Getting started with a precharged air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The PCP boom
  • A gamble
  • Buy in bulk?
  • The advantages of a PCP
  • How to get into PCPs
  • Entry-level PCPs
  • 2000 psi fill rifles
  • Benjamin Wildfire
  • 3000 psi rifles
  • What if you just want to dive in?
  • Advanced PCPs that are forgiving
  • If you ignore my advice
  • Summary

There has been a lot of discussion on the blog about getting into precharged pneumatic (PCP) airguns. I want to weigh in on this discussion.

The PCP boom

Ten years ago the world had one entry-level precharged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle — the Benjamin Discovery. It came to market in 2007 and revolutionized the airgun world. When it hit the market it established the parameters of what an entry-level PCP should be and cost.

Benjamin Discovery
The Benjamin Discovery, packaged with a hand pump at an affordable price, broke the PCP market open in 2007.

A gamble

Before it was launched no one knew how the Discovery would be received. When I pitched the idea to Crosman in 2006, their CEO, Ken D’Arcy, asked me if I thought they could sell a thousand of them in a year. I told him I thought they could sell two thousand! Of course I didn’t know for certain, because something like this had never been done before. But I did know airgunners. I knew they were very curious about PCPs, but also quite cautious. Companies like Crosman had tried putting their name on PCPs made by others before (Logan, in Crosman’s case) and it didn’t turn out very well. Once airgunners discovered who really made the guns, they reasoned why buy from Crosman who had to mark up the guns to make a profit? If you wanted a Logan, why not go directly to the source? With the internet it is impossible to conceal things like this today.

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The Hatsan Sortie PCP pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hatsan Sortie

Hatsan Sortie precharged pistol.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Three magazines
  • Filling
  • RWS Superdome
  • Loading
  • H&N Field Target Trophy (5.55mm)
  • Hand pump
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Discharge sound
  • Is this a semiautomatic?
  • Trigger
  • Evaluation so far

Today we look at the power of the new Hatsan Sortie semiautomatic air pistol. I told you in Part 1 that it is a 12 foot-pound gun, so the discharge sound shouldn’t be too great, but we will find out today.

Three magazines

I didn’t show you the stuff that comes with the gun in Part 1, so let’s look at it now. First and foremost, there are three magazines in the box with the pistol. That’s very generous of Hatsan, and the two extras save you about 50 dollars! You also get a fill probe and a set of o-rings and a seal for the gun.

Hatsan Sortie accessories
The Sortie comes with 3 magazines, a probe and a set of seals.

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The 2017 Texas airgun show: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Hatsan on the range
  • Raffles
  • Other goodies at the show
  • Dealer sales
  • The private dealers
  • Grand prizes
  • The end

I plan for this report to be the final one on the 2017 Texas airgun show.

Hatsan on the range

We have already seen AirForce Airguns, Crosman, Sig Sauer and Umarex USA. What I didn’t show you was the new Umarex Gauntlet being shot by the public. The rifle has not been released yet, but we expect it very soon. This was a rare chance for the public to test an airgun before release, just like I get to do at the SHOT Show sometimes. I also didn’t get any pictures of Crosman demonstrating their Pioneer airbow on the big bore range. But they were out there with it in the afternoon.

I did get to the Hatsan range, though, and saw the new Sortie pistol I’m now testing for you. I also got to shoot the Hercules big bore in .45 caliber.  Hatsan sent one for me to test for you and that will start soon, so I wanted to try it out with a Hatsan tech person at my side.

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Kral Puncher Pro B W PCP rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Kral Puncher Pro
Kral Puncher Pro PCP. The test rifle’s walnut stock is not as blonde as this one.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • First test
  • Wind
  • Third test
  • RWS Superdome
  • JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
  • Adjust the scope
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • H&N Baracuda Match 5.53mm heads
  • Evaluation
  • Next

You have waited patiently for this 50-yard accuracy report since the middle of May. I have had the rifle to the range several times, and today I’ll tell you what happened.

First test

The first time I went out, I couldn’t get the rifle to group with any pellet. No matter what I did with the power level, the pellets went all over the place. The groups were 5 to 7 inches. After seeing what the rifle could do at 25 yards with the same pellets, I knew something was wrong, and I thought I knew what it was.

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Kral Puncher Pro B W PCP rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Kral Puncher Pro
Kral Puncher Pro PCP. The test rifle’s walnut stock is not as blonde as this one.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Mounted a scope
  • Accuracy
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • Trigger pull
  • JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
  • Nice pistol grip
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Evaluation so far

Today we start looking at the accuracy of the Kral Puncher Pro PCP air rifle. I have several of these Kral PCPs to test, so I’m spending time with this first one to learn the brand. Things like the unusual way the magazine is inserted into the receiver and how the power adjustment works need to be learned before I can feel comfortable testing these air rifles.

As a reminder, these Kral PCPs offer features found in more expensive airguns at an attractive price. The test rifle also has a very nice stock made of walnut. In Part 2 we discovered that the power adjuster, while not offering distinct stops for adjustment, does put the rifle at a stable place each and every time. And we learned that this Puncher Pro is very stingy with air — getting as many as 80 shots per fill, depending on where the power is set.

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Kral Puncher Pro B W PCP rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Kral Puncher Pro
Kral Puncher Pro PCP. The test rifle’s walnut stock is not as blonde as this one.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Fill
  • Test strategy
  • Premiers on the low power setting
  • Noise on low power
  • Premiers on the medium power setting
  • Noise on medium power
  • Premiers on the highest power setting
  • Noise on high power
  • The magazine
  • Mag and action are stiff
  • On to other pellets
  • How fast?
  • JSB Exact Jumbos
  • Trigger pull
  • Shot count
  • Evaluation so far

You have waited all month for this Part 2. In the first part of the month I went to the Findlay airgun show in Ohio, and then last week to Ft. Smith to film “American Airgunner.” This is the first chance I’ve had to get back to the Kral Puncher Pro. However, I did shoot one at Ft. Smith, so I was exposed a little more than just today’s test. Let’s get started.

Fill

The rifle was filled to 2900 psi/200 bar for this test. I complained about the fill probe in Part 1, and reader GunFun1 pointed out that Pyramyd Air sells a male Foster adaptor to convert the probe. Well, at Ft. Smith Rossi Morreale showed me a whole box of adaptors for all kinds of fill probes. That reminded me that I tested one for you some time back. As it turned out, it was still attached to a probe (but not a Kral), and that probe fit this Kral and worked perfectly. So, all my complaining was for nothing.

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How many shots will an airgun get over its life?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Action airguns
  • Materials failure
  • Dielectric welding
  • Airguns with regulators
  • CO2 guns
  • Pneumatic airguns
  • Spring piston airguns
  • The lowly BB gun
  • But what is the number?
  • The point

This report is written at the request of reader redrafter. I made the title long, because it contains some things we need to think about. If an airgun is overhauled and gets new seals and springs, is that the end of its life? I don’t think so. What I am calling the end of an airgun’s life is when it no longer works and cannot be repaired with parts that are available. I say that because a careful worker can often extend the life of something beyond even that end. So, my definition of an airgun’s life is when there are no longer any repair parts that are easily available.

Action airguns

Let’s get these out of the way up front. Action airguns include the action pistols, submachine guns, revolvers and rifles that allow rapid fire like the Crosman 1077. As a class of airgun, these are the most likely guns to fail, and that is because of how they are intended to be used — i.e. rapid-fire most of the time. Within this group some guns have a reputation for early failure, while others, like the 1077, seem to last much longer than their synthetic materials would imply.

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