Beeman R10: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman R10
Beeman R10.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Recap
  • The initial test
  • Today’s test — the firing cycle
  • JSB Exact 8.44-grain
  • How I set up the Vortek kit
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • RWS Superdome
  • Cocking effort
  • Summary

Today is the day we find out what the Vortek PG3 SHO tune has done for the Beeman R10 I’m testing.

Recap

I received the rifle from a reader who wanted a rifle that had a tune done by me. I will tell all of you now that I am not an airgun tuner. I tune some of my own guns from time to time, but I don’t do it as a service. And there is absolutely nothing special about any tune I have done. This report is more a testimony of what the Vortek kit can do than it has anything to do with me.

The reader and I both agreed that a smooth-shooting air rifle was preferable to the last f.p.s. in velocity. So smoothness was what I was after, and nothing more, as long as the rifle performed within reasonable parameters.

I had installed one Vortek PG3 kit previously, but like I told you previously I applied Tune in a Tube to that mainspring — to make the powerplant as smooth as it could possibly be. This time, however, I decided to tune the gun the way Vortek recommended, to see if their kit was as smooth as they claimed. So all I used was the Vortek grease that came with the kit. Gene Salvino says it is slicker than TIAT and it is certainly less viscous. It would be up to the tolerances of the Vortek kit to eliminate vibration.

I told you that when the piston was installed it moves inside the spring tube with resistance. Several readers advised me to trim the piston seal down a little to realize more velocity. But as I have explained — velocity is not what I am after. I want smoothness, and a looser piston seal could well allow a little vibration back into the rifle.

The initial test

After receiving the rifle I tested it with the same JSB Exact 8.44-grain domed pellet that the owner had tested it with. He recorded a velocity of 847 f.p.s. My ten shots averaged around 815 f.p.s except for the last shot when the cocking link disconnected with the piston. So my chronograph reads about 30 f.p.s. slower than the chronograph owned by rifle’s owner. That sets us up for understanding today’s test.

Today’s test — the firing cycle

The firing cycle of the rifle before the tune had some vibration on every shot. When I took the mainspring out we saw it was canted and starting to fail. That was where much of the vibration came from.

The rifle now fires with zero vibration, which is exactly the result I was seeking. In fact I said this was as good a tune as I have even done. Only my Beeman R1 with the custom Mag 80 LazaGlide kit that I installed about 22 years ago was as smooth! Therefore, I did something I say I try never to do. I pulled out my HW85 rifle (the same model as the Beeman R10) that Brian Enoch tuned years ago. This is the rifle I bought from him just based on how smooth it shoots.

That rifle is a .22 so I can’t compare the performance but I can compare the shot cycle. Both rifles are equally smooth but Bryan’s tune does something this one doesn’t. At the end of the shot cycle with the R10 I just tuned there is a very tiny forward bump, when the piston comes to a stop at the end of the stroke. Bryan managed to prolong the timing of that bump in the HW 85 he tuned, so it feels like slightly less. But as I said before — this Vortek kit gives you a $400 tune for $90 if you do the work.

JSB Exact 8.44-grain 

First to be tested was the 8.44-grain JSB Exact. That would tell us what this Vortek tune has accomplished.

Ten pellets averaged 818 f.p.s. through the chronograph, so the kit has maintained the same power as the factory powerplant. The velocity spread was 11 f.p.s., from 809 to 823 f.p.s.. That’s a little better than what we saw with the factory tune before the cocking link disconnected. It varied by 19 f.p.s. from 806 to 825 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet now generates 12.54 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

We know that the owner’s chronograph is recording velocities higher than mine. I think we can expect him to see a velocity of about 850 f.p.s. from this pellet when he gets the rifle back.

How I set up the Vortek kit

Now I will tell you something I purposely left out of Part 2. The Vortek kit has a forward spring guide  (I call it a tophat) that has three positions for the end of the spring. Think of them as low-, medium- and high-power settings, though the differences aren’t that great. In the Air Arms Pro-Sport test the difference between the lowest notch and the highest one, plus the addition of two heavy weights to the piston, increased the average velocity of .22 caliber H&N Baracuda pellets from from 437 to 463 f.p.s. That was a 12 foot-pound kit and the relative energies of those velocities is 8.97 foot-pounds and 10.07 foot-pounds, respectively.

Pro-Sportr spring in bottom notch
The spring end is in the lowest notch with the least preload.

Pro-Sportr spring in top notch
The spring end is in the top notch and the preload is the greatest.

I set this kit up with the spring in the lowest notch to put the least amount of preload on the spring. As I keep saying — I was after smooth shooting and not power. Still, I got power equal to what the rifle had before the tune and it now shoots very smoothly. If the owner desires he can easily remove the spring and adjust the end that’s in the forward guide/tophat to the top notch. I estimate he will gain about 25-30 f.p.s. with the JSB 8.44-grain pellet.

Air Arms Falcon

The next pellet I tested was the 7.33-grain Air Arms Falcon dome. Ten of them averaged 867 f.p.s. The low was 864 and the high was 869 f.p.s. so the difference was 5 f.p.s. That’s a remarkable result from a spring piston rifle that’s just been tuned! At the average velocity this pellet generates 12.24 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

RWS Superdome

Next I tested the 8.3-grain RWS Superdome. Ten of them averaged 789 f.p.s. with a spread of 23 f.p.s, from 779 to 802 f.p.s. That spread is a little large, considering what the other two pellets did, and the energy of 11.48 foot-pounds tells us this is probably not the best pellet for the R10.

Based on the results of these three tests I was prompted to try a heavier pellet. This powerplant seems to like them. The 10.65-grain H&N Baracuda averaged 686 f.p.s. for 10 shots. We know that the magic number is a velocity of 679 f.p.s. — where the velocity in feet per second is equal to the energy in foot-pounds. This pellet is therefore slightly above 10.65 foot-pounds. In fact it registers 11.13 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Cocking effort

The R10 was supposed to cock with  25 lbs. of effort when new. When I tested the rifle before this tune it cocked with 24 lbs. of effort. After the tune it now cocks with 26 lbs. of effort. Cocking is smooth and I can just barely hear the new cocking plate/shoe as it runs along the slot in the spring tube. It’s an ever-so-slight slight sound and the only one the rifle makes when cocked.

Summary

The rifle is tuned. I got exactly what I was after and I think the owner will be pleased when he gets it back. The next step is to test the accuracy. The owner and I talked about that and he said he might buy whatever type of scope I tested it with. Well, my HW-85 has an obsolete UTG 3-12X44 Mini-SWAT scope that I like just fine. While that one of no longer available UTG does have a current version of the same scope, only this one has an illuminated reticle.

Because the HW-85 has the same scope base as the R10, the 30mm BKL high scope rings will fit perfectly. This R10 has a scope stop that the BKL rings don’t need but with it installed the scope will be positioned in almost the identical place on the R10.

The Vortek PG3 HO tuning kit is remarkable. It doesn’t need any extra help from TIAT. It’s dead calm and, except for the issues mentioned during installation, it goes in easily. The R10 is a bit of a chore to tune, but I would imagine that an R9 would be easier. Stay tuned.

69 thoughts on “Beeman R10: Part 3


  1. B.B.

    Before you send the rifle back to the owner, please set the top hat to full power and test velocity again.
    Otherwise we will not have a full report on the PG3 system. Hopefully this report is just as much about the Vortek kit as it is about the R 10.

    -Y


  2. BB,

    I have one of those old UTG Compact SWAT scopes just like yours. It was the first airgun scope that I bought. It is a great scope with the exception of not having an etched reticle. It also came with a long detachable sun shade which I really like. I would never think of getting rid of it.

    I have had and still have the newer lighted version. It will not accept a long sunshade. 🙁

    The newest version has an etched glass reticle (yeah) and a detachable sunshade (yeah).

    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/UTG_4_16x44_AO_OP3_Compact_Scope_UMOA_Reticle_1_4_MOA_30mm_MaxStrength_Picatinny_Weaver_Rings/9197

    Now if we could just get etched glass reticles on the BugBuster line.



    • Ridge Runner,

      I am really sorry to hear about the loss of your
      son-in-law. It’s hard to lose family and friends but especially when they die young. If they knew Christ, we know they are in Heaven but we still miss them down. I think the Rich Mullins song “Hard to Get” expresses the feelings as well as they can be expressed. I’m glad that you have a close relationship with your grandson. He’s going to need his grandpa in the coming days and weeks.

      Peace,
      Brent


  3. Obviously missed something; nothing new there. 😉 So, adding thoughts, prayers, and well wishes to the prior ones. Let’s be careful out there and not be hasty to “go home.” Granted, we have very little control over these matters. To all, work on keeping yourselves tuned and healthy.


  4. BB ,

    Glad it went in well . The Vortek kits are worth the money for the smooth shot cycle and longevity of the spring . That spread of 5 fps sounds like a 10M rifle ! I bet it will group very well , vibration is the root of all evil when it comes to accuracy . The owner won’t even know it’s the same rifle .

    Gene Salvino


  5. Sounds like the kit came with a pretty good fitting seal. The gun seems to be working great.

    I got a new umbrella seal for my R7 and it seems to be working well. The standard deviations dropped about 35% compared with the post sizing Vortek seal. 50% better than the Vortek seal as installed. I moved from the “most preload” notch to the middle one and removed a plastic washer. I lost ~50fps compared to the resized Vortek (+25fps compared to the original sized Vortek).

    bes


    • Thanks for the tip Gene! Now I need to decide whether I want to add the spacer back or not. I’m thinking not. It is shooting pretty smooth, straight, and consistent.

      bes


  6. BES ,

    Glad the piston seal got You going . The whole shot cycle feels completely different when the seal is working well . Those solid seals really only work well in high powered guns . The R9 seal we sell at Pyramyd Air ( BNP-9076) is a parachute type also . They work better in older/worn guns.

    Gene Salvino


  7. I am still waiting for my PG3 kit for my r10. Although I bought the 12fpe version. The serial number dates it to 1986. I don’t want to anything to it until the kit arrives! Looking forward to shooting this 34 year old gun.


    • Breeze,

      I so enjoy shooting these old gals. Dropping the power like that will make for an awesome shooting experience. Most of my old sproingers are in that power range or even lower.


      • RR, I guess we both know shooting harsh Springer’s is not fun. I enjoyed a Kodiak for a while, but nothing in the gas ram field. At one time, many years ago, I had over 150 airguns in my house, and back then a pcp was a novelty. Some got shot everyday, most got shot on a rotation.
        Back in the 70’s I knew a good old boy from Chattenoga that we called “RidgeRunner” .


        • Breeze,

          I put a gas ram in a Gamo CFX years ago. What a disaster. Put the spring back. I was never in Chattanooga so it wasn’t me. Shame though. I would have liked playing with your “toys”.


  8. I would change out the factory sporter style stock for the F.T. version, if its a drop in fit.
    That one has the adjustable cheek rest and the adjustable shoulder pad, maybe some stippling.
    Spring guns are like a traditional sport like baseball. Horsehide covered ball, oak bat, leather glove.
    These things remain constant, so over the years, we feel better because it’s easy to see what a big change is.
    The difference in performance between the very best athlete and the average one, is less than 1%.
    So when it comes to adjusting the power of a spring gun, its probably harder to lower it than raise it, and it’s a very narrow range. Freedom from fiddling with it.
    It is what it aint.
    R



    • Rob,

      In truth, it is very easy to lower the power of a sproinger while raising it can be extremely difficult. The easiest way to reduce power is to shorten the spring. You can also use a “lighter” spring, one made of thinner wire.

      Most sproingers come from the factory already maxed out to “give her all she’s got” because they know that all of us want as much speed and power as we can get. If you can see the spring when it is fully cocked, the coils are just about if not actually touching. This is why so many sproingers have such a great amount of preload. They are under high tension before they are cocked.

      Volume of air and speed of compression create velocity and power output. Of course you are also aware that this creates vibration, twist, multiple recoils…

      Along comes the gas spring. No vibration, no twist, almost no multiple recoils… A gas spring can also be very fast. Most manufacturers have jumped on the gas spring bandwagon.

      As you well know I am sure, there are some downsides to the gas spring. For one, the recoil is very harsh. You are trying to hold this sproinger loosely and when you press the trigger, it slaps you side the head.

      Another issue is despite their claims, gas springs are affected by temperature. They will slow down when it is cold.

      Most gas springs are not adjustable. What you get is what you get. No reduction in preload is going to help. You might be able to find a less powerful gas spring to fit, but do not bet the farm on it. At the other end, what is in there is probably maxed out.

      Another myth of the gas spring is they will last longer than a metal spring. A cheap one, maybe. A good quality metal spring? No. There are some pretty old sproingers out here that are still going strong.

      It is what it ain’t.


  9. Ok, guys: I FINALLY got MY Hatsan-95 17 cal shooting RELIABLY and ACCURATELY! Finally! All it took was a new compressor seal, 5 visits INTO the compressor, 7 complete trigger servicings, cutting 0.8″ off the mainspring and smoothing and tempering it, a LOT of skull work, and a bit more. AND, the factory was essentially worthless.
    BUT, taking this puppy out yesterday, I found that it shoots a lot of pellets, VERY WELL! Not heavies: CrsPD-Lts, JSB Exacts, H&N Finale MAtch, etc. Fairly easy 2.5 MoAs, OCCASIONALLY under 2.0! NOW I;m a happy camper.



    • Barrika,

      I have heard about the wonderful customer service at Hatsan for many years now. That is why the only Hatsan I own was such a wonderful price I could not turn it down. We are talking almost free for a Webley/Hatsan Tomahawk. I did have to pay for the Hawke scope with it. This was a package deal from a well known airgun dealer in the SW USA. The scope is well worth the entire cost.


  10. I have several Vortek kits, and they all work wonderfully. The only problem I’ve had is with a PG3. The cocking shoe on a 97 somehow chipped the rear spring guide. Though that one is shooting super.


  11. Hello everyone, off-topic, but I have been researching airguns to teach my kids 12, 10, and 7 to shoot, and I came across this site, which I have been reading and bookmarking like crazy for the last 3 weeks or so. I have 2 questions (to start with): First, I have settled on a Umarex Embark Youth Air Rifle and was wondering if anyone would recommend something else. Second, in my shopping cart, I have an Air Venturi Adjustable Safety Glasses (hoping the “adjustable means I can get them to fit all the kids), a Dewey 26” Coated Rod with Jag, .177 – .20 Caliber, and some Predator GTO .177 Cal, 5.5 Grains, Wadcutter, Lead-Free, 200ct pellets. Is there anything else I need to get them off to a good start? And thanks for the many hours of enjoyable reading. I feel as though I almost know some of you.


    • Roamin,

      Welcome!
      You seem to be headed in a good direction. I would order some other types of pellets you never know which ones will work best in a particular gun. I would also get a pellet trap either make one or order one.

      Not sure of your background so I suggest B.B.’s teach me to shoot series as a good refresher.

      https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2016/10/teach-me-to-shoot-part-14/

      If you go to part 14 you can go to part 1 and progress from there.

      I am sure others will chime in. It sounds like fun times ahead for you. I have great memories teaching my kids and grandkids the shooting sport. With three kids at once one gun should be a good start it should help you keep an eye on the shooter and in keeping their attention. Safety first

      Glad you joined in.

      Don

      And keep in mind the lead free pellets tend to ricochet and bounce back more than the lead pellets so a safe backstop is important.


      • Thanks, Don. I just finished reviewing a bunch of blog articles under the subject “instruction” and came up with many tips. I’ll re-read B.B.’s review of this gun and select a couple more kinds of pellets. PA had some Journey pellets that were made for the SAR program, like this rifle was, but they seem to have disappeared from the PA site. I may try a few lead pellets, too. Since COVID, the kids are all trained to wash their hands like surgeons. I’ve been looking into backstops and traps, too. Thanks for all the advice.



    • RG,

      Welcome! You and the kids are going to have so much fun. You do realize that you are going to end up needing at least three of these air rifles? What about yourself? What are you going to be shooting?

      Let’s see now, four air rifles, four sets of safety glasses, bunches and bunches of pellets, a pellet trap for each shooter… Well, yeah you can probably get away with one air rifle and one pellet trap to start with. Everybody around the range will need their own safety glasses though.

      You are not going to need that cleaning rod very much really. I have one and it almost never gets used. You might think of something like this.

      https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/PatchWorm_177_Cal_Gun_cleaning_Kit/9113

      I have made several patch pullers over the years using a piece of good quality nylon string and a split shot fishing sinker. Tie a loop in one end and crimp the shot on the other and take a small hammer and tap the shot into a cylinder that fits easily down the bore. A small ziplock bag to hold it and a few patches and away you go.

      The most important thing you need to do is have fun.


      • I’m starting with one rifle just to be able to have some control over the situation…I can always get more. I took them all fishing once and spent more time un-tangling lines than fishing. I should have worn safety glasses then! With all those hooks whipping around, I figure shooting is safer! The rifle comes with a stock extension so I will make do with that until we get things organized. I am planning to get shooting glasses for everyone and a couple that will fit over top of my and my daughter’s regular glasses (saw B.B.’s experiment on glasses and was shocked). I like the idea of the patchworm, but the rod would be for the unlikely need to clear a barrel. Hopefully, it will not be needed. I have to put together a backstop and trap. I have to be ultra careful in my back yard due to a private road that runs behind there, but there is a slope, so most shooting will be down into the clay-rich soil.


    • RG,

      Welcome!
      Get some fun reactive targets for right after they have the basics of how to aim down. Water balloons work great as well as plastic water bottles filled with food colored water. Some like there ferrel soda cans empty, so they bounce around when hit, some like them filled with frozen water and a few like them hanging on strings.

      As everyone says keep it fun and i will say keep it short at first. I second RidgeRunner on safety glasses for everyone!

      Hope they really love it! My grandsons do just like mine did and still do! Check out BIATHLON they might enjoy the craziness. And see if you can find a youth shooting club or league in your area. Issac Walton, CMP, 4-H, and NRA are just a few. You can get great discounts on rifles, pistols, ammo, and gear! As well as new friends for your children and you!

      Teach SAFETY first!

      shootski


      • Thanks for the ideas, Shootski. Water balloons sound perfect, and no bits of razor sharp metal laying around in the yard. I was thinking of a cowbell at a distance, too.



          • Roamin Greco,

            When i was teaching my son and daughter how to shoot we had a range flagpole and a The Range is Hot flag. They both loved raising the flag and after a great session lowering it. It turned out to be a great tool to get them into the SAFETY FIRST mindset before every shooting session. It also kept folks from blundering into the yard (Range) and it was a great way to let the neighbors know what we were doing and that we were doing it safely. It did result in one incident when a neighbor had some houseguests who saw my son shooting a Biathlon rifle prompting a call to the police. The responding officer just walked into the yard and got an earful from my son about walking into a HOT RANGE without calling a cease fire! He was so embarrassed he initially forgot why he was there in the first place. Our neighbor came over and apologized for the mix up of not telling their houseguests about the range and the range flag.

            I don’t know what your neighbors are like or how close they are to your range…most of ours were Liberals and fairly close…so we made certain to talk to them all about our range and the safety features along with a few targets to show how much our three layer backstop system actually was/is. We would always give them an open invitation to try an airgun, bow, or firearm.

            If you want a flag: https://shop.actiontarget.com/content/rf-s-firearms-shooting-range-safety-flag.asp

            Most flag shops have a red rectangle or pennant. They work great for our overlong kayak and other oversize loads!

            shootski


            • Shootski, thanks for the great idea. I will incorporate that. Please do explain about your three layer backstop as I am working up ideas for one and plan to build before ordering the rifle. Pictures would be most helpful.
              My idea so far is a curtain of outdoor carpet backed up by a thick sheet of lexan hanging from a PVC pipe frame, backed up by a 3/4″ or 1″ piece of plywood.


        • RG,

          Cowbells are great. You can also get different size bells. Empty CO2 capsules work pretty good also. If they get real good, tethered empty shell casings and biodegradable paint balls are pretty cool.

          I understand your thinking on the rod. I have never had that issue, but it is possible.

          You are going to have so much fun. Hopefully they will get into it and have a great time also.


  12. I received a new Beeman R9 .177 from Pyramyd Air. I just started shooting. Looks good so far. I am using H&N Match rifle pellets with 4.49 heads. Using the Iron Sights I’m getting one ragged hole at 12 yards. Any suggestions on other pellets/head diameters to try? I do like H&N pellets. Thanks! I will mount a Red Dot or Scope later.

    Mike


  13. “And there is absolutely nothing special about any tune I have done. This report is more a testimony of what the Vortek kit can do than it has anything to do with me.”
    Well B.B.,
    The Vortek kit is obviously quite excellent; but I think that second sentence would be really accurate if this tune was done by someone like me (who has never done a tune on a springer…yet). As for that first sentence, well, let’s just say I rate that one right up there with if I was to go to church tomorrow, and our pastor started his sermon with…
    “Well, I’m no expert on the Bible, but I might know a thing or two, and I’ll try to lay some good wisdom on you.”
    Which is to say, he has as much expertise with the Good Book as you do with airguns; even when you’re not trying, your excellence in workmanship will shine through. =>
    Wishing health and blessings to all,
    dave


    • Dave,

      BB is a modest man and does realize there are limits to his knowledge and experience.

      As for myself, I have no need of modesty as my knowledge is limitless. You can ask my wife. She often says “You know everything.” I do have to question her tone when she makes such remarks.





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