Benjamin Fortitude PCP air rifle: 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.

httTom 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. read more


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
  • read more


    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 read more


    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 read more


    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. read more