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Air Guns Barra Cowboy Series 1866 BB and pellet rifle: Part Three

Barra Cowboy Series 1866 BB and pellet rifle: Part Three

Barra rifle silver
Barra Cowboy Series pellet and BB multi-pump pneumatic.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The test
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • H&N Match Light
  • The trigger
  • Loading
  • Sights
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome
  • Ten-shot group
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy potential of the Barra Cowboy Series 1866 BB and pellet rifle when shooting pellets. 

The test

I shot five shot groups with five different pellets. The distance was 10 meters and the rifle was rested on a sandbag for every shot. I decided to pump the rifle five times for each shot because when I looked at Part 2 that seemed to be the most efficient number. If there was one pellet that stood out, I would shoot a second target with ten shots.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

First to be tried were five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. They made a group at 10 meters that measures 0.56-inches between centers. It’s too far to the left, so after seeing it I adjusted the rear sight a little bit to the right.

Barra Cowboy R10 group
The Barra Cowboy 1866 put five RWS R10 pellets into a 0.56-inch group at 10 meters.

H&N Match Light

H&N Match Light wadcutters were next to be tried. The Barra put five of them into a 0.69-inch group at 10 meters. This group is also left of the aim point, though not as much as the R10 group.  After seeing it I adjusted the rear sight notch much farther to the right.

Barra Cowboy HN Match group
The Barra Cowboy put five pellets into a 0.69-inch group at 10 meters.

The trigger

The Barra Cowboy trigger is heavy but crisp. It breaks very cleanly every time. I did put the safety on once my mistake while pumping, because it’s easy to push that false hammer forward.

Hunting Guide


I tried to load the rifle by holding the muzzle down and the receiver tilted to the left, but my fingers are just too large to do it that way. So I used the tweezers once more. Even then loading wasn’t easy.


As noted, the rear sight is adjustable by loosening a Phillips screw and sliding the notch to either side as required. It also adjusts for elevation via a notched ramp. But the rifle was shooting a little high already and it was adjusted as low as it will go.

I will note that the rear sight screw was tight when I loosened it the first time, and I am glad I had the Vessel screwdrivers to do the job. There was no slippage and after the first loosening I can use any Phillips driver in the future.

Barra Cowboy rear sight
Loosen the rear sight notch and slide in the direction you want the group to go.

JSB Exact RS

The third pellet I tried was the JSB Exact RS dome. Five went into a 0.836-inch group at 10 meters. Note that this group is centered much better than the first two, so I did not adjust the sight any more.

Barra Cowboy JSB RS group
The Barra Cowboy put five JSB RS pellets into a 0.836-inch group at ten meters.

Air Arms Falcon

Next I shot the Air Arms Falcon dome. Five of them went into 0.812-inches at 10 meters. It looks larger than the RS group to me, but that’s just an illusion

Barra Cowboy Falcon group
Five Falcon pellets went into 0.812-inches at 10 meters.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome

The last  different pellet I tried was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier dome. They shot a little higher on the paper than the other pellets. Five of them went into 1.079-inches at 10 meters. It is the largest group of the test.

Barra CowboyPremier Light group                      
The Barra put five Crosman Premier Lights into a 1.079-inch group at 10 meters.

Ten-shot group

The difference in accuracy between the pellets was not overwhelming, but the RWS R 10 Match  Pistol pellet was a clear winner. So I shot a second group of 10 shots with it. At least the rifle is now sighted in.

Ten shots made a group measuring 0.917-inches between centers at 10 meters.

Barra Cowboy ten shot group
Ten RWS R 10 Match Pistol pellets made a 0.917-inch group at 10 meters.


What is my evaluation? Well, remember this is also a BB gun, so we still have that test coming.

I think the Barra Cowboy Series 1866 pellet rifle is a good value for the price. It’s reasonably accurate, the trigger is good and, as we learned in Part 2, it is quite easy to pump. The only downside I see is a difficulty loading pellets.

There is no way to mount a scope in this rifle but I don’t see that as a minus. Not every air rifle needs a scope and if you are okay with that, this could be one to consider.

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.

18 thoughts on “Barra Cowboy Series 1866 BB and pellet rifle: Part Three”

  1. Tom,

    I’m really hoping that this is going to perform with BBs as that it seems too difficult to enjoy shooting pellets in it requiring the use of tweezers to load individually.


    • “I’m really hoping that this is going to perform with BBs…”
      I concur with that sentiment; my fumbly old fingers have enough issues.
      Yet, if accurate with BBs, this gun would make a nice backyard-friendly plinker. 🙂
      Blessings to you,

  2. YOGI: There are sooooo many years between youth and old age. Not the only years to come, but the exuberance youth allows us in growth, success, exploration, and love. All the while remaining blind to the gifts of age which include true love, experience, wisdom, and yes the pains of old age which I’ll not delineate as each of our journeys is just a bit different. What each of us here has in common is our love of airgunning. Let’s go shooting! Orv.

  3. I think I will stick with my Daisy 99 for bbs and my 1906 BSA, etcetera for pellets. I am too old for this thing.

    Now, if I was young enough to play Cowboys and Indians again…

        • shootski,

          Ah! My wheelhouse. I lack both the discipline and good manners ever to let such an opportunity of pedantry slip by.

          First of all, capitalization is perhaps the stickiest wicket of language rules of mechanics. Certain rules are simple and consistent. But arcane rules of capitalization are very difficult to find in print.

          There is one argument to support your capitalization of “shootski,” but its being a verb is not it. Part-of-speech is usage dependent, so the way you use “shootski” is not as a verb but as a proper noun. Proper nouns are always capitalized.

          The notable exception, and the argument in favor of your insistence on not capitalizing it, is what in my classroom I always referred to as the “e.e. cummings exception.” If you apply that, I would argue you are on firm ground. The great poet e.e. cummings refused to capitalize his name. Initially English teachers and professors stubbornly capitalized it regardless, but over the second half of the 20th Century most eventually relented to the point that the poet’s name is today usually not capitalized. If e.e. cummings the poet, why not shootski the air gun enthusiast?

          Above I capitalized shootski because it begins a sentence. Would I capitalize the first E of e.e. cummings if I began a sentence with that name? Honestly, I do not know. A favorite colleague of mine confessed to using what he called the “small cats” rule. He often advised, “If for a moment you cannot think of a word, say “kitten,” then for example say, “young cats.” (Most English educators would hate that advice and would urge one to simply look it up, but so sticky is the capitalization wicket that very detailed and lengthy lists of capitalization rules are practically nonexistent.)

          So I would fall back to old e.e. cummings. Ultimately, he used the capitalization exception for his name as a calling card, an eccentric tweaking of a rule that serves as his trademark. cummings’ poems usually exhibit quirky captalization as well.

          (For me such an eccentricity is my consciously writing lengthy parenthetical phrases, to the point of them being actual sentences or even paragraphs. And, by the way, to my knowledge no authoritative source that abolishes such punctuation exists.)

          So, yes, shootski is not capitalized in any written context. Why? Because like e.e. cummings, shootski insists it!


          • Michael,

            It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

            e. e. cummings

            I first read e. e. cummings in a 1964 anthology of war poems of WW1 in high school. Although i didn’t know it at the time those poets made me a better more understanding leader of men and women in the cruelest war of all – The Cold War.


  4. This is off topic, but can’t find help anywhere else.
    I have a freedom shoebox compressor, easy to work on right, it’s kicking my backside. I’ve worked on it myself, and sent it twice to “someone who knows what their doing ” and still only get 500lbs.
    I’m just South of Ft Worth and need help, wife is not happy I’ve spent so much and still unable to use it.

    • Oldkid67,

      Since i received all that “free” advertising i will give it a go. Please note i have never owned a Shoebox Booster but have use them as well other makes of boosters.

      Is your input compressor putting out at least 125psi?
      No: that is likely your problem
      Yes: check for leaks from joints fittings, tubes, and cylinder body (The leaks can be from invisible to the eye pin holes or cracks.) input supply lines, booster body, and output lines/hoses. [Soapy water and a very small paintbrush to apply; but stay away with water from any electrical components.] Look for bubbles.
      No bubbles: disassemble if you have a rebuild kit, tools, and are mechanically skilled enough.
      If yes: remove/fix/replace the bubbling part.

      none of the above.

      Stop throwing good money after bad.

      Save up. (Buy wife flowers, shoes, new handbag, etc before proceeding to next step.)

      Buy another fill device best i can tell Shoebox has been out of business for more than a year.


  5. OldKid67

    I don’t know how grateful you need to feel. For BB, it is great blog material even if Ian writes it.

    As a matter of fact, that could be a several parter on compressors/boosters. I would really enjoy reading it.


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