Benjamin Fortitude PCP air rifle Gen2: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Fortitude
The Generation II Benjamin Fortitude.

This report covers:

  • Fortitude Gen II
  • Back to today
  • What is the Fortitude?
  • Accurate
  • Crosman barrel
  • Lightweight
  • Trigger
  • Cocking effort
  • Longer series
  • Summary

Some days are funner for me than others, and this is a fun day. I have waited a year and a half to do the test that begins today. For starters I will show you what I said about my first experience with the Benjamin Fortitude Gen 2 . The following is extracted from Part 1 of the 2019 SHOT Show report.

Tom and Rossi
Rossi Morreale (right) was at the Velocity Outdoors event. Yes, BB (second from left) now has a white beard — ho, ho ho! (photo from January, 2019.)

Fortitude Gen II

Okay, you readers have been jazzed about this. I shot the new second generation Benjamin Fortitude. The short story is that a few of the original guns had leaking issues and many owners felt the rifle was too hard to cock. I tested the Fortitude for you and mine cocked easily enough, plus it held air fine, but Crosman took your comments seriously and took a second look at the gun.

As long as they were doing that they figured why not make other improvements. The new rifle is very easy to cock, has a nice light trigger that’s also crisp, gets 80 shots on a fill (with a 20 f.p.s. variation), and has a more accurate Crosman-made barrel. Rossi and I both shot it and the new rifle is quite nice. I may need to do a full retest — it’s that much different.

The rifle looks the same as the first Fortitude. But now you can adjust the striker spring from the high 500 f.p.s. (in .22) range to the mid 800s! And high power is where those 80 shots are. On low power they counted over 200 shots — on a gun so quiet you cannot hear it fire! Rossi and I both commented on how quiet the rifle is!

Fortitude target
This Zombie target was shot by three different people at 20 yards offhand. The zombie’s eye is about quarter-sized. The new Fortitude Gen II is accurate!

Back to today

That was what I saw at the Velocity Outdoors (Crosman) presentation on Sunday, January 20, 2019. I was mightily impressed but it has taken this long for me to get a Fortitude Gen 2 in my hands. But this is not the first Fortitude I have tested. In late 2018 I tested the first generation Fortitude for you in a 4-part series. But there are differences in the second generation rifle and I plan to show them and test them for you.

What is the Fortitude?

The Benjamin Fortitude is a bolt-action precharged pneumatic repeater that’s priced just under $300. As such it meets my criteria for a price-point PCP (PPP). When these rifles first came out in 2017 I knew the world of PCPs had arrived. I wrote two separate reports on PPPs — The game-changing price-point PCP PPP and How the Price-Point PCP (PPP) has changed the face of the airgun world

Let’s now look at what the Fortitude brings to the table. It is a 10-shot  repeater that’s offered in both .177 and .22 calibers. It is regulated and the power is user-adjustable, which means you can dial it down (650 in .177 and 500 in .22) and get as many as 200 shots on a single fill to 3,000 psi or up (950 in .177 and 800 in .22) and still get as many as 60 shots. Guys — that is performance! And you get it for just $300! But wait — there’s more!

The Fortitude is fully shrouded, as in quiet. I mentioned that in my 2019 SHOT Show report. I also commented on it in the 4-part first-generation series I wrote in 2018. And I remembered specifically that quiet was one of the key features that impressed me so much about this air rifle. But it wasn’t the biggest one.

Accurate

The second-generation Fortitude is accurate. And when I say accurate I mean it can hold its own with most of the top world class PCPs that sell for upwards of a thousand dollars. Yes, there are some very expensive rifles that can beat it, but you are not going to get this much accuracy for anywhere near this price. That is why I ran that 2019 SHOT Show clip in the beginning.

The first-generation Fortitude I tested came with a test target. So did this one. It’s a 5-shot group of domes that I assume were Crosman Premiers. I can’t tell whether they are lights or heavies, but I will find out in this report. I measured it with my digital calipers and got a 10-yard spread of 0.114-inches between centers. Folks — that is a gold-dollar group!

Fortitude test group
The Fortitude came with a test group that shows 5 frots from 10 yards in 0.114-inches.

Crosman barrel

Let’s talk about that accuracy a moment. Crosman rifles their own barrels. Here is another clip from the 2019 report.

Crosman barrels?

Here is a story within a story. Remember I told you that Crosman rifles some of their own barrels? Well Senior Product Design Engineer, John Solpietro, who showed me all the guns told me that Crosman has had an internal program going to create better barrels. As a result, they now rifle ALL their own barrels — .177, .22 and .25! They have found no significant difference between the new barrels they are rifling and the premium barrels they were buying from Green Mountain. John didn’t give me any details, but I did verify that reaming the seamless tubing before rifling is now a step used for Crosman barrels.

I think this internal program is laudable. I wonder why their marketing department hasn’t touted it more?

Now I am back to 2020. Yes, Crosman learned that reaming the seamless hydraulic tubing they use to make barrels (a very common practice in the airgun industry today) before rifling improves the consistency of the inside of the barrel. The firearms industry has known this for years and there is an ongoing discussion of whether hammer-forged barrels or reamed button-rifled barrels are better. That’s because hammer-forging does leave the barrel with slight differences in interior diameter that can sometimes be felt by pushing a wire brush through the bore. Both types of barrels are quite accurate and only when you get down to the gnat’s eyelash is there any difference to report, but airgunners, like centerfire benchrest shooters, are an anal group.

The bottom line? Crosman makes accurate airgun barrels. Naturally we will be delighted to test this one to see how accurate!

The barrel is free-floated inside the shroud. And, yes, there are baffles.

Lightweight

When I picked the rifle up out of the box I was reminded what a light rifle the Fortitude is! It’s full-sized in every way, with a 14.25-inch pull on the synthetic ambidextrous stock. And the overall length is 42.6-inches. Yet it weighs just 5.3 lbs.

The stock is hollow and a knock on the butt confirms this. There are ways to correct this, though it does not bother me, so I will just live with it.

There are no sights, so you will have to scope it, but that is a foregone conclusion these days. The scope you select will impact the weight of the riofle as well as the handling characteristics.

Trigger

The trigger pull was one of two things owners complained about with the first-generation Fortitude. I didn’t have a problem with it. That first trigger was two-stage. Stage one required 2 lbs. force and stage two  broke at 5 lbs. 7 oz. I found it crisp, which is far more important than light for me. I have already tried this trigger and will report on it in the next part. So far it feels good. It’s no Marauder trigger, but it’s very useable. If you shoot a PPP you don’t get to be a trigger snob!

Cocking effort

This was a big complaint with the first generation Fortitude and I even noticed it and made mention in my report. Suffice to say the problem has been fixed. I will be more specific in Part 2.

Longer series

Because of the possibility of owner velocity adjustment, this will be a longer report. Crosman does not include a  3/16″ Allen wrench to make this adjustment, but most airgunners should have at least one in their tool kit. I will report on how the rifle came set up, plus we will look at the high and low velocity that can be achieved — plus the shots count. That’s going to take some time — so more reports.

Summary

The Gen 2 Benjamin Fortitude is a worthy PPP. This will be a full test.


Quality is not always straightforward

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Location, location, location!
  • Price point
  • Limited access to materials
  • Committee rule
  • Space is different — of course
  • Materials issues
  • Something different
  • Intermodal containers
  • Different perspective
  • The gamble
  • They approved the design
  • Real world
  • However…
  • Your comments
  • True story
  • Summary

The 5-part Air Venturi TR5 Multi-Shot Target Air Rifle series brought up a lively discussion of manufacturing quality. I have read the comments and feel compelled to mention a few things that no one has addressed yet.

I will be addressing some of the comments from readers in today’s report, but I am not doing it to argue with anyone. I just think we need to see all sides when we talk about this.

Location, location, location!

Does anyone not know that the TR5 is being made in China? It is. Many of you think the Chinese don’t care about quality and the last good thing they built was the Great Wall, but that’s incorrect. China makes most of the smartphones, computers, consumer electronics and optics that we have today. China also has a space program. They are only the third country to put humans into orbit (in their own space program) and they have plans for a Chinese space station next year. They even plan to walk on the moon!

China can make quality products. So, when something substandard gets out what is the problem? Let’s start with the things you know and go from there.

Price point

Like anyone, the Chinese manufacturers have to make money from the sales of their products. If a “bottom-line” buyer negotiates a deal with them, they have to protect themselves so of course they will seek the cheapest way to do things. That will surface as both marginal materials and a reduced number of steps in the manufacturing process. Labor costs drive prices — even in China.

That was an easy one. It’s a takeoff on, “You get what you pay for.” But there is more.

Limited access to materials

A closed society like China suffers from limited access to materials. Here in America with the internet and Ebay at our fingertips we wonder why anyone would manufacture something like the Artemis PP700S-A PCP pistol and then put o-rings in it that are not rated for the job. And they even know they have done it because they include additional seals plus the directions for installing them in the package that comes with the gun! Here’s why that happens.

Committee rule

A communist society is closed. It’s run by man-made rules rather than by physics and the marketplace. If an o-ring fits the application and it is also on the list of materials that can be obtained, it’s considered okay. Never mind that it won’t or can’t do some critical function that’s required by the end product. If it fits and is available, you can get it — and I am talking about the manufacturer now. That’s how you get a precharged pistol with o-rings that are the right size, but cannot take the pressures and fail too soon.

In a free marketplace the engineer recognizes this and includes the pressure tolerance within the purchase specification for the part. It is noted on the engineering drawing or on a specification sheet that’s attached to the drawing.

In a closed society the engineer scans the list of available o-rings that was put together by committee 17, who made up the list based on other criteria. That list is all he has access to.

Space is different — of course

China’s space program can get whatever they need because, let’s face it, in space it has to work. But a maker of toy airguns has no clout with committee 17. That is the dichotomy of a closed society that tries to manage everything centrally.

Materials issues

Several decades ago the U.S. bought scrap titanium from the former Soviet Union. Some of it came in the form of worn-out baby carriages! Only in a closed society would a manufacturer build a baby carriage out of a material as valuable as titanium! But, when People’s Factory Number 3 needed tubing of a certain size to meet their monthly production quota, committee 17 approved whatever tubing was available. Some of the Anics BB pistols had barrels made from tubing that was sourced from the Soviet space program and just happened to fit steel BBs! That’s committee 17 (centralized management) at work!

Something different

Now let’s look at something quite different. Let’s look at the dark side of business that never gets discussed anywhere.

Here is one you never hear about and it’s the one that prompted me to write today’s report. Let’s say you are buying products from China’s Industrial Factory Number 11. You currently buy five different products from them. Three of those products are among your best-selling items. Now, you have this new item to add to their list. It’s a youth pellet rifle and, after some very tough negotiations, you have left them with a very slim line of profit. But your American company is their good client, and you believe they want your business at almost any cost.

Intermodal containers

Your company receives a 40-foot intermodal container full of products from this manufacturer every 60 days. The new pellet rifle will now be among the packages inside.

intermodal container
Products are shipped around the world in intermodal containers that allow rapid progress through ports and shipping lanes.

It takes 45 days for the manufacturer to fill the container, get it to their country’s port, ship it to a west-coast port in the U.S., clear American customs, and be transported to its final destination in the U.S. By the time that container arrives they are already packing the next one. They are able to pack 500 of the new rifles in the container, along with all the other products you ordered.

Different perspective

Now, let’s look at this from the manufacturer’s perspective.

When the deal for this rifle was negotiated, the agreement was for a purchase of 500 rifles every 60 days, or approximately 3,000 rifles a year, with an option to double production on a 60-day notice. Your American client expects this rifle to be a very big seller. So you purchased tooling to make 3,000 rifles, because that was the cheapest way to go. Tooling for 10,000 rifles would have been 9 percent cheaper than the tooling you bought, but then you would have risked a wasted expense if your client stopped buying for any reason. The contract guarantees they must buy at least 3,000 rifles from you, but it doesn’t guarantee they won’t go out of business this year. Another American company did that two years ago and left you holding thousands of dollars of their products.

If your client doubles your output you will purchase the cheaper tooling the next time you buy tooling. The savings from that purchase will all be on your side because the purchase price will remain firm! That’s where your real profit will begin.

You made a lot of the production tooling in-house, and the rifling buttons were among the more expensive items you had to buy. They should be good for a large number of passes through barrels before they need sharpening, but with every sharpening they get a little smaller. So you ordered the maximum size button that is permitted, in the hopes of getting the greatest number of rifled barrels from them. The first few thousand barrels will be on the large side, but as the contract runs they will get progressively smaller. And let’s face it — these are inexpensive children’s pellet rifles. Who’s going to complain?

The gamble

Your plant manager knew the rifles were not that accurate because of the large rifling buttons, but he had an engineer test and select the three most accurate rifles from a startup production run of 50 rifles to send to the client as samples for approval. So, at least some of the rifles you produce should be that accurate!

Your client will thoroughly test the samples you send them and if they don’t like what they see, you’ll have to make changes. That has the potential of costing you real money, which could destroy all of the slim profit you were able to negotiate. But the samples you sent pleased them. Once the client approved the final design, the gun’s production began and the first container was loaded.

You may hear about the lack of accuracy from them after they receive the first shipment, but you’ll deal with that problem if and when it happens. Remember, at least some of the rifles will be as accurate as those first three samples you sent. By the time they notice anything, if they ever do, the second container will have been shipped and the production run for the third shipment will be complete. Your client is very pleased with the other products you sell them, so it’s unlikely they will want to do anything that you can’t live with. They can’t just walk away!

They approved the design

And here is your saving grace. Your client approved the samples already. The client is the one who said to proceed with production. If they want you to make any changes now it opens the entire contract to renegotiation and you can increase the price. You only need one additional U.S. dollar per rifle to turn this situation around to your favor. And, if they want you to modify rifles that have already been produced, that will cost them a lot more because of all the work that has to be done to the ones that have been assembled already.

Real world

This is the real world, gentlemen. It’s how a lot of business is conducted. Yes, there are companies that are entirely trustworthy and can be trusted far beyond the business deal. You will usually pay more to them for the same things, but this is my point — they aren’t the same things at all! Yes, they make airguns, but they won’t let one go out of their factory unless it is perfect, because their name is on it. You don’t have to worry about things like I have just explained because they will fix them before you ever see them. And, if something does go wrong, they will bend over backwards to rectify it.

Their airguns do cost more money. But in the long run they save money because they help you keep your established customers and even win new ones for you!

However…

Sounds good? Well, I have overlooked one important point. The bulk of your sales are not to airgunners. You make most of your sales to big box stores that order airguns from you by the pallet! They negotiate with you just as hard as you negotiated with the Chinese factory — or harder! Their business plan says they sell to people who only buy on the basis of price.

So, 20 percent of this new rifle’s sales will be to real airgunners and 80 percent will be to the big box stores. Quality doesn’t matter to a box store because they don’t get returns on every bad item they sell. Their customers are used to poor quality and don’t often bother going to the trouble of returning things they don’t like. And, when they do return them, the box store simply passes them right back to the supplier and deducts any expense for doing this from their outstanding invoices. Box stores are so powerful that they can tell their suppliers how much they owe, not the other way around. If a supplier doesn’t like that they can step aside — there are always more suppliers in the wings, waiting for their chance to sell to the box store!

Your comments

In light of all of this, let’s now examine what several of you said in response to the TR5 test. I will play the part of the devil’s advocate and answer you.

Hank said, “True, but I think there is a minimum acceptance threshold – if the produce is way sub-par then it ceases to be viable and low sales relative to tooling costs will result in a small profit margin.

In these days of internet, product reviews, and buyer comments, product performance (or the lack thereof) quickly comes to light. Sales will quickly diminish down to those people who didn’t do their homework and believe the flashy graphics on the box.

As you say: Burn me once. The manufactures that are going for a quick sale and maximum profit are shooting themselves in the foot (or possibly higher) as disappointed customers will be cautious or won’t be back at all. Guess the thing that bothers me most is that the people that were suckered into buying a poor product may leave the airgunning scene entirely and that affects us all.”

BB’s reply, “Hank, you’re right! When a product is substandard the sales do drop off to just those customers who don’t do any homework and do buy on the basis of attractive packaging! And, if I’m selling to a box store, that number of sales is so high that the loss of sales to the informed customer is almost negligible. On the other hand, if the price of my box-store product was 5 dollars higher my sales would drop by 70 percent, because my biggest competitor is selling a similar product for just one dollar more than mine sells for right now.”

Yogi’s comment, “All airgunners want the most accurate barrel possible! If airgun barrels were easy to switch Walther would make a ton more money! Why do you think FX and AirForce sell so many barrels?”

BB’s reply, “Not all airgunners feel this way. Most of the ones who comment on this blog do, but let’s face it, Yogi, we have about 200 people who comment, out of more than a quarter million that we know are reading this blog”.

FX sells guns by the hundreds. AirForce sells them by the thousands. The largest box store sells them by the tens of thousands. Who are you going to listen to?”

GunFun1 said, “I really hate when there’s not a explanation.

It’s there. But now probably to late to find out.

Straight up. No one’s going to chop one up nowdays to find out. They will probably be happy just to get one.

But darn somebody should of dug in back then. We would at least have more of a clue why now.
And I have to say is I hate when history goes wrong.”

BB’s reply, “That’s why I wrote today’s report. None of what I wrote is factual, but it is all based on truths I have been observing for several decades. I wrote it to give you some insight into why things are the way they are.

But I didn’t tell you about any specific airgun. Instead I told you how things work in the business world, and why quality sometimes (not always) gets sidetracked. You are focused on the technical problem and how it might be fixed. I understand that because that’s the way I think, too. But today I have ignored the technical side and looked at how substandard products might make it to market because of how the wholesale side works.”

Michael said, “I have yet to miss an aluminum or steel can in my backyard at 20 – 30 feet. :^) I have only plinked with it, which is what I bought it for. My guess is that I am getting about 2.5 – 3 inch groups at 10 meters, shooting it off-hand. That is pretty good for me, as I usually rest long guns on a bag, even for that short distance. But the TR5 is so light, I can shoot it off-hand with ease. That plus the effortless cocking make it an “easy shooter.”

BB’s reply, “You see? There are customers who like the product. Some of these customers are even experienced airgunners who read this blog. So it isn’t all or nothing. Each buyer has a particular reason for wanting the gun, and if it meets their needs, who can tell them it isn’t right?”

There were many other comments besides these, but these sum up the gist of what you readers are saying. I hope today’s report helps you see some of what lies behind the curtain of the development of a new airgun. Remember, I also documented the development of the Sig ASP20 breakbarrel rifle in great detail, so you got to see things a manufacturer can do when they want to control the product as far as possible. As we come to the end of today’s report, let’s look at another slightly different variation of the manufacturing process.

True story

Leapers has built a strong reputation for high-quality airgun and firearm optics at reasonable prices. Like 95+ percent of the rest of the world, their optics are made in the far east. But they finally reached a point where that wasn’t good enough. They were selling so many scopes that they had to change their manufacturing model. The reason why might surprise you.

Six years ago they set out to build an optics manufacturing capability here in the United States. Why? Because they were making so many improvements to their optics that the supply chain of intermodal containers from Asia finally got to them. They needed to control their own designs in a more effective way — even if it meant going against the established model and building an optical facility here in the U.S. That way when they make a change to a scope they don’t have three 40-foot intermodal containers full of product in the pipeline with the now-outdated design.

There wasn’t an issue of quality in this case. It was an issue of timely changes to design. It just took too long to do it by the established process of engineering it here and building it there. It’s actually a variation of the Japanese manufacturing process known as kaizen, or continuous improvement. Leapers continually works on their products to make them better, and no longer can afford the tremendous lag time that the current system requires. They had to take over manufacture themselves to avoid the waste this lag time inflicts.

Summary

I guess what I have tried to show you today is that there are numerous reasons for why things go the way they do in the world of manufacture. It isn’t always that people don’t care. It’s more often layers of reasons that each affect the outcome to some extent but none of them prevail over the other reasons.

That is the reason this blog exists. I try to test a product the way most buyers will use it, so you’ll know what to expect. Josh Unger and Val Gamerman told me in 2003 when I started writing articles for Pyramyd Air that I was to write for you buyers. When the blog began in 2005 I was told the same thing. Good or bad, I was always to tell you what happened when I tested something.

If I can influence the outcome of a test in a positive way that I feel most people will be able to do, I will do it, which is why I cleaned the TR5 barrel. If that had worked, my next job was to find the easiest way to clean the barrel.

I want you to be satisfied with the airgun or related product you get, and I also don’t want you to be surprised by something unexpected.

I hope today’s report has helped you in some way.


ASG CZ75 SP-01 Shadow BB pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

ASG SP-01-pistol
ASG’s CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow BB pistol is large and heavy. The guns they are shipping have red fiberoptic sights in front, like those found on the firearm.

This report covers:

  • Rich history!
  • So what?
  • Anywhere?
  • The BB pistol
  • Adjustable rear sight
  • Front sight
  • Full blowback
  • Single action and double action
  • All controls are real
  • Grips
  • Summary

I recently started exploring using airguns as stand-ins for certain self-defense firearms. This has now taken a turn, and today I will start reviewing one that I am serious about — the ASG CZ75 SP-01 Shadow BB pistol. I will get to the description in a bit, but before I do, let’s first look at the prototype firearm — the CZ75.

Rich history!

There are a few sidearms that stand out from the crowd. The M1911 is one, and the P08 Luger is another. And today’s pistol, the CZ75, is right there with them. We start by recognizing that the 9X19mm cartridge that we know better as the 9mm Luger, is the most popular handgun cartridge in today’s world. Nearly everything else is compared to it, and most successful semiautomatic pistols are chambered for it.

In the 1970s the world was stunned by the launch and growth of the “wonder nines” — 9mm pistols with an unbelievable capacity for ammunition. Perhaps the Browning Hi Power pistol that was launched in 1935 was the first of these. It was high power because it held 13 rounds in a staggered stack magazine. That was twice the number of rounds other pistols carried.

The “wonder nine” pistols of the ‘70s carried this to the extreme, holding over 20 rounds in some cases. The CZ 75 holds anywhere from 12 to 26 rounds, depending on the specific model and magazine. I could now go into a huge amount of history, but I’m not going to. I will cut right to the chase. Around the world both military and law enforcement agencies have used some version of the CZ 75 since its inception in 1975. It is a design that is known everywhere. It makes sense that ASG would bring out a BB pistol to celebrate the success and rich history of the gun. But that’s not why I am reviewing it today.

I am reviewing this pistol because Bob Li, of Action Sport Games (ASG), told me about his personal CZ 75. In fact, he raved about it all throughout the show! You guys call me the Great Enabler, but the same thing happens to me when I get around other gun guys. And Bob’s enthusiasm was infectious.

I told you this in Part 5 of the 2018 SHOT Show report. I also showed you a picture of the gun.

I saw the BB pistol I’m reviewing in the ASG booth, and it was a pip, but Bob’s description of the CZ 75 went far beyond that. It went so far that before I returned to Texas I vowed to get a CZ 75 firearm for myself and test it in conjunction with the test of this BB pistol. And that is exactly what I did.

I shopped for the best deal on a CZ 75 SP-01 so I’d have something close to compare with the BB pistol, but in the process I mentioned by search to Johnny Hill of Weatherford Pawn — my FFL dealer of choice. He told me of a special sale that Sarco was running in which I could buy a used 9mm CZ 75 for just $250, instead of the $550 and more I would have to pay for a new gun. Well, I jumped at that, and so did my gun buddy, Otho. These were guns that were turned in by an Israeli security company when they purchased new sidearms. They were all in very good or better condition, though I have to admit that mine had not been cleaned since it was last fired.

ASG-SP-01-pistol-with-CZ-75
The BB pistol (top) looks more realistic than the CZ 75 firearm. It’s also 11.5 ounces heavier.

So what?

I’m telling you this because I will be testing the firearm alongside the BB pistol in this series. You heard me right — I will test a firearm at the same time I’m testing its lookalike BB pistol! And it doesn’t end there!

ASG also sent me a Kydex quick draw paddle holster with the pistol, and I intend using it for this training. I’m not just going to shoot these two guns together, I’m going to practice with them both and try to describe to you how it feels to have a lookalike BB pistol I can shoot anywhere to train for my firearm.

Anywhere?

Now you know why I wrote about the Dust Devil BBs on Tuesday. Yes, I can test anywhere, because Dust Devils make it safe to shoot BB guns against hard reactionary targets — the very kind you need to shoot for real practice with a defense weapon.

The BB pistol

I have so much more to say about this training concept, but this day is about the BB pistol, so let’s begin our look. The SP-01 Shadow is a top of the line variation of the CZ 75, and the BB pistol is no exception. It’s quite large, at an overall length of 8.2 inches and an unloaded weight of 41 oz. The firearm it copies weighs 46.5 oz. But this BB pistol actually weighs more than the unloaded weight of my lightweight CZ 75 firearm that comes in at 29.5 oz.

The designers went out of their way to give as much realism as possible, so some things on this pistol need explaining (or ‘splainin’, as Ricky Ricardo would say). Most of it revolves around the magazine that also houses the CO2 cartridge.

It’s a stick mag that, in a huge twist of irony, holds the same number of BBs as the firearm magazine holds 9mm cartridges. Seventeen BBs fit into the mag, and they are loaded at the base of the follower slot. That’s not obvious until you read the manual.

ASG-SP-01-pistol mag
The SP-01 mag loads through a tiny enlargement at the bottom of the follower slot (arrow) The floorplate comes off when a button is pressed (two arrows) clearing the way to install the CO2 cartridge

The mag floorplate is removed by pressing in a small button for access to the CO2 cartridge cap. The cap is screwed in place by a large Allen wrench provided with the gun. Once the floorplate is back on you cannot see where the CO2 goes in.

Adjustable rear sight

The rear sight adjusts for windage. This is similar to the firearm it copies.

Front sight

As mentioned above, the front sight is a red fiberoptic. That is identical to the 9mm firearm front sight. How the makers get away with that on a firearm that sells for $1,200 is a mystery to me!

Full blowback

More realism is felt when you fire. The heavy metal slide is blown all the way back for a good feeling of recoil.

Single action and double action

You carry the firearm with 17 rounds in the mag and one in the chamber. It has a double action trigger for the first shot. After that it’s single action until all 18 rounds are gone. Then the slide locks open, telling you to reload. Both trigger pulls are light and smooth. Same for the BB pistol, except for the round in the chamber.

All controls are real

Everything on this pistol works as it should. The slide release doubles as the takedown pin and the pistol comes apart easier than my firearm. The slide and frame even have the takedown marks for disassembly. The safety is ambidextrous, and wide enough for the thumb to ride on during firing. The magazine release is a button on the left side of the frame that works smoothly and the magazine is a drop-free type. This is a handgun for quick tactical work.

Grips

The grips are molded soft rubber with diamonds that really grip the hand. I wish my firearm grip was as well contoured, but it is a concealed piece and something was given up for a thin profile.

Summary

If you are looking for realism in a BB gun, look at this one closely. It costs more because it delivers more.

That’s all for today, but know that I am bursting at the seams to keep quiet, because I have fired the firearm already. When we get to the accuracy report I will show you both handguns! Until them, stay tuned!


Kral Puncher Breaker Silent Synthetic .177 PCP repeater: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Kral Puncher Breaker rifle
Kral Puncher Breaker bullpup with synthetic stock.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The test
  • The day
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Magazine is easy
  • H&N Baracuda Match 4.50mm heads
  • Trigger
  • Wind picked up
  • Crosman Premier heavies
  • Evaluation

Today we will finish the report on the .177 caliber Kral Puncher Breaker bullpup PCP. I have taken longer to write this report because of the weather here in Texas. We have had a cold wet winter that has kept me off the outdoor range, and today’s test is the one at 50 yards. I learned a lot about the rifle in this test and when you see the results I think you will agree.

The test

I shot the rifle off a bench with a sandbag rest. The targets were 50 yards away and I shot 10-shot groups. Not only will I describe how the rifle shot, I’ll also give you a lot more detail on things like the trigger pull.

One of the nice things about this air rifle is its conservative use of air. The rifle was set just above the midpoint on the power adjustment and I knew there were at least 60 good shots at that setting.

The rifle was already sighted for 25 yards. All I had to do was make a few adjustments to get on target at 50 yards. Like always I did not shoot for the center of the bull, because I didn’t want to destroy the aimpoint.

I shot off that new benchrest I bought at the SHOT Show this year. I’m also learning about it, so I can write a report for you. It has taken me several times using it before I finally figured it all out, but I have now and can talk about it better.

The day

I wasn’t at my usual outdoor range. I went to Otho’s house, where he has a berm for shooting. I didn’t go there because of this rifle, but because I also tested the Hatsan Hercules that wasn’t sighted in yet. I wanted complete control of the range, so I could start shooting at 10 yards and back up as I adjusted the scope. I’ll talk more about that when I do that report.

The day started out calm with a breeze from behind me at a steady 5 m.p.h. As the test progressed the wind picked up and by the final group it was gusting to 10 mph and had shifted over to the left.

JSB Exact Heavy

The first pellet I tried was the JSB Exact Heavy that gave us a 0.494-inch ten-shot group at 25 yards. At 50 yards 10 pellets went into 1.369-inches between centers. It’s not a bad group, but it is a little horizontal.

Kral Puncher Breaker JSB group1
Ten JSB Exact Heavy pellets made this 1.369-inch group at 50 yards.

Magazine is easy

I have had problems loading Kral magazines in past tests, but this time I found it easy. It was easy to load 10 pellets into the 14-shot mag and the magazine was also easy to install in the rifle’s receiver.

H&H Baracuda Match 4.50mm heads

Next to be tried was the H&N Baracuda Match pellet with a 4.50mm head. At 25 yards ten grouped in 0.43-inches. At 50 yards they spread out horizontally into a 1.739-inch group. That tells us that this isn’t the pellet for this rifle. At 25 yards it looked okay, but at 50 yards it broke down. Maybe a Baracuda with a larger head size would group tighter.

Kral Puncher Breaker Baracuda group
Ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 4.50mm heads went into 1.739-inches at 50 yards.

Trigger

I found the Kral’s trigger more difficult than I remembered. The pull is heavy but I can live with it. However, the bottom of the trigger slants too far forward for comfort. I would like blade to be straighter.

Wind picked up

At this point the wind started to gust faster. I waited out the gusts and shot when it was calmest, which was still about 5 m.p.h. and still from my back.

Crosman Premier heavies

The next pellet I tried was the Crosman’s Premier 10.5-grain dome. At 25 yards they gave us a 10-shot group measuring 0.429-inches that was the best of the test. A second 25-yard group measured 0.504 inches between centers. At 50 yards they fell apart — putting 10 pellets into 1.883-inches between centers.

Kral Puncher Breaker Premier group
Ten Premier heavy pellets made this 1.833-inch group at 50 yards.

Okay — by this time I was getting frustrated. Clearly the JSB Exacts were the best pellet so far, and I thought that first group was less than an inch. That’s how it looked to me. The wind was now gusting harder and also shifting to my left.

The Puncher Breaker had done so well at 25 yards with all three pellets that I had to give it one more chance at 50. I had to try it with the JSB pellets once more. The wind was gusting, but I waited for the gusts to grow calm for every shot.

This time 10 shots went into 1.128-inches. Is that the Puncher Breaker’s best? I doubt it. I have only tested a few pellets, and all of them at a single power level. I think with the right pellet and the right power setting the Puncher Breaker will put 10 into an inch or less at 50 yards.

Kral Puncher Breaker JSB group2
This second group of JSB Exact Heavy pellets was the best of the 50-yard test. Ten pellets are in 1.128-inches.

Evaluation

I’m ending the test today. I have enjoyed testing the Kral Puncher Breaker and I feel that .177 caliber was the right choice to make. We have talked about the new price-point PCPs a lot in the past few weeks. This one isn’t that much more and offers a lot for the price. How the world of airguns has changed in the past 10 years!

I would also note the big difference in group sizes between 25 and 50 yards. That’s why a longer range test is always more revealing. Not only does it show which pellets not to choose, it also shows the pellet that stands out.

The Kral Puncher Breaker is heavy, so get a sling if you plan to hunt with it. And scope it with a compact scope — both to save weight and also to keep the overall package small.

If I wanted a powerful PCP repeater, the Kral Puncher Breaker would be on my short list.


Umarex Gauntlet: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gauntlet
Umarex Gauntlet.

This report covers:

  • A price-point PCP
  • Two calibers
  • Features
  • Trigger
  • Sling swivel studs
  • Description
  • Fill
  • Overall evaluation

Yes, Jonah, it is the Umarex Gauntlet on which I will test the Bug Buster 3-12 scope with sidewheel! I had planned on reviewing this rifle last summer, but things happened on the production side and that window closed. Then I wanted to review it before Christmas, but that never happened, either. So now I’m starting my report on an air rifle that’s already in many shooter’s hands.

A price-point PCP

The Gauntlet is not just a price-point precharged pneumatic (PCP). It’s the rifle that defined the class. A price-point PCP has to have a lot of desirable features and retail for less than $300. Umarex drew that line when they announced the Gauntlet last year, but while they were getting the first rifles ready several other manufacturers got their offerings out first. They all stuck to the under-$300 retail price and the features differ from gun to gun. I will test several other price-point PCPs for you but today is all about the Gauntlet.

Two calibers

The rifle comes in both .177 and .22 caliber. I chose the .177 for no special reason other than it seemed best to me.

Features

What does this rifle offer? For starters, it’s a repeater. The .177 version I’m testing comes with one 10-shot rotary magazine and one single-shot adaptor tray. In the past those trays were sold as options. It also has a regulator that many newer airgunners seem fascinated with. I will test this one for you thoroughly so you know what to expect.

The barrel is shrouded but not baffled. Instead it has what I would call an expansion chamber that contains the compressed air before releasing it to the atmosphere. I will report on the discharge sound, but Pyramyd Air says it is fully moderated, so I’m expecting a quiet gun.

Gauntlet moderator
Umarex used an expansion chamber to quiet the Gauntlet. It’s similar to a motorcycle exhaust. The spring keeps the loose chamber from rattling.

The air reservoir is removable! This is a feature that used to only come on higher-priced PCPs, so Umarex has really raised the bar with the Gauntlet. You can fill the tank  while it’s installed on the gun or remove it and replace with another reservoir that’s ready to go. A degassing tool is supplied to exhaust the compressed air from the reservoir before removal. Just know that all the air will be exhausted.

The cheekpiece is adjustable up and down to suit different shooters. A thumbwheel in the stock makes this easy. The rear sling swivel stud locks the adjustment wheel, so use the degassing tool to unlock the stud before adjusting the cheekpiece.

Trigger

The trigger is adjustable, but to access the adjustments you must remove the air tank and forearm. Looking at just the outside of the trigger housing, the safety and the location of the adjustment screws, this looks like a variation of the Crosman 160 “crossbow” trigger that I wrote about. If so, you are in for a real treat. I will look at it closer in Part 2. I will say that it came from the factory adjusted very light, but I would tweak the overtravel screw to stop the trigger right after the gun fires.

I find the first stage of the trigger a bit sticky, but it’s brand new and I can tell that it will wear in. Once it does, stage two feels very crisp.

The safety works with the trigger and is manual. Thank you, Umarex! It is an upgrade to the original Crosman 160 safety because it is spring-loaded and can be released very easily — with just a touch of the trigger finger. It takes a little more effort to apply, but it’s easy just the same.

Sling swivel studs

The stock comes with sling swivel studs installed. You will need a sling because the Gauntlet weighs 8.5 pounds without a scope. As mentioned at the start of this report I plan to mount the BugBuster 3-12X32 scope with optional sidewheel for this test, so the weight will not increase by much more. Each sling stud also serves to lock something, so that degassing tools that also loosens both studs will be handier than you suppose.

Description

The Gauntlet is a large rifle — measuring 46-inches overall with a 14-inch pull. The barrel is 23 inches long. The stock has been well contoured for a shooter. The pistol grip is very vertical, making offhand shots feel good, and the forearm just in front of the triggerguard where you place your off hand is very narrow. It feels great! The rest of the forearm is fat, to contain that removable air tank, so you will feel it if you hold the rifle out there.

The stock is dark gray synthetic. It’s smooth on the surface but not slick. It doesn’t reflect light, nor does the rest of the outside of the rifle. Only the air tank is shiny, and it is mostly concealed inside the forearm.

The butt pad is soft grippy rubber that will cling to your shoulder. It does not adjust.

Pulling the bolt back to cock is hard, so you want to cock with the rifle on the shoulder. The bolt has a notch at the back of its stroke to lock it safely out of the way when installing or removing the magazine.

Fill

The Gauntlet accepts a fill to 3000 psi, as expected for a regulated gun. According to the manual the reg is set to 1150 psi, so you get nearly a 2000-psi power band. That’s going to give a lot of shots. I will plan on Part 2 of this report taking a long time to test! Of course you can fill the tank less full and get fewer shots. The reg should give the same velocity, regardless.

 

Umarex wisely used a male Foster nipple for the fill port. More and more manufactures are using this nipple which makes filling PCPs easier. The fill nipple comes with a protective cover to keep dirt out.

Overall evaluation

This is an entirely new PCP. It’s a shame it took so long to hit the streets, but Umarex wanted it to be right, and from first glance it would appear they succeeded. I can’t wait to shoot it for accuracy.

I remember shooting the gauntlet a year ago for “American Airgunner,” but we didn’t have the targets, the time or a decent shooting bench to do it right. This time I’m going to take the time to really get to know this air rifle.


The Beeman P1 air pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman P1
Beeman P1 air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Lots of reports
  • What is the Beeman P1?
  • HW45
  • Three calibers
  • Good 1911 trainer
  • Two power levels
  • Adjustable sights
  • Adjustable trigger
  • All metal
  • PTFE piston seals
  • Overall evaluation

As I was packing up at the 2017 Texas airgun show a man stopped by my tables and showed interest in a BSA Airsporter I had for sale. He asked if I would consider a trade. He then showed me a Beeman P1 pistol in near-excellent condition. The only real detractor is someone had tried to mount a scope on it and they screwed a scope stop pin down into the top of the scope rail, leaving a mark. I already owned a P1, but my gun has been highly modified from the days of The Airgun Letter, and I welcomed this chance to test a stock one.

Back in 1996 I modified the trigger of my P1 and got an extremely light and crisp pull. Ever since then I have had to try to remember what the stock trigger felt like. Also, I have tuned my pistol, making it’s pretty far from the gun it once was. I like the P1 and have recommended it for years to shooters who are serious about air pistols that can shoot, but in all that time I have been talking about a stock gun that’s getting harder and harder to remember. With this trade I can rectify that!

Lots of reports

I have tested my P1 for this blog many, many times. First in 2005, then 2007, and then a complete test in 2011 and most recently another complete test in 2014. But all of those tests were with my own modified P1. Today I start testing this new one. It’s much older than mine, but I have no idea how many shots have been fired.

What is the Beeman P1?

A Beeman P1 is a single shot spring-piston air pistol that puts out a light .177 pellet at the mid to high 500 f.p.s. range. The specs say 600 f.p.s., but I have never seen that. I think 585 f.p.s. was the highest I saw before I tuned the gun. These days that may not sound like a big deal, but when it came out in 1983, not many spring pistols could match it. The BSA Scorpion may be the only one that could.

HW45

Weihrauch liked Beeman’s design so much they produced it as the HW45 along with making the P1 for Beeman. It used to sell for less than the P1, but today the prices are pretty equivalent. Outside the U.S. it sells for less, but importing one will wind up costing you more than it’s worth.

Three calibers

The P1 comes in .177, .20 and .22 calibers. The most popular caliber by far is .177. The other two calibers are generally much harder to find because the .177 has the velocity that shooters want.

The way it’s built the piston travels backward when the gun fires. That imparts a feeling of recoil that’s fairly realistic. Most spring-piston pistols recoil away from you, so this one is different.

The grip frame is a very close copy of a 1911 firearm. It’s so close that Colt grips will fit. But the P1 comes with checkered walnut grips that are as nice as the finest standard grips Colt ever put on their firearms.

The upper frame of the gun is massive! It looks like a 1911 on steroids. The top half of that upper frame pops up when the exposed hammer is thumbed back, allowing the shooter to pull the upper frame up and forward, rotating around the front of the lower frame as the cocking linkage pulls the piston forward and compresses the mainspring.

Beeman P1 cocked
The upper frame rotates up and forward to cock the pistol. You can see one side of the twin cocking links that pull the piston forward.

Good 1911 trainer

The P1 weighs 2.5 lbs, which is close to the weight of a 1911 (2.44 lbs. with empty magazine). The grip feels like a 1911A1 that has the curved mainspring housing. The trigger is suspended from a pin, unlike the 1911 trigger, but the length to the trigger is very close to a 1911 (not an A1, whose trigger is much shorter).

It’s easier to get accustomed to the P1 than to a 1911 firearm because of the lower noise and recoil. Also, pellets are far less expensive than .45 ACP rounds, which makes the air pistol a great trainer. However, unless your 1911 is a good one, the air pistol may be more accurate — especially at close range. We will test it to see what a stock P1 can do, but all the ones I have shot in the past have been quite accurate.

Two power levels

The P1 is unique in having both a low and high power setting — depending on how far forward the upper frame is rotated forward. Stop at the first click and you have low power. The second click gives you high power. However, this feature isn’t as cool as it sounds. It’s not much harder to cock to high power because the geometry of the linkage changes as the upper part of the frame rotates forward. I do note that this test pistol seems to hesitate just after low power is reached, but with proper lubrication that will change. I know because my other pistol cocks to full power easily. In .22 caliber versions of the pistol there is just a single power level, though I have heard of shooters changing the caliber of their pistols by swapping barrels, so you might encounter a .22 with two levels.

Adjustable sights

The rear sight adjusts in both directions. The adjustments have detents, but the windage detents are soft and hard to feel.

Beeman P1 rear sight
The rear sight is adjustable in both directions.

Up front the sights is a low post that’s squared off at the top. It’s perfect for target shooting.

Adjustable trigger

The two-stage trigger adjusts for both the length of the first stage and the weight of the letoff. Again, unless you have a very nice 1911, the P1 trigger is probably better.

There is an ambidextrous safety lever on the both sides of the grip frame, but it is manual, as it should be. You can easily put it on and take it off with your trigger finger. And the P1 does not have that grip safety that disturbs many shooters of the 1911/A1.

All metal

The P1 is all metal on the outside, save the checkered walnut grip panels. It’s finished in what I assume is hydrostatic paint that’s tough and long-lasting. I have thousands of shots on my Huntington Beach 1995 P1 and have tested scopes, dot sights and wooden stocks with it. The gun still is in excellent cosmetic condition. This pistol I traded for is even older. It’s from San Rafael (1983-1989), though there is no telling how many shots are on it. The bottom line is — these pistols are built to last.

PTFE piston seals

The P1 piston seals are made from polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE, of which Teflon is one well-known brand. That material is low friction and takes the shape of the compression chamber. In fact, the break-in procedure for a new P1 piston seal is to dry-fire the gun a couple times on high power. That squashes the seal out until it fills the compression chamber perfectly. I was given that procedure from Don Walker who used to work at Beeman as their maintenance tech.

Overall evaluation

In 2017 the Beeman P1 is an anomaly. It’s a solid all-metal air pistol with features that go beyond anything else. In fact, there is very little else that comes close to it. Sure, the pricetag is hefty, as it must be to pay for everything you get, but I can’t name another airgun that’s like it. This is an heirloom airgun that you will own for the rest of your life and then hand down to your offspring.

I’m really looking forward to testing this airgun!


Umarex Forge combo: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Forge
Umarex Forge.

This report covers:

  • What we know
  • Say hello to my little friend!
  • Today’s test
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Rested on the bag
  • Was this a fluke?
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Trigger report
  • RWS Superdomes
  • H&N Baracuda Match 4.50mm heads
  • Evaluation
  • HOWEVER

Today we begin seeing how accurate the Umarex Forge is. Many of us are holding a lot of hope for this air rifle, because so far it seems to have the stuff of greatness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a fine air rifle priced where this one is?

What we know

To this point we have discovered several things. The power ranges from 12.8 to 14.5 foot-pounds. So it’s probably a solid 14 foot pound gun with the right pellet.

The trigger is 2-stage and breaks very heavy. I will discover more about the trigger when I shoot the rifle for accuracy today.

We know that the cocking effort is 26 lbs., which is light for a gas spring. It’s entirely suitable for the power this gun puts out.

We know that the barrel pivot is a bolt, which means the barrel can be tightened for no slop. I did that to the test rifle when I examined it. That’s good for accuracy and for consistency. We also know that the forearm screws come from the factory with blue Loctite on them. That tells us that whoever built the Forge cares about the details. Too bad they couldn’t influence the trigger a little, but at least they are trying.

Finally there is the overall appearance of the rifle. It has style at a time when the stocks on most budget airguns appear to have been made from the same bland pallet wood. Clearly, somebody cares about this Forge. Let’s find out if we should be included in that group.

Say hello to my little friend!

For years I’ve been putting an American dime in my pictures of shot groups, to use as a reference. For those to whom this coin is unknown, a check on the internet reveals that it is nominally 17.9mm (0.705-inches) in diameter.

A dime is a small coin, but is there anything smaller? Yes, there is. The silver three cent piece, colloquially known among coin collectors as the “trime”, is 14mm (0.551-inches) in diameter, and also thinner than the dime. It’s the smallest silver coin ever issued by the United States. I have long wanted to show you groups so small that I had to use a silver three cent piece instead of the dime as a reference, but I thought that would have to wait for a 10-meter target rifle report.

Forge trime obverse
The U.S. silver three cent piece (right) is the smallest silver coin ever officially issued by the U.S. mint.

Forge trime reverse
Nowhere on the silver three cent piece does it say what the coin is worth. People had to know some stuff, back in those days!

We snicker at a three cent piece today. Who cares about such a small amount of money? Apparently not the millennial cashier at the restaurant I went to last week, who asked me if I wanted my 27 cents change from my purchase! I thought there was a charity box at her register and she was asking if I wanted to donate, but she just couldn’t be bothered to pull that many coins from her cash drawer. Girl, if you want to see an old man do deep knee bends, drop a penny on the floor!

Some people have never heard of the two-bit beggar who would not accept a five dollar gold coin when his other choice was a shiny silver quarter. He may never have had a million dollars, but he had more money when he died a century ago than most people today will ever see! He was a popular attraction at a great many bars, where patrons could not wait to show their friends his strange begging interests.

The point? Money is money.

Okay, enough stories. Back to today’s report. Why would BB show you a coin that’s even smaller than a dime? [At this point in the report I can hear the Umarex USA marketing team running up and down the halls of their headquarters in Fort Smith shouting, “We got one!”]

Today’s test

The Forge has open sights (hurrah!). I decided to use them to make my life easier, so today I shot 5-shot groups from 10 meters with the rifle rested. That’s right — FIVE shot groups! Why? To find some pellets that seem to be accurate, so when I mount the scope and move back to 25 yards I won’t have to waste my time.

JSB Exact RS

For no reason other than something had to be first, I selected 5 JSB Exact RS pellets. I shot these at 10 meters, using the artillery hold with my off hand rested on the sandbag and out as far under the forearm as I could comfortably reach. The pellets landed below the bull so I could see the hole in the white target paper (that’s right — I said the HOLE — as in singular). It seemed to grow slowly as I shot. At the end I looked through my spotting scope that careful readers now know is a pair of high-quality Zeiss binoculars. I saw what looked like a cloverleaf in the paper. It measures 0.245-inches between the two holes farthest apart! Ft. Smith, you may now pop the cork on that bottle of champaign you have been chilling. I am not yet ready to make my pronouncement about the Forge, but if I did it would rhyme with “world-beater.”

Forge RS group 1
Five JSB Exact RS pellets landed in 0.245-inches at 10 meters. The dime and silver three cent piece are both shown for comparison.

Rested on the bag

Okay, we have a live one! What’s next? Well, somebody will want to know if you can just rest the rifle directly on the bag, so that was what I did.

I shot the same JSB Exact RS pellets and again, just 5 shots. The rifle was rested directly on the sandbag. The five pellets landed in a vertical group that measures 0.604-inches. I guess the Forge does not like to be rested. Listen to me — I’m criticizing a 0.6-inch group! But it did raise the question of whether the first group was just an anomaly. Could I do it again?

Forge RS group 2
Resting the Forge on the sandbag gave this vertical 0.604-inch 5-shot group at 10 meters.

Was this a fluke?

I settled down for a second go at shooting a group with the JSB pellets. I adjusted the rear sight higher and shot a second group of JSB RS pellets with the same artillery hold as before. This time 5 pellets went into 0.407-inches at 10 meters. I guess the Forge can really shoot! From this point on, all groups are shot with the artillery hold described in the beginning. Let’s try it with a different pellet.

Forge RS group 3
Yep, the Forge is still accurate! Five JSB Exact RS pellets in 0.407-inches at 10 meters.

Air Arms Falcons

The second pellet I tried was the Falcon from Air Arms. Five landed in a 0.344-inch group. Oh, my! The Forge likes two pellets! Better open another bottle, Ft. Smith.

Forge Falcon group
Five Falcon pellets went into 0.344-inches at 10 meters. The Forge likes two pellets.

Trigger report

I said I would tell you more about the trigger today. Well, it is still too heavy. Nothing can change that. But it does break cleanly and I don’t think it’s a hinderance to accuracy. I would like a lighter trigger, of course. I just don’t think it would help the accuracy.

RWS Superdomes

The next pellet I tried was the RWS Superdome. You will notice that the group is mostly on the cardboard backer, because it hit the target lower than the first two pellets. Five Superdomes went into 0.528-inches at 10 meters, so the Forge is still doing well, though I probably won’t recommend Superdomes as a first choice.

Forge Superdome group
Five RWS Superdomes went into 0.528-inches at 10 meters. This heavier pellet landed lower than the first two.

H&N Baracuda Match 4.50mm heads

The final pellets I tested were H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm heads. They landed even lower on the backer board, because they are even heavier. This was the first pellet I would not recommend in the Forge, as 5 went into 1.149-inches at 10 meters.

Forge Baracuda group
Five H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 4.50mm heads went into1.149-inches at 10 meters. This is not the pellet for the Forge.

Evaluation

I didn’t expect accuracy of this level from the Forge. Of course I always hope something like this will happen, and apparently it just did.

HOWEVER

Remember — these were only 5-shot groups today. They will grow in size when the next 5 pellets are shot.

There is also still a scope to mount and a 25-yard accuracy test to conduct. The scope that comes with the Forge is a 4X32, so it may not do all that we hope. If I feel that is the case, I will follow up with an additional accuracy test using a better scope.

I will reserve final judgement on the Forge until after seeing what it can do at 25 yards. Today’s test fills me with a lot of hope. The Forge offers a lot of features at a price that is so reasonable there can be no objection. The stunning accuracy we see here is the crowning glory for any airgun and I am so glad we saw it with this rifle.