Crosman 38T Target revolver: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

38T
Crosman 38T.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Lotsa pellets
  • Jim outshot BB
  • Getting tired
  • The next day
  • What the heck?
  • BillJ — this is for you
  • Summary

Well, I’m hot into it now, and as long as that’s the case I decided to do the accuracy test on the .177-caliber Crosman 38 T Target revolver. Reader Jim M. was down for a visit and to help me pack up all the guns and stuff I’m returning to Pyramyd Air, so when we finished I thought I would let him get in on the test, too.

The test

We both shot from a rested position at 10 meters. The revolver was rested directly on a sandbag and we used a two-hand hold. We shot with a 6 o’clock hold on the bullseye and we shot 6-shot groups, since that’s how many pellets the revolver holds.

Jim and I both shot on the first day. But I also shot again alone on day two.

I backed the bullseyes on the second day of the test with white duct tape to help the pellet holes show more sharply.

Lotsa pellets

I had no idea of which pellet or pellets this air pistol might like, so we went through a lot of them! Actually, Jim and I shot a great many targets until we both seemed to tire — or at least I did. After all, we had been working for several hours packing boxes and accessories and checking them off a spreadsheet.

38T pellets
We shot many pellets on the first day and I added a few more on day 2.

38T targets
And we shot more than a few groups.

Jim outshot BB

At first Jim was not familiar with the heavy trigger pull, which on this 38T is 4 lbs. 14 oz. But he adapted quickly and soon proved to be the better shot. Of the four different pellets we tried this day, H&N Finale Match High Speed proved the most accurate. I put 6 into 1.401-inches at 10 meters and then Jim trounced me with 6 in 0.831-inches at the same 10 meters.

38T BB target
I put six H&N Finale Match High Speed pellets into 1.401-inches at 10 meters.

38T Jim target
And then Jim put 6 into 0.831-inches to skunk me!

Getting tired

We shot so many groups that I had to change the CO2 cartridge. Jim and I had worked a lot before that and I was pooped, so we called it a day after shooting 8 groups. But I was not satisfied that we had tested the pistol thoroughly. So I left the indoor range set up, vowing to resume shooting the next morning when I was rested.

The next day

The next morning I picked up where I left off. The CO2 was still good, as I had replaced it just before shooting the final group on the previous afternoon. I started with three different pellets — The Crosman Premier Light, the Premier Heavy and the RWS R10 Match Heavy pellet. All three gave me open groups that measured over 1.5 inches between centers.

At that point I figured I could either wear myself out again trying different pellets or I could return to the one pellet that both Jim and I shot the best the day before — the now-obsolete H&N Finale Match High Speed. It’s lighter than the current Finale Match Light, but that would be the place to begin to look for something equivalent.

On day one I put 6 of them into 1.401-inches, center-to-center. This day I put another 6 into 0.981-inches and almost in the same place on the target. I had adjusted the rear sight to the right at the end of the day before and hadn’t touched it since.

38T Finale day 2
On day two I was fresher and better able to concentrate. These six Finale Match High Speed pellets went into a group measuring 0.981-inches between centers.

What the heck?

As I was ending the test I decided to try just one last pellet — the RWS Superdome. Lo and behold, six of them went into 0.97-inches at 10 meters. And not only that but without adjusting the rear sight they went to the center of the bull. When I use the right pellets this 38T can shoot!

38T Superdome day 2
This group of 6 RWS Superdomes is my best group of the test. It measures 0.97-inches between centers.

At this point I was inspired to shoot a second group of Superdomes, to prove that the first group wasn’t a fluke. Then common sense prevailed and I said, “Naaaah! Why tempt fate?” I’ll just pretend that I can pick this revolver up anytime and shoot another group just like this one.

BillJ — this is for you

Reader BillJ commented that Crosman ashcan pellets were the best in his 38T “back in the day.” Here is what he said.

This column made me recall when I had a 38T (in .22, mid 70’s). I suppose that I should have never sold it. But I broke the rear sight (plastic), couldn’t glue it or replace it so I sold to a guy that I worked with that said he’d take it, as is.

As I recall, it was fun to shoot and ‘reasonably’ accurate (tin can wise), before the rear sight went away.

The pellets that I used to shoot were the Crosman ‘ash cans’ and also AmPell pellets.

I found these ‘on the back shelf’ (see picture) and weighed a few. The weights (in grains) were:
16.2
14.3
16.0
14.8
16.0
16.0
14.8
16.0
16.2
15.8
I can only guess that quality control was somewhat short of what it is now.

“I have kinda poked around the internet, and haven’t seen any new ashcan style for sale (but I wasn’t looking too hard).

When I said that those were found ‘on the back shelf’, they really were. I bought these for use with the 38T that I had in 1977, so they are over 40 years old! (The price tag on the side says $1.50.)


Even if they were available, I don’t know that I would get any new ones unless the QC was way, way better.”


Bill

Well, I have a supply of .177 ashcans, so we are up for one more test. Next time I will test with vintage Crosman ashcans, RWS Superdomes and RWS Superpoints in this 38T. I just wanna know, and a bet a lot of you do, too.

Summary

Though it may be 40+ years old, this one hangs in there with the best of the modern air pistols. I’m looking forward to the next test.


Diana 75/Beeman 400 recoilless target air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 75
The Diana 75.

Let’s make lemonade

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Refresh your memory
  • Wayne Johnson
  • The Diana 75/Beeman 400
  • Right-hand bias
  • History of the Diana 75
  • Giss contra-recoil mechanism
  • Sights
  • The wood
  • The metal
  • Summary

Today we begin our look at the Beeman 400 sidelever recoilless target air rifle that is really a Diana 75. I linked to the Making lemonade report because of the piston seals. That should be an issue I no longer need to explain.

Refresh your memory

This air rifle is the one I saw on Gun Broker and contacted Wayne Johnson, the seller, directly. I offered what I felt was a good price, plus the shipping he requested. I had never done that before and I was called a name for doing it, but I felt this was a special airgun and Wayne was a special owner. Here is exactly what I said to him on my first contact.

Diana 75 contact remarks

Wayne Johnson

Wayne and I hit it off right away. I would normally never publish the full name of anyone in this blog, unless that person was a personality or they were out there for some other reason. Wayne is the author of The FN49, The Last Elegant Old-World Military Rifle, expanded second edition, copyright 2019 by Wayne Johnson, published by Wet Dog Publications.

Diana 75 book
Wayne’s book is an excellent treatise on the development, production and oddities of the FN49 battle rifle.

I bought his book because the FN49 is a military rifle I always wanted to know more about. Now I do, thanks to Wayne.

Wayne is the kind of person you want to buy something from. From his listing I could tell that he is scrupulously honest, because on Gun Broker he listed every fault the rifle had — not that there were many! And, after he accepted my offer we conversed a little about his airgun.

Hi Tom,
I don’t think I need the proof of age – I imagine you are over 18 !

Yeah – I am pretty much a straight arrow on the auction stuff and no, I’m not insulted by the direct approach. After I had the gun serviced by David Slade I should have chronographed it to see what it did with the new seals. I was VERY disappointed when I test fired it yesterday and realized that it was shooting slow so I wanted to make sure that I pointed that out in the auction.  Anyway, as I mentioned before, I made this exception on cancelling the auction since I know it’s going to the right place. I did have 45 views on that auction in the first 12 hours along with 4 watchers so no telling where the auction might have gone but regardless, I like where the rifle is going.

I’ve attached to this email a scan of the original receipt that shows the purchase price from Beeman – I don’t know what info you include in your air gun write-ups but that may be of interest to some readers. I’ll include in the papers for the gun my original chrono data from 1984, when the gun was two years old (with 1500-1600 pellets fired) that shows it averaged 605 fps on two different range sessions.

If you think of it, after you complete and post your review of this rifle perhaps you could send me a link to that article.

Best,
Wayne

First off, know that I emailed Wayne the link to this blog. This is something I have been wanting to do ever since I got the rifle.

I want today to be about the Diana 75 target rifle in general, but I will weave in things that are special about this particular rifle as I go. Just getting ready to take pictures last Thursday I discovered an “Easter Egg” gift that Wayne had packed under the foam of the hard case he sent the rifle in. It was an unopened tin of Beeman Silver Bear hollowpoint pellets that the note said were about 35 years old. Well, they will still be unopened at my estate sale, so watch for them!

The Diana 75/Beeman 400

Although this rifle was sold to Wayne as a Beeman 400, it is a Diana 75. We sometimes see the name RWS attached to Diana airguns in the U.S., but that is an importation thing. Diana makes the guns. Both Robert Beeman of Beeman Precision Airguns and the late Robert Law of Air Rifle Headquarters thought enough of the 75 to sell it. But Beeman did change at least the name he called it in his catalog, if not the actual markings on the airgun.

Diana-75-receipt

Diana-75-logo
There are no Beeman markings on the rifle.

Diana-75-parts
Beeman literature like this parts list, plus the purchase receipt, is the only way to tie the rifle to Beeman as a 400.

The 75 has a long production life, though it changed and evolved as time passed. The basic 75, which I believe this rifle to be, was produced from 1977 to 1983. Mine was made in March of 1981, according to the date code stamped into the spring tube. Other versions of the rifle lasted until the 1990s.

Diana 75 date code
This 75 was made in March of 1981.

Right-hand bias

My rifle was made for a right-handed shooter. How can I tell? Look at the buttstock and see if you can tell.

Diana-75- butt
Whaddaya think? Made for a righty?

As the years passed, manufactures would move to more adjustable stocks so they weren’t locked into right- or left-handed shooters. But the 75 was made at a time before such things were considered.

By the way, Diana did offer the rifle with left-hand stocks and the Blue Book of Airguns says to SUBTRACT 10 percent for one! That’s odd, because everyone else adds a small percentage for a southpaw stock. Gotta change that in the book next time. I already wrote a note in my bench copy of the Blue Book.

History of the Diana 75

The Diana 75 lies at the end of a long line of recoilless Diana target air rifles that began with the Diana model 60 in 1960. The 60 was a pretty basic breakbarrel target rifle which was okay for a few years, as its competitors were also breakbarrel — like the Weihrauch HW 55 and the Walther LG 55. But when rifles like the sidelever FWB model 110 came out and then quickly morphed into the recoilless model 150, shooters started wondering whether fixed barrels were somehow more potentially accurate since their barrels never moved. That’s a hard argument to ignore and the world moved on, though Diana did bring out two more refined breakbarrel target rifles — the 65 and the 66.

Editor’s note: I cannot locate Part 3, the accuracy test for the FWB 150. I’m pretty sure I did it, but with all the WordPress changes over the years it’s gotten misplaced.

When the 75 came out it represented the high-water mark for Diana spring-piston air rifles. It was a Diana 66 with a fixed barrel and a sidelever for cocking. It was fully capable of competing against the finest FWB 300S, which it did for several years before CO2 and finally PCP rifles pushed springers off the world stage completely.

The test rifle came with its original manual that includes a Diana test target in which five pellets have grouped in 0.065-inches at 10 meters. That will give my most-accurate FWB 300S a run for the money!

Diana-75-test-target
The test target that came with the Diana 75 is serial-numbered to the rifle. A group of five pellets are in 0.065-inches at 10 meters.

Giss contra-recoil mechanism

Probably the best-known feature of the 75 is its Giss contra-recoil mechanism that renders it recoilless. As the real piston with its seal moves forward to compress the air, an equally-weighted false piston moves in the opposite direction. Both pistons stop at the same instant, cancelling all felt recoil. This system works surprising well, though it does pose a problem for airgunsmiths.

When replacing the piston seal, which you now know must be done at least once, the rear false piston must be timed perfectly if the contra-recoil is to be maintained. Timing can be a touchy task, and a shooter will notice immediately if it’s off. So, it must be done perfectly. Dave Slade replaced the piston seal in this rifle and I can tell you that he nailed it.

Sights

Naturally the 75 comes with a fine set of adjustable target sights, and I’ll give you a better look at them in future reports. The front sight has replaceable inserts that are early 1980s vintage, which is to say a solid post or aperture. This one came with a post installed and the rest of the inserts in a box. I will replace it with a clear aperture that allows for more precise aiming as well as not shooting at the wrong bull. More on the sights when we get to accuracy.

The wood

Back when this rifle was new manufacturers were using walnut for their stocks. This one has a nice bit of figure in the butt. The remainder of the stock is straight grain except for the vertical pistol grip. It also has some figure which means the grain isn’t straight there, either. That’s desirable, because a 10-meter target rifle stock is very prone to break at the wrist where the wood is thinnest and also straight grain. Feinwerkbau even put vertical wooden posts into their grips on later rifles to strengthen this sensitive area.

The metal

I hope the pictures show a little of the deep polish and bluing on the metal parts. I had to lighten them to show details in things like the logo and the date code, so you don’t get the full appearance of the miles-deep polish. Only the barrel is intentionally matte, and that is to cut down reflections when sighting.

Summary

That’s your first look at this fine old target rifle. Wayne entrusted it to me to care for and that’s an obligation I both respect and intend honoring. Stay tuned for lots more fun.


Finding that silk purse

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • A break
  • The real story
  • Fell into it
  • Oh, no!
  • The real story
  • Back to the future
  • The lesson
  • More
  • The point
  • Summary

A break

I need a break from punching holes in paper. Been doing a lot of that this week. Today I was all set to test the Slavia 618, but the next test is accuracy and like I said — I want to do something else.

As I was sitting at my computer trying come up with an idea for today, I got messaged that the parts for my .22 rimfire High Standard Sport King pistol had arrived in my mailbox. What’s the story there?

Fell into it

Many years ago I was at one of the last gun shows I ever attended. I had two tables full of guns to sell and one of them was something I had priced at $450. I forget what it was — it was that unimportant to me. But my price was reasonable and there was some interest. One guy came by and asked if I would come over to his table and see if there was anything I would take in trade for it. So I did.

He had a Taurus model 62LA that was new in the box. It was stainless steel, which I don’t like, but it was a slide action (pump) gun, which I do like — or so I thought! I never even picked it up out of the box. I could see it was like new. He saw that I was interested so he offered it to me. It was priced at $300 as I recall and I sort of stalled on that — my gun being priced reasonably at $450. I went back to my table and a few minutes later the guy brought by a High Standard Sport King pistol that he said he would throw in to sweeten the deal. Well, that sounded fine, so I agreed.

Taurus 62LA
How can anyone look at this Taurus 62LA and not realize that it’s a lever gun? I’m living proof that it can be done!

He brought the Taurus box over with the pistol and took his rifle away. My buddy Otho opened the box and looked at the Taurus and says to me, “I didn’t know Taurus made a lever-action .22!”

Oh, no!

A lever action? Oh, no! I had paid so little attention to the rifle when looking at it that I failed to see the lever. I assumed it was a pump. I already owned a Marlin 39A that’s the sweetest lever action .22 ever made and I sure didn’t need another one! Certainly not a shiny silver one! Shazbat!

Otho told me he thought the Taurus might be worth some money, so when we got home he bugged me to look it up on Gun Broker. When I dragged my feet he looked it up himself. It turned out that the Taurus 62LA was the most desirable .22 rifle Taurus ever made and they were bringing $850 on Gun Broker. And they were actually selling at that price! So — I guess I fell into it.

I still have the rifle. It’s still silver and I still don’t like it, but since my information on it was at least 10 years old I looked it up on Gun Broker for this report. Maybe the bottom had fallen out and they were now going for nothing?

No, in May of this year there were 39 bids on one in the same condition as mine, which is almost new in the box. That one sold for $1,681.00. Apparently Taurus only made the rifle one year (2006-2007) and they are quite rare.

The real story

But that’s not the story today. The real story is the other gun — the High Standard Sport King pistol that sweetened the deal. It’s a blued steel handgun and I had high hopes for it. But alas, it didn’t work. The magazine is sticky and doesn’t feed. So I put it aside and thought that I had been on the bad end of a deal once again.

Sport King
High Standard’s Sport King is a fine old semiautomatic .22 pistol.

Back to the future

But my neighbor, Denny the woodworker, has fallen in love with my Ruger Mark II Target Pistol. He has taken it to the range a bunch of times and a pistol that wasn’t clean to begin with started to malfunction. It needed to be cleaned and lubricated. I HATE disassembling that pistol. It comes apart easily but it is a royal bear to assemble — or that was my impression. So, on to You Tube I go and when I “remembered” the assembling problem. It was easy enough to solve. Result, clean pistol that’s lubed up and ready to go, Denny. But on You Tube a guy remarked that he wished that Mark IIs were as easy to assemble as High Standard Sport Kings. Hey! I have one of those!

Long story short I got it out and remembered the sticky mag, so I ordered a good one off Ebay. Then I disassembled the pistol which is dirt-simple to do and found it had a broken firing pin and was missing a firing pin return spring. Another order for the two parts and a week later the pistol is back in business. I fired three long rifle cartridges wiuthout failure. For about $75 I put the “deal sweetener” pistol back in action. And Type 1 High Standard Sport Kings in excellent condition like mine are fetching about $400 and up these days.

Sport King apart
The Sport king comes apart in less than 10 seconds and goes together just as fast. It was designed for that.

The lesson

The lesson is — don’t panic. If you get into a bad deal, sit on it awhile. Not everything that starts out bad ends that way. Remember those two Slavia 618s I got? One has a bent rear sight and the other needs to be rebuilt. But the first one is shooting better than any other 618 I have seen and, if I wasn’t tired of putting holes in paper this week, you’d be reading about it right now.

More

I have more to say. When I go to an airgun show with a single purpose in mind I usually get skunked. Let’s say I am there to find an FWB 124. There are two at the show. One is a deluxe model that’s like new in the box with all the paperwork. The seller is asking $800. The other one is a rusty beater sport model without sights that the seller wants $275 for. In my book, both rifles are a bit too high. But that’s not my point. My point is on another table at the same show a guy has a very nice-looking Hakim that he only wants $150 for. Seventy-five percent of the buyers in the hall are looking for a .30-caliber FX Impact with a 700 mm barrel. They aren’t interested in old pellet rifles and they could care less about that beat-up old Egyptian air rifle with the Arabic writing painted on the stock.

Well, I got skunked on the 124 I came for, but I have the money, so I take the plunge and buy the Hakim. I ask the seller if I can leave it on his table because I still want to walk around the show for a few hours.

About a hour later a guy taps me on the shoulder and asks if I own that Hakim that’s sitting on that table over there. I do and we strike up a conversation. Turns out he brought his deluxe FWB 124 with a scope to the show to see if he could swap it for a nice Hakim. We both walk to his car, I look at the rifle, which is exactly what I want, and we swap — straight across!

But here is the deal. Instead of all of this happening at the one show — wouldn’t that be nice? — it takes three shows over four years. Good things come to those who wait!

The point

My point today is obvious — I hope! Relax on your desires and let the good things come to you. Keep your eyes open for the deal of a lifetime. A friend who was very good at doing this once told me that the deal of a lifetime comes around about every 18 months. I will add that a doorbuster deal happens a lot more frequently and good deals are everywhere. I have to brush them off frequently to keep them from clinging to me!

Summary

Okay, I get it. You are a young man with a young family. You don’t have two spare dollars to rub together. But you are a nice guy who mows the old widow’s lawn every week. She makes you cookies in payment. But one week she asks if you know anything about old guns. You do and she asks if you would like that old rifle that’s up in the attic. Her husband put it up there so the grandkids wouldn’t fool with it and that was ten years ago. She can’t climb the fold-down ladder anymore but you go up and find a dusty Winchester 427 that cleans up to near-mint. Next to it is a Mossberg pump shotgun that she forgot all about. Please take both of them she says — she’ll feel better knowing they are not in her house, but with someone who cares.

What goes around…


Beeman R10: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman R10
Beeman R10.

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • This R10
  • History of the Beeman R9 and R10
  • Success!
  • Tap the cap
  • What about this R10?
  • The R10 came in both standard and deluxe versions
  • Thin spring tube
  • Trigger
  • Cocking shoe
  • Performance
  • Velocity with JSB 8.44-grain
  • Summary

I wrote a 6-part report about the Beeman R10 in 2017-18, but this one will be different. The rifle I reported on three years ago was actually a Weihrauch HW85 that was the basis of the Beeman R10, and I bought it because it had been super-tuned. Not only is it lubed to perfection, but some internal parts like the spring guide were made for it so there is no tolerance in the powerplant. If you read the series, especially Part 1, you will learn that this rifle was tuned by Bryan Enoch, reader David Enoch’s brother. When I shot it at the Malvern, Arkansas, airgun show I was impressed by how smooth it was. I made one of those, “If you ever decide to sell…” kind of offers and David (or Bryan — I really didn’t know whose rifle it was) took me up on it about a year later.

This R10

What I am looking at today is a genuine Beeman R10. The largest difference between the two rifles is the forearm of the R10 is about two inches longer than the forearm on the HW85. Other than the markings on the guns, I don’t think there is any other difference.

This R10 belongs to a reader of this blog — Jim M. At the Texas airgun show several years ago he asked me if I would tune one of his air rifles and after some discussion we settled on this one. The rifle is not in stock trim. Both the front and rear sights have been removed, there is a Beeman muzzle brake in the front of the barrel and I can see through the cocking slot that someone has lubricated the mainspring after the gun came from the factory.

Jim wants me to install a Vortek PG3 HO tuning kit into this rifle. PG stands for Precision Guide and the three means there are three guides for the mainspring. HO stands for High Output — meaning power. This is a high-power kit that will produce more power than their conventional 12 foot-pound kit, though it may not produce as much power as the Beeman factory mainspring. More on that in a bit.

This kit is made for the HW95, which also is the Beeman R9. It will fit the R10/HW85, though, because of the history of the two Weihrauch models.

History of the Beeman R9 and R10

There used to be an airgun manufacturer based in Erlangen, Germany. Their name was Bayrische Sportwaffenfabrik, or BSF, and they made many fine spring-piston airguns. Their most powerful breakbarrels were the BSF S55/S60/S70  that were essentially all the same powerplant in stocks with varying degrees of finish. I have reported on the S70 in this blog, including a long series on how to bend an airgun barrel where the S70 was the subject. Unfortunately BSF went out of business in the 1980s. Weihrauch purchased all or a lot of their inventory that included finished airguns, and lots of parts in-process.

Weihrauch made many different models of air rifles to exhaust the BSF parts, including a Marksman 55 and 70 that were similar to the BSF rifles but were engineered to accept the Rekord trigger instead of the BSF trigger. Another rifle they made from those parts was the HW85 that was also the basis for today’s subject Beeman R10.

In the early 1980s Weihrauch benefitted from the design input of Dr. Beeman who had computer-modeled the performance of a new breakbarrel air rifle he wanted. As far as is known this was the first computer-aided design of a production airgun. Beeman had long wondered why the big HW35 was not more powerful, and his computer model revealed the reason — the piston stroke was too short.

Weihrauch saw great potential in the new design and agreed to build it if they could retain the rights to the gun under their own name, as well. That rifle was the Beeman R1, that Weihrauch branded as the HW80. Because the R1 used a wood stock with a longer forearm, the HW80 was produced first, since a source of wood had to be established for the longer stock. That might sound like a trivial thing to most people, as in, “Why not just cut the wood longer?” But until you understand the full ramifications of the production world you can’t appreciate what sort of time delay a two-inch longer stock can bring.

Success!

At any rate, the R1/HW80 design accomplished exactly what Dr. Beeman was hoping for — a .177-caliber spring piston air rifle capable of a muzzle velocity of 1,000 f.p.s. It didn’t happen in the first year of production, but by year two HW had learned how to lubricate the powerplant to get that speed. And a year after that Dr. Beeman came out with a softer (weaker) mainspring made from some high-tech steel that, along with a new tightly-fitted piston seal and a new lubricant, got the velocity over 1,100 f.p.s. How about that — it was easier to cock as well as more powerful!

But the R1 wasn’t the only rifle Weihrauch was looking at. They had all those BSF parts and had already made some spring rifles of their own. So what became the HW85 and R10 flowed out of that. Dr. Beeman’s computer modeling showed the Weihrauch engineers that the length of the piston’s stroke, and not its diameter was tantamount to developing greater power. So Weihrauch took the smaller BSF spring tube and gave the piston a longer stroke and the HW85/R10 was born. It was more powerful than the R1 yet weighed over a full pound less. The forearm was slender compared to the R1and the resulting rifle was a step forward the evolutionary trail of spring-piston airguns. Except for one thing.

Tap the cap

Robert Beeman was ever-so-fond of his R1 end cap that restrained the mainspring. It was threaded into the thick R1 spring tube, which made servicing the powerplant a breeze. In those days we didn’t use mainspring compressors — we restrained the heavy end cap with our generous bellies, while the muzzle was safety pressed into the inside of a shoe or sandal. In fact, it is the Beeman R1 that caused many airgunners, including your stout author, to develop a generous midriff, just to assist in powerplant disassembly! (insert smiley emoji here)

So, the R10 got a threaded end cap, too. Only, with its much thinner spring tube, the danger of ruining the spring tube and creating scrap while threading rose quite high. It was soon realized that a better way to fit the end cap was needed. Enter the R9. The R9 is an R10 without the threaded end cap. That’s why the Vortek tuning kit will fit both air rifles. It’s also why an R9 can achieve the same velocity as the R1 and still weigh a pound and a half less.

To sum all of this up — the R1 proved that a longer piston stroke was the key to more power. The R10 took that longer stroke one step farther and got greater velocity with less size and weight. And the R9 made the whole thing produceable.

R10 production ended because that rifle was too expensive to produce, due to excessive scrap. The R9 that replaced it is the same rifle in a form that’s easier to make.

What about this R10?

Now that were are up to speed on the model, what can I tell you about this particular R10? It’s a .177 caliber rifle. They also came in .20 and .22 caliber. Dr. Beeman fancied the .20 caliber as the best of all worlds, but in the end the market didn’t follow him. However, the Weihrauch website says the HW85 is still being produced in .20 caliber, as well as .25 caliber.

The R10 came in both standard and deluxe versions

The R10/HW85 came in a deluxe version with a longer barrel and a checkered pistol grip as well as a standard model with a shorter barrel (16.14-inches/410mm) and no checkering. The one I’m testing is the deluxe.

Thin spring tube

The spring tube is so thin that Weihrauch could not cut 11mm scope grooves into it without weakening the tube. So they screwed on an external scope base and someone has added a Beeman scope stop to that.

Beeman R10 scope base
The R10 spring tube is too thin to accept grooves, so an external scope base was screwed on.

The rear sight is not present and a proper Beeman plate sits in its place. The front sight was removed and a Beeman muzzle brake was added. That extends the 19.7-inch (500mm) barrel by just over an inch, making the already easier cocking even lighter. An R1 that’s been broken in would require 36 lbs. of force to cock. This R10 needs 24 lbs. to cock which is almost exactly where it should be. The Beeman catalog says 25 lbs. is what it should be, though the muzzle brake gives us that extra inch of leverage.

Trigger

The Rekord trigger is set to require 13 oz. for the first stage, with a clean break at 1 lb. 8 oz. for stage two. That is about as good as it gets, so the only thing I might do is lubricate the trigger pivots and parts. Yes a Rekord can be adjusted lighter, but I don’t need it any lighter. This is perfect for me.

Cocking shoe

I noted with interest that among the parts Jim sent for his rifle there is a “new-style” Beeman R9/R10 cocking plate — a part I call the shoe. It fits the end of the cocking link and sits in the piston’s slot to push the piston back when the barrel is broken open. So I examined the shoe that was on the rifle and, while it did not seem to be broken, it also did not fit the end of the cocking link very well. The connection appeared very open and loose. And the new-style plate or shoe that Jim sent appears to correct this flaw — if it is a flaw.

Beeman R10 shoe label
New-style cocking plate.

Performance

Jim bought the rifle in September of 2016. He chronographed it to see how healthy it is and he recorded an average of 846.5 f.p.s. that I will round up to 847 f.p.s. with JSB Exact 8.44-grain domes. His extreme spread was 7.46 f.p.s  that I will round up to 8 f.p.s. He never shot it for accuracy, so it’s a much a mystery to him as it is to the rest of us. I thought I would test its performance before I do anything to it.

Velocity with JSB 8.44-grain

My chronograph recorded the following velocities for the JSB Exact 8.44-grain dome.

Shot…….Vel.
1………..821
2………..825
3………..811
4………..814
5………..815
6………..812
7………..806
8………..811
9………..785 — Oh, oh!

After shot 9 the rifle would no longer cock. I could tell that the cocking link was no longer connected to the piston, so I took the action out of the stock and indeed that was the case. The cocking shoe appears not to be broken, but the link has come out of the shoe. No doubt that is why I was sent the “new style” cocking plate or shoe.

Beeman R10 cocking link
The cocking link popped out of the cocking shoe or plate. I could just snap it back in and continue shooting, but I think it’s time to fix this old gal!

Jim told me what he wants is a smooth-shooting rifle. Power is of secondary concern, as long as the rifle is smooth. So, smooth is what I will go for. The Vortek kit should give all the power that’s needed, and most of the smoothness. I will just tweak it as I go.

Summary

This will be your chance to watch another vintage Beeman/Weihrauch rifle get overhauled and tuned. Most of the work will be done by the excellent drop-in kit, but old BB may have a trick or two to add. This should be an interesting series!


Crosman MAR 177: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Crosman MAR
The MAR177 from Crosman.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • What happened?
  • Second group with Sig Match Alloy
  • What to do?
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • The trigger
  • Do triggers affect accuracy?
  • Ten Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • RWS Hobby
  • Qiang Yuan Olympic
  • Discussion
  • The rear sight does adjust!
  • Summary

I finally managed to schedule for a minute past midnight, so that is back to normal. Today’s report is a follow-on from last Friday’s report. I am still testing the Crosman MAR177 target rifle’s accuracy with the sights that came with it. And I learned something big today. I hope it will help all of you with your shooting.

Actually, I learned two big things today. I had a stupident that I hope will help the rest of you.

The test

I said at the end of Part 4 that I wanted to test the MAR again, and perhaps with different pellets. That test happens today.

Once again I shot the rifle from a rest at 10 meters. The test was identical to what I did last Friday, and I started with the pellet that proved to be the best — the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

This rifle was already sighted in as much as I was going to (read what I think about adjusting M16/AR-15 sights in the Part 4 section titled “Sighting in the MAR”), so I just shot the first group. I was relaxed and ready to shoot. Last Friday the MAR put five of these pellets into 0.152-inches at 10 meters. This time five went into 0.492-inches. Disgraceful!

Sig Match Alloy target
Five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy target pellets made this 0.492-inch group at 10 meters. Previously all five pellets had gone into an area the size of the central hole in this group.

What happened?

Am I loosing it? Can I not hold a good group anymore? Am I too old to be shooting? I have to shoot another group to disprove all the unkind thoughts that are running through my mind right now.

Second group with Sig Match Alloy

I concentrated more on the second group. This time I put 5 in 0.339-inches which is better. Better, but not good. If this pellet can put 5 into 0.152-inches it ought to put 10 into 0.20 inches, or so. It shouldn’t just fall apart this way.

Sig Match Alloy target 2
The second target with Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets was better, but not that good. Five pellets are 0.339-inches apart, c-t-c.

What to do?

At this point it was looking like the fault rested with me. I decided to try a different pellet, one that worked well in the first MAR. The Air Arms Falcon pellet is a dome that did very well in 2012.

Air Arms Falcon

I shot 5 Falcons into 0.36-inches. While that is no better than the previous group, something remarkable happened during this group. Let’s look at the group first and then I want to talk to you.

Falcon target
Five Air Arms Falcon pellets went into 0.36-inches at 10 meters. Not a particularly great group, but something great happened while I was shooting it.

The trigger

Remember I said in Part 4 that I had to get used to the Geisselle trigger all over again each time I shot the MAR? That was the key! While I was shooting the first group of Falcon pellets I suddenly focused on the trigger and all my problems went away. The Geisselle trigger is what caused the open groups in the first three targets!

The trigger has a very heavy first stage that’s followed by a second stage that breaks with just 8 ounces more pressure. I said earlier that stage two feels crisp, but that was a mistake. Not only is it not crisp, the Geisselle trigger’s second stage is very creepy when compared to a good airgun trigger. For an AR trigger I suppose it’s okay, but I am shooting the MAR like it is a target rifle and the trigger is not helping me one bit. It is fooling me, which is why I have to reacquaint myself with the trigger every time I shoot the MAR.

I discovered that while shooting the third target of 5 Falcons, and I was so certain that I had found the answer that I shot ten Falcons at the next target. They grouped in 0.254-inches, c-t-c. That’s right, TEN pellets landed in a group that is 0.106-inches SMALLER than five of the same pellets shot just before! And that was all because I now knew how to shoot the Geisselle trigger!

Falcon target 2
Ten Falcon pellets went into 0.254-inches at 10 meters, once I used the Geisselle trigger correctly.

Do triggers affect accuracy?

I have always maintained that triggers do not affect accuracy. They only affect how easy it is to be accurate. Well, that is only partially true, and because of that it is entirely wrong. In Part 4 and now again in Part 5, I have twice been fooled by the trigger at the beginning of the test. Once I learned the trick I have been able to snap back and shoot better. This Geisselle trigger has been a harsh learning tool for old BB!

I always thought in terms of triggers with heavy pulls. Shooters complain about Mauser and Springfield military rifle 2-stage triggers that break at 5 and 6 pounds, and I have had no trouble shooting well with them. But this Geisselle trigger has a heavy first stage that conceals a light but very creepy stage two that has been foiling my attempts at accuracy. Now that I knew stage two is creepy I could deal with it, and I did! I treated it just as I would a creepy single-stage trigger.

Ten Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Now that I knew the trigger I fired 10 Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets next. They did so well in Part 4. Well I must have pulled one of the shots because what I got was nine shots in 0.319-inches, with a lone shot opening the group to 0.509-inches — all at 10 meters. It was not a called pull, but I think you can agree that it was me and not the rifle.

Sig Match Alloy target 3
Nine Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 0.319-inches at 10 meters, with the tenth shot opening the group to 0.509-inches.

RWS Hobby

Remember I said I wanted to try some pellets I hadn’t shot before? I have already tried Falcons, so RWS Hobbys were next. Ten of them went into 0.304-inches at 10 meters. That’s surprisingly good for what is considered a practice pellet.

Hobby target
Ten RWS Hobby pellets made this nice round 0.304-inch group at 10 meters.

Qiang Yuan Olympic

The last pellet I tested was the Qiang Yuan Olympic target pellet. They did second-best in the Part 4 test, with 5 going into 0.226-inches. In this test the MAR177 put 10 in 0.255-inches at the same 10 meters.

Chinese Olympic target
Ten Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets went into 0.255-inches — the second smallest group of this test!

Discussion

I learned a valuable lesson about triggers in this test. They can cause inaccuracy in a way I never anticipated. People have been telling me that for years and I always argued against it, but now I see that I was wrong. This Geisselle trigger faked me out with a heavy first stage that concealed a creepy stage two. I was firing before I was ready! And I am not done confessing my mistakes.

The rear sight does adjust!

A reader named Bruce contacted me through my website to tell me that I was mistaken about the rear sight not adjusting. I then argued with him in the comments on the blog. But he was adamant and contacted me a second time off the blog to get my attention. Well, he got it!

I examined the MAR177 rear sight and saw that it clearly does adjust for elevation. Why did I think it didn’t? Was it the manual?

Well, the manual does clearly state that the rear sight adjusts for elevation, but it also goes into a lot of detail about adjusting the front sight. I think I had a flashback to my Army days when I read that and started remembering the bad old days. I ignored the rear sight instructions in the manual and was back at Fort Lewis in 1968 again. Thank you, Bruce, for keeping after me on this. It really does make a huge difference. Now I can shoot from 25 yards as so many readers have asked, and use the open sights as well as a scope.

MAR rear sight
The MAR177 rear sight does, indeed, adjust for elevation. My thanks to reader Bruce, for calling my attention to this fact.

The bottom line is when I make a mistake like this I want it to be brought out. The purpose of this blog is to instruct, period. BB Pelletier is just the imperfect tool that’s used to do it.

Summary

I told you at the beginning of this report that today would be special. I hope it has been. The rear sight oversight is a mistake anyone can make. Now that we are aware of it, the record of the MAR is more complete.

It’s the trigger lesson that really upset me. Oh, I can still work with almost any trigger devised by man. I’m just surprised that it took me so long to figure this one out.

What’s up next? I think next I will back up to 25 yards and give you all what so many have asked for. Now that I can adjust the rear sight, it won’t be difficult to get on target at this distance.


The Haenel 311 target rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Haenel 311
Haenel 311 target rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Qiang Yuan Training
  • Gamo Match
  • Adjust sights
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Haenel 311 target rifle. Let’s get started.

The test

I shot off a sandbag rest at 10 meters. I rested the rifle directly on the bag for the entire test. Only after the test was finished did I check back to my test done in 2011 and discover that I had used the artillery hold on the rifle at that time. So we will see a comparison today, when the rifle is rested directly on the bag.

I shot 5-shot groups so I could test more pellets. At the start I wasn’t too worried about being sighted in, but there came a point in the test when I did adjust the sights. I’ll tell you about it when we get there.

Remember that I wanted to try some pellets that were not available in 2011 when I last tested the 311. So, there will be a couple of those in today’s test.

Air Arms Falcon

The Air Arms Falcon was the only domed pellet I shot in the test. I just did it to warm up the gun more than anything. Five Falcons went into a group that measures 0.466-inches between centers at 10 meters. The group is low and to the right.

Falcon group
The Haenel 311 put Air Arms Falcon pellets went in 0.466-inches at 10 meters.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next up were five RWS R10 Match Pistol wadcutters. This is a pellet I did not test in 2011. They climbed higher on the target than the Falcons but were still a bit to the right. Five made a 0.648-inch group.

R10 group
Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets made this 0.648-inch group at 10 meters.

Qiang Yuan Training

Next to be tested were five Qiang Yuan Training pellets. This is another pellet that was not available in 2011. These sometimes give surprising results, but not in the 311. At least not on this day. Five went into 0.646-inches at 10 meters. The group looks smaller because the pellet that hit on the lower right target paper that closed up the hole again.

Chinese group
The Haenel 311 put five Chinese Training pellets into a 0.646-inch group.

Gamo Match

Now that both me and the rifle were warmed up I thought it was time to try the Gamo Match pellet. Gene Salvino at Pyramyd Air sent me a tin of them so I could complete this test. The first group was also low and to the right. It measures 0.442-inches between centers. While that is the smallest group so far, it’s much larger than I was expecting for this pellet.

Gamo group 1
The 311 put five Gamo Match pellets into 0.442-inches at 10 meters.

Adjust sights

It was at this point that I decided to adjust the sights to hit closer to the center of the bull. There are no markings on the rear sight to tell you which way to turn the knobs, so I fooled around for a long time and probably shot 15 more shots until I was satisfied. The pellets are hitting high but are fairly well centered. Unfortunately this wore me out.

The next five Gamo Match pellets went into a group that measures 0.528-inches between centers. This is going the wrong way because I’m getting tired.

Gamo group 2
Group two of the Gamo Match pellets measures 0.528-inches between centers.

H&N Finale Match Light

The final group I’ll show was shots with the H&N Finale Match Light pellet.  These were available in 2011. Five of them went into a vertical group measuring 0.375-inches between centers. It’s the smallest group of the test. It’s very well centered but just a little too vertical.

H&N Light group
H&N Match Light pellets turned in the best 10-meter group pf the test. It measures 0.375-inches between centers.

Discussion

I was pretty frustrated by these results. I know the 311 can do better than this. So this is when I went back and read the 2011 report. Lo and behold, I had shot the rifle back then with the artillery hold. Phooey! I mentioned it at the start of today’s report, but it wasn’t until this point in time that I discovered it.

I was now too tired from concentrating to do my best, so I ended the test, but I am not finished with the 311. I will return and shoot it once again, but using the artillery hold this time. I’ll shoot the same pellets as in today’s test. That will give us a good comparison between resting a gun directly on a sandbag versus using the artillery hold. For those spring guns that need the artillery hold, this should be a good test!

Summary

Maybe I just wanted a reason to shoot this rifle again. It sounds like it to me. At any rate, I will return and complete the test of this Haenel 311 at some future time.

But it won’t be next, because I have something very surprising to share with you next. It’s been staring me in the face for many weeks now and I’m really excited to get to test it for you. Wait and see!


The Webley Hurricane: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hurricane
Webley Hurricane.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Air Arms Falcons
  • HOWEVER
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • What is the Oh, oh?
  • Galling
  • Wrong lubrication
  • Change in direction
  • What’s next?

Today I’m going to test my Webley Hurricane’s velocity. Like I said in Part 1, I have never tested the Hurricane in my standard way. This series is an attempt to correct  that. However — I have tested the Hurricane’s velocity before and I recorded the results. I will now show a table of those results that I recorded in August of 2014, so I can do some baseline testing as I start the velocity test.

table

As you can see from the table, Air Arms Falcon pellets are the fastest and also the most consistent in the Hurricane. If I shoot 10 more today, how will those results compare to the numbers I got six years ago?

Air Arms Falcons

This time 10 Falcons averaged 461 f.p.s., compared to 466 f.p.s. in the table. The spread went from a low of 456 to a high of 466, making a difference of 10 f.p.s. In the table it’s 7 f.p.s. I would say the pistol is performing pretty much as it did 6 years ago.

HOWEVER

There is a “however”. I noticed when cocking the pistol that the piston or something seems to be galling as the piston is withdrawn. The cocking effort is shaky and rough, like metal is scraping metal. I don’t like it.

H&N Finale Match Light

The next pellet I tested was the H&N Finale Match Light. This wadcutter wasn’t around in 2014 when I last tested the pistol. I only shot 5 shots because the third time I cocked the Hurricane for this string the HOWEVER became an Oh, oh!

The average velocity was 416 f.p.s. The high was 422 and the low, which happened after the Oh, oh started, was 412 f.p.s. This test ends now.

What is the Oh, oh?

The Oh, oh is what happened during the test of the H&N Finale Match Light pellet. On the third try the cocking went from stiff and jerky to a major issue. I had to use too much force to cock the gun. I didn’t measure it, but 50-60 pounds seems about right. The powerplant feels dry. Obviously something is very wrong with this Hurricane. I can feel galling and it’s getting much worst.

Galling

Galling has several meanings, but they all boil down to two parts rubbing together in an uncomfortable way. If we are talking about skin parts, you have chafing and redness from irritation. For metal parts it means two parts that are engaging (touching) and losing metal from friction. It can be caused by a lack of lubrication, or by using the wrong lubrication, or the parts are not aligned as they are supposed to be. Or it can mean all three.

Wrong lubrication

You can understand a lack of lubrication and a misalignment of parts, but what does using the wrong lubricant look like? A classic example of using the wrong lubrication is when you use silicone chamber oil as a lubricant between two metal parts. Silicone chamber oil is designed to seal very tight spaces, such as the edges of a fast-moving synthetic piston seal when a spring gun fires. It works great for that. But between two metal parts that are rubbing against each other under pressure, silicone chamber oil doesn’t have enough surface tension to do the job. It gets squeezed out of the way and the parts act as though there is no lube at all.

Change in direction

I didn’t anticipate this, but now this report has taken a different turn. I’m going to disassemble the pistol and discover what is wrong so I can correct it. Galling should leave evidence in the form of shiny places wherever metal has been removed. Find them and then look for the part(s ) that have rubbed them shiny and lube both parts with a good lube.

Thankfully reader Derrick told us about a good blog on Hurricane disassembly on Another Airgun Blog. He pointed it out to us in the comments for Part 1. And, there is also a downloadable Webley Tempest manual with full disassembly instructions on the Pyramyd Air website. I printed it out. And I will do my part to show you how the Hurricane gets stripped.

There is another blog there about smoothing the trigger. My trigger is smooth and reasonably light, but as long as I’m in there I will look at it.

Now, a Hurricane is not built like the Webley pistols of old. My straight grip Senior from the 1930s was put together in a classic and time-honored fashion with screws and threaded parts, and I showed you a trick or two for disassembly when I took it apart. Well, this Hurricane is put together with lots of roll pins (hisssss) and the parts are named strange things by Webley. For example, in the Tempest manual the plastic grip panels that need to be removed are called Stocksides????? That’s a name a British Millennial Valley Girl would have made up! Old BB is a-gonna straighten all that out for you as he does this.

What’s next?

I have ordered a set of roll-pin punches that I have needed for decades. If I’m doing this I’m going to do it right! As far as the lubes go, I’ll have to wait to see the condition of the insides of the gun, but moly paste is on my mind right now. And, I have a fresh tube of White Lithium grease that you guys made me buy, so the spring will get lubed, as well. I say you made me buy it but the truth is the last time I popped the lid off my vintage 1966 can of M1 Garand Special Purpose Grease, the “white” grease inside had turned brown, with oil separating out. Don’t gotta tell me twice!

I’m sorry for a failed test today, but I think we are all going to learn a lot more from this than if the pistol had functioned normally. So you see, Yogi, sometimes even mundane things like retesting the velocity can be exciting!