Umarex Synergis repeating underlever combo: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Synergis
Umarex Synergis underlever repeating gas piston rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Mount the scope
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Discussion
  • Next group
  • RWS Superdome
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Last group
  • Second discussion
  • Summary

Today we begin testing the Umarex Synergis for accuracy. There’s been a lot of interest in this budget underlever repeater and today we find out if it’s worth consideration. Up to this point the rifle has tested out very well.

Mount the scope

The 3-9X40 scope comes in a separate package, with the rings separate in another box inside the scope box. The Synergis has a Picatinney rail on top of the spring tube, so it’s quick and easy to attach the rings. They have two-screws per cap so there is no trick to tightening them. Just do it gradually all around.

I always shim the rear ring when I’m testing a new airgun, to offset any drooping problems. As things turned out that was unnecessary for the Synergis, but it doesn’t hurt, either. Mounting the scope took 10-15 minutes.

The test

I shot all my targets for this test off a bench at 10 meters. I used the artillery hold which I will describe as we go. I shot differing number of pellets at each target, so I will also address that as we go.

Usually I have no clue as to what pellet might work in a gun, but you may remember that Umarex included a tin of JSB Exact 8.44-grain domed pellets with the rifle. So I sighted-in with them and also shot the first group. But actually I shot a group that was unintentional during the sight-in.

Sight-in

The first sight-in shot was from 12 feet away and landed in the center of the target at which it was shot. That doesn’t happen often, but I accepted it and went back to 10 meters for shot number two. For shot two I aimed at the target below the first one, but the pellet went into the same hole as the first shot. It’s a little higher and a little more to the left, but it did cut the first hole. By that reckoning the shots have to come down 2-5/8 inches and also go more to the right. I just screwed the elevation adjustment down several turns, because at 10 meters the adjustments don’t move the pellets very far. I also put in some adjustment to the right.

Shot number three hit an inch too high and 3/4-inches too far to the left. So more adjustments and shot number 4 landed inside the black bull. It’s not centered, but I don’t need it to be. So I finished shooting the rest of the 12 shots in the magazine as the scope was now adjusted and was surprised by what I saw through the spotting scope. Seven shots are in a tight 0.246-inch group with the eighth shot opening the group to 0.536-inches at 10 meters. I wasn’t planning on calling this a group but it’s so good that I had to show you. Apparently the Synergis can shoot!

Synergis sight-in
This wasn’t supposed to be a group, but 8 sight-in shots at 10 meters went into 0.536-inches between centers, with 7 in 0.246-inches.

Discussion

Now you need to know some things. First, the scope has fixed parallax that is not adjusted for 10 meters, so I shot this entire test on 4 power and the bull was still a little blurry. I wore my normal vision glasses to shoot. I hope the image will clear up at 25 yards.

Next I will tell you and also remind myself that I shot the sight-in group above with an artillery hold where the heel of my off hand touches the trigger guard. That hold isn’t comfortable because the rifle is extremely muzzle heavy, but as you can see, it does work.

The trigger is absolutely delightful! It still feels very light and breaks suddenly enough that I was able to do good work with it.

The firing cycle is quick and relatively smooth. It does have a quick jolt, but it doesn’t slap your face or anything like that.

Next group

The next group was 12 shots (I had forgotten that the magazine holds 12 and not 10) of the same JSB pellets. I rested the rifle on my off hand out by the cocking slot where the rifle was better balanced and steadier. Twelve pellets went into a group that measures 0.56-inches between centers. I want you to know that I didn’t try to settle down before each shot like I discussed with the Stoeger S4000E last week. I just shot. Because the Synergis is a repeater you can shoot pretty fast. I wasn’t racing the clock, but I was moving right along.

Synergis first JSB group
The Synergis put 12 JSB Exact pellets in 0.56-inches at 10 meters.

After seeing this group I was naturally excited. I wanted to try a couple other pellets, though it seemed like the JSBs Umarex sent me were clearly the best.

RWS Superdome

I tried just 5 RWS Superdomes to see if they were worth further exploration. I continued with the artillery hold by holding my off hand under the cocking slot. This group was very open and measured 1.021-inches between centers. Superdomes are out for the Synergis.

Synergis Superdome group
At 10 meters the Synergis put 5 Superdomes into 1.021-inches. This is not the pellet for this rifle.

Air Arms Falcons

The other pellet I tried was the FFalcon from Air Arms. This is a pellet that’s also made b y JSB, so it should be good, but the test results were a little unclear. Four of the five pellets landed in a 0.525-inch group at 10 meters, but the fifth shot opened it to 0.945-inches.

Synergis Falcon group
Five Falcon pellets made a 0.945-inch group at 10 meters. Four of them are in 0.525-inches.

I think if I had tried I could have gotten Falcons to shoot better than that, but I really wanted to get back to the JSB Exacts that I knew were good.

Last group

This last group was shot with my off hand under the cocking slot. This time, and only this time, I relaxed and closed my eyes before taking the shot. Then I adjusted the hold until the crosshairs stayed on the target after relaxing. This time 10 JSB Exact pellets made a group measuring 0.479-inches between centers. It’s the smallest group of this test, though the first group of 12 shots looks smaller.

Synergis second JSB group
The Synergis put 10 JSB pellets into 0.498-inches at 10 meters.

Second discussion

I think that by both holding my off hand back by the triggerguard and also relaxing between every shot I can get the groups even better. I plan to move back to 25 yards next time because I want to see if the scope that comes with the rifle clears up.

Summary

There you go — the Umarex Synergis is accurate and not that sensitive to hold. The trigger remained light and easy to use and the scope is quite nice, though not clear at 10 meters. The magazine works great but I find myself counting the shots rather than working with the visual cues on the magazine.


Beeman P3 air pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman P3 pistol
Beeman P3 air pistol.

Beeman P17 Part 1
Beeman P17 Part 2
Beeman P17 Part 3
Beeman P17 Part 4
Beeman P17 Part 5
Beeman P3 Part 1

This report covers:

  • Growing larger
  • But wait — there’s more!
  • RWS Hobby — seated flush
  • Hobbys seated deep
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated flush
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated deep
  • Falcons seated flush
  • Falcons seated deep
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Thanks to 45 Bravo and Iain
  • Summary

Growing larger

This report is growing into a major one, and in a good way. Thanks to a two-part guest blog from 45Bravo we have now seen how to repair the two most common faults when either the Beeman P3 or the Beeman P17 air pistols fail. And I tested my P17 for you in the usual way. I even mounted the UTG Reflex Micro Dot sight on that pistol and tested it again for accuracy at 10 meters. We learned that BB does a little better with a dot sight than with open sights — especially if the dot sight is that one!

But wait — there’s more!

After thoroughly testing the P17 I then started testing a Beeman P3. In Part One of that report I compared the P3 to the P17. This is the first time I have seen such a comparison made, and I think it will stand for a long time.

Then reader Iain commented several times and we all learned a lot more about both airguns. To those with a conspiracy theory that Weihrauch is having the Chinese make the P3 for them, I can tell you that I spoke to Hans Weihrauch, Jr. at the Pyramyd Air Cup a few weeks ago and asked this same question — or one very much like it. They most definitely are not doing that. Of course Iain showed us where the guns are marked with their respective countries of origin, but Hans was adamant that the Chinese copied the P3 without his permission. I tried to explain to you why he didn’t go to court over it, and, although my story was made up, I bet it is not far from the truth. In the grand scheme of things it just wasn’t worth it. And, as things have transpired over time, the Chinese bought the Beeman company and Weihrauch still makes the HW40 almost two decades later. So the P17 and the P3 have their respective owners.

Now that we know a lot about the histories of both air pistols it’s time to put this P3 to the test. And if, for some reason, it isn’t where I think it should be I could just rebuild it like 45 Bravo taught us. Since this report is a comparison, I’m going to shoot the exact same pellets in the exact same way that I did for the P17 in Part 3. Here we go.

RWS Hobby — seated flush

First to be tested were RWS Hobby pellets seated flush with the end of the breech — the way you would normally seat them. In the P3 they averaged 370 f.p.s. In the P17 the same pellet seated the same way averaged 389 f.p.s.
At the average velocity Hobbys generate 2.13 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. The spread ranged from 365 to 377 f.p.s. — a difference of 12 f.p.s.

Hobbys seated deep

Next I seated the Hobbys deep with the aid of an Allen wrench. That way they averaged 378 f.p.s. — a gain of 8 f.p.s. over the flush-seated pellets. At this velocity they generated 2.21 foot-pounds at the muzzle. In the P17 this pellet seated the same way averaged 401 f.p.s. The spread for this pellet in the P3 went from 375 to 384 f.p.s. — a difference of 9 f.p.s.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated flush

Next up was the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellet that Pyramyd Air no longer carries. Seated flush they averaged 430 f.p.s. The spread ranged from 427 to 433 — a difference of only 6 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 2.16 foot pounds at the muzzle. In the P17 this same pellet seated flush averaged 451 f.p.s.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy — seated deep

Seating the Sig pellets deep increased the average to 445 f.p.s. At that speed the pellet generates 2.31 foot pounds at the muzzle. The spread went from a low of 444 to as high of 447 f.p.s., a difference of only 3 f.p.s.! The P17, in contrast, shot this pellet seated the same way at an average 459 f.p.s.

Falcons seated flush

The final pellet I tested was the Air Arms Falcon dome. They seated much easier into the breech than the other two pellets. Seated flush they averaged 381 f.p.s. At that speed they generate 2.36 foot pounds at the muzzle.The spread went from a low of 377 to as high of 384 f.p.s. so 6 f.p.s. The P17 doing the same thing averaged 401 f.p.s.

Falcons seated deep

When they were seated deep Falcons averaged 388 f.p.s. The low was 386 and the high was 390 f.p.s. So the spread was 4 f.p.s. At the average velocity the pellet generated 2.45 foot pounds. In the P17 under the same conditions this pellet averaged 407 f.p.s.

Discussion

By now you have figured out that this P3 is a little tired. Wehrauch says to expect 410 f.p.s. from their P3, so 370 with a 7-grain Hobby is a little slow. But we know what to do about that — don’t we?
No, don’t try to talk me out of it. I already ordered the new seals. In fact I ordered two new sets of seals, and guess what that means? More fun for you and me. I plan to overhaul both guns and do a side-by-side velocity retest. Yippie!

Cocking effort

To measure the effort needed to cock (pump) the P3, I put a dry folded-up washcloth on my bathroom scale then opened the pistol and laid the top of the gun on the cloth. I had been concerned about not pushing against that Millett red dot sight that was mounted on the gun when I got it, but now that I’m going to overhaul the gun the sight came off. So the cocking test was exactly the same as what I did with the P17. I slowly pushed down on the pistol grip until the top closed and the pistol was cocked.
It took 37 pounds of effort to cock/pump this pistol, where it took 35 pounds to cock the P17. I was certain the P3 cocked easier, but the scale doesn’t lie. Well, actually it’s just a cheap old spring bathroom scale and both guns probably cock/pump with the same effort. I know for a fact that the thing never cuts me any slack!

For the velocity the P3 produces, that’s a lot of effort. I hope to see some more velocity after the overhaul. I think just replacing the breech seal would get a nice gain, but why stop there?

 

Trigger pull

Now we come to the biggest difference between the P3 and the P17. The P17 trigger has a lot of travel in the second stage. The P3 trigger has none. It’s a glass rod that simply snaps. And how much effort do you have to provide to get it to snap? How about one pound? It’s 11 ounces to the end of stage one and 15.8 ounces to sear release. That’s every time! Even the IZH 46 and 46M, though their triggers can be adjusted lighter than this, have some creep in stage 2. The P3 has none, as in zero, nada, null! In sharp contrast my P17 trigger requires 16 ounces for stage one and 2 lbs. 4.5 ounces for sear release. That isn’t too bad, but it cannot compare to the P3 trigger.

 

Thanks to 45 Bravo and Iain

I want to thank both 45Bravo and Iain for their contributions to this report. I have learned so much about this pistol’s design and these two pistols in particular.

 

Summary

To this point we have seen how to disassemble and repair the two most common faults this air pistol has, and that includes overhauling it after many years of service has flattened and hardened its seals. We have seen the difference between the two pistols, which aren’t that great for the most part. We have then seen the P17 tested full and we are now testing the P3 in the same way. Over the course of testing both guns we have seen that they could stand some freshening up and that is now planned for both of them. Like I said at the start — this is turning into a wonderful report series.


Remington 1875 BB and pellet revolver: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Remington 1875
Remington 1875 pellet and BB pistol.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • The test
  • RWS Hobby
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • “Poof”
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Falcon pellets
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today I test the 1875 Remington BB and pellet revolver with pellets. I switched to the shells that are specifically designed for pellets and loaded a fresh CO2 cartridge into the gun.

The test

Using a 2-hand hold, I shot off a bench for this test, resting the butt of the pistol on a sandbag. I shot at 25 feet and used a 10-meter pistol target. I shot 6 rounds at each target and used a 6 o’clock hold for greatest precision.

RWS Hobby

I don’t sight in when the target is this close and I’m shooting the sights that came on the gun. The first RWS Hobby pellet landed a little more than an inch below the bull and was fairly well centered. Six Hobby pellets went into 1.527-inches at 25 feet. In all I’d say you wouldn’t have any reason to miss a soda can with Hobbys at this distance.

Remington 1875 Hobby group
Six RWS Hobbys went into 1.527-inches at 25 feet. The bottom of the bull was the aim point.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

The next pellet I shot was the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter. These were both the best pellet and the worst pellet of the test. Four of the six pellets went into 0.424-inches at 25 feet. The 5th shot landed high and near the center of the bullseye. That opened the group to 1.214-inches.

Remington 1875 Sig Match group
Four Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 0.424-inches at 25 feet. They are right at the aim point. The fifth shot struck high, opening the group to 1.214-inches. A sixth shot was low and off to the right, but there was something wrong with that shot.

“Poof”

The first time I fired the 6th shot it didn’t come out of the barrel! I checked the cartridge and it had only moved a eighth of an inch forward inside the cartridge. So I indexed the cartridge again and the result was the same. The pellet did move a little farther inside the cartridge but it remained inside and didn’t come out. This is the dreaded “poof monster” that first visited us in the pellet velocity test in Part 3.

So I loaded a different Sig pellet into a different cartridge and this time it did come out, though the velocity was very low. Fortunately the pellet did strike the target paper at 25 feet. It hit about an inch and a half below and 2 and a half inches to the right of the main group. I didn’t include it in the photo or in the group measurement because it was clearly not shooting like the rest of the pellets.

I think the Sig pellets are slightly too large for the cartridges and because they are so hard they don’t pass through as they should. Maybe when the cartridges wear in this will change. If that’s not it, the revolver is malfunctioning. We should see that either way as this test progresses.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next I tested the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet in the 1875 Remington revolver. Six of them landed in a 1.474-inch group at 25 feet. This group is also right at the aim point.

Remington 1875 R10 Match Pistol group
Six RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets went into 1.474-inches at 25 feet.

Falcon pellets

I wanted to test a domed pellet, so the next up was the Air Arms Falcon pellet. Six of them went into 1.245-inches at 25 feet. Once more the pellets hit the target at or near the aim point.

Remington 1875 Falcon group
Six Falcon pellets went into 1.245-inches at 25 feet.

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

The last pellet I tried was the 8.2-grain RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutter. This was the heaviest pellet I tested in the 1875 revolver. Six pellets went into 1.428-inches at 25 feet. They did hit a little lower on the paper, but were still in line with the center of the bull.

Remington 1875 Meisterkugeln group
Six RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets went into 1.428-inches at 25 feet.

Discussion

We have five groups from different pellets before us today. The Sig Match Ballistic Alloy could easily have been the best one, except for some reason they had a problem that I attribute to their size and hardness. The other four pellets gave groups that ranged from 1.245-inches to 1.527 inches. That’s a narrow range! And all of the groups were at or near the aim point. I think the conclusion has to be that the 1875 revolver is very good with pellets to 25 feet.

There were no more “poofs,” so I think I was right about the Sig pellets either being too big or too hard or a bit of both.

Summary

This has been a thorough test of Crosman’s 1875 Remington revolver. We did see that a few of the cartridges were reluctant to fire pellets — at first. But given time they seemed to wear in. And then the “poof” monster hit us again today. I think the air pistol just needs a heck of a lot more shooting than I am able to give it!

As far as realism goes, this revolver is spot on! I don’t think you could ask for an air pistol to come any closer to the firearm at this price.

So get one if you like the realism. Just understand that the revolver does better with pellets than with BB.


FX Dreamlite precharged air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

FX Dreamlite
FX Dreamlite PCP.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • New Dreamline manual!
  • First accuracy test
  • Mounted a scope
  • Drooper
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 4.53mm heads
  • JSB Beast
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • RWS Superdome
  • JSB Exact
  • What now?
  • Final group
  • What have we learned?
  • Summary

New Dreamline manual!

Pyramyd Air sent me a copy of the new Dreamline manual and it is far more specific! I was delighted to discover that I had actually guessed right on all my assumptions, and the work I carefully reported in Part 2 of this report is exactly how the Dreamlite should have been adjusted. I even got the location of the power settings correct — meaning that the power setting that points straight up is the one that is in effect.

There are 7 power settings that range from Min. to Max., with 5 numbers in between. The letters on the opposite side of the wheel are equivalent to the numbers opposite them, so number 1 and letter E are both the same low power settings and number 5 and letter A are both the same high power settings. Max. power is maximum of all the settings and Min. is the minimum for every caliber.

The air transfer port adjustment is specific to caliber, so I set it correctly. You are not supposed to change that setting when you adjust for a specific caliber. It’s there for when the barrels (liners) are swapped.

Isn’t it nice to finally know these things? I guess the manual was being made but didn’t catch up with the first shipments of rifles. That’s not good, but at least there is now a manual that makes sense.

First accuracy test

After all I went through to discover the performance parameters of the .177-caliber FX-Dreamlite I’m testing, I took a break today and switched over to the accuracy mode. Accuracy is normal for a Part 3 report, but given the complexity and flexibility of the Dreamlite’s adjustments, there is more to be tested there. I will come back and test more of that after I establish the accuracy of the rifle. Today’s report is surprising, so read every word!

Mounted a scope

There are no open sights on the Dreamlite, so I mounted a UTG 8-32X56 SWAT scope. This is the same scope I had used on the AirForce Edge for the test of the 18-inch barrel. That scope was shimmed in the UTG rings, so it should have been close to zero.

Drooper

But it wasn’t. The Dreamlite I am testing shot two inches below the aim point at 25 yards and had to be adjusted up. Since the scope was shimmed to begin with there seemed to be plenty of room to adjust it up — BUT — this scope adjusts in 1/8 MOA clicks and I may have gone up too far. When you see the results of today’s test I think you will agree.

JSB Exact Heavy

I sighted-in and started the test with the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy domed pellet. At 25 yards 10 of them went into 0.528-inches. That surprised me because I was expecting to bring out the trime for this pellet and rifle.

FX Dreamlite JSB Heavy group 1
This first group of 10 JSB Exact Heavy pellets measures 0.528-inches between centers. I expected about half this size or less.

I had fired 6 shots during sight in so there were five pellets left in the 21-shot magazine and I shot them at a second target. This one was even more puzzling. Five shots grouped in 0.795-inches at 25 yards. That’s significantly bigger than the 10-shot group with the same pellet. Something was up but I didn’t know just what it was yet.

FX Dreamlite JSB Heavy group 2
Five JSB Exact Heavy went into 0.795-inches at 25 yards.

I did not adjust the scope from this point on.

H&N Baracuda Match with 4.53mm heads

I tried the H&N Baracuda Match with a 4.53mm head next. Ten went into 0.581-inches at 25 yards, but I noticed something strange this time. The first couple pellets landed apart from the main group and once the rifle began shooting into the main group, it remained there. So the target shows a couple separate holes next to a larger main group. I tell you that because it happened with almost every pellet.

FX Dreamlight Baracuda group
Ten Baracuda Match pellets went into 0.581-inches at 25 yards. Most of them are in the large hole at the upper left.

At this point in the test I decided to shoot 5-shot groups and only expand to 10 if the first 5 were good.

JSB Beast

Next to be tested was the heavyweight JSB Beast. For some reason I thought shooters had said the Dreamlite likes heavy pellets over lighter ones. Five of the Beasts went into 0.582-inches at 25 yards. The last three pellets went into the same hole, so something was definitely up. But I still didn’t know what it was.

FX Dreamlight Beast group
Five JSB Beasts went into 0.582-inches at 25 yards, with the last three going into one hole (beneath the pellet).

Air Arms Falcons

The next pellet I tested was the Air Arms Falcon dome. Five of them went into 0.562-inches and, while that is a smaller group, one look tells you it isn’t the right pellet for the Dreamlite.

FX Dreamlight Falcon group
Five Falcon pellets went into 0.562-inches. This is a very open group.

RWS Superdome

Next I tried five RWS Superdome pellets. They were promising! After 5 shots I had a reasonably small group, so I loaded 5 more Superdomes into the magazine and shot them at the same target. Ten Superdomes went into 0.585-inches at 25 yards and, curiously, it was the last shot that opened the group up. Without that one, 9 pellets are in 0.354-inches.

FX Dreamlite Superdome group
Ten RWS Superdomes went into 0.585-inches at 25 yards with the first 9 in 0.354-inches.

I was onto something, but I wasn’t sure just what.

JSB Exact

The last pellet I tested was the 8.44-grain JSB Exact dome. Five went into a small group, so I loaded 5 more and completed the 10-shot group. Ten of these pellets went into 0.504-inches at 25 yards. I watched through the scope as the group grew horizontally.

FX Dreamlite JSB Exact group 1
Ten JSB Exact pellet shot five at a time made this 0.504-inch group.

That group gave me confidence that I had found the right pellet. So I loaded 10 more of them into the magazine and shot a second group. I thought everything was solved until the last shot — once again — opened the group. It measures 0.457-inches between centers

FX Dreamlite JSB Exact group 2
Ten pellets are in 0.457-inches at 25 yards.

What now?

I still had no idea of what was causing these open groups from a rifle that clearly ought to stack them, but I started writing the report anyway. Then, as I was writing, it dawned on me — this is how a scope behaves when the erector tube is floating because the elevation has been adjusted too high. If one of you had reported the same thing do you know what I would have advised you to do? Dial your elevation down 60 clicks and shoot another group with your best pellet — which is this last one. I couldn’t resist the challenge — I had to know. Because, if that solves the grouping problem, all that’s needed is a scope mount with droop compensation.

Final group

I set up the entire range a second time and shot 10 more 8.44-grain JSB Exacts. Before shooting I dialed the elevation of the scope down 60 clicks to get some tension on the erector tube spring. Then I shot. The pellets went into a single hole that did not grow much — until shot 10. Nine are in 0.325-inches with ten in 0.445-inches. I think I have found the “problem.” True the group before this is almost as small, but I have a suspicion that if I ran the test again, all the groups would be smaller.

FX Dreamlite JSB Exact group 3
This group was shot with the elevation dialed down to put tension in the erector tube spring. Ten shots are in 0.445-inches.

What have we learned?

I can’t say much about the Dreamlite yet because most of today’s test is flawed. I can tell you the test rifle is a drooper, and to remind you that drooping isn’t just a problem encountered on breakbarrel springers.

I can also tell you that my fix for testing whether the erector tube is floating works. You just saw it demonstrated. I still need a different mount for this rifle, but at least I know the problem is with how the scope is mounted and not with the airgun.

Summary

Today was just a quick accuracy test. There is still more to be tested, plus we need to refine the adjustments a bit. I also want to test the sensitivity of the barrel to being hit from the side, because that’s something many readers have asked about.

So far the Dreamlite is testing out well. I haven’t seen any of the screamer groups that others have reported, but I’m shooting 10 shots and they mostly shot five. I could have stopped at five shots many times in today’s test and shown great results, but I want to know how accurate the rifle is — not how good it can be made to look.


Diana model 26 breakbarrel air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 26
The Diana 26 air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Falcons
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • RWS Superdome
  • Trigger is great!
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • JSB Exact RS
  • H&N Match Green
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head
  • The final test
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Diana 26 I have been testing. Two things are different about this air rifle. It’s a Diana 26, which I didn’t hear of until recently and it’s a .177, which I haven’t had much luck with. So I chose 7 different pellets, in hopes of finding one or more than were accurate.

The test

I shot from 10 meters off a bench using the artillery hold, though I had to hold the rifle tighter than normal because the butt is so slippery against my shoulder. I shot 5-shot groups to speed things up, but decided I would shoot a final 10-shot group with the pellet that was most accurate.

Sight-in

I sighted-in with Air Arms Falcon domes. The first shot hit 1.75-inches above the aim point and a little to the left, so I adjusted the rear sight down and right. Shot two landed a little too low and still to the left so I adjusted again. Shot three was in the bull and close to the center, so sight-in was finished.

Falcons

The first group was shot with Air Arms Falcon domes. Five pellets made a 0.444-inch group that was right on for elevation and just a little to the right. After this group I adjusted the rear sight one click to the left and never moved it again for the rest of the test.

Falcon group 1
The Diana 26 put 5 Falcon pellets into 0.444-inches at 10 meters.

This group isn’t bad. It’s just not great. I had hoped for something tighter.

H&N Finale Match Light

The second pellet I tested was the H&N Finale Match Light with a 4.50mm head. Five of them went into 0.666-inches at 10 meters. The group is vertical — a phenomenon that plagued me throughout the test.

Finale Light group
Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets went into 0.666-inches at 10 meters.

RWS Superdome

Next I tried RWS Superdomes. RWS pellets often do well in vintage Diana airguns for some reason. This time the 26 put 5 of them into 0.743-inches at 10 meters. That’s not a good group. And notice that it is also vertical. I will discuss that at the end of the test.

Superdome group
Five Superdomes went into 0.743-inches at 10 meters.

Trigger is great!

I have to comment on the trigger on this rifle. It’s 2-stage and very crisp. I pull through the first stage and the blade stops at stage 2 positively every time. It’s not a target trigger, but for a sporting trigger it’s fine.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

The next pellet I tried was the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter. In this group there may have been an aiming error, because 4 pellets are in a tight round group that measures 0.39-inches between centers, and then one stray opens it to 0.923-inches. If I’m still shooting well at the end of this test I may return and shoot a second group of five Sig pellets.

Sig Match group
The Diana 26 put 5 Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets into 0.923-inches at 10 meters. Four of them are in a much tighter 0.39-inches.

JSB Exact RS

The next pellet I tested was the JSB Exact RS dome. The 26 put five of them into 0.846-inches at 10 meters. Once more the group is vertical.

JSB RS group
The 26 put 5 JSB Exact RS domes into 0.846-inches at 10 meters, and once more there is some verticality.

H&N Match Green

Next I tried five H&N Match Green target pellets. At 10 meters they landed in a group that measures 0.65-inches between centers. This group isn’t as vertical as many have been .

H&N Match Green group
Five H&N Match green target pellets went into 0.65-inches at 10 meters.

H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head

The last pellets I tested were the heavy H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm heads. They are really too heavy for the power of the 26, but in .22 caliber Diana 27s I have found heavy pellet to be accurate. Five of them went into 0.655-inches at 10 meters. It’s not a great group, but for the 7 pellets tested today, it’s not that bad.

H&N Baracuda Match group
At 10 meters the Diana 26 put 5 H&N Baracuda Match pellets into a group measuring 0.655-inches.

The final test

I said I was going to select the most accurate pellet and shoot a 10-shot group with it at the end. That pellet is the Falcon — the first pellet I tested. Remember after that first group I did move the rear sight one click to the left.

This time 10 Falcon pellets gave me a 1.089-inch group that is almost straight up and down. This is not the pellet — it’s me. I am clearly finished shooting!

Falcon group 3
I’m done! I put 10 Falcon pellets in 1.089-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion

I tested 7 pellets in all. I expected there to be one or more that would group well. Falcons did the best and even they were just mediocre. But let’s talk about those vertical groups.

One vertical group in eight is probably the pellet. I had four out of eight and that starts looking like the sights. This 26 has a tapered post front sight and a vee rear notch — about the worst possible sights for precision. They are quick to get on target and fine for plinking, but not suited for shooting targets.

That said, when I shot Michael’s .22-caliber Diana 27using similar open sights I put 10 Air Arms Falcon pellets into 0.595-inches at 10 meters.

Falcon group 2
Ten .22-caliber Falcon pellets from Michael’s Diana 27 went into 0.595-inches at 10 meters — proving a .22 Diana can shoot!

This is one more episode in my ongoing saga with the vintage .177 Dianas. I just can’t seem to get them to shoot!

Summary

There are many more things I could do with this Diana 26, but I’m going to stop here. I still have two more vintage Dianas to test — a 27S and a .35. I also have my own .22 caliber Diana 27 to tune with Tune in a Tube, to see how nice I can make it.

It’s been fun testing a vintage rifle I had no idea existed until recently. I will set this one aside for now and move on to my other projects.


Air Venturi TR5 Multi-Shot Target Air Rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

TR5
Air Venturi TR5 repeating pellet rifle.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Something’s coming!
  • A target rifle?
  • RWS Hobby
  • Discussion
  • Trigger
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Pressing in the pellets
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Trigger pull
  • Cocking effort
  • Summary

Today I test the velocity of the new Air Venturi TR5 Multi-Shot Target Air Rifle. Reader GunFun1 has been chomping at the bit to talk about this air rifle, but he has restrained himself until I reported on it. Today I will talk about the power you can expect from a factory gun. I know from reading the comments that you readers are way ahead of me in this discussion, but I have purposely avoided reading your comments, as I didn’t want them to color my opinion of the gun.

Sometimes when I test a new (to me) airgun I read up on it before I start testing. Most of the time, though, I don’t do that. I want to experience the airgun exactly as a first-time buyer would. Not everyone reads this blog, and, of those who do, not everyone tunes and modifies their airguns. Some readers just shoot the guns the way they receive them, and I want them to know what they can expect.

Something’s coming!

For those who do like to tinker, there is something major on the horizon, and I will begin telling you about it this Thursday, if all goes according to plan. But today I’m testing a TR5 straight from the box. Let’s get started.

A target rifle?

Air Venturi calls the TR5 a target air rifle, so I have to test it with target pellets. We know that it’s rated to 500 f.p.s. (Pyramyd Air says to expect a little more) which means lighter pellets will be the way to go. Quick — what’s the lightest pure lead wadcutter you can think of? There are a few, but the RWS Hobby comes to my mind first.

RWS Hobby

I loaded both magazines for this 10-shot string. Hobbys averaged 548 f.p.s. with a spread of 16 f.p.s. from 539 to 555 f.p.s. At the average velocity Hobbys generated 4.67 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Discussion

If I hadn’t talked to Pyramyd Air about this TR5 before receiving it I would think they had hand-selected this one, just for me to test. But Val Gamerman told me all the rifles he is seeing are shooting close to 550 f.p.s. They aren’t guaranteeing that velocity; it’s just what they are seeing and also what is coming out the gun I am testing.

The rifle shot Hobbys with very little vibration. There is a little, but its minor. I hate to make comparisons, but it’s about the level of a new Beeman R7.

At the start of the test the cocking lever did not want to come away from the receiver unless I jiggled it up and down as I pulled it back to cock. And, when it went forward again I sometimes had to jiggle it to get it to seat on the stud that holds it. I got used to this in a couple shots and after that I didn’t notice it.

TR5 cocking
The cocking lever locks down on the stud sticking out from the receiver.

After 30 shots the lever started functioning normally, with no jiggling required. So this was just a break-in thing.

Trigger

I was surprised by the trigger! It’s better than it should be at this price point. I will test it for you today.

All of that came from the first 10 shots! I was pleasantly surprised by the TR5.

H&N Finale Match Light

Next up were H&N Finale Match Light target pellets. The ones I shot had 4.50mm heads, but they do come in other sizes. Ten of them averaged 506 f.p.s. in the TR5 with a spread from 500 to 510 f.p.s. So, 10 f.p.s. in total. That’s tight! At the average velocity this pellet generated 4.48 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Pressing in the pellets

If you read Part 1 you noted that pellets were falling out of the magazines unless I pressed them in. So I did that in this test and then tested every magazine afterward. Not a single pellet fell out!

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

You know I’m going to test this rifle with Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. I have to! And they were interesting, to say the least. They averaged 638 f.p.s. in the TR5! Wow! The spread was 12 f.p.s., from 633 to 645 f.p.s. Wow!

However — the TR5 powerplant made a strange noise with every shot. It sounded like it didn’t like shooting a pellet this light. I will still test it with this pellet for accuracy, and probably I’ll also test the H&N Match Green pellet. And, only because some of you commented on the green-stocked version of the TR5 (yes, it does remind me of the Umarex Embark), I will also test the accuracy of the TR5 with the SAR Journey pellet.

Air Arms Falcon

I thought I would also test the TR5 with a domed pellet, and the Falcon from Air Arms seemed like a good choice. Falcons averaged 532 f.p.s. from the TR5 with an 8 f.p.s. spread — from 529 to 537 f.p.s.

Trigger pull

Okay, the TR5 has a single stage trigger that has a release that’s fairly crisp, which is unusual for a single stage trigger. The release comes at about  3lbs. and is easy to  get used to.

It does have adjustments for sear engagement and pull weight. I adjusted the pull weight down from 3 lbs. 2 oz. to 3 lbs. That seemed like as light as it wanted to go. There are no holes in the triggerguard for the adjustment wrenches, but the Allen screws are offset to one side so the guard doesn’t get in the way.

Also — hurrah! The safety is 100 percent manual — as in, you decide when it goes on!

Cocking effort

I can’t believe what I’m about to report, but I tested it and saw the number. The TR5 I’m testing cocks with 11 lbs. of effort! That’s right — eleven pounds! Given the geometry of the sidelever linkage, it does feel a little heavier, but this is a spring rifle a kid could learn to cock.

Summary

I’m impressed. This TR5 is stable, relatively free from vibration, feeds reliably and has a very nice trigger. I sure hope that it’s accurate!


Tuning BB’s Diana 27: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Teardown
  • 25 years?
  • Krytox!
  • Petroleum archaeology!
  • Grease to oil
  • Spring is fully scragged
  • Grease formed plugs and solidified
  • Start cleaning
  • Removing the barrel
  • Surprise!
  • Piston out
  • And rust!
  • Diana peened the blind pin in the piston head!
  • Cleaning done, time for the Krytox
  • Lubed the mainspring
  • Assembly
  • The rest of the parts go in
  • Finishing assembly
  • The verdict
  • Did I do it wrong?
  • What should I do now?
  • Don’tcha wanna know how it works?
  • RWS Superpoint
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Summary

Today is the day we learn whether Krytox is the miracle lubricant that both fixes and quiets spring-piston airguns. I have been hounded by people for more than a decade to try this stuff, and I had dug my heels in real deep, but then it dawned on me that Gene from Pyramyd Air had been after me for an equally long time to try Almagard 3752 — the grease that turned out to be Tune in a Tube. We all know how that went!

I promised to become the number one Krytox cheerleader if the stuff really works as advertised — by some airgunners, not by Krytox, themselves. But, I will also be only too happy to poke a hole in the Krytox balloon if it turns out we have been hoodwinked.

To quote the comedian Gallagher, just before he slams the Sledge-O-Matic down on the watermelon, “And, don’tcha wanna know how it works?” I sure do, and my plastic sheet is in place!

Teardown

I must love you readers because I started on this project at 4 a.m. Friday morning! It’s entirely beside the point that my two cats started tag-teaming me at 3:15, so I would get up and feed them, because it was time for them to start their 8-hour morning naps!

25 years?

I estimate that it has been roughly 25 years since I have been inside this particular Diana 27. Oh, I have tuned a number of other Diana 27s in the meantime, most recently Michael’s Winchester 427 that is a Diana 27 in disguise. His rifle turned out so sweet that I was moved to look at mine again.

For 25 years my Hy Score 807/Diana 27 has been the fairest in the land. I thought I had blundered into the sweetest spring gun tune that was possible and I was certainly going to leave it right where it was — until Michael’s rifle came along. Now that I know what smooth really is, I want one, too!

Last Friday that I tested the velocity of my rifle before starting. RWS Superpoints averaged 462 f.p.s. and Air Arms Falcons averaged 452 f.p.s.

Krytox!

I’ve been told for years that Krytox is the finest airgun lubricant and why would anyone use anything else? So, I bit. I went online and ordered up some Krytox, so we could all learn together whether it is the greatest thing since peanut butter or just a schoolboy fantasy.

“Ladies and gennemens: In this corner, costing $44 per ounce — the contender — Krytox. And in this corner, at less than one-quarter the cost — the champeen of the world — TIAT!”

Petroleum archaeology!

Sometime in the 1990s I “tuned” my 27 with Army grease made specifically for the M1 Garand and M14 rifles. It is “Grease Rifle Special White Lubricant FSN 9150-754-0063”. That name allowed the Army to pay $12 for the can instead of the $1.25 everybody else was paying for the same white lithium grease in June of 1961, when my can was produced. How do I know all this? Simple,

1. I used to teach the Army supply system at Fort Knox.

and

2. I still have the can and it’s still half full. There haven’t been that many human wave attacks on my place since I moved to Texas!

So, what do you think lithium grease looks like after a quarter century on the job? After freeing the barreled action from the stock I looked through the cocking slot.

Diana spring in gun
Changed color, hasn’t it? It wasn’t pure white to begun with, but there is definitely more brown in there now.

Grease to oil

Another neat thing about lithium grease is that it breaks down into a thick oil over time. That looks bad when it’s in the wrong places, but it’s good because the rifle is forever lubricating its piston seal. I haven’t oiled the rifle in 25 years — that I can remember. My rememberer isn’t that good these days, so maybe I have. I’m just sayin’.

Diana end cap off
The end cap has been removed prior to popping out the pins that hold the action together. One pin fell out on its own! There is the grease turned to oil I mentioned.

When I pulled the end cap off to put the action into the mainspring compressor so I could pop out the cross pins, the rear pin fell out. Apparently on this gun the front pin does all the work and the rear pin is held in by the end cap.

Spring is fully scragged

This 27 came apart before Michael’s did, because the mainspring is shorter. His new mainspring pushes the trigger cages out another inch before the tension slacks off. Yet my rifle is just as powerful. These older low-powered spring guns will last for a long time because their springs are under so little strain.

Diana tension off
The mainspring in my rifle doesn’t come out of the gun nearly as far as Michael’s new one. I guess a half-century plus of partial compression has tamed it.

Grease formed plugs and solidified

The grease that moved as the rifle was fired stayed loose and useful. The grease that didn’t move solidified and just stayed in place.

Diana grease plug
That plug of old lithium grease inside the black inner ball cage (arrow) is starting to solidify. It’s been pushed there by the end of the piston rod every time the rifle is cocked.

I found grease ridges on the piston that were quite solid. They had to be scraped off.

The mainspring had retained a lot of grease throughout the years. It is still straight and I will continue to use it because it’s still at full power.

Diana mainspring
The original (?) mainspring is still straight and strong.

Start cleaning

I was 30 minutes into the project at this point. Only the barrel still needed to be removed so the piston could come out. I started cleaning the parts at this point and I was more scrupulous than normal because of what I was about to do. Cleaning the gun took me three and a half hours. I went through many paper towels, shop rags, cotton swabs and acetone. When I was done each part had to not just have all the grease removed, it also had to be completely dry, so the Krytox could be applied to bare metal.

Diana cleaning
I went through many times this many paper towels, plus rags, acetone and Q-tip swabs, getting all the old grease off the parts.

Removing the barrel

You have to remove the barrel to disengage the cocking link from the piston. Diana eliminated the cocking shoe and put the connection to the piston at the end of the link. The barrel needs to be free of the action forks to move the link far enough to disengage it from the piston. To remove the pivot bolt, after removing the bolt’s locking screw, break open the barrel. The releases the tension that the detent puts on the base block. After the tension is off the pivot bolt should come out easily.

Diana broken open
By breaking the barrel like this the locking detent tension comes off and the pivot bolt turns easily.

Surprise!

When I slid the base block (the squarish block the barrel is pressed into) from the action forks I was surprised to see that I had not lubricated the pivot washers when I was inside last time. I expected to see moly grease there, but both washers and the pivot bolt were dry.

Diana washer
Bone dry! The pivot washers should be lubricated, but they’re not!

Piston out

Now the cocking link can be disengaged from the piston and the piston will slide out of the spring tube. Remember to pull the trigger as you do this, because parts of the trigger stick up inside the tube and will impede the piston’s path.

The piston was awash with aged lithium grease. It took about an hour to clean it thoroughly. The outside was easy. The inside around the piston rod took a lot longer.

Diana piston
The piston was coated with lithium grease.

And rust!

I found patches of patina, otherwise known as rust, on the body of the piston. Apparently this metal is very susceptible to rust and will do it while covered by lithium grease.

I scraped off the rust that would come off. The rest wasn’t really rust, but sheetmetal gone dark. It’s possibly a pre-rust condition but is smooth to the touch and doesn’t want to come off. And even if it does come off, the metal beneath will do the same thing over time.

Diana peened the blind pin in the piston head!

Remember the trouble I had getting Michael’s piston seal off? I determined that there was a blind pin that was jamming the screw that held the seal. But was that done at the factory or by an over-eager airgunsmith? I had the perfect opportunity to photograph my piston head that proves that Diana are the ones who drove that pin in deep, peening it in place! This piston seal is not meant to be removed unless that pin is drilled out!

Diana piston head
There’s the proof of who peened the blind pin. It was done during manufacture. Tuners need to take this into account when they tune a vintage Diana.

Cleaning done, time for the Krytox

I had been cleaning the gun parts for 3.5 hours by this time. They are all dry, so it was time to lubricate with Krytox and assemble the rifle.

Everything I read said to use Krytox very sparingly. So I did. The most I used was put on the piston head and seal.

diana piston head
This is the piston head, lubricated. As the piston was installed, 95 percent of this was scraped off on the spring tube walls.

I also lubed the rear of the piston with a little Krytox and then pushed it into the spring tube. Remember to pull the trigger to get the piston to enter the tube. The piston slid down the spring tube easily — much easier than ever before.

Lubed the mainspring

When I lubed the mainspring I used a tiny fraction of the grease I would normally apply. Let me show you.

Diana lubing mainspring
I used this much Krytox on each half of the mainspring. When I was done the coils were shiny but there was very little buildup of Krytox.

Assembly

You lube half of the mainspring and then slide it into the piston that’s inside the spring tube. The half that remains outside the gun is now lubed and slid all the way inside. That pushes the piston to the end of the compression chamber.

Diana mainspring in tube
I’m sliding the mainspring into the spring tube. The mainspring is lubricated up to where the arrow points. As you can see, this is a thin coat of Krytox, which all the tuners say is the right thing to do.

The rest of the parts go in

After the mainspring is in, the spring guide goes in. It got a thin coat of Krytox on the outside which will get on the inner spring coils as the rifle is cocked and the mainspring is compressed. I also put some at the open end of the hollow guide that the piston rod passes through. That will coat the piston rod when the rifle is cocked.

I then put some Krytox on all surfaces of the end of the cocking link and connected it to the piston. Then I lubed the pivot bolt and washers with Krytox before installing the base block in the action forks and tightening the pivot bolt. I tightened the bolt so the barrel will stay put in any position on a cocked gun. Then I locked the bolt head with the small screw. Now the rifle is ready to receive the two trigger ball cages and cross pins that will hold the action together.

Will Krytox hold the ball bearings in the inner black cage? Yes, it will. Krytox has enough tackiness to hold the balls inside the black cage. Once, during assembly, the black cage fell to the floor and all three balls fell out. But the Krytox stopped them before they rolled too far. For comparison, TIAT probably would have held them inside the cage though the fall.

Diana inner ball cage
Krytox is tacky enough to hold the three ball bearings inside the inner cage during assembly.

Finishing assembly

Assembling the trigger parts is the real challenge to assembling a Diana with the ball-bearing trigger. The toughest part is that spring the pushes the inner and outer ball cages apart. It humps up under compression as the cages are being pressed into the spring tube and until the spring tube contains it, it wants to spring out of place. It did that three times during assembly. Fortunately I was familiar with assembling this trigger (from Michael’s gun) and my finger was pressing down on this spring all the time. It made it to the floor twice, but couldn’t go very far.

Finally the rifle was together agin and the two crosspins were in — remembering that the rear pin has no tension on it until the end cap covers it. Then the barreled action went back into the stock and the rifle was whole once more. This job took about 5.5 hours, start to finish, with no distractions. That’s four hours longer than normal, and all of that was due to cleaning.

The verdict

So — what’s the verdict? Does Krytox reduce vibration as well as Tune in a Tube?

Nope!

In fact, Krytox has allowed some high-speed vibration to creep back into my Diana 27 action — vibration that I haven’t felt in 25 years in this air rifle! It isn’t much and if you didn’t know what a smooth gun should feel like you might be fine with it this way.

Am I angry? Was this a wasted effort?

Nope!

I had been told all the good points of Krytox grease for tuning airguns and now I have seen what it actually does — not relative to Tune in a Tube, but to plain white lithium grease that was 25 years old. It’s nowhere close to what TIAT can do, and it’s even less of a vibration damper than the lithium you can buy at any auto store.

Did I do it wrong?

Probably. I’m sure those who favor Krytox will now expound on all the mistakes I made. I used too much. Too little. I didn’t clean good enough. I didn’t cross my eyes as I applied the grease. Something! Probably many things!

What should I do now?

I said at the beginning that I want a quiet air rifle like the one I tuned for Michael. That’s what I want and that’s what I’m going to have. On the other hand, I still have this Krytox and there is at least enough left for three more rifles and probably for four.

So, I will listen to the many critiques of this job and apply them to my next tune with Krytox. Remember — I have three Dianas coming from reader Carel. The Diana 35 won’t get Krytox because I’m trying to stop its buzz and I know Krytox isn’t as good as TIAT for that.

Don’tcha wanna know how it works?

We know Krytox doesn’t dampen vibration, but what does it do to velocity? Let’s see.

RWS Superpoint

I only had 5 Superpoints left, so here are the velocities

Shot………Vel
1………….464
2………….433
3………….413
4………….430
5………….435

The average is 435 — down from 462 at the start of the report.

Air Arms Falcon

Falcons loaded easier but the rifle buzzed a lot more when shooting them.

Shot………Vel
1………….445
2………….447
3………….445
4………….441
5………….441

The average is 444 f.p.s. — down from 452 at the start of the report. Krytox doesn’t increase velocity in my Diana 27, it lowers it. I expect TIAT to lower velocity, as well, so that’s not a problem.

Summary

I tried something that didn’t work for me today. Could I make it work if I kept on trying? Maybe. But I already know what does work, so I’m switching to that next.