The “Dark Side” has never been brighter!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The “Dark Side”
  • Early problems
  • Modern precharged airguns
  • Benjamin Discovery
  • Slow conversion
  • The $100 PCP
  • Other changes in the PCP world
  • Fill coupling standardization
  • Price point PCP
  • It’s no longer the “Dark Side”

I know I said there are lots of backlogged tests, but sometimes I just have to write a report like this. Today is such a day.

The “Dark Side”

Back in the late 1990s, when precharged pneumatics were still relatively unknown to airgunners, someone took license from the movie series “Star Wars” and coined the phrase the“Dark Side” to represent involvement with PCPs. At the time most airgunners identified with spring-piston guns and regarded precharged pneumatics as odd, different and too difficult to understand. And at the time it looked as if that would be the case indefinitely.

Early problems

Precharged pneumatics are not a new technology. In fact, they are the oldest type of airguns, dating back to sometime in the 16th century! Those guns, however, were made by hand and were frighteningly expensive. They existed at a time when repeating firearms were also the stuff of dreams, so in 1780 it was the airgun and not the firearm that became the first successful repeater. There had been repeating firearms before then, but they tended to explode because of the dangers of loose gunpowder, which at that time meant black powder. Indeed Bartolemeo Girardoni’s son was killed when a repeating firearm he was experimenting with blew his arm off! Incidentally, the last name is spelled GiraRdoni — not GiraNdoni! Dr. Beeman has met with the Girardoni family and confirmed this. Unfortunately, the long article on the Beeman webpage still shows the old spelling. read more


Hatsan Vectis .25-caliber lever action PCP repeater: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Hatsan Vectis
Hatsan Vectis lever action PCP repeater.

This report covers:

  • Flash Vectis
  • Filling
  • Fill probe port plug
  • What is the air stripper made of?
  • Velocity
  • Second string
  • Discharge sound
  • Third string
  • JSB Exact King Heavy
  • Predator Polymag
  • How smooth is the lever?
  • The trigger
  • Summary

Well, the discussion in Part 1 ended on the topic of UFOs. Let’s see where we go today with our exploration of the velocity of the .25-caliber Hatsan Vectis lever action PCP. I will begin by addressing two comments that were pertinent. The first was from reader Willyaimright, who said he had to return his first Vectis to Pyramyd Air because he couldn’t get it to accept a fill.

Flash Vectis

Knowing that some precharged guns have to be cocked before the initial fill (i.e. when there is no air inside the reservoir), I read the manual before proceeding. It’s an unmanly act, I know, but sometimes you just gotta cheat. read more


Air Venturi Seneca Aspen .25-caliber precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Seneca Aspen PCP
The Air Venturi Seneca Aspen precharged pneumatic air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Not the accuracy test
  • Man plans…
  • Testing as a PCP
  • Filling
  • Mounting the scope
  • Sight-in
  • Back to 10 meters
  • Back to 25 yards
  • Scope adjustments
  • My test plan
  • First group of five
  • Shots 6 through 10
  • Second group
  • Third group
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Get ready to learn something, kids, because school is in session!

Not the accuracy test

Today would normally be the start of the accuracy test for a normal PCP air rifle, but the Air Venturi Seneca Aspen PCP is anything but normal! I did shoot a lot of targets today, but there aren’t going to be any dimes in the pictures. I was just trying to figure this rifle out!

Man plans…

I figured I would mount the 4X32 AO scope that comes bundled with the rifle and at least start to shoot for accuracy. Well, there is a saying about thoughts like that. Man plans and God laughs! If you don’t believe it, read the book of Ecclesiastes. It was written by King Solomon, who was the wisest man ever to have lived. Near the end of his life he figured out the meaning of life and boiled it down to just that. Oh, he didn’t say it that way — he was more reverent and polite about it, but in chapter 12, verses 12 through 14, he pretty much sums it up that way. read more


Hatsan Vectis .25-caliber lever action PCP repeater: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hatsan Vectis
Hatsan Vectis lever action PCP repeater.

This report covers:

  • No historical report?
  • Hatsan Vectis
  • The rifle
  • Synthetic
  • Open sights!
  • Operating pressure
  • Short throw lever
  • Manually uncocked
  • Manual safety
  • Magazines
  • Silencer and barrel
  • Trigger
  • Summary

No historical report?

You may be surprised that this is Friday and there is no historical report, but there is a good reason. I am so backed up with new products to report that I’ve decided to suspend the historical reports for a little while so I can get caught up. Don’t worry, they aren’t going away and I will get back to them as soon as I can.

Hatsan Vectis

Today I’m starting the report on the Hatsan Vectis lever action repeating PCP. Hatsan sent this rifle to me immediately after the SHOT Show, because I thought it is different enough that you need to know about it right away. The rifle I am testing is a .25 caliber and it’s a 10-shot repeater. read more


Air Venturi Seneca Aspen .25-caliber precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Seneca Aspen PCP
The Air Venturi Seneca Aspen precharged pneumatic air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Important links
  • Filling
  • Benjamin domes
  • Test 1
  • Discussion 1
  • Power
  • Back to 3600 psi
  • Test 2
  • Discussion 2
  • Power on low
  • Pumping effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we look at the performance of the new Air Venturi Seneca Aspen PCP. Before I get to that, though, I will remind you that in Part 1 of this report (the one on this .25-caliber Aspen) I showed the links to the first 5 reports on the .22-caliber Aspen. I’m not showing those links today because they will become too confusing. If you want to see them, click on the link to Part 1 of this report and they are all at the top of the report that comes up .

Important links

Those links are important to me because I am testing this .25-caliber rifle in the same way that I tested the .22. That test was ideal to discover the performance parameters of that rifle and it will do the same for this one. I expect to see differences today, but this test will tell us how the .25 performs, relative to the fill pressure. With that understood, I am ready to begin. read more


2019 SHOT Show: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

This report covers:

  • Leapers crossbow sight reticle
  • Beeman Chief PCP repeaters
  • FX Dreamlite
  • 100-cubic-inch-carbon fiber tank
  • Another new compressor
  • This show was different
  • SHOT Summary

Today I will give you my final report on the 2019 SHOT Show. I always see more things than I can possibly report.

Leapers crossbow sight reticle

First up is the reticle for the crossbow scope that I said would make a fine new Bug Buster with very little alteration. Tom Zhu of Leapers took a picture of the prototype rifle through the scope for us. Remember that this is still a prototype for a crossbow and the design of the reticle could change, but you can see the bubble level in the bottom of the image.

King Bug Buster reticle
Leapers UTG crossbow scope prototype reticle is etched glass. The bubble of the level can be seen at the bottom of the image. read more


Air Venturi Seneca Aspen .25-caliber precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Seneca Aspen PCP
The Air Venturi Seneca Aspen precharged pneumatic air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Pay attention!
  • The .25 is different
  • The real reason to buy an Aspen!
  • A brand new gun
  • The manual
  • Physical differences between the rifles
  • Things that come with the rifle
  • Power
  • Description
  • Summary

Pay attention!

Read this paragraph, because I don’t want to have this discussion a hundred more times. The Air Venturi Seneca Aspen PCP with a built-in pump is a complex airgun. The complexity isn’t in the design or in the build — it’s in how the rifle operates. So I have provided the links to the first 5 reports on the .22-caliber rifle I already tested last year, for those who want to go back and see how I tested it. After today’s report I will only link to the test of this rifle.

The Aspen is a PCP that also has a built-in pump, so it can also operate like a multi-pump pneumatic. In my opinion, at least to this point in the testing, it makes more sense to operate the gun as a multi-pump, because you can then regulate the pressure in the reservoir. That gives you precise control over the velocity, where just filling it like a PCP will only give a handful of shots. All this is speculation, because I have not yet done the testing, but after seeing the pressure curves in Parts 2 and 3 of the test of the other rifle (in the links provided above) I am almost certain that I’m right. read more