AirForce Texan: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

AirForce Texan big bore.

This report covers:

Here is the deal
No more energy is needed
The TX2 valve

Twenty-five years ago big bore airguns were the stuff of dreams. They existed as antiques in collections, but for those who lacked big cash, they were unapproachable. Then, in 1996, Dennis Quackenbush did something about it. He started building the .375-caliber Brigand. It shot .375-caliber round balls and was a bolt-action breechloader. It was powered by bulk CO2 gas and put the ball out the muzzle at around 675 f.p.s. I tested mine on 1100 psi air and got velocities of 800 f.p.s. and more.


What followed is history, First the Koreans jumped on the bandwagon, followed by the Turks. They made high-caliber big bores, but in terms of energy they put out half or less of what a really powerful big bore did.

Back to Quackenbush — his .457 Outlaw produced over 500 foot-pounds (mine got 539 foot-pounds) and became the industry benchmark for a powerful big bore.

Big bores captured everyone’s attention.  We even had an annual shoot at targets out to 300 yards.

In 2014 I was invited over to AirForce Airguns to see something new. It turned out to be the rifle we now know as the Texan. It was initially built in .458 caliber, and now exists as a .257, .308, .357, .458 (AirForce calls it a .457, but that size bullet is hard to find. They also make it in .50 caliber! All barrels are Lothar Walther.

Here is the deal

Many big bores these days require being pressurized to 4,500 psi. That means after the initial fill even your large carbon fiber tank will no longer fill to capacity. The Texan only fills to 3,000 psi, and it gets three powerful shots on a fill. And it is accurate.

In 2015 I shot five 215-grain semi-wadcutter bullets into 0.762-inches at 50 yards and six of the same bullet into 1.506-inches at 100 yards! That, my friends, is some shooting!

Texan big bore best group 50
At 50 yards, I managed to put five 215-grain bullets into 0.762 inches. This was clearly a good bullet! big bore best group 100

Remember, we measure from the center of the 2 holes farthest apart. That equals 1 bullet radius (center to edge equals one radius). So, subtract one bullet diameter (.458″) from the measurement shown on the calipers.

Texan big bore Tank
Tank Fisher gets down on the Texan at 50 yards. Off to the right of the 50-yard berm is the 100-yard target berm, and to the right of that you see the 200-yard berm.

No more energy is needed

A .22 Hornet cartridge produces just under 700 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Would you shoot an American bison with one? I hope not!

But Stephan Boles shot and killed a bison with a souped-up Quackenbush .457. The bullet went completely through the side of the animal and was lost.

So — here is the deal. we don’t need big bores with greater muzzle energy. They shoot through the largest animals already. More energy will just be wasted.

Big bores kill game through bleed-out. The animal bleeds until it expires. A larger caliber means faster blood loss. But more energy is meaningless.

AirForce Texan buffalo
in 2007 Stephan Boles killed an American Bison with a Quackenbush .457 Long Action.

But numbers sell airguns and in the big bore game the number is foot-pounds. So, even though it was already the world’s most powerful production big bore, AirForce upgraded the valve for greater power.

The TX2 valve

The TX2 air valve is found on the .50 caliber and .45 caliber Texans. With a carbon fiber reservoir filled to 3,500 psi a .50-caliber Texan with the TX2 valve will get three shots at over 700 foot-pounds and the first one will top 800 foot-pounds. And that is with a rifle that weighs less than 8 lbs. 

Texan splats
Two .50-caliber bullet splats taken from the steel trap at AirForce.


I haven’t even finished introducing you to the Texan yet but I have to end it here. I have an eye doctor’s appointment and when both eyes are dilated I can’t see the computer screen. Just know there is a lot more to come.

36 thoughts on “AirForce Texan: Part 1

    • Yogi
      My .25 caliber AirForce Condor SS has recoil. More than a standard velocity. 22 LR rimfire cartridge has.

      The thing is it’s like a continuous push instead of a abrupt sudden hit.

      So it does have recoil. But it’s a very smooth recoil. Still easily controlled like most pcp guns are.

      I haven’t shot a Texan but I bet it has a lot more recoil than my Condor SS. And if I remember this right from when BB reviewed the Wingshot air shot gun. He said it had recoil but not like a 410 shot gun. If that’s true about the Wingshot that would make for a nice shooting shotgun I think. I use to shoot shotguns a lot when I was a kid. I would like to get me a Wingshot. I keep saying that. Maybe one day I will.

      • GF1,

        Repeat after me;

        WingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshotWingshot. 😉

      • Another nice thing about the .410 in a bird shot load. Inside of 10 yds,
        a man stopper, but at 25 yds, it’s basicly non lethal to a larger mammal,
        like my neighbor whose bedroom wall is only 15yds away from my back door.
        Solids just keep going right on through. Wingshot, a nice option.

        • 1stblue

          My brother has a Judge (another gun I want to get).

          If you shoot center mass at 15 yards or so with it with .410 bird shot at a life size silhouette of a person. Its patterning from shoulder to knees.

          And you got to think that when you hit a person the shock of being hit is enough to slow them down. I know I don’t want to be on the wrong side of the gun thats for sure. But then again when adrenaline kicks in you never know what could happen. And another reason I like the Judge. It shoots the .45 centerfire round. Which will for sure keep on going.

          But back to the Wingshot. I bet its a nice pointer at 20 or so yards and probably close to hardly any recoil. And it measures at a 5 on PA’s description for loudness. But I bet its still quieter then a .410 powder burner shotgun. I think the Wingshot would be a nice shooter.

  1. BB,

    I have a feeling you will not be shooting this at your indoor range. The cat may have something to say about that.

    I have started giving serious consideration to a Texan LSS. It seems some morons have been importing and releasing feral hogs in Virginia. I know, I keep hearing where you can hunt feral hogs with a Gamo sproinger, but for some reason I have my serious doubts concerning that.

    I am really looking forward to this series. I recall John McCaslin talking to me about this air rifle when it was still in the R&D stage. I am truly impressed with those targets you are showing. There are quite a few powder burners out there that wish they could do that good.

  2. BB,

    Looking forwards to learning more. The Condor, Talon, Edge and Texan lines have always caught my eye. The light weight is real attractive. While the new SS lines may do a lot to quiet things down,… it completely killed the looks of the gun in my opinion.


  3. Chris USA ,

    The beauty of the Airforce guns is ruggedness and simplicity . I really enjoy my Talon SS in 22 . The straight line valve allows the guns to be more efficient . The Condor SS is a good way to go if You like more power .

    Gene Salvino

    • Gene,

      100% agree. Ruggedness, simplicity and efficient are all very high on my list with any air gun. While my taste have evolved over time, a magazine option (I know, +/- there), adj. LOP and cheek riser are also pretty high. I know some of that has been addressed with aftermarket parts makers. Adjustable butts and cheek risers just allow a better fit to each shooter. That is always a good thing in my book.

      I know,… taking ruggedness, simplicity and effenciancy,… and start mucking it up! 😉 LOL! 🙂


  4. ChrisUSA ,

    In my opinion if you want a 100% reliable Airgun get a single shot . Airforce , AirArms S500 or put a single shot tray in a Marauder . The magazines are always the weakest link or the mechanism in a indexing gun . Guns that use the spring loaded magazines have made things simpler . At least in some models of guns the magazines are reasonably priced now . Of the repeating guns I believe the Ataman has the best magazines . ChrisUSA , You have to understand that my opinion comes from repairing guns and not using them , I 100% understand wanting a repeater and the ability to preload magazines.

    Gene Salvino

    • Gene,

      I really like the magazine in the Weihrauch HW 100 (my favorite PCP).

      I have two of them (.177 & .22) and not a glitch, miss-feed (or double feed – the rifle doesn’t allow that) in many thousands of shots. Accuracy is just as good with the magazines as with the single-shot tray.


  5. ChrisUSA ,

    Another thing with the Air Force guns is the Physics of it . Most PCPs made will have Turbulent flow of air due to the valving and transfer ports doing a 180% bend . With the valve inline with the barrel , it is as close as you can get to Laminar flow of air , This is probably part of the reason they are getting so much power out of that design , other things come into play too, like good design and quality materials . It is one thing to have an idea , It has to be producible !

    Gene Salvino

    • Gene,

      “This is probably part of the reason they are getting so much power out of that design , other things come into play too, like good design and quality materials . It is one thing to have an idea , It has to be producible !”

      Very true!

      Laminar flow can be a positive but only up to a point. There are ways to make turbulence work for you with proper design of the air path.

      Interestingly Quackenbush says, “The Outlaw rifle is tremendously adaptable. I shortened up the Outlaw rifle and made a pistol. Now I’ve stretched the Outlaw to make a 500fpe rifle. During testing the rifle exceeded 600fpe, so I had to make the valve a little smaller because my target was 500fpe. When building an airgun a balance must be struck between size, weight and power. This describes how the gun can be used and the number of shots per fill. I’m not after ultimate power, all of the rifles and pistols I’ve made have been capable of higher performance, but what good is ultimate power if the gun can’t be carried or used readily? I have certain energy levels as a mark that are ideal for the purpose.
      The LA Outlaw rifle operates on high pressure air, 3,000 psi. It can be filled from a scuba tank, airgun hand pump, or high pressure (3,000 psi) compressor.”

      Logic of The Man vs. the desired hype of marketeers!

      I wonder what his test build power would have been tuneable to on 3,500psi…actually the math says it could have been the same as this Texan’s!

      It has always been interesting to see what under 4,000psi can actually do when compared to 50,000+psi and typically with greater accuracy.


  6. Chris
    I have the same opinion about the looks of the Texan SS, though not about the Condor SS. It seems that the straight line of the Condor shroud looks much better than the “added can” of the Texan shroud. Just my opinion. As long as multi shot capability, which I like, I always preferred the Sumatra/Evanix AR metal cylinders. No need for more than six shots here.

    • And remember people.

      The Condor SS is about the size of a Crosman 1077. A bit bigger. And I’m sure the Texan is much longer.

      I think they got the Condor SS right. Especially in .25 caliber. At 950 fps with JSB 33.95’s the Condor SS is quiet. Way more quiet than a standard velocity .22 rimfire round. And almost quiter than a 710 fps 40 grain CCI quiet round.

      Add up the energy and the sound oftheround and accuracy. The Condor SS pretty much always in many wayswinsoutover the .22 rimfire round m.

  7. The sheer length of the full-length Texan always gets me. Reminds me of blackpowder or early smokeless powder rifles (Mosin-Nagant 91/30, Long Lees, Gewehr 1888s and their ilk)

    • Chanman,

      I looked it up. 45″ for the Texan. My M-rod in RAI stock with the 6 position fully extended goes 45″ too. The Red Wolf with the 6 3/4″ Hugget added, comes in at 51″.


      • The 1888 is 49″ with a barrel length of 29.1″ for the 1888 and 49.6″/30.2″ for the Long Lee as well, so very much in the ballpark.

        But I think the real question is… who’s going to come out with a bayonet lug for the Texan so that a 16″ M1905 bayonet can be used to keep those tusky boars at bay?

  8. Shootski ,

    Very interesting , Dennis makes some nice rifles . I believe he was a tool and die maker by trade . I met him at the TX Airgun show in 2014 . Nice man and a ton of knowledge ! A former employee here had a 30 cal Quackenbush that was very accurate with the 130 gn RN .

    Gene Salvino

Leave a Reply