Crosman MAR 177: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Crosman MAR
The MAR177 from Crosman.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Sight-in
  • First group
  • Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets
  • RWS Hobby
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Discussion
  • Summary

You asked me to back up to 25 yards with the Crosman MAR177 and today is the day I do it. It should prove to be an interesting report.

Sight-in

Because I was using the iron sights that came with the rifle, I skipped the sight-in at 12 feet and went straight to 25 yards. My sight-in pellet was the Air Arms Falcon that was so accurate in the test at 10 meters.

The first shot went two inches high at 25 yards. After seeing that I adjusted the rear sight down 5 clicks. I had adjusted it up the other day for photography when I was exploring its adjustability and writing Part 5.

Dropping 5 clicks dropped the second pellet 8 tenths of an inch, so I was still above the bullseye. I then adjusted the rear sight as low as it would go, which was only another 6 clicks. Then I just shot the remaining 8 pellets without looking through the spotting scope again.

I’m not going to measure this “group” because of the sight adjustments that were made. But I will let you see it.

MAR sight in
The sight-in target was shot from 25 yards with Falcon pellets. The 8 shots in the black were fired with the same sight setting.

Obviously this pellet is hitting too high, and the rear sight is as low as it will go. The only solution is to adjust the front sight higher. I used my new 1/8-inch roll pin punch to adjust the front post up 5 clicks. Remember, adjust the front sight in the direction opposite of how you want the pellet to move.

First group

I shot ten more Falcons after adjusting the front sight up. Ten pellets went into a group that measures 0.793-inches between centers. I pulled the second shot because I was trying to take up the stage one trigger pull and I fired the rifle before I was settled in for the shot. So I am blaming the trigger for that shot. However, even with that I got a decent group at 25 yards with iron sights. But the group is at the bottom of the bull. Apparently the front post adjustment moves the strike of the rounds farther than the rear sight adjustment.

Falcon group
The group of Falcons after adjusting the front post is 10 shots in 0.793-inches at 25 yards. Adjusting the front post up 5 clicks dropped the group to the bottom of the bull.

Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets

Next to be tested were the Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets. These weigh almost a full grain more than the Falcons, so I did not change the sight setting. I did not look at the target while shooting this group and it wasn’t until I walked down to the bullet trap to change the target that I saw what had happened. Ten pellets landed in a round group that measures 0.411-inches between centers. It’s the best group of the test, and I was astonished that the MAR could shoot this well. Five shots landing this tight might be called luck, but ten is something more. Ten shots this tight tell us that with the right pellet the MAR can shoot!

Chinese Olympic group
The MAR177 put ten Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets into 0.411-inches at 25 yards. This is the best group of the test.

After seeing how low on the bull the Chinese pellets hit I adjusted the rear sight up one more click up — making the total rear sight adjustment 6 clicks up.

RWS Hobby

The next pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby that did well at 10 meters. At 25 yards the MAR put 10 of them into a 1.098-inch group. Obviously Hobbys fell off at this distance, as we expect all wadcutters to. Can’t figure out the Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets though!

Hobby group
Then Hobby pellets went into 1.098-inches at 25 yards.

Obviously one click up did not move the shots high enough so I adjusted the rear sight another 2 clicks up. That’s a total of 8 clicks up after I adjusted the front post 5 clicks up.

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet I tested was the JSB Exact RS. This dome is similar to the Falcon pellet so I thought it might be a good one for the MAR. This time the rifle put 10 pellets into 0.923-inches at 25 yards. This group was a little higher in the bull but it was also a trifle off to the left.

RS group
The MAR shot 10 JSB Exact RS pellets into 0.923-inch group at 25 yards.

Discussion

The MAR177 shot better at 25 yards than I expected — at least for one pellet. The sights allow for precise shot placement because there are elevation adjustments front and rear.

I think I will call this test finished and move on to mount a scope on the MAR. That should give us a good look at the potential accuracy.

I still don’t care for the trigger. I think it was the reason for my thrown shot on the first group and I have to get accustomed to it every time I shoot the rifle.

Summary

The Crosman MAR177 is performing as it was designed to. It’s a top-flight pellet gun upper for the AR-15. It fits any AR-15 receiver that has standard-sized 0.154-inch pins, as opposed to the larger 0.171-inch Colt-style assembly pins.

It is unregulated, and handles air sparingly, getting up to 160 shots on a fill with 145 of them differing in velocity by just 24 f.p.s. The 10-shot rotary magazine works well, as long as the rifle is level when cocked. If the muzzle is elevated there can be a jam or a failure to feed.

Crosman built the MAR with the best of materials. They made it to shine, and shine it does. I am excited to shoot it with a scope, but I believe I’ll give you a break before I do.


Tech Force TF79 Competition Rifle – Part 6

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


The Tech Force 79 Competition rifle is a lot of value for a very low price.

Before we begin today, I wanted to remind you of the 2nd Annual Airgun Extravaganza in Malvern, Arkansas. It’s being held on Friday and Saturday, April 15 & 16. Contact Seth Rowland for more infomation.

Seth has made a deal with a couple motels. Mention the show and you’ll get a discount:
Comfort Inn Malvern, 501-467-3300: Thurs. $55, Fri. $65
Holiday Inn Malvern, 501-467-8800: Thurs. $85, Fri. $90

Make reservations now because they may fill up since the show’s being held on the same weekend as the Arkansas Derby. I have two tables reserved, and the Lord willing I’ll be there with Mac.

Now, for today’s report. From time to time, I’m asked to verify some facts by testing airguns in a certain way. Reader Victor questioned the accuracy claim for the Tech Force 79 Competition Rifle in the last report, and rightly so. It said the rifle is capable of a 5-shot group measuring 0.08 inches at 10 meters — something that the world’s top 10-meter rifles of today still struggle to achieve. I reckoned that the number had been mistakenly carried over at Compasseco in the past from the Chinese BS-4 target rifle that is a near-perfect copy of the FWB 300. That one really was capable of stunning accuracy. When Pyramyd Air purchased Compasseco, they used that description and this detail was never questioned. Given the large number of products that had to be added to Pyramyd Air’s website, it’s easy to see why not.

However, my struggles with the TF-79 during accuracy testing caused Pyramyd Air’s leadership to examine the rifle more critically, and this past week I was asked to establish a new accuracy figure for the rifle — one that’s realistic. Also, one that we know can be obtained. Since I spent an entire morning testing this rifle again, I darned sure was going to get a blog out of it!

I already had a great target from the RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets. I showed it to you in the last accuracy report, so it became the group to beat. Remember, I’m testing just one rifle. Others may be more accurate and some may be less accurate, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. No dealer can give you absolute accuracy information for every rifle with every possible target pellet. It simply takes too long. Even the $3,000 rifles are tested with only one pellet. To do otherwise would add hundreds of dollars to the cost of the gun, and would still be meaningless, since at any time a better pellet could come along.

Lest any of you get on the “machine rest” bandwagon at this point, that’s not how 10-meter guns are tested at any factory. They’re tested by human shooters, shooting off a rest. The one time I actually used a machine rest (a heavy machinist’s vise) was at AirForce, testing the Edge, and the results were no better than if I’d held the rifle myself. So, get off the machine rest/vise kick. It just isn’t done in the real world in the interest of time, and it isn’t necessary.

Having said all that from my bully pulpit, I also must admit that the people who test 10-meter rifles at the factories in Germany and Austria are the closest thing to vices that still have a heartbeat. They get real good at what they do, and you can see it in the tiny groups they send with their rifles. On the other hand, I’m just an average joe. I know how to shoot. When I get in the zone, I can even shoot pretty well. But I’m not the equal of the guys who test Olympic-grade 10-meter rifles for a living.

For this test, I had to get into the zone and stay there throughout the test. And THAT, my friends, is where the value of shooting the Ballard .38-55 centerfire target rifle comes in! You may recall that in my last outing to the range, I discovered the zone for the Ballard, and the last two targets showed it most dramatically. With that experience fresh in my mind, it was easy to get into the zone with the TF-79. I think you’ll see that my results prove it.

The target to beat is the best one I shot in the last test. That was with RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets and measured 0.244 inches across the centers.


The best group of five pellets at 10 meters with the TF-79 rifle being tested was this group of RWS R 10 Heavy pellets. It measures 0.244 inches across the centers.

Pyramyd Air asked me to do a comprehensive test of H&N target pellets (they’re the U.S. importer). I did test other pellets, as well, but 14 groups of H&N pellets were fired during this test. All pellet head sizes of every pellet used in this test were 4.50mm. While other sizes exist, nearly everything I have on hand has that same head size. The JSB S100 pellet (4.52mm head) that I tested in this rifle in the last test made a poor showing. I’m thinking this may be the best head size for this rifle. That’s just a guess, since there’s simply not enough time to test all of the 50+ tins of target pellets I have on hand.

H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets
First, I tested H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets. I thought they might be the most accurate because of their weight of almost 8.2 grains. The TF79 is a powerful 10-meter rifle and needs (may need?) a heavier pellet to gain consistency.


The best target of the session was the very first one fired! Five H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets went into this group measuring 0.269 inches between centers.


The worst of five targets shot with H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets measures 0.395 inches between centers.

All my guessing turned out to be wrong. The H&N Match Rifle pellet had a wider spread of accuracy than some others. It averages 0. 33825 inches for five groups. That’s not a great showing in light of what was to come.

H&N Finale Pistol Match
H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets were next — and they surprised me.


The best groups of H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets measures 0.296 inches between centers.


The worst target of H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets measures 0.353 inches between centers.

The average of all four H&N Finale Match Pistol targets was 0.31775 inches. That’s significantly better and more uniform than the Finale Match Rifle pellets. Even though the Finale Match Rifle pellets had the single best group of the session, all of the Finale Match Pistol pellet groups were better than all but two of the five Finale Match Rifle groups.

H&N Match Pistol pellets
Next I tried H&N Match Pistol pellets. They lack the Finale name and are a couple dollars cheaper per tin, so I assume they’re made with less precision.


This best group of H&N Match Pistol pellets measures 0.318 inches between centers.


This worst group of H&N Match Pistol pellets measures 0.507 inches between centers.

As you can see, the targets of the H&N Match Pistol pellets varied widely in accuracy. They averaged 0.39567 inches for all groups shot.

I also shot a special hunting pellet that’s currently a secret but will be revealed soon. I’ve been testing this pellet under various different circumstances, and in this test it surprised me by turning in the second-best group of the entire test!


A surprise was this single group of five special hunting pellets that averaged 0.279 inches between centers.

I won’t tell you what pellet is is, yet. When it comes to market, I’ll direct your attention back to this group.

The bottom line of this test is that the TF79 shoots pretty much the same as I tested it last time. By concentrating on H&N pellets, I did manage to show their performance in far greater detail. The RWS R10 pellets are still the best in this particular rifle, and 0.244 inches is still the best group I’ve shot with it. I did shoot one group of R10 pellets in this test and got a group measuring 0.30 inches between centers, so it’s still a very consistent performer.

I was entirely in the zone throughout the test, and only one target had to be thrown out because of technical difficulties (sighting variations) that were noted. So, we’re going to show the potential accuracy of this rifle to be 0.244 inches. Some may be better than that, of course, and others may not be as good.

Also, you get a bonus out of this. After this exhaustive test, I got out four vintage world-class 10-meter air rifles and went to town, just to make sure I still know how to shoot air rifles. You’ll get to see the results of that on Friday.


Tech Force TF79 Competition Rifle – Part 5

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


The Tech Force TF79 Competition rifle is a lot of value for a very low price.

Today is the day of redemption for the Tech Force 79 Competition Rifle. You may recall that in Part 4 I turned in an accuracy test that didn’t exactly stir the masses with its brilliance. In short, it was pretty mediocre for a gun calling itself a competition rifle. I cleaned the barrel and did a few other minor things, but that rifle just didn’t cut it, so it was exchanged for another that I tested for you. And, since I already know how this is going to turn out, I can tell you that this rifle shows what the TF-79 is really capable of.

Good trigger out of the box
On the first rifle, I had to adjust the trigger, so that procedure was turned into Part 2, stretching the report a little. But the current rifle came out of the box with the trigger in a very nice place. Very crisp and repeatable, so I did nothing to it.

Sight adjustments were crisper
I also mentioned that the rear sight on the first rifle had mushy adjustments. The rear sight on this rifle was similarly mushy, but only through the first time it was adjusted. Once the sight had covered the adjustment range, it went back and forth with positive clicks and crispness I could feel. Maybe it’s a good idea to run the adjustment all the way in both directions to clear the mechanism before you try to use the sight.

Let’s go!
Without any fanfare, the rifle was loaded with two CO2 cartridges and readied for shooting. All shooting was done off a rest at 10 meters, and the targets were the official NRA 10-meter targets.

H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets
Sight-in took five shots, and I started with H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets because they seemed right for the rifle. As in the previous report, I shot five-shot groups. I wasn’t too concerned with the pellets hitting the exact center of the bullseye, as long as they were in the black. Once I was in the black, I didn’t adjust the sights for any of the pellets.


Now that is more like it. Five H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. Group measures 0.379 inches.

RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets
Next, I tried RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets. They gave me a super group and turned out to be the best pellet I tried. They have a head size of 4.50mm.


That’s more like it. Five RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets. Group measures 0.244 inches. This turned out to be the best group in the test.

JSB S-100 Match pellets
After that, I tried some JSB S100 Match pellets. These are hand-sorted by weight at the factory. Pyramyd Air doesn’t stock them at the present time, but I have found them to be superb in some target rifles. They have a head size of 4.52mm.


Five JSB S100 Match pellets were disappointing. The group measures 0.438 inches.

RWS Hobby pellets
RWS Hobby pellets were next. You may remember that they were the most accurate pellets in the first rifle. In this rifle, they didn’t do as well, and that’s why we have to test every airgun with every pellet before knowing how it’s going to perform.


Not a very good group, although I know what some of you are thinking. You see four shots in a tight group and wonder if the other shot to the right is a flier. Well, it wasn’t called by me. The group measures 0.577 inches, and the four tight shots measure 0.257 inches.

Something different
Many shooters would be inclined to follow up on those Hobbys, giving them more chances to prove themselves. Allow me to explain why I didn’t. Hobby pellets are not made to match pellet standards, so even if I did get a couple wonderful groups from them, I could never trust them enough to use them in a match. Since matches are what this rifle is about, I left the Hobbys and decided to do something different.

that’s why we have to test every airgun with every pellet before knowing how it’s going to perform

Do pellets “condition” the bore?
Many readers of this blog and some other airgunners have stated they believe pellets condition a bore. The more you shoot them in a particular gun, the better they do. I don’t have an opinion about this yet, so I decided to see if it could be demonstrated. I returned to the RWS R-10 Match heavy pellets and shot four more groups. Here they are.


This second group of RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets measures 0.354 inches.


This third group of RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets measures 0.27 inches. It’s the second-tightest group of the test.


This fourth group of RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets measures 0.294 inches.


This fifth group of RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets measures 0.345 inches between centers.

Conclusions?
From the above results, I would have to say that no “conditioning” effect is demonstrated. That doesn’t answer the question, because one test isn’t enough. It’s just a single data point that I hope to add to over the coming months.

The average spread of all five R-10 groups is 0.3014 inches. Only two of the groups were larger than that, so the tendency of the R-10 is to group under 0.30 inches in this rifle.

The bottom line on the TF-79
After today’s test, I would definitely recommend this target rifle to anyone who wants to shoot 10-meter or even informal target shooting out to any reasonable range. The trigger is wonderful; and as we’ve seen today, the accuracy is also quite good. Who knows if the four pellets I tested were the best for this rifle? The gun’s at least as accurate as I’ve shown and most probably more so.

I’ll still test the rifle on bulk-fill for you. I received the correct hose to bulk-fill from a 20-lb. tank (a fire extinguisher) with this rifle. Since I already have one of them, please allow me to test it that way. That way, I won’t have to shell out money for a paintball tank adapter. Back in my day in the 1990s. 20-lb. CO2 tanks were how we filled bulk CO2 guns, so this is historically accurate.

I’ll have a word with Pyramyd Air about changing over to a paintball tank adapter for this series of rifles, because in today’s world that does make more sense. I think they will go for it because they sell paintball tanks already filled. The fill procedure is the same regardless of the tank size, because CO2 is a self-regulating gas.


Tech Force TF79 Competition Rifle – Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Before I start, I have 2 announcements:

First, the January podcast is now available. My voice comes and goes, so I have to wait for it to be loud enough to produce the podcasts.

Second, the instructional video section of Airgun Academy has been filling up. I haven’t announced on the blog all the videos as they’ve been uploaded, but we’re already up to No. 18! Also, Pyramyd Air put the first 10 videos on a DVD so you can watch them on your TV or when you’re offline. Of course, you can still access them on Airgun Academy.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


The Tech Force TF79 Competition rifle is a lot of value for a very low price.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the .177 caliber Tech Force TF79 Competition rifle. This is Part 4 and not Part 3 because of the special report I did on the trigger in Part 2.

The trigger that I reported was doing very well in Part 3 is still performing up to spec for this test. Apparently, the moly took care of the tiny bit of creep left in the sear, so now the trigger breaks crisply. It feels like the target trigger that it is.

There were no called fliers in this entire test. The TF79 shoots so smoothly that the bullseye remains pretty much centered in the front sight aperture element. All shooting was done from a rest at 10 meters. I used both the artillery hold and the rifle rested directly on the sandbag, which you can get away with when shooting either gas or pneumatic recoilless rifles.

RWS Hobbys
I sighted-in the rifle using RWS Hobby pellets. The sights were way off target and had to be adjusted over one inch in both directions. That took a lot of clicks, because each one moves the sight only a very short distance. The clicks are vague and indefinite, but I could feel each one. Some felt soft and mushy, while others felt like the mechanism was binding then releasing.


RWS Hobbys were used to sight-in the rifle. After that, the sights were not adjusted for the other pellets. These 5 Hobbys gave a good group of 0.338 inches.

H&N Finale Match Pistol
The next pellet tested was the H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. Four of those grouped in a tight 0.29-inch group, but the fifth pellet opened the group to 0.587 inches. That makes me want to try these pellets again, in the hopes that the stray shot was a fluke. But, the sights were set perfectly for all shots and no alibi is claimed. This pellet has a head size of 4.50mm.


A tantalizing group. Four were under one-third-inch, but the fifth opened the group to more than a half-inch. H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets.

RWS R10 Match Heavies
RWS R10 Match Heavy pellets were next, and I really had high hopes for them. But they went the other way, giving one of the worst groups of the test. Five pellets grouped in 0.889″. Another 4.50mm-head pellet.


A disappointing group, to say the least! Five RWS R10 Heavies made this 0.889-inch group.

RWS R10 Match Pistol
If the heavy R10s were disappointing, the lighter RWS Match Pistol pellets were a shock. They produced the second-worst target of the test, with five shots grouping in 1.133 inches at 10 meters. Head size is 4.50mm.


Five H&N Match Pistol pellets made this 1.133-inch group at 10 meters. No need to point out how poor this is, but let’s learn something from it. Compare this group to the one made by the RWS Hobbys, and you’ll see how dramatic a change of pellet can be.

Gamo Match
The old fallback, Gamo Match pellets, turned in a relatively good group of 0.458 inches. While that isn’t 10-meter target rifle performance by any stretch, it’s much better than what was done by several of the higher-quality pellets. No head size is given on the tin.


Five Gamo Match pellets made this 0.458-inch group.

RWS Supermags
At this point in the test, I was beginning to wonder what I could do to get better accuracy from this rifle. The first group of RWS Hobbys showed that it could shoot, but for some reason the other groups were mediocre. I reasoned that a heavier, larger pellet might be the answer. The next pellet I tried was the RWS Supermag. Besides being a heavier pure lead pellet, the Supermag is also a wadcutter, so it prints well on target paper. No head size given.


Five RWS Supermags went through this 0.679-inch group at 10 meters. Not too encouraging!

JSB S100
Next, I tried a favorite pellet. The JSB S100 is not only hand-sorted by weight at the factory, these particular ones have a head size of 4.52mm. If size is a problem, I figured these would take care of it. The group they printed was 0.565 inches — again, no joy.


I can usually count on JSB S100 pellets to deliver the goods, but not today. Five shots went into this 0.565-inch group. Ho-hum!

JSB Exact RS
The last pellet I tested wasn’t a target pellet, but I wanted to know what difference it might make. The JSB Exact RS pellet has delivered the goods in the past, so it was worth a try. Five went into a group measuring 1.429 inches, which has the distinction of being the worst group of the test.


Five JSB Exact RS pellets made this 1.429-inch pattern (too large to call it a group) at 10 meters. Clearly not the right pellet for the TF79. You can also see why domed pellets are not used for formal target shooting. The vague and jagged holes they make in the target paper are too difficult to score.

What gives?
The results of this test are not indicative of the normal accuracy of a TF79 in my experience. The group made by the RWS Hobbys indicates the rifle can shoot when it wants to. I’ll come back to it and test it with different pellets, plus I’ll also clean the barrel before that test. Don’t scratch this one off your list until I’ve had the opportunity for a second run!

Except for the accuracy, the TF79 has everything in the world going for it. Of course, that’s an absurd thing to say about a target rifle, so we still have to see better performance if this rifle is to be on the short list of good competition guns.


Tech Force TF79 Competition Rifle – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


The Tech Force 79 Competition rifle is a lot of value for a very low price.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men….I was supposed to be at the SHOT Show today, but the night before my flight left I went to the emergency room with what I thought might be appendicitis. It turned out to be a small but painful hernia, which cancelled all travel plans and heavy lifting for a while. So, no SHOT Show this year! Apparently, my extended hospital stays and being fed intravenously for so many months last year resulted in too much muscle loss. The doctors believe it will heal up shortly without any surgery.

That’s sad, because Crosman is unveiling a brand new kind of big bore air rifle. Named the Rogue, we called it the electronic PCP during development, because it uses computer control of the valve to get far greater efficiency than has ever been possible.

The idea of an electronically controlled valve isn’t new. Daystate has been doing it for several years and getting great results. But, no other airgun will get the performance this new gun offers. The computer senses the remaining air pressure in the reservoir and holds the firing valve open long enough to extract highly consistent velocities. Instead of 2 shots or 6 good shots from a big bore, what would you say to the possibility of 10 high-powered shots? Or, change the programming and get 20 lower-powered shots at a level that’s still impressive.

This new system was invented by one of our own blog readers, Lloyd Sikes. He signs in here as Lloyd. He first showed me his design at the Roanoke airgun show several years ago, and I was so blown away with the possibilities that I set up a meeting with Crosman. Of all the airgun companies in the world, Crosman is the only one open to new and radical ideas, as well as having the engineering and production capability to act on it. Lloyd initially demonstrated his invention by video, followed by several live demonstrations at the Crosman plant. They made the decision to take his idea and make it into a producible airgun system, and I use the word system advisedly. Although the initial offering is a rifle in .357 caliber (imagine the hundreds of lead bullets now made in this caliber!), a barrel change allows conversion to .30 caliber and even .410 gauge! For the first time in history, we may have an air shotgun with power identical to a firearm! I’m talking about sending a half-ounce of shot out the muzzle at over 1,100 f.p.s.!

Imagine filling to 3,000 psi and still firing shots at the same velocity when the pressure has dropped below 1,500 psi. This will be the most flexible, most adaptable big bore airgun ever conceived.

Crosman has poured their corporate heart and soul into this project, knowing that they have a technology unlike any that’s gone before. The future may hold .50 caliber buffalo rifles, real usable shotguns, smallbore rifles that have incredible velocity uniformity…and the list goes right on out to the horizon. And, you, my dear readers, are the absolute first set of airgunners outside the development team to learn about it. This is the big bore that many people guessed would be some kind of Marauder on steroids. It’s nothing of the kind. It’s a brand-new technology that has never been seen before.

I’ll be getting a rifle to test for you this year, so the future bodes well for more great new toys.

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of our .177 caliber Tech Force Competition Rifle, as well as the endurance of two 12-gram CO2 cartridges. Don’t be confused because this is Part 3. I did a special report on the trigger in Part 2.

Pyramyd Air rates this target rifle at 550 f.p.s., which is right where a 10-meter target rifle ought to be. But, the test rifle proved to be more powerful than that. Before I get into the velocity numbers, though, I’d like to share some more info on the trigger.

Sweet trigger
At the end of the trigger report in part 2, I told you that the trigger was almost creep-free. Just a hint of creep remained in stage two because I insisted on more sear contact area for safety. I also lubed the sear and the trigger contact with moly grease. Within just a handful of shots, the moly had erased all hint of creep, and I now have a target trigger worthy of the name. I cannot emphasize too strongly what an incredible value this trigger is in such a low-priced airgun.

Velocity
The first pellet I tested was the RWS R10 7.7-grain target wadcutter. It seems RWS has dropped this pellet in favor of an even lighter 7.0-grain R10. But, it was the heavier pellet that I tested. They averaged 613 f.p.s. and the range stretched from 608 to 617 f.p.s. for a span of 9 f.p.s. They average 6.43 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Next, I tried the H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. They weigh 7.56 grains and they averaged 617 f.p.s. in the test rifle. The range went from 614 to 619 f.p.s., so a tight spread of only 5 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 6.39 foot-pounds.

I cannot emphasize too strongly what an incredible value this trigger is in such a low-priced airgun.

Gamo Match pellets were next. They weigh 7.71 grains and averaged 613 f.p.s. in the test rifle. The velocity spread went from 610 to 617 f.p.s., so only a 7 f.p.s. spread. Average muzzle energy was 6.43 foot-pounds.

The last pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby. They were the fastest pellets, at an average of 632 f.p.s., and the range went from 629 to 636 f.p.s. The spread was 7 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 6.21 foot-pounds.

After this testing, a total of 40 shots had been fired with the two CO2 cartridges. I continued shooting Hobbys to see what the total number of shots would be. The velocity fell off immediately. By shot 48, it dipped below 600 f.p.s for the first time. This particular rifle has a total of 40 good shots on a set of two CO2 cartridges. That might be extended a few rounds in the hot summertime, and in cold weather it might be a few less. I shot in my office with the temperature at 70 degrees F.

A plinker could go on for several additional shots, but a target shooter wouldn’t want to. That’s where the degasser comes into play. When CO2 is in the reservoir, the o-rings press against the walls of the reservoir so hard that no amount of effort short of vice grips can turn the end cap off the gun. The degasser lets you dump the remaining pressure and start all over again.


The degasser slips into a hole on the left side of the gun and works just as the name says.

I’m going to get a setup for bulk-filling in a future report. For now, know that the TF79 is even more efficient than the classic Crosman 167 (the .177 caliber version of the 160). Coupled with better overall design and a finer trigger, that’s saying a lot. Accuracy will be the next thing we look at.


Tech Force TF79 Competition Rifle – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


The Tech Force 79 Competition rifle is a lot of value for a very low price.

Today, we’ll look at the trigger of the .177 caliber Tech Force TF79 Competition Rifle, which I promised would get a report all its own. Back before the QB 78/79 rifles came to market and back when I was still reporting on the original Crosman 160s, I discovered that there were different variations of the model that came with different triggers. The first 160 made back in the 1950s had a dirt-simple, direct-release, sear-type trigger that had no special advantages. This was the rifle that had a crossbolt safety through the stock. Back then and probably still today, those rifles commanded less money than the later models that have the trigger I’m going to discuss today.

In fact, this trigger I’m discussing today was the cover subject of the premiere issue of my newsletter, The Airgun Letter, published in March 1994. So, for those folks who wonder if I’ve ever looked at the TF79 before now: I have been looking intently at both it and its direct ancestor for the past 17 years, which is my entire airgun writing career.


The first article in the first issue of The Airgun Letter was about the adjustable trigger in a Crosman 160.

Back in 1994, I was just learning how to take pictures with a 35mm film camera, and it would be more than a year before I started having much success. When it came to capturing the inside of the trigger, I didn’t photograph it, I drew it! It took about four hours to complete the drawing, but I’ve used it many times since.


Before I could take good pictures, I drew things to illustrate them. This is my drawing of the 160 adjustable trigger. The only difference between this trigger and the one we’re reviewing today are two tiny coiled springs that put side tension on the two trigger-adjustment screws. Today, things are simpler and better.

At the time, I was aware that the 160 trigger was based on a crossbow trigger from the Middle Ages. In The Crossbow by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey, a reference book I’ve recommended several times, you can see the cross-section of a crossbow trigger and apply it directly to the 160 trigger design.


From Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey’s historic book, The Crossbow, this sectional drawing of a crossbow trigger shows the similarity to the 160 trigger. Gallwey refers to the sear as the revolving nut.

You can see how the crossbow trigger was able to restrain hundreds of pounds of force, yet break with relative ease. Well, the 160 hammer spring is not nearly as powerful as a crossbow; so, with adjustment, it can be made very fine. And, the adjustments are what differentiate this trigger from the primitive crossbow trigger.

From the factory
The trigger-pull right out of the box measured between 1 lb., 8 oz. and 1 lb., 10 oz. It’s a two-stage unit with stage one being extremely light and stage two rather long and very creepy, if also light. I can fix most of that with lubrication and adjustments.

Removing the TF79 action from the stock requires the removal of one large nut in the bottom of the forearm that requires a large spanner. Then, the safety must be removed. Just rotate the lever down while pushing on the back side of the safety pin, and you’ll feel it give when it’s aligned for disassembly. I used a pin punch to drift it out, not because it fits tightly but because the cam it bears against, which is the actual part that blocks the trigger, is under a lot of spring pressure. You can see that spring in my drawing or in the second photo below.


Out of the stock, the TF79 trigger is a unit contained inside a metal box. Remove the two Phillips screws to take off the plate for adjustments. The hole allows for inspection of the sear contact without removal of the sideplate.


With the sideplate removed, you can see how the trigger works. The sear engagement adjustment (top left) has a locking nut, which is an improvement over the 160 trigger.

I found this trigger to be much better built than the old Crosman 160 trigger. With that one, you had to worry about the parts jumping out of the trigger box when you tested the adjustments, but this current one holds together and allows all the testing you want. As a result, I was able to get a fine trigger release in a matter of a few minutes. It’s no lighter than before, but nearly all the creep is gone. I could have removed all of it, but the amount of sear engagement when I did so seemed too small for safety. So, there’s one very repeatable bit of slippage in stage two and then the let-off is crisp. Now, the trigger stops immediately after release. The feeling is one of precision, and I found it much easier to achieve than with a genuine Crosman 160 trigger.

I also lubed both the sear and the trigger catch with moly. Hopefully, this will bond with the metal surfaces and improve the smoothness of the pull over time.

Assemble the rifle
Putting the trigger plate back on is no chore at all, because the three pins that use the plate as their other bearings remain in alignment with the plate off. In the 160, you had a heck of a time with some guns, because these pins would tilt from the spring tension they were under. Putting the trigger plate back on a 160 was a lot like picking a lock. That’s no longer the case.

The next step is to drop the action back into the stock and tighten the spanner nut. After that, the safety goes back, and there’s a trick to it. From the opposite side of the safety hole (the left side of the gun), push the safety cam up with a thin-bladed screwdriver to allow the safety lever to be inserted in the right side of the hole. Once it’s in, it’ll hold the cam out of the way and easily go in the rest of the way. The rifle is now assembled. Taking the safety out or putting it back in is a 15-second drill once you have the knack.

Guys, this is a hundred-dollar trigger when it’s properly adjusted. It’s not quite a Rekord, but it’s in the Walther LG 55 class for sure.


Tech Force TF79 Competition Rifle – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Before we start, I want to remind everyone that today is the last day of Pyramyd Air’s special shipping promo! Instead of buying $100 to get free shipping, you have to buy only $50 in merchandise to get free ground shipping. This special promo is good through today (Jan. 7) and is available only for addresses in the lower 48 states. You cannot combine coupons with the free shipping offer.


The Tech Force 79 Competition rifle is a lot of value for a very low price.

History
If you’re new to airgunning, you need to know what transpired to bring a rifle like the .177 caliber Tech Force TF79 Competition Rifle to the market. It began in the 1950s with the inception of the Crosman 160. The 160 was a .22 caliber single-shot CO2 rifle that used two cartridges to shoot 25-35 pellets at around 610 f.p.s. Back in the 1950s, the 160 was a minute-of-Oreo-cookie at 15 yards. As time passed and European pellets began arriving at our shores, the accuracy improved. The Crosman barrel was always well-rifled, but it took us several decades to realize how good it really was.

Crosman also improved the rifle, ultimately resulting in the high-water mark, which was a military single-shot target rifle with a Williams S331 peep sight and a genuine leather sling. I was active as an airgunner in Maryland in the 1990s when several hundred of these Crosman Air Force rifles were discovered in a warehouse and sold as new old stock. For a while, I owned a brand new 1980 Crosman MIL-SPEC target air rifle.

However, in the 1990s, the Crosman Premier pellet was available. So, the rifle that the Air Force thought might shoot a half-inch five-shot group at 25 feet was suddenly capable of shooting just as good at 25 YARDS. The pellet made all the difference in the world; and, for many years, the airgun world was hot for 160s.

Enter Tim McMurray and Henry Harn. Tim we all know as Mac-1, and he’d been working on 160s for decades by this time. Harn was a businessman with connections in China, so he asked Tim to put together the finest version of a 160 he could, and then Harn would have the Chinese duplicate it. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, only Harn and McMurray rode the Chinese roughshod until they got what they were after — more or less. The QB-22 was a knockoff of the Crosman 160 that gave nothing away in quality or accuracy. Tim did have early problems with barrel quality, but he sorted it out.

But, the QB-22 retailed for $200 in the 1990s. Like today, everyone wanted a free lunch, so the guns didn’t move as fast as expected. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come, but a lot of them will stand around with their hands thrust deep into their empty pockets and kicking dirt clods while saying things like, “What they should have done….”

The QB 22 languished. About a year later, something called a QB 78 hit our shores and it retailed for about $78. That got people talking. A real Crosman 160 for $78! Only, it wasn’t a real 160, of course. It was a gamble. Some of them shot great, while others were just mediocre. For the first time, the Chinese were embarrassed by their own lack of quality. They had expected huge sales, but the lackluster performance of the gun left sales in the dumper. Apparently, you can’t just build a mock landing strip and control tower to attract the cargo planes from the U.S. (I’m referring to the cargo cults.)

So, they did something remarkable. They built a new and improved rifle — the QB 79. The gun they should have built all along, only they didn’t. Now, they were at it full bore. Yes, the QB 79 was the gun you really wanted, but they had quality problems with that model, as well. Some were great shooters, while others were only mediocre.

Okay, now I have to hit the fast-forward button, because both these designs have matured and morphed like gangbusters in the past 10 years. For example, there’s a target version of the QB/TF 79 that’s a super deal in an accurate single-shot. Compasseco had a TF78 with a dark stock and a gold trigger that was to die for. Whole cottage industries have sprung up around these models. Mike Stephen (sorry for the typo!) Archer in upstate New York makes his living selling both repair parts and modified parts for the rifle and by selling high-graded rifles, which are based on accuracy.

That’s enough history. You now know that what we’re about to look at is a close copy and descendant of the famous Crosman 160. You may not yet know what that entails, but therein lies my report.

Sights
The rifle I’ll be testing for you is the full-blown TF79 target rifle. It comes with both a precision adjustable aperture rear sight for 10-meter work and a sporting sight that lets you use the rifle as a plinker. You also get two inserts for the target globe front sight. The ring insert comes installed, and there’s also a post insert for the sporting rear sight. Anyone who wants to put the little holes in the center of the target will use the ring insert and aperture rear sight.


With the rifle comes a large metal precision aperture target rear sight. While not the equal of a $500 European target sight, it works. There’s also an adjustable sporting rear sight, if you chose to use it.

The steel receiver is topped with an aluminum dovetail base for the rear peep sight or sport sight. This same base will also accept an 11mm scope mount, and I know that a lot of you are going to be putting scopes on your guns. The lack of recoil means you have nothing to worry about as far as anchoring the scope rings.

Charging the gun
This rifle operates either on two CO2 cartridges or via a bulk-fill adapter. However, the bulk-fill CO2 hose and paintball adapter was left out of the box I received. I think I’ll simply use CO2 cartridges to test the gun, anyway. With the hose, it’s possible to bulk-fill the gun from a standard paintball tank.


Replace the reservoir cap with this adapter cap, and the CO2 hose screws into the end of the adapter. The hose was missing from my box, so I’ll just use CO2 cartridges.


Just screw a paintball tank into the adapter, and you’re ready to fill the rifle with bulk CO2.

You also get two Allen wrenches for making adjustments, and there’s a degasser that Crosman never thought of. The degasser allows competitors to dump their partial fills and start a match with a full tank of CO2, something that cannot be over-estimated. Degassing also acts to chill the reservoir, to enable a denser fill when bulk-filling.

In all, you get about the same amount of support gear as comes with a $2,000 10-meter air pistol. I’m very impressed at this well-thought-out package for just $180. And, let’s get that out of the way right now. Carp all you want, there simply are no other 10-meter target rifles that sell for this price. Even used, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything.


The rest of the accessories are the sporting rear sight, the front sight post insert and the two Allen wrenches for adjustments. The degasser lever fits into the left side of the receiver when you’re ready to exhaust some gas.

The stock
This is a heavy rifle, if not a large one. The overall length is a carbine-like 40 inches, but the stock is massive, which you want in a target rifle. The rifle weighs only 6.6 lbs., but the overall shortness makes you think that it’s heavier. The stock is not as ergonomic as the aluminum one found on a $3,000 FWB, but it’s well-shaped for the intended purpose. Think of it as a flashback to the 1960s, when stocks were solid pieces of wood on rifles like the Walther LGV and the FWB 300. The finish is dark reddish-brown, even and smooth. No gouges or fills insult your vision.

The length of pull is 13 inches, even — which feels short to me. Because this is a target rifle, a shorter LOP is proper. But, I think many shooters will find the pull adequate for their sporting needs, as well.

The trigger
The trigger deserves its own separate report, which it will receive. Back in the 1960s, Crosman took a crossbow trigger design from the 16th century and improved it for use in the 160. It was incredibly adjustable and could be set so crisp and fine that it rivaled a Rekord — not the target Rekord on the HW 55 — just the standard sport model. When Tim McMurray built his super-160 to show to China, of course it had that trigger.

As the gun comes to you, both Brian in Idaho and I noted that the trigger has lots of creep in stage two; but if this one is anything like the others I have adjusted over the years, it can be made light and glass-crisp, with an absolute dead-stop overtravel. For that reason, it gets its own separate report. Brian tells me he adjusted his down from 4 lbs. pull to 1 lb., 2 oz.

Cocks on closing
One big turnoff all shooters experience when trying a 160 for the first time is the cocking action. The bolt opens quite easily, but the hammer spring is caught and compressed (extended?) on closing the bolt. So, a 160 or TF 79 feels just like a Swedish Mauser when you cock it. American shooters have always been partial to bolt-action cocking taking place on opening, though I personally have converted my views over the years. With more experience, I see why cocking on closing is the better way. It’s faster and less bothersome in most bolt guns, save Weatherbys. Don’t be put off when you feel the resistance of the bolt at closing. You’ll get used to it.

Brian found the bolt knob too short for comfort, and I’m inclined to agree. The knob rests right at the edge of the stock, where it’s hard to grasp. An extra half-inch of bolt stem would make all the difference. Archer makes an extended bolt for the QB 78, but apparently not for the 79. One is needed!

Bottom line
While many of you are newer readers and not familiar with my past writing exploits, I’ve been writing about airguns pretty regularly since 1994. I’ve tested both the TF78 and TF79 numerous times. So, this will be a refresher for me, though I note many changes on this new rifle. This is going to be a big, long report because we have a classic and significant model under scrutiny.