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Education / Training AirForce Texan: Part 2

AirForce Texan: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

AirForce Texan big bore.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Why more air?
  • Why a big bore?
  • Texan operation
  • The big bores that fill to 4,500 psi
  • Big bore bullet philosophy
  • Cocking and Uncocking
  • Can it be uncocked?
  • Summary

In Part One I hopefully familiarized you with the AirForce Texan. Specifically I am talking about the .45 caliber Texan. AirForce and Pyramyd AIR both call it a .457-caliber rifle, but it’s really a .458. Only bullets sized .458 and larger will be accurate.

These days you can get either this rifle or the new .50-caliber rifle with the standard 490cc tank that fills to 3000 psi and gets 3-6 shots, depending on the bullet fired and the power setting, or you can get the carbon fiber tank with the TX2 valve. That one fills to 3,.600 psi. The TX2 valve opens more to pass more air and it closes faster to conserve air better. It does use more air with each shot, but it also has more air. Expect 6 or more good shots from a fill to 3,500 psi.

Why more air?

The TX2 valve uses more air to give the bullet more of a push. That equals greater velocity which means more power. Do you need that to hunt big game? No. A .45 caliber big bore that produces 500 foot-pounds at the muzzle will take down a 2,000 lb. American bison, which is about as big as it gets. Whitetail deer are being taken with relatively small caliber big bore airguns such as .357s and even .308s!

Why a big bore?

Currently many people are thinking about a time when they may have to hunt for their food. Certainly a firearm can do all that needs to be done, but there are concerns that, when the time comes, there may not be any firearms, or it may not be possible to use them or get ammunition for them, and what do you do then? I am showing you how to load ammunition for that reason.

Many other people just want to be prepared in case those things happen. A big bore airgun is nearly ideal, since air is free and bullets can be cast from lead. With a big bore airgun  air and bullets are all you need, besides the rifle.

Yes, we can discuss bows and other things. Airguns are just one solution. However, they are the topic of this report.

Texan operation

Enough talk about the why. Now let’s find out about the how.

The valve in this rifle is not the simple knock-open design familiar to most PCP airgunners. It does work that way, but this valve is balanced to not need a powerful thump to knock it open. Instead of just slamming the valve open the way most big bores do, the Texan’s valve opens more precisely. The amount of time it remains open is partly controlled by the gun’s tuning mechanism and partly by the weight of the bullet that’s being shot.

A heavier bullet moves slower, and therefore remains in the bore longer. As long as the bullet is in the barrel, it prevents all the compressed air from escaping, and the air pressure continues to push back against the firing valve. That back pressure prevents the valve from closing.

The valve dwell time, or the time it remains open, is therefore a combination of the tuning mechanism adjustment and the weight of the bullet. The results are fantastic—better than any other big bore has ever achieved.

A Texan shooter can, at will, change the amount of force with which the striker hits the valve by simply adjusting the bullet tuning mechanism or adjuster. To do this, the sidelever must be forward to expose the adjustment wheel in a window on the left side of the frame. The wheel in that window is turned clockwise to increase the tension on the striker spring for lighter bullets and counterclockwise for heavier bullets.

Bullet adjuster
The bullet adjuster on the left side of the frame is exposed when the cocking lever is forward. This is my very early Texan that I have adjusted for heavy bukllets. Use something like a ballpoint pen to move the wheel. Push the holes up to turn the wheel out (longer valve opening time) for heavy bullets and down, which is in, for lighter bullets. The marks along the top are rough references. The adjuster is set at about  2.5 (arrow).

This adjuster is called the bullet adjuster because it is adjusting the gun to the bullet. Yes, the power is affected, but the bullet is what is being adjusted for.

Yes there are other big bore air rifles that get up to 10 shots per fill and I wouldn’t want to be hit by any of them! But the last shots those airguns fire have nowhere near the power needed to dispatch large game humanely. The last of the (perhaps) 6 shots of a Texan can still do the job, as they have greater power than the first shots of those other big bores.

When the striker spring was properly adjusted, I got six shots with a 215-grain .458 pure lead semi-wadcutter bullet on a single fill of air. The velocities of those six shots that started with a 3,000 psi fill were 835 f.p.s., 899 f.p.s., 882 f.p.s., 870 f.p.s., 856 f.p.s. and 830 f.p.s. The lowest energy in that string was 329 foot-pounds and the high was 386 foot-pounds! I’ve never seen a big bore rifle put out six consecutive shots at that power level on one charge of air! In fact, until I saw that chrono ticket, I had been refilling the rifle after every second shot. Suddenly, it dawned on me how differently this gun works!

The big bores that fill to 4,500 psi

Now that I’ve shown you what a Texan can do on a fill of 3,000 psi, what can those other radical big bores that fill to 4,500 psi do? There are several on the market and while they are not exactly in high rate production, they should be considered.

Well, they are powerful. Some get over 600 foot-pounds of energy on their first shot. But shot two drops below 500 foot-pounds and then it’s time to refill. Only you won’t get a full fill because your carbon fiber tank is no longer at 4,500 psi.

Big bore bullet philosophy

Another thing most shooters don’t appreciate—in fact, many cannot believe that bullets from a big bore airgun go right through medium-sized game and out the other side. Unless they hit a large bone inside the animal, that bullet will slip right on through. I’ve experienced this personally several times, plus I’ve heard the same thing from other hunters. Big bore bullets are seldom found inside animals like whitetail deer and sheep.

During this testing I shot my own cast bullets plus bullets that were provided by Tin Starr. They make bullets for cowboy action shooting around the country and they also make big bore lead bullets

sTin Starr bullets
Tin Starr bullets that worked best were the 405-grain hollow base on the left, the 350-grain flat nose, 240-grain round nose and finally on the right is the best bullet of all—the 215-grain semi-wadcutter.

bullet in trough
A bullet is in the loading trough, waiting for you top push it into the breech.

Build a Custom Airgun

Cocking and Uncocking

I said I would talk more about cocking the rifle. The sidelever does not work the way you imagine it should. There’s no heavy spring to fight against the forward movement of the lever. It takes about one pound of effort to swing open the breech for loading.

Okay, if the lever is easy to open, then the effort has to come when it is closed — right? No, that’s wrong, too. The closing effort is also minimal. It might take as much as five pounds to close the action. Somehow, all the effort of cocking the striker spring has been bypassed! It’s like getting free money or seeing an election promise that’s actually delivered!

When you do this is you’re only compressing a 22-lb. spring. That’s very light.

Can it be uncocked?

The ease of this operation gives you a clue that the Texan’s action is different than any you have ever tried. But there’s one more huge question to ask. How do you uncock this beast?

Other big bores are uncocked by grabbing hold of the bolt or cocking handle and pulling the trigger. When the sear releases the striker, you ride it forward with the bolt handle until it comes to rest against the valve stem. If you didn’t restrain the striker, dry-firing one of these monsters is enough to draw attention to yourself from several houses away.

The Texan uncocks much easier. When the gun is cocked, open the lever all the way again and then pull it closed just far enough to allow the automatic safety to be released. The sidelever handle has to move back about ¾ of an inch for this. Then, just pull the trigger and the sear will release, allowing the striker spring to relax. It’s completely safe, even though you’re uncocking a rifle with a 600+ foot-pound potential.


Now that we have a good start on the Texan, where shall I go next? I have a good idea, but I would like to hear your input.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

42 thoughts on “AirForce Texan: Part 2”

  1. B.B.,

    This is a very versatile big bore with that weight range! 405 grains to 215 grains and all with acceptable accuracy you say? Then again I doubt if the animal can tell the weight of the bullet once it hits. Makes me want to speculate on a big bore but I have absolutely nothing to shoot at that would require that power level.


  2. B.B.

    Is the Texan accurate out to 100 yards?
    Can you recycle little .177, .20,.22 pellets, after they have been shot, into the “fatboy” slugs that the Texan uses?
    How many pumps on a hand pump to fill this sucker?


  3. BB,

    COOL! 🙂 It looks like you last shot this early in 2015. As for “next”,… maybe try some of the newer ammo that is out now?

    As for a Bison in a survival situation,.. you had better have a lot of people to feed and/or a way to keep the meat. I suppose that it might work also to put one through the grill and into the engine block of a “no-good” vehicle heading up the drive towards your fortress.


      • BB,

        Well, you did ask “what next”? I know you don’t follow slugs (new/air gun) too close, but a lot is being done. I can’t keep up. At least with this beast,… being under powered in the least is for sure a non-issue.

        Maybe some of the makers can send you some for free. Good advertising (for them) if they happen to work well.


  4. LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA! I can’t hear you! Like I need another air rifle?!

    The truth is, this would be a more practical air rifle for me rather than the HM1000X. It is true that here I can hunt deer with this (.357) and the accuracy is superb, but this thing would be so much lighter to lug around and I would really hate to scratch this air rifle.

    Also, the versatility and simplicity that is found in the AirForce frames are incredible. Although most just cannot seem to limit themselves to such, with this and a Talon SS and a few extra parts, you are good to go.

  5. BB ,

    I hope Air Force got a patent on the valve porting ! This is what makes the rifle . I would hate to see some 3rd world country clone it ( huge problem for any Western manufacturer ) . Look at all the Weihrauch and Air-Arms knock offs. My friend with the ODNR is amazed by these rifles , he is trying to get the Big Bore PCPs adopted for Deer hunting in Ohio . We can hunt small game and Hogs with an Air Rifle but not Whitetail Deer in Ohio .

    Gene Salvino

    • Gene,

      The Chinese already make an inferior copy of the other AirForce airguns. They also do not have any respect for patents and such. Why should they? What are we going to do about it, whine?

        • Mildot52,

          Of course not,…. but there is big difference between free and fair trading and the U.S. being taken to the cleaners for decades,.. around the world. If our infrastructure (all of it) and (everything) else was in good order,… then sure,… spread it around a bit,.. like a very wealthy philanthropist might do. Till then, (which will never happen),.. we need to look out for our own people, living right here, first.

          Then toss in the Covid impact. What a mess!


  6. RidgeRunner ,

    I agree with You on the Chinese , American corporations greed and shortsightedness have created a real monster . It is sad to see all the empty factories here in Cleveland, OH . The last 20 years has not been good for industrial America , pretty sad when the Cleveland Clinic has surpassed Ford as our largest employer !!

    Gene Salvino

    • Yea, there are two America’s. When I hear “Let’s do the numbers” on the radio, the only thing I come up with is the weather report. Where’s the infrastructure investment that was promised? High speed internet for our kids? At least China knows how to make products, Russia only makes weapons for export. Work with China, forget Russia. Airgun content: I think there is a limit in regards to range for a big bore bullet,
      some where in the 300 yard region? About the length of a typical sprint in a Tour De France stage.
      Vive le France! I miss Greg Lemond and the glory days, but I digress.
      Hang in there folks.

      • Rob,

        Short by a four-fold factor!

        “I think there is a limit in regards to range for a big bore bullet, some where in the 300 yard region?”

        Even effective range is double the amount of your speculation. Would i recommend that range for hunting? No! The shooters experience with the particular system is key to that effective range and the prey’s tendency to move is another factor. If you aren’t supersonic most of the way to the target or have a great silencer you can shorten that effective range dramatically for most prey. Hunting with non hypervelocity rounds is a complex endeavor if you have any respect for the animal. I personally like to stalk my prey to get as close as possible before i take a shot…my freezer is just not big enough if i hunt with powder burners. It kills me how small of a percentage of folks out on the land during hunting season are Hunters that ken the art of hunting well. Most will blame their failure(s) on everything but their lack of knowledge of the life of the prey.

        I’ll climb down off the Soapbox now…another hunting season is at hand. The snow is flying early in the Rockies and the bugs (and many hunters) will be gone ;^)

        COVID19 will help move the watershed for the un industrial revolution; we are on the doorstep! Many industrial processes will be made obsolete and much of the infrastructure will become obsolete with it.


        • Shootski, I suppose you are right about effective range, pennetration of 3/4″ plywood is the standard at the terminal end, even if the bullet is just falling? That would be for antique type ammo.
          I think we are past the industrial revolution, and our infrastructure is most certainly obsolete.

          • Rob,

            I think the Big Bore airgun world will eventually move away from soft steel for barrels and the pressures will keep increasing. There are so many areas that leave room for improvements. I think we will see changes to the shape of the actual grooves used in both powder burners and powerful airguns next. I see the reduction of internal friction and external drag as the next big areas of ballistics improvement. It will probably be some solid/hybrid metallic high BC bullet with some bore friction reducing method (not a Secret Sauce) used. The Physics of air power, contrary to some frequent and loud posters on other forum, says it is not near an upper limit nor will it be for a long time.

            The ease of cocking the Texan tells me my speculation is not in vain! When i cock a Quackenbush Big Bore i know that 20# would be delightful thing!


            • Wonder if the “squeeze bore” concept would work for that purpose, such as it did with the 28/20mm Panzerbüchse 41 anti-armor gun and the M2 .50/.30 machine gun? The bullets or slugs would probably not be cheap, however.

    • Gene,

      The way I see it is that if you create a market niche and there is a fair profit to be made then someone is going to step up to the plate. You get greedy and over price the item then you are asking to be undercut.

      Example: Locally, an Atlas bipod is over $300 and the Chinese knockoff is $30. The Atlas is better made but IMHO, it is not 10 times better. In fact, I found the clone to be excellent value for the money – especially since 10 minutes of “tweaking” will make one quite serviceable.

      I would gladly have an original Atlas if they were reasonably priced – for $300 I could get a gas lawn mower, or a half decent camera or a cell phone – I don’t see $300 of materials and machining in a bipod.

      Don’t like that the clones are marked and sold as originals but then patenting something so basic just to control the market is not exactly fair either. It’s like someone patenting a wheelbarrow – the idea has been around forever.

      Just saying.


      • Hank,

        You got me thinkiing (and nodding in agreement) with your, “Patenting something so basic just to control the market is not exactly fair either.”

        In the electric guitar world a pick-up manufacturer, DiMarzio, has effectively patented the color beige, or “creme.” They claim only they can manufacture and market humbucking pick-ups with both bobbins creme colored. Competitors can have double-black or half black/half creme, or any other color combination they desire, but put out a pickup with double creme plastic bobbins, and you’ll get a cease-and-desist letter from DiMarzio.


        • Michael,

          Now that is a crock of you know what!

          Colors are universal, they belong to everybody – if you can patent a color then I am going to patent green grass so everyone with a lawn will have to pay me royalties.

          The patent office should have thrown that application in the garbage and told the company to get real!


          • Hank,

            Well, a trademark, not strctly a patent, but I agree with you. One shouldn’t be able to “own” a color or color combination, but DiMarzio has for several decades claimed two creme colored bobbins is a trademarked design owned by them. Until Fender, Gibson, Seymour Duncan or somebody else sues them and wins, DiMarzio effectively prevents anyone else from marketing it.

            Trademarks are essentially declared by the trademarker and then stand unless challenged.

            Loopy, I know.


    • Lordstown, Youngstown, and now Akron is receiving special treatment.

      “Don’t move! Don’t sell your house!” — Donald Trump, Jul 25, 2017, Youngstown, OH.

      “Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less!” — Donald Trump, Aug 19, 2020

      (Goodyear also doesn’t allow Biden hats, but Joe hasn’t yet called for a boycott.)


  7. BB

    As you say, an airgun would make a good survival weapon – especially if you are talking about longer ranges.

    In a survival situation I would probably set traps to catch food and have a bow for backup. You can make a functional deer/bear/smallgame hunting bow in a couple of hours.

    I am interested in the AirForce rifles, might consider one in .25 or .30 caliber if I was going to get into sniping groundhogs at longe range.

    These big bore airguns are way-cool but the shot count leaves a lot to be desired.


    • Vana2,

      I agree that trapping/fishing is the way to go in a survival situation once most of the areas survivalist competitors have been delt with. You may live in an area with low enough population density but for those in more populated areas the traps will be empty if you aren’t on top of them often. It will take a solid two months of hunkering down in most of the lower 48 for things to settle out.
      I don’t want to ever need to execute that plan…what a horror show!


  8. B.B.,

    Is the valve using some of the air pressure to cycle the valve? 22-lbs is near unbelievable after years of cocking DAQ’s!!!

    In: Cocking and Uncocking
    (just before the Can it be uncocked? paragraph.)
    “When you do this (is) you’re only compressing a 22-lb. spring. That’s very light.”


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