BB’s USFT rifle.
This report covers:
- The test
- JSB Exact Heavy
- The “Huh?” pellet!
- H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm heads
- JSB Exact 8.44-grain
- Proof of the pudding
- What’s next?
Today we take our first look at the accuracy of the USFT rifle whose velocity results we saw yesterday. There were some strange velocity readings and today you’ll see the rest of the story. And, reader Hank, prepare to say, “Huh?”
I shot from 25 yards with the rifle resting on a sandbag. and I shot five 10-shot groups. Now I have to tell you — the USFT wasn’t meant to shoot off a sandbag. Unlike more conventional air rifles, this one actually fights you when bag-rested. That’s because it was made to specifically and only shoot in the WFTF seated field target position. As several of you have noted, the rifle is constructed asymmetrically for just that reason.
Still, when it’s on a sandbag it doesn’t flop around. You can hold it in position and that, plus a good scope for aiming, are all it takes. Unfortunately I didn’t have the good scope. The 20 year old UTG 8-32X56 SWAT scope had given up the ghost. The parallax adjustment knob is frozen in place. Fortunately the last time I used it I also shot at 25 yards, so it was adjusted close to where it needed to be. Close but not exact. I will change it before I seriously test this rifle for accuracy.
We learned yesterday that just bumping into the microphone that triggers the Labradar sets it off, giving a false display. Today you will see why I am so incredulous about the performance of this rifle.
JSB Exact Heavy
The first pellet I tested was the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy dome that proved to be accurate in this rifle in the past. I shot three other pellets but this is my baseline pellet for this rifle.
Since the scope hadn’t been adjusted since the last test, the first pellet hit the target paper about 2 inches above the aim point. After seeing that hole I adjusted the scope down a number of clicks. I didn’t count the clicks but it would have been between 12 and 20.
I will mention that this scope is shimmed under the tube at the rear ring. With the USFT it doesn’t need to be shimmed. That’s a note to myself for when I install the next scope.
The second shot hit in the same hole as the first, meaning there is either scope stiction or something is wrong with the scope besides the parallax knob being frozen. So I cranked the elevation knob down another three quarters of a turn (40+ clicks?) and the shot dropped about a half inch. I shot a second time in case there was stiction, but that pellet went into the same hole as the last. So I dropped another 8 clicks and the pellet dropped about one-tenth-inch. That was enough for me; I believed the scope was the problem and I left it where it was for the remainder of today’s test.
All ten shots landed in a group measuring 0.535-inches between centers. The last 8 shots are in 0.221-inches between centers.
Get ready, folks, because here it comes. Yesterday we saw a pellet that:
1. Only registered 6 out of 10 shots on the chronograph.
2. Gave a velocity variation of 244 f.p.s. across those 6 shots.
I told you that it wasn’t just velocity that was strange with that H&N Field Target pellet. Now let’s look at the accuracy. This is the “Huh?” pellet.
I did shoot ten times, so even though there were only six velocities recorded, there are ten holes in the target paper. Those ten shots landed in a group that’s 3.285-inches between the centers of the two widest shots. HUH?
Ten of the H&N Field Target pellets went into 3.285-inches between centers at 25 yards.
If there was a smaller-caliber pellet than .177 I would suspect that I had shot them; but there isn’t. If the USFT had a baffled silencer on the muzzle I would suspect the pellets had hit the baffles on their way out; but it doesn’t. If the rest of the pellets had also shot wide like this I would have suspected the rifle; but they didn’t. This is the strangest group I have ever seen, and I watched it as it formed.
Can you say the USFT just doesn’t like H&N Field Target pellets? I think I can.
H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm heads
The next pellet I shot was the H&N Baracuda Match with 4.52mm heads. To say I was anxious to see how the first few shots came out would be an understatement. I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs! But this pellet performed well. It wasn’t fantastic, but it was accurate. Ten pellets went into a round group that measures 0.323-inches between centers at 25 yards.
That group made me relax. I knew that the USFT was shooting as it should and it was the Field Target pellet that was at fault.
JSB Exact 8.44-grain
The next pellet I shot was the JSB Exact 8.44-grain dome. These have done remarkably well in other air rifles, and in my TX200-Mark III they are the best.
The USFT put ten of them into a 0.361-inch group at 25 yards. That’s good, but not outstanding, based on what we have seen from USFT rifles so far. This is not a pellet for this rifle.
Proof of the pudding
Remember — I was also testing velocity as these groups were being shot. That first group pf JSB Exact Heavy pellets doesn’t really count because I adjusted the scope three times while I shot it. But even though the scope wasn’t performing up to par, I felt it should be good enough for a real accuracy test. So for this last group I used all the techniques I know. The USFT may not be made to shoot off a sandbag, but I’ve done it enough times to know how to get the best results. This time I pulled out all the stops.
The USFT put ten JSB Exact Heavy pellets into a 25-yard group that measures 0.181-inches between centers. Now THAT is a group! And that is also the way the USFT will shoot when everything goes right.
I now think I have a good handle on this air rifle. I know where the power curve is and I know the best pellet for it — so far. I have noted that the most accurate pellet has a nominal head size of 4.53mm. I wonder what ten of those same pellets, hand-selected for head size, might do? And, are there other pellets with heads this large that might do as well? I think that will be my next test.
Oh, and I have to mount a good scope on the rifle, remembering to not shim it. That’s what comes next.