So I start today’s test knowing that the piston seal and the breech seal are in as good a condition as I can get them without disassembling the rifle. That’s what I wanted you to know. Now I can do the velocity test.

RWS Hobby

The first pellet I tested is the 7-grain RWS Hobby. In the other Diana 23 in 2013 the average velocity was 381 f.p.s. The low was 371 and the high was 401 f.p.s. so the spread was 30 f.p.s. In the current 23 Hobbys averaged 455 f.p.s., so this rifle is not in bad shape. But the oiling pf the piston was a factor, as the velocity ranged from a low of 418 to a high of 442 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 24 f.p.s. So, even though the gun was probably dieseling from the oil, it’s still in better shape than the first one. I noted the dieseling from the amount of smoke that was generated on each shot. There were no explosive detonations.

Crosman Premier Lights

The second pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier Light. I consider this pellet to be middleweight, as it is so close to 8 grains. These domed pellets averaged 432 f.p.s. The first Diana 23 shot them at an average of 376 f.p.s. The spread this time went from a low of 422 to a high of 442 — a difference of 20 f.p.s. The first rifle’s spread with the Premier Light was 25 f.p.s. I think the size of this pellet probably helped it seal the bore.

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet I tested was the JSB RS dome that in the first rifle seemed to be the performance champ. Even though at 7.33-grains this pellet is heavier than the Hobby, in the first 23 it averaged 452 f.p.s. That was the highest velocity recorded for that rifle. The spread was only 5 f.p.s. in that rifle.

In the current rifle the same JSB Exact RS pellet averaged 477 f.p.s. The velocity spread went from a low of 461 to a high of 485 f.p.s. — a difference of 24 f.p.s. I think the oil is causing some of this wider spread.

Cocking effort

The first Diana 23 cocked with 10 lbs. of effort. Maybe that is why I guessed that number or less for this one. This rifle cocks with 11 lbs. of effort. It’s just a trifle harder, but still well within my arbitrary youth cocking effort maximum of 20 lbs. Apparently that mainspring I looked at in Part 1 is doing just fine.

Trigger pull

The first Diana 23 had a 2-stage trigger pull of 6 lbs. 14 oz., which is pretty heavy for a rifle so light. This rifle’s trigger is also 2-stage and stage 2 breaks at 3 lbs. 6 oz. The break is crisp and clean and I can feel no creep in stage two. That is exactly what I want! This one should be very easy to shoot for accuracy.

Summary

Wow! What a test! I don’t know what a pristine Diana 23 would do, but I have tested Diana 25s and 27s and this one seems to fall in line with them — especially given the shorter stroke and smaller piston. I doubt if this rifle is more than 30 f.p.s. off the peak of a new 23, and maybe it’s even closer.

This is one time where I got a great deal by accepting a less-than-perfect air rifle. I did so because I knew I could probably fix almost anything that was wrong with it.

That reminds me of a story about reader RidgeRunner. When he showed up at one of the last airgun shows in northern Virginia, he saw a decrepit 1906 BSA underlever that was being offered at a fair price. It was so fair I was even considering buying it.

He was intrigued by its overly rugged construction and talked to me about it. I told him he could fix almost anything on that rifle, as long as the basic parts were there, and we both could see that they were. The seller told him things about the inside that he couldn’t see, and he decided to take the plunge. If you have read this blog for any length of time you know the outcome of that adventure.

These older Dianas are a great way to dip your toes into airgunning. They are simple, rugged and many of the parts are still available. Couple this with yesterday’s report and you will find a great entrance into the sport and hobby of airguns.


Choosing an airgun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • What to do?
  • Electric bicycle
  • No idea
  • A bonus
  • My eyes were opened
  • The upside
  • What I learned
  • New eyes
  • PCPs
  • Get what you want
  • Summary

I was going to do a test today, but this subject popped up and I think it should be addressed. I recently started a review of the Benjamin Fortitude Generation 2 PCP air rifle. The Fortitude Gen 2 is a price-point PCP (PPP). So far the review of that rifle is going well.

On Tuesday of this week I started my review of the Air Venturi Avenger PCP air rifle, another PPP. From our first look at that rifle it also looks very promising.

Now, some comments have said that if the airgun is a precharged pneumatic, the rifle doesn’t stand alone. You need a way to get compressed air into the rifle, and that costs more money. So, the cost of the rifle is not the end of the story for PCPs. But with a spring-piston airgun, the rifle does stand alone. Except for the pellets that all pellet guns need, everything you need to shoot is there when you purchase a spring-piston airgun. With a few exceptions like some spring-piston rifles that come without sights, I have to agree with that reasoning.

What to do?

Well, it’s obvious there is no wrong or right in this situation, just differing opinions. But let’s go back to the Fortitude and Avenger. Which of them is best? I may be able to help you there. Just because they are both feature-laden PPP air rifles does not mean they are alike. In fact, they are quite different. Both are looking good at this point and if they both prove out in testing, which one is better? I can answer that for you, and I will, but first I need to lay some groundwork.

Electric bicycle

As some of you know, I rode an electric bicycle for the first time at the SHOT Show in  Las Vegas this year, and became enthralled with the idea of electric bikes. I spent hours on You Tube, looking at reviews of many bikes and learning which reviewers seemed trustworthy and which ones to avoid. And oddly enough I focused on one thing above all others in my reviews — how fast the bikes could go. See any parallel there?

But I had one thing going for me that maybe most first-time electric bike owners don’t have. I test airguns. Lots of airguns, it turns out. And in doing that I have learned that specifications don’t tell the whole story — even when they are great and are met.

The bike I bought is a LectricXP. It’s a folding fat tire bike that comes set up to go as fast as 20 m.p.h. You can either do that by twisting the hand throttle and just going or you can pedal the bike.

It’s not the fastest electric bike you can get. There are other bikes that go up to 28 m.p.h. That’s faster, of course. But what does it mean to ride a bike that can go 28 m.p.h.? I own a non-electric bike and I am able to get it up to 28 m.p.h. on a downhill grade, so I have a little experience going that fast on a bike, but with that one I am peddling hard to do so. With an electric bike I don’t have to peddle hard to achieve the maximum speed. How does that equate to riding a bike?

No idea

To tell the truth, I had no idea what it’s like to go 28 m.p.h. and not have to pedal fast. I didn’t even know what it was like to go 20 m.p.h. and not have to pedal fast. Oh, I have owned motorcycles that went very fast, but that is not the same as doing it on an almost silent bicycle.

A bonus

As it turns out, the LectricXP has software built in that allows me to change its top speed from 20 m.p.h. to 28 m.p.h. That’s a feature that helped me decide to get that bike. But I haven’t made that change yet and it may be a long time before I do.

My eyes were opened

Once I had the bike it took some time to learn how it works and to get used to the pedal assist function. I don’t like it that much. When I pedal the bike there is little to no resistance in the pedals and it feels like I’m doing nothing. Yet the faster I pedal the faster the bike goes. At some point when I peddle fast, resistance in the pedals starts, but by then I am very close to the top speed. And the top speed they advertise isn’t really the top speed of the bike, because if I pedal very hard I can go faster than 20 m.p.h. All of that is the downside of an electric bike — the bad stuff.

The upside

Is there an upside? Yes, there is, but it took me many rides before I discovered it. The upside comes when I put the derailleur (the mechanism that selects the different sprockets on the rear wheel) at its fastest setting, which is 7 on this bike. I set the pedal assist at 2 (out of a possible 5 settings) and then I can cruise comfortably at 13-15 m.p.h. on level ground and 8 m.p.h. on steep hills — all while pedaling comfortably with some resistance in the pedals. In other words — this electric bike has made bike-riding much easier for me! As a result, I’m riding my (new) bike more and more each day. 

What I learned

I learned that an electric bike is not what anyone said it is — at least it isn’t for me. Some reviewers got close by saying that it would make your daily commute much easier. They were speaking to people who ride their bicycles to work. I understood that, but my daily commute is from my bedroom into my office. I pass through the living room and pet the cat if she’s awake, but that’s about it. The reviewers did not know how to look at their products with new eyes. And that is what I want to talk to all of you about today.

New eyes

When I write about an airgun I always try to see it with fresh eyes. That’s hard, because I see so many of them. But you readers don’t. Most of you see what you already own, if you even have an airgun at all. I know we have many readers who stumbled onto this blog by accident and became intrigued. That’s great, but if they want to try airgunning where should they start?

This is why I keep harping on a few certain airguns all the time. It’s not that I’m trying to sell you on them. Heck, I probably talk about the Diana 27 more than any other air rifle. Good luck getting one!

But, when I mention the TX200 Mark III, I know that if you buy one, knowing up front what to expect (such as it will need a scope and rings), you won’t be disappointed. In the 26 years I have been writing about airguns I have convinced hundreds of people to buy a TX200, and in all that time only one person ever complained. He even did it on this blog, and I don’t think I was able to resolve his complaint. I will take a ratio like that!

So, when a bombshell new spring-piston air rifle like the ASP20 comes along and it costs a lot less than the TX200, but offers many of the same features such as a good trigger, easier cocking and superb accuracy — OF COURSE I’m going to climb on the bandwagon! I can’t miss, because it’s as good a breakbarrel as I have seen. It’s affordable for all the features you get and it’s made by Sig, who have given me every reason to trust them. If Umarex had continued with their Challenger LGV, I would be shaking my pom-poms for them, too! I loved the Air Vernturi Bronco for exactly the same reasons.

But it doesn’t stop there. Spring-piston airguns are fine and I have several that I do revere — one above all other airguns — the Diana 27. But there is much more to airgunning than just spring-piston guns, just as there is much more to bicycles than one particular style. To make this report manageable I’m going to skip past CO2 guns, multi-pumps, single-stroke pneumatics and go straight to precharged pneumatics.

PCPs

The PCP is the closest that airguns come to rimfire firearms. Some PCPs are as powerful as a .22 long rifle cartridge, but that isn’t why they are comparable. It’s because you don’t have to do anything but load and shoot them. As long as they are charged with air, the experience is nearly identical to what you get when you shoot a rimfire.

That means that no special technique is required to get accuracy from a PCP, though holding it correctly can improve the consistency a little.

Triggers on PCPs can be made finer and more positive than those on springers, though by no means is that a guarantee. The Rekord trigger, the Diana T06 trigger and the trigger in the ASP20 are very fine springer triggers that are better than many PCP triggers, despite what I just said. It’s just much easier to put a better trigger into a PCP because it doesn’t have to restrain a heavy mainspring.

And when a powerful PCP fires the experience is pleasant. When a powerful spring-piston rifle fires the experience can be disturbing. Once again, it doesn’t have to be, but it takes a lot more design work to make a spring-piston powerplant smooth and enjoyable.

And, if power is important, there is no denying that PCPs have the high ground. The most powerful spring-piston airguns wind up somewhere in the 30+ foot-pound region. The big bore AirForce Texan that is a PCP produces more than 800 foot-pounds currently, which makes it the most powerful production airgun on the market. There are boutique PCPs that get even more muzzle energy. But where are the boutique springers? A few have existed over time but they were frightfully expensive and did not even produce as much energy as we are seeing in production models today.

Get what you want

All of these things come down to the one question that shooters are asked when they are thinking of buying their first airgun — what do you want to use it for? But — like me and electric bicycles — they don’t know what they don’t know and that question is impossible to answer. Now, I will tell you which is better between the Benjamin Fortitude and the Air Venturi Avenger, like I promised in the beginning.

The better airgun is the one that has more of the features you want and tests well.

But what if you don’t know what you want? That would be the time to not jump into the deep end of the pool with your clothes on! Dip one foot in and see if you like the feel. What I’m saying is — get an airgun to find out what airgunning is all about. If you find you like it, this will not be your last airgun. If you don’t like it, you haven’t wasted too much money.

Don’t try to imagine what airgunning is without sampling it. If you do, a rifle like the Avenger might be a better choice than the Fortitude.  It has a great trigger and is quite powerful. If that turns out to be what you expected, your choice would have been right. But if the Avenger seems too loud and powerful, you will have missed the quiet of the Fortitude.

Either way, though, it’s hard to make a big mistake when both choices are good ones like the Fortitude and Avenger. But, if you disregard this advice altogether and buy something based solely on power, velocity or some other single criteria that you have no experience with, your choice could be so wrong that you are turned off of the sport of airgunning altogether. I have seen shooters who were completely surprised when the big bore airgun they thought they wanted kicked them hard! In all their dreams, recoil was never a factor!

Summary

Getting into airguns is no different than getting into any hobby. First you need a little practical experience, and there is only one way to get that — not through video games, not by reading reviews or watching videos, but by first-hand experience.


Benjamin Fortitude PCP air rifle Gen2: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Fortitude
The Generation II Benjamin Fortitude.

This report covers:

Through the receiver
Man plans…
Power adjust instructions
Testing the rifle  at its lowest power
High power
Adjusting the power down
Air Arms Falcon pellets
How is the air?
What I haven’t told you
Summary

Today we continue the velocity test of the Benjamin Fortitude Generation 2. We are doing this because Crosman has made the Fortitude velocity adjustable by the owner. 

Through the receiver

The Fortitude allows the user to both adjust the velocity as well as depressurizing the rifle in case of an overfill or a need for maintenance. The optional degassing tool fits through the hollow head of the Allen screw that adjusts the velocity, so you use an Allen wrench to adjust power. It’s a regular 3/16-inch Allen wrench, and the head of the bolt that must be turned is near enough to the end of the receiver that the short end of the wrench will work. Both the power adjustment wrench and the degassing tool fit through an opening in the rear of the receiver. The Allen bolt head has been drilled out so the degassing tool will fit through, so don’t be fooled by the looks.

Fortitude power adjust
You are looking through the drilled-out head of the Allen screw that’s used to adjust power. The degassing tool fits through this hole. It’s hard to see. Don’t miss it.

Man plans…

… and God laughs! That is a non-scriptural saying that I find to be very true. The Scottish poet, Robert Burnes, said it in a different way in the poem, To a Mouse. “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”  When I started this report I was already writing it in my head and I wanted to say to you that today would be a short report because there wasn’t much to do. Boy — was that wrong!

Power adjust instructions

The instructions for adjusting the Fortitude’s power are not in the manual. They are on a separate sheet of paper in the plastic bag with the manual and magazine. And here they are if you lose yours.

Fortitude power adjust instructions
The power ajustment instructions.

Read the instructions and follow them to the letter. But because I knew better, I fooled around for some time, and had to back up and do it by the book. First, let all the tension off the hammer spring.

Testing the rifle  at its lowest power

In the last velocity test I ran out of Crosman Premier Heavy pellets, so I switched to JSB Exact Heavys that averaged around 790 f.p.s. at the end of the last test. On the lowest power I got the following results.

Shot……..Vel
1…………482
2…………493
3…………482
4…………489
5…………463
6…………459
7…………450
8…………448
9…………451
10………..463

What happened? Why did the velocity drop like that? I waited 15 seconds between each shot as I did at the end of the last report, but by shot seven I started waiting 30 seconds between shots. As you see, it didn’t change much.

So I loaded the magazine with another 10 of the same pellets and started a second string — this time with 30 seconds between shots. Let’s look.

Shot……..Vel
1…………477
2…………448
3…………454
4…………363
5…………457
6…………380
7…………396
8…………335
9…………327
10………..353

Now I was really puzzled. And then I remembered my time at AirForce. We could not get the TalonSS to be as consistent at it’s lowest power setting. It wasn’t this bad, but it did vary more than it should. That was what inspired the MicroMeter valve and tank.

I wondered whether one turn of the power adjustment up would stabilize things. So I put one turn on the adjustment and retested with the same pellet.

Shot……..Vel
1…………588
2…………591
3…………587
4…………565
5…………579
6…………578
7…………578
8…………557
9…………559
10………..585

The average for this string is 577 f.p.s. The spread is 34 f.p.s. which is a lot, but it’s less than either of the two previous strings. I think if I wanted to shoot this Fortitude at low power it would have to be with at least one full turn up from the lowest setting.

High power

The instructions say for the highest power to turn the power adjustment screw 6 turns up from the lowest setting. Well, I did that and then I added an extra half turn — just in case. That was my airgunner move. The result was a rifle that would not cock! Read the instructions and follow them TO THE LETTER! I had to turn the power all the way back to the lowest setting, which is where the adjustment screw stops turning, and then carefully turn it up SIX turns and no more!

Shot……..Vel
1…………825
2…………811
3…………814
4…………808
5…………816
6…………808
7…………806
8…………809
9…………794
10………..801

The average for this string is 809 f.p.s. at that speed this 10.34-grain pellet develops 15.03 foot pounds at the muzzle. The spread ranges from 794 to 825 — a difference of 31 f.p.s. So it’s about at stable on high power as it is on low power plus one turn up.

Adjusting the power down

Now I wanted to see what sort of power I got by turning the power adjuster one turn lower. The factory setting is 4 turns up, which is two turns down from the top and gives 790 f.p.s. with this pellet. What does one turn down give me?

Shot……..Vel
1…………800
2…………799
3…………812
4…………812
5…………813
6…………810
7…………802
8…………799
9…………811
10………..801

This string averaged 807 f.p.s. the spread went from a low of 799 to a high of 813— a difference of 14 f.p.s. This is the tightest spread we have seen with this pellet. I’m going to leave the power set here for now.

Air Arms Falcon pellets

Next I tried some 7.33-grain Air Arms Falcon domes at this same power setting. Here is what I got.

Shot……..Vel
1…………905
2…………899
3…………896
4…………898
5…………898
6…………897
7…………898
8…………889
9…………888
10………..891

The average for Falcons is 896 f.p.s. with a spread from 888 to 905. That’s a difference of 17 f.p.s. Given what we have seen with the first pellet I think that spread may be a tight one for this pellet.

How is the air?

The rifle was sitting at 2,800 psi when this test started. I have fired 60 shots and the gauge now reads 2,300 psi. Based on what was learned in the Part 2 testing, there are a lot more shots remaining.

What I haven’t told you

I put this little admission at the end of today’s report, though it happened in the very beginning. I knew I wanted to write about the Fortitude today and I knew I had already done the velocity test, so I thought it was time for the first accuracy test. I spent about 45 minutes trying out different scopes and mounts, only to settle on the Meopta Optika6. I had it mounted and ready to start shooting when I read Part 2 thoroughly and discovered there was still more velocity testing to be done. The good news is the scope is ready to go and it will be quick the next time.

Look at the 8th shot in each string. It’s usually the slowest shot in the string. I don’t know why it is, but that should be remembered.

Summary

The Fortitude Gen2 handles air extremely well, but it does not get tight shot strings. That may make very little difference when we get to accuracy, and I think the accuracy testing should be done at the current power setting.

We are talking about a PPP rifle here, and I believe the Fortitude is delivering. We all saw the test group that was sent with the rifle. And I established that I can handle the trigger in today’s test, so I know I am ready to move on.


Air Venturi Avenger repeating air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Avenger
Air Venturi Avenger.

This report covers:

  • The Avenger
  • The lowdown
  • Features
  • Performance
  • Description
  • Fill
  • Two gauges
  • Manual
  • Where is it made?
  • Silencer?
  • Summary

You readers know that I select the topics I write about and the guns I test. Pyramyd Air who owns this blog has given me great latitude to run the show as I see fit. And that arrangement has worked well for 15 years.

However, every once in awhile Pyramyd Air gets a product they would like me to test. They are taking a risk, because they know that I will test it and report whatever happens — both good and bad. I try not to insult anyone when I write about a product, but I also tell the truth as it unfolds, because I worry about the guy who can only afford that one airgun and may base his decision on what I write. Pyramyd Air knows that and trusts that I will be as honest as possible.

But I am not the only guy in this town! Pyramyd Air has some very capable people working for them, and you know them because they comment on this blog. We all appreciate Gene Salvino who tells us things about the inner workings of certain airguns that he sees in his position as a repair technician. And product manager Tyler Patner is a world-class field target competitor who enjoys shooting airguns as much as any of us. You have probably seen several of his interesting Pyramyd Insyder videos on the website. He also comments here from time to time.

The Avenger

So, when Tyler phoned me a couple weeks ago and told me I needed to look at the new Air Venturi Avenger PCP rifle, I jumped at the chance. He sent me a .22 caliber Avenger to test for you (they also come in .177 and .25) and I am starting today!

The lowdown

The Avenger is one more Price-Point PCP (PPP) that is joining one of the hottest segments of the airgun market. But it seems like the manufacturers are putting more and more features into these airguns that used to be considered basic. Let’s look at the list for the Avenger. 

Features

  • Sidelever cocking
  • External adjustable regulator to control power
  • Adjustable hammer spring to control power
  • Two-stage adjustable trigger
  • Shrouded barrel
  • Dual gauges — one for the reservoir and the other for the regulator
  • Male Foster fitting for the fill
  • 10-shot magazine in .177 and .22 — 8 shots in .25
  • Light weight (6 pounds without a scope)
  • Two magazines included
  • A single-shot tray comes with the rifle

There are other features that I’ll cover in the report as we go, but just what I have listed puts the Avenger at the top of the price-point pyramid. Only a year ago we were all dancing in the streets just to get a regulator in a PPP and now we have one we can adjust, not to mention the two-stage adjustable trigger!

Performance

This is a powerful PCP! In .177 caliber the website says to expect up to 22 foot pounds. In .22 that jumps up to 34 foot pounds. And in .25 it goes all the way up to 45 foot pounds. Of course that is with the heaviest pellets, as pneumatics always deliver their greatest power with the heaviest projectiles. What I advise is finding an accurate pellet whose energy you can live with. Numbers are meaningless without results.

Description

The Avenger I’m testing is a 10-shot .22 caliber sidelever repeater that, according to the website, gets up to 60 shots per fill. In .177 the shot count rises to 70 and in .25 caliber it’s 24 shots.

No, the sidelever cannot be moved to the left side of the receiver. We had better consider the Avenger a right-hand air rifle for now.

Avenger sidelever
The sidelever is on the right side and cannot be switched. It’s a slicker way to work the bolt.

And let’s get something straight. A sidelever operates a bolt, so the Avenger is really a bolt action rifle with a slick mechanism to operate it.

Fill

The max. fill is 300 bar, or 4,351 psi. That rules out a hand pump for all but the most rugged guys, but it’s prime territory for the Nomad II compressor. Why not let the electric pump do all the work? The problem with such a high fill level is after you fill the airgun from a carbon fiber tank one time you no longer have 4,351 psi left in your tank. But a Nomad II should fill the 180cc reservoir fast. Naturally I will time it for you.

The rifle comes without open sights. The top of the receiver accepts both 11mm dovetails and Picatinny dovetail mounts. I will use the wider Picatinny base simply because it is more secure and because many of the scopes I have now come with Picatinny mounts. 

Avenger scope base
The Avenger scope base accepts either 11mm or Picatinny dovetail mounts.

There is also a straight Picatinny base under the end of the forearm for a bipod. I have a beautiful UTG Pro TBNR bipod that I have been saving for a test like this. I will do a separate report on the bipod before I get into the accuracy test.

The stock is synthetic and the butt is hollow. That’s the only way you can get a rifle with all these features to weigh just 6 pounds. There are no adjustments on the stock and the length of pull is 14 inches exactly. The pistol grip is flared at the bottom, which I like, and it is very vertical, which I also like. The forearm is thin enough to be handy, but wide enough that you know you have something in your hands.

There are small holes at the front of the forearm and at the bottom rear of the butt for mounting sling swivel studs. That tells me the Avenger is being marketed as a hunting gun, which the potential power certainly supports.

Two gauges

There is a gauge on the left side of the receiver that monitors the air in the reservoir. A second gauge on the right side tells you the pressure to which the regulator is set. I will cover the method of setting the regulator in another report, but for now I will tell you that it sounds very straightforward when I read the instructions in the manual.

Avenger reservoir
The gauge on the left side of the receiver tells how much pressure remains in the reservoir.

Avenger regulator gauge
On the right side of the receiver the gauge tells the pressure to which the regulator is set.

Manual

Speaking of the manual, this one was either written by an American or perhaps by someone who understood how Americans speak. The instructions are straightforward and easy for me to understand. I think most Canadians will find them easy, as well, though they might have to write in an occasional “eh?” after some of the sentences.

Where is it made?

Okay kids — it’s time to get out your secret decoder rings because BB has a special message just for you! If you research the Avenger on the internet, and you know you’re going to, you will discover that this air rifle is indeed related to the Nova Liberty PCP. Related to, but not the same as. That means it is made in China, and more specifically in Macau. Macau is to China what Las Vegas is the the United States, except Macau is five times more active.

What is different between the two airguns is the Avenger is offered only with a synthetic stock at this time, where the Liberty does have a wood stock available for more money. But the Liberty does not come in .25 caliber as far as I can determine, and it does not have a user-adjustable regulator.  Also the power levels the Liberty achieves are lower than those of the Avenger in the same caliber. So, for the same money, the Avenger gives you more of the features you say you want.

Silencer?

There is an air chamber in front of the muzzle but I don’t see any baffles in the shroud. The rifle should be quieter than a barrel without a shroud, but not entirely quiet. At this power level its kind of hard to get it much quieter without baffles.

Summary

Pyramyd Air is sold out in all calibers as this blog is published, but they should be restocking soon. If you want one you had better nail it down , because this item will not sit around very long.


AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Edge
AirForce Edge.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 1 of this series


A history of airguns


This report covers:

  • Edge production
  • Edge valve
  • Edge owners
  • The test
  • Test strategy
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • RWS Basic
  • How fast is the regulator?
  • Shot count
  • Discussion
  • Trigger pull
  • Discharge sound
  • Summary

Today I will be shooting the AirForce Edge as a 10 meter target rifle for the first time since 2010. And this one is my own rifle! I have a lot to tell you.

Edge production

When the Texan took off in sales recently,  AirForce struggled to meet the worldwide demand and Edge production was set to the side. When you have solid orders for a thousand guns you have to address that before making 25 of another model.

That time gave AirForce a chance to think. The Edge has not been a high volume seller for them — partly because once a team or individual owns one it lasts forever and the demand goes away. And also partly because of the cost. A buyer has to be serious to spend the kind of money that an Edge sells for. Ironically the Texan that is outselling it costs even more, but those sales are too hot to ignore. Big bore airguns are the hot ticket everywhere and ever since the Texan came out this year in .50 caliber at 800+ foot-pounds they can’t make them fast enough.

But those Edge orders had to be filled, regardless of how many there are! So AirForce manufactured all the parts and had them finished, getting ready for a production run. Then they set aside a solid week for assembly and testing, because the Edge has several things that have to be hand-set as it is completed. This was happening just as I was getting ready to write this new series, so I started paying attention to what AirForce was doing.

In 2010 the big concern for the Edge was the shot count, so the Edges were adjusted to shoot 7-grain pellets at around 500 f.p.s. That gave them well over 100 shots per fill. A men’s match is 60 shots and a woman’s match is 40 shots. The Edge was designed so the shooter could go to the line with a single tank and have enough air for all the sighters, plus a full match.

But in reality, Junior Marksmanship matches aren’t run that way. After the sighters, shooters are allow to top off their airguns with air. So the need for 100 continuous shots on a fill isn’t there. Crosman also recognized this and makes their Challenger PCP get about 70 shots per fill at 530 f.p.s with a 7.9-grain pellet.

The new Edges that were just built were therefore set up to shoot medium-weight target pellets at velocities in the 525 to 540 f.p.s. region. Achieving that is a combination of adjusting the valve return spring strength, the air regulator and the length of the valve stem travel — which has to do with the top hat. Let me show you.

Edge top hat
The new Edge top hat has two small o-rings underneath to cushion the hammer blow. This limits the opening (stem travel) of the valve.

Edge valve

The photo above shows the Edge valve as it is now being shipped. Years ago there may have been just a single o-ring under the top hat, but there have been two for many years. The point is — the distance that the top hat, which is the end of the valve stem, can travel determines how long the valve remains open and the amount of air that can pass through to get behind the pellet. This is one part of how the Edge controls the air it uses for each shot.

Ton Jones worked on my Edge valve and regulator setup. He asked me what sort of velocity I wanted. I knew he was testing with 7.33-grain JSB Exact RS pellets, so I told him 550 f.p.s. would be a good velocity. Naturally with other pellets that velocity will change, and, since I don’t yet know what target pellet this Edge likes best, my number was just a guess. But Ton gave me the chance to choose.

To get the highest practical velocity from an Edge valve, adjust the top hat out until the bolt just makes contact with it as it closes. There are two small Allen screws on the periphery of the top hat that snug it to the valve stem. Loosen both of them to make adjustments. Screw the top hat in or out to make it lower or higher.

I thought I would only get about 45-60 full-power shots at 550 f.p.s., but Ton thought the number would be 80 or even 90 per fill. I will test that for you in this report.

Edge owners

If you own an Edge that you would like to speed up a little, this is how it’s done. Make very small adjustments in the top hat because the Edge valve is very sensitive.

The test

Let’s get the test started. I used RWS Basic pellets for the baseline, because I don’t want to waste the more expensive target pellets. Basics weigh 7 grains and provide a good baseline for the Edge.

I filled the reservoir to exactly 3,000 psi and started shooting. The first string of 11 shots was not a string to get the average velocity. It was a test to see whether the seating depth makes any difference to the velocity. The first three shots were loaded with the pellet skirt flush with the rear of the barrel (it’s as flush as I could get it — the picture does show that it’s inside the barrel a little). The second three shots were pressed into the breech as deep as they would go with my thumb, so they are a little deeper in the breech. The last three shots were pushed into the breech to a depth of about 1/8-inch, using a ballpoint pen, so the depth was always the same.

Edge  Basic flush
This RWS Basic pellet was pushed in flush with the end of the barrel.

Edge  Basic thumb deep
This pellet was pressed in as deep as my thumb would push it.

Edge Basic deep
This pellet has been pushed deeper into the breech — about 1/8-inches deep.

Shot…………Vel.
1…………….543 flush
2…………….529 flush
3…………….531 flush
4…………….539 thumb deep
5…………….534 thumb deep
6…………….532 thumb deep
7…………….538 1/8″ deep
8…………….536 1/8″ deep
9…………….542 1/8″ deep

From what I see here, the depth to which the pellets are seated doesn’t affect the velocity that much. I needed to take the pictures shown above of the pellets’ seated depth, so two more shots were fired. From this point on in today’s testing, all pellets will be seated thumb deep, which is the middle picture above.

10…………….535 thumb deep
11…………….530 thumb deep

This first string gives us a baseline velocity to compare to later on. Now I will test other pellets — all seated thumb deep.

Test strategy

Before I get into the velocity tests, let me tell you how this test worked. I waited for 60 seconds between each shot. The Edge has a regulator and that amount of time should allow it to fully refill the firing chamber that is mostly inside the body of the valve. But also, in a match a shooter has from 72 seconds to 90 seconds between each shot, depending on the type of match. Given all the things the shooter has to do, it takes about 30 seconds between each shot to get ready for the next one, so the 72-90 seconds they have allows for those times when the shot isn’t taken and they have to restart. Waiting 60 seconds between shots is very realistic. But don’t worry — I will test the speed of the regulator later. Now, let’s get started.

H&N Finale Match Light

Ten H&N Finale Match Light pellets that weigh 7.87-grains averaged 532 f.p.s. The low was 527 and the high was 535, so a spread of 8 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 4.95 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next to be tested was the 7-grain RWS R10 Match Pistol wadcutter. Ten of them averaged 562 f.p.s. with a spread from 558 to 569 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 11 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 4.91 foot-pounds of energy.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutters are pure tin, and weigh just 5.25 grains. We expect them to go faster and they do. They averaged 640 f.p.s. in the Edge. The spread was 8 f.p.s., from 637 to 645 f.p.s. At that average they produced 4.78 foot-pounds.

RWS Basic

I started this test with 11 shots of  RWS Basic pellets. I didn’t take an average from that string because I was doing different things that could have affected the velocity.  After the fact we know that those things did not seem to affect the velocity, but I waited instead for this opportunity to take the average.

At this point I shot a 10-shot string of Basics for the average and got 545 f.p.s. As you can see, that’s higher than any of the first 11 shots. The spread was 12 f.p.s. from 539 to 551 f.p.s. At that velocity the Basic pellet generates 4.62 foot-pounds of energy. But I did a lot more with this string than just get the average.

Is the regulator slow?

Remember in the beginning I said I would test the regulator at some point to see if it takes a long time to fill the firing chamber? This string was where I did that. I shot the first 5 shots waiting a minute between each, and then five more shots that were fired as fast as I could go. Now let’s look at the string that produced those numbers I just gave you. And remember — there are already 41 shots on this fill. I’m seating each pellet thumb deep.

Shot…………Vel.
1…………….539
2…………….541
3…………….550
4…………….548
5…………….543

now, shoot as fast as possible

6…………….543
7…………….551
8…………….542
9…………….550
10……………545

That answers the regulator question. This reg fills fast. It took me about 10 seconds between each shot on the second 5 shots because I was writing down the velocity, opening the bolt, loading a pellet, closing the bolt and aligning the barrel with the chronograph skyscreens. I can load and shoot this Edge as fast as I want to. 

Shot count

Okay, here comes the rest of the test. For all that follows I shot the RWS Basic pellet and did not wait any special time between shots. They were about 10 seconds apart. All pellets were seated thumb deep.

Shot……….Vel.
52…………548
53…………548
54…………545
55…………545
56…………551
57…………559
58…………553
59…………545
60…………551
61…………547
62…………554
63…………563
64…………544
65…………555
66…………548
67…………559
68…………562
69…………548
70…………561
71…………550
72…………559
73…………547
74…………559
75…………553
76…………552
77…………549
78…………548
79…………552
80…………552
81…………554
82…………556
83…………547
84…………552
85…………555
86…………554
87…………557
88…………586 Oh, oh! We’re off the reg.
89…………577
90…………581
91…………577
92…………573
93…………560
94…………557
95…………557
96…………546
97…………543
98…………534
99…………538
100………..529
101………..516

Discussion

Given the velocity we are seeing, I think this is a lot of shots! I expected 45-60 good shots at this velocity. So, how should we interpret this string? There are several ways to go.

If we take the first 100 shots then Basic pellets shot from a low of 529 f.p.s. on the second shot to a high of 586 f.p.s. on shot 86. That is a difference of 57 f.p.s. I am not comfortable with such a large spread for shooting at targets. If I were just plinking then it would be a different story.

If I stopped shooting at shot 80 then the high for the string is 563 f.p.s on shot 63, and the difference between low and high drops to 34 f.p.s. As a target shooter I would feel more comfortable with that amount of difference. But that’s not all.

On the first string of 11 shots Basic pellets varied by 14 f.p.s. On the string I actually tested, which was shots 42 to 51, they varied by 12 f.p.s. But H&N Finale Match Light varied by only 8 f.p.s. and Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets varied by the same 8 f.p.s. What I’m saying is the target pellet we select might vary by less than the RWS Basic pellet. There is a lot more to figure out, but right now it appears there are no fewer than 80 consistent shots at a considerably higher velocity than I was expecting. So — yes, the regulator does smooth things out, and, yes, it also does fill so fast that we need not worry about it. As this new valve and reg break in, they will only get better.

At the end of the test there was 800 psi remaining in the reservoir. So the rifle gave me 101 shots on 2200 psi. The regulator probably turned off around 1400 psi or so. That’s just a guess, based on the faster velocity at the end until the air ran out.

Trigger pull

I have already reported the trigger pull twice in this series. Stage one that many shooters will not even feel is 0.7 ounces and stage two breaks crisply at exactly one pound. The NRA minimum trigger pull for what they call the Sporter Class, which is what the Junior Marksmen shoot, is 1.5 pounds. But as I said, this trigger is too nice to change.

Discharge sound

Surprisingly the Edge is somewhat loud! I rate it a 3.5-3.6 on the Pyramyd Air 5-point scale. I felt it was too loud for me when I knew I had a perfectly good silencer to install. So I installed it and the rifle became incredibly quiet — perhaps a 0.8 on the same scale. 

Edge  sight extensions
The silencer quiets the rifle considerably!

But what does the silencer do to accuracy? I intend finding out, which will expand the accuracy test a little.

Summary

We are off to a good start with this Edge. I hope there are more pleasant surprises awaiting us!


Diana 23: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Dioana 23
Diana 23.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • A stripper
  • The rifle
  • Two versions of the later rifle
  • Trigger
  • Breech seal and locking detent
  • Sights
  • Cocking
  • What is it good for?
  • Summary

This report should be titled, “By any other name” because the airgun I’m writing about doesn’t say Diana anywhere. It says Gecado, Mod. 23. I know it is a Diana because I have paid attention to Diana air rifles for the past four decades, or so. They can also be named Hy Score, Winchester, Peerless, Original, Milbro, RWS, Geco (of which Gecado is a derivative) and Beeman. And I bet there are more names I haven’t mentioned.

Dioana 23 markings
These are the principal markings on the rifle. There is no serial number, caliber or date of manufacture.

A stripper

Decades ago a new car that was basic and was priced as low as that model would go was called a stripper. Well, the Diana 23 is the stripper of Diana pellet rifles. In the photograph above the rifle appears to be the same size as a Diana 27, but when you see them together the difference becomes obvious.

Dioana 23 with 27
When compared to the Diana 27 (bottom) the Diana 23 looks tiny.

Diana 23 Germany
This is the only other marking on the rifle. There’s no date of manufacture.

The rifle

The Diana 23 I am reviewing is in .177 caliber and has a rifled barrel. They also came in .22 caliber and in both calibers smoothbore barrels do exist.

The rifle I’m testing is 36 inches long and has a 14.25-inch rifled barrel. The pull is 13 inches exactly. The rifle weighs 3 lbs. 11 oz. which puts it solidly in the youth air rifle class. Yet as diminutive as it is, I find that older men are attracted to it far more than kids. My late friend Mac had several of them and loved them dearly, including a .22 that absolutely fascinated him. He thought of them as the model trains of the airgun world — sort of like I feel about the Sharpshooter pistol that’s powered by rubber bands.

There are two different models of Diana 23s. One was produced from about 1927 to 1940 and the other one was made from 1951 to 1983. The gun I am looking at is the later model.

Two versions of the later rifle

The 1951 to 1983 model 23 also breaks down to two different versions. The first one has a thinner slab wood beech stock with finger grooves on the forearm. That is the one we are looking at. The later version has thicker wood, no finger grooves, pressed checkering a slightly raised cheekpiece and different front and rear sights that may be plastic. I have the earlier version, but unfortunately I do not know when the model switch was made.

I think the model I have is the most desirable because it is slim and lightweight. It makes no pretence of being anything more than a basic air rifle.

Trigger

The trigger is two-stage and not adjustable. It is a direct sear that holds the piston in place until the moment of release, yet the trigger pull is very satisfactory.

Breech seal and locking detent

The Diana 23 breech differs from the larger vintage Diana rifles that start with the model 25. Instead of the breech seal being around the rear of the barrel, it is a leather seal attached to the end of the spring tube around the air transfer port. The rear of the barrel is solid metal that presses against the seal when the barrel is closed.

Diana 23 breech seal
You are looking down into the air transfer port behind the barrel. The leather seal is around it rather than around the breech. The silver bump on the left is where the ball-bearing breech lock engages.

Diana 23 breech
The actual breech has no seal. Don’t be fooled by the discoloration. Diana used the same ball-bearing detent from their larger rifles to lock the breech closed during firing.

Sights

The front sight is a tapered post. The rear sight is a V-notch at the end of a leaf. A sliding elevator works on a stepped ramp to raise and lower the notch. As simple as it appears, you get crisp detents as the elevator slides up and down the ramp and there is even tiny pointers on both sides of the elevator to tell you where you are. So, as inexpensive as this model is, Diana still put a lot of thought into it.

Diana 23 rear sight
The rear sight is simple yet effective.

Cocking

The mainspring is weak, so cocking a Diana 23 is very easy. I am guessing it will register under 10 lbs. when I test it in Part 2.

I looked through the cocking slot of the stock and saw that the mainspring was very dry, so I took the barreled action out of the stock and oiled the mainspring with some bicycle chain oil. This rifle doesn’t buzz when fired which is good because as weak as it is, this would not be the mainspring to put anything thick on.

Diana 23 spring
The mainspring was dry, and in this view some of the coils appear to have collapsed.

With the action out of the stock I used the opportunity to go over all the metal parts with Ballistol and to look for a date of manufacture. No other marks were seen anywhere — including on the inside of the stock.

What is it good for?

You might ask what a weak little pellet rifle like this is good for. I would turn that around and ask you how well your 6-year-old granddaughter does with the Beeman R7 you bought for her? The Diana 23 belongs to a class of diminutive pellet rifles that have no modern equivalents. 

I like the R7 as well as anyone, but it isn’t made for wee teeny folk like this Diana 23 is. There is an entire class of small air rifle that isn’t being made anymore. Even rifles like the Ruger Explorer that come close are still larger, heavier and harder to cock.

Summary

This will be a quick look at an air rifle most of you will never own. There are others like this one that I will never get to, so enjoy this look while you can.


SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft gun: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Virtus AGE right
SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG right side.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Accuracy
  • HOWEVER
  • Romeo5 XDR red dot sight
  • Sig BBs|
  • 0.20-gram TSD Tactical White BBs
  • 0.20-gram TSD Tactical Black BBs|
  • 0.20-gram Marui Black BBs
  • 0.25-gram Stealth BBs
  • Rock and Roll
  • Discussion
  • Summary

I said in Part 2 that there was a lot to test with this SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft guns, and today I discovered I was understating the case. You’ll see why as we progress.

Accuracy

This is the beginning of the accuracy test and it’s good to remind ourselves what this airsoft gun is meant for. It’s meant for skirmishing, which means shooting people, not targets. However, the best way to get it on target and properly adjusted is still the old-fashioned way of shooting at paper.

HOWEVER

The However today is all the variables. I will be shooting many different BBs, adjusting the Hop Up and adjusting the Romeo5 dot sight — each of which makes the equation more complex. I did not think about that until I was well into the test.

My plan had been to try several 0.20-gram BBs, and then some heavier ones, since we learned in Part 2 that the Virtus can handle BBs up to 0.30-grams. But I didn’t take into account adjusting the gun and the sight for each BB. Were I to try to do that I could write about just this one airgun for the next month and still not finish. Perhaps you don’t care about the outcome but there are readers who want to know, so I owe it to them to do a thorough job.

Romeo5 XDR red dot sight

I mounted the Sig Romeo5 XDR red dot sight on the Virtus for the test. I must observe that both this sight and the Virtus airgun are precision-made and the installation of the sight took some time. All parts have to mesh, and when they do that sight is on tight!

I adjusted the intensity of the dot as low as it would go and still be visible. That gives the most precision. 

Sig BBs

I mentioned in the earlier parts of this report that Sig sent some 0.20-gram BBs with the gun, so I started the test with them. I first fired a single shot from 12 feet, and when the BB hit the target at 6 o’clock I backed up to 10 meters for the test. 

The Sig BBs were not feeding reliably. After loading the magazine each time it took several shots before they began to feed, so I loaded 16 BBs into the mag for the first target. That’s 4 pumps of the speedloader button. 

The first target has 8 shots on it. There were more BBs left in the gun but they wouldn’t fire out. The 8 BBs are in 2.415-inches at 10 meters. They are high on the target, and in line with the center.

Sig Virtus Sig BB 1
On the first target 8 Sig BBs went into 2.415-inches at 10 meters. 

I adjusted the Romeo5 dot sight five clicks down after seeing this first target. I also adjusted the Hop Up five clicks up. I didn’t know if that was the right way to go, but the next target would probably tell me. There were 4 BBs remaining in the Virtus that were not fired. I loaded another 16 Sig BBs into the magazine.

The second target has 9 shots in the target in 2.341-inches between centers. Once again I had to shoot several BBs to get the gun to fire then and the last 4 BBs would not fire from the gun. They fell out when the magazine was removed.

Sig Virtus Sig BB 2
The second target shot with Sig BBs has 9 shots in it. The group measures 2.341-inches between centers.

By adjusting both the Hop Up and the sight setting I confused myself as to what was happening. But that did not deter me from making the same mistake again. This time I adjusted the Romeo5 dot sight down 6 more clicks and the Hop Up up 6 more clicks. Hopefully something would change. I loaded 20 more BBs into the magazine.

The third target shows 9 BBs in 2.095-inches at 10 meters. The group is a little smaller than the others, so I’m thinking the Hop Up is where it needs to be for now. It also dawned on me that I could be here forever if I tried to adjust both the Hop Up and the sight for each BB. So I decided to leave both things as they were for now.

Sig Virtus Sig BB 3
This third target with Sig BBs shows 9 in 2.095-inches at 10 meters.

Once again there were four BBs remaining inside the gun after the gun stopped shooting BBs out. They were outside the magazine but loose in the gun’s receiver. I had intended for each of these three targets to be 10-shot groups, but this BB feeding problem prevented that.

Sig Virtus BBs
After every round of shots there were always 4 Sig BBs left in the gun.

0.20-gram TSD Tactical White BBs

Next I tried shooting 0.20-gram TSD Tactical White BBs. They aren’t called that on the bag they come in, but on the next target I will shoot 0.20-gram TSD Tactical Black BBs, and the color of the BB is the only difference between the two. The wording on both packages is identical. I loaded 20 of them into the magazine.

This time I got 10 shots in a row! Feeding was perfect. Hurrah! These ten went into 1.747-inches at 10 meters, making them considerably more accurate than the Sig BBs. They hit in almost the same place on the target as the Sig BBs. To keep things simple I did not touch either the Hop Up or the dot sight for the remainder of the test.

Sig Virtus TSD White BBs
Now this is a nicer group. Ten TSD 0.20-gram white BBs in 1.747-inches at 10 meters.

To dump the remainder of the BBs (I had loaded 20 BBs because of the previous experience) I fired them into the backstop on Rock and Roll, once the target was taken down. All BBs were expended from the magazine this time!

0.20-gram TSD Tactical Black BBs

Now I loaded some 0.20-gram TSD Tactical Black BBs into the mag. The Hop Up and sight settings remained the same. Ten BBs went into 2.106-inches at 10 meters. Once again, all BBs fed as they should and I dumped the rest Rock and Roll into the backstop after securing the target.

Sig Virtus TSD Black BBs
Ten 0.20-gram TSD Tactical Black BBs went into this 2.106-inch group at 10 meters.

Once again, all BBs fired from the gun without fail. But the White TSD BBs still grouped tighter.

0.20-gram Marui Black BBs

Next up were ten 0.20-gram Marui Black BBs. They made a 2.377-inch group in almost the same place as the other BBs. They also fed perfectly.

Sig Virtus Marui Black BBs
Ten Marui Black BBs made a 2.377-inch group at 10 meters.

0.25-gram Stealth BBs

I had only planned to shoot 0.20-gram BBs today, since there were so many to test. But I had loaded the magazine with 0.25-gram Stealth BBs before realizing what they were. Since they were already loaded, I shot a final target with 10 of them. As expected they landed a little lower on the target than the 0.20-gram BBs. Ten of them landed in a group that measures 2.175-inches between centers. That’s about as good as the worst of the 0.20-gram BBs. I could play with the Hop Up to try to improve the group, but for today I will leave things where they are.

I want to add that this was the only other BB besides the Sig BB that had feeding problems. Several times during the shooting BBs failed to come out of the gun.

0.25-gram Stealth BBs
Ten 0.25-gram Stealth BBs made a 2.175-inch group at 10 meters.

Rock and Roll

As a final test I took the best BB of the test, which was the TSD White BB — and shot 16 into the target on full auto from 10 meters. I fired two bursts, with the last one being the longest. The gun was rested for this target just like it was for all the others and all the BBs fired as they should.

This group is perhaps the most enlightening one of the day, because it represents what the Virtus can do when it’s used in the way it was designed. 16 BBs went into 2.743-inches at 10 meters.

Rock N Roll
Shooting 16 shots full-auto gives a group that measures 2.743-inches between centers.

Discussion

This Virtus is a serious select-fire AEG. I consider the accuracy we have seen so far to be very respectable. And the gun hasn’t been fully tuned or tested. 

Up next will be the heavier BBs that range from just above 0.20-grams up to 0.30-grams. If I find any more 0.20-gram BBs I will also test them as well.

Following that test, I will exchange the 120 mainspring for the lighter 110 spring and completely test the gun again — both for velocity and accuracy.

Summary

Sig’s AEG Virtus is a serious airsoft airgun. They should be proud to carry it in their ProForce line.