by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Test strategy
- Why was it showing higher?
- Adjusting the regulator
- Are you following this?
- The test
- Beeman Kodiak pellets
- The regulator
- JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
- Beeman Kodiaks
- The last string
- Trigger pull
Today I will begin the velocity test. The Air Venturi Avenger is so adjustable that it will take several reports to cover just the velocity. Not only is the hammer spring adjustable — the regulator is, as well. In fact, that presents a challenge for how I will test the rifle. The rifle came out of the box with a charge of 3,600 psi and the regulator set to 3,000 psi. That means that until the internal pressure falls below 3,000 psi, the pressure that the valve “sees” will always be 3,000 psi. That is the highest pressure to which the regulator can be set — at least accurding to the manual.
Why was it showing higher?
In Part One I showed an actual picture of the reg. gauge, and it appeared that it was reading above 3,000 psi. That wasn’t the angle of the camera, either. It really did ready that high. Reader Toddspeed asked me what was going on, and I didn’t know, so I loaded a pellet into the single-shot tray and fired it. The needle on the reg. gauge dropped back to 3,000, which I told you in the comments. I have been watching it ever since and it still reads 3,000.
The hammer spring can be adjusted to give maximum power at these settings, because the regulator will always provide the maximum pressure (which means the greatest amount of compressed air).
Adjusting the regulator
Pyramyd Air’s Tyler Patner has suffered through what you are about to learn. I know that from what he said in his comments to Part 1, where he was discussing the reg pressure with reader RidgeRunner.
“The reg is adjustable up to 3000 PSI (recommended) but it can go a bit higher than that. I found there’s plenty of room to adjust the reg down and still maintain similar power levels to where it comes set from the factory.”
To which RidgeRunner asked whether it would probably then be be more efficient with air.
“I definitely wouldn’t call it inefficient (at least for the .25 I’ve been testing) out of the box, but there are definitely downsides to having the reg set higher than it needs to be. You see it when you chronograph the gun. Easy way to tell, when your reservoir pressure gets down around your reg set point, if you see the velocity creep up that’s an indication of the reg being set too high. Watch the fill pressure when the velocity falls back to where it was before it jumped and that’ll usually tell you about where you want to set the reg at. But bear in mind, this is without making other modifications. Adjusting the hammer spring tension would alter things. It’s about finding a good balance for your intended use. And the fact that you can change these settings to do so, is the big benefit to the Avenger over it’s competition for me.”
We have seen what Tyler is talking about in our very recent tests of the AirForce Edge target rifle. I had the top hat for that rifle set too high, and when the rifle fell off the reg the velocity went up and gave far too many fast shots.
Are you following this?
I am not writing this to confuse you but to enlighten you as to the flexibility of the Avenger. I said at the start that it is very adjustable. Now let’s learn what that means to us — and how I must respond to make a test that covers as much ground as possible but doesn’t take me two months to perform. The following quote is from the Pyramyd Air product description.
“The heart of the Avenger can be found in the externally adjustable regulator. Working in tandem with the adjustable hammer spring, the user can fine tune the performance of their rifle to best suit their needs. Never before has this kind of tuning potential been available at such a budget friendly price! The regulator can be adjusted as high as 3000 PSI, and you can track your adjustments via the reg pressure gauge on the right hand side of the action. Increasing the reg pressure can be done at any time, though decreasing the pressure requires the gun to be degassed first. This is easily done thanks to an easy access degassing screw found just behind the reg adjustment.”
Boy, was THAT ever an understatement!
“Never before has this kind of tuning potential been available at such a budget friendly price!”
The rifle was not filled to the maximum when I took it out of the box. The maximum is 4,351 psi, which is also 300 bar, and the rifle had about 3.600 psi when I unpacked it. So I gave a lot of thought about how to test the rifle. Because I can’t decrease the reg. pressure until the rifle is degassed, I think I will fill the reservoir to the max and test the maximum power with some heavy pellets. Then, when it drops off the reg. (and I can get a shot count for that reg. setting), I will drain out all the air and adjust the reg. as low as it will go. Then pressurize to the max and hopefully do more velocity testing.
I won’t get to all of that today, because of a surprise the Avenger had for me. Read on!
To test the rifle I filled it all the way to 4,351 psi/300 bar. I also adjusted the tension on the hammer spring as high as it would go. The rifle is now as powerful as it can get in this .22 caliber. Pyramyd Air says to expect a max of 34 foot-pounds. I am shooting with the single shot tray for reasons I will explain in a bit.
Beeman Kodiak pellets
The first pellet I tested was the 21.14-grain Beeman Kodiak. This pellet is no longer available under the Beeman brand name, but the H&N Baracuda is the same pellet and weighs exactly the same. The starting reservoir pressure was 4,351 psi (give or take). The first ten Kodiaks averaged 887 f.p.s. the low was 879 and the high was 900 f.p.s. so the spread was 21 f.p.s. At the average velocity this string produced 36.94 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The Avenger is already ahead of its advertised energy! The ending reservoir pressure was 4,000 psi.
Dae Sung 28.9-grain domes
Next up were some obsolete Dae Sung domes that weigh 28.9-grains. They are extremely similar to the Seneca 28.5-grain domes. They averaged 759 f.p.s. with an 18 f.p.s. spread. — from 750 to 768 f.p.s. Now, PCPs usually generate the highest power with the heaviest pellets, so I expected an increase in energy with this pellet, but at the average velocity it produced 36.98 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
By the way, these heavy pellets are the reason I used the single shot tray. I wanted to be sure I could load these pellets that are longer, due to their weight.
The starting reservoir air pressure was 4,000 psi and after the string the gauge registered 3,500 psi. But when I looked at the regulator gauge after this second string I saw the needle had dropped to 2,600 psi. I don’t know what happened but I’m not stopping the test to find out.
JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
The next pellet I tried was the 18.13-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy. The starting reservoir pressure was 3,500 psi. All indications are that this will be an accurate pellet for the Avenger. Ten of these pellets averaged 954 f.p.s. in the Avenger, which produces a muzzle energy of 36.65 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The velocity varied from a low of 941 to a high of 962 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 21 f.p.s.
Let me tell you why this string is astounding. It is because this JSB pellet is a medium weight pellet, yet it develops nearly the same energy as a heavyweight pellet. That is something I have not encountered before! It is a stability of the Avenger valve that I cannot explain.
By the way, I have now fired 30 pellets from the rifle and we have seen a similar power profile for each of three different pellets. The Avenger is getting a lot more shots at this power setting than I would have anticipated. And, we are not done yet!
With the reservoir pressure down to 3,000 psi and 30 pellets already fired, I thought I would return to the Beeman Kodiaks and see how the Avenger handles them. This 10-shot string averaged 891 f.p.s. for a muzzle energy of 37.27 foot-pounds. The low was 886 and the high was 895 f.p.s. for a spread of 9 feet per second. That’s a total of 40 shots on the fill and the rifle is getting MORE consistent! Folks — this seems like a real winner! I can’t wait for the accuracy test.
I decided to stick with Kodiaks because the reservoir’s gauge now read 2,800 psi after the last string. It’s still above the reg. pressure, so there should be more shots available. And there were. The next 10-shot string of Kodiaks averaged 884 f.p.s. for a muzzle energy of 36.69 foot-pounds! Yes, folks — that’s 50 shots at 36+ foot-pounds with three different pellets! I am polishing my cheerleading boots and getting out my pom-poms. I have never seen performance like this and this is a price-point PCP! By the way, the low for this string was 878 and the high was 890, so a 12 f.p.s. difference.
The last string
Okay, this one I will show you because there is one more thing to learn. These are Kodiak pellets, as well.
I won’t run an average for this string because I hope it is obvious to everyone that the Avenger has finally fallen off the regulator. The pressure in the reservoir now reads 2,000 psi, which is below where the regulator was set. The regulator pressure gauge also reads 2,000 p[si now, because that’s all the opressure available. But look at how gradually the velocity is dropping. That is indicative of a balanced valve — something I never expected to find in this budget rifle. I’m not convinced that the valve is balanced — except at this setting of the highest hammer-spring tension. Guys — there is a whole lot happening with this air rifle in this velocity test!
I will test the two-stage trigger now but not adjust it. The first stage is light, at 6 ounces. Stage two breaks at 2 lbs. 3 oz. I will wait for a later test to say whether it is crisp. It felt that way today, but until I shoot for accuracy I can’t really tell.
The Avenger is turning out to be one of the most intriguing PCPs I have ever tested. Over 50 shots at the highest power setting has got to be some kind of record.
There is so much to test that I advise you to hold off making any firm decisions just yet. However, if I can take it down to a reasonable level of power (less than what we see here but not low-powered) and see similar stability, then we are in for one heck of a test!
If this PCP is accurate, the Benjamin Marauder had better look out!.