Dan Wesson Valor 1911 CO2 pellet pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Dan Wesson Valor
Dan Wesson Valor 1911 CO2 pellet pistol.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Review
  • The test
  • Air Arms Falcon domes
  • Surprise
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • RWS Hobbys
  • H&N Match Green
  • JSB Exact RS
  • The trigger
  • Accuracy and the sights
  • Summary

Today we test the Dan Wesson Valor 1911 pellet pistol for accuracy. It’s been awhile since we have looked at this air pistol. So let’s have a brief review.

Review

The Valor is a very realistic CO2 pistol that gets over 150 shots on a 12-gram CO2 cartridge. We actually recorded 196 shots in the velocity test, and 150 of them were close to the maximum.

The Valor has a strange 12-shot magazine that has to be removed from the gun after 6 shots and the top section rotated to a fresh 6-shot cylinder. I showed you pictures of that in Part 2.

The Valor is double-action only with an estimated 18-20 lb. trigger pull. I need to be careful in today’s test to get all that it has to give.

That’s a quick update on where things are. I said at the end of Part 2 that I hoped this pistol was accurate. Now we find out.

The test

I shot 6-shot groups, since that is how many pellets are in each cylinder of the rotating end of the magazine. I shot from a sandbag rest with the bottom of the magazine rested on the bag. I used a two-hand hold and shot from 10 meters, since this is a rifled pellet pistol. I used a 6 o’clock hold.

Air Arms Falcon domes

The first pellet I tested was the 7.33-grain Falcon dome from Air Arms. The first shot hit the target paper an inch and a quarter low and two and a quarter inches to the left of the aim point. It was not a called pull. Since I was on paper with that shot I then shot the remaining five shots without looking at the target again.

When I went to change the target I was shocked to see the last five shots inside the bull in a 0.717-inch group! By adding the first shot the group size grows to 3.788-inches, but those last five shots are amazing.

Valor Falcon group
The first Falcon hit low and left, but the remaining five went into the bull in a 0.717-inch group.

Surprise

That first group was certainly a surprise. I was shooting at 10 meters because the Valor has a rifled barrel, but I didn’t expect to see a group like that. Why is the first shot so far from the rest? Guess all you like; I have no idea. It was not a called pull.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

The second pellet I tested was the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. This time the first shot was also a little low and to the left and the remaining five were inside the bull. This 5-shot group measures 0.903-inches between centers. Add the first shot and the group grows to 2.321-inches between centers. So this group is both better and also a little worse than the first one. And once again there were no called pulls.

Valor R10 group
Once again the first shot was low and left. The last 5 shots are in the black, measuring 0.903-inches between centers. Add the first shot and the group grows to 2.321-inches between centers.

RWS Hobbys

I didn’t get to test RWS Hobby pellets. Let me tell you why. Hobbys were very difficult to load into the 6-shot cylinder and after I did, two of them fell out inside the pistol. One of those tied up the trigger so it was very hard to pull and the second one went down to the muzzle but refused to leave the barrel. I had to play with the pistol for many long minutes before discovering everything I just told you.

I used a .177 cleaning rod to push the pellet that was stuck at the muzzle back down into the pistol. With the magazine out of the gun it dropped out of the breech and I was able to shake it out of the gun. That was when I discovered the second pellet that was intermittently jamming the trigger. It was also stuck in the breech in a different place. My advice is to stay away from Hobbys in this pistol, or if you do try them, remember that I had these problems.

H&N Match Green

Next to be tried were six H&N Match Green pellets. This lead-free pellet often does well in pellet rifles. In the Valor six of them went into the bull. The first shot was low but to the right this time. And the five that followed are in a group that measures 1.103-inches between centers. With the first shot added the group measures 1.843-inches between centers.

Valor H&N Match Green group
Six H&N Match Green pellets went into 1.843-inches at 10 meters with 5 in 1.103-inches.

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet I tested was the JSB Exact RS dome. I substituted them for the Hobby pellets that gave me trouble feeding.  This time I failed to see where the first pellet hit, so what we have is six shots in 2.116-inches at 10 meters with four of them in 0.715-inches.

Valor JSB RS group
Six JSB Exact RS pellets went into 2.116-inches at 10 meters, with four in 0.715-inches between centers.

The trigger

I remember there was a lot of concern what the heavy DAO trigger would do to accuracy. I shared that concern. All I can say is I wish that many air pistols that come with single action triggers that are both crisp and light could do this well. As long as you squeeze the trigger deliberately, there is nothing in its travel that throws you off the target.

Accuracy and the sights

If you have been reading my reports for any length of time you know how rarely a pistol with fixed sights is capable of hitting the bullseye like this Valor does. I don’t know if this is a lucky chance or if all Valors will perform like this. But this one sure does, and I have to tell it like I see it!

Summary

Well, we have come to the end of our test, and the Dan Wesson Valor 1911 CO2 pellet pistol has tested quite well. In fact it has tested so well that I can recommend it as a pellet pistol for shooting targets, and as an M1911A1 trainer. That’s a lot of value in a hundred-dollar air pistol!

50 thoughts on “Dan Wesson Valor 1911 CO2 pellet pistol: Part 3

  1. B.B.,

    A reshoot with the Air Arms Falcons would probably have revealed if those was a consistent flaw pointing to the magazine as the possible culprit.

    Siraniko

    PS Section The trigger 1st paragraph 3rd sentence: “All I can say is I wish that many air pistols that come with single action triggers that are both cxrisp (crisp) and light could do this well.”


  2. B.B The only thing I would suggest is to chronograph some shots once more duplicating the time you took when shooting for accuracy. The explanation for the first stray shot could be right there. Otherwise you could maybe try another magazine.
    Good morning everyone.


  3. BB,

    Well,.. it gets your blessing as a M19111A trainer. Odd stuff on those first shots. If anything, you might think that the first shot might be high (extra time spent flipping the magazine around). Oh well,… onward!

    Chris


  4. BB,

    Give credit where due, not a bad shooter. If I had it I would have to figure out what is going on with the strays, but you can still likely hit a feral soda can with it.



  5. Well, if the the stray shots can be figured out and potentially corrected in the magazine, this is a good shooter. But that is about all it has going for it to me. I’d pass as I feel there are better options out there.


  6. I went back and reviewed the first two parts. Quite a reduced velocity was reported for the first shot from the magazine. Evidently the long trigger pull cocks the hammer and rotates the magazine into position. Perhaps the first shot then uses a portion of the available energy to get everything into a final alignment for the subsequent 5 shots? BB commented that the magazine wheel had to be in a particular position prior to insertion.

    If this were mine, SOP would be to fire the first round into the berm and then brag about my 5 shot ‘groups’. It’s miserly use of CO2 would still result in a high accuracy/gas consumed ratio.



  7. B.B.,

    “Why is the first shot so far from the rest?” OK, I’ll pile on. It’s the magazine. Specifically, the magazine has one funky cylinder, the wild shot culprit.

    Michael


  8. Shootski,

    There is an anti-bear trap on the M1A pellet rifle, but BB missed showing it to us. It is disguised as the bolt release on the left side of the action.

    Not all underlever and sidelever airguns have an anti-bear trap mechanism. These are mostly found on those where you have a sliding compression chamber that allows your finger to get in the way when loading. The standard operating procedure with these type of air rifles is to continue to grasp the lever to prevent it from returning to battery, which also prevents the compression chamber from moving forward and taking off an appendage. As you are aware, you should do this even if it has an anti-bear trap as it might fail.

    My 1906 BSA does not have one as it is a tap loader. The Gamo CFX did not have one as the breech rotated. The RWS 46 and the Diana 50 do not have them either. With these air rifles you return the cocking lever to battery before loading as there is not way to stick your finger in there.

    There are exceptions to these rules. If my rememberer is working properly, the FWB does not have an anit-bear trap. When you start into 10 meter, you are expected to know how to handle an airgun by then.

    Another thing is I do believe some have an anti-bear trap that locks the trigger until it is cocked all the way. There are some break barrels that work that way also. If this was California we could add a mechanism to the break barrel that would lock out the trigger until the barrel was returned to battery.


    • The Baikal 53 pistol has two separate safety features to give just the action you describe.

      The cocking link has a ratchet in it so that once you break the gun and start the cocking stroke, that engages and you cannot close the barrel until the cocking stroke is completed (it is possible to break the barrel enough to inspect it, then jut close it again). The first of these ratchet teeth can just be seen where the cocking link is starting to come out the rear of the trigger mechanism.

      My understanding is that a ratchet such as this is mainly necessary on sidelevers – even taploaders with no sliding breech – to protect the fingers of the left hand, gripping the fore-end, in case the sidelever should slip from the hand during the cocking stroke.

      Iain


      • Once the 53 pistol is fully cocked, the ratchet is disengaged because the pawl engaging it is the rear end of the sear, and the front end has now moved up to engage the piston. The gun can now be closed and fired, but can only be fired once closed because the trigger blade is physically blocked by the cocking link, except where it has a cut-out to allow clearance for movement of the trigger blade.

        This cut-out can be seen, with the gun fully cocked, where the cocking link is coming out the rear of the trigger mechanism.

        On guns with a sliding compression tube, this sort of safety can be achieved in two ways. The trigger mechanism itself can be blocked with the cocking lever (side- or underlever) open, but quite independent of that it’s possible to have some sort of block or bar in the receiver that moves into the loading bay once the compression tube is fully rearward and simply physically blocks its forward movement.

        Regarding the Valor, from what I can see of the same gun sold in the UK under the Milbro brand, although the individual 6-shot cylinders may not be removeable, the complete assembly of the two cylinders in their holder does detach from the larger CO2 magazine for easier access when loading.

        Iain


        • Iain – UK,

          Thank you!
          Both you and R.R. have done a real service for those of us airgunners that have always been afraid to ask about anti-bear trap systems and their operation modes.

          shootski


    • RidgeRunner,

      Thanks for taking the time to make that very clear. I’m with you about treating them all as if they don’t have a anti-bear trap or that it is broken or soon to be. Of course keeping your finger away from the trigger and out of the guard if so equipped seems smart. We had arming switches that were under flip up guards but i never griped the trigger (no guard) on the stick until i was ready to fire/drop the selected weapon.

      Thanks again for taking the time. I’m sure you helped more than just me.

      shootski


  9. Off-topic: How long would you expect a break-barrel breech seal to last in a ~25 ft-lb 17 cal? Would 5 years of sitting idle/closed be a good cause for breech seal flattening?? I think I’m seeing this on a friend’s Benji-Trail NP



      • OK, Tom. BUT: 1) In the field 2 days ago, it kept hitting VERY low, 2) the breech o-ring felt minimally tall, so I removed it, put a thin string UNDER the seal as I restored it, 3) PoI came up about 8″ !
        Today, I finally clocked it on my cranky Chrony (~1/2 of values were e2 or not detected: QUITE finicky!) My 14.4 grain Crs Domes showed 432 fps, thus 7.1 fpe, and my Ruger SP 17.0 grains showed 420 fps, thus 6.2 fpe. SOMETHING is still very wrong here. New seal is on the way here. I have to wonder about the nitro piston too. Wonder what that assembly costs…
        BTW: the s/n reads 11100574: comparing that to your 2014 article on your NP2, I wonder if this one is a Jan 2011 mfr date? Older than I had thought????


        • Barrika,

          Yes, something sounds wrong. Thge gas spring could have leaked down, byut you should notiuce a change in the cocking effort, The piston seal could be burned as they will do in overly powerful airguns. That will cause a big power loss.

          It needs to ve examined.

          BB


          • The cocking force is 34.0 lbs. I think it decreased just a LITTLE over the past week, but not much. No data on this gun from ~OEM. The guy who owns it just shoots: NO interest in ‘smithing it or improving it, but he KNOWS that after leaving it sit idle for quite a few years, it’s performance suffered BIG time. And, as usual, thank you VERY much for your insights!!!

            —Barrika


          • I ordered all the parts needed for a rebuild. Got “them”, but found they sold me the WRONG parts. New ones are now due again… I did remove the breech seal and add a home-made 0/014′ thick shim under the old seal. Accuracy not better, nor velocity. Looks like you were right again BB: need to replace the piston seal I guess. I’m not taking this thing apart though unril I get the right parts…


  10. BB

    Impressive number of shots per CO2 cartridge. Use the first shot to warmup the next shooter and then have fun chasing cans across the yard. Good enough for back yard target competition too. But as a 1911 training pistol? I don’t get it. This thing is double action mode only.

    Deck


  11. BB, that’s allot of shots form a cartridge. Can a co2 powerlet fly itself, and would it need to be fin stabilised?
    That would be one shot per cartridge, not very many shots, eh? I think it would need some sort of chamber to allow the co2 to expand before blowing out the back, but I dont know. There’s allot of energy in one of those powerlets,
    and they are made of steel, just like a BB is. Is there any real 1911 that will group as well as this one?
    It seems a little pricey for what it is, and there are some nice copies, but this one I will pass on. It looks real enough.
    My Gamo revolver was a hundred bucks, it has a single action tho. Rapid fire with a revolver is pretty hard to do well I think.
    Rob


    • Rob,

      CO2 cartridges certainly can fly by themselves! We once launched an 88-gram cartridge that was guided along a 100-foot wire on American Airgunner. We had to slow down the film so you could see more than a flash.

      Yes, the cartridges do have to be stabilized in some way.

      BB


    • Rob and BB
      They use to make cars and planes that was tethered on a line that used 12 gram Co2 cartridges for power.

      That was in the early to mid 70’s if I remember right.

      I had a couple of the car and planes back then when I was a kid.


      • This wouldn’t be a toy if a pellet gun was the striker for a co2 powerlet with a tube tail attached for such a purpose. It would be the motor for a shotgun shell that detonates on impact. With a high trajectory, it would be like a morter round. A hundred feet of wire? Wouldn’t a thousand feet have been better?
        I know from model rocketry, the weight of a civilian projectile is controlled, but sometimes we must improvise with what we have available to us, but curiosity killed the cat so, I would want some acreage
        to experiment first.
        R


        • 1stblue
          If I remember right the planes and cars went a pretty long distance. I think it was around 60 or 70 yards on a 12 gram cartridge. But they had a special cap I guess I’ll call it that fit on the Co2 cartridge. I don’t remember how it pierced the cartridge but I do remember it flipped open and it was metal. It was like a nozzle or a venturi.

          And it was a pretty strong launch when it went off.


          • GF1, My parents would have nixed a set of those cars. They were ok with me and my brother beating each other silly with Bataca bats. That was when there was still a question about which was
            a better car, Johnny Lightning, or Hot Wheels, we all know how that turned out.
            I think there is a need for a co2 powered 12 gauge RPG/ morter round for the public. When a 40mm
            is too much.
            R



            • 1stblue,

              Johnny Lighting,…. I would model glue coins in my cars and rough up the tires a bit. Maybe used? a bit of thinner on the tires. My little brother,.. 1 year younger,.. never could figure out why I always won. 😉 Those slot cars were fun,… at least at the time.

              Chris


    • 1stblue,

      “Is there any real 1911 that will group as well as this one?” Yes. Even better than the “select” five shot groups. My family often play Battleship with our 1911’s at 7-10 all shots off hand with iron sights. If you need more than two 10 round magazines to sink your opponents five ships (16 hits total on 1″ circles) you are almost certain to be the looser. These are full size carry costing 15+ more than the Valor. Target 1911, some with 6″ barrels, are capable of far smaller groups! And cost 25+ times the price of this Valor airgun.

      shootski


      • And if one necks a .45acp down, we end up with .357 Sig? No one will ever neck a 9mm down,
        So I would stick with the good ol’ .45. I enjoyed shooting a friends nice Smith and Wesson in .45 more than a Berretta in 9mm.
        R


        • 1stblue,

          I believe .357 SIG is based on the .40 S&W case?
          A .45 caliber based cartridge would reduce the round count even more in a like size magazine.
          All of our 1911s are .45 auto. We do own .380acp, 9mm along with a bunch of 22s; for the real hunting hand canons we stick with .44 caliber PB. Our rifles are a whole ‘nother post.

          shootski



    • 1stblue,

      my dad was an electrician and told me about using CO2 cartridges to pull fishing line through long runs of conduit and then pull the wire through with the line.



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