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Beeman R8 and the SubMOA challenge: Part 2

Beeman R8 Tyrolean
Beeman R8 Tyrolean.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Any rings work
  • Group 1
  • Group 2
  • Group 3
  • BB is tired
  • Two more groups
  • Day two group 1
  • Day 2 group 2
  • The special thing
  • And…?
  • Why didn’t I…?
  • Summary

The Texas Airgun Show will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2022. BB will be there with three tables of guns priced to find new owners. And the next day there is a field target match. So shooters, save up and join us at the show.

Today is the culmination of this special 2-day report. I have allowed you to look over my shoulder as I attempted to shoot a sub minute of angle group with a spring-piston air rifle. I could have done this more easily with my TX200 Mark III that has the Tony Leach 22mm tuning kit installed, but I had other things I wanted to do and so I chose a breakbarrel Beeman R8 for the job. People ask me all the time if breakbarrels are less accurate than fixed barrels and I tell them they aren’t. But they can be more difficult to shoot accurately.

Yesterday you saw six groups that were shot with a Hawke 4.5-14 Sidewinder scope mounted on the rifle. Though I did well I never got that sub quarter-inch group. So I changed the scope to my Meopta MeoSport 3-15X50 that I wanted to mount in the first place. It turns out that the Meopta scope rings will only fit a Picatinny scope base and the UTG adaptors that convert Picatinny to 11mm dovetails will not work with these mounts because of how they are designed. If you want to know more, read yesterday’s report.

Any rings work

But the MeoSport scope has a 30mm tube that will fit any 30mm scope rings. They don’t need to have the line on them. So I removed the Hawke scope and mounted the Meopta for a test. 

I then shot more three groups late last Saturday afternoon, after scheduling Part 1 for publication. I was still shooting from 25 yards with the same JSB Exact RS pellet. Here we go.

Group 1

This first group looked so good through the scope. But when I measured it, it turned out to be 0.27-inches between centers. It needed to be smaller than 0.25 inches. But it gave me confidence.

Beeman R8 group 1
The first group was five JSB RS pellets in 0.27-inches at 25 yards. So close!

Group 2

I figured I had things down now. But group 2 blew up in my face. Five pellets went into 0.598-inches at 25 yard. And yes, that pellet on the bottom was the last one fired. The other four are in 0.389-inches, which is a heck of a lot better. No — there were no called pulls. I wish!

Beeman R8 group 2
Wow — BB just lost it on the second group. Five JSB RS pellets went into 0.598-inches at 25 yards.

Group 3

The third group went into 0.321-inches at 25 yards. Another okay group, but still no cigar.

Beeman R8 group 3
Five shots in 0.321-inches at 25 yards.

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BB is tired

I shot these three groups at the end of a long day. It was Saturday and I was working outside and in the attic, so I was worn out. I thought that would help me settle down but apparently it didn’t — at least not enough.

Okay — at this point some of you guys are saying that maybe this rifle doesn’t shoot as well as it used to. Or maybe BB, who is 12 years older than in 2010, doesn’t shoot that well anymore. Hogwash! I’m shooting from a sandbag rest. I know many of you want me to use a vise to hold the rifle, but I have been doing this long enough that I know what I can and can’t do. And this R8 IS that accurate.

Two more groups

I don’t work on Sunday, but on Monday I got up at 2 a.m. and, after getting the cat fed, my own breakfast and the house running, I shot two more groups. Before doing that I fired three shots to “warm up” the R8 powerplant.

Day two group 1

The first group is five JSB RS pellets in 0.435-inches at 25 yards. I know it’s a bigger group, but the last 4 shots went into 0.283-inches and I knew I could do better. I was back on the edge again! I can’t explain it, but when it happens you just know it.

Beeman R8 Day 2 group 1
The first group Monday morning was five JSB RS pellets in 0.435-inches at 25 yards, with the last four in 0.283-inches. BB is on the pipe!

Day 2 group 2

Okay, this is a note to BB from BB. I have to remember how this is done. And it includes something I haven’t told you before — something that made a huge difference! Here is exactly what I did for this final group.

First — I had the sandbag pulled all the way back so my trigger finger was jammed into the bag. But I still tried to “hold” the pistol grip as loose as possible — a sort of sandbag artillery hold, if you will.

Next, and I haven’t told you this yet, but I did it on all three days for every group I have shown, so it isn’t the special something I mentioned. I don’t have a bubble level on the R8, so I lined up the scope’s crosshairs with the numbers on the target bullseyes. If you don’t level the rifle the same way for every shot you’ll find it almost impossible to shoot your best groups.

The special thing

I remembered this special thing on day two and again on day three. It’s where those tight groups of four came from. Aim the rifle and shoot! Don’t keep trying to refine the sight picture, and also remember that there is no way you can keep the crosshairs steady. They will always move. Your job is to allow them to move by the smallest amount you can. I can keep them moving a little less than a tenth of an inch at 25 yards — about the diameter of the 10-dot in a 10-meter target bullseye.

And…?

This final group measured 0.188-inches between centers. It’s BETTER than what I did in 2010 — so phooey on my age! Can I do it again? Sure. But I need THIS rifle, THIS pellet and THIS scope. And, in doing it I’ll probably shoot many more groups that are larger than a quarter inch. That’s what it takes for me.

Beeman R8 Day 2 group 2
Yes sir — there is a five-shot 0.188-inch sub minute of angle group at 25 yards! See the trime? BB can still shoot!

Beeman R8 Day 2 MOA card
And there is the proof — a sub minute of angle group. See those thick red rings? The precise measurements are in the centers of each red line. I measured them on the quarter and half-inch circles with a dial caliper.

Could this be done with the Hawke scope? Absolutely! You see, when I removed that scope from the rings to mount the Meopta scope I discovered that it wasn’t shimmed under the rear of the tube. I thought it was, but it wasn’t. Oh oh! The elevation was adjusted too high. That’s why the erector tube was floating and why you saw stiction in the sixth group in Part One. It wasn’t the scope’s problem. It was BB’s problem that he didn’t tell you about until now. And I did shim the Meopta scope at the rear. Remember in Part One where I said I would come back to the 30mm scope rings? This was it.

Why didn’t I…?

…shoot other pellets? Come on, guys and gals. Surely you understand why I didn’t. Change one thing at a time. Don’t worry, you’re going to see more of this Beeman R8 in the days to come and there will be other pellets.

…shim the Hawke scope and make it work? Because I already told you that I wanted to test this MeoSport scope with this rifle. Once it dawned on me that any 30mm rings will work I was off to the races. By the way, Meopta, this spring-piston air rifle does recoil. It doesn’t recoil very much, but it does recoil a little. I just wanted you to know.

Summary

In this special two-part test I have pulled back the curtain and let you see almost everything I did. I did it so you could appreciate what it takes to put five pellets into a group that’s smaller than a minute of angle at 25 yards when shooting a spring-piston air rifle. Was it slow and excruciating for you? If so I don’t recommend trying this at home. If you want to participate in the SubMOA Challenge, shoot a precharged pneumatic air rifle.

38 thoughts on “Beeman R8 and the SubMOA challenge: Part 2”

  1. “This final group measured 0.188-inches between centers.”
    B.B.,
    You got your formula back…sweet! That’s some nice shooting. 🙂
    Take care & God bless,
    dave

  2. BB,

    Hurray for the R8! So it finally boils down to the workman capable of making his tool do a proper job! Some tools make the job easier though and some are just plain challenging.

    Maybe they can make a BB edition of the card using your coin sizes instead of micrometer measurements?

    Siraniko

  3. B.B.,

    Nice shooting Mr. Super Senior for sure and a bit of Perseverance always helps.
    You have me thinking I need to show some of my own Super Seniority gumption and give this a go with one or both of my SIG ASP20. Then I can fall back to one of the DAQs if I need to!

    In Any Rings Work second paragraph: “I then shot [more (flip) three] groups late last Saturday afternoon,”

    shootski

    • You might be able to do it with one of those Sigs, but I doubt it. They have too much power. Now if they had Theoben pistons that you could adjust down a bit…

      Do not let me stop you though. Those sproingers will teach you so much about shooting. They will humble you. I know. I myself am going to have to relearn how to shoot. 😉

      • RidgeRunner,

        The SIGs are the only adult break barrels I will in all likelyhood own: so thems are it!
        I will go at it for a time at 25 yards and if the Nimrod gods smile upon me I may try a few pellets at 50 yards. I have no illusion about how difficult it is at 50+ but I only sighted-in at 25yards and then moved right to 50, 75, and 100 yards with both of the (.177 & .22 caliber) since I wanted to see how they would shoot bullets (slugs) at those “outrageous” distances. So far with bullets I have hovered around two MOA. This next effort will be using diabolo pellets to try to wring out every bit of precision at 25 yards and MAYBE at 50 yards.
        I’m hoping for beginners luck and hopefully applying only good technique learned right here on the Godfather’s Blog from hisself and the Readership.

        Good luck to all the rest of you taking part…i know i will need some ;^)

        shootski

        • LOL! 1 to 2 MOA is typical for a sproinger. If you hold your tongue just right, you might pull off the 25 yard shots with one of the Sigs, but I seriously doubt you will do much with them at 50 yards.

          Sub MOA with any gun is tough. With most airguns, it is even tougher. With sproingers it is “Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen.” That was some shooting that BB pulled off there. If I were you, I would have to try it. You never know.

          • RidgeRunner,

            Went to the range this afternoon…see the tragic results in my post down a ways!
            I AM NOT DONE YET!
            More paper and pellets will be sacrificed to Nimrod’s Alter!

            shootski

  4. BB,

    nice shooting… We’ll see if I can get anywhere close if I get the chance to shoot at 25m.

    I was wondering about this sentence:

    “People ask me all the time if breakbarrels are less accurate than fixed barrels and I tell them they aren’t. But they can be more difficult to shoot accurately.”

    Are breakbarrels really harder to shoot? Springers vs. PCPs sure. Would an HW35 really require more technique than an HW77? The latter is heavier, which probably helps, but recoil is recoil, isn’t it?

    Stephan

    • Stephan,

      People think that because a breakbarrel moves the barrel it can’t be as accurate as a fixed barrel. Maybe I will write a report on it.

      BB

      • BB,

        I think you have in fact written about it. The result was that breakbarrels are not inherently less accurate. At least you have shot *very* tight groups with them (I remember your Diana 34P report from many years back).

        I was actually wondering about the “more difficult to shoot” aspect. I don’t see why a fixed barrel would make shooting any easier. If it has a spring and no recoil compensation, it’ll require the artillery hold.

        Stephan

      • BB, I look forward to an article on the break vs. fixed springer barrel in re. accuracy. I have both in my arms locker. I am an unredeemed springer enthusiast.

        I would stack up my venerable 1989 RWS Model 36 against my RWS 430L any day of the week! It would be an illegitimate comparison, of course, because the 36 is a magnum break barrel and the 430 moderate speed fixed barrel. The advantage should go to the 430L, per the bias of many, but the 36 is my personal “gold standard” of what a proper break barrel can do and should be. FULL DISCLOSURE: I have shot tens of thousands of rounds in the Model 36 and is a most familiar “old friend” that does what it was meant to do flawlessly. Perhaps that long, long, long history is what makes the difference? (Familiarity can breed competence instead of contempt!)

        What I remind powder burning compatriots about air guns applies to comparisons between airgun systems or types; it is the discipline of the shooting action by the shooter more than the mechanical properties of the gun that makes the marksman – in most cases…. A well-schooled springer shooter with tens if not hundreds of thousands of rounds of practice can take a violent springer to task and shoot well.

        My newer 430L is, inherently, likely more accurate given the fixed barrel and, far more importantly, is lower power (and less spring effect) than the more violent Model 36 (that STILL provides a slight twang to the cheek). But over thirty years of familiarity, three main springs and one total rebuilt by UMAREX , a lead-polished barrel, and use-polished trigger result in the Model 36 the Monarch of the Arms Locker. I have learned to shoot it consistently and thus well over a third of a century.

        I understand that the Model 36, FOR ME, is “cheating.” It has become so much my shooting companion that “we think and act alike!” That familiarity borne of thousands and thousands of shots, shows me that the break barrel action is NOT inherently more inaccurate than the fixed barrel (c.f., 430L). The issue, barring a seriously flawed design, is not the piece but the shooter and his/her PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

        Anyway, that’s how I see it. The springer should be the starting point for marksmanship. If one can conquer and control that, one can likely shoot just about anything. The springer, like the black powder arm before it, demands attention to the arm, to the sight picture, to the follow-through and it the hold that knits it all together. If once can master those variables, the rest becomes a rewarding pellet-on-target-satisfaction.

        Anyway, that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!

        1

  5. By the way,

    this is the best group I ever shot with the HW35 at 10 meters from a bag rest. I used H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets.

    It took a *lot* of concentration and several tries.

    I think it still isn’t sub-MOA. 1 MOA at 100 meters is 2,9 cm. Thus it should be 2,9 mm at 10 meters. Add to that half a pellet diameter (2,25mm) and you would get 5,15mm. This group is about 9mm wide. Not even close.
    (Please let me know if there is an error in my calculation)

    Stephan

    • It might still be over 1 MoA, but it is a lot closer than you think . . .

      You don’t subtract 1/2 a pellet diameter unless you are measuring just the radius of the group – since you are measuring the diameter, you subtract the full pellet diameter (1/2 from each side), so that would be 7.35 mm allowed instead of 5.15 . . .

      • AlanMcD:

        Thanks for the info… You’re right about the pellet diameter.

        Sounds like it’s probably doable with the FWB300S and maybe just about possible with a recoiling springer. I may give it a try even though as a German, I can’t enter the Pyramyd competition 🙂

    • Stephan, if your goal is 2.9 mm, center to center, than you add an entire pellet width (not half) to find your maximum group size. If you shot a perfect group–zero mm center to center–you would have a 4.5 mm hole (shooting 4.5mm or .177 caliber). So in your case, 7.4 mm would do it. You are only 1.6 mm away. Keep trying.

  6. “Once upon a time, in a land far away…”

    Back when I had my Gamo CFX, after close to a year of shooting it, when I dropped into “the zone” I was able to put ten shots at twenty-five yards in a group that would completely hide under a dime. That was with H&N FFT with 4.51mm heads. 4.52mm would not do it. Neither would JSB Exacts, though they were close. Like a fool I let that CFX go. Ah well.

    Here at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns, the old gals around here will not even take scopes. Not much chance in them pulling this off. Now, I have a PCP that should be capable of this. We shall see.

    That is some mighty fine shooting there.

  7. Nice shooting, B.B., I knew you could do it. What a beautiful rifle. Thanks for letting us peek over your shoulder. So do we get to see what it takes to qualify for “Legendary”? C’mon, yer on a roll now!

    I am distraught that I will miss the chance to meet you in person at the Texas Airgun Show (and seeing what you have on your tables). I will have to consol myself with shooting my small collection of airguns and reading back issues of this blog.

  8. BB

    Hats off to you for the sub MOA!

    Some of the comments today about artillery hold, break barrel springers and fixed barrel springers leave me wondering. What is a perfect artillery hold for one specific gun? Some readers who I believe are good shots use modified holds that minimize reticle wobble. The gun is rested or partially rested on a bag exactly the same way every shot. Some put wool or silk between the bag and rifle.

    Readers, even a howitzer’s weight is supported. As BB has said many times it recoils exactly the same way every shot. So if a springer’s weight is supported the same way every shot and recoils freely every shot, what’s the difference?

    PS: I use a different hold for every break barrel springer I have. Whatever works for that gun.

    Deck

  9. Speaking of scopes, checked out the discounted Whiskey3 from SIG last nite and appears Shootski’s great deal is no longer available from the manufacturer but the scopes can still be had at a good price elsewhere.

  10. All

    I received my Whiskey 3 scope yesterday. It does NOT have the illuminated reticle that the included instructions describe (tho it did include an Allen wrench??). Still, it appears to be a very good quality scope for the $107 it cost on amazon. We shall see when I decide what to mount it on. I have an FWB300S that might enjoy it, as well as a Crosman Challenger 2009 that has been my precision 10M rifle,, so maybe there. Might depend on what rings I have. May have to purchase some more.

    Ed

    • Rambler,

      Thanks. I think I got all the Burris references out.

      The old HW50 had a 25mm piston. The new one is 26MM . The new rifle is a more powerful air rifle.

      BB

  11. INFO for the WHISKEY 3

    THE SIG ASP WHISKEY 3 reticle is NOT illuminated.
    The instructions SIG included are for all of the WHISKEY 3 line of scopes :^(
    The reticle is a true Mil-Dot and very thin compared to most other etched glass; which I really like.
    On the SIG SITE you need to get to air and then Tactical Riflescopes to find the ASP WHISKEY 3 offer or just click on this link: https://www.sigsauer.com/airguns.html?product_sub_category=1560

    I would normally not do that to PA but they don’t sell this item anymore

    shootski

  12. B.B., RidgeRunner, and the rest of allYAll,

    Shootski had a 1 hour long HITT workout with a Personal Trainer this morning that made me feel like Gumby or maybe like Pokey. But after seeing B.B.’s most excellent group and RidgeRunner’s best wishes I went to the range. I took both my SIG ASP20 and an assortment .177 & .22 pellets as I never travel to the range with only one shooter. I also grabbed my Sinclair Rest and placed the rear bunny ears bag by the door…the phone rang and I took a quick call and headed to the range. Yup! The rear rest stayed at home.
    I wanted to shoot the .22 with the synthetic stock so first up was sighting in with an old tin of JSB (GRAY PAINED LABEL) EXACT JUMBO 15.86gr. they hit 2.8″ high so i cranked in about 14 down and then another 14 or so to get the Elevation down to where i wanted it and then some left Windage to keep my aimpoint intact. I used the AR-5/1 NRA 10 METER AIR RIFLE TARGET. I lined up 5 of them horizontally across the cardboard backer board and started shooting the JSBs; 5 to a target. Well most were closer to 2 MOA then to 1 MOA but a few were .3″ and some of the 4 and 3 pellet subgroups were 1 MOA but always that one or two pellet stinkers out of 5 that would bust the 1 MOA limit. I’m going to blame it on my lack of springer experience, my hard morning workout, and of course forgetting to grab my rear rest…LOL!
    I tried some Beeman (H & N ) Match .22 caliber wad cutters but they printed a 5 MOA group of 10…Not even close to the right pellet. I next tried some Beeman FT Specials (14.8 gr.) which were good for 3+MOA also NOT a pellet for the .22 SIG! JSB EXACT JUMBO HEAVY 18.13 gr had a tantalizing 3 touching pellet sub moa group going but the last two pellets opened that to 1.2 and 1.5 MOA…i need to shoot more of them and not at a 100 yard precision rifle target with a MOA sized aim point at 25 yards.
    But I was beat and needed to get home for dinner.

    Once again good luck to all of you in getting your MOA or Sub MOA groups with whatever you are shooting!

    shootski

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