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Can BB still shoot?

This report covers:

  • Sheridan Supergrade
  • The test
  • JSB Exact
  • Predator Polymag
  • Crosman Premiers
  • Success
  • The 397
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • One more thing
  • Summary

Don’tcha just love it when the fat lady sings? Yesterday BB was concerned by his inability to make the Benjamin 397 shoot well. So today he took another multi-pump of known accuracy and shot it at 10 meters — to see if the problem was him.

Sheridan Supergrade

My most accurate sporting multi-pump is a .20-caliber Sheridan Supergrade that I tested for you back in 2018. It shot well every time I picked it up, so today we find out whether old BB is slipping or if the Benjamin 397 is the culprit.

Supergrade
I used my Sheridan Supergrade for today’s test.

The test

The Supergrade has a post front sight with a peep sight in the rear, so the test is fairly equivalent to the 397 as it is now set up. I pumped it five times for every shot and I shot 5-shot groups. All shooting was off a sandbag rest at 10 meters. I wore my prescription glasses for this test.

The rifle was sighted for 25 yards and I didn’t want to change that, so all the groups are above the bull that was the aim point. I used a 6 o’clock hold.

JSB Exact

The first pellet tested was the 13.73-grain JSB Exact dome. Five went into 0.146-inches at 10 meters. That group earns the gold dollar for size comparison, because the Type One 1853 gold dollar is 13 mm in diameter and is the smallest coin minted by the U.S. Mint. Anytime a group is smaller than 0.15-inches it gets the gold dollar.

Supergrade JSB
The Sheridan Supergrade put five JSB Exact pellets into 0.146-inches at 10 meters.
That was good for the gold dollar.

So, it looks like old BB can still shoot. But let’s continue, since we’re having fun.

Predator Polymag

Next to be tested were five Predator Polymag pellets. Shooting the exact same way, the Supergrade put them into a 0.244-inch group at 10 meters.

Supergrade Polymag 10 meter
Five Predator Polymag pellets made this 0.244-inch group at 10 meters.

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Crosman Premiers

The last pellet I tested was the tried-and-true Crosman Premier. The Supergrade put five of them into 0.251-inches at 10 meters.

Supergrade Premier 10 meter
The Supergrade put five Crosman Premier domes into this 0.251-inch group at 10 meters.

Success

You can’t argue with success. It seems that old BB can still shoot. So what’s wrong with the Benjamin 397? Well, one way to find out is to shoot it right now, while BB knows what he’s capable of. So that’s what I did.

The 397

By shooting the Benjamin 397 right after shooting the Sheridan Supergrade, I couldn’t help but compare the two rifles. And there are differences. First, the 397 is smaller, slimmer and a little lighter. It pumps easier, too. 

The hole in the 397’s peep sight is much larger than the hole in the Supergrade peep. But I noticed when I shot the Supergrade that I wasn’t spending as much time perfecting the sight picture. I just took aim and fired. Yesterday I spent a lot more time trying to get the sight picture perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect with a peep sight. You might say the peep perfects it.

JSB Exact Heavy

So I shot the 397 just as I had shot the Supergrade. I used JSB Exact Heavy pellets, like I mentioned I was going to do at the end of yesterday’s post. 

Five pellets went into 0.425-inches at 10 meters. While that is quite a bit larger than any of the Supergrade groups shot today, it is also smaller than the best group shot yesterday, which was 0.519-inches for five Premier Lights. I do think that shooting the Supergrade relaxed me so I was a better shot with the 397.

397 JSB Heavy 10 meter
Today the Benjamin 397 put five JSB Exact Heavy pellets in 0.425-inches at 10 meters.

One more thing

I have read that as the brass barrels of Benjamin and Sheridan rifles wear in over time, they get smoother and smoother. And with that they also become more accurate. I don’t know if that’s true, but it does seem reasonable. So this 397 might be just waiting to blossom.

Summary

I had to do today’s test because I thought yesterday’s problems could have been me. I’m now pretty sure they weren’t, but I will keep an eye on my performance as time passes.

39 thoughts on “Can BB still shoot?”

  1. “Five pellets went into 0.425-inches at 10 meters.”
    B.B.,
    That’s good shooting with both guns. Were you using your regular glasses this time? And while the group with the 397 was not as small as with the Supergrade, the Supergrade has a much nicer trigger, yes? So perhaps once the trigger on the 397 is smoothed up, it will shoot even better…I hope so.
    Thank you,
    dave

      • B.B.,
        That’s cool. I can’t wait to see how the 397 shoots once you’ve smoothed up the trigger. She may not be the same level of quality as the old Supergrade, but she still has that classic look to her (as does the Supergrade with her Hank-special stock and her peep sight) as she currently sits, so it’ll be sweet to see you coax a good group out of her.
        Take care, God bless, and thank you for all you do,
        dave

  2. B.B.,

    It sure is nice to have a ready gold standard to fall back upon when doubting one’s ability. How do you intend to address the trigger of the 397? Simple lubrication or something else? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Siraniko

      • B.B.,

        Have you had any experience with the re-designed Sear for the 392/397? Steve in NC created the design and sells them through AOA. Wonder if you looked at a picture of this re-designed sear would give you some ideas for your trigger job. A “blueprint” if you will.

        BTW, I don’t know if this has any merit but many owners of the newer 397/392 reported over spray from the factory that got into the barrels and onto their crowns. Once they cleaned it off they reported improved accuracy.

  3. B.B.,

    Five JSBs went into 0.146-inches at 10 meters? There will still be some myth-huggers out there who think vintage Sheridan pellets are the most accurate. Me? I’ll go with today’s JSBs in .20.

    Michael

    • Michael,
      I have some old Sheridan cylindrical pellets in the yellow box, but I keep them for nostalgic purposes. Once I got ahold of some JSBs in .20 caliber (13.73 grain), they shot so much more accurately that that is now all I use in the old C-model. I can hit a soda bottom at 40 yards, regularly, no problem, with the peep on her; there’s no way I could do that with the old pellets…unless I took 20 shots, and one of the “pattern” just happened to hit it. =>
      Take care,
      dave

  4. BB: I’m curious about the Benjamin and Sheridan brass barrels . . . are they rifled? You commented that as they wore in, that they became smoother and more accurate. By this I would assume that these relatively high-dollar rifles were smooth bore, not rifled. Educate me, please. I need all the learning I can get. Thanks, Orv

    • Hoppy,

      Yes, those barrels are rifled. Being brass, I believe they rifle easier than steel, even when the steel is soft.

      Premium rifle barrels are lapped (polished) with lead plugs. I guess pellets do the same thing.

      BB

  5. BB,

    Bravo! 🙂 Don’t over look any simple trigger mods. that (may?) be out there like what can be done with the Maximus trigger. It may get you better than what you can get with whatever adjustments you may have.

    Chris

  6. BB,

    It is a real shame that they messed up the 397/392. My hope is they have not invested way too much in the synthetic stock to cut their losses and redesign it to be similar to the 362 stock. Or maybe it is their plan to bring out the 362 and if it does well like the Fortitude, they will let the 397/392 slip back into the shadows like the Discovery/Maximus.

    With the 362, they can bring out a “362 Supergrade” with a steel breech, LW barrel and Williams peep sight as standard. Maybe someone should give Ed Schultz a call. 😉

      • I have just did a search around and found where the 362 is going to sell for around $90 and the Drifter kit is going for about $120. At those prices, if they do not make a Supergrade, you can afford to make one yourself. After a few years they might catch on.

        • RidgeRunner,
          I’ve been keeping my eye out for that 362; I already modded my PA 1377 into a steel-breeched .22 caliber beauty with lovely rosewood stocks; I could see myself getting crazy with a 362 in the same way…looking forward to it! =>
          Happy shooting to you,
          dave

      • BB,

        This is a good thing. The only issue I can think of is either VO is going to have to buy more parts or as they did with the Discovery/Maximus, drop other models. I do hope they do not end the 22XX line. I had best get a steel breech while I can.

  7. BB

    As others have said it’s the glasses you used and lawyered trigger. While you have consistently and rightly embraced the virtues of front sight focus, if you can’t see what you’re shooting at you ain’t gonna hit it. Nice to know you haven’t lost your marksmanship skills.

    A few years ago I bought a 397 from PA that shot one flier after another regardless of pellets tried. PA gladly swapped it in toward a HW30S purchase. You can imagine how pleased I was with that outcome. But I like pumpers and still wanted one if accurate. Well I just located a Sheridan Blue Streak and it soon will be on my deck!

    Deck

    • “Well I just located a Sheridan Blue Streak and it soon will be on my deck!”
      Hey Deck,
      Please post a pic of her once you get her; thank you.
      Take care,
      dave

    • Deck,

      “While you have consistently and rightly embraced the virtues of front sight focus, if you can’t see what you’re shooting at you ain’t gonna hit it.”

      I know you are talking about BB’s choice of glasses; but lest some of the newer readers get the wrong idea BB wrote one of the best blogs on the specifics of front and rear sight alignment:

      https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2013/08/calling-th-shots-and-follow-through/

      The newer readers of Tom’s Blog may not have that much experience with non optical sights in this blog are some priceless items beyond just calling your shots and follow through! This one is open sight specific but he has a few on PEEPS and the fine details of how they work too!

      It always amazes new shooters when i tell them to not focus on the target but rather work on the front and rear sight alignment to get their scores to increase with hits on the OUT OF FOCUS target instead of missing the TARGET they saw perfectly!

      shootski

  8. Yes, BB can still shoot, but the Crosman 397 is NVG. New effort with the Supergrade, 0.146″ at 10 meters is 1.3 MOA. Yesterday’s report with the 397 of 0.519″ @ 10 M was 4.5 MOA. and improved in today’s report to 0.425″ @ 10 M, or 3.7 MOA. Two years back (7/26/2019) Tom’s old Blue Streak was 0.325″ @ 25 yds, or 1.2 MOA. I own a Blue and a Silver Streak, and I think both of them have done about 2 MOA, and I would guess Tom could do better. The old Sheridan rifles were/are sweet shooters – even without a target trigger. Bring ’em back, Crosman.

  9. B.B.

    The Test paragraph, last sentence: “I wore my perscription glasses for this test.” It should be, “I wore my prescription glasses for this test.”

    By the way, would it be correct to say that, “Can BB still shoot?”, is a “loaded” question? pun intended.

  10. BB
    So you shot your peep sighted 397 with reading glasses. And now this gun with prescriprion.

    How can you compare the results? And yes you did.

    Shoot this gun like you did the 397 and see what happens. Or now shoot the 397 with the glasses you used for this gun you shot today.

    But here is were you leave us hanging. When you shot the 397 after the other gun on todays report you did not say if you used your regular glasses or readers like you did in the 397 report the other day???

    • GF1,

      Did you miss this, in the paragraphs about the test?

      I wore my prescription glasses for this test.

      Or did you think I switched to reading glasses when I shot the 397 and didn’t think it was important enough to mention?

      I’m confused. 😉

      BB

  11. All the discussion about sight, sighting and eyeglasses has finally motivated FM to upgrade his prescription and doing so Friday. Shooting accuracy lately has been, to put it mildly, erratic. This is solely FM’s fault. Sometimes double vision creeps into the picture when aiming; sometimes depth perception loss adds to the challenge. At least the left eye, which suffered a retinal detachment a little over 3 years ago is at 80% acuity compared to the right one. Maybe the new glasses will help. Regardless, FM will keep on shootin’ even if he has to change his name to Deadeye Fawlty or Fawlty Magoo.

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