A first look at a RAW: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

RAW
The RAW field target rifle built on the new chassis frame.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Website and blog update
  • It was a cold and windy day
  • The rifle
  • Power set at max
  • November 23 Accuracy Testing
  • December 26 — cold-weather and moderator testing
  • January 2 Accuracy Testing
  • January 8 Accuracy Testing
  • Summary

Website and blog update

Pyramyd Air will be redoing the website and the blog design next week. The anticipated cutover date is Wednesday evening, 1/27/21. Therefore today is my last blog posting before the new site goes live next Thursday. There is a possibility that the blog will also be dark on Thursday, 1/28/21.

Nobody likes missing the blog for several days, but I will use the time to get several things done that take a lot of time. Please bear with us as we make this transition. Now on to today’s report.

A special look inside development

I hope you readers appreciate what this report is giving you. Reader Cloud9 is testing a purpose-built RAW field target rifle. It’s not that RAW rifles haven’t competed in field target before. Many have. But this is the first one built especially for that purpose. You are getting a look over the shoulder of a field target competitor as he sorts out his new match outfit. We talk about stuff like this all the time on this blog but seeing it is quite rare.

It was a cold and windy day

Remember that nasty 40-degree day I reported to you on January 12, when I tested the BSA R10 Mark II? We were all surprised at the greater-that-one-inch groups I got from an air rifle that’s supposed to be quite accurate, but several of you allowed that it’s difficult to shoot at 50 yards when you’re cold and the wind is blowing. Reader Yogi even said he read the weather report and the wind was gusting 15-20 mph, while I had reported 5-10 mph. The wind came from my back, so downrange it was swirling.

Seated next to me was Cloud9, shooting his RAW for the umpteenth time. He was trying to find the one best pellet for the rifle, and this was not a good day to do that. Still, it was what it was.

Remember that this RAW has to shoot at less than 12 foot-pounds because Cloud9 is competing in the World Field Target Federation (WFTF) class that restricts the power of the rifle. In his own words:

The rifle

My rifle is a new RAW TM1000 in .177 caliber, set up to shoot just under 12 foot-pounds muzzle energy to be legal for World Field Target Federation competitions in the US and around the world.  It was manufactured in Burleson, TX and Minor Hill, TN.  The parts were produced in the AirForce factory in Texas because this gun was built after the acquisition of RAW by AirForce in 2018.  It has the same tried and true TM1000 action, but in a new aluminum chassis.  It has a single-shot breech, a regulator, a 250bar (3600psi) titanium pressure vessel, a black aluminum chassis and an AR-15 buffer tube and adjustable buttstock. I added a RAW butthook in place of the buttpad, and also a Rowan Engineering adjustable forend (that I call a hamster), and a very comfortable ergonomic target grip.

Power set at max

Part One of this report concluded with data derived on October 30 and 31 of 2020. I was trying to shoot the JSB Exact 8.44-grain dome because at my power threshold I get velocities of between 790 and 800 f.p.s. I am right at 12 foot-pounds when this pellet reaches 800.09 f.p.s.

I leave the FX Radar Pocket Wireless Chronograph attached to the outside of my moderator and it tells me the velocities of each shot through my smart phone. That way I know what each shot does without having to concentrate on a set of skyscreens. I am free to concentrate on the targets. The radar measures velocity as the pellet leaves the muzzle and I have determined that this chronograph is within 5 f.p.s. of what my other chrony registers.

RAW FX radar chrono
I use the FX Radar chrono attached to my moderator.

November 23 Accuracy Testing

Today, I went back out to the range very early to shoot some more groups. There were a few differences this time. First, instead of shootiung off a bench I shot while sitting on my bum bag with my shooting coat on. I supported the rifle on my knee and nestled the butt hook in my shoulder. This is how I shoot in matches. I had decided to see how the rifle shoots under actual match conditions.  

Second, I was shooting next to the concrete wall that separates the 100-yard range I was on from its neighbor range, so there was very little wind to affect my shots.  However, what very slight wind there was tended to swirl and was unpredictable.  I ended up shooting 80 shots @ 60yards using JSB 4.50mm pellets.  I didn’t use the 4.51mm head size because they were in very short supply, and the 4.50mm are very plentiful.  I plan to sort some more pellets this week, so that I have plenty of 4.51mm to shoot going forward.  Here are the results of my shooting session.  At 60 yards, my rifle with this pellet will shoot 1.30” groups or 2 MOA.

RAW FX 60 shots
Eighty shots at 60 yards.

That group size is larger than I expected, and I believe there are some contributing factors.  To start, there was some wind swirling that I know moved some pellets slightly. This was shot at 60 yards.  Next, when shooting off a bumbag and supporting the rifle, it is not as steady as it can be while supported with shooting bags on a bench.  

Finally, I noticed that if I didn’t hold the rifle exactly the same each time (same pressure on grip, same supporting pressure on hamster, same support of right elbow on right knee, and same smooth trigger pull where I am surprised when it goes off, then the pellet would not hit where I was aiming. 

The hold-sensitivity is something I am going to have to work on to reduce or if I cannot do that, then I will have to adapt to it.  One thing I may try is adding weights to the rifle to increase its inertia, or resistance to movement.  A heavier rifle should be less hold-sensitive because it will not move as much when fired.

December 26 — cold-weather and moderator testing

Back at the end of October, I mentioned that with colder temps I was experiencing a poi change that I needed to understand better.  In the first portion of this article, there were some questions asked on the blog about my terminology of scope shift and clarifications were made by myself and others. 

To summarize, at cold temperatures using the side-focus wheel, my scope ranges approximately 4 yards short at 55 yards (indicates 51 yards instead of 55 yards).  Because the scope ranging was slightly short at the last field target match, I had unknowingly added fewer clicks for elevation than I should for what was in reality a 55 yard target. My pellets landed low on the target and I missed!  The poi change was caused by a scope ranging error and not by any other changes in the scope or velocity changes in the gun.  Now that I know to add up to 4 yards to long distance targets over 45 yards, my pellets hit where I aim.

I also mentioned that it seemed the rifle was a little more hold-sensitive than I preferred. To add some weight to the rifle, I removed the the adjustable stock that came with the rife and installed a Magpul PRS Gen3 Precision-Adjustable Stock.  The Magpul’s cheek rest and buttpad have precision dial adjusters with firm clicks that keep them locked in place.  In addition, there is no flex to the buttstock as a result of its robust construction and added mass.

RAW Magpul PRS stock
Magpul PRS buttstock.

Now for the testing, all of which was from the bench using sandbags.  I shot Air Arms 8.44-grain pellets with 4.49mm diameter heads, JSB 8.44-grain pellets with 4.50mm diameter heads and H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64-grain pellets with 4.51mm diameter heads today.  That is a smattering of pellets, and the reason is that I have a baseline for the Air Arms and JSBs of this size but I didn’t have any of my preferred 4.51mm yet.  I decided to try some H&N FTT pellets that are 4.51mm, just to see what would happen.

With the new stock, the group sizes for the Air Arms & JSB pellets were about the same as in previous testing, but it was a little easier to achieve those groups. Perhaps this result is because the added mass of the new buttstock has settled the rifle down a bit and allowed me to hold it more consistently. Or maybe the result was all psychological and I was just shooting more consistently on this day.  I really cannot attribute any improvement to the stock, but I prefer the way the rifle now feels in my hands, especially during a shot.

I wanted to see what the H&N FTT pellets would do, but the group sizes were larger than the Air Arms or JSB, so I quickly decided these weren’t the pellets for this gun.  I do really like these pellets in my HW-97K springers though.

For one final change today, I shot the rifle both with and without the silencer to determine its effect on group sizes. I did see a poi change when adding and removing the silencer, but I could not definitively say that the group sizes were better or worse with or without it.  I will shoot with it going forward, because I like the sound of silence!

January 2 Accuracy Testing

To try and learn some more about my rifle with the intent to reduce the size of the groups, I investigated the effect of increasing and decreasing the velocity that it sends pellets downrange.  After some reading on the internet, I began thinking that perhaps the pellets’ forward velocity was slowing more rapidly than the spin rate at longer distances and perhaps causing them to nutate and precess, resulting in a spiral at longer distances that decreased accuracy. One way to find out is to increase and decrease the muzzle velocity of the pellet and the resulting rotational RPM from the barrel twist, then I can evaluate those changes on group size.  There was no wind this morning, so any group size changes shouldn’t be skewed arbitrarily by it.  All of today’s testing was from the bench using sandbags using JSB 8.44-grain 4.50mm head pellets.

So far, I can say that I’m not seeing much difference in group size by slowing the pellets down.  I started at 795 f.p.s. and reduced the velocity in 20 f.p.s. steps to 740 f.p.s., but the group sizes looked the same.  I also increased the velocity to 820 f.p.s. before I had to halt my testing session and I saw some improvement, but I cannot be sure without further testing.  To be clear, I was testing at muzzle energies greater than 12 foot-pounds, but I won’t be able to do the same in a WFTF field target match.  I would show my results, but I can’t find the targets from this day, so I’ll have to do this over at a later date. 

January 8 Accuracy Testing

This morning, I finally had a chance to test a tin of JSB 8.44-grain, 4.53mm head size pellets that arrived over Christmas.  I never trust the labels on the tins of pellets for head size or weight, so I sorted the tin using the PelletgageR from Jerry Cupples.  Approximately 50 percent of the tin had pellets with head sizes between 4.51 to 4.53mm, with the other half being smaller than 4.51mm.

I also tested about 20 JSB 10.3-grain pellets that Tom Gaylord brought for me, but these weren’t sorted.  I quickly sorted them into 2 piles (4.50mm & 4.51mm).  Tom promised to send me some other pellets that are 4.52mm or larger to test next time. 

All of today’s testing was from the bench using sandbags at 50 yards.  The temperature was 42 degrees F and the winds were swirling at about 9 mph on the range.  The wind definitely affected the group sizes.  I tried to keep notes about when the wind blew or not and resulted in obvious flyers, so that I could try and exclude those shots in my analysis and determine the true capability of the rifle and ammo.

I started with the JSB 10.3-grain pellets from Tom.  These pellets came out of the muzzle at 735 f.p.s.

RAW JSB 10.3 pellets

You can see in this first group that the 14-shot group is 1.144” (2.19 MOA) CTC which is not promising, but the wind was blowing from left to right mostly, so if I try and exclude the probable flyers, the group size shrinks to .685” (1.31 MOA) which is very promising.

Group size was 1.039 inches (1.99MOA) with these JSB pellets, so I think they are not the right ones either.  I do plan to test some additional JSB 10.3-grain pellets when I get some 4.52mm head sizes.

Now I moved on to my sorted JSB 8.44-grain 4.52mm head size pellets, flying downrange at 795 f.p.s. On these next targets I tried to focus on getting 5 good shots and ignoring obvious flyers or impacts affected by wind.

RAW JSB sorted pellets 1

Throwing out three fliers from wind, my first 5-shot group at 50 yards measured just over one-half inch!

EDITOR’S NOTE: I will break in here because I was there to witness what happened. After this first group Cloud9 was very excited. Had he finally found the right pellet for his rifle? He sure hoped so!

RAW JSA 844 sorted pellets 2
Group 2 is 3/8-inches (0.375-inches) between centers at 50 yards and only one pellet is disregarded.

RAW JSA 844 sorted pellets 3
This 50-yard group is slightly larger than the last, at 0.401-inches between centers, but there are no fliers!

RAW JSA 844 sorted pellets 4
These five shots are in 0.201-inches at 50 yards. Sure there are two fliers, but even with them this group is well under an inch.

Summary

I’m going to stop there. Cloud9 was beside himself at this point, because I had been shooting inch-plus groups right next to him with a rifle that was far more powerful. And up to this point, he had been doing p[retty much the same thing. This JSB pellet with a sorted 4.53mm head was looking very good in his rifle.

I had now switched to shooting the .458 Texan that I also recently reported to you. When I finished with that we both ended our range day and went to AirForce to share the goods news with John McCaslin. He was delighted to learn of the success of the day and he and Cloud9 spent some time talking about the design of the field target RAW. I left to start writing my next blog.

There is more to come, but we are taking this slow because there is so much to digest as the testing unfolds.


BSA R10 MK2 precharged repeater: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSA R10 Mk2
BSA’s Mark 2 repeater has a rubber-covered beechwood stock.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The day
  • The rifle
  • The test
  • Start with JSB Exact Heavy
  • Crosman Premier heavys
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head
  • Remove the silencer
  • H&N Baracuda Match no silencer
  • JSB Exact Heavy no silencer
  • Crosman Premier Heavy no silencer
  • Discussion
  • Summary

In yesterday’s report you learned that I also shot the BSA R10 Mark II at the 50-yard range last Friday. I took the three best pellets from the 25-yard test in Part 3 and I shot them both with and without the DonnyFL silencer, just to see if there was a difference.

The day

As I mentioned yesterday, it was a cold Texas day with a light wind that blew from 5-10 mph. The range on which I shot is not only covered, it also has walls on both sides. Unfortunately the wind was at my back, and that produced swirling breezes downrange.

The rifle

The rifle was still scoped with the Meopta MeoPro Optika6 3-18X56 scope that is the best optic I own. It’s mounted in SportsMatch Fully Adjustable Scope Rings that have allowed me to get it right on for droop compensation. It was shooting about two inches low at 50 yards with the 25-yard sight setting.

The test

I shot from 50 yards off a sandbag rest. The rifle was rested directly on the sandbag. I shot 10-shot groups for each target.

I also tested each pellet both with the DonnyFL silencer installed and with it removed. When it was removed I put the BSA muzzle cap back on. The test began with the silencer installed.

Start with JSB Exact Heavy

I began the test with 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy pellets. Unfortunately I forgot to close the magazine retaining catch, so the first group was a loss. 

The second group was fired with the magazine catch pulled back and 10 JSB pellets went into 1.459-inches at 50 yards. The group spread out a little, left and right and that’s the same thing Cloud9 was noticing with his RAW. That was the wind swirling downrange. At 25 yards indoors ten of these same pellets made a 0.40-inch group.

R10 JSB group FL
The BSA R10 Mk II put 10 JSB Exact Heavys into 1.459-inches at 50 yards.

After seeing where this pellet landed I adjusted the scope up five clicks. 

Crosman Premier heavys

The second pellet I tried was the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier. Ten of them went into a group that measured 1.449-inches between centers. The group is high enough but also moved to the right. I didn’t adjust the scope after seeing it, though, because pellets will go to different places on their own. At 25 yards indoors ten of these pellets made a 0.395-inch group.

R10 Premier Heavt group FL
Ten Crosman Premier Heavy pellets went into 1.449-inches at 50 yards.

H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head

The last pellet I tested was the H&N Baracuda Match with a 4.50mm head. Ten of them went into 1.69-inches at 50 yards. At 25 yards indoors ten made a 0.346-inch group.

R10 Baracuda Match group FL
At 50 yards the R10 Mk II put 10 H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 4.50mm heads in a group that measures 1.69-inches between centers. It looks like 9 holes but I’m pretty sure the hole on the right side of the three at the left has two pellets through it.

Remove the silencer

Now I dialed the scope down five clicks. I also took the DonnyFL silencer off and replaced the BSA muzzle cap.

H&N Baracuda Match no silencer

Since the Baracuda Match tin was open I started with them. Ten of them went into a 1.961-inch group at 50 yards. It’s the largest group so far. The pellets also landed off to the left, which I assume is the result of removing the silencer.

R10 Baracuda Match group no FL
With the silencer off the R10 put 10 Baracuda Match in 1.961-inches. The pellets also went to the left on their own.

JSB Exact Heavy no silencer

Next to be tried were ten JSB Exact Heavys with no silencer on the rifle. Ten pellets went into 1.53-inches at 10 meters. It’s a little larger group than the same pellet shot with the silencer on the rifle.

R10 JSB Heavy group no FL
With the silencer off ten JSB Heavys grouped in 1.53-inches at 50 yards.

After this group I adjusted the scope down three clicks.

Crosman Premier Heavy no silencer

The last test was of Crosman Premier Heavys shot in the R10 with no silencer. Ten of them went into a 1.602-inch group that is larger than the one shot with the same pellet when the silencer was installed. They still went to the right of the aim point, just like they did when the silencer was installed.

R10 Premier Heavy group no FL
The R10 put ten Premier Heavys in 1.602-inches at 50 yards when the silencer was not mounted.

Discussion

This little test makes it look like the DonnyFL silencer bettered the groups a little. I don’t think that’s been proven. It might be more accurate to say the silencer did not adversely affect the groups.

The breeze we had caused some of the horizontal spreading. I tried to wait out the wind, but that was nearly impossible. Let’s just say I waited until it was as calm as it was going to get and then I shot as fast as I could before the wind picked up again.

Summary

I’m disappointed by today’s results. I had hoped for at least one group that was smaller than an inch. Cloud9 was getting 5-shot groups of sub one-quarter-inches, though he had some problems with the wind, too.

Will I test this rifle again? If I do it will be with a host of different pellets because these don’t seem to be the right ones for 50 yards.


AirForce Texan: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Texan
AirForce Texan big bore.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Upgrade to the TX2 valve?
  • Mr Hollowpoint
  • The day
  • Mr. Hollowpoint 333-grain bullet
  • Stretching the air
  • Cold!
  • First two bullets
  • Time to refill
  • Summary

The .458 Texan from AirForce Airguns I’m testing has been with me for many years. Mine is from the first production run. And AirForce has made significant changes to the rifle in the time since mine was made (read Part 3, where the new TX2 valve is discussed), but I don’t care. My rifle still hits hard and drills heavy bullets where I want them to go.

Upgrade to the TX2 valve?

AirForce offered to upgrade my Texan to the new TX2 valve if I wanted. I would gain additional power from the new valve, plus with the new carbon fiber air tank I would retain the 4+ good shots, because even though the new valve uses more air, the CF tank it’s in gets filled to 250 bar/3,626 psi. I could also switch over to the new barrel that is just as long as mine, but has a faster 1:30 twist rate that stabilizes the heavier bullets better. My 535 foot-pound rifle would become a 700 foot-pound rifle with the heaviest bullets.

I don’t know if I want to upgrade or not. My rifle has proven deadly accurate already with a 215-grain semi-wadcutter from Tin Starr bullets. It put 6 of them into about 1.5-inches at 100 yards. And it doesn’t take 700 foot-pounds to dispatch a whitetail deer or a feral hog.

Texan big bore best group
Remember, we measure from the center of the 2 holes farthest apart. Those two radii equal 1 bullet diameter (center-to-edge equals one radius). So, subtract one bullet diameter (.458″) from the measurement shown on the calipers and you get the center-to-center measurement. The group measures 1.506-inches, center-to-center.

If, on the other hand, I did upgrade I would be testing an entirely new air rifle, because both the barrel and the powerplant would be different. To work properly with the TX2 valve the internals of my powerplant would also have to be changed.

In Part 4 I tested my unaltered rifle, using the new TX2 tank and valve. My rifle’s best power had been 535 foot pounds. But now, with the new valve and a Mr. Hollowpoint 490-grain bullet, the power jumped up to 655 foot pounds on the first shot. And that was without the powerplant modifications my rifle needs to do its best with the new valve.

I’m the guy who always says, “Never get rid of an accurate airgun.” Is that what I would be doing if the changes were made? I want to hear what you think. Now, let’s get on with today’s report.

Mr Hollowpoint

Robert Vogel, who is Mr. Hollowpoint to big bore shooters, sent me an assortment of his bullets to test in my Texan. I showed you four of them in Part 4, last November. My thoughts were to select the one or two best performers, tune the power adjustment wheel to optimize the rifle to that bullet — and then leave it alone. 

In Part 4 I tested four of the five bullets he sent. Today I will test number five. I’ll also go back to the bullet that has proven to be the most accurate previously and see if it still as good as it was in Part 4. Remember from Part 4 that I asked him to size all the bullets 0.458-inches, because that’s the size with which my rifle does its best.

The day

I shot the Texan last Friday at the rifle range with reader Cloud9, who is still testing his RAW field target rifle. We were on the 50-yard range that is covered and has nice concrete shooting benches. But my first test that day was the BSA R10 Mark II, and I shot a lot of 10-shot groups with it. You’ll see that one tomorrow.

The day was a cold Texas day. The temperature wasn’t that bad, but the wind was chilling both me and Cloud9 to the bone. By the time I got to the Texan I had already been shooting for almost 2 hours and was pretty cold. 

Mr. Hollowpoint 333-grain bullet

First I will test that last bullet that Mr. Hollowpoint sent. It’s a long 333-grain bullet with a deep hollow point and wide grease grooves that are separated by narrow bands. It looks different enough from all the other bullets I’m testing that I decided to save it for last.

Mr. Hollowpoint 333-grain bullet
The 333-grain bullet from Mr. Hollowpoint looks quite different from all the others.

The first bullet landed in the bull because the rifle was still sighted in from last November. When the second, third and fourth bullets also struck black I thought maybe this would be one to consider — especially for shots at close range. Those first 4 shots grouped in 1.405-inches between centers at 50 yards.

Stretching the air

Then I tried to take a fifth shot without refilling. The onboard pressure gauge read 2,000 psi before the shot and I knew I should refill, but I thought I would take a chance. That fifth bullet landed 2-1/2-inches below the lowest bullet that was already in the bull. It was still in line with the group above, just much lower. It opened the first 5 shots to 3.838-inches at 50 yards.

At this point I refilled the rifle to 3,000 psi and took a final shot. If it went into the first group I would know that 4 shots are all I can get from this 333-grain bullet on a fill to 3,000 psi. 

Well, it did go to the first group, but it landed higher, opening those first four shots to 2.308-inches at 50 yards. Obviously I’m disregarding the lower fifth shot from the first fill in this measurement.

333-grain bullet group
The first 4 shots all hit the bull and grouped in 1.405-inches at 50 yard. The fifth shot on that fill dropped lower, opening the first five shots to 3.838-inches. By filling the tank again, I fired a sixth shot that hit above the first four. That group of 5 shots measures 2.308-inches between centers. Sorry for the blurry image.

Cold!

My little fingers were getting really cold by this time, so I knew I didn’t have much more time remaining. When you see all that I shot with the BSA R10 Mark II you’ll understand how long it took me to get to this point.

I wanted to give the most accurate of the five Mr. Hollowpoint bullets one final chance to see if it was still as accurate as it had been back in November. That was the 300-grain hollowpoint. Back then I put five of them into 1.232-inches at 50 yards, with three of them in 0.349-inches. Could I still do as well on this frigid day? And if I could, maybe I could adjust the power adjuster to optimize it.

Mr. Hollowpoint 300-grain bullet
Mr Hollowpoint 300-grain bullet that you have seen before is the most accurate of all his bullets that I’m testing.

First two bullets

Since I had just filled the Texan for the last shot with the 333-grain bullet, it still had a lot of air, so I decided to shoot the first couple 300-grainers before refilling. Shot number one nicked the top of the bull at 50 yards. Shot two, however, could not be seen clearly through the UTG 6-24X56 SWAT scope. My Meopta MeoPro HD 80 Spotting Scope, however, revealed that the second shot had gone through the same hole as the first shot. I thought that was what I was seeing through the UTG scope, but I needed confirmation. You can see it in my photograph.

Time to refill

At this point I wanted nothing to spoil this group, so I refilled the rifle to 3,000 psi. Shot three landed apart from the first two shots, but it was very close. Shots 4 and 5 are clustered with it. This five-shot 50-yard group measures 0.659-inches between centers!

Back in 2015 I shot five shots into 0.762-inches at the same 50 yards. Those were the same bullets that made a 1.5-inch 100-yard group.

Texan big bore best group
Back in 2015, I managed to put five 215-grain bullets into 0.762 inches at 50 yards. This was clearly a good bullet!

300-grain bullet group
Last Friday, five 300-grain bullets made a 0.659-inch group at 50 yards. This bullet from Mr. Hollowpoint has edged out the Tin Starr bullet from 2015. Will it do as well at 100 yards?

Well, there is no way that I am fooling with the power adjuster after shooting a group like this. This Texan is sighted-in for 0-75 yards right now with this bullet!

Summary

My current Texan is very accurate and as powerful as I need it to be. But by allowing AirForce to upgrade it to the new TX2 valve and the new barrel, I would have a brand new airgun to test. I’m leaning in that direction, but I would like to hear what you readers think.

As it stands now the 300-grain bullet from Mr. Hollowpoint is extremely accurate. I do think I need to test it at 100 yards before I do anything to the .458 Texan.


Umarex ReadyAir portable compressor: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

ReadyAir
Umarex ReadyAir portable compressor
.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Setting up the compressor
  • Setting the pressures
  • Test plug
  • Not set and forget
  • The tests
  • Test One — BSA R10
  • Bleed valve
  • Test two — AirForce tank
  • Runtime
  • Test 3 — AirForce tank outdoors
  • Summary

Today we look at how the Umarex ReadyAir portable compressor operates. I’ve devised three tests that should demonstrate the operation quite well. Let’s go.

Setting up the compressor

To get the compressor ready for the first two tests I attached the 110 volt household power cord and the flexible air hose that comes with a female Foster fitting on the end. If only all airgun manufacturers would use the male Foster fitting for all their guns the world would be abetter place!

The other end of the hose that attaches to the compressor is a properly sealed 1/8 BSP threaded adapter that has a rubber seal inside. I tightened it hand tight for all the tests and it held air perfectly.

Setting the pressures

The compressor comes with the control panel set to run in English, the pressure reading in PSI and temperature reading in Fahrenheit. The languages can be changed to French and Spanish with the push of a button. Pressure can read in bar and temperature in Celsius if you prefer.

Your first task after plugging in the compressor is to set the desired fill pressure. When the compressor gets to that pressure it will stop pumping, though if the cooling fan has come on it will continue running. You need to leave it running until the temperature drops below 87 degrees F. The fan never switches off until you push the off button.

Test plug

In the maintenance video that we watched in Part One, Rick Eutsler wondered whether there would be a test plug for the air hose in the compressors that are shipped to the public. There is one in the test compressor. It came to me plugged into the Foster fitting on the hose.

ReadyAir test plug
The ReadyAir does come with a test plug to check out the system before pumping an airgun.

Not set and forget

I told you in Part One that the ReadyAir is not a set-and-forget compressor, but I’m telling you again. However, because it operates so quickly, that really won’t be a problem for you. I had this one running in my office and could hear when it shut off. I kept an eye on the display, but that was more because I was curious than for any other reason. It’s a good thing I have to return this one to Umarex USA because if it was around my place I would never get to use my big Air Venturi compressor or my carbon fiber tanks.

The tests

The first two tests are indoors, using house current, which in the U.S. is 60 Hz 110 volt current. I’m plugged into a 15 amp outlet. Before the first test I checked the compressor with the test plug installed in the end of the air hose. The plug seals the air hose, allowing pressure to build quickly. It’s a simple test that the whole system is running as it should. I set the test pressure at 4500 psi and started the compressor. It read 72 degrees when it started, with the house temp reading 69 degrees. It got to 4500 psi and shut off in under a minute and the temperature increased to 75 degrees.

Test One — BSA R10

My BSA R10 Mark II has a 200cc reservoir. That’s 12.2 cubic inches. The reservoir gauge read 110 bar/1595 psi when I started the test and the compressor was set to stop at 232 bar/3365 psi. When it is plugged into the wall the compressor’s display lights up. That’s when you make any adjustments and set the fill or cutoff pressure.

ReadyAir R10https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Umarex_ReadyAir_Portable_Compressor/9732
The BSA R10 was the first to be filled.

When you are ready, push the start button and the compressor begins to pump. Don’t forget to close the bleed valve before starting the compressor.

Bleed valve

I love the handle on the ReadyAir bleed valve. It’s large and grippy and was obviously made by someone who understands what we are doing when we bleed the line.

ReadyAir bleed valve
The brass bleed valve (arrow) is closed when the compressor is pumping. The large grippy handle makes bleeding very easy.

On a carpeted floor the compressor jiggles back and forth about a quarter inch each way with the rhythm of the pump. 

The compressor’s starting temperature was 82 degrees F. When the pump stopped pumping at 3365 psi after 4 minutes, the temperature read 120 degrees F. The fan cooled the pump back down to 87 degrees F in another 5 minutes and then I shut it off.

That’s how it went. The ReadyAir was efficient and quick to fill the BSA. Like I already said, if I owned a little compressor like this one I doubt my big compressor would get much of a workout.

Test two — AirForce tank

Now we’re going to put the ReadyAir to a real test. I took an empty 495cc/30.21 cubic inch reservoir from an AirForce Escape and attached it to the compressor. I set the fill to 3,000 psi and started her up. This time I noticed something that I hadn’t seen with the smaller BSA reservoir that was 2/3 full. The pressure in the tank would rise and then sink back down by several psi. It did that throughout the entire fill.

The compressor started at 84 degrees when the air tank was empty and 17 minutes later when it stopped pumping at 3,000 psi, the temperature was 140 degrees F. I was so faithful to time the fill with my watch, but this time when I disconnected the air tank I noticed that the display on the compressor was also timing the fill. It said the same 17 minutes I had just recorded.

Runtime

The manual has an explanation of everything on the display and now that I know what to look for I see a runtime indicator. I didn’t see it before, nor was I aware it was there. Not only does it tell you what the compressor has just done, if you keep a logbook for your compressor it gives you the amount of time to enter, so you’ll know when those 20 hours are up and the maintenance cycle (piston rebuild and charcoal filter replacement) is required.

ReadyAir runtime
The runtime is the yellow numbers in minutes to the left of the max fill pressure.

So, 17 minutes is a longer time. But I went from zero psi and you won’t do that very often. You’ll go from 2000 psi and fill to 3000 in a few minutes.

Test 3 — AirForce tank outdoors

Test three is a test using the 12-volt cables attached to a car battery. I first attached the battery cables to the compressor and then clamped them to my truck battery. The same AirForce tank was used and I had emptied it all the way before this test. The battery cables are very long and the pump can sit on the ground. The manual advises that you leave the vehicle running while the compressor is running.

ReadyAir truck
The battery cables are long enough that the compressor can sit on the ground.

Obviously this test was outside, and it was in 50 degree F weather. Umarex says to operate it in the shade if possible, to keep it cooler. The pump never got above 105 degrees F in the 18 minutes that it took to fill the tank and shut down. The temperature of the compressor dropped below 84 degrees within five minutes after the pump stopped but the fan kept running. I then pressed the on/off button and the pump started as the entire compressor shut off. It’s a strange sensation, but the pump stops right away when the off button is released.

This was a second test of filling from empty. Normally a tank this size will take 6-8 minutes to top off becauise you will never go below 2,000 psi.

Summary

What more can I tell you? The ReadyAir runs just like it should and the fill times are relatively brief. The instructions are straightforward and everything you need comes with the compressor.

I think the ReadyAir gives us a reliable and supported air compressor at an affordable price for many more airgunners.


Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Marauder Semiauto
Benjamin’s new Semiauto Marauder repeating PCP.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Adjusting the power
  • The test
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • Beeman Kodiak
  • Misfeeds
  • JSB Exact Jumbo RS
  • How loud?
  • How much air was used?
  • Adjust the rifle back to the factory setting
  • Dial off 7/8 of a turn
  • Dial off another full turn
  • Dial off another 3/4 turn
  • Dial back a half turn
  • Dial back another half turn
  • The bottom line
  • The trigger
  • Summary

Today we look at the Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP air rifle adjusted up as high as it will go. I want to know how much power and also how many shots I can expect at this setting. I will also adjust the rifle back to how it came from the factory to see if I can achieve the former power by simply counting the revolutions of the adjustment screw.

As an aside, reader GunFun1 found out that his .22 Marauder magazines worked just fine in his SAM. He wanted to know because SAM magazines aren’t available yet. I do believe he increased their spring tension just a little.

Adjusting the power

The first step was to determine how far out the adjustment screw was set on the test rifle. To do that I unscrewed it until it stopped, which it did after 5-1/8 revolutions. That is all the power adjusted out.

After that I screwed it in as far as it will go without slipping. The manual says that it’s impossible to turn the screw in by more than 6 revolutions, and when I did I felt a click with every additional revolution. So Crosman has designed something to prevent over-tightening. Now I was ready to test the rifle.

The test

I will use the same pellets from the previous test in Part 2 so we can compare the power levels. I will also test the discharge sound again, to see if there has been any change.

JSB Exact Jumbo

This time I remembered the SAM is semiautomatic. I also remembered to press the charging handle forward and also the forward assist to properly seat the new pellet in the breech after installing a loaded magazine.

Last time at the factory setting the SAM pushed JSB Exact Jumbo pellets out at an average 804 f.p.s. The spread was 6 f.p.s. and the average energy generated was 22.81 foot-pounds. This time the velocity averaged 828 f.p.s. with a 10 f.p.s. spread from 821 to 831 f.p.s. The muzzle energy this time was 24.2 foot-pounds. That’s only a little faster after the adjustment, but as I said the adjustment screw was already turned in 5-1/8 turns as the rifle came from the box.

Beeman Kodiak

The next pellet I tested was the obsolete Beeman Kodiak, which is identical to the H&N Baracuda that’s still available. In Part Two this 21.14-grain pellet averaged 684 f.p.s. for a muzzle energy of 21.97 foot pounds. In this test the same pellet averaged 706 f.p.s. for a muzzle energy of 23.41 foot pounds. The spread was 10 f.p.s. from 703 to 713 f.p.s.

Misfeeds

With the Kodiak, though, there were several misfeeds. I only recorded 7 good shots out of the first 10, The other three were misfires. And when I tried to get the last three shots by reloadinbg the magazine a second time, all three were misfires. By misfires I mean that one pellet might have gone out at 333 f.p.s. followed by a double feed that went out at 515 f.p.s. Since it happened twice with this pellet I determined that the SAM doesn’t care for Kodiaks. So I stopped using them.

I think the Kodiak pellet is either too large or too heavy for the SAM’s action and it “confuses” the semiautomatic action. The same thing happens in semiautomatic firearms when the wrong ammo is used. In the case of the SAM I think the pellet is putting more backpressure on the action than it was designed for and that is what is bolloxing things up. This is something you must pay attention to if you plan to shoot a semiauto.

JSB Exact Jumbo RS

The last pellet I tested was the lightweight JSB Exact RS dome. In Part Two they averaged 865 f.p.s with a 5 f.p.s. spread. On the high power setting today the same pellet averaged 888 f.p.s. with a 9 f.p.s. spread from 885 to 894 f.p.s. At the average velocity the RS pellet generates 23.52 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

How loud?

In Part Two I recorded the rifle’s report as 84.3 decibels. How loud is it now that the power has been increased? My sound meter recorded it as 91.6 decibels, though it still sounded pretty quiet to me. I took several readings and this one was in the middle.

SAM report
With the power up all the way the SAM’s report was 91.6 decibels.

How much air was used?

At this point in the test 34 shots had been fired (the three magazines, plus 4 additional shots for the Kodiak pellet string). The onboard gauge says 2,300 psi remains in the reservoir. In Part 2 we learned that the test rifle runs out of steam when the onboard gauge reads around 1,600 psi. So, there are lots of shots remaining.

Adjust the rifle back to the factory setting

Can I now adjust the rifle back to where it was set when I first tested the rifle? Theoretically I should be able to “eyeball” the position of the 1/4-inch Allen screw, by watching the short end of the Allen wrench and return to that setting. Let’s see what happens when I try.

Dial off 7/8 of a turn

I dialed the wrench off 7/8 of as turn and recorded the following string with JSB RS pellets that had averaged 888 f.p.s. on high power.

Shot………Vel
1………….891
2………….888
3………….886
4………….881
5………….880
6………….880
7………….880
8………….889 Oh, oh! Wrong way.
9………….880
10..……….887

The average for this string is 884 f.p.s. so some velocity has been dialed away, but not much. Until shot eight I thought the rifle was going to settle down to a lower velocity.

Dial off another full turn

Next I dialed another full turn off the power screw. Here is what I got.

Shot………Vel
1………….877
2………….869
3………….870
4………….871
5………….871

Dial off another 3/4 turn

That was much closer to the 865 f.p.s. average for the RS, but I wanted to get even closer. So I dialed down the screw another 3/4-turn and got this.

Shot………Vel
6………….857
7………….853

Dial back a half turn

Wooops! I went too far. So I put back 1/2 turn of the power adjustment.

Shot………Vel
8………….867
9………….858
10..……….854

Dial back another half turn

Well, I’m close, but I want to get even closer, so I dialed in another 1/2 turn of power and got this.

Shot………Vel
1………….866
2………….862
3………….861
4………….864
5………….864
6………….861
7………….864
8………….857
9………….856
10..……….855

By the way, that’s 64 shots on a fill and the rifle still has 1,900 psi in the reservoir. So there is at least one more magazine’s worth of air.

The average for this string is 861 and I decided to leave the power set where it is. But there are two important things I have to say.

First, why didn’t the velocity go back to exactly where it was before when I adjusted the power screw to exactly where it had been set? Maybe I miscalculated where the screw was really set. Or maybe when you mess with the power setting it takes a long time for the rifle to settle back down.

Second, How come I dialed it down 3/4 turn of power and then put a full turn back in and the power didn’t go to higher than it was before the 3/4 turn adjustment? Same answer as before, except this time I know I did adjust the screw exactly as indicated.

The bottom line

The bottom line, guys, is to get a chronograph if you want to play around like this. Don’t think that counting screw turns is an exact science. This is the reason when someone says they are shooting their AirForce TalonSS at setting 8.12, it means nothing to anyone except that guy and only at the time he records it.  If he ever adjusts his power setting somewhere else he may never be able to get back to that exact velocity! Chronograph, chronograph chronograph!

The trigger

I must tell you about the trigger. Stage two is smooth and light, but there is absolutely no hint of where it’s going to break — other than the distance it has travelled. I’m starting to know where the rifle will fire by how far I have pulled the trigger. It’s a new experience for me, but it’s not hard to learn.

Summary

Well, the SAM didn’t go up as high as I thought it would. But it still has all the power I will ever need in the .22 semiauto. 

Remember that Kodiaks didn’t work so well this time and be willing to accept that as part of the cost of having a semiautomatic action.

The accuracy test is next.


Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Marauder Semiauto
Benjamin’s new Semiauto Marauder repeating PCP.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • What is it, again?
  • JSB Exact Jumbo — huge learning curve!
  • Wait a minute!
  • String two
  • Beeman Kodiak
  • JSB Exact Jumbo RS
  • Sound level
  • Shot count
  • More power?
  • The trigger
  • Summary

Today we start testing the velocity of the new .22-caliber Benjamin Semi-Automatic PCP air rifle (SAM). Your comments to Part 1 were thoughtful and enlightened. I was hoping you readers would understand that this rifle is no more a Marauder than a NASCAR racer is a stock car. And you did!

What is it, again?

The SAM is a semiautomatic air rifle. It looks something like a Marauder, and Crosman has chosen to brand it that way, but this rifle is quite different from what we have all come to know as the Marauder. Some of that will come out today. Let’s get started.

Crosman said they sent this rifle out tuned to around 22 foot-pounds, which they say is around 900 f.p.s., but of course that depends on the pellet. It’s also going to vary a little from rifle to rifle, but since the hammer spring can be adjusted, we can tune it higher.

JSB Exact Jumbo — huge learning curve!

Okay — sometimes BB Pelletier is just as confused as anyone, and this was such a time. The first pellet I tested was the 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbo. Let me show you the first shot string.

Shot…………Vel.
1…………….802
2…………….528
3…………….529
4…………….556
5…………….536
6…………….791

… and the magazine was empty! HUH? How did I shoot 10 pellets in 6 shots? Unless…

Wow! The SAM is double-feeding with most shots! I gotta tell my readers about that! Unless…

Wait a minute!

Oh, THAT is what semiautomatic means! I don’t have to pull the bolt back, cock the hammer and reload for the next shot. But I did! I treated the SAM like it is a bolt-action repeater. Crosman, copy that explanation and show it to whoever said the Vigilante is a semiautomatic revolver.

Yes folks, old BB was bamboozled by this plumbum launcher! He forgot it was semiautomatic! Never mind what the title of this report is — old BB plumb forgot.

Okay, erase, erase. BB gets a do-over. This time he’ll make it work.

String two

Same pellet only now BB knows what semiautomatic means. Let’s see.

Shot…………Vel.
1…………….802
2…………….804
3…………….806
4…………….802
5…………….806
6…………….802
7…………….805
8…………….802
9…………….806
10..………….800

So — better numbers, no? The average for this string was 804 f.p.s. At that speed this 15.89-grain pellet generates 22.81 foot-pounds of energy. The velocity spread was a mere 6 f.p.s., which can be attributed to the regulator. So far, so good.

Beeman Kodiak

The next pellet I tested was the obsolete Beeman Kodiak dome, which is an H&N Baracuda by another name. This pellet weighs the same 21.14-grains as the Baracuda and should be the most powerful one I test in the SAM because it’s the heaviest.

The first shot was 537 f.p.s., which I thought was slow. Shot two went out at 688 f.p.s., which was more like it. The last 9 pellets averaged 684.11 f.p.s. At that velocity this pellet generates 21.97 foot-pounds. So the way the rifle is currently set up, the JSB Exact Jumbo is the most efficient. And the real spread for those last 9 shots was just 9 f.p.s.

But what about that first shot? What happened there? I have to know because this cannot be a hunting rifle with that kind of thing happening!

JSB Exact Jumbo RS

The last pellet I shot was the JSB Exact Jumbo RS — a 13.43-grain dome. Ten of them averaged 865 f.p.s. and old BB learned what he did wrong on the first shot of the previous string. He didn’t push the forward assist after inserting the magazine. The manual tells you to do that for a very good reason.

Pushing the forward assist ensures that the bolt probe is all the way forward. When the rifle fires, the inertia of the bolt as it cycles carries it forward all the way, but when you load a new magazine, the bolt probe may not push the pellet far enough into the breech and the velocity will drop. I will prove this in a little bit.

The low for this string was 862 and the high was 867 f.p.s. — a difference of just 5 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 22.32 foot-pounds of energy.

Sound level

The SAM is pretty quiet. It registered an 84.3 on my sound meter.

SAM sound
The SAM registered a quiet 84.3 decibels on the sound meter.

Shot count

To this point I have fired 36 pellets on the fill. Now I shot 20 blank shots to avoid wasting all my expensive pellets. That brings us up to 56 shots fired since the fill. The onboard gauge reads about 2,300 psi remaining, and well more than half of the green scale on the pump dial remains. In other words, the rifle is still on the power band. Then I shot another string of JSB RS pellets because I have more of them than the other two types. Let’s see what I got.

Ten RS pellets averaged 864 f.p.s. on this string. That’s just one f.p.s. different than the string 20 shots ago. But this time the high was 873 and the low was 857 f.p.s., so the spread has opened to 16 f.p.s. And that’s 66 shots on the fill.

The next string, which was shots 67 through 76 is shown below.

Shot.…………Vel.
67…………….853
68…………….855
69…………….853
70…………….853
71…………….855
72…………….848
73…………….851
74…………….854
75…………….849
76…………….852

Looking at this string it seems like the rifle is nearing the end of its useful pressure, but even then, at an average 852 f.p.s., the velocity may have fallen (from 864/865 for the RS pellet) but the total variance, low to high, is only 6 f.p.s. The rifle is not off the reg, but it has settled down to a slower average. I think you could still shoot at this average and be fine out to 50 yards, because the difference between this string and the first one is still not that much. That’s at least 76 shots on a fill, when the SAM puts out 22 foot-pounds.

Let’s look at the next string of JSB RS pellets.

Shot.…………Vel.
77…………….593 (I forgot to use the forward assist!)
78…………….850
79…………….839
80…………….841
81…………….831
82…………….828
83…………….840
84…………….833
85…………….828
86…………….830

Here is where we might argue. The SAM is still shooting pretty well, but I think we would have to scale it back to 35 yards. Discounting that first shot for a moment, there is a 22 f.p.s. variation in velocity and the rifle is definitely slowing down. You could still shoot it and do okay, but maybe not on those farthest targets. Let’s add 4 more shots and say the SAM has about 90 shots for 25-35 yard plinking and at least 60 good consistent shots for long-range hunting, when the hammer spring is set as it came from the factory.

SAM gauge
After 86 shots on one 3,000 psi fill, this is where the SAM pressure gauge reads.

Secondly, I forgot to use that forward assist after inserting the magazine and there is the velocity drop again. So that’s what it is and don’t let anyone tell you different. The magazine has functioned perfectly in this test.

More power?

Yes, there is more power available and I will adjust the rifle to get it for you. But not today. We’re already doing too many things in this report.

The trigger

Here is something else I’m not going to change. I like this trigger — for this rifle! It has a long, smooth second-stage pull that I can work with. But I’ll show you what it looks like inside.

SAM trigger
The SAM trigger parts, as shown in the manual.

Trigger pull

The two stage trigger has a 5.7-ounce first stage, followed by a long second stage that breaks at 2 lbs. 5 ounces. It’s not what I’m familiar with, but I like it.

And I am going to recommend that you always store the rifle with the safety on. Remember — this rifle is a real semiautomatic. As long as there is air in the reservoir, it will fire when the trigger is pulled.

Summary

By golly, we got through it. But next time we’re going to adjust the power up and do it all over again. I hope I can remember to push that forward assist!


A first look at a RAW: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

RAW FT
The RAW field target rifle built on the new chassis frame.

This report covers:

  • The beginning
  • It’s here!
  • Scope
  • How does it shoot?
  • Results?
  • October 25, 2020 Chronograph
  • October 30 & 31, 2020 Chronograph
  • Accurate?
  • Pellets & Accuracy 
  • Summary

This report is a first look at a very special RAW. The RAW air rifle is manufactured by AirForce Airguns. It was formerly made in Tennessee and some work is still being done there, but the main manufacturing has moved to Texas.

RAW stood for Rapid Air Weapons before AirForce acquired the company. Since airguns are not considered weapons in the United States, AirForce has dropped the name, but they retain the acronym RAW because it is recognized to be at the top of the industry.

This report is about a RAW that was specially built for field target. It is built up on the new RAW aluminum chassis frame instead of residing in a wooden stock. It was built for blog reader Cloud Nine, who had a part to play in its design. He also gathered all the data and even wrote some of today’s report

The beginning

Cloud Nine (I’ll now call him Nine) is a field target match director at the Arlington Sportsman Club in Texas. He built his field target club up from scratch and it is now quite active in north central Texas. But he has been shooting in the spring-piston class. He wanted to get into PCPs, but was always waiting for the right rifle to come along.

After placing third in the 2019 AAFTA Nationals, shooting in the WFTA spring-piston class, Nine came to the attention of AirForce owner, John McCaslin, who wanted his RAWs to break into field target. RAW has made 12 foot-pound rifles before, but they were never optimized for the sport of field target. This was their chance to participate in the hands of a proven competitor who would feed back information on the performance of the rifle as he went.

It’s here!

Nine received his new .177 TM 1000 field target rifle in August and immediately set to testing and getting used to it. It was set up to shoot just under 12 foot-pounds, which is a requirement for the WFTF rules that govern his matches.

It has an aluminum chassis that functions as the frame and the forward part of the stock. It’s a single-shot with a sidelever to operate the bolt. The titanium reservoir fills to 250 bar (3600 psi) and the rifle is regulated. It has an adjustable buffer tube that incorporates a highly adjustable stock. It came with an adjustable buttpad that Nine exchanged for a RAW butthook. He also installed a Rowan Engineering adjustable forearm that FT shooters call a “hamster” and he added an ergonomic target pistol grip that he finds more comfortable.

Scope

Nine mounted a Sightron SIII FT 10-56X60 scope in Burris signature mounts that have a +/- 10 degree tilt that he adjusted down, of course. He uses a BKL dovetail-to-Picatinny riser to elevate the scope to his sighting eye. He has also mounted a thermometer to the scope to help figure out the scope shift as the temperature changes.

How does it shoot?

His first outing was August 25. Here is what he says, “I began testing the RAW TM1000 by determining the muzzle energy, to see how it varied and if any adjustments were needed to keep the rifle shooting below 12 ft-lbs.

Test 1………………RAW TM1000
Notes………………First test
Gun………………..RAW TM1000
Date:……………….8/25/20
Time………………..8:20 p.m.
String……………….1
Shots………………..104
Ext. Spread…………..23
Avg, Vel…………….783
Std. Dev……………..5.44
Avg. Energy………….11.7
Pellet wt………………8.44 gns.
Hi Vel…………………796
Low Vel………………773

RAW FT first test

Results?

The extreme spread was 23 f.p.s., which was larger than I expected, but the gun was new and would probably settle in to something more stable. In addition, even with this ES of 23 f.p.s., the gun still shot a 3/8-inch group at 25 yards when rested on a table, which is more than accurate enough for field target matches. At 50 yards, the gun was shooting a little more than 1⁄2-inch groups off a table, so I believe the observed ES had little effect on accuracy. This was a good finding.

October 25, 2020 Chronograph

After winning the first FT match that I shot in warm weather, I shot my next match in much cooler weather and noticed a large drop in Point of impact at 55 yards, and my scope zero of 27 yds. was also off. I re-zeroed the rifle at the sight-in lane, but didn’t quite figure out the new click chart for the change in POI at colder temps, so I didn’t shoot quite as well in that match. The next weekend, once again in cooler temps, I chronographed the rifle again.

Name………………RAW TM1000
Notes………………Rifle shot 3 MOA low (50X) at 55 yds. Chronoed the rifle and recalculated the click chart for 55 degreesF.
Gun…………………RAW TM1000
Date:……………….10/25/20
Time……………….9:46 a.m.
String………………1
Shots……………….25
Ext. Spread………12
Avg, Vel…………..800
Std. Dev…………..3.55
Avg. Energy……..11.98
Pellet wt………….8.44 gns.
Hi Vel………………806
Low Vel……………794

RAW FT second test

October 30 & 31, 2020 Chronograph

I had the chance to shoot the next weekend in colder temps (40-47F) to ascertain velocity change and scope shift once again. The results were almost the same as they were at 55F, but the ES had dropped to 10fps. 

Accurate?

Nine was pleased with his new rifle’s accuracy, overall, but as he tested it he learned its peculiarities. Here is what he says, “I am convinced that the POI shift is not due to the gun changing velocity. It could be related to air density increase in the colder weather and scope shift. I will have to investigate more thoroughly as I learn this rifle. I did measure a scope shift due to temperature. I setup my yardage markers at 85F in September, and now in October at 45F, the scope ranges 3 yards short at 55 yards.”

Pellets & Accuracy 

“You will notice that I changed pellets from AA 8.44gr to JSB 8.44gr because I noticed that the AA’s weren’t grouping as well as I expected. In fact, they were grouping no better than about an inch at 55 yards. I used a PelletgageR to measure the heads on the AA’s and they were almost all 4.49mm, with a few 4.50mm, so the head sizes were very consistent, but also on the small side, I believe. I measured the JSB head sizes, and they were all 4.50mm to 4.51mm, so just a little bigger.

“The slightly larger head size of the JSB seemed to help reduce the group size. I hadn’t started holding the rifle with a firm hold as I will describe now, so these groups @ 27yds might get a little smaller with a firm hold.”

RAW FT PelletgageR
PelletgageR was used to rapidly sort pellet heads.

I also noticed that group sizes were affected by how I held the rifle — a light grip with rifle resting on the hamster versus a firmer grip with rifle resting on hamster, my hand on the hamster, and the butt pulled into my shoulder with a good cheek weld. The firmer grip, which is the way I shoot the rifle in matches, resulted in best group sizes, so I captured a 60yd group below to verify. 

I shot at the range with Cloud Nine as he was learning his rifle and I was present on the day he learned that the JSB 8.44-grain pellet was superior to the Air Arms 8.44-grain pellet that Martin Rutterford, the former owner of RAW, had recommended. I am skipping past bushels of targets and data he gathered between field target matches.

RAW FT Cloud Nine
Cloud Nine on the windy day he learned that JSB 8.44-grain pellets with 4.51mm heads are the best in his rifle.

RAW FT JSB 4.51
A 13-shot group at 50 yards with Cloud Nine’s new RAW field target rifle.

RAW FT 60 yards
After learning the right pellet and the hold, Cloud Nine’s RAW put nine pellets in 0.630-inches at 60 yards.

Summary

This is just our first look at Cloud Nine’s field target RAW. He has made several reports to AirForce regarding things he would like to see on the rifle, and they are talking to him at length. As I told you I have bypassed bushels of targets and data to give you this quick look at a RAW field target rifle that currently only exists as a work in process. It’s a work that has won several field target matches so far, so it is a labor of love for the man testing it.