RMAC 22 rifle
This is the actual rifle I’m testing. I won the lumber lottery with this one!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Not that easy
  • Stuff
  • The start
  • Shot two
  • Ruined the loading tool
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Shot three
  • Shot 4
  • Shot 5
  • Shots 6, 7 and 8
  • This test
  • Black powder not that difficult

Today I shoot the RMAC .22 blackpowder breechloading rifle for velocity. There is a lot to learn in today’s report, so let’s begin.

Not that easy

The couch commandos who read these reports think this little rifle sounds like it’s easy to operate and fun. Today I will tell you that it is anything but.

Some of you complain when I don’t write about airguns, and this one certainly isn’t an airgun. I do that for a reason. Many of you have not handled firearms and have the same misconceptions about them as the general non-shooting public. And there are things we can learn from shooting firearms that translate directly over to airguns. That’s probably the subject for a whole separate series, so I won’t get into it today, but be aware that there are many carryovers.

Stuff

You know how people say they won’t buy a precharged pneumatic (PCP) airgun because of all the extra things you need to have? Try shooting black powder! A PCP is clean and green compared to black powder. And this RMAC rifle may be even worse. Look at the stuff I needed to shoot today.

RMAC stuff
Here is a lot of the stuff I needed to shoot the RMAC .22 today. Not shown are the steel punch, plastic hammer and the Swiss Army knife I was still to get.

The start

I started where I left off at the end of Part 4. I thought I had learned how best to load the rifle, but there was more learnin’ to come. But I loaded it the first time by pouring the chamber 3/4 full of 4F black powder. Then I inserted a number 4 buckshot and pressed it in with the loading tool. I had to smack the back of the loading tool several times with a plastic hammer to get the ball low enough to clear the rear of the barrel when the breech was swiveled closed.

Then I punched out a paper cap with the hole punch and put it into the steel cap cover that goes on the back of the swivel breech. Then I rotated the breech in line with the barrel and BAM! The ball went through the skyscreens at 745 f.p.s. 

The was slower than I expected. Given the huge explosion when the rifle fires I thought the ball was going out supersonic. Okay, time to reload.

Shot two

Shot one took about 5 minutes to load. Shot 2 took about 20 minutes. The reason? The swivel breech didn’t want to line up with the barrel. I had to remove it from the rifle and clean everything on the outside with a stiff bristle brush. When I say everything, I mean I had to remove the swivel breech that was now loaded from the receiver of the rifle and go over all of the outside of it with the brush. Then I had to brush out the place in the receiver where it fit. I had to remove the steel cap cover, take the cap put and scrape the inside of the cover with a flat-bladed screwdriver, then brush off everything inside and out. I did all of this to get the swivel breech to align with the barrel, but also, it wasn’t enough. The ball was still sticking out the end of the breech just enough to catch on the rear of the barrel and not allow it to swivel closed.

Find a Hawke Scope

Ruined the loading tool

I pounded the ball in hard with the loading tool, to the extent that the tool was ruined. 

BB RMAC balls and loader
This is how the loading tool is supposed to look.

RMAC loading tool
This is how it looked after I pounded on it to load the second ball.

So the loading tool was ruined and the ball still would not clear the barrel. Out came the Swiss Army Knife.

Swiss Army knife

My Swiss Army knife shaved off the part of the ball that was still standing proud of the breech.

RMAC shaved ball
I cut off the still-protruding tip of the ball with my knife.

Now the breech swiveled closed. Ready to shoot shot two. BAM! My neighbor, Denny, texted me that he heard that one in his garage. I also noticed a LOT of sparks and fire coming from the muzzle this time.

Think the velocity was higher because the ball was lighter? Think again. This time the chronograph registered 689 f.p.s. Apparently this rifle isn’t that powerful.

Shot three

Shot three took another 20 minutes to load. And I had the shave off the tip of the ball again to get the breech to align. And the velocity? ERROR 9. This is the first time in 16 years I have seen that error code.

I will have a lot more to say about ERROR 9, but after the test I looked it up and saw that it was a lighting error code.  But it wasn’t being caused by the lighting in my garage. I’ll address it more in a moment.

RMAC ERROR 9
This was the first time I ever saw this error code.

Shot 4

By this time in the test I was removing the swivel breech from the gun and cleaning it before loading every time. That cut the time to load back to five minutes, because I was also getting the buckshot deeper into the breech. But I messed up the first ball and had to remove it and load again. I used that opportunity to dump out some of the powder to make more room in the chamber.

Now I got a steel punch and hit the top of the ball with it and a plastic hammer. It went in deep.

Shot 4 went through the chronograph at 162 f.p.s. At first I doubted the reading, but since I had dumped out some of the powder I figured it was probably right, what with the ball also swaging down inside the barrel.

Shot 5

From this point on, I cut back on the amount of powder I used. Instead of a 3/4 charge (the chamber 3/4 full of powder) I cut back to a 2/3 charge. That gave me a little more room to ram the ball. And the steel punch rammed it very deep when I hit it with the hammer. Now I tried aligning the breech before loading the cap. If it aligned, I put in a cap and was ready to go.

Shot 5 that had a 2/3 powder charge went out at 350 f.p.s. Wow! This little rifle isn’t that powerful, is it?

Shots 6, 7 and 8

Shots 6, 7 and 8 were all ERROR 9s. Given that each of them had taken five minutes to load, I gave up. You can imagine how exasperating it is to work so hard, only to be rewarded by that error code. It wasn’t until I got back to my computer and looked the code up that I realized what was happening.

It was the sparks and flame from the shot that were messing up the chronograph. Now that I know that I think I know what to do about it, which is to shoot with the muzzle from much farther away from the first skyscreen.

This test

I recorded four velocities in today’s “test.”

745
689
162
350

Is this disappointing? Absolutely! Am I going to give up? Nope. But I will give you guys a break from this series for a while.

RMAC caps
Yeah, I shot a lot, for as little as was accomplished.

Black powder not that difficult

I have shot a great many cap and ball revolvers over the past 56 years and they were all far easier to load and fire than this rifle. This RMAC cap-firing rifle is a great-sounding idea that doesn’t work as well as it sounds. I’m telling you this because very few people will ever get to do what I did in this report.

You can watch You Tube videos that will show you the successful side of the rifle, but not the side you see today. This is your peek behind the curtain.