by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSA R10 Mk2
BSA’s Mark 2 repeater has a rubber-covered beechwood stock.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Lots of discussion
  • Before we begin
  • Prevent supersonic
  • H&N Baracuda Magnum with 4.50mm head
  • H&N Sniper Magnum with 4.50mm head
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head
  • Crosman Premier heavys
  • Shot count
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we look at the power of the BSA R10 MK2 precharged repeater. Remember that, although this particular rifle is no longer sold, it is very similar to the BSA R10 SE that’s currently available. So in essence this is a review of a current pellet rifle, even though it’s also something of an historical review.

Lots of discussion

For some reason this rifle sparked a lot of discussion among you readers. Most of it was about other things, which is fine with me. But a couple of you said that you did like the look of the R10. I put that “dog ugly” remark in the blog to see who would rise up to defend it. There weren’t as many as I anticipated. But you did have lots to say.

Before we begin

Before we start let’s look at a few things first. This rifle is very powerful. The .22-caliber version that’s still in production as the BSA R10 SE is supposed to generate 29 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The rifle I’m testing is a .177, and it was supposed to generate 21 foot-pounds. That’s obviously with heavier pellets, because precharged airguns generate higher energy with heavier pellets.

Prevent supersonic

I had already fired the rifle a couple times and I knew that at the velocities the lighter pellets exit the muzzle, it is impossible to silence this air rifle. But heavier pellets should exit at a velocity lower than the sound barrier, and that would make it reasonable quiet. I plan to test it both as it came and also with a DonnyFL silencer screwed on the front. That means I will be testing heavier pellets today.

Reader Brazos comments that he had the same rifle in the same caliber and his really liked the smaller head sizes. So I will be watching that, as we go. When we get to accuracy testing that will become more important.

H&N Baracuda Magnum with 4.50mm head

This Baracuda Magnum is a heavyweight in .177. Don’t confuse it with the much lighter but still heavy Baracuda and Baracuda Match. Ten of these 16.36-grain .177 domed pellets averaged 792 f.p.s. from the R10. That generates 22.79 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The low was 787 and the high was 798 f.p.s., so the difference was 11 f.p.s. I did see that waiting a few seconds after cocking added velocity, so the new regulator is no doubt breaking in. I’m only talking 5 seconds, or so. I started this 10-shot string with 232 bar in the rifle’s tank. At the end of 10 shots the gauge read 200 bar.

I shot the first shot with the rifle just as it came from the factory, and shot number two was with the silencer attached. Without the silencer the R10 generated 98.6 dB. When the silencer was attached it generated 82.5 dB. That is with the Baracuda Magnum pellet that averaged 792 f.p.s., so the sound barrier was not an issue. With the silencer, the R10 is as quiet as my best-tuned Diana 27. It’s definitely suburb-friendly. Without the silencer it’s about as loud as a standard breakbarrel, which is to say not bad at all. And thanks to the reader who reminded me of how to take a screen shot with my smartphone!

dB for unsilenced R10
R10 without the silencer generated 98.6 dB at the muzzle. That’s not that loud. It’s maybe too loud for a small yard, but fine for a larger one — say a half-acre.

dB for silenced R10
With the DonnyFL silencer attached the muzzle discharge dropped to 82.5 dB. That’s just over the ambient quiet room level.

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H&N Sniper Magnum with 4.50mm head

The H&N Sniper Magnum domed pellet weighs 15 grains. They averaged 815 f.p.s. for ten shots. At the average velocity the Sniper Magnum generates 22.13 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The low was 805 and the high was 822 f.p.s. — a difference of 17 f.p.s.

H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head

Ten 10.65-grain Baracuda Match pellets averaged 933 f.p.s. the low was 928 and the high was 939 f.p.s. — a spread of 11 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 20.59 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Crosman Premier heavys

The last pellet I tested was the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier Heavy. This pellet is the lightest pellet tested, but it’s also the only pellet made from hardened lead. Ten averaged 928 f.p.s. from the R10 with a 11 f.p.s. spread. The low was 922 and the high was 933 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 20.08 foot pounds of energy.  And, after 40 shots since the fill there was now about 140 bar remaining in the rifle.

R10 pressure 40 shots
After the first 40 shots this is what the onboard pressure gauge read. I’m calling it 140 bar.

Shot count

But after 40 shots at this power level, where do we stand? To find out I shot 5 more Baracuda Magnums. In the first string they averaged 792 f.p.s. Now they averaged 790 f.p.s. After that I fired five more Sniper Magnums. In the first string they averaged 815 f.p.s. This time they averaged 821 f.p.s. So, after 50 shots the R10 is still on the reg. The reservoir pressure now read 125 bar.

Then I fired five Crosman Premier Heavys. In the first string they averaged 928 f.p.s. Instead of showing you the average let me show the entire string.

Shot……….Vel.
1…………..933
2…………..922
3…………..920
4…………..919
5…………..917

From this short string it appears the rifle is coming off the reg. But let’s look at five Baracuda Match before we decide. In the first string they averaged 933 f.p.s.

Shot……….Vel.
1…………..938
2…………..927
3…………..923
4…………..919
5…………..913

I don’t think there’s any doubt that the rifle has come to the end of its useful air. At the end of these shots the onboard gauge reads about 105 bar. I have caught it right at that instant that it dropped off the regulator. So I am going to say this BSA R10 Mark II can get 60 good shots on a fill.

Trigger pull

As it came from the factory the two-stage adjustable trigger had a first stage pull of 9 ounces, followed by a second stage break at 1 pound, 9.7 ounces. The second stage had two spots of creep in the pull and was not crisp, though it was light. The instructions in the manual said I could reduce the second-stage travel, so I adjusted the trigger.

In the first place, there isn’t supposed to be any second-stage travel! But BSA provides an adjustment to get rid of it, so I tried it.

I did remove the reservoir that the manual calls the “buddy bottle,” and then the stock came off with the removal of one Allen-head bolt. Then I adjusted the second stage travel. To my utter surprise — it really worked! I have adjusted several airgun triggers through the years, but most of them don’t do much, if anything, to change the trigger pull. This BSA trigger, though, actually responded to my adjustment and all the creep in stage two went away!

After I replaced the stock and tested the pull again I was surprised that the trigger now breaks crisply. Often after the stock is back some creep can be detected, but not this time. Stage one is still 9 ounces and stage two is now 1 pound nine ounces on the nose!

Summary

Well, I still don’t think this BSA R10 Mark 2 is an attractive air rifle, but I now have a lot more respect for what it can do. It gets a lot of shots at a reasonably stable velocity before falling off the regulator. It has a great trigger and the magazine doesn’t stick above the top of the receiver. This is going to be a fun one to shoot for accuracy!