Beeman R10: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman R10
Beeman R10.

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • This R10
  • History of the Beeman R9 and R10
  • Success!
  • Tap the cap
  • What about this R10?
  • The R10 came in both standard and deluxe versions
  • Thin spring tube
  • Trigger
  • Cocking shoe
  • Performance
  • Velocity with JSB 8.44-grain
  • Summary

I wrote a 6-part report about the Beeman R10 in 2017-18, but this one will be different. The rifle I reported on three years ago was actually a Weihrauch HW85 that was the basis of the Beeman R10, and I bought it because it had been super-tuned. Not only is it lubed to perfection, but some internal parts like the spring guide were made for it so there is no tolerance in the powerplant. If you read the series, especially Part 1, you will learn that this rifle was tuned by Bryan Enoch, reader David Enoch’s brother. When I shot it at the Malvern, Arkansas, airgun show I was impressed by how smooth it was. I made one of those, “If you ever decide to sell…” kind of offers and David (or Bryan — I really didn’t know whose rifle it was) took me up on it about a year later.

This R10

What I am looking at today is a genuine Beeman R10. The largest difference between the two rifles is the forearm of the R10 is about two inches longer than the forearm on the HW85. Other than the markings on the guns, I don’t think there is any other difference.

This R10 belongs to a reader of this blog — Jim M. At the Texas airgun show several years ago he asked me if I would tune one of his air rifles and after some discussion we settled on this one. The rifle is not in stock trim. Both the front and rear sights have been removed, there is a Beeman muzzle brake in the front of the barrel and I can see through the cocking slot that someone has lubricated the mainspring after the gun came from the factory.

Jim wants me to install a Vortek PG3 HO tuning kit into this rifle. PG stands for Precision Guide and the three means there are three guides for the mainspring. HO stands for High Output — meaning power. This is a high-power kit that will produce more power than their conventional 12 foot-pound kit, though it may not produce as much power as the Beeman factory mainspring. More on that in a bit.

This kit is made for the HW95, which also is the Beeman R9. It will fit the R10/HW85, though, because of the history of the two Weihrauch models.

History of the Beeman R9 and R10

There used to be an airgun manufacturer based in Erlangen, Germany. Their name was Bayrische Sportwaffenfabrik, or BSF, and they made many fine spring-piston airguns. Their most powerful breakbarrels were the BSF S55/S60/S70  that were essentially all the same powerplant in stocks with varying degrees of finish. I have reported on the S70 in this blog, including a long series on how to bend an airgun barrel where the S70 was the subject. Unfortunately BSF went out of business in the 1980s. Weihrauch purchased all or a lot of their inventory that included finished airguns, and lots of parts in-process.

Weihrauch made many different models of air rifles to exhaust the BSF parts, including a Marksman 55 and 70 that were similar to the BSF rifles but were engineered to accept the Rekord trigger instead of the BSF trigger. Another rifle they made from those parts was the HW85 that was also the basis for today’s subject Beeman R10.

In the early 1980s Weihrauch benefitted from the design input of Dr. Beeman who had computer-modeled the performance of a new breakbarrel air rifle he wanted. As far as is known this was the first computer-aided design of a production airgun. Beeman had long wondered why the big HW35 was not more powerful, and his computer model revealed the reason — the piston stroke was too short.

Weihrauch saw great potential in the new design and agreed to build it if they could retain the rights to the gun under their own name, as well. That rifle was the Beeman R1, that Weihrauch branded as the HW80. Because the R1 used a wood stock with a longer forearm, the HW80 was produced first, since a source of wood had to be established for the longer stock. That might sound like a trivial thing to most people, as in, “Why not just cut the wood longer?” But until you understand the full ramifications of the production world you can’t appreciate what sort of time delay a two-inch longer stock can bring.

Success!

At any rate, the R1/HW80 design accomplished exactly what Dr. Beeman was hoping for — a .177-caliber spring piston air rifle capable of a muzzle velocity of 1,000 f.p.s. It didn’t happen in the first year of production, but by year two HW had learned how to lubricate the powerplant to get that speed. And a year after that Dr. Beeman came out with a softer (weaker) mainspring made from some high-tech steel that, along with a new tightly-fitted piston seal and a new lubricant, got the velocity over 1,100 f.p.s. How about that — it was easier to cock as well as more powerful!

But the R1 wasn’t the only rifle Weihrauch was looking at. They had all those BSF parts and had already made some spring rifles of their own. So what became the HW85 and R10 flowed out of that. Dr. Beeman’s computer modeling showed the Weihrauch engineers that the length of the piston’s stroke, and not its diameter was tantamount to developing greater power. So Weihrauch took the smaller BSF spring tube and gave the piston a longer stroke and the HW85/R10 was born. It was more powerful than the R1 yet weighed over a full pound less. The forearm was slender compared to the R1and the resulting rifle was a step forward the evolutionary trail of spring-piston airguns. Except for one thing.

Tap the cap

Robert Beeman was ever-so-fond of his R1 end cap that restrained the mainspring. It was threaded into the thick R1 spring tube, which made servicing the powerplant a breeze. In those days we didn’t use mainspring compressors — we restrained the heavy end cap with our generous bellies, while the muzzle was safety pressed into the inside of a shoe or sandal. In fact, it is the Beeman R1 that caused many airgunners, including your stout author, to develop a generous midriff, just to assist in powerplant disassembly! (insert smiley emoji here)

So, the R10 got a threaded end cap, too. Only, with its much thinner spring tube, the danger of ruining the spring tube and creating scrap while threading rose quite high. It was soon realized that a better way to fit the end cap was needed. Enter the R9. The R9 is an R10 without the threaded end cap. That’s why the Vortek tuning kit will fit both air rifles. It’s also why an R9 can achieve the same velocity as the R1 and still weigh a pound and a half less.

To sum all of this up — the R1 proved that a longer piston stroke was the key to more power. The R10 took that longer stroke one step farther and got greater velocity with less size and weight. And the R9 made the whole thing produceable.

R10 production ended because that rifle was too expensive to produce, due to excessive scrap. The R9 that replaced it is the same rifle in a form that’s easier to make.

What about this R10?

Now that were are up to speed on the model, what can I tell you about this particular R10? It’s a .177 caliber rifle. They also came in .20 and .22 caliber. Dr. Beeman fancied the .20 caliber as the best of all worlds, but in the end the market didn’t follow him. However, the Weihrauch website says the HW85 is still being produced in .20 caliber, as well as .25 caliber.

The R10 came in both standard and deluxe versions

The R10/HW85 came in a deluxe version with a longer barrel and a checkered pistol grip as well as a standard model with a shorter barrel (16.14-inches/410mm) and no checkering. The one I’m testing is the deluxe.

Thin spring tube

The spring tube is so thin that Weihrauch could not cut 11mm scope grooves into it without weakening the tube. So they screwed on an external scope base and someone has added a Beeman scope stop to that.

Beeman R10 scope base
The R10 spring tube is too thin to accept grooves, so an external scope base was screwed on.

The rear sight is not present and a proper Beeman plate sits in its place. The front sight was removed and a Beeman muzzle brake was added. That extends the 19.7-inch (500mm) barrel by just over an inch, making the already easier cocking even lighter. An R1 that’s been broken in would require 36 lbs. of force to cock. This R10 needs 24 lbs. to cock which is almost exactly where it should be. The Beeman catalog says 25 lbs. is what it should be, though the muzzle brake gives us that extra inch of leverage.

Trigger

The Rekord trigger is set to require 13 oz. for the first stage, with a clean break at 1 lb. 8 oz. for stage two. That is about as good as it gets, so the only thing I might do is lubricate the trigger pivots and parts. Yes a Rekord can be adjusted lighter, but I don’t need it any lighter. This is perfect for me.

Cocking shoe

I noted with interest that among the parts Jim sent for his rifle there is a “new-style” Beeman R9/R10 cocking plate — a part I call the shoe. It fits the end of the cocking link and sits in the piston’s slot to push the piston back when the barrel is broken open. So I examined the shoe that was on the rifle and, while it did not seem to be broken, it also did not fit the end of the cocking link very well. The connection appeared very open and loose. And the new-style plate or shoe that Jim sent appears to correct this flaw — if it is a flaw.

Beeman R10 shoe label
New-style cocking plate.

Performance

Jim bought the rifle in September of 2016. He chronographed it to see how healthy it is and he recorded an average of 846.5 f.p.s. that I will round up to 847 f.p.s. with JSB Exact 8.44-grain domes. His extreme spread was 7.46 f.p.s  that I will round up to 8 f.p.s. He never shot it for accuracy, so it’s a much a mystery to him as it is to the rest of us. I thought I would test its performance before I do anything to it.

Velocity with JSB 8.44-grain

My chronograph recorded the following velocities for the JSB Exact 8.44-grain dome.

Shot…….Vel.
1………..821
2………..825
3………..811
4………..814
5………..815
6………..812
7………..806
8………..811
9………..785 — Oh, oh!

After shot 9 the rifle would no longer cock. I could tell that the cocking link was no longer connected to the piston, so I took the action out of the stock and indeed that was the case. The cocking shoe appears not to be broken, but the link has come out of the shoe. No doubt that is why I was sent the “new style” cocking plate or shoe.

Beeman R10 cocking link
The cocking link popped out of the cocking shoe or plate. I could just snap it back in and continue shooting, but I think it’s time to fix this old gal!

Jim told me what he wants is a smooth-shooting rifle. Power is of secondary concern, as long as the rifle is smooth. So, smooth is what I will go for. The Vortek kit should give all the power that’s needed, and most of the smoothness. I will just tweak it as I go.

Summary

This will be your chance to watch another vintage Beeman/Weihrauch rifle get overhauled and tuned. Most of the work will be done by the excellent drop-in kit, but old BB may have a trick or two to add. This should be an interesting series!

29 thoughts on “Beeman R10: Part 1

  1. BB,
    I’ve used many Vortek kits. The one easy thing I’ve done differently on the last few was using JM glue on buttons. I don’t have the tools to properly button a piston, but the JM ones have been holding up on a 97 and a hw30.


  2. “History of the Beeman R9 and R10”
    B.B.,
    Thank you for the history lesson; as soon as I saw the title of this report, I was already itching to get to the end so I could post a comment asking about the R9 and R10 history…I should have KNOWN you would have that in here!
    Thanks again, and looking forward to the rest of this series,
    dave


  3. B.B.

    Looking forward to the rest of the series on this fine airgun.
    Do the current HW 85’s still have the screw on end cap? Is this it’s only weak point? Would love a true comparison between the HW 85 and 95. Which is “better”?

    “Honey, I think I will have another beer. I need to build up my spring compressor!” What a wonderful idea!!!!!

    -Y


    • Yogi,

      As far as I know the HW85 does have the screw-in end cap. The HW95 was the one that has the cap held in by small “buttons” in it’s side. No reason to still make the 85 if they changed the end cap.

      I’ve been working on my spring compressor and I’m now able to work on several guns at the same time! 😉

      B.B.


  4. BB,

    Oh boy, Oh boy, Oh boy! We are going in!

    Now I want an HW95 more than ever. I will most definitely be paying close attention to this rebuild as I will want an HW95 that is smoooooth. As with Jim M, with me power is of secondary importance. Most of my sproingers were designed for 10 yard shooting. 25 yards is a long shot with most of these old gals.

    That sure is some nice eye candy there.

    Automatic Spell Check

    Last Sentence – “Thjis (This) should be an interesting series!”

    😉


  5. BB,

    Always nice to get inside an air gun. I did the 12 fpe kit and the HO kit on the TX200. While not sure they are the same style kit you will be working with, I took the spring(s) out and compared them to the stock spring. Length, wire OD and coil OD and coil count. So,.. that might be something to do.

    As recall,… the spring came right out of the 12 fpe kit, but was very tight in the HO kit. I almost did not get the HO kit spring back in.

    I called Vortek prior to ordering and they said right out, that there would be little to no increase in fps with the HO kit. As I recall,… I might have got an increase of 20-30.

    With my HO kit, the spring was longer and of heavier wire OD. Coil OD? I reasoned that the heavier spring was required to (not) have a drop in fps,… (because),… there is a whole lot of tighter tolerances going on with the sleeve and guide.

    While it may not be possible, replacing the factory lube (from the kit) with TIAT may yield some benefit. That is also the same kit that I put in those Torrington flat roller bearings (washer/bearing/washer) to thwart any spring rotation. My kit did nothing to the piston,… only the spring, top hat and spring guide,.. as best I recall.

    The TX200 is also when I did a spring rotation test (spring over all thread). As I recall,… with a bearing at one end,.. or even both ends,…. I only got about 1/2 turn of rotation even with full compression (same as the gun compression, if installed). I thought that was an interesting test,… because of what some people think in that the spring can make several rotations when compressed,… causing the rifle to “twist” when fired.

    At any rate,…. that is all I have to offer on the topic. Looking forwards to the tear down.

    Chris


    • Chris,

      Interesting that you should be commenting on your experience with the TX200 12 fpe kit.

      The rifle I traded for came with four different 12 fpe kits (don’t know why that would be necessary unless the original owner was looking for something special). Been thinking of replacing the factory spring with one of these kits. Might look around to see if I can source a couple of Torrington bearings for it as well.

      Hank


      • Hank,

        I just so happen to still have one. They are for “Riv-nut” guns (a type of insert fastener). If you could find them on the net,… all you need is the bearing kit. 2 precision washers and a bearing. The 3/8″ gun kit is a PERFECT fit in the back of the piston. The washer(s) measure .130″ thick, .786″ OD, .402″ ID (each). The entire stack up is .338″ thick with the bearing in the middle.

        Caution: As I best recall,… I did not get spring bind,…. but I am pretty sure I had to shorten the outer sleeve of the HO kit because of it hitting the washers (would not allow full cocking/sear engagement). Putting a Torrington in the top hat end of the kit is not really an option. There is a blue, squishy type washer in there that dampens the blow. If trying to eliminate any rotation,.. having the one end planted and the other free to spin (not be induced to twist), ought to be just fine. This would also add some spring preload with the added .338″.

        Chris

        Edit: The bearing would be real nice as an addition to the standard stock rifle. I think there is a washer in the bottom/back of the piston in stock form. Remove that washer, drop in washer kit,… done.


        • Thanks Chris!

          Yes, familiar with Riv-nuts and their guns – will look for the Torrington at the supplier in Ottawa.

          Squirreled away your comment for reference!

          Hank


  6. B.B.

    I do enjoy this type of blog – a bit of history and a trip inside! Looking forward to the rest of this series!

    Yup, smooth over power for me to!

    Happy Monday all!
    Hank


  7. BB,
    I didn’t realize that the HW85/R10 were capable of being more powerful than the R-1. I like the R-9 best of the lot, but still prefer my BSA Supersports.
    David Enoch


  8. Chris USA ,

    DO NOT use TIAT in a Vortek . His grease is a synthetic based grease that is very slippery and will not gum up in the cold weather . Zero benefits , the guides shield the noise anyways . TIAT is for high powered guns with factory guides with factory drop in tolerances , the Vorteks are very tight .

    Gene Salvino


    • Gene,

      Thank you. Yea,.. I did not think that there would be much, if any benefit to be had. Like you said,… the kits are very tight tolerance.

      I will say this,…. the way the spring came right out of the 12 fpe kit and would barely come out or in of the HO kit has me wondering about spring/guide/tube fit/tolerance/QC. Those parts have to slide freely. Get a fat spring and a tight tube (or opposite) and you would get some very different fps readings.

      Chris


  9. BB ,

    You will have to pull the piston liner in order for a Vortek kit to fit , and in that case You will need the new style cocking shoe ( BNP-9454N) . The Vortek kits are nice , the advantage is longevity over a OEM spring. I have had customers tell me they are still going strong after 10 k . Amazing metallurgy seeing how mainsprings are worked so hard in this platform .

    Gene Salvino


  10. Chris ,

    This is why Vortek kits come with the spacers . I have had some 12 ft lb kits drop in at 9 ft lbs and others drop in at 12 on the money . Definitely a tolerance issue. I really like the Vortek 12 ft lb kits they make rifles so much smoother and easier to cock , in a TX they are only 14 ft lbs. in USA trim , I don’t believe the increased wear and tear and cocking effort is worth it for 2 ft lbs. I think they should have left it at 12 ft lbs and sell the guns on smoothness and longevity . But this is why I fix them and not sell them !

    Gene Salvino


    • Gene,

      Thank you for the added insight. As I recall,… my kits did not come with washers/spacers. I could be wrong on that though as it has been awhile. I definitely do not remember fussing with anything as there was nothing to fuss with,… other than putting the kit in. Of course,… the kits may have been improved upon over the years.

      If I got another TX,… I would for sure drop in the Torrington bearing and leave it alone after that. Oh,… some TIAT too,.. just because. Mine was a .22. I can see the benefits of the kits for a nasty cheek slapper or buzzer,… but not really sure a TX needs one. While mine seemed better,… it was pretty tuff to tell. Shooting 2 (1 Vortek tuned and 1 stock) together would be the best way to tell for sure.

      Thanks again,…. Chris


  11. Chris, Hank and Gene

    I messed around alot with a .177 Tx and a little with a .22 Tx. Tried the Vortek kits too. I definitely had my .177 shooting at a higher velocity and you couldn’t even feel the gun bump when you shot it. The .22 caliber Tx never would get as smooth as the .177. I imagine that was due to the bigger caliber and weight of the pellet. It just took more air to get the pellet to move.

    And yes lithium grease is what I use in my Tx’s including the left hand walnut stock .177 I have right now. It’s a very smooth shooter. I also used it in my FWB 300 and other spring guns. If you want velocity and smooth it’s the lube to use.

    And don’t even ask what all I tried. It will take way to long to explain. 😉
    I think Chris will remember some of the things I done on those guns mentioned. Right Chris.


    • GF1,

      Yup,… you helped me a lot when I was first getting back into air guns. I don’t swap them out like you or tear into them as often as you do,…. but I learned a lot.

      Chris


      • Chris
        We both did our share of messing with them. Definitely how to learn what works and what don’t.

        I always seem to have in the back of my mind something can be better some how. What can I say.



  12. Hey All!

    I just can’t understand all this Yada, Yada, about breaking barrels! At least we devotee of the Ancient Technique Order Of The Dark Side (ATOOTDS) know better than go around breaking our barrels…especially the accurate ones! ;^)

    Just my opinion!

    shootski


  13. B.B.,

    I am glad I got this in your hands. You know I’m not much of a tinkerer, and would have been really frustrated had this thing failed on me. The blogs where you give us the history, test and tear into the rifles — these are my favorites too. Looking forward to reading all about this, and getting to shoot it whenever it’s buttoned up.

    Thank you!

    Jim M.


  14. I must admit to not fully understanding the Beeman line but I’m slowly getting there. A couple of things I do know is that the HW85 was/is not capable of HW80/R1 power levels. Some UK enthusiasts get misty eyed for the older 85 with the screw in block and the scope ramp but in my opinion the gun adds up to less than the sum of its parts, somehow.
    The current 85 is mechanically identical to the HW95 and has the tile/buttons rather than the screw in block. The current 85/95 handles better that the original version in my opinion and is a more refined and considered design. I think this will be revealed in part 2, especially when you open her up.


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