TAC-4.5 BB gun: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

TAC 4.5 BB gun
The TAC-4.5 from ASG is a 21-shot BB repeater.

This report covers:

    • Accuracy day
    • Air Venturi zinc BBs
    • Daisy BBs
    • ASG Blaster BBs
    • Air Venturi copper BBs
    • The 2015 Texas Airgun Show
    • Door prize
    • Big bore match
    • Raffle prizes
    • Action pistol competition
    • A firearm show — too
    • Reception

Accuracy day

Today we learn whether the TAC-4.5 BB gun from ASG can shoot. We already know it is quiet, has a nice trigger and is very conservative with gas. Accuracy is the cherry on the sundae. The distance was 5 meters.

Air Venturi zinc BBs

The first BB tested was an Air Venturi silver (zinc-plated) BB. Seven of them went into an incredible 0.727 inches at 5 meters. The other 3 BBs opened the group to 1.877 inches. I think those 3 shots were caused by aiming errors, because the front sight has an red fiberoptic bead that is larger than the entire bull on a 10-meter rifle target.

TAC 4.5 BB gun Air Venturi BBs
Ten Air Venturi silver BBs went into 1.877 inches at 5 meters, but 7 of them went into just 0.727 inches.

I shot the gun off an MTM shooting bench, using the bipod that came with the gun. If that hadn’t been as stable as I liked I would also have shot it off a UTG Monopod. But the bipod that’s packed with the gun is very stable.

Daisy BBs

Daisy Premium Grade BBs were loaded next. Ten went into 1.486 inches. These BBs were the most variable in size in Part 2 when I measured them, but they did okay on paper.

TAC 4.5 BB gun Daisy BBs
Ten Daisy BBs went into 1.486 inches at 5 meters.

ASG Blaster BBs

Next in line were ASG’s own Blaster steel BBs. Ten of them went into 1.716 inches, but one of them was a flier. Nine are in a tight 1.025 inches. As I said before, that front bead is so large that I’m sure there was a large error from aiming.

TAC 4.5 BB gun Blaster BBs
Ten ASG Blaster BBs went into 1.716 inches inches at 5 meters, but 9 of them are 1.025 inches.

Air Venturi copper BBs

The last BB I tried was the copper-plated Air Venturi BB. Ten of these went into 1.582 inches at 5 meters. I though they would be the best, when in fact they were in the middle of the accuracy scale.

TAC 4.5 BB gun Air Venturi copper BBs
Ten Air Venturi copper-plated BBs went into 1.582 inches inches at 5 meters.

Overall evaluation

I think the ASG TAC-4.5 is a fine BB gun. It’s quiet, gets great gas mileage and has a good trigger. Accuracy isn’t stellar, but I think that’s more on the front sight than on the overall gun. If you like quiet BB guns, this one is for you.

The 2015 Texas Airgun Show

Just a reminder that the Texas Airgun show is coming up fast. Edith asked me to go through with the show regardless of what happened, so of course I will do it for her.

Door prize

This year’s door prize will be a Condor SS, generously donated by AirForce Airguns. Everyone who pays admission to the show will have an equal chance to win this fine sporting PCP that AirForce will accessorize with a scope, rings and perhaps a bipod. That’s a lot to win for the price of admission! And, if our estimates are correct, there should only be 500-600 people attending the show (about 400 came last year), so your chances of winning are very good. The competitors in the big bore airgun match (LASSO) will get admission to the show and a chance at the door prize included included in their $20 match entry fee.

Big bore match

Speaking of the LASSO big bore match, it’s back, after 3 years hiatus. There are 2 classes — varmint (under .40 caliber)  and big game (.40 caliber and larger) and they will compete on a course that extends out to 250 yards. The targets are challenging and realistic for hunters.

For the grand prize Crosman Corporation has generously donated the very .357 Bulldog rifle that I tested for this blog and also wrote up in the color issue of Shotgun News that’s currently on the newsstands. Not only will the scoped rifle be awarded, it will come with a certificate of authenticity signed by me that proves it was used for the feature magazine article. The winner will also get a copy of the color issue of Shotgun News that contains that article. And Crosman has included two boxes of their Benjamin Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets. This is a very important grand prize!

Raffle prizes

In addition to the door prize there will also be several raffle prizes — drawn throughout the show. Among them are a .357 Carnivore QE big bore rifle from Hatsan USA, a Diana RWS model 34 from RWS USA, a Legends P.08 Blowback pistol from Umarex USA, an Airburst MegaBOOM Supersonic Target System with pump from MegaBOOM and several smaller prizes from Umarex USA. Pyramyd Air has not yet announced the airgun they will donate (my fault, not theirs), but I expect it to be another very desirable airgun. And there are other dealers attending who may still donate to the raffle drawings.

Action pistol competition

MegaBOOM and Umarex USA are also hosting an action pistol match that’s open to the general public. Just pay the nominal entry fee and the guns and ammo will be supplied. The targets are all MegaBOOM action targets and the MegaBOOM company has said there will be a nice cash prize for the winner. All proceeds for the match will be donated to the Parker County Sportsman Club that hosts the airgun show.

A firearm show — too

One special thing about this show is that firearms are permitted as well as airguns. You have to be a Texas resident to buy and sell firearms, and all federal and state regulations apply. I also know that a famous maker of automatic knives will have a table and will be selling some fantastic creations. Automatic knives are now legal in the state of Texas.

Last year we had several tables with firearms and people who just attended also brought them to the show. This year I expect a lot more firearms because the members of the Parker County Sportsman Club that is hosting the show saw the huge turnout we had at last year’s show. And the crowd came to stay all day and had lots of money in their pockets. So if you are a Texas resident, don’t miss this chance to attend a dynamic gun show!

Reception

The evening before the show we will host a reception at the Texas Star Ranch and Retreat. It’s located along the road that runs from the hotel to the gun club, so show-goers will be able to find it quite easily. The reception starts at 6 p.m. and run to 8 p.m., during which we will film a special segment of the Round Table for the American Airgunner show. We are going to try to get some audience participation into this one. Light refreshments will be available, but have your dinner either before you come or after.


TAC-4.5 BB gun: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

TAC 4.5 BB gun
The TAC-4.5 from ASG is a 21-shot BB repeater.

This report covers:

  • ASG Blaster BBs
  • Daisy BBs
  • Air Venturi BBs — silver
  • Air Venturi BB container is the best!
  • Air Venturi BBs — copper
  • ASG velocity for the TAC-4.5
  • This BB gun is quiet!
  • Shot count
  • Trigger pull
  • Overall evaluation

Today is the velocity test of the TAC 4.5 BB gun. This airgun operates on a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge that is housed in the grip. In Part one I showed you how the spring-loaded backstrap flips back to reveal where the cartridge goes.

I noted there was very little gas escape when I pierced the cartridge, and the gun seems very quiet. But a hole in the backer cardboard told me the gun definitely shot.

ASG Blaster BBs

I’m going to get right to it today. The first BB I’ll test is ASG’s Blaster steel BB. I measured 5 of them, and the diameter ranged from 0.171 inches to 0.173 inches. One of the five was out of round by a thousandth of an inch. The other four were regular. This BB is on the smaller side of what is normal for BBs today (0.171 to 0.173 inches), and the variation in size is greater than I have seen. We will see what that means, as far as accuracy is concerned.

These BBs averaged 364 f.p.s. The high was 407 and the low was 344 f.p.s. That’s a 63 f.p.s. spread. The decline in velocity was very linear, despite my waiting a minimum if 10 seconds between shots.

Daisy BBs

Next to be tested were Daisy Premium Grade BBs. They are the standard BB I use in many of my tests, because they are so uniform and accurate — I thought. I measured 5 of them and got a range of 0.1695 inches to 0.172 inches, which is both smaller and a lot greater spread than I was expecting. They averaged 355 f.p.s., with a high of 370 and a low of 350 f.p.s. The velocity drop was steady until they hit 350 f.p.s., then they stayed there. The spread with this BB was only 20 f.p.s, so they are much more consistent, if not quite as fast.

Air Venturi BBs — silver

I noticed that Air Venturi has brought out a line of BBs, so I ordered some and decided to start testing them with the TAC-4.5. The silver (zinc-plated) BBs measure 0.1715 to 0.172 inches, which is more uniform than the first 2 BBs tested. They also measure as perfect spheres. In the TAC 4.5 they averaged 375 f.p.s. with a high of 405 f.p.s. and a low of 363 f.p.s. The high was in the middle of the string — the first shot after I had to take an unscheduled break from testing, and more than 5 minutes had elapsed, so the 62 f.p.s. spread was artificially high. The velocity dropped on each shot as it had with the first 2 BBs, but it seemed to bottom out in the mid 360s. I will also include this new BB in the accuracy testing.

Air Venturi BB container is the best!

Before I move on, I want to say a word about the plastic bottle the Air Venturi BBs come in. It is the best BB container I have ever seen! It has a pour spout that comes to you already open, so there is no need to cut stiff plastic and risk cutting yourself. And the pour spout is just the right size to allow BBs to pour out. Some spouts are the right size for the BBs to jet jammed in the opening and release one at a time, causing no end of frustration. Also, the cap screws on the bottle instead of just popping on with pressure. That gives you positive control over opening and closing the bottle and it will never pop open on its own if it falls off a table. I have has each of these problems with other BB containers. Well done, Air Venturi!

Air Venturi BBs — copper

I also tried the copper-plated Air Venturi BBs. They measured 0.1715 to 0.172 inches — the same as the zinc-plated BBs. Air Venturi has brought out two superior BBs that you really should try. These BBs averaged 370 f.p.s. with a high of 385 and a low of 356 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 29 f.p.s. The decline in velocity was very similar to the Air Venturi zinc-plated BBs, but I didn’t have to stop in the middle of the test this time.

ASG velocity for the TAC-4.5

ASG says the velocity of the TAC-4.5 is 417 f.p.s. The highest seen in today’s test was 407 f.p.s., which is close enough. But some of you may be confused by the velocity report. Why is this gun rated at 417 f.p.s. when it only averaged 350-360 f.p.s. for several strings of 10 shots? The answer is liability. Manufacturers state the highest possible velocity for their airguns, so the buyer knows what he is getting. An easy way to think of this is to ask yourself the question, “What is the worst it can do” or how dangerous is it? The rated velocity tells the buyer how powerful the gun can be at its maximum.

Many people think manufacturers purposely over-state the velocities of their airguns to get more sales, and in some cases that is true. The spring gun makers who rate their guns at 1600 f.p.s., when that speed is impossible to achieve without a detonation of some kind, are doing that. With the TAC 4.5, though, the stated maximum is both real and correct.

This BB gun is quiet!

I see where the sound level of the Pyramyd Air website is set at a 4 out of 5, which is pretty loud. In truth, the gun I am testing is on the low end of a 2. But let’s not go on the warpath about that, because Edith is the one who makes those changes. It may be a while before she can fix that. That is one of the benefits of my testing airguns, because any time I encounter something that doesn’t line up with the description, I just tell Edith and she fixes it in minutes.

This gun is so quiet that it is perfect for apartment dwellers and those wishing to shoot in small suburban yards. I just want you to know that, because for some buyers it makes a very big difference.

Shot count

Another place I was surprised in this test was by how many shots I got on a single CO2 cartridge. Given the average velocity and the fact the gun does not have blowback, I guessed it might get something around 100 shots. In fact, the gun was still shooting Air Venturi copper-plated BBs at 356 f.p.s. on shot number 116. Shot 178 went out at 314 f.p.s. and I stopped shooting at 201 shots, when the velocity had dropped back to 272 f.p.s. That makes the TAC-4.5 the second most gas-conservative CO2 BB gun I have tested since I started testing airguns in 1994! Only the Czech APP 661 pistol got more shots (from an 8-gram cartridge, no less!), but it only shot BBs at 250 f.p.s.

Trigger pull

The trigger pull is double action only, since the trigger is pulling the striker back against a spring. It does not have to advance a cylinder, which decreases the effort a lot, but its still a double action pull. The effort required is a pretty consistent 5 lbs. 6 oz. I found it pleasant and very light for double action.

Overall evaluation

So far I think this BB gun is a winner. I think it’s what a lot of you BB gunners have been looking for. Accuracy testing comes next, but like I told you un Part 1, I’m not looking for a target gun


Our own Christmas story

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope this day finds you in good spirits, no matter where you are or what you are doing.

I have a special report just for this special day. It involves a BB gun, Daisy’s Avanti Champion 499 — also known as the world’s most accurate BB gun.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499
Daisy’s Avanti Champion 499 is the world’s most accurate BB gun.

About a month ago, my buddy Otho was visiting my house, and I pulled out my 499 to show him. I’d told him about it while we were at the rifle range the week before and he was fascinated, though he later admitted that he didn’t believe me when I told him how accurate it is. So, I took this opportunity not just to show him the gun, but to let him shoot it.

We made a quick BB gun range in my garage using the UTG BB and pellet trap with some 5-meter BB gun targets taped to the cardboard target backer on the front of the trap. I showed Otho how to raise the bottom front of the trap so that all the BBs that entered would stay inside because they roll to the back after they stop moving. And the ballistic curtains will take most of the energy out of each BB on the first pass through the trap.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499 UTG Accushot trap
The UTG BB trap is the only BB trap available with replaceable ballistic curtains.

A muzzleloader!
Otho was captivated by the fact that the 499 is a muzzleloading single-shot. While it looks a lot like a Red Ryder, it couldn’t be more different! The gun is loaded by dropping one BB down the muzzle, which is shaped like a funnel. The BB rolls down the precision tubing that serves as the barrel, and it takes from 2 to 5 seconds to be captured by a magnet at the bottom. A faint click announces this. The magnet allows the shooter to hold the gun in any orientation without fear of the BB rolling out.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499 muzzleloading
Load just 1 BB at a time by dropping it into the funnel-shaped muzzle and listening to it slowly roll down the barrel until it clicks against the magnet.

I told Otho to listen to the BB roll down and be captured by the magnet. That’s the only way to be sure the gun’s been loaded properly. He was fascinated by this and quickly learned to do it every time. His background in machining gave him an appreciation of just how uniform that barrel and BB had to be to make the short trip last so long!

Precision ground shot
Accompanying the 499 is a special BB that’s as precise as the gun. It used to have the model number 515, but today it’s just labeled Avanti Precision Ground Shot. It’s sold in small packs of 1050 and costs considerably more than standard BBs, but it makes a difference in the 499. You can shoot regular BBs in the 499, but they’re smaller and they roll down the barrel faster. During loading, you will see the roll time down the barrel decrease to as little as a half-second for Crosman Copperhead BBs to 1.5 seconds for Daisy Premium-grade zinc-plated BBs. Accuracy results will reflect the roll time, as that’s the best indication of the size and uniformity of each steel sphere.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499 Precision Ground Shot
Daisy’s Avanti Precision Ground Shot is the only ammo to use in the 499. It’s far superior to regular BBs.

Sights
Daisy used to sell this gun with a cheaper rear peep sight that was difficult to adjust with precision. The sight that now comes standard on the gun was an option at that time. Finally they decided to just include the better sight and raise the price a little to cover it. While this sight is made largely of plastic, it’s still capable of precision adjustments. To eliminate slop in the mechanism, turn it several clicks in the direction opposite of where you wish to adjust; then, when you return, the slop will be taken out of the parts and the adjustment will be right on.

The front sight accepts inserts. Most shooters select the same one — an aperture that encircles the bull at 5 meters.

Proof of the pudding
A real shooter knows that the only thing that matters is what the gun does downrange. Fancy wood and deep bluing don’t mean a thing if the gun can’t shoot. So, naturally, Otho had to try his hand. The target was set as close to the regulation 5 meters from the firing line as it’s possible to get in my garage. We were probably at 15 feet, instead of 16 feet 5 inches, but it didn’t matter because we weren’t shooting for record. His first 5 shots produced a group smaller than any he had ever shot with a BB gun, but it did much more that just that. It awakened his rifleman’s spirit! Here was a gun that could shoot better than he could — guaranteed!

His eyelids dropped into a squint that broadcast concentration. His next 5 shots all landed in the same place and were all on the bullseye. The room now grew quiet as his concentration ratcheted up another notch.

Another 5 shots went downrange, and this time he was really trying. The smaller hole in this target reflected the attempt! The gun is apparently a perfect gauge of the effort that’s put into it! The heavens opened and a shaft of divinely-inspired sunlight bathed the shooter in glory. Otho was hooked! He now understood what I had been trying to tell him. The Daisy Avanti Champion 499 is the world’s most accurate BB gun! It is the gun that every real shooter hopes to find one day — one that can out-shoot him and will never be finicky. Do your best and the gun reflects it on target — pure and simple.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499 target
This is what the 499 can do at 5 meters. Ten shots in this group!

A Christmas story
This is where Otho had his epiphany. He went home and immediately ordered a Daisy Avanti Champion 499 for himself. On my recommendation, he also ordered several packs of Precision Ground Shot, plus I gave him a pack to get started since Pyramyd Air was temporarily backordered when he placed his order. He also bought 5-meter paper targets and a UTG target trap. In short, he purchased a complete shooting kit that had everything he needed to get started.

Three days later he called to tell me his gun had arrived, and he was already shooting the BBs I had given him. The day after that he called to tell me that he had ordered 3 additional shooting kits as Christmas gifts for his son, son-in-law and another friend. A week later he told me that he had taken his gun to his country home, where he stayed indoors and shot targets all day while his friends and family sat out in cold wet high seats, awaiting the deer that never showed.

Then, on December 23, Otho called me one more time to tell me he was purchasing one more gift set for another friend who hadn’t shown any interest until the day before. His gift will arrive late, but it will be just as appreciated, I’m sure.

Otho never told me, but I am reasonably sure that he takes his new BB gun to bed with him every night, drifting off to sleep while shooting ducks on the wing and getting off spectacular hipshots. I think this little Daisy might be the greatest Christmas gift he will ever get or give, and it is our own version of A Christmas Story. Merry Christmas!