AirForce Texan: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Texan
AirForce Texan big bore.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Upgrade to the TX2 valve?
  • Mr Hollowpoint
  • The day
  • Mr. Hollowpoint 333-grain bullet
  • Stretching the air
  • Cold!
  • First two bullets
  • Time to refill
  • Summary

The .458 Texan from AirForce Airguns I’m testing has been with me for many years. Mine is from the first production run. And AirForce has made significant changes to the rifle in the time since mine was made (read Part 3, where the new TX2 valve is discussed), but I don’t care. My rifle still hits hard and drills heavy bullets where I want them to go.

Upgrade to the TX2 valve?

AirForce offered to upgrade my Texan to the new TX2 valve if I wanted. I would gain additional power from the new valve, plus with the new carbon fiber air tank I would retain the 4+ good shots, because even though the new valve uses more air, the CF tank it’s in gets filled to 250 bar/3,626 psi. I could also switch over to the new barrel that is just as long as mine, but has a faster 1:30 twist rate that stabilizes the heavier bullets better. My 535 foot-pound rifle would become a 700 foot-pound rifle with the heaviest bullets.

I don’t know if I want to upgrade or not. My rifle has proven deadly accurate already with a 215-grain semi-wadcutter from Tin Starr bullets. It put 6 of them into about 1.5-inches at 100 yards. And it doesn’t take 700 foot-pounds to dispatch a whitetail deer or a feral hog.

Texan big bore best group
Remember, we measure from the center of the 2 holes farthest apart. Those two radii equal 1 bullet diameter (center-to-edge equals one radius). So, subtract one bullet diameter (.458″) from the measurement shown on the calipers and you get the center-to-center measurement. The group measures 1.506-inches, center-to-center.

If, on the other hand, I did upgrade I would be testing an entirely new air rifle, because both the barrel and the powerplant would be different. To work properly with the TX2 valve the internals of my powerplant would also have to be changed.

In Part 4 I tested my unaltered rifle, using the new TX2 tank and valve. My rifle’s best power had been 535 foot pounds. But now, with the new valve and a Mr. Hollowpoint 490-grain bullet, the power jumped up to 655 foot pounds on the first shot. And that was without the powerplant modifications my rifle needs to do its best with the new valve.

I’m the guy who always says, “Never get rid of an accurate airgun.” Is that what I would be doing if the changes were made? I want to hear what you think. Now, let’s get on with today’s report.

Mr Hollowpoint

Robert Vogel, who is Mr. Hollowpoint to big bore shooters, sent me an assortment of his bullets to test in my Texan. I showed you four of them in Part 4, last November. My thoughts were to select the one or two best performers, tune the power adjustment wheel to optimize the rifle to that bullet — and then leave it alone. 

In Part 4 I tested four of the five bullets he sent. Today I will test number five. I’ll also go back to the bullet that has proven to be the most accurate previously and see if it still as good as it was in Part 4. Remember from Part 4 that I asked him to size all the bullets 0.458-inches, because that’s the size with which my rifle does its best.

The day

I shot the Texan last Friday at the rifle range with reader Cloud9, who is still testing his RAW field target rifle. We were on the 50-yard range that is covered and has nice concrete shooting benches. But my first test that day was the BSA R10 Mark II, and I shot a lot of 10-shot groups with it. You’ll see that one tomorrow.

The day was a cold Texas day. The temperature wasn’t that bad, but the wind was chilling both me and Cloud9 to the bone. By the time I got to the Texan I had already been shooting for almost 2 hours and was pretty cold. 

Mr. Hollowpoint 333-grain bullet

First I will test that last bullet that Mr. Hollowpoint sent. It’s a long 333-grain bullet with a deep hollow point and wide grease grooves that are separated by narrow bands. It looks different enough from all the other bullets I’m testing that I decided to save it for last.

Mr. Hollowpoint 333-grain bullet
The 333-grain bullet from Mr. Hollowpoint looks quite different from all the others.

The first bullet landed in the bull because the rifle was still sighted in from last November. When the second, third and fourth bullets also struck black I thought maybe this would be one to consider — especially for shots at close range. Those first 4 shots grouped in 1.405-inches between centers at 50 yards.

Stretching the air

Then I tried to take a fifth shot without refilling. The onboard pressure gauge read 2,000 psi before the shot and I knew I should refill, but I thought I would take a chance. That fifth bullet landed 2-1/2-inches below the lowest bullet that was already in the bull. It was still in line with the group above, just much lower. It opened the first 5 shots to 3.838-inches at 50 yards.

At this point I refilled the rifle to 3,000 psi and took a final shot. If it went into the first group I would know that 4 shots are all I can get from this 333-grain bullet on a fill to 3,000 psi. 

Well, it did go to the first group, but it landed higher, opening those first four shots to 2.308-inches at 50 yards. Obviously I’m disregarding the lower fifth shot from the first fill in this measurement.

333-grain bullet group
The first 4 shots all hit the bull and grouped in 1.405-inches at 50 yard. The fifth shot on that fill dropped lower, opening the first five shots to 3.838-inches. By filling the tank again, I fired a sixth shot that hit above the first four. That group of 5 shots measures 2.308-inches between centers. Sorry for the blurry image.

Cold!

My little fingers were getting really cold by this time, so I knew I didn’t have much more time remaining. When you see all that I shot with the BSA R10 Mark II you’ll understand how long it took me to get to this point.

I wanted to give the most accurate of the five Mr. Hollowpoint bullets one final chance to see if it was still as accurate as it had been back in November. That was the 300-grain hollowpoint. Back then I put five of them into 1.232-inches at 50 yards, with three of them in 0.349-inches. Could I still do as well on this frigid day? And if I could, maybe I could adjust the power adjuster to optimize it.

Mr. Hollowpoint 300-grain bullet
Mr Hollowpoint 300-grain bullet that you have seen before is the most accurate of all his bullets that I’m testing.

First two bullets

Since I had just filled the Texan for the last shot with the 333-grain bullet, it still had a lot of air, so I decided to shoot the first couple 300-grainers before refilling. Shot number one nicked the top of the bull at 50 yards. Shot two, however, could not be seen clearly through the UTG 6-24X56 SWAT scope. My Meopta MeoPro HD 80 Spotting Scope, however, revealed that the second shot had gone through the same hole as the first shot. I thought that was what I was seeing through the UTG scope, but I needed confirmation. You can see it in my photograph.

Time to refill

At this point I wanted nothing to spoil this group, so I refilled the rifle to 3,000 psi. Shot three landed apart from the first two shots, but it was very close. Shots 4 and 5 are clustered with it. This five-shot 50-yard group measures 0.659-inches between centers!

Back in 2015 I shot five shots into 0.762-inches at the same 50 yards. Those were the same bullets that made a 1.5-inch 100-yard group.

Texan big bore best group
Back in 2015, I managed to put five 215-grain bullets into 0.762 inches at 50 yards. This was clearly a good bullet!

300-grain bullet group
Last Friday, five 300-grain bullets made a 0.659-inch group at 50 yards. This bullet from Mr. Hollowpoint has edged out the Tin Starr bullet from 2015. Will it do as well at 100 yards?

Well, there is no way that I am fooling with the power adjuster after shooting a group like this. This Texan is sighted-in for 0-75 yards right now with this bullet!

Summary

My current Texan is very accurate and as powerful as I need it to be. But by allowing AirForce to upgrade it to the new TX2 valve and the new barrel, I would have a brand new airgun to test. I’m leaning in that direction, but I would like to hear what you readers think.

As it stands now the 300-grain bullet from Mr. Hollowpoint is extremely accurate. I do think I need to test it at 100 yards before I do anything to the .458 Texan.

83 thoughts on “AirForce Texan: Part 5

  1. I haven’t seen reports of many Texan rifles shooting that well.
    But most big bore shooters don’t put the time and energy into finding THE right bullet.
    Most seem to go with the bragging rights of the heaviest bullet weight.

    Personally, I say don’t mess with a known good gun, instead get a new model to test, if you like it’s performance and accuracy, then buy it..

    But don’t listen to me, I am the guy still trying to find THE pellet for a 79g that everyone says don’t shoot.

    Stay warm.

    Ian.



  2. B.B.,

    Very impressive accuracy at 50 yards with Mr. Hollowpoints 300 gr bullets especially when you consider that it was late in your shooting session and your fingers were numb. I can relate. Went ice fishing yesterday at my mountain place and the high temperature was 4.

    Looking forward to your accuracy tests at 100 yards with this platform.

    As to upgrading that gun with a new TX2 valve and a longer barrel I think that would be an interesting test OF A NEW AIRGUN.

    Happy New Year my old friend.

    kevin


  3. B.B.,

    Since you will be retaining the original parts you can conceivably swap the parts back. You will end up fiddling a lot more just get back to the original if the new valve and barrel set up doesn’t meet your expectations. Since you cannot think of a use case for the upgraded rifle as yet maybe you will need to find a use for it before plunging in.

    Siraniko


  4. BB,

    It is nice that the platform will accept the new parts. A lot of makers will switch something around and that would not be possible.

    I would do the 100 yard and think about it some more.

    1:30 (new barrel) is faster eh? I was going to ask what yours is now and I see in part 3 that you stated that you did not know. I would think that Air Force would know,.. yes? I do not follow big bores enough to know the average twist rates that are [currently] being deployed, but I would not have guessed anything close to 1:30,… more like 1:20 or something (faster). Maybe you can touch on big bore twist rates in the future?

    Looking forwards to more.

    Chris


    • Chris,

      They probably do know, but when I asked they weren’t able to find the answer. They aren’t hiding it — they just have so many things going on that it would take some digging.

      Since it works, I decided not to pursue it.

      BB


  5. BB,

    On the grease bands (proper word?) that are on some slugs,…… must grease/wax (always) be used?

    I see many that do not have bands, but are waxed/lubed. Must the lubricant (always) be used?

    Finally,…. if grease/wax is used with the slugs that have [a lot of bands],………. can that spray off and gum up a moderator/silencer internals?

    Chris


    • Chris,

      You do not grease bullets for airguns. I have some 105 grain semi-wadcutters for my HM1000X that had grease in the groove and I put them in a jar of mineral spirits to remove such.


      • RR,

        I am pretty sure I have seen them sold and (shot) both ways in air guns. Some are sold either way. If what you state is a hard and fast rule,… then slugs being specifically made for air guns should never be sold pre-lubed (as in bands pre-filled with grease). If they are cross-overs from the firearm world,.. then I could see why they might come that way.

        As I mentioned, I have not delved deep into big bores,..so these are just some questions that a typical novice (like me) might ask.

        Chris



        • Chris USA,

          The results of all the people I have come to respect for their Big Bore shooting skills over the years, seems to conclusively indicate UN lubed is the way to go with Pure (Dead Soft) Lead bullets.

          I have a Theory (NO PROOF) on why Lube is used in powder powered guns; the LUBE is Cooked off by any of the very hot combustion gas that gets past the Gas Check or bullet base obturation and sacrificially melts/burns off rather than melting the bullet Lead metal. I believe that is a very valid THEORY even more today with all the Copper clad and Copper solids with NO Lube Grooves.

          shootski


      • RR,

        Funny that you should mention that. Seems that lubing pellets and slugs has quite a following and is one of the things that people should test – especially if shooting at higher velocities.

        Some airguns like lubed ammo some hate it. I just started looking into it when winter arrived.

        Hank


  6. BB,

    OK, here ya go. Just remember, you asked for it.

    What are you going to do with this thing? No, seriously. Are you thinking of going hunting? Odds are, you will take it down to the range every great once in a while, pop off a few rounds and put it away until next time. Do you need more power out of this thing?

    Likely, the best thing you should do is ask John if you can borrow a new Texan to review and leave your old one alone. You might even go for a Texan LSS. That way you can compare how much quieter it really is.

    These Texan air rifles are to me the closest thing to a Sharps in the airgun world.




    • RR,
      Those were exactly my thoughts as well. I would not mess with a Texan shooting that well, and like GF noted, sometimes it is difficult to get things back to where they were. I seriously doubt that the accuracy could be improved by any mods. My vote is LEAVE IT ALONE! 😉
      Geo



        • Gunfun1,

          You wrote: “Your air guns?

          And why. Because accuracy goes away?” above in a thread that ran out of room. So I use the TETRA for the anti corrosion properties of the Flouropolymer for the metal in the white of the bore. If airgun bores were Nitride treated I wouldn’t need to. It is done initially after cleaning the bore and then on a shot count basis just because I believe that pitting is bad for airgun accuracy. I have never had a gas powered Big Bore (to include my .310 shooting at Transonic+ MV) have Leading or experience a loss of accuracy for a “dirty” bore. I cannot say the same is true for my powder burning shooters. But the TETRA bore conditioner does make the cleaning of the powder burners easier.

          shootski


          • Shootski
            Guess it makes yourgunsreal accurate then I suppose.

            Any info on any of your guns that you do and don’t do that on.

            That would be a blog there I believe. Otherwise I will have to try to believe you.


            • Gunfun1,

              TETRA Bore Conditioner all by itself does nothing much for total accuracy. As I see it, it only helps with corrosion prevention and aids (for the firearms) in making cleaning easier. I have used it in every bore for at least two decades so it isn’t worth a blog because it has nothing to do with lubrication improved accuracy/performance directly.

              “Guess it makes yourgunsreal accurate then I suppose.”

              Accuracy, as you well know, comes from controlling as many of the variables as possible; most of all the shooter variables. I spend most of my time working on that variable and I believe you do the same from how you practice your skills with anything you shoot.

              shootski


              • Shootski
                I wonder what would happen if the bore on a rifled barrel developed surface rust.

                I bet if you shot the gun the surface rust would be gone where the pellet contacts the rifling after only a few shots.

                Wonder how long it would take for the metal to pit. Now maybe that could affect accuracy.


                • Gunfun1,

                  That depends on the type metal and what alloys if any. In talking with Dennis Quackenbush his take was that airgun barrels were typically made of Brass or easy machining Steels. His idea is that the chip making process results in smaller bore imperfections that help reduce surface corrosion. But he also said that firearm barrel alloy selection was better for preventing deep structural corrosion. I know you know better but most folks look at a shiny bore and think it is really smooth when under magnification it looks like the Tetons. I think the PFTE does a much better job of joining the metal at the molecular level and keeps the rust from becoming established inside the crystalline structure of the Steel.

                  If you shoot out the surface rust soon and well enough then that idea of yours is probably valid. With a Big Bore I don’t think I shoot enough bullets down a barrel to do more than seal the rust into micro cracks with Lead; especially when hunting.

                  The last thing is the environment that you shoot in. If you shoot at an indoor range and store your airguns properly I doubt you have any corrosion problem. When you live in a place with high humidity and maybe SALT from the ocean or the Great Salt Lake, Dead Sea, Salton Sea and all those other place that have salt pans where the winds blow it around… Maybe even pollution from outside or cleaning products in the house…who knows! Any of that stuff can be a catalyst for corrosion. Not to mention friends with skin oils/salts that can corrode the best SS in minutes and never wipe down your gun when they have borrowed them!

                  shootski


                  • Shootski
                    I guess if the gun stays accurate then why worry about rust.

                    Of all the air guns I have had the barrels always are nice and shiny inside and I never clean them.

                    So maybe I have been doing the right thing all along by all the shooting I do.

                    Now like you said if you don’t shoot all the time some kind of lube in the barrel should at least protect it from rust.




    • RR,

      LOL! 😉 Louisiana is getting snow/sleet/ice as we speak,…. so maybe it was “cold” as BB said? Like 50,….? 😉

      Chris (27 here now, 23 yesterday AM. Have had single digits this year. Ohio)


  7. BB-

    I have had many projects of various sorts over the years, always chasing after ‘X’, whatever that was. Sometimes happy, sometimes not. The trials were interesting, but I came to regret the amount of time simply fiddling around to get back to my baseline.

    If I were in your shoes and owned that accurate, powerful gun, I’d keep it as such. As a reader of your blog, I’d like to know what I can expect to do to get equal accuracy (and more power maybe) from a brand new 2020/21 Texan. If you are going to test a gun with the new ‘features’, I’d like you to test a gun the rest of us could buy.

    Thank you.



      • BB

        Testing a different gun won’t give a true comparison. You have the opportunity to upgrade your existing rifle. It can be converted back and forth with parts you own unless some non reversible mod is done. I’m thinking BB can make it work as well as ever. It would be fun for me to follow your tests.

        This is one of those do as I say do, not do as I do. I am a self acknowledged optics switcher but I won’t touch the scope on my Diana 34.

        Dubious advice.

        Deck



        • Deck
          I know what you mean. But sometimes they just dont repeat the same performance.

          When I got my .25 Condor SS it wasn’t getting the groups I thought it should be getting from owning other AirForce guns. I took the barrel out and put it back in and I’ll put it this way. It’s very accurate now. There is no way that barrel will come out of that gun while I own it. And yes I swapped out barrels and even different caliber barrels with my other AirForce guns and had them perform good after the barrel switch. So the question is. Do you take the gamble.

          The way I see it is with BB’s Texan I would not touch that gun the way its performing if it was mine.

          Sometimes you got to be smart enough to leave well enough alone. BB’s Texan is just performing too good compared to other big bore I have heard about.

          He just needs to get a new production Texan to test how they come from the factory. After all where will you come up with a Texan like BB owns. Used is what I’m thinking.


      • B.B.,
        I think that borrowing the newer model to test is the best idea. It would benefit AirForce as well at the readership. Free advertisement…unless…AirForce is not confident in the results you might get.
        Geo
        I saw on the news that north of Austin they got 4″ of snow! Here in west Michigan we have not gotten 4″ of snow all winter so far. I know it’s coming though…


  8. BB, If you weren’t a curious fellow, I don’t think you would be writing this blog. Since I am also curious I hope you try the new parts. You can record your old settings and hopefully get back to your old accuracy quickly. On the other hand, you can just ask AirForce to let you try a new rifle with all the new parts and leave your alone.
    Either way, I want to see if the new barrel will be more accurate than your tried and tested barrel.
    David Enoch


  9. Everyone,

    Guys I have a question. Pyramyd Air has received an IZH 46M that seems to have been converted into a multi-pump. They know the standard 46M very well, but this may be the first multi-pump that has crossed their path.

    Ther cocking linkage has been removed, so when the gun is pumped it exhausts the air unless it is cocked manually. Then it is possible to put in 2 or even three pump strokes.

    Are there are characteristics that identify a 46M that has been converted into a multi-pump? You guys were talking about it recently so someone must know.

    BB



    • BB,

      Here is what little I know. The conversion involved removing the compression tube and inserting a disc that had a “valve” in its center, then reassembling it. You could then pump the 46M up supposedly a maximum of 3 times. This would raise the velocity to around 800 FPS.

      I know of no reason to remove the cocking linkage, since it will not uncock the air pistol if you should pump it again.

      I would really like to get my hands on that Izzy and try it out some. Even better, if they are planning on returning that Izzy to “normal”, they can send me the kit to try in mine. 🙂



  10. BB, i would just get a a 1377 with a custom valve. https://www.ebay.com/itm/123966645066.
    Then I would mod it to shoot .25, for a lot less money than the AV46m., who dont make lefty grips anyway.
    What do you want your Condor to do that it cannot do right now? Snoseal is a beeswax based lube with petroleum disstilates in it, it works great on leather and as a wood sealer. Maybe as bullet lube too.
    R


  11. also, I suspect a hollow base, spire point bullet, like a minne balle will give better longer range terminal ballistics than the hollow point will, and will expand equally well but hold together better than the HP one does in game, but I could be wrong. I think they do the same thing, just inversely. Going from 225 to 300 gr is roughly the same as going from a 15gn pellet to a ‘cuda or a beast. It’s going to slow down allot. So POI shift could be an issue from short range to long range with the heavier bullet at 100yds compared to the lighter one. If they are equally deadly, I would go for the flatter trajectory.
    R


  12. B.B.,

    “My rifle still hits hard and drills heavy bullets where I want them to go.”

    “At this point I refilled the rifle to 3,000 psi and took a final shot.” Into the Carbon Fiber cylinder with the TX2 Valve so Why not 4,500psi?

    “As it stands now the 300-grain bullet from Mr. Hollowpoint is extremely accurate. I do think I need to test it at 100 yards before I do anything to the .458 Texan.”

    Agree!

    So from this long time Big Bore shooter: This is YOUR Texan we are talking about! You need to have the Texan you HAVE meet your needs not what Us Readership would like to see!

    I think you need to put far more Pb downrange than you have time to and keep the Blog going. In order to know you would need to shoot more of each projectile and show us more results; but you already know that.

    I’m certain the folks at AirForce will sell lots of the NEW TEXANS and some of those buyers will know what they are doing…but most won’t at first and many never will. Will they then come to this blog of yours? Only if they, in frustration, GOOGLE about 458 Texan TX2 Valve airgun accuracy (dissatisfaction) problems! I laugh everytime someone posts about the accuracy problems with DAQ Outlaws.

    (Some of that is also competitor/Troll driven so needs to be taken with a large dose of NaCl!)

    The folks who are successful at getting their DAQ Outlaws to shoot well seldom post; that’s the reality for why we have Complaint Departments but NO Compliment Departments in this World.

    I like the look of Mr. Hollowpoints .458 new to me 300 and 333gr bullets and need to order some As Cast or sized to .459 for my DAQs

    I look forward to your 100 session, on a pleasant range day, with YOUR TEXAN.

    shootski


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