Sterling HR-81 .177 underlever air rifle: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Now that Vince has tuned the Sterling, it’s time to see how she shoots.

It’s time to see how the Sterling underlever rifle shoots. Benjamin put Lothar Walther barrels on these rifles, so I’m hoping the pedigree will show in today’s test. Vince got the velocity back up to a respectable level, as we saw in Part 3 (and Vince showed you what he did to the gun in his guest blog about the Sterling), so there should be nothing to prevent the gun from shooting its best.

When I went to mount a scope, I saw that the Sterling has two vertical holes that can be used for a scope stop. They’re located where the front ring needs to be, but with two-piece rings that presents no problem.

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Where angels fear to go…or How I fixed B.B.’s Sterling air rifle

by B.B. Pelletier

Some time ago, I sent my Sterling air rifle to blog reader and all-round nice guy Vince. He knows his way around old airguns and has worked his magic on this old one.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

Now, here’s Vince!

I just sort of blunder in because I generally don’t look where I’m going. Like when B.B. attempted to test his unusual Benjamin Sterling underlever rifle and found he was rather perplexed about the ridiculous velocity variation he was getting — on the order of 50-150fps. I let it slip that I have a smidgen of experience with these somewhat oddball rifles, and next thing I know it’s on its way to me.

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The difficulty of selling quality

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Randy Stratman is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card! Congratulations!

Randy Stratman took this week’s winning photo.

I made a remark in a comment this week that surprised me. Blog reader /Dave asked me to approach Crosman about resurrecting the Sterling rifle and I told him the following:

I doubt anyone will ever make this airgun again. As well-made as it is, this would be a $500-600 air rifle.
It’s sad that it’s just too nice to be made today, but that’s probably why Crosman decided to drop it when they took over. After the initial 300 sold to enthusiasts, they would sell maybe 50 a year. They need numbers of a thousand or more.

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Sterling HR-81 .177 underlever air rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


The Sterling by Benjamin Sheridan is an air rifle not many have seen or even heard about.

Say hello to my little friend! We last saw this Sterling 11 months ago and discovered during testing that the velocity was very unstable. Variations of 61 to 147 f.p.s. were found in the 10-shot strings, even though the rifle had been recently tuned by reader Jim Grossman (Jim in PGH). Clearly, something seemed to be wrong. I stopped the test right there because I didn’t want to damage the mechanism, and I set it aside for later when I could I eventually look inside.

Well, our No. 1 tuner and all-around good guy — blog reader Vince — stepped forward and offered to have a look at it for me. He told me he’d worked on another Sterling, and I was relieved because I didn’t have to learn the complexities of yet another odd spring-gun mechanism. This one is odd because, in addition to the underlever that cocks the mainspring, the gun also has a bolt-action that opens the breech for loading a pellet. It’s quirky and unlike just about any other airgun you’ve seen.

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Sterling HR-81 .177 underlever air rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Today, we’ll look at the velocity this Sterling HR-81 underlever air rifle produces. You’ll recall that this airgun started out as a UK rifle, so the power was limited to 12 foot-pounds. Benjamin-Sheridan didn’t change that when they took over manufacture in 1994. The U.S. production ended in 1994 when Crosman bought the Benjamin company. So, an American Sterling rifle is probably a pretty rare airgun.

Trigger
I finally had the opportunity to test and evaluate the Sterling trigger. It’s single-stage with lots of creep before the release. The trigger-pull measured 40 oz.; because of the creep, it felt like more. The safety is manual, which I really like. When it’s applied, it just blocks the trigger from moving.

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Sterling HR-81 .177 underlever air rifle: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

This report is specifically for blog reader Robert from Arcade, who mentioned last week that he always wanted to own a Sterling air rifle, but didn’t have the money when they were available. Well, I can relate to that! My Sterling just jumped into my lap at the Roanoke airgun show last year. It was at the very end of the show when Jim Grossman came over to my table and offered me the Sterling for a BAM B-40 I had on the table. I took the trade because I was intrigued by the rifle, but also because I’d be able to test the Sterling for you. It’s not a common air rifle by anyone’s definition, and I think it’s always nice to be able to look at something a little different.

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