by B.B. Pelletier
Well, I’ve finally healed enough to cock the FWB 124 breakbarrel, so today I’ll test the rifle at 25 yards with the best modern pellets against the Beeman Silver Jets. If you recall, that premise is what started this entire report so very long ago.
Today is going to show some wonderful things, and we’re going to prosper from this experience far beyond the 124 and into the world of modern pellet rifles and scopes. So, sit back and let it come to you!
I scoped the 124 with a Leapers 3-9×50 scope sitting in BKL two-piece mounts. In retrospect, boy am I glad I used the two-piece rings because of what ultimately happened.
As you recall, the last time I tested this rifle was with six modern pellets and Beeman Silver Jets left over from the 1990s. All the pellets did well, but I selected three to compete at 25 yards. So, let’s test the gun.
Sight-in revealed a gun that both buzzed when shot and also one that shot very low. The buzzing will have to be corrected because I want a super-smooth rifle. The low grouping doesn’t phase me one bit, except that I can use it to illustrate a concept that I get asked about several times a month. That concept is either scope shift or an inaccurate spring gun.
I also seasoned the bore with three shots before recording any groups. That may or may not be enough, but that’s what I did. The theory on this is that each new pellet needs several shots before it begins to perform its best. I don’t know whether I believe it or not, but it’s all the rage right now, so I did it.
The first pellets I tested were Beeman Kodiaks. Veteran airgunners will remember the Kodiak as a 10.6-grain pellet, but blog reader CJr discovered in May that they’re not really that heavy. Edith has updated the description on the website to reflect the 10.2 grains they actually weigh. Apparently, this is going to be the weight of that pellet.
I was disappointed with the performance of Kodiaks at 25 yards out of the 124, because they gave me a group that was strung out vertically. I dialed the scope 10 clicks down and continued to shoot a different pellet. However, the vertical stringing was a clue about something that was happening…and happening real bad. The reason I dialed the elevation down 10 clicks was to tighten the spring of the erector tube inside the scope to keep it from floating. Vertical stringing is a sign that a scope has been adjusted too high. You’ll remember how the erector tube is supported by a spring from the scope report I did last week.
This vertical string of 10 Kodiaks tells me the erector tube is floating.
Air Arms Falcon
The next pellet I tried was the one that had performed the best at 10 meters — the Air Arms Falcons. I grouped pretty good at 25 yards, but not as good as the R8 did last month. I’ll never forget that rifle’s performance, and I don’t see why this 124 shouldn’t be just as accurate. So, I cranked in 10 more clicks of down into the scope.
The first groups of Air Arms falcon pellets is still open. More verticality says we haven’t solved the problem yet.
The next group was superb, but it had one teaser flyer that opened it to a half-inch. And that flyer was also vertical, so I cranked in another 10 clicks of down.
Things are getting much better with the second bunch of Falcon pellets after another 10 clicks down, but that flyer is still vertical above the main group.
As you can see, the pellets are still landing in a vertical string. Once more, I cranked in 10 down clicks. At this point, we are 40 clicks down from where we started.
Air Arms 8.4 domes
The next pellet I tried were the Air Arms domes that weigh 8.4 grains. Although there’s a trace of verticality to the group they made, the group is starting to look much rounder, which is what I’m after.
The bunch of 10 Air Arms domes is a pretty round group. It’s the second-best group of this test.
I actually shot several groups with the 8.4 domes, and they all turned out round like I wanted. Plus, they gave me the second-best group I got during this test.
With this success under my belt, I tried another 10 Kodiaks and got a rounder group than before, but also one that was too large for any further testing. Clearly, Kodiaks are not the pellet for this rifle.
Beeman Silver Jets
It was now time to try the Silver Jets, so I seasoned the bore and shot two groups of almost identical size. They were smaller than the Kodiaks but were not as small as the Air Arms domes or the Falcons. So, I reckoned there was but one more thing to try.
These ten Beeman Silver Jets went pretty tight but not as tight as several other pellets.
Crosman Premier lites
I had mentioned during the 10-meter test that I didn’t select Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domes to test because I simply didn’t. Several of you commented that the Premier lites were the most accurate in your 124 rifles, so I thought I’d include them in this test as a last-minute write in. I’m glad I did, because they turned in the best group of the day.
Ten Premier lites made the best target of this test. Whoda thunk it? I should have tested them at 10 meters.