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Education / Training Makarov CO2 BB Pistol: Part 3

Makarov CO2 BB Pistol: Part 3

Makariv
The Makarov CO2 BB pistol.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Does it hold gas?
  • The test
  • Crosman Black Widow
  • Daisy Avanti Match Grade shot
  • Smart Shot
  • Dust Devil Mark 2
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Makarov CO2 BB Pistol. You may recall that I said that when I tested this pistol on camera in American Airgunner back in 2010 it was extremely accurate. Of course that was a different pistol than the one I’m testing. I am excited to find out how good this one is.

Does it hold gas?

After the last test I set the pistol aside for five days. Did it still hold gas after that time? Unfortunately, no. Just like before it was empty. So the gun has a slow leak that ATF sealant has not been able to fix. Well, it doesn’t always work, does it?

The test

I shot the pistol with 10 of each BB tested except one that was shot twice for a total of 20. I rested the pistol on a UTG monopod and shot seated from 5 meters, which is 16.4 feet. I used a 6 o’clock hold on the bull of a BB gun target.

I wore my 1.25 diopter reading glasses. They enable me to see the front sight blade as clearly as possible.

Before we start I want to remind you that this pistol fires both single and double action, but the single action pull is roughly as heavy as the double action pull. I began the test firing single action but changed during the test. I will tell you when that happened.

Crosman Black Widow

First to be tested were 10 Crosman Black Widow BBs. In other BB guns they have proven the best. That doesn’t guarantee they will be in this pistol, but they are high quality steel BBs.

Ten Black Widows went into a group that measures 1.795-inches between centers. That was not what I expected. It was three times larger than anticipated.

Makrov Black Widow
The Makarov put 10 Crosman Black Widow BBs into a group that measures 1.795-inches between centers at 5 meters.

Daisy Avanti Match Grade shot

The second BB I tested was the Daisy Avanti Match Grade shot. They were even more of a surprise because 10 went into 3.516-inches, however one of those shots was a called pull. This was the group where I stopped cocking the hammer manually and started pulling the trigger double action. The first of those shots went off before I was ready and that was the called pull. Once I realized how smooth the trigger was, there were no other called pulls throughout this test. The nine shots that were not pulled are in 2.202-inches between centers.

Makarov Daisy 515
Ten Daisy Avanti Match Grade BBs went into 3.516-inches at 5 meters. Without the called pull nine shots are in 2.202-inches, which is still not a good group.

Double action is definitely the way to shoot this pistol. The trigger is very smooth and if you fire relatively fast (about a shot per second) you can hold the sights on target without a problem.

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Smart Shot

The next BB I tested was the lead Smart Shot. These were all shot double action and they produced the smallest group of the test. Ten BBs went into 1.506-inches at 5 meters. This group is about twice the size of the groups that I remember from American Airgunner, so we apparently had a very accurate pistol for that test.

Makarov Smart Shot
Ten Smart Shot went into 1.506-inches at 5 meters.

With a result like that I had to try the Crosman Black Widow BBs once again. They were all fired single action the first time and I wondered whether shooting double action would result in a smaller group. This time ten went into 2.394-inches at 5 meters. Nope. No better — worse.

Makarov Black Widow 2
The Makarov put ten Black Widow BBs into 2.394-inches at 5 meters when fired double action.

Okay, the pistol is easier to shoot double action but it doesn’t seem to make much difference to the size of the group.

Dust Devil Mark 2

The last BB I tried was the Air Venturi Dust Devil Mark 2. These usually give the largest group in a test. But today they gave the second-best group. Ten went into 1.767-inches at 5 meters.

0Makarov Dust Devil
Ten Dust Devils made a 1.767-inch group at 5 meters.

Discussion

These results were not what I expected. I was quite surprised by them, but I think they represent what a typical Makarov BB pistol will probably do.

Next I will test the Makarov Ultra. That’s the blowback version of this pistol. I don’t know how long it has held its CO2 cartridge, but it’s been in there at least a year and it’s still holding fine.

That pistol is no longer available, which is a shame because it is even more realistic-looking than the one we tested today. But it also sold for over $100 and apparently people who buy BB guns are not willing to spend that much, regardless of the realism.

Summary

The Makarov BB pistol is about what can be expected in a CO2 repeater. I was surprised by the performance of Dust Devils and Smart Shot, which are ironically the two safest BBs for a fast-firing pistol like this. Stay tuned. 

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

21 thoughts on “Makarov CO2 BB Pistol: Part 3”

  1. BB,

    Just wondering. I believe this pistol was manufactured a couple of decades ago. If you would compare it with a recently manufactured pistol would the newer pistol have the edge in accuracy?

    Siraniko

  2. B.B.,
    I know you’re too busy to go back and do this, but just for giggles, I went to the PA page for this pistol and dug through all 8 pages of reviews to see what people were getting for accuracy; many people gave it a “4” or even a “5,” noting that it was “pretty accurate.” I found statements like, “I can hit everything I pointed to at 25 plus feet” (yes, but what were you pointing at? One gallon paint cans?) or “I would say accurate to 7 or 8 yards” (how accurate is accurate?).
    I did find a half dozen reviews that listed (as you do) a group size at a certain range; a couple were about what you saw with this gun, and there were a few guns that shot better. For brevity, I trimmed the text down to the relevant portion on accuracy; but I included the name and date, in case anyone wants to see that specific customer review.
    Thanking you for all you do,
    dave
    P.S. Here are the 6 customer review excerpts related to accuracy:

    17JUN2020 by Diana
    What others should know:
    This gun is very accurate. Shot from 7 meters and got a great grouping (within a quarter size) and all in black dot area (also about quarter size).

    09JUN2017 by Ronald
    What others should know:
    For my first trial today, out of the box, all 8 BBs hit a 6″ target from a bench rest at 40 ft., with 3 hitting the 2″ Bull.

    23APR2012 by Bill
    Things I liked:
    Using good quality Daisy Avanti BB’s/shot the little gun performed accurately within in a 15 to 20-25 foot range with 2″ to 3″ groupings. Couple of “flyers” but that was more likely me. Flat out Love This Pistol!!

    16JUL2011 by Barney
    Things I liked:
    I had no misconception of the accuracy of this bb gun and did not expect 1/4 in groups, but was well pleased with some 3 in at 7yds if I took my time.

    03MAR2010 by cnoel60
    Things I liked:
    Has the capability to shoot 1.5″ groups at 30 feet

    25SEP2009 by Timothy
    What others should know:
    From 25ft I shot consistent nickel size groups which for a smooth bore short barrel BB pistol is fantastic.

    • thedavemyster,

      Thanks for taking the time to do that! I don’t usually look at the reviews because they are so vague when it comes to accuracy. Your distillation was much more informative. ( And I just like distilled things. The hillbilly in me I guess.)

      Half

      • “And I just like distilled things. The hillbilly in me I guess.”
        Half,
        Speaking of distilled things, you may get a good laugh out of this; when I got out of college, I was offered a job up in Maine (the farthest north piece of the South, in a way); I had to work on an antenna range, which the company had erected on some land leased from a local farmer; hence, the range was surrounded by an operational farm. One night, as I finished up on the antenna range, I stopped by the barn on my way out, and the farmer had some friends over for a gathering. When I walked in, the farmer handed me a mason jar of clear “liquid” (home-made moonshine, of course =>), and said, “Here, try this.” Everyone else had a mason jar, so to be hospitable, I took a big swig…yes, it was my first taste of moonshine…so, I kind of gagged and sputtered…and one of the locals yelled out, “Lookit that, the flat-lander can’t hold his shine!” Everyone cracked up at that, of course. I smiled and got myself under control, and finished my jar, since, to do otherwise would have made me look like a real wuss, hahaha!
        Oh, “flat-lander” was a reference to my coming up from Connecticut; Mainers are proud of their hilly country, so someone from the non-hilly country of Connecticut is “a flat-lander,” which puts you down a point in their book…minus two more points if you “can’t hold your shine!”
        Your comment stirred up some good old memories; thank you for that! 🙂
        Take care & God bless,
        dave

        • Dave,

          I have a close family member that, shall we say, dabbles, in the fine art of making the night time glow?! When done right, you won’t choke or gag, you’ll just suddenly feel a pleasant “warmth” radiate out from your core, or so I’ve heard. ;-).

          Back in the early 70s my High School Chemistry and Physics teacher taught me how to make ‘shine from Blackstrap Molasses. He even loaned me the lab ware I needed to try it. He’d be burned at the stack these days. LOL

          Half

  3. If “The Makarov BB pistol is about what can be expected in a CO2 repeater”, I’m afraid that this part of our hobby is going down the drain really fast. Not working properly items that we pay for reminds me of Tomek’s comment; Denial to the trash… Let’s see how the Ultra will do.

    • Bill,

      What do you expect? It is a small, light, smoothbore bb pistol that has been around quite a few years. You are probably one of those who expect something remarkable from a Webley.

      • R.R.
        I would expect it not to leak, even slowly. And certainly not after the ATF treatment. As far as Webley, the Turkish brand, is concerned, they have an absolutely remarkable gun; the Alecto/Zoraki HP1-Ultra. And this comment comes from a Greek…

  4. BB
    So is the firearm version accurate. And at what distance.

    When you shoot the firearm can you list the velocity the bullet shoots at and what grain the bullets weigh.

    • GF1-

      Per velocity- most loadings of 9×18 Makarov use a 95 gr bullet at 1030 FPS.
      As far as accuracy- it’s a blowback pistol designed for quick and cheap manufacturing per Soviet doctrine. The cartridge is effective to 50 yards. I don’t view the Mak as suitable for Bullseye or bench rest shooting- although having BB test it that way gives us a reasonable baseline. Rather, a reasonable approach to a defensive pistol is timed shots at target(s). Begin at low ready, when timer sounds, raise and engage target. As your results improve, reduce size of targets, increase distance to target and increase number of targets to engage.

  5. B.B.,

    Since you first revisited the Makarov non-blow-back air pistol, I have shot mine almost every day in my backyard. I am a terrible shot to begin with as I have always had unsteady hands. Nevertheless, I am able to hit aluminum cans seven out of ten shots at roughly 25 feet. With my eyes and hands that is about as good as I can shoot with any smooth bore air pistol. I believe my accuracy at a target would by significantly less than yours, but as I said, I am limited in my abilities.

    I now agree with you regarding its trigger. I have begun to favor shooting it double-action. The pull is long and a bit heavy, but exactly as you describe the pull on yours, it is smooth. Mine is also predictable. I have learned when it is about to fire by feel.

    It is fun to shoot a specific air gun during the same time as you are doing so. I wish I had purchased a Gletcher blow-back back when they were available as they apparently had excellent triggers. Visually they have at least one difference from the Umarex ones in that their trigger guards where a bit thicker than standard.

    Michael

  6. Thank you Davemyerster for the “Readers Digest” version.

    On a fixit note, MOST of the co2 guns that use a face seal for the cartridge to seal against use an almost universal seal than can be used on more than one make of airgun.

    Seals are available online for just a couple of dollars, (shipping will be more than the seal) If you shoot co2 guns, I suggest removing the cartridge from the gun before putting it away to protect the seal, I would also suggest ordering a couple of the seals to keep in your parts bin in case one goes bad.

    They tend to leak because a cartridge was left in the gun for an extended period of time, and the seal both compressed, and took the impression of the nose of the co2 cartridge that was in the gun.

    When you load a new cartridge, it may not have the exact imprint of the one that molded the seal over time so it leaks.

    A quick fix that sometimes works until you can source a new seal, is to flip the old one over, and use it that way.

    Some guns like the S&W 78&79’s and the Crosman MKL&MKII are designed to be left charged with gas as they seal differently.

    Thank you again Davemyester.

      • BB

        If I remember correctly, you “blew” the ATF conditioner into the guts of the gun (assuming the valve seal was leaking, perhaps?) and that may not have been the right move. I have recovered stem seals by inverting the gun or mag, depending on design, and filling the “cup” area where the piercing pin is with ATF conditioner, then I set it aside for a few days, still inverted, WITHOUT a cartridge in it. In the past this sometimes allows the seal to take back a profile that is closer to its original shape. I takes nearly a week sometimes and it doesn’t always work. BTW, since all the valving is in the mag, can you isolate the leak with the mag outside the gun, or did you already try that? I remember you writing about listening for a leak, but not the circumstances. In any event, a leak that you can’t hear (or a younger friend can’t hear) probably isn’t going to effect the guns performance much. IMHO

        Half

      • BB,

        Just had another thought! Since everything is in the mag, can you charge it and then spray it with soapy water the way you would to locate a propane or Natural gas leak?

        Half

    • “Thank you Davemyerster for the ‘Readers Digest’ version.”
      45Bravo, you are most welcome; I wasn’t sure I was going to complete the “Readers Digest” version; by the time I got to page 5 of the comments, I was about ready to give it up; but I figured some other airgunners here might want to see what there was to see, so I slogged it out. 🙂

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