Beeman P3 air pistol – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Test and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1
Part 2

This is the other test result you’ve been waiting for. Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Beeman P3 single-stroke pistol.

All accuracy testing was done at 10 meters using conventional 10-meter pistol targets. Remember that Mac has a red dot sight on his gun. And the pistol rested on a single leather bag that was pushed up snug with the triggerguard.

Mac gives this tip for those with astigmatism and see the red dot as a sparkle. Turn the lamp intensity as low as you can still see it, and the dot will grow smaller and sharper.

RWS Hobby
The lightweight RWS Hobby pellet turned in the second-best performance, with a 0.24″ spread for five shots. That’s quite extraordinary, in light of what all the other pellets did. Hobbys are quite affordable, so this is a good solution for this pistol. P3 owners — be sure to try them.

Five Hobbys went into this well-centered hole measuring 0.24″ between centers.

H&N Finale Match Pistol
The P3 didn’t do as well with the H&N Finale Match Pistol pellet. The pistol pellet is light weight, though, at 7.56 grains but not quite as light as Hobbys.

Five H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets went into this group that measures 0.45″ across the widest two centers.

JSB Exact Match
JSB Exact Match pellets, which are not a match pellet at all but a domed field pellet, performed a little better than the H&N Match Pistol pellets but were not close to the RWS Hobbys. The JSB is a domed pellet weighing 8.4 grains, which is getting heavy for a single-stroke pistol powerplant.

Five JSB Exact domes went into this group measuring 0.39″ across.

Crosman Premier lites
Last but not least were the 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers. They turned in the best performance of the test…an amazing group of 5 inside 0.11″ at 10 meters. And, they did it not one time but repeatedly. Mac was highly impressed by the accuracy and repeatability of this pellet.

Five Crosman Premier lite pellets made this phenomenal group that measures 0.11″ across the centers. Mac shot several like this, and it was clearly the best of the test.

The bottom line
With groups like these, I hardly have to justify the Beeman P3 pistol as one of the top guns for a very affordable price. You’re seeing very nearly 10-meter target pistol performance for a fraction of their purchase price.

If you’re interested in shooting targets but don’t want to spend the money for a full-blown target pistol, let the P3 be on your short list of alternatives.

Beeman P3 air pistol – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Test and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1

The Beeman P3 with dot sight is a great-looking air pistol.

Today, we’ll look at the performance of Mac’s personal Beeman P3 pistol. You’ll remember that this is a single-stroke pneumatic pistol with some fine handling features and a great trigger. Two things that many owners have mentioned is that the pistol is difficult to load and that it’s hard to pump (they often say cock). I disagree with the loading statement but agree with the pumping one. While the P3 isn’t as easy to load as a breakbarrel rifle, it’s not that difficult, either. You just have to learn the technique.

As for the pumping, it’s about average for a single-stroke of this power and size. It’s surprising those without previous single-stroke experience. A Gamo Compact target pistol of similar size and power is equally difficult to pump. For the record, Mac agrees that the pistol is difficult to load.

It’s been very hot on the East Coast this summer; and when Mac tested the P3 outdoors, it was 95 deg. F with high humidity. The wind was still on test day.

Crosman Premier lites
The 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite averaged 383 f.p.s. with a total velocity spread from 380 to 387. That’s just seven f.p.s., which is pretty typical of a single-stroke. Their reservoirs hold the same amount of air from shot to shot and they tend to be very consistent. I did not test my Marksman 2004 (which is now the Beeman P17) with Premiers, so no comparison is available. The average energy for this pellet was 2.57 foot pounds.

RWS Hobbys
The RWS Hobby pellet averaged 409 f.p.s. with a 10 foot/second spread from 406 to 416. That’s an average muzzle energy of 2.6 foot-pounds. The Hobby weighs only 7 grains and is made of nearly pure lead, so it should be among the fastest of the lead pellets. Once again, I have no comparison numbers from my Marksman 2004 with Hobbys.

JSB Exact pellets
The next pellet Mac tested was the JSB Exact Match, weighing 8.4 grains. The name Match is misleading because this is a domed pellet, not a wadcutter, but that’s what it says on the tin. They averaged 385 f.p.s. with a max spread of 9 f.p.s., from 379 to 388. The average muzzle energy was 2.77 foot-pounds — the highest of the four pellets tested. By coincidence, I’d also tested the Marksman 2004 with this pellet. In my gun, it averaged 411 f.p.s., so somewhat faster than Mac’s gun. I estimate my pistol has about 400-600 shots on it, while Mac figures his has about 1,000.

H&N Finale Match Pistol
The 7.56-grain H&N Finale Match Pistol pellet averaged 396 f.p.s. with a 6 foot/second spread, from 393 to 399. The average muzzle energy was 2.63 foot-pounds. That was the lowest velocity spread of the four pellets tested.

This o-ring seals the breech when the barrel is closed.

The comparison?
In this report, I did something I almost never do. I compared two airguns against one another. I did it because the Beeman P3 and Beeman P17 are so much alike, yet their prices are so far apart. The differences that I know of boil down to this: the P3 has an ultra-crisp trigger while the P17 trigger has some creep, and the P3 has a reputation for reliability while the P17 has been known to have sealing problems.

In the next report, Mac will show us the accuracy of this pistol. You’ll recall that he’s mounted a red dot sight on his gun, plus he shot it rested, so you can expect the best the gun has to give. We’ll learn what that is in Part 3.

Beeman P3 air pistol – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Test and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Mac tested his own P3 with a ProPoint red dot sight.

I’ve already tested and reported on a gun similar to this one. Back in 2006, I tested the Marksman 2004 — a carbon copy of the Beeman P3. At the time, I said it was a wonderful value in light of the price for a P3.

Well, the Marksman 2004 went away in 2006, and the Beeman P17 took its place. Same gun, different name. Still made in China, as opposed to the P3, which is made in Germany. This report looks at the genuine German-made P3.

The Beeman P3 is a single-stroke pneumatic single-shot pistol that performs like a target pistol. I will explain why I say that as we go through Mac’s test. The gun is made primarily of engineering plastic, which is the same stuff Glock frames are made of, so no wear-out and breakage fears. It’s an overlever design, where a top strap is lifted away from the frame and rotated forward to open the air reservoir and provide access for loading the pellet. When the top strap is returned to its starting position, the air is compressed in the reservoir.

P3 in the open position. (Photo from Pyramyd Air website)

The barrel is housed inside the top strap, so the breech is available for loading when the top strap is forward. Mac and many other owners feel the loading is somewhat clumsy, but I found it easy to adapt to with practice. When the top strap is closed, the air inside the reservoir is compressed. It takes about 20 lbs. of force to close the top strap for firing.

Pellet is placed into the breech when the barrel is exposed like this. Many feel this is clumsy.

How long can you wait before shooting after the gun is charged? Let’s call it five minutes, because the pump head is also the reservoir seal, and it isn’t strong enough to hold the compressed air for a long time. It has to flex to do its job, and that means it has to be made to give a little around the edges. So, five minutes max before you shoot. It’s best not to charge the gun unless you plan on shooting immediately.

The safety is automatic and sets when the pistol is cocked. It’s located on the left side of the frame which makes it impossible to operate with just one hand.

The safety is automatic and must be released before each shot.

The trigger is adjustable through an Allen screw set in the trigger. Mac reports the test pistol trigger breaks with 16 oz. of pressure and no creep or overtravel. That’s a lighter pull than would be legal on a 10-meter target pistol in competition.

The trigger adjusts through the blade via an Allen screw. It’s crisp, light and breaks cleanly.

The plastic sights are very durable with repeatable adjustments. They also have a very sharp post and notch, so sighting is particularly easy. The front sight has a fiberoptic dot that can also be a solid black post with the right lighting. But Mac preferred to use a ProPoint red dot sight instead, and that was mounted on the 11mm dovetail that is on the top strap.

Rear sight is very adjustable.

Mac’s pistol has approximately 1,000 rounds on it. That answers another question about longevity. The Marksman 2004 and P17 have sometimes had sealing issues with their compression reservoirs, but the P3 doesn’t seem to share them.