AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Edge
AirForce Edge.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 1
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 2
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 3
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 4

A history of airgunshttps://www.pyramydair.com/blog/a-history-of-airguns/

This report covers:

  • Up to speed
  • The test
  • Adjusting the sights
  • RWS R10 Pistol
  • Gamo Match
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • JSB Match S100 
  • Qiang Yuan Olympic
  • More testing to come
  • Summary

Today we conduct the first accuracy test for the AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle. This is the first accuracy test of at least two, because of some things I will tell you in the report.

Up to speed

As a reminder this rifle came to me highly modified and shooting with twice the power of a standard Edge. I tested it thoroughly in that configuration, then I converted it back to the factory Edge specification. The links to all those reports are at the top of the page in case you want to catch up. read more


AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Edge
AirForce Edge.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 1
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 2
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • What happened to BB?
  • Today’s test
  • Start the test
  • Finale Match Light
  • R10 Match Pistol
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Discussion 1
  • Back to Basics
  • Discussion 2
  • Summary

What happened to BB?

First I’ll tell you what happened to me. My new electric bike is a folding model that’s built on a 20-inch frame. As a result the seat and handlebars have to be adjusted very high so my legs have the correct distance to the pedals. My non-electric bike has a 26-inch frame and the crank has been moved forward because it is what is known as a comfort cycle. So the seat doesn’t have to be set as high. read more


Peep sights: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • First encounter
  • The front sight
  • HOWEVER!!!
  • Irony
  • The deal
  • Problems with the post sight
  • Other front sights
  • Contrarians
  • Dial-a-sight
  • The best front sight insert
  • The clear aperture front sight
  • Summary

Today we will look at the front sight that works with the peep sight. Remember, the whole purpose of the peep sight is to eliminate the rear sight from the equation. So the front sight is of extreme importance.

First encounter

The first peep sight I even looked through was on a Winchester model 52 target rifle in an NRA-run course that taught me how to shoot. While other boys my age (10) were interested in baseball and football,  I was only interested in shooting. So I listened to every word the instructors said and I tried to do what they told me, to the best of my ability.

Winchester 52 rear sight
The Marble target sight on the Winchester 52 seemed remarkable to a 10-year-old boy!
read more


The EyePal Peep Sight Master Kit: Part 1

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

EyePal Master Kit EyePal Peep Sight Master Kit has eye patches

I said I wasn’t going to report on the EyePal Peep Sight Master Kit by itself, but something blog reader Fred said in a comment the other day prompted this. I plan to continue to use both patches and comment on them in other reports, but today I want to focus on the kit. I don’t know if there will be a Part 2 to this report; but just in case, I marked this as Part 1.

Fred’s comment was that he needed his vision to see when he walks. So do I. Why didn’t the EyePal rifle patch bother me? The answer is what I want to talk about today — when you position the patch on your glasses.

You position the EyePal patches differently on your glasses for rifles and pistols. That’s because you look through different parts of your glasses when shooting rifles, as opposed to pistols, and that’s what I want you to see today.

Pistol shooters tend to look more toward the center of their lenses, though I suppose it varies from person to person. Also, how the glasses fit your face will determine where you look through them. But a pistol shooter is looking straight ahead more than a rifle shooter.

EyePal Peep Sight Master Kit pistol patch
The pistol patch on my prescription glasses as used for an actual test. This photo will be better understood when compared to the next one.

When the pistol patch was installed, I had the same problem Fred reported — namely not being able to see well when I walked with my glasses on. The patch was right in the center of my optimum vision and obscured things I needed to see to navigate.

The rifle patch
In contrast, the rifle patch has a smaller peep hole and is color-coded with silver letters so you don’t mistake it with the pistol patch. I’ll talk more about its performance in a moment. For now, I want to concentrate on the placement of both patches and what they do to your vision.

The rifle shooter puts his head to the side of the stock. As a result, he tends to look through the glass lens closer to the edge that’s next to the nose bridge. A right-handed shooter puts the patch close to the left of his lens, and a left-hander does the opposite in the other lens. Also, the patch tends to be placed higher on the lens than when it’s used for pistol shooting, although it doesn’t look like it in these pictures.

EyePal Master Kit

Here you see the rifle patch as it was installed on my glasses for an actual test. Notice that it’s closer to the nose bridge and a little higher on the lens than the pistol patch.

With the rifle patch installed, I had no difficulty seeing to walk. The patch is high enough that I can look under it and get around with no problem. But each person is different, and Fred may put his patch at a different place on his glasses than I do. Or he may wear his glasses on his head differently than I do. There are many reasons the patches will go in different places, but the relationship between the rifle and pistol patch locations holds for each shooter.

There can be variables, such as the type of rifle you shoot. A 10-meter target rifle will be held more upright, and the patch will be a little lower, where a benchrest rifle gets the shooter down lower on the stock with the head leaned forward. The patch has to be higher so you can see through the peephole.

Close one eye — the big question
Most shooters close their non-sighting eye to make better sense of the sight picture when using a peep sight. Indeed, the EyePal literature shows the shooter doing this. But target shooters know this is not the way to do it! Closing the off-eye causes the peep hole to grow smaller and distort. The more you squint, the smaller and more distorted it becomes. That will ruin a fine sight picture.

I tried it both ways — the non-sighting eye held open and also with it closed. I found that the EyePal is more tolerant of closing the eye than a standard peep sight. If you continue to squint, there’s a point at which the hole will distort and close up. For the best operation, I found I could close my off-eye and find the sight picture, then open it again and hold the sight picture fine.

I’ll go into more detail when I report the guns I used the EyePal with, but I don’t want to spoil the surprises at this time. For now, let’s just say that the EyePal works for me as intended.


Some thoughts about peep sights

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

This is a subject that is dear to a lot of experienced shooters and a turnoff to younger shooters. Peep sights are a blessing to those who have discovered how easy they are to use, but they are avoided by shooters who aren’t familiar with them. The common misconception is that a peep sight is somehow more complex than a traditional open notch rear sight, but the truth is that the peep sight is actually simpler and faster to use than the open notch.

With an open notch sight, you have to align the rear notch with the front post. There can be several different variations of how it works, such as post and bead or squared-off front post, but the process of using them is the same for all of them. The rear element and front element must be aligned, then held against the target in a certain location (i.e., 6 o’clock hold or center hold).

With a peep sight, you don’t do that. You just look through the rear hole and align the front sight element only against the target. Your eye uses the peephole to adjust your vision by forcing your pupil to adjust for the best depth of vision. It’s an unconscious and automatic response to looking through the small peephole; and, if you allow your eye to do its job instead of fighting it, your brain will help you obtain a more precise sight picture than with open sights.

There are shooters with remarkable vision who can sight with open notch sights extremely well. But if you don’t have great vision, and by that I mean if your vision is average or worse, the peep sight should work better for you. But that’s only for those who don’t fight the rear sight and just look through it.

Peephole sizes
Today, I want to address something that I’ve seen discussed a lot on the internet, and that’s the size of the peephole. I see that many people feel the hole must be large or they cannot use it. Indeed, I’ve seen several peeps that have been drilled out by their owners. The fact is that there are good reasons for both large and small peep holes.

Large peepholes
Large holes allow more light to pass through; and, when used, they acquire the target faster. They’re used on American military arms like the M16, the Krag, the 03-A3 Springfield, the M1 Carbine, the Garand and many others. They’re also found on slug guns used for deer in brushy forest hunting situations where speed is more important than precision.

Garand
The M1 Garand peep is about average size for a battle sight.

03-A3
The 03-A3 sight adjusted for windage as well as elevation. Not all of them did. I can shoot MOA with this sight.

Carbine
The M1 Carbine peep was a rough and ready sight. The rifle wasn’t that accurate, so the sight didn’t need to be precision.

No. 4
The battle sight in this No. 4 Enfield is huge. When the sight standard flips up there is a hole less than half this size. It adjusts only for elevation.

Can such large holes be precise? Yes, they can. I have shown you at least one one-inch five-shot group shot with my 03-A3 Springfield at 100 yards. But the norm would be a larger group. Even the Garand would shoot about a two-inch group at 100 yards on most days. Your goal with a large peep is minute-of-bad-guy.

One secret I’ve learned about using a large peep hole with greater precision is to hold the sight away from my eye. The farther back I place my sighting eye, the more precision I get from a large hole. I didn’t invent that idea; I learned it while shooting the Buffington peep sight on my Trapdoor Springfield that was made in 1875 (the rifle, only — the sight didn’t come about until 1884). The Buffington sight puts the rear peep hole about 14 inches from the sighting eye, and the hole is not that large. You would look at it and imagine that you could never use such a sight, but the truth is that when there’s enough daylight that peep gives precision that rivals the finest tang target sights found on target single-shot rifles. The reason is because of how far the hole is from your eye.

Buffington
Col. Buffington designed this rear sight that combines a peep (several, actually) and a notch. It can be used for long-range precision fire. A great many buffalo fell to this sight on this rifle. read more


Air Venturi Bronco with optional target sights: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

You know how your wife buys a new trash can for the kitchen, and it doesn’t match the front of the old refrigerator that you’ve been talking about replacing for several years? So, you buy a new fridge, but you want this one to have an ice dispenser in the door; so, you hire a plumber to run the water lines; as long as he’s there, you decide it’s time to replace the chipped sink with a new stainless-steel double sink; but as long as he’s under there, you might as well have him replace the water supply lines and the waste pipes. Then, your wife doesn’t like how the new sink looks against the old green Formica counters, and she wants those granite countertops you’ve been promising her ever since you forgot your 17th anniversary; but the new countertops won’t look right on the old painted cabinets, so you decide on some Scandinavian teak cabinets with glass doors; and now the chipped dishes look out of place. [Note from Edith: This is hypothetical. It’s not a true story about us!]

So, seven months later, the total bill for the new trash can comes to 70 thousand dollars? Well, that’s what I seem to have gotten into with the Air Venturi Bronco. I was just testing the new Bronco Target Sight kit on the rifle, and I raked back the compost pile a little too far. So, today, you’re going to benefit from my puttering gone amuck.

I took a lot of heat from you guys in my last report. You didn’t like how I did things, plus I introduced the new Air Venturi Pellet Pen and PellSet and called it maccaroni without any warning! Well, shame on me!

I began today’s test by mounting the Hawke 4.5-14x42AO Sidewinder Tactical scope on the rifle. The Bronco has a hole for a vertical scope stop pin, so I was able to anchor the two-piece mounts rock-solid.

I thought I would back up just a bit and see just what the best pellet is for this rifle, and then see if there’s a difference between seating that pellet flush and seating it deep. I started at 10 meters with five-shot groups, just to weed out the pellets that were not worth pursuing. They were all pretty good, but the lightweight Air Arms Falcon was just a bit better than the rest.

I realize that this is a test of a peep sight, but my last report raised some questions about the rifle’s accuracy that I felt needed to be laid to rest before the test was continued. I’m validating the rifle before I continue reporting on the new sight.

Then, I backed up to 25 yards and shot two 10-shot groups. One was with the pellets seated flush with the end of the breech, and the other was with the pellets seated deeper, using the PellSet. Let’s look at my results before I analyze them.


Ten Air Arms Falcon pellets seated flush with the end of the barrel went into this 25-yard group that measures 0.531 inches. The group is reasonably round.


Ten Air Arms Falcon pellets seated deep with a PellSet made this 0.821-inch group at 25 yards. Nine of the ten pellets went into a group measuring 0.564 inches.

Conclusions?
Looking at both the shape and size of these groups, I would be tempted to say the flush-seated pellets shot best. And there’s no doubt that this Bronco can shoot. But let’s not make up our minds just yet.

See that “flyer” in the deep-seated pellet group? It wasn’t a called flier. The hold and release were perfect. There is no reason that pellet should be that far away from the rest of the pellets at 25 yards.

What I’m not showing you are some other 10-meter groups with different pellets that also had strange fliers like this one. I had removed both the front and rear sights, so we can’t blame the front sight screws for being too long. But something is happening with this rifle that’s unusual.

Edith questioned me in the same way that I know the rest of you are going to question me. Didn’t I have good groups in the past? Why is this rifle suddenly shooting like this?

I went back and looked at the groups I shot in Part 3 of this report. If you do the same, you’ll see a couple “fliers” in those groups, as well. The difference is that those groups were shot at 10 meters instead of 25 yards.

So, then I went back to the 7-part report I did on the Bronco and examined those targets. In Part 5 of that report, I shot the rifle with a scope at 25 yards and guess what? There are “fliers” within some of the groups.

What’s happening?
I think the Bronco I’ve been testing is extremely accurate, but it has also been throwing fliers like this all along. I chalked them up to my poor shooting instead of something else. Now that I’ve examine the rifle under the microscope, I’m not so sure it was me. I think this rifle has been tipping pellets all along. It’s only when the gun is fired at 25 yards that this becomes evident.

I think this has gotten worse recently, but I cannot say with certainty what’s causing it. It’s clear from the two groups shown here that the rifle can really shoot, but I think it can do even better than it currently is.

I have a plan to try to remedy this situation; and, at the worst, it will not affect the accuracy of the rifle. But if I succeed, this rifle could shoot smaller groups than you see here.

I need to try my remedy before returning to finish the report on the peep sight kit, because I think it has been affecting the results. And there’s a second problem I’ve identified with the peep sights that has nothing to do with the sights, themselves, but with how I’ve been sighting the gun. I’ll describe that problem in detail for you and tell you how to easily avoid it.

Til then!


Air Venturi Bronco with optional target sights: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Today is the day you find how I improved the accuracy of the Air Venturi Bronco rifle I’m testing with the Bronco Target Sight kit. I asked you to guess what I did to get better groups, but only Fred of PRoNJ got it right. I thought this would be a straightforward test and that one range session was all I needed for this rifle. After all, I already did a 7-part report on the gun, so there’s been plenty of time to get to know how it shoots. In fact, I even installed a Williams peep sight on the gun, so I even know how it shoots with that. This was just supposed to be a test of the Bronco Target Sight kit and nothing more. But man plans, and God laughs!

Yesterday, I told you about the front sight screws and the barrel that obviously needed cleaning. Afterwards, I was not rewarded with those perfect groups I’d anticipated. The groups I got were better than before the rifle was cleaned, but they were still bad for an accurate rifle at 10 meters off a rest. Something else was needed.

The artillery hold
How many of you guessed that the secret to good shooting was the artillery hold? Guess again, because I saw no difference between resting the rifle on the flat of my palm and on the backs of my fingers.

One thing I did rediscover was the need to hold the Bronco absolutely “dead” in my hands rather than with any tension built in. For its power level, the Bronco seems to be on the twitchy side as far as hold sensitivity goes. So, before you shoot, it’s imperative that you relax all the way and allow the rifle to settle in wherever it wants to. Then, you have to shift your hands and body until it settles in with the sights very close to on-target.

But that wasn’t the secret I was looking for because the groups were still on the large side. Then, something cool happened. As you know, my friend, Mac, has been visiting us; and while he was here, I got a couple spring-piston air rifles to test before they come to market. I’ll be starting some reports at the end of this month, so I asked Mac to test the rifle while I worked on other things. It’s never difficult to get him to test a brand-new airgun!

One of the pellets he selected to test the rifles with was the venerable RWS Hobby, which is the lightest all-lead pellet around. Hobbys are often among the most accurate pellets for spring-piston airguns, and they did really well in these new rifles, so his choice seemed obvious. Since the Bronco is also a spring-piston gun, I wondered if Hobbys might do well in it.

Did Hobbys shoot better?
Yes, they really did. They gave groups that were in the ballpark for the rifle as it was now performing with the clean barrel, but they weren’t the groups I’d hoped for. But something drove me to continue to shoot them. I guess I was thinking about the pellet seasoning effect we talk about. As I was shooting, another thought popped into my head.

Two years ago I was testing a Hy-Score 801 — a Belgian-made breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle that has a pellet seater built into the gun. It sits above the breech and swings down to push the pellet deep into the breech. When I tested it, the seated pellets increased in velocity by 100 f.p.s. and also grouped closer. Could that same thing be true for the Bronco, I wondered?

Well, it didn’t take much to test the pellet-seating theory, because I’ve been testing the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and PellSet for some time. But this was the first time I had occasion to use the adjustable PellSet tool to push a pellet into the breech of an air rifle! Until now, I’ve always used a Bic pen, but this new tool is adjustable so I can control the depth to which each pellet is seated. And once the tool’s adjusted, every pellet gets seated to exactly the same depth. Consistency is paramount to accuracy, so that’s very important.

Success!
The moment I began seating the pellets deeply with the PellSet tool, the groups shrank to an acceptable size. It looked like a television infomercial, because the difference before and after was night and day. I shot another group but didn’t seat the pellets. I held the rifle as carefully as I had when the pellets were seated deep, just to eliminate any bias. I’m not saying there still isn’t some bias in my testing, but the results of seating the pellets looks very promising!


This PellSet tool is an adjustable pellet seater that hangs around your neck and seals each pellet to the correct depth in the breech. Using it immediately tightened the Bronco’s groups!


When you load a pellet manually, you seat it flush with the breech like this.


The PellSet tool enables you to seat each pellet to the same depth in the bore. The tool is adjustable so you can fine-tune it.


Ten RWS Hobby pellets seated flush with the end of the barrel grouped in 0.916b inches at 10 meters. While not a great target, this demonstrates that the Bronco wants to shoot Hobbys well, because 8 of the 10 pellets made a group about half the size of the large one. read more