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Black Bunker BM8 survival air rifle: Part Two

BM8
Black Bunker BM8 survival air rifle.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • The breech and transfer port
  • Breech and muzzle covers
  • Cocking is strange
  • Is the assembly switch plastic?
  • Threaded muzzle
  • The purse
  • Rear sight
  • That’s it

I’m doing something different today. I usually space the reports out so people don’t get bored, but there is so much interest — both good and bad — in the Black Bunker BM8 survival air rifle that I’m running the rest of the introduction today. I will start right away.

The breech and transfer port

Reader shootski asked to see the breech and air transfer port. Here you go.

BM8 breech
There is the breech and the transfer port.

Breech and muzzle covers

Another new and different thing are the rubber covers for the breech and muzzle. Since they are exposed when the rifle is in the stowed configuration, they are necessary. They are at opposite ends of an elastic string, much like scope caps.

BM8 breech cover
The BM8 Breech cover is for when the rifle is in the stowed configuration.

BM8 muzzle cover
And there’s the muzzle cover.

There is no cover for the transfer port and I think there should be. It is also constantly exposed when the rifle is in the stowed configuration.

Cocking is strange

Naturally I have cocked and fired the rifle several times and I must say — the cocking stroke is very strange. The barrel doesn’t break open before cocking. It just moves halfway. The muzzle moves an inch — perhaps, and the barrel is still under spring tension. So you grab the muzzle and pull down without bothering to open the breech. Because there is a gas spring the resistance is constant all the way through the cocking stroke. I will measure the effort for you in the velocity report.

The barrel moves a little past 90 degrees when the rifle is fully cocked. I took a picture for you to see.

BM8 cocked
When the BM8 is cocked the barrel only goes a little past 90 degrees.

Naturally I loaded and shot the rifle after cocking it. The safety comes on automatically, so there is no de-cocking. The single stage trigger is long and creepy, but very light. And after 10 shots so far I have no idea where the rifle lets off.

Is the assembly switch plastic?

Someone somewhere asked if the assembly/disassembly switch (the round one that goes from Locked to Unlocked on the left side of the rifle) is plastic. Yes, it is. Will it hold up to use? Probably — about as long as the control knobs on your kitchen range.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

Threaded muzzle

I noticed that the round cap on the muzzle has two flats on opposing sides. A Cresent wrench took it off to reveal threads. Now I doubt a spring-piston rifle can be helped that much by a silencer, but it’s something more to test. It’s also a reason to own the bayonet/knife because I see a cutout in the blade that looks like several wrenches. I bet one is the right size for the muzzle cap.

BM8 muzzle cap
The muzzle cap has flats for a wrench.

BM8 threads
Threads for a silencer.

The purse

Okay, wise guys, there is a purse that sits inside the triangle. I hear that the knife is stored inside, but also pellets? Other survival tools and supplies?

BM8 purse closed
The purse is closed.

BM8 purse opened
Purse opened.

Rear sight

Even the rear sight is different. It adjusts in both directions and offers a strange sight picture.

BM8 rear sight
Rear sight adjusts in both directions.

BM8 sight picture
The sight picture is a little strange. Obviously the front sight needs to come down.

That’s it

Well — it took two full reports just to introduce the BM8 rifle. I have never seen so many curious things in a single airgun! This will be a fun gun to test.

From what I see it’s obvious someone gave a lot of thought to the design of this air rifle. I’m not even certain I have found all the strange things yet.

About half of you are intrigued by the BM8 while the other half are totally turned off. I was in the latter camp before actually holding one and examining it in detail. I have a few questions — the chief of which is how accurate this rifle is with the open sights. If it’s a survival rifle that’s how it has to be tested

101 thoughts on “Black Bunker BM8 survival air rifle: Part Two”

  1. BB,
    When this rifle was first mentioned,
    I was sure that it must be an airgun version of a ‘Rambo Knife’ and deserved about as much serious consideration as one.
    After reading Part Two, I am intrigued by the possibility of it being a worthwhile air rifle.
    Have fun.
    Bill

    • The .25 Gauntlet proved its worth tonight. Shot the armadillo that’s been tearing up the neighborhood yards straight on at 20 yards. Dead Right There. It would be interesting to see how the BM8 would perform if someone has a similar problem.

  2. “The sight picture is a little strange.”

    BB,
    Wow! You said it…for sure…I would not have expected that!
    I wonder why they didn’t go with a more conventional square notch to match the square front post?
    Perhaps they did it just to be unique; but I find that odd.
    I would have gone for utility and usability…but that’s just me. 🙂
    This is shaping up to be a most interesting set of reports…keep up the good work!
    Blessings to you,
    dave

    • Dave,

      If you try out a rear v notch, you just may find out why they exist. I myself much prefer them over the square notch rear sight. The v notch helps the eye to center the front sight. They are almost as good as the peep.

      This will indeed be a most interesting set of reports. Even if this thing is sorta kinda gimmicky, maybe it will be accurate enough to actually be somewhat useable.

      • “The v notch helps the eye to center the front sight.”

        RidgeRunner, OK; I see what you’re saying (especially after reading your further commentary down below); it will be interesting to see what BB can do with the “irons” versus what the rifle can do scoped…should be choose to test it that way…he likely will, as this thing is generating so much commentary! 🙂

  3. Who could get bored with such an unusual air rifle.
    Did you watch the video FM sent in Part 1?
    Hope it’s capable of being shot with even ‘more’ accuracy with a scope on it. Crosman Premiers did well.
    Looks like the caliber print is hidden from view, and sideways, until it is broke open and, in your face, when you load it. Nice touch.

    Wonder if the wide, or unusual, rear sight opening is there to allow some quick compensation for wind correction. Looks simple enough to file square if you want. Shooter in the video suggested highlighting front sight with a dot or something. It was hard to see in dim light. May be the problem with it as is?

    Will this air rifle open a new trend in airgun design? Wonder what all those small compartments in the storage case could be used for? Storing various types of pellets and slugs?

  4. This brand new fete of engineering skill appears to be more of a kaleidoscope of left-over parts to my eye. That rear site, I seem to remember one of those back in another century. Why would any woodsman choose this as a survival tool? It doesn’t even look to be “cool” hanging from the rear window rack of my pickup. How will it prove to be accurate with a barrel that looks to move every which way but straight? Are these being manufactured for Walmart? I apologize for being so negative, but this mountain man’s survival tool wouldn’t be what I’d choose to take up valuable space in my kit. Say it ain’t so BB. Orv.

  5. Tom,

    Looking at the construction of the rear sight the narrow blade is dictated by the constraint of the width of the assembly and the material it is made of. If they used sheet metal they might have been able to use a wider blade that still allows room for windage adjustment, but since they used plastic then a narrow blade is what we have.

    Siraniko

  6. Ah, yes …. the less-than-precise sights of the 1853 Enfield rifle …. uncharitably likened to “viewing the Great Pyramid of Giza through a railway cutting” ….
    Reminds me of the sights on my British Snider rifle(same as the 1853 Enfield) great for volley fire.

    • Interesting observation. However several hundred thousands 1853 Pattern Enfields were used with deadly effect in America in a 4 year war ending in 1865. It stretched the effective range out to 800 yards.

      Deck

        • Side note on the 1853 Enfield: I worked with a guy who was a re-enactor, and I was living in Florida at the time; he didn’t have a lot of money, so he bought an Enfield (which was used by both sides of the altercation) and a Yankee uniform; since we were in Florida, all the re-enactments he went to had no shortage of Confederates; hence, they would have to draw straws, to see who would have to break out their other uniform and be a Yankee for the day; since all my friend had was Yankee gear, he was all set, and did not need the second set of kit that nearly everyone else had to have on hand; like I said, he wanted to participate in re-enactments, but didn’t have a lot of extra cash; but he did like his 1853 Enfield. 🙂

      • No doubt that sight picture will allow for minute of man and in war that is good enough, great when compared to land pattern Bess’s and Charleville sighting systems.

  7. B.B.

    Yes, interesting rifle…
    When you say you need to test it as a survival rifle, I sure hope that this does NOT mean that you have to crawl a 100 yards in mud to do so….

    -Y

    PS I bet that the plastic toggle will not last as long as the plastic knobs on my range.

  8. The V-shaped rear sight reminds me of the one on the old Daisy No. 25 that I ended up with. Is the best way to use it still the same as with the squared notch rear sight? Is the sight picture supposed to still have the top of the front sight blade level with the tops of the sides of the V-shaped notch in the rear sight?

  9. The manufacturer could charge a little more and include some spare parts that would fit in that container or “purse,” such as o-rings. After all, if you’re in a real survival situation you’ll need at least some of the critical items required to keep the rifle functioning.

  10. BB,

    Interesting. I for one like the v notch of the rear sight. What many do not seem to realize is that it helps to center the front sight in your view. I for one do not care for the rear square notch sights. I cannot say I like that front sight, but being made of plastic it would be difficult to make a strong slim or perlkorn type sight. I do like that they did not use glowy thingys on this.

    Besides the indefinite trigger, I have concern with your description of the cocking stroke. Is the barrel under spring tension throughout its entire arc or is the muzzle free to move before engaging the gas spring? From your description I get the impression there is no mechanism to “lock up” the barrel. To me it sounds as if the barrel is held in place by the gas spring tension. The picture of the breech does show a detent ball. The spring must be fairly light for you to not feel the break open. Can the barrel and breech block be tightened to help prevent any side to side motion?

    I would have to add a rubber plug, perhaps with a tether of some sort, to close the toilet paper hole.

    I am sorely disappointed that the bayonet is not available in the US market. I had really hoped to use this for Jackalope hunting.

    • RR,

      It does seem as though the barrel is held closed by the gas piston. There is no free play in the barrel. Also, after the spring is cocked the barrel has no tension on it. It flops around.

      BB

      • Please forgive me, but I am confused. The pictures seem to show a fairly typical break barrel mechanism except that the cocking arm can be externally and manually disengaged from the piston or cocking shoe for purposes of folding without cocking.

        But B.B. says: “The barrel doesn’t break open before cocking. [But does any breakbarrel break open before cocking? One has to break open the barrel and use the barrel as a lever to cock the gun, right?] It just moves halfway. [If the barrel does not break open before cocking, what is moving at this point. When I first read this I thought this was an underlever not a break barrel gun.] The muzzle moves an inch — perhaps, and the barrel is still under spring tension. [So now I’m back to thinking it’s a break barrel, but only one inch of movement? I’m confused again.] So you grab the muzzle and pull down without bothering to open the breech. [Is there a separate breech or is the breech at the one end of the barrel like a typical break barrel? In all my break barrels, I can’t pull down on the barrel without opening the breach.] Because there is a gas spring the resistance is constant all the way through the cocking stroke. [For that inch of travel]

        I understand from your discussion with RR that the barrel pivot is loose and lets the barrel flop after the gun is cocked. The rest of it–I guess I’m missing something, so I’m sorry for blathering on.

        • Roamin,

          It’s very difficult (for me) to explain. Yes, there is a barrel detent, but you don’t slap the muzzle to open the barrel for cocking. You simply grab the muzzle and cock the rifle. The gas spring fights you all the way.

          BB

  11. BB-

    If you have the opportunity, please weigh the purse, so we have an idea of the complete package tariff. Also, it appears they attempted to make the purse waterproof by including an o-ring seal but didn’t go all the way around?!? Thank you for your efforts.

  12. BB.

    Different… Different better? Guess we will see 😉

    Seems a lot of thought has gone into the design but the presence of tooling marks speaks of less than optimal manufacturing. As a survival rifle it doesn’t need to be pretty but reliability depends on well machined/fitted parts. A creepy trigger is an indication of poor tolerances, does the rifle feel tight or sloppy in construction?

    Curious how well it performs.

    The “V” sights are nothing new, seen a lot of old rifles with them. The square notch and post is best for shooting with a hold-under at a static target if you have time to fuss with it. I always liked the V sights because they didn’t cover half the target.

    Cheers!
    Hank

  13. Although I am not a candidate for this rifle, I see some heads here slowly turning on it 180*. It’s almost like that song that you can’t stand the first time you hear it but as time goes by and you hear it over and over, it grows on you until it becomes your favorite. Stranger things have happened.

    BB, with as much interest in the purse as there is, maybe interior dimensions would be helpful to ascertain it’s storage utility value.

    Bob

  14. BB,
    I do not understand the function of the underlever. Is it a cocking lever? Is it a takedown lever?

    A longtime airgunner I respect said that his choice for a survival airgun would be a rocker safety Sheridan pumper. My concern with that pick would be availability of 20 cal pellets. But, if you have your own hoard of 20 cal pellets the rifle is one of the most durable out there. It is also light weight, accurate, uses a lot of materials that do not rust, and has sufficient power for small game.

    David Enoch

    • David,

      Look at the picture where the rifle is cocked. The “underlever” as you call it is barely seen to be the cocking link that connects the barrel with the piston to push the piston back.

      In part 1 you see the end of this lever just before it drops through the stock to get in front of the piston so it can push it back.

      BB

    • “… his choice for a survival airgun would be a rocker safety Sheridan pumper.”

      David, I think your friend had a good point, especially if you add on the Williams peep sight; this was my first airgun ever, and has accounted for many a squirrel, as well as other small game, and all that with just 6 pumps (which gives just under 12 fpe). This little 5-pound beauty is wonderfully accurate with JSB Match 13.73-grain pellets; and yes, I did ensure to hoard a bunch of them. 😉
      Here’s a pic of her I’ve posted before; but she’s still as great as ever, an airgun I’ll always treasure. 🙂

        • “I might have opted for an early 397/392”

          RidgeRunner,
          I might have opted for that also, but this was a Christmas gift from my Dad.
          And, since it’s also my very first air rifle, it must be kept as a family heirloom.
          Hence, the need to stock up on .20-caliber pellets. 😉
          Good shootin’ to ya,
          dave

          • Dave,

            Do not get me wrong. I am envious of you for having this. That is a real jewel.

            I have been giving serious consideration to getting a .20. To my way of thinking, it is quite a small game getter, bigger than a .177, but not as big as the .22. For close range small game hunting, it is a good size. Of course, everything here in the United States HAS to be bigger. “I think I’ll go squirrel huntin’ with my .72 Megablaster even though my .22LR will likely do.”

            • “That is a real jewel.”

              RidgeRunner,
              For a nice lightweight hunting rifle, it surely is that.
              If you wish to plink for an hour, the HW30S is a better bet.
              But if you want to cover a lot of ground out in the squirrel woods, the Sheridan rocks!
              There are no worries about if you are “on the power curve” or not.
              You dump the 2 pumps used for storage, then cock the rifle and add 6 pumps.
              (I also put the safety on as soon as I cock it.)
              The peep sights always shoot true.
              (See the can I shot; shooting from the back steps makes the range 30 yards.)
              You’ve got a 5-pound rifle that is powered up and ready to go.
              You can wrap your hand around it and carry it all day (I’ve never needed a sling for it).
              When you sight game, you push off the safety (totally silent) as you shoulder the rifle.
              Many people want to shoot small game at 50 yards or more.
              Personally, I never wanted to wound an animal.
              Hence, I like to get close, then get a bit closer.
              I prefer head shots in the 10 to 20-yard range.
              Yet even without a scope, this rifle can reach out to 30 yards easily.
              I think if more people hunted with an air rifle like this it would make them better hunters.
              Then again, what do I know? LOL! 😉
              Blessings to you,
              dave

              • Dave,

                I have always wanted to get “up close and personal” with my quarry. As you may have noted, when I do mount a scope, it is usually a low powered thing. The most powerful scope I have is only 18X and I use it for long shots. The scope I have on my Diana 34 at the moment is only a 2-7X32 Hawke. Most of these “old gals” around here will not even take a scope.

                I much prefer peeps when I can get them. FM just sent me a TruGlo front globe sight that I am most seriously considering mounting on the Diana 34 with a Williams peep. With it being about as easy to cock as the HW30S with a little more power, I think I will end up with an awesome adult size plinker and a pretty good “woods walker”.

  15. Well, my prediction came true. The BM8 was not delivered.
    “An emergency situation or severe weather condition has delayed delivery.”
    One time a delivery truck got stuck in mud so they never leave paved roads now when it rains. Next attempt is expected in 5 or 6 days.

    • LOL! At least it is on the way. Whenever it does get there, please let us know whether the end has the threaded section. I have entertained the idea of mounting the Hatsan Air Stripper.

  16. And I made a special effort to get up early this morning to read this with my coffee.

    Maybe we can get thedavemyster to pop that fuzzy tailed tree rat with his Sheridan.

    We will probably have to wait for someone to get to work (or wake up) at WordPress.

  17. So BB is reviewing the “Survival” rifle version and P/A is selling us the “Folding” rifle version. I’m sure BB was not aware of this, unfortunately. Too bad, they could have screwed on a thread protector and locked it in place with a spring pin to prevent the kiddies from removing it.

  18. I wish to share what I really (!) like about this blog/ article: I like that it is consecutive, ie without a break in topic from the previous day. Not at all boring, at least not for me. 🙂

    Even reviews of airguns in which I have little interest – like this multi-coloured, bonkers, breakstock&barrel oddity – I think are better when read without too much interruption. Really rather satisfying. 🙂

    Please, have you any thoughts on the matter?

    • hi3,

      Thoughts.

      Many years ago the readers expressed a desire for the blog topics to be mixed so they didn’t have to read about the same thing day after day.

      Also, mixing things makes it possible for me to write a new blog five days a week. If we go to all reports on the same thing we go to two blogs a week.

      BB

    • Ha! Try copying or downloading the pic from my comment and pasting it into a word document then sizing it to suit you. I envision it to be a zombie squirrel, what with the coloration.

  19. Roamin,
    Did you post the squirrel before it was displayed in the P/A notice or copy it from it? That critter may have had a virus, or the flu, ticks or who knows what. Simply may have been too big?

    Save picture, put some a crosshair on his chest print and repeat. Nice target.

  20. I simply long-tapped on the picture of the squirrel from the P/A error page, downloaded it to the phone then selected it as the attachment to the blog comment. I hope no copyright laws were injured in the process, but since it went from the P/A blog right back to the blog, I hope I will be forgiven regardless. Perhaps P/A can make us a bunch of images to download and use as targets?

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