IZH MP532 target rifle: Part 9

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

IZH MP532
IZH MP532 single stroke target rifle.

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

History of airguns

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

This report covers:

  • Blog will change
  • Bedding problem
  • Channel widened
  • Action now fits
  • Did that change the point of impact?
  • What’s next?
  • What now?
  • How did it do?
  • Sight-in
  • Summary

Blog will change

I have been asked not to schedule a blog for Monday because the blog is about to be updated. So we will be out of touch for a while. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here and I’ll get back just as soon as they give me the go-ahead. Now, let’s get to today’s report.

Today I attempt to correct the sight adjustment problem on my older IZH 32 target rifle. When the rear sight is adjusted as high as it will go the rifle still shoots a couple inches low.

Bedding problem

This rifle wasn’t bedded properly by the factory. The action and barrel stood proud of the stock channel in front.

532 old rifle bedding
The older MP 532 rifle action and barrel stood proud of the forearm. If that was corrected would the rifle shoot to the aim point?

I didn’t want to address this problem myself because I am a wood butcher. So I consulted with my neighbor, Denny and he agreed to look at it. I knew once he did he would take ownership, which he did. He knows my woodworking skills even better than you.

We tried swapping the old action into the new stock, but that solved nothing. So Denny felt the best approach was to rout out the barrel channel. He did it freehand, but made a pair of blocks for the router to ride on.

 532 make blocks
Step one was to cut two 9-inch oak blocks. The sparkles in the picture are sawdust in the air.

We discovered that the sides of the forearm are cut on a 7-degree angle. So the sides of the guide blocks had to be cut the same.

532 find angle
Denny determines the angle of the side of the 532 forearm.

532 set saw
Denny sets the saw blade to shave off 7 degrees from the side of each block.

532 router
The router was freehanded along the blocks Denny made.

Channel widened

I thought the stock channel wasn’t deep enough, but Denny knew that the problem was width. The stock channel was not wide enough for the forward end of the barreled action to fit into. Denny took a tiny bit of depth in his cut, but he mostly widened the channel in the stock. It was too narrow on the right and left side of the barrel channel at different places.

We had to set up the job four times to widen the channel by a few fractions of an inch on both sides. After each router pass we tried the barreled action in the stock. It wasn’t until the final try that the action dropped in the channel like it’s supposed to.

532 channel routed
The end of the forearm has been widened sufficiently to accept the barreled action. The clearance on both sides is now about 0.010-inches, give or take.

Action now fits

After the fourth try the 532 barreled action dropped into the stock with a click and fit like it should. Success!

532 fits
The old 532 now fits in its stock just like the newer one.

Did that change the point of impact?

I had fired 5 shots at 10 meters early in the morning before any work was done to the stock. Now that the stock was finished I fired five more shots with the same H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets and no sight changes. The pellets enlarged the hole, but there is still just a single hole at 10 meters. So bedding the action did not change where the rifle shoots. Many readers may now lord it over me!

532 10 shots
The second five shots that were fired after the action was bedded enlarged the hole but went to the same place as the first five shots, before the action was bedded. The aim point was to top bull, so at 10 meters the shots are landing low!

What’s next?

I knew I could shift the clear front aperture a little inside the front globe, so that’s what I did. By moving the aperture down and to the left I moved the POI up and to the right. It didn’t move far enough in either direction, plus I didn’t want to do it this way. It was just an experiment. I shot at the same target as before, so we could see what happened.

532 front aperture moved
Moving the front aperture inside the globe did work, but it wasn’t enough.

What now?

I was surprised at this point. Apparently the Russians, who know how to make guns, made this one with a rear sight that doesn’t adjust into the range needed for target work — on a target rifle. That’s like a car without a starter motor!

The best thing at this point was for me to drill a new hole for the rear aperture at the top of the post and remount the rear aperture. One or more readers had suggested this when I told you about the problem, and it has always been in my mind if bedding the action didn’t work. Clearly it didn’t, so it was time to make the fix.

532 rear sight
I moved the rear aperture as high as it will go in its post.

How did it do?

The big question is, did moving the rear aperture up help? I put up a new target, because the POI may have changed dramatically. As it turns out, it did, and I did the right thing. I aimed at the bottom bullseye and the first shot hit 4-1/2-inches higher. It was almost off the paper and would have missed completely if I’d shot at the previous target. The question now was — could I adjust it down far enough to get on target?

532 first shot
After moving the rear peep as high as it will go I aimed at the bottom bull and the shot hit 4.5-inches above, near the edge of the paper.

I cranked in a LOT of down and a few clicks to the right and shot at the bottom bull a second time. The pellet hit at the edge of the bull I aimed at. So I put in three clicks of right adjustment and shot again. The hole grew no larger. I decided to finish the group without adjusting the sight any more. Five pellets went in to 0.10-inches at 10 meters — the smallest group this rifle has shot to date.

532 best group
This is five H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets in 0.10-inches between centers WITH A SIGHT ADJUSTMENT AFTER THE FIRST SHOT! It’s the best this rifle has ever done in my hands.

Sight-in

It turns out that the rear sight moves the point of impact very little per click. It took me six more shots to center the pellet.

532 sight in
It took six shots to adjust the sights for a center impact.

Following that I shot one last group, just to prove the rifle was on. This one wasn’t as great, with five shots in 0.231-inches at 10 meters. But it had been a long day getting to this point, and I was looking forward to the photography and the writeup.

532 last group
The final group measures 0.321-inches between the centers of the five shots.

Summary

Well, we have certainly seen a lot about the IZH 532 target rifle. And today we culminated our look by fixing the sights on one of the two rifles. The other rifle doesn’t need it, so I now own two fine Russian target air rifles. I’m looking to part with one because how many Russian target air rifles does a guy need!


Benjamin 397 Variable Pump Air Rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord|
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin 397
The new Benjamin 397.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Dot sight?
  • The test
  • Accurate with JSB Exact Heavys
  • Adjusted the rear sight
  • H&N Baracuda Magnum
  • H&N Sniper Magnum
  • Adjusted sights
  • 10 shots
  • Summary

It’s been a while since we have looked at the Benjamin 397 Variable Pump Air Rifle. This is a multi-pump .177-caliber air rifle that was advertised as getting 1,100 f.p.s. It can be pumped up to 10 times and we learned that the test rifle was good for 773 f.p.s. when shooting RWS Hobby pellets. A thousand f.p.s. takes trick pellets that nobody uses.

It’s not a quiet airgun, because from two to 10 pumps of air it produces 105 dB pretty consistently. So it’s not friendly for small suburban backyards. But it is a shooter!

Dot sight?

I intended to shoot the rifle with a dot sight or a scope, but there was a question about whether the scope base that attaches to the two holes that are drilled and tapped into the receiver will work with scope bases that are for older 397s, or even with peep sights that I have for my older Benjamin multi-pumps. I tried them both and discovered they won’t fit. The holes are in the wrong place.

The Air Venturi intermount is a sight base that fits this receiver, if it is 0.540 to 0.565-inches in diameter. The test rifle receiver measures 0.567-inches in diameter and I’m going to order one of these bases to see if it fits.

The test

I shot today from 25 yards off a sandbag rest with the rifle rested directly on the bag. Obviously I used the open sights that came on the rifle.  I used a 6 o-clock hold on a 10-meter pistol target, which is perfect for this distance when you use open sights. I shot 5-shot groups because of the pumping, but I did shoot one 10-shot group at the end with what I felt was the best pellet. I pumped six times per shot.

Accurate with JSB Exact Heavys

At 10 meters we discovered the 397 is very accurate with JSB Exact Heavy pellets. So they were the pellets I started with today without adjusting the rear sight. Five pellets went into 0.689-inches at 25 yards. It was high on the bull and to the left.

JSB Heavy group 1
Five JSB Exact Heavy pellets went into 0.689-inches at 25 yards.

Wow! That is a good group for me with post-and-notch open sights at 25 yards! I lost my glasses on Saturday and I had to use reading glasses to see the front sight, but the bull at 25 yards was very blurry. I normally wear my regular glasses for 25 yards. Let’s try a different pellet.

The test at 10 meters showed this rifle likes heavier pellets and also prefers pure lead pellets to harder ones like Premiers. So today I’m exploring the heavier pellets

Adjusted the rear sight

Since the first group was high and left, I adjusted the rear sight. The next pellet was 60 percent heavier than the first one so I left the elevation where it was, but  I adjusted the windage to the right a little. The manual does not tell how to adjust windage, but what you do to go right is loosen the left screw a little then tighten the right one.

H&N Baracuda Magnum

Next up was the 16.36-grain H&N Baracuda Magnum. This pellet is extremely heavy in .177 and I don’t see it for sale on the website anymore. Six of them went into 3.7-inches at 25 yards. I guess I lost count! But this is obviously not the right pellet for this air rifle.

Baracuda Magnum group
I don’t need a dime for this group, I need a manhole cover! Six Baracuda Magnums made a 3.7-inch group at 25 yards. Not the pellet for this 397!

H&N Sniper Magnum

The last pellet I tested was the .177-caliber H&N Sniper Magnum. This one weighs 15 grains in .177 and I no longer see it on the website, either. The 397 liked them, though, and put five into 0.709-inches at 25 yards.

Sniper Magnum group
Five H&N Sniper Magnum pellets made this 0.709-inch group at 25 yards.

Adjusted sights

It was time to take the best pellet and shoot a group of 10. I adjusted the rear sight more to the right and down. Then I set out 10 JSB Exact Heavy pellets.

10 shots

I hate to make excuses but on this group I was having a hard time seeing the sights and the sight picture. And my target shows it. Ten shots went into 1.241-inches at 25 yards. The group is completely open and I think it’s obvious it was me and not the rifle. My eyes just couldn’t keep up. I want to try this again when I have regular glasses and am fresh.

JSB Heavy group 2
Ten JSB Exact Heavy pellets went into this scattered 1.241-inch group at 25 yards.

Well, I may have lost it but at least we know the rear sight adjustments work as they should.

Summary

This new Benjamin 397 is a wonderful follow-on for the line that began back in the 1940s. It has a longer pump stroke that’s more efficient, though 1,100 f.p.s. is a pipe dream unless you shoot only trick pellets — and nobody who wants to hit the target does that!

The synthetic stock is not right for use with open sights, and to my mind this rifle is made for open sights. Also, changing the hole pattern for the peep sight wasn’t such a good thing, either. Now I have to abandon the handful of sights and bases I have for these rifles and get something new. 

I plan to test the rifle with a dot sight and perhaps with a scope if I can get it mounted securely. And I have a secret up my sleeve that only one reader knows about. So you will see the new 397 again, and again.


HW 30S: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

HW 30S
The HW 30S I am testing seems to be a new version.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Lots of questions
  • Air Arms Falcon dome
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Crosman Premier Lights
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Safety
  • Rifle can be uncocked
  • Summary

Lots of questions

There certainly was a lot of chatter about the HW 30S breakbarrel from Weihrauch. Several of you asked why Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry it and is it the same as the Beeman R7? Well, it is very close to the R7, though I don’t know if the R7’s stock will be modified in the same way that the 30S stock has been. A lot of readers said they liked the new shape. I do, too. The checkering/stippling has also changed and I have no idea if the R7 will have the same pattern, but I doubt it. The R7 is a Beeman-branded air rifle and should not carry the Weihrauch name prominently, as this stock does.

I did ask Pyramyd Air whether they carry the 30S and they said they decided not to, because the R7 is so similar. Oddly the Beeman R7 is also available in .20 caliber but not in .22, while the 30S is available in .22 caliber but not in .20. I think the .20 caliber is a nod to Dr. Beeman, who prefers that caliber best of all 4 smallbore calibers, but it’s also a marketing mistake because there aren’t that many different good pellets available in .20 caliber. I think a .22 would sell much better.

It’s clear from several comments that the 30S has changed over the years. Some owners have one with a globe front sight that doesn’t accept inserts like this one. Some have a breech that isn’t notched like the test rifle. But the ball-bearing barrel detent seems to date back at least 30 years or more. However, reader Fish showed us that there was a 30S that had a chisel detent in the distant past.

Now let’s look at the performance.

Air Arms Falcon dome

The first string of 10 Falcon domes averaged 601 f.p.s. The low was 589 and the high was 609, so a difference of 20 f.p.s. I believe a lube tune that I intend doing will tighten that up a bit. At the average velocity the Falcon develops 5.88 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

RWS Superdomes

Next up were RWS Superdomes. At 8.3-grains I expected them to be slower, and they were, but not by much. Ten averaged 591 f.p.s. from the 30S, with a low of 572 and a high of 614 f.p.,s. That’s a difference of 42 f.p.s. That’s quite a lot, and I expect it to drop over time and perhaps with lubrication.

At the average velocity the Superdome develops 6.44 foot-pounds at the muzzle. So they are a little slower than the Falcons but a little more powerful.

Crosman Premier Lights

The last pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier. Ten of them averaged 593 f.p.s. but the spread was very large, at 47 f.p.s. The low was 569 and the high was 616 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Premier Light generates 6.17 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Cocking effort

The rifle took 22 pounds of effort through the entire cocking stroke, with a bump up to 25 pounds at the very end. The end of the stroke is where the rear of the piston cocks the trigger, so I may be able to decrease that a little with lubrication. I have no plan to disassemble the Rekord trigger like some shooters have reported, so I’ll either correct it with lubrication or it will remain.

I also have to comment that, while the ball bearing detent does keep the breech sealed well, it also offers little resistance when you cock the rifle. There is no need to slap the muzzle to break the barrel open.

Trigger pull

I tested the trigger as it came from the factory. It is two-stage with stage one taking 12 ozs. It has a positive stop at stage two. Stage two then breaks at 1 lb. 15 oz., so even from the factory this trigger is nice and light.

I mentioned in the Part One report that stage two of the trigger in the test rifle had a little creep and that I planned to lubricate and adjust it for you in a special report. Well, after velocity testing today all the creep has disappeared. I could use this trigger exactly as it is today, but I will still do a special report on the trigger to show lubrication and adjustments.

Safety

The Rekord trigger has a button safety that pops out on the left side of the rifle when the trigger is cocked. You have to push the button in before the rifle will fire, and there is a definite click when it releases. On some rifles the tolerances are a little off and the rifle can be cocked without setting the safety. Some shooters learn to do this and others disable the safety altogether. Back in the real old days (1950s and ’60s) there was no safety at all.  No HW 55 I have owned has had a safety and I have seen several older R7s without one.

But taking the safety off after cocking soon becomes second nature to anyone with a Rekord trigger. My advice is to leave it functioning and learn to work with it.

HW 30S safety off
The safety is off.

HW 30S safety on
The rifle is cocked and the safety is on.

Rifle can be uncocked

Because the safety can be taken off at any time, the HW 30S can be uncocked. Hold the end of the barrel against the mainspring and take off the safety, then pull the trigger and allow the barrel to close slowly. To reset the safety you break the barrel down all the way — even when the rifle is cocked. The piston rod has to push a part in the trigger down just a wee bit more for the safety to reset.

Summary

Reader Fish asked me if the 30S had replaced the Diana 27S as my favorite air rifle. I told him no, but it might be just as nice.

My plan is to complete a regular set of testing with this rifle, which includes one accuracy test at 10 meters with the open sights. Then I will address the trigger lubrication and adjustments in a special report. Then I will lube-tune the rifle and test velocity and accuracy again. Then I will mount a scope and test accuracy at 25 yards. Then I will install a Vortek PG-2 SHO spring kit and test velocity and accuracy once more. 

When I finish with the Weihrauch HW 30S you guys are going to know it just as well as I do.

Then I plan to get an HW 50S and run similar tests. And then we can make some comparisons. We are going to have some real fun with these two air rifles, and it just may last for most of the rest of this year.


The EM GE Zenit air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Zenit
The German Zenit air pistol from before World War II is a fascinating collector’s item.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • A little afraid
  • Sight-in
  • Adjust front sight
  • Falcons at 10 meters
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the EM GE Zenit air pistol. This is normally a 10 meter test, but today there were differences. Let’s go!

A little afraid

This test gave me some concerns. This Zenit is approaching 90 years of age and it has a cocking process that leaves the pivoting barrel in a position that I consider hinky at best. Could it even hit the paper? I was so concerned that I started cautiously, and I’m so glad that I did.

Sight-in

I started with Air Arms Falcon pellets. And I used a 6 o’clock hold on the bull.

I fired one shot from about 18 feet and it landed high on the target. It looked pretty good at this point so I backed up to 10 meters and started shooting. Neither of the next two shots hit the target paper. This wasn’t working!

So I moved the bench up to 5 meters and tried again. The first shot hit above the bull and the second shot hit next to it. These holes were lower than the one from 18 feet, but in the same general area. The front sight needed to go up to bring the shots down. Talk about hinky! Would that sight adjustment even work? Do you remember where it was set when I got the pistol?

Zenit front sight left
The front sight blade swings up to adjust the elevation. This is how the front sight was set when I purchased the airgun.

Adjust front sight

I loosened the jam screw that holds the front sight blade fast and levered the sight blade up to the second index mark on the blade. Shooting from 5 meters the next pellet hit the top of the bull. Nine more shots went into a group that measures 0.743-inches between centers at 5 meters.

Zenit 5 meters
This is the Zenit at 5 meters with Falcon pellets. The highest hole (arrow) was shot from 18 feet. The two shots under that one (arrows) were shot from 5 meters, rested, with the original sight setting. Then I adjusted the front blade up a little and shot ten more times. That group with one stray measures 0.743-inches between centers.

I held the pistol in two hands that were resting on the sandbag. My off hand was under the butt, which might have caused the muzzle to jump up when the pistol fired.

While shooting at 5 meters I noticed that the muzzle of the pistol flips up with every shot. As slow as this pistol shoots that’s got to have an impact on where the pellet lands. But from the group size I could tell that the pistol wants to shoot. So I dragged the bench back to 10 meters and adjusted the front sight a lot higher.

Zenit front sight
You can compare this front sight setting to the one that was on the pistol when I got it. This sight is cranked up 4 index marks.

Falcons at 10 meters

I shot the first round at 10 meters and the pellet hit the 8-ring at 4 o’clock. That’s well within the bull. I shot the next shot and saw that it landed close to the first one, so I then settled down and fired 8 more times. At ten meters 10 Falcon pellets went into 1.096-inches, with all pellets inside the 8-ring or higher. This little oldster can shoot!

Zenit Falcons 10 meters
The Zenit put 10 Air Arms Falcon pellets in 1.096-inches at 10 meters.

Okay, this little pistol can really shoot. I do have to mention that the flight time of the pellet is quite long. It seems like the pellet couldn’t possibly go where you want it, but when you look you see that it did.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next I tried the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. I guessed they would be really good, but that was wrong. They hit low on the target and ten made a somewhat vertical group that measures 1.689-inches between centers. It’s not that bad, but the Falcons are much better. Notice that the group remains centered on the bull — left and right.

Zenit R10 Match Pistol 10 meters
The Zenit put 10 RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets into a 1.689-inch group at 10 meters.

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet I tried was the JSB Exact RS dome. The Zenit put 10 of them into a vertical group that measures 1.901-inches between centers. Even though it was large, this group climbed back into the bull like the Falcons.

Zenit JSB RS 10 meters
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.901-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion

I never would have thought this old pistol would shoot so well. It was just a matter of adjusting the sights and then letting her do her thing. She is no powerhouse, but she is very well made and she shoots like you want her to.

Summary

It has been a pleasure testing this old air pistol. I hope our readers who own a variation of one of these Zenits will chime in and tell us how theirs compares.


Diana 34 Easy Modular System (EMS) Synthetic: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 34 EMS
Diana 34 EMS with synthetic stock.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Scope
  • The test
  • Pellets
  • Sight-in
  • JSB Exact Heavy domes
  • Crosman Premier Heavy
  • Trigger
  • Heavy pellets
  • H&N Baracuda with 4.50mm head
  • Evaluation so far
  • Summary

Okay. Today is the test many have been waiting for — the Diana 34 EMS at 25 yards. How accurate is it?

Scope

I scoped the rifle with an older  UTG AccuShot 4-16X50AO scope, mounted in BKL 2-piece double-strap one-inch rings. Since the scope was already shimmed in the rings I figured they would adjust to the point of aim relatively easily.

The test

I shot from 25 yards with the artillery hold and my off hand rested on a sandbag. I will note that with the thumbhole stock I’m testing a true artillery hold isn’t possible, but I held the rifle as loosely as possible. My off hand was at the rear of the cocking slot.

I shot 10-shot groups today. I have to say the EMS is easy to cock and you don’t have to slap the muzzle to break it open. This is a very well-behaved air rifle.

Pellets

I selected JSB Exact Heavy domes from the test at 10 meters. In that test we learned that the 34 EMS likes heavier pellets that are also larger. So I also selected two heavier pellets that I hadn’t tried before. When you see the results I think you’ll agree I picked two good ones.

Sight-in

I shot a single JSB Heavy pellet at 12 feet and confirmed that the scope was close enough on for me to back up to 25 yards. Once there it took me three more shots to get on target. Of course I didn’t want to hit the center of the bull and destroy my aim point, so all groups will be at the edge of the black.

JSB Exact Heavy domes

First up was the sight-in pellet. The first shot landed in the top of the bull and I thought it was perfect, but the next several landed high and outside. When all 10 had been shot I had a somewhat vertical group that measures 0.675-inches between centers. It’s a little larger than I would like from this rifle, but there were no shots that were called pulls.

Diana EMS JSB Heavy
The Diana 34 EMS put 10 JSB Exact Heavy pellets into 0.675-inches at 25 yards.

Crosman Premier heavy

The second pellet I tried was the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier heavy. These pellets are sometimes the best of all, and today was one of those days. The 34 EMS put 10 of them into a tight 0.619-inches at 25 yards. 

Diana EMS Premier heavy
Crosman Premier heavys wanted to stay together when shot from the Diana 34 EMS. Ten went into 0.619-inches at 25 yards.

Trigger

You may recall that the 34 EMS has a different trigger that is not crisp like the Diana T05 or T06. This trigger has a second stage through which the trigger blade moves considerably. It’s light enough, but not crisp. I have said that it feels like a single-stage trigger, once you get to stage two. I got used to it in Part 3 and today I was able to do good work with it. I still can’t tell when the rifle is about to fire, but pulling the trigger has no adverse effect on the stability of the crosshairs.

Heavy pellets

I think there is something to this thing about heavy pellets and the EMS. It seems to like them a lot. If you get one of these, try it with heavy pellets first.

H&N Baracuda with 4.50mm head

The third pellet I tested was the H&N Baracuda with a 4.50mm head. I just knew this one was going to shoot well and it did. Ten of them went into 0.634-inches at 10 meters.

Dioana EMS Baracuda
The Diana 34 EMS put 10 H&N Baracudas with 4.50mm heads into a 0.634-inch group at 25 yards.

Evaluation so far

I really like the Diana 34 EMS. It is different than the Diana 34 of the past that we knew, but it is a worthy air rifle in it’s own right. Yes, Diana shouldn’t have touted the barrel shimming and caliber swaps before they worked out the details, but that marketing blunder has no bearing on the rifle’s excellence.

I don’t often select spring rifles to shoot at 50 yards, but I’m choosing this one. With luck I’m thinking we could see ten pellets in less than one inch.

Summary

If you have been waiting to see whether the Diana 34 EMS was a worthy air rifle, I think that point has been proved. I would recommend getting the wooden stock just so you can shoot with the full artillery hold, but if money is an object this synthetic thumbhole stock can also shoot. Today demonstrates that.

I just hope Diana makes the gas pistons, barrel shims and different caliber barrels available soon. I would sure like to try them out!


Get your Weedies!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Bug Buster spawns crabgrass killer
  • Da bomb
  • Weedies
  • A side benefit
  • Safety
  • Dandelions may be possible
  • Summary

Most of you are aware of the UTG Bug Buster line of compact scopes from Leapers. They got their name from the practice in which some airgunners shoot bugs in their yard with pellet rifles. All the Bug Buster scopes parallax adjust (focus) down to 3 yards or nine feet, which makes them perfect for this pastime. Well, now they have spawned a new airgun product — the Weedie!

Bug Buster spawns crabgrass killer

Leapers owner, David Ding, was working in his yard pulling out crabgrass by the roots when it dawned on him that there must be a better way. Could an airgun somehow be converted into a crabgrass eliminator? He already had a line of scopes that was backyard-friendly; could they be used to also get rid of the tenanceous weeds?

David’s wife, Tina, knows quite a few people in local colleges and one of them is a young biochemist graduate student who is working on his PhD research project in herbicides. He is specifically interested in weed tolerance and their resistance to herbicides. More importantly for what is to follow — he is also an airgunner!

Da bomb

What he discovered is the absolute best way to eliminate crabgrass after it emerges is to inject a concentrated solution of of Quinclorac (3,7 dichloro-8-quinolinecarboxylic acid) into the center of the stolons, or tough round runners that give the weed its name. Where they come together is the top of the root of the plant. By breaking through the tough sheath of the stolons at this root, a very small amount of the concentrated Quinclorac will quickly absorb into the root bunch and kill the mature plant before it sends out seeds.

The amount of solution required is smaller than a drop from an eye dropper, and, because the solution has a high surface tension, the drops it forms are very small. The researcher discovered that he could put the right amount of solution into the hollow of a .177-caliber hollowpoint pellet, and just two pellets were all that was needed to kill each crabgrass plant! The process is 100 percent effective and results will be seen in less than 48 hours. The solution is solidified with a bonding agent, so the pellets can be handled safely. Exposure to the liquid in the crabgrass root turns the solution liquid again and the crabgrass root absorbs it readily.

One pellet will kill about 60 percent of all plants. Two pellets are absolutely positive. When hit in the right place with two of these pellets, no plant will survive. Now, you may think that it’s possible to just walk around the yard and shoot the plants at point-blank range, but where’s the fun in that? You can also poke holes in targets with a pencil and use your finger to knock down field targets, but it’s much more fun to do it with an air rifle.

All 2018 the researcher, Roger, killed crabgrass in David Ding’s backyard, and by the end of the year he had perfected his delivery system that consists of a Benjamin Marauder set to deliver the .177 hollowpoint pellets at 650 f.p.s. at the muzzle. Out to 35 yards that delivery system is effective. It does help to get some elevation over the lawn, to get the pellet down into the root bunch, and Roger found that a small stepladder worked well. But a deck is the perfect place from which to shoot.

In 2019 Roger took aim at the crabgrass in David’s front lawn and achieved 100 percent success. The next year the front lawn had less than 10 percent of the crabgrass from the year prior, and that was around the borders — undoubtedly from windblown seeds originating in the lawns of neighbors.

David was impressed by both the performance of the treatment and also by its application. Because some of the shots were very close, Roger mounted a Bug Buster 3-12X32 on his rifle and he let David share in the fun. Crabgrass may not move like an insect, but it is far more difficult to kill. Those pellets have to hit right in the center of all those long arms, which is the top of the root.

When a Weedie kills a crabgrass plant, the entire plant withers and dries out. You can leave it in the ground and it will be replaced by desirable grass or when you see that it’s dry you can pull it out of the ground easily. The root looses its purchase on the ground when the plant dies.

David Ding was so impressed by the success of this treatment and also by the unique application method that he commissioned Roger to hand-make 300 pellets for further trials. He then got three airgunners, including old B.B. Pelletier, to try it last year and each of us had the same results as he and Roger. I don’t know what guns the others used but I used a .177-caliber Diana 27S with open sights that is accurate enough out to 20 yards to deliver the pellets to the center of the crabgrass clumps every time.

Diana 27S
I used a Diana 27S to shoot my Weedies. So a spring-piston air rifle works just as well as a precharged rifle.

Weedies

David was encouraged by our early reports and he convinced a small U.S. pellet importer to make tins of 150 Wheedies that will retail for $15.95. While that sounds expensive (it’s just under 11 cents a pellet), compare it to the cost of commercial crabgrass killers that really work! They sell for a lot of money and usually get results in the 30-50 percent range. Weedies are 100 percent effective when used correctly! Because of the limited supply available, Weedies will be sold exclusively through Pyramyd Air.

A side benefit

While I was playing with my Weedies I discovered that they also kill St. Augustine grass that, in my opinion, is just as much a weed as crabgrass. My neighbor’s yard is St. Augustine and it was creeping over and replacing my Bermuda grass that looks better and which I spend a lot of time and money to keep up. St. Augustine creeps along the top of the ground like a weed and crowds out anything it contacts. As long as you water the heck out of it, it stays green, but the fat leaves look like crabgrass to me. And Weedies get rid of them! Oops!

Safety

Because you are handling a highly concentrated herbicide, each tin comes with the recommendation to wear latex or nitrile gloves when shooting. At the minimum, if you don’t wear gloves, you have to wash your hands with soap and water after each use.

It goes without saying that Weedies are not to be shot at any living animal. Your only target is crabgrass (and St. Augustine). Roger says the pellet delivery system itself is more dangerous to mammals and rodents than the solution in the hollow point, but the solution is so concentrated that it will not do an animal any good.

Dandelions may be possible

Roger found that his formula isn’t as effective on dandelions that also infest yards, but he is working to perfect one that is. However there is a problem with that. So many people eat dandelion plants that he has to make his formula safe for human consumption. Because, if a person ate a dandelion plant after it was treated by a Weedie, the herbicide would be throughout the plant. So the dandelion Weedie may take a while to develop. On the other hand, Weedies for most types of thistles, including Canada thistle, are almost ready for market.

Summary

This report is unique in that an unlikely airgun product, the UTG Bug Buster, served as the foundation for another unlikely airgun product — the Weedie. Will Weedies prosper? That’s difficult to say and only time will tell for certain. I remember Flava Shots .

“Chef de Cuisine Antonio Bologna of the world-knowned Aria Diabolo Pallina game restaurant has created Flava Shots, the first edible pellet. It takes advantage of a new compression technology that creates a dense pellet that will not fall apart or crumble during loading and shooting. It’s so rock hard that it has the same penetration effect as a lead pellet. The Flava Shot pellet dispatches the game and later infuses it with savory herbs and spices during the cooking process.

To maximize the cooking process, Chef Bologna suggests that airgunners lube their airgun barrels with food oils. This reduces friction, delivers a small boost to velocity and brings a delicious flavor to cooked meat. His favorite oil is macadamia nut, but he’s also experimented successfully with plain and roasted sesame oils.”

Today we have learned about Weedies. They could be the next revolution in lawn herbicide treatments. We all laughed when chef Tony Bologna came out with Flava Shots, but who’s laughing now?


The Daisy 35: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy 35
Daisy 35 multi-pump pneumatic

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • RWS Superdomes
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS Hobby
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today I test the Daisy 35 multi-pump with a dot sight. Will that sight make the airgun any more accurate? That’s the test. I mounted the UTG Reflex Micro green dot sight.

The test

I shot from the same 10 meters, rested. I used 8 pumps per shot, just as before. I tried to use the same pellets but I couldn’t find the tin of Norma Golden Trophy pellets, so I substituted RWS Superdomes in their place. I have been told that these Norma pellets are equivalent to the RWS line.

I shot 10-shot groups, just as before. The only difference today, other than the pellet substitution was the sight. And I wore my regular glasses — not the reading glasses I wear when  I shoot with open sights.

Sight-in

It was difficult to sight-in the 35. Any airgun that makes 2-inch groups at 10 meters is going to be difficult to sight in. I started at 10 feet and had to adjust the dot down and to the left a lot. When I got two shots that went to the same place I backed up to 20 feet and kept sighting-in. After two shots were good at that distance I backed up to 10 meters and continued the sight-in. 

All things considered, it took about 12 shots to get the gun sighted-in. Then I shot the first group of RWS Superdomes.

RWS Superdomes

It was a fortunate thing that I shot Superdomes today because they gave me the best group of the test. Ten of them went into 1.963-inches at 10 meters. The group is fairly well centered on the bull. It’s just off to the left a little.

Daisy 35 Superdome group
Ten RWS Superdomes went into 1.963-inches at 10 meters. This is the best group of today’s test.

JSB Exact RS

The next pellet I tested was the JSB Exact RS dome. In Part 3 ten of these made a 2.591-inch group. Today with the dot sight ten went into 3.326-inches. Well — that’s no better, is it? Apparently I can shoot just as well with open sights as with a dot — at least this time!

Daisy 35 JSB RS group
Ten JSB RS domes made this 3.326-inch group at 10 meters. The first shot was in the black near the center, which is why I continued with the group without adjusting the sight. Shot two is that large round hole at the upper left. It looks like it was shot with a wadcutter but I saw it form as I shot. This is why a gun that shoots wide is so hard to sight in.

RWS Hobby

The last pellet I shot was the RWS Hobby wadcutter. In Part 3 ten Hobbys made a 2.205-inch group. Today using the dot sight the 35 put ten Hobbys into 2.29-inches at 10 meters. It’s pretty much the same as the last time with open sights.

One thing about this group. It is so spread out that there are two sight-in shots that look like they are in the group. Well, they aren’t. If you look at the edges of their hole you can tell that they were shot with Superdomes that didn’t cut round holes. This group is similar to the group Hobbys made when I shot with open sights.

Daisy 35 Hobby group
Ten RWS Hobbys made a 2.29-inch group at 10 meters. The arrows point to two holes made by Superdomes during the sight-in. They aren’t part of this group.

Discussion

The tightest group shot with open sights in Part 3 of this test measures 2.181-inches between centers. The tightest group of today’s testing measures 1.963-inches between centers. Clearly the Daisy 35 does not become more accurate at 10 meters with a dot sight.

This may look like a short little test, but please remember that each one of those 30 pellet holes was preceeded by 8 pump strokes. Add to that the 12 sight-in shots and I had to pump this airgun 336 times for today’s test. It wasn’t short on my end! But thankfully the Daisy 35 is an easy airgun to pump.

Looking at the groups I see that this Daisy 35 will hit a tin can most of the time out to 30 feet, or so. That’s its strength. It sure isn’t a paper puncher!

Summary

There is one last thing to test and that is the accuracy of the airgun with BBs. Given that it is set to feed BBs with the magnetic bolt tip I don’t see any reason to test it with lead BBs. You can try to talk me out of that, but think about it. Is someone shooting a $35-40 airgun really going to spend $25 for 1,500 BBs?