Sig Virtus PCP air rifle: Part 6
This report covers:
This is the second report on the Sig Virtus precharged pneumatic air rifle that Sig recently sent me. The first Virtus I tested back in 2020. As I said in Part 5, Sig sent me another one several weeks ago, so I’m testing it — again. I said I would test it with fresh eyes, but I lied. I keep looking back at the first test to see if anything has changed and I can’t overlook what I have done before.
Today we look at the velocity, muzzle energy and shot count of the Virtus. Sig rates it as a 12 foot-pound rifle and we’ll see if it lives up to it. I also tested the discharge sound with a sound meter, where last time I just made an educated guess. I was surprised and you may be too.
Let’s begin with loading. The Virtus has a 30-round belt that feeds counterclockwise when viewed from the back (the shooter’s perspective). You can load this belt inside the magazine if you want, but it comes out so easily that I prefer to remove it and load it outside the mag.
There is a tool on the inside of the grip cap that is used to press each pellet into the belt. I think this is for consistent velocity, but whatever the reason it’s in the manual so I did it that way.
Because the belt holds 30 rounds I loaded the first part of the velocity test in one go.
As far as I know Sig no longer sells their lead-free pellets that I used to test velocity last time, so I decided to test this rifle with three completely different pellets. First up was the RWS Superdome. Ten Superdomes averaged 645 f.p.s. which gives an average 13.4 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s significantly higher than the maximum of 12.33 foot pounds that we saw back in 2020 when testing the first rifle. Interesting!
The low velocity was 634 f.p.s. and the high was 656 f.p.s., which is a difference of 22 f.p.s. That is significantly better (more consistent) than we saw with the last rifle. It’s best was 33 f.p.s. Maybe Sig has done something to the Virtus after all.
JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
The second pellet I tested was the 18.13-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy. They averaged 576 f.p.s. That’s good for a muzzle energy of 13.36 foot pounds at the muzzle. The low velocity was 563 and the high was 587 f.p.s., a difference of 24 f.p.s. Once again, that’s both more powerful and more consistent than the last rifle.
For a lightweight pellet I used the RWS Hobby that in .22 caliber weighs 11.9 grains. Hobbys averaged 707 f.p.s., which is good for a muzzle energy of 13.21 foot pounds of energy. Even this lightweight pellet was more powerful in this Virtus than the most powerful pellet tested back in 2020.
The low velocity was 672 f.p.s. The high was 728 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 56 f.p.s, which is closer to some of the pellets tested with the previous rifle that was tested in 2020. I would say it shows that the Hobby may not be the best pellet for this particular rifle.
I didn’t have a sound meter back in 2020 so I guessed that the Virtus was about a 3.5-3.7 on the Pyramyd Air 5-point sound scale. This time I had a sound meter and when I tested it I was surprised to see the sound was 102.1 decibels.
I was testing in my garage where the floor is concrete, but still that number looked too high. So I tested it again. And the second time I got 99.5. That’s too close to not be correct. Apparently there’s more noise than my ears can hear — even with hearing aids.
We’re not quite finished. Now we need the shot count. I went back to RWS Superdomes that averaged 645 f.p.s. for the first string.
The first Virtus gave us at least 152 shots on a single fill. The air tank is regulated down to 1,100 psi, so until the reservoir falls below that, the shots stay consistent. Here is a summary of this one.
Now I will give the velocity for each shot.
162………..did not register
As you can see, this Virtus fights to keep the velocity up as long as possible, just like the first rifle I tested. I called that test at 165 shots. So, despite being more powerful, the Virtus still gives lots of shots per 3,000 psi fill.
The pellets I chose for today’s test may well have dictated part of the outcome. Let’s not fail to consider that.
I said in the first test that the Virtus feels like a semiautomatic rifle. This one is no different. When the trigger is pulled you feel a little crunch as the belt advances and then — BAM! — the shot fires.
Last time I guessed at the trigger pull and I guessed way too low. No guesses this time. The trigger pulls with a slight crunch that I assume is the magazine belt advancing and then a letoff that averaged 10 pounds 3 ounces over three shots. It’s heavy and it feels heavy.
That’s our look to this point at this second Virtus that we’re testing. It seems to be more powerful, yet gets the same number of shots per fill, though the choice of pellets could have influenced that.
Next we test the accuracy with the backup iron sights (BUIS). Remember that the first rifle tested could never shoot high enough to hit the point of aim at 10 meters. This will be a most interesting test.
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