Umarex ReadyAir portable compressor: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

ReadyAir
Umarex ReadyAir portable compressor
.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Setting up the compressor
  • Setting the pressures
  • Test plug
  • Not set and forget
  • The tests
  • Test One — BSA R10
  • Bleed valve
  • Test two — AirForce tank
  • Runtime
  • Test 3 — AirForce tank outdoors
  • Summary

Today we look at how the Umarex ReadyAir portable compressor operates. I’ve devised three tests that should demonstrate the operation quite well. Let’s go.

Setting up the compressor

To get the compressor ready for the first two tests I attached the 110 volt household power cord and the flexible air hose that comes with a female Foster fitting on the end. If only all airgun manufacturers would use the male Foster fitting for all their guns the world would be abetter place!

The other end of the hose that attaches to the compressor is a properly sealed 1/8 BSP threaded adapter that has a rubber seal inside. I tightened it hand tight for all the tests and it held air perfectly.

Setting the pressures

The compressor comes with the control panel set to run in English, the pressure reading in PSI and temperature reading in Fahrenheit. The languages can be changed to French and Spanish with the push of a button. Pressure can read in bar and temperature in Celsius if you prefer.

Your first task after plugging in the compressor is to set the desired fill pressure. When the compressor gets to that pressure it will stop pumping, though if the cooling fan has come on it will continue running. You need to leave it running until the temperature drops below 87 degrees F. The fan never switches off until you push the off button.

Test plug

In the maintenance video that we watched in Part One, Rick Eutsler wondered whether there would be a test plug for the air hose in the compressors that are shipped to the public. There is one in the test compressor. It came to me plugged into the Foster fitting on the hose.

ReadyAir test plug
The ReadyAir does come with a test plug to check out the system before pumping an airgun.

Not set and forget

I told you in Part One that the ReadyAir is not a set-and-forget compressor, but I’m telling you again. However, because it operates so quickly, that really won’t be a problem for you. I had this one running in my office and could hear when it shut off. I kept an eye on the display, but that was more because I was curious than for any other reason. It’s a good thing I have to return this one to Umarex USA because if it was around my place I would never get to use my big Air Venturi compressor or my carbon fiber tanks.

The tests

The first two tests are indoors, using house current, which in the U.S. is 60 Hz 110 volt current. I’m plugged into a 15 amp outlet. Before the first test I checked the compressor with the test plug installed in the end of the air hose. The plug seals the air hose, allowing pressure to build quickly. It’s a simple test that the whole system is running as it should. I set the test pressure at 4500 psi and started the compressor. It read 72 degrees when it started, with the house temp reading 69 degrees. It got to 4500 psi and shut off in under a minute and the temperature increased to 75 degrees.

Test One — BSA R10

My BSA R10 Mark II has a 200cc reservoir. That’s 12.2 cubic inches. The reservoir gauge read 110 bar/1595 psi when I started the test and the compressor was set to stop at 232 bar/3365 psi. When it is plugged into the wall the compressor’s display lights up. That’s when you make any adjustments and set the fill or cutoff pressure.

ReadyAir R10https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Umarex_ReadyAir_Portable_Compressor/9732
The BSA R10 was the first to be filled.

When you are ready, push the start button and the compressor begins to pump. Don’t forget to close the bleed valve before starting the compressor.

Bleed valve

I love the handle on the ReadyAir bleed valve. It’s large and grippy and was obviously made by someone who understands what we are doing when we bleed the line.

ReadyAir bleed valve
The brass bleed valve (arrow) is closed when the compressor is pumping. The large grippy handle makes bleeding very easy.

On a carpeted floor the compressor jiggles back and forth about a quarter inch each way with the rhythm of the pump. 

The compressor’s starting temperature was 82 degrees F. When the pump stopped pumping at 3365 psi after 4 minutes, the temperature read 120 degrees F. The fan cooled the pump back down to 87 degrees F in another 5 minutes and then I shut it off.

That’s how it went. The ReadyAir was efficient and quick to fill the BSA. Like I already said, if I owned a little compressor like this one I doubt my big compressor would get much of a workout.

Test two — AirForce tank

Now we’re going to put the ReadyAir to a real test. I took an empty 495cc/30.21 cubic inch reservoir from an AirForce Escape and attached it to the compressor. I set the fill to 3,000 psi and started her up. This time I noticed something that I hadn’t seen with the smaller BSA reservoir that was 2/3 full. The pressure in the tank would rise and then sink back down by several psi. It did that throughout the entire fill.

The compressor started at 84 degrees when the air tank was empty and 17 minutes later when it stopped pumping at 3,000 psi, the temperature was 140 degrees F. I was so faithful to time the fill with my watch, but this time when I disconnected the air tank I noticed that the display on the compressor was also timing the fill. It said the same 17 minutes I had just recorded.

Runtime

The manual has an explanation of everything on the display and now that I know what to look for I see a runtime indicator. I didn’t see it before, nor was I aware it was there. Not only does it tell you what the compressor has just done, if you keep a logbook for your compressor it gives you the amount of time to enter, so you’ll know when those 20 hours are up and the maintenance cycle (piston rebuild and charcoal filter replacement) is required.

ReadyAir runtime
The runtime is the yellow numbers in minutes to the left of the max fill pressure.

So, 17 minutes is a longer time. But I went from zero psi and you won’t do that very often. You’ll go from 2000 psi and fill to 3000 in a few minutes.

Test 3 — AirForce tank outdoors

Test three is a test using the 12-volt cables attached to a car battery. I first attached the battery cables to the compressor and then clamped them to my truck battery. The same AirForce tank was used and I had emptied it all the way before this test. The battery cables are very long and the pump can sit on the ground. The manual advises that you leave the vehicle running while the compressor is running.

ReadyAir truck
The battery cables are long enough that the compressor can sit on the ground.

Obviously this test was outside, and it was in 50 degree F weather. Umarex says to operate it in the shade if possible, to keep it cooler. The pump never got above 105 degrees F in the 18 minutes that it took to fill the tank and shut down. The temperature of the compressor dropped below 84 degrees within five minutes after the pump stopped but the fan kept running. I then pressed the on/off button and the pump started as the entire compressor shut off. It’s a strange sensation, but the pump stops right away when the off button is released.

This was a second test of filling from empty. Normally a tank this size will take 6-8 minutes to top off becauise you will never go below 2,000 psi.

Summary

What more can I tell you? The ReadyAir runs just like it should and the fill times are relatively brief. The instructions are straightforward and everything you need comes with the compressor.

I think the ReadyAir gives us a reliable and supported air compressor at an affordable price for many more airgunners.


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.


What does the new year hold?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • What the new year holds
  • Big bores
  • High-tech projectiles
  • Price point PCPs (PPP)
  • Basic features of a PPP
  • Things that are good to have
  • Kiss of death for a PPP
  • Horsepower wars over?
  • Optics
  • Electronics in scopes
  • Scope mounts
  • Air compressors
  • Replica airguns
  • A dual-power spring-piston breakbarrel
  • M16 replica
  • M1 Garand replica
  • Summary

Happy New Year! May 2020 be a year of vision for all of you!

What the new year holds

I know a lot of you are trying to peek behind the curtain, to see what’s coming down the line. Some writers will divulge things, but I won’t. I would rather wait and see how something is presented before I announce it to the world.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t know some of the things that are coming. Today I would like to share a glimpse into the coming year with some things I know and also the trends I see unfolding. Let’s go!

Big bores

The coming year will be a hot one for big bore airguns. Expect to see muzzle energy over 800 foot-pounds, and this year it will be in actual production guns — not those that have been held up for scrutiny but have never quite made it to production.

Look for the outsider manufacturers — the ones not known for making big bores — to either increase their presence in the big bore arena or to enter it for the first time.

High-tech projectiles

Along with the big bore guns, I see an increase in projectiles that are designed to give greater performance. There is a lot of room for innovation here and the smaller big bore calibers (.257-.357) are where the largest potential benefits lie.

Look at self defense pistol calibers. Years ago the .45 caliber was highly touted, but when specialized .40-caliber and 9mm defense projectiles began hitting the market, calibers as small as .380 rose to credibility. The same could happen in the airgun world. Certainly the smaller projectiles travel much faster and speed is often a critical component of performance with high-tech projectiles.

Price point PCPs (PPP)

The price-point PCP (precharged pneumatic) took the world by storm a few years ago and quickly became the hottest sector of the smallbore market. Look for more new models, plus gen II and perhaps even gen IIIs that correct errors made at the initial launch.

Basic features of a PPP

Repeater
Shrouded barrel
Good trigger
At or under $300
Foster fill coupling (at some place in the fill line)
Light weight

Things that are good to have

Regulator (user adjustable from the outside of the gun)
Fill to 2,000, or to somewhere below 3,000 psi
Better adjustable trigger (Marauder grade)
Adjustable power
Reasonable power and number of shots
.177 — 18 foot-pounds and 20 shots
.22 — 22 foot-pounds and 20 shots
.25 — 25 foot-pounds and 18-20 shots

Kiss of death for a PPP

Fill higher than 3,000 psi
Proprietary fill coupling
Too much weight

Horsepower wars over?

Yes and no. For spring-piston airguns the horsepower wars are pretty much a thing of the past. Oh, there will still be some rattletrap breakbarrels at the discount stores, because their buyers haven’t watched the market as closely as mainstream airgun retailers, but the days of the “1,600 f.p.s. breakbarrel” have come to an end. But the horsepower wars are not over. They have just shifted to PCPs and especially to big bores.

Today’s airgunners seem enraptured with 80 foot-pound .25-caliber smallbores and 700 foot-pound big bores. Where does it end? Well, here is a little secret. A 100-pound anvil traveling 100 f.p.s. generates 15,547 foot pounds of energy. The secret to muzzle energy in airguns (because velocity is restricted by physics) is the weight of the projectile. But a heavy projectile may not be accurate or even stable in a given airgun. In other words, the heaviest projectile may just be for bragging rights.

Nevertheless, high numbers sell airguns. And muzzle energy is what many buyers are focused on today. So expect airguns with more muzzle energy this year.

Optics

I do know some specific new scopes that we will see this year. I’m sworn to secrecy but there are some things coming that you readers have specifically asked for.

Airgun scopes have lead the field of optics for years. The side focus parallax adjustment was on airgun scopes two decades ago, and firearms scopes only got it 5-7 years ago. Scopes with internal bubble levels are still not in the mainstream for firearms, yet they are so necessary for long-range accuracy.

Electronics in scopes

Look for more affordable thermal imaging devices and videocamera recorders in scopes of the future. And look for the prices to fall as they proliferate.

Scope mounts

Adjustable scope mounts that compensate for barrel droop are another airgun innovation. Though the AR-15-class rifles are notorious droopers, many of their users are not aware of this and adjust the droop out with elevation adjustment, alone. Then they wonder why they can’t hold a zero, when we airgunners have known why for decades.

Air compressors

Look for prices to drop this year as companies rebrand the Chinese compressors with upgraded parts and design. And, with the price drop, look for more people to enter the world of precharged airguns.

Also, look for more small compressors that are made to top off guns and not tanks. In the past these had to be connected to shop compressors, but now they stand alone and fill to 4,500 psi readily.

Spring rifle repeaters

Repeating spring-piston air rifle are another hot topic of the past few years. Look for more of them to surface this year and look for the focus to be on a lower profile, now that Gamo has set the bar with the Swarm Fusion 10X.

Replica airguns

This market has always been hot and could be called a perennial favorite. Do it right and succeed in a big way. But there are two parts to success. First the gun you copy has to already be well known. And second, your copy has to be perfect.

The M1 Carbine is a favorite of service members and shooters, in general. It’s small, light and handy to carry and use. And its replica airgun copies start with the Crosman BB gun of 1966 and are still going today with the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine. I look for a pellet-firing version of the carbine soon and eventually a precharged version.

The M14 was a not-so-popular transition that followed the Garand in the 1950s and ’60s. Service members who used it liked it, but the government wanted to move to a smaller cartridge in a lighter platform so the M16 replaced it. Look for an accurate replica of the M14, as the M1A (the civilian semiautomatic version) that first shoots BBs and eventually pellets.

Places where the market is open for innovation

A dual-power spring-piston breakbarrel

This is something people have long been asking for — an air rifle with two power levels. It already exists in air pistols. The HW 45 or Beeman P1 has been around for decades with two power settings. I have always thought that a rifle that develops 5-8 foot-pounds on the first cocking stroke and 15-20 foot-pounds on the second stroke would be nice.

M16 replica

There is no good copy of the M16/AR-15 in a pellet rifle. Crosman had the MAR177, a single-shot target upper that worked on an AR-15 lower. I actually built a lower to be able to test the MAR177. I wish I could have afforded one at the time, because it is no longer made.

 

Anschütz made a good airgun copy of the M16 years ago, but it was special order and not many people ever saw one. And my point is — there is  no accurate copy of the M16/AR-15 on the market today. The Crosman AIR17 wasn’t that close and while there are many airguns that resemble the AR today, there is no accurate copy.

M1 Garand replica

There was a replica of the 8mm Egyptian Hakim (the poor-man’s Garand) in 1954. But 66 years later there is no airgun replica of the rifle General Patton said was the “…greatest battle implement ever devised.” Oh, there are WONDERFUL airsoft replicas of it, but there have been accurate airsoft replicas of BARs and M60 machineguns since the 1990s! The airgunning world wants a Garand!

Summary

I believe 2020 will be a year when we see many new products. There will also be some refinement of existing products — the gen III guns I referred to earlier.

What I would like to see is more solid and innovative new designs like the Sig ASP20. When a company puts everything on the line and then nails the outcome, we all benefit — whether we buy their rifle or not. Because innovations like these set the standard for the entire market.


Artemis PP700S-A PCP pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Artemis
Artemis PCP air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Fill with Nomad II
  • Sight-in
  • The test
  • First group — Hades pellets
  • Remember…
  • Baracuda with 5.50mm heads
  • Second Baracuda group
  • Final pellet — the JSB Exact Jumbo
  • Next
  • Summary

It’s been a long time since we looked at this Artemis PP700S-A PCP pistol. Jungle Shooter — I haven’t forgotten.

Fill with Nomad II

Both my carbon fiber tanks are dedicated to other airguns right now and, for reasons of incompatibility, I can’t switch the fill adaptors. Neither hose’s female Foster fitting will accept the Artemis fitting. So, once again I used the super-handy Nomad II air compressor that is becoming an essential part of my equipment as time passes. I better ask Pyramyd Air to make me a price because I don’t think I can send it back.

I filled to 2800 psi because, although this pistol is rated to fill to 250 bar, when I tested it in Part 2 I discovered that the useful power curve starts at 2800 psi (193 bar). I know there are at least 20 good shots on a fill when I start at that pressure.

I had to read Part 3 to remember everything I had learned, and even then I overlooked one important thing that I will tell you about in a bit. However, for today’s test I scoped the pistol, and I want to address that first.

I mounted a UTG 1-4X28 variable scope with a parallax fixed at 100 yards. This is just the scope most of us wouldn’t look at twice — EXCEPT — it really works. The image is very clear, the reticle is clear and right-sized (Goldilocks reticle — not too small, not too big). Remember that this is going on a pistol, not a rifle. And the eye relief is less than 4 inches, so I have to hold it close to my eye to see the whole image. I’m sorry Pyramyd Air no longer carries this one, but at over $100, people just didn’t want a 1-4 power scope.

Artemis scoped
The Artemis scoped. I took this picture while holding a kitty in my hands, because she really wanted to be on the furry backdrop! When the pistol was removed she possessed it and slept there for a couple hours.

On the other hand — it works. And you will see that in a bit. I mounted it in 2-piece UTG 30mm P.O.I. high rings that Pyramyd Air no longer stocks. I shimmed the rear one, which was good because even then the Artemis shot low.

Sight-in

I fired the first shot from 12 feet and noted that it dropped 2.75 inches below the aim point when the center of the scope is about 1.75 inches above the center of the bore. That means the shot was at least an inch too low, so I cranked in a lot of elevation (several full rotations of the knob) and backed up to 10 meters to shoot the second shot. Shot two landed 1.5-inches below the aim point and in line with the first shot, so more elevation and a lot more left adjustment. Time to shoot some groups.

The test

I shot from 10 meters today with the pistol resting directly on a sandbag. I had planned to sight the pistol in with the scope at 10 meters, check for the best pellets and then back up to 25 yards, but the test got long as you will soon read. So all of today’s shooting is from 10 meters.

First group — Hades pellets

The first group is still an inch below the aim point and a half-inch too far to the left. I shot the group, though, to see if this pellet was right for the gun. I was shooting the JSB Hades hollowpoint that did the best by a slight margin in the last test. This time 5 pellets went into 0.585-inches at 10 meters. In the last test with open sights the best group with this same pellet was 0.716-inches between centers, so we are already better.

Artemis Hades group 1
The first group of 5 Hades pellets was shot without waiting for the regulator to recharge completely. It measures 0.585-inches between centers — much better than the 0.716-inch Hades group that was the best with open sights.

Remember…

And that was when it hit me! I hadn’t paused between the shots. In Part Three I learned to let 2 minutes pass between the shots to let the slow regulator in this pistol recharge. It does get faster as the pistol breaks in, but this one is still new. Sooooo — I shot a second group, and this time I waited between each shot. Oh boy! Four of the five pellets are in 0.315-inches, but the other shot (I think it was the second one) opens the group to 0.709-inches. Phooey!

Artemis Hades group 2
So near and yet so far! Five Hades pellets went into 0.709-inches when I waited 2 minutes between each shot. Oh, well.

Baracuda with 5.50mm heads

In the last test I found H&N H&N Baracuda pellets with a 5.50mm head seemed very accurate. So I tried them again with the scoped gun. They were off the aim point by 2.5 inches high and left, so after a LOT of scope adjusting I got them back on target. It appeared through the scope that the first two shots went wide and then shots 3 through 5 drilled the center of the bull. What I didn’t see until I went downrange to retrieve the target was that the last shot landed very low and almost off the target paper. I was really excited that the scope had “settled down” and I would have a great group to show if I shot again. But the actual group measures 1.229-inches between centers.

Artemis Baracuda group 1
This first group of Baracuda pellets looked good through the scope because the hole on the lower right was hidden by tape when I looked through the spotting scope. I thought the final three pellets went to the center of the bull, but the last one dropped to that lower hole. Five shots in 1.229-inches at 10 meters.

Second Baracuda group

Thinking the gun and scope had settled down (I hadn’t gone downrange yet) I shot a second group of Baracudas. This one measures 1.261-inches between centers. That’s actually a little worst than the first group. Baracudas are not for the Artemis.

Artemis Baracuda group 2
The second group of Baracudas was a little larger than the first group, at 1.261-inches between centers. I only discovered that when I retrieved the target.

Final pellet — the JSB Exact Jumbo

The final pellet I tested was the 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbo dome. I had to adjust the scope back to pretty close to where it had been fore the Hades pellet, as both pellets weigh the same. The first two shots landed separately on target but then shots 3 through five went into the first hole. So 4 pellets in 0.085-inches (where is that gold dollar?) with the last pellet (actually shot 2) opening the group to 0.371-inches. Oh, fudge!

Artemis JSB Exact group
Houston, the Eagle has landed! Five JSB Exact Jumbo pellets in 0.317-inches at 10 meters.

I believe we have arrived. Now, this is the point where somebody on the blog asks me to show them the inside of the action with the barrel removed. Sure — I’ll do that. Please sit right there and wait at your keyboard while I do it.

Next

We have heard from several readers who own one of these pistols that the Artemis is very accurate, but it takes some time to break one in. I think we are watching that happen in real time as this test progresses.

Next time I want to back up to 25 yards and, starting with the JSB Exact Jumbo that is now sighted in, I will test the accuracy again.

The scope is extremely easy to use with this pistol. I just have to hold the gun close enough that my eye can see the image through the eyepiece.

Summary

I  now declare the Artemis PP700S-A PCP air pistol to be , “Muy goodyoso!”


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.


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.


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?