Crosman Vigilante CO2 Revolver: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Vigilante dot sight
Crosman Vigilante.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 
Part 4

This report covers:

  • BB cylinder
  • The test
  • Crosman Black Widow
  • Air Venturi Smart Shot
  • The trigger
  • Marksman BBs
  • Beeman Perfect Rounds
  • Daisy Match Grade Avanti Precision shot
  • Get a good dot sight
  • Summary

Today we shoot the Crosman Vigilante CO2 Revolver with BBs. Some real surprizes are in store!

BB cylinder

To shoot BBs we have to use the BB cylinder that holds 6 BBs, instead of the ten pellets we have been used to. So the groups today will be 6 shots.

The BB cylinder is loaded outside the gun from the front. The rear of the cylinder is too small to accept a BB of any size.

Vigilante BB cylinder
The Vigilante’s BB cylinder is loaded from the front. Three plastic “fingers” apply tension to hold the BB in place. These are 6 Marksman BBs.

The test

I loaded a fresh CO2 cartridge for this test because I plan to shoot a lot. I shot at 5 meters seated with the revolver rested on the UTG Unipod. I shot 6-shot groups so I could test more BBs.

The Vigilante has the UTG Reflex Micro Dot sight mounted, because it did so well in the pellet accuracy test.

Crosman Black Widow

First up were Crosman Black Widow BBs because the Vigilante is a Crosman airgun, after all. And we have learned through testing that Black Widows are premium BBs that usually test among the best in any gun.

Six Black Widow went into a group that measures 0.923-inches between centers. I watched the group grow and I knew this test was going to turn out well.

Vigilante Black Widow group
Six Crosman Black Widows went into 0.923-inches at 5 meters when shot from the Crosman Vigilante.

After shooting this group I adjusted the dot both up and to the left. 

Air Venturi Smart Shot

Next up were six Smart Shot copper-plated lead BBs from Air Venturi. We know that these are on the large side for BBs, measuring about 0.173-0.1735-inches in diameter. And they are lead, so we are safer from rebounds than we would be from steel BBs.

Six Smart Shot went into 1.496-inches at 5 meters. Three of them went into the same hole that looks like two BBs instead of three.

Vigilante Smart Shot group
The Vigilante put 6 Smart Shot lead BBs in 1.496-inches at 5 meters.

The trigger

The Vigilante trigger breaks at 5.5 lbs. in the single-action mode. This is a bit too heavy for such a light revolver. Even though I was steadied by the monopod, the dot was dancing all around the bull, and sometimes it was outside.

Marksman BBs

The Marksman BB is a steel BB that we don’t know what to do with. They measure 0.176-inches in diameter, which is super-large for a steel BB. I tried them because the Vigilante has a rifled barrel for lead pellets, so it should be fine with these. And, it is! Six of them went into 0.841-inches at 5 meters. I was impressed!

Vigilante Marksman group
Six Marksman steel BBs went into a group measuring 0.841-inches between centers.

Beeman Perfect Rounds

The next “BB” I tested isn’t really a BB. It was supposed to be shot in rifled pellet guns and H&N made them for Beeman. Perfect Rounds measure 0.176-inches in diameter, like the steel Marksman BBs, but these can take the rifling of the barrel. The Vigilante put them into a group that measures 1.04-inches between centers at 5 meters.

Vigilante Perfect Round group
Six Beeman Perfect Rounds went into 1.04-inches between centers at 5 meters.

After the Perfect Rounds I adjusted the dot up another three or four clicks. The Perfect Rounds landed lower because of their weight, but the Marksman steel BBs had also landed low on the target.

Daisy Match Grade Avanti Precision shot

The last different BB I tried was the Daisy Match Grade Avanti Precision shot. The Vigilante is shooting so well that you guys would have been after me to try it if I hadn’t. And they were great! Six of them went into 0.907-inches at 5 meters.

Vigilante Avanti Match BBs group
The Vigilante put 6 Daisy Avanti Match Grade Precision BBs into this 0.907-inch group at 5 meters.

This revolver can really shoot — BBs. And that’s my recommendation. Buy the Vigilante for BBs and be pleased that it can also shoot pellets. But it’s perfect for BBs.

Get a good dot sight

And get a dot sight that works! This Reflex Micro Dot is expensive; I understand that. But ASG, Crosman (Centerpoint) and UTG all make less expensive reflex dot sights that should work as well. They may not be as small as the UTG Reflex, which is one of its chief selling points, but these don’t cost more than the Vigilante.

One more time

The Markman BBs were the best thus far, so I fired a second group of them. Now that the sight was adjusted they should go into the bull, or close. Six BBs went into 0.693-inches at 5 meters. It is the smallest group of the test!

Vigilante Marksman BBs group2
The last group of 6 Marksman BBs was the smallest of the test. Group size is 0.693-inches between centers.

Summary

I always wanted to shoot a Crosman 357, and with the Vigilante I feel I have done it. The revolver is red-hot with most BBs and okay with pellets. If a lookalike CO2 revolver is what you want, this is one I recommend.


Crosman Vigilante CO2 Revolver: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Vigilante dot sight
Crosman Vigilante with the UTG Micro dot sight mounted.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 

This report covers:

  • What has changed?
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • What does this prove?
  • Crosman Premier Light
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Norma S-Target Match
  • Is it me or the pellets?
  • Summary

Today I believe you will be surprised. I sure was! This is the second accuracy test of the Crosman Vigilante CO2 revolver.

What has changed?

Today I mounted the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight on the revolver, to see if a better sight would improve my accuracy. I tried the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy target pellet and I also introduce a new pellet that I will begin testing for you today, plus the two best pellets from the last test were chosen for today’s test. Those are the only things I did differently in today’s test.

The test

I shot 5-shot groups at 10 meters with my arms rested on a sandbag. I have to tell you, that dot sure jumps around when the revolver is held in the hands!

Sight-in

The dot sight was not on target to begin with, so I moved forward to 10 feet and started the sight-in. I shot 4 pellets before getting them where I wanted. Then I backed up to 10 meters and refined the sight picture with 4 more pellets. Now I was ready to shoot.

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

The first pellet to be tested and also used for the sight-in was the RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutter.  The Vigilante put five of them into a 0.684-inch group at 10 meters. I was astonished! In the last test using open sights I was able to put five of these same pellets into 1.828-inches at the same 10 meters, with everything else being exactly the same. 

Vigilante dot Meisterkugeln rifle group 1
The Crosman Vigilante revolver , with the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight mounted, five RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets into a 0.684-inch group at 10 meters.

Take me home, mother, and put me to bed! I have seen enough to know that I have seen too much. That group, my friends, is a result! The Godfather of Airguns may say that sights don’t improve the accuracy of an airgun, but in this case — they do! That little green dot may have been wobbling around the bullseye as I watched it, but apparently the pellets all knew right where I wanted them to go. After this group I didn’t adjust the dot sight again for the remainder of the test.

What does this prove?

What this proves is this pistol can be just as accurate as its owners claim. I don’t doubt that goes for the Crosman 357 that preceded it, as well. It isn’t a precision target pistol, but for what little you pay, you get a whole lot of value!

Crosman Premier Light

The next pellet I tried was the Crosman Premier Light dome. Five of them went into 1.853-inches at 10 meters, with four of them in 0.867-inches. I didn’t call that lowest shot a pull, but it’s directly below the other four pellets and you have to remember that this revolver has a very heavy trigger pull.

Vigilante dot Premier Light group
The Vigilante put five Crosman Premier Light pellets into 1.853-inches at 10 meters. The upper four pellets are in 0.867-inches.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Next to be tested was the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellet. I just wanted to see what they could do, because in many airguns they are so accurate. The Vigilante put five of them into 1.982-inches at 10 meters. There is nothing in this group that gives me any hope that the Vigilante likes it, so this one is out.

Vigilante dot Sig Match Alloy group
Five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 1.982-inches at 10 meters.

Norma S-Target Match

The final pellet I tried is one you haven’t seen before — the S-Target Match from Norma. It’s an 8.2-grain wadcutter, which puts it into the target rifle pellet class — along with the Meisterkugeln Rifle. The Vigilante put five into a 1.892-inch group. I will be testing this new pellet more very soon, but from these results and the open group I can tell it isn’t the one for the Vigilante.

Vigilante dot Norma target group
The Vigilante put five Norma S-Target Match pellets into 1.892-inches at 10 meters.

Is it me or the pellets?

At this point in the test I was getting tired. Concentrating on the dot with that heavy trigger pull was making me very tired and I wondered if the last few larger groups were the pellets or me. So I shot another group of five Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets that had opened this test. This time the group was larger than the first time, at 1.309-inches between centers. Four of the five pellets are in 0.932-inches and they landed in the same place they did in the first group. This is the second-smallest 5-shot group of the test and it was shot at the end.

Vigilante dot-Meisterkugeln Rifle group 2
The second group of Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets measures 1.309-inches between centers, with 4 in 0.932-inches. The second smallest group of today’s test.

I think the Meisterkugeln Rifle pellet is a good one for the Vigilante and I also think I was partly responsible for the openness of the last few groups. The bottom line is — the Vigilante can shoot!

Summary

In my experience this is one of the very rare times that a different sight has significantly improved the accuracy of a pellet gun. I will still say that different sights don’t usually matter that much, but clearly they can, and sometimes they do.

Next I will test the Vigilante with BBs, and I think I will leave the dot sight installed.


Ataman AP16 Standard air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Ataman AP16 Standard
Ataman AP16 PCP repeater.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

Adjustable sights
It doesn’t matter
The test
Sight in
Mount a dot sight
JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
Air Arms 16-grain dome
Air Arms Falcon pellets
JSB Hades
Loud!
Conclusions
Summary

Today is accuracy day for the Ataman AP16 Standard precharged air pistol. We learned in Part 2 that the AP16 Standard gets up to 46 good shots from one fill. I didn’t shoot that many in the tests today so I only filled the pistol once.

Adjustable sights

We know that the rear sight slides left and right in a dovetail and is held fast by a setscrew.  That’s easy to figure out. It’s the front sight that you need help with. There are no instructions in the manual and the front sight controls elevation by raising and lowering the blade. I told you in Part 2 I would tell you how to adjust it so let’s see.

To raise the impact of the pellet the front sight blade needs to go lower. It needs to go in a direction opposite how you want the pellet to move. There is a screw in front of the sight blade and another at the rear. The blade is pivoting on a crosspin and seems to have a coiled spring under the front. It seems if you screw the front screw down and loosen the rear one, the blade will drop lower. But don’t take my word for it. Play with the screws and watch the front blade. I say that because adjusting this sight is very confusing.

Ataman AP16 Standard sight down
The front sight blade is adjusted low.

Ataman AP16 Standard sight up
The front sight blade is adjusted up.

It doesn’t matter

It makes no difference how the open sights adjust because nobody will use them. You guys know that I can shoot an air pistol with open sights — but not this one! The rear notch is too wide and I can’t center the front blade in it effectively. Let me show you what I mean.

The test

I shot from 10 meters with the pistol resting directly on a sandbag. Since the circular clip holds 7 pellets, each group is 7 shots.

Sight in

I checked the pistol’s sights with the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy that Tyler Patner said are the most accurate pellets. One shot at 12 feet told me I was on paper after fooling around with the sights for photos. Then back to 10 meters for the final 6 rounds.

Ataman AP16 Standard sight-in
The first shot from 12 feet is above the dime. The next 6 shots are from 10 meters. As you can see, I can’t shoot these open sights.

Mount a dot sight

After seeing my group I decided to mount a dot sight. Fortunately the UTG Reflex Micro was available, so I removed the open sights and mounted it. That took 20 minutes, then another 10 to sight-in with that sight and then the test could begin. 

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy

First up were JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets. Seven went into 0.529-inches at 10 meters. The group was a little high and left, so I adjusted three clicks down and three to the right afterward.

Ataman AP16 Standard Jumbo Heavy
Seven JSB Jumbo Heavy pellets went into 0.529-inches at 10 meters.

Air Arms 16-grain domes

Next to be tested were 7 Air Arms 16-grain domes. They hit the center of the bull, so my adjustment of the dot sight was spot on! Seven went into 0.293-inches at 10 meters.  It’s a good-looking group! In fact, it’s the best group of the test.

Ataman AP16 Standard Air Arms domes
Look at this little bitty group. It’s right where it’s supposed to be. Seven Air Arms domes in 0.293-inches at 10 meters.

Air Arms Falcon pellets

Next I tried 7 Air Arms Falcon domes in the AP16. Once again they went to the center of the bull and clustered in 0.508-inches at 10 meters

Ataman AP16 Standard Falcons
Seven Falcon pellets went into 0.508-inches at 10 meters.

JSB Hades

The last pellet I tested in the AP16 was the Hades hollowpoint from JSB. Seven of them went into 0.526-inches at 10 meters.

Loud!

This pistol is very loud! Later on this week I hope to have a solution for that. And no, it isn’t a silencer — exactly.

Conclusions

The AP16 is extremely accurate. Mount a good dot sight and experience it! Don’t even try the open sights. I think they are a lost cause. 

Summary

The Ataman AP16 stacks up to be a fine hunting air pistol. It gets a lot of shots on a fill and puts pellets exactly where they are wanted. If you are looking for a powerful hunting air pistol, this could be the one.


SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft gun: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Virtus AGE right
SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG right side.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • A discovery!
  • The test
  • ASG 0.25-gram Open Blasters
  • TSD Bio 180 0.26-gram BBs
  • TSD 0.28-gram Tactical BBs
  • ASG 0.30gram Blaster Devil BBs
  • Full-auto
  • Summary

Today I’m shooting the Sig ProForce MCX Virtus AEG  with heavier BBs than Sig recommends. You will be able to compare today’s groups with those from Part 3 to see which BB you think is best.

A discovery!

Before we begin I need to tell you about a discovery I made. In the last report the 0.20-gram BBs that Sig supplied with the gun were not feeding well from the magazine, nor were 0.25-gram Stealth BBs. In today’s first test I had the identical problem and discovered that it isn’t the BB; it’s the magazine. It does not like feeding the last four BBs when it’s in the semiautomatic mode. So, for all of today’s test I filled the mag with way more than the 10 shots I needed and after the target was finished I went full-auto outdoors in a safe direction with the BBs that remained. All four of the BBs I tested today fed perfectly that way.

The test

I shot all the targets from a rest at 10 meters. Until the last target, all shooting was one round at a time, which is the semiautomatic rate of fire. I did not adjust the Romeo5 XDR dot sight or the Hop Up at all today. I think you will see that things worked out well

ASG 0.25-gram Open Blasters

The first BB tested was the ASG Open Blaster that weighs 0.25-grams. Ten went into a group that measures 2.041-inches between centers.The group is very well-centered and I am happy with it.

Virtus 25 0.25-gram Blaster
Ten ASG 0.25-gram Open Blasters went into 2.041-inches at 10 meters.

TSD Bio 180 0.26-gram BBs

Next to be tested was the 0.26-gram TSD 180 Bio BB. Ten of them went into 4.34-inches at 10 meters. It’s a strange group because 6 of them are in 1.041-inches in nearly the center of the bull. But those four other shots are there and represent some inconsistency. So this isn’t a good group overall.

Virtus 0.26-gram TSD Bio 180
Ten TSD Bio 180 0.26-gram BBs went into 4.34-inches at 10 meters. Seven of them are in 1.041-inches.

TSD 0.28-gram Tactical BBs

Next up were 10 TSD Tactical 0.28-gram BBs. These surprised me when 10 went into 1.804-inches, with 8 in 1.512-inches. This looks like a very stable BB for the Virtus.

Virtus 0.28-gram TSD tactical
The 0.28-gram TSD Tactical BB looks good. Ten are in 1.804-inches with 8 in 1.152-inches.

ASG 0.30gram Blaster Devil BBs

The final BB I tested was the 0.30-gram Blaster Devil. Ten went into 1.661-inches. That’s the best group of ten for this test, but for some reason it didn’t seem like it at the time. When I went outside the dump the BBs remaining in the magazine full-auto, I could see them dropping fast after 10 meters. That is why I didn’t select them for the next test, which will be burst-fire in full-auto.

Virtus 0.30-graom ASG Blaster Devil
Ten 0.30-gram ASG Blaster Devils went into 1.661-inches at 10 meters. It’s the smallest 10-shot group of this test, but I didn’t like how they fell off after about 10 meters when fired longer distances full-auto. 

Full-auto

Like last time, I took what I thought was the best BB overall in this test, which was the 0.28-gram TSD Tactical and I fired a bunch of them at the last target full auto. “A bunch” turns out to be 17 BBs. I shot the Virtus off the rest and held the trigger back until no more BBs came out. As with all the BBs in this test and the previous one, the magazine empties completely in full-auto. You must remember to then place the selector in semi-auto and fire a couple blank shots to relax the mainspring again.

Seventeen BBs went into 3.496-inches at 10 meters when fired full-auto. Notice that they stayed mostly well-centered within the bullseye, with only two BBs straying outside. This would be a good close-range BB for skirmishing.

Virtus full-auto
On full-auto the Virtus put 17 0.28-gram BBs into 3.496-inches at 10 meters.

The Virtus was more accurate today with the heavier BBs than it was in Part 3 with the 0.20-gram BBs that Sig Recommends using. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should use the heavier ones, because distance is also a factor. But it is worth knowing that as the BB weight increases the groups get smaller.

Would the groups have continued to shrink if I had tested even heavier BBs than those I tested today? Perhaps, but after seeing how the heavier BBs dropped in flight after about 10 meters (on full-auto) I thought the gun had come to the upper edge of its BB-handing ability.

It’s now clear to me that the Virtus is designed for short bursts of full-auto fire. It does work in the semi-auto mode and it works quite well, but that’s not what it is designed for.

Summary

We have reached the end of our tests of the Sig Virtus AEG airsoft gun with the 120 spring installed. Next time I will replace this mainspring with the lighter 110 spring and conduct both velocity and accuracy tests again.


SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft gun: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Virtus AGE right
SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG right side.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Accuracy
  • HOWEVER
  • Romeo5 XDR red dot sight
  • Sig BBs|
  • 0.20-gram TSD Tactical White BBs
  • 0.20-gram TSD Tactical Black BBs|
  • 0.20-gram Marui Black BBs
  • 0.25-gram Stealth BBs
  • Rock and Roll
  • Discussion
  • Summary

I said in Part 2 that there was a lot to test with this SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft guns, and today I discovered I was understating the case. You’ll see why as we progress.

Accuracy

This is the beginning of the accuracy test and it’s good to remind ourselves what this airsoft gun is meant for. It’s meant for skirmishing, which means shooting people, not targets. However, the best way to get it on target and properly adjusted is still the old-fashioned way of shooting at paper.

HOWEVER

The However today is all the variables. I will be shooting many different BBs, adjusting the Hop Up and adjusting the Romeo5 dot sight — each of which makes the equation more complex. I did not think about that until I was well into the test.

My plan had been to try several 0.20-gram BBs, and then some heavier ones, since we learned in Part 2 that the Virtus can handle BBs up to 0.30-grams. But I didn’t take into account adjusting the gun and the sight for each BB. Were I to try to do that I could write about just this one airgun for the next month and still not finish. Perhaps you don’t care about the outcome but there are readers who want to know, so I owe it to them to do a thorough job.

Romeo5 XDR red dot sight

I mounted the Sig Romeo5 XDR red dot sight on the Virtus for the test. I must observe that both this sight and the Virtus airgun are precision-made and the installation of the sight took some time. All parts have to mesh, and when they do that sight is on tight!

I adjusted the intensity of the dot as low as it would go and still be visible. That gives the most precision. 

Sig BBs

I mentioned in the earlier parts of this report that Sig sent some 0.20-gram BBs with the gun, so I started the test with them. I first fired a single shot from 12 feet, and when the BB hit the target at 6 o’clock I backed up to 10 meters for the test. 

The Sig BBs were not feeding reliably. After loading the magazine each time it took several shots before they began to feed, so I loaded 16 BBs into the mag for the first target. That’s 4 pumps of the speedloader button. 

The first target has 8 shots on it. There were more BBs left in the gun but they wouldn’t fire out. The 8 BBs are in 2.415-inches at 10 meters. They are high on the target, and in line with the center.

Sig Virtus Sig BB 1
On the first target 8 Sig BBs went into 2.415-inches at 10 meters. 

I adjusted the Romeo5 dot sight five clicks down after seeing this first target. I also adjusted the Hop Up five clicks up. I didn’t know if that was the right way to go, but the next target would probably tell me. There were 4 BBs remaining in the Virtus that were not fired. I loaded another 16 Sig BBs into the magazine.

The second target has 9 shots in the target in 2.341-inches between centers. Once again I had to shoot several BBs to get the gun to fire then and the last 4 BBs would not fire from the gun. They fell out when the magazine was removed.

Sig Virtus Sig BB 2
The second target shot with Sig BBs has 9 shots in it. The group measures 2.341-inches between centers.

By adjusting both the Hop Up and the sight setting I confused myself as to what was happening. But that did not deter me from making the same mistake again. This time I adjusted the Romeo5 dot sight down 6 more clicks and the Hop Up up 6 more clicks. Hopefully something would change. I loaded 20 more BBs into the magazine.

The third target shows 9 BBs in 2.095-inches at 10 meters. The group is a little smaller than the others, so I’m thinking the Hop Up is where it needs to be for now. It also dawned on me that I could be here forever if I tried to adjust both the Hop Up and the sight for each BB. So I decided to leave both things as they were for now.

Sig Virtus Sig BB 3
This third target with Sig BBs shows 9 in 2.095-inches at 10 meters.

Once again there were four BBs remaining inside the gun after the gun stopped shooting BBs out. They were outside the magazine but loose in the gun’s receiver. I had intended for each of these three targets to be 10-shot groups, but this BB feeding problem prevented that.

Sig Virtus BBs
After every round of shots there were always 4 Sig BBs left in the gun.

0.20-gram TSD Tactical White BBs

Next I tried shooting 0.20-gram TSD Tactical White BBs. They aren’t called that on the bag they come in, but on the next target I will shoot 0.20-gram TSD Tactical Black BBs, and the color of the BB is the only difference between the two. The wording on both packages is identical. I loaded 20 of them into the magazine.

This time I got 10 shots in a row! Feeding was perfect. Hurrah! These ten went into 1.747-inches at 10 meters, making them considerably more accurate than the Sig BBs. They hit in almost the same place on the target as the Sig BBs. To keep things simple I did not touch either the Hop Up or the dot sight for the remainder of the test.

Sig Virtus TSD White BBs
Now this is a nicer group. Ten TSD 0.20-gram white BBs in 1.747-inches at 10 meters.

To dump the remainder of the BBs (I had loaded 20 BBs because of the previous experience) I fired them into the backstop on Rock and Roll, once the target was taken down. All BBs were expended from the magazine this time!

0.20-gram TSD Tactical Black BBs

Now I loaded some 0.20-gram TSD Tactical Black BBs into the mag. The Hop Up and sight settings remained the same. Ten BBs went into 2.106-inches at 10 meters. Once again, all BBs fed as they should and I dumped the rest Rock and Roll into the backstop after securing the target.

Sig Virtus TSD Black BBs
Ten 0.20-gram TSD Tactical Black BBs went into this 2.106-inch group at 10 meters.

Once again, all BBs fired from the gun without fail. But the White TSD BBs still grouped tighter.

0.20-gram Marui Black BBs

Next up were ten 0.20-gram Marui Black BBs. They made a 2.377-inch group in almost the same place as the other BBs. They also fed perfectly.

Sig Virtus Marui Black BBs
Ten Marui Black BBs made a 2.377-inch group at 10 meters.

0.25-gram Stealth BBs

I had only planned to shoot 0.20-gram BBs today, since there were so many to test. But I had loaded the magazine with 0.25-gram Stealth BBs before realizing what they were. Since they were already loaded, I shot a final target with 10 of them. As expected they landed a little lower on the target than the 0.20-gram BBs. Ten of them landed in a group that measures 2.175-inches between centers. That’s about as good as the worst of the 0.20-gram BBs. I could play with the Hop Up to try to improve the group, but for today I will leave things where they are.

I want to add that this was the only other BB besides the Sig BB that had feeding problems. Several times during the shooting BBs failed to come out of the gun.

0.25-gram Stealth BBs
Ten 0.25-gram Stealth BBs made a 2.175-inch group at 10 meters.

Rock and Roll

As a final test I took the best BB of the test, which was the TSD White BB — and shot 16 into the target on full auto from 10 meters. I fired two bursts, with the last one being the longest. The gun was rested for this target just like it was for all the others and all the BBs fired as they should.

This group is perhaps the most enlightening one of the day, because it represents what the Virtus can do when it’s used in the way it was designed. 16 BBs went into 2.743-inches at 10 meters.

Rock N Roll
Shooting 16 shots full-auto gives a group that measures 2.743-inches between centers.

Discussion

This Virtus is a serious select-fire AEG. I consider the accuracy we have seen so far to be very respectable. And the gun hasn’t been fully tuned or tested. 

Up next will be the heavier BBs that range from just above 0.20-grams up to 0.30-grams. If I find any more 0.20-gram BBs I will also test them as well.

Following that test, I will exchange the 120 mainspring for the lighter 110 spring and completely test the gun again — both for velocity and accuracy.

Summary

Sig’s AEG Virtus is a serious airsoft airgun. They should be proud to carry it in their ProForce line.


Diana Bandit PCP air pistol: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana Bandit
Diana Bandit precharged pneumatic air pistol.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Set up
  • Adjusting the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight
  • The test
  • Hades pellets
  • First group
  • Refill the pistol
  • Second group
  • Not clarvoiant!
  • Next step?
  • Fill to 180-bar
  • Final group
  • Summary

Today I finish my report on the .22-caliber Diana Bandit PCP pistol. I had to relearn some lessons, even though I described them well in the past blog parts.

The purpose of today’s report is to shoot the pistol with the 7-shot magazine that it comes with. Until now I have been shooting it with the single-shot tray.

Set up

I had to remount the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight, so there was another whole sight-in. It took all of the 7 pellets in the .22 caliber magazine to get in the bull. The first three shots were from 12 feet and the last 4 were from 10 meters, which is the distance I’m shooting at today.

Adjusting the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight

I removed the UTG Micro Dot sight from the AR-6 crossbow for today’s test for one reason. It is so small that it fits on the Bandit whose very short 11mm dovetail atop its receiver is just 2.8-inches long. You can’t use a sight that won’t mount to that. Ahead of the loading trough there is an additional 0.86-inches, but that isn’t of much use. Whatever you mount to the pistol has to allow clearance for the magazine.

The test

This is to test the utility of the Bandit’s 7-shot .22-caliber rotary magazine. We already know the Bandit is accurate. But how accurate it is with the magazine? We’re gonna find out!

I’m shooting from a sandbag rest at 10 meters. The pistol is rested directly on the bag. The illumination of the dot is adjusted as dim as I can see it against the bright target. That gives me a very small aiming point. I am wearing my normal glasses that are bifocal. I look through the top of the lenses, so I’m using the ever-so-slight correction for distance.

Hades pellets

I started with three different pellets, but as the test progressed I was learning so much (some of it for the second time) from just one of them that I only shot .22-caliber JSB Hades pellets. That will make the lessons of today’s test stand out clearly.

First group

I thought I had the pistol sighted in, so I shot the first group of 7 shots, and remember — this is with the magazine. I think the starting pressure was around 170 bar. That is extremely important.

Bandit group 1
The first group is 7 Hades pellets in 0.844-inches at 10 meters. It isn’t as small as I would like.

The first group was not where I wanted it so I adjusted the sight down and to the left. One of the best features on this Reflex Micro Dot is how fast it adjusts. It also seems to have a great range of adjustment.

Refill the pistol

At this point I refilled the pistol, because as we have learned, it is very short on breath. I can get perhaps two magazines of good shots (14) before it needs filling again. Unfortunately, there must have been a little more air pressure inside than I thought when I started, because I now overfilled it to 180 bar. With such a small reservoir you have to move very slow or this will happen.

Second group

It turned out to be a great thing, though, because of what you are about to see. The group is very vertical and I can confirm that the first shot is the lowest on the target. The group measures 1.195-inches between centers, but look at the top of the group. That is where the last shots clustered. So, a fill to 170 bar, like I should have done to begin with, should give a smaller group.

Bandit group 2
Still shooting from the magazine, on a 180-bar fill the shots climbed from below the bull up to almost the center.

Not clarvoiant!

I can’t see the future, so all I saw after group two was the gun shooting a vertical group with the magazine. Would it still group if I fired it single shot like it did in Part 4? If I had my head screwed on right I would have shot this next group from the magazine as well. The first group was so much better than this one, but I wasn’t paying attention. I was flustered after the second group, so I shot each of the next 7 Hades pellets from the single-shot tray.

Seven pellets fired single-shot went into 0.585-inches at 10 meters. The group is much rounder than the previous one. Oh, and I did not refill after the first group, so this one was shot on the 170 bar that the pistol likes.

Bandit group 3
Now, that’s more like it! Seven Hades pellets fired single-shot on a 170-bar fill went into 0.585-inches at 10 meters.

Next step?

Having gone this far I felt I knew what was happening with the pistol. A 180-bar fill is too much, and a 170-bar fill is right on the money. So I decided to try it again with the magazine. If I was right, with another 180-bar fill the first group would be a vertical string and the second group would be nice and round.

Fill to 180-bar

I filled the pistol to 180-bar, as indicated on the pistol’s built-in gauge. Then I loaded the rotary magazine with 7 more Hades pellets and shot the pistol. The first shot hit at the bottom of the bull and the group climbed up into the center of the bull by the final shots. This 1.166-inch vertical group is exactly what I expected.

Bandit group 4
This vertical group of 7 Hades pellets was fired at 10 meters from the magazine on a 180-bar fill. It measures 1.166-inches between centers.

Now, if I am right, the next group should be higher, smaller and rounder. I’m still shooting from the magazine.

Final group

The last group of 7 Hades pellets went into 0.568-inches at 10 meters. The group is smaller, higher and rounder — just as predicted.

Bandit group 5
Seven Hades pellets shot from the Bandit magazine at 10 meters on a 170-bar fill went into 0.568-inches. This is the smallest group of the test! The magazine is a success!

Summary

I am very impressed by the .22-caliber Diana Bandit PCP pistol. It offers a lot of performance for a very low price. There are things you must know about it, and I hope you have read about them in the five parts of this test. The most important thing to learn is how few shots you get at the best fill level.

The magazine works quite well and I did not see any degradation in accuracy when using it. Granted I only tested with one pellet and at a very close range, but I have little doubt that the Bandit will shoot well with a variety of different pellets.

Hey, I know — let’s run one more test with different pellets! How many of you would like that? I think next time I would like to shoot at least 14 Hades pellets at two different targets, starting with a 170-bar fill, to see if it stays on target through them all. If I do test it again it has to be soon so I can get that UTG dot sight back on the AR-6 crossbow.

Once again, the UTG Reflex Micro Dot sight has proven  its worth. Its small size, coupled with its wide range of adjustability make it an ideal dot sight for a great many airguns, both long and short.

I have used the JSB Hades pellet a lot in this test, and the Bandit does seem to do well with it. It’s a premium pellet that is fast becoming a standby in my ammo cabinet.

For a pistol in this price range I am impressed by the trigger. It’s not that light, but it sure is crisp and predictable. In fact there is a lot to like with this air pistol. Once I opened the silencer and got the baffles out of the way, she turned into a real shooter!


Sen-X AR-6 Tactical Arrow Repeating Crossbow: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier-

Sen-X AR-6
Sen_X AR-6 Tactical Arrow Repeating Crossbow.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Sights
  • Dot sight
  • Vibration
  • Safety
  • Hunting limb
  • Sight-in
  • Group
  • Damage to one arrow
  • Stopped at this point
  • Observations
  • Fletching
  • Next test
  • Summary

Wow! It has taken me a looooong time to return to the Sen-X AR-6 Tactical Arrow Repeating Crossbow. Most of the reason for the delay was the weather that never quite cooperated, but when I tried to do a test at the end of February the problem became something else altogether.

Sights

In Part 2 I showed you that the sights on the bow are primitive. There is a front post, but in the rear there is nothing to align it with except the silver spring latch on the magazine cover. There is a red laser built into the AR-6, but it cannot be seen in daylight beyond about 10 feet. With just those crude sights I managed to shoot the bow fairly well, but I wondered what better sights would do.

Dot sight

The sight I selected for the AR-6 was the UTG Reflex Micro dot. Pyramyd Air sells the red one but I have a green one that I use because a green dot is easier for me to see. The crossbow has a Picatinny rail on the front where this sight fits easily. I picked this sight for its small size. It seems to be made for this crossbow. I thought to have it sighted in within a few shots.

AR-6-with-dot
The UTG Reflex Micro Dot sight is perfectly sized to fit the AR-6 crossbow.

I sighted-in the dot sight at about 12-15 feet. Once the dot was doing well there I backed up to 10 meters and shot a magazine’s worth of confirmation shots. Then I backed up to what I now know is 18 meters.

At 18 meters the crossbow hit fairly well on the point of aim. Two arrows went together pretty close. But on the third shot I missed the arrow stop/bag altogether — something I had not done in all my previous testing of three crossbows, plus an Air Venturi Wing Shot air shotgun firing Air Venturi Air Bolts. All of that put over 200 shots into that bag! I heard the AR-6 arrow hit the fence behind the bag. It did not stick in the cedar wood of the fence slat, but bounced off and landed on the lawn. When I examined the arrow I could see it had bent from the force of the impact.

AR-6-bent-arrow
The metal shaft of the arrow bent from impact.

How could I have missed a target that had seemed so easy so many times before? Was the dot sight loose? I grabbed it and shook it and it was still mounted solid. But the bow limb wasn’t! It wobbled and slid in its slot, which it’s not supposed to do. If you recall in Part 1 I told you that I had to assemble the AR-6 before I could shoot it . The bow limb (what many would call the bow) had to be secured to the bow deck with a large Allen screw.

AR-6-Allen-screw
A large Allen screw holds the bow limb tight to the bow deck.

This fault came up suddenly and unexpectedly, though I imagine there were signs beforehand, if I had been looking for them. But now the bow limb was moving around like I knew it wasn’t supposed to and I remembered there being some steel shims in front of and behind the limb where the Allen screw contacted. I found the shims on the ground where I was shooting.

Vibration

The AR-6 is a completely mechanical contrivance. Every time it fires the bow limb springs forward as far as the bowstring will permit and then stops suddenly, sending vibration throughout the entire assembly. I did not appreciate that. I know that spring piston airguns vibrate, but crossbows vibrate, too. And they need the same attention to tightening their screws as do springers — especially this large one that holds the bow limb in place.

At first I was concerned that I might not get the limb back into perfect alignment. Then I remembered that I had assembled it only a few weeks before and the process is very straightforward. There are marks and guidelines on the limb and the deck to assist you.

Safety

A bigger concern for me was safety. I had never missed the arrow bag/trap before, in spite of testing numerous crossbows and arrow shooters. Two people I allowed to shoot my Sub-1 crossbow and the Wing Shot had missed the bag, but I found out afterward that neither of them understood how they should be aiming them. It’s funny how they won’t tell you beforehand that they don’t understand what you have told them to do, but after the shot goes bad they open up!

Now, I was the one who wondered whether I knew how to shoot the thing. Sure I got it together again and it seemed tight, but I had also done that before, when I assembled it out of the box the first time. Oh, woe is me! And then the hunting limb arrived from Pyramyd Air!

Hunting limb

The hunting limb increases the power of the AR-6 to about 12 foot-pounds. That doesn’t sound like much until you consider that the target limb I am testing produces a little over 8 foot pounds (8.31 foot-pounds, according to the description on the website). Then you realize the hunting limb boosts the power by almost 50 percent. Here I am languishing in fear of the target bow and there is still a more powerful bow to test. Buck up, BB. Time to get with it!

Well, weather and equipment issues slowed me down again until last Friday. Then I got a perfect day to shoot and took full advantage of it.

Sight-in

I sighted-in the dot sight again, since I had to remount the bow limb. Again I shot from 12-15 feet, then 10 meters and finally from the same 18 meters as before. When I was finished the bow was shooting to the point of aim at 18 meters.

I had used the same arrows for all earlier shooting, as well as sighting-in this time. The fletching on those arrows was pretty much gone.

AR-6-fletching
The same arrows, shot perhaps 15-20 times each, had lost much of their fletching.

So, I decided to use 4 new arrows to shoot at 18 meters. Would they shoot to the same place as the arrows I used for sight-in? Only one way to find out! Watch the video.

Group

Three arrows went into 2.552-inches at 18 meters. The fourth arrow opened the group to 3.827-inches. All of this was shot offhand, as you saw in the video.

Damage to one arrow

The arrows sank deep into the target bag. The first shot went in beyond the beginning of the fletching and peeled back both synthetic “feathers” of either side of the arrow. I think there are now so many holes in the target bag that the smaller AR-6 arrows have an easier time sinking in.

AR-6-fletching damaged
This new arrow sank into the target bag deep enough to peel back the synthetic fletching on the first shot.

Stopped at this point

I ended the test at this point. Though the film shows only the final 4 shots, I shot about 15 other times to get the crossbow sighted in. At this point in this series I have made several observations.

Observations

The new arrows shot to a lower point than the ones with damaged fletching. I need to correct the dot sight to account for that.

The fletching on the arrows is subject to damage from penetrating the target bag too deeply. I now have many straight arrow shafts that are in need of repair. I will also look for ways to mitigate the damage, if possible.

The new arrows hit lower on target than the old arrows with damaged fletching. This is possibly because the full fletching creates higher drag on each arrow. I should shoot this bow again and adjust for the new arrows.

After 19 shots the Allen screw is still tight and the bow limb is still locked in place. I need to continue to check that from now on.

Fletching

The word fletching means feathers, which were used on arrows in times past to create high drag and spin. The synthetic fletchings found on the AR-6 are called vanes and are sold by many places, along with the glue to hold them to the arrow shaft. This is something I need to research so I can repair my damaged arrows. I will tell you about it as I go.

Next test

I plan to shoot the bow again with fresh new arrows and adjust the dot sight to hit with them. I believe I can shoot 5 arrows offhand into a group smaller than three inches from 18 meters. That will be the completion of my sight-in with the dot sight.

After that I plan to switch the bow limb to the hunting limb that also came with a new bowstring. Then I will run the same tests that I have with this bow limb, except I will start with the dot sight mounted.

Summary

I did discover that my AR-6  works fine with 5 arrows or less in the magazine, but if I load a 6th arrow that it is supposed to work with, it malfunctions. That was probably my fault, because I accidentally bent the magazine spring that holds the arrows down and feeds them, when I closed the mag cover with the spring not inside. I could probably fix it but I don’t mind using it as is, and it does work just fine with 5 arrows.

The AR-6 crossbow pistol is a blast to shoot. It is to crossbows what the Diana 27 is the pellet rifles. There are many that are more powerful, but none that are more fun. I don’t think it has to justify itself by being a hunting arm. Can’t something exist just for the fun of shooting?