Gamo Swarm Fusion 10X Gen II air rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight in
  • Falcon group
  • Discussion
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets
  • Discussion 2
  • JSB Exact RS dome
  • Discussion 3
  • Second group of JSB Exact RS
  • Third group of JSB Exact RS
  • Summary

Today I mount the 3-9X40 Gamo scope and shoot the Fusion 10X from 25 yards. It will be an interesting test.

Mounting the scope

The scope that’s bundled with the rifle comes with a one-piece mount already attached. All you have to do is loosen the three Torx screw on the scope mount base with the wrench provided and clamp the mount to the 11mm dovetail base on the rifle. The mount has a scope stop pin that fits into the rear hole in the base and locks the mount from moving under recoil. I had the scope on and ready to go in 10 minutes.

The test

I shot off a rest at 25 yards. I used pellets that showed potential in Part 3’s test with open sights, except I had run out of H&N Match Green pellets, so I substituted something else. read more


Interesting gun designs — Benjamin Legacy: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Benjamin Legacy SE
Benjamin Legacy with a gas spring was a short-lived breakbarrel.

This report covers:

  • Getting started
  • The hold
  • First group
  • Second group
  • After that
  • Additional data
  • What’s next?

Let’s look at the accuracy of the .22-caliber Benjamin Legacy gas-spring rifle. If you remember, this was a rifle that came out just before I went into the hospital in 2010. When I got out 3 months later, the gun had already been taken off the market. I never reviewed it for you because it was an airgun you couldn’t buy, but the fact that it only took 16 lbs. of force to cock it fascinated me. I wanted to see what it could do regardless of whether or not you could buy one; because, if this turned out to be a good idea, it’s worth doing again.

Sometimes, the magic doesn’t work, and today’s one of those times. I’ve actually shot it at 25 yards on 2 different occasions, and neither time did it do very well. But, I do see a glimmer of hope. Let’s see what happened.

Getting started

I sighted in and began the test using the 13.43-grain JSB Exact RS pellet. From previous experience, I knew the rifle liked it.

The sight-in target turned out to have the tightest “group” of the entire test, despite the fact that I’d adjusted the scope 3 separate times! About 13 rounds went into 1.143 inches at 25 yards. I’m discounting the first shot from 12 feet that was only to confirm the zero. You can clearly see that I was adjusting the scope to the left, yet all these shots except 1 landed in what appears to be a good group. If the rifle had shot this well for the rest of the test, I would be singing its praises right now.

JSB Exact RS group 1
These shots were fired from 25 yards, except for the one low shot indicated on the target. That was the first shot from 12 feet to confirm zero. I adjusted the scope 3 times while creating this “group.”

I’m not expecting this rifle to have the same kind of accuracy you get from a TX200 Mark III. This one would sell for a fraction of the price of a TX today — maybe only one-third as much. But it cocks with just 16 lbs. of effort, which makes it ideal for shooting all day long. There’s no vibration and not a lot of discharge sound. And the 2-stage trigger is reasonably good — not perfect, but very tolerable. I’m always on the lookout for a good all-day shooter, and this one seemed promising. But, it first had to shoot, which is what this test is all about.

I sighted-in and began the test using the 13.43-grain JSB Exact RS pellet. From previous experience I knew the rifle liked it.

The hold

I tried every combination of holds I know, and the rifle shot best when rested directly on the sandbag. That’s another reason to like it.

First group

The group I’m about to show you isn’t the first group in the test. It’s just the first group I fired on the second day of the test. On day 1, my results weren’t very good — though it took a second day of testing to confirm that it was the rifle and not me. The group began well, with 5 shots landing in just about a half-inch. Then, the trouble began. First, a shot dropped low. Then, the next shots went high. By the end of the group, there were 10 shots in 1.308 inches. You can see this is a very vertical group.

JSB Exact RS group 2
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.308 inches at 25 yards off a sandbag rest. See how vertical this group is? Funny thing is that the first 5 shots landed in the much tighter group in the center of this group — along with 1 additional shot.

Note that this smaller group spreads out horizontally within the vertical main group. I’ll come back to that. I think it’s important.

Second group

The second group was shot with RWS Superdomes. It’s lower on the target, which is expected because the .22-caliber Superdome weighs 14.5 grains and travels slower than the lighter JSB RS. This group is also interesting for 2 other reasons. First, there’s both a horizontal and a vertical spread to this group.

Second, several of these pellet holes are torn on the right side. That’s an indication they didn’t hit the paper nose-first. They probably went through on an angle. The group measures 1.329 inches between the centers of the 2 holes farthest apart.

RWS Superdome group
As you see, Superdomes spread out in both directions. But look at how the right sides of many holes are torn (arrows). These pellets were tipped when they went through the paper. Group measures 1.329 inches between centers. read more


Diana 340 N-TEC Classic air rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana N-TEC 340 Classic
Diana 340 N-TEC 340 air rifle

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Scoping a drooper
  • Firing cycle is smooth and quick
  • Trigger takes some learning
  • Artillery hold
  • First group
  • Second group
  • Third group
  • I was pleased!
  • Artillery hold abandoned — the fourth group
  • The bottom line

Boy, has this test turned out to be an eye opener! I had hoped that the Diana 340 N-TEC Classic would not disappoint, and believe me — it didn’t!

Scoping a drooper

Today, I’ll test the rifle scoped at 25 yards. I mounted an AirForce 4-16x scope in UTG Quick Lock Max Strength high Weaver rings; but this is a Diana air rifle, and that means the scope base on the rifle is proprietary. Knowing Diana’s reputation for drooper barrels, I also mounted a prototype UTG drooper scope base on the rifle. They aren’t supposed to fit, but this one did, perhaps because it’s a prototype and not the same as the bases they sell.

Even with the drooper base, the rifle still shot too low at 25 yards. The drooper base I chose has a shallow droop angle, so I think the 340 N-TEC either needs a drooper base with a steeper angle or an adjustable scope mount to compensate. At least, the rifle I’m testing needs that.

Firing cycle is smooth and quick

I’d forgotten how smooth and quick the firing cycle of the 340 N-TEC is. When the gun fires, it seems like the pellet is already at the target 75 feet away. The rifle is dead calm, like something that comes from a top tuner’s shop. And there’s no aggressive slap in the face from the cheekpiece like you get from most rifles with powerful gas springs. The shot is just solid, fast and pleasant — the way we expect spring rifles to be, although very few ever are.

Trigger takes some learning

The trigger, on the other hand, requires getting used to. It’s vague and light. The rifle fires before you’re ready. The best solution is not to touch the trigger until you’re ready to let the shot go.

Artillery hold

I used an artillery hold, with my off hand slid forward to the point that the rear of the cocking slot was touching my palm. This is a good hold for stability.

First group

After sighting-in the first group I fired was with JSB Exact Heavy 10.34-grain domes. I saw that they did well in the 10-meter test, and I felt they were a good pellet to begin with. Boy — was that an understatement! The first 10 pellets went into 0.492 inches at 25 yards! That may be the best group I’ve ever shot from a powerful gas-spring rifle at 25 yards. I can’t remember a better one.

Diana N-TEC 340 Classic JSB group 1
The Diana 340 N-TEC Classic put 10 JSB 10.34-grain domes in 0.492 inches at 25 yards on the first target.

I have to tell you that I was impressed by the way this rifle shot. It seemed to need very little in the way of special holding technique, and, where most gas-spring rifles would have scattered their shots into a one-inch pattern at 25 yards, this rifle seemed to want to stack one pellet on top of another. I got the feeling that this is a natural shooter — that rare airgun that just wants to put all the pellets into the same place. More testing would tell the story.

Second group

Next, I tried some

H&N Baracuda with the 4.52mm heads read more


Interesting gun designs — Benjamin Legacy: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Benjamin Legacy SE
Benjamin Legacy with a gas spring was a short-lived breakbarrel.

This report covers:

  • Something special from the back room!
  • Benefits of a lower-pressure gas spring
  • Trigger
  • Lower power
  • RWS Hobby pellets
  • Crosman Premier pellets
  • JSB Exact RS pellets
  • The point of this review
  • read more


    Diana 340 N-TEC Classic air rifle: Part 3

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Diana N-TEC 340 Classic
    Diana N-TEC 340 Classic air rifle

    Part 1
    Part 2

    This report covers:

    • Baracuda Match pellets, 4.50mm head
    • Baracuda Match pellets, 4.53mm head
    • RWS Superdome pellets
    • Fast action
    • Learning the trigger
    • JSB Exact heavy pellets, 10.34 grains
    • The bottom line — so far

    Let’s start looking at the accuracy of the 

    Diana 340 N-TEC Classic read more


    Diana 340 N-TEC Classic air rifle: Part 2

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Diana N-TEC 340 Classic
    Diana 340 N-TEC Classic air rifle

    Part 1

    This report covers:

    • Cocking effort
    • RWS Hobby pellets
    • H&N Baracuda Match pellets, 4.50mm head
    • RWS Superdome pellets
    • Why the slow shots?
    • Trigger
    • Evaluation so far

    Cocking effort

    Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Diana 340 N-TEC Classic air rifle. I said in part 1 that cocking this rifle is a chore for 2 hands, but I’ve learned something about the gun in this test. The gas spring isn’t the only thing I’m fighting to cock the rifle. The barrel pivot joint is also a bit too tight. The cocking effort is about 35 lbs, which isn’t that bad, but the pivot joint boosts that up to 42 lbs. It made the rifle difficult to measure, but I soon learned to rapidly pull down the barrel and bypass the pivot joint tension. Then, it is a one-handed operation.

    RWS Hobby pellets

    Let’s get right into the velocity testing. We’ll begin with RWS Hobby pellets. The first shot out of the rifle went through the chronograph at 1070 f.p.s. I mention that because some airguns need a shot or 2 to “wake up” the powerplant. Not the 340 N-TEC. It averaged 1084 f.p.s. with Hobbys, and the spread went from 1069 to 1121 f.p.s. That’s 52 f.p.s. — a little high for a spring gun.

    At the average velocity, Hobbys produced 18.27 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s a lot for a .177 and too much for this lightweight pellet when long-range accuracy is concerned.

    H&N Baracuda Match pellets, 4.50mm head

    Next up was the H&N Baracuda Match pellet with the 4.50mm head. This may not be the most accurate pellet because of the head size, but it should give a close approximation of all similar pellets of any head size. This domed pellet averaged 835 f.p.s. for a 10-shot string, but there was an anomalous shot that went only 686 f.p.s. Throw out that one shot, and the next slowest shot went 818 f.p.s. The high was 869 f.p.s. At the average velocity (835 f.p.s.) this pellet produced 16.49 foot-pounds of energy. The spread for 10 shots was 183 f.p.s.

    If I average the 9 fastest shots the average climbs to 852 f.p.s. At that speed, the energy jumps to 17.17 foot-pounds. The spread for the top 9 shots was 51 f.p.s. I think that’s more representative of what the rifle can do.

    RWS Superdome pellets

    The last pellet I tested was the 8.3-grain RWS Superdome. I’d tested a light pellet (Hobby) and a heavy pellet (Baracuda Match), so the Superdome represents a medium-weight pellet.

    The 10-shot string also had one anomalous shot at 811 f.p.s., but the other 9 ranged from 922 to 960 f.p.s. For the 10 shots the average was 924 f.p.s., with a muzzle energy of 15.74 foot-pounds. But the 9 fastest shots averaged 937 f.p.s., for an energy of 16.19 foot-pounds, which I think is more representative. The spread for 10 shots was 149 f.p.s., but the spread for 9 shots was 38 f.p.s.

    Why the slow shots?

    If you recall, I had some slow shots last month when I tested the Diana 45 (see Part 8). I thought that had to do with the start screen of the chronograph triggering too soon from the muzzle blast, but this time I held the muzzle back from the start screen about 12 inches. I don’t think it was that, though I still need to do more testing.

    Trigger

    I didn’t like the trigger during this test. It feels like a single stage that goes off whenever it’s ready. It is entirely unpredictable as it came from the box. The manual says stage 1 is reduced to the minimum at the factory — so that had to be corrected.

    I adjusted stage one to be longer — hoping that stage two would become more positive. That didn’t happen.

    Then, I adjusted what the manual calls the pull-off. I was hoping this would make stage two more positive, and it did just a little — but not as much as I’d hoped.

    I finally adjusted the trigger-pull weight to the maximum, which is 500 grams. I’d hoped this would make the trigger crisper. It did clarify a little where stage two is, but the let-off is still very vague. This will be a trigger the shooter must learn, rather than one that can be set to break crisply.

    It isn’t a heavy trigger, nor does it have any creep. It’s just vague. But the way I have it adjusted now, I’m sure it’s good enough for some target work.

    The trigger now breaks at 1 lb., 11 oz. It’s positive enough that I’ll be able to shoot to the rifle’s maximum capability. But make no mistake, this isn’t a T06 trigger. It may be an adaptation, but it isn’t as positive as the T06 or T05.

    Evaluation so far

    Trigger aside, I really like the 340 N-TEC. It is, perhaps, better in .22, but it’s a powerhouse in .177. If the rifle is accurate, I think it’ll become a best buy — even considering the price. We shall see!


    Interesting gun designs — Benjamin Legacy: Part 2

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Part 1

    This report covers:

    • Something special from the back room!
    • Easy to cock
    • Smooth shooting
    • Testus interruptus
    • No more Legacy
    • Something’s coming — maybe
    • The rifle
    • Cocking effort 16 lbs.
    • A modern Diana 27?

    Today’s report is the reason I wrote the whole report about interesting designs. Today, I’m going to address what I’ve wanted to show you for the past 5 years. This is an interesting story, so fill your cup, sit back and enjoy.

    It began in 2009, when Paul Capello and I started the television show American Airgunner. We needed content for the show, and the Crosman Corporation in East Bloomfield, New York, invited us to come in and film their operation. I had toured parts of their plant before, and I knew there was a lot to see.

    Something special from the back room!

    During the tour, their head engineer, Ed Schultz, asked if we would like to see something special. Naturally, we were excited! He took us out a back door next to the bulk CO2 tank that fills all the cartridges they make. Then, he told us about a secret project of his.

    He’d taken one of their breakbarrel rifles and installed a gas spring in it. But this wasn’t your typical gas spring — oh, no! This unit had way less pressure inside, and Ed told me the breakbarrel would cock with about 16 lbs. of effort! One-finger cocking for a gas spring! I looked at him like he was crazy. No one had ever made a gas spring rifle that was easy to cock.

    Easy to cock

    Ed and I had talked about this at a SHOT Show a year earlier, and he decided to see if what I told him was right — that a gas spring that was easy to cock would also be wonderfully smooth to shoot. I told him about the Theoben Fenman that cocked with just 40 lbs. of effort. That sounds high today; but when it was new, the Fenman was the lightest-cocking gas-spring rifle on the market. It was a delight to shoot!

    Several years later, Theoben made another gas spring rifle that RWS USA imported. It was even easier to cock than the Fenman — getting down into the 30-lb. region. I think it was called the Classic. Not only was it the easiest gas-spring rifle to cock, it was also very accurate. Gas-spring guns were very hard to shoot well in those days, so when one came along that was a tackdriver, I paid attention. Ed wanted to know if what I told him was fact, so he experimented.

    He handed me the new rifle and told be to try it. It really was easy to cock! I didn’t have any way of measuring the effort that day, but it felt like his 16 lb. claim was spot-on.

    Smooth shooting

    When I shot the rifle, I got the next surprise. There was almost no vibration, very little recoil and almost no noise. I was able to hit a small mark several times on a dirt bank about 15 yards away.

    The rifle I shot that day was a .22-caliber breakbarrel that Ed said wasn’t shooting very fast. It was definitely under 12 foot-pounds. And it was a real delight to shoot. I begged Ed for a sample to test, and he assured me that when the rifle got to production I would get one to test for you.

    Five months passed before I saw the rifle again; and when I did, it had a name — the Benjamin Legacy SE. The first part of the name was borrowed from an earlier rifle that I tested several years before, and many people think that gun is what I’m referencing when I mention it. But the Legacy SE I received was the delightful secret gas-spring gun I’d seen too briefly at East Bloomfield.

    Benjamin Legacy SE
    The Benjamin Legacy SE was a gas-spring rifle that had a very short run.

    Benjamin Legacy SE name
    Although few have ever seen one, the Benjamin Legacy SE was a production gun for a very short while.

    Testus interruptus

    I started testing the rifle in late March 2010, but was interrupted by stomach cramps and a bout of nausea that sent me to the emergency room at the local hospital. To make a very long and unpleasant story short, it took a total of 4 hospitals over the next 7 months before I got back out of the woods. Over 2-1/2 months straight were spent in 2 different hospitals — much of it in intensive care.

    No more Legacy

    When I returned home in June that year, one of the first things I wanted to do was get back to the Legacy test. Unfortunately, the rifle was no longer available. In just the few months I’d been laid up, the finest gas-spring rifle I ever saw had been launched — and then taken off the market. That was sad because I could have sold thousands of them if I just had a chance to test one for you!

    Something’s coming — maybe

    The worst thing I can do is tell my readers about a wonderful airgun they can’t buy. So why am I telling you this now? Why am I going to finally test the gas-spring rifle that I believe was the best one ever designed? Because I have hopes that it will be resurrected! Or something similar. Maybe Crosman won’t bring the Legacy SE back — though I would be its champion if they did — but others are now looking at the design and thinking this could be a wonderful way to go. It isn’t powerful, so it won’t displace other gas-spring guns that are already successful, but it’s a very pleasant gun to shoot.

    The rifle

    Enough history. Now I’ll tell you about the gun. As you can see in the picture, the Legacy SE looks a lot like Benjamin Trail rifles. There’s no Weaver scope base because the Legacy SE was made years before Crosman began putting Weaver bases on their Trail rifles. What it does have is a set of conventional 11mm dovetail grooves with a single hole at the back for a vertical scope stop pin. Given the extreme smoothness and lack of recoil, that will be more than enough. There are no open sights on the rifle.

    The trigger appears to be the same one that’s found in the Trail guns; since it isn’t holding back as much force, it breaks very crisply on stage 2. The safety is manual, so the shooter is in control, which is how I like it.

    Cocking effort 16 lbs.

    The cocking effort is exactly 16 lbs. I know because I’ve now measured it for this report. That is the first time in almost 6 years that I have actually measured the effort!

    The rifle is normal-sized, at 44 inches overall. What looks like the barrel is just under 20 inches long, but the actual barrel is hidden deep inside a shroud. The actual barrel is about 1-1/2 inches shorter, and there are no baffles in front of it. The muzzlebrake is just a nice solid cap that completes the look of the rifle.The pull is 14 inches.

    The stock is synthetic with a dipped woodlands camo pattern in deep woods green and gray. There’s a stylized thumbhole, and the stock makes the rifle completely ambidextrous. A dark rubber cheekpiece is pinned to the top of the straight comb. The buttpad is a ventilated black rubber pad that prevents the rifle from slipping when stood in the corner. The forearm is thin in cross section and flat on the bottom for a good hand rest.

    The metal parts are not polished and present a matte surface for the black oxide. The metal barrel jacket is even duller than the spring tube. There are a few plastic parts on the gun, like the triggerguard and end cap, but even the trigger blade is metal.

    The barrel pivot is a screw that can be tightened. That means the rifle can be very accurate.

    The trigger has one adjusting screw, and in the next part I’ll find out what it does. The gun came to me without a manual, so I’m winging it. I’ll also tell you the velocity for certain .22-caliber pellets, though I don’t want you to expect too much.

    A modern Diana 27?

    This rifle is as close as any modern air rifle gets to the legendary Diana 27. It’s light, has a great trigger and cocks even easier than the 27. I think it’s a little more powerful, as well, but don’t expect too much.

    Crosman took Ed’s idea and created the Benjamin Trail Lower Velocity rifle that was made for a short time and the Benjamin NPSS that also had a short life. Lower velocity doesn’t seem to sell well for some reason — yet, every time I put one of these airguns into a shooter’s hands, they smile and say they wish they could buy one just like it. The Nitro Piston 2 is the modern airgun that comes closest to matching this performance, but it’s still too powerful — and the barrel pivot is a pin instead of a screw that can be tightened.

    There’s a lot to like about this air rifle. Maybe not in the power department, but a smooth-shooting, easy cocking gun that’s accurate? Heck — I always want one of those! We’ll see!