Air Venturi Avenger repeating air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Avenger
Air Venturi Avenger.

This report covers:

  • The Avenger
  • The lowdown
  • Features
  • Performance
  • Description
  • Fill
  • Two gauges
  • Manual
  • Where is it made?
  • Silencer?
  • Summary

You readers know that I select the topics I write about and the guns I test. Pyramyd Air who owns this blog has given me great latitude to run the show as I see fit. And that arrangement has worked well for 15 years.

However, every once in awhile Pyramyd Air gets a product they would like me to test. They are taking a risk, because they know that I will test it and report whatever happens — both good and bad. I try not to insult anyone when I write about a product, but I also tell the truth as it unfolds, because I worry about the guy who can only afford that one airgun and may base his decision on what I write. Pyramyd Air knows that and trusts that I will be as honest as possible. read more


Crosman MAR 177: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Crosman MAR
The MAR177 from Crosman.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Baseline with Hobbys
  • Today’s test
  • What is the average?
  • Second page of numbers
  • What does “estimate 601” on page 2 mean?
  • But — what is the average velocity?
  • Photos
  • Pressure gauge and fill pressure
  • Big lesson
  • Balanced valve
  • How do I know the ending air pressure?
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Loading problems
  • Loudness
  • Summary

Today I test the velocity of the MAR177 I’m reviewing, and I have a baseline from the 2012 test I did, with which to compare it. Some of you asked me what velocity to expect. Well, it is all in the 6-part review I did on the first MAR177. Look at Part 3 of that series for the velocity test. 

Baseline with Hobbys

In that 2012 test I got an average of 609 f.p.s. from RWS Hobbys and the velocity varied by 32 f.p.s. The low was 593 f.p.s. and the high was 625 f.p.s. I got a shot count of 124 shots on one fill.

Today’s test

Today I shot 160 Hobbys on a fill. The fill pressure ranged from a high of 3200 psi to a low of about 2200 psi — according to my accurate carbon fiber tank gauge. Those starting and ending pressures are well above the pressure range of the first gun (which was 2900 psi to 1600 psi). read more


Ataman BP17 PCP bullpup air rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Ataman BP17
Ataman BP17 Soft Touch bullpup PCP air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The test — 55 yards
  • Wind
  • Aeon scope
  • Excuses, excuses!
  • One pellet — JSB Exact Jumbo
  • Trigger
  • Group two — JSB Jumbo
  • Group three
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today I take the Ataman BP17 PCP bullpup air rifle out to 50 yards for the final accuracy test. Instead of shooting many pellets I shot the one it did best with in Part 3. That turned out to be a good decision because there were several other challenges on this day.

The test — 55 yards

I wasn’t at my usual rifle range so I had to set everything up. I paced off the distance to the target, and when I ranged to it I discovered it was actually closer to 55 yards. And, the way the range was set up, I had the sun in my face, so I had to shade my non-sighting eye.

Wind

I got a late start so the wind had picked up, as well. I faced gusts to 10-12 m.p.h which doesn’t sound bad, but when you are shooting to 55 yards with pellets any wind can be difficult. I waited the gusts out and tried to shoot only when the wind was 0 to 5 m.p.h.

Aeon scope

You will remember from Part 3 that the Aeon 8-32X50 SF scope was mounted. That proved to be another challenge on this day because I was outdoors and the bullpup rifle was hard to benchrest. The Aeon scope has a very short distance in which the image is visible through the eyepiece, then it goes dark. Too close is just as bad as too far away. Indoors it is easier to hold the short rifle so the image is visible, but outside it proved difficult.

Excuses, excuses!

It sounds like I’m building up to report a failure, but I’m not. I’m just telling you all I went through to shoot this rifle accurately at 55 yards. I think bullpups are easer to shoot offhand than conventional rifles, like when you are hunting, but harder to benchrest than rifles with conventional stocks.

One pellet — JSB Exact Jumbo

The pellet I selected for today’s test was the .22 caliber JSB Exact Jumbo that did so well in Part 3 at 25 yards. That gave me more time to learn how to shoot the rifle from a rest.

I fiddled around, adjusting the scope’s zero for about 10 rounds and then shot the first serious group. Because there were 4 pellets left in the clip after sighting in, I shot a first group of 11. At 55 yards 11 JSB Exact Jumbo pellets went into 1.223-inches. It’s not that good because I was still learning how to hold the rifle. I allowed the crosshair to move around too much while shooting this group.

Ataman BP17 JSB 55yd group 1
Eleven JSB Exact Jumbo pellets went into 1.223-inches at 55 yards. It’s an okay group, but I knew I could do better.

Trigger

The rifle’s trigger is both light and nonspecific. I never knew when it was going off. That sounds better than it is. If it had a definite stage two I would have been able to concentrate more on the release point, but this trigger is like juggling nitroglycerin. You never know when it’s going off!

Group two — JSB Jumbo

On the second serious group I held the rifle much better, though the trigger was still surprising me. This time 6 of the 7 pellets went into 0.78-inches at 55 yards. But one pellet landed way below the group, opening it up to 1.723-inches. I don’t know which of the 7 shots it was because they all looked good through the scope.

Ataman BP17 JSB 55yd group 2
Seven JSB Jumbo pellets are in 1.723-inches with 6 in 0.78-inches at 55 yards. So close!

I almost called it quits after this group. I was hot and sweaty and had been shooting for about 90 minutes. But I really wanted to see if I could hold 7 for 7.

Group three read more


Ataman BP17 PCP bullpup air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Ataman BP17
Ataman BP17 Soft Touch bullpup PCP air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Scope
  • Nomad air compressor
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • Trigger
  • RWS Superdome
  • Hades pellet
  • Is the JSB Jumbo more accurate?
  • Summary

Today we begin testing the Ataman BP17 PCP bullpup air rifle for accuracy. Today’s test will be at 25 yards . Before I could do that, though, I had to mount a sight.

Scope

I mounted the Aeon 8-32X50 SF scope in UTG P.O.I. high rings. I linked you to regular P.O.I. high rings but the ones I used were 35mm offset. Pyramyd Air doesn’t seem to carry those.

Ataman BP17 P.O.I. rings
I mounted the 8-32 scopes in UTG P.O.I. offset rings. Notice that the 8-32 power scope does not come to the end of this bullpup’s muzzle. The Aeon scope is really compact!

Nomad air compressor

I tried to fill the rifle and found that my largest 98 cubic-foot  carbon fiber air tank would only fill to 3,800 psi. The smaller 88 cubic-foot tank has even less air at this time, but fortunately I had left the Nomad II compressor hooked up. It only took a minute to attach to the rifle and finish the fill to 300 bar (4,350 psi). I’m starting to really appreciate that Nomad compressor for its convenience!

The test

I shot all targets from a bench at 25 yards with the rifle rested on a sandbag. I used a rear bag to steady the rifle even more.

I decided to shoot 7-shot groups since that’s what the magazine holds.

Sight-in

I sighted in the rifle with the first 7 shots. I made certain the groups would be below the aim point because this Ataman has a reputation for pinpoint accuracy and I didn’t want to blow away my reference point.

JSB Exact Jumbo

The first pellet I tested was the .22 caliber JSB Exact Jumbo that Tyler Patner had tested in his video. He shot 7 shots at 45 yards and I was shooting at 25 yards, so my groups promised to be a little smaller. Seven pellets from the test rifle went into 0.237-inches at 25 yards. That’s a tight little group! Tyler put 7 of the same pellets into 0.38-inches at 45 yards.

Ataman BP17 JSB Jumbo group 1
Seven JSB Exact Jumbo pellets went into that tiny group at 25 yards.

Trigger

The super-light trigger was no problem for this test because the rifle was benchrested. But I would still like the trigger to have a precise second stage.

JSB Exact Monster

The second pellet I tried was the heavyweight JSB Exact Monster. You will remember that this was the pellet that generated the most power in Part 2. I could hear these pellets going noticeably slower than the ones before, and they landed even lower on the target. Seven of these pellets went into 0.384-inches at 25 yards — another good group! Tyler didn’t mention testing this pellet in his review.

Ataman BP17 JSB Monster group
Seven JSB Monsters went into 0.384-inches at 25 yards.

RWS Superdome

Next I tested 7 RWS Superdome pellets. I thought they would strike the target about where the first pellets had or perhaps even higher since they are lighter, but they didn’t. In fact they landed so low that parts of the lowest pellet holes are off the target paper. So, I measured this group with the target still taped to the backer board, to get the exact size. Seven Superdomes went into 0.545-inches between centers at 25 yards. Since the JSB pellets are so accurate, I don’t believe I will shoot Superdomes in this rifle anymore.

Ataman BP17 RWS Superdome group
Seven RWS Superdome pellets went into 0.545-inches at 25 yards. The lowest pellets were off the paper, so I had to measure the group with the target still taped to the backer board.

Hades pellet

The last pellet I tested was the JSB Hades pellet that has proven to be so accurate. It weighs the same as the JSB Jumbo pellet, so I expected it to shoot the same or better. But it didn’t.

This pellet also landed so low that I had to measure the group with the target still attached to the backer board. Seven Hades pellets made a 0.47-inch group at 25 yards. That’s not bad, but the Jumbo pellet I shot at the first target was more accurate.

Ataman BP17 JSB Hades group
Seven JSB Hades pellets made a 0.47-inch group at 25 yards. It’s pretty good, but not special. read more


Artemis PP700S-A PCP pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Artemis pistol
Artemis PCP air pistol.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Seals are holding
  • First shot string
  • Point 2
  • Scope shift
  • RWS Superdome
  • Second shot string
  • Regulator?
  • Four minutes
  • JSB Exact Jumbos second time
  • RWS Hobby
  • Discussion
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we’ll look at the velocity of the Artemis PP700S-A PCP pistol. From the comments to Part 1, I could tell that many of you know this pistol or are at least aware of it. Reader Arcadian even mentioned that it was regulated, but if it is, the reg is not function correctly. You’ll see why I say that in a moment.

Seals are holding

I filled the pistol at the end of the last report, so it has held air for three weeks. The gauge on the pistol reads 300 psi lower than the larger gauge on my carbon fiber tank, but before I conducted the first velocity test I filled the reservoir so the gun’s onboard gauge needle went to the top of the green on its scale. Then I tested the gun with the .22-caliber JSB Exact Jumbo pellet. That test string shows a lot about the performance of the pistol, so let’s look at it now.

First shot string

Shot……………Velocity
1…………………539
2…………………449
3…………………458
4…………………470
5…………………468
6…………………476
7…………………491
8…………………491
9…………………510
10………………..523
11………………..511
12………………..518
13………………..521
14………………..525
15………………..530
16………………..535
17………………..536
18………………..538
19………………..546
20………………..549
21………………..552
22………………..553
24………………..552
25………………..559
26………………..564
27………………..573
28………………..568
29………………..581
30………………..574
31………………..586
32………………..600
33………………..599
34………………..610
35………………..608
36………………..602
37………………..581
38………………..576
39………………..565
40………………..565
41………………..546
42………………..544
43………………..533
44………………..524
45………………..506

Some readers will look at this string and think that it shows a lot of shots on a fill. Others will look and think there is no regulator in this gun, and that the valve hasn’t even been balanced for a flat power curve. But that’s not how I look at it.

I look at it and wonder which part of the power curve do I choose? There is no flat spot to pick. Shots 27 to 38 give me 12 shots that vary by 42 f.p.s. They are also at the highest point of the curve. I can expand that and take shots 19 to 41. That gives me 22 shots with a maximum spread of 64 f.p.s. That should be good for shooting out to 25 yards, but maybe not much farther.

I was missing something very important at this place in the testing. That will become clear in a minute.

Point 2

Don’t fill this pistol until its internal gauge shows 3,000 psi. If you do it will take 18-20 shots before the pressure in the reservoir drops low enough for the gun to come into its power curve. In fact, filling to 3,000 psi by a more accurate external tank gauge shows that even that pressure is too high for this particular pistol. This may sort itself out with a different pellet, so I’m not making any corrections yet.

What you are seeing here is a classic example of how essential a chronograph can be. Another way to figure all of this out without a chronograph is to shoot the pistol at a distant target (40+ yards) and watch to see when the pellets begin to drop below the expected point of impact. When that happens you are at the end of the power curve. Then you need to find the start of the curve in the same way but in reverse — watching the pellets climb into the anticipated point of impact.

Scope shift

And — BY THE WAY — if you don’t sight-in at the right place on the power curve you can expect to see “scope shift” which in this case will be falling off the power curve.

Now I will test two more pellets. This time I will only fill to about 2800 psi (on my more accurate carbon fiber tank gauge), which should put the first shot on the power curve.

RWS Superdome

The second pellet tested was the RWS Superdome. Something interesting happened with this test, so I will show you every shot here, too.

Second shot string

Shot……………Velocity
1…………………628
2…………………597
3…………………598
4…………………599
5…………………591
6…………………596
7…………………597
8…………………596
9…………………600

See how much faster the first shot is than those that follow? Look back at the first string and you will see the same thing. The velocity dropped by 90 f.p.s. between shots oner and two that time. This begins to look like a regulated gun whose regulator is taking a long time to fill the valve. There is a way to test that.

I stopped shooting after shot 9 and waited 15 minutes before shooting shot 10. If I’m right about the reg filling very slowly, shot 10 will be faster and closer to shot number one than to the other shots in the string. I would expect something around 620-630 f.p.s. And, I’m writing this expectation before seeing the 10th shot.

Shot……………Velocity
10………………..622

Regulator?

That’s fairly strong evidence that there is a regulator inside the gun and it passes air slowly. It’s probably faster than 15 minutes, but it’s longer than the 20-30 seconds it takes to get the next shot ready. So I waited 2 full minutes between this shot and the next.

Shot……………Velocity
11………………..612

That was faster but was it full speed? So, I waited 5 more minutes before firing the next shot.

Shot……………Velocity
12………………..622

Bingo! I think we have proven that there is indeed a regulator inside this pistol and that this particular one is passing air very slowly. That renders the first shot string null. And we can consider the velocity with RWS Superdomes to be around 620 f.p.s., give or take.

Four minutes

At 620 f.p.s. Superdomes generate 12.38 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. After this test I further refined the wait period between shots to 4 minutes. Is the airflow speeding up? Too early to tell.

This also does something more. We don’t need a 10-shot string now. Three shots fired 4 minutes apart will give us the velocity close enough, because of the reg. I can refill the gun just one time and get the velocity of the first pellet and the other one I haven’t tested yet in 6 shots, with 4 minutes between each shot. I refilled the gun to 2800 psi and then shot the following.

JSB Exact Jumbos second time

Shot……………Velocity
1…………………570
2…………………578
3…………………583

This is a bigger spread and each shot is going faster. Is the reg speeding up? I waited only 3 minutes and then shot number 4.

4…………………577

And then 2 minutes before the next shot.

5…………………576

At 576 f.p.s. these pellets generate 11.71 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

RWS Hobby

The last pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby, and I tested it similar to what I did with the first pellet the second time — three shots spaced 4 minutes apart. Please don’t get confused — I did this Hobby test before doing the second JSB test, so I didn’t know yet that the reg was going faster.

Shot……………Velocity
1…………………627
2…………………626
3…………………620

At 625 f.p.s. the Hobby generates 10.32 foot pounds at the muzzle.

Discussion

I think the pistol is changing as I’m testing it. That makes it difficult to get an accurate set of numbers. But I do now believe that it has a regulator and that this one is operating very slowly. I may need to do a second velocity test to pin things down before testing the accuracy.

I discovered this because I once owned a Daystate — yes I said a Daystate — that had a slow regulator. It wasn’t as slow as this one, but it took 25 seconds between shots to normalize. It was my field target gun for a couple years, so fast shots weren’t a problem. I just worked around it.

Trigger pull

I have the trigger functioning as a single-stage trigger right now. It releases at 3 lbs. 8 oz. pretty consistently. It’s nice, though I can feel travel before the release.

Summary

I think this Artemis pistol is well-made and a is good air pistol, but I have encountered a quirk in the regulator that isn’t common. However, that gave you the chance to see how to find such a thing and not to despair when your numbers don’t seem right.

I will give a lot of thought to a second velocity test after I have had more time to reflect on today’s results.


Compressor talk

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • PCPs are becoming mainstream
  • The price has dropped
  • Disco
  • Economic hostage
  • DON’T BUY A CHEAP AIR COMPRESSOR!!!!!!
  • Inexpensive compressors you can trust
  • AirForce E-Pump
  • Value compressors
  • Stand-alone operation
  • Commercial compressors
  • Even higher?
  • Consider your probable use
  • Some simple thoughts about air compressors
  • Summary
  • read more


    Pause to reflect

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    This report covers:

    • Blue Book coming
    • Overwhelmed
    • Price-point PCP
    • Compressors
    • The value compressor
    • Set-and-forget
    • Gun compressors
    • Repeating spring guns
    • Lookalikes
    • Big Bores
    • Special things
    • Over to you

    Blue Book coming

    I have been writing my next Blue Book of Airguns report. My section is called Gaylord Reports, and I try to summarize all that has happened since the last Blue Book was published. The new book should be released in May or early June.

    The last Blue Book was published in 2016. While that sounds like just three years ago, since the book was actually written the year before, it’s a full 3-plus years and going on four. More has happened in this time than at anytime in the history of airguns!

    Overwhelmed

    There is so much information that I cannot get it into one report. I’m having to consolidate all of the exciting things into categories. And doing that has caused me to pause for reflection. There is more going on with airguns today than I have ever seen. I would like to share my view with you right now, and then give you the opportunity to comment.

    Price-point PCP

    Several of the categories of things that have happened since the last Blue Book deal with the subject of pre-charged pneumatics (PCP). Let’s begin there. The price-point PCP, or as I like to call it the PPP has been the number one-game changer in this time frame. These are air rifles that are pre-charged pneumatics with a lot of desirable features, yet they sell for under $300. Until I wrote the section for the Blue Book, I did not fully appreciate their impact. You see, not only are there PPP guns, there are also guns that sell for even less money that I’m now calling sub-PPP guns. The Beeman QB Chief is a perfect example of one.

    Compressors

    The PPP guns do not stand alone. They have spawned an interest in the field of pre-charged pneumatics that is driving other areas. A rising tide lifts all boats. Perhaps the most important area is that of the compressor. In 2016 there were a few compressors that would fill large carbon-fiber tanks to 4500 psi. Today there are many that will do it! And some of them cost about half as much as they did several years ago.

    The value compressor

    The era of the giant $3000 air compressor is coming to a close — at least for individual shooters. They will continue to exist because there are many other needs for them, but individual airgunners can do the same things more conveniently with compressors costing less than half as much. The Air Venturi Compressor is a perfect example of this.

    And compressors, like pneumatic guns, are also starting to coagulate into groups. Below what I am now calling the value compressors ($1,000 to $1,600) are a group of smaller machines that can do nearly as much — they just take longer.

    Set-and-forget

    One unique feature most of the new compressors have is they can stand alone — not needing to be attended. The $3000 compressors require an operator at their side while they are running. But the compressors that cost $1,000 to $1,600 have set-and-forget features. They shut off when the set pressure is reached and several of them self-bleed during operation. You still have to be aware of them, but you don’t have to stand over them. You can be in another room and just listen for them to stop.

    This set-and-forget feature has migrated down to the lower-priced units, as well. The Air Force E-pump is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. That compressor can also fill a large carbon-fiber tank — it just takes longer than a larger compressor.

    Gun compressors

    If you want to save even more money there are now compressors that are not made to fill tanks but individual guns. They have most of the same features of the higher-cost units, but they are less money. The Air Venturi Nomad II is one of these and not only does it have a set-and-forget feature, it also runs on both house current and a car battery.

    Repeating spring guns

    Another new category is the repeating springer. We had them back when I was a kid 60 years ago, but they didn’t work very well. They had problems feeding the pellets through their complex mechanisms. Today they use rotary magazines, and the feeding problem has been solved!

    When they first started coming to the market several years ago, I thought they were just gimmicks. But more and more companies are bringing them out, and they’re being received well by the air gun community.

    I’m currently testing both the Hatsan Proxima and the Hatsan SpeedFire rifles. In fact, I have the SpeedFire back from Hatsan and will be testing it tomorrow.

    Look around and you’ll see that this field is blossoming rapidly. I guess its time has come.

    Lookalikes

    The look-alike airgun is also not a new idea. We had them prior to World War II. The Haenel model 28 that looks like a German Luger is a perfect example from the 1930s.

    When I was a kid in the 1960s, Crosman’s 38 C and 38T were considered brilliant, and everybody knows how successful their M1 Carbine BB gun was. Today these guns all look like museum artifacts, which I sadly guess they are, since they are a half-century old. They were great for their time but we are now living in the age of the lookalike. Yesterday’s report on the new Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle should be proof of that!

    We have guns like the new Sig M17 P320 pellet pistol and any number of 1911s from a variety of companies. And, perhaps the best replica of all is the Umarex MP40 Submachine Gun. It is so realistic!
    And don’t forget the K98 Mauser from Diana. Not only is it a great look-alike airgun, it’s also wonderful shooter!

    Big bores

    Another category that is booming is the big bore airgun — pardon the pun. These were already hot in 2016, but the increase since then has overwhelmed me. The big bore is probably where our pneumatic technology will be affected the most. Some companies who thought they could develop big bores and get in on the action suddenly realized the physics of pneumatics for the first time. There are things that cannot be overlooked. A longer barrel means higher velocity — period! High pressure does not guarantee great power. An airgun’s valve has to be designed to be efficient with air and to take the probable projectiles into account. You don’t notice this in a 177 pneumatic as much as you do in a 45. The big bore really pushes your nose into the science!

    And, let’s not forget arrow launchers. They are a little older than 2016, but since that time some remarkable things have happened. Air Venturi, for example, did away with the special airgun and made their Air Bolts launchable from any appropriate barrel. Pretty nice when $100 will save you $1,000!

    Special things

    Since 2016 there have also been a few special things happen. They are so outstanding that they need to be addressed individually. Perhaps the most significant of these is the new Sig ASP20 breakbarrel rifle. Sig has reduced the cocking effort of a powerful gas spring by 30 percent, eliminated vibration, lowered the muzzle blast, gotten accuracy that has never been seen in a gas spring gun before and coupled all that with a dedicated optic that was designed expressly for the rifle. What Sig has done is take the careful work of a serious field target shooter and render it down into a package that can be bought over the counter.

    Another significant change during this period has been the acquisition of RAW by AirForce airguns. RAW rifles are at the pinnacle of pneumatic superiority. They may have a few equals, but none are better. However, until recently they have been made in small batches, with many operations being done by hand. AirForce has turned that wonderful design into something producible at a reasonable rate. They won’t make thousands of them because there isn’t a demand for that many airguns at that price. But, by making hundreds at a time, they can significantly decrease the time it takes to get one. And, they are looking at other things that will improve this even more, like building several of the most popular models to have in stock.

    Over to you

    That is what I have been thinking about for the past month. As I put my chapter together for the Blue Book I was overwhelmed by how far we have come in such a short time. A couple readers have asked where does it all end? If we’re lucky, I don’t think it does. What do you think?