This report covers:

  • BB didn’t forget
  • Miss Peach
  • Woe is me!
  • Kaitlyn Riley
  • Picking her up
  • However
  • Just like airguns
  • What is the P1?
  • Good 1911 trainer
  • Two power levels
  • Why the weird intro?
  • What can be done to increase power in a P1?
  • Whatcha got
  • Summary

BB — you forgot the title. If this is Part One, what is it Part One of?

BB didn’t forget

No, dear readers, BB didn’t forget. This is indeed Part One of an airgun review, but I’m coming at this one differently. Something has occurred to me, and I thank reader Fish for the inspiration.

Miss Peach

I promise, today is about airguns. But allow me an obscure introduction, because it fits with the way this review will be conducted. As regular readers are aware, I traded in my Harley Sportster 48 Special for a Harley Road King. I did it for the same reason many of you fuss about buying airguns. I was dissatisfied with the Sportster.

The Sportster would start to shimmy at 55 to 60 mph, and it got worse when I added the windshield. It felt like I was on ice. Also, I could not get that bike to corner. It felt unstable, as though the wheels were about to slip out from under me.

That’s when I met Miss Peach. Miss Peach is a Harley Road King, a touring motorcycle that I decided early-on I couldn’t possibly ride. My short inseam, plus the fact that I’m 74 made me think I was too old, fat and short-legged for such a big bike. You see Road Kings are one of the bikes that motorcycle cops ride.

Miss Peach
Miss Peach.

Then I saw Miss Peach at the dealership, and she was so pretty that I had to take her for a spin. She was way out of my class, weight-wise, but pretty will make us do dumb things, right? My Sportster weighed 550 lbs. Miss Peach weighs 836 lbs. which is close to 300 lbs. more!

But she rode like she was on rails! She could lean and handle the bumpy roads without loosening my fillings. And she cost only a little more than my Sportster.  So I bought her. And yes, this blog is about an airgun — I promise.

Within the first week of ownership I dropped Miss Peach 4 times! Three were on the same day. Turns out that an 836 lb. motorcycle is unforgiving when it gets off-balance while not moving. I dropped her in four parking lots while she was standing still. She has an engine guard in front and a bag guard in back, so nothing was damaged or even scratched. She sort of just leans way over.

Woe is me!

So I cried in my beer. I loved the way Miss Peach handles when she moves at speed. I just couldn’t handle her when she was going less than 5 mph. Oh well, I always knew I was too old, fat and short-legged.

Kaitlyn Riley

Then I got to watching police motorcycle rodeos on You Tube and I saw little 112-lb. Kaitlyn Riley ride her Harley Road King through obstacles without a problem! I won’t embed this short video, but here is a link to one of her competitions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg0Tk5No0JU

Turns out there is skill involved in riding a heavyweight touring motorcycle. That was news to me, because when I was young and dumb no skill was needed.

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Picking her up

But Miss Peach still weighs 836 lbs. What do I do when I drop her and no one is around to help me pick her up! Waaah! Then I watched another video of a girl picking up a 900+ lb. Harley by herself. Here is another link to watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V-kw2zUkSI

However

Yes, there is a however — and we are almost to the airgun part — the bikes I rode in the 1960s and ’70s were all lightweights, except for two superbikes, neither of which weighed over 550 lbs. A Harley Road King is a way different animal. Yes, it’s fast when you crank it on, but what it really is, is stable. It’s a touring motorcycle, and old BB never rode one of those in the old days. Heck, back in BB’s day touring motorcycles like we have today didn’t even exist. Harley Electra Glides weighed less than 700 lbs. and they were considered heavy!

Just like airguns

And now I keep my promise. You see a Beeman P1, which today’s report is about, is a great air pistol. So is a Crosman 2240. Both are great and they are nothing alike! This report is about the P1, so that’s the last I will say about the 2240, except to note that, as nice as it is, it isn’t a Beeman P1.

Beeman P1
Beeman P1.

What is the P1?

The P1 is Beeman’s branding of the Weihrauch HW 45. It’s a spring-piston air pistol that cocks via an overlever, much like many vintage Webley air pistols. Unlike the Webleys though, the P1 barrel is enclosed in a top strap or lever that also contains the adjustable sights. They have been made in .177, .20 and .22 calibers.

Beeman P1 cocked
The P1 is broken open to the high power level.

Beeman P1 sights
The rear sight of the P1 adjusts in both directions.

Good 1911 trainer

The P1 weighs 2.5 lbs, which is close to the weight of a 1911 (2.44 lbs. with empty magazine). The grip feels like a 1911A1 that has the curved mainspring housing. The trigger is suspended from a pin, unlike the 1911 trigger, but the length to the trigger is very close to a 1911 (not an A1, whose trigger is much shorter).

It’s easier to get accustomed to the P1 than to a 1911 firearm because of the lower noise and recoil. Also, pellets are far less expensive than .45 ACP rounds, which makes the air pistol a great trainer. However, unless your 1911 is a good one, the air pistol may be more accurate — especially at close range.

We will test this one to see what a P1 can do, but all the ones I have shot in the past have been quite accurate. And we will do another test that may prove quite embarrassing for BB. BB will shoot the pistol offhand at 10 meters to see what he can do with one. That should provide a few laughs!

Two power levels

The P1 is unique in having both a low and high power setting — depending on how far forward the top strap is rotated. Stop at the first click and you have low power. The second click gives you high power. However, this feature isn’t as cool as it sounds. It’s not much harder to cock to high power because the geometry of the linkage changes as the upper part of the frame rotates forward.

Sorry, Yogi, but the longer barrel rotation for cocking does seem easier because of the linkage. I find that true of breakbarrel rifles, too.

In .22 caliber versions of the pistol there is just a single power level, though I have heard of shooters changing the caliber of their pistols by swapping barrels, so you could encounter a .22 with two levels. The frame wouldn’t tell you the caliber — just the barrel.

Why the weird intro?

The weird intro was to open some eyes to the fact that not all airguns are created the same. For decades I have seen people buy P1s and then add shoulder stocks and scopes or dot sights, trying to turn them into small carbines.

Now, I have nothing against adding aftermarket accessories to an airgun you love, but if you don’t love it then I am against trying to turn it into something it’s not. Mount the dot sight if you like. Add the shoulder stock. Just remember the pistol you are adding them to is a Beeman P1. It’s not a whomptydoodle mega magnum pocket blaster from Rigel 5.

Some people want to boost the power to as high as they can go. I have been a part of this, testing P1s that their owners claimed were boosted to 800 f.p.s. And that led me to ask the question:

What can be done to increase power in a P1?

NOTHING!!! This gun already runs at its maximum. Various spring gun tuners in the 1990s offered “sure-fire” power upgrades to this pistol, but nothing ever beat the power the factory put in it. One guy was so frustrated by the situation that he made up a special barrel from nested brass tubes of differing diameters to shoot 1/8″ ball bearings. He claimed velocities of more than 800 f.p.s., but when another gun was built and tested by me for my newsletter, The Airgun Revue, it got 664 f.p.s. on high power. The ball bearing was loose enough to roll out the barrel, so that could have caused a lower velocity than the initial gun had, but that’s not the point. The point is — Harley Road Kings are heavy bikes that require technique to ride at slow speeds! And Beeman P1 pistols are PELLET pistols that can sometimes shoot as fast as 600 f.p.s. — with pellets.

Beeman P1 sleeved barrel
A shooter sleeved his P1 barrel to make it shoot 1/8-inch ball bearings much faster.

Remember reader Jim Contos? He’s the guy who showed us all how to build a pellet trap that is virtually bulletproof. I have fired tens of thousands of shots into mine.

Jim also contacted me in the mid-1990s about “tuning” a Beeman P1 trigger. This was way back in the days of The Airgun Letter. So I followed his instructions and I got a P1 with an 11-ounce trigger. Not that I wanted one.  I liked my old P1 because the trigger was light, crisp and adjustable. It was a great handgun trigger! However, I grew to like the lighter trigger Jim’s modification gave me but I also wanted a stock P1 trigger. So I traded for a second pistol.

At the Texas Airgun Show — back when they were having them — a guy wanted to trade me his P1 for something on my table. It was his $5,000 dog for my two $2,500 cats. But I got a Beeman P1 and this one is bone stock. It needed an overhaul, but it came with all the parts for one and fortunately BB Pelletier knows how to work on P1s. I addressed that for you in a 12-part series back in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Whatcha got

Whatcha got in this report is a different look at an air pistol I have already tested several times in the past. But this time I’m doing it differently. And the point I am hoping to make is — a Beeman P1 is a Beeman P1. It’s not a smaller 50 foot-pound TalonP air pistol. Nor is it a 12 foot-pound carbine that fits into your backpack (and while I’m at it — why are we limited to just 12 foot-pounds?). I don’t care that a Crosman 2240 can be turned into a fine PCP rifle. That’s not what we are talking about in this series.

Summary

This series is about a fine spring-piston air pistol that I know a lot of you readers own and enjoy.  And that is what I’m going to review for you. I may take a small excursion off the main path as we go, but I’m not going to change this pistol as a result.