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.


SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft gun: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Virtus AGE right
SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG right side.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • My strategy
  • Sig BBs
  • Weight
  • Getting the gun ready to fire
  • Loading the magazine
  • Use the speedloader
  • The follower needs more BBs
  • Velocity 0.20-gram Sig BBs
  • Sound and feel of the shot
  • Rock and Roll
  • More about the speedloader
  • 0.25-gram BBs
  • Full auto accuracy
  • 0.30-gram BBs
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today I start reporting on the velocity of the new SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft gun. I say “start” because I can’t get the full report in a single day. You will recall that Sig enclosed a 110 mainspring for me to try, as well as the 120 that’s in the gun as it comes. The 110 spring is lighter, so two things should happen. The velocity should drop a little and the rounds per minute (RPM) should increase, because the electric motor is turning the gears against less force.

My strategy

I could either replace the spring and do the second velocity test next or I could go on to the accuracy test with this spring and then do the spring swap and test everything again. I think I will do the latter for a couple reasons. It’s easier, and I am into easier. And, even if I were to do anything wrong while making the spring swap, we will at least get one complete test.

My hope today is to get the velocity for some reasonable weight BBs, and also to sample the RPM. Let’s go!

Sig BBs

Sig provided me with a sample bag of 0.20-gram BBs with the gun. I have plenty of BBs in that weight, but I thought I would use theirs, since they were handy. They even loaded the speedloader — which made it more  convenient. 

Weight

I don’t know what brand BB Sig sent me. They don’t currently have an airsoft BB of their own, so I assume that these are a premium BB. But I weighed them to make certain. They weighed 0.20 grams on the nose except for one that weighed 0.19 grams. I am satisfied that these are premium BBs.

Getting the gun ready to fire

The Virtus AEG is a spring-piston airgun. It just uses an electric motor to rapidly cock and release the piston to simulate full-auto fire. That motor needs electricity to run, so the battery has to be installed in the forearm before the gun will fire. This step used to be extremely hard with the AR-15 airsoft guns I have owned, because the battery has to go inside the forearm that, on an AR-15, is not easy to remove or replace. But on the Virtus it is a snap!

 Virtus and battery
That battery has to go inside the forearm.

Knock out just one pin and the forearm slides off the receiver, exposing the connection plug for the battery. Remember, only the yellow plug on the battery’s longer cable is attached to the gun. The shorter battery cable is for charging, and doesn’t plug into anything while the battery is in the gun.

Virtus forearm off
The yellowish cable connector on the longer cable of the battery connects to the gun’s white plug. The shorter battery cable with the white plug is for connecting to the charger.

I must comment on how much room there is for the battery. On the AR-15s I have owned it was a real task to get the battery to fit inside the forearm and then get the forearm back on the gun. And on one gun the battery went into the A2 butt, which was a real nightmare. I hated it, which is the big reason I got rid of those AEGs. The Virtus is a walk in the park by comparison. I could easily fit two of these batteries in the forearm — one above and the other below the barrel.

Virtus forearm on
The forearm is back on the gun and pinned in place. The battery will fit either above the barrel like it is here, or below. There is plenty of room inside this forearm.

Now that the gun is ready to fire, it’s time to load it.

Loading the magazine

The Virtus comes with an AR-15 lookalike sheetmetal magazine, and from my past experience these mags hold several hundred BBs loosely in the bottom. They get scooped up to feed through the gun and sometimes you get misfeeds. Nobody complains, though, because AEG airsoft guns are fired full auto most of the time. However, B.B. Pelletier doesn’t do things like others do.

I wanted to load exactly 10 BBs into the mag. and shoot them through the chronograph for velocity, then change BBs to a different weight. And that was how I became familiarized with the Virtus mag.

The 120-round Virtus mag has a spring-loaded follower that pushes the BBs up and into the path of the bolt. There is no chamber full of loose BBs. To load this mag you have to hold a spring-loaded catch back for each BB while the follower tries to push the BBs that are already in the mag back out. After fiddling with it for a few minutes I had to change my loading strategy!

Use the speedloader

The speedloader is more than a convenience with the Virtus. It’s a necessary part of loading the mag. I have more to say about it, but for now that’s it.

Virtus speedloader
Stick the nozzle of the speedloader into the nozzle of the magazine and start pressing the loading button on the speedloader.

The first BB I tested was the one Sig sent with the gun. We already know that they are very consistent.

I loaded four 0.20-gram BBs (the speedloader pushes in 4 BBs each time the thumb button is pushed down) into the magazine and then attempted to see what the velocity was. I then fired the gun on semiauto and nothing came out! Oh, oh!

The follower needs more BBs

What I discovered was the Virtus is fresh off the assembly line and needed a little breaking in. I put the selector on Rock and Roll (full auto) and let the bolt cycle many times. It was fun just listening!

I then loaded about 20 BBs into the mag to fire. Once that many were in it fired perfectly every time. And later — after perhaps 50 more shots, it fired all the BBs, even when loaded with just a few. Now that she is running, let’s see what she does.

Velocity 0.20-gram Sig BBs

First up were the 0.20-gram BBs supplied by Sig. On the box the gun comes in Sig says to expect to get 370 f.p.s. from the Virtus, so I was surprised to see that average of the first string reach 410 f.p.s. The low was 407 f.p.s. and the high was 413 f.p.s., so a spread of 6 f.p.s. That’s pretty tight.

Sound and feel of the shot

I was shooting semiautomatically, so each pull of the trigger produced a single shot. There was almost no motor noise, though I could hear the pop of air from the piston. I could feel some gearbox vibration through the pistol grip, but the only real sound was the pop of compressed gas from the piston. I have shot many AEGs and this Virtus has the quietest gearbox and motor I have heard. It’s even quieter than an AR-15 whose gearbox I rebuilt with upgraded steel bearings and gears. That one still had an air-wrench sound to it.

Rock and Roll

Since I overloaded the magazine for the first test, I went outside and dumped the remainder of the BBs on full auto. That told me there is no way I will be able to give you an accurate RPM count. This Virtus sounds like the infamous German MG42 “devil’s zipper” machinegun that had a high cyclic rate. I can count AR-15 cyclic rate up to around 800 RPM. This gun is faster than that. I have read reports of 900 RPM. It’s every bit of that!

More about the speedloader

Now that I was comfortable loading the magazine with the speedloader I found it quite easy to empty the contents of the speedloader to change the BB weight for testing. Just load the mag, then open the speedloader hopper pour out all the BBs except one. Since all the BBs were white and looked identical, this was the best way to keep track of them for the test. That last BB would remain in the nose of the speedloader until I pressed it out after the next BBs were inside. You do have that kind of control over the thumb button. Then that lone BB was returned to its proper container and everything was ready for the next test.

0.25-gram BBs

Given the higher velocity of the 0.20-gram BBs, I tried 0.25-gram Open Blasters from ASG next. They averaged 365 f.p.s. with a 2 f.p.s. spread from 364 to 366 f.p.s. These are going almost as fast as the gun is rated  to shoot with 0.20-gram BBs, and it will be interesting to see how accurate they are.

Full auto accuracy

Since AEGs don’t recoil I indulged myself and went full auto during this velocity test. All the BBs stayed together in a tight group, though my target was only a few feet away. I need to find a way to test full auto in the accuracy test, too!

0.30-gram BBs

I then tried some 0.30-gram Blaster Devil BBs from ASG. They averaged 333 f.p.s. with a 1 f.p.s. spread from 333 to 334 f.p.s. This average is getting pretty slow, so I stopped testing here. Obviously a heavier BB will shoot even slower, but I think we have bounded the useful range of velocity in today’s test.

Trigger pull

An AEG operates with an electric motor, so pulling the trigger doesn’t release a sear like you might think. I will call this a single stage trigger, though the pull effort does increase after a lighter initial pull. The trigger “breaks” at 2 lbs. 2 oz. on the test gun and there is no hesitation of the trigger blade to alert you to the fact the gun is about to fire.

In the manual you are advised to shoot full auto in bursts to preserve the gearbox. You are told not to empty a 120-shot magazine on a single trigger pull. You are also instructed to return the gun to semiautomatic and fire it once blank after a run of full auto. That releases the mainspring in the gearbox. That is common for all full-auto AEGs.

Summary

This Virtus is stacking up very well at this point. It is outperforming another AEG that I custom tuned several years ago, so I am impressed. I hope it turns out to be accurate, though with a full-auto gun we aren’t looking for pinpoint accuracy. That’s not the way these guns are used.

Don’t forget there will be a second velocity test and a second accuracy test with the lighter mainspring after this test is concluded. So, there is a lot more to come.


Air Venturi Dust Devil Mk2 Frangible BB: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Dust Devil
Dust Devil Mk2.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The first and best test
  • Test strategy
  • Crush test
  • Test 2 — close impact
  • What have we learned?
  • Hard target test
  • What does this tell us?
  • One last test
  • Summary

Today we look at the frangible properties of the new Dust Devil Mark 2 BBs. Remember — these are the only Dust Devils you can buy and the box does not say Mark 2. But the BB I am testing is what you can buy and all that you can buy!

The first and best test

What I show you today is the first time I have tested Dust Devils at all. I did shoot the Mark 1 Dust Devils against a concrete floor with nothing remaining and no bounce-back, and at the 2018 NRA Show where Pyramyd Air always runs the airgun range, Dust Devils were the only BBs fired and there was not one bounce-back in perhaps 10,000 shots. Today I will take it several steps further.

Test strategy

I reasoned that I am interested in the low threshold of the BB’s performance. If they work at slow speeds they will also work at higher speeds. So — what is the weakest BB gun I own? Well, overlooking catapult guns like the Daisy 179 and the Johnson Indoor Target gun, the weakest BB gun in my possession is my Daisy 499.

The new Dust Devil is slightly slower than the older version. A 499 that shoots a conventional Daisy BB at 232 f.p.s. shoots the new Dust Devil at 237 f.p.s. So it’s comparable.

So — how do I test them? I had initially thought of shooting them at my concrete garage floor, but then a more involved test plan formed in my mind. Let’s see what I did.

Crush test

In any test you should always try to practice-test the item if possible first. With some things like atomic bombs that proves impossible, so you test each of the components, subassemblies and assemblies, seeing how closely they adhere to your projections. But there were physicists in the Manhattan Project who predicted that the reaction of the first atomic bomb would not end with the destruction of the fissile material but go right on exploding every atom in its path and destroy the earth. Where do you stand to test that? It may seem funny now but before the first test it was nothing of the kind.

The Dust Devil is different. It’s possible to test them without shooting them, and that’s what I did first. I put one BB in the jaws of a pair of common household pliers and held it over a clean sheet of paper as I squeezed. It took less energy than I expected to make the BB burst apart, and when it did it sent dust flying everywhere. Some of it hit me. I also heard one larger fragment hit some thing in my office.

I guessed that one-quarter of the BB’s mass remained on the paper. A Dust Devil Mark2 weighs 4.6 grains and I weighed 1.2 grains of dust from the paper. That’s just over a quarter the weight of the whole BB.

Dust Devil plier test
You can see from the plier test that the BB turned into dust, with a couple larger pieces remaining. The whole BB is for scale.

Test 2 — close impact

Next I went into the garage to test the BB against a hard target. I didn’t use the floor this time because there was no way to control the remnants or to gather them after the impact. Instead I used a deep box with a white styrofoam sheet on the bottom. Anything that stayed in the box after impact should be visible on the white sheet.

Inside the box I put a plate of 10-gauge steel. I shot the 499 at that plate from 2 inches away. The BB shattered completely and became invisible.  I did hear one larger piece hit elsewhere in the room, so there was some bounce-back, though I’m sure it was very small from the sound it made.

Dust Devil box
The box is deep enough to contain some of the Dust Devil particles when it explodes from contact with the steel plate.

I figured some of the BB remnants would be on the white sheet, and they were, but when I removed the steel plate from the bottom of the box, I felt a small piece of the BB that had fused to it. I carefully removed it and photographed it for you to see.

Dust Devil fused piece
The small piece of a BB on the left was fused to the steel plate, when fired from a Daisy 499 from 2-inches distance. This photo has also caught the whole BB on the right perpendicular to its band that now looks like a shiny halo above it.

Dust Devil dust
This is a little over a one-inch square section of the white foam after shooting at the 10-gauge steel plate. The entire bottom of the box looks like this, except the larger pieces like the one near the center of the photo did not travel as far from the plate.

What have we learned?

I think these tests have revealed a couple things. First, that the Dust Devil tends to hold together until it doesn’t any longer. It doesn’t flake apart slowly — it explodes. Not from any force from within, but from holding together until it can no longer stand the strain. That makes it very safe when it comes apart. But you need to know that larger pieces do come off the BB and you need to wear eye protection the same as you would for regular BBs. You probably will never be hit by a particle that causes pain, but from time to time you or someone in the vicinity will feel some larger pieces come back.

The second thing we have learned is that it doesn’t take much force to break up a Dust Devil. That is in the advertising, of course, but my two tests demonstrate it quite well. However, that begs a question I have not yet asked. What is the definition of a hard target?

Hard target test

The last test I did for this report was to try to determine what constitutes a hard target. The steel plate obviously is hard, but what about a tree with thick bark? I would think that is not a hard target because the bark is softer and does give a little. How about a lightweight steel spinner? Where does the “hard” in a target begin?

For this test I used a small steel can of the type that green beans might come in. I placed it inside the box, standing it up so the bottom of the can was presented as a target.

Dust Devil can
A small can stood up so the bottom presents a target. I have shot through the sides of this can a couple times with other airguns.

This time I held the muzzle of the 499 about 12 inches from the bottom of the can. I had no idea of what to expect, except I knew that the can would give just a little to a regular steel BB.

The Dust Devil hit in the center of the can bottom, denting it slightly, and the BB bounced back out just a little. It came perhaps 2-3 inches above the top of the can, but landed inside the box. 

Dust Devil can hit
The Dust Devil hit the can bottom in its center.

I was surprised to see the Dust Devil apparently intact, except when I looked at it closely I saw a frosted area on one side, where the BB’s shine had turned dull.

I took the BB to my office to examine it under a 10X jeweler’s loupe. When I did I saw that the frosted area appeared to be the particles in the BB, just as they are coming apart.

Dust Devil frost
This is difficult to see and even harder to photograph. Look at the BB band at the top in this picture (arrow). See how it is frosted, not shiny like the spherical portion below? I believe this test has captured a Dust Devil just before it explodes into dust. 

Apparently the can that was slightly dented by the BB provided just enough slowdown for the low-velocity BB that we captured a very rare phenomenon. We have a frangible BB that has been brought to the brink of destruction but still remains whole.

On the opposite side of the BB there is a very small dent that I have never seen on a Dust Devil. Not only is it a dent, but around the side the material is raised, as if the material within has been displaced. I think this is the opposite side of the shock wave that passed through the BB on impact.

Dust Devil dent
Almost (but not quite) on the opposite side of the frosted area is this “dent” with raised edges.

What does this tell us?

This time the entire BB bounced back — BUT — the bounce-back wasn’t very fast. I believe the BB’s energy was absorbed by both the slight dent in the can as well as the near-destruction of the BB, itself. This was a chance happening and nothing to bank on, but it does answer that other tricky question about what makes a target hard. 

When you shoot Dust Devils, protect yourself and others in the area the same as you would for conventional steel BBs. But you can shoot at hard targets with BB guns, which is something I would never recommend doing with conventional BBs.

Targets will range in hardness all over the place from very hard to marginal. If you protect everyone in the vicinity, the Dust Devil gives you a safer way to shoot.

One last test

Since these little critters are so friendly and safe, do they work in a full-auto BB gun? Now I know that they do because Pyramyd Air was shooting thousands of them in Crosman DPMS guns at the NRA Show. But I said I wanted to test them this way too and since I own an Umarex MP-40, I thought, why not?

Well, I tried but my MP-40 wasn’t cooperating. I loaded two fresh CO2 cartridges into the magazine, and if I tap the valve stem the mag does fire. I was able to get the gun to shoot a couple shots full auto when I held the trigger down and released the cocking handle. Yes, the selector switch was set in full auto. It’s something I need to sort out. You see, BB has the same sort of problems as everyone. You just hear about it when they happen.

Summary

This is the first good hard target test I have given the Dust Devil, and it is the Mark2 version that was tested. The BB seems to perform as well as anyone could hope for. You still should take every precaution you always do when shooting any pellet or BB gun, but if you do we now we have a BB that won’t shoot your eye out.


SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Virtus AGE right
SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG right side.

This report covers:

  • Spring piston
  • Battery basics
  • Avalon gearbox
  • Replacement M110 spring
  • This gun
  • Sights
  • Magazine
  • Velocity
  • Hop Up?
  • At what price?
  • Discussion
  • Summary

I did a search in the blog archives and could not find another report I had written about automatic electric airsoft guns (AEG). I have done some large articles about AEG in the past for Shotgun News and for my own newsletter. I even wrote two articles for Pyramyd Air about the basics of batteries for airsoft guns — one in 2008 and the other in 2009. Those articles are still good today — 10 and 11 years later.

Spring piston

An AEG is a spring-piston gun whose piston is retracted (cocked) and loosed by a mechanical gearbox that’s powered by a small high-torque electric motor. To power the motor a battery is contained somewhere inside the gun. There is a great animation of how an AEG works on Wiki.

Battery basics

Two things to know about AEG batteries — their milliampere-hour (mAh) rating and their voltage. The higher the milliamp-hours, the longer the battery lasts, which equates to the number of shots the gun gives on a charge. The higher the voltage, the faster the electric motor spins, which equates to rounds per second, because the principal reason for the existence of an AEG is to give full-auto capability.

The gun I am testing has a stick-type lithium polymer (lipo) battery that’s rated at 1100 mAh, which is on the low end, and 11.1Volts, which is quite high. That means a fast-firing gun that will need a recharge sooner than one that has a battery with a higher mAh rating.

Virtus AEG battery
The Virtus stick battery goes in the forearm. The yellow connector connects to the gun’s motor. The white connector is for the charger. The battery must be installed and removed again for every charge.

Stick-type batteries are designed to fit inside tight spaces within forearms. Sometimes there is enough room to stuff in an aftermarket battery with a higher mAh rating for longer operation. Sig says this 11.1V battery is the maximum allowable, but that refers to the volts, only. They don’t address the mAh. I will look into that for you. The thing you don’t want to do is use a battery with a significantly higher voltage, because the gearbox may not take the additional strain of faster operation. The thing is — this battery is already running close to the top in voltage, so you aren’t likely to do that. And then there is the gearbox.

Avalon gearbox

The MCX Virtus AEG has an Avalon gearbox with upgraded steel bearings. The gears are metal as well. I have built up airsoft gearboxes this way in the past, exchanging metal gears for plastic or Nylon, but this one comes to you ready to go.

Replacement M110 spring

The gun comes with an M120 mainspring installed and a replacement M110 spring to swap in if you like. The M110 spring will give a lower velocity (30 to 60 f.p.s. slower for a given weight BB) but put less strain on the motor and less drain on the battery. If you are doing a drill inside close quarters, the 110 spring is the one to have. It will give you longer operating time. If you are outside the M120 is the way to go. Sig has made swapping this spring very easy, and I will test the gun with both springs. I believe at this point that the M110 spring will allow the motor to run cooler longer in the full auto mode. We will see as we go.

This gun

All right, I’m going to stop the tech discussion right there. There is a lot more to tell you, but now I want to shift your attention to the gun I am testing. The MCX Virtus AEG is a close replica of Sig’s MCX Virtus SBR firearm — their short-barreled rifle version of the Virtus. The airsoft gun’s receiver is CNC-machined metal and has M-LOK-compatible slots for accessories in the metal handguard. The metal stock telescopes to three positions and locks solidly in all three. It removes quickly to change the mainspring for power changes.

The gun weighs 6 lbs. 9 oz with a battery and an empty magazine. The length runs from 25-3/4- to 29-inches overall.

This is a select-fire airsoft gun with an ambidextrous thumb switch for Safe, Semi and Full Auto. If you are used to the M16/M4/AR-15, the switch is exactly where you expect it to be and the selection works exactly the same way. 

Sights

The MCX Virtus comes without sights. On a gun like this they would be back-up iron sights (BUIS). I will mount a dot sight for testing and, since Sig sent me the Romeo5 XDR, that’s the one I will mount. The gun has a M1913 Picatinny rail that runs 16 inches along the top of the receiver and handguard to augment the M-LOK slots on both sides and the bottom of the forearm. Mounting optics and accessories should prove no problem. Before you go crazy, though, remember that this is a close-quarters battle gun. Sights, a laser and a light are about all you want. Yes, thermal imaging, a rangerfinder and a bipod are nice options, but not when you are clearing rooms!

Magazine

The gun has a 120-round magazine that fits into the receiver just like an AR mag would. The release is in the same place and works the same so, once again, those who are familiar with the Armalite platform will be at home with the MCX Virtus.

Virtus AEG mag speedloader
Virtus magazine above and speedloader below.

Sig gives you a speedloader to fill the mag. The gun is rated for 0.20-gram BBs, and, as I have with other guns, I will test it with different BBs and different weights.

Battery box

Like most stick batteries in full-auto AEGs, the battery on the Virtus lives inside the forearm. Unlike many AEGs, the Virtus forearm slides off easily with the removal of a single captive pin. I have fought M4 handguard keepers for days, trying to install and remove batteries! There seems to be plenty of room inside the forearm of this one for larger batteries, but I have asked Sig if a higher mAh rated battery is acceptable, since they do not want you to use one with higher voltage. I understand the operational difference between volts and amperage, but I still want to hear from them.

Velocity

As it comes Sig rates the gun at up to 370 f.p.s. That would be with the M120 spring installed and using a 0.20-gram BB. Naturally I will test that with a lot of ammo, and then install the M110 spring and test it, as well. It looks like I have a lot of testing ahead of me!

Hop Up?

An airsoft gun in this price range has to have Hop Up. This one is mounted on the steel bolt. Dial the toothed wheel up or down to adjust the backspin on the BB.

And this answers another question — does the dust cover really work? Yes, it does — just like the firearm. The forward assist, however, is just for show. It is spring-loaded but is cosmetic, only. I still remember tap, tap, pull, tap as the mnemonic for a jammed M16 — because in my day they always did.

Virtus AEG receiver
The dust cover is up. At the left you can see the spring-loaded forward assist.

Virtus AEG Hop-Up
Retract the bolt to see the Hop-Up adjustment (arrow).

At what price?

On the Sig website they have the MCX Virtus AEG in stock at the full retail of $459.99. All the dealers I checked with who list them minus the battery and charger for $399.99 were sold out. Hmmm — might there be an axiom there?

Discussion

This is not a kid’s toy AEG. This one is serious, and Sig intended it to be. It’s heavy, solid and cold to the touch. The rest of what it is will have to wait for the next report.

Summary

We are starting to test a real high-end AEG here. This test will be thorough and long, for there is a lot to look at!


Evanix Conquest PCP air rifle: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


The Evanix Conquest has features that set the bar very high for air rifles.

Today is velocity/power day for the Evanix Conquest PCP air rifle. In a reversal of the norm, I tested the rifle for accuracy first, and this is a follow-on to that. Of course, now we do know which pellet works the best in the test rifle, but I will also test it with a couple others to get the true power potential.

First test: JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes
The rifle was filled to 200 bar before the test began. The first pellet I tested was the one we know to be the most accurate — the JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome. Since this is the pellet I would chose for this rifle every time, the results of this test will give me realistic performance parameters of the rifle as I would use it. I’ll be testing velocity, which translates to power, and also the useful shot count. Velocity comes first.

The first string of 10 shots gave an average 955 f.p.s. The high was 960 and the low was 948, for a total spread of 12 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the rifle produces 32.21 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Please notice that we already know the rifle is most accurate at this speed. This relates directly back to what we learned in the Pellet velocity versus accuracy test. Now we know that harmonics and not velocity are the most influential forces when it comes to airgun accuracy.

The average velocity of the second string of 10 shots was 948 f.p.s., with a spread from 943 to 954 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 11 f.p.s., which is one foot per second less than the first string. It’s still a good, tight velocity range; and we know from the accuracy test that the rifle is just as accurate on the second string as on the first. The full-auto group that amazed us all was fired on the second string of 10 shots. At this velocity, the rifle generated an average of 31.74 foot-pounds of energy, so not much difference between this and the first string.

The third string of 10 shots averaged 944 f.p.s., which is a small drop from the first 10. The low was 927 f.p.s., and the high was 949 f.p.s. The total spread opened up to 22 f.p.s. That’s still reasonable; but if you lump this string in with the first two, the total spread is now 33 f.p.s. That’s still a good spread for accuracy at 50 yards, yet the third string was where the groups opened up a little and also dropped on the paper a little. On this string, the average muzzle energy was 31.47 foot-pounds, which is still very respectable.

The fourth string of 10 shots averaged 924 f.p.s. and ranged from 915 f.p.s. to 932 f.p.s. This spread spans a total of 17 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 30.15 foot-pounds. Again, it’s a fairly tight string; however, if you throw it in with the first three strings, you get a total velocity spread of 45 f.p.s. That’s too much of a spread for a smallbore pellet rifle to be accurate across 40 shots at 50 yards. And it was seeing the results of the fourth string during the accuracy test that made me stop after 3 strings of 10. The point of impact dropped over an inch and the groups all opened up to twice what they were in the first 2 strings.

If you’re shooting the Conquest at 50 yards and going for the ultimate in precision, refill the rifle after 20 shots. But if you’re just shooting casually at 35 yards, you should be good all the way to 40 shots. After that, however, the velocity starts to drop rapidly.

After 43 shots, the onboard pressure gauge reads about 130 bar remaining in the gun. The gauge is too small to be more exact than that. When I refill the gun, the reservoir inlet valve opens at around 2,150 psi on the large gauge on my carbon fiber tank.

Okay, this first pellet has taught us a lot about the Conquest. We now know the power, the velocity and the shot count. But we’re not finished testing the rifle.

Noise
The Conquest has a shrouded barrel, and on the rifle range it is quieter than a .22 rimfire. But it’s not a quiet airgun. I rate the discharge noise at a solid 5 according the scale Pyramyd Air uses on their site. Nothing short of a big bore or an AirForce Condor is as loud — despite the shroud. So, this isn’t an air rifle for the suburban backyard or shooting in the house.

Second test: Eun Jin 28.4-grain domes
The second test was with the 28.4-grain Eun Jin dome. Because the Conquest is a pneumatic rifle it should give the highest power of which it is capable with the heaviest pellet. Being a magazine-fed repeater, also, we have to be careful to choose pellets that actually fit and work in the magazine, but that was already done at the range.

With a drum magazine, the fit we’re concerned with is the length of the pellet. Will it fit the chambers and not protrude on either end, which would tie up the action when the rifle tries to advance the magazine to the next pellet? The 28.4-grain Eun Jin both fits the magazine of the Conquest and works well. The accuracy was only acceptable — in the 1.25-1.5 inch range for 10 shots at 50 yards, so I wouldn’t use it in this rifle unless there was nothing better.

The rifle was again filled to 200 bar for this string. The average muzzle velocity was 697 f.p.s. for 10 shots. The low was 691, and the high was 707 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the rifle generated 30.64 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That is lower than I expected, as PCPs generally become more powerful with heavier pellets — but that’s what it did.

Third test: Beeman Kodiaks
Next, Beeman Kodiak pellets were tested. In .22 caliber, these weigh 21.1 grains and would be ideal for a rifle of this power. But they don’t group as well as the 15.9-grain JSBs, and that has to be the most important criteria. Out to 50 yards, they’re okay. Beyond that, they can’t keep up.

Kodiaks averaged 819 f.p.s. for 10 on a fresh fill. The low was 813, and the high was 825 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they produced 31.43 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Again, the heavier pellet wasn’t as powerful as the lighter one.

Fourth test: JSB Exact Jumbo 18.1 grains
The last pellet I tested was the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo heavy pellet. They averaged 895 f.p.s. on a fresh fill, with a low of 891 and a high of 901 f.p.s. At the average velocity the rifle, produced 32.2 foot-pounds of muzzle energy with this pellet. So, it equals the 15.9-grain pellet for power, but not for accuracy, as we have seen.

Trigger-pull
The trigger of the test rifle releases at a very consistent 1 lb., 10 ozs., but the release is different than any other trigger I’ve ever felt. If you squeeze slowly, you’ll feel the solenoid fire an instant before the gun fires. It’s a small click before the boom. The actually firing is felt as a prolonged forward cycling of the bolt to push the pellet into the breech and back again to clear the magazine. The feel through the trigger while the gun fires is long and sloppy, but as you saw in the accuracy test, it works well and doesn’t affect the hold at all.

Bottom line thus far
The Conquest is stacking up to be a fine hunting air rifle. It’s powerful and amazingly accurate in the .22-caliber version I’m testing. And I’d like to mention that all the pellets tested fed through the magazine with no problem. Sometimes a rotary magazine like the one on the Conquest has problems accepting longer pellets, but even the big Eun Jins fit this one.

Without question, the one best pellet for our test rifle is the 15.9-grain JSB Exact dome. It’s not only more accurate than the others, it’s also more efficient, which was a surprise result. Test other pellets just the same, but make this one your primary choice until you find something better.

This was the fourth part of what would normally be a three-part test. I feel compelled to return to the range with a more powerful scope mounted on the gun and have another go at it. Maybe — just maybe, mind you — I’ll also take this rifle out to 100 yards. It will take a perfect day, but as I am planning to test other airguns at that range, I thought this one might be included.


Evanix Conquest PCP air rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2



The Evanix Conquest has features that set the bar very high for air rifles.

The cat’s out of the bag, so to speak, because today’s title tells you what my big news is about. And I tied reader Kevin to this report because he owns an Evanix Conquest PCP air rifle that hasn’t given him much joy. Today, I’ll show you the most astounding shooting I’ve ever done, but I’ll also address a mechanical concern and how it was corrected! This will be a report to remember, and here we go.

The Conquest is a very different air rifle. It took me two separate reports just to get through the general description because there are so many differences and unusual aspects of this airgun. The action is operated by a battery in the same way that an AEG airsoft gun operates, so I had to show you all of that. And, as I predicted, the forums are full of discussions about upgrading the battery pack — discussions among shooters who haven’t even seen the gun, yet. My advice it to see it and shoot it, first. It might just be good enough as is.

The rifle shoots both semiauto, which very few pellet rifles do, and full-auto, which only one other CO2 gun (the Auto Ordnance SMG-22 belt-feed carbine) currently does. Until this test, I had a lot to say about the wisdom of providing a full-auto mode — likening it to a shopping cart with wheels rated to 200 mph. That’s my way of saying, “Who needs it?” Today, I’ll eat those words. Stick around.

Posting backwards?
Also, I am reviewing accuracy out of the usual order. Normally, I look at velocity first and accuracy afterwards. Several readers have commented that they do it the other way, because who cares how fast certain pellets will go if they aren’t accurate?

Believe it or not, I put a lot of thought into doing a review in the order I usually do it. When I review velocity it’s not to correlate it with accuracy, but rather to show the power potential of the powerplant. I do understand the readers’ viewpoint that only accurate pellets are interesting; and like everyone, else I do tend to shoot only the most accurate pellets. But when I do the velocity test, I’m separating the power question from accuracy. I want to know what the gun is capable of doing as far as power is concerned, then in a separate test I want to discover what its accuracy can be.

Yes, I’ll recommend shooting the most accurate pellet, but if it only produces 20 foot-pounds while the most powerful pellet produces 25 foot-pounds, I want to show that the gun is fully capable of producing 25 foot pounds. Who knows if there will be a new pellet in the future that will be able to use all the power the rifle has and be accurate at the same time? So, my test will have demonstrated the peak power potential. If you look back at my discussions of accuracy and power in many past tests, I think you’ll see this has always been my thrust.

Today, we’re looking at accuracy first, because I had the opportunity to get to the rifle range on a dead-calm day. I could not let such an opportunity pass. So, today is accuracy day, and velocity day is still to come for the Conquest.

A couple corrections
During the time I was examining the rifle for this report, Edith wrote the most comprehensive airgun manual I’ve ever seen. She wrote it for both the Conquest rifle and the Speed, and we had to operate the gun extensively to check facts for her manual. Several things I initially told you have been changed as a result of this more detailed look.

1. The batteries need at least an 8-hour initial charge before the first use.

2. The magazines hold only 10 rounds instead of the 12 rounds I told you (with all double-mags holding 20). That holds true in all three calibers (.177, .22 and .25) but not for the 9mm, which is yet to come.

3. There was a problem with the magazine sticking in the action that was corrected by lubrication. Let’s look at that right now.

Magazine sticking problem
When I first examined the gun, I noticed that sometimes the magazine would not come out of the action when it was supposed to. When this rifle fires, the bolt passes through the magazine and pushes the pellet into the breech just before an air blast propels it out the barrel. If the bolt doesn’t retract all the way after the shot, you can’t remove the magazine because the bolt will still be inside.

Now I know what the plastic window on the right side of the receiver is for! Use it to access the bolt, so you can lubricate it properly. Then, it’ll retract and the gun will run perfectly — or at least mine did.

The bolt has two diameters — a large rear section and a narrow front section. Both diameters must be lubricated, because they pass through different passages in the receiver.


Use an oiling needle to get oil onto both diameters of the bolt. The larger black steel portion on the left looks oily in this picture, while the smaller silver portion on the right, to the right of the hook-like part in the middle of the window, looks dry. That’s because the surface is too smooth to see the oil. It’s there. I used bike chain oil, but Pyramyd Air used FP-10, and both products did the trick.

Once I lubricated the bolt with the oiling needle, it worked fine and there were no more sticking magazines. But if you do encounter a sticking mag, the recommended solution is to pull the trigger and hold it back for a few seconds after the rifle fires.

A great day at the range
Well, it was a great day for shooting the Conquest. The morning was foggy, where not a breath of air could be felt. I shot the entire test in the most perfect conditions imaginable. And all shooting you are about to see was done at 50 yards.

Accuracy
The rifle comes without sights, so I mounted a Bushnell Trophy XLT 4-12x40AO scope on low two-piece rings. I then sighted-in the rifle with Beeman Kodiak pellets.

The first four rounds got me on target, and then six more went into a group that measured 0.811 inches between the two widest centers. If I accepted 5-shot groups as standard, my job would already have been done, and the Conquest would be a very accurate air rifle. But that’s not how I roll, as you know, so I reloaded the magazine and shot a full 10-shot group.


Ten Beeman Kodiaks went into 1.241 inches at 50 yards. That’s okay, but not great. Time to try the next pellet.

Ten shots into 1.241 inches isn’t the level of accuracy I’d hoped for, even at 50 yards, so I decided to move on. However I note that the 21.1-grain Kodiaks do feed smoothly through the magazine. Length is not a problem.

The trigger and what it feels like to shoot
Shooting these two groups (6 shots, followed by 10 shots) afforded me the opportunity to get used to the Conquest’s trigger. I remember saying that a rifle at this price has to have a perfect trigger. Well, the Conquest trigger is far from perfect. But then I thought of another semiautomatic air rifle — the FX Revolution, which I’d tested a couple years back. It also has a less-than-desirable trigger that slaps you back through the trigger blade every time the rifle fires. In comparison, the Conquest trigger is less annoying. Instead of breaking like glass, this trigger has a rocket-push feel to the release. It’s difficult to describe, but you feel the movement of the bolt through the trigger blade.

But the magic of shooting a semiauto with almost zero recoil allows every shot to go where you want, and soon you forget the trigger. Knowing the rifle will stay exactly on target — and all you have to do is pull the trigger for another shot — builds your confidence like you wouldn’t believe!

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
Next, I tried the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets. In many rifles of this power, the 18.1-grain Jumbo Heavy JSB is the most accurate pellet, but not this time. In the Conquest, 10 JSB Jumbo Heavys made a group measuring 0.958 inches between centers. That’s not bad, but it’s still not the best the rifle can do.


Now this is more like it! Ten JSB Exact Jumbo pellets in 0.958 inches at 50 yards. This kind of performance is very credible, though not as good as the Conquest can shoot.

JSB Exact 15.9-grain
The next pellet I tested was the JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome. JSB calls this one a Jumbo, but I find that confusing with the Jumbo Heavy, so I make an exception by referring to this one by its weight. Over time, I’ve found this pellet to be the most consistently accurate .22-caliber airgun pellet.


Now, that’s a group! Ten JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes made this 0.547-inch group at 50 yards. This is fantastic performance. It is accuracy rivaling some of the finest semiautomatic rimfire rifles — after they’ve been accurized.

The 15.9-grain JSB Exact shot many groups between 0.50 and 0.75 inches, time after time. It was so dead-reliable on this perfect day that I would have picked it over all other PCPs for a benchrest match. But there’s one dynamic you do need to watch.

Other pellets tested
I also shot the .22-caliber Crosman Premier and the heavy 28.4-grain Eun Jin dome. Both groups were about the same as the Kodiaks, and I did not pursue them beyond a single group.

Shot count
The Conquest holds a lot of air, so the tendency is to keep right on shooting for magazine after magazine. If you are shooting spinners at 35 yards you’ll get away with it, but out at 50 yards things start to look different. That’s why I test at that distance with super-accurate PCPs like the Conquest.

I noticed that the first three 10-shot groups were all very tight. The group of JSBs going into 0.547 inches, shown above, was the first group fired on a fresh fill of air and also the best group of the test, but let’s take a look at the fourth group fired on the same fill with the same pellet.


This group of JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes was the fourth group on the same fill. It measures 1.267 inches between centers. Three 10-shot groups are the limit at 50 yards when the best accuracy is required.

That fourth group is approximately the same size as the group of Beeman Kodiaks I showed you first. While it’s a good group, it’s not representative of this rifle’s true capability at 50 yards. What this means is the total shot count you’ll get on a fill with this rifle depends on what you’re shooting and how far it is. If you want the absolute best the rifle can do, refill the gun after 30 shots. But if you’re hunting squirrels at 35 yards you can go to at least 40 shots, if not more.


This 10-shot group of JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes measures 0.760 inches between centers. There were many groups like this, and I would say this is representative of what the rifle will do all the time under good conditions with this pellet.

Full-auto
Of course, semiautomatic is only half of the game with the Conquest. I had to fire the rifle on full-auto, even though I was scoffing at the thought. Why would anybody even do that, I wondered. Well, the first group I shot answered my question.

The big surprise!
When I looked through the scope after the burst was finished I couldn’t tell if all the pellets were in the group or not, so I checked it with my new super-sharp spotting scope. What I saw caused me to jump up and down and pretty much stop the shooting on that range.

I am fortunate that my shooting buddy, Otho Henderson, was there to witness what happened. I had told him the Conquest was a full-auto gun; but until you hear it rattle the shots off, it doesn’t sink in. Seeing me this hyper after looking through the spotting scope, he knew something was up because I don’t even crack a smile unless a group is really astounding.

We both walked down to the target to examine what was a single ragged hole at my exact point of aim. I had used a 12-inch by 12-inch paper target, stapled to a 24-inch by 48-inch cardboard backer that had no other holes in it close to this target. The other target on which I’d been shooting semiautomatic groups was 12 inches above this one, so it was clear that all 10 shots went into the same tight group.


The first full-auto group from the Conquest measures 0.568 inches between centers! Never in my wildest imagination did I think this rifle could ever do something like this on full-auto!

Now I know what many of you are thinking. This was a fluke. You’ll never do it again. I thought the same thing, so I shot a second full-auto group for you.


Ten JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes went into this group measuring 1.001 inches between centers. I would expect this to be more representative of a full-auto group at 50 yards. Even so, it’s fantastic!

I’m guessing that this second group is closer to what the Conquest will do on full-auto at 50 yards most of the time on a perfect day. But since 90 percent of all the air rifles in the world can’t do as well shooting their pellets one at a time, it’s still pretty amazing.

In fairness to Mac, he did predict exactly such a thing when we were still in Las Vegas. He once owned a .22 rimfire semiauto that would occasionally dump its whole magazine; and he noted that when that happened, the group was always smaller than what he could shoot pulling the trigger each time. Apparently the gun takes care of business before the shooter can screw it up. I didn’t believe him until this happened.

All the good was used up!
Following the Conquest test, I went over to the 100-yard range and proceeded to shoot my old Ballard with the new bullets and loading techniques. Nothing worked, and the best I could do was shoot 4-inch groups! Then, I tried a 30-30 that had shot a half-inch at 50 yards the time before and it, too, shot four-inch groups. So, all the accuracy for the day was used up by the Conquest.

One last thing
Perhaps I should have mentioned this earlier, but I thought it would be a nice surprise here at the end of the report. I had mounted a 4-12x Bushnell scope on the Conquest for this test, but in doing so I failed to notice exactly which Bushnell it was. When I got to the range and tried to adjust the power ring, it wouldn’t budge. I had mounted a broken scope on the rifle, so the entire test had to be shot at 4x!

I doubt that mounting a 32-power scope would improve the groups all that much, simply because these groups can’t be improved much more than they are right now. But please feel free to imagine what might have happened if the scope had been better.

We look at velocity and power potential next, but at this point in the test my mind is already made up. The Evanix Conquest is a most worthy precharged pneumatic air rifle. It has a number of interesting deviations, some of which, like the battery, will turn off some shooters. But other features, like the full-auto capability, are surprisingly more effective than you might imagine.

As I look at these results, I’m reminded of two weeks ago at Las Vegas, when I pounded a 200-yard metal silhouette with the 9mm Conquest that’s still in development. Who knew these guns could be this accurate?


It was a very good day for the Evanix Conquest!


Evanix Conquest PCP air rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


The Evanix Conquest has features that set the bar very high for air rifles.

Today is a second look at the general characteristics of this new Evanix Conquest PCP air rifle with thumbhole stock. I was surprised that a couple of you criticized the woodwork in Part 1, so today I’ll show you the butt of the rifle I’m actually testing. Neither FX nor Daystate has anything on this stock — it’s that good. Criticize the real faults all you want, but let’s evaluate the rifle on its merits and not on where it was made.

Since I have to show a lot of details, much of today’s report will be pictorial. The captions have as much info as the text, so be sure to read them.


Fully ambidextrous, the Evanix Conquest rifle stock is a thing of beauty. The woodwork is perfect, and the wood itself has deep, rich grain. The red switch at the upper left is the power switch for the gun.

Electric action?
Yep! Like an AEG airsoft gun, the Conquest is run by an electric motor that’s powered by a battery in the butt. Before you start asking all those voltage and amperage questions, this rifle works exactly the same as an AEG. Add amps, and the charge lasts longer. Add volts, and the motor turns faster. And also like all AEGs, there’s only so much room for the onboard battery.

According to the manufacturer, one charge is sufficient for about 500 shots, but that’s a variable that depends on many things. Cold weather decreases the number. As the battery loses its charge, it heats up, which is undesireable. And I would expect that full-auto fire would use up the battery faster than semi-auto because the motor runs longer in that mode. I’ll try to give you an estimate of how many shots I get on a charge when I know something. Thus far, I’ve shot the gun about 35 times and everything is fine.

I charged the battery pack for 8 hours before my initial use. The batteries do not come precharged.

The batteries fit into the butt, so the rubber buttpad must come off first. The batteries use single-wire connectors — red to red and black to black. From what I see, there’s just enough room in the butt for the wiring and the battery that comes with the gun, so I doubt battery upgrades will be possible, as space is a concern.


The buttplate comes off with a single slotted screw to reveal the battery compartment.


The battery pack is connected to an adapter to connect to the charger, but it connects straight to the wires when installed in the gun.

Once the battery pack is installed and the reservoir is filled, the gun is ready to fire. Turn it on with the red switch at the upper left rear of the receiver, insert a loaded magazine and you’re ready to go.

Magazines
The .177 and .22 versions of the rifle have 12-shot magazines. The .25-caliber rifle has a 10-shot mag. All versions of the gun also have optional double mags available, but I mistakenly wrote in Part 1 that they come with the gun — and they don’t. They must be ordered as options. So, this .22 rifle would have a total of 24 shots when the double mag is used. However, after the first 12 shots, the mag has to be slid over to the left to index the second mag. So, it’s really 12 and 12 — not 24 without stopping.

The back of each magazine has two holes through which pellets can be seen. The hole on the left is where the pellets are loaded. There’s a coiled wire band spring that runs around the circumference of the drum to hold each pellet in its chamber until the bolt pushes it into the back of the barrel. When you drop in a pellet, the head stops on this band. Like all circular magazines and clips with this feature, you have to press in each pellet past the retaining band. Nothing works as well as a ballpoint pen. If the magazine didn’t have this band, pellets could vibrate out of their chambers and jam the action — especially with the vibration of firing full-auto.


This is the back of a single 12-shot magazine. Pellets are loaded through the hole on the left. Note the black tab that sticks down at the top of the middle hole. This is used to release the magazine spring when you want to unload the magazine, or any time you want to reverse the direction of the chambers. When the magazine is loaded, a ratchet catches it at every empty chamber, and this tab gives you control over that ratchet. When the mag drum is not under spring tension, this tab does not appear.

I’m going to show you loading in detail because it’s very important to the gun’s operation. Everything I say about loading a single magazine applies to a dual mag, as well, because it’s just two single mags stuck together.


Here a JSB Exact 18.1-grain pellet has been dropped into the loading hole. Notice that it has stopped on the wire band and isn’t in the chamber all the way.


The tip of a ballpoint pen is used to seat the pellet past the wire band and into the chamber. Once seated this way, the pellet is secure from vibrating out.


And this is what a properly seated pellet looks like. This is a large JSB pellet, so you can see there’s plenty of room for big pellets in this mag. Now, rotate the mag drum one click counterclockwise and load the next chamber.

The magazine body has a small key or shelf at the bottom edge of the front side. This fits into a mating groove in the front of the receiver notch and prevents the mag from being incorrectly inserted. The front of the mag has a spring-loaded ball bearing that indexes the mag in the receiver. It’s important that the mag is indexed properly, because the bolt moves by electrical power and could damage the mag or the gun if not aligned with the hole that runs through the magazine.


Here’s the front of the magazine. There’s just one hole where the pellet can be pushed out of the mag and into the breech by the bolt. Notice the small shelf at the bottom of the mag. This is a key that prevents the mag from being installed incorrectly.


This picture shows the receiver slot that accepts the magazine key. You can also see the hole in the front of the receiver above the barrel that indexes with the magazine ball bearing.

Warning
Because this gun fires electrically, DO NOT stick your fingers into the receiver magazine notch at any time. Every time the gun fires, the bolt first comes forward to push the pellet out of the magazine and into the breech. If your finger is there, the bolt will go through it like a nail from a nail gun! Never put your fingers into this opening, no matter where the safety and power switch are set. For this reason, do not let children or anyone who’s unfamiliar with the rifle handle it.


The mag is installed. Push it in from the right side of the receiver until you hear the ball bearing click into the hole in the forward part of the receiver notch.


The double mag is two single mags joined together. In operation, you exhaust one side first, then slide the mag over to the other side — pushing from right to left. In .22 caliber, this mag gives a total of 24 shots.

Fill procedure
I mentioned the fill coupling in Part 1. Today, I’d like to show you the available space where the gun is filled, which is why it has to be a proprietary quick-fill device and not a standard Foster fitting. Besides the fill connector, the pressure gauge is also in this space, which is tucked out of sight in a slot under the forearm.


This macro picture shows the fill port that accepts the quick-disconnect adapter. The manometer reads in bar for the first time! Although this looks like a lot of room, my thumb is just as wide as this slot.

Summary
Well, that was a long introduction, but a gun this novel warrants it. I probably have still not told you everything you wish to know about the gun, but we have both the velocity and accuracy tests yet to come, so there’s more than enough time. Ask your questions, and I’ll attempt to answer them as we go.