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Ammo BB’s new USFT rifle: Part 4

BB’s new USFT rifle: Part 4

BB’s USFT rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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?”

The test

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.

USFT JSB Heavt group 1
This first group was just a baseline group. I adjusted the scope three times and 10 shots went into 0.535-inches with eight in 0.221-inches at 25 yards.

The “Huh?”pellet!

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?

USFT HN Field Target group
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.

USFT HN Baracuda Match
The USFT put ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets into a 0.323-inch group 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.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

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.

The USFT put 10 JSB Exact 8.44-grain pellets into a 0.361-inch group at 25 yards.

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.

USFT JSB Heavy Group 2
The USFT put 10 JSB Heavy pellets into a 25-yard group that measures 0.181-inches between centers.

What’s next?

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.

26 thoughts on “BB’s new USFT rifle: Part 4”

      • If that gun is that good then it should be less pellet fussy, from our past experiences with McMurray he wasn’t interested in selling to us in the UK or even developing it into that did’nt look like it was built by a drunken steampunk enthusiast.

        • LOL! I myself do not mind the looks, just the price. The low pressure really appeals to me.

          Do not feel bad that he did not try to sell to you gents on the other side of the pond. Most of us on this side cannot afford his toys either. Besides, you gents have some mighty fine air rifles over there. All of my airguns are either American or European. Some of my most cherished were made in the UK.

  1. Tom,

    The USFT shot the H&N Field Target pellets like it was allergic to them! Did they feel any different when you were loading them into the breach? The contrast between the H&N Field Target pellets and the rest is so stark!


    • I think the main problem with the H&N Field Target pellet comes down to shape and weight distribution.

      If you ever have the chance to look closely at the FT pellet, you will see that it is almost a wadcutter with a small dome stuck on top. My assumption is that the designer wanted the pellet head to “ride” in the bore with the slight ring around the head being “cut” by the rifling. This ring may be causing a bit of turbulence as it flies along. At short ranges it may not matter as with wadcutters, but when you stretch its legs, it will be greatly affected.

      This is also a fairly long pellet. H&N is famous for their thick skirts. With a long pellet and a small head, that gives this pellet a heavy butt. The Barcuda gets away with it because it has a large, heavy head, which distributes the weight forward. The FTT has a shorter skirt with a heavy head. By comparison, the JSB pellets have very thin skirts.

      This all my WAG, but unless someone can prove otherwise, I am running with this.

  2. Tom Gaylord (BB. Pelletier), call me gullible but I believe you: What amazing results ! 🙂

    Or, put another way, if I had shot your groups, then the H&N Field Target pellets pattern would have been unremarkable, but all the others would have elicited a “Huh?” from me! 🙂

    So, very well done! 🙂

  3. Nice shooting BB. If anyone ever had a doubt about airguns being pellet picky, this blog entry is the proof.

    So I won a few airguns at an auction and one of them turns out to be a Diana 24 J. No goddess stamped on the spring tube :o(

    But I think it has a ball bearing sear. :o) I found an exploded diagram on omps2.it and it looks most like a 24 D type trigger.

    Anyway, does anyone know how to adjust this trigger? I have not been able to find a manual or a video on this exact trigger. I’m not one to fool with things, but when I got the gun it wouldn’t fire. I tried the trigger adjustment screws and it dry fired, but then it wouldn’t cock. Finally I found a happy medium, but I can’t figure out what the front screw is for. On my other (older) Diana 25, the front screw is a locking screw. This one does not seem to be that. Also, this 24 J does not seem to have a lot of first stage travel. Is that normal?

    The other issue is the rear sight is really wobbly, up and down–just the back portion that contains the blade. Even the spring holding in that blade with the 4 notches seems tired. The rear sight seems to be missing one circlip for the end of the windage adjustment screw, but I can’t tell if anything else is missing.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • Roamin,

      Yes that seems to be a ball bearing sear.

      Stage one can be adjusted in. Adjustment instructions here:



      • Thanks. I’ll try it again, B.B., but I have a Winchester 425 (Diana 25) that has the same-looking trigger as the Diana 27 in the article you referred to. Your instructions worked perfectly on it. It has a long first stage, a definite stop, and a crisp release. The front screw is in a bend of metal that puts some lateral force on the adjusting screw to keep it in place.

        But on this Model 24 J (which might have the same trigger mechanism as a Model 24 D), the trigger where the two adjusting screws go into is plastic, so I am not sure what the front screw is for. Tonight, I’ll take the stock off and take more pictures for the good of the order. I’m not ready to take the entire trigger apart, just yet. At this point I just want to be sure what the two adjusting screws do and how to control the adjustment.

        Do you remember the Model 26 that you got from Mr. Carel in the Netherlands? Was that a “D” type trigger similar to my Model 24 J? I re-read that report and you did not adjust the trigger on that one.

  4. I have never had any luck with H&N FT pellets – they are the single worst shooting pellet I have in my collection. In fact, they are so bad I quit using them at all, and forgot I even had them until I saw that you were having this issue with them . . . (and just for clarity to others, the FT and the FTT are two completely different pellets from H&N – I have some guns that shoot the FTT extremely well).

    The results on paper do not surprise me at all, but the lab radar results are the real mystery. There really is no reason for them to vary as they leave the barrel, but what they do after could be a factor. It would be interesting to do an experiment in which you shoot ten through your regular chrony while also tracking them with the lab radar too, comparing what the two sources say on each pellet . . .

      • Tom,

        Of course you should do what you feel is the best use of your time consistent with the purpose of this blog – which I know is not to answer my curious questions . . .

        I simply was suggesting what I would do if I could, when faced with that data. I am fine with any action as you see fit (even none, if it is most appropriate).


    • BB

      You stated up front that the H&N FT dome is a different pellet than the H&N FTT. Like Alan said the FTT gives good results. I will chime in and say that in .22 caliber the FTT gets all around good grades from me. Just wanted to emphasize to readers the FT is not the FTT.

      Good shooting and betting you either confirm or beat the .18 inch group next time.


      • BB

        Of course, how you spend your time is not ours to control.

        Anybody else waiting for the BUT??

        BUT,, were it I with an expensive chronograph that had given me odd readings (even if only occasionally) I would take the extra time to satisfy my own curiosity.

        Perhaps consider it a valentine day gift to those of your readers who are both more curious, and overtly envious of your new chrony.

        And before I forget,,, outstanding shooting!!


        • Hey Ed,

          B.B. still shoots very well but he is still on the learning curve of the LabRadar.
          It is far more complex in its output than an Optical Chronograph and B.B. has a few things to delete from his prior experience with a timing trap style system over a Doppler RADAR instrument.
          I’m going to cut him some slack and only apply the occasional NUDGE in the right direction LOL!


  5. BB,

    The H&N Field Target pellet pattern is beyond HUH? into the realm of WHAT!?!?! With HUH? being singular and WHAT!?!?! being plural 😉

    First I’d suspect that the wonky scope had something rattling around for that group the all to lose bits settled down for the rest of the groups. Second, I’d measure/weight a bunch of those pellets to see if they are consistent. Then retest with a new scope to see if the gun is grouping or patterning.

    I second the suggestion to shoot through the two cronies at the same time. It’s possible that your Labradar is out of spec. I tested mine against my Chrony and my FX Radar and all three agreed within reasonable differences based on rifle consistency, position and rounding error.


    • FawltyManual,

      Just one recommendation that folks go directly:
      and avoid the click-through payment to HAM and give it to Tom/PA!
      It is interesting who (what airguns) is posting early on. Hopefully it will grow as a resource. It needs a little “light” instruction/moderation on what information is of value to other NSA projectile shooters.
      “Hits Hard in my airgun” will turn off most folks looking for the D.O.P.E. and what was used to measure it in the process.
      I for one will watch since i have used their projectiles since they first came on the market.


  6. B.B.,

    Shame on you!
    This rifle deserves, NO CRIES OUT, for a scope MATCHED to its precision. GET YOUR CC card out!
    After all you can write off the other scope as well as the purchase of the replacement! Make your Tax Preparer/Accountant work a little.

    OBTW: nice shooting even with a malfunctioning scope.


  7. Right about the click-thru; FM shoulda thought that thru. Have a box of NSA 31.2 grain .22 – .218 to be exact – caliber slugs and tempted to shoot a sample of five with the Ben Max .22 hoping for the best while expecting the worst performance. Recently did shoot some JSB Straton Jumbo Monster and Ultra Shock Heavy Diabolo 25.39 gr pellets with aforesaid rifle and managed about 1″ groups on a target steel can at 25 yards; was mostly doing chrony work that day. The Benjamin Maximum Hunter was slinging them out at respectable – at least to FM – speeds averaging 656 FPS and dumping 24+ FPE on the poor can. On small game at that distance these would be respectable performers.

    So, FM has some more experimentin’ to do. Just for fun.

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