Air Venturi Avenger repeating air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Avenger
Air Venturi Avenger.

This report covers:

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

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

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


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
  • read more


    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. read more


    Ataman BP17 PCP bullpup air rifle: Part 3

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Ataman BP17
    Ataman BP17 Soft Touch bullpup PCP air rifle.

    Part 1
    Part 2

    This report covers:

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

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

    Scope

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

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

    Nomad air compressor

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

    The test

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

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

    Sight-in

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

    JSB Exact Jumbo

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

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

    Trigger

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

    JSB Exact Monster

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

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

    RWS Superdome

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

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

    Hades pellet

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

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

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


    Compressor talk

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    This report covers:

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


    Pause to reflect

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    This report covers:

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

    Blue Book coming

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

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

    Overwhelmed

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

    Price-point PCP

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

    Compressors

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

    The value compressor

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

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

    Set-and-forget

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

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

    Gun compressors

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

    Repeating spring guns

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

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

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

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

    Lookalikes

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

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

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

    Big bores

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

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

    Special things

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

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

    Over to you

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


    2019 SHOT Show: Part 6

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5

    This report covers:

    • Leapers crossbow sight reticle
    • Beeman Chief PCP repeaters
    • FX Dreamlite
    • 100-cubic-inch-carbon fiber tank
    • Another new compressor
    • This show was different
    • SHOT Summary

    Today I will give you my final report on the 2019 SHOT Show. I always see more things than I can possibly report.

    Leapers crossbow sight reticle

    First up is the reticle for the crossbow scope that I said would make a fine new Bug Buster with very little alteration. Tom Zhu of Leapers took a picture of the prototype rifle through the scope for us. Remember that this is still a prototype for a crossbow and the design of the reticle could change, but you can see the bubble level in the bottom of the image.

    King Bug Buster reticle
    Leapers UTG crossbow scope prototype reticle is etched glass. The bubble of the level can be seen at the bottom of the image.

    Beeman Chief PCP repeaters

    In the Beeman booth I saw three new PCP repeaters. Two have wood stocks and are based on the current single-shot Chief. The third is a synthetic version of the QB78 — so all three are closely related. They are all 10-shot repeaters and will be available in both .177 and .22.

    Beeman Chief PCPs
    Beeman will bring out three new models of repeating PCP (top 3) based on the QB78 action.

    FX Dreamlite

    FX airguns were not displayed at this SHOT Show, but that may change. Pyramyd Air signed with FX just after the show was over and they are starting to show the Dreamline models on the website. The rifle all you readers have talked about is the new Dreamlite, which is a new addition to the FX Dreamline line.

    Dreamlite
    The FX Dreamlite should be available soon.

    The Dreamlite will be offered in .177, .22 and .25 calibers, and the caliber can be changed by the user. At 5.8 lbs. it is very lightweight, yet is powerful — up to 20 foot-pounds in .177, 32 foot-pounds in .22 and 48 foot-pounds in .25. The trigger is two stage and adjustable. The rifle is filled to 230 bar 3,335 psi with an externally adjustable regulator and an externally adjustable striker spring, which means there are potentially a lot of shots on a fill — up to 100 in .177, 60 in .22 and 30 in .25.

    It’s a bolt action repeater with a sidelever on the right side of the receiver. The circular magazine capacities hold 21 pellets in .177, 18 in .22 and 16 in .25. The magazine does stand tall above the receiver, so a high scope ring set is required.

     

    The price!

    I guess the biggest news for the Dreamlite is the price. All of the Dreamline guns represent a big step down from previous FX pricing. And the Dreamlite is particularly good. I can see that this will be a rifle I have to test for you. I will wait until the first orders have been filled, but I do want to test one.

    100-cubic-inch-carbon fiber tank

    Want something a little smaller to carry to the field, to air your PCPs? How about the new Air Venturi100-cubic-inch-carbon fiber tank? The EZ-Valve on this tank has two gauges — one to tell you how much air is going into your gun and the other to tell you how much air remains in the tank. That’s valuable information, because it allow you to plan the use of air.

    100-cubic-inch tank
    I put the 100-cubic-inch tank next to a 98-cubic-foot tank for some perspective. This little tank is easier to carry to the field with your PCPs, yet holds enough air for a lot of shooting. The dual gauges tell you how much air remains in the tank, as well as how much you are putting into the gun — something that is uncommon today.

    Another new compressor

    I stopped by the Sun Optics booth to see what was new and Duane Sorenson showed me a compressor he has been working on. It may seem familiar to some of you because it’s one of the compressors that are selling for cheap on Ebay.

    Duane told me he put this one into rugged service right after he received it and the seals failed after just over one hour, so he dismantled it to see how it was built. He was impressed by the design, but found all the seals and o-rings too soft for their tasks. He replaced them all with high-durometer rings and seals. He also modified the valve for greater efficiency and then put the unit back into service. To date it has 80 hours of continuous use filling air tanks on the new setup. That is rugged duty for a small compressor. If his testing bears out, he plans on selling it at some point.

    compressor
    This Chinese air compressor has been overhauled and modified for long life. It may come to market this year. read more