Beeman HW 70A air pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Beeman HW 70A air pistol
Beeman’s HW 70A breakbarrel spring pistol.

Remember that I said I would return and do another accuracy test of the Beeman HW 70A pistol because I didn’t test the best pellet seated? I felt a little guilty about missing that; but after my wife, Edith, got done with me, I felt really guilty. Good job, Edith!

Today is a revisit to see the effects of deep-seating the best pellet, which you may recall was the Beeman H&N Match. The other two pellets I shot last time aren’t in the running, so they don’t get retested.

However, a reader commented that his HW 70A really likes the JSB Exact RS dome, so that one got tested, too.

Several readers described their pistols as very accurate. One person even said his was a tackdriver. That really drives me nuts because of the results I’m getting. And I’m a good pistol shot — plus, I’m shooting the gun rested! I ought to be there with the best of you, but up to this point I’m not.

Beeman H&N Match
This was the best pellet in the first accuracy test, so this is the one I started with. And I started with the deep-seated pellets. I’m using the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Seater, and the adjustment hasn’t changed since the last time, so everything is equal.

The first group was pretty poor. I thought I’d forgotten how to shoot because it looked nothing like the group of flush-seated pellets from the last time.

Beeman HW 70A air pistol Beeman H&N Match deep-seated
Ten deep-seated Beeman H&N Match pellets made this 1.532-inch group at 10 meters.

That prompted me to try a group of the same pellets seated flush. You will remember in Part 3 that, when these were seated flush, 10 of them made a 1.085-inch group. This time 10 flush pellets went into 1.067 inches. That’s pretty close to the last time, and very persuasive that flush-seating is what this pellet likes!

Beeman HW 70A air pistol Beeman H&N Match flush-seated
Ten flush-seated Beeman H&N Match pellets made this 1.067-inch group at 10 meters. That’s close to what they did the last time.

JSB Exact RS
Next I tried some JSB Exact RS domes — just to see if I could duplicate what a blog reader reported. Lo and behold, I did! As I was shooting, I could see that the group didn’t seems to be growing, and I had a sense that the pistol was drilling the target. As you can see, it was doing exactly that! Ten pellets in 0.761 inches at 10 meters. I wouldn’t call it a tackdriver, but it’s the next best thing.

Beeman HW 70A air pistol Beeman JSB Exact RS flush-seated
Ten flush-seated JSB Exact RS pellets made this 0.761-inch group at 10 meters. Pretty good!

Next, I was going to try the same pellet seated deep, but that’s when I saw that the barrel was flopping from side to side at the breech! Oh, no! All that work for nothing!

Fortunately, this pistol has a pivot bolt that can be both tightened and also locked in position with a jam screw. However, I didn’t have time to do that because I was crashing on tests to put in the bank for my trip to see my friend Mac.

When I return from my trip, I’ll tighten the breech and rerun this entire test — plus shoot the RS pellet deep-seated. So, there’s fifth part coming.


Beeman HW 70A air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Beeman HW 70A air pistol
Beeman’s HW 70A breakbarrel spring pistol.

Today you get a twofer. Or at least it will be more than just one test, as I’m starting to test a second product with today’s accuracy test of the Beeman HW 70A pellet pistol. The other product I’m testing is the EyePal Master Kit for Rifles and Pistols. Because it did play a pivotal part in today’s test, let’s begin with it.

EyePal Master Kit for Rifles and Pistols
The EyePal is a soft patch that’s applied to prescription or safety glasses to provide an aperture for the sighting eye. This concept is close to a century old, and many of the veteran readers will remember the Merit adjustable iris that had a suction cup to attach to glasses. The Merit was adjustable, so the aperture you looked through was controlled by the user. The EyePal is not adjustable. In the Master Kit I’m evaluating, there’s one soft patch for handguns and another for rifles. They have different sized holes, and the handgun patch that I used in today’s test has the slightly larger hole. The lids on the boxes and the patches themselves are color-coded so you know what each one is.

EyePal Master Kit for Rifles and Pistols
The EyePal Master Kit contains an eyepatch for pistols and another for rifles.

EyePal Master Kit for Rifles and Pistols pistol patch
The pistol eyepatch has gold lettering.

EyePal Master Kit for Rifles and Pistols rifle patch
The rifle eyepatch has white lettering, and the hole is slightly smaller than the pistol eyepatch hole.

EyePal Master Kit for Rifles and Pistols pistol patch on safety glasses
The EyePal patch attaches by just laying it on the surface of the glasses (safety or prescription) and rolling it flat.

I won’t report on the EyePal as a separate item because I need to use it more than a few times to get comfortable with how it works. So, very much as I reported on the Winchester Airgun Target Cube over several tests that spanned many months, I will do the same with the EyePal.

I’ve tried the Merit accessory in the past and found it to be quite difficult to position. Also, as it aged, the rubber suction cup that held it to the glasses hardened and became less pliable — to the point that it eventually stopped working.

The EyePal patch, in sharp contrast, attaches easily and can be removed just as easily, though it does have to be pried up at one corner before it comes off. I find that it’s very intuitive to use the first time and that repositioning it is simple and needs no explanation.

Shooting the HW70A
Now, it’s time for the test. I found myself faced with a number of test variables, so I decided to test all of them with the first pellet, and then use the best result from those tests for the other pellets. The first pellet was the RWS Hobby. The test was a rested pistol held in two hand at 10 meters. I used standard 10-meter air pistol targets.

When I say I shot the pistol rested, I mean that both my arms rested on a sandbag. The pistol was held forward of the bag, so it never touched them to set up a variable recoil reaction. I kept both hands in the same place on the pistol for each shot.

The variables
I had to test this pistol under the following circumstances:

* Pellet seated deep and EyePal worn
* Pellet seated flush and EyePal worn
* Pellet seated flush and prescription glasses worn with no EyePal
* Pellet seated flush and no prescription glasses worn with no EyePal

The 4 targets for the first part of the test are shown below. I used RWS Hobby pellets every time for these 4 targets. After you look at the results, I’ll critique them and tell you what I found.

Beeman HW 70A Hobby Target 1
Hobbys were deep-seated and EyePal was worn on prescription glasses. Group measures 1.522 inches between centers.

Beeman HW 70A Hobby Target 2
Hobbys were seated flush and EyePal was worn on prescription glasses. Group measures 1.863 inches between centers. The large central group within this group made me think this was the best group of Hobbys.

Beeman HW 70A Hobby Target 3
Hobbys were seated flush and EyePal was not worn on prescription glasses. Group measures 1.953 inches between centers.

Beeman HW 70A Hobby Target 4
Hobbys were seated flush and prescription glasses were not worn. Group measures 1.953 inches between centers. I know that sounds too coincidental, but that’s what it measures.

Critique
First, I have to tell you the EyePal did make the front sight appear sharp when glasses alone did not. However, without glasses, the front sight appeared just as sharp as with the EyePal. What I did not know until I measured all the groups for this report was that deep-seated pellets measurably outshot all flush-seated pellets. That was a surprise; and if the Hobby pellet was the only one I used, I would re-run this test. But as you’ll soon see, I don’t have to.

The next thing I discovered is that the Hobby pellet wasn’t a good fit for this gun. These groups do not show what the HW 70A can do. However, this does illustrate an important point. By staying with the same pellet and varying other things, it didn’t really matter that the pellet wasn’t the best. I was still able to compare the effects of the other variables by staying with the same pellet.

Next, I must say that the trigger that I liked in Part 2 isn’t as crisp as I would like it to be. It has a very mushy, indistinct pull and release comes as a surprise every time. While that sounds good, it actually isn’t because the trigger can go off before you’re ready.

The bottom line for the first test is that deep-seated pellets and the EyePal on prescription glasses produced the best results. However, I did not pick up on that during the test, and shot all the other groups with the EyePal and flush-seated pellets.

Test 2: 3 other pellets
Next, I shot the pistol with Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets. The group measured 2.163 inches between centers and was clearly not in the running for this pistol.

Beeman HW 70A Premier lite target
Premier lites were seated flush and EyePal was worn on prescription glasses. Group measures 2.163 inches between centers. It looks like only 9 pellets were fired, but they were counted carefully and there were 10. Not a pellet for this air pistol.

Then, I tried 10 Beeman H&N Match pellets. Bingo! This was the pellet I was looking for. Ten made a 1.085-inch group that’s very round and unifirm.

Beeman HW 70A Beeman HNMatch target
Group measures 1.085 inches between centers. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! This is the accuracy I expected from this pistol.

Because the H&N Match pellets did so well, I also tried RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. For them, I adjusted the sights back to the center of the bull. They didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, grouping in 1.18 inches. While that’s the second-best group of the test, the H&Ns are clearly better this time.

Beeman HW 70A RWS R10 target
Group measures 1.18 inches between centers. It’s a possible second good pellet, but more testing is needed.

Final evaluation
For those who keep score, I shot this pistol 70 times in this test. I was concerned about getting tired, but the best two groups were the last two. So, I think I gave it a fair evaluation. However, I do admit that the best method of loading is deep-seating pellets, and I didn’t use that on the most accurate pellets. I’m going to come back and do a part 4. It’ll be at 10 meters, again, and only Beeman H&N Match pellets from this test will be used along with several new target pellets.


Beeman HW 70A air pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Beeman’s HW 70A breakbarrel spring pistol.

Okay, there’s some interest in this Beeman HW 70A, but many of you have avoided it like I have. Let’s see what it can do.

First, the cocking effort. HW advertises 21 lbs., however the test pistol registered 27 lbs. on my bathroom scale. While that may not sound like a lot, remember this is a close-coupled pistol, so there’s no long lever like you have on a breakbarrel rifle. So, 27 lbs. does feel like a lot.

The trigger-pull, on the other hand, is very light. The test pistol releases at just 2 lbs., 3 ozs. And that’s after I adjusted it to be heavier. I’d gotten it so low that it surprised me when it went off. That felt too dangerous; but where it is now feels pretty good.

Premier 7.9-grain domes
The first pellet to be tested was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellet. It averaged 371 f.p.s., and the spread went from a low of 364 to a high of 381 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generates an average 2.43 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

RWS Hobby
Next up was the 7-grain RWS Hobby. As light as they are, I expected Hobbys to be the speed demons of the bunch, but they weren’t. Hobbys averaged just 363 f.p.s., with a spread that went from 354 to 372 f.p.s. At their average velocity, Hobbys produced 2.05 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Beeman H&N Match
The last pellet I tested was the Beeman H&N Match pellet. This wadcutter weighs 8.18 grains and was the heaviest pellet I tested. The average nuzzle velocity was 383 f.p.s. — making this not only the heaviest but also the fastest of the 3 pellets tested. The range went from 371 to 395 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generated 2.67 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

I was puzzled
After testing these 3 pellets, I was puzzled about the velocity claims of 440 f.p.s. by the manufacturer. I thought that Hobbys would at least get close to that number, but as you can see, they were the slowest pellets of all, not to mention being the lightest. That made me wonder why they would be so slow. It seemed that they were also the pellet with the largest skirt, so maybe the gun was having difficulty overcoming the pellet in the breech. That’s when I thought about deep-seating each pellet with the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Seater to see how it would change — if at all.

Deep-seated Hobbys now averaged 419 f.p.s. and the spread that had been 18 f.p.s. before was now down to just 9 f.p.s. The muzzle energy went up from 2.05 foot-pounds to 2.73 foot-pounds.

H&N Match also increased, but the difference was much less. After deep seating, they averaged 392 f.p.s. and generated 2.79 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The total spread dropped from 24 f.p.s. to just 7 f.p.s.

Even Premier lites increased from 371 to 380 f.p.s., bumping the muzzle energy to 2.53 foot-pounds. And the total spread dropped from 17 f.p.s. to just 8 f.p.s.

Deep-seating seems to help calm this gun down and also to boost velocities. I guess I’ll have to try it when I test the pistol for accuracy, as well.

Impression thus far
Though the velocity seems to be a little low, the firing behavior is smooth and positive. The pistol feels right when it fires, and I think it’s going to turn in some surprising accuracy. But we shall see.


Beeman HW 70A air pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Beeman HW 70A air pistol
Beeman’s HW 70A breakbarrel spring pistol.

I’m about 19 years late on this report. The Beeman HW 70A air pistol was around in 1994 when I started writing about airguns, and I ignored it — finding other guns to occupy my time. I guess there are several reasons for that.

For starters, this pistol always looked large and rough to me. I never saw one of these guns close up in the early days, and I certainly never shot one; but I did see the BSF S-20 pistol that looked for all the world like a small air rifle — cut down and fitted to an outlandish wooden pistol grip. I projected that image onto the HW70, as in the catalog photos it looked very similar.

It was called just the HW 70 back in those days. The “A” designator was added to the model number when they put it into a synthetic black pistol grip that’s on the gun I’m testing for you now. And the size was mostly an illusion. This pistol is similar to a Crosman 2240 rather than the outlandish BSF S-20.

Beeman HW 70A air pistol with BSF S20 and Crosman 2240
Compared to the BSF S-20 (top) and the Crosman 2240 (bottom), the HW 70A doesn’t seem that big.

For those with a real collector bent, the automatic safety was added some time after the A model was already on the market — so the auto safety on the left side of the stock isn’t what makes it an A version. It’s the synthetic stock. There are A-version guns with synthetic stocks and no auto-saftety out there in collectorland, for those who obsess over minutia.

Beeman HW 70A air pistol safety switch
The automatic safety switch is on the left side of the stock.

Another turn-off for me was the anticipated cocking effort such a pistol was sure to require. I imagined cocking it would be like bending the bow of Hercules. I had also thought that about the big BSF and only discovered after getting one that the gun is relatively easy to cock. The HW 70A, on the other hand, does take some muscle power, and that can be attributed to its 6-inch barrel, which is rather short for a breakbarrel springer.

And, finally, I was concerned that the pistol would be very rough to shoot. When I got to shoot the BSF, its smoothness surprised me, but it’s nothing compared to this HW 70A. This is a very smooth air pistol!

Perhaps, that’s because the makers are not trying to send pellets downrange at the speed of light. The velocity specs of the .177 HW 70A have been 440 f.p.s. for as long as I’ve been writing about airguns. What it can really do is something we’ll discover together as I test this gun for you.

I know this — the HW70A is not usually the top air pistol on anyone’s list. Those who want power will gravitate toward the Diana RWS LP8 or the Beeman P1. Others wanting accuracy will go for the Beeman P17 or perhaps the IZH 46M. Almost nobody goes after the HW 70A as a first choice.

The pistol
This is a breakbarrel spring-piston air pistol that comes in .177 caliber, only. It weighs 2 lbs., 6 oz., and the grip is contoured to fit very well in medium to large hands. The grip/stock is black synthetic and checkered on both sides. The triggerguard is molded right into the stock.

Extensive use is made of aluminum in the construction of this pistol. The spring tube and outer barrel jacket are made of it, but the true barrel is a thin steel tube inside the outer jacket. The finish is a dark black epoxy that will fool everyone into thinking it’s black oxide, which is what we commonly call bluing. I only know that from an old Beeman catalog entry.

Most of what the hand touches on this pistol is cold metal, except for the grips. Even the sights that could be made from plastic are metal.

The pistol is very nearly 100 percent ambidextrous. The only feature that favors one side over the other is the safety switch that slides on the left side of the stock.

The barrel is held closed by a ball-bearing detent that allows the barrel to open easier, while still maintaining a tight seal when closed. It’s a classic means of locking the barrel when the pressure level doesn’t go too high.

Trigger
The trigger is two-stage and adjustable for pull weight. A screw in front of the trigger blade is turned to make the adjustment. It seems like the adjustment acts on a direct sear, apparently decreasing the sear contact area. Even if that’s not the case, though, I was able to adjust the trigger too light for safe operation. The second-stage stop disappeared, and I had a trigger that was guesswork instead of positive; so, I adjusted it back to where it had been from the factory, and that’s where I’ll leave it.

The trigger blade is wide and smooth. It’s made of aluminum, which will appeal to many shooters.

Sights
The sights are thankfully NOT fiberoptic! The rear sight is fully adjustable. Elevation has crisp detents, but windage has none, nor is there a scale for reference. You just have to watch where the notch is and where it moves when you adjust it.

The front sight is a very sharp, square post that fits very well into the rear notch. It’s covered by a steel hood to protect the hands when cocking.

Accuracy
The Beeman catalog used to claim this pistol could group 5 shots in 0.32 inches at 10 meters. I’ll test that when we get to the accuracy report. The gun is not scopeable by normal means, but at one time Beeman sold a special model called the Black Arrow that did come scoped. It had a proprietary scope mount that replaced the rear sight, but it’s no longer available.

That doesn’t matter to me because I would only shoot a handgun like this with open sights anyway. But some shooters want to scope even their handguns, so they need to know that this one can’t be scoped.

I’m looking forward to testing this airgun — I have been for nearly two decades. It’s time to hear the fat lady sing!

And now for something completely different
Pyramyd Air is looking for a manager for their tech department. This position was posted on the blog several weeks ago, but they’re still looking. If you’re interested, please apply. Below is the job info and where to send your resume.

Directs and coordinates activities of the department in providing customers technical services and support; directly supervises employees. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Coordinates technical support services between management, tech support staff, sales department, and customers.

Establishes and documents department procedures and objectives.

Accomplishes department objectives by selecting, orienting, training, assigning, coaching, counseling, and disciplining employees; communicating job expectations; and monitoring performance.

Maintains and improves support operations by monitoring staff and system performance, identifying and resolving problems, and preparing and completing action plans

Provides technical assistance to customers and labor quotes. Handles escalated calls or provides assistance requiring more complex issues.

Installs common accessories and kits in accordance with customer orders.

Performs tests on guns to determine advertised performance specifications.

Required experience, skills and background:

Bachelor’s degree and 3 years managerial experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience required. Previous industry experience required.

Must be detail-oriented with good mechanical aptitude.

Ability to prioritize and multi-task.

Good communication and customer service skills.

Good computer skills.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 9am until 5:30pm; longer hours and some Saturdays are expected, especially during our busy peak periods.

Preferred experience, skills and background:

Previous experience in airgun repair or troubleshooting desired.

Send your resume to [email protected]