Slavia 618 breakbarrel air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Slavia 618
Slavia 618.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • RWS Hobby
  • H&N Match Green
  • Falcon domes
  • Gamo Match
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • RWS Superpoint
  • Summary

Today we test the Slavia 618 breakbarrel’s accuracy. I have described the rifle in Part 1, and in Part 2 we tested the velocity before and after it got a freshened breech seal. The one I’m shooting today could be considered a “hot” 618.

The test

I shot the rifle off a rest at 10 meters. Even though I tested 7 different pellets I shot 10-shot groups because the rifle is so light and easy to cock. Let’s get started.

RWS Hobby

The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby wadcutter. Right off the bat during sight-in I determined that the 618 does not like to be rested directly on the sandbag. I suppose it is so light that the force of the piston throws the rifle off target when it fires. The rifle is so small that it’s difficult to hold with the artillery hold, but I did the best I could. Ten Hobbys went into 0.91-inches at 10 meters.

Hobby group
Ten RWS Hobbys made a 0.91-inch group at 10 meters.

I noticed right away that they hit the target about 1.3-inches high, though they were fairly well centered left and right. I was using a 6 o’clock hold and the rear sight was adjusted as low at it will go, so there is no opportunity to lower the group, short of adding height to the front sight post or bending the barrel down. Well, perhaps another pellet will shoot lower. Or, if I get a superb group with another pellet, maybe it’s worth doing something so it hits where it’s aimed.

H&N Match Green

The second pellet I tried was the lead-free H&N Match Green. Their group is centered about 1.7-inches above the center of the bull and is nearly centered for windage. It measures 0.918-inches between centers, so not much different than Hobbys.

H&N Match Green greoup
Ten H&N Match Green pellets made a 0.918-inch group at 10 meters.

Falcon domes

The third pellet I tested was the Air Arms Falcon dome. At ten meters 9 of them landed in 0.773-inches, but one shot opened the group to 1.253-inches at 10 meters. Looking at this group I am inclined to believe that wide shot was an aiming error, because the other nine are not just close to each other — they are also in a nice, round group. The center of this group is 1.8-inches high and well-centered, left and right.

Falcon group
The Slavia 618 shot 9 Air Arms Falcon pellets into a round 0.773-inch group. The one other pellet, though, opened it to 1.253-inches.

Gamo Match

Pellet number four was the Gamo Match wadcutter. The 618 put 10 of them into 0.767-inches at 10 meters. There were no wide shots with this one. Though a lot of the other pellets put 9 together like this, this is the best 10-shot group of the test. It’s center was 1.6-inches high. 

Gamo Match group
The 618 put 10 Gamo Match pellets into 0.767-inches at 10 meters. Good going!

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

At this point in the test it seemed that heavier pellets were landing lower on the target, so I started to use pellets that are heavier than the low power of the 618 seems to suggest. Next up were RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets. Ten of them went into 1.185-inches at 10 meters. It’s probably not the pellet for the 618, though it did impact at the top of the bullseye I was aiming at instead of much higher. So the bit about heavier pellets shooting lower is correct.

Meisterkugeln Rifle group
The Slavia 618 put 10 RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets in 1.185-inches at 10 meters.

JSB Exact Jumbo

The next pellet I tested was the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Jumbo dome. In my opinion this is way too heavy for the 618, but I wanted to know how it would do. Ten went into a group that measures 1.237-inches between centers. Like the Meisters this one is also hitting lower on the target than the rest of them.

JSB Jumbo group
JSB Jumbos shot lower than most other pellets. The group measures 1.237-inches between centers, so it isn’t that good, but it does shoot lower.

RWS Superpoint

No reason other than curiosity to shoot the RWS Superpoint, but they sometimes surprise me, and this was such a time. Nine went into 0.725-inches at 10 meters, but the other pellet opened the group to 1.032-inches at 10 meters. Once again, that wide shot appears to be the shooter’s fault, not the gun’s.

RWS Superpoint group
Ten RWS Superpoint pellets made this 1.032-inch group, with 9 going in 0.725-inches.

Summary

That’s 70 pellets downrange. What’s the verdict? The Slavia 618 is sure easy to shoot. It doesn’t do that bad, though I did a lot better with the Diana 23 back in June.

The 618 cocks easily and everything seems positive — as in no loose parts. The trigger is solid, though heavier than I like. 

That’s all for this rifle but I still have a Slavia 618 to rebuild and test. That rifle is one I’m calling earlier because of the front sight blade instead of just a pin/post. It also has a slightly thicker barrel, so it will be interesting to see what differences there are, if any.

28 thoughts on “Slavia 618 breakbarrel air rifle: Part 3



      • B.B.,
        I have a Slavia 624 that I bought from Gun Broker. It’s not listed in the Blue Book of Airguns 11th edition but it looks very similar to the 618. It was shooting erratically when I received it. I can’t get a consistent grouping on my target. I found out the bolts on the stock were loose. After applying a threadlocker and tightening it the grouping improved but it’s still not tight.

        It’s very easy to cock and quite pleasant to shoot. I estimated the muzzle velocity using my penetration test I described to you in my comment on your “It’ll hit like a .22! “ article ( August 2019 ). I’m getting 308 FPS using HN .177, 8.64 grain domed pellet.

        Renato


    • I think these guns have such low power that pellet variance from pellet to pellet really affect the group. Besides that they were built cheaply and I have to seriously question the quality of the rifling. These tiny air rifles were the European equivalent of American BB guns, guns built for small kids.
      I think Tom’s groups are about what you should expect. It is a gun that will hit an aluminum can every shot that is held on target at 10 to 15 yards. I think that is what it was made for.

      David Enoch


  1. B.B.,
    I agree with your assessment of the group with the RWS Superpoints. If this was my rifle, I would “go with the 9,” adjust the sights for those pellets, and have fun plinking away. I’m really curious to see how the other 618 shoots, compared to this one; thanks for another interesting report.
    Take care & God bless,
    dave


  2. B.B.

    Is the problem the rifle or the stock? Perhaps a 10 meter group shot stand free hand is in order?
    This begs the question, if it is to small for the artillery hold, how small is too small?

    -Y


  3. With all of them shooting high like that, I would have to take it out to 25 yards. I know the open sights will be difficult to use at that range, but I suspect the groups will likely be centered. They might also be tight enough to give feral soda cans a rough way to go.


  4. BB,

    This is pretty much the size of 10 shot groups that I expected at 10 meters but I am surprised the groups are that high.

    We usually shot (off hand) at 25 feet and the 618s would have no problem hitting bottle caps at that range. I’ll have to see what kind of groups I can get with the full sized stock on mine.

    Don’t know about the other guys but I always used a very light hold when shooting the little gun.

    Hank


  5. Oh for BB’s sake. Little Slavia on right or left shoulder, hand mirror, back to target, 25 yd feral soda can coming atcha! Its trick shot Monday!
    Or, the Falco air shot gun…
    Rob


  6. BB,

    IMHO, results are bit disappointing but not surprising. In my (limited) experience these type of airguns, intended for young and often first time shooters, usually suffer from some level of neglect including slightly bent barrels, dry lube on the trigger group and crud on the rifling. However, as long as they are safe I’d rather do not work on them – it is not worth it. in their current status they are effective against soda cans and similar targets. Now, if the young shooter shows an interest and starts selecting smaller targets, things change.

    I think that the next one after the rebuild will show more satisfying results. It will be an interesting comparison.
    Henry



  7. Off subject.

    Don’t know if anybody heard. Charlie Daniels passed away today. They say he was 83.

    I went to some of his concerts back in the 70’s and 80’s. He was scheduled to play in St.Louis this summer but got canceled because of covid.

    Always did like his music.


    • GF1,

      I see that. 83 is a pretty good run. Many go out way before that. With some exceptions,.. I am not sure I want to see 83 after seeing how some people end up.

      Reminds me of “Grumpy Old Men” when they are talking about Chuck. “Went in his sleep”…… “Lucky devil”.

      Chris (may we all live long and well to the end)


      • Chris,,
        Lots of people say that going out at 83 isn’t so bad,, but none of them are 82. Seems the older I get, the farther ahead I try to push my “best if used by” age.
        Ed


        • Ed,

          I understand. It does seem a good bit of money and quality health care (for whatever may crop up) does factor into extending that “best if used by” date.

          Even when working and having insurance,… the deductibles and co-pays would wipe out the average savings. I can suffer quite a bit in order to preserve (any semblance of) financial security.

          Chris


          • ChrisUSA,

            I’m sure “a good bit of money and quality health care” doesn’t hurt but i think more important is a fit for life approach. My wife and i spend way more money and time on fitness then we do on health care insurance! Im not talking about Bowflex machines or a stationary bicycle with subscriptions to PELETON! I’m talking about gym rats doing free weights and Functional Fitness routines. Planks, Squats, BURPIES, Hollow Body holds, Lunges and reverse Lunges are what lets us blow the doors off our more sedentary peers. Im convinced her great condition is the only reason my wife is having the great recovery after simultaneous Spine and Wrist surgery after an accident in January. All without a day in a care facility…thank God!

            shootski


        • Ed,

          I saw Charlie Daniels and his band at clubs in both Corpus Christi and Pensacola in the early 1970’s. His death at 83 is early in my book!
          That’s a hair over a decade away and I’m working on making it at least one if not two decades beyond that! I sit only when i eat, drive, shoot from a shooting bench or kayak…that last isn’t really passive sitting at 4+ NMPH for two or more hours at a go ;^)

          Age really is just a number that has only a little to do with how we are doing!

          Good health, good shooting!

          shootski


          • Shootski,

            Before 50,… I (honestly) had to think about how old I was if someone were to ask me. I will say that I am keeping a “wee bit” better track now,… but not so much at nearing 59. Your (very) active lifestyle is inspiration to us all. 🙂

            Chris





  8. Thanks for the test, BB.
    How about a quote?
    “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
    I think that the Slavia 618 is a really good example of an attempt at perfection, albeit a little short on quality, but very good when you consider the price. A Diana 23 is probably better, with a modern take being a Diana 240 or a Weihrauch 30 (depending on the depth of your piggy bank),
    What attracts me to springers is the elemental aspect. What is contained in these type of rifles is just what is necessary to function, and nothing is added on that you don’t need. A spring piston rifle (or pistol), a pouch (or maybe a tin) of pellets, some targets, and some time is all that is needed for a great day.
    The main aspect is fun. Isn’t that the reason any of us have hobbies?
    Enjoy your next bit of range time to the fullest.

    Bill


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