Umarex Air Javelin airbow: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Umarex Air JavelinThe Air Javelin from Umarex.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • More to test
  • What are the holes for?
  • Remove the old 88-gram cartridge
  • Lots of gas!
  • Install the adaptor
  • Cock the gun!
  • Don’t do as BB does!
  • Adjust the dot sight up
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today I shoot the Umarex Air Javelin with a dot sight optic. My UTG Reflex Micro  Dot was mounted elsewhere so I mounted a Tasco Pro Point red dot sight. 

Air Javelin dot sight
The Air Javelin accepted the Tasco Pro Point without a problem.

More to test

I didn’t tell you this but I asked Umarex to send me a 12-gram CO2 adapter so I could test the AJ with 12-gram cartridges. Some readers had asked about that possibility and since Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry the adapter, I went straight to Umarex.

Air Javelin 12-gram adapter
Several Umarex airguns including the Air Javelin use this adapter that switches the power source from 88/90-gram CO2 cartridges to 12-gram cartridges.
read more

S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

S&W 327 TRR8 is an exciting new BB revolver.

Today is accuracy day for the 327 TRR8 BB revolver, and there’s an additional surprise in this report. I was glad to get another chance to shoot this interesting BB revolver that feels so good in my hands. It actually has made me curious about the .357 Magnum firearm. Ain’t that always the way?

I inserted a fresh CO2 cartridge for this session, and we know from the velocity test that there are at least 65 good shots from a cartridge. I’m talking about the best part of the power band, where no excuses for accuracy can be made. So, I could conceivably fire 10 cylinders (60 shots) and be safe. As it turned out, I didn’t even need to shoot that many.

Before the cartridge went in for piercing, it got a couple drops of Crosman Pellgunoil on the small, flat end. That ensures some of the oil will be blown through the firing valve, where trace oil will coat every surface, including all seals and valve seats. I want this gun to hold gas forever, and this is cheap insurance!

I used Daisy zinc-plated BBs, which have proven to be the most accurate steel BBs I’ve found. I was recently surprised to learn that Daisy imports these BBs from China in 55-gallon steel drums, but I do know that they then put every BB through a sorting process here in the U.S. before packaging. Whatever they’re doing is working, because these are the most accurate standard steel BBs I’ve seen. Only the Avanti Precision Ground Shot is more accurate — and you’ll probably only see the difference in a precision target gun like the Avanti Champion 499.

I shot the gun at 5 meters, which is the international distance for BB gun competition. I used a rested two-hand hold with my forearms resting on a sandbag. I don’t believe I can hold the gun any better than I held it for this test.

I had said earlier that I thought I’d be using the bright green fiberoptic sight for this test. This revolver has some of the brightest sights I’ve ever seen. But when I lit the target with the 500-watt lamp, I found that I had to use the conventional sight picture of the front post level with the rear notch and lined up at 6 o’clock on the black bull. The bright light on the target made the fiberoptic tubes of the front post and rear notch go black. It was as if this was a conventional set of sights. The sights were crisper than I originally thought when the target was lit this brightly, so everything worked out quite well.

First group
The first group was shot single-action, which proved to be the most accurate way of shooting this revolver, as expected. I was so close to the target that I saw the first shot rip through the black bull. After that, I fell into a rythym and didn’t check the target again. I shot 12-shot groups, since the cylinder holds six loaded cartridges. When all 12 shots were fired, I checked the target through binoculars and couldn’t believe my eyes! It really appeared as if only 6 shots had been fired, because nine BBs all went into a single tiny hole. I doubt very much that I could repeat such a grouop if I tried 100 more times.

The first group was phenomenal! It appears that 9 of the 12 shots went into the tiny group at the lower right, though the hole just above it may have more than one shot. Entire group measures 0.685 inches between centers.

Second group
With the success of the first group under my belt, I thought it prudent to shoot a second group single-action, just in case the first one was a fluke. As it turned out, it was. But I could see this group as it formed, and it looked better than the first one from the firing line. I wasn’t until I examined it in the binoculars that the whole story became obvious.

The larger hole in the center of the bull was visible from the firing line as I shot, but the holes that aren’t in the main group were hidden until I looked through binoculars. This is a more representative 12-shot group and measures 0.858 inches between centers.

I’m satisfied that the 327 TRR8 is an accurate BB gun. I was very relieved that the fiberoptics didn’t have to be used, because look at the precision I got. Combat sights (fiberoptics) aren’t ever going to give you that kind of group.

Next, it was time to try my hand at double-action shooting. This is more difficult, because the longer, heavy trigger-pull causes the gun to move in the hand as the trigger is pulled.

The first 6 shots went so well that I thought I’d be recanting my position on double-action shooting, but the first shot from the second cylinder fired before I was ready and as a result it went wide. It was a called flier that I could see because I was concentrating on the front sight so intently.

The rest of the shots went into a fairly nice group, except that there was one high shot that I cannot account for. But when you’re pulling a double-action trigger and the gun shifts by just a few degrees of angle, it’s enough to throw you off target.

Not bad for a double-action group. Only the shot at the low right, next to the BB was a called flier. Group measures 1.44 inches between centers. read more

S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

S&W 327 TRR8 is an exciting new BB revolver.

The 327 TRR8 BB revolver is distributed by Umarex, which claims the muzzle velocity is 400 f.p.s. In fact, they print it right on the box!

To appreciate what I’m about to tell you, there are two things you must bear in mind. First, the manufacturer of an airgun has to publish the top velocity that gun could achieve. If they don’t, and if there’s ever a lawsuit, it would be bad if the gun was more powerful than advertised. A plaintiff could argue that they bought the gun, thinking it was capable of shooting at a certain velocity, when in fact it was actually capable of higher velocity. They could then argue that they would never have allowed their children to shoot (they may say “play with”) that gun, if they had known its true power.

This argument sounds bogus to a shooter, who would know that any gun is potentially dangerous, regardless of its velocity, but jury selection teams work hard to keep people with such knowledge off the jury, if they can. And to the uninformed, hearing that the gun is more powerful than advertised somehow makes it more evil, if the facts are presented in the right way.

Second, if a manufacturer advertises a certain gun to have a certain velocity and it clearly does not, they have just scored a black eye in marketing and public relations. They are called liars who just want to skew the facts in favor of their product.

This is the dilemma every manufacturer and distributor faces when they advertise their airguns. So what I am going to tell you today must be considered in this light.

Loading the CO2
I showed you the CO2 compartment in Part 1. The cartridge goes in easily, and the piercing screw is turned until a hiss of gas it heard. I then turn the screw just a little farther to make certain the hole in the cartridge is large enough. The pressure of the gas will prevent you from screwing the piercing screw too far.

I should add that, as always, I put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the cartridge before installing it. The oil gets blown through the gun’s valve and gets onto all the seals. It’s the best thing you can do for your CO2 gun.

The 327 TRR8 BB revolver has both a single-action and a double-action trigger-pull, and each must be tested for velocity. Sometimes, they’re fairly close, but there have been guns where the way the trigger was pulled made a 100 f.p.s. difference.

I used Daisy zinc-plated BBs for all shooting in this test.

Fresh CO2 cartridge — single-action pull
The first 10 shots on a fresh CO2 cartridge averaged 447 f.p.s., which is well about the advertised velocity. The string ranged from a low of 431 to a high of 462 f.p.s. That’s considerably above the advertised velocity and produces an average of 2.26 foot-pounds.

Then, double-action
Next, I fired 10 shots double-action and got an average 441 f.p.s. The low was 428 and the high was 445 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 2.2 foot-pounds. So, there’s not too much difference between single-action and double-action in this revolver.

The trigger-pull seemed heavier than I remembered from the first report. It averaged 6 lbs., 4 oz. in the single-action mode, which is on the high side. However I must report that the trigger-pull is very crisp. It’s a single-stage trigger in this mode, which means there’s no travel before the trigger stops at the break point.

In the double-action mode, the trigger is easier to pull than on many other revolvers. It breaks at an average 9 lbs., 5 oz. on the test gun. When it’s pulled, there’s a definite stop point where the pull force increases before the release. It feels very much like a Colt double-action trigger from the 1920s rather than a Smith & Wesson trigger — because the Colts always stacked at the end of the pull, while the Smiths did not.

Loading BBs
The 327 TRR8 comes with a speedloader, and Paul Capello showed us in his video of the Dan Wesson BB revolver how to quickly load the BBs. The 6 cartridges are loaded into the speedloader, which is then pressed down onto a layer of BBs held in the lid of a pellet tin. All 6 cartridges will be loaded this way, and it works perfectly every time.

To load the cartridges, lock them in the speedloader, then push them into a single layer of BBs held in a pellet tin lid like this. They load perfectly every time.

Shot count
As powerful as this revolver is, I was concerned about how many shots a single CO2 cartridge would give. And I wanted to stretch the number to as many as I could get, so I paused a minute between shots. Doing it that way, the first 25 shots were all in the 430+ f.p.s.range, regardless of whether they were fired single- or double-action.

After 46 shots had been fired, the velocity remained in the 412-425 f.p.s. range, again with a minute’s pause between shots. After 62 shots, the velocity was definitely falling and ranged from a high of 397 f.p.s. to a low of 286 f.p.s. at shot 85. In other words, there are plenty of shots in this revolver for the average backyard plinker. The high number of shots surprised me a bit, given the high velocities we saw at the beginning, but I did nurse the gas by pausing so long between shots. If you fire faster, and most shooters will, you can expect at least 10 percent fewer shots and all at a lower velocity. You’ll be able to hear when the velocity trails off and can stop shooting before you jam a BB in the barrel.

Observation thus far
So far, the 327 TRR8 seems to be holding up well. It’s powerful, reliable and gets a good number of shots from a cartridge. The trigger seems good, if not very light. The sights are fiberoptic, but have the brightest green tubes I’ve ever seen, so they’ll be used for the accuracy test, which comes next.

S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

S&W 327 TRR8 is an exciting new BB revolver.

Smith & Wesson’s firearm 327 TRR8 revolver is designed for self defense. The revolver is an 8-shot .357 Magnum revolver that employs a tactical rail, hence the TRR (for tactical rail revolver) designation. I wonder why S&W chose the number 327 for this revolver, because Federal Cartridge Company recently introduced their .327 Magnum cartridge that’s been touted as more effective in the real world than .357 — whatever that means.

The firearm revolver this BB gun copies retails for just a few dollars under $1,300, so you know it has to be a serious handgun! At 40-60 percent more than other models, the 327 must have a lot going for it. Its purpose is to provide a revolver that gives up nothing to the 1911A1, because it holds a similar number of rounds. Remember the comparison is being made with the .45 ACP, not a smaller law enforcement caliber; and .357 Magnum is considered to be equivalent to the big .45 as a man-stopper and superior in other aspects such as penetration. SWAT teams can now choose between a 1911-style semiauto or a revolver.

The firearm frame is made of Scandium, S&W’s lightweight metal that replaces steel. Although its large, it’s lightweight, at 35.3 oz. The BB gun is just a trifle heavier, at 35.9 oz. The firearm comes from the S&W Performance Center and has a custom-tuned trigger, trigger stop and a tuned action. That’s where the extra money goes.

I don’t own a 327 firearm, nor have I ever shot one, so I can’t evaluate the claims that it has the best trigger S&W is currently putting in revolvers or that it handles the recoil of the .357 cartridge more effectively than any other revolver. The closest handgun I have that also handles .357 Magnum recoil is a Desert Eagle pistol, and that comparison would be unfair and unbalanced in every way. This report will have to focus on the BB gun, by itself.

The prototype firearm is a high-capacity revolver, but shockingly the BB gun holds only 6 rounds instead of the 8 promised in the model name. And the size of the BB gun is on the small side. I find the finger grooves are too close for comfort. Instead of an N-frame Smith, this seems like more of a K-frame gun. I find that confusing. Isn’t the whole purpose of the gun to hold 8 shots? But looking at the BB-gun cylinder I can see there isn’t enough metal for any more than 6 rounds, so I must assume that the cylinder on the firearm is larger than the one on the BB gun. But the BB gun is about one full inch longer than the firearm, which I attribute to the angle of the grip that houses the CO2 cartridge.

Six chambers instead of eight come in the BB gun cylinder. Each cartridge holds one BB.

This revolver has a cylinder that swings out to the left side of the gun when the cylinder catch is pressed forward. And when it is pressed back, the safety is engaged. Once out of the frame, the ejection crane does not come all the way back to fully extract the cartridges from their chambers. It isn’t necessary, because the cartridges do not swell during firing the way firearm cases do. So you can simply tip the muzzle up and the cases will drop from the cylinder on their own.

The spring-loaded breech of the barrel is rounded to fit into the front of each chamber, which is the primary way the cylinder locks during firing. There is a locking bolt that engages the rear of the cylinder, as well, but it doesn’t lock very tightly. It is possible to turn the cylinder in either direction with the gun’s hammer down in the fired position.

There are six brass-bodied “cartridges” that hold one BB each, and they are used to load the gun. They are approximately the same size as a .357 Magnum cartridge, so you get the realism of handling ammo when you load the gun.

The gun comes with a speedloader to hold the cartridges and it will be used to rapidly load each cartridge by pressing all six cartridge “mouths” into a flat pellet tin filled with a layer of steel BBs. When the speedloader is inserted into the cylinder, a central release button is automatically depressed, releasing all six cartridges into the cylinder. Gravity will do the rest and the cylinder can be closed. You may need to practice this move several times to develop a feel for it, but once you do, it seems to work fine.

The sights are fiberoptic on the BB gun. While I don’t like fiberoptics in general on any gun, in this case they work because this isn’t a target gun. It is supposed to be a rapid-acquistion handgun, and these sights support that goal perfectly. All three green dots are bright in nearly any light. Your eye will pick them up quickly, and putting them in a row give you the sight picture you want. So, forget groups on paper targets and think of rolling soda cans. That’s what this gun was designed to do.

The fiberoptic dots are bright in almost any light.

Besides the open sights, there’s a Picatinny rail located atop the frame and another under the muzzle. The gun was built for optical sights. I may try that after the conventional accuracy test.

The CO2 fits neatly inside the grip with nothing showing outside. Even the piercing screw is hidden, which is what most buyers say they want.

The synthetic grip rotates open like this to accept the CO2 cartridge.

The gun fires in both the single-action and double-action modes. I’ll describe the trigger-pull in greater detail in Part 2, but for now let me say that, in single-action, it’s relatively crisp; and a single-stage pull in double-action is short and reasonably light.

This revolver is distributed by Umarex. It’s very realistic-looking, even to the matte finish that the firearm has. It will be an interesting gun to test.

Smith & Wesson M&P R8 BB revolver: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos and test by Earl (Mac) McDonald, unless otherwise indicated

Part 1
Part 2

S&W M&P R8 BB revolver. Photo provided by Pyramyd Air.

Today we look at the accuracy the

S&W M&P R8 BB revolver read more

Smith & Wesson M&P R8 BB revolver: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos and test by Earl (Mac) McDonald, unless otherwise indicated

Part 1

S&W M&P R8 BB revolver. Photo provided by Pyramyd Air.

I overlooked mentioning the S&W M&P R8 BB revolver in the first report on lookalike airguns last Friday, but of course it is one, as well. I’m not familiar with the firearm M&P R8 revolver, so it was natural to think of this as a standalone model. But there is a firearm counterpart, if that is of interest to you.

I also neglected to mention the short Picatinny rail on the underside of the barrel near the muzzle. I suppose it is for mounting a compact laser with a pressure switch located close to the firing hand, though since most shooters use two hands to shoot handguns these days I suppose you could also turn it on with your non-firing hand.

Plastic fantastic
We heard a complaint about the use of plastic and I thought I would comment on that. Guys, I don’t like plastic, either, but more and more firearms are being made with at least some of it these days. You have to understand that when you get into this price range for an airgun, there are very few options. Basically it’s either plastic or zinc. The dies for these two materials are very expensive, so the maker has to calculate how many guns they think they can sell against the tooling costs to produce. And there are also short-run tools that are less expensive, but which wear out faster and long-term tooling that lasts longer but can cost many times as much as short-term tools. All of this is a gamble on how well the manufacturer thinks the gun will sell.

Then there is the general public’s acceptance of plastic as a legitimate manufacturing material. As crass as this sounds, if a manufacturer can sell a hundred thousand pieces of a product, the fact that it is criticized by a few hundred or even a thousand aficionados makes little difference. That is the reason there are so many firearms being made with engineering plastic these days.

And finally there is the fact that if the part is correctly engineered, plastic has few shortcomings and actually offers significant advantages, like strength and resistance to wear (over zinc), corrosion resistance, the ability to accept a finish more uniformly, and even things like providing a low-friction surface that doesn’t have to be lubricated to work well.

Don’t think that I like plastic in airguns. I’m simply acknowledging the reality that exists today, when our telephones are also GPS devices, televisions, alarm clocks and 157 other things. But the “buttons” that work them are mostly in software, and if they don’t respond you can be in a serious pickle. Also, you can’t repair plastic when it breaks. That is just one of the reservations I have about plastic guns.

Good reception
The overall reception of this revolver was positive and enthusiastic. Many readers commented on the realistic look. The manufacturer even went to the point of copying the V notch in the rear sight. The reason for this is that on the firearm the front Patridge sight has a white dot, so the BB gun has it as well. If you can see the dot, the V-notch is entirely appropriate, making the centering of the dot quick and easy. If you can’t see the dot, you just have to struggle to estimate where the sides of the front post are. Since most handgunners don’t shoot at targets (the assumption must be), this is a compromise in favor of rapid target acquisition.

Mac really enjoyed shooting his M&P R8. He was very impressed and tells me every time we talk. So my opinion has to be that this revolver is worth your consideration and the money, if you buy it.

Today is velocity testing day. I went to the manual to see how the 8-round clip is loaded and believe it or not, it doesn’t specify. However, the photo shows loading the BBs from the front of the clip, which is how many other similar BB pistol clips have to be loaded, and that is how Mac did it.

The clip is loaded from the front.

The loaded clip is inserted in the back of the cylinder. Notice the ridge around each chamber that helps seal the gas behind the BB.

Mac used Daisy zinc-plated BBs, because experience has shown they are the most accurate and the most uniform BBs on the market. Another BB that also works well and is actually finished even smoother than the Daisy is the Walther BB, but Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry them. Though these BBs are slightly larger than Crosman Copperhead BBs they usually get higher velocity and almost always the velocity variation of the shot string with them is tighter.

The 12-gram CO2 cartridge goes in the grip, like everyone assumed. Push in on a tab under the grip and the back opens to receive the new cartridge.

The back of the grip swings opens to accept the CO2 cartridge.

The screw that pushes the CO2 cartridge into the piercing pin is entirely concealed by the grip when it is locked closed. That satisfies those who dislike being able to see the mechanism. I am surprised no one mentioned that about the Walther PPK/S in the lookalike report, because it is the number one complain I hear about those replica air pistols.

Trigger pull
Mac measured the single action trigger pull at 9.6 pounds and the double action pull at 10.2 pounds. Remember that single action means the hammer is pulled back to the cocked position which also rotates the cylinder to the next BB, so when you pull the trigger all you are doing is releasing the sear to let the hammer fall.

The temperature was 60 degrees F (15.6 C) when Mac tested the gun. That is close to the bottom temperature at which CO2 should be used. Because it is a refrigerant gas, CO2 will cool the gun as it is fired, thus decreasing the velocity on each successive shot. On a 60-degree day, there isn’t much ambient temperature to warm the gun back up again, so once it is cooled, it tends to stay there. Mac allowed a minimum of 15-20 seconds between shots for the gun to recover from cooling, but on this day, there wasn’t much recovery.

He fired a string of eight shots, getting an average of 359 f.p.s. That works out to 1.52 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The low was 336 and the high was 379 f.p.s., so the spread was a bit larger than we normally see, but on a cool day that is to be expected. Also expect to see higher average velocity when the temperature warms up 20 degrees.

What Mac noted that surprised him was the great number of shots he got from a single CO2 cartridge. After shot 120 the gun was still sending them out at 320 f.p.s., which is petty astounding. There are certain BB guns that get many shots from a cartridge, but their average velocities are always well below 300 f.p.s.. So the evidence points to the fact that the design (barrel mating with the cylinder and ridges around each chamber in the clip) is very economical.

So far
This pistol just keeps getting better and better, as far as Mac is concerned. It’s a delight to shoot and now we find that it conserves gas like a hybrid car. Accuracy comes next, and I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Smith & Wesson M&P R8 BB revolver: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos and test by Earl “Mac” McDonald, unless otherwise indicated

S&W M&P R8 BB revolver. Photo provided by Pyramyd Air.

Mac’s back! As we enter the end of year season and approach the Christmas holidays, I want to review as many new guns as possible, while continuing to address my ongoing tests, so I asked Mac to give me a hand. Today, he starts with the S&W M&P R8 BB revolver.

I’m conservative, so whenever a company starts to use a model name inappropriately (in my opinion) it bothers me. When Benjamin used the name Super Streak for a breakbarrel spring rifle — where the name Streak has always been used only for Sheridan multi-pumps — it bothered me. When Smith & Wesson used their time-honored Military & Police (M&P) title to designate a semiautomatic pistol instead of a revolver, I was deeply concerned.

It seems the people in the marketing department that select these product names either don’t know the fine history of the company they work for, or they think the established name brings a lot of fetch with it. Of course it does, but look at what happened to the Weihrauch HW50 when the configuration of the gun was changed. Remember the lengthy conversations we’ve had on this blog and the lengths some people have to go to differentiate between the older HW50 and the one that’s now produced?

There’s still an M&P revolver, and today we’ll start looking at a CO2-powered BB gun by the same name. So, now you know what the M&P means, what about the R8? Well, it’s pretty simple. It’s code for a revolver that holds eight shots.

Mac was very impressed by this handgun. Even though it comes in a blister pack, it has many interesting features that are worthy of note. The first is that the cylinder is released from the frame to swing out to the left side of the gun just like the firearm it copies.

Though it comes in a blister pack, the M&P R8 has advanced features.

The cylinder swings to the side just like on the firearm. Photo provided by Pyramyd Air.

Gas control
Perhaps the most exciting feature of this BB revolver is the length to which the designers went to control gas. The pistol is powered by a conventional 12-gram CO2 cartridge that fits inside the Hogue-like grip. Normally a gun like this might give 50-60 good shots on a single cartridge. But this one has several features that more than double that number without sacrificing power.

Like a Nagant firearm revolver, this CO2 BB revolver mates the cylinder to the rear of the barrel to reduce gas loss when firing. The 7.62 Nagant moves the cylinder forward to seal with the rear of the barrel. The M&P R8 has a spring-loaded barrel (a soft, weak spring) with a rounded rear that rides over the mouth of the cylinder, popping into each chamber in turn when the gun locks up.

The rear of the barrel is rounded to move over the mouth of the cylinder as it revolves. The barrel is held in place by a weak spring, so it always pops back to this position, yet doesn’t hinder operation of the mechanism.

And the front of each chamber in the cylinder is shaped to receive the rear of the barrel to form a gas-tight junction. It really works, according to Mac.

Of course, revolvers don’t have safeties, except in cheap novels and the one exception that nobody ever hears about, but these days the transfer bar that connects the hammer to the firing pin only when it’s safe to fire is considered a safety. And this gas pistol has one! It’s not a bar at all, but rather a piece of thick wire that moves up when everything is right to fire the gun. It won’t prevent a fool from shooting himself or someone else, but they better not get me on the stand if that happens, because shooting this airgun requires a deliberate act!

This photo shows the transfer bar in position to connect the hammer to the valve stem that is analogous to the firing pin. You can also see the V-shaped rear sight notch that ought to be changed to a square one. read more