Beeman R9 with Vortek center-latching air piston: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Adjust the pressure
  • Filling
  • R9 disassembly and assembly
  • JSB Exact
  • Predator Polymag
  • H&N Field Target Trophy
  • H&N Baracuda
  • Crosman Premier
  • Benjamin Cylindrical
  • Discussion
  • Trigger
  • Cocking effort
  • Evaluation

Today we look at adjusting the Vortek Center Latching Air Piston, which I refer to as the center-latching unit (CLU). It went faster and easier than I imagined.

Adjust the pressure

To adjust the air pressure in the unit I had to disassemble the Beeman R9, to get the unit out. That procedure is described in Part 1. Once the unit is out, the piston seal has to be removed to reveal the air port.

Beeman R9 CLU port
Looking down into the fill port of the CLU we can see the ball valve.

To adjust the pressure in the CLU, first release all the air. That way you start from zero. The unit fills very fast from a hand pump and this is the best way to ensure accuracy. read more


Gamo’s Urban precharged air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Gamo Urban
Gamo Urban.

This report covers:

  • Fill probe
  • Pellets
  • Shot count
  • Air Arms Diabolo Field
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 5.51mm heads
  • Evaluation
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity of the .22 caliber Gamo Urban. And the first string will be an interesting test, because I know the Urban is a BSA design. BSA PCPs do not use their air the same as other precharged air rifles. The Urban fills to 232 bar, which is 3365 psi. Normally that would present a challenge to anyone wanting to use a hand pump, because pumping to that pressure level is difficult for most adults. But testing done by Tyler Patner (watch his video on the Urban webpage) confirmed what I suspected from the start — the BSA-based powerplant in the Urban doesn’t use the pressure above 3000 psi efficiently. It only becomes smooth when the pressure drops below 3,000 psi — the same as the BSA Hornet I used to own. Tyler found the best string of shots was between 2900 psi and 1500 psi. If I find the test rifle performs similarly I will constrain all my tests to that lower maximum pressure. It won’t make much difference at 25 yards, but it will at 50. read more


Umarex Gauntlet: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gauntlet
Umarex Gauntlet.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The Gauntlet
  • Test 1 — shot count and the power curve
  • Power
  • Impressions
  • Frequent pellet jams
  • Test 2 — different pellets
  • H&N Baracuda Match
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Discharge sound
  • Evaluation

Today we will look at the Umarex Gauntlet’s velocity and shot count, but before we start I have to tell you something. Yesterday I started shooting the Sub-1 crossbow. It was fantastic! I wanted to report on it this week, but I can’t allow the week to pass without doing the Gauntlet. So many readers are awaiting my findings. And, as I told you on Monday, we have two guest blogs this week, so the Sub-1 report will wait until next week.

The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet accepts a fill to 3000 psi, which makes it sort of friendly to hand pumps. The manual doesn’t mention cocking the rifle before starting to fill, so I filled it from empty to 1000 psi with a prototype Hill hand pump. The rifle was uncocked at the start and filled immediately. I stopped at 1000 psi because this pump has no pressure gauge and it was too difficult to tell where I was. The fill nipple is opposite the pressure gauge, so I had to pick the rifle up and turn it over to see the pressure. Too much bother! read more


Hatsan BullMaster PCP: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hatsan Bullmaster
Hatsan BullMaster semiautomatic bullpup PCP.

This report covers:

  • Like the Sortie
  • Comparisons?
  • Companies change over time
  • Description
  • Fill
  • Pressure gauge
  • Magazines
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • So much more to tell
  • Next

Today I start my review of the Hatsan BullMaster precharged pneumatic air rifle. This is a repeating semiautomatic air rifle in bullpup configuration. It is available in both .177 and .22 calibers and the published energies, 21/31 foot-pounds, respectively, are right where they should be for a handy hunting air rifle. I am testing the .22, but since it was sent directly from Hatsan, I won’t publish the serial number. Your chances of getting this particular airgun are slim.

Like the Sortie

I tested the Sortie semiautomatic air pistol for you in a 5-part review back in September and October, and I did it intentionally. I had this BullMaster at that time, and since the actions of the two airguns are so similar, I wanted to start with the smaller one first. Testing the Sortie got me ready for the BullMaster. read more


Niche market advancement

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Benjamin Discovery
  • Crosman
  • The $100 PCP
  • The bottom line
  • The legal silencer from AirForce
  • Air Venturi
  • Lloyd Sikes
  • This blog!
  • We are waiting for:

Reader William Schooley mentioned today’s topic in a comment last week. We were talking about how many airguns needed to be sold for a company to take a customer’s recommendation seriously. Here is what he said.

“I may be way over my head on this, but isn’t this just the type of situation which creates niche markets and micromarketing? It seems to me that where a small but specific group wants a product that’s not being addressed by other larger firms, smaller more specialized companies will develop products to fill the niche. What is your historical take on niche or micromarketing in the air gun community?” read more


Hatsan Hercules QE .45 caliber big bore air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hatsan Hercules 45
Hatsan Hercules QE .45 caliber big bore rifle.

This report covers:

  • Big gun!
  • Description
  • .45 bullets and “pellets”
  • 1000 cc reservoir capacity
  • Onboard air gauge
  • 250 bar fill
  • Adjustable stock
  • Adjustable trigger
  • Barrel
  • Sights
  • I shot the Hercules
  • Sound
  • Evaluation

Big gun!

I’m starting a report on the Hatsan Hercules QE .45 big bore air rifle. First let me observe that this rifle is BIG. And I mean big in all ways. It’s 48.4 inches long and weighs 13 pounds before a scope is attached. I was surprised by that number, so I put it on a balance beam scale, and the rifle I am testing came to exactly 13 lbs.

The Hercules rifles come in the following calibers: .22, .25, .30, .357 and .45. Some of the specifications like magazine capacity differ by caliber (the .22 magazine holds 14 pellets), but the length and weight remain the same throughout the range. read more


Do pressure vessels become unsafe over time?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Do pressure vessels become unsafe over time?
  • Operating pressure
  • Water leading to rust
  • Oxygen!
  • Danger through work-hardening
  • Last word

Today we have a safety issue to examine. Here is the question I got last week that spawned this report.

“Wasn’t sure how to reach you so using this venue. Was wondering about safety issue on pcps with regard to repeated pressurization over the years.Most pcps are newer and certainly built with margin of safety, but is it possible as these age and perhaps are handed down that they (the pressure vessel) can become unsafe? Read somewhere repeated pressurization can lead to eventual metal fatigue (in relation to high pressure vessels of non air rifle type). Thinking of future owners down the road. Thanks for all you do for all us airgun fans, read blog everyday.” read more