Air Venturi Avenger repeating air rifle: Part 7

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Avenger
Air Venturi Avenger.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

This report covers:

  • Summary
  • What we know
  • Why are we doing this?
  • The test
  • Is it still on baseline?
  • Highest power?
  • Summary 2

Today I keep my word by testing the AirVenturi Avenger at lower fill pressures — say 2,500 and 2,000 psi. My thanks to reader Brent who reminded me of this test.

Summary

Let’s skip to the end — I hope. Filling this regulated air rifle to a lower pressure should be exactly like putting less gas in a car. It should still go just as fast — but not as far. In this case the Avenger will get fewer shots on the fill but the velocity and accuracy should remain the same, give or take. I won’t test the accuracy again until the 50-yard test, but today we will look at the velocity.

What we know

In Part 3 we discovered that the Avenger is still very powerful when the regulator is set to its lowest setting and the hammer spring that is also adjustable is set to its lowest setting. When everything was set as high as it will go the power was in the 36 foot-pound range and there were a total of 55 shots before the rifle needed to be refilled. When everything was set as low as it will go the power was just under 25 foot-pounds and the rifle gave 96 shots before I stopped shooting. With so much adjustability we can argue whether there are even more useful shots on a fill but at least there are this many.

What we learned is the Avenger is very careful with its air. We also learned that on the lowest power settings it is extremely accurate, besides providing decent power. That makes today’s test a valid one.

Why are we doing this?

We are testing this concept because the 300 bar fill the Avenger requires is beyond the ability of many who want to own the gun. To get pressures that high means they either have to have a 4,500 psi carbon fiber air tank or a compressor, or both. In recent times the cost of compressors has dropped dramatically, but carbon fiber tanks have remained expensive. The Avenger retails for just $300, so the shooters looking to buy one are probably not willing to spend the extra $700-1,000 to get everything they need. But if the rifle can be filled conveniently with a high-pressure hand pump and if they get a reasonable number of good shots from it then the need for all that stuff goes away.

We don’t need to test the gun on low power and again on high power. Whatever it does at one power level it will do at all power levels.

The test

I wondered how to proceed. Should I empty the rifle and then fill it with a hand pump? I could do that, but what would I gain? 

When I looked at the onboard gauge it was reading just under 3,000 psi. That was left over from the test in Part 6. So the airgunner in me did the easiest thing — I released the reservoir pressure until the onboard gauge read 2,500 psi.

Avenger bleed screw
The 3mm bleed screw releases air from the reservoir.

I released the air very slowly, watching the needle on the gauge carefully. I know that these gauges take time to settle in so I gave it plenty of time. When I finished it looked like this.

Avenger gauge 1
The test was started with the onboard reservoir gauge reading as close to 2,500 psi as possible.

Is it still on baseline?

First I wanted to fire 5 JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets to see if the Avenger was still shooting at the velocity recorded previously. In Part 4 we established the average velocity at 782 f.p.s. at this lowest power setting, with a spread from 768 to 790 f.p.s. We learned that by waiting for the regulator to fill the velocity did increase, so there was some special testing done (waiting a full minute between shots) to get all 96 shots last time on a fill. I may need to do some of that today and I will tell you as the test progresses. Now let’s look at the velocity of 5 JSB Jumbo Heavys with a minute between each shot.

2500psi fill

Shot……….Vel.
1…………..793

Then I shot the second shot while waiting only 30 seconds after the first.

2…………..769

After that I waited at least 60 seconds between shots.

3…………..777
4…………..775
5…………..771

I am almost out of JSB Exact Jumbo Heavys so I switched to Beeman Kodiaks to continue the test. Also waited 60 seconds between shots.

6…………..712
7…………..704
8…………..698
8…………..709
10…………704
11…………699
12…………702
13…………717
14…………710
15…………708
16…………708
17…………707

Now I shot one JSB Exact Jumbo, just to show where the rifle was.

18…………772 JSB Exact Jumbo

Back to Kodiaks.

19…………716
20…………707
21…………714
22…………719 
23…………718

At this point the onboard pressure gauge read exactly 2,000 psi. So from 2500 psi down to to 2000 psi I got 23 shots that were consistent.

Avenger gauge 2
When I started the shot string that follows the gauge read 2000 psi.

24…………710
25…………703
26…………698
27…………714
28…………706
29…………702
30…………709
31…………707
32…………702
33…………705
34…………699
35…………703

At this point I fired another JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy, just to check.

36…………771 JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy

And back to Kodiaks.

37…………703
38…………711
39…………700
40…………711
41…………698
42…………703
43…………701
44…………699
45…………694 off the power curve
46…………710
47…………695
48…………695

That’s 21 shots on 2,000 psi and another 23 if you go up to 2,500 psi. If you can pump to 2,500 psi you get 44 good shots when the rifle is set to the lowest power settings. The pressure gauge had just dropped off the green when the power curve ended.

Avenger gauge 3
When the power currve was through the gauge read like this.

Highest power?

We got 55 shots per fill on the highest power settings and 96 shots on the lowest settings when I filled to 300 bar. So, take the numbers in this test and chop them in half and that’s roughly how many shots you’ll get when shooting at the highest power and filling to these pressures. 

Notice that filling to 2,500 psi gives a lot more shots than filling to 2,000 psi. So, if you fill with a pump go as high as you can.

Summary 2

The Avenger gives a lot of useful shots even when you don’t fill it all the way. I don’t know what else I can test — other than accuracy at 50 yards which is coming. I think this air rifle is the best buy of the millennium!


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.

But I am not the only guy in this town! Pyramyd Air has some very capable people working for them, and you know them because they comment on this blog. We all appreciate Gene Salvino who tells us things about the inner workings of certain airguns that he sees in his position as a repair technician. And product manager Tyler Patner is a world-class field target competitor who enjoys shooting airguns as much as any of us. You have probably seen several of his interesting Pyramyd Insyder videos on the website. He also comments here from time to time.

The Avenger

So, when Tyler phoned me a couple weeks ago and told me I needed to look at the new Air Venturi Avenger PCP rifle, I jumped at the chance. He sent me a .22 caliber Avenger to test for you (they also come in .177 and .25) and I am starting today!

The lowdown

The Avenger is one more Price-Point PCP (PPP) that is joining one of the hottest segments of the airgun market. But it seems like the manufacturers are putting more and more features into these airguns that used to be considered basic. Let’s look at the list for the Avenger. 

Features

  • Sidelever cocking
  • External adjustable regulator to control power
  • Adjustable hammer spring to control power
  • Two-stage adjustable trigger
  • Shrouded barrel
  • Dual gauges — one for the reservoir and the other for the regulator
  • Male Foster fitting for the fill
  • 10-shot magazine in .177 and .22 — 8 shots in .25
  • Light weight (6 pounds without a scope)
  • Two magazines included
  • A single-shot tray comes with the rifle

There are other features that I’ll cover in the report as we go, but just what I have listed puts the Avenger at the top of the price-point pyramid. Only a year ago we were all dancing in the streets just to get a regulator in a PPP and now we have one we can adjust, not to mention the two-stage adjustable trigger!

Performance

This is a powerful PCP! In .177 caliber the website says to expect up to 22 foot pounds. In .22 that jumps up to 34 foot pounds. And in .25 it goes all the way up to 45 foot pounds. Of course that is with the heaviest pellets, as pneumatics always deliver their greatest power with the heaviest projectiles. What I advise is finding an accurate pellet whose energy you can live with. Numbers are meaningless without results.

Description

The Avenger I’m testing is a 10-shot .22 caliber sidelever repeater that, according to the website, gets up to 60 shots per fill. In .177 the shot count rises to 70 and in .25 caliber it’s 24 shots.

No, the sidelever cannot be moved to the left side of the receiver. We had better consider the Avenger a right-hand air rifle for now.

Avenger sidelever
The sidelever is on the right side and cannot be switched. It’s a slicker way to work the bolt.

And let’s get something straight. A sidelever operates a bolt, so the Avenger is really a bolt action rifle with a slick mechanism to operate it.

Fill

The max. fill is 300 bar, or 4,351 psi. That rules out a hand pump for all but the most rugged guys, but it’s prime territory for the Nomad II compressor. Why not let the electric pump do all the work? The problem with such a high fill level is after you fill the airgun from a carbon fiber tank one time you no longer have 4,351 psi left in your tank. But a Nomad II should fill the 180cc reservoir fast. Naturally I will time it for you.

The rifle comes without open sights. The top of the receiver accepts both 11mm dovetails and Picatinny dovetail mounts. I will use the wider Picatinny base simply because it is more secure and because many of the scopes I have now come with Picatinny mounts. 

Avenger scope base
The Avenger scope base accepts either 11mm or Picatinny dovetail mounts.

There is also a straight Picatinny base under the end of the forearm for a bipod. I have a beautiful UTG Pro TBNR bipod that I have been saving for a test like this. I will do a separate report on the bipod before I get into the accuracy test.

The stock is synthetic and the butt is hollow. That’s the only way you can get a rifle with all these features to weigh just 6 pounds. There are no adjustments on the stock and the length of pull is 14 inches exactly. The pistol grip is flared at the bottom, which I like, and it is very vertical, which I also like. The forearm is thin enough to be handy, but wide enough that you know you have something in your hands.

There are small holes at the front of the forearm and at the bottom rear of the butt for mounting sling swivel studs. That tells me the Avenger is being marketed as a hunting gun, which the potential power certainly supports.

Two gauges

There is a gauge on the left side of the receiver that monitors the air in the reservoir. A second gauge on the right side tells you the pressure to which the regulator is set. I will cover the method of setting the regulator in another report, but for now I will tell you that it sounds very straightforward when I read the instructions in the manual.

Avenger reservoir
The gauge on the left side of the receiver tells how much pressure remains in the reservoir.

Avenger regulator gauge
On the right side of the receiver the gauge tells the pressure to which the regulator is set.

Manual

Speaking of the manual, this one was either written by an American or perhaps by someone who understood how Americans speak. The instructions are straightforward and easy for me to understand. I think most Canadians will find them easy, as well, though they might have to write in an occasional “eh?” after some of the sentences.

Where is it made?

Okay kids — it’s time to get out your secret decoder rings because BB has a special message just for you! If you research the Avenger on the internet, and you know you’re going to, you will discover that this air rifle is indeed related to the Nova Liberty PCP. Related to, but not the same as. That means it is made in China, and more specifically in Macau. Macau is to China what Las Vegas is the the United States, except Macau is five times more active.

What is different between the two airguns is the Avenger is offered only with a synthetic stock at this time, where the Liberty does have a wood stock available for more money. But the Liberty does not come in .25 caliber as far as I can determine, and it does not have a user-adjustable regulator.  Also the power levels the Liberty achieves are lower than those of the Avenger in the same caliber. So, for the same money, the Avenger gives you more of the features you say you want.

Silencer?

There is an air chamber in front of the muzzle but I don’t see any baffles in the shroud. The rifle should be quieter than a barrel without a shroud, but not entirely quiet. At this power level its kind of hard to get it much quieter without baffles.

Summary

Pyramyd Air is sold out in all calibers as this blog is published, but they should be restocking soon. If you want one you had better nail it down , because this item will not sit around very long.


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).

In those 160 shots my highest velocity was shot number 106 that registered 604 f.p.s. My lowest velocity was shots number 156 that registered 571 f.p.s. That is a spread of 33 f.p.s. for 160 shots. However, I thought the rifle fell off the power curve on shot number 145, where the velocity was 578 f.p.s. If I take the first 140 shots, the low was 580 f.p.s and the high was 604 f.p.s. That is a spread of 24 f.p.s. I can live with that.

What is the average?

I didn’t tell you the average velocity for Hobby pellets, did I?  The reason I didn’t is because of the huge amount of data I collected. Let me show you.

50 shots
These are the velocities of the first 50 shots.

100 shots
Shots 51-100.

150 shots
Shots 101-150.

160 shots
Shots 151-160.

There is no way I am entering that data into WordPress, because when I edit, the software makes me highlight EACH NUMBER, click backspace/delete and then hold down the Shift key and click Return! For EACH NUMBER!!!

If you are reading this on a smartphone you had best learn how to scroll because I am going to refer to those numbers A LOT!

Second page of numbers

Let’s look at shots number 91 and 92 at the top right of the second page. Why is the velocity 492 f.p.s.? Because I double-loaded a pellet by mistake! So — yes, it is possible to load more than 1 pellet, and I disregarded that velocity for this test. The average for that column is the lower 8 shots.

What does “estimate 601” on page 2 mean?

By the time I had fired 70 shots I saw the velocity start to rise and, at the time, I thought this rifle was going to average in the 600s with Hobbys. So I wrote my estimate of what the third column velocity average would be before shooting the string and then I took a picture of that page — so you could see that I was just guessing. And I missed the average velocity by 5 f.p.s.

estimate
I estimated what the next string’s average velocity would be.

But — what is the average velocity?

I’m not going to enter all those numbers again and find the average. But, if I take the averages for each string of shots from number 1 to 140 and combine them to find the average for all of those averages, that number is 594 f.p.s. I’m calling that the average velocity at which this MAR177 shoots 140 RWS Hobby pellets — with a low of 580 to a high of 604 f.p.s. It’s very close to the true average, if not right on. At that average velocity Hobbys developed 5.49 foot-pounds of energy.

The first MAR I tested in 2012 averaged 609 f.p.s. with Hobbys over 124 shots on one fill and this one averages 594 f.p.s. over 140 shots on a fill. The first MAR177 varied velocity of Hobbys by 32 f.p.s. over its range, this one varies 24 f.p.s. over its range. The first gun was faster and this one gets more shots per fill and is more consistent. But the tests of both guns give you a good idea of how the MAR177 performs.

Photos

Normally there aren’t any photos on velocity day. This time I took 22 photos — 18 of the pressure gauge before and after every ten shots. I will now show you a few of those but I won’t overload you.

Pressure gauge and fill pressure

I’ve already said that the valve in this MAR177 uses higher pressure than the first one I tested. It also uses higher pressure than the manual recommends. The manual says that 2900 psi is the maximum fill pressure. I filled to 3200 psi this time to get both the top and bottom of the power curve. That was the pressure I saw on my carbon fiber tank gauge when the fill was complete. Look at what the onboard gauge said.

fill
The onboard gauge read this when my accurate tank gauge said 3,200 psi. The needle is close to 3400 psi.

first string
After the first 10 shots the gauge read this.

50 shots
After 50 shots the gauge read like this.

100 shots
After 100 shots the gauge read like this.

140 shots
After 140 shots the gauge read like this. I am calling this the end of the power curve. This is as low as I will let the onboard gauge get when shooting the MAR.

160 shots
After 160 shots on one fill, this is what the onboard gauge read. 

Big lesson

This gauge illustrates a really big lesson. Do not go by what the small onboard gauge on your PCP says, unless you have tested it and know it’s right. When I worked at AirForce I took all the complaint calls and after the Condor came out many of them were complaining that the Condor wasn’t giving them all the performance they paid for. How did they know? They pressurized their rifle to 3,000 psi on their tank’s gauge (AirForce rifles did not have gauges on them in those days) and the velocity was way too low. I told them to keep shooting the rifle until the velocity increased to over 1,200 f.p.s. with .22-caliber Crosman Premiers and then I told them how to determine how much pressure their rifle needed to get that speed. Some were happy with that, but others insisted that they weren’t getting what they paid for if the gun did not perform at 3,000 psi. I had no good answer for them.

Their rifles got 20 good shots with .22-caliber Premiers at over 1,200 f.p.s. and yet they thought they were getting shortchanged because the gun wasn’t doing it at 3,000 psi on their gauge. Did they think they would get MORE shots at that velocity with the higher pressure? No, they wouldn’t. Some even knew that because they had tested the rifle before calling in.

What they were saying, in effect, was their new C8 Corvette may be capable of going 194 m.p.h., according to a calibrated radar gun, but when they do, the speedometer in the car only reads 177 m.p.h. Well — which do you want, a 194 m.p.h. car with a speedo that’s not quite right and sells for under $60,000, or a 194 m.p.h. car whose precision speedometer also reads 194 m.p.h. , making the car retail for $74,000? Some guys can adapt and others can’t.

There — I got that off my chest. Until someone else says the same thing.

Balanced valve

What you are seeing with the MAR177 is the result of a balanced valve. Did Crosman set it up just for me? Not unless they have a Wayback machine or a crystal ball! I bought this New Old Stock air rifle off Ebay five years after Crosman stopped making them. This is what can be done with a PCP when: 

1. The engineer knows what he is doing, and 
2. The velocity is kept low.

How do I know the ending air pressure?

Okay, smart guys. Wanna tell BB how he knows that the ending air pressure (after 140 shots) is really 2,200 psi and not what it says on the gun’s gauge (just under 2100 psi)? This is a test and you will be graded. Do not look on anyone else’s paper.

Air Arms Falcons

I tested Air Arms Falcon pellets next. This time I pressurized the rifle to 2900 psi (using my carbon fiber tank gauge) and only shot a string of 10 for each pellet that follows. I’ll start with the Falcon.

Ten Falcon pellets averaged 611 f.p.s. The low was 590 and the high was 617, so a difference of 27 f.p.s. At the average velocity Falcons developed 6.08 foot-pounds of energy.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next to be tested were 10 RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. They averaged 619 f.p.s. with a spread from 609 to 627 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 18 f.p.s. At the average velocity the R10 Match Pistol pellet develops 5.96 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

H&N Finale Match Light

The last pellet I tested was the H&N Finale Match Light. It was also the heaviest pellet. They averaged 592 f.p.s. with a spread that went from 586 to 598 f.p.s. — a difference of 12 f.p.s. At the average velocity this 7.87-grain pellet developed 6.13 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Loading problems

While I was testing the last three pellets I encountered a problem with loading some of the pellets. Even the Falcon domes did it. If I held the rifle with the muzzle pointed up, sometimes the pellets would jam as I tried to close the bolt. I played with this for a while before discovering that if the rifle is held level it never happens. Just hold the rifle like you are shooting at a target and it feeds fine!

Loudness

Sorry to tell you this guys but this MAR177 rates a 1.8 on the Pyramyd Air loudness scale. It is one of the quietest air rifles I have ever tested. A Red Ryder is quieter, but not by much!

Summary

So far this old gem is performing well. It’s even better than I remember — thanks mostly to my Geissele trigger, but also to the efficient use of air.

The first accuracy test comes next. I can’t wait!


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

So once more I loaded the clip with 7 Jumbos and tried to shoot to the best of my ability. This time all 7 went where I wanted and produced a group that measures 0.577-inches at 55 yards.

Ataman BP17 JSB 55yd group 3
That’s more like it! The Ataman put 7 JSB Exact Jumbo pellets into 0.577-inches at 55 yards.

Discussion

The Ataman functioned well throughout the 4 parts of this test. The clips never failed to feed. And the rifle is accurate without a doubt.

I must comment that outdoors the rifle is a lot less noisy than it seemed indoors. It’s still not ideal for small back yards, but if you have a couple acres it’s fine.

The trigger is light but not positive. That bothered me when I was trying to hold on a small target.

I still am not a fan of bullpups, but this is a very good one. So, if compact size and light weight appeals to you, the Ataman BP17 is a rifle to seriously consider. Mount a lower-powered scope that has a wider field of view and a more forgiving eye-relief. Perhaps a Bug Buster 3-12X32 would be ideal.

One last consideration — since this rifle needs a 300 bar fill, consider either a carbon fiber air tank or a Nomad II air compressor. Either one will do the job.

Summary

That’s our last look at the Ataman BP17. I hope this series has helped some of you make a decision.


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.

Is the JSB Jumbo more accurate?

After shooting the Hades group I wondered if the JSB Jumbo pellet really was more accurate, or was I perhaps getting tired at this point in the test? So I shot a final 7-shot group with the JSB Jumbo. This time 7 pellets went into 0.295-inches at 25 yards. That is a little larger than the first group. but it’s also smaller than the Hades group. So it appears in this BP17, the Jumbo pellet shoots better than the Hades pellet.

Ataman BP17 JSB Jumbo group 2
The second 7 JSB Jumbos went into 0.295-inches between centers at 25 yards. It’s larger than the first group, but not by much. It’s the second-smallest group of the test.

I think it’s pretty clear that of the 4 pellets I tested in the BP17 so far, the JSB Jumbos are the most accurate.

The rifle handled well and had no failures to feed. I did remove the clip with one pellet left inside twice (can’t count to 7 I guess), but all I had to do was insert it again and pull the cocking lever forward 8 times. The pellet is guaranteed to be in the breech if you do that. Don’t do it with more than a single pellet left in the clip.

The rifle holds pretty well for a bullpup. Bullpups aren’t my favorite rifles to shoot because they are too easy to cant, but with concentration you can get past that.

Summary

The Ataman BP17 is performing like it should. It isn’t as picky about pellets as some PCPs, but it does favor some pellets over others. The Lothar Walther barrel gives it an overall good chance for success.

I thought the 300-bar fill would be a problem, but since I have the Nomad II compressor available, it’s a breeze. I think I will keep the compressor up and running as we head into the 50-yard test that comes next. That will be outdoors, and because the Nomad II works off a car battery, too, I think I will go on using it.


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

Air compressors are a product that many of us want and some even need, but they aren’t airguns, so many people dislike having to buy one. Let’s face it — for many of us a high-pressure air compressor isn’t a necessity. But it is a huge convenience.

PCPs are becoming mainstream

Ten years ago, precharged pneumatic airguns (PCP) were considered special, and by many they were called the Dark Side. Too much was uncertain about them, there were too many fears and not enough reliable information.

Most shooters knew that a PCP wasn’t as sensitive to the hold as a spring gun was and they had the potential to be far more accurate than most springers, but they seemed too complex. What fill pressure is right? Did you want a gun with a regulator? How many shots do you get on a fill? What is meant by the power curve? Could a high pressure air tank hurt you if it’s stored in your house?

The price has dropped

Over the years there have been some significant price reductions in prercharged airguns. I am not including guns from Asia that sell with little or no support. They have always been cheap. I will consider any airgun that has responsive support.

Disco

The Benjamin Discovery was the first brand-name PCP that sold for a low price. When it came out in 2007 thousands of buyers bought their first PCP — and some of those folks were brand-new to airguns. A year later the Benjamin Marauder came along and really opened the market, because it offered high-end features for a reasonable price.

But the price-point PCP (PPP) made all the difference. Suddenly it was no longer a question of if or even when you would get your first PCP, but which one would it be. Sure, there are a few holdouts who won’t go with precharged airguns; there always will be. But the age of the precharged airgun has finally begun. And now the question on everyones’ mind is — what about the air? Do I get a hand pump, a scuba tank, a carbon fiber tank or possibly even a high-pressure air compressor? Today I want to talk about air compressors, because the past three years have seen an explosion of them!

Economic hostage

Some of you may remember the days before laser and ink jet printers — how the quick printers held us hostage. I’m only going back to around 1980 for this. Quick printers were small print shops that did a lot of personal and small business printing. And their process took time and put all of the burden of responsibility on the customer. Wedding invitations, for example, required filling out a work order, returning to proof an example and giving the go-ahead to start printing. Then you waited. If a mistake was made, it was usually the customer’s problem and involved more money and time to correct.

We live in the age of WYSIWYG — what you see is what you get. Office printers and software have replaced 95 percent of what a quick printer used to do. Find a quick printer today. Oh, they still exist, but they have had to change their method of operation dramatically because the customer has a laser printer sitting on his desk that can do most of what they can do.

Here’s another one — remember the photographic stores that developed film? They took days to do their work and you got what you got. Sometimes, as once happened to me when a print deadline came and passed, they lost or destroyed your film that had irreplaceable pictures. But hey — they gave you a free roll of film to replace the one they destroyed!

Then digital cameras came out and within a decade the world of film was in serious jeopardy. Ten more years and it had all but vanished, along with those stores and kiosks. Today you have a cell phone with a built-in digital camera and video camera that are both superior to what could be purchased a decade ago.

The high-pressure air compressor is doing the same thing to the need for high-pressure air. I can remember publishing a release that shooters could copy and take to their dive shop to release the shopkeeper from the liability of supplying them with air, even though their didn’t have a diver’s certificate. Here is a series of articles I wrote in 2009 that addresses this very issue. That was written just 10 years ago, and yet those articles read like ancient history today.

So — you have decided to join the party — which air compressor is right for you? The answer depends on several things. And price is an important one.

DON’T BUY A CHEAP AIR COMPRESSOR!!!!!!

… unless you are very handy and don’t mind dealing with issues as they arise. Ebay is loaded with cheap high-pressure air compressors. They all come from the Orient — mostly from China — and some of them are a very good value!

HUH?

BUT — and this is a big but — most of these cheap compressors have one or more design issues that need to be corrected before they will work reliably. Maybe the manufacturer used an aluminum part where steel was needed. Maybe they didn’t cut the o-ring grooves deep enough. And, for most of these cheap compressors, maybe the o-rings and seals that were used are the correct size but made from the wrong materials. Maybe the durometer rating of the o-rings isn’t high enough for the task they have to do (almost a guarantee) or maybe the material isn’t suited to the extreme heat the seal will endure. If you are a clever guy you can fix these things, because they are so obvious to you. But if you are a guy who wants to push a button and get results from the start, a cheap air compressor isn’t the way you want to go.

I expect to read some comments refuting what I just said, and that’s fine. You don’t have to agree with me. The guys who need to know what’s what have gotten it from what I just said.

Inexpensive compressors you can trust

The bottom line for inexpensive high-pressure air compressors you can trust to work as expected is somewhere around $650-700 at this time. I will use the Air Venturi Nomad II as my example because I have tested it for you and I know how it works. And I will be honest, the Nomad II isn’t the only small high-pressure compressor at this price point. There are a few and they all pretty much do the same things. They are for filling airguns — not air tanks. The Nomad II is recommended for use in intervals of 15 minutes or less. It takes about half that time to fill an airgun unless it’s a biggie like the Hatsan Hercules, but you won’t be filling any of them from empty most of the time.

Two really nice things about these compressors is first, they shut themselves off when they reach a pressure that’s been pre-set and second, they operate on both house current and electricity from a car battery. That means you can take them into the field where you are shooting.

AirForce E-Pump

For a little more money ($855 at the time this is published), you can buy the E-Pump that’s made by AirForce Airguns. This compressor has all the features of the lower-priced units, plus it will fill a large carbon fiber tank from empty. That’s possible because this compressor operates at a speed that is slow enough that heat never has a chance to build up. Heat is the number one enemy of the seals in compressors, and by keeping the heat low, AirForce has managed to give us a compressor that does it all — if slowly. It will fill an airgun in the same amount of time as compressors of the Nomad’s class, but you can also let it run for 12 hours and take an 88 cubic-foot carbon fiber tank from empty to 4,500 psi. And it’s safe to do. Of course filling one from 2,000 to 4,500 takes a lot less time.

Value compressors

The next step up is a broad category that I call the value compressor. These start at just over $1,000 and run up to $1,700. They are all water-cooled and will fill a large carbon fiber tank from empty in less than 2 hours, or top one off in well under an hour. They have all the features of the less expensive compressors, plus they add things like automatic bleeding during operation. The one offsetting thing about compressors in this class is their weight. These are beefy machines that are run by powerful electric motors. The Air Venturi compressor is a good example of this kind.

If you can afford one, a value compressor is the way to go. They are reliable, fast and efficient. They are made to be maintained so that isn’t a problem when the time comes. They are ideal for both individuals and clubs/teams.

Stand-alone operation

To this point the compressors are all set-and-forget. That means you can run them and just listen for them to stop — you don’t have to stand next to them and watch them operate. Many, like the E-Pump are so quiet that you can run them in a house or office and not be distracted by the noise.

There are some compressors that cost more more than I have set as the limit for the value compressors. They really belong to the value class if they just weren’t so expensive. They have all the same features and nothing more. They cost several hundred dollars more than the arbitrary ceiling I put on the class, and I put it at that level because the compressors within the group are all superlative.

Commercial compressors

There are, however, compressors costing more that are made for commercial work. What I’m calling commercial compressors are the units costing typically $2,500-4,000, with most clustered around $3,250. They can have powerful electric motors that are often 220 volt, or they may have a gasoline engine. They can top off a carbon fiber tank in mere minutes. They are made for commercial use or for clubs and professionals. One unique thing about these compressors is they are not set-and-forget. They have to be attended when they operate.

One example of such a compressor is the Nardi USA Atlantic G compressor that comes with a gas engine. A similar compressor is available with a 220V electric motor.

Even higher?

Yes, there are air compressors that cost more money and do even more. They are made for manufacturing shops and places that use large amounts of high-pressure compressed air. AirForce Airguns has one that’s the size of a washing machine and is extremely quiet. It will fill an 88 cubic-foot tank from empty in less than 10 minutes. If money were no object and quiet operation essential, you could spend the $10,000 to 20,000 to get one of these. And, you had better get a maintenance contract at the same time, because this unit is not one you’re going to fix yourself.

Consider your probable use

I own two value compressors at present, though I only need one. I do plan on buying an AirForce E-Pump soon, to both test for you and to have as a backup. I would do that because of its quiet operation, its ability to fill a large carbon fiber tank and the fact that it runs on both house current and batteries.

If you have just gotten into PCPs, consider buying a carbon fiber air tank before you get a compressor. That’s the thing you will use the most. I will tell you right now that I only use my value compressor (one from Air Venturi) about once a month or less to fill my two large CF tanks. I don’t go through as much compressed air as do many shooters — especially field target shooters and hunters.

Some simple thoughts about air compressors

 

1. If you shoot a big bore airgun, get a compressor. A hand pump will wear you out!

2. All air compressors require maintenance. Plan on it and do it when the time comes.

3. A cheap Chinese compressor is only cheap when you buy it. You will pay for it during operation.

4. If you go to the field and want to take a compressor, consider one that runs on 12-volt power.

5. Owning a PCP doesn’t mean you need a compressor. It might be best to start with a hand pump, then graduate to a carbon fiber tank and finally a compressor. I went for 17-18 years before I bought my first compressor.

6. When you buy your first PCP, think about how you will fill it. Make a plan at that time. That’s when things like a 2000 psi fill limit and a regulator will make the most sense.

Summary

We are in the golden age of precharged airguns and the field of airgun air compressors has matured a lot in the past 5-6 years. That doesn’t mean the evolution is over. You can make a good purchase right now and be assured that you won’t be eclipsed by some overnight phenomenon, but expect to see some improvements over the next few years. However, the price is pretty close to the lowest point. The prices may fall a little more, but we are already close to the bottom.